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Live Coverage of President Trump Press Conference; Coronavirus Task Force Will Continue; Blood Thinners May Improve Coronavirus Recovery. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired May 6, 2020 - 14:00   ET



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Today is the deadline for the White House if it wants to modify its argument before the Supreme Court about invalidating Obamacare, to do it. Will you continue with the plan to completely invalidate the ACA or --





BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST, NEWSROOM: And you are listening there to the president, speaking from the Oval Office as new hotspots emerge across the country as states reopen and deaths rise.

There's a couple headlines for you. He says that he will keep the task force, that coronavirus White House task force, going because he has come to realize how popular it is.

And also, when asked about the rising number of coronavirus deaths, he says, it's going to happen but the country has to reopen.

Let's go to Kaitlan Collins. She has been following all of this from the White House. Kaitlan, this was pretty interesting because he's trying to strike the balance between reopening -- which he seems to have, in the past, promoted despite what the consequences may be -- and walk that line between that and saving lives.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, and he was saying that he's going to keep the task force indefinitely, and he says that's basically until they decide they don't need it any more.

Which seems to be a decision they've already come to, since not only the president but also the vice president confirmed yesterday, Brianna, that they were going to be wrapping up their work by the end of the month, was the deadline that the vice -- or the timeline that the president, he vice president gave yesterday when he was speaking with reporters. And so, really, the question going forward, though, it was still not totally clear what the task force would look like, going forward. Because we already know they've scaled back the meetings, they're not doing those press briefings that they had been doing in the briefing room. Instead, you'll see from the actual press secretary today.

And so the president was saying maybe they could add people, maybe they'll take some people away. He was saying, basically, that this is a response to the coverage, though, of him saying that they were going to wind down the task force. Because he said he didn't realize how popular it was until, of course, people were voicing concern about whether or not this is the right time to wind down the task force, given the fact that the pandemic is very much still raging on.

So the question's still of course, Brianna, is what does it look like, going forward? And the president there was saying he doesn't feel like he's going to get blamed for what's going on with the economy. He was saying, basically, this is something that is out of his hands and that he wants to be judged on the response after what it's going to look like next year.


And then, just there at the end, the president actually made a really significant comment when he was asked about what the administration is going to do with that Affordable Care Act lawsuit that of course we do know, now, that the Supreme Court is like to hear this fall.

There had been a really intense meeting at the White House this week with the attorney general, Bill Barr, leading it, basically trying to convince the administration to change its position. Because right now, it is supporting a lawsuit filed by Republican states, that they need to invalidate the entire lawsuit -- invalidate the entire health care law.

Bill Barr was making the argument that they're not sure if that's legally viable. The president has heard from advisors who say they don't know if that is a wise decision to make, going forward, arguing against this health care law just as voters are going to the polls.

Which of course, now, has been cast in a new light entirely, Brianna, because of the coronavirus pandemic. The president is confirming there, the deadline is today. They are not going to be changing their position on that, and they will still be moving forward with that lawsuit as it is.

KEILAR: Yes, it was sort of stunning to find out that they were talking about winding down that task force, and it seems the president has come to that conclusion as well. Kaitlan Collins, thank you so much, covering the White House for us today.

There's more now on the ever-intensifying tug of war that is consuming the nation: lives versus livelihoods, and just how much of one will we sacrifice to save the other.

More than 40 states are in some stage of reopening, and yet the overall numbers of deaths and infections are not falling. In fact, a Johns Hopkins scholar testified to Congress today that not one state has met all of the White House criteria to reopen.

The figures for the U.S. indicate that the country is stuck, plateauing with more than 20,000 new infections happening each day for the last month. Data analysis shows the former epicenter, New York, and other areas are experiencing decreases but there are now new hotspots emerging.

CNN crunched 14 days of numbers. We found that many states are still seeing cases go up, while some states are at the same level. And it's important to note that some of these states may see a rise in numbers due to increased or improved testing, so keep that in mind as well.

Today, a former director of the CDC testified on Capitol Hill that the nation is still at the beginning of this pandemic, and he has no doubt the number of people who die from coronavirus in the U.S. will reach 100,000.


THOMAS FRIEDEN, FORMER DIRECTOR, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION: It's really bad. In New York City, it's on the order of the 1918-1919 pandemic, more than 20,000 people when you look at all of the excess deaths in the last two months, killed in less than two months. That is as bad as the worst phase of the pandemic a hundred years ago.

Even now, with deaths decreasing substantially, there are twice as many deaths from COVID in New York City as there are on a usual day from all other causes combined. And sadly, looking at the U.S. as a whole, just calculating forward from the number of people whose infections have already been documented, there will be tragically at least 100,000 deaths from COVID by the end of this month.

