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Life In America Will Be Radically Different Until Vaccine; Trump Halts U.S. Funding Of World Health Organization. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired April 15, 2020 - 07:00   ET



ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN NEW DAY: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and all around the world.

And we begin this morning with a future vision of America's new normal. California's governor, Gavin Newsome, has laid out his vision for how to reopen that state. He sees face coverings for everyone for the foreseeable future and temperature checks in public places and waiters wearing masks and gloves while handing out disposal menus.

For schools, he sees staggered student arrival times and reconfigured classrooms. He does not think that people will be able to go to large gatherings, like sporting events or concerts.

As for timing, Dr. Anthony Fauci calls may 1st, the president's timeline, overly optimistic. He says the country is not there yet. First, we would need the capacity for widespread testing.

President Trump now acknowledges that it is the governors who will make these decisions, not him.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN NEW DAY: So, Alisyn, this morning, we're also getting a first look at the national plan developed by FEMA and the CDC which was obtained by The Washington Post. And that the CDC warns that until there is a vaccine or some kind of herd or public immunity, some level of mitigation will be needed. That echoes researchers from Harvard who say some level of social distancing may be necessary through 2022.

More than 26,000 Americans have now died. The nation just set a single-day record for fatalities, nearly 2500 deaths reported in 24 hours. In just moments, I'm going to speak to New York City's mayor, Bill de Blasio. New York City just revised its estimate of deaths, much higher than before.

Meantime, President Trump is blaming the World Health Organizations, announcing that he is halting funding to the WHO.

CAMEROTA: Okay. So let's begin all of these developments with CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Sanjay, great to see you. Let's just start with Gavin Newsom's vision for how to reopen his state, because I think that it is -- it's so visual and it's so stunning, I think, for some of us to try to get our heads around what our futures might look like.

So just -- I'll pull it up one more time. He's saying everybody will be wearing face coverings. He's saying that there will be temperature checks in public places. We've seen that obviously in other countries.

When you go out to a restaurant, imagine this, Sanjay, you're greeted a by waiter wearing a face mask, gloves and you're given a disposable menu and you're seated far away from other patrons.

And then the classrooms, different arrival times and no large gatherings of concerts and sports. It's just such a different way than we had been living.

Does it comport with the vision that you've been imagining for the past couple of weeks?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I mean, we think about the idea that there won't be some switch that suddenly goes off and life returns to normal. What is the gradual sort of return going to look like? And when a vaccine comes, ultimately, will life return more to what we think of as normal? Maybe, maybe not. I mean, there may be some things that we still hang on to from what we have all gone through with this coronavirus.

One thing I want to point out, Alisyn, you read between the lines on all these various proposals coming from the states or from the federal government, there's always this idea that there's these triggers built in before any of these plans can start to take place. There's got to be testing in place and you've got to see downward rates of infection for this to happen.

And I read closely through Governor Newsom's programs last night -- his proposal, I should say, last night, and same thing there. It's like here is what we're envisioning, but we're going to reassess. We're going to make sure once we see the numbers, the testing, that's all in place, then we can actually start to trigger some of these things into place.

But I think it's very true, whether it's California, the region of the country or other places, that it's going to be a gradual incremental sort of re-entry into society. And for some people, people who are considered vulnerable people before a vaccine is available, I think it will be even more of a gradual re-entry.

BERMAN: Yes, I think we used the word, normal. I think that's the wrong word. I think what's crystal clear as we wake up this morning, is that it will be radically different, radically different, and for some time. The Harvard School of Public Health has this new study which was published in science, which says that intermittent social distancing might be required until 2022.

Now, again, I think this is part and parcel of the same thing as California and, by the way, with CDC and FEMA are putting out right now, saying that we are in this for a while and have to make these fundamental changes. The question is, Sanjay, why? Why do we need to live like this, in this radically different way until 2022?


GUPTA: Well, the virus is still out there. I think that this is a fundamentally interesting point. But probably most people understand that as we see the numbers, thankfully, start to go down or plateau at least in certain places around the country, other places of the country we still don't have full vision on, but still that the numbers are going down, it doesn't mean the virus isn't out there still. The virus is still out there. It's a contagious virus. It can obviously cause people to become very sick. Even in certain cases, they can die from this. That part is true. That is the constant in this entire equation.

People come up to me and they say, well, it looks like the risk is low to the general public. It's only point -- whatever the percentage is at any given time. And I remind them, that is because what is happening right now in the United States really and most places around the world is unprecedented. I mean, think about this. You couldn't have imagined this four months ago, that is why the risk is low right now. As we start to reemerge, there will be people who will get this infection that otherwise wouldn't have gotten this infection.

