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New Hot Spots Emerging As States Loosen Restrictions; Trump: White House Coronavirus Task Force Will Keep Meeting, Change Focus; Gov. Steve Bullock (D-MT) Discusses The State's Fast Reopening Of Businesses, Schools; NYPD Officer On Modified Duty After Weekend Arrest; Coronavirus Devastates Travel Industry; Airbnb Laying Off 25 Percent Of Its Employees; Dr. Lloyd Minor, Stanford Medical School Dean, Discusses Stanford Clinical Trials on Remdesivir. Aired 11- 11:30a ET

Aired May 6, 2020 - 11:00   ET



POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Manu Raju, thanks for that reporting. Appreciate it.

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


"NEWSROOM" with Kate Bolduan starts right now.

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

At this point, everyone is wishing the pandemic was over and passed, of course, including the president, as he's making crystal clear in a new interview, but the facts on the ground are also crystal clear. It's not over. More than 71,000 Americans have been killed, 1.2 million Americans infected. And with that in mind, now look at it this way.

If you eliminate the New York metro area from the total count of new cases, you can see right there, infections are still climbing in the rest of the nation.

Still climbing, despite the fact that states across the country are starting to open up. And new hot spots are now popping up in states like Minnesota, Tennessee, Alabama, Nebraska.

One county in rural Tennessee now has the nation's highest per capita infection rate by far. And then there's Dallas County in Texas seeing its highest rate of cases for a second day in a row.

This is why public health experts are frustrated now, and now leaning on baseball metaphors.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DR. ASHISH JHA, DIRECTOR, HARVARD GLOBAL HEALTH INSTITUTE: I think we're sort of at the top of the third inning of a nine-inning baseball game. We have a long way to go. And this is not when the coach walks out and says we're done.

DR. MICHAEL OSTERHOLM, DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR INFECTIOUS DISEASE RESEARCH & POLICY, UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA: We're in the second inning of a nine-inning game. What we have seen so far is just the start.


BOLDUAN: Just the start. I know it's hard to imagine because it feels like it's completely disrupted your life for long time.

Joining me now, chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

Sanjay, what do you see here beneath these numbers when you were on with Dr. Jha, and when you hear from Michael Osterholm like that?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, the United States is sort of tough to paint it with one brush here. We saw New York, and we saw what's happened in New York. And possibly some glimmers of hope now with maybe some evidence of the backslide of that curve.

But there's many other places around the country where they seem to be having different waves and different peaks. We have sort of known that from the beginning.

The big question now, is this true migration, meaning are these people who have moved from other places where there's hot spots into places where, you know, they had relatively low levels of infection and now they're starting to grow infection in those areas, or are they -- we're just seeing these different sort of slow burns in other areas of the country?

We don't know for sure. I'm not sure it matters going forward. What is key is to make sure that these places that are starting to sort of increase in numbers can be controlled in some way.

And you know, as you know, it goes without saying, reopening is not the way to sort of control that slow burn.

BOLDUAN: I think Michael Osterholm also, who put it in an interesting way in an interview, he, of course, is the director of infectious disease, research, and policy at the University of Minnesota. He said, "It's not a leveling off. It's a painful handoff."

Is that what's going on here?

GUPTA: Yes, it seems to be. I mean, I think that -- I heard him say that as well. I think, you know, Michael Osterholm is certainly a guy we all would do well to listen to on these things because he's been pretty prophetic on this.

But that's right. He makes the point that it's sort of you're seeing the peaks of this, this pandemic shift around in the United States. And part of it is because of actual human migration to these various places. And part of it is we're seeing these peaks at different times.

He also talks about the fact, the last time the world really went through a pandemic like this one, you did see these waves. You saw a first wave and then a second wave and a third wave. That was the Spanish flu in 1918. I mean, sad as it is to think about, the second wave was the worst wave out of the Spanish flu pandemic.

So I think that's what he's alluding to as well. Could this country be in that situation again? We hope not. That's what we're trying to avoid.

BOLDUAN: Yes, and with that in mind, there's now confusion, Sanjay, over what's happening with the White House Coronavirus Task Force. You have the president saying this morning that the Coronavirus Task Force is not being disbanded, rather it's changing its focus to, as he put it in a tweet, "safety and opening the country up."

Do you think this is the moment the task force should be shifting focus?