Second, as bad as this has been, it's just the beginning.


KEILAR: One hundred thousand people, dead from something that no one had even heard of six months ago.

At this hour, U.S. cases are now beyond 1.2 million with more than 71,000 people who have died from the infection. Let's go to CNN's Nick Watt, who is in Los Angeles.

And, Nick, you've been following how states are getting back to business. Polls show that many people, though, are willing to slow things down.

NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Brianna, one of the next big questions is going to be, you could open it but will they come? Governors and business owners can throw doors open, but will consumers, will customers feel safe going back out there?

We heard from the CEO of Southwest this morning, he says they are doing everything they possibly can to make air travel safe, including electrostatic misting the planes. But as he says, ultimately, it is really down to each one of us to make an individual choice about the level of risk we're prepared to take.


WATT (voice-over): The New York City subway, closed overnight, the first time in over a hundred years, to clean the cars. New York is now coming down the mountain, numbers falling, but --

MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D), NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK: We're still not there yet, to even begin to loosen up the restrictions.

WATT (voice-over): Across the country as a whole, the new case count is not falling, hovering somewhere over 20,000 every single day.

SCOTT GOTTLIEB, FORMER COMMISSIONER, FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION: I think that we need to understand, this may be the new normal. We may not be able to get transmission down much more. I hope we can --


WATT (voice-over): All but these seven states are now taking steps to get back in business. On Monday, restaurants could open in Florida. On Tuesday, cops in Jacksonville had to break up a tailgate party at a taco stand.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The risk of the coronavirus is a scam.

DE BLASIO: Right now, what I fear is there's a rush to reopen in some places at least, that's going to end up with people losing their lives who didn't have to lose their lives, who could have been saved if there had been more care.

WATT (voice-over): Polls show the majority of Americans favor caution but there is that vocal minority, and the president.

TRUMP: You have people that are not going to stand for this, and I understand them very well. And we are going to put out little embers and little fires and maybe some big fires, but we still have to go back to work.

WATT (voice-over): Good news? There is no evidence this virus is mutating to become more lethal or contagious, according to a new genetic analysis from UCL in Britain. But apparently, it was circulating silently late last year, earlier than we thought. The first confirmed COVID death in the U.S. was February 6th in Santa Clara County, California. That might change. Cook County, Illinois, now reviewing deaths as far back as November.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We can't take it no more, we're not going to make it.

WATT (voice-over): Meanwhile, more than 20 million private sector jobs were lost in April alone, according to one report. The city of Houston might now furlough all its employees this summer except fire and police. And more long lines at food banks here in America. Today, it's Pittsburgh.


WATT: Now, is this current reopening already fueling a surge in cases? The truth is, we won't know for a couple of weeks yet. That is a frightening fact.

And this morning, some sobering words -- as so often -- from the World Health Organization director-general. He says, as we do reopen, it cannot be business as usual for two reasons. One, we're still dealing with COVID-19. And also, he says, we need to prepare, get things in place, just in case at some point another pandemic should come along -- Brianna.

KEILAR: It is very hard to even imagine. Nick Watt, thank you so much.

And this is just in to CNN, a possible hopeful sign in the battle against this virus. A new study from Mount Sinai, and published by the American College of Cardiology, says that blood thinners may improve survival among hospitalized coronavirus patients.

This is a study that showed conditions of intensive care patients improved once they receive them.

CNN medical analyst Dr. James Phillips is an assistant professor at George Washington University Hospital. Doctor, thank you so much for joining us. And I wonder what you make of this, and what kind of blood thinners we're talking about here.

JAMES PHILLIPS, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: This is a positive sign, and some good science that will hopefully lead to even better studies.

So the study was performed on five hospitals within the Mount Sinai system in New York. And I've had an opportunity to read the study, and what it shows is of the almost 3,000 patients whom they looked back on, who were admitted to the hospital with COVID over a month time period in March and April.

They took a look at all patients admitted. And a number of them, about 28 percent of those patients admitted, were started on blood thinners to thin their blood, to prevent clot formation. Now, we do this for a number of reasons in medicine, but we've known for several months that this particular virus tends to cause small clots and large clots in folks.

And so what they wanted to do is take a look and see if that blood thinning, that anti-coagulation, made a difference. And what they found is pretty significant, in particular, within the ICU population and those on a ventilator. Those folks had an improvement, an increase in their ability to survive the disease.

So what they did is they took a look at people on ventilators who did not have any blood thinners, and about 63 percent of those people died. When they started them on blood thinners -- another group that were fully anticoagulated -- only about 29 percent died. So the mortality rate dropped significantly, almost by half, if these people were given blood thinners. So that's a very positive sign, and will lead to more studies.

