Return to Transcripts main page


U.S. Coronavirus Death Toll Tops 82,000; Key Model Now Predicts 147,000 U.S. Deaths By August; Most CA State Classes Will Be Online Through Fall 2020 Due To Pandemic; Los Angeles County Could Be Under Stay-At-Home Order Until August; As Cases Of Rare COVID-Linked Illness In Kids Rise, Fauci Warns Against "Cavalier" Idea That Children Are Immune From Disease; What Will Reopening Of New York City Look Like? Aired 8-9p ET

Aired May 12, 2020 - 20:00   ET



JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Now if we'd get up the nerve to fly again. Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: And Anderson, starts now.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Erin, thanks. Good evening, everyone. Today has been a series or we have seen a series of unsubtle reminders that the administrations repeated pronouncements, that we are "transitioning into greatness", in their words and this country has met the moment and, "prevailed", on testing.

Obscures evidence that the virus is not under control. That we are far from the end of this pandemic, sadly, and that a reversal of the progress we have made is still possible if we don't listen to what our health officials and our scientists are telling us.

Now, the first reminder today, a capitol hill hearing unlike any other, where how witnesses and lawmakers communicated was as important as what they communicated. And we'll get to all that in a moment tonight. The other developments happened shortly after that hearing ended. One an update to a University of Washington model the White House has previously cited, plotting the course of this virus.

It's new numbers once again projecting even higher death count. 147,000 people projected to die in the U.S. through August 4th, that's an increase of 10,000 from their previous projection. The institute that publishes the model pointed to reasons including a loosening of social distancing policies and greater mobility for people.

The director of the institute told CNN that if people are not cautious, if they don't wear masks, if the nation doesn't have the capacities to test, to do the contact tracing and to isolate people who are infected, then, quote, "I think we'll see the numbers go up."

Today Johns Hopkins reports there are 82,246 people who have died in the United States, 1,564 have died today alone. The other reminders, we are far from the end tonight, come out of California. The first California state university with 23 campuses and close to half a million students. They say for the most part they will not have in- person classes come the fall, as in around four months from now.

The other reminder and where we begin tonight is out of L.A. County. A health official said just a short time ago the county will extend its stay-at-home orders by three more months. Just to give you some idea of the importance of the development, according to the most recent census figures, L.A. County is home to about 10 million people, the population is roughly the size of either Michigan or North Carolina.

In fact, only nine states have bigger populations than L.A. county. We want to get an update and the latest joining us now is the Mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti. Mayor Garcetti, thanks so much for being with us. So, what exactly does this mean? Will L.A. be extending its stay-at-home order through July?

MAYOR ERIC GARCETTI (D), LOS ANGELES, CA: Well, a couple of things it means a couple things. This is just as dangerous a virus today as it was when it arrived, and we should never become too comfortable. We're learning to live with it, not moving beyond it.

But it's important to over-react and not to under react. Not to overreact today huge headlines it was on CNN, L.A. Times, when our county health officer Dr. Farrer merely said that an order would stay in place for at least three more months, that doesn't mean the order stays in place exactly as it is today, but of course we're going to have to protect our vulnerable and our seniors.

We're still going to wear facial coverings; we're still going to need to physically distance and the steps we earn each week and each month are going to be based on where the numbers are and how safe we can make spaces and places.

I think in L.A. we've shown some success with that with our construction industry. There were things like farmers markets where three had had to shut down but re-open safely. So, it's just is a reminder how delicate and fragile this time is but to not freak out when you hear a scientist say that it's still going to be here and we're going to be living under health orders, all of us in America, for many, many months, if not into next year.

But at the same time it really puts that in our hands to know our compliance with these orders helps us take steps forward as we did this week in Los Angeles and as we hope to do a little more with baby steps this coming week too.

COOPER: So, just to be clear, there will be some sort of stay-at-home orders continuing through July. The exact parameter of them, the details of them, that depends on what occurs. You said you may see some adjustments. In what time frame did you just say? Did you say a week or within a week or after a week? And what do you have a --

GARCETTI: Yeah it was also announced today for instance--

COOPER: -- sense of when the next kind of loosening might be?

GARCETTI: So it was announced today for instance that and remember I'm the mayor of the city, so the county which is separate makes these pronouncements. A lot of people call me friends and said, what did you say? I didn't say anything.

But let me clarify it on CNN. Watch Anderson Cooper and you'll find out. What we did do is move toward this weekend opening up our trails. We made sure that there's curb side pickup at five different categories of retail stores.


Today the county announced, we concur, that that will expand to all retail, that beaches will open up this week for exercise and active recreation only -- in the wet sand, I guess, is a good way of thinking about it, not hanging out and tanning in the dry sand.

