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Update On Coronavirus Hotspots Emerging Around U.S.; Dr. Prateek Harne Discusses Being In A Battle Against Coronavirus And Being Scared; CNN Inside A Field Hospital In Hardest-Hit City Of Madrid; Pittsburgh Food Bank CEO & President, Lisa Scales, Discusses Food Banks Struggling As Demand Explodes Amid Layoffs. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired March 31, 2020 - 13:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


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[13:32:51]

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Makeshift hospitals are popping up in a number of states and millions of Americans are facing consequences if they ignore stay-at-home orders.

More from my CNN's colleague reporting from hot spots emerging across the country.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I am Ryan Young, in Detroit. Behind me, a center where they're going to add some 900 beds to help with capacity as this city is inundated with patients with COVID-19.

In Michigan, nearly 6,500 people have tested positive and more than 180 people have died. The National Guard is coming into help with food banks.

But as the number surge here, we are starting to see the numbers spread. The streets are empty. But doctors and nurses are worried about what's going to happen in the next few weeks.

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I am Rosa Flores, in Miami. The situation on the ship has worsened. Eight people have tested positive for COVID-19. Four individuals have died. Dozens of others exhibited flu-like symptoMs.

This ship is expected to eye arrive in Miami on Thursday. It does not have permission to dock. That decision will be made by Broward County commissioners.

Here's the thing. Governor Ron DeSantis announced that the Coast Guard and the White House don't want the ship to dock because they want to make sure there are hospital beds available for Floridians. We learned 305 citizens are onboard, including 49 Floridians and 247 Canadians.

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I am Omar Jimenez, in Chicago. One of the big struggles in this pandemic is trying to make sure hospitals don't get overwhelmed. That's why the city is converting its convention center, McCormick Place, the biggest in the country, into an alternate care facility for coronavirus patients experiencing mild symptoMs. Those that don't require intensive care.

The goal by the end of the week is to have 500 beds ready. But that's phase one. By the time this is over, there will be three different sections of the convention center. And numbers-wise, the goal is to house at least 3,000 patients in the midst of this pandemic.

BRIAN TODD, CNN SENOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: I am Brian Todd, in Washington. Maryland Governor Larry Hogan says his stay-at-home order yesterday was one of the last tools in their arsenal they could pull out to fight the coronavirus.

[13:35:06]

Hogan says, under his order, people can leave their home when they visit medical attention, get groceries, visit a pharmacy or maybe go outside and get exercise but only in small groups.

Hogan says there has been explosion of cases in recent days and that he had to take the steps. Virginia and Washington issued similar orders.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Everyone, thank you. Our correspondents against the country.

As we get more dire news on the economy today, one American city seeing a line stretched a mile long for food bank.

Plus, we'll talk to a doctor who's telling the world he is a soldier in the coronavirus battle and he's scared. That's next.

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[13:40:30]

COOPER: As the number of cases of death from coronavirus growing across the country, and fears of our doctors and health care workers after risking their lives to save others. Hospitals are overflowing and doctors, nurses, medical staffs are treating patients often without protective gear.

The mounting crisis is taking a toll not only on the physical but the mental health of medical personnel across the country.

One of the doctors wrote about in his experience in CNN.com article, headlined, "I am a soldier in this battle and I am scared."

Dr. Prateek Harne wrote that piece, a powerful moving piece. He's a resident physician at the Medical University of Syracuse in New York .

Dr. Harne, thank you so much for joining me.

Talk to me about what you are facing. One of the things you write about that you expressed the fear that you feel when you step inside a room with a patient who has coronavirus. But at the same time, you continue to fight and you urge others to continue to fight. That's a hard thing to do but you are able to do it every day.

What advise do you have for people who are fearful?

DR. PRATEEK HARNE, RESIDENT PHYSICIAN, SUNY UPSTATE MEDICAL UNIVERSITY: Yes, Anderson, this is a very valid fear to have. I think the fear of unknown is justified. It should be respected and acknowledged. When you attempt to understand the fear and you acknowledge it, I think you are better equipped to deal with it.

We know this virus is highly contagious so we fear of taking this virus to other patients, to our loved ones and colleagues. We are scared for our patients, which is within reasons.

What I really want everyone out there in the field to understand that this is a good time to see why you chose this profession and try to understand that they need us and this is your time and you are not alone.

COOPER: Sometimes people say to other people who have been in war zones, were you afraid. Everybody gets afraid. The difference is people who are able to continue to move forward and work in spite of the fear and not ignoring the fear.

A buddy of mine says don't give into the fear, don't let the fear stop you. That's an important thing. And I was reminded of it by what you wrote about.

You talked about a patient of yours, a woman who had the virus and ask you to call her husband to let him know that she loved him. Can you talk about that a little bit?

HARNE: Yes, absolutely. We help our patients who are anxious and -- when my patient asked me to call her husband and tell him that she loved him. The happens more often than not. We are not letting a lot of visitors coming in and visit their loved ones.

When she asked me to do this, her husband asked me to do the same. He asked me -- it does have an emotional toll on you. I think I am privileged to have had the chance to be there for my patient. You get involved. You get invested in your patient. That's where the anxiety comes along.

COOPER: And four days after you intubated her and you had that phone call with her husband and she died, right?

HARNE: Yes. Unfortunately, despite treatment, she passed away, which did have an effect on a lot of people taking direct care of her because she was a wonderful woman. She tried to put above everybody else and that does take a piece away.

