Return to Transcripts main page


U.S. Nears 10,000 Coronavirus Deaths More Than Any Other Country in the World; Merck Enters Race for a Coronavirus Vaccine and Treatment; Kudlow: WH Looking at "Bonus" Pay to Get People Back to Work. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired May 26, 2020 - 19:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Erin Burnett OUTFRONT starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, a grim milestone in the outbreak. The U.S. closing in on 100,000 deaths and a new warning tonight as more states continue to relax restrictions.

Plus, the White House weighing giving people a bonus if they return to work, will it work?

And Joe Biden fighting back tonight after Trump mocked him for wearing a mask.

Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight, the U.S. closing in on a sobering milestone tonight. Nearly 100,000 lives have now been lost in this country to coronavirus that is more than any other country in the world. And in fact, it is nearly one in four deaths around the world taking place in the United States of America.

It is not a number that should ever be celebrated in any way, but this was the message today from President Trump on Twitter. He wrote, "For all of the political hacks out there, if I hadn't done my job well and early, we would have lost 1.5-2 million people as opposed to the 100,000. Well, it's not the first time he has struck that tone about a death toll, which was unimaginable and, of course, much of it even preventable. Just three months ago.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We would have lost 2 million. We would have lost more if we did it a different way. But you're talking about 100,000 more, a little bit less more, who knows.

People were thinking in terms of 1.5 million lives lost to 2.2 million without the mitigation and hopefully we're going to come in below that hundred thousand lives lost.


BURNETT: One hundred thousand is not just a number. Of course, these are human beings. These are people, brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers. The President also suggesting that his actions prevented the worst case scenario that some models have projected.

Now, of course, the reality is, as we all know is that the models have swung wildly, right? There has been projections of 60,000 deaths up to 2.2 million. It comes as we see a country with mixed results. The reality of it is, is of this hundred thousand number which he says is so much lower than it would have been, well, many of those deaths were completely preventable if the United States had acted sooner.

One hundred thousand dead Americans is an unprecedented total. It is a number not lost at once since World War II in this country. And tonight, a new warning from Trump's former FDA Commissioner.


DR. SCOTT GOTTLIEB, FMR. FDA COMMISSIONER: We now see a trend in an uptick in hospitalizations. It's a small uptick, but it is an uptick and it's unmistakable and it is probably a result of reopening.


BURNETT: Jason Carroll is OUTFRONT live in New York. And Jason, an uptick in hospitalizations obviously is very important, because an uptick in cases could be the result of more cases or more testing, but hospitalizations is very real number and it is adding to a national picture that still is murky.

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. It is murky because in some places, in some states, the numbers are up and in other places the numbers are down. What health officials say, Erin, is to look at the country as a whole and to not let one's guard down when it comes to try to beat this virus.


CARROLL(voice over): As the nation steadily closes in on 100,000 deaths from coronavirus, the number of new cases across the country holding steady in 13 states with 20 states seeing declines in new cases, still alarming numbers in 17 states seeing increases in new cases including Missouri, Alabama and Arkansas where the governor described as second peak.

More encouraging news coming from the epicenter of the pandemic, New York's Governor rang the opening bell to mark the stock exchange reopening the trading floor after a historic two months hiatus.


GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D) NEW YORK: New York is back. We're reopening all across the state and we're going to get back and we're going to be better than ever, that's what it is.


CARROLL(voice over): Neighboring New Jersey taking a significant step, the Governor says outdoor graduations will be allowed starting July 6th. Still the World Health Organization urging caution, saying there could be a second peak if people become complacent.

Troubling images like these are of particular concern to health officials fallout from this packed holiday weekend pool party in the Ozarks, after the video went viral. Missouri health officials issued a travel advisory telling those partiers who did not practice social distancing to self quarantine for 14 days.


SAM PAGE, ST. LOUIS COUNTY EXECUTIVE: Activities like this is an international example of exactly what not to do and this has a potential of setting us back.


CARROLL(voice over): Missouri moving forward with phase reopening, the same with Arkansas where standalone bars, for example, can now serve patrons in a limited capacity and some say it's long overdue.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I could get killed by COVID today or I could get hit by a bus or a car tomorrow. I am practicing proper hand washing and hygiene.


