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Key Coronavirus Model Now Projects 147,000 U.S. Deaths By August, Double Projected Number Of Deaths Two Weeks Ago; Los Angeles County: No Way Stay-at-Home Order Will be Lifted For Next Three Months Without Dramatic Change In Virus; Fauci Warns U.S. Can't Be Cavalier That Kids Are Immune; Gov. Cuomo: About 100 NY Kids Have Mysterious Illness Linked To Coronavirus; CNN Poll: Most Americans Would Be Uncomfortable Returning To Their Regular Routines Today. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired May 12, 2020 - 19:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Erin Burnett OUTFRONT starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next breaking news, 147,000 deaths by August, that's the projection of a key model tonight. Ten thousand more deaths and the same model predicted just two days ago.

Plus, the mysterious illness among children, one that's linked to coronavirus. New cases tonight.

And new numbers out this hour, are Americans ready to go back to their normal routines? Well, the answer may surprise you.

Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight, the breaking news, a key model often cited by the White House now predicting 147,000 American deaths by August 4th. That is up 10,000 from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation's last model just two days ago and double what the institute's researchers predicted just two weeks ago.

The higher number attributed in part to states' relaxing restrictions and increased mobility across the country. This as Dr. Anthony Fauci warns the country risks even more suffering if states rush to reopen before they have certain guidelines in place.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: I feel if that occurs, 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.


BURNETT: Fauci not mincing words during today's Senate hearing on the current state of America's response to the coronavirus. Fauci was joined by some of the nation's top medical experts, including the doctor of the CDC, Robert Redfield, who gave this morning.


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 and we must, but we are more prepared. We need to stay vigilant with social distancing. It remains an imperative.


BURNETT: Not out of the woods and social distancing remains an imperative. President Trump's message, though, has been consistent, reopen and do it fast.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We can't keep our country close. We have to open our country.

Well, I think people won't stand for it. We can't have our whole country out. Can't do it. Again, the country won't take it. It won't stand it. It's not sustainable.


BURNETT: The President tweeting yesterday, "The great people of Pennsylvania want their freedom now, and they are fully aware of what that entails."

Erica Hill is OUTFRONT now. And Erica, these warnings and this new projection, of course, coming out, upping their projection of death by 10,000 over just 48 hours weighing on governors and mayors across the country, Los Angeles County, I know home to 10 million Americans with a major announcement that you've been covering this hour.

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR AND NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. That's for sure. As we're seeing these different municipalities, whether it's counties, cities or states move towards reopening. What we've heard from Los Angeles County today is that folks there, 10 million of them should start to be comfortable with the way things are because it's going to stay that way for months.


HILL (voice over): Beaches set to reopen in Los Angeles County for exercise only, as the public health director warns. Stay-at-home orders for the county's 10 million residents will remain in place for months. L.A.'s Mayor confirming the news while trying to ease any panic.


MAYOR ERIC GARCETTI (D), LOS ANGELES, CA: I think she's saying that we're not going to fully reopen Los Angeles and probably anywhere in America without any protections or any health orders in the next three months.


HILL (voice over): Face coverings and social distancing here for the summer, at least. California State University system canceling nearly all in-person classes for the fall semester. Impacting nearly half a million students and raising new questions about K through 12 schools as Dr. Anthony Fauci warns there is not a single solution and there likely won't be a vaccine by September.


FAUCI: The idea of having treatments available or a vaccine to facilitate the re-entry of students into the fall term would be something that would be a bit of a bridge too far.


HILL (voice over): This as the real time experiment across America continues. Retail stores opening their doors in Ohio today.


RANDY BENEDICT, GENERAL MANAGER, SECOND SOLE: We are going to stick to a strict two to one. If we have an employee, we can have two customers.


HILL (voice over): As more restaurants adapt.


JOHN HORN, OWNER, ANNA MARIA OYSTER BAR: We really felt we needed one more week to let people stay at home and not quite rushed into it.


HILL (voice over): And baseball perhaps for a shortened season with fans cheering at home. Broadway's iconic theaters won't be back before September 6th at the earliest. The CDC reporting there could be as many as 5,000 additional deaths in hard hit New York City as the mayor says any reopening is still weeks away.


MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D), NEW YORK CITY: In the beginning of June, that will be the first chance we get to start to do something differently, but only if the indicators show us that.

[19:05:04] Only if they show that we've reached the kind of consistent progress

we need.


HILL (voice over): That progress includes a steady decline in cases, part of the White House's own guidance which no state appears to have met.


FAUCI: 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.


HILL (voice over): Alabama, Texas and South Dakota among those seeing an uptick. In Georgia, one of the earliest states to reopen, cases remain steady. With nearly every state scheduled to be partially open by the end of the week, Americans are not convinced officials have the virus under control.

More than half say the government is doing a poor job preventing the spread, according to a new CNN poll, while 52 percent believe the worst is still to come.


MICHAEL OSTERHOLM, DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR INFECTIOUS DISEASE RESEARCH AND POLICY, UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA: I think we're only literally in that very, very early innings of this. And what's really concerning to me is we're not planning for what could be a large wave of cases.



HILL: Erin, as officials are determining their next steps, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf today said anyone pushing to reopen too soon is both selfish and unsafe. And also warned that any counties in his state that are operating illegally may lose out on COVID-19 funding.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Erica.

And now let's go to Dr. Ali Khan, former Director of the CDC's Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response now the Dean of the College of Public Health at the University of Nebraska and former Ohio Governor, Republican, John Kasich.

Governor, let me start with you. Dr. Redfield warn today we're not out of the woods yet. Dr. Fauci warning of serious consequences of states open too quickly. He said we run the risk of having a resurgence and by the way, there's been a lot of work done recently on the economic impact here, even when you look back at the 1918 pandemic, opening up more quickly did not result in a more quick economic recovery.

What do you say to the current governors out there, go ahead with Trump and reopen or go more in the Fauci fear factor?


BURNETT: What do you do?

KASICH: No. No. No. Listen, I mean, when you're governor you have to realize that you're going to treat the public like you treat your own family. So the effort to partially reopen, monitor in waves rather than all at once is the only thing that makes any sense. And, frankly, we need to have, obviously, more masks how long we've been saying that. We need to have massive testing and we need to have contact tracing.

Now, every state is kind of working to get to that point, Erin, but, look, part of the issue here of reopening is one thing you don't want to do is just lock people down without a responsible way to partially open.


KASICH: Because what we're seeing in our country today is we're seeing more suicides, we're seeing more drug abuse, so, yes, we have to listen to the facts. We have to listen to science and we have to make a decision so we can trace and track what's happening in those particular areas that are being reopened so that we can respond quickly when we see a problem.

BURNETT: And Dr. Khan, we were told in order to reopen not only did you have to have a decline in cases, which is obviously not happening in many of the states which are opening, but also that you had to have that contracting - contact tracing, I'm sorry, in place which would require hundreds of thousands of people also not in place at this time.

So you look at those two major things, they're not there. Are states pushing ahead too quickly on reopening given that or not?

DR. ALI KHAN, FORMER, DIRECTOR CDC'S OFFICE OF PUBLIC HEALTH PREPAREDNESS & RESPONSE: So I think Dr. Fauci is right. You have to sort of balance protecting the health of your citizens against opening the state. And you need to ensure you have strong public health measures in place, which means testing, isolating the cases and finding your contacts and that's the only way to open safely. Otherwise, you will see an increase in cases.

BURNETT: And Gov. Kasich, I want to play a little bit more of what - I just played a brief part of that exchange, but the exchange between the CDC Director, Dr. Robert Redfield, and the Democratic Senator Chris Murphy, which was really about why the CDC has not put forward more detailed guidance on reopening publicly.

Now, keep in mind, we all know, right, there was that draft that was leaked. So we've seen some of it and Dr. Birx said that the guidance is now under review, but obviously, over weeks gone by, others say the administration nixed it, it's unclear. Here's some of the exchange today, Governor.


REDFIELD: The guidances that you've talked about have gone through that interagency review, there are comments that have come back to CDC and I anticipate they'll go back up into the task force for final review.

SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D-CT): But if we're reopening in Connecticut in five days, in 10 days, I mean, this guidance isn't going to be useful to us in two weeks, so is it this week? Is it next week?

