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Coronavirus Vaccine Trial Administers First Dose To Participant; States And Cities Taking Drastic Measures To Slow Virus Spread; Trump Urges States To Not Wait For Feds To Get Medical Equipment. Aired 2-2:30p ET
Aired March 16, 2020 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Officials are hailing the speed at which the trial reached Phase 1, but they add that this is the beginning of a process that will take many, many more months. So just some context for all of us eagerly waiting for that moment.
In the meantime, the Vice President will soon offer up a White House briefing as the nation's "new normal" becomes even more restrictive.
You know, first it was shutting down classrooms and campuses, workplaces and now for the first time, we're hearing that entire states are limiting the size of public gatherings.
Today, Rhode Island announced it is limiting them to 25 people or fewer while the states of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut have announced a ban of assemblies of 50 people or more.
Plus, at least a dozen states have shut down restaurants and bars allowing takeout and delivery service only. In fact, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut are not just advising, but ordering the closures of casinos, gyms and movie theaters at eight o'clock tonight.
And New Jersey specifically has instituted a curfew with only essential travel permitted from five in the evening to eight o'clock in the morning.
It is possible many more states will follow suit as sources say the Trump administration is actively discussing strongly recommending all states establish a curfew, all of this is in an effort to stop the march to the coronavirus across United States.
Just some quick numbers for you. Right now, more than 3,800 people in the United States are infected with 68 deaths and at least one case in every single state except West Virginia.
Just in to CNN now, President Trump is now calling on governors to try to secure additional medical equipment on their own, not to wait for the Federal government to intervene.
Let me go straight to Kaitlan Collins at the White House for that. And Kaitlan, why is he saying that? KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, so they had this
call. It was the President and all of these governors on this tele- call and one of the things that he did say according to someone who is familiar with that call, Brooke is that he essentially told these states that they need to work on getting this additional medical equipment that they're saying they need before the Federal government is going to try to intervene.
Now, he did say that the Federal government would try to help them, would -- let me read you the quote exactly that we got from this. He said, "We will be backing you, but try getting it yourselves."
Now, of course, this equipment is going to become incredibly important if it's not already in the next few days as we are moving from this phase where you saw people calling for these demands in increased testing to now figuring out what they're going to do with all of these patients who have coronavirus and how they are going to likely overwhelm the health system as people are trying to really limit that.
So it's notable that that is something that President -- that was essentially his message to these state officials on this call, urging them to try to take action first because remember, Brooke on Friday, we saw that statement, that letter from Democratic governors urging the President to invoke this mandate where essentially the Federal government could help speed up the supply of creating ventilators, respirators, things that these hospitals are going to need in the coming weeks.
COLLINS: Now, we haven't heard anything else about what exactly was said on this call. We're still waiting to learn that. But we should note that the President just tweeted a few moments ago talking about this call and he didn't single out anyone except for one governor.
Of course, that's Andrew Cuomo of New York, where the President said, "Just had a very good tele-conference with the nation's Governors. Went very well." And he said, "Cuomo of New York has to do more."
Now, it's notable that the President only singled out that one governor, the one governor who held a very lengthy press conference earlier today. And of course, they are going to be one of several states that are making this decision to see closing gyms, restaurants, bars, all of these places, starting Monday night tonight, of course.
And so the President is urging him to do more and we have definitely certainly seen Governor Cuomo out there, not only saying, talking about what New York is going to do and what he is doing, but he's also been urging the Federal government to get more involved and that comes as there has been some criticism of the way the Trump administration has been slow to respond to things that people need like testing.
So of course, that's the only thing governor, the President singled out in this tweet as we're waiting to learn more about exactly what it was he said on this call. BALDWIN: Well, guess what? We now have a response from Andrew Cuomo.
Let me read it. Let me just throw this up on the screen. I'm trying to squint.
Governor Cuomo says, "In response to the President, I have to do more, he asks. No, you have to do something. You're supposed to be the President."
Let me bring in our ER doctor, Rob Davidson. He is also the Executive Director of the Committee to Protect Medicare.
Listen, obviously, these two men are going out at a bit on Twitter. Can we just get to the heart of the matter.
I mean, there is a -- we're lacking respirators and ventilators and everything else, you know, Kaitlan just mentioned, and as just from a medical perspective, to hear the President and again, he says he wants to help, but for now, saying that the state governors, you go get the stuff.
DR. ROB DAVIDSON, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, COMMITTEE TO PROTECT MEDICARE: I mean, so I think about this in two different ways. As a resident of the State of Michigan and a doctor in the State of Michigan, we have Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who I trust will do everything she can for the people in her state.
