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New York to Close Subway Overnight; The U.S. Is Considering Long-Term Punishment for China for Coronavirus; Tensions in Trump's Re-Election Campaign Following Latest Poll Numbers. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired April 30, 2020 - 14:00   ET



BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Welcome back. You're watching CNN, I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank you for being here.

Right now, the White House is considering new CDC guidance that would make a dramatic impact on our schools and restaurants and churches and mass transit. I've got specifics for you, which I'll pass along in just a second.

But first, to the changes many of you are experiencing currently, as a majority of states are in the process of reopening some businesses by the end of the week. The nation's leading infectious disease expert is cautioning states not to move too quickly. But Dr. Anthony Fauci is also optimistic that millions of doses of a vaccine could be ready by January.

And just a short time ago, the president added this:


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I never promised. I don't know who said it, but whatever the maximum is, whatever you can humanly do, we're going to have. And we hope we're going to come up with a good vaccine. Johnson and Johnson and Oxford and lots of different great companies, representatives of our country in some ways. NIH is working very hard and doing a terrific job.

No, I hope we're going to have a vaccine and we're going to fast-track it like you've never seen before. If we come up with a vaccine, and I think they probably will.


BALDWIN: Let's start the hour in New York with CNN's Erica Hill. And, Erica, you're following how states are taking various approaches to reopening. But first, let me just ask you, what's happening where you are because of coronavirus? It's my understanding, the subway is partially shutting down.

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR AND NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right, Brooke. And we're actually just getting new details from the city on how this will work. So starting May 6th, next Wednesday, between 1:00 and 5:00 a.m., the subway is going to be shut down for deep cleaning.

This has been a point of contention in this city. The subway, the buses are essential in this major metropolitan area for people to get to work, and those are essential workers.

Not just the people, they're the people who drive the trains and buses, who rely on public transportation as well to get to work, as well as folks who are delivering good around the city and the tristate area even. Grocery workers, and of course all of these frontline health care workers.

But there have been issues about the sanitary conditions on the subway, there's also been concern within the city of New York about more and more homeless people spending more time on the train, so they will shut it down.

This is going to affect some 11,000 riders in that four-hour period, so they're also putting together what's called an essential corridor. They're going to help those workers get to their jobs in that time.

We should point out though, overall Brooke, since the pandemic began, ridership for the MTA, for the subways here in New York is down more than 90 percent, so that's just one of the measures we're seeing here in New York City to get those subway cars to a place where people feel safe on them, they are not as concerned about getting ill so they can get to work, which of course will then allow the city to open other parts of businesses here, as we're seeing that start across the country.


HILL (voice-over): As more Americans see a green light to move outside, uncertainty grows. Nearly one in five Americans, filing for unemployment since the pandemic took hold.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: These numbers are slowing, but I mean, they're awful, every one of them. And every one of those numbers is a person who has rent to pay or mortgage to pay tomorrow, May 1st, and may still be waiting for their unemployment benefits.

HILL (voice-over): Amidst the heartbreak, some hope for the experimental drug remdesivir, a new coronavirus treatment that could see emergency authorization from the FDA as soon as today.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We still have to focus on those core public health measures of testing, tracing, building the public health infrastructure. The idea of remdesivir does not replace those elements, but it does offer some hope.

HILL (voice-over): Federal guidelines to slow the spread expire at midnight. By the end of the week, 31 states will be partially open, many resuming elective surgeries and opening parks, stores and restaurants adopting new safety measures.

CNN has obtained draft guidelines on reopening from the CDC, which range from how to properly disinfect workplaces, to spacing school desks at least six feet apart and postponing all nonessential gatherings.

The nation's top coronavirus expert, urging officials not to rush.

ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: You can't just leap over things and get into a situation where you're really tempting rebound. That's the thing I get concerned about, I hope they don't do that.

HILL (voice-over): Florida moves into phase one on Monday, though three of the state's hardest-hit counties are excluded from the governor's plan to lift restrictions on restaurants and retail.

Along the Gulf Coast, Destin is ready for tourists to return; beaches open tomorrow with groups limited to 10 people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We also reserve the right to flip that switch back off if we see a spike in illnesses or people don't be responsible and make good decisions.

Unfortunately, there's no playbook. We know how to handle hurricanes, we've been through those before. There's no playbook for pandemics.

HILL (voice-over): California, moving in the opposite direction, a busy weekend prompting Governor Gavin Newsom to close all beaches and parks indefinitely. One local official, calling the move "an overreaction."


