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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Georgia To Reopen Some Businesses This Week; Governor Admits Coronavirus Cases Will "Continue To Go Up"; Harvard Researchers: To Reopen And Stay Open, At Least 500,000 People Must Be Tested Per Day; Currently At 150,000; Pence Tries To Reassure Governors On Testing Supplies While Trump Insists Responsibility For Testing Is Primarily On The States; New Bailout Package Would Include $25 Million For Testing; Pres. Trump On Speaker Pelosi: "She's Been Very Nasty"; Protesters Demand Ease Of Stay-At-Home Restrictions. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired April 20, 2020 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: And good evening. There is breaking news tonight. The governor of Georgia State where more than 700 people died of coronavirus, announcing what he called, "A small step forward in reopening the state."
In fact, it's anything but small. Everything from gyms to barber shops, to bowling alleys, even tattoo parlors, nail salons will be allowed tore open by as early as Friday. By next Monday, theaters and restaurants. The governor also acknowledged that his decision means that cases of the virus would probably continue to go up, but that the State is a lot better prepared to handle it, he says.
We'll be joined shortly by Georgia Mayor to get her take on what that could mean. We'll also ask our medical and public health professionals about speedy timetables, especially for businesses involving close personal contact or many people gathered in close quarters. We'll also talk to one of the authors of a new study on the level of testing needed to reopen the country safely.
And just give you a heads up, the number according to this study is a large one, much more than testing then is currently taking place. In fact, according to the study it would mean about a million more people getting tested in a single day than have been tested so far in the entire outbreak. Only about 4 million people have been tested so far in this country
Tonight, the President and his task force talked a lot about testing, about the, "Tremendous capacity," that states possess, but, "Didn't understand they have," until they were told by the administration. The President also said, "We are in very good shape on testing." He said, "We are going to the outer limits on testing."
And the President's own admiral in charge of testing said, "There is excess capacity every day." Another official talked about plans for producing millions more swabs and other supplies for processing samples in the coming weeks, but not much talk from the virus task force about shortages that state governors in both parties say they are experiencing right now.
A lot to get to tonight. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi joins me shortly on the fight over the next installment of federal economic relief, a fight still being waged at this hour. But first the bigger picture, CNN's Nick Watt joins us from Los Angeles. Nick, so talk about what we have been seeing today and what else is known about the states like Georgia that have announced reopening plans.
NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, what we are seeing is the governors taking the President at his word. These governors are pushing ahead with their own unilateral plans on reopening. Texas opened state parks today. Tennessee, some businesses are going to open a week from today.
Louisiana, they're hoping sooner rather than later. Kentucky, they say they haven't reached the benchmarks yet. Illinois says it may treat different parts of the state differently. Now, wherever we open, whenever we open, we will see an uptake in cases.
And as you mentioned, the Governor of Georgia acknowledges that, but he says he's confident they have the capacity and they will be able to keep on top of it.
WATT: Reopening this Friday in Georgia, gyms, bowling alleys, barber shops and some other businesses that can't do work from home.
GOV. BRIAN KEMP (R), GEORGIA: This measure will apply statewide and will be the operational standard in all jurisdictions.
WATT: Monday, restaurants will also reopen. Kemp says all businesses that are reopening must screen employees for illness and practice social distancing.
KEMP: By taking this measured action, we will get Georgians back to work safely.
WATT: South Carolina expected to open stores and beaches Tuesday, which were open all weekend in Jacksonville, Florida, with social distancing rules flagrantly flouted.
REP. DONNA SHALALA (D), FLORIDA: I think that decision was reckless. It shows you how undisciplined the leadership of this country has been because we do not have a consistent message.
WATT: And there are still hot spots. Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia. One more pork plant just closed indefinitely in Minnesota after an outbreak. Nearly 10% of U.S. pork production is now shutdown. And cases continue cropping up at nursing homes. The CDC now mandating that residents and their families are informed about outbreaks, along with the CDC.
SEEMA VERMA, MEMBER, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS TASK FORCE: And we are also paying for labs to go out to nursing homes to collect samples.
WATT: Meanwhile, our leaders struggle to balance the pain of the virus.
DR ARNOLD WEG, COVID-19 SURVIVOR: And I had the sense that I was drowning at certain points. I was unable to even stand up.
WATT: With the pain of the shutdown.
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: You don't need protests to convince anyone in this country that we have to get back to work and we have to get the economy going and we have to get out of our homes. Nobody. The question is going to become, how, when, how fast?
WATT: One influential model suggests just these four states can safely open first on May 4th. Still, two weeks from today.
ALI MOKDAD, PROFESSOR OF HEALTH METRICS SCIENCES, UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON: What we are reporting is a level a state can comfortably move to a containment stage.
