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Dr. Murray Warns If Social Distancing Ends In May, Number Of Cases, Deaths Would Spike Again; President Trump On Re-Opening Country: I Have Great Authority If I Want To Use It; Los Angeles County Extends "Safer-At-Home" Order Until May 15. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired April 10, 2020 - 21:00   ET




ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Welcome to our second hour of 360. Chris Cuomo is home recuperating.

The worst week of the pandemic, so far. President Trump signaling that he would like the country to re-open based on signs that a peak may be coming soon.

Moments ago, I spoke with the Director of an Institute at the University of Washington, who's new Coronavirus modeling has been cited by the White House.

And I'm quoting Dr. Chris Murray, Professor Murray. He says "If we were to stop at the national level, May 1st, we're seeing a return to almost where we are now, sometime in July."

He said the rebound may not happen in every state, as some are farther along, but a substantial risk of rebound remains, if we don't wait to the point where most transmission is near zero in each state.

That matches up with The New York Times report that government projections suggest we could see a substantial spike in deaths and infections this summer, if stay-at-home orders are lifted after 30 days.

It said, lifting the current orders after only 30 days could mean as many as 200,000 deaths, even if schools are still closed, and some social distancing is still followed. Those are the government's numbers.

Tonight, I'll talk to political leaders from both Coasts about what they believe is the most prudent action going forward.

For more on the pandemic, let's go to Erica Hill, here in .

Erica, Governor Cuomo sounding cautiously optimistic that New York is slowing the infection rate, despite the high deaths this week.

ERICA HILL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, he was. In fact, he used those exact words. He's cautiously optimistic because looking at the three-day average,

hospitalizations are down, admissions to the ICU also down, and that is good news. The number of deaths though is still high, 777 on Thursday.

But he was clear, Anderson. The reason that we're seeing that dip in hospitalizations, fewer people needing to go into the ICU is because of the measures that were put in place days, and even weeks, ago that people have been following.

And so now, as you just pointed out, is no time to lift any of those orders.

COOPER: In the City here, Mayor de Blasio responded to rumors of mass burials or stories about that. What did he say?

HILL: So, there is a - there is essentially a public cemetery on - on Hart Island, here in New York City, which has been used, for some time, to bury those who do not have a person to claim their body after their death. So, there were rumors going around that mass burials would happen there because of victims of COVID-19.

What the Mayor said today is there will not be mass burials. Will people be buried there? Yes, they will. There are bodies that have gone unclaimed, unfortunately. And the Mayor was very clear to say each and every person who was brought there for burial will be treated with the utmost dignity and respect.

COOPER: And in terms of New York State opening businesses up again, something the President has continued to push for, by next month, what did Governor Cuomo have to say?

HILL: He is not pushing for it by next month. That is clear. As he has said, multiple times, you can't just flip a switch. This is going to need to be gradual.

There are a lot of things that will need to fall into place, as they figure out what the gradual re - gradual re-opening will be. And paramount to that is testing, not just diagnostic testing, but this antibody testing we're talking so much about.

He said they've developed a test. The Department of Health here in New York State has that. They can test about 300 people a day right now. Two weeks from now, he said, there'll be up to about 2,000 tests.

But the issue, as he put it, is there are millions of New Yorkers who need to go back to work.

So, he's actually calling on the federal government to bring in the Defense Production Act here because he says that testing really needs to be scaled up, and he sees that as one way that it could happen, saying New York State is ready to work with the government.

The President was asked about that at the briefing today. And Anderson, he did not seem inclined to use the DPA for that purpose.

COOPER: Erica Hill, appreciate it.

Back with us, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, also joining us is Dr. Rishi Desai, a Pediatric Infectious Disease Physician and Chief Medical Officer of the medical education website,, also joining us, Senior Investigative Correspondent, Drew Griffin.

So Sanjay, when it comes to testing, there have been, I mean, so many mixed messages.

President today said vast areas of the country don't need testing, said states, think he said Iowa in one, you know, places where there are - there haven't been a lot of cases, don't need, you know, huge amounts of testing to get back to work.

Dr. Birx said there needs to be, quote, laser-focused strategic approach to testing, a mosaic of testing combined with surveillance. Problem is we know there's not really contact tracing surveillance in place.

Can you explain what - what all this means?



I mean, you know, there's places, you know, a couple weeks ago, Anderson, thought that they - they basically had dodged all this, and wouldn't need significant testing, and now they have thousands of patients with the infection in those places. So clearly, you know, we need testing everywhere.

I think - I think what people are sort of commingling in terms of the - the definitions here, I don't think we need to test everybody in the country. I think people have thought this means complete country testing, 325 million people.

I don't think anyone is saying that. But we obviously need to do broader surveillance. So, the mosaic, I think, that Dr. Birx was talking about, continue to test people who are coming into the hospitals.

But remember, most of the people who get this infection don't need to go in the hospitals. So, find other places where people can be tested in the community, maybe at their primary care doctors, places like that.

And then also start to layer in this - this antibody testing, which is - which is the - the first test looks for the virus. The antibody testing looks for evidence that you had been exposed to the virus. That gives you some idea of surveillance as well.