In Los Angeles, the mayor says his city can now test all 10 million residents across L.A. County, regardless of symptoms, for free.

MAYOR ERIC GARCETTI (D), LOS ANGELES, CA: We all know this is a silent killer. It moves quietly through the population. And why it's so important for people who don't show symptoms to get tested, is because oftentimes they're the super-spreaders.

HILL (voice-over): Health care workers will have priority at the city's 34 testing sites, which the mayor says can process 18,000 people a day.

Alaska, the latest state to announce students will not return to the classroom this academic year. Forty states have now cancelled in- person learning. It's not yet clear what will happen this fall. Some colleges say they will bring students and staff back to campus, including the universities of Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, Vermont and Texas Tech.

Boston University, announcing a hybrid of online and in-person learning. And in New York City, a grateful sendoff from the NYPD and FDNY for the USNS Comfort as the hospital ship heads home to Virginia.


HILL: Heading back to Norfolk to wait for its next deployment. Of course, when the ship was first brought up here, Brooke, it was there as an overflow facility to ease the strain on hospitals, and then of course was eventually converted to a COVID-only treatment facility -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: I saw it leaving down the Hudson as I was walking into the studio, how about that. Erica Hill, thank you very much for the look at all of it.

The White House is weighing possible new CDC guidelines detailing how businesses, schools and other institutions should reopen. And CNN has obtained a draft of those recommendations, and so this is what you need to know.

TEXT: Draft CDC Recommendations on Reopening Institutions: Schools: Space desks six fee, lunch in classrooms; Faith Orgs: Rely on virtual, outdoor services; Restaurants: Disposable menus, avoid bars and buffets

BALDWIN: So in part, CDC says schools, looking ahead, should space students' desks feet apart, and the kids should eat at their desks rather than in the cafeteria. They say that faith-based organizations should limit large gatherings and rely on virtual or outdoor services where possible. It also recommends changes at restaurants, including the use of disposable menus, plates and utensils.

CNN has reached out to the White House coronavirus task force to ask about the status of the draft recommendations, but we have not yet heard back.

Let me go to Atlanta now, to Dr. Dave Montgomery. He's a cardiologist at PREventClinic there in Atlanta. And, Dr. Montgomery, a pleasure to have you on, sir. Let me just get your reactions to -- it's like the new normal, these recommendations from the CDC on handling the reopening. What do you think?

DAVE MONTGOMERY, CARDIOLOGIST AND MANAGING PARTNER, PREVENTCLINIC, INC: Yes. You know, Brooke, I will tell you that I would be surprised and shocked if those recommendations are released.

And I will tell you personally, as a physician who is, you know, right there on the lines, seeing this effect, my colleagues in hospitals and urgent cares all across the country but especially in Georgia. My concern is that a guideline is mistaken for a, you know, commandment. There was this sense of certitude in some of those guideline recommendations, if they don't go edit it, right? If they come out just like we read them.

Boy, you get the sense that not everybody's going to take them like a guideline. When I was a baby medical student, Brooke, they told us that guidelines are just that, they're guardrails. You don't treat every vehicle on the road the same, but you don't want to go outside the guardrails, there's a lot of trouble on the side of the guardrails.

So you treat every vehicle on the road very differently, but you stay in a boundary. I'm not sure that if we come out with a guideline like that, that the average American will take that and say, OK, let me look at my own case. I'm an 18-wheeler, different than a compact car on this same road within boundaries. Should I be treating myself the same? Six feet apart --

BALDWIN: Sure, I get it. Not everyone plays by the same rules or guidelines.


BALDWIN: What do they need to say, then, doc, to get it through people's heads that, you know, this is the deal?

MONTGOMERY: Well, so you know, I think that, you know, it's irresponsible if anybody says at this point that we have a high degree of certitude, what's going to happen with this -- with this pandemic. I think that what we should be doing is saying the stuff that we know works.

What has been tried and true? it is keeping your distance, it is washing your hands, all of those core measures that we've been talking about in terms of keeping people safe, let's continue to do that. And where there is some concern by individuals, if there is concern by an individual, stay at home, keep yourself safe.

We don't make the same recommendation for everybody, but I think you've got to treat yourself individually.

BALDWIN: Speaking of staying at home -- because you're there in my home state of Georgia, and we know that, you know, they're reopening. And I'm curious, just telling your own patients, because they can now technically go out, go to a restaurant, are you advising them to do so?

