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Trump Considering Short-Term Quarantine Of Parts Of New York, New Jersey & Connecticut; Trump Opens Door To Calling Up Former Servicemembers; Fifty-One Doctors In Italy Die From Coronavirus; Dr. Russell Weg Discusses His Doctor Father Contracting Coronavirus; Dr. Glenn Budnick Discusses First Infant Death Of Coronavirus In Illinois & How To Protect Children. Aired 4-5p ET
Aired March 28, 2020 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: I want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. Thank you for being here. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York.
Here is the very latest right now on the coronavirus crisis. Right now, there are more than 111,000 cases in the U.S. the largest total anywhere in the world and the death toll, more than 1,800 at this hour across the country. More than 200 million Americans in 25 states are ordered to stay at home, and governors are pleading for help. They desperately need supplies like personal protective equipment for hospital staff and ventilators that literally could mean life or death for their patients.
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine is calling on any manufacturers who can make face masks, shields and gowns to do so. The governor says 75 percent of Ohio's counties now have virus cases and that this is, quote, the tip of the iceberg.
Michigan has also been asking for more supplies and today its governor announced 112,000 N95 masks with 8,000 more on the way. And in New York, nurses at Jacoby Medical Center in the Bronx are protesting. They say they have been using a single mask each of them for a whole week now. Nearly half of all the coronavirus cases here in the U.S. are in New York.
Today, while at a sendoff ceremony for a Navy hospital ship bound for New York City, President Trump revealed he is now considering implementing a mandatory quarantine on parts of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut that could go into effect as early as today.
Florida's governor says he talked to the president about this and he is now setting up check points in Florida for traffic coming into that state from New York. Rhode Island had already taken similar measures. We'll go live to New York in a moment for more on this.
But, first, don't forget, we are not alone. This is a global crisis. Overseas, Russia is planning to close its borders with some exceptions beginning Monday in the hope of preventing the spread of the virus. Meanwhile, the director of the National Health Service in the United Kingdom which has seen just over 1,000 deaths so far says less than 20,000 deaths when this is all over will be a, quote, good result.
And a grim milestone in Italy as that country surpasses China in both the number of coronavirus cases and deaths. More than 92,000 people are sick there and more than 10,000 are, dead including 51 doctors.
We begin in New York where nearly half of all U.S. cases have been detected and a short time ago, President Trump said it is possible he could put parts of New York and surrounding areas around quarantine. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: CNN's Evan McMorris-Santoro is here with us.
What are New Yorkers to make of this news about, you know, a quarantine?
EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, we're having a very strange day when it comes to this. So far we have a couple of quotes from the president, a presidential tweet and now some word from the governor of Florida saying he heard it from the president.
We haven't heard much about it from the governor of New York who also spoke to the president today. In fact, his daily press conference was delayed. He said he told reporters because of a phone call with the president, but that phone call apparently did not include any talk of this quarantine. In fact, it didn't come up in the press conference until the end when a reporter brought it up with the governor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
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 on this. Can you comment on that?
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: 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 that that's a possibility for New York or parts of Connecticut --
CUOMO: No. I haven't had those conversations. I don't even know what that means.
(END VIDEO CLIP) MCMORRIS-SANTORO: So the governor said also in that press conference that, this thing that he had not heard about may not even be enforceable, he thinks it's a bad idea.
And, look, we've been in touch with the governor's office after the press conference and, you know, they're sticking with what the governor said.
So, we really don't know much more about this than just what the president has said and now what the governor of Florida has mentioned, but here in New York where I'm standing in Manhattan, we don't really have any information about the supposed quarantine of where I'm standing.
So it's an interesting day in the sense that the president is talking and no one really knows exactly what's going on.
CABRERA: We do see those very, very quiet streets behind you. Evan McMorris-Santoro, thank you for that update.
Let me go to CNN's Jeremy Diamond now to find out more. He's at the White House for us.
Anymore information, Jeremy, that you can share with us about what's going into this decision?
JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPNDENT: Well, look, the incoming White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, accompanied the president on his way back to the White House. He said that the White House is currently looking at right now how exactly it would enforce such a quarantine and what the options are for this.
