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New York Governor Says State Will Run Out of Ventilators in 6 Days; Pressure Grows for Nationwide Shutdown as Cases Surge; U.S. Economy Lost 701,000 Jobs in March. Aired 9-9:30a ET

Aired April 3, 2020 - 09:00   ET



JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: More than 90 percent of Americans under stay- at-home orders now and the nation's top infectious disease expert is questioning why everyone is not now under these orders.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: I don't understand why that's not happening. If you look at what's going on in this country, I just don't understand why we're not doing that. We really should be.


POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: It's quite a statement from the top doctor leading the Coronavirus Task Force. But for how long? A senior federal health official says the CDC is recommending communities be evaluated for four straight weeks before they return to some aspects of community life. Before that, the CDC set to release national guidelines on wearing masks. That could be another big change in all of our daily lives.

We're following all of that this morning, and this, 6,000, more than 6,000 Americans have died from coronavirus.

SCIUTTO: Yes. And more and more, I'm sure, you feel like this, you know people who have been infected by this.


SCIUTTO: Let's go to New York, of course the center so far of the outbreak in the U.S. Top New York officials say the state could run out of ventilators there in just six days. Patients have been flooding New York City's hospitals forcing the Javits Convention Center now to take in those infected with the virus. Remember this was meant to be overflow for other patients.

And sparking questions about why that Navy hospital ship, the Comfort, so far has just taken on 20 people. Why so slow? We have a lot to get to this morning. First, though, let's bring in CNN's Brynn Gingras. She's in New York City. Brynn, so that was quite a warning from the governor and the city,

just six days to run out of ventilators. What are New York City officials doing to respond to that? I mean, that's going to be a harrowing time.

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I mean, it's even worse if you ask New York City officials. Jim and Poppy, good morning. Essentially the city says Sunday is the D-Day. The mayor came on "NEW DAY" this morning and said he's not even sure if by Monday they'll have enough ventilators. When we hear that, six days, that's coming from the governor. He's saying the state's stockpile is going to be run out in six days because of the burn rate of these ventilators.

Remember, these patients are coming into the hospital and they're on ventilators in some cases and in many cases staying on ventilators longer than usual. And that's really what the issue is here in addition to just the numbers of people coming in.

I want you to listen, though, to the mayor, what he did say on "NEW DAY" this morning.


MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D), NEW YORK: If there's not action by the president and the military, literally in a matter of days to put in motion this vast mobilization, then you're going to see first hundreds, and later thousands of Americans die who did not need to die.

I can get to Sunday when it comes to ventilators. Monday, Tuesday, I'm not sure about yet. That's the blunt truth.


GINGRAS: And that's just the ventilators. We've also heard from the mayor and the governor that other supplies are in huge demand as well. We're talking about N-95 masks. And even more so, personnel, people who can actually help these patients because, remember, nurses and doctors are getting sick themselves just being on the front lines.

Yes, want to talk about this Javits Center here behind me. 2500 beds now available for COVID patients. This was something that really just happened since yesterday. The governor actually asking the president to convert this to a COVID facility because the hospitals are so overwhelmed with COVID patients, it didn't make sense that this overflow was for non-COVID patients. So that is good news that the Army is going to be handling that here behind me.

Not too far away, guys, you guys mentioned the Comfort. We were all so happy to see Comfort come ashore on Monday but there are a lot of questions about why it's only receiving 20 patients so far. The mayor on "NEW DAY" this morning said that there will be more patients, they expect that so, but the governor says he's not really sure why COVID patients can't get on there.

Other than just hearing that -- he hears it's a disinfectant process, that's the issue, but there is other red tape that we're learning about as well.

HARLOW: It's too bad. Brynn, thank you for that reporting. Jim?

SCIUTTO: Joining me now, Dr. Amy Compton Phillips. She's chief clinical officer at Providence St. Joseph Health in Seattle.

Doctor, thanks so much for taking the time this morning. So many questions to ask you. You oversee the clinical care at one of the hospitals that treated the very first patient who suffered from this virus here. And I wonder, several weeks in now, what have we learned that we didn't know then both about how this spreads, but also who is vulnerable?

DR. AMY COMPTON-PHILLIPS, CHIEF CLINICAL OFFICER, PROVIDENCE ST. JOSEPH HEALTH: We've learned a lot since the very beginning. One is that patients are all affected. So initial reports came out saying that this was just a disease that would affect older patients. It's actually everybody can be infected by it. We've had many patients in their 20s and 30s and 40s who needed care in the hospital, including needing ventilators.

