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CNN NEWSROOM

New Cluster Connected to Seoul's LGBTQ Nightclubs; Debate Rages Over How and When to Reopen Economies; Germany Finds Unique Ways to Keep Culture Alive; Twitter: Some Employees Can Work from Home Indefinitely; Trump's Lawyers Argue for Temporary Immunity from Investigation, Prosecution; U.S. Projected Deaths to Reach 147K by August 4; Fauci Warns of Serious Consequences in Reopening Too Fast; Putin Spokesperson Hospitalized with COVID-19; All Wuhan Citizens to Be Tested Following New Cases; New Cluster Connected to Seoul's LGBTQ Night Clubs. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired May 13, 2020 - 00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


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JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello and welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm John Vause.

Coming up on CNN NEWSROOM, reality check: without Donald Trump looking over their shoulders, health experts in the U.S. have delivered a very grim outlook for the coming weeks, very much at odds with the optimistic claims made by the president.

The virus and Vladimir: as the number of confirmed cases surges in Russia, second only to the United States, President Putin's poll numbers and himself growing unease with his government's response to this crisis.

And 11 million tests in 10 days: the entire population of Wuhan, China, will be checked for the coronavirus.

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VAUSE: We begin with another grim forecast in the coming months for the coronavirus in the United States with America's leading expert on infectious diseases warning spikes might turn into outbreaks, a model often cited by the White House is now predicting the death toll could be close to 150,000 by early August.

The lead researcher told CNN, the more people are out and about, the more people will die.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. CHRISTOPHER MURRAY, INSTITUTE FOR HEALTH METRICS AND EVALUATION: What happened is that states that relaxed early, people have heard the message, they have gotten out, become more mobile, they are having more contact and we are seeing the effects already of that transition. (END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Worldwide, Johns Hopkins University reports more than 4.2 million cases, close to 300,000 dead. The U.S. accounts for more than a third of total cases, about a quarter of the overall death toll, just over 80,000 dead.

Away from the White House and the ominous presence of Donald Trump, leading experts in public health have testified before the U.S. Senate. Notably they are very much at odds with the president on almost every crucial issue, from vaccines, testing, on whether states should reopen and are they opening too fast.

CNN's Kaitlan Collins has details.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

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.

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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.

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, TRUMP CAMPAIGN SPOKESPERSON: The vice president has made the choice to keep his distance for a few days.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: From Washington, we are joined now by Lawrence Gostin, director of the O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University. He is also director of the World Health Organization Collaborating Center on Public Health Law and Human Rights.

That's quite the titles. But thank you for being with us.

LAWRENCE GOSTIN, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: Thanks for having me, I appreciate it. VAUSE: For anyone who is watching that Senate hearing on Tuesday, do

you believe this may be the first time they may have heard unvarnished, clear-eyed assessment of the current reality facing this country?

GOSTIN: I think Tony Fauci, who is a very old and dear friend of mine, has been trying to tell the truth throughout. But this was particularly poignant because he was there in front of the Senate. He had an audience of the whole of America and he told the truth.

And the truth is that we have an enormously serious epidemic in the United States, that states are getting back to work and to normal life when they shouldn't because their cases are going up. And there is going to be a big surge in new cases and deaths.

VAUSE: I don't want to stay on this for too much longer and this is not directed at the health care professionals, the head of the CDC, Tony Fauci, anybody in particular.

But it does seem that they were freakishly honestly, clearly and directly, something that they have not been able to do when the president stands next to them in the briefings.

What impact does that, if they cannot speak directly to the public in this similar way, during those briefings?

What impact does that have on public trust?

GOSTIN: I think it really erodes public trust. Public health professionals in the United States, particularly at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but many others, they know the evidence, they know what to do but they are looking over their shoulders all the time.

They are second guessed, they are fearful and, in some cases, like recently the CDC issued guidance that was rejected by the White House, it seems to me that what should happen is that the White House should clear its guidance with public health professionals, not the reverse.

VAUSE: That would make sense. You know, there was one moment when Senator Trump loyalist and non-face mask wearing Rand Paul questioned Tony Fauci's judgment about when school children should be able to return, because of this assumption that, because they are children, they have a high level of immunity. I want to play part of Tony Fauci's response to that.

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FAUCI: We are seeing things about what this virus can do that we did not see from the studies in China or in Europe. For example, right now, children presenting with COVID-19, who actually have a very strange inflammatory syndrome, very similar to Kawasaki syndrome.

