Return to Transcripts main page
Governors Plead For Federal Government To Nationalize Effort To Acquire Medical Supplies For Coronavirus; Interview With Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL); German Chancellor Angela Merkel Is In Self- Quarantine At Home. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired March 22, 2020 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Thank you.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: Happy birthday.
BLITZER: Thank you very much.
WHITFIELD: So glad you shared it with us and a consummate professional all the way around 1999-2020. You name it. Thanks, Wolf.
BLITZER: Thank you.
WHITFIELD: All right, CNN NEWSROOM starts right now.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.
WHITFIELD: And welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.
We begin with the enormous efforts underway to combat the global coronavirus crisis. Right now, the Senate is hammering out details of a massive $2 trillion stimulus package aimed at helping Americans withstand the challenging medical and economic threats facing the nation.
The number of confirmed cases in the U.S. has just jumped to more than 30,000 and there are now 384 deaths, and among the infections the first confirmed case in the U.S. Senate, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul.
Meantime, state leaders are sounding the alarm, worried that the response that we have seen so far from the Federal government and the White House is not enough. Some are even comparing the fight for medical supplies among the states as the Wild West.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): We are competing against other states. In some ways, we're savaging other states, I'm trying to buy masks. I'm competing with California and Illinois and Florida. And that's not the way it should be, frankly.
GOV. J.B. PRITZKER (D-IL): We're all competing against each other. This should have been a coordinated effort by the Federal government and the National Defense Authorization that the President has to, you know, to essentially push this manufacturing really hasn't gone into effect in any way.
And so yes, we're competing against each other. We're competing against other countries. You know, it's a wide -- Wild West, I would say out there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: All right, let's turn now to CNN's Lauren Fox on Capitol Hill. So Lauren we've just heard that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is delaying a key vote. What are you hearing? Why?
LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Well, that's very significant because we if you remember, Democrats and Republicans have been trying to come together all day long. We had that four corners meeting with the top leadership in the House and the Senate this morning. That meeting ended without any agreement on a deal.
Now, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said earlier this afternoon he was committed to voting today, but then just minutes before the vote was scheduled to take place, and this is a procedural vote to open the doors to have that final vote tomorrow, McConnell announced that he is going to delay it until 6:00 p.m.
Here's why that matters. It clearly shows that Democrats are not on board that McConnell does not have the votes he needs to advance this to the next stage, and that's a problem because the markets are going to open tomorrow. The sense of urgency up here on Capitol Hill has just increased, given the fact that you have Senator Rand Paul, a Republican from Kentucky who has been confirmed as the very first Senator to be confirmed to have coronavirus.
So very significant series of developments over just the last hour -- Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: And then Lauren, what are the circumstances for Rand Paul? Reportedly, he was asymptomatic, but then tested positive. What provoked his test in the first place?
FOX: Well, essentially he said because of the level of travel he had been doing, he thought it was a good idea to get tested. But I will tell you, his Republican colleagues who met just a little while ago for a Republican lunch, were coming out of that lunch, very concerned because Rand Paul has been sitting in with them on these meetings to negotiate this bill.
He has been part of these luncheons that they have regularly. He also was, according to three different members at the Senate gym this morning.
So a lot of concern up here on Capitol Hill as to how they deal with this. You know, as you are trying to negotiate this massive stimulus bill, the fact that you may have members who aren't going to be able to be on the floor because perhaps they might have to self-quarantine, that's an additional obstacle for leadership as they try to hammer out this $2 trillion Stimulus Bill -- Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: All right, Lauren, thank you so much. Your colleague, my colleague, Phil Mattingly is on the phone with us right now.
Phil, understand you have a little bit more information about Senator Rand Paul, his condition? Circumstances?
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN U.S. SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. In terms of his condition, I think the Senator's office and his Chief of Staff put out there, it is a statement that he is asymptomatic, and that he is feeling fine at this moment.
