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U.S. Coronavirus Death Toll Surpasses 20,000; Michigan Travel Ban Between Two Residences; Cases Projected To Rebound If Social Distancing Ends May 1st. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired April 11, 2020 - 18:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[18:00:01]

ERICA HILL, CNN HOST: Thanks for joining us on this Saturday in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Erica Hill in New York, in today for Ana Cabrera.

We begin with a sobering new number related to the coronavirus pandemic. The death toll in the U.S. has now surpassed 20,000, and another grim milestone, right now every state in the country is under a disaster declaration simultaneously.

In New York State, more than 181,000 confirmed cases -- that is more than any single country outside the U.S. and in the nation's largest school district, New York City, there is a fight now over when the city's 1.1 million students will be back in the classroom.

Mayor Bill de Blasio first announcing the city schools will be closed through September making that announcement Saturday morning and then hours later, Governor Andrew Cuomo saying no decision has been made, calling the mayor's announcement his opinion.

Meantime in Kentucky, State Police will be at the ready to take down the license plate information of churchgoers at Easter services. The governor is warning anyone found attending a service in person will face a misdemeanor violation and a mandatory 14-day quarantine.

Beginning today in Michigan, people are no longer allowed to travel between homes. They risk $1,000.00 fine or even jail time if they violate that order. The ban sparking some pushback in the state. In some areas of that state, owning a vacation home, a fairly commonplace raising more questions.

Meantime, in Los Angeles, it is now mandatory for both employees and customers to wear a mask or face covering when they are in grocery stores and other essential businesses.

Also two major updates today from New York State and from New York City where more people are sick, more people have died from this virus than anywhere else in the country, as we know, that said there is a cautious bit of good news from the governor who announced the curve is continuing to flatten in the state and that is sparking some hope about the number of people who need to be hospitalized, some hope that perhaps that number has peaked.

Hospitalizations are down, an important point to look at. There are of course, still new infections statewide. Those numbers though, are fewer.

Also today the Mayor of New York City, as we mentioned announcing public schools will remain close for the remainder of the academic year. CNN's Evan McMorris-Santoro joins us now live from New York. So the mayor said that, and not long after the governor said essentially, not so fast.

EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right. Let's just set the table here. Schools in New York City, the largest school district in the country, have been closed for quite a while and we're set to be closed until the end of this New York State pause period, which is the end of April.

The question is what happens after that? And today, Mayor de Blasio had a press conference this morning where he said very strongly, the schools will remain closed through the end of the school year in June, which is a big deal. It requires a lot of planning, a lot of effort to make sure that school can continue through that end date, things like graduation and things like that.

But then Governor Cuomo came on with his press conference and said something just a little bit different than what Cuomo said, when it comes to the school closure after that April date.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): You can't make a decision just within New York City without coordinating that decision with the whole metropolitan region, because it all works together.

So I understand the mayor's position, which is he wants to close them until June. And we may do that, but we're going to do it in a coordinated sense with the other localities. It makes no sense for one locality to take an action that's not coordinated with the others.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANTORO: So just to be clear, the question here is about whether or not we're going to combine all the school closures together or not, but for if you're a parent or a student or a teacher in New York City, you were made aware of this morning that the schools were closed. You know, that was alerted, a letter was sent out.

Administrators and parents and teachers I've been speaking to today got that letter, got that information from the state -- from the city -- and then later came the state information that again doesn't say they're not going to close. It doesn't say they are, because it hasn't been worked out yet.

So it really is kind of like a strange political food fight here in New York with people in the city unclear as to what the answer is on schools yet -- Erica.

HILL: And so we continue to wait. Evan McMorris-Santoro, appreciate it. Thank you. Right now in Michigan, residents there cannot go between houses, so

you can't walk across the streets to visit your neighbor or relative. You can't go to your vacation cabin if you have one.

It's one of the most aggressive stay at home orders that we've seen that went into effect this morning. And here's some of the numbers being used to justify that travel ban in Michigan.

