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CNN NEWSROOM

A Look at Coronavirus Cases & Responses Around the World; E.R. Dr. Leana Wen Discusses British P.M. Testing Positive for Coronavirus, What Baltimore Can Expect as Virus Case Increases; New Jersey Testing Sites Open for First Responders; E.R. Dr. Rob Davidson Discusses Trump Attack Governor Whitmer (D-MI) After She Asked for Federal Emergency Declaration. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired March 27, 2020 - 14:30   ET

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


[14:30:07]

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: Around the world, there are more than a half a million cases of coronavirus. China and Italy where the outbreak has been particularly devastating, now behind the United States, which has more people infected than any country on the planet.

We have details now from CNN's correspondents all around the world.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN VATICAN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Delia Gallagher, in Rome. Italy not yet reached peak here but the cases according to the director of the National Health Institute here. However, he says the cases are slowing down and he hopes to see that peak in the coming days. Italy now has more than 80,000 total cases with more than 8,000 deaths.

Of course, pressure is still on in the hospitals, particularly in the north. More than 6,000 health care workers have contracted the virus and 45 doctors have died.

MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Matt Rivers, in Mexico City, where we see a spike in cases overnight, up 110 since yesterday. That may not seem like a lot but that's a 23 percent increase.

The federal government has shuttered its own non-essential offices, non-essential businesses and schools, and yet still a lot of people out on the street.

And some are still getting misinformation. It was on Wednesday that the governor of the state of Puebla in Mexico told reporters that poor people can't get this virus despite that statement having no basis in scientific fact.

DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm David Culver, in Shanghai. President Trump and China's President Xi Jinping talking by phone overnight. Both world leaders reportedly acknowledging the need for cooperation. President Xi extending an offer of support to the U.S., which now has more confirmed cases than China. After the call, President Trump tweeting that "China has been through

much and has developed a strong understanding of the virus." Worth noting, he called it the "coronavirus," moving away from controversial use of "Chinese virus."

China said President Xi emphasized on the call that conflict will only hurt both countries. State media here reporting that China is also providing medical supplies to the United States.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: I'm Nic Robertson, in London, where both the prime minister and the secretary of state for health have both tested positive for coronavirus. Both men say they have mild symptoms. The prime minister said that he had a temperature and a persistent cough. Both men are now self-isolating for seven days.

Both men say they'll continue to work. The prime minister said he can continue to lead the country through this pandemic using video links. Staff inside Number 10 Downing Street said they can knock on the door, leave whatever they need outside the door. That's how they're told to continue to work.

No one else, we understand, is being put into isolation at this time. The advice for staff inside Number 10, if they show symptoms, then to self-isolate.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KEILAR: Thank you so much to all of my colleagues around the world for that reporting.

And let's talk now with Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency room physician and a former Baltimore City health commissioner.

And, Doctor, first, what do you think about this? We see the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson testing positive for coronavirus. No one is immune here.

DR. LEANA WEN, E.R. PHYSICIAN: That's exactly right. No one is immune. We are all potentially at risk. And I think it's a reminder to all of us to take coronavirus extremely seriously.

And I wish Prime Minister Johnson the best. I think he's also, in announcing he has COVID-19, also giving a model for everyone else about what to do about the importance of self-isolation and also, about talking openly about his diagnosis.

KEILAR: So tell us what you're seeing. You're an E.R. physician. What you're seeing in Baltimore and what you are watching in New York that you think is coming your way.

WEN: Well, we're seeing the scenes from New York and we know that what's happening in New York is probably, almost certainly going to happen in many other parts in our country. And it just is untenable and, really, unimaginable. I mean, I could not have imagined two months ago the idea of health

care workers going to work and not having personal protective equipment. Making their own masks and trying to buy gowns online.

I also could not have imagined the situation in this country where doctors and nurses would be forced to think about rationing resources of having one ventilator and three or four patients who may need the ventilator in order to survive.

Our health care capacity and system are stretched already to capacity. And we're seeing what happens in New York when it's stretched beyond that capacity. We know that other places are soon to follow.

[14:35:02]

And the key is now, how can we get everybody else prepared in time so that we're not -- we don't keep on being behind because that's what's been going on in our response so far. We are always weeks behind where we should be, and now we know how to anticipate. We know what's going to come our way.

Can we get those supplies in time? The beds, the equipment, and the staffing, so that we can avoid a real public health catastrophe where tens of thousands of people die unnecessarily?