All these things are going to be necessary. And then - and then, as you know, Anderson, as you and I've talked about, if you find somebody who has the infection, you know, you've got to go then trace their contacts. And that involves a lot of - that's a laborious task, possibly a lot of people involved with doing that.

So, all those things really need to happen.

COOPER: Dr. Desai, I mean Dr. Birx also stressed at epidemiology, don't know how far the virus has penetrated into communities.

She said they don't know if the almost half million cases reported in the U.S. are, you know, the tip of the iceberg, or half of the iceberg, she said, or I think three quarters of the iceberg.

I want to listen to what the former Commissioner of the FDA, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, had to say about that.


DR. SCOTT GOTTLIEB, FORMER TRUMP FDA COMMISSIONER: When we do those tests on a mass scale, they're called serology tests, when we test the population broadly to see who's been exposed to this, and developed antibodies, I think we're going to find it's a very small percentage, anywhere from 1 to 5 percent of the total population.

Now, there's pockets where it could be higher. Let's say Queens, New York is probably a higher percentage. But it's going to be low overall.

And even when you look at professionals who've been exposed to this virus, TSA workers, people who work on checkout lines in grocery stores, healthcare workers, people who touch a lot of people, as part of their job, even there, I think you're going to find that the level of exposure's probably about 10 percent. It's not going to be very high.

So, that's not - there's not this mass population of people who now are immune to this virus and can return to work safely. It's a rather small percent.


COOPER: Do you think that's accurate that a very small part of the population has actually had the virus

DR. RISHI DESAI, CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER, OSMOSIS.ORG: I do, yes. I think that's - that's about right.

And, in fact, what I think we're going to realize, which is really going in line with the comments you just heard, are that that percentage is going to vary, depending on, you know, are you talking about Downtown, New York, are you talking about, you know, rural Wyoming.

And one other point that we should make around the serology is that this test, like any test, has the chance of having false positives, and false negatives.

And we're going to have to figure out what standard we apply, to determine whether we believe that a certain level of antibody really means that you're immune, and that's going to be a big issue in the coming weeks as well.

COOPER: Drew, Dr. Fauci now there's, like Governor Cuomo, saying that testing is the bridge to - to re-opening the economy. I'm wondering what the latest you're learning about the country's, you know, capabilities for testing or gearing capabilities.

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you know, testing is getting better, testing for the actual virus of sick people. The supply is still in short supply in some places. But they are able to fill the gap by moving stuff around. So, all in all, testing is getting better.

But it is this antibody testing that is now going to be - begin to roll-out that Dr. Fauci teased today, in the next week or so, he said. And he seemed to indicate that there were more than one test.

There is only one test approved now by the FDA for EUA use. That's a very small company in Research Triangle Park that I have had trouble getting in touch with, Anderson.

So, unless there are other companies, doing these antibody tests, that are going to be manufacturing in big, big numbers, we'll probably going to have a very slow roll-out like we did for the - for the Coronavirus test itself.

COOPER: Yes. And - and as - as Gavin Newsom, the Governor of California, said earlier, it's not just, you know, the - it's not the test itself. It's the reagents that are needed, the swabs even that are needed.

GRIFFIN: The nose swabs, Anderson, the nose swabs, I hear it all the time, the nose swabs are in short supply.

And, you know, when the President says we need - we don't need to test everywhere, we do. And we need to make sure that in Iowa, when they do have a problem, they have the nose swabs that go with the tests.


Sanjay, I want to play another clip from Dr. Gottlieb, earlier.


GOTTLIEB: A rule of thumb might be that there are 3.8 million encounters with the primary care system every day - every week. You might want to test that level of people.

You might want to test upwards of 3.8 million people every week, people who are presenting to the healthcare system for whatever reason, just swab them for Coronavirus, for time being, to try to detect outbreaks while they're still small.


[21:10:00] COOPER: That's an interesting idea that basically those people who are already going to see doctors, and - and hospitals, and - and medical providers, for other things, would be tested just as a sampling. Does that make sense to you?

GUPTA: Yes, and that makes total sense.

And, you know, I think what Scott Gottlieb was referring to was primarily in the - in the office, you know, the primary care office, not even in the hospital because, you know, again, a very small percentage of people who have this infection will need to go to the hospital.

So, these are, I think, you know, he said 3.8 million visits roughly a week. You do the math. It's about 750,000 tests a day. You're starting to get a sense of what this might look like in order to be able to be doing this adequately.

Again, doesn't mean you're going to get to 325 million people. But you do roughly a million tests a day, and you're going to start to get a pretty good sense of just how widespread this is.

And again, find people who are infected, isolate them, so that, you know, you start to actually think about - we talk about mitigation. But as we end the curve here, you're going to want to go back into containment mode, and really contain people, who have the infection, as well as their contacts.

COOPER: Drew, I understand the NIH took steps forward today to start testing people from all over the country with at-home mail kits. What's the potential size and scope of that?

