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South Florida Under Stay-At-Home Order As Cases Grow; Coronavirus Deaths in U.S. Surpasses 3,000; CDC May Recommend Wearing Masks for U.S. Resident Outside of Home; Detroit's Convention Center to Become Makeshift Hospital. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired March 31, 2020 - 08:00   ET



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They are literally every day and all night scouring the globe to try to find the necessary lifesaving equipment that we need.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It feels like coronavirus is everywhere. We need everyone at home to hold the line. Stay at home. Buy us time.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. It's Tuesday, March 31st, 8:00 in the east.

And as of this morning, coronavirus deaths in the United States have surpassed 3,000. And according to the country's leading health experts, including the White House task force, this is really just the beginning. Yesterday was the deadliest day yet with more than 550 deaths reported. There are now more than 160,000 cases in the country, more than 1,200 people in New York alone have now died. The governors of New York and California making urgent appeals for help. Governor Cuomo says this state needs 1 million more workers to tackle the crisis.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: John, battle on the front lines is still desperate. There is still mounting frustration about equipment shortages. Healthcare workers are still getting sick, which means they cannot take care of the influx of patients. A trauma physician in Miami tells CNN, quote, "We are descending into chaos." This morning, "The Wall Street Journal" reports that one New York hospital is beginning to advise doctors to think more critically about which patients get ventilators. In other words, they're preparing for rationing. And 78 percent of Americans are at stay at home orders. This is after Maryland, Virginia, and Arizona issued new directives on Monday. Some states like Florida have resisted statewide orders, despite Miami becoming a new hot spot along with Detroit and New Orleans. BERMAN: Joining us now, CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay

Gupta and Dr. Rochelle Walensky, chief of infectious diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital. That does not look like Dr. Walensky. We'll figure that out in just a second. There we go. There's Dr. Walensky right there, a much more familiar face. Dr. Walensky, thank you very much for being with us. Sit tight so we can make sure you are in fact you and haven't grown a gray beard.

Sanjay, I want to start with you on where we are this morning. The highest number of deaths we have seen in one day, more than 550, the case number has spiked in this country, as we knew it would. But we're still told we're a week or so way from the peak, at least in New York City. What should Americans take away from this this morning?

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Look, if you look at these numbers and you also look at the pace of the numbers in terms of how fast they're growing, you're seeing that in New York, some good news perhaps, that it's starting to slow down a little bit. It is hard to read too much into the numbers in these early trends. You want to make sure that continues over the next several days. But the rest of the United States, John, has actually surpassed New York, though, in terms of the doubling time. So that's something that we're paying attention to.

You talk about these peaks, because we have such a sort of patchwork around the country in terms of when these various measures have been put into place, you talk about a week or two in New York to see the peak, perhaps. Again, those are just models. But down in Florida, it could be a few weeks until after that. And in other places around the country, the same sort of thing.

So lots of different things that are being paid attention to. But also all drives into this question about resources. People are going to need these personal protective equipment, these ventilators, these hospital beds, these ICU beds, perhaps at slightly different times, but they all want to be prepared now, understandably, John. So that's part of what we're facing as well.

CAMEROTA: Dr. Walensky, what are you looking at most this morning?

DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, CHIEF, DIVISION OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES, MASSACHUSETTS GENERAL HOSPITAL: Thank you. We are expecting a peak somewhere in mid-April. I think a lot of places around the country are expecting a peak around mid-April. I want to remind people to manage the expectations as to where we are. It takes about five days for people once they are exposed to develop even mild symptoms and maybe even five to 10 days after that to develop severe symptoms requiring hospitalization. So the people that we're seeing come into the hospital and even the ICUs now probably got infected about a week or two ago.

When I look at Massachusetts, we had a stay at home advisory starting about a week ago. So we actually haven't seen yet the real benefit of some of these social distancing measures and stay at home advisories that we have imposed. And I'm really hoping that in the next week or so, week or two, that we can start seeing some downward turns based on the measures that we have taken in the last couple of weeks.

BERMAN: And Sanjay, there is some evidence that on the west coast, where they were earlier in some of these social distancing measures, there are some early signs that it has been effective.

GUPTA: Yes, I mean, I think there are some early signs. It can be difficult, as Dr. Walensky mentioned, to sort of see that impact. It's sort of like looking at a gigantic ship in the ocean that is making some changes, and it takes a while to actually see those changes happen to the ship in the water.

But you do see evidence of it in other countries around the world, John, in terms of the impact of these mitigation strategies. You look at Germany, for example, compared to Italy. The fatality rates in Germany I think are around one percent, Italy around 11 percent. Some of that has to do with early testing, some of that has to do with the social distancing measures. A lot of different things play into that. But I think there is evidence that it works, there is evidence that it can break the chain of transmission.

