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Surgeon General Says, Detroit, Chicago, New Orleans New Hotspots; U.S. Now Epicenter With Most Coronavirus Cases In World; Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) Speaks Out On Husband's Coronavirus Battle. Aired 1-1:30p ET

Aired March 27, 2020 - 13:00   ET

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


[13:00:00]

DR. JEROME ADAMS, U.S. SURGEON GENERAL: Everyone's curve is going to be different. New York is going to look different than Boise, Idaho or Jackson, Mississippi or New Orleans. We also see hotspots, like Detroit, like Chicago, like New Orleans, that will have a worst week next week than what they have this week.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: And as cases rise across the United States, President Trump still has not walked away from his expectation that the country will be ready to roll on Easter.

But Dr. Anthony Fauci, a member of the White House task force for the coronavirus, threw some cold water on that idea.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: I think the president was trying to do was making an aspirational projection to give people some hope. But he's listening to us when we say we really got to re-evaluate in real-time and any decisions we make has to be based on the data.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KEILAR: Now, billionaire Bill Gates says, the partial shutdowns across the country are not enough to stop this spread. He says, the country needs a 6-10 week, quote, extreme shutdown nationwide to get ahead of the curve here.

And in the U.K., Prime Minister Boris Johnson now says he has tested positive for the coronavirus. He is self-quarantining with what he calls a slight temperature and a persistent cough.

I want to go to Shimon Prokupecz. He is in New York along with Governor Andrew Cuomo, who says that his state is still facing a dangerous shortfall in equipment. Tell us where you are, Shimon, and what the governor has to say.

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Thank you, Governor, for joining us, of course. I just want to get right to the hospitals, the situations at the hospital. I have been talking to doctor actually, her name is Rikki Lane at Elmhurst Hospital, describing really tough conditions. And she actually asked me to ask you this question about -- they are seeing -- obviously, they are being inundated with a lot of patients.

And one of this things that's going on is that they can't, the backlog of patients, because some of these patients who need oxygen, who other kind of medical care, but maybe are not the most critical type of care. And what she's wondering is why can't some of those patients be offloaded into some of the military hospitals, into some other hospitals to relieve some of the backlog and so that they can focus on more of the serious and more of folks who will need serious care?

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): She is exactly right, you will see more and more of this. Hospitals are reaching capacity level. The first step after a hospital starts to reach capacity level is that hospital system has to redistribute patients among the system. So we are talking to the New York City hospital system to say, look, if you have a hospital that's up near capacity, redistribute to the other hospitals. If the projections are right, and the numbers continue to grow, you will see every hospital get the capacity. And that's when the facility like this will kick in, which is an overflow facility for the hospital system writ large.

PROKUPECZ: What she's saying that's the one priority. And she's pleading, saying, we need to move these people out. Do you think something like that is going to happen? Is that the next part of this? What do you think the city can do to try to alleviate some of that pressure?

CUOMO: We have the State Department of Health talking to New York City Department of Health, saying, you have to distribute patients among your hospital system so you are not overburdening any one hospital necessarily.

Now, look, we get to the point where all the hospitals are at capacity then you need the overflow. There's this facility, three others. I asked the president today to build another 4,000 beds because we are expecting by the numerical projections that you will overflow the hospital capacity of the entire system.

PROKUPECZ: Ventilators, where are we on the ventilators? How are things going? That seems to be obviously the most critical aspect in all of this.

CUOMO: The ventilators is the most critical aspect. If you take a look at the rooms behind us, what do you need at the end of the day, you need a bed, you need staff, you need PPE equipment, but you need that ventilator. Because the people who will be in acute care, they need that respiratory assistance, that is a ventilator. You need about 30,000. We're about halfway there. We are working on it every day. But we're not there yet.

PROKUPECZ: Were ventilators found in a storage facility or something that the president is claiming that there were ventilators found that they need to be distributed? Is there any truth to that?

CUOMO: That is incorrect and grossly uninformed. The point is we have ventilators in the stockpile and we didn't send them to the hospitals yet. Of course, we didn't. That's the whole. The hospitals don't need them yet. The hospitals aren't at their apex. The hospitals have enough ventilators to date. But the numbers are going up.

