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Don Lemon Tonight

Wisconsin To Remain Shut Down Until At Least May 26; More Than 964,000 Cases of Coronavirus in US.; More Than 54,000 Deaths; Doctors Report COVID-19 Appears To Be Causing Strokes In Young Adults; WH Adviser: US Economic Outlook A 'Really Grave Situation'; Treasury Secretary: Economy Will 'Really Bounce Back' In Summer. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired April 26, 2020 - 20:00   ET




DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT HOST: This is CNN Tonight. Welcome, everyone. I'm Don Lemon. A big news night. Our breaking news on the coronavirus, there are now more than 964,000 cases in this country, almost a million. Total getting closer and closer to a million cases. More than 54,000 people have died, that as states across the country are being - are beginning various stages of reopening this week even though a model used by the White House suggests that it is not safe for any state to reopen its economy before May 1. And as some mayors are grappling with the decision of their own governors, and there are mix messages tonight on just how badly the American economy will be by all of this, the White House Economic Advisor, Kevin Hassett, saying today we could see an unemployment rate comparable to the great depression.


KEVIN HASSETT, WHITE HOUSE ECONOMIC ADVISOR: This is the biggest negative shock that our economy, I think, has ever seen. We're going to be looking at an unemployment rate that approaches rates that we saw during the Great Depression. During the Great Recession, remember that was a financial crisis around 2008 that we lost 8.7 million jobs in the whole thing. Right now we're losing that many jobs about every 10 days.


LEMON: And that is coming from the top White House Economic Advisor. The Treasury Secretary, Steve Mnuchin, painting a rosier picture.


STEVE MNUCHIN, TREASURY SECRETARY: I think as we begin to reopen the economy in May and June you're going to see the economy really bounce back in July, August, September. And we are putting an unprecedented amount of fiscal relief into the economy.


LEMON: So listen, I think everyone knows. Everyone feels this way. It would be great of the economy to bounce back that quickly after a whole lot of economic pain for a whole lot of people, but the fact is reopening even for states that are starting already, it's going to happen slowly. It's not going to be like flipping a switch. And in the face of all that with more than 54,000 Americans dead, with each day bringing us closer to a million cases in this country, Dr. Deborah Birx, the Coronavirus Response Coordinator for the White House Task Force, is trying to clean up a mess of the president's own making. Yes, someone is talking to me. Thank you, Director.

Now, I've said before I respect Dr. Birx for her work on HIV/AIDS, but what she said to Jake Tapper today was, frankly, ridiculous.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: There was an odd moment on Thursday when President Trump mused aloud about whether injecting UV light or disinfectant into the human body is a way to treat coronavirus. Could be something that you look into. You were sitting right there as you know. Take a listen.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And then I said supposing you brought the light inside the body what you can do either through the skin or in some other way. Then I see the disinfectant where it knocks it out in a minute, one minute, and is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside or almost a cleaning because you see it gets in the lungs.

TAPPER: Dr. Birx, I just want to give you the opportunity right now. What should the American people know about disinfectants and the human body?

BIRX: Well first, that was a dialogue he was having between the DHA scientists and himself for information that he had received and he was discussing. We have made it clear and when he turned to me I made it clear, and he understood that it was not as a treatment, and I think that kind of dialogue will happen.


LEMON: And that kind of dialogue should not be happening at a press briefing in front of the American people, and you would think that the President of the United States wouldn't be dense enough not to understand that you can inject something into a persons body like that and would be smart enough to know that you shouldn't have that conversation in front of the American people.


You should be having that behind closed doors if you're going to have it at all, if you are not smart enough to understand what he had just said -- what he was just suggesting.

And for Dr. Birx to try to brush off the president's claim -- the dialog -- when he asked whether a powerful light or a disinfectant could be ingested into the human body as a treatment -- it's just really beyond belief. I mean, I just -- I've been watching this. It's beyond belief. This is twilight zone stuff.

It's very clear what the president said. He was not asked a question about it, like he said for -- about a reporter. He wasn't even talking to a reporter.

Some people are taking what president said seriously. Maryland governor, Larry Hogan, a Republican, saying today that his state's hotline -- gotten hundreds of calls from residents asking whether ingesting disinfectant could be a treatment for the virus. The Illinois governor, J. B. Pritzker, saying his state is also getting a lot of calls.