More than 23,000 confirmed cases, more than 1,200 dead. CNN's Ryan Young joins me now from Detroit.

So, Ryan, when we look at this, what really led to this new ban? Is it really about people traveling from their regular home to their vacation home? Or is there more to it?

RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, there's parts of this. Look, they're trying to fight this and kind of flatten that curve. That's been the big conversation here.

One thing I do want to highlight though is, if you have a relative that's sick, you are allowed to go visit that relative and help care for them. What they're trying to discourage is people walking across the street and hanging out with their neighbors.

We have had in the City of Detroit police officers having to go to break up house parties to make sure that people are trying to flatten the curve here.

Today, I've been talking about this before, it has been a beautiful day. We've seen more traffic today than any other day before that. That's one of the things they're trying to discourage.

Yes, you can be out, you can bike, you can jog, but they don't want people getting together and kind of standing so close to each other, closer than six feet.

And you know, there's issues with this because the system here has been stretched to capacity. We know hospital beds are in short supply, the TCF Center that's right behind me, they have added 25 extra beds that just opened up yesterday. But the capacity for this is over 970 beds.

But the Mayor of Detroit talked about some of the issues surrounding all of these problems here in the City of Detroit.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYOR MIKE DUGGAN (D), DETROIT: We've gone from our death rate doubling every three or four days to our death rate doubling every seven or eight days. But there's nothing to celebrate about the fact that our neighbors are dying every seven or eight days.

We have to stay with this so diligently until we completely break the back of this virus.

(END VIDEO CLIP) YOUNG: Erica, look we could talk numbers all day long, but this is

really about people, and one of the things that Detroit has been really aggressive with is adding Abbott's fast testing. They've been able to test a lot of their city employees, especially the firefighters and police officers, because there were hundreds of first responders who were off the streets because they were worried that they had COVID-19.

And so far, they've been able to get hundreds of them back to work, because they've been able to figure out that they weren't positive for the virus.

But this has been taking a big toll on them as well. They've lost several members of the Fire Department and the Police Department so you can understand there's not one part of the city that doesn't feel like it's been touched by this virus, especially when you think about all the numbers increasing.

Just overnight, we know in this state, 111 more people have died, bringing that total a lot higher, and of course, Thursday and Friday, we had 205 people who died in between that time.

It's one of those stories that continues to evolve. And everyone in this city and the state seems like they've been touched by losing someone.

HILL: Yes, well, each one of those people, right, is connected to so many more. Ryan Young, thank you.

As cities and states start to hit these plateaus and these peaks even, a growing question is how and when do we get back to life as normal?

The President is clearly anxious to reopen the country, specifically, the economy perhaps even as early as May 1st. However, the prominent medical group, which has been calculating the projections used by the White House warns there is a serious risk of rebound if social distancing guidelines are eased too soon.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. CHRIS MURRAY, DIRECTOR, INSTITUTE FOR HEALTH METRICS AND EVALUATION, UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON: Is it enough to say that if we were to stop at the national level, May 1st, we're seeing a return to almost where we are now sometime in July.

So a real rebound -- that rebound doesn't happen in every state because some states are much farther along. But definitely, there's a very substantial risk of rebound if we don't wait to the point where most transmission is near zero in each state.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: Joining me now Dr. Scott Samlan who is an Emergency Room physician at Mount Sinai Hospital and Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Chief of Infectious Diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital. Good to have both of you with us this afternoon and Dr. Walensky, I want to start with you.

We are hearing from local leaders, from governors are also from doctors, rigorous testing is really going to be the key to returning to some kind of normalcy, whatever that new normal is.

When you think about the testing that's needed, is this more diagnostic testing? Is it antibody testing? What do you see as the need?

DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, CHIEF OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES, MASSACHUSETTS GENERAL HOSPITAL: Good evening, Erica. Thank you for having me. I think it's actually two pronged, I think we need to do the antibody testing to understand how much of the population has been infected before, maybe asymptomatically or mildly symptomatically.

So we need to understand how much protection is out there. Is there some level of herd immunity that we might be able to rely on?