REDFIELD: I do anticipate this broader guidance, though, to be posted on the CDC website soon. I can't tell you soon, but I can tell you your state can reach out to CDC and we'll give guidance directly to anyone in your state.



BURNETT: All right. So that's good, Governor, you can reach out. But, I mean, they had all of these guidelines, what does this say? You got states which have reopened, are reopening now and there is no direct clear communication from the CDC. How significant is that?

KASICH: Well, yes, there's terrible mixed communications from the federal government, from the administration. And in regard to the CDC, Erin, I almost had an Ebola problem out here when I was governor. The CDC is very, very important in this and there should be some national standards and some national guidance. I don't know what they're spending all of their time crossing Ts and dotting Is.

I hope that there's no politics involved in this. But they do need to get it right and it can be very useful. So as a governor, the way you should proceed is like I would have my doctors, I have Dr. Ports (ph) or Dr. Bechdel (ph). I would have people I trust. I would have the CDC, the epidemiologists. And at the same time, I'd have some other people who could also look at that work.

But at the end, Erin, at the end, as a governor, you've got to make that decision. It's nobody else's. And I have to tell you, it's a heavy decision to make do it responsibly and to those that advise governors, tell them the truth, no nonsense, no politics, you'll be proud of yourself even if you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation.

BURNETT: So Dr. Khan, the model that just came out today and increased the deaths now predicted to 147,000 by August 4th. That is up 10,000 since Sunday and it is about double what it was 10 days ago, OK, and they're saying in part, that's because of the reopening.

But we do see that the death toll continued to go up on this plateau. So in other countries, you saw it go up and then you saw it come down. And here we saw it go up and now we kind of see a little bit of petering across, kind of a plateau. Why? Why is this happening here, Dr. Khan?

KHAN: OK. So first let me agree with the Gov. Kasich, as somebody who does advise governors that governors are responsible for integrating information, not just from the federal level, from numerous other levels as they make this decision to open up. And going back to what's happening into the U.S., absolutely. We plateaued about five weeks ago at 30,000 cases and we've been very slow to come down to 20,000 cases.

And it's been difficult to transition from our mitigation strategy into true containment strategy and that's going to require that aggressive public health efforts that's about testing, finding these cases, isolating them, finding the contacts, tracing them and doing the quarantine work. And that's what's going to protect Americans, drop community transmission and allow them to go about their work safely.

Going back to the models, Erin, so the models are real time dynamic models, they're not truth. And this one model you mentioned is one of many models out there and they're just all converging to the same number. So that's all that's happening, the 10,000 up, the 10,000 down. All of these models now are essentially coming to the exact same number of approximately how many deaths we're going to see.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you both very much. I do just say, we talked now about moves of 10,000. These are obviously people's lives in a few months ago we would have never even imagined you'd be talking about any of these. It is it is incredible what has happened and I thank you both very much.

KASICH: Thank you, Erin.

BURNETT: And OUTFRONT next, more children diagnosed with the mysterious illness that is linked to coronavirus. Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins me next.

Plus, a brand new CNN poll just released this hour reveals how Americans feel about going back to work.

And Coronavirus in the Kremlin. The virus is now inside Vladimir Putin's inner circle. Cases rapidly spreading across Russia.



BURNETT: New tonight, Dr. Fauci firing back at Republican Senator Rand Paul after he claimed keeping businesses and schools closed would be a mistake. Despite Fauci's warnings that reopening too soon could lead to a resurgence of coronavirus. Watch this.


SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY): So I think we ought to have a little bit of humility in our belief that we know what's best for the economy. 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, but I think it's a huge mistake if we don't open the schools in the fall.

FAUCI: I have never made myself out to be the end-all and only voice of this. I'm a scientist, a physician and a public health official. I give advice according to the best scientific evidence. We don't know everything about this virus and we really better be very careful, particularly when it comes to children.

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


BURNETT: OUTFRONT now, our Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta. So Sanjay you know Dr. Fauci well. That was a very aggressive and personal comment there by Senator Paul. You're not the end-all and be-all. What do you make of Fauci's reaction?

