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Wisconsin Stay-At-Home Order Knocked Down; Report: Chairman Burr's Phone Seized; Warning from Ousted Vaccine Expert; How Will FDA- Authorized Drug Remdesivir Be Distributed?. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired May 14, 2020 - 05:00   ET



CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: No social distance, no masks. The stay at home order in Wisconsin knocked down. What the ruling means for people opposing orders nationwide.

LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: Trouble brewing for the Senate Intelligence chairman. Why Richard Burr had his cell phone seized by the FBI.

ROMANS: And an ousted vaccine expert testifies today with a warning for America. Rick Bright says time is running out to effectively fight coronavirus.

Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is EARLY START.

I'm Christine Romans.

JARRETT: Good to see you, Christine. I'm Laura Jarrett. It's Thursday, May 14th, 5:00 a.m. here in New York.

And we begin this morning with the big, breaking news overnight. A major decision on stay at home orders that could reverberate nationwide. The Wisconsin Supreme Court overturning the state's mandate to stay at home as unenforceable under state law.

A big victory for the Republican-led legislature and gives new hope that those across the country opposing directives aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus.

Similar legal challenges are pending in Michigan, California, Kentucky, Illinois. Didn't take long for bars to reopen after the ruling. No masks in sight there. The court ruled future statewide restrictions have to be approved by the state legislature.

Here's Democratic Governor Tony Evers on CNN last night.


GOV. TONY EVERS (D), WISCONSIN: Today, absolutely, Wisconsin Republican legislators and those four Supreme Court justices decided that facts don't matter, the statutes don't matter and, frankly, it puts our state into chaos. There are no regulations out there right now, period.

Now, we have no plan and we have no protections for the people of Wisconsin. This will cause us to have spikes across the state, there's no question about it.


ROMANS: Now, the governor's encouraging everyone in his state to continue to stay safe at home, to practice social distancing, to limit travel.

And the Mayor of Milwaukee says that city's stay at home order is in place highlighting the patch work approach that's caused confusion nationwide for months.

As of Wednesday, Wisconsin had nearly 11,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus. Just in Wisconsin, 421 deaths. And it's one of 21 states with cases down considerably in the last week, progress now at risk of reversing.

JARRETT: Also breaking overnight, the FBI reportedly seizing a cell phone from Senator Richard Burr, the chairman of the Intelligence Committee. The "L.A. Times" reports this is part of a broadening Justice Department probe into controversial stock trades Burr made as the coronavirus first hit the U.S., sending stock prices plunging.

CNN previously reported Burr's committee received briefings as the outbreak spread but none on the week of Burr's stock sales. CNN has reached out to Senator Burr, the FBI and DOJ for comment on this.

ROMANS: All right. This morning, ousted vaccine official Dr. Rick Bright will warn America faces the darkest winter in modern history, his words, without a ramped up response. In prepared congressional testimony obtained by CNN, Bright says our window is closing. The former head of the U.S. vaccine effort will testify: As I reflect in the past few months of this outbreak, it is painfully clear that we were not as prepared as we should have been, we missed early warning signals and we forgot early pages from our pandemic playbook.

Bright filed a whistleblower complaint last week claiming he was removed in retaliation for opposing the wide use of a drug touted by President Trump as a coronavirus treatment. Bright's lawyer says the federal office reviewing his complaint is recommending reinstatement.

JARRETT: CNN has learned President Trump is privately contesting whether coronavirus deaths are being over-counted, contrary to what he said publicly. The doubts are consistent with his pattern of questioning the CDC and his own health experts. Federal health official Dr. Anthony Fauci says that, in fact, coronavirus deaths are likely being under counted as people die at home without going to the hospital.

The president scolded Fauci publicly a day after the doctor warned against reopening schools and businesses too quickly.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REPORTER: Dr. Fauci yesterday was a little cautious on reopening the economy too soon. Do you share his concern?

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

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

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



JARRETT: The president thinks schools should reopen, saying the virus has very little impact on young people, a claim that is simply just not proven and could be dangerous. Fauci warns students returning to campus in the fall would likely not have a COVID-19 vaccine available.

ROMANS: So, there is growing uncertainty nationwide about when students will return to the classroom. Harvard Medical School announcing fall classes for first year med students classes will be online. Stanford University says it is unlikely to bring undergrads back to the fall semester. College and university leaders are now asking the White House for clear reopening guidance from the CDC.