CARROLL(voice over): In Georgia, one of the earliest states to ease restrictions, the number of new cases has just about remained steady over the past month. This as several students from an Atlanta private school who graduated by drive through tested positive from COVID-19 after attending an unsanctioned graduation gathering.

And while there is encouraging word from another company called Novavax joining the ranks to begin a human vaccine trial, some health experts continue with grave warnings.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me just say the virus itself is going to do what it's going to do. We're not driving this tiger, we're riding it.



CARROLL: And Erin, this disappointing development coming from the CDC late today that has to do with those antibodies tests turns out the CDC says that half the time the results of those antibody tests are simply wrong. And then they put forth this development saying that they're not accurate enough to form policy going forward. They also say they should not be using decisions in terms of whether or not people should go back to work or school, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Jason, thank you very much. I mean, pretty incredible they're saying half of them are inaccurate and I know they're saying that also even in areas where there has been high exposure like where Jason and I are tonight, New York.

OK. OUTFRONT now, let's go to Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Dr. Ashish Jha, Director of the Harvard Global Health Institute.

Sanjay, let me start with you, Jason just talking about that CDC guidance on these antibody tests. I know you've done a lot of work on this and they're now saying the test might be wrong up to half the time, even in areas where there's been - where a lot more people have been sick from the virus, not just places where very few people have been impacted.

I mean, that's incredibly unreliable. I mean, that's basically you can't count on it at all. I mean, should they be used at all right now, these antibody tests?

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: I don't think that we should be making any decisions using those antibody tests and I spent a fair amount of the weekend actually talking to folks who are helping create these tests to get a better understanding. But there's a few things, one is that there were a lot of tests that were put out, as you know, Erin, we've talked about it, initially, that were just unreliable test. They weren't validated. They weren't very good test.

Also, we still don't know the exact meaning of what the antibodies are going to provide in terms of how long people would be protected as a result of having these antibodies, how strong that protection would be. It's likely they're going to have some protection, but we just don't know the extent of it yet.

Also, I guess, to your point that you're making, Erin, the tests are not going to work as well in areas where you have a low prevalence of people with antibodies, if that makes sense. The higher the prevalence, the more that the test is going to be powered appropriately. If you only have five or 10 percent of the population that has antibodies, you're probably going to end up getting a lot of false positives as a result, which I think was your point you were making, Erin.

False positive is the worst kind of result, right?


GUPTA: Because then you think, well, I've got the antibodies, I'm good to go. You're not and so the tests aren't good enough right now.

BURNETT: So Dr. Jha, is there a way to make these tests more accurate? One question people have been asking me is to say, OK, well, I understand that I live in an area where even if it's five or 10 percent, there may not be a lot of comparable people to test it again. So why not use it against a population where it is? There is this sort of hard to understand why they're so inaccurate. DR. ASHISH JHA, DIRECTOR, HARVARD GLOBAL HEALTH INSTITUTE: Yes. So

there's a lot of work being done on it and as Dr. Gupta said, one of the problems that's happened is we rushed probably 70-80 of these tests onto the market without proper testing and validation. And the vast majority of these tests are really very, very poor quality.

There are a few that are coming on that I think are going to have very high specificity. That's the measure that we use to really make sure you're not going to generate a lot of false positives. So part of this, we're just all rushing in a new disease to try to generate new testing. You really need an effective FDA that can help provide oversight to make sure only high quality tests are getting through that bar and getting out to the marketplace.

BURNETT: So there's this huge question right about antibody testing and then there's the test, the question that we've been asking, which is this uptick, at first it was cases, now it's hospitalizations, why are we seeing that. And you just heard the former FDA Commissioner under President Trump, Sanjay, Scott Gottlieb. He said that the upward trend in hospitalizations is his words, probably a result of reopening.

And then we've all seen this awful picture in the Ozarks and I know the Governor there in Arkansas was upset by that as well. Sanjay, can we say at this point that that's what these hospitalizations are linked to or not yet?

GUPTA: I think there's a good chance, I mean, we don't know for sure, but if you look at for example, I live in Georgia, things were - it's been about a month roughly that things have been opened up and about two weeks ago, you started to see a slight uptick in the number of people who were diagnosed with the infection.


