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California Governor Orders Entire State To Stay Home; Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) Defends Crafting $1 Trillion Stimulus Plan Without Democrats; Virus Ravages New Jersey Family, Killing Four. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired March 20, 2020 - 07:00   ET



ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN NEW DAY: The developing news at this hour, the entire State of California ordered to stay home. Governor Gavin Newsom implementing the most impressive measure that we have seen in this country. He's ordered 40 million people to stay home, stay inside indefinitely. But there are exceptions, of course. That is to get food, to go to a doctor, to care for someone or to perform an essential job.

The governor justifies this move because of projections that showed 25 million people in that state could become infected over the next two months.

At this hour, the number of cases in the United States now tops 13,000. That's a 51 percent increase from yesterday. 195 Americans have died.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN NEW DAY: Governors across the country are sounding the alarm. They say they need more medical and protective supplies. They are in desperate need of federal help. The mayor of New York City is warning that hospitals are two to three weeks away from running out of critical supplies. President Trump is telling states to try to get the medical gear they need themselves insisting the federal government is not, quote, a shipping clerk.

The president is also making claims about getting drugs to patients that the FDA is contradicting in real-time. The president said the FDA approved a specific set of drugs. This is not true.

Meanwhile, Senate Republicans have introduced a trillion dollar spending plan, but Democrats say it does not far enough to help the people most in need.

We have a lot to get to. Let's begin with Kyung Lah live in an empty Pasadena, California, with breaking news. The State of California, 40 million people on a kind of lockdown. Kyung?

KYUNG LAH, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, absolutely. This is just the first few hours of this governmental order from the governor of California. The nation's most populous state is going to look like this street behind me, granted it is 4:00 in the morning. But this is about the time that you start seeing delivery trucks, newspaper deliveries happening. It is not happening and this is what it's going look like throughout the day.

People told to stay home. Non-essential businesses, retail shops have been ordered closed. A lot of them are posting these signs saying, look, we are temporarily closed. And this is an order from the government. They're even going into details about explaining what COVID-19 is and why they had to temporarily close.

I want to show you a graphic now, just exactly who is going to have the exception, who is going to be able to leave their homes of those 40 million who were ordered to stay at home. You can leave your home, says the governor, in order to maintain critical infrastructure if that is a description of your job, also if you need to leave your home to buy food, medicine, go to the doctor.

The services that are considered essential that are open in California, I'm not going to go through this whole list, but, essentially, the stuff that allows daily life to happen, gas stations, pharmacies and groceries. The reason why as journalists are out here in the middle of all of this is that Governor Newsom has said that we're information sources and so that is going to be allowed under this new order.

Exactly how long this is going to last, the governor called it indefinite and the reason he came to this decision is that he basically did the math. At the rate that they are going in this state, he anticipates an eight weeks more than half the state would have the coronavirus and that they would simply run out of hospital beds. Alisyn?

CAMEROTA: Yes, the numbers are really astonishing, that they are coming out of the governor's office there. Kyung, thank you very much for reporting for us from the ground.

Joining us now is the mayor of Stockton, California, Michael Tubbs. Mayor, thank you so much. I know how early it is there. I know how busy you are. Can you tell us what this new mandate from your governor for everyone to stay at home means for your city?

MAYOR MICHAEL TUBBS (D-STOCKTON, CA): This means a couple of things for our city. I think first and foremost was pretty united in the same kind of plan in terms of mayors in supporting this drastic action because we're living in unprecedented times, and particularly in communities like Stockton, which has a high rate of asthma and a high rate diabetes in the nation and the state, that our population are highly insured population. A lot of our population is susceptible from very, very serious illness as a result or a serious outcome as a result of the coronavirus.

So the City of Stockton looks like policies in line with the direction we're head in anyway. Earlier this week, we shut down our bars, restaurants, only takeout and delivery only. We shut down gyms, movie theaters, et cetera. And we've appropriated a million dollars in discretionary funds, the coronavirus release funds. I'm raising another million on top of that to have some sort of stimulus or help for our small businesses and local folks who will be affected.


CAMEROTA: And, Mayor --

And we know that a lot of our population works in the gig economy. We know a lot of our population is going to be affected by the stay-at- home order. So now we're hoping for help from the state and federal government to make sure to all the everyday people who make our country great are giving kind of income for what they need to survive the next couple of months.

CAMEROTA: It makes perfect sense. But, Mayor, when you say you and other mayors say that you stand ready to implement this order does from the governor, what does that mean? Arresting people on the street who don't have to be outside?

