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Maryland Issues Stay-at-Home Order with Jail Time and Fines; New Jersey Governor Blasts House Parties Violating Distancing Order; Coronavirus Cases Flood New Jersey Hospitals. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired March 31, 2020 - 07:30   ET



JOHN BERMAN, CO-ANCHOR, NEW DAY: But had yet issued a stay-at-home order. Now as of this morning, the full order goes into place, why the change?

GOV. LARRY HOGAN (R-MD): Well, we've taken unprecedented action every single day for the past, I think 25 days. We've issued 26 executive orders, starting with declaring a state of emergency, closing all of our state schools, and then a whole host of things. Yesterday was just kind of the -- one of the last tools in our arsenal because we reached the point where the cases had exploded in the Washington region here in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia more than quadrupled just in a couple of days.

And I took the action here in Maryland and my neighbors in the region, the mayor of Washington D.C. and the governor of Virginia did the same thing because we reached a point where we believe it's necessary to further get people off the streets so we can continue to save thousands of lives.

BERMAN: Just to give people a sense of how it's grown, on March 5th, which wasn't that long ago, there were three confirmed cases in Maryland. Now there are 1,400, at least, as of last night, I'm sure it's grown by this morning, 1,415 deaths. Now, the stay-at-home order that you put into place, it carries penalties of up to a year in jail and a $5,000 fine. What gets you smacked with that hammer?

HOGAN: Well, so there are penalties for a number of the violation of these orders, and a lot of it is just to ensure compliance. You have to have some kind of penalty associated with an order. But we've done about -- our state and local law enforcement have done about more than 5,000 compliance checks to disburse crowds and to make sure people are leaving and breaking up situations where they're out endangering themselves and their fellow neighbors.

Only twice has it resulted in arrests. And in both case, there was extenuating circumstances where they just refused to comply. And so, two people have been arrested, and well, just to show that we're serious about making sure that we keep people safe.

BERMAN: So, overnight you published a letter along with Michigan's Governor Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, and you are a Republican. And this was a letter that noted that COVID-19 doesn't distinguish between red and blue states. Yesterday, governor was on with me and she said that the enemy, the only enemy is COVID-19. There's no political enemy here. Why did the two of you feel the need to write this?

HOGAN: Well, I have a lot of respect for the governor of Michigan, and we're friends and colleagues, and I'm the chairman of the National Governors Association. Quite frankly, I've been working very well with all of our 55 governors including those in the territories. We're on an ongoing basis, we're having discussions. And Governor Whitmer and I thought it was important to -- we've been having ongoing discussions with the administration and just laid out some of the priorities that we think are important, that I think there's general agreement among all the governors about what we need. And we just published that op-ed in "The Washington Post" today.

BERMAN: Testing, equipment, coordination. Those were three of the things you outlined yesterday. I want to focus on the first which is testing, because yesterday there was this conference call between the president and some of the nation's governor. And the issue of testing came up. I want to listen to a little bit of this. The voice you're going to hear is Governor Steve Bullock of Montana and the president. Listen.


GOV. STEVE BULLOCK (D-MT): Literally, we are one day away, if we don't get tests kits from the CDC, then we won't be able to do testing in Montana.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Tony, you can answer it, if you want, but I haven't heard about testing in weeks. We've tested more now than any nation in the world. We've got these great tests and we'll come out with another one tomorrow where it's, you know, it's almost instantaneous testing. But I haven't heard about testing being a problem.


BERMAN: Now, I don't want to get into the politics of this, and I know you don't either. Let's take Governor Bullock at his word that they need testing in Montana as I take you and Governor Whitmer at your word that you need testing in your states. So, how would you assess the federal support right now when it comes to testing? How much more do you need?

HOGAN: Well, look -- the -- there's no question that the federal government and all of the states believe that we need more testing. And this is something that we're talking about on a daily basis with the administration and with all of our fellow governors. And I'm not here to point blame. Every one of us is in this together. It's not -- hey, the federal government needs to get us more testing.

We're all working to try to get more testing, but there's no question this is a pinch point on testing, on supplies and materials and PPE and ventilators. Everybody in America knows we don't have enough of these things. And the federal government, they are taking great steps to try to address this issue and so are the individual governors in their own states.

Because it doesn't matter who is supposed to be doing these things, we've all got to get together and get them done because it's going to save lives.

BERMAN: Explain to us why you need the testing. Because the president likes to tout the number is that there are a 100,000 people being tested every day, we're up to a million tests.


