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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
NYT: FDA Plans To Issue Emergency Authorization For Remdesivir; Trump Contradicts Medical Experts On Widespread Testing: "I Don't Know That All Of That Is Even Necessary"; Trump Erupts At Campaign Manager Over Sliding Poll Numbers And Threatens To Sue Him; Kushner: Federal Response To Virus Is "Great Success Story;" Fed Chair: This Is The Worst Economy In History; States Reopening Despite Not Meeting Key WH Guideline. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired April 29, 2020 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Good evening. I'm Erin Burnett, and welcome to a special edition of OUTFRONT. Tonight, a potential breakthrough in treating coronavirus. The FDA reportedly planning to announce the emergency use of remdesivir after promising results from a clinical trial. Dr. Anthony Fauci suggesting that this is a breakthrough.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, MEMBER OF PRESIDENT'S TASK FORCE, DIRECTOR OF THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: It is a very important proof of concept because what it has proven is that a drug can block this virus. We think it's really opening the door to the fact that we now have the capability of treating, and I can guarantee you as more people, more companies, more investigators get involved, it's going to get better and better.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Results from this preliminary trial show that remdesivir improved recovery time for coronavirus patients, 15 days in the hospital, taking the drug, only 11. And while Fauci admits that the drug did not show a statistically significant benefit in whether patients actually died as of yet, I just spoke to a doctor involved in the remdesivir trial. He is much more optimistic.
He says that the expectation is that the more data they have coming through is going to show a statistically significant improvement of people living. News of the latest scientific advance against the virus saw the Dow soaring today up 532 points.
But all of this comes in the context of Americans dying. Tonight more than 60,000 Americans have died from coronavirus. It is more than a quarter of all deaths around the world. OUTFRONT now, I want to begin our coverage this hour with a coronavirus patient who was treated with remdesivir.
Chris Kane was put on oxygen right away when he got to the hospital on March 9. His wife told us he was in such bad condition she thought he was going to die. He got his first dose of the drug the next day and was released four days after that.
And, Chris, welcome to the program. I mean, it's pretty incredible. You go into the hospital. Your wife actually thinks that you're not going to make it. And you get this drug. Do you think this was the key to your recovery?
CHRIS KANE, CORONAVIRUS PATIENT TREATED WITH REMDESIVIR: Well, I didn't -- when we first got checked in there, they didn't really allude to any other options yet at the point. So then when the doctor approached us and said, hey, we have this test drug, would you be interested, and described it -- it was certainly not something we thought about when we got there. But needless to say, I was really happy with the results.
BURNETT: So, what was your condition when you received the drug? I mean, we heard your wife's description. But how would you describe your condition when you went into the hospital and when you started on remdesivir?
KANE: Probably about five or six days prior to that I was running a 103-degree fever. I had a lot of -- my chest was compressed. I had a lot of trouble breathing. So it was -- I was feeling terrible. It was really difficult to move around or anything like that, so -- and it had been that same way day after day which is why it was really starting to worry me.
BURNETT: So when you go in on March 9th, March 10th you start receiving remdesivir. You're home by the 14th. I mean, we all know so many people, right, once they go into the hospital, they're in for quite some time, whether it's on oxygen or then actually being intubated. How quickly after you started getting the drug did you feel dramatically better?
KANE: I'd probably say two days, about 48 hours. I mean, the first day I'm thinking, hey, I'm not feeling worse for once, when I woke up. And then the next morning when I woke up, my temperature was a lot lower. I was always waking up with a fever in the morning. And then when I had to get up and walk across the room, I had really a lot of trouble walking.
That was the first day that I was walking, and I didn't have as much breathing. It still hurt, but I all of a sudden felt, hey, I'm in a better spot than I was two days ago.
BURNETT: And look, obviously this is going to be pretty incredible if this was because of the drug. Do you know anything, Chris, about how many doses you got, or the dosage amount you got, because obviously this is what they're really trying to test now.
KANE: Yeah, I was on -- I was actually on a five-day plan or five-day doses. I got a dose, an IV every morning for five days. And I believe there was a ten-day program also, but I mean, at the end of four days -- I mean, I was still feeling the effects of corona, but to the point where the doctors felt like, hey, tomorrow one more dose and then you can go home.
BURNETT: And then you did go home. And how are you doing now? Did you have any sort of, you know, fall-back or was it from then just pure improvement?
KANE: Yeah, no, I think I'm back to healthy. I went to my regular doctor a few times and they did a chest X-ray. And when I went in there, I had a lot of cloudiness and pneumonia and stuff like that inside my lungs.
