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Trump Extends Social Distancing Guidelines Through April; Inside NYC Hospital on the Frontlines of Outbreak. Aired 6-6:30a ET
Aired March 30, 2020 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We will be extending our guidelines to April 30 to slow the spread.
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASE: Looking at what we're seeing now, I would say between 100 and 200,000 deaths. I just don't think we really need to make a projection when it's such a moving target.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We remain on a trajectory to overwhelm our capacity to deliver health care by the end of the first week in April.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Unless we continue a very vigorous social distancing program in my state, this is going to continue to spread like wildfire.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to go and work to get you every conceivable supply you need and get it to you quick.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're running out of equipment in the hospital. Nearly everyone who comes to the emergency department has this. And we're getting completely overwhelmed.
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Monday, March 30, 6 a.m. here in New York.
And the United States will remain shut through at least April. President Trump has extended social distancing guidelines through the end next month. And that is a change from his earlier suggestion of opening at Easter.
The president conceding for the first time that coronavirus deaths in the United States could reach 100,000 or more after he received a sobering presentation from his top health officials.
The death toll in the United States is now nearly 2,500 people. But we're told the peak of the outbreak is still weeks away.
There are nearly 140,000 confirmed cases nationwide. But Dr. Anthony Fauci warns that millions of Americans could be infected. We will speak with Dr. Fauci later this hour. So stick around for that -- John.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: So the death toll in New York alone is now nearing 1,000. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says hospitals could run out of supplies this week. Ventilators could be gone sooner.
Healthcare workers are reporting that emergency rooms resemble war zones, plagues by shortages of protective gear and overcrowding. In just minutes, CNN will take you inside one New York City hospital and show you just how dire the situation is.
The naval hospital ship Comfort arrives here in New York City today. It will treat non-coronavirus patients to free up space in hospitals. Field hospitals have now been set up inside the huge Javits Convention Center and even in Central park.
Nearly 900 New York police officers now have coronavirus. That's 12 percent of the force now out sick. Nine-one-one calls have increased by 50 percent. And governors across the country are now bracing for similar situations.
We want to begin our coverage this morning with Brynn Gingras. She is live at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens, New York.
And Brynn, the president himself said the images from these hospitals, this hospital in Elmhurst, moved him. It is probably what pushed him, in part, to making the decision to extend the restrictions until the end of April.
BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And I mean, we've been here last week, John. And it is pretty traumatic just to see this constantly going on.
The president also mentioned in that news conference yesterday this insinuation of hoarding that was going on with personal protective equipment without bringing any facts behind it. I can tell you right now that there's no hoarding going on inside this hospital where the need is still one of the biggest in the entire city.
Health officials say this E.R. and, really, E.R.s across this city are twice as full. The ICU units are three times as large at this point.
Now, this, of course, as hotspots not only here but they're popping up all across the country. As Dr. Anthony Fauci has said, now is not the time to be complacent.
GINGRAS (voice-over): President Trump pushing back his hopes to end the virtual national shutdown by Easter.
TRUMP: We will be extending our guidelines to April 30 to slow the spread.
GINGRAS: Trump's move reportedly coming after Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx, members of the coronavirus task force, presented models that showed 100,000 or more people in the U.S. could die from the disease.
FAUCI: We're going to have millions of cases. What we do know is that we've got a serious problem in New York. We have a serious problem in New Orleans, and we're going to be developing serious problems in other areas.
GINGRAS: As state leaders watch cases spike in New York, they're intensifying their pleas with the White House to streamline the distribution of critical supplies.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a desperate need for the testing kits.
GOV. GRETCHEN WHITMER (D-MI): My role is to get every person -- personal protection equipment, every piece I can get, into the state of Michigan. We need some assistance, and we're going to need thousands of ventilators.
GOV. JOHN BEL EDWARDS (D-LA): We obviously have a spread growing faster than we would like to see. We think the first real issue is going to be ventilators.
GINGRAS: New York City's mayor warning it's not just ventilators his hospitals will need.
MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D), NEW YORK CITY: Personnel is becoming more and more the issue. We need to get them relief.
GINGRAS: On the fields of Central Park, an emergency hospital is under construction, adding to a growing number of satellite locations in the city to take care of the sick.
