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U.S. State Department Tells Americans Not to Travel Abroad; Interview With Gov. Jared Polis (D-CO); Interview With Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL); Trump Cancels G7 at Camp David, Will Hold Teleconference Instead Due to Coronavirus. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired March 19, 2020 - 18:00   ET

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


[18:00:26]

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.

We're following breaking news.

Another other drastic move tonight aimed at limiting the spread of coronavirus into the United States from foreign countries. The State Department just issued a warning to all Americans to avoid all international travel, raising its advisory to the highest level.

This comes as the number of U.S. cases has soared well above 11000. And Italy is now reporting more deaths from the virus than China, where this pandemic began.

Also breaking tonight, the mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio, just warning that the city is expected to run out of critical medical supplies in two to three weeks.

Right now, let's go to our senior national correspondent, Alex Marquardt.

Alex, first of all, tell us more about this new level four travel advisory just issued by the State Department.

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Wolf, this really is an extraordinary advisory from the State Department. This is as high as it gets. This is as stark a warning as it gets from the State Department.

This is what's called a global level four health advisory. Of course, it is focusing on the health of American citizens. Level four is something that is normally issued for countries like Syria that is a war zone, or a country like North Korea, which, of course, is very dangerous for Americans to go to.

And, essentially, Wolf, what this advisory says is, if you're an American, don't go overseas. If you're an American who is already overseas, try to get home as quickly as possible. If you can't or don't, you may be stuck there indefinitely. I want to read you part of this advisory from the State Department. It

also says: "U.S. citizens who live abroad should avoid all international travel. If you choose to travel internationally, your travel plans may be severely disrupted, and you may be forced to remain outside of the United States for an indefinite time frame."

Now, of course, Wolf, there has been a dramatic reduction in the number of flights flying internationally. So it is rather complicated for Americans to get back home.

Of course, in the early days of this virus, we did see the U.S. government send charter flights to China and to Japan to get Americans home. It's unclear if that would happen in this situation.

The president (AUDIO GAP) earlier at the White House briefing what will be done about Americans stranded overseas. He said that he is working with the military to get them home. In particular, there is a group of Americans that has been stuck in Peru. The president mentioned that he's working with the military to get them out.

But we have spoken to the Department of Defense. They say that they have not gotten any request from the State Department. So that does remain unclear.

Wolf, the message here in black and white is, do not count on the U.S. government to get you home. If you're an American planning to travel overseas or an American overseas trying to come home, do not rely on the U.S. government -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Very disturbing development, indeed.

Alex Marquardt, thank you very much.

The new international travel warning reflects the growing alarm, as this virus spreads in the United States at a very rapid pace.

CNN's Nick Watt is joining us from Los Angeles right now.

Nick, you're following all the fast-breaking developments. What's the latest?

NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, we have just got a copy of a letter that Governor Gavin Newsom wrote to President Trump.

And in it, California's governor says that he is projecting that 56 percent of this state's population -- that's more than 25 million people -- will be infected within the next eight weeks. He's asking the president -- remember, that Mercy, that Navy hospital ship supposed to go up to Seattle?

The governor is asking for it to stay here in the Port of Los Angeles. Many governors across the country on a call today asking the president for supplies, for testing kits.

We are fighting a war, Wolf, with limited resources.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WATT (voice-over): It's here, it's spreading, the FDA now fast- tracking antiviral treatments, one currently used against malaria.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's going to be very exciting. I think it could be a game-changer, and maybe not.

WATT: A vaccine still sometime away.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): It has changed everything. And it will for the foreseeable future.

Carnival Cruise Lines now offering up its fleet.

TRUMP: If we should need ships with lots of rooms, they will be docked at New York and Los Angeles and San Francisco, different places.

[18:05:05]

WATT: A field hospital also now on U.S. soil, Washington state. Around 10 million Californians told to shelter in place, a $1 trillion national stimulus on the table.

KEVIN HASSETT, CHAIRMAN, COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC ADVISERS: If we just -- everybody stays home for six months, then it's hard -- it's going to be like the Great Depression.

