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Full transcript of "Face the Nation" on April 26, 2020

4/26: Face The Nation
4/26: Face The Nation 47:09

On this "Face the Nation" broadcast moderated by Margaret Brennan:

  • Gov. Larry Hogan, R, Maryland
  • Mayor London Breed, D, San Francisco, CA
  • Brian Moynihan, CEO of Bank of America
  • Barry Diller, Chairman and Senior Executive of IAC and Expedia Group
  • Dr. Scott Gottlieb, Former FDA Commissioner

Click here to browse full transcripts of "Face the Nation."

MARGARET BRENNAN: I'm Margaret Brennan in Washington. And this week on FACE THE NATION, the tension between saving the economy and saving American lives intensifies. And President Trump's wishful thinking is stopped short by reality. The numbers continue to stagger, close to fifty-four thousand dead in the U.S. from COVID-19, with over nine hundred and forty thousand confirmed cases. That's more than four times the number of cases than any other country in the world. The economy continues its freefall. Congress passed another half trillion dollar package of aid for small businesses, health care providers and virus testing. But it's likely to run out quickly. On top of that, the nation's governors say they need another five hundred billion dollars of help for their states, but some Senate Republicans are resisting. One in six in the American workforce are now unemployed. Plus, President Trump's speculation backfired badly this week as administration efforts to soften warnings about a second wave of coronavirus in the fall were shot down by their own medical advisers.
VICE PRESIDENT MIKE PENCE: I think by Memorial Day weekend, we will largely have this coronavirus epidemic behind us.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: It's also possible it doesn't come back at all.
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI: There will be coronavirus in the fall.
MARGARET BRENNAN: The FDA issued a safety warning about the use of a drug the President heavily promoted for fighting the virus. A top federal vaccine expert was reassigned after voicing concerns about its use, too. He filed a whistleblower complaint. Then came Mister Trump's shocking suggestion that doctors should try injecting disinfectants into humans to treat the virus, leading experts and manufacturers to warn Americans not to ingest poison chemicals. He later said he was being sarcastic.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: And then I see the disinfectant where it knocks it out in a minute. And is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside or-- or almost a cleaning?
MARGARET BRENNAN: Across America it's sinking in, there is no end in sight, and if there is, normal is going to look very different.
ANDREW CUOMO: Somebody said to me, I can't do this anymore. I get it. I really do fundamentally get it. This has been a God-awful situation on many, many levels. You have to deal with it. And it's hard. But on the other hand, it makes us who we are, right? You get shaped by your experiences. Fifty-six days, all this inconvenience, yeah, think of it this way: What you're doing is actually saving lives.
MARGARET BRENNAN: We'll talk with Maryland Republican Governor Larry Hogan, San Francisco Mayor London Breed, and former FDA Commissioner Doctor Scott Gottlieb. On the economy, we'll talk with billionaire entrepreneur Barry Diller. And we'll check in with Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan.
It's all just ahead on FACE THE NATION.
Welcome to FACE THE NATION. How can America safely reopen before there is a proven cure for COVID-19? We'll look at the dilemma facing states around the country. First up this morning is CBS News national correspondent Mark Strassmann. He's in Atlanta. Mark.
MARK STRASSMANN (CBS News National Correspondent): Good morning, Margaret. Georgia's reopening a couple of days ago got most of the spotlight and most of the criticism. But it's actually only one of the states that has allowed some stores to unlock their doors. Like the virus, the push to get back to business is contagious across the country.
(Begin VT)
MARK STRASSMANN: What contagion? COVID America is reopening. Weekend warriors in Wisconsin, coloring away the gray in Atlanta, sipping margaritas in Dallas.
WOMAN #1: We have to now start really looking at the hard facts. And the hard facts would support the fact that we need to open up the economy.
MARK STRASSMANN: One hard fact: The American economy's COVID fever runs dangerously high. Nearly twenty-seven million people filed unemployment claims in five weeks with more grim numbers out this Thursday. Square that against another hard fact: Some epidemiological models predict by late May, the COVID death total to date could double, one hundred thousand Americans, and no one wants people dying for a spring break.
WOMAN #2: We're finally released, with everybody out, will they become careless? And so when you're careless, that's when bad things start happening again.
MARK STRASSMANN: Every governor will decide when and how much to ease restrictions. In five states, some businesses have already partially reopened on site to costumers. Over the next ten days, at least five more will phase in re-openings with a warning about risks.
GOVERNOR BILL LEE (R-Tennessee): Social distancing works, and it absolutely must continue if we're going to reopen our economy safely.
MARK STRASSMANN: Discipline is key to stopping talk of a second-rate depression. It's the confidence calculation. Do costumers think it's safe? Do you?
WOMAN #3: We've got a cleaning log on the door, to make sure people-- make sure people know that we're cleaning door handles, we're cleaning surfaces.
MARK STRASSMANN: But White House guidelines expect more. To reopen safely, states must first show a two-week downward trend of new documented cases. By our read of the data, no state can do that.