And every two or three weeks, we can assess those steps. If the numbers stay stable as they are here in Los Angeles, great, we've earned that and can build on that. Similar with work spaces. Maybe manufacturing comes next because we've been manufacturing masks safely, just distancing the sewing machines and the workers.

So each one of these steps is really both in the hands of, a little bit of government, but mostly the people, to comply with those recommendations. And the public health is clear. This is still a threat to us all.

COOPER: So, for retail establishments, you said it will be extended for all retail establishments. What does that actually look like curbside? So, people don't go into a particular store? They order online, or do they order through a window or something, an open door, someone brings it out?

GARCETTI: Yes, online or call ahead, as we've been doing with restaurants for quite some time now. This was opened up to book stores, toy stores, up to florists and a couple of other categories. In the coming week, it will be opened up to all retail establishments.

But you bring up a good point, Anderson. These aren't easy, and it takes some time. We have hundreds of business ambassadors who go out there, help educate, encourage, if necessary, enforce, but to make sure that they aren't letting people into their retail shops yet, that they are complying and posting that they have complied in their windows, with the public health orders.

And so, each step allows us to get a little bit of business back. I've been encouraging Angelenos to shop local, call that store that you love, get whatever it is that you used to buy from them, pay for it over the phone, and they'll give it to you at the curbside.

And so far, we've gotten a passing grade. We need to get it up a little higher to an A or a B, but it's definitely been a passing grade, and over the weekend, it worked well and gave some jobs back to people and some money back to local business owners.

COOPER: I've been buying, actually, my masks from a local L.A. Company called Leisure Lab that usually makes athletic wear. They've switched to masks, so I've been buying them online.

GARCETTI: That's awesome. Thank you.

COOPER: The California State University system announced today that it plans to cancel a majority of in-person classes for the fall. Is that a decision that you support? What about Los Angeles County schools this fall? Do you anticipate in-person classes will resume?

GARCETTI: I certainly hope so. Anybody who predicts today where the virus will be tomorrow, let alone in the fall, we won't know, but we should prepare for it. I absolutely think it will be a different school than we're used to. Whether that's fewer days a week, whether it's half the class coming in, whether it's new spaces and places where we educate.

I think it would be a pity if we have all of our children only online throughout the rest of this calendar year. And we're watching places around the world where they're doing that safely. Again, it's all about our compliance.

But if we can get the temperature checks, if we can get the testing in place, which is why I've been so passionate about testing and became the first big city in America to offer testing for widespread -- for people with and without symptoms. We're going to need that in place.

But I do believe that in the fall, the K-12 level, we should be prepared. If the numbers are stable, yes, we should figure out safe ways for kids to be there at least some of the week face-to-face with teachers, with their peers.

At the higher education level, it's tougher because people often live in dormitories. That's higher risk. So I think each system needs to make that decision themselves. I support what Cal State University has done. But there are spaces and places that we absolutely should be educating, I believe, by the fall, face-to-face in safe environments.

COOPER: Los Angeles mayor, Eric Garcetti. Thanks so much, Mayor. Appreciate it.

GARCETTI: Always. Thank you, Anderson.

COOPER: Take care. As we said at the top of the broadcast, one of the big moments of the day was that testimony of four top health officials, including Dr. Anthony Fauci. Really, what was so unusual about it, in addition to some of the testimony, was how it all came together, and it was like nothing we've seen before on Capitol Hill.

Witnesses were not present, obviously, in the committee room. They participated by video conference, as did the Republican committee chairman and several other senators. Of the senators who attended, some wore masks, others did not. Individuals in the room were asked to be at least six feet apart. The public was not permitted to attend.

Phil Mattingly shows us what happened once the hearing began. Take a look.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, MEMBER OF WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS TASK FORCE: The consequences could be really serious.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The White House's top public health officials issuing a stark warning as President Trump presses to reopen the country.

FAUCI: My concern, that if some areas, cities, states, or what have you, jump over those various checkpoints and prematurely open up without having the capability of being able to respond effectively and efficiently, my concern is that we will start to see little spikes that might turn into outbreaks.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): The highly anticipated Senate hearing, a surreal reminder of the new world facing everyone, as the U.S.' COVID- 19 death toll surpasses 80,000. Republican senator Lamar Alexander urging the administration to ramp up testing.


SEN. LAMAR ALEXANDER, REPUBLICAN CHAIRMAN: All roads back to work, back to school lead through testing, tracking, isolation, treatment and vaccines. This requires wide-spread testing.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): As the democrats trained their fire on the administration for an array of perceived failures by the President.