That might sound like a lot to some people, but per capita, it's still relatively small compared to other nations. So, why is the testing needed in Maryland?

HOGAN: Well, without the tests we really are flying blind. You know, we're sort of guessing about where the outbreaks are and about what the infection rate and the hospitalization rates are and the mortality rates. So, we have a pretty good understanding based on a small amount of data, but -- so the testing is important, but quite frankly, it's not the only important thing because even whether we test or not, we've got these people starting to fill our hospitals.

And so the personal protective equipment and the ventilators are becoming even more important or certainly as important as the testing because we've got to protect our healthcare workers and we've got to make sure we try to save as many of these sick people as we can.

BERMAN: And one of the things you noted in this letter along with Gretchen Whitmer, Governor Whitmer, what you're asking for from the federal government is coordination. You're asking for FEMA coordination in this. Why?

HOGAN: Well, here's the good news. FEMA, as of last week did -- has started to really step up on coordination, and they're starting to get some -- what materials and supplies they do have, they are dispersing them out to the states. There are simply not enough of all of those things, and that's a problem that everybody's trying to work to address.

So, the coordination is getting better, but the concern is about everybody going out into the private sector -- you know, the president has said the states, you know, are sort of on their own, they're up to -- they should go out and get these things, and we all are trying to get them. But the federal government is also in the private sector trying to purchase those same things and each individual state.

So there's some competition going on to try to get this very limited supply of materials and important things. And that's the issue, it's about coordinating that and making sure we're not competing against one another for these limited resources.

BERMAN: So, governor, yesterday was the deadliest day in this country from coronavirus. More than 550 deaths. Dr. Deborah Birx says even if we do everything perfectly from here on out, 200,000 people will die. I just want you to reflect on that for a moment, and what this moment means in our history.

HOGAN: Well, it's just hard to fathom, but you know, I think Dr. Birx and Dr. Fauci are the ones that are telling us the truth about the numbers. And if you just think about it for a moment, I mean, 200,000 deaths would be more American -- twice as many deaths as we lost in the Vietnam war and the Korean war added together. And we're talking about over a very short period of time.

So it's just devastating. And that's why we've taken these seemingly unprecedented and seemingly drastic actions that are disrupting everyone's lives. Because we're trying to stop that from happening.

BERMAN: It's for a reason. Governor Larry Hogan, we thank you for your time, we thank you for the work that you're doing. Appreciate it, sir.

HOGAN: Thank you, John.

BERMAN: So, an emergency physician in New Jersey tells us that coronavirus cases have taken over the whole hospital he works in. His firsthand account from the frontlines next.




GOV. PHIL MURPHY (D-NJ): If each one of the 9 million of us does our part, including the little things, no more knuckle-head parties or gatherings, no more abhorrent behavior, we have got to stay home. We have got to stay away from each other.


ALISYN CAMEROTA, CO-ANCHOR, NEW DAY: All right, that was New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy blasting the lack of social distancing among locals. Outside of New York, New Jersey has the most coronavirus cases with more than 16,000. Almost 200 people there have died. Joining us now is Dr. Joseph Underwood; he's the chair of the Emergency Trauma Department at Hackensack University Medical Center.

Dr. Underwood, it's great to see you. I know that you have said that coronavirus is taking over your hospital. Do you know this morning how many COVID-19 patients you have, and how many of your doctors and nurses are getting sick?



Excuse me. In terms of number of patients in the hospital, it's probably a couple of hundred. In terms of team members, I would say, you know, that's tougher to answer. You know, as we -- as you know we're a large institution, and we have literally thousands and thousands of team members spread across the state. So it's hard to say exactly how many of our team members have been directly infected or impacted by it.

CAMEROTA: The reason I ask, is because you know, there are these emotional tweets coming out from some of the ER doctors at Hackensack about how they're having to care for their colleagues. I mean, we're seeing this at hospitals everywhere. This is not unique, obviously, to Hackensack, but one that got our attention was that an ER doctor is having to intubate one of his colleagues, another ER doctor, I'll just read it to you.

He says, "I intubated my colleague today, a young, healthy ER doc just like me. This is what I learned. Number one, as scared as I was, I knew that I owed it to my colleague to be calm, focused and collected. We've trained for this and with a little courage and vulnerability, we can meet any challenge. When it's over, it's OK to be human. It's OK to show emotion. For in doing so, we show that we care, we grief, we love.

