Return to Transcripts main page


Federal Guidelines to Reduce Spread of Coronavirus Extended to End of April; President Trump Suggests Health Care Workers Possibly Hoarding Equipment to Account for Medical Supplies Shortfall. Aired 8- 8:30a ET

Aired March 30, 2020 - 08:00   ET



ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: All the musicians playing from their homes right on key.

And finally, while our nation stays at home, these folks head to the front lines. Dozens of doctors and nurses on a flight from Georgia to New York, some wearing masks and gloves, all holding their hands in the shape of a heart. It's just beautiful to see what everybody is doing, despite all of this challenge.

Meanwhile, a sobering new assessment from the top doctor on the president's coronavirus task force. NEW DAY continues right now.


DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We will be extending our guidelines to April 30th to slow the spread.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Looking at what we're seeing now, I would say between 100,000 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 the trajectory to overwhelm our capacity to deliver health care by the end of the first week in April.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The less we continue a very rigorous distancing program in my state, this is going to continue to spread like wildfire.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to 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 everybody who comes to the emergency department has this, and we're getting completely overwhelmed.


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

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. It's Monday, March 30th, 8:00 in the east. The United States shut down through at least April. The president extended the social distancing guidelines through the end of next month, which is a change from his earlier suggestion or, as he might suggest, aspiration of Easter. The president received a sobering presentation from his top health officials and conceded that the U.S. death toll could reach 100,000. This is what Dr. Anthony Fauci told us just moments ago on NEW DAY.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: And we felt if we prematurely pulled back, we would only form an acceleration or a rebound of something, which would have put you behind where you were before. And that's the reason why we argued strongly with the president that he not withdraw those guidelines after 15 days, but that he extend them, and he did listen. I would not be surprised -- I don't want to see it, I'd like to avoid it, but I wouldn't be surprised if we saw 100,000 deaths.


BERMAN: The death toll in the United States is now nearly 2,500. We're told the peak of the outbreak, though, still weeks away. There are nearly 140,000 confirmed cases nationwide, but Dr. Fauci does warn that millions of Americans could become infected.

CAMEROTA: John, the death toll in New York alone is nearing 1,000 people. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says hospitals could run out of supplies this week. They will run out of ventilators, he says, even sooner. Health care workers are reporting that emergency rooms resemble warzones, with shortages of protective gear, and overcrowding. Mayor Bill de Blasio will join us with a status report just minutes from now.

The Naval hospital ship Comfort arrives in New York today. It will treat non-coronavirus patients to free up space in hospitals. Field hospitals have been set up in the huge Javits Convention Center and in Central Park. And governors across the country are now bracing for a similar crisis.

Joining us now is Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN chief medical correspondent, and Dr. Leana Wen, she's an emergency room physician and former Baltimore city health commissioner. Great to see both of you. Dr. Wen, give us a status report of what's happening in emergency rooms in Baltimore right now.

DR. LEANA WEN, EMERGENCY ROOM PHYSICIAN: Well, here in Baltimore in the D.C./Virginia region, we are waiting for the storm. This is still the relative calm before the storm, but we know that storm is not far away because we are hearing and see the reports of our colleagues in New York. We're seeing what's coming their way in Michigan, Louisiana. And we know that our metropolitan area just likes areas all across the country are not that far behind.

And this is why. These are things that we were predicting for a while. We know that we urgently need supplies. We need personal protective equipment. We need ventilators. We know what numbers we need. And we really need the federal government to be pulling out all the stops now, because if now is not the time to be delivering us the supplies we need, what are we waiting for? Are we really waiting for things to become so bad that they resemble New York and it becomes a true emergency? Or should we be actually heeding the words and following the preparation that is already happening here?

CAMEROTA: Sanjay, at the moment, this morning, U.S. deaths are close to 2,500, and President Trump said yesterday that he believes the peak of death rates is likely to hit two weeks from now. Does that comport with the models that you're seeing, too?


SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the country is sort of hard to sort of describe in one fell swoop because so many different places around the country have reacted to this differently. So in New York, for example, if you look at some of the modeling, and again this is just modeling. Some would even say this is conservative models, it is around the middle of April where you'd see the peak. And sadly, Alisyn, I think around that time the projections are in New York there would be around 2,000 deaths a day around mid-April. So obviously pretty significant, pretty sad.

