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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT

U.S. Coronavirus Deaths Surpass 60,000; Dr. Fauci: Early Trial Results Show Remdesivir has a "Significant, Positive Effect" in Treating Coronavirus; Florida Will Start to Reopen May 4, Excludes 3 Biggest Counties; Mayor Francis Suarez (D) Miami Discusses About His Take on The Governor's Decision to Reopen Florida Excluding 3 Biggest Counties; Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach; Report: Florida Officials Asked State's Medical Examiners to Withhold Coronavirus Death Figures. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired April 29, 2020 - 19:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: We offer our deepest condolences to their families and all the families' mourning loved ones tonight. May they all rest in peace and may their memories be a blessing.

Erin Burnett OUTFRONT starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, clear-cut evidence. Those are the words of Dr. Anthony Fauci expecting optimism about a potential treatment for coronavirus. Doctors leading the study of this drug is OUTFRONT.

Plus, Florida's Governor announcing plans to reopen the state. But he's excluding some of the state's biggest counties. We're going to talk to the Mayor of Miami who is not part of the Governor's plan tonight.

And is Sweden brilliant or reckless? Why is Sweden not hunkering down and can the United States learn something big?

Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight, a glimmer of hope amid grim new numbers. On the day the United States hit 60,000 deaths from coronavirus, Dr. Anthony Fauci putting his credibility on the line to tout what he describes as significant news on a possible treatment for coronavirus.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: The data shows that remdesivir has a clear-cut significant positive effect in diminishing the time to recovery. This drug happens to be blocking a enzyme that the virus uses.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: According to Dr. Fauci, you heard it, the results from the preliminary trial show that remdesivir improved recovery time for Coronavirus patients and solidly 15 days for the placebo, 11 days for people who were on the drug and that is important. There are, though, still big questions tonight, Fauci admitting that the drug did not show a statistically significant benefit in whether patients actually died.

News of a potential treatment, though, was enough for markets. The Dow surging more than 530 points today on that study result alone. And tonight, the FDA is reportedly planning to OK the emergency use of remdesivir that may fast track recovery. By the way and when I say that could fast track it, cutting off eight, nine months or more in a normal approval process.

Erica Hill is OUTFRONT live in New York. And Erica, also today more states announcing plans to loosen restrictions.

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR AND NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right. We just heard from Florida Governor Ron DeSantis talking about phase one for his state, which will go into effect on Monday. Retail stores, restaurants will be allowed to reopen, but at limited capacity, 25 percent, Erin. Tables need to be six feet apart, bars, gyms and hair salons notably will remain closed.

But perhaps the most striking development in learning about his plan is that it does not include the entire state.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HILL(voice over): Florida ready to reopen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R) FLORIDA: There is a light at the end of the tunnel. This new phase will start on Monday, May 4th and will, for the time being, exclude Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL(voice over): Nearly 30 percent of the state's residents including hard hit Miami-Dade County excluded from the Governor's plan giving restaurants and businesses the green light. As the Tampa Bay Times reports the state's death toll may be incomplete. Noting Florida officials have not released information on coronavirus deaths in more than a week. An earlier report in the paper found the number from county medical examiners was 10 percent higher than the state's official count, which now stands at 1,218.

Haircuts in Georgia, one of the first signs of that state's reopening, while in California, any professional trims are still months away. A striking example of just how different the next steps will be.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. JARED POLIS (D) COLORADO: We have significantly less cases than we had two weeks ago than we had three weeks ago, but it's time to enter a more sustainable phase.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL(voice over): More than half the states in the country announcing plans to ease restrictions, despite none appearing to meet White House guidelines for a 14-day decline in positive cases.

Meantime, new hope for a treatment.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FAUCI: Remdesivir has a clear-cut significant positive effect in diminishing the time to recovery. A drug can block this virus.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL(voice over): The next big retail experiment comes on Friday, when three-dozen Simon owned malls and shopping centers will reopen in eight states. Restaurants in Georgia and Tennessee welcoming diners, yet it's not clear Americans are ready for these changes.

New polling shows eight in 10 thing opening restaurants for onsite dining is a bad idea. Nearly two-thirds say the same about returning to work without further testing, 85 percent say students shouldn't go back to school without more testing. When they do return, it's likely to look much different.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D) CALIFORNIA: It's not back to normal. It's modified. That means potentially staggering school times for different cohorts of kids. It means the recess period being radically modified.

