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Trump Considering Short-Term Quarantine Of Parts Of New York, New Jersey And Connecticut; Surgeon General Says, New Orleans Emerges As Virus Hot Spot; Faces Of Unemployment Amid The Coronavirus Pandemic; Trump Signs Historic $2 Trillion Economic Stimulus Bill; "Apocalyptic" Scenes From Inside A New York Hospital; Dr. Anne Rimoin Answers Viewers' Coronavirus Questions; "CNN Heroes" Making A Difference Amid Crisis. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired March 28, 2020 - 15:00   ET



ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: That ship, which has about 1,000 beds, is meant to take some of the pressure off local hospitals.

Now, across the country, more than 200 million Americans in 25 states are under stay-at-home orders as new hot spots are emerging, cases jumping in cities, like Chicago, Detroit and New Orleans.

But today, a small glimmer of hope, the FDA greenlighting a new 15- minute test for the virus with the shipments coming next week.

The governor of Michigan also announcing that state has received more than 112,000 masks from the Strategic National Stockpile with the expectation of 8,000 more on the way.

And in Rhode Island, officials are having police now pull over drivers with New York license plates and using the National Guard to go door to door to find people who traveled to New York recently to demand 14 days of self-quarantine.

Overseas, Russia is planning to close its borders with some exceptions beginning Monday in hopes of preventing the spread of the virus.

And a grim milestone in Italy, as that country surpasses China in both the number of coronavirus cases and deaths. More than 86,000 people sickened and more than 10,000 dead, including 51 doctors.

I want to start in New York, because this is where nearly half of all U.S. cases have been detected. And moments ago, President Trump said it is possible he could put parts of New York and surrounding areas under quarantine. Listen.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I am now considering and will make a decision very quickly, very shortly, a quarantine, because it's such a hot area, of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. We'll be announcing that one way or the other fairly soon.


CABRERA: Evan McMorris Santoro is live outside the Javits Center in New York, which has been turned into a makeshift hospital. Evan, New York Governor Cuomo held his daily briefing just a short time ago. What did he say about this possible quarantine?

EVAN MCMORRIS SANTORO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's been a very confusing day actually on that subject. The press conference actually started a little bit late because Governor Cuomo came to the mics and said, listen, I was just on the phone with President Trump. I had to be delayed. And they talked about a bunch of stuff, he talked about a bunch of stuff, but then the quarantine didn't come up in Governor Cuomo's remarks.


REPORTER: President Trump is apparently considering a quarantine for New York, Connecticut and New Jersey. He said so in White House remarks today. He said also that you had spoken to him about this. Can you comment on that?

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): I spoke to the president about the ship coming up and the four sites. I didn't speak to him about any quarantine.

REPORTER: Has he spoken to you about a quarantine? Have you had any indication if that's a possibility whether for New York or parts of Connecticut or New Jersey?

CUOMO: No, I haven't had those conversations. I don't even know what that means.


CABRERA: We obviously lost Evan's signal there. But I can tell you that after we heard from the governor, the president then later said that he would be talking to the governor of New York later in the day about this possible quarantine. So, hopefully, we'll have some more clarification as we continue here in the CNN Newsroom.

Meantime, New York, of course, is the epicenter of the U.S. coronavirus outbreak right now. But California is reporting a troubling surge in cases as well. In Los Angeles County, cases more than tripled in six days with the case load there now nearing 4,000.

And yesterday, the Navy hospital ship, Mercy, docked at the port of Los Angeles, bringing 1,000 much needed beds to the West Coast.

CNN's Paul Vercammen joins us now from Los Angeles, where the U.S. hospital ship, Mercy, is docked. Paul, bring us the latest from there.

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ana, I can tell you here in Los Angeles, they are thrilled to see that the Mercy is here because it will ease the burden on the hospitals in this area as they prepare for the coronavirus surge. If you look behind me, you can see the Mercy. It is massive. It's a converted oil tanker. It has the thousand beds, as you talked about, 12 fully functional operating rooms, medical lab, radiology. They can treat everything from broken bones here to, let's say, an appendectomy. The crew members, by the way, forbidden to disembark. That is how serious they are about keeping this in its isolation bubble.