GRIFFIN: And - and it's a test that - I mean it's - it's a survey basically that could give us a first glimpse at how much Coronavirus has penetrated or not penetrated the United States. They want to get 10,000 volunteers, screen them over the phone.

If they fit the, you know, the qualifications, they're going to send them these at-home test kits for the antibody test, when that is ready, and then get those back. And just see, Anderson, see, in a random sampling of 10,000 people, who had it, who didn't have it, and just where the pockets are.

COOPER: Dr. Desai, we referenced this earlier. The National Academy of Sciences says that the current tests for Coronavirus infection are imperfect. The Committee cited one study of 51 Coronavirus patients that found the test missed 16 of the cases.

I know you believe you had Coronavirus, and the tests came back negative. Does - should that give us all-pause? I mean you've referenced this before. But it just seems, you know, really worth focusing on, if it's that high a false positive rate or false negative rate.

DESAI: Yes. Let's walk through that. So, you know, I had symptoms. I had cough, fever, shortness of breath.

I'm an Infectious Disease Doctor myself. So, I thought "OK, let's get tested." I did this swab. I did it correctly. And it came back negative.

Now, there are three options there. It means that either it's right, and I didn't have COVID-19, I had some other virus.

The other option is that it's saying that I don't have it now, but I did have it and, you know, if I received one of those serology test kits, I could maybe have an IgG response, and that would tell me that I had it in the past.

A third option, which is kind of the most concerning one, is that I actually do have COVID-19 right now, and the tests just missed it.

And that's what I'm getting at is that I think as you have thousands and thousands of folks getting tested, this issue is going to get bigger and bigger.

We're going to start wondering, you know, while we thought that that person was immune, and could go back out, and start a business, and now we found out that that person was, you know, touching and handling something that affected maybe hundreds of other people, and actually they were non-immune.

So, what does that mean? Do we have another outbreak on our hands? And so, I think until we beef-up testing, and have a real good clear sense and confidence that these immune levels really mean something, we're going to be basically just where we are right now, in this research space.

COOPER: Dr. Rishi Desai, appreciate it. Drew Griffin, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, always, thank you very much.

Just ahead, the President today said he - he, not the States, has the power to re-open the economy. Governor of Connecticut, one of the hardest-hit states in the pandemic joins me, coming up, to talk about that, and about the recovery effort in his State.

Also, an in-depth look at what President Trump said publicly versus what his White House knew privately, as the virus cases went from single digits to now almost half a million.



COOPER: We have breaking news to report. Just learned, according to Johns Hopkins University, today was the deadliest day in America from the virus, so far, 1,953 people died today. That's the most ever in the U.S. in a single day.

Tonight we've been talking about the - about when the country might be ready to re-open, something the President has suggested he wants to do as soon as possible. Governors issued the stay-at-home orders. It's their decision to

rescind them. President Trump, however, said today that any decision to re-open the country is his.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The states can do things if they want. I can override it if I want.

I have great authority if I want to use it. I would rather have the states use it. I would rather--

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What does that look like?

TRUMP: And this is so shocking for me. A lot of people are saying, "Wow, he's really very reasoned, isn't he?" A lot of people are shocked. They think I do a - I have absolute authority to use it.


COOPER: Joining me now is Connecticut Governor, Ned Lamont. Connecticut is one of the hardest-hit States and one of the highest death rates per capita from the virus.

Governor, thanks for being with us. Just to be clear, I mean, does the President, in your opinion, I mean most legal analysts say this is not the case, but does the President have the power to just re-open the country?

It's a decision, from what I understand, in the Constitution, that lies with governors and - and local officials.

GOV. NED LAMONT (D-CT): I think the President should give us guidance. I think the federal government should give us guidance, but then leave it up to each and every governor, because every situation is so different.

And the one thing you don't want to do is have somebody act prematurely. We remember, some years ago, the President acted prematurely when he hung up that "Mission Accomplished" sign with dangerous consequences. You don't want to be premature on the decision like this.

COOPER: You signed an Executive Order today extending social distancing measures in Connecticut until at least, I think, it's May 20th. That's more than a month from now.

Are you using different metrics than the President or - because that's not something though - the White House has done at this stage.

LAMONT: No, I'm using the same metrics as Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx.

We want to give people notice to - on to superintendents, and teachers, and students, to know what they can expect, what they can plan for. I think May 20th gives them that opportunity.


We're doing online learning. Education hasn't stopped. But I want people to plan accordingly. I want them to take social distancing accordingly. Sometimes I worry people are going to take their foot off the accelerator too early.

COOPER: What does - and maybe it's too early for you to have kind of mapped this out, but I'm sure you have folks thinking about it. I'm sure you're thinking about it as well.

What does re-opening kind of look like, I mean, in broad strokes, in terms of testing, contact tracing, because again, that's also pretty much up to each state, you know? Are you equipped to have a lot of contact tracing, you know, very extensive contact tracing, which a lot of scientists say is going to be necessary, antibody testing?

LAMONT: Look, I heard your previous panelists.