But it seems that what's driving the president's concerns here appears to be what the Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has been complaining about, which is that there are people from New York who are coming into Florida, coming from a high-risk area in New York, going to Florida and potentially spreading the virus further. And the president has repeatedly mentioned, in fact, those complaints coming out of Florida. So that seems to be perhaps the impetus for what the president is looking at.
I don't know that quarantine is the right word for the president to be using here. Instead, it seems that what he's talking about is really travel restrictions, restricting people currently in New York or also in parts of New Jersey and Connecticut, that tri-state metropolitan area, from traveling outside of that area to other states and potentially risking turning some of those lower risk, lower case number areas of the country into high-risk areas.
CABRERA: Meantime, the president has been feuding with some Democratic governors, including the governor of Michigan. What more can you tell us?
DIAMOND: That's right. And as the president has been doing so he's been critical of several of the governors who have criticized the federal response or said that the federal government is not doing enough. The vice president, meanwhile, he is speaking with those Democratic governors, including those like Governor Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, who have been critical.
That is a very different tone than what we have seen from the president. The president just yesterday said that he didn't think Pence should be speaking with those governors. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I tell him I'm a different type of person. I said, Mike, don't call the governor of Washington. You're wasting your time with him. Don't call the woman in Michigan. It doesn't make a difference what happens.
REPORTER: Don't call the government of Washington?
TRUMP: You know what I say? If they don't treat you right, I don't call. He's a different type of person, he'll call quietly anyway, OK?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DIAMOND: And this just shows you how different the president and the vice president have been approaching this. Vice President Pence has actually been praised by Democratic and Republican governors alike for his outreach to them and for meeting their needs at the state level.
That is not something that we have always seen from the president and certainly the president has repeatedly kind of suggested this kind of quid pro quo of demanding compliments, quote/unquote, appreciation as he put it yesterday from these governors in order to get the federal support that they need -- Ana.
CABRERA: Jeremy Diamond at the White House for us -- thank you.
The pandemic hot spots are growing and they're spreading out. Health officials, including the U.S. surgeon general, pointing to at least three high-population places this weekend where infections are soaring. Detroit is one of them. President Trump just today approved the state of Michigan's disaster declaration request. Chicago is where the mayor says that city could see more than 40,000 new infections in just the coming week, and New Orleans already with a desperate shortage of ventilators and other much-needed equipment.
And CNN's Ed Lavandera is in New Orleans for us.
Ed, the number of people who died just in Louisiana jumped 40 percent in just one day this week. Why is the virus running so rampant there?
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ana, one of the theories that people have been focusing on here especially in the New Orleans area is the influx of people who came here toward the end of February for Mardi gras, and the mayor here has said in recent days that she was never given any warning or suggestion by federal authorities that also work in tandem with local authorities here that -- or no one suggested on the federal level that that event should have been cancelled.
So, a lot of political back and forth on all of that as people here are beginning to come to terms with the onslaught of this infection that is coming here in the days ahead. A great deal of concern about what will happen here over the course of the next week. The governor says that by this time next week, there will be a shortage of hospital bed space as well as ventilators. The governor has said he has requested 12,000 ventilators and that so far the state -- by yesterday afternoon, had received only 192.
We are standing on the back side of the convention center here in New Orleans and just down this ramp over here is where contractors have been setting up essentially a makeshift hospital. We've seen the bed space in the rooms starting to be built out here over the last couple of days.
By today, they said that there would be more than 100 hospital beds ready to use and the goal here is that this place could be a place where more than a thousand patients could be treated with coronavirus depending on how bad this gets and every indication is that the number of cases is continuing to spike.
There are now more than 3,300 cases across the state of Louisiana, and that number has jumped to 500 in the last 24 hours and the number of cases here in New Orleans specifically is almost at 1,300. So, that gives you a real sense of just exponential growth that we have talked so much, and that is what we are seeing here in New Orleans, and that is why this area is considered a very dangerous hot spot.
And those warnings have gone out across the city. Shelter in place, closing down businesses and that is essentially the most important thing residents in the city can do right now.
