Return to Transcripts main page
Trump Says Fauci's Caution on Reopening Schools Not An Acceptable Answer; Colleges Look for Federal Guidance on When to Reopen; Senator Burr Stepping Down As Intel Chair after FBI Seized His Cell Phone; Doctors May See More Cases of Coronavirus Related Disease in Children. Aired 3:30-4p ET
Aired May 14, 2020 - 15:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: I think it's important for people to understand, this is not theoretical for you. You have had two students pass away from COVID-19. So are you comfortable with the way it is being projected right now? That if there's a spike on your campus you can, quote/unquote, put it out as the President is saying there?
DR. M. ROY WILSON, PRESIDENT, WAYNE STATE UNIVERSITY: Well, I'm not comfortable with a lot of things that's being said on the national level. We have a committee I call it the restart committee. Made up of a number of individuals from around the campus who are keeping track of what's going on nationally, but also looking at what's happening here on campus and in the community. And using the best science and public health realities on the ground at the time to make the right decisions.
BOLDUAN: Are you getting guidance from the federal government, would you like more guidance from the federal government on what safely reopening would look like?
WILSON: Well, I think one of the strengths of this country is that, you know, we do have a lot of geographic variability and a lot of independence. That's also a weakness at a time of a pandemic like this. The reality is that lot of different communities have had different experiences with this and I can understand if a university for example in my home state of Michigan in the upper peninsula wants to open up in the fall, that's probably OK.
But the experience in Detroit has been very different. And I don't know what it's going to be like three months from now when we have to open, but I do know that if it's anything like it's been in the past couple of months, it will be irresponsible to just totally open up the campus.
So, we're looking at all possibilities, we're preparing for both opening the campus up to in-person class instruction and as well as remote or online and just being prepared for both. And we'll make that decision when it's closer to the time that we actually have to make that decision which is still some time away. BOLDUAN: But where are you in that decision-making process? Do you
think at this moment that you think that if you were a betting man that your gut tells you would be having in-person on campus learning in the fall?
WILSON: Well, Kate, as you probably know, I am a physician and epidemiologist. So just putting that hat on for a second and not my university hat, just my professional guess as you said as a betting man, I would say that the chances of being able to just totally open your campus up to total online -- I mean in-person class is very unlikely. It is likely to be some sort of hybrid or online.
However, as I said, it's three months away. You know, three months ago we had zero cases of coronavirus in Michigan. Just this week we hit about 50,000 already with about 5,000 deaths. And a quarter of those have been in Detroit. So, who knows what will happen in three months from in now?
BOLDUAN: Cal State's announcement that they are going pretty much all online for the fall, when you see an announcement like that from another major university system, how does that influence your decision?
WILSON: Well, I'm glad that they made that decision. I think that most of the conversation prior to Cal State has been either those universities who have completely committed to coming back in person such as Purdue and University Of Arizona and many who have said that they intend to do in-person classes but hedging a little bit.
I actually believe that the -- I actually believe that the science at the time really has to be what determines what course is taken. And if I had to guess as I mentioned, an educated guess, I think the situation three months from now is going to be -- is going to support the approach that Cal State is taking more than the support that Purdue or the University Of Arizona is taking. But again, that's a guess. And there is geographic variability but in general, I think that as a professional.
BOLDUAN: Dr. Wilson, thank you so much. You are facing nothing but tough choices when it comes to the safety and security of your students and your faculty. Thank you very much.
WILSON: Thank you very much. Appreciate it.
BOLDUAN: We really appreciate it. A fine university, Wayne State.
Still ahead, Republican Senator Richard Burr announcing that he is leaving his post as Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee at least for now just hours after the FBI seizes his cellphone. Details next.
BOLDUAN: This just into CNN, new cases of the coronavirus being reported once again aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt. You'll remember this ship had previously been taken out of service after suffering a major outbreak of the virus. CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr has new reporting on this, she joins me now. Barbara, what can you tell us?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, the Teddy Roosevelt's been tied up in Guam and it was hoping to put out to sea later this month, now that may be a real question.
What has happened is this, Kate, one sailor who was put back aboard the ship had coronavirus but had had two successful negative tests thought to be cleared of the virus. Suddenly began having symptoms. Then they found four other sailors who had also had it, but being cleared, put back aboard the ship, also now testing positive for the virus.