Let me just repeat -- I can't believe I have to do this. Ingesting disinfectant is not a treatment for the coronavirus or anything. Do not do it. Don't even think about doing it. Serious stuff.

Just listen to how the president tried to cover up this outrageous and dangerous nonsense the very next day.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I was asking a sarcastic -- in a very sarcastic question to the reporters in the room about disinfectant on the inside. But it does kill it, and it would kill it on the hands. And that would make things much better. That was done in the form of a sarcastic question to the reporters.


LEMON: Sarcasm -- sarcastic questions to the reporters. We all heard what the president said. There wasn't a slightest bit of sarcasm. By the way, this is no time for sarcasm of any kind. Not while Americans are dying.

And think about it. Why would he be sarcastic about the information he was being given? If you really think about it, what reason would there be to be sarcastic about the information that was being given? There is none.

He's lying. Because he didn't understand it. He's just dumb. And then there is this. The president asking about the effects of heat and light on the virus.


TRUMP: Deborah, have you heard ever of that? The heat and the light? Relative to certain viruses, yes, but relative to this virus?

DEBORAH BIRX, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS TASK FORCE COORDINATOR: That is a treatment. I mean, certainly fever --


BIRX: -- is a good thing. When you have a fever, it helps your body respond. But not as -- I've not seen heat or light --

TRUMP: I think that's a great thing to look at.


LEMON: Dr. Birx saying that they're -- that heat and light are not a treatment for the virus. The official White House transcript originally quoted Dr. Birx as saying that that is a treatment. The transcript was later revised to accurately reflect what she actually said, that heat and light are not a treatment.

And all of this is really, really, really important. It's not a gotcha to call the president on his question about possibly ingesting disinfectant. That's not a gotcha. Stable genius? He said it on live TV in a task force briefing, with millions of Americans listening.

But what is the president's reaction to all of this? Not saying, "I misunderstood." Not saying, "Well, maybe I should have done it," "It was an error. You took me" -- I don't know. Just didn't take responsibility. Not making sure that Americans would try to ingest disinfectant that could be deadly -- no, none of that.

He shut down the briefings, last night and tonight. Claiming they're -- you know, these are his words, "Not worth the time and effort." Though they just, moments ago, added a task force briefing to the schedule tomorrow.

Not sure if he's going to take the stage or take questions. But, you know, he can't -- never met a camera he didn't like. So we'll see. But we'll see if he takes questions.

His aides still have been -- his aides have been urging him for weeks to stop doing daily briefings, believing he was just making matters worse. So now the president is taking his ranting straight to Twitter.


The fact is, we're better off without the President's bragging and his misinformation. I have been saying this for weeks and weeks and weeks now, let the experts do the talking. He's not an epidemiologist, he's not a virologist, he's not a doctor, he's not an expert on anything. It would be a lot better for everybody if we could hear the facts directly from the smart people in the room, the experts. But the president is just taking his ball and his bat and he is going home now because he thinks questions about his own dangerous ramblings and not smart ramblings are his word, "hostile".

Those questions are not hostile, this is about people's lives. The President insists on making it all about him. He was at it again just today falsely claiming that he hasn't left the White House in many months. He has, including several rallies last month and a weekend at Mar-A-Lago.

Remember his dinner with the President of Brazil and remember how several of the Brazilians later tested positive for the virus. President Trump claiming a New York Times story about his schedule was inaccurate. Inaccurate railing about whether or not he was having a hamburger and diet coke in his bedroom and quoting people that know him saying he is the hardest working President in history. Me, me, me me.

Not to mention an epic rant about, quote "noble prizes for Russia." Reporting that he thinks that reporters should be given back, its "Nobel" not,"Nobal", but maybe it is, whatever, there's a whole lot there, I'll just keep moving on. And then trying to use sarcasm, again, as an excuse.

An excuse for something absolutely no one else is obsessing about in the middle of the pandemic that has killed more than a that has killed more than a 54,000 Americans. Doesn't even know the difference between noble and Nobel and reporters don't really get Nobel prizes. Stable genius? How much longer is this going to go on? Kristen Holmes is at the White House. Hi Kristen, good evening to you.

