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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Director Of Federal Vaccine Agency Says He Was Ousted From Post For Questioning Drug Favored By Trump; Trump And CDC Director Redfield Walk Back Redfield's Comments About Coronavirus In The Fall And Winter; Trump Says He Told Georgia Gov. That He Disagreed "Strongly" With His Decision To Reopen Some Businesses in His State; Las Vegas Mayor: I'd Love Everything Open. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired April 22, 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: Erin, thanks very much.
Good evening. Tonight, with the Coronavirus death toll approaching 47,000, the White House appears to be choosing loyalty and political concerns over science or even the simple truth. Today, the government doctor who was until just days ago in charge of the Federal vaccine effort sought whistleblower protection.
He said he was sidelined because he chose science over unproven and potentially deathly drugs favored by President Trump and Rick Bright, that's his name, Rick Bright's sudden removal from his job as director of the biomedical advanced research and development authority or BARDA appears to be part of a pattern, in his case, apparently punishing a career professional. Also, according to new reporting in the "Wall Street Journal", threatening to fire another and this evening, yet another scientist was forced to publicly attempt to backtrack on something he himself admits he said.
The director of the Centers for Disease, Control and Prevention was brought to the podium late today by the President to disavow his own words on national television. So let's start with that first. This is what Dr Robert Redfield to "The Washington Post" about what might happen if a second wave of the virus hits during flu season. The article was published yesterday, it made headlines around the world. In fact, Dr Redfield himself liked the article enough to promote it on Twitter.
As you can see, right there from his tweet, he tweeted out a link to that article last night and here's part of what he said in that article, "There's a possibility that the assault of the virus on our nation next winter will actually be even more difficult than the one we just went through.
And when I've said this to others, they kind of put their head back, they don't understand what I mean." So again, he tweeted out a link to the story last night. Now, a little less than 24 hours later at tonight's briefing at the White House, the President said Redfield was misquoted and he called Redfield to the podium to say that what he said didn't actually mean what his words actually said but they did. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ROBERT REDFIELD, DIRECTOR OF THE CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION: I didn't say that this was going to be worst. I said it was going to be more complicated -- or more difficult and potentially complicated because we'll have flu and Coronavirus circulating at the same time. The key to my comments and the reason that I really wanted to stress them was to appeal to the American public to embrace the flu vaccine with confidence.
One of the greatest tool we have as we go through the Fall/Winter season that we're into is to get the American public to embrace the influenza vaccine and thereby minimize the impact of the flu to be the co-respiratory disease that we confront.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: OK, so just to be absolutely clear, in introducing Dr Redfield, the President said he took issue with the way the piece was headlined which he called totally fake. It originally read, "CDC Director warned second wave of Coronavirus this winter will likely be worse". It now reads, "CDC Director warned second wave of Coronavirus is likely to be even more devastating".
Neither of which appear to inadequately characterize what Dr Redfield actually said which is that the next wave could be even more difficult than this one. In any case, keeping him honest, the President can say as he did that the doctor was totally misquoted and he can make the doctor get up and try to toe the line but when asked about precisely that tonight, Dr Redfield at the podium took issue with the way the piece was headlined but admitted that he was accurately quoted.
Again, just to remind you, not to let falsehood have the last word, here again is what he actually said, "There's a possibility that the assault of the virus on our nation next winter will actually be even more difficult than the one we just went through. And I've said this to others, they kind of put their head back, they don't understand what I mean."
And when asked about protests against stay at home orders and the President calling on States to be liberated, Dr Redfield told "The Washington Post", "It's not helpful" and then, to repeat, he tweeted out a link to that story, the same story that he claimed he was disavowing tonight in front of the President. So let's be real, this is part of a pattern.
Anthony Fauci, you'll recall, was also sent before cameras to unsay something he said that displeased the President. As we mention at the top, Rick Bright, now seeking whistleblower status after being pulled from his job because he says he didn't push the President's drug of choice, hydroxychloroquine, quoting now from a statement that he released late night, "I believe this transfer was in response to my insistence that the government invest the billions of dollars allocated by Congress to address the COVID-19 pandemic into safe and scientifically vetted solutions and not in drugs, vaccines and other technologies that lack scientific merit."
He went on to say, "I am speaking out because to combat this deadly virus, science -- not politics or cronyism -- has to lead the way." The President was asked about it at the briefing and gave a familiar answer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JONATHAN KARL, ABC CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Mr President, I want to ask you about Rick Bright, he's the head of the Federal agency of getting a vaccine out to -- to Americans once it's ready. He says he has been pushed out of his job because he raised questions about hydroxychloroquine and some of your directions on that. Was he pushed out of that job - -
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I -- I've never heard of him. You just mentioned a name. I never heard of him. When did this happen?
KARL: This happened today.
TRUMP: Well, I never heard of him, but if the guy says he was pushed out of a job, maybe he was, maybe he wasn't. You'd have to hear the other side. I don't know who he is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, he is one of the many professionals trying to do their jobs, which in this case is trying to save lives, which is also what CDC official Nancy Messonnier was doing when she warned in late February that community spread of coronavirus was likely.
Tonight, "The Wall Street Journal" is reporting that the president was so angry he called the Secretary of Health and Human Services and threatened to fire her for telling the truth. The president calls himself a "wartime president," and the truth, it seems, is the first, last, and constant casualty in this war.
More now, from CNN Chief White House Correspondent, Jim Acosta.
So, what are you learning about Rick Bright, and the clash that's happening here?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: He sounds like he's a casualty, Anderson, of the president's war on scientists, war on science in the administration.
Dr. Bright is going to file a whistleblower complaint. He is protesting his removal from his position leading that agency that is charged with vaccine development. He was working on a vaccine for the coronavirus when he was abruptly pulled out of his position.
