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Coronavirus Update From Across the Country; Family Remembers Loved One Killed by Coronavirus; Fauci Beefs up Security; Record Unemployment Number Expected. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired April 2, 2020 - 06:30   ET




ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Now some numbers for you. There are now more than 216,000 known coronavirus cases in the U.S., but that number could actually be much higher given the testing shortfalls. New York remains the epicenter in the U.S., but cities, like Detroit and New Orleans are reporting large spikes in cases as well.

So we have reporters following the latest developments across the country.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Ed Lavandera in New Orleans.

Health officials here are reporting another large spike in coronavirus cases. The total now tops more than 6,400. And we've seen 3,000 cases added since Sunday alone. Two hundred and seventy-three people have now died.

The governor here in the state says that they have finally received 150 more ventilators from the national stockpile, but that is still not enough. They're warning that they will run out of ventilators in the coming days. And the governor is also painting a grim picture for the residents of this state, saying that it's very likely that Louisiana will be on a trajectory similar to what we've seen unfold in Italy.

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Dan Simon in San Francisco, where leaders here and across the state are increasingly concerned about the virus impacting the state's homeless population. There are about 150,000 homeless throughout the state of California, the most out of any state in the country.

Here, the city says it be using a big convention space as a shelter to try to take strain off of the smaller shelters so you have the appropriate social distancing. They're also acquiring hundreds of hotel rooms to house the homeless. They know, though, there's a huge challenge getting the homeless off the streets because of substance abuse issues, as well as mental illness.

Similar efforts are underway in other cities throughout the state of California, including in both Los Angeles and San Diego.


Austin public health officials say 28 young adults who recently went on a spring break trip to Mexico have all tested positive for coronavirus and they are now all self-isolating. Dozens more are being monitored and tested right now. So a total of 70 people in their 20s went on this trip to Cabo San Lucas about a week and a half ago, many of whom are University of Texas at Austin students. Austin public health officials, along with university officials, say they are in contact with all the people who went on this trip.


And right now this city is feeling the pressure from the coronavirus. In fact, there are a shortage of hospital beds around this city. It's getting pretty tight. Down at the TCF (ph) Center, there're starting to build out 1,000-bed overflow hospital. That should open next week. According to Johns Hopkins University, the number of coronavirus -- positive cases is now over 9,000 and there have been over 300 deaths. Sobering thoughts for this entire state.


CAMEROTA: Our thanks to all of our correspondents.

Meanwhile, a heartbreaking story for you.

Conrad Buchanan was just 39 years old when he died from coronavirus. We'll speak with his wife and daughter that he left behind, next.



JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: This morning, the coronavirus death toll in the United States has grown to more than 5,000. That's more than 5,000 people with families and loved ones in mourning.

Thirty-nine-year-old Conrad Buchanan passed away last week. He was a father of two and a DJ in Florida who performed in front of hundreds of people the week before he got sick.

Joining me now, Conrad's wife, Nicole, and daughter Skye. Nicole has tested positive for coronavirus. Skye is still waiting for her results.

Guys, thanks for being with us. I really appreciate it. I am so sorry for your loss. And I want to talk about your husband and your dad. But let me just start with you, Nicole, and ask you how you're feeling today.

NICOLE BUCHANAN, HUSBAND DIED OF CORONAVIRUS: Symptom-wise, I'm OK. I just have no taste and no smell.

BERMAN: Which can be one of the symptoms of Covid-19 that people have been living with. But I'm happy to hear you're not having any of the harsher symptoms.

So, Nicole, walk us through what happened with Conrad. He was feeling sick. Then what?

N. BUCHANAN: We couldn't get him tested. I fought and fought and fought. They didn't want to test him due to his age and that he had no underlying health issues. So he woke up Saturday morning the 14th not feeling well. I wasn't able to get him tested until that Thursday, the 19th. And then the 22nd -- or, I'm sorry, the 21st is when he got the results back. That day he was starting to decline because he did not have a horrible cough this whole time. And the 22nd is when I brought him to the hospital and I never saw him again.

BERMAN: Skye, give your mom a hug for us right here. You dropped him off at the hospital. He went inside and they intubated him immediately. Did you have a chance to say goodbye?

N. BUCHANAN: No, they wouldn't let me in the hospital as he was begging that, I need my wife. My wife makes my decisions. They told me to park the car. We thought that I was going to get to go in with him. And when I walked up to the doors, the hospital's on lockdown. They -- they wouldn't let anybody in. After that, I -- no, that was it. I never got to say I love you, nothing.

BERMAN: But he knows. He knew for sure that you did.