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

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: That seemed to be a very stark warning on a number of levels, that, essentially, the more we learn about this virus, it seems the less we know. We are not narrowing it down, we're just more and more questions.

GOSTIN: It's a wily virus, I have been working in global public health for all of my adult life. I've worked with the CDC, WHO and NIH. I have never seen anything like it.

The only analogy I could think of was the beginning of the AIDS and the human immunodeficiency virus, which at the time was very badly understood and horrific. But this is really a perfect virus. It is one that is very serious but it does not kill all of its hosts, so it can survive.

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GOSTIN: It is enormously contagious, so that it can spread very, very rapidly. And it causes multiple organ problems, particularly in certain individuals.

And so I think Tony is right. We should really be thinking about our kids. We don't know what the immediate health consequences to them or the long term health consequences, because we can see some chronic health consequences as well.

And of course, kids can also transmit the virus to their parents, their grandparents, and so they can be a source of transmission.

VAUSE: There was a government report that was leaked last week, coming from the CDC. They claimed it was incomplete but nonetheless there was a prediction of 200,000 new cases a day by the 1st of June, 3,000 people dying each day by then as well.

There was a recent study by Philadelphia's Children Hospital, which has found a similar thing but the other way around, extending stay-at- home orders, the study found, will reduce the number of people who die. There's no shortage of studies out there, no shortage of real- time evidence playing out in countries around the world, which would answer that question of what the consequences are of reopening too soon.

But could all of that outcome be entirely avoided if the United States had something like a South Korean style testing and tracking system in place and ready to go, even if we did not have a vaccine?

GOSTIN: It would be an enormous help. It would've been more of a help if it were here earlier so that we had an epidemic that was containable. Now it's really very widespread. But, yes, what we do -- what's called non therapeutic public health

interventions, what we've always done to deal with infectious disease, is we test or screen widely. We isolate people who are known to be infected. We quarantine people who have been exposed or come in contact with those that have been infected.

And we do surveillance to figure out where the hotspots are and where it is moving. The truth is we are doing very little of any of that in the United States today and it's remarkable and sad to see.

VAUSE: It seems there's so much relying on a vaccine being developed in record time, maybe by the end of this year, the beginning of next, no one knows. But again, the voice of reason here is Dr. Fauci. Here he is from the Senate hearing.

GOSTIN: Yes.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FAUCI: You can have everything you think that's in place and you don't induce the kind of immune response that turns out to be protective and durably protective. So, one, the big unknown will it be effective. Given the way the body responds to viruses of this type, I'm cautiously optimistic that we will, with one of the candidates, get an efficacy signal.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Again, there's that caution that we may not be there in 12 months. We may not be there in five or 10 years.

What are the chances of having something within a decade from now?

GOSTIN: Everybody thinks we will have something in a decade from now. Of course, we still don't have an AIDS vaccine and we thought that for quite some time.

Vaccines are tricky. First of all, you need to get an effective one. And with coronaviruses, we don't have a particularly good track record. Even with influenza viruses, we tend to get only in the order of, say, 40 percent to 60 percent effectiveness at the best of years.

And we have safety problems. We have to -- we can't rush it too much, because you can do real harm. A lot of people don't realize that Gerald Ford actually probably lost his presidency by a botched influenza vaccination campaign.

And we do have vaccines like the dengue vaccine, that actually, if given to the wrong people at the wrong time, can actually make their disease worse, not better.

So we need to be thorough, follow the science and study both the effectiveness and the safety and we need to do it on large populations. So it's not going to be quick, it's not going to be a miracle. But I am agreeing with Dr. Fauci that we are cautiously optimistic

right now. We have over 100 vaccine candidates in the world, places like the United States, Europe, China, where we are very hopeful that we are going to find something but not quickly.

VAUSE: There has to be a voice of reason at the end of the day. Yes, be hopeful but plan for the worst.

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VAUSE: Lawrence, thank you for being with us.

GOSTIN: Thank you for having me.

VAUSE: Russia has reported 10,000 new cases of the coronavirus every day for the past 10 days. It now has more infections than any other country apart from the United States.

Not only has that surge in numbers led to increasing criticism of Vladimir Putin and his government's response to the pandemic but the virus itself has breached the president's inner circle. CNN's Matthew Chance reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): News that Putin's spokesman has coronavirus is gripping Russia.

