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NYSE To Close Its Trading Floor Starting Monday; Interview With Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY); U.S. Senate Approved House-Passed Coronavirus Relief Legislation; Americans Look To WWII As Health Crisis Deepens. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired March 18, 2020 - 18:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[18:00:01]

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: And we have just learned that the New York Stock Exchange will close its trading floor starting Monday, move to all electronic trading, after an employee tested positive for the virus.

Also, the U.S. Senate has just approved the House-passed coronavirus relief legislation that includes free testing and paid emergency leave. Negotiations continue on a $1 trillion stimulus package.

Tonight, the number of coronavirus deaths in the United States has climbed to 140, with almost 8,000 confirmed cases. And now President Trump is invoking what's called the Defense Production Act, giving him extraordinary power to order manufacturers to make supplies needed to fight the virus.

And the Pentagon is preparing to deploy two U.S. Navy hospital ships, one to New York City, the other to the West Coast. They will help treat non-coronavirus cases, easing the strain on hospitals in the United States.

Let's begin this hour with our National Correspondent, Erica Hill. She's joining us from New York City.

Erica, Governor Andrew Cuomo, he will be joining us in a few moments. The state just saw a very sharp rise in cases today.

ERICA HILL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There's a sharp rise, up 1,000 cases in one day, and the governor saying, listen, we're New Yorkers, we can do anything here, but we need to flatten this curve.

And the best way to do that is to cut down on the number of people who are around one another and also to increase the number of hospital beds. And he says he has the partnership of the president behind him.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I view it as a -- in a sense, a wartime president. I mean, that's what we're fighting.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): The president and I agree this is a war. And we're in the same trench. HILL (voice-over): As New York announces at least 2,300 confirmed cases, the most in the nation, and a jump of 1,000 in just one day, Governor Cuomo taking new measures to combat the spread.

CUOMO: And I'm asking for businesses to work from home, but, today, we are announcing a mandatory statewide requirement that no business can have more than 50 percent of their work force report to work outside of their home.

HILL: The executive order exempts essential services, including first responders, health care workers, pharmacies, and food delivery.

About 20 percent of the New York cases require hospitalization, making the need for additional beds increasingly urgent. President Trump responding today.

TRUMP: We're sending, upon request, the two hospital ships. They are being prepared right now.

HILL: The Navy ships will be sent to New York and the West Coast. Multiple states also putting out an urgent call for nurses, as the virus is now confirmed in all 50 states.

TRUMP: It's the invisible enemy.

HILL: Meantime, life continues to change, the border with Canada closed to all nonessential travel, across Northern California, nearly eight million Americans now told to shelter in place.

And in Kansas, children will be home for the remainder of the school year.

GOV. LAURA KELLY (D-KS): Unprecedented circumstances threaten the safety of our students and the professionals who work with them every day. And we must respond accordingly.

HILL: More confirmed cases across the sports world, the Ottawa Senators the first in the NHL to announce a player has tested positive. The entire team has to isolate.

And after four Brooklyn Nets players, including star Kevin Durant, tested positive, an NBA source telling CNN it's -- quote -- "crazy" more teams haven't tested players.

Meantime, pressure growing to cancel or postpone the Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo. In Florida, defiant beachgoers causing alarm around the country, while officials stress this is only the beginning.

GOV. GRETCHEN WHITMER (D-MI): As I hear people say certain age groups are immune, I know this. In Michigan, we have a 5-year-old that has tested positive for coronavirus. This is a situation that impacts everyone in every age group. And I implore people to take this seriously.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HILL: Our own Dr. Sanjay Gupta said, we all need to act as if we have the virus, and that keeps us and others safe.

And, Wolf, I do want to point out as well HHS saying today they would put out a regulation, so that doctors and medical professionals could work across state lines, if needed.

BLITZER: That would be very, very useful, indeed.

All right, Erica Hill in New York, thank you.

Let's get some more on the breaking news right now, the Senate approving the House-passed coronavirus relief bill.

Our White House Correspondent, Boris Sanchez, is joining us.

Boris, the president is invoking what's called the Defense Production Act. How significant is that?

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It is extremely significant, Wolf.

We have been hearing reports of shortages in hospitals of very needed equipment, masks, gowns, ventilators, et cetera, the president invoking this in order to allow the federal government to intervene and help produce more of these supplies.

