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Trump Invokes Defense Production Act; Hospitals Sound Alarm, Say Shortage Of Supply Is Dire; California And New York Have Shut Down All Non-Essential Businesses. Aired 2-2:30p ET
Aired March 20, 2020 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: But tell us why it's so essential to have this equipment and what it means if, eventually, hospitals can't uniformly get this.
DR. JAMES PHILLIPS, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Well, I spent eight hours yesterday wearing an N-95 mask, trying not to take it off at all except to have a drink. It's uncomfortable, but it's necessary.
I can't bring this disease home to my family. I don't want to get sick, and I don't want others to get sick around me.
We're seeing data right now that really concerns me about who is getting sick in America. We've modeled our numbers and our needs for equipment and ventilators based upon data we've seen from overseas, where it's mostly the elderly, the older than 60 groups that are requiring critical care.
Here in the States, we're now seeing an increasing proportion of people between the age of 20 and 60, who are being admitted to the hospital and requiring critical care.
Not all viruses treat all populations the same, and we might be more vulnerable to this than we think. Now, if we start to add in millions of more Americans who are at risk. We're truly looking at overwhelming our system.
Every single doctor and nurse in every single hospital should be wearing an N-95 mask all the time.
I have a friend who got COVID-19 confirmed yesterday, from a patient who presented with a stroke, no other symptoms of cough or fevers.
Every patient that comes in could have this. Your coworker at work could have this. We have the social distance at work. We have to protect ourselves maximally.
Now, imagine if we require all healthcare workers to wear an N-95, and not just those of us in the Emergency Department and the Critical Care areas or patient floors. We don't have enough.
And I need to hear from the President and the Taskforce who is making these masks? When are we going to see them? And I just can't understand why we would invoke this act and not have any production being done. It blows my mind.
KEILAR: Well, so -- and that's really my question. Dr. Yasmin, to you. I mean, did you have any clarity there about what the administration is doing to get masks and other supplies? Where they're coming from? How many they're going to get? When they're going to get out to hospitals.
DR. SEEMA YASMIN, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: No, Brianna, it's such a hodgepodge of information. You hear one thing, then you hear someone conflicting with conflicting messages. And the same thing has happened with tests. We heard there would be millions of tests and we were told everyone who needed a test would get a test.
What we're hearing from the highest levels does not correlate with what we're hearing from people on the ground, and that lack of consistency in the messaging. Honestly, what feels like a lack of truthfulness in the messaging is extremely alarming during an emergency of this scale.
KEILAR: Yes, it's basic. Where are the tests? Where are the masks? Where are the ventilators? How many? When are they going to get where they need to be? Dr. Seema Yasmin and Dr. James Phillips, thank you so much. It's so important to have your voices on this.
YASMIN: Thank you.
PHILLIPS: Thank you.
KEILAR: And top of the hour now, let's reset our coverage with the new headlines because after multiple cries for help from those on the frontline, this pandemic, the President said he has invoked the Defense Protection Act -- or the Defense Protection Act. It's a wartime measure to get private manufacturers to produce the masks and protective gear that is critically needed by medical workers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Invoked it yesterday, we have a lot of people working very hard to do ventilators and various other things. Yes.
QUESTION: So you're using it now to tell businesses they need to make ventilators, masks, respirators.
TRUMP: We are using it. We are, we are -- for certain things that we need, including -- including some of the very important emergency -- I would say ventilators, probably more masks to a large extent.
We have millions of masks which are coming and which will be distributed to the states.
The states are having a hard time getting them so we are using the Act. The Act is very good for things like this.
(END VIDEO CLIP) KEILAR: The Defense Production Act, I should have said. Now, the rate
of infections is following experts' predictions. Things are going to get worse before they get better.
In 24 hours, there have been 4,500 more cases of coronavirus in the United States. The latest global and national figures are on the right side of your screen, so you can see them there. They are going up.
The number of Americans infected has surpassed 15,000. The number of American deaths at this point is over 200, and as these cases mount, so to the number of states issuing unprecedented restrictions, doing all that they can to keep people away from each other.
Two of the most populous states, California and New York have shut down all non-essential businesses and directed people to stay home.
These two states make up -- or they account for 59 million Americans, and that means that nearly one out of five Americans are under these rules.
