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Trump: Fauci's Comments on Reopening Schools "Unacceptable"; Fauci Urged Caution, Said Vaccine by Fall "Bridge Too Far"; Sources: Trump Questioning Whether Virus Death Toll is Inflated; Resurgence in S. Korea: 119 Cases Linked to Nightclub; States Ramp Up Contact Tracing; Some Restaurants Will Ask People for Contact Info in Case Someone Tests Positive. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired May 13, 2020 - 19:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST May your loved ones rest in peace and may their memories be a blessing.

Erin Burnett OUTFRONT starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, breaking news. President Trump takes on Dr. Fauci calling his caution on opening America's schools unacceptable.

And how does the virus travel through restaurants, offices and other contained spaces? We're going to show you exactly how.

Plus, it's risky and even potentially deadly, but thousands of people say they'll volunteer to be exposed to the virus. Could that mean a vaccine sooner? The doctor behind the movie Contagion is my guest.

Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight, the breaking news, President Trump targets Dr. Fauci. The President going after his top infectious disease expert after Fauci urged leaders to use caution when it comes to reopening the economy and American schools.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dr. Fauci yesterday was a little cautious on reopening the economy too soon. Do you share his concerns.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He wants to play all sides of the equation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you say Dr. Fauci is playing both sides, are you suggesting that the advice he's giving to you is different?

TRUMP: Well, I was surprised by his answer, actually, because it's just, to me, it's not an acceptable answer, especially when it comes to schools.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: So Trump was saying Fauci's answer to schools, specifically,

was unacceptable. So let's just to be clear play for you what Fauci said.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: I think we better be careful if we are not cavalier in thinking that children are completely immune to the deleterious effects.

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.


BURNETT: OK. So obviously concerned about the impact of the virus children, but then he was specifically asked to clarify what he meant by a bridge too far. And Fauci was very clear and he said, "I did not mean to imply at all any relationship between the availability of vaccine and treatment and our ability to go back to school."

Now, in the same testimony, Fauci warned more broadly of suffering and death, more of it if the United States reopens too soon. None of this is the message the President wants to hear. And tonight as the death toll now tops 83,000 in the united states, sources tell CNN President Trump and some of his top aides have begun questioning whether the real numbers are actually lower.

In fact, at several White House task force meetings, senior officials have raised questions about how the CDC is compiling and tracking its data. Yet again, the President is at odds with Dr. Fauci who believes the U.S. is actually undercounting the number of deaths.


FAUCI: I think you are correct that the number is likely higher. I don't know exactly what percent higher, but almost certainly it's higher.


BURNETT: Kaitlan Collins is OUTFRONT live outside the White House. I mean, you've got the President clearly and directly slamming Dr. Fauci tonight.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: And this is notable, Erin, because we know based on our reporting that the President has privately bristled at Dr. Fauci when he's contradicted whether it was from the briefing room or in interviews. This is the most direct that we've seen the President ever go to criticize Dr. Fauci and talk about what he's given him.

And you heard that reporter there asked the President, was he saying that Dr. Fauci was playing all sides of the equation, because he's offering different advice to the President in private than what he's saying in public. The President did not yes to that, he just basically sounded irritated by what it was that Dr. Fauci had testified yesterday, which as you watch and as we did, it was just a very sobering analysis of really where the country is yet and Dr. Fauci and these other top health experts were basically throwing caution on this idea of prematurely opening and what that could look like and those effects that it could have.

And what was really notable is that answer about schools there. You saw Dr. Fauci talk about the effects that this is having on children. He said, of course, so far it's seen as less than what it is on adults and he was saying basically to Rand Paul, one of the President's allies who we should note is recovering from coronavirus that you couldn't just say point-blank that no kids are having effects from coronavirus so they should go back to school.

That's the distinction they were making there in that exchange. And, Erin, it was actually one of the most intense exchanges of the entire hearing with Dr. Fauci. So it's really notable that this is the most direct the President has gotten with his criticism of Fauci, except for that tweet, remember that he re-tweeted where it says #irefauci at the end. Something that the President later acknowledge he did see when he retweeted it.

BURNETT: So Kaitlan, there's this issue where he's taking on Fauci and then there's also the President questioning the death toll numbers and directly there against Dr. Fauci.


COLLINS: Yes. We're being told by multiple sources that the President and some of his top aides, not just the President, have raised questions about how the death toll is being counted basically. Are they counting too many people, potentially, should that be a reliable indicator that they're looking at as they're moving forward with their plans of reopening the country.