It's just that because of physiologic reserve people tend to live more easily when they're younger and they get this and need a ventilator. But there is this myth out there that this is a disease for older people.


There is also what we've learned now is that healthcare workers are at huge risk and that really is what this whole conversation is about.

SCIUTTO: And they're at huge risk, right, because of the viral load, I guess, as you refer to it. That more exposure gives you greater risk, is that right?

COMPTON-PHILLIPS: That's exactly right. Where do sick people go? Sick people go into hospitals. And so there's a lot of people in hospitals that are coughing with a large amount of virus in their system and their secretions. And so healthcare workers are constantly exposed to a very high level of risk and viral particles.

SCIUTTO: Let me ask you this, because as we have been watching this as well, Washington state has gotten kudos for being very early in instituting some of these social distancing guidelines, et cetera. No one is declaring victory by any means. But tell us what your experience is and are you learning from that that you have to keep those social distancing restrictions in for some time rather than begin to think about, well, OK, we've seen an effect, now we can relax?

COMPTON-PHILLIPS: You're 100 percent right. Physical distancing works. Right? And so we're seeing right now in along the West Coast where we had early cases and so we had to take early action that we're starting to see a leveling off in cases that we think we are approaching and getting close to our peak. There was a great article last weekend in "National Geographic" that

showed how this pandemic looked back in 1918 with the flu. And we're probably likely to see in retrospect very similar things here, in that cities and locations that went to physical distancing earlier and did it for longer actually had significantly lower death rates.

SCIUTTO: Yes. I've read those histories and it's remarkable. It's 100 years ago and yet still telling.

Let's talk about supplies there. This is a consistent problem at hospitals across the country. Do you have enough? And what will you do if you don't when you reach peak demand?

COMPTON-PHILLIPS: The supply chains are just now starting to get unblocked. Between supplies coming over for China and now that they're getting back it work since they've really seemed to quell their version of the pandemic over there. In addition to the U.S. manufacturing center, really starting to take off and getting things into production here stateside that we previously didn't have.

You may know Providence started the "100 Million Mask" campaign because we were desperate for masks (INAUDIBLE) weeks ago. We've now turned that over to the American Hospital Association and they're helping local makers. And so we have manufacturers that have completely flipped their production whether it's furniture or clothes to starting to make PPE healthcare workers and now that is finally starting to hit the supply chains within our facilities. Not all the way there yet.



SCIUTTO: Very quickly, just before we go, debate now about whether everyone should be wearing some form of mask, even the cloth mask, bandanna. Do you believe that's a good idea?

COMPTON-PHILLIPS: I believe that this is spread by droplets and if you wear a mask, you're keeping your droplets from getting on anybody else. And so I think it's a good thing. It protects everybody else from you, versus you from everybody else.

SCIUTTO: Yes. It's a good point and a good distinction there.

Dr. Amy Compton Philips, thanks so much for what you're doing. We wish you, we wish your patients, we wish your colleagues there the best of luck in these coming weeks.


HARLOW: All right, also the economic pain from all of this, a cascade of bad news continues in the March jobs report released just a few minutes ago. More than 700,000 jobs lost in the month, that is the worst month in a decade, but it actually does not even come close to reflecting the reality of the pain right now.

Our chief business correspondent Christine Romans is here with more.

Explain why this just doesn't show what is really going on.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Because the labor market is deteriorating so quickly. The monthly data can't keep up. What you can -- when you look at this report, what you can glean from it is that in the second week in March, that was the survey period that the government used, in the second week in March, that's how dangerous the situation was to the American economy. Already confidence was unraveling.

This is before an emergency declaration. This is even in some cases before widespread stay-at-home rules, so you already saw the economy quickly unraveling in the beginning of March because of the coronavirus pandemic.

And when you look at the unemployment rate of 4.4 percent, that's a pretty big one month jump. But that's not what the unemployment rate is today. I'm going to be honest. It's like 10 percent today. I've been talking to economists all morning, some as high as 13 percent right now because of the millions of layoffs we've seen the past two and a half weeks.

HARLOW: Christine, so many people are asking me about the -- they run small businesses.


HARLOW: I have family members who do. They're having a hard time these loans.


It was supposed to all kick in today, but the banks are saying it's not. They don't have the right instructions?

ROMANS: So the banks want more clarification, more clarity from Washington, and some banks are saying that they are going to prioritize their existing customers right now. And, you know, I love the two-page sheet that the SBA put out on its Web site, That the banks want more due diligence on these people, especially first time borrowers there.