WATT: That level is one new case per day per 1 million people. So, for example, New York State would need fewer than 20 cases per day. Right now, they're still seeing more than 5,000.
All large events in the city -- concerts, parades -- were just canceled through June. The governor now wants a bump in pay for essential workers.
CUOMO: When you were home with your doors locked, dealing with cabin fever, they were out there dealing with the coronavirus. I would say hazard pay, give them a 50 percent bonus. And I would do that now.
WATT: Apparently, at one new case per million per day, a state will have the capacity to care for that patient, and also trace and test their contacts. Bottom line?
ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Unless we get the virus under control, the real recovery economically is not going to happen.
COOPER: What can you tell us about the possibility that more people in California may be infected than originally thought?
WATT: Anderson, this is a stunning study. It's just in its first phase; it hasn't been peer reviewed yet. But, through some antibody testing, researchers here in L.A. County, they estimate that the actual case count in Los Angeles County might be 55 times higher than the confirmed case count we've been working with.
So, on the benchmark day they took, there were nearly 8,000 confirmed cases in L.A. County. They reckon there could, in fact, have been around 440,000.
It is going to be fascinating as the antibody testing picks up, as we analyze the data over the next few months to really figure out what we have actually been through, and, frankly, what we are still going through -- Anderson
COOPER: Nick, appreciate the reporting as always. Nick Watt in Los Angeles.
Joining us now by phone is Shirley Sessions, the mayor of Tybee Island, Georgia, who we should point out previously clashed with governor Camp in Georgia over reopening island beaches.
Mayor Sessions, what is your reaction to governor Kemp saying that businesses like gyms and tattoo parlors, nail salons, massages, bowling alleys, massage businesses, can reopen as early as Friday, and theaters and restaurants will be allowed to open next Monday?
MAYOR SHIRLEY SESSIONS, TYBEE ISLAND, GEORGIA (via telephone): Well, obviously, it was a very -- a shock. I think that we had all hoped that we would hear something to the effect that maybe the extension would go a little further, maybe into middle-May. Certainly not this quickly.
And I think, you know, while some people -- obviously, I would love to have my hair done, but, really, is it essential? And I think the bigger -- the bigger problem, the bigger issue is our community. Is our community really ready? Are the businesses really ready to take this on?
I've done a lot of surveying, just locally. In Tybee, we are a terrific community. It is a great concern that when people hear the beaches are open, the restaurants are open, that -- you know, business-as-usual -- is the concern to our residents that we're going to be having people from New York, New Jersey, all the hot spots, here on a very small three-mile island. And we're really not ready.
We don't have lifeguards in place. We have a very small staff that we haven't really stepped up for the season. And more importantly, you know, when people come in, what are they going to leave with, and what are they going to leave us with?
So it really is a very big concern for our community, as far as safety. And, of course, we all -- we depend on tourism. We want our workforce back in place, but we want it to be safe. We want our businesses to be safe, and we want our residents and our visitors to be safe.
SESSIONS (via telephone): Yes, it's a big concern.
COOPER: How do you deal with this? Because, I mean, the governor made it clear this applies across Georgia. You know, local officials can't change it. So how do you do this?
Because, I mean, do you even -- do -- are there enough, you know, things to take temperatures of people? Thermometers that businesses would use to even take temperatures of employees or people coming into an establishment?
SESSIONS (via telephone): Yes, Anderson. Right now, the city of Tybee, we have the capacity to test all our employees, so we do have that testing right now, although we are working from home, most of our non- essential staff.
But the restaurants -- this is what it's going to really boil down to, unfortunately. It's going to be up to the restaurants and the consumers, the citizens to decide, are they ready?
Are the restaurants ready to -- to, you know, ramp up their workforce, to buy food, to wonder if -- are people are going to come, or they're going to -- or are they going to, you know, be set back more financially if people don't come. And is --- do they have the spacing that allows for six feet distancing? And also, are consumers -- is the public really ready with a level of confidence to go out right now in such a short amount of sort of time to -- to prepare?
So, the bottom -- at -- at the end of the day, it's going to be a test to -- to the public to decide. Government cannot tell them what to do or -- or what not to do. They're going to have to make the best decisions based on all of the good advice they've gotten from Public Safety, from health departments and CDC, and decide what's best for their families, for themselves and the businesses, what's best for their staff and --
SESSIONS (via telephone): -- for their -- for their customers.
COOPER: The -- the governor admitted that the decisions will cause cases to, quote, probably -- he said -- go up, but he feels that the state's better prepared than a month ago. Obviously, one always has to balance, you know, getting back to business and -- and the harm that does to people in -- in not getting back to business. But also, you know, when he says cases go up, that's the potential of people dying.