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: No one's ever suggested, I mean, Dr. Fauci himself never suggested that he's the end-all. I mean, that was about as forceful responses you'll see out of Dr. Fauci, sort of cautioning Sen. Paul not to be cavalier here.

I mean, the substance of the topic they were talking about is very interesting because we're learning more about the impact of this on kids. And thankfully, the news is still that it's rare, the risk is low for children to be really adversely affected by this, but it's not zero.

And we are also seeing something now several months into this, Erin, that's affecting children that we hadn't really seen before this inflammatory syndrome. It's called PIMS now, Pediatric Inflammatory Multi-organ Syndrome.

So that's one of the things I think Dr. Fauci was cautioning about. We're still learning as we go along and by the way, as we know, even if you don't become sick, you can still a symptomatically spread this. So these are all of the factors he's continuing to weigh.

BURNETT: Right. And I want to take this as you're talking about younger children now and I want to stay with that for a moment. So as you point out, we're only starting to see it now. My understanding is because they're thinking these are children who have had the virus and within four to six weeks after having had it, there's sort of a secondary immune response, which is why this delay, why we're now just starting to see it.

We have learned now the second case in Kentucky, in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo now says a hundred cases and that he does believe it's gone undiagnosed in other states.


So I guess first of all on this issue with younger children and this inflammatory Kawasaki-like disease, how widespread do you think it could be?

GUPTA: I don't think it's going to be that widespread, Erin. And let me tell you why, I've been talking to some of my sources in Asia as well and surprisingly Kawasaki syndrome is something that you see typically more often in Asia and they really have not seen it that much over there. So it's interesting that it really seems to be more in the U.S. and the United States so far.

Again, everything should be presented humbly because we're learning as we go along. But that does suggest that there are some sort of genetic predisposition here. We're not sure what exactly that is. But there have been around a hundred kids who've developed this, maybe there's more that haven't yet being counted. But thankfully, I still think it's going to be rare and not that widespread.

BURNETT: So you think just to make the point here that it would be genetic as opposed to a mutation or changing the virus? I just want to put that black and white and make that point.

GUPTA: I think so. I mean, the idea that maybe the virus that was spreading in Europe and now the United States is slightly different than the virus in Asia, perhaps. But I think that what we're seeing here is something that within the children themselves that appears to make them more susceptible to this.

There's been a couple of a couple of hypotheses that have been thrown out there that I'm following. They're not quite ready to present to your audience yet, but investigators are looking into this to see what is making some children more likely to develop this. And what whatever it is, it does seem to be still, thankfully, pretty rare.

BURNETT: And, yes, and I'll make the point here, I want to ask you about older kids, but I do want to make the point that JAMA medical journal just put out a study of 83 -- they said 83 percent of young children who have had this and pediatric care units have had serious underlying conditions. So obviously, that's important just to note for people to understand that. It doesn't mean there's zero risk for others, but it does appear to be very clear from what they saw.

But when it comes to older kids here in the idea of schools in general, Sanjay, you know, you saw just earlier today California State University, the largest school system in the country, half a million students, 23 universities, they plan to cancel basically all in-person classes through the fall. Look, people want to do the right thing, but this is terrifying for a whole lot of people in this country. Could this happen more broadly?

GUPTA: I think it could. I mean universities in particular are now making these decisions. They're in the process of accepting students, taking deposits. We've been doing a lot of reporting with some of these deans at schools as they try to navigate these decisions. It's challenging.

I mean, they recognize that even for students that they're accepting and that are putting their intention to come may not show up in the fall because there's still so much concern about this and they're really trying to focus on the idea that a lot of the learning could be done online.

It's a little bit of a different situation, Erin, I think in some of the grade schools because they're saying like at the Los Angeles Unified School District, which is the second largest in the country, they're still talking about the fall with precautions in place, perhaps staggered start times, physical distancing of the students, no cafeteria, no assemblies, no mass gatherings, obviously.

It's more important for younger kids to maybe have that socialization whereas college students might be able to get by with the online learning alone. Nobody wants that, obviously, but that is the direction that they're sort of headed.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Thanks.

GUPTA: You got it. Thank you.