(End VT)
MARK STRASSMANN: Georgia's movie theaters are allowed to reopen tomorrow. But like many business people here, the owner of this one thinks it's too soon. He told us he is taking his guidance from health experts, not politicians. Margaret.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Mark Strassmann, thank you.
There was a startling warning from the World Health Organization Saturday, there is not enough evidence that a person who has recovered from the coronavirus is immune from a second infection. Several countries in the rest of the world are also wrestling with how and when to reopen. We turn now to CBS News senior foreign correspondent Elizabeth Palmer in London.
ELIZABETH PALMER (CBS News Senior Foreign Correspondent/@elizapalmer): Margaret, The WHO has told governments not to issue so-called immunity passports to people who have recovered because nobody knows yet how long they will be protected from COVID.
(Begin VT)
ELIZABETH PALMER: As life starts to return to normal, like in Spain, where children under fourteen were allowed out for the first time in six weeks. The danger is that immunity passports would give people false confidence, when it might turn out they could catch COVID again. But the pressure to ease up is huge in countries past the peak, like Australia. So this week, Sydney's beaches reopened, supposedly only for exercise.
MAN: We will have to close the bay.
ELIZABETH PALMER: And then closed again when people just reverted to pre-COVID fun in the Sun. Social distancing will be part of the new normal, and so might gadgets, like the thermal helmet cameras police in Dubai are using to detect high temperatures. And, of course, there are masks, though South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa had a little trouble putting his on. But, in fact, his government has been hugely successful containing the virus, thanks to a strict lockdown and a big network of public health nurses. Some countries, though, are at the other end of the deadly COVID curve, notably Ecuador. Bodies lay abandoned in the streets of the largest city, Guayaquil, and cemeteries are full. From Oxford University, there was hopeful news on a COVID vaccine. Human trials began on Thursday. And the researchers say if all goes well, they are aiming to have a million doses ready this fall. Meanwhile, the holiest site in the Islamic world, the Kaaba at Mecca, would normally be packed full. Instead, just a scattering of employees were allowed in, as millions of Muslims around the world began Ramadan isolated and under lockdown.
(End VT)
ELIZABETH PALMER: Here in the U.K., we are hoping that tomorrow we may get some information about how we get beyond our lockdown when Prime Minister Boris Johnson returns to work three weeks after he was admitted to hospital with coronavirus. Margaret.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Liz Palmer, thank you.
We go now to Annapolis and Maryland Republican Governor Larry Hogan. Maryland had their highest number of deaths in a single day just yesterday. I'm sorry to hear that, Governor. Good morning to you.
GOVERNOR LARRY HOGAN (R-Maryland/@GovLarryHogan): Good morning, thank you.
MARGARET BRENNAN: This week, the President from the White House podium contradicted his top three medical advisers when they said that the virus may come back in the fall, overlap with flu season and be even more difficult. We also had the administration remove a top scientist who'd been working on vaccines because of what he claims was retaliation for warnings about hydroxychloroquine. And then the President suggested potentially ingesting disinfectants, an idea to try to kill the virus. When you hear this kind of disinformation, how-- how dangerous do you think it is, particularly when it comes from the White House?
GOVERNOR LARRY HOGAN: Well, I think it's always critically important to-- to-- for a leader to put out the facts and to be as open and honest and transparent as possible. And that's what I've tried to do as the governor of my state, particularly in the middle of this crisis. And I think it's critical that the President of the United States, when people are really scared and in the middle of this worldwide pandemic, that in these press conferences that we really get the facts out there. And unfortunately, some of the messaging has not been great. I mean, the-- the mixed messaging-- I've raised concerns multiple times about conflicting messages. We had hundreds of calls in our hot-- in our hotline here in Maryland about people asking about injecting or ingesting these-- these disinfectants, which is, you know, hard to-- hard to imagine that people thought that that was serious. But what people actually were thinking about this, was this something you could do to protect yourself? Look, the-- I've been trying to do my very best from the beginning of this crisis. We pulled together a coronavirus response team made up of the smartest epidemiologists and public health doctors in the world to advise us every step of the way. And we've been trying to base all of our decisions on that information, those facts, and to try to get those facts out to the public so that they know exactly what's going on.
MARGARET BRENNAN: As you said, you-- your state had to warn residents not to ingest disinfectants. Should the President stop these briefings?
GOVERNOR LARRY HOGAN: Well, I-- you know, I think having briefings to inform the public of what's going on is important. And I think his coronavirus team has really been doing a good job. And there's some really smart folks on there that are providing valuable information. So I'd hate to see that stop, but I think some-- I think you saw a different briefing yesterday where the President didn't take questions. We didn't have a two-hour-long press conference that went off into different topics. And perhaps that's indicating a-- a different strategy. And I think maybe some of his advisers are-- are suggesting that maybe a different communication policy might be more helpful.
