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Toronto Mayor John Tory Discusses Banning All Public Events Until End of June; Agreement Reach for Passengers to Disembark from Cruise Ships off Florida's Coast; Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA), and Brother, Jason, Who's a Surgical Nurse, Discuss Need for Rural Communities to Act Now against Virus and Trump Blaming States for Not Being Prepared. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired April 2, 2020 - 14:30   ET




ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: So 91 percent of all Americans under some kind of stay-at-home order, although Georgia and Florida, it hasn't yet started. It starts tomorrow. Many of those orders lasting until the end of April, probably will last longer than that.

In Toronto, the mayor taking it two steps further, banning all public events until the end of June.

Toronto Mayor John Tory joins me now.

Mayor, your city is uniquely qualified because you had a SARS outbreak where dozens died back in 2003. Did lessons from that shape your response now?

MAYOR JOHN TORY, TORONTO, CANADA: No question about it, Anderson. We learned about how important it was to isolate people, in particular, to protect health care workers.

And it hasn't stopped us from having challenges with this new and unknown virus. But it certainly helped us. We learned lessons from it, as we're learning lessons now.

And by the way, I should say that what we see unfolding in places like New York, the United States of America, the best friends here in Canada. We know that and we've had some deaths here.

What is going on in New York is much more disconcerting than other places and we extend sympathies to all the people going through that, including a lot of workers and frontline responders who are trying to take such good care of people in those cities.

COOPER: What is the situation in Canada? Is it up to municipalities to decide whether or not to have stay-at-home orders? Is it a countrywide order?

TORY: Canada, I guess, like the United States, has a complicated or seemingly complicated system of government. It's a series of shared responsibilities.

But what we've done here in Toronto, including, as you mentioned, by cancelling events, is trying to be honest and straightforward and transparent with people.

We have imposed all the measures we can, including requiring the isolation of people identified as having by orders, isolation of people as having the virus or people in close contact with them. That's something that's done by order, which can be done locally.

There are other things done by provinces, like states, and that has included declaring essential and non-essential businesses. And we're certainly in favor of more businesses being declared non-essential. So fewer people will come to work.

And with the events, we were just being honest with people and straightforward to say, look, this thing is not over in time for the Easter egg hunt or Passover. We are going to have to hunker down here.

We have implemented measures we said were on a 12-week program to save lives and to stop a situation from occurring here as has happened elsewhere, and that we're just being straightforward and saying these events.

And even if this has turned the corner, the last thing we're going to do is have a celebration, which is one of our most important events celebrating human rights and so on, gathering a million people together on the street, which happens, blessedly. That's not the right way to go about easing back into life as we treasure it.

We were just being straightforward about it and people accepted it being a sensible thing to do.

COOPER: It makes sense. Even as things get better, you're still not going to want huge numbers of people together, just to, at risk of flaring up again.


Mayor John Tory, from Toronto, appreciate it. It's a great city. And I wish all of your citizens the best.

And with the standoff between Florida and the cruise ships carrying sick passenger. We'll take you there.

Plus, a warning from the White House task force to rural America: You have to prepare. The question is, are governors, people, is everybody listening. I'll speak with a nurse in Iowa.



COOPER: A final agreement may be close for those cruise ships carrying critical passengers with coronavirus near Florida's coast. Four people died and at least eight people tested positive for coronavirus. We're hearing today from the Florida commissioner expressing major

frustration with the federal government's lack of action in dealing with the situation.

They tell CNN this is a, quote, "international humanitarian crisis."

Let's go to CNN's Rosa Flores in Fort Lauderdale.

So what are you hearing on the possible final agreement between Florida officials and the cruise lines?

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Anderson, this tweet literally just crossed as you were tossing to me. This is from the mayor of Fort Lauderdale, saying, "The Coast Guard, Homeland Security, health officials and Broward County have reached a decision to allow the cruise ships to dock at Port Everglades, ending a journey in which many on board became ill and showed symptoms of COVID-19."

