Return to Transcripts main page
Texas Eases Stay-at-Home Order, Louisiana Extends to May 15; Trump Says Testing the Responsibility of States; Key Model Projects Higher U.S. Death Toll as States Reopen; Race for Coronavirus Vaccine Faces Challenges. Aired 6-6:30a ET
Aired April 28, 2020 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our forecast now is for 74,000 deaths, but our best estimate is going up.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Opening Texas must occur in phases.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Movie theaters, restaurants, malls will be allowed to reopen on Friday, but only at a 25 percent capacity.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Those images are an example of what not to see. What not to do.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The reason we are shut down is because we've had inadequate testing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We believe we need to be in at least 5,000 tests a day.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We've launched the most ambitious testing effort on earth.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to put together our own testing protocol. If the federal government would come in and help us out along the way, that would be a cherry on top.
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Tuesday, April 28, 6 a.m. here in New York.
Breaking overnight, new projections for the coronavirus death toll here in the United States. The model used by the White House was updated late last night, and it now shows deaths in the United States increasing as more states begin to reopen.
On April 8, as you can see, the death toll projection was 60,000 people. Last night it was updated to 74,000 people. This is by the first week of August.
As of this morning, more than 56,000 Americans have died.
Still, the nation is moving forward with a staggered and haphazard approach to reopening. In Texas, the governor announcing an expansive reopening plan that begins this Friday. First to open, retail stores, restaurants, movie theaters and malls, all at a 25 percent capacity.
Meanwhile, their neighbor, Louisiana, is extending their stay-at-home orders through May 15, John.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: So overnight the White House outlined new guidelines for testing that puts the onus on states and designates the federal government as a supplier of last resort. A White House official tells CNN the goal is for each state to test at least 2 percent of its residents. That figure is well below the minimum level that most public health experts and many economists, for that matter, think is necessary to safely reopen most of the country.
Also, there are new developments this morning out of Oxford University, where we're getting word of scientists moving forward with a coronavirus vaccine trial.
We begin, though, just outside Atlanta. Martin Savidge is there.
Martin, Georgia began reopening days ago. Texas made a big announcement for this coming Friday. I really think the question is how many people are going out, even with stuff beginning to open?
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Morning, John.
Well, you know what's interesting? This shopping center is divided between those businesses that have decided it's time to reopen and those that say, no, it's just simply not safe. It mirrors a divide we're seeing across the nation. And as this new modeling suggests, the death toll is likely to rise.
So, the message is simple. You can open business back up again, but there's a price. And that price is paid in lives.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): A growing disconnect nationwide: reopen or remain closed? The country's second most populous state starting to lift restrictions. Texas restaurants, malls and movie theaters can begin allowing customers Friday, at 25 percent capacity. And hair salons, barber shops, bars, and gyms likely come back mid-May.
GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R-TX): Just as we united as one state to slow COVID- 19, we must also come together to begin rebuilding the lives and the livelihoods of our fellow Texans.
SAVIDGE: Governor Greg Abbott could have a battle on his hands from local leaders who disagree. MAYOR SYLVESTER TURNER (D), HOUSTON: You know, I respect the
governor's position, but for the city of Houston operation and those things that are permitted, produced, authorized, my order will remain in place through the end of May.
SAVIDGE: Texas loosening restrictions as is neighboring Louisiana, while also extending its stay-at-home order until May 15.
GOV. JOHN BEL EDWARDS (D-LA): What we can't do right now is create new hot spots when we don't have the ability to adequately test those that we already have, until we can ramp up that capacity.
SAVIDGE: Similar mixed messages in the Midwest, where Wisconsin says it will ease restrictions on some nonessential businesses this week, even as Michigan extends its stay-at-home order through May 15.
Down south in Georgia, some businesses are already opening their doors. The governor defended his decision to start the most aggressive rollbacks of restrictions so far.
GOV. BRIAN KEMP (R-GA): I simply gave people the opportunity that literally were on the verge, many of them, of losing everything that they've got. You know, these are tough decisions. So it wasn't a mandate.
SAVIDGE: Widespread testing remains a major issue for states, battling with the Trump administration for weeks to help with supplies. And, after weeks of pressure from governors, President Trump laid out a national strategy for increasing testing capacity last night. But it puts the burden on the states to develop their own plans.
Trump: If we want to get our country open and the testing is not going to be a problem at all. In fact, it's going to be one of the great assets. Our blueprint describes how states should unlock their full capacity, expand the number of testing platforms.
SAVIDGE: The president also suggesting it could be time to get kids back in the classroom.
