On this "Face the Nation" broadcast moderated by Margaret Brennan:
- Gov. Phil Murphy, New Jersey
- Scott Gottlieb, M.D., Former FDA Commissioner
- Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York
- Christopher Murray, M.D., Director, Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, University of Washington
- Neel Kashkari, President & CEO, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis
- Lori Lightfoot, Mayor of Chicago
Click here to browse full transcripts of "Face the Nation."
MARGARET BRENNAN: I'm Margaret Brennan in Washington. On this Easter Sunday, the U.S. now leads the rest of the world with the number of reported cases and the number of recorded deaths due to coronavirus. With more than half a million cases and at least twenty thousand dead, the U.S. has set grim new global benchmarks. The death count has doubled in just five days. And for the first time in history, all fifty states have been declared major disaster areas at the same time. The COVID-19 pandemic has illuminated the weaknesses in our society: Job shortages, lack of leadership, economic and racial disparity, just to name a few. It's a sharp slap in the face, calling attention to everything America struggles to deal with all at once. Yet, despite the anxiety, fear, and sadness, there are hopeful signs that America's efforts to stay home and stay apart are working.
DR. DEBORAH BIRX: As encouraging as they are, we have not reached the peak. And so every day we need to continue to do what we did yesterday and the week before and the week before that.
MARGARET BRENNAN: But as that curve flattens, so does our economy. President Trump says he'll listen to advice about whether to lift directives to get people back to work, but in the end it's his call.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: The metrics are right here. That's my metrics. That's all I can do. And I only hope to God that it's the right decision.
ANDREW CUOMO: The worst thing that can happen is we make a misstep and we let our emotions get ahead of our logic and fact.
MARGARET BRENNAN: We'll talk to former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb about planning for recovery, and a possible resurgence in the fall.
Plus, we'll talk with New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy. His state has seen the second highest number of cases in the country.
In Chicago, African-Americans are dying of the virus at almost six times the rate of whites. We'll talk with Mayor Lori Lightfoot. New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan will join us on this Easter Sunday.
MARGARET BRENNAN: As we look at how Easter and Passover are being celebrated around the world.
It's all just ahead on FACE THE NATION.
Welcome to FACE THE NATION. It's Easter Sunday, and the fourth day of Passover. Americans have endured what officials had predicted to be a devastating week. This country and the world continue to struggle with the spread of the coronavirus and how to prepare for what's next. We begin our coverage with CBS News national correspondent Mark Strassmann.
MARK STRASSMANN (CBS News National Correspondent): Good morning, Margaret. For many spiritual Americans, this Easter Sunday and the fourth day of Passover is a test of faith. Living with this pandemic for weeks has them rattled for their health and for their lifestyle.
MARK STRASSMANN: In New York, nearly eight hundred people a day have been dying from COVID-19, a staggering number. That level of sorrow may continue this week. Unthinkably, bodies go unclaimed. Many more may be buried in this potter's field in the Bronx. But what's encouraging: New York's new hospitalizations for viral patients have declined. This pandemic spread here has slowed.
ANDREW CUOMO: The curve of the increase is continuing to flatten. The number of hospitalizations appears to have hit an apex. And the apex appears to have-- to be a plateau.
MARK STRASSMANN: It's a curve that's flattening but also broadening. Denver's building a military field hospital in its convention center. Its new COVID-19 cases have almost doubled in the last week. Just like new cases in cities like Chicago and Washington, DC, they've more than doubled in Miami, Philadelphia, and Baltimore.
GOVERNOR LARRY HOGAN (R-Maryland): This is going to be one of our most dangerous times every, this weekend, and over the next week or so. This would be the worst possible time for people to be violating executive orders and to be congregating together.
WOMAN #1: Here's your canned foods here.
MARK STRASSMANN: Families are congregating in food banks, a new front line in America's other contagion, unemployment.
MAN: I don't want my kids to starve. So I'll starve before my kids do.
MARK STRASSMANN: The scale of the need is arena-sized from Los Angeles to Pittsburgh, people waited hours for twenty-five pounds of food. Ten thousand families jammed bumper to bumper in San Antonio. And look again at the lines in California. In three weeks, the state has lost more than two million jobs.
WOMAN #2: I lost my job, so this is a great place to be and-- and help out, give out food.
MARK STRASSMANN: In masked Miami, jobless people ignored social distancing to file for unemployment. America has lost 16.8 million jobs in three weeks, that's roughly eleven percent of the U.S. workforce and greater than all of the jobs gained in the past six years. New unemployment numbers out this Thursday will add to the misery. No wonder homeowners can't pay mortgages. In one month, the national forbearance rate has spiked almost one thousand percent. The good news for millions of Americans: the IRS has begun direct-depositing up to twelve hundred dollars in their bank accounts. It's federal relief money. And the first recipients got theirs yesterday.
MARK STRASSMANN: This Atlanta Baptist Church behind me has twenty-two hundred members. Its two online services today will offer an Easter message that's timely in this crisis: the triumph of hope. Margaret.
