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New York City Warns Of Medical Supply Shortage In 10 Days; Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) Tests Positive For Coronavirus; German Chancellor Angela Merkel Goes Into Self-Quarantine; Health Care Workers In Italy Infected With Coronavirus; Myths About Coronavirus Pandemic Debunked; Trump Holds Briefing On Coronavirus. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired March 22, 2020 - 17:00   ET




ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: Hello. I want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York and you are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. Here's what you need to know right now as this global pandemic grows.

There are now more than 31,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the U.S. and nearly 400 people have died. We now have the first confirmed case of coronavirus in the U.S. Senate. Kentucky Senator Rand Paul revealing he tested positive for the virus.

Meantime in New York State, there are 15,000 cases and counting -- nearly half of all the cases in the U.S. New York's governor, announcing they are planning to turn landmark locations into makeshift hospitals as the virus threatens to overwhelm the state's health care system.

Now, both the governor and the mayor are saying they can't keep people alive with what they have.


GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): This is just an impossible situation to manage. If we don't get the equipment, we can lose lives that we could have otherwise saved if we had the right equipment.

MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D), NEW YORK CITY: We're not getting shipments. We're not getting the stuff we need. If we don't get more ventilators in the next 10 days, people will die who don't have to die. It's as simple as that.


CABRERA: Governor Cuomo repeated today that it is possible up to 80 percent of people in his state, New York, could eventually become infected. Plus, add Ohio and Louisiana now to the list of states telling all non-essential workers to stay at home. Both orders are in effect through early April. And overseas right now, the most powerful woman in Europe is under

coronavirus quarantine. German Chancellor Angela Merkel taking precautions after learning that a doctor who gave her a vaccination on Friday is infected.

Elsewhere in Europe, in Italy, almost 5,000 health care workers now have the virus as the death toll there rises. More than 600 people have died in that country in the last 24 hours.

And in Spain, the number of sick and dead is especially soaring. Just since yesterday, fatalities jumped 30 percent. Many of the infected people in Spain are health care workers, as well, treating people who have the virus.

And a big development involving the summer Olympics -- leaders of the International Olympic Committee saying today they are considering rescheduling the games, although cancellation, they say, is not on the table right now.

I want to go straight to CNN's Evan McMorris-Santoro in New York. And Evan, officials in New York are pleading, literally pleading for help. As you heard, they say people will die if they can't get the equipment they need and fast. What more can you tell us about dire situation?

EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, hi, Ana. Viewers can see on their screens that the president should be speaking fairly soon or the White House officials should be speaking fairly soon.

It's been an interesting day because this is a day in which the governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, directly made a plea to the federal government to take over control of the distribution of medical equipment in this country to try and get it to states more easily.

The governor talked about how difficult it is for him to add to the stockpile here, which is diminishing and very, very low. I've been doing reporting on this all weekend. And doctors and medical officials are telling us about shortages all across the board on very, very basic medical equipment.

Not to mention the ventilators that you talk about that are very important to this respiratory disease. They can't get it because the prices are shooting up, according to Governor Cuomo, because states are vying against each other to buy these things.

So the governor's idea is that the federal government takes over this marketplace and start distributing these products to states on a basis of who needs them. And here in New York, of course, where the epicenter of the coronavirus crisis here in the United States, today the governor announcing more than 15,000 confirmed cases.

Also, he announced thousands of tests are going on, which is part of the reason why the number is going up with and will mean the number goes up even higher. But as you mentioned at the opening of the show, he's planning on thousands and thousands of more people coming down with this virus and that requiring a dramatic increase in the availability of hospital beds. CABRERA: So tell us more about these makeshift hospitals that he is

going to be working on.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Well, the governor announced today that he's going to use his powers to order New York area hospitals to increase their capacity. The way he's going to do this is he's going to waive regulations that currently very strictly limit how many people can be in a hospital, how a hospital is set up.


He's going to wave those, requiring hospitals to add 50 percent more beds with the goal that they actually double the number of beds that they have, which he said can add between 50,000 and 100,000 more beds, the goal being 50,000, maybe 75,000.

