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U.S. Coronavirus Death Toll Surpasses 64,500; 32 States Partially Reopened Despite Rising U.S. Death Toll; Dr. Fauci: Some States Are "Leapfrogging" Guidance; As Texas Reopens, Restaurant Owner Forced to Choose Between Economic Survival and His Health; Seattle Study Giving All Patients Remdesivir, None on Placebo After the First Trial Showed Benefit; FDA Allows Emergency Use of Remdesivir to Treat Coronavirus; Senior Administration Official Says "Majority" of Intel Community Believes Virus Originated in Chinese Lab; North Korea Claims Kim Jong Un Attended An Event Today. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired May 1, 2020 - 19:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Erin Burnett OUTFRONT starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: And thank you very much, Wolf.

OUTFRONT next, the FDA authorizing a drug to treat coronavirus as the CDC says the next few weeks are crucial. Two of the world's top experts with a big warning tonight and they are OUTFRONT.

Plus, choosing between his economic survival and his health. I'm going to speak to a Texas man fighting cancer who says he'd rather keep his struggling restaurant closed than risk getting sick.

And why is the White House blocking Dr. Anthony Fauci from testifying to Congress?

Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT on this Friday, the CDC telling Americans we're at a crucial point in the pandemic and the next few months are critical in containing the outbreak. This as more states are reopening their economies, 32 states as of tonight, including Texas, which just had its deadliest day for coronavirus deaths.

Almost all of these states opening up days, weeks, some even more than a month faster than what a key model cited by the White House says they should do. It comes though as President Trump says he is optimistic that the country is on the right track.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: People were thinking in terms of 1.5 million lives lost to 2.2 without the mitigation and hopefully we're going to come in below that hundred thousand lives lost which is a horrible number. Nevertheless it's ...

(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: Of course, the President's own forecast had been for as few

as 66,000 deaths even just a few days ago. They have now increased that estimate. The optimism though that he is sharing comes even as top epidemiologists are warning that the virus could continue to spread for up to two more years, infecting more than two thirds of the entire world population. We're going to speak to two of those experts coming up.

But first, Erica Hill is OUTFRONT live in New York. And Erica, the CDC is also offering new insight into how the virus could spread across the country as they talk about this crucial time period that we're in right now. What are you learning?

ERICA HILL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right. And the timing of this is not to be ignored in many ways. The report put out today that looked at just how this virus spread across the country, it's some things that a number of people suspected travel, large gatherings.

But it's interesting that it also comes on a day where Dr. Fauci is reminding so many states that if they leapfrog some of this guidance, in his words, he hopes that they're ready if another surge comes their way.


HILL (voice over): Mardi Gras, a medical conference in Boston and a large funeral in Albany, Georgia. All three February events likely helped fuel the spread of Coronavirus in the U.S. Those new findings from the CDC confirming what many have suspected. Researchers also singling out the role of international travel and certain workplaces like meat packing plants, nursing homes and dense urban areas like New York City.

A lack of testing also contributed to the spread. The findings come as 32 states move to reopen by the weekend, though none appear to have met the White House guidelines for a 14-day decline in cases.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We still have a virus in this community. That virus does not care that it is May 1st and you still have to take extreme precautions for your safety and the safety of those you love.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) ...


HILL (voice over): Diners in Texas reclaiming a morning routine.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was ready, believe me.

(END VIDEO CLIP) HILL (voice over): It's not just restaurants and retail coming back

online today, beaches, malls, even movie theaters, though at reduced capacity.


JASON GOULD, EXECUTIVE CHEF, COMMON BOND: We really had to think about it and decide are we ready, do we want to do this.


HILL (voice over): Ohio, Louisiana and Michigan among the states extending stay-at-home orders as California's Governor says his state is now days, not weeks away from being able to reopen some shops and when restaurants with restrictions.


GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D) CALIFORNIA: I just want folks to know, we're getting very close to making really meaningful augmentations to that stay-at-home order.


HILL (voice over): That announcement coming as protesters gathered in Huntington Beach, calling for an end to the Governor's order closing beaches in Orange County. At least two cities voting to file an injunction citing the county's low COVID-19 death rate.

Today, Orange County announced its highest single day increase in cases.

