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Officials Warning Americans to Take Coronavirus Seriously; CDC: Many Hospitalized in U.S. Are Younger Adults; Trump Signs Coronavirus Emergency Aid Package. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired March 19, 2020 - 06:00   ET



DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASE: This is a work in motion. It's evolving. Every day we learn more and more.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A relief package passed by the House was then approved by the Senate and signed into law by President Trump.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have tremendous numbers of ventilators, but there's never been an instance like this, where no matter what you have, it's not enough.

MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D), NEW YORK CITY: There's a massive national crisis going on, and he is consistently late and very marginal in what he does.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): There are so many different problems we have to deal with. We can't be partisan. We can't be timid.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Thursday, March 19, 6 a.m. here in New York.

Hospitals and healthcare providers are bracing for the worst this morning as the number of coronavirus cases spikes. Here are the numbers for you.

There are nearly 9,000 confirmed cases in the U.S. That's a 45 percent increase since just yesterday morning. A hundred and forty-nine Americans have died.

This chart on your screen shows how the number of cases has steadily risen since last week as testing in this country has expanded.

And developing overnight, there's troubling new data that shows that people of all ages can get seriously ill from this virus. It's not just the elderly. The CDC reports that nearly 40 percent of the patients in the U.S. who were sick enough to be hospitalized were between the ages of 20 and 54.

The head of the White House coronavirus task force is pleading with young adults to take this outbreak seriously and stop socializing in groups, John.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: We're going to spend a lot of time focusing on that this morning, because it really needs to sink in.

Also, we're hearing new pleas this morning from healthcare workers on the front lines about a shortage of protective gear. Hospitals reporting shortages in staff.

Officials in Westchester County, New York, released a bulletin overnight, calling on all registered nurses, including retired nurses, to volunteer their services.

President Trump has invoked a wartime law to increase production of supplies, including ventilators. He signed one emergency funding measure overnight and is discussing some details of a $1 trillion -- that is $1 trillion -- economic package that could be finalized early next week.

Two members of Congress have now tested positive for coronavirus, both of whom were mingling and voting with colleagues as recently as Saturday morning.

Now, there is one hopeful sign from China this morning. A potential milestone if it is to be believed. For the first time, China is reporting no new cases from inside the country. It will be some time before we get there in the United States.

Let's go right to CNN's Brynn Gingras. She is live in New York where the number of known cases really spiked overnight -- Brynn.

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right, John. Good morning.

New York City seeing that very sobering number this morning. A thousand cases just over the last day. Governor Cuomo thinks that this state is going to see tens of thousands of cases.

Now, yes, part of that is due to more testing. But it also reemphasizes, as you guys have been saying, the impact this is going to have on the healthcare system. And we're really seeing that everywhere.

As you said, John, more nurses are being asked to come out of retirement and states all over. We're seeing Army hospitals going to both coasts. We're seeing a hospital in Georgia having to make their own surgical masks.

The president, along with other government officials, are saying we are at war with this virus.


GINGRAS (voice-over): President Trump signing a new new coronavirus aid package into law after weeks of downplaying the scope of the pandemic.

TRUMP: It's the invisible enemy. It's always the toughest enemy, the invisible enemy. But we're going to defeat the invisible enemy.

GINGRAS: The U.S. Navy deploying two hospital ships, one heading to New York City, where the mayor says there's a dire need for additional medical support.

DE BLASIO: We're almost to 2,000 cases right now in New York City alone. That's going to cause a surge into our hospitals. They are going to be using up their supplies rapidly in an unprecedented manner.

GINGRAS: New York's governor insists he'd prefer to avoid an order to shelter in place.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): We went to 50 percent of the workforce today. Obviously, the flip side is the more you close down businesses, the worse on the economy and on individual incomes.

GINGRAS: But nearly 10 million northern Californians are experiencing just that, asked to only leave home for necessary activities like buying groceries.

MAYOR LONDON BREED (D), SAN FRANCISCO: The people in San Francisco are definitely permitted to go out, to run, to exercise, to ride bikes. 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.

GINGRAS: But in Florida, some beaches are still packed with young people celebrating spring break, ignoring calls to practice social distancing.

New CDC data shows adults between the ages of 20 and 54 make up nearly 40 percent of people needing to be hospitalized because of coronavirus. Officials begging young people to take precautions.

