Return to Transcripts main page


Louisiana Governor: New Orleans To Run Out Of Ventilators In Six days; Update On Coronavirus Response From Around The World; Goldman Sachs: U.S. GDP To Fall 34 Percent In Second Quarter; Cruise Ships Heading To Florida Still In Limbo. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired March 31, 2020 - 14:30   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: It comes as Louisiana's governor says his state will run out of ventilators next week. The state surged to 1200 cases in just one day.

Ed Lavandera has more for us.

Ed, what's the timetable for getting more for them?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the governor here, Anderson, has requested some 14,000 ventilators. The last we've been told is they only have 192 that have arrived here so far.

Now the governor here, Jon Bel Edwards, in Louisiana says he got a commitment from President Trump yesterday to send 150 more ventilators, but as far as we know those have not yet arrived. And that's not exactly clear when that will happen.

It's important to note the newest numbers of coronavirus cases here in the state of Louisiana are startling. Let me go over some of those with you, Anderson. In one day, the total number of cases jumped by more than 12 had you. We are now up to 5,237, 239 deaths.

But what is most striking, the number of people requiring the use of a ventilator jumped by 50 in just one day.

Now I just spoke with an city emergency official here in New Orleans who says, look, it's really important to take one day's number and not react or overreact to what you're seeing. You need to see a trend.

But a jump over 1,000 cases, is something startling, something the city and state handle seen during this epidemic.

COOPER: And certainly the trend line isn't good, if you're just looking at the trend lines.

LAVENDER: Right. They're looking at the peak of this surge will be anywhere from two to three weeks. The governor has extended the state home shelter through the end of April.

The message they continue to pound away is that people need to stay away from each other. They need to isolate. They need to stay at home. And there are people who haven't been taking it seriously. There was a second-line funeral procession over the weekend. The man who organized that was arrested by New Orleans police.

A pastor in a church outside of Baton Rouge. He's been holding Sunday services. And I think he had about 400 people this weekend. That pastor has nobody been charged.

The pastor's father was telling reporters over the weekend nothing is more essential than the church at this time. The pastor is being blasted by state officials in Louisiana saying all this behavior is irresponsible at this point.

COOPER: Ed Lavandera, appreciate it. Thanks.

A Canadian doctor is working on modifying ventilators so one unit could help up to four people.

We're taking you around the globe with our CNN reporters, next.



COOPER: The U.S. State Department is warning Americans abroad to return now or risk getting stuck abroad.


MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: I want to deliver a message to Americans abroad. We remain steadfast in getting you all back. We don't know how long the commercial flights may stint to operate.

We can't guarantee the U.S. government's ability to arrange charter flights indefinitely. Americans abroad who wish to return home should do so immediately and make arrangements to accomplish that.


COOPER: Starting tonight, commercial flights will stop leaving the airplane in Paris. And already commercial air flights have stop in Kabul, Afghanistan.

This is while coronavirus cases rise and medical supplies worldwide are running low.

My CNN colleagues are reporting around the world.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Nick Paton Walsh, in London. The death toll in London has had one of the largest rises, getting over to 1700.

I spoke to a manager who says here the capital is edging potential this weekend toward the beginning of the peak, the surge that has everyone worried and has the government fast building a large hospital with a potential overflow for cases on the banks of the River Thames.

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Scott McLean, in Madrid, where almost 850 people have died nationwide from the coronavirus in the last 24 hours, the largest total yet.

Madrid has had to open a temporary morgue in an unused forensic center on top of the ice rank it's already been using. A convention centering is being used as a hospital ward.

But one of the largest unions saying some of the doctors and nurses it represents are refusing to work there because people are not keeping far enough apart and it appeared staff and equipment are far too scarce.

The Madrid regional government has acknowledged a small incident at that facility but says there's enough equipment.

PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Paula Newton, in Ottawa, where a country doctor is trying to the modified use of one ventilator to keep four patients alive. He's working with engineers and doctors all over north America who believe they will need they ventilators to be used this way as the virus peaks.

Two New York hospitals have already told me they are testing this as a last resort.

MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Matt Rivers, in Mexico City, which has just recorded the deadliest day of its outbreak. Eight new deaths, bringing the death toll to 28. This, as the number of cases in Mexico has nearly tripled in just the last week alone.


All nonessential businesses, all schools, and government offices that are nonessential are now closed. Mexico is urging citizens to stay home.

Meanwhile, CNN can confirm that a Guatemalan migrant deported from the United States recently, has now tested positive for the coronavirus in Guatemala. He believes to be the first person deported from the U.S. to test positive.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Matthew Chance, with an update on Russia. The news that the head doctor of Moscow's main coronavirus hospital has now tested positive for the virus, according to Russian state television.

The doctor says he's feeling fine, but the big concern is that last week he gave a tour of the hospital to the Russian President Vladimir Putin, meeting him face-to-face, even shaking his hand.

Putin put on protective clothing later to meet patients, but there's a possibility that the infection could have been passed on.

For the moment, though, the Kremlin is dismissing that concern, saying that Putin is regularly tested for coronavirus and, so far, all is fine, it says, with the Russian leader.


COOPER: Back here in the U.S., a new outlook from Goldman Sachs, saying it expects the economy to decline in the next three months and the collapse in the labor market will be even worse than anticipated. You see the market's reaction today. Today, the Dow now at, well, 22,221 and moving downward.

Our Julia Chatterley is here with us now.

Julia, can you give us perspective what a 34 percent drop in GDP means in real term.

JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR & BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: I call it an economic black hole, to be honest. We're talking about an estimated $2 trillion to $4 trillion worth of value simply wiped out from the U.S. economy.

Of course, that's exactly what's going on, because we have brought the economy to a near standstill to try and tackle the virus.

It's interesting that you mentioned the consumers' confidence stats today. You know, I would have to argue that that's just a preview of the pain to come. That confidence figure doesn't capture the lockdown we have seen since that data was collected.

You know, the only data that we're going to get this week I think that matters are those unemployment claims numbers on Thursday, and some of the estimates on that are bleak yet again.

Moody's Analytics say we could see another 4.5 million people lose their jobs just in the last week. Every 1.5 million jobs loss equates to one percentage point in the unemployment rate. If the figures are right, we're already look at an unemployment rate of 8.5 to 9 percent here in the United States.

So to your point about the predictions from Goldman Sachs with a peak unemployment rate of 15 percent, I they they're looking overly optimistic here.

I'll give you better news on this. They suggested that the economy would rebound in the third quarter, and I truly hope they are right. But, Anderson, that will come down to getting control of the virus and, of course, getting all the and probably more money for the coming weeks and months.

COOPER: Yes, unless the virus itself, unless we sort of get our arms around that and get it, you know, being dealt with, you know, make sure there's enough equipment for doctors and nurses, make sure the health system is not going to collapse, things like that. Nothing is going to improve economically, really, until this is really under control, no?

CHATTERLEY: You're absolutely right. The first thing is more money for the states, for much of the health care sector. We know Congress will have to do more on that. Everyone is agreed on that point.

To your point, and it's critical, there's no way that the U.S. economy, irrespective of what the president says, can be reopened if people don't believe that the virus is under control.

In the end. it's going to come down to confidence. We're a consumer economy. If you're trying to open up cinemas and restaurants without being sure the virus is under control, one person coughs and everyone runs for the exits. This re-opening of the economy has to be right. We can't have false starts.

So you risk more damage in prolonging the economic damage and the impact on individuals, which is already desperate.


COOPER: Julia, appreciate it. Thank you very much.

The fate of two cruise ships on their way to Florida still in limbo as state officials argue whether they should be allowed to dock and where. In the meantime, some of the passengers need urgent medical care. My next guest's parents on onboard, next.


COOPER: Right now, the final destination and the fate of hundreds of passengers on two cruise ships headed for the Florida coast are in limbo. So far, four passengers on the "Zaandam" cruise ship have died of unknown causes. Nearly 200 passengers and crew members are experiencing flu-like symptoms.

Earlier this week, asymptomatic passengers from the ship were transferred to the sister ship the "Rotterdam." Several South American ports have refused passengers to disembark.