In Alabama. beachgoers were ready Thursday night as restrictions were lifted there. Shoppers and stores adapting in Oxford, Mississippi.


DAVID SWIDER, OWNER, END OF ALL MUSIC RECORD STORE: So we lower the records down so they don't have to come close to us or touch us.


HILL (voice over): Fresh concerns about the safety of meat processing plants and the nation's food supply. Shoppers and military commissaries now limited to purchasing two meat items per visit, in anticipation of possible shortages.

A new report predicts the virus could be with us for at least another 18 months, until 60 percent 70 percent of the population has been infected.



DR. JORGE RODRIGUEZ, BOARD CERTIFIED INTERNIST: I think people need to wrap their head around the fact that this is here to stay for a protected period of time.


HILL (voice over): Meantime, work continues on a virus, the warning.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Just say I have a vaccine throwing into people, what people don't appreciate because there's so attend to getting a vaccine quickly is that that could be deleterious negative effects of enhancement of infection.


HILL (voice over): As Americans wait, they're also honoring those we've lost.

In Connecticut, thousands of white flags, one for each person in the state who has died as a result of the virus. Pastor Patrick Collins, calling the memorial a somber reminder that we are in this together.


HILL: And here in New York, State Gov. Andrew Cuomo announcing today the state is partnering with the Kate Spade New York Foundation and Crisis Text Line to offer emotional support services for who the Governor called frontline healthcare heroes. He also said he's instructing insurers to waive fees for mental health services for frontline workers as well, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Erica, thank you very much. And I want to go now to two of the nation's leading pandemic experts, co-authors of this new report which predicts that the pandemic could last up to two more years. John Barry is the author of The Great Influenza. The story of the deadliest pandemic in history and a Professor at Tulane University School of Public Health. And Marc Lipsitch, Professor of Epidemiology at Harvard's T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

So thanks very much to both of you. Welcome back, Marc.

John, you write that this virus will likely keep spreading for 18 months to two years and the forecast that you both put in there was until 60 percent to 70 percent of the population worldwide has it, which I know Marc has said earlier on this program is sort of how he defines herd immunity. You warn though that this could include a second big wave of coronavirus infections in the fall and winter.

So the question to you, John, when you look at these numbers, could that wave be bigger than what we are seeing right now?

JOHN BARRY, AUTHOR, "RISING TIDE" AND "THE GREAT INFLUENZA": It could be. What we've seen so far has been controlled and lessened significantly by the actions we've taken. If those actions are released and people stop paying attention to social distancing, you need to - even if we end lockdown, you still have to continue social distancing and other public health measures. It could get considerably worse than what we've seen so far.

BURNETT: A pretty sobering warning.

I mean, Marc, the virus has been spreading, at least, for about five months from what we understand. So far, according to official numbers, less than 1 percent of the world's population has been infected. Now, obviously, that number is going to be much higher than that, but it's still going to be pretty low as a percent of the global population.

So to get to 60 percent to 70 percent in two years, just does that mean a huge acceleration at some point in your modeling, Marc?

MARC LIPSITCH, PROFESSOR OF EPIDEMIOLOGY, HARVARD T.H. CHAN SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: Yes. Well, I think, of course, you can't get from 5 percent in a few months to 70 percent without a lot more cases than we've had up till now. And so that would mean a bigger wave. If we keep it under control with really intense control measures, we might not get to 50 percent or 70 percent by that time, but then we will still have either the need for a vaccine or a population that's still susceptible.

BURNETT: So Marc, I mean, I guess that you're saying there's no way we can relent. I mean, I know you're not talking about a full lockdown, but you can't relent or else you're going to have some of those waves and it would be fair to say bigger than what we've just had to get anywhere close to those numbers.

LIPSITCH: Right. I mean, in the report we lay out three different scenarios, two of which are pretty similar to each other. One is having a big next wave and then that takes much of the susceptible population away, but at the cost of risking a lot of deaths and a lot of damage to our healthcare system as intensive care units get overwhelmed.

And the alternatives are sort of more managed waves that are not quite so high, but nonetheless lead to continued cases and continued death. So, paradoxically, the better we control it, the longer we have to live with it and the best case is that we control it long enough to get a vaccine. But as Dr. Fauci pointed out that is not a certainty and the timing is not a certainty.