DAVIDSON: But then I worry about the people in the State of Kentucky, where their governor was out to dinner with his family just the night before, you know, other places were closing down, bars and restaurants.
The governor of South Carolina who said I'm going to the St. Patrick's Day Parade the day before he had to call a state of emergency.
DAVIDSON: And so sometimes, we are individual states. Sometimes we have to be the United States. This virus does not care if you're in Southern Michigan or Northern Indiana, it's going to go where it wants to go.
So clearly another case of, to me, failed leadership, just like the testing regime that has been delayed and is still delayed that has put us in such a bind.
BALDWIN: You're saying leadership in the Federal level.
DAVIDSON: I am indicating the President. Yes. I mean, I think it has to be on his desk despite when he says it's not his fault or he takes no responsibility. We have to put that responsibility back on him.
BALDWIN: Governor Cuomo, I don't know if you were near a TV or had your phone on. I mean, he gave quite a lengthy, thorough news conference just speaking to folks in the State of New York. Did you catch any of that?
DAVIDSON: I did catch some of it. And you know, I think this is an unprecedented moment in our history. And so in some ways, again, because of the testing failures, we are a bit flying blind both medically and as a government institution.
How do we -- how do we deal with it? What do we do? What is too heavy handed?
I think Dr. Fauci had said, you know, if we get to the end of this and we feel like we did too much, I would rather be in that position to flatten that curve so we don't stay on the trajectory of Italy and surpass it than say we did too little and find that we have overwhelmed the system.
BALDWIN: Yes. I saw that he said that yesterday and it almost brought a little bit of calm thinking. All right, if we have to overdo it --
DAVIDSON: Every time he talks, we all get a little bit calm. We need that.
BALDWIN: I want to come back to you because you're so great. Also just on testing and so much more. So hang tight for me, Doc.
In the meantime, moments ago, Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the planned closure of its borders.
Paula Newton is live with me and Paula, are there any exceptions to this?
PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You better believe it, Brooke. The big one is U.S. citizens. Look, you and I both know how difficult it would be to actually close that border. It's ominous that the Prime Minister after he said U.S. citizens were exempt actually said, for now.
So Listen, these are extraordinary measures, right? Canada doesn't even have that many cases. Brooke, they only have -- they don't even have 400 cases yet, and they've been testing so much more than they have here than the United States. And yet, that's how seriously they are taking this.
Key here, all goods are exempted and obviously people who are in those vehicles bringing those goods back and forth or whether it also comes by rail.
The other issue here though, is the testing, right? The monitoring. They really want people to monitor themselves about whether or not they're not feeling well. They will also try and do those temperature checks.
Think about that land border, though, Brooke. I mean, look, you and I know, people go across that border to go get gas. They go and get groceries. They go to their friends.
BALDWIN: Sure. NEWTON: They have family members, you know, one community over and so
this is going to be a tough thing because even though there are those exemptions, you can imagine the kind of shutdown this will mean at the border in terms of them trying to check for everyone going in.
And Brooke, we can't say it enough. This story continues to just flow and change by the minute especially when we start talking about restrictions on our daily life and restriction on travel.
BALDWIN: Yes. Now, I blink, there's a new headline. Paula Newton, thank you very much on the Canada-U.S. border closure.
The cancellations from coronavirus keep coming. The U.S. Supreme Court has postponed its March cases. The White House Easter Egg Roll in April will not happen.
For more on just how this virus is impacting everyday American life, let me turn to CNN's Erica Hill who is live in a normally bustling Times Square.
Erica, how is it out there right now?
ERICA HILL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It definitely feels a lot different, not even just a little bit different.
We have seen more people trickle in around lunchtime, but Brooke, it is decidedly different here.
Here in New York State, we can tell you, we are almost at a thousand confirmed cases and that is about a quarter of the total cases in the country.
New York City, home to the nation's largest public school district closed as of today, one million students and their families are impacted and we're hearing that the state -- the entire State of New York will soon close its schools as businesses across the country are dealing with closures, which could last indefinitely.
HILL (voice over): An eerily quiet Times Square, the latest reminder that life today is different and will be for some time.
A new curfew for New Jersey beginning tonight as the Tri-State area enacts a joint plan to close many businesses at 8:00 p.m.
Movie theaters, gyms and casinos will be closed indefinitely.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): Many people get in their car and they'll drive to Connecticut to go to a bar, which is the last thing we want.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL (voice over): Bars and restaurants across the country limited to take out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. LEANA WEN, FORMER BALTIMORE CITY HEALTH COMMISSIONER: We really need a Federal coordinated response. But at least governors and local officials are taking matters into their own hands.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL (voice over): Starbucks also adopting a to-go only policy.