Now both vessels are on track to possible dock as soon as tomorrow in Ft. Lauderdale. Right now, Florida's governor says the state and its hospitals do not have the resources to handle the sick patients, and now is unclear if the cruise ships will be able to dock and if anyone will be allowed to disembark.

Brian Foran's parents and aunt are on board the "Rotterdam." They were on the other ship previously.

Brian, thanks very much for joining us.

You've been in contact with your parents. How are they doing? They were moved over from the first ship.

BRIAN FORAN, PARENTS ON CRUISE SHIP UNABLE TO DOCK DUE TO CORONAVIRUS: They were. They were evacuated from the "Zaandam" to the "Rotterdam" Saturday morning.

So they're feeling better from that point and I think that the overarching theme from both ships is everyone is more relaxed now that they've been able to transit the panama canal and the end is in sight with Florida if allowed. Everybody is cautiously optimistic.

COOPER: They believe that --


FORAN: -- sick passengers on the "Zaandam."

COOPER: They think they're going to be allowed to get off in Florida even though the governor and others indicated they may not be allowed to get off?

FORAN: Correct. Right now, my understanding is we're waiting for the local commission to make a decision. I believe it was dependent on the "Holland America" office to make the decision what that safe plan is going to look like and how to get the sick passengers safely off the boat.

As well as the many asymptomatic as well. And my parents are in agreement with. At this point. they just want to be home.

COOPER: I know you've been calling around to local officials in Florida, to anyone who will listen. These are American citizens trying to come home. What is your message been to the Florida governor, to anyone who will listen?

FORAN: Sure. Like you said, these are fellow Americans as well as British citizens, Australian, and a number of other countries. Just letting them know that the individuals just want to go home.

I think that to a point some of them have been demonized as these passengers went on a cruise while the pandemic was breaking out, which was not the case. In fact, they left nearly a month ago. And when they left none of us would have expected that we would be in the situation that we're in today with most of the country locked down.

So our message to them is just to allow the ships in and get help to the sick passengers that really need it right now. We understand that two passengers on one of the boats right now are very much in need of medical attention and the passengers just want to go home.

That is what everybody is looking for and that is the message we've been sending out to politicians in the United States as well as some foreign officials as well for different nationalities.

COOPER: And what happens if they're not allowed off in Florida?

FORAN: Don't know. Like I said, the situation is fluid. It changes from day-to-day, sometimes hour to hour. One minute, we have our hopes high that they're allowed to dock and, an hour later, we're still waiting for an answer. So I don't know where else they could go besides Florida, if there are any other ports available.

Thus far, the report along the way has denied their entry so we're looking for someone to open the doors.

COOPER: Well, Brian, I appreciate your time and wish the best to your parents and aunt and everybody on board the ship.

FORAN: Thanks you.

COOPER: Brian, thank you very much.

Just into CNN, the Pentagon still hasn't shipped 2,000 ventilators from the supply because the government hasn't given them a shipping location.


Also ahead, the former Vice President Joe Biden addresses the federal response to the crisis. Stand by.


COOPER: Every day we bring you a lot of numbers as we track the surge of coronavirus deaths in the United States. But these are not numbers. These are human beings. These are people whose lives have been taken from us. W

ant to take a moment to remember some of the victims.

Father Jorge Ortez (ph) was a 49-year-old beloved Brooklyn priest and the first Catholic priest in the country to die of coronavirus.


UNIDENTIFIED PRIEST: What a great priest. What a great servant of the Lord. What a great friend. It is for all of us an example of priesthood.


COOPER: He's survived by parents and siblings and nieces and nephews.

And then William Hemrich (ph), a psychologist and author of the book, "From New York, Nobody's Knows," document his 6,000-mile walk to nearly every block of New York City. His son said his father seemed to be improving before dying suddenly on Saturday. He was 74 years old.

And finally, Dr. James Goodrich, a neurosurgeon known worldwide for separating several sets of conjoined twins including marathon surgeries in the Bronx several years ago. A team that Sanjay Gupta, that was in the operating room. Goodrich loved to surf and leaves behind his wife and three sisters.


We think of them all.

Special coverage begins now with Brooke Baldwin.