As well as on the other side, any patient who is admitted to this hospital ship will be thoroughly screened and checked out, brought here to San Pedro via ambulance. The Mercy is steeped in tradition. It treated patients during operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. It also responded to the massive tsunami in the Indian and Southeast Pacific Ocean, so they're well versed in this type of mission. But they describe to me onboard that they are just enthusiastic about being here and being ready to help out at home in the United States, Ana.


CABRERA: And, Paul, I mentioned nearly 4,000 cases of coronavirus now in California. We heard officials there yesterday announce a 26 percent increase in the number of cases in just one day. At this point how are hospitals, other medical facilities in California, feeling about their preparedness for a potential surge of cases even going forward?

VERCAMMEN: They have a sense of anxiety. They've seen what's happened in New York and they're monitoring that closely. So they're going through every single precaution possible. Not only stockpiling all of those masks and gloves and ventilators and whatever else but making all of these little strategic shifts, like we said, the Mercy alone will keep patients from going to the hospital for other things.

They're also going to bring in some residents, for example. We were talking at Keck USC, and they have 60 surgical residents who are going to jump into the fray and do duties that would otherwise be handed of to a nurse.

So it's all hands on deck, no pun intended, but they are bracing right now in Los Angeles and they know that it's coming, Ana.

CABRERA: Okay, sending our best to everybody there as they get ready. Paul Vercammen, thank you for that update.

The coronavirus pandemic continues to upend life around the globe. Italy just hours ago announcing more than 10,000 fatalities, now the highest coronavirus death toll in the world. To help control the spread of the virus, Italians have had tight restrictions on their movements for weeks now. In Rome, iconic streets, historic sites completely silent and empty.

In London, a similar scene as the city is at a standstill. These streets were bustling just days ago. But things have quickly changed after the British government was criticized for its initial, less aggressive response to this pandemic. The coronavirus death toll in the U.K. now above 1,000.

CNN has teams around the world covering this. Ben Wedeman is in Rome and Bianca Nobilo is in Greater London, both of them join us now.

First, to you, Ben. Why is Italy's death rate so high given everything they've been doing to try to stop the spread?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Basically, officials will tell you it's because Italy has a very large, elderly population, many of whom have pre-existing conditions. But because of the excellence of Italy's national health system, they have been able to -- the medical system has been able to keep many of these elderly people alive even though they have pre-existing conditions. But, unfortunately, they are more susceptible to coronavirus.

Now, officials will tell you that the average age of those who have passed away is about 78, and, for instance, in China, even though they had until yesterday roughly the same amount of cases, only had a death toll that was about a third of what Italy's is.

Also, Italy has been testing only those who it is believed most desperately, urgently need the test, so the actual number of cases of coronavirus in Italy, unfortunately, is probably well over the current number that was reported this evening, which was 92,472 cases. Ana?

CABRERA: Wow. That does not sound good. Ben Wedeman, thank you.

Let's go Bianca Nobilo in Greater London. And, Bianca, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his top health official announced just yesterday that they tested positive for coronavirus. How has that affected the U.K. government's response to the pandemic?

BIANCA NOBILO, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: Both of those men maintained that it's not going to affect their response too much and that's because, Ana, the British government had moved to conducting most of its meetings and engagements virtually. Even Boris Johnson's audiences with the queen over the last two weeks were conducted over the phone instead of in person.

Now, it's not just those two men. It's also the chief medical officer in the United Kingdom who is now self-isolating because he himself has symptoms. Adding to that, a third member of the British cabinet now also self-isolating.

The government is going to continue pretty much as usual. However, if the symptoms of the health secretary or the prime minister deteriorate, that will be greater cause for concern.