There are so many different factors, Erin. You have more testing possibly that's driving that as well. But I do think, you have a contagious virus out there as people are more out and about, you're going to see an uptick in infections. You can almost be certain of that. It's just a question of how many more infections.

One thing I will say and I think Dr. Jha has mentioned this before as well, but it's not a binary thing open - I mean, open or closed. As people start to open, I think that some of the messages that we've been talking about, Erin, are getting out there, even though those images you just show are hard to watch, frankly, I mean, it makes me feel like I'm not doing a good job that people aren't listening at all. But most people are though, I think, most people are still maintaining physical distance, wearing masks, so it's a little bit of a different gradual sort of opening.

BURNETT: And Dr. Jha, what about the fact, we've been watching this number, 17 states seeing their cases go up, 20 have seen their numbers go down, 13 holding steady, four more states then - we've got four more states now than last week that are seeing numbers go down. Last week you said it was a little early to tell, why we were seeing

this sort of not going in the right direction increasingly, was it because there was more testing or was it because more people are getting sick? Is the picture any clearer now a week later?

JHA: So unfortunately, not much. I mean, the way I look at this, it really is that we're going to almost surely see a lot of divergence across states. Because, as Sunday said, you really have a spectrum. You have some places that have opened up where people are doing a really good job of maintaining social distancing. They have good testing infrastructure and I expect those places to stay flat or go down over time. And there are other states that are being less careful.

And in some ways, these things can take several weeks before they really show up. And that more testing can muddle the picture, hospitalizations and death, even though they are late markers, they really tell you the most concrete story. And I think in the upcoming weeks, unfortunately, we'll have more data where some states probably have gone the wrong way.

BURNETT: And Sanjay, before we go, I want to show you a chart from the CDC. This is percentage of deaths by age group. So you can see nearly 60 percent of the deaths are in people who are over the age of 75. When you look at the zero to 17 years, 0 percent.

So at this point, should kids who could stay away from older adults, could stay away from grandparents, whoever it may be, go back to school, go back to camp?

GUPTA: I think you may start to make a case for that. I think if you start to say it quantify how much of an advantage are we getting from keeping kids out of school, grade school, kids at least, out of the whole sum of things, maybe 2-3 percent, according to some studies that were done and published in The Lancet.

The challenges and we're learning every day, Erin, right? I mean, this is something that we're all learning together, they can still be carriers. So even if they're trying to be good about not visiting grandparents and things like that, they can still be spreading to people within the school who may be elderly, people within the community who may be elderly.

And we got to keep our eye on this multi inflammatory syndrome as well. It is rare, thankfully. But now 27 states reporting children who developed this inflammatory like syndrome, which can be concerning. You don't know for sure who those kids are yet. We have to better identify who's really at risk and make sure we can take care of the asymptomatic spread.

What would help a lot, Ashish has said it many, many times, I think since last few months testing and we're banging the drum on that. But if you could test at these schools, you have some idea, you'd have a lot more confidence that you wouldn't spread and people have more psychological confidence as well.

BURNETT: Right. A lot of this obviously is psychological too. All right. Thank you both very much.

And next, pharmaceutical giant Merck now entering the race for a cure. Are we getting any closer to a vaccine? A doctor who had a pivotal role in the early development of HIV/AIDS treatments is my guest.

Plus, the administration says it's looking at a $450 bonus to encourage people to go back to work. Will it work? Gary Cohn, former Economic Advisor, top advisor for the President and former Goldman Sachs' Executive is OUTFRONT.

And the breaking news, Twitter for the first time labeling the President's tweets with a fact check. How will that work?



BURNETT: Tonight, the race for a cure is heating up. Pharmaceutical giant Merck announcing its plans to enter human trials for a vaccine later this year, while simultaneously developing a drug to treat the virus. And biotech company, Novavax vaccinated the first person in its human trials with preliminary results expected in July.

But just how close are we to a real vaccine that works? OUTFRONT now, Dr. William Haseltine, former Professor at Harvard Medical School and the School of Public Health. He's now the Chair and President of ACCESS Health International.

Dr. Haseltine, I appreciate your help. So I want to start off by asking you about vaccines. When you hear Merck now getting into the race for a coronavirus vaccine, biotech company Novavax announcing it's begun human trials for a potential vaccine. We just hear these headlines every day. What's your reaction?

