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"Phase 1" Of Florida's Reopening Plan Begins Monday; Protesters Demand California Governor Open Beaches; Experts: Virus Likely To Keep Spreading For Up To Two More Years; Flyovers Draw Large Crowds In Atlanta, D.C.; Senate Majority Leader McConnell: "America Needs Baseball"; White House Blocks Fauci From Testifying Next Week; McConnell & Pelosi Decline Offer For Rapid Tests For Capitol Hill; Dr. Christine Moutier Discuses Enormous Need for Medical Specialists Who Deal with Mental Health During Pandemic Crisis. Aired 4-5p ET
Aired May 2, 2020 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a great time if you've been thinking about adopting a dog. It's nice to be able to wake up and not focus on the bad news.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: So cute, right?
To see the full story on how Sherry (ph) and many other heroes are helping during this pandemic, go to CNNheroes.com right now.
CABRERA: Hello. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
And at this hour, more than half of the U.S. is beginning the process of reopening after weeks of staying at home. In all, 32 states are loosening restrictions, some of them allowing for things we used to take for granted, going to restaurants or movie theaters and malls.
By May 10th, 42 states will have eased restrictions. Monday will be the first day back to the office for many people in Colorado with a state-mandated 50 percent capacity. In Montana, bars and breweries and some stores can start letting customers in Monday under strict social distancing rules.
And in a welcome sign of hope this weekend, the FDA has now approved the emergency use of a drug, remdesivir, to treat COVID-19. While not a cure, Dr. Deborah Birx of the coronavirus task force called it the first really positive step forward and Dr. Anthony Fauci said it shows a clear cut, positive effect in diminishing the time to recovery.
But in parts of the country where stay-at-home orders are still in place, patience, it seems, is wearing thin. This was the National Mall today. A large crowd gathering to watch a flyover of the Blue Angels and the Thunder Birds, even though officials asked them not to congregate.
We begin this hour in Florida where phase one of the state's reopening strategy will begin on Monday. Restaurants and retailers will start welcoming customers at limited capacity while bars, gyms, and salons will remain closed.
CNN Correspondent Rosa Flores is in Miami for us.
And, Rosa, this plan does not apply to the entire state, including where you are. Why have certain counties been excluded?
ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, because these counties are the hot spots here in the state of Florida, Ana. Miami Dade, where I am, Broward and Palm Beach, they account for about 30 percent of the population of the state, but when you look at the data, they make up 60 percent of the more than 35,000 cases and also 56 percent of the more than 1,300 deaths. That's why it's no surprise that the mayors from these three counties got together so they can reopen simultaneously.
Now, like you said, they are excluded from phase one of the overall state reopening, but they did reopen parks, waterways, and other public spaces starting on Wednesday. Now, there were some restrictions and they are being enforced, and that is for social distancing and face coverings.
Now, when it comes to the reopening of the state, phase one does start on Monday. Now, that includes restaurants and retailers being able to open at 25 percent capacity. Restaurants will be able to have outdoor seating, but the seating will have to be six feet apart. Elective surgeries will be able to resume but this is only phase one, so bars, gyms, and also schools will remain closed.
Now, all this as we're learning that more than a third of the COVID-19 deaths here in the state of Florida are linked to nursing homes. The Florida department of health updating that number to 475 total just in the past few hours, and these are deaths of residents or staff.
Now, Governor Ron DeSantis has sent strike teams to multiple nursing homes across the state and has tested more than 12,000 residents and staff at these locations to try to control the situation. And also, very early on, he did restrict visitations.
But this is very important and a very important piece of data because Governor Ron DeSantis has said during multiple press conferences that while some nursing homes are following the rules, others are not. And now, we're learning about a federation of about 600 nursing homes that have asked governor Ron DeSantis to relieve them from liability, to give them immunity.
Now, Ana, Governor Ron DeSantis has not announced his decision yet, but he's weighing whether or not to give these nursing homes immunity -- Ana.
