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CNN NEWSROOM

New York Extends Stay-at-Home Order Unless Region Meets Criteria; Wisconsin Counties Set Own Rules After Court Throws Out Stay-at-Home Order; Data Shows New Cases in Georgia Trending Downward in Recent Days; Some Louisiana Businesses Reopening as Stay-at-Home Order Expires; FDA Commissioner: Up to White House to Decide Whether it will Still Use Abbott's Fast COVID-19 Test; CDC Releases Scaled- Back Guidance as States Reopen; Kellyanne Conway: President Trump to Make Announcement on Vaccine Development at Noon Eastern Time. Aired 9-9:30a ET

Aired May 15, 2020 - 09:00   ET

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


[09:00:04]

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Friday morning. We're glad you're with us. I'm Poppy Harlow.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Jim Sciutto.

America, it's on you. We're weeks into states reopening and the CDC just released a six-page but watered down guide for businesses and schools to make their own decisions in effect to get back up and running, using, quote, "decision trees," that are voluntary and they're a far cry from a 60 plus-page document which had more specific guidelines but was shelved by the White House.

HARLOW: That's right. And that guidance comes as the governor of hard- hit New York extends the stay-at-home order for millions of people unless a region meets the reopening criteria. Extending it a long time, until the middle of June.

Bottom line is, anyone looking for a nationally cohesive guidebook to follow is not going to get it. What they are getting is the pressure of making the right decision themselves.

We've got you covered this morning on reopenings across the country. Let's begin with Jason Carroll. He's in Binghamton, New York.

Good morning, Jason.

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And good morning to you, Poppy. You know, when you look across the country, just about every state seems to be doing something different. I mean, what's happening here in New York is far different from what you're seeing in places like Wisconsin or Michigan. Even when you look at New York state, the governor made it clear that he was going to be taking a regional approach to reopening, and that's what we're seeing happening here today. Five regions in the state now able to partially reopen. Binghamton is

in one of those regions. So now you've got manufacturing, construction, retail, curbside, all able to reopen in some ways today. The mayor just a little while ago actually came up to us and said there's been a lot of pent-up demand to get things going economically in this region, so they're finally able to do that.

I spoke to a business manager works in construction in a town just right from -- not far from where we are right now, and he basically said he has been waiting for this day for a very, very long time.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOSEPH DUNDON, OWNER, DUNDON CONSTRUCTION: We're very excited to get back to work. I know my work crew, everybody is pretty sick of being home. So I think we're eager to get back to work. We're doing our best to acquire all the PPE that we need for our employees, the hand sanitizer that we're going to need to help our employees stay safe on the job.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARROLL: So once again here in Binghamton they are able to reopen but looking downstate in places like New York City, they are still going to have to wait much longer for that. That's because New York's governor has said New York City still has not met all of the criteria needed to reopen so New York City has been put on pause. That has been extended now until June 13th -- Jim, Poppy.

SCIUTTO: And that means many millions of people there in New York area still living under those restrictions.

Jason Carroll, thanks very much.

To Wisconsin now where the plan is -- well, there really is no plan. There's a free for all now. Omar Jimenez is in Waukesha.

So tell us how it's playing out there following this state court decision.

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Jim. So right now businesses are either open or they're trying to accommodate being open safely because that's really what we're looking at in this particular county of Waukesha, west of Milwaukee, is that all of the orders that we saw at one point across the entire state have now been restricted down to individual counties and cities.

So here in particular the order is there is no order restricting business in any way. Instead they recommend that these places follow social distancing protocols as laid out by the CDC. Now we stopped by at happy hour yesterday and it pretty much looked like any pre- pandemic happy hour except for the bartender had a mask on and there were people sitting in groups but it did seem like they were staying with the groups they came in with and the groups were sitting in different parts of the bar. And again, this all goes back to the state Supreme Court striking down

the Wisconsin-wide stay-at-home order, and leaving it to these individual counties and cities, and some are concerned including in the state capital of Madison because their rules are different from what we're seeing here in Waukesha.

HARLOW: By the way, Omar --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYOR SATYA RHODES-CONWAY (D), MADISON, WISCONSIN: Here in Madison we are still enforcing the safer-at-home order. Our public health director issued those orders county wide. And really not much has changed locally. But I'm extremely worried because Madison is not an island and what happens in the rest of the state really affects us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JIMENEZ: And that's the dynamic here that the restrictions here are again different from maybe a county over or a place that you can essentially drive to so when you drive to those places you have a different risk exposure situation and then you potentially come home and that creates an issue that is concerning to some health officials. And of course overall, to get back to any sort of statewide solution, the governor is going to have to work at the legislature that had tough working relationship, I would say, over the course of this pandemic but talks do seem to be off to a good start -- Poppy.