In the United Kingdom, we don't have the same kind of clarity of succession as you do in the United States. We do, however, in this instance, have a first secretary of state, a man by the name of Dominic Raab, who would step in and fill Boris Johnson's shoes if he was, for some reason, incapacitated.

But knowing that these individuals have coronavirus or are symptomatic of it does raise questions about the extent to which the British government followed its own advice. In prime minister's questions, which I'm sure many people around the world can visualize this Wednesday, the three men who are now absent from cabinet self- isolating were seated close together.


Optically, that does suggest that the government may have adhered to its own advice in a rather (INAUDIBLE) fashion. Also, it does raise questions about contingencies and lines of succession and what Britain will do if the coronavirus disease does spread to more members of its cabinet, Ana.

CABRERA: Bianca Nobilo, thank you.

Coming up, officials warning the worst is still to come in New Orleans as the coronavirus continues its rampage through Louisiana. The number of reported deaths going up by more than 40 percent there in just one day.

But, first, amid the unfolding tragedy around the world, musicians like Yo-Yo Ma, are trying to bring happiness through songs of comfort.



CABRERA: An update now and some good news to share with you. Tom Hanks says he is home. He tweeted just moments ago, we are home now. And like the rest of America, we carry on with sheltering in place and social distancing. Many, many thanks to everyone in Australia who took care of us. Their care and guidance made possible our return to the U.S. And many thanks to all of you who reached out with well wishes.

Now, the biggest concentrations of coronavirus infections in this country right now, California on the West Coast, New York in the east. And in the south, it is Louisiana, where the governor says the virus is spreading faster than anywhere in the world. In fact, just in the last couple minutes, we got an update. There are now more than 3,300 cases and counting in that state.


GOV. JOHN BEL EDWARDS (D-LA): Nobody should think that they don't have the virus, the novel coronavirus, or that they don't have COVID-19 in their parishes. I can assure you, it's in every parish, in every community across the State of Louisiana.


CABRERA: The number of cases jumped more than 500 in the past 24 hours. And look at the images here of a deserted French Quarter in New Orleans. The emergency director for the city says this will be, quote, the disaster that defines our generation. That is coming from a city that witnessed firsthand the destruction and horror of Hurricane Katrina. Experts pointing to last month's Mardi Gras celebration as one of the main reasons the virus may have spread. Mitch Landrieu is with us now. He was the mayor of New Orleans for eight years. He is also the former lieutenant governor of Louisiana. Good to have you here.

First, help us understand what is happening in the city of New Orleans right now. That is where the majority of infections in the state are located and the numbers are just going up by the hour, it seems.

MITCH LANDRIEU, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, first of all, you saw the pictures of the French Quarter, which is usually a beautiful picture of people coming together and enjoying themselves. And right now, it's desolate. That's a great thing because people are listening to the mayor's request and, of course, to the governor's request, both of whom are doing a good job to continue to socially isolate.

But as the governor said, every parish, every county, as you would, in the State of Louisiana has coronavirus and it's going to spread there. The most important thing that people can do is heed the governor and the mayor and the parish president's warning to maintain social distance. That's the best and the fastest way to stop the virus.

Unfortunately, Ana, you notice the number of cases that we have -- actually, the deaths that we have per capita are three times higher than anyplace else in the country. So it's clear now that this virus is going to have its way. There is no wall. There is no parish boundary that's going to keep it out. And we as a country have to maintain social distance.

And then we need the federal government to, as fast as possible, get personal protective equipment, ventilators and the capacity to have beds to the ground. Our medical professionals are working their fingers to the bone, our first responders are. Today, I ran into two police officers, spoke to them for a minute. Both of their wives are ICU nurses, so they're in it on both sides of their family.

This is an all in fight for the country. We're not close to being out of it. But the most important thing that Americans can do is listen to their governor, listen to their mayors, stay away from each other and then ask the federal government to really double down in their reference to get that equipment down to the ground so that we begin treating people that need it the most.

