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CDC Report: Limited Testing and Continued Travel Fueled Early Coronavirus Transmission in U.S.; FDA Approves Emergency Use Of Remdesivir For COVID-19 Patients; WH Blocks Fauci From Testifying On Capitol Hill Next Week; Husband And Wife, Married 33 Years, Both Die Of COVID-19 One Week Apart. Aired on 8-9p ET

Aired May 1, 2020 - 20:00   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: I know, he's a little peanut.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST, "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT": Yes. So, your five days in, how's -- how is it going?

COOPER: It's good. Yes, it's incredible. I spend hours a day just staring at him and, yes, like him sleeping on my chest which was amazing.


COOPER: And yes, he's just -- he's pretty incredible. It's incredibly exciting.

BURNETT: Yes, that sleeping on your chest, gosh.

COOPER: Yes, there is nothing better.

BURNETT: That's got to be just amazing.


BURNETT: And you're saying he makes little noises when he sleeps?

COOPER: Yes, he makes squeaky noises that -- I'm so in love with him, it's great. Like all while he sleeps, I don't know if he's dreaming or what, but he squeaking a lot and, yes, it's really lovely. I try to record as many as I can so that I can always have them. But -- yes.

BURNETT: Oh, gosh. Well, I showed him to my two oldest kids last night and they were grabbing the phone and kissing him. I think it's because they love you, so they love him too, but they are big fans. So, they look forward to meeting him.

COOPER: Well, I appreciate all your support, Erin. Thanks so much.

BURNETT: All right, OK.

COOPER: You have a great weekend. Thanks very much.

BURNETT: You too, Anderson.


And good evening. A day of hope as well as uncertainty as the FDA approves the first emergency use of treatment for the coronavirus. Not a cure, but Gilead Sciences' remdesivir is been shown to reduce mortality rate and duration of illness.

Today, Dr. Deborah Birx, a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, said on the development and I quote, this is our first really positive step forward. We're going to have more on that in just a moment.

It's one of several milestones we were going to discuss tonight. This week, the country reached a million cases of the coronavirus, currently more than 1.1 million, more than 64,000 people have died in this country. Every day, thousands more added to that figure.

Nevertheless, by this weekend, at least 32 states will have begun to partially reopen. California's Governor Gavin Newsom saying today he is no longer weeks, but days away from beginning to lift some restrictions to the state stay at home order.

However, just to show you how uncertain the environment is, this afternoon, Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves decided not to go forward with his plan for a partial reopening in the state. He said he reversed himself after the state reported its largest yet increase in new cases. Quoting the governor: This thing is not over. We're not out of the woods yet.

With the weeks and months ahead will look like as these orders are lifted, that we do not know. We know social distancing will still be key. We also know that testing is important.

The CDC issued a report today looking back at how the virus spread so quickly through the country, and one key factor the report cited was the lack of widespread testing.

Looking forward the report said that even the regions of the country with the largest number of reported cases, quote, most persons had not been infected and remain susceptible.

On Wednesday, President Trump downplayed the need for large scale testing quoting the president, he said, I don't know that all of that is even necessary.

For more on the CDC report and the news Governor Newsom made today about California reopening, I want to go to Nick Watt in Los Angeles.

So, what are you learning? What's the latest?

NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, it was 43 days ago that Governor Newsom told everyone in California to stay home, now, he says we are just days, not weeks, away from him lifting some of those restrictions. Retail, and restaurants will probably be the first open, but as he says, with some serious modifications which they're working on now.

Now, that CDC report you mentioned, interestingly, people are supposed to be using that going forward to inform how we reopen. What they did, they went back to February when we only had 14 cases, and they looked at what we did between then, in about the beginning of last week to figure out what we did, how we did it, and perhaps, what we could've done differently.


WATT (voice-over): Limited testing, the continued influx of infected travelers from overseas hotspots and cruise ships, and large events like a conference in Boston, a funeral in Georgia, and Mardi Gras in New Orleans, all fueled the devastating early spread of this virus here in the U.S., this according to a just released report issued by the CDC's principal deputy director.

Apparently, flu season also made it hard to detect early clusters and the early introduction of this virus into nursing homes, meatpacking plants, and dense urban areas like New York City, accelerated transmission.

This virus might circulate among us for another 2 years, says one new study, until 60, to 70 percent of us are infected.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is going to continue to be a rolling situation throughout the world, not just our country, for these months ahead. So, expect many more New York's to occur, it is very likely they will.

WATT: The U.S. death count doubled these past two weeks, one newly updated model from Northeastern University now suggests 100,000 people in this country will die by mid-summer.