MARGARET BRENNAN: That's Mark Strassmann reporting from Atlanta.
We want to go now to CBS News senior foreign correspondent Elizabeth Palmer in London.
ELIZABETH PALMER (CBS News Senior Foreign Correspondent/@elizapalmer): Margaret, with coronavirus now on every continent, except Antarctica, this is an Easter like no other and Christians everywhere are having to improvise.
ELIZABETH PALMER: In Rome, the pope said Mass for a tiniest gathering of Catholics social distancing in St. Peter's. While in Southern Poland, Father Kristof Petrus (ph) took to the road to bless parishioners and their traditional Easter baskets.
REVEREND JUSTIN WELBY: And the blessing of God Almighty.
ELIZABETH PALMER: Here in the U.K., the archbishop of Canterbury led the Easter service online from his kitchen. The great cities of the world are eerily empty this weekend, from Istanbul to Delhi to Paris, all of them locked down as authorities grapple with ways to control this infection. In Brazil, which now has the highest death toll in the Southern Hemisphere, they are going for public fumigation in the slums. So are they in the streets of Siberia, with a retrofitted jet-engine sprayer, more style than substance. Developing countries have looked to the World Health Organization for guidance in this crisis. But the WHO itself is under fire for failing to challenge China on its lack of transparency over the COVID-19 outbreak. WHO Director Tedros Ghebreyesus denied the charge.
DR. TEDROS ADHANOM GHEBREYESUS: My focus is saving lives. We don't do politics in WHO. We don't.
ELIZABETH PALMER: But as fear grows globally and President Trump calls America's multibillion-dollar WHO contribution into question, politics are bound to dominate and no one will be immune.
ELIZABETH PALMER: It's been a tense week in British politics as Prime Minister Boris Johnson was admitted to intensive care with coronavirus. But in a bit of Easter good news, we've just heard in the last few minutes that he's actually been discharged from the hospital and is going off to his country residence to recuperate. Margaret.
MARGARET BRENNAN: That is Liz Palmer in London. Thank you.
We turn now to New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy. He joins us this morning from Red Bank. Governor, good morning to you. We heard from Doctor Fauci on another network, CNN, this morning that there could be a rolling reopening of the U.S. economy by next month. Is New Jersey ready for that?
GOVERNOR PHIL MURPHY (D-New Jersey/@GovMurphy): Margaret, good to be with you and Happy Easter. Boy, I'll be the happiest guy in New Jersey, if not America, if we are. But I do know one thing: any sort of an economic reopening or recovery depends first and foremost on a complete health care recovery. Getting that sequencing right, I think, based on the data and the-- the facts that we're seeing is incredibly essential and that if we either transpose those steps or we-- we start to get back on our feet too soon, I fear, based on the data we're looking at, that we could be throwing gasoline on the fire. So the pain is awful. We get that in terms of unemployment, small businesses. But I-- I-- based on how we see this evolving, I'm all for an economic recovery, but it's got to be on the back of a-- of a full health care recovery.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Sounds like you're saying not so soon. You said yesterday at a press conference that your state is literally on edge when it comes to the supply of ventilators that you need right now. Have you asked the White House for more?
GOVERNOR PHIL MURPHY: We have, and-- and I have to say that the White House over the past number of weeks has delivered a series of tranches of ventilators and other personal protective equipment, but we continue to be shy on all-- all fronts. And we are constantly and persistently not just asking the White House from this federal stockpile for more support but also turning over every stone in New Jersey, around the country and, frankly, around the world.
MARGARET BRENNAN: You have a call with the White House tomorrow scheduled. Is that your chief request?
GOVERNOR PHIL MURPHY: Yeah, it would be at the top of the list. Ventilators, I think, would be number one and PPE, again, is something that we are constantly on the prowl for. We have these calls which are very helpful, by the way, at least once a week. But, as you can imagine, we're on with the administration every single day--
MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.
GOVERNOR PHIL MURPHY: --morning through night having bilateral conversations on this stuff as well.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Doctor Birx spoke from the White House podium this week and said that more than ninety percent of Abbott coronavirus tests delivered to labs haven't been used. I know your state is one of those that has been chosen to use some of these tests from Abbott Labs. Do you know why there is such a backlog?
GOVERNOR PHIL MURPHY: I don't know. I mean, I know that all the testing companies, both private sector as well as public, have big backlogs. And-- and I-- I don't know the specifics on Abbott. We were very happy that Abbott picked New Jersey as one of its first states, particularly in Bergen County, which-- which is the county which had-- this virus has hit the hardest. And we're-- we're hoping that the backlogs we-- we can pass through as fast as possible and expand the testing as-- as quickly as possible. We're-- I think we're in the fifth most tests of any state in America, but we still need more.
MARGARET BRENNAN: The-- the National Association of Governors released a bipartisan letter yesterday calling for about five hundred billion dollars in unrestricted aid for states and-- and asking Congress to give that money. Why is the money that the Federal Reserve has made-- have made available? Why is that not enough?