MONTGOMERY: Well, so I'm -- you know, I'm treating my patients on an individual basis just like I mentioned to you a second ago. And that is, the people who have a high threat level, if their level is red and they've got risk factors and predispositions for doing poorly, you know, tragic results from this virus, I tell them to stay home.


You know, if their threat level is a bit lower, I tell them to use caution, still cover up, still wear a mask, wash your hands, clean your surfaces but maybe do some other things.

We just have to be -- we have to use common sense in this, and use an individual approach. It's harder for the CDC to do that, but I think we do, at the frontlines, have to make sure that patients hear that.

BALDWIN: And then just lastly, I think it's so important to shine a light on those folks in this country who are disproportionately affected by this virus, right? So a report from the CDC found that more than 80 percent of hospitalized COVID patients in Georgia are African-American. And it's an alarming figure. So why are we seeing more black folks, you know, disproportionately affected by coronavirus? MONTGOMERY: Yes, you know, just a quick point about that survey,

Brooke. That survey was done from eight hospitals in the Georgia area, seven of which are in the Atlanta metro area. You have to remember that 50 percent, more than 50 percent of the Atlanta metro area is black, is African-American. And so some of those numbers are a little bit skewed.

But we do know that African-Americans are disproportionately affected for some of the reasons that we're sort of uncovering, and becoming, you know, more common to people to understand. You know, predispositions to you know, conditions like heart disease, diabetes and hypertension, uninsured, underinsured or people who just don't feel like they have the agency to use their insurance. You know, unconscious bias, things like that.

So we know that there are some reasons for it. But for us, I think we have to look at those people and say, hey, if your threat level is red, you should be staying home. You know, not making -- you know, asking everybody to stay home but --

BALDWIN: And that's what you're telling your patients? Understand, like you said.


BALDWIN: Dr. Montgomery, thank you for all that you're doing. I appreciate you, thank you, Dr. Montgomery, there in Atlanta for us.

Let me get to this breaking news. CNN has learned senior government officials are reportedly exploring proposals to demand financial compensation from China for its handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Sources, telling CNN these senior officials from multiple government agencies have been strategizing about their options. Many health officials believe the coronavirus was first transmitted from animals to humans at a so-called wet market in Wuhan, China.

Let's go to CNN national security correspondent Kylie Atwood, there at the State Department. And, Kylie, what are you hearing from sources about possible punishments for China?

KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yes, so U.S. government officials in multiple agencies had been working on potential consequences for China, essentially formulating what would be a long-term plan for China to pay a price to the coronavirus that has spread throughout the world and become a pandemic.

U.S. officials have pointed their finger at China for that virus repeatedly. We have heard Secretary Pompeo pretty bluntly say that China needs to pay a price. But what is interesting here is that there are real efforts under way, and some of the discussions have focused on options such as sanctions or cancelling on U.S. debt obligations to China and new trade policies. Now, nothing is set in stone right now, these are still ongoing conversations, Brooke.

And it's also important to consider that it is really pivotal to consider this moment in time. The U.S. cannot move too quickly if they want to inflict a cost on China. That is because a lot of these medical supplies, their supply chains, which the U.S. is reliant on right now, go through China.

And so one U.S. official explained to me that it would be irresponsible for the Trump administration to drive too quickly with this effort, but there are efforts under way to try and put some specifics on how China could pay the price.

BALDWIN: Kylie Atwood, thank you very much. We'll stand by and see what that update may be.

Also today, "The New York Times" is reporting that top officials in the Trump administration have pushed U.S. intelligence agencies to, quote, "hunt for evidence" linking the coronavirus to a Chinese lab, and that has some intelligence analysts concerned that pressure from administration officials will distort assessments about the virus.

CNN's senior national security correspondent Alex Marquardt is with me now. And so, Alex, the intelligence community is saying in this remarkable statement, that they don't know what the origin of the virus is. Tell me more.

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Brooke. We really should highlight how remarkable this statement is, both from who's saying it and what they're saying -- or as you say, what they're not saying.

This is from the entire intelligence community, this is not from one agency or another, this is from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, saying this is essentially the assessment as it stands right now, from the entire intelligence community. And what they're saying is that right now, we don't really know what the source of this virus is, whether it came from a lab or whether it came from the market.

TEXT: "The Intelligence Community also concurs with the wide scientific consensus that the COVID-19 virus was not manmade or genetically modified... The I.C. will continue to rigorously examine emerging information and intelligence to determine whether the outbreak began through contact with infected animals or if it was the result of an accident at a laboratory in Wuhan."


