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Marc Benioff, Salesforce Chairman & CEO, Discusses States Relaxing Restrictions as Key Models Project More Deaths; As States Reopen Economies Dr. Fauci Says Expect a "Rebound"; Trump on Models Predicting High Death Rates: "With No Mitigation"; Dr. Amesh Adalja Discusses Trump Downplaying Models Projecting Significant Death Increases While Reopening States; Pfizer Begins Human Trials for Coronavirus Vaccine; Intel from U.S. Allies Contradicts Trump Claim Coronavirus Originated in Wuhan Lab; Trump's DNI Pick, John Ratcliffe, Tells Senate Intel Committee He'll Keep I.C. Focused on How Coronavirus Started; Ratcliffe: Whistleblowers Will Get Full Protection Under the Law; Dr. Crystal Watson Discusses Contact Tracing Critical in Reopening Economy. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired May 5, 2020 - 11:00   ET



MARC BENIOFF, CHAIRMAN & CEO, SALESFORCE: The first phase, the 90-day crisis, we're coming to a close there where we've all been in our homes.

The second phase, which is probably an 18-month phase of really recovery, and during that phase, you know, we're going to be going back to work safely. And then a new normal a year and a half from now.

In each phase we have to do things ourselves as companies, but also the government has to take action in each phase.

You saw in the first phase there was tremendous stimulus applied. In the second phase, we'll need more stimulus. And we'll need stimulus to reset the rehiring of all these workers.

That is going to be a critical next step for the government.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Marc Benioff, I so appreciate your time. We'll have you back. And good luck and thank you.

BENIOFF: Thank you, Poppy. Stay safe.

HARLOW: Thanks, Marc.

Thank you all for being with us. We'll see you back tomorrow. I'm Poppy Harlow.


"NEWSROOM" with John King starts right now.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan. Thank you so much for joining me this hour.

This hour, President Trump is on his way back on Air Force One for the first time since the end of March amidst the coronavirus pandemic. He's headed to Arizona where he'll be visiting a facility that's making masks for health care workers.

Arizona is one of many states reopening in some way this week. As of today, at least 42 states have relaxed at least some of their stay-at- home restrictions just as Dr. Anthony Fauci offers this warning: Expect a rebound.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY & INFECTIOUS DISEASES: When you have mitigation that's containing something, and unless it's down in the right direction, and you pull back prematurely, you're going to get a rebound of cases.


BOLDUAN: And with that, Dr. Fauci says the country is facing a choice that is honestly tough to stomach.


FAUCI: It's the balance of something that's a very difficult choice, like how many deaths and how much suffering are you willing to accept to get back to what you want to be, some form of normality, sooner rather than later?


BOLDUAN: CNN's Jeremy Diamond is live at the White House joining me now.

We just heard from the president speaking to reporters as he was on his way out. Jeremy, he had a lot to say when he left the White House. What sticks out to you?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: He certainly did, Kate. And one of the main questions I and other reporters asked the question about was about these new models showing increased projections of numbers of deaths caused by coronavirus in the United States as some of the states as they begin to reopen their economies.

The president, though, seemed unfazed by that, and he claimed these projections were based on no mitigation. Listen.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, it's a report and that's a report with no mitigation. So based on no mitigation, but we're doing a lot of mitigation.

And frankly, when the people report back, they're going to be social distancing, and they're going to be washing their hands and they're going to be doing the things that you're supposed to do.

We won't be going into stadiums full bore yet, you know, for events and soccer and football and all of the different events. Baseball, I hope baseball can get going. But they won't be going in full bore yet. At some point, hopefully, in the not too distance future.

But that report is a no-mitigation report, and we are mitigating.


DIAMOND: And now, Kate, the president there was referring to that Johns Hopkins University model, which the researcher in charge of that has said it was not complete and he's not sure why it was included in this CDC and FEMA report that has been used internally inside the government. The White House, of course, has distanced itself from that.

But I also asked the president, Kate, about the IMHE model, which we know the White House has repeatedly relied on, and that report is showing a doubling of deaths by August to 134,000 deaths. The president also gave me the same answer there in talking about no mitigation.

That's just not true -- Kate?

BOLDUAN: That's right.

DIAMOND: This latest modeling is not about no mitigation. It's about relaxed mitigation, relaxed social distancing, and taking all of that into account as some of these states begin to reopen.

