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White House Scrambles to Contain Coronavirus Outbreak; Obama: White House Pandemic Response 'An Absolute Chaotic Disaster'; 3 Children Die in N.Y. from Mysterious Inflammation Illness; South Korea Spike in New Cases after Nightclub Outbreak, Shanghai Disneyland Reopens with Coronavirus Precautions. Aired 6-6:30a ET
Aired May 11, 2020 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've all been exposing ourselves to risks, but we're willing to take that chance because we love our country.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two people in the West Wing tested positive for the virus.
JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The vice president, Mike Pence, will not go into self-quarantine. Three of the doctors on the coronavirus task force entering some form of self- quarantine.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If they can't contain it at the White House, how are they going to contain it at a restaurant or a bar?
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): Toddlers, elementary-school children are presenting symptoms similar to toxic shock-like syndrome.
MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D), NEW YORK CITY: Because the body is fighting. It fights in such a manner that it actually starts to cause other problems.
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. It's Monday, May 11, 6 a.m. here in New York.
Welcome back to Alisyn Camerota and a belated happy Mother's Day to you.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you very much, John. I really appreciate that. It was a wonderful day.
BERMAN: In your absence, I made a lot of bad decisions and lifestyle choices, so I'm glad you're back here with us this morning. CAMEROTA: You're welcome.
BERMAN: And this morning, the Trump administration scrambling to contain a coronavirus outbreak, not just in the nation, but in the actual White House.
The medical and political fallout already having a serious impact. A valet to the president, the vice president's press secretary, they both tested positive. Three top health officials are in some form of self-quarantine. As of now, we're told that the vice president and three other members of the White House task force will not self- quarantine.
CNN has learned that President Trump is worried that the fact that the virus has infiltrated 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue will undercut his claim that the pandemic is fading. The White House is now conducting strict testing and contact tracing, something the president has repeatedly downplayed.
CAMEROTA: And this morning, John, the death toll in the United States is almost 80,000 people. At least 12 states are still seeing an increase in their cases at the same time that the majority of states will relax stay-at-home orders this week.
And that key University of Washington model now estimates the U.S. death toll will surpass 100,000 people by next Friday, Memorial Day weekend. And this is because of what they call an explosive increase in mobility, in other words, people leaving their homes.
There's also new concern about coronavirus in children. More than 80 kids in New York have been hospitalized with severe symptoms. Three children have died. They're all suffering from a mysterious inflammatory disease believed to be linked to coronavirus.
But let's begin our coverage with CNN's Joe Johns. He is live from the White House with our top story -- Joe.
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Alisyn.
A lot has changed here since Friday morning. We're now two months into the pandemic, and a number of scientists on the coronavirus task force have decided to quarantine themselves out of concerns that they might infect other persons.
There are also concerns here about the fact that an outbreak inside the White House complex has now occurred. Some people deciding to come to work. Others who have been exposed to people who've tested positive have decided to say they're not coming.
JOHNS (voice-over): Three top members of the coronavirus task force are quarantining in some form this morning, after Dr. Anthony Fauci, and FDA commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn, and CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield came into contact with at least one person who has tested positive for the coronavirus. Now all of Tuesday's Senate coronavirus hearings witnesses will appear
remotely, as will committee chairman Senator Lamar Alexander, who is self-quarantining after a member of his staff also tested positive.
With the race to contain the spread of coronavirus inside the White House growing, three administration officials went on the Sunday shows talking about getting more of the economy back in business.
STEVE MNUCHIN, U.S. TREASURY SECRETARY: The president wants to work with the states to safely reopen the economy so we can safely get people back to work.
MNUCHIN: The vice president's press secretary testing positive, becoming the second staffer, including one of Trump's military valets, to be diagnosed.
Katie Miller's positive results just one day after this picture showed her speaking to reporters without wearing a mask.
Like President Trump, few White House staff wear them at work, despite his administration urging Americans to wear face coverings when social distancing is difficult.
