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Dr. Fauci: Entire U.S. Should Be Under Stay-at-Home Orders; Race Against Time for Needed Supplies in New York City; Hospital Doctors Document Life on the Frontlines. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired April 3, 2020 - 06:00   ET



MAYOR ERIC GARCETTI (D), LOS ANGELES: We are recommending that we use non-medical grade masks for facial coverings.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Experts telling the White House coronavirus could be spread directly by patients' exhalation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This outpouring of support for New York, it's just so intense. It's only begun.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a big tractor-trailer loaded with 300,000 masks that will be coming to the Javits Center.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): It's like watching a slow-moving hurricane across the country. Why not deploy the national resources and just stay ahead of the hurricane?

JUDY SHERIDAN-GONZALEZ, PRESIDENT, NEW YORK NURSES ASSOCIATION: We are dying. We are getting sick. Doesn't matter how many ventilators we get if we are dead.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Friday, April 3, 6 a.m. here in New York, and we have a lot of new information to give you this morning.

The top infectious disease expert in the country, Dr. Anthony Fauci, tells CNN that the entire nation should be under stay-at-home orders this morning. But ten states are still holding out, and President Trump is still resisting issuing a nationwide order.

We're also facing what looks like an emerging reality that it will be months, not weeks, before life in America can return to normal.

CNN has learned that the CDC is recommending guidelines for what different towns and cities should look for in their communities before they begin to relax any social distancing. So we'll tell you what those are.

The White House says a decision will be made soon about whether all Americans should be wearing homemade masks whenever they go outside. This, because a scientific panel warns that coronavirus can be spread not just by sneezing or coughing as we had previously thought but also, John, by talking and even breathing.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Here in New York, Governor Cuomo warns that hospitals will run out of ventilators in six days. The state has purchased 17,000 ventilators from China, but they haven't been delivered yet.

There are also new questions about the 1,000-bed Navy hospital ship docked in New York Harbor, The Comfort. It has 1,000 beds, but they're largely empty. CNN has learned it only has 20 patients on board because of red tape and restrictions.

One of New York's leading medical officials calls the situation a joke.

Coming up this hour, we're going to speak with the man who is leading the research into what might be the nearest term treatment for coronavirus.

We're also going to get advice from a family with triplets about parenting during this difficult time with that many children around you all at once.

Want to begin our coverage with CNN's Brynn Gingras, live. She's outside the Javits Center right now, which is this hospital with 1,000 bed that's actually changed its policy within the last 24 hours, Brynn.

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right, John. Now 2,500 beds are going to be made available for COVID patients right here in the Javits Center. It's going to be run by the U.S. Army.

And this all changed when the governor of New York basically told the president it didn't make sense to have non-COVID patients being treated inside this huge convention center, because the hospitals are overrun with COVID patients, not non-COVID patients.

This as, literally, time is running out with getting supplies here to New York City to help those on the frontlines.


GINGRAS (voice-over): A race against time for New York Governor Andrew Cuomo inside the nation's coronavirus epicenter.

CUOMO: We have about six days, at the current burn rate, of ventilators. And you can't buy any more ventilators.

GINGRAS: The Javits Convention Center will now serve as a field hospital for coronavirus patients that do not need intensive care. As hospitals throughout the city grow even more overloaded, medical personnel pleading for the right equipment to keep them safe.

SHERIDAN-GONZALEZ: We are dying. We are getting sick. It doesn't matter how many ventilators we get if we are dead and cannot run the ventilators.

GINGRAS: Their battle cry for supplies amplified for weeks by leaders in the country's hotspots as they watch their medical facilities fill up.

GOV. JAY INSLEE (D-WA): This is a national problem. It needs a national response. And it needs a national call to action.

GINGRAS: But President Trump says the primary responsibility doesn't lie with the federal government.

TRUMP: But we're a backup. Ideally, those states should have had all this equipment. And I think they will the next time.

GINGRAS: Meantime, while Trump maintains a nationwide stay-at-home order isn't necessary, the nation's top infectious disease expert says all states should already have such orders in place.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, INSTITUTE FOR ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASE: 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.

GINGRAS: Now in New York City and Los Angeles, if you must go outside, it's highly encouraged to keep your face covered.

GARCETTI: Now, notice I haven't called them masks. That's because N95 and other medical-grade masks, like surgery masks, are reserved for medical workers.

GINGRAS: The CDC will soon release national guidelines on wearing face masks, but Trump says they will not be required.

TRUMP: Frankly, I don't -- I don't think they'll be mandatory, because some people don't want to do that. But if people want it, as an example on the masks -- if people wanted to wear them, they can.