SESSIONS (via telephone): It -- and it's very scary. We have a very small vulnerable population on Tybee, a high-risk population. We have two nursing homes on Tybee. We have a small beach, and it's -- it's very congested when people come, because it's a very popular beach.
And with people coming and going, it's -- you know, there's just not a lot of time for planning. And we had hoped that we could have a couple of weeks for our businesses, for our community to really plan for a true phase 1.
And because we know people want to get back to work, the city is looking at ways that we can help our small businesses with cash flow. So, we -- we're aware of that, but at the -- not -- we don't want to risk the safety of our community and of -- of the country.
So, it is a shock, and we are just going to have to understand what we can control and what's -- what's -- what's, you know, not under our control. And we're accepting that, and we're looking at ways that we can make a positive difference --
SESSIONS (via telephone): -- in our community.
COOPER: We -- we wish you the best there, Mayor Sessions. Appreciate it, thank you --
SESSIONS (via telephone): I appreciate --
COOPER: -- very much.
SESSIONS (via telephone): -- it. Thank you so much.
COOPER: More perspective now from another Georgia resident who also practices medicine there, CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Sanjay, you heard what the mayor had to say. We know, and you heard, what the governor had to say. Georgia does not meet the White House criteria for reopening right now. How potentially dangerous is this decision?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: I -- I mean, I'm very concerned about this. I -- I -- there's been a lot of pressure, I realize, on the governor from small businesses to -- to open up. I -- and I'm -- I'm sure there's been some tough calls, but this one's not -- not a tough call. It doesn't meet the most basic guidelines.
I mean, part of it's the numbers, Anderson, which you've been talking about, we've all been talking about. We can look at the -- the graph and see how the numbers continue to increase in the state of Georgia. That's where we are on the curve. I think anyone can look at that. I mean, everyone's been paying attention to this. Does that look like a state that should be reopening right now? It doesn't, it isn't. I mean, that -- that's what the data and evidence shows.
I just was exchanging messages with the mayor of Atlanta, as well, who is -- is quite shocked, I think, by -- by the governor's decision here. If you look at the percentage change between the last couple of days in terms of just deaths, it's 13.8 percent difference between, you know, the -- two days ago and -- and yesterday, in terms of the numbers actually going up. So that's obviously a -- a concern. But you -- you know --
COOPER: So, wait, and the --
GUPTA: -- and it's --
COOPER: The -- the more --
COOPER: -- people are dying, the -- wait. The numbers are still going up? GUPTA: The numbers are still going up. You know, you're supposed to
have a 14-day downward trajectory in terms of cases, a 14-day downward trajectory in terms of symptoms, people are reporting symptoms. But you look at the graphic, and then you --
GUPTA: -- look at the numbers, and the numbers are still going up, you know. They -- they bounce around a bit, but there's clearly not been a 14-day downward trajectory. So, it doesn't meet the basic guidelines. I also think that, you know, it's -- it's just one of these things, Anderson.
So -- so what -- so people, are -- are they -- should they be worried when they go out? I mean, are they going to go to a place where you obviously can't physically distance, like a nail salon or a hair salon or a massage parlor?
Have those places -- have they had their ventilation checked? Because that's been a real concern. That was part of the guidelines for places of business to have that checked. Have they gone through deep cleaning? Has the person you're about to not physically distance yourself from been tested?
I mean, how is this going to work? I mean, there's the pragmatic physical distancing part of it, then there's the psychological part of it.
And I -- I -- I didn't know if we have this restaurant graphic or not. I -- I just was going to show you, this came from a study in China, that they -- OK, we don't have it. But I'll just describe it to you. There was three tables at this restaurant in China. There was one person in the middle table that has tested positive for the coronavirus.
And what they found was that most of the people in those surrounding tables also subsequently tested positive, and they had contracted it from this one person. It wasn't because of anything in the air conditioning duct system, it was just because of the proximity of people.
This is a contagious virus. Again, I don't relish the decisions these governors have to make, but he's way too early. He was way too late shutting down the state, way too early opening it back up.
He acknowledges people are going to get infected. That is true: whenever we open things back up, people are going to get infected. But right now, those numbers are going to be much higher, I think, than absolutely necessary to be.
COOPER: Sanjay, appreciate it. Thanks, Sanjay.
Coming up next, one of the authors of a study that says millions of people will need to be tested every day to safely get the economy running again.
Shortly, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, whom the president lashed out at again today, on talks with the White House over more relief for a battered economy, and what it may take to reach a deal, and when.
COOPER: If there was a single thread running through tonight's coronavirus task force briefing it was that, when it comes to testing, state governors just don't understand how good they got it.
