Return to Transcripts main page


Senate, White House Agree On Largest Stimulus Package In U.S History; Prince Charles Tests Positive For Coronavirus; New York City Epicenter Of U.S Outbreak, Cases Doubling Every Three Days. Aired 7- 7:30a ET

Aired March 25, 2020 - 07:00   ET



ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN NEW DAY: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is New Day. It is Wednesday, March 25th, 7:00 here in New York.

We begin with breaking news. Financial relief is on the way. The White House and Senate leaders finally made a deal on a $2 trillion stimulus agreement. This happened late last night while you were sleeping. We'll let you know what's in the bill and when you will see a check.

The other major headline is the alarming spread of coronavirus, especially here in New York City. Cases are doubling every three days in the nation's largest city. The federal government now says that anyone who has recently been in New York should self-quarantine for 14 days.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo appears to be running out of patience with the federal government.


GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): FEMA says, we're sending 400 ventilators. Really? What am I going to do with 400 ventilators when I need 30,000? You pick the 26,000 people who are going to die because you only sent 400 ventilators.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN NEW DAY: There are now more than 53,000 cases of coronavirus in the United States. 709 people have died. And yesterday was the deadliest day by far. The death rate is rising here.

Despite this, the president says he would love to have the country opened up in a matter of weeks.


DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: I hope we can do this by Easter. I think that would be a great thing for our country.

I said it was a beautiful time. It would be a beautiful time, a beautiful timeline.


BERMAN: But leading public health officials, leading politicians, including Republicans, they are skeptical and they warn that this timeline is far too short and should be based on data. Dr. Anthony Fauci calls the Easter goal aspirational.

We also got other breaking news moments ago. The royal family just announced that Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne, has tested positive for coronavirus. We're getting much more information on that. We'll have an update for you in just a minute.

First though, we want to begin with the news here in the United States from overnight, this stimulus deal and they reached an agreement a few hours ago. CNN's Julia Chatterley on what it means for you, how much money are people going to be seeing and when, Julia?

JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN BUSINESS ANCHOR: Good question. If you earn less than $75,000, you are going to get a check of $1,200, for children, $500. This is the first component. It's the sum of around $250 in total. The big question is, is this a tax rebate, is it an advance on your 2020 income or is this simply free money. We've only ever had strings attached. So this will be important and a measure of how concerned they are about this crisis. It's matched by similar sum, unemployment benefits being stepped up, perhaps kicks in quicker as well for people that have lost or losing their jobs.

Then comes the lending component here for smaller, medium-sized enterprises. Again, a big sum of money, but, again, what are the strings going to be attached? Will they be given money for free in the form of a grant if they protect workers? We want to stem the job losses that we're already seeing.

Then perhaps the most controversial part, $500 billion for distressed companies, big corporations. There will be oversight, there will be an inspector general that looks at how this money is being used. But if that's it, then there's going to be real criticism. Will companies be stopped from buying their own stock? Will executive pay be locked down? These are the things that we're going to be looking for from that as well.

And then critical for me, and this is bumped up over the last week, cash to states and municipalities that are dealing with this crisis, also pumping money out to hospital. Just to give you some context, the numbers that we're talking about dwarf the money that was provided in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, in Super Storm Sandy Combined.

So there is a real sense here that they get the urgency of, one, investing in survival for people, including those like contract workers, those in the gig economy, which is an underestimated huge chunk of workers in this economy.


But also can we kick-start the recovery when we get through this? Still plenty of unknowns. But, guys, they're really taking this crisis seriously.

BERMAN: Indeed, still plenty of unknowns and that's the key point here. We're just getting new details of this throughout the morning. So, Julia, please keep us posted when you learn these new details. Thank you very much for that. Alisyn?

CAMEROTA: Okay. John, we do have breaking news. The royal family has just announced that Prince Charles has tested positive for coronavirus. Let's get right to CNN's Max Foster. He is live outside of London. What's his condition, Max?

MAX FOSTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: His condition is that he's being tested positive. He's in Scotland currently in his home there, his private home there. He's been displaying mild symptoms but, otherwise, remains in good health. And he's been working from home throughout the last few days, as usual. So that's positive.

Obviously, a huge concern, he's in his early 70s that he has this virus. He is in the vulnerable group. He's with the Duchess of Cornwall, Camilla. She's been tested. She doesn't have the virus. He's following all the appropriate advice, we're told. The tests were carried out in Scotland where he currently is by the Health Service. He met the criteria required for testing, which in this vulnerable group.

Obviously, Alisyn, this raises concerns about who he has been in contact with as well, and our first concern, obviously, being the queen. So I've been speaking to Buckingham Palace and she wasn't in contact with him, recently on March 12, after an investiture. So that is a concern. She is following the appropriate advice with regard to her wealth. She's in her 90s after all. And we're told that she remains in good health.

