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NY Gov. Cuomo: Trump "Incorrect and Grossly Uninformed" About Ventilators in Storage; Under Pressure from Govs, Trump Invokes Defense Production Act, Ordering GM to Make Ventilators; U.S. Coronavirus Cases Top 100,000; Los Angeles Cases Triple in Six Days as New York Deaths Surpass 2019 Homicides; Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) is Interviewed About the Coronavirus Crisis And His Response to President Trump. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired March 27, 2020 - 19:00   ET


MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: ... to the American Hospital Association, whose members are now reporting into the CDC and FEMA in real time, giving our experts more visibility on those that have contracted the disease around the country.

The President mentioned this, but it's worth mentioning, again, Apple has a new app out. It is a screening tool that will help Americans determine whether they should be tested. It has a easy format question and answer. If you have issues about whether or not a test is appropriate for you, you can use the new Apple app to accomplish that as well.

On the subject of supplies, the President spoke about the priority that we're placing on personal protective equipment and especially ventilators and I will not add to that. I can tell you that this weekend we'll be reporting on aggressive efforts that are our supplies stabilization task force at FEMA is taking to import medical supplies from around the world, working as we speak on an airlift from a number of countries around the globe to deliver very important medical protective equipment to the United States.

At the present moment, you've heard the numbers, but from the Strategic National Stockpile. We distributed more than 7 million N95 respirators or masks, more than almost 3 million face shields, more than 8,000 ventilators and donations to the Strategic National supply. We've mentioned Apple donating some 9 million masks that can be used by healthcare workers, but Merck recently announced plans to donate 500,000 masks, USPS 500,000 masks.

And a little company called Puritan in Maine is actually in the business now of manufacturing swabs. So businesses large and small all across America are rising to the challenge.

As the President noted, he will attend the embarkation of the U.S. Navy ship Comfort tomorrow from Norfolk. The U.S. Navy ship Mercy arrived in Los Angeles today. We will continue to focus resources and supplies on those areas around the country that have seen significant outbreak.

But let me send a word to hospital workers around the country. We continue to hear anecdotally and occasionally seeing media reports people who have concerns that their hospital may be running short on personal protective equipment in the days ahead.

We just encourage you to alert your hospital administrator hospital administrators please alert your state health director. Tonight, Administrator Gaynor at FEMA will be speaking to all of the state emergency directors in America to talk about the availability of resources but also encourage urging them to have a plan to perhaps even use their national guard to move medical equipment from store houses to hospitals.

We'll be working very closely with state emergency managers on issues of logistics. But today we're fortunate to be joined by two members of the Cabinet who have been very busy making sure that the children of America have the meals that they need, while school has been suspended in so many places around the country.

Secretary DeVos and Secretary Perdue are going to share some exciting news and progress that we've made in feeding children who need nutrition assistance while schools are closed. The truth is many underprivileged kids would not be getting school meals apart from the fact that as we stand here today, our administration has approved waivers for all 50 states to give them flexibilities to work with local partners to get meals to children that are in need, and also a nationwide waiver to allow parents to pick up meals.

But what's most exciting today is our two Cabinet secretaries will reflect we have private sector partners, a few of whom are with us today, who are helping us speed important meals to children and families around the country. You'll hear in a few moments from the Chairman of McLane Global Logistics and also the CEO of Panera Bread about the work that they are both doing to literally deliver millions of meals to American families. It's truly an inspiring story and I look forward to hearing it from them and sharing it with you.

But just one more example, as President Trump said, that we'll get through this and we'll get through this together. Not only a whole of federal government approach, working with all of our state partners, working with health care authorities at the local level, but also working with businesses that have been willing to step up and stand at the point of the need, and be there for the most vulnerable and help us meet the needs of our children and our families.


And on behalf of the President and a grateful nation, we thank you. Madam Secretary.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: And you have been listening to the Vice President and, of course, President Trump speaking at the daily briefing on coronavirus. The President also taking questions.

Good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

And it is the breaking news of the task force at that point in the briefing earlier, President Trump talked about the Defense Production Act, the DPA. And there's a confusion tonight as to whether he's invoking it and why he may be invoking it. This on a day that the United States surpasses 100,000 detected cases of coronavirus.

There's a lot to talk about from that White House briefing, so we want to drill down. There's a lot of facts that we need to get to. Jim Acosta, Daniel Dale and John King join me first and then we're going to be joined by Sanjay Gupta and the doctors in just a moment.

Let me start though with you, John King. The bottom line here is, of course, you saw Trump laying out what he was doing and how he was doing it and then also a Trump who wanted to sort pick at certain governors.

JOHN KING, CNN HOST: Erin, just a remarkable display there of how this president could be so different day to day, hour to hour, sometimes minute to minute within his own briefing there. You're right, the first minute of briefing he took a swipe a couple of Democratic governors. He didn't name them then, later he said he meant Jay Inslee of Washington, Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan.

This president says if you don't appreciate him, he doesn't appreciate you. He doesn't want to get on the phone with you, remarkably thin skin from the President. What's so striking about it is what has been the biggest complaint from those two specific governors. "Mr. President, please use your powers. Please use the Defense Production Act. Please help us get supplies."

What did the President do today? He used the Defense Production Act to help them get supplies. So the President firing back against the criticism, mocking those governors. At the same time, finally, they would say doing what they have been asking him to do for some time.

One more quick thing, Erin, so remarkable. The President just last night, just last night on Fox News with Sean Hannity said he didn't believe we needed this many ventilators. He thought the governors were over ...

BURNETT: Obviously, there's just a bit of a connection there. You bear with us as I know you all are in your own lives now with some of the connectivity.

Jim Acosta, to the point, though, that that John is making on the Defense Production Act. Obviously, this can help the government in terms of allocating certain things. But the bottom line is President Trump invoking the Defense Production Act or not?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, he says he is although he suggested during that press conference that he may pull it, that it may not be necessary if he gets the action that he wants to see out of General Motors. And just to finish the point that John King was making or I think that he was making, he was essentially saying that the President was on Sean Hannity last night saying that he doesn't believe that the governor of New York needs 30,000 or 40,000 ventilators.

And now all of a sudden, he's invoking the Defense Production Act. One thing that was very clear during that press briefing just a few moments ago, Erin, when the President was saying we're going to have a hundred thousand ventilators in a 100 days when he was asked whether or not every American who needs a ventilator will get one, he didn't answer that question.

And I think the other thing that needs to be pointed out is that a hundred days is a very long time. If people are sick in the hospital and gravely ill over the next couple of weeks because of this coronavirus pandemic, they can't wait a hundred days.

And so this gets back to, I think, a larger point that the President was grappling with during this briefing and he's been doing it for several days now. He said at one point that this was the invisible virus and we haven't seen any - the likes of which we haven't seen in a long, long time.

We did see this coming. This was not an invisible threat. This was a visible threat. We saw it in China. We saw it in Europe. We saw it in Italy and the United States government had time to prepare and the simple fact of the matter is it didn't.

The administration has known full well for years now going back to the Obama administration, warning the Trump administration to get ready for these kinds of pandemics. The President's own Intelligence Community put out a global threat assessment in 2019 saying that the United States and other countries around the world are vulnerable to these types of pandemics.

And so President was talking about the DPA great deal during that briefing, but it was a lot of CYA coming from the President, Erin.

BURNETT: Yes. And I will say, Daniel Dale, on the DPA it's like what are they actually going to accomplish with that. I was just talking to a source at General Motors, they were very clear when the President tried to say, go through his litany of issues with GM in the past and imply that there was a price they were trying to charge them too much for the ventilators, they said they had offered always to produce them at cost.

They've been going 24/7 for two weeks and that whether he invokes the DPA or not is irrelevant. It's not going to change what they're doing or how fast they're doing it. So it does raise the question and it'll certainly as it pertains to GM being the boogeyman as to whether that is completely political by the President.

DANIEL DALE, CNN REPORTER: Yes. It's really a question and Trump made clear that he said he was predisposed to have negative views about GM because of things that had happened before his presidency.


In terms of fact checks, he made an egregious plus claim both earlier today and again at the briefing about GM suggesting that they should use their shuttered Lordstown, Ohio facility to produce ventilators.

GM sold that facility in 2019. It's not theirs anymore and, Erin, that was just one of numerous false claims at this briefing. He claimed again that nobody could have envisioned this crisis happening. In fact, there were years of warnings from U.S. intelligence agencies and from public health experts.

He said that you can call this a flu or a germ nobody even knows what to call it. You cannot call it a flu because it's not a flu. It's a virus. It's a coronavirus, we know that. He claimed that 22 days ago, the stock market was thriving.

The stock market fell about a thousand points 22 days ago. He suggested New York is only complaining about the ventilator issue, because they hadn't known that the federal government had sent them ventilators. They knew but they said they needed thousands more.

So this was just a litany of inaccuracy, dishonesty, whatever you want to call it, the President was wrong frequently in his comments today.

BURNETT: So John King, what do you think the reason is for this whole DPA today? I mean, if General Motors' side of this bears out where they're saying they had never offered to do anything but produce at cost, sorts of GM saying, well, maybe it's just that we look like a big target and because we'll be able to ramp up production quickly as we already are, again, they're not changing anything they're doing, that he'll have a 'win' that he can put on his ledger, I mean, do you think that's what this is all about, possibly?

KING: Look, there are a couple things at play here. As previously noted, he does have a history with General Motors. He's disappointed with the CEO of General Motors. And if you're on the President's list, if he has a grievance against you, he is very quick to fire back to re-stoke the fight to come back at you when he gets the opportunity.

Another thing that we're seeing here and we've seen this throughout the Trump presidency, but Erin we're seeing it right now in the middle of a global pandemic, which raises the stakes is the President when he's freelancing, when he's on Sean Hannity, when he's out doing interviews, he acts on instinct and impulse and reflex, which is why he says the governor is overestimating how many ventilators he needs.

This is not a federal responsibility or let's roll back the tape a few days. Let's get back to work by Easter Sunday. Everybody go pack churches and mosques and synagogues as we move through the month of April. Then, he gets in the room with the professional team, his own people told him, Mr. President, we need the ventilators. We need to do more the federal government has to step up.

Listen to his tone today. He said it will be early next week when they decide whether to extend the guidelines, the restrictions, but what did he say? Health and safety first. Saving lives first, then the economy.

The President when he's on his own, he acts on impulse and instinct. But one thing we have seen consistently here is because of the Vice President, because of Tony Fauci, because of Ambassador Birx, they do nudge him to the place where they think they need to get him. It doesn't always mean he stays there. But they do nudge him on the policy front to get to where they think

they need and Peter Navarro, you know Peter well, Erin.


KING: He's somebody the President trusts. They have used him. The Vice President has used people the President trusts to get him to do things that he has been reluctant to do.

BURNETT: And Jim Acosta, on this issue of what the DPA will provide, the Defense Protection Act, and it's important for Americans to know, it's signed. If General Motors is saying it doesn't change anything about what they're doing, does it change anything?

And my understanding is, it could in a sense it could streamline the federal government's ability to do things more quickly. So maybe it wouldn't change what companies are already doing in terms of what they're producing, but it could enable the federal government to get those things, whether it'd be ventilators or masks or other PPE to the states and hospitals that needed the most more efficiently.

In which case, these days that they have gone forward without having that signed could indeed be extremely important missed opportunities, right?

ACOSTA: That's exactly right and when the President was asked days earlier why he hadn't invoked the Defense Production Act, at one point he suggested it was because he didn't want the nation to be plunged into socialism. And so as John was saying earlier, there are times when the President reacts politically when in a crisis like this you simply have to put all of that to the side.

And so to say that well we're concerned about being plunged into socialism, that's just really scoring cheap political points with the conservative media. That doesn't do anything to get ventilators out into production. And the other thing we should point out and I think anybody sitting at home can figure this out for themselves fairly quickly, certainly quickly or more quickly that I could, how do you retrofit factories that were producing cars and have them begin producing ventilators in a reasonable amount of time?

That is something that is going to be highly difficult to do and it sounds as though that is going to be one of the complications moving forward and that is probably why the President was saying, was downplaying expectations a little bit in saying, well, we expect these things to get out in a hundred days. Well, it's going to take time to retrofit, retool those factories so they can produce ventilators instead of cars.


BURNETT: Right. Which is true as General Motors, again, my understanding from what a source there is telling me is that they have a very nascent production line on this. So they're going as fast as they can and nothing is going to change how fast they go, but they got to start it up. Daniel, the other thing we just heard the President doing was again

talking about possible cures and drugs, which, look, there's a lot of trials going on, there's a lot of things going on, but he perhaps this week should have learned clearly that when he says those things, it causes a lot of people to rush out, to stockpile, to take and do things they should not otherwise do and things have not been tested and we don't know yet if they work.

DALE: That's exactly right. He went even further last night in a Fox News interview with Sean Hannity saying that if a medication is previously approved for another purpose, we know there's no risk in using it for the coronavirus. That is not true and that is not what medical experts are saying.

There can be side effects. There can be serious risks. And so what we're seeing is this constant push and pull between Trump, who is a marketer, a promoter, a hyper, wants to make people positive. And public health and medical experts who are saying, let's hold on a minute, we are going to try some of these medications. But before we tell them in a way that has people running out to get them, let's make sure they are safe and effective.

BURNETT: John, the President just won't stop when it comes to weighing in with his personal opinion on what drugs are going to work.

KING: He's smarter than the generals, he's smarter than the doctors. He's smarter than the public health experts. This has been again a parent of the Trump presidency, which has much more meaning and the stakes are much more higher in a public health pandemic, a global pandemic as opposed to a policy fight.

This has life and death consequences and so when the President wings it, when he acts on instinct and impulse, when he acts on something he saw on the internet or something somebody told him, and then Tony Fauci or somebody else has to go up and say, well, that's aspirational or the President's trying to give you hope, but please do not do this at home.

Remember from the early days of the administration, his own aides telling us why are you reading the President's tweets, listen to what we say not what he tweets. Well, that's not the way it works. He's the President of the United States. There are people listening to him.

One other quick point I want to get in, though, because it is important what the President says. It's important when he says things that are reckless and wrong that his own people have to correct him. But today, he also did something else very important, he acknowledged there will be a phase four. He signed that stimulus bill today. He acknowledged there will be a phase four.

Many House conservatives are nervous in an election year. They're not in a hurry to spend more money. The President said, guess what, we're going to spend more money and it's going to have to include aid to the states. A lot of those Democratic governors who have been critical of the President are going to write that down and try to hold him to it. BURNETT: And Jim Acosta, you also have the President, again, talking

about people and referring to Tony Fauci as backing him up, but we'd be interested to see what Dr. Fauci says. But people who come from hard hit areas, for example, New York, that he supports them being sort of rounded up and kicked out of anywhere else they would go.

We also heard him say that tonight obviously, again, aiming at New York and Governor Cuomo with whom he has had a lot of disagreements, calling him out as well about ventilators.

ACOSTA: Right. I will tell you, Erin, talking to my sources, there are people on the coronavirus task force who are confused by what the President has been saying. And when he put that letter out, yesterday to the nation's governors saying, well, we might be going to this county by county system, high-risk to low-risk, there were members of the coronavirus task force who had not even seen that letter before it was put out by the White House and sent out from the President to those governors.

And so, yes, I think that there is a concern inside the task force among the medical experts on that task force as to what the President is saying at any given moment. One of the things that stood out to me during that session briefing is when he was asked about what he would say to kids out there.

At one point he said he was suggesting that younger people are safer than older people when it comes to the coronavirus. That might be the case statistically, but there are cases of young people getting very sick and dying from the coronavirus. Younger adults getting sick and dying from the coronavirus.

And so to those kids who are still watching at home, they still need to be careful about this virus. It does not discriminate. It attacks everybody and I do think that that is another one of those instances where the President is playing doctor and all of this, playing the expert in all of this, when really we might all be better served, Erin.

I think if the President were to come out during these briefings in the briefing room and obviously this is not going to happen, given what we know about this president and say a few words, talk about the stimulus bill that he passed, talk about the Defense Production Act that he's invoking and then hand the lectern over to the experts like Dr. Fauci, like Dr. Birx.


Because there are so many people at home right now who are legitimately frightened about what's going on who need real information and real facts. And as we know, you just don't get that from the president a great deal these days.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you all very much. And this all comes as you pass the hundred thousand detected case mark and you've got new hotspots for the virus beginning to emerge across this country as you get more testing. You may be in a place that you think hasn't been affected, but maybe

that is testing.

Erica Hill is OUTFRONT out of Elmhurst Hospital in New York. And Erica, I mean, just what we've heard from people inside that building, it's terrifying and heartbreaking. What has it been like there today?

ERICA HILL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is absolutely one of the hardest hit hospitals in the city. The Mayor confirming that today.

I can tell you everyone, nearly everyone we see in this neighborhood, Erin, is wearing a mask. The numbers for New York City alone today have now jumped to 25,500, more than 25,500. We still need in this city, the Mayor says, some 12,500 ventilators. He's received 2,500.

But we're all watching this, of course, because it's starting here in New York. But as you mentioned, Erin, we are now seeing new hotspots pop up across the country.


HILL (voice-over): Los Angeles, the latest city to see a spike in cases, tripling in less than a week. Across California, the numbers jumping 26 percent in one day to more than 3,800. And with more than 100,000 confirmed in the U.S., new hotspots expose a growing need.

In Detroit, the city's police chief and 39 officers among those testing positive. Hospitals pleading for help.


DR. JONEIGH KHALDUN, CHIEF MEDICAL EXECUTIVE, MICHIAN DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH: We don't have enough masks, we don't have enough downs and we need more from the federal government and others.


HILL (voice-over): Chicago and New Orleans also battling a surge as Atlanta braces.


MAYOR KEISHA LANCE BOTTOMS (D-GA): The anecdotal information I've received is that the ICU beds are already around 90 percent at full, that we will exceed our capacity by May 3rd.


HILL (voice-over): In an effort to stop the spread one North Carolina county is banning all visitors and non-resident property owners, sending the unprecedented public health threat posed by COVID-19. As Massachusetts tells all travelers entering the state to self- quarantine for 14 days.

And Rhode Island announces plans to go door to door in coastal communities looking for anyone from New York.


GOV. GINA RAIMONDO (D-RI): Right now we have a pinpointed risk that we need to address and we need to be very serious and that risk is called New York City.


HILL (voice-over): As Americans across the country grow restless, those on the front lines are increasingly clear, stay home if you want to stay out of the ER.


DR. JEFFREY KUO, EMERGENCY PHYSICIAN, OCHSNER HEALTH: We know that we are at the epicenter. We are at the tip of the spear here. And to use a gulf south analogy, our concerned is that, at this point, we are perhaps just at the outer bands of a category five hurricane and this may get worse before it gets better.


HILL: One of the things that hospitals are battling in this city is having enough space for everyone who is coming in and also having enough staff. We learned from the Mayor today that 65 clinic had been brought into this hospital specifically, 105 nurses are being brought here to Elmhurst to help out starting tomorrow.

And Mayor de Blasio said he specifically mentioned Elmhurst Hospital to the President when he spoke with the President today, Erin, because, he said, the president is from Queens and he basically was hoping that that would help drive his point home.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Erica Hill. And, of course, Elmhurst Hospital for all those outside New York is in Queens.

OUTFRONT tonight, Sanjay Gupta and Dr. William Schaffner who is the former CDC official and Professor of Infectious Diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

So Sanjay, I want to go through several things the President said in this briefing developments this hour. One of them is that the administration is going to procure, he says, 100,000, ventilators in the next 100 days. Now, we don't know what that breaks down to on a daily or weekly basis. But when you look at that number over that time, does that make you feel good or deeply concerned?

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I mean, first of all, just to get the manufacturing up to speed, you can't just immediately start churning out ventilators at these places. It could take a couple of months, maybe even up to 90 days to really start significant production at these places and that's sort of -- that nobody gets sick on the line.

There is a pandemic, so that does affect manufacturing capabilities. They got to get the parts. Everybody in the planet wants these parts and then this isn't just any of the machine it's got to go through inspection and all of that.

So all of that could take time, first of all, and in terms of whether or not it's enough, I mean, look, you've heard Erica's report, 30,000 ventilators in one city alone.


There are other hot spots developing. I mean when you look at the projections between a moderate to a severe pandemic, with a severe pandemic, they say three quarter of a million ventilators could be necessary for the country. We hope we're not going to get there, but it's just tough to say right now that that would be enough. It doesn't seem like that right now, Erin.

BURNETT: Right. And I do, again, want to point out just talking to a source at GM, their point is they're doing everything they can and they have been for two weeks. So this DPA, Defense Production Act, isn't going to change anything. But the problem was they were at a nascent production line. To your exact point, it takes time to get it out and get it going to scale, so that's important to realize.

I mean, Dr. Schaffner, what do you make about the doctor that Erica spoke to in her piece? And he said, we just don't know if this is a category five storm and we are in the outer bands, as opposed to whether we're right by the eye or close to it and as bad as it gets. Would you agree with that analogy at this point?

DR. WILLIAM SCHAFFNER, PROFESSOR, INFECTIOUS DISEASE DIVISION, VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER: Well, he's certainly in the middle of a hurricane already. He's just worrying about how bad it's going to get and we think it will get worse before we turn that corner, and it does get better. And this is happening all across the country.

Here in my own hospital, we're seeing a steady increasing stream of patients coming in, suspected of or diagnosed with COVID and that is also increasing. We're not anywhere like New York, but I would imagine my colleagues around the country are seeing the same thing.

So the next two, three weeks are really going to tell the story and that's when the stress is going to hit us very hard.

BURNETT: Sanjay, Gov. Cuomo in New York said that New York, which is the epicenter, is 21 days away from the peak and it's unclear how he defined that in terms of overall numbers or growth per day, whether your numbers start to come down or not. But the U.S. Surgeon General said he's hopeful that cases will start to come down as soon as next week and he was explicit that he meant come down as soon as next week.

Those two things are extremely different in their analysis. Do you think the Surgeon General has a point or do you think that's just beyond aspirational?

GUPTA: Well, look, I don't want to disagree with that with the Surgeon General for sure, but you just look at the data. I mean, the data does tell a story here. We have at least three months of data. We have 150 countries now and what we see is that the numbers do continue to go up, that there's a certain doubling rate, so every three to four days, they're doubling, Erin.

So if you say three weeks and you're doubling every four days, that's five doublings that will happen during that time. That's to the fifth power. So it's unlikely that I think we're going to be in any position to say we're in good shape now. It's time to start pulling back. The numbers are coming down.

I will say this, the numbers can continue to go up and that could still be signs of progress, because the pace at which they're going up starts to slow down.


GUPTA: And we're not really definitively seeing that yet, Erin. So I think we're still earlier on the curve, maybe then than some others that would suggest.

BURNETT: Right. OK. So let me ask you, Dr. Schaffner, last night, Sanjay and Anderson spoke with Bill Gates. And Bill Gates, of course, has made it among his life calling to deal with infectious disease as well as education. And here's what he said the United States needs to do to stop this now, to change this trajectory. Here he is.


BILL GATES, BILL AND MELINDA GATES FOUNDATION: China did their shut down and they did it in a very serious way. And after a six-week period of a shutdown, it's more extreme than even the best states in the United States are likely to do, they were able to start opening up again.

So we're entering to a tough period that if we do it right we'll only have to do it once for six to 10 weeks, but we have to do it - it has to be the whole country ...


BURNETT: So Dr. Schaffner, do you think that what he's saying is basically we haven't even started our six to 10 weeks as he counts it, because it's not extreme enough, not widespread enough as anything that they did in China? So he is saying you're looking at six to 10 weeks from here with a very different definition of lockdown.

SCHAFFNER: That's certainly what he's saying, Erin. And that's really at the extreme end of the kind of advice that people are giving. But you do hear other people saying something similar. I don't think that will happen here in the United States. We don't have that government. We don't have that culture.

But there are governors that are trying to calibrate it. Seeing that the major municipalities in their states are shut down, but letting the rural areas which are less affected keep up their work, trying to keep the extra the economic engine going, at least in the periphery.


So, that's another kind of approach. It's a delicate balancing approach, isn't it? There are not any right answers. There are not any wrong answers just difficult answers.

BURNETT: And, yes, Sanjay, there's also this issue the president brought up again today and was then questioned about it at the briefing, which is people from, he was suggesting epicenter places but specifically was talking at this time about New York. The people who come from there should, you know -- should they sort of hounded up, rounded up, sent back or quarantined and whatever it may be.

And, you know, you heard today, Sanjay, Rhode Island officials, they're again in that piece going door to door, check with anyone in the state, has gone to New York, they're stopping cars with New York license plates. Massachusetts is saying anybody who comes into that state has to self quarantine for 14 days. North Carolina has a county where officials have issued an order prohibiting any visitors or non- resident property owners from entering the county.

GUPTA: Right.

BURNETT: I don't know how you would enforce any of that. But is this, is this where we are going and is this even going to be effective?

GUPTA: Well, look, I -- just going back to the previous point for a second. And I think Dr. Schaffner will agree with this, as far as right answers versus wrong answers. I think there -- I think there are right answers here. There are tough answers. I mean, they are tough to implement to this point.

But, I mean, the right answer is that we need to have a more aggressive strategy right now. I mean, I think the point that, that Bill Gates has made, that Dr. Fauci has made, you know, being flexible in the way that he presents things, but I think the point that he is making is that, look, if we are going to do this, we've got to do it now. We have to be aggressive with this. We have to be diligent. We have to be doing this early.

To your question about the travelers and people going into quarantine, Erin, I mean, the advice really should be that people should stay home. I mean, that, that should be the advice. The idea that they are trying to make it sort of incremental, you know, sort of policies, look, if you do travel, then you need to self quarantine in these places. You're right, Erin, how are going to enforce that. It's very hard to apply something like that across, you know, uniformly across the country.

But, but, I think Dr. Schaffner would agree, there is a right answer here. It's a tough answer and this is, this is not, you know, things that people want to hear right now. Nobody likes what the country is going through, and what the world is going through. But we do have some sense of what to do about it, you just got to do it. BURNETT: How much more draconian do you get, though, Dr. Schaffner? I

mean, I think people watching want to know that, right? Most -- I mean, there are people who are in essential industries that they can change the definition of that, I fully understand that. But for people who aren't, they are saying, wait, so I can't walk my dog, now, is that what it's going to get to, or I can't go out for a walk or I can't go to the grocery store even if I wait in that line six feet apart? I mean, how much tougher can it get, if you go to that point and do it the Chinese way, if we do need to be more aggressive?

SCHAFFNER: Well, I don't think that will happen in the United States. And I think, Sanjay is probably in agreement about that. I think more areas do need to bring home to their local populace that they ought to stay home and not go out unless they are essential. And I think that, that's very, very important. Keeping away from others is the way to prevent this virus from going from one person to the other. And the only mechanism we have to do that now is to keep separate and that will help us all.

BURNETT: So, Sanjay, one positive point today, you look at Italy, right, where the average age of death is 78 and the average age of underlying conditions is somewhere around 2.7 and yet, you had a 101- year-old man I believe, and a 102-year-old woman recover. She, the woman I believe is in the hospital for what was it? Almost three weeks and she has recovered and she has gone home?

GUPTA: She is in a care facility, but you are absolutely right, Erin, recovered. I mean, she was born in 1917, interestingly, Erin, when they were testing her blood, they thought they saw some serology or antibodies that suggested that maybe she also had survived the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic.

So, you know, look, I think it's worth reminding people of this, Erin, that I think sometimes the narrative is if you are a elderly person and you get this, I mean, you are definitely going to get critically ill, you are -- you are definitely, you know, going to be in the hospital.

Yes, you are more likely to become seriously or critically ill, but still, the vast majority of people, even if you're elderly aren't going to need hospitalization, the vast majority are going to recover, the vast majority are not going to die. So, you're still significant and more likely to get through this than not.

And, you know, I mean, it's worth reminding people when you see stories like that in Italy, 51 doctors died today in Italy as well, Erin, you know, which I thought was really, really tragic. So, there's a balance going on there. It's good to remind people of the stories as well.

BURNETT: Yes. All right. Thank you very much both.

And as cases surge in the U.S., doctors and nurses across the country are sounding the alarm, that they don't have the supplies to protect themselves.


And today, a nurse in New York City said, quote, we feel like we've been abandoned.

Drew Griffin is OUTFRONT with new images from the frontlines.


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): What does proper protective gear look like? Chicago anesthesiologist Cory Deburghgraeve sent this video, double gloves, N95 mask, face shield. All as he demonstrates needed to protect health care workers like himself whose contact while intubating patients is near cheek to cheek.

CORY DEBURGHGRAEVE, ANESTHESIOLOGIST: So, as you can see, my head was this close to the patient. So, if they're coughing or having sputum, that's all going right into my face.

GRIFFIN: It is a far cry from this. A mask stapled together to last until the end of a shift. Nurses in upstate New York, being told they get one surgical mask for five days because of shortages, and medical personnel getting sick on the front lines.

DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, CHIEF OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES, MASSACHUSETTS GENERAL HOSPTIAL: We have about 41 people in our hospital who have tested positive for the coronavirus.

GRIFFIN: This week in one New York City hospital, an assistant nurse manager, Kious Kelly, who suffered from asthma died. His sister said the last time she heard from him was Wednesday.

MARYA SHERRON, SISTER OF NURSE WHO DIED OF COVID-19: He texted and said, he was in ICU with the coronavirus. He said I can't talk because I choke. He was having difficulty breathing. He said, um, I'm going to be OK.

GRIFFIN: Many medical workers are fighting this battle without the thinnest level of protection, the face mask, the plastic face shield, the flimsiest of plastic gowns that could mean the difference between treating the infected and becoming one of them.

Kelly Cabrera, an emergency nurse in the Bronx, New York, said she has one set of gear to last a day, masks being reused for five days.

KELLEY CABRERA, NURSE, BRONX, NEW YORK: It's like we are going in to war with no protection. We know how this is transmitted. We know it's contagious and we are seeing it, we are being exposed over and over again.

And it is criminal. This is absolutely criminal.

GRIFFIN: Supplies across the country are dwindling. In Arizona --

ARYA CHOWDHURY, ER DOCTOR, PHOENIX, ARIZONA: I can tell you, my biggest concern is right now an emergency room physician is the lack of PPE.

GRIFFIN: In Michigan.

DR. JONEIGH KHALDUN, CHIEF MEDICAL EXECUTIVE, STATE OF MICHIGAN: I had doctors and nurses on the front lines who are using one mask for their entire shift.

GRIFFIN: The biggest question we are hearing, where is it? Where are the strategic stockpiles, the president and his administration talk about?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We've got tremendous amounts of equipment coming in.

GRIFFIN: Only 12 percent of health care facilities say they've received supplies from the federal government, according to this recent survey of 1,100 health care providers. Nearly half do not have face shields and nearly 1/3 are almost out or completely out of masks.

Desperate medical workers don't know where to turn.

CABRERA: We just feel like we have been abandoned. We are being told to do things that are really dangerous.


GRIFFIN: In fact, Erin, the workers are telling us they are being asked to do things they would have been fired just a month ago by reusing this material that could spread the infection. They hear what the vice president just said in the briefing and they want to know where is the equipment, because it's certainly not getting to these hospitals -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Drew.

And I want to go OUTFRONT now to Dr. Shaoli Chaudhuri. She's an internal medicine resident at New York Presbyterian Columbia University Medical Center.

And, Doctor, I really appreciate your time. You know, I think it was striking to anyone watching that piece. Just the description of how doctors like you literally have to bend down, and go cheek to cheek with a patient to intubate them, you know how unbelievably close and intimate that moment is, the risk you take in doing that.

I mean, at this point, are you able to say, you have what you need to be truly protected when you need to do something like that?

DR. SHAOLI CHAUDHURI, INTERNAL MEDICINE RESIDENT, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER: Erin, thanks for having me. You know, I think at this point, I feel that I have the resources I need, but there's a palpable anxiety across my hospital, across the country about how long that will last. We are very concerned about global shortages and access, because although our priority is taking care of our patients, we also want to be able to protect ourselves. BURNETT: So, you wrote an op-ed in "The Washington Post", Doctor,

about being inside the ER, and it was a very poignant moment in it because you wrote about what happens when one of your patients is on the verge of dying and you said, quote, all I could think about was the health of the team members and how many minutes they had spent in there. Everyone did his or her job, like the heroes they are, but we each of us knew sadly that this patient would not survive, and every moment we spent doing our job put us at greater risk of getting sick.


And yet, you do it, and all of your colleagues do it. And you're doing it every day, many times a day. I mean, how many times a day is a moment like that happening to you?

CHAUDHURI: I think, unfortunately, it's happening more and more often as the days go by. You know, I work in an intensive care unit. And a week and a half ago, which feels like a lifetime ago, our unit was probably 10 percent COVID-19 patients, and fast forward to today, and we are at probably 120 percent COVID patients because we have had to rapidly expand our unit.

So, we are going through the motions several times a day.

BURNETT: Several times a day.

I mean, you know, to that point, there's really, really hard conversations happening that nobody would ever want to be happening. But yet they are. We know at some hospitals, they are talking about changes to do not resuscitate policies for coronavirus patients.

Somebody that may have a small chance of making it, that in other situation, you might just never give up, but in this case, some of those hospitals will, because they want to protect staff from getting exposed, because if your staff get sick, they can't take care of people. If your staff get sick, they could die. Fifty-one doctors died in Italy today.

I mean, are those conversations happening in your hospital?

CHAUDHURI: I can't specifically -- I can't specifically speak to what the conversations that are happening among the administration. But I know, amongst myself and my colleagues, we do think about these things. We talk about these things. I kind of address it in my op-ed.

We have these conversations with our patients. We were having them long before the pandemic about what their goals of care are, whether they would want resuscitation if their heart stops, whether they want to be intubated if they stop breathing.

So, we have always wanted to know what our patient's wishes are, but now, there's a heightened sense of urgency about it.

BURNETT: Well, I appreciate your time, and I say for everyone, thank you so much for what you are doing. And I know that's why you went in to what you are doing, but nonetheless. I'm sure that you did not expect to ever be facing this right now.

So, thank you and thank you for talking.

CHAUDHURI: Thank you. Stay safe.

BURNETT: And New York Governor Andrew Cuomo joins me now on the phone.

Governor, you were listening to President Trump in his briefing just a few moments ago. And he said some of the governors have not been appreciative. He said what he really wants is governors to be appreciative. He said that multiple times, although he said say you are among those who have been appreciative.

Is that the case? And what's your response to the president?

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY) (voice-over): Well, yes, Erin, you know, I said -- I've been working closely with the president. This is no time for politics. This is a time for exquisite coordination between the federal government and the state governments, because we need each other, right. The federal government is basically using the state governments as the instrumentality.

So, I said to the president, I put my hand out in partnership. We've had political differences in the past, forget about that, and let's work together and help me deliver for my people, my state -- as you've said many times -- has the highest number of cases in the country, and the president has been very cooperative.

And I'll tell you something else, Erin, I applaud the president on his use of the Defense Production Act and his conversation about General Motors. Good for him. That gives him the muscle of the law to get companies to actually respond to the production of ventilators, which is exactly what we want.

BURNETT: So, let me just ask you on that point. You know, General Motors is telling me that this isn't going to change anything that they are doing, that they were all out and they were producing at cost. They do say that it will change his ability in terms of ordering things and streamlining.

Would you agree with that? Or do you think that companies like General Motors were dragging their feet?

CUOMO: You know, dragging their feet suggests a pejorative. When you use the Defense Production Act and you have the law on your side, you can basically order a private company to do something, to manufacture a product. It's a -- it's an extreme measure, no doubt. But, this is an extreme time.

And from the president's point of view, by what he said, General Motors was not delivering the product and not gearing up -- and look, if a corporation is dealing with its normal timeframe that suits them, that's one thing. But here, the president is saying, I need this product and I need it fast, and if it's going to cost more money to accelerate the design and coming up to speed, and so be it and the federal government will pay it. But he needs it. And he's right. These ventilators are going to be the

matter of life and death, and whether they're delivered in four or six or 10 or 12 weeks, you are talking tens of thousands of lives that will be relying on them.


BURNETT: So, I know you talked about it a bit today. But I want to give you a chance to say to people watching right now. Last night, the president said, I don't believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators, talking about you in New York. You know, sort of saying now all of a sudden, they're saying -- I'm quoting him, Governor, of course, saying, can we order 30,000 ventilators?

What do you say to him and why are you so sure that you're going to need at least that number?

CUOMO: Look, I hope the president is right. I'll go better than what the president said. I hope I don't need any ventilators. I hope this is a bad dream and it all disappears tomorrow.

But I can't govern that way. I govern on the data, and on the numbers and on the science. I have projections done by some of the best companies on the globe. I'm talking to world health leaders, Dr. Fauci, studying what happened in South Korea and China, et cetera.

And if you look at the numbers, you count the numbers and the trajectory, we are looking at 40,000 possible ventilators, 140,000 possible hospital beds. Those are the numbers, Erin.

So, I don't get into hope and emotion when you come to -- when it comes to actually planning a plan of action. Use the numbers. You know, use the science and the data.

BURNETT: So, the president then said in the briefing. I don't know if you heard this, Governor, because I know you got a lot going on. But he did say that they have shipped you a lot of ventilators, and they had sent them to a warehouse, he referenced a warehouse in New Jersey and that you still were complaining about them, but they were there, and you just weren't aware that they were actually in the warehouse, but that he had -- he had delivered many ventilators.

Is that true that they were in a warehouse and you didn't know about it?

CUOMO: First, I heard the warehouse is in New Jersey, funny way of delivering it to New York. But I knew very well that the federal government has delivered 4,000 ventilators. We have been buying ventilators on our own, the ventilators are in a stockpile. They're not yet deployed because we don't need them yet, right?

The concept of a stockpile is to build up the reserve so when you hit the apex of the curve, you have the supplies. I have enough ventilators today. I'm not worried about today. I'm at about 48,000 people in the hospitals today. I'm worried about the apex of the curve that they project that takes

that 48,000 to 140,000. And that's when I need ventilators and more PPE, etcetera. And that's what the stockpile is for.

By definition, a stockpile is not for immediate deployment.

BURNETT: Right, before we go. I want to ask you one other thing, because you've talked about possibly being 21 days away from the peak in New York. The U.S. surgeon general, though, says he's hopeful cases will actually start to come down next week in New York.

Do you -- have you seen any data that would support that conclusion?

CUOMO: Yes, again, these words, Erin, hopeful -- you know, I don't, I don't relate to that concept in this. You have numbers. You have projections by medical experts.

I don't know how you could make that statement nationwide because you have different curves in different parts of the country. You have one curve in L.A., one curve in New York, one curve in Florida. So, I don't know how you could say --

BURENTT: He was saying specifically New York.

CUOMO: Oh, well, then I don't know what numbers he is looking at, because he's not looking at any numbers, any science, any data, or any expert that I've heard from. And I don't see how you can plot those numbers that are moving steadily up have not slowed at all and think that they're going to turn in a week.

BURNETT: All right, Governor Cuomo, I appreciate your time. Thank you, sir.

CUOMO: Good to be with you, Erin.

BURNETT: And in Louisiana, the city of New Orleans is preparing to turn its infamous convention center into a makeshift hospital, as the governor there is warning of a massive surge in coronavirus cases. And this comes as a number of coronavirus deaths reported in that state soared by more than 40 percent in one day.

Ed Lavandera is OUTFRONT.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The brown paper bags you see on this New Orleans hospital wall is where medical teams must store their N95 masks as they go in and out of rooms where coronavirus patients are being treated. A hospital worker shared this photo with CNN. We've blurred out the names of medical workers on each bag.

The medical staff must reuse the masks until they are soiled. This photo shows a machine that converts a room into what's known as a negative-pressure room, where COVID-19 patients are treated. This keeps the airborne contamination from spreading outside of the room. The hospital confirms these temporary rooms are being created to handle the growing number of coronavirus patients.


This is one of three drive-through testing sites set up in and around the city of New Orleans. Long lines of cars winding through this parking lot, but each of these sites can only test 250 people per day. This site reached its limit in two hours.

So far, more than 21,000 people have been tested statewide. Louisiana's governor says the state is in a dire situation as the number of coronavirus cases continues to spike quickly.

GOV. JOHN BEL EDWARDS (D), LOUISIANA: We are one day deeper into this event, and while we don't know what the duration will be, we do know that we are doing everything within our power to respond to this crisis. And we need everyone. I implore everyone to do their part, as well.

LAVANDERA: The governor has said hospitals could run out of bed space and ventilators by early April. Medical teams are preparing to turn the convention center into a makeshift hospital. State officials say 120 beds will be ready to take coronavirus patients by this weekend. And the site could ultimately stage more than 1,100 beds.

Fifteen years ago, the New Orleans Convention Center was the site of despair and grief in the days after Hurricane Katrina. For many, this is bringing back the emotional memories of seeing this place, once again, at the center of another crisis.


LAVANDERA: Ecoee Rooney is the president of the New Orleans District Nurses Association, she spoke with us from inside one of the hospitals treating the growing number of coronavirus patients.

What kind of stress are these medical professionals under right now inside these hospitals in New Orleans?

ROONEY: They are under tremendous stress, obviously. We are, you know, dealing with something that we've never dealt with before.

LAVANDERA: So, do you feel like the worst is still yet to come?

ROONEY: We know that this is going to get worse before it gets better. I will tell you, you know, there is a lot of fear and anxiety. But what I am seeing more than anything is that people are responding so amazingly.

LAVANDERA: Across New Orleans, life is at a standstill. Most businesses are shuttered and the usually bustling streets are mostly quiet. A city used to being in the eye of storms is not used to finding itself in the eye of a viral pandemic.

(END VIDEOTAPE) LAVANDERA: And, Erin, the governor of Louisiana says so far, he has requested 12,000 ventilators. But, so far, has only received 192. And he says that by this time next week, the hospitals here in the state will be running out of beds and ventilators.

So that urgency will be starting to build here in the coming days -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Ed, thank you.

And I want to go now to Dr. Joseph Kanter. He is the assistant state health officer for the Louisiana Department of Health and the regional medical director the New Orleans.

So, Dr. Kanter, I appreciate your time.

Look. From what you are actually seeing right now on the ground, and how you can sort of see -- I guess you are looking in the rearview mirror on testing, but it gives you a sense of where you're going for hospital demand. How much worse do you think things will get in your state?

DR. JOSEPH KANTER, ASSISTANT STATE HEALTH OFFICER, LOUISIANA DEPT OF HEALTH: Well, if we continue on the current trajectory, some point next week, we're going to meet the instance where the need for acute care exceeds the current capacity. That's what we're looking at and when the governor makes the request that you just mentioned, that's what he's going from. We are looking at that about a week out from right now.

BURNETT: And -- and what could happen to have you not have that happen? I mean, what would you -- what would you specifically need? And if you got everything you needed, would you even be able to get it up and running in time? I mean, that is not very much time.

KANTER: Well, I tell you, what is happening now is an expansion of acute care services on a level that is unprecedented. Likely, the largest single expansion of healthcare services the state has ever seen and it's happening at breakneck pace. By next week, we will have a hospital up and running in the convention center, as was just mentioned. It will be staffed. There will be patients there.

Now, what we're worried about is that if we don't get enough ventilators, we're not going to be able to do what we need to do. We have all the pieces in places and the resources in this state have been brought to bear both from the governor and from the local healthcare community. Now, we need the ventilators and the PPE.

BURNETT: So during the press conference today that your governor had, Governor Edwards, said 80 percent -- I'm sorry 41 percent of the people who have died from coronavirus in Louisiana had diabetes, 41 percent with diabetes. Thirty-one percent, he said, with kidney disease, 28 percent obese.

I mean, what else can you tell us? What are the other trends you have seen in terms of the people who need hospitalization and the most acute care in your state?

KANTER: Well, it's absolutely right. It is no secret we have a lot of comorbidities in Louisiana. That makes us vulnerable. It's not just during this emergency. We are vulnerable during any emergency. We know we have to take extra precautions and we know resources have to be brought to bear early on.


We feel that the work has been going on so far like the convention center hospital has been exactly what is needed. But we don't want it to be all for not. We need the PPE and we need the ventilators.

BURNETT: So, Dr. Kanter, the director of the New Orleans Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, you know, said something yesterday that was very grim and very poignant. I wanted to play it for you. He is talking about the coronavirus crisis.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is going to be the disaster that's going to define our generation.


BURNETT: You were there for Hurricane Katrina about 15 years ago. Do you think he's right?

KANTER: I think Director Arnold is right. You know, there are disasters that you can prevent. Then there are disasters that you can mitigate. This is a mitigatable disaster right now. And you look at all the resources that have already been brought to bear, we have a real chance to make a difference here.

But look at what we're talking about. We're talking about discrete, finite resources like ventilators, masks, gowns, and gloves. It is absurd to think, in the richest country in the world, that that's going to be the limiting factor that we run up against.

BURNETT: All right. Well, Dr. Kanter, I appreciate your time. Thank you very much.

KANTER: My pleasure. Thank you.

BURNETT: President Trump, meantime, signing the $2 trillion stimulus bill aimed at helping -- aimed at helping people -- sorry -- OK, I'm sorry, everyone. Again, bear with us. We are dealing with our own technical things in this time.

But we do have a guest here that we weren't sure if we're going to be able to get on the phone and we are now able to get, joining us now from a cruise ship.

So, let me get you the story here -- 138 people are sick aboard a cruise ship which is currently trying to get to Florida. It's now in Panama. The cruise line has confirmed four passengers have died but they still do not know the cause of death. They say -- as I said, again, nearly 140 people, though, are sick.

Joining me now is someone on that ship, Clifford Kolber. He and his wife are aboard that ship. It's called the Zaandam.

And I appreciate your time, Clifford. I'm glad we were able to get this connection. I know it's been -- it's been hard but you said you've got some signal now that you're in the Panama Canal. What have you been told by the cruise line and your captain? I mean, the situation is -- is not good, obviously.

CLIFFORD KOLBER, PASSENGER ON HOLALND AMERICA CRUISE SHIP (via telephone): The situation is pretty terrible, as a matter of fact. Especially, we had four people died. (INAUDIBLE)

The captain is amazing. He's been doing everything he can. This has been going on for about (INAUDIBLE) days.

The thing is just the ports, especially in the United States, just don't want to take us in. Holland America caters to the older people, so there were elder people. And we just want the ports in the country to help us because we just don't want more people to die.

Broward County is talking about not letting us come in. We are residents of Broward County, U.S. citizens. Between them and any else, the greatest (ph) country in the world, they're abandoning us. (INAUDIBLE)

We just -- we learned a lesson. There are a few ships out there. I'm not sure how many had any anybody pass away but it is dire straits right now.

BURNETT: Well, and I know you want anyone who is well and it seems you and your wife are well at this point thank goodness, that you want to get off that ship, put in to quarantine so that you can get home safely. I understand now you can't go through the -- the Panama Canal because of infectious disease concerns.

So I understand this must be not beyond frustrating but also incredibly scary. I know you and your wife do have pre-existing conditions. How concerned are you right now?

KOLBER: We're very concerned. We -- we've closed -- we've had the door closed. We've been isolated, all of us, on the ship since last Sunday.

Beginning today, we are not opening our door. We're only taking one meal a day. They leave the meals outside. So we only open the door once a day just to bring in one meal. Otherwise, we are totally isolating ourselves, and hoping that neither of us have gotten the virus that will show up in the next few days.

We're still -- we're active people, although, we do have pre-existing conditions. And we just want to stay healthy. And I know that everybody else does on the ship. It's just scary. It's very scary.

BURNETT: Well, Clifford, we are -- we are thinking of -- of you. I know this is an incredibly difficult time and I want to point out to our viewers, of course, you were already on that ship when the State Department told people to not -- you know, to avoid cruises. You were already on it. You had not received any warning not to -- not to do that.

We really wish you and your wife the very, very best.

And thanks very much to all of you for joining us.

CNN's Democratic presidential town hall with Joe Biden with Anderson starts right now.