That was pretty much the message we repeatedly heard from the president and others. You'll remember Larry Hogan, President and others. You'll remember Larry Hogan, the Republican Governor of Maryland, told CNN Jake Tapper, "It's not accurate to say there's plenty of testing out there and the governors should just get it done. That's just not being straightforward."
Well, the president was asked about it tonight. CNN's Kaitlan Collins did the asking. She joins us now. Kaitlan, what did he have to say about that because I mean the president and some governors are still clearly not in sync on testing?
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: No, and the president has kind of tried to is going to try to dismiss this as it's Democrats playing politics here. But this is a Republican governor in this case who said their number one problem has been and still is a lack of adequate testing.
And the president said today on a call that the vice president had with governors that they provided them a list, Anderson, of labs in their state that they could be using for coronavirus testing. So, I wanted to give you that context. Now, listen to what the president said when I asked, "If there's enough testing in the United States, then why is Maryland's Republican Governor going and buying half a million tests from South Korea?"
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And take a look at that map. The Governor of Maryland could have called Mike Pence, he could have saved a lot of money. Look at these different places. And that's Maryland right there. So, he could have saved a lot of money, but that's okay.
COLLINS: Do you think he didn't need to go to South Korea for this testing kits?
TRUMP: No, I don't think he needed to go to South Korea.
TRUMP: I think he needed to get a little knowledge it would have been helpful.
COLLINS: Now, Anderson, the admiral is standing there to the president's right is in charge of testing and he seemed surprised like he didn't know that Hogan had bought these tests from South Korea.
But we should note that Hogan did respond later to Wolf Blitzer telling him that that list of sites that the president and the White House provided him, he said that some of those are not even accessible for them because they are federal entities.
COOPER: So, they can't use those tests, so the White House, according to Hogan, the stuff they're showing on there is not applicable to the governor.
COLLINS: He was saying the list that they gave them basically saying that there are these other labs in their state they could be using for these coronavirus testing, Hogan says he's well aware of what's in the state. He's gone to some of them, they're not being helpful or they're inaccessible to him.
So, he was pushing back on that argument from the president and he's just overall saying that they do not have enough testing and that's why he spent so many hours on the phone with the South Korean Government trying to get these tests from those labs overseas.
COOPER: Right, it would not be the first time there's been a misleading chart being shown from the White House podium by this task force. Kaitlan Collins, thanks very much.
We mentioned at the top of the program a new study that could have a lot to say about the breaking news tonight plans in Georgia and elsewhere to permit certain close contact businesses to reopen as soon as Friday.
The studies from researchers at Harvard University and the central prescription is daunting given the current state of play and I'm quoting now from the report. "We need to deliver 5 million tests per day by early June to deliver a safe social reopening. This number will need to increase over time, ideally by late July to 20 million a day to fully remobilize the economy." Now, just for a perspective, about 150 now tests are currently being done per day. We're talking about 5 million to 20 million.
Joining us now, one of the authors of the new report, Danielle Allen, the director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University. Dr Allen, thank you so much for being with us. You are among many advocating for this --
DANIELLE ALLEN, DIRECTOR OF THE EDMOND J SAFRA CENTER FOR ETHICS, HARVARD UNIVERSITY: Thank you, Anderson.
COOPER: --massive increase in testing, you were saying that this is what it's necessary, 5 million a day by June, 20 million a day from July. Why do we need so many tests?
ALLEN: Sure, absolutely. The really critical thing is to ask the question, what are we using tests for? It is the purpose of tests diagnosis or is the purpose of tests control of the disease? Currently the administration is really targeting numbers that are about diagnosis and the administration is actually right, they have ramped up testing.
We are getting to a place where we have the numbers, we need for diagnosing people who are in the hospital needing treatment and we want to distinguish one kind of respiratory infection from another. But what we actually really need is enough tests to control the virus, to keep this spread from increasing, to decelerate it over time.
The reason this matters so much is because asymptomatic people are a huge percentage of the transmission of the disease. About 20 to 40 percent of people carry the virus, pass it on prior to having symptoms or without ever having any symptoms. And currently the CDC guidance is that there is no priority to test asymptomatic people. So, this is really what the fight about testing is about.
Can we also use tests to test rather, asymptomatic people? We need to use tests to test asymptomatic people to break the chain of transmission. It's the only way we're actually going to get the virus under control. And if that's the goal -- if control is the goal rather than diagnosis, we don't have enough tests. So, the fundamental fight is actually are we just trying to use tests for diagnosis or do we also want them for control? Do you want them for --
COOPER: Sorry. How does it break the chain of transmission to be able to test asymptomatic people and enough of them?
ALLEN: Sure. So, we need a combination of testing, tracing and supported isolation. So, when you can test broadly -- so, for example, right now, 40 percent of the workforce is working.
40 percent of the workforce is in essential jobs. Health care, public safety, etc. So it's not the case that everybody currently is already doing stay-at-home things. Parts of the economy are open.
And in those parts of the economy, people are transmitting the virus to each other. So what you want to be able to do is test health care workers broadly, for example, routinely. And when you find positive individuals, even if they don't have symptoms, what you do is you sit down with them, you figure out who they have interacted with recently, what public spaces have they been in, and you start tracing contacts and identifying other people who should also be tested for the virus.
And then, when you find more COVID-positive people, you do the same thing. You trace their contacts as well. And so what happens is that first person you found has maybe been sick already or had the virus for five or six or even seven days. And they may not have symptoms yet, because that sort of can when the symptoms show up.
So, but then when you trace their contacts, then you're finding the next person, who has only actually been infected for three or four days. And then you trace again, and you find the next person, who has only been infected for one or two days. And so what you're doing is shrinking the number of people; each of
those people has the chance to infect. And that's how you actually get the virus under control, is by reducing the sort of amount of time people stay sort of in circulation in the population while they have the virus.
Because as soon as somebody's identified as COVID-positive, even if they have no symptoms, then they really need to be in isolation. "Isolation" is the technical term: in layperson speak, we would say "Quarantine." But isolation is what we call it when a person has the virus, rather than quarantine, which is for when you don't know whether a person has the virus or not.
So that means they have to stay home from work. And so, for some people, staying home from work is a tough thing. Maybe they don't actually have paid sick leave. So it's really important it be supported, that there be job protection, that there be material support, so this is what people can realistically do.
COOPER: And, realistically, I mean, what does it take to be able to test 5 million people a day, or do 20 million tests a day? Which, I mean, sounds like, obviously, a huge amount.
Is that -- I mean, when you're talking those numbers, I assume you're talking about large employers having the capabilities to test on-site, that are a rapid tests?
ALLEN: Yes, exactly. Or 12- to 24-hour turnarounds in labs.
But actually, I want to say something about the White House briefing today. I took that list of labs that the White House was providing to be good news, actually. And I want to just explain why I took that to be good news.
So, there are two things to know. There are two different ways to ramp up testing. The first is, you can think of it as the brute force pathway. Which is to say, you simply increase the existing capacity in the existing supply chain, OK? Now, the second pathway is what you can think of as the innovation pathway, where you simplify the process and you can scale up to higher levels.
So, on the brute force pathway, sort of the existing supply chain for testing: one of the biggest choke points is swabs. So when the White House says they're going to get up to 20 million swabs, they're going to use the Defense Production Act to get those swabs going, that's actually really good news, it's positive news. It means they are trying to ramp up the existing supply chain.
And that's part of the story, and that will get us that sort of level of 5 million tests a week, which is what we need from a diagnostic point of view. But to get to 5 million, you also need the sort of innovation. And that's saliva tests and a simplified testing process.
COOPER: It's really fascinating what you do, Dr. Danielle Allen. I'm sorry, I mauled "Danielle," earlier on, I don't know why I --.
ALLEN: That's OK, don't worry. No, it's all right.
COOPER: But that's really fascinating. I want to read more about the test. Thank you so much for being with us.
ALLEN: Sure. Thanks for your time.
COOPER: Just ahead, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi joins me to discuss the lack of testing. Also, the negotiations over a new bill worth hundreds of billions of dollars in aid to small businesses. We'll be right back.
COOPER: The lack of widespread testing we've been discussing tonight is also a flash point in negotiations for a new small business rescue package. Hundreds of billions of dollars are at stake: expectations are for an agreement possibly as early as tonight. However, Democrats want the deal to include a requirement that the Trump administration draw up a national testing strategy.
President Trump, meanwhile, has repeatedly said that testing is an issue that must be handled primarily by states, and not the federal government. Two people have to sign off on a deal. The president and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also have, obviously, been in conflict. He called her dumb after she called him a poor leader.
This is what President Trump said today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Nancy Pelosi's been -- she's very nasty. She, you know, wasted a lot of time with an impeachment hoax.
I mean, I understand the game. They have a little bit of a majority, so they say, "Let's do something, and let's try and stir it up." But they wasted a year. They wasted tremendous -- we could have been doing things that would have been great for our country.
They should have been looking into China: they should have been looking into China, as an example. A lot of people are blaming the Democrats for wasting all that time because it was during that period of time, as you know, that it was fomenting.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Joining me now to discuss the negotiations, Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Madam Speaker, thanks for being with us.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), HOUSE SPEAKER: My pleasure. COOPER: Obviously, I want to talk about the negotiations. I don't know if you -- I want to give you the opportunity to respond to what the president said, just earlier today, if you want.