CABRERA: Yes, the other aspect there is then accountability. Where is that accountability? Rosa Flores, thank you for your report.
In California, people are so impatient to get back to business as usual and so eager to get back to the beaches that thousands of protesters turned out in large numbers at the state capital and even near the popular Huntington Beach pier. They are furious that California officials who are so far keeping many businesses and beaches closed.
CNN's Paul Vercammen is there right now in Huntington Beach.
Paul, California's governor today saying he is likely within days, not weeks, of easing stay-at-home restrictions there. Is that doing anything to bring down the anger level?
PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, they're still frustrated. They think they've been picked on here in Orange County, and an unfolding scene behind me, Ana, they have been warning people to get out of the water and off the beach and we should tell you that this morning, when there was much higher surf, by the way, the weather was cooperating, ankle slappers as they would say in California, that has driven people out of the water, as have all of these warnings from the police. They don't want to give anybody a citation so they're asking them to leave, and we've seen them do it.
But what a dust-up over this beach, Huntington Beach, and many others. They went to court late yesterday, fighting it out. Orange County and other officials say that the governor had overstepped his reach, but the attorney general representing the governor saying, look, this is not a matter of overstepping or singling out. This is a matter of a pandemic.
Nevertheless, you have the surfers here in Orange County. For them, it's a birthright to be able to go to the beach.
We caught up with some of them who are on their way for some morning surf to enjoy the waves and here's what they had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAMANTHA SUTTERFIELD, SURFER: I almost cried, like, I was super sad and upset. I just bought this new surfboard and then, like, the next day, they were going to close the beaches.
GREG FRANK, SURFER: It felt a little targeted. It felt really like he was focusing on Orange County, specifically, because of what happened last weekend, and, you know, it was unfortunate just because I felt like the ban in California was a little patchy. Right, some counties were more closed like San Diego and L.A. County were closed so people came here, right?
If we would have done a fair, even close on all beaches, that would have been more fair.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VERCAMMEN: And so, San Diego County is open, and what people here in Orange County are saying is, why can't we open up under the same conditions of, let's say, Ventura County or San Diego County, point us in the right direction. The judge told lawyers from both sides, look, it's in your best interest to talk this out.
So perhaps with Governor Newsom indicating that things could change next week, there could be some sort of conversation to end this beach ban, this dramatic beach ban in orange county.
Back to you now, Ana.
CABRERA: OK, Paul Vercammen there for us in Huntington Beach -- thanks.
More than half of U.S. states are now partially back open.
CNN's Brian Todd has a look at how different businesses are trying to keep people safe across the country.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At a waffle house in Atlanta, they've got red tape across some booths where it's no go. Some of the stools are marked off limits and the cooks and servers are all wearing masks. An X on the floor marks a spaced waiting area.
At the Federal American Grill in Houston, the owner's ticking through a similar checklist.
MATT BRICE, OWNER-OPERATOR, FEDERAL AMERICAN GRILL: Disposable menus, masks, gloves. We have different color linens on our tables. So, if it has a black linen on it right now, then we're not seating it. And then if it has a white linen on it, we're seating it.
TODD: Across the U.S., thousands of businesses are drawing up and taking through extensive, sometimes exhaustive checklists for reopening. Some have done it on their own. Others are being told by local officials, if you want to reopen, these are the things you'll have to do every day.
MIKE DUGGAN, DETROIT, MICHIGAN MAYOR: You'll test your employees first to make sure they are negative. You will do temperature checks every day as they come into work. You will wear masks in the workplace. That's the way it's going to be for a while.
TODD: At airports where concourses are empty, planes are parked idol, and pilots get packets with wipes and masks. Some airlines will now leave all middle seats unoccupied and offer masks for every passenger. JetBlue is making masks mandatory for all passenger. Restaurants represent multi-faceted challenges.