[09:05:03]

HARLOW: I would say, Omar, Peter Navarro just told Alisyn Camerota about 10 minutes ago even he is not comfortable with these images from the bars in Wisconsin, what's happening there.

JIMENEZ: That's telling.

HARLOW: It is.

Omar, thanks. Appreciate the reporting from Waukesha.

Our Natasha Chen is in Georgia where Republican Governor Brian Kemp began lifting lockdown restrictions three weeks ago.

I think people really want to know how are people doing there? What has been the result of that?

NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Poppy, the major takeaway is that there has not been a major spike in daily new cases since Kemp began reopening some businesses.

Let's take a look at a graph here of what things have looked like. Now every point on this graph represents an average of seven days. So this shows more of a pattern and what we're seeing is no major spike but also no huge decrease either. You might be seeing some jagged lines there kind of fluctuating in the same zone, at best maybe inching downward. And of course three weeks is a good time to take a look at things but also not the complete picture.

What we know from being at outdoor malls like this, Atlantic Station in Atlanta, is that there are people very much interested in taking advantage of what's open. Now granted here it's still early. Not a lot of things are open so no one is here yet but we did talk to a restaurant here on property that said that they had a line out the door yesterday. They are able to seat 139 people.

And of course this week, Governor Kemp even relaxed more rules for restaurants so now there can be parties of up to 10 people in restaurants instead of six. There can be a higher densities slightly in these restaurants. And so we're seeing similar things in various shopping districts and malls around the state, and of course critics like the mayor here in Atlanta says that it seems Georgia and Atlanta have gone back to normal but there is nothing normal about what we have here with COVID-19 -- Poppy and Jim.

SCIUTTO: Natasha Chen, thanks very much.

Today people in the state of Louisiana can eat at some restaurants, they can get their nails done, they can even go to the movies as the state begins phase one of its reopening plan. The statewide stay-at- home order expired just at midnight.

Joining me now to discuss, Colin Arnold. He's the director of the New Orleans Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness.

Colin, good to have you back on the show.

COLIN ARNOLD, DIRECTOR, NEW ORLEANS OFFICE OF HOMELAND SECURITY AND EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS: Good morning.

SCIUTTO: Good to hear some positive news. At least positive direction in New Orleans. The mayor said you peaked, you come down significantly, and you're watching a trend period over 14 to 21 days so that you're confident that that, you know, is coming down consistently.

Given those numbers, are you comfortable now reopening?

ARNOLD: Well -- and thanks for having me, Jim. It's been a while and we've really had, you know, kind of crushed the curve and because -- it's due to our residents, really. They stayed at home, they listened to what we said, we've seen a trend of declining cases, you know, and we're looking at some of those other indicators like, you know, the state has set up a contact tracing program. We have adequate hospital capacity. And so we are comfortable moving into phase one which is, you know, closely aligned with the state, but with a few differences I think unique to our community that we realize we needed to ensure.

SCIUTTO: Got it. Well, the CDC as you may know has now published what it's calling decision trees for local officials like yourself but also businesses, restaurant owners, nail salon owners, et cetera. This after initially having more detailed guidance which was shelved. Now they have decision trees.

Helpful in your view? Does this give local community what is they need?

ARNOLD: Well, I mean, we're going to work with our state and federal partners and do what we need to do to make sure that we move through these phases in a measured way. You know, there's two ways we can go with this. We can go forward or we can go backwards, and I think obviously over the last 10 weeks the last thing we want to do right now is regress, and, you know, I feel like that with the mayor and the governor, we're getting what we need as far as setting up realistic guidelines on how we're going to reopen in phases.

SCIUTTO: OK. So from mayor and governor, you get what you need. I just wonder, when you're looking for advice, because people rely on you for advice and to keep them safe, right? I mean, that's your job here. Given that you have contradictory not just advice but even data coming from the president and some of his allies and the experts such as Dr. Anthony Fauci, wo do you turn to? Whose advice, whose data do you trust?

ARNOLD: Well, I mean, it's an aggregate of everything I believe but I believe really at the bottom line we have to look at the public health officials at the state, federal and local level when we're decision- making. I mean, they are the ones that are the experts on this and we can take our queues from them. We can do commonsense things to make sure that we, you know, slowly and methodically reopen our economy and our communities and make sure that people are safe.

[09:10:02]

SCIUTTO: I want to ask you about another issue. You know, you start to think about hurricane season, right, earlier and earlier every year.

ARNOLD: Absolutely.

SCIUTTO: And of course New Orleans has its own tragic experience with that. Officials now advising residents that hey, in light of the outbreak, you've got prepare differently and more aggressively than you might in the past. Simple things like keeping supplies that you might need, right, in case you can't get to the store. What kind of advice are you giving and how does this, you know, make the hurricane season more challenging for New Orleans?

ARNOLD: It definitely presents such a challenge in a couple of different ways. Fortunately I believe one of the challenges is personnel and staffing as far as public safety when we're doing these response type plans. Fortunately it appears that we've kind of -- we have crushed the curve on that and a lot of our public safety responders are back at work. A lot of our infrastructure people are back at work.

So if that trend continues that will be less of an issue. I think more of an issue is making sure that people are aware that when we do need to evacuate for a major hurricane, you know, New Orleans is in a unique situation, it's serious. And the magnitude of the hurricane and the damage caused by the hurricane and the risk from the hurricane is going to be worse than COVID-19. And so it's important that people stay weather aware. It's important that people listen to the instructions of public safety

and their government when these types of storms threaten us. And they need to add to their readiness. They need to add hygiene products, sanitation products, PPE and gloves really. I mean, that's, you know, gloves and masks. So that's part of the whole new normal that we're going to face with hurricane season this year. And it is a challenge. It certainly is a challenge.

SCIUTTO: Well, listen, Colin, you know, we talked in the early stages of this crisis when we just didn't know how bad it was going to be for the city of New Orleans. It's good to see that through your hard work and the hard work of the residents there. You manage to make real progress. So we wish you the best of luck.

ARNOLD: Thanks, Jim. It really is due to our residents. It really, really is. Thank you.

SCIUTTO: Keep taking care.

ARNOLD: Thanks. You too.

HARLOW: All right. Still to come, the CDC out with, as they were just discussing, this new guidance on reopening. It's a six-page checklist but again it's different, right? It's a lot shorter than that detailed 68-page document that were shelved by the White House. We're going to tell you what is in there in terms of recommendations especially for schools.

Also, on the note of schools, across the country they're crafting their plans for the fall. We'll speak with superintendents from California and Florida about how they're planning to get kids back to school safely.

SCIUTTO: And how do you reopen a place that has never been closed until now? Caesars Palace, other casinos in Las Vegas said they are now ready. So what changes have they made to keep it safe.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[09:15:00]

SCIUTTO: Well, the White House has been testing everybody including the president. It turns out the test though not totally reliable. The FDA Commissioner announces it is up to the White House to decide whether to keep using a rapid test for the coronavirus. A new study suggests that, that Abbott test frequently misses cases of the virus as many as a third.

HARLOW: Yes, I mean, that's really concerning because so much hope was pinned on this test. Just yesterday, the president suggested that this testing could be overrated. Let's talk about this and some of the more recent developments with the infectious disease specialist, Dr. Amesh Adalja; he's a senior scholar at Johns Hopkins.

It's good to have you. So this is an NYU study about the Abbott lab test which can give you a positive or a negative result within 13 minutes. Again, the fact that it missed, you know, it was wrong basically, 31 percent of the time they're saying the FDA Commissioner says, you know, it's basically up to the White House and individuals if it should still be used. Would you recommend using it at this point?

AMESH ADALJA, INFECTIOUS DISEASE & CRITICAL CARE SPECIALIST: Well, every test has its own operating characteristics since -- if they are giving false negatives, meaning people are really positive but it's coming back negative, it's not a very useful test, and Abbott --

SCIUTTO: Yes --

ADALJA: Has said that there's a problem with the way people swab and you're not supposed to put it in the special like the media. So it's important that if people are using this test, they're using it as it's intended to be used so that we get the highest reliability with it because it is really important. People are making decisions based on that test. So we want to make sure it's being performed accurately so that we can have actual good information as we use it --

SCIUTTO: Sure.

ADALJA: To tell people --

SCIUTTO: Yes, it appears to be the test the president himself is relying on. I want to ask you, doctor -- big picture, what is the standard now for reopening states, communities around the country. Because you know, the American people were told early on social distancing, stay at home to flatten the curve. In many places that's happened. The curve has been flattened.

We're many months from a workable vaccine to our knowledge at this point. Does that mean that now the new standard is reducing the number of infections? Is that how people should read this?

ADALJA: No, what I would think is the best way to measure it -- measure this is to think about hospital capacity. Flattening the curve is about spreading the number of cases over a period of time. So that we were able to have hospitals not go into crisis.

Now that, that has largely been solved in most parts of the country, the real metric going forward has to be thinking about how to keep the cases that are going to occur. It's inevitable to a clip that the hospitals can deal with without going into crisis.

HARLOW: Now, what are your thoughts on what we've been covering a lot this weekend. We're getting a little bit more information on, but it is this inflammatory syndrome in children that is -- that is killing some children. And the belief is that it's tied to COVID-19. What are your outstanding questions about that still, and I guess your message to all the parents out there who are -- who are terrified.

[09:20:00]

ADALJA: So, the first thing is that it remains true that when children get infected with COVID-19, they do remarkably well. That they are not usually the ones that have severe illness or need to be hospitalized. This inflammatory syndrome, which is like Kawasaki syndrome, is something that's a bit of a mystery, and Kawasaki syndrome itself has always been a bit of a mystery. And we have always suspected that it's triggered by some infection, we just haven't quite figured this all out.

And this is something that we need to look suspicious because it's happening at the same time as these coronavirus cases. And we have to really work on trying to understand what the risk factors are, what the link is. And it's important to remember that it is still very rare, it is something though for parents to be on the lookout for if children have unadmitting fevers, abdominal pains, rashes, they need to be evaluated pretty quickly. But they most can still do well with this, but this is something that is going to change overtime and we're going to learn more about it hopefully in the next couple of weeks.

SCIUTTO: After shelving detailed plans, guidelines for reopening businesses, states, communities, et cetera, that's been shelved. The CDC now has instead put out decision trees which essentially leaves these questions up to not just mayors and state officials, but individual business owners, schools superintendents. From your perspective as an infectious diseases specialist, can these folks be expected to make these decisions on their own?

ADALJA: It's going to be difficult for each business, and they're going to have a lot of uncertainty about if they're doing it correctly. And the more detailed the guidance is, the easier it is for people to actually move forward. So, I do think that these full charts are helpful and they give people general principles on how to think about moving forward in the era of the pandemic.

But there's going to be a need for more detailing information, and you might see private industry coming up with guidance on their own. You might see state and local health department trying to supplement the CDC principles. Which I agree with the principles, it's just that when you have to implement it at individual business or school level, it can -- there's lots of questions that come up, and you want to have the ability to have expert guidance so that you can do things in the best possible way going forward.

SCIUTTO: OK, we have some news from the White House just in the last few minutes, doctor. This is from Kellyanne Conway talking about an announcement regarding vaccines at noon by the president. Have a listen to this sound. I want to get your reaction here.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO DONALD TRUMP: He'll be unveiling two professionals who will be leading the effort, but that comes quickly on the heels of the FDA cutting a ton of red tape and regulations to allow us to already be developing therapeutics and vaccines.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCIUTTO: My understanding is there may be news about the time line for developing a vaccine here and producing it. Aware of the difficulties here and the progress. Well, what should we look for in an announcement like this coming from the White House.

ADALJA: I would not -- I would hope that they don't get wet themselves to a time line that might not be met. Because they don't want to give false hope to people. Remember vaccine development is something that usually takes years, not months. We are moving really rapidly and everybody is hoping that we can shave off as much time as possible and have a vaccine in 12 to 18 months.

But I don't think that we should be overly optimistic that that's going to happen. We have to be prepared to fight this virus without a vaccine. That being said, I do think we want to hear about how they're going to do phase one, phase two trials simultaneously. What they're going to solve with the manufacturing problem because remember we have to manufacture 330 million doses of this, just for this country. That's the biggest hurdle. All of that is going to be really important and that's what really limits the ability to do this any faster than we are going.

But it is encouraging that they are moving as fast as possible with a vaccine because that's the only way we'll remove this as a threat.

HARLOW: Dr. Adalja, thank you so much for being with us this morning. Have a nice weekend.

ADALJA: You too --

HARLOW: All right --

ADALJA: Thanks for having me.

HARLOW: So next, we're going to talk about schools, right? Everyone is thinking about this. Is there a way for schools to safely reopen this Fall. We'll speak to two superintendents of different states about what they say must happen before they welcome students back to campus.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[09:25:00]

HARLOW: Will there be school or not this Fall? Every parent is asking that question. A new poll out --

SCIUTTO: Yes --

HARLOW: This morning shows 69 percent of those people with children under the age of 18 in America don't feel comfortable yet sending their kids back to school. And now educators, the ones who need to come up with the answers, what about them?

SCIUTTO: The president and the nation's top infectious disease doctor are at odds over what to do, how quickly to reopen, how to do so. Will the CDC's new guidelines help. Joining us now is superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Dr. Alberto Carvalho, and the superintendent of schools in Los Angeles County, Debra Duardo. Thanks to both of you, we know you got a lot on your plate. Debra,

perhaps I could begin with you. So, the CDC initially had guidelines, they were shelved, now you have decision trees sent out to folks like you, superintendents like yourself to in effect make the decision yourself. Is that what you need?

DEBRA DUARDO, SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS, LOS ANGELES COUNTY: Well, we're really looking for clear guidance from the Department of Public Health. Our number one priority is making sure that our students and our employees are safe. So we're looking for direct guidance to help us to ensure that as we look at reopening schools, our children and our employees are going to be safe.

HARLOW: Let me read to you, Alberto, from this, the decision tree that the CDC put out for schools, OK? Here's what they're saying. Schools "will reopening be consistent with applicable state and local orders? Is the school ready to protect children and employees at higher risk for severe illness?" Are you able to screen students and employees upon arrival for symptoms. If the answer to any of those --

[09:30:00]