SEN. PATTY MURRAY (D) , RANKING MEMBER, SENATE COMMITTEE ON HEALTH, EDUCATION, LABOR AND PENSIONS: President Trump has been more focused on fighting against the truth than fighting this virus, and American's have sadly paid the price.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): Conflicting information about re-opening guidelines.

SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D), CONNECTICUT: You work for a President who is frankly undermining our efforts to comply with the guidance that you've given us.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): And the administration's overall response.

(UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE): The time for magical thinking is over here.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): But the health officials touting progress on the countries fight with one big caveat -- the virus is not yet under control.

FAUCI: I think we're going in the right direction, but the right direction does not mean we have by any means, total control of this outbreak.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): With signs of progress on a vaccine, but not before schools restart in the Fall.

FAUCI: Phase one will directly go into phase two, three in late Spring and early Summer and if we are successful, we hope to know that in the late Fall and early Winter. The idea of having treatments available or a vaccine to facilitate the re-entry of students into the Fall term would be something that would be a bit of a bridge too far.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): And the Federal official overseeing US testing efforts projecting a massive ramp up in the months ahead.

ADM. DR. BRETT GIROIR, ASSISTANT SECRETARY, DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES: By September, taking every aspect of development, authorization, manufacturing and supply chain into consideration, we project that our nation will be capable of performing at least 40 to 50 million tests per month.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): But it was Republican senator Mitt Romney who responded to the claims of testing success with this surepertor(ph).

SEN. MITT ROMNEY (R), UTAH: I find our testing record nothing to celebrate whatsoever.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): Anthony Fauci also facing criticism from GOP Senator Rand Paul.

SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: And as much as I respect you, Dr. Fauci, I don't think you're the end all.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): With Fauci pushing back.

FAUCI: I never made myself out to be the end all and only voice in this. I don't give advice about economic things, I don't give advice about anything other than public health.


COOPER: Phil Mattingly joins us now from Washington. So, Senator Sanders also asked Dr. Fauci if he thought the current total death toll of 80,000 was accurate. What did Fauci say?

MATTINGLY: You know, some interesting context here, Anderson. When I talk to Republicans on Capitol Hill who have been in discussions with White House officials, have spoken to the President several have told me that there are people inside the White House, including the President who believe the current total more than 80,000 is actually an over-count.

That individuals that have died have been labeled as COVID deaths that didn't actually have the virus. Anthony Fauci is not in that group. He said when he was asked specifically if the number of 80,000 was low or high, he said quote "Most of us believe it is actually higher than 80,000."

Carefully choosing his words saying most of us inside the White House believe that's the case, but Anthony Fauci believes 80,000 at least at this point in time -- which we've already gone North of that, is actually under where the total COVID deaths likely are. Where it ends up, of course Anderson, still an open question.

COOPER: Phil Mattingly, Phil, thanks very much. Joining us now is Chief Medical Correspondent Dr Sanjay Gupta, also Michael Olsterholm, director of the Centre for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. Sanjay, first of all, just on the death toll, the idea that the White House -- that the President or folks there are behind the scenes poo-pooing the death toll saying that it's not as high in reality as all the evidence shows that it is.

And as Dr. Fauci and nearly, most people involved in this will say, it's actually under-estimated. I mean, it just seems like such a blatant political stance for the President to be whispering about or saying behind the scenes. He clearly doesn't want -- he has spoken it out loud, he says more testing means the numbers go up and that makes it look bad for the administration.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, there's been various studies as well because of the lack of testing because there was a lot of people who may have been thought they had some other sort of respiratory illness or the flu, again because of lack of testing, because people were staying home as the hospitals -- particularly in New York were getting full.

I think, all those things have fed into this idea, and a study came out of Yale showing this that between March and April -- beginning of March and I think the first few days in April that the death toll sadly was probably really undercounted. That it may have been 10 to 12 thousand people more even.

So, it's hard to know, I think Dr. Fauci was sort of pressed on this point by Senator Sanders, is it 50 percent higher I think Senator Sanders asked and Dr. Fauci didn't want to give a number. But I think when Dr. Fauci was saying most people believe this, I think he was really talking about the public health community as well.


Because there have been studies that have come out about this, it's a tough thing to know, but again because of inadequate testing up front we may never really know the true number here.

COOPER: Michael, Dr. Fauci testified that states face serious consequences if they are re-opened too quickly. There's now this new modeling projecting 147,000 US deaths by August, which the researcher ties to relaxation of social distancing, increased mobility. It's obviously just -- it's an obvious point, but I think it bares repeating, it's a stark reminder that this is far from over. You've talked about this as being early innings.