There is also -- I've been talking to small business owners who say they don't have a choice. They don't have the money in their hands right now. They've already been laying off their workers and telling them to go get unemployment. And with enhanced unemployment benefits, some small business owners would just rather that their employees get those enhanced unemployment benefits and they're just going to try to survive in the interim.

So we'll see what the uptick is on the small business loan program. It starts today. A little bit of a rocky rollout. We'll see if they can kind of connect the small business owners with the money. There is a lot of money there, $350 billion.

HARLOW: Let's wish them luck in that for sure.

Christine Romans, thank you for that. Jim?

SCIUTTO: Yes. Amazing to see healthcare worker jobs dropping there, considering the need.


SCIUTTO: Still to come this hour, one nurse on the frontlines says he feels like healthcare workers are, quote, "all just being sent to slaughter." Now he is battling coronavirus himself.

Plus, in the state of Florida, passengers on a cruise ship stricken with the virus have finally been able to leave after days of controversy being blocked from coming ashore. We're going to be live there.

HARLOW: We'll also talk to the head of the Army Corps of Engineers working to create field hospitals all across the country.



HARLOW: A New York salute on the frontlines of this pandemic. Last night, five FDNY trucks pulled up in front of Elmhurst Hospital in Queens that has really just taken the brunt of this, to honor the doctors and the nurses and all of the medical professionals there. Firefighters stood on top of their trucks cheering and applauding and holding signs, a small gesture for a big thank you. I love that. What a great image.

Support may be running high, but supplies to protect them, what they all deserve, these medical workers are running out. Thomas Riley is a nurse at Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx. Both he and his husband contracted coronavirus, and he said this week, I feel like we are all just being sent to slaughter. He joins me now. Good morning.


HARLOW: Good. I'm so glad you're on the other side of this. Let's just begin there. How are you feeling?

RILEY: I'm feeling a lot better. I'm heading to work tomorrow, so I'm very excited about that.

HARLOW: You're -- I mean, that is heroic. You contracted this, being a frontline worker, medical worker, and you're excited to go back tomorrow?

RILEY: Yes, I feel like I have an obligation to people that I need to commit to. So, yes.

HARLOW: But that doesn't do away with the fact that you said earlier this week, you feel like you and your fellow nurses and doctors are basically --

RILEY: Yes --

HARLOW: Just being treated like you're dispensable, like you are being sent in for slaughter, unprepared in terms of protection.

RILEY: Yes, so it feels like we're in a war, and like we're soldiers in a war, and we're being sent out without camouflage, without Kevlar. It's like we have no defenses against this, and they're giving us very little. You know, I don't know who is to blame for this. You know, I know that my hospital administrators, they want to -- you know, they don't want us to get sick, they don't want other patients to get sick, but, you know, it's so much bigger than just the hospital.

It's like a -- it's like a government thing. And I don't know, it's very complicated and nuanced.

HARLOW: I can see how painful this is for you.

RILEY: It is very painful. It's like, you know, you see your friends and the people that you work with, they're getting sick. You know, I was -- I'm out on the first round of it, but people are getting sick and they're out. So, yes.

HARLOW: How was it -- the past -- you basically had a fever for 12 straight days. And you've --

RILEY: Yes --

HARLOW: Talked about when you were in the E.R. and helping triage and treat people, the sound of their lungs was like sandpaper. What --

RILEY: Yes --

HARLOW: Was it like to live on the frontlines of this and then live it isolated by yourself?

RILEY: So, one of the first things you realize that everyone who has this, it comes differently for everyone. Like when I had it, I didn't really have a cough. My lung sounds were clear pretty much the whole time. But I had a fever. Like I just had a constant fever, I was nauseous and I was very dizzy. My husband on the other hand, he had a cough, he had very little fever, I mean, he would break a fever every once in a while, but he had a cough.

People who come into the E.R. when I was there, and this was just the beginning of it, they were like me, maybe they just had a fever or they came in with like weird complaints, like not being able to taste anything or smell anything. But then other people would come in, and their lungs would sound like sandpaper, they couldn't breathe and you know, it sounded horrific.

HARLOW: So given all of this, having lived it yourself, having treated people without enough protection, do you know what you're walking into tomorrow at the hospital? Do you know what kind of mask you'll have? Do you know if you're going to have to re-use it patient- to-patient-to-patient? Do you know what kind of ventilator supply your hospital has?