KEVIN HASSETT, SENIOR ECONOMIC ADVISOR TO DONALD TRUMP: The mask issue is a significant one, but recall that -- that when -- to get in with the president, that you have to test negative.
JOHNS: A Pence spokesperson tells CNN the vice president "has tested negative every single day and plans to be at the White House."
LARRY KUDLOW, WHITE HOUSE ECONOMIC ADVISOR TO DONALD TRUMP: Everybody wants to be safe. We're going to do the best we can. We'll follow the rules and guidelines of the White House medical unit.
JOHNS: The White House says it is increasing rapid testing and temperature checks.
HASSETT: It is scary to go to work. You know, I was not part of the White House in March. I think that I'd be a lot safer if I was sitting at home than I would be going to the West Wing, but you know, it's a time when people have to step up and serve their country.
JOHNS: Trump has reportedly expressed his frustration over the positive staffers. A person who spoke to him tells CNN the president says he does not want to be near anyone who hasn't been tested.
While most of the country begins life under easing restrictions, the president is concerned that the outbreak on Pennsylvania Avenue could undermine his message to jumpstart the economy, a person who spoke to him tells CNN.
Meanwhile, former President Obama slamming Trump's response to the pandemic in a phone call confirmed to CNN by three of his former administration officials.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES (via phone): It has been an absolute chaotic disaster, when that mindset of 'what's in it for me' and 'to heck with everybody else,' when that mindset is operationalized in our government.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go.
JOHNS: The White House press secretary downplayed Obama's comments in a statement on Saturday, saying the Trump administration's response has been unprecedented and has saved lives.
Just a reminder: so far 79,500 people dead of coronavirus in the United States, 1.39 million people infected. The president is expected to give a news conference today with some administration officials to talk about testing.
John, back to you.
BERMAN: All right. Joe Johns at the White House. I know, Joe, you have your mask around your neck. Obviously, everyone at the White House on high alert with the news that the virus is very much there.
Joining us now, CNN national security analyst Juliette Kayyem. She's a former assistant secretary at the Department of Homeland Security. And Dr. Amesh Adalja. He's an infectious disease specialist at Johns Hopkins.
Juliette, I just want to start with you.
JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Yes.
BERMAN: What do you think is the significance of the fact that the coronavirus has, for lack of a better word, infiltrated 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue? It's in the White House.
KAYYEM: It's in the White House. The White House could conceivably be a hot spot. We don't know yet. But that's two people in a confined area. One has to assume, what we know about the virus, that more are infected.
It has two important implications. The first is, of course, the confidence index. The American public in polling is showing that it's not ready to come out. It doesn't have confidence in how the federal government will protect them. The fact that the -- that the White House can't protect itself is just -- just goes to that sort of competence challenge that I think the White House has.
But I want to raise a different point from the crisis management perspective. We think a lot about what's called continuity of operations or continuity of government. It's to ensure that your leadership is protected during a crisis. It's the designated survivor, say, at the State of the Union. The fact that the White House views it as sort of machismo to continue
to work, that they're working for the American people, no, in fact, crisis management envisions that you actually want to protect your leadership so that they could lead us through this challenge. And the sort of arrogance or the nonchalance that they have about what it means to actually be an effective leader, I find, from my perspective and the homeland security perspective, a complete undermining of continuity of operations.
BERMAN: Just so people know what Juliette was talking about, P-19, the Pew poll here, were states right to lift restrictions? We can put that up on the screen.
BERMAN: Sixty-eight percent of the people say no. So right now there isn't a huge amount of confidence that the country should be reopening, at least among the American people.
Dr. Adalja, it was interesting to hear Kevin Hassett, White House economic advisor, say he's scared to go to work. If we can, let's put up a map of the West Wing so people can see.