One thing I want to mention, and I think Dr. Walensky alluded to this, is that the virus is a bad virus. It's lethal, more lethal than the flu, it's more contagious than the flu. But I think part of the reason we see these death rates as high as they are in some places is because of the strain on the medical system as well. So those two things sort of are driving that simultaneously.

CAMEROTA: Dr. Walensky, where are we with treatment today? We have begun to very slowly interview some patients who have had some access to some of those malaria drugs. I know it is just experimental at the moment, they have been in clinical trials, but they seem promising. Where are we today with those?

WALENSKY: Yes, it's really hard to tell. Most of the data that we have, as you suggest, Alisyn, is really anecdotal. This person got this drug and did get better. Another person might have gotten the drug and did not. So we really need these clinical trials to really inform whether the drugs that people are getting are actually doing good.

I want to remind people that we have supportive care in the hospital. We can give people oxygen. We can still intubate people. But what we don't have a magic bullet for this disease. And so the best thing that we can do is prevent infection, and that's really why social distancing and the mitigation strategies are so very critical, because while we can provide the supportive care, we really not yet know whether hydroxychloroquine will work, Remdesivir will work, convalescent serum will work. There are a lot of strategies that are being deployed and that are being studied, but right now our evidence of what works is truly anecdotal.

BERMAN: Sanjay, I have a feeling that people are going to wake up this morning, and the one piece of news or information that will cause them to raise their eyebrow the highest is on the idea of masks and whether or not they should be wearing masks. "The Washington Report" reported overnight that officials at the CDC are considering altering the official guidance to encourage people to take measures to cover their faces. The new guidance would make clear that the general public should not use medical masks, instead the recommendation under consideration calls for using do it yourself cloth coverings. So maybe, yes, now, wear masks, which is different, let's be honest, it's different than what people were being told three weeks ago, correct?

GUPTA: Yes, no question. And, look, to be clear, the world health organization and the CDC still advising against it, saying it may lull people into a false sense of security. It may make them less disciplined about social distancing. But I think here is the way to look at it. First of all, not medical masks, as you mentioned, because obviously everyone knows those are in short supply, but it is more this idea that we know that this is spreading, this virus is spreading in the community. We know that there are a lot of people who don't have much in the way of symptoms or really no symptoms who could be spreading it. So when you think about these masks, it is more to prevent people from spreading the virus as opposed to protecting them from getting it, if that makes sense to people.

And because we know it is probably spread much further than we realize, that would be the intent of possibly suggesting these cloth masks just to try and reduce the amount of virus that's getting out into the environment. Again, World Health Organization, CDC in this country advising against it, but we know the China CDC, for example, recommended it early on in Wuhan. Was it part of their strategy that was successful? We don't know for sure. But, John, I think we may get there at this point. I think there is enough discussions going on. I've heard from my sources that that recommendation may come out at least for a short period of time.

CAMEROTA: Dr. Walensky, I see you nodding. Do you think we should start wearing homemade masks right now?

WALENSKY: I think one of the trickiest things about what the last month has looked like is the revisiting of policies. And I want to really convey that the revisiting of policies is not just because people are changing their minds, but is really intended to keep up with the changing dynamics of this disease. I want to reiterate what Sanjay has said, which is policy to wear a mask outside the house is not a ticket to go outside the house. Really the first priority should be the quarantining and the stay at home advisory.


If you need to go out, if you're out for groceries or whatnot, then I can see a place that we would get to where there is so much potential disease out there, so much asymptomatic disease out there, that the CDC would go ahead and advise.

BERMAN: Just to be clear, four weeks ago, the instructions, you don't have to wear a mask was because people were concerned about getting it. There were only very few reports of it being in the United States. People thought that maybe wearing a mask would keep them from getting it. Now it is here. Now it is here. And so the mask directions may to be keep you, if you have it, from spreading it.

WALENSKY: Exactly.

BERMAN: Sanjay, another piece of information that came to light overnight, and this is something you've talked about, but Dr. Anthony Fauci was asked whether or not he expected coronavirus to come back. He was asked in the fall. I don't know if it's even going to go away before the fall, but he was wondering if there would be another spike of cases in the fall, and he indicated that he does think that this will be seasonal, but it will be different in how we react in the fall. What does this all mean?