Let's go to CNN's Erica Hill. She's been looking into just how difficult life has become for so many of us -- Erica.
ERICA HILL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There are definitely changes coming and they are coming at us so quickly, Brianna. For some people, they're trying to figure it out.
I have people texting me saying, can I still go to the grocery store? What can I do?
HILL: A lot of this is changing. And here in New York, we just saw some of the most strict measures announced that will go into place Sunday night, and some of those could perhaps spread to neighboring states.
According to Governor Cuomo, he said he has been talking with others in the region, but here is what's happening in New York.
HILL (voice-over): The day New Yorkers have been bracing for is here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): We need everyone to be safe. Otherwise, no one can be safe.
We've talked to people all across the globe about what they did, what they've done, what worked, what doesn't work. And that has all informed this policy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL (voice-over): One hundred percent of workers must now stay home. Essential services, healthcare, first responders, food delivery -- exempt. The strictest rules will apply to the most vulnerable. Those over 70, the immunocompromised, anyone with an underlying illness. The Governor warning the new rules are not optional.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: These provisions will be enforced. These are not helpful hints. This is not if you really want to be a great citizen. These are legal provisions, they will be enforced.
There will be a civil fine and mandatory closure for any business that is not in compliance.
Again, your actions can affect my health. That's where we are.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL (voice-over): New York's mandate going further than California statewide measure announced late Thursday night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): This is a difficult moment. This is not a permanent state. This is a moment in time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL (voice-over): New York's Governor advising public transportation only if absolutely necessary. Any outdoor exercise must be done alone. Visits with loved ones, discouraged.
Acknowledging the potentially devastating impact on the state of the economy, the governor says he takes full responsibility.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: If somebody wants to blame someone or complain about someone, blame me. If everything we do, saves just one life, I'll be happy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL (voice-over): Across the country, quiet streets and an unease about how long this new life will last.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LINDA PAGAN, OWNER, THE HAT SHOP: Everyone I know is stressed and anxious and it's mainly not getting sick. It is how are they going to pay their bills?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL (voice-over): Jobless claims are skyrocketing, and that's likely to continue according to economist at Goldman Sachs, who predict the next report will show two and a quarter million Americans filed for unemployment in the past week. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's no question that people are going to be so hard hit.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL (voice-over): Hotels, restaurants, airlines -- all announcing layoffs after an unprecedented drop in demand.
Two regional carriers who flew for American, Delta and United are ceasing operations, impacting 2,700 employees. The swift changes all with one goal -- to keep the virus from spreading.
HILL (on camera): And as more of these changes and restrictions on movement are implemented across the country, people wondering how it could spread.
I should point out Brianna, the President was asked about that a short time ago in the Briefing Room, he said he did not anticipate this spreading nationwide. As we know though, this is a fluid story and things of course, are changing by the minute.
KEILAR: Yes, that's right, and it won't be up to him. Right? It'll be up to the states, Erica, so we will keep our eyes open for that.
Erica Hill in New York. Thank you.
I want to go back now to the urgent need of hospitals and frontline medical workers right now. With me now to discuss this is Dr. Ali Raja, Executive Vice Chairman for the Department of Emergency Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, which as of yesterday had eight confirmed coronavirus patients and there were 88 that were under investigation.
Dr. Raja, thank you so much for coming on.
DR. ALI RAJA, EXECUTIVE VICE CHAIRMAN FOR DEPARTMENT OF EMERGENCY MEDICINE, MASSACHUSETTS GENERAL HOSPITAL: Thanks for having me, Brianna.
KEILAR: So first, just walk us through what it has been like in your hospital at this unprecedented time. How this has changed the way you interact with patients and also how you think this is going to change and increase over time?
RAJA: Well, it's been -- it's been a really unique time in our hospital. We are both exceptionally busy and also because of some great planning by both the hospital and the health system and the governor, parts of our hospital are not as busy.
We've shut down to elective surgeries, for example, so our operating rooms aren't running for most elective surgeries. If a gunshot wound or a heart attack happens then the Cath Lab and the Operating Room obviously run.
But the busiest place right now are the Medicine Floors where patients with potential COVID are being admitted and the Emergency Department where we're seeing a lot of patients who are coming in really concerned.
KEILAR: And how do you think that's going to change here in the coming week or two?