The testing, the antibody testing is far from perfect, but we got to start somewhere. And I want to test first responders, make sure those doctors and nurses going into the hospital are safe, and if they build up an immunity.

I've got tens of thousands of people in the defense industry going into factories every day. By law, we have to keep that open. So, I want them to be tested as well as a priority, to make sure those people that have to get to work can do so safely.

COOPER: And then would, you know, you see those pictures in Asia, of people with handheld thermometers everywhere, just testing random people, to give them entree into a restaurant, or into a mall, or into an office building. Is that something you think we'd likely see state to state?

LAMONT: I think it makes all the sense in the world, especially for the factories. We have thousands of people going into a factory. A factory can be just as contagious as a nursing home, if you're not careful.

Yes, I think we should have fever thermometers for all those people going in and out, so we can test them on a daily basis, and keep them safe.

COOPER: This might be a dumb question. But is that even something that - I mean, does the State have enough thermometers? I mean I personally have been looking for thermometers. It's hard to find a thermometer right now.

LAMONT: We have orders out for tens of thousands of thermometers. Thousands have started arriving.

We have some new smart thermometers, which we're going to use for random testing around the State. Those are attached to your Bluetooth, Bluetooth to your iPhone, up to the cloud, so we'll be able to track fevers all around the State, over the next few weeks, and give us an idea of how this virus is progressing or decelerating. COOPER: I think I went to every pharmacy in New Milford looking for the thermometer the other day, couldn't find one. But I'll keep - I'll keep looking.

You tweeted today that you're starting to see a flattening of the curve. I mean is this about what you expected? Is it, you know, just how do you see this? Is it, you know, are you relieved?


COOPER: It's hard to say that given, you know, the toll this is taking.

LAMONT: For us, the curve, Anderson, I define it by - by hospitalization. That's the best metric we can determine to see how the virus is progressing. Obviously, infections is conditioned upon how much testing you're doing.

So, yes, we're seeing, here in Fairfield County, which is Southern Connecticut, closest to the New York City epicenter, a slowing of the hospitalization rate. And that gives us a little bit of hope. Maybe over the next few days, I'll be able to say something more affirmatively.

But, at the same time, the virus is moving Upstate pretty quickly. But we have slowed it with social distancing. Just to remind everybody, it really does make a difference.

COOPER: Yes. And keep at it. Governor Ned Lamont, appreciate it. Thank you very much.

LAMONT: Thanks, Anderson.

COOPER: Joining me right now, David Gergen, a Senior Political Analyst and Adviser of former Presidents, Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Clinton, also Juliette Kayyem, a CNN National Security Analyst and former U.S. Assistant Secretary for Homeland Security.

David, the President's saying he has great authority to re-open the country. He can override States' decisions. It's interesting because he didn't issue a nationwide stay-at-home order. He said, you know, let's leave it up to - to the governors.

I mean, it is up to the governors in a situation like this, under law. The President, I mean, they - can issue guidelines, can use the bully pulpit, but that's the extent of it, I think, isn't it?


I think it's very clear that the President can have great influence on the states. You know, he issued guidelines, CDC issued guidelines, blessed by the President, and they did have an effect, but they were not orders.

And I think we also have seen that the governors, in the country, right now, are - are really strong a lot, and they're not going to take it lying down.

They're not going to be, you know, like Governor Lamont, he's got to May 20th. He's not going to back away, if the President comes in, and says, May 1st. He's going to contest it, and maybe it'll go to courts, going to be a mess.

But, you know, we - and you had Gavin Newsom on just a bit ago, who is saluting the President for the cooperation, and for meeting these requests. But, at the same time, Gavin Newsom is not going to allow Washington D.C. to tell him what - how his citizens should live, and how they should behave.

COOPER: And Juliette, just as it's up to the governors, and - and local officials, about how they re-open, it's also, you know, to - to do the contact tracing, to do the testing, it's also up to local officials. That's what really what it boils down to.


JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: It will. It will definitely be at the tactical level. The President's sort of under the mistaken belief that he's relevant to the task at hand. I mean it's a very odd leadership role he's taken.

He's not doing the things he ought to do and, you know, the surveillance in January, in February, getting test kits to the States, preparing all of us, for what was about to happen, using the Defense Production Act, right, to get goods into the supply chain.

And he's asserting and not - literally, it does not exist, an authority, that he can tell the governors, what to do, when it comes to powers that are reserved to the states, public safety powers, public health powers, quarantine powers.

And so, it's just a - he's just sort of trying to make himself relevant. And what you're seeing, as you were saying Anderson, and David was saying, was in the absence of that leadership, you're just seeing governors and mayors and the private sector and people, like us, who every day stay inside, sort of take matters into our own hands because of that lack of leadership.

COOPER: What do - Juliette, when you think about going, you know, a State going back to work, what--


COOPER: --what are some of the thoughts that go into that process?

KAYYEM: Yes. So, it's really it's - it's really interesting because the - the plan is being worked out by people outside of government and - and various experts thinking it through.

So, how we think about it is not a date, but metrics. So, what you would want to see, obviously, is increased testing capacity.

