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NY Cases Surge To 45,000-Plus, More Than 26,000 In NYC; Hospitals Struggling As U.S. Tops Coronavirus Cases Globally; Massachusetts Reports 35 Coronavirus Deaths, 800-Plus New Cases; Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) Is Interviewed About How He Feels After 14-Day Self- Quarantine; NY Governor Says Some Hospitals Shifting To Only Coronavirus Treatment; Clinical Psychologist, Dr. Jeff Gardere, Discusses How To Deal With Stress During Crisis; Trump Signing Economic Relief Package Overshadowed By Newspapers' Grim Coronavirus News. Aired 1-2p ET

Aired March 28, 2020 - 13:00   ET



FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: And the President has also approved for more sites of for emergency medical facilities, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and the Bronx. And I wonder, Dr. Phillips, how helpful that will be particularly for New York. Is that encouraging to you?

DR. JAMES PHILLIPS, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF EMERGENCY MEDICINE, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY: Yes, it's very encouraging. You know, when we look at things from an emergency and a disaster medicine standpoint, we've heard this numerous times now, we look at space, staff and stuff. We've been talking about the stuff that we need for a while from PPE to ventilators, to other lifesaving interventions.

But space is critical and for us to manage what we call the surge of patients that are going to be coming in for this, we need to not only clear out the existing space that we have by canceling elective surgeries which is being done at a number of hospitals across the country, reducing the number of inpatient visits or inpatient admissions that are not unnecessary, but also by developing or creating new beds and that's what these facilities are is making new space.

Now, it sounds like they're primarily going to be for non-covered patients. So a patient with chest pain or recovering from a heart attack will be in one of those temporary facilities, while people with COVID are kept in the main hospitals.

WHITFIELD: So, Dr. Sepkowitz, still there was an omission about any new information about this protective equipment. This is the stuff that is vital to these medical teams while there may be more emergency facilities. What about the protections that are lacking not just in New York but you know, across the country, but particularly since we heard from the governor, Dr. Sepkowitz, you know, where should the medical community feel hopeful?

DR. KENT SEPKOWITZ, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: They should feel hopeful that the community out there, medical and non is reaching a deep end and finding masks and respirators and all sorts of places, but it's a very flawed approach. It's a -- I would call it a bake sale. Let's have a bake sale to raise money to that approach. We need a much more organized, systematic way to get masks respirators gowns to protect the staff. That's the stuff.

We need to protect the staff, you're going to need to protect a lot more staff with 4000 new beds at Javits, with 1000 votes on the boat, with all that's coming, so we're actually increasing the need for stuff because we're increasing our staff. So we're going to have to figure that out. Still, I'm still very worried about protecting the brave nurses and doctors who are slugging it out with a virus.

WHITFIELD: We also heard the governor being dotted with a lot of questions about quarantine, the President on his way to Norfolk where the USNS Comfort will be, you know, departing making its way to New York by Monday. The President on his way apparently said, you know, that we're thinking about certain things some people would like to see New York quarantine because it's a hotspot.

Our Kristen Holmes was there. Kristen, give us a little bit more about what the President was saying Governor Cuomo said he didn't have that conversation. So what was the President talking about?

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. That's right. So essentially, it came out onto the South Lawn and said that he was having a conversation that he had talked to Governor Cuomo and conversations around quarantining New York and surrounding areas. I want to play you exactly what he said. Take a lesson here.

OK. Sorry about that. I think we don't have the time, but I'm going to tell you exactly what he said. He said, essentially, we would quarantine all of New York and then parts of New Jersey and Connecticut, those surrounding areas there. This is why this gets interesting as we move forward. We just heard Governor Cuomo asked about it and Governor Cuomo said he hadn't had that conversation. He said that it was a scary concept.

A full quarantine. He also said he doesn't even know what a quarantine would mean. He doesn't even know if it's legally possible. So a lot of questions here now again, when he landed President Trump at his chopper before he headed down to Virginia said that he was going to talk to Governor Cuomo later today. But we think we might have gotten a little bit of clarity about what exactly the President meant.