Florida, they think the peak could be sort of middle of May, so in Miami potentially being one of these hot spots, as they're being called. You obviously have New Orleans, Detroit, you have Florida and Georgia overall, which have been increasing significantly over the past several days. So it's a little bit hard to project, but yes, that's around the time period. But I think, Alisyn, we'll see what happens over the month of April. These projections of 100,000 to 200,000 deaths that Dr. Fauci was giving was if the plans stay in place, right. That's if we do everything that we're still doing and don't pull back, we still keep the stay-at-home policies in place. Hopefully people are reminded of that.

There's a lot of people who have been at home the last two weeks and have done a really good job. If they've had no symptoms, because the incubation is typically two weeks, they're starting to get around the point where they think, look, I'm free and clear. Don't let the gas off the pedal yet. There's still some work to be done to keep these death rates as low as possible.

CAMEROTA: And Sanjay, on all of that, just one more point, and that is that Dr. Fauci said that when he showed the president this weekend the models that 200,000 people in America could die in the next month, that that was what really got the president's attention and made him realize that Easter was not a realistic date, and that the U.S. has to be shut down through at least April.

GUPTA: That's right, Alisyn, but one thing, Alisyn, as we follow this story along now for close to three months, I think one thing has become clear is that people like Dr. Fauci and others, they are continuously looking at this same data that we're looking at, that we all have access to now, and we have been able to see that not only have the numbers gone up, but the pace at which these numbers have gone up has also increased. And my point is that they've known this for some time. I think they've been telling this to the president for some time. I think he knew some of these numbers even before he talked about Easter. In some ways I think this is sort of maybe trying to ease the country into accepting this. So instead of saying right at the beginning, we're going to be shut down until the end of April, they're saying let's do this every couple of weeks and sort of see how it goes.

Now it's going to be an additional month. At the end of April, could it be a little bit longer? Perhaps, Alisyn, and that's one thing obviously we'll have to wait and see. But if you look at other countries around the world, it has been more of a 10-week, eight to 10-week sort of time frame. And we started later, so it may be a little bit longer for us because of that. We don't know. But it's not surprising to me at all, and I think probably to Dr. Wen and a lot of other people, that this had to be extended. You knew this I think at least almost since the 15-day pause sort of started.

CAMEROTA: Dr. Wen, we just have a bit of a breaking headline here, Dr. Deborah Birx, of course, very visible on the president's task force has just gone on television and said that the U.S. implemented social distancing too late. I know that won't come as a surprise to you, but to hear her say it, what does that tell you?

WEN: It tells us that she is following the science, following what public health experts have been saying all along. I've certainly heard Sanjay say this for weeks now, that social distancing, we know from the research to be the most effective has to be implemented early and consistently, that it's not something that we can do piecemeal. We know from past pandemics, past outbreaks that the earlier these restrictions could be put into place, the more effective that they're going to be.

And also that everybody has to take them seriously, that we can't treat this as, well, school is out but we can still see our friends, or we're not going to work but we're still going to hang out. This has to be something that we really understand as our best way to reduce the transmission person to person. And I'm glad that Dr. Birx is acknowledging it, but now we need the entire country to do even more than we have.

So many people have made substantial sacrifices in this time to change their daily behavior at great risk to themselves, or at great sacrifice to their families. We need to honor that sacrifice and continue to do our part and, again, as Sanjay always says, do this early, consistently, and honestly.

CAMEROTA: Dr. Wen, one more question for you and what you're hearing from your fellow emergency room colleagues.


President Trump said yesterday that he felt there must be some sort of hoarding or worse, he actually said, because he couldn't understand the amount of equipment that is needed in hospitals in terms of the masks, in terms of the ventilators. I've had doctor sources texting me this morning saying that they found those statements bizarre. What do you believe -- is it possible that there's hoarding going on?

WEN: No. We can look at the federal government's own projections about how much equipment is needed during a year-long pandemic, and they estimate something on the order of 3.5 billion masks are needed. We're looking at the numbers of patients coming in and we can easily see how much equipment is needed, and not only that, but it's not just the equipment that we're using right now. We also have to be prepared for the equipment that we're going to be needing in the months to come, because this is not a one-time event. It's not as if we get through today and we're done. We need to be preparing for months or years. And frankly, it's insulting to suggest that hospitals are somehow keeping equipment away from health care workers and jeopardizing their lives. Actually, all of us should be doing everything we can to supply the basic equipment that frontline health care workers need to protect themselves and protect all of us.