[13:45:16]

But you emerge stronger. You are very indebted for their presence and that teaches us a lot every time you have patients like that. I am just learning through this process. I think each experience has a lot to teach me so did this one.

COOPER: You talk about it being privileged to have that experience with that patient. It is a privilege for me to talk to you. I want to thank you for what you and all medical professionals are doing right now.

Dr. Prateek Harne, thank you.

HARNE: Thank you so much.

COOPER: Just in, CNN is live inside the coronavirus field hospital within Madrid, one of the hardest-hit cities in the world.

Plus, care lines outside of Pittsburgh stretching a mile long outside this food bank. I'll talk to the head of an organization forced to turn away some hungry families.

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[13:50:39]

COOPER: Spain has been hard hit by coronavirus. The country just passed 8,000 deaths from the virus today, after a record number 849 people died in just the past 24 hours. It's one of the world's hardest-hit countries. The numbers do seem to be stabilizing, but officials warn they're still not at the peak.

CNN's Scott McLean is in Madrid.

Scott, explain where you are and what it's like.

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Sure, Anderson. We've been allowed into this what's normally a convention center being used as a hospital. Right now. this is the largest hospital in all of Spain.

I'll -- we're not obviously allowed to zoom in on any of the patients or anything for obvious reasons, but you can see the beds are pretty far faced off.

This space would normally be used for conventions and festivals. Everyone here -- virtually everyone here is wearing a mask. The staff is also wearing protective gear as well.

This particular spot has been a source of contention, because one of the biggest unions has come out and said while there's plenty of space, there wasn't enough of it. The changing rooms were too cramped. There wasn't enough space to stay one or two meters apart, and they didn't have enough equipment.

Some of those union members have said they wouldn't come to work at this particular facility because it was so ill-equipped. Things today undoubtedly seem to be improving.

The staff we spoken to seem to be protected, but with this situation in Spain, it came up relatively soon. The director of this facility says exactly that, that they are learning as they go.

Things are improving as they go. That seems to be the case from what we have seen so far -- Anderson?

COOPER: Scott, if things go badly in the United States, Spain was sort of one road that things could start to look like.

Can you talk about the social distancing, the stay-at-home orders? I've talked to several people who were quarantined at home in Spain. It's much more severity there. They're not allowed to go out and exercise. They have to go dish it's only to go to the supermarket to get food or a pharmacy.

Police actually check people to make sure that they're in their neighborhood, and they're going to a local market.

MCLEAN: Yes, that's right. From friends I have in the United States and the United Kingdom, for that matter, as well, things are much more lax. In

Spain, when the stay-at-home order was first given, not everyone was taking it seriously. People were having people over to their houses, mingling, going out to the park.

Only when they declared a state of emergency and said you must stay home, that's when they got serious with police.

At one point, you had drones flying over open areas telling people to get inside their homes.

Our crew gets stopped pretty much every time we go out. Police are literally everywhere. Because nobody else is out on the street, that's basically all you see.

I had an interaction with a person on a balcony who has only left her house once to go to the grocery store. And if you're an essential worker, you're allowed to go to work, but she said even since the two weeks, there's a bit of a psychological barrier for her to get outside.

The reason she says that is she knows she's going to be stopped and have as to explain herself. Even though she may be well within her rights to go to the store, to the pharmacy, not a problem, she still feels like there's hesitation deep down there.

Because the numbers continue to increase in this country, Anderson, and the prime minister over the weekend announced things would be even further restricted. Before this you could go to work. It wasn't a problem if you weren't able to work from home.

We found, in train stations, conditions were more cramped than officials would have liked. So now we went back to one of the main train stations in Madrid and there's hardly anybody there. There's a designated list of essential workers.

[13:55:12] So they're hoping those measures can really help to quickly start to flatten the curve, as they say.

COOPER: Scott McLean, stay safe. Appreciate the work you and your crew are doing.

The governor of New York was frustrated about getting ventilators.

Plus, why health officials may be changing their minds about whether Americans should be wearing masks.

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COOPER: Food banks across the U.S. are feeling the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, many are struggling to deal with demand. There's been a 40 percent increase, some food banks are so overwhelmed they've set up drive-thru line.

But in cities like Pittsburgh, the lines have been over a mile long.

Lisa Scales is the CEO and president of the food bank. She jones me now.

Lisa, you've had so many families coming for donations, you actually had to turn people away at times. How do you meet the demand? Are you afraid, frankly of running out of food?

LISA SCALES, PRESIDENT & CEO, GREATER PITTSBURGH COMMUNITY FOOD BANK: Good afternoon, Anderson.

We are afraid, and eventually we might run out of food. Right now, our supply is strong, but we have seen a significant increase in demand in just the past two weeks.

COOPER: Where do you get your food from? And your staff, are they still coming to work?

SCALES: Most of our staff is still working. We do have several staff who have to be home for a variety of reasons, but most of our staff is still here at our food bank facility in Duquesne.

We get food from a number of sources. There's food from the federal government. Also, we have purchased items and received donations.

Most of the food we are distributing now, through our new drive-up distributions. It's shelf-stable food in emergency good boxes: Peanut butter, canned tuna fish, pasta, canned goods and vegetables. And most of that food is purchased.

COOPER: I know your food bank volunteered after the 9/11 and Katrina. The fare and anxiety you're seeing, how does it compare to what you have seen in the past?

[14:00:00]

SCALES: It's similar. It harkens back to me to the work I did in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina. I was there three weeks, helping to direct food and volunteers where it was needed most.