You'd probably hopefully have treatments come online, so that people would be, if they were infected, that they could have treatments. You'd want to look at ICU capacity, hospital capacity, and - and other metrics.

So, I don't think about a date. I don't tell my kids about a date. Massachusetts hasn't even hit peak yet. Then, as those metrics are met, then you start to think about re-opening, and it's not going to be a light switch, people, I have to tell you that.

It is going to be slow, right? You're going to start to think about places that are essential, schools, other sorts of retail. And then, you know, the sporting stuff comes at the way end. So, it's going to be a very long process. It's going to--

COOPER: So, things like restaurants--

KAYYEM: --not be completely done.

COOPER: --restaurants, bars.

KAYYEM: Go ahead.

COOPER: Things like restaurants, bars, you know, I mean it's a huge economy, restaurants.


COOPER: That's - that's later on?

KAYYEM: I think - I think what--

COOPER: Is that what you're saying?

KAYYEM: Yes. I think what you have to think is they're either served differently, so you'll have half the number of tables. They'll be - there might be testing for temperature to go into those restaurants or bars.

It's going to be so different for us. We don't quite comprehend it yet, and we're learning from other countries. But it won't be - it won't be a light switch. And the President is wrong to talk about dates.

COOPER: You know, David, it's so interesting, listening to Juliette say that about going to restaurants. I remember when David Culver, a Correspondent in China--

GERGEN: Right.

COOPER: --was talking about them testing people in restaurants before they could be allowed to have rest - go into restaurants.

And this was, I don't know, I guess two months ago. And I - I'd never heard that before. And I, you know, I was like "Wow! That's crazy that they test people in restaurants." It now seems like a totally normal wise idea. GERGEN: Yes. And - and, just think about it, if you had a dinner scheduled with four or five friends, and you - and you didn't know that whether they'd been tested, and you hadn't been tested yourself, you're going to be very reluctant to go to that dinner because you're - there's a sinister force out there, and people are frightened now about that.

So, I think that this - the re-opening is going to be very prolonged, especially when it comes to consumer services when the public is in - in public spots. You know, it's going to be hard to launch these - the football season. It's going to be hard to launch a lot of other things that bring crowds together.

Let me say one other thing, and if I might, the - the President today was talking about this is going to be the hardest decision - decision that he's going to make. It may well be the hardest political decision he's going to make because he's got a big gamble either way.

If he pushes hard, as he wants to do, and re-opens in May, he has to be gambling that he won't have a big spike. It comes - if the spike comes along in the summer, fall, he's done for re-elect.

On the other hand, if he listens to the public the - the health officials, and he says, "Let's open later," then he may well have double-digit unemployment come November, and he might be done then. So, that's - that is not an easy choice for him to make. But it's a big one.

COOPER: And Juliette, the - I mean, based on everything you know, before stay-at-home orders are lifted, yes, I mean you talked about some of the metrics that - that you would--

KAYYEM: Right.

COOPER: --that you would look at. Who determines, I mean, is it the governors--

KAYYEM: Right.

COOPER: --who determine well what a company does for--


COOPER: --for their employees.

KAYYEM: Yes, generally. So basically, what you're seeing is a whole series that people are preparing for this. So - so viewers should be sort of grateful that there's lots of planning going around, what it would look like.


So, a Governor will set the conditions of what can open, either commercial activity or, you know, curfews would impact things, transportation, all sorts of things that go into commercial activity, so the governor is basically going to set the baseline. But various private institutions, or think about companies, are thinking about staged re-opening. So that's how they have to think about it.

Because let's say you have one, you know, one store with a sick employee, you're going to have to close that store for some period of time because, as David was saying, we are - the next 18, 24, 36, months, from a planner's perspective, we are just managing around the virus. We are just living with the virus until we get a vaccine.

Now, trust me, it's going to be easier than this because we'll have more tools. We'll have, you know, ways to identify it. We'll have treatments. But we're just going to be maneuvering for a - for many years. I don't - you know, we got to brace ourselves for this.

And so, we have to think as, you know, employers, University Presidents, and - and governors are thinking about how do I maneuver and adapt around the - the virus for the next couple years.

COOPER: Yes, it's an interesting way to think of it, maneuvering and adapting around it.


COOPER: David Gergen, Juliette Kayyem, thank you very much. Appreciate it.

GERGEN: Thank you.

KAYYEM: Thanks.

COOPER: Up next, we're going to check in with the Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, as L.A. County extends their stay-at-home order as well. We'll be right back.



COOPER: Considering its size and the scope of its population, California has been fairly - faring relatively well during the pandemic. Earlier on 360, California's Governor Gavin Newsom said one key reason was early social distancing.

Joining me now is Los Angeles Mayor, Eric Garcetti.

Mayor, how's the City of Los Angeles doing tonight?

MAYOR ERIC GARCETTI (D-CA): Well, you know, it's - it's very sad every day to see the roll call. We lost two city employees this week.

But we have been less hard-hit than other parts of the country. We were one of the first cities in America to go deep with social distancing and closing down meetings.

And I think we've seen now five days in a row of single-digit increases. I certainly won't be happy until there are negative numbers day-to-day. But single-digit increases show that we are bending that curve, even though we know the peak has not come yet.

COOPER: Los Angeles County has - you've extended the safer-at-home order until at least May 15th, and I know it was originally set to end just over a week from now. Talk about why you think that was important to doing and to announce that now.

GARCETTI: Well we take our advice from doctors, not politicians, not close friends, and not just on instinct, but listening to public health professionals and that was the clear advice.

It's tough in a city like this where we're doing relatively better though it's been rough for everybody, and economically devastating for us all, to tell people now is the time to put your foot on the accelerator. But we're seeing that around the world.

Even places that have done well, early on, now are seeing spikes. Looking at history, where San Francisco, in 1918, declared victory early, only to have a whole wave of deaths.

And to a point of your earlier folks that were on the show, I think it's really important. L.A. was proud to be first or among the first in doing these measures. But we had to wait till everybody did it together because this virus doesn't care what city is first or second.

Similarly, coming out of this, we're going to have to do this together, and we're going to need national leadership to establish those standards.

My big idea is to have a CARES Corps, kind of like we've had a Peace Corps, or a Teacher Corps from presidents past that would put hundreds of thousands of Americans to work as public health, you know, professionals, helping count, track, trace, and intervene quickly, as well as to helping with the blood tests that we will need to get back to work.

COOPER: Even just people taking temperatures of people, I mean, have you - I talked to the Governor of Connecticut a moment ago. He - they said they've, you know, they've ordered a lot of thermometers.

Is that something California has done as well or Los Angeles has done?

GARCETTI: Absolutely. I mean we've had to go alone this from the very beginning. We've had a Super Governor who has helped us a lot. But I've been on the phone with mayors around the country, every night, with mayors up and down the State.

We compare what masks we have, what equipment we have, who has a line on thermometers? We've had to stand up testing on our own, even though the City doesn't have a medical department, but we've taken our firefighters.

And we had just one or two. Now we have 22 that are open. Per capita, we've surpassed what South Korea has been able to test, kind of the gold standard. But we've had to do that all basically just through our own creativity and on our own.

It's now time for national leadership to come in, and help establish these standards, whether it's new rules for the workplace, kind of like OSHA rules, help us be safe, we need now, COVID rules.

We're going to need something like a CARES Corps, people who can staff up like they're doing in San Francisco with librarians and medical school students, to help those amazing public health professionals, who don't have enough people on staff today.

These are the things we should be hurriedly doing because it's not about a date. It's about when we're ready and when we have that infrastructure. Once we do, we can see returning some people back to a much more normal life at work, at school, and out there in the general public.

COOPER: Is the - you know, the federal government giving some sort of health guidelines about an employee workplace situation, how that would actually even work, does everybody has to - does everybody have to wear a mask, when they go to, you know, inside their offices?

Do they have to - is it six feet apart still in office? That - is that being worked on, do you know, by the federal government? Are you expecting to hear that?

GARCETTI: Yes. Some - some are. And certainly, the President talked about it. I know many states are.

I certainly have an advisory group that I'm working with of - of leading economists, business leaders, workers, and others, union representatives, who are thinking through those things.

But my advice for the President, for Congress, is don't wait for this to just be dispersed to 50 states and tens of thousands of cities. Come up with some of these standards right now.

Give us funding, at the local level, for us to hire people that are out of work, to do this work, and scale up those blood tests, so that we can have those standards, those tests, and those people ready to go.


Every day we wait is one more day of economic suffering, one more day you have to find another $10 billion, or $20 billion, just to keep people alive. The quicker we do this, the better off we will be, and we'll show an example to the world of how to recover out of this.

COOPER: It's also just - we're mentioning public health departments for, you know, for decades have been underfunded all across the country.


COOPER: So, to actually ramp up, if we're going to get serious about contact tracing, and not just leave it up to the positive person to contact all the people they've been in contact with, but to actually have somebody, you know, making those contacts, and really doing it, it's going to require hiring a lot of people.

GARCETTI: Yes. One estimate, we heard this week was 300,000 people. I spoke with Speaker Pelosi this morning. We had a good call with the Administration during the day as well, with Governor Newsom trying to talk about how governors could help.

But 300,000 people, this would be a wonderful opportunity, just as President Kennedy had the Peace Corps, as President Johnson had the Teacher Corps, what better way to step up and help your country do something bigger than yourself, and accelerate the day--


GARCETTI: --in which we can get back to work and save our economy?

COOPER: Mayor Garcetti, appreciate your time. Thank you very much.

GARCETTI: Thank you, Anderson. Appreciate you.

COOPER: President Trump, of course, has been taking center stage at the almost daily White House briefings on the pandemic, sometimes speaking and taking questions for marathon sessions.

Tonight, we want to take a look at the President's timeline on Coronavirus before the briefing started, and then as they began to take shape.


JOE KERNEN, HOST, CNBC "SQUAWK BOX": Are there words about a pandemic at this point?