GOVERNOR PHIL MURPHY: Let's add both, Margaret. This is not one in lieu of the other. The-- the Fed's steps are important and we hope to take our steps to take advantage of them. But that's no replacing direct cash on the barrel to states, assistance from the federal government, either from the CARES Act from a couple of weeks ago or from any other steps that will be taken. I support completely the NGA's ask of five hundred billion dollars. In fact, Governor Cuomo in New York, Governor Lamont in Connecticut and Governor Wolf in Pennsylvania and I, a few weeks ago, said we-- our four states alone think we need a hundred billion dollars of direct cash assistance. So it's both that as well as the steps taken by the Fed. We're going to need all of the above.
MARGARET BRENNAN: You know, every expert we talk to tells us that in order for any state, any part of this country to reopen, there needs to be a plan in place for surveillance. That means testing and that means tracing. You sit right between New York and another hotspot in Philadelphia. You're right in that corridor. What is the regional strategy? What is your strategy to start to do that kind of surveillance?
GOVERNOR PHIL MURPHY: Yeah, so you-- you-- you use the exact right word regional. We're the densest state in America, but we sit across the Hudson from New York and across the Delaware from Philly. We've got to do this in concert with our neighbors. And it's, frankly, it's still early stage, partly because the house is still on fire and job number one is to put the fire out in the house. But we have begun a rather intense, this weekend, discussions with our neighboring states on the whole question of testing, contact tracing, what are the rules of the road going to be for things like bars and restaurants to make sure we don't have unintended consequences on one side of the river versus the other. There are a whole series of steps in health care infrastructure that we need to take. I was on the phone with one of your guests this morning, a New Jersey guy, Scott Gottlieb, on this very topic a couple of days ago. So we're early stage, but you're absolutely right. We need to have a regional approach. We can't do this alone.
MARGARET BRENNAN: And we will be talking to Doctor Gottlieb shortly. Thank you, Governor, for your time this morning. Good luck to you.
And Chicago is one of many cities that has seen a disproportionately high number of coronavirus cases within its minority community. And we go now to the mayor of Chicago, Lori Lightfoot. Mayor, thank you for joining us this morning.
LORI LIGHTFOOT (Mayor of Chicago/@chicagosmayor): It's my pleasure to be here.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Mayor, the data you shared this week, frankly, shocked a lot of people around this country. Seventy-two percent of your city's deaths have been among black Chicagoans, according to your office--
LORI LIGHTFOOT: Yes.
MARGARET BRENNAN: --even though they make up just thirty percent of the city's population. Why is this having such a heavy toll in the black community?
LORI LIGHTFOOT: Well, this is an issue that's not unique to Chicago, unfortunately. We're seeing similar kinds of numbers reported across the country in large urban centers. And the answer that we believe is right is because of the underlying conditions that people of color and particularly black folks suffer from, whether it's diabetes, heart disease, upper respiratory illnesses. The kind of things that we've been talking about for a long time that plague black Chicago, that lead to life expectancy gaps. This virus attacks those underlying conditions with a vengeance. Just this morning I learned of a man that I know well, African-American had an underlying condition and went very quickly as a result of the coronavirus. So it is devastating our community.
MARGARET BRENNAN: What you said got the attention of the White House, as well as the surgeon general said from the podium that black Americans are not biologically or genetically predisposed. This is socially predisposed because of pre-existing health issues.
LORI LIGHTFOOT: Right.
MARGARET BRENNAN: He rattled off a number of other factors. The point being, this is so layered in complexity. How do you, as a mayor, start chipping away at this?
LORI LIGHTFOOT: Well, you start by making sure that you've got the data. One of the first things that we did is made sure that we issued an order to require all providers who were doing testing not to skip providing demographic information. We need to be able to accurately understand the impact of this virus. So that's one. Get the data, share the data and then what we also put in place was a racial equity rapid response team. So this is a team of healthcare providers, public health clinicians, as well as stakeholders in the community--faith community, block clubs. We have street intervention folks who normally work on responding to violence. We are going all in, in a hyper local focus to make sure that we are tapping into those neighborhoods where there's a high death rate, where there's a high positive test rate. And we are bringing people into healthcare systems and making those kind of connections that may not have otherwise existed. But that's the kind of hyper-local focus, along with some other measures that we're doing to disabuse people of the myth that was circulating up until recently, that black people actually couldn't get coronavirus.
MARGARET BRENNAN: One of the other stats that stood out is that so many essential workers, frontline workers--
LORI LIGHTFOOT: Yes.
MARGARET BRENNAN:--are people of color.
LORI LIGHTFOOT: That's right.
MARGARET BRENNAN: So when it comes to that factor, whose responsibility is it to provide protective equipment? Is it that individual's employer? Is it the mayor like you?
LORI LIGHTFOOT: Well, I--
MARGARET BRENNAN: Is it the federal government?