MARGARET BRENNAN: I want to ask you about this region of the country. Doctor Birx said that the D.C. metro area, Maryland, obviously being part of that, is still having a problem with infections. Why? What is-- what is driving this?
GOVERNOR LARRY HOGAN: Well, so we took some of the earliest and most aggressive actions in America. I-- I wa-- the very first case that we had here, I declared a state of emergency. We were the first to close the schools. We were one of the first in America to close bars and restaurants. One of the first to close nonessential businesses. And so the whole talk we've been hearing about for more than a month now is about trying to flatten and lengthen that curve so you don't have the big spikes. That's exactly what we've been really successful in doing here in this region. That's why we're about a couple of weeks behind places like New York and New Orleans and other places. We have dramatically flattened and lengthened that curve and lowered the numbers. But unfortunately, that means-- that means we're also a little bit behind, and now those numbers are coming up. We can't stop the virus, but we've at least up till now, stopped the overflow of our health care system, the overburdening of the ICU beds and ventilators and things like that. But yes, we're--
GOVERNOR LARRY HOGAN: --our hospitalizations and ICU beds are starting to flatten, but our deaths and our infections are unfortunately going up.
MARGARET BRENNAN: You have said that the number one problem right now is lack of testing. I know you had kind of a unique solution in Maryland. Your wife placed a call to South Korea and had them send kits. Governor Cuomo said he talked to the President about it this week, and specifically on the global supply chain, he has asked for federal help. Is that what you think the federal government should be doing with testing--the supply chain?
GOVERNOR LARRY HOGAN: Well, so I'm the chairman of the National Governors Association and Governor Cuomo is my vice-chairman. And we've been focused on a number of things we've been pushing at the federal level, testing being one of the most important. I mean, the President said over and over again, I mean, yes-- yes, we should have more assistance from the federal lev-- government on testing. I think we finally have driven that message home. And this week, just yesterday, we had another call with the vice president and his team. They've made some progress on making some more labs available, on trying to ramp up production of tests here in America. But, you know, for quite a while, the governor-- the President has been saying--
GOVERNOR LARRY HOGAN: --over and over again, testing is a local thing. Governors should go out and get their own tests.
GOVERNOR LARRY HOGAN: So we spent about a month with my wife's help, getting a half a million tests from-- from South Korea, which was going to save thousands of lives in our state.
GOVERNOR LARRY HOGAN: But I'm not sure it should've been that difficult.
MARGARET BRENNAN: I-- I also want to ask you, New Jersey's governor said today that his state is going to have to gut the living daylights out of educators and first responders if Congress and Republican leaders, who were reluctant to do it, don't provide aid. Five hundred billion dollars is what you say you need. Why not have strings attached to that? Why do you need flexibility? Why do you need that amount?
GOVERNOR LARRY HOGAN: Well, so the governors have been pushing for this. We tried to get it in the third stimulus package, and we pushed to try to get it in the 3.5 stimulus package. There's tremendous bipartisan support for this. Nearly every governor in America supports it, both Republicans and Democrats. We've had numerous conversations. I have personally with the President and vice president, with Secretary Mnuchin, with Secre-- Senator McConnell, with leaders on both sides of the aisle in the Senate and the House. I think we're making real progress. The-- the pres-- President has committed several times to try to help the governors and the states in the-- in the fourth stimulus package. Vice president has as well, Secretary Mnuchin.
GOVERNOR LARRY HOGAN: I know Senator McConnell is still somewhat reluctant, but there's a bipartisan bill in the Senate that the governors hope to get through with the help of the administration--
GOVERNOR LARRY HOGAN: --because we're on the front lines, and we can't provide services to the people in our states and help us get out of this economic problem without that assistance.
MARGARET BRENNAN: All right. Understood. Governor, thank you.
We'll be back in a moment to talk about the economy with entrepreneur Barry Diller. Stay with us.
MARGARET BRENNAN: We're back with Barry Diller, the chairman of IAC and Expedia Group, which is the largest online travel company. And he invests in a number of well-known online firms that you know of:, Tinder, a lot of names that are familiar to consumers. But I want to ask you, Mister Diller, about your view of the overall economy. You know, the White House says the jobless rate is likely close to sixteen percent, but then they say at the same time, the economy is about to bounce back as soon as this summer. What's the reality you see?
BARRY DILLER (Chairman and Senior Executive, IAC and Expedia Group): There's no chance. I mean, certainly this summer. I actually think the summer is kind of going to be a petri dish of-- of all sorts of things. Petri is probably a terrible word to use right now, but there's going to be all sorts of experimenting going on, and we'll experiment with what does social distancing mean when there is no real distancing, certainly in the cities. So I think it's going to be a period where it's going to be a big mess. And by September, possibly I think, you'll see things, some things economically return. I think people will be going back to work in-- certainly by Labor Day. And I think that this-- to anyone who thinks that this economy is going to bounce, I mean, you'd have to have the idea of a rubber ball not in existence to think it's going to bounce high. It can't. The damage that's being done is catastrophic.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Catastrophic. What do you think that means? Are you talking about widespread bankruptcies? Are-- do we have a handle on exactly--
BARRY DILLER: Well of course you--
MARGARET BRENNAN: --how much there is?
