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Trump Declares National Emergency; $50B to Combat Coronavirus; Coronavirus is Now in 48 States; 2,100+ Cases, 48 Deaths; More Than 2,500 New Coronavirus Cases Reported in One Day in Italy; Total Number of Cases Now Nearly 18,000; Apple Reopens All 42 Stores Closed in China Due to Coronavirus; Trump Says He'll "Likely" Be Tested for Coronavirus After Two Mar-a-Lago Visitors Test Positive; American Living on Lockdown in Italy As Coronavirus Spreads. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired March 13, 2020 - 19:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: And I'll be back for a special SITUATION ROOM this Sunday 4 to 6 p.m. Eastern.

Erin Burnett OUTFRONT starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, national emergency. President Trump making that declaration today as the number of coronavirus cases in the United States climbs past 2,000.

Plus, Trump finally says he will likely get tested for coronavirus. This after he was pictured standing next to an official who has tested positive for the virus.

Plus, another person who met that same official says he has coronavirus. That's the Mayor of Miami and he'll be my guest.

Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT this evening the breaking news, a national emergency. President Trump declaring a national emergency in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The virus is now present, confirmed to be present in full 48 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, 2,158 Americans confirmed infected with 48 deaths.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I am officially declaring a national emergency. Two very big words. The action I am taking will open up access to up to $50 billion ...


BURNETT: The markets surged after Trump's announcement, which is a good thing after days of terrible economic news. The President also said 5 million tests will be available within a month, note that the HHS Secretary said a week ago there would be 4 million available by today. So the big question tonight is will President Trump set an example for Americans?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're asking people who come back from Europe, Americans who are coming back from Europe to self-quarantine for a couple weeks. You were in a picture with somebody who now has coronavirus from Brazil at Mar-A-Lago, how is that different?

TRUMP: Well, I'll tell you. First of all, I'm not coming back from someplace ...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But you were exposed.

TRUMP: There was somebody that they say has it. I have no idea who he is, but I take pictures and it lasts for literally seconds. I don't know the gentleman that we're talking about. I have no idea who he is. I haven't seen the pictures.


BURNETT: The President needs to send accurate and confident messages to Americans. It is not relevant, of course, whether he knows the person with the virus. It is relevant that he was in close proximity to that person.

And by the way, that person who happens to be the Press Secretary for the President of Brazil didn't just take a picture of the President for a second or two, he spent a good deal of time with him, attended a small dinner and then attended a party, so multiple times and significant time.

At least one other person who was with that press secretary was the Mayor of Miami. He was tested. He has the coronavirus. He'll be my guest later on this hour.

As for the other point that Trump made about not being tested, because he hadn't 'come back' from someplace. This is really important for people to know, the virus is spreading inside the United States. You can get this virus whether or not you've traveled or the person that happens to infect you has traveled.

Travel not relevant at a point when you have extensive community spread. And Americans across the country are changing their daily routines, putting much of their lives on hold.

Erica Hill is out front in New Rochelle, New York. The site of what is still the largest cluster in the United States. And Erica, I know that they just did something really important, started drive through testing at a location there. Who was getting those tests?

ERICA HILL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. The testing is key, Erin. As you know those tests are available. First and foremost, the priority is going to focus here in New Rochelle who have been under quarantine and those who are in the containment zone.

While you can drive up and drive through the testing, it doesn't mean that just anyone can show up. Like so many things, there are changes. For this, you need to have an appointment and it's a reminder of what is different on this day across the country.


HILL(voice over): An unimaginable week ends with a nation on pause.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm just stockpiling some things, because my health is important.


HILL(voice over): As uncertainty grows, Americans are stocking up for the long haul. Shelves across the country stripped bare of essentials as lines wind through the stores and even outside.

In New York City, this bread distributor can't keep up with the demand.


RICHIE MARUFFI, ARNOLD BREAD DISTRIBUTOR: Every single supermarket is just completely wiped out.


HILL(voice over): Life changing by the minute.

In Louisiana, the State's primary postponed until late June. In Boston, one of the world's most well known races will now be run in September.


GOV. CHARLIE BAKER (R-MA): Obviously, postponing the marathon is an incredibly difficult thing to do. It's one of the most iconic and patriotic events for our commonwealth.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're trying to be cautious and obviously the marathon attracts a lot of people.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I kind of saw it coming honestly.


