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Interview With Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA); Los Angeles Extending Stay-At-Home Order?; Dr. Fauci Warns of Suffering and Death If States Reopen Too Soon. Aired 4-4:30p ET

Aired May 12, 2020 - 16:00   ET



ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.

We begin today with some breaking news.

Los Angeles County's stay-at-home orders will with -- quote -- "all certainty" be extended for the next three months. That's through July, according to the Los Angeles County public health director.

"The Los Angeles Times" just broke the story. It's an attempt to continue to slow the spread of coronavirus there.

And this all comes as the nation's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, issued a stark warning for the nation earlier today.

The United States does not have, he says, coronavirus under control.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, NIAID DIRECTOR: I think we're going in the right direction. But the right direction does not mean we have, by any means, total control of this outbreak.


TAPPER: Dr. Fauci also emphasizing the -- quote -- "Consequences could be really serious," he said, if states and cities open up before meeting the guidelines laid out by the White House task force, which is precisely what appears to be happening in many states across the nation.


FAUCI: There is a real risk that you will trigger an outbreak that you might not be able to control, which, in fact, paradoxically, will set you back, not only leading to some suffering and death that could be avoided, but could even set you back on the road to try to get economic recovery.

(END VIDEO CLIP) TAPPER: These warnings coming during a Senate Health Committee hearing earlier today, a hearing that in itself served as a testament to how much the Trump administration does not yet have control of this pandemic.

All four administration officials testifying today testified remotely. Three of them are in some state of self-quarantine because of exposure to a White House official at the White House who testified positive, along with the committee chair, Republican Senator Lamar Alexander, also in self-isolation because of possible exposure, and, of course, the Democrat ranking member, Senator Patty Murray, also appearing from home.

Those two senators having a moment of bipartisan agreement today that testing so far in the U.S. has not been nearly enough. Republican Senator Mitt Romney of Utah going so far today as to admonish the person in charge of getting testing up to speed, Admiral Brett Giroir, for his claims about testing as he stood next to President Trump yesterday in the Rose Garden.


SEN. MITT ROMNEY (R-UT): Yesterday, you celebrated that we had done more tests and more tests per capita even than South Korea.

But you ignored the fact that they accomplish theirs at the beginning of the outbreak, while we treaded water during February and March. I find our testing record nothing to celebrate whatsoever.


TAPPER: Indeed, as Romney pointed out, South Korea has lost 258 of its citizens to this virus. As of this moment, the United States has lost at least at 81,805.

All of the testimony today serving to contradict President Trump's mission accomplished declaration just yesterday about testing.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have met the moment, and we have prevailed.


TAPPER: And, as CNN's Kaitlan Collins reports for us now, Dr. Fauci also said today the death toll is likely higher than the more than 81,000 deaths we currently know about.


KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As the president pushes for the nation to reopen, one of his top health experts had a dire warning about doing so too soon.

FAUCI: If you do not do an adequate response, we will have the deleterious consequence of more infections and more deaths.

COLLINS: Dr. Anthony Fauci was one of four top health experts who testified virtually before a Senate committee today, where he and others were pressed on whether the country is ready to reopen.

DR. ROBERT REDFIELD, DIRECTOR, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION: It's important to emphasize that we're not out of the woods yet. The battle continues many months, but we are more prepared.

COLLINS: More than 80,000 people in the United States have died from coronavirus. While the president has privately questioned whether that number is inflated, Dr. Fauci said it's likely higher.

FAUCI: I don't know exactly what percent higher, but almost certainly it's higher.

COLLINS: One day after Trump claimed the U.S. had prevailed on testing, Democrats and one Republican on the committee pushed back.

SEN. PATTY MURRAY (D-WA): But this administration has had a record of giving us broken promises that more tests and supplies are coming, and they don't.

ROMNEY: I find our testing record nothing to celebrate whatsoever.

COLLINS: Trump's testing coordinator said the administration hopes to have significantly ramped it up by September.

ADM. BRETT GIROIR, U.S. ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES: We project that our nation will be capable of performing at least 40 to 50 million tests per month, if needed at that time.

COLLINS: Last week, the president told reporters that the coronavirus might go away without a vaccine.

But Dr. Fauci testified today that that won't happen.

FAUCI: That is just not going to happen, because it's such a highly transmissible virus.

COLLINS: Trump has often contradicted his own officials in public, though all denied having a tense relationship with him when asked today.

FAUCI: There is certainly not a confrontational relationship between me and the president.


REDFIELD: We're there to give our best public health advice. And that's what we do.