[19:05:02]

It means the cafeteria being shut down and people getting food around their desk, deep sanitation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL(voice over): The economy continuing to take a hit first quarter GDP down nearly 5 percent. The President using the Defense Production Act to keep the country's meat processing plants open. More than 20 facilities have closed over the past two months because of positive cases. At least 20 workers have died, according to the union representing many of them.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KIM CORDOVA, PRESIDENT, UNITED FOOD AND COMMERCIAL WORKERS UNION, LOCAL CHAPTER 7: They're absolutely critical and essential to the food supply chain, but you have to protect them.

TOM VILSACK, FORMER AGRICULTURE SECRETARY: It may slow the line down a bit. It may require them to expend some resources for protective equipment and for other safety measures, but at the end of the day, this is essential work for the country and these are essential workers and they deserve adequate protection.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL(voice over): In some states, employees who choose not to return may lose government benefits.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. KIM REYNOLDS (R) IOWA: It's a voluntary quit and so therefore they would not be eligible for the unemployment, the unemployment money.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL(voice over): Farmers unable to process their livestock, creating a damaging ripple effect as the need for food assistance skyrockets.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're alone. Even my neighbor, she's alone too. So that's why we appreciate it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's an experience. The kids, it's hard for them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL(voice over): Lines stretching for miles, many Americans turning to food bags for the first time in their lives. In Little Rock, a plant for our food distribution ran out in just an hour, each box offering families the equivalent of 40 meals.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HILL: Erin, here in New York State and the number of confirmed cases is now just shy of 300,000, according to the new numbers we got from the Governor today. He said overall hospitalizations and intubations are down. But new COVID hospitalizations are, in the words of Gov. Cuomo, up a tick and as he says, Erin, that is not good news.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Erica.

And I want to dig deeper into the remdesivir story now with two doctors who are involved in the remdesivir trials and our own Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

I want to go first to Dr. Babafemi Taiwo, Chief of Infectious Diseases at Northwestern Medicine. He was in charge of Northwestern's a branch of the NIH study.

And Doctor, I really appreciate your time. So, people hear this, they see, obviously, the stock market jumps dramatically in response to the news of these studies. Explain the significance of what you found from the NIH study of remdesivir.

DR. BABAFEMI TAIWO, CHIEF OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES AT NORTHWESTERN MEDICINE: Yes, thanks very much. This is the first time that a drug that showed promise in the laboratory actually crossed the bridge and demonstrated efficacy in the patient population for whom it's been tested. And so the trial that was reported today showed that looking at two important metrics of patient outcomes. Number one, time to recovery and number two survival. The study at least using the data that we have now showed good results.

BURNETT: So in terms of the recovery, obviously, we had said it shortened the time to recovery, notably from 15 days to 11 in patients who were sick. But obviously you say it trends towards improving survival, right, whether people actually live, who wouldn't have lived otherwise. There is still an 8 percent mortality rate, I understand from your study when the drug is administered.

Dr. Fauci today, though said, yes, that's an improvement. It was 11 percent before. But he noted that that improvement is not statistically significant. And ultimately, that is what matters, right, does this drug save lives. Do you have any concern about the results on that front?

TAIWO: No, I do not because the results that were reported today really is a foretaste of the entire report. The final analysis is still a few weeks away, but what was reported is strong enough to say that at least the trend, although it did not reach statistical significance, it was still important. And the expectation is that when all the results come in, it hopefully will reach that metric.

BURNETT: So you're saying the expectation when there's more data that's coming in the next few weeks is that it will be a statistically significant improvement in terms of people living who would not otherwise have lived?

TAIWO: That is the expectation, of course, until the data come - the full results come in. We really cannot make definitive statements. But everything that we've seen so far gives a lot of optimism and hope that, in fact, that's what's going to happen.

BURNETT: Right. Well, obviously, that's the significant point and you're looking at the data. So, obviously, everyone is hoping that that is what turns out.

Another doctor working on the NIH study, Dr. Taiwo, said that remdesivir is, I quote, not the end of the story. We can always do better. Do you think there is another drug that could be ready to use this fast that is out there?

[19:09:59]

TAIWO: Well, I don't know that we have something else that works exactly the way that remdesivir works, which is as an anti viral. But really we could say this make these sorts of statements about. But remember that COVID has two ways in which it can hurt someone.