BARRY DILLER: Sorry, you have to have widespread bankruptcies because you have no revenue, essentially, for an enormous number of businesses. And I think that established businesses--I mean, Expedia, which went-- which had basically a ten-billion-dollar cost base, went from a day when it would have two hundred and fifty million dollars in sales to basically zero. What Expedia did, and many other companies have done, is we've tapped the pri-- the private markets--
BARRY DILLER: --for close to four billion dollars, which can get us through, we think, almost any worst-case scenario. But of course, you're going to have-- you're-- you're going to have a massive amount of businesses that can't return, businesses that go bankrupt. It's inevitable. And-- and hopefully, the government will, so to speak, pick up the tab, because this is an existential crisis and we shouldn't worry so much about doing it in a neat way. It ought to be sloppy to get that money out to everybody who needs it.
MARGARET BRENNAN: You've heard from travel companies, you've heard from United Airlines talk about, you know, having flight attendants wear masks. You've heard these ideas thrown out of having people sit every other seat, these experiments saying--
BARRY DILLER: That's crazy.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Which is crazy?
BARRY DILLER: Well look-- sorry. The idea that you can take the middle seat out of an airplane and have any kind of, quote, "social distancing," is absurd. You can't. It does not work. Social distancing works when it's complete. Now, there are some things you can do when you're not in tight urban areas or in tight capsules like a plane, but that, you know, ensure some more safety. What I'd like to know is do masks work, giving it or getting it? Because if masks work and we're all ordered to wear them, that's at least something. But the idea that you can make these small areas or theaters or whatever, actually-- restaurants, the table six feet apart, I don't know. What about coming in and going out? What about the waiters who serve you? What about all that? I don't think any of that makes any sense. But you're-- you know, you're-- you-- you can't believe that the concept of trying-- you can maybe clean planes better. Yes, that would be good anyway. But social distancing in these kinds of arenas is a myth.
MARGARET BRENNAN: So who needs to tell you that? Do you need to hear that from the federal government? I mean, do you think--
MARGARET BRENNAN: --do you think that consumers just won't get on planes--
BARRY DILLER: That's the thing.
MARGARET BRENNAN: --planes until the federal government says you have to wear a mask? All these things have to be mandated.
BARRY DILLER: Absolutely. I-- look the thing is, we're going to have to go through a-- a different-- a new kind of-- kind of let's call it risk calculation. And that's going to be based upon levels of what we believe is safe and not safe. And we're going to have to be told. Now, unfortunately, we have a witchdoctor as a President and he ain't going to tell us. But the science part of it, I-- I think that has to be translated into more practical solutions. So somebody is going to have to say, yes, you must wear masks, period, or no, take your chances. But the chances are pretty good. There'll be a teething period where we'll kind of get used to this. I think-- as I say, I think the next couple of months as people who are going to do it anyway because they ain't going to stay in their houses. They can't stay in their houses or apartments or whatever, forever will begin to get out there, and we'll learn some stuff. I think with the mistakes that will be made and all of that and hopefully, some authorities telling us what we can and can't do. We'll-- you know, by Labor Day, we'll be out of it, out of it. Yes. So, you know, I do not believe that life is ever changed. I don't believe that this is going to have-- at some point I think this is going to be over. And we humans are going to get back to the life that we had made for ourselves. And maybe we'll say in some cases it went too fast on environmental issues, etc. But basically we're all going to get together again. So whatever.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, thank you for your analysis, your reality check. You see a lot of consumer businesses, so it's an important counterpoint to what we are being told right now. Mister Diller, thank you very much for your time. We will be right back.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Recently Doctor Anthony Fauci said he would like Brad Pitt to play him on Saturday Night Live, last night. That's what happened.
(Begin VT)
BRAD PITT (Saturday Night Live): Tonight, I would like to explain what the President was trying to say.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP (Saturday Night Live): Like the miracle, it will disappear.
BRAD PITT: A miracle would be great. Who doesn't love miracles? But miracles shouldn't be plan A. Even Sully tried to land at the airport first.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Anybody that needs a test gets a test.
BRAD PITT: When he said everyone can get a test, what he meant was, almost no one.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: And then I see the disinfectant where knocks it out in a minute, one minute. And, is there a way we can do something like that? Buh…by injection.
Supposing we hit the body with a tremendous, uh…whether it's ultraviolet or just very powerful light.
BRAD PITT: I know I shouldn't be touching my face, but-- to the real Doctor Fauci, thank you for your calm and your clarity in this unnerving time.
(End VT)
MARGARET BRENNAN: And we'll be right back.