CABRERA: We can't help but remember those desperate times back during Katrina when the convention center in New Orleans was overwhelmed and was just packed by people in need, and now they're converting it for use as a coronavirus treatment center. Is this giving you deja vu?

LANDRIEU: Well, there is no question about it. We went through Katrina and Rita and Ike and Gustav. We had the B.P. oil spill. We've had a number of other mass disasters. So, unfortunately, we are better equipped to handle these things than most because this virus is now finding itself in Jackson, Mississippi, in Greenville, in rural areas all across the country.

We're not going to get out of it soon, but if we do what's required of us, do the hard thing now, the thing that requires the greatest sacrifice, we're going to get through this. But it is not going to be without pain. It's not going to be without loss of life.

Unfortunately, what we want to do is make sure that we get it done faster, you know, rather than longer. And that's going to to require more sacrifice. We need to hunker down a bit more.

Dr. Fauci has been really clear about his directions to the country. And, of course, the governors and the mayors have been doing a good job of really trying to communicate this.

Unfortunately, there are little bits of miscommunication going back and forth between and amongst governors of different states. I think this virus is going to find itself in every part of America before we're finished with it and we should act that way.

CABRERA: Comparing this emergency to Hurricane Katrina is not exactly fair. Obviously, there are major, major differences, but it was an enormous scale disaster that you had to deal with as lieutenant governor at the time. How do you see people in New Orleans processing how they feel about what's going on right now?


Is there a, here we go again attitude among people of New Orleans, or how does this feeling compare?

LANDRIEU: You know, the people of New Orleans are spectacular in every way, because we have been through so much, through so much agony and pain. We have built up a resilience. I mean, this is not something that anybody welcomes. But people are really listening very closely to the governor and to the mayor in the New Orleans area. But it's not fun. It's really hard and it's not easy to do.

It is a different disaster from Katrina but is similar in one way, and that is during in Katrina, the first responders were put in peril as well. And that made it difficult for them to respond.

And in this particular disaster, if you talk to the emergency room docs, they're very concerned because they don't have the kind of protective equipment that they need. They can see the surge is coming in. They're worried about having enough ventilators. They don't want to be put in a position of having to make life decisions about who gets what rationing healthcare. That's a very terrible position to put people in.

And, unfortunately, you know, the American people need to hear the truth, is that this is going to hurt us before we really get a handle on it. But we need to hurry up because our capacity is really being outrun right now. And I think that's what the governor and the mayor are concerned about, which is why they asked the president to help them set up the beds in the convention center, which, of course, brings us back to the days that we were in for Katrina.

It's not a happy time but it's certainly a time that we're going to be able to get through together if we just hunker down, stay focused, stay coordinated and cooperate with each other. And at the end of the day, remember to be patient and to be kind. CABRERA: You know the City of New Orleans and the resources and capabilities better than anyone. What is the tipping point that will really be a problem for the people there and have we reached it?

LANDRIEU: Well, the governor has indicated to us, he has got the best odds in this and so does the mayor that if we don't build capacity in the next week or two and if we don't really slow down our social distancing from us and make sure we're really good at it, then we could overrun that. That's what we're trying to do.

People have heard the term flattening the curve more times than you want to hear it but the mantra is pretty clear here. The best way for the public to help each other and ourselves is for everybody to abide by social distancing, don't go outside if you don't have to. Make sure that if you do, you're not in contact with people within six feet.

The federal government has the power and the authority to get as much equipment down to the ground as possible and hopefully will flatten that curve before we hit that point.

I think the governor has got a date on his calendar of around April 3rd or 4th if we don't slow this transition down. So we'll see how that goes. We hope we'll get better by then.

CABRERA: I hope so too. Thank you very much. Former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu. Good to have you here. We're sending our very best to the people of New Orleans and all across Louisiana. Thanks again.

Coming up, people across the country are losing their jobs in a stunning and unprecedented fashion right now.