KEILAR: Yes, I mean, that's a huge number.

I want to go back to what is really on everyone's mind right now. There's 43 states that are in the process of reopening, Americans are really confused about how they're going to move forward. So given that the virus hasn't changed, given that the situation hasn't changed about certainly the transmission of it, what's your advice to the average American about what they should do?


PHILLIPS: Yes, it's such a catch-22. You know, I understand that there's so many people suffering from having lost their jobs, from being at home and that there's a growing complacency and frustration. And we've seen that in -- you know, from the Michigan state capital, to just going to the store around here.

My concern is that the only variable that is changing in this entire equation is that we're going to start increasing the interactions between people. Like you said, the virus hasn't changed. The only thing that's kept it at these low levels of infection and death are our -- is the reduction of our own interactions with other folks.

And now, no matter how meticulous we are about trying to socially distance by six feet, wash our hands, we're going to be around more people. And like Dr. Gottlieb said, all that means is that that Ro is going to change, and it's going to go up. And so I have no reason to believe that the number of infections and deaths are going to go down. I'm very worried that they're going to go up significantly.

KEILAR: Yes, which could lead to a snap back into some of the shutdown measures.

Let's listen to what the former FDA commissioner said. He was pretty blunt.


GOTTLIEB: We need to understand, this may be the new normal. We may not be able to get transmission down much more. I hope we can. But as we reopen the country against this backdrop, where there are tens of thousands of cases a day, most likely scenario is that cases go up, not down.

And so we need to think about what it looks like in the country if we have transmission of this virus and we try to get back to some sense of normalcy. And I think it means we have to protect vulnerable populations, which end up being disadvantaged Americans, people who work in conditions where they can't socially distance.

That's why you see outbreaks on shop floors like meatpacking plants, so we've got to get personal protective equipment into those settings so people can protect themselves at work. (END VIDEO CLIP)

KEILAR: Doctor, what are other nations that are reopening successfully doing that America isn't?

PHILLIPS: That's a good question. And you know, I haven't seen any universal changes across different countries. In Asian countries, they tend to have more of a mask culture and so there is some belief that that does reduce the transmissibility of virus between people.

And I think that in general, America, we're a bit rebellious, right? We don't necessarily listen to recommendations whenever we necessarily should. And so I think that the cultural differences between other nations and our own, that sort of rebellious nature that we were founded on, is going to be a detriment to us in this case.

You know, I think about the beginning of this initial outbreak, and how we had -- You know, say, 100 or maybe 1,000 hotspots in the U.S. that then spread like wildfire. Imagine now that we have tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of people infected, that suddenly go out and start new clusters. It's not a matter of a second wave, it's a matter of that first wave continuing and now going up even more exponentially.

KEILAR: Dr. Phillips, great to see you. Thank you so much.

PHILLIPS: Thank you.

KEILAR: I'll be speaking with the woman who has predicted the coronavirus since the '90s, and she says three years is her best-case scenario on when all of this ends.

Plus, just in as we learn that 20 million private sector jobs have been lost, sad pictures of lines today outside of a Pittsburgh food bank.


And a barber in Florida is illegally reopening his shop because he says he and his family are starving, they have to. He's going to join us, live.


KEILAR: A new report makes clear just how devastating the coronavirus is to American workers. According to the payroll company ADP, April truly was the cruelest month with the U.S. losing more than 20 million private sector jobs from April 1st through the 30th. And in those 30 days, it was a decade of job growth, gone.

I want to bring in CNN's business editor-at-large Richard Quest. And, Richard, April's job losses are being called everything from historic, epic, catastrophic, you name it. What do you make of this?

RICHARD QUEST, CNN BUSINESS EDITOR AT LARGE: Well, I've run out of adjectives because what's -- what the first -- the starting point, Brianna, is, even though we knew it was going to be horrible and an awful number, when you see it, that really doesn't even begin to get to the gravity of the problem, when you think of the lives that have been uprooted, destroyed economically, dislocated as a result of this.

And this is just really the start because as the economy now begins to open up in some places, some of those people will go back to work, but not all of them. I was talking about this yesterday, and the truth is, we're going to have May's numbers on top of these.

And even as new jobs are created -- look, on Friday, we're going to get the unemployment number. And most people are expecting it to be north of 16 percent. To put that in context, we were 3.5 percent when this crisis began.

So millions of Americans have lost their jobs -- been furloughed, laid off -- and now, we as the reopening comes on, Brianna, the test becomes how many of those jobs come back as companies get under way again.


And one other point, Brianna, quickly, to bear in mind. This horrible number doesn't take into account those small --