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Pandemic Crisis Worsens With Cases In All 50 States; Trump Lashes Out At Democratic Governors Over Virus Response; People Helping Others Get Through The Virus Outbreak. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired March 18, 2020 - 07:00   ET



JOHN BERMAN, CNN NEW DAY: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is New Day.

The time for half measures is over. History will not forgive us for waiting an hour more. Those are the words from the mayor of San Jose in California. And our Dr. Sanjay Gupta is trying to send the same message that America is still woefully underprepared for the coronavirus pandemic.

Here is situation this morning. All 50 states have now been contaminated by the coronavirus. Across the United States, there are more than 6,000 confirmed cases. That number though is certainly higher. We're only beginning to test. 112 people have died. It's up nearly 30 percent in 24 hours.

The White House is scrambling, calling for $45 billion in emergency relief from Congress. The administration is also asking for nearly a trillion dollars from Congress in economic aid. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is warning the unemployment rate could skyrocket to 20 percent, 20 percent if nothing is done.

Despite the stimulus discussions, could be another rough day on Wall Street. Overnight, U.S. Stock Futures plummeted about 4 percent. That's where they are this morning following European markets.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN NEW DAY: Also new, in Northern California, lockdown is expanding to nearly 8 million people. This was the front page of the San Francisco Chronicle yesterday in huge type, it says, quote, stay at home.

New York City may be considering a similar shelter in place order, but that notion has triggered a disagreement between the mayor of New York City and the governor New York State.

Countries around the world are tightening their travel restrictions this morning. European leaders have decided to ban non-essential travel to the E.U. for 30 days. Limits on U.S./Canada border crossings are also in the works and details could be announced as soon as today.

Also breaking overnight, on the political front, Joe Biden sweep three primaries, Florida, Illinois and Arizona. He has expanded his delegate lead. The former vice president is now more than halfway towards capturing the nomination. He has 1,086 delegates to Bernie Sanders' 772. We will have more on the presidential race and how the coronavirus is impacting voters. That's coming up.

But joining us now for the latest information on the pandemic, we have CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, and Dr. Peter Hotez, he is the Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. Great to have both of you. We rely so much on you every morning.

Sanjay, what of all the news things that we've just outlined, where are we this morning?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think one of the big concerns obviously this morning is the impact of this virus on healthcare workers. We've been hearing the threat, obviously, to healthcare workers. We've arrived at this idea that healthcare workers are more vulnerable. They're taking care of the sickest patients, obviously. And it could be that because of them taking care of sick patients, they're getting increased loads of virus into their system. I don't know. We also know that -- I'm hearing stories of people not having enough of the personal protective equipment, the PPE.

So, look, I mean, this is one of the big concerns. And as much as we talk about this virus and obviously this virus can be very deadly, I think one of the concerns in places that have had the highest fatality rates is in addition to the virus being deadly, it was the healthcare system's response or inability to respond as well as they would have liked to in some cases.

So what's driving fatality rates? Virus, yes, but also the difficulty of response. And if we take healthcare workers out even for a period of time, for 14 days of quarantine, you could see what that leads to.

BERMAN: And, Dr. Hotez, you look at this right now and you sound the same alarms that Sanjay is sounding. You say that the decisions we make and the actions we take, from the top to the bottom today will determine whether the United States becomes Italy, where the death rate is incredibly high with this. And you talk about the medical workers, the frontline healthcare workers. But you're also very concerned about the fact that Americans are underestimating the effect of coronavirus on young people. What are your concerns here?

DR. PETER HOTEZ, DEAN, NATIONAL SCHOOL OF TROPICAL MEDICINE AT BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE: Yes, absolutely. And Dr. Gupta is absolutely right. I'm also very concerned about healthcare workers. Look, my big picture concern is that we're not taking lessons learned from what's happening in Italy and we're starting to look like Italy, making a number of tactical -- I wouldn't call them errors, but not taking it seriously early on.

We've already had the delay in testing. So we already have pockets of transmission probably that we're already not aware of. That means we're going to start seeing an increase in number of cases, increase in the number of admission to hospitals and ICUs that are already pretty much working at capacity. The big concern then is when I say we're looking like Italy, it means we're going to put incredible stress on the health system. We're already seeing healthcare workers getting infected with this virus, either being taken out of the workforce. We've had the story of two emergency room physicians are critically ill at this point.