CABRERA: And take care of each other by staying home.
Ed Lavandera, stay safe as well, my friend. Thank you.
New York still has the most confirmed cases of coronavirus in the nation, but other communities are now emerging hot spots as we were just discussing, one of those according to the U.S. surgeon general is Chicago. We'll have a live report from there next.
CABRERA: Let me take to Chicago now, police officers, nurses treating the sick at the University of Illinois hospital and members of one suburban church are among the growing number of people with coronavirus.
CNN's Ryan Young joins us from Chicago.
And, Ryan, with the surgeon general warning Chicago could be a new hot spot, what is the biggest worry there right now?
RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, the worry is really that people are starting to come outside and kind of go about their business. In fact, we've heard leaders sort of say over and over again, please stay inside. In fact, earlier this week when the weather was great, you saw people going out to the lakefront. They shut the parks in the lakefront down at this point.
But, Ana, I have to bring you some very sad news. We just got an update in the last half hour or so here in Illinois in the Chicago area, there was an infant that they believe died from the coronavirus. It's the first case they've seen in an infant. In fact, that child was less than one year old. So, they're going to do an investigation to figure out what happened, but that's heartbreaking news especially for this entire area.
You're now seeing over 400 new cases in the last 24 hours, over 3,000 people apparently have this virus in the area and people are hoping with social distancing and the things they're trying to do to stop this curve can help, but when you hear the news of something like that, an infant dying and we just got that update, you just want to know what happened next.
And we were talking to an ICU doctor earlier today who warned about people getting too relaxed and how he's trying to make sure that his doctors and health care professionals are safe on the inside because they're working around the clock and what they've seen is younger and younger people walking in, more and more sick. In fact, take a listen to this doctor that we talked to just a short while ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. OMAR LATEEL, CEO, RUSH UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER: Regardless of where we are today, the reality is there's an opportunity and a very real potential of running out of ventilators and that has to do with the net member of patients and there's a fixed amount of resources in Chicago and while today, there are ICU beds that are available and ventilators that are available, that does not mean that tomorrow, there will be or next week there will be. If there is exponential growth just like other cities in the world, we will run out of those resources.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
YOUNG: Yes, that was Dr. Omar Lateel, and he works at Rush University Medical Center. They've already had an expansion area added just in case more people come in sick. But he says there's also this general fear that's in the area because people have the unknown, should they be wiping down door handles, should they be washing their hands? These are all stuff that people were asking questions about, of course, those doctors up there at the ICU, they're doing the best work they can with all of the people who are starting to come in.
But, of course, now, with this new news that we have, there will be a lot of people who'd been drifting to other thought processes as people get younger and younger who are dealing with this new virus. CABRERA: Right.
And it's just a reminder that nobody is immune and this virus can touch any family and any circumstance.
Ryan Young, thank you for your reporting. That is so sad to hear of that infant who passed away.
As the nation continues to struggle to slow the spread of coronavirus, federal, state and local governments are considering and implementing some pretty drastic measures. So what does that mean for you? That's coming up.
CABRERA: In an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus from the hot spot in New York, President Trump says he is considering a new drastic measure, a possible short term quarantine, as he puts it for parts of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.
I want to bring in Dr. Sejal Hathi, who is a resident physician at Massachusetts General Hospital, an internal medical, epidemiologist, Dr. Anne Rimoin, Juliette Kayyem, the former assistant secretary at the Department of Homeland Security, and Lieutenant General Mark Hertling, the former Army commanding general for Europe and the Seventh Army.
Juliette, from a crisis response perspective, it is this potential travel restriction and this quarantine the right call?
JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: No. Absolutely not. You don't do it this way.
First of all, it's relatively late. It's a sort of a tease and a taunt. I don't think it's for real. We don't see any deployment of troops to make it enforceable.
He clearly did not get with the leadership of those three states, they were caught off guard. And if anything, and by doing a date in the future, it means everyone is going to get nervous, panicked and leave New York, right?