He had been clashing with top officials a Health and Human Services, but it was basically over the points that he raises in this lengthy statement that was released to reporters earlier today, essentially saying that he protested inside HHS this tendency on the part of the president, other administration officials, to show preference for treatments like hydroxychloroquine, when the science is just not even settled on that, and there are studies showing it doesn't work.
And when this doctor, Dr. Bright, raised questions about it, he is saying he was ousted from his position, and, talking to a source familiar with the situation this evening, Anderson, we are told that he hasn't even been told what he's going to be doing over at the National Institutes of Health.
And so it sounds like he's been pushed out of this job into another job, and he doesn't even know what that job is going to be yet.
COOPER: What is his next step?
ACOSTA: I mean, at this point he is saying he is going to be fighting for his job, according to the source we spoke with earlier this evening. He is going to be fighting for this job, he wants to be reinstated back into his position over at that agency.
But you heard the president there a few moments ago essentially pouring cold water on that idea, saying, well, maybe he was pushed out, maybe he wasn't. Anderson, from all appearances he was absolutely pushed out, and that is what Dr. Bright is saying, and it sounds as though he's going to have his chance to make his case.
I will point out, though, Dr. Anthony Fauci, who appeared at the briefing this evening, seemed to say that Dr. Bright is going to be welcomed over at NIH. and given some important responsibilities, but it's not clear whether or not Dr. Bright has been informed of that yet.
COOPER: Jim Acosta. Jim, stay with us. I want to bring in our Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, and CNN's Chief Political Analyst, Gloria Borger.
Sanjay, the president stressed coronavirus may not come back in the fall, and said there are maybe quote "embers." Have you seen any evidence that what we're going to be dealing with in the fall are just coronavirus "embers"?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: No, I mean, the virus is the virus. I mean, the virus is probably the one constant in this whole equation.
We have to continue to be able to react to this virus, which, you know, may continue to be these physical distancing measures, and probably really spearheaded, as we've talked about so many times, by testing. Finding people who were infected, isolating them, finding their contacts, all that.
But the virus is not going away. I mean, it's here. It's a contagious virus. It can be lethal in certain cases, as we know. Ultimately, a vaccine may inoculate us against the virus, which would be great, and a real significant development, but this is part of our human environment now, this virus.
So it's not going away. How we react to it is what may change.
COOPER: Gloria, this is the second time a doctor has clarified their remarks at the podium, or been brought up to clarify, even though what Dr. Redfield was clarifying was exactly what he had said.
So, last week it was Dr. Fauci --
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Right.
COOPER: -- after he told Jake Tapper that mitigation could save lives. Tonight was Dr. Redfield. I'm wondering, what do you make of this pattern?
BORGER: Well, it's -- first of all, I think it's a disgusting pattern, honestly. These are professionals who choose their words carefully.
And, you know, if you looked at the picture tonight, of Dr. Redfield standing up there, and the president standing to his side, looking like the executioner who could chop off his head at any time and fire him, if he wanted to. And we know the president can do that.
And still, what he did was he got up there and he effectively -- he couched it, but he effectively said what he said. And he said "The Washington Post" was accurate. And I would argue that Tony Fauci did exactly the same thing when he stood up there.
And I think perhaps the reason they all still have their jobs, because the president would probably like to get rid of anyone who disagrees with him, or challenges him, or gets him in trouble with the public, is that he looks at the polls and he understands that the scientists are trusted more by the American public than he is.
And so, he needs them right now. He needs them in his corner. As angry as it might make him, it would be very difficult for him to get rid of them.
COOPER: Jim, it's interesting, you know. The President said he'd never heard of Rick Bright. Maybe he has never heard of Rick Bright. It is kind of his go-to thing of, you know, people that he just -- he says he's never heard of them and then, of course, you know, it's people he's been photographed with numerous times. It's, you know, the Lev Parnas --
COOPER: -- who was working with Rudy Giuliani.
ACOSTA: The coffee boy.
COOPER: Yes, yes, the coffee --
ACOSTA: Yes, it sounds -- Anderson, it sounds like the excuses we got during the Russia investigation. The -- various figures of the Russia investigation were the coffee boys. They had more coffee boys than they had coffee during the Russia investigation and the President seems to be offering up the same excuse about Dr Rick Bright.
The President may not have personally known Dr Bright and we don't know that for a fact at this point. We're still digging on that point. But obviously he was known inside HHS because he was clashing with these health officials. And keep in mind, think about where Dr Bright was standing versus where some of these other top health officials in the administration were standing.
President Trump and figures on Fox News have been touting hydroxychloroquine for weeks as a treatment for the Coronavirus. Remember the President standing in the briefing room saying, "What do you have to lose? What do you have to lose?" and so on. And what Dr Bright was raising internally is that not only do you lose the -- a concept of time because you're being treated with something that may not be effective, but there are also health risks.
There are -- there are cardiovascular risks with hydroxychloroquine, and that is starting to show up in some of these studies, showing a higher mortality rate and so on. So, Dr Bright was on the side of science. He was on the side of saving lives and it sounds like there were top health officials he was clashing with who were siding with the President no matter the cost.
COOPER: I want to bring in another voice to the conversation now, Lena Sun who interviewed Dr Redfield for her report in the Washington Post. Lena, I mean, do you think Dr Redfield -- I'm wondering what you make of what you just witnessed of him at the podium because, I mean, it seemed like the President was saying he was going to walk back what he said to you in the interview. But he actually did just verify that, in fact, he was quoted accurately in the interview.
