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Coronavirus Pandemic Update around the U.S.; Gov. Mike DeWine (R-OH) is Interviewed on Fighting the Coronavirus in Ohio; Doctors Coping with Coronavirus Crisis; Unemployment Claims Could Hit Record. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired March 31, 2020 - 06:30   ET



ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And nearly 200 people have died.

State and health officials are worried about two things. One, a shortage of ventilators. The governor says hospitals could be out of ventilators by this weekend. And, secondly, state and health officials say that people are just not doing enough to practice social distancing. But that's very difficult in this state. As one woman told me, there are people here in New Orleans are ready for all of this to be over so that they can have a second Mardi Gras.


A member of the U.S. military has died as a result of the coronavirus for the first time the Defense Department announced late Monday. The individual, a member of the New Jersey National Guard, was hospitalized for the illness earlier this month.

News comes as the coronavirus pandemic continues to mount within the Department of Defense, surpassing some 600 cases within the U.S. military on Monday. Earlier on Monday, the U.S. Marine Corps suspended training for 50 percent of its new enlisted recruits citing fears about the spread of the coronavirus.


And this could be the next hot spot when it comes to the coronavirus. More than 1,800 people have tested positive for the virus in the last two days, bringing the state's total to more than 6,500 people. When you add in the 184 deaths, health officials and state officials are concerned about where the next uptick could be. In fact, the auto show here has been canceled. The TCF (ph) Center, which is a large venue, is now going to be turned into a field hospital. Lots of conventions about keeping people safe over the next few days.

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Dan Simon in San Francisco, where doctors believe the city's early call for that shelter in place seems to be having a positive impact on emergency rooms across the city and throughout the bay area. I spoke with Doctor Johan Fahemi (ph). He is an emergency room doctor

and medical director at UCSF. He says they are not seeing that expected surge in Covid-19 cases and, as a result, they seem to be OK with protective gear as well. We should stress, though, that city officials say at this point it's still too early to draw any conclusions, but they remain hopeful that they will not see a huge spike in the numbers.


ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Now, Ohio was one of the first states to take drastic action to limit the spread of coronavirus. Has it worked there? What are they seeing? Ohio Governor Mike DeWine joins us next.



CAMEROTA: The governor of Ohio has received bipartisan praise for the aggressive steps that he's taken in fighting the coronavirus pandemic. He issued closures weeks before most other governors. So, has it worked?

Joining us now on the phone is Republican Governor of Ohio Mike DeWine.

Governor, great to have you here.

I read that you just said of the coronavirus, we've got this monster down on the mat.

What's your evidence that you're getting the upper hand?

GOV. MIKE DEWINE (R-OH) (via telephone): Well, that may be a little exaggeration. I was trying to show -- explain to people that we've got him down there, but he's still tough and we've had our -- kind of like you get your foot on his neck, but we can't let up because if we take our foot off, he's coming back right up and get us. And -- so that was a little exaggeration.

But we've made -- we think we've made progress. The social distancing, you know, has certainly helped. But we're into a crucial period of time. And my message to my fellow Ohioans is, we can't let up now. We've got to really, really stay at this or we're going to see this come at us even stronger.

Look, our death rate continues to go up. You know, this thing has not reached its peak at all. So we can't let up. We've got to stay on it.

CAMEROTA: Well, look, Governor, we'll allow you some colorful hyperbole because, you know, as we've said, you were ahead of the curve. You were doing pretty drastic things before the rest of the country was. I mean on March 5th, which was early, I mean you didn't have a single case, as far as I know, back then. You started shutting down major social gatherings, major events, this big expo for the -- there were going to be 60,000 spectators and you shut it down at a big economic cost to the state.

And so when -- when you started doing stuff like that, were you getting pushback from, you know, fellow governors or from the federal government that you were doing things too drastically?

DEWINE: Not from the federal government nor from fellow governors. It was a tough decision. I mean I've got a very -- very great director of health, Dr. Amy Acton. She's done a phenomenal job. We were trying to get the best evidence that we could. We knew that we did not have extensive testing and (INAUDIBLE) all the evidence showed that we, you know, that the virus was here, it was -- it was moving.

And with the Arnold Classic you're referring to, I worked with Mayor Ginther, Columbus mayor, who was just phenomenal. You know, imagine how tough this is to look at Columbus, Ohio, and say we're going to shut an event down that lasts four days, that we have 60,000 visitors come. But to both of us it made sense that this thing really couldn't go ahead. Sixty thousand people milling around in a small area full -- and people from 80 different countries. So that -- you're right, that was the first tough decision that we made.

But what we did is we based it on all the available science that we could get, the best experts. I had put together a panel of 14 doctors to advise me on this, along with Dr. Acton.

So we just focused on, you know, doing everything we could to protect Ohio citizens. I just think that's the fundamental job of -- my job as governor is to do everything I can to protect our citizens.

CAMEROTA: Yes, and yet, I mean, as you say, we're a long way even in Ohio from this being over.

Your numbers in Ohio are lower, the amount of cases right now, I think, than the neighboring states of Michigan and Pennsylvania, and yet you don't expect to see the peak of cases there until mid-May.