The CDC also advising New York, New Jersey and Connecticut residents over the weekend to refrain from non-essential travel for 14 days. And states like Rhode Island and Florida establishing driver checkpoints, ordering two-week self-quarantines for those entering from some of the hardest hit areas.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a way to make sure that we're keeping people safe.
GINGRAS: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says he'll need all hands on deck to fight the coronavirus.
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): Yes, New York is the epicenter. And these are different times, and many people are frightened. But, look, this is New York. And we are going to make it through this.
[06:05:01] GINGRAS: Now, I can tell you what is constant here in Elmhurst, that
line behind me of people who are looking to get care and, also, the wail of sirens from ambulances coming and going from this hospital.
Remember, there are others on the frontlines aside from the doctors and nurses. We're talking about the EMS, the firefighters. The NYPD actually made a rare move over the weekend, allowing its officers to tell their commanding officers if they're worried about some underlying health that they have. They can possibly work from home.
And remember, Alisyn, the NYPD lost its first uniformed officer this weekend to coronavirus.
CAMEROTA: Brynn, thank you very much for the update and for your reporting from there.
Joining us now is CNN medical analyst and infectious disease specialist Dr. Celine Gounder; and CNN senior national security analyst Lisa Monaco. She served as an advisor for homeland security to President Obama. Great to see both of you.
Doctor, 140,000 cases roughly across the country at the moment; 2,400 people dead. How do you assess where we are right now as we start this week?
DR. CELINE GOUNDER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Well, quite frankly, Alisyn, we're at the very beginning of this. New York City, not surprisingly, is the hardest hit at the moment. But it's also the largest city, the densest city across the country. And we have international connections with the rest of the world.
You know, so this is not surprising that New York City is seeing this first. But I fully expect that this virus will continue to keep its march across the country. That other cities were already seeing. Parts of Michigan, the Detroit area, Los Angeles, New Orleans and other -- other cities across the country being affected.
And it's only a matter of time before this continues to penetrate into less dense, more suburban, more rural parts of the country. I've heard already, for example, very rural parts of the Navajo reservation in New Mexico are being affected. So this is not something that's going to spare any part of the country.
CAMEROTA: Lisa, it sounds like Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx were finally able to impress upon President Trump the gravity of the situation through the numbers. And so it sounds like one of the models that they're using, Dr. Birx, says that 200,000 Americans -- that's the upper end -- could die in the next months, even with the social distancing and the restrictions that we're seeing. And that obviously got his attention. Without the social distancing, or if it were to be lifted prematurely, I think the number that she used was 2.2 million.
So, of course, it's not surprising that President Trump yesterday announced that we are in this situation at least through April.
LISA MONACO, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: No. That's exactly right, Alisyn. And look, the models you cited, that's -- that's what we talk about when we talk about the curve and the need to flatten that curve that, frankly, is just steepening as we speak.
And that's, I suspect, what Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx really tried to make clear to the president.
But you know, yesterday's announcement was, I think, a good one, a smart one. It was the right thing to do. And it appears to have been science-based and based on data. And that's good.
Now, it comes as an abrupt shift from the statements the president was making last week about lifting these restrictions and having Easter be a time when we -- we would move back from them. But that, of course, made no sense. And we shouldn't have been flirting with an Easter letup to begin with, based on the numbers that, frankly, were available last week.
And as Dr. Gounder was saying, we are just at the beginning of this. And in a world in which the death numbers, the death tolls doubled over the last two days and the -- what we're seeing now is really multiples of what we were seeing last week. This is no time to let up.
CAMEROTA: Dr. Gounder, President Trump said something else yesterday in his press conference that at least my sources, the doctors that I'm talking to, they're e-mailing me this morning, texting me, calling it, quote, "bizarre" and, quote, "insulting." And that was suggesting that hospitals or doctors are somehow hoarding equipment. So let me play for you what the president said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: How do you from 10 to 20 to 300,000, 10 to 20,000 masks, to 300,000, even though this is different? Something is going on. And you ought to look into it as reporters. Where are the masks going? Are they going out the back door? So I think people should check that. Because there's something going on. It's not -- I don't think it's hoarding. I think it's maybe worse than hoarding.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: Dr. Gounder, can you explain why hospitals need so much to the president?