I don't know if you've watched "The West Wing" show on TV. That makes it look big and spacious compared to what it actually is. You go in the White House, these are cramped spaces. you are in small rooms, sometimes with a lot of people. just from a public health perspective, it's not surprising that if someone showed up to work with coronavirus, Dr. Adalja, that it would spread.
DR. AMESH ADALJA, INFECTIOUS DISEASE SPECIALIST, JOHNS HOPKINS BLOOMBERG SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: Yes, this is exactly what workplaces all around the country are going to be facing as people start coming back to work, that these are congregate settings. There are many common-touch surfaces. And you have one infected individual, they can potentially spread it to many others.
And this becomes something that contact tracers are going to have to deal with. This is what employers are going to have to try and come up with policies around. And people are going to be nervous if they don't have confidence that their work place has a plan in place, if they are going to be exposed.
So I do think this is illustrative of what we're going to face as we go through this pandemic.
BERMAN: One positive note, Dr. Adalja, if you can address. Right now. the testing rate in America, we are getting fewer -- or less than, I should say, 10 percent positive responses to the tests that are being conducted right now. And that's an important marker, public health officials say. It's important to try to get less than 10 percent positives back. What does that tell you is happening in the country right now?
ADALJA: It tells us that we're looking harder to find positive cases, and that means that we're looking hard. That's really good. Because the number of tests around 300,000, and the fact that we're at 10 percent or below for a country as a whole is really something that we can celebrate, meaning that we've gotten to a better place than we were two months ago.
This is where we want to be. But we want to be like this in all the different localities across the country. And that's when you can see the country as a whole coming back to life.
But you do have places, for example, New York City has done tremendously well. I think it's in single digits now from what it was, like, 60 -- 50, 60 percent earlier. That really shows you this works. If we test, trace, isolate, that this can get an outbreak under control and get us to a better place where we can move forward.
BERMAN: The most leaned-upon model in the country, the one from the University of Washington, is now projecting the number of deaths to rise. We could be at 100 [SIC] deaths, this model says, Juliette, in a week and a half.
To me, I look at where we are. Let the models speak for themselves. They can play their math games.
But one of the things the models are saying is that the amount of mobility -- people are moving around much more than they were before. In some cases, if you look at certain states -- Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, South Dakota, Georgia -- more than 20 percent they're moving around more than they were. And some other states, including Ohio, and Wyoming, and Tennessee, 15 to 20 percent increase in mobility.
So people are out there. They are reacting to these -- the loosening of restrictions. And we'll see what the effect is.
Juliette, you worked in the Obama administration.
BERMAN: It was striking to hear President Obama. You don't hear his voice very much. He holds back on saying President Trump's name at all or issuing direct criticism, generally. So what did you make of his fairly barbed criticism at the Trump administration's response to coronavirus?
KAYYEM: I think it's telling that he waited three plus years to come out -- He had to have known that the message would get out -- about something that is so significant for the American public, which is, essentially, that the White House does not have a handle on not just controlling this pandemic, but, of course, controlling the deaths.
And that -- and one of the reasons why, of course, is that President Trump from the get-go, from January, as we now know, viewed the pandemic and the possibility of American deaths through the lens of his own sort of success or failure rate, rather than in terms of protecting the American public. We are going to hit 100,000 before -- likely before the long weekend.
It does not stop there. The numbers we are looking at now: 200,000 plus, as we loosen, are -- you know, my voice is shaking, these are significant numbers for a country that, when you compare us to other countries, it's just shameful at this stage. You can't call this a success.
And as we loosen up more, we just have to be very, very cautious about how we're loosening up. There are things that we may need to do -- critical infrastructure, manufacturing, of course, schools, so we can -- working parents can get back to work. But there's other things that can wait, including social gatherings, concerts and sports.
So we need to do this smart. That number of 200,000 is not looking so far away anymore.
BERMAN: And it's hard to process, but remember, the most important number is one when it's someone you love or someone inside your family.
