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Update on the Coronavirus Pandemic across the Nation; Americans Could Wait 20 Weeks for Stimulus Checks; Researchers Race to Develop Treatments; Patriots Help with Supply Delivery; Nurses Visit on Behalf of Loved Ones. 6:30-7a ET

Aired April 3, 2020 - 06:30   ET



ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: 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. And the governor here says it is going to get worse before it gets better. The governor says that the big spike in cases reported here in the last 24 hours is because of a logjam of tests that were backed up into the system. And a lot of these test results starting to come back. But there is still a great deal of concern about medical supplies and ventilators that the governor says could run out by this time next week.

RYAN BROWNE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Ryan Browne at the Pentagon.

The Navy has relieved the commanding officer of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, an aircraft carrier currently in port in Guam, which is facing a major outbreak of the coronavirus, with some 100 sailors now suffering from the pandemic.

Now, the Navy said it relieved the commander due to a loss of confidence because he sent out a note urging immediate action to help save the lives of the crew of that ship. Now, the Navy said the note was sent out too widely, in part allowing it to get out into the public, causing a firestorm. And they said that the commanding officer, Captain Brett Crozier, did not adhere to the chain of command.


Indiana and Michigan are the latest states to close their k-12 schools through the remainder of the year. California says it's unlikely its campuses will reopen before then. So that makes a total of at least nine states that have closed schools through the end of the year.

Now, according to "Education Week," these will impact 124,000 public and private schools and more than 55 million students. Now, these closures have posed challenges for some schools and students who are making this transition to online learning.


ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We will continue to bring you those reports from our correspondents around the country all morning long.

Meanwhile, blood from recovered coronavirus patients may hold the key to a potential treatment to fight coronavirus. The expert who is spearheading that research joins us next.



CAMEROTA: OK, now to economic news that you need to hear. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin says many Americans will receive their stimulus checks within the next two weeks, but that's only if you have a direct deposit account with the IRS. According to a government memo obtained by CNN, it could take four to five months for paper checks to land in some Americans' mailboxes.

Joining us now to explain this, CNN anchor and correspondent Julia Chatterley.

That doesn't seem possible, Julia, four to five months. It's just -- that's inconceivable.

JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's devastating for the people involved, Alisyn. That was to get all the checks out. Remember, we were always very cautious about this.

History suggests that on average it took over two months to get these checks out to people. And that, of course, meant that these people were waiting that long. But it was also a lot less volume than we're talking about this time around.

Now, the hope was that they were setting up this website that people who doesn't already have -- haven't already given their direct deposit information to the government could sign up, give their details. That website now apparently is not going to be up and running until mid- April. So, at best, two to four weeks to get the money to people.

Alisyn, we knew there were going to be delays, but these are far bigger than we were expecting.

And that's not the only bad news. The bank lending program, too. Remember I was on this show this week saying, look, the application form, it's so simple. The lenders are saying it's too simple. They're afraid they're going to make fraudulent loans and they're going to be fined at some point in the future for doing it. The Treasury's not clear on who bears the risk here.

I heard from one of the biggest banks in the country last night. They said that they're only going to lend money right now to known clients and they have to have some form of credit, like a credit card. So money's not going to get out to the most venerable people soon enough on the individual side for people, it's not going to get to business who desperately need it to.

I circle back to the conversation I had with you two weeks ago. We haven't stopped the outgoings, the rent, the payments, the utilities, and now we know the money coming in is going to be severely delayed. Something's got to give, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: And what is the answer, Julia, do we know?

CHATTERLEY: They're going to struggle. I think they're going to hire people. Even that's a challenge, of course, with social distancing at this moment.

But I think at some point they're going to have to take big decisions and say, we have to stop the outgoings on a more formal basis here because for the most vulnerable in society, and they're the ones that are going to be punished most here, they can't survive the next one, two weeks, never mind waiting four, five, maybe even 20 weeks to how we began this conversation. The financials don't work here. Something big has to change.

CAMEROTA: And there's so many people who have lost their jobs. I just don't know what that looks like for all of us, for the entire country of what these next couple of weeks look like economically.

But, Julia, thank you very much for raising -- for sounding this alarm for us this morning.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, this morning, researchers across the country racing to develop potential coronavirus treatments. One option, being tried already, is using plasma from the blood of patients who have recovered from coronavirus to treat those that are still suffering. A small number of patients in New York and Houston already receiving this antibody treatment.

Joining me now is the man spearheading this effort, Dr. Arturo Casadevall. He is the chair of the National Covid-19 Convalescent Plasma Project Leadership Group.