LORI LIGHTFOOT: Look, I think it starts with the-- the employer. We're calling these people to work. We have a responsibility to make sure that they're taken care of. So for the employers that we are in contact with, whether it's our-- our city employees or sanitation workers, whether it's the public transportation workers who are out there every day, we're making sure that they have the equipment that they need: masks, gloves, and training. And then we're doing things about the places that they gather, lunchrooms and other places, to decontaminate them, clean them on a regular basis, but also make sure that we're educating them about why congregating, even those seemingly innocuous places, can be a significant problem. On our bus lines we've added additional buses so that people who are dependent upon public transportation can ride in safety and making sure that we are doing everything we can to educate people about the danger of this disease and emphasizing hand-washing. If you've got an underlying condition, staying at home--
MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm.
LORI LIGHTFOOT: --and making sure that you're isolating yourself within your home from other people who have to go out and work every day.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Doctor Fauci said this morning there could be a rolling reopening of the economy by May. Do you plan to open up Chicago by next month?
LORI LIGHTFOOT: Well, I-- I heard the comments of Governor Murphy. And I think he's got it a hundred percent right. We cannot open up the economy until we make sure that we've got all the healthcare controls in place. That means widespread testing, contact tracing, and we've got to see not just a flattening of the curve, but a bending down. We're-- we're trending in the right direction here in Chicago. We started out seeing that cases were doubling every one to two days, then every three to four. We're now on a trend of nine to ten, but we've got to see a lot more progress on the healthcare front before we can even start talking about reopening the economy.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Mayor, thank you and good luck to you.
LORI LIGHTFOOT: Thanks so much. I appreciate your time.
MARGARET BRENNAN: We will be back in a minute with former FDA Commissioner Doctor Scott Gottlieb. Stay with us.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Former FDA Commissioner Doctor Scott Gottlieb has been helping us on FACE THE NATION educate our viewers since we began devoting our broadcast to COVID-19 coverage. And he joins us from his home in Connecticut once again this morning. Thank you for your help. Doctor, I want to ask, both the governor and the mayor said before they even consider what Doctor Fauci said, which is a rolling reopening in-- in their areas that they need surveillance, they need testing. They need things that they say they do not have in place right now. Who's leading that effort? Whose job is that?
SCOTT GOTTLIEB, M.D. (Former FDA Commissioner/@ScottGottliebMD): Well, unfortunately, I think it's going to be the states leading the effort. I-- the feds are going to backstop the states, but the feds are pretty tapped out as well and-- and didn't have a lot of resources to put against this. To give you sort of a basis for comparison, you're going to be hearing testing, tracing, treating as sort of the mantra going forward. And the tracing part of that, that's actually doing contact tracing. When you identify people who have the infection, you want to trace who their contacts are. To give you sort of a reference, in Wuhan in China, they had eighteen hundred teams of five people each doing contact tracing at the height of that epidemic, so about nine thousand people. Right now, CDC has about six hundred people deployed across the country. The states are supplementing that, but the states need to increase their resources now. The feds are going to have a hard time pulsing their resources in the throes of this crisis. And so I think it's going to be up to the states, and a lot of it's going to be on to governors. In Massachusetts, you saw Baker make a move to hire one thousand people to do that contact tracing work. Other governors are going to have to follow that lead.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, difference between China and the United States is protection of civil liberties here. So how do you do something like surveillance, which is an uncomfortable world-- word for a lot of people here? Is it something like an app like Apple and Google proposed this week?
SCOTT GOTTLIEB: Well, that app-- that's a platform that-- that Google and Apple are-- are fashioning. It's, basically, like a pipeline for public health authorities in states or localities to try to use if they want to do electronic contact tracing. And I think a lot of people are going to be concerned about that. But, remember, contact tracing is sort of the bread and butter of public health work. We do this when we have outbreaks of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis or measles, where when you identify people who have an infection, you want to identify people who they were in contact with, isolate them, and get them tested as well. That's how you can control outbreaks. I think one of the concerns that we need to address right now is what happens when you identify someone who has the infection? You're going to want them to self-isolate for a period of time while they're infectious. But people may be reluctant to do that and they may be reluctant to have governments enforce that self-isolation, say you have to stay at home for two weeks. And so I think businesses need to think about how they provide compensation, basically, paid leave for people who are forced to self-isolate because they have the infection. And the government might actually want to pay those people to give them an incentive to step forward, because if it's seen as punitive, if it's seen that when you get COVID-19, you're going to be forced to self-isolate for two weeks, you're going to miss work and you're going to be out of money, then people aren't going to want to step forward--
MARGARET BRENNAN: Yeah.
SCOTT GOTTLIEB: --and get diagnosed. And you don't want to create a disincentive to diagnosis.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Doctor, stay with us. I have to take a commercial break here, but I'll be back in a moment with you and stay with us.
MARGARET BRENNAN: There was big news this week on the Democratic presidential campaign front. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders suspended his campaign, all but assuring former Vice President Joe Biden of the nomination. We look forward to getting back to the presidential campaign and politics just as soon as our country can.