JOSH SOUDER, DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS, I.E. ENTERTAINMENT GROUP: I haven't slept. I'm worried about having a heart attack, to be perfectly honest with you.


CABRERA: But, first, have you ever seen the Las Vegas Strip look like this, basically deserted? Right now, all casinos are closed as Nevada deals with more than 600 cases of coronavirus across that state.



CABRERA: This week, we learned a record 3.3 million Americans filed for unemployment. And while they wait for the checks promised to them under Congress's newly passed coronavirus stimulus plan, they are doing what they can just to get by.

CNN's Kyung Lah reports.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How are you doing, guys?

It's just been a completely life-altering experience for me start to finish, and within a week. I mean, this is unbelievable.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I have a 2-ounce and I have 8-ounce.

KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A record number of newly unemployed Americans as the virus leaves no business untouched.

SOUDER: We would have all of the seats filled.

LAH: All of these seats.

SOUDER: It would be a line out the door.

LAH: 3.3 million filed jobless claims last week, coronavirus cratering businesses.

SOUDER: We went from being about to franchise to basically running a to-go business. I haven't slept. I'm worried about having a heart attack, to be perfectly honest.

LAH: With no diners, the Drunken Crab is hemorrhaging thousands of dollars a day.

Every business, every industry re-evaluating under this economic tsunami.

SOUDER: Have a good night.

LAH: Josh Souder already forced to make that hard choice.

SOUDER: I had to -- I was forced to lay off 75 people. At first, you're thinking about them. Okay, I feel horrible for them. And then they have to go home and tell their family, I just got laid off.

JAY BOCKEN, RESTAURANT GENERAL MANAGER LAID OFF LAST WEEK: I called my wife over the phone, said, honey, I'm on my way home. And she pretty much immediately knew.

LAH: Laid off from the Drunken Crab, former General Manager Jay Bocken immediately filed for unemployment, and it's just the tip of the iceberg, say economists, predicting by summer,14 million workers will lose their jobs due to the coronavirus shock.

BOCKEN: You're talking thousands and thousands of people looking for work simultaneously. It's going to hit every aspect of life. And the government needs to react and help us get through this. That's the only way it's going to work.

People are not going to be able to support their families for more than two months.

LAH: And already signs money is getting tight. Outside this west Hollywood bar, employees only, a line. Inside, the small staff preps meals, free meals for workers who show a pay stub, like bartender Geri Courtney-Austein.


GERI COURTNEY-AUSTEIN, BARTENDER LAID OFF LAST WEEK: All of us immediately lost our jobs as of Monday or Tuesday.

LAH (on camera): Are you worried about how long this is going to last?

AUSTIN: One-hundred percent, yes. If it goes on long I don't think any of us have any idea what we'll do. Monday or Tuesday. Monday or Tuesday.

TOM SOPIT, RESTAURANT OWNER: The moment this happens, we're going to dig ourselves into a hole regardless.

LAH: Are you scared?

SOPIT: I'm concerned.

LAH (voice-over): Restaurant Owner Tom Sopit's rent is a thousand dollars a day. He doesn't want to fire anyone but this is a new reality he will have to face.

SOPIT: Yes. All we can do is help each other.


CABRERA: My heart goes out to all of them.

Joining us now CNN Business Editor-at-Large and Anchor of "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS," Richard Quest.

Richard, there's some help on the way now that the president has signed that massive, $2 trillion emergency relief bill. First, who actually gets a check from the government and how much do they get?

RICHARD QUEST, CNN BUSINESS EDITOR-AT-LARGE & CNN HOST, "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS": Right. Let's get to the nuts and bolts of it. That is what this is really all about.

All taxpayers, at certain levels, will get a stimulus check. Let's show you how that breaks down. For example, if you're single and you earn $75,000 a year, adjusted gross income, AGI -- it is not that difficult to work out your AGI. It's effectively your gross income, minus a couple deductions, then you get the full amount of $1200 over the two checks.

