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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER

Governor Cuomo Saying 25,000 Cases in New York, Doubling Every Three Days; Facing Shortages, New York Governor Says in An Experiment, Two Patients Will Share One Ventilator; Senate Negotiators Close to Massive $2 Trillion Stimulus Plan; Chevron Slashes Spending; Coronavirus Killing Significantly More Men than Women. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired March 24, 2020 - 15:30   ET

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


[15:30:00]

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: New York state is now the epicenter in the United States for the coronavirus with more than 25,000 confirmed cases. Governor Andrew Cuomo saying today that that number has doubling every 3 days, the question is will New York be the epicenter for the world soon.

CNN's Shimon Prokupecz is live at New York's Jacob Javits Convention Center which has now been converted into a makeshift hospital. And Shimon, Governor Cuomo compared the rise in cases to a bullet train heading right for New York. Did he explain why he thinks the rate might be rising there so fast?

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and you're right, Jake, this is exactly how he described it. The apex is how he described it. It's rising and coming it's faster, sooner than they had expected.

And one of the things that they're seeing here and what they think the reason why this is become the epicenter is because of just the density in the city, all of the global travel, travelers, the people who travel into the city from all across the world -- different countries. And you also have of course the business community and the number of people who travel outside of New York across the world and then come back here.

So, he believes and based on what health officials are seeing, that in many ways this may have started here. You know, we keep hearing this -- that this may have been on the streets here in New York, in New York state, for much longer than anyone had initially thought and so it spread and it has been spreading and that's why we are seeing this rise and this continued rise in number of cases.

And as you said, Jake, behind me is this makeshift hospital. They're getting things underway. They're setting up all of the gear and then hopefully by next week they should have it up and running -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Shimon Prokupecz in New York City. Thanks so much. Joining me now is CNN's senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen. Elizabeth, let's start with the Governor Cuomo's announcement that they're going to try to put two people on one ventilator in an experimental procedure. How is this going to work?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Jake, this tells us how bad this has gotten that they are feeling like they need to do this. So, a ventilator breathes pushing air into a patient and you can rearrange the tubing basically so that the ventilator can breathe for two patients. It is not ideal. And that's because ventilators are fit to the patient. There are different settings and you want to put it on the best setting for that patient.

Now you have to put it essentially on the best setting for either of those patients and so you'll try to group patients together who have similar needs. But, Jake, you know, we have talked so much about the heroism and the incredible -- the smarts of these health care workers. That you can bet right now they're sharing advice. Here's how to do it, use this setting, use this tubing, do this, not that. They are already preparing for how to do this.

TAPPER: New York state also is starting a trial for an experimental drug that uses antibodies from patients who have recovered from the coronavirus and taking those antibodies and using them to treat people who have coronavirus who are in serious condition. What do we know about this method?

COHEN: So, this method has been in use for many years for many different illnesses. Including Ebola. You might remember that some of the survivors in the U.S. gave their plasma to people which had their antibodies to patients and to tell you the truth it's unclear if it did anything. Those patients all survived but it wasn't necessarily because of the anti-bodies.

Basically, it's pretty simple you take blood from someone who survived so it contains the antibodies to the disease and you prepare it and then you give it to someone who is sick and it is supposed to boost their immune system. It's supposed to tell their immune system, all right, this is how you fight this virus. It is not a sure thing. Again, with Ebola, did it work? We're still not sure. But it is generally considered to be a safe procedure.

TAPPER: President Trump has been touting a drug called chloroquine. We've talked to physicians who are worried about patients out there self-medicating just hearing the President saying that and going and getting it for themselves. What are you hearing?

COHEN: Right. So there already have been cases where people have self-medicated and it has not gone well. You could get very sick doing do it yourself chloroquine. DIY chloroquine is a bad idea.

This is a drug that's administered by doctors for a reason. It is a generally safe drug, but French doctors have written how there's a narrow margin between a therapeutic dose of these drugs and a toxic dose. This drug has been associated with heart problems, with eye problems,

if given too high of a dose. Not something you want to do yourself. Also, not something people should be hoarding which is already happening.

These drugs are used right now not just to treat COVID-19 patients, but to treat people with malaria and lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. We should not be hoarding these drugs.

TAPPER: All right. Elizabeth Cohen, thank you, we really appreciate your time.

Coming up, there's a gender divide when it comes to dying from the coronavirus. Who is more vulnerable? A CNN investigation next. Stay with us.