And, of course, we saw Dr. Fauci testify yesterday that he believes the death toll is actually almost certainly higher than what's being reported, talking about people who were dying at home and so it's not being reported then, because they're not going into the hospital. So that's another break that we're seeing.

The question is whether the President is publicly going to raise those concerns that he has about the death toll.

BURNETT: All right. Kaitlan, thank you very much.

And meanwhile, the number of cases around the country now mostly declining as Americans face new and huge economic challenges.

Nick Watt is OUTFRONT.


NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT(voice over): The biggest spike in grocery prices since 1974 says the Bureau of Labor one in four Americans will lose their jobs, says Goldman Sachs. But as states reopen, trying to staunch that economic chaos, one model's projected death toll for the U.S. more than doubled in just two weeks.


DR. CHRISTOPHER MURRAY, DIRECTOR INSTITUTE FOR HEALTH METRICS AND EVALUATION: People have heard the message. They've gotten out. They become more mobile, they're having more contact and we're seeing the effects already.


WATT(voice over): In most states, new case counts are steady or falling for now, but rising in Arkansas, South Dakota and Delaware.


JEN KATES, KAISER FAMILY FOUNDATION: We're seeing fatigue of staying inside and also some mixed messages. One state is doing one thing. Another state is doing something else. Federal government has provided just general guidelines. So I think there's also some confusion what is safe.


WATT(voice over): Today new jersey announced gatherings of people in cars are now allowed.


GOV. PHIL MURPHY (D) NEW JERSEY: If vehicles are closer than six feet apart, then all windows, sun roofs or convertible tops must remain closed.


WATT(voice over): West Virginia just announced, they'll open tanning salons in about a week.


GOV. JIM JUSTICE (R) WEST VIRGINIA: I never dreamed in all my life that we've gotten all of these calls in regard to the tanning businesses or tanning beds. Our medical experts now feel like we're good to go.


WATT(voice over): While Washington, D.C. re-upped its stay-at-home order.


MAYOR MURIEL BOWSER (D) WASHINGTON D.C.: Through Monday June 8th, and I should note that based on the data, I can revise this order at any time.


WATT(voice over): A new CNN poll shows a 13 percent rise in those who say they visited friends or family in the past week.


DR. ESTHER CHOO, EMERGENCY ROOM PHYSICIAN: We took comfort in the fact that our kids were largely safe and I wonder if some of that is our comfort with relaxing social distancing measures.


WATT(voice over): But now 15 states are reporting rare cases of severe, potentially COVID-related reactions in children.


DR. JUAN DUMOIS, PEDIATRIC INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Really high fevers, rashes and sometimes drops in blood pressure causing shock.


WATT(voice over): The CDC planning today to warn physicians to look out for such symptoms.


GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D) NEW YORK: We have lost three children in New York because of this, five-year-old boy, seven-year-old boy and an 18- year-old girl.


WATT(voice over): And what does he think about schools opening in the fall?


CUOMO: Where are we going to be in September? I don't know. I don't know where we're going to be in August. I'm trying to figure out June.



WATT: Here in Los Angeles County, the beaches opened this morning, but masks are mandatory. This afternoon we were told that all retail can open, but curbside only. The message here is clear. Yes, we are making progress. Yes, we are gradually going to relax. But, boy, are we going to take it slow. Erin.

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

And OUTFRONT now, Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Dr. Ashish Jha, Director of the Harvard Global Health Institute who testified today before the congressional hearing on the coronavirus crisis.

OK, Sanjay, so President Trump says Fauci's comments on reopening schools were not acceptable and he specifically said Fauci was playing all sides. I mean, what do you think was happening here? Is Dr. Fauci - he is giving good advice? Were his comments not acceptable in any way? I mean, how are we supposed to read this?

BURNETT: He's been giving the same advice all along, Erin. It depend how people want to interpret it at any given time. I think that the idea that there's been specific criteria that have been out there that were released from the White House and those have been completely abandoned seemingly. No one's even talking about those anymore.

Instead, people are saying why don't we have a vaccine by the fall, why can't schools open despite the fact that these specific criteria by which these things might happen, the places have not met these criteria yet. It just sort of boggles the mind a little bit, Erin.

I also think, Dr. Fauci always chooses his words carefully.


He said, I think with regard to a vaccine by the time schools open, he says, I think that would be a bridge too far. To be clear, he's never suggested that a vaccine might be available by this fall. I think, Erin, he's constantly striking this balance between hope and honesty. He doesn't want to jar people, but I think he's been consistent in what he said. So I don't know how it's considered playing both sides of the issue.

BURNETT: And Dr. Jha, the President questioning Fauci's statements, now also questioning whether deaths are being overstated. And, of course, Dr. Fauci clearly saying that it is correct, that the number is likely higher. It is almost certainly higher. So how concerning is this? That's a pretty crucial thing to now the President go on the other side of.