RAJA: Well, you know, we're just going to see more and more of that. We've seen a lot of patients who are worried well, and you would ask how it's changed, how I'm interacting with my patients?
Well, now I have to be concerned on every patient, not just those who are coming in coughing or sneezing or short of breath. I'm worried that every patient might have the potential -- potentially have the novel coronavirus.
So we're wearing masks for essentially our entire shifts. I'm changing it out after I intubate somebody who might have exposed me even more than normal, but essentially most of our doctors or nurses, the rest of our staff are wearing masks for their entire shift.
KEILAR: And so I wonder, when you're looking here as things are going to get -- you know they're going to get busier. The question is how busy is it going to get? How overwhelmed or is the hospital going to become overweight? What kind of plans have you put in place when you're thinking about, are we going to have enough ventilators? Are we going to have enough masks? Are we going to have enough robes?
What are the -- what are we going to do when people start getting sick? The doctors and the nurses and the other staff? What are the plans?
RAJA: Well, we're really fortunate in a place like MGH. We've got a great and very large workforce. So we have backup plans to our backup plans to our backup plans.
We have Internal Medicine physicians and Primary Care doctors who wouldn't normally see patients in the hospital coming in and staffing our Medicine Floors.
We have -- we're starting to work out partnerships with nursing homes and rehabilitation facilities that might be able to take patients when they're well enough to leave the hospital because they might not be well yet, but they might not need to be in the Intensive Care Unit or in the hospital.
And if we don't start getting patients out, even when they might not be quite ready, we're not going to have room for all of the other patients coming in.
The other thing is that we started to see some staff become sick and staff that have to furlough themselves because they've been exposed. And once you start running into that, especially if you start having sort of key personnel, your nurses, your doctors, your Environmental Services staff, the decontamination, the cleaning of a room of a patient with COVID and it takes a lot of time and effort.
And if you don't have people to clean it, that's really going to impact how fast and how well we can see new patients.
KEILAR: Your President has mentioned the possibility of printing 3D masks, I should say and incited in Italian company that's doing exactly that. Can you tell us about that?
RAJA: I can tell you a little bit about it. Peter Slavin who -- Dr. Slavin who is our President mentioned that a couple of days ago. I think it's a wonderful idea.
The fact is that we are reusing our masks right now. I get -- I have my own mask, it has my name on it. I bring it home. I wash it. I bleach it. I clean it. And I take it back for my next shift. And that's what we're doing right now.
So if we can get more masks whether they're 3D printed or whether we can find new suppliers, every hospital, not just us, but every hospital needs them.
And so if your viewers have access to something that might be able to produce masks for their local hospital, they absolutely should.
KEILAR: And just real quickly, because I'm just curious how you handle something that you think may be contaminated. How do you take it into your house to clean it?
RAJA: So I have a bucket in my garage, so nothing that I wear to work actually gets brought into my house.
The fact is that I don't normally wear scrubs. I'm known as the guy who has worn a white coat and a tie for years and now I bought my first pair of scrubs. I'm going to the hospital scrub supplier and I'm wearing scrubs and I'm leaving everything out in the car.
It gets put right into the washing machine in the garage as soon as I come home and so nothing actually comes in. I come in. I take a shower. I don't kiss my wife. I don't kiss my kids until after I'm as clean as I can possibly get.
KEILAR: All right. It's just so interesting to hear how you're dealing with this. I think also people can take that away when they're especially concerned themselves. Doctor, thank you so much.
RAJA: Thank you so much, Brianna. I appreciate it.
KEILAR: Yes, be safe, and hopefully we will be checking in with you again very soon.
Let's go back now to the dramatic actions that we're seeing in California and New York to keep people home. California Governor Gavin Newsom issuing a dire prediction. He warned
that 25 million Californians will contract the coronavirus within the next two months. Well, that is more than half the state's population and already Newsom is taking drastic action.
This week, he became the first Governor to impose a statewide lockdown telling Californians they have to stay at home unless it's for an essential purpose.
Sacramento County had issued a similar lockdown, and Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg is joining me now to talk about this. Mayor thanks for being with us.
And you know, first we're very much focusing on the hospitals today because that just seems to be where the biggest concerns are. Are your hospitals equipped?
KEILAR: Are they going to be equipped with the supplies they need?
