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Trump Starting To Have Army Corps Build Hospital Beds; Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck Discusses Trump Bringing In Army Corps During Coronavirus Emergency; White House: We Want To Send Americans Checks In Next Two Weeks; Italy At Breaking Point With Hospitals Overwhelmed; Large Spike In Spain As Death Toll Approaches 500; U.K.: Virus Outbreak Spreading Faster Than Expected; WEconnect Health Helping Those With Addictions During Coronavirus Emergency. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired March 17, 2020 - 13:30   ET



BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Here is the challenge in all of these cases. These are not particularly designed for infectious disease outbreak. The question remains, if medical personnel, if there are not a lot of them and if they welcome infected and if they're taken away from their communities because they're called up by the Reserves to go serve in another place.

All of these things are challenging to have enough medical personnel in the right place and having the beds to treat patients.

This is the beginning of a process where the Pentagon and the state of New York are going to talk. They're going to figure out what the Army Corp of Engineers could exactly do.

On the medical personnel question, we also know the Pentagon right now, inventorying it's stockpile of medical equipment, seeing what it has on hand, especially in a stockpile of ventilators and whether that could also potentially be made available in this emergency -- Brianna?

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: Barbara, thank you so much. Live for us from the Pentagon.

I want to talk now with Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck. He's a former senior medical officer with the CDC. He's a former Illinois state health director and former county health commissioner in New York.

You are bringing so much expertise to this, Doctor, we appreciate you being here to share it with us.

Vice President Pence, he says also the Department of Defense can help fill some of the void with shortages of medical supplies. They said they are not ready to release that equipment yet. Is this something that can wait?

DR. LAMAR HASBROUCK, FORMER SENIOR MEDICAL OFFICER, CDC & FORMER ILLINOIS STATE HEALTH DIRECTOR: No. The thing most troubling to me is I keep waiting for administration to really mount the full court press. I heard Sanjay Gupta saying it seems that the government is slow walking this whole response to the epidemic and our response is not commensurate with the state of emergency.

KEILAR: They also talked today about the FDA clearing the way for more testing and how states would have freedom to conduct tests. What do you think of that?

HASBROUCK: I think it is a great idea. I think it is long overdue. It is time to mount as full port press and everything we can do to get a better handle of what this epidemic is doing on what this pandemic is doing in the states. It's important.

We have to pull all the leverage now. I don't know what they're waiting on. I like the stricter guidance. Again, I think we can do better.

KEILAR: One of the other things is this idea of gathering of no more than 10 people, something the president reiterated. This is part of his 15-day plan. What do you think of that measure of 10 people?

HASBROUCK: I think that it is a step in the right direction. It does set a tone for kind of the importance of social distancing. I am glad to see states and local government looking at it all these recommendations as a floor rather than a ceiling, as many are being more aggressive than what's being suggested.

In terms of what everyday people should know, it is important to know the rationale behind it and signs of disease transmission than an actual number. It was 50, then 250, it might be six tomorrow.

If they understand the rationale behind it, less people and less risk, I think they'll self-police and naturally do what's right. Sometimes they may be a group of 15 or more or sometimes it is less than a dozen or less than five.

I think it is important to get that message across, less people, less risk.

KEILAR: You are a senior medical officer at the CDC for 10 years. What's going on at the CDC right now?

HASBROUCK: CDC is a data-driven agency. They crunch a lot of numbers. They're going to be monitoring, what we call surveillance, not only the coronavirus but probably influenza illnesses and other illnesses that can help to overwhelm the medical system as we are bracing ourselves for that.

They're going to be using that information to adjust and refine some of the guidance. They're going to probably try to get a better handle on these testings across the country and the density of the tests that's being spread out across the country. Folks want to know how many tests are being done. If we are not testing, we don't have a good handle of what's going on.

Lastly, and most importantly, is a communication strategy. They need to get on messaging. Unless you have a single health communication objective, the general public is kind of at a loss. We are kind of in the dark. KEILAR: Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck, thank you so much for joining us. We

really appreciate it.

HASBROUCK: Thank you. Thank you for having me, Brianna.

KEILAR: The White House and Congress holding emergency talks on a massive stimulus. This will include what industries would get bailouts and how the president is wanting to give cash to American soon. Andrew Yang will join me.

And San Francisco taking the dramatic action of issuing what's called a shelter-in-place order. What does this entail? And are other cities going to start following suit?


This is CNN special live coverage.



KEILAR: Americans are now being forced to rely heavily on deliveries. Amazon is seeing a surge in online orders. And to keep up with demand, the company is looking to fill 100,000 full and part-time positions and it's inviting people temporarily out of work to consider applying. Amazon says it will raise pay $2 an hour for employees with dealing with increase demand.