And when I went and saw my regular doctor a few weeks after I got out of the hospital, they said it looked like my lungs were completely clear and they didn't see any scarring or anything like that. I'm feeling - I'm feeling dramatically better right now.
BURNETT: Wow, all right. And pretty incredible, too, that you're saying no scarring, that it really was a full recovery because I know so many people have a fear even when you do recover, you can have that scarring and damage to the lungs. Chris, I really appreciate your time. Thank you.
KANE: Thank you. Appreciate it.
BURNETT: And OUTFRONT now, Dr. Jonathan Reiner who advised the White House medical team under President George W. Bush and currently the Director of the Cardiac Cath Lab at George Washington University Hospital. So let me just ask you Dr. Reiner, you got a chance to look through the study, you just heard, obviously, Chris Keane's story. Dr. Fauci says this data shows clear-cut significant positive effect in terms of the time to recovery and it certainly sounds in the case of Chris that that was a very quick recovery.
DR. JONATHAN REINER, CARDIOLOGIST, ADVISED WH MEDICAL TEAM FOR 8 YEARS: Yeah, so, wow, finally a little bit of sunshine in a dark time, how nice. Well, it's hard to know in any individual patient's response what the effect of the drug was. But the good news is that we now have a large, almost 1,000-patient placebo-controlled randomized trial that shows us now that this drug has efficacy.
So time to recovery significantly improved and they almost met the statistical requirement, although the trial wasn't really powered for it, they almost met the statistical requirement for mortality benefit, very impressive. So a feel-good moment, I felt really happy for Tony Fauci today, he looked really buoyant.
ANCHOR: He did, he really did as I said sort of looked (inaudible) in some regards but he did make a point it was not statistically significant in terms of improving whether people actually lived or died, right, the mortality point that you make.
Now, I had a doctor involved in the study on the last hour. He seems to feel that as more data come out and that that data is in the offing in the next couple weeks that it will meet that statistically significant hurdle. Does it look to you, given what we saw, which was 11% mortality before the drug, 8% after, not statistically significant, but those were the numbers, that they will clear that hurdle?
REINER: Yeah, I think it's very possible. Look, that was a 27% reduction in mortality, that's a big number. These patients were sick, so these are hospitalized patients who have -- well, you see from the trial they had a 13% mortality treated with placebo. So more than one in ten of these folks will die.
So that almost 30% reduction is clinically significant. I think eventually we'll come to find either from this study or another study that it is statistically significant. But I think what we're starting to see now, this is not the end, this isn't even the beginning of the end.
But it just might be the end of the beginning where we're starting now to see some therapies that can positively impact outcomes for folks who are sick and get admitted to the hospital with COVID-19.
BURNETT: So as a doctor right now, you know, there is a big question on how quickly they'll be able to get FDA approval, and emergency approval, which, you know, Sanjay was saying he believes they will be able to and certainly the bar for that was pretty low when it came to the antibody tests. Would you give right now, though, Dr. Reiner, this drug Remdesivir, given what you've seen to a patient of yours with the virus right now?
REINER: I would because it fulfills the criteria that we require for all therapies. It's been studied in a well-conducted randomized double-blind clinical trial, and it shows both efficacy and apparent safety. Look, the devil is in the details, we need to see the manuscript and we need to see all of the data.
But this top line result looks really good. And Gilead has already produced over a million doses of this drug, they did this three weeks ago, they ramped up production which I think was very far looking, taking quite a bit of risk and this I think is going to be made available in very short order by EUA to every hospitalized patient with COVID-19.
BURNETT: And just to make a point, it's not approved for anything else. This isn't an off-label, like Hydroxychloroquine was well known and its positives and negatives so this really is news so does this give you any caution in the sense of, you know, something going so quickly from a trial to, you know, mass-mass use?
REINER: Absolutely, which is why trials need to continue. There are multiple looking at how to use this drug, when to give it, which patients benefit the most from it, which patients should you perhaps not use this drug. So we'll need to acquire even, you know, post- approval.
But it's an exciting first step and it's only really a first step. But, yes, I would use this now. This will become, as Dr. Fauci said today, this now becomes the new standard of care for hospitalized patients with COVID-19. A nice moment.
BURNETT: All right. Dr. Reiner, thank you.
REINER: My pleasure.
BURNETT: And next, the breaking news. President Trump lashing out as his -- at his own campaign manager amid slumping poll numbers over his handling of the pandemic. We have new reporting coming out this hour.
Plus the top Trump economic advisor saying the U.S. could see a depression-era unemployment number. The president, though, has a much rosier message. Why the disconnect? Well, the president's former top advisor, Gary Cohn, is my guest.
And Florida and California, two of the most populous states in the country -- yet they have a much smaller death toll and death rate than New York. Why?