DR. ASHISH JHA, DIRECTOR, HARVARD GLOBAL HEALTH INSTITUTE: So Dr. Fauci has a long track record of speaking truth and speaking the best scientific evidence. And sometimes people love it because he says what they want to hear and sometimes they don't love it, because he's saying things they don't want to hear. But what makes him so incredibly valuable to the American people is that they know they can trust what he's saying and he's giving it to them straight and that's what he did yesterday.

And I know that some people didn't love his comments, but he's representing the best science and data and evidence we have right now and he's right on all of those counts.

BURNETT: So Sanjay, when Fauci has said directly, it's almost certainly higher and President Trump is saying - that he's now questioning, as we understand, that deaths are being over counted. Is there any possibility that Trump's theory is right?

GUPTA: I don't think so. I mean, I think, the thing about the nature of these sorts of things is that these are confirmed infections and confirmed deaths. We know that there was inadequate testing early on. There was probably people who are dying of respiratory illnesses that were thought to be flu or something like that early on, that are more likely or more likely coronavirus.

We know that there was this Yale study that suggested that maybe there were 15,000 more people who had died of coronavirus than were officially counted. And, I mean, this is sort of the nature of an early illness. We tend to undercount not over count.

I'm not sure that it matters that much, Erin. I'm not sure what the real context here is. A lot of people have died and maybe 15,000, 20,000 more. I mean, these are tragic figures no matter how you look at it. The fact that people are now saying, well, maybe it's a few thousand less, a few thousand more. I'm not sure what the value of this is.

The thing that strikes me, Erin, is that - and Ashish may agree with this as well, as doctor, you always try and take care of your patient. So if your patient has a disease or an infection, in this case you recommend a course of therapy. The patient doesn't take the course of therapy and then complains that they're not getting better, what is the doctor left to do?

Take the therapy. This can help you. This can help get you through your illness.


GUPTA: That's sort the position the country is in right now, it seems.

BURNETT: So, Dr. Jha, Trump again claimed tonight that we have more tests and better tests than the rest of the world. You are the testing expert, you testified at the congressional hearing today about testing. So when he says as he often does, we have more tests and better tests than the rest of the world, is he right?

JHA: Well, I don't know what better tests are. I mean, we have pretty good tests, but so do lots of other people. I don't know that our tests are any better.

On the issue of whether we have more tests, the fundamental question is do we have the amount of tests we need for the size of the outbreak we have and the answer is no. I don't know a single public health person who disagrees with me. And if there is some scientific fact that I've missed or all of the other experts I've missed, I'd love to hear it from the President or any of his supporters.

But the bottom line is that this is not a competition whether we have more tests than the Italians or the Germans. This is really an issue of do we have the number of tests we need to make Americans feel safe so when they go back to the office, when they go back to a coffee shop, when they go send their kids to school, they can feel comfortable that people are not infected and spreading the disease.

And the short and long answer is no. We don't have that number of tests and that's what all of us are calling for.

BURNETT: And yet, Sanjay, states are opening and people are going out. And we know there's a lag here in terms of how it takes a week or two before infections show up. So we don't know what's going to happen in a week or two.

I will say across the country, though, when you look across the country there are bright spots. You got nine states where cases are going up, but you have 22 where cases are going down, 19 are still on that plateau. So when you take those numbers and, obviously, there's plenty in there that say, OK, cautiously optimistic, but then you have all of these states opening, do you see this as good news that will last?

GUPTA: I think some of this is good news. I mean, certainly seeing numbers go down is going to be good news. I think that the gating criteria and this is just the - coming back to the numbers and the facts.


I'd love to see those numbers go down for 14 days in a row. There's a reason for that. Once you feel like you've gone down that number of days, then inevitably, Erin, there's going to be people who become infected as we start to become more mobile. But the idea that, as Dr. Jha was talking about, we have testing and it's going to be a small enough number where you can find those people who are newly infected. You can isolate them and you can trace their contacts.

The reason that you're doing that is because you know there's going to be new infections. You want to prevent that from turning into exponential growth. So, yes, it's great news that the numbers are coming down in some places. It has to be sustained and it has to be able to be managed so those small numbers of infections, hopefully, in those places don't start to spike.

BURNETT: All right. Sanjay, thanks. Dr. Jha and Dr. Gupta, thank you both very much.

And next, stunning images tonight of just how coronavirus can spread indoors. This is the crucial question as people prepare to go back to work. Cities across the country starting to ask now for personal information in restaurants and grocery stores. Is this the price that Americans are willing to pay?