This morning, in Katie, Texas, a line at Snappy's (ph) Cafe and Grill, today, restaurants, movie theaters, animals can reopen in the state at a quarter capacity.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are beginning to see beaches open, beginning to see guests on the beach.


WATT: But up in Dallas County yesterday, nearly 180 new cases, the biggest single day spike they have seen since all of this began.

DR. HILARY FAIRBROTHER, EMERGENCY MEDICINE PHYSICIAN: We are reopening today, and it does feel like a bit of a gamble.

WATT: A partial opening now underway in a least 32 states, but it does not appear any of them meet White House guidelines that states have a downward trajectory of cases within a 14-day period.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: There are some states, some cities, or what have you, who are looking at that and kind of leapfrogging over the first checkpoint. I mean, obviously, you could get away with that, but you are making a very significant risk.

WATT: Meanwhile, with ongoing outbreaks of meat processing plant slowing production, some military commissaries now limiting how much meat shoppers can buy.

Down in Florida, they will start reopening Monday with restaurants and retail, but the state's three largest in hardest hit counties are excluded.

MAYOR DAN GELBER (D-FL), MIAMI BEACH: I don't know that we're going to be able to open up our beaches, really, before June.

WATT: Meanwhile in Michigan, the governor in the shadow of armed protesters at the capitol extended her state stay at home order through May 28.

GOV. GRETCHEN WHITMER (D-MI): Yesterday scene at the capitol was disturbing, to be quite honest. Swastikas and Confederate flags, nooses, and automatic rifles do not represent who we are as Michiganders.


WATT: Now, Anderson, as you mentioned, we don't know what the next few months are going to look like. They're also going to look very different in different places. You know, South Carolina started reopening about 10 days ago, we just heard from Governor Inslee up in Washington state, he's not gong to start opening anything until the middle of this month.

Interestingly, among the first things he is going to allow, drive-in spiritual services with one family per car. But this is key, he also extended Washington state's stay at home order for another four weeks -- Anderson.

COOPER: Nick Watt -- Nick, thanks very much.

CNN's chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, joins me now.

So, Sanjay, how significant is the FDA's move to allow the widespread emergency use of this drug remdesivir?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: I think we pretty much anticipated this. It's a significant move because there hasn't been any other medication, or anything else that really treats this virus as you know, Anderson. So, what this medication shows is a proof of concept that something can affect this virus.

Anderson, you and I were talking a few weeks ago with Magic Johnson about a AZT, and the idea that when a AZT came out, it wasn't the panacea, but it was such an important start upon which other medication regiments were then built. My guess is the same thing is going to happen here. This may be a particular medication that is complemented by other medications, other medications that may act on other parts of the disease besides the viral replication itself. So, we'll see. But I think this EUA, or this emergency use authorization was pretty

expected, Anderson.

COOPER: So, tomorrow, as of tomorrow, there's going to be at least 32 states easing some restrictions somewhat to varying degrees. Doctor Fauci last night told us on our town hall that it was a gamble.

How long before we know what the effect of that gamble is in terms of cases?

GUPTA: Yes, you know, I mean, that's the thing is that, typically, because of the way testing is done right now, people aren't getting tested until they develop symptoms, or sometimes not getting tested until they show up into the hospital. So, the time period between when someone is exposed to this virus, to the time they develop symptoms can vary.

But it can be up to a couple of weeks as you know, that is what that 14-day incubation period comes from. It can be shorter than that, but you have to count at least a couple of weeks. And then if they're going to go to the hospital, it could be a week after that, then sadly if they die, maybe another week after that. You are talking, when you look at this tragic death count, when it starts to go up, it will be a snapshot in time from three to four weeks earlier.

And that's a concern, Anderson, because I think a lot of these things reopened, and for the next couple of weeks, they're going to say, you know, look, there is really no change in the overall hospitalization or death rates, but we have to keep an eye on that.

COOPER: The new report from the CDC, though, what fuel the spread of the coronavirus mentioning the lack of testing early on, it also sort of reminded me what Bill Gates was saying last night in the town hall which is, you know, he -- the White House talks about 200,000 tests available every day, he said that that's a phony number because a lot of those tests require more than two days or so, three or four, or a week later that you get results. By then, essentially, the test is useless because that person has been exposed to a bunch of other people.

GUPTA: Yes, I mean, that's the question. So, until we can get these rapid tests up and running and make sure they are accurate, because some of those have high false negative rate.


What do you do with people who just got tested then? Are they told to isolate themselves until the test results comes back, it's challenging, because that means if anyone gets a test day or two or three days out of the workforce or their lives as we reopen the economy? These tests have got to become faster and I also think more accurate. I think that is one of the things that perhaps does not get discussed enough. A 15 percent false negative rate on no diagnostic test is a significant. How do you have the confidence than that I am truly negative? And that this isn't a false negative?