WATT: Clusters cropping up, at least 46 positives now at this one Illinois care home, three dead, four others infected in just one extended New Jersey family.

DR. SEJAL HATHI, MASSACHUSETTS GENERAL HOSPITAL: Hospitals across the country are rapidly running out of masks, gowns, protective eyewear that they desperately need. We are being asked to reuse and recycle single-use respirators and surgical masks when we go see patients.

WATT: The CDC now advising, use homemade masks, e.g., bandana, scarf, for care of patients with COVID-19 as a last resort. And in areas with community spread, consider allowing asymptomatic take exposed providers to work while wearing a face mask.

Here is one face of this growing pandemic.

KEVIN HARRIS, CORONAVIRUS PATIENT: You choke. You throw up. The pain. The headache.

WATT: And here's another.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel like, we shouldn't, like, change, like, our lifestyles necessarily just because of, like, corona, especially because it hasn't been, like, affecting younger people. I think, like, that's why we don't take it seriously.

WATT: Some beaches in Florida are still open.

SEN. RICK SCOTT (R-FL): You have got to figure out how to get these people off the beach, unless you can figure out how to completely be isolated from anybody else. I mean, this is -- individuals have got to take responsibility.

WATT: Because, even if you don't suffer much, you can give this to others, although up to 20 percent of coronavirus hospitalizations in the U.S. are between 20 and 44, according to a new federal study.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: People need to pay attention, no matter your age.

WATT: Some U.S. congressmen have now confirmed they have the virus. Georgia's entire legislature told to self-quarantine for two weeks after a state senator tested positive.

CUOMO: I am not going to imprison anyone in the state of New York. I am not going to do martial law in the state of New York.

WATT: But they are considering converting New York City's hotels into hospitals.

CUOMO: Seventy-five percent of the work force must stay at home and work from home.

WATT: Netflix now reducing the bit rate on streaming in Europe, so we don't all actually break the Internet while we hunker down.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WATT: And I just want to repeat myself, in case anyone missed it. The governor of California believes that 56 percent of his state's population will become infected within the next eight weeks.

And while we're on numbers, let's talk briefly about ventilators. The governor of New York says he needs 30,000. He's only got 5,000 or 6,000.

Tesla, Ford and GM, we're told, are considering making ventilators, not cars. And, Wolf, I'm not sure if something like that has even been considered since the 1940s?

Back to you.

BLITZER: Yes, I think you're right, Nick Watt.

So alarming, all these developments.

Let's go to the White House right now. As the Trump administration tries to shut down international travel, it's also attempting to speed up potential coronavirus treatments.

Our White House correspondent, Kaitlan Collins, is joining us.

Kaitlan, we heard directly from the president earlier today, before the new travel advisory was issued.

What's the latest there? KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes.

And, at that point, the president didn't want to comment on it, Wolf. He really didn't go any further than that, and saying he needed to still talk to the State Department out about it.

And, of course, now it's official, but this comes as, during that briefing, one of the main things that the president was trying to tout was potential treatments for this coronavirus, as they are still developing that vaccine that professionals have said is at least, by minimum, a year away.

The president is touting other methods of treatment. But just moments after the president was speaking, we need to point out that the FDA commissioner, who was standing right over his shoulder, said it's going to take a while and he was urging caution about the timeline here.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TRUMP: I'd shake his hand, but I'm not supposed to do that. Get in a lot of trouble if I did that,

COLLINS (voice-over): Tonight, President Trump says his administration is fast-tracking antiviral treatments for the coronavirus.

TRUMP: I think it's going to be very exciting. I think it could be a game-changer, and maybe not.

COLLINS: The president claimed a drug currently used as an anti- malarial could be used almost immediately. But, moments later, his FDA chief emphasized the importance of testing and clarified that it's not ready yet.

STEPHEN HAHN, COMMISSIONER, FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION: What's also important is not to provide false hope, but to provide hope. FDA's responsibility to the American people is to ensure that products are safe and effective.

COLLINS: While the administration is planning for future treatment. health care providers say they are experiencing a shortage of supplies and need help now.

Overnight, the CDC issued new guidance, telling workers to use expired mask and even homemade ones like bandanas, if they run out.

