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Trader Joe's Employee, Anna Wille, Discusses Helping The Elderly; NYC Mayor de Blasio Speaks On Coronavirus Response; Neal Browning Discusses Being A Volunteer In First U.S. Vaccine Trial For Coronavirus; E.R. Dr. Jake Deutsch Discusses The Coronavirus Vaccine Trials & Answers Viewers' Questions; Trump Speaks With Members Of Tourism Industry; Mnuchin Speaks On Fiscal Stimulus Package; Thea Duncan Discusses Living In Quarantine In Italy; Leader McConnell Talks Fiscal Stimulus Package. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired March 17, 2020 - 14:30   ET



ANNA WILLE, TRADER JOE'S EMPLOYEE HELPING ELDERLY NEIGHBORS: All right. Well, to start, the initial motivation was that I was seeing a lot of fear. I was seeing a lot of misinformation, even seeing a lot of anger around me. I was -- I personally was feeling overwhelmed.

So I started reaches out to those closest to me, the people on my block, the elderly that I know live there to made sure they had what they needed. I reached out to my family and the elders, particularly, to touch base, and let them know I'm here for them, and that if they need anything that I'm there.

And then I was speaking to a neighbor because one of our neighbors, which is a little hard to get in touch with, so he recommended I go on the Nextdoor app.

So I made a post on the Nextdoor app generally just giving people an idea of what to expect from grocery stores like Trader Joe's, and also to try to reach out to anybody.

Because I realized that I was in a unique situation working at a grocery store, that I do have more access than most without giving myself more exposure than I already have to get items people need.

I made that post at the very end, kind of a widening of my circle. And I have had an overwhelming response, mostly of people who want to help me do this.


WILLE: I have so many comments. It been hard in the couple of days to keep up with them but I have --


BALDWIN: So it's an embarrassment of riches for all these other people who want to help. Are you able to feed the folks in need? Last question. WILLE: Yes. Absolutely. I got in contact with a friend who lives in another side of town, on the west side, where they're having the opposite issue. It's a whole bunch of people who really need the stuff and don't have the helpers.

So I'm currently trying to bridge that gap, using all the people I know and the resources that I have on hand.

BALDWIN: Make those connections. Snap a few pictures along the way. Anna, we'll have you back on just how you have apps to help so many people in need during such a tough time.

I appreciate all that you're doing. Good on you.

WILLE: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Thank you very much.

Coming up next, we'll talk to a volunteer who just went through the first vaccine trial for the coronavirus. We'll talk to him about what it went, what happened.

Also, should you be getting together with friends? Should you ride public transportation? Good questions coming from you. We'll gut your questions answered about coronavirus by an emergency room doctor, coming up.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- to see if it's the right strategy to move forward with.

MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D), NEW YORK CITY: And that statement obviously connects with the update on the number of confirmed cases.

Now, we have information that is updated since the governor's earlier press conference today and you will see that the numbers continue to grow rapidly. As of this hour -- and this is again hour to hour changes now -- as of this hour the number of confirmed cases in New York City is 814. The sad reality, the prediction I made last week that we would hit 1,000 case says about to come true, and I'm very sorry to say that.

The borough breakdown I can give you now. I believe we can confirm this, is directly connected to the 814 number. So the borough breakdown at this point, 248 cases in Queens, 277 in Manhattan, 157 cases in Brooklyn, 96 cases in the Bronx, and 36 cases in Staten Island. Again, very sorry to say we have lost seven of our fellow New Yorkers to coronavirus.

We will need quickly support from the federal government. Everybody I have talked about so far keeps coming back to the federal government. There's more that the federal government can help us to expand testing. There's obviously much that the federal government could do to ensure

that the military is brought to bear to the fullest extent, to help New York City and other areas that have been hard hit by the coronavirus.

There's so much the federal government can do to ensure that people have income. Right now, though, there are some promising elements of the stimulus bill. It's nowhere near the kind of income replacement that people need in this kind of crisis.

I mentioned earlier today the parallel to the New Deal. We have a crisis on the scale, obviously, on the trajectory of both the epidemic we saw in 1918 -- not the exact health trajectory, as Dr. Cohen and I were discussing, there was a lot less general health care to New Yorkers and Americans in general a century ago. But in terms of the sheer reach of this disease, the only parallel will be the 1918 influenza epidemic.

