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New York Governor Extends Stay-at-Home Order Until June 13; Prestigious Journal Slams Trump, Calls for Reviving the CDC; Trump Claims Testing 'Overrated,' Fewer Cases if No Testing; CDC Releases Watered-Down Reopening Guidance; Sen. Richard Burr Steps Aside as Intel Chair Amid Stock Probe. Aired 6-6:30a ET
Aired May 15, 2020 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): By the criteria that we have, we have certain regions that are poised to reopen.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In the country's epicenter, COVID-19 hospitalizations, ICU admissions and the percentage of people testing positive for the virus, are all down.
GOV. PHIL MURPHY (D-NJ): We've started to take baby steps for Memorial Day weekend. We're going to have beaches open on the Jersey Shore.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's no question among any public health expert about whether we're going to get a second wave or not. We almost surely will.
DR. RICK BRIGHT, FORMER DIRECTOR, BIOMEDICAL ADVANCED RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY: Without better planning, 2020 could be the darkest winter in modern history.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I never met him. He looks like an angry, disgruntled employee.
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. It's Friday, May 15, 6 a.m. here in New York.
And developing overnight, one more month at home for millions of New Yorkers. Governor Andrew Cuomo extended restrictions until June 13 for the most populous regions of the state. Though some areas that have shown enough improvement can ease those restrictions starting today.
By Sunday, 48 of 50 states will be reopening, at least partially. The pace has been a flashpoint across the country, particularly in three key swing states. In Michigan, the state Capitol was shut down during protests from
hundreds of heavily-armed demonstrators. In Pennsylvania, protesters are expected to converge on the Capitol today.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: So this morning, John, we finally have the CDC's long-awaited guidelines for reopening, but they're only a six-page checklist, which is a far cry from the 68-page draft that the White House rejected.
And these do not answer some key questions. Health experts agree, of course that testing is key. So what is the federal plan for that?
Let's begin our coverage with Jason Carroll. He is live in Binghamton, New York, where the reopening process begins. What are you seeing, Jason?
JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, folks here, Alisyn, have been waiting for this day for a long time. Manufacturing, construction, curbside retail all can reopen today.
But the epicenter of this pandemic in New York City, that will have to remain on pause.
CARROLL (voice-over): Much of New York will remain under stay-at-home orders until June 13. Governor Andrew Cuomo extended restrictions in the state hardest hit by the coronavirus overnight. Earlier, Cuomo said five of ten state regions did meet criteria to begin relaxing social distancing, including a decline in hospitalizations and coronavirus-related deaths.
CUOMO: I would urge local governments to be diligent about the business compliance and about individual compliance. And then, if you see a change in those numbers, react immediately.
CARROLL: Binghamton is within one of those regions, and some business openers here are ready to open again.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's going to be a slow start as much as everybody's eager to get out there and do everything. So doing it in phases, I think, is a healthy approach.
CARROLL: The CDC posted step-by-step guidelines to help states reopen safely after most are already or preparing to roll back even more restrictions.
Summer camps are allowed to operate in-person in Rhode Island beginning June 29, if all goes well. Shoppers can return to Minnesota's Mall of America June 1, and the Jersey Shore will reopen by Memorial Day, with limitations.
MURPHY: That's a big step. We take it very seriously, and if we have to pull the brakes, we will do that.
CARROLL: But the moves are not fast enough for these demonstrators in Michigan.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're not going to be bullied, browbeaten or intimidated.
CARROLL: Protesting Governor Gretchen Whitmer's stay-at-home order and prompting law enforcement to close the state Capitol.
Wisconsin residents returned to local bars and restaurants, some immediately, after the state supreme court overturned Governor Tony Evers's stay-at-home order.
GOV. TONY EVERS (D-WI): You don't have to be a science person. You don't have to be a politician to figure out you've got a lot of people in a place, and you're going to -- you're going to spread a disease.
CARROLL: Meantime on Capitol Hill, one of the nation's top vaccine experts gave this stark warning to a House-held subcommittee.
BRIGHT: Without better planning, 2020 could be the darkest winter in modern history.
CARROLL: Rick Bright testified before Congress for the first time since being removed from his federal position last month, giving a bleak assessment of the Trump administration's response to the pandemic.
BRIGHT: We don't have a single point of leadership right now for this response, and we don't have a master plan for this response. So those two things are absolutely critical.
CARROLL: And this new development. One of the world's most prestigious medical journals issued a blistering editorial against President Trump and his administration, accusing the administration of, quote, "chipping away at the CDC's ability to combat the pandemic" -- John.
BERMAN: Yes. That came from the "Lancet." We'll talk about that in just a moment. I'm not sure I've ever seen anything like that. Jason Carroll, very, very good report. Thank you very much.
Joining us now, Dr. Suraj Saggar. He's the chief of infection diseases at Holy Name Medical Center. And CNN political analyst Maggie Haberman, White House correspondent for "The New York Times."
Dr. Saggar, I want to put up the New York numbers so people can see the progress that has been made in this state. A very steep decline in the number of cases. And to an extent, that's the story over a large swath of the country. We can put up the map here, and you can see the areas where the case counts are going down. All of them in green are going down. The ones that are sort of beige holding steady. Red, the cases are going up.
You know, and it is notable, cases are going down in states like New York, but also by the way, in Georgia, which did begin reopening more than two weeks ago.
So again, given that the case count is going down in New York, and given that states have reopened and still had their case numbers go down, why do you think the decision was necessary from Governor Cuomo to extend the stay-at-home orders for most of the state another month?
DR. SURAJ SAGGAR, CHIEF OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES, HOLY NAME MEDICAL CENTER: Right. So, you know, these are very good points. We have to remember that if someone contracts the virus, it can take up to a week, up to ten days to show symptoms. So it's not an issue where you immediately reopen a state and then see a surge of cases a few days later. We still have to see how the data plays out.
We know that people are very cautious when they're coming and opening up the economies, still practicing social distancing. Hopefully, still wearing masks. We have to see if that compliance continues. There was a lot of fatigue of people, I'm sure, staying at home for some time.
So we have to really kind of see how this data plays out prospectively in time and not just make assumptions based on a week or two of data.
BERMAN: Maggie, 1,700 Americans died, new reported deaths over the last 24 hours. You can see on the screen the number of Americans killed right now approaching 86,000.
Yet, as we have noted, the curve is bending downward nationwide. To what extent is the White House and the president stoking these protests we're seeing, or trying to take advantage politically of some of this desire to reopen?
MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Look, there's certainly been a move by the president for several weeks now to try to take advantage of some of these protests. Some of his conservative supporters had been worried that he is moving away from his political base and trying to focus him on these protests. These are folks who are also focused very aggressively on reopening the economy.
But the president is doing it, John, in the way he often does it, which is he sort of stokes it with one hand and then with the other hand, he says, Look, people just have to do what they have to do. You know, I support everyone. I want everything to be fine.
Some of Trump's advisers acknowledge that there is some political benefit to him in doing it. But I would caution that every public poll I have seen shows that a majority of people still favor the public health measures. And all of the moves by the president have not done a lot to change that.
The protests certainly, in some cases, seem to be a little louder. In general, they have not been overwhelming. And I think that the public sentiment is still concerned for opening up too fast overall.
BERMAN: It's a really important point. Public sentiment is still firmly on the side of public health here and caution.
Maggie, "The Lancet," which is a British medical journal, one of the most prestigious in the world, put out an extraordinary op-ed overnight. I'm going to read part of it, P-21, first to you. This is about the CDC.
"The Lancet" writes, "The Trump administration further chipped away the CDC's capacity to combat infectious diseases. CDC staff in China were cut back with the latest remaining CDC officer recalled home from the China CDC in July 2019, leaving an intelligence vacuum when COVID- 19 began to emerge."
It's a scathing assessment of the administration's response, particularly how the CDC has been marginalized. And in your own reporting, this is something you've picked up, and it's very real.
HABERMAN: That's right. Look, there is a lot of tension between the White House and the CDC. Not everybody who's on the task force, but a number of folks. They make complaints about how the CDC is run.
The CDC -- the result is, whether those complaints are fair or not, the CDC has not been an empowered partner in this effort for some time. Some of this relates back to the failed effort to develop an early test to detect the coronavirus in the U.S.
But I don't think I have ever heard of such a thing from a medical journal. It's -- it's stunning.
But I do think that there is a concern among folks who are focused on public health, who are experts in the field, who are doctors and scientists, that the president is increasingly disregarding what he is hearing from his own public health folks in favor of the politics around his re-election, and I really think that that editorial speaks to that.
BERMAN: Look, here's the stunning part. Right? And again, this is a medical journal. And I'm not saying I read this every week, but it's under the "Sports Illustrated" in my house. I have seen it before, and I've never seen them come out with something like this, Dr. Saggar.
They say, "Americans must put a president in the White House come January 2021 who will understand that public health should not be guided by partisan politics."
What do you make -- why do you think "The Lancet" came out with such a strong statement?
SAGGAR: Well, you know, first of all, you're absolutely right. You know, us in medicine, and we try to just focus on the science and really keep the politics out of it.
But I think a lot of us in infectious disease and epidemiology, and virology are somewhat shocked at what we've been seeing throughout this process, of how, you know, scientific data, research, et cetera, has kind of been taken over by partisan politics.
So I think "The Lancet," which is the equivalent, as you can say, of "The New England Journal" in England, in the U.K., felt compelled to really make this very strong and almost unprecedented statement politically about the shape and the way things are happening in the United States.
If you want an example of the type of thing that I imagine the writers at "The Lancet" saw, it was the president's comments overnight, or yesterday, I should say, about testing, and about the number of cases in the United States. So let's listen to that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: It could be that testing's, frankly -- overrated. Maybe it is overrated. We have more cases than anybody in the world. But why? Because we do more testing. When you test you have a case. When you test, you find something is wrong. With people. If we didn't do any testing, we would have very few cases.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: Dr. Saggar, 86,000 Americans aren't dead because we have too much testing.
SAGGAR: No. So this is -- is a falsehood, right? I mean, he's trying to imply that our caseload is increasing because we're testing more. If you look at our percentage of our population that we've tested, we're far below many other countries. So we simply cannot say that just because we're increasing our testing threshold is why we have so many cases.
I think we have to understand how this happened. We have to understand that social distancing did do a great job of flattening the curve, but we still have to follow science and not politics here.
BERMAN: And Maggie, it's more than that. Right? And as we've talked about for years, there's an element of you can see what the president is saying there. Yes, as you test more, you do identify more cases, but that's not only what he's saying here in this case.
And it does get to some questions people have had about the administration for months. Whether or not they were resistant to test more, because they didn't want the truth. They didn't want to know how widespread it was.
HABERMAN: I would point you to the fact that the White House itself is using a testing machine, this Avid rapid -- rapid test, that a bunch of reports with varying degrees, that a bunch of reports have raised questions about the accuracy of that test.
I think an administration official testified before Congress in the last two weeks that there's a 15 percent false negative rate. And yet, the White House is choosing to continue to keep using this machine that they know could give false negatives to people who get close to the president.
I think that says a lot about the perspective on not just the efficacy of testing but the importance of testing. And the president is a numbers guy who sees this all in terms of bad number rising, that would be bad for me. Meaning him. And that's his approach to this.
Whether we're testing people or not does not affect whether there are cases. The cases are growing, because people are catching a virus, not because they're getting tested.
BERMAN: People, the numbers are going up, because people are getting sick, and certainly, the number of dead going up has nothing to do with too much testing. If anything, it's about too little testing two and three months ago.
Dr. Saggar, I do want to ask you about the CDC checklist that came out overnight. This is six single-page documents. We're getting this, at least for now, instead of the 17-page or 68-page specific detailed guidelines about how things should reopen. This is not particularly sophisticated, but what do you make of it?
SAGGAR: No. You know, I did have a chance to look at it overnight. It is somewhat, quote/unquote, "soft" in terms of what it offers. It's not really a -- it's supposed to be a six-step decision tree for businesses, local communities, et cetera, to make decisions of how to unwind from social distancing, but there does leave a lot of room for interpretation.
So by no means is it an overwhelming directive from above, so to speak. You know, I still think a lot of local municipalities, governments, states, et cetera, really are going to have to rely on local decision-making. Because certainly, this federal directive is a very soft, very -- very simplistic kind of guidance. This is by no means sophisticated.
BERMAN: Dr. Saggar, Maggie Haberman, thanks very much for being with us this morning. Have a safe weekend.
SAGGAR: Thanks, man.
BERMAN: We have new details this morning about Apple's involvement with the federal investigation into Senator Richard Burr. We have details and a live report, next.
CAMEROTA: Developing this morning, new information about a federal investigation into Senator Richard Burr for stock trades he made in the early days of the pandemic. Burr stepped aside as the chairman of Intelligence Committee as this probe widens.
CNN's Lauren Fox joins us for the latest. So what have you learned, Lauren?
LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, yesterday, we also found out, Alisyn, that the DOJ has requested that Apple give them information about the iCloud account that pertains to Burr.
Now, this is obviously very important, because they also seized his cell phone two days ago, and that was the primary phone that Burr used. Now, it was a Senate-issued phone.
But the shocking news yesterday on Capitol Hill was the fact that Burr was stepping aside from his post at the Senate Intelligence Committee.
All of this news broke right around lunchtime when lawmakers were mulling about, getting ready to head from the floor to their Senate Republican lunch. And a lot of members were absolutely shocked that this had occurred.
You know, I was talking to Senator Lindsey Graham about what he thought of the latest news on Burr, and he was talking about how he trusted Burr. This was one of his best friends in the Senate. And then I asked him specifically about Burr stepping aside. He sort of looked puzzled, took a pause and said, I didn't know that that had happened. He actually stepped aside?
And I said. He did. He made that decision. McConnell announced it in a statement.
He said, Well, thanks for keeping me informed.
I mean, I think members were really caught off-guard. I know that Burr spoke up during the Senate Republican lunch yesterday, said he was stepping aside, because he didn't want to be a distraction for the committee as the chairman. He also wanted to make sure he wasn't a distraction for his Republican colleagues. Now, he'll remain on the committee but not as the chairman, Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: How fascinating, Lauren. I mean, that it had happened so quickly that even his closest friends there didn't know and you had to alert them.
So what about Senator Kelly Loeffler? She's also been under scrutiny for some stocks sales ahead of the pandemic. So what's the latest with her?
FOX: Well, Alisyn, we learned last night that she has turned over information to the Department of Justice, the Securities and Exchange Commission, as well as the Senate Ethics Committee.
Now, she and her office are arguing that this information she turned over makes it clear that she was not privy to the stock sales that happened earlier this year, that they happened through a third party. She didn't know about them.
She also is not on the Senate Intelligence Committee. So she would not have been in those classified briefings that have come under so much scrutiny about Burr's stock sales.
So slightly different cases here, but this is really a sign that the Department of Justice and law enforcement is taking their investigation very seriously, Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: OK, Lauren. Thank you very much for all of the updates on that. This morning we are getting our first look at the plan by Las Vegas
casinos to safely reopen. We also have new details about Jersey Shore beaches reopening. We have reporters covering these stories and more from coast to coast.
KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Kyung Lah, in Las Vegas outside Caesar's Palace that's normally packed with cars. People checking in and out.
There are no vehicles. There are no people. But this casino and hotel, preparing to reopen.
Socially-distanced gaming will be the rule on the casino floor. Card tables will have half the chairs removed. Slot machines, every other one will be deactivated. Disinfection of dice, chips, cards, all of that will be taking place on the floor.
And all of this goes for a test run today as Caesar's prepares to reopen one of its casinos in Arizona. That casino, as far as bookings for Friday and Saturday, 100 percent occupancy.
ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Rosa Flores in Miami.
Carnival Cruises to lay off or furlough nearly half of Florida employees, this in an effort to stay in business during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The company has not announced the total number of employees impacted globally, but in Florida alone, 820 positions are being eliminated and another 537 employees will be furloughed out of a workforce of about 3,000 employees in the state.
Carnival Cruises announced mass cancellations earlier this month with plans to resume service in North America on August 1, using a phased- in approach.
ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR/CORRESPONDENT: I'm Erica Hill in New York.
And New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy giving beaches the green light in his state. They should be open in time for Memorial Day, but they have a little work to do before they can get there. The governor says they need to determine what the capacity is for those beaches.
Rest rooms will be open. However, playgrounds and amusement parks, those will remain closed, and restaurants should still be take-out only.
He also says he highly recommends wearing a face mask at the beach.
DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Dianna Gallagher in Atlanta.
Tyson Foods announced that it's going to be discounting some of its beef products up to 30 percent for restaurants, grocery stores and other customers as a way to kind of offset those record wholesale beef prices right now.
The company said that this would also help move beef products through by making items like ground beef and ground chuck a little more affordable right now as its plants are coming back online.
Now, Tyson Foods, of course, has had to close all sorts of plants across the country. Several of its employees have died, and thousands have become sick.
CAMEROTA: Our thanks to our reporters around the country.
So we've told you about how llamas are being used to develop a potential coronavirus treatment. Well, it turns out that cows may also be able to save human lives. We have the details, next.
BERMAN: This morning, cows to the rescue. Sort of. We have new details about cows being used to develop a possible antibody treatment for coronavirus. Here's Elizabeth Cohen.
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Cows. They're just like us. Really. These cows are just like us in one important way. A way that could possibly save lives during the pandemic. These cows have human chromosomes.
(on camera): You've given the cow a human immune system?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, we've certainly given the cow a part of the human immune system.
COHEN (voice-over): And so this company, S.A.B. Biotherapeutics in South Dakota, is hoping their blood could help make a drug to fight COVID-19.
Here's how it works. Using genetic engineering, scientists create a cow embryo that contains parts of human chromosomes. That embryo becomes a calf and then a cow.
Then a non-infectious part of the novel coronavirus is injected into that cow. Because of the genetic engineering, the cow produces human antibodies to the virus. Those antibodies are collected from the cow and, once purified, become a drug.