Thank you so much for joining us. So, Kristen, the President seems to have one person most on his mind and of course that is himself. We see him fuming on Twitter, they have just announced that there will be a coronavirus task force briefing tomorrow at 5:00 pm, will the President be there and will he make another dangerous and irresponsible pronouncement, that seems to be the question.

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Don, it seems that he will be there, this was on his schedule not the Vice President's and it says it is a briefing. And I just want to go over what you said because I think this is really important to note, aides and allies for weeks have been telling President Trump that they are concerned about these briefings they believe that he should stop doing them or limit to times where there is just some positive news.

Maybe it's new numbers, maybe it's the ventilators announcing the DPA to get those delivered across the country. But yet even though we heard that was likely going to happen, seeing him less, we're already seeing briefing after two days on Monday.

So we'll of course be watching to see what happens there and I want to note one other thing you said about letting the experts do the talking because that was very close to something Dr. Birx said today, or at least it was related.

She said that she was worried that some of the critical information that was in that presentation on Thursday got lost in all of the conversation about his side comments and I think that it is important to note, being that it was given in a medical briefing, and as you said, those ponderings, those musings, those were not medical grade.

So people are watching this to learn information about what it is they need to do and the messaging then changes from this study that they were presenting to companies, to health care clinics, to poison control saying, please do not ingest disinfectants we are getting calls about this, this is incredibly dangerous.

So that's why that message shifts because it is done in a medical setting. Now we have heard from officials that they are going it try to shift the messaging out of the White House, really getting President Trump away from the medical part of it and moving it more into the economic part of it. Trying to get some positivity in there, maybe bring in people who

benefited from the stimulus checks or the small business loans, since he is a businessman and not a doctor. But again, even after all of this, even after saying that we believe President Trump will do less briefings, it's already been announced that there's one Monday.


just two days after we heard that from officials.

LEMON: All right, Kristin Holmes, thank you so much. I appreciate you reporting from the White House for us this Sunday evening.

I want to bring in now Dr. Jonathan Reiner, the Co-director of the Cardio Catheterization Program at George Washington University Hospital.

Doctor, always a pleasure to have you. Thank you for joining us on this evening.


LEMON: Yes. Listen, a recent model of the White House relies -- that they rely on at the White House, had a death toll of 66,000 by August, but it's only April and there are sadly over 54,000 deaths already. Are you expecting the death toll to climb, especially with the restrictions starting to ease in some states?

REINER: Yeah, you're referring to the IHME model from the University of Washington, which the last update, about a week ago, predicted 67,000 deaths in the United States on April 4.

You know, that model uses sort of a symmetrical curve, so meaning the uptick in deaths in the United States is mirrored by the downtrend on the backend, but it doesn't have to be that way. But, China instituted incredibly austere quarantine and isolation procedures that are really only available in an authoritarian regime.

A better model might be what happened in Italy, and in Italy the downtrend in deaths was much more gradual. You know, when you look at these models they come along with something called a confidence interval, which is basically the range that the true answer should be in.

So, while the most recent point estimate for the number of deaths was about 67,000, the upper limit, of what they call the 95 percent confidence interval was 128,000, meaning it could be as high as 128,000.

Right now, we're seeing mortality that has sort of plateaued at about 2,000 deaths per day. On Tuesday we'll see us pass the number of soldiers who died in Vietnam, so I think that it's likely that we'll go past 67,000 maybe as early as 10 days from now.

LEMON: Listen, all states want to reopen, you know, but -- but -- REINER: Yes.

LEMON: -- we're already seeing huge differences in how they do it and how fast they do it. If you look at a state like Georgia, where a hair salon is now open, or a state like Tennessee where restaurants can welcome customers 50 percent capacity, that starts on Wednesday. Would you advise people to run out and do either of those things?

REINER: No, of course not. And what's unclear is whether people are going to do that. There's a lot of trepidation in the community about being in large crowds. So, even though Georgia may allow restaurants to open this week, I'm not sure how many people are going to, you know, go out for dinner.

Think about theaters and other, you know, large venues, who wants to sit in a -- in a crowd now. So, although states may open up the opportunity to do this, I'm not sure how many people are going to do that. But it's -- it's way too early to do that.

There are really only a handful of states that are really approaching the legitimate thresholds to consider opening up their businesses. Georgia is not one of them.