He's also going to turn to health facilities around the state, like nursing homes and rehabilitation centers and turn them into hospitals using his powers as well.

And then, finally, he's turning to the federal government. And he's asking the federal government to turn four sites around the area into hospital complexes. The largest one being the Javits Center right down the block here from CNN headquarters in Manhattan.

He's going to place four 250-bed emergency pop-up hospitals in the Javits Center, creating at least a thousand beds in that facility as well. Now, this is important because, you know, as more people have the virus and need to get treated for it, there has to be places to treat them. And that's part of the desperate moves that are happening here, is to quickly add so many more hospital beds to this city and so this state, Ana?

CABRERA: Wow. There's a lot moving right now. Thank you very much, Evan McMorris Santoro. I want to bring in Dr. Megan Ranney who is an emergency physician at Lifespan/Brown University. Doctor, you know what the front lines of this crisis look like. How dire is the situation?

DR. MEGAN RANNEY, EMERGENCY PHYSICIAN, LIFESPAN/BROWN UNIVERSITY: So, Ana, we need to do better and we need to do better quickly. Health care workers across the country are begging for protective equipment.

We've gone on social media with the #GetMePPE. We've set up websites,, where we're trying to match health care providers with donations.

But we need the federal government to help coordinate for us. We can't as individual health care workers or even individual hospital systems get the protective equipment that we need to keep ourselves and our patients safe.

The CDC itself is now providing recommendations for critical situations, where we've run out of PPE where we can do things like use masks for as long as we possibly can until their soiled or even use bandannas instead of protective masks. This puts us as health care workers in tremendous danger of getting

sick ourselves, and then we won't be there to care for patients. It also puts patients at risk from getting sick potentially from us.

CABRERA: Yes, that's what I was just thinking about when you're reusing masks after seeing multiple patients. Does it increase the risk of those patients that you see after perhaps somebody who's infected also getting the virus?

RANNEY: So we don't know. The best recommendations that we have from infectious disease experts are that as long as we keep the masks on and don't touch it, it should not transmit the infection to the next patient.

Hand washing or hand sanitizer is obviously critical in reducing the transmission of the disease. But honestly, we don't know. And we know from stories out of Italy that health care workers are some of the highest risk of getting infected if there's not adequate protective equipment.

So, we could face a situation where we have large portions of the health care workforce that are home sick, or worse yet, hospitalized and not able to take care of the patients that are coming in the door.

CABRERA: We heard the New York City mayor saying they have about enough supplies for maybe 10 days here in the city. Given the projections that they're seeing here, what's the situation where you are in Rhode Island?

RANNEY: So in Rhode Island, we have been fortunate that although our number of covid-19 cases is growing dramatically, day by day, we have nowhere near the level of infections that's being faced in New York. My hospital system has been proactive in trying to mobilize supplies that we had leftover from SARS and H1N1.

And my governor and Department of Health have been trying to get supplies from national stockpiles. But just like everywhere in the U.S., we will run out if we don't get replenishment of supplies. And we're being advised to reuse masks and face shields as long as we possibly can to try to stave off that moment when we run out.

CABRERA: Doctor, as we await this press briefing with the coronavirus task force at the White House, what would you want the government to do right now to help you?

RANNEY: So, I would love to see the government do a few things. The first is to use that defense production act to actually work with a private sector to encourage them to up production, up the creation of the raw materials, the production of masks, gowns, equipment, and then to coordinate the response.

As your previous correspondent talked about, we as individual hospital systems or even individual states are currently in bidding wars to try to get the limited supplies that are out there. And I'll tell you, my e-mail is full of folks not just offering donations which are heartwarming, but also people trying to get me to buy equipment at a high price.


So, if the government could step up and coordinate and distribute where the need is greatest that would be lovely. I mean, I know we have this capacity. We do it in war situations. Our military are experts at logistics. And that would just be a huge service to health care providers on the front lines who really just want to take care of their patients.

CABRERA: And doctor, what do you tell people who are at home and are wondering should I go to what would normally be a scheduled doctor's visit for maybe other ailments that I'm dealing with?

RANNEY: Yes. So, for folks who are not feeling well or who have a scheduled doctor's visit, my first advice would be to call your normal doctor, check in with them, see what their current advice is.