LENA SUN, NATIONAL REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: He was quoted accurately. We had a very good conversation. He spent a lot of time talking about the importance of getting the flu vaccination and why it was important for Americans to get this message and how the public health officials had to prepare for this summer so that -- so that when COVID-19 hits in the fall, which has very similar symptoms to flu, that the public health capacity -- hospitals would not be overwhelmed.
He made this point of saying Americans needed to get the flu vaccination because that way the hospital beds would be available for their mothers and grandmothers who might need it for COVID.
COOPER: Right, and, I mean, that's an important point as we pointed out a lot in our coverage. There -- many Americans do not get the flu vaccine even though it has -- you know, it is as deadly as it is. I mean, the flu is a dangerous thing and people die of it every year. The President said today that the headline to your story was "totally inaccurate".
I just want to put the headline up on the screen which is, "CDC director warns second wave of Coronavirus is likely to be even more devastating". I mean, just from a factual standpoint, saying it's more -- likely to be more devastating and more difficult is essentially the same thing. If a deadly virus is more difficult, I mean, it's more devastating. But wondering what your response is to the President's issue with the wording.
SUN: It's sort of, "Use your common sense." If you have this COVID-19 -- if Coronavirus now is hitting the United States and it took place after flu season had already wanted waned and you're seeing overwhelming stress on hospital, lack of protective equipment, lack of ventilators, just imagine what it would be like if it hit the same time as flu in the fall.
And Dr Redfield himself said that he -- that we were lucky that it didn't hit at the same time as flu this year, because -- and then he -- in his quote that I quoted him, he said, "It would be very, very, very" -- I think he used four very's -- "difficult on the health system capacity."
So, you take all those things, flu at the same time as coronavirus, and, if people don't get vaccinated, the rush to hospitals.
It is just common sense of -- the portrait would be -- when he says, "very difficult" and people not understanding what he means, it means that he's drawing this picture for Americans of how bad it could be. That seems to me the definition of "devastating".
COOPER: And bottom line, you - you stand by your story?
SUN: We stand by my story. I stand by my story. And Dr Redfield said he was quoted accurately and I would just point out Anderson that after the story posted, he also tweeted and encouraged people to read the story.
COOPER: Yeah, we put up his tweet earlier. Lena, I appreciate your reporting. Sanjay, I want to turn to this situation in Georgia. The President said this evening he disagrees with the governor's decision to open businesses this Friday, nail salons, you know, massage therapy spas and the like. Dr Fauci said he would urge the governor to be careful. As a resident of Georgia, as a physician, are there any signs that the government is - is listening? Because it doesn't seem like it.
GUPTA: No, and in fact, just over the last few minutes, you know, Governor Kemp has now responded to what President Trump said and President Trump said he strongly disagreed with Governor Kemp's decision to reopen things in Georgia. As you just mentioned, Dr Fauci says he would advise him against it. Yesterday, Ambassador Birx said, "Look, there's still outbreaks going on. We've made very clear, the data.
This doesn't seem to - to meet the guidelines, meet the gating criteria." And what we just heard, Anderson, is that that's - that's not going to change a thing in the governor's mind. He's still planning on moving forth with this - with this plan, to start reopening this on Friday. Hair salons, nail salons, tattoo - tattoo - what do they call them? Tattoo parlors, I guess - -
GUPTA: - - what - whatever it might be. All these things potentially reopening - -
COOPER: Oh, don't pretend you don't know about tattoos, Sanjay. Sorry. I don't think you're a tattoo guy.
GUPTA: But - but the - I'm not a tattoo guy. But how do you - how do you socially - how do you physically distance at those sorts of places? I - I still don't - I mean, I think a lot of people are just thinking common sense here and it - it just doesn't fit.
COOPER: Yeah, and residents and theatres on Monday, according to the governor in Georgia.
COOPER: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thank you. Joanne Costa, Gloria Borger, Lena Sun, thank you very much. Still to come tonight, the mayor of Las Vegas wants to end her State's stay at home order now, wants casinos and hotels and restaurants to open now, something health officials say should not happen. It's not what the Governor of Nevada thinks.
We're going to show you my interview with the mayor from earlier today. Afterward, we're going to talk with the man who issued the order, the Governor of Nevada. And later, former Health & Human Services Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius joins me to discuss the President's politicization of testing and the President's take on a possible second wave of Coronavirus.
COOPER: Dr. Anthony Fauci appeared at the White House coronavirus news conference today, for the first time in five days, with a plea to America's leaders who want to reopen their local economies.
He acknowledged what he called the "urge we all have to get out there and get it over with," but he said not to leapfrog over things. "Do it in a measured way," he said, otherwise there will be a rebound.
The mayor of Las Vegas believes otherwise. She's called the closing of casinos and the efforts by the governor of Nevada to keep people at home over the last few weeks "insanity."
I spoke to Mayor Carolyn Goodman earlier today about why she believes casinos and theatres, and hotels and restaurants should reopen now. The conversation went on for more than 25 minutes.
We're going to play about 15 minutes of it for you, because we think it's important to understand the thinking of, in this case, the mayor of Las Vegas. Afterwards, we'll talk to the governor of Nevada.
COOPER: Thanks so much for being with us, mayor.
You say that you assume everyone has the virus and is just asymptomatic; you want casinos open, Vegas back in business. Is that a responsible call to make?
MAYOR CAROLYN GOODMAN (I), LAS VEGAS, NEVADA: That wasn't the call that I was really making. It was to get people back to work. We have so many in our hospitality crew, probably -- we're 2 and a half million people down here in Southern Nevada, and we have so many out of work because of the casino shutdown.
COOPER: But you want the casinos open, yes?
GOODMAN: Well, that's a piece of it. I want the hotel rooms open. We have 155,000 hotel rooms --
GOODMAN: -- and most of our people who live here, and are part of the population, are hooked to those hotel rooms in some way, or ancillary way.