I think what's most jarring right now on Capitol Hill, Republican senators were just in a closed door lunch where they were meeting about the massive stimulus package that they're trying to negotiate right now.
And while they were in that lunch, they got the news of Rand Paul's positive test for coronavirus, and it has seriously unsettled, I think would maybe be an understatement, the senators that were in that lunch based on several that I spoke to as they emerged from that lunch.
Most of them came out asking us, some of them asking me what the latest was. They wanted the most up-to-date information, but the other issue was this. I heard this from several senators that they had been in close interaction with Senator Paul over the course of the last several days.
There had been lunches where Senator Paul had been sitting next to some of his colleagues.
MATTINGLY: I was also told by three different Republican senators that Senator Paul was in the gym this morning with some of his colleagues.
And so right now, Republican senators in particular are trying to figure out what happens next.
Senator Mitt Romney told reporters that they will be consulting with the physician here on Capitol Hill to see if they need to quarantine, to see what they should be doing based on this new information.
But I think of -- the kind of the jarring reality of this moment, which I think so many Americans have been experiencing across the country, and obviously two members of the U.S. House have also tested positive as well, but the reality that these senators have been together, have been working in close quarters, a lot of them over the course of the last several days trying to hammer out this emergency aid package and now some of them have been in very close contact with somebody who has tested positive.
So again, to reiterate, Senator Paul's team has made clear that he is asymptomatic and that he is feeling fine right now, but in the United States Senate, particularly given the fact that there are an extreme number of older members, there's a lot of almost visceral concern right now inside the Republican conference about what this means, not just for the state of the next vote, or the next bill that they consider, but, frankly, the actual health of the numbers that they have -- Fred.
WHITFIELD: Okay, and Phil, you underscore he was asymptomatic. That's what his office is saying, but then do you have any more detail about what provoked him to get the test?
MATTINGLY: So the statement that Senator Paul's team put out said that just to be cautious given the fact of how much he travels as a United States senator, how many people that he meets.
Over the course of his time, given his job, he decided to go get a test. We don't know when exactly the test was taken. We know he did receive the results this morning.
And again, the good news from his team is that he is asymptomatic right now and is feeling okay, but he did decide that he needed a test.
I think one of the things I heard from one Republican senator is we all travel a lot, not all of us have gone and gotten tested. Is there now a need to be tested? Is there now a need for many of them to self- quarantine?
I think this is all -- this is one very fluid and very fast moving right now. And I think people are just trying to grapple with the meaning of this, again, keeping in mind that this news broke while they were in a Senate Republican lunch, all in the same room.
I think many of them have been trying to social distance or try and stay six feet apart from one another over the course of the last several days or weeks.
But you know, it kind of slammed home to all of them kind of how serious this is at this moment. And I think everyone around the country recognizes that. I think that the members do, too, and they certainly recognize it from the legislation they're working on right now.
But I think the health impacts and the fact that it's now right at their front door is very real to members of the United States Senate.
WHITFIELD: All right, and Phil, you know, everyone, all Americans are being implored to honor social distancing. But most people's gymnasiums have been closed as well.
Clearly, circumstance is different on Capitol Hill, but what do you know about his gym, that he and many others were working out in this morning that remained open for him and his colleagues.
MATTINGLY: Yes, look, I'll tell you, I was surprised it was open. It was news to me when senators came up and told me again, kind of they offered it to me. I can't believe this. He was in the gym this morning. So apparently the Senate gym is still open. It's a gym that is a kind
of a -- we aren't allowed into it, but I've seen it before. It's a decently sized gym. It has a swimming pool and most members will use that as their gym to try and get their workout in.
I can't speak for every single individual member how they've decided to operate and their workout routines and a lot of us have moved to working out from home, most of our gyms have closed, certainly in Washington, all the gyms are closed.
But clearly, some numbers were there this morning. And that was one of the biggest concerns I heard coming out of the lunch from several members of -- he was there this morning.
The gym was open. There were members there. Senator Paul was there as well and what does this mean going forward?