I asked the president also specifically about the fact that almost all of these states are reopening before meeting the president's own criteria for beginning to reopen. That is, a 14-day reduction in the number of new cases. Almost all of those states that are beginning to reopen have not met that criteria.

The president said he's giving these governors a lot of leeway. He's going to be watching the situation closely. And he said, if he sees something he doesn't like, he's going to step in and intervene -- Kate?

BOLDUAN: Jeremy, you asked a critical question there, and let's hit on it one more time. When you asked about the IMHE model, this is the model the White House has relied on and leaned heavily on all along. And it very clearly assumed mitigation, full mitigation, at one point.

And the reason the number is jumping, as you well pointed out, is because they're now accounting for states reopening and people not following the mitigation rules that are in place in the states that haven't even reopened.

And he still -- I don't know if he didn't get it or didn't understand it, but he's got it wrong.

Yes, he certainly does. Look, this is how the president has reacted to these models in the past, right? He likes to downplay them. He likes to look toward the modeling that shows a more positive trajectory.


But we should note the IMHE model has actually been the most conservative in terms of projecting the number of deaths going forward. And the president we know has shifted repeatedly on the projection of deaths. A couple weeks ago, he was saying 50,000 to 60,000, And now that we're about at 69,000, the president is saying perhaps it's to 100,000.

The question we didn't get an answer to, Kate, is: How many deaths is the president willing to accept and what does he see as kind of the trade off in terms of how many additional deaths can you accept in order to reopen some of these states early?

BOLDUAN: That's some of the questions being posed not only by reporters but Dr. Anthony Fauci as well.

Thank you, Jeremy. Great stuff. Thank you for the reporting.

Joining me now, Dr. Amesh Adalja, senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.

Doctor Adalja, thank you for being here.

From what we heard from the president, Jeremy laid out pretty clearly -- we'll see, maybe the president misheard the question, I don't know -- on the IMHE model.

But I want to ask you about the IMHE model and the projected deaths. Doubling in August to 134,000, which means right now the country is only halfway there from some perspectives. What is your reaction to that?

DR. AMESH ADALJA, SENIOR SCHOLAR, JOHNS HOPKINS CENTER FOR HEALTH SECURITY: The IMHE model does account for some degree of mitigation. It actually takes cell phone data, looking at mobility data of people and uses that for its projection.

The fact is, it's actually looking at what people's behavior patterns are, so it does account for what social distancing people are doing. In that sense it is valid.

And we all know that as you peel back social distancing restrictions, you are going to see more people interacting and you're going to get more cases and more deaths. That's inevitable. That's a fact.

And I think then the question becomes, what is that tradeoff and how do you balance that, and that's a larger societal policy type question.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely. And you're getting it, what Dr. Fauci laid out.

Let me play the sound bite at the top of the show which is a stark choice he's laying out: How many deaths, how much suffering are you or is the country, is society willing to accept to get back to what you want as some form of normalcy? What do you make of that choice that seems to be presented right now?

ADALJA: It's a horrible choice to make because this isn't something good. This isn't something we've succeeded in doing. This has always been about trying to make sure we got to a place where hospital capacity was preserved. And that seems to have been a problem that we solved, although, we do worry about things slipping back into hot spot status like New York City.


ADALJA: But for many parts of the country, they never were hot spots, and their hospital capacity is OK. So now the question is, how do you decide what to do here, because you have this economic shutdown, which eventually is leading to disruptions in other medical care, colonoscopy, cervical cancer screenings, breast cancer screenings, chemotherapy, mental health. There's a whole list of things getting behind and it's going to leave a mark.

You have to try to find some middle way because the virus isn't going anywhere. This is endemic in the human population. It's going to be a threat until we have a vaccine. And this will be part of people's risk tolerance they have to think about.

On the society level, we have to think about what's an acceptable number of deaths here? Obviously, nobody wants these deaths to occur, but this is a virus that's not going anywhere. And we have to try to make these decisions carefully. There's no black-and-white answer here. It's all gray and no good choices.


One other thing the president said gets to something that, honestly, you and I talk about every time you're on the show, and I wonder if we're going to talk about it one more time, which is testing, lack of testing, the need for testing.

The president said -- at one point, he said, "We have the best testing of anywhere in the world, not even close. The antibody tests, you see what's going on with that. Look, we have so much testing, I don't think you need that kind of testing and that much testing, but some people disagree with me."

