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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Coverage of White House Coronavirus Task Force Briefing; Interview with Governor Jay Inslee of Washington; Key Model: Only Four States Can Reopen By May 4; Key Model: About 60,000 U.S. Coronavirus Deaths By Early August; U.S. Coronavirus Death Toll Tops 36,000; Senate Dems Grill Pence Over Testing, "Not Given Clear Answers". Aired on 8-9p ET

Aired April 17, 2020 - 20:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[20:00:02]

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want to see what's happening with China. I want to see how they're doing on it. Are they fulfilling the deal, the transaction?

We have a lot of discussions going on with China. Let me just put it this way: I'm not happy, OK? I'm not happy.

And I spoke to them. This could have been shut down a long time ago. They knew it. And we couldn't get in.

And the -- for all fairness, World Health couldn't get in and that is why we took a different stance. And we took a very pathetic and a very weak stance, but they say they couldn't get in.

But ultimately, they got in. They got in much sooner than anybody. But they didn't report what was happening. They didn't report what was happening inside of China. No, I'm not happy with China.

Yes, please?

REPORTER: I wanted to ask Dr. Fauci.

Can you address the suggestions or concerns that this virus was somehow manmade, possibly came out of a laboratory in China? Have you studied this virus? What are the prospects of that?

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASE: There was a study, recently, that we could make available to you where a group of highly qualified evolutionary virologists looked at the sequences there and sequences in bats as they evolve, and the mutations that it took to get to the point where it is now is totally consistent with the genome of the species from an animal to a human.

So, I mean, the paper will be available. I don't have the authors right now. But we can make that available to you.

REPORTER: Follow up, sir. On the process that you -- we've seen for wanting the economies to open, does that concern you, though, as a health expert, when you see folks congregate? And are you worried if that's encouraged?

FAUCI: Well, I mean, I'm looking at it from a public health standpoint. I certainly can understand the frustration of people.

But my main role in the task force is making recommendations to protect the health and the safety of the American people. And I would hope that people understand that, that's the reason why we're doing what we're doing and, hopefully, we'll put an end to this.

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: I will say this. I am very, very satisfied with the decision we made listening to experts, listening to my gut, the feeling of the vice president, and really many others when we put it all together.

I'm very -- look, if we did not do what we did at the time, we could've lost more than 2 million people. I really believer that. I could show you charts of other places. They gave it a shot and they're not doing well.

And I would show it to you right now. I don't want to embarrass anybody. But they gave that a shot. And it's an automatic, I mean, everybody would say, let's do that, until they sit down and start thinking.

And we could have lost more than 2 million people. We could have lost more than 2 million -- it could've been much more than that, by the way. We have one that says from 1.6 to 2.2. But it could have really been more than that.

But I looked at one in particular, one country in particular that is using the herd mentality, not working out very well.

Now, with all of that being said, we have to get back to work. We'll be crossing lines many soon, in many cases. In some cases, we're well on the way down. In other cases, we're right at the top and heading down -- we're heading in the right direction.

I saw numbers from New Jersey which was having a very tough time. He's doing a terrific job, the Governor Phil, Phil Murphy. Starting to get some really good signs.

I looked at some of the New York numbers, they're starting to get -- they've been devastated obviously, but some really good things are starting to happen.

So, if we would have done something different -- first of all, would not have been sustainable. You would have had people, they would have been furious at you, and me, and everybody up here. It would not have been sustainable, because you look at some of the hospitals as an example.

A certainly hospital right near where I grew up in Queens, and you had body bags all over the floor of that hospital. You know the one I'm talking about -- all over the floor of the hospital. Now, multiply that times 12 or 15, because that's kind of numbers

you're talking about, 12 or 15. And it would not have been -- it would not have been -- there would have been an insurrection, nobody would have -- nobody would have understood that.

Whereas right now, nobody can be blamed, and there is no blame. We're all in a situation that was caused -- should have been solved long ago. It could have been solved probably very easily.

Look, it was a tough enemy, but probably very easily if a certain country did what they should have been done, and we're just starting to learn those facts.

[20:05:08]

But what we did was the right thing. What we did was the right thing.

With that being said, we want to get back, and we want to -- we're going to be opening up states. They're being open by very capable people. It's also a point of sale as they say in a different business.

It's a point -- they'll be able to look at where the testing is taking place. We're going to help them with testing. We've developed tremendous tests over the last little while, and we're going to work with the states and we're going to help them, but they know every inch of land in their states.

I watched the governor of Arkansas, Asa, you saw that. I thought he was terrific.