COOPER: So, what else about the new CDC report kind of that stood out to you in about would fuel the spread?

GUPTA: I think this genomic analysis is really fascinating. I mean, It gives you an idea of a sort of a picture now, and the story of what exactly happened, when the virus arrived, where it, spread not surprisingly spread in areas where there was clusters of people, people in nursing homes, at large conferences.

But, you know, Anderson, the virus is largely stable, but it has these tiny mutations on it. It's like thinking of a family. All human beings share a lot of genetic -- genetically were very similar, but then family is slightly different. What is it about these families, what did we learn in New York?

The virus primarily came from Europe in, on the West Coast, it primarily came from China. We realized the first patient was diagnosed on January 21st, confirmed diagnosis in January 21st in Washington, but then six weeks later, we saw a descendant of that same virus that infected that first patient infecting other people, which meant that the virus had been circulating in Seattle for six weeks out in the community at that point.

So, these types of -- these types of analyses really do tell an important story of exactly what the virus did in this country.

COOPER: The doctor, the CDC doctor, who wrote the report, told the journal of medical association, quote, what we do this summer is going to be critical, and that's certainly one of the big unknowns, whether people will resist the urge to go back to full-fledged socializing in the summer and the impact that can have. I mean, again, back to the idea that this is going to be weeks before, you know, locale -- whether they see the impact of that are not, or what the impact is.

GUPTA: Yes, we get the sense of what is happening by looking at the narrative of the virus thus far over the last few months. Of what it's doing, how it spreading, it is out there. I mean, I think that's one of the things that really jumps out from the CDC report.

The virus is the constant in the equation, in the sense that it is still circulating. If we start to go back, we may get a bit of benefit from the fact that the weather is warmer and more humid, but the vast majority of people in this country are susceptible to this virus. You know, unlike the flu, or even if he didn't get the vaccine, you might still have a bit of protection because you are exposed to in years past, and the virus changed a bit, but you might still have some protection. You might have protection because a lot of people around you got the flu shot, and that gives you some herd immunity.

We don't have any of that protection here. So, there may be a bit of a benefit from the summer weather, but not enough to counteract what is likely to happen with this virus.

COOPER: Yes, Sanjay, thanks very much.

I want to bring in Tomas Pueyo, an e-learning executive who by his own admission is not an epidemiologist, but his writings have been really extraordinarily important over the last weeks and months. His post on medium titled "Coronavirus: Why You Must Act Now", is prescient an incredibly influential. I really learned so much reading all of his writing. It's been viewed tens of millions of times.

Tomas Pueyo joins us now.

So, in your estimation, how much testing is going to be needed to be able to reopen to whatever degree, and to keep the virus at bay?

TOMAS PUEYO, VP OF GROWHT, COURSE HERO: It's hard to say exactly, but we have a good sense of that. By looking at what is successful countries are doing. Look at South Korea, look at Taiwan, and the number of tests they have is 100 to one of the positive cases, right, or 100 to 1, 100 to 3, something like that.

We just mentioned 200,000 cases a day, but maybe you need two tests per person, because they're not very -- you don't have a lot of confidence. So, maybe we only do 100,000 new people really tested a day, that's compared to 30,000 cases that we have. If you need that ratio to be 1 to 33, 1 to 50, but you need at least 1 million people tested, which means at least 2 million tests, so we need 10 times a number of tests we were doing today.

COOPER: Two million every day?

PUEYO: That's right. With the number of cases we have.

Obviously, hopefully these cases will be going down and so fewer people are positive and fewer tests you need.


COOPER: You're right, also, about the speed of testing and how essential that is. It was talking about that with Sanjay. Bill Gates last night was essentially saying this 200,000 numbers, it's just a phony number because the results take too long. Without a quick results, there's so much potential to infect many other people.

PUEYO: That's right. Most of the contagion happens overnight in the first few days, around the first three or four days, you have pre- symptomatic contagion people who are not even coughing, who don't have fever, that are already transmitting this. And then you have people who have symptoms without symptoms, and they are also mostly creating contagious within three or four, five days.

If it takes you five days to identify these people, you also have to call the infections they've already created. So, you need the tests to be quick, to isolate people who are positive. Unless, obviously, you isolate these people even before they know they're positive or not.

But not only that, they also need to do contact tracing because the people who don't have symptoms yet, you also need to identify these people and immediately test them, and immediately quarantine them, or isolate them if they are. Speaking of the essence, there was research that showed that if you take three days to identify cases and three days to identify their contacts, all that work was really not doing much, or we're very little to reduce the transmission. So, really, speed is of the essence.