Now, they shouldn't expect that soon. CNN learned recently, national CDC guidance was buried by the White House.

JARRETT: K-through-12 school systems are being forced to think way outside of the box on how to restart learning. Schools in 48 states are closed for the rest of the academic year. Maryland's recovery plan includes Saturday school, extended school days, and reduced summertime off.

In California, the governor has said he's considering restarting school in July.

Meanwhile, in the epicenter of the outbreak in New York and New Jersey, leaders are still noncommittal on the fall.


GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: We haven't made a decision on summer schools yet for K-through-12. On the -- on the decisions about college in September, we're just not there yet. I understand schools have to plan for the fall semester, and I'll be respectful of their planning period. And we've told them, come up with a plan because how do you open a school in September? You can't have gatherings. You can't have a large number of children in a classroom.

GOV. PHIL MURPHY (D), NEW JERSEY: We are beginning as best we can to war game what the end of August looks like for everything from pre-K up through higher ed. It's too early to tell, but we are beginning to put the pieces together, try to figure out how the path leads us from where we are now to potential, at least potential reopenings.


ROMANS: None of this factors in big changes that might be needed, like deciding how to make up for months of lost learning, the need to maintain social distancing, more support for traumatized kids, perhaps keeping older at-risk teachers home if necessary.

And if parents have to return to work and schools remain closed, then what? There is one silver lining. Students taking on federal loans this year will benefit from the lowest interest rates in history. That is some consolation to families who are struggling financially during the pandemic.

JARRETT: All right. Still ahead, a warning from the Fed chief foreshadows new unemployment numbers due out this morning. Hear from residents in one of the hardest hit states.



ROMANS: The Fed Chief Jerome Powell says, you know, it's hard to capture the level of pain felt by American families who have lost a job. In today's weekly jobless claims will likely show another 2.5 million people added to that list. That will bring the total number of 36 million first-time claims filed since mid-March, eight straight weeks of claims in the millions, though the pace of layoffs is slowing here.

The scale of this job loss is devastating. The labor market shed 20 million jobs in April alone, pushing the unemployment rate to 14.7 percent. The Fed chief said the unemployment rate will probably peak next month. U.S. economy needs more stimulus. Without it, he said the recovery will be harder.

JARRETT: One of the states hardest hit by job losses is Kentucky. Nearly a third of its workforce is out of a job.

CNN's Vanessa Yurkevich why and how people are coping.



GERICA HORN, FILED FOR UNEMPLOYMENT: Right now, things are -- I'm to my last $100.

YURKEVICH (voice-over): In Kentucky, one in three workers are out of a job right now.

Gerica Horn is one of them. A hairdresser from Winchester, she says she's been waiting six weeks for unemployment. (on camera): Could unemployment be a game changer for you and your


HORN: Oh, my God, yes. Like anything I would be thankful for just so I can have a peace of mind like I've got this money to fall back on, to at least buy groceries.

YURKEVICH (voice-over): Kentucky's workforce now has the highest share of unemployment claims in the U.S. according to the labor department.

One reason? Kentucky's Governor Andy Beshear told people to file and early.

GOV. ANDY BESHEAR (D), KENTUCKY: Apply for benefits.

I ask people every day when I have an update to sign up for unemployment. I actually encourage them to do it. We were one of the first and most aggressive states in opening up unemployment to independent contractors, to small business owners, trying to make sure that everybody that was truly harmed could get help.

YURKEVICH: But encouragement from state officials alone doesn't account for high jobless claims. Kentucky's leading industry manufacturing plays a role. It's nearly 13 percent of the state's workforce, higher than the national average.

MICHAEL CLARK, CENTER FOR BUSINESS AND ECONOMIC RESEARCH, UNIVERSITY OF KENTUCKY: Those workers, it's much harder to work remotely, as you can imagine. So, that may not be an option for a lot of employers in Kentucky.

YURKEVICH: And two of the state's biggest employers, Toyota and Ford, are shut down.

(on camera): When the auto industry shuts down, what does that mean for you?

GREG RISCH, PRESIDENT & CEO, GIBBS DIE CASTING: That means they don't need my parts.

YURKEVICH (voice-over): Gibbs Die Casting supplies the big three automakers with parts.

Greg Risch became CEO just seven weeks ago. His first action: furloughing 670 of his 800 employees.