BURNETT: Tonight, President Trump downplaying the need for testing for the virus just two days after releasing his plan to ramp up testing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We've done incredible with the testing, and you'll see over the next coming weeks -- Mike, you may want to be -- want to speak about that a little bit. But over the next coming weeks you'll see some astonishing numbers. I don't know that all of that's even necessary.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: That is not consistent, though, with Trump's medical experts.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FAUCI: We absolutely need to significantly ramp up not only the number of tests, but the capacity to actually perform them.
DR. DEBORAH BIRX, CORONAVIRUS TASK FORCE COORDINATOR, WHITE HOUSE: We have to realize that we have to have a breakthrough innovation in testing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: So she says you need a breakthrough to get anywhere and the president says it's going to be so astonishing we won't even need all the tests that we have.
OK. They're not on the same page on this issue, and it comes as we are learning that the president is also clashing with his campaign manager over sagging poll numbers amid the coronavirus outbreak. Jeremy Diamond broke that story and is OUTFRONT now. So, Jeremy, the president clearly growing concerned about his re-
election prospects. He brings up the election and his popularity and his ratings at the briefings when he was holding them on a daily basis. So what happened?
JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin, the president isn't growing concerned, he's growing increasingly unnerved by the prospects -- by his 2020 re-election prospects.
Three sources familiar with the matter are now telling me, Erin, that the president's frustrations boiled over on Friday evening during a phone call with his campaign manager, Brad Parscale. I'm told that the president berated Parscale for his slide in the poll numbers, even threatening to sue him at one point.
Now, it's not clear exactly how serious the president was about that threat. Some sources have suggested to me that it was perhaps a joke. But what is clear, Erin, is that the president is growing increasingly unnerved about his re-election prospects.
Remember, this coronavirus pandemic has really upturned the road map for President Trump to win re-election. It took away his biggest calling card which was, of course, the economy.
BURNETT: So, Jeremy, you're also reporting that this outburst, as you're talking about at Brad Parscale, came a couple of days after the president was briefed by his advisors, you know, in a briefing -- the briefing to him was warning him that those daily White House briefings were maybe not good for him. What did they tell him from your reporting?
DIAMOND: That's right. So two days before the president erupted at Parscale, the president had a phone conversation with Parscale as well as the RNC chairwoman, Ronna McDaniel, and some other top advisors. And basically these advisors were, number one, presenting the president with some new polling data, some internal polling data that showed the president headed for defeat in some of those key battleground states, trailing behind the former vice president Joe Biden.
And they also showed him some granular data looking at how swing voters felt about those daily combative news conferences. And what these aides were trying to do was to convince the president to scale back some of those briefings because they were showing this data that said swing voters really did not like the president's performances during these combative news briefings.
This was, of course, just the latest effort by some of the president's aides and outside White House allies to try and convince him to scale back those briefings. And, of course, it was the day after the president received that briefing when he was really, I'm told, pooh- poohing a lot of the data that he was being shown, that the president had perhaps his most self-defeating briefing yet, when he suggested that perhaps disinfectant could be ingested to cure the coronavirus.
It was the next day when the president was still steeped in all of the criticism from that briefing that he erupted at Parscale. But since then, of course, Erin, we know that the president has been scaling back those news conferences.
DIAMOND: That day on Friday he didn't take any questions. The next day he didn't hold a briefing at all. But, of course, we know the president still has managed to find an outlet for his views, taking questions from reporters in the Oval Office, for example.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Jeremy. And OUTFRONT now, David Gregory, our political analyst, and Douglas Brinkley, CNN presidential historian.
So, David, look, that's pretty interesting. The president loved those briefings. I mean, he lived for them. He kept talking about his ratings and saying how great they were. And then when presented with the fact that they may be hurting him, erupted at, frankly, one of his most loyal and effective players in Brad Parscale.
DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, it's striking but it's not surprising. I mean, I don't know any president under these circumstances in an election year who wouldn't be incredibly unnerved at the crisis that's in front of you, and then having to face the voters. It's just very, very difficult.
This president is not a professional politician. He's very transparent in what he thinks day to day, and he wants to command the airwaves. He always wants to be in front of the American people. Everything is about him, not even the government. And, you know -- so, yes, he erupts when he gets bad poll numbers.
But, you know, the reason is, he won't listen to people who have been trying to say, Mr. President, don't say crazy stuff because that's bad politically. Any leader shouldn't say things that are unfounded in reality or in facts. And certainly not the leader of the free world who's trying to manage a global pandemic, a crisis that's killing people on this scale.