MARQUARDT: Now, the reason that this statement came out in the first place is evidence that they are between a rock and a hard place. You have the intelligence community that is hearing this narrative that is being pushed by the Trump White House, that it's possible that the virus came from a lab. And at the same time, that is not their assessment.

So this is a remarkable -- this is a remarkable statement, in that they're coming out and saying, we don't have an assessment, we don't have a smoking gun, we don't have a determination. What we do know, they say in this statement, is that the virus is from China. And of course, Brooke, that has never been contested by anybody.

They also go on to say that the intelligence community also concurs with the wide scientific consensus that the COVID-19 virus was not manmade or genetically modified. The I.C. -- the intelligence community -- will continue to rigorously examine emerging information and intelligence to determine whether the outbreak began through contact with infected animals, or if it was the result of an accident at a laboratory in Wuhan.

So, Brooke, if you read between the lines of the last part of that statement, and then look back at what we're hearing from the White House, it's clear that the Trump administration feels that China is more on the hook, more culpable if this virus escaped from a lab rather than originating in a market. But at the end of the day, for now, the intelligence community does not have a solid assessment about that.

And I spoke, in fact, with a foreign official earlier who is part of the so-called Five Eyes intelligence-sharing group with the United States. And this official told me no one's able to say one way or the other, we just don't know enough -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: Hearing that from a lot of people, aren't we. Alex Marquardt, thank you.

Coming up, the very first doctor to treat a coronavirus patient with remdesivir, the drug, joins me live. Remdesivir is a drug that's showing positive signs against the virus in new trials for folks who are sick.

And President Trump's son Baron Trump, his elite private school is getting small business relief money, and his school isn't the only one.

And President Trump insists he has done -- and I'm quoting -- "a spectacular job" handling this crisis. But behind the scenes, he is lashing out at his own campaign manager for sliding poll numbers.

You're watching special coverage, I'm Brooke Baldwin. We'll be right back.



BALDWIN: You can see the updated numbers on the right side of your screen, more than a million confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 61,000 deaths. But the president and his senior advisor, son-in-law Jared Kushner, seem to be taking a victory lap over the administration's response to the crisis.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is it fair for the voters to take into consideration your handling of the pandemic when they assess whether to re-elect you in the fall? Isn't that fair? TRUMP: Sure, I think they do. I think they have to do a number of things. They do have to do that, and maybe Phil could speak to that. Because I think I've handled it -- and not me, I think our whole group has been spectacular.

We had ventilators, we didn't have any. We built them, we have thousands, tens of thousands are right now under construction. And we've given, as Phil said -- I think you've got more ventilators than anybody in the United States, New Jersey --

GOV. PHIL MURPHY (D), NEW JERSEY: I believe that's correct.

TRUMP: -- needed them very badly. And there was never a person that needed a ventilator that didn't get one in any state, not one person that needed a -- so we didn't say, he didn't get a ventilator and somebody passed away, somebody didn't make it. Now we have a mask problem. Now we have so many masks, we don't know what to do with them. We had a big problem.

And you have to understand, we took over, the cupboards were bare. And the thing that, frankly, it's not as tough as the ventilator situation, we're the king of ventilators. But what we have done is, on testing, we're doing numbers the likes of which nobody's ever seen before --


BALDWIN: He's not just touting his own perceived success. Just this morning, the president attacked Sweden for its response to the crisis, and tweeted dozens of times about things that have absolutely nothing to do with the pandemic, about TV shows and James Comey among them.

The erratic messaging has also included praising states that are reopening in open defiance of the White House guidelines, and downplaying the need for nationwide testing that his own experts are calling for.

Much of this is a push to get the economy going again. The issue raises the stakes, of course, this being an election year, but some Republicans are starting to get concerned. Georgia Senator David Perdue recently warned a group of GOP activists that his deeply red state is in play this November. And those kind of headlines have led to tension at the White House.

Here's what we've learned here at CNN, that President Trump erupted in a phone call with his campaign manager, set off largely by sliding poll numbers. So with me now, CNN's political director David Chalian and CNN chief political analyst Gloria Borger.

And so, David, just let me start with you. Do you have any idea which polls apparently set the president off?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, yes. Jeremy Diamond reported this, Brooke, that it was the internal polls the Trump campaign and the RNC, their own internal polling in specific battleground states that are critical to the president's chances of re-election that set him off.