MAYOR DARRELL STEINBERG (D-CA): Well, first of all, Brianna, thanks for having me. The Governor did absolutely the right thing. And of course, the main reason is to reduce the rapidity of the spread, and to prepare for what we know is going to be a pretty dramatic surge in needed hospital beds.
And yes, our healthcare system and our hospitals in California are top notch and they are preparing. But there aren't enough beds in the regional hospital system. That's why the governor talked last night about talking with President Trump to bring in, to maybe get us some mobile hospital units by using as many vacant hotel and motel rooms possible.
So it's literally every potential strategy that involves safe, isolated beds that will be needed to meet the moment.
KEILAR: This order in California for people to stay at home, how is that going to be enforced?
STEINBERG: Well, it has the force of law, but the idea is not to arrest people or to turn this into some sort of major law enforcement exercise. The order itself is really commonsense.
It says to people, please isolate yourself except for essential life functions, except for essential business. And I think everybody is beginning to understand in our state and in our country why that is so important.
And so if there are flagrantly abusive, certainly the law enforcement officials are activated and they can and probably will step in. But this is not intended to be an enforcement-centric order, it's a commonsense order where we're asking people to take care of their own health and to take care of each other.
KEILAR: All right, Mayor, thank you so much. Mayor Darrell Steinberg. We appreciate it -- Sacramento.
STEINBERG: Thank you for having me, Brianna.
KEILAR: And the White House -- of course, thank you. The White House also announcing today it is shutting down all non-essential traffic at the U.S.-Mexico border that will kick in at midnight.
Plus, just one more hit to the economy as unemployment claims are skyrocketing. Some states already reporting a 10-fold increase. And I'll speak to a man who has all of the symptoms of coronavirus, but you won't believe the hoops he had to jump through to get tested. We'll have that next.
KEILAR: More than 10 days ago, a California man came down with the telltale symptoms of coronavirus. Lee Turnbull, a young, healthy active soccer coach not only had a fever and body aches, but he also had a dry cough, and he was having difficulty breathing.
Now, despite all of the signs pointing to coronavirus, he was repeatedly told by doctors and health departments that he either didn't need to be tested or that he couldn't be tested because of a lack of kits.
And it wasn't until just a few days ago, when he showed up at a hospital with makeshift tents set up in a parking lot that doctors finally agreed, yes, he did need to be tested.
So he documented his struggle and his frustrations on the website toofab.com and Lee Turnbull is joining us now to tell us his story.
Lee, thank you so much for joining us, and just tell us now -- I know that you've sort of -- you've gotten past the worst of it, but tell us how you're feeling.
LEE TURNBULL, WAITING FOR RESULTS OF CORONAVIRUS TEST AFTER SHOWING STRONG SYMPTOMS: I'm feeling a lot better. I still have a really hard time breathing as opposed to a few days ago, though, I mean, it was really bad.
You know, from -- I mean, it's been 16 days for me now with the symptoms and kind of halfway through between five and nine and ten days. You know, it was really quite scary.
But, you know, it definitely got to the point where I had to go to the Emergency Room because there seemed to be no other way.
KEILAR: Because you couldn't breathe, right? I mean, it's very scary to not be able to breathe. So just walk us through how all of this played out. How did it start? What did you think it might be when it started and then just walk us through what happened after that?
TURNBULL: Sure. So on Monday, the 9th, I started with a really, really dry cough and I just previously coached two games with my wonderful girls on the Saturday and held a mass tryout on the Sunday.
So my wife said to me, you know, maybe you've just damaged your voice. I'm shouting on the sidelines, which I kind of thought it was.
Later that -- but later that evening, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, you know, I got really bad chills and was incredibly fatigued. The cough had gotten so bad that I mean, maybe you can tell right now it's just, you know, talking, I'm a wee bit constricted.
The coughing got so bad that kind of my chest felt like it was on fire, and then the shortness of breath is when it really became worrisome. You know, it got to the point on Friday where I said to the missus, that, you know, we've definitely go out to the Emergency Room.
Well, that was actually on the Monday, but on the Friday through the Monday, you know, I had a real, real hard time actually trying to get tested through the Health Department and through my doctor.
KEILAR: Yes. So tell us about that. When did -- was it you who first said, clearly I need to be tested. I am exhibiting all of these signs. What -- how did this -- how did the testing try start?
