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Trump Warns Of Very Tough Two Weeks Ahead; Louisiana Governor To Extend Stay-At-Home Order Through April 30; Washington State Sees Spike In New Cases, Ranks Fifth In U.S Deaths. Aired 10-10:30a ET

Aired April 1, 2020 - 10:00   ET




POPPY HARLOW, CNN NEWSROOM: Okay, good. Good luck to you guys. Superintendent McCombs, thanks for your time.

MCCOMBS: Thank you so much, Poppy.

HARLOW: Top of the hour, good morning, everyone, I'm Poppy Harlow.


Listen, we know you're used to bad news now, but this is a sign of just how sobering the next two weeks could be for this country. Under the best case scenario, where safety guidelines, mind you, are followed, the White House says this country could still see up to 240,000 deaths from the coronavirus.

HARLOW: The president being straightforward with this warning yesterday on a day where 830 deaths were reported, the most reported in a single day so far. Total deaths now close to 4,000 across the country. And with that warning from the federal government, the worst is still yet to come.

States are sounding their own alarm. Governors begging the federal government for more supplies, more ventilators, while the president says nearly 10,000 are being held back because the surge is coming.

SCIUTTO: Part of that hold-up this morning, companies say they're just not getting guidance from the federal government on where to send critical supplies after they were told by the government to make the equipment. Where does it go now?

And now staying at home, at least 80 percent of Americans, imagine that, eight in ten, the question on many of their minds though is how much longer and will the shutdown soon go nationwide? Those are pictures live from Times Square. You never see it like that.

Let's begin here in New York or in New York, rather, with CNN National Correspondent Brynn Gingras. Brynn, tell us what you're seeing there. You have been following the experience of a hospital up there throughout. Tell us what the latest is.

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Well, the latest is, listen, we have heard health officials saying it. The White House task force has been saying it. Mitigation efforts help, right. And we just have to keep pushing forward and hopefully it will flatten this curve because then that will take the stress off of hospitals, stresses like we're seeing on a daily basis here at this hospital in Elmhurst, which, of course, we know has been mentioned many times by the president, as sources say, seeing pictures of what's happening inside has had him change his tone a little bit about the entire pandemic.

Inside that hospital, I can tell you they are constantly struggling with keeping their levels of patients at the best they can, whether it means moving patients to different hospitals, taking patients that aren't coronavirus patients to the overflow at Javits, at the Comfort.

But what we're hearing is that it's not so much a volume at this particular hospital. It's more of how serious and how critical these patients coming in are, their condition. Essentially, the emergency rooms are being overflowed. People are actually having to sleep in emergency rooms because there aren't enough beds in the ICU unit. So that's why Governors, not here, but also all across the country are begging for those critical supplies, especially those ventilators, because, again, we're several weeks away from this surge. And even the mayor here in New York City says we actually will be even closer to that by the end of this week.

HARLOW: Wow, sleeping in emergency rooms. Brynn, thank you.

Florida state lawmakers and health experts are demanding that the governor, Ron DeSantis, issue a statewide shutdown, of course, as COVID spreads across the state that has so many. I think it's 1 in 5 residents are senior citizens. Our Correspondent, Rosa Flores, joins us from Florida.

And to this point, the governor has left it up to cities and counties to decide on their own. Why?

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Poppy, you're absolutely right. And Democratic leaders, the agriculture commissioner, experts, have been criticizing the governor and pressuring him to issue a statewide stay-at-home order. and the governor has maintained throughout that he has not issued one among other things because the virus has not impacted every single corner of the state. Instead, he has issued a mandatory isolation order for any air travelers coming in from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and then he later added Louisiana. And so that has added to the criticism.

What he did do was he issued a regional safer at home order that includes Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Monroe Counties. And it's no mistake because the three counties account for 63 percent of the more than 6,000 cases in the state, but it's a bit late. And that's part of the criticism too because local governments had already issued those types of stay-at-home orders by the time the governor issued a regional one. Jim, Poppy? SCIUTTO: So you got two cruise ships, they're off the coast of Florida, they have sick passengers onboard, they've got hundreds of U.S. citizens onboard, including residents of Florida. They're still being blocked from coming ashore. What's going to happen to them?

FLORES: No, that ship still does not have permission to dock. It's a huge controversy here because the passengers onboard have been pleading, posting on social media, asking the governor and the United States to open its doors so that these people can get help.