[18:05:00]

But I want you to look at this tweet sent out moments ago. It is confusing. And it draws into question exactly what the president is doing with this Defense Production Act.

The president writing -- quote -- "I only signed the Defense Production Act to combat the" coronavirus" -- the president referring to it as the Chinese virus there -- saying: "should we need to invoke it in a worst-case scenario in the future. Hopefully, there will be no need. But we are all in this together."

That's despite the fact that we are already hearing that there is a need for these supplies. The question really is why this wasn't done sooner. The president was asked that today.

And, Wolf, he said -- quote -- "The crisis snuck up on us," a crisis that we have been following for weeks, if not months -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Very interesting, indeed.

All right, Boris Sanchez, reporting from the White House, thank you.

Let's get some more on all of this.

Joining us now, the Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo.

Governor, thank you so much for joining us.

CUOMO: Good to be with you. BLITZER: All right, so, earlier today, the New York City mayor, Bill

de Blasio, said there needs to be an honest conversation about whether a shelter-in-place order is necessary. And he said he's been speaking to you about that.

Did you talk with him today? What's the latest on that front?

CUOMO: Yes, I did.

I spoke to the mayor of New York City. I have been speaking to mayors all across the state. I have been speaking to governors all across the nation. Everyone is saying the same basic thing, Wolf.

We are seeing the numbers go up. That is problematic. We have to try to flatten the curve, because we don't have a hospital system that can manage this rate of input, right?

How do you bring the curve down? Density reduction at this point, you know, testing, but, really, it's about density reduction.

Today, in New York, we said only 50 percent of a company's work force can go to work; 50 percent has to stay home. We have also had other mandatory provisions.

So we are significantly curtailing the density, the work force. It's affecting businesses, but it's hopefully saving lives.

BLITZER: Did the mayor, Mayor de Blasio, ask you to implement what's called this shelter-in-place order?

CUOMO: What we talked about -- we talked about the options that we have, right?

You can close businesses. You can restrict travel, et cetera. I am not in favor of quarantining the city. I'm not in favor of imprisoning people. But, obviously, everybody wants the same thing, reduce the density, because density is where this virus communicates and transfers.

And keep people as -- quote, unquote -- "isolated" as possible.

BLITZER: Because the number of cases, especially in New York state, are rising dramatically. And it's the same story. It's the same story in neighboring states as well, I think 532 cases so far just today in New York state.

Will you get to the point, Governor, where a situation warrants what Washington state, for example, is now doing, a shelter-in-place order?

CUOMO: Yes, look, shelter in place is a little deceptive. It sounds like you are imprisoned in your home.

But that's not actually what it is. It says, you can go to the doctor, you can go to the store, you can go outside for exercise. So, I am not going to imprison anywhere. Individual mobility and liberty is the cornerstone of who we are. And there are ways to do this without that. The real question, Wolf,

is how -- the close-down of businesses. That's what is driving the density, right? And we went to 50 percent of the work force today. If that does not slow the spread of the virus, we will go higher on that, because that's what's driving density, people coming out of their homes to go to work.

Obviously, the flip side is, the more you close down businesses, the worse on the economy and on individual incomes.

BLITZER: Yes, but priority number one is the health of the people in New York, indeed, the health of people all over.

CUOMO: Yes. Yes.

BLITZER: And let me just correct the numbers, 532 cases in New York City, some 3,000 new cases in New York state.

And, as you know, Governor, the projection is, those numbers could double every day or two.

CUOMO: Yes. Well, you're right.

We're about 2,300 cases in New York state. The numbers change all day long, Wolf, because we're doing so much testing. Also, part of this is, people have to understand, because we're doing so much testing, we're finding the positives.

[18:10:00]

We read these numbers to suggest, well, now there are 2,300 cases of coronavirus in New York state. If you actually knew, there would be tens of thousands of cases in New York state. If you actually knew, my guess is there have been tens of thousands of cases, and people resolved and never knew they had coronavirus.

So it's not that the spike is saying the number of cases is going up by that number. It says, the testing is revealing more cases.

I think it is much more widespread than any of these numbers suggest.

BLITZER: And let me get your reaction to this tweet that the president just posted a few moments ago. I will put it up on the screen.