In the end, our love and service to one another may very well be the thing that gets us through." What is it like for all of these colleagues watching their colleagues go down and having to do things like intubate them?

UNDERWOOD: You know, I mean, you know, it is scary. I mean, it's a scary thing. And I've said this before, I mean, you know, we're fighting two fights here as a nation and as a profession. We're fighting the virus itself, but we're also fighting fear and the human elements of it.


You know, in terms of intubating colleagues and team members, I think, you know, it comes back to the notion within the profession that we really don't want to be taking care of our family. We really don't want to be taking care of our friends if we can possibly avoid it because to the extent possible, we want to maintain that degree of separation and that objectivity so that we can optimally perform.

And so specifically, you know, this case was a decision that, you know, the individual physician made, and I respect that. You know, in terms of the emotional elements, I mean, you know, we're all going through this together. And so everyone --


UNDERWOOD: We treat --


UNDERWOOD: Is a member of our community, has family, has friends, and so well, it can be particularly scary when you see somebody in your own department or in your own institution as a patient. You know, we're going through the same things with each and every patient that we take care of because we live in the communities that we work in. CAMEROTA: Yes, I mean, I always thought that you weren't supposed to

take care of family members, and I guess that would extend to colleagues. But it sounds like there isn't a choice right now because it is all hands on deck. And when a colleague gets terribly sick, then, of course, the ER doc who knows him or her well has to do it. One more question for you, Dr. Underwood, on that front.

"The Wall Street Journal" is reporting this morning that New York Langone Hospital has sent an e-mail to doctors telling them that it is, quote, "time to think more critically about who they intubate." Meaning, that they will not be able to do this for everyone. They won't basically have enough supplies at some point, enough ventilators. Are you -- is your hospital at that point as well?

UNDERWOOD: You know, I think it's an interesting e-mail and, you know, I haven't seen it so I can't comment specifically to it. You know, but I have to say too, in terms of how we allocate and deploy health care resources, we're always thinking along these lines. Which patients would benefit the most from which specific treatments and interventions and how best to customize and tailor the care we deliver to everybody.

And so, for instance, if we have an elderly patient who comes in with, let's say, end-stage dementia, and they're critically ill, under ordinary circumstances, we would have conversations with family, with the patient if they had capacity, with a healthcare proxy to better understand what their wishes in life were and what level of intervention they would have wanted.

And so, I look at this as something that is sort of parallel, although the circumstances are certainly unique.

CAMEROTA: Yes, I know I think you're right. I mean, they said that these guidelines already existed, as you say. Obviously, these ethical choices are being made all the time. They're just reminding them now, they're reminding the doctors now that now is the time to start having some of those conversations. But Dr. Joseph Underwood, we really appreciate you letting us know what's happening at Hackensack Medical Center today. We'll speak to you again.

UNDERWOOD: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: Paramedics are also risking their own lives to help people with symptoms of coronavirus. So one New York paramedic is going to share her story, next.



BERMAN: For paramedics in New York City, it is non-stop right now. The FDNY says it is experiencing a 50 percent surge of 911 calls per day. One of the busiest parts of the city is the area surrounding Elmhurst Hospital in Queens. FDNY paramedic Madelyn Higueros answers calls in that area. Her husband and son are also paramedics, and her husband has tested positive for coronavirus. And Madelyn joins me now. Madelyn, thanks so much. I don't know where to begin with you because you're getting it from every direction. So, let me just start by saying thank you, and then just merely asking me to -- you know, what have these days been like? What have the calls been like?

MADELYN HIGUEROS, FDNY PARAMEDIC: It's so busy. And that's all I can say, it's just extra busy. If we were doing ten calls a day, we're doing almost 20 a day. It's just that busy nowadays.

BERMAN: And they're calling and saying what?

HIGUEROS: Well, pretty much everybody is calling with the same symptoms, fever, cough, a lot of them are nowadays cardiac arrest. So we're doing -- my last day on, I know there was -- simultaneously there was about five cardiac arrests at the same time. So that's a lot. At once, in one borough, in one area, that's extremely a lot.

BERMAN: It is extremely a lot. And you're dealing with this every minute, every day, you're on the job and when you're not on the job now, your husband has tested positive. Tell us about that.