That erratic behavior is getting him into trouble, making promises that he can't keep. He's not responsible for all of this. He'll be graded, in effect, or assessed by his reaction and by the government's reaction and his handling of it.
But where he really gets beyond the lines by saying things like about the disinfectant, is what gets people really questioning his judgment and his temperament at these times.
BURNETT: And look, judgment and temperament, people have their views on that, right, but this is a moment where all of a sudden you realize that your willingness to dismiss that or not may matter more than you thought. Maybe that's the question people are facing.
Because, Doug, this reporting that Jeremy had on the president's outburst at his campaign manager comes as a new poll shows 55 percent of Americans now disapprove of Trump's handling of the coronavirus. That number has risen from 49 percent who felt that way in March.
So we'll see where that goes, but obviously that is a significant jump in a very short period of time. So, Doug, how much do you think this crisis is weighing on the president's chances for re-election?
DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, I think Trump's unraveling before our very eyes when he does these press conferences. He seems to have an empathy deficit disorder.
I've never seen a president unable to speak like a human being to people on the front lines, to talk and tell the stories about doctors and nurses, medical experts and what they're really trying to do.
He constantly is putting the whole story on himself and you can't trust what he says. I grew up in Ohio in the Midwest, and he's sinking in the polls there. And a lot of it is because he doesn't seem to have an open heart. What he's worried about is himself and I can see why he blows up during the polls -- having bad polls.
We say about FDR during World War II, he had a first-class temperament which brought us through the war. There are no examples of FDR blowing steam and yelling at people in that kind of abusive way to the point where Trump threatened his own campaign manager in this Jeremy Diamond story, to sue him because he doesn't like what the polls are saying.
So this is a president that has a big problem in the Midwest. He's been dissing the Michigan governor. He sent vice president Pence to Mayo Clinic, to not wear a mask in a kind of weirdo charade. And, you know, those states are starting to show that they are not -- the swing voters aren't turning Trump.
GREGORY: Erin, can I add --
BURNETT: Go ahead, David.
GREGORY: Talking about FDR, certainly Doug knows more about this than I do. But as a student of history, we know from the time of the Great Depression that Americans had great faith in FDR, not because he had all the answers, but because he was there. They had real confidence in his empathy and in his leadership and his commitment.
You know, the president is talking about a lot of things that does resonate with the American people, this tension between public health and getting the economy going again. That resonates with a lot of people who want to get back to work, who need to get back to work.
But he detracts from that when he talks about disinfectants, when he talks about what a great job he's doing, when he goes after reporters. Even people who don't like the president, and there's lots of those, see a president who's just going way -- who's swerving way beyond the lanes and is not focusing.
He doesn't seem to have a sense that as the leader of the country and of the free world, there are certain things he shouldn't speculate about. That's what gets him into trouble.
BURNETT: Right. This is a moment, again, where people have been afraid of life and death and what's going to happen in the world that we all live in. It is a moment where what you say matters and can't just be dismissed. Again, that's when a moment, what you say there, just matters so much.
We also hear, Doug, when vice president Pence speaks, for example, he always prefaces his talk with the leadership of the president. We hear that from all the CEOs when he brings them out to the podium.
The president's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is even taking it a step further. Here's how he's describing the president's handling.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JARED KUSHNER, SENIOR ADVISOR TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We've achieved all the different milestones that are needed. So, the government -- federal government rose to the challenge and this is a great success story.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And so, Jared Kushner said that, Doug, on the same day that the United States death toll surpassed 60,000. At best, tone-deaf.
BRINKLEY: Completely tone-deaf. It's at 60,000, more than the Vietnam War now. But very soon you can add 9/11, and Katrina, Oklahoma City bombing, and there are going to be more deaths, and might even end up being as many as Vietnam and Korea combined.
Jared Kushner made a fool out of himself going on the "Fox & Friends" morning show. He talked about whiney people that are doing their eternal -- the eternal lockdown crowd.
I don't think it's about an eternal lockdown crowd. People are trying to do what's safe. We have particularly so many veterans and senior in assisted living places that are dying.
And you read stories -- CNN today was putting people that are very close to producers and cameramen that are dying. Everybody now is losing somebody due to COVID-19. And Kushner needs to be, again, talking in a more empathetic way. Optimism is great, but not blind optimism when you have distorted facts and that's what's been coming out of the Trump crowd.
BURNETT: Thank you both.
GREGORY We just also, we need results we don't need people spiking the ball and declaring victory. I think if you listen to the people who are closest to this, our governors in the biggest states, they're the ones who are least political and most focused on the practical facts of what needs to happen to ultimately prevail.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you both.
BRINKLEY: Thank you.