He said he had talked to Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida. That he said he made very clear, then when he was asked about whether or not what a New York quarantine would look like he said, one of the things would be restricting travel. And he specifically noted that people from New York were going down to Florida in large numbers, and it was causing a problem. So essentially not clear if he just meant restricted travel outside of New York, or what kind of quarantine it would look like.

Again, the governor saying that he had no idea what exactly he was talking about, or if it was legally possible from saying he was going to talk to the governor later today. WHITFIELD: OK. So Dr. Sepkowitz, if that were an idea, you know, that New York we're considering that's something the President's proposing there, you know, perhaps he's confusing the states. How helpful, how much will that potentially make an impact, you know, on moving New York toward flattening the curve especially since the governor says he is anticipating an apex in 10 to 14 days?


SEPKOWITZ: Certainly does not help New York do anything. It cuts us off from everyone else. It also is not a meaningful public health move. It is part of perhaps singling out New York, but the virus is all over the country now. If you look at maps, it's everywhere. It's literally in every state and states like Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana which has gotten a lot of press. But it's tons of coronavirus in these states if you look at it by population.

So the notion that we can sort of blame New York and wall it off and build a wall, build a wall around Manhattan. I mean, that's nuts. It isn't going to work.

WHITFIELD: Dr. Phillips, is it your anticipation that it's not just New York that's expecting an Apex, things will worsen before they get better. But should other larger cities be anticipating that as well?

PHILLIPS: Every large city, every medium city and every small city should be anticipating this. We are. As emergency physicians, we think -- I mean, I can't speak collectively for every doctor in America. But I think that it's pretty clear that the best way to protect ourselves from this virus is to never get it. And I mean that for all citizens. And if that means we need a nationwide lockdown, or whatever term you want to use, then then that's what we need.

And because there's this sort of false narrative that if we get all of these ventilators, for enough people, everyone's going to survive and do fine. Prevention is the key. We're seeing numbers that show that maybe half of people who get a ventilator still die. So it's not this panacea in this -- in this cure that's going to make everything better. Stay away from other people, staying home and having the support from your mayor, governor and president to be able to do that is the most critical way to save the most numbers of lives.

WHITFIELD: All right, we'll leave it there for now. Dr. James Phillips, Dr. Kent Sepkowitz and Kristen Holmes. Thank you so much to all of you. All right. Joining me right now on the phone is Boston Mayor, Marty Walsh. Mayor in Massachusetts, the number of cases has shot up as of late last night, more than 800 new cases were reported. And just yesterday, you called out people in your city for gathering in Boston parks. What is the message you have for people today?

MAYOR MARTY WALSH (D), BOSTON, MA: I mean, I think it's clear. I mean, in Massachusetts, we've gone from being in the top 10 to the top six, I believe we have today, and I've been listening to Governor Cuomo and the doctors that were on previously. People need to start really taking this serious. We have parks yesterday and today that people aren't playing basketball and young kids and we have places people gathering on a beach in Boston yesterday.

And this is a serious issue and these numbers are going to continue to grow. People are going to continue to get sick, people are going to continue to lose their life. And those people that are being irresponsible right now quite honestly going to be making the spread even worse. And you know this is real. If anyone's questioning whether or not the coronavirus is real, all you'd have to do is just sit in front of your T.V. for five minutes and turn on any station.

This is a real issue and we have to have real responses and in short of having a lockdown, a nationwide lockdown. It's up to us as individuals as Americans to do our part, and to into self-isolation, physical distance, social distance. These are proven facts that will keep people safe. And I don't know how many times people need to hear this. But these numbers that you're showing on CNN every day, the numbers of infected people going up and the numbers that's going up. That's real life and there's real human beings and real families behind those numbers.

WHITFIELD: Uh-hmm. What cues are you taking from other cities? How they're handling it, how they might be stockpiling. You heard the New York Governor, Cuomo, who's now saying there putting themselves in a proactive position after, you know, being behind just as he thought the entire nation has been behind and now stockpiling in anticipation of. What cues are you taking from other cities or perhaps even states on how they are handling things?