Dmitry Peskov may be only the 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 his strong man president. Putin rarely appears without him at home or abroad. There's a strong chance the two could have been in close contact.

To allay fears, Peskov has insisted there's been no in-person dealings between the two for over a month. The Kremlin says Putin has been working remotely from his residence outside Moscow, although he clearly takes some meetings face to face, like this one with the head of the Russian state oil company.

It's a risk in a country reporting more than 10,000 new infections every day. And there are growing signs of the strain. At this hospital in St. Petersburg, at least five coronavirus patients were killed in a blaze on their ward. Over the weekend, another died when a fire broke out in a Moscow hospital.

Emergency workers say both incidents were caused by faulty ventilators bursting into flames. All this as the Kremlin moves to lift restrictions on a national lockdown. But the coronavirus in Russia shows little sign of easing -- Matthew Chance, CNN.

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VAUSE: From Washington, now we are joined by former CNN Moscow bureau chief, CNN contributor Jill Dougherty.

You are also a global fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center. I should mention. Good to see you, Jill.

JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good to see you, John.

VAUSE: What is striking here is that Putin seems to be going down a similar road to Donald Trump when it comes to this virus, at first trying to ignore it or play it down, then there is a surge in number of confirmed cases and a huge hit to the economy, falling personal approval ratings, support for Putin fell to 59 percent in April from 63 percent the month before, the worst result since he came to power in 2000, according to a poll published Wednesday by the independent Moscow-based Levada Center.

The difference is that the U.S. will hold a presidential election this November. That puts a different spin on everything. Russia won't hold one until 2024.

Nonetheless, how do you see this crisis, which is facing Putin right now and his grip on power?

DOUGHERTY: It is very complex for him, because, if it were just COVID, it would be one thing. That would be a major, major challenge for him. But you have so many things going on for Putin right now.

You have COVID. You have oil prices, which have plummeted. He had to cancel May 9th, which is the Victory Day for World War II. It is very important in Russia, symbolically. It is a huge celebration. He had to cancel that or at least postpone it.

And then finally, he had to postpone a referendum. That referendum is going to be voting for or approving changes in the constitution that would allow him to stay in office until, well, it could be another two terms, so 2036.

These are all coming at the same time. In the beginning, actually, I would have to say that Russia took it pretty seriously. They almost immediately, right at the beginning, back in January, they closed the border with China. They took some steps.

But since then, it has not been a very good picture. A lot of Russians don't trust their health care system. And it is spreading. And right now, we have the latest statistics, 232,000 confirmed cases. They have about 10,000 or more per day being infected or at least being confirmed.

And then about 2,000 some have died and they are, according to the latest study, number two in the world after the United States. So it is a very serious situation.

VAUSE: One of the things playing into this is the collapse in oil prices, which obviously means that Putin won't be able to spend his way out of this crisis.

Is there a plan? DOUGHERTY: That's a very good question. They have a rainy day fund, which you could call it, which is enormous.

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DOUGHERTY: They could go on for a while. However, dealing with COVID, President Putin doesn't really want to tap that unless he has to. What is really being hit is small and medium business. They are being decimated.

So that was the pressure on President Putin to get back. In fact, right now, they are opening it up as the end of non working days. That's what we would say is confinement to apartments et cetera. So they can, to a certain extent, go back.

But I was just watching Russian television. You can, in Moscow, that will be extended until the end of May. So what has happened is, President Putin has been strangely, I think you would call it passive, at least up until now. He has given it pretty much to the governors of the different regions to take care of this and to deal with it.

And this is going to be politically very interesting, because some of those governors will open up, some will not. And President Putin, as you mentioned, his ratings are going down.

VAUSE: You mentioned the state of Russia's health care system, which is pretty tragic. That's obviously not helping matters. He has either been the president or prime minister for the last 20 years, it's a bit hard to blame the guy before you for that situation, right?

DOUGHERTY: Yes, it is. But in fairness, what President Putin did was he did a lot of improvements in the major hospitals in the major cities, so that things like heart attacks and cancer, other things, they were in terrible repair at that point, they needed systems to deal with that.

He put a lot of money into that. The problem is, you get outside of the big cities and anyone who has been to Russia and traveled knows this. When you get to the small towns, you have hospitals that don't have heat. You have hospitals that don't have water. You have hospitals in name only.