COOPER: You know, obviously, what would happen in the ideals world, and what happens in reality, in the real world, with all of this messiness. Just moving forward, as things reopen, I mean, I can't quite wrap my head around how does a big company, say they have 5,000 or 10,000 employees, if they don't have on-site instant testing, or immediate testing with a very quick results, 15 minutes or something, how do, they in any confidence release open backup, even with social distancing? Because if somebody starts coughing in the office, and they can send that person to be immediately tested nearby, and get a result, you know, how does that even work?

PUEYO: Here we are going back to the number of deaths (ph), right, if you can then -- if you use intelligent measures, that's perfect, but if you can't, you are forced to use heavy economic measures, right? So, you are right, if we cannot be intelligent, we will need to be very stringent with companies.

But companies have a lot of things they have going on, right? A no- brainer is masks. Masks are proven, or a science believes as of today, that it can reduce very substantially transmission rate. If you mandate everyone to wear masks, we could have a major impact.

If you mandate, for example, meetings should not be held with more than a few people, and they should not be held for hours, people should not be sitting face to face, but if you can have screens that -- protect people, that split them from other people are, all of these are measures that are going to be contributing to reduce transmission rate, and those are the intelligent measures they can do so that you don't have to pay for the expensive measures.

COOPER: Tomas Pueyo, again, I really appreciate your writing, it's been very helpful.

PUEYO: Thank you.

COOPER: And extraordinary. Thank you.

PUEYO: Congratulations. Amazing time you're going through.

COOPER: Oh, thank you, yes, I'm very lucky. Thank you.

Still ahead, tonight, more on remdesivir, the new treatment for coronavirus patients, what it means for those with the disease. Also, how close are we to a vaccine? We'll have more on that.

Also, later, President Trump and his allies pushing an unsubstantiated theory that the coronavirus escape from a lab in Wuhan, China. Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright joins me to discuss what we do and what we don't know.



COOPER: Earlier this hour, we mentioned the promising treatment of remdesivir which may reduce the length of a person's illness. It's not a cure, but it's showing promises of treatment.

President Trump called the drug, quote, a very promising situation, and the makers of remdesivir, Gilead Sciences, say they will donate the equivalent of about 140,000 treatment courses.

For more, I want to bring in senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen.

So, how unusual is it for the FDA to issue an emergency use authorization?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, it is unusual, Anderson, because you need to have a real emergency. So, for example, the Zika outbreak a couple of years ago, or 2009 when we had H1N1 flu, that would qualify. Even though this pandemic has been going on for months now, Anderson, this is the first emergency use authorization for a treatment for COVID-19. This -- it took us this long to find something that works.

To be clear, not a blockbuster drug, not a knockout drug, my friend and colleague Sanjay was talking about that just moments ago, but it does seem to lessen the amount of time it takes people to recover.

COOPER: Do we know -- I mean, how does this work? What part of the disease does it treating? I mean, the virus is it treating?

COHEN: Right. So, the virus needs certain enzymes in order to replicate, in order to copy itself and continue sort of basically flooding your body. And so, this drug basically works on one of those enzymes. It basically deactivates it so that it can't work, or does not work as well, so the virus does not replicate as well.

Again, this doesn't completely cough the virus out, because people who took this drug, they still got sick, some of them sadly still died, but that's the way it works. Now, what they are hoping is that now they figured out that this pathway actually works, and this drug did something, can we come up with something that might work even better?

And remember, Anderson, the struggle is designed for Ebola, and it seems to have some effect on COVID, so maybe now that we can develop design something specifically for COVID, we can do something better.

COOPER: So, did it go through all the sort of testing, and testing of potential side effects for Ebola? Do we know anything about side effects using it as a treatment this time around?

COHEN: You know, it's interesting, because when they did it for Ebola, one of the things they learned is that it didn't work for Ebola, but they also learned that the side effect profile as it's called and medicine, was quite good. They found some concerns about elevated liver enzymes, but that is often very reversible.

So, the side effect profile is looking good, which is I think one of the reasons why the FDA felt comfortable doing this. Of course, you don't want to harm people, and it looks like this one doesn't harm people. But now that we're about to give this to this huge group of people, you still have to keep an eye on that, because we are giving it to such a larger group, there may be large side effects that might show up.


So, to answer your question, Anderson, this did not go through the usual rigors of FDA approval. That takes months, or even years, and in emergency like this, we don't have that much time. So, this was done based on a study of just over 1000 people, usually we include more people in these FDA approval clinical trials. In this case, we had the time to do just over 1,000.

COOPER: All right. Elizabeth Cohen, Elizabeth, thanks so much.

