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Report: Trump Administration Rejects CDC Guidelines to Reopen U.S.; Study: Llama Could Be Key to Fighting Coronavirus; E.R. Doctors Report Fewer Heart Attack & Stroke Patients. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired May 07, 2020 - 06:00   ET



DR. TOM FRIEDEN, FORMER CDC DIRECTOR: As bad as this has been, it's just the beginning.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: States across the country rolling the dice as they begin to lift restrictions aimed at halting a virus that data show is still spreading in many places.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): You have states that are opening where you still are in the incline. I think that's a mistake.

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: So the notion that everyone needs to be tested is just simply nonsensical.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Last week, the United States ran about 1.6 million tests, which is a huge improvement, but it's still not to a level that many experts recommend.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When we lose a brother, or a parent, or a grandparent, it's a loss to the living. That's what's at stake here.


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 Thursday, May 7, 6 a.m. here in New York. Alisyn is off. Erica Hill in again this morning.

Great to see you.

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, my friend.

BERMAN: So we begin with a major development in a story that CNN broke last week. We reported that the CDC had put together a comprehensive 17-page document with guidance for businesses, schools, churches that wanted to reopen. A sort of guidebook for how to do it safely.

Well, the Associated Press reports this morning that the White House doesn't want anyone to see it. The A.P. reports the Trump administration has rejected the CDC guidelines. Why?

We have reached out to the White House for response. But it begs the question: if you're going to encourage states to reopen, why not help them do it safely? If you're going to suggest someone jump into the deep end of the pool, why take away the instruction manual for how to swim?

As of this morning, 19 states are seeing an upward trend in new coronavirus cases over the last 14 days. By the end of this week, all 19 of them will have started the process of reopening. That would bring the nationwide total to 44 states reopening and not a single one, as far as we can tell, has satisfied the White House guidelines to reopen.

HILL: Part of those guidelines, of course, include adequate access to testing, and every member of the White House task force agrees testing is key to combatting the virus. How much is needed, though?

Well, the new White House press secretary says it is simply nonsensical to test every American.

Meantime, we're standing by for new unemployment numbers this morning. Those are expected to show another three million people filed jobless claims in just the last week. And when the monthly totals are released tomorrow, we are likely to see unemployment levels that have not been seen since the Great Depression.

Let's begin our coverage with CNN's Ed Lavandera. He is live in Texas, where hair, nail and tanning salons reopen tomorrow -- Ed.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Erica. And as we mentioned, this Associated Press report is detailing that the Trump administration has shelved this detailed 17-page guidebook, essentially, that was supposed to help and advise local leaders across country on how to reopen the economy.

But according to the report, CDC scientists were told the report would, quote, "never see the light of day."


LAVANDERA (voice-over): The risk of reopening is one that some business owners are willing to take.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My place is ready. Everything is ready. And my clients are more than ready.

LAVANDERA: A number of hair salons and barber shops are preparing to be back in business again here in Texas starting tomorrow. And service may look a little different. The governor is encouraging but not requiring customers and stylists to wear masks.

Texas, the second most populated state in the country, is experiencing an uptick in coronavirus cases, and some local leaders fear it could get worse.

MAYOR SYLVESTER TURNER (D), HOUSTON: I just think for me, we're going a bit too fast. You don't want to go through this again.

LAVANDERA: Last month the White House laid out recommended guidelines for states to reopen. But experts at Johns Hopkins University say --

DR. CAITLIN RIVERS, SENIOR SCHOLAR, JOHNS HOPKINS CENTER FOR HEALTH SECURITY: There are four criteria that states should meet in order to safely reopen. And not all states have adopted these criteria. To my knowledge, there are no states that meet all four of these criteria.

LAVANDERA: Nineteen states, including Texas, are seeing an upward trend in new cases over the last 14 days, according to Johns Hopkins data. And they'll all be reopened in some capacity by this weekend.