BURNETT: And the pandemic crippling many farmers and the food industry in Iowa. The ripple effects of this could be felt nationwide. A special report. California has a bigger population than New York, but the number of cases and deaths in California is much lower than New York. So, why is that?
BURNETT: Tonight, worse than we've ever seen, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell issuing a stark warning about the situation -- how bad the economy is right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEROME POWELL, CHAIRMAN, FEDERAL RESERVE: We're going to see economic data for the second quarter that's worse than any data we have seen for the economy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: That opinion is shared by small business owners who agree -- this downturn is unlike anything they have ever seen. Miguel Marquez is OUTFRONT.
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Auction day in Maquoketa, Iowa. Bob Larkey used to call them out six times a month. Now down to one.
BOB LARKEY, OWNER, MAQUOKETA LIVESTOCK SALES: For the last month, right, we're down -- I know how many we've sold. We've sold 1,425 head.
MARQUEZ (on camera): So less than half what you normally sell?
LARKEY: Oh, yes, less than half.
MARQUEZ (voice-over): Larkey has been auctioning cattle for 60 years.
LARKEY: You can only lose money for so long. Sooner or later you got to say "whoa".
MARQUEZ (on camera): Have you ever seen anything like this in the market?
LARKEY: Never. I've seen some lower drops, but never nothing like this that affects everybody.
MARQUEZ (voice-over): With processing plants losing workers to the coronavirus, there's a bottleneck between producers and retailers.
MARQUEZ (on camera): It must be frustrating because you're seeing what people are paying in the supermarkets and you're seeing those prices go up, but you can't sell cows.
LARRY JOHNSON, OWNER, JOHNSON FAMILY FARMS: Right, right.
MARQUEZ (on camera): What's happening?
JOHNSON: Yes. What is --
JOHNSON: I guess what -- that's what I want to know. What is happening?
MARQUEZ (on camera): Yes.
MARQUEZ (voice-over): Johnson typically sells 5 to 800 cattle every week.
MARQUEZ (on camera): How many have you sold in the last month and a half, two months?
JOHNSON: We have sold nothing in the last five weeks.
MARQUEZ (voice-over): He'd lose hundreds on every cow as they can't be delivered to slaughterhouses with the coronavirus sharply reducing the workforce. The pandemic crippling the food chain and retail business alike.
BEN GRAHAM, OWNER, GRAHAM'S STYLE STORE: It's really bumpy right now.
MARQUEZ (voice-over): Ben Graham is a fourth generation clothier in Dubuque. He's preparing to reopen, unsure what to expect. While Iowa never told its residents to stay at home, it did close all but essential businesses on March 17.
MARQUEZ (on camera): A full week before that, you were already feeling the effect?
GRAHAM: Oh, my gosh, yes.
MARQUEZ (on camera): How? What -- how much was business down before the order went into effect?
GRAHAM: 70 percent, 80 percent.
MARQUEZ (on camera): Seven -- what?
GRAHAM: Yes. I mean, it's just like, right now people got worried and afraid. MARQUEZ (voice-over): He's not alone. Data from SafeGraph, which
tracks anonymous cell phone data nationwide, indicates a sharp decrease in economic activity across Iowa more than a week before most businesses were ordered to close. Data from nearly 43,000 locations across the Hawkeye State show a steep drop in foot traffic in everything from retail stores to manufacturing plants. The pandemic stifling consumer confidence, disrupting markets from agriculture to retail to restaurants.
MARQUEZ (on camera): What is your expectation for how life comes back to places like Dubuque?
NAN SMITH, OWNER, STONE CLIFF WINERY: I believe it's going to come back slowly. People are going to be very -- I think people will start eventually coming back and they'll sit out -- maybe outside. That's what I would be more comfortable with.
MARQUEZ (voice-over): As Dubuque heads into tourist high season, the big questions, like everywhere -- when will the pandemic be tamed and how long will the economy be disrupted?
MARQUEZ: Now, the governor here in Iowa has ordered that certain counties start to reopen in the next couple of days. The question is, will people come back? The governor has also said that if you are on unemployment and refuse to go back to work, you risk losing those benefits.
There's a couple problems there. If they have an underlying health issue or other issues, living with elderly or kids at home, they might not want to go back and might not have to go back. The bigger question beyond all that is, are employers going to want all their employees rushing back to work? They're not entirely sure, so far, the customers are going to be there -- Erin.
BURNETT: Yes, that could be the biggest question. Miguel, thank you very much. And I want to go straight now to Gary Cohn, who served as the director of the National Economic Council under President Trump.