DR. JAMES PHILLIPS, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL: There is going to be spacing out between the tables and reduced occupancy within the restaurants, as well as shielding of the workers from the food. They may be requirements that you wash your hands immediately upon entering the restaurant.
TODD: Possibly hand sanitizer at every table. Plexiglass barriers for cashiers already seen at many stores, could be part of each managers checklist for reopening. Or even plexiglass between people at tables. Look for more businesses to go cashless.
For offices, items on the checklist include more spacing between employees. Staggered shifts when possible.
Managers in the U.S. could tap into the creativity shown in other countries. Vending machines in subways in Germany and streets in France sell masks. Police in China are even testing helmets with built-in temperature scanners. And one public health expert says, restaurants in Hong Kong he went to in January, even had how-to sessions for customers.
GAVIN MACGREGOR-SKINNER, GLOBAL BIORISK ADVISORY COUNCIL: Every time I went into a restaurant, they would take my temperature for me. When I sat down, they would explain, here's the knife, fork and spoon that's used to pick up the food. This is the separate knife, fork and spoon that's going to be used to put the food in your mouth.
TODD (on camera): Experts say businesses and local governments have to factor in a significant potential problem with planning on some of these measures.
Already things like thermometers, hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes and masks are tough to get. And if restaurants and other businesses have to do things like put hand sanitizer at every station or table, that's going to create much more of a crush on the supply chain. So businesses have to figure that out with their local governments.
Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.
CABRERA: Now, experts predict we may have to endure this new normal brought on by the coronavirus for up to two more years. A team of pandemic experts reports this virus is likely to spread for another 18 to 24 months. They add the virus likely won't stop until it affects 60 percent to 70 percent of people worldwide.
With us now is Dr. Rochelle Walensky. She's the chief of the division of infectious diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital. And Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency room physician and former Baltimore health commissioner.
Dr. Walensky, how do you think they arrived at this estimate? Have we ever seen a coronavirus infect two-thirds of the world?
DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, CHIEF, DIVISION OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES, MASSACHUSETTS GENERAL HOSPITAL: Right, good afternoon, Ana. It's -- this is a terrific analysis, actually, that was -- resulted in a white paper by infectious disease epidemiologists and pandemic experts. You know, they looked at the fact that there was a reasonable amount of asymptomatic transmission from this virus, that looked at what the incubation period was and then the transmissibility, which is an epidemiologic term called the R-naught.
And we looked at those three factors, they estimated that about 70 percent of herd immunity, assuming that there is immunity from this, would need to be required. From a numbers -- a pure numbers standpoint, which is really quite scary, we are really distraught by the 1.1 million Americans but these numbers actually mean that you would have to have 230 million Americans who have had this disease before we had herd immunity in the absence of a vaccine.
CABRERA: So do you agree with this analysis?
WALENSKY: From the epidemiology that we have seen, the R-naught for this virus is around 2 to 3, and yes, that is what the math tells us, is that you would need somewhere between 50 percent to 67 percent herd immunity for us to be able to stop this transmission in the absence of other things, in the absence of the social distancing that we're doing, of the masks that we have, and whatnot.
CABRERA: Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds said this virus isn't going anywhere any time soon and that keeping businesses closed for weeks or months or perhaps longer won't change that fact, and it is simply not sustainable. That is a quote.
Dr. Wen, how do you respond to that sentiment and how do we realistically make reopening safe?
DR. LEANA WEN, EMERGENCY PHYSICIAN: Ana, I agree that we all actually want the same things. We want the economy to be reopened. We want for people to go back to their livelihoods.
But we also want people to have their lives, and there is a way for us to do both. There is a way for us to reopen safely. If we follow the data, the science, the evidence, and we focus on what are the capabilities that we have to have in place.
This is not a static picture. I agree with what Dr. Walensky said in terms of all these different factors that are in the way in terms of how transmittable this disease is but then we also know there is a way for us to rein in the infection. We have to have the testing. We have to have the contact tracing. We have to have the ability to quarantine. These are the core public health infrastructure.