But here is where the situation is. Broward County commissioners and unified command were ultimately going to make this decision. Met for more than five hours yesterday, they tabled the issue until Thursday because they did not approve the cruise line's plan, which included that passengers without symptoms would be allowed to disembark and head home. Passengers with symptoms would be quarantined on the ship for 14 days but they also need hospital beds, Jim and Poppy, and that's where the problem is. Governor DeSantis saying that he wants to make sure there are hospital beds for Floridians here in Florida.

SCIUTTO: Rosa Flores, thanks very much.

Joining us now is Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Jimenez, the scenario that's quickly become an epicenter of the pandemic in the State of Florida.

Just a short time ago, the surgeon general of the United States, he cited the positive effect of states that have issued broad stay-at- home orders. He mentioned Washington State, he mentioned California, also talked about Italy, a country that has done this, having success flattening the curve, aggressive mitigation, he called it. Why doesn't the State of Florida have a statewide measure like this, recommendation like this?

MAYOR CARLOS JIMENEZ (R-MIAMI-DADE, FL): The State of Florida is a pretty big state, and there are a lot of counties that don't have any --

SCIUTTO: California is a big state. Washington is a big state, and they had counties that weren't affected, but the surgeon general is saying those aggressive measures save lives.

JIMENEZ: Well, in South Florida, Miami-Dade, we have taken those aggressive measures. We did that a couple weeks ago. We even -- we were one of the first to close senior centers because they're the ones that are really the most vulnerable, and so we've taken those aggressive measures here, the Southeast Florida. The Governor came down and put out an order on Monday for us, and that kind of unified all of us. So there's been some hodgepodging of that messaging that's been happening here between counties and even inside counties because some cities were doing their own things.

So, you know, the Southeast Florida region, which is the hot spot of the State of Florida, is taking very aggressive government measures. And so I think we're going to see pretty good results on that. We have good capacity on respirators, also on our beds. And so we're doing the things we have to do down here.

SCIUTTO: I wonder how that works. I mean, I have spoken to governors of other states. Louisiana, for instance, that has a state-wide order, but it says because Texas and Mississippi on both sides of it don't have it, there aren't any walls on the borders. People can come across and they still spread the disease. There are, of course, no walls between the counties of Florida. Aren't you concerned that if you don't have statewide guidance, then you can't truly control it for the residents of your county there? I wonder what your conversations are like with the governor.

JIMENEZ: My conversations with the governor are very good. I mean, I understand that the State of Florida is very diverse, and it's very different, and then there are some counties that are wide open where they have no cases whatsoever. And so measures there may not be the same measures that we take down here in South Florida. I supported his measures that folks coming from, say, New York, need to self- quarantine or self-isolate when they come down to Florida because I know that's an area which is a really hot spot.

So the governor and I speak every day and he supports the things that we're doing here. He knows of the things that we're doing here are important, we closed our beaches, we closed our parks, we closed all non-essential businesses and we did that some time ago, but, again, this is a place in Florida where it really has the larger number of cases, all of Southeast Florida is where the bulk of the problem is.

SCIUTTO: Experience of every other country in the world as those cases spread. Let me ask you about the cruise ships you have off the coast now. The governor has expressed understandable concern and what happens if those patients come ashore, that there are already potential shortages of beds, ventilators, et cetera. That said, there are 300 American citizens onboard. You've got Florida residents. What's going to happen to those people?

JIMENEZ: American citizens, I think, are going to be -- they're fine. I mean, we run the Port of Miami, and we had this situation in the port of Miami. And we have taken some of those passengers, but also, it's a growing problem and that we do have to keep our capacity for our residents here in Miami-Dade. And as the mayor of Miami-Dade, I have to make sure that we have the resources needed for our folks if this starts to get a little bit out of hand.

So it's a very difficult question. I mean, how many can you accept? And then you're going to be denying care to your own residents. And so it's a pretty difficult question. What we have been doing in Miami- Dade is we have been telling the cruise ships that they have to get medical personnel on the cruise ships and take care of most of their problems on the cruise ships.


We have been taking their healthy, even crew members, and we have been taking them to Miami International where they get on charter flights and then they can head on back home to their home countries. One of the exacerbating issues that we have is there are a lot of countries now that have basically closed their borders and we can't even fly them out, and so that's a problem. It's a very difficult situation that we're trying to make the best of.

SCIUTTO: It is a very difficult situation onboard. Mayor Jimenez, thanks so much for taking the time.

JIMENEZ: Thank you.

