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CNN NEWSROOM

Chicago's Stockpile of Medical Supplies Awaits Federal Additions; Interview with San Francisco Federal Reserve President and CEO Mary Daly; Interview with Surgical Residents Behind Viral "Imagine" Video. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired April 3, 2020 - 10:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[10:30:00]

ALLISON ARWADY, COMMISSIONER, CHICAGO DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH: -- work aggressively to pull that curve down while we're working to stay ahead and think about expanding our health care system, doing everything we can to keep patients out of our acute care hospitals, and then thinking about ways to decompress them if we need to.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: You've heard the New York governor talk about running out of ventilators in just a few days. Given that you've had a little bit -- not a lot, but a little bit more lead time here, are you confident you're going to have the equipment you need, whether it be ventilators to treat the patients or PPE masks, to protect the health care workers? That you've been able to build up that supply to meet the demand at the peak?

ARWADY: So I'll tell you, here in Chicago, we have taken emergency preparedness extremely seriously from the beginning. We have a stockpile of PPE that we've been sending millions of pieces out to our health care workers, our first responders. We even have some stockpile of ventilators.

But we do look to the federal Strategic National Stockpile to continue to supplement that. We're obviously tracking our ventilators very closely. At the moment, we still have approximately half of the ventilator capacity in Chicago still available, but every day we see more and more of those ventilators being taken up by patients with coronavirus, or being considered for coronavirus.

And so you know, to give you a sense, you know, just a week or two ago, maybe one percent of those ventilators were taken up. And at this point, about 20 percent are. And so really working hard to get more ventilators --

SCIUTTO: Yes.

ARWADY: -- we've requested them from the federal government. It is one of the pieces that we are looking at as we are trying to do everything we can to stay ahead, use our plans, stay ahead, support our health system.

SCIUTTO: Right. So what do you think when you see, for instance, Jared Kushner yesterday at the White House podium, saying that the federal stockpile that so many states are depending on now to help meet demand, is ours -- as in the the U.S. government's or the White House's as opposed to the states. What's your reaction to that?

ARWADY: So at the end of the day, we have to make sure that the resources get where they're needed regardless of where this is growing in the U.S. I know in our projections, we do expect to need more ventilators. We have received some already from the federal government. As I said, we had more than that in our stockpile here, but you can't create a ventilator out of thin air.

And so I'm really encouraged when I see the federal government talking seriously about getting more ventilators and making sure that they're available to get out to the cities and states, to the people on the frontline taking care of the patients.

SCIUTTO: Yes. Chicago, one of the first communities to report the death of an infant from this. And from the beginning, people were told that really the most acute danger to the elderly and people with pre- existing conditions. Since then, a lot of doctors -- and I know you're well aware of this -- we've seen younger people, whether they be children but also people in their 20s, 30s, 40s, experiencing very severe symptoms.

From Chicago's perspective, are you now telling people and treating this as really a risk to everybody as opposed to a risk concentrated on the older and the people who have underlying conditions?

ARWADY: So from the beginning, we've been talking about this as a risk to everybody. Here in Chicago, we have patients from every zip code, we have patients from less than age one to age 100. And we have cases across the spectrum.

But where we see that concentration of people getting seriously ill or dying is -- continues to be concentrated in that older population and in the folks with underlying conditions. So for example, in our 43 deaths, 33 of them have been in people over 60. It doesn't mean that younger people are immune, obviously, but especially --

SCIUTTO: Right.

ARWADY: -- where we think about the -- you know, the demand on the health care system, we're thinking about people with underlying conditions. We think a lot about inequities here in Chicago, we recognize that there are populations that have more of these underlying conditions. And that's where we're particularly concerned about, making sure messaging is getting out, resources are available and we're doing everything we can to protect those more vulnerable populations.

SCIUTTO: Dr. Arwady, best of luck to you, best of luck to the people working with you and for you, and the people of Chicago.

ARWADY: Thank you very much.

[10:34:20] SCIUTTO: Well, the worst jobs report in a decade. One of the results of all this shows unemployment jumping to 4.4 percent, but that number doesn't reflect everything we've seen just the last couple of weeks. Why that number might not be anywhere close to what's actually happening, we're going to speak to the president of the San Francisco Federal Reserve on what it will all mean in the months ahead.

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POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: Well, this morning, the worst monthly jobs report since the Great Recession, on top of news that some 10 million Americans filed for unemployment claims in just the last two weeks. The situation is dire.

With me now to talk about what the Fed can do about this and where we are is Mary Daly, president and CEO of the San Francisco Federal Reserve. Her district covers nine states.