And, Gary, the point that Miguel was just making -- you know, you heard the shop owner say his business took a 70 to 80 percent hit before the shutdown. But, as Miguel just said, reopening alone may not change much of that. Right? It's whether people are willing to go back. I mean, how hard will it be to take the fear out of going out -- out of returning to normal life?
GARY COHN, FORMER DIRECTOR OF THE NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL: Erin, thanks for having me. Look this is an interesting conundrum that we have put our American citizens in.
For the last 35 to 40 days we have literally heard nothing but orders to stay at home, only leave your house to go buy the bare essentials of life that you need and return home immediately. And now we're starting to tell people, no, ignore what we told you, go
out and re-enter the economy. That mental transition is going to take some time, there is a natural adjustment period there to go through. I think people will adjust as they see people entering the economy.
They themselves will want to get out there. This is not an overnight phenomenon, people will be more comfortable going into smaller retail establishments where there are one or two customers inside versus larger retail establishments, so they'll open first.
And then as they get comfortable with that, they'll be more comfortable with going into a retail establishment with four or five people. But this will be a natural evolution. But if we don't start the evolution, we won't get there.
BURNETT: Right, it gets harder and harder to break the fear. I understand your point. So in terms of the economic impact of this, I mean, I guess it's fair to say Gary at this point we don't even perhaps know how bad it will be. We did learn today that the economy contracted last quarter, we knew that, but we got the formal confirmation.
The biggest problem since the great recession, it's going to be worse next quarter. And I want to play for you, Gary, what White House Economic Advisor Gary Hassett has been saying about the GDP number and unemployment and what the President has been saying.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KEVIN HASSETT, WHITE HOUSE ECONOMIC ADVISER: And that will be just the very tip of the iceberg of a few months of negative news, it's unlike anything you've ever seen.
We're looking at an unemployment rate that approaches rates that we saw during the great depression.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're having one of the best periods in terms of stock market.
I think we're going to go like a rocket ship once we get back to business.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Why the dramatically different messaging do you think, Gary?
COHN: I agree with Kevin Hassett and what he's saying about unemployment, in fact, we're seeing it. We're seeing it real-time; we see unemployment claims every week in the U.S. economy. And remember originally small businesses and all businesses in America went to the stay-at-home orders, and that meant for many small businesses they instantly laid off their work force.
And that was the only prudent and rational thing to do. Since that period of time we've now had the government come in with some sweeping policies where they're trying to replace income with the PPP and other programs that we have in place. As the PPP money gets into the system, remember that 75% of that money that companies receive has to go back to pay wages for your employees.
So those employees that were terminated by small businesses, when that money is back, those employees need to be hired back and those companies need to pay those wages out. Hopefully, people will regain employment and they'll come back into the work force.
So we do agree initially we were going to see very high unemployment numbers. The stock market in itself looks at other indicators, the stock market is very forward looking, where unemployment numbers are literally real-time. We see them once a week real-time. In fact, we see lines real-time of people lining up to get unemployment claims.
And obviously we're concerned about all those unemployed Americans and we're very sympathetic for them but the stock market is forward looking, it's trying to figure out where we're going to be, you know, a year from now or two years from now. It's the forward value of what companies are going to look like.
BURNETT: Right and, of course, we just don't know what it's going to look like so it's very hard to read anything into it right now. But I will say, you know, when you and I spoke on the show a few weeks ago, Gary, we were talking about antibody testing and at the time it seemed like it could be really crucial, right?
You know you had it; you could go back to work. You know, you talked about it being an imperative part of reopening the economy. But since then we have learned more about the tests and that frankly there are some very serious accuracy issues with them at this point.
So what is your view now of what a return to work will be? In this case I'm talking about people who are currently working at home. What is a return to work going to look like?
COHN: So, Erin, hopefully those antibody tests will get better.
COHN: And our medical community and our scientific community is doing amazing work on trying to improve those tests and testing and vaccines. So, look, let's hope that that happens. But as we return to work here, when we try and open the economy slowly and methodically and still being very concerned about a re-outbreak or reoccurrence of the COVID virus, we need to bring people into the work force.
And I think the clip that you played from the governor of Iowa is very important. As many of these companies try and reopen, they're going to try and get their employees to come back to them, there is an opportunity cost to come back to work. Right now if you're collecting unemployment, you could be getting 100 percent of wages or 100 percent plus of wages.
Remember, you may have kids at home, so you're not paying for childcare. You don't have kids going to school, so you need to take care of your kids.
If you're going back into the workforce today, you may get your wages, but you have to deal with your children. You may have to pay childcare or support for your children. You have commuting costs. You have all types of additional costs.
So the opportunity cost of going back into the workforce today is extremely high. So as the governor said, if you're not willing to go back in the workforce, the governor may cut off some of those benefits to change that equation of what the opportunity cost to stay home is versus the opportunity cost to re-enter the workforce.
BURNETT: So, all this comes in terms of the spending here. The government has already spent more than 2 trillion to stimulate the economy, but frankly, there is no end in sight. They're going to keep spending until they don't need to spend.
And right now, there is no problem borrowing the money, right. It's essentially free, except nothing is free in the long-term. And the question for you, Gary, is, could all this spending with really no concern for the price tag lead to a bigger economic crisis?
COHN: Erin, you said it yourself. It may look free and it may feel free today, but we are creating a long-term problem that could turn into the next crisis. I say, could turn into the next crisis.
We are going to put another 2 or 3 or 4 or $5 trillion of deficit into the United States. We could end up with 25, $27 trillion of deficit. We have to finance that deficit. To the extent that the world allows us to do that, we have no problem.
But if we get to that horrible horrific point where the world no longer wants to finance our debt and we cannot self-finance with savings in this country, we then have another crisis on our hands where the U.S. cannot borrow money and interest rates in the United States go dramatically higher, which has an immediate impact on every homeowner, every auto loan, every mortgage, and every student loan in this country, where the rates on those loans are going to go dramatically higher and we're going to have a real impact on our economy.
BURNETT: All right, Gary Cohn, thank you very much. A sobering thing to consider but an important one, given obviously that debt is now greater than the size of the entire economy, which is a big red flag. Thank you very much. I appreciate it.
COHN: Thank you. Thanks for having me.
BURNETT: And next, two massive states gearing up to reopen, California and Florida. Why do they appear to be doing so much better than states in the Northeast? Plus, Jeanne, on how couples are getting hitched virtually.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BURNETT: I agree. Tonight, Florida and California, two of the country's most populous states, are both announcing plans to reopen. But here's the big question when you think about this: these are -- these are huge states with huge cities. How do they have more success in containing the spread then hard-hit New York? Tom Foreman has that story.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Two coastal states, drawing oceans of travelers, home to massive populations and wildly different in their approaches to containing COVID-19.
In California, the earliest reports of the virus spurred the stay-at- home order in the nation. On March 19:
BARBARA FERRER, LOS ANGELES COUNTY PUBLIC HEALTH DIRECTOR: If you are presumed to be positive or you're waiting for a test result, you need to immediately notify your close contacts so that they can begin to quarantine themselves.
FOREMAN (voice-over): The most populous state clamped down on restaurants, public events and spaces. The result? A surprisingly low 48,000 cases in a recent assessment, about 1900 deaths and plans to relax restrictions.
GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D), CALIFORNIA: We believe we are weeks, not months, away from making meaningful modifications.
FOREMAN (voice-over): Florida took a different path. The third most populous state did not push residents to stay home until April and did not move to shut down huge spring break crowds on beaches. With so many older, medically vulnerable citizens, epidemiologists feared a huge outbreak, but the current count again an unexpectedly 33,000 cases, approximately 1200 fatalities.
Parts of Florida, too, are poised to reopen.
GOV. RON DESANTIS (R), FLORIDA: We're making progress, you know. We need to continue to put people back to work.
FOREMAN (voice-over): Both of those states have fared much better per capita than much smaller Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Jersey, which have racked up considerably higher, horrific infection numbers and topping them all...
UNKNOWN MALE: New York State is now the epicenter.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: In New York, the death toll reached a new high.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: New York remains the US epicenter.
FOREMAN (voice-over): With almost 300,000 cases and more than 23,000 deaths, New York is by far the hardest hit state, in raw numbers and person for person. Why is the north-east home to more than half of US COVID-19 deaths? While the region quickly followed California's lead with stay-at-home orders, there is some evidence compliance may have been less robust. Add in the population density of major north-east and the fact that no part of the country relies more on crowded public transit, and that may have been the true formula for disaster.
FOREMAN: All of this is largely speculation at this point, but that's one reason why epidemiologists to keep as careful record as they can of who shows up, where they have been and who they had contact with so they can try to recreate a viral map of sorts of COVID-19's deadly travels. Erin.
BURNETT: All right, Tom, thank you.
And I want to go now to Dr David Rubin. He's a doctor, a founding co- director of the Policy Lab at Children's Hospital, Philadelphia. And I know, Doctor, you've been, you know, creating a lot of models, tracking, forecasting outbreaks across the country and also talking about this -- this -- this issue that we're -- that we're posing, right, and -- and specifically how it is that the virus can spread not only, you know -- more effective at spreading in more dense areas -- that is sort of obvious to all of us -- but why the death rate is also higher in those areas.
Why would that be?