MARGARET BRENNAN: We'll be right back with more from former FDA Commissioner Doctor Scott Gottlieb. And later, we'll hear from the University of Washington's Christopher Murray, and Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari. Plus, stay tuned until the end of the broadcast for the Archbishop of New York, Cardinal Timothy Dolan.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Welcome back to FACE THE NATION. We want to pick up where we left off with former FDA Commissioner Doctor Scott Gottlieb. We were talking about the projection by Doctor Fauci that you could have a rolling reopening of the economy by next month. What parts of this country have the systems in place or the ability to open up that soon?
SCOTT GOTTLIEB: Well, look, I don't think anyone's optimized really right now. We're not going to have the testing in place. We're not going to have the public health employees hired to do the effective contact tracing. So, you know, there's no question we're going to be opening at some-- at some risk. I think that's inevitable. There's a lot of pressure right now from the business community on not just the administration but governors as well to start reopening the economy. So I think, inevitably, we're going to see a slow reopening of business activities through May with some risk, but there's always going to be risk. And if you ask public health officials like me what the optimal amount of testing is, the answer we'll give is more. But we're not going to be where we want to be. So I think you're going to see a gradual reopening where businesses-- where governors and mayors say, well, businesses can reopen, but you can only bring back fifty percent of your employees that are on any one shift. So you force the employers to break up the shifts. Maybe you tell people over the age of sixty-five to stay home a little longer. You tell businesses you can't have meetings more than ten people. You can't have conferences. So there'll be measures put in place to try to limit interactions at the workplace, but allow some work to get on.
MARGARET BRENNAN: The FDA has said it-- it may approve a serology test. That's the-- the test for the antibodies in your blood in sometime in the next few weeks. What does that do to your timeline and how widely available would that be?
SCOTT GOTTLIEB: Well, it may be widely available, but I think it's of marginal utility and impact for these kinds of discussions. What serology tells you is if you have circulating antibodies in your blood, if you've been exposed to the virus and you've developed some level of immunity. But I think when we actually do serology on the population, we're going to find the actual level of exposure across the population is very low, somewhere between maybe two or five percent, and I'd put on the low end of that range. That's certainly the modeling, the data coming out of Europe where they have anywhere from two to five percent of their populations exposed. If you look in certain professions, healthcare workers, police, people who work on grocery checkout lines, flight attendants, TSA agents, people who come in contact with a lot of people as part of their work, the rates may be higher, maybe on the order of ten percent that have been exposed and developed some immunity. So you can make decisions in those professions to preferentially return certain people or put certain people on the frontlines right away. But on the whole, we're going to find that a very small percentage of this population, certainly in the single digits have actually been exposed to this infection. So the perception that there's thirty or forty percent--
MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm.
SCOTT GOTTLIEB: --that have been exposed and developed immunity, it's not going to be the case.
MARGARET BRENNAN: We know that this is a global pandemic. The President has said that he is reviewing U.S. funding to the World Health Organization. The U.S. gives about a hundred million a year to it. They're leading the response around the world. What changes do you think need to be made?
SCOTT GOTTLIEB: Well, look, I don't think this is a time to defund at WHO, given the fact that I think this is going to become epidemic in the Southern Hemisphere, in parts of the world that don't have resources to deal with-- with this kind of a global issue. But the President raised a lot of valid concerns. China was not truthful with the world at the outset of this. Had they been more truthful with the world, which would have enabled them to be more truthful with themselves, they might have actually been able to contain this entirely. And there is some growing evidence to suggest that as late as January 20th, they were still saying that there was no human-to-human transmission and the WHO was validating those claims on January 14th, sort of enabling the obfuscation from China. I think going forward, the WHO needs to commit to an after-action report that, specifically, examines what China did or didn't tell the world and how that stymied the global response to this. I also think they need to embrace Taiwan's role in the global health community and allow them to attend the World Health Assembly. Right now, they've frozen China out, the WHO has at sort of the behest of China, and that's hampered the global response because China's been a very important partner. To give you just one more anecdote, China didn't share the viral strains--
MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.
SCOTT GOTTLIEB: --and the WHO should have made them do that. Had they shared those early on we could have developed a diagnostic test earlier, validated earlier.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, we will see what the President decides to do in the coming days. Doctor Gottlieb, as always, thank you for your time.
SCOTT GOTTLIEB: Thanks a lot.
MARGARET BRENNAN: One of the models that the White House is watching closely in terms of hospital resources and what the death toll could look like going forward is from the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. You often hear it referred to as the IHME model. The director is Doctor Christopher Murray, and he joins us this morning from Seattle. Doctor Murray, good to have you here. What would a rolling reopening of the economy look like and what would that do to your projections?