MARGARET BRENNAN: We'll be right back with a look at lifelines for small businesses, with the Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan, then San Francisco Mayor London Breed, and former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb. Stay with us.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Welcome back to FACE THE NATION. We now go to the head of America's second-largest bank, Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan. Good to have you with us again.
BRIAN MOYNIHAN (Bank of America CEO): It's good to be here, Margaret. Good to see you again.
MARGARET BRENNAN: May 1st is Friday. That means a lot of bills are coming due for Americans, including mortgage payments. You-- last time you were with us, you said customers can call and defer those payments. How long is that going to be sustainable for?
BRIAN MOYNIHAN: Well, Margaret, I think let's back up. It was five weeks or so when we were together and you have to think about themes that we were talking about then. Number one, there was only three thousand cases in the United States, so think about the difference in numbers of cases. These social distancing and shutdowns weren't in place yet, but we knew they were coming. Importantly, we talked then about the need to win the health care battle, win the war against the virus. And it took all the people to do it. And what you've seen is our industry actually helped the way it was supposed to. And so whether it's through the regular way of lending we all did in the first quarter, which has five hundred billion dollars, including for us seventy-billion and two-billion in small businesses. Whether it's the work we did through the customer assistance program that you're referring to, the whole industry has adopted similar things. We have a million and a quarter customers, 1.25 million customers are asked-- asked for a deferral of payments and that will continue to go on for the-- for the near future and into the fall. And then on top of that, you know, we also have engaged in the government programs that you've been speaking about with various of your guests. Whether it's the PPP, which you have three-hundred-billion went out, the program is only three weeks old. And another three-hundred-billion is scheduled to go out. And we're ready to go on Monday. Or whether it's the checks that have been issued to people, which we are cashing for no fees at all our branches, even if the person is not a customer. And we're also helping those, our-- our customers get the money in their account. And we're not charging any fees or anything. We're letting all the twelve hundred dollars go out to them. Or in the work we do in society writ large, which is to help our teammates be safe in our communities for a hundred million dollars in charitable giving and our three hundred and fifty million dollars of community--
BRIAN MOYNIHAN: --development financial institutions.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, I-- I want to ask specifically about the small business program you just mentioned. That money was really quickly depleted. There's a new round that Congress put together with the White House. It goes into effect as soon as tomorrow. When will Bank of America get that money out the door? And will small mom and pop shops have a-- a better chance at getting some of that money than they did last time when some larger firms kind of jumped to the front of the line?
BRIAN MOYNIHAN: Well, that-- that money in our case, the first piece is pretty much all out the door, and it went largely to small businesses. If you think about the statistics of who we're going to put in to process next, eighty percent of businesses have less than ten percent of-- ten employees total. Ninety-five percent have less than a hundred employees. These are small businesses. We have several hundred thousand to go in. And as long as a program continues to be funded, it will-- all those people will get funded. The difference between this program and unemployment is if you qualify for this program, it's like getting unemployment authorization and then you have to win a footrace to the office. We need to take away the first-come, first-served aspect of this to make sure it's fully funded because at the end of day it's going to where people want it. Small businesses, twenty-five percent in our case, of businesses in low and moderate-income neighborhoods, businesses with a small number of employees. And we just have to finish the funding and finish the work. And we have thousands of teammates that have been working the last three weeks to help with our hundreds of thousands of applications.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Is that money already tapped out?
BRIAN MOYNIHAN: Well, the first batch is--
MARGARET BRENNAN: Right, the new--
BRIAN MOYNIHAN: --and then some of it will be recycled into this--
MARGARET BRENNAN: It went in two weeks, the first batch, is-- is because of the demand.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Is the money that's been allocated this time-- has-- do you already have more applications than expected?
BRIAN MOYNIHAN: Well, we don't. I mean, our-- our portion is-- is roughly around fifty billion dollars applications, and we'll push those through. Not all those get funded because some of them will draw and things like that. But I think, you know, there's great debate about how much this will ultimately take. But this is another healthy piece that we'll put to work. And I think it's clear that between Congress and the administration and the American people, we need to get all these funded and not make this a footrace. Just get the work done and get it very through. And the work has to be done in a way that is-- supports American taxpayers who will ultimately pay for this and also gets the small business the money and gets the-- and has them pay their employees, which is a goal of the program.
MARGARET BRENNAN: So when we spoke five weeks ago, as we mentioned, it was a different environment. Since that time, your analysts at Bank of America have changed some of their own projections. Now, the prediction is sixteen to twenty million jobs could be cut in this country. The recession is going to be deeper and much more prolonged than initially expected. So those job cuts, if we're at around sixteen-- fifteen to sixteen percent unemployment right now, which is what the White House says we're likely at, do you believe we are now at the peak of this?