GUPTA: I think Dr. Fauci, he's sort of hinted at this for some time, but I think as we've watched the number of people who have contracted the virus in the southern hemisphere of the world and the spread of the virus in the southern hemisphere of the world, I think what his point is that, look, as the weather cooled over there, we've started to see increased spread. That might mean as the weather warms here, we'll see less spread.

Acutely in the short-term that may provide a little bit of relief as we're all going through this. But, as you point out, it also means that it is likely to come back as the weather gets cooler. I think what Dr. Fauci is hoping for is by that time, in the fall, maybe we'll get another shot at getting the testing right, at least doing a better job testing earlier, being able to isolate people who test positive, tracing their social contacts, and really trying to curb the spread of this.

Maybe, again, as Dr. Walensky was talking about, maybe one of the therapeutics that are now being trialed, still just anecdotal evidence, but maybe by that point we'll have better evidence. We're not going to a vaccine likely by that point, almost assuredly not, but perhaps a new drug, perhaps better testing, maybe we're better prepared the second time around.

CAMEROTA: First we have to get through the spring, and we really appreciate both of you. Dr. Gupta, Dr. Walensky, thank you both very much for all of the latest information helping us understand it this morning.

WALENSKY: Thank you so much.

CAMEROTA: The number of coronavirus cases in Michigan has grown to nearly 6,500. That's behind only New York and New Jersey. The Army Corps of Engineers and National Guard troops are setting up a makeshift field hospital right now at Detroit's Convention Center. And that's where we find CNN's Ryan Young. He is live in Detroit for us. So what's the plan, Ryan?

RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Alisyn. Look, this is known as the Motor City. Behind us, this is where the auto shows was going to be. But that's been canceled. The TCF Center is going to be turned into a field hospital. We have been talking to people all throughout this community who have been hit particularly hard by this. in fact, we just finished talking to an emergency room E.R. nurse who has been working for last 20 years and said she's never seen anything like this before. She works at the Henry Ford Center. She said people are coming in, sicker than what they initially thought, especially the younger people who are walking in, who are sort of surprised that their cough then turns into COVID-19. In fact, take a listen to some of her words she just gave us in the last hour.


MICHELLE TURNER, NURSE AT HENRY FORD HOSPITAL E.R.: Up until about a week ago I thought, how much of this is the hype and this and that, until you start seeing it come in and how real and how sick people can get with this. And it is not just like we're seeing young people as well get very ill with this.


YOUNG: Alisyn, this is really difficult. In fact, the nurse was telling us that one of the things that stands out to her is the separation between the patient and families. Of course, when someone gets sick with this, their families want to rush to the hospital and surround them and be with them. But with this sort of virus, you can't do that. And when you talk about the cases here, nearly 6,500, more than 180 people have died so far.

And just last night, in the city of Detroit, the superintendent of schools put out a tweet that was really sobering. They lost two employees and three parents. And that spreads out across the school system here. So people are really heartbroken. The first responders are being hit hard. The chief of police here has tested positive for the coronavirus, and a detective lost his life in a battle with the same virus.

So you hear over and over again throughout this community, people are trying to take steps to do the social distancing, but at this point, in a city with the hot spot, the numbers continue to grow. In fact yesterday, when President Trump announced that more ventilators were on the way, people who work in this area were glad to hear that, but they believe they'll need more. And of course with the field hospital opening behind us, more likely we'll see more cases in the next few days. Alisyn?

CAMEROTA: And Ryan, as you point out, people can't go visit their sick loved ones, and that means that some of those loved ones are dying alone.


And that has been so heart breaking for so many families.

Ryan, thanks for letting us know what is happening there in Detroit.

Another hot spot is South Florida, which is now under a stay at home order. But are people heeding that? We talk to an infectious disease doctor in the state next.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Florida's governor has now issued a state at home order for south Florida. Coronavirus cases in the state have now spiked to almost 5,500 and 70 people died. A major concern in Florida is the state's vulnerable elderly population.

Joining us now is Dr. J. Glenn Morris Jr., professor of infectious diseases and director of the Emerging Pathogens Institute at the University of Florida.

Dr. Morris, thank you for being with us this morning.

How much sense does it make for a state like Florida to issue stay at home orders in certain parts but not other parts?

DR. J. GLENN MORRIS, JR., DIRECTOR OF EMERGING PATHOGENS INSTITUTE, UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA: Well, again, Florida is a very large state, with -- covers a lot of territory with a lot of people.

Again, University of Florida, we're looking at North Central Florida, we have been doing community-based testing. Just as one example, this past week, we were doing aggressive testing, drive through testing in The Villages, which is probably one of the largest health developments, 55-plus persons in the country.