BURNETT: No. And I'll ask more about that in a moment. But John, we keep hearing about the weather, the President talks about sunlight and humidity killing the virus, the CDC put out that sheet showing that it doesn't live as long in humid are hot conditions although it still can live hours on some of those surfaces. But that heat humidity hurts.


That study that the President keeps citing Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis actually cited today to defend his reopening of parts of the state of Florida. So what do you think, John? Will summer slow down the virus in a dramatic notable way?

BARRY: Well, if the report is correct, the virus is going to survive less long in heat and humidity. However, given the susceptibility of the population and given the transmissibility of the virus, susceptibility will trump seasonality.

In 1918, we had a similar situation. The second wave started in July in the middle of summer in Switzerland. It actually ended in January in Australia in the middle of the summer in Australia and 40 percent of Australians got infected in summer. So when you have a highly susceptible population, that is more important than the seasons and the temperature.

BURNETT: Which I think is a really significant thing. I mean, as many of us watched the southern hemisphere, you see, OK, maybe it's there, right, maybe the spread isn't as dramatic, but it's certainly there.

Marc, we're now at more than 64,000 confirmed deaths from coronavirus. And obviously, we understand that that number is higher, but those are the confirmed deaths attributed to the actual virus. And that major model that the administration keeps updating, they had, a couple of weeks ago, 10 days ago, they said it was going to be 66,000 by August 4th, that clearly didn't add up. They've now moved it up to 72,000 by August.

And you heard the President trying to now say anything under 100 is a victory. It's just that the goalpost keeps sort of moving here. So, first, the formal forecasts right now have 72,000 deaths by August, does that seem reasonable to you? That would be an incredible slowdown from where we are right now.

LIPSITCH: No, that doesn't seem reasonable for just that reason. I think these numbers are politics not solid science. And we have to look at the trend of the epidemic and we have to look at what our interventions are if we loosen up, it will accelerate, not slow down. And so I think it's just not rational to expect a slow down when the trend is to loosen our restrictions.

BURNETT: How much fear do you have about all of these states opening up? I mean, they're doing it in many cases, wear mask, socially distance, maybe not opening everything, it's a hodgepodge of things. But all of them are doing so before the government's formal recommendations, in many cases, weeks and in more than a month before that. Do you see anything out there that makes you deeply concerned right now about these openings?

LIPSITCH: I'm very concerned. I mean, the logic just doesn't really add up. If we needed to shut down at a time when we had fewer cases per day and we now have more cases per day in many places, it's slowed down. The growth has slowed down, but the number of cases per day is higher than it was when we started the lockdowns.

If we're smart to start the lock downs, it can't be smart to stop them when we have more cases per day, because that's the thing we're trying to reduce. Some countries like Austria have locked down and reduce the number of cases per day dramatically and they're now thinking about releasing some of their restrictions and that makes sense.

One thing I will say, though, is that the parks I think are a special case. I actually agree with Florida's Governor about parks in the sense that outdoor environments are really different and you need to control social distancing. But I've been in favor of keeping parks open.

BURNETT: Right. Well, people certainly got to have some mental support for people in that regard and coming into the better, they do need those parks. Thank you both very much. I appreciate it.

And OUTFRONT next, choosing between economic survival and health. A Texas restaurant owner's tough choice not to open today even though his Governor says he can.

Plus, the FDA giving the green light to use remdesivir for emergency use. So we're going to take you inside. One of the nation's leading trials on this drug to see exactly what's happening.

And then why is the White House blocking Dr. Anthony Fauci from testifying before Congress?



BURNETT: New tonight, choosing between economic survival and staying healthy. Texas restaurants opened up for the first time in nearly six weeks and this is happening right now tonight even as the state reported its highest one day death toll just yesterday.

But one restaurant owner who is battling lymphoma says he can't risk opening up his dining room and he can't afford staying shuttered either. OUTFRONT now Mike Nguyen, he is the owner and the chef at Noodle Tree in San Antonio.