So I think there's a couple pieces of this which is, I am not totally sure why the Senate gym was open when every other gym has been closed around the city and two members that were in that gym and the members that have been having, you know, conference lunches with Senator Paul over the course of the last couple of days, what does this mean going forward?
And I think they're all -- they've all acknowledged that they're reaching out to the physician here on Capitol Hill and the personal physicians are kind of waiting to see what the next steps are.
WHITFIELD: All right. Okay. Lots of questions remain and of course, many trying to extrapolate the lessons learned here as well. Phil Mattingly, thank you so much.
I want to bring in Democratic Senator of Illinois, Tammy Duckworth. Good to see you, Senator. First of all, your response to a positive testing of coronavirus of your colleague, Senator Rand Paul.
SEN. TAMMY DUCKWORTH (D-IL): Well, I wish him a healthy recovery. I hope that he has not spread out to other folks and I give the same caution to all Americans.
Take care of yourself. Make sure that you maintain social distancing and sanitize, sanitize, sanitize. It is what I'm doing.
WHITFIELD: What are your concerns about hearing these reported details that there was a lunch. Some of your colleagues at this lunch along with Senator Rand Paul in close proximity, even that Senator Rand Paul was at the Senate gym this morning.
DUCKWORTH: Well, I'm pretty concerned. The Democrats when we had our meeting today, we actually had our chairs all positioned at least six feet apart in a giant, almost ballroom like environment.
So we certainly did not do that on the Democratic side and the Senate gym is not wheelchair accessible, so I work out at home. WHITFIELD: All right, and now let's talk about this proposed stimulus
package. Senator McConnell saying that now this vote has been pushed back possibly to six o'clock. What kind of encouragement or lack thereof are you getting from this process and the hope from this stimulus package?
DUCKWORTH: Well, the package that the Republicans have drawn up does nothing to help struggling workers. You know, our struggling workers need help today and they need their jobs safeguarded for tomorrow. It has no protections for them.
Our first responders need PP Equipment, Personal Protective Equipment and resources today to our hospitals and our first responders. There's nothing in it for them.
You know, and instead it creates a $500 billion slush fund for Steve Mnuchin to, you know, hand out loans for corporations as he pleases.
I mean, do Americans think that this man, this man is going to look out for the wellbeing of working Americans over the wellbeing of corporations and corporate CEOs? I certainly don't trust him, not without oversight and the slush fund that they proposed in their bill which no Democrat had any chance to put any, you know, requirements into does not provide any oversight for him.
So I'm glad that this vote has been postponed. It needs to be. I urge my Republican colleagues, please allow Democrats to come to the negotiating -- negotiation table, and let's write a bill together that will safeguard Americans, safeguard this public health emergency, safeguard us during this economic crisis.
WHITFIELD: What do you like that is in the proposal? Because reportedly, this legislation would include $250 billion, you know, to also help send out the $1,200.00 checks to many American adults, along with $500.00, or perhaps even $600.00 for children, what is -- what else in that bill seems plausible or appetizing at all to you?
DUCKWORTH: I think that our Americans need more than one check, for example. I think we need unemployment insurance protections.
There's nothing in this bill that they proposed that will protect people who can't make their mortgage payments from being evicted, and rent payments from being evicted.
There's nothing in this bill that protects students from student loan debt. This bill is all skewed towards corporations. It is skewed towards a slush fund that Steve Mnuchin is going to be able to write checks to whoever he wants with no oversight even to Trump Organizations.
We need to put working families first. We need to protect Americans and their mortgages, Americans and their rent, and we need to make sure that Americans can get back to work when this whole crisis is over with and we need to get money and resources to our hospitals right now, and it doesn't have that in there.
WHITFIELD: How do you convey this then to, you know, your colleagues there on what to include prior to any 6:00 p.m. scheduled vote?