TUBBS: No, and I think that's the wrong frame (ph). This is a public health issue and we're treating it as such. And we think that the vast majority of people understand that with the chance of being infected and maybe not having symptoms or so but passing it off to someone you love, whether it's a grandparent, a parent, a friend, et cetera.

Most Californians understand the need that we all have to take responsibility. That's not just up to the mayor. It's not up to the governor. It's even up to the police department. It's really up to us, how to really police our self, and to model what it means to be good neighbor.

I think the order has given some latitude to talk to establishments and businesses who may see some sort of perverse, competitive advantage and breaking the rules where others are following them.


TUBBS: And let them know it's actually it's enforceable by law. But we think within a social pressure and with enough education about how serious it is that people will need the threat of jail to be of in safety and everyone will act to be -- I mean, not -- excuse me, everyone will act in the best interest of public health.

CAMEROTA: Yes, understood. I mean, people will self-police and I totally understand what you're saying.

Do you understand this morning why President Trump seems to be outsourcing some of the responsibility for this to governors and to mayors, local officials like yourself, in terms of getting the medical supplies and everything that's needed for your hospitals and doctors?

TUBBS: I think this is just consistent with the pattern of leadership from this administration. It's one of non-accountability. It's one of denialism. It's one of lying. It's one of not stating the facts. And it's one that is being chronically unprepared and incompetent.

So I'm thankful to have governors like my own, mayors like my colleagues who won't spend time pointing but will express our frustrations and even also roll up our sleeves and join hands and get to work to make sure our doctors, our nurses, our first responders have everything they need. But it's very disappointing, frankly, not surprising. And I'm prayerful for it as this gets even more serious and the administration will step up and rise to the unprecedented times that we're in.

CAMEROTA: Mayor Michael Tubbs, we really appreciate you the taking the time to talk to New Day. Thank you very much.

TUBBS: Thank you.

BERMAN: So joining us now is Ross Feinman, an emergency department nurse at Northwell Long Island Jewish Medical Center in Queens, New York, and Dr. Peter Hotez, the co-Director of Texas Children's Hospital Center for Vaccine Development and the Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

And, Dr. Hotez, I want to start with you because there are two major stories this morning. Measures getting more aggressive for social distancing and the need for supplies becoming more acute, even extreme. The mayor of New York City yesterday sounded the alarm saying that by mid-April, he's going to need 3 million N95 masks. 50 million surgical masks, 15,000 ventilators, 45 million surgical gowns, coveralls, gloves and face shields.

You are not an alarmist. You look at things, I think, rationally and try to give us the truth. But you're looking at what's happening in New York, Dr. Hotez, right now, and you're very concerned.

DR. PETER HOTEZ, DEAN, NATIONAL SCHOOL OF TROPICAL MEDICINE, BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE: Yes, absolutely. And remember those two issues that you brought up, the need for tight control measures and social distancing, and the worry about and the concern about not having adequate supplies, they are related. And so that's the reason why we're doing the aggressive measures now in California and now in New York. We simply can the not manage all of those patients coming in on ventilators in the hospitals and especially worried now about our healthcare providers because we're starting to see those individuals become sick as well and be taken out of the workforce, or in some cases, become seriously ill.

So here is where everything can fall apart very quickly, and you've been very generous to have me come on and talk about this issue. I can't tell you the number of times I've encouraged my former medical students to do residencies in New York, go to great places like Bellevue and NYU and New York Hospital and Columbia or go on the West Coast to UCLA. And sometimes I feel now like I sent them to hell because they are not protected. They don't have adequate measures to keep themselves safe and keep themselves in the workforce.

So this has got to be our number one national priority, not only have to get the equipment in place. We have to come up with some innovative technologies to protect our frontline healthcare providers.

So one of the things, we have a new FDA commissioner, Stephen Hahn, who comes from Texas. [07:10:02]

I know him. He's got to prioritize now rapid acceleration of new interventions to protect our healthcare workers, looking at either small molecule drugs that they can take prophylactically. We know that term, PrEP, pre-exposure prophylaxis. We know it from the HIV/AIDS world. We have to do something, not at all the same medicines but to prevent them from becoming infected.


HOTEZ: Remember, as this goes on in New York and California, we'll have a very high attack rate among healthcare providers. It's an opportunity now to rapidly look at which interventions are working and which ones are not, and we absolutely have to do that.

CAMEROTA: Nurse Feinman, you are the very person that Dr. Hotez is describing. You are in the emergency room. You are on the frontline. I know you've described the situation there as severe. So tell us what you're experiencing and seeing.