FRIEDEN: So if, as we reopen, there's a lot of spread, it will take weeks before we actually see it.

LAVANDERA: The former CDC director is warning Congress the nation should brace for the coronavirus being here for the long haul.

FRIEDEN: It will be, tragically, at least 100,000 deaths from COVID by the end of this month. As bad as this has been, it's just the beginning.

LAVANDERA: With pressure for some states to open more quickly, governors, like J.B. Pritzker in Illinois say they're unwilling to give in.

GOV. J.B. PRITZKER (D-IL): I won't open the door to overwhelming our hospital system and possibly tens of thousands of additional deaths just because a loud but tiny minority would like to indulge in that fantasy.

LAVANDERA: California Governor Gavin Newsom is expected to announce rules this afternoon for some businesses to resume on Friday, excluding office buildings, malls and dine-in restaurants.

In the state of Washington, stay-at-home orders are extended until the end of the month.

GOV. JAY INSLEE (D-WA): If we abandon our efforts that have been significantly successful today, this is -- that curve is going to go shooting right back up. This beast is going to get off the floor and bite us back. And this is just a biological certainty.

LAVANDERA: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says his state has turned a corner. But it's not enough to begin relaxing restrictions, even with overall declining rates of deaths, hospitalizations and infections.

CUOMO: Put the politics aside and the emotion aside. What we're doing here shows results. You have states that are opening where you still are on the incline. I think that's a mistake.


LAVANDERA: So hair salons, barber shops and nail salons open up here in Texas tomorrow. The governor says more businesses are slated to open up around May 18, as well.

So the push to reopen continues, even as the governor here in Texas fully acknowledges that he expects more coronavirus cases across the state to flare up because of this opening.

BERMAN: One of 44 states we are seeing reopen this week. Ed Lavandera, thanks so much for being with us.

Joining us now is Dr. Manisha Juthani. She's an infectious disease specialist and associate professor of medicine and epidemiology at the Yale School of Medicine.

And CNN national security analyst Juliette Kayyem. She's a former assistant secretary at Department of Homeland Security.

What we hear from people around the country is OK, if we're going to reopen, how do we do it safely? And as if to answer that question, Juliette --


BERMAN: -- the CDC put together this book, a 17-page book of guidelines for all kinds of organizations, how to do it. But this is what the A.P. reports this morning. "The 17-page report by a [CDC] team, titled 'Guidance for Implementing the Opening Up America Again Framework,' was researched and written to help faith leaders, business owners, educators, state and local officials as they begin to reopen. It was supposed to be published last Friday, but agency scientists were told the guidance 'would never see the light of day,' according to a CDC official."

Why on earth wouldn't you want people to see this advice?

KAYYEM: Because if there's no guidance, there is no pandemic. This is now the strategy of the White House.

Yesterday, I was thinking we all have kids. It's like when you -- young kids play hide and seek, and they think -- and they're supposed to hide. And so they do this, right, so that they -- so that they think no one sees them. This is exactly the strategy of the White House, right? That they -- if you don't have hearings, if you doesn't have press conferences from the CDC, if you don't have guidance, if you don't count the numbers of dead, it is if, to them, the pandemic is not occurring.

So my guess, my suspicion is that the CDC guidance was probably too cautious. It said go slow. It said, you know, open up slowly. The exact advice that the doctors and medical professionals are telling us. And the White House is -- thinks that that's bad advice.

You know, Ed said in the runup, just quickly, he said in the runup, you know, this is a gamble. This is not a gamble. We are -- we are choosing, these states are choosing to let the virus come back. That's not a gamble. It's a certainty at this stage. And that's exactly the White House's approach. HILL: The White House at a press briefing yesterday, Kayleigh McEnany

was asked about these efforts and governor-led efforts. And I just want to play what she had to say.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So other outside organizations have put very detailed, step by step. Here's what you should do. You should require masks. You should require them to sit this far apart. You should only have half of it open in phases. Anything like that?