Doctors that CNN has spoken with, they've already planning to use remdesivir, including those at Evergreen Health in Kirkland, Washington, which witnessed one of the earliest outbreaks of the disease.


DR. FRANCIS RIEDO, INFECTIOUS DISEASES EXPERT, EVERGREEN HEALTH: Every patient will receive remdesivir because the first trial, act one, showed benefit. It shorten the course of illness, and almost statistically significantly showed a decrease in mortality. But there was a clear trend towards benefit in terms of mortality as well, as -- almost significant reduction, statistically. But, clinically, a fairly dramatic decrease in mortality.


COOPER: Joining me now is Dr. Lloyd Minor, dean of the Stanford University School of Medicine who's been running clinical trials on remdesivir.

Dr. Minor, thanks for being with us.

As someone who participated in the trials, how significant is the FDA's emergency use authorization?

DR. LLOYD MINOR, DEAN, STANFORD UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: Well, thank you, Anderson. It's good to be with you.

I think it is quite significant. It's good to remember that the authorization is for hospitalized patients with moderate to severe consequences of COVID-19 infection. That is, they are either having poor oxygen saturation, or they are acquiring supplemental oxygen.

So, it's very significant in that population, and as you heard earlier on your program, it could now serve as an anchor drug, with other drugs being added, and an adaptive clinical trial fashion, to look at how the efficacy of the treatment could be improved even more, in the in-patient setting. It's not a silver bullet, but it's a -- it's certainly a step forward.

COOPER: So, just in terms of -- I mean, now, the doctors green-lit this. In terms of who can be treated -- you talk about being in a hospital setting, but someone who is at home or believes they are sick, or worried about being sick, this is not something they can go to their doctor, call up their doctor and the doctor will prescribe for them?

MINOR: That's correct, it's not. There's a lot of focus here at Stanford and other centers an outpatient therapies for COVID-19. We have an approved clinical trial for Interferon Lambda. This is a drug that modulates the immune system, and we believe may improve the ability of the immune system to fight off the effects of the virus.

We need to find more effective out -- we need to an effective or more effective outpatient treatments because right now, we don't have anything in the outpatient setting. And ultimately, we want to keep people out of the hospital, and enable them to combat the virus at home, and recover well at home without requiring hospitalization.

COOPER: So, when -- how is remdesivir given? It's a shot I assume -- I see images of a shot. How quickly does it start to take effect and what sort of effects does it have, have you seen?

MINOR: It's an intravenous medication, and the effects, it's not immediate. It's not as if you give one those in the medicine and then all of a sudden, everything turns around. We did run a trial here showing that a five-day course was just as effective as a 10-day course in terms of number of treatment milestones.

But it acts by blocking the replication of the virus. In other words, it interferes with the ability of the virus to reproduce itself. And the way this virus causes illness and adverse consequences is by taking over the machinery of cells, and in so doing, interfering with a lot of important body functions, as well as the spread of the virus to other organs as well.

COOPER: Dr. Fauci warned that it is not a knockout, and I assume you agree with that, that it does have limitations.

MINOR: Yes, yes, it does have limitations. The trial -- the NIH trial showed that there was a reduction in the time to recovery a vote of 31 percent reduction in time to recovery.

And also, there was an indication that perhaps there's an important -- a lowering of mortality rate, but that did not reach statistical significance. So, this is not a drug that you give one or two doses, and then the disease goes away. It is reminiscent of the early days of the treatment of HIV where the initial drug was AZT, it was certainly better than anything we had before, because nothing before AZT was effective.

But now, of course, we have now moved into a more effective therapies for HIV, but if we hadn't had that first step with AZT, we probably would not have gotten to the subsequent steps.


COOPER: Didn't ACT thought end up for the people who took up ended up hurt -- getting hurt by it or I might have my history of it might be a little bit murky. But I seem to recall, a lot of those people who took it early on had a difficulty actually getting benefits from the drug cocktail, which was an important part of later on.

MINOR: That's right there. There were a lot of modifications and treatment profiles. But you know, or HIV was coming onto the scene early in my medical career. And I think it's remarkable that over the course of the past three decades, we've transformed a disease that had been 100% fatal --


MINOR: -- to now a disease that successfully managed and it also we have preventative therapies for, I don't think it's going to take 30 years. With SARS-CoV-2, we know a lot more now than we did at the beginning of the HIV epidemic. But just as there wasn't a -- an initial treatment in HIV that that covered everything we needed to cover. We're clearly going to see the same here with Remdesivir and SARS-CoV-2.

COOPER: Yes, I mean it's extraordinary HIV now for, you know, the generation coming of age now, you know, it's a something that can be avoided altogether. And it's also something that, you know, can be treated and is a chronic condition. Let's hope one day, this virus has that same sort of -- there's a treatment for it as well.