Many physicians and other offices across the country are going to telehealth. The government actually lifted regulations on what types of telehealth could be used. So, many groups that didn't used to be able to see you over video or over the phone are now making that available.

So first, call your doctor. Second, see if telehealth is available. Third, please don't try to show up in the emergency department expecting to get a COVID-19 test unless you've been told to come in by someone else.

Emergency departments across the country have really, really limited numbers of these tests. So calling or using telehealth first is the most appropriate next step, both to keep yourself safe and to keep everyone else around you safe.

CABRERA: All right. Doctor, please stand by. I want to bring in CNN's chief political analyst, Gloria Borger, as well. And Gloria, Senator Rand Paul tested positive for coronavirus. We know he's come into contact with multiple members of Congress. This seems like this could become a serious problem for America's law making body.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it could be because while he was awaiting the results of his test, he was swimming in a swimming pool up on Capitol Hill and had lunch with other Senators. And so I think there is a concern up there about how many people were close to him and whether, in fact, that could affect voting of course because there is no remote voting on Capitol Hill.

And Senator Paul just got this result back so this is all quite new, but I think it's very safe to say that there's a lot of unease up there about how this could affect other senators and whether in fact they have been infected.

CABRERA: All right everybody, please stand by. We're going to squeeze in a quick break as we await a press conference that is supposed to get underway with the White House coronavirus task force. Don't go away. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


CABRERA: I want to bring in Ian Bremmer right now. He is the president of Eurasia Group. And Ian, I just want to put up some statistics for our viewers right now to get a sense of the global crisis that this is and really, help us to understand the severity of where we could be headed even here in the U.S. should we not address this issue right now.

This is from Saturday to Sunday and the rising death toll. In Italy, it was up 13.5 percent to 5,476 cases. We have in Spain, up 30 percent to 1,720 deaths -- these are all deaths. France, up 20 percent to 674 deaths.

Again, these are just astonishing numbers, Ian. And there's no indication they are slowing down. From a global perspective, I mean, this is a crisis unlike the world has ever seen, right?

IAN BREMMER, PRESIDENT, EURASIA GROUP: Certainly, in generations. I mean, Italy's numbers today represented a bit of a slowdown compared to yesterday, but still absolutely horrific and who knows where tomorrow will be. They're also not testing quite as much.

But I'll tell you, the place I'm most concerned about, perhaps, is closer to the United States, Mexico, Brazil, countries that aren't as far up the curve as the United States, but are on the very same trajectory. And unlike in Europe, their leaders are absolutely doing the wrong things.

In Mexico, you have a president that is ignoring it. It's business as usual. It's fiscal austerity. He's still going out and doing rallies and his vice minister of health has said that the president cannot contract the virus because of his moral sensibilities.

In Brazil, the president has just this weekend was attacking governors across the country who were calling for lockdowns. This is, you know, obviously you look at the importance of the U.S./Mexico border, the importance of Mexican labor to the United States, this is going to affect the United States in a significant way. It's not just an American disease or Chinese disease, it's truly global and we have nothing like global coordinated response.

CABRERA: And Dr. Ranney is back with us as well. Doctor, why are the cases in Europe spiking like this.

RANNEY: Well, it's partly because of the lack of early containment of the disease. If you compare Europe to Singapore or South Korea where they've effectively separated folks who are infected with COVID-19 from the rest of the population, they have managed to get the disease under control.

Anna, my sister, is actually a physician in Switzerland. She is running the COVID-19 for her entire cantona (ph) area called named Valais where there are a lot of big ski resorts. They have the highest count of COVID-19 in Switzerland. They are just across the border from Italy.

And her government will not shut things down, bars and restaurants are still open and people are infecting each other. She's seen her counts go up day by day while she faces many of the same challenges that we have here in the U.S. around lack of gowns, lack of masks. So, I anticipate that we're going to see the same stuff here, same things happen here in the United States if folks don't practice social distancing and if we don't get adequate protective equipment in the hands of our health care providers.


CABRERA: We heard from Governor Cuomo today say he believes up to 80 percent of the people in New York could end up infected with coronavirus. Does that seem realistic to you, doctor?