CAMEROTA: Sanjay, you've been educating us on how many people need these masks. They are the people who draw the blood, the technicians, the nurses, the doctors, the respiratory therapists, the anesthesiologists just to name a few. New York Presbyterian says it goes through 50,000 that's their estimate, roughly 50,000 a day. So these numbers are hard to get your head around.

GUPTA: Look, there's hospital systems that have gone through their entire personnel protective equipment stores for the season, they've gone through this in a week. So you have to treat every patient that comes in, even if they're not coming in, with specific coronavirus COVID-like symptoms, you have to still treat them like they might have it, especially in communities where the virus is circulating. That means every single time patients are seen by these doctors, the medical students, residents, nurses, therapists, whoever, they need to be wearing this protective gear. You're going to go through a lot of protective gear as a result.

I talked to my colleagues all the time, I know Leana does as well. And the idea that they're being told that they're hoarding this stuff I think is a little insulting. These guys are showing up to work not sure that they're going to have the personal protective gear, they're risking their lives. And I'm not exaggerating when I say that. And then they're going home and potentially exposing their families to this. We owe them a huge debt of gratitude, and we have to take them at their word in terms of what they're saying. To suggest that somehow they're hoarding it, stealing it, taking out the back door, I think, Alisyn, was the rest of that quote, I think that is insulting to these workers who are risking their lives.

CAMEROTA: Dr. Gupta, Dr. Wen, thank you both very much for all of the information this morning.

Louisiana's Governor warns that New Orleans will run out of ventilators to keep patients alive by Saturday. So we'll talk to a top doctor at a hospital there next.


ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: CNN has learned the U.S. Navy is preparing to send a 450-person medical team to Texas and New Orleans to help the coronavirus outbreak there.

Louisiana's governor says hospitals in New Orleans could run out of ventilators by this week. That state has more than 3,500 coronavirus cases and 151 deaths.

CNN's Ed Lavandera is live in New Orleans for us with more. What's it like on the ground there?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Alisyn. Well, here, this is a significant week and the days ahead will be crucial according to the Governor and medical experts here who continue to see the cases of coronavirus here jumping by the hundreds every day, as you mentioned, now 3,540 cases across the state; almost 1,400 of those are here in New Orleans alone and that is putting great strain on the medical system throughout the city and the state.

There is a makeshift hospital that is being set up at the Convention Center. That should have, we're told some -- a thousand beds by this coming weekend. And the Governor says by this weekend, there will be an incredible lack of resources on the ventilator front.

The Governor says he has requested some 12,000 ventilators. To date so far, they've only received 192. And according to the Governor, none of those have come from the National Stockpile and that the state continues to request those ventilators.

But here, there's also a great deal of concern of just about how people in the state, and New Orleans in particular are behaving. The state officials say that not enough social distancing is happening.

In fact an arrest warrant had to be issued over the weekend for one man who led a second line parade. This is what the mayor had to say about all of this yesterday.


MAYOR LATOYA CANTRELL (D), NEW ORLEANS: We will have to enforce the laws every step of the way. We need law and order. And Superintendent Ferguson, the entire New Orleans Police Department along with other investigative partners here in the City of New Orleans will take action, as we're called to do if we find those who consistently violate the law.


LAVANDERA: So John and Alisyn, you know, the message here is clear that as this week continues, more social distancing, and people here in the city and the state need to take it a lot more seriously -- John.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Ed. Ed Lavandera for us in New Orleans and thanks so much for that report.

Joining us now, Dr. Robert Hart. He is the Chief Medical Officer of Ochsner Health in New Orleans.

Dr. Hart thank you very much for being with us. You heard Ed's report. You've heard Governor John Bel Edwards say that the state could run out of ventilators by this weekend. What are you seeing?


DR. ROBERT HART, CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER, OCHSNER HEALTH - NEW ORLEANS: Well, it is concerning to hear that type of discussion and no we have been struggling and working hard to get ventilators in.

We have been working with our supply chain constantly as we've continued to add ICU beds. The state has been able to help us get several vents, which have been very useful to us.