Dr. Minor, thank you so much. I really appreciate it.

MINOR: Thank you. Congratulations on the birth of your son.

COOPER: Oh, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

Up next, the White House still pressing it's claimed that China is behind the spread of the coronavirus, even as the intelligence community says it believes the virus was not man made. We'll have more on that from Jim Acosta in a moment.



COOPER: President Trump continues to handle retaliate against China for what he sees as its role in spreading the coronavirus. The United States told reporters today that raising tariffs on Chinese goods is quote, certainly an option because what he said was a quote, bad situation and quote all over the world.

Keep him honest. The President is saying this is only day after his own intelligence community rejected the notion that the virus was made in a laboratory. Here's what the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said, and I quote, "The intelligence community also concurs the wide scientific consensus that the COVID-19 virus was not man made or genetically modified".

I talk to Jim Acosta in the White House about that. But first there is breaking news from there, the administration says it'll stop Dr. Anthony Fauci from testifying on Capitol Hill. So, Jim, let's start there. What is happening with Dr. Fauci?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, pretty significant news late on a Friday Anderson, the White House confirmed earlier this evening that they are going to block Dr. Anthony Fauci from testifying in front of the House Appropriations Committee next week. Keep in mind all of these lawmakers are coming back to Washington next week to hold hearings on all sorts of things. And, you know, some of these lawmakers obviously are putting their health at risk coming back to D.C. in the middle of the pandemic. And Dr. Fauci was going to be asked about a whole host of issues including on testing.

But according to a White House official we spoke with earlier this evening, they are saying that would be counterproductive for Dr. Fauci to devote his time to doing that.

Anderson, keep in mind this is the same Dr. Fauci who sat through a bunch of the President's Coronavirus Task Force briefings that sometimes lasted more than two hours. And so the Dr. Fauci's time was spent in that fashion over the last several weeks, but they can't. The White House is saying they can't send them up to Capitol Hill to answer questions from lawmakers on something as important as a pandemic. If there is a contradiction there, no question about it.

COOPER: And they control I mean they control this sort of thing. He -- I mean, he has to do what the Vice President's office says.

ACOSTA: At this point, yes. We have not reached any kind of point yet where lawmakers are talking about subpoenaing Dr. Fauci and I suppose at this point, yes, they can block him from going up there and testifying. We haven't heard the last word on this, obviously. But at this point, it sounds as though the White House will be successful and blocking Dr. Fauci from going up there.

COOPER: So I understand you have new reporting about President Trump and China.

ACOSTA: Yes. Interesting, you recall yesterday, when the President was asked whether he had confidence that this virus somehow started in a lab in Wuhan, China, the President said he had confidence in that, yes, that appear to contradict a statement from the Director of National Intelligence yesterday that said they were looking at two different options, one that it started in a lab, or that it began because of a transmission from animal to human. I talked to a senior administration official about this earlier today who said, wait a minute, there is no contradiction here. The two are in line with one another. And according to this official, it is the majority believe it is the belief of the majority of the Intelligence Community at this point, according to the senior administration official, that it's somehow originated in a lab, possibly through a mishap or mistake in handling the virus in the lab.

Now, that is, according to the senior administration official who cautioned Anderson, that there is still very much the possibility that this simply started outside of a lab in a contact between animal and human. And there's still investigating that at this point. But this official tried to say that is why the President was making that statement yesterday. Of course, the investigation continues. And this official was complaining as other officials have here at the White House, that the Chinese are not letting U.S. investigators into that lab to look into this further, Anderson

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

Let's get perspective now for Madeleine Albright served as Secretary of State under President Clinton. She's the author of a new book, Hell and Other Destinations.

Madam Secretary, thanks for being with us. That President is clearly intent on blaming China saying he's confident the virus started at the Wuhan lab. We heard what Jim was talking about with the intelligence community is saying. Clearly China has not been completely transparent and upfront and even on their death toll what's your point of view on this?


MADELEINE ALBRIGHT, FMR SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, Anderson before we begin, let's start with something pleasant, which is congratulations on your (INAUDIBLE) --

COOPER: Thank you.

ALBRIGHT: And if you need any advice, please give me a call. So --

COOPER: I will do that. Thank you.

ALBRIGHT: I do think that this is all head spinning, frankly. Because you get the sense that there's a desire on the part of the administration to have the intelligence community, and the scientific community, completely bent to what they're trying to prove. And yet they're trying to prove something different every other day. And so having been in a government, I can tell you that this is something that makes decision making incredibly complicated and confusing in every way to our own people and to the rest of the world and our adversaries. And so this is a very serious situation, but it can't be handled in the way that it's coming together.

Now, it's impossible for even somebody that thinks she understands it, to follow it properly.

COOPER: When an administration, any administration has, you know, a agenda is the right word or just a belief, you know, that China has done something, or any country has done something and tasks the intelligence community or sends the message to the intelligence community that they want, you know, information on that. Does the pressure of what the administration wants filter into the intelligence community? I mean, you know, we certainly a lot of questions were raised about the stovepiping of intelligence in the war in Iraq.

ALBRIGHT: Well, the truth is, it shouldn't and what is interesting is that it is the job of the intelligence community person to come into the Situation Room when there's a discussion about it, and to talk about what is happening without getting involved in policy advice. That is hard. I can understand that. But the whole point is to try to get independent information from the intelligence community and the same thing is true when the intelligence people go in and brief the president every morning or they used to.

And I think that it is very dangerous when the intelligence community is not able to do its job of providing that independent intelligence. The thing I think is fair to say, not all issues are always black and white. And so often the intelligence community provides different scenarios, which I think is important for our decision maker. But from everything I read, this is much more than that.

Really being having been from the very beginning kind of dismissing the intelligence community and this administration, you can't make policy without having a very serious approach to the intelligence and the science.

COOPER: CNN is reporting administration's formulating a long term plan to punish China on multiple fronts for the coronavirus pandemic, whether through sanctions or trade policies. I'm wondering the, you know, the concerns about that given, you know, when you look just down the road if China comes up with a vaccine, or we need certain medicines, China manufacturers, a lot of the pharmaceutical drugs that Americans consume and are prescribed by their doctors, it is -- is this administration aware or concerned enough about how interconnected we actually are with this country, even though we are at odds with this country on a number of fronts?

ALBRIGHT: Well, I think you've put it very clearly in terms of the important aspect if they actually have a vaccine, it would be crazy for us to say we don't want it. We are interconnected. And I think -- I can't tell you how many meetings over the years I've been to about what our relationship with China is and is it a, it is a rising power and how do we deal with it and it's the art of statecraft, to be able to cooperate and compete with a country and that is where we are with China.

So, if we punished them in the way that you're talking about, we are punishing ourselves. And so I think it's very short sighted. I do think Chinese have to explain what happened. There's no question about that. And there are many aspects to this. But at the moment, we need to think about where we are presently and where we're going in the future. And to recognize them as a major power that has a lot of control over things. And basically, as the United States steps back from policy, the Chinese are going to fill the vacuum. It's an inquiry. I know people don't want to hear this is a complicated relationship. But I think exactly the way you put the point, supposing they have a vaccine, we're going to punish them and not have it.

COOPER: Also China, I mean, just in terms of being a rising power, as you talked about the U.S. stepping back on the stage, I mean, China has been advancing on the international stage. I mean, throughout Africa, China is deeply involved. You know, throughout much of the world, we've seen the rise of China and that only seems to be continuing.


ALBRIGHT: Well, absolutely, they have them. And they have been waiting to do that. And Xi Jinping is very aggressive on this, the Belt and Road Policy where they are going around I've been saying the Chinese must be getting very fat because the belt is larger and larger, and they're all over the place. But partially it is their agenda, but partially is because we've stepped back and the vacuum that has been created, leaves them space for it.

What I'm very troubled by right now, Anderson is that Xi Jinping and Trump are pushing each other's nationalism buttons. And that is very dangerous, because they're both trying to prove that they're more powerful, that they can punish that we have total control over each other's policies. We don't they're that requires some kind of set an understanding of the various aspects to it and changing our minds, every five minutes, I think is very confusing to our own people, to our adversaries and to our friends. And we need to have for dealing with China as a rising power.

COOPER: Madam Secretary, appreciate your time. Thank you very much.

ALBRIGHT: Thank you.

COOPER: Just ahead, as we continue to remember the victims of the pandemic story of one family with two deaths a mother and father, both taken by coronavirus and the families struggle to give them a final resting place.



COOPER: There's a story out of California situation, California that we want to tell you about tonight. Richard Hartwig, a Vietnam veteran, whose family said he was wanted a military -- full military burial, died of coronavirus. A week later his wife Mercedes also died of coronavirus. They've been married for 33 years. But by no means is this the end of the story as with most funerals taking place during the pandemic, nothing is simple, nothing.

The Hartwigs daughter Naomi is with me now. Naomi, I'm so sorry for the loss that you and your family are going through. What can you tell me about your parents? What they -- what would they like?