RILEY: So I've been out for almost two weeks. And I'm expecting to get one N95 a day, that's what I'm expecting. But I know that when I'm going in, I have like antibodies to fight this. So I am going in, I feel a little bit more prepared than my peers because now, I have less fear about it because I've been through it, and I know that I got through it. And I know that I'm going to be OK.

HARLOW: We're just so glad you are. Thomas Riley, thanks, you guys are heroes --

RILEY: Thank you.

HARLOW: All of you. Thank you for what you're doing, we'll be thinking about you tomorrow as you head back in.

RILEY: Awesome, thank you very much.

HARLOW: Take good care. Jim?

SCIUTTO: Yes, one more of those frontline workers facing this. Well, right now, after days of uncertainty, hundreds of passengers are finally leaving two coronavirus-stricken cruise ships and they're heading home. But not all of them. Rosa Flores is live from Fort Lauderdale. Rosa, and extensive operation underway now, get those passengers from the ships on to airplanes and on their way home. What's the progress?

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, it's an emotional one, Jim. And my producer and I, Sarah Weiss(ph) have been in contact with passengers and also their families. And we've been monitoring their social media as well. And they've been talking about the emotional toll of walking out of their cabins, some of them for the first time in a few days, walking down those long halls and finally getting on buses and heading to the airport.

It's been a very emotional journey for these passengers as they have been on limbo on sea for days, passing country-after-country and no one giving them the opportunity to dock and get out of that ship. That, of course, just happened now, and we have live pictures of -- from the airport, the tarmac, this is the first time that these individuals are having and know that they are actually going to be able to go home. Here is what we know, 1,200 passengers that are fit to travel were allowed to get off this ship.

They had to wear masks, we're told, to get off the ship. And they had to get screened twice before disembarking. There are flights scheduled on Friday and on Saturday for these passengers as they finally make their journey home. About 40 other passengers are Floridians, they were transported in private transports to their homes after being quarantined inside their homes for 14 days.

And then there were 14 people who were sent to hospitals, that included the passenger -- 13 passengers, excuse me, and a crew member. But Jim, as you might imagine, it's a very emotional day for these individuals --


FLORES: Finally getting off this ship and heading home.

SCIUTTO: Sure, they had to wait a long time. Rosa Flores, thanks very much. Poppy?

HARLOW: Glad they finally have an answer at least. All right, the U.S. and China have called a truce in the blame game. At least for now, over coronavirus. But can they work together on a truly global response to this pandemic?



SCIUTTO: We've heard the president, you heard his advisors take aim at China throughout this pandemic. But there is a potential shift between the U.S. and China after weeks of those tensions over the pandemic outbreak. Bottom-line, we need information from China to help battle the outbreak here and that's the key.

HARLOW: Absolutely. Gayle Smith is with us at the NSC, she helped lead the U.S. efforts to combat the Ebola crisis, worked on both the Obama and the Clinton administrations. Gayle, I'm so glad you're with us. And the point you've been making over and over on the air and on Twitter is that this is a global crisis, you need a global response, and basically we can't do it alone. So now we're seeing encouragement from some in the White House to sort of have a trade truce if you will for now, look past everything else and see how the U.S. and China can lead together. What could we do most effectively together?

GAYLE SMITH, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, ONE CAMPAIGN: Look, I -- we're seeing a lot of cooperation already at the level of our scientists and our epidemiologists, that needs to be absolutely on track all the time. Because that's how we get the knowledge and information we need to know what to do next. I think there are a number of ways there can be collaboration, and look, it's really necessary.

We can't defeat this in the United States if it's not defeated elsewhere. So I think the first thing is using U.S.-Chinese-European, other leadership to exercise the muscles of the international institutions so that we've got a global strategy, so that as we're succeeding in one place, we're also fighting it in another. I think the other thing is to pay very close attention to the fact that the virus is now moving, having gone through Asia and Europe and North America, into Africa, Latin America, southeast Asia, the Middle East, into a lot of places where the ability to withstand it is even less than our own.

So we've got to have a particular focus there, both for reasons of I think our common humanity, but also in order to beat the virus globally.

HARLOW: Yes -- SCIUTTO: Yes. Look, so that's the importance of a global cooperation

and leadership. What about a systematic national response here in the U.S.? From your viewpoint, does the U.S. have a contiguous clear national strategy now?

SMITH: I don't think we do yet. And it's absolutely important. Look, I think citizens across the country, we are all doing our part, many with huge sacrifices. We are staying at home, we're practicing social distancing. The federal government's part is really key here also. We need a really tight, efficient, national supply --