On the flip side, we really need to understand how much virus is still circulating out there. We need to do the viral test, the NP swabs and these are pharyngeal swabs that everybody has been talking about, and that I think we really need to do in vast quantities.

I think we need to be able to test people anytime they have any symptom at all. That's what we're doing in healthcare workforce, and we need to halt that transmission immediately which means we need to do an immediate contract tracing.

[18:10:06]

WALENSKY: One important point I think that has been really under -- overlooked is that the testing alone does not fix this problem. It's what you do after you have a result that really is so key and very important.

So people who are diagnosed with COVID, once they have a test, they need to understand that and change their behavior immediately.

They need to isolate at home because the more people they contact, the more likely they're going to be transmitting it elsewhere. They need to do immediate contact tracing to make sure that those people who they might have contacted can also quarantine.

HILL: Such an important point and a reminder why we are told repeatedly we all need to behave as if we have the virus.

Dr. Samlan, you know what Dr. Walensky says about testing that you need to be able to test any one at any time with any symptom. Have you been able to test every patient you'd like?

DR. SCOTT SAMLAN, EMERGENCY ROOM PHYSICIAN, MOUNT SINAI HOSPITAL: So that's a great question, and thank you for having me. We just implemented these rapid testing over the last week in the hospital and that's been paramount in terms of who exactly needs to go home, who can be admitted to the hospital, where exactly where to place those people in the hospital. So it's been -- it's been paramount. HILL: So that has changed things for you. When we look at the testing

itself, the National Academy of Science has cited one study of 51 coronavirus patients in which the swab tests that were used produced a false negative in 16 of them, so 30 percent.

Dr. Walensky, when you look at that rate of 30 percent false negative, listen, I am clearly not a doctor, but those numbers stood out to me. Does that concern you? And how prevalent do you think that might be?

WALENSKY: You know, this has been probably among the biggest challenges that we have had in monitoring patients in the hospital. How much can you trust a negative test when the patient is presenting with symptoms that are classic COVID? Or that when they you know the patient has had an exposure.

And in fact, in many places, we know that they're doing two sequential tests. In our hospital, we are reviewing the charts carefully and then doing two sequential tests, because we're not sure we can trust a single negative.

And that implies actually what we do from a public health perspective, is that anybody who tests negative outside who has symptoms that might be suggestive, we would then suggest a follow up test, which gives you a sense of what the volume is of tests that we really need.

HILL: It absolutely does. There's also this new study Dr. Samlan that found some COVID-19 patients may experience neurological problems, but not respiratory problems and I'm just curious if you've encountered that at all, and if that concerns you that we may be dealing with underreporting based on that.

SAMLAN: Of course, this is concerning because this is a novel virus, so we at times don't know how this present. Sometimes people come in with abdominal pain. We do a CAT scan and under x-ray or the CAT scan, we could see images that may be suggestive of COVID, so this is presenting in so -- in a myriad of different ways, and that's the scary part of this disease.

HILL: So because it's presenting in so many different ways, another emergency room physician I spoke with here in New York, tell me a couple of weeks ago, whoever walks in, we just have to assume that that person has COVID. And that's how we go about, you know, treating them. That is their baseline.

Dr. Samlan, Is that what's happening in your hospital?

SAMLAN: Absolutely. Every patient who comes into the hospital, we presume that they have COVID-19, even if they were in a car accident or ankle sprain, we do screen examinations, screening questions, but we treat every single patient just like that.

We don PPE to make sure we don't expose ourselves or our colleagues, but we treat every single patient who comes to the ER as in fact they have COVID-19.

HILL: Dr. Walensky, there's been a lot of talk, especially this week about the racial disparity. We know that no one is genetically or biologically disposed to this virus, it can attack anyone.

That being said, there's a disproportionate number of African- Americans who are becoming infected, and there was a study, I believe it was out of Boston Medical Center that found 80 percent of its coronavirus patients were either African-American or Hispanic. Are you seeing that intense of a racial disparity at Mass General?

