Return to Transcripts main page


Wisconsin's Supreme Court Throws Out Governor's Stay-at-Home Order; President Trump Disagrees with Dr. Anthony Fauci on Reopening Schools; Former Government Officials Overseeing Vaccine Research to Testify to Congress; CNN: CDC Reopening Guidelines Far Stricter Than White House Version; Pandemic Amplifies Substance Abuse and Mental Health Issues; Unemployment in Kentucky is the Worst in the Nation. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired May 14, 2020 - 08:00   ET



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY.

And we begin with breaking news. Chaos in Wisconsin after the state's Supreme Court threw out the governor's stay-at-home order. Some bars immediately reopened last night, leading to scenes like this, large crowds reveling in their freedom but not socially distancing, not wearing masks. The governor likens this situation to the wild west, saying that the state has no plan and no protections for its residents.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Just a little bit later this morning, what could be an electric moment of testimony on Capitol Hill. The ousted head of the department overseeing vaccine research is expected to testify about what he sees as missed signals and opportunities to confront the pandemic in the United States in January and February, and he will issue a new dire warning that the darkest winter in modern history lies ahead, he will say, if the federal coronavirus response is not accelerated immediately.

CAMEROTA: OK, let's begin our coverage with CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta and CNN White House correspondent John Harwood. Sanjay, let's just start in Wisconsin and what has happened overnight because it's so striking to see these videos of so many people rushing out to bars. I know that it must send a shiver down your spine to see this as a doctor because you don't see people wearing masks, you don't see them socially distancing. You see them, I mean, we might as well rewind the clock back six months. This is what it looked like before all of this. And so what are your thoughts?

GUPTA: I don't know if people there simply had not been getting the message about what this virus is, how contagious it is. I find that hard to believe considering we've been in this for several months. Or if they just don't care. I think that that maybe the more likely scenario here. There is obviously an impatience, people wanting to get outside. But I look at that, I think just about anybody health care worker, anybody who is in this field, be shocked by those images, saying we feel like we've been in the middle of trying to treat an infection in this country for some time, and in some places we're very close to having a more successful treatment, and what we're seeing there really threatens putting us backwards. It's like stopping the antibiotics part way through the course and taking you further back than even square one.

So it's shocking, it's jarring, maybe not surprising given the amount of impatience that we're hearing and the mixed messages I think that people are receiving.

BERMAN: Those mixed messages, John Harwood, I have not seen yet if the president has weighed in exactly on what has happened in Wisconsin, but similar situations around the country, he has egged on protestors in state capitals. He has criticized governors for extending stay-at-home orders.

JOHN HARWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Exactly, because the president has run out of patience with battling the coronavirus itself. He is trying to make a full transition to reopening the economy, which he thinks is crucial to his reelection. He also thinks that it is crucial to salvaging his record as president of the United States. We've got 40 percent decline -- on track for a 40 percent decline on GDP in the second quarter. We've got more than 30 million people thrown out of work. That is depression level economic suffering. He is trying to turn that around.

And obviously everyone hopes that the public health authorities are painting too dark a picture. Everyone would hope at the party that they could have the fourth glass of wine and drive safely home from the party. And maybe they could. It's possible that many of those people would drive home safely. But you also could have a terrible wreck and endanger yourself and your loved ones, and that is exactly what the position we're in.

Anthony Fauci is saying don't have the fourth glass of wine. Be careful. Be prudent. This is a virus that the entire country is vulnerable to because it's new. Nobody has started with immunity here. And that is the nature of the discussion. In Wisconsin, highly partisanized atmosphere. The previous governor, Scott Walker, went to war on state government, the very people who are trying to -- the deep state in Wisconsin, if you will, who are trying to regulate the public health response in Wisconsin. He was defeated in the election, but that sentiment in the legislature and the Supreme Court of Wisconsin is still strongly there for partisan warfare, and that is what Republicans and conservatives are waging in Wisconsin against the response to coronavirus.

CAMEROTA: Sanjay, we have just been told that President Trump has given an interview to FOX TV and he talks about Dr. Fauci. So let's listen to this moment.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Anthony is a good person, very good person. I've disagreed with him. I think that we have to open our schools. Young people are very little affected by this. We have to get the schools open. We have to get our country open. We have to open our country. Now, we want to do it safely, but we also want to do it as quickly as possible. We can't keep going on like this.