MICHAEL OSTERHOLM, DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR INFECTIOUS DISEASE RESEARCH AND POLICY: Right, we really are at the very beginning. We could go for a period of several months where the virus basically just dies out or appears to be gone and could come back with a major wave this Summer and Fall. I think again, the message we have to keep coming back to, we have infected five to 20 percent of the population of this country.

Most of the country's in that five percent range, this virus is not going to even slow down it's transmission until it gets to 60 or 70 percent. If you just keep remembering how many deaths, how many financial disruption moments that have occurred in this past few months and think how much further we have to go to find that herd immunity status.

COOPER: You know, Michael, it's also remarkable, it's stunning when you think more than 80,000 dead and that is with all the social distancing and societal upheaval and financial ruin that has taken place. Had we not gone through all that, there's no telling what the death toll would have been.

OSTERHOLM: Yes, I'm certain that we have prevented a number of deaths and deaths that basically wouldn't normally be thought of. We're thinking right now of long term care and prisons, meat packing plants, but we're going to see more and more of this in the community.

The 52-year old individual who doesn't have any other risk factors and that's what I think we've prevented -- more cases in that type of population. But as we go on with time, those cases are going to be on the books unfortunately.

COOPER: As a 52-year old individual, I'm paying particular attention to what you just said. Sanjay, Dr. Fauci said that the school re- openings will vary from rejoin to region, he also said that having a vaccine for the upcoming school year would be a bit of a bridge too far. California State University is planning to cancel most in-person classes through the Fall, we just talked to Mayor Garcetti about LA. I'm wondering what you make of it and for you what was the biggest thing that came out of the hearings today?

GUPTA: Well, you know, I do think I find Dr. Fauci's language he's so masterful at what he does -- a bridge too far to talk about a vaccine this Fall. I don't think anybody has been thinking that a vaccine would be available this Fall, but you know, it's a question of balancing the hopefulness of people with the honesty, which I think he's quite good at.

You know, I think as far as schools go, you heard about colleges, CalState probably going to online, I think we're going to probably see that at a lot of universities, I'd be curious what Dr. Osterholm thinks. I think with grade schools, it may be a little different, only because I think there's a real inertia to try and -- especially for younger kids to see if they might be able to have some socialization within a bricks and mortar structure.

It's going to feel different, I mean, maybe staggered start times, obviously not cafeterias or assemblies or any mass gatherings. And if things are not going well in a particular community if you're starting to see more or more cases they may have to pull back or not start school at all.

But I think as far as the lower school -- K through 12, I think that there's a real desire to try and open up those schools. I spoke to people within the LA united school district -- LA unified school district, second largest in the country, and they say they would like to do this, but we'll see what the Summer holds.

COOPER: And Michael, does it make any sense to you at all that the CDC guidelines for re-opening still have not been released? I mean, CDC Director Redfield said today that they'd be released soon, Dr. Burks, you know, was on our town hall last week and sort of claimed that they're not being squashed, it's just in editing.

But it certainly, that was contradicted by word coming out of the White House earlier that very day. So, I mean, it's re-opening's beginning and the CDC guidelines aren't even out, it seems again another example of the kind of CDC being sidelined and knee-capped.

OSTERHOLM: Well, first of all, I give great credit to the Governors and even the Mayors of this country that have had to do a lot of the heavy lifting to make decisions about what to do. But even that is a bit discouraging, because as you may recall we did have some coming back out of the lockdown kind of criteria that the White House had we're not following that.

Right now, we have 42 states that are releasing or are coming back to what had previously existed for business, and in those states, we have -- many of them have cases increasing right now.


So I am concerned, as a nation, even if we have more criteria, we've got to wrestle with this. How are we going to make the decisions, what to do and not to do, and right now we're not really making, I think, decisions based on any data. People say, test, test, test. I'm not seeing anybody using testing data right now to give us a sense of what we should do or not do.

COOPER: Yes, I mean, that's a terrifying sentence, that we're not making any decisions based on data. That is something to really focus on in the days ahead. Michael, thank you, as always. Michael Osterholm, always great to have your expertise.

OSTERHOLM: Thank you.

COOPER: Sanjay will stick around. Still ahead tonight, we're going to continue our conversation about states reopening with Ohio governor Mike DeWine, why he's confident it's the right move, even as health officials urge caution.

And later, the speaker of New York City's council joins me to discuss when the city may partially reopen, and also, just what a reopening might look like in New York City, which has been the epicenter.