Plus, a renowned infectious disease expert, who was the doctor behind the movie Contagion also contracted coronavirus and has been studying potential cures. When does he think a vaccine will actually happen?

And Stanford and Harvard telling many students, it's going to be online again for the fall. So why is one major university in Boston still planning to open up its campus to students from the U.S. and abroad? That's news a lot of people want to hear too and the university's president is OUTFRONT.


BURNETT: Tonight, a resurgence of coronavirus in South Korea with 119 cases traced back to one person at a nightclub. Tom foreman is OUTFRONT.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT(voice over): A viral hot spot erupts in a South Korean district. Dozens come down with COVID-19 and quickly authorities trace the origin to one man. How did they find him? They analyzed the GPS signal of his home and saw found everyone he'd been near.

In China, millions are being watched in a similar fashion and in the U.S. too. Vigorous efforts are underway to expand contact tracing.

In New Orleans, anyone eating in restaurant will be required to hand over their information.


MAYOR LATOYA CANTRELL (D) NEW ORLEANS: Restaurants should retain a name and contact number for over 21 days.


FOREMAN(voice over): Contact tracing whether through electronic apps or interviews with patients consists of sorting out the physical social network of an infected person than asking or maybe even compelling exposed people to quarantine. Health officials say it certainly works in this Japanese experiment.

A group of diners was unaware one of them had an invisible paint on his hands, but when a special light was turned on, it was clear how many had been symbolically infected.

Real world studies found the same thing with COVID-19. Professor Erin Bromage notes one diner in a restaurant infecting nine others nearby. An outbreak in a call center jumping one worker to the next, to the next.


GOV. BRIAN KEMP (R) GEORGIA: I want to strongly encourage you to participate in the contact tracing program.


FOREMAN(voice over): So many government officials argue contact tracing is essential.


GOV. JAY INSLEE (D) WASHINGTON: It is the next major step in our effort to defeat the COVID virus. (END VIDEO CLIP)

FOREMAN(voice over): But privacy advocates say the same tool for tracking the virus could be used to discover political activity, religious affiliations, private relationships. And a Washington Post poll found nearly three in five Americans say they are either unable or unwilling to use the infection alert system under development by Google and Apple.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Trust really matters in combating a pandemic and people won't feel trusting of the system if it is not based on a public health need and there are not very robust privacy and security protections built into any tool that we might use.



FOREMAN: Bottom line, there are a lot of questions about this, can you get enough skilled people to do it if you're going to do it in person. One plan of Johns Hopkins says take first year medical students and press them into the service. Beyond that, will people accept the idea of being tracked by their phones and what about people who don't use phones that much, the elderly, may some people in rural areas, maybe some poor people.

If you're not tracking everyone are you tracking everyone effectively, Erin, a lot of questions about this that holds a lot of promise, but a lot of questions still swirling around it.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Tom. It certainly shows when you contract people and they have no control over it, you have control as in South Korea. It's not the American model that most people will expect to see.

All right. Let's go now to someone that Tom mentioned in his piece, and Professor Erin Bromage. He teaches biology at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

And Professor, I appreciate your time. So you wrote a blog and now it has more than 13 million views and basically you went through how this spreads in indoor spaces, which is extremely relevant even coming into the summer because that's where a lot of people work. So explain exactly, I mean, easy it would be an understatement in many ways, right, in terms of the spread?

ERIN BROMAGE, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF BIOLOGY, UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS DARTMOUTH: Right. In an indoor environment where you're in there for a long time and someone is infected, it can spread very, very easily.

BURNETT: So then basically, does this come down to contact tracing essentially? BROMAGE: Contact tracing is the way in which Australia, New Zealand

and South Korea got it under control. It's a vital tool in our public health arsenal to identify the sick, get their contacts isolated. It's just important to get this done to get back to some sort of normal.

BURNETT: So on this issue of how it spreads and the people are really worried about this as they do start to come back to work. A new study just came out literally moments ago, Professor, by researchers at the national institutes of health in the University of Pennsylvania.

They found that talking loudly for one minute, one minute in a confined space could generate, at least, 1,000 droplets of coronavirus particles. And they say those droplets could remain in the air for more than eight minutes. And they conclude that if someone and if someone inhaled those particles, they could be infected. Given what you studied, what do you make of those results?


BROMAGE: Yes. I mean, that's the data we've been looking for. I actually hadn't it but that's the data that really needed to come out to show that it's out there in the air and with any sort of loud projecting singing, yelling, it's going to put it out there and now it looks like we have the data that says it hangs around for quite a bit of time in the air.