[18:10:05]

(on camera): Use them beyond their shelf life, reuse them, instead some getting new ones, and in a worst-case scenario, use a bandana instead of a mask. How is that acceptable at all?

TRUMP: Well, I haven't seen that, but I will let Mike answer that question.

COLLINS (voice-over): The vice president says legislation Trump signed overnight will free up more mask for hospitals, though it's still not clear when they will get them.

(on camera): When will those masks be ready for -- because they need them, like, today.

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They're available now.

COLLINS (voice-over): The president claimed today it's not the federal government's responsibility to get supplies out, though the White House now says FEMA is coordinating it.

TRUMP: Governors are supposed to be doing a lot of this work, and they are doing a lot of this work. The federal government is not supposed to be out there buying vast amounts of items and then shipping. You know, we're not a shipping clerk.

COLLINS: While initially praising China's handling of the coronavirus, today, Trump said there could be repercussions since they shielded information about the outbreak.

TRUMP: Well, it would have been much better if we had known about this a number of months earlier.

COLLINS: Facing criticism for a slow response, Trump said his administration shouldn't be blamed for the coronavirus outbreak, because no one saw a pandemic like it coming.

TRUMP: This was something that happened that was, some people would say an act of God. I don't view it as an act of God, I would view it as something that just surprised the whole world.

COLLINS: A new report from "The New York Times" says otherwise, and That government exercises for an outbreak like this warned that the federal government was unprepared and underfunded.

The report says the warnings went unheeded by top government officials.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COLLINS: And, well, these government exercises had a clear message: The government is not ready for something like what we are seeing play out now.

And, unfortunately, one of the aspects that they did warn about, if something like a pandemic did happen, something like coronavirus, they said there were likely going to be equipment shortages, things like ventilators and masks.

And, unfortunately, Wolf, we are seeing that play out right before our very eyes.

BLITZER: Yes, we certainly are.

Kaitlan Collins, thank you very much. Joining us now, Republican Senator Rick Scott of Florida. He's a

member of the Homeland Security Committee. He's also the former governor of Florida.

Governor -- Senator, I should say, thanks so much for joining us.

We have lots to discuss.

But I want to quickly get your reaction to what we heard just now from the governor of California, Gavin Newsom. He just said this. And I will read it to you.

"We project that roughly 56 percent of our state's population, 25.5 million people, will be infected with the virus over an eight-week period."

Do you share that concern about the people in Florida?

SCOTT: I don't know what the number is going to be. But it's actually up to us.

If everybody does the right thing, if everybody's self-quarantines when they should, if we get all these testing centers up, and everybody that -- if you're around somebody that has tested positive, or your waiting to find out, I mean, you don't have a choice.

You have got to self-quarantine. We got to stop the spread of this. This thing spreads rapidly. So it's -- everything we're doing, it takes you as an individual. You got to show up and do the right thing. Don't -- don't go out if you don't need to go out. Work at home. Do everything you can to stay away from other people.

And if we do that, then I think we're going to do a way better job than that.

I look at it this way. We can go down a path to Taiwan, where I think they have lost one person so far and only had 108 cases this morning, or South Korea, where less than 100 people have died. Or we can go -- keep going down the path of -- towards Italy.

And so I believe that we're heading in the right direction, but if and only -- Wolf, we all got to do it, each one of us. I'm in quarantine. I was in the same room as an individual a week ago Monday that was tested positive.

So I immediately went into quarantine. Is it the most fun thing to do? No. But I have been able to be productive. I have called around the state. I have called mayors and hospitals. I have tried to get everybody to work together.

Today, I talked to the CEO of 3M. I have worked a lot on the supply chain today, just getting people to work together. That's basically what I did as a governor. How do you get people to work together to solve a problem?

BLITZER: Yes, it's a huge issue. I want to get to that quarantine in a moment.

But let me get your reaction to the other breaking news, the State Department issuing the highest possible level of travel advisory, as it's warning Americans not to travel at all outside the country.

Do you think that's necessary?

SCOTT: Absolutely.

We should shut down our border. And you -- give people notice. If you want to travel, we -- you might not be able to come back. We have got to stop this in its tracks.

So, close the border, get the testing done, isolate yourself. And at every level, governors, mayors, everybody's got to push this social distances, and we have got to work on the supply chain.

However we can get these masks made, we have got to. If we have to do it by hand, whatever we have to do to build these things, we have got to get the supply chain done, so we keep these health workers safe.

[18:15:03]

BLITZER: Well, tell us how you're doing. You're in self-quarantine. You have been in self-quarantine now, Senator, for a few days after coming into contact with someone who did test positive for the coronavirus.

First of all, how are you doing?

SCOTT: I'm doing fine. I miss my family, of course. And I love the people I work with, but I check my temperature every two or three hours. It's been generally about 97.5. I haven't had any symptoms.

But this is what people should do and figure out how you don't come in contact with people. I don't want anybody I love or anybody I come into contact with to get coronavirus. I don't want to get it.

And I -- here's what we're doing, Wolf. We're fighting to stop the spread until we get -- we know how to treat it and how we get a vaccine. That's what we're doing. Every day now, we're buying time.

And I hope people don't get it. But if they do, I want to make sure we know how to treat it. And I want to get this vaccine done as quickly as we can.

BLITZER: Like you, I love Florida.

Let me just ask you about the beach situation over there. Pinellas County has now voted to close its beaches, including popular beaches of Clearwater, starting tomorrow night.

Does Governor DeSantis need to close all of Florida's beaches right now?

SCOTT: Get off the beach. It's irresponsible. It's stupid. It's selfish.

At every level of government, we have got to do everything we can to get people off the beach. Now, if you could be on the beach and there's nobody around, have at it.

But if you're going to go down there and be around people, all you're doing is, you're putting your loved ones, your friends, people you work with eventually at risk. That is selfish. You should not be doing that.

BLITZER: Well, why not have the governor simply announce that he's closing all the beaches?

SCOTT: Well, it's a decision for governors to make.

I believe in every state the governor's have to and the mayors, they have to sit down and say, and what -- it could be a lot of different things. But you have got to sit down and say, how do I get people off the beach?

BLITZER: All right, well, Senator Scott, thanks so much for joining us. Good luck to you. Hopefully, after a few more days, you will be out of self-quarantine.

SCOTT: We will get through it, Wolf. We're going to come together.

Wolf, we will come together. We will get past this.

BLITZER: We certainly will. But the question is, at what price? And we're watching it very closely.

Thank you so much, Senator Scott, for joining us.

SCOTT: Thanks, Wolf.

BLITZER: Just ahead: the scramble to find enough ventilators needed to keep some of the sickest coronavirus patients alive.

And our own Dr. Sanjay Gupta, once again, he is standing by live. He will answer critical questions about the pandemic and how you, you can stay safe.

We will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:21:50]

BLITZER: A new cry, and very dramatic cry, for help tonight from California.

The governor is warning that more than half of the state's population, some 25 million people, will be infected with coronavirus in the next eight weeks.

All across the nation, officials are trying to get hold of ventilators, one of the most important tools in treating so many of the sickest coronavirus patients.

Our national correspondent, Sara Sidner, is joining us from Seattle, Washington, right now.

Sara, what's the latest? What are you learning?

SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Look, this state still has the most number of deaths due to coronavirus than any other state. And the deep concern here, Wolf, is, without enough ventilators, people will die unless more can be put on the market.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SIDNER (voice-over): The vast majority of us will survive novel coronavirus. But for many of those who become critically ill, their lives will depend on whether there are enough ventilator systems to save them.

MICHAEL LEAVITT, FORMER SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES: We simply are not going to have enough ventilators, we're not going to have enough capacity. If we allow this virus to take the natural course that it will. We're at war.

SIDNER: The virus has now hit every state. And if the U.S. outbreak tracks similarly to what happened in Italy, experts say hospitals will be overwhelmed.

DR. IRWIN REDLENER, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY'S NATIONAL CENTER FOR DISASTER PREPAREDNESS: We are so incredibly underprepared for a major onslaught to the hospitals, which is basically now inevitable.