This is great news for these individuals who have been sitting just offshore here in Florida waiting for this decision to come down.

This is what we know of what's going to happen once they get here. And this is from Broward County commissioners, who we've been in contact with. They say individuals who are healthy will be allowed to disembark. Individuals who are sick or still have symptoms will stay on the ship and they will get treated on the ship. Individuals who need immediate medical attention will be allowed to be taken to hospitals.

To avoid community spread, we're told that the individuals who will be allowed to disembark will be loaded on to private buses and driven to airports. They will not be allowed to linger at the airport. They will board charter planes and then head out towards their destination.

We're also learning more from these Broward County commissioners as they were negotiating and debating with the cruise lines more about the passengers on board.

We know that 11 people on board who tested for COVID-19, nine individuals tested positive. We have been reporting that four individuals on board had died but we didn't know causes of death.

Now we do, according to the Broward County commissioners, we understand that two individuals tested positive for COVID-19. An individual had a heart attack. And then there was a preexisting condition.

On board, 311 Americans. And 46 states are represented. And there are individuals from countries like France, Germany, Australia, Sweden, Ireland, Mexico.

So, Anderson, we're expecting, at some point today, that, on the horizon, we're going to see this ship come up to the docks behind me and at least some of these people will be able to disembark.

COOPER: So do we know, will those who don't have symptoms, are they going to be tested or, at the very least, are people who are sent to airports, are they going to be given masks to wear in order to go home? Because obviously, we know just because somebody doesn't have symptoms doesn't mean they're not already infected.

FLORES: You're absolutely right. And that's, of course, one of the fears. Asymptomatic individuals who might be spreading the virus.

What we understand from the Broward County commissioners that we've been in contact with is the way they're going to control possible community spread here in Broward County is by loading these individuals directly onto private buses. They're not going to linger. They're not going to stop between here and the airport.

There's already charter flights that are arranged. And once these individuals arrive to the airport, they're not going to linger. They're not going to be hanging out at the airport. They're immediately going to be boarding these flights and heading out to their destinations.

We understand that there's at least 200 passengers that would require at least three legs to their flight in order for them to get home. Those arrangements are being made.

All the officials we've been talking to are concerned about community spread and that's why it's taken this long to come up with an agreement with the cruise line because they were wanting to make sure that safety and security was paramount to make sure that the coronavirus didn't spread here in Broward County.

COOPER: Right. Obviously, the global community spread is of concern, so I hope at least they get them masks to fly with.

Rosa Flores, thank you very much. I appreciate it.

Up next, Pennsylvania Congresswoman Chrissy Houlahan and her brother, who's a nurse, join me live as they warn that rural communities need to act now, even if they don't have a major outbreak. The scientists have been saying that for quite some time.


An update on our colleague, Chris Cuomo, who tested positive, and called into his brother's news conference today.


COOPER: So 91 percent of Americans are under orders to stay home or will be soon in the case of Georgia and Florida. Just 11 states have no such order in place. Oklahoma only applies to its vulnerable population.

These orders are part of an effort to slow down the coronavirus and help buy hospitals time and space as officials see emerging hot spots outside of New York.

I want to bring in Democratic Congressman Chrissy Houlahan, of Pennsylvania, and her brother, Jason Jampoler, a surgical nurse at Waverly Medical Center in Iowa.

Congresswoman, I'll start with you.

I feel like you can offer perspective on some of this. You're a veteran and entrepreneur. Your brother is giving you insights into what he's seeing on the front lines. What does Pennsylvania need right now?

REP. CHRISSY HOULAHAN (D-PA): We're seeing what's coming our way and seeing from what's happening up the road in New York and nearby in New Jersey. And we know what's happening and what's happening in those communities is that we're in trouble. We're in the crosshairs or shortly will be.


We, in our community, have been struggling aggressively for the last several weeks to get the word out that it's coming, we have the PPE and ventilators we need to be prepared.

As a member of Congress, I've been sounding the alarm to say it's coming to a theater near you. It's so important for us to understand we need a whole government, whole nation response.