LEMON: Dr. Reiner, always a pleasure to have you. Thank you so much. Appreciate it.

REINER: My pleasure. Sure.

LEMON: Governors across -- in states in across the country beginning to loosen restrictions and open some business, but mayors, they aren't really all on board. Some Minnesota businesses can begin reopening tomorrow. I'm going to ask the Mayor of Minneapolis what he things. That's next.



LEMON: Minnesota is one of the multiple states that will begin to ease coronavirus restrictions this week. Certain industrial and manufacturing businesses can reopen tomorrow, but social distancing rules are required. I want to bring in now Mayor Jacob Frey of Minneapolis. Mayor, good to see you again. Doing OK?

MAYOR JACOB FREY, MINNEAPOLIS: Good to see you all. I'm doing well. How are you?

LEMON: Good. I'm doing OK. Thank you so much. Under the circumstances, we're all, you know, trying to just get along and get through this. Your governor, Tim Walt, has a plan that would allow up to 100,000 people in industrial manufacturing and office settings to return to work tomorrow and companies - if companies ensure social distancing. Are any of these businesses opening up in your city?

FREY: Absolutely, they are. It's a combination of both office jobs as well as manufacturing jobs that are opening up, and what our governor recognizes is that this is not like an all or nothing approach. This is gradually turning the dial. It's listening to the data, the evidence, and the science, and then making decisions based on that. And what I can say is in Minnesota we are collaborating between jurisdictions, and what we've managed to do is actually have the lowest infection rate right now in the entire country. And as I said, we've done that by listening to the science, by staying home. People are following the instructions. We're listening to the orders, and the data is playing out just as such.

LEMON: When are you expecting the peak is going to hit Minneapolis?

FREY: It's hard to tell. More experts are saying that the peak will come some time around June. And so, yes, this is flattening the curve, but more importantly it's elongating the curve. Because we've done a pretty good job so far on physical distancing we've given ourselves times to prepare, time to prepare hospitals, time to prepare ICUs, making sure that cities are in the place to be that first line of defense that we so often are. And so, you know, we're working hard. We're proud of the work we've done so far, but we can't get complacent.

LEMON: Are you concerned, though, when you say 100,000 people are going in these, there's got to be some concern that the numbers may go up for you because I know you're watching that.

FREY: There is a concern, and as you get additional social contact, undoubtedly the numbers


will go up to a certain extent. And that's why it can't be this all or nothing approach.

You know, we took aggressive measures right off the bat to close things down, recognizing that we're no longer making decisions based on dollars and cents. We're making decisions based on lives saved and lives lost.

The states taken action, the city has taken action, we've gotten pieces in place to -- to help to make sure that we are protected and right now what the governor is doing is gradually easing back in.

And keep in mind, that that dial, it can be turned both ways. If -- if we get new data and evidence that's showing that we need to turn things back a little back, we are able to do that as well.

LEMON: What do you do if someone says you allowed me to go back to work or you allowed my family member to go back to work, they got the coronavirus and someone died from it or got sick from it, and therefore I'm holding you accountable? What do you do?

FREY: Well, first off, the decisions that we make right now have real life and death consequences and this is not like the kind of thing that you think about when you're running for office. I don't think the word pandemic was mentioned a single time back in 2017 when I was running, but these are the decisions, ultimately, that are on our shoulders.

And we know that as people go more into public, as they go back to work there is a stronger likelihood that they will be infected. But what we're trying to do right now is keep that pilot light of our economy burning and then as soon as we're past, reignite that flame and get more and more people back to work.

But, you know, the first priority has to be saving lives. Yes, second priority, third priority the economy, you know, but the first priority has to be that we're doing the right things to make sure that people aren't unnecessarily dying in our city and our state.

LEMON: You think you've tested enough people to -- to be able to do these things, as you say, this -- I guess, you know, you have a step -- an incremental program to get people back, do you think you've tested enough people to know to feel comfortable decision? I guess you have, because you're doing it

FREY: Keep in mind, you know, this -- this decision is still very gradual. The bars and restaurants still remain closed. A significant --

LEMON: No barbershops for you guys? Tattoo parlors or --

FREY: No, tattoo parlors, no massage therapists. Now, you know, I mean you can't do these things while maintaining proper physical distancing, it's impossible. Recognize that and that's why we've got this very graduated approach right now.