Skye, everyone says that they can see your father in you, in your eyes, in your passions. Tell us about what you shared with him.


SKYE BUCHANAN, FATHER DIED OF CORONAVIRUS: Well, we always liked to watch "The Flash" together. Not "The Green Arrow." I was in the (INAUDIBLE) article kind of upset me a little bit.

He would do dances with me. And, like, it was funny because he could perform in front of, like, a bunch of -- like millions of people when he DJ'd, but he like danced to -- like it was the best. And he would do ballet with me because we had like daddy-daughter things at ballet sometimes.

And 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 then we did this really funny lift. And it was really funny. And we just overall like shared everything. He brought me to school. He brought me to ballet. Like, he was my everything.

BERMAN: First of all, I know how cool you are if you like "The Flash." My boys are huge into the DC Arrow verse. And like you, they prefer "The Flash" to "Green Arrow." So we're in complete agreement on all of those things.

You took your father to daddy/daughter dances. But it took some convincing to get him to go with you?

S. BUCHANAN: Yes. BERMAN: You a better dancer than he is?

S. BUCHANAN: I think so.

BERMAN: And you share, above all, you share a love of music. You used to like to go hang out with your dad when he was putting his music together and you talk about his love of reggae. And it struck me that at the virtual memorial, they played Bob Marley "Three Little Bird." Why was that song significant to the both of you?

S. BUCHANAN: Well, when I was, like, really little, whenever I was having trouble sleeping, he would always come into my room and sing it to me. And it helps me go to bed. And then one time, when he was at a work thing when I was younger, I missed my dad a lot. So my mom recorded a video of me singing "Three Little Birds." And ever since then that was our song.

BERMAN: Does it make you feel better to sing it?

S. BUCHANAN: Yes, it makes me feel closer with him.

BERMAN: The words, just so people know what we're talking about, it's, don't worry about a thing because every little thing is going to be all right.

Nicole, I know this is a tough time. I want to put up on the screen so people can see it. There's a Go Fund Me page to help you and your family get through this.

As we were saying, Conrad was a DJ. And by all accounts, terrific. Well-loved in your part of the state. And he performed. He had a show not long ago in the middle or at the beginning of this outbreak.

What do you want people to know about coronavirus? What do you need people to know in terms of this?

N. BUCHANAN: I need everybody to know that this is serious. People think that it's just going to affect people with underlying health issues, old people, but it doesn't. It affects normal, regular, young. There's no discrimination when it comes to this virus.

And seeing what my husband had to go through was horrible. And now our life has turned into this horrible nightmare. You guys have to take this seriously. I would hate for anybody, anyone else's family or children to have to go through what we've gone through. Our hospital systems aren't ready. Just stay home.

BERMAN: Again, we're so sorry that you're going through this. And you're going to need each other in the coming days. I can see you holding each other right now and I won't let go for days to come.

Skye, just want to give us one last thought on how you want us all to think of your father.

S. BUCHANAN: Well, I thought he was pretty cool. So I think -- and even if people don't know him, he brightened up everyone's day. And I just think of him dearly, you know. Find your rhythm in life. Listen to the beat. Dance and express yourself in order to connect with people from all walks of life.

BERMAN: Find your rhythm in life and listen to the beat.


Skye, I can see your father in your eyes and I can hear him in your voice.

Thank you both for being with us this morning.

N. BUCHANAN: Thank you.

BERMAN: We will listen to your message. I want to put up on the screen one more time the Go Fund Me page so people know how they can help.

Nicole and Skye Buchanan, we wish you all the best. Let us know how we can help going forward.

N. BUCHANAN: Thank you. Thank you.

BERMAN: We'll be right back.


CAMEROTA: We have a troubling development to report this morning about Dr. Anthony Fauci. CNN has confirmed the government's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Fauci, has been facing growing threats to his own personal safety. Law enforcement is now providing him round the clock security.

CNN's senior justice correspondent Evan Perez joins us now.

What is this, Evan?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: You know, Alisyn, I think this is a byproduct of the increased profile of Dr. Anthony Fauci.


Obviously, he's been one of the nation's most well-known medical experts, especially on infectious diseases for years. But just because of the coronavirus pandemic and the fact that he's taken such a huge -- high-profile at the president's daily briefings, it appears that that is the cause of these increased number of threats. And so the Homeland -- I'm sorry, the Health and Human Services department, the inspector general there, has now called in the U.S. Marshalls for assistance to help provide additional personal security to Dr. Fauci. The Marshals, essentially what they did is swore in some HHS officers, inspector general officers, who are now providing personal security for Dr. Fauci.