So, the president is trying to make himself relevant and have us ignore or at least move away from all of the deficiencies that have already existed by the federal government in terms of his executive, you know, sort of priorities. What he can do right now is to establish national standards for a stay at home policy for everyone. We would really like that. All of us at home now would love for the rest -- the 30 percent still out and about to stay inside.
Instead, he's just -- I think flailing at this stage with procedures and policies that make no sense, our drain of resources to the task at hand and I just think he's making himself irrelevant at this stage. CABRERA: Dr. Rimoin, I would like to get your perspective on this
idea. Would a measure on restricting the travel for people who live in New York or some of these hard-hit areas where they can't leave the state or can't leave their specific zone, would that help slow the spread of coronavirus?
DR. ANNE RIMOIN, INFECTIOUS DISEASES SPECIALIST: Well, Ana, I agree with the previous statement. You know, the genie is out of the bottle, and if you're going to be -- I mean, restricting movement is a great idea in general, but it should have been done ages ago and people are saying, we're going to do this at, you know, X time or a month from now or a week from now.
We saw what happened in Wuhan. There was mass exodus in Wuhan. We already have people all over the place. And it gives everybody a false sense of security to think that people are just going to be sitting in -- are not going to be spreading the virus.
We know the virus is in all of these hot spots and we don't have the testing we need to determine where we are in this outbreak. We need to be focusing less on these big, sweeping statements in politics and more on, how are we going to get testing ramped up and how are we going to get PPE to our healthcare workers so the system doesn't collapse and doctors don't stop going to work. I think that these are the things we need to focus on instead of the politics.
CABRERA: Dr. Hathi, officials don't have enough data in relation to the size of the crisis, right, here in the U.S. There are still testing limitations, one being the turnaround time on test results. In just the past 24 hours, though, the FDA did approve a new point of care test that could provide results in less than 15 minutes. How would that work and what do you see as impact?
DR. SEJAL HATHI, RESIDENT PHYSICIAN, MASSACHUSETTS GENERAL HOSPITAL INTERNAL MEDICINE: I think that is a phenomenal development, because you're absolutely right, Ana, we still do not have all of the tests that we need. We don't know how many people across the country have these tests. We don't know -- have been infected -- and we don't know how many people have been infected and gotten better.
And so, this is certainly a good development, but we need to get that to every hospital and every health clinic and every nursing home across the country and we need to do it past.
CABRERA: General Hertling, the military is being stressed during this crisis, in a lot of different ways, from the Navy ships sent to each coast to the National Guard supporting different states, to the construction of field hospitals. Help us understand how this works and the breadth of the military's ability to respond to a pandemic like this.
LT. GENERAL MARK HERTLING, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, Ana, the military started reviewing their contingency plans for a pandemic in early February and I think they were leaning forward in many ways, waiting for others to ask for humanitarian assistance, specifically the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA. That finally has gotten through. There's now -- you are now seeing not only the activation of national guardsmen within their state which is a good thing. Under Article 32, which also is a good thing, which means the federal government will pay for these guardsmen that are activating.
And you've seen Lieutenant General Semonite, the head of the Army Corps of Engineers finally being thrown into the fight with some very good plans on what is the art of the possible. Now, you're talking about how else do you use the military forces.
Just last week, a notification went out to all those who had some type of healthcare background. I had three notes from medics that served with me in combat in Iraq in 2008, saying they'd received a notification if they would volunteer to come back to active duty. Two of those are school teachers and they -- thank God for their selflessness. They did volunteer to come back on active duty and do just that.
So, you're seeing really the succinct planning within the military to try and contribute and assist, but as Julia has been saying for weeks now, there's no overarching strategy. There's no plan and there's terrible communication in terms of what is needed and where it is needed.
We're at the very beginning of this. Make no mistake about this. I'm in Florida right now, we're anticipating more and more problems within the next week to two weeks. We are going to see more areas like New York is now and yet we still don't have good communication and a good national strategy for this pandemic.
CABRERA: General, let me ask you, because just last night, we learned last night, we learned the president signed an executive order opening the door to call up former active duty military members. What is the threshold for that?