The first is by its viral activity, so just the virus making copies of itself. The other way is through the profound inflammation that it causes. That is really something that comes into effect much later in the course of the disease. So there are compounds that are being looked at to look to address

that other component of the disease spectrum. So the antivirals like remdesivir are one component. The other component of the drug is to really mitigate the inflammation that the virus provokes. And I think at the end of the day, it's quite likely that combination of these kinds of different pockets of intervention is what people really need to make a difference.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Dr. Taiwo. I appreciate your time tonight.

And now I want to bring in Dr. Aruna Subramanian. She was the Principal Investigator of Gilead's remdesivir study. So she's also the Clinical Professor of Infectious Disease at Stanford.

So Dr. Subramanian, given the results that we're seeing here, do you expect emergency approval from the FDA very soon? Have you talked to them? Basically, I'm just referring, so people understand, to an approval process where they'd have access to your data, be able to give you an early approval here that would skip many months of what is the ordinary process.

DR. ARUNA SUBRAMANIAN, PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR, GILEAD REMDESIVIR TRIAL AT STANFORD: I think everything is different now, right? In COVID, this pandemic has changed the way we look at things and so I wouldn't be surprised if things are much faster now. All of the data is quite optimistic. Our study looked at five days versus 10 days of drug and outcomes were overall good and it's very promising the data that's coming out from the NIH study, so I wouldn't be surprised if things are much faster.

BURNETT: Do you think this drug truly is a game changer?

SUBRAMANIAN: I think it'll be an important useful tool in our toolkit, but we still need to look at all the data. So far we know that it's safe and tolerable and we're able to get even the sick patients out of the hospital. Up to 64 percent of patients are able to get out of the hospital by 14 days. These are all good things and we know we don't need to necessarily treat for 10 days, five days looks like it's quite good.

So there are a lot of promising thing here. I think we're hopeful about it and it'll be a wonderful addition to our tool or actually the first thing in our toolkit now.

BURNETT: Yes. I mean, that's, I think, why the response has been such that it is even Dr. Fauci seeming for him a bit gleeful, just that there could be something. There is a group of scientists including several Nobel Prize winners who've been looking at treatments.

Doctor, they've been talking to the White House as well and they see great promise in remdesivir, right? Their one of their main focus has actually been to - they think that it's encouraging. But they have been writing very clearly that they think that you should consider doubling the dosage and starting the treatment earlier in symptomatic patients. Are those things on the table, doubling the dosage? SUBRAMANIAN: We are looking at overall dosage. Definitely what's on

the table, I know, is earlier treatments. It looks like the earlier you start any antiviral, the better. But especially in this people who are treated within the first 10 days of symptoms really do better overall and they have better outcomes in terms of leaving the hospital and improving their oxygen status.

BURNETT: All right. Dr. Subramanian, thank you very much. I appreciate your time tonight.

SUBRAMANIAN: Sure.

BURNETT: And I want to go straight now to Dr. Sanjay Gupta. So Sanjay, I mean, look, I mean, those doctors are presenting their results. Obviously, the reaction broadly out there was ebullient, right? You look at the market, even Dr. Faucif, for him seemed a bit giddy about the possibility. But he did raise this crucial issue.

In the data, we have so far, no statistical improvement in terms of whether you live or die. You and Dr. Taiwo are much more optimistic that that may change over the next couple weeks when they give us the full data. But what is your take so far on these results?

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: This is the first thing that we've seen, Erin, that has had any impact at all. So I mean this is no doubt it's good news. I can tell you, I've been following the story of remdesivir for a long time since the Ebola days of 2014, it didn't work for that. And I think when I was following with the World Health Organization since January, this was the medication that they were focused on, a lot of people focused on, but we didn't know you know, we just didn't know if it was going to work.

So this is the first time we've really seen that there's this proof of concept that it can work. Now, it's a question of doing all the things that Aruna was just talking about.

[19:15:01]

Figuring out exactly what the right dose is, who to give it to exactly.

BURNETT: Right.

GUPTA: And I think another big question is might it decrease the amount of virus in people's noses and mouths even after they recover, because, Erin, as you know if it does that, that can also decrease the spread of this as well. So I don't want to get too far ahead of it. These are still early studies. We probably wouldn't even be talking about them on your program under other circumstances.

BURNETT: Yes.

GUPTA: But as Aruna Runa said, again, we don't have anything in the toolbox right now. This is probably going to be something in the toolbox. It might be in combination with other drugs and most likely be given to patients early in the illness who are at high risk have these other pre-existing diseases like diabetes or heart disease or something.

