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U.S. States Scramble to Get Enough Medical Supplies; Trump Hopes Drugs for Malaria Can Treat Virus. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired March 24, 2020 - 04:30   ET




ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back, everyone. I'm Rosemary Church.

Across the United States, the fight against the coronavirus pandemic rages on. States are reporting a shortage of crucial medical supplies. They say Washington has failed to meet demand for masks, ventilators and other resources.

And as CNN's Nick Watt reports, state officials are taking matters into their own hands.


NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This massive Manhattan Convention Center about to be converted into four field hospitals, a thousand beds between them.

GOVERNOR ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: We have not even begun to see the influx of patients. This is still the relative quiet before the storm.

WATT: The governor has ordered every hospital in New York to increase bed capacity by 50 percent. New York state now home to around half the confirmed cases in this country, with more than 20,000 -- that's tripled in three days, and with more than 150 deaths.

MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D), NEW YORK CITY: If we don't get the ventilators in particular, we will actually start to lose lives that could have been saved.

WATT: The state says many cases are ages 18 to 49. Experts suggest vaping might be a factor.

CUOMO: You can get it, the numbers show you can get it if you're a young person.

WATT: The economy cratering. The restaurant food service industry alone estimate 7 million could lose their jobs. Restaurant manager Jay Boken (ph) already has.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People are not going to be able to support their families.

WATT: And stay at home orders still spreading. Ohio, Louisiana, Connecticut, Indiana, West Virginia and Michigan among the recent additions.

But not everyone is taking social distancing seriously enough.

DR. LARRY BRILLIANT, ADVISORY BOARD CHAIRMAN, ENDING PANDEMICS: We can't have the kind of social distancing that parts of Italy had or we will turn into Italy with those case counts and those death rates.

WATT: More than 6,000 have now died in Italy. Among them, more than 20 doctors.

Here, thousands of retired health care workers are now heeding the call to come back to work.

DR. ANNE SAKS-BERG, RETIRED DOCTOR RETURNING TO WORK: I feel I have a moral obligation to share my skills. We can't imagine what it's going to be like a week or two from now.

WATT: So many places now struggling for supplies.

GOVERNOR GRETCHEN WHITMER (D), MICHIGAN: We just received our allotment from the federal government's national strategic stockpile. The allotment of personal protection equipment for one of our hospitals, that allotment is barely enough to cover one shift at that hospital.

WATT: And Mercy, the Navy hospital ship with 800 personnel aboard, today set sail for Los Angeles.

(on camera): Here in Los Angeles, they have made a deal with a South Korean company to buy coronavirus test kits direct from them. They say they hope to be carrying out 5,000 tests a day by the end of this week. One councilman said they just couldn't wait around for the federal government.

Nick Watt, CNN, Los Angeles.


CHURCH: U.S. President Donald Trump has again touted a drug he believes could treat the coronavirus. But so far, there's not enough evidence to suggest it's effective.

CNN's Sanjay Gupta takes a closer look.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Why should we be testing it in a test tube for a year and a half when we have thousands of people that are very sick. They're very, very sick. And we can use it on those people and maybe make them better. In some cases, maybe save their lives. DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):

President Trump says he's optimistic about some potential treatments for the novel coronavirus. In particular, a malaria drug called chloroquine.

TRUMP: You know, this has been something that's been around for many years. It has been phenomenal, strong, powerful drug, for malaria. But we think it might work on this based on evidence, based on very strong evidence.

GUPTA: It's true the medication has been around for more than 80 years and has a few side effects, including nausea and mood changes, as well as possible interactions with other drugs.


Now enthusiasm for the possibility of treating the novel coronavirus largely centers on one study out of France, which used a derivative of chloroquine used with an antibiotic commonly known as the Z-Pak. The study was small and the patients were followed for only six days.

DR. SCOTT GOTTLIEB, FORMER FDA COMMISSIONER: The study that looked at that drug and showed activity was a study that involved about 20 patients. And only six showed the benefit. The benefit they showed was they decreased the amount of virus in their noses when you did nasal swabs in those patients. So, it could very well be that the drug is reducing viral shedding, but having no impact on the clinical course of those patients. So, the data on that is very preliminary.

GUPTA: We took a closer look at the study and here's what we found. There were originally 26 patients in the study who were treated, 20 completed the trial. One left the hospital before the trial ended. One couldn't tolerate the medication. Three went to the intensive care unit. That's an 11 percent critical care rate. And one died, a 4 percent mortality rate.

Now, those numbers are higher critical care and mortality rates than the general population of infected. Keep in mind, again, it's a small study.

There was another study from 2011 which found while chloroquine was effective in the lab against the flu, it ultimately wasn't effective in humans.

Look, that's why trials are needed. And they can be done quickly. Many labs in the World Health Organization had already started studying these drugs and dozens others to help us find an answer for a disease that currently has no known cure.

TEDROSE ADHANOM GHEBREYESUS, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION DIRECTOR- GENERAL: Using untested medicines without the right evidence could raise false hope and even do more harm than good. And close a sanction of essential medicines that are needed to treat other diseases.

GUPTA: And at the end of last week, chloroquine was added to the American Society of Health System Pharmacists drug shortage list. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, reporting.


CHURCH: And when come back, I will talk to a woman in Europe who has spent the last three weeks on lockdown.

Plus, we're live in Madrid, Spain, where nurses and doctors say they are in desperate need of protective kits as the virus spreads.



CHURCH: Fantastic. That's Spanish police arriving on the scene in the town of Valencia, not to fight crime but to lift spirits during the coronavirus lockdown, a little serenade for those sheltering in their homes.

Well, the pandemic in Spain is expected to peak sometime this week, and a disturbing sign of what's to come, an ice skating rink in Madrid is being used as a morgue. Right now, though, a shortage of medical supplies like face masks and gloves for doctors and health care workers has seen their infection rates right.

So, journalist Al Goodman joins me now from Madrid to talk about this.

Al, this has been the story for so many doctors across the world, needing all of this protective gear. But then these infections of these health care workers in Spain, talk to us about that.


The 12 percent rate of all the coronavirus infections in Spain are medical personnel. That's a higher rate than Italy, which has far more cases than Spain. So, it's very concerning especially to the medical personnel who have been asking through their unions and showing their faces to ask directly to the government, get us this material.

Now, in recent days, the government has been ramping up their efforts to bring in this material. They have admitted here on national TV, senior officials, they are competing in a very difficult market. All the countries in the world now are competing for the masks, the effective masks that really protect you, the gloves, the gowns.

Some Spanish companies will be asked to manufacture these materials. And the government will keep a supply for the future, but right now, it's the urgency.

Let's talk about the ice rink for just a moment that you mentioned a moment ago. That is a large indoor ice skating rink. I have skated there in years past with my family. Now it is a temporary morgue.

We have confirmed with the Spanish -- the Madrid regional government that some bodies have been taken there by the military. They will be staying there. They are getting out of the hospitals which are overcrowded with bodies, according to officials, over to the ice rink until the funerals or the cremation can be arranged.

The Spanish officials at the highest level on national TV in recent days have been extending special condolences to the families of the people who died from coronavirus because not only have they lost a family member, but they haven't been able to be at their side for the final moments because of the restrictions due to coronavirus -- Rosemary.

CHURCH: Yes, that has definitely been the tragedy with this, along with all the other aspects to this very sad story. Al Goodman joining us live from Madrid, many thanks to you.

And Malta is shutting down all non-essential businesses and banning public gatherings. And this comes as the country has passed 100 coronavirus cases. Seventeen of the new infections were discovered in just 24 hours. Many of them were related to travel overseas which has also been stopped. A visit from Pope Francis planned for may has been postponed.

Katya Varbanova is a Bulgarian business woman who lives on the island of Malta. She's been under lockdown for three weeks now. And she joins me now live.

Thank you so much for talking with us.

KATYA VARBANOVA, UNDER LOCKDOWN IN MALTA: Hi, Rosemary. Thanks for having me.

CHURCH: So how are you holding up after so many weeks on lockdown? What has been the biggest challenge so far?

VARBANOVA: It's been tough, I'll be honest with you. As somebody who is self-employed and always interested in having freedom for myself, I feel like my freedom has been taken away. I haven't really gone out except for going to the supermarket. I haven't really been going out for walks because I know there's a lot of people traveled from Italy that haven't been following strictly the quarantine rules. So I am a little bit concerned about it.

So I have just been taking the time to really focus on growing my business and just being at home, working hard just to distract myself. It's been challenging because typically I like to go out. I love to experience the sun. And it's just been really difficult for sure.

CHURCH: You mentioned those people that aren't abiding by the lockdown. Talk to us about what they're doing.


VARBANOVA: So, there are a lot of travelers that are under mandatory quarantine. A lot of them are being told that if you leave the house after you have come back from any country, you can get fined 3,000 euros. You will be surprised. You would think people would abide strictly by that.

But a lot of people have been leaving. And they have been fined over 3,000 euros. There was a person that a person was fined over 9,000 euros for breaking quarantine five times. So, it has been interesting to say the least over the last couple of weeks

CHURCH: And what is your biggest fear as you watch all of this happening? You've been watching what's been happening in Italy and of course in Spain. And that's all very close to home. What is your biggest fear at the moment?

VARBANOVA: Well, as somebody who usually -- I do what I do to be location independent and to be able to go out, go to conferences. I had so many conferences I was scheduled to go to the U.S., meetings, speaking events and all of these sort of things.

My biggest fear is that this lockdown situation and the coronavirus will continue for the next year, which means that I would have to pivot how I live life, I would have to pivot how I run my business. Maybe the people who work for me will be affected. So far that's not been a problem.

But my biggest fear is what will happen to my personal life and my business in the next 12 months really. And then, will I ever be able to go to the gym? My gym has been shut since March 14th. Will the restaurants ever open?

I don't know how long this is going to continue. From what I have seen, it will probably continue until the end of 2020.

CHURCH: There will be an end to this, believe me. There will be an end. And just very quickly, any words of wisdom that you can share with the people of America who are worried about what their future holds?

VARBANOVA: I really think that this is a really good opportunity. I believe that this is a good time to spend time on those hobbies or passions that you have been delaying for so long. I know so many of us have dreams to write a book or to read a book or take on a hobby or new course or something. I think this is a really good opportunity to focus on self-growth, on self-development. It's a really good opportunity spend more time with your family. It is a really good opportunity to maybe take on something brand-new, a new project that you haven't been able to do.

Here's the situation, there's nothing you can do. Enjoy it. That's really how I fear. Distract yourself. Have fun. And that's it.

CHURCH: Great advice. Katya Varbanova joining us from the island of Malta, thank you so much.

VARBANOVA: Thank you so much.

CHURCH: And for many people, the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus is causing stress and anxiety. When we return, tips from an expert on how to calm your nerves during this unprecedented pandemic.

Back in a moment. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


CHURCH: This pandemic is causing all kinds of stress to people from economic strains, to mental health issues. My next guest is a motivational speaker who has some ideas on how to cope.

Jay Shetty, thank you so much for joining us

JAY SHETTY, MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER: Thank you for having me. I'm happy to be here.

CHURCH: I want to ask you what you would say to all our viewers right now who are worried about what lies ahead both economically and medically.

SHETTY: I think one of the biggest things I'd love to start with is that I feel right now due to the fear and uncertainty and anxiety, one of the biggest mistakes we're making is we're feeling guilty and judging ourselves. So, we're judging ourselves and not being the perfect parent, perfect person, the perfect partner right now.

But this is a time of transition. This is something we have never experienced before. So we have to give ourselves time to adapt. We have to be patient with ourselves and stop judging and guilting ourselves to begin with.

Both of those emotions are not good for our immunity. They're not good for our mental health and they're not needed to help ourselves push forward.

CHURCH: That's great advice. And I know that you are holding daily medication and relaxation classes for people online. Talk to us about the easiest meditation, breathing exercises that you can share right now with our viewers to help them cope with what's going on right now in the world.

SHETTY: Absolutely. I'm so grateful to have tens of thousands of people are joining me every single day on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube to meditate every single morning, afternoon, wherever they are.

And one of my favorite is becoming aware of our breathing. Something each and every one of us can do. So what I recommend is place your left palm on your stomach and breathing in for a count of one, two, three, four. And breathing out for a count of more than four. One, two, three, four, and more.

If you do that three to five times every single day, any moment when you really feel that anxiety or pressure, it will just reground you and bring you back to feeling centered and balanced. Breathe in for four, breathe out for more than four.

CHURCH: And so, Jay, why does that calm people? Why does it soothe them and sort of give them some sort of center? SHETTY: Absolutely. One of the challenges we feel in our lives is

that our mind and body are often not aligned. Sometimes our mind is racing around and our body is feeling sluggish and wishing we were still in bed. Or sometimes our bodies are running around and our minds are feeling really tired and drained. When we breathe in and out and bring our awareness from our mind and our body, we are realigning our mind and body. We are not having that friction and tension any more with our body and mind being in alignment.

So, bringing them into unison helps us be mentally and physically present to where we are right now.

CHURCH: And for a lot of people at the moment, if they are self- isolating or quarantining by themselves or with family, there are frustrations that calm with that.


How do they continue to have shared experiences and how do they get involved on, say, your online meditation.

SHETTY: Absolutely. One of the things that we are really searching for right now is not just shared space but shared experiences. So you don't just want to be in the same room with each other with everyone on their phones. You want to have an experience together.

So just because we can't be in the same space doesn't mean we can't schedule virtual breakfast, lunch, dinners, virtual workouts with people, virtual game nights, virtual movie nights. There are so many ways of still having shared experiences.

And if someone in your live had a birthday, or an anniversary or big moment they're about to miss, still make it a point to commemorate and celebrate that day with them virtually and make sure that you let them know how special they are.

So we are doing the same thing every single morning at 9:30 a.m. Pacific Time, it's 12:30 p.m. Eastern. And every single day I'm guiding a meditation where tens of thousands on are gathering to meditate and find calm, peace and unifying together. That's a shared experience that we are vibrating across the whole world.

CHURCH: Where do they go to find that?

SHETTY: You can find it on Facebook, YouTube or Instagram live every single day. So, whichever platform you're on, we're there.

CHURCH: Jay Shetty, so inspirational. This is really important to pass on these sorts of experiences for people, particularly at this time, a time that the whole world, all of humanity is experiencing this. We thank you so very much.

SHETTY: Thank you so much for having me. Such a pleasure. .

CHURCH: And thank you for your company. Stay home and stay safe. I'm Rosemary Church. "NEW DAY" is next. You're watching CNN.