RANNEY: It does seem realistic. So here are the three things about coronavirus that make it dangerous. First, no one has immunity, right? Almost every other disease that's out there, we've had some exposure to it or, and this is the second part that makes it dangerous, or normally we would have a vaccine.

We have no vaccine for coronavirus. So we basically, any one of us could get infected and we have no internal reserves to fight it. And then the third thing is that we're seeing, although the statistics are a little debatable still, but we're seeing that we have higher rates of critical illness than other similar diseases like the flu.

So, it's going to infect everyone because we don't have internal immunity, we don't have a vaccine, we have limited treatments, and it makes a lot of people critically ill. So, I would not be shocked if 80 percent of New Yorkers get infected, unless, again, we can practice that social distancing to protect ourselves until we have adequate vaccines and treatments.

CABRERA: Ian, the most powerful woman in Europe, German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, is now in self-quarantine after coming into contact with a doctor who tested positive. Put this in perspective for our viewers. How big of a deal is this?

Well, you know, the Germans right now have been the leaders of Europe and in Europe in terms of the response. She's by far the biggest economy and it's her personal capacity to get the other Europeans to follow onboard, in terms of the policies of fiscal flexibility and stimulus.

And she's under quarantine, she's not showing any symptoms, but if we were to lose her for any period of time or god forbid, worse than that, it would be an enormous hit to the ongoing functioning of the European political system. We can't afford to lose Merkel right now.

CABRERA: All right. Thank you very much, Ian Bremmer, as well as Dr. Ranney. Both of you, please stay with me as we squeeze in another commercial break and we await the press briefing from the coronavirus task force, which is set to get underway any moment now. We'll bring that to you live. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


CABRERA: Welcome back. I'm sure a lot of you at home have been watching those numbers on the right side of our screen. They're ticking up and up and up. More than 31,000 cases of coronavirus here in the U.S. Nearly 400 people have died and with no end in sight.

Was the country ever prepared for something like this? I want to ask Jeh Johnson. He served as secretary of Homeland Security under President Obama. Mr. Secretary, thank you so much for joining us.


CABRERA: We keep hearing the worst is yet to come. And whether it's running out of hospital beds, massive number of deaths or an economy that is literally cratered into a depression, it's hard for most of us to grasp where this could be headed.

When you were serving at Homeland Security, I'm sure you planned for worst-case scenarios. If you can just be frank with us, what does worst-case scenario look like?

JOHNSON: Well, that's a good question. And unfortunately, we don't now know what the bottom of this crisis is going to look like or when we're going to get there. The goal is clear. The goal is to so-called flatten the curve, to lessen the pace of the growth of this virus.

One challenge we have here, particularly here in the New York area, where the established cases are now somewhere between a third and a half of what it is nationwide, but one of the complexities is, as we see a rise in the numbers, we don't know whether it's simply a matter of increased testing or an increase spread of the virus.

But the goal has to be to lessen the pace of the growth of the virus. Now, to do that, that requires a whole of government approach, federal, state, and local.

And to decrease the spread of the virus, that is principally a matter for the mayors, for the governors across the country to impose quarantine orders, stay-at-home directives, depending upon what's happening in a particular community.

And at the federal level, it's really up to FEMA to be the one to marshal the resources that go out to the communities in those places where the virus is worse. And I'm glad that the president has directed FEMA to be in charge of that.

The president noted last week, we're not shipping clerks. Well, in this kind of crisis, the federal government actually is the shipping clerk in chief to ensure that adequate resources, ventilators, hospital beds, test kits are being delivered to the communities where they are needed most. CABRERA: I just wonder how confident Americans can be that that is

happening and that FEMA has a good handle on all of this. When you, you know, listen to the FEMA administrator this morning, talking to Jake Tapper, and not being able to articulate the numbers of medical supplies that are even available and being directed to the states. Take a listen.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: How many masks does the federal government have right now and when can they get to local hospitals?

PETER GAYNOR, FEMA ADMINISTRATOR: Well, when it comes to supplies, you know, we have been shipping from the national stockpile for weeks. The demand on these critical items is not only nationally, it's globally.