Mary, thank you so much for being with me. And let me just begin with a pretty dire prediction from your colleagues over at the St. Louis Fed, who say that we could see 32 percent unemployment in the second quarter. Do you agree with that assessment?

MARY DALY, PRESIDENT AND CEO, FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF SAN FRANCISCO: So the way I look at it is this, that the numbers are big, whether you put a 30 percent number to it or a 10 percent number to it, these are big numbers, over 10 million people filing for unemployment insurance.

[10:40:06]

And they're the numbers that are the outcome of doing the thing that the public health officials tell us is best, to curb the spread of the virus. So these big numbers are something that we're collectively doing as a society to ensure that we can fight the virus. And with people filing unemployment insurance claims, that means that they're starting to get into the system to get the resources they need to support their families during this time.

HARLOW: I guess I think the scary thing is -- and yes, this is an essentially sort of human-made situation in terms of response to a deadly virus. But 30 to 32 percent unemployment in the second quarter, if that's a reality, that is more than we saw during the Great Depression.

And you've spent so much of your life working on income inequality and what -- I just wonder if you can put into layman's terms, what does that mean for this country in the short term?

DALY: So the numbers are big, but the thing that's really important for the listeners to hear is that those numbers don't stay big if we do these things well. History tells us that if we fight a global pandemic with the social distancing actions we've taken, the sheltering in place, then those economies that do that, they get through this faster.

Which means whatever the number turns out to be on unemployment, it dissipates faster. And that's what we're really trying to accomplish, having that be temporary --

HARLOW: The issue is --

DALY: -- and not permanent.

HARLOW: Absolutely, but we still have 10 states that don't have mandatory stay-at-home, you know, guidelines right now. So we're not actually doing what the top doctors are saying that we need to do nationwide. Can you talk about what the economic implications of that could be?

DALY: So we do know from history that -- studying the Spanish Flu, which was the last global pandemic we had -- that the communities that adopted shelter-in-place were those that were best prepared to recover when the virus was behind them.

So we in San Francisco started that very early, our mayor took those actions quite early and we're seeing the flattening of that -- that curve, and we hope that that continues. But ultimately, you're seeing states across the country and localities across the country adopt this as we see the virus spreading more rapidly.

HARLOW: You have said, this week, things are going to get worse before they get better. And I wonder if you could talk about what the Federal Reserve can actually do at this point, and whether it was a mistake to use up so much ammunition, to cut rates while the economy was strong? And what you actually have left to do to help Main Street.

DALY: So let me start by saying that the policy actions we took are always to do two things: achieve full employment and price stability. And we were fortunate as a nation to have an economy on very solid footing before we came into this virus, and that is far better than if we had let the economy stumble or be softer or weaker and then got this virus on top of it.

So we came in the best possible position we could have been. And then when we saw the virus was upon us, we took early action at the Fed to reduce interest rates to near-zero, and also recognize that that would be sufficient.

You have to reduce the interest rates, which we did, but then we have to make sure that those interest rate reductions are going through, through the tributaries of the financial system, and reaching American households and businesses, ensuring that interest rate reductions show up in the reduction in mortgage interest payments that households have to make, so that they're prepared to shore up their finances during this very tough time.

HARLOW: I just wonder if you're worried that the long-term impact of this could be that some of these sectors don't come back fully? I mean, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin said just on Sunday that in the third quarter we're going to be, quote, "back to where we were beforehand."

And I -- other economists I talk to aren't so sure about a quick recovery like that, and a full recovery like that, especially given how this is exacerbating the income divide in this country. What do you think?

DALY: Well, I have two things I would like to offer there. First, forecasting's always hard and now we have a virus. And the virus is what actually controls -- not us, the virus -- will control how deep and how long this lasts. What we can control is how we respond to it.

And how we're responding to it -- at the Federal Reserve -- is doing everything in our power to ensure that we're shoring up Americans in the short run and preparing the economy to come out of this and be achieving positive grown in the longer run when the virus is behind us. And I see Congress and the president doing the same thing, and local government leaders as well.

HARLOW: OK, final point would just be the importance of opening up the lending, as you did this week to Main Street?

DALY: Mm-hmm. So that is important. And what -- but think about, you know, we've opened up a lot of what we call facilities, but these are really operations directed at targeting specific areas of the financial system so that if you think of the financial system as the basic infrastructure, all of it is sturdy and working well.

[10:45:04]

So opening up to Main Street is really trying to complement what the Congress and president have signed into law to help small businesses, and really get at the other parts of businesses, these middle-market businesses that are so essential to American families.

HARLOW: You sound optimistic, and I really, really hope that things are going to turn for the better when all of this gets in place for folks. Mary Daly, president and CEO of the San Francisco Federal Reserve, good luck to all of you making these hard choices. Thanks very much.