DUCKWORTH: Well, we told them this yesterday what we wanted and we were negotiating with the Republicans up until 8:00 p.m. last night, at which point Mitch McConnell called all of the Republicans away. They walked away from the negotiating table yesterday, when we actually were making some really good progress and were coming to some agreements, and then to walk away at eight o'clock last night.
WHITFIELD: So give me an example of what some of those -- can you give me an example of what some of those agreements were?
DUCKWORTH: Sure $200 billion to go to hospitals and first responders, OSHA protections for first responders, people who are on the front lines, unemployment insurance extension up to four months additional, making sure that we protect people who can't pay their mortgages so that they don't get evicted. Renters don't get evicted.
Protections for students with student loan debt who can't pay their student loans back right away. All of those were part of the Democratic negotiating points and they were -- we were agreeing to them.
And now, they've taken all of that out and instead created a $500 billion slush fund, that by the way, Steve Mnuchin can actually write these checks out to large corporations and then on his own without oversight from Congress decide to say, hey, you know what, I'm going to take away the requirement that you can't do stock buybacks.
I'm going to take away the requirement that you can't have executives, increasing their salaries. That's ridiculous. Our struggling workers need help now.
WHITFIELD: Okay. So it seems like you all are very far apart and if this vote was scheduled, somewhere in the four o'clock hour, and it's been pushed back to six o'clock, does that lend the appearances that there is some agreement and that that two hours allows for a better success rate of that vote?
DUCKWORTH: Well, we were moving together in a bipartisan way up until 8:00 p.m. last night, I can say that, and something happened last night when Mitch McConnell put all of his negotiators away, and then they started writing their own bill.
So if they delay this and we can come back to vote in a couple of hours, it would just mean that the Republicans have agreed to come back to the negotiation table and allow Democrats to have some input.
DUCKWORTH: Right now, it's a Mitch McConnell bill, Democrats -- Senate Democrats have had no input to this and the entire House of Representatives has had no input to this.
Essentially, Mitch McConnell has disenfranchised the voters of Illinois, my constituents from having any part in this conversation when he did not allow Democrats at the table. WHITFIELD: And quickly, what's your response to the Governor of
Illinois saying, you know, the whole issue of trying to get medical supplies, it's like the Wild, Wild West right now and also receiving criticism from the President for his comments?
DUCKWORTH: Well, the person who needs criticism is this President who should have ordered under the Defense Procurement Act, all of these businesses to start producing all of the PPE -=- the gloves, the masks, the swabs that we need. He has invoked his right to enact this Act, but yet he has not yet given the orders to all of these defense industries to start producing these badly needed medical equipments.
And so, I agree with Governor Pritzker. It is a Wild, Wild West out there, and this President has been irresponsible from the very beginning, from the time when he said to the World Health Organization, you know what, we don't need those test kits that you're offering us. When he said to the President of China, how great job he's doing early on.
And now this President finds himself at a point where he is finally worried about this because of the economy and where we are on stock trading. He should have been worried about this when people couldn't get testing and people still can't get testing.
We need this equipment now. Let us start allowing these defense industries to make this equipment, make this stuff that we need for our first responders.
WHITFIELD: We'll leave it there for now. Thank you so much, U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth, appreciate it.
All right. Coming up breaking news out of Germany. Angela Merkel going into quarantine after her doctor tests positive for coronavirus.
Plus breaking news involving the Olympics. Are the games about to be rescheduled? We'll have a live report.
And we're standing by for an update from the White House on the Coronavirus Response. We'll bring it to live as it happens.
WHITFIELD: Welcome back. This breaking news.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is in self-quarantine at home, this after a doctor who gave her a routine vaccination later tested positive for the coronavirus.
CNN's Senior International Correspondent, Frederik Pleitgen is with us right now. Fred, what do you know?
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, there, Fredricka. Well, this was literally announced just a couple of minutes ago, and essentially what they said is that Angela Merkel got this, what they call a routine vaccination on Friday afternoon.