Right now, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin is on Capitol Hill trying to convince Republican Senators to combine two stimulus packages to fight the effects of coronavirus outbreak. One measure was already approved by the House. But a second measure is an economic stimulus plan that could be worth about $850 billion dollars. And a key part of this new plan would be putting cash into the hands of Americans in coming weeks.


STEVE MNUCHIN, TREASURY SECRETARY: You can think of this as something like business interruption payments for the American workers.

We are looking at sending checks to Americans immediately.

Americans need cash now and the president wants to get cash now. And I mean now, in the next two weeks.


MNUCHIN: I will be previewing that with the Republicans. There are some numbers out there. They may be a little bit bigger than what's in the process.


(END VIDEO CLIP) KEILAR: Andrew Yang is joining me now.

Obviously putting cash, money into the hands of Americans was a central focus of your entire campaign. Clearly you are happy to see this as a proposal, how would you see this working in this particular situation?

ANDREW YANG, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I am thrilled we are doing the right thing. It is vital to help tens of millions of American families to keep their heads above water during this time.

We know financial insecurity is pervasive in this country. Most families are not equipped to holdup on weeks or months. I am thrilled they're doing the right thing.

KEILAR: So you heard Secretary Mnuchin asked how much, he would not commit to a number. He says it may be more than in the press. How much do you think it needs to be here?

YANG: I think it needs to be a minimum of a thousand dollars per month for this holding up that we are experiencing. The CDC issued guidance of avoid gatherings for 50-plus, so that's two months.

Imagine we get money in our hands and keeping us afloat. We need to have the security knowing for every month of this crisis that we'll be getting an additional amount. In my mind, it should be a thousand dollars per adult and $500 per child.

KEILAR: I think we can see, looking around communities, is small businesses. They don't have the margins to just be out of business for two months and still have all this overhead. What do you want to see done here?

YANG: That's exactly the right problem. We have massive problems up and down the scale. It is pretty easy to find airlines and big companies and it is not hard to find us.

It is going to be difficult to identify all small businesses that are getting crushed right now and don't have access to credit. And the best of circumstances -- I was talking to a business owner yesterday who said they just make payroll in normal times and that this setback is going to mean they're digging out forever. They may never reopen their doors again.

And that's going to be playing out in small businesses around the country. The hardest to identify. We have to be very aggressive in trying to put resources in their hands.

This is not going to be business as usual after the crisis or maybe small businesses, many of them may never come back unless we do dramatic things to help them get back on their feet.

KEILAR: It is easy to see how some of them may have to close their doors and that's it. I wonder if the White House has touched base with you of any of your opinions and your plans. YANG: Their team has been in touch with my team. We are doing anything

we can to help. This is a crisis and we all need to pull together to try to keep the country strong and hold.

KEILAR: What do they want to know? Why have they been in touch with your team? I am curious of the exchange of the information.

YANG: Our team reached out, hey, we love to be able to help. We love any resources you have in terms of studies.

What cash in people's hands can do? It makes us not just able to pay our bills but it makes us stronger and healthier and mentally healthier. And improves our public's trust and our trust in each other. That's what we need in this time.


KEILAR: I wonder -- obviously like you said, individuals need help. You're in favor of cash in hand. Small businesses. Then there's big business, airlines, for instance. Which industries are priorities to you?

YANG: The American people right now is the priority. So they don't feel like they'll be running out of ways feeding themselves.

I am not concerned of the biggest companies because airlines and hotel chains and cruise ships. There's a massive setback to be sure but it is easy to find those companies and assure them up. I am confident those industries will come back when the economy revives.

To me, is the American people first and for most. And as we get through this, we see the light at the end of the tunnel, it's helping small businesses get back on their feet.

KEILAR: Andrew Yang, thank you so much to talk to us, as you, like so many Americans, are hunkering down at home. We appreciate it.

YANG: Appreciate it. Stay safe out there.

KEILAR: You too, sir.

As more Americans working from home, can U.S. infrastructure handle this surge?

Plus, Doctors are sounding the alarm over critical shortages in medical supplies as some European countries enacted drastic measures to stop the spread of coronavirus. We'll take you there, next.


KEILAR: The coronavirus has sent several countries around the world into nationwide lockdowns, now including France and of course Italy where the virus is showing no signs of slowing down.

We're learning there may be a critical shortage of medical supplies throughout Europe. We have reports out of Madrid, London and Rome.

First, to Barbie Nadeau with the latest on Italy -- Barbie?

BARBIE NADEAU, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Brianna, you know, the situation in this country is desire. We have 60 million people on lockdown.

The number of coronavirus cases continues to go up every single day. We're at 27,980 cases.