COOPER: As we reported earlier, a model has been cited by the White House that's out with new numbers that again raise the projected death toll. According to an institute at the University of -- the University of Washington, the number of deaths in the U.S. from the coronavirus through August 4th are now projected to be 147,000.


That's an increase of 10,000 lives due to less social distancing, joining us now from Washington is CNN's Jim Acosta. Has the White House responded to the increased number of dead predicted in this new model? JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Not just yet Anderson we do know that the White House has embraced this model in the past though President Trump just the other day was complaining that these models have not been consistent and they haven't been accurate and we should also note Dr. Anthony Fauci on the coronavirus task force has also expressed some of his misgivings with these models that are based on the assumptions you put into the models.

But at the same time Anderson, it doesn't sound as though the increase of this projection, up to 147,000 deaths is going to affect how this White House is approaching reopening the country.

We saw Kayleigh McEnany, the White House Press Secretary in the briefing room earlier this afternoon saying look, if we stay closed too long you're going to see people not going in for medical procedures. You're going to see deaths going up because of drug and alcohol abuse and so on and so barring some massive increase in these estimates or projections, Anderson, I don't see the President really wavering in terms of his approach to reopening the country and wanting to do it as soon as possible.

COOPER: So Jim, what is the policy moving forward from the White House now about, you know, letting the American people hear from Dr. Fauci, hear from Dr. Birx, hear from the coronavirus task force? Is that now -- are those daily -- I know they say they're not going to get rid of the task force, but have they muzzled the task force? Are they not going to have the daily briefings from the task force? Because I mean, you know, it's like if A tree falls in the forest and no one's around, do you hear it?

ACOSTA: Right, and they did have a task force meeting earlier this afternoon. We understand Dr. Birx and Dr. Fauci were both there. They were distancing themselves from one another because of the situation with the Vice President's press secretary testing positive for the coronavirus.

It does seem that these coronavirus briefings that made so much news in a positive and negative sense for the President for several weeks, that is off for now. The President prefers to do these press conferences where he feels he can control the message a lot better, although things went off the rails yesterday.

But in the meantime it does seem, Anderson, they are comfortable keeping Dr. Fauci off to the side lines, keeping him away from the cameras as much as possible. They let him testify earlier today up on Capitol Hill, teleworking in, I suppose you could call it, zooming in to that hearing.

But time and again we saw him contradict the administration from one issue to another. That obviously doesn't sit well with people inside the administration, they see Dr. Fauci as somebody who kind of throws cold water on the President's optimism.

And so my sense is, Anderson, from here on out you're going to see less of Dr. Fauci, less of Dr. Birx, and potentially more of the president having news conferences. But as you and I both know Anderson, they kind of make this up as they go along. What happens today may not necessarily mean what happens tomorrow. But for the moment it does sound like these doctors have been sidelined, Anderson.

COOPER: I mean, we need more than anything, you know, clear fact-based science now. And hearing from the scientists who are, you know, deeply involved in this coronavirus task force is critical. I just find it so strange that the White House -- I mean, not strange, but just sad that the White House or the President seems to sidelining, at least Dr. Fauci. Anyway we'll see.

ACOSTA: They're keenly aware of this poll numbers.

COOPER: Jim Acosta thank you, joining us now --

ACOSTA; They're keenly aware of how --


ACOSTA: Yeah, you bet.

ANDERSON: No, you were just saying they're keenly aware of poll numbers?

ACOSTA: They're keenly aware of these poll numbers and how they show the president -- we have a new CNN poll out today, public disapproval of the President going up, and at the same time confidence in Dr. Fauci remains as high as any public figure in America when it comes to this pandemic.

They're aware of that, and that's why you're seeing just this evening, Anderson, Trump advisors on social media sniping at Dr. Fauci because they see him as not on board not on the same page as the President, no question about it.

COOPER: Yeah, if the White House is looking at poll numbers for scientists, I mean we're in a pandemic, that's remarkable. Jim Acosta appreciate it. Joining me now is Ohio Governor Mike DeWine.

Governor DeWine, thanks so much for being with us, I appreciate it, I know how busy you are.

Dr. Fauci is warning about the potential for needless suffering and death if we skip the criteria and guidelines and reopen the country, you know, prematurely or too fast. Obviously that is one of the considerations, you have taken into account.

Ohio has not seen a 14-day downward trajectory in cases which was one of the benchmarks initially laid out by the Coronavirus Task Force. Can you talk about your decision, why aren't you waiting until that happens? What other criteria are you looking at?