And that is the problem. It is so uneven across the country so that when you get to those small towns, heaven knows what kind of steps they can even realistically take to help people.

And we shouldn't forget the ventilator fires that have happened. There was one in St. Petersburg that just happened over the last day or two. A ventilator apparently in a St. Petersburg hospital where they had ventilators and, very sadly, coronavirus patients and it caught fire. It may have short-circuited. They are having a criminal investigation but it happened there. And there was another case in Moscow. So this is very concerning.

VAUSE: It's tragedy heaped on top of a crisis, which they don't need right now, especially for the thousands of people suffering from this disease in Russia. Jill, thank you for being with. We appreciate your time.

Eleven million tests in 10 days. Beijing orders a blanket coronavirus test, the entire population of Wuhan, the city where the outbreak began and has seen a handful of new cases in recent days.

Also ahead, why some may be reluctant to come forward after being exposed to a new outbreak of the coronavirus in South Korea. We will hear from the mayor of Seoul when we come back.

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VAUSE: Welcome back.

The entire population of Wuhan, China, all 11 million give or take, are about to be blanket tested over 10 days for the coronavirus. When the testing starts is not known but what is perfectly clear is Beijing's determination to aggressively confront new cases of the coronavirus.

Wuhan is where the outbreak began and only ended a 76-day lockdown last month. Since then, a total of six new cases have been reported. CNN's Steven Jiang live in Beijing with details on this.

First of all, China can carry out 11 million tests in 10 days?

More than 1 million a day?

It has the testing kits, infrastructure, systems, all in place to do that?

And they are accurate?

STEVEN JIANG, CNN SENIOR PRODUCER, BEIJING BUREAU: John, all of these perfectly reasonable questions, that's why this decision isn't without controversy, even here in China. Some Chinese experts have questioned its necessity.

They say since all the cases recently happened within the same neighborhood, within the same residential compound, they should just test everyone in that compound instead of the entire city.

As you mentioned, this will be a very costly endeavor, likely in the millions of dollars, not to mention this logistics nightmare of arranging and planning. Also, this relatively high false negative rate from these tests is still a big problem.

But the Wuhan authorities seem to be determined to go ahead because they just don't want to take any chances and they are very much trying to track down all asymptomatic cases, because, remember most of the most recent cases were asymptomatic for a long time. But the huge challenge for them right now, of course, is testing

capacity. As of late last month, they were seeing testing capacity at less than 50,000 per day in the city. Even when you factor in the help from third-party companies, that is still going to be some 100,000 a day, far below the 1 million per day benchmark they need to hit.

That's why there's talk about a staggered approach on a district by district basis, meaning each district will start testing on a different date and complete that process within 10 days. So the whole process of testing 11 million people is likely taking much longer than 10 days -- John.

VAUSE: Steven, thank you. We appreciate the update and, yes, it is incredible if they can pull this off. They built a hospital in a week, we will see what they can do with testing.

The detective work continues in South Korea, with contact tracers reviewing security video, credit card statements and cell phone data to try and find thousands of people potentially exposed to the coronavirus while out on the town. CNN's Paula Hancocks is live for us in Seoul.

Paula, you have been doing some talking with the mayor of Seoul. There may be a reluctance for people to come forward and confirm they may have been in this certain part of town.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's, right John. And we have an example of that. There's 119 people now tested positive, linked to this particular case in the nightclub district. One of them was a private tutor who hid where they were working.

And since, then there have been 8 new cases, 6 of them have been middle and high school students. So just how tricky this is to track.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HANCOCKS (voice-over): This is Seoul's nightclub district. Doors are closed until further notice. Many patrons are being tested for coronavirus. Officials say they have tested more than 10,000 people so far after an infected 29-year old visited 5 different clubs earlier this month.

Seoul mayor Park Won-soon is leading the effort to trace everyone who was in the area over a 2 week period.

MAYOR PARK WON-SOON, SEOUL: COVID-19 is a battle of time. We should be finished within this week.

HANCOCKS (voice-over): Park is using all technologies available to track a patient.

HANCOCKS: Mobile phone records, credit cards, CCTV and the interview with the individual?

PARK: That's right. HANCOCKS (voice-over): One issue was local media labeling some clubs

affected as gay clubs. Human rights groups said it was difficult for some patrons to then come forward for fear of facing discrimination and homophobia in a conservative country.