"I only signed the Defense Production Act to combat" what he calls "the Chinese virus, should we need to invoke it in a worst-case scenario in the future. Hopefully, there will be no need. But we are all in this together."

What's your reaction when you saw that? A couple of points. He calls the coronavirus the Chinese virus, and also saying he hasn't decided to use it yet, but he might use it down the road.

CUOMO: Well, look what this -- where this all comes down is, we're going to overwhelm our health care system with seniors, people who have compromised immune systems, who then get the virus, who need intensive care units, who need ventilators.

We don't have the capacity in the hospitals. We don't have the number of ventilators. You can't find enough ventilators. Everything I have heard from the federal government is, they don't have enough ventilators.

Wolf, I have people in China right now trying to buy ventilators. So it's going to overwhelm the capacity of the health care system. That's what we're all focused on. I have spoken to the president. I spoke to him this morning. We have had our differences in the past.

I said, forget that. Democrat, Republican, we're all Americans. Let's work together. We're working in partnership with the federal government now. I met with the Army Corps of Engineers this afternoon to actually convert hotels, dorm rooms, et cetera, to hospital beds.

But if you do not have the ventilators, we have a major problem, because, even if you have the beds, if you don't have the ventilator, you don't have the care people need.

And that is -- that is the focus. How do we get those ventilators? I have been speaking to manufacturers. How do we make them faster? How do we redesign them to make them faster?

But it sounds -- it sounds almost silly that this entire situation, what is the obstacle, how many ventilators we can get.

BLITZER: And, very quickly, because he's getting some criticism for calling the coronavirus the Chinese virus.

Do you have a problem with that?

CUOMO: Well, I think it has certain connotations.

And, look, I'm in New York. I am very sensitive to any stereotypes, any cultural references, any racial references. We have had some instances here in New York where Chinese people were attacked, being blamed for the virus.

So, obviously, I don't think that's helpful.

BLITZER: Earlier today, the president announced that a U.S. Navy hospital ship is going to deploy off the coast of New York City. Another ship will deploy out on the West Coast to treat people, not with coronavirus, but to make available beds at hospitals in New York and elsewhere, so that -- so that patients without coronavirus can go to these Navy ships.

What do you make of that?

CUOMO: Look, I think it's helpful.

The U.S. Navy ship Comfort is coming up. It's supposed to be here about mid-April. Just as you said, it could allow us to take people out of a hospital and put them on that ship. For some reason, it doesn't do people with a coronavirus, but it could backfill for a hospital.

But, again, Wolf, it's going to come down to the point of whether we have beds, yes, but whether we have the ventilator with those beds. This is going to be a respiratory illness. It's going to be someone with emphysema, someone who's battling cancer, and now has pneumonia.

They need those ventilators. So, even if we get the beds, if we have a bed without a ventilator, we're not going to be able to help these people.

BLITZER: You think moving these hospital ships off the coast of New York and out on the West Coast is a good first step in deploying the U.S. military to deal with this crisis?

CUOMO: Well, look, I have been calling on the president specifically to deploy to deploy the military.

[18:15:01]

I said that this is going to overwhelm the states, it's going to overwhelm the health care system. The states don't have a capacity to build. I don't have a work force to do that. I can't retrofit buildings to be hospitals.

So, this was always going to come down to the federal government taking the -- taking the lead, every country that has done this Wolf, China, South Korea, Italy, it's been a national effort, right?

So I think the president gets it. He's -- when I speak to him on the telephone, he sounds like he gets it. His public comments have changed in tone.

I can tell you that -- had a conversation with the secretary of defense. I had the Army Corps of Engineers here today. So, they are mobilizing. And I think it's a good thing. And I want to encourage it.

And I told the president, look, we have had many, many differences. I don't think there's been a governor in the country who has had more differences with President Trump than myself. And I have been vocal about it, and he's been vocal about it. And that's OK.

But we have to work together now. This is literally about saving Americans -- American lives. And it has nothing to do with politics. And as much as the federal government can do, the better.

I was HUD secretary, as you remember, under President Clinton. I know how powerful the federal government can be when mobilized. And we need the greatest federal mobilization we have ever seen, because the president's right. This is a war.

And that's how we're taking it in New York. I am pulling out all the stops. We are doing everything we can. And I hope the federal government does the exact same thing.