As the C.D.C. recommends all in person gatherings include less than 50 people for the next eight weeks, Rhode Island limiting that to just 25 people.
The Surgeon General warning decisions made today will determine much of what happens tomorrow.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. JEROME ADAMS, U.S. SURGEON GENERAL: We have a choice to make. Do we want to really lean into social distancing and mitigation strategies and flatten the curve or do we just want to keep going on with business as usual and end up being Italy?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL (voice over): For millions of families starting the week with children at home, it is far from business as usual. Parents learning to teach while also trying to work as others wonder when and if their jobs will return.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. MIKE DEWINE (R-OH): We've informed the superintendent's while we've closed schools for three weeks that the odds are that you know this is going to go on a lot longer and it would not surprise me at all if schools did not open again this year.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL (voice over): Life on halt. Nearly every industry bracing. Walmart cutting back hours to give stores a chance to restock the shelves, while markets ration some of the most sought after items.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Were you able to get everything that you needed this morning?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Almost.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL (voice over): Doctors are increasingly concerned about their own supplies and their colleagues.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. CELINE GOUNDER, CLINICAL ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF MEDICINE AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES, NYU: I think we need to expect things are going to get worse before they get better, and I'm especially concerned for my colleagues who work in hospitals, where we really are going to see a lot more patients come in.
HILL: And a lot of concern, Brooke, as you know, for what is and isn't available in hospitals.
Interesting that the President came out with those statements on the call with the governors just short time ago that you started the hour with. The governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut were calling on the Federal government today to release these stockpiles of medical equipment.
They're expressing concern about hospitals becoming overloaded, and this also comes on the heels of an op-ed from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in "The New York Times" yesterday, where he called on President Trump to bring in the Army Corps of Engineers, Brooke, to retrofit dorms and military bases so that they could serve as medical centers.
BALDWIN: This is our -- this is our new reality for who knows how long. Erica Hill, thank you so much. I think that's part of what's so daunting is we just have no idea how long we're going to have to get through this.
Our ER doctor, Rob Davidson is back with me. And you know, we heard the Surgeon General there talking about flattening the curve.
DAVIDSON: Right. Right.
BALDWIN: So when we're, you know, now hearing about these curfews, talking about social distancing, and talking about limiting the size of gatherings, how will that help flatten the curve?
DAVIDSON: So this virus is so contagious, it's probably about twice as contagious as influenza. And so really, it's all probabilities.
So if you're in a group of two people, and one of them has coronavirus and you're with them for a certain period of time, at a certain distance, you're likely to get it.
If you're in a group of, you know, 200 people and you have a couple of people, they can spread it to multiple people all together.
BALDWIN: The probability goes up.
DAVIDSON: Yes, so I mean, if you're just with your family, and there's 25 of you, and you know that you're all well and you haven't been in the high risk zones, you're probably okay. If you're with a bunch of strangers and you have no idea where they
have been like sitting at a restaurant or standing at an airport with hundreds of people, then you know, you have no idea, your probability goes up, and that just allows that virus to spread and spread and spread.
And with our current testing regime, we're still using, you know, connection to a COVID-19 positive patient or travel to one of these countries that is showing, you know, showing transmission from person to person.
You know, we will not identify those people for a while until they get sick or we have enough tests.
BALDWIN: To the point about social gatherings because, I mean, there is no uniform -- you know, every state in the country, you can't gather 50 plus, various places are at 250 to 500. And now, the C.D.C. is capping it at 50.
BALDWIN: You're at the doctor.
DAVIDSON: Yes --
BALDWIN: What's the magic number?
DAVIDSON: I mean, I would say epidemiologists can look back at previous outbreaks, and they can compare how infective a certain -- you know, a certain virus, a certain infectious agent is, and then they can make those determinations.
I feel comfortable with the number 50 only because it's coming from our professionals who have done this before. I've looked at previous outbreaks and they know, again, I mean, the best would be to have, you know, just your family in your home and that's all you do.
But knowing that that isn't a reality for most of us in life for many of us, you know they want to set a reasonable number.
BALDWIN: How about the more mundane questions like should I go get my haircut? Should I go get -- can I go get my nails done? I mean, people are stuck at home. They've got kids and you know, some people may need to stretch their legs.
BALDWIN: Understandable. Would you recommend that -- go to the dentist? Is that OK?
DAVIDSON: Yes, I mean, anything that isn't absolutely necessary, I would say we should probably try to limit as much as you don't want to have those businesses suffer.
Now, I am hoping that there's some relief coming from our Federal government for businesses so they can weather the storm, but my wife's a family doctor and she just told me today their entire group has now cancelled all non-essential visits.
And they're doing most of their visits via video, and most of them are screening for coronavirus, but if someone has a three-month diabetes check, they're just going to put that off for a while. Maybe just do an e-mail and they can connect that way.
BALDWIN: If it's non-essential, don't do it. Here's some viewer questions.
I have recovered from what I thought was the flu. Should I go back to the doctor to get tested for coronavirus?
DAVIDSON: You know, you should only go to the doctor and probably you shouldn't go to your doctor, you should call your doctor first.
But really the only time you have -- you should go in is if you're having trouble breathing because many people can get coronavirus, get COVID-19 and have fairly minor symptoms even flu-like symptoms, body aches, fevers, chills, cough. It's really when you get short of breath that it suggests that virus has penetrated into the lower respiratory tract.
That's where people end up getting hospitalized, put on ventilators and actually dying. That's when we suggest you should go in.
BALDWIN: Okay. I know we have so many other questions. I'm going to let you go for now. Keep the questions coming, by the way cnn.com/coronavirusquestions. Dr. Rob Davidson. You're the best. I really appreciate it.
DAVIDSON: Thanks, Brooke.
BALDWIN: More states now putting extreme restrictions on bars and restaurants. We have details on all those new guidelines ahead.
Plus, school closures across the country raising questions about for how many kids across the country, school is the only place where they can actually get a decent meal.
We'll talk to a pair of teachers who is taking matters into their own hands to help these families and these kids.
And the White House Coronavirus Task Force will soon hold a live briefing on the ever evolving pandemic.
You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin. We have a lot to talk about, so stay right here.
BALDWIN: We are back. Just in to CNN, President Trump is now calling on governors to try to secure additional medical equipment on their own and not to wait on the Federal government.
President Trump is also taking the time to blast the New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in this new tweet here, "Just had a very good tele- conference with the nation's governors. Went very well." And then you see here, he singles out Governor Cuomo, "Cuomo of New York," he says, has to, "do more."
Governor Cuomo hitting right back tweeting back at the President. He says, "I have to do more? No, you have to do something. You're supposed to be The President."
Let me go right to CNN National Security Analyst, Juliette Kayyem. And Juliette, we were just talking about this lack of leadership at the Federal level last week, when you and I were chatting, it is the President of the United States who needs to lead, correct?
JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Exactly. Well, he needs to lead on what the Federal government does, and he has actually managed to not do that.
So the way it works is that this is, you know, locally executed. We've got the frontline local folks, then you have the state coordinates. So that's what you see Governor Cuomo doing, making decisions for the state. He's trying to get resources to where they need to be.
The Federal government has one job, which is essentially to get stuff to the states so that they can save lives.
I do not -- there's a process here under stockpile rules, under manufacturing of defense assets rules -- all of these laws already exist. We just got to get this stuff made and moving.
And, like, I'll just be honest with you that we just need the President's signature. Like that's all you need. We don't need his opinion.
Get this stuff made. Get this stuff moving. Instead, he decided to use this today as an opportunity to, you know, to go after the governors who have been on the front lines, and it's just -- it's malpractice at this stage.
BALDWIN: And so what are these states supposed to do? Because this is a matter of life and death, right? They're there -- like the hospitals around the country are lacking key equipment.
So if the President -- and he says he wants to help when you read the whole quote -- he wants to help these states, right? But in the meantime, he's saying that the states go on, do what you need to do. So what are the states supposed to do?
KAYYEM: Right. So well, we're in a unique situation, and so I'll try to explain some alternatives that the states may have. I mean, obviously, they might have internal private sector capabilities that they can pull from not as ideal as having a Federal solution, but if they are in a difficult state to get things, you can also see many states working together with a single company. I urge companies that are in the manufacturing realm to begin to think
whether they can't offer the capability of providing the manufacturing and providing these things without Federal assistance or support. We're just at that stage now.
And so there are some options, but none of them of course, ideal then Federal leadership.
Brooke, I want to say one thing. We've seen this before. The President doesn't understand his job. So I want to just put it out there that we may find a tweet in three or four hours, where he says, of course, I'm going to release the stockpile. Of course, I'm going to get the defense manufacturing moving.
So we always just have to, you know, recognize that he sometimes doesn't understand sort of the job he has and so then someone corrects him. So I am putting that out there and people are getting nervous.
BALDWIN: All right, Juliette Kayyem, thank you very much in Cambridge, Mass.
In the last 24 hours, nearly a dozen more states announced school closures. New Jersey says it'll shut schools Wednesday and some individual districts are also closed, in places like New York and Georgia and Texas.
I'll show you some pictures. This was a scene moments ago in Houston. Long lines of families with children waiting to get food.
Across the country, for so many students, school meals are their only source of food on so many days, but some teachers in Arlington, Virginia are taking action.
Laurie Vena and Aaron Schuetz are teachers in the Yorktown schools. They started a GoFundMe account to help make sure students are fed while the coronavirus closes their schools, so welcome to you two. Good, wonderful teachers and good people. It is a pleasure to have you on and you know, I keep --
As we're covering this and there are so many pieces of the story, I keep thinking about these kids in the country who rely on schools to feed them, right? Because if they're not going to because of the coronavirus, what are they to do?
And so I want the two of you to tell me what you came up with and why this is so important to you, Laurie, starting with you.
LAURIE VENA, PUBLIC SCHOOL TEACHER, YORKTOWN SCHOOL: Well, you know, this is our community where we live. This is a community where we work and these kids are our families. We love them.
We see them every day. We see them struggle when things are bad, and we see them do well when things are good. And we knew that this oncoming closure of schools was going to be something that was bad for quite a few of them.
We have about 25 percent of our students that are on free and reduced lunch, so they do get fed, those one to two meals a day at school.
And we know that our county does a lot to feed students when we don't have school, but we thought you know, we can do better, we can do something else.
BALDWIN: And so Aaron, you are doing better, and by the way, the GoFundMe, I'm sure you all were hitting refresh, refresh refresh, it's up to more than $150,000.00.
BALDWIN: Tell me how exactly you'll pull this off and feed people keeping everyone healthy.
AARON SCHUETZ, PUBLIC SCHOOL TEACHER, YORKTOWN SCHOOL: Right. I mean, we're just doing what we can for our own community, our school, they're doing great things, but the need is huge and we expect to get a lot worse.
So we are basically giving a $100.00 gift card to every kid that we can get in contact with. It's on free and reduced lunch in our school system.
So we're dropping off gift cards to elementary schools, middle schools and high schools, trying our best to identify all those kids and everyday we're handing out more. We've sent $90,000.00 worth of gift cards out already in just a couple of days.
BALDWIN: And how does the gift card work? Walk me through that.
SCHUETZ: Just through our local grocery stores, so it's a $100.00 grocery store gift card.
BALDWIN: Got it, and then Laurie, back over to you have you heard from parents and the families? Are you feeling the gratitude?
VENA: We are -- we have a lot of contact with community members through a Facebook page. And there's lots of positive feedback. There are principals and teachers who are saying, oh, thank you, you know, we got them out -- our kids got them. PTA members are posting thank you's. And we know that it's getting out to the students.
It's really, really heartwarming to see how many people, not just us, but how many other people are on the ground, getting all these cards out to the families.
BALDWIN: Last both of, you and this is all on top of, of course, I'm sure how you're having to do the whole e-classroom learning thing and making sure you're staying in touch with your students and all the while trying to feed these young kids in need. Good on both of you, Laurie and Aaron in Arlington, Virginia. Thank you very much.
VENA: Thank you, Brooke. SCHUETZ: Thank you.
BALDWIN: Thank you. Just in to CNN, Major League Baseball is pushing back opening day indefinitely.
Brian Stelter is here and so last week, it was pushing off opening day until the end of the month.
BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: That's right.
BALDWIN: But now, here we are.
STELTER: And I think it's a reality check more broadly about how long this experience that we're all going through is going to take.
And MLB said, okay, two weeks, let's wait two weeks, see if we can have opening day at the end of the month. Now, it's going to be mid- May at the earliest, because of these guidelines involving eight weeks of delays.
But let's remember, these guidelines affects pretty much everything. So it's not just the MLB, it is other sporting leagues as well.
You know, I think it's a reminder that this is going to be with us for more than a few weeks to see the MLB take this action and give people that kind of guidance.
Look, ESPN and other networks, they're playing old games. They're playing old documentaries. People are having to find new kinds of pastimes, new kinds of escapism, and streaming service traffic is through the roof -- Brooke.
BALDWIN: I'm sure it is. I've been almost done with my book, you know.
STELTER: The only silver linings if we all stay inside, we can all catch up on our reading and things.
BALDWIN: Yes, that's the word, indefinite. Brian Stelter. Thank you. And we just got word of another Hollywood actor who has tested positive? We'll tell you who it is, next.