PELOSI: The president used the word "Waste" three times, at least, in his comment, and I think it's a waste of time to even comment on what he said. When he uses negative terms to describe anyone he wants to hoist blame on, instead of taking responsibility.
I spoke the truth when I said he's a poor leader. He never accepts responsibility, he always assigns blame.
But it is fascinating how the press is just enamored of his press statements and that every interview has to start with what he said.
COOPER: Where do negotiations stand right now on the small business funding deal?
PELOSI: As we speak, we're in conversation with the final language. We have, I believe, come to terms on the principles of the legislation, which is a good thing. Then, but it's also in the fine print and so now we're down to the fine print.
But I feel very optimistic and hopeful that we'll come to a conclusion tonight so that it can be taken up tomorrow in the Senate and Wednesday in the House of Representatives. But we can't go until we have the final agreement, but we're close.
COOPER: Can you talk about what has been the hold up or what are sort of the parameters of what the, you know, discussion has boiled down to?
PELOSI: Well, we all as part of CARES one the bill supported investing in our small businesses. They are the most optimistic entrepreneurial ventures in our country, the source of job creation, wealth creation, and we thought that it was a good idea to invest in them to protect jobs with the Paycheck Protection Program. Before you know it, boom, all of a sudden, they were already out of money.
And when the secretary came and asked me for $250 billion, a quarter of a trillion dollars in 24 hours, I said, "Well, we want to see the data on how that is spent, but also we want to make sure that we are -- as long as we are going to the floor, that we do so in a way that makes sure that everyone can participate in the program."
So, part of our initiative -- and they said, no, no, no, until about 100 hours ago they said no, and now they've said yes. So, we have really about $120 billion more for small businesses in there geared to our under-banked communities, women and minority owned businesses, native
American, rural America, veterans, small business and the rest, so they have the place to get these benefits as well. In addition to which, we asked for $100 billion for health, so that would be 75 for the hospitals which is so needed and 25 for testing.
As you said, testing is one of the places where we want the language to be as good as we can agree to that we need a national strategy for testing. Testing is the key that opens the door to our economy. Testing, tracing, and isolation.
COOPER: Why do you think it is that the administration is pushing back on the testing piece of this? I mean, they continue - you know, just today they were saying, "Well, look, it's being underutilized. Obviously, the devils in the details, and when you actually start to look at it, that is not the case. There are governors who are, you know, searching the world for swabs, of all things, and that's, you know, among re-agents, and other things our hold up.
PELOSI: Our governors, Democrats and Republicans alike, have been really champions, a leader of the National Governors Association, Governor Hogan, a Republican, my governor Gavin Newsom, Governor Cuomo, other governors have really been champions on all of this. And let me just say to the president, it's never too late to tell the truth. It's never too late to do the right thing. Stop misrepresenting about the testing.
We passed our first bill, three bills we had in March, all bipartisan. We're very proud of that. The first one passed in the house on March 4th. Testing, testing, testing. Here we are a month and a half later and we still are falling short. We have to do much more.
Your scientists on the program have told you that. So, let's do it right because unless we can test, we do not know the size of the challenge that we face. Unless we test, we cannot contact trace. Unless we test, we then cannot isolate for the period of time that will make the difference. Prevention and treatment are very much a part of all this as well. Test, trace, isolate.
COOPER: I talked to former HHS Secretary Sebelius the other day who raised the possibility that maybe one reason the president isn't pushing for such widespread testing -- you know this Harvard study is now saying, you know, as much as 5 million tests a day, maybe up to 20 million by July to get things back to where -- Sebelius was raising the possibility, and again she, you know, this was just a possibility in her opinion, that the president doesn't want -- he views if the numbers go up the number of people who are positive or who have had the virus, that that somehow he believes will hurt him politically.
PELOSI: Well, that's no mystery. He said that when he didn't want the Americans to get off the ship because he said that would increase the numbers early on so he's in a denial.
COOPER: He said he didn't want his numbers to go up.
PELOSI: Yes, he's been in denial and, therefore, delaying for a long time and that has been deadly in terms of this pandemic. But, again, it's not too late to tell the truth or to do the right thing, and I hope that he will.
[20:40:00] This has -- for the -- the back and forth between the governors and the president is very interesting, because he on the one hand wants to look like, "Well, we have all we need, let the governors do it," but the fact is that the -- it doesn't add up, and it has to add up.
We need to have the testing that we need. We need to have the re- agents, the technologies, to do the test. We have to have the skilled personnel to take the tests.
And we have to have people believing that if they take the test and they are positive, that there is an answer for them, that they will not be incurring large expense, and that there might be some place other than their home to stay, so that they are not bringing the pandemic into their homes.