BLITZER: Yes, you're right. So many lives are on the line right now. You have spoken about your order for most New York businesses,

Governor, to cut he number of people they have working in their offices or facilities by, what, 50 percent.

What sort of reaction have you been getting to that? Are the businesses out there complying?

CUOMO: Interestingly, Wolf, I have taken all sorts of dramatic actions, closing schools, gyms, restaurants, quarantining close to 10,000 people, and now saying to businesses, you have to cut the work force by 50 percent.

Things like this have never been done. I have not been legally challenged once on any of these things. I reached out to the business community. I'm talking to everyone.

But I think they get it. I think everybody gets it in this case. And they understand what we're talking about and what we're dealing with. So it's -- it doesn't make people happy, right? They see now the economic crisis that we are creating today, literally. And that's looming down the road.

But they get, one crisis at a time. We're in the middle of a health crisis. Let's deal with this. So, the businesses weren't happy, but they are cooperative. And kudos to them, I will tell you the truth.

BLITZER: Yes.

Well, Governor Cuomo, thanks for everything you're doing. These steps clearly are designed, and I'm sure they will succeed, in saving the lives of a lot of people out there. This is a real crisis we're all facing. Thanks so much for joining us.

CUOMO: Thanks, Wolf.

BLITZER: Just ahead: President Trump says he sees the country on a wartime footing right now and himself as a wartime president, amid this coronavirus crisis.

We will talk about his response to the pandemic with "The New York Times"' Tom Friedman. There you see him. He's standing by live.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:23:03]

BLITZER: Major new developments tonight in the coronavirus pandemic, including President Trump now invoking the Defense Production Act, giving him extraordinary power to order manufacturers around the country to make supplies needed to fight the virus.

Let's get some more analysis. "The New York Times" columnist Tom Friedman is joining us right now. He's the author of "Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist's Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations."

Tom, thanks very much for joining us.

How do you rate the president's response to this pandemic so far?

THOMAS FRIEDMAN, COLUMNIST, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Well, Wolf, I'm glad that the president has started to describe this as a war. It is a war, but there's really only one battle right now. And that's the battle to prevent this pandemic from exponentially spreading.

And there's one thing he has got to focus on over and over nationally every day, and that is telling people, stay home, self-quarantine as much as you can in place, in your home.

This disease presents itself within five to 12 days in most cases. If we can get people to stay home for the next two to three weeks, OK, if you don't have it, great. If you do manifest it and you're young enough to get over it, even better.

If you do need hospitalization, then we can get people tested and hospitalized properly, and we can buy time for the system to work. That is all that matters, Wolf, because you could have a bailout today, you can have a bailout next week. If this pandemic exponentially grows, there is no bailout big enough to bail out the shutdown of the U.S. economy.

We can actually do this. Other countries can. And the president just has to have that one message over and over, stay home, self-isolate for a few weeks. We can do this.

BLITZER: Yes, that's an important point, indeed.

In your new column in "The New York Times," you offer some analogies to help us better understand the exponential spread of the coronavirus. And that is so critically important to grasp.

[18:25:02]

I want you to elaborate a little bit on that.

FRIEDMAN: Well, I was talking to my friend Bill Joy, who is a computer scientist, very well known.

And Bill made the point, say you borrowed $1 from a loan shark, Wolf, and he charged you 25 percent interest a day. Within 40 days, you would owe that loan shark $7,500. If you waited another three weeks to pay him, you would owe him almost a million dollars.

That's an exponential. That's exactly how this disease metastasizes as well. It just keeps doubling and doubling and doubling. But if we could stop it in its tracks, give time for the health care system to adjust, get the tests prepared by getting everyone to stay home -- Wolf, those pictures of the beach of Clearwater, Florida, were obscene.

Are these people crazy? Do they think they're living on another planet? OK? Get -- stay home, let the system work, identify the people who need care. Those who can get over the virus who are young enough and healthy enough, great. By the next week, in the next three weeks, we could do this.

But the president needs to be on TV every night telling people to do that.

BLITZER: Yes, it's an important point. We're showing some pictures of those beaches.

You also write this.

And let me quote: "We have not even begun to fully grasp what the A.C., after-coronavirus, world will look like."

What are you bracing for?

FRIEDMAN: Well, the thing that worries me most right now, Wolf, actually is what's going on with the U.S. and China.