We're able to use those in different ways. Some of the vents are the full -- the best type made that we don't normally use. Some are transport vents, they do different things. Different vents do different things for us.

And so we can get creative about how we use the vents on different levels of severity of illness for our patients.

BERMAN: I'd like to talk about the patients if we can. I think sometimes in something this big, we lose sight of how they're actually presenting and what they are suffering. So what are you seeing in terms of people? What types of people are showing up? What are the symptoms? What are their needs?

HART: Well, the symptoms certainly all center around the respiratory illness and keep in mind, we are probably admitting at least 50 patients a day with COVID or COVID rule out type symptoms.

So you can imagine as you do this day after day, the capacity begins to get strained. We've had to add over a hundred ICU beds. We anticipate having to add more.

Many of these patients that do seek care, wind up having to be intubated once they come in. Some are lucky enough to come in and go home, but these patients get very sick and frequently get sick very quickly.

BERMAN: One of the things that we're increasingly concerned about around the country is it's not just older people. Initially, we've been told that people over 65 or people with underlying conditions, but a lot of hospitals are telling us around the country they're seeing people in their 40s show up and not necessarily under any underlying conditions. What are you seeing there?

HART: Right, we actually, here in New Orleans, have begun to see almost a bimodal type spike. We see it in the older, like you said, but around 40, there seems to be a little bit of a spike as well. And so those patients come in, we have to be concerned about them

getting just as sick as the other. So we are seeing all ages, certainly the preponderance of those that are older, but it is certainly affecting younger patients.

So the idea that they're safe is not true.

BERMAN: And we're trying to get that message out. Talk to me about your supplies -- masks, gowns -- everything you need. How well are you set up at this point for the peak, whatever that may come and when do you think it might come?

HART: So we certainly know we have probably another couple of weeks leading up to the peak. This has been a strain on all of our resources throughout the city, throughout the country, as you've I mentioned several times.

Right now, we're always finding all the time to get the PPEs, to get the testing, we need, to get the beds to get the staff. The biggest thing is the staff and PPE.

We've got to have -- again, I said we're adding 50 patients a day into our hospitals and many of those are critical care and we are trying every day to get more staff in here to help us take care of these patients as they get very sick.

BERMAN: One of the things we've heard from the front lines is, remember, it's not just the equipment, it's the people wearing the equipment that we have to be most concerned about, their wellbeing and keeping them there and the numbers that they need to be there.

So again, what will you need over the next two weeks in terms of medical personnel and do you feel confident that you have it?

HART: Well, right now, I feel confident that we are working hard to get those medical personnel here. We have a lot have people working to bring in ICU staff. It is going to be a stretch as you heard from the governor.

We know that all of our facilities here are going to be stretched, trying to find the staff to take care of these patients. And over the next two weeks, we anticipate those numbers will continue to grow.

We've got to find a way to offload our hospitals once these people get well, and I do want you to know, many of these people are getting well. We are being able to now begin to extubate people, take the breathing tube out. They're beginning to see some improvement.

But this is very difficult for our nurses taking care of these patients that are ill for so long.

BERMAN: Dr. Robert Hart, we wish you the best of luck going forward please let us know how we can help. Thanks for being with us on NEW DAY.

HART: Thank you. BERMAN: And so, a healthy and fit mother of three says she felt close

to death after getting coronavirus at a house party that could have been sort of an epicenter of this outbreak in Connecticut. She shares her story, next.



CAMEROTA: Our next guest is a 42-year-old mother of three young kids who has just survived the toughest two weeks of her life.

On Thursday, March 5th, Heather Bauer went to a casual dinner party in her town of Westport, Connecticut. Four days later, she felt achy and feverish. She had a temperature of 101.

Five days after that, she was in the Coronavirus Ward at Yale Hospital fearing that she would die. But Heather survived, and she joins us now to tell us the rest of her story.

Heather, it is great to see you. We're so happy that you're feeling better. Your story is incredible. And you look great, but I know that that belies what you've just lived through.

And so let's just start at the beginning Heather, and just tell us, this dinner party that you went to on a Thursday night in Westport. Now, when you look back at that event, because you got sick and so many people from that dinner got sick, and there's so much question about social distancing. Was there anything unusual or anything that should have been done differently about that party?