And, you know, business -- if anybody who says that they know entirely what's going to happen is wrong. They're lying, you know.

And so, people who -- at a certain point are recognizing that they don't know are being honest and they're telling the truth. But the truth, as you mentioned, is also that we've got to be testing as much as possible.

And from the very beginning, in the very beginning it didn't feel like we were having enough testing. It felt like we were driving the car without the dashboard, but now we've got a plan in place and the governor has set into motion a plat to get up to 20,000 tests per day.

And it's this awesome partnership between the state and the Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota to bump up the tests so that we can then have data, real time data, that's before us to better make informed decisions.

You know, as you mentioned, you're not an epidemiologist, you're not a public health expert, I'm not a epidemiologist or a public health expert, but I thankfully have the ability to talk to people and learn from people and take guidance from people that are.


FREY: It is that guidance that informs our decisions. LEMON: All right, we're out -- we're going to have leave it there. Thank you Mayor Frey, we appreciate it. Good luck. Come back and let us know how it's going.

FREY: Thank you so much.

LEMON: Thank you so much. There have been 26.5 million people in the U.S. who have filed for unemployment in the last five weeks. A look at the different types of people who are facing economic hardships, from farmers to manufactures to veterans and more, that's next.




LEMON: States all across this country are feeling the economic pain of the coronavirus shutdown. Workers desperate for a paycheck, businesses still shuttered. Wisconsin's economy has been has been hit especially hard, and while other states are making moves to begin reopening this week, Wisconsin expects to be shut down for at least another month.

Here's CNN's Miguel Marquez.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In cities across the Badger state, many businesses shuttered, manufacturing in freefall, farming plowed under. Wisconsin's economy in a state of near suspension, with no end in sight.

SUSAN BERNA, UNEMPLOYED WISCONSIN RESIDENT: I have to turn off the news at a certain point, I have to go out for a walk, and I have to do other things so I don't get overwhelmed.

MARQUEZ: Susan Berna worked in promotions and sales. She had just started two part-time gigs, now both gone. She has some money saved and can survive for a while, but --

BERNA: I have crumby health insurance.

MARQUEZ: For Berna, it's the uncertainty of what getting the coronavirus could bring.

BERNA: I pay almost $300 a month and it only covers me for $15,000 in a year.


BERNA: Total.

MARQUEZ: So, if you get coronavirus --


MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): So if you get coronavirus--

SUSAN BERNA, UNEMPLOYED: I'll either be in huge debt, or I won't be treated. I don't think they can turn people away, but I don't see any relief for someone like me who does have insurance. The governor has said he will cover people who don't have insurance, but I do.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Since mid- March, more than 300,000 Wisconsinites have filed for unemployment, and economists say it is going to get worse.

MARQUEZ (on camera): How big a hit is the Wisconsin economy going to take?

NOAH WILLIAMS, ECONOMICS PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN: It's quite substantial. Our overall numbers are a decline in economic activity on the order of about 50 percent.

MARQUEZ: Fifty. Five zero.

WILLIAMS: Fifty percent, year over year.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Williams and his Center for Research on the Wisconsin Economy tracks anonymous cell phone data at 50,000 establishments state-wide. From mom-and-pop retail shops, to malls, movie theaters and manufacturing plants, big and small. His latest data indicates a 60 percent reduction in manufacturing activity.

WILLIAMS: It's crushing, to be honest. Manufacturing is the backbone of the state.

MARQUEZ: Last October, CNN profiled a Wisconsin aluminium foundry in Manitowoc. Then, it was struggling with the effects of the trade war with China. Today, it's keeping all its employees paid but new orders are down 90 percent.

In agriculture, a similar story. The price of milk in a tailspin. Milk so cheap, farmers cannot give it away.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This would have been on a store shelf 24 hours from now, but it's not. We're just dumping it down the drain.

MARQUEZ: The restaurant and hospitality industries nearly at a dead stop. Coming back online won't be easy or quick.

BRANDON WRIGHT, OWNER, HAMBURGER MARY'S: Our sales are down about 90 percent. We'd be good to survive the current, what they're saying, like, by the end of May. If it goes any further than that, then we're going to have to do a lot of adjustments.

MARQUEZ: Those adjustments will be made across the economy, leaving millions vulnerable.