And Mike, look, I really appreciate your time. I mean, you're battling cancer yourself. Your grandmother died from coronavirus. I mean, just what you're dealing with right now is overwhelming and at the same time, you're dealing with a business that you can't keep shut for much longer. I mean, how difficult was this decision that you just had to make to keep your dining room closed?

MIKE NGUYEN, SAN ANTONIO RESTAURANT OWNER NOT REOPENING IN-ROOM DINING: Honestly, it wasn't really hard when you put in all of the factors, especially with what I just went through with losing my grandmother who was pretty much the matriarch of the family. She taught us about love, life and family. And this restaurant that I built here, we made it a community restaurant and everybody that I - like a lot of the guests that I see, they're almost like family. I see a lot of them. I know their kids' names like Aria (ph), Nick (ph) and Aiden Perez (ph).

Like they're almost like family to me and I would feel bad if something were to happen to them or if they had to go through what I'm going through right now, just trying to grieve but also at the same time I have a financial responsibility with running this business.

So at the end of the day, the money was not worth losing lives or losing the people that supported me this restaurant, it wasn't worth the danger. BURNETT: So I know your restaurant. It sits about 62 people at a time

and we can see how close people normally sit to each other, always crowded and people were close. So right now when you do reopen, I mean, how many could you realistically sit? I mean, is that something you could really even survive with financially?


NGUYEN: We could probably sit about 14 people at a time. Financially, no, we can't survive off of that. If you do simple math, you get 25 percent of your restaurant business, but you have to do a 100 percent of the rent. So how are you going to supplement that 75 percent? It's just not feasible. Then, you have to bring in the staff.

On top of that, we have to bring in the equipment and the products to make sure the safety of the guests. The hand sanitizer, disinfectant, chemicals, stuff that we can't even get ahold of right now or we're having a hard time getting ahold of right now.

BURNETT: So I know that you've been receiving treatment for your lymphoma, which just the incredible process of that for you is just hard to understate here. But have you stopped treatment now, I understand, because you don't want to run the risk of being infected. I mean, to get those treatments, you have to go into the hospital. So how did you make that decision and how long can you avoid treatment? I know that has to have a lot of fear with that as well.

NGUYEN: It was a tough decision, but at the end of the day it was what's best for my survival rate. I could easily go to these places where I could get infected or I could just stay at home where I know I'm safe. I don't know what the exact timeline is without treatment. It's one of those things where I hope and pray that this one beats out the other and that I can withstand not getting treatment, till this settles down and then I can move forward on with that.

BURNETT: All right. Well, Mike, I'm rooting for you. You're going to be in our thoughts and I thank you very much for your time.

And I want to note here as we go to Sanjay Gupta that Mike is still awaiting hearing from the federal government on his small business loan. He was going to be opening restaurants and thinking of expanding to Houston, Denver and Seattle but now all of that put on hold because of this.

Sanjay, this is just a dramatic and an incredible story here. But this is the choice that he's given, right, he's had to stop his cancer treatments. To you reopen a business that you need open while you're grieving your grandmother who died of coronavirus, it's incredible to imagine this and yet he feels very calm and confident in the decision he made that it was not the right thing to do to reopen.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. No. And I think in terms of the reopening, I think there's lots of data that show that these states haven't, including Texas where he is, have not met these criteria to reopen and you really have to feel for him. I don't think people, sometimes, understand the impact this has on certain families.

I will say, Erin, and I'm sure Michael has talked about this with his doctors. If you develop, you get an infection while you're also dealing with one of these cancers, your likelihood of survival does go down and I know that that's what Michael is sort of balancing.

Having said that, his type of cancer may be a very treatable cancer. And again, I am sure that it's something he's talked about with his doctors. But one of the things that we are seeing a lot in the midst of this pandemic, Erin, is that people do forego treatments that are necessary sometimes and that's not always the right decision. Again, I'm not questioning Michael's decision.


GUPTA: I know he's probably talked about that with his doctor. But I just want to make sure that the message out that is getting out there is that if there are things that you need to get treated, that even in the midst of the pandemic, there's certain precautions that may need to be taken at the hospital. You may need to be put into isolation right away when you get to the hospital.