CHRISTOPHER MURRAY, M.D. (Director, Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, University of Washington/@IHME_UW): Well, we've been trying to investigate that because I think there-- the issue is if you open up too soon and there is a big load of cases still in the community that have the potential to go back to community transmission, we can quickly see resurgences in some states. So some states it's possible in May. But, in other states, it's going to be very, you know, very unlikely that that would not lead to an immediate resurgence.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Which states are safe to reopen?
CHRISTOPHER MURRAY: Well, what-- what we're seeing is that the states such as out here on the West Coast seem to be farther along the epidemic, peaking, and then we need multiple weeks of closures after that peak to bring the burden of cases down to the point where testing and contact tracing has a-- has a chance of working. And then, of course, there's the big issue if states are on different time-- timings of their epidemics, which we know is the case, how are they going to control importation from other states into their state? So it poses a whole series of new questions that haven't yet really been addressed.
MARGARET BRENNAN: You know, this week your model projected that around sixty-one thousand Americans will lose their life to the virus by the end of this summer. That is a-- a breathtaking number, but it is far lower than your April 2nd estimate of nearly a hundred thousand. Your discrepancy there has been heavily criticized. I'd like you to explain why there was such a significant change.
CHRISTOPHER MURRAY: Well, about two weeks ago, our first prediction was about eighty thousand cases with a very wide range from about thirty thousand to a hundred and fifty thousand. And all of our subsequent forecasts have been within that range. What-- the-- the advantage of the model that we run, which is we keep updating it, you know, three, four times a week, is that it's driven by the data. And so the trend up in some states has been faster. In New York, for example, at the beginning, that pushed our forecasts up. And then the trend-- the peaks that we're seeing in California and Washington have been lower than expected. And that's brought these forecasts down a bit. But they've all been within the same range. We're now-- the last series of forecasts have been around sixty, sixty-one thousand deaths. We predicted the peak about now and that seems to be occurring at the national level. But because of the incomplete implementation of social distancing, closures in many states, it's adding a degree of uncertainty about what's actually going to happen in places like Texas as an example.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Texas is a hot spot that worries you still?
CHRISTOPHER MURRAY: Well, all the places where we have only partial closures, for example, on the essential business list, those are the ones that it's really much harder to know what's going to happen.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Okay.
CHRISTOPHER MURRAY: We have rock solid evidence that the full closures work. We've seen that in Italy and Spain. We're seeing that out here out West. But what we don't know is do these sort of incomplete closures have the same impact.
MARGARET BRENNAN: You know Doctor Fauci likes to say that-- that a model is only as good as the assumptions you put into it. I believe your models assume that social restrictions stay in place until the end of May. So if you start reopening parts of the country, how high of risk of rebound is there?
CHRISTOPHER MURRAY: If-- the-- the first testing we've done on this is if you opened up the entire country May 1st, then we would very clearly have a rebound. We don't think the cap-- capability in the states exists yet to deal with that volume of cases. And so by July or August, we could be back in the same situation we are now. I think what Doctor Fauci was talking about this morning is that different states are on different timings.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Yeah.
CHRISTOPHER MURRAY: And so maybe some states can open up mid-May. But we have to be very careful and make sure that we don't sort of lose all the effort that the American people have put into closures--
MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm.
CHRISTOPHER MURRAY: --by premature opening.
MARGARET BRENNAN: And this is a global pandemic. This could be a seasonal virus. Where are we as a world right now?
CHRISTOPHER MURRAY: Well, that's the really big question. Most of our work at the institute is actually focused on tracking health around the world in a thing called the Global Burden of Disease. So we're-- we're used to looking at all the data around the world. And the big worry is what will be the toll in places in low- and middle-income world that don't have the capability, perhaps, of implementing social distancing measures. They don't have the ICU capacity. They don't have the ventilator capacity to deal with patients. And that's what I think many people are trying to focus their attention on now: what's coming down the pike.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Doctor, thank you for your analysis.
We will be right back.
MARGARET BRENNAN: We turn now to Neel Kashkari, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. He also led the Treasury Department's 2008 TARP program. He joins us from Minneapolis. Thank you for joining us. Clearly, you know what a crisis is like and how to navigate one. I want to ask you about the jobs crisis right now because sixteen million Americans have filed for unemployment since these restrictions went into place due to the virus. The St. Louis Fed says we could see forty-seven million Americans losing their jobs. Where is your prediction of a bottom?
NEEL KASHKARI (President and CEO, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis/@neelkashkari): Well, we just don't know. I've been listening to your program this morning, Margaret, and we just don't know the path of the virus. That's going to determine how long the shutdown needs to take place and, ultimately, how many Americans lose their jobs and how quickly we can get them back to work when the economy turns back on. So there are a wide range of estimates of how wide or how high the unemployment rate is going to go, but it's all driven by the virus and how effective we are in the health care system is to catching up and to controlling it.
MARGARET BRENNAN: So these estimates or predictions of a V-shaped economy, that the economy is just going to turn right back on when people go back to work is overly optimistic?