WALSH: Well, a couple things. The governor talked about how all the governors are in close contact, and a lot of them there's our as well. And I think when the Governor Cuomo gets on T.V. and tells us what New York is experiencing, and saying that we're late to the game, and some other states have an opportunity to do something more dramatic, quicker. I think that's real important.

As I look through the map of, of the cases around the country, there are some states that are still in the hundreds, if you do the lockdowns and unknowingly are locked down, but you do the stay-at-home orders and you do the shutting downs of the parks and the restaurants, that can prevent -- help prevent the spread and your state your city. I think in Boston, what we're looking at is we're trying to as -- we're trying to get ahead of this fight.

And we're trying to plan ahead to be prepared for whatever is going to come tomorrow. And I think that that's what's really important now as far as being leaders and getting ahead of that, and I also think it's important for us to share ideas and best practices.


WALSH: I read a report yesterday, Mayor de Blasio was taking down basketball rims in parks. If we have to do that, we'll do that, if we have to close out playgrounds -- our playgrounds are close right now for using our playgrounds of people walk, that's a different situation. But if we have to take more advanced measures or more drastic measures, we're going to have to do that. And we're doing it to keep people safe. And that's why I keep going back to, people you have a responsibility as an individual, not just to keep yourself safe but also take into account that the danger you can put other people in particularly if you have the coronavirus and you don't know it

WHITFIELD: Is an example of getting ahead your announcement that there will be a testing site dedicated strictly for Boston's first responders?

WALSH: I think getting ahead is planning and building out additional capacity in hospitals, planning ahead in Boston is we're working on a plan to how do we safely work on the 1800 homeless people that we have in our city. How do we make sure we have a tent set up to help quarantine people that have symptomatic? And how do we spread out our population so that we can isolate some of them so they don't get -- they don't -- they don't put themselves in a situation where get this coronavirus.

WHITFIELD: And how are reaching out -- how are you reaching out finding homeless people, you know, who may have a shelter to stay overnight and again, usually very cramped conditions. And then, you know, they are dismissed, they have to leave. How do you -- how do you promote help to them?

WALSH: We have a very coordinated system here in Boston, which we started about five years ago. So we're working with all of the nonprofit's that work in this space, including healthcare for the homeless, and we're all on the same page and all of our employees who do this frontline work, all have the same message and it's really about passing messages along. And a lot of our homeless folks, what we're seeing is a lot of people are picking in and around shelters.

There's not a lot going on in the city. So people sticking around there as best as possible, getting them as much information as possible is key. Our homeless people, people don't realize and don't think that they pay attention, but they certainly pay attention to news and watching they know what's going on. So getting information to them just like we get to our seniors and families is the same way.

WHITFIELD: Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, thank you so much and the best to you. Stay well.

WALSH: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: Coming up. Russia temporarily closes its border to help fight coronavirus. We'll go live to Moscow in just a moment.

Plus, help for hospitals in Los Angeles and New York how two massive Navy ships are providing relief for workers and patients.



WHITFIELD: All right. This news just in to CNN from Moscow, the Russian government has announced that they will temporarily close its borders with some exceptions beginning this Monday. CNN Moscow Bureau Chief Nathan Hodge joins live right now. So Nathan, what do we know about this closure and how many coronavirus cases does Russia have?

NATHAN HODGE, CNN MOSCOW BUREAU CHIEF: Yo, Fredricka, Russia has just around 1300, just under 1300 confirmed coronavirus cases. And it's been gradually stepping up all the measures that it's had in place. Today they announced that they were essentially closing all of Russia's borders. But previously, they had essentially closed down Russia to barred entry by foreigners into Russia.

And as well they had shut down International air traffic by and large. Now there are exceptions to all of these. And Moscow City authorities in the Russian capital have also essentially declared a lockdown that's beginning -- that's beginning this weekend. And it's going to be extending for another week. So that's closing down restaurants, bars, cafes, there's already been a long standing ban on public gatherings as well.