ROSS FEINMAN, EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT NURSE, NORTHWELL LONG ISLAND JEWISH MEDICAL CENTER: Yes, it is severe. We are seeing a large influx of patients that are presenting with this illness. Fortunately, a majority of these patients are what we're calling, walking well. So they are younger people that may have flu-like symptoms that are worried about themselves and these are the type of people that we're urging to stay home. Young, healthier people that may have a fever, chills, body aches, they can really do well at home. And they are really at risk for getting themselves sick and getting other people sick.

Additionally, what we are seeing is we're seeing people that would not normally have poor outcomes with a violent illness that are having severe outcomes with viral illnesses. Pretty much anyone that has underlying lung disease, whether it's from smoking, we have a lot of concerns about the younger population that vapes. There's not enough data out there but there's a lot of concerns that people who are vaping are going to have poorer outcomes with this disease.

But with that being said, everyone can really do their part by strictly implementing social distancing and preventing the spread.

BERMAN: So, Ross, just to be clear about that, because you are seeing every day what we're reporting statistically. You are seeing younger people come in with symptoms. They not be as sick but you're seeing them in numbers that are significant?

FEINMAN: For sure. We have a lot of younger people. And to be clear, not all these people are hospitalized. Many of them we send home with strict instructions to self-quarantine, to stay away from others who are otherwise immune-compromised, the elderly. But it's not entirely accurate that it's just the elderly that are affected by this. We are seeing younger people.

But to be clear, most of these people are well. They're what we call the walking well. They're usually well enough to go home, and that's really what we want is for them to go home, to stay home, to recover there and to really do their part to help prevent --

CAMEROTA: Dr. Hotez, you were just talking about perhaps there will be some sort of drugs that will be out of prophylactic nature that emergency room doctors and nurses, like Nurse Feinman, will be able to use.

Yesterday, President Trump was talking about drugs as though treatments are already available, but they are not. The FDA hasn't approved them. So where are we with things like that?

HOTEZ: Yes. Right now, we only have small studies that have been done, in some cases, look potentially promising, but we're a long way off from having anything that we would specifically recommend, either for the treatment of these infection or for what we've been talking about this pre-exposure prophylactic. So this is the time. And if you remember, the FDA commissioner, I think, appropriately kind of stepped that back a little bit.

And so it's going to be really important that this becomes Dr. Hahn's number one priority to accelerate these treatments. We're trying to develop a vaccine that's going to ways off. But there's a lot of things that we can start doing now.

And just to comment on the previous guest, let's not forget that the CDC just came out with an analysis that finds that 33 percent, a third of the hospitalized patients, of the sick that are in the hospital, are individuals between the ages of 20 and 40. So we can't stress enough.

I know, John, you've been great about this and, Alisyn, you as well, about the importance on that social distancing among young people, really important to stress that.

BERMAN: Thank you very much. It's only because it is the most important message we can send and people need to heart.

Let me just read read you a statement from the FDA, which had to clean up the things the president said about these drugs being available. The FDA says clearly there are no FDA-approved therapeutics or drugs to treat, cure or prevent COVID-19. That's it, full stop. Whatever the president said, there are no drugs approved right now.

Ross, I do want to ask you quickly just because you're on the frontlines. What are you seeing in terms of supplies? What are you seeing yourself and what are you hearing in terms of masks, of gown, of things that you need to treat the patients?

FEINMAN: So, nationally, we're very short, of course. I'm very fortunate to work for Northwell, which is a very large corporation with very long arms.


But with that being said, there's no secret that we are going run out soon. And the reason is actually because these N95s are something that before coronavirus being very rarely used, there're only a few airborne pathogens that we typically fight. Tuberculosis, which, in modern times, is very rare, and disseminated shingles. Other than that, we rarely need an N95.

So, overnight, things changed. We went from not really needing N95 respirator masks to needing a lot, and that happened very quickly.

But with that being said, there is so much that people can do. The average person does not need N95 to walk around, to go and walk your dog, to go ride their bike. We need to save these for the healthcare providers.

I think it's great that there was recently a stockpile released and we're going to have more soon. But everyone has to do their part to make sure that people like us who are dealing literally face-to-face with these patients, when we put a breathing tube down, when we give them medications, this actually aerosolizes the virus and we're at risk for inhaling it. And if we get sick, there's no one to take care of you.

So I can stress enough that it would have to be a priority to get these masks.

CAMEROTA: Such an important message. Ross Feinman, Dr. Hotez, thank you both very much. We really rely on you every morning to get the latest information. Thank you both.

Up next, we have a CNN exclusive for you. Dana Bash interviews Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell about all this. Can the two parties put politics aside and pass this trillion-dollar stimulus bill? And how long will Americans have to wait for these checks?