Yes, that's -- that's not unusual when -- in a national crisis and a national emergency, something like this. The president can call up what's called IRR, Individual Ready Reserve. These are individuals that left the military, who say basically in their retirement or resignation, I am willing to come back and I will come back.
It comes as a surprise to many of them when they do get that call. But the IRR is called up in specific military specialties, like I said before, medical specialties, medics, technicians, clinicians, those kinds of people.
There are probably around, I would guess, 80,000 to 90,000 individuals that could be called up. But in many cases, it's a directive that they will rejoin the military. In some cases, it is a request for volunteers.
I think you're going to see quite a few military coming back on active duty that have the skills needed during the national pandemic. CABRERA: Juliette, does the coronavirus impact or threaten national
KAYYEM: I think in many ways. Obviously, our inability -- let me put it differently. It is likely that we are going to be the least successful Western democracy to fight the virus.
The reason why is no other country has seen the geographic distribution of a lot of cases. We have multiple hot spots throughout the country. That says something about who we are, capacity to respond, capacity to anticipate.
On the homeland front, the thing I look at, and Mark suggested it as well, when he talked about numbers of people coming back, we're about to have a real sort of personnel issue in the public safety apparatus. You're seeing numbers out of NYPD, 15 percent, 20 percent are sick. That's going to happen across the board, emergency managers, firefighters, police officers.
That will also have an impact on everything else we're doing. So you're just starting to see a surge of personnel requests, people that may be able to get certified quickly, Red Cross assets coming forward.
Picking up on what Mark said, there's an ideal response, right, which would be a national strategy. There was one, it is being ignored. But I want viewers to know this looks really chaotic and crazy, and sort of swarmish, like there's all sorts of stuff going on, but it is also purposeful.
So I'm still waking up in the middle of the night every once in a while, but there's also a purposefulness of what's going on that we didn't see a week ago. The military assets being one thing, the National Guard, and other efforts.
It gives me hope, as we start to see the numbers rise. And if everyone would just stay inside. Like you can't even -- it is the beginning, middle, and end of how you get to recovery.
CABRERA: And we are hearing still from a lot of health care professionals worry. They don't feel a sense of calm in that the system is working. They're fearful for their lives, fearful for their families, fearful for their patients because they don't have enough supplies.
Doctor Hathi, in Italy, we saw 51 Italian doctors report -- 51 doctors there tested positive for coronavirus have now died. Can you think of another illness recent memory that's taken the lives of this many doctors in a matter of weeks?
HATHI: I cannot. And it is truly terrifying. My colleagues on the front line, doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists across the country, we're going to work because we have a moral obligation to treat our patients.
Medicine is our calling. We will continue to treat these patients until every last bed in the hospital is emptied. Yet, we also have an obligation to our families, loved ones, many of
whom we can't see, are afraid of touching, isolated ourselves from in the last few weeks because of the number of COVID-positive patients we are caring for in the hospital.
There's a deep and stressful tension that each of us is facing, every moment we're in the hospital. That's only been compounded by the severe shortage of PPE, personal protective equipment, that we need to do our job effectively.
And I think that the president is starting to pay attention and we see that he is telling members of his administration that he is sending supplies to states in need.
But we really need to ramp up production considerably more than we have done so presently. We need to activate the Defense Production Act in full for PPE and tests as we discussed earlier, not simply ventilators.
There's a lot more that we can do. And we need to do it sooner rather than later so my colleagues and myself feel the nation has our back, our government has our back as we do our job, which we are called to do each and every day.
CABRERA: We're so grateful for the work you do, Dr. Hathi. Thank you.
Dr. Rimoin, Juliette Kayyem, Lieutenant General Mark Hertling, thank you all. We appreciate the conversation.
Up next, take a look. This is Dr. Arnold Weg, the son of Holocaust survivors. He's won more than 30 marathons. Now he is fighting for his life from coronavirus. His story from his son, live, next.
CABRERA: Take a look at the numbers on the right side of the screen. We are constantly updating them as confirmed coronavirus infections and deaths in the United States and around the world.
The numbers make it easy to forget sometimes that every one of them represents a person, a patient, a member of a family that's consumed with worry.