But there are ways to continue to get treatment, even in the midst of a pandemic and I would hate to think that people would think well, I'm going to skip chemo because of this. Big hospitals have ways to keep you safe and give you that treatment.

BURNETT: Well, and cancer, obviously, is such a - because of how it moves, people don't want to - you don't want them to forego those treatments. There was a study though earlier this week ...

GUPTA: That's right.

BURNETT: ... I know Sanjay that found patients with both cancer and coronavirus do have a nearly threefold increase in the death rate than Coronavirus patients without cancer. But as you point out, it does seem to matter which type of cancer you're battling, right?

GUPTA: Yes. That's right. I mean that was primarily either blood cancers or lung cancers, different types of those types of cancers and then people had metastatic cancer where their primary cancer had spread. That's where that increased mortality rate was sort of most pronounced. But it is a tightrope, Erin, because when you get the treatment that can also suppress your immune system, so he may need to be in the hospital longer in isolation if he's getting treatment because if he contracts the virus when he leaves, that obviously increases his chances of not surviving.


So it's a challenging, really, situation for him. But, again, I do wonder if someone like Mike might be able to find a safe way to get treatment and stay in isolation at the same time.

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

GUPTA: You got it.

BURNETT: And next, the FDA authorizing emergency use of remdesivir to treat coronavirus. We're going to take you inside one of the nation's leading trials on this drug and tell you what the doctors there are seeing today. Plus, breaking news, North Korean state media airing what they say is a new picture of Kim Jong-un who has not been seen in 21 days. So has he really been spotted alive and well?



BURNETT: New tonight, the FDA authorizing the experimental drug remdesivir for emergency use in coronavirus patients. Now, that drug, of course, has been getting a whole lot of attention particularly in recent days, after that preliminary trial found it helped patients recover more quickly.

And now a new study in Washington State is showing such positive results that they are no longer even using the placebo, giving everybody in the trial the actual drug.

Sara Sidner is OUTFRONT.




DR. FRANCIS RIEDO, INFECTIOUS DISEASE SPECIALIST, EVERGREENHEALTH: It was now everybody that was potentially at risk.


SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Dr. Francis Riedo is an infectious disease specialist on the front line of the war on the coronavirus. From the first confirmed COVID-19 death in the U.S., Riedo and Evergreen Health in Kirkland, Washington, are now at the forefront of finding a treatment.

They are taking part in a clinical trial of remdesivir.

RIEDO: This is an intravenous medication. It's given for 10 days.

SIDNER: After it was administered to the sickest COVID-19 patients, Dr. Riedo says it showed real promise. And that was just phase one of the trial.

(on camera): When you go into a 2nd phase of the trial, what does that mean?

RIEDO: The second phase is going to use this as the backbone. Every patient will receive remdesivir because the first trial, act one, showed benefit. It shortened the course of the illness, and almost this thickly showed a decrease in mortality. SIDNER (voice-over): In phase two, some patients will also get a

companion drug called (INAUDIBLE) which is used to treat rheumatoid arthritis. But every COVID-19 patient in the trial will now be treated with remdesivir.

(on camera): Why is that a big deal?

RIEDO: It is huge. It is the first scientifically proven beneficial drug in terms of treatment of SARS COV2.

SIDNER (voice-over): Trials of the drug are happening across 68 sites. More than 1,000 people taken part. The results? Patients recovered 31 percent more quickly with remdesivir. That translates to four fewer days of suffering in the hospital.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Although at 31 percent improvement, it doesn't seem like a knockout 100 percent, it is a proof of concept. What it is proving it is that a drug can block this virus.

SIDNER: Remdesivir was originally created as a potential drug to treat Ebola. Dr. Riedo was also on the front lines of that battle, traveling to Africa. He hopes that the drug works this time around.

But before the second trial was done, the president, alongside the CEO of Gilead, who makes the drug, announced the FDA's emergency use authorization for remdesivir.

DANIEL O'DAY, CEO, GILEAD: We'll be working with the government to determine how to best distribute that within the U.S.

SIDNER: The FDA acting unusually quickly for now the drug is being used in hospitals on the sickest COVID-19 patients. It is not a cure. Some of the patients treated with the drug still died. Others felt better, faster.

(on camera): So, this could be one major tool in the fight against coronavirus?