TRUMP: I think you'll see a lot of schools open up, even if it's for a very short period of time. I think it would be a good thing.
SAVIDGE: But 43 states and the District of Columbia want schools closed through the end of the academic year, citing student safety.
SAVIDGE: Even the governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, has begun to talk about the possibility of reopening. However, in doing so, he said that it would be upstate New York that would likely reopen first, where there has been less of the coronavirus -- John and Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: Martin, thank you very much for all of that. Joining us now is Dr. Ashish Jha. He's the director of the Harvard
Global Health Institute. And CNN national security analyst Juliette Kayyem. She's the former assistant secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. Good morning. Great to see both of you.
Juliette, for weeks, day after day all we hear about is testing: how much testing we need, how testing needs to be widespread. And then yesterday, President Trump said that the federal government should be the test supplier of last resort.
Well, it's been four months that governors have said we need more testing. Aren't we at the last resort at this point? And whose responsibility is it, in your experience? Is it the states, or is it the federal government, in an international pandemic, to do this?
JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: So in this case, it would clearly be on the federal government to supply what was necessary to satisfy what the states' needs are. It's not that complicated, right?
The locals execute. They're putting the tests -- they are testing individuals. But in this case, because the tests need to be certified by the federal government, they need to be authorized tests, so it's not like it's just a free market here.
You would expect in normal times for the federal government to essentially have owned this, right? To make sure that each of the states have their own tests.
So the news yesterday was just odd coming from the president. It sort of suggested that there was no new news. The states are still waiting. They don't have -- they clearly do not have enough. And I'll just make it clear to the viewers. We are opening up under conditions that not even the White House would agree with in terms of their standards. And then -- and then saying to the states, well, you have to do it on your own already. That's what they've been trying to do quite unsuccessfully.
BERMAN: Yes. The structure was no new news. And then Dr. Jha, what struck me was that the goal was so underwhelming. The goal of 2 percent testing in all the states, which makes it 6 to 7 million people, which is according to the public health experts like you and economists I've talked to, woefully inadequate. That's not surveillance testing, Dr. Jha.
DR. ANISH JHA, DIRECTOR, HARVARD GLOBAL HEALTH INSTITUTE: No. The plan that the White House laid out yesterday is a bit puzzling, because they set this new target, which is essentially what we're doing now.
And the way you're -- you know, your viewers can think about this is it will take us four years to test all Americans, according to the -- according to the White House standards and goals, right? So that's completely inadequate.
And the problem is when Americans go back to work -- they go back to their coffee shop, they will go back to the diner the diner -- are they going to feel comfortable that the person sitting next to them isn't infected, shedding virus? And if we can't test people, we can't know who's infected. If we can't know who's infected, I don't think most Americans are going to feel comfortable going back to those movie theaters and restaurants.
CAMEROTA: Dr. Jha, I want to pull up the wide shot, the video that we've been seeing of beaches in California, because I'm confused about how you should behave and distance outside. So here's a wide shot of a beach. And obviously, people are hungry to get back to the beach. And you see people frolicking around and doing all of their beach activities.
But I also see what looks like blankets six feet apart from the other families. I mean, it's really hard to tell, obviously, without being there.
But if people are just staying within their own family unit, and their beach towel is six feet apart, is it generally safe to be outdoors like that?
JHA: So I think being outdoors is generally safe. And the key is, you know, so I think parks should be open. And I think things -- a lot of people used to go for walks or bike rides. Or even beaches can be OK.
But like that -- when I looked at that picture, I really kind of -- I cringed, because it looked like there were a lot of people getting very close to each other.
And this is just an issue of risk. And the question for people is, look, I love going to the beach, but, like, do you really want to put your life at risk by going out to places if you're going to be in any kind of a crowded situation?
So if you can have a very sparsely-populated beach, fine. But again, it's hard to tell, but looking at those photos, it made me nervous.
BERMAN: Look, and they've got to park somewhere. They've got to walk to get there on a sidewalk. Who's touching the umbrellas? Where are they going to the bathroom? Are their bathrooms crowded?
BERMAN: I mean, that shot just looked a little bit off.
And if you want to know what the real-world or at least maybe the mathematical world implications of that are, all we have to do is look at the new models. Let's put them back up on the screen right now.
People are now projecting that the death toll will reach 74,000. That is with these states beginning to reopen. That is with people going to the beaches in California.
BERMAN: Or going to restaurants at 25 percent capacity. It increases the probability that more people will die.
April 8 is when we had 97 percent social distancing. People were staying home. Now, when things are being reopened, more people die.
But, Juliette, the question is, you know, do we have to accept that? Is it something that needs to be accepted? And we just have to come to terms with the fact that there is more risk here?