CAMEROTA: So Sanjay, I'm told that he went on to say that I totally disagree with Fauci about schools. So obviously this is not the first time there is a disagreement. He seems to be angry that Dr. Fauci had urged caution because we're getting new information about the effect that the virus has on kids.

GUPTA: Yes, and I think if you listen to what Dr. Fauci has said, and I've been listening closely for the last several months, I don't think he has been that different in his message urging caution, but also saying that there is a possibility that schools, and I'm talking about grade schools here, at least in some places could open in the fall. I think that they did draw a distinction a little bit with colleges. College campuses a little bit more concerning because those areas could potentially be clusters. And maybe college campuses are more likely to be amenable to online learning.

But I guess I'm a little surprised at how much of a friction point this has become. The idea that, of course, everyone wants to open schools, that kids are thankfully are less likely to become severely ill with this, also, as you mentioned, Alisyn, there's some new reports about this Kawasaki-like disease, it still seems rare. But schools in some places, if there's not community spread that is sustained, they are starting to look at possibly in the fall opening up schools. So I'm just not sure what the real friction point here -- that's what Dr. Fauci has always said. And he says you urge caution when you do this. it's going to look different. You don't have cafeterias. You don't have mass gatherings. You don't have assemblies. You might have staggered starts. Kids are going to sit further apart from each other. They may wear masks. People who are vulnerable that work in the schools may not be able to continue to work directly with students. All those things that we've been saying for months now, why is this boiling over at this point?

BERMAN: I have to say, I don't understand what the president is actually disagreeing with here, because Dr. Fauci didn't specifically say don't open schools. All he said was that there are risks and that there are risks to children. If the president disagrees with that, then he is disagreeing with kids being sick right now, which some are, and disagreeing with the science. Dr. Fauci didn't make an edicts there. So John, the question is, why then is the president and are his allies creating this straw man, which they clearly are?

HARWOOD: Well, we know why. Because he is desperate to move past the coronavirus to what he thinks is in his best interests. We need to be clear here. This is not a disagreement of judgment and wisdom between intellectual equals. This is a disagreement with the country's leading expert on public health with a 40 year record of concern for the public health, advancing the public health, against a politician who is trying to get reelected who is troubled by the opprobrium he is receiving in the polls about his handling of this who a couple weeks ago suggested injecting disinfectant into people as a curative for the coronavirus. So we need to weigh the equities here, and they are very clearly on one side of the equation.

CAMEROTA: Sanjay, I want to talk about what we're going to going to see in just two hours from now, and that is Dr. Rick Bright will be testifying in front of a congressional hearing. He of course was in charge of the department in the government that was trying to find vaccines and treatment and funding different research for that. And he was ousted, he says, for political reasons. So today we have a little portion of his prepared remarks that he's going to tell lawmakers. He says, "Our window of opportunity is closing. If we fail to develop a national coordinated response based in science, I fear the pandemic will get far worse and be prolonged, causing unprecedented illness and fatalities. Without clear planning and implementation of the steps that I and other experts have outlined, 2020 will be the darkest winter in modern history." Is he overstating the case, do you think?

GUPTA: Well, I'm not a big fan of language like that. I think that it's -- I think that inspiring through fear maybe has somewhat of a role, but this is clearly what he's doing. He's trying to inspire through fear. I think that there's clearly things that need to be done, and I think that if you look at some of his statement, and I read the complaint that he has filed as a whistleblower complaint, there are things that he thinks clearly still need to be done, which everyone has been talking about, the fact that you need to have robust testing in places, you need to make sure that these gating criteria are followed before communities open, and that we have enough of the various therapeutics once they are developed and the vaccine once it's developed. So I think all of that is the same message.


I think, obviously, a lot of what Dr. Bright has been talking about is the fact that he feels that he wasn't listened to, that he was really raising the flag on everything from masks and PPE to let's slow down on hydroxychloroquine which it turns out he was probably right on. Those studies have not been convincing that that medication is really having an effect despite the fact that it was really being trumpeted out there.

So I think it will be interesting to see. I think that he has got to be a little bit careful in terms of how he is representing this message. If the message itself doesn't sound that different, I think he should be careful about the type of language that he is wrapping it in. "Darkest winter in modern history" is obviously just going to really, really frighten people.