HILL (voice over): In Los Angeles, the nation's second largest school district will now close for two weeks starting Monday.


Across the country, at least 15 million kids home from school.


GOV. MIKE DEWINE (R-OH): The experts tell us, look, two weeks is too late. Another week is too late. You got to try to slow this thing down early. We can't stop it, but we can slow it down.


HILL(voice over): Decisions with a massive impact for working parents and for all the children now spending the school day at home.


RANDI WEINGARTEN, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF TEACHERS: Closing schools is always the last resort, because of all the negative impacts. We feed kids every day for breakfast and lunch.


HILL(voice over): In response, the districts are using school buses to deliver meals and setting up food distribution sites. And while many schools are adding distance learning, that only works if every child has access.


TIM ROBINSON, SPOKERSPERSON, SEATTLE PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Not all 53,000 students have online access or a device, a computer. So if we can't provide that online learning for all of our students, then we can't.


HILL(voice over): With all of the closures and cancellations, there are openings. In New Rochelle, New York drive through testing beginning Friday morning.


GOVERNOR ANDREW CUOMO (D) NEW YORK: We have six lanes. We can do about 200 cars per day and that can ramp up, you drive off and then we call you with the results.


HILL(voice over): Colorado and Washington also using that model in some areas, a way to increase testing while minimizing exposure. But it's still not enough to meet the demand.


DAWN CLEMENTS, WAITING FOR CORONAVIRUS TEST: I'm running a fever and I have chest congestion and nobody can test us here.



HILL: Erin, testing will be underway here for 12 hours a day from 8 am to 8 pm. And as you heard from the Governor, they're holding to process about 200 cars a day with a goal of ramping that up. The upside to having everything here too as the mayor told me before when they would swap people for tests, they had to send it all the way to Albany. This way they can get results faster, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Erica, from New Rochelle.

And OUTFRONT now Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Dr. Vincent Racaniello, Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and Dr. Sharon Wright, the Director of the Division of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. Thanks to all of you.

So, Sanjay, the President says $50 billion because of this formal emergency declaration. So what does that mean in practice? What does it change? SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the federal government is sort of going to now support this, the states are going to sort of administer this and the local governments are going to execute these plans. Some of it is going to be getting these ventilators that we've been talking about into hospitals, making sure patients who are now coming in needing care, which is expected to happen can get that care.

But it's all of these other things too, the sort of the unintended costs of things. Making sure the food supply chain is adequate because people are told to get enough supplies for the house. They talked about school loans being forgiven. We're talking about people getting enough medications during this time, insurance to cover the cost of the test and possibly medical care as well.

So there's all of these different things that start to come up that they want to make sure that they have enough money for. So they were a little vague on that what the President said during the conference, but those are the sorts of things that can be used for in the past.

BURNETT: So Dr. Wright, what will this change in your hospital for patients who have coronavirus, who need treatment or people who are suspected of having it who need treatment, what does this actually mean for you?

DR. SHARON WRIGHT, INFECTION CONTROL & HOSPITAL EPIDEMIOLOGY, BOSTON'S BETH ISRAEL MEDICAL CENTER: Calling a national emergency doesn't change too much from the face of things, except that it does bring more resources as Dr. Gupta said. So we're hoping that there will be an increase in test kits provided to the states, the ability to test more patients and get a handle on how much there's a spread in the community and perhaps opening up the national stockpile so that more protective equipment as we treat patients, more masks, respirators, gowns and gloves that are in short supply. And if we continue to have an increase in the number of patients we see, I think healthcare workers will be put at risk.

BURNETT: Which is really crucial. I mean, you just can't have them put at risk. You can't expect it of people. And then when they get sick, there's no one to do the care.

So Dr. Racaniello, President Trump said private labs and vaccine developers. He said today 5 million tests within a month and here's how he said it. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: The FDA's goal is to hopefully authorize the application within 24 hours. It'll go very quickly. It's going very quickly, which will bring additionally 1.4 million tests on board next week. And 5 million within a month, I doubt we'll need anywhere near that.


BURNETT: OK. Multiple questions from that, I doubt we'll need anywhere near that. Is that a fair thing to say?

DR. VINCENT RACANIELLO, MICROBIOLOGY & IMMUNOLOGY PROFESSOR, MR. SINAI SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: I don't think we can say that at this point at all. We have no idea how many infections we currently have. We don't know how they're going to increase. I think we can assume that we're going to have many, many more, not fewer.