But all of this kind of comes amid questions about, you know, how well equipped Russia is to combat coronavirus. Again, it's -- it seemed just under 1300 confirmed cases, now that's fewer than the number of deaths we've seen in the United States complete -- all told. So the question really is whether Russia is still a number of weeks behind, or whether they've really gotten a grip on this, Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: All right. Nathan Hodge, thank you so much in Moscow. All right. At any moment now, President Trump will arrive in Norfolk, Virginia. Before departing, Trump announced that he was considering quarantining parts of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut to prevent the spread of coronavirus. He is visiting the Navy shipyards to bid farewell to the USNS Comfort. That Navy hospital ship will be departing today for New York City to help ease overcrowding at area hospitals by treating their non-coronavirus patients and comfort we'll be in New York Monday.

It is one of two such navy vessels being deployed to help with the government's response to the crisis. Paul Vercammen is in Los Angeles for us were one of the Navy hospital ships has arrived. But let's begin with Ryan Browne in Norfolk. So Ryan, what more can you tell us about this navy ship that will -- that will be departing Norfolk making its way to New York?

RYAN BROWNE, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER: Well, Fred, we're expecting the president to arrive here shortly to say thank you to the U.S. military personnel who helped get this ship ready to sail to New York and is expected to depart today. And the ship is a massive, it's about 900 feet long. You can see it behind me here. It has the capacity to how some 1000 hospital beds, there's a -- there's 1200 personnel on the ship that can treat.

There's 12 operating rooms. And the intention here is once it arrives on Monday, it may take about 24 hours to set up operations there but once it arrives to treat non-coronavirus patients, help ease some of that burden on some of the civilian hospitals in New York City which are overwhelmed amid this coronavirus pandemic and treating things like broken bones, things of that nature being able to do that. Now, it's just one of many steps the U.S. military has taken to aid the Trump administration's response to the coronavirus.


BROWNE: The U.S. Army is also set up a series of field hospitals in New York, the Army Corps of Engineers has helped convert the Javits Center -- Convention Center into a hospital. So they're really trying to alleviate the burden on some of those civilian medical personnel and facilities. They're in New York in the hopes that they can focus solely on coronavirus.

WHITFIELD: Ryan Browne, thank you so much in Norfolk. Let's go now to Paul Vercammen in Los Angeles where that second navy ship, USNS Mercy has recently docked to help bring relief to hospitals in that area. So Paul, how similar how different is Mercy from comfort?

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the shifts are very similar, Fredricka. In fact, the Mercy came up from San Diego and it is already up and running. They have not had a patient yet. But what you will see is behind me, they will bring patients by ambulance again. These are non-COVID-19 patients and they will treat them here. A little smaller crew, 800 personnel on board. 1200 at the peak.

They also have the thousand beds, the 12 operating rooms, a medical laboratory and a lot more. And the Mercy has been involved in humanitarian missions before. In fact, back in 2004, you might recall the great Indian earthquake tsunami that also spilled into the South Pacific.

Well, they treated people on this ship there. So they're very, very well-versed in that sort of effort. And again, the idea is to free up hospital beds in Los Angeles County, so far more than 1400 cases in Los Angeles County, but that's a number that is sure to go up.

The mayor and others anticipating a major, major, major upswing in the number of cases in this county. And don't forget, when you start to look at Orange County and Riverside and surrounding counties, there is going to be a lot of pressure here in Southern California. And the idea is the Mercy will take some of that pressure off. And at times, if you think of it this way, it will allow some doctors and nurses is to take a breath if you will at other hospitals as they deal with those broken bones, appendectomies and a lot more, Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: All right. Paul Vercammen in Los Angeles. Thank you so much. And Ryan Browne at the top there from Norfolk. Appreciate it. All right. Straight ahead. Florida enacts a mandatory quarantine for travelers entering the state from Louisiana. Could more states be adding to that growing quarantine list? I'll talk with Senator Rick Scott next.



WHITFIELD: And this just into CNN, Italy now reaching a grim milestone. The number of people with coronavirus who have died there has risen to 10,023. According to Italy's Civil Protection Agency, this is an increase of nearly 900 just since the last figures are released on Friday. We'll get more on this development next hour live from Rome.