TAPPER: Do you have any specific numbers on how many masks the federal government has been able to acquire and how many have gone out the door to hospitals?

GAYNOR: It is a dynamic and fluid operation. The president appointed FEMA five days ago to manage federal operations, and since I've been here, we've been shipping continuously.

TAPPER: Do you have even a rough number?

GAYNOR: I can't give you a rough number. I can tell you that it's happening every day.


CABRERA: Secretary, should he have those details? And if so, what do the lack of specifics in his answers tell you?

JOHNSON: One would think that the FEMA administrator knows the number of masks, other medical supplies that have been deployed to the various places where they are needed. My big concern, however, is that FEMA have the adequate authority to regulate who gets what so that we don't end up in a bidding war between states over ventilators, over masks, over test kits.

So I'm hoping the president, the Congress, has given FEMA the adequate authority to be the traffic cop in the circumstances to regulate that the supplies go where they're needed most, and we don't have a bidding war.

CABRERA: Our National Security Analyst, Juliette Kayyem, who also served at Homeland Security under President Obama, described this as a 50-state disaster. It's not a one, two, three-state disaster that may happen because of a hurricane, for example. This time, every state is impacted.

And yet, each state and in some cases, even within the state, there are different rules right now. How challenging is it for the federal government to contain this, to try to lessen the spread, when, for instance, the streets may be empty in L.A., but people are partying on the beach in Florida?

JOHNSON: Well, first, I'm not encouraging people go to the beach. But when it comes to social distancing, adequate quarantines and the like, that is really a local matter. That is not a one-size-fits-all solution. How long a school should be closed is up to local authorities.

But you're right that this is most unusual in that we have a nationwide crisis. Normally, FEMA and the federal government deal with the disaster, deals with a crisis in a particular community, a different region of the country and not a nationwide crisis.

So this will test what we've been exercising, what we've been gaming now for years. And hopefully, the federal government has resources adequate to deal with this that can be delivered to local authorities. There's money flying out of the federal treasury right now for assistance and I hope it's being spent in the right way.

My concern is that we're going to get bogged down with earmark, political favors and the like, and the money does not reach the communities and the hospitals where it is needed most.

CABRERA: Here's the other thing that's troubling. The people in charge of protecting us are also getting sick, police officers, TSA agents, EMS, hospital workers. When you were at Homeland Security, did you have a plan for who protects Americans if more and more of these people get sick?

JOHNSON: Well, yes, and that plan should continue to exist. For example, during the Ebola crisis, we funneled passengers coming from the affected countries into five airports.

And to make sure that our people were adequately protected themselves, we not only relied upon and trained customs officers, but we also brought in medics from the Coast Guard.

And so, that is another resource that the federal government can be drawing from. Our military community, our coast guard who have basic training in how to take care of a situation like this.

CABRERA: How concerned are you right now?

JOHNSON: I'm very concerned. I'm concerned that this is a nationwide crisis. We don't know where the bottom is. And one thing I'll point out is we will eventually reach bottom and the pace of this virus will eventually slow.

But in the meantime, the public has to maintain social distancing, has to engage in adequate hygiene, until a vaccine can be found, until a treatment can be found. And once this particular bell curve is over, we're probably going to see another in the next season.

When the bell curve lessens, the virus does not disappear and history shows that very often you stamp out the immediate crisis, but then the virus will resurge and come back hopefully not quite as pronounced. So, this is a crisis that's going to be with us for a while.


And if we get through the immediate crisis in a month or a day or a week, it's going to come back and so we have to prepare for that.

CABRERA: China's government continues to report a dramatic slowdown in the locally transmitted cases there. We can't verify what China is reporting, but it is understandable why this would give the world some reason for hope.

Still, if China becomes the model for how to stop this virus, how realistic is it that the U.S. would rely on perhaps the draconian measures that we have seen there.

JOHNSON: Well, first, frankly, I don't know to what extent we can trust the numbers coming from China. I have looked at those numbers. I have been looking at those numbers daily and for some reason, they've been topped out at 80,000, 81,000 for a very long time. So, I just don't know whether we can trust the numbers coming from China.