BRIAN MOYNIHAN: Well, I think there's two things to think about. First of all, the base assumptions for that five weeks ago changed pretty dramatically. There was sort of a low growth U.S., now it's a negative six percent in our case, our-- our experts' estimates, and plus six percent in '21. But the key is to understand a quarterly flow of that. So it's a deeper recess-- a deep recession environment in the second quarter, a less deep in the third quarter and then growth in the fourth quarter. So it's minus thirty, minus nine, plus thirty on an annualized basis and then grows next year double digits and then works its way down to single digits. So in effect, that's one thing to think about is this is a deep recession and then back out. There's great debate about how that works. But our estimates-- our experts think it's late next year when the economy gets back to the same size it was prior to this. What we see in our consumer spending is kind of interesting, and it reflects this question of unemployment and cash flow in the household because so far the spending by our consumers, if you took from January to-- to-- to this week, it's actually flat to last year. But obviously, it's a tale of two pieces of time. First, it was plus ten and then it went down about twenty-five percent. And it's leveled off there. So the month of April is down about twenty, twenty-five percent, but it's leveled off. And it's starting now to grow in certain areas, especially as you see it kind of hit bottom. So one of your earlier guests is in the entertainment business. That's still very far down. But other businesses are starting to come on. After the first round of provision buying, which was a flood of activity, you're now seeing that level out. That actually provides some hope that as the economy opens up in pieces, and safely, you'll see that consumer spending continue to grow, which will help fuel the U.S. economy. And so that's the second--
BRIAN MOYNIHAN: --piece to keep aware of is first, the economic projections. But secondly, the cash flow and the stimulus PPP, the unemployment, the twelve-hundred-dollar EIP payments--
BRIAN MOYNIHAN: --all those things are going in the economy and we're seeing-- starting to see the effect of those.
MARGARET BRENNAN: All right. Brian Moynihan, thank you very much.
We'll be back in a moment.
BRIAN MOYNIHAN: Thank you, Margaret.
MARGARET BRENNAN: We go now to San Francisco, the first metro area to issue a shelter-in-place order. That city now on day forty-one, and the order may be extended past early May. We're joined now by Mayor London Breed. Good morning to you, Mayor.
LONDON BREED (Mayor of San Francisco/@LondonBreed): Good morning.
MARGARET BRENNAN: As we said, San Francisco acted first. We also know you have also since mandated masks being worn. I'm wondering, what is it that you are seeing that other leaders around the country have not?
LONDON BREED: Well, I--I think the biggest challenge we have is we need to make sure that we are looking at the facts and the data from our public health experts so that we can make good decisions to protect public health. The challenges that we face still around PPE, around testing kits is just absolutely insane. We have known that this crisis was coming to our country for a long time now, and the fact that as of April, we're still having the same conversations about the challenges. I know that most cities are seeing the same data I'm seeing that if we do absolutely nothing, it gets worse. And so that's really why we have been really a lot more aggressive maybe than-- than other areas because we wanted to make sure that it doesn't. When you think about San Francisco, we have the University of California, San Francisco, we have a number of other hospitals. And the fact is, if we did absolutely nothing--
LONDON BREED: --and there was a surge, we wouldn't have enough hospital beds, enough ICU rooms, enough ventilators to serve the population if we did absolutely nothing, which should alarm any mayor in any city.
MARGARET BRENNAN: You've said you have a hard time getting protective gear. And I've read that some of that was diverted to-- to China. Who's seizing this? Why do you have a hard time getting it?
LONDON BREED: Well, there was a shipment that was on its way that we had purchased that was actually diverted from China to France. We-- FEMA has the ability to confiscate some of the PPE at the border, which has occurred. It's been very difficult, and then sometimes getting things through customs or needing to use a ship rather than a plane and so we have been resourceful. We are lucky to have incredible people like Marc Benioff, who has really helped to work with UCSF, University of California, San Francisco, to get PPE and to bring it to the hospital and we've shared our resources with one another.
LONDON BREED: But the fact is, this should be a federal coordinated effort.
LONDON BREED: We should not still be having these conversations, which is a big reason why we have to put these shelter-in-place orders because we don't have the resources that we need to keep people safe, especially around testing.
MARGARET BRENNAN: You know, one of the things we learned this week was that the CDC had confirmed that the first death from COVID-19 was actually far earlier and in a different place than had been previously reported. It was actually in the Bay Area, February 6th, where a woman passed away. What does that tell you? What do you know about how long this virus was actually circulating in your area?
LONDON BREED: Well, it gives us an indication, I know that the governor has asked to do more testing of people who passed away during earlier periods before we had cases in order to determine whether or not they were co-- COVID positive. In fact, one of our first cases of someone who passed away, who we declared as someone who passed away from COVID, actually passed away from a heart attack. And once we found out that their mom, who was in the same household, was diagnosed with COVID-19, we went back and tested this individual and discovered that they had it as well. So I think that it had been in the community for some time. But again, the lack of testing and resources available made it difficult to really get the facts around who was actually-- who had actually contracted COVID-19 before we started to announce the numbers.