But let me just say, those internal polls match what we're seeing publicly. I mean, we saw a recent set of polls from "Fox News" out of Michigan and Pennsylvania and Florida, that they're -- you know, the president is at a deficit. He's at a pretty big deficit in Michigan and Pennsylvania. And in Florida, he's running a bit behind Joe Biden there too.

So what we're seeing publicly is obviously what his own folks are telling him. But it was those internal numbers that set him off.

BALDWIN: What about the polls, David, about, you know, how he's handled the pandemic?

CHALIAN: Brooke, they're going in the wrong direction. I mean, look at the recent NPR-Marist-PBS NewsHour poll that asked a question about this, 55 percent disapprove now. That's up from 49 percent. Only 44 percent approve of his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

So he, as time has gone on in this, after he got that initial bump, that brief rally around the flag that wasn't that big of a rally at the beginning of this, his numbers have been heading in the wrong direction and this is exactly what his team was sort of briefing him on about changing the approach.

BALDWIN: Gloria, what do you think of this?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think the president understands polls. He doesn't like them, he's lashing out about them because he has himself to blame for the polls, but he always like to blame other people, as you know.

And this is a president -- you know, Dale Carnegie, the famous Dale Carnegie, said you only have one chance to make a first impression. And he hasn't made a good first impression. He had a little rally after he gave his initial speech declaring a national emergency.

And then as David is saying, his polls are heading int he wrong direction because he is giving the American public mixed messages. He says he wants to be a cheerleader, he just said, yesterday, that he wants the new normal to be going back to where we were, and everybody kind of knows that isn't going to be the case including his own new CDC guidelines that could be issued very quickly.

And so in an effort to be this kind of cheerleader, the public believes they're not getting the truth from the president. Remember, he wanted to reopen around Easter, that didn't happen. And he's saying some governors are good and some governors are bad, and then he's lashing out at the media, even at his own experts, saying they didn't know what was going to occur.


BORGER: So the public is watching this and saying, this is erratic and this is not leadership. BALDWIN: But you know, the bottom line, the public is watching him

and, you know, obviously a lot of Americans support what he's doing. And so, you know, when he mentioned that he may travel to Arizona next week to go to tour the Honeywell Aerospace facility, if, you know, Americans see, oh, well, OK, it's OK, the president of the United States is traveling, what kind of example might that set?

BORGER: You talking --

BALDWIN: To Gloria, to Gloria.

BORGER: -- I mean, I don't think it sets a good example. I don't know what David thinks that the polls are showing. I don't know what David thinks the polls would show about that, but the West Point graduation, how about that?


BORGER: Asking cadets to come back and go into quarantine? Everybody, a lot of people are still kind of self-quarantining or under lockdown in big cities, and then the president is going and traveling because that's what he feels he needs in order to campaign? That's where he gets his juice.

But the public is looking at that and scratching their heads and saying, OK, well, does this mean we can open up? Does this mean we could be a little more lax or could we potentially have some more problems in the fall as a result of that?

BALDWIN: Well, when the president -- David -- was asked about you know, what the new normal might look like -- and we've just been reading these CDC guidelines of what that may entail -- you know, the president's response was, new normal is what it was three months ago. That doesn't reflect what, you know, his own experts are saying.

CHALIAN: Not even close, Brooke, not even close. Listen to what Dr. Fauci has said the fall may look like. We are not going to look like we did, this is not, as the scientists have said, just turning a light switch back on.

I mean, that's why a place like Arizona, where Governor Ducey extended the stay-at-home order May 15th. But starting on Monday, is allowing some businesses to come back. This is the gradual -- the gradual return that a lot of scientists and a lot of governors are employing.

What is crucial for the president as a leadership test, when he goes out there -- and Arizona's no accident obviously, Gloria's right, this is campaign season-related, it's a state he desperately needs to keep in his column.

But when he goes out there, it's a leadership test. Does he set the example for the country about what that gradual comeback is? Or does he give an example that this is all behind us, the way Jared Kushner was talking about or the way he seems to think that we can return to something that once was, just a couple of months ago?

BALDWIN: Exactly, exactly. Thanks for the conversation, you two. Good to see you, Gloria and David. Appreciate it.

Coronavirus -- obviously you see the numbers on the screen right now -- has proven to be deadly, but especially for people battling cancer. Coming up next, we'll talk to a woman who is beating the odds.


And the doctor believed to be the first in the world to treat a patient with that promising drug, remdesivir, he will explain how it helped one man recover.