BERMAN: John Harwood, very quickly, it's Jim Acosta and CNN's reported that the president behind the scenes is questioning whether the number of people killed by coronavirus is accurate. He thinks that it is not as many people killed as has been reported, 84,000 deaths this morning. And in fact, most people think it is undercounting the number of people who are actually dead. But there's an interesting bit of reporting here too, which is that Dr. Deborah Birx has been questioning some of the facts that she's been getting from the CDC. What do we know about this?

HARWOOD: She has said, she said in a meeting last week, I don't get anything I can trust from the CDC. I'm not in a position to judge the merits of Deborah Birx's argument. We know that she has been trying to thread the needle between pleasing President Trump, or at least not offending President Trump, and doing her job as a renowned expert in her field, somebody with a long track record just like Anthony Fauci.

To me, the stakes in how many people have died from coronavirus are not as large as some people suggest. Whether it is 73,000 or 83,000 or 93,000, the American people can see that this has wreaked havoc on the United States in a public health sense and in an economic sense. And I do think, by the way, to add to Sanjay's point about Dr. Bright, it is notable that Anthony Fauci does not use the kind of language that Dr. Bright used. What he says and what he said on Tuesday in that hearing was if we are not careful, if we're not prudent, the consequences could be serious. He is aware that there is some good news out there. Testing expanding, positivity rates going down. But Dr. Bright has sort of amped it up, and that will probably have some consequence on how his testimony is received by the public.

BERMAN: John Harwood, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thank you both very much.

One quick programming note, be sure to join Sanjay and Anderson Cooper tonight for a new CNN global town hall. Their guests include former acting CDC director with Richard Besser, former health secretary Kathleen Sebelius, and activist Greta Thunberg. Watch tonight, 8:00 p.m. eastern, only on CNN.

We have some news into CNN this morning. The CDC's original guidelines for reopening the country, they were shelved by the Trump administration. But CNN now has the full 68-page report. We'll tell you what's in it, next.



JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Developing now, CNN has learned that the CDC guidelines for reopening that were shelved by the Trump administration were far stricter and more detailed than the White House version. CNN has a full copy of the 68-page CDC report.

CNN's Kristen Holmes live in Washington with the details.

Kristen, what's inside?

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, this is exactly what businesses, employers, individuals, states have been craving. It gives them the actual details on how to reopen safely and how to do it safely. And it is a very structured step by step process. So, we'll go through some of the sections here, talks about schools setting desks six feet apart, closing cafeterias, serving students within the classroom, trying to mitigate as much as possible.

And it talks to employers about closing down break rooms all together. Having different shift is, as in an A shift, and an B shift, just in case someone gets sick. And it talks a lot about testing.

Now, some main differences here, one that I thought was quite striking, was that of nonessential travel. And the White House plan, it says by phase two, you can resume nonessential travel. In the CDC plan, it is much more careful. By phase three, it says that you can consider nonessential travel, but it says nothing about allowing it and all the restrictions being lifted. So this is something that we'll be keeping an eye on as it comes through.

This is, again, something that was shelved by the White House and something that we heard from CDC officials that said that if you look through our guidelines and if you go through each detail, you can see that most of the places if not all of them that are opening up are not readied to do so, John.

BERMAN: All right. Kristen, thank you very much for that reporting. Appreciate it. Keep us posted.


ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: John, overnight, singer Melissa Etheridge announced the death of her 21-year-old son Beckett. She says he struggled to overcome an addiction to opioids but succumbed to that addiction yesterday.

Etheridge writes in a social media posts: We struggle with what else we could have done to save him and in the end we know he is out of the pain now. I will sing again soon. It has always healed me.

Melissa Etheridge's family is not alone. This coronavirus pandemic is causing a spike in substance abuse and mental health issues for countless Americans. Crisis hotlines are seeing a spike from people in desperate need of help.

Joining us now is Nancy Lublin. She is the founder of the Crisis Text Line here in New York.

Nancy, it's great to have you.

I understand that you are seeing a spike of 40 percent in the calls into your hotline. And have you been able to determine who -- what sorts of people, what group needs the most help?

NANCY LUBLIN, FOUNDER & CEO, CRISIS TEXT LINE: Yes, it's been interesting. Pre-coronavirus, pre-COVID, the majority of the people reaching out to us were under age 18, a lot of teenagers texting us in pain. And post, in the last two months, biggest age group we've seen is 18 to 34.