We talked to a source who also said that the metropolitan police here in Washington, D.C., has now also provided more protection for Dr. Fauci at his own home. So it's one of the things that has now become essentially a result of the higher profile for Dr. Fauci.

We don't know the nature exactly of the threats, Alisyn, but it is one of those things that, you know, we see when someone takes on a higher profile, you see people who come out of the woodwork and make these types of threats.


CAMEROTA: Yes, we need Dr. Fauci. I think the White House would agree they need Dr. Fauci. So this is just a troubling development.

PEREZ: Absolutely.

CAMEROTA: And we trust that the police will protect him.

Evan, thank you very much for that update.

So the unemployment numbers are about to be released this morning. Experts say we should brace ourselves for some huge numbers.



CAMEROTA: We do have some breaking financial news this morning. It appears the Labor Department will release another record-breaking unemployment report. Economists predict that 4 to 6 million Americans filed for unemployment last week. That's on top of the already historic 3.3 million jobless claims the prior week.

Joining us now, CNN's chief business correspondent Christine Romans and CNN anchor and correspondent Julia Chatterley.

Break it to us, Christine. So what are we expecting?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: So we'll get this in a couple of hours. And this is just going to show sort of the depth of the -- of the crisis in the labor market. We've shut down the economy. And so you've got hundreds of thousands of people who have been furloughed or laid off basically day by day.

What these numbers are specifically is the first time claim for an unemployment benefit. So it just measures the people for the very first time who have found themselves out of work and are walking into the unemployment office or calling -- or connecting with their state unemployment office to get unemployment benefits.

We have seen furloughs from, you know, Hyatt, Marriott, Hilton, Macy's, Kohl's, Gap, J.C. Penny. You've seen so many of these companies saying they're putting people on furlough. Those furloughed workers will apply for unemployment benefits. They'll keep their health care through their jobs in many cases, but they will get unemployment benefits. And they're sort of kept in house, really, on the books of the company so that on the other side of this, those furloughed workers can go back to work. Laid-off workers don't have that luxury of the health care and that's going to be a real problem going forward here.

CAMEROTA: Julia, what are you looking at today?

JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: The same thing as Christine was mentioning there. I think the key is going to be health insurance for all these people. It's not just an ordinary session. It's being created here by the underlying health crisis.

A lot of these people who are now claiming benefits come from small and medium-sized enterprises. Just over half of these companies tended to have health insurance, but the problem is now. What do they do now? Do they have to pay for it themselves?

And it goes back to the conversation that we had yesterday about prioritizing money. We're in this vacuum at the moment where people have still got to make decisions on what they spend and they've got no money coming in. And the biggest issue still for me on these statistics is, it's the gig economy workers that we've never quantified before that now can sign up for benefits. So the numbers here, I mean, we could be talking about 10 million people in the space of two weeks simply being made unemployed. These numbers are frightening.

CAMEROTA: Yes, we've talked about this, Christine, about how head spinning it is because just the velocity with which it happened.


CAMEROTA: But what -- what do people need to know about their health insurance if they're just filing for unemployment now?

ROMANS: Well, so the stimulus package has this band aid in it so that these companies that are furloughing workers, they're going to keep their health care through their company and then the government's going to pay their paycheck for four months. So that's -- that's meant to sort of keep people afloat and that's what it's designed to do.

You know, one of the things about all of this that is so unsettling is, when you're worried about your health and you're worried about your money, the money to pay the bills, it's sort of like a two-hit crisis here. And there's not really a playbook for it.

I would just encourage people to continue to try to contact your state unemployment offices. That -- the state is the one that gives those benefits out. It could be rough. It could be hard. But money is going to start coming. There's $350 billion for small businesses and $250 billion for enhanced unemployment benefits. The money's not there yet, but it's coming. Washington is promising it.


CHATTERLEY: And exchanges are opening up in Washington, in D.C., in other states to allow you to get access to the Affordable Care Act. That may end up being cheaper than trying to pay the premiums on the plan that you have or did have with your employer.


CHATTERLEY: So, again -- yes, it's about looking at what you've got in terms of options available and that those exchanges are now open and trying to protect yourself in the short-term.

CAMEROTA: That's really helpful information. People need to look into that.

Julia, Christine, thank you both very much.

NEW DAY continues right now.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need to have a national stay-at-home order.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is some cruise ships bearing on to southern Florida. Clearly, we're going to be willing to accept any Floridians on board.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were not against the ships docking in our community, but we can't do it so willy-nilly.


We have to be sure that we're taking precautions.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No state has the ventilators that they need. We are hearing that the federal stockpile doesn't have any more personal