Former Ebola czar speaks on testing and tracking COVID-19

Ron Klain discusses the importance of antibody testing before reopening the economy and loosening social distancing mandates and talks about advising Joe Biden’s presidential campaign.
7:06 | 04/15/20

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Transcript for Former Ebola czar speaks on testing and tracking COVID-19
And tracking and testing this virus might be the key to reopening our economy as we've discussed so what role should the federal government play in all this for more. Let's bring in Ron Klain former Ebola czar for the Obama administration of former chief of staff for Joseph Biden thanks so much for joining us tonight. It's. So let's start big picture premiere experience responding to the Ebola crisis what does the federal government need to do to have one unified response to both the outbreak is self. And also to the economy. Or and I think the president needs state leadership in a way that he's been unwilling to do so we. So last week and so the testing was a state problem state decide for itself and that's not gonna get it done we get national approach we need to be able to use the presence authorities and a defense production act. To accelerate the production testing kits to make sure they're distributed around the country. So we can do what you talk about a minute ago test anyone who once it. But should go officer do you conduct surveillance. Going to nursing home see where the diseases going to senior center's ceiling diseases find. The disease before it kills people. That's the kind of testing we need to make America safe. We're no where near that a month. After we basically a 100000 yes mark we're still only about a 150000. Tests today that issue that is way way way too few. Anything in the midst of trying to battle corona virus were also. Seeing this battle emerge of this power grab if you will between you know who has the power to reopen in the country in the states is it the president or isn't the governor's. As as Joseph Biden with say is it's just a bunch of Malarkey AME what's the bottom line here. The virus has the power to decide what's open and what's closed and I think to sensible governors both Democrats and Republicans on bipartisan basis. Are listening to their health care experts doesn't look good for the economy you heard governor Carney say this earlier in your show. If you open source and people get sick going to stores they're not to go to sourcing more people get sick going to restaurants that's gonna kill the restaurant industry. So this really is a false choice we have to get this disease under control before we re opened things we have to reopen things the right way carefully. There's been talking about tonight and most of all we have to have testing in place we can separate. The sick from the wells we can track. We're is where the disease is going how fast it's getting their. And then the treatment available for those who turn out to be sick there's a lot of work commute on the health side. President trump is not lead in the country doing that it's been left the governors to doing that. They're doing their best move out the kind of a forty that the president has. Were hopelessly behind on addressing this. You also said that were behind other countries in testing now some states are moving toward loosening social distancing guidelines to reopen their economies how important is. Art virus an antibody testing to that process. Split. Think Lindsay we just don't know yet an antibody testing. We don't really know you had a story a minute ago about. Person possibly got sick a second time. We don't know what this virus if you get the virus how much amused you are going forward and how long you're going to be immune going forward. Now things like colds there are. Permanent lifetime immunity like you haven't. Measles or chicken pox so this question of what the anybody tests tell us is important thing we need clinical trials to sort out to the timing we really need. Our spot diagnostic tests of the kind of tests that we are just skidded technology you do an extension of the swab tests that your viewers are seeing. On the screens right now we need to be testing 500. To 750000. People a day to test 1% of the country every week. We're really operating at just sort of that amount right now we really need to step. How much of a risk is there for a possibility of a second deadlier waving in the coming weeks if we re open up things too quickly. Well I think whether or not the second latest deadly or non uttered just as horrible as this one. A second wave of any sort is going to be devastating. And I think there unfortunately there is a risk that we're seeing that in Singapore. Where they reopened. And we're starting to see in search of cases there again their Hough. Perhaps even more cases the second time in the first time she mentioned minute ago that was true for Spanish flu back in 1919. On the second go round so maintaining these restrictions. As long as they're needed until we get the disease under control until a contest people carefully until we can treat those were sick. That's the way apple to keep us healthier and in the long run. To create a more sustainable economic growth outpaced. Fits and starts starts and stops on and off the kind of thing that's the only that's what's gonna happen we don't take all the right steps. There appears to have been some tension between doctor Anthony found she and president trump in recent days you've worked with doctor found she before. Do you think it's important that trump follows his lead at this point. Well Tony found she is the gold standard. Us to the United States and around the world. President Ronald Reagan relied on him and beginning of the fight against HIV aids the number of lives doctor thought she saved that fight is too high possibly imagine. President Obama relied on him in the fight against a bola. Every other president Democrat Republican has treated Tony falcons advice as the most important medical advice they can get. There's no he's my president trump should be any different to down. Doctor vouchers provided impartial medical advice to six US presidents to leaders around the world he's the best advice we have and I hope president trump will do what is predecessors did and Tate doctor Koch is advice very very seriously. A your recourse advising Joseph Biden's presidential campaign he became the presumptive democratic nominee last week when Bernie Sanders dropped out of the race. What inviting deal about this pandemic as a candidate not an elected official and Howard his administration responded to goes on to be president trump in November. Over because a candidate what he knew was he can tell people what we do differently and he's been doing that all along he's offers advice directly to president truck over the phone talker on the stuff you wanna see what you would do you go to Joseph Biden dot com conceived plan he laid out. In the middle of march if he's president what I can tell you about Joseph Biden is what he did always in the White House before which is to listen to science for soliciting people like doctor found G. That's what he did we are fighting each one and one candidate who we are fighting Boland went fourteen. I'll take the advice medical experts first and foremost colossal use his full of full Ortiz. Again presidential talks a good game about us absolute power but the power he really has the power to take control the supply chain. To demand that more testing may demand more geared be made to get their gear out that's the power presidential refused to use that's Howard Joseph Biden would uses president if this is still going on when he becomes president. To make sure that we are testing the American people we're making our health to workers safe. When they treat. Ron Klain we so appreciate your time thank you so much. Thanks is it takes him.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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