Meantime in this country, President Trump says a short-term quarantine could be enacted on New York and its surrounding metro areas as soon as today. It comes just one day after Florida Governor Ron DeSantis ordered travelers entering his state from nearby Louisiana to do a mandatory 14-day self-isolation. Florida Senator Rick Scott joining me now on the phone after completing a 14-day quarantine of his own after he met with a Brazilian government aide who tested positive for the virus.

Senator Scott, we spoke last weekend, you were still under quarantine. Now you're out but how are you feeling?

SEN. RICK SCOTT (R-FL): I'm feeling fine, but it hasn't been much changed because what I'm doing all day is trying to connect with people. I'm talking to hospitals and doctors and mayors and county commission's and cabin members and basically hasn't changed much. I'm in the House and making phone calls.

WHITFIELD: Oh my goodness. And -- are our people feeling overwhelmed? Are these medical facilities feeling overwhelmed all the personnel that you're talking to?

SCOTT: I think that, you know, what they're worried about is -- first off, they have lost over elective surgeries. So there's, you know, they're losing money, a lot of them. Number two is there -- they don't have enough. They're concerned about having a protective gear and inhabiting up ventilators. And so I've been trying to connect them up on ways to get more of a protective gear.

What's interesting is, you've got -- you've seen some of the stories now about people at their house or sewing facemask, which is wonderful. And you saw the University of Minnesota doctor that came up with a homegrown ventilator system. And so you've got a lot of ingenuity and I know a lot of people are -- they're going to do everything they can to pitch in to help everybody.

WHITFIELD: Yes. Maybe making a little bit of a dent but the volume and the need is so great. So Senator Scott, you know, what's your reaction now to President Trump saying, you know, a short-term quarantine could be enacted in New York while Florida imposes its own restrictions. And of course, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was asked about this whole idea of quarantine, he said he didn't have that conversation with the President. But what is your thought about the idea of it for city and nearby jurisdictions?

SCOTT: A couple weeks ago, I put out a 30-day plan and part of it was, let's shut down aircraft of domestic and international. And let's enforce quarantine. Let's make sure that if you -- if you -- if you've been tested positive or you around somebody is you got to quarantine yourself, you kind of stop this. And then all of us if we can be home, let's be home. And then of course, we've got to continue for -- (CROSSTALK)

WHITFIELD: But for it to be mandated a more widespread effort in involving a city or perhaps even state that the President would be involved in?


SCOTT: I don't know -- I don't know how he would do it. But the bottom line is, all of us are in this. We've got to do it to ourselves. I don't want to and you don't want to infect your family or friends or co-workers. We've got to take this very seriously. And if we do, we're going to stop this.

I've been putting out a report every day on the growth rate by state. You can see what other people are doing. And that's where I want people to do, what I did in my business life and as governor. Who is doing the best? And let's do those things. Part of it is more testing.

WHITFIELD: Hey, the numbers are sobering. According to your state's health department Web site, just moments ago, there are 408 new cases, 3,600 cases total for Florida. Do you feel like your state is doing enough, individuals, government, doing enough to help stop the spread?

SCOTT: I think that, one, we don't have enough testing. And we're not getting the results back to people fast enough. I did a telephone town hall with thousands of people yesterday. And many of them told me they got the test 10 days ago and still haven't gotten the result.

So the testing we have to get it in more counties. It's got to be more robust. Get answers back faster. My experience in talking to people, they want to do the right thing. And they want to -- if they are positive, they want to quarantine.

Now if they can go to work, they want to be able to go to work, though, too.

WHITFIELD: The New York -- I'm sorry, the presidential primaries under way. New York, according to the governor, he said he's moved the presidential primary from April 28th to now June 23rd. Florida already had its primary earlier this month.

In your view, you know, should states be considering changing their presidential primary elections?

SCOTT: I think what you have to do is, you want people to vote, right? I always say, we want everybody to vote. We don't want any fraud. You have to make sure people have the opportunity to vote.