RIEDO: Correct!


RIEDO: But it all has to be proven. We have to do the science, the careful science.


SIDNER: The last thing that scientists and doctors want to do is give false hope. But they really do believe that there is real hope with treating the most severely ill patients who have COVID-19. They say that as these trials go on, and as they test this drug further, there is a possibility that remdesivir could help a much wider group of people who are infected with coronavirus, not potentially just the severely ill. But that still has to be parsed out -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Sara, thank you.

And I want to go to CNN medical analyst, Dr. Jonathan Reiner, who advised the White House medical team under George W. Bush and is currently director of the cardiac cath lab at the G.W. Hospital.

So, Dr. Reiner, you just heard Sarah's piece, there are still questions of what we need to learn about the drug. She laid out the positive results. But what more do we need to learn?

DR. JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: We need to know a lot more. First of all is a hand in the recent trials that patients who were treated earlier seemed to do better with the drug. We need to tease out when exactly should this drug be given. The emergency use authorization that the FDA released this afternoon authorizes this drug to be used and hospitalized patients with relatively low oxygen levels that need supplemental oxygen, mechanical ventilation, or what is called a ECMO, which is basically a full cardio pulmonary life support with essentially a heart lung machine.

So, these are really sick patients. So, we need to learn how to learn how to use this drug maybe even earlier. The company is interested in trying to devise new methods to administer the drug because it is given as an intravenous administration. So, it would be difficult to get this on a wide spread basis as an outpatient.

BURNETT: Right. And I know, you know, some have suggested it is possible that you could give it in inhaled version so maybe you'd be able to prescribe it to someone to have, to your point, both earlier, and before they are sick enough to have to be in the hospital or intubated, right?

REINER: Right, they give it as an inhaled drug, or subcutaneous administration like people take insulin.


You know, we need to learn a lot more about the drug. But as we heard in Sara Sidner's piece, this now becomes the new standard of care. This is a baseline therapy that all hospitalized patients with COVID- 19 are going to receive. All the new strategies are going to be compared to this, or layered on top of remdesivir.

BURNETT: So, to that point, layered on top, I want to talk about this. I talked to a doctor lesson in Detroit. He had gotten coronavirus, was very sick in the hospital, intubated.

He received five different treatments. Remdesivir was one of them. He got plasma treatments, he got steroids, he got -- he got a couple of others, all right?

Eight days on a ventilator. He did go home. He has no idea which if any saved him. It does seem impossible to know at this point. Do you think that there could be layering in all of these together?

REINER: Yes, and this again is why we need to do carefully controlled clinical trials. You know, when I see a patient come to my office, who has developed what I think is a drug rash, and they are on several different drugs. If you stop them at the same point, you never know which one caused a rash.

The same way that you could benefit with the person that you spoke to yesterday, he survived, and that is fabulous. But we don't know which drug, or combination of drugs saved him. This is why we need to do this in a carefully controlled way so that when we see benefit, we know what caused the benefit.

BURNETT: Right, right, as you point out, they do think that something saved him. They have called him to have his family say goodbye to him on FaceTime, he was intubated.


BURNETT: But obviously, he is home and fully better.

Dr. Reiner, thanks so much.

REINER: My pleasure.

BURNETT: And next, a senior administration official says that the majority of the intelligence community believes that the coronavirus originated in a Chinese lab. It's an explosive claim. So, where is the intelligence? Let's see it.

Plus, breaking news, North Korea reporting that Kim Jong-un made his first public appearance. We are getting what they are claiming to be a photo of him today. Is this real, or propaganda? Our Will Ripley what's been to North Korea 19 times is standing by live.



BURNETT: Breaking tonight, a senior administration official telling CNN that a, quote, majority of intelligence agencies believe that the coronavirus originated in a Chinese government lab, likely by mistake.

Kaitlan Collins is OUTFRONT from the White House.