BURNETT: Right. And I know there's a lot known about its safety profile, but they obviously are concerns about how much of it there is as there will be for anything in that sense.

But what about this issue on mortality, I know it went from 11 percent and then to 8 percent. That may sound significant to people, but indeed as Dr. Fauci pointed out, it was not statistically significant at this point. Again, you heard Dr. Taiwo said he thinks that's going to change and that it will be. But ultimately in terms of what really matters for people is whether these drugs change whether you're going to live or die.

GUPTA: It does. I mean even if you look at other antivirals like Tamiflu, for example, and you tout the benefits, it's usually in terms of reducing the duration and the severity of the disease. You're right, I mean, we do need to see the data on mortality. And people will look at that and say, eight and 11.6, that seems significant, but you're absolutely right, Erin, when you actually look at the numbers, it's hard to attribute the increased survival to the drug. That's what it means by saying that's not significant right now.

We can't say that that increased survival, 8 percent versus 11 percent, was because of remdesivir. Maybe the increased numbers will bear that out. And look, the fact that we have now proof of concept that this seems to be working as an antiviral, decreasing the amount of virus replication in the body and that's why people are getting out of the hospital and recovering more quickly, that does lend some credence to the idea that maybe it will in larger numbers decrease mortality.

We can't say that yet and more studies are going to need to be done. I absolutely think it's going to get approved under this emergency use authorization. The bar for that has been relatively low lately, Erin, as you know, because we're in the middle of a pandemic. So that'll give us increased patient ...

BURNETT: 1915 [00:02:27] antibody tests were able to get it.

GUPTA: ... exactly. And there's a lot of bad antibody tests that came out as a result, but I think remdesivir is something that a lot of people have been focused on for a long time and it is the first glimmer of good news we've had in a while.

BURNETT: The President also talked about testing today. He said we're going to see some, his words, astonishing numbers on testing over the coming weeks. Again, saying, I don't know that all of that is even necessary. What's your reaction to that? Whatever numbers he may be talking about, they'd already put out some numbers which would exceed any known testing ability in the country. But is it possible to test too much as he implies?

GUPTA: I don't think that that's a concern that I think anybody in the public health community has right now that we're going to test too much. I mean, it is the key to everything, Erin, both in terms of finding the virus, but also psychologically getting the country back on its feet. People need to know if they're infected and they may need to be tested multiple times.

When we say millions of tests are necessary, it doesn't mean everybody in the country will get tested. But people, you me as we go into public places start to do things more, we're going to need to have some confidence we don't have the virus and testing is key to that.

BURNETT: All right. Sanjay, thank you very much.

And next, the breaking news out of Florida tonight, the Mayor of Miami announcing a plan. There's a plan in Florida to reopen the state, but some of the state's biggest counties are not included, including Miami. I'm going to speak to the Mayor.

And Sweden says it's fighting the coronavirus, but not shutting down, slowing but not shutting. So was the United States Right to keep people at home?

And I'll speak to a reporter whose Major League Baseball sources say that professional baseball could begin in a matter of weeks. What would it look like? Could this really happen?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:22:57]

BURNETT: Breaking news, Florida's Governor Ron DeSantis announcing he will begin to reopen restaurants and other businesses in his state next Monday. But excluded from the plan are Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, which are the three biggest counties in the state of Florida, 30 percent of the population.

OUTFRONT now the Mayor of Miami, Francis Suarez, and good to have you back, Mayor. I appreciate your time tonight. So do you agree with the Governor?

MAYOR FRANCIS SUAREZ (R) MIAMI: I do. I do think that it makes a lot of sense to exempt Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach County. Miami- Dade alone has one-third of all the COVID cases in the entire State of Florida. So I do think just as we were at liberty to implement stay- at-home orders, curfews and things of that nature on the front end, which I think helped us tremendously to curb the increase in COVID cases and to allow us to hit the peak early. I think it's imperative that the Governor allow us to make those kinds of decisions as things hopefully continue to improve.

We, in the city of Miami, are taking a very cautious approach. Tomorrow, I hope to speak to the Surgeon General, and see when we can begin our phase one plan as well.