Look at the smile on this man. Dr. Arnold Weg, 63 years old, lifetime New Yorker with four sons and six grandkids. The doctor is now the patient. He is fighting for his life, infected with the virus, in critical condition.
And this is not a frail unhealthy senior citizen. Arnold Weg has run 30 marathons. And he was training for another one when he got sick. And one more thing. Today is he and his wife's 38th wedding anniversary. With us now, Dr. Weg's son, also Dr. Weg, Russell Weg.
Russell, man, what a tough situation. I'm so sorry what your family is going through.
Give us an update on your dad. How is he doing now?
DR. RUSSELL WEG, SON OF CORONAVIRUS PATIENT DR. ARNOLD WEG: Thank you, Ana.
My father remains fighting for his life. He is in the ICU, the same ICU he ran treating patients for gastrointestinal issues. He is now the patient, treated by his colleagues.
He is on the brink of being intubated, and struggling for every breath, and with all his strength to stay off that machine. He is scared for his life. We are scared for him as well.
CABRERA: I can certainly understand that. We look at the pictures of him. He looks like a vibrant, loving man.
Walk us through what happened, what he experienced.
WEG: Yes. So about four weeks ago, a patient called saying they were having a chronic cough that was a little worsening. Being the physician he is -- this is early on in the COVID crisis in New York City -- he brought in the patient to see examine him to if there was pneumonia or if there was anything he could do.
During the exam, the patient coughed, through no fault of his own. And about a week later, my father developed a high fever. A few days later, ended up being admitted to the hospital, and within 24 hours, is now in the ICU.
CABRERA: Wow. I understand you aren't able to visit him. How are you getting updates on your father's condition? What is it like to not be there with him right now?
WEG: This is the one and only time my father has ever been admitted to the hospital, and it has been challenging for myself and my whole family and the providers at the hospital.
But we take great comfort to know that my father is receiving the best of care by the best physicians New York City has to offer, and that has provided us with great comfort.
I want to bring attention to one thing that doctors throughout the country are struggling with, and that is the access to the trial medications that can be saving lives.
We talk a lot about the shortage of PPE, which my dad experienced, that's why he contracted this virus. We talk about the need for ventilators, which is very important. But what we need more attention to as well is the availability of trial medications.
My father is currently waiting to be part of a trial that is currently closed for enrollment, a trial that's limited to only 400 patients. As you've shown us, there's over 110,000 cases of this in the United States. And limiting trials to a few hundred or a couple thousand is not OK.
We need to be trying trial medications that could be life-saving and would not only save lives but could get people off the ventilator sooner and free up ventilators for other patients that are coming in or preventing them from needing it in the first place.
CABRERA: Obviously, because you're not able to visit your dad, I don't know if you had any direct communication with him. I don't know exactly what his state of being is right now. But if you could talk to him right now, what would you tell him?
WEG: I would tell him how much I love him and to remain strong, and to be embolden, and that he will get through this, and that we and the rest of the country are in this together.
And he has an army behind him, and he will make it through, just like he has done everything else in his life. The marathons, getting through medical school, 30 years of practicing, and 30,000 New Yorkers that he has treated. They're all behind him and, together, we will all get through this.
As you know, it is not just him. I have friends whose parents, healthy people, are on their death beds, waiting for the trial medications, hoping it will help them get better. And I pray for all of them. My family prays for them.
We thank everybody, the doctors at the hospital and the outpouring of support we received.
I thank you for your time on your excellent program this afternoon.
CABRERA: Well, Russell, Dr. Weg, thank you for taking time and sharing your family's story. Our prayers are with you as well. Sending you and your dad, especially, all our strength and hoping that it ends up OK. We'll keep in touch.
WEG: Thank you.
CABRERA: Thank you.
WEG: Thank you so much.
CABRERA: If you are a parent, like I am, protecting your child is top of mind through the pandemic, and providing them with some sense of normalcy, that's obviously important. We'll have a pediatrician joining us next to answer your questions.
Stay with us.
CABRERA: Breaking news. The first death of an infant with coronavirus reported in the United States. The news coming to us from the state of Illinois. Officials there announcing that this child was less than a year old and that a full investigation is now under way.