In terms of the economic dislocation, I think it's fair to say we are going to quickly surpass anything we saw in the Great Recession. And the only measure, the only comparison will be the Great Depression. Hope fully not as bad in overall impact. But I think in terms of the sheer reach again, that the be the only comparison.

In the Great Depression, the federal government focused on creating jobs to put money in people's pockets. We can't do that now, because there won't be scenarios where people can work in congregate settings. There's so many ways we cannot repeat the model of the Great Depression or the New Deal. It would take direct income support on a vast scale.


I have said very clearly the federal government found a way to bail out the banking industry a few years ago, to bail out the auto industry, vast amounts of money for a tax cut for the wealthy and corporations, even vaster amounts of money for endless wars that have yielded little for the people in this country.

Clearly, the federal government knows how to spend money quickly and on a huge scale. It should be spent on the American people right now, working people who are suffering. If they don't have that income replacement, they won't be able to afford food and medicine and the basics.

We are sending additional requests and there has been a nonstop stream of requests to the federal government, three letters going out today, one to the Veterans Administration and to HHS, requesting that unused beds in Veterans Administration hospitals be freed up for the battle on the coronavirus.

And requesting that medical supplies be expedited and delivered to New York City, including surgical masks of all different kinds, surgical gowns, all the elements we need to protect our health care workers and allow them to do their work. Another letter to Secretary Azar at HHS on specific medical supplies

that have been provided but are insufficient in previous shipments we have received.

And we're sending a letter to the leadership of the United States, House of Representatives, United States Senate, imploring them to use their power to ensure that the military will be activated in this crisis and that aid will reach New York City and other parts of the country.

BALDWIN: OK. So listening to the New York City Mayor there, Bill de Blasio. A couple headlines. Number one, the mayor says New York City will now have up to 5,000 tests per day. That starts this Thursday.

And he says a shelter-in-place here in New York City is still possible as the coronavirus is spreading. He said that decision will be made in the course of the next 48 hours.

It's already the dramatic action that's been taken by the city of San Francisco. And as I just said, De Blasio says the decision will be made to do that in the next two days.

In the meantime, the first U.S. test of a possible coronavirus vaccine are under way. The phase one trial is happening in Washington state, one of the hardest-hit parts of the country. And 50 people there have died.

This trial is totally voluntary. It will last six weeks. And 45 healthy individuals between the ages of 18 and 55 are being asked to participate.

Neal Browning is one of them, one of the very first volunteers to receive this trial vaccine.

Neal, thank you so much for being with me.


BALDWIN: All right. This was totally volunteer.


BALDWIN: You're healthy. Why did you want to this?

BROWNING: To make this end as quickly as possible for the rest of the world. If I'm healthy enough to be able to contribute research and hoping to find a vaccine sooner than later, why wouldn't I?

BALDWIN: Amen. Thank you for that.

Can you explain how many rounds of shots you'll get? Did the doctors say what side affects you could have? Tell me about the conversation you had.

BROWNING: Sure. First, everyone went through a physical, blood draws, tests to make sure that everyone looked good. After that, we were administered a vaccine. We have to do a daily chart where we take our temperatures, jot down any effects we might see that could be a contributing factor from the vaccine.

We'll need to go back in have blood drawn, where they'll cycle through the blood, look to make sure the body is reacting the way it's expected to, producing the antigens that will help us combat coronavirus, should we become exposed to it.

The fourth weekend, I actually go back in, and everyone will get a second dose of the vaccine. We go through another four-week period of once a week, going back in for blood and they track the progress from there.

BALDWIN: How will the doctors know if this works?

BROWNING: So the way this is working, there's no actual virus in this vaccine. Neither one that's been weakened nor a dead one.

They are using a new technique that basically teaches cells in my body to build protein structures that resemble the outer shell of the actual coronavirus. My body should react to that and see it as a foreign invader, attack it, and learn how to com bad that structure that's been built.


Assuming that works, they should be able to track if there are antigens and white blood cells being produced in numbers that are showing an immuno response as expected.

BALDWIN: Incredible.

Last question. You have a family. You have kids. What do they think of you doing this?

BROWNING: They didn't really know I was doing it until the last minute, because there's no need to get them riled up about it. They thought it was pretty cool that dad's doing something like this.

I think it's important for them to learn, as a member of society, you need to help do whatever you can. But there's also 44 other people as part of the study. It's not just dad out there trying to make the world a better place.

BALDWIN: Still, one in 45. Well done, dad.

Neal Browning, I appreciate you. Stay well. And hoping this works. Thank you.

BROWNING: Indeed. Thank you.

BALDWIN: Joining me now is Dr. Jake Deutsch, an E.R. doctor and founder and clinical director of Cure Urgent Care.

Doctor, before we get to these viewers questions, you just heard our conversation. How hopeful should we be? DR. JAKE DEUTSCH, E.R. PHYSICIAN & FOUNDER, CLINICAL DIRECTOR, CURE

URGENT CARE: I can't even express or heartwarming that is, that somebody has the courage to step up and by part of the solution. I think that's incredibly encouraging.

It definitely is one step in the right direction, but it won't mitigate what we need to take do now. We need to isolate, take action ourselves. We need to be proactive instead of reactive as a country.

BALDWIN: Hang with me, Dr. Deutsch.

Let's dip in. The president is apparently speaking with members of the tourism industry. So stand by.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: -- we'll be announcing again later that. We're working with Congress to provide rapid release. We literally the -- and over 124 countries, I understand, but will emerge from the strongest economy on earth. Because we literally had the strongest economy on earth.

And now -- this is in, last count, over 124 countries -- unbelievable. But believe we'll emerge stronger because we'll be doing things differently than this country has done in the past for many, many decades.

And we're deeply committed to ensuring the small businesses have the support they require. The Small Business Administration announced the disaster loans, which provide impacted businesses with up to $2 million. And we've asked Congress to increase the SBA lending authority. We'll go up to 50 billion and actually more than that for small businesses. So they'll be helped.

In your cases, they're very big businesses, but it's a lot of employees. So we appreciate it.

We appreciate you being here. And maybe in front of the media you could say a couple words about your companies and the number of people you employ? I pretty much know every one of new that respect. It's a lot of people. Great companies.


CHRIS DESOTO, CEO, HILTON: Hi, I'm Chris DeSoto, CEO of Hilton.

BALDWIN: We wanted to make sure we listened to the president talking to executives in the travel industry just on how they can help keep the rest of us safe.

Dr. Deutsch, I'm bringing you back in.

Let's get to some viewers questions. Question number one: Can I have a Paul group of friends to my house for a get-together.

DEUTSCH: You're missing the point. It's about isolation. One person that's infected will obliterate the effect of being isolated. When we're talking about isolating, we're talking about strict

isolation. That's really the message. It doesn't change based on something looks good. Everybody needs to choose the same directive. We all need to follow the same action.

BALDWIN: Question two from a viewer: If I am under quarantine, is it OK to walk outside as long as I stay six feet away from others?

DEUTSCH: Absolutely. The idea is that you're not going to get other people ill or exposed if you are socially isolating, if you're taking those precautions.

I want to reiterate that has to be very strict. So touching doorknobs, if you cough, making sure you wash your hands extensively. All those same elements apply.

But people should be comfortable that there are things you can do. You can stay isolated and still remain healthy. It doesn't mean you have to lay on the couch and eat potato chips. There's other ways to stay healthy.

And do the right thing. That's the biggest message. We all have a responsibility. We all can make a choice that's beyond what we're being told we should do.

BALDWIN: Dr. Jake Deutsch, thank you so much. I appreciate you, your expertise. Stay well.


We're getting news into CNN. Italy announcing now it has more than 31,000 coronavirus cases and more than 2500 people have died. We'll talk to an American who lives there who is now quarantined there about her experience in Italy. Next.


STEVE MNUCHIN, TREASURY SECRETARY: I know there have been some rumors of the number. It is a big number. This is unique situation in the economy.

We've put a proposal on the table that would inject a trillion dollars into the economy. That is on top of the $300 billion from the IRS deferrals.

Let me just say, this is a combination of loans, a combination of direct checks to individuals, a combination of creating liquidity for small businesses.

So we look forward to working with the Senate. We're pleased to hear the leaders saying that they are staying, their priority is working on what we call bill number three. And we had very productive discussions.

The president wants to emphasize this is a situation where we have requested that many people stay home so we don't spread this disease. This is not like a normal economic situation. The government has requested parts of this economy shut down.

And the president is determined -- you can think of this as business interruption money. The president is determined to put money back into the economy to protect hard working Americans and small businesses.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Mr. Secretary, do you want the Senate to approve the House bill unchanged and, two, should the Congress be concerned about rising deficits from a trillion-dollar package here that Congress --


MNUCHIN: I think Congress right now should be concerned about the American workers and small business. Interest rates are incredibly low. So there's very little cost at borrowing this money.