BURNETT: All right. So, obviously, they're talking about reopening on Monday, which is less than a week away. You have given different phases, but how quickly do you think you could get to that point? So they're talking about restaurants and other businesses, when do you at this point and I know data could change, Mayor, but when do you, at this point, think you would be where he is on Monday for the rest of the state? SUAREZ: Yes. We're not sure yet to be honest, though. We have to

discuss it with some of the experts, the epidemiologist from Dade County, as well as the Surgeon General, which we hope to speak to tomorrow. I mean, to get a clearer picture, we had a good day today only a hundred new cases and I obviously only is a word that I use very carefully because any case is too much.

I was case number two in the entire county of now close to 12,000 cases. So one case is too many, but what's happening is we're analyzing the data, as you said, day in and day out.

[19:25:00]

And we're hopeful that once we are able to consult with the experts, we're going to have a definitive timeline which will probably be beyond the May 4th date.

BURNETT: Beyond May 4th. OK. So this comes as the Tampa Bay Times, Mayor, is reporting Florida's medical examiners' commission has basically just stopped releasing a list of coronavirus deaths and that was after the state health department intervened. And according to the paper, state health official said that the list needed to be reviewed and possibly redacted and that that list is now been held for nine days.

Is this what you're hearing? And does this make any sense to you that this would happen? Does that logic hold?

SUAREZ: That does not make sense to me. I've never heard that before. I've not heard this. This is the first I hear of that. Obviously, we're tracking symptoms, we're tracking new cases and, of course, we're tracking deaths. So it's imperative that we have the information that we need to make good decisions on the ground.

The COVID dashboard has been updated twice a day and that's been incredibly important for us as policymakers. And certainly the availability of the Governor and the availability of the Surgeon General has also been very important for us as a team to be able to make prudent decisions for our residents.

BURNETT: So if they're holding this for nine days, they're saying their response was that, the chairman of medical examiner, was this is no different than any other public record we deal with. It's paid for by taxpayers' dollars and the taxpayers have a right to know. So do you take that at face value or are you concerned that there is some sort of a desire to re-categorize deaths?

SUAREZ: I sincerely hope not. I think we need to get the information in real time as quickly as possible and that's what I felt that we've been getting up to this point. Like I said, the dashboard is updated in the morning and in the afternoon and really as you mentioned at the beginning of the segment, it's important for us to get the daily data as quickly as possible, because if there are counter trends, we need to know them before we implement some of these decisions that we have to make, which would have very broad ramifications on the safety and health of our residents. BURNETT: All right. Mayor Suarez, I appreciate your time as always.

It's good to talk to you.

SUAREZ: Thank you, Erin.

BURNETT: And next, Sweden, it's getting so much attention and the reason is because of what you see here. It didn't shut down and didn't take that huge economic hit. Was it smart or not? We are live in Stockholm tonight.

And Las Vegas, totally different story, a ghost town tonight as lines are growing at food banks.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:31:31]

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: What if America did not need to shut down to fight the virus? Sweden is doing that. Showing us what maybe it could have been like.

Phil Black is OUTFRONT.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): To visit Sweden now is to enter a strange land, where people can just hang out together, seek shelter from the cold at cozy restaurants, go for a drink or a coffee.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is being crowded, all over, all the bars or restaurants.

BLACK: You can shop for fashion and beauty products or even allow a hairdresser to invade your personal space.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sooner or later, we will get coronavirus I think, so --

BLACK (on camera): You accepted that that will happen?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

BLACK: And in the meantime, it's important to look at?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, right.

BLACK (voice-over): That sums up the authority's approach here. COVID-19 is going to be around for a while and society must find a way to live with it. So, no forced lockdown, instead an emphasis on personal responsibility. Please work from home, keep yourself in public.

The official rule in bars and restaurants is stay an arms length apart. No gatherings of more than 50 people. Elementary and middle schools are still open while most high school students and college students study at home.

Anders Tegnell is a state epidemiologist driving the policies here. He claims success in flattening the curve and keeping serious cases within hospital capacity. And he says it's a good thing, his agency estimates 26 percent of Stockholm's population has now been infected because, in theory, that means more immunity.

(on camera): But you insist that heard immunity has never been a goal?

ANDERS TEGNELL, SWEDEN'S CHIEF EPIDEMIOLOGIST: No, but it will help us achieving our goal, which is slowing down the spread as much as possible so that we can keep the good health care run.

BLACK (voice-over): But for a small country, Sweden is already paying a big human cost. More than 2,400 people have died here. Vastly greater numbers than neighboring countries, which imposed much tougher restrictions.

TEGNELL: That is true.