BURNETT: And last week, Vice President Pence said they'd have 4 million by the end of this week.


So then when you compare that to the President saying 5 million within a month, that's only a million more from what they said they had today in a month. That doesn't sound like a lot, just when I look at those numbers. I mean, what's your sense, doctor, of the ramp up that we're seeing? Are these numbers say good or not?

RACANIELLO: I'm not sure we have a ramp up yet. But we certainly have the capability of this country. There are many companies that can make these kits, so there's no reason why we can't have 5 million in a short period of time.

BURNETT: So Wright, I spoke to John Gerace, he's the President of DiaSorin Molecular, so they're making tests and he said they can make 300,000 tests a month once they get started and they're doing that now. But he says there's an acute shortage of the raw materials needed to interpret those tests.

So basically, all the people making the tests need to go to these suppliers to get a reagent, I guess, essentially, the thing in layperson's terms, you sort of dip it in to be able to interpret it, is it positive or is it negative. Can this be resolved in time? How serious of a problem do you think this is as you look at it from a hospital perspective?

WRIGHT: I think it's a very serious problem. That's what's limiting us right now, it's hard to tell if we're still in a phase where we can have a few enough cases that we can contain it or if it really is as most of us suspect, spread through the community now and we need to move to a mitigation phase.

So I think quickly we need more tests available, more reagents, so that we have the ability to do so. Many academic medical centers and independent laboratories are starting to develop their own test because the government hasn't been able to provide it yet. Although, they're working hard in providing more.

I know, our State of Massachusetts received many more tests this week. So we're hoping it will open up the question will it be in time or will we be moving to a phase where we don't test everyone because we assume many people have it and restrict people who have other medical conditions or in places like nursing homes or universities where a case hasn't been diagnosed yet and we try to contain the spread there.

BURNETT: So Dr. Racaniello, on this point, the President made it clear not everybody should take the test and he made it clear. Here he is.


TRUMP: We don't want everybody taking this test. It's totally unnecessary. And this will pass, this will pass through and we're going to be even stronger for it.


BURNETT: If you have the test you needed, who would get a test?

RACANIELLO: First, people who are tested or people who are ill with respiratory symptoms and then we want to make surveys throughout larger cities to see who else is infected. We have no idea right now how many other people besides the symptomatic ones are infected and we need to know that to plan mitigation. We have no idea in cities or in rural areas.

BURNETT: It's sort of like South Korea did, just in a sense there's some random (inaudible) ...

RACANIELLO: Absolutely, which they started in January and that's why they were able to keep the numbers down.

BURNETT: So how big of an issue is this reagent issue? When you look at South Korea, I mean, I don't exactly understand the full supply chain here. But I can see that in certain parts of places in the world, they appear to have that supply.


BURNETT: They have the reagent and they're able to interpret the test. So why don't we?

GUPTA: Well, I mean, part of the initial, the tests that were sent out to what they call the point of care spots was a flawed test. So they didn't scale up that test. That was part of the problem, initially. There's no reason why they shouldn't be able to create enough of this reagent.

As you point out, they've done it in other places around the world. The test that was used in many countries around the world was developed in Germany, adopted by the World Health Organization and then used in all of these countries. We can do that as well and, in fact, take it from a manual process, which takes a lot of time to a more automated process, that high throughput process which you kept hearing about today.

BURNETT: Right. Right. All right. All of you, please stay with me.

Next, one of the hardest hit countries, Italy. Italy now has more than 17,000 cases and 1,200 deaths and those numbers have been jumping. What can we learn from what is happening there and what is happening there?

Plus, a man who met with Trump last weekend then tested positive for coronavirus also in contact with the Mayor of Miami. Trump hasn't been tested. The Mayor of Miami has. He the virus and he is OUTFRONT tonight to tell you his story.

And breaking news of a second person who was at Mar-A-Lago last weekend while Trump was there also testing positive for coronavirus.



BURNETT: Breaking news, the number of coronavirus cases in Italy continuing to soar. There are now 17,660 cases in that country. More than 2,500 reported cases in just one day. The number of deaths hitting 1,266 and that is up 250 in one day. Everyone is back with me.

Dr. Wright, these are frightening statistics when you hear them. More than 2,500 new cases in a day, 250 new deaths in just one day. How concerning are these numbers as much as we know that they don't tell us the full story, they are all we have, how concerning are they when you hear them?