And, Kaitlan, You know, there has been talk about this. But the president saying it, that this is what happened definitively, is an explosive thing. So, what more do you know about this in how definitive it is?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, we've seen in the White House, including the press secretary say he is taking the intelligence community, listening to what they are saying, and they've been pretty clear on a statement yesterday that has them backing up the entire intelligence community. That according to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, that they're investigating where it came from, whether it was through contact of infected animals, or if it was the result of a lab accident in Wuhan, China, which, of course, is a theory that has been pushed out there. Though you have seen several people said that they do not believe that

it is what it was, including Dr. Anthony Fauci who says that these reports say it was consistent what would happen to a jump from an animal to a human. So, there are still a lot of questions about this.

Erin, there is something notable coming up on Tuesday, which is when the president's next intelligence chief is going to be undergoing a Senate confirmation, he is going to be asked about a situation like this, where the DNI has put out a statement, the president seems surprised about that statement, and, of course, there are questions about what the intelligence actually shows.

BURNETT: So, we are also learning tonight, and you talked about the Senate hearings. We are learning that the White House is blocking Dr. Anthony Fauci before testifying before the House next week. Why, Kaitlan?

COLLINS: Yes, an appropriations subcommittee wanted to hear from Dr. Fauci. They're going to be holding a hearing next week where they're interviewing current officials from the Obama administration, and they wanted to talk to Dr. Fauci about the response so far from this administration on the coronavirus, which, of course, has come under intense scrutiny.

The White House did confirm tonight that Dr. Fauci will not be showing up at that hearing as requested. They basically said that he is busy right now with the response that is going on, we would be happy to schedule it at another time. They appointed to the fact that he is expected to attend another Senate hearing later on.

But, of course, Erin, you've got to notice the fact that Dr. Fauci has been incredibly candid when he's spoken about the response here. What we are hearing on Capitol Hill, not long ago, he thought that testing had been a pretty big failure in the United States, which, of course, we've all realized that with the rollout.

But there are going to be a lot of people who want to hear from Dr. Fauci in the future. I think that the White House is pretty aware of that.

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

Kaitlan talked about the last time he testified and exactly as she said. And then also at that time, talking about the flu, how that -- this was at least 10 times deadlier than the flu, as reported.

I want to bring in David Gregory, CNN political analyst.

And, David, I want to start with a lab theory that Kaitlan was referencing. Look, we've all heard about this. It's an explosive theory. We've seen that lab.

Our David Culver actually went and showed how it's sort of right in Wuhan. It isn't even like it's outside. It's right there. But for the president to come out and say this, it's a giant implication for what could be, you know, the most important relationship that U.S. has, right? If this is true, do they now at this point owe us the proof?

DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I think they do. I think it's such a delicate dance for the president right now who wants to pursue a trade relationship with China that's important for the U.S. economy. But he also understands that it's good politics, on the left and the right, to attack China.


And, of course China should be held account for mistakes made in response to this virus, but it's a touch point, it's a nerve politically to hit China on this. You do have to have proof before you move forward, especially when you have a scientific community that says that there is a likely explanation for how this virus emerged and spread around the globe.

BURNETT: So, so, this is a remarkable change of tone, though, David, for the president on China, right? Because these theories about the lab, and, you know, whether something inadvertently came out of it, by mistake of course, not a bio weapon, they've been categorical of that, it's not what happened, had been around, but for months, the president did not dally in that. He actually for months said things like this.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And now, we're friends with China. In fact, maybe we've never had a better relationship, and we're working with them very closely on the coronavirus.

REPORTER: Are you concerned that China is covering up the full extent of the coronavirus?

TRUMP: No, China is working very hard.

We've been working very much with China. I've spoken, as you know, with President Xi. They went through hell. And their numbers are starting to look very good.


BURNETT: No mention of the lab, just friends, defending them on transparency which was obviously completely bogus. He knew it then, we all knew it then, we all know it now. But this is a big change.

GREGORY: It is, and, of course, the president went through those iterations of calling at the Wuhan virus, the China virus, and then backed it off after talking with President Xi. Again, he's got this balance as president to pursue a trade relationship which is important for the economy, and the politics of hitting China and knowing that that has a lot of resonance he is going to have to figure that out, and he's going after rely on the intelligence community to find out what they can find out, and to try to be circumspect, which is obviously not his strength here, based on what is ultimately developed.

I mean, China represents lots of things, right? A partner in some ways, a competitor and others, and an adversary in others. Understanding that relationship is very difficult and very nuanced for any president.