If you don't believe people are going to have the opportunity, don't feel comfortable going out to vote, then you ought to move it.

In Florida, we have early voting, absentee voting. So you should, even before election day, you have lots of opportunities to go and vote and you can vote by mail. We have a robust system here. Most states, I think, have that,

although not all of them. So we ought to be -- we want people to get out to vote. That's part of who we are as Americans.

And so I hope everybody is going to look at that and say, how state by state, how can they make sure people get out to vote.

WHITFIELD: President Trump assigned the largest relief package into history yesterday, meaning help is on the way for Americans, negatively impacted by coronavirus. Just about everybody has been impacted in some way, shape or form. We're talking about $1200 to families making $75,000 or less and then there's a reduced amount for families or individuals making $99,000 or less. $500 to -- for each child.

How helpful do you believe this is going to be?

SCOTT: I think it's very important that we've got stimulus done. It was very important to me that we used the existing unemployment system, bolstered that and got it to people that had lost their jobs and we got it to the people like the Uber drivers and the Lyft drivers, people like that, the tip workers, things like that, and helped our small businesses.

What I don't believe was smart was, I think we're going to hurt our recovery when it's now we've created incentive for somebody to stay home rather than go to work because they make more money being at home. I know people want to work, but --


WHHITFIELD: But if they're telling people -- how is there an incentive when people are being told, for health reasons, for everyone's health, to stay home -


WHITFIELD: -- are responding to that urgency, right? So that --

SCOTT: I completely agree.

WHITFIELD: -- that won't de-incentivize that wanting to get out and work later.

SCOTT: I completely agree with you today. But when we open up this economy, which I'm hoping to open up this economy again. When we open up the economy, I know people are going to be eager to go back to work. But you can't create an incentive for people to say, look, I get paid more money for not working.

I talked to a restaurant owner yesterday and he said he just wanted to open up his restaurant to -- to prepare some free food for health workers and his employees said, look, we're applying for unemployment. We're going to get paid more money.

I want people to be eager to go back to work. I want these small businesses to reopen quickly. I want to make sure we help people that got hurt.


WHITFIELD: Don't you feel like most people want to get back to what they know as normal, but for the sake of the public's health, you know, family health, elderly health, people are trying to respect the edict of staying home?

SCOTT: Oh, absolutely. They want to do -- people want to do the right thing. But we always have to remember, we've got to get back to work. We've got to get back to work as soon as it's logical. We've got to get back to work. And people want to get --



WHITFIELD: When it's medically logical? What's the measuring stick? When it's logical.


WHITFIELD: You mean when for the public's health it's logical?

SCOTT: -- that's going to be safe for Americans. We're going to figure that out. I'm talking to county commissioners and mayors. They're trying to figure out for their communities. We can't overwhelm the health care system.

But they know, when you shut down the economic system -- but I represent the poorest families. I lived in a very poor family. My mom was paycheck to paycheck. It was day by day when she got paid. People need to make sure they have income.

WHITFIELD: Senator Rick Scott, we'll leave it there now. Thank you so much. Be well.

SCOTT: All right. Have a good day.

WHITFIELD: We'll be right back.


WHITFIELD: New York continues to be the hardest-hit state dealing with the coronavirus. Governor Andrew Cuomo gave an update on his state in the last hour. There are now more than 52,000 confirmed cases with more than 720 deaths.


The governor says some hospitals have shifted to only treating coronavirus patients and no one else.


GOV. ANDREW CUOMO, (D), NEW YORK: We're going to go to COVID-only hospitals where people in those hospitals will just have the COVID virus so the staff that is there is basically working with one type of issue as opposed to a normal hospital setting.

It's smarter to keep the COVID patients separate. You don't want a person who goes into a hospital with one situation developing COVID because they happened to be exposed.

So this is smart, and we're going to isolate 600 beds for just this treatment.


WHITFIELD: CNN's Athena Jones is in New York for us.

Athena, the governor also talked about the critical need for the help from the federal government.