MCENANY: We've put together a phased approach. Many of those guidelines are within. We've consulted individually with states, but as I said, it's a government -- governor-led effort. It's a state-led effort in which the federal government will consult.


HILL: As Juliette said, no guidance, no pandemic. But perhaps also no guidance, then, Listen, it wasn't on me.

In this A.P. reporting, there's also a person close to the White House task force who said the White House didn't want to offer guidance, because they called it a slippery slope, because it affects areas differently.

Doctor, it does affect areas differently. But as Juliette points out, there is still science to tell us what could happen.

DR. MANISHA JUTHANI, INFECTIOUS DISEASE SPECIALIST AND ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF MEDICINE AND EPIDEMIOLOGY, YALE SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: That's for sure the case. And I think that what I'm concerned about in certain communities as -- we've certainly seen that there's certain areas that seem to not have as many cases, have not had as many deaths. The healthcare system has not been overwhelmed.

But what I am concerned about is that there are going to be certain communities, especially areas that are in close proximity, so as we know, nursing homes, prisons, jails, meatpacking facilities, these types of facilities. And every day, I hear of a new one where businesses are working, where people are very close to each other that I might not have thought of before. And I am concerned about that, that there are going to be places like that where we all of a sudden get a spike or get an outbreak, and all of a sudden, there will be a large number of cases in a state that wasn't expecting that.

BERMAN: You know, Nick Valencia broke the story of the existence of this 17-page document last week, Juliette. And he had a look at some of it.

The advice here, it's not wildly controversial.

KAYYEM: Right.

BERMAN: For schools, it suggests space the seating six feet apart. Avoid non-essential assemblies and field trips. Have students eat lunch in classrooms.

For churches, it suggests think twice before you have the choir sing all together. Try to use more soloists, if you can. The collection box, maybe avoid a single collection box.

These things don't seem like kryptonite.


BERMAN: At least to me. It seems like sensible advice that people want to hear.

KAYYEM: Right. It's not -- it's not rocket science at this stage. We certainly know the better ways to do this.

And this is exactly what a federal government is for, is to -- to sort of, you know, determine what are the best practices and to provide that to communities that may not have access to those best practices or might be able to learn from other states.

So the reason not to do it is simply they are walking away from this pandemic. They are -- you know, victory, mission accomplished, call it what you will. The -- the data is clear, between the press conferences, between the going after the numbers dead. I mean, that's what Donald Trump did yesterday. Started to question how many were actually dead. The failure to allow people to testify, to speak to the press.

This administration has decided that the states are on their own and, therefore, we are on our own, and is walking away. And that's not just scary from the purposes of death and health.

It is also scary, because we are likely to have to live with this for many, many months. More people will die. If we had better federal government, federal guidance, fewer people would die. And they are making that calculation, and -- and we just have to say it. I mean, that is just essentially it at this stage.

HILL: It's not just officials who are looking for guidance. I mean, the American people want to do what they should do.

KAYYEM: Yes, exactly.

HILL: What's safe to do? What isn't safe to do? And Dr. Juthani, as we look at what we -- what we learned from New York state yesterday, it could give people pause.

Governor Cuomo saying that 66 percent of people -- and he's talking about hospitalizations -- they were people who had been at home. They were either retired or unemployed. They weren't working. They weren't commuting. And so that raises questions about am I doing things right by staying home, if we're seeing people get infected in the highest numbers that were coming in, in New York who were staying home?

KAYYEM: Yes. So when I first saw these data, I was somewhat perplexed by that. Because the national inclination is, well, if they're staying home, how did they get the virus?

But it really made me think about a patient and a family that I took care of. And the patient that I had was an African-American woman who had cancer. And the first person in her house -- so she had COVID, but the first person in her house who got the infection and was admitted to the hospital was her husband, who had an end-stage neurologic condition; and he never left the house. He was bed-bound.