We're talking about the world's two largest economies. We're talking about actually the world's two largest centers of scientific excellence. And the fact that we have thrown out Chinese journalists, China is throwing out our journalists, so we are not going to able to report on what's going on there, at a time when we should actually be collaborating more closely than ever.

I think that is just so reckless. Trump needs to be doing two things. One is get on the phone with Xi Jinping and simply say, I'm lifting all the tariffs. We got to have the supply chains work. We can deal with the tariffs later. Let's you and I set up a coordinating committee. Your journalists can stay here. Let our journalists stay there.

We need to be communicating with each other every single day. At the same time, the president should be convening the G20. We should have a working group of the G20, the world's 20 largest economies, meeting every day, sharing ideas, sharing information, sharing cures, sharing what works.

The idea that we're all going it alone, this has never happened in a global crisis before. The world depends on our help, and they depend on our leadership, and no one can lead other than the United States.

But if we don't, one of the things that's going to happen A.C., after corona, is, it's going to be a China-led world.

BLITZER: Well, this is a time for global cooperation in dealing with this crisis. There's no doubt about that.

Tom Friedman, as usual, thank you so much for joining us.

FRIEDMAN: My pleasure, Wolf.

BLITZER: All right just ahead: Can you go outside if you're told to shelter in place? We're going to hear what the experts are now saying.

And we will also talk to the mayor of San Francisco, London Breed. Residents of her city, millions more in the Bay Area, they are under a shelter-in-place order.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:30:00]

BLITZER: Millions of Americans are being told to shelter in place tonight as the coronavirus pandemic spreads. But does that mean you shouldn't go outdoors at all? Brian Todd is working this part of the story for us. Brian, you spoke to experts, what are they telling you?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They're giving us all sort of good advice in all of these, Wolf. You know, as you mentioned, there have been people in the San Francisco area, many of them observed out walking, jogging, rollerblading. They are allowed to do this even under the shelter in place orders in the city. Is it a good idea though? And how should we behave when we're outside? We did consult health experts about that.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TODD: Along San Francisco's Waterfront Walkway, the Embarcadero, people walk, jog roller skate during a shelter-in-place order from the city, in effect until at least until early April. These folks were ordered stay at home, but there is an exception for what are deemed essential activities, and walking, hiking and running are allowed if people take six feet away from each other.

DR. JEREMY FAUST, EMERGENCY ROOM DOCTOR: We do need to be out and about. And I think the guidance that says do those things but keep your distance, I think that's very prudent because we have to stay true to who we are.

TODD: What about touching common surfaces outside? We observed people playing volleyball in D.C.

PROF. JULIE FISCHER, MICROBIOLOGIST, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER: They are touching the same surface. If anyone has coughed or sneezed, it's possible that they are transmitting to each other's hand.

TODD: But expert say that risk could be lowered if they wipe the ball with sanitizing wipes and wash hands after they play.

In Florida, beautiful weather still drawing crowds to some beaches that remain open with people in close proximity to each other.

Not concerned about health?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. Probably we should we be more so but --

TODD: Not a great idea, the experts say.

FISCHER: I think you should be taking the same precautions outside that you would take inside. The recommendation is six feet away, smaller groups of people, not mixing large groups of people in close proximity where they could cough on each other. TODD: Getting some fresh air and getting some exercise can help everyone keep it together in a crisis. But authorities plead keep your distance and avoid groups.

[18:35:01]

Young people, especially, maybe tempted to go out.

DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: They will feel totally invincible or are feeling that way. But they don't realize that they can be carrying lots of bad things home to their grandmother and grandfather and even their parents.

TODD: In San Francisco, couples were observed holding hands while walking outside. Is that a good idea?

FISCHER: If you live with someone, you're sharing a household or are a close proximity to them and neither of you are symptomatic, then holding hands with that person that you're exposed to all the time is low risk activity. But you should both be very conscious about washing your hands frequently and avoiding touching your face, eyes, nose.

TODD: If you live with family, that's another factor in deciding how much you want to go out.

FAUST: I live with my wife and our daughter, and they're out for a run in the stroller right now as it happens. But it might be different if we were living with an elderly relative who has chronic medical conditions or whose immune system is compromised in some way.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TODD: Health experts say that in some cases, being inside for a long period of time could make an otherwise healthy or symptom-free person maybe susceptible to illness. They say you don't get the kind of vitamin D you would get that we -- you know, that our body creates when we're exposed to sunlight. And if you're cooped up or isolated inside for a long period of time and you develop at least a bit of depression, well that could actually compromise your immune functions. Wolf?

BLITZER: Indeed. Good report, Brian. Thank you very much, useful information.

Joining us now the mayor of San Francisco, London Breed. Mayor, thank you so much for joining us. I know you're working really hard. We're grateful for the time you're taking to share with our viewers.

As you heard, there seems to be some confusion around the term shelter-in-place. What are the residents in your beautiful city permitted to do right now?

MAYOR LONDON BREED (D), SAN FRANCISCO, CA: So the people in San Francisco are definitely permitted to go out, to run, to exercise, to ride bikes. This is not about a vacation. But if people are in the same household, they don't necessarily need to keep the distance from members of their household. It would be impossible for them to do that.

I think, ultimately, it's not a fair assessment to say that people are just out and about and not necessarily following the social distancing protocols that we've put into place because they are. You see the buses are empty, you see the roads are empty. You see people doing everything they can to comply. We're a big city. This is a transition. This is like nothing we've ever experienced before and so people are making adjustments.

But for the most part, I truly believe that so many of our residents are complying with this order because they understand its impact on public health. This is about public health. This is not a vacation.

This is not a time for a play date or a dinner party at your house or bringing people together. We are making it clear as much as we possibly can to people that we want them to stay in their respective homes and we want them to get the exercise and the essential services and support that they need. But this is important to protect public health.

BLITZER: And it could save a lot of lives in the process. Well said. But what activities, Mayor, are actually banned under the shelter-in- place mandate?

BREED: So part of that, we basically -- the activities are the places that we've actually closed. So we have closed hair salons. We've closed barbershops. We've closed nail salons. We've closed retail shops. We've allowed essential services to remain open, like grocery stores, places where people can get gas, banks and pharmacies, cannabis locations for people who need marijuana for medicinal purposes. We want it to make sure that those essential services are available.

And for the most part many other businesses are closed. We have supported people going out, riding their bike, taking a jog, taking a walk, getting some fresh air for their part. And then we have provided the public with a list of things, for example, people have questions. Well, you know, can I visit my neighbor? We are basically saying, no, we don't want you to visit your neighbor. We want you to stay at home with your respective family members and we want you to only go out if absolutely necessary for essential services.

And so we are trying to make sure that we're educating the public about what that means because the ultimate goal is to prevent people from contacting one another. That could lead to the spread of the virus.

BLITZER: And it could be lifesaving as well, these recommendations. Mayor Breed, thank you so much for joining us. Thanks for everything you're doing.

BREED: Thank you so much, Wolf.

BLITZER: All right. Just ahead our Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, he's getting ready to answer your questions about coronavirus and how best to protect yourself and your family. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:40:00]

BLITZER: We're getting tons of questions about what we should all be doing during this coronavirus pandemic. And no one better to answer those questions than our Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

Let me read some of these questions, Sanjay. One question goes along the lines, I've heard the president say that not everyone should get tested. Why shouldn't -- the questioner asks, why shouldn't everyone get tested?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, obviously, there's been a problem with tests. We don't have enough tests. Ultimately, they're going to get to the point where they have enough tests and they can start to do surveillance in communities and things like that.

[18:45:00]

But for now, for people who are at risk because they've come from one of these places, overseas or even within the United States, where we know the virus is spreading, or you've come in contact with somebody who has diagnosed positive for the virus and you have symptoms then get tested. But not -- not everybody needs to go tested now.

BLITZER: Got a question -- another question, should you postpone a visit for a physical or a mammogram?

GUPTA: Yes, I mean, you know, for most wellness type visits if they're routine I think at least for a couple of weeks, maybe longer, you can postpone those things. Now, obviously if it's a mammogram that is following something there's something concerning and they're wanting to see if there's been any changes on your mammogram, that would be different. So, don't take this as a blanket "cancel all my appointments" type proposal.

Talk to your doctor about that specifically. But other wellness visits, you can probably put them off for a while.

BLITZER: Got another question, what does it mean to shelter in place? What does that mean to you, Sanjay?