KAYYEM: There will be more risk. It's a risk/reward calculation. No one expects for this to get to zero. And the reason why is because we are going to be living with this virus for some period of time. We're going to manage around it, dance around it, but people will get sick, and some percentage of those people will die. That will increase as we let some of these social distancing rules sort of loosen a little bit.
And so what's important now is that we -- when we talk about opening up, we really examine what the specific policy is. There's opening up that's careless. Say, for example, tattoo parlors. But then there's opening up that may make sense. Opening up boating capacity or lakes in Michigan.
So as the country gradually "opens up," in quotes, not everything is the same.
And one thing to this model. This model does not account for what we're calling excess deaths. In other words, if you compare January, February, March this year to the last five years, these numbers are now terrifying, because more people are clearly dying this year. We're just not accounting for them in the coronavirus count.
So while this number, 70,000, is shocking from the -- from the perspective of what's actually happening out there, I don't think we have a handle on, and it's greater than 74,000.
CAMEROTA: Really good point.
Juliette, Dr. Jha, thank you both very much for all of the information.
So the only definite way to protect Americans from coronavirus, of course, is a vaccine. We have new details about a trial that is very early but showing promise. That's next.
BERMAN: A new development this morning in the race to develop a coronavirus vaccine. A group of scientists at Oxford University says they're preparing to conduct large clinical human trials by the end of next month after tests showed their vaccine was effective in monkeys.
Dr. Ashish Jha is back with us. Also joining us is Dr. Manisha Juthani. She is the associate professor of medicine and epidemiology at Yale School of Medicine.
And Dr. Juthani, let me start with you. First of all, Oxford has got great P.R. people. They had a terrific article in "The New York Times" about this study that they are doing.
They also seem to be ahead of other studies right now in the sense that they are going to a large-scale human testing, up to 6,000 people, we'll assume, is their goal to test this.
What is going on with their vaccine? Describe what they're trying and what the promise might be.
DR. MANISHA JUTHANI, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF MEDICINE AND EPIDEMIOLOGY, YALE SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: So good morning, John. So I think what the status of their vaccine is, that initially, they had a prototype for MERS. So as you know, SARS was in the early 2000s. Then MERS a few years ago. And so they had this vaccine that was already in the works. And so they were able to use that to be able to basically create a new vaccine that could be tested for this new COVID-19 strain.
And they are on the way to roll it out to test in 6,000 people. And part of what they're trying to do is, while the virus is still circulating in England, they want to be able to try to test whether the vaccine is actually protective for some people who get the vaccine versus those who do not.
Now, I'm very hopeful with this. We all are looking for a vaccine. But whether it will work, No. 1, is the first question. Secondly, even if that does happen, whether they'll be able to roll out vaccine to a broad scale of people still remains to be seen.
CAMEROTA: Yes. Dr. Jha, I mean, the timeline that "The New York Times" used was September. That's nothing like we've heard from other doctors and researchers who are working on vaccine. Is that actually realistic that we could see something by September?
JHA: So it's extremely optimistic, right? Like, my goodness, I think it sort of is on the kind of theoretical edge of what's possible. I think, you know, I've always said that it's a 12- to 18-month timeline until people -- until we have a broadly available effective vaccine.
So maybe by September we'll have really good data, and maybe we'll be ramping up production. And we do need to do some things in parallel, make some bets even before we know for sure it's going to work. Let's start ramping it up, because at most we're going to waste some money, but the upside is we might get a jump start. So there are ways of speeding up the timeline. September is very optimistic.
BERMAN: Dr. Juthani, I want to ask you about new developments in terms of antibody testing here in New York state. Andrew Cuomo, the governor, yesterday released new figures as to how many people have tested positive with antibodies.
In New York City, it's about 25 percent, about a quarter of people. In New York state, it's about 15 percent. Now, it's hard to tell if this is a glass half empty or a glass half
full type of thing. On the one hand, if more people have what had it, it indicates that it may not be as fatal as we thought. On the other hand, if you're counting on some kind of herd immunity for this, 75 percent of people, at a minimum, haven't had it yet. That's fertile ground for this to spread.
JUTHANI: Yes. I mean, I don't think we're at the point of herd immunity where that could protect people.
I think what this gives us a sense is that, in New York City, there certainly were probably more cases than originally people thought, and getting a sense of the amount of immunity that exists in the population is always very helpful.
And I think, then, we see that outside of the city that degree of immunity is less. But I think that we have some sense of what herd immunity is there, but it's certainly not enough to be able to say that people in New York state are going to be safe, that -- that other people will not get infected.