WALENSKY: Tragically, we are. And, you know, this disease, like many other epidemics highlights the disparities in equity and healthcare that we have in this country.

It highlights several things. One is people who have had less access to healthcare historically, are more likely to have hypertension, diabetes, and many other things that put you at highest risk.

The other thing is that we know that this is a disease of crowding, right, people who are close together, people who are undomiciled, people who have many people living in one space are more likely to transmit and in fact that highlights yet again, the inequities and how it can tragically impact such vulnerable communities.

HILL: So many lessons coming out of this and so much work to be done. Appreciate everything you are both doing and your colleagues every single day. Dr. Scott Samlan and Dr. Rochelle Walensky. Thank you both.

WALENKSKY: Thank you so much.

SAMLAN: Thank you.

[18:15:10]

HILL: Just ahead, California is taking steps to outfit entire healthcare facilities so that they will care for only those patients who have tested positive for coronavirus. We're going to take you inside one of those surge hospitals, next. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HILL: As the Coronavirus pandemic continues to upend all of our daily lives, there is one portion of the population that is facing increased uncertainty -- undocumented immigrants.

Largely ignored when it comes to Federal assistance, many families are now shouldering even more pressure than usual. CNN's Paul Vercammen is live in Los Angeles now with more.

So Paul, give us a sense, what is changing? What is the greater impact that these families are now dealing with?

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Erica, it is the devil's pitchfork, because of COVID-19, they are losing jobs, then they don't have health insurance, many of them to begin with.

And now there's these extreme food shortages. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

VERCAMMEN (voice over): Irma and Miguel, undocumented immigrants from Guatemala with three children. They drove to a free cookout from the Los Angeles Dodgers to ease family's burdens in the COVID-19 era.

[18:20:05]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

IRMA (through translator): They are closing all the businesses and these are jobs that we need.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VERCAMMEN (voice over): The couple's cleaning work vanished with countless other jobs in LA County. It has more than 900,000 undocumented residents according to recent estimates.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ISAAC CUEVAS, DIRECTOR, IMMIGRATION AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS FOR THE LA ARCHDIOCESE: Many times, they don't qualify for a lot of the Federal protections that are being issued out right now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VERCAMMEN (voice over): Isaac Cuevas battles for immigrant rights and the 4.3 million parishioners Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

So many are Latino immigrants are praying for help.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CUEVAS: With our help in social services and social justice, we're pushing to make sure that they don't get evicted, that they have food on the table and that spiritually they are sound.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VERCAMMEN (voice over): Cuevas says the church mediated with landlords who tried not to honor the LA moratorium on evictions for renters who cannot pay due to coronavirus circumstances.

Immigrants' advocates say too many of their clients won't speak up or apply for aid during the COVID-19 crisis, because they believe it will raise red flags that will lead to deportation.

Or if they have green card legal resident status, they fear their citizenship application will be stalled.

But LA offers many programs available to undocumented and legal immigrants including My Health LA, or LA Care if they qualify. It's the largest publicly operated health plan in the U.S.

The CEO of LA Care encourages immigrants to apply and fill out their census forms, because he believes that will help them when LA exits the pandemic recession.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN BAACKES, CEO, LA CARE HEALTH PLAN: They're going to be eligible for Medicaid, and we need to know how many there are because it will determine how much funding flows to any state whether it's California or somewhere else in the country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VERCAMMEN (voice over): No healthcare, no jobs, but Irma and Miguel found food.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

IRMA (through translator): We are very grateful.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VERCAMMEN (voice over): Dodger dogs and snacks, a virtual feast during a pandemic.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VERCAMMEN (on camera): And tomorrow here in Los Angeles, Easter Sunday, we would see many immigrants and others in the parks, picnics, egg hunts, bright colors and sounds, but Erica, the mayor has said no such gatherings tomorrow in Los Angeles. Now back to you.

HILL: Not only in Los Angeles, in so many other places, it is true. Paul Vercammen, appreciate it. Thank you.