GUPTA: Well, basically, what it means is only really go out if you -- if you must. I mean, you know, it's not -- I don't think there's hard and fast language. Typically shelter in place is given the context of storms like tornados and hurricanes. But here obviously we're talking about a virus that we want to keep people as socially, you know, separated as possible. Essential things, medicines, food, maybe if you're going to go get groceries, you can volunteer to get groceries for your neighbor.

A question comes up a lot about exercise. I love to exercise. I think you can go out and exercise, but, you know, stay -- you still keep separation between you and other people. And really focus on hygiene. If you're outside exercising, make sure that your hands are clean, that you are not a source of spread nor do you receive spread of the virus.

BLITZER: It's an important point, indeed.

Here's another question. Are there some over-the-counter medications that work better than others if you're diagnosed with coronavirus or fear you have it?

GUPTA: You know, this is an interesting point because there's been some recent studies and recent data that's come out of France specifically about this saying people who are taking these non- steroidal anti-inflammatories, things like ibuprofen or medications like that, they've had some bad reactions to some of the patients in France, not entirely sure why. But keep in mind, these anti- inflammatories, they may also suppress your immune system a bit.

So for a fever, for example, you better bet might be to take something like Tylenol.

BLITZER: We're going to continue to do this every day, Sanjay, because we're getting tons of questions. Thanks so much for joining us.

GUPTA: You got it. Thank you.

BLITZER: All right, just ahead, lessons for the coronavirus crisis from World War II. Stay with us.

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[18:52:14]

BLITZER: As the coronavirus crisis escalates, more Americans are looking to World War II as an example of what the country is now being called to do.

CNN's Tom Foreman is joining us with a closer look at that.

Tom, President Trump himself made that comparison.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and it's perhaps no surprise that he is referencing World War II. Remember, that was a time when President Franklin Roosevelt enjoyed almost unlimited powers, broad public support, and it worked.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

FOREMAN (voice-over): For iron will, patriotism and unified effort, the Second World War stands alone.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: To this day, nobody seen anything like it, what they were able to do during World War II, and now it's our time.

FOREMAN: In the 1940s under the War Powers Act, the president could effectively order industry to produce military supplies and prioritize delivery of military goods.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All work is war work.

FOREMAN: He could impose censorship, manipulate the economy, even suspend common rights such as when Japanese-Americans were locked up and importantly, Roosevelt commanded a vast expansion of the nation's medical capabilities.

Historian Douglas Brinkley.

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: It was during World War II that FDR unleashed our scientists and medical experts to produce penicillin for the first time, different types of medicines to fight malaria, new ways of doing skin grafts to help people that were burned. We've been living off of it ever since.

FOREMAN: The public widely supported the war effort with roughly one out of ten Americans serving the demand for labor brought women out in droves to take up tools on factory floor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How do you like it?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I love it.

FOREMAN: Challenges were met time and again, strictly enforced lights out air raid drills were conducted, rubber, gasoline, sugar and more were rationed. Many families planted vegetable gardens to deal with shortages and bought war bonds to prop up the soaring costs to the government.

Even Hollywood had a mission and movie after movie raising spirits and tying the home front to the battle front.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where you from, Joe?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Louisiana.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Louisiana, good.

FOREMAN: It was not perfect but it all worked well enough that more than a half century later, another president and other Americans are echoing the message of those difficult times.

BRINKLEY: Everybody should learn from World War II, we can get through it, we can win.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FOREMAN: To be sure, President Trump is not President Roosevelt and many of his critics are very hesitant about the idea of him accruing any more power right now, Wolf. But medical experts also agree no matter who is leading, the nation is going to have to pull together or, one by one, more of us will fall -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right. Tom, thanks very much. Good report.

More news just ahead.

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[18:59:26]

BLITZER: Finally, be sure to tune into CNN tomorrow night, 8:00 p.m. Eastern as Anderson Cooper and Dr. Sanjay Gupta host another live CNN global town hall, "CORONAVIRUS: FACTS AND FEARS", in partisanship with Facebook.

This is your opportunity to ask health experts the questions on your mind as we combat this fast-moving pandemic and to learn what you could do to best protect yourself and your family. Once again, tomorrow night, 8:00 p.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.

To our viewers, thank you very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.

You can follow me on Twitter and Instagram @WolfBlitzer. Tweet the show @CNNsitroom.

"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.