I watched the governor of Oklahoma over the weekend, being interviewed, he was terrific. They've done it a little bit differently, and they've done it tight, and they done it strong, and they were very prepared, and they have more beds than they needed, and that's a good thing.

But I've seen very, very good things and I think you can have some very positive events taking place over a very short period of time. And I think with that, we'll see you tomorrow. But really this has been -- this has been a situation where a lot of great people have been involved and a lot of great decisions have been made.

Thank you all very much.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: You've just been watching and listening to the president and his task force on a day that the coronavirus death toll has climbed to nearly 37,000 people in the country. We saw complaints grow about lack of a federal strategy on testing and saw the president call on protesters in three blue states to, quote, liberate those states.

Let's go straight to CNN's chief White House correspondent, Jim Acosta.

So, Jim, I mean, are the president and governors on the same page tonight? Because that seems urgent. JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: No, absolutely not,

Anderson. And, you know, the Vice President Mike Pence got an earful earlier today when he was on a conference call with some Democratic senators. They were telling him what governors were saying yesterday, that this country does not have enough testing right now to put people back in their offices, send people back to restaurants, and so on.

And the president was asked about this tonight. He kind of punted. But the vice president and Dr. Anthony Fauci both answered this question whether or not there's enough testing in this country, and they both answered the question essentially same way, saying that there are enough tests right now for states that are in phase one.

But, Anderson, that's clearly not enough to get us to phase two or phase three, which is a little bit more like life as we used to experience it. In phase one, schools are still closed, people are still teleworking, they're not going into the office. And so, that was admission I think from the vice president and from Dr. Fauci that no, the country is not where things need to be right now in terms of testing.

Now, Dr. Deborah Birx got up there and was talking about how private labs are starting to get into action, and that will expedite the process. But this government is playing catch-up at this point, and what you heard from the president, what you're hearing from administration officials, they want to shift this testing burden over to states.

And, Anderson, as you and I both know, we've chronicled this for the last several weeks, the states have been competing for ventilators, they've been competing for PPE and masks and so on. Now they have to compete for testing? You know, we just didn't get enough answers on that key question and it sounds as though they're still playing catch- up.

COOPER: Yes, testing and nasal swabs and, you know, reagents and everything that goes with the testing.

The idea -- I mean, I hate to talk about tweets that President Trump randomly pops out after watching Fox News, but sending tweets that Michigan, Minnesota and Virginia need to be in his words liberated -- you know, in Virginia, it was liberated and concerns about the Second Amendment, but the idea that, you know, he watched something on Fox News about protesters in Michigan, he now says liberate Michigan.

Obviously, it's states, you know, battleground states, Democratic governors, it's -- again, it's one of those things you want to take a step back and realize this is the president of the United States saying that these places need to be liberated. You know, he -- allegedly he was leaving it up to the governors because the governors knew -- and he's such a constitutionalist that governors have the right and know what's best for their state, he's saying liberate those states.

ACOSTA: That's right, Anderson. It's not enough for the president I suppose to try to turn the briefings into his rallies. He wants to have rallies at state capitals against social distancing and states with Democratic governors.

You know, talking to Trump advisors, you know, they admit that this could backfire. Keep in mind, couple of things. One is, these demonstrators are not practicing social distancing, so they run the risk of spreading this virus around.

Putting that aside, president was asked but he kind of danced around the question. He said he was comfortable with the tweets and went on to say some of the states have been too tough in his words.

But Anderson, the states are following the government's guidelines, the administration's guidelines on social distancing.

[20:10:01]

And so, that explanation did not make very much sense.

COOPER: Right.

ACOSTA: He was asked about what the protesters are doing, whether or not they're being safe, he said, well, they sound like reasonable people to me. That's the president essentially giving protesters carte blanche to continue to do this.

COOPER: Yes, the idea that you can look and say, oh, that person seems very responsible, I'm not sure how you tell that from the television of, you know, people wandering around with -- I guess they had Trump flags and therefore that's what he projects.

Jim Acosta, stay with us.

I want to dig deeper into what was said and wasn't said about testing, state governors, protesters, and all the rest.

Joining us is CNN chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, and our chief political analyst, Gloria Borger.

Sanjay, I mean, everyone we've talked to, scientists, epidemiologist, you know, I talked to a number of business owners around the country today on the phone, just -- you know, to find out what their thinking is, they all say the same thing, this hinges on the ability of states to quickly get on the same page in terms of testing and get widespread testing. It doesn't seem like the federal government or administration is on the same page with what state governors are saying.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it's been quite striking. I did some of the same stuff you did, Anderson, just really talk to people at these hospitals, and understand -- talk me through it, like what's going on here, you want to test, where are the gaps?

And Dr. Fauci referred to it. He said, we do need to close the gap here. We recognize that maybe the capacity for some places to test has improved -- state labs, public labs, university labs, commercial labs have come on line over the past several weeks, that's been a good thing. And so, and a lot of that has been at the state level. The problem is,

as you mentioned, Anderson, all the stuff that goes into saying this person needs to be tested and here's the result, all the steps from the swabs, from the medium, to transport the swabs, to the reagents, all of that has been dependent on the supply chain, some of those products come from other countries, and that's traditionally handled at national level.

So, yes, you know, when people say capacity is fine, and some places capacity is totally fine. But at the end of the day, can people still get a test safely, efficiently, you know, and someplace in their own community? And answer in too many places is still no.

I had a chance to talk to Dr. Tom Frieden today, Anderson, who you know used to run the CDC. And I specifically asked him. I said, look, whose obligation is this? You run the CDC, whose obligation is this? The states or federal government with regard to testing?

Listen to what he said.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

DR. TOM FRIEDEN, FORMER CDC DIRECTOR: It is absolutely the federal government's responsibility. Currently, we're doing in this country less than 150,000 tests a day. Earlier today, we released a report and we calculated, quite simply, if we were just testing the highest priority people and nobody else, we'd need about three times as many tests.

And since we're also testing lower priority people, we're going to need more than that. And if we tried to test really extensively, it would be 10, 20 times that.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

GUPTA: So, Anderson, the quick math there, 150 tests roughly a day being done right now. He says, in order to get to point where we have discussions around reopening things, it's 10 to 20 times that. So, you know, more than a million tests a day.

COOPER: Wow.

Gloria, seems obvious what the president is doing, you know, from the earliest days, he's obviously -- you know, once he came around to the realization this was serious and that they needed to take the social distancing things that his scientists wanted to take earlier, he's been looking for people to blame, whether it's, you know, China or WHO or the prior administration or governors --

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Democrats.

COOPER: -- or reporter, whatever, whoever it is, Nancy Pelosi.

Now, it's clear he seems to be setting governors up to blame in coming weeks and months if things don't go well, essentially putting the burden on them, and saying, you know, he's the one who has put out guidelines. In the guidelines, it says everybody should do adequate testing. But not helping governors with money for their states to do testing and contact tracing, or with negotiating bulk pricing and distributing all the reagents and swabs and everything they need.

BORGER: I mean, let's be honest, Anderson. The president is playing this -- I can't believe I'm saying it in a middle of a pandemic, he's playing this politically. And he's talking about states that could very well go blue, Democratic governors who have a lot of problems on their hands, and he's saying like tonight, he said about the governor of Virginia, Governor Northam, well, they've been too tough.

[20:15:02]

What is too tough? What does that mean might I ask when the governors are following the guidelines that just 24 hours ago, the president's science advisers outlined to the American public? That is what they're doing.

So, he can either -- if he wants to say I have no responsibility again, let him say that. He seems to want to have it both ways. And that's kind of hard to swallow.

If you're a governor in one of those states and you've got outbreaks that you're worried about or worried about maybe your curve looks a little better but you have to wait 14 days, according to the president's guidelines, what would the president have you do?

It's almost impossible to understand how a president who is supposed to be a leader in a middle of a pandemic would instead decide that it's better for him to divide the country and side with protesters whom he said by the way, I think yesterday he said, you know, I think they like me, which as we all know is key to Donald Trump. And use them so he could potentially play to his base and maybe make inroads in those -- in those states that could be up for grabs. I mean, it's just quite remarkable.

COOPER: Yes. Jim Acosta, it's interesting though, the president likens himself to a cheerleader, a cheerleader for the country. Cheerleaders stand on the sidelines while other people actually play the game, execute, you know, the plays, called the plays, coaches and players. Cheerleaders stand on the sidelines, and they work hard, I like "cheer" on Netflix as much as anybody, but those are not -- cheerleaders are not actually leaders.

The president is sort of seems toggled between a cheerleader and heckler. He's like, for a guy who doesn't drink, acts like a drunk in bar, yelling liberate Michigan, liberate -- you know, this is the president of the United States during a pandemic targeting Democratic governors so that people will go and not social distance and protest about his own guidelines, his own recommendations of social distancing in states that he is concerned about for his own election. I mean, it's so transparent as to -- it's stunning.