BURNETT: I mean, more than eight minutes. So let's say that if someone is far gone from a space, you walk through it, it's still hangs in there. It sort of makes you think of measles. I mean, in the blog, you showed this graphic of a call center in South Korea. And there was one infected person that you reported came to work. There was a floor and on that floor which the person worked, there were 216 people who work there, OK? One of them has coronavirus walks in, within a week 94 of them have coronavirus. How could that spread so widely?

BROMAGE: It can be the traditional things that we talked about, contact surfaces, so high contact surfaces are definitely a problem, so railings, water coolers, things like that. But also you're dealing with an enclosed environment, where you've actually got someone breathing and putting those respiratory droplets into the air that have infectious virus. And just over a period of time, you slowly breathe in those viral copies and infection can take hold.

BURNETT: So you've got airplanes as a focus and people considering whether to fly and the TSA says they screened more people this week and then they had seen since March, so people are returning. We had a picture of the United flight completely full. That's New York to San Francisco.

But here's an animation from the university of how droplets from a single cough float through a plane cabin. OK, that's pretty startling. I mean, look, there's - the cougher is in the blue seat, everybody, and you see the particles basically goes through - you've got, what, rows, one, two, three, four, five, six on each side. Is there any way to keep yourself completely safe on the plane, Professor? BROMAGE: Yes. Well, if somebody is getting onboard and they're

actually symptomatic and sick, I mean, that needs to be stopped. We've got to make sure that that doesn't happen. But the use of masks will definitely lower emissions from anybody.

So if anyone is wearing masks, you can have - it just lows the viral burden together. If you had a mask on there, I don't think you'd have that same projection that you're seeing with that particular animation.

BURNETT: All right. Well, Professor, I appreciate your time. Thank you so much. I encourage everyone who has not read your blog to take a look at it. Thanks so much.

BROMAGE: Thank you, Erin.

BURNETT: And next, it could have deadly consequences, yet thousands of people volunteering to be exposed to coronavirus in the race to find a vaccine.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is designed to get people sick.



BURNETT: Plus, Northeastern University in Boston, nearly 40,000 students announces it plans to open its campuses this fall, including dorms. How will it work? The university's president is OUTFRONT.



ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Tonight, the race for a cure as researchers around the world work at unprecedented speeds to find a vaccine, thousands of people are stepping forward to volunteer to be exposed to the virus itself. That's a really big deal. That's not how trials are done.

Drew Griffin is OUTFRONT.


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: He donated a kidney last summer. And now, Abie Rohrig is ready to volunteer again, this time as a human guinea pig in a vaccine trial designed to infect volunteers with the virus the world has never known.

ABIE ROHRIG, HUMAN CHALLENGE TRIAL VOLUNTEER: Just like the nurses and the doctors on the front line, I'm willing to take risks to myself if it means that we can move through this as a nation and as a world.

GRIFFIN: He's 20 years old and lives in New York and has seen what the pandemic can do and has signed up online to be a volunteer in a potential COVID-19 human challenge vaccine trial.

Unlike other vaccine trials, in a challenge trial, a group of volunteers would first be injected with a potential vaccine and a second control group would be injected with a placebo, after allowing sufficient time for the volunteers who got the vaccine to hopefully build up immunities, it's all challenged. All of the volunteers, those with and those without the vaccine candidate are intentionally contaminated with coronavirus, risky, potentially even deadly.

Yes, all of that, but it also might be a quicker path to an actual vaccine for the rest of us.

(on camera): This is designed to get some people sick.

MARC LIPSITCH, HARVARD T.H. CHAN SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: That's right. The intention is to make some people at least infected.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): Marc Lipsitch, Harvard epidemiologist, whose of the scientists whose idea of using a challenge vaccine for COVID-19 is now gaining interest from the World Health Organization.

LIPSITCH: This could save months off the time required to evaluate a vaccine.

GRIFFIN: Multiple vaccines could be tried at the same time. Controls put in place for proper medical care for all the volunteers and by selecting only young, healthy adults he says the chances of someone dying is extremely low.

LIPSITCH: But it is not zero and that's why this is an altruistic act to volunteer for this.

GRIFFIN: It is not just the risk, it is the unknown risk, says Professor Robert Read, at the university of South Hampton in the U.K. He's in favor of the idea, but insists there would need to be full disclosure.

DR. ROBERT CHARLES READ, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHAMPTON: This case is different. We are not able to quantify the risk to the volunteer, and when we take informed consent from them, we will have to say to them that we cannot say exactly what is going to happen to them.

GRIFFIN (on camera): You're going to be infected with something for which there is no treatment for it this time.