[13:05:00]

We are planning for an apex, a high point in about 21 days. That's when we need 30,000 ventilators, not today. Right now, we're putting them in a stockpile.

So the point is, while they're in the stockpile, you must not need them is just ignorant. Of course, you don't need them today. We need them when you hit the apex, which is 30,000. We are not there yet.

PROKUPECZ: Has the apex move for you? We are talking 14 days yesterday and the last few days, has it move now more, do you think, to the 21 days or some signs of -- I think we all need some optimism in of all of this, right? And so, yes.

CUOMO: If you want optimism, the optimism is the rate was doubling every two days, the rate of new cases, every two days, then it went to a rate of new cases every three days, now, it's a rate of new cases doubling every four days. So the rate of doubling is slowing. That's the good news.

The bad news is the number is still going up. But the rate of the doubling has declined but the cases are going up. The question is how high do they go up and how long do they stay there before they come up, flatten the curve and then drop.

PROKUPECZ: And then, finally, just taking one more point on the sense of optimism. Surgeon general this morning saying that he's hopeful that the numbers here in New York will start to come down next week. Is there any chance of that happening or do you see --

CUOMO: Look, what you hear from federal officials is, I hope this, I think this, I believe this. I hope the numbers come down tomorrow. I hope I don't need any ventilators. I'm with the president. I hope he is right. But I deal with numbers and I deal with science. And I don't deal with feelings and emotions and what I would like to see, right? That would be reckless and negligent of me as a government official. I am dealing with the numerical projections by the best medical minds on the globe. And dealing with those projections, preparing for those projections and then we hope for the best.

But you don't see that in any numbers. You don't hear from Dr. Fauci. You won't hear that from any health professional. This is all hope and aspiration and hyperbole, which is great. But I hope you don't operate that way and I hope you operate on facts and numbers and data and science. Otherwise, you do this nation a disservice.

PROKUPECZ: Just one last question. Other states, other cities are about to face what this city and what this state is facing. What's your advice to them? We're hearing Louisiana, we're hearing places like Detroit. What's your advice to them?

CUOMO: Make the hard choices sooner. Politicians don't like to make the hard choices. They don't like to make controversial choices. Make the hard choices sooner. Closing the schools is hard, I know. Telling people non-essential workers have to stay home is hard, I know. Closing the restaurants, closing the gyms, it's hard but it's smart. And the sooner you do it, the better.

And be prepared, get that projection, follow the numbers, don't follow poetry in your heart, in your soul, I mean, politicians' hyperbolic statements. Get the numbers and be prepared for the numbers. And get the equipment and get it sooner because it's a global race for this equipment. And if you don't get it now, you are not going to have it when you need it.

PROKUPECZ: Thank you, Governor. I really appreciate it. Thanks for your time and your services. Thank you.

And there is the governor, Brianna, I'm just going to toss it right back to you.

KEILAR: Yes. And, Shimon, I really appreciate you relaying a question from one of your sources at Elmhurst hospital to Governor Cuomo. It's so important to do that.

Government and health officials in all 50 states are now ramping up preparations for the coronavirus surge. Each day, several new potential hotspots are identified in communities across the country.

I want to check in now with CNN Correspondent Amara Walker, who has a breakdown on the number of cases and also the locations, Amara, that you're watching. What you are talking at?

AMARA WALKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we are seeing growing number of cases every day, as you know, and as we've been monitoring this. But right now, we have more than 92,000 cases of the coronavirus here in the United States. That number just jumped up from a few minutes ago, according to our CNN tally.

You were mentioning this grim milestone that we passed on Thursday. That means now more coronavirus cases than anywhere in the world is what we are seeing right now, surpassing China and Italy.

I'll show you a map now to give you a breakdown of how each state has been impacted. You can see the darker red color there indicates the states with the most cases, more than 5,000 cases. You can see Washington, California, New York, New Jersey, they're in that shade of medium to dark red.

[13:10:02]

The lighter color, of course, means the less number of cases.

All right, so let's go now to the hotspots or the hardest hit states. And New York, as we have been talking about, has the most case of the coronavirus, more than 44,000 cases of the coronavirus. If you do the math there, New York has almost half of all U.S. coronavirus cases here in the country.

You were hearing from Shimon and from Governor Cuomo, there is a desperate need for medical equipment, especially ventilators right now, the stages to prove (ph) technology that would split one ventilator into two, so two patients. Two patients can share one ventilator.

New Jersey, at number two, also hard hit with more than 6,000 cases. We have also been hearing a lot about the outbreaks in Washington and California. There have been more than 3,000 in each of these states. And that's where much of the focus has been since the start of the outbreak. Washington, as you may recall, was once the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak.

Now to Michigan, at number five, the number of coronavirus cases there have skyrocketed to nearly 3,000 when less than a week ago, the cases there were only at 350. So Michigan is one of the fastest growing outbreaks. The governor has requested a major disaster declaration there.

All right, let's go to the deaths now. The U.S. currently has more than 1,300 coronavirus deaths. New York, once again, has seen the most deaths with 519 reported fatalities. That, of course, number just went up a few minutes ago from 385. Washington has seen the second most deaths at 105. And Louisiana is very interesting, it has seen coronavirus cases climbed this week, it has the third highest number of deaths. It is emerging at hotspots. Officials believe the Mardi Gras celebration contributed to the spread there and state health experts are monitoring clusters right now at six nursing homes in Louisiana.

That's the very latest, Brianna. Back to you.

KEILAR: Amara, thank you for that report.

Senator Amy Klobachar says her husband is turning the corner in his battle with the coronavirus. She will join us live next.

Plus, as we see live pictures of a hospital ship's arrival in California, word of a new outbreak on a U.S. aircraft carrier.

This is CNN's special live coverage.

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[13:15:00]

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Welcome back to CNN's continuing coverage. I'm Dana Bash, in Washington. And I want to bring in now a guest from Capitol Hill, Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota. Senator, thank you so much for joining me.

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN): Thank you Dana.

BASH: We often talk -- always talk about your role as a senator, previously, your role as a presidential candidate. But, now, I want to ask you about your role as a wife given the fact that your husband, John, has coronavirus. First of all, tell us the latest, how is he doing?

KLOBUCHAR: Well, he's doing a little better. He finally turned the corner. I think a lot of people have it worse than we did. And that he got out of the hospital. He had a temperature over 100 degrees for ten days and then he ended up going in after he was coughing up blood for his test in X-ray's, he checked him in the hospital right away and said he had pneumonia and he was on oxygen from -- for four or five days and then somehow turned the corner and he's now recovering at home. They still don't know when he won't be contagious. So I'm going to go wave to him outside the window and I'm staying at my colleague's apartment, Senator Smith, because I can't go there.

So it is something that so many Americans know right now, they can't go in to visit their loved ones. They are relying on these incredible healthcare providers that they only get to talk to over the phone. So I want to thank them but I also want to say to the rest of America that this isn't easy. We know how hard this is going to be. But he's story is anything, I mean, he's only 52 and healthy his whole life. His story is follow the rules. At least he did not get others sick. Because the the minute he started thinking he had a cold, he stayed in the apartment.

BASH: And you have no idea how he -- two question, first of all, you've no idea how he got it? And second --

KLOBUCHAR: No.

BASH: -- is he alone in the apartment? I mean, how does it work? Because I ask you that not just as your personal story but how this is working for people across the country who have the luxury of being able to go home from the hospital?

KLOBUCHAR: Well, you know, he is a pretty self-sufficient guy. He wants to go back teaching his classes remotely. But I don't think he's doing that right now. And our daughter is in New York in her apartment with her roommate. And so she's been calling and she finally got to him. We knew he was coming back a little when he did words with friends with her after ten days of her trying.

And so, you know, you just going try to be creative. And I kept saying, what's your temperature, what's your temperature. I did that like every hour, I would call him before he got in the hospital, because you don't know how they're really doing because they start to get kind of loopy and they're tired and they're sleeping all the time. And so you've got to keep checking in.

But like I said, there are so many worse stories and some of your viewers know exactly what I'm talking about, people who are on ventilators right now, people who needs to be on ventilators right now. So I think the key is, you know, I never get the test, because I never had symptoms, 14 days, I hadn't been with him, and I never got symptoms. So I didn't need to have a test.

So it makes you understand why we have those tests and how we have to make sure they go to the people that need them the most. And why we just have to follow the rules, because we're not going to have the capacity as we are seeing in New York and New Orleans and other places to be able to bring everyone in the hospital at the same time.

BASH: So let's talk about that. You know, we have heard even just before the segment. The governor of New York, once again, saying the ventilators are desperately needed, we're hearing that from the governor of Michigan and a growing number of governors and local leaders across the country. And there continues to be the blame game going on between those state leaders and the president and people in the administration. As a senator, how do you want this to be resolved right now?

KLOBUCHAR: I want the president to lead and not spend a quarter of his press conferences blaming other people and going after governors. I want the president, of course, I wish that he had planned ahead when this started happening in China in terms of getting those tests in massive amount, ready to go and letting places like the Mayo Clinic, which is now working on a serum test, getting those approved right away. I think that's what we should be doing now.

And as for the equipment for people in the hospitals, he just has to do everything he can to lead and not say he's just the backup.

[13:20:08]

This is a national pandemic. This is a global pandemic. This is a time when leaders lead instead of blaming the governors who are basically on the frontline trying to do their best every single day.

BASH: And, Senator, you and your colleagues passed in an overwhelming bipartisan way, a historic, unprecedented $2 trillion disaster relief bill effectively, which is going to be voted on momentarily, if not, as we speak, in the House of Representatives. That has $400 million for states to assist in elections that are being disrupted by the pandemic. This is a specific issue for you since we are in an election year. Is that enough?

KLOBUCHAR: No, it isn't. And that's why I have been fighting with my colleague, Ron Wyden, to big time up our voting at home, voting by mail for this election. There is time to do this. Every state in the country allowed us one way or another. They've got to reform their rules to make it easier. They have to make sure that early voting places are opened at least 20 days ahead. And then, of course, we need the funding for the mail in ballots. And we got some, that's good, but we're going to never give up. We're doing a major effort on this to get it done.

And I'd also say, I'm so glad the House is voting. I thought that was ridiculous that one member would hang it up like he did, Congressman Massie, but I guess that's his right. But this bill, it is not perfect, it is not everything that I wanted it to be, obviously. But what it is, is it this immediate relief to the people of this country with unemployment and with small business, with making sure that we are getting more funding out there for our hospitals. And I appreciate what Speaker Pelosi has done but also Senator Schumer and Durbin and Murray and all of our leaders in the Senate that worked so hard to make the bill better.

BASH: And, Senator, before I let you go, just one last question about your message to fellow families of people out there who have loved ones who have this virus, who are struggling, who are very, very sick.

KLOBUCHAR: I would say that you say some prayers, you do your best to monitor the person because you most likely are not going to be able to be with them. I'm telling you I wish that I had my husband take his laptop to the hospital. There's some practical things that I couldn't do. But at least he took his phone charger so that we could keep calling him all the time.

And so, making sure that you can keep in touch with them, that you have a contact in the hospital to try to find one because it is just -- it's the hardest thing. You literally aren't going to be able to see them, and that you have to give patients to healthcare providers on the frontline. They are struggling, they don't have enough equipment and they are doing everything that they can.

And that's what I would say. It's going to happen to everyone. There is going to be someone in your family that this happens to. And you just have to be ready for that moment and then also make the tough decision. I'm not going into that room with him because I can't get my kids sick or I can't get my grandma sick. And that's the hardest thing of all, but it's the best thing for our country.

BASH: Senator, thank you so much. We are so happy to hear that your husband, John, is home and that he is recovering. It's great news.

KLOBUCHAR: Thank you Dana.

BASH: Stay well. I'm going to toss it back to Brianna Keilar also in Washington. Brianna?

KEILAR: Dana, thank you so much and thank you so much to Senator Klobuchar.

In Massachusetts, an emotional flee on behalf of the man and woman fighting this virus on the front line from the state's governor.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. CHARLIE BAKER (R-MA): I stand here, as someone who has had confirmed orders for millions of pieces of gear evaporate in front of us. And I can't tell you how frustrating it is.

We've literally gotten to the point where our basic decision is until the things shows up here and they come off with the masks, it doesn't exist.

Our first responders, our healthcare workers, everybody deserves to have that care. And I'm telling you, we are killing ourselves trying to make it happen. (END VIDEO CLIP)

KEILAR: With me now is the, Peter Slavin. He is the President of Massachusetts General Hospital. Sir, thank you so much for joining us.

The number of staff testing positive for the coronavirus totaled 41 as of yesterday. So I know you're expecting that to grow. This is according to the Boston Globe, which reports that a surge in hospital worker infections in several of the city's facilities is going on right now.

Dr. Slavin, the Globe reports that the number of infected staff almost equals the number of confirmed patients at Mass General, which is 43. And then there is an additional 143 patients who have been admitted as potential cases. Are you able at this point to pinpoint how the staff has become infected and how those infections are impacting treatment of all patients?

[13:25:07]

DR. PETER SLAVIN, PRESIDENT, MASSACHUSETTS GENERAL HOSPITAL: Well, we certainly have plenty of staff on the frontlines. We're not sure with the staffs that have been infected and how that's happens, whether it is through contact at work or contact in the community. But our hearts go out to the ones who have been infected. But at the moment, it's not causing any significant shortages in the workforce.

In China, the rate of infection among healthcare workers was three times that of the general population, so I think everybody needs to realize that healthcare workers are putting themselves at risk and need to do everything we possibly can to support them and making sure they have the equipment they need to stay as safe as possible.

KEILAR: We have seen some cases, for instance, of healthcare workers like a 31-year-old nurse in New York who contracted coronavirus and died from it. Are you seeing anything different in terms of how the healthcare community is dealing with this because of their increased exposure and how the healthcare community is exhibiting symptoms, degrees of severity?

SLAVIN: No. It's quite clear that the pattern of illness here in this country are similar to what's been seen elsewhere, certainly older, sicker people are the most vulnerable to this virus. People over the age of 85 appear to have a 15 percent mortality risk, whereas younger people have a much lower risk. But that risk is now zero. And given the number of young people in our society and in our workforce, you would unfortunately expect to see some get sick.

KEILAR: So about a week ago, you were talking about the possibility of 3D-printed masks. Now, your hospital is studying whether the N95 masks can be sterilized and then reused. What updates can you give us on these efforts?

SLAVIN: Well, like -- well, first of all, I want to congratulate Governors Cuomo and Baker for their heroic effort to try to get the supplies they need into their states. Now, we need the president to use all of his power under the Defense Production Act to get in industry in this country as aggressively working as possible to increase production or new production for industries that have never done this before.

I mentioned 3D printing. That seem to have worked in Italy. I've been besieged by 3D companies that have 3D printing capabilities, as well as high school student that have 3D printers in their basements, wanting to help. We have a team of people at Mass General and at the Brigham across our health system, looking at various possibilities, 3D printing to make protective equipment and then also things like ozone, ultra-violate light or radiation to potentially reprocess PPE.

So we need to unleash the full innovative and industrial capacity of this country to make the most of this crisis, save as many people as possible in much the same way that industry, as President Roosevelt demand, did so during the Second World War.

KEILAR: So you mentioned that -- I mean, there are people, young people who have 3D printers in their basement. Is there a place for them in all of this? What is required -- is there a way do you think they could be incorporated in to kind of crowdsourcing this issue?

SLAVIN: It's possible. I'm certainly not an expert in 3D printing. This has come up on me B rather recently. But if we had a particular design that we can make that widely available if that design, in fact, works. So that is exactly what this group of entrepreneurs and scientists within our health system, Mass General Brigham, is working aggressively on and we're collaborating with people around the City of Boston and around the country to try to see if these innovations, in fact, could make a difference in the weeks ahead.

KEILAR: Well, it is fascinating. It is so interesting to see how they're putting all this creativity into this. Thank you so much for talking with us about this, Dr. Peter Slavin.

SLAVIN: Yes, thank you.

KEILAR: We're going to take you inside a factory that is producing masks at a feverish pace.

Plus, in Miami, a new curfew is hours away. And also, the president today, demanding the General Motors and Ford open plans to build more ventilators in a sharp change in tone. We'll be live from the White House.

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