Why -- why so many weeks from now?

DEWINE: Well, we're getting several projections, frankly. And our director of health, Dr. Acton, has always been telling me, she said, I think the peak is going to be somewhere between mid-April and mid-May. We've got several projections. The most pessimistic is the Cleveland Clinic projection. But we've also got one from Ohio State.

So these projections vary between April -- excuse me, between, you know, coming up March 15th and April 15th -- excuse me, April and May. And those are the projections. It's a 30-day period of time and we're not quite sure when this thing is going to peak.

And, you know, again, part of this is driven by the fact that we don't have, you know, widespread testing. And, you know, that is not unique to Ohio. We have seen that throughout, you know, throughout the country. That's been a real challenge. CAMEROTA: Well, Governor Mike DeWine, we really appreciate you giving

us a status report on what's happening in Ohio. I know all sorts of other states have been looking to you and to your state as what could happen if they take aggressive measures as well.

Thanks so much for taking the time to talk on NEW DAY.

DEWINE: Appreciate it. Thank you very much.

CAMEROTA: So emergency room doctors are facing the kind of crisis they have never seen before. How are they coping? We have a live report for you, next.



JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: This morning, frustration and fear growing among healthcare workers on the front lines of the pandemic. Hospitals across the country facing critical shortages, a flood of patients and more health workers actually getting the viruses.

So, how are emergency room doctors coping with this onslaught?

CNN's Erica Hill has been looking into this. She joins us with that.

Good morning, Erica.


It's not just about sharing the science and the data, which all of these doctors need, but they need to know what it's like for everybody on a day to day basis. And one way that they're learning to do that is through social media.


HILL (voice over): In emergency rooms across the country, the battle being waged is unlike any these doctors have seen.

DR. STEFAN FLORES, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF EMERGENCY MEDICINE, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: Right now it's kind of like drinking out of a fire hydrant.

HILL: Dr. Stefan Flores is an emergency room physician in New York City, the epicenter of this pandemic.

FLORES: It's been very overwhelming and stressful. Pretty much everyone we see has corona, some flavor of corona.

HILL: With each approaching siren, congestion in the ER grows. They need more beds, more gear. They need to stay healthy. They need more information.

FLORES: I had so many friends, family, colleagues reach out to me from across the world and be like, oh my God, are you OK? What is actually going on over there?

HILL: In response, Dr. Flores and a fellow emergency physician, Dr. Lynn Jang (ph), launched Air It Out Covid-19 on Instagram and encouraged others to join in.

FLORES: It's been therapeutic and also I think just helpful to let everyone know what is going on. And I'm just here in New York, but we've also been trying to chronicle and get snapshots of what's been going on across the country.

HILL: Snapshots of life in the ER. Your eyes tell it all. A window to the war you've been through, reads this post.

Sometimes we just look at each other through our masks and we know what each other is feeling. Sometimes we just let each other know we're OK.

Crowded ambulance bays. A seemingly endless stream of patients. Tents to help alleviate the strain inside. Each image a personal story.

Our health care workforce is more than just our doctors and nurses, reads this post, about our fearless EMTs.

FLORES: We need to recognize that paramedics and EMTs who are also out there risking their lives with the lack of personal protection equipment, who are obviously seeing things that might not even make it to the emergency room.

HILL: Everywhere I look, someone is being intubated, someone is dying, this staffer writes. I am someone who wants to be holding their hand, to whisper in their ear to say, you are not alone, but knows it's a risk not only for myself, but also for others.

Moments like this one define how much has changed in just a few short weeks.

FLORES: You know, I wanted to (INAUDIBLE), sit at the bedside, put my hand on her and let her know that it would be OK. You know, I couldn't touch her. You know, I had to don my personal protective equipment and kind of keep my distance. At that moment I almost felt kind of helpless.

HILL: And yet there are still reasons to hope.

New York cheering the city's health care workers. This brought tears to my eyes, wrote one local nurse.

The signs of support, encouragement, and deep appreciation are the silver lining. These moments of positivity and gratitude keep us going.

FLORES: It's a frightening time to be working, you know, in the emergency room and just to be working in the hospital in general. But that being said, if there was any time probably to validate and reinforce why we chose to go in medicine, now.

HILL: A determination to push forward for as long as they're needed.


HILL: And, of course, John, with every shift they are needed more. My most recent text from Dr. Flores yesterday, he said to me, this was probably the worst shift yet. It keeps getting worse in the ER. But that being said, for him and for so many of his colleagues, that is just another reason to make sure they are there, that they show up and also that they take care of themselves, John, so they can continue to care for patients.

BERMAN: And we've got to prop them up. We've got to keep saying "thank you." We've got to give them the spirit to get in there and fight this fight.


Our thanks to Dr. Flores and everyone on the front lines of this.

Erica, what a terrific report. Thank you very much.

So rent and mortgage payments due tomorrow for millions of Americans struggling to make ends meet. What you need to know of how -- what will be a bruising economic week ahead. That's next.