GUPTA: No. I mean, it's very simple. You know, when we started the pause in this country, Kate -- I was looking this up last night -- there were some 4500 people who had been infected and around 70 people who had died. That was when we started the pause.

And now we're thinking about sort of ending the Coronavirus Task Force briefings when we're over 70,000 people. More than a thousand-fold more have died, and obviously, you can see the number of infections, which keeps changing on the side of the screen here.


I think, you know, that's the objective part of it. I think subjectively, there's these signals going out to the public. And I hear this all the time, Kate, look, we're essentially done with this. Right? The task force is being disbanded. The states are reopening.

I think, even if the task force is not being disbanded, I think it's important to keep reminding people that we need to stay vigilant on this right now, not think that this is over because we're trying to avoid, you know, these significant peaks in places all over the country.

I'm not sure that message is getting out there right now.


Good to see you, Sanjay.

GUPTA: You, too, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Programming note. Sanjay and Anderson Cooper will be hosting a CNN town global hall, tomorrow, joined by former vice president, Al Gore, and filmmaker, Spike Lee, for "CORONAVIRUS, FACTS AND FEARS," tomorrow night at 8:00 p.m.

So, Arkansas and Tennessee, they are two of the latest states to be lifting social distancing restrictions, moving to allow salons and barbershops to reopen today.

Another state that has been moving kind of ahead of the pack, faster than most in reopening is Montana. Restaurants, bars, casinos, breweries, they're now open there. Places of worship, retail stores are also open with limits. Starting tomorrow, even some schools will be allowed to bring students back to class.

Let's home in on that. Joining me right now is Montana's governor, Steve Bullock.

Governor, thank you for coming in.

Let's start with schools. Seven schools as I was reading are planning to reopen in your state this week. So 46 states and D.C. announced they're keeping schools closed for the rest of the year. All of them still working on plans for what they're going to do in the fall.

What has you confident it's safe for schools to open this week?

Governor, it's Kate Bolduan. Can you hear me?

I think we lost our connection with Governor Bullock. We'll try to reconnect.

We'll be right back.



BOLDUAN: Welcome back, everyone. I think we fixed the connection.

Joining me once again is Montana's Governor Steve Bullock.

Governor, I want to start with schools. You have most of the country announcing that they're keeping school closed for the rest of the school year. Schools -- some schools will be opening up in your state this week. What has you confident that you can open schools safely this week?

GOV. STEVE BULLOCK (D-MT): Great to be with you, Kate.

Look, we took aggressive steps early on in Montana. I mean, the stay- at-home order long before half of the country. We closed our schools before places like New York, New Jersey, Washington State. As a result, we have the lowest per capita cases and hospitalizations in the nation. We had six positive tests, and that's state-wide, all last week.

I think at the end of the day, look, schools and everything else are going to look a lot different, but if we can actually employ social distancing, if we can make sure to protect both our kids and our teachers, we also have to recognize that there's been real challenges with this remote education, if you will, making sure that everyone can stay engaged.

I think as we wrap up this school year, a few of our local districts are giving it a shot, and we're going to be there every step of the way with them.

BOLDUAN: School is part of phase one of reopening with you along with other things I mentioned. What would it take, Governor, for you to decide that you need to go backward, you need to shut down the state once again?

BULLOCK: Sure. To be clear, opening schools wasn't part of phase one. What it was, we were saying that local districts can make some decisions along the way.

We have about four weeks of declines, and I mean, when you look at from a science-based perspective, Montana is one of the few states in the country that can even have this conversation of opening up some things along the way. We're doing it very cautiously.

I mean, as we look at restaurants, which just started this week, only at 50 percent capacity, still with social distancing.

We'll be closely monitoring each step of the way from a science base, not a political base perspective to say if we do see some spikes in some areas, we may have to step back.

BOLDUAN: Is there one benchmark or one data point that you're watching as kind of your standard for if this is working or if this isn't? Is it just seeing a spike in new cases?

BULLOCK: Well, it is in making sure what we did early on along the way, too, is not only did we take aggressive measures to flatten that curve, but we also had contact tracing and testing put in place long before I think what many other states did. And ask anyone that was symptomatic to test.

So it will be looking at what's happening with the virus on the ground. Do I expect to see some cases? Absolutely. But it's the actions that we take both at the state level and local level that will keep this flattened.