KEILAR: On a personal note, you were actually more than 39 weeks pregnant, right? Due on Tuesday. And someone close to me is due on Monday. I am sure tons of people out there have someone close to them who's pregnant right now.

And you are looking at giving birth on the upswing of this thing. And I was wondering what your concerns are and what you would say to other people in the same position.

WEN: Yes, this is my second child. The first time, I had a lot of anxieties and a lot of nervousness about pregnancy and delivery. But it's very different now to be pregnant in the middle of a pandemic where things around you are changing so much.

I mean, hospital guidelines are changing. It used to be in my hospital that we allowed the entire family to be present at birth. Now we allow just one visitor and there are hospitals in New York allowing no visitors at all, which I think a lot of us can't even imagine, the idea of being in labor and not having someone with us, but this is what's happening.

I mean, health care is happening every single day. It doesn't stop in the middle of a pandemic.

And patients and physicians and nurses, health care workers, everybody is making enormous sacrifices. And it's in times of uncertainty, that we have to embrace that uncertainty because it is what it is. But we also have to recognize our collective selflessness and the sacrifices everyone is making in order to get through this time.

And to add another note about social distancing, there's a lot of people who cannot avoid the health care system right now. There's a lot of people who can't help but go out and go to work because they have to. So for those who can stay home, please do, because your selfless act is helping others to save lives too.

KEILAR: Dr. Leana Wen, I hope people hear you. You're incredibly chill for being due to give birth on Tuesday in the middle of all of this. And it's important advice for people who can't avoid the health care system and those who can but really should.

Thank you, Dr. Wen.

WEN: Thank you, Brianna.

KEILAR: A coronavirus testing site in New Jersey that saw long lines this week will now be open exclusively to first responders.

That's happening as we get disturbing news about members of the New York fire and police departments. We'll take you there live.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:42:00]

KEILAR: New Jersey now has more than 8,800 confirmed cases of coronavirus as the state continues to ramp up testing. There's two state-run testing sites that have now been opened to the public since Monday. They will now be open only to first responders starting tomorrow.

And CNN's Athena Jones is at one of those local stations.

Athena, tell us about this.

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Brianna. We're here at the PNC Bank Art Center. It's one of the two locations being run by the state of New Jersey. It's a partnership between the state's health department and the New Jersey National Guard.

And as you mentioned, this location has been open since 8:00 a.m. on Monday. And they've been seeing a huge influx of people coming to get testing. The first couple of days of the week, they reached capacity, I'm told, which means they ran out of tests within 15 minutes, maybe 30 minutes.

Today it has wrapped up. You can see the lanes set up behind me. The tents set up. When we got here, that was full of cars waiting to go through to get swabbed by the health care workers wearing the protective gear, but today, it took a little while longer for them to reach capacity of 250. But bottom line, a lot of folks are coming.

Today though, anyone who was a New Jersey resident who has symptoms. Tomorrow, at this site, they will be testing health care workers and first responders only, symptomatic health care workers and first responders.

And we know that's important because these are folks who are on the front lines dealing with patients. They're concerned about getting the illness themselves and spreading it further to their families or other people -- Brianna?

KEILAR: Athena, thank you so much. So important they're doing this for first responders. We see them hit so disproportionately.

Meanwhile, Detroit identified as one of the next hot spots as this virus sweeps across the country, but President Trump is attacking Michigan's governor for asking for a federal emergency declaration. I'll get reaction from an emergency room doctor who's currently on the front line in that state.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:48:20]

KEILAR: President Trump is accusing several governors of exaggerating their needs for critical medical supplies. He says they're asking for equipment he doesn't think they will need.

One of those governors is Michigan Democrat Gretchen Whitmer, who declared a federal emergency.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES (voice-over): The governor of Michigan is not stepping up. I don't know if she knows what's going on but all she does is sit there and blame the federal government. She doesn't get it done. And we send her a lot. Now she wants a declaration of emergency and, you know, we'll have to make a decision on that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KEILAR: The governor shot back on Twitter saying, "I've asked repeatedly and respectfully for help. We need it. No more political attacks. Just PPE, ventilators, N-95 masks and test kits. You said you stand with Michigan. Prove it."

She's getting some back-up from local physicians.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. ROB DAVIDSON, E.R. PHYSICIAN: President Trump, for you to blame anybody but yourself is expected, it's predictable, but it's just sad.

We're out here on the front lines trying to take care of our patients, working hard with our governors in the states. And all you can worry about is when you're going to get people back to work and back to church and trying to make yourself look good and all this instead of taking the leadership role you've needed to take for so long.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KEILAR: Michigan has nearly 3,000 cases. The fifth most in the country. So far, 60 people have died there. Dr. Rob Davidson is a Michigan E.R. doctor, who responded to the

president's attack. Joining us now. And also the executive director of the Committee to Protect Medicare.

Doctor, welcome.

And tell us what made you decide to post a video.

[14:50:06]

DAVIDSON: I got a few hours of sleep before my night shift last night and my phone had texts and governor's response and in this whole crisis as we're treating patients and waiting for surges in various parts of the state and the country, you look for someone potentially to blame and certainly the virus is not our president's fault.

But, like I said, he has needed to lead on this for so long. And his rhetoric early on that it was a hoax, that it was just like the flu or a cold or would be gone just like that, and now for him to be attacking governors and states that are being absolutely swamped and doing everything they can for the people in their state is just, like I said, it is just sad. I wish that he would step up.

My committee of doctors, the Committee to Protect Medicare, across this country, we've called for a national shelter-in-place, for him to fully enact the Defense Production Act to get the equipment we need. And so far, we have not seen that from the federal government.

KEILAR: The four-hospital system there in Michigan is acknowledging that it drafted this memo that came out, which outlines end-of-life protocol at the facilities there. It is not an effect we should mention. But clearly the hospital is getting prepared to make serious life-and-death decisions.

Are we headed to the point where there's going to be a rationing of medical equipment and treatment?

DAVIDSON: I think the big answer is we don't know but we've seen it happen in Italy. And we know that Beaumont system in Detroit area is nearing capacity of ventilators. If we don't have an adequate number of supplies that will happen.

I appreciate that hospital systems are having these conversations and are giving some directions to the doctors that have to make the decision because just contemplating that is a gut-wrenching idea for us that want to save lives that we might have to tell a struggling patient and a grief-stricken family that, for a lack of resource, the richest country in on earth, we just can't save their loved one.

It's abominable. In that, the president could at least try to do something about this with the Defense Production Act. I think it is criminal that it isn't happening yet.

KEILAR: I'm sure you've had the tough discussion before where you have to give someone bad news. But I wonder if you've ever had to give someone bad news and say it was because you knew there was something that could save her life, perhaps, but you couldn't buy it and didn't have the resources.

DAVIDSON: Only once in my life, when I volunteered in Haiti after the earthquake. It's really very distressing. I was there for a couple of weeks and it felt like a couple of years with that kind of conversations happening on a regular basis in my somewhat limited French that I could speak down there.

To think that this could be happening where I live, in 2020 in the United States of America. Again, if there's anything that can be done at the federal level, which we believe there is, with the Defense Production Act and putting pressure on industry to get us this equipment, I think every stone needs to be turned over.

This is what the president owes to us and to everyone in this country right now.

KEILAR: Dr. Davidson, thank you so much for talking with us.

DAVIDSON: Thanks, Brianna.

KEILAR: We're following breaking news on Capitol Hill, where Congress has finally passed the $2 trillion stimulus package.

[14:53:46]

Plus, a Navy hospital ship arriving in Los Angeles as coronavirus cases soar there. We're going to take you there live.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:58:35]

KEILAR: Heartbreaking news that a nurse at New York Mt. Sinai Hospital has died from the coronavirus. Assistant nursing manager, Kious Kelly, contracted the virus two weeks ago and died days later. Kelly was only 48 years old. And although he did have asthma, his family said that he was in good health. I'm sorry, I believe he was only 31 years old.

Here is what his sister told CNN.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARYA SHERRON, SISTER OF CORONAVIRUS VICTIM, KIOUS KELLY: I am -- anger. I'm disgraced at the way we're handle this. What they're being asked to do, take your mask home and put it in a Ziploc bag, using the same mask for seven days. And that is an average number that I've gotten. To the most recent communication I got.

And this is very, very disturbing was the idea that the hospital does not have any -- this particular hospital didn't have any more vents. And this nurse was saying that now the hospital had to figure out what to do and the thought that they would just -- the quote and the text is that he thinks they're just going to pull the plug on them and make -- to make room for new patients.

[14:59:59] And that -- that's inhumane. And in the back of my mind, which I'm trying not to think about, was is that what happened with Kious.

(END VIDEO CLIP)