What do you say to that?

ADALJA: The whole goal has not been to test everybody a million times a day or everybody being tested. I don't like coming up with a big number, but the point is doctors and people have to be comfortable ordering tests and not worrying about supply chain issues and not worrying about what their hospital is going to say. I think we're getting there in many parts.

I would say, over the last several weeks it's become easier for me to order tests for people. And I haven't had much pushback from people. And I think we're getting there.

But the point is we want to test for this the way we test for HIV, that you can do it without worrying. That's not the case in many parts of the country where you have governors trying to import tests. We have a patchwork of testing across the country, and we to get to routine tests.

I'm sitting in Pittsburgh and we're getting more routine tests. But that's not the case in other parts of the country. But that's really what we need to go to.

BOLDUAN: And a reminder to everybody, most states have not met the CDC benchmark of that 14-day downward trajectory in new cases. That was a benchmark set very early on, and it has not shifted, it has not changed.


So when I hear Dr. Fauci offer up a warning, which is, if you open prematurely, you should expect a rebound, should people on some level not be surprised about how really terrifying these new projections are? Because it's been out there, what should be met before you reopen and the danger if you do it too soon.

ADALJA: The models were not a surprise to me. I knew that's what they would predict. This is a virus, like I said, it's in the human population. It's going to spread. As long as it has an opportunity to spread, it's going to spread. When you increase interaction between people, it's just a simple biological fact that it's going to spread from person to person.

So you ideally want to be at a better place when you open, and there's two criteria, actually. Cases can be going down over a 14-day period or the percent positive of the tests, if your tests are at the correct level, if they're not going down, the number of tests you're doing.

There are two gating criteria in that testing part. And some of the states are opening premature based on the gating criteria and you're going to risk a second surge of cases. Hopefully, it won't compromise their hospital capacity.

BOLDUAN: That's the next thing you have to look at.

Doctor Adalja, it's always good to have you on. Thank you.

ADALJA: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Now to an important new development in the race for coronavirus vaccine, as Dr. Adalja was saying, that's where we need to get. Pharmaceutical company, Pfizer, says it has started a human clinical trial with participants in the United States.

CNN senior medical correspondent, Elizabeth Cohen, is following that. She's with me now.

Elizabeth, what can you tell me about this?

DR. ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: These are one of several companies doing clinical trials. There are seven in the world doing human clinical trials, according to the World Health Organization. Three in the U.S., this is one of them, three in China and one in the U.K.

So let's take a look at Pfizer's news today. Pfizer said they have now vaccinated their first U.S. participants. These are folks at NYU and the University of Maryland who received these doses of vaccines. They plan to enroll up to 360 participants. Twelve participants have already been vaccinated with this Pfizer vaccines in Germany because they partnered with a company called Bio Entech.

If we look again, at the vaccines in clinical trials around the world, three in the U.S., including this one, three in China and one in the U.K. It is really good news we have so many companies -- and there are some in the works -- who are doing clinical trials.

What is does is it gives us a variety of approaches. Different companies are using different vaccine technology. And we're hoping a few of them -- we don't need a ton of them -- but that several of them work so we can have a vaccine as soon as possible -- Kate?

BOLDUAN: Thank you, Elizabeth.

Coming up for us, President Trump doubling down on his claim that the coronavirus may have started in a lab in Wuhan, China. Up next, a new report that U.S. allies are sharing intelligence that contradicts the president's take on this.

And later, experts say tracing the contacts, contract tracing of people with COVID-19 is an essential and critical step in safely reopening the economy. I'm going to talk to the author of a new report who says a massive amount of these contact tracers are needed.



BOLDUAN: This morning new intelligence from several key U.S. allies appears to contradict President Trump's claim of where the coronavirus originated, where it came from.

U.S. allies, including the U.K., Canada and New Zealand, sharing intelligence it is unlikely the virus came from a lab in Wuhan. The lab theory is what Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been pushing for days, claiming, quote, "a significant amount of evidence" backing that up.

Add now Dr. Anthony Fauci saying in an interview with "National Geographic" that the scientific evidence also leads him to believe that the virus did not result in a lab.

Here's how he put it, quote, "If you look at the evolution of the virus in bats and what's out there now, the scientific evidence is very, very strongly leaning toward this could not have been artificially or deliberately manipulated. Everything about the stepwise evolution over time strongly indicates that this virus evolved in nature and then jumped species." CNN's Alex Marquardt has crack reporting on all of this. He's joining

me now.