HIGUEROS: So maybe about some time last week, he came down with the symptoms, you know, he also responds in the same area, he's also at Elmhurst, and he started with the cough, a fever, the body aches, your typical symptoms that have been going on, and now he's quarantined. He's away from the house because I have the kids and I can't risk the kids being affected neither. So it's hard. It's very difficult. I mean, like I said before, call volume is just ridiculous. It's the way we handle stuff, it's one after another after another. You know, we were out of equipment, we don't have enough personal equipment.


Now the Fire Department is telling us if we use those personal equipment, if it's not on a call, that's -- we're using nebulizers or it's a cardiac arrest, that they're going to penalize us for trying to take protective measures for us not to bring it home, not to get it to our other co-workers, for us not to infect everybody else. They're trying to penalize us for not being -- for using the N95s, which is, I think, it's to the extreme now.

BERMAN: Have you been tested?

HIGUEROS: I haven't been tested. I've been asymptomatic throughout, which, thank God, but all of my partners, they're all positive. Most of my station -- I work in Astoria, Elmhurst area and most of them are positive. Most of the station is out with symptoms, the call volume is ridiculous. The ones that are still working, we're so tired. We are extremely tired.

We're working over 16 hours a day, today I'm actually off, so thank God I got some time to recuperate. But you know, I'm dealing with my kids now and I'm doing the mommy things.

BERMAN: Well, so happy you have a day off, it sounds like you need it. Don't you think you should be tested if your husband has tested positive, if all your partners have tested positive? The station you're talking about, if so many people there have tested positive, don't you think you should be tested? What is the department telling you?

HIGUEROS: Of course, but the department is not helping us with that. They're not giving us any tests. They're not saying, hey, you know what? It seems like everybody around you is, let's look out for our workers. They're not doing that. So the reason why people know they're positive is because they go to their private doctors, and they're getting tested, they have to pay to get tested, and that's how they figure out how many numbers there are with people that are testing positive.

It's not because of the partners testing us, it's because people are going out on their own to get tested. And if you're not symptomatic like I, then you're not really getting tested at all.

BERMAN: Look, what do you want people to know about your protective equipment, about what you're being given, about what you're using? What do people need to know about that?

HIGUEROS: Well, just like everybody else, every other healthcare worker out there, the nurses, the doctors, we need our personal equipment, we need our protective equipment, we need our goggles, we need our N95, our gowns, we need everything to make sure we're safe, to make sure you're safe, to make sure nobody else is getting infected or at least try to minimize the exposure rate.

I mean, there are people that still call for minimal things, and if you don't need an ambulance, please don't call. I let them know, I say, listen, if you're going to go to the hospital right now, you might be a low priority. You're going to sit there and wait for hours and hours. And some people like, hey, I'll sit there and wait. I don't know why? But they do.

But for the most part like I said before, there is a lot of cardiac arrest recently in the area. And I don't know if those are being accounted for, for people that are dying from coronavirus honestly. I don't know if those numbers are being added into everything because when we get there, usually the symptoms are also fever, cough, prior to them being in cardiac arrest.

So by the time we get there, you know, we have to pronounce them and leave them at home, then that's what we have to do, but those numbers are -- I'm not sure if they're being accounted for with all these deaths, and it's a lot of them.

BERMAN: Listen, I've got to let you go. You sound very courageous and we thank you for all your efforts.

HIGUEROS: Thank you --

BERMAN: But you also sound very frustrated. Is it safe to say that, that's true? HIGUEROS: It's just -- it's just busy, it's busy, it's -- you know,

it's just -- we appreciate the people that are out there and they give us a thank you. A little word goes a long way for us right now. You know, there is people that donate food for us at the stations, we appreciate that very much because we can't go out there -- and hey, let me go to the store, let me order food because everything is closed.

So, we just run job after job and we do appreciate the people, the New Yorkers, everybody. They're out there. We're here for you.

BERMAN: Well, let me as a New Yorker, a current New Yorker at least, say to you, Madelyn Higueros, thank you, thank you for what you're doing. We really appreciate it and, please send our love to your husband as he recuperates.

HIGUEROS: Thank you. I hope this really goes out there and take parity with Mayor de Blasio, we're worth it. Thank you.

BERMAN: Thanks Madelyn, appreciate it. NEW DAY continues right now.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This needs to be federal guidance. It may look like two cases today that become 20, that become 200, that become 2,000.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): Please come help us in New York now. We need relief for nurses who are working 12-hour shifts.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are playing whack-a-mole, there are other places that are going to come up and be a problem.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I'm out there literally every day and all night scouring the globe to try to find the necessary life-saving equipment that we need.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It feels like coronavirus.