WRIGHT: I think the numbers are concerning. We do need to put it in a little bit of perspective. We don't know when the tests will run if they were all from yesterday or if they were from a few days ago or last week. So we don't have a great sense of the cadence but it is concerning that it's continuing to rise.

I think the death rate is also somewhat startling compared to what some other countries have been reporting. And I think some of that may be due to the ages of the patients that the deaths are being reported in, in Italy which have generally been in the 70s to 80s, different than some other countries I've seen so far, but what has been reported were the highest death rates and other illnesses are as well.

BURNETT: Right. I mean, Sanjay, you look at Italy in terms of age, one of the oldest countries in the world outside Japan.


BURNETT: But we understand from Dr. Fauci, you've talked to him so much that he says this is 10 times more deadly than the seasonal flu which would have a rate of point 1 percent, the flu does. So that would put this at 1 percent.

But Italy, and again, we don't know, to Dr. Wright's point, how many cases there are reported versus - all you can do is take a death rate versus the numbers we have and know it is imperfect. That rate though is 7 percent.

GUPTA: Right.

BURNETT: It's actually greater than 7 percent. Iran's rate right now is 4.5 percent. What do you think is happening?

GUPTA: Well, I mean, these are concerning numbers. I don't want to be dismissive of them.


GUPTA: But I think as you pointed out, it could be an older population. It could be other factors, like there may be a much higher percentage of smokers, for example. We don't know that for sure.

BURNETT: One thing I think is an important point though is that even if you go back and look at some of the early China data, what was really driving those higher mortality rates, I think a lot of it had to do with the with the stress on the medical system.


So it was patients who may have otherwise survived had they been able to get care, but because they had so many patients coming into the medical system so quickly, they couldn't get care. So some of these were preventable deaths and that's a real concern.

And this is something we showed last night, I think, Erin, and to show it to you again, this flattening of the curve thing becomes so important. We have this animation that sort of shows, look, that first red peak, you don't want that. That second peak is what you want.

Underneath the big peak and the small peak is the same number of patients, the difference is they come in more staggered when you flatten the curve. So you don't really stress the medical system and I think you're going to have a better survival rate with the flattening of the curve.

BURNETT: So Dr. Racaniello, earlier today when I spoke to the testing CEO. They got the U.S. contract it was because they've been doing testing in Northern Italy.


BURNETT: So they've been doing a lot of testing there and been able to see what they get. I asked him what he's learned about it from what he's seen in Italy, what did he think about these numbers and here's what he said.


JOHN GERACE, PRESIDENT OF DIAGNOSTIC LAB AWARDED GOVERNMENT FUNDS FOR CORONAVIRUS TESTS: We're seeing an exponential growth of tests or of occurrences. And obviously, the death toll has now increased to, I believe, over a thousand people died in Italy alone. The number one warning I could give based on what we've seen in Italy is to take this serious ...


BURNETT: How much attention should the United States be paying to Italy? I mean, we'd be looking at, OK, there are 12 days in and at this case load. How carefully should we be looking?

RACANIELLO: Very carefully, because they've done two things that are causing this in Italy. First, they waited too long to mitigate the spread. Early on, they weren't blocking any transport except in the initial area that was infected. So it spread unknown throughout all parts of the country and now they're in trouble.

So this is a lesson you have to act soon to prevent movement and large groups of people meeting and so forth. The second part is what you said is that overburdened the healthcare system. There are more patients than the hospitals can take care of. If they had beds, they would have survived.

BURNETT: So Dr. Wright, last night during Sanjay's town hall on coronavirus, there was a coronavirus patient that they spoke to in an isolation in Nebraska who is still testing positive about one full month after being infected, so here's the how he explained it.


CARL GOLDMAN, CORONAVIRUS PATIENT AT NEBRASKA UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER: I was retested today still came out positive, so it's been a long time, far, far more than the 14 days. In fact, it's coming up now on about 28 days and I'm not the only one. There's a bunch of us from the Diamond Princess ...


BURNETT: I suppose, Dr. Wright, this highlights how much we just don't know. I mean, could he still be infectious? I mean, what in the world are we supposed to take away from this in a situation where we've been told that people should quarantine for 14 days. He's at 28.