ROHRIG: Right.

GRIFFIN: Does that give you pause?

ROHRIG: It certainly gives me pause, and I don't want to be naive or arrogant, and I don't want to hide myself from the fact that there is a serious not at all trivial risk to me doing this.


GRIFFIN (voice-over): Despite the risks, 16,000 people from more than 100 countries have already signed an online forum saying they're interested in becoming volunteers, and that includes U.S. Army veteran, businessman, husband and father of four, John Gentle of Alabama.

JOHN GENTLE, HUMAN CHALLENGE TRIAL VOLUNTEER: Yes, I am putting more people directly related to me at a greater risk if something were to go wrong, but I feel like the risk is low.


GRIFFIN: Right now, this is hypothetical. There is no challenge trial going on, but Erin, what's remarkable is the 16,213 people like Abie, like John, who say they're willing to do this if it gets us to the end of the pandemic any sooner -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Drew, thank you very much.

I mean, it is pretty incredible that they are willing to do this.

I want to go now to Dr. Ian Lipkin. He's the director for the Center for Infection and Immunity at Columbia University, also the virologist behind the movie "Contagion".

And I know, obviously, I'm going to make sure viewers know, again, you contracted and recovered from the virus yourself back in February, but it was a -- it was a long process.

So, Dr. Lipkin, when you see 16,213 people willing to sign up to be, you know, guaranteed to be exposed to this virus, and maybe the vaccine works and maybe it doesn't and maybe they're on a placebo, it's a pretty incredible thing that they're willing to do that.

Is this what this unprecedented situation requires?

DR. IAN LIPKIN, DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR INFECTION AND IMMUNITY, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: I've been discussing this with colleagues for three months now. In fact, I thought this was an interesting idea, one that we should consider, particularly, once we started thinking about getting plasma trials online, so that we would have something to offer people. We've been doing this sort of work with influenza for a long time, but there we have very active drug, so the moment that people showed evidence that they were infected we could treat them.

Here, in contrast, we don't have the magic bullet to take out this virus. So it is an altruistic act. There are some members of my culture who feel this is not a good idea, and there are others who do. I'm not sure how I fall on this yet.

BURNETT: So you're still deciding. What's going to make you, you know -- what would make you to have a firm view here as to whether we should do this?

LIPKIN: We are right in the middle of a plasma trial. I am very encouraged by some studies that we have seen in the past that suggest --

BURNETT: Plasma is a treatment for people who get sick, right? OK.


LIPKIN: So if you have an antiviral that you know works and you have a way to suppress the immune response, then I think you can remove a lot of the risk that these people would have to entertain and engaging in this kind of a trial, but the argument is clearly there that if you use the usual methods for getting to a vaccine, we have to go into a place where there's a lot of disease, and we have to count on the fact that we're going to see a difference in the arm of people who get the vaccine that's valid, people who get the placebo and if you've got -- if you're not make the right call about where you do the trial, it can take a very, very long time.

So if we really want to telescope this period, I think that this is the way to do it. The other possibility and I've been pushing this one is to invest in more non-human primate studies. I think if we have more confidence if we showed that in monkeys, this was a very protective vaccine. Of course, there are many vaccines and the question is which one are you going to trial?

BURNETT: Right. Right. That's the big thing because the trials do take whether you have a challenge or not, you have to have a lot of sign up and a lot of time.

So, when you and I talked last time, we talked about something you've been focused on a lot, which is the origins of the virus, right, epidemiologically, sorry, and, of course, physically.

So, you traveled to China in January as part of this effort when a lot of people weren't talking about this, you were already over there trying to figure out what happened. President Trump as we know has been repeating the idea that the virus originated in the Wuhan bio lab which, you know, reportedly focuses on coronaviruses.

You confirm that you don't think that adds up even as an accidental leak out of that lab. Why not?

LIPKIN: Well, I think there's no evidence that there was a deliberately engineered virus, something that was created in that lab because the sequence analysis that we've done doesn't support that view. I can't rule out the possibility that there was an inadvertent leak by someone who became infected, but there's no evidence for that either.

Most of the times when we have these kinds of infections emerging, these come from wildlife. They either go through an intermediate host as they did with SARS, as they did with MERS, but until we look for evidence of infection in other animal species or we find evidence that this thing was actually present elsewhere, not in Wuhan, but in Yunnan province where the closest bat sequence has been found, we really won't know.


So I'm very eager to go to China, and I've been pushing very hard to do that, and as soon as I have permission to do so, I will.

BURNETT: And permission from them, is that the issue or are you talking about a pure travel issue or permission from China to be allowed the access you want?