Then it moves downward, depending on the fact if you get to $99,000 a year if you're filing singly when you get nothing if that is your AGI.

Those who are filing, married couples filing together, which, of course, is the way most married couples file their U.S. taxes, you can see there again what the limits are.

There's also $500 per child, and that gets phased out at the higher levels of income. Now, when the checks are going out, firstly, the treasury secretary

said they will go out virtually as soon as possible after the president signs -- signed the act, the bill into law. That was yesterday, so it is reasonable to assume the first check of $600 will be going out sometime in the next three weeks.

Please note, it will go direct deposit into your bank account unless you've already made other arrangements concerning your taxes with the IRS.

CABRERA: What if somebody doesn't have, you know, a direct deposit already in the system? Do they get a check that shows up in the mail? How does that work?

QUEST: Yes. It's going to take longer. No question about it. But, yes. They will get a check that will turn up at the last known address where they filed their taxes.

But most people these days with bank accounts -- and that's the big problem with this, those people who don't have bank accounts, those in the gig economy.

There's one encouraging bit about this legislation. It now includes the gig economy and it specifically includes self-employed and independent contractors.

So this truly was, Ana, a wide-based, broad-based, wide stimulus package that didn't distinguish or discriminate between those employed and those self-employed.

CABRERA: Right. And all together, we know 3.3 million Americans filed for unemployment just this past week. What additional benefits are there for them?

QUEST: The best benefits -- in many ways, the stimulus check will help you pay this month's bills. Arguably, it'll give you a bit of a cushion. Not much, 600 bucks.

But the best one of all is the increase in unemployment benefit. Normally 29 weeks. It goes up to four months now. It goes up to the best part of 14 weeks. The amount involved, the average amount is between $325 and $350. This is now $600 as you can see, $600 per week. That is on top of state payments.

So the fact that they've increased the amount of unemployment and the longevity of unemployment, that probably will be the biggest benefit for most people.

The headline is the checks. That helps you deal with the grocer's bill, the gas bill, for the car, and those sorts of things.

But the longer-term bill, as the economy gets moving again, that is going to come from the unemployment benefit increase in amount and duration, four months.

CABRERA: OK. Richard Quest, we know there are so many more questions people have out there. We will have you back down the road.

Thank you very much for joining us.


Coming up, a chilling inside look at the New York hospital with 13 patients dying in a single day.

But first, bringing comfort to the doctors and nurses on the front lines. A 1-year-old service dog, named Wynn, helps give emergency room workers in Denver, a much-needed break.


CABRERA: Now to a jarring look inside a New York hospital overwhelmed with coronavirus patients. A doctor at Elmhurst in Queens released footage showing a crowded emergency room, lines of people outside, and a large truck to store the bodies of dead patients.

CNN's Brian Todd reports.



BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Dr. Colleen Smith says she doesn't care if she gets in trouble for taking this footage and sharing it with the media. Smith is an E.R. doctor at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens, one of the hardest-hit facilities treating coronavirus patients in New York City.


The video she took, which she sent to the "New York Times", shows an overloaded emergency room, patients lining up outside, and a refrigerator truck, which she says the hospital had to get to store the bodies of patients who died.

SMITH: 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 America and we're supposed to be a first-world country.

TODD: Smith told the "Times" on a regular day prior to the outbreak, her E.R. would see about 200 people. Now it's about twice that.

She filmed a new shipment of ventilators Elmhurst had just received from another hospital.

SMITH: Five, five ventilators. Oh my God.

TODD: Staffers at Elmhurst describe the scenes at that hospital to the "Times" as apocalyptic and said calls over a loudspeaker of quote "Team 700", the code for when a patient is in danger of dying, come several times on each shift. CNN has reached out to Elmhurst Hospital for a response to Dr. Smith's

video and comments. The hospital has not replied. But in a previous statement, they said they are working hard to meet demand.

But caregivers at other New York area hospitals are also worried and are talking about it.