We also have to stabilize our healthcare system to be able to handle the influx of patients, and we need to get the number of infections low enough that we can contain the infection within the U.S. There is a way for us to do that.
But I hope that the reopening decisions will be based on data, science, and evidence and that governors should set the expectation with their residents that if we see an increase in the number of cases again, that we may need to dial it back and impose these restrictions again, because this is about public health and public safety too.
CABRERA: But, Dr. Wen, how long, realistically, does it take to put those different pieces you just talked about in place?
WEN: It depends on the locale. I mean, there are some municipalities, like Los Angeles City, that are already beginning to do widespread testing. There are places, states like Massachusetts, California, that have really ramped up their contact tracing, Maryland as well.
And it's a question of -- this is a fine balance. We can start with some reopening measures while also really ramping up these other public health infrastructure, which is something that we need the federal government's assistance in wrapping up all across the country.
CABRERA: Dr. Walensky, as we've been reporting, there are now 32 states that have done some kind of partial reopening already.
Based on these reopenings we've seen, what states are getting it right?
WALENSKY: Well, you know, I would say without those measures in place that Dr. Wen has discussed, I would say we would -- I would be cautious that any of them have gotten it right.
I think one of the things that we really need to think about, as we talk about reopening, is what might happen and how -- what would be the measures if we needed to reclose. This analysis that was just -- that was just put forward really does suggest that we have some waves ahead of us that we really need to look to the medical systems to see if they have the capacity to tolerate more surges and that we really need to be economically, logistically, and quite literally emotionally ready for the fact that this may happen again, especially as we head into flu season in the fall and winter.
CABRERA: Dr. Walensky and Dr. Wen, ladies, thank you so much.
WALENSKY: Thank you.
CABRERA: Let me take you live to the National Mall now. It's pretty empty now. That is not what it looked like earlier. Huge crowds gathering to watch a flyover of the Blue Angels and the Thunder Birds, raising concerns about the lack of social distancing. We'll get a live report.
And later, ESPN host Stephen A. White on all those -- sorry, Stephen a. Smith on all those reports about what the NBA may do to salvage a season that ended abruptly.
You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
CABRERA: It started as a tribute to healthcare workers, but this picture of crowds packing the National Mall to watch a flyover of the Blue Angels and Thunder Birds is raising concerns because of the lack of social distancing. We're told there weren't a whole lot of people wearing masks outs there.
CNN's Sarah Westwood is in the nation's capital for us.
Sarah, the Blue Angels, security officials, they all asked people not to congregate at the Mall to view this flyover and yet looked like there were big crowds out there.
SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: That's right, Ana. Pictures appear to show fairly substantial crowds here at the National Mall to watch that flyover just a few hours ago here in the nation's capital. As you can see behind me, there are still a fairly substantial number of people out here on the mall, mostly practicing social distancing. Of course, it is a beautiful day, one of the first that we've had in a while so that's probably contributing to the number of people who wanted to leave their homes today.
The Blue Angels and the Thunder Birds, as you mentioned, were performing the flyover here in D.C. in honor of essential workers, in honor of doctors and nurses. I was there earlier today, watched from beside the Capitol building behind me and generally from what I could see, people were trying to stay six feet apart as they were watching. And, of course, that was much more difficult as people headed on to the sidewalks heading home after the flyover was over. About half of the people were wearing masks.
But D.C. officials have said that it's not at all clear that cases of the virus in Washington have peaked. There have been nearly 4,800 cases, positive cases of coronavirus here in D.C. and 240 people have died.
Now, flyovers today also occurred in Baltimore and Atlanta, in Atlanta, images also appear to show clusters of people gathering in Piedmont Park to watch that flyover so it wasn't just in D.C. that we saw that happening.