COOPER: So you want, like --
GOODMAN: And, ultimately --
COOPER: -- hotel rooms, casinos, the theaters open? I mean, you want Vegas back in business, no?
GOODMAN: I want our restaurants open, I want our small businesses open, I want our people back in employment. We have so many families that can't even afford to get the groceries for their family because they've been out of work for six weeks. And so it's all part of --
COOPER: But casinos, you want them open, because obviously visitors aren't going to come without casinos and shows and things?
GOODMAN: Well, no, they'll come because they love -- we've got major league sports here, and we've got so many --
COOPER: So you want stadiums open?
GOODMAN: I'd love everything open, because I think we've had viruses for years that have been here.
COOPER: So that -- you're -- I mean, you're talking about encouraging hundreds of thousands of people to come to Las Vegas.
COOPER: I get the financial losses people are suffering, which is awful, but you're encouraging -- I mean, hundreds of thousands of people coming there, in casinos, smoking, drinking, touching slot machines, breathing circulated air, and then returning home to states around America and countries around the world.
Doesn't that sound like a virus petri dish? I mean, how is that safe?
GOODMAN: No, what it sounds like, you're being an alarmist. I'm not. I lived a long life, I grew up in the heart of Manhattan. I know what it's like to be with subways and on buses, and crammed into elevators.
COOPER: I'm being an alarmist?
GOODMAN: I think you are, by saying what you have just said.
COOPER: So you don't believe there should be any social distancing? You don't believe that this is a --
GOODMAN: Of course I believe there should be. Of course. I'm a rational --
COOPER: But how do you do that in a casino?
GOODMAN: That's up to them to figure out. I'm -- I don't own a casino. I don't know anything about building a casino.
COOPER: Wait a minute, wait a minute. I'm sorry. You're the mayor of Las Vegas --
COOPER: You want casinos to be open, even though you have no authority, thankfully, over casinos?
COOPER: You say "Open them up," but you have no responsibility about how that would be done safely?
GOODMAN: No, no, you're blurring -- no, no, no, you're blurring, I'm not going there.
COOPER: You said it's not your job.
GOODMAN: I'm not a private owner of a hotel. I wish I were. And I would have the cleanest hotel, with six feet figured out for every human being that comes in there.
COOPER: So, if you can't figure out how to do this safely, why, as mayor of a city that you are responsible for the people's safety, are you calling for something that you have no plan for how it would be done safely?
GOODMAN: I am not a private owner. That's the competition in this country, the free -- the free enterprise and to be able to make sure that what you offer the public meets the needs of the public. Right now, we're in a crisis healthwise, and so for a restaurant to be open or a small boutique to be open, they better figure it out. That's their job. That's not the --
COOPER: So, let me ask you --
GOODMAN: -- mayor's job.
COOPER: What are you doing as mayor to improve contact tracing and testing in Las Vegas?
GOODMAN: Well, first of all, as someone who is pretty sure she possibly had it January, I have already been into the hospital to say --
GOODMAN: -- take my -- take my plasma and I want to --
COOPER: But I'm not talking about you.
GOODMAN: -- encourage others to --
COOPER: I'm talking about what are you -- what are you doing as mayor to improve contact tracing?
GOODMAN: And I'm calling upon -- I'm calling upon everyone to go ahead, if they're positive, to go ahead and see if they can help be in part of the preventive or the treatment pool that will have this plasma available. What I am doing --
COOPER: Are you doing anything on testing and contact tracing? Because in order to open businesses --
GOODMAN: I don't have labs.
COOPER: -- every scientist says --
GOODMAN: I don't have that.
COOPER: -- that is essential.
GOODMAN: Well, no, that's for scientists and the whole thing is fact.
COOPER: Well --
GOODMAN: Truth validated --
COOPER: But you're --
GOODMAN: -- fact.
COOPER: Right, fact. You're -- right, fact, you're calling for businesses to reopen. Every scientist --
COOPER: -- and person, you know, who looks at this says what we really need on -- to do that is more testing --
GOODMAN: Wait, wait, wait.
COOPER: -- and more --
GOODMAN: You're saying every --
COOPER: -- contact tracing.
GOODMAN: That -- no, that can't work. We're not getting the truth. And I know over the years going back to --
COOPER: So, wait --
GOODMAN: -- the 1950s with the atomic bomb, "Don't worry about what we're testing in Nevada." You'll all be fine, take a shower. The reality is southern --
COOPER: You're the one saying --
GOODMAN: The southwest --
COOPER: -- we'll all be fine.
GOODMAN: No, what I said --
COOPER: What we're saying is --
GOODMAN: No, no, no, no, no, no.
COOPER: -- testing and contact --
GOODMAN: You're --
GOODMAN: I said, "Open up Las Vegas." Let us get started --
GOODMAN: -- and go back to work.
COOPER: What, as mayor --
GOODMAN: We have all these people --
COOPER: What, as mayor --
GOODMAN: -- out of work --
COOPER: -- are you doing --
GOODMAN: -- that can't even --
COOPER: -- to encourage --
GOODMAN: -- feed their families or take --
COOPER: Ma'am --
GOODMAN: -- care of their families.
COOPER: I get - I get the pain that's out there and it's real and I'm not minimizing that --
GOODMAN: Yes, it is.
COOPER: -- at all. I'm just asking you, as mayor, what are you doing to improve testing, make it more accessible and improve contact tracing? Because every scientist who you say you listen to will tell you that's what you need in order to get online as fast as possible. What are you doing?