DR. DEBORAH BIRX, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE COORDINATOR: There are concerning reports coming out of France and Italy about some young people getting seriously ill and very seriously ill in the ICUs.

We cannot have these large gatherings that continue to occur throughout the country, for people off work to then be socializing in large groups and spreading the virus. You have the potential then to spread it to someone who does have a condition that none of us knew about and cause them to have a disastrous outcome.

GINGRAS: President Trump disagreeing with his treasury secretary, Steve Mnuchin, who warned the country could see a 20 percent unemployment rate because of coronavirus if there's no intervention.

TRUMP: No, I don't agree. That's an absolute, total worst-case scenario.

GINGRAS: Meantime, many people already feeling the sting of the pandemic in their pockets. The Trump administration and Capitol Hill are working on ways to help, including a $1 trillion stimulus package with up to $500 billion in checks into the hands of some Americans; a $50 billion bailout for the airline industry; and up to $300 billion to support small businesses.


TRUMP: We have to help everybody. It was nobody's fault.


GINGRAS: Now, that plan is still being negotiated. Doesn't look like it will be finalized until next week. This as, day by day, governments makes more closures. Just in this area, now Pennsylvania has been banned with the tristate, and they've added shopping malls to their list of mandatory closures -- Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Every morning it is something big that you report on, Brynn. Thank you very much. We'll check back with you.

So doctors have an urgent warning for young people this morning. You are at risk of getting seriously ill from coronavirus. The new numbers that are changing our understanding, next.



CAMEROTA: Developing overnight, new data from the CDC shows that it is not only the elderly getting seriously ill from coronavirus. According to the new report, of the nearly 2,500 first recorded cases in the U.S., 38 percent of the hospitalized patients were between the ages of 20 and 54.

Joining us now is Dr. Celine Gounder. She's our CNN medical analyst and a clinical assistant professor of medicine and infectious diseases. And Dr. Rodrigo Kong. He's an emergency medicine physician at Staten Island University Hospital on the front lines.

Dr. Gounder, I just want to start with you, because we have been, I think, maybe operating under a false sense of security under the belief that this did not really impact young people. That people in their 20s, people in their 30s, people in their 40s.

Now the new data, not only the CDC, but coming out of who's been hospitalized in France and Italy, does it show that this is much more widespread for young people than we knew?

DR. CELINE GOUNDER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Well, we've already observed this in Seattle, which is the area that was hit hardest and first here in the United States. We saw 30- and 40-year-olds on ventilators out there. And just because the data may show that the mortality rate, so the

risk of dying may be higher among 70- and 80-year-olds and so on, that doesn't mean we as -- you know, I'm in my mid-40s and people in their 30s couldn't get very critically ill. Being on a ventilator is no small thing. And that can leave lasting damage in many different ways to the body.

BERMAN: Look, we can put this up on the screen so people can see it again. This is P-124. It shows you that 18 percent of the cases are people 45 to 54; 18 percent of the cases are people 55 to 64. You do the math there, I mean, that's 36 percent in this group that isn't over 64 at least. Not to mention the people 20 to 44. So younger people are getting this.

And one other stat. Nearly half of the 121 patients who were admitted to intensive care units were under 65. So some of the people getting really sick are younger than 65.

Dr. Kong, I want to go to you on what is the other urgent matter being dealt with right now, and that's the fact that the surge seems to be happening. And we're getting reports of shortages of supplies and shortages of medical workers in some of these emergency rooms around the country. Just tell us what you've experienced.

DR. RODRIGO KONG, EMERGENCY MEDICAL PHYSICIAN, STATEN ISLAND UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL: Sure. Good morning. That's right. There is definitely shortages of supplies throughout the supply chain, I'm hearing reports from my colleagues in different communities in the United States.

Luckily, in the hospital system that I work in, we actually have adequate supplies for now. But given the surge of patients that's occurring, it's very important that we take care of the supplies that we have and we use it judiciously.

BERMAN: What are you most concerned about? What -- what exactly are you in most need of, do you think?

KONG: For the moment, it's personal protective equipment, or PPE. So that would be gloves, N-95 masks and gowns. These things are used rapidly. They're changed in and out between different patient encounters. So in a single day, a hospital can go through a lot of PPE for all its personnel.

CAMEROTA: And Dr. Kong, because you're on the front lines, are you seeing lots of young people?

KONG: Yes. We have actually seen a lot of young people.

I want to echo what has already been said on your show that, while it is true that mortality is associated with more advanced age, that does not preclude younger people having serious disease. So we have seen people with serious disease requiring hospitalization. This is absolutely something that we're seeing.

BERMAN: I'll reiterate, once again, of the studies that have been done so far -- this is brand-new -- nearly half the patients who were admitted to the ICU were people younger than 65, which Dr. Gounder, I think, makes these images that we're about to show, put up on the screen here, so confounding and upsetting. It's these pictures of people on spring break in Florida, on these crowded beaches.

And then you hear statements like this. And I'll read this out loud. This is from someone from Miami yesterday: "If I get corona, I get corona. I'm not going to let it stop me from partying."

"I think they're blowing it way out of proportion."

How dangerous is a statement like that?

GOUNDER: Well, I think it's profoundly dangerous. You know, I think maybe trying to scare the young who think they're invincible may not be the right strategy here, though. I think trying to convince them of why they need to be caring for others in their communities, their parents, their grandparents and others that they care about, may actually be the better way to leverage their -- their good actions.

CAMEROTA: But Dr. Gounder, then we also hear from Senator Ron Johnson, trying to put this in a different perspective. And I just want to bounce this off of you, because I want your perspective on this.

He says, "We don't shut down our economy because tens of thousands of people die on the highways. It's a risk we accept so we can move about. We don't shut down our economies because tens of thousands of people die from the common flu."

Does he have a point that this is -- would you put this, the coronavirus, in the same category as automobile accidents and the common flu and that we go about -- or we try to go about our regular business with those?

GOUNDER: Well, so first of all, automobile accidents and the flu cause about 50,000 deaths per year. This is on a completely different scale. Second of all, I would argue that the economy is going to shut down whether we like it or not. And so the only way, actually, to get that going again is to address this issue with the coronavirus pandemic head on. And that's what's going to help us in terms of rebooting the economy.

BERMAN: Dr. Kong, one other bit of news in the last 24 hours, is that this naval vessel, the Comfort, is going to come to New York. This is a hospital vessel. And the goal is to assist with the overall medical needs of the community, not specifically coronavirus. In fact, it won't be housing coronavirus patients.

But explain when it gets here -- and it isn't coming for a while, unfortunately -- how it will be of assistance.

KONG: Well, with the flood of coronavirus patients that will be coming in, the most seriously affected of those will require higher-level care, perhaps ICU-level care.

In the United States right now, it's postulated that there's something in the order of 100,000 ICU beds. If there's a great surge of patients in the United States, they may not have the capacity to deal with all these patients at once.

So what would happen is not just the coronavirus patients need ICU- level care or serious medical care, but all other patients that ordinarily come into the hospital, not coronavirus patients, they would need care, as well.

So a ship like that coming to New York, a hospital, floating hospital essentially, an extra hospital could provide that care for those patients.

CAMEROTA: And it won't be here until April. But obviously, people are grateful, doctors are grateful that it is on its way.

Dr. Gounder, Dr. Kong, thank you very much for sharing all of your expertise with us this morning.

BERMAN: And thank you for what you're both doing.

So President Trump signing an emergency economic relief bill overnight. What is it in it and how it might be able to help your family. That's next.



BERMAN: Developing overnight. President Trump signed an emergency coronavirus aid package into law that includes paid sick leave for some Americans in quarantine and free coronavirus testing.

Now, the White House is asking Congress for a trillion-dollar economic stimulus package. A trillion dollars. Which could include $500 billion in direct cash payment to some taxpayers.

Joining us now, CNN chief business correspondent Christine Romans. She is the author of "Smart is the New Rich." And Richard Quest, CNN business editor-at-large.

I keep emphasizing the size of this relief package, which is enormous, Richard. But it's because this situation, I don't even think yet, as much as we talk about this, we fully grasp the economic situation we're in.

QUEST: Absolutely not. We haven't even started to.

Just think about your everyday life. Every restaurant and bar and club in New York, every gym in many parts of the country is closed. That is having ripple effects of which we are only just starting to see.

One person loses their income, they can't pay their rent. And so on and so forth.

The reality is that this money, this trillion dollars, is a very good start. But it is only a start. As a percentage of GDP, it is way lower than, let's say, the U.K., Spain or Germany has done.

The U.K. -- the U.S. will have to spend, or the view is between 3 to $4 trillion before this is over. So while it's an excellent beginning, lawmakers really are going to have to get used to the idea and not put the checkbook away.