[15:35:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TAPPER: Both Senator Republicans and Democrats say they are very close to a deal on what could be America's largest economic stimulus package in history worth almost $2 trillion. Some items up for negotiations, which Americans qualify for $1,200 direct payment, eligibility for $350 billion worth of small business loans and much more.

Let's go live to CNN's Manu Raju on Capitol Hill.

[15:40:00]

Manu, what is it going to take to bring this bill over the finish line?

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's going to take a sales job by the leadership on both sides and that is exactly what is happening right now.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is talking to her caucus in a conference call, explaining to them how the Senate bill is an improvement in her view over the last several days. Believe me it's gone further than the Republicans initially proposed saying that they didn't get everything they want according to sources on the call but saying that is essentially much better that Democrats should accept as soon as tonight.

Now Senate Republicans just came out of a briefing themselves with top officials with the Trump administration, including the Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, the incoming White House Chief Of Staff Mark Meadows as well as the top White House Legislative Aide Eric Ueland. And Republicans I spoke to afterwards felt comfortable about the direction this is headed and similarly the Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer explained to his caucus exactly what is in the deal.

Now that is important, Jake, because this is not gone through the normal legislative process. This has been cut behind closed doors among the small group of members and this is such a significant bill. Roughly $2 trillion. It's going to affect virtually all of the United States economy, affect distressed workers, people who have been displaced, industries, all across the country.

And it will have such a dramatic impact on all of these states and districts that these lawmakers represent, and it could pass as soon as tonight. Even the lawmakers have not seen the legislative text yet because at the moment, Jake, that legislative text is being refined, is being looked at, as being looked at by the negotiators to determine whether or not it meets exactly what they ultimately agreed to.

So, there are still some steps in the legislative process even as they are trying to push this for approval as soon as tonight -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Manu Raju, on Capitol Hill, thank you so much.

With livelihoods versus lives being debated at the highest levels, a former Goldman Sachs executive wants America to get back to work. Lloyd Blankfein tweeted, quote, crushing the economy, jobs and morale is also a health issue and beyond. Within a very few weeks let those with a lower risk to the disease return to work, unquote.

Let's bring in CNN's business anchor Julia Chatterley. Julia, let's talk about this idea of younger healthier people getting back to work. Is it picking up steam in the business world? And are business leaders talking about doing this just on their own or with some guidance from health officials?

JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN BUSINESS ANCHOR: Well, Jake, the health officials are unanimous, and we've been talking about this all day, not right now. I'd argue that business get that, and they listen. They don't want a crisis of confidence on their hands too.

But you get the sense as well that business is making calls. Look at what Governor Cuomo said today. He talked about this idea of a staggered opening up of the economy in line with health officials. He also said, look, we're not talking about 95 percent of people here. We're talking about the 5 percent.

So, is there a way, perhaps, of isolating, quarantining that 5 percent and letting the younger 95 percent of people get back to work? Again I'll reiterate, the message I don't think is right now, and even from what I hear, the White House gets that too. But, hey, I wouldn't put money on the next three to four weeks, Jake, and I think that is coming from pressure from the business community here too, the costs here, the job losses are mounting.

TAPPER: Sure. No, I understand. I want to ask you also about the stimulus package that they're working on right now. They think they're close. Senator negotiators, Republicans and Democrats, it would provide relief to Americans stuck at home.

There is growing concern that a federal plan might not cover everyone. It might not cover gig workers, people who like are their own contractors, work for Uber. It might not cover those who are self- employed. Why not? CHATTERLEY: This is a great point. And this is a burgeoning growing

part of the economy. Jake, Forbes recently estimated this is around a third of all workers, at some part of their lives at this moment in the United States, are they an employee, or aren't they? It's a gray area right now as far as legislation is concerned and the risk here is that these guys fall through the cracks with the stimulus bill. It's a huge worry.

TAPPER: With travel at a standstill, today Chevron said that it's cutting its spending by 20 percent, $4 billion. That's America's second biggest oil company. Is that a signal to other industries?

CHATTERLEY: Absolutely. It's a special case as well remember because oil prices have tumbled so they're already under a lot of pressure in terms of their earnings. But look, when we're throwing around a number like a collapse in growth in the second quarter, recession, depression, no company's spending at this moment. They're hoarding and they're scared.

TAPPER: In the 2008 financial crisis, I don't have to tell you housing was a huge factor. Today this headline, new home sales down more than 4 percent in February. It is difficult to imagine anyone going out and looking at homes right now. What could another bad headline in housing do to the economy?

CHATTERLEY: No, it's just another kicker. At this moment with interest rates so low, ordinarily, in ordinary times people would perhaps be looking at refinancing their mortgage.