BERMAN: All right. Today, the Senate is expected to be in negotiations on a trillion-dollar economic relief plan that would spend up to $1,200 in cash -- it would send, I should say, it would send $1,200 in cash to many Americans and offer billions of dollars in loans to businesses. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he wants this bill to pass quickly, but there are Democrats already saying they want it to go much further and help people in need much more.

Joining us now is CNN Chief Political Correspondent Dana Bash. And Dana spoke with Mitch McConnell exclusively. This is a rare interview, especially rare for us here. So, Dana, it's terrific that you had this conversation.

And you started by asking him about the process with which he put this bill together, which was only with Republicans. So let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Why did you insist on only starting the negotiations that you've been having over the past couple of days with Republicans and the White House, obviously all Republicans, instead of making it bipartisan? And I ask you that not as a process question. It's not a process question because of the times we're in right now. And the question is whether or not that is slowing down the process at a time when Americans need action right now.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): Actually speeding it up. We just passed yesterday a bill that was written in the Democratic House of Representatives. The Republicans are in the majority in the Senate. We wanted to put forward our proposal. We feel that we have an obligation to do that as a majority. And the Democrats, of course, need to be given an opportunity react to it, and that all begins tomorrow.

So don't create controversy where there isn't controversy.

BASH: Well, no, it's not about controversy. It's just this is about Americans saying, we need help and we need help now. I mean --

MCCONNELL: Yes, I know. And this is the quickest way to get it done. Trust me, this is the quickest way to get it done, exactly the way we're doing it.


BERMAN: It's like you're Nostradamus, Dana, because no sooner had Mitch McConnell said that that the Democrats made clear that they did not think that the bill that he was proposing help the right people or went far enough in the right places. So where do things stand this morning?

BASH: They are going to go and meet at 10:00 A.M. and try to work things out. Look, the Democrats, Nancy Pelosi, said from the get-go on this particular version, this is version three of a bill, a very, very big bill that Congress is working on, that they should all work together so they can get it done fast. And McConnell rejected that.

And, look, a big reason why is because, as he alluded to in the interview, the first two bills were done by Nancy Pelosi in conjunction with the treasury secretary. And they swallowed it. They voted for it, which is almost a trillion dollars. They're saying, you know what, no, we're doing this one. And we're going to sit down and we're going to sit down and we're going to negotiate with the Democrats.

It might not be as easy as he thinks since they are insisting when we're talking about the specifics here, we're talking about money for corporations in a lot of -- in small businesses and lots of different forms. They are very insistent on just, for example, worker protection that they say are not in there.

I tried to get McConnell to commit to those worker protections. He said he wouldn't negotiate with me. He would wait to talk to them. BERMAN: Well, look, let's hope they work through that quickly because people need this money in whatever form as it's going to come very, very quickly.

You also focused on what I think is a very important issue right now. Two House members have tested positive for coronavirus. There are not a lot of young people walking the halls of Congress, particularly in the Senate, so it does beg the question about how they are going to do their jobs going forward. Listen.


BASH: I know you know that Senators Dick Durbin on the Democratic side, Rob Portman on the Republican side, both spoke on the Senate floor today about bipartisan legislation that they have for senators to vote remotely. What's wrong with that?

MCCONNELL: Well, I agree with Speaker Pelosi, we don't think going to remote voting is a good idea for the House or the Senate. We're dealing with it. We're having longer roll call votes. We're establishing social distancing, just like everyone else. We can work around this without dramatically changing the way the Senate has operated for over 200 years.

BASH: That was going to be my question. Why? I mean, what is the main reason why you're so opposed to it?

MCCONNELL: I think I just told you.


BASH: Just the institution, you don't want to change the institution right now?

MCCONNELL: Not over something that can be dealt without changing the rules. We are dealing with it quite successfully without changing the rules.


BASH: So he is adamant there, John. You see that they are not even going to go there. Nancy Pelosi was that strongly opposed to even considering -- House members tested positive. She at least announced that the Rules Committee would look into whether or not it is possible. God forbid something like that would force, you know, a change in tone in the Senate. But right now, McConnell is not going there, John.

BERMAN: It was a great conversation, Dana. It's great to see him here and explain his views on these things. There are no easy answers to what to do with members there, but the questions do need to be asked. Thanks so much, Dana.

CAMEROTA: John, coronavirus has ravaged one close-knit New Jersey family. In the past week, four of them have died from the virus. Three of those family members were in their 50s. The family's pastor joins us next with an update on this family.