GINGRAS: Dr. Deborah Birx telling Americans, don't forget about social distancing, noting the curve of U.S. coronavirus cases shows not every American is taking those guidelines seriously.

DR. DEBORAH BIRX, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS TASK FORCE COORDINATOR: So this is really a call to action. We see Spain. We see Italy. We see France. We see Germany and we see others beginning to bend their curves. We can bend ours. But it means everybody has to take that same responsibility.


GINGRAS: And just a short walk from here is the USNS Comfort, that floating hospital that fits 1,000 patients. Of course, we know that that was being used for non-COVID patients. We're hearing there are 20 patients right now on board. But even the governor has said he's not really sure why there aren't

more patients on board. He mentioned it's possibly -- his understanding about why they can't take COVID patients is because of a disinfecting process, which he says he doesn't quite even understand -- John and Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: OK, Brynn. We're going to get into all that of with our guests. Thank you very much for the report.

Joining us now is CNN medical analyst Dr. James Phillips. He's a physician and assistant professor at George Washington University Hospital. Also with us, Dr. Ashish Jha. He's the director of the Harvard Global Health Institute.

Let's just start with our CNN town hall last night, because that's where Dr. Fauci said something, gentlemen, that has gotten so much attention. And that is -- you heard a little bit of it in Brynn's piece. He doesn't understand why the country is not all under a stay- at-home order. So let me just play the full statement of what he said last night.


FAUCI: I don't understand why that's not happening. As you said, you know, the tension between federally mandated versus states' rights to do what they want is something I don't want to get into. But 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.


CAMEROTA: So Dr. Jha, of course, he doesn't want to get into the politics of states versus federal. We all understand that. We all get it. But here are the states this morning that are not under statewide orders. And you can see that some of them -- North Dakota, Wyoming, South Dakota -- you know, those are not very populated states. So why, from a medical perspective, do you think that the entire country should be staying at home this morning?

DR. ASHISH JHA, DIRECTOR, HARVARD GLOBAL HEALTH INSTITUTE: Good morning. And thanks for having me on. It's a great question.

And you know, we -- and again, I'm not an expert on state versus federal rights. But we really are the United States of America. And what that means, in our action has to be a united action.

When some states don't do things and other states do, in this case those ten states that are not doing this, they're making the action of the other 40 states much less effective. And for a couple of reasons.

The biggest one is, you know, people travel across states. There are people who live near state borders. And so if they're crossing state lines, they're obviously seeding infections. That's probably the biggest one.

The second issue is that these -- these ten states that haven't done it, it looks like they're not -- they don't have the same level of infection. But they're not testing as aggressively. And my sense from all the data we're seeing is that they are going to get in trouble the same way everybody else is, just a little later. They're missing the opportunity to stave off that problem.

So I think it's very unfortunate, and Dr. Fauci is completely right. We have to have united action on this.

BERMAN: And it's so interesting that Dr. Fauci feels strongly enough about it to state it so clearly last night on TV. Because that was a public pronouncement that he disagrees with the administration policy.

He could not have stated it more clearly. He said, I do not understand why we, the United States, aren't doing it.

Dr. Phillips, I want to move on to a different subject, a little bit on the medicine right now and the research that has been presented to the White House that coronavirus can be spread very easily, it turns out. Not just by coughing or sneezing, but -- we've suspected this for some time -- by talking, even breathing. What's the significance of that?

DR. JAMES PHILLIPS, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Well, we've seen that reported from the Chinese literature for several months now, that they believe there was a large number of asymptomatic patients spreading the virus.

Common sense tells you that, by being asymptomatic, it means you're not sneezing. You're not coughing. You don't have that sore throat. Your nose isn't running.

So in the absence of those symptoms, how are you transmitting the virus, a respiratory virus? So essentially, it makes sense that it would come from the simple act of breathing.

And the -- the data has shown that fomites, those inanimate objects that are around us on which the droplets can settle, you know, the messaging is still that they don't believe that that's a major way that the virus spreads. So it leaves one thing. And that is the fact that they believe these droplets are coming out just from the simple act of singing, or talking or breathing.

And so the messaging is going to change. I don't know what the holdup is. But the White House is going to come out and say that everyone should wear masks. It sounds like there's that debate in there about scarves and cowboy costumes and other things that they've recommended that people put on. But the bottom line is, they recognize that the droplet spread can come simply from breathing and talking and, therefore, people need to try to contain those droplets.