Doctor Casadevall, convalescent plasma treatment, what it basically means, again, is taking the blood or plasma from people who are recovering from coronavirus and giving it to other people. Explain to us how this works and why it's different than a vaccine.


The -- when you have a viral infection like coronavirus, and you recover, you make antibodies that kill the virus.


These antibodies are in the plasma. The plasma is the liquid part of the blood. And you can donate that plasma and it can be used on those people that are susceptible or having the disease. The difference from a vaccine in that you're getting antibodies that are already made. When you get a vaccine, you have to make your own antibodies, and that takes a while.

BERMAN: So who exactly could this help and how much? CASADEVALL: So we -- the use of plasma is encouraging based on

history. However, we are dealing with a new virus here and we need to learn how to use it. It is currently being used as compassionate use. That means it is used on people that are very sick and doctors are deciding that this could help.

However, what we really need to do are formal clinical trials to determine when, if and how to use it. And we think that it can be used, if it works, it can be used to treat people who are very sick, people who are deteriorating, as well as use it to prevent infection in health care workers, police and first responders.

BERMAN: What are the limitations to this?

CASADEVALL: One of the great limitations is that it's a difficult process because you have to idea donors, you need to get them to go to a transfusion center, they need to donate their plasma and you need to match it with people who need it. So we currently don't have a logistical framework in this country for doing that rapidly. But we're working very hard to do so. And we hope to have -- we're doing better and better each day. And we hope to have a more efficient system in place in the next few weeks.

BERMAN: Yes, it's hard to scale up to a huge level the way you can scale up, for instance, a vaccine. So it is limited in that sense.

And I was also going to ask, when it gets in your body, again, this is not your body producing resistance to it, this is using someone else's. What's the extent? How much can it fight off coronavirus?

CASADEVALL: Well, it's -- when it's been used in the past, in other infectious diseases, it can be very effective because you basically give the person who's struggling with coronavirus good antibodies that is then able to neutralize it. And it doesn't last for very long. It may -- you may need that second infusion. But it -- there is enough antibody in one dose to often make a difference.

BERMAN: Again, just so people understand what the promise actually is here, no one's suggesting this is a cure, correct?

CASADEVALL: Well, it is -- the way -- it is a treatment. It is a treatment. And if it's shown to work in clinical trials, this treatment would help some people recover. And if that is the case, you can begin to think of it not as necessarily a cure, but as a process that will help recovery.

BERMAN: And just, again, the difference between what's being done now, compassionate use versus testing, what's the difference there?

CASADEVALL: So the compassionate use is the Federal Drug Administration, the FDA, has allowed doctors to use this when they have it available for patients that are very sick or they thought that it could help and that the benefits may be greater than any risk.

The -- a clinical trial actually asks, does it work? And it has control. And it's very different than compassionate use, which is -- which is an effort to just help an individual.

BERMAN: So how much plasma or blood can you take from one recovering patient and how much can -- or how many people can one recovering patient then perhaps go on and help?

CASADEVALL: So the amount that is given varies. But, in general, we think that one person who donates may be able to help two people. And that is the ratio that we are working. They can definitely help at least one other person, but perhaps, depends on how much is donated, there could be two doses made.

BERMAN: This is really helpful information. Again, hopeful information. Limited hope. But if you can help anybody, we all know it's worth it.

Dr. Arturo Casadevall, thanks for coming on and explaining this to us. We really appreciate it.

CASADEVALL: Thank you, John.

BERMAN: All right, this morning, the New England Patriots helping health care workers get the protective equipment they need. The story, next.



BERMAN: So, the New England Patriots sent the team plane to China to bring back much-needed medical supplies.

Andy Scholes with more now in the "Bleacher Report."

Good morning, Andy.


You know, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker had secured a deal to bring more than a million of those protective masks back to his state, but he just didn't have a way to get them back from China. And that's when Patriots owner Robert Kraft stepped in to help.

Kraft's plane, it went to China and then arrived back in Boston around 6:00 p.m. last night with 1.2 million masks. Kraft and his team arranged the pickup with Chinese government and local supply companies. Reports say the government there in China gave them just three hours to get everything loaded up. And Kraft joined CNN's global town hall last night and said this all was a very difficult endeavor.


ROBERT KRAFT, OWNER, NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS: This probably was the most challenging operation our organization and team ever had to do. It was -- it was a lot of red tape and a lot of people cooperated. This is the greatest country in the world. It's time for us to rally together and solve these kinds of issues. (END VIDEO CLIP)


SCHOLES: Yes, and Kraft not only helping out the state of Massachusetts, John. He also purchased 300,000 protective masks for the state of New York. And those are going to be arriving there this morning.