Now, I do want to say, obviously, I read the report that suggested possibility of intermittent distancing until 2022. That was one trajectory they laid out in the report. They did say that people may start to develop immunity just as a result of exposure. We have to see how widespread that immunity is with these antibody tests and how strong that immunity is. And, obviously, a vaccine would completely change that equation.

I have to tell you, it was very interesting. I was speaking to the head of the vaccine development program for the federal government and she said last night that it is possible -- and we'll go back and pull the exact quote -- but it is possible by this fall that on an emergency-use basis, they could have a vaccine available, for example, for healthcare workers.

Now, there're a lot of ifs into that statement. And she says, for the general public, it would still follow that year, year-and-a-half timeline. But, obviously, that's 2021 at the latest, not 2022, if this works.

CAMEROTA: Sanjay, that would be a game changer. I mean, that would be a game changer if that vaccine could be available for healthcare workers. That would be -- I mean, everybody would heave such a a sigh of relief if that could actually happen.

And I just want to ask you while we're talking about these government agencies. So if the Harvard study is one extreme, okay, so if 2022 is what the Harvard -- one of the trajectories of the Harvard study is looking at, the other, I think, much sooner extreme is what the CDC and FEMA, what their plans seem to be. And from what we know, they're looking at a couple of things to do in May, so next month.

So by May 1st, they would have a national communication campaign, which would be helpful, about I guess what to expect and how the guidelines for what people should be doing. Then, by 5/15, they're hoping to ramp up the manufacturing of test kits and PPE, which, again, that would be very helpful. And then after that, stage re- openings in some places. So, I mean, that's obviously the much more optimistic timeline for what we might be looking at in the future.

GUPTA: Yes, I think it is optimistic. And I don't want to sound pessimistic by saying that sounds optimistic. But the thing about it is that we already have enough data, where we are right now, to sort of know at least how the next several weeks or months are likely to unfold.

And I would go so far as to say that most of the people within the public health community who are even working within the federal government are looking at the same data and saying, okay, our strategy is to sort of to slow roll how we're going to present things to the country.

We don't want to tell them right now that it is likely that this is going to go through May, these stay-at-home sort of orders. And we don't want to say that because it's not optimistic and people may become discouraged by that.

But the data is what the data shows. And the models that they're relying on that they keep citing, if you read those models more carefully, yes, they show lowering death projections, thankfully. But they also show stay-at-home orders that are extended at least until the first week of June and perhaps longer. They're constantly evaluated on a day-by-day basis.

The big issue is even more so the trajectory of the numbers is, in all these places, you've got to make sure you have testing available. I know we've said this so many times, but what does that mean, not just the number of tests.

But, Alisyn or John, right now you want to get a test. Let's say you want to get a test today and you want the results today. Could you do that? Maybe you could. Maybe you couldn't. But there's a lot of people out there who would say no to that question. The answer to the question has to be yes in most places around the country, not just the number but the availability on a practical standpoint.

BERMAN: All right. Sanjay, stand by for a second here. Let's talk more about the now and the future.


Joining us is the mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio. Mr. Mayor, thanks so much for joining us.

We've been talking a little bit about what California Governor Gavin Newsom says will happen in that state as it begins to reopen parts. And it's interesting, right? You have restaurants with waiters wearing masks and gloves. You have everyone wearing masks in public. You have disposable menus. You have schools with staggered starting times. What do you think New York City will look like when it begins to reopen?

MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D-NEW YORK CITY, NY): So, John, I think what Governor Newsom is saying is actually on the right track. But every place is going to be different according to our reality. Look, we need the testing. That's the bottom line to get to any of these visions. Federal government still has not provided testing to this country. That's the central problem they have to fix.

You know what we're doing now, John. We're creating our own tests here in New York City. We just couldn't wait any longer. And even though we thought it wasn't necessarily possible, we put together some of the great minds in the city and the tech companies, the universities, the research labs, we said what's it going to take to produce them right here and now we're 50,000 tests per week producing by the beginning of May and we're going to expand that.

I think a lot of other places are going to have to do the same thing if the federal government doesn't get its act together (ph).

BERMAN: Everyone agrees that testing is a crucial prerequisite to any kind of relaxing of the social distancing measures. But I guess my question is what do New York City residents have to be prepared for in terms of how they will live when some of these measures are relaxed and things begin to reopen?

DE BLASIO: So, John, the first thing to be prepared for is the fact that is not, as Sanjay just said, an on/off switch. It will take time and we should get it right. John, my concern here is one false move, move too quick and open up too early and then see a resurgence of the disease and that would be the worst of all scenarios.

So what I'm saying to New Yorkers is, let's get this right. We're giving New Yorkers a lot of information about what the health indicators are showing, to say to people we're all in this together. What everyday people do is what's going to determine the future here. So, smart social distancing, smart shelter-in-place, sticking to it to really make sure we've turned a corner.

And if that takes more time to get it right, I would much rather we'd sure that a reopening is careful and smart than, God forbid, as we've seen in some parts of Asia, kind of a boomerang effect where it was too early and then it really hurts the economy. I think if there's a smart stimulus plan by the Congress going forward, because we're clearly going to need more, plus a smart, careful, staged reopening, that's the best way forward.

BERMAN: Gavin Newsom, one of the things he said, I'm not thinking about -- we're not even considering sporting events or things with audiences. Now, the president has said he is sick of watching sports that are 14 years old. I know you're a Red Sox fan, but when can you envision people sitting in a Yankee stadium?

DE BLASIO: I think it's going to be a while. I think we all are missing sports. Everyone who is a fan is missing it deeply. But, again, exactly the point, if we move too quickly, put 50,000 people in a Yankee stadium, and that's part of why you see a resurgence of the disease, that would be the worst of all worlds. So I think that's one of the things later in the trajectory we have to first prove that we can contain this disease.

To get to the next phase literally means getting to the point where we know each individual person who has contracted the coronavirus, we're tracing all of their contacts, we're doing isolation and quarantine for anyone who needs it, we're testing all the time. John, that's months away to begin with that we get all that right.

You can't have sporting events and big crowds until you can prove that you brought this disease down to something very limited and you're holding there. Because, again, one false move, take our foot off the gas, we will regret it. We've got one chance, John. We got one chance to actually contain this thing and then we can do a proper smart restart. And we do it too soon, I guarantee you, we'll regret it.

BERMAN: A couple more questions. You mentioned the stimulus. How much federal money do you think that New York City needs to backfill everything you've lost over the last several weeks?

DE BLASIO: If you're just talking about the money we've lost because our revenue is gone, our tax base is gone, our economy is gone, 5 to 10 billion is the amount of money we've lost that we would normally use to be able to support our first responders, our basic services, everything that keeps the biggest city in America going. And we're one of the economic engines of the country.

We're not going to be able to provide basic services and actually have a normal society if we don't get help from the federal government, so we can restart, so we can actually have a livable working city again. If it doesn't come from the federal government, it's not going to happen.

So Congress has got to get back and do a stimulus to help cities, help states, helps everyone get back on their feet and actually sustain a normal economy again.

BERMAN: Overnight, New York City started a new way of reporting deaths, not just the confirmed deaths in the city but also the probable deaths in the city.


If you add the probable deaths, that's another 3,700 people killed by coronavirus in this city alone. What do these numbers tell you?

DE BLASIO: It's sad. What they tell you is we've all gone through hell here. And the fact is, we have to be honest and always acknowledge the full impact, the human impact, the impact on families this disease has had. We think it is smart and really fair to those families and to everyone to say, look, a lot of these deaths, the folks who were with these people, the medical professionals at the time. They couldn't confirm it was COVID because there wasn't time do a test or they didn't have a test available but they thought that's what it was. We should be honest about the full extent of this. And that bluntly should inspire us to really get it right. This disease is ferocious, John. And we should never take it lightly.

So we wanted to be honest about the bigger picture we were seeing. And it's horrible for those families but I hope it says to us, never underestimate this disease and get this right and lock it down once and for all.

BERMAN: Mayor Bill de Blasio, we appreciate your time this morning. Thanks very much for being with us.

DE BLASIO: Thank you, John.

BERMAN: So what do countries with some of the most successful responses to coronavirus have in common? Well, some people looking at this say, female leaders. We'll discuss, next.




DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: Today, I'm instructing my administration to halt funding of the World Health Organization while a review is conducted to assess the World Health Organization's role in severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus. Everybody knows what's going on there.


CAMEROTA: President Trump blaming the World Health Organization for the severity of the pandemic here in the U.S. and announcing that he plans to halt the more than $500 million in funding to that organization.

Joining us now is former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power. She is the author of the book, the Education of an Idealist. Ambassador Power, thank you so much for being here.

What do you think of President Trump's plan to halt the half a billion dollars to the WHO?

SAMANTHA POWER, FORMER AMBASSADOR TO UNITED NATIONS: If I had to sum it up, I would say sheer madness. It's obscene. It's strictly political, really, an attempt to divert from what we all know has been a gross mismanagement of the prevention phase of this in the United States and the response phase, and it's tragic because the World Health Organization now is moving into a phase where it is going to try to help avert a catastrophe in the developing world.

If we think about how difficult it has been for us in the United States with our sophisticated healthcare system to manage this crisis, imagine living in a slum in a developing country or in a refugee camp. And in places like that, the only place you really have to turn for expertise and for financial support is the World Health Organization when governments themselves can't provide the resources.

So the timing of this is particularly catastrophic because it is just about to wallop parts of the world in vulnerable communities that really can't handle it. I mean, Trump has a point about aspects of the World Health Organization's response that have been problematic. The problem is his very criticisms are ones that you could levy just as easily at him, overreliance on China, flattery of China, sucking up to China, to put it in an undiplomatic way.

I mean, that's something that we saw it characterize the early phase of the U.S. response led by President Trump, and downplaying the crisis until it was too late, missing the month of February, as he did, to get the testing apparatuses in place and put in place the kinds of guidelines that we have now but at the time when it's already spread across the country.

CAMEROTA: And believing China -- I mean, believing China's narrative on this, not thinking that they weren't -- that they were somehow being transparent, as we have all the montages of President Trump saying these same very things.

And so if that half a billion dollars dries up, as the president is threatening that it will, what is the consequence? How on the ground will they feel that?

POWER: Well, let me make clear. This is -- he's cutting off our voluntary contributions, our assessed contributions, what we have been paying. And, by the way, he attempted to cut World Health Organization funding in half before the crisis because he was so determined again to ignore the warnings of public health professionals, the intelligence community and so forth.

But what we really need to be doing is dramatically increasing the amount of support we're offering to humanitarian organizations, and particularly the public health agencies and organizations who are out there in the field. So this is just -- this is cutting back from steady state as if we didn't have a pandemic. These are just our regular payments to the World Health Organization.

The effects, look, I mean, other countries are going to probably step up. The United Kingdom made a big announcement last night. And maybe there will be some success in filling the gap again that comes from us cutting the contributions we've been making even before we had a pandemic on our hands. But who is going to lead the world?

One of President Trump's critiques of the World Health Organization is that they are too China-centric. By retreating from international organizations and by offering no leadership at U.N. security council or in the group of seven, really, anywhere that people can see, it leaves the field open to China, but it's not a field that China is in a position to fill it in or know how to build a global coalition, like we built, the Obama administration, to deal with Ebola or to deal with ISIS or get the Paris agreement. China has never done anything like that, building something like that from scratch.

And so it's the money, but the money is now just proxy for the absence of the United States on a global stage.


CAMEROTA: Let's switch gears and let's look at the countries, that when they saw coronavirus coming, they did it right and have been able to squelch the outbreak and had very few deaths. And there's something interesting about these countries. So if we're looking at Iceland, Taiwan, Germany, New Zealand, Finland, Norway, Denmark, they all have female leaders.

So there's an interesting piece in Forbes that sort of spells out that that may not be a coincidence. What do you think it is about female style of leadership that was able to fight this in a way that so many other countries, from the United States to China, to the U.K. hasn't?

POWER: Well, I think the leaders of those countries would be the first to say that it's early days. So I think we start there, that they have had early successes in terms of testing, in terms of prevention, and also each of the leaders you mentioned brings a combination of compassion and rigor, I think, to the way that they've engaged the public, fact-based, evidence-based, science-based early, but also really showing empathy and showing -- and speaking to the humanity of what's at stake here in the crisis.

Some of the qualities that they've exhibited are qualities that women all around the world are exhibiting, and studies show empathy and ability to put expertise over ego perhaps more frequently than others, and, again, valuing of the importance of global coalitions.

I guess the two things I would flag in this correlation at least, if not causation, and we can't go that far yet, but the first is, think of what it takes to become a leader of a country as a woman and the kinds of qualities that these individuals have to have had in their lives to be able to navigate all the barriers that have existed. I mean, there's a reason that only 10 percent of world leaders are women when we're 50 percent of the world's population. So you're likely, if you've made it as a woman to become a head of state, you've got a set of qualities that are to position you quite well, one would assume, for an emergency.

The second, I would say, is that the other correlation with the individuals you've mentioned, is that they're all leading democracies. And we know that there's a big debate about who will handle this better and what it says about the future of the world and the battle between the democratic model and the authoritarian capitalist model that China represents.

But I think these are leaders who, again, have relied on science and facts, who have been transparent, who have been prepared to be accountable to their citizens, who have been prepared to change course when the data indicates it's time to do so. And so I think that may correlate with some of the qualities again that women are showing in other fields, but it certainly correlates with the values that democracy brings to bear that other models simply don't do so.

CAMEROTA: Really interesting. I mean, they also displayed characteristics that we used to assign, I think, to men, which were decisiveness, being proactive, taking strong measures quickly. So I think it's just a really thoughtful, thought-provoking piece there in Forbes. I recommend it to everybody.

POWER: One last word is just to think how those women are influencing also what women around the world associate with leadership. This combination of toughness and decisiveness but also just (INAUDIBLE) and her compassion and the way she can speak to children and adults alike. I mean, that's the kind of leadership we need in this century.

CAMEROTA: Really interesting. Ambassador Samantha Power, thank you very much for all of the information.

POWER: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: So many unemployed Americans are desperately in need of relief. They have rent, they have bills, but they have not been able to get money yet. One couple shares their personal story, next.