They're the ones who have been most disrupted. So, really in three areas.

One is their living situation, a lot have moved back home to their high school bedroom. Or they're sheltering alone, or they are with roommate necessary found on Craigslist. And they have young children. All of that is hard.

Their careers have been interrupted. They're the most likely to be furloughed or let go.


And third, relationships. Very hard to date in a pandemic where you should be wearing a mask and staying six feet apart.

CAMEROTA: Yes, that's really interesting that the demographic of who is in most need has changed. And that makes sense how you spelled it out the 18 to 34 year olds, because they are at such a tough -- you know, a time of transition, a time of setting your life up. And this just sort of derails it all.

And so, what do you tell them when they call with those issues?

LUBLIN: So we're seeing some things that work. And these things are working with everyone. Not just the 18 to 34-year-olds. I'm a little above that age and they are working with me too.

So three things that are really working. One is connecting with family and I'll say that mom is outpacing dad, 2:1.

And two is the word reconnect and friends. So reaching out to someone who haven't seen since you were 10 years old, or that person who you had a falling out with. This is a great time to reconnect.

And third, pets. Everybody is loving their pets right now. And again, dogs are outpacing cats. I think the dogs are happy that you're around and walking them and the cats are like what are you doing in my house.


CAMEROTA: My family is using every single one of those tools that you just spelled out. And I think that it is very interesting because I'm seeing it in my own life of people -- I just reconnected with my best friend from when I was 10 and 11 years old. It is just happening organically.

What is it -- there is something about reaching back in time, about reaching out to the people that you knew back when. What -- how is that so therapeutic?

LUBLIN: You know, it's comforting. This is an overwhelming time. It is an unpredictable time, so we're gravitating to comfort foods, or gravitating to comfort television shows.

The things that people are bingeing we're seeing in our data are things like "The Office" and "Parks and Rec", so funny things. And cooking shows. And I don't understand this one, but people are also bingeing "Grey's Anatomy", I don't understand wanting to watch a medical show right now, but OK.

The other thing that we're seeing to make it feel better right now is language around time frames. So, when it feels overwhelming and like you can't control it, to use words with people like, what are you going to do tonight to stay strong? What are your plans for this weekend? What are going to do tomorrow with your family?

So tonight, tomorrow, this weekend, short time frames instead of thinking what is going to happen to school in September and what will we do for Thanksgiving. You know what, put a pin in it and just one day at a time.

CAMEROTA: That is really helpful, just stay in the present. And as far as "Grey's Anatomy", again, you have spelled out the very things that my teenage daughters are bingeing. "Parks and Rec" and "Grey's Anatomy" just so you know has a lot of juicy romance as well. I think that is part of what people like.

LUBLIN: Well, if that is the only romance your children are getting right now, I understand.

CAMEROTA: That is true.

Nancy Lublin, thank very much. That was really informative, and I appreciate you're telling people they're not alone obviously, and all of us are feeling this to some degree. Really helpful.

LUBLIN: Well, they're really not alone because we're here for them 24/7 on their fingertips. They can text 741741. No crisis is too small. If you're in pain, don't suffer alone. Reach out.

CAMEROTA: That is so great, Nancy. People so appreciate you and what you've done with that text hotline. And I'll put the number out on my social media as well. Thanks so much for talking.

LUBLIN: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: Millions of unemployed Americans are trying to hang on until their unemployment benefits kick in.


REPORTER: How tight are things for you right now?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right now things are -- I'm on my last hundred dollars.


CAMEROTA: We're going to go to a manufacturing state where nearly one in three workers is out of a job, next.


[08:27:52] BERMAN: We're just minutes away from new jobless claims. This could push the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits during the coronavirus pandemic to 36 million. Kentucky has suffered as much as any state.

CNN's Vanessa Yurkevich joins us live with much more -- Vanessa.


Yes, it's really surprising when you think about how big Kentucky is, about 4.6 million people. That's a small state. And you have now over the past seven weeks, about 700,000 people in the state filing for unemployment. That's about the size of their largest city, Louisville.

So we wanted to dig a little deeper to find out why so many people in their workforce were filing for unemployment, the largest share of any state in the U.S.


YURKEVICH: How tight are things for you right now?

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 family?

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 the employers in Kentucky.

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