The point is, these are our vulnerabilities that we are going to allow our health systems to be overwhelmed, our hospitals and ICUs, not having the ventilators, not having the beds, not taking adequate care of our health professionals to feel like they're protected. And what we don't want to happen is a tragic situation where colleagues are taking care of colleagues in an ICU setting. We know that doesn't work. That's when things become very destabilizing.

I've said a couple of provocative things over the last few weeks. And each time I've done it, I've done it deliberately in order to sound the alarm. The first time was in front of Congress. I talked about this being the angel of death for old people in nursing homes, to get that one moving. And then I said a couple of days ago on this show, large numbers of healthcare providers go down out of the workforce or we have colleagues taking care of colleagues in the ICU, that's lights out. That will destabilize the whole system and things fall apart rapidly.

So we have to do -- these are -- what I want to hear from the White House in the coming days or immediately is what's the plan for how we're going to manage the surge capacity and take care of our health providers.

And last night on CNN, Dr. Gupta gave this very impassioned plea also about young people not taking this seriously. And I couldn't agree more. And I don't think I've ever seen Dr. Gupta so emotional about an issue. But he's absolutely right. Because what this means, and it's related to the healthcare issue, if we have large numbers of young people not taking this seriously, that's only going to be more admissions to the ICU, more admissions to the hospital, which includes young people. Because in Italy, we're starting to see young adults now get seriously ill.

So this business that it's only affecting old people, the healthcare workers is not even true. We all sort of now starting to see young adults getting sick as well. And this is the situation we've seen in Italy. We're looking more and more like Italy every day. This could happen here.

CAMEROTA: Sanjay, that's going to get a lot of people's attention. The idea that younger people are going to get sick, I think there's been a feeling that, well, okay, this is bad. It's really bad. But we sort of understand that we have to watch our 70-year-olds and over. And thank God it's not affecting children and young people. Do you think that that -- we are on the cusp of something changing there?

GUPTA: Look, I mean, Alisyn, no matter how you look at it, whether you think it's going to affect you directly or not, we're all in this together. We should all be behaving as if we could potentially be carrying the virus. Yes, I mean, look, Peter Hotez is the guy we all turn to and try and learn from. And when he says that obviously this can affect young people, he's right and we've seen that.

But I think it's a little bit missing the point. I think what has struck me so much is that we know what we need to do. I think people have understood that this is a virus. It spreads between people. To explain how it spreads between people. And yet, it seems like everyone is looking for the loophole, the excuse to sort of skirt the recommendations that are being made.

I mean, I think it's been great that the federal government has been more precise in the language, although it's still like is it ten people, is it 25 people? Can I be outside with somebody, right next to them, not -- all these things are just sort of trying to find excuses. We're dealing with something that's not good.

I mean, look, nobody likes what's happening right now. This is mother nature, nobody's fault. But we have to deal with this and we will get through it. It will be several months probably.

But if we don't behave and keep looking for the -- can I find the excuse to sort of do something I'd still like to do even though I know it's probably not right? But this precisely what the recommendation here said. So let me parse the language and figure it out. You need what you need to do. Do it. I think that's the point.

BERMAN: Sanjay, I'm with Dr. Hotez here. I haven't seen you act or react this way at anything this way. And then yesterday, it was the picture that people in San Francisco who are under this shelter-in- place order and, look, they've been told they can walk their dogs and go for a walk. But as you said, it seems that there are a whole lot of people taking advantage of that.

So whether you call it shelter in place, whether you call it self- isolation, whether you're limiting groups of people, what do people have to do? Just say it clearly so people know.

GUPTA: Well, no one, I think, was trying to pick on San Francisco. This is happening all over the country. You have to social distance yourself. This is a virus that can spread from person to person, right?


They say six feet. Everything is a little bit arbitrary here. I'm used to giving you data based on ten years. This is just a few months.

And, again, Peter knows this stuff better than anybody and probably from labs like Peter's, we're going to find a way out of this. But you need to separate yourself from people. If you are living with family at home and someone becomes ill in the home, then you need to really quarantine yourself in the home.

You have to behave -- this is the thing that struck me. You have to behave like you have the virus. You have to behave like that. I mean, that shouldn't be alarming because there's things that you can do then to protect yourself from getting sick and protect yourself from getting someone else sick. But you have to behave like you have the virus. And I think the actions will sort of follow from that. Slow down. Think about the surfaces you touch. Think about how many times you touched your face. Wash your hands a lot. All those things, all those basics which we've been saying for weeks, Peter has been saying for his whole professional career, we really need to abide by those things.