And as I've said, in different times, we'll fix the deficit. This is not the time to worry about it. This is the time that hard working Americans are impacted by government decisions. That is when it the government has to step up and put money into the economy.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: So what about passing a House bill unchanged? (INAUDIBLE)

MNUCHIN: We're having conversations with them on that and that is and ongoing discussion.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: What about the airlines and cargo airlines?

MNUCHIN: Sure. I've had conversations around the clock with all the airline CEOs, all the -- I haven't had cargo, but we've had conversations.

We obviously have a situation where there's very little traffic. We want to maintain that, although, we've told people nonessential travel they shouldn't do, but essential travel we want to have airlines that operate. Maybe on a more limited basis.

Airlines have a short terminally liquidity issue. And absolutely, that is something that I've talked about today. I've also spoken to the speaker about that. So we are absolutely part of this. Airlines, hotel, travel, other areas we're talking about dealing with that.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Secretary Mnuchin, is there any plans for a global economic stimulus, are you in touch with other world leaders about global stimulus?

MNUCHIN: Sure. The president had a G7 leaders conference call yesterday. Director Kudlow was a critical part of putting that together. There was a statement.

One of the things that they called for is further coordination with central bankers and finance ministers. We'll be having weekly calls of the G7 finance ministers and central bankers. I think you know the Fed has been in ongoing discussion with their counterparts.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Can you talk about the bills that you are proposing for Americans?

MNUCHIN: I don't want to go into the specifics. We'll work with Congress on this.

But the president wants to put money into the economy now. This is where, if there are people and small businesses that can't make payroll because their business has ceased to exist, we told people don't go into restaurants, we want to make sure those business owners have money to pay their employees. We're not going to put money in business owners just for the sake of them keeping it. We'll help them to meet the payroll.

Thank you, everybody.


BALDWIN: Secretary Mnuchin there answering reporters' questions on Capitol Hill about this trillion-dollar number, the number that the White House wants the Senate to green light in terms of helping inject this number into the U.S. economy specifically of the trillion. And $250 billion would be checks, cash sent to Americans in need in these tough times.

Also just in, staggering new numbers out of Italy. The number of cases now tops 31,000 and the death toll surpasses 2500. The country is at a breaking point with hospitals overflowing.

And Thea Duncan is an American and among the millions in Italy in quarantine. She lives in Milan with her husband and baby boy. Her son is now with his grandparents during the quarantine. But she moved to Italy to study and didn't leave. She now runs a tour company.

Thea, I see that smile. That is nice to see.


BALDWIN: Thank you so much for coming on with me.

And I mean, my goodness, we have all been watching all these stories out of Italy and all these drastic measures being taken.

First, are you and your family, are you healthy?

THEA DUNCAN, AMERICAN QUARANTINED IN ITALY: We're healthy. We're fine. I actually have to say I'm recovering better than I expected. Really good, yes.

BALDWIN: Good. There are others who not with your circumstance, but just who point to Italy as, you know, like looking at the country and what not to do, what we're hoping to avoid.

And I'm wondering if you can just wind back the block and talk about, how did people in Italy first react in the early stages of the coronavirus outbreak.

DUNCAN: Well, I mean, it more or less started about three weeks ago and, of course, now it feels like a year ago. I remember when the minister of health here in Milan was talking about the first cases and what was done and not done in terms of isolating that person.

And, you know, just very quickly escalated. I'm going to say that initially the reaction when everybody was thinking and a lot of people in the United States was saying that it is just a flu. And so the vast major people went on with their regular lives.

Shortly thereafter, the Italian government, especially here in Milan, they closed down schools and daycares, and which is why my husband decided to have my son stay with his grandparents because he was still working and I was out of the country traveling so I couldn't stay with him either.

And even then, a lot of people just kind of took it for granted. I definitely took it for granted. They basically said, you know, it is just a flu.

Once the government came and they said, no, things are shutting down, no, everybody has to stay home, you cannot be moved, I'm happy to say that the Italian people have really rally rallied together --


BALDWIN: Forgive me, Thea, let me jump in and come back to you there in Milan.

We now go back to Capitol Hill and listen into the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): -- and quickly into the hands of American families.

We also need to move swiftly and boldly in a measured way to help America's small businesses survive this disruption and thrive on the other side of it.


In particular, we are preparing bold steps to make sure that Main Street can access liquidity and credit during this extraordinary time.