BLACK (on camera): What do you take from that?

TEGNELL: Yes, that we need to investigate to try to understand why and we know for sure. One of the reasons why is that we have this huge amount of cases, you know, at elderly homes.

BLACK (voice-over): It's a disturbing trend around half of those have died here lived in care homes. This British government admits, they failed to protect the elderly. The open policies are broadly popular here but there is anger too, especially among those who've lost so much to the virus.

MIRREY GOURIE, FATHER DIED FROM CORONAVIRUS: I'm so sorry. It hurts me when I say his name.

BLACK: (INAUDIBLE) buried her father, Joseph, on Monday. She says he and many other would still be alive in Sweden had chosen a different path.

GOURIE: There is people dying and there is a human being, like me, like you, like my dad. They are not just statistics or numbers

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLACK: Erin, Sweden's experience will inform governments around the world as a plot their exits from lockdown but the authorities here say it is still too early to judge their actions because, they say, like governments everywhere are still desperately trying to save lives while struggling against a threat there only beginning to understand, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Phil.

[19:35:01]

And I want to go now to "New York Times" columnist, Thomas Friedman.

And, Tom, you know, you have been doing a lot of research on Sweden's approach, you wrote a column about it today. And, you know, Sweden says they're in a better place to withstand the virus. Their death rate is higher than neighboring countries. They have obviously had some changes but they kept their economy open, their schools open.

From what you've learned, what do you think of the path they chose?

THOMAS FRIEDMAN, NEW YORK TIMES COLUMNIST: Erin, the way I look at this is that everyone is looking for a kind of sweet spot, a balance between saving lives and saving livelihoods because if you crush the economy, you are still going to kill people in the long run. Everyone is looking for that sweet spot.

There are three different approaches out there. Sweden's approach was keep a lot of economy open as your report suggested. Let the vast majority of population who are under 60, don't have pre-existing conditions, who, if they meet the coronavirus, will be either asymptomatic or not require hospitalization and, in theory, that was a theory, to protect the elderly. They did not protect the elderly well enough.

But the result of this is that they are now about 25, 30 percent towards herd immunity. That is the goal. You only get herd immunity to a disease of one of two ways -- through a vaccine or by exposure to it and developing the antibodies.

So in your report it says a lot more people, that is true today. The long run, this experiment is still to be judged. You really got to look out six months in a year where they compared to their neighbors.

Second model is China. China's model was suppress it, break the chains of transmission and then do really authoritarian tracking, tracing, sequestering, you know, using all the powers they have in no civil liberties. And they've managed to keep it down but they have not developed the herd immunity, they are waiting for a vaccine.

The third model is America. It's Florida, it's Georgia, it's California, it's New York, it's everyone for themselves. Some open, some close.

And that is very worrying because this virus, as Doctor David Katz (ph) observed, if you don't respect, it will kill you or someone you love. And you can be tired but it's not tired. You can feel like going out but it will be out there and until we have herd immunity either through a vaccine or exposure, you're taking a chance.

BURNETT: And, you know, OK, so to that, this -- what are Americans going to do now? Researchers at the University of Maryland have been using smartphone data for more than 100 million people to track how well they are complying with the at-home guidelines. So, they say that was a record, a number of people staying home on Easter Sunday, two days later, that number started to drop and it has continued to drop since then consistently across the country. How long can you realistically keep Americans on lockdown? I mean,

that is the pressure, the kind of tide building that these governors are feeling.

FRIEDMAN: Well, again, you know, I really go back and you have to have these sustainable strategies. So, Sweden's sustainable strategy was build herd immunity.

BURNETT: Yes.

FRIEDMAN: China's sustainable strategy is track -- you know, trace, is quarantine.

What is our sustainable national strategy? We have federal guidelines that everyone is ignoring. We have different states operating differently and then we have individuals all basically operating on their own timelines.

That is a prescription for this virus to come back because you could be watching the market today and feel like, while things must be getting better, but let me tell you something --

BURNETT: Yes.

FRIEDMAN: -- this virus, this virus does not open its day at 9 30, it does not close at 4:00. It does not take Saturday and Sunday off. It is out there.

Unless you have a sustainable strategy to suppress, track and trace, or to build herd immunity or until there's a vaccine, you don't have a strategy. I think we're going to, by default, end up with herd immunity but in a very messy dangerous way.