But there is a stay-at-home order in place in Washington until at least May 15th. That could, of course, be extended, so even though parts of the country are shifting toward looking at reopening, Ana, that is not the case here in Washington where we saw people gathering today.
CABRERA: We heard from the D.C. mayor on Thursday, reporting the largest increase in daily deaths from coronavirus in that jurisdiction. So this is certainly not over for the folks there or any of the rest of the country.
Sarah Westwood, thank you for your reporting.
Could sports return with a quarantine zone?
ESPN host Stephen A. Smith joins us on the future of the industry as a whole, next.
And live pictures of Huntington Beach, California, an empty beach after the governor ordered all beaches in Orange County closed.
CABRERA: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he wants baseball. Major League Soccer announced it's opening outdoor facilities for individual workouts. Could basketball be ready to resume its season, interrupted tantalizingly close to the big finish?
It has been about seven weeks since the league abruptly shut down. In the times since, reports have swirled about a quarantine zone where games could be played. According to ESPN, Las Vegas has been a popular idea with the MGM Grand as one option.
But the idea of the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, has gained momentum. Regardless of location, there are a lot of logistics to figure out, including who gets to be inside the quarantine bubble and how much testing would be needed.
Now, one thing is certain. The costs of not having sports in general has been staggering. An analysis by ESPN found the sudden disappearance of sports in general will erase at least $12 billion in revenue and hundreds of thousands of jobs. The numbers include everything from the price of a ticket and a hot dog to the money you spend taking your daughter to an out of state soccer tournament, according to ESPN.
A crisis with the potential to wipe out, among other things, more than $3.2 billion that fans would have spent on pro sports, $2.2 billion in national TV revenue, and $371 million in wages for arena workers like ticket takers and beer vendors. And that's to say nothing of the loss for college and youth sports.
Joining us now is ESPN host Stephen A. Smith.
Stephen, first on the NBA, do you think we'll see the season salvaged by creating a bubble zone for teams to play?
STEPHEN A. SMITH, ESPN HOST: I definitely do believe that. I've been saying that for several weeks now. I think it's one of those situations where you're the NBA, you're definitely going to take the advice of medical professionals and what-have-you and do what's in the best interest of everybody concerned from a health perspective but the economics of the situation have to be considered, obviously, as well.
And so, what you have is a situation where whether it's players, coaches, general managers, president of basketball operations, owners, a lot whom I've spoken to, they're hell-bent on making sure they have a season, if at all possible, not at the risk of endangering an abundance of people. Please don't get me wrong. Safety first always.
But in the end, they're confident they'll be able to have something because you have to remember, 85 percent of the season was completed or at least 75 percent of the season was completed prior to the league being suspended.
[16:30:00] Their mentality is, you sacrifice the rest of the season, come back, prepare yourself for about a week or two practicing and what have you and then you go about the business of having an NBA playoff.
Certainly, you're not contemplating having it with anyone in attendance because that would be too risky. But for the players themselves to play without fans in attendance, knowing that millions upon millions of people will be watching it over the national television air waves, that is something that would suffice.
They obviously have discussed it. And the players themselves, like LeBron James, that articulated over social media earlier in the week, the players themselves are preparing themselves to be ready to have a post season in all likelihood beginning in early July and going through the month of August.
CABRERA: As you mentioned, you know, all of the officials, I've spoken to as well, the team owners, like Mark Cuban or Michael Ruben, you know, they've all said, safety first. And yet, we saw the NBA send out this leaguewide memo asking teams to not test all players and staff for coronavirus.
The optics, obviously, wouldn't look good if they all got tested and there are testing issues elsewhere, where people can't get the tests that are needed, but we do know that asymptomatic people can spread the virus.
The NBA had one P.R. disaster when it was revealed that the Los Angeles Lakers received and were returning a Payroll Protection Loan from the government.
I mean, is the NBA worried that testing young, healthy players would just lead to another public outcry while so many are sick and vulnerable?