(INAUDIBLE) tells me there's also the issue of the 2-week self quarantine, even if they test negative. Patrons would need to tell their employer they were at these clubs and reveal their sexual orientation.

Park introduced anonymous testing Monday, saying the number voluntarily coming to be tested doubled. This incident shows that even countries deemed successful at handling the pandemic are just one patient away from another outbreak.

PARK: We cannot be safe, even though we have zero cases for a long time. So -- and anytime the outbreak can come to our society.

HANCOCKS: Park sees the outbreak as another lesson to stay alert.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HANCOCKS: And a couple of those, John, that have tested positive had been to church services last Sunday, so the congregation has to be checked. There are seven members of the military that have tested positive. So there again, there are others within the barracks that have to be checked -- John.

JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Paula, thank you.

Paula Hancocks, live for us in Seoul.

We'll take a short break. When we come back, with almost every U.S. state at least partially opened by this weekend, senior advisers on the White House coronavirus task force have a simple warning. Small spikes could easily lead to full-blown outbreaks.

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VAUSE: Just weeks ago, the White House issued a set of guidelines laying out a series of stages for the states to follow so they can restart their economies safely.

Within days, the president was ignoring his administration's own guidelines, and many states have followed suit. Testing is not up to standard. Numbers are not falling consistently, which means a predictive model cited by the White House now forecasts the death toll of 147,000 by August. Ten thousand more than predicted just this past weekend.

We get more details now from CNN's Nick Watt.

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SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA): I'd just like to hear your honest opinion. Do we have the coronavirus contained? DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR ALLERGY AND

INFECTIOUS DISEASE: It depends on what you mean by containment. If you think that we have it completely under control, no.

NICK WATT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Testifying to distance or dialed-in senators today, a dose of reality from the nation's now most recognizable doctor.

FAUCI: My concern is that we will start to see little spikes that might turn into outbreaks.

WATT: Through this weekend, 48 states will have begun reopening. Colorado, South Carolina, Georgia and Oklahoma were among the first. And their new cases counts are holding steady for now, but it is still too early to tell the full impact of opening.

FAUCI: There is a real risk that you will trigger an outbreak that you may not be able to control, which, in effect, paradoxically, will set you back.

WATT: And our hard-to-comprehend death toll of over 80,000 is likely even higher in reality.

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

WATT: Parts of New York state reopening Friday, but New York City will take it much slower.

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MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D), NEW YORK CITY: I very much align with Dr. Fauci's concern. 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.

WATT: Right now, new case counts in South Dakota climbing dramatically. After clashing with the governor over COVID checkpoints on tribal land, the Oglala Sioux now in a three-day lockdown.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There will be absolutely no movement of anybody or anything throughout the reservation.

WATT: Still, stores in Ohio today opened doors to a brave new world.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have cleaned everything.

WATT: Major League Baseball might restart spring training in June, according to "The New York Times," and an 82-game fanless season, first pitch maybe July 4.

And Disney World in Florida is now accepting reservations for July, but not even Dr. Fauci knows everything about this virus. No one does.

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.

WATT (on camera): Here in Los Angeles County, they say we will have some restrictions on us for at least another 3 months as they gradually reopen.

Wednesday morning, they are reopening the beaches, but not for sunbathing, not for lying around. It's for exercising only, and the parking lots will stay closed. They do not want a crush.

Nick Watt, CNN, Malibu, California.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: This debate in the U.S. now comes down to those who see this crisis as one of public health and those who see it as an economic crisis. Dr. Anthony Fauci warned senators that reopening too quickly would lead to more opening and more dead, and it could set back any attempts to revive the economy.

Last week, he put it in stark terms.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FAUCI: Well, you know, it's the balance of something that's a very difficult choice, like how many deaths and how much suffering are you willing to accept to get back to what you want to be some form of normality sooner, rather than later?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: CNN's John Defterios is live in Abu Dhabi with more on this.

And John, when you listen to the arguments out there, there's a lot of -- there's a lot of people who have a lot of opinions. But, you know, when it comes to opening up the economy and this choice of what value is human life, what are the experts saying? What are the more sort of respected voices out there saying is the right approach here?

JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: Well, there's almost too many choices, John, and the debate is almost too intense. And this creates another problem altogether in terms of consumer confidence and consumer spending, which is two-thirds of the U.S. economy.

As you suggested, it's not that simple, the health of the people and the health of the economy. Can you have it both ways? You can if you're prepared. Trust but verify is the view of Paul Krugman, the Nobel laureate, in the United States.