BOLDUAN: And look, different states look different. Different states have been impacted in different ways by the virus. As we are very clearly learning, as you go from urban to more rural environments. But everyone is watching each other and how they're reacting and responding to the crisis.

Are you worried at all that you opening up your state puts pressure on other states to follow suit? States that might not be ready?

BULLOCK: No, and I don't think that those states that aren't ready should, by any means. I think that every governor looks at this hopefully first as a public health challenge. Certainly, also through the lens of an economic challenge. [11:15:09]

But that's why, if you compare what Montana did aggressively up front to actually flatten this curve, that's what gives me and my public health officials the confidence. And I think that we're one of the few states in the country that ought to be having that conversation, to start a phased and limited reopening.

BOLDUAN: New York Governor Cuomo, he talked about the decision to reopen in pretty stark terms yesterday, saying it comes down to a single question: How much is a human life worth? Is the economic benefit of reopening worth the risk of people dying? Is that how you see it?

BULLOCK: I think every state has to make their determinations based on the data that they have. And I certainly -- I know that Montanans are hurting economically, but I also know that all Montanans and Americans won't be engaging in the economy if they don't have confidence that we have our hands around this virus.

And from that perspective, that's what we have been doing in a very aggressive fashion here, which actually has allowed us to start taking some steps forward.

BOLDUAN: Good luck, Governor. We'll be watching. Thank you so much.

BULLOCK: Thanks, Kate.

BOLDUAN: This all -- transitioning our focus to the east coast of the United States right now, it could be a case of social distancing enforcement gone too far. New York police officers seen scuffling with a man on the ground and placing handcuffs on him. Now, one officer is on modified duty as internal affairs is launching an investigation.

CNN crime and justice correspondent, Shimon Prokupecz, is live in New York watching these details.

Shimon, what are you hearing about this case?

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME & JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, so that certainly, that one incident over the weekend started this conversation. There have been other videos that have been posted.

And community leaders, certainly in the black and brown communities in some of the minority communities, are raising issues with the way police officers in New York City are approaching people who are not properly social distancing. And there's concern that there's some racial disparity going on.

And so they're asking the mayor to take a look at this. They're asking the police department to take a look at this. They want to see the numbers. Summons have been issued for people who are not social distancing. And they want to see these numbers.

And the mayor just a short time ago, disgusted, said he's going to be releasing some of that information. Here's what he said. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL DE BLASIO, (D), NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: We definitely want to get the data out. So we'll make sure the NYPD gets the data out. It's going to show you where there's been, for example, summons, but remember, there hasn't been a need to do a lot of summons in the last two months for social distancing. That's a good thing. But definitely, that transparency will be provided.


PROKUPECZ: And the thing here, Kate, obviously, for the police department -- and the mayor has said this and the police commissioner has been talking about this the last several days -- this is all very new to them, how to approach people in these kinds of situations dealing with these kinds of issues in communities.

So they're going to go back and look at some of the guidelines. They may tweak some of the guidelines. They may address some of the concerns that community leaders are having.

And the mayor said we're going to hear more about this from him. Certainly, the police commissioner has been out here talking about this. They realize there may be some legit concerns here and they're going to be addressing them in the coming days.

BOLDUAN: All right, Shimon, thank you.

Also new numbers are showing just how heavy a toll the pandemic has taken on the U.S. economy. Data showing more than 20 million private- sector jobs disappeared in April. By far the worst month on record. And while no sector of the economy has been left unscathed by the pandemic, the travel industry has surely been among the hardest hit with new evidence of that coming out today.

Joining me, CNN Business Anchor, Julia Chatterley, to dive into this just a bit more.

Julia, what are you seeing?

JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS ANCHOR & CORRESPONDENT: There's just nowhere to hide, Kate. You have illustrated it perfectly here. Whether it's airlines or cruise companies or hotels, they were the first to get hit. And the fear is, as we enter some form of recovery, they're going to be the last to do that. The result is job losses and cash crunches for businesses.

Norwegian Cruise Line, they came out yesterday and said we will not survive the next 12 months like this. They're actually a good-news story. They came out today and said they have managed to raise money so they're OK for now.

Then look at some of the airlines. United in the past 24 hours saying we're recommending our workers take voluntary separation, 20 days unpaid leave. This is awful for the workers that we're talking about. Just to give you a sense of how many we're talking about, it's one in

10 workers in the United States attached to the travel industry. We're talking 5.8 million different people.