SMITH: Well, they're concerned about everything. No stone is going unturned. I think that when you look at the national basketball association, it's widely recognized as having one of the great commissioners we've ever seen in Adam Silver.
Obviously, Chris Paul is the president of the players association for the NBA. He's widely respected. He's communicating with Adam Silver at least on a weekly basis. They've taken all of these things into consideration.
And of course, you're going to take into account safety because all of these guys have families, whether it's siblings, parents, wives, children, et cetera, et cetera. They are a multitude of people to consider, not just themselves.
But in the end, you do have to ask yourself, at what point do you move forward? We're being told that a vaccine may be a year away.
SMITH: That the proliferation of testing, obviously, is something that's a priority right now and you're hopeful that that's going to continue, but when is that going to come about the business of transpiring and then you have to take into account the economics.
Once again, when we think about the players themselves, everybody's thinking about multi-million-dollar professional athletes getting paid, being on national television for the purposes of entertainment.
What they're not remembering is the kind of things you articulated leading into this segment, which is that the professional sports leagues employ hundreds upon hundreds of thousands of people, $12 billion in excess of that has been lost. The economics of the situation is a reality that everybody's going to face.
So, do you standstill and wait for the government to send you a check and think that they're going to subsidize and help you sustain or elevate your quality of life? Are you going to watch that deteriorate before your very eyes?
The players themselves may not have that to worry about, but the people employed by the league, living check to check, whether it's the National Football League, Major League Baseball, the NBA, UFC, boxing, et cetera.
SMITH: These are all things that are being asked, which is why people are preparing themselves to move forward. Because they know they can't stand still and do nothing but wait for a vaccine. They're not going to do that.
CABRERA: Let me ask you about another sport, because Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, told a radio station he wants baseball to get back on the field. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY) (voice-over): I called the commissioner of baseball a couple weeks ago and I said, America needs baseball. It's a sign of getting back to normal. Any chance?
And you may have heard there's discussion about having an abbreviated season beginning around the Fourth of July, where the teams would either play at their spring training sites in Arizona or Florida or play at home to largely empty stadiums.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Baseball isn't as much of a contact sport as basketball or football. Does that give it a better shot of returning before the others?
SMITH: I think, to some degree, it does, not ahead of the NBA, because remember, you're talking about the truncated season with the NBA or at least just the NBA playoffs. So, you're talking about seven to eight weeks of professional basketball on a playoff level being played. And then after that, you obviously go into the off season and instead
of planning oncoming back in October, they contemplated moving the start of the season back to December. By that time, you would hope that things have improved exponentially to the point where you can move forward and we'd be in a better situation.
When you look at baseball, is it a contact sport? Absolutely not. I've articulated that point of view on several occasions over the last couple months that baseball could come back. Basketball, to a lesser degree, the athletes could find themselves handling their travel or what have you.
Tennis could come back. Golf could come back. UFC and boxing, even though it's a combat sport, it's not a multitude of people participating as combatants. It's just one-on-one.
So there's a plethora of sports that could come back into the mix. Everybody recognizes that. Nobody doubts that.
Plus, you're not talking about having fans in attendance. If anybody were going to be in attendance outside of people employed by the league and employed to work these events, it would be close family members of the participants involved since you'd be talking about them being isolated to some degree.
That's why you heard the commissioner of the NBA and the NBA league office allude to the need of at least 15,000 tests that needed to be available in order for the NBA in all likelihood to return.
And one of the players actually brought this up to me yesterday, Ana. They said a lot of people are talking about the coronavirus. It's obviously a very, very serious matter. But one of the things that has gone unnoticed is that you have people with other ailments, other illnesses that have flown under the radar and they've been ignored.
Why is it important? Because they're not even leaving their homes to get their other health issues addressed because of the fear that the coronavirus has instilled. And that's where you have -- that's the kind of stuff you have people talking about.
And those are the kind of things that have been taken into consideration before they've reached this conclusion that, indeed, they're hell bent on making sure there's some kind of post-season action taking place and there's some kind of sports that would return to our television screens.
CABRERA: The trickle-down impact has so many facets to it.
Stephen A. Smith, good to have you here. Thank you very much for taking the time with us.
SMITH: Thank you. Hope you and yours are safe.
CABRERA: You, too. Be well. In a rare trip, the president has left the White House for the first
time in over a month, leaving his staff to defend his move to block Dr. Anthony Fauci from testifying before a Democratic-led House. Why the White House calls it "counterproductive."
And live pictures out of Miami. People out on the water just two days before Florida begins phase one of its reopening.
You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
CABRERA: The White House is blocking Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, from testifying before a House committee about the administration's coronavirus response. We have learned, however, that as of now, the president will allow Dr. Fauci to testify before a Senate committee two weeks from now.
CNN White House Correspondent, Jeremy Diamond, is live outside the White House for us.
Jeremy, why allow Dr. Fauci to testify before this Senate committee in a couple of weeks but not a House committee next week?
JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, I just heard from the White House press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany. She was explaining this way. She said the chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee spoke with the White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, and Meadows sought more information about what the subject matter covered would be.
And McEnany said they offered a vague response and suggested it was about HHS funding, which they felt was not the appropriate topic for Dr. Fauci to speak about.
The House Appropriations Committee has characterized this as the White House blocking this testimony and suggesting that there's no real grounds for them to do so.
The White House press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, told me that they would be open to allowing administration officials to testify before the House in the future but says -- but she said it needed to be in good faith. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAYLEIGH MCENANY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We're working in good faith. We're working in good faith. And yes, we want to work with the House to ensure that they do get the witnesses that they're asking for. But these need to be requests that make sense and not publicity stunts, which is what this was, as it was leaked that we were blocking Dr. Fauci, which just simply was not the case.
(END VIDEO CLIP) DIAMOND: And McEnany suggested Fauci might be able to testify before that committee in the future if they do get more information. But we know this administration does have a track record of blocking officials in this administration from testifying on sensitive matters.
Dr. Fauci, of course, has been more forthcoming than many other administration officials in terms of discussing and describing some of the administration's failings in the response to the coronavirus pandemic, particularly on that sore subject of testing.
CABRERA: Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, and House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, have just issued a joint statement about coronavirus tests for Congress members and Capitol Hill staff. Jeremy, what are they saying?
DIAMOND: That's right. This is a rare joint statement from the top two leaders on Capitol Hill, a Democrat and a Republican. And they are essentially saying that, as the country continues to scale up this testing, they don't want to be taking any testing that is not available across the country.
The president, of course, in a tweet, had offered this morning to send over that rapid Abbott Lab testing over to the House and the Senate after the Capitol Hill physician said that they didn't have enough testing to test all 100 Senators, let alone all of those members of the House.
So it appears for now that the House and the Senate are declining the White House's offer to send over those rapid Abbott Lab tests.
The White House press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, was just gaggling with us on the White House lawn a few moments ago. She said that that's McConnell and Pelosi's decision to make. And it appears for now that the White House is accepting that decision -- Ana?
CABRERA: Jeremy Diamond, at the White House for us, thank you.
Let's head to Atlanta. Live look downtown where, just a week after hair salons, gyms, and bowling alleys reopened, the state is now reporting a spike in more than 1,200 new cases.
You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED PARAMEDIC: The amount of people that we're pronouncing dead at home are astronomical. Anybody who says they're not scared during this is lying to you. But this is what we signed up for so ultimately you have to do your job when it comes down to it.
(END VIDEO CLIP) CABRERA: There's an enormous need right now for medical specialists who deal with the deeper but very powerful impact on the nation's mental health during this crisis.