NAOMI HARTWIG, LOST BOTH OF HER PARENTS TO COVID-19: Hi. So, my parents were two people that were on complete opposites of a spectrum. So my dad, he was a serious guy on the outside, but on the inside, like behind closed doors, he was like the typical dad jokester, like he had his crude sense of humor, sometimes borderline inappropriate, and, you know, he, he dealt with a lot of his emotions with humor and he would laugh at things that most people probably wouldn't laugh at. But that's just kind of like who he was. And then, but he was also very introverted. His favorite place to be was home on the couch, you know, watching anything from mash to football to, you know, those ghost catcher show.

And --

COOPER: And he met your mom -- they were working on an assembly line together. I read it a Memory X Factory (ph). Is that your -- is that right?

HARTWIG: Yes. It was called Tandy. It was for Memory X. And my mom worked out on an assembly line and my dad worked as a technician. So he would fix the machinery. And things --

COOPER: What was she like?

HARTWIG: My mom was the complete opposite of that. So my mom was extremely extroverted. She would be the life of any party, like she loved music, she loves to dance. She was from a summer loaded and she loved to dance salsa, merengue, like, dancing was like her passion. And she loved to be around people. She loved to be, you know, at just big events and -- but she was also very, very loving and she loved her kids more than anything and she never failed to show us, you know, like she was very affectionate, very loving. And she was just a caring, caring person.

COOPER: I mean, I love that almost every picture she's either like hugging somebody or smiling or, you know, with your dad or your siblings or you. I know they want it to be buried together if that was possible, and they died a week apart. And they were in different hospitals, different counties.


COOPER: And I know your dad wanted a military burial as he was a Vietnam vet and, you know, with an honor guard and that you weren't able to have that because of coronavirus, right?

HARTWIG: No, we couldn't. So for the burial, it was very strict. They only allowed us to have 10 people. And we had to stand up on this hilltop that was like, overlooking the whole cemetery. And it was it was really, really far, so we couldn't see anything, really. And --

COOPER: I think we just showed a picture and where somebody is pointing and I can't even see. With what I -- I'm guessing that's a shot from the burial. But you it's, I can't even really see what's going on.


COOPER: You knew that far away.

HARTWIG: Yes -- no, we couldn't see. We were that far away. Yes. We couldn't see anything.

And finally, you know, we got so frustrated that some of us just drove down to see what was going on, because we couldn't see anything. And by the time we drove down there, the casket had already been lowered. And there was nobody there. And we just kind of took it upon ourselves to walk up and I took a picture of kind of like their grave site.

COOPER: So that that's the picture we just saw, which was once you walked up after it was done, wow.

HARTWIG: Right. Right. And it was just kind of covered with like a piece of wood. And there was nobody around and we kind of just hung out there for a couple minutes, you know? And then we were asked to leave because we weren't supposed to be down there. So --


COOPER: Was your mom able --


COOPER: -- Was your mom able to be in the casket with your dad, with her -- no, she was cremated? Will she be able to be her ashes in the casket?

HARTWIG: No. So, once -- because the urn and the casket had to be checked in separately. They weren't able to put the urn inside the casket beforehand. And then once we got there, they had a policy that we weren't allowed to reopen the casket to put the place that urn inside. So (INAUDIBLE) I believe.

COOPER: Which is obviously I mean, that's very unusual. Often, you know, you can put -- you can put mementos or something in the casket of your loved one before they're buried. I'm wondering -- I mean, I and I know other members of your family I think are also struggling with coronavirus. Is that right?

HARTWIG: Yes, so, my aunt so my mom's sister, her younger sister, who is still in the hospital, but thank God they took her -- finally took off of a ventilator a little over a week ago. Slowly getting better, but she has she went into the hospital around the same time my mom did, and she was diagnosed with coronavirus and she was on a ventilator for almost three weeks as well.

COOPER: Oh my gosh.

HARTWIG: And but thank God she's finally starting to get a little better. So --


HARTWIG: -- we were worried.

COOPER: Well, Naomi, I'm so sorry for your loss and also just for, you know, that the final moments weren't what you and what they certainly want it and I hope -- I hope -- I don't know, that's terrible. And I wish I wish it was a different situation. I'm sorry once you've been through.

But I appreciate --

HARTWIG: Thank you.

COOPER: -- you talking about I love hearing about your parents. They sound like an amazing couple -- HARTWIG: Yes.

COOPER: -- been through a lot.

HARTWIG: They were, they were, they were great people. And I'm sad that they just so soon.

COOPER: Yes, well what a life they had 33 years together.

HARTWIG: Thank you.

COOPER: No, thank you. I appreciate it.

A lot more a lot more head on this Friday night. We're going to talk to Sanjay, an update on the testing and how actor Sean Penn is trying to help ease that road testing. Will take you to a laboratory to see exactly how far an unprotected cough also travels.