GOUNDER: Well, it's actually pretty simple math. He asked how did you get from 10 to 20,000 to 300,000? Well, I'll tell you that.
So you have an average medical team, you know, on the wards. You have about 20 patients per attending physician, which is the head doctor on the team. Maybe zero to one of those patients under normal circumstances would require that we wear an N95 respirator mask.
Now we're up to 19 or 20 out of 20 of those patients. So you basically multiply 10 to 20,000 by 20. You get 200,000 to 400,000. And he was asking how you get from 10 to 20 to 300,000? Those numbers
match up exactly. So I don't really understand. It's pretty basic math, and it's pretty clear what's happening here.
CAMEROTA: Lisa, how is it possible that Dr. Fauci or, I mean, anybody on the task force hasn't explained that to the president?
MONACO: Look, you have to imagine that they have. And he seemed to be responding yesterday. I watched that press conference, that -- that reference to hoarding and these things going out the back door was, frankly, head-snapping to think about that when the -- what really is needed for these healthcare workers who are on the frontlines -- they're the first responders in this crisis. We should be focusing every ounce of our effort not on blame games, not on speculation but on moving urgently all of the supplies and the protective gear that we possibly can to the folks who need it most.
CAMEROTA: Lisa, one more question for you. There is questions about how much the public should know. How much the public should be told about specific numbers in their community, about -- you know, just this is sort for contact tracing so that you could theoretically know what vicinities to avoid, which people have tested positive. In terms of national security, where are you on that question?
MONACO: Look, I think based on my experience, when I served as homeland security adviser to President Obama and helped lead our response to Ebola, one thing I learned very, very quickly was that the most important thing that you can do in a public health crisis is communicate clearly, consistently and credibly.
People need information in order to be able to act to keep themselves safe. So we absolutely need to be getting those numbers out, being very clear about it, being consistent with that messaging. And all of that is going to be supported by getting more widespread testing out there. Because we can't -- if we can't see it, we can't stop it, and we can't address it.
CAMEROTA: Dr. Gounder, is it too late for that? I mean, in terms of contact tracing, has this horse already left the barn? How can people now go back and retrace their steps for the past two weeks?
GOUNDER: Well, when we talk about, you know, when can we lift some of these social restrictions, it's really -- we have to wait until the point when we can do contact tracing again.
So what does that mean? We need to see the number of cases, deaths peak and start to go on the decline. But then, further, we need to get to the point where we can actually say, person A infected person B and C, and person C infected, you know, person D and E. And until you can do that, until you can actually trace it in that way, you know, it's really not possible to left these social distancing measures.
So it really means we have to suppress it to that degree. And then you can talk about, you know, lifting measures, doing contact tracing, doing testing. But we have a long ways to go until we get there. And just to Lisa's point earlier, you know, I have also worked on
Ebola in West Africa. And transparency is absolutely key here. Once you're -- you know, if you're not transparent with the public, they know you're not being transparent. And then you lose your trust; you lose your credibility.
CAMEROTA: Dr. Gounder, Lisa Monaco, thank you both very much for all of your expertise.
And coming up in the next hour, we will -- sorry, in minutes, we will speak with the nation's top infectious disease expert. Dr. Anthony Fauci will be here.
Also, CNN has an exclusive look inside a New York hospital on the frontlines of the coronavirus crisis. So we have the view for you from the medical war zone, next.
BERMAN: This morning, the death toll in New York state is nearing 1,000. Hospitals are reeling, with New York City's mayor warning they will run out of supplies by this weekend.
Now, because of the nature of this pandemic, just how contagious it is, just how fast it moves and plain technical challenges, we really haven't been able to show you what this crisis looks like on the front lines. That's about to change.
CNN has an exclusive look inside a Brooklyn hospital on the frontlines of this pandemic. CNN's Miguel Marquez joins us now.
And look, Miguel, you and I have been in actual war zones. The descriptions you give as to what you have seen inside these hospitals reminiscent to me of actual war zones.
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's funny you say that. Because all along in this pandemic, that is what I have been thinking about, whether it's Iraq or Afghanistan. In many, many ways, not just the hospitals but now that I've been to one, certainly, the hospitals.