And I want to get Dr. Christine Moutier in here. She's a psychiatrist and chief medical officer for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
Dr. Moutier, even physicians are victims of this unprecedented public emergency. We reported on an E.R. doctor who died by suicide just this week. Her sister said she was just overwhelmed by the magnitude of this pandemic and felt helpless that she couldn't save more people. Hers, of course, is an extreme, very tragic case.
But help us understand what this doctor might have been going through.
DR. CHRISTINE MOUTIER, PSYCHIATRIST & CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER, AMERICAN FOUNDATION FOR SUICIDE PREVENTION: Sure, Ana. Thank you so much for having me on to talk about mental health.
So, of course, all health care professionals and those on the front line right now, physicians, nurses, really any essential worker are human beings, and so all of them, all of us, have our own health and mental health in addition to needing to do our jobs. That's true for all of us, of course.
And you know, we have genetic vulnerabilities. We might have had early trauma. We have a host of factors just like any human being does.
But another thing to consider is that part of our identity as health professionals is to help and to heal. And I think what is particularly tough right now for those who are on the front line is they are, in many cases, feeling overwhelmed and being overwhelmed. And that sense of identity and need to help others can be overwhelmed, and really is -- can struggle right now.
You know, related to the topic of physician suicide and actually suicide in general, it's really important to understand that it's actually never one cause, that there are multiple risk factors that come together, but ultimately, also, suicide can be prevented.
So it really is a time when we need to be paying attention to our own health and mental health and wellbeing and caring for those around us and being very supportive of people around us.
CABRERA: So, let me ask you about what's happening inside so many American families right now. Chances are good they are grieving a personal loss, the worst being the loss of a loved one.
But there's kind of grief taking place, so many plans, hopes, dreams for 2020 are now gone, too. No graduations, weddings, or proms. Trips are scrapped. What is the impact of that and how can we work through this constructively? MOUTIER: Well, all of that does amount to different types of loss that
people are experiencing on different levels, just like you said, Ana. And grief and loss are real. They are painful. And it's OK to feel those emotions.
It's also really important right now because this is a global pandemic to realize that you are not alone. You actually have -- you stand connected to a host of an entire community that is experiencing different types of losses in this way.
You know, some things that you can do to take care of yourself are protect your sleep. Remember that whatever your level of loss is, just staying in the moment and breathing through it, it's a time to give yourself a lot more compassion and also to try to extend that compassion and grace towards those around you.
So, it's that we can get through it together and especially if we're connecting with each other about what we are experiencing in our loss. It's very important that we talk about those things.
CABRERA: We've seen people in tears at food donation banks saying they had never expected to be in need of food donations. And 30 million Americans have filed unemployment benefits in just the past six weeks.
What is the psychological component of having one's life suddenly upended like that and filled with so much uncertainty?
MOUTIER: Well, right. And that level of change in a sudden way that you had not anticipated is truly difficult. It creates anxiety when we feel like we're not in control.
But it is also important to remember that that is a natural experience and it's OK to feel it. It's OK to struggle right now with the painful feelings, with the losses that we mentioned.
You know, I would remind people that we are, as human beings, incredibly resilient at the core. We can adapt no matter the circumstance. And so, remembering that, you can allow yourself to adapt to what may be a new norm even though it was -- it's not a welcome situation.
It won't be forever, most likely, as well. And so allowing yourself to adapt to that can really help.
And again, realizing that, especially if you're somebody who's prone to shame, feeling embarrassed at your situation, please know, again, you are not alone. There are so many who are suffering the same types of unexpected consequences of this pandemic.
And feeling that connectedness with others may be able to help you get beyond that this is not something that you need to be feeling ashamed about.
CABRERA: You're right. We can be vulnerable with each other and then lean on each other to just commiserate in some cases but also provide the support to get us through. Dr. Christine Moutier, it's so great to have you here and have that
important conversation. Thank you.
MOUTIER: Thank you, Ana.
CABRERA: Be well.
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