BURNETT: So, you know, I've been speaking to Dr. John, he's one of the leading voices of epidemiology and, of course, you know him, too. And he says we need more data to keep the U.S. under lockdown, that's the argument he has been making, saying, we just don't know what the death rate is because we don't know how many people do have it.

He added to "The Wall Street Journal" over the weekend, Tom, quote, there is some sort of mob mentality operating here that they just insist that this has to be the end of the world, and has to be that the sky is falling.

What do you say to that? Which I think that encapsulates to your point how, you know, plenty of individuals in this country feel if we judged by their actions.

FRIEDMAN: Well, you know, I think that's for every individual to decide. I'm one of the people who, very early on, as you recall, you know, felt that we did have to have a sustainable strategy to save the lives and livelihoods. I mean, there is a danger and the media -- we've all helped hype this. You know, when you get, you know, one person here or one 20 year old there. It's all in the news.

The facts -- the fact is, Erin, the vast majority of people who encounter this disease encountered either asymptomatically or a tough or a soft flu and they recover, OK?

[19:40:02]

They don't die.

And we need to have a strategy that says, we're going to protect the most vulnerable, the elderly and those with, you know, other vulnerabilities and then basically risk (AUDIO GAP) feed them into the workplace those who are most likely either to encounter it easily or asymptomatically and get back to work.

But my point is, you have to have a strategy. The virus does not know the border between Florida and Georgia, OK?

BURNETT: Right.

FRIEDMAN: And we have no national strategy.

BURNETT: All right. Tom, thank you. I always appreciate talking to you.

FRIEDMAN: My pleasure.

BURNETT: Next, Las Vegas casino owners, they want to open. Nevada's governor now says, wait.

And is baseball about to come back? One seasoned MLB reporter says yes and he's going to tell you what he's hearing.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:45:02]

BURNETT: Tonight, the CEO of Wynn Resorts telling President Trump he believes the Las Vegas Strip could open by Memorial Day, which is less than a month from today.

Casinos in Las Vegas are eager to reopen. Workers have been hit incredibly hard by the shutdown.

Kyung Lah is OUTFRONT.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Las Vegas as we have never seen it or heard before. The entire Vegas strip shut down, 100 percent of casino doors closed, tourists gone.

ALICIA GARCIA, LAID OFF CASINO WORKER: It's like a ghost tone, and it's really sad.

LAH: It's why Alicia Garcia and so many other laid off casino workers are in this line. Miles of cars hundreds of families wait outside the Boulder Station Casino. Not here for work, but for free food from the food bank.

MARCELA MERIWEATHER, MGM EMPLOYEE: I never see myself to do this before, I never saw myself doing this before, but what can you do?

LAH: A cancer survivor, Marcela Meriweather had a great union job at the MGM Casino just weeks ago.

MERIWEATHER: I said before that I'm not going to go because maybe there is someone else that -- somebody needs that, and then now, I have to do it. I haven't got any unemployment.

BRIAN BURTON, PRESIDENT, CEO OF THREE SQUARE FOOD BANK: Guess what? The face of hunger in Las Vegas today looks like you and me. Over half the folks have never been and a line like this, asking for help. These are regular people who are working solid middle class jobs, and their lives just capsized overlay.

LAH (on camera): Are you saying this is ground zero for the economic damage?

BURTON: I'm not saying that. I know that this is ground zero.

LAH (voice-over): The lights have essentially shut off on Nevada's economy, one based on tourism and leisure. No tourists, no entertainment, making coronavirus a bigger blow to Vegas than the 2008 financial crisis.

MARILYN KIRKPATRICK, CHAIRWOMAN, CLARK COUNTY COMMISSION: We are talking that this is worse because at that time at least we had some occupancy within the hotels.

LAH: The chairwoman of the Clark County Commission which governs the strip says, key now, how casinos reopen.

KIRKPATRICK: I'd rather open slow and methodical, I don't think that anybody wants to close a second time.

LAH: Casinos have begun rolling out reopen plans. The Venetian and Wynn casinos say guests will see new cleaning measures like thermal cameras, electrostatic sprayers using hospital great disinfectant and UV lights for disinfection.

Luxury driver Jimmy Prior expects under that new normal, the economy will at best crawl back. He drove up to the food bank in his Hummer, it's what he used to drive Vegas visitors around. COVID changed life like a switch.