LIPKIN: Yes, we have to -- we have to be sensitive there if we want to work effectively with people.

But you know, I have a lot of friends in China who tell me they're taking umbrage with the messaging that we continually hear about how it came from the United States. So I think we need to depoliticize this and actually get to the facts.

And the best way to do that is to work together with Chinese scientists. This is what I've been doing since 2003, and I'd like to continue to do it.

BURNETT: All right. Dr. Lipkin, thank you very much. I appreciate your time again.

LIPKIN: My pleasure. Take care.

BURNETT: All right. And next, Northeastern University says it plans to reopen all its campuses this fall. I'm going to speak to the university's president.

And a troubling new study suggesting that the coronavirus test used daily by the White House is not reliable. So, what does that mean? How safe are people inside the West Wing?



BURNETT: New tonight, fall classes for first-year Harvard medical, dental and graduate students will all begin online. Stanford University says it's unlikely that all undergrads will be able to return to the campus in the fall. And this is all coming on the heels of California State University, which led on this, it is the nation's largest four-year public school system, said it planned to cancel most in-person classes.

Tonight, though, President Trump says it is time to reopen schools.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't consider our country coming back if the schools are closed and it's had a very little, very unusual situation and it's had very little impact on young people, and I would strongly say they should open.


BURNETT: OUTFRONT now, Joseph Aoun. He is the president of Northeastern University in Boston.

And I appreciate your time.

So, Northeastern, I know you've decided and you announced you intend to reopen your campuses in the fall. So what exactly does that look like?

JOSEPH AOUN, PRESIDENT, NORTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY: Thank you for having me, Erin, with you tonight.

Erin, let me make one thing very clear, the safety and well-being of our community is paramount. It's not negotiable. We believe that we can reopen in the fall and ensure that everybody is safe and secure. It's not going to be easy.

It's going to involve that we rethink every single aspect of what we do. We have to rethink the classroom density. We have to rethink the density in the labs and we are in the dorms.

As a matter of fact, we just secured 2,000 additional beds to accommodate less density. We have to look at our athletic events in a different way. It is going to be a re-think of the whole operation in order to ensure that our students, our faculty, our staff and our community at large is safe and secure.

BURNETT: So, look, the challenge is gargantuan and you have -- just to be clear so people understand, the enrollment of 37,000 people, between your undergrad and graduate schools, but you think it can be done in person?

AUON: It can be done. It can be done in person.

Once again, we're not working in isolation, Erin. We are working with other institutions and other universities in the city in Boston. We are working with the city. We are working with the state.

We are working with our scientists who are advising the White House and the CDC, and the reopening and scientific matters. So, we believe that it's going to be possible, but we have to work hard at that. It's going to entail -- go ahead.


BURNETT: I'm curious because, look, you are thoughtful and considerate of what you're doing. That's clear. But you hear what's happening in California and then you hear about Harvard, medical, dental, graduate classes all online for first year's medical and dental, and it's just a mile from where you are.

Does that decision add up to you? You know, why do they come to such a different view?

AUON: Because every department in every university, and every university has different context and different circumstances. You know, we have been working as I mentioned to you with other peers, as a matter of fact, not only in Boston, but in the nation as a whole.

The Chronicle of Higher Education has announced that 70 percent of the colleges and universities have the goal to reopen in the fall. We are not outliers, but once again, we have to do it in a different way. Business as usual is not going to make it happen.

BURNETT: All right.

AUON: So there is a new normal.

BURNETT: I appreciate your time, sir, and I know -- look, a lot of people are torn on this, but I know there are plenty of students and parents, they really, really they want to go back in person and they want to do it safely.

Thank you very much. I appreciate your time.

AUON: Thank you. Thank you, Erin.

BURNETT: Also tonight, a troubling new study suggests the rapid coronavirus test that the White House has been using missed almost half the positive cases detected by another test, what? That calls into question repeated reassurances like this.


TRUMP: Everybody coming into the president's office gets tested and I felt no vulnerability whatever.

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm tested for the coronavirus on a regular basis.

Since I don't have the coronavirus, I thought it would be a good opportunity for me to be here.

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I had a negative test today. I had a negative test yesterday.


BURNETT: But when you only have a 50 percent accuracy rate? I mean, this is stunning.

You see Dr. Jonathan Reiner here with me.


As you know, he advised the White House medical team for eight years under President George W. Bush and is currently the director of the cardiac cath lab at G.W. University Hospital.

Dr. Reiner, I mean, look, they didn't say those things -- not -- they didn't realize what we now know. Abbott is now saying that they're taking issue -- let me just repeat this again -- missed almost half the positive cases detected by another test. That's stunning and it's awful.

Abbott says those findings which came from NYU inconsistent with the outcomes they are seeing. But this could be an unreliable test, and this is what they're using

to determine who gets to go around the president of the United States mask-free.

DR. JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Right. First, it's important to realize that this test was rushed to market. It was not formally approved by the FDA. It was approved using the FDA's emergency use authorization, so it came to market very, very quickly.

About a month ago, right after it came to market, a study from the Cleveland Clinic suggested that it's a false/negative rate might be 15 percent. This study from NYU really well done, comparing it to a couple of different, more established and reliable tests, suggests that using the device as described in the -- by the manufacturer, the false negative rate was 48 percent, which is basically a coin flip.

Using a slightly different technique, they were able to get a 33 percent false negative rate. Not nonsufficient, not good enough.

BURNETT: No, I mean, it's frankly shocking. I mean, this is what we have put as a country, the health of the president and the United States, the life of the president of the United States in the hands of this test. That's what's happened.

So, should the White House stop using these tests? Obviously they did it because you get a 15-minute answer. You know what you can do. The other test can take longer, 24, 48 hours.

But it would seem from this the right thing to do would be to stop using them for the purpose of being around the president, right?

REINER: Well, it doesn't -- if you get a positive result, well, that's great. But a negative result is meaningless and they're really looking for negative results.

We use this in the hospital because if we find a positive result in the emergency room, that helps us acutely. But it doesn't give us the reassurance. And we've been double testing these patients since we acquired the device.

The White House has used it as a quick fix, right? Instead of doing what the rest of the country has been asked to do, which is to social distance, to telework, to wear a mask, to limit exposure particularly for the principals at the White House, they have tried to, you know, sort of use a quick fix and use this test. But it's nonsufficient.

And now, we're seeing how a virus can get into the White House because we're using a test that doesn't have the negative predicted value to assure the folks there that everyone on the grounds does not have the virus.

BURNETT: Dr. Reiner, thank you. I want to remind everybody, of course, you've had positive cases, the president's personal valet, the vice president's secretary. The vice president said he then after she got it, he tested negative and he was with people not socially distanced without a masks. But now, you can't even trust his own negative result.

All right. Thank you very much, Dr. Reiner, as always.

REINER: My pleasure.

BURNETT: And next, breaking news, the judge in Michael Flynn's case appointing a retired judge to examine whether Flynn committed perjury.



BURNETT: Breaking news, the judge in the Michael Flynn case taking on Attorney General Bill Barr and the Justice Department, appointing a retired judge to look into whether President Trump's former national security adviser should be held in contempt for perjury and to argue against the DOJ's request to drop the case.

Evan Perez is OUTFRONT.

So, Evan, what does this move by the judge mean?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, it means, Erin, that the prospect of Michael Flynn going free has to be on hold for a while longer. Now, this judge has said that he opened a door, at least, to having third parties present information against what the Justice Department is saying, which is to drop the case against Michael Flynn, against what Michael Flynn's own legal team is saying, which is to drop the case against Michael Flynn.

And one of the questions he's asking is whether or not Michael Flynn should face charges for perjuring himself before this very judge. If you remember, Michael Flynn has pleaded guilty twice before two separate judges, including the current one, Emmet Sullivan.


PEREZ: And then suddenly, he decided that he didn't lie. He didn't lie to the FBI is what he's saying now.

So, one of those times he has to have lied before this judge and I think that's one of the reasons why the judge has decided to appoint John Gleason to take a look at this. John Gleason is a former judge, as you pointed out. He is now going to be examining whether or not Flynn should face charges for perjury before this judge.

BURNETT: And what do we know about him, about Gleason?

PEREZ: He's a former -- he's a former judge in New York. He's now a private -- in private practice here in Washington. His law firm represents Sally Yates who is a former deputy attorney general in the Obama administration. She's one of the witnesses in all of this stuff.

So it's going to be interesting to see. He co-wrote an op-ed in "The Washington Post", Erin, that raised some of these very questions that said the judge had the option if he wanted to, to pursue this avenue. And it looks like the judge read that op-ed and is now deciding he's going to go down this road.

BURNETT: And quickly before we go, Paul Manafort, he's out.

PEREZ: He's out. He's served less than a third of his sentence, 7-1/2 years in sentence that he was -- that he was serving in a western Pennsylvania prison. He's now back at his home in northern Virginia because of the COVID crisis. Obviously, he had health problems well before he went to prison.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Evan Perez.

So Paul Manafort, he is -- he is out on a coronavirus -- thanks to coronavirus.

And thanks to all of you for joining us.

"AC360" starts now.