WILLIAM HASELTINE, CHAIR AND PRESIDENT, ACCESS HEALTH INTERNATIONAL: First of all, I'm very happy that the entire world's pharmaceutical biotech industry is involved in this. If it can't be done, they're the ones to do it, so that makes me happy. Second is I think everybody should be cautious. At this point, we don't know if a vaccine can be developed.

Everybody is asking when, when they should be asking if. That's what scientists are asking. We're hopeful. We have some medication that there's some positive indications, but we also have some warning signs that some of the vaccines that have been tested, that we have some idea of how they're working aren't working completely.

For example, in one study, all of the animals that were vaccinated got infected, their lungs were clear, but their nasal passages weren't and that's pretty typical of these vaccines. So the question right now is if not really, when. Maybe in a few months we'll have a better fix on whether it's when, but we don't know that yet.

BURNETT: So to that point I've been talking to Dr. Adrian Hill. He's the lead researcher in the Oxford vaccine trial, right? They've been using tried and true technology. They've been saying they're, what, 80 percent certain they would have an effective vaccine by fall.


They're now saying they're 50 percent certain, but that's because the prevalence of the disease has dropped in the U.K. where they're doing the trial, right? So they're saying it's because of prevalence of the disease in the population, not because of the vaccine itself. What do you make of that?

HASELTINE: There are a hundred thousand people that got infected today and there'll be another hundred thousand people that are infected in the world tomorrow. That's not a shortage of patients. It's puzzling to me why they would say such a thing.

What I fear is that there is a move to try to use a live virus to challenge healthy people, give them a vaccine, and then rather than wait to see if they get infected, that's dangerous and I believe it's unethical. There are plenty of patients out there. Plenty of new infections, so that they're willing to spread their net beyond Great Britain, they should be able to do it.

I think it's because they're in a hurry and because their trial isn't using enough people, because they are in a hurry. This is not a time to rush unnecessarily. Yes, do everything you can quickly, but do it carefully, do it meticulously so we can really believe the answers and don't take unethical risks.

BURNETT: So if there are people who are willing, though, to be part of that challenge trial to be infected, right, even knowing that there may not be a treatment, if they become incredibly sick, you still don't think that that would be the right thing to do, even if that did dramatically curtail the timeline of a possible vaccine?

HASELTINE: I don't think so for the following reason. First of all, it is unnecessary. There are plenty of people around. Secondly, it's uninformative because most of the people who do that are going to be young and who really needs a vaccine are old people. Nobody in their right mind would give a live virus to an old susceptible person who needs the vaccine.

BURNETT: Yes. And when you put those two together, it's unethical. We have a memory, a good memory of the horrors of human experimentation starting in the 1940s and '50s, Muskegee 1920 [00:02:00] trials here in the U.S., do we really want to go back to that when we don't have to? I don't think so and especially, we don't know if it's going to work.

BURNETT: Before we go, Merck announcing an antiviral drug separate from a vaccine, right? This would be a treatment. Does this hold more promise for you?

HASELTINE: I'm very pleased that people are developing antiviral drugs. That's what worked for AIDS. It's clearly going to work here. The current drugs don't work very well, that's the drugs off the shelf. But these aren't off the shelf and they're tailor made for this virus and I would say with very high confidence those drugs will eventually work.

They will work not only to cure the ill, prevent them from getting sick. They'll also work in some cases to prevent healthcare workers who are exposed from getting sick. Right now we may even have things on the brink. We have things like hyperimmune gamma globulin from convalescent sera that can protect people, can help people, can cure people, so all of that is good news.

BURNETT: All right. Well, I appreciate your time, Dr. Haseltine. Thank you.

HASELTINE: You're welcome. Thank you very much.

BURNETT: And next, stocks are up, home sales are up. But could the worst still be ahead? Gary Cohn, former Trump Advisor, former COO of Goldman Sachs is next.

And Joe Biden, fighting back after Trump mocks him for wearing a mask.


JOE BIDEN (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He's a fool. An absolute fool to talk that way.




BURNETT: Tonight, National Economic Council director Larry Kudlow says the White House is very carefully, his words, looking at a potential back to work bonus. Under the Republican proposal, unemployed workers who get a job would receive a temporary bonus of $450 on top of their weekly wages.