JIMMY PRIOR, DRIVER: It's scary, you know? It makes you realize what you use to have a night don't have it, right?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LAH: So, there is some traffic on the Las Vegas Strip, but it is a fraction of what you would normally expect because a lot of these casinos are closed, and here is something else. To see how empty the sidewalk? Is this would normally be packed with people. The reason is not it's because there are no tourists here and even the Bellagio fountains are off, Erin. We did try to go inside some of these casinos to put in multiple

requests and the casino say until the hear from the governor, specifically, what the plans are on reopening, it is just too soon for them to allow cameras in -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Kyung, thank you very much.

Just pretty incredible to see what's beyond -- beside Kyung and looking there over that fountain. You know, every time you go, you can't even get up along that edge to look over, that's how crowded it is. Sort of just a sobering reminder of what the world is like now.

Kyung, thank you very much.

And OUTFRONT now, baseball fans may have reason to rejoice tonight. Could there be games this summer? We're going to talk to an insider about the MLB's plans behind the scenes to play ball.

And a promising breakthrough inviting coronavirus that has encouraged scientists. I'm going to speak to a patient who is actually on the drug remdesivir.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:53:11]

BURNETT: New tonight, play ball. "USA Today" reporting that Major League Baseball officials are holding in-depth talks about starting the 2020 season within weeks. It's a plan that would include letting all 30 MLB teams play at their home parks. A little hard to understand how that would work, while being at home.

But, anyway, this comes as Dr. Fauci tells us the Washington Nationals Ryan Zimmerman he also believes baseball could be in the cards this year.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASE: I think there is a pathway there, Ryan. I hope that there is some form of baseball this summer, even if it's just TV.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: OK. OUTFRONT now, the "USA Today" reporter who broke the story, Bob Nightengale.

So, Bob, I know you've been talking to a lot of sources, officials with the MLB about this plan. They're in the know, they don't want to be named, but they are giving you really detailed information.

So, what are you hearing?

BOB NIGHTENGALE, USA TODAY MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL COLUMNIST: Well, right now, it's just a tentative plan, but the plan is hopefully by early June, players will report to spring training a 2.0 version, and then within three weeks play regular season games, hopefully in their own ballparks. So, every team will still be able to use their own facilities and they will realign baseball in a sense where there will only be three divisions of 10 teams apiece. Instead of six divisions, 5 teams apiece.

This would limit travel and also players will not have to go cross- country trips and very short trips and in some cases bus rides.

BURNETT: So, President Trump today said, Bob, that he didn't like a proposal that had been supported by the Arizona governor which would have all 30 teams play the entire season in Arizona, then you could have the regular season but they don't have to be in one place.

[19:55:00]

And there had been talk of playing games in Arizona, or Florida and Texas, too, teams will have to isolate.

Based on your reporting, are any of these options still on the table?

NIGHTENGALE: Arizona one is not. The players just don't want to do that. They don't want to be isolated. They don't want to be away from their families for four and a half months, and they don't really want to be in Arizona, Florida, all summer long either.

They want to be home and just make it like a record season where you would still have home games. You would have road trips, but you can still stay at home with your family. Granted they won't be fans at the stadiums, at least not at the get-go, but at some point, baseball is pretty hopeful, they could have limited attendants before

the season is out.

BURNETT: So, on that front, you know, Taiwan, or South Korea, I'm sorry, their baseball season is going to launch next Tuesday. Taiwan was the first to return, but there is going to be no fans for now. This is -- this is how it looked.

People always say that it opening day is the day the fans are allowed back and that is your adrenaline rush, your energy, it's hard to imagine playing in an empty stadium.

So, what is the fan situation as you hear it?

NIGHTENGALE: Well, at the start, it looks like there is almost zero chance that fans are being permitted to the stadiums. Just a lot of states will not allow that. They're hopeful by the end of the season or late summer, you will allow some fans in, maybe a thousand, close to 2.000, 5,000, and perhaps by the post season, which would take place in late October, all the way through Thanksgiving weekend, then you would have a large amount of fans and probably not sell outs to keep it distance, but at least make it more like a real baseball in the way that everyone is used to.

BURNETT: All right. Bob, thank you very much. A sort of way of hope a lot of people need. Bob, thanks for your time.

NIGHTENGALE: Thank you.

BURNETT: And next, I'll speak a patient who took remdesivir, that experimental drug that is showing promise for treatment for coronavirus. So, does he believe it worked?

And President Trump rips into his right-hand man, his campaign manager. What made him so angry at a guy who by the way is the picture of loyalty?

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