BERMAN: Good for him. Good for him. And I know Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker got emotional when he was announcing the arrival of this plane yesterday. You know, it's a big deal. It's a very big deal. Thanks, Andy, for that.

So one of the most challenging realities of this pandemic, families not able to comfort their loved ones at bedside. Up next, we're going to introduce you to a group of New York nurses going beyond the call of duty.


CAMEROTA: One of the most difficult realities of the coronavirus pandemic is that because of the contagious nature of this virus, so many patients are forced to suffer through their illnesses alone without their loved ones. One group of nurses in New York realized the toll this is taking on families and they decided to do something about it.

So joining us now is Liz O'Rourke, Arianna Dumas and Mary Halliday. They are nurses in the surgical intensive care unit at North Shore Manhasset Hospital.


And, Mary, God bless you. I know you've just finished, moments ago, your long, I don't know if it's a 12-hour shift, and just what you need a national live shot as soon as your -- you're this tired.


CAMEROTA: Well, we didn't want to miss out on talking to all of you because you're doing something so special that I think has really caught on.

And, Mary, I know this was, I think, your concept. So -- so how did you come up with the idea? You're basically surrogate family members for people who can't have visitors.

HALLIDAY: So I had one experience with a patient that, unfortunately, we had done everything that we could and the -- the outcome was not looking good. And I reached out to the family to let them know and they were so heartbroken over the fact that the last time they had seen him was to drop him off at the emergency room. And I just couldn't imagine being that person that leaves my family member in the emergency room thinking, OK, I'll see them maybe in a few hours and maybe a day if they get admitted. But to not see them for weeks and their condition declines and they pass away alone, it just -- it's just unfathomable to me.

So I made a post on FaceBook just saying, I know a lot of people in a few different hospital systems that I just thought, I have time and I can go in early or stay late and maybe I could be that person that, you know, says a prayer, you know, talks to them, you know, whether they are sedated or they're awake or just to be company for them and then to utilize the iPads to make a connection with the family, just anything that I could do to make that presence and that contact real that they don't have.

CAMEROTA: Wow. And so -- so, Arianna, just tell us some of your -- what you have had to do. What have families asked you to do for their loved one who are lonely and isolated?

ARIANNA DUMAS, NURSE, NORTH SHORE MANHASSET HOSPITAL: So I went in early one day on my day off just to FaceTime a family. They didn't think their mom was going to make it through the night. So I was going to (INAUDIBLE). So I FaceTimed the family. It was heartbreaking to hear the three daughters saying their last words to their mom. They were singing to her. I've also had videos sent to me from family members just to play for their loved ones.

It's just heartbreaking to be there. Like, we're there with them, we're holding their hand while their families are talking to them, but they physically can't be there. So we're there for them.

CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh, you guys, this is heartbreaking, but it is so generous and so special, what you're doing for them.

Liz, tell us -- tell us an example of your experience.

LIZ O'ROURKE, NURSE, NORTH SHORE MANHASSET HOSPITAL: Yes, I originally put out a post on FaceBook as well and I expected to maybe help a few people in the community. And the response has just been like so great. And I've gotten people calling. I've held phones to people's ears who are sedated and intubated so they could hear their loved ones.

One wife asked me to go in and squeeze her husband's foot and say that, you know, she loves him because he always loves a good foot squeeze. You know, some people don't want to see their family or talk to their family because they feel like they're not going to be able to convey what they want. So they've written things for us to read to them. Everybody needs something different at this time. And the fact that we can just do our part to help connect and do what we can has been really heartbreaking but beautiful to be a part of.

CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh.

Arianna, you were saying that it is heartbreaking and really sad and so how do you cope after you -- after you are the conduit for the last moment that families are together? Then -- then -- how -- what does that leave you with?

DUMAS: I mean it's hard. It's very difficult, each shift. I mean, it's really all of us, all my co-workers, we all come together. We'll stay after our shifts sometimes just to kind of like debrief and get our feelings out because it's really difficult to be there for them and then have to go home and kind of not think about it. But we think about it all the time. It just doesn't leave our minds.

CAMEROTA: And so, Mary, do you have a backlog of people wanting this service? I mean, how popular has this become?

HALLIDAY: Pretty popular, actually. But, like I said, it's been very beneficial because the hospitals that I cannot get to, I've been reaching out to friends who have been so willing to do the same thing. I had a family contact me about another family member that was in an ICU at a different hospital and I am friendly with the nurse educator in that hospital. And I reached out to her and said, could you do me a favor and can you -- and she was more than willing to do it and sent me a whole long message afterwards of everything that she did with the patient.


She sat with him. She said a prayer.