WRIGHT: So I think it is concerning. We don't know exactly everything about this virus yet and people can shed viruses even with influenza for longer periods of time. Often people who have compromised immune systems and I don't really know anything about this gentleman, they can shed for longer.

For example, oncology patients can shed influenza out to 30 days. But on the average patient, we don't see them shedding virus as long. Sometimes there may have been an event where some of the strain of virus or the incubation within that particular cruise ship maybe caused more people to get a higher inoculum of virus and I think we just don't know how much virus is still there that is transmissible, but it is concerning.

BURNETT: And Dr. Racaniello, on that point all of the Apple stores, 42 of them in China have reopened. So that would mean from beginning to end, if you're going to say Apple is a trustworthy indicator that they think things are fine. Maybe people don't trust the Chinese government. They probably trust Apple, 41 days, is that the timeline we're looking at? Is it really over in China or too early to say?

RACANIELLO: Well, that's a great question. As you know they had draconian measures put in place in China to stop movement and that seems to have restricted the number of cases. A billion people, 80,000 cases is amazing. But I'm not sure that it's over.

I think as people now go back to work and start to circulate, the population immunity is going to be very low because they haven't had many infections. We could see another wave of outbreaks.

BURNETT: Isn't that the same risk you would face in any country that's trying to go on lockdown?

GUPTA: Yes. Absolutely. I mean, it's a double-edged sword. You want to prevent many infections. On the other hand, as people get exposed to it, they in essence will get sort of vaccinated. They'll get immunity at least for some period of time, we don't know how long it lasts. That's a good thing for the country.

And if you don't have that, then obviously the situation can occur again.

BURNETT: Right. And in terms of a real vaccine, we are 16 months away if you're counting from the moment they started. Thank you all very much.

And next, President Trump downplaying concerns after he was photographed next to a man who now has the coronavirus.



TRUMP: I have no idea who he is, but I take pictures and it lasts for literally seconds.


BURNETT: The Mayor of Miami also had contact with that same person. The Mayor of Miami tested positive and he is OUTFRONT to tell you about it.

Plus, an entire country suddenly shut down. People stuck in their homes. No one knows when it will all end.

An American who is under lockdown in Italy will tell you exactly what life is like.



BURNETT: Breaking news, a second person who visited President Trump's Mar-A-Lago resort has tested positive for coronavirus. The person attending a fundraiser brunch for the Trump campaign on Sunday.

One day, after the President met a Brazilian official who was also infected and the President was asked today whether he'll be tested.


TRUMP: But I could tell you ...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Doctors have said you might have it if you don't have symptoms. Are you being selfish by not getting tested and potentially exposing ...

TRUMP: Well, I didn't say I wasn't going to be tested.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you going to be?

TRUMP: Most likely, yes. Most likely.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When do you think that'll happen?

TRUMP: Not for that reason, but because I think I will do it anyway.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Will you let us know the results?

TRUMP: Fairly soon. We're working on that. We're working out a schedule.



BURNETT: Kaitlan Collins is OUTFRONT. So, Kaitlan, what is the White House thinking on whether Trump should be tested for coronavirus? Obviously, he has had direct personal contact with someone who has it. And but he does -- says he doesn't have symptoms.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and what he had been saying there is exactly the opposite of what White House aides have been telling us all week is which is that the president had no need to get tested and now he's saying he likely will.

And, of course, this comes as -- it's frankly becoming a situation difficult for the White House to ignore.

And we're told by several hours sources that calculus started to change after the Brazilian press secretary started testing positive for coronavirus because White House aides knew that was someone who did spend time with the president on Saturday night at his Mar-a-Lago club, even though the president tried to downplay the contact, saying they just had a picture together. We're actually told as we reported on the show last night, it was much more extensive than that.

And, now, of course, we're learning about a second person who was also at Mar-a-Lago last weekend and is now tested positive for coronavirus. They attended this luncheon for Trump victory. It's a fundraiser for the Republican National Committee and the president's re-election campaign. And the campaign says that person that donor did not come into contact with the president but was about 1,000 people there the president made remarks and did shake hands with officials. So, of course, there are concerns about that.


COLLINS: So, the question now is when is the president going to be tested?

He's made commitments like this before saying he is going to get tested, only to never follow through. But once we know that he has been tested, some believe he may already have been. We'll let you know what the White House is saying about it.

BLITZER: All right. Thank you very much, Kaitlan.