And then that doctor who gave for the vaccination then later tested positive for the coronavirus. Now, once they found this out, they say that Angela Merkel immediately decided to go into self-quarantine or home quarantine as they call it here in Germany.
They say she's going to continue to do her full workload at least as much as she is going to be able to. And this is key, they also said that she is going to be continuously tested for possible coronavirus because they believe at this early stage, having just been in contact with this doctor on Friday, tests might be inconclusive or not reliable, so they're continuously going to test her while she's in self-quarantine.
They didn't announce how long the self-quarantine measures are going to be. But certainly it seems as though they are going to be for the foreseeable future.
And Fredricka, this is really big and fast news that happened here because Angela Merkel put this message out literally just moments after she went on German TV to address the nation and tell Germans that there are going to be stricter measures to try and come to terms with the coronavirus here in this country.
Gatherings of more than two people have been banned. Restaurants are going to have to close except for takeout and other measures were announced as well.
Because the numbers here in Germany have really been spiking over the past week and especially over the past couple of days, and now it seems as though the German Chancellor herself might be affected as she certainly was in contact with a person who contracted the coronavirus and is now currently in self-quarantine -- Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: Wow. Well pronouncements of a new normal globally and of course with that also comes now shocking, surprising information that country leaders are not in any way immune to this and are also susceptible.
All right, thank you so much, Fred Pleitgen. Appreciate that.
All right, in New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is now predicting that 40 to 80 percent of people in his state will inevitably get the coronavirus. This as he pleads with the Federal government to nationalize efforts to acquire medical supplies.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: We don't have half enough hospital beds. We don't have a third enough ICU beds -- Intensive Care Unit beds with ventilators.
So we need tremendous capacity added immediately, and we did our part. The President called out the Army Corps of Engineers. I have applaud him for it.
He signed what's called the Declaration of Disaster for New York with FEMA -- Federal Emergency Management Agency. I applaud him for that.
Now, let's get to work. You know, we have all the paperwork done. Let's put the shovel in the ground and let's do it tomorrow.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: CNN Correspondent, Evan McMorris-Santoro joining me right now. So Evan, Governor Cuomo also responded directly to President Trump's tweets this morning that governors should stop blaming the Federal government for their shortcomings. How did Cuomo respond?
EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, the President tweeted at Governor Pritzker of Illinois who is a Democrat and Governor Cuomo is a Democrat. Anyone who knows Governor Cuomo knows he is not one to shy away from a partisan fight with a Republican President, especially this one.
But in this particular case, he said he had bigger fish to fry.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Look, everybody has their own style in life, right? I am working cooperatively with the President. This is not a time for politics. This is not a time for venting personal feelings.
My feelings are wholly irrelevant. I have one job, I have one mission. That's to help the people in the State of New York, I said to the President, I put my hand out in partnership. If you can help my people, if you can help this country, God bless you. I will do everything I can to do it with you. Forget this Democrat-Republican, we're all Americans.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Now, Fred, I can imagine people who have been watching your show today and have come to this segment and seen this conversation might be pulling their hair out of their heads.
Certainly those in New York who are dealing with a very serious issue. I mean, this idea of a partisan fight in the middle of this just doesn't really wash with a lot of people who are paying attention to what's going on right now, and Governor Cuomo, the main focus of his press conference, what he is trying to talk about today is the sheer volume of the crisis here in New York.
All right, 15,000 -- more than 15,000 cases in this state and the Governor is trying to ramp up hospital capacity as quickly as he can to try and alleviate that problem.
So today, he announced he is adding beds that he can add with his own governor powers in terms of like asking hospitals to increase capacity by up to 50 percent or at least 50 percent and hopefully up to a hundred percent. He is turning other locations like rehab centers and nursing homes
into hospitals. And he has used Federal government help to build large new temporary hospitals here in New York City, and around the state, more than a thousand beds here in New York City. The Javits Center, just down the street from CNN Headquarters here in Manhattan.