TRUMP: No, we're not at all. And we're - we have it totally under control. It's one person, coming in from China, and we have it under control. It's going to be just fine.

COOPER (voice-over): This was President Donald Trump back on January 22nd, one day after the first reported case of Coronavirus in the U.S. There were already more than 300 cases in China, and it was quickly spreading to other countries.

DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So this is where authorities believe the source of the Coronavirus is. It's the wildlife and seafood market. And you can perhaps see over there, it's cordoned off. You've got police at all the corners.

COOPER (voice-over): China had alerted the CDC Director about the outbreak on January 3rd.

According to the Washington Post, White House aides met with Mick Mulvaney, then Acting White House Chief of Staff, on January 27th, and asked him to get the White House to pay more attention to the virus.

President Trump did acknowledge the virus three days later during a speech in Michigan, but only to once again downplay the threat.

TRUMP: We're working very closely with China, and other countries, and we think it's going to have a very good ending for us, so that I can assure you.


COOPER (voice-over): On January 29th, White House Trade Adviser, Peter Navarro, wrote the first of two memos with dire warnings about the spread of the virus in the U.S., and he raised the question of a travel ban with China.

The Navarro Memo warned the virus could cause more than 500,000 deaths in the United States. The President has said he didn't see the memo.

But this wasn't the first time the Administration was alerted to the threat. According to ABC News, the Intelligence Community had been raising concerns about a contagion in China since November, and in early January, started including information about it in the President's Daily Brief.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When did you first learn about the Intelligence and could you have acted on it then?

TRUMP: Well, I learned when I started - when I learned about the gravity of it was sometime just prior to closing the country to China.

COOPER (voice-over): The President is referring to January 31st when the White House announced travel restrictions with China.

ALEX AZAR, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY: Foreign nationals, other than immediate family of U.S. citizens, and permanent residents, who have traveled in China, within the last 14 days, will be denied entry into the United States for this time.

COOPER (voice-over): According to The New York Times, more than 40,000 people still arrived in the U.S. from China in the months after the ban was enacted.


COOPER (voice-over): The next week, on February 5th, the Senate voted to acquit the President in the impeachment trial.


COOPER (voice-over): Though at the time, the President said he wasn't paying attention to the impeachment trial, he now says it may have distracted him from responding to the Coronavirus.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did it divert your attention, or your team's attention, or the Vice President's attention?

TRUMP: Well I don't like to think I did. I think I handled it very well. But I guess it probably did. I mean I got impeached.

COOPER (voice-over): But five days later, after the trial ended, the President was again downplaying the seriousness of the situation.

TRUMP: And, by the way, the virus, they're working hard, looks like by April, you know, in theory, when it gets a little warmer, it miraculously goes away. Hope that's true!

COOPER (voice-over): On February 23rd, Peter Navarro wrote his second memo warning that more than a million Americans could potentially die. At this point, the virus had spread to 28 countries with more than 78,000 cases.

The next day, the President tweeted "The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA." That wasn't the tone from the CDC in a briefing to reporters the day after that tweet.

NANCY MESSONNIER, DIRECTOR, CDC'S NATIONAL CENTER FOR IMMUNIZATION AND RESPIRATORY DISEASES: It's not so much a question of if this will happen anymore but rather more a question of exactly when this will happen.

TRUMP: Getting the word out so people can--

COOPER (voice-over): This is the President the day after that CDC briefing.

TRUMP: I don't think it's inevitable. I think that there's a chance that it could get worse. There's a chance it could get fairly substantially worse. But nothing is inevitable.


When you have 15 people, with this whole world coming into the United States, and the 15 people are either better or close to being better, that's pretty good.

COOPER (voice-over): Just three days later, the first death in the U.S. from the Coronavirus took place in Washington State. As the cases grew, so did confusion over testing, vaccines, and treatment.

On March 6th, the President toured the CDC.

TRUMP: I like this stuff. I really get it. People are surprised that I understand it. Every one of these doctors said, "How do you know so much about this?" Maybe I have a natural ability. Maybe I should have done that instead of running for President.

COOPER (voice-over): He also made a promise that wasn't true then, and is not true now.

TRUMP: Anybody that wants a test can get a test.

COOPER (voice-over): Testing was not widely available on that date, and it still isn't. Five days later, the President addressed the nation in the Oval Office, in a statement meant to reassure the public, but it was filled with errors, starting with travel restrictions with Europe.

TRUMP: These prohibitions will not only apply to the tremendous amount of trade and cargo, but various other things, as we get approval.

COOPER (voice-over): Trade and cargo with Europe were not included in the new travel restrictions. The President had to clarify that after the speech.

He also promised coverage for all Coronavirus treatments.

TRUMP: Earlier this week, I met with the leaders of health insurance industry, who have agreed to waive all co-payments for Coronavirus treatments, extend insurance coverage to these treatments, and to prevent surprise medical billing.

COOPER (voice-over): Only testing, not treatment, for some policyholders was agreed to by the insurance industry.

TRUMP: That's what I was--

COOPER (voice-over): It wasn't until March 13th that the President declared a national emergency, his tone, now different, than in months earlier.