SIDNER: The desperation for ventilators made clear by governors around the country.

CUOMO: We have about 5,000 or 6,000 secured. We need 30,000. I mean, this is a bad situation.

GOV. MIKE DEWINE (R-OH): We do not want to be in a position that the poor people of Italy are, where they're deciding who's going to live and who's going to die because they don't have enough respirators, they don't have enough equipment.

SIDNER: And yet that's exactly where we could find ourselves, experts warn. There are only about 12 large-scale global companies that produce ventilators. But there are also startups trying to help fill the gaps.

One of them is smack in the middle of where the deadliest outbreak of coronavirus has happened yet in the entire United States.

CHRIS KIPLE, CEO, VENTEC LIFE SYSTEMS: All of our different sub- assembly lines here.

SIDNER: Ventec Life Systems is located just outside Seattle, Washington. It's racing to produce ventilator systems called VOCSN, trying to go from making hundreds of units a month to thousands. (on camera): It's not just a matter of having enough ventilators.

There are many other things that work in conjunction with the ventilator to keep patients alive. We're talking about oxygen, cough assist, also a suction unit and a nebulizer. All of these things have to work properly to keep someone breathing.

And this company has been able to put all of these things into one device that can work in the hospital, but it can also work at home.

Who is reaching out to you asking about your product?

KIPLE: We are literally having conversations with state, federal and local authorities on a regular basis. We're trying to do as much as we can to increase our production capacity to meet the demand and help save lives.

SIDNER (voice-over): He says government officials from 65 other countries are in talks with them, as well as hospitals.

The Society of Critical Medicine says, according to a 2009 study, there are about 60,000 functional machines in the U.S., nearly 100,000 that were obsolete, but could be used. And even with all those, it would not meet America's needs if the Italy scenario happens here.

[18:25:13]

KIPLE: The only way you save lives right now, without a vaccine, is having access to a ventilator.

SIDNER: Those in America's stockpile are only supposed to bridge the gap until industry can ramp up. That's why this operation is now going 24/7. His employees can't work from home, so there's a serious effort to ensure they don't contract the virus.

They are greeted as we were, with a thermometer, hand sanitizer and gloves for those who can maneuver testing and assembling parts with them on. The product is tested here and shipped here.

(on camera): Show me how the machine works.

KIPLE: Everything can be accessed literally at the touch of a button. So, let's say I want to activate a patient's cough. I just go to the cough icon here. I can preset any amount of cough, a small cough, a big cough, and all I have to do is hit start.

SIDNER (voice-over): The questions still unanswered. How many units will be needed to ensure no one dies simply because there weren't enough ventilator systems to breathe life into them?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SIDNER: And that is the big question still lingering.

Governments have to figure out what they need. Hospitals have to figure out what they need as far as numbers. And that's very hard to do when we're not sure exactly how COVID-19 is going to act here in the United States.

But if it tracks like it did in Italy, we're in trouble -- Wolf.

BLITZER: We certainly are.

All right, Sara Sidner, thank you very much.

Joining us now, the governor of Colorado, Jared Polis.

Governor, thank you so much for joining us.

I want to get your reaction to the dramatic words we just heard from the governor of California, Gavin Newsom. He's now projecting that more than half of his state's population, maybe 25 million people, will be infected over an eight-week period.

Are you bracing for a similar level of infection in Colorado?

GOV. JARED POLIS (D-CO): Well, Wolf, the overwhelming of our hospitals and swamping of our capacity on the ventilator side is exactly why we're taking steps and I know a number of other states are to significantly reduce the spread of the virus through social distancing.

We have closed in-restaurant dining temporarily, salons, hair and nail. So these are the steps we're taking, as well as issuing guidance that group -- people shouldn't congregate in groups of 10 or more.

So we're really hoping to spread that out. Wolf, at the end of the day, it doesn't stop the spread of the virus, but it slows it out so that our health care system isn't overwhelmed.

BLITZER: Unfortunately, it's still growing now, not just in your state, but all over the country.

Do you agree with the Trump administration's decision to have the State Department issue this level four travel advisory, warning all Americans against traveling abroad?

POLIS: Well, at this point, it's not about travel abroad.

We have it here in every state in the country, over 200 in Colorado that have been tested positive, many, many, many more that are showing the symptoms and have tests pending or were -- as we expand our test capacity.

So it's not about getting something from overseas. It's here today. It's spreading. We need to engage in aggressive social distancing, and try to be six feet away from others to avoid the spread.

BLITZER: What's the biggest need in Colorado right now?

POLIS: Short-term need is the personal protective equipment.

So, it's the gloves, the masks, hospital gowns. We're working on trying to get those where we can from all different sources. That's the most immediate need, over time, scaling up testing, scaling up physical capacity for hospital beds.

But, more importantly, Wolf, it's figuring out how our economy can prosper and how we can protect jobs, given that this will be the new normal until there's an effective treatment or vaccine.

BLITZER: Let's hope there is at some point.

Governor Jared Polis, thank you very much for joining us. Appreciate what you're doing.

POLIS: Thank you, Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, just ahead, our own expert, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, getting ready to answer your questions about coronavirus and how to protect yourself and your loved ones.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:30:00]

BLITZER: We're following all the breaking news surrounding the coronavirus emergency. When other things, the State Department now telling Americans do not travel abroad, and the California Governor, Gavin Newsom, now warning that more than half of the state's population, 25.5 billion people could be infected within eight weeks.

Dr. Jennifer Nuzzo, is joining us. What's your reaction to that warning from the California governor?

DR. JENNIFER NUZZO, INFECTIOUS DISEASE EPIDEMIOLOGIST: Well, I think it's also reflective of the fact that many places are trying to kind of game out, what's going to happen. There are a lot of models out there. And this is particularly worrisome scenario that we're confronted with.

That said, this scenario is wholly contingent on our response. So if we are able to stay home, as many of the government authorities have directed, as health expert have directed, we could very well bend that curve a bit and stretch it out over time.

BLITZER: Dr. Zeke Emanuel is with us also. Is that what the governor of California is warning about. Do you think that applies to the rest of the country as well?

ZEKE EMANUEL, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, it's, you know, hot spot in California. That's for sure. I think if you take that number and say 5 percent of that number is going to need intensive care unit, you're over a million people needing intensive care unit. And if you take that, 1 percent dies from that number. That's 250,000 additional deaths.

[18:35:00]

That's a 10 percent, just one state, 10 percent increase in the entire national death rate in a country. That's a very scary prospect. And one of the things that I have to say is bothering me is how difficult it is to get the message out and how uneven the messages. So, Gavin Newsom, and obviously, Mike Dewine in Ohio, and Cuomo in New York, and many other governors are taking this extremely seriously. And then you see partying in Florida with so many old people there, that is a Petri plate. It's just like one of those cruise ships in a whole state that is going to blow up.

And I think the numbers really do become very scary. And I think that's probably why you're seeing the change in tone at the White House and even among the president when you see this kind of potential numbers.

BLITZER: Yes. A potential disaster awaiting so many folks out there.

Gloria, what was your reaction when you saw the State Department issue the highest possible level of travel advisories in the face of this global pandemic and basically warning all Americans do not travel abroad?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think it's a dramatic step and a drastic step. But to me, it was a step that, in a way, wasn't surprising. I think what the State Department is saying to Americans is don't travel abroad because we can't guarantee when we would let you back in.

And I think that's worrisome, of course. But I think it's kind of at a level now in this country where you're sort of shaking people and saying, wait a minute, you have to stop living your life the way you were living your life yesterday or the day before yesterday, Wolf. So, honestly, it made a lot of sense to me.

BLITZER: Yes, it certainly did. You know, Dr. Nuzzo, the president is touting the fast tracking of these anti-viral treatments for coronavirus. Are these drugs potential game changers as the president says?

NUZZO: Well, we don't know because the clinical trials haven't been done. And it's utterly essential that we do these clinical trials so that we can know for sure. Of course, I'm really heartened to see that the government is trying to go all in and supporting research and trying to identify therapies that we could use. The timetable potentially for getting new therapies could be quite much shorter than for vaccines. So I'm glad to hear the government at the highest levels are supporting these.

But people should not take from today's announcement this is something that will be available to them should they become sick in the near- term.

BLITZER: That's an important point. Zeke, if these drugs are effective, and we all hope they are, in treating coronavirus and it's still obviously very much uncertain, will there be enough to go around?

EMANUEL: Well, two points, Wolf. First, try to get chloroquine. Call your pharmacy and try to get chloroquine. There's none available already. So we certainly, I mean, gearing up to produce, it's shouldn't be terrible. But we have ran out because people have rushed to get it.

I'd say the second thing is, you know, the drugs could be useful for treating coronavirus. What would be even better is if we had a drug that prevented people from contracting coronavirus early on, sort of like PrEP for HIV. And that I think is something that we also need to begin testing for.

I agree with Jennifer, we need the clinical trials, not just a few case reports.

BLITZER: All right. Everybody stand by. There's more news we're following, including a special report that we have, what it's like to have coronavirus.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:40:00]

BLITZER: Tonight, as the number of known coronavirus cases in the United States soars above 11,000, we're getting a broader picture of the different stages of the infection. Brian Todd is looking into that for us. What are you seeing, Brian?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, we wanted to get a clearer picture of what it's really like to have coronavirus. Tonight, we've got new insights from patients on the stages they progressed through, from the initial coughing to having trouble breathing.

Kevin Harris with a painful cough.

KEVIN HARRIS, CORONAVIRUS PATIENT: Yes, that's the cough.

TODD: He's laid up in a hospital in Warren, Ohio, a victim of coronavirus. Experts say a cough is one of the first symptoms you feel when you have the virus, but it's a certain kind of cough.

DR. MICHAEL MINA, HARVARD CHAN SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: A cold and a flu can sometimes cause a really runny nose and sort of more of sort of mucus feeling inside and in your cough and in your nose, whereas this virus seems to be much more of a dry cough.

TODD: Fatigue, fever and body aches can set in in first couple of days you have it, experts say. Lisa Murke, isolated at her home in Colorado, describes how that felt.

LISA MURKE, CORONAVIRUS PATIENT: My muscles ached and my joints ached really bad. It felt like somebody was like stabbing me with an ice pick.

TODD: Doctors say even with those symptoms, it's sometimes hard know if you have coronavirus. Getting tested is critical, and as Hawaii Five-0 star, Daniel Dae Kim says, unpleasant.

DANIEL DAE KIM, ACTOR, CORONAVIRUS PATIENT: The test itself was really awkward and painful because they shove a huge swab into your nose.

TODD: A few days in, there's a telltale sign of coronavirus.

MINA: As the infection can progress, the symptoms will change from just a dry cough to actually difficulty breathing.

TODD: Kevin Harris says his breathing got so difficult, his intense nausea actually brought relief.

HARRIS: After I threw up, I could breathe.

[18:45:04]

Once you get to other side of it, you can breathe a little bit better. I mean, it's the weirdest thing. You think you're going to die during one of those episodes. I mean, you know you're going the die. But then you don't.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Then there's the feeling of isolation for those self-quarantined and even hospitalized patients. CNN checked in a few times with Clay Bentley who said his locked hospital room in Georgia felt like a jail cell even when caregivers came in.

CLAY BENTLEY, CORONAVIRUS PATIENT: They have to wear these Ebola suits and masks. So, I can't see them, and, you know, they are gloved up and gowned up. They do what they have to do and leave. So, I mean, it's a terrible feeling. You feel like you're cut off from the whole world.

TODD: Kevin Harris took a Facebook live video of a visitor to his room who had to be heavily protected.

HARRIS: That's you. That's me.

TODD: Last weekend after eight days in the hospital, Bentley told CNN what it felt like to finally turn a corner.

BENTLEY: My oxygen levels are starting to rise and I'm starting to feel air in my lungs again and I'm able to breathe freely now.