CAMEROTA: Those are staggering numbers, Richard, for anybody to get their hands -- their arms around. And Christine, you know, there's a great article in CNN Business right now that says that $1 trillion deficit, which is what we had --


CAMEROTA: -- and zero percent interest rates is no way to go into a financial crisis.

ROMANS: Look, we squandered a decade of gains. There will be accountability at some point for that. But, you know, we were spending money and with very low interest rates while the economy was strong. And that gives you very little cushion when you have something go wrong, no question.

But no one is asking or talking about deficits right now. They need to spend the money. And Richard is absolutely right. This is a $20 trillion economy. A trillion is a start. But if you have this economy, essentially, stopped for say, two or three months, it's going to need more than a trillion when you're going to reboot it at the -- at the back end of that.

BERMAN: So Richard, one of the debates, the political debates over this, is where is the right place to put the money? Do we give it all in the form of checks to lower income taxpayers, or -- and this is where it gets politically dicey -- you know, bailouts to industries. You say?

QUEST: Every time I talk about bailing out the airlines or the hospitality, my email box overflows with people using vulgarities about those at the top.

This is not the time to go over the cliff on a matter of principle that you don't want to bail out some fat cats. That's the long and short of it. Get over it. You're going to have to bail out Boeing. You're going to have to bail out the airlines. There's simply no other way to do it.

You may put strings on it. You may -- each one has to follow best practice on executive pay.

But if you do not want a full-scale depression with the collapse of the airline industry and transportation in this country, then think about not bailing out the airlines. I promise you it will happen. Don't hang yourself on the principle of executive pay.


CAMEROTA: Christine, as you understand it, when will Americans begin to get checks?

ROMANS: They want to do it quickly. In the next couple of weeks, the treasury secretary said he wants to do it very, very quickly.

And we've done this before. We did it in 2001. We did it in 2008. The difference this time is those checks don't necessarily get deployed right away in the economy where you need it the most. You're not going to go to a bar or a restaurant and spend that money. Right? It's maybe going to help you with your rent, or it's going to help you stay solvent. But it might not have that -- the impact it has had in pastimes. Because the economy is -- is shut down.

QUEST: I'll just add to that, the evidence of the last time it was used, it was relatively successful. But it wasn't a rip-roaring success. Many people didn't spend it. They saved it. And it wasn't made available to certain immigrant communities --


QUEST: -- and certain households. So it was by no means the golden bullet that it's being portrayed.

BERMAN: I have to say, one of the things I am hearing most consistently from friends and people all over different sectors of this country is how do we know that this business that goes under, how do we know that this sector that's so badly hurt is going to come back? It's this anxiety, Christine.

ROMANS: And that's what you see in the stock market. You know, we don't have a playbook for this. This is a crisis. It's a completely different kind of set of circumstances.

You know, I heard one economist say there is light at the end of the tunnel. I mean, everyone knows that the economy can come back. We just don't know how long the tunnel is and what else is inside that tunnel, right?

So this uncertainty is really just kind of a desperate situation moment, and you're seeing that in the stock market. The Dow is more than 30 percent off of its most recent peak. That is -- the speed of this crash has been stunning and taken everybody by surprise, because we just don't have any clarity what this is going to look like.

And the unintended consequences of stopping an economy. We are stopping the American economy on purpose. The global economy on purpose. And then what is it going to look like when we restart it? We just don't know.

CAMEROTA: I have been so intrigued by that. Since you taught us that, Christine, last week.

Richard, I mean, the whole concept of we're shutting it down for our own protection. This is voluntary. I mean, we are shutting down bars and restaurants and theaters and all of our daily life for our own protection. So doesn't it stand to reason then when we turn -- when we flip that switch again, it can come roaring back? QUEST: I like the use of the word "can" as opposed to "will." Look,

because we don't know. It's like -- it's like planting bulbs in the garden. You plant lots of them. But you don't really know how many are going to come up.

And when you switch the economy on again, what about those restaurants that didn't survive --


QUEST: -- who laid off the workers, who now haven't got tuition money for their children. You know, you don't really -- we don't know how much.

And with that in mind, it's just very difficult when literally the whole world is in exactly the same position. There's no engine of growth.

CAMEROTA: Guys, Christine, Richard, we always appreciate talking to you. Thank you so much for all of the information this morning.

Now to some more numbers for you: 149 Americans have died from coronavirus. Up next, we'll tell you about some of the victims.