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James Goodrich Dies of Coronavirus; Interview with Nurses on Coronavirus Frontlines; Interview with Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Director. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired March 31, 2020 - 10:30   ET


[10:30:00] JAMES GOODRICH, NEUROSURGEON: -- but the problem is, I was in the military before college. And so when I came out, I had to go back, basically community college, then college, then I did an M.D./Ph.D. so then graduate school, medical school, then residency.

And we kept talking about it, but just kept postponing it. Next thing I know, too old.

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: You've been busy taking care of the world's kids.

GOODRICH: Seems that way at times.

GUPTA: Next to him for the past 10 years, helping him take care of those kids, craniofacial surgeon Dr. Oren Tepper.

OREN TEPPER, CRANIOFACIAL SURGEON, MONTEFIORE MEDICAL CENTER: We used to joke, we would call him the world's most interesting man because he was. He was a wine connoisseur, he was a surfer until his very last days, I imagine he was surfing.

GUPTA (voice-over): There will be too many cruel and unfair stories like this one. This new disease, thrust upon us: COVID-19 doesn't discriminate based on what you do or who you are. In this case, robbing the life of someone who had saved so many. This past Monday morning, he died.

NICOLE MCDONALD, MOTHER OF TWINS ANAIS AND JADON: He fought with a ferocity for my family in a way that I will never, ever forget, that I will forever appreciate. There will never be another James Goodrich, not even close. He will never be matched, let alone replaced in the world.

GUPTA (voice-over): We knew the losses would come, but they are no less painful when they do.


GUPTA: I think, you know, Dr. Goodrich certainly inspired everyone that he met. And I think even now, you know, as I reflect upon his life, he makes you want to be better, do better. And I think we're going to, you know, hear other stories like that. Hopefully not too many, Poppy and Jim. I've got to tell you, I think his wife Judy is probably watching now

and I got to say that the tributes, the hundreds of people who have e- mailed me, knowing that I knew him, over the last couple of days, have been remarkable. I mean, just wonderful things to say about him and a life too short and a remarkable man, but a real tribute as well.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: Listen, you know, the numbers are such -- you know this better than us -- that it becomes more and more likely that if you don't know someone, you know someone who knows someone as this spreads.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: Yes. I was just so touched, Sanjay. I mean, you know, he was never a father himself but he really was a father, right? To so many --


HARLOW: -- saved so many children's lives, and we're so grateful to him and to you and your whole team who brought us that amazing journey for the past few years. We're so sorry, Sanjay.

GUPTA: Thank you, thank you. Appreciate that. And, you know, I'm glad we got to pay our respects that way.


GUPTA: Thank you.

SCIUTTO: Take care, my friend.


And we'll be right back.


HARLOW: Right now, as we just saw from Sanjay's reporting, thousands of health care workers are putting their lives at risk every day, trying to treat those with coronavirus, and so many of them have become sick themselves.

SCIUTTO: Well, now you'll get a chance to meet some of them. We're joined now by two nurses working on the frontlines: Rick Lucas, he's a rapid response registered nurse at Ohio State Wexner Medical Center; Deb Snell, she's an ICU nurse and president of the Vermont Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals.

Anybody who's had someone who's been ill know that nurses are the ones you have the most contact with --

HARLOW: Oh, yes.

SCIUTTO: -- when you're in the hospital. You guys do yeoman's work, you're there every hour and every day. Let me begin, if I can, with you, Deb, because we've been asking folks this across the country. In Vermont, do you and other health care workers have what you need to protect yourselves as you treat the infected?

DEB SNELL, ICU NURSE: I would say at this moment we do, but that is rapidly changing. We're already at the point where we're starting to ration our PPE, meaning we're using one mask a day and we're putting it in a paper bag when we come out of the patients' rooms, and that is not something that's sustainable for the future.

HARLOW: Rick, one of the -- one of the things that you spoke about, which was so striking to me, is that you know, your nurses, wearing trash bags as isolation gowns. And, you know, we saw similarly in Miguel Marquez's reporting out of Brooklyn yesterday, one of their hospitals in the Brownsville area, some of the team members are buying their own protective gear at Home Depot on their way to work. What is your level of understanding on when that -- if that might change in this crisis?

RICK LUCAS, RAPID RESPONSE RN OHIO STATE WEXNER MEDICAL CENTER: You know, we're terrified. We are reusing and rationing PPE as well here in Ohio. We're at a crucial time where every innovation, every donation and every production of PPE is essential. Every effort must be made to get PPE into the hands of the frontline health care workers.