BERMAN: Juliette Kayyem, Dr. Adalja, great to have you on this morning. Thanks so much for being with us.
KAYYEM: Thank you.
BERMAN: This morning, a mystery illness believed to be linked to coronavirus has now killed three children here in New York. Details on what you need to look out for, next.
CAMEROTA: This morning, officials in New York are warning parents to look out for troubling symptoms of a mysterious illness in their children.
Doctors are seeing an inflammatory syndrome believed to be linked to coronavirus. Three children have died. Dozens have been hospitalized.
We're joined now by Dr. Jay Varkey. He's an associate professor of infectious diseases at Emory University School of Medicine. Also with us is Dr. Edith Bracho-Sanchez. She's a pediatrician and an assistant professor at Columbia University's Medical Center.
Great to have both of you.
So this is troubling, Dr. Bracho-Sanchez, because for a long time, we felt that children were going to be spared this. And I think that parents had sort of heaved a sigh of relief, thinking, OK, we can deal with this as long as our kids don't get sick. But now something has changed. So what are the symptoms that we're seeing in kids?
DR. EDITH BRACHO-SANCHEZ, PEDIATRICIAN/ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER: That's right, Alisyn. And I would like to start by putting this in a little bit of context. There's so much fear. There's so much understandable fear, and some of
the things that we have said throughout this pandemic still hold true.
For the majority of kids, coronavirus is going to manifest as a mild condition, mild respiratory illness. Kids are going to get over this. Kids are going to be OK, even if they show any symptoms at all. Right?
Now, some kids, a very, very small percentage if you think about it -- it's over 80 kids now, but we have almost 200,000 diagnosed cases of coronavirus here in New York City. These are the kids that are looking unwell that have had persistent fevers and for whom the fever comes with abdominal pain. It comes with angry-looking rashes, swollen lymph nodes. This is not subtle, Alisyn. This is something that parents would know is happening.
CAMEROTA: And so we know, Dr. Varkey, that there's no proven treatment for coronavirus for adults. Is there a treatment for this inflammatory reaction in kids?
DR. JAY VARKEY, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES, EMORY UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: Alisyn, what we know about this kind of newly-discovered complication of COVID-19, is that it resembles a couple rare instances of something that we see in kids called Kawasaki disease, as well as something that we see in both adults and kids, which is called toxic shock syndrome.
The treatment for those entities, unrelated to COVID, are anti- inflammatory medications, including corticosteroids and also immunoglobulin to try and suppress what seems to be an overactive immune response to an infection.
And that combination is in addition to supportive care. So keeping the body alive, supporting the vital organs, really appear to be the key for this complication, independent of COVID-19 but also these earlier reports of COVID-19 pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome.
CAMEROTA: Dr. Bracho-Sanchez, we've been seeing cases -- doctors have been seeing it crop up around the country. But let's just zero in on New York and look at the numbers there, because they're pretty striking.
So the numbers that we see there are something like 85 reported cases, many of them hospitalized. This is mostly toddlers to elementary- school-aged children, but there has been -- there have been cases of adolescents. Three deaths so far. Two more deaths are under investigation right now.
And so what is it that is killing -- when children die of this, why are they dying?
BRACHO-SANCHEZ: Right, Alisyn. There's so much about this that we're still trying to understand. And part of the increase in the numbers is that we are counting. We are looking. We are contributing to the number by qualifying cases, classifying them as this new syndrome, which perhaps before we weren't and perhaps this was with us before. We're still understanding exactly what the timeline is. And the few
cases of children who have died, it's still unclear exactly why these kids died, as opposed to other kids who didn't present with the syndrome at all or with -- or who presented with a more mild form of this syndrome.
So, so much we're still learning. I think that the important thing for parents out there who are listening is that, if you're noticing that something is not right, if you're noticing that the -- that the fever is persisting, call us. We are here. We're ready to treat this. We're ready to be aggressive, and our antennas are up for this condition.