And I want to go OUTFRONT now to the Republican mayor of Miami, Francis Suarez. He self-quarantined after coming into contact with the same Brazilian official as President Trump and tested positive for coronavirus today.

So, Mayor, of course, let me start with the most important question. How are you feeling tonight?

MAYOR FRANCIS SUAREZ (R), MIAMI: I feel great, obviously surprised at the same time. Wasn't expecting to test positive. Yesterday, I was at a council meeting and I confirmed that I was in the same room and in close proximity with the official, the Brazilian official that tested positive. And so, I immediately quarantined as I declared a state of emergency in the city of Miami by video.

After I began the quarantine I got a call from the department of health of the state asking me to come in and test even though I wasn't feeling any symptoms. Went in immediately, got tested. And then today was told, of course, that I tested positive and so, obviously, you know, it's been a while wind of a day.


SUAREZ: First having to go public with the news, and then you know the continuity of operations of our city and the people I was in contact with notifying them as well.

BURNETT: So is -- is the bottom line mere that you don't as far as you know have any symptoms -- I mean you were tested because you were in proximity with the person but you are not sick at all?

SUAREZ: Look, I'm starting to feel a little bit of symptoms. You know it feels similar to the on set of a cold, at this particular juncture. Today, I tested positive. So, I don't know how long I've had it. You know, and for what period it's been incubating.

Obviously, you know, I'm going to be diarying as the days go by because I think a big part of the issue is, we know that this virus is going to spread.


SUAREZ: So, you know, I want to make sure that people feel -- you know, understand that I have it, I'm obviously 42 years old. I don't have any immune deficiencies. I'm not elderly risky.

And so, my hope is by sharing the experience, it can hopefully calm some people down because, you know, obviously, it's something that I'm going through myself.

BURNETT: Yes. I mean, of course. And look, I hope that it continuing to be very mild for you. Although you said you are feeling the on set of flu-like symptoms.

As you point out, though, Mayor, you're young, 42 years old. You're healthy. But for many constituents this is scary, whether young or not. You know, for a lot of people, this is still a scary thing. What's your message as, you know, given that you actually now are going through this and I'm sure a few days ago, you probably like everyone thought that this wouldn't happen to you?

SUAREZ: Of course, and what we did in the city of Miami is we took action immediately. We cancelled two of our main events, Ultra, which was a congregation of about 150,000 people over a weekend. And Eighth Street, which is a festival of a quarter million people that congregate in a small area. We got criticized for it, for making the decision, but I think it's evident now to everyone that we made the right decision.

We are asking people to follow the protocol. We're asking them obviously not to congregate, obviously to wash their hands for 20 seconds, obviously to avoid large congregations of people. And that if they do come in contact with someone that's infected they must quarantine for a minimum of 14 days. And if they start feeling flu- like symptoms, they have to get tested.

BURNETT: So, Mayor Suarez, look, this is a tough situation obviously for the president. But he was with the same person you were with. He was in close proximity with them as a party, at a dinner taking pictures, touching him.


Today he said he is not taking any precautionary measures. He's not going to self-isolate. Obviously, as the president, that may be difficult but he has said that that would not be the reason why he got tested even if he did get tested because he wouldn't need to because he doesn't know the person.

What do you -- what do you say to the president who obviously his example matters a lot?

SUAREZ: Well, what I can say is that I followed the medical advice I was given, and the medical advice I was given was once I was able to confirm by picture that I was in close proximity to this person. By the way, I may not have gotten it from that person.


SUAREZ: But I want to confirm that I was in close proximity to that person, I immediately self-quarantined. And then went into a protocol where once I was tested and found out that I was positive, I had to inform obviously all the elected officials from my government who I've been in contact with. Our city manager, our police chief who have already self-quarantined, many of our council members have self- quarantined.

So, there is a continuity of operations that's also at issue in any government. We have already prepared for the possibility of up to 40 percent of the workforce not being able to work. And that's part of our continuity of operations plan.

So, I'm able to work thankfully for now. I'm able to Skype and obviously have phone calls and I've been on interviews all day long. But, you know, we have to make sure that we are communicating with the public which is why we'll be diarying throughout the sickness so that people can, hopefully, hopefully feel better if I don't experience major symptoms that this can be something that they can deal with without any major issues.

BURNETT: Well, I appreciate it. And I think a lot of people appreciate it. You're coming out and talking about it and sharing it with everybody makes a huge difference. And I speak I think for a lot of people watching when I say thank you for doing that. It's so important.