It's good to see you, Alex.

Just now on Capitol Hill, the president's pick to be the next director of National Intelligence was asked about all this. What did he say?

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Kate, it's really hard to imagine a more pressing time to have a permanent director of National Intelligence, a steady hand at the top of the Intelligence Community. There hasn't been a permanent director since last August.

What John Ratcliffe has said is that he will keep the Intelligence Community laser focused on the coronavirus response. The Intelligence Community is very much involved in that response, trying to trace the virus, and specifically trying to figure out exactly where it originated.

And what Ratcliffe told the Senate Intelligence Committee just a short time ago was that he would keep the I.C. focused on getting answers about how this happened, when this happened. Take a listen.


REP. JOHN RATCLIFFE (R-TX) & DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE NOMINEE: The immediate concern that I have is getting answers from the American people through the Intelligence Community. If confirmed, the Intelligence Community will be laser focused on getting all of the answers that we can regarding how this happened, when this happened.


And I commit to providing with as much transparency to you as the law will allow and with due regard for sources and methods that everything be provided as quickly as possible.


MARQUARDT: Kate, the question of where this virus originated isn't just intelligence, it's also politically.

Kate, the question of where this virus originated isn't just intelligence, it's also politically. In the Trump administration, the president, the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pushing this theory that the virus escaped from a lab rather than originating in a market.

And the Intelligence Committee for the U.S. has said that it is looking into both these theories, that it has evidence for both of those theories. But Kate, the U.S. is increasingly isolated on the international stage when it comes to questions over the origin of the virus.

BOLDUAN: And this gets to New York new reporting about what U.S. allies are saying about this theory the president is pushing. What are you learning? MARQUARDT: There's a growing consensus, a growing agreement among some

of the U.S.'s closest intelligence partners that it did not, in fact, come from the lab, it didn't escape from the lab, it wasn't an accident, but rather that it occurred naturally and came from that market, that it jumped from an animal to a human.

I spoke with a Western diplomatic source who has seen the intelligence that says it is highly unlikely it came from the lab, highly unlikely that it came from the market.

There's an intelligence sharing coalition called Five Eyes, of which the U.S. is a part, along with the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. And they are coming to an agreement, an assessment, that the virus did come from the market.

Now, Kate, we have to caution this is an assessment. That means there's no smoking gun. This is not 100 percent. And what that first official told me was that short of, cooperation and full transparency from China, you'll never get to a 100 percent answer -- Kate?

BOLDUAN: Back to Capitol Hill really quick. John Ratcliffe was also asked about whistleblower protection. What did he say about that?

MARQUARDT: This is quite notable. Kate, you'll remember the whole Ukraine investigation, the impeachment inquiry was launched after a whistleblower filed a complaint that was taken to the Intelligence Committees on Capitol Hill by the inspector general for the Intelligence Community.

And what Ratcliffe said is if he is confirmed as the director of National Intelligence that whistleblowers will get full protection under the law.

This is what he told the Senators just a short time ago.


RATCLIFFE: If confirmed as DNI, every whistleblower, past, present and future, will enjoy every protection under the law.

Whistleblowers are so important. A whistleblower in -- a doctor in China is one of the reasons we got an earlier warning. So I'll make that commitment to you, Senator.


MARQUARDT: And, Kate, Ratcliffe made a similar commitment to protect inspectors general. And that is hugely significant because the inspector general for the Intelligence Community, who took that Ukraine complaint to Congress, was just pushed out of the office as director of National Intelligence.

So there you have John Ratcliffe, the officer for DNI, promising to protect both whistleblowers and the inspector general -- Kate?

BOLDUAN: Alex, thank you so much for your reporting. Now to this. California's Governor Gavin Newsom is making steps toward

easting some stay-at-home restrictions, saying some retail businesses can open at the end of the week if they follow state social-distancing mandates.

Newsom, like many governors in the country, is stressing the importance of one aspect of any plan, in particular, any reopening plan, the need for a strong contact tracing program.


GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): This tracing, again, that's happening includes a work force of about 3,000 people today to provide the capacity to train upwards of 3,000 people a week to go through two phases in terms of building an army and a work force.

GOV. J.B. PRITZKER (D-IL): Illinois, the United States and, frankly, the whole world must contact trace on a never-before-seen scale.

ANDREW CUOMO, (D), NEW YORK GOVERNOR: And you do that contact tracing. And you are then reducing the infection spread.

MIKE DEWINE, (R), OHIO GOVERNOR: We're going to have really a very vigorous tracing program, about 1800 people around the state of Ohio. So that's one way that we think we can stay on top of this.


BOLDUAN: So contact tracing is a long-used public health tool of identifying and alerting those who may have been exposed to a contagious disease. The strategy has been used to control outbreaks like Ebola and SARS, certain STDs, tuberculosis.

Johns Hopkins University recently released a report saying the country will need at least 100,000 people on this task to prevent a resurgence of coronavirus.

Joining me now is the lead author of that study, Crystal Watson, a senior scholar at Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.


Crystal, thank you so much for coming in.

So 100,000 people, maybe even more. Why are so many -- in the research you did, what are you finding why so many people are needed to do this contact tracing the right way?

CRYSTAL WATSON, SENIOR SCHOLAR, JOHN HOPKINS CENTER FOR HEALTH SECURITY: Right. It's a combination of we need to bring down the incidence of this disease. We have it spreading wildly through our communities.

In countries that didn't have as much spread, they didn't need as many contact tracers. But because we had so much unrecognized spread around our country, we really need to get on top of it. So we need many more people to follow up on cases and find those contacts.

It's a very resource-intensive job, so we really need to scale up in a massive way that we've never seen in this country before.

BOLDUAN: And generally speaking for people, you heard the governors talk about the need for contact tracing. Why is this element so important to any reopening plan, any plan to keep the virus at bay?

WATSON: Right now, we're using really blunt tools that are these social distancing measures. But we do have a more precise tool in contact tracing.

What it does, when you find a case and are able to those contacts, ask those contacts to quarantine at home throughout the incubation period of the virus, that's how you can break chains of transmission.

So contacts, when they're quarantined at home, they're not out spreading the virus to others if they are infected. If that happens, the chain stops there and we don't go on infecting others and we can bring the incidence of disease down dramatically in our communities.

We really need this more precise tool if we're going to send people back to work.

BOLDUAN: The fact this virus can spread from people who are asymptomatic, does that change how effective contact tracing is with regard to this particular virus?

WATSON: It makes contact tracing more difficult. It makes case identification specifically more difficult. But it doesn't negate the effectiveness of contact tracing because, once you find a case that is symptomatic or even asymptomatic, if they test positive, you have them isolate, you trace their contacts.

Those contacts, when they're quarantined at home, it doesn't matter whether they develop symptoms or are asymptomatic, they are still out of circulation. They are out of the population. So they're not spreading it to others. So it's more difficult but not impossible.

BOLDUAN: You talk at least 100,000 people needed. How far behind is the United States? How big of a lift is that from where we are now?

WATSON: So before we started ramping up contact tracing work force efforts, we had a few thousand people across the U.S. who were doing contact tracing on a regular basis. That's what's been needed generally to fight other diseases.

In the last few weeks, according to an NPR survey, we have scaled up maybe in order of magnitude, so around 30,000 to 40,000 contact tracers are hired or are in the works of being hired. So we're getting there.

I'm pleased to hear the governors talking about contact tracing and committing to these efforts, but we still have a ways to go.

BOLDUAN: What do you say about privacy concerns? People might not be comfortable talking to someone or telling them about their health status or who they've been in touch with.

WATSON: Public health actually does this all the time with contact tracing. They're very practiced at handling potentially sensitive medical information. So it's not a new thing for them. And I think we can be confident that they will handle it well.

But I understand that people might be concerned. I would just remind people that this really is the best tool that we have to manage these epidemics of COVID. And if we don't do this, I believe what we're going to see is large surges in cases, large epidemics that may send us back under social-distancing measures.

It's also important to protect your friends and loved ones, because if you've been in contact with someone who is sick and you maybe don't even know it, I would personally want to know so that I can stay home, I'm not infecting people that I know and care about.

So it's protecting you. It's protecting others. And it's helping our public health system get on top of this.

BOLDUAN: Thank you for your work. And thanks for bringing it here. It was really interesting.

WATSON: Thanks very much, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Appreciate it.

Still ahead for us, the breaking food supply chain having a major impact on one of the country's largest fast-food companies now. Is this a sign of more shortages to come?


We'll be right back.