RON TORRISI, UNEMPLOYED DISABLED VETERAN: I got $983 in the bank right now.

MARQUEZ: Ron Torrisi, a Navy veteran now on disability was homeless for two years. His job as a cook ended seven weeks ago when Buckingham's Bar & Grill in Madison closed. His monthly income, cut in half.

MARQUEZ (on camera): What's your level of anxiety and stress about the future right now?

TORRISI: It's pretty high right now, I'd have to say.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): An avid fisherman, he spends hours every day hooking largemouth bass and forgetting about how he'll survive the months ahead. In this political battleground state, the battle for many has become surviving from one day to the next.


LEMON: And Miguel Marquez joins us now. Miguel, good evening to you. How does this stack up to the 2008 recession for the people in Wisconsin?

MARQUEZ: Some of the projections are terrifying, Don. So, at the very height, the very worst of the 2008 recession, in 2009, the unemployment rate hit just below 10 percent here. Already about 12.6 percent of workers across the state have filed for unemployment, and there's one state study that says it could get as high as 27 percent. That is more than one in every four workers out of work in the state of Wisconsin.

And it's that hope for a V-shaped recovery where it went off very quickly, and will come back very quickly. Until there's a cure, until there's a vaccine, it is going to be a long time before consumers feel like they can go out again, they can start buying again, and businesses start to get on track again. Don.

LEMON: All right. Miguel Marquez, thank you very much. We'll be right back.



LEMON: Nearly 55,000 Americans have died from coronavirus. It's hard to believe that just one month ago the death toll in the U.S. from the virus was 1,000.

I want to bring in now Dr. James Phillips, an assistant professor at George Washington University Hospital, and Dr. Cornelia Griggs, a pediatric surgery fellow at Columbia University. Thank you both for coming back on. It's good to see both of you. You holding up okay?


LEMON: Yes? Great, great. Dr. --

JAMES PHILLIPS, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL: Yes, I'm doing all right here too, yes. LEMON: Good. Dr. Phillips, I'm going to start with you. Some states starting to ease the stay at home orders. Do you think hospitals are ready for this if it results in another jump in cases?

PHILLIPS: You know, it's tough to say. We've worked really hard over the last three months or so building up our capacity nationwide. And that includes in the states that are considering relaxing some of their restrictions -- California, Georgia, my home state of Oklahoma. And so I'm hoping that the capacity remains.

At the same time, we're talking about starting to ease back into some of those elective surgeries. So that will also reduce some of our capacity a little bit. So it will be a fine balance.

LEMON: Dr. Griggs, you're in New York -- you know, New York, obviously one of the hardest hit areas.


LEMON: Things, you know, here in New York, won't be reopening any time soon. But one thing that Governor Cuomo here expressed is concern about today -- that people who have been in lockdown, traveling back and forth to areas that might reopen sooner. Are you worried about that?

GRIGGS: Absolutely. I think we have to have a coordinated approach across the New York State area and surrounding states. And we have to make sure that if we open up parts of one state, but keep another shut down, that people aren't running back and forth.

LEMON: Yes. Dr. Phillips, as -- you know, as this virus continues to spread, other confirmed symptoms have been discovered by doctors. One of them is being called COVID toes. Talk to me about that.

PHILLIPS: Yes, it's very interesting and --


LEMON: Go, Dr. Phillips.

PHILLIPS: I'll go -- I wasn't sure who you were talking to.

LEMON: Dr. Phillips, go.


PHILLIPS: Yes, I'll take this. So, yes, COVID toes is a phenomenon that's been reported for several weeks now, particularly on sort of our doctor Facebook pages and stuff, where we're all comparing notes.

But what it appears to be is most likely related to some small blood clots. We know that COVID-19 is causing microscopic blood clots that are probably part of the reason why there's so much damage to the lungs, the kidneys, and even the heart.

But it's also causing large blood clots. Now, the smaller of those large blood clots may cause things like COVID toes, where small blood vessels get blocked and cause damage. But the larger clots are the ones we really are worrying about, which is one of the reasons we're seeing such an increase in the number of strokes right now.

LEMON: Interesting. So, Dr. Griggs, doctors have also recently reported that coronavirus appears to be causing sudden strokes, as you said, in adults in their 30s and 40s, who are not otherwise terribly ill.