Sadly, we're behind and we need to make sure we're engaging all aspects of the government right now to make sure we put the first responders in the position that they can be when it comes to them.

COOPER: Pennsylvania just issued or just went into place yesterday in a statewide stay-at-home order.

Jason, you're a surgical nurse in Iowa. The state has a little more 500 known cases. But we know about the problems of testing nationwide so we don't know how many cases there are in Iowa.

There's not -- as far as -- correct me if I'm wrong, there's no statewide stay-at-home order in Iowa, which is against all scientific advice. All the scientists say this should be a nationwide effort. What are you seeing on the front lines?

JASON JAMPOLER, BROTHER OF REP. CHRISSY HOULAHAN: It's true. Unfortunately, Iowa has not joined the rest of the nation in stay-at- home orders. We're just now seeing, like Pennsylvania, like my sister's district, start this outbreak.

We're immensely grateful to those people working so hard. Spread of the virus is local and giving us good information and helping us with the lessons that they've learned.

So, this is something that right now we're very much going toward and concerned about and trying to husband our resources, make sure everybody works together.

COOPER: Congresswoman, this morning, President Trump seemed to put the onus on the states to get the supplies and equipment he needs. He writes, in part, that "some states have insatiable appetites and are never satisfied. Remember, we are a backup for them. The complainers should have been stocked up and ready long before this crisis hit."

I wonder what your reaction is to that.

HOULAHAN: I find that to be disappointing and irresponsible. What ends up happening in a situation like that is everybody becomes a hoarder, right? Everybody is out for their own best interest in their communities and in their states.

What we need is our national government, our federal government to help guide us through this. We need our federal and national government to figure out where the resources are coming from and to more aggressively activate the defense procurement act.

Different communities will be affected differently by this but we don't need it to be the wild, wild west, which is what has become.

COOPER: Jason, the White House task force is worried that rural areas could be the next hot spots because they are underestimating their case numbers.

I talked to Dr. Fauci about this last week during our town hall and he said it's essential in states that think they don't have a big problem, it's essential that they are doing a lot of testing to do contact tracing for anybody who does have the time when they think they don't have a large number of people to prepare and get testing in place.

Are You seeing widespread testing in Iowa?

JAMPOLER: Not seeing the level offering that I would desire. We are testing those who present and we're trying to make sure that everybody who exhibits worrisome symptoms do get tested and are isolated and are doing the kinds of things that we've been asking them to do.

I think that doctor is absolutely correct. I don't think you don't have a problem. It's not because you don't have the problem. It's because you don't have good data. And we're fighting very hard to provide that data and make sure that we're able to use it effectively.

COOPER: Jason Jampoler, I really so appreciative of all your efforts and keep at it.

Congresswoman Houlahan, thank you for talking with us. Really appreciate it.

HOULAHAN: Thank you. Thank you very much for having us.

COOPER: It's great to have you both.


JAMPOLER: thank you.


COOPER: More than six million additional people filed for employment in the last week. Now we're learning those stimulus checks that Americans are anxiously awaiting could take months to get to some people.


COOPER: Amid the numbers of coronavirus, it's important to remember that real families are experiencing national heartbreak, some not even getting a chance to say good-bye to loved ones.

Conrad Buchanan was a 39-year-old D.J. in Florida. His wife, Nicole, said her husband had no underlying health issues. He started to feel sick and he was admitted to the hospital less than two weeks ago. That was the last time she ever saw her husband.

Their 12-year-old daughter, Skye, told CNN about the special bond she had with her dad.


SKYE BUCHANAN, FATHER DIED OF CORONAVIRUS: He would do ballet with me as ballet sometimes. I remember I was trying to take it really seriously and my dad dropped me and I got so upset. But then I started having fun and we did this funny lift and it was really funny.

We just like shared everything. He brought me to school, he brought me to ballet. Like he was my everything.



COOPER: He was her everything.

Friends of the family have set up a GoFundMe page if you would like to donate to the family.