TURNBULL: Yes. So I mean, I waited a few days because obviously, I'm aware that the hospitals maybe, you know, there may be a huge amount of people going to the hospital so I just wanted to wait it out a wee bit.
But I spoke to my doctor on Friday. Well, I spoke to the Health Department first, and they said, call your doctor. I spoke to the doctor. They were fairly dismissive.
They told me that I didn't have it and it's probably just the flu and I should go to -- call the Health Department again. I spoke to the Health Department again. They said in order to get tested, I needed to get an okay from the doctor. I called the doctor again.
They said that wasn't the case and they didn't have any tests. I eventually spoke to my doctor after persisting and he was pretty blase about it. He told me I didn't have the coronavirus. I just had the flu.
He prescribed me a whole bunch of medication at which time --
KEILAR: Without testing you for the flu?
TURNBULL: Without testing me for anything. He gave me a whole bunch medication, no test. He told me that I did just have the flu and I will be okay in 72 hours and that -- and that he said that the coronavirus itself hasn't killed anybody yet. It's just the other symptoms, which I thought was a bit of a bold statement on his part.
So I waited obviously those 72 hours and things have just gotten worse. You know, my fatigue -- my fatigue and the lack of breathing was the real concern to me, like not being able to breathe is never fun.
And so came Monday, I called and I went through the same hoopla, called the Health Department over and over again; called my doctor. My doctor just -- well, the receptionist at the doctor's was, you know, very -- just throwing away what I was saying.
And it just -- it had gotten to the point -- I'd actually been e- mailing and on Facebook trying to contact the Long Beach Mayor, and I wasn't getting much response there either.
So it just got to the point where I said to the wife, we need to get to the hospital because the breathing is so difficult.
KEILAR: And that's where you were tested with the test?
TURNBULL: Yes. I arrived in Long Beach Memorial, and the scenes -- I think I gave you guys some videos and pictures, but the scenes was straight out of, you know, one of those zombie apocalypse movies. You know, there was kind of tents and nurses in biohazard suits.
And I will say the nurses there were absolutely wonderful. They were, kind. They were comforting. And funnily enough, I've been dealt -- I've been met with such a blase attitude towards my symptoms up until then, I'd actually thought that they would just tell me to go home and there's nothing. I almost kind of started believing that narrative.
But I was surprised by their urgency in how I was feeling, in how I was rather. They kind of radioed in a patient. They were concerned about my lung functionality, and they whisked me towards another kind of biohazard looking tent.
KEILAR: And Lee, we are so happy that they took what you were saying seriously. And I have to say, Lee Turnbull, I think it's time for a new primary care physician.
TURNBULL: Possibly. Possibly, Brianna. Possibly.
KEILAR: All right, Lee, thank you so much for joining us.
TURNBULL: Brianna, thank you so much and everyone self-distance and look off your elderly neighbors and leave a note under their door, ask them how they're doing. Now is the time to not have a level of self- importance and to kind of really, actually, let's care about each other truly, you know. And maybe that's the one good thing we can take from this.
KEILAR: Lee, thank you so much. We are told at this point in time that the coronavirus hasn't even hit its peak yet. Already, it is rattling the U.S. economy to its core.
As Goldman Sachs economist predicted 2.25 million Americans have filed for unemployment just this week alone. Now, that is eight times the number of people who filed last week and it's the highest on record ever.
CNN business anchor, Julia Chatterley is joining us now and Julia, Senator Mitch McConnell is working on getting a $1 trillion stimulus package through the Senate right now. So give it to us straight, is that enough?
JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN BUSINESS ANCHOR, FIRST MOVE: Nowhere near enough, Brianna. It is a start, but we are going to need trillions of dollars more.
I'll explain the numbers in a very crude way in a second, but let me just explain what's going on here. As you've been describing, and talking about for the last half an hour, we've got a health crisis.
The way we're tackling that is that we're telling everybody to go home, all over the country, and that's grinding business and the economy to a halt. We've never done anything like this.
That economic shock is also creating a jobs crisis, as you've just described, and two million is just the start of it.
We've got 85 percent of the workers in this country working in small and medium-sized enterprises. So you imagine some of the decisions that are being made today. People are looking at their business, they've got nobody coming in to buy anything. They are worried about feeding their families. They are worried about paying their bills.
They want to look after their workers, but they --