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Fred. The governor at almost every press conference, the governor and mayor of New York City, Bill De Blasio, have been talking about the need for federal help.

One thing we should note, there were a lot of headlines out of the press conference. Governor Cuomo noted yesterday he sent a letter to President Trump asking for approval to build an additional four temporary hospitals of 1,000 beds each across various parts of the state.

He said at this press conference that that's been approved so that will happen. That will be in addition to the 4,000 beds, four separate 1,000-bed units already under construction by the state with the help of the National Guard.

One of those is at the Javits Center in Manhattan, the convention center. Governor Cuomo said that one should be ready on Monday.

That's also when the "USNS Comfort," the Navy ship, that's going to be coming here with 1,000 beds to help relieve stress on hospitals, hospitals like the one behind me. This is Elmhurst Hospital in Queens and it has received a huge number of people coming in with coronavirus who they have to treat.

We've heard from E.R. physicians here about how crowded it is in this hospital. And so that's some of the news coming out of this press conference.

Another thing we heard at this press conference that is very, very important, and very interesting.

A lot of the frontline, with their first responders, paramedics or doctors like -- or nurses or any number of people who are working to take care of these coronavirus patients, they've been raising concerns about the lack of personal protective equipment. The kinds of masks and gowns and gloves that they need to keep themselves safe from getting the virus and transmitting it to others.

One E.R. doctor from a Brooklyn hospital told me yesterday she's concerned the CDC is changing guidelines about things like masks because there's a shortage of them.

So they're now saying, maybe a bandanna can be used as a substitute for the N-95 respirator masks so important to keeping away the particles of this virus. She says doctors want real information. They want to know they'll be kept safe. Bandannas aren't going to cut it.

Governor Cuomo addressed that today. Listen to what he had to say.


CUOMO: The CDC has put those crisis guidelines in place, and many health care professionals are concerned that those guidelines do not adequately protect the nurses and the doctors and health care staff that are working on this issue. Dr. Zucker is looking at that.

If we believe the CDC guidelines don't protect health care professionals, then we will put our own guidelines in place.


JONES: This is so important because we've seen the high numbers of doctors and health care providers in places like Spain and Italy who are contracting the virus and even dying. And it's a real concern of workers here so they should be happy to hear that.

One last thing is that the governor talked about treating the hospitals as a system and not individual hospitals so that overwhelmed hospitals can transfer patients to hospitals that are less overwhelmed.

All of this to try to tackle this virus. The peak of which he says is perhaps three weeks away -- Fred?

WHITFIELD: Athena Jones, thank you so much.


Still ahead, with so many Americans at home, perhaps trying to work, be a schoolteacher to their children, it can get stressful. How can anxiety be managed in times like this? We'll talk about that, next.


WHITFIELD: Actor Josh Gad, better known as the voice of Olaf in the "Frozen" movie, has been reading bedtime stories for kids on his Instagram.


JOSH GAD, ACTOR: It was time for spring vacation. Olivia decided that she and her family --


WHITFIELD: Across social media people have been connecting, performing, talking, all in the name of easing anxiety brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. How do you begin to cope?

I want to bring in Jeff Gardere. He's a well-known clinical psychologist.

Good to see you, Jeff, and hope you're doing well and feeling good.



WHITFIELD: Yes. This is so important because I think people are feeling a lot of anxiety for a variety of reasons. Many people are home more. It means their roles have changed. Perhaps they're with their families more. Perhaps it means they're feeling more alone, you know, than ever. There are many roots to anxiety.


What are you seeing and hearing from people about their anxiety, how they're feeling, how they're coping?

GARDERE: Certainly, we know we can cut the stress with a knife right? But we're seeing physical effects, Fred, and emotional effects.

With the physical effects, we're seeing more of the fatigue, exhaustion, headaches. Not sleeping enough and, perhaps, overeating or drinking alcoholic beverages a little bit too much.

As far as the emotional side of course we're seeing the sadness, anxiety, anger, irritation. All of our families are together. Difficulty concentrating.