So what we're talking about is a very serious problem, and a very massive problem that requires a massive solution, and when we talk about more hospital beds, we're also talking about the need for more medical equipment and that is at the basis of today's little partisan spat, which is really the idea that hospitals need equipment, basic equipment, like masks and ventilators and gowns and all sorts of stuff.
And the governor of New York said it's hard to get it. The Governor of Illinois says it's hard to get it. The President says it's up to you guys to get it.
And that is the kind of frustration that the Governor has, and I think a lot of our viewers that are watching this probably have, too.
WHITFIELD: Yes, a lot of the governors in unison are all saying now they need assistance from the Federal government. They don't want to fight with each other in order to get the same kind of resources that everybody wants in order to protect its citizens, all of the American people.
All right. Thank you so much, Evan. We'll check back with you appreciate it.
All right. Meanwhile, investors are bracing for yet another wild week on Wall Street and with dire economic forecasts on the horizon, it is hard to know what to do now with your money.
CNN Chief Business Correspondent, Christine Romans has more.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Fredricka, coronavirus panic gripping the market. Investors are worried action from Central Banks and governments just won't be enough to save the economy.
Last week, stocks tumbled to new lows. Investors around the world sold nearly every asset class in a grab for cash. Wall Street also got a small preview of what's to come. First time, filings for unemployment claims spiked 33 percent to 281,000. That's the highest level since 2017. It's the biggest percentage jump since 1992.
Meaning a jump that large never even happened during the Great Recession and it is just beginning.
On Thursday, we'll see just how bad the numbers got last week. Oxford economics says anecdotal reports from states suggest claims could quickly climb above a million that would dwarf the previous record of 695,000 jobless claims set back in 1982.
In New York, I'm Christine Romans. WHITFIELD: Thank you so much, Christine. All right, up next, world
renowned opera singer Placido Domingo has tested positive for the coronavirus. What we're learning about his condition straight ahead.
WHITFIELD: Now, we've got breaking news. The International Olympic Committee now says it is weighing whether to postpone the Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.
Up until now, Japan's government has rejected the idea that the games needed to be canceled or postponed. CNN's Patrick Snell joins me now on the phone. So what exactly is the IOC considering and saying?
PATRICK SNELL, CNN SPORTS (via phone): Well, this is highly significant, Fredricka. Why? Because simply for weeks now, we've been hearing that the games will be going ahead.
Remember, they are due to start in the third week of July, but the IOC meeting on Sunday, the top brass, the Executive Committee and what's on the table now for the first time, a very public admission that postponement is being considered.
Why? It comes after growing pressure from the athletes from USA track and field, USA swimming within the last couple of days. This given the ongoing concern over the pandemic that the world is experiencing right now.
This is significant, as I say, what's on the table? Well, the IOC is now giving itself a four-week deadline to come up with a firm way to advance on this.
We could see a change to the start date, which as of right now is July the 24th. But this is key here, cancellation is not on the agenda -- Fred.
WHITFIELD: Well, as frightening as the coronavirus is, this pandemic globally now you have to know that athletes wouldn't want it to be canceled all together.
WHITFIELD: Patrick, you said the IOC is giving itself a one week deadline in which to render a decision on postponement or not.
SNELL: It's going to be a four-week deadline. They are giving themselves up to one month, four weeks to see how they take this forward.
And I do want to tap into something from Thomas Bach, the IOC President, the German who himself knows all about the dream, Fred, of competing in the Olympics. He is a former Olympic fencer, he actually wrote this letter for the athletes, and I do want to pick up on a couple of things he wrote earlier. "What we all share is tremendous uncertainty. It rocks our nerves and
raises or strengthens doubts about a positive future, it is our experience that continues in part that as athletes, you must always be ready to adapt to new situations," and then right at the end, he writes, "Cancellation would not solve any problem, it would help nobody."
This is a massive global sporting occasion. It really goes beyond the borders of sports, as you well know, Fred, some 11,000 athletes for the Summer Games, you've got the Para Olympics as well.