CAMEROTA: But Dr. Hotez aren't we allowed to go outside still and walk the dog? And aren't you encouraging people to get exercise? I mean, those pictures, the video that we show of San Francisco, people are trying to stay healthy and get exercise. Is that over?

HOTEZ: Remember what we're talking about here. We don't have a vaccine. We're work to go change that in our lab. We don't have a lot of technologies right now to apply to this. All we have are old- fashioned methods. And let's face it, we kind of missed our first chance because we were so slow in the diagnostic testing. So we allowed community spread to go on unobserved for quite a while. And all the modelers say that the longer you allow community transmission to go, the more likelihood you're going to get a big surge in hospital admissions and ICU admissions.

And you heard Governor Cuomo so eloquently described. It was very chilling. But what's likely to happen in New York, and that's going to likely happen in the other 50 states. So knowing that, this is now our second line of defense. It's our last chance to do something substantive to block this epidemic right now unless new technology comes along very quickly, which I'm skeptical of. It means social isolation, strict isolation is mandatory.

You know, if you need to go outside, I think -- I understand that. But you have to keep your distance away from individuals.

CAMEROTA: Dr. Peter Hotez, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, we really appreciate all the facts that you guys bring us every morning. Thank you very much.

President Trump is defending his response to the coronavirus and lashing out at some Democratic governors who have criticized the slow response. Michigan's governor joins us next with their very public spat.



CAMEROTA: President Trump lashing out at Michigan's mayor who criticized his administration's coronavirus response. The president then tweeted, failing Michigan governor must work harder and be much more proactive. We are pushing her to get the job done. I stand with Michigan. That governor Gretchen Whitmer, joins us now. Good morning, Governor.


CAMEROTA: So it sounds like you aroused the president's ire by saying what lots of people are saying, which is the federal government did not take this seriously early enough. Is that what created this public spat?

WHITMER: Well, thank you for that lead-in. I appreciate it. Just like Dr. Gupta was saying, the lack of seriousness on the front end, the slow response to what we knew was coming to the United States has made our jobs more difficult in trying to flatten the curve and contain community spread. I think I've said something that many have said. And for whatever reason, I got a reaction.

The point that I'm trying to make is that any tweak can either bolster the efforts that we are doing at the state level and it's Democratic and Republican governors have been really aggressive here or it can undermine it. And any steps to undermine, I think, put lives in danger and lengthen the time that our economy is going to struggle as a result of this coronavirus.

And so what I'm asking for is support out of the federal government. I want the same thing that governors across all 50 states want, and that is more testing, more personal protection equipment. We need all sorts of support in terms of resources so we can process tests and clear and swift guidance nationally.

We have a crisis that we are trying to manage in this country and it needs to be all hands on deck and everyone focused on the same goals.

CAMEROTA: Do you understand right now this morning why we don't have more personal protective gear for doctors, why we can't get those going, why we still don't have adequate testing, has that been explained to you?

WHITMER: I think it's the lack of seriousness on the front end and the planning that should have been done. One of the things I have done in Michigan and that my counterpart, Mike DeWine, has done in Ohio, just to name a Republican governor who is doing a lot of great work, J.B. Pritzker in Illinois, been on the phone with governors across the country and we have been aggressive in terms of closing bars, making sure that we take kids home from school, extending unemployment benefits and ensuring that anyone who tries to gouge the consumer during this crisis pays a price for it. We've got to act swiftly.

And I think the shortage of tests and all of these other important critical things that we need to combat this crisis is because it wasn't taken seriously enough in the early stages. And I'm hopeful that the federal government will get a lot more aggressive. I'm grateful for the work that Mike Pence is doing. And I think there are people in the administration who get it. But we all have to be on the same page here and have a national strategy.

CAMEROTA: President Trump says he's always known that this is a pandemic. He said yesterday, this is a pandemic. I thought it was long before it was called a pandemic.


WHITMER: Well, I mean, we can go back and look at tweets and comments for the last two weeks, three weeks. I can tell you what I did. I started my state emergency operation's center at the end of February. We didn't have our first case until last Tuesday. And between last Tuesday and now, it's climbed precipitously. We've got 65 officially as of 2:00 yesterday. I know that number is higher now. We'll have our next report out at 2:00 P.M. today.