RISCH: There's no work available, so they're obviously filing unemployment and getting all of the aid that's been available from the states as well.

YURKEVICH: Also on hold, the Kentucky Derby. Huge economic driver now postponed until September leaving businesses without $400 million in tourism dollars.

CLARK: You know, we're seeing reduced demand for their products, so their employees are being affected as well.


YURKEVICH: Parts of Kentucky's economy are reopening with a phased approach, but slower than its neighboring states.

BESHEAR: What's going to separate states and what their economies are going to look like by the end of the year is how well they reopen. If you go too fast, you have a spike and you have to shut down again. That's going to cause more long-term damage than doing it gradually and doing it right.

YURKEVICH: Despite the new safety protocols for reopening, Horn is eager to start seeing clients again on May 25th.

HORN: I'll be working longer hours because of the time in between clients, but it will be worth it, you know, like just to have a flow of money coming in.

YURKEVICH: Vanessa Yurkevich, CNN, New York.


ROMANS: All right. If you go to a restaurant in one big city this weekend, they'll be taking your name and number. And one state will allow people to get together in a way they have never done before.

CNN has reporters coast to coast.



The area most impacted by COVID-19 in Florida is scheduled to reopen next week pending approval from the governor. Miami-Dade County announced plans to reopen nonessential businesses on Monday, may 18th, with stringent rules. The full list of businesses may include retail stores, nail salons and barber shops. And unlike the rest of Florida, where restaurants are open at 25 percent capacity, Miami-Dade would like to up that to 50 percent. If Miami-Dade reopens Monday, city of Miami Beach officials would like to open retail stores, barber shops, hair salons with restrictions starting Wednesday.


The city of New Orleans will have a phased reopening on Saturday, at 6:00 a.m. It will be focusing on contact tracing as an important tool against the coronavirus, requiring all restaurants with table service to collect the names and phone numbers of every customer entering their establishment and the data will have to be kept on file for 21 days.

Now, Mayor Latoya Cantrell made this announcement live on a radio town hall Wednesday. She said that the city has been seeing a downward trend of COVID-19 cases for more than 21 days. Among some of the businesses that will be allowed to reopen, all retail stores, churches, hair and nail salons, and gyms.

NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Nick Watt in Manhattan Beach, California.

And the beaches are open across L.A. County, but exercise only and masks are mandatory. Also in L.A. County, all retail is now open but it's curbside pickup and it doesn't apply if you're inside in a mall. Golf and tennis also now a go. Across California some counties are allowed to take it a bit quicker.


Amazon is extending a temporary pay increase for its front line employees. The company first implemented the $2 hourly wage bump in March for warehouse and delivery workers and is now extending it through May 30th. The move comes after employees and policymakers raised concerns about the ecommerce giant's response to the pandemic. Amazon will also extend double overtime pay for employees in the U.S. and Canada. The attention to Amazon's workplace policies follows weeks of worker protests, many who have said there are shortages of protective gear and expressed difficulties in maintaining social distancing while on the job.


Just across the river in New Jersey, some potentially good news from Governor Phil Murphy. He says hospitalizations, ICU admissions and even those on ventilators, those numbers are all down. He's announcing some plans to reopen in the state, including allowing people to gather but in their vehicles, so drive-in movie theaters, church services. You can have more people at those gatherings if you stay in your cars.

The caveat, if your car is closer than 6 feet to the one next to you, your windows, sun roof, if it's a convertible your top, need to remain closed.


JARRETT: Thanks so much to all of our reporters for those updates.

New York City has gone 58 days without a single pedestrian death. That's the longest stretch since recordkeeping began in 1983. The city's transportation chief credits the dramatic increase in traffic since New Yorkers were warned to stay home in mid-March. But she warned some drivers are taking advantage of the empty streets. Red light cameras have issued almost double the usual number of spending tickets.

ROMANS: Live sports on the verge of returning to a second big state. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis says he wants to resume sports as soon as this week. And he says Florida is open to any pro team including those based in states where they cannot play because of the pandemic. He says sporting events won't necessarily have fans at first.


Arizona is also allowing sports starting tomorrow. That means fields could be open in both states that host baseball's spring training.

JARRETT: Nearly 30 percent of the most widely viewed COVID-19 videos on YouTube contain misinformation. The Canadian researchers who came with that conclusion say it's a problem that could be deadly in a pandemic.