Well, we may be seeing a drop in the number of ICU patients in California, an important statistic. The state's health officials are still bracing for the worst.

CNN's Stephanie Elam in takes us inside one hospital that is now taking unprecedented measures.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm standing in what is now known as the Los Angeles surge hospital. This critical care unit here in the heart of Los Angeles is going to start taking on patients that are coronavirus positive.

This is not going to be a normal hospital in that it won't have an ER. These will be patients transferred from other hospitals, and then brought here to treat them solely for coronavirus.

You can see they've got their ventilator set up. And they have these rooms. Some of them are private. Some of them are not because these are people who are all fighting the same battle.

This is one of the 11 hospitals opening throughout the State of California before the expected peak. What we've seen in a lot of these hospitals is setting up of negative pressure rooms.

This is a place where we know the virus cannot get out and this could be a place where they would put patients who really are in the biggest fight for their lives.

One of the things they are able to do is treat those patients together, and that means setting up beds to cohort them because they're all suffering from the same illness.

All the supplies they need will be right here in this one area.

At full capacity, this surge hospital will have 266 beds available. It's been a public-private partnership. So that means the State of California, the county of Los Angeles, Kaiser Permanente and Dignity Health working to open up this hospital.

PPE, ventilators. All of the equipment that is necessary that we've heard has been hard for these hospitals to get. It'll be up to the State of California to make sure that they have what they need, and looking at which hospitals in the area need to transfer patients out because they may be at capacity.

LA County will step in and figure out where patients need to be transferred out to make sure that there's more beds freed up in those areas.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HILL: Stephanie Elam reporting for us in Los Angeles. Stephanie, thank you.

The number of Americans filing unemployment claims is like nothing the country has ever seen. More than 16.5 million Americans over the past three weeks. We're going to take a look at the economic impact of this virus, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:29:19]

HILL: As the coronavirus pandemic wreaks havoc on the U.S. economy, nearly 17 million Americans have filed unemployment claims in just the past three weeks.

Behind each and every one of those numbers that lost or furloughed job is a person, someone who has bills to pay, who needs to put food on their table, who needs to pay rent or a mortgage, who may have a family to care for.

And this is what massive layoffs look like for many everyday Americans. What you're looking at is cars in Miami. They were doing a drive-thru food distribution event. It lasted four hours.

In San Antonio, Texas, 6,000 families showed up for food, some of them waiting more than 12 hours. Another line of cars stretching for miles -- five miles. [18:30:10]

In Los Angeles, more than 5,000 families showed up at what the food bank bear said was its largest event this week.

This is the reality across the country. There are now millions of Americans who don't have a job. They don't know when they will have another one and they don't know what's coming next.

Joining me now CNN Chief Business Correspondent, Christine Romans and Mark Zandi, Chief Economist at Moody's Analytics.

So Christine, as we look at this, we know the government has promised help is on its way. When is that coming? And I mean, the question of will it be enough I think for most families that's an obvious no.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Right. Look, it's very frustrating and already a third of American renters didn't pay their rent, their April rent, because they don't have the unemployment checks yet. They don't have the stimulus check yet that has been promised by the government.

We're told those things are coming soon. Maybe in a matter of days for those extended unemployment benefits.

The government has promised money. The stopgap has been promised, but it just hasn't gotten there yet and that's very frustrating. And you look at 17 million people, I mean, we have never done something like this before, where we're shutting off big parts of the American economy on purpose and we don't really yet have a plan for how to reopen the economy yet until the health problem has been fixed.

So we're in uncharted territory here and I can really understand why so many people are frustrated and scared, quite frankly, about losing their jobs. Some of these are furloughs and some of those furloughs, people will keep their health insurance and their companies want to keep them sort of active on the books so that when we're through this, they can come back and go back to work.

That, I think, is encouraging, but a lot of those people who've been laid off are going to lose their health insurance. They're going to have to open the window in the Obamacare exchanges to try to get health insurance or they're going to pay for COBRA which is more expensive. A lot of big questions right now for families. You can see why they're so frustrated.