So, they had five sailors that they thought were clear and healthy, but apparently may not be because they are now testing positive for coronavirus once again after being cleared of it. And now the Navy says that -- the Pentagon says another additional 18 sailors will be taken off the ship to be tested in an abundance of caution. Because they had been in close proximity with those who are now testing positive.
It's not all clear why this is really happening. The Navy, the Pentagon thinks at the moment that -- they hope, that the Roosevelt has not had another major outbreak, that this may be a testing issue. We all know that these tests more often do show false negatives and then it turns out there are remnants of the virus still in people. And the symptoms come back up again.
But this all being looked at very closely by medical people they're trying to figure out what exactly is happening -- Kate.
BOLDUAN: Gosh, darn, that is confounding. Barbara, thank you very much.
All right, let's go to Capitol Hill right now where Republican Senator Richard Burr just announced that he's temporarily stepping down as Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. This as the FBI just seized his cell phone as part of an investigation into stock trades that he made before the coronavirus outbreak took off in the United States.
CNN's Manu Raju, he's been tracking this, he joins us now. Manu, were you able to catch up with Senator Burr, what is he telling you?
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, he tells me that he does not think he did anything wrong. I asked him if he exercised poor judgment in selling those stocks up to $1.7 million of stock back on February 13th, right as the market was about to crash.
He said that he did not. He also told me that he was going to continue to serve out his term in which he's got several more years left. He would not resign his Senate seat. And the reason why he's saying he is aside, as he does not want to be a, quote, distraction to his colleagues in charge of this key committee at a crucial time. He reiterated that behind closed doors in speaking to Republican Senators as well.
Now, this came in the aftermath of that remarkable move by the FBI to seize the Senator's Senate issued cell phone in the middle of this investigation after the questions had been raised about whether or not he was making those trades based on inside information.
Now on the same day that he made that trade on February 13th, also his brother in law made trades of stocks up to $280,000 worth of stocks. Now what Burr has been saying is that he traded on publicly available information. He is contending it is not inside information.
There are some questions about the timing about this coming out publicly. Richard Burr is chairman of this committee has investigated the Russia matter, he signed on to a bipartisan report just weeks ago affirming the conclusion by the intelligence community that it was Russia that interfered in the 2016 election with the intention of helping Trump win.
He also had issued a subpoena for Donald Trump Jr. to testify before his committee previously and got pushback. I asked him if he thinks this has anything to do with this probe becoming public. He said that's a question you have to ask the Justice Department. He did not want to talk about the investigation at all. But for now, Kate, he is staying on this committee. He is stepping down from this chairmanship but a lot of questions about whether or not he could face charges in the days to come -- Kate.
BOLDUAN: Manu, thank you very much. Still ahead for us, could how loudly you speak have an impact on whether or not you could be spreading a disease like the coronavirus? A surprising new finding -- surprising new findings coming out, that's next.
BOLDUAN: How safe is a safe distance? That's one of many questions being asked about protecting ourselves as states begin to open back up, of course. A new study just published offers up some startling perspective on that.
Showing that ordinary speaking can release respiratory droplets into the air that can linger for more than 8 minutes. It was an experiment using laser light and researchers also found that someone talking loudly can emit more than 1,000 droplets in a very short period of time. So what does this mean for the spread of the coronavirus?
Joining me right now, Dr. Mark Rupp, he's chief of the infectious diseases division at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. It's great to see you again, Dr. Rupp. Thank you for being here. This study was published in a peer review journal. What does this tell you about the potential spread of this virus? What should it I guess tell people without a medical degree?
DR. MARK RUPP, CHIEF, DIVISION OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES, UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA MEDICAL CENTER: Well, I think there's a couple of implications of this study. First of all, it may give a pretty good explanation of why we see transmission of the disease in people who are asymptomatic prior to developing symptoms.
They may have replication of the virus in their upper respiratory tract. And in interacting with people, just through simple conversation, they can generate these droplets that, you know, if they're shedding virus could contain the virus.
And even though they're not showing symptoms could potentially explain why it's passed from one person to another. I think it also really emphasizes the importance of why we should all be wearing masks, when we're out in public. That's because, again, there are certain instances, where people can be in the pre-symptomatic phase before they develop symptoms. If they're wearing a mask, this will really help to decrease the generation of those droplets and then how far they would be projected from somebody.