CAMEROTA: Dr. Varkey, do we understand why the -- we're seeing this now, why children seem to have had this delayed response? Why weren't we seeing kids -- why did we think that we could heave a sigh of relief back in March and for April and think that kids were going to be spared? Why are they now getting sick?
VARKEY: Yes, Alisyn, great question. I think that the key principle here is that when we have a novel virus like COVID-19, we need to remember the fact that the more people get infected, the more we see what might be an unusual manifestation or unusual complication of the infection itself.
So as we see more numbers, especially in the United States, it seems more likely that we would see unusual complications of the disease. So I would say that this is something we recognize. This is something that was actually identified in Europe, initially in the U.K., but now in several countries across Europe.
So I think that the -- the announcement and the reason we're talking about it is the fact that there's three audiences. One is, like Dr. Bracho-Sanchez said, was recognizing among the pediatric community and in doctors who take care of kids to make sure that they're aware and have a high sensitivity to this potential complication.
But the other audiences are parents and caregivers of children. So that they can be attuned to some of these symptoms, especially kids who may have gotten over a mild illness, may not have even been tested for COVID-19 and recognizing, could this, what we think was rare complication be a player?
But the third audience -- and this is really important -- is actually the general public. And again, it's just a good illustration on why it's not over yet and why we still need to continue practicing social distancing, not just to protect those around us, including our parents and grandparents, but other children, as well.
CAMEROTA: Absolutely. I mean, this is such an important reminder. And I appreciate the caution to keep this in perspective, but still, you know, when parents see kids getting sick, it does change the equation.
Dr. Varkey, Dr. Bracho-Sanchez, thank you very much for all of the information this morning. We really appreciate it.
Let's look at -- VARKEY: Thank you.
CAMEROTA: -- South Korea now. Because they had been praised for their coronavirus response, and then they reopened bars and nightclubs. And this morning, they're dealing with a new outbreak. We have a live report from what's happening in Seoul, next.
BERMAN: All right, we have some breaking news. We just learned moments ago that South Korea is taking new action after reporting a spike in coronavirus cases linked to nightclubs.
CNN's Paula Hancocks live in Seoul with details. Paula, the whole world watching South Korea so closely as we consider reopening and watching how they react to this new outbreak. And they have taken action.
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, John, yes.
We just heard in the past couple of hours that the education ministry is now going to push back the opening of schools here. It was going to be Wednesday. We were just two days away from year three of high school starting school once again. And then they were going to phase in, week by week, the other grades. But now that has been postponed by a week.
And the reason for this is there was a new outbreak in the capital, Seoul. A 29-year-old man went to the nightclub district on May 2 and visited a number of nightclubs before testing positive. And now they are trying to track exactly how many people he came into contact with.
Eighty-six confirmed cases linked to just that one individual at this point. But 5,500 people are being tracked by the authorities at this point. They believe within that two-week period in that area they all need to be tested.
They've tested more than 3,000 already. They're still trying to track some of them. And they say they're doing that by mobile phone records, with police cooperation. They're doing it with -- with credit card usage, records as well, to try and make sure that they can find every single person and try and contain this outbreak.
Now, Seoul city mayor says two to three days are going to be critical to try and contain this now -- Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: Understood. Paula, thank you very much for all of that reporting.
China is also reporting 17 new cases, including five in Wuhan, where the outbreak began. But the new cases have not stopped Shanghai Disneyland from officially reopening, and CNN's David Culver is live from the park in Shanghai with more. So David, how is this going to work?
DAVID CULVER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Alisyn, I'm struggling a bit with this. I mean, what a -- what a juxtaposition for what we've been covering for past four months.
And here we are now, talking about other cities in China, one in particular, in northeastern China, going on a Wuhan-like lockdown. Meantime, you've got Shanghai easing restrictions. In some places you don't even need to wear a mask.
Here in Disneyland, they're still requiring that when you're down on the street with the public. But we were able to get rare.