[15:45:03]

At this moment, Jake, everybody's worried about making their mortgage payment. And similar to rent as well. There needs to be action as far as outgoings for people on this. We've seen it a bit with a bit of forgiveness, and you could talk to your banks about that in an individual basis but as far as rent is concerned, there's real fears. And that is rippling throughout the mortgage market and the financial market, Jake, too, which is key.

TAPPER: All right, CNN business anchor Julia Chatterley, always a pleasure, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

CHATTERLEY: Thank you.

TAPPER: Coming up next, the coronavirus gender divide. A CNN investigation on why the virus seems to be more deadly for one gender and not the other. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:50:00]

TAPPER: Men appear to be significantly more likely to die from coronavirus than women. Data from Asia and Europe shows that over the age of 50, nearly twice as many men are dying as women. And in Italy, men account for about 70 percent of reported deaths. So why are men being hit so much harder than women?

CNN's Max Foster analyzes the numbers for us.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Countries around the world are struggling to contain a virus that's upended life as we know it. And across the globe, a surprising statistic has started to emerge, it appears more men may be dying.

There's no good data about the share of tests that are given to men and women respectively. But in Florida, nearly 60 percent of the confirmed coronavirus cases are male, and 70 percent of the deaths are male.

Researchers have found this emerging pattern of men dying from the virus at higher rates in countries in both Europe and Asia.

DR. DEBORAH BIRX, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE COORDINATOR: From Italy we're seeing another concerning trend, that the mortality in males seems to be twice in every age group of females.

FOSTER: Comprehensive data about those who have got sick could help inform more effective responses to the crisis. But public health researchers say that when governments such as the United States either don't collect or don't publish their data, it's impossible for experts to gain an accurate sense of what's going on.

SARAH HAWKES, PROFESSOR OF GLOBAL PUBLIC HEALTH, UCL: People have the data. What we're not seeing happening, it seems, is a collation, a collection of that data at state and national level with the speed which one might hope to see from the perspective of global health research.

FOSTER: CNN found that of the six countries providing data split by sex, all showed men dying at higher rates. More than 70 percent of those who died in Italy are men. In France, more women have tested positive for the virus, but more men have succumbed to it. The same in South Korea.

Across the countries for which we have data, spanning nearly a quarter of the world's population, we found that men were 50 percent more likely than women to die after being diagnosed with COVID-19.

So why might men be more vulnerable? It's still too early to say. But one hypothesis is gaining traction.

HAWKES: Across their life courses, men have greater risks of exposure to behaviors that will lead to adverse health outcomes in the long term.

FOSTER: Researchers say that means smoking and drinking. Lifestyle factors, then, may be making men more susceptible. It's the type of insight that could inform who receives which treatment and when as the U.S. wraps up its virus response.

The most effective way of reducing the death toll will be knowing who's most at risk and needs to be protected first.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FOSTER: So, it could be that men smoke more. It could be that they have higher blood pressure or that women have stronger immune systems. We just don't know because the research isn't there. It depends on data, Jake, which just isn't publicly available currently in the United States and it's worrying many in the health sector.

TAPPER: All right. Max Foster, thank you so much. Appreciate that report.

Just minutes ago, President Trump reiterated that he wants the country back to some normalcy saying it would be beautiful for churches to be packed on Easter. But what if that means more deaths? I'll talk to our Dr. Sanjay Gupta about that and much more. Stay with us.

[15:55:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

TAPPER: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. At this hour the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States has surpassed 50,000. That's up from just 6,000 at this time last week. The death toll now continuing to rise, a terrifying 649 right now, jumping more than 100 deaths just in the last 24 hours.

We have also just learned of another tragic death, a child in Los Angeles county has died, one of the first children to die in the U.S. from the coronavirus. And with this rapid acceleration in deaths, the World Health Organization says the U.S. could eclipse Europe and become the next epicenter of the coronavirus.

Also, right now, the Senate is close to a deal on a major stimulus package to help ease the economic pain of this pandemic. The Dow soaring up on that news as it closes in moments for the day.

Meantime, more than 2.5 billion people worldwide are under some version of a partial or total lockdown or with restrictions due to this pandemic. According to CNN's calculation that's nearly a third of the world's entire population and includes about half of Americans, though President Trump is making clear that he wants the United States to get back to work, at least in some form.

This afternoon the President said his goal is to reopen the country by Easter, April 12th, that's less than three weeks from now. Minutes ago, the President said it would be a beautiful time to have packed churches all over the country.