CAMEROTA: Dr. Jha, when I heard that yesterday, this new -- you know, this scientific panel that is changing the way we thought it was transmitted and that they believe it is talking and breathing, that actually made a lot of sense. Because you know, these are these super spreader events that -- where lots and lots and lots of people, after just one dinner party or one conference, became infected. I mean, I'm thinking of the one, the medical conference outside of

Boston where you are. And so, obviously, not everybody at that conference was coughing and sneezing on each other. They were interacting and talking. And so it actually just, I think, stands to reason that there had to be an easier transmission.


JHA: Yes. And Dr. Phillips is right on this, though. There has been literature from China.

You know, one of the striking things about this is how late we have been on responding to all of the evidence and data. Of course, this is a novel virus. So not everything about the virus is perfectly well- known. And you're acting on incomplete information.

But it's been pretty clear for a while that asymptomatic spread, when you have no symptoms and you're spreading it, has got to be going on. And instead of being proactive and instead of getting ahead of this, we've waited until we've fallen behind to act.

I think the idea that people should be wearing masks when they go out, to me at this point it's a no-brainer. That is what the CDC should be recommending. Now, of course, not medical grade masks, because we need those for nurses and doctors, but other types of masks, I think, are critical.

BERMAN: Yes. And again, it's to keep you from spreading it. Not going to do much to help you from getting it. But it's to keep you from spreading it. It's an active altruism. And there's just common sense behind it.

In the realm of common sense, Dr. Phillips, the story that caught my attention that made me shake my head back and forth. The Comfort, the Navy ship that came into New York Harbor with all this fanfare, with 1,000 beds, it has 20 people on board. It is treating 20 patients this morning. Now we understand the goal was always to have this be the place where non-COVID-19 patients went to free up space in other hospitals where they need ICU units in the city. But how much space is it freeing up if there are only 20 people on board right now?

PHILLIPS: Yes, I understand your frustration. You know, the Comfort was brought in as part of the surge capacity improvement. By off- loading patients that are taking beds in hospitals for other reasons onto the ship, they can free up those hospital beds for COVID patients.

The issue is, is that they don't want to take COVID patients onto the ship. And that's understandable if it's not going to be a pure COVID hospital. We know the virus is transmitted easily on ships and tight cramped spaces. You can look at the cruise ships around the world. You can look at the USS Theodore Roosevelt. And we see examples of how that virus can spread.

But what that means is, in order for patients to get on The Comfort, they have to test negative. That means trauma patients. That means perhaps myocardial infarctions, heart attacks. And those patients have to wait, you know, probably several days for their testing to come back before they can be proven safe to go on The Comfort.

The average hospital stay in the United States is about 4.5 days. And so most people may be already done with their hospital stay by the time their testing makes them eligible to even get on The Comfort.

CAMEROTA: So I mean, Dr. Jha, are we to conclude that it is just too -- there are too many restrictions for the USS Comfort to be helpful?

JHA: You know, so I think Dr. Phillips's analysis is exactly right. And it comes back to the fact that we don't have a quick, rapid test that we can administer, get a result back within a couple of hours. That has basically hampered our entire federal response. We are locked down as a country because of the testing debacle. And even this ship isn't able to take on patients, because we can't rapidly test patients. It's -- it's a travesty in my mind. And here we are.

So I think the ship is a really important part of the solution. But we've got to have rapid testing available so we can rule people out and then get them onto this ship and free up hospital space for COVID patients.

BERMAN: And it strikes me this is not a medical failure. This is a bureaucratic failure. Because in addition to the testing failures, which we've been talking about for some time, there are procedures here that are prohibiting people from getting on board.

Patients are needing to be taken to another medical facility first and then cleared to get on board. There are 49 other ailments besides COVID-19 that can keep you from getting on The Comfort.

And it's not just me who's got these questions. Michael Dowling, who's running hospitals for Andrew Cuomo in the state of New York says this is a joke. It's a joke that we're not freeing up more space in this space for COVID-19 patients with The Comfort, Dr. Phillips.

PHILLIPS: I think more than the bureaucratic issues, I think it's a messaging failure. I think that when, look, not every -- not every leader is a good crisis leader. That's been known throughout disasters.

And what we can see here is that there is an opportunity to create a tremendous amount of fanfare and great pictures and a lot of hope by bringing the ship up there. Without being exactly clear to the general public the limitations that were going to be placed on this ship versus other field hospitals being set up in places around New York.


And so when -- when there's so much fanfare and so much positive messaging around one implement, and then it turns out to not be the case, it's very -- it's very disappointing, and it gives people less hope than they should have.

CAMEROTA: Dr. Phillips, Dr. Jha, thank you both very much for the conversation and helping us understand all of this new information this morning. We really appreciate it.

Two doctors on the frontlines documenting what it's like in New York City hospitals right now to fight coronavirus. Our latest first-person medical diaries, next.


BERMAN: This morning and every morning, healthcare workers across the country are on the frontlines of this pandemic. Due to hospital guidelines, we can't film them. So we asked them to film themselves throughout the day as they struggle to battle this virus. Here are two doctors in New York City.



DR. MATTHEW BAI, MOUNT SINAI QUEENS HOSPITAL: Over the weekend, my wife and I decided that it would be safer for our family, for our 17- month-old daughter and my wife, to leave our apartment until this is over, since I'm in and out of this high-risk environment every day. I don't know how long it's going to be.

But this morning when I left the house, I said goodbye to my wife and my daughter for who knows how long. It's going to be several weeks, probably, before I see them in person again.

I'm about to go in and pick up my personal protective equipment for the day and start my shift.

DR. UMESH GIDWANI, MOUNT SINAI HOSPITAL: We are going to walk around the unit to see the work of the day, as the people toil on the frontlines. This is our ICU.

We're getting ready to do a tracheostomy on a patient. They're using PPEs, because they're going to do the surgical procedure. And it's going to be done at the bedside. Hopefully, this patient will do well, has survived for a long time.

Dr. Behar (ph), how are you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm good, how are you?

GIDWANI: How's your day been? Tell me some of the ups and some of the downs.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's been busy. Lots of patients. I'd say one of the ups is we were able to transfer a patient off the unit. It's the first patient that I've been directly helping take care of who we successfully extubated and who was able to go to a step-down unit. So I found that very encouraging.

We had another patient that, you know, has been progressively worsening and had to have the tough conversation with the family.

BAI: This is our EDU. You can see all the rooms are filled. Usually, these halls are very neat and empty. And now you can see there's patients everywhere because of this. It makes it very hard to work and we're trying our best to treat everyone that we can. All these patients here. Even though we're overflowing, we're trying our best to still provide them care, which we are doing. The patients have oxygen tanks if they need.

I don't know if you can see the marks from wearing my PPE all day, and my nose is a little red from the mask. But that's what we're doing to protect ourselves.

It's been a tough day. The E.D. Has been really full, and everyone is trying their best to give everyone the treatment that they need. I mean, I'm -- I'm tired. I want to say that -- I mean, the things that I see in the E.R. are scary. I'm a little scared myself.

GIDWANI: It's been a long day. My cap is askew. One patient expired. It's very hard to lose a patient that you've been fighting for.

The day is coming to an end, at least the 12-hour shift of the day shift is coming to an end. Soon I'm going to change back into my street clothes and have a quick shower, hopefully, scrub the coronavirus off my body, if not off my soul.


BERMAN: Wow. Wow. That is a remarkable view inside for two reasons. One, to be able to see what they're going through, to be able to see the extent that they go to protect themselves. Two masks. They have the N95 mask and then the mask over it. The personal protective gear everywhere there. And you can see the impact it has on your face.

And just to feel what they're feeling, the emotion of losing a patient. The fear from the first doctor of even going in. Because we've heard so many stories about doctors preparing their wills, in some cases for the first time, because they know their lives are online.

CAMEROTA: Watching these diaries always gives me kind of a character tune-up. Where, you know, whenever I'm feeling somehow, you know, besieged or scared or nervous, then I watch them on the frontlines, of the courage that it takes for them to go to work every day. And I mean, obviously, I want to show it to my kids, who might be concerned about at-home, online learning. I mean, it just gives us all in the country a perspective of the people who are having to tackle this every single morning.

BERMAN: The physical and emotional investment is enormous there.

So if you're a healthcare worker on the frontlines of this pandemic, if you want to share your story with us, with the country, you can reach out to NEW DAY on Twitter or Facebook. We'll -- well, the address is @NewDay on Twitter. You can also send it to either Alisyn or me on social media. We love to see it.

Schools in nine states now closed for the rest of the academic year. What you need to know, next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


CAMEROTA: More than 90 percent of Americans are under stay-at-home orders this morning. So how are different states handling dealing with this virus? Well, we have reporters across the country covering it for you.


ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Athena Jones in New York. Four cities in New Jersey have instituted a weeklong lockdown to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The neighboring communities of Newark, East Orange, Orange and Irvington are asking residents to stay at home and to come outside for emergencies only. The city's police forces are patrolling, and violators will face legal action.

New Jersey is second only to New York in the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19, at more than 25,000. The restrictions will be reevaluated on April 7.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Ed Lavandera in New Orleans, where the state of Louisiana has seen the largest number of new coronavirus cases added to the list: more than 2,700 added in one day. The total now stands at more than 9,100.