BURNETT: And OUTFRONT next, a brand new CNN poll found most people do not feel comfortable returning to their regular routine. So what can be done to ease these concerns?

Plus, a third of all deaths are reportedly from nursing homes and I'm going to talk to one chief of the nursing home who's gone to great lengths to keep the virus out of her facility. What has she been doing right?



BURNETT: Tonight, a brand new CNN poll just released this hour shows 58 percent of Americans say they are not comfortable returning to their regular routines, 41 percent say they would feel comfortable going back to what life was like before the pandemic such as work, school and restaurants. This comes as 48 states will be at least partially reopened by Sunday.

OUTFRONT now, Jason Furman former Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Obama and Dr. Jonathan Reiner who advises the White House medical team under President George W. Bush, currently the Director of the Cardiac Cath Lab at GW University Hospital.

So Jason, great to have you on the show. So when you look at these numbers and this is just coming out here, so you've got 58 percent of the population saying they feel uncomfortable going back to their regular routines. How difficult is it to reopen the economy when you have that confidence issue?

JASON FURMAN, FORMER CHAIR, COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC ADVISERS UNDER OBAMA: I think it's very difficult to reopen the economy and it highlights that the biggest problem the U.S. economy faces isn't that we're not allowed to do various things, but that we are terrified, I think for good reason, of doing lots of things.

If restaurants reopen tomorrow, I personally I'm not going to go back into one until I feel safer until cases are down, testing is more extensive and the likes. And this is really about how we're controlling the spread of the virus, not what a governor says can or can't be open.

BURNETT: Right. It's true. You can tell people they can go and then they either will or they won't.

I mean, Dr. Reiner, people say they're uncomfortable and that is true, but many of them are getting out more. When we asked about what people are leaving their homes when compared to last month, there is an increase across the board. They're going out to groceries. They're going out to work. Some of them were going out to visit people, go to the doctor. Does that concern you got, Dr. Reiner?

JONATHAN REINER, DIRECTOR, CARDIAC CATHETERIZATION LAB, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL: Well, it concerns me if they're going out in ways that are unsafe. I think we have the wrong sense for how to open the economy. When we think about it as either open or closed, we're really thinking about it as a sort of a binary variable. It's either open or closed or turning on a light switch, but if we're going to use the light switch metaphor, let's think about it like a dimmer switch.


So our room is pretty dark now. Now we need to turn the light up a little bit, but now we're not turning it on all at once.

So we need to get people how to understand how to get out and about in a safer way. And then we need businesses to understand how to create the confidence to allow consumers to come back in.

You know, when I go to work, I work in a place that has dozens of people who are being treated for the coronavirus, but I feel safe there, because I know the rules of the road. I have adequate PPE and I trust my colleagues.

And we need to create that same sentiment in the community.

BURNETT: Yes, that is -- that is really crucial. And obviously, we're not there yet.

I mean, Jason, you know, 41 percent of respondents say the outbreak has permanently changed the American economy and that it will take a long time to recover. Now, that's up 10 points from April. So, that's a huge surge in that.

But 57 percent think it's only temporary. So what do you focus on? That so many people think it's temporary that you've got that kind of built-in kind of optimism and confidence? Or do you focus on the increase in people in just a few weeks who think this is really bad and permanent?

FURMAN: You know, I love how optimistic the American people are. I wish I could be with that 57 percent that thinks this is going to be temporary or rapid. You know, my diagnose of what's going on in the economy is that even if we have a vaccine in the middle of next year, that the economic problems could well outlast the vaccine.

You know, just look at this unemployment rate we just got, even if all the temporarily furloughed people were back at work immediately, the unemployment rate would still be 9 percent. We're going to have a long road ahead of us economically. That's why it's important that we keep going on the economic policies to make sure we're doing everything we can to support people and create jobs.

BURNETT: And, you know, you talk about a vaccine. And I know we all obviously know that isn't going to -- we're going to need to reopen well before a vaccine in many ways, but with rules of the road.

However, Dr. Reiner, you would think that given how people are, that they would get the vaccine. And yet, only two-thirds of respondents said they would get a vaccine if one existed, which is shocking.

What do you make of that? Can the United States get back to normal, even if you're looking at a year, year and a half from now if people don't get the vaccine?

REINER: And it's even worse when you look at party affiliation. For some reason, party affiliation in this poll predicts how well people will accept the vaccine. Eighty-one percent of Democrats said they would take the vaccine. Only 51 percent of Republicans. And I don't understand that.

Look, in our best year in terms of the influenza vaccine, only about 60 percent of Americans get the vaccine. And we need to do much, much better than that. We've had a cancer vaccine -- the HPV is a cancer vaccine and you'd think that everyone would administer that, but only about 50 percent of adolescents who are eligible for that vaccine get that vaccine.

So this country does not have a great history in terms of fully vaccinating people who are eligible for these. We need to do better.

BURNETT: We certainly do. All right, thank you, both, very much. I appreciate your time.

REINER: My pleasure.

BURNETT: Jason and Dr. Reiner.

And now, nearly half of the respondents in our poll say the outbreak has caused them financial hardship, which is putting pressure on governors to reopen their states as soon as they can. They don't want people to suffer.

Jason Carroll is OUTFRONT.


JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Across some of the smaller cities and rural stretches of upstate New York, businesses are eager to reopen and get people back to work.


CARROLL: Benjamin Whitmore owns Bespoke Barbers in Binghamton, New York, a city of about 33,000 people three hours northwest of New York City. It has been nearly two months since he has cut anyone's hair. He got a federal loan, but says unemployment still has not come through so now he's just about out of savings and patience.

WHITMORE: I think that there's no reason we couldn't move forward with opening here locally with the condition of the virus here.

CARROLL: The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Binghamton, like much of Upstate New York, are far fewer compared to New York City, population 8.5 million. The county where Binghamton is located had a total of 737 COVID cases and 25 deaths as of Monday.

MARIE MCKENNA, LOST DOG CAFE: It was heartbreaking to see what was going on in New York, and it wasn't happening here. But we just didn't know, was it going to gradually make its way up here? But now, obviously, it's time to come back.

CARROLL: Marie McKenna co-owns Lost Dog Cafe in Binghamton. The cafe's owners not just worried about the business, but for those who depend on it, they laid off all 53 employees the night they closed, March 16th. Now they're setting up to do takeout to help make ends meet, while watching other parts of the country moving forward at a faster pace.


ELIZABETH HUGHES, LOST DOG CAFE: I think seeing the other states opening has definitely kind of motivated us all. As long as we do it safely and we follow the guidelines that are set up.

CARROLL: Governor Andrew Cuomo promised a regional approach to reopening, with businesses less likely to spread the virus opening first.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: We start with businesses that are more essential and pose a lower risk.

CARROLL: Construction, manufacturing, and retail curbside pickup can resume Friday in places like Binghamton.

It can't come soon enough for Heidi Weeks, who runs this small clothing shop. She says she can only hang on for about another month or so, even with social media sales and generous customers.

HEIDI WEEKS, MABEL D. ORR FASHION BOUTIQUE: A lot of people have bought gift certificates. I mean, the first gift certificate I got was from an anonymous person. They purchased a $500 gift certificate. I started sobbing. I was like, thank you so much.


CARROLL: So, Erin, really, the key word here is forward. The focus is really balance. I mean, the folks that we spoke to say looking forward, obviously, they want to be able to reopen, they want to be able to pay their bills, but they say whatever they do going forward, they just want to make sure that they're doing it safely -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Jason, thank you.

And next, the outbreaks across the country in nursing homes, yet there is one facility that has had zero cases and I'm going to speak with the director. What did she do?

And Putin's top aide and spokesperson has coronavirus, hospitalized, this as the number of cases in Russia spikes.



BURNETT: Tonight, as many as a third of all coronavirus reported deaths are from nursing homes, which is according to an analysis from "The New York Times" today. The CDC director calling it today a great tragedy of the pandemic. But was it a tragedy that could have been prevented?

One nursing home in Portland, Oregon, found success by taking quick action. So far, there have been no cases in that facility.

OUTFRONT now, Jenny Abeling. She is executive director of the Laurelhurst House, a nursing home in Portland.

And, Jenny, I really appreciate your time tonight. So I know you took over this facility in Portland in January, as the virus was just starting to appear in the United States. You acted very quickly.

What steps did you take, early on, to protect your residents and your staff?

JENNY ABELING, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, LAURELHURST HOUSE ASSISTED LIVING FACILITY: Yes, thank you, first, for having me on. Laurelhurst House is a long-term care facility. We do assisted living for a vulnerable, low-income population in Portland. The steps we took immediately was, we had four sites.

So we were following the news. We saw these outbreaks in other countries happening and we know that we were not going to be able to avoid this. So we actually took very strict measures at our facility, way before any government agency told us to lock down, so we immediately put our epidemiology hats on and we knew we needed to restrict movement in and out of the building.

We needed to stockpile PPE as soon as possible. We needed to make sure that everything that went into the building was tracked. So we cleaned it, we delivered it. We made sure minimal staff had to interact to each patient resident at our facility, to make sure that we had a limited contact with each person.

BURNETT: So you did all of that before anyone asked you to do it, before many people even saw it. So let me ask you now, Jenny, today, when Dr. Fauci was asked, you know, what can be done to limit outbreaks at these long-term care facilities like yours, here's what he said.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Very strict regulations and guidelines about who is allowed to go into the nursing home and the staff, I believe, needs to be monitored very carefully to make sure that we don't have introduction into the nursing home of infected individuals.


BURNETT: All right. So you were doing all of that starting months ago. Where are you in terms of the testing? Are you able to get now the regular testing that you need for, you know, people who are in your facility and for your staff?

ABELING: So, we're not there yet. We -- I spoke to a lab today and we are starting to discuss how we're going to make that happen at the facility. One thing we did is our staff has made such sacrifices.

We've decided that we're not hiring any new staff people right now. We're not taking any new admissions into the building. And I'm asking the staff, by building a trust with them and knowing that this is a large family and we're all in this together, that they are not going to work at other facilities, which is very common.

They are going to be asked to work overtime at our facility and in their personal lives, we're asking them not to go to social gatherings, we're asking them to practice social distancing, wearing masks at all times. And we're moving toward testing of all residents and staff.

And even with that, we're still going to have to be practicing social distancing, wearing PPE at all times, just because we know that people are asymptomatic. And one day you could test positive or negative and the next day, it could be different based on your contacts.

BURNETT: So, let me ask you, Jenny. Because a nursing home less than ten miles away from yours has reportedly had the largest and deadliest outbreak in Oregon. You know, they said that people were, you know, forced to reuse masks, that there were other hygiene issues.

I guess just when you take a step back, do you think that the tragedy that we have seen at nursing homes across this country was preventable? Given what you did early and that to this point, you have nod had any cases?

ABELING: I think each individual community has struggles.


And when you have larger communities, it's very difficult when you have a lot of staff coming in and out of the building, it's extremely difficult to track them. I think that the struggle with PPE was one of the largest problems for

long-term care facilities. And I frantically bought PPE from anywhere I could buy it from, including Amazon, because I knew that this was going to be a struggle.

And so what we did is something that is individual to our community and I hope that as we move forward, we're going to collaborate with other communities and we're going to put our minds together and make sure that this -- another pandemic doesn't happen like this at long- term care facilities or even the second wave of this one.

BURNETT: Well, Jenny, I really appreciate your time. And I know that a lot of people watching, it is great to know that there are people like you and someone like you making all the sacrifices that you're making to try to keep everyone safe in that facility. Thank you so much. Appreciate your time.

ABELING: Thank you so much for having me.

BURNETT: And OUTFRONT next, Russia, now second only to the United States in reported coronavirus cases and it is now spreading inside the Kremlin. One of the top officials there hospitalized with coronavirus tonight.

ABELING: Plus, graduation ceremonies like you've never seen them before.


ELLEN DEGENERES, TV HOST: We need smart people. Actually, you don't even have to be that smart. Just don't tell people to drink bleach.




BURNETT: Tonight, coronavirus in the Kremlin. Russian President Vladimir Putin's long-time spokesperson is hospitalized with the virus. This news coming on the same day Russia surged to the second most cases in the world, passing the U.K., Spain and Italy.