MARGARET BRENNAN: There is a lot of travel from Asia into your region of the country. How much did the President's ban on travel from China benefit, and how much did it hurt that there wasn't a simultaneous one with Europe, that you had to wait for that?
LONDON BREED: Well, I'm not necessarily certain if that had an impact because I will say that we were already focused on trying to prepare for what we expected would happen in San Francisco. We have been monitoring this situation since December of last year. We set in place a declaration of emergency back in February. We operated our emergency operations center because of those relationships between people who live in San Francisco and their relatives and their friends in various parts of China. And we had experience, sadly, a lot of xenophobia against our Chinese community early on. I mean, basically, Chinatown was a ghost town in the month of January. And so, we had been keeping an eye on this--
LONDON BREED: --and making adjustments in order to prepare our city for what we knew was actually coming here. And--
LONDON BREED: --and I'm not certain really what the-- yes, so.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Okay. Thank you very much, Mayor, for joining us this morning and telling your story.
LONDON BREED: Thank you.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Joining us now from Westport, Connecticut is former FDA Commissioner Doctor Scott Gottlieb. Good morning to you.
SCOTT GOTTLIEB, M.D. (Former FDA Commissioner/@ScottGottliebMD): Good morning.
MARGARET BRENNAN: What do you make of what the mayor described with this very early case of COVID-19, February the 6th? What does that shift of the timeline indicate to you?
SCOTT GOTTLIEB: Not much that we don't already know. We know there were imported cases on the West Coast early in-- in sort of mid-January to late January. We know that from the work that's been done at The Hutch in Seattle from Trevor Bedford. So it's not surprising that there also were imported cases into parts of California. There was a lot of travel from China into that region. And the cases that got into the West Coast were probably cases from China that got in before the travel restrictions were put into place. And so it shows that they had earlier clusters, but it-- it's not inconsistent with what we already assume. The seeding on the East Coast seems to have been from Europe, mostly from Italy. The seeding on the West Coast seems to have been from China.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Are those different strains of the same virus?
SCOTT GOTTLIEB: They're due-- there are different strains and there appear to be two predominant strains here in the U.S. They're both on both the East Coast and the West Coast. Now, one strain predominates on the West Coast, one strain predominates on the East Coast. There's no reason at this time to believe that the different strains have different infectivity, different virulence, that one is more dangerous than the other. But that's something that's being looked at right now by people who are sequencing these strains and trying to correlate these sequences of the strains, the genetic profile of these strains with outcomes to see if people that have one kind of strain are having worse outcomes or getting infected at higher rates.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Parts of the country are opening up. Georgia, you know, getting a lot of attention for how much they've opened up and so quickly. What does that do to the rest of the country? Does it up the risk of infection?
SCOTT GOTTLIEB: It does up the risk of infection. Georgia's certainly not out of the woods. They're only testing about one percent of the total population. They have twenty-three thousand cases. They may have plateaued in their epidemic maybe, but they're still accruing a lot of new cases and they certainly aren't coming down in terms of the number of new cases each day. The slope up in terms of cases that got us to the point of this epidemic was a rapid slope. It was a rapid progression up that-- up that epidemic curve. The slope down is going to be far more gradual. Now, in China, the slope down was symmetric with the slope up. It was a much more symmetrical epidemic curve. But in Italy, what you've seen is a gradual-- they rapidly grew the number of cases and they're very slowly coming down. We're likely to look a lot more like Italy. So it's going to take some time until we see sustained declines in new cases and get to the point where there's a low lev-- low enough level of spread in the country that we could feel comfortable about opening up parts of the country. It's going to be probably mid-May, maybe late May in parts of-- parts of this nation. Georgia's certainly jumping the gun I think here getting-- getting started too early, relative to where they are in their epidemic.
MARGARET BRENNAN: I want to ask you about Rick Bright. He-- he ran an agency BARDA. People don't know that agency. But it was working on a vaccine and he was pushed out of the job. He says he's going to file a whistleblower complaint and that this all stems back to some public or-- or some concerns he had raised about the President's public touting of hydroxychloroquine. Do you think this personnel change-up has an impact on America's ability to quickly develop a vaccine?
SCOTT GOTTLIEB: It's hard to say it does and I know Rick Bright well. I worked closely with him. I testified alongside him before Congress. He was very effective in that role. We worked together on an Ebola vaccine and a treatment for smallpox. People knew him. I think it was important to have continuity in that job. And he was effective. He was a vaccine expert, so I was sorry to see him go. I think changing leadership in that position right now certainly is going to set us back. It's hard to argue that that's not going to have some impact on the continuity and also make businesses, companies that need to collaborate with BARDA, a little bit more reluctant now to embrace BARDA now that there's a cloud hanging over it and some uncertainty about the leadership. So I was really sorry to see that happen.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, what about the concerns regarding hydroxychloroquine? I mean, the FDA put out a warning this week that it could have a negative impact for your heart if you take it as a treatment. Should doctors continue to try it?