ACOSTA: And, Anderson, I tell you what Trump adviser told me earlier, this is merely a distraction. The president did this earlier partly because provoked by what he saw on Fox News, happened before, will happen again. But did this to distract from the dismal record he's compiled over the past weeks responding to the crisis.

And you can look at poll numbers, Gallup shows his approval rating has dropped six points in a month. That is a big drop, the American people are starting to form some fixed opinions as to how he's handled this pandemic and it's not a good one.

I will tell you, Anderson, couple other things that struck me coming out of the press conference, the president is not -- he's a cheerleader not dealing with reality. He was saying that schools are going to be opening soon. No, they're not. Maybe in a handful of states that could possibly happen, but in phase one of the president's own guidelines put out yesterday, schools stay closed, and most schools across the country are going to be staying closed through the remainder of this year.

He was also saying that one of his indicators in terms of how he's handling the pandemic, pointed to the stock market returns today. I mean has he looked at the stock market in terms of where things were before this all started? I mean, that is -- I can see Trump advisers tearing their hair out as we speak, it sounds so tone deaf when 23 million Americans have lost their jobs over the last month for the president to be turning to the stock market for sort of daily score how he's handling the pandemic.

My sense of this, Anderson, is that if the president is putting these liberate tweets merely as a distraction, he wants people talking about something else besides testing, which in many of these other metrics, which is simply aren't there yet.

COOPER: Yes, Jim Acosta, Gloria Borger, thanks.

BORGER: There's a distraction every day, every day.

COOPER: Of course, that's the strategy.

BORGER: Distraction every day. Last week he was going to adjourn the Congress or this week.

COOPER: What happened to that?

BORGER: Now he's taking after the governors. I don't know, disappeared, vaporized.

ACOSTA: Every day feels like a week.

COOPER: Yes, Jim Acosta, Gloria Borger, thanks very much.

Sanjay is going to be back shortly.

Jim Acosta mentioned that the president was asked tonight about the protesters, he's been encouraging, one governor's reaction to it. Here's what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER: Mr. President, thank you. Earlier today, Jay Inslee said that your tweets encouraging --

TRUMP: Who said it?

REPORTER: Jay Inslee said your tweets encouraging liberation of Michigan, Virginia, Minnesota were fomenting rebellion.

[20:20:04]

Wondering how that squares with the sober and methodical guidance you issued yesterday?

TRUMP: Well, I think we do have sobering guidance but I think some things are too tough. And if you look at some of the states you just mentioned, it's too tough, not only relative to this but Virginia with the Second Amendment. It's horrible thing, they did a horrible thing, the governor, and he's a governor under a cloud to start with.

So, when you see what he said about the Second Amendment and when you see what other states have done, no, I think -- I feel very comfortable.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Well, Jay Inslee is Governor Jay Inslee of Washington. And Governor Inslee joins me now on the phone.

Governor, you called the president's tweets saying liberate Michigan, liberate Minnesota, Virginia dangerous, unhinged. You just heard him say it.

I'm wondering what your reaction is.

GOV. JAY INSLEE (D-WA) (via telephone): Extreme disappointment, and frankly anger because we've lost over 500 people in my state, and we know -- saying in automobile safety speed kills. Well, words can be fatal too.

And when you have a president of the United States openly, willfully maliciously trying to encourage people not to abide by the law in these states, these orders are the law of these states. And now, the president of the United States willfully trying to inspire people to disobey and violate at law with potentially fatal consequences is unbelievably irresponsible, and I -- there's no other way to look at it.

And what is doubly enraging to us, both Republicans and Democrats, that the day before this president put out very clear guidelines based on substantial epidemiological evidence of his own experts Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx that had a lot of reason to it, and that reason is, it said very clearly that we have to wrestle this virus down significantly before we let off pressure of social distancing. This is his own physicians saying this, his own guidelines that we essentially are pretty consistent with in our state approaches, both Republicans and Democrats.

COOPER: Yes, I mean, the fact -- INSLEE: The next day to say you should ignore that is just an

outrage.

COOPER: Yes, I mean, just as he was on the podium saying that some things are too tough, meaning some of the guidelines in Michigan, Minnesota, Virginia. These are the same guidelines he allegedly saw the light on and was encouraging everybody to do.

INSLEE: If they're too tough, they're his, and they're based on decent evidence. And for a brief shining moment that lasted about four hours, we had a unified approach between the federal government and states. Then for some -- this kind of cheap bombast to do dog whistles to his base, he goes out there and creates this unnecessary tension.

Look, we're going to be working together on this, and we have sometimes, I've had good discussions with Mike Pence, I've had good discussions with Dr. Fauci, I've had good discussions with Admiral Polowczyk the other day. But we've got to get the federal government to help us get these test kits.

That's the other thing that is such a frustration because we have increased analytical ability to test but we can't test because we don't have the kits, we don't have the swabs. We need millions of swabs. We need millions of transfer material for virus, and we don't have them in any 50 states that we have enough of this.

And we have been pleading with the president to show leadership on this and he just really has not been willing to do so.

Now, some in his administration are helping, some in the supply chain are beginning to help. But until we have testing capability, we will not be able to successfully start up our economy, which should be our mutual goal. So, it would be helpful to have help from the president rather than cheap bombast we keep getting from him.

COOPER: Can you -- I mean, can you come up with any valid reason that president of the United States would not be fully leaning into getting as many tests out there as possible, you know, quick, rapid tests, so that employers could use them, people could get back to work, people could be confident and not be oh, you can get a test if you're over a certain age, or if this, or if that? But you know what, if you feel you want and need one and want to see if you were infected in the past.

I just -- is there any -- I can't think of any rational explanation other than sort of political ones of not wanting a higher count of infected people to be on his record. And I hate to even think that, but trying to think of rational reason and can't think of one.

INSLEE: Well, you know, I should not try to figure out what goes on there in that mind.

[20:25:05]

But the only thing that strikes me is just an inability to accept responsibility for this leadership position. We need somebody with the guts of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the commitment to mobilize the manufacturing base of the United States. That does not relieve governors of responsibility as well.

Look, we've got obligation to go out there and fight for material as well. And we are doing that, Republicans and Democrats, big-time. But the federal government and the president is the only organization that has the capability to order people to manufacture this equipment. It is the only organization that can mobilize the entire defense industry of the United States and the supply chain.

This is a supply chain that made 70 Jeeps in 1941 and 65,000 I think in 1944. We need the president to order the Pentagon to do that. Governors cannot do that. That's the part where we really need assistance.

And it's just been maddening because I've talked to the president several times about this and he just kind of has this view that he likened it as not being a supply clerk, but we need a quartermaster, we need somebody to take pride in creating this supply chain. It's a noble pursuit. It's what got beans and the bullets to the beaches in Normandy.

COOPER: Yes.

INSLEE: It's something you could be a hero on.

COOPER: I mean, if people are dying or staying away from being tested or unable to kind of figure out their futures because of nasal swabs -- yes, let's get a supply clerk, let's get a supply clerk, because you know what, nasal swabs is what is hobbling America right now? I mean, it's ludicrous.

INSLEE: It is ludicrous and to see it firsthand where I -- my people literally just can't wait. When we find a few thousand of these swabs, we rush to open the box just to make sure we got the right kind. That's how desperate governors are working on this.

These are Republicans and Democrats that are all doing this great work, as ambitiously and effectively as they possibly can. But they do not have the ability to turn the entire manufacturing capability of the United States to this task. Only the president is in position to do that. That's why we really need that leadership.

And we need to be working together, rather than have these -- what are distractions of these tweets to try to foment sort of insurrection against the law of the states.

COOPER: Yes.

INSLEE: And I want to repeat, look, these orders are the law of these states.

COOPER: Yes.

INSLEE: And to have a president of the United States entreat people to ignore the law, that cannot stand. COOPER: Yes. I mean, literally, he says he's fighting the war, and

he's the commander -- he's a wartime commander. He's telling parts of his army to rebel against and agitate against other part -- anyway.

Governor Inslee, I appreciate your time. Thank you for all you're doing.

INSLEE: Thank you.

COOPER: Coming up next, more on the evidence that Governor Inslee just mentioned, new modeling from the researchers that White House seems to have been leading on and hopeful bottom line they have. Some good news.

Later, a former governor and secretary of health and human services, Kathleen Sebelius, weighing in on the president's testing strategy, or what needs to be done, when we continue.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:32:03]

COOPER: The President alluded to it in the briefing tonight, new modeling from the team the administration has been relying on to help guide decisions during the outbreak being done by the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. Was just out with new projections of fewer fatalities and a number of other notable items.

For that I want to bring in the Institute's director, Dr. Chris Murray, along with Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

Dr. Murray, it's great to have you back. Can you just explain the newest modeling and how it differs from previous set of projections?

CHRIS MURRAY, DIRECTOR, INSTITUTE FOR HEALTH METRICS AND EVALUATION: Sure, we've taken advantage of cell phone (ph) mobility data to get a better insight as to where social distancing has been working. And that's led us to have lower projections for places like Florida, Texas, some of the states where we thought there wasn't as much social distancing. We've also had to upgrade our estimates of deaths in New York because the peak is lasting longer. So the combination of those lead us to about 60,000, 61,000 deaths overall.

But more importantly, we've also looked at the trajectory of the models going forward. And given some ideas about when it might be possible to think about relaxing social distancing by state.

COOPER: And what does that tell you?

MURRAY: Well, it says that it can't be that soon. Even the earliest states, let's say Hawaii, which is at a very small epidemic doesn't seem to be taking off. That's probably the first week of May, they could be thinking about it. And then we're seeing states where they really shouldn't be thinking about relaxing social distancing right out into mid-June. Some of the states, you know, where are those big epidemics unfolding like South Dakota, or, you know, Oklahoma, not so big, but in terms of the time course.

So we're seeing most states in the mid to late May. So I think the key thing around testing capacity, ability to contact trace, is you've got to wait to the load of cases in the community is at a manageable level?

COOPER: I know Sanjay wants to get in some questions as well.

GUPTA: Yes. Professor Murray, you know, so the big discussion obviously has been around testing. And we've discussed this topic with you a few times over the past few weeks. Some of these states seemed like they may have built up their capacity for testing, which I'm sure is informed your models. But if they can't get the basic supplies, like Anderson was talking about the swabs and things like that, they can't do the testing.

So that that does seem like it's more of a federal issue. How does that affect your models for each state? If these states are dependent on just materials from the federal government?

COOPER: And by the way, before you answer that, I just want to the map that we're showing on the screen, which is -- the from your modeling, just so viewers know what they're looking at the lighter states are states that could possibly open up sooner, the darker the green, you get the later, is that correct?

[20:35:00]

MURRAY: That's correct. That's correct.

COOPER: OK. Sorry, I didn't want to interrupt.

MURRAY: No, I mean, there's two factors that are going into this which is how quickly are we going to come off the peak and get, you know, cases down to a very low level? And then how quickly can the states build up their testing capacity and contact tracing capacity so that they can manage, you know, reasonable numbers.

I think we heard in the briefing today from the White House, some people talking about trying to manage a load of 200,000 cases in the community. But we believe that the risk of resurgence then would be very large. And so the best strategy is to get the number of cases down to a more manageable level, and beef up the capacity for states. If that happens, we'll revise that assessment about when seems reasonable to or say from an epidemiological point of view, to actually, you know, relax some aspects of social distancing.

GUPTA: And you put another on that right, Professor Murray in terms of what is manageable in a community, I think I read somewhere in the studies, I was looking at it less than one estimated new infection per million people, is that correct?

MURRAY: So we took a very conservative approach about this. So we said one per million because if you look at the number of contacts, you have to trace the number of people you have to screen to find the case and then trace their contacts. Even one per million is really quite a load of effort on the capacities for some states. Now, states may be able to do better, and then we can take that information into account. But compare what we're doing to Singapore or Korea or, you know, China, then, you know, we don't yet have that contact tracing and testing capacity to manage a big caseload.

COOPER: Yes, again, let's highlight that we don't yet have that contact tracing to manage big caseload again. What someone so many experts have been saying.

Dr. Murray as always, appreciate your work. Sanjay, thank you.

Just ahead, when a President Trump's favorite ways to deflect blame for the handling of the virus, attack former President Obama former Vice President Joe Biden, of course for obvious reasons the former President's HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, joins us next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:41:40]

COOPER: Tonight's coronavirus briefing featured a lot of PowerPoint slides and technical details but apparently the same bottom line federal backup on testing, but not a centralized federal plan for managing it implementing it or taking responsibility for it or funding for it.

More now on that on what it means the states and the politics of blame shifting which was also on display at the briefing and The President tweeted earlier today, "Biden Obama were a disaster in handling the H1N1 swine flu, polling at the time show disastrous approval number 17,000 people died unnecessarily and through incompetence".

According to the CDC estimates actually the death toll was about 12,000 people out of a possible range of eight to 18,000 spread the 12,000 spread over the entire year. Nearly 37,000 people have died on the coronavirus in this country in nearly seven weeks.

Joining us now, former Kansas governor, Kathleen Sebelius who was Secretary of Health and Human Services during the H1N1 outbreak of 2009.

Secretary Sebelius, the President said we're getting very, very close to seeing that light shine very brightly at the end of the tunnel. Is that what you see happening?

KATHLEEN SEBELIUS, FORMER HHS SECRETARY: Well Anderson I find what's going on just really baffling. The scientists are very much coalesced around. We have to do more testing. It's been suggested about half a million tests a day need to go on in the United States. We have to have an army of people ready. Less for smaller states more for bigger states to do contract tracing.

So when we find someone who is infected, we can indeed lockdown the virus, shut down the virus. And then we have to make progress on treatments. There is some light at the end of the tunnel. It looks like there's some positive news on treatment for the other two the testing, we're still way, way behind.

In fact, we're going in the wrong direction. There were about 100,000 tests done on the fifth of April, a week later, on the 12th of April, there was 75,000 tests done by Friday, so we're going downhill not up. But until those factors are together, people really are being urged to continue to keep these health guidelines in place. And the last thing we want is people to choose between going to work and their health or their family's health who put other people in jeopardy or danger. And so health guidelines are put in place to save lives and hopefully to save jobs in the long run (ph).

COOPER: Yes -- and I mean, first of all, the idea that again, it boils down to, you know, in some cases, swabs that we are being humbled by swabs is just extraordinary to me in this day and age. And the President at so often, and I hate to, you know, focus on this, but it's just, it is so glaring and, and it's just, I mean, this is a pandemic, people's lives are at stake, and the truth matters. The person just seems to be a bystander on this. And clearly politics is just imagine all this. I'll ask you the same question. I asked Governor Inslee, I don't understand why the President wouldn't, with full force, the federal government be getting as many tests to as many states as possible in as many different ways and getting the reagents and the, you know, you know, having some company manufacturer enough swabs it's -- do you -- does it make any sense juice Is there any rational reason the President would not be behind this and pushing this?

[20:45:05]

SEBELIUS: Well, the only thing that makes any sense to me is that if we don't test, the numbers don't change. We don't have as many infections. We know there are lots of people who are asymptomatic, who don't show signs of the virus, or wandering around affecting other people making other people sick. But as long as we don't test, we don't know where they are.

I live in a state of Kansas, where we are one of the least tested states in the country. Our numbers are low. That's good. We have very few people in the hospital. That's good. We've had deaths, unfortunately. But what we know is there thousands more cases around us and until they get identified until we can do contract tracing people won't be comfortable going out and about.

The President doesn't want his numbers to change. That's what he said in early March. He's still saying it the federal government is the only authority who can command companies to make the supplies we need. Who can make sure that we use the purchasing power and the logistics power to get test where they needed, who can send test from a very busy lab to a lab that is less busy? As scientists have said, if you have a test that takes more than 24 hours to get the results, it's really not effective.

COOPER: Yes.

SEBELIUS: Because I mean, it's circulating.

COOPER: You think that the President doesn't want his numbers and I know his numbers is phrased that you pointed this out to me.

SEBELIUS: Yes.

COOPER: I didn't talk to you a couple days ago on air. That's a phrase he used when he was at the CDC, talk about his numbers rising. You think it's a calculation? He doesn't want that on his record?

SEBELIUS: Well, what he has on his record right now is we have 22 million unemployed Americans. We've had over 30,000 deaths and that's in a six week period of time, and we need to make sure that we don't have more deaths. And we don't have more economic tragedy, the only way the economy of this country is going to recover is if we get a handle on the virus and we have Anderson, you said light at the end of the tunnel. I mean, this is a marathon until we have a fully vaccinated nation.

We need to have a plan that goes from mid-April where we are right now with some pretty shocking numbers to a full vaccination program in the United States. And if we're not going to use the muscle and the logistics and the revenue of the federal government, to get supplies to get personal protective equipment for our frontlines, to get ventilators, what in the world are we going to do when we have a vaccine available?

What are we going to do in terms of getting that vaccine throughout the country and then distributed in a fair and equitable passion.

COOPER: Yes.

SEBELIUS: We need and a national (ph) plan.

COOPER: Should also just point out that term light at the end of the tunnel is a term that the Johnson administration folks started to use that gentleman Westmoreland and others I think was in like six -- late '60s, late 67 or 68 about the Vietnam War. And of course, the war dragged on for four years after that. It was a very, very long tunnel indeed. Sadly, Senator Kathleen Sebelius, appreciate your time. Thank you.

SEBELIUS: Good to be with you.

COOPER: Just ahead, the head of one company that just got a government grant worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Joining me to talk about the timeline for his company's vaccine trial and how long we'll may have to wait if indeed it works. We'll be right back.

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[20:52:15]

COOPER: Returned to the hunt for vaccine now which is producing promising even market moving headlines last 24 hours. Testing for vaccines obviously still in the early stages no drug has -- has received FDA approval.

Tonight when I talk to the leader of one company who this week received $483 million in government grant money to help develop a drug that has shown some promise. Joining us now is Dr. Stephen Hoge, president of the biotech company Moderna and back with us also is Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

Dr. Hoge thanks for being with us. I know you just completed phase one of your, of your trials and are about to start phase two. Can you talk about what that entails exactly? And how does it work?

STEPHEN HOGE, PRESIDENT, MODERNA: Sure. So first, a point of clarification. We announced this week that we've actually fully enrolled the original phase one study.

COOPER: OK.

HOGE: That's actually being conducted by a The National Institutes of Health, Dr. Anthony Fauci's team and they've actually amended that protocol to add a couple of additional phase one cohorts to look at some older Americans. So 55 to 70 and 71 plus. And the goal is to build out a complete data set on safety and immunogenicity vaccine.

COOPER: So when you say you fully enrolled it, that -- does that mean it is started? Or I'm not sure if it starts when you're not fully enrolled? Or how does that work?

HOGE: Yes, so the original study is actually we've just all the subjects in that study the original 45 subjects across three dose levels.

COOPER: Got it. OK. And just -- can you just talk about what you hope to see here and what the sort of the timeline will like be?

HOGE: Yes. So for the -- for the phase one, what we're looking at always, first and foremost is safety. But also we're looking at something called immunogenicity, which is a measure of the ability of the vaccine to develop what we hope will be a protective immune response from patients receiving.

What we'll do from here, what we announced this week is we're hoping to start a phase two study in the next month or two, that phase two study will be in several hundred subjects build out that data set both on safety and immunogenicity and hopefully provide a substantial body of data by the time we get to the summer.

COOPER: Sanjay?

GUPTA: You know, Dr. Hoge, I think it was it was your company that Dr. Fauci also said, has the ground speed record now, I think or something like that land speed record for getting this trial up and going. It's pretty fast. But let me ask you this, I mean, is this sort of a binary thing Dr. Hoge? In the sense that if you're not getting good response, can you tweak at that point? Or do you have to sort of start from the beginning again, how does that work?

HOGE: Yes, one of the advantages that we have with our platform is because we essentially provide instructions for the body to make its own vaccine, if you will, we use a technology called messenger RNA. We're able to substantially change and tweak that vaccine as we go through, now that has to be done in a responsible way from a clinical trial perspective.

[20:54:58]

But if we needed to make changes to the vaccine either the protein we're encoding, the antigen in the vaccine or other features, we should be able to do that much more flexibly using our current platform. We don't foresee that to be a challenge. But it is something that we're able to do if it's necessary.

COOPER: And what's enabled you to move -- to move so fast. I mean, is it literally people just, you know, working around the clock and getting more people and just working more?

HOGE: Yes, I mean, it's certainly we've been, it's felt like a sprint that started three, four months ago and continues to this day, every, every day. And so we have that people work around the clock. One of the key advantages that we have had is our platform. So our approach, it's new, but our approach to making vaccines is based on something called messenger RNA, as I mentioned, which actually is a set of instructions for making your protein. It's in every cell in life, it's in every cell in your body. It's how all of biology works to select a protein to make.

And in fact, coronaviruses, this SARS-COVI-2 virus, its genetic information is encoded in a large messenger RNA inside of it. What we do is traditional vaccine approaches you'll manufacturer of vaccine by literally making the virus or sometimes making a protein on the virus and scaling that up significantly. What we will do in our cases, you'll actually just provide the instructions, we'll just make that messenger RNA provide the instructions given directly to the patient so that they can develop an immune response.

COOPER: Wow.

HOGE: It sort of a difference between a software approach and a hardware approach. Instead of the hardware making that virus or making the protein, we just use a software approach. And because the same four ingredients are used every time it literally it's just the order of the letters and the genetic code that make up the information. We can move pretty quickly in a pandemic situation such as this.

COOPER: Yes. Dr. Stephen Hoge, I appreciate all you and so many other folks are doing and working on right now in different ways. Thank you so much. Appreciate it.

Sanjay, thanks very much. So Sanjay is going to stay with us.

A lot more ahead as the coronavirus death toll continues to rise. We'll talk -- take you to Jacksonville, Florida, were local officials in Jacksonville, Florida today reopen the beaches, the public and we'll show you what happened.

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