China is a different system. It's a different government. It's a different form of government. And limiting the spread of the virus here in this country, in this free and open society, depends chiefly upon our mayors and our governors. And it's up to the national government to deliver the resources to those communities that need it most.

CABRERA: Finally, if you could offer some advice to President Trump right now, what would it be?

JOHNSON: Well, first, clear messaging, candor, telling the truth about the severity of the crisis is important. When I look at the White House daily briefings, particularly the one on Thursday, what seems apparent to me is that this president, this vice president are extremely anxious to get out good news.

For example, on Thursday, they announced the development of a potential treatment and made it seem as if it was going to be hitting the shelves in drugstores the very next day, when, in fact, it's weeks, if not months away.

So it's critical that our leaders not project to the public a sense of good news that somehow spring is here and it's morning in America when it's not. We're still very, very much in the depths of the crisis right now. And it's up to our leaders to adequately convey that to the American public.

CABRERA: Former DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson, your experience, your insights, all the information you've been able to provide is very much appreciated. Thank you very much.

JOHNSON: Thank you.

CABRERA: We are still awaiting President Trump, who will be speaking momentarily to update the nation on this fight against coronavirus. We'll bring that to you live.

Plus, in the wake of the news that Senator Rand Paul has tested positive for coronavirus, we have just learned that Senator Mitt Romney has also decided to self-quarantine along with Senator Mike Lee. We'll bring you more updates as we get them right here in the CNN NEWSROOM. Stay right there.



CABRERA: I want to bring you the very latest on our breaking news with coronavirus cases and deaths skyrocketing this weekend here in the U.S. and around the world. Let me take you to Europe. These numbers are showing you a percentage increase in virus deaths from Saturday to today. Italy hit hard - the death toll rising by more than 650 in just 24 hours.

And now the most powerful woman in Europe, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, went into self-quarantine today because on Friday, she saw a doctor to get a routine vaccination, we are told, and that doctor later tested positive for coronavirus.

Merkle intends to continue a full workload from home. Her isolation comes shortly after Germany implemented a rule banning gatherings of more than two -- just two people. And in the U.K., Prime Minister Boris Johnson is marking Mother's Day there with a warning, telling people not to pay an in-person visit, but call instead.

The prime minister says the country's National Health Service risks being overwhelmed and he warns that the situation for Britain is only a few weeks behind what is unfolding in Italy. And that is where nearly 5,000 health care workers have now contracted the coronavirus.

This is according to Italy's National Health Institute. In all, it accounts for 9 percent of Italy's total infections, which now total more than 59,000 confirmed cases. The governor of Lombardi, Italy's hardest hit region, say medical staff have, "reached the limit of what they can do." Now, Barbie Nadeau is in Rome. Barbie, what is the latest you're hearing there?

BARBIE NADEAU, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: It's just overwhelming on the health care system. And you know, it has such a domino effect. That means if someone has a burst appendix or a stroke, they're not going to be able to have health care either. So it's not just as people that are in the hospital for the coronavirus.

And we've seen pictures from those hospitals that people who should be in isolation are lined up in hallways. You know, they're doing everything they can to try to help as many people as they can. But as you mentioned, the doctors and nurses and technicians are also falling ill from this coronavirus, Ana.

CABRERA: Okay, Barbie Nadeau, thank you for that quick update. We'll check back. Now to Spain, another country in a desperate battle to stem the coronavirus and another country where health care workers are testing positive for the virus in large numbers.

They now account for more than 10 percent of confirmed cases in Spain. And as I mentioned, earlier this hour, Spain's coronavirus death toll spiked to 30 percent overnight. It spiked 30 percent overnight. CNN's Scott McClean is in Madrid, where the normally busy streets are deserted.

Scott, we hear that Spain's prime minister addressed citizens this morning in a televised briefing. What is he saying?

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Ana. So, the Spanish prime minister announced just this morning that he will ask the Spanish parliament to extend the state of emergency in this country, which means that Spaniards would have to stay inside of their homes for another 15 days, up until April 11th.

He needs parliamentary approval for that, which will be voted on this week, but he did say he expects it to pass.