Dr. Meredith Case, an internal medicine resident at Columbia's Presbyterian Medical Center, tweeted, "Today was the worst day anyone has ever seen, but tomorrow will be worse. We are on the precipice of rationing."

Dr. Susannah Hills, a head and neck surgeon at the same hospital, tells CNN she believes it's inevitable she's going to be exposed to coronavirus.

DR. SUSANNAH HILLS, HEAD AND NECK SURGEON, COLUMBIA PRESBYTERIAN MEDICAL CENTER: In my department, the procedures that we do are procedures that tends to aerosolize the virus or emit particles into the air, and that's particularly high risk for exposure.

TODD: Some hospital staffers seem on the verge of breaking. A nurse at a Long Island hospital, who treated coronavirus patients, posted on social media, "I cried in the bathroom on my break. I cried the entire ride home."

SMITH: We don't have the tools that we need in the Emergency Department and in the hospital to take care of them and -- and it's really hard.

TODD (on camera): Another doctor, a pulmonary specialist at a prominent Boston hospital, says she is scared right now to share the same air in a room with a coronavirus patient.

She says she comes in, does only what she needs to do, and then leaves the room. She says she can't even spend a few moments reassuring those patients, which leads to the overwhelming numbers of people feeling isolated, patients and doctors alike.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


CABRERA: Coming up, we are answering your questions on the virus.

But first, the other frontline fighters in this crisis, the grocery store workers who keep the country fed.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just had some hand soap as I was stocking. I couldn't even get it off of our cart and on the shelf. Four people were already ripping into the boxes and taking it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, I'm trying to pitch in and help because these stores look like a war zone. I'm going to pitch in and help out in any capacity that needs be. Because you got to do that to try to help put these stores back together again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not like to the point where people are raiding or anything or we have to have armed guards but it doesn't seem like that is far out of the realm of possibility at this point.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For the most part, man, I can really, really say my customers have been saying, hey, man, thank you for coming out here, thank you for all you've been doing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've had quite a few customers thank me for being here working.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And today, a lot of them understand what's going on right now. We have a good relationship with most of the customers and they understand.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, that makes you feel good at the end of the day that people really appreciate what you're doing.




CABRERA: These days, trips to the grocery store are one the few reasons many of us have just to leave the house. It can be stressful. Not just the crowded aisles or the communal grocery carts or the empty shelves but those questions that naturally arise in your mind like, what happens if somebody sneezed on the bananas or coughed on the oranges. It's not like you can just wipe down your lettuce with Lysol.

In these crazy times, these are the things people want to know.

Keep tweeting your questions to me, @anaCabrera.

Now I want to bring in infectious disease specialist and professional virus hunter, Dr. Anne.

Doctor, so many viewers want to know: What are the proper guidelines for handling produce during this pandemic?

DR. ANNE RIMOIN, INFECTIOUS DISEASE SPECIALIST & PROFESSOR OF EPIDEMIOLOGY, UCLA GEFFEN SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: Handling produce should be like handling any other object that has been touched by other people. You want to wash it carefully. There are vegie washes, soap and water. Just make sure you wash your produce. You should be washing your produce anyway.

But now is the time where it really, really, really counts. Everybody just needs to do what they should be doing normally and wash produce down.

CABRERA: Here is another one. It says: How can I tell the difference between someone who just has seasonal allergies and someone who has coronavirus?

RIMOIN: Well, you really can't. That's why everybody is supposed to behave like they have coronavirus. Everybody should be doing everything that they can to reduce transmission and that means all of the things we've been talking about, social distancing, stay home. Wash your hands regularly.


And this brings up this other issue of, you know, if it is possible to cover your face because when people talk, sneeze, breathe, if you are asymptomatically infected or have mild symptoms and you don't know what you have, you want to stay away from other people. If you can't, put some sort of face covering on your face.

I am not talking about medical masks. Medical masks are for physicians. They are for health -- all of our health force.