So there are answers that we have seen all over the world, and in our country we have great experts. Science, science, science, science. I always say it's such an answer to everything, and, indeed, it is an answer to our prayers.
COOPER: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, I appreciate your time. Thank you.
PELOSI: Thank you. My pleasure.
COOPER: Up next, the promise of antibody testing. Why governors and health officials have high hopes for these tests, and what their success could mean for reopening the country -- but also some concerns about too much faith being put in these tests. We'll be right back.
COOPER: The question about when states should reopen their economies, it may hinge on something that we mentioned earlier in the hour, antibody testing. New York State began antibody testing today, it's hoping to conduct as many as 14,000 per week.
The tests measure whether a person has previously had the virus -- that hopefully will give health officials clues about infection rates, as well as who might have immunity, though right now we still cannot say for sure if antibodies mean immunity, and if they do, even how long that immunity might last for.
One country that has already begun antibody testing, South Korea, reported over the weekend that just over two percent of those who supposedly recovered, later re-tested as positive. However, "The New York Times" reports those tests, many of which are made in China, come with big question marks about their accuracy. Joining me now, Florian Krammer, a professor of the -- the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York.
Professor, I -- I think for a -- a lot of people, there -- there is certainly a ray of hope over the prospect that if you got infected, as terrible as that would be, you might not get infected again or at least for several years. At this point, what do we know, and more importantly, not know about how effective antibodies in humans work against the virus?
FLORIAN KRAMMER, PROFESSOR, ICAHN SCHOOL OF MEDICINE AT MOUNT SINAI: So, at this point in time we make assumptions based on what we know from human coronaviruses. So, there's four coronaviruses that cause common cold in -- in humans. And if you get infected with these viruses, you are protected for a certain period of time, could be one to two, maybe three years.
And we have also seen that people who got infected with SARS in 2003 make antibody responses that neutralize the virus. And these antibody responses are detectable about two to three years.
And so, right now we are extrapolating, and we are assuming that people who develop neutralizing antibody responses are going to be protected from re-infection. Now, this is an assumption. This is something that needs to be studied. And currently, we don't understand how much of these antibodies you need, what titers (ph) you need to be protected. And we also don't understand how long-lasting that immune response will be.
COOPER: Yes. And -- and I -- and I think I know the answer to this, which is, we -- we don't know because there hasn't been enough time yet to study it, but when will we know, or when do you think we might know for sure if antibodies equal immunity and for how long?
KRAMMER: So, we will know that relatively soon because studies are ongoing. They started already to figure out if people who have these types of antibodies, neutralizing antibodies and high titers (ph) of them, can be reinfected. I think it will take about two to three months to figure that out.
KRAMMER: But, of course, we cannot predict then if this immunity will last for two or three or four years. So, we need studies where people are followed for that period of time to really figure out for how long they are --
KRAMMER: -- protected.
COOPER: Is it the same for everyone, or would there be certain things like, you know, heredity, for instance, that might contribute to how protective antibodies work?
KRAMMER: We don't know yet. But what you can assume is that people who have more severe infections make higher antibody titers (ph).
KRAMMER: And you can also assume that if you make higher antibody titers (ph), that these antibodies will last longer.
COOPER: Yes. KRAMMER: Again, they're assumptions right now. Studies are ongoing to look into that. But you can assume that people who make higher antibody responses are protected for a longer time.
COOPER: And what about mutations of this virus? I mean, do all viruses mutate? And -- and do we know if this mutation -- how that affects things one way or another?
KRAMMER: So, yes, certainly all viruses mutate. Coronaviruses are not viruses that are known to, what we call, antigenically drift. That is what inflames (ph) the viruses too, for example, so they change constantly, and that's why we need updated vaccines every year. Coronaviruses are not known to show that behavior.
Again, we have to see what the future brings, but so far it does not look like there is -- or like there are antigenic changes with the viruses when they spread geographically. So, I don't think that's the biggest worry at this moment in time.
COOPER: If immunity is not for sure and if someone were to be reinfected, would the virus likely be the same strength as the first time?
KRAMMER: You can assume that the virus infection would be much milder, because, even if you get reinfected, your immune system reacts much faster because it has already seen that virus.
Even if your antibody titers (ph) at the time of infection are lower, you have something that's called memory B cells, so B cells -- cells that produce antibodies that come back. Remember, the virus make antibody responses quickly, so you could assume -- you should assume that if you get re-infected it's probably going to be a mild infection, and it's probably going to last for a shorter period of time.
Again, those are assumptions, and this needs to be studied, but from what we know from human coronaviruses, that's what we can assume.
COOPER: And, professor, to those watching, what's the best health advice you would suggest as more testing is done?