HILL: Absolutely and even some of those furloughs while the goal is to bring them back, we don't know what the businesses are going to look like. So there are questions for those too, Mark, as we look at this. Christine pointing out a third of renters didn't pay the first week of April. This really is uncharted territory. How does it get solved?

MARK ZANDI, CHIEF ECONOMIST, MOODY'S ANALYTICS: Well, we need a health solution. I mean, at the end of the day, I don't think anyone is going to really feel comfortable about going back to work, traveling, doing all of the things that we did until we have a vaccine or some kind of therapy that allows people to feel comfortable that they can do all of the things that we were doing.

So the reality is it's going to take a while because to come up with that medical solution is not next week, it's probably not next month, it's probably not next quarter, it's later this year, but maybe this time next year. So I think we need to buckle in here.

And it does suggest that lawmakers, Congress and the administration, really now have to start thinking about what else should they be doing to help those families you're talking about. Job number one is to get them the money that Christine talked about, that's what they're doing now and hopefully that gets into people's pocketbooks over the next week or two or three.

But in all likelihood that won't be enough and lawmakers will have to come up with more help for those folks. And also the businesses that we need to restart because we need those businesses come back. They can't fail. Because if they fail, then there's won't be those jobs when we do have a medical solution. So there's a lot of work to be done here by lawmakers.

HILL: And so much of it is tight. As you point out, we need a public health solution. Gov. Cuomo saying today, you can't divorce, in his words, the public health and the economy. That they go hand in hand.

ZANDI: Right.

HILL: Christine, we keep hearing from the President, he wants to reopen the economy. It's important to point out, the President didn't shut down the economy on a national level. It's the states that made those decisions. The President may want to reopen the economy, but does he really have the power to tell every state you must be open on May 1st?

ROMANS: It's so interesting, we had polling, CNN polling, this week that asked Americans, would you feel comfortable going back to your normal routine after this period ends April 30 of social distancing and stay-at-home orders, and 60 percent said no.

So we know the American people don't think this is fixed yet or resolved and they're not comfortable going back. And I think there's a big risk if you open the economy with a big bang and the way the President says with a big celebration as he wants to do. You risk actually doing more damage to the economy because you really hurt confidence, people don't feel confident going back to their jobs, businesses don't feel confident spending again.

So you really have to fix the health thing first and you're absolutely right. I mean, look at the big companies who were the first ones to start sending people home, limiting travel, the NBA, all of these sports leagues that shut down their games. That was before there was a national emergency called by the President.

[18:35:00] So the president wants to have the role of being able to have the good

job of opening up the economy in the end, but I think it's going to be states. It's going to be mayors and it's going to be businesses. I can't imagine May 1st, big companies all over the country just going to send their workers back to the office.

They want to have antibody testing and they want to have testing for the COVID in the first place and a regime and a plan for how to get people back to work. We don't have that yet.

HILL: In terms of that plan, this is uncharted territory. So Mark, as you're looking at this as an economist, what do you look to for guidance? What have we seen in the past that can offer some sort of a roadmap?

ZANDI: Oh, there is no roadmap here, Erica, it's a part of the problem. I mean, the only thing that comes anywhere close is when a hurricane blows through the Florida peninsula and knocks out a community and the businesses therefore, but in that case it's for days, maybe a couple of weeks and, of course, we know that's going to end and we know when it's going to end and money comes pouring in and really helps.

So that's the issue here. There is no roadmap. There is no guidebook here and we're making it up as we go. But I do think it is important that the key here is to be patient, that we can't go back to work too fast and risk having another surge of infections and hospitalizations.

Because if that happen, that would completely torpedo the economy. That would be the fodder for economic depression, double digit unemployment for many, many months and perhaps years to come. So we have to be patient and we have to be cautious. So we have to phase in the restarts of companies and about half of people are essential.

Now, nationwide they're working, they're going to work. That other half, we have to phase it in over time. And maybe those ballgames and there's amusement parks and movie theaters, they don't open for a while until we have that medical solution, so we have to be both patient and cautious.