TRUMP: If you're talking about the virus, no, that's not under control for any place in the world.


COOPER: Want to bring back in former Presidential Adviser, David Gergen.

You know, David, clearly the President, you know, has been in these briefings, using as an opportunity, to try to rewrite the history of, you know, his Administration's response to the virus, his - his comments about the virus.

GERGEN: Correct.

COOPER: Do you think that's successful because I mean you look at poll numbers and, I mean, again, it breaks down along political lines of how - how people see the President's response.

GERGEN: It has been increasingly unsuccessful, Anderson. I think it actually is harming him now.

Just, in the last couple of days, The Wall Street Journal editorial page came out, and told the President, basically "Shut up! Get off the stage. Leave it the experts. Come out when you need to. But leave it to the experts."

And now, Brit Hume, was a Dean of Fox News, of course, and well- respected, he's come out, and tweeted basically, "Mr. President, would you please get off the stage?"

You know, these rambling, narcissistic, apologetic - they're not apologetic, but sort of back-patting, self-congratulatory sessions are - are increasingly painful for a lot of people to watch.

I understand why he's doing it. He's - he's tucking it right up as close as he can to prime time. He's getting big audiences, which he loves, of course, and--

COOPER: Which - and which, by the way, he--

GERGEN: --visibility (ph) in the places he's rallying.

COOPER: He's literally talking about, and tweeting about, you know, his ratings on these things, which is--

GERGEN: Right. Yes.

COOPER: --extraordinary. I mean--

GERGEN: It's been very bad these days (ph).

COOPER: --I guess people think that's normal now. But that's not normal.

GERGEN: Yes. It's right. And so, you know, the - the briefings have become a joke within, and increasingly, the Press Corps is saying very negative about it.

But now, I think the public is actually turning off too. And that's why I think he'd be well-advised to pull back and speak - speak less, and more seriously, and less self-congratulatory.

But the polls, as you say, you know, the bump is gone that he got from rallying around the flag. And he's now - the CNN poll has him behind Biden by 11 points. I think that's bigger than the actual difference. But nonetheless that's a pretty big - that's a pretty big negative bounce for him.

COOPER: It is also extraordinary to see how everybody, you know, who stands up there, with the President, I mean, the scientists don't do it as much anymore.

But, you know, Vice President Pence, I mean, you know, I can't tell how many - for a while, I was counting how many times he would start a sentence with saying "At the President's direction, we did this."


COOPER: I mean it's - it is just sort of - it becomes a joke--


COOPER: --after a while.

GERGEN: I think that's right. And it's - it's beneath the dignity of the President. And, you know, I just wish for - for the country's sake, we need leadership now, at the Presidential level, that it matches the leadership we're seeing at the gubernatorial level.


GERGEN: You know with Cuomo and so many others.

COOPER: Yes. And there's a difference between leadership and cheer leadership--

GERGEN: Absolutely.

COOPER: --with the President, you know.


COOPER: David Gergen, appreciate it, thanks very much.

GERGEN: Thank you.

COOPER: Up next, we continue to remember the victims of the pandemic.



COOPER: More breaking news to report this hour. The U.S. has now recorded more than 500,000 cases, 500,399 so far and what is also the deadliest day from the Coronavirus in the U.S.

Tonight, we want to take a moment, as we often do, as we try to do most nights, to remember some of those who have passed away in recent weeks from the virus.

Chris Madden was known for his involvement in his community in Copiague, New York. He was on the school board. He was part of the town's Youth Sports League, The Chamber of Commerce. He set up the community neighborhood watch program.

The week before he died, Chris posted on his Facebook page, he asked everyone for prayers. His community mourns him, as does his wife and three children. Chris Madden was just 49 years old.

Father Jorge Ortiz-Garay, or Father Jorge, as he was known, was the Pastor at St. Brigid's Church in New York, in Brooklyn. He's the first U.S. Catholic priest to die from the virus. He celebrated mass as recently as March 19th in a live stream for his parishioners who were watching from home.


In that sermon, he said there is no better time than this - than this time of trials, this time of challenges, to fulfill our call to holiness. At these moments of trial and crises, at these times, when maybe we were asking what will happen to us, trust in the Father, he said. Father Jorge was 49. Ellis Marsalis Jr. was a New Orleans Jazz legend. He was the proud dad of six kids, four of them also renowned musicians, including Wynton Marsalis and Branford Marsalis. Ellis was a pianist, and a composer, and he was the first Chair of the Jazz Studies Program at the University of New Orleans.

In a post on Facebook, Wynton called his dad a humble man with a lyrical sound that captured the spirit of place, New Orleans.

He also said, "I grew up seeing how much he struggled and sacrificed to represent and teach vital human values that floated far above the stifling segregation and prejudice that defined his youth but, strangely enough, also imbued his art with an even more pungent and biting accuracy."

Ellis Marsalis Jr. was 85 years old.

Our thoughts and our prayers are with all those affected tonight by this virus and in the days ahead.

The news continues right now. Want to turn things over to Erin for ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT.