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Dr. Fauci Warns Of Bad Second Wave If U.S Unprepared; Florida Governor Says, Other States Draconian, Florida Did Better. Aired 7- 7:30a ET

Aired April 29, 2020 - 07:00   ET


ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN NEW DAY: Still dying a day, that means this summer will look different than we've thought.


It's true, the number of deaths is no longer growing exponentially, but it's also true the daily death count seems to have settled at a very high level. So what does that tell us?

Also this morning, as more states begin to loosen their lockdowns, the nation's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, is warning that a second wave of the virus is, quote, inevitable. And just how bad it will be depends on what we do in the next several weeks.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: It's not going to disappear from the planet, which means, as we get into next season, how we handle it will determine our fate. If by that time we have put into place all of the countermeasures that you need to address this, we should do reasonably well. If we don't do that successfully, we could be in for a bad fall and a bad winter.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN NEW DAY: Meanwhile, businesses across the country are preparing to reopen their doors. This morning, The New York Times reports that the nation's largest operator of shopping malls plans to reopen nearly 50 properties, 50 malls, beginning Friday.

And Vice President Mike Pence visiting frontline healthcare workers in the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. You notice something different here? Everyone else wearing a face mask, not the vice president. He said he wanted to look doctors in the eye, to be clear, none of the face masks we're seeing on the screen there covered anyone's eyes.

This morning, a source tells CNN the vice president's staff admits it was a mistake to go against the Mayo Clinic's policy.

CAMEROTA: Okay. So let's talk about all of this. We want to bring in CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, and Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo, she's the Director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Great to see both of you.

Sanjay, I want to start with you, because you always caution us not to get too invested in these models that we see every week from, say, the University of Washington, the model that the White House has been using. But I can't help it because it's the crystal ball. I mean, it's the only crystal ball we have into what the future looks like.

And so yesterday, we were interested to see that the University of Washington had adjusted their model up from 60,000 deaths that they had predicted of Americans over the next several months to 74,000. That got our attention. But, Sanjay, when we looked at the death count this morning of 58,000 people, basically, for the Last several days, 2,000 Americans a day have been dying. We've plateaued, it seems at that number.

And so obviously, if that's the case, we're going to hit 74,000 Americans dead in May, not in August, as they have predicted. So what do you make of these numbers?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, there are, first of all, lots of different models out there. And this is one the White House has paid a lot of attention to, and therefore, it's gotten a lot more attention. I think there's been a lot of people that I've been talking to who are -- other modelers who have always cautioned at the IMHE model was sort of lowballing the numbers here a bit. And keep in mind, just over a month ago, Alisyn, that the same model, the IMHE model, showed tragically that 90,000 people may die from this. So the numbers have been all over the place.

I think there are three things that are happening now specifically are driving the numbers up. One is exactly what you said, is that everyone sort of thought of this as a curve, as a peak, but we are seeing a plateau and so this isn't so much a flattening of the curve but it sort of gone up and sort of plateaued now for a period of time. Is it going to come down or is this plateau actually starting to be an indication that the curve may head back up, at least in certain places? I think that's one of the questions.

Also keep in mind just a more tangible thing is that they started counting overall in places around the country, probable cases of coronavirus as well, probable infections of coronavirus as well. So I think that that increased the numbers a bit, increased the modeling. But I think a big part of this, the more subjective part is that it became clear as you look at the models, which ever model you looked at, that the impact of stay-at-home orders was there.

You were seeing an impact and that was driving the projections down somewhat. And as places now start to lift those stay-at-home orders, you're seeing the models start go back up. All of them go back up. Different numbers, different absolute numbers, but all of them are going back up as a result of that. So I think those three things are really driving some of these changes here.

BERMAN: And, Dr. Marrazzo, if we can put up the daily death counts so people can see, to me, this isn't a story about models. To me, this is a story about a lot of people dying every day and still dying every day. You can see there's still more than 2,000 people dying reported yesterday.


And even on so-called good days, you're getting over 1,000 people.

Now, I get there's not exponential growth in the number of deaths anymore. But what does it tell you that these numbers have leveled at such a high level?

DR. JEANNE MARRAZZO, DIRECTOR, DIVISION OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES, UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA AT BIRMINGHAM: Yes. John, thanks for reminding us that this is not about case counts or death counts. This is about humans and individuals who, unfortunately, are dying away many times from their family, which is one really cruel characteristic of this particular epidemic.

I totally agree with Sanjay about his interpretation of the models. The models are all over the place in part because they're expressing a range of possibilities and different groups are putting different things into the models. And what that says to me, it comes back to the point is that we still don't have the precise estimates that we need to really inform accurate models.

So one great example is what is the fatality rate, what is the death rate. If you're a 35-year-old, what is the likelihood and you're healthy but if you're going to die. If you're 75, what's the likelihood, 75-year-old. We really don't know. And there has been a lot of debate about this. People saying it's less than than 0.1 percent. Other people are saying it's 1 percent. So until we have a good handle on that, it's very hard to know what's going to happen.

I think the death rate that you're showing is, hopefully, leveling off because it's lagging about two weeks behind the actual presentation rate of the illness. And, remember, death rates always reflect something that's happened in the past. It's like looking back up at the stars. We really don't know exactly what's going to happen. I think it's encouraging that it's leveled out and it may say that the rate of new infections that are going to proceed that wave of death is also leveling out.

But as Sanjay points out, hugely different social distancing interventions across the country. So we're really looking at a series of micro epidemics here.

CAMEROTA: And hugely different social distancing methods of our leaders, Sanjay.

I can't get over the video of Vice President Mike Pence yesterday at the Mayo Clinic. It's so striking. He's the only person in the room not wearing a mask. The other doctors are wearing masks. The patients are wearing masks. He's obviously within six feet of people. He's close enough to elbow bump them. And it's the Mayo Clinic's policy to wear masks. And they had tweeted out, as you know, that they had told the vice president or his staff about that.

And so the idea of it, the vice president doesn't think he needs to wear a mask. And, Sanjay, he said that he -- the reason he doesn't think he needs to wear one is because he had been tested and he tested negative. So what about that logic?

GUPTA: It's a faulty logic. I mean, he should have worn a mask, absolutely. I mean, first of all, it's an example. We're going through tough times right now. It's an important example to set. It is the hospital's policy. And that's important. And the hospital should have enforced that policy. I mean, I know he's the vice president and everything but you've got buckle your seatbelts on an airplane no matter who you are. I mean, the hospital needed to and have enforced that policy.

Also, it's a hospital, there are sick people there. You know, the reason you wear a mask, I think everybody hopefully understands now, is to protect people from you. That's part of the issue here, is that he's around patients in the middle of a pandemic. I mean, this is the time to wear a mask.

But I think the teaching points, the ones that you bring up, Alisyn, are the right ones. I mean, he has been tested several times. But when you get a negative test, that's a point in time when you're negative. You may have had exposures after that. You may be harboring the virus in his body and not know it. As we know, people can be asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic.

Also something that we don't talk about enough and I think it's going to become a larger issue, is that we think that these tests, sort of treat them as binary. They're actually going to tell you whether you have it or you don't. I mean, many of these tests have a 15 percent false negative rate. So I'm not suggesting the vice president has it and doesn't know it, but these tests are not perfect either and people can have a false sense of confidence from this.

So he should have worn a mask. The Mayo Clinic should have enforced that. This is partly on them as well. But that was not -- I bet you he wishes he could walk that back.

BERMAN: It was striking image.

A couple of major economic developments overnight, Dr. Marrazzo, that have public health implications. Number one, Simon Properties opening these shopping malls around the country. We'll see if the stores inside the malls also open and we'll see if people go shop. We've been talking about people's sentiment. We don't know yet how people about going out in the open now. The other development which I want to drill down on is the president using the Defense Production Act to order meat plants to open up and start producing again.

Now, we'll talk about the economic implications of that, the food supply, people who want their sausage, I get that. But what kind of health risk is this putting those workers in at this point? Because we've seen outbreaks of processing plants around the country.


MARRAZZO: Yes. The outbreaks in meat-packing plants and also some of the poultry processing industry are very worrisome. And it's another thing that I think you're very correct in being concerned about. The challenges there is that you have close conditions, you have people dealing with a lot of aerosolized particles and for the reasons that we've talked about.

And I think the third thing is that a lot of these people who work in these plants don't have a choice to say, I don't feel safe to go there. It's akin to having healthcare workers work in situations where we don't have appropriate PPE.

So I worry very much that it is going to put the workers at risk. Those workers aren't often making the same kind of salary either that many healthcare workers make when they're going to work at hospitals, for example, physicians.

So you have this combination of people who really need to bring a paycheck home, who have to go into work, who can't defy their superiors. They don't have the luxury of saying, I don't feel like going to work today because it's not safe and I could get the coronavirus, and who now face the additional complication of being under a federal directive to keep the plants open.

So, to me, it seems heavy-handed, to put it as kindly as possible, also it may not be the most important intervention that we could do at this time. I recognize that we've got to feed our families. It's really important. But I think the health and safety of the people who are keeping us alive is much more important at this point.

CAMEROTA: And, Sanjay, I mean, unless overnight, all Americans are going to become vegetarians, what's the answer to keeping people safe?

GUPTA: I don't think we're necessarily going to have to ask everyone to become vegetarians forever, but there may be a period of time like that, like Dr. Marrazzo is saying, where the balance between trying to produce in a situation like that where it's very difficult to guarantee or at least significantly improve the safety of the workers, it's challenging right now.

You know, in some ways, this back to testing again. If those workers could go in there, confident that they didn't have the virus, that people around them didn't have the virus, I think it would make for a safer working environment.

But the CDC now things on their website specifically for meat processing plants. They talk about not just the distance that people need to keep, everyone knows at least six feet, but also the duration. Having prolonged contact in this situation, 10 to 12 hours for these workers, is also an issue. So are you cycling people in and out.

There's all these various strategies they're going to employ, but people have died as a result of getting the infection in these plants. So it's going to be challenging, I think.

BERMAN: Dr. Gupta, Dr. Marrazzo, thank you both very much for being with us this morning.

MARRAZZO: Thanks very much. Good morning.

BERMAN: So, breaking overnight, the New York City Police Department dispersed this huge crowd, a non-social distance crowd at a funeral in Brooklyn. The scene drawing strong condemnation from the New York City mayor. In his response is now drawing backlash.

CNN's Shimon Prokupecz live here in New York with the very latest. Shimon?

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And, look, John, this has been boiling over. This frustration that the mayor has had with the community sort of came to a boiling point last night. The mayor going there on his own last night with his security detail, the NYPD police commissioner going there last night seeing the number of people out there. The NYPD was anticipating this crowd. Obviously, the crowd grew much bigger, as you can see in the video. More police officers came to the scene.

The obvious concern is the social distancing. The governor has put an order in place where large gatherings are not allowed, prohibited. So the mayor went out there. And then, of course, it was his tweet which really has created an enormous amount of backlash from the community, from community leaders.

And here is what the mayor wrote in his tweet saying that his message to the Jewish community and all communities is this simple. The time for mournings has passed. I have instructed the NYPD to proceed immediately to summons or even arrest those who gather in large groups. Of course, the mayor saying there that this is about stopping the disease, about saving lives, stopping people from gathering like this.

The issue here for the community and for leaders here is the way the mayor responded to this, singling out, focusing specifically in his tweet on the Jewish community, generalizing them as a whole, when in fact it's only related to one particular community in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.


We expect to hear from the mayor and the police commissioner where, no doubt, he's going to address this later this morning.

But keep in mind, John, as I said, this has been brewing for quite some time. The mayor almost on a daily basis at his press briefing has asked about the gatherings in this community and finally it just seems the mayor last night had enough.

BERMAN: Yes. The issue is which community are you talking about here. If you're talking specifically about a group in Williamsburg, that's one thing. But the mayor in his language seemed to suggest this was a larger Jewish thing. This is not a larger religious thing where you can group all people who believe certain things in in the same way.

Shimon Prokupecz, thank you very much. The pictures themselves tell a story there. So this morning, as states begin to reopen, what strategies are working or have worked so far to keep people safe?

Also coming up, for the first time in the United States, a dog, that dog, tests positive for coronavirus. What is the concern for pet owners? We have an interview with the dog and the people he lives with, coming up.




GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): One of the results when you look at some of the most draconian orders that have been issued in some of these states and compare Florida in terms of our hospitalizations per 100,000.

Florida has done better.


CAMEROTA: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis taking something of a victory lap alongside President Trump in the Oval Office on Tuesday. He says that despite some of the most lax social distancing guidelines in the country, Florida has had better results than many other states. So how does that work?

Joining us now is Andy Slavitt. He's the former acting Administrator for the Center of Medicare and Medicaid Services under President Obama. Mr. Slavitt, thanks so much for being here.

So what of that? How is it possible that Florida saw better numbers than some other states with similar size populations?

ANDY SLAVITT, FORMER ACTING ADMINISTRATOR, CENTERS FOR MEDICARE AND MEDICAID SERVICES: One thing we've learned over the last few weeks that we're still learning as the data comes in, is that it actually isn't so much the politicians or the governors' actions at this point in time as it is the citizens of state.

So Florida, we can tend to think about it as Miami-Dade, this very dense area, Florida has had the lowest amount, one of the lowest amounts of mobilization, social mobilization in the state as measured by Google. That means people have been staying home despite what we see of the scenes on the beaches and despite what we've seen from Governor DeSantis. I think we've got an older community, we've got communities that are largely rural throughout the state and they have been, like the rest of the country, been following the stay-at-home order.

So, hopefully, this will stay. I would be cautious if I were a governor of any state of taking a victory lap when you've got an entirely large state and nobody has immunity yet to coronavirus. So I think you've got to be careful. But I think that's what's going on. CAMEROTA: But I think that's really interesting. Because what you're saying is that even if a state or a governor has relatively lax social distancing protocols, people are policing themselves. Basically, an elderly population, which Florida is known for, doesn't want to go out and get sick. So they are -- they don't need to be told to stay home. They are voluntarily staying home.

And so let me pull up the numbers, which I think are interesting compared to other states. The top five states for deaths, we have a graphic on this. So it's what you would expect. It's New York, it's New Jersey, it's Massachusetts, it's Illinois, it's California, very, very populated states. So, New York, you see the deaths there at more than 22,000, New Jersey more than 6,000, California, 1,800. And then Florida's are at 1,100 deaths. So they've had 32,000 cases and 1,100 deaths.

He also says that they have empty hospital beds. He says that they have less than 500 people right now on ventilators as of Monday night. So that is a success story. I mean, can other states glean anything from them?

SLAVITT: I think, again, it's probably less Florida than it is the folks who saw what happened in New York and responded to it. I think, you know, California probably and Washington state are probably the bigger success stories, Ohio as well, and that things started happening rapidly in their states. They saw people dying. They saw conditions and they rapidly moved and quickly ended those things. They could have ended up very much like New York. But they acted early, I think, with some amount of potential criticism that in San Francisco, Washington and Ohio that they were going to get accused of overreacting.

As for the rest of the country, I think we quickly followed. And I think we saw by a Kaiser poll this week that over 80 percent want to continue to stay at home, believing the stay-at-home orders. There is a lot of sacrifice involved. It's probably easier for a retiring community, a community that lives alone in Florida, than it is for people who have to work every day. But, all in all, I think the American public has done a great job.

CAMEROTA: The governor, I think, took a little bit more credit than you are giving him at the moment. I think he said that what they did early on was contact tracing, that they were able to do more contact tracing. Do you know anything about what the plan was in Florida for that?

SLAVITT: Well, one thing I do know is that politicians are good at taking credit when things go well, not necessarily as much when things aren't going well. So that's just sort of going to be par for the course. I think I would be loath to give credit, contact tracing for their success considering that contact tracing tends to work if you've got a very, very small number of cases and you have enough contact tracers to do this.

[07:25:10] But maybe, it's early enough on that we're still guessing at it. You're pointing to something I'm not sure there's the data there to support it. But I'm not sure that he's wrong either. Whatever it is, God bless him. Good luck. We would love to see nothing better than fewer people dying and more people taking care of themselves and socially distancing and whatever that takes. I just hope people don't take the wrong signal from his confidence. And I think -- I hope he doesn't spike the ball on the two-yard line.

CAMEROTA: Well, very quickly, there is one ominous sign for Florida, and it's just one data point. But I should put it up, the Florida 14- day trend in deaths. And so what you see is that around April 23rd, it had been coming down markedly from 94 people, 59, down to nine people down to 20 and 13. And then just yesterday, it spiked back up to 83 people. Maybe that's an outlier or maybe it's that people are feeling comfortable and going back to the beaches and we'll just have to see what unfolds over the next couple of weeks there as people begin to reopen.

But, Andy Slavitt, we really appreciate your expertise. Thanks so much for joining us.

SLAVITT: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: The coronavirus pandemic is taking a psychological toll on some on the frontlines, as you know. So we discuss that, next.