BERMAN: This is such a difficult week for so many. Rent and mortgage payments for millions of Americans due tomorrow as job losses grow across the country. Moody's Analytics predicts unemployment claims last week could be a record 4.5 million claims, and those numbers will be released on Thursday.

Want to bring in CNN chief business correspondent Christine Romans and CNN international anchor and correspondent Julia Chatterley.

And, Romans, the numbers are mind-blowing. And I know you're going to tell us the number from Goldman Sachs this morning, which I almost can't get my arms around.


But every time you hear the big numbers, you have to remember that for each individual it's a singular problem of how do I pay my rent, how do I buy food?


Look, today is the end of the quarter, right? So companies have bills due. Tomorrow is April 1st, so people, workers, have bills due. And the stimulus money isn't here yet. All of these numbers show you that efficient and quick deployment of that stimulus, of that rescue of government money, is incredibly critical and urgent. The money's not here yet and the pain already is.

What Goldman Sachs is saying this morning is the first quarter they expect the economy to contract 9 percent. The second quarter, John, 34 percent. And they expect an unemployment rate of 15 percent by the middle of the year. That blows away all of the terrible recessions and financial crises of past years and goes all the way back to the beginning of last century. It's just a really -- a really important moment here for the economy and the money's got to come quickly.

CAMEROTA: Julia, what are you keeping an eye on this week?

JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: You know, to Christine's point, cash crunch week, this is what this is ultimately. I think the important thing for people to realize is what help and what degree of help is there simply because the hope is that they'll get a check within the next few weeks if the revenue service has the direct deposit information. They're also producing a website that will allow people to give their direct deposit information to try and reduce the number of checks they send out.

But at least in the short term, I think the overriding message has to be, talk to your providers. Bank of America is one that stands out as saying, look, we'll help you, we'll adjust and let you delay payments. The banks have been told from a top-down level, look, be supportive here and help people to understand, if you're a tenant, you can't be evicted for the next 120 days. If you have a mortgage that's federally backed, then you can get some relief too. But to Christine's point, this is an incredibly painful time and the numbers, the unemployment claims, all the data here is going to start to show this.

BERMAN: Everyone's hurting and -- which means that everyone is going through this, which means it is right to ask. Ask -- ask your mortgage provider, ask your landlord if you can delay a little bit.


BERMAN: It really is important.

ROMANS: And it won't be forever. And it won't be forever. I mean the -- look, they're trying to decide what the snapback will look like when the economy restarts again, right? It won't be forever. There will be a time when we get a bridge over this time and the economy starts up again. We just don't know what that's going to look like.

BERMAN: Romans, what numbers this week, right, we have the weekly jobless claims. We also have March unemployment. What are the projections?

ROMANS: You know, that jobs, that big jobs report that, you know, you and I -- we always talk about every month, it's -- the survey week for that is probably the second week, I think, of March. So that was before things really fell off a cliff.

This has been so quick. It's been -- it's been such a quick, you know -- I just -- I don't think that it's going to capture the numbers really. It might end up being negative. You might have job losses in there. But really it's those weekly numbers that are showing just how devastating this is in the near term here. CAMEROTA: Yes, I mean, I remember last week the numbers, Christine,

you were telling us, were staggering, which were, whatever, 3.2 million I guess.


CAMEROTA: And the idea, Julia, that it could be 4.5 million. I mean we've just never seen anything like it.

CHATTERLEY: No, it's mind blowing. And I can give you a very rough rule of thumb here. Every 1.5 million job losses equates to a 1 percentage point rise in the unemployment rate.

ROMANS: Right.

CHATTERLEY: So if this number is right, we are already talking about an unemployment rate in the United States of between 8.5 and 9 percent. I mean -- and that's in the space of two weeks, as we've been pointing out. I mean these are shocking numbers. And the hope is that when this stimulus kicks in, when this financial aid kicks in, we can contain those numbers and people will re-hire. But for the next few weeks, for these people and these individuals, it's devastating.

BERMAN: And, Julia, you've been making some calls on the small business loans that should be available shortly. What have you learned?

CHATTERLEY: Well, you can get and borrow money up to 2.5 times your average monthly payroll. For the first eight weeks, rent, interest on your mortgages, utility payments, and your payroll will be forgiven. So this is really important.

The problem with what I'm seeing and hearing from small businesses is, that eight weeks is not enough time. They're afraid of what happens beyond then. And they have until June, the end of June, to rehire. So my fear is, first, businesses are going to be concerned about what happens next. They need more assurance. And they may delay rehiring workers until we get through the next eight-week process. So, again, my fear is that these claims numbers are going to be very high still in the short-term.

CAMEROTA: And that's why, Christine --

BERMAN: Julia Chatterley --

CAMEROTA: The -- sorry, quickly, the snapback --


CAMEROTA: That you talk about looks different every day because as more people are laid off -- and, by the way, who is going to rush out to go to a restaurant? When all of this is lifted --


CAMEROTA: There's still the kind of psychological adjustment that people will be making.


ROMANS: Right. What does the new normal look like, right? It's probably not going to be what we saw in February, right? Or certainly what we saw last fall. So what will that look like?