He also acknowledged this morning just how difficult those measures have become for his country and how difficult it will be to extend this state of emergency. Authorities also announced that they are closing Spain's borders.

That now applies in addition to the land borders, which they had already closed, to air and to sea borders, as well to anyone except for Spanish citizens, residents, or certain workers that are deemed essential.

New numbers show that the number of deaths spiked almost 400 in just the last 24 hours. The death toll now sits at more than 1,700. Spain has not yet seen the numbers starting to drop from these extreme measures that they've taken, but this morning, authorities said that they expect they will have an impact in the coming days. Listen.


FERNANDO SIMON, DIRECTOR, SPANISH COORDINATING CENTRE FOR HEALTH (through translation): We are approaching the time period in which perhaps if we are lucky, we will turn the curve, stabilize and it will start to go down. The models indicate that we are not very far away, but relaxing the measures prematurely would mean starting again. And we have to be very careful with continued implementing well and the necessary time.


MCLEAN: And Ana, there is also some good news. Up until this point, Spain has not been doing widespread testing of people with only mild symptoms. That will change. They now have tests that can return results in just minutes.

They're trying to manufacture enough of those tests so that they can do five times the testing they're currently doing. And one other thing to mention, and that's that more than 10 percent of all of the confirmed cases in this country are health care workers who are contracting this coronavirus.

So, there are obvious concerns about the protective equipment that they are getting. Spain has just announced tonight that they will be getting $25 million worth of supplies coming from China in the next 48 hours.

CABRERA: OK, Scott McClean, live for us tonight in Spain. It does not sound good. Thank you very much, Scott.

We are still awaiting President Trump, who will be speaking momentarily to update the nation on the fight against coronavirus. The briefing keeps getting pushed back, but we are staying on top of it and we will bring it to you live as soon as it starts. Stay right there.



CABRERA: It's one of the side effects from the spread of the coronavirus -- misinformation. Not everything you're hearing from your neighbor or reading online is necessarily true and we want to make sure you have the correct information to keep yourself and your loved ones safe. CNN's Brian Todd is here to debunk some of the myths out there.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Feel free to drink plenty of water. It's always good to stay hydrated, medical experts say. But as for the idea that drinking more water will flush coronavirus from your system --

PETER HOTEZ, BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE: We don't know if the oral fecal route is an important mode of transmission, but water will not flush virus out of the system.

TODD (voice-over): The notion that drinking more water will flush coronavirus from your system is one of several myths about the virus circulating on social media, myths that experts are eager to dispel.

Another prominent myth, that if you hold your breath for more than 10 seconds without coughing or discomfort, you don't have fibrosis, a sign of infection in the lungs.

(On camera): Is holding your breath for 10 seconds some kind of a barometer?

GAVIN MACGREGOR-SKINNER, INFECTIOUS DISEASE EXPERT: Fibrosis in your lungs is scarring in your lung tissue. And no, there's no barometer like that. Again, if you have any respiratory distress, if you have any shortness of breath, if you have a fever, if you have any of the respiratory symptoms, you need to pick up the phone and call and medical provider and tell them what those symptoms are. TODD (voice-over): Another myth, that young people and children can't

get coronavirus.

HOTEZ: We know that children and adolescents, yes, they can indeed contract this coronavirus, but for reasons that we don't understand, they don't seem to be getting as sick as older individuals or those who are debilitated.

TODD (voice-over): But experts say children and adolescents are also potential transmitters of coronavirus. There is another popular notion floating around that the warmer water approaching will either make the virus recede or go away.

Experts say there has been previous virus outbreaks that have peaked in the winter then declined, but they say with coronavirus, we haven't gone through a whole year of it yet so we don't know if the summer weather will help.

MACGREGOR-SKINNER: Don't rely on temperature or humidity to inactivate or cure this virus. The way that you cure and inactivate this virus is by proper cleaning and disinfection.

TODD (voice-over): There is another myth out there, that coronavirus can be transmitted through the mail. Experts say judging by previous similar viruses, they don't stay alive for long on surfaces or objects.