And what was interesting is that we screened about 1,400 individuals who were asymptomatic, and of those, only two were positive. And both of them had a history of recent travel from another part of the country. We did have around 900 symptomatic persons, we did have 25 positives.

But, again what it suggests is that at least for the villages and areas of north Florida, we are at the very beginning of the epidemic curve, just as things are getting under way. This contrasts with what they're seeing in Miami, where they are further along the epidemic curve, where clearly they are reaching a point where hospitals are stressed, and they are encountering major difficulties.

And so, again, fortunately, in the villages, there has been a strong emphasis on social distancing, and we are hopeful that by, if you will, catching it early we may be able to reduce the overall impact within that community.

One of the problems we have at this point, however, is that to get back to an old topic, we are basically running out of supplies to do any further testing. And so, rather than being able to fine-tune the response, we are left sort of flying blind. And I think under the circumstances, in terms of state wide orders, it needs to be recognized that each part of the state is different. And they're on different places of the epidemic curve.

BERMAN: Understood. It's interesting what you're saying, though, if you want to rely on testing to slow the spread or at least identify the spread, if you run out of tests, you can't use testing there. That's something we heard.

We had Governor Larry Hogan on before, Governor Steve Bullock of Montana. As much testing, as much as has ramped up in this country, we still need more supplies there.

Obviously, Florida, the concern is, you talked about The Villages, the concern is for the older population in the state. It is an older population in the state.

Harvard did a study of Florida right now, and found that Florida's hospitals will face bed shortages under various projected rates of spread from 6 to 18 months even in the best case scenario, 20 percent of Florida's adults needing hospitalizations over 18 months, hospitals will be close to 100 percent capacity. Basically the study is saying, you know, if this spreads the way, we think it will, that Florida could run out of beds.

How much of a concern is that to you?

MORRIS: It's a major concern and I can tell you in our medical center near Gainesville, the University of Florida, we are already looking at very carefully at the bed situation and, again, back to a common theme, we are starting to get very concerned about availability of supplies, simple things like PPE, we're not in a crisis situation. Want to say in New York and New Orleans, but when we start counting, you know, the number of PPE -- the amount of PPE we have available, and looking at how far we potentially are going to have to go, this is becoming a major concern.

Again, as I said, I think the key really are being able to put the social distancing and other interventions in place early enough that you hopefully stop the spread. And as I said, because we were able to do testing in this one community, we're hopeful that at least there we will be able to have an impact.

Again, I think hopefully throughout the north Florida area, because there has been an increasing emphasis on the social distancing, we will be able to slow things down enough that we'll be able to keep control of the situation.

BERMAN: Let's hope you're right. We wish you the best of luck going forward and thank you for the work that you're doing, Doctor.

MORRIS: Thank you.

BERMAN: So healthcare worker in New York City is trying to help her sister as she fights for her life. She shares her story next.



CAMEROTA: One New York City healthcare worker is sharing her story about how coronavirus is impacting her own family. Her sister is a 30- year-old teacher in Brooklyn and she came down with coronavirus and has spent the past week fighting for her life in the hospital.

Joining us now is Mia Mungin, her sister Rana is on a ventilator at New York's Mount Sinai Hospital. Mia, we are so happy to see you, and we get the sense that maybe this

morning your sister is doing a little bit better. How is she? Is she still on the ventilator?

MIA MUNGIN, 30-YEAR-OLD SISTER SICK WITH CORONAVIRUS: I got some updates from the hospital about 12:00 last night. This is the best she's been, there has been some improvement, some more favorable improvement in her here, you know.

We're hoping that, you know, she could eventually become a candidate to wean. But she is still on ventilator. Every day is a struggle. We're moving in the correct direction.

CAMEROTA: I'm happy to hear that. And because she's on the ventilator, is she sedated. Can you speak to her? Have you been able to communicate with her or anything?

MUNGIN: No, she is heavily sedated. They paralyzed her, so we're unable to speak to her.

CAMEROTA: Yes, she is just 30 years old. As a healthcare worker, do you understand why -- how she got so sick?

MUNGIN: It was a communicable disease, something that was really airborne or in the droplet. And I can only speculate that I possibly, you know, infected her with it.

CAMEROTA: So you think that you had coronavirus, but I know that you and your sister had a terrible time trying to get tested for it. You were really frustrated by all the brick walls that you kept hitting and you're a healthcare worker, as we've said.

Why was it so challenging to get tested?

MUNGIN: I think some of the problems with getting tested had to do with the resources that was allowed -- that was allocated to the community. I just really believe that there was a shortage in supply. And we didn't fit the parameter and felt that in order --

CAMEROTA: What is that? I mean, what do you mean by -- by that --