HILL: Patient and cautious. That patience is about never felt more important. We're also learning and I think we have this tweet that we can put up from the IRS. So they're saying they've issued now the first economic impact payments to bank accounts.

ROMANS: Right.

HILL: More will be coming soon. That is great news. Absolutely. And Christine, just to be clear, too, there was concerned about maybe people who hadn't recently filed taxes or hadn't filed online, why is that important?

ROMANS: Well, OK, so look, people, if you file 2018, 2019 taxes, the government has your information, you're going to get direct deposit, your $1,200 check or the check for your family, if you make under $75,000 or less, that's just going to be direct deposited. But if you haven't, for example, senior citizens, there was a worry

that seniors who weren't filing taxes weren't going to get their check. But now the government is going to use your Social Security direct deposit information to make sure you get your check. But there are some people low income, non-filing families that are going to have to go to a special portal and enter their information so they can get their check.

And there are some other pro bono tax groups that are working with some of these low income families to help them get that paperwork done so they can get a paper check. But for all of you who have filed your taxes electronically, you're going to get a direct deposit.

And for those people who are waiting for your unemployment checks, your enhanced unemployment checks, those should be coming soon. And those are going to be a little more robust than we're used to for unemployment benefits.

The key now is just to get the money that's been promised into the hands of these 17 million people who've lost their jobs. We just got to do that quickly right away. That's job number one.

HILL: Job number one, the most important step. Christine, Mark, thank you both. Appreciate it.

ROMANS: You're welcome.

ROMANS: Coming up, a CNN KFILE investigation finds a tale of two messages coming from White House Trade Adviser Peter Navarro about the coronavirus. Those details are next and live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:43:16]

HILL: As the U.S. continues to struggle to get the coronavirus pandemic under control, I want to take you back for a moment to February 24th. On that day, there were more than 50 confirmed cases in the U.S. There were nearly 80,000 confirmed cases worldwide.

The Director of the World Health Organization said that day the virus had pandemic potential, but wasn't there yet. And this is what White House Trade Adviser Peter Navarro said about the virus and the work of the White House task force.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PETER NAVARRO, WHITE HOUSE TRADE ADVISER: Since the day that President Trump pulled down the flights from China to the U.S., he's been actively leading the situation in terms of this crisis with the task force. Nothing to worry about for the American people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: Now, a CNN KFILE investigation finds in private Navarro was saying something much different. CNN KFILE Senior Editor, Andrew Kaczynski is with us now. So nothing to worry about for the American people is what we heard on February 24th. What did you find, though, about what was being said privately at that same time?

ANDREW KACZYNSKI, CNN KFILE SENIOR EDITOR: Yes. So Navarro actually wrote two memos. One on January 29th and one on February 23rd. Now, that statement that you saw came on the 24th. That's a day after his second memo, where he warned that the possibility of this pandemic could kill millions of people in the United States and inflict trillions of dollars worth of economic damage.

The interesting thing is he also made a couple of media appearances. One on February 23rd and one on February 26th. And in both of those media appearances, he argued that the U.S. economy was not particularly vulnerable to what was going on in China.

[18:45:07]

He said that what was happening there was not likely to materially harm the U.S. economy. This was in a radio interview on February 26th, as other comments came in a Fox News interview on February 23rd.

So this is really just another example of the Trump administration. We're getting these new reports again and again and again of all these warnings that they were getting and they were just kind of painting this rosy picture in public, people like him, Economic Adviser Larry Kudlow, that were just not what was going on behind the scenes and not what they were talking about privately.

HILL: It certainly makes you stop, scratch your head a little bit. Has Peter Navarro responded to your reporting?

KACZYNSKI: Yes. So we had a contentious phone call with Navarro ahead of the story. What he said to us eventually in a statement was he said that initial statement that you played on the way in from the 24th, he was saying basically that he wasn't arguing that pandemic was a problem. He was just saying the leadership of President Trump was nothing to worry about. I think he called our story mischief and fake news.