HOTEZ: The likelihood or risk of getting the virus from the mail is pretty low. Remember, especially a lot of mail is flown by aircraft, which is under pretty harsh conditions. But if you have any doubts, there's no harm in first wiping that package down with either Clorox wipes or alcohol wipes, and that will ensure that it's safe to open.

TODD (on camera): Another fringe theory is that the coronavirus is manmade. One version of that myth circulated outside China is that a Chinese lab was working on some kind of biological weapon that somehow got leaked.

A Chinese official actually circulated a myth that the virus might have been brought by the U.S. military to Wuhan, China. There is, of course, no evidence for any of that.

Experts are still trying to figure out the exact source of the virus, but the research so far indicates that it likely originated in bats, then transmitted to an intermediate host before infecting people. Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


CABRERA: All right, our thanks to Brian Todd. And we are still awaiting President Trump, who will be speaking momentarily to update the nation on the fight against coronavirus. We can see the podium all set up there. A lot of developments today, and he will obviously be addressing.

We have calls from the governors around the country begging for more supplies. They are in desperate need. The mayor of New York saying they only have enough to get through the next 10 days.

We have Governor Cuomo, for example, talking about setting up makeshift hospitals in a convention center so that they can add more beds as they expect a rush of coronavirus patients. The numbers overnight shooting up to now in New York City alone nearly 10,000 coronavirus cases.

I want to bring back our doctor, Dr. Ranney here with us. And what to you want to hear at this briefing today? What will you be listening for?

RANNEY: So, I'm going to be listening for a few things. The first is, hopefully, hearing the president and his team talk about work that they will hopefully be doing to both ramp up production of protective equipment and to distribute that and other needed supplies across the nation. That's really the biggest thing that I'm hoping to hear.

CABRERA: Doctor, let me interrupt you for a moment. We have the president. Let's listen in.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Before we begin, I want to mention, we're working very hard, long on getting a young group of people out of Peru. We've removed some, and the rest are being removed with the cooperation of the Peruvian government.

And we're also dealing with Honduras and getting some people out that got caught up, and we are working on that very well, again, with the Honduran government's work and working with us so, I appreciate that.

We have a couple of other locations that we'll report to you. And we were able to get a young woman released from a certain area who was being horribly accosted, horribly treated. And we spoke to General Milley. General Milley took care of it. We went in and we got her out, and we'll report further on that one, but it's -- that was rough stuff.

I want to thank General Milley. I want to thank all of the people that were involved and the people that went in to get her. I want to thank you very much. As we continue to marshal every resource at America's disposal in the fight against the Chinese virus, we are profoundly grateful to our nation's state and local leaders, doctors, nurses, law enforcement, and first responders who are waging this battle on the ground.

It is absolutely critical that Americans continue to follow the federal government's guidelines, so important, about social distancing, non-essential travel, and hand washing. Defeating this unseen enemy requires the help and commitment of every single American. I want to just say that Senator Rand Paul, a friend of mine -- he's been a great friend of mine. He's been always there when we needed him, when the country needed him.

And as you know, he just tested positive. Jose Diaz-Balart, I spoke to him yesterday. He tested positive. So, people are -- they're getting quite close to home, and it's a terrible thing that's going on, the hidden enemy. I call it the hidden enemy. And I think they'll all be fine. I hope they're going to be fine.

But I just want to send our regards, and I think I can speak on behalf of our country to those two great friends of mine. We are working urgently with Congress on legislation to support the millions of workers, small businesses, and industries who have been hit hard by the virus through no fault of their own.

Our goal is to get relief to Americans as quickly as possible so that families can get by and small businesses can keep workers on the payroll. This will help our economy and you will see our economy skyrocket once this is over. I think it's going to skyrocket. It's a pent-up demand. It's a built-up demand.

And I guess you really have to say, who knows, but I think it's going to be a tremendous day when we win this war. And we will win the war. We want to win the war with as few -- if you look at it -- just deaths as possible. We want to have as few numbers of deaths as possible.

Today I'm announcing action to help New York, California, and Washington ensure that the National Guard can effectively respond to this crisis.


The National Guard, these are tremendous people. They're fully on alert. We've signed what we had to sign and it's been activated. We're dealing also with other states.