He says three things need to be in place: testing, certainly; tracing; and isolation for those who are sick. Once you have those in place, it will take two months, then, to gradually open up the economy.

If you're not prepared, it creates more havoc for everybody involved in the process. Let's take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) PAUL KRUGMAN, OPINION COLUMNIST, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": We can do this. It's -- you know, this is not an impossible task, and the alternative is far worse. The alternative is that the only way you turn this into a depression of years of -- of depressed economic activity is precisely by failing to take the necessary action now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DEFTERIOS: Paul Krugman, the Nobel laureate once again, John, he is one, of course, that has been putting intense pressure on the Trump administration, saying we're paying the price now for such a delay of six to eight weeks in denial at the beginning.

And as a result, the consumer is reflecting the same thing. They're cocooning. We have the savings rate at the highest level in 40 years. Sam thing: the reduction of credit card debt by 30 percent in two months. People do not feel confident about the future. And we've had, as you know, 33 million people in the United States alone filing for unemployment benefits and the cloud that hangs over rehiring going forward.

VAUSE: You know, on the one hand, we have the U.S. president talking about Americans being warriors. You know, charge the barricades. Throw yourself on the coronavirus grenade for the good of the country. But is there's some kind of balancing here of opening up gradually or assuming some risks to get the economy moving? It's not necessarily a binary choice, is it?

DEFTERIOS: Well, that's the problem. John, it's an election year. So everybody tries to make it a binary choice and that we have to rush out of the gates to get reengaged.

Now, this is interesting. Gary Cohn was the head of the Council of Economic Advisers for the Trump administration in the early days, if you will. He was one of the more moderate voices, particularly when it came to U.S.-China trade, as you know. Didn't think you had to bang the drum.

And he's saying the same thing with the opening. Like Krugman, he says you have to have more testing. But the lockdown that we have right now is far too extreme, both for the unemployment rate, and those are not thinking they're going to get rehired afterwards.

[00:40:13]

So he's saying, let's go with gradual baby steps, start to test this, use smaller shops, limit the number of people that can go shopping, get people back to work, but not at full-blown capacity. And, if you don't do it, there's another spillover here in the healthcare sector. Let's listen to that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GARY COHN, FORMER DIRECTOR, WHITE HOUSE ECONOMIC COUNCIL: Telling people to stay home 24 hours a day, seven days a week and only leave your house to go out and purchase groceries or other necessities has other healthcare applications.

There are a lot of things that people need in the general economy, whether it be other health care, other medical needs that are not getting taken care of.

So we are seeing huge instances now of other diseases and other bad healthcare outcomes starting to spring up in the economy, in our society.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DEFTERIOS: And one of those things, John, is a psychological impact. There are some interesting surveys coming out now that 80 percent of the people that have been laid off so they can get hired within six months, that was much shorter in the past, as you know.

But 20 percent don't think they can get rehired. So it's the psychological drama and the trauma here that's going to have on the economy.

And then there's the giant elephant in the room that Cohn talked about. If you take on $3 trillion of debt, run record budget deficit, what happens going forward?

There may be a surcharge, a deficit tax. Of course, after the election, because nobody wants to touch it beforehand. And this could be with us for at least a decade to come. And hitting the Baby Boomers right as they're going into retirement here and tapping into their 401(k)s. It could even be means tested. If you have the money, you pay a higher tax.

VAUSE: You mean all that money they print isn't free? Someone's got to pay for it? How does that work?

John, thank you. John Defterios in Abu Dhabi. Appreciate it.

DEFTERIOS: That's true. You bet.

VAUSE: Well, the debate over when business can reopen its heating up between California and Tesla. A day after CEO Elon Musk defied the state's shelter-in-place rules and reopened his only electric car plant in the U.S.

Local officials ordered the carmaker to cease all nonessential activities until they have a plan in place to reopen safely. Musk has slammed the state's virus restrictions, threatened to move the company out of California.

Meantime, the governor of Texas says he's spoken with Musk about relocating Tesla to his state. You'll love Texas, Mr. Musk.

Still to come, Mr. Trump's lawyers say he should be immune from investigation or prosecution for as long as he is a sitting president, and they're making that argument to the U.S. Supreme Court. When we come back, we'll look at how the justices are responding to that argument. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[00:45:11]

VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody. Well, to Germany now, where they've just started easing up on the lockdown restrictions and, at the same time, more than 900 new coronavirus cases have been reported in just one day.