But we're also hearing a lot about fear. People just don't feel emotionally stable right now. I would tell you, Fred, there's a lot of acute stress disorder out there happening with a lot of families and individuals.

WHITFIELD: A lot of fear because of the unknown, right? People don't know what's around the corner and having time to sometimes think about it only means they may be thinking about the worst-case scenario.

So what is your advice to people about how to perhaps address some of these things on their own?

GARDERE: Sure, well, I think it's important they stay informed but with the proper information and not overdose on information. Maintain daily routines as much as possible especially if they're home.

Connect with other people, family, friends. Stay tuned in to what's going on with the seniors and helping other people as much as possible because it gets them out of their own misery.

And of course, exercise and maintaining a good diet is very, very important.

WHITFIELD: So it sounds like, you know, an attitude is part of the formula I'm hearing.


WHITFIELD: You really have to try and approach it with a better outlook, attitude for starters?

GARDERE: Yes. We have to look at positive, mental attitude. This is what we've always worked with in therapy with people. Because it's how they see a particular situation. If they see it as just gloom and doom, then their mind trains them to see everything in a negative way.

So it's really reframing the situation. What is the good that can come out of this really very difficult time that we're seeing? We see people are coming together so that is a very wonderful thing.

WHITFIELD: If you do have kids at home sometimes it's listening to your kids. With my kids, they're really happy because they're like, wow. We're all together and not always spending this much time together. So, you know, half glass full, right?

GARDERE: Exactly. We need to be frank about what's going on but also be sensitive to what their needs are.

And they're getting cabin fever. I can tell you that. I'm experiencing it in my own home. But we need to be sensitive to their needs and give them activities in the home that they can do and be a functional, family unit.

WHITFIELD: If you are alone, there aren't kids involved, spouses, friends, et cetera, there's Facetime and Zoom and all these other measures in which to kind of bring people together digitally. And that might help, too, for --


GARDERE: Absolutely. Absolutely. There's telepsychiatry, telepsychology, a lot of platforms for people to get help.

And with those, Fred, with pre-existing mental health conditions, important that they stay tuned in to their therapist and talk to them as often as they need to.

WHITFIELD: Really important.

Jeff Gardere, thank you so much. That's why we always turn to you. We really appreciate it. Thank you.

GARDERE: My pleasure. Thank you.


WHITFIELD: From small towns to big cities, coronavirus coverage is front page news in publications across the country. Jeff was just underscoring that. CNN's chief media correspondent, Brian Stelter, is here to discuss, next.



WHITFIELD: President Trump signed the largest relief package in American history into law on Friday, meaning help is on the way for Americans impacted by the coronavirus.

But the news was largely overshadowed in communities around the country as newspapers chose to highlight the grim reality people are facing this morning as the virus continues to claim lives.

CNN's Chief Media Correspondent, Brian Stelter, joining me right now.

Brian, what an observation to make. You know, what do you make of this stimulus package, where it stacks up on the headlines of newspapers across the country?

BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT & CNN HOST, "RELIABLE SOURCES": Right. It is an unprecedented rescue package, likely just the first of several that will come, but it is being overshadowed because of the scale and scope of the crisis.

As our colleague, Juliette Kayyem, has been saying, this is a 50-state disaster. So I went through all the nation's front pages, especially smaller papers that some people have never even heard of, from Alaska to Maine to Wisconsin to California, et cetera.

Really just today it is stark, just today, just Saturday, how many front pages are leading news about the first death in that community or region. We'll put some of them back up.

From the "Kennebunk Journal" reporting the first death there in Maine, to Michigan, the "Traverse City Record Eagle" saying the first death in that region. Louisiana, five deaths in that area in that part of Louisiana, Nebraska, Wisconsin.

And even Alaska, Fred. Alaska just saw its first in-state death. Two hours ago, the state banned all nonessential travel within Alaska. And later today, all Alaskans are ordered to shelter at home.

These front pages will be a sense of how wide-ranging this is and how, even though this is a national, international emergency. It is also a very local crisis. A few moments ago, the governor of Rhode Island announced the first two deaths in the state of Rhode Island as well -- Fred?