We were invited to Brookdale Hospital in the Brownsville area, the neighborhood of Brooklyn that's largely African-American; it's largely Latino. It's also one of the poorest in the city. On a normal day, they have plenty to keep them busy. But coronavirus has pushed that hospital to the edge.
MARQUEZ (voice-over): Every corridor, every corner, every ward, every inch of Brookdale Hospital Medical Center in Brooklyn now inundated with those suffering from COVID-19.
(on camera): What are you looking at on a daily basis? How difficult is this?
DR. ARABIA MOLLETTE, E.R. DOCTOR, BROOKDALE HOSPITAL: Well, this is a war zone. It's a medical war zone. Every day I come in, what I see on a daily basis is pain, despair, suffering and healthcare disparities.
MARQUEZ (voice-over): Through Sunday afternoon, Brookdale said it had at least 100 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with nearly 80 awaiting confirmation. More than 20 people have died so far from the disease.
On top of its normal emergency flow, coronavirus is pushing the hospital to the max.
MOLLETTE: We are scared, too. We're fighting for your lives, and we're fighting for our own lives. We're trying to keep our head above water and not drown.
MARQUEZ: Doctors, nurses, even those keeping the floors clean, they say, rising tide, uncertain how long it will rise. Unsure this coronavirus won't sicken them as they struggle to stay a step ahead.
(on camera): What do you need right now?
MOLLETTE: We need prayer. We need support. We need gowns. We need gloves. We need masks. We need more vents. We need more medical space. We need psychosocial support, as well. It's not easy coming here when you know that what you're getting ready to face.
MARQUEZ (voice-over): The deaths here keep coming. While filming, another victim of COVID-19 was moved to the hospital's temporary morgue: a refrigerated semi-trailer parked out back. The hospital's regular morgue filled to capacity.
(on camera): How much room do you have in your morgue?
KHARI EDWARDS, V.P., EXTERNAL AFFAIRS, BROOKDALE HOSPITAL: Usually we have around 20-plus bodies that we can fit comfortably.
MARQUEZ: And you've gone over that?
EDWARDS: Gone over that. And they've -- the state has been gracious enough to bring us apparatus to help keep families and keep the bodies in comfortable areas, because we didn't want bodies piled on top of each other.
MARQUEZ (voice-over): Brookdale needs more of everything. Today, Edwards said the hospital has 370 beds. They'd like to add more. Many more.
Two weeks ago, this was the pediatric emergency room. Now it's dedicated to victims of COVID-19. Plastic tarp taped to the ceiling offering some protection and a bit of privacy.
The intensive care unit filled nearly to capacity and sealed so fewer doors and less traffic than usual comes and goes. This window is the only place where family members can watch their loved one inside the unit as they chat with them via cell phone. It's sometimes as close as they can get as COVID-19 takes another life.
As grim as it is right now, Dr. Mollette expects it will get worse.
MOLLETTE: It could end in the fall. It could end at the end of the year. But this is why we're begging everyone not just to only put that pressure on the emergency department but also for everybody to help us to help them by staying home.
MARQUEZ (on camera): You think we're in it for the long haul? This is -- this is months, not weeks?
MARQUEZ (voice-over): Another worrisome thing she's seen coming through the doors, not just the elderly and those with compromised immune systems.
MOLLETTE: I work at two hospitals. So I work here in Brooklyn, and then I work at a hospital in the Bronx. And it's the same thing. In the South Bronx it's the same thing. I've had patients that were in their 30s, and they -- they are now intubated, and they're really sick. I've had patients that are well --
MARQUEZ: No underlying conditions?
MOLLETTE: No underlying conditions. So the thing is about -- between life and death, as far as this coronavirus is that this virus sees no -- there's no difference -- it has nothing do with age, has nothing to do with lack of -- access to health care, has nothing to do with socioeconomics, race or ethnicity. This virus is killing a lot of people.
MARQUEZ (voice-over): Brookdale has one advantage. Hospital officials say it can do rapid testing for coronavirus on site. Its own lab right now up to 300 tests a day. They hope to get to 500 a day.
ANDREI LEGOUN, LAB TECHNICIAN, BROOKDALE HOSPITAL: And right now we have about 52 specimens in here. Right about to -- that we're preparing to test at the moment.