DR. STEPHEN HAHN, COMMISSIONER, FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION: Have not had a confrontational relationship with the president.

GIROIR: We have a very productive working relationship with each other and also with the president and vice president.

COLLINS: At one point, Fauci did clash with Senator Rand Paul, one of the president's allies who recovered from coronavirus earlier this year.

SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY): And as much as I respect you, Dr. Fauci, I don't think you're the end-all. I don't think you're the one person that gets to make a decision.

FAUCI: I'm a scientist, a physician, and a public health official. I give advice according to the best scientific evidence.

COLLINS: At the White House, President Trump remained behind closed doors today. After one of his top aides tested positive, Vice President Mike Pence, who showed up to work in a mask, will now distance himself from the president for the next few days.


COLLINS: Jake, vaccines were obviously a big part of the hearing today.

Dr. Fauci says he doesn't think one is going to be ready by the time we get to the school year, but he's still hopeful that one can be produced in the next year or two.

But the question that still remains coming out of that hearing is whether or not that is going to be a vaccine that's available for free to everyone. That was a question that multiple Democratic senators posed to these health experts that were there testifying on behalf of the administration.

They said they would advocate for it, but they said they could not be the one to make the decision or say for sure that this vaccine would be available to everyone free of charge.

TAPPER: All right, Kaitlan Collins at the White House, thank you so much.

Joining me now to discuss is CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

Sanjay, good to see you, as always.

So, Dr. Fauci said today that the U.S. does not have coronavirus under control, which seems factual. And he warned that, if states and cities prematurely open up for business, there could be spikes that turn into new outbreaks. And we are seeing some spikes in meat plants, in jails.

How do you stop a new outbreak?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I mean, he's been pretty consistent on this, Jake.

If you listen back to what he's been saying over the last couple of months, he has sort of warned that, if these gating criteria are not met, you're likely to see outbreaks.

The challenge is, whenever you reopen, you're likely to see some people who become infected that otherwise would not. I think what Dr. Fauci really was emphasizing today and over the last few times he's spoken about this is, at that point, you have got to have testing in place.

You have got to be able to find people who are newly infected, and isolate them. Isolation is for people who have the virus. Quarantining is for people who have been exposed to somebody and now need to quarantine themselves, so that they don't potentially spread the virus.

It is that testing and that isolation and that tracing that is so critical to preventing an outbreak. There will be new cases. You want to prevent it from going into exponential growth. That's essentially what an outbreak is.

And you can do it if you have adequate testing. You can do it even without a vaccine. So, that's sort of the key, I think, that he really was drilling down on in terms of reopening things, if you're going to do that.

TAPPER: Dr. Fauci also said today that it's more likely than not that the U.S. will have a coronavirus vaccine within a year or two.

But he also cautioned there's no guarantee there will be a successful vaccine. How optimistic should we be, do you think?

GUPTA: It's about as optimistic as I have heard him on something.

I mean, there's -- I think people demand a certain amount of certainty from scientists. And certainly, someone like Dr. Fauci, it's obviously hard to provide. So, I listen really closely to how his tenor changes. I know he's speaking very closely to many of these vaccine manufacturers.

There's several different platforms of vaccine that are being trialed, meaning different types of vaccines that are being trialed. And there's lots of candidates out there. So, he has said a year. Back in January, he said a year. And he has sort of stuck to that.

I mean, things are moving really fast, Jake, I got to say. I have never seen vaccines move this quickly before. If one of them works, if we start to see -- within the next, I'd say, couple months, Jake, by the end of June maybe, if we see what are called these efficacy signals, signals that it's starting to work, it could be by early next year.

I think then it's a question of, do we have enough doses of the vaccine? How exactly is it going to be distributed, all of that sort of stuff? Some of these vaccines require really low temperatures. How do you distribute things like that in refrigerators and all that sort of stuff?

That's got to be figured out. People should be figuring that out now, but possibly early next year, Jake.

TAPPER: I want to get your reaction to an exchange between Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky and Dr. Fauci about the risks of reopening schools. Take a listen.


PAUL: With regard to going back to school, one thing that was left out of that discussion is mortality.

I mean, shouldn't we at least be discussing what the mortality of children is? This is for Dr. Fauci as well.

The mortality between zero and 18 in the New York data approaches zero. I think the one-size-fits-all, that we're going to have a national strategy and nobody's going to go to school is kind of ridiculous.


FAUCI: I think we have got to be careful if we are not cavalier in thinking that children are completely immune to the deleterious effects.

So, again, you're right in the numbers that children in general do much, much better than adults and the elderly, and particularly those with underlying conditions.

But I am very careful, and hopefully humble, in knowing that I don't know everything about this disease. And that's why I'm very reserved in making broad predictions.


TAPPER: Sanjay, you and I know Dr. Fauci.

And, basically, that's him saying that Rand Paul is being cavalier. And he mentioned that some kids are experiencing deadly symptoms similar to Kawasaki disease. We have been talking about this for several weeks now.

There's still a lot we don't know about this virus and what it might do to children.

GUPTA: Yes, I mean, that was -- that was Dr. Fauci at his strongest, as polite as he might be.

But, yes, he's referring to this syndrome that we're clearly now seeing in this part of the world. It's a Kawasaki-type syndrome. Here, we're now calling it PIMS for Pediatric Inflammatory Multiorgan Syndrome. PIMS is now the name for this.

It's an inflammatory sort of syndrome associated with COVID. It's a brand-new thing. I mean, there will ultimately be textbooks written about stuff that we are discovering just over the last couple of weeks, Jake. I mean, that's how fast medical science is moving right now. But it's confusing as to why we're seeing this now, several months into this. This seems to be a post-inflammatory sort of thing, maybe kids who had the coronavirus at some point in the past, and yet have an inflammatory sort of flare-up.

Interestingly, Kawasaki is typically more commonly seen in Asia, in China and Japan. And I have been talking to people over there, some of my sources. They did not see the significant uptick in Kawasaki over there.

So this appears to be something that's more predominant in this part of the world. We're not sure. It could be some sort of genetic predisposition.

But this is what Dr. Fauci is talking about. Also, Jake, you know that even if kids -- it's true. Children, thankfully, are not as likely to become very sick, or certainly die from this, but they can still be carriers as well.

And that's got to go into the planning as we think about schools and how to open those up as well.

TAPPER: Dr. Fauci also said it would be a bridge too far to expect a vaccine or even a full treatment before students return to school in the fall.

Should parents be expecting right now that they might have their kids at home at least through Christmas in the new year?

GUPTA: It's possible, Jake.

I have been talking to a lot of folks in different school districts. We heard from the superintendent of L.A. Unified School District, one of -- second largest, I believe, school district in the country.

I think right now the plan is to open up schools this fall. They're starting to go through the -- what that's going to look like, in terms of no cafeterias, no assemblies, gym class and things like that not happening, really understanding how to maybe even stagger-start student times to try and space things out for the students, obviously, six feet apart, all that sort of stuff.

But that is the plan. It could change as things go through the summer, but I think, right now, most want to open up in the fall.

TAPPER: All right, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, as always, thank you so much.

Be sure to listen to Sanjay's podcast, "Coronavirus: Fact vs. Fiction" It's on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Up next: Will there be more cash payments to Americans? House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will join us live, as House Democrats push for another stimulus bill.

Plus, a top CEO now predicting that a major airline will go out of business by September -- what that might mean for you ahead.




SEN. LAMAR ALEXANDER (R-TN): All roads back to work and school go through testing.

What our country has done so far in testing is impressive, but not nearly enough.

SEN. PATTY MURRAY (D-WA): We still need testing to be fast, free, and everywhere. And we need the White House to lay out a detailed national plan to make that happen.

SEN. MITT ROMNEY (R-UT): I find our testing record nothing to celebrate whatsoever.


TAPPER: Bipartisan frustration and outrage expressed on the Senate side of Capitol Hill today about the availability and capacity for widespread testing here in the United States.

This comes after President Trump declared yesterday that the U.S. has prevailed on testing.

Joining me now is the top Democrat in the House of Representatives, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Madam Speaker, thanks so much for joining us.

I know you have unveiled a $3 trillion relief bill that would include billions for testing. Were you satisfied by the administration's pledge this morning of 40 to 50 million tests a month, if necessary, by September?

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): No. You have to do much more than that. And I think that they know that.

They -- it has to be at least double that, maybe 2.5 times that. And the sooner we do it, the better. It is a decision to open up the economy, testing, tracing, treatment, isolation if necessary.

And to do that, we have to make a commitment to do it, as we do in our bill.

When you hear the Senate hearing today, testing, testing, testing, and as the distinguished Democratic -- top Democrat on the committee, Senator Murray, said, you have to have a detailed plan. You have to have a definite plan on how to get this done.

We have put that forth in our bill with the -- with everything that goes with it, and with the ethic, value that it's going to be there for everyone, not only the testing, the tracing, and the treatment, but also whatever vaccine or therapies God sends us and science produces, that they will be accessible to everyone in our country as well.

TAPPER: Right.


So, let's talk about this bill. Your Republican counterpart, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, called it a liberal wish list of a bunch of items that you wanted to have passed even before the coronavirus pandemic happened.

What's your response to that?

PELOSI: Well --

TAPPER: I mean, is this very specifically coronavirus-focused -


TAPPER: -- or are there things in here that have nothing to do with it?

PELOSI: He knows that that's -- what he said isn't so.

But, putting that aside -- I can't be bothered about what others say.

What I'm concerned -- what I'm proud of is what we are doing. And the fact is that, in all four of the bills that have passed before, they have all been bipartisan. And we have all in our caucus have agreed that everything is coronavirus-centric and also in a timely way that relates to the virus.

It's too deadly to our lives, to our livelihood, to our democracy for us to use it for any other purpose. So, the money for state and local is to allay the cost of the -- defray the cost of the outlays they have made for coronavirus and the revenue lost because of the coronavirus, testing, testing.

The three pillars, honor our heroes by supporting our state and local entities, so that they don't lose their jobs, these heroes don't lose their jobs, open up government by testing, tracing, treatment, et cetera. And the third is putting money in the pockets of the American people, all of it timed and centric to the coronavirus.

We -- we -- it would be an endless amount of money if we put our wish list for the future in there. But that is not what the case is.

And, sometimes, I get a little heat from my own folks, who say, why can't we do this in this bill and that in the -- because that's not what the bill is about. This bill is for this purpose.

TAPPER: Right.

PELOSI: And it's a big price, but it's a big problem.

And the chairman of the Fed said, think big, because the interest rates will never be lower. And so we are -- they have used the interest rates to give confidence that credit will be available, because the interest rates are low.

We want those same interest rates. And they use it to bolster the stock market. We want to use it to bolster the American people. I'm very proud of the work of my chairmen.

TAPPER: So, I want you to take -- I want you to take a listen to what New York Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo had to say today about what he wants in the next stimulus bill.



GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): It has to be a smart piece of legislation this time.

What does that mean? No handouts to greedy corporations, no political pork, and no partisanship. You can't -- sometimes -- there has to be a time in history when the federal government is willing to stop playing partisan politics.


TAPPER: So, no partisanship, and yet the House Republicans sound like they oppose this bill. The Senate Republicans oppose this bill.

The White House, it doesn't sound like they're supporting this bill. That sounds partisan to me. Am I wrong?

PELOSI: Well, it may be partisan on their part, but it's not partisan on our part to meet the needs of the American people.

But let me reiterate, these -- we passed four bills, all of them bipartisan. This is the fifth bill. And much of the essence of this bill, the three pillars, have a provenance in the previous bills.

We have had state and local in there. We have had direct payments to people and unemployment insurance to people. And we have had testing. Our first bill March 4th was testing, testing, testing. Our most recent bill that passed had $25 billion for testing.

So, all of these spring in a bigger way, nonetheless, because there's bigger commitment to testing and to meeting the needs of localities. So, the -- again, it's all been bipartisan. I hope that it will be.

I think there's great bipartisan support throughout the country from governors and mayors about the state and local provisions that are in the legislation.

Scientists all agree we can't open unless we test. That's not even partisan. That's -- that's scientific. And you even heard the chairman and the top Democrat on the committee say, we haven't -- what we have done is not nearly adequate.

And then, again, meeting the needs of the American people. When the Republicans say, we need a pause, as I keep saying, there's no pause in hunger and rent and your bills, and -- or no pause in the agony of not having a job because of this terrible situation.

So, we feel very proud of the prioritizing, curating of the issues that we have, so that they meet the needs of the American people very directly, and that it is a very defensible bill. Everything in it is for the purpose of getting -- opening up our government, helping people in the meantime, and defeating, defeating this virus, as we honor our heroes who are working so hard, risking their lives to save lives.



House Speaker Nancy -- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, thank you so much for your time.

PELOSI: My pleasure.

TAPPER: Stay healthy. Good to see you, as always.

PELOSI: Thank you.

TAPPER: Coming up, new ways to control coronavirus --

PELOSI: And thanks Sanjay Gupta for his wonderful work. Thank you.

TAPPER: I will pass that on to him.

Coming up, new ways to control coronavirus, from one state considering requiring pictures of all visitors, to L.A. looking to extend the stay at home order for another three months.

Stay with us.