NEEL KASHKARI: I think so. I-- I-- you know, it'd be wonderful if some new therapy were developed in the next couple of months that people could have confidence to go back to work, that they could get treatment, then, potentially, we would have a V-shaped recovery. But borrowing some-- barring some health care miracle like that, it seems like we're going to have various phases of rolling flare-ups, as we heard from your guest from Washington. Different parts of the economy turning back on, maybe turning back off again. This could be a long, hard road that we have ahead of us until we get to either an effective therapy or a vaccine. It's hard for me to see a V-shaped recovery under that scenario.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, it looks like Congress and the administration underestimated the amount of pain small business owners are in. There are predictions that the three hundred and fifty billion put aside could be exhausted, and that's why Congress is talking about adding another two hundred and fifty billion. They're fighting about it at least. What will the impact be if Congress doesn't make that package bigger this week?
NEEL KASHKARI: Well, I think it's very important. A-- a lot of small businesses are saying they want to keep their business together. They want to keep their employees employed, which is really, really important so that we don't have even more job losses. So that's good. The banks are trying to step in; the small businesses are trying to do their part. But we know that the three hundred and fifty billion dollars is not going to meet the needs across all the small businesses in America. So it will end up being first come first serve, who end up getting the assistance and who's left on the sidelines. I'm optimistic. I think Congress will come together to provide more support to small businesses. But then again, we don't know how-- if this support is going to be long enough, because if we need to have different phases of shutdowns for the next several months or until we have a therapy or vaccine, they're going to need more help than that.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Right. And-- and the Fed is part of this strategy because as we've detailed this week, there are about 2.3 trillion dollars in loans that the Federal Reserve that you're part of could issue to businesses, to states and to local governments. You said in-- in the last crisis that the mistake was going sort of too small and being too timid. This time around, is there enough money being thrown at this problem?
NEEL KASHKARI: I think there is in terms of what the Fed can do. I think our chairman is being very, very aggressive. He's learned from our experience in 2008 and the whole Federal Reserve is being as aggressive as possible. That's the right thing to do. I think Congress is also being very aggressive. But, again, it goes back to the progression of the virus. If we're going to have economic distress until we have a vaccine, then it's going to be up to Congress to keep coming back to provide support to the American people. We can't shut down the economy for eighteen months, but we need to find ways of getting the people who are healthy, who are at lower risk back to work and then providing the assistance to those who are most at risk, who are going to need to be quarantined or isolated for the foreseeable future. That's a real challenge for all of us.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Your colleague James Bullard of the St. Louis Fed was with us last week, and he said that the answer lies fully in technology. It's testing and surveillance, getting people before they walk into their employer to have a test and wear a badge. I mean is that your-- your guidance here, too?
NEEL KASHKARI: Oh, I would love it if that were possible. I've talked to some healthcare experts who-- who say that it's a fantasy that we're going to be able to test tens of millions of people every day, that there simply is not the equipment, there's not the supply chain. I hope they're wrong. That's a real concern. I don't think we should put all of our eggs only in the mass-testing basket. We should try to make that work. We should also invest fully in vaccines, fully in therapies. But then I think we're going to need to be smart about how we start to reopen parts of the economy with those who are at lowest risk until that capacity and that testing and those vaccines and therapies come online. I think we need an all-of-the-above approach because we don't know where we're going to have the breakthrough.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Many Americans, this month, had to suspend their mortgage payments. They just couldn't pay because of what their reality is. And I know Jay Powell, the head of The Federal Reserve, has said they're watching carefully the mortgage servicers. What is the degree of risk here that we are looking at some kind of housing crisis, financial crisis?
NEEL KASHKARI: Well, we know that, ultimately, if this goes on long enough, these losses roll up into the banking sector. People don't pay their mortgage. Coffee shop doesn't pay their landlord. The landlord then can't pay the bank's mortgage. And so it ends up rolling up into the banking sector. Right now the banks are well capitalized relative to where they were in 2006. But if this goes on long enough, it could pro-- produce strains in the banking sector. And then the Fed and Congress and Treasury would have to step in to make sure that the banks are sound. So it's something I think we're all watching very closely.
MARGARET BRENNAN: When you say long enough, what is the timeline that you're worried about?
NEEL KASHKARI: I'm-- I'm focusing on eighteen months because we're looking around the world. As they relax the economic controls, the virus flares back up again. And that makes intuitive sense because so many people have the disease, but they don't show any symptoms. So you don't know who's spreading the disease and who isn't. So we could have these waves of flare-ups, controls, flare-ups and controls until we actually get a therapy or a vaccine. I think we should all be focusing on an eighteen-month strategy for our health care system and our economy. If it ends up being shorter than that, that's great. We should prepare for the worst-case scenario.
MARGARET BRENNAN: All right. Neel Kashkari, thank you for your insights.
We'll be back in a moment.
MARGARET BRENNAN: The Easter and Passover holidays are a little different this year. For a look at how some Americans are finding solace in faith, we go to the Archbishop of New York, Cardinal Timothy Dolan. Cardinal, thank you for joining us.