What we're trying to do is communicate with people. You have to stay away from one another. We have to ensure we observe the CDC recommendations about social distancing. We have to ensure that we are doing the hygienic recommendations about washing hands and coughing into our sleeves. Every one of us has a role to play.

As I hear people say certain age groups are immune, I know this. In Michigan, we have a five-year-old that has tested positive for coronavirus. 43 percent of the people that we have tested and were under testing because we don't have enough kits are between 20 and 40. This is a situation that impacts everyone in every age group. And I implore people to take this seriously and to follow the orders and the recommendations that are coming out of our governor's offices and the CDC.

CAMEROTA: Yes. I mean, one of the things that has gotten a lot of people's attention and is very alarming is that we don't have enough hospital beds and ventilators.

There was a call between President Trump and the governors. And you were alarmed by what you heard on that call. Was it your sense that he was kind of delegating that responsibility or some would say shirking to the states?

WHITMER: All I can say is that it was strange to hear the federal government tell us to work around the federal government. That being said, we have asked for more leeway to ensure that we can do everything in our power to meet the need that we currently have.

CAMEROTA: And are you getting that leeway?

WHITMER: We are exploring conversations -- well, to some extent, we are exploring conversations with Michigan businesses to help make the medical gear that our physicians and nurses and frontline first responders need. But this really should be coming from the federal government. And I'm hopeful that they can ramp up their efforts to help states across the country meet our need because the American people are counting on us all to pitch in and do our part.

CAMEROTA: But very quickly in our little time we have left, you're saying that still today, the federal government is not giving governors and states enough guidance?

WHITMER: Well, I think that the guidance has been changing quickly. I appreciate Dr. Fauci's efforts. But a consistent, solid, transparent message that is informed by the best science and facts as we know them and lessons from other countries that didn't do this on the front end, I think, is really important. And that's where I think there's a lot of room for improvement.

CAMEROTA: Governor Gretchen Whitmer, we really appreciate you giving us a status. Thank you very much. John? BERMAN: So, this morning, former Vice President Joe Biden is expanding his delegate lead after winning three more states big last night. What decision will Bernie Sanders make about going forward? That's next.



CAMEROTA: Coronavirus has, of course, changed life as we know it. It's also bringing out the best in many people. You want evidence? Here is CNN's Martin Savidge.


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: These may feel like dark days with headlines of contagion, fear and hoarding. But human sunshine still exists. Random acts of corona kindness are everywhere.

Like a front porch in Columbus, Ohio, where a young brother and sister put on a concert for a 78-year-old neighbor who had shut herself off from the virus and the world. Dressed in their best, the six and nine- year-olds delighted their audience of one.


SAVIDGE: In Italy where so many have died and so many more isolated, they sing to each other from balconies. At night, voices echo through the streets with canine accompaniment.

In Spain, where they're also suffering, to say thank you to doctors and nurses battling to save lives, people step outside and applaud everywhere.

In Houston at Irma's Southwest Restaurant now ordered closed, a couple left something behind, a $9,400 tip to pay your guys over the next few weeks, the anonymous note said.

JANET MONTEZ, ASSISTANT GENERAL MANAGER, IRMA'S SOUTHWEST: This is beyond. I mean, I don't even have words for it. I just really don't.

LOUIS GALVAN, OWNER, IRMA'S SOUTHWEST: We have to let our staff know that we may be off of work for 15, 30 days, depending how long that is. The gift we got today should help soften the blow.

SAVIDGE: At a Cleveland watering hole also closing, a customer added a little something extra to his less than $30 bill, $2,500 for the staff.

When the NBA stopped the games, Cleveland Cavaliers basketball star Kevin Love started thinking about the arena staff without work. He donated $100,000 from his foundation to them, hoping others would follow his lead in their towns. They did.

Teachers may not be rich like athletes, but they have a wealth of knowledge, and on Facebook, many are sharing it to answer questions and help others learn.

Elsewhere, the elderly are on the minds of many. People offer to grocery shop for those who cannot work, may not want to leave their homes. Stores have began allowing older customers their own exclusive shopping hours to limit exposure to crowds.

And when coronavirus concerns prevented her from going into a North Carolina nursing home to show her grandfather something, a young woman stood at his window simply pointing to the engagement ring.

The virus forcing us apart seems to be bringing us together, closer than we've been in a long while.


Martin Savidge, CNN.