It really is the high point of any athlete's career. But the fact of the matter is, many of them globally just cannot train right now. Mentally speaking, they are all over the place. We've been hearing many of them make those points.
And it's just a question of now of what happens next? The world is watching the scrutiny on the IOC, Fred, it is absolutely intense to say the least right now.
WHITFIELD: Wow. That's extraordinary. There's a lot to consider in so many corners. Patrick Snell, keep us posted. Thank you so much. Appreciate that.
And this breaking news, we're now learning that world renowned opera singer, Placido Domingo has tested positive for the coronavirus. The artist confirmed the news on his Facebook page. Domingo says he is currently in good health despite having a fever and a cough, but he and his family are still currently self-isolating themselves.
All right, see it is touching everyone in every corner in some capacity. Coronavirus: What to do, what to avoid, when to see a doctor. CNN's new podcast has answers. Join Dr. Sanjay Gupta for "Coronavirus: Fact verus Fiction." Listen to wherever you get your favorite podcasts and we'll be right back.
WHITFIELD: All right. Welcome back. Just moments ago, two more states were added to the list of places issuing a stay-at-home order. Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced all residents will be required to stay at home except for essential activities. This goes into effect Monday night.
Meanwhile in Louisiana, Governor Bill Edwards has also required all non-essential workers to stay home. He says grocery stores, pharmacies, doctors' offices should remain open.
California Hospital say they are bracing for an onslaught of coronavirus patients. This as hospital leaders are working overtime to ensure that there are enough medical supplies and staffing even though the head of FEMA says he is unable to give hospitals an idea of how many masks are going to become available. Our Paul Vercammen is in Burbank, California at Providence St. Joseph
Medical Center. So Paul, what can you tell us about preparations there?
PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Fredricka, they're underway. First off, elective surgeries all of them postponed. Second, in the back of the emergency room, they have set up a tent and this is for patient assessment. They don't want people mixing together within the hospital and they will check and see if people who come into this tent, they are going to be looked at by a physician if they have coronavirus.
In talking to an emergency room doctor here, he also wanted to stress this -- do not come into the hospital unless it's a dire emergency.
For example, he says, there are going to be cases where people have coronavirus, but they're breathing. They are making sense. They are cogent. They are able to walk around.
What he fears is they would come into the hospital, and not only could they possibly infect first responders, but if they did not have coronavirus, they in turn could wind up getting it from somebody else in the hospital.
This hospital chain, there's about 50 of them west of the Mississippi. They also want to get the word out that you can go online and look at Providence Health Connect. And in that way, you could learn what your symptoms are. You could talk to a nurse practitioner or a physician's assistant.
Now, this hospital is also stocking up on gear and protective masks are very important. We have learned that just up the road, Direct Relief, you know them from helping out in earthquake situations in Haiti, for example, they are now going into their storeroom this week alone, sending out a half million masks and in the pipeline, they hope to have another three million masks made in China and distribute them throughout its clinics in the U.S.
So everyone chipping in to try to deal with that severe supply shortage. Back to you now, Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: All right, Paul Vercammen, thank you so much. Keep us posted there. All right, we'll have more on coronavirus in a moment.
But first we want to share something to get you smiling perhaps, 19 students from a high school choir in California recording a version of "Over the Rainbow." Their concert was canceled because of the corona virus outbreak, so they recorded each part separately and an editor put it all together. Listen.
[VIDEO CLIP PLAYS]
WHITFIELD: Did coronavirus originate in bats? Scientists can't be sure yet, here now is CNN's Nick Paton Walsh.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR (voice over): We live in extraordinary times. True, well before coronavirus, the Amazon aflame. Australia's skies clogged with forest fire smoke that seemed to swallow our way of life.
PATON WALSH (voice over): But now, a pandemic, tearing up daily norms which may also have been caused by human choices and behavior.