TODD: But doctors say for patients like Bentley and Harris who had to be hospitalized, those issues may not go away soon.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is a chance that there could be some lasting effects on pulmonary function and lung function, and somebody's ability to breathe in the future.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TODD: But Dr. Michael Mena (ph) is quick to point out that the vast majority of coronavirus victims will not see the lasting effects. He says that after a couple of weeks, after getting infected, most of them will be completely clear of the virus. And they will be unable to transmit it to others because their immune systems will have destroyed the virus -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right. Good report, Brian. Thanks very much. Very informative information.

Just ahead, Dr. Sanjay Gupta is standing by live. We have more questions about the coronavirus. He has the answers.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:51:34]

BLITZER: Another major cancellation tonight due to the coronavirus crisis. The president will not, repeat not, host the G7 at Camp David in June as originally planned. The summit will be held by teleconference instead.

Let's bring in our chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

Sanjay, we got more questions from our viewers out there. Let me -- the first one is this, what do you do if someone in your household has coronavirus?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, the name of the game there is obviously you want to try and isolate that person. Keep in mind, quarantine is what you do to people who are healthy. You're trying to keep them safe and protected from the coronavirus. Isolation is for someone who's sick. So, find -- you got to find a room and maybe a bathroom that that person can use. I realize that's not easy for everybody, but the best you can isolate that person, the better.

BLITZER: Doctors -- here's another question. As doctors close their offices, some are offering a telehealth option. What should you expect from a telehealth visit?

GUPTA: Yes, I mean, that's been a big initiative from the federal government as well to expand telehealth. I think there's a couple things to keep in mind. One is the goal is to be able to at least have a visit with the doctor or health care provider but also keep people out of the hospital because, you know, you can infect people or you yourself could get infected so that's the goal.

Having said that, I -- it's not going to be a diagnostic visit probably. Think of it more like a screening visit and an opportunity for the doctor to tell you, you could stay at home, here's what you should look out for, or you need to come into the hospital.

BLITZER: Yes, it, obviously, depends on your status at that point.

Here's another question for you, Sanjay. If you get coronavirus and recover, can you get it again?

GUPTA: It's a big question and an important one. You know, there were early reports I think in Japan and maybe China as well of people becoming re-infected. Researchers did look into that and they think that wasn't happening. It may be that they had never actually fully cleared the virus themselves. For some people, the virus can stay in the body longer.

So, Wolf, typically, when someone gets this infection, they build up an immunity. We don't know how long that immunity lasts, but that should keep them from getting infected again. So the answer is, really, no, not likely.

BLITZER: Let me get your reaction to what we heard from the governor of California, Gavin Newsom, when is warning maybe more than half of the people in California, maybe 25.5 million people, might get the coronavirus over the next eight weeks.

GUPTA: Well, you know, Wolf, when you look at some of these projections and look at them for the whole country, you have heard from public health officials who say the -- 40 to 60 percent of the country is likely to be exposed and get this infection. It is a contagious virus. It is two to three times as contagious as flu.

As you know, Wolf, you may have heard in Germany the predictions were that 70 percent of the country would likely be exposed and be infected by this virus. So, you know, it's -- you hear those numbers. It sounds alarming, but these are the projections and that's why I think public health officials are taking this so seriously.

It's sort of starting right now but, you know, you want to sort of keep it from building too much steam so if you do have 50, 60 percent of the country infected, they come sort of slowly over time, Wolf, as opposed to all at once.

BLITZER: It's a really worrisome development. Hopefully it doesn't happen.

Sanjay, thank you very much, Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

[18:55:01]

GUPTA: You got it, Wolf.

And, by the way, Sanjay will be answering more questions about the pandemic later tonight when he joins Anderson Cooper for a global town hall in partnership with Facebook. "CORONAVIRUS: FACTS AND FEARS" airs live tonight 8:00 p.m. Eastern, a little bit more than an hour from now.

Stay with us. More news just ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Finally tonight, at a time when so many people are feeling scared and isolated, we hopefully can find some comfort by helping others. The surgeon general made an appeal for healthy Americans to give blood and assures us it's safe. There are other things you can do as well from getting groceries for your elderly neighbor to tutoring kids online. The important thing to remember is this: we are all in this together.

Thanks very much for watching.

"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.