The palace won't be commenting any further on that. Obviously, we've bombarding them with questions about whether or not she's being tested, whether or not she has the virus. But if Prince Charles has taken testing based on government advice, and we can assume that she has, but we're not being given the results.

But she does remain in good health. She's just down the road from where I am, Alisyn, at Windsor Castle, in a safe space. Prince Charles in a safe space up in Scotland. But what we're more concerned about whether was this meeting earlier in the month. Was he contagious? Did she catch it? Have other members of the family caught it as well? Because ahead of him going to Scotland, I'm sure he would have met up with other members of the family down here in the south of England.

CAMEROTA: Well, I mean, if it was March 12th, they're almost out of that two-week window where she would theoretically have been showing some sort of symptoms. But, of course, Max, everybody is concerned. She's 93 years old. Her husband, Prince Philip, is 98 years old. So, obviously, it's concerning. Please keep us posted when you hear anything more from the palace. Thank you very much for breaking that news with us.

John? BERMAN: All right. Let's talk more about the situation facing royal family and, frankly, the situation facing people all around the world, including here in New York City, which is under acute pressure right now.

Joining us now is CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Sanjay Gupta and also Dr. Margaret Harris, she is part of the World Health Organization's coronavirus response team.

And, Sanjay, let me start with you. What are the right questions to be asked in terms of Prince Charles? He's 71 years old. And What are the concerns for any 71-year-old man?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Well, look, I mean, I think he has minimal symptoms and he knows he has the coronavirus. So he has to, because of his symptoms primarily, isolate himself and make sure he's not spreading this. And, basically, you know, make sure his symptoms aren't getting worse. He's in that vulnerable population. I don't think that the doctors there would recommend that he be in a hospital or some sort of acute care setting unless his symptoms worsened.

So the real goal, keeping in mind that people can obviously spread this while they are even asymptomatic. The real goal is to try and keep him from spreading this other people in the family.

And Alisyn is quite right. I mean, so he had this meeting with the queen 13 days ago, right around the end of that incubation period. She obviously needs to be monitored for symptoms as well.

You have heard the situations were out of an abundance of caution. They've done testing on people just to make sure, even if they're not symptomatic, I don't know if they will consider doing that with the queen here. It's not necessarily part of the guidelines. But, again, sometimes out of an abundance of caution, they will do that.

CAMEROTA: Okay, Sanjay, now, to the rest of the world. Let's look at what's happening in the U.S. Let's look at what's happening in New York City. The curve is not flattening. The curve is going up. Cases are doubling in two to three days. Is this what you expected? Is this what you've been warning about? Or is this happening at a faster clip than you would have imagined?

GUPTA: Well, you know, if you look at the doubling rate in places around the world leaving New York aside, for some time, we were sort of quoting the number around six days.


So the fact that it's three days there in New York City is concerning. I mean, it's not entirely surprising. Some of this, I think, Alisyn, reflects the increased testing as well. But I think there's no question now you can say that the virus has been circulating there for quite some time and, you know, it's a densely populated city, lots of public transportation. What I will tell you, Alisyn, and I know this is one of those things that people are still sort of settling into is that I think it's pretty clear the virus is circulating in many communities around the United States. Even the picture, the numbers that you just saw in New York City, they're still sort of looking at an image from about 10 to 14 days ago.

Because as we just talked about, that's the time from when someone might have an exposure to the time they might develop symptoms, several days could pass, then they get a test and then they get the results, several more days could pass. The point is that those confirmed numbers don't reflect what has happened in New York City or, frankly, what's been happening in the rest of the country for the last two weeks.

So it's going to go up everywhere, I think. There're going to be these hotspots in various places.

BERMAN: That's my question. I'll bring Dr. Harris into this conversation too. Because if you've been listening to the administration, you would think that this is just a New York or a California or a Washington State problem. But we talked to a doctor in Boston who says the number in Boston are doubling every three days. Mitch Landrieu is down in New Orleans and New Orleans is a hotspot.

So, Dr. Harris, you were looking at the United States and you are now warning that the United States, as a country, could be the epicenter of this pandemic. You were asked a question about that. You said, yes, it could turn out that the United States in the epicenter. What exactly does that mean and what's the significance?

DR. MARGARET HARRIS, SPOKESWOMAN, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: So what I was really trying to express when I said that was the potential is there. But you've still got time to turn it around. You have the means of turning it around. You are an amazing country. You've got the best public health brains in the world. Some of them not far from where you are. And you've got people who can harness technology brilliantly. You've got people who can really think out of the box.

But there are very basic things that need to be done. Testing, finding every case, tracing, finding everybody who has been exposed to somebody who is infected, isolating all those people, isolating the people who are ill but also quarantining, that means it's the same as isolating but it means you're not ill, making sure they don't go anywhere and they don't come in contact with anyone, they try to use separate bathrooms and all those things. And, finally, getting the people who are ill to treatment. And when you do that, really, really protect your health workers.

CAMEROTA: But, Dr. Harris, that doesn't sound realistic for where we are. I mean, hasn't the horse left the barn? In terms of New York, it's this incredibly populated city. Yes, people are attempting to stay inside. But how could we ever trace all of the people that we've come in contact with in New York City?

HARRIS: I would say to you, look at Wuhan. It looked like that a couple of months ago. It looked hopeless. It's a huge, huge, huge rises in cases. But they mobilized their people. They mobilized every member of the community. And this was -- it's also presented as top- down government. But what really came through from our independent mission there was that it was the people who understood that they had to change behavior, they had to be committed, they had to abide by what they were asked of by their authorities, but also by each other, increase -- improve their hygiene and really, really, really distance. So looks impossible. But we know it's doable.

And in America, you guys can do anything.

BERMAN: Well, we can. We can if we choose to. I'm not sure what you're saying needs to happen is in line with I want to see churches full on Easter, but we'll have more time to talk about that over the next hour.

Sanjay, I do want to get to you with one bit of medical news. And that is that there is new research showing that this coronavirus, which is spreading around the world, isn't mutating, at least much. And that's important. Please explain why.

GUPTA: Yes. Look, I think a lot of times people say, is this virus going to continue to mutate and eventually mutate into something that's more deadly? And in some ways, that's not really the right way of looking at it. The important point, I think, for a lot of people, especially vaccine-makers, they like the idea that the virus is not mutating because when they start to work on a vaccine now, they're trying to basically say, we're making a vaccine for what this virus looks like at this point in time. If it mutates significant amount over time, that may make the vaccine less effective.


So this is good news, John. The fact that it's not mutating, most people will say, that's great, it's not going to be something more deadly. True. But it's also, I think even more importantly, still going to be an effective target for the vaccine when that finally comes out. So, good on the medical front, John.

CAMEROTA: Okay. Well, sorry to end on the bad news front, Sanjay, but younger people are getting sick than we had hoped. I mean, half of -- the new numbers, half of the cases in New York City are people under the age of 44. As far as we know, five people under the age of 45 have died. There are anecdotal stories that some of these folks had no underlying conditions, none of the things that we would have looked for. So it's worrisome, Sanjay.

GUPTA: Yes. Look, I mean, this is going to be an important point, I think, for people to remember, especially as we have these discussions about returning eventually back to some sort of normalcy. I think, again the narrative, Alisyn, has been elderly people, they are vulnerable. Younger people, why don't they just go back to their lives, I think for the reason you're saying, for the numbers that we're seeing.

I mean, it can't just be this binary sort of look at things, either you lived or you die. We know that younger people are getting sick. We know that younger people are even dying even at a lower rate than elderly people, but they are in hospitals. 20 percent of the current hospitalizations around coronavirus are in people age 20 to 44.

So let's really keep that in mind. They can spread the virus when they're asymptomatic. They can spread it when they're symptomatic. They can get very sick. They can end up in the hospital. And in rare cases, they can even die. So I think this elderly versus everyone else sort of narrative is just not true.

BERMAN: Yes. How about just humans all in the same team here trying to save each other's lives as much as we possibly can? Dr. Gupta, Dr. Harris, thank you very much for being with us this morning. We obviously have a lot more to discuss.

The number of coronavirus cases in New York City is now doubling every three days. We're going to speak with two New York officials about what they need now to save lives.




CUOMO: The rate of cases, the rate of new infections is doubling about every three days. One of the forecasters said to me, we were looking at a freight train coming across the country, we're now looking at a bullet train, because the numbers are going up that quickly.


CAMEROTA: That was New York Governor Andrew Cuomo delivering a dire assessment of what the state is facing. Cases here are doubling every three days.

Moments ago, President Trump tweeted that he just sent 4,000 ventilators to New York.

Joining us now is New York Congressman, Democrat Adriano Espaillat, and New York City Councilman and Public Advocate Jumaane Williams. Nice to see both of you this morning.

I just want to read for you again both, because I'm sure you have not read it yet, that President Trump just says, I'm working very hard to help New York City and state dealing with both the mayor and governor and producing tremendously for them, including four new medical centers and four new hospitals. It's fake news that I won't help them because I don't like Cuomo. I do. I just sent 4,000 ventilators. Congressman, your reaction to this?

REP. ADRIANO ESPAILLAT (D-NY): Thank God for Governor Cuomo. I represent a district that has probably the most hospital beds of any district in the state. And we're right at the epicenter of the pandemic. This is Washington Heights and Harlem, the smallest district in the country. We literally live on top of each other. And I hear from my hospital presidents and they're in dire need of ventilators, protective equipment for our healthcare workers. This is a major crisis and we are now in uncharted waters. And we're not getting the help soon enough.

CAMEROTA: And, Congressman, yes, well, that would -- I'm sorry. How many do you need? Because since you were hearing from hospitals and you said that it's scary stuff, what do they need here and will 4,000 help?

ESPAILLAT: We need 30,000 for the State of New York. I mean, we really shouldn't be in a position where we have to decide who lives and dies. The hospitals are in dire need. I know of a friend of mine called me yesterday, his parents were tested positive. They went to a hospital. They got sent to another hospital because the hospital was full to capacity. It's bursting through the seams.

And so this is an unprecedented crisis. we need bold action. We need the ventilators and we need protective equipment from healthcare workers. If they don't get it, the health system could collapse.

CAMEROTA: Councilman, what are you calling for? I know that you have said that you think that New York may not be doing enough.

JUMAANE WILLIAMS, NEW YORK CITY PUBLIC ADVOCATE: Well, this is the thing. So if we look at the federal government, when history looks back, we will see an absolutely clownish president who was briefed daily, who still has no one agency leading this charge and who cuts the office of global health to deal with this.

And so on the aspect of getting testing, of getting ventilators, we have failed. And in that regard, locally, we see people doing the best that they can with what they have.

And the local leadership has been missing out. And I'm just thankful for a calming influence and every day making sure that people got information and stayed as calm as they could.

But what has been missing is decisive action to restrict movement. Every time we have to go and restrict movement, we either took too long or still hadn't done anything. And so what we need to see is a pause go into a full lockdown.

The numbers that we're seeing now were forecasted. They were anticipated. I believe we should have put those numbers out a little sooner so people could have understood the gravity of the situation.

I look at compliance yesterday. And I saw people playing basketball, riding their bikes, playing soccer.


I saw a wedding on the street. And so we need people to absolutely comply sooner than later. We took too long to close schools. Went from 25 to 50 percent to 75 percent. These things didn't work in other places. And so we should have known that we had to move a lot faster locally.

CAMEROTA: And so now you're calling for a lockdown, which is obviously more stringent than a stay-at-home order.

Congressman, I think it got a lot of people's attention yesterday when Dr. Deborah Birx at the White House briefing said that anyone who has been to New York, anyone who has come in and out of New York should be on their own, self-isolating, 14-day pause period right now, and I know you're taking that seriously. That's what you've decided to do.

ESPAILLAT: That's correct. And I think the country should be in a lockdown. We saw a couple of weeks back what was happening in Italy. Now, the rest of the country is seeing what's happening in New York. Two weeks from now, it will be the rest of the country. I think rather than abiding by this Easter Sunday scenario that the president is talking about, we should be in total lockdown.

I agree with the public advocate that mobility has been an issue. I think that the information has not gotten out fast enough. It's important to be quarantine, if you have any systems (ph), but I'm on lockdown right now. And I was out in the Bronx trying to get a drive- through test site open. We got it open on Monday. And after that, I have been in my house. I don't go out. I speak to you from here and I'm handling business from my house. And I encourage everybody to stay home. There's got to be total lockdown in the country so we can overcome this pandemic.

CAMEROTA: Councilman, I was heartbroken to read this story about this beloved public school principal who died from coronavirus. She, so it's a woman, so we've heard that it affects men more lethally. This is a woman who was 36 years old, according to her family, no underlying health conditions. And so it's just -- I mean, those are the stories that obviously grab you by the collar and shake you. And so what do you want, Councilman, what do you want Mayor de Blasio and Governor Cuomo to do today?

WILLIAMS: We also have to remember, she was 36 years old and we had another principal in bad condition now. We took too long to close the schools. We still have no plan for those who (INAUDIBLE) homeless population. We need a total lockdown. We have been steps behind every time when it comes to restricting movement. We can't dial this up. The numbers we're seeing now from decisions being made a week ago, we won't see the impact for another week. This has been forecasted.

No more -- we have to provide clarity and decisive, courageous decisions. The pause has to turn into a lockdown and we need compliance from the people in New York City. We've seen a lot of it but not enough.

I spoke to the young people, of course, keeping my distance, who told me they're playing basketball because they can't get it. So the information and the direness hasn't gotten there yet. They're starting to do it now. But we are behind. That's where the locality, that's where the states have to do, particularly in New York State, just do more. And we have to do it now so that we can save lives in a few weeks. CAMEROTA: Councilman Williams, Congressman Espaillat, thank you both very much. Stay well. Thank you for the message. We'll check back to you.


BERMAN: So this $2 trillion economic stimulus deal was reached overnight. Will it be enough to help the workers who have lost their jobs in this pandemic. We'll discuss, next.