But he had nurses and nurses' aides and physical therapists who came to the house. And then they also had an adult daughter who lived in the house, and they had grandchildren who lived in the house.

And so even though the patient, the index patient who would meet that exact 66 percent that you talked about in New York City, who was admitted to the hospital, never left the house, there were people who were coming into the house for both my patient and her husband.

And so I think we need to delve into those details a little bit more. I think staying home certainly helps. But I think, particularly for our communities of color, Hispanic and African-American communities, many who live in multigenerational homes in cities where multiple people may be going in and out of the house, potentially, and there might even be healthcare workers who need to come in, this brings back the point of PPE being important for anybody who's taking care of somebody.

And for people to just be aware of their actions that, if they themselves don't get sick, maybe they could bring something back home to somebody else who's in the household.

And I think that is the point that I got from that data. I don't know for sure that that's what that data shows. But that's what is concerning to me.

BERMAN: Yes. We've got to dive in much more into those numbers to learn just how much those people were staying at home who they might have been seeing.

Dr. Juthani, great to have you on.

Juliette, thank you, as always.

KAYYEM: Thank you.

BERMAN: Here's a question for you. Could llamas -- llamas -- help in the fight against coronavirus? Details of the new antibody study next.



HILL: This morning, the race to find effective coronavirus treatments has led to an unlikely hero.

Meet Winter. She's a 4-year-old Belgian llama whose antibodies actually show promise in blocking coronavirus from infecting cells. And stick with us on this one.

Dr. Manisha Juthani is back with us. Also joining us, Dr. Jay Varkey, who's an associate professor of infectious diseases at Emery University School of Medicine. And in 2014, he treated the first Ebola patient to come to the United States.

As we look at this, what we know about Winter, the incredibly helpful llama, in all seriousness, is that -- so the way I understand it, the antibodies that llamas have work a little bit differently, perhaps better than what humans have. Because they found that her antibodies worked in staving off SARS and MERS, they decided to try coronavirus, and they got a pretty good response.

And so I'm just wondering, Dr. Juthani, as you look at this, could Winter and her friends really provide some sort of hope here?

JUTHANI: I think this is a very promising start. So what we've been talking about, with people getting antibody tests is that the tests would give a signal as to whether you've been exposed.

But what we haven't known if those antibodies, in fact, are neutralizing antibodies, meaning that they could actually neutralize the virus and prevent infection.

And so what we're seeing with this particular experiment is that these antibodies do seem to neutralize the virus, which is a very exciting start. Of course, we're a far ways away from being able to test in humans and actually see if that works at preventing infection.

But it's a very interesting proof of concept and very important scientific discovery that, hopefully, will lead to more from here.

BERMAN: Yes, it's interesting. The article also points out that sharks have these smaller antibodies that can be effective but does note that sharks are less cuddly than llamas.

Dr. Varkey, if I can, not to diminish the wild kingdom, which fascinates me, I want to move on to something that -- that some people are saying they are seeing in emergency rooms in the United States.


I've heard from doctors in emergency rooms, and they are seeing, they are seeing far fewer cases of heart attacks and strokes than they've ever seen in the emergency rooms. They're also saying in some cases that they're concerned that people even with coronavirus aren't coming to the emergency room now.

So why do you think this all is? What kind of stigma or fear might there be about coming in and presenting with problems?

DR. JAY VARKEY, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES, EMORY UNIVERSITY MED SCHOOL: It's a great question, and it's something that concerns both me, as well as, I think, a lot of doctors around the country is that I think the public has heard this message to stay at home. What we're trying to hone in is recognizing that stay at home is

important in terms of preventing coronavirus in the center of a pandemic, but there are still life-threatening conditions, like heart attacks and strokes, that require immediate medical attention that, without, could result in death or permanent disability.

So I think the key is to make sure that patients are at home having those symptoms of a heart attack or stroke -- so chest pains, shortness of breath, crushing chest pain, weakness, difficulty speaking, paralysis on one side of the body -- all those should be triggers to come into the emergency room, because those are things that we can treat.