KRAMMER: For now, stay at home, and wear a mask if you go into public or into crowded spaces. That's the best health advice that is out there right now.
COOPER: Professor, I appreciate all your efforts and your expertise. Thank you.
KRAMMER: Thank you very much.
COOPER: Take care.
Time, now, to check in with Chris, to see what he's working on for "CUOMO PRIME TIME." Chris -- hey, you got a visitor. CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: That is the face that tells the story. I am now allowed to be around my family. So even though I'm still doing the shot from the basement, because this is where we're signed up, Cha Cha is now back in my life.
We're still taking it slow, we're not all hugging up and kissing and all that stuff, and Christina was released from quarantine. She never got a fever. Her symptoms are getting better. She handled it so much better than I, thank God.
COOPER: Wow, that's great.
CUOMO: But I'll tell you about what my new life is, this active recovery that I didn't even know existed as a phase. But the kid's back in the picture. We're figuring out our family gesture, we may go like this, or something like that, a little air kiss, but, you know, this is what I have been dreaming weeks for.
So we'll talk about where we're headed now. This is a day I have been literally dreaming weeks about. And also the nightmare that we have to control around us, about reopening.
And we feel the fervor: we all want to reopen. We all want things to get back to normal. But are we creating a bigger problem for ourselves in the near- and not-too-distant future? We'll take it on --
COOPER: Chris, I just want to hear from Cha Cha.
CUOMO: Cha Cha, do you want to be on the news?
COOPER: Yes, I just want to hear from Cha Cha. I can --
CHA CHA: Hi.
COOPER: Hey, how are you doing?
CHA CHA: Ask Anderson why his hair looks so good when nobody can get haircuts?
COOPER: See, Cha Cha, he's making fun of me, because I --
CHA CHA: Your hair looks amazing. How do you look so good?
COOPER: No, I cut my own hair and I gave myself a bald spot here on the side of my head, so don't try to cut your own hair, Cha Cha.
CUOMO: Cha Cha says you look amazing.
COOPER: Well, that's because you don't have return, she can't actually see me.
CUOMO: She can see you. She's looking at you right now.
But listen, again, you know, the simple things, Coop, have taken on a whole new significance for me. This was a humbling experience. I know people go through a lot worse, even with COVID, but for this family, this knocked us sideways.
And now Mario is not feeling great, and, look, we're all going through what families are going through all over the country, and we'll take on the big stories tonight.
I'm just happy to have a little bit of love back.
COOPER: Yeah, that's great. Well, it's great to see you both. Take care. Thanks very much. See you in just a couple minutes, about seven minutes from now.
Up next, the driving force behind those protests around the nation, some people demanding that their states be open for business.
COOPER: There were more scattered protests around the country today, people demanding that their states open for business as soon as possible. According to CNN's reporting the organizers are a patch work coalition of conservative groups and individuals, many connected within groups on Facebook.
Some of those groups are connected to a family of right-wing activists with footprints in Ohio, Minnesota, Iowa and Pennsylvania where the state capitol was the site of one of those demonstrations. today. Randi Kaye tonight has more.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We want to work, open our states.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: From coast to coast, protesters are making their voices heard.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, Governor Lee, reopen Tennessee.
KAYE: Defying stay-at-home orders and taking to the streets.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Open up (INAUDIBLE). Open up (INAUDIBLE).
KAYE: Protesters are angry their state is shut down, their schools closed and their businesses facing bankruptcy.
RANDY PARE, PROTESTER: We do have a problem that certain parts of the countries are overstepping our liberty.
PAUL BROCKMAN, PROTESTOR: Give us a plan. Give some people hope. Give that small businessman hope that he can open up in a week or two or three or whatever it is, but they can't stay closed forever.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're here to stand up for our God given rights under the Constitution of the United States of America.
KAYE: In some states, protesters carried guns, many carried American flags and signs with a message for their governor. Some of the most popular, "Freedom over fear, "End the shutdown", "Jesus is my vaccine", and "stop crying wolf. This was the scene in Denver, Colorado, when a small group of people dressed in scrubs blocked protesters in the street.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is a free country. The land of the free. Go to China if you want Communism.
KAYE: In Indiana, they gathered outside the governor's mansion, and like so many other protests, completely ignored social distancing guidelines.
All risking their own health and others to make a point.
ANDY LYONS, PROTEST ORGANIZER: I'm not wearing a mask. I'm shaking hands, I'm hugging people because you know what, that's what we do and if I get sick, then I'm going to bear the consequences of me being sick. If anybody else gets here that happens to get the sick, they bear the consequences of their choice, their free choice without government coercion to do so.
KAYE: This protester carrying a sign pointing out how most recover from the virus but what about her business.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who has the right to tell me I can't get a haircut, I can't go here, I can't go there.