So talk to me more about that, about these strokes, and is it just in their 30s and 40s? I know Dr. Phillips said that -- causing sudden strokes, but is it just in their 30s and 40s?

GRIGGS: So, I think the strokes are a really important questioning -- point to a similar phenomenon as the COVID toes, which is that we're starting to understand that there is a clotting component to this disease that we really need to study and understand better.

And that's happening in scientific communities across the country and across the globe. And protocols in terms of treating these blood clots, whether they are causing strokes or causing COVID toes, we need to understand if we can use different protocols for different blood thinners, and that's something that people are studying actively.

LEMON: God, there's so much that we don't know. Doctors, thank you so much, I appreciate it.

As states take steps to reopen, how fast can the United States get the economy back on track? I'm going to talk to a top economist about that. That's next.



DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Mixed messages coming from the administration on the economy. Economic advisor Kevin Hassett painting a grim picture warning unemployment will approach great depression numbers while the Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin says that he expects the economy to bounce back as early as July.

Let's discuss now, Justin Wolfers is here as the Professor of Economics and Public Policy at The University of Michigan. Justin, so happy that you're on. Thank you so much. We just heard before the break places like Wisconsin are seeing a massive economic decline and you say that Hassett is more than Mnuchin, tell us why.

JUSTIN WOLFERS, PROFESSOR OF ECONOMICS AND PUBLIC POLICY, UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN: Well, Hassett is just telling the obvious truth, we already know it the economy has stopped in much of the country. This isn't a regional phenomenon, it's a national phenomenon.

The logic is simple. When there's a bug out there and you could die if you leave your house, no one wants to work and more than that the government has said to people in many states, if you're not an essential worker, you, can't work. And it turns out when you can't work, you're likely to be unemployed and the numbers right now are as high as unemployment's been in my lifetime.

LEMON: I want to play some comments, it's from billionaire businessman Barry Diller. He called the President a witch doctor and then he said this about the economy which was more important than that witch doctor comment but here it is, watch.


BARRY DILLER, MEDIA MOGUL: Anyone who thinks that this economy is going to bounce, I mean, you'd have to have the idea of a rubber ball not in existence to think it's going to bounce high, it can't. The damage that's being done is catastrophic. You're going to have a massive amount of businesses that can't return, businesses that go bankrupt, it's inevitable.


LEMON: He talked about some, especially travel, companies that went from making a billion dollars in one day or millions of dollars in one day to making zero because people just stopped traveling. Is he right about the economy?

WOLFERS: Well, look it's clear that while the economy is locked town, no one is getting any work done and it's clear while the bug is out there, that's going to be a huge deterrent to economic activity. But I think what happens beyond that, you know, the way we think about economic damage, a recession you can think of in two terms.

One is depth, this is already a deep recession, unemployment 15, 20 percent already. The other is duration and that's the big unknown. Look, some of the early forecasts coming out of private sector forecasters were that the economy would crater in the second quarter but then start growing soon after that.

That's very different than the great depression. The great depression dragged on and on for ten years, in fact it's more than one recession in the handbook. But the duration of this recession is completely unknown. Look, there are two possibilities and about a million alternatives in between.

One possibility and I don't want to sound glib, but you we do know you can shut an economy down and open it up a few months later because we see that happen with the economy of Cape Cod every winter.

The tourists leave, the businesses shut down. Six months later the tourists come back and the businesses re-open and by jingo wouldn't it be great if the U.S. economy did that. The other alternative is exactly what Diller and others are worried about.

Which is, what if at the end of this period when we've finally beaten the bug, that consumers don't have any money, consumers they are reluctant to return to the market. Businesses, my local burrito shop has gone bankrupt and there aren't any businesses there to be producing.

[20:55:10] And if that happens, then the recession could go on and on and on and on. So really, it's the duration of this recession that's up for grabs.

And I think any economist who tells you the know this will be over in three years, three years, or 13 years is kidding. The truth is we won't know until it happens, and certainly we have no indications right now just how vibrant or how weak the recovery is going to be, because we're actually still in the freefall phase.

LEMON: I think you're exactly right. Justin Wolfers, thank you so much. Appreciate your time.

More states are looking to ease restrictions this week, with more than 54,000 deaths in this country from coronavirus. We've got all the latest information, next.