MARQUEZ: The hospital following Centers for Disease Control guidelines on who gets coveted tests. Patients admitted for possible coronavirus, healthcare workers showing symptoms, and symptomatic long-term patients. Each test a laborious and time-consuming process.
LEGOUN: It's very easy to make a mistake. Very easy. Just from an extra milliliter of reagent, adding it to the machine can mess up the entire, all the batch, the entire batch. All the 52 specimens, we would have to start all over from the beginning.
MARQUEZ: E.R. doctors are used to stress. Dr. Mollette says she has never experienced anything like this.
MOLLETTE: I really lose sleep that well at night. I worried about my family. I worry about my safety. I worry about my colleagues. I worry about how the shift is going to be the next time I come. I worry about if a family member is going to come and be a patient, as well, fall victim to the coronavirus. I worry about a lot of things.
MARQUEZ: The disease, a marathon that healthcare workers alone cannot win or even finish.
MOLLETTE: It's not up to just only to the emergency department to pull through and to make sure the curve is flattened. This is a responsibility for everybody in the country to help us pull through. So --
MARQUEZ: So stay the "F" home?
MOLLETTE: Exactly. I'm very --
MARQUEZ: Is that literally -- how --
MOLLETTE: Stay the "F" home. Exactly. Exactly. Because it's not just on -- it's not just us that has to help flatten the curve and take care of everybody. Help us help you.
MARQUEZ (voice-over): She says it will take everyone pulling together. The worst days, she fears, are still ahead.
MARQUEZ: Now, what's made it even more shocking is that all of those individuals that we talked to and others that we talked to off-camera, they're -- they have special arrangements just for their own lives.
They come to work every day. When they go home, they can't actually go home. They have to Skype with their family. They have to live in a different location. The lab technician we talked to hasn't seen his girlfriend or his daughter for two months, at least in person.
Everybody giving -- giving 110 percent at that hospital and certainly others that we've seen. Your heart goes out to them and just hoping that the crest of this wave comes soon.
Back to you guys.
BERMAN: Miguel, that's an incredible report that you just filed there. Those are remarkable images. The people lining the hallways there jumped out at me. Is the lack of protective gear noticeable?
MARQUEZ: It is. The doctor that we interviewed, that was a surgical, paper surgical gown. We felt a little embarrassed once we got there, because we had sort of the proper Tyvek, the white, hooded gear with goggles and masks and the boots, everything from head to toe, gloves. They looked at us as though we were space creatures. They were like, that's what we should have; that's what we actually need in this situation.
I mean, they have thousands of employees. Everybody from the doctors and the administrators of the hospital to the people who sweep up and -- and dump the trash out, I mean, all of them just as important as the other to keeping that entire organism going. And they are desperate for -- for more gear.
You know, some of the folks that we spoke to, they stop off at Home Depot. They go to eBay, and they buy it online in bulk as often as they can and bring it in, you know, paying retail prices, basically, for stuff that they just cannot get.
BERMAN: Look, I love you, Miguel. I'm glad you had the right gear on. But you shouldn't have better gear than the doctors and medical workers and nurses on the frontlines. That speaks volumes to the supplies that they have.
How are the other hospitals around the city and the country providing help at this point?
MARQUEZ: I mean, everything that we hear from other hospitals is it's much the same. They are moving toward that max point. They are moving toward -- they're dealing with all the regular trauma and all the regular cases that they have, and COVID-19 is moving them to a place where it is going to overwhelm them.
The -- you know, ICU center that you couldn't really see much, because they have it sort of blocked off in this area, is completely maxed out. They barely have a bed left in there. They have about 65 ventilators. They have a few left so that people need them.
But all of those people that you saw shoved into the hallways there, they are basically in the emergency department, and they are waiting to be assessed to go up -- they've all been admitted, and they're waiting to either go to ICU, a regular bed, on a ventilator. They're trying to work through the worst cases. It is a triage at this hospital and others that is only going to get more brutal as the days go forward.
BERMAN: Miguel, this is such an important look that you just gave us inside this fight at the frontlines. These are pictures we haven't been able to see before. And I think it informs how all of us will think about this battle going forward.
Miguel Marquez, thank you very much for your work and your crew for being brave enough to do that.
So New York has been hardest hit by coronavirus. But officials are warning that no state will be spared. We have live reports from three emerging hotspots, next.