And I hope -- I hope that you are able to get through this quickly and with minimal disruption. Thank you, Mayor Suarez.

SUAREZ: Thank you so much.

BURNETT: And OUTFRONT next, an entire country on lockdown. Could what is happening in Italy right now be a preview of what is to come in the United States and soon?

My next guest is an American mother who is leaving through the crisis in northern Italy.



BURNETT: Tonight, runs on grocery stores in the United States amid growing fears about coronavirus, shelf after shelf at some stores empty. That's a Whole Foods in Manhattan. And this is a supermarket on Long Island in New York, paper goods section. And there were pictures like this from many places in this country.

Americans are uncertain about what comes next, what stores will stay open, what they will do if the shutdown in America becomes a lockdown.

One American who knows what a lockdown, coronavirus lockdown is like is Cristina Higgins. She lives in Northern Italy. The epicenter of the Italian coronavirus crisis. She and her family are under mandatory lockdown and she joins me tonight.

And, Cristina, I really appreciate your time and taking the time to talk to people, because people want to know what you have gone through, what it is like. And there is a lot of fear and uncertainty about what life will be like in the United States and the grocery stores are just one part of that.

I mean, how does that work for you now in Italy? You're under a mandatory lockdown. When you and your family need food, what are you doing?

CRISTINA HIGGINS, AMERICAN ON LOCKDOWN IN BERGAMO, ITALY: Yes, we're on something called social isolation. So, we haven't seen anybody at all for the last six days. And we have another 21 days at least to go.

They have been fantastic at keeping the supply chains running for the supermarket. There actually hasn't been a run on supermarkets. And everything is available. Right now, all stores are -- are shut. On Monday, it was store keeper could choose to stay open or not, now they are required to be shut. The only stores open are pharmacies and supermarkets.

BURNETT: And so, when you go to the supermarket or you go to the pharmacy, how does that work? You're not allowed to go out whenever you want, are you?

HIGGINS: So, it's very controlled. We have a form that you have to fill out. It's a form that describes why you're out. And you, for example -- not only are we socially isolated but there are rules how to engage with other people on the street.

So, you must be one meter apart. That's where very important when somebody goes out from the family it's one person. So my husband -- now when you go to the pharmacy, they know longer let you in the pharmacy because the pharmacists are putting themselves at risk with seeing all the sick people there is a window and one person at a time comes up to make their request.


HIGGINS: And the police are out. They are stopping people process to find out why they are out and giving tickets. So they are trying to enforce this as much as possible.

BURNETT: And in the grocery store, how does it work?

HIGGINS: Same thing. The way it works because you need to be one meter apart depending on the square footage of the store only so many people can be in the store. So sometimes there are lines outside of the store, again everybody -- one meter apart. And you have to wait your turn because you can only have so many people in.

People are wearing masks. And it's very eerie going to the supermarket. People are suspicious, very quiet, no children. And so, we went on Monday and we are trying not to go back for as long as possible. BURNETT: So how do things feel Christina? Are they under control? Does

it feel like there is a pressure keg of sort of uncertainty and fear? Or, you know, what is it -- how would you characterize life like this six days in?

HIGGINS: It's very difficult. It's very, very difficult. It is unfortunately despite all that Italy has done, they think that it may not be enough, because there are still individuals who are going out. A woman today supposed to be in quarantine which means she has the virus, was out walking around with people.

So people are not -- most people are complying. Some people are not and putting the rest of us at risk. So, that is very nerve-racking.

The second part is all day long, we hear bad news.


So we hear news of people who are died or friends who are sick. And it's -- it's like living with dread really. I have to say that the kids are great. They're having a great time. The teachers have been sending work. And we have a rhythm to the day.

So, the kids are great. We have a lot of family time and they love having us around we make a cake every day. That has never happened. So, the kids are doing great.

Francesco, my husband, and I are struggling.

BURNETT: And you know, I think it's just -- it's very hard for people to imagine what you are going through. You know, here, I know your parents are here. Your other family members are here in the U.S. as well.


BURNETT: And that we're -- you know, we see Italy and know that that may be what the United States is also going through -- this could happen as well.

You know, we have video earlier today, Cristina, of Italians in Rome. Obviously, you're up near Milan. But in Rome, they were singing the national anthem out of the windows. I just want to play for anyone who hasn't seen it. It's sort of incredible moment.