Even as states open up, Kate, I'm not sure that people are going to have the confidence to travel. Certainly, not internationally, even if they have the money to do so. And I think that's the other critical question as well.


BOLDUAN: That is a critical question. You're absolutely right, Julia.

What are you hearing from the likes of Uber and Airbnb in this?

CHATTERLEY: Trouble. This has gone from being something of a freedom for cheaper travel to people to being a fear of infection in a pandemic. Do you want to get in a car with a stranger? Do you want to travel and stay in a stranger's home? You probably don't.

And we're seeing this with the numbers. We have had Airbnb say today they're cutting 25 percent of their workforce. Uber cutting 14 percent. That's small fries. Thousands of people compared to the millions of drivers, the millions of people that are supplementing their income renting out rooms.

We don't have a scale of the economic damage that's being done just in the travel industry yet, Kate, and it will become clear as we get a sense of what the recovery looks like.

BOLDUAN: Yes, the tip of the iceberg that we might be seeing right now --


BOLDUAN: -- is already just plenty.

Thank you, Julia. Really appreciate it.

Let's get a quick check of the markets right now. The Dow down slightly at the moment. For the latest stock market news and strategy for your portfolio, check out "MARKETS NOW," streaming live at 12:45 p.m. Eastern only at CNN business.

Still ahead, Texas begins its reopening, but the mayor of Austin says it is too soon. Why he's worried of a second wave that could be coming and what he's trying to do about it.



BOLDUAN: More evidence today that Remdesivir is the best hope at treating the coronavirus right now. The maker of the drug making a surprising announcement that it may allow other companies to produce the drug internationally for the next couple years. The CEO of Gilead also announcing the drug will be arriving to

hospitals this week after getting the emergency approval from the FDA. Stanford University conducted two clinical trials that led to that approval.

The dean of Stanford Medical School joins us now, Dr. Lloyd Minor.

Doctor, thank you for being here.

Your team took part in the Remdesivir trials that led to this important first step with FDA authorization. Do you consider this at the moment kind of the best hope for a treatment, or where do you turn the focus next, how do you build on it?

DR. LLOYD MINOR, DEAN, SCHOOL OF MEDICINE, STANFORD UNIVERSITY: Well, thank you, Kate. Good morning. It's good to be with you.

Yes, I think Remdesivir offers sound evidence from the trials released last week that it is helpful in treating patients who have moderate to severe illness and are hospitalized with COVID-19.

I think the next focus, one of the areas of next focus is in the outpatient arena. That is, how can we identify therapeutics that can be beneficial in treating patients who have the infection but who, fortunately, are not ill enough to require hospitalizations?

The goal there, of course, is to treat the infection, keep them recovering at home, and prevent them from needing to be hospitalized.

We have a clinical trial here going on with a drug called Mandainterferon (ph), and there will be others started at well. That, I think, will be an area of focus in the future, in addition to having Remdesivir available for patients who do require hospitalization because they're not able to maintain their blood oxygen level or they have other manifestations of illness that require hospitalization.

BOLDUAN: How significant is it that Gilead is considering letting other companies produce the drug for a period of time internationally, do you think?

MINOR: I think it is significant. Remdesivir is not an easy drug to manufacture. It requires special processes and scaling up the manufacturing and production of the drug will be very important now that the FDA has issued the emergency use authorization.

And we're still anticipating that there will be patients in hospitals in the United States and other countries that can potentially benefit from the drug. Therefore, scaling up manufacturing is extraordinarily important.

And having some central control over the release of the drug, as will be done here in the United States with the government overseeing the distribution of the drug, that's very important also.

BOLDUAN: I want to also ask you about the quest for a vaccine. President Trump has been optimistic that one will be available as soon as January. But let me play for you what he said about this last night.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The virus will pass, with or without a vaccine. And I think we're doing very well on vaccines. But with or without a vaccine, it's going to pass.


BOLDUAN: This is going to pass with or without a vaccine. Is that how you see it, Doctor? From a scientific perspective.

MINOR: Well, there are many things that will need to happen in order to bring this virus under control.


As more and more people are infected and recover from the infection, we suspect, we haven't yet proven, but we suspect that there will be immunity.