But it's really no surprise that when somebody is talking, they're going to be generating these droplets. And then that increases even more if they are trying to really extend their voice and fill an auditorium or in the real extreme example would be at a singing or choir practice.
There was a big outbreak in Washington state a few months ago, where in a choir practice, where there was probably somebody who was asymptomatic was singing at the choir practice and ended up resulting in a lot of people becoming infected and even some deaths in that instance.
BOLDUAN: Yes, there's a lot we don't know about this virus, but this seems to be one thing that's consistent throughout. How asymptomatic, how it can be spread especially in this fashion that we are talking about here.
There are also reports, Dr. Robb, I wanted to get your take on this, more reports we're hearing about this troubling inflammatory response in children as being linked to the coronavirus. The CDC is now putting out an alert to physicians about it. But it is fortunately still rare. What is your level of concern about, they're now put a name to it, multi-system inflammatory syndrome in kids?
DR. RUPP: Yes, so, I think that as we gain additional experience with the coronavirus during this pandemic, we're going to continue to see and explain rare clusters and compilations of symptoms. I think that's what we are seeing here with these kids. You know, I think there's a couple of messages here, number one is one of reassurance. That this is pretty dog gone rare and that for the most part kids don't have severe disease and there are very limited numbers of cases of having this inflammatory response to the virus. Now, some people are saying this looks a lot like what is known as
Kawasaki's Disease or Kawasaki Syndrome. This something that we've known about for decades. The other name that it goes by is called Muco Cutaneous Lymph Node Syndrome. So, these kids have inflammation of their conjunctival membranes, their mouth, they have a rash, they have swollen lymph nodes. And in the worst instances they can get inflammation of the heart and the coronary arteries. Then that can be devastating.
Similar to what we're seeing with this multi-inflammatory poly-organ system involvement that is being described now, where multiple organs can become inflamed and angry and dysfunctional, for the most part, these kids have recovered, which again the a reassuring message, there have, unfortunately, been a few children who have died of this syndrome.
BOLDUAN: Yes, it is amazing from where we were in the beginning of what we thought was just a very scary respiratory disease virus is now infecting so many more organs, and so many different classes of people in so many different ways. It is remarkable the evolution from the first time that you and I had an opportunity to speak. Dr. Rupp, thanks for coming in.
DR. RUPP: Absolutely. My pleasure.
BOLDUAN: Thank you.
Tonight, Anderson Cooper and Dr. Sanjay Gupta are hosting a CNN GLOBAL TOWN HALL, joining them this evening, including Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred, former acting CDC Director Richard Besser, "CORONAVIRUS: FACTS AND FEARS" tonight at 8:00 Eastern right here on CNN.
Coming up for us, big tourist attraction making its first moves to open up. We're going to take you live to Florida.
BOLDUAN: Just into CNN, the Mall of America is planning to reopen on June 1st. It comes after Minnesota's governor announced that he was going to allow non-essential businesses to open back up this Monday. And minutes from now, Universal Orlando CityWalk will open to the public for the first time since mid-March but under new guidelines and regulations.
CNN's Rosa Flores, she's in Florida with much more on this for us. Rosa, what is the plan for Universal?
ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Universal, like you said, reopening CityWalk with limited operations. And like you said, just a few minutes from now starting at 4:00 to 10:00 p.m. daily.
But with a lot of restrictions, both guests and workers will have to wear masks and they will have to get their temperature checks before entering these facilities. Anyone with a temperature of 100.4 or more will not be allowed. Social distancing will also be strictly enforced and restaurants, Kate, will have limited menus and limited seating.
BOLDUAN: And also, Rosa, two of the counties hardest hit by the coronavirus in Florida, they've just announced their reopening plans. What do they include?
FLORES: You know, Governor Ron DeSantis just announcing this a few hours ago, Miami-Dade and Broward counties will be able to reopen non- essential business, so some of those will include restaurants, offices and some retail. But with restrictions.
Now one of the things that really stands out about Miami-Dade is that they asked the governor to reopen restaurants at 50 percent capacity. Now the rest of the state is at 25 percent capacity and when asked, Governor Ron DeSantis said that he would approve of that, Kate, so that's a big development here in the state of Florida.