And then the additional comments related to the economy, he said was then just related to China's impact on the economy and again called us misleading and irresponsible. So he's contesting our story on the entirety. But even if you take him at his word here on this, he still was painting this much rosier picture than what he was saying behind it.

HILL: Yes. It certainly makes you wonder. Andrew Kaczynski, great reporting as always. Appreciate it.

Just ahead, as governments extend their stay-at-home orders, our tech companies now tracking your cell phone to make sure you're complying. You are live in the CNN Newsroom.

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[18:51:32] HILL: New Mexico is using smartphone data to help track and combat

the spread of coronavirus. The State has just over a thousand cases and the Governor wants to know if people are following social distancing guidelines.

CNN Sara Sidner explains how companies are collecting that vital data.

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SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT(voice over): Official government orders to stay at home stare you in the face, but are you obeying them? A tech company Unacast knows grading the nation state by state even county by county, as of Friday, Nevada, Vermont and California were at the top of the list as far as residents staying put. Six states were near failing.

Overall, the United States got a C plus. How did they do it? By tracking cell phone data and now some state governments are hiring companies to do it too. They developed social distancing models that gauge how well residents are adhering to stay at home orders.

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GOV. MICHELLE LUJAN GRISHAM (D) NEW MEXICO: As we dig deeper using cell phone data ...

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SIDNER(voice over): The State of New Mexico was one of the first to go public about hiring a company, Descartes Labs, to get cell phone geolocation statistics.

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MIKE WARREN, CO-FOUNDER, DESCARTES LABS: We came up with a way to measure statistically how far a typical person in the community was going away from where they started the day.

SIDNER: So you actually could track cell phones to show that people were following or not following the stay-at-home order.

WARREN: Yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SIDNER(voice over): Mike Warren says other states have also signed on during the pandemic. China goes even further. It's using citizens' smartphones to control their movements around their cities. A QR code on their phone determines where they can go.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SIDNER: Americans are really concerned about that kind of personalized tracking. Is that concern addressed by the technology?

WARREN: Absolutely. I mean, I personally am concerned about that as well, so we've got a number of controls that prevent us from tracking individuals.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SIDNER(voice over): He says, the data sold to the U.S. government is just statistics, anonymous information that does not reveal who the phone belongs to. You play a role in being tracked to when you download certain apps and agree to let them use your geolocation on your phone, that data is being used by third party companies and advertisers and now some state and local governments.

There are plenty of companies buying the tracking data. For example ...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not on spring break.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. Not really. It's not going to happen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SIDNER(voice over): Remember those spring breakers who flocked to beaches even after the warnings to social distance, X-Mode collected spring breakers' phone data. Another company, Tectonics, was able to show where those spring breakers ended up. Those little points of light are cell phones pinging from the beaches.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As we zoom further and further out, it becomes clear just how massive the potential impact just one single beach gathering can have.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SIDNER(voice over): If just a few of those spring breakers had contracted coronavirus, they could have spread it far and wide. Now, governments want this kind of data in part to see if stricter measures to distance citizens are needed.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GRISHAM: I'm talking with governors around the country about how you do that and, again, everything on the table, including if we needed to, I would consider curfews.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SIDNER(voice over): All of these tracking capabilities have brought up the quintessential question about privacy, how much of your personal liberty are you willing to give up for security or the health of the nation.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WARREN: Well, like many things it can be used for good or it can be used for evil.

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[18:55:01]

SIDNER(voice over): Sara Sidner, CNN Los Angeles.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HILL: It certainly makes you think.

Turning now to an act of kindness in these tough times courtesy of a bar in Georgia's Tybee Island. For years, customers would mark their visit to the sandbar by leaving money on the wall. So when the bar closed, owner Jennifer Knox realized she could help her employees by taking all of those bills off the walls. The total, $3,714 which worked out to about $600 per employee.

Thanks so much for joining me this afternoon. I'm Erica Hill in New York. Stay tuned to a Special Edition of THE SITUATION ROOM with Wolf Blitzer is up next.