DALY: Thank you.

HARLOW: Jim.

SCIUTTO: Well, there is of course a lot happening in the news today. Here's "What to Watch."

TEXT: What to Watch... 3:00 p.m. Eastern, Trump hosts roundtable with energy execs; 3:30 p.m. Eastern, TX Gov. Abbott updates state's hospital capacity; 5:00 p.m. Eastern, WH Coronavirus Task Force Briefing

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[10:50:37]

ELVIS FRANCOIS, FIFTH YEAR ORTHOPEDIC SURGEON RESIDENT, MAYO CLINIC: Imagine all the people, living for today, ooh. You might say that I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one.

SCIUTTO: Well, that cover of John Lennon's "Imagine" was posted online. It immediately went viral -- nearly half a million views -- even reposted by Michelle Obama, sung by Dr. Elvis Francois with Dr. William Robinson on the piano.

HARLOW: Both doctors, residents at Minnesota's famed Mayo Clinic. They join us now. The minute I saw it, I said, we've got to book these guys. We need something happy, to end what has been just a miserable week for so many.

So, guys, thank you for being here and for bringing a little joy into the world. Let's just begin, though, with how you guys are doing, how everyone at the Mayo Clinic is doing right now -- Dr. Robinson?

WILLIAM ROBINSON, FIFTH YEAR ORTHOPEDIC SURGEON RESIDENT, MAYO CLINIC: Everybody, you know, at our institution is actively preparing and getting ready for any patient or situation in which the virus could come.

At this point in time, Elvis and I are both orthopedic surgeons in training, and so we are kind of sitting by our phones and pagers, waiting for the call to come in and help however we can.

SCIUTTO: Dr. Francois, you know, moments like this, people are looking for something to make them smile, right? Give them a sense of relief. You're dealing with patients every day facing the very real risks of this. What difference does that make for them?

FRANCOIS: Yes. You know, we're quite frankly dealing with very unprecedented and very uncertain times. There's a lot of anxiety and, quite frankly, a lot of fear. And you know, what we hoped to do is, we hoped to be in a position to share a message that there will be another side, and there is a message of hope.

And the beautiful thing about all of this is just seeing everyone come together. You have nurses, you have physicians, you have Allied Health staff, everyone's stepping up to the plate, stepping out of their specialty to do their best. And I think there's hope when you see everyone coming together to take care of each other.

HARLOW: Can you, Dr. Francois, give us a little a capella hope for a moment?

FRANCOIS: I'd love to, I'd love to.

HARLOW: All right, hit it.

FRANCOIS: Imagine there's no heaven, it's easy if you try. No hell below us, above us, only sky.

HARLOW: Oh, it's so good. And it's those words, for you guys, Dr. Francois, why was that song so important to put out there in this way right now?

FRANCOIS: Absolutely. I think ,you know, oftentimes in the media, you know, there's so much that divides us, there's you know, politics, religion, country. And that particular song, the words really speak to finding a way to, you know, remove those things that divide us and focus on the things that bring us together.

And we're -- for the first time in a generation, we're facing a global crisis. And the only way to get through this is if all 7 billion of us come together as one. And that specific song talks about that.

SCIUTTO: No question. Dr. Robinson, it's early for you guys in this, Minnesota's not in a place -- thankfully -- to this point where places like New York are, but what help do you need now to prepare for what may be coming?

ROBINSON: that's a great question. You know, exactly to your point, we at least in Rochester, Minnesota, aren't a major metropolitan area like you guys have. And so we are doing our part, almost like a -- preparing -- hoping for the best, preparing for the worst, is I would say the best philosophy of what we're doing.

Honestly, you know, again, as Elvis and I wait, we don't want to take credit for being on the frontlines, fighting this. We are here to support our fellow health care providers and you know, I think there's thoughts, prayers, what -- you know, just general well wishes and good neighborly thoughts is all that we really need.

HARLOW: We're sending them, we're sending them your way.

ROBINSON: We appreciate it.

HARLOW: You know, both my parents have spent time at Mayo Clinic, and you guys do just incredible work there. So we're wishing the best for all of you at the Mayo Clinic. Thank you.

[10:55:02]

Thanks for brightening our day very much, I think we all needed that. Keep playing, and keep posting. Keep the songs coming. Dr. Elvis Francois --

FRANCOIS: Thanks so much, stay healthy.

HARLOW: -- Dr. William Robinson --

ROBINSON: Thanks so much for having us.

HARLOW: Of course. Stay safe.

ROBINSON: Thanks.

HARLOW: We are following all the breaking headlines this morning. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo will give an update from New York, the nation's epicenter, that's ahead. Stay with us.

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