I want to bring in pediatrician, Glenn Budnick.
Dr. Budnick, this news has to be troubling to so many parents. How concerned should they be?
DR. GLENN BUDNICK, PEDIATRICIAN: Well, Ana, thank you for having me.
Any death of a child is obviously a tragedy, and the death of an infant is certainly a tragedy.
But in general, the disease for children and for adolescents has been mild, so for most parents, if their child was to get COVID-19, they would have mild symptoms. And the hospitalization rate has been very low for children, adolescents under 19 years of age.
Good news, it has been very mild on children. The bad news is, unfortunately, it is a bad virus. On occasion, even children and infants can get sick.
That's why we should continue to do what federal authorities and CDC says to do about social distancing and take it seriously and take it seriously for our kids and our family. This is a serious disease. We should take it seriously.
CABRERA: In light of the tragic death of an infant, the first in the U.S., Dr. Budnick, a question parents are dealing with, infants and toddlers, they're putting everything in their mouth, grabbing everything, crawling on the floor. What's the most effective way to keep their hands clean?
BUDNICK: First of all, you know from having children, everything is going in their mouth, it is just a normal routine. The best thing you can do is increase the hand washing that you normally do to your children, continue to social distance and self-isolate, but wash the hands more frequently. Do the best you can. That's all everybody is asking as far as normal hygiene.
But for children, you're 100 percent right, as you know, everything goes in the mouth, everything goes on the floor. Wash the hands more frequently, use soap and water, and no friends, just around your nuclear family.
CABRERA: Beyond the coronavirus concerns, what's your advice for when parents should be bringing children in to see you? How high does the fever have to be, how bad does the injury have to be, for example?
BUDNICK: Well, a couple of things. First of all, the government has liberalized telemedicine, so a lot of pediatricians have increased use of telemedicine to keep the patients out of the office, and it has been a helpful tool for viewing and discussing with patients their illnesses.
A lot of illnesses, almost 50 percent of what we're doing is via telemedicine. That's been a huge help.
Prior to this, telemedicine was well below 2 percent. So we have increased telemedicine greatly. That's number one.
Number two is, if someone has a high fever, cough, shortness of breath, obvious signs of COVID-19, we are trying to keep those people out of the office, sending them directly to the emergency room, in case they need emergency care, X-rays, oxygen, testing right away. You can get that through the emergency room.
We're not keeping people in the waiting room. They wait in cars and we text them via telephone to come into the office to separate them one by one, not keep anybody in the waiting room.
As you know from your experience, usually, waiting rooms are usually packed. Now they're solitary. We're just texting people.
CABRERA: If, god forbid, my child is diagnosed with coronavirus but doesn't require hospitalization, is there anything I can do to protect the rest of the household?
BUDNICK: Well, that's a good question. By the time your child was diagnosed, everybody in the household has been exposed to coronavirus, so, therefore, we really should again self-isolation now for 14 days. You have to stay home.
And unfortunately it is very tough, but we've got to stay home, self- isolate for the 14 days, especially if someone is diagnosed with the coronavirus.
But even if your child gets sick with a cough and mild fever, this is somebody you want to not take chances, you want to self-isolate. If someone is sick, stay home.
CABRERA: All right, Dr. Budnick, you'll be back in the 6:00 hour. Thank you very much for the great answers.
BUDNICK: Thanks, Ana.
President Trump says he is considering a short-term quarantine for parts of New York, Connecticut and New Jersey. What would it look like and how would it be enforced? That's next.
CABRERA: I want to welcome viewers in the U.S. and around the world. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera, in New York.
Here is the very latest this hour in the coronavirus crisis. Right now, there are over 111,000 cases in the U.S., the largest total anywhere in the world. Meanwhile, the death toll stands at more than 1800 in the U.S.
This hour, we have a horrifying first. Illinois reporting that an infant tested positive for coronavirus has died. This would be the first death of a child under the age of one from the virus in this country. The Illinois Department of Public Health says a full investigation is under way to determine the cause of death.