GOV. MIKE DEWINE (R-OH): Well, Anderson, I think there's a risk if we open up or if we don't open up. You know, we can't continue to have this down economy so much and quite frankly, people are anxious to get moving and getting things going. But what we've tried to do, what we have done is get the best scientific evidence that we can so that the how we open up is the best that we can do.

I mean, for example, I'm working today on child care and how can we do this and we're going to announce this in a few days, people are going back to work, they need child care. But, you know, grave concern about little kids who maybe don't get sick themselves but they take it from one family back to numerous families and so, what we're going to do when we roll this out in a few days, I think it's going to be the best child care plan in the nation, in the sense of we're going to have smaller classes sizes than I think anybody else.

And so, we're trying to do it as carefully as we can, but we do know it's a risk and my message to Ohioans again today was the same as it's been every day and that is you've got to wear a mask, you've got to keep the social distancing, you've got to be careful.

If you're high risk, you probably shouldn't go out, these things have not changed, the virus is still out there. But we also know that when the economy goes flat and stays that way for a long period of time, some other very horrendous things occur that are not just economic, not just in people's pay check, but in their medical care, in their health.

We see things like domestic violence that historically go up when we see unemployment go up. And so, these are things that we have to try to balance, we're trying to do it in a very, very -


DEWINE: -- we are doing it in a very, very careful way, as careful as we can. But yes, there's certainly a risk and we need to understand that as we go through this.

COOPER: Yes, I mean these are not easy decisions for any one to make. I think the last time we talked or a recent time we talked -- and correct me if I'm wrong, you talked about trying to scale up the contact tracing, the testing and I'm just wondering how that's going. If memory serves me, you had said I think you wanted to aim for 1,800 or so contact tracers. Is that still -- if I'm accurate, is that the --


COOPER: -- number you're still --

DEWINE: No, absolutely --

COOPER: -- or trying to get to?

DEWINE: Yes. And it's interesting, we had a ton of applications that were very happy and we're starting to hire people, so that is coming along. The other thing of course is the testing itself and our capacity is up, our testing continues to go up, but it's got to go up a lot more. I was just on a call tonight with two former governors who I've asked to help me -- Governor Taft and Governor Celeste. And a long conference call right before I came on here about how we

continue to grow that testing. It's important, you need to be able to have it so you we vigorously trace, we also have to have it so frankly we can go into some -- if there's a hot spot then we can move in and take care of that hot spot. So, the testing is a lot more robust today than it was the last time you and I talked, but we still have a ways to go.

COOPER: Well, that's great on the contact tracers that you had a lot of people wanting to do that job and obviously that's going to be a critical role. And again, I just think it's for any leader this is an extraordinarily difficult time and difficult task, and I appreciate you taking the time to talk to us, Governor Dewine, thank you.

DEWINE: Thank you, Anderson. Appreciate being with you.

COOPER: The coronavirus of course is bad enough, but doctors are becoming concern over other unusual illnesses that may be connected to the pandemic. We wanted to try to know more about this, so Sanjay's going to -- Sanjay Gupta's going to join us shortly just to take a look at what this may mean. We'll be right back.



COOPER: As Dr. Anthony Fauci kept saying at today's hearing, there are still many unknowns about the coronavirus and its impact, especially when it comes to kids. Overall, children are far less likely to become infected, but Fauci told the senators that there are troubling signs for children who do have the disease.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, MEMBER OF WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS TASK FORCE: Children presenting with COVID-16 -- COVID-19, who actually have a very strange inflammatory syndrome, very similar to Kawasaki syndrome -- I think we better be careful if we are not cavalier in thinking that children are completely immune to the deleterious effects.

COOPER: And the doctor said that isn't the only concerning development arising from COVID. There are, in fact, a lot of others. Sanjay is back with us for a look.


DR. MATTHEW BAI, EMERGENCY PHYSICIAN, MOUNT SINAI QUEENS: Now, I'm ready to go out into the ER. I don't know quite what to expect yet.

DR SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Don't know what to expect, in so many ways. The coronavirus has challenged ER doctors like Matt Bai since it hit, baffling doctors with its mysterious symptoms. Coronavirus is a respiratory virus. It can spread through droplets with each cough or each breath.

DR. MANISHA JUTHANI, INFECTIOUS DISEASES SPECIALIST, YALE MEDICINE: You have a droplet that then goes into your nose, maybe down to your throat and eventually down into your lungs.

GUPTA (voice-over): But some people have critically low oxygen levels, and yet still appear like you and me.


DR. RICHARD LEVITAN, EMERGENCY PHYSICIAN: Almost unimaginable how people could be awake and alert and have oxygen levels that are half normal.