GOODMAN: Every single email that comes in with offers to give us the kits and get everything here, I send it up to the people in the hospitals for them to filter through to find out if these test kits and everything that's being offered and provided for them --
COOPER: You said in another --
GOODMAN: -- that's not --
COOPER: -- in another interview --
GOODMAN: -- my job.
COOPER: -- that you talked to Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.
GOODMAN: Yes, he's a good friend.
COOPER: If you actually talked to -- okay, if you talked to Mayor Garcetti, he's doing everything he can to improve testing in Los Angeles.
GOODMAN: I think that's wonderful.
COOPER: What are you doing?
GOODMAN: And I --
COOPER: You said it's not --
GOODMAN: I -- that --
COOPER: -- your job.
GOODMAN: Wait, no, it is not part of our job. That's part of our health department, part of our hospital jobs, our labs. Those are the ones who are the experience and just everything being -- (CROSSTALK)
COOPER: Well, the governor says --
COOPER: The governor says that --
GOODMAN: I admire our governor.
COOPER: Right. The governor says that --
GOODMAN: And he's doing what he thinks is right.
COOPER: -- "Unfortunately, I've known the mayor. I don't need politicians weighing in on what" --
GOODMAN: I'm not a politician.
COOPER: -- "what the best date would be."
GOODMAN: I am a politician because I'm the mayor.
COOPER: "I need doctors and medical, sound advice."
GOODMAN: No, no, no. And who are his people and are they, in fact, the best we can have? I'm assuming yes. And all I'm doing is asking for a plan.
GOODMAN: So, I can tell our people who are calling by the thousands, when are they going to get a pay check, how can they get a roof over their heads. I am down in the groundwork with the people who've made this city what it is, who've come here to live, come here to build it. And we were not broken and we need to get back to work. That's it.
COOPER: Right. There's a -- Chinese researchers have shown how the virus spread and I just want to put up for our viewers --
GOODMAN: You are good.
COOPER: I just want to put up for our viewers, this is a restaurant --
GOODMAN: Anderson, you are tough.
COOPER: No, I'm not talking -- I'm just --
GOODMAN: We're back to China. This isn't China.
COOPER: Yes, this is a --
GOODMAN: This is Las Vegas, Nevada.
COOPER: Wow, okay. That's really ignorant. This is a restaurant and the yellow circle --
GOODMAN: That's ignorant to say? We're --
COOPER: That's an ignorant, ignorant statement. That's a restaurant and, yes, it's in China, but they're human beings, too. That yellow is a person who is --
GOODMAN: Of course, they are.
COOPER: -- who is asymptomatic and infected and all those other red circles are other diners who that one diner passed the virus to. All those other people became infected in a restaurant that had air conditioning and they believe it was the air conditioning which helped the virus --
GOODMAN: And -- and --
COOPER: -- spread to all those other people.
GOODMAN: You remember the legionnaires disease in 1976 in Philadelphia came all through the air conditioning. You don't remember because you're younger --
COOPER: I do remember.
GOODMAN: -- Typhoid Mary -- Typhoid Mary, who, I think, passed away -- well anyway, during the late '30s, rode the buses, was a cook, and she was asymptomatic, and she spread it. A fear of getting typhoid, and she never showed a sign of it; and she'd lived most of her life quarantined. The reality was, I think 58 people passed away from typhoid.
GOODMAN: And so we're aware of this, we learn from history. We've had Ebola, we've had the West Nile, we've had polio. We've had these horrific, painful --
COOPER: None of those were as infectious -- in Las Vegas, I mean, you didn't have people with Ebola on a casino floor. You know what, if you did --
GOODMAN: Well, we don't know that.
COOPER: Yes, you do, because if you had it --
GOODMAN: A neighbor of mine died from West Nile because the swimming pool on the next property was filled with mosquitoes, and the people who had abandoned the house left the pool full.
So we live with -- this is just part of life, is the challenges.
COOPER: I just - as mayor, are you not concerned when you see just that restaurant graphic --
GOODMAN: Yes, I'm concerned every day.
COOPER: -- how air condition spreads this, and other people become infected?
GOODMAN: Yes, from Legionnaires' disease, that's just what I said. We lost a lot of people in that hotel, who had gone ahead and been in the hotel, and died because it came through.
COOPER: Yes, and there were steps -- right. And there were steps to take to stop that, by changing the air filtering, if my memory serves me correct, on Legionnaires' disease. There are not yet the steps to take with this --
GOODMAN: It will come, in time.
COOPER: -- other than social distancing.
GOODMAN: Right, so people do that. I mean, I love watching our people here, they're so careful.
And even as we have -- we work every single day. I have not missed a day. And anybody who is in, or comes into the office that needs an appointment or has an issue, they all are with their masks on, or we always enforce social distancing. And the office is absolutely pristine, with germ-free --
COOPER: You're talking about your office?
GOODMAN: Well, hopefully everything in the building. We've shut down the lobby. We have not had a problem with it.
COOPER: But, I mean, you know how -- look, mayor, you love your city, and I get you want it to go back to work. And I totally get that. And you hear from people, you know, you're in a really tough position, I get it.
But it just seems really irresponsible, given that you actually have no responsibility or say over casinos, or what happens on the strip. That you're not out there doing anything about --
GOODMAN: That's true.
COOPER: You're not doing anything about trying to improve testing, like your friend Mayor Garcetti is doing in Los Angeles, or improve contact tracing.
You're simply sitting there and saying, you know, "Get back to work, get these casinos open again," and you have no idea or plan, or you've done nothing to try to figure out, "Well, what's the best way to make that happen?"
How far apart should, you know, a dealer be from the people? How, you know, should the hours -- I mean, you're offering nothing other than being a cheerleader, which I guess is what part of your job is, and I respect that, and you seem like a very nice person.
But I don't understand -- do you not have any sense of responsibility, if you're calling for something, to at least try to work to make it --
GOODMAN: I speak --
COOPER: -- as safe as possible?
GOODMAN: OK, I speak -- if you go back to everything I say, it's been always about putting our workers back to work. It is not about the casinos. It's not about anything other than putting those who have lost their jobs in a city that wasn't broken, and didn't have disease, back to work.
We're 2.3 million people here. We have over 300 -- 900,000 --
COOPER: 3,900 cases in Nevada, 163 deaths, and that's with social distancing.
COOPER: You're saying there was no --
COOPER: Yeah, in Nevada. You're saying there was no problem in Las Vegas, like, there was no disease? There was not the virus in Las Vegas? Because earlier you said you believe everyone is asymptomatic.
GOODMAN: No, no, no. I'm sure in January -- and I know plenty of people who were coughing. Some had fevers, and if they did, they stayed home, because they thought it was the flu. The flu is unbelievably powerful still.
And so, of course we know that. And we tried to work on the sensitivities of people to be responsible as to spreading any kind of germ, whether it's the flu, or whether it's --
COOPER: Don't you think that it's worked in Las Vegas, social distancing? Don't you think it's worked? Because, I mean, 163 deaths, that is -- compared to some other states, that's low --
GOODMAN: We're 150.
COOPER: For those families, it is all that matters.
GOODMAN: We're 2.3 -- we're 2.3 million people in Southern Nevada, and we've had 150 deaths. We have put out of work --
COOPER: 163, I believe is the latest number, actually, but --
GOODMAN: Wrong. That's for Nevada. That's Nevada: this is down here. 150. Room cleaners --
COOPER: But hasn't it been --
GOODMAN: -- our restaurants.
COOPER: -- because of social distancing that the numbers have been what they are?
GOODMAN: How do you know until we have a control group?
We offered to be a control group. Anybody who knows anything about statistics knows that, for instance, you have vaccine --
COOPER: You're - you're offering the citizens of Las Vegas to be a control group to see if your theory on social distancing --
GOODMAN: I did offer, it was turned down --
COOPER: -- works or doesn't work?
GOODMAN: No, no, no. No, wrong. Absolutely wrong. Don't put words in my mouth, what I said was I offered --
COOPER: You just said, "We'll be a control group."
GOODMAN: Excuse me, what I said was I offered to be a control group and I was told by our statistician you can't do that because people from all parts of southern Nevada come in to work in the city and I said, "Oh, that's too bad" because I know when I have a disease, you have a placebo that gets the water and the sugar and then you get those that actually get the shot. We would love to be that placebo side so you have something to measure against. So all the data until --
COOPER: You - you want to get the placebo? You don't want to get the actual --
GOODMAN: Are you going to let me finish or not?
COOPER: No, but the group that gets the placebo by the way, usually gets the short end of the stick.
GOODMAN: Well, you don't know. How do you know when you've been part of that group you are --
COOPER: Mayor, if - if you - if casinos reopen, are you going to be inside those casinos every single night, putting your own life on the line?
GOODMAN: I have lived in this town for 56 years --
COOPER: Answer the question. Are you going to the casinos every night and put your life on the line like all the workers, you say you're there holding their hands? GOODMAN: No, I - I - I've been in town so I - they don't need it. We weren't broken. We - as tragically have 150 people we lost, tragic, we have 2.3 million people here and we have 40 --
COOPER: I haven't heard you say, yes, that you will be sitting on those casino floors every night along with the people that you say you are holding their hands with?
GOODMAN: What - what is the purpose of that? First of all, I have a family and I cook every meal every night. What are you doing?
COOPER: Because it would be putting your - it would be putting money where your mouth is, to use a - a Las Vegas term.
GOODMAN: Wait, wait, Anderson, you are too smart for this. COOPER: If you are saying it's safe --
GOODMAN: Anderson. Listen.
COOPER: Okay, so you're not willing to sit on the casino floors, with them when they reopen?
GOODMAN: It's --
COOPER: And breathe the re-filtered air?
GOODMAN: First of all - first of all, I don't gamble. I used to gamble when we first came to town. I don't have the time. I work seven days a week, I have so many things that I have to attend to. I can't sit on a casino floor --
COOPER: Carolyn, I wouldn't sit on those floors either. I wouldn't want to sit on the floors either, I'm - I'm with you on that one.
COOPER: It went on from there. Joining me now, the Governor of Nevada, Steve Sisolak. Governor, thanks for being with us. I'm just wondering what you make of the - the push by the mayor who has no responsibility or say over when the casinos actually open, that saying that it should open now and that there was no disease in Las Vegas?
GOV. STEVE SISOLAK (D), NEVADA: Well, Anderson, I appreciate you having me on and allowing me to respond to some of what she said. We are clearly not ready to open. We have sadly since you did that interview, we now have 187 deaths in the State of Nevada, well over 4,100 positive cases.
I will not allow the citizens of Nevada - or Nevadans to be used as a control group, as a placebo, whatever she wants to call it, I - I certainly will not allow that. I can tell you our largest trade union on the strip, Culinary Union 226 lost 11 members. They've lost 11 members to COVID-19 already and I'm going to do everything I can to make sure they don't lose 11 more.
COOPER: You know, clearly, the - you know, one can quibble with how she - the mayor says things and her logic or lack thereof, but there is - you know, look, they're certainly a lot of people who want to get back to business. I'm sure you want to get back to business.
What do you say though to those who say, "Look, the - you know, the solution to this is - is, you know - keeping us all locked up in our homes and - and social distant, it's not worth the - the - the pain and the cost, economic and you know, personal, to people long-term"?
SISOLAK: Well, I've been saying for that for five weeks though, Anderson, and you're absolutely right. And we've got a - I've never been prouder to be a Nevadan than I am now because when we put in restrictions, our executive orders and directives that called for social distancing and they called for hygiene and they called for no large groups and you know, face coverings, you know, outside of your home.
We've been able to keep our numbers as low as they are right now, the 187, 4,100, because of that. And I've got an enormous amount of cooperation from the vast majority of our citizens. Now, they're clearly some that don't see things my way and that they've resisted but most elected officials, I can't you, like mayor of Reno, Hillary Schieve, and the Chair of the Clark County Commission, Marilyn Kirkpatrick, they've done nothing but help me to try to expand our testing, expand our tracing and to open, and to open at the - at the proper time.
Las Vegas is a great place to be. It's a fun time, it's a great place to have a convention. You come for a party, an extended vacation, whatever that may be.
And we want to welcome everybody back to Las Vegas. We want to welcome them back to the lights on the strip, but that's not today, and it's not tomorrow.
And the resort operators have been incredibly phenomenal partners, great partners in operating this. And Matt Maddox, you might have seen the plan that he came forward, that he's proposing to the Gaming Control Board for their opening up, and they've put a lot of time and effort into this.
But when we do it, we're going to do it right, but I am not going to allow our workers to be put in a position that they have to decide between their job and their paycheck, and their life. That's not a fair position to put them in, and I will not allow that to happen.
COOPER: It also seems to me just a cheap argument to say that it's either open up now or, you know, or the alternative is destruction; that it's a binary choice of either human health, lives, or economic health.
It seems to me, just long-term, for the health of Las Vegas, is you want to have confidence. You don't want to have a reopening and then have to then pull back because there's been a huge outbreak. That's just going to, just long-term, hurt confidence that people have in, you know, in any community, restaurants, or movie theaters, or casinos, or wherever it may be.
SISOLAK: You're absolutely right, that -- I couldn't have said it better. That's why we need a phased-in approach to getting where we need to get to.
I'm following medical advice, and scientists, and statisticians, and they've exposed to me, you know, what we're really dealing with, in terms of the metrics, and having to follow a graph, and, you know, the model that's been established.
I look at certain criteria. I look at hospitalizations as it relates to COVID-19, intensive care unit hospitalizations, ventilator usage, percent of positive tests versus tests that we've given. And they need those that have plateaued and begin the trajectory downward.
Now, I know people are asking for more clarity and more specificity, but you don't know when you're in the trajectory until you're already partway into the trajectory.
SISOLAK: Because you might be a little bit going down for a day or two or three, and then you go up again. I'm listening to the medical people, I'm listening to the scientists. They will decide, along with the virus and behavior of our citizens, when it's time to start reopening in a phased-in approach.
COOPER: You mentioned the local Culinary Workers Union in Las Vegas. They put out a statement that says, in part, "The mayor's statements are outrageous, considering essential frontline workers have been dealing with the consequences of the crisis first-hand." It goes on to say, "Workplaces need to be safe and healthy, not a petri dish." And, I mean, again, these are the workers who are the backbone of that community.
SISOLAK: They're absolutely the backbone, Anderson. They're on the frontlines: they're cleaning the rooms, they're serving the meals. They're out on the front edge, you know, of being exposed to this. They've lost 11 members. These are 11 lives.
People that are talking about reopening prematurely -- I have talked to people who have lost a loved one, who, you know, to COVID-9; to people that weren't able to visit a dying parent in a nursing home because they had restrictions on their nursing home.
I talked to -- I spent a half hour with our first ground zero patient that we had, a veteran at our veterans' home, that came out of a coma that he was in for 30 days. and he thanked me. He said, "Governor, at least I'm going to be able to see my grandchildren someday. Had you not done this, it wouldn't have been possible."
It's important that we protect the health and the future and the well- being of our citizens. We can rebuild our economy: we will rebuild our economy. Las Vegas will continue to thrive. But I can't do that if I lose more people. We need to protect their health and their well-being. There will come
a time to open Las Vegas in a phased-in approach, and I urge everyone -- Nevada has been incredible. The vast majority of citizens are wearing face coverings, they're practicing social distancing, they're doing everything they can.
We need to send a sincere message, you know, and a consistent message, and it's difficult when we get one person that's kind of leading people astray, and I'm disappointed in that.
COOPER: Yes. Governor Sisolak, I appreciate your time and your efforts. Thank you.
SISOLAK: Thanks, Anderson. Appreciate the opportunity.
COOPER: Take care.
Coming up next, a former Secretary of Health and Human Services on the need for more testing, and the president's apparent war on his own science professionals. We'll be right back.
COOPER: Joined tonight about the need for drastically more testing to safely reopen the economy, also about the President's apparent need for health professionals to toe his -- toe the party line, joining us right now is former Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius who served as Health and Human Services Secretary in the Obama administration. Senator Sebelius, the President differentiating between a second wave of the pandemic being more difficult versus it being more devastating, I mean, is there a difference between those two things in your mind?
KATHLEEN SEBELIUS, FORMER KANSAS GOVERNOR: No. Either one of them is pretty terrible. What Dr Redfield is talking about is if you have a robust flu season and we never know really what's coming and you might have a vaccine that's fully effective or you might have a vaccine that's partially effective. We're going to have a lot of patients, as we do every year, already with underline health conditions, already older, more vulnerable, pregnant women, others who are susceptible to the flu.
They will be in hospital beds. They'll be needing the kind of care. And then if you spread COVID-19 on top of that, it could be deadly for even more individuals in this country.
COOPER: And, I mean, yes, as you said, a second wave of the virus combined with the seasonal flu, which a lot of Americans do not even routinely get a vaccination for --
SEBELIUS: That's right.