You know, we just saw the president again imply this week that nurses are thieves. You know, how dare he call us that? He needs to do his job so we can do ours. You know, aside from demanding that he apologize, we also demand that we get the PPE we need. We don't see any change on that (ph) front right now.


SCIUTTO: Deb, some hospitals and hospital organizations have been beginning to put out guidance requiring that at some point, there's going to be rationing of health care, that doctors and nurses like you are going to have to make judgments, you know, who gets the ventilator and who does not. Is that a prospect that you're forced to prepare for, there in Vermont?

SNELL: It absolutely is. And I mean, it's going to be happening nationally and it's really -- it's just tragic. I want to take care of my patients to the best of my ability, everyone I know does. And it feels like our federal government is holding our PPE hostage at this point. They need to release it because I want to take care of you, but I can't take care of you if I'm in the bed next to you.

HARLOW: Rick, just back to your point about having enough protective gear that you're already rationing, that you guys are reusing, et cetera, something interesting has happened. And that has come after pressure from Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, who's really been leading on this front in many ways.

That the FDA has decided to ease restrictions on some of the technology that can be used to actually clean these masks, right? They gave a waiver to a company called Battelle, which is based in Columbus, a nonprofit. What is that going to mean, to basically allow those N95 masks to be properly sanitized and reused? LUCAS: It's definitely part of the plan to get PPE into the hands of health care workers that so desperately need that equipment. Battelle also fabricated mobile units that they're going to deploy to New York and Washington and a couple of other places that are in really dire need for PPE.

So that was really important, and we -- we really thank Governor DeWine for his leadership in pressuring the FDA to do the right thing for all health care workers.

SCIUTTO: Deb, I know a lot of folks watching are always conscious of what they can do to help. And I've been reading about a lot of requests for blood donations, that that's key. And I imagine that some people think, but wait a second, I've got to go to the hospital, is that a risk for me to give blood --


SCIUTTO: -- you know, how do I reduce my exposure. Can you tell us about the need and about the safety of giving blood?

SNELL: Well, I think the American Red Cross is going to always do everything they can to make sure everyone is safe donating blood. Right now, I mean, there's always a need for blood in our country. I encourage everyone -- my sons donate blood on a regular basis -- I think right now, if you can, absolutely go out and do it, make an appointment with the Red Cross.

HARLOW: One final question to you, Rick, on masks because the president did say yesterday, they may advise that every American should wear masks -- may, that hasn't happened yet -- but we heard Dr. Fauci tell Jim, making a very good point, that wouldn't come until there was enough supply in the country because you don't want people to be taking them -- right? -- average folks, when you guys need them.

What is your sense on that and if that would be wise in terms of instruction for average Americans, when they have to leave their home, to wear masks?

LUCAS: You know, it -- we have to look at the evidence. And we also have to protect the frontline health care workers. Everyone else can stay home and stay physically distant, but we have to show up every day. So saying something like that seems a little reckless right now, when we don't have enough PPE for the frontline health care workers.

You know, we didn't volunteer for this, but we're here for you because that's what we do. You know, our union is doing everything in our power to protect health care workers, and we need our elected leaders and hospital administrators to do the same.

HARLOW: Thank you both, Deb Snell and Rick Lucas, for what you're both doing. We appreciate you.

SNELL: Thank you.

LUCAS: Thank you. [10:44:03]

HARLOW: Some signs of hope this morning in San Francisco. Is the nation's first shelter-in-place order working and saving lives? This as Los Angeles' hospitals brace for a surge in infected patients. We'll talk about all of that, ahead.


HARLOW: So just two weeks after issuing the county's first shelter- in-place order, doctors in San Francisco are cautiously hopeful that those strict early measures are actually paying off. So far, the heavily populated city has reported fewer than 400 confirmed cases and six deaths in San Francisco.

But downstate in Los Angeles County, a much different scene, local hospitals bracing as confirmed cases surge to nearly 2,500; 342 new people infected in just the last two days.

The L.A. Convention Center will be used as a field hospital for the first time ever. Initially planned to treat non-coronavirus patients only, the city's mayor says it will now be used for infected patients as the cases rapidly increase.

With me now to talk about all of what is going on there in Los Angeles County, Barbara Ferrer, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. Thank you so much for being with us this morning.


HARLOW: Why do you think the numbers are going up so rapidly in Los Angeles?