GUPTA (voice-over): And it gets even more confusing. A respiratory virus doesn't typically cause isolated loss of smell or bumps and lesions on the feet. From nose to toes and nearly every organ in between. How does a microscopic strand of RNA wreak so much and such varied destruction?

BAI: So, when they come in they cane be to the extreme where they have no pulse already or they're coming in breathing really fast and hypoxic with the very low oxygen level and cold and blue.

GUPTA (voice-over): It could have to do with the way the virus typically enters our cells in the first place. You're looking at the Ace-2 receptor, now see how the spikes on the coronavirus bind to the surface of the cell.

JUTHANI: This particular receptor is known to be in lung tissue, but it's also known to be in the heart and other parts of the body. It seems that this Ace-2 receptor is expressed more potentially with the age.

GUPTA (voice-over): Higher levels of Ace-2 are often present in men, which could also explain why they are most likely to be effected more severely. Patients like 33-year old Warnell Vega, who had a life- threatening blood clot in his lungs.

WARNELL VEGA: Next thing I know I was on the floor.

GUPTA (voice-over): Then there's the mystery of what it's doing to some children. At least three dead now in New York, from an illness with symptoms similar to Kawasaki disease -- a condition where the blood vessels become enflamed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have about 100 cases of an inflammatory disease in young children that seems to be created by the COVID virus.

JUTHANI: The children that are having these signs of inflammatory conditions they already had the infection over two-weeks ago. This is not like another virus that I've seen.

GUPTA (voice-over): This tiny little virus which cannot even be killed, because truth is it's not even alive.


GUPTA: And you remember Anderson, the viruses need a host in order to replicate and actually live inside the body. So, a virus by itself is rather inert which makes it even more difficult. I mean, antibiotics target specific things with bacteria, anti-virals are harder to develop for that reason, part of the challenge that we're having now.

COOPER: Yes. Sanjay, I want to bring Dr. Celine Gounder who's an infectious disease specialist and also a CNN medical analyst.

Dr Gounder, can you speak to some of the symptoms your patients have been experiencing?

DR. CELINE GOUNDER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Well, I think you know, in the way that Sanjay broke this down, you know, he parted this as this idea of inflammation of the blood vessels, the other key part is that you have an immune system out of control.

And if you think about your immune system is in every part of your body, your blood vessels go to every part of your body and so as a result, we're seeing complications really in every single organ system. So, whether it's the lungs becoming really scarred and fibrotic -- so, in other words they're not elastic like a balloon, they're really tough and so it's difficult to inflate your lungs.

You're seeing blood clots anywhere from in the heart to the lungs to the kidneys and it's also why you're seeing with these cold white toes and fingers. We're also seeing patients who lose their sense of taste and smell, really for weeks at a time after having had this infection. And then you see patients with a spectrum of illnesses like the Kawasaki's in children and similar diseases in adults.

COOPER: So, Sanjay, explain -- I mean, you know there are many symptoms also persist even after a patient recovers from the virus. So, what are some of those? What does that mean?

GUPTA: Yes, it's interesting you know, as we've been doing some reporting on this. First of all the idea of looking into recovery wasn't the top priority for the first few months -- people were just trying to figure out what was going on with this disease. But now we are starting to see some studies that look at recovery, the World Health Organization recently said recovery can be six-weeks, can even be longer in these patients and it can be far more significant than people realize.

Oftentimes patients are sort of thought of as either you have the disease or you're recovered, but even during recovery and Celine, I think has talked about this before, but 20 to 30 percent decreased lung function. We talked to a patient who was a pretty fit person who now became more breathless even just walking one city block or walking up a flight of stairs.

So, we don't know still, obviously this is new for everybody, but whether it's a post-inflammatory state or it's just true recovery still it does seem to last longer than people first realized.

COOPER; And Dr. Gounder, have there been issues with respiratory symptoms after patients, quote, unquote, recover?

[20:45:00] GOUNDER: It can take weeks for somebody to get better. Some of our patients, especially some of our elderly patients, where we don't have a safe way to get them home, maybe with oxygen at home, maybe because there is just not the support they need to monitor them, we've had to keep them in the hospital for weeks, for well over a month to make sure that they're on the mend.

And even then, they can still have some of these complications with, as I said, scarred lung tissue. So, their lungs just don't open up the way they're supposed to any more.

COOPER: Dr. Gounder, thanks so much. Sanjay, as well, thank you. Appreciate it. Really great story, Sanjay, to kind of show in detail how that works.

New York, of course, has been hardest hit by the pandemic. Up next, what it may look like when it begins to reopen. We'll talk to Council Speaker, Corey Johnson. We'll be right back.


COOPER: As you may have heard earlier in the program, Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti says his city is slowly beginning to reopen, despite a public health official saying a stay-at-home order for Los Angeles County could be extended through July. The mayor says there will be some sort of stay-at-home but the exact permutation of it may change.

If that's the case for the nation's second largest city, we wanted to look at New York City, the biggest city in America, where thousands have died and where reopening is still some distance away.


Joining us now is Speaker of the New York City Council, Corey Johnson. Corey, thanks for being with us. Governor Cuomo announced that certain parts of New York State are ready to begin reopening. Obviously not the case for New York City. When you look at New York City, what does re-opening look like to you?

COREY JOHNSON, SPEAKER, NEW YORK CITY COUNCIL: Well, we have to make sure we do it in a safe way, and the governor has laid out seven metrics that need to be met before we can open. New York City has met four of those metrics. There is still three metrics that we haven't met. One of them has to do with the number of contact tracers that we have up and going.

And I think so much of the conversation around reopening really hinges on making sure we have the infrastructure in place to do it safely: mass testing so that people can get tested, major contact tracing, quarantine hotels and dormitories for people that need it, potentially surveillance that doesn't violate people's civil liberties but that people could opt into, and then still the social distancing and the mandatory mask wearing, plus the hospital capacity. That's what it looks like. But, Anderson, you're a New Yorker. The last eight weeks have been very hard. It's eerie in some ways to see an empty Times Square, and we want to make sure that if we do it, we do it safely, because it would be psychologically devastating to have a large secondary infection, a spike, which would then require us to start closing things again.

COOPER: Well, also, I mean, we know this pandemic has hit, you know, people of color, underserved communities, particularly hard, and a lot of people in communities of color or underserved communities have been continuing to work on the front lines because they are essential.

And, you know, my concern a lot, and -- and I'm sure, you're thinking about this a lot -- is, you know, for big companies, they're going to have the resources to clean and, you know, maybe do temperature checks but a lot of smaller companies where, you know, people are working for -- for, you know, low wage jobs, they may not put the effort in to, you know, protecting their employees as much as they should.

JOHNSON: Yeah, I have that concern. And what we have seen really laid bare because of COVID-19 in New York City are all of the inner qualities that we had known existed before: the structural racism that we know exists in America and even in New York City.

These essential workers, these health care workers, but especially the grocery store workers, the postal workers, the cops and firefighters, all of these folks continue to put their lives on the line every day. And part of the fear that you just said, Anderson, which I share, is when we start to reopen, how do you make sure you're doing it safely?

We've had over a hundred MTA workers who have died in the last eight weeks, who -- the subway conductors and bus drivers. We've had more than 50 Department of Education personnel who have passed away in the last eight weeks. We need to make sure that the way we do this, that we don't do it in a way that -- the communities that have already beared the biggest brunt of this, that they don't suffer even more as we begin to re-open.

COOPER: I also hope that as -- you know, as we do reopen and -- and -- and, you know, whenever this ends and whatever that looks like, that we don't forget the people who kept New York going at this time, which are the delivery workers and the grocery store clerks. I mean, they are the essential workforce and they -- they kept everybody else safe and alive.

JOHNSON: They kept -- they kept everyone else safe, and I think it's really a moment for us to recognize that these workers are always essential, they're essential outside of a pandemic, they've always been that, and we need to make sure that they are being protected effectively but also -- Anderson, I'm sure you covered it and CNN's been covering it -- the bill that has been unveiled today in Congress and the House would put hundreds of millions of -- hundreds of billions of dollars in hazard pay for these workers.

We want that hazard pay for the workers in New York City. Our healthcare workers, our grocery workers, our delivery workers. We really need that on top of the state and local aid that New York City needs.

The city is looking at an $8 billion deficit in the short term, and it is offensive and indefensible that Mitch McConnell is calling state and local aid a "Blue state bailout." We need this support for New York City to get back on it's feet.

COOPER: Corey Johnson, appreciate your efforts. Thanks very much. Appreciate it.

Up next, we're going to continue to remember those who've lost their lives during this pandemic. I remember the Navajo nation who left her mark when we continue.



COOPER: Tonight, we remember more of the lives that have been lost from this virus. Valentina Blackhorse was a proud member of the Navajo nation deeply connected to her community, rooted in her culture. She inspired to one day become a Navajo Nation council delegate or even President of the Navajo Nation, she was close with her family, her sister says her last words to her were "I love you." She leaves behind a one-year old daughter. Valentina Blackhorse was just 28 years old.

Celia Yap-Banago was a nurse who worked for nearly 40-years at the same hospital in Kansas City Missouri.