Matthew Chance is OUTFRONT.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The news that Putin spokesman has coronavirus is gripping Russia. Dmitry Peskov may be the only latest official there to test positive, but he's the one closest to President Putin. It raises questions about the health of the Russian leader.

For years, Peskov has been the public mouthpiece of a strongman president. Putin rarely appears without him at home or abroad. There is a strong chance the two have been in close contact. But Peskov has been denying there's been any in-person dealings

between the two for over a month. Kremlin says Putin has been working remotely from his residence outside Moscow. Although he clearly still takes some meetings face to face like this one snapped by Kremlin photographers this week with the head of the Russian state oil company.

It is a risk in a country reporting more than 10,000 new infections every day, one of the highest rates in the world.

There are mounting signs of the strain. In recent weeks, at least three Russian doctors, including one here complaining about tough working conditions have fallen out of windows, two of them fatally.

Earlier this month, the acting head of this hospital in Siberia died in a window fall after opposing plans to convert a hospital into a coronavirus facility, citing lack of protective gear.

Anastasia Vasilyeva is the head of a doctor's union has become an outspoken critic for the coronavirus response.

This is her being manhandled and arrested last month trying to deliver protective equipment. She says the strange case of the three Russian doctors and suspicious window falls is more about psychological stress on front-line staff than any sinister plot to silence critics.

ANASTASIA VASILYEVA, DOCTORS' ALLIANCE: No, I don't think that it's somebody's targeting doctors, no. I think it's really, the real destruction of health care system.

CHANCE: And that destruction is being widely felt. This time it's Putin's spokesman hospitalized. Last month, it was his prime minister.

As the Kremlin tries to lift tight restrictions, Russia's coronavirus pandemic shows no sign of easing.


In fact, Erin, it seems to be getting worse because for ten consecutive days now, the country has had increases of more than 10,000 coronavirus infections every day. It's bringing to more than 230. The total number of national cases confirmed officially, that's the highest number in the world after the United States -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much.

And next, commencement speeches in the age of coronavirus.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm living by my family's motto, which is never sit when you can stand, never sit when you can lie down.



BURNETT: Here's Jeanne.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Lucky me, I'll always have my blurry old graduation photos, oblivious to social distancing, tickling a fellow grad with a tassel. But now, what a hassle.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Class of 2020, what is up!

MOOS: A pandemic is what's up. Instead of caps tossed, and celebrations on stage -- flesh and blood grads are being replaced --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Emily Kristine Allen.

MOOS: By pictures, you barely have to get dressed for a commencement addressed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm at home, you're at home.

MOOS: Pharrell Williams once sang --


MOOS: But now, graduates have to be happy with the video commencement. The most famous celebrity to suffer from the virus told grads at Ohio's Wright State.

TOM HANKS, ACTOR: You started in the olden times, in a world back before the great pandemic of 2020. You have finished Wright State during the great reset.

MOOS: And the doctor's during the great reset told Jesuits high school grads that now is the time to --

FAUCI: To care selflessly about one another. Please hang in there.

MOOS: Stephen Colbert hung out on a couch, deliver his message to grads at Northwestern University in Qatar.

STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, "THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT": Living by my family's motto, which is never stand when you can sit, never sit when you can lie down.

MOOS: Instead of a gown, Ellen settled for a bath robe.

DEGENERES: We need smart people. Actually you don't have to be that smart. Just don't tell people to drink bleach.

MOOS: Invincibility juice, Alec Baldwin called it in his "SNL" address.

ALEC BALDWIN, ACTOR: I'm so honored to be your valedictative. Today is not about me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Even without this pandemic, nobody reaches their dreams.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Most people just end up doing their job they don't hate until they retire.

MOOS: But leave it to Oprah appearing on John Krasinski's "Some Good News" to find the literally silver lining in a dark cloud.

OPRAH WINFREY, MEDIA MOGUL: When it's really dark and dreary on the ground and then you get in the plane, and within three minutes, you shoot above the clouds and you see the sun was always there.

MOOS: If only we'd get up the nerve to fly again.

Jeanne Moos.




MOOS: New York.


BURNETT: And Anderson starts now.