FERRER: You know, I think like everywhere else in the country, as soon as we were able to increase our testing capacity, we were able to identify many more patients who are in fact positive for COVID-19. And at the very beginning of the outbreak here, we were very limited (ph) in how many people could get tested. And once we ramped that up, now we're able to test about 3,000 people a day. We, like everyone else, is going to see that increase in the number of people that are positive.


You know, we still are running somewhere between 10 and 13 percent of people who are tested are positive. But if you just do the math, you can see that we'll see an acceleration in the number of cases. You know, this week, we haven't yet doubled but we're expecting over the next couple of days to have seen a doubling of cases again.

And, you know, we have aggressive social distancing, we have isolation orders for people who are infected or whose providers think they may be COVID-positive. We have quarantine orders out. We're investigating in about 41 different institutional settings to try to prevent lots of new cases from cropping up. But it's -- you know, it's a lot of work, there's a lot of partnership

and I really am appreciative of all the residents here and the leaders here who have taken this very seriously.

HARLOW: You know, one thing that I think is going overlooked a lot -- and it's important in terms of spread -- is the homeless population. And yesterday, you announced the first two COVID-19-positive cases within the homeless population in Los Angeles. You've got, as of last count, about 60,000 homeless individuals in your county alone. How concerning is that to you and what measures are being taken to help them and to help prevent the spread within that community?

FERRER: I think it's one of the most concerning issues, you know, here, in L.A. County. Strong partnerships, so we've been working since the very beginning of the outbreak in China, on coming up with solutions that would allow us to shelter as many people who are experiencing homelessness as possible, in safe places.

We have about 2,000 beds that are online right now that can help with any people who may need to be quarantined or may need to be isolated, and they're experiencing homelessness.

We've had great partnerships, both with the city of L.A. and the entire county, to identify other places like motels and hotels where we can house people experiencing homelessness, particularly those who are most vulnerable. That's people who are older, people with underlying health conditions, working really hard with the street outreach teams to make sure that folks know that there's a safe place for them to come in.

We have recreational centers that have also stepped (ph) up as shelters, interim housing facilities. Again, you know, being able to give folks, you know, water, a place to sleep, a bathroom, a --


HARLOW: Right.

FERRER: -- all that's extraordinarily important when you're in the middle of a pandemic.

HARLOW: Doctor, before you go, do you understand why -- or is there anything to be learned from San Francisco, the fact that they've been able to keep these numbers down? I mean, six deaths there.

FERRER: You know, I think we're learning from everyone who's, you know, taking part in really mounting what I think are appropriate and sometimes heroic efforts to slow the spread.

I do want to note, L.A. County is 10.2 million people. This is a huge area, it's larger than, you know, about 42 other states. So our numbers are going to be much larger than a city like San Francisco, just because of the sheer magnitude of the numbers of people who live here.

HARLOW: Wishing you guys a lot of luck, and thank you for what you do, Dr. Barbara Ferrer.

FERRER: Yes, thank you. Thank you for the accurate covering of this epidemic.

HARLOW: We'll be here --

FERRER: Really appreciate the (ph) work.

HARLOW: -- doing it with you every day, day and night --


HARLOW: -- thank you and good luck.

FERRER: Thank you. OK, thanks.

SCIUTTO: Of course, there is a lot going on today, a lot to digest. Here's "What to Watch."


TEXT: What to Watch... 11:30 a.m. Eastern, MS Gov. briefing on coronavirus; 12 p.m. Eastern, U.N. Secy. General speaks on pandemic; 3 p.m. Eastern, CA Gov. update on coronavirus

SCIUTTO: So would you like to hear a little good news?

HARLOW: Yes, yes.

SCIUTTO: I think all of us would.

HARLOW: Yes, please.

SCIUTTO: So how about this, love in the time of coronavirus. With more than three-fourths of the U.S. population under a stay-at-home order, engaged couples around the world have been forced to rethink their walks down the aisle.

So Elspeth Brotherton and Bree Beal were married in a neighbor's yard in Atlanta -- pictures there -- trading the applause of thumbs-up, heart and smiley face emojis on Facebook Live.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You may kiss your beautiful bride.



HARLOW: And it was a race to say I do for Daphne and Chris Goujon in Colorado Springs. They got their marriage license one day before their county stopped issuing them, and she got her dress six hours before the bridal shop closed. She looks gorgeous.

Congratulations to both happy couples, making it work in this moment. Thank you so much for being with us today. We'll see you back here

tomorrow morning. I'm Poppy Harlow.

SCIUTTO: Makes you smile. I'm Jim Sciutto.


SCIUTTO: CNN's continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic continues in the next hour on NEWSROOM, John King up next.