OUTFRONT now is Gary Cohn, former Director of National Economic Council under President Trump and a former president and CEO - COO, I'm sorry, Gary, of Goldman Sachs. So, Gary, you've talked a lot about this issue of the fact that the whole goal of the original assistance was to keep people home so we're paying people more than they would earn in the workplace to get them to stay home.

So now you're going to say if you go back to work, you get a $450 bonus on top of that, does that even out to encourage people to go back to work?

LARRY KUDLOW, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL: Well, Erin, thanks for having me. Look, I understand what they're trying to do. They're trying to get people back into their workforce, which is exactly what has to be done. I completely agree that the way to recover our economy is to get people back in the workforce. There's an enormous multiplier for every person, you get back in, you drag other people back in, because that person demands goods and services as they re enter the workforce. So encouraging people to get back in the workforce will drag along

other people, so I understand the mission. And so if the government is going to spend money on employers and employees, I'd rather they spend it to get them back into the workforce than having sit at home and sitting idly.

Now, look, we do have to understand there are some limiting factors. We still have not opened up daycare. We still haven't opened up schools, so there are a bunch of limiting factors that we're going to have to deal with to get people back into their everyday normal life.

BURNETT: And to that point, a fox news poll, Gary, ask people whether we should wait to reopen the economy or not, 55 percent said we should wait, even if it makes the economic crisis last longer, 34 percent say the country should reopen, even if it makes the public health crisis last longer.

So two very different point of view, but as you could see 55 percent saying, wait, how do you get the economy moving, if more than half of Americans think we should still be waiting to open up and I asked it in the context of what everyone watching. And you and I both know, which is that you can open a state, but if people don't feel like going back out, they don't, right? So you need that confidence. We just don't have it yet.

KUDLOW: Look, we do need the confidence. But remember, we need the confidence by seeing people going out and interacting in the economy and seeing positive results. So for the last two months, almost, we've been sitting at home and we've been hearing the right thing to do is to stay home.


We need to protect each other. We need to flatten the curve.

So, it's very difficult to change people's mindset instantly from you need to stay home and that's the right thing to do for your fellow citizens to now you need to go out.

So, look, this has to be an incremental approach. I actually think that's what we're trying to do right now. We're trying to have an incremental approach to opening different parts of the economy. Earlier in the show, you showed the data, how it's affecting different states and how the virus is coming back in certain states, how it's not going back in other states.

And that is something we are going to have to be very careful about. And, look, this all goes hand in glove with testing. We are going to continuously have to test so we understand what are the implications of reopening the economy.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: So, you know, I know you're not a market prognosticator, but, you know, you look at unemployment, real unemployment is what, 20 percent, maybe worse than that, right, at this point. And yet you got the Dow back to where it was 11 weeks ago when all this began. Consumer confidence jumped, new home sales have gone up. I mean, how does all this add up to you? I mean, those if I said confidence is going up, new home sales are going up, the Dow is at its highest level in 11 weeks and then I'll tell you unemployment is at 20 percent, part of me says one of the things has to be really, really off, and I know the unemployment numbers are real, at least for now.

COHN: Right, the unemployment numbers are real, I don't think anyone is debating that, but the Dow represents the 30 biggest companies in the country, the 30 most important companies. And even today is a perfect example.

The Dow -- the 30 companies of the Dow outperformed the S&P 500, the 500 biggest companies by almost 1 percent, so you are seeing different returns for different companies based on their importance and based on the relevance. And the market indices that we tend to look at a daily basis are the biggest and most important companies.

If we look at the index of the smallest 500 public companies in America today, we would get completely different results. We did see companies that are struggling and struggling to stay alive, let alone had their share price go up.

BURNETT: How quickly do you think unemployment will improve dramatically?

COHN: Well, remember, the unemployment numbers that we see every month are lagging. So, we'll continue to see some bad numbers, and as we get people more and more comfortable reentering the economy, and we get more and more people back to work and we get more normalized activity, we will see the economy recover. But we've got to change the mentality of people. As I said, we're used to hearing stay home, and stay home is the right thing to do. We now need to hear it's OK to go shopping, and maybe it's okay to go shopping because there's only four people in the store, five people in the store.