But if you can cover your face and keep your droplets to yourself, all your droplets, because when we speak we also spray a little bit of saliva, which can be infectious to everybody, we can reduce community spread.

CABRERA: As far as the differences between this virus and seasonal allergies, are there some distinctions allergies are there symptoms that viewers should be aware of?

RIMOIN: People should speak to their physician about -- if they're concerned, they should be careful. One of the things that tends to be more associated with allergies would be itchy eyes.

I am not a physician. I am an epidemiologist. So people should go to the doctor if they're very concerned.

CABRERA: Should I be wearing rubber gloves when I go out in public, another viewer asks.

RIMOIN: Anything that you can do to be able to reduce the opportunity to be in direct contact with things that could be contaminated they should do.

The other thing to think about, if you wear gloves, now you have protective seal against it on your hands, but you still can't touch your face. You still need to wash those gloves, take them off carefully.

This is one of the things people get concerned about when they wear protective equipment, that there's great opportunity to contaminate yourself. You shouldn't feel these gloves or mask or glasses are going to just naturally protect you. You still have to follow every single guideline that we have.

And wearing gloves means if you touch something, then you touch your face, you're going to get it.

CABRERA: Right. RIMOIN: If you wear gloves and you touch something else, like a doorknob, that doorknob will be infected.

I think the message is nuanced, right? Yes, if you have gloves, there's no reason not to wear them, but you also have to be careful taking them off, disinfecting them like everything else.

CABRERA: I wanted to donate blood this weekend. Somebody asked if it is safe to do so during the pandemic. I can tell them, I was greeted by a hand sanitizer squirt the second I walked in the door. What do you think? Is it safe to do those sorts of things?

RIMOIN: Please donate blood. Blood centers are all having extreme shortages for obvious reasons. And they're being very, very careful. They're separating people. They're using all precautions possible.

So, yes, if you can donate blood, please do. This is something that -- everybody is looking for things they can do during the epidemic. That's something you can do, donate blood.

CABRERA: Last question: How do I care for someone in my household who has tested positive for coronavirus?

RIMOIN: This is a good question. What you need to do, first of all, is to isolate this person. Keep them in a room as much as you can. If you can, by themselves.

I think one of the issues is we look for ideal scenarios, not everybody can implement things exactly as we're saying. So you do the best that you can.

We want to isolate patients that are positive, the best we can. Make sure, if they can, use a separate bathroom, have them use a separate bathroom. If using utensils, don't mix them in with other people's utensils. Do everything you can to separate them.

Those people should be wearing a face cover, if they are infected. Everybody should be doing that. People live in crowded -- multiple people in a household scenario. Everybody doesn't have the luxury of having different bathrooms, different bedrooms.

So you do the best you can, knowing you need to stay as far apart as possible.

CABRERA: Doctor Anne Rimoin, thank you. You're back with us later this hour. Thank you very, very much.

RIMOIN: Thank you.

CABRERA: Every day, our "CNN Heroes" make a difference. During a crisis, they're amongst first to step up. Today's crisis is no different.

Here is Anderson Cooper with a brief look at three "CNN Heroes" doing more in the face of the coronavirus.


ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, "A.C. 360" & HOST, "CNN HEROES" (voice-over): These "CNN Heroes" are on the frontlines of the pandemic, bringing medical care and supplies to those in need. They're E.R. doctors, putting their lives on the line.


UNIDENTIFIED "CNN HERO": I have never been part of a pandemic. We're seeing widespread illness. It is organized chaos, organized confusion, but we are there for a purpose.

COOPER: Bringing COVID-19 testing to the homeless.

UNIDENTIFIED "CNN HERO": It is really important in these times to remember that we are all in this together. These are our brothers and sisters out here.

COOPER: And putting life-saving soap into the hands that need it most.

UNIDENTIFIED "CNN HERO": In the last two and a half months, we have provided over 375,000 bars of soap to people in effected countries.

COOPER: Acts of selflessness, unwavering courage from everyday heroes, reminding us all, we're not in this alone.