CARDINAL TIMOTHY DOLAN (Archbishop of New York/@CardinalDolan): Margaret, a blessed Easter to you and your listeners.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Thank you. This is Easter week. It is Passover. It will soon be Ramadan as well. How would you counsel people to observe their faith while in isolation?
TIMOTHY DOLAN: Well, you use the word faith. And that's key. Faith, of course, doesn't depend on things physical. And we have faith these days that, even though, we can't sadly get to the synagogue or-- or to our parish churches, we can still be in union with God through prayer, through sincerity, through earnestness, through charity to others. And, thanks be to God, so many are using the technological advances that-- that we have, live streaming, radio, TV, you name it. People are-- are plugging in it-- at overwhelming numbers to be part of a community at Easter and Passover.
MARGARET BRENNAN: You are the archbishop there, as we said, of-- of New York. That means that your diocese, you are administering to the people right at the epicenter of this outbreak there. And I think one of the most painful things that I can think of is all those families who cannot hold funeral services, hold all the rituals for the people they just lost. We saw those pictures from New York of mass graves. These are things you see in war zones. You don't see in the richest country in the world. How do you grieve without that-- that ritual surrounding death?
TIMOTHY DOLAN: It's-- it's difficult. Just as you have faith that the person you love is still enjoying eternal life and is still with you, so our faith needs to kick in that even if we can't be next to mom and dad or grandma and grandpa and even if we can't embrace the family at a time of mourning, our faith tells us we're still united. We're still together. I've experienced it myself, Margaret. I've-- I've had to bury a number of priests and-- and people at graveside. And I say to them, you know, your grief is complicated because not only if you lost someone you cherish, you were even unable to be next to them in their last moments. And you're unev- unable even to-- to mourn and cry and hug one another here at graveside. This is-- this is an extended, enhanced, deepened sense of grief, which I hope whenever we got that loss, whenever we got that emptiness, you know, who wants to fill it: God. So I'm hoping it's an invitation from him that as we're empty, he will fill.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Pope Francis gave an interview recently and he said about the virus, it's-- it's a time for integrity. What does that mean from a social justice perspective? What is he asking--
TIMOTHY DOLAN: Sure, you--
MARGARET BRENNAN: --people to do?
TIMOTHY DOLAN: --you know, integrity means a connectiveness, that what we believe deep down inside is mirrored in the way we act. Okay, that's integrity. The opposite of integrity is disintegration, when our life falls apart because there's a-- a division. There's a-- a fracturing between the inside and the out. The Holy Father's asking us to integrity. You see it-- you see it when people discover an interior strength. And they're telling me that, Margaret. They're saying these days I'm alone in my apartment. I'm missing all the things I usually count on. And, yet, I've discovered deep down within a-- a resilience, strength and virtue and talent I didn't know I had. I'm discovering the warmth and tenderness and love that I have for family and friends, even though I can't be with them. And they'll tell me I'm even rediscovering a faith that had grown somewhat dormant as I'm sensing God's presence and-- and talking to him and-- and feeling his consolation. That's an integrity when things come together and when that flows out to the way we love and treat other people, as we see so radiantly all over in our health care workers, in our first responders, and in neighbors who are looking out for one another, shopping, checking on one another. I think we've got an integrity, a connectiveness, a unity of purpose. And I am rather confident that's what Pope Francis meant.
MARGARET BRENNAN: There still is no vaccine to stop this virus even when we get through the worst of it. How are you going to reopen church doors? Are you going to keep the social distancing? And for someone this morning who wants to get in their car and go to any denomination to-- to-- to worship, what would you tell them before they make that decision?
TIMOTHY DOLAN: Well, we've-- God gave us common sense, and God told us we have to pay attention to the common good. The decision that I would make about opening our churches and please God, it's as soon as-- as can be, is that we have to listen to the experts. We have to listen to the physicians, the scientists. We have to listen to our civic officials because they're on top of things. And-- and we're people of common sense. God gave-- God gave us a brain. And part of the way he answers prayers is in the direction, the guidance, the illumination that we get from other people. When they tell us we can go back, and when those medical experts offer some ways that perhaps, at least until we're sure this virus is behind us, we can protect one another, that'll be the time to go. And that's what I say to-- to God's people who today are really missing-- they want to get in the car and drive around until they find a church open. God is telling us use your brain. Use your prudence. Use your common sense. Don't tempt the Lord.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Cardinal Dolan, thank you. Happy Easter.
TIMOTHY DOLAN: Thank you, Margaret. A blessed one to you and your viewers.
MARGARET BRENNAN: We'll be right back.
MARGARET BRENNAN: If you're like us, you feel a bit helpless these days when it comes to seeing so many fellow Americans struggling, especially on this holiday weekend. So all of us at FACE THE NATION leave you today with some ideas for how you can help.
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Help your local food bank at:
Contribute to PPE for health care workers at:
Get meals to senior citizens and children:
Give blood and platelets: