Return to Transcripts main page


NY GOV: Almost Any Realistic Scenario Will Overwhelm Hospitals; Weekly Jobless Claims Soar To All-Time High Of 3.28 Million; Spain Reports 56,000 Plus Known Cases And 4,000 Plus Deaths. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired March 26, 2020 - 12:30   ET



DR. MARK JARRETT, CHIEF QUALITY OFFICER, NORTHWELL HEALTH: -- surge capacity change some of the ways we're doing work, use a lot of our capacity that was devoted to elective surgery to repurpose that. And I think everybody else is doing the same. And hopefully we will be able to respond in an appropriate way. But it's certainly concerning as the governor put, it today.

JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: Right. And on the PPE issue, is he right? Is everybody good for now? He says, you can't look around the corner. They can only get, you know, supplies maybe for this week and next week, and then you got to deal with the future. But today, is everybody OK today and tomorrow?

JARRETT: I think since they've brought PPE from the stockpile, I think everybody in New York City is OK. But again, as he stated, it is very concerning to us to have only a week or a week and a half supply because we just don't know how quickly that surge is going to increase of COVID positive patients over the next five days.

The state has been very responsive, but we are all watching and this concept of just in time really doesn't work well in a pandemic.

KING: I get that very well. And Sanjay, another point the governor made. He says there's no question, New York will exceed its capacity. He pointed to the intensive care numbers. He has for several days now asking for help from the federal government to get more ventilators into New York.

And again, not just in New York centric but listen to the example in New York here, and then help me understand if this projects out across the country. The giant both health challenge and logistical challenge because one of the points he was key to making is that the ventilators they need are needed longer because of the nastiness of the COVID virus, listen.


GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): Non-COVID patients are normally on ventilators for three to four days. COVID patients on ventilators for 11 to 21 days. Think about that.

The more probability of a bad outcome. We now have people who have been on a ventilator for 20 days, 30 days.


KING: If you need more ventilators and you need them four more time in New York is the first wave project out nationally, this country has a very, very major production problem.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: These details are so important, john, because I think people do tend to look at it. And do I have enough ventilators or do I not have enough ventilators? But there's all these different parts of that equation, right, as the governor is saying.

And we saw this in China as well, these patients not only require ventilators, but they do require them for a prolonged periods of time, which also means that they need to be in an intensive care unit setting, a room that has a ventilator, and has to have oxygen, it has to have a backup power supply. I mean, a ventilator can never accidentally turn off obviously.

You need to have respiratory therapists who are really the ones who manage patients on ventilators and take care of those patients at the time. You need to have personal protective equipment as we've been talking about. So there's all these different things. Could you run into a scenario where after patients are clearly through the period where they need this mechanical ventilation and the curve is on the downward slope, could these ventilators then be redeployed to other locations? That's something that's coming up.

Governor Cuomo talked about splitting a ventilator so that more than one patient could be used off the same ventilator. That's largely been experimental, John. But those are the times that we're in now. CPAP machines could serve as a bridge, for example, to someone who needs a ventilator. I was talking to pulmonologist about that last night exactly how that might work.

These are the types of things that are now being discussed because we have to discuss them. Just on the numbers, John, they have about 15,000 or so ventilators, I guess now, the governor was saying. The projections are they need 30 to 40,000. But then you get a layer in all these other details, not just the ventilators, the people, the right location, all of that, John.

KING: And Dr. Jarrett, another thing that Governor pushed back on he said there are no conversations right now in New York State about a so called ventilator protocol. Essentially, doctors like yourself having to make a very tough call rationing, picking patients who get a ventilator because you're not at that point yet. Is that conversation inevitable or can it be headed off?

JARRETT: Well, I think there are two issues. I think hopefully, we never have to reach the point that we have to make those decisions. On the other hand, we have to talk to people who do have a, you know, already done advanced care what they want, we have to honor that and look at it and make sure we document it.

And having the conversation at the hospital level to prepare, just in case is just a preparatory thing. It does not mean it's going to happen. We did a similar thing during the SARS epidemic, and thankfully, never needed it. But it is always best to start thinking about these things when there's a little calmer and you're not making these decisions on the fly in the last minute.

KING: That's excellent perspective. Dr. Jarrett, Dr. Gupta, thank you so much. You are our best asset as we try to solve -- walk through all this and answer the questions that our viewers have raised by the public officials. Doctors, appreciate it both.

And as we go to break, another stark message from another governor. This time it's Michigan's Gretchen Whitmer, listen to what she just said about the dramatic rise in cases in her state.



GOV. GRETCHEN WHITMER, (D-MI): Just over two weeks ago, we have zero. This crisis is ramping up exponentially. This is a novel virus. It is incredibly contagious and deadly. There is no cure. And there is no vaccine. And we have too few tests, and masks, and gloves, and swabs, and gowns for our medical providers. The only tool we have to fight this and to support our healthcare system is to stay home. When we do, we save lives.



KING: The government today giving us one huge indicator of the coronavirus impact on the American economy. The Labor Department this morning reporting 3.28 million, 3.28 million people applied for first time unemployment benefits last week. That is by far the highest number in U.S. history.


CNN business anchor, Julia Chatterley joins us now. Julia, put those numbers in context for you if you can. They are staggering. What do they tell us?

JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: I think the best context, John, that I can give you is the population of Chicago is 2.7 million people. So we are talking about more people than the entire population of Chicago in one week, claiming for unemployment insurance.

It's devastating. It's incredibly sudden too and it's deliberate. Remember, this is the price we're paying for suppressing the economic activity in this country and effectively putting the vast quantity of the economy to sleep here. And why the stimulus the aid package from the Senate is so important here? The hope is that getting those loans out to businesses of all sizes will stop the rise in people being fired and adding to these claims on a weekly basis.

But the critical thing here and we keep talking about this, the expansion, the rise in unemployment benefits here, the insurance numbers, because for the first time ever, that source are going to capture the gig economy. So the estimates are this could be around a third of workers in this country that are your Uber drivers, the freelancers, the contractors, that for the first time will actually be able to claim unemployment benefits.

So just getting a sense of the downward pressure from hopefully the stimulus of the upward pressure from the expansion of those benefits makes this really imperfect science. But you should expect that we're continuing to see pretty shocking devastating numbers like this for the next week at least.

KING: That's the sad part there. We should continue to expect as we watch to see the domino effect of this play out a lot of uncertainty government trying to help. We shall see. Julia, appreciate that very much.

One industry that has been hit especially hard during this crisis, the automobile supply industry. Last week, you probably remember for G.M., Fiat Chrysler, all closing their North American plants until at least the end of this month. That affects 150,000 United Auto Workers -- Union members.

Today, Ford said it's still aims to restart production at key North American plants on April 6th, is currently working on additional safety measures to protect returning workers. G.M. says it still does not have a date when it would reopen those plants. This comes of course, as economists are predicting auto sales could drop by 15 percent this year.

I want to bring in Dustin Walsh, who's the senior reporter at Crain's Detroit business. Dustin, just take us through here. Number one, is that a realistic target by Ford? Do they really think as the country debates when can you flip the switch and come back to work? Do they believe that's a good hard realistic date?

DUSTIN WALSH, SENIOR REPORTER, CRAIN'S DETROIT BUSINESS: We don't know yet. I mean, it's so far they seemly pushing at least they're giving ideas of when they could come back. Whether it's solid yet we really don't know.

KING: Right. And so then take us through for someone out there who doesn't quite understand Ford, G.M., Fiat Chrysler shutdown their plants, the domino effect on the automobile industry, especially in the part of the country where you work when it comes to the suppliers, when it comes to all the people who do whether it's the dry cleaners and the pizza guy and the gyms around those factories, walk us through the domino effect.

WALSH: Sure. So automotive jobs, particularly in assembly have the highest multiplier from an economic standpoint. So from every auto assembly job, they support seven other jobs. So as you can imagine, if people start not working in those industries -- in that industry, it cycles down.

In this case, we've already seen thousands and thousands of layoffs in among the automotive supply sector, which by the way, employs about four times more than the automakers themselves when you add them up. So we're talking a big hit. And here we've seen that before in the past, particularly during the great recession. Things can get very gnarly very fast. But we are seeing them kind of pick up and hold on a little longer than they did maybe in past recessions.

KING: And what makes this so unique, I remember covering the automobile industry bailouts. For example, after the financial crisis last time, it was an economic problem. It was a giant economic problem. But it was just an economic problem and an institutional problem.

This you have the public health factor, which is why I asked you is Ford does that Ford really think that's realistic? Your governor today, talking about the dramatic spike just in Michigan, the auto industry, of course, is all around America. But a big concentration there in the Midwest. The uncertainty of that has to be a huge complication, not just for the companies and their supply chain, but all the workers.

WALSH: That's right. I mean, uncertainty is sort of the in the auto space is really kind of what's happened over the last few years anyway, with trade issues, and things like that. This obviously predicts -- puts way more uncertainty, way more pressure on that system.

It's really going to come down to demand, the supply side will be there if the demand is there. So it's really going to depend on how quickly we can come out of this and how quickly people go back to buying vehicles.

KING: Dustin Walsh, appreciate your perspective. Let's stay in touch. This is going to be a fascinating story as we go through the next several months if not longer here as it plays out. Dustin Walsh, Crain's Business. I really appreciate that.


Up next for us here, we get to the street level in North Carolina, a restaurant owner who's putting it all on the line to keep his community fed. Even he says if it means he goes bankrupt.



KING: The coronavirus numbers continue to climb around the world. Nearly a half million cases now confirmed worldwide with more than 22,000 deaths. As of today, about one-third of the world's population are living under coronavirus related restrictions. No country has lost more to the virus in Italy. The death toll there now top 7,500. That's almost double any other country. The number of new infections spiked again today to 2,500 following several days where the number of new cases appear to be declining. In Spain, health officials say they are starting to see some stabilization in the number of new coronavirus cases. But the death toll there still soaring especially in nursing homes. Japan, Singapore, New Zealand, and Russia all seeing their largest single day spike in coronavirus cases since the outbreak began.

There's panic buying in Japan as the government there now urges residents to avoid all nonessential travel. New Zealand now requiring most people to stay at home that country in its first full day on the highest alert level. And today, Moscow shuts down all cafes, parks, and stores are closing. Only grocery stores, delivery kitchens, and pharmacies allowed to remain open.

Just last week, President Putin claimed Russia had managed to slow the spread of coronavirus thanks to early and aggressive measures. Iran, which has the worst outbreak in the Middle East, today imposing a countrywide travel ban. I want to circle back now to the dire situation in Spain, the country reeling as the total number of coronavirus infections now source to 56,188 with more than 4,000 deaths that's according to Spain's Health Ministry.

CNN's Scott McLean is there reporting on the story in Madrid, for Scott the numbers are depressing.

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They are not great, John. The increase in the number of coronavirus deaths in this country was less today than it was yesterday. And as you said the Health Minister here said that there are some signs that the crisis is reaching a period of stabilization but that is pretty much were the good news ends. There were more confirmed cases today than there were yesterday.

And keep in mind that the true number is probably much, much higher than then the numbers actually show which are quickly catching up with Italy, I should mention. That's because Spain does have a test that can return results in just 15 minutes. But it's really struggling to get enough of those tests. Even just today, officials confirmed that a batch of thousands of those tests that had been imported from China simply do not work so they'll have to be sent back.

On top of that, there are more than 30,000 people at this moment, John, who are inside hospitals or hotels, turned into hospitals or Convention Center being used as a hospital. That's the size of a small city. Hospitals, they are overcrowded and under resourced, so much so that three unions representing healthcare workers have now gone to the courts to demand that they get more protection -- protective equipment.

And one other thing, some doctors are now actually using a faced type of snorkeling mask, Jerry-rigged as a type of respirator it's not being used widespread. But the idea has caught on enough in this country that Spanish sporting goods outlet has actually blocked the sale of those masks just in case they're approved for use here, John. KING: Scott McLean for us in Madrid. It is remarkable as the global challenge you hear the same issues about the supply chain, you also hear the same improvisation going on around the world. Scott, appreciate that reporting from Spain.

And turning back here to the United States. Now the record morning here 3.28 million unemployment claims filed just last week. A somber reminder, the gigantic effect the coronavirus is having on the economy and on American workers.

CNN's Jason Carroll has been speaking to some of those workers directly impacted by the closures and layoffs in New York.


JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Millions in order to stay home and a growing number of people across the country out of work. Now that more and more businesses have been forced to close.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Frustrating is one word, impossible is another.

(voice-over): Connor Zaft was laid off his production job last week. His savings will last until next month or so. Zaft worries federal efforts to suspend foreclosures won't help people like him because he's a renter.

CONNOR ZAFT, PRODUCTION WORKER: If you have any sympathy for people like me, please, God, you know, at least a 90 day rent, for at least a minimum just to let us get back on our feet.

(voice-over): The economic outlook not much better for Uber driver Mokles Islam. He's still working but with so few passengers, he's not sure he will make a post car payment.

MOKLES ISLAM, UBER DRIVER: Yes, I'm waiting for like a -- it's really big problem right now. I don't have any money in my hand right now.

(voice-over): Word of some businesses hiring has trickled in Pizza Hut aims to hire more than 30,000 employees. Given the increased demand for takeout and delivery. Instacart, the on demand grocery startup plans to hire 300,000 more workers to meet surges for grocery deliveries. Still, the national outlook is staggering. And for many people, they're counting on federal help.


CATHERINE RAMPELL, CNN ECONOMIC COMMENTATOR: Everyone needs that money as quickly as possible. The challenge is, you want the money to go out quickly. You want it to be spent well, and sometimes those objectives are somewhat intentions.

(voice-over): For now, close businesses like the iconic New York City restaurants, Cafeteria, and Empire Diner, have a GoFundMe page for employees.

STACY PISONE, OPERATING PARTNER, CAFETERIA & EMPIRE DINER: It's been two weeks of sheer financial devastation.

(voice-over): Stacy Pisone says she's had to lay off the entire staff from both restaurants.

PISONE: Week two at least.

(voice-over): Week two. And how much longer can you sustain this?

PISONE: Well, you know, it's -- that's the question. And that's the million dollar question. And we really can't sustain it very long.

(voice-over): Jason Carroll, CNN, New York.


KING: Sad economic impact there. Back to the medical impact in just a moment. We'll speak live with two doctors currently on the frontlines treating coronavirus patients. Brianna Keilar picks up our special coverage after a quick break. Have a good day.