HARLOW: All right. With us now is Dr. Megan Ranney, emergency physician in Kent County, Rhode Island. She's also an associate professor of medicine at Brown University. Dr. Ranney, thank you for being here.


HARLOW: The numbers are just startling, and just one that struck me when I saw it across this morning is in my home State of Minnesota that 28 percent of the confirmed COVID cases are healthcare workers, 28 percent. Do you think America has a grasp -- and there's a lot more people who haven't been tested, by the way. Do you think America has a handle on how at risk all of you on the frontlines are?

RANNEY: I don't think that America yet has a handle on how at risk we are on the frontline. We are as healthcare workers, used to showing up every day to take care of our most vulnerable and sick patients. The difference now is that we don't have adequate supplies of the protective equipment that we need to keep us from getting sick. And those supplies just don't seem to be coming. Hospitals across the country are struggling to get adequate numbers of masks, gowns, gloves, and without those, we're being forced to reuse, which potentially puts us at risk. And then, if we get sick, who's there to take care of the people that come in through the door?

SCIUTTO: Yes. Dr. Anthony Fauci told me yesterday that there is active consideration of a national recommendation for members of the public to wear masks. He did say, listen, no one wants to take those masks away from healthcare workers. But I wonder, are you concerned if such a call goes out that that might reduce rather than expand what is already a limited supply of protective equipment like masks?

RANNEY: I'm tremendously concerned about that. A group of physicians and software developers, we have set up a website, to enable people to make donations of masks that they have sitting around at home or in nail salons or in laboratories to get them to frontline healthcare workers. If that recommendation goes out saying that everyone in the United States needs to wear a mask when they go to the grocery store or go for a walk, those donations are going to dry up.

And I'll say, those donations are part of what are keeping healthcare workers safe right now, because the supply chain is so frozen. So I am worried about its effects on us on the frontline.

HARLOW: The administration has decided not to reopen the ability for people to sign up for Obamacare through the exchanges. And that is despite letters written to them by the heads of major insurance companies, for example. The concern here, Doctor, is that fewer insured people means fewer people willing to go to the hospital, willing to get tests, et cetera, nervous about the bill that might come. Are you concerned that could exacerbate the outcome here?

RANNEY: Absolutely. As an emergency physician, I see people regardless of their ability to pay, but I know that people who don't have insurance put off getting care longer. They show up in my emergency department sicker. In my own state in Rhode Island, Governor Raimondo has already said that she's going to reopen the exchange so that people can sign up, so that all COVID-19-related care will be covered. But I am worried nationally that if people think they have to pay to get tested or pay to get oxygen, that they're going to wait until it's too late to show up in the E.R.s across the country.

HARLOW: And we know because of what has passed, they don't have to pay to get tested. So that's covered, so everyone should know that. But, again, going to seek care, I hear you on the greater concern. Dr. Ranney, thank you for what you're doing.

RANNEY: Thank you.

HARLOW: Well, cases of coronavirus are soaring in New Orleans right now. Critical health supplies, like ventilators and beds, could run out in New Orleans this week.

SCIUTTO: Plus, Detroit turns its massive convention center into a makeshift hospital. We're seeing communities around the country doing this. We're going to go inside.

HARLOW: Wow. And it's not just big cities. Rural communities, some without a functioning intensive care unit at all, are bracing in the middle of this crisis.



SCIUTTO: New Orleans has become a new hot spot of the coronavirus in the country. In just the last week, the number of COVID-19 patients in Louisiana hospitals statewide has doubled, so has the number of patients, and this is crucial, on ventilators, because they are in short supply.

HARLOW: Wow Ed Lavendera is back with us again this morning and he joins us from New Orleans. What is the update from just yesterday?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, there was a tremendous spike in the number of cases here, now tops more than 5,200 in the state. That was more than 1,200 that had jumped in one day. Officials here in Louisiana trying to break down and comb through those numbers to get a real sense of what was driving that. But in the meantime, what they continue to drive home here is the need to social distancing, not just here in New Orleans but across the state.

[10:20:06] There's a large number up in the northwest corner of the state, in the Shreveport, Louisiana area, that is of concern. But those numbers and the strain that is putting on the medical system here across the state is a troubling sign of what is to come here. Officials say that the worst is yet to come, that the upward trajectory of the number of cases that they'll see, they think they're two to three weeks away from seeing the spike here in the State of Louisiana. And that is coming at a great strain.