We need to come out with some real rules that make people comfortable, leaving their home and reengaging in the economy again

BURNETT: All right. Gary Cohn, thank you very much. I appreciated as always. It's a fair point. We really need those specifics everywhere. There's so much uncertainty, everybody has different rules. Thank you.

And next, President Trump pressed on why he was mocking Joe Biden for wearing a mask.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I thought it was very unusual that he had one on.


BURNETT: Plus, Twitter fact checking the president, you can see it there at the bottom of the tweet. Get the facts about mail-in ballots. Now, tonight, the Trump campaign responding. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


BURNETT: Tonight, Joe Biden firing back at President Trump after the president retweeted disposed from FOX News analyst Brit Hume mocking Biden for wearing a face mask on Memorial Day. It says, quote, this might help explain why Trump does not like to wear a mask in public.

Here's how Biden responded in a exclusive interview with our Dana Bash.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: He's a fool, an absolute fool to talk that way. I mean, every leading doc in the world is saying we should wear a mask when you are in a crowd. The truth of the matter is that I think you're supposed to lead by example.


BURNETT: OUTFRONT now, former Republican governor of Ohio, John Kasich, also Jonathan Reiner, member of the OUTFRONT medical team who advised the White House medical team under President George W. Bush and, of course, a heart surgeon.

Governor Kasich, let me start with you. You know, President Trump obviously mocking a policy that his own administration has put in place, right, his own doctors where when they are there. When he retweeted that -- that post, you know, this might help explain why Trump does not like to wear a mask in public, showing Biden today.

What do you say to the president, governor?


You know, Erin, leaders have to set an example, and there is no example being set here. And it's just extremely disappointing and, frankly, I also think that it is contributing to some of these folks out here who, against their better judgment of medical personnel like the guests you have on with me would say, you know, you got to be responsible. And, you know, wearing a mask means that you are showing respect to all the medical personnel who are out there putting their lives at risk.

It's terrible. It's just -- there's just no excuse for it, Erin. It's just unbelievable to me.

BURNETT: And, you know, look, even his friends on the world stage, Bibi Netanyahu, front page of "Financial Times", he wears a mask, leaders are wearing masks, countries' leaders are wearing masks.

Dr. Reiner, President Trump was asked today about why he retweeted the post, and here is the reason that he gave.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: Biden can wear a mask, but he was sitting outside with his wife, perfect conditions, perfect weather. They're inside, they don't wear masks. So I thought it was very unusual that he had won on.


BURNETT: And it came after, Dr. Reiner, the White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said it was peculiar Biden wear a mask outside and not when he's inside his home.


Obviously, that doesn't make any sense, and obviously, the reason he was wearing a mask was to make the point that it was important to wear a mask, right?

DR. JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Right. So for the millionth time let's make this very simple. We save live when we wear masks outside because we prevent ourselves from transmitting the virus unknowingly to other people. When we are in our own homes, we don't need to wear a mask.

Look, this country is rapidly becoming separated by those who believe in science and listen to scientists like Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx, and those who listen to the president and it is becoming very, very destructive.

I don't really care whether the president believes in masks. The astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson has said, the good thing about science is that it's true whether you believe in it or not, but the thing is, when he says something, the public believes him. And when the public believes him, they stop wearing masks and they stop social distancing. And that is killing people.

BURNETT: Governor Kasich, the Republican governor of North Dakota, Doug Burgum, was emotional on this topic. Here's what he told his constituents.


GOV. DOUG BURGUM (R), NORTH DAKOTA: If someone is wearing a mask, they're not doing it to represent what political party they are in or what candidates they support, they might be doing it because they got a 5-year-old child who's been going through cancer treatments. They might have vulnerable adults in their life who are currently have COVID and they're fighting.


BURNETT: I mean, Governor, that was -- you know, making the point that it was not political.

KASICH: A good man. A good man.

You know, Erin, this just think for just back not that long ago to what we used to call natural disaster America, where we saw people showing up where there was terrible flooding, and they get on these boat and they go and rescue people. Nobody was saying, are you from a red state or a blue state?

And, frankly, I think most people are aware of this. I think most people are acting responsibly, but it is pretty interesting to see the numbers that are not. And again, back to natural disaster, America brought out the best of us.

Just yesterday, I was watching, you know, the Battle of the Bulge, these incredible people who put their lives on the line.

Wearing a mask is really about respecting others and not be transmitting. I mean, this is not complicated, and there is no reason for this. But it is beginning to tell us, when you see this, Erin, the deep divisions that we have in our country. It's symptomatic of these divisions and they must be healed if we are going to be a strong -- you know, the strongest country we can possibly be.

BURNETT: Doctor, you made the point, you know, talking about Neil deGrasse Tyson on the facts. The president's actions and his words are having an impact on what people do.

All right. Here is one man in Alabama. He said this to our Gary Tuchman.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean, if he's not wearing a mask, I'm not going to wear a mask. If he's not worried, I'm not worried.




BURNETT: I mean, that's exactly what is happening in some places, Doctor. That is just the reality, some people, they see it and they do it.

REINER: His words matter, and they matter a lot, and they cause people to doubt science.

Look, in our hospital, we tested antibodies in people who work in the COVID environment, and in health care providers, nurses and doctors, are lower than in the general population, and that has been emulated in places like Columbia and New York because we wear masks. Masks prevent the transmission of virus from one person to another. But they get in the way of the presidents narrative that we're moving back to normal. If you're wearing a mask, how can things be normal?

It's a really cynical calculus. The president is forcing the country to choose between science and politics, and it's a really disastrous situation.

BURNETT: All right, thank you. KASICH: Erin, when I first elected governor --

BURNETT: Yes, go ahead, yes.

KASICH: When I was first elected governor, it was a little bit bumpy, and I would make a comment here or there, smart Alec or whatever, getting used to the job. My wife looked at me one night and she said, John, you're the father of Ohio, why don't you act like it.

I repeated that to the president of the United States. You're a father of the country, act like it. If you act like it, we'd be more united and we wouldn't have these divisions.

I hate to have to say it, but you got to sometimes tell it like it is. Thanks, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Well, I thank you. And thanks to you as well, Dr. Reiner, as always.

REINER: My pleasure.

BURNETT: For the first time, Twitter is fact-checking Trump's tweets. And tonight, President Trump has just responded.

And Brazil breaking another sobering record. Brazil has now surpassed the United States with the most reported coronavirus deaths over 48 hour period.


One cemetery, 103 people were buried in one day.

We're going to take you there live.


BURNETT: Breaking news: Twitter fact-checking the president for the first time. Twitter tonight added, and this is never happened before, fact checking links to President Trump's tweets about mail-in voting. As you can see, twitter now prompts users to get the facts about mail- in ballots, because the president tweeted something that wasn't true.

Clicking on that link takes you to a page which includes a section of what you need to know. And the move follows Trump's false claims today that mail-in ballots cast in California will be, quote, substantially fraudulent, and result in a rigged election.

Tonight, Trump responded, on Twitter, of course, writing: Twitter is completely stiffening free speech and I as a president won't allow it to happen.

Brian Stelter joins me now.

So, Brian, I want to talk about that in one second. But, first, the significance of this move. Twitter has been under pressure to do this. It's not easy to do. It's a slippery slope. BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Yes.

BURNETT: What prompted it now?


STELTER: It's a step towards twitter being more of a newsroom, acting more like an editor. And once they have taken this action once, they will be under pressure to do it again and again, because the president posts hundreds of things that are untrue or misleading or dangerous on the platform. Twitter somehow has not taken action. So, it's a big deal that they are taking action.

However, this is like spitting at Godzilla or spitting into the ocean. Pick the metaphor you want. This is a very minor action towards a very major problem, and that is a war on truth that continues every day, unabated, not just by President Trump but by many others on social media.

So, it is notable Twitter has taken action. But a lot of people are going to say, too little too late or too little at all.

BURNETT: And now, the president is fighting back and saying he's not going to allow it to happen. So, what -- I mean, what can he do?

STELTER: He welcomes this fight. He welcomes this fight. His campaign welcomes this fight. They want 2020 campaign to be about in part about what they say is conservative censorship, meaning censorship of conservatives by big tech and big media. That is the narrative they embrace because it means we are not talking about the number of dead and the number of sick people from COVID-19. They are going to embrace these kinds of fights.

But look at what happened today with Trump and Joe Scarborough. Trump is doubling down on this lie about Joe Scarborough, suggesting Scarborough is guilty of murder, in the face of all evidence and in the face of a widower. He says, please stop talking about my dead wife the way you are. It is a shameful thing, but Twitter will not fact check it. Neither will Facebook, by the way. Facebook is just as culpable in these situations.

What used to manage these things, Erin, is shame and decency, you know. You would be held in check by your peers, by news media outlets, by your fellow politicians. But it seems when someone is shameless and has no decency, there are none of those normal checks. Ultimately, what's going to cure this war on truth are good people of all political stripes saying stop lying, stop making things up about voter fraud, stop hurting innocent, dead people. But right now, Erin, and there is not enough pressure to stop it.

BURNETT: All right. Brian, thank you very much.

And next, the Trump administration just hours from stopping anyone who has been in Brazil from entering the United States. Deaths there are hitting a new milestone. We are live on the ground in Brazil.



BURNETT: Brazil surpassing the United States for the first time. The most reported daily coronavirus deaths for two days in a row. Cases have been exploding in the South American country, as the Brazilian president downplays the virus. The Trump administration is now hours away from stopping anyone who has been in Brazil in the last two weeks from entering the United States.

Nick Paton Walsh is OUTFRONT.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR (voice-over): This is a landing of last resort, seeking salvation in a coronavirus hot bed. Tiny planes bring the sickest COVID patients from hundreds of miles away deep in the Amazon to Manaus, Brazil's worst-hit city and to a hospital bed. A journey most make alone, from which some won't go home.

This is what doing well looks like on these flights, moving. The woman on board struggling, motionless. Once they had to intubate a patient in mid-air.

SELMA HADDAD, DOCTOR: It's very hard. You carry a weight that you don't see. Every time I carry this weight, I feel like I carry this weight.

WALSH: They arrive in a city not only in death, but also fury. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has made light of the virus and called the mayor here a piece of excrement for digging these mass graves. They had little choice here when the bodies started piling up.

This month they buried 103 in one day, digging at night. Even in two hours, five come, one by one laid in the trench. Many mourners say there are coronavirus deaths, but it's hard to know.

(on camera): The official numbers in Brazil don't tell the whole picture because there isn't enough testing. You can see that here. These are those who have died and have tested positive for coronavirus. But these graves staggeringly, well, they're the ones that they suspect may have died of the disease.

(voice-over): The mass burial itself distressing.

PEDRO CHAVES, MANAUS RESIDENT: Around 30 minutes, waiting for more bodies. I just want to put my mom there and finish this. We don't need these. My family doesn't need this.

WALSH: We asked the grave diggers who think fewer would have died here if the president had kept quiet. No one listens to Bolsonaro, one says. He's not there for the people. Add another, he should have asked us what was going on.

But still the hospitals here receive a daily stream of new patients. These from outlying villages where local tribes live, badly hit, too. The ICU, which has ventilators, where possible using less invasive means is frenetic.

And even the patients have heard what the president said.

The mayor is just trying to save lives, says Raimundo, and the president is against that.

Inside a local indigenous leader visits newly adopting the role from his father killed by the virus two weeks ago.

I took my father into hospital where he was intubated for five days, he says. Now we have 300 people with symptoms. Politically the president forgot us and he's killing the indigenous people.

Bolsonaro insists he is for economic growth and safety, but the virus is still tearing through the poor here. Their remote way of life was no protection from this modern plague. It just put help further away.


WALSH: Well, Erin, that is where the worst plays was and this troublingly is where the worst place may be in the weeks ahead. Very familiar, I'm sure, to many watching. This is Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, a place that is likely to be a future hot spot. Four thousand dead in this area, 40,000 cases.

As you said, the numbers now day by day increasingly worse than the death in the United States. Brazil is on the way up in terms of its trajectory rip for infections and death. The peak one to two weeks away, and Rio, a health care system struggling, it seems, and a city while we're wearing masks here, the first time in Sao Paulo it was pretty much everywhere.

Here in Rio, you see a lot of people not wearing masks and a lot more of a sense of activity out in the streets than elsewhere. It could be very difficult for Brazil in the weeks ahead. Some models suggesting potentially 125,000 dead in total. Brazil really anxious about what comes next -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right, thank you very much, Nick Paton Walsh.

And Anderson starts now.