DAVID RUBIN, DIRECTOR, CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL OF PHILADELPHIA POLICYLAB: Well, you know, I think there's -- you know, it's been a long-held principle in infectious diseases that inoculum is important in terms of severity of disease.
We've seen it in other viral infections. We know that the second children in households who have chicken pox infections in one child, often the second child gets sicker than the first. We've seen even an analysis of a previous influenza epidemic in 1918 that suggested that the greater number of people individuals were exposed to had been infected, the more likely they had severe disease. And so we're just at the early stage here of getting evidence that SARS-CoV-2 may be similar.
And, you know, you're witness to this, sort of, the hundred doctors who died in Italy. We suspect that they received higher inoculums of virus as they tried to take care of patients in Northern Italy, for example, and were likely sicker because of it.
BURNETT: Right. When we look at those healthcare professionals. But it is -- I mean, it's a fascinating point when you talk about the viral load. So just, you know how important -- and this is an important question for how we got here and also how this country's biggest city is going to get out of this. And that is, how big of a problem was the New York City subway? RUBIN: I think it's a huge problem. I mean, when you compare places
like Florida or California to New York City -- I mean, areas in South Florida were conferred advantages that New York City did not have. They're not as densely populated. They don't have these large mass transit systems that -- with crowding on the platforms. And, you know -- and they're also warmer.
Our newer models -- and we have new forecasts coming out on policylab.chop.edu later this week -- are going to reveal stronger temperature effects as we're heading into the spring. They're not enough to mitigate all the transmission of the virus. But they're certainly helping places like Florida.
And so when you put it together, you have areas of South Florida where most people live in single family dwellings, there's not a large mass transit system, and they're -- and they're -- and they're conferred the advantage of those warmer temperatures.
BURNETT: All right. Well, Dr. Rubin, thank you very much. Really a lot there -- a lot there to think about. I appreciate your time.
BURNETT: And next, Jeannie on virtual weddings that have gone, shall we say, viral.
BURNETT: Tonight, tying the knot and saying "I do" on video chat. Here is Jeanne.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When lockdown means you can't walk down the aisle, when friends and family can't gather to hear.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I do wed.
MOOS (voice-over): Consider saying "I thee Zoom wed." Bride and groom invited as many as 50 guests who introduced themselves.
MICHAEL: I'm Uncle Michael from Canada.
MOOS (voice-over): Drank and ate up to the moment of the ceremony. The mother of the groom in the U.K. wore a fascinator. Friends of the bride dressed fancy on top.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The bottom part was a pajama.
MOOS (voice-over): Shoe designer, Sayaka Fukuda and James Storr Brown, who works in finance, were among the first New Yorkers to marry on Zoom after Governor Cuomo gave the green light to weddings via video conferencing. GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: So there's no excuses anymore. Yes,
or no? Will you marry me?
SAYAKA FUKUDA, SHOE DESIGNER: Thank you, Cuomo.
MOOS (voice-over): These two newlyweds nuzzled and kissed their way through our interview, even rubbed noses. A long-time friend officiated at the ceremony.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To be your lawfully wedded wife.
JAMES STORR BROWN, FINANCIAL WORKER: I do.
MOOS (voice-over): This really puts the Zoom in marriage. How long did it take to arrange and invite guests?
BROWN: Two hours.
FUKUDA: Two hours.
MOOS (voice-over): The couple says lockdown -- note the quarantine hair -- was great practice for marriage after dating three and a half years.
BROWN: We'll look back on this and laugh and realize that, you know, there is a light and that we can get through things together.
MOOS (voice-over): It may not sound like the language of love.
FUKUDA: I have to mute this, sorry.
MOOS (voice-over): But there's nothing mute about this romance.
BROWN: I think he said, you know, now you may kiss the bride, and that we do.
FUKUDA: I screamed. You can see my video. I screamed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can now pronounce you husband and wife. Kiss the bride.
MOOS (voice-over): There were cheers, toasts. But some guests complained.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some of us missed the kiss, guys.
MOOS (voice-over): Don't worry, they're more than making up for that.
BROWN: That was great.
MOOS (voice-over): Jeanne Moos, CNN.
FUKUDA: I love you.
MOOS (voice-over): New York.
BURNETT: And everything in the whole world seems to be happening on Zoom right now. Chris Cuomo is ready to take it over. Our coverage continues now with you, Chris. You doing Zooms?
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Can't stop love. Can't stop love, Erin. Can't stop -- what do I have to Zoom for? I do this. This is my Zoom. Have a good night.
I am Chris Cuomo and welcome to "PRIME TIME". Federal guidelines to slow the spread are set to expire tomorrow.