Here it is.


BURNETT: So despite the social isolation and the -- and the fear, is there a sense of camaraderie, a sense of, I don't know, unity?

HIGGINS: Well with, we don't see each other. We call people all day long. And it's -- there is -- it's very difficult right now. There is not a lot of hope right now. We're really right in the middle of it. And we're trying to believe that in ten days, the numbers are going to go down.

That -- that video for example is -- was fantastic. We have a -- there is a campaign throughout Italy where people put candles outside on the window as show of support for all of the people putting lives at risk right now, the doctors and pharmacists and even people delivering the food. They are putting themselves at risk.

So there are -- and children are putting up signs all over that say with a rainbow that say, this -- we will overcome this. And that is also wonderful to see. But those are small things. And it's -- we're right in middle of it. It's a little difficult right now.

BURNETT: And what would you say to people who see that they too may be going through the -- the sort of isolation and desolation, I guess that you are right now?

HIGGINS: Of course, so -- everybody is going to be asked to make small sacrifices and big sacrifices. And it's very difficult to stay home, and not going out it's a complete change of your life.

And I think the thing to really -- I would encourage every family to try to think of it is a reason why you should do this. So your parents, or your neighbors, or your friends who are doctors, do it for them.

And we can do this. But it means that every American needs to do what -- comply with the rules, because we can do this. But it's going to -- depending on how much people comply, it will be faster or slower. So I encourage everybody to comply. And we can all get through this together.

BURNETT: Cristina, thank you very much.

HIGGINS: You're welcome.

BURNETT: And OUTFRONT next, what those most vulnerable to getting seriously sick from the coronavirus are telling us.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Those of us at my age, 70 and above, are greatly concerned. And I'm hoping that we can get through this.




BURNETT: Tonight, Florida announcing its election will go on as planned on Tuesday despite the spread of coronavirus but the voters who turn out to the polls in the highest rate, those 65 and older, are also the most vulnerable to the virus.

Rosa Flores is OUTFRONT.


ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Since the coronavirus outbreak, 67-year-old Ignacio Escobedo (ph) says an old game of dominos in Miami's Little Havana neighborhood has a new rule.

Hand sanitizer and lots of it.

(on camera): Are you worried about the coronavirus?


FLORES (voice-over): Officials across Florida are worried about seniors too. One out of every five people in the state is 65 or older.

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R), FLORIDA: The cases in Florida have and will continue to disproportionally affect our older population.

FLORES: Governor Ron DeSantis announcing measures to protect seniors, including restricting visitation to nursing homes and encouraging local officials to close senior centers.

In Orlando, firefighters served a dozens of assisted living facilities, asking about the types of care they might need in an emergency, and election workers sanitized voting locations as seniors and others head to the polls for Tuesday's primary.

With every passing day, the concerns over how seniors could get exposed grows. This week, the Miami Beach mayor issued a state of emergency and declared the end of spring break, even as families around the country prepare to visit south Florida.

ANATASIA MILLER, MIAMI BEACH TOURIST: It's spring break, people are going to not listen and I'm one of the people that's not going to listen.

FLORES: With the number of cases growing by the day, some seniors like Hugo Rodriguez (ph) are self-quarantining. His walks along the beach are the extent of his outings.


HUGO RODRIGUEZ, FLORIDA RESIDENT: Those of us at my age 70 and above are greatly concerned. And I'm hoping that we can get through this.

FLORES: DeSantis just announced 2,500 test kits which could test up to 625,000 people will soon be delivered to labs across the state.

Back in Little Havana, it's game over. Domino Park closed Friday and all senior activities have been cancelled.


FLORES: Local and state leaders here in the state of Florida are encouraging people to exercise social distancing and they're leading by example. Governor Ron DeSantis announcing that he will no longer be shaking hands out of an abundance of caution. He also announced that he will be activating certain components of the Florida National Guard -- Erin.

BURNETT: Rosa, thank you very much.

And we'll be right back.


BURNETT: We're following all of the breaking developments on coronavirus and the national emergency in the United States tonight. For answers to your coronavirus questions, don't miss Dr. Sanjay Gupta's podcast. Right now, this is the must listen. "Coronavirus: Fact Versus Fiction", the constant questions you have answers.

Thank you so much for joining us.

"AC360" starts right now.