And for the night life that is now left waiting to reopen, they've had to find unique ways to say afloat. Our man in Berlin is CNN's Fred Pleitgen.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They're honking to the beat instead of stomping their feet at Germany's first drive-in disco. Socially distanced partying, with DJs and a massive light show, all on the parking lot of the country's biggest nightclub, Index.

"We wanted to let our hair down and have fun despite coronavirus. It's awesome here," this woman says.

To comply with health guidelines, only two people are allowed in each vehicle. Nightclubs and discos have been shut since the middle of March in Germany. The Index's owner says the car rave is popular, but he's still not making a profit.

"You can't really profit from something like this," he says, "but we expect that, at some point, the contact restrictions will be eased, and then more than two people can sit in a car. And of course, it will start to become financially interesting because, at some point, perhaps, drinks can be served."

Most clubs are faring much worse. At the Suess War Gestem club, a staple of Berlin's blossoming pre-corona party scene, all they can do is make sure their music and lighting gear still work. Shut down for almost two months, they've started a crowdfunding campaign to stay alive.

PONY SCHWEDLER, SUESS WAR GESTEM NIGHT CLUB: It's been very, very tough, but we are trying to, yes, stay optimistic, which isn't easy at all. But we're trying our best, and we can only hope that this is going to end in a more or less acceptable way.

PLEITGEN: At least some cultural institutions, however, are coming back to life, like Berlin's natural history museum, where only 600 people can come for a day due to physical distancing rules, the managing director says.

"We're sold out for the first days," he says. "Of course, 600 tickets per day is not a lot. It's about a quarter of what we usually have, but we're still happy that people are coming back."

All guests have to wear masks while walking through the exhibits. (on camera): Asking guests to wear masks is only part of a larger

hygiene concept that the museum has put in place. As you can see, there's arrows on the floor here to make sure that guests work in a certain direction to just make it easier for folks to keep distance from one another.

And then some exhibits, like this one, you can see that it's taped off to make sure people don't touch it.

(voice-over): Strict hygiene rules are required to allow this and other museums to open up again during the pandemic.

While other cultural institutions like most nightclubs hope they, too, will be able to get back to their business before it's too late.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Berlin.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: You weren't meant to touch it, Fred. We'll be back in a moment. You're watching CNN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VAUSE: Well, Twitter has said that some of its employees can work from home forever, if they want, even once the pandemic is over. CNN's Clare Sebastian has our report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Twitter was one of the first companies to implement a work from home policy for all its employees, back in early March, long before most of us had even understood the scale of the outbreak in the U.S.

And now the company is saying that this, for some employees, could be permanent. The company telling CNN that the last few months have shown that working from home can actually be effective, so it sees no reason to force people to come back into the office if they don't want to.

Now, tech companies, of course, are well-placed to be able to do this. Google and Facebook have already extended their work from home policies through the end of 2020. Amazon is saying that those who can work from home can continue to do so until October 2.

Now, clearly, this isn't just about the fact that working from home works. Companies are grappling with a new reality of how offices are going to function in a world where this virus is still spreading. They're having to invest in things like redesigns, like technology like enhanced cleaning, even, in some cases, staggering shifts. A big change, particularly for silicon valley, which for so long had prided itself on open, fun, collaborative office spaces.

Still, in Twitter's announcement, this shows us that radical shifts may be taking place in the way we work that won't be eliminated when the virus is.

Clare Sebastian, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: Three land made -- landmark aces are currently before the U.S. Supreme Court, which go to the very heart of the American political system, and the principle of separation of powers. Specifically, the authority of both Congress and state prosecutors to investigate a sitting president.

Donald Trump lawyers are trying to stop his private financial records and tax returns being released to Congress and state prosecutors.

At the hearing on Tuesday, which was conducted via phone, the president's lawyer argued Trump should have temporary immunity from investigation or prosecution while he is in office.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JUSTICE SONIA SOTOMAYOR, U.S. SUPREME COURT (via phone): You're asking for a broader immunity than anyone else gets.

JAY SEKULOW, ATTORNEY FOR DONALD TRUMP (via phone): Well, we're asking for a --

SOTOMAYOR: Do we have time -- do we have time for a brief answer, Counsel?