SCOTT GOTTLIEB: I don't think doctors should be using it outside of protocols at this point, given the fact that we've had now accruing evidence demonstrating really no benefit and some indication that it could be causing harm. It-- I think it's still reasonable to conduct clinical studies with it to see if it could be effective as a treatment. But we've done a lot of clinical studies to date and nothing really-- we haven't turned over a card that's really shown that the drug's effective. This was being used very widely in New York City and other cities as well. It was being used very widely in It-- Italy also, off label as a treatment initially in the setting of this outbreak here in the United States. I think a lot of doctors that I talked to in New York City is starting to pull back from using it right now, given the fact that they really haven't seen an indication that's having a robust treatment effect.
MARGARET BRENNAN: You're a doctor. You're a scientist. What was your reaction when you heard the President say he wants to explore using disinfectant on the lungs, quote, "almost a cleaning" of them. What did you think?
SCOTT GOTTLIEB: Well, look-- look, this is a-- this is a constant concern that people do try disinfectants as agents. There is a perception out there sometimes among some people that they could be effective. There's no effective use of a disinfectant internally. And people need to be-- we should be very clear about that. Nobody should be using a disinfectant as an ingested agent, injecting it, eating it, in any fashion. These are deadly agents. We see thousands of calls to poison control each year around people who consume disinfectant. So we need to be very clear about this, that nobody should be consuming a disinfectant. And they don't work for the treatment of anything, let alone coronavirus.
MARGARET BRENNAN: So that's a fairly clear, do not do this. Thank you, Doctor--
SCOTT GOTTLIEB: That's right.
MARGARET BRENNAN: --Doctor Gottlieb.
We will be right back.
MARGARET BRENNAN: We leave you with a look at our democracy, on how during these troubled times we are increasingly looking to ourselves for leadership.
(Begin VT)
MARGARET BRENNAN: America's two fundamental powers, as General Jim Mattis tells it, are inspiration and intimidation. But lately the world has been left hungry for a strong dose of the first. America is being humbled by this invisible enemy, it is a stress test on our democracy. The virus exploits the cracks in our institutions, the social, economic, and racial disparities that define who is most vulnerable. The U.S. has the world's highest number of COVID-19 infections and reported deaths. The White House says that statistic does not reflect the large size of the U.S. population and the comparatively low 5.7 percent mortality rate.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: We were at the top of the list, in terms of success-- nobody wrote it. Nobody wrote it. In terms of mortality, you saw that. Nobody wrote it.
MARGARET BRENNAN: But arguing over relative death rates seems at best morbid. More than half of Americans, fifty-seven percent say the U.S. effort to deal with coronavirus is going badly. And more than half think day-to-day life in this nation will be permanently changed, according to the latest CBS News poll. Images of the wealthiest country in the world facing overwhelmed hospital wards, food bank lines and digging potter's graves is shocking for those who view America as an aspiration, one that has long boasted of its leading medical and technological research. South Korea has become the gold standard for public healthy. Massachusetts looked there for inspiration for its own contact tracing plan.
(Angela Merkel speaking foreign language)
MARGARET BRENNAN: German Chancellor Angela Merkel earned praise for keeping infection rates low. Perhaps her background as a scientist is what makes her so precise, a contrast to President Trump who continues to push treatments that his own medical advisers reject.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Supposing you brought the light inside the body, which you can do either through the skin or in some other way. And then I see the disinfectant where it knocks it out in a minute, one minute. And is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside? Or-- or almost a cleaning?
Deborah, have you ever heard of that? The heat and the light, relative to certain viruses, yes, but relative to this virus?
DR. DEBORAH BIRX: Not as a treatment. I mean, certainly, fever--
DR. DEBORAH BIRX: --is a good thing. When you have a fever, it helps your body respond. But not as-- I've not seen heat or--
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I-- I think it's a great thing to look at. I mean, you know.
MARGARET BRENNAN: The call for global leadership has so far gone unanswered at the U.N. And the U.S. froze funding to the World Health Organization. The leadership America needs may come from the ground up. From people like these Pennsylvania workers, who labored for twenty-eight straight days, even sleeping in the factory, in order to produce protective gear. From these Georgia business owners, who are defying the governor's calls to reopen.
WOMAN: You can't bring people back to life, but you can start a business again.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Ultimately, it will be up to the American people to decide when they feel safe enough to emerge, and to make the unthinkable calculation of what an acceptable death rate is. This crisis has helped us learned who really is essential in America. The grocers, caregivers, deliverymen, janitors, electric grid operators, and, of course, the heroic frontline health care workers. Their collective bravery is a reminder that the survival of this democracy may ultimately rest with we the people.
(End VT)
MARGARET BRENNAN: We'll be right back.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Earlier in this broadcast, I said the President had suggested potentially ingesting disinfectants. He suggested injecting disinfectants.
That's it for us today. Thank you for watching. Until next week, for FACE THE NATION, I'm Margaret Brennan.  

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