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Trump: Fauci 'Wants To Play All Sides Of The Equation' With His Views On Reopening The U.S.; Trump Questioning If U.S. Coronavirus Death Toll Is Inflated As Fauci Says It's Likely Too Low; Demoted Health Official Will Warn Congress Of 'Darkest Winter In Modern History' Without Ramped Up Coronavirus Response; New Jersey Will Slowly Begin To Reopen As Governor Says Deaths Per Capita Have Hit His State The Hardest. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired May 13, 2020 - 20:00   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: And good evening. Thanks for joining us. Today saw a number of significant medical developments in the Coronavirus outbreak including a new study casting on and good evening, thanks for joining us. Today saw a number of significant medical developments in the coronavirus outbreak, including a new study casting doubt on the accuracy of the rapid testing system that's used by the White House itself. We'll have more on that tonight.

Also the CDC preparing to alert health officials to a dangerous and potentially life-threatening condition in children that is linked to the Coronavirus. We're going to talk to a dad who nearly lost his son along with the boy's brother who provided lifesaving CPR for his brother. It's an incredible story. In addition, there is new research that's coming out today showing the virus can attack far more than just the lungs. It is, according to the study, a multi-organ killer.

And with all that, with states being left to fend for themselves largely when it comes to testing and contact tracing, with detailed CDC guidance on safely easing quarantine measures slow-walked or withheld from states, with so many hard realities facing Americans including the anticipated loss of millions more jobs, the President again today chose to focus his attention on a different element of the pandemic.

He chose to pick a fight with his own top medical expert Dr. Anthony Fauci apparently because Dr. Fauci during Senate testimony yesterday, chose to face the realities, that he's got four decades of experience facing when it comes to viruses and public health. Here's what Dr. Fauci said about schools and businesses reopening too soon.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR OF THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: 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. (END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Dr. Fauci went on to talk about schools reopening in some places as being a bridge too far to expect a vaccine or widely available treatment for COVID-19 by the time that students return in the Fall. That was the bridge too far. Though he expects optimism a vaccine would be developed in the next year or two. He also told senators he did not have a confrontational relationship with the President. Well, here's the President this evening.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- Dr. Fauci yesterday was a little cautious on reopening the economy too soon. Do you share his concern --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Reopening the economy too soon in some States?

TRUMP: Look, he wants to play all sides of the equation.


COOPER: Keeping him honest, it's not even clear what that means, playing both sides of what equation? The President was asked to elaborate. He called what Dr. Fauci said, "not an acceptable answer". Again, not sure what that means either. Not acceptable politically?

The doctor wasn't testifying in a political capacity. He was talking about the public health realities of a virus that's already killed more than 84,000 Americans and is projected by modeling that the White House itself has relied on in the past, although who knows now what they rely on. They relied on it in the past. It now projects nearly 150,000 people in this country will die by august.

Tomorrow, the government official who was pushed out allegedly for questioning the President's former wonder drug hydroxychloroquine testifies before house lawmakers. He's expected to warn, "if we fail to develop a national coordinated response based in science, I fear the pandemic will get far worse and that 2020 will be dark as winter in modern history".

CNN's Chief White House Correspondent Jim Acosta joins us with more on this and the response to dose is a reality like that Dr. Fauci. So Jim, what do you know about the President and the Coronavirus death toll? Because there have been rumblings now quite some time that the President and even publicly the President sort of seemed to be questioning the death toll itself, that it was somehow phony in some way.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: yeah, my colleague Kevin Liptak and I, Anderson, we've been digging in this. We found not just the President questioning these numbers, but senior officials inside the white house, inside the Administration are questioning whether or not that overall Coronavirus death toll for the united states is accurate. And essentially, whether or not that number is too high. They feel

like the number may be over counted at this point. We've heard the President make some rumblings about this in the past. But one reason why they're concerned it's too high according to a senior administration official, the grim death toll obviously guides their policy.

They can't be in as much a hurry to reopen these states and schools and all sorts of other facets of daily life if those numbers are weighing down those decisions. And so they've been talking about this behind the scenes at various meetings as to whether or not the data can be believed, and they're in the process of doing that right now.

That does fly in the face of what Dr. Anthony Fauci, you just mentioned, has been saying. He testified yesterday during that hearing that if anything, the number of dead has been under counted because, for example, in New York City you had people dying at home, not being counted as official COVID-19 fatalities.


And so once again, there is tension between the scientists and the political people inside the Administration.

COOPER: I mean, I can't think of anything more offensive to a family than to have the death of their loved one -- the reason for the death of their loved one, you know, rewritten by the white house or the Administration in order for whatever purpose that may -- you know, political purpose that may be. It just seems really just -- you're -- you're -- it's so fundamentally wrong to do that.

ACOSTA: Absolutely, Anderson. And if the public can't trust how the Administration is handling the numbers, just the numbers, the scope of this pandemic here in the US. I think it's a fair question to ask, how can the public trust everything else that they're saying at this point?

COOPER: The President is also lobbing some criticism at Fauci. You know, we heard him saying there that he's playing, you know, all sides -- both sides of the equation. I'm not sure what the two sides are. I mean, I didn't know that there were sides in a pandemic.

ACOSTA: Yeah. Well, you know, our reporting has been all along, Anderson, I think it's been your observation as well, that Dr. Fauci has been on the side of science from the beginning of all of this. But the President -- you're right -- was taking some shots at his top medical expert, talking to reporters earlier this afternoon.

He was mainly taking issue with Dr. Fauci's assessment as to whether or not schools should be reopened. Fauci has been urging a lot of caution in that area. And the President was asked at one point, well, what do you mean Dr. Fauci is trying to be on all sides of the equation? And here's what he had to say.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you say Dr. Fauci is playing both sides, are you suggesting that this advice he's giving be given a bit different?

TRUMP: Well, I was surprised -- I was surprised by his answer actually because, you know, it's just -- to me, it's not an acceptable answer, especially when it comes to schools. The only thing that would be acceptable as I said, is professors, teachers, et cetera, over a certain age, I think they ought to take it easy for another few weeks, five weeks, four weeks, who knows, whatever it may be.

But I think they have to be careful because this is a disease that attacks age and it attacks health. And if you have a heart problem, if you have diabetes, if you're a certain age, it's certainly much more dangerous. But with the young children, I mean -- and students, it's really -- just take a look at the statistics. It's pretty amazing.


ACOSTA: And, Anderson, the President went on to say, well, you know, young students who are traveling, you know, to school and are heading into the classroom, they're young, they can withstand all of this. The science has shown in the last several days that that's not the case. That there are mysterious illnesses striking some of these kids who contract the coronavirus.

And there's obviously the issue of, well, how do you open schools and universities across this country if you have elderly people teaching classes, working as principals, working as head coaches of sports teams and so on? And so this is another one of those examples, Anderson, of the President riffing about how to reopen society when scientists like Dr. Fauci are trying to stick to the facts in all of this and arrive at a conclusion that works for everybody.

COOPER: It also ignores the other obvious reality, which is that children go home to families and parents and in some cases grandparents that they live in with -- -

ACOSTA: That's right.

COOPER: -- - or aunts and uncles. Maybe the kids are fine, but they can pass the virus along in that way. Jim Acosta, stay with us. I want to bring in CNN's political analyst, "New York Times", White House Correspondent -- -

ACOSTA: Don't want to call them petri dishes for nothing, that's right, do you?

COOPER: Yeah. Maggie -- Maggie Haberman is joining us. Maggie, the reporting the President's privately questioning, whether coronavirus deaths are being over counted -- I mean, it doesn't come as a surprise.

You know, he was raising questions about the death toll in New York when New York looked at people who had died at home, didn't necessarily test positive for COVID, but it was assumed they did have COVID. Deaths at home have gone up an unusually high amount. I mean, it shouldn't come as a surprise that he's now, you know, more forcefully, and the reporting is more widely in the white house questioning this.

MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Right, Anderson, I think it's important to note the President is not alone in this. There are a bunch of folks inside the white house among them, according to what we've heard and I think what others have reported, Dr. Deborah Birx who has raised concerns about specifically some of the information coming out of the CDC.

I think that there has also been questions about how people are counting these death tolls. Look, from one standpoint with the President, what he could be talking about and I think he has talked about before, is that he is suggesting it creates this very high number that I think he thinks is being used against him in some way politically. I think there are other questions about whether it is to the advantage of states to have higher counts as they are looking for aid or help.


There has been a push/pull with this White House and states, particularly New York for a while about whether there is an over ask by the state and local governments, whether they're asking for too many supplies, whether they're asking for too much money, whether they're asking for x, y, z.

You know, there are often push/pulls, as you know, between states and federal governments. But in this case it's relating very specifically to the death toll numbers. You know, Fauci testified about this yesterday and said that if anything, he thinks the count is low, which was striking in comparison to what we've heard the President say and what others in the White House are saying.

COOPER: Right and Maggie, I read the reporting on Dr. Birx questioning the CDC and saying that, well, you know, if people didn't actually get a diagnosis of they were positive with COVID, then that might put into question the cause of their death.

The idea that, you know, you don't give -- there's not enough testing for people, testing is not available for anybody who wants it as the President keeps saying, and people die without getting tested and in some places morgues are backed up and they're not testing everybody even in death about whether or not they were COVID positive, it's just assumed they are.

So to then deny the people at least the honesty of what caused their death just seems particularly striking for this administration. To fail on testing and then claim, well, because that person wasn't tested, you know, this doesn't count.

HABERMAN: I think what you just said, Anderson, is exactly it. I think that the biggest failure from this administration over the first two months of this crisis was in the testing. There were other failures as well including the President was playing down the severity of the virus well through the month February up until the very end.

But the testing failure is continuing to haunt the Federal Government and haunt states that are dealing with this. And so, yes, if you don't have tests, then you, of course, can't test for whether somebody died of it, and also the universe of testing is not perfect. They are still figuring out how to get precision on these tests.

So even if there is testing, you can get a false negative. We certainly know that about the testing method used at the White House, more often than not. So I think that in most cases you would think that an administration would be open to the possibility that there were more deaths, not fewer. That is not the way this White House is going.

COOPER: Yeah, as he said publicly, those numbers, higher numbers of testing, higher numbers of positive people he believes makes us look bad, he said. Jim, President Trump's saying that Dr. Fauci's answer in schools reopening is not acceptable and that not schools, 'are going to reopen." It's not really up to the President. It's state by state makes that call or even local officials in some cases, no?

ACOSTA: That's right, Anderson and it is going to be handled on a state-by-state basis, sometimes school by school basis. We're seeing universities announcing some their plans for the fall and it is going to vary school by school.

The other thing that needs to be said, Anderson, is that remember, in this clash -- I suppose that's in the making now of Dr. Fauci and President Trump as that this has been going on, building up for several weeks now. The public trusts Dr. Fauci, CNN just had a poll yesterday that came out that shows by a wide margin, Americans trust Dr. Fauci much more so than President Trump.

And so really the administration, the White House has put themselves in a position where they have elevated Dr. Fauci as somebody that they look to for guidance in all of this, and then all of a sudden to have the President turn into somebody who sounds like he's on primetime and Fox News.

I think is going to be jarring to a lot of Americans and Americans may be thinking, you know what, I'm going to listen to Dr. Fauci about sending my kids to school and not the president. That is the scenario they're building at the White house as we speak, Anderson.

COOPER: Right. People might want to listen to Dr. Fauci, but they're not going to hear from Dr. Fauci because they're not having these briefings any more from the coronavirus task force, and let's see how often the President calls on Dr. Fauci to make public comments.

Jim, thank you, Maggie Haberman as well. As we mentioned there is plenty to talk about purely on the medical side, To Maggie's point on testing, the new study warning that Abbott's ID Now which was a quick COVID-19 test, it frequently gives false negative results.

The COVID related syndrome affecting kids, new evidence the virus attacks multiple organs in the body we're going to have an update on all that and the apparent clash between medical realities and what the President would perhaps like them to be. Joining us is CNN's Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, also

Michael Osterholm, Director of the University of Minnesota Centre for Infections Disease, Research and Policy.

Sanjay, just as a doctor when you hear the President say that Dr. Fauci wants to play all sides of the equation, do you understand what that means? Because I don't know if the sides are science and politics or he thinks it's democrat and -- I don't know what the sides are.

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: I don't know what the sides are either, Anderson.


I think that Dr. Fauci has been pretty consistent in what he's been saying all along here.

I mean, I think one of the things that came up yesterday was this idea that, would a vaccine be available by the fall. And Dr. Fauci always -- he's very careful with his words. I think the way he phrased it was, that would be a bridge too far, I think, to suggest that a vaccine would be available by the fall.

A vaccine is not going to be available by the fall. I think he knows that. He's trying to balance hope and honesty, I think, with the American public. But I think he's been very consistent. I think when it comes to children in particular, I think, you know, we are learning as we go along.

I think one of the things that we've just learned over the last couple of weeks is this concern about children developing this post- inflammatory syndrome, you know, that is sort of like Kawasaki. We didn't really have that on the radar a month ago. We were seeing cases out of the United Kingdom. This is now a concern.

And the point that you raised, Anderson, that even if kids who are less likely to become very ill from this, which is obviously a good thing -- but they can still be carriers. So I think the point Dr. Fauci was making is, in communities where there is still sustained community transmission, it's probably not a good idea to open up schools in those areas.

In areas where you feel like you have it under control, you have few cases, you feel like you have enough testing, perhaps that's an option. It was very much in line with what he said all along. I think it's just, for whatever reason, is being interpreted differently now.

COOPER: Michael, on the death toll, you know, CNN reporting the president and his aides within the White House questioning the COVID- 19 mortality numbers, saying that there might be over-counting going on. Do you think there is over-counting going on?

MICHAEL OSTERHOLM, DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR INFECTIOUS DISEASE RESEARCH AND POLICY: Actually, I'll go one step further and say the number of deaths we have right now is not the right number. It is higher. I agree with Tony Fauci. I think, when we actually go back and look very carefully at what these people died from, with as much information as we can, I wouldn't be surprised if we actually see the final death toll up to this point, at least underestimated by 10 percent. So, to suggest that it's just the opposite absolutely has no bearing at all on a science-based approach.

COOPER: Why would it be underestimated, do you think?

OSTERHOLM: Because, in fact, the number of people who did die at home or did not have access to testing. As you know, we had major challenges getting testing done, and to be called a case, you had to be tested.

Now, some people will argue, if your test is saying they are positive but they die from their cancer, whatever, that they shouldn't be called a case of COVID-19. We actually agree. So that's not -- the fact of the matter is, they weren't over-diagnosing in any major way. What they were doing is missing people who couldn't be tested and therefore couldn't be called COVID on their death certificate.

COOPER: Sanjay, there are two new reports out today that found that COVID-19 attacks not just the lungs, also the throat, heart, liver, brain, kidneys and intestines. It just seems like, I mean, as we learn more, as this continues, we learn more and more just about how, kind of, terrifying this virus is.

GUPTA: Yes, I mean, think of the early days, and again, no-one knows this better than Michael Osterholm. But in the early days, I think the idea was, is this going to behave like SARS or MERS, Middle East respiratory syndrome, which were also both coronaviruses, or was this going to behave in a completely different way.

And it's behaving very differently. I mean, the idea that someone would have isolated loss of smell as a symptom, you know, I don't think people predicted that. Everything from the nose to the toes, all these organs in between, are potentially affected by this. I don't know why.

There is still a mystery here. Is this affecting the blood in some way, because the blood, obviously, is circulating through all these organs. Is it causing inflammation that is much more widespread in the body than just the respiratory system?

You're right, Anderson. I mean, there's a lot of lessons to be learned. Why are kids developing this now, this Kawasaki-like syndrome? I mean, we've been dealing with this for months. Did we just miss these kids earlier or is something happening in quite a delayed sort of way from these infections?

So, you're right. We are witnessing, sort of, the textbook, I guess, of a new disease. There will be textbooks written about this and we're learning as we go along.

COOPER: Michael, if you would just add on to that or -- what are your thoughts on what we have learned now?

OSTERHOLM: Actually, I agree, and I think -- I just reflect back on some of the previous shows you've done where Sanjay has spent time talking about drug therapies. And one of the challenges we have is we typically -- when we use a drug therapy, we're going after a specific target, because it's doing one thing to the individual, whether the virus is destroying tissue or it's the immune response.

And I think, as Sanjay just laid out, what we're seeing are so many different manifestations. It's not clear what we're trying to treat. More often than not, we're treating multiple things at the same time, which makes this really complicated.


COOPER: That's really scary. Michael Osterholm, always -- thank you very much. Appreciate it.

OSTERHOLM: Thank you.

GUPTA: Thanks, Dr. Osterholm.

COOPER: Sanjay as well. Coming up next, we'll talk to U.S. senator who is trying to find out why CDC guidelines for how to safely reopen the country appear to be sitting on a shelf, instead of going out to states and localities, where they might stabilize, and perhaps jobs, too.

And later, a child's life saved during his battle with COVID-related syndrome we're -- been talking about. His dad and his brother join us to talk about how he's doing, what it was like when they thought they might lose him, and how his brother probably saved his life.


COOPER: As we mentioned at the top of the program, demoted federal health official Rick Bright is expected to tell House lawmakers tomorrow about the need for a, quote, "national coordinated response based in science," unquote, against the outbreak.

The rules for that response have actually been written. According to the Associated Press, they've been drafted by the CDC. They give step by step instructions to states and churches and religious institutions, and other -- schools, instructions for reopening safely.

Yet states and localities have yet to actually see those CDC guidelines. Yesterday, our next guest, Democratic Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut, pressed the CDC's director on what became of that plan.


SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D), CONNECTICUT: My specific question is why didn't this plan get released?


And if it is just being reviewed when it is going to be released because states are reopening right now and we need this additional guidance to make those decisions?

ROBERT R. REDFIELD, CDC DIRECTOR: The guidances that you've talked about have gone through inter agency review. They're comments that have come back to CDC and I anticipate they'll go back up to the task force for final review.

C. MURPHY: But we're reopening in Connecticut in five days -- in ten days, I mean, this guidance isn't going to be useful to us in two weeks. So, is it this week, is it next week? When are we going to get this expertise from the federal government?

REDFIELD: The other thing I will just say is that the CDC stands by the technical assistance who your state and any state on any request. I do anticipate this product guidance though to be posted on the CDC website soon.

C. MURPHY: Soon.

REDFIELD: I can't tell you -- soon. but I can tell you your state can reach out to CDC and we'll give guidance directly to anyone in your state on any circumstance that your state desires guidance from.

C. MURPHY: Soon isn't terribly helpful.


COOPER: Yes, to say the least. Senator Murphy joins us now. I mean, that's incredibly frustrating. Senator Murphy, you know, that was CDC Director Redfield. He told you the guidelines are going to be released soon. I just want to play what Dr. Birx told us in the town hall last week. This was Thursday last week. Let's play this.


DR DEBORAH BIRX, CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE COORDINATOR FOR THE WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS TASKFORCE: Those are still being worked on. No one has stopped those guidelines. We're still in editing. I just got my edits back from the CDC late yesterday. I'm working on them as soon as I get off of this discussion.


COOPER: As somebody who works in television -- has worked in television for, you know, almost 30 years, a lot of stuff dies in editing. And that's a way to kill stuff. And just say, "Yeah, it's being edited. We'll work on it more in editing."

I mean, it makes no sense, states are lifting restrictions without these detailed guidelines and I mean, I looked at the document. They're incredibly detailed. They look like they'd be very helpful. What's going on here?

C. MURPHY: Yes, I mean, if your star player arrives at the game after the 9th inning, it doesn't really matter. And the fact is our star players are at the CDC. Our best epidemiologists, the people who can offer the clearest and most relevant guidance as to how we reopen our economies are in the centers for disease control. What's the point of the CDC if it doesn't offer expertise to states when they are opening up after the worst pandemic to hit this country in a century?

And so, yes, my worry is that this guidance is never going to be released. Connecticut is opening up our economy starting on Monday, and so frankly, even if they release it tomorrow, it's largely irrelevant. We're already making plans, and we've got smart people in our state, but we don't have nearly the expertise that the CDC does.

And, I think this is ultimately about the president wanting to be able to have clean hands. I mean, the president doesn't want to lead so that he can arm chair quarterback, criticize and critique states and try to pass the buck to somebody else. And if he actually did offer a detailed set of guidance or rules on how you reopen a day care center or a school or a retail industry, then he would be up for criticism and accountability and the president just doesn't want that.

COOPER: Yes, it seems -- I mean, it's increasingly clear -- I mean, I thought it was pretty clear last week, but I mean, more so than ever. Even now with the latest CNN reporting about the president and others in the White House questioning the death toll numbers saying that they might be over inflated and every expert we've talked to says the opposite, including Fauci and Michael Osterholm who we just heard from.

But the idea that they're going to sit on this thing and bury it, it just seems like the administration is trying to put as much distance between President Trump and this virus. Say not as many people have died from the virus, don't do testing, don't promote testing because then the numbers won't go up of the actual overall cases.

Don't give out guidance. Say you're the person who got the country going again. I mean, all of these decisions are just geared toward election and politics. It's not geared toward the best practices in the midst of a global pandemic the likes of which we have not seen in our lifetimes.

C. MURPHY: Yes, the president, you know, views this as a political problem. He doesn't view this as a public health problem that he's got to solve. And he's shown no interest in actually taking any leadership role from the very beginning.

I mean, he put in place this travel ban early on. It's really the only tangible thing that he points to even to this day. And it didn't work. 400,000 people came here from China even with the travel ban. And after that he effectively gave up. I mean, he left the rest of the response to the States, to cities, to hospital systems and he just wants to hold his press conferences and try to spin the politics as best he can.


But there are certain things that the federal government can do better than states, and this is one of them. Giving us the expertise on all of the nuances involved in the differences between opening up this kind of business or that kind of not for profit. And so without that expertise we're really left on our own and states are going to make mistakes. And that is a life or death consequence.

COOPER: I mean, Dr. Redfield's answer to you, I got to say, I just thought it was insulting. It was just like boilerplate non-answer that, you know, it -- I mean, just -- I mean, I don't know -- I don't know him personally, and I'm sure he's incredibly well respected, and -- but, you know, he's been -- at that organization has been kneecapped.

I mean, they messed up the testing early on. That was -- that was -- you know, seems like it was a lot of -- lot on them at the CDC. I don't know if it's the president's own confidence in them, what it is, but they've just kneecapped that organization.

C. MURPHY: Well, the CDC has failed. I mean, the CDC is responsible for stopping a pandemic from -- like this arriving in the United States. The CDC is supposed to be deployed overseas, and then is supposed to be in charge of erecting a prevention infrastructure inside the United States. There is just no assessment other than the CDC failed.

Now, Dr. Redfield's answer to me is maddening, but the real story behind his answer is that he doesn't know when this guidance is coming out. What we know from reporting is that --

COOPER: Of course, yes.

C. MURPHY: -- he signed off on the guidance. Yes, and it's sitting in the White House. It's up to the president to release it. And so he can't give us an answer when it's coming out because the president, I guess, has decided that it's never coming out.

COOPER: And the fact that Dr. Birx gave the answer that she did to us last week, I mean, I just -- you know, look, I don't know what her -- where her mind -- is it on this, but I mean, you know, saying, "Oh, no, no, it's just being edited" -- well, that's a really long edit for something that's already -- you know, the game is well underway and it's a -- you know, it's not a game, it's life and death. And if they're sitting on this detailed edit, that just seems insane.

Senator Murphy, I appreciate your work. Thank you very much for coming on --


C. MURPHY: Well, if they -- and Anderson, if they didn't want --

COOPER: Yes, sorry, go ahead.

C. MURPHY: Thanks a lot. Appreciate it. No, I just said --

COOPER: No, no, go ahead, go ahead.

C. MURPHY: -- if they didn't want to send out this guidance, they shouldn't have developed it in the first place. I mean, they're in this position because of this general incompetence of stops and starts. COOPER: Yes, no doubt about it. Senator Murphy, thank you. Appreciate


I'm going to talk with another Murphy, New Jersey Governor Philip Murphy, who says that per capita, no state is currently being hit harder by the virus than his state. And we'll talk about what reopening looks like, especially for schools and beaches in New Jersey.



COOPER: New Jersey will begin to slowly reopen this coming Monday. Non essential construction can resume, along with curb side pickup in non essential retail businesses. Governor Phil Murphy is leaving no doubt how brutal the pandemic has been to his state.


GOV. PHIL MURPHY (D), NEW JERSEY: Looking at the numbers of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths per 100,000 New Jerseyans, we can -- we can make a strong case that no state is currently impacted -- as impacted as ours.


COOPER: I spoke with the governor just before air time.


COOPER: Governor, as bad as New Jersey has been hit, can you just give me a sense of -- of where you think you are as a state in this pandemic, and -- and your process in thinking about kind of opening up and how to go about that?

P. MURPHY: Good to be with you, Anderson. Again, congratulations to you on your little guy. We're making a lot of progress, but we're not out of the woods. Hospitalizations are down. ICU beds, ventilator use, the heat maps look a lot better.

We're still losing far too many people. We've lost over 9,700 blessed souls, and we are still -- per 100,000 residents, test -- positive test hospitalizations, fatalities -- unfortunately number one in America. Having said that, we are making progress, and we're beginning slowly but surely to open things up.

We opened upstate and county parks a couple of weekends ago with good effect. We announced today we're opening up non essential construction, non essential curb side retail pickup, drive thrus and drive-ins. So slowly but surely, we are beginning to get back on our feet. But again, we're not out of the woods yet.

COOPER: In terms of -- of schools. You know, Stanford said today it's unlikely that -- it's not likely that they will be -- reopen to have students in the fall. You know, the university system in -- in California, the same -- same situation. I'm wondering what -- what are you looking at in terms of universities in New Jersey, and also, you know, high schools, elementary schools?

P. MURPHY: Still too early to tell. We're on remote learning for the balance of this school year at all levels. And we are beginning, as best we can, to war game what the end of August looks like for everything from pre-K up through higher ed.

We've got some of the great -- great American, if not global, institutions of higher ed in this state, and we are trying to do the best we can X months out in war gaming for that. But I would say, Anderson, it's too early to tell. But we are beginning to put the pieces together to try to figure out how the path leads us from where we are now to potential, at least potential, reopenings.


COOPER: In terms of the shoreline, beaches, obviously, with the warm weather, that's a huge concern. I talked to Eric Garcetti, the mayor of Los Angeles, yesterday, and he was talking about looking at, sort of, how people are using beaches.

It's not just a question of one size fits all that -- you know, maybe it's focused on people doing stuff that's wet in the water -- surfing, swimming in the water, that's one thing, but laying around on the beach in the sun, that's another thing.

Do you have a -- I know you said you're going to announce it before Memorial Day, and you're probably still looking at it, but what is the process of, kind of, looking at it?

P. MURPHY: Yes, we're still baking it and I hope to be able to go live with something, actually, tomorrow. The process has been important because we have been working very closely with the counties and the communities along the Jersey Shore, which is not just a Jersey jewel, but an American jewel.

We're going to give guidance on that tomorrow, effective Memorial Day weekend. But I think you should expect to see, and folks should expect to see something of a similar vein as we did with county and state parks, which is mandating social distance, for sure, and finding some ways to limit capacity.

For state parks, we did it by limiting the parking spaces by 50 percent. That's not so easy with beaches, but that's a step that we're going to -- we're working through as we speak. And again, it's going to be effective for Memorial Day, and we'll monitor that carefully.

One of the benefits -- you know, we talk all the time, a dimmer switch versus a light switch. We can't flip a switch and open everything up at once. That would be irresponsible, particularly given we're still fighting this thing tooth and nail.

COOPER: This has got to be the toughest decision that you've ever had to make, I would assume, just from a leadership standpoint, balancing the financial needs, the economic lifeblood needs of people, and human lives.

P. MURPHY: Yes, it's not -- listen, there's no playbook for this. We're not pulling off the shelf what we did last time, for sure. But we're firmly in the camp of doing everything we can to save every blessed human life we can.

We think we can do both responsible incremental steps to reopen with the general population, and again, we're monitoring and enforcing those steps quite aggressively, and at the same time, protect every single human life we can. We've already lost far too many in New Jersey, in our country. We want to save as many lives as humanly possible.

COOPER: Governor, I appreciate your time. Thank you very much.

P. MURPHY: Thanks for having me, Anderson.

COOPER: Well, just ahead, more on combating the virus. Going to meet two family members of a seemingly healthy eight-year-old boy who collapsed last month, nearly died. The mystery of how the virus affects kids and the remarkable story about how his brother saved him. We'll be right back.


COOPER: Well, the CDC has told CNN that it's going to soon issue a warning to doctors to look out for a dangerous inflammatory disease effecting kids when it's linked to the coronavirus. How the virus affects children is still something of a mystery.

We've been talking about this for quite a number of days now. For instance, the virus can harm children with previously undiagnosed underlying illnesses which is what happened to an 8-year-old son and brother of our next two guests.

Last month Jayden Hardowar came down with a mild fever. Several days later while with his mom Jayden collapsed. His older brother, Tyron, ran into the room and administered CPR. EMTs soon arrived and had to use a defibrillator to revive Jayden who didn't test positive for coronavirus, but did test positive for coronavirus antibodies.

Joining me now is Jayden's father Roup Hardowar and his brother Tyron who helped save his brother's life. Roup and Tyron, thank you so much for joining us. it's just such an incredible story.


COOPER: Roup, can you tell me first of all how is Jayden right now?

R. HARDOWAR: So, Jayden is back home. He has come a long way. At this moment he is working and building up his mobility back in terms of walking, and he also, in terms of communication, he wasn't able to -- over the past 24 hours, he has come back a far way because he's home. I think that's helping him in terms of making sentences and starting to get back his strong voice. COOPER: And, Roup, when did -- I mean, how long has he kind of been

feeling sick?

R. HARDOWAR: Prior to him going into cardiac arrest, he had a fever, and after that fever, the fever lasted about three days, but then he was fine again. However, he started with the diarrhea that eventually three days later he was in a cardiac arrest.

COOPER: My god, I mean, that's so terrifying. Tyron, you're 15 years old, you're a boy scout clearly. I love the uniform looks great. It's so amazing what you did. Where did you learn CPR?

TYRON HARDOWAR, 8-YEAR-OLD BROTHER SUFFERED CORONAVIRUS-RELATED ILLNESS: I learned CPR through scouting, I'm a life scout right now, and soon I'll become an eagle scout. One scouting requirement --

COOPER: That's so impressive.

T. HARDOWAR: Yes, every scout needs to learn CPR. Recently I took a training in NYU educational lab and there I had hands-on training, and that's where, you know, I got familiar with CPR and practice, yes.

COOPER: You know, I mean, I learned it a while ago, but I had a -- have a son now, and after reading your story today, it just reminds me I need to learn CPR right now, particularly on a baby -- you know, on a baby.

Were you nervous because, I mean, it's one thing to learn something like CPR, you know, in class for boy scouts, to actually do it, you know, when adrenaline is pumping and there's emotion and, you know, people are, you know, upset and crying around you, what was it -- were you nervous?


T. HARDOWAR: I was very nervous. I had all these thoughts going through my head. But then I told myself I need to put them aside and I need to focus in order to -- you know, be able to perform CPR and I was able to do exactly that. I was about to--

COOPER: That's incredible.

T. HARDOWAR: Once I start--

COOPER: I mean, that's a real skill. Go ahead, sorry.

T. HARDOWAR: Yes. Once I saw was pumping, you know, I saw him take a deep breath, you know, like, I know he's -- I'm doing something right, and I -- I continued. I'm very happy that, you know, I made an impact on his life to be able to come back today.

COOPER: Yes. And Roup, Jayden's case, I mean, it's really unique, because he didn't test positive for the virus. An MRI, I understand, didn't pick up anything, which you would expect to see something on an MRI, but then he did test positive for antibodies. R. HARDOWAR: Yes. So this -- this is a mystery of what's happening

with the kids today, and this is what we -- that's why we're here with you, Anderson, to let everyone know that. It's a mystery and the doctors are still, I believe, trying to figure this one out.

Jayden, they're saying, had had the virus sometime back but then for us, we're thinking that he had it during school, which is four or five weeks ago. Now, his underlying condition that they're talking about is something called Brugada syndrome.

And that's what -- that's what they think got compromised as a result of the coronavirus. That's something that we never knew about.

COOPER: Did you know he had the syndrome?

R. HARDOWAR: No, we didn't.

COOPER: You didn't know?

R. HARDOWAR: No. No, we never knew this. And it's an underlying condition that just came about right now, and the doctors believe it's as a result of the virus.

COOPER: I mean, that's so important. I'm so glad, you know, you came on to talk about this, because the idea that he might have had it, you know, when -- from school, which as you said, would have been weeks and weeks and weeks ago, didn't even know about it at the time, but because of this undiagnosed underlying condition now has had this terrible reaction. That's such a warning for parents and kind of a wake-up for all of us to be watching so carefully our kids.

R. HARDOWAR: Yes, definitely. At one point we know that we should -- only adults and the elderly we should look at, but I would say today it's not the case. We have to look at our kids and look at all the signs that are coming along.

The signs are no longer COVID-related signs. They can be anything that you have to take very serious. And in Jayden's case, we were taking things serious, he did consult his pediatrician, and even for them, they thought it was just a flu that he had with a high temperature, because he had no COVID symptoms, just a flu, a high fever.

COOPER: Wow, well, it's a wake-up for doctors as well, yes. Roup, I'm so glad he's home and doing better, and I wish you the best. I wish your whole family entirely. Thank you so much, it's so impressive -- it's so cool that you're a boy scout, and going for eagle scout, and to -- you know, to learn something through boy scouts, and to be able to actually help save a life, I mean, that's just -- it just doesn't get any better than that. So, thank you so much, Tyron, really appreciate it. I wish you luck on getting the eagle scout.

T. HARDOWAR: Thank you.

R. HARDOWAR: Thank you for having us, Anderson.

COOPER: You guys take care, and my best to your family. Up next, we're going to continue to remember those who have lost their lives in this pandemic, including an AIDS activist, an anti-death penalty advocate and one half of a famous magic act. We'll be right back.



COOPER: Tonight we remember some of those who have lost their lives due to coronavirus. Dolores Dockery was known as a champion and a role model for women living with HIV. She tested positive for HIV in 1994. From then on, she went to work, becoming an advocate for those living with HIV/AIDS.

For the past 15 years, she worked at the Hyacinth AIDS Foundation. I can't pronounce -- I practiced that word. The flower. Hyacinth -- I got to work on it -- AIDS Foundation in New Jersey. They called her the fiercest champion the HIV world has ever seen. She was known as a hero, and fought for others in need. Dolores Dockery was 60 years old.

Jerry Givens served as Virginia's chief executioner from 1982 to 1999. During his tenure, he oversaw 62 executions. But he began to question his job and the practice of capital punishment. He later became an outspoken activist against the death penalty. His colleagues say his biggest fear was that he may have executed an innocent person. He leaves behind a wife and two sons Jerry Givens was 67 years old.

Roy Horn was part of the duo Siegfried and Roy. They were performers who were famous, obviously, for their magic and illusion shows featuring exotic animals -- tigers and lions. They began their shows in Europe, before moving their act to Las Vegas, where they entertained audiences for more than 40 years.

Their show ended in 2003, after Horn was attacked onstage by a white tiger on his 59th birthday. He recovered from the attack, but only performed onstage one more time before retiring. His long-time partner, Siegfried Fischbacher, said that while the world lost one of the greats of magic, he lost his best friend.

Roy Horn was 75 years old. Our thoughts go out to all the families of those who have been affected by the coronavirus. News continues. Want to hand it over to Chris for "CUOMO PRIME TIME."