BURNETT: All right. David Gregory, thank you.


BURNETT: And next, breaking news, North Korea releasing what they claim is a photo of Kim Jong-un now, so we have that picture, and it is all coming as questions grow about his health and well-being. Is it him now? Is he really alive?

And a much-needed joyful announcement, Anderson announcing the birth of his son. So, Anderson, your few days in, how is fatherhood going? We'll find out.



BURNETT: Breaking news, we are getting the first image of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un reportedly making his first public appearance in three weeks. So take a look at it. That is after so much speculation about us health, or whether he is alive.

North Korean state media has released this image of Kim. So, take a look at it. They say this is of him attending the opening of a fertilizer factory. They say it is today, his sister, Kim Yo-jong, can be seen in the background of the image.

Now, I just want to make it clear to you that we cannot independently confirm the photo or we cannot confirm the day it was shot.

Here is what President Trump said when asked about the potential sighting.


TRUMP: I'd rather not comment on it yet, Kim Jong-un. We'll have something to say about it at the appropriate time.


BURNETT: Will Ripley is OUTFRONT. He's been to North Korea 19 times.

So, you know, Will, we have been hearing that Kim Jong-un was seriously ill, gravely ill, was the reporting. He had not been seen in public for three weeks, missed that crucial, huge, you know, annual celebration day. Some had said he was not even alive.

And now, there's this photo comes out, sort of grainy in this report. So, what -- what do you think when you look at this? Does this prove anything?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Look, I'm not an expert. I would rather have someone with a trained eye looking at these pictures. Clearly, I would find video more convincing than images where Kim is there cutting a ribbon, there's another one where he's conveniently sitting below a sign that says May 1st very prominently on the sign.

Look, Kim Jong Un could very well be alive, and he could very well have contributed this ribbon cutting, he also could very well have been quite ill and sick and recovering, and out of the public eye for three weeks. Because North Korea is so secretive, particularly around the health of their leader, it's regarded as the highest top secret you can imagine a country that is already so secretive, we simply have no way of knowing the facts because North Korea is not giving them to us, and that is part of the reason why you have so many reports that run the full spectrum of him hiding out in his luxury compound from coronavirus, to he was at death's door.

And, you know, a couple of photos to approve, or disprove, what was really going on inside the country.

BURNETT: Right, and he is known for having, you know, look at him, he has an obesity issue, he is known for having health issues, possible other issues as well that could lead him to become very sick. I guess, at this point, we don't know. Why do you think they release this now? Did it reach a point where they had to put it out on the prominent May 1st?

RIPLEY: Right. I mean, these bulletins they have been putting this out saying he sending thank you notes, and greetings, and have not made it proof of life. This is now a more detailed attempt to trying to prove he's alive.

But, yes, you raised a great point, Erin. He is 5 foot 7, 300 pounds, smokes a couple packs a day, has a history of heart problems in his family. This is not someone who is a picture of good health.

And, you know, whether you had a health scare recently or not, this does raise serious questions about if he's going to have health scares moving on in the coming, you know, weeks and months ahead.


BURNETT: And, just quickly, the fact that his sisters and that picture of, does not say anything to you? People are timeout who would've possibly taking control of it could've been her because the society was so patriarchal. But yet she's in that picture. It seems that's not accidental.

RIPLEY: It's no consequence that Kim Yo-jong, his youngest sister, is always by her side. They've been giving her more and more titles. They are definitely setting her up for a big position moving forward.

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

Next, new life, new love, the words of my friend Anderson as he announced the birth of that little baby boy. I'm going to talk to him about his son and fatherhood.


BURNETT: Before we handed over to Anderson, I want to say congratulations to you, Anderson, on your little baby. I know over the years we have talked about, you know, well, Anderson will have a baby and now you have this wonderful, wonderful little boy. Look at that face.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, "AC360": I know, he's a little peanut.

BURNETT: Yes. So, your five days in, how is it going?

COOPER: It's good. Yes, it's incredible. I spend hours a day just staring at him and seeing him sleeping on my chest which was amazing.


COOPER: And yes, he is pretty incredible. It's incredibly exciting.