And again, as hospitals have learned to deal with this first wave of COVID-19, we also feel that we can safely take care of life- threatening conditions.

HILL: And for people -- just to touch on that point a little bit further, Dr. Juthani, for people who are concerned about going to the E.R., as Dr. Varkey points out, you know, hospitals have learned, and they know how to deal with this now. What is the message for people, even with whatever it may be for the E.R. If they're still concerned, I mean, what else are they supposed to do?

JUTHANI: I totally agree. I really hope that people who are suffering and are having medical conditions that require medical treatment come to the emergency room. We've seen this across the country. I don't think there's a single hospital that hasn't seen what's been reported of fewer heart attack patients and fewer stroke patients, fewer patients infectious diseases that we normally would see.

And I think that what patients need to realize is that we have the equipment to be able to take care of them, that we have really sorted out the initial wave of COVID-19, that we are continuing to take care of COVID-19 patients, but that we need to take care of other patients, as well.

And sometimes, I think the other thing that people should realize is that sometimes people have COVID-19 and their presenting symptom is something like a stroke or a heart attack.

I had a patient who stayed at home with diarrhea for two weeks, because she was afraid of getting COVID-19 when, in fact, that was her initial symptom. And when she finally came in, she had shortness of breath and was much sicker. So I think that people need to seek out medical care so that we can really help take care of people.

BERMAN: You know, you brought up strokes and blood clots are also something that we're seeing quite a bit of with people who do have COVID-19. And there is a new study, Dr. Varkey, suggesting that blood thinners might help patients who were in the hospital. One study found that 29 percent of patients on ventilators who were given blood thinners died, compared to 63 percent on ventilators who were not given the blood thinners.

What do you think is going on here? VARKEY: Yes, no. It's a very important dynamic and an interesting

addition to what we've learned about COVID-19 and this pandemic. So clots are something, blood clot are things that we've seen in a lot of patients of COVID-19.

And many reports have shown that they're present in about 25 to 40 percent of patients with COVID-19.

What this most recent published research that comes out of Mt. Sinai Hospital shows is that, in -- shows they treated a little over 2,700 patients between March and April with COVID-19.

And about 30 percent of those patients received not just blood thinners to prevent blood clots but blood thinners at a dose that we traditionally use to treat blood clots.

And as you said, when they looked at the subset of patients that were critically ill and on a mechanical ventilator, the group that actually got treatment doses of blood thinners appeared to have a lower risk of dying.

So what does that tell us? Well, I think it's a little too early to speculate on this. The reality is, is that if you are sick enough from COVID-19 to be hospitalized, in most cases you'll be placed on some sort of blood thinner to try and prevent blood clots.

What we don't know from this study is what the appropriate dose is. Whether it's a dose to prevent blood clots, whether it's somewhere in between, or whether it's the higher dose that we usually use to treat blood clots. And to really understand that, we'll need a randomized trial that actually compares those doses and sees whether a specific dose actually has an impact on how patients do.

BERMAN: Yes. Dr. Varkey, Dr. Juthani, it is so interesting how much we are learning and how many things are being tried as this pandemic continues. Thank you both so much for being with us this morning.


JUTHANI: Thank you.

VARKEY: Pleasure.

BERMAN: All right. Food banks reporting a 40 percent increase in demand. Coming up, a report from Pittsburgh where hundreds of cars lined up for hours to get help.


HILL: Seventy-three thousand Americans have now died from coronavirus. There have been more than 1.2 million confirmed cases in the U.S.

In Chicago, Hispanics are being hit especially hard by the virus. In Pittsburgh, hundreds of residents lining up for a drive-through food bank. CNN has reporters across the country, bringing you all the latest developments. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)


Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signaling that the three South Florida counties which were exempt from phase one of his reopening plan could reopen soon. DeSantis says he has been looking at the trends, and even though Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach.