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U.S. Leads the World in Coronavirus Cases; Tensions Rise Between Trump & Governors Over Critical Needs. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired March 27, 2020 - 06:00   ET



DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASE: When you have a situation, when the cases today, compared to tomorrow, is increased dramatically, that's no time to pull back.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: The U.S. has now passed China for the most reported coronavirus cases.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's happening in New York, we're going to see that in Louisiana. We're going to see that in Florida. We're going to see that in Arizona.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are concerned about certain counties that look like they're having a more rapid increase.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We've seen the numbers. We've seen the projections. This is about saving lives.

DR. COLLEEN SMITH, ELMHURST HOSPITAL: I don't have the support that I need and even the materials that I need, physically, to take care of my patients, and it's America.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Friday, March 27, 6 a.m. here in New York.

And as of this morning, the United States has more reported cases of coronavirus than any other country on earth. More than Italy, more than Spain, and more than China where the outbreak began.

The virus has killed nearly 1,200 people in the United States, and it is accelerating across the country. At least 24 states reported 100 or more new cases on Thursday.

And cases are surging in Florida, Michigan, Illinois, and Louisiana. Those are now hotspots. Governors there still struggling to find ventilators and are facing competition with other states and the federal government.

Hospitals in different locations around the country tell CNN they expect to run out of ICU beds within two weeks.

The number of hospitalized patients in New York jumped by 40 percent in one day. Refrigerated trucks are being mobilized now as makeshift morgues.

More than 160 healthcare workers at four hospitals in Boston have tested positive for coronavirus. And overnight, the New York Police Department reported its first death. And this morning, more than 10 percent of the force is out sick.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: And John, last night, President Trump said he does not think that the states will need all the ventilators and the equipment that they are requesting. But the medical experts, of course, disagree.

In just a few hours, the House will vote on that $2 trillion stimulus deal to get workers and businesses much-needed help.

But let's begin our coverage with Brynn Gingras. She is live at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens, New York. That's where four more deaths have been reported, Brynn, since just yesterday. What's happening behind you?

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Listen, Alisyn, New York City health officials say that those deaths, those four deaths are tied to patients who used those ventilators.

This hospital, alone, has been resupplied four times in the last ten days with ventilators and other supplies. That just, again, speaks to the demand of that piece of equipment.

But listen, as John laid out nicely, what we are seeing here now, now other U.S. cities are seeing -- that we saw last week are seeing now. We're talking about, you know, the surge in hospitals, the numbers of cases. We're seeing that in Detroit, in Chicago, New Orleans.

And again, I know you guys have heard this, but I'm hearing it on the ground. Next week is going to be even worse.


GINGRAS (VOICE-OVER): New video inside Elmhurst Hospital in the middle of New York City's outbreak. This footage published by "The New York Times" shows an E.R. crowded with patients a doctors says are suffering from coronavirus. Doctors are struggling to keep up.

SMITH: From our perspective, everything is not fine. I don't have the support that I need and even just the materials that I need, physically, to take care of my patients. And it's -- it's America. And we're supposed to be a first-world country.

GINGRAS: The number of hospitalized patients in New York skyrocketing 40 percent in one day, according to Governor Andrew Cuomo. But some help is on the way.

The U.S. Comfort naval hospital ship sets course for there tomorrow to ease overcrowded hospitals. Cuomo says the state has enough personal protective equipment for now. But there's one critical shortage.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): Ventilators, ventilators, we need more. We have approved the technology that allows one ventilator to serve two patients.

GINGRAS: Across the U.S., leaders fear their cities and states could be next. Cases in Michigan growing nearly tenfold in just one week. And the governor says she's struggling to find enough medical supplies.

GOV. GRETCHEN WHITMER (D-MI): We've gotten a shipment from the federal government's strategic national stockpile. The allotment of PPE and the personal protection equipment allocated for one of our hospitals was not enough to cover a full shift. Not even a full day.


GINGRAS: One Chicago hospital filling its lobby with hospital beds in preparation for a possible surge.

DR. DEBORAH BRIX, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS TASK FORCE: We are concerned about certain counties that look like they're having a more rapid increase.

GINGRAS: Meanwhile, President Trump is once again suggesting social distancing guidelines may soon be relaxed.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: A lot of progress is made, but we've got to go back to work. We may take sections of our country, we may take large sections of our country that aren't so seriously affected.

GINGRAS: Dr. Anthony Fauci says Trump was trying to give people some hope. But --

FAUCI: He's listening to us when we say we've really got to reevaluate it in real-time, and any decision we make has to be based on the data.


GINGRAS: We're back here live in Queens. And it's just after 6 a.m. in the morning, and you can see that line of people who want to see a doctor, want to get tested, well, it's doubled just within the last 15 minutes.

Of course, that line, we know, we've been reporting it just continues to grow and grow.

Listen, we've reached out to Elmhurst Hospital to get comment on that "New York Times" video. They have not gotten back to us.

But one thing I want to mention, Alisyn, is I talked to a nurse. And this has really been echoed by reporting all across our network, of people who are talking to healthcare professionals. She described being in a constant state of paranoia. And she said it wasn't even about her getting sick. She, of course, is worried about getting sick. But it was more about getting sick, and then passing it on to her other patients -- Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: We can only imagine, only imagine the physical challenges that they're having and the mental and emotional challenges, Brynn. Thank you very much.

Joining us now is Dr. Cioe-Pena. He's a physician at Staten Island University Hospital and director of global health at Northwell Health. Also with us, CNN national security analyst Juliette Kayyem. She was an assistant secretary at the Department of Homeland Security under President Obama.

Great to have both of you.

Doctor, I want to start with you and find out -- just give us a status report of what's happening at your hospital. We understand that New York hospitals have surged by 40 percent in terms of patients in one day. Are you seeing that?

DR. ERIC CIOE-PENA, PHYSICIAN, STATEN ISLAND UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL: So yes, that's definitely something that we're seeing in our hospitals, as well. It's not ubiquitous across all of our hospitals. So we're taking personnel and staff and resources from the hospitals that haven't been as hard-hit and moving them to the hospitals that have been hardest hit in order to meet that surge.

But that's definitely something. We've seen some ERs in our system that have doubled the daily census that they normally have.

CAMEROTA: And Doctor, as we just heard Brynn say, from the nurse that she spoke to, the worry that they carry. And she described it as paranoia. The fear that they carry the fear, No. 1, that they'll get sick, of course; and No. 2, that somehow they won't know that they're sick, and they'll pass it along.

Can you just describe, how are the healthcare workers at your hospital holding up emotionally?

CIOE-PENA: I mean, this is definitely an emotionally taxing time. And you know, we -- I've likened it to war before, but I think the health care providers really feel like we're at war against this virus.

And it is a stressful time. We're worried about infecting our patients, infecting our families. We're worried about the risk that it poses to us. Obviously, everyone is concerned about PPE and making sure that we have enough PPE that we're not going to run out of PPE.

So even though we have PPE on hand in our hospitals, we're conserving it and reusing it as much as safely possible so that we don't run out and we don't have a problem in the future with getting that supply to keep us and our patients and our families safe. CAMEROTA: Juliette, it sounds like the president wants to open parts

of the country. You know, he's been restless with the idea that there's this shutdown. Obviously, the economy has taken a huge hit.

Of course, governors have other ideas, and ultimately, it may be up to the governors in terms of if their state is going to open.

But can you, in terms of your experience, having been in the White House, see a scenario whereby the places that are not as hard hit can return to some sort of functioning?

KAYYEM: Well, obviously, we want to look at what recovery will look like. But any person who sees the data knows we're -- we're -- this is a little premature and that also you're looking at metrics rather than dates, right? So the metrics are fewer people getting sick.

Are there ICU units available? Are there respirators and ventilators available?

When we see start to see good metrics, you know, based on what the doctor was saying, based on are you over that curve, that's when you begin to think about opening up.

And so President Trump's sort of focus on an open-up date is not only premature, I think it's distracting us from what we need to do now. Right? There's no quick fixes. We know exactly what we need to do now, right? We need to socially distance aggressively across the 50 states. And we need to surge resources, and as you noted in the opening, and personnel. We are starting to have a personnel issue.

We have 15 percent of the NYPD already sick. We have nurses and doctors getting sick. So this is the surge phase, and we need to focus on it, knowing that at some stage we'll be able to measure the metrics.


KAYYEM: The president is looking for easy fixes. He does this with the vaccines. He does this with the treatments. This is the hard part, and it's the long part. And I think the sooner we can focus on just what we need to do now.

The metrics will come easily. They'll come. We know they'll come, because Italy got there, China got there, South Korea got there.

CAMEROTA: Hmm. Doctor, it's not just New York, of course, where they've seen a surge in patients, as we have reported. The U.S. has now outpaced -- outpaced China in terms of patients.

And so what about what Juliette just raised. Are you many doctors and healthcare workers short? Are they having to call in sick? What's the status of just personnel in Staten Island on the ground there?

CIOE-PENA: Yes, so I mean, personnel-wise, we are -- we are redistributing. So I'm actually -- I'm actually going to be in Queens later today working one of the ERs. And that is because we have shortages. Not only do we have doctors that are out, doctors and nurses that are out sick, but we also have higher volumes than the normal amount of doctors that would be on staff to take care of. So it's a double problem.

It's definitely something that causes disruptions and requires a lot of reorganization for us to manage. And if it continues, it will get to the point where we're going to have a lot of people working a lot more than they're supposed to, because our colleagues will be out sick and willing to cover them until they recover. So that's certainly an issue that we're contending with and something that we're dealing with.

CAMEROTA: And Doctor, what about ventilators? I mean, we're relieved to hear that you have enough PPE at the moment. How about ventilators?

CIOE-PENA: so right now, we're pretty comfortable with our current volumes and how we have -- how many ventilators we have. Obviously, you know, we reassess this on daily, on a daily call.

But right now, we have enough extra ventilators that we feel comfortable that we can continue taking care of patients even through the surge. I don't think that's true citywide, and I certainly don't think that's true statewide.

And we're also in contact with the other hospitals and the other health systems to make sure that, you know, we're not sitting on a large stockpile while another -- another hospital is going -- going through need. So we are trying to coordinate between the systems, kind of ventilator supplies, ICU bed supply, transferring patients when appropriate to make sure that we're meeting the need.

But I think -- I think the government is right. We're going to fall short right now without an increase in production or purchasing powers.

CAMEROTA: It's hard to know, Juliette, what the right number is, because President Trump last night, in an interview, said that he doesn't think that New York will need 40,000 ventilators. Again, not sure how he can possibly predict that. But we just hear such differing things.

KAYYEM: It's true. And so this is sort of -- this is why the Defense Production Act makes a lot of sense. The president invoked it, but they have not forced the private sector.

It's because it satisfies the market, right? In other words, you tell a producer, I don't know what my number is now, so let's make 50,000 respirators. We will buy them.

And the good news about respirators, like gloves and masks, is unlike milk, they don't go bad. We have a surplus. Big deal. At the end of this. It is not a -- it's not a crisis if you have a surplus of goods that you know eventually you'll need. So you just put them in the strategic stockpile or you sell them to the states that are already going to be depleted, and everyone is happy. This idea that, you know, that we know the number now, we don't even

know what the -- what the patient pool is yet. Over-order, right, absolutely. Even -- then if you have a surplus, sell them to the states, because they're going to have to regroup and help sick people for other -- that have other ailments.

It's the -- I keep saying it's the easiest thing in the world. But the Defense Production Act is actually sort of genius. It sort of -- it creates the market. You buy stuff, and you distribute it in a meaningful fashion.

The doctor just mentioned that New York hospitals themselves are divvying up stuff. This is ridiculous at this stage. We know that New York is going to need more respirators.

So the number in my mind doesn't matter. More is my number. At this stage, more is my number. And then, if I have a surplus, you sell it at the end of this.

CAMEROTA: Overprepare. That makes perfect sense. Juliette Kayyem, Dr. Cioe-Pena, thank you both very much.

CIOE-PENA: Thank you

CAMEROTA: So as states plead with the federal government for critical medical equipment, President Trump, as we've said, is downplaying those needs. What does that mean for patients today? That's next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


BERMAN: All right. This morning, governors and mayors across the country are desperately trying to get their hands on supplies: personal protective equipment, ventilators, ICU setups. Why? They want to save lives, and they're having a hard time.

Back with us, Dr. Eric Cioe-Pena and Juliette Kayyem.

And Juliette, I want to play you some sound from Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, who is as sort of mild-mannered as they come. So what you're about to see is an outraged Governor Baker, talking about how he's trying to get supplies and has had them taken away from him from under his nose. Listen.


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 position is, until the -- until the thing shows up here in the commonwealth of Mass, it doesn't exist.

Our first responders, our healthcare workers, everybody deserves to have that gear. And I'm telling you, we're killing ourselves trying to make it happen.


BERMAN: I don't think Governor Baker is alone in this. But what exactly does that mean, Juliette? That these governors -- the states are going out and trying to get the gear, as the president told them that they're supposed to. But when they think they have it, it gets taken away by someone else, sometimes the federal government.

KAYYEM: Right. Sometimes the federal government and sometimes other states. So because the market is open now, because we're not utilizing the Defense Production Act, it means that the seller has leverage. Because you have desperate buyers, 50 governors begging for the stuff. The federal government trying to get it. That gives leverage to the seller, because we live in a capitalist society.


They then begin to raise the prices. People -- other states get desperate. They say, You know what? I'll go up with you on that price.

And they outbid either Massachusetts or another state, or the feds do the same.

This is why we need to stabilize the supply chain. This is the easy part. It's just logistics. Satisfy the supply chain. The Defense Production Act sets the market at fair market value. You don't have this bidding. You don't have this price gouging or price increases. And you stabilize -- I have -- like, the simplest part of this, which is just satisfying the supply chain.

The doctor and his colleagues are doing the hard part, right? This is the -- just get them what they need.

BERMAN: Dr. Cioe-Pena, I think sometimes we get lost in all the talk about numbers and terminology. I just want you to explain to viewers why ventilators are so important when you're trying to battle COVID- 19.

CIOE-PENA: Yes, so one of the things about COVID-19, it's so -- so dramatic in its presentation, is how much it focuses the attack on the lungs.

And essentially what happens is, in the first -- first five days, you -- if you're going to get a problem with your lungs, you're going to get a viral pneumonia, which is basically an infection in the lungs.

And by day ten, you're getting something called ARDS, which is where your lungs get attacked by your own immune system and filled with fluid. And it creates a problem with your ability to breathe. It's almost like you're drowning in your own lungs.

And the ventilator, essentially, pushes some of that -- some of that fluid out of the way, opens up the lungs as much to as they can be opened, and oxygenates your blood, and gets you through it while your body fights the infection. So the ventilator, essentially, is keeping you alive long enough for your body to fight and beat the virus. So it's a vital part of critical care for these viruses.

BERMAN: Now, Dr. Birx last night, who's running the operation -- we don't have time to play the sound -- but Dr. Cioe-Pena, she said, as of right now, there are no examples of people wanting ventilators that aren't getting them.

And I'm trying to -- to understand that statement with what I'm hearing from people like you and doctors around the country, who are scared they're going to run out. Your fear is what? That you won't have them in a week or two when the need is most acute. Is that right?

CIOE-PENA: Yes. I mean, you know, if you're looking at exponential numbers of increasing patients, which is what we're doing, right? It's doubling every two or three days. We expect critical care to be a percentage of that. And that percentage, eventually, is going to overwhelm the supply that we have. It's not now.

But it's like saying, we don't -- we don't anticipate needing more than seven bullets to fight a war, so let's just make seven. And -- and we'll be good. It's like, you know, we want to have more. I never want to have the decision that I have to decide who goes on a ventilator and who doesn't. And that's the problem, is that if we don't prepare for this, we're in trouble.

BERMAN: Juliette, you focus on so much, because you've run operations like this. And sometimes, there are things going on over here that you're not watching carefully.

And one of them in New York City has to do with first responders to other issues. The police, 10 percent of the police force calling out sick today. We've found our first COVID-19 death among the New York City police force. Why is this of such concern to you? What are you looking for here?

KAYYEM: So this is the secondary impact of the virus, and we tend -- in planning -- we actually sort of determine what percentage of your resources, your human resources might be depleted for three reasons.

One is they get sick. The other is that they just have to be confined because they might be close to sick. And the other is, you know, some -- this is stressful. And as we saw in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, there's going to be a certain percentage who just don't want to deal with this, and maybe understandably.

So we're already looking at 10 percent with the NYPD. That is high, because most planning would assume around 10 or 15 percent. We're already at 10 percent with the NYPD.

What does that mean? It means that we have to get to essential functions. In other words, the police now are not going to be worried about your cat in the tree. They're not even probably going to be worried about tickets. No one is in their cars anyway.

And one of the reasons why it's good for us to stay inside, it's not only for the medical reasons, but because it's when people outside -- are outside, they get hurt, there's crime, there's all sorts of mayhem that maybe will relieve the stress. So when you're complaining about staying inside, you remember also, you're relieving a public safety apparatus that's getting depleted relatively quickly.

BERMAN: It's so important. Your actions don't just affect you. They affect so many other people all the way up and down the chain.

Juliette Kayyem, Dr. Cioe-Pena, thank you very much for helping us understand all these complicated things this morning.

Be sure to join us tonight. Joe Biden will be with Anderson Cooper for a CNN Democratic presidential town hall to talk -- to talk about this pandemic and the federal response. Tune in tonight at 8 p.m. Eastern. That's only on CNN.

So this outbreak has pushed Italy to the brink. Hospitals in desperate need. Experts warn the United States could be next.


What can the U.S. learn from what Italy has done wrong and right? That's next.


CAMEROTA: There are now more confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. than anywhere else in the world, including Italy. That country, as you know, has been hit so hard. The virus there has basically crippled their healthcare system. And medical experts believe that is a preview of what could happen here in the U.S.

CNN's Delia Gallagher is live in Rome with more.

What's the situation, Delia?

DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So Alisyn, in the last five days, Italy had seen a decline in their numbers of new cases. That reversed itself yesterday when we saw the numbers go up slightly. So we're now over 80,000 total cases with over 8,000 deaths.

But experts are still saying there's reason for cautious optimism, because it seems that this trend.