Did this coronavirus originate in bats? Scientists can't yet be sure, but they've seen similar in Chinese horseshoe bats, not these ones being tested in South Africa. Yet, even if that's the case, bats have dealt with many viruses for years. They have a high metabolism and temperature when they fly and that often keeps these infections in check. That's until they or where they live comes under stress.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDREW CUNNINGHAM, PROFESSOR OF WILDLIFE EPIDEMIOLOGY, ZOOLOGICAL SOCIETY OF LONDON: We believe that and the impact of stress on bats would be much the same as it would be on other mammals, including people and that is that it would allow any infections to increase and to be excreted and be shed.
You can think of it, if people get stressed and they are infected with a cold sore virus, they often will get a cold sore, and so that's the virus being expressed.
And this can happen in bats, too. It's easy to point the finger at the host species, but actually, it's the way we interact with them due to habitat encroachment, due to increased hunting.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PATON WALSH (voice over): Experts point to shipping bats near other animals in so-called wet markets in China, this one in Wuhan believed to be the epicenter, where stressed animals transfer diseases easily to each other and then maybe humans.
PATON WALSH (on camera): And there's a term for this that you're going to have to get familiar with, it's changed our lives. It's called zoonotic transfer or spillover.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CUNNINGHAM: The underlying causes of zoonotic spillover from bats or from other wild species is almost always in fact, I think it's always been shown to be human behaviors, human activities that are causing this.
(END VIDEO CLIP) PATON WALSH (voice over): In the past, people infected by animals in
remote places would die or recover before they could spread it. Today, they can get on a plane to a different city that night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KATE JONES, UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON: We've got so many humans, so that any kind of spillover that might have happened in the past is magnified by the fact that there's so many of us, and we're so well connected.
So it's not okay to transform a forest into agriculture without understanding what that impact has on climates, so on carbon storage, on disease emergence, on flood risk and flood defenses, on climate resilience. You can't do those things in isolation, without thinking about all the things that that ecosystem provides to humans.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PATON WALSH (voice over): A cost we are quickly realizing now.
Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, London.
WHITFIELD (voice over): And FedEx Field which is home to the Washington Redskins' NFL team, located just outside of Washington, D.C. will now soon be a COVID-19 testing site.
State and local health officials in Maryland are creating a pilot program for screenings at that stadium and hope to have it up and running as soon as this week.
The team is providing the space and the parking lot outside the stadium where Maryland National Guard troops setup 10 tents and hand washing stations.
Any screenings at the stadium would have to be made by appointment.
All right, there is a reason we are all being asked to stay home and some stars like Kevin Bacon are getting personal about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KEVIN BACON, ACTOR: Folks, you know me, right? I'm technically only six degrees away from you. Every one of us has someone who is worth staying home for and I am staying home for Kyra Sedgwick.
KYRA SEDGWICK, ACTRESS: Kev?
BACON: Speaking of the devil. Well, I'm doing something.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: The I-Stay-Home-For Challenge encourages people to help slow the spread of the coronavirus by self-isolating, maintaining social distance.
Celebrities from Mariah Carey to Elton John to David Beckham, Demi Lovato have responded posting why they are staying at home as well.
All right, coming up next, breaking news, Senator Rand Paul tests positive for coronavirus and fellow lawmakers spotted him in the Senate swimming pool earlier today. We're live on Capitol Hill, next.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.
WHITFIELD: Hello, everyone. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.
We begin with new developments in Washington, D.C. where the coronavirus is now having a bigger impact on Capitol Hill.
U.S. Senator Rand Paul confirming in a tweet that he has tested positive for the coronavirus. The Republican from Kentucky says he is asymptomatic, but got tested because of his recent travel and events.
Paul is now the third Member of Congress to test positive for the disease and the first U.S. senator. He joins more than 31,000 Americans with confirmed cases.
CNN's Phil Mattingly Joining me now on the phone. So Phil, Senator Paul was on Capitol Hill as late as this morning at a lunch, at the Senate gym --