SEKULOW: I will. We're asking for temporary presidential immunity.

JUSTICE ELENA KAGAN, U.S. SUPREME COURT: You've said that a number of times and made the point, which we have made, that presidents can't be treated just like an ordinary citizen. But it's also true, and indeed, a fundamental precept of our constitutional order, that a president isn't above the law.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Harry Litman is legal columnist for "The Los Angeles Times." He also clerked for the Supreme Court for Justice Thurgood Marshall and Anthony Kennedy. He's with us from San Diego.

It's good to see you, Harry, because TV lawyer, Jay Sekulow, he was council for Trump.

HARRY LITMAN, LEGAL COLUMNIST, "THE LOS ANGELES TIMES": Right.

VAUSE: You only need to listen to the first 30 seconds here -- this is a 30-second clip -- for his entire argument. Here it is. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEKULOW (via phone): This court has long recognized that the president is not to be treated as an ordinary citizen. He has responsibilities. He is, himself, a branch of government. He is the only individual that is a branch of government in our federal system.

So to -- our position is that the Constitution itself, both in structure and text, supports the position that the president would be temporarily immune from this activity, from a state proceeding while he is the president of the United States.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Sekulow's making the argument that Trump could literally stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue, kill 80,000 Americans, and would be above the law and immune from prosecution. Right?

LITMAN: Just to name one.

Yes, so he did actually proffer this idea of temporary presidential immunity. It doesn't really mean anything. He just sort of made it up as a slogan. And when pressed by the justices, none of whom was really very interested, and conservative nor liberal, he didn't have much to say.

But a very important point here, John. There were lawyers for Trump, the man. Donald Trump. Sekulow is one of them, and his arguments did not get much purchase.

But there also are lawyers for the presidency, the actual institution. And that lawyer there, a government lawyer, had a much more temperate position that did engage the justices more.

VAUSE: Well, I mean, these cases are essentially about whether two banks and one accounting firm should comply with subpoenas, right, from Congress, as well as New York prosecutors? Even though every court along the way has rejected the argument from Trump's lawyers, how do you think the Supreme Court will rule, and what influence will that presidency lawyer have in the final decision?

LITMAN: Yes. So I don't think the presidential -- the president's arguments themselves will matter. You're right that all up the line, the courts have rejected the president's and the department's arguments, but the Supreme Court can do its own thing.

And there were certainly several of the justices who were worried that, if we give a kind of a green light for -- for Congress to go forward or the D.A. to go forward in the New York case, then it could be sort of open season on the president, a lot of harassment.

[00:55:04]

So that the issue for the advocates today and for the court now in the next 10 weeks, after which the decision will come out, will be to draw some kind of line that gives -- They will surely be seeking a middle ground that recognizes the ability -- ability of a district attorney to get these records.

But possibly, they will impose a threshold higher burden, not because, in theory, the president is above the law, but because he has, or she has special burdens of office. And what they were clearly worried about today, which the cases don't

speak about to date, is that he could be subject to sort of political harassment and embarrassment. That was most on the mind of the justices.

VAUSE: What it seems to me, just sort of as a non-lawyer, but watching what's happening, it doesn't seen the Trump team is relying so much on the strength of their legal argument, but rather, their ability to slow-walk this case, stretch it out until after the elections in November.

LITMAN: That's clearly their goal, and the Trump team -- I mean, I think the lawyers for team Trump, their audience wasn't really the court. It was Trump himself, and Jay Sekulow was trying to have another feather in his cap as a kind of loyalist for Trump.

But I think it's fair to say the overall agenda is to try to draw this out until after the election, and that means that, if the court even nominally hold it against Trump, states a certain standard and then tells the courts below them, take this new standard we've announced and apply it to, you know, decide in the first sense how it would play out. That would probably stall for enough time for Trump.

If on the other hand, they just say produce the records, then they will come out before the election.

VAUSE: Interesting times. And we're out -- we're out of time, but Harry, this has always been one of these gray areas. Executive power, congressional power, kind of left it gray.

LITMAN: That's right.

VAUSE: We may get some kind of resolution.

Thanks for being with us. We really appreciate it.

LITMAN: Or at least a temporary one. Yes, thanks for having me.

VAUSE: Cheers. Thank you.

Thank you for watching this hour of CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause, and I will be back with a lot more news after a very short break. You're watching CNN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VAUSE: Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from around the world. I'm John Vause.

END