So I think it just gives us a sense of the amount of the population that has been exposed so far.
I think the other thing to remember here is the science hasn't quite caught up yet. We're not 100 percent sure yet that, if you have this antibody that, in fact, they are neutralizing antibodies, meaning that you have true immunity and could not get this infection again.
And I think we'd like to hope that that's the case, and I certainly hope that that is. But I think we still need science to catch up to be able to tell us for sure that that's the case.
CAMEROTA: Dr. Jha, another number that has caught people by surprise are the deaths, and not just deaths that we know about from coronavirus.
Apparently, according to the CDC, in March and the beginning of April, there was a spike in deaths in the country, particularly in the tri- state area here, which has been a hot spot: New York, New Jersey, Connecticut.
And, you know, I mean, we're all learning so much during this process. Little did I know that you could expect a certain amount of deaths per month, but apparently, you can. And the CDC scientists and you all know that.
And so when they saw a spike of 15,000 more people but that those hadn't been attributed to coronavirus, now they're looking back and thinking, Uh-oh, maybe we missed diagnosing this accurately.
So what are we to make of this 15,000-person spike?
JHA: Yes. So I think what we are learning is that a lot more people have been infected and a lot more people have died of the coronavirus than we know of. And there are a couple of reasons.
One is we've talked about this many, many times. Just lack of testing, right? So a lot of people got sick. They were told to stay home, because it wasn't enough testing, and then they died at home. A lot of people died for reasons that, you know, we don't fully understand how coronavirus might have affected them. But we never tested those people when they died, so we don't know.
So I think what is going to happen -- and we're seeing this, by the way, around the world. So what is going to happen is when we look more carefully, we'll find out that this was a lot deadlier than we were expecting.
BERMAN: Yes. Excess death is a really interesting way to measure pandemics. The 1918 flu, it's one of the ways they go back and measure just how deadly it was. The excess deaths beyond what had happened the years before.
Dr. Juthani, an interesting development in the business world speaks to where we are. JetBlue announced that they're going to require that all passengers wear masks on flights from now on, or at least for the foreseeable future. Now, not a lot of people are flying, but I imagine more people might try soon. And it is an interesting place to be where, when you get on a plane, at least a JetBlue flight -- and I imagine other airlines might follow -- everyone will be wearing a mask.
Will that make a difference, or is this more of just a public health reality?
JUTHANI: I think it's a good idea, personally. I mean, you know, when you go into a plane, you have people sitting next to you. You're in sort of closed space, circulating air for a defined period of time. And, you know, we don't know for sure, but I think that it is a useful way to be able to try to mitigate the spread of disease.
And I think that we're doing that in many other public places. Many states are requiring it. I think doing it for plane rides is equally a good idea.
And I think that only time is going to tell how if we have, you know, outbreaks on people who are on planes together, masks will help prevent that. And I think it's a step in the right direction to be able to let air travel happen again.
And I think, you know, we don't have something like an app or something that tells you if somebody near you has had an infection as some other countries are doing. This is a type of step that can help get people moving as the country starts to reopen.
BERMAN: Dr. Juthani, Dr. Jha, thanks so much for being with us this morning.
So manufacturers warning about major meat shortages as plants across the country shut down. What you should expect the next time you go to the grocery store. That's next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CAMEROTA: Overnight, researchers behind the model used by the White House had increased their projected death toll in the United States from roughly 68,000 people to 74,000 people. That's an increase of 10 percent from just last week, because we're seeing so many states begin to reopen. At least 18 states will reopen some business this week.
CNN has reporters positioned across the country to bring you the latest developments.
DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Dianne Gallagher in Atlanta.
After the Tyson Foods chairman took out an ad saying that the nation's food supply chain was breaking, concern has grown. The House Agriculture chairman, Collin Peterson, said that between 60 and 70,000 hogs a day may need to be killed, because farmers simply have nowhere to send them after meat plants have shut down due to the coronavirus.
Now, he says that by next week, Americans could see a shortage of pork at the grocery store. But experts tell CNN right now it looks like it will just be a reduction in variety and not an overall meat supply shortage.
RYAN BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Ryan Browne at the Pentagon.
The number of coronavirus cases aboard the USS Kidd, a U.S. Navy destroyer, has reached nearly 50, with some 50 percent of that ship's crew having been tested.
Now, Navy officials tell CNN that the ship will soon be pulling into San Diego so that it can be cleaned and so that the sailors aboard can receive additional medical treatment.
Now this comes as the number of coronavirus cases on the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt reached 955, nearly one out of every five sailors aboard that ship.