The number one issue that state officials here continue to talk about over and over again is the lack of ventilators. The governor says they have now received 292 ventilators in all, and that the president has promised an extra 150 ventilators, but those still haven't arrived. But the overall request is about 14,000 ventilators, and they say they could run out of all that by this weekend. Jim and Poppy?

HARLOW: Ed, thank you very much. Let's hope things turn there as much as they can.

In Detroit, a huge convention center there where they usually have the big international auto show is being transformed into a FEMA field as the cases rise dramatically.

SCIUTTO: Listen, cities around the country are doing this because they're preparing for being overwhelmed. CNN's Ryan Young, he joins us now from Detroit.

Ryan, you went inside that field hospital. What does it look like, because soon, hundreds, perhaps hundreds or more residents are going to have to be experiencing this?

RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, absolutely, and everyone who is working inside from the Army Corps of Engineers is from the Detroit area. And I can tell you, they thought it was part of their live hood, their job to provide this to their fellow citizens. So we walked inside yesterday and got a first-hand look at what they're doing. They're going to have 1,000 extra beds. So everyone was sort of was talking about how large this space was. And they're going to actually add negative pressure to the room to be able to vent out all the air from the inside.

But we're across the street from the hospital, guys, and I've got to tell you, when you see the jump in cases that happened just here yesterday, we're over 7,000 now. There's 259 people who have died. You can feel the pain from the healthcare workers. In fact, we talked to an E.R. doctor on the frontlines who are dealing with this on a day- to-day basis. Take a listen.


DR. JUSTIN BRIGHT, E.R. DOCTOR, HENRY FORD HOSPITAL: The physical part is tough. Like I have full physical protective gear all day long and I'm very conscious of not exposing if I don't have to, and so things like going to the bathroom or eating or drinking are really challenging thing. You have to weigh that with, look, do I want to burn (ph) this mask right now, do I want to rip off my gown right now or can I wait?

And so as we're talking, and my stomach is growling because I haven't eaten anything in probably seven hours and I barely drank anything today.


YOUNG: And you can think about just how tough this is for the members inside. They want to conserve that PPE. So what they're doing is they're trying to wear it as long as possible. That means skipping bathroom breaks, that means not eating lunch sometimes. And on top of that, they're seeing people coming in sicker and sicker. You're seeing the toll on this.

And the last thing I will tell you, when they get home, they are terrified about spreading it to their families. So some of them have started some decontamination processes before they walk in the door, even stripping down and trying to wash everything. This is having a wide ranging effect and you can start seeing it wearing on the community as a whole.

SCIUTTO: Sure. I mean, the stress levels just have to be off the charts. Ryan Young, good to have you there in Detroit. Of course, we're going to keep checking up on the situation on the ground there.

We have seen how hospitals in many big cities, such as Detroit and New York, are being overwhelmed by the pandemic. What about the hospitals already struggling in rural areas? We're going to speak to someone who works in an emergency room in Oklahoma. That's coming up.



SCIUTTO: This morning, Washington State, the first state in the U.S. to have a major coronavirus outbreak, is seeing the number of new cases spike although the surgeon general has said that social distancing measures there have made a difference.

HARLOW: Yes. Our Sara Sidner goes inside Harborview Medical Center, and it's completely revamped intensive care unit made just for COVID- 19 patients and she's with us now. Good morning, Sara.

SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you both, Jim and Poppy. We went inside of this COVID-19 ICU. It is incredible the amount of work they have done in such a short period of time. But I do want to remind everyone that this hospital is believed to be the very first hospital in America to have a patient die of COVID-19, and that was four weeks ago, actually more than a month ago. Everything has changed since then.


DR. JOHN LYNCH, HARBORVIEW/UW MEDICINE INFECTIOUS DISEASE CONTROL: It's changed how Harborview runt this (ph). SIDNER: Nurses and doctors at Seattle's Harborview Medical Center suit up to go to battle with coronavirus. They have to go through an exhaustive dressing regimen, hoods and tubes and masks and gowns just to enter a patient's room.

LYNCH: We think the greatest risk actually for healthcare workers is when they remove things that they contaminate themselves.

SIDNER: They have a checklist and a spotter helping with every step. They also have to adapt to new realities and shortages.

LYNCH: So these are what are called packer hoods. These are the hoods that hook up to these machines that filter air.

And you get cleaned inside and out so they can be reused. Because The way they were built was for one-time use.


But that's not the way -- if we did that, we would already be out of them.


They have completely revamped two -