You've got to think on February 21st there were just three cases in this country. We're up to 2,158 deaths.

There's really no end in sight. The Italians are doing everything they can to try to keep the faith that this will stop soon.

KEILAR: In Spain, the number of cases is spiking drastically.

We have Scott McLean in Madrid.


SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The number of cases here jumped up significantly in the last 24 hours, now more than 11,000. Half of them are here in Madrid alone.

What is really scary is about 4 percent of the confirmed cases have resulted in death.

This is the Plaza Major, one of Madrid's most famous squares. It's normally packed. Today, it's almost empty.

This outbreak has had a massive impact on this country's economy. The prime minister just announced $200 billion Euros to try to do something about it. That's the largest injection of cash into the Spanish economy in this country's history -- Brianna?

KEILAR: Scott, thank you so much.

The United Kingdom says the outbreak is spreading faster than expected.

Our Nina dos Santos is in London.

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN LONDON CORRESPONDENT: Brianna, Downing Street is under immense pressure to explain why Britain didn't feel it necessary to impose more stringent measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus earlier, like other European countries.

So far, the official advice remains, for those over 70 and more susceptible, people with underlying health conditions, to put themselves into self-isolation even if they don't have symptoms. But large public gatherings have not yet been banned. Also children haven't been sent home from school.

These are things that could be on the cards pretty soon. KEILAR: Nina, thank you.

In the U.S., we'll speak live to the volunteer who just did the first vaccine for the coronavirus. Hear what happened.

And San Francisco taking the dramatic action of issuing a shelter-in- place order. What does that entail and will other cities start doing the same?

This is CNN special live coverage.



KEILAR: Life as we know it has changed. With the coronavirus spreading, our routines are different, the way we work, get food, care for our kids. You may be stressed out about your job, your ability to pay the bills.

Now imagine facing all of that while dealing with addiction. Those weekly or monthly meetings that keep you in check are being canceled, or the access that you have to your doctors becoming more difficult.

I want to bring in Daniela Tudor and tennis champion, Murphy Jensen, the cofounders of WEconnect Health. They're both in recoveries and have made it their mission to help save lives through their app by providing digital help for substance abuse disorders.

Thank you both. This is such an important issue.

And to you first, Daniela.

Coronavirus aside, let's just talk about a normal day, how widespread this issue is, and how many Americans struggle with addiction.


One in 10 Americans struggles with addiction. As you know, it's one of the largest public health crises of our time. On a weekly or daily basis, you are required and encouraged to go to in-person meetings, to do therapy and a number of other activities.

With coronavirus exacerbating this, closing down those meetings, and rightfully so, we saw there was just an enormous need to fill that gap. We decided on Friday to release some free online support meetings that anybody can join from anywhere in the world.

KEILAR: It's so important anywhere in the world, Murphy. As you all highlight, nearly everyone in recovery will relapse within their first year. Just from your vantage point, your personal experience, do you think that becomes even more likely to happen during this time for folks?

MURPHY JENSEN, CO-FOUNDER, WECONNECT HEALTH & FORMER TENNIS CHAMPION: I think that's a really important point. That someone like myself or Daniela in long-term recovery might have a more solid foundation and a grasp of what needs to be done to take care of my daily self-care support and routines.

For me personally, my phone has been ringing off the hook from families and friends whose children are just getting out of their first treatment center, or figuring out, how do I navigate this when the churches are closing down and the support groups aren't there?

I think leveraging technology and innovation to stay connected and plugged in is the most important thing I can do right now.

KEILAR: Daniela, tell us, you know, especially. People are on social media joking about drinking and quarantinis. But it's also showing that people are leaning on substances to cope. Walk us through how people can use we connect in order to have that connection they need for recovery?

TUDOR: Absolutely. These online might get we just released on Friday, over 2,000 people all over the country, in fact yesterday outside of the country have logged on.

It's for people who are experiencing any kind of substance use disorder or even disordered eating can join five time slots a day on a simple zoom link from

Out of that, the mobile, folks can stay accountable to their recovery plan on the app, as well as stay contacted to your peer recovery support specialists they can connect with virtually through video or the in-app messaging feature.

KEILAR: Murphy, just a final word from you, for folks trying to get through this and stay on track.

JENSEN: Well, it was my experience back in '96 with the Olympics, prior to recovery, that I personally had a relapse event being so close to the bombings in Atlanta.

So I know this is going to be hard for those that are new in recovery and those that are old in recovery. I think, you know, our company's mission is to save lives and help folks. It's always been my mission to share this.


We're going to get through this and this too shall pass and caution is your friend.

KEILAR: All right, Murphy, Daniela, thank you so much to both of you. That is it for me. NEWSROOM with Brooke Baldwin starts right now.