COOPER: -- you know, one of the things Dr Redfield was saying, he was trying to impress upon people the importance of getting the flu vaccine.
SEBELIUS: Well, getting it and getting it as early as possible. I mean, we're hoping that the vaccine will be very effective but again, we've seen the vaccination numbers go up and down.
There is a growing group in the country who are anti-vaccination and spread the misinformation on the airwaves, so flu vaccine is not a guarantee of anything but we hope that there could be a communication plan that starts now to get people ready to get the flu vaccine quickly and then hopefully to be ready to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
There's still a method, somehow, COVID-19 is the flu, so there'll be a lot of people who will feel, "Oh, well, I'll do one or the other but I'm not going to be both." That - that would be a deadly mistake.
COOPER: You know, it's interesting how much we've just become used to seeing the nation's top scientists filtered through the lens of the White House, I mean, that - you know, it's rare, I think it'd be - in normal times, even in other, you know, health crises, there has been press conferences from the CDC, you know, the head of HSS speaking publicly, everything now is filtered through the Vice-President's Office essentially. Does that - is there a chilling effect or do you - what - I mean, that's - do think that's - it seems like that's intentional.
SEBELIUS: Well, it's - I think very intentional. I - I work for a president who started with the fact that he felt we needed to be guided by the science and he felt as murky as things were, without a vaccine, we hadn't seen the strain of the flu we were dealing with since 1918, that we had to tell people what we knew and what we didn't know and get out of the way and let the scientists, CDC and NIH talk to the American public.
We did twice or three times a day updates on what was happening, when the vaccine would be available, what we know about it, where it was going to be but at every point along the way, President Obama resisted political pressure to rewrite CDC guidance or bow to social pressure.
He kept saying, we have to follow the science and let the public know what the scientists say. I'm very alarmed that you get a lot of political spin before and after scientists talk.
We've watched scientists like today be asked to, essentially, correct what they say which is absolutely right on target, that this second wave could be indeed much more serious, much more deadly. I have no idea what the White House intends to do once we get closer to either treatment or vaccination but we've seen the President from the briefing room promote what is a totally unproven, as an effective treatment and call the drug out by name, that needs to go through serious clinical trials. I've never seen that in my life.
COOPER: Yes. Secretary Sebelius, I appreciate your time, thank you.
COOPER: Take a quick look at the - the lines at a South Florida food donation site, as concern grows over problems with the nation's food supply, that's when 360 continues.
COOPER: As the coronavirus death toll nears 47,000, there's growing concern about the nation's food supply. Large meat processing plants are closing because workers have become infected. In South Florida, people who are out of work because of the pandemic lined up today for food donations. Randi Kaye was there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's go, come on.
RANDI KAYE, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): This was the scene in Hialeah Gardens, Florida, cars stretching for miles, all of them waiting for free food. Before dawn, organizers say more than 1,000 cars were waiting.
KAYE (on camera): What time did you come this morning?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 4:00.
KAYE (on camera): 4:00 a.m.?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
KAYE (voice-over): Some came as early as 2:00 a.m., sleeping in their cars for more than six hours before the food line opened.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good morning. Buenos dias.
KAYE (voice-over): More than 60 volunteers showed up to help distribute potatoes, fruit, pickles and chicken, lots of it.
KAYE (on camera): How much chicken do you think you're giving away today?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know, but it's a lot.
KAYE (voice-over): Much of the food gathered by the non-profit group Farm Share was purchased from farmers so it wouldn't go to waste.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've seen probably the biggest need in the history of Farm Share during this pandemic.
KAYE (on camera): Tienes hambre? Are you hungry?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mmm.
KAYE (on camera): Yes?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
KAYE (voice-over): Many who came to pick up food told me they've lost their job and are running out of food at home.
KAYE (on camera): No, dinero, no trabajo. No job, no money?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No money.
KAYE (on camera): So you're coming for the food?
KAYE (voice-over): He told me he's been out of work for weeks and has no food at home. Same story for this man.
KAYE (on camera): Do you need food badly?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, yes, yes. I'm not working at this moment. It's very funny.
KAYE (on camera): You're not working so you need food?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I'm not working. I need food for my family.
KAYE (on camera): And the fact that it's free, so that helps.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, yes, it's good, good idea.
KAYE (on camera): Because you don't have the money to pay for it right now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I -- no.
KAYE (voice-over): Each family takes home about 15 pounds of food. During this pandemic, Farm Share has given away nearly 5 million pounds of food to families in Miami-Dade County, one of the hardest hit.
KAYE (on camera): When they first started doing these food giveaways in early March, they were serving about 400 families. Here, they expect to serve about 1,400 families. So, clearly, the word has spread and so has the desperation for food.
KAYE (voice-over): Cesar Borrelo is a flight attendant. He's barely working and has much less money coming in.
CESAR BORRELO, FLORIDA RESIDENT: Now we are three adults and two kids.
KAYE (on camera): So that's a lot of mouths to feed.
BORRELO: Oh, yes, yes, it is.
KAYE (on camera): Some people tell me they are rationing and not eating as much as home. Are you doing that?
BORRELO: Yes, we are doing also. We organize the menus and, you know (INAUDIBLE) with this all the time.
KAYE (voice-over): Still, despite his cut in pay, he thinks it's a mistake for neighboring Georgia to start re-opening businesses later this week to get the economy going again. BORRELO: It's too soon. I'm keeping, you know, safe at home at the
moment, keep the distance.
KAYE (voice-over): Randi Kaye, CNN, Hialeah Gardens, Florida.
COOPER: A lot of good groups doing food banks and food delivery. The news continues, we're going to head over to Chris Cuomo for "CUOMO PRIME TIME."