More than 77 percent of adults turn to the Internet to learn about healthcare with YouTube attracting billions of daily views.

ROMANS: All right. It's the only drug shown promise against coronavirus. But who can get it, when and how?



JARRETT: All right. Welcome back. Doctors in 17 states and Washington, D.C., are investigating a rare and puzzling condition in children that appears to be linked to COVID-19. Doctors expect at least 150 children have been affected in the United States, most of them in New York. The symptoms include persistent fever, inflammation, and poor function in organs like the kidneys or heart.

It's a concerning sign. A hospital in Italy has seen a 30 fold increase of children with severe inflammatory symptoms like those according to a study published in the medical journal "The Lancet."

ROMANS: And this morning, there are new questions about a possible treatment for coronavirus. The concern is not about the drug itself but who gets it and when.

Here's CNN's senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen.


ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This may be the most sought after drug on our pandemic-ridden planet, remdesivir, the only drug shown to work against coronavirus and be authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. And now, the state of California in guidance to hospitals says they can consider having a lottery to decide which patients will get it. That's because there's not nearly enough remdesivir to go around.

Take San Francisco, for example, they have around 70 patients in the hospital with confirmed coronavirus infections, but so far, they've only been allocated enough remdesivir for four patients for the entire city.

Dr. Annie Luetkemeyer is an infectious disease specialist in Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital.


COHEN: She knows she will have to tell some patients no.

LUETKEMEYER: It's not what we all went into medicine to do. We would like to be able to provide remdesivir for everyone in whom we think it would benefit and we're clearly just not in that place yet, and that part is really heartbreaking.

COHEN (on camera): How do you feel when you saw just a handful of patients in all of San Francisco would be able to get this medicine?

LUETKEMEYER: We understand some really difficult decisions are going to have to be made.

COHEN (voice-over): And not just in San Francisco. In Texas, for example, they have nearly 1,700 coronavirus patients in the hospital but the state was allocated only enough remdesivir for about 155 patients.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services hasn't explained how they decided how much remdesivir to send to each state or why some places got it before others, and that's spurred this letter Wednesday from two members from Congress asking for an explanation.

REP. LLOYD DOGGETT (D-TX): I'm concerned that we're not getting this drug that's the first ray of hope in treating coronavirus to the right places at the right time.

COHEN: He's asking for transparency in how the federal government is rationing the limited supply of the only drug known to help patients with COVID-19.

Elizabeth Cohen, CNN, reporting.


JARRETT: Thanks so much to Elizabeth Cohen for that report.

The drug and device maker Abbott is defending its quick test to diagnose coronavirus infection, the test that the White House is relying on. And an NYU study found that Abbott's ID Now test could be missing nearly half, half of positive coronavirus cases. Abbott disputes the study results saying they're not consistent with other findings.

Officials say while no test is perfect, their rapid test is delivering unreliable results at more than 1,000 sites testing for the virus.

ROMANS: The U.S. could see an outbreak of preventable diseases this fall because the pandemic is keeping kids and seniors from their regular vaccinations. Former FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb testified there's been a 90 percent reduction in vaccine prescriptions. Gottlieb said cancer patients have also been missing their chemo appointments and there's been a steep drop in other health care follow-ups since the pandemic started.

EARLY START continues right now.


ROMANS: No social distance, no masks. The stay at home order in Wisconsin knocked down. What that ruling means for people opposing orders nationwide.

JARRETT: Trouble for the Senate intelligence chairman. Richard Burr's cell phone is seized by the FBI.

Good morning. This is EARLY START. I'm Laura Jarrett.

ROMANS: Nice to see you this Thursday morning. I'm Christine Romans. It is just about 30 minutes past the hour.

And we begin with breaking news overnight. A major decision on stay at home orders. This could reverberate nationwide.

Now, the Wisconsin Supreme Court overturning the state's mandate to stay home as unenforceable under state law. This is a victory for people across the country opposing directives aimed at slowing the spread of coronavirus, even as families of more than 84,000 people are mourning their loved ones.

Similar legal challenges are pending in Michigan, California, Kentucky, and Illinois. It didn't take long for bars to reopen after the ruling. No masks in sight. Here's the Democratic governor last night.


EVERS: Today, absolutely, Wisconsin Republican legislators and those four Supreme Court justices decided that facts don't matter, the statutes don't matter and, frankly, it puts our state into chaos. There are no regulations out there right now, period.