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New York Governor: New York will Run Out of Ventilators in 6 Days; Navy Relieves Captain of Virus-Stricken Ship Who Raised Alarm; Hospitals Cancel Surgeries, Ration Care Amid Coronavirus Crisis. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired April 3, 2020 - 07:30   ET



JOHN BERMAN, CO-ANCHOR, NEW DAY: Hospitals in New York quickly reaching the breaking point. Governor Andrew Cuomo says they'll be out of ventilators in six days. Hundreds of doctors, nurses and therapists are needed in New York City by Sunday. Some patients are now being treated at field hospitals set up at the Javits Convention Center, but most of the beds on a Navy hospital ship now docked in New York harbor are empty.

There's room to treat a 1,000 patients on board the Comfort, but it has just 20 at this moment. Let's get all the latest from New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Mr. Mayor, great to have you on this morning, thank you for taking the time to speak with us. The Comfort has 20 people on board. It has a 1,000 beds. I know it's not to take COVID patients, it was never for that. It's to free up capacity for other patients. But if -- it has only 20 patients on board, how is it doing that?

MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO, NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK STATE: Yes, John, I've spoken to the Navy about this. There's no question in my mind that's going to get resolved very quickly, and you're going to see that number grow. And having the comfort here is a very important thing for New York City, both in terms of the number of patients will be served, but also it has given us an extraordinary morale boost when we needed it.

So, I don't have a doubt in my mind the Comfort is going to be filled up soon. The Javits Center is going to be filled up soon. That's the easy part, John. The hard part is our hospitals dealing with a massive surge in the coming days of not just COVID cases, but folks who need ICU care. Folks who are really fighting for their lives. And we need more doctors and nurses and ventilators for that most urgent care.

The people who would literally -- if we have the personnel, if we have the equipment, lives are going to be saved. If we don't, people will die who did not need to die. That's the part of the equation that's much more troubling to me. And that's where I still don't see enough action from the federal government. I asked the president and the military over a week ago for a 1,000 nurses, 150 doctors, 300 respiratory therapists. I said, I need those folks in our emergency rooms, in our ICUs and our

hospitals right at the frontline fighting the worst battles over COVID, the toughest cases. And I don't have anything yet.

BERMAN: It's interesting you asked them a week ago, you say. So, you've been having these conversations with the federal government because Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law who is involved now, I guess with the supply chain yesterday at the White House said that he took some kind of action after the president got a phone call from a friend. Listen to this.


JARED KUSHNER, SENIOR ADVISER TO DONALD TRUMP: I got a call from the president, he told me he was hearing from friends of his in New York, that the New York public hospital system was running low on critical supplies.


BERMAN: So, it took a phone call from the friend of the president to inform him of that. But you say you've been telling him that for weeks.

DE BLASIO: Yes, John, I have. I've spoken -- and I want to say, the president has been very available, and I appreciate that. And we've gotten some of the help we need for sure. But the real help going forward, and I've said it explicitly to the president and his entire team, FEMA, the military, everyone. I've said that this coming Sunday is D-day because we know that as of Sunday, we start to run out of ventilators, we start to get really stressed in terms of our personnel.

Think of it this way. For weeks and weeks and weeks, these heroic doctors, nurses, health care workers have been fighting this battle. A number of them are out sick now with the disease. A lot of them are just stretched to the limit, they need reinforcements. They need it now. So, what I've said to every one of our national leaders is we need to get on a war-time footing.

This is very strange to me, John. Right now, essentially, the country is still on a peace-time footing. But we're fighting a war against an invisible enemy that is increasingly taking the lives of Americans in vast numbers. And this is -- this is just the beginning. Next week is going to be much tougher. The military has come here and I appreciate it. But nowhere near to the extent we need.

There's no effort so far, literally none, to mobilize doctors and nurses from around the nation and get them to New York and other places that need them. I've called for a national enlistment of all medical personnel who can free up from their day-to-day jobs and go to the front, and the only way that's going to happen is if the military organizes it. The U.S. military is the finest organizational, logistical entity on earth.

They could actually organize a national enlistment and get those doctors and nurses to New York and then wherever else they're needed, moving around the country. But I've said this for weeks. And we have -- there's no plan, there's no order that's been given by the commander-in-chief. The nation is in a peace-time stance while we're actually in the middle of a war.

And if they don't do something different in the next few days, they're going to lose the window. 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 --

BERMAN: Let me --

DE BLASIO: Die who did not need to die.


BERMAN: You've talked about Sunday as a critical day when you're going to be running out of things that you need. How close are you to meeting the challenge you set with yourself to get those supplies that you need?

DE BLASIO: I can get to Sunday when it comes to ventilators. Monday, Tuesday, I'm not sure about yet. That's the blunt truth, John, not sure. The nation's largest city after we have asked our federal government constantly, we've gone to every company we can find literally on earth that we could purchase from. We're trying to create home-grown solutions or trying to come up with every creative way and approach.

But I don't know after Sunday if we're going to have what we need. And that's just the ventilators. The -- actually, the toughest part of the equation is the people part, the personnel. Because if we don't -- think about this. We predict by something like Monday or Tuesday, 5,000 people in our ICUs intubated, fighting for their lives with COVID cases, 5,000, and that number will then grow.

That's a staggering number. Every one of those people will need a ventilator. Every one of those people will need doctors and nurses constantly checking on them and adjusting their treatment. We can only get to Monday or Tuesday at this point. We don't know after that. How on earth is this happening in the greatest nation in the world, and how are our military at their bases?

BERMAN: Yes --

DE BLASIO: I don't think they want to be there. I think they want to be at the front, but they have not been given the order to mobilize. There are doctors right now all over the country --

BERMAN: Yes --

DE BLASIO: In private practice going about their business. We need to treat this like the war it is.

BERMAN: Mr. Mayor, you have asked New Yorkers to wear masks when they go outside, face coverings. Exactly --

DE BLASIO: Face coverings --

BERMAN: When -- and how much and -- you know, if you go for a run, if you go for a walk for exercise, sure, you'll be wearing it. When should you be wearing that face covering when you leave your house?

DE BLASIO: John, for the first time just in the last few days, we've gotten some evidence from studies from around the world that having a face covering on can help avoid accidentally transmitting the disease, because what we're seeing now is asymptomatic people, people not showing any signs of the disease might be able to transmit it. So, out of the abundance of caution, this is what I'm saying to all New Yorkers.

Take a scarf, take a bandana, just anything you have at home, just cover your face if you're going to be in close contact with people who are not your own family, under your own roof. Now, if you're socially distanced, you don't need it. But if you might, you know, even accidentally get closer to people in the course of your day, going shopping or anything else to the grocery store, have something you can just cover your mouth with, even if it's for a temporary period of time. That just helps protect other people. It's not a way of stopping, you know, the --

BERMAN: Yes --

DE BLASIO: Possible infection that you might experience. It's a way of making sure the whole community is safe by people not inadvertently spreading the disease.

BERMAN: It's an act of altruism. Mayor Bill de Blasio, we appreciate you being with us this morning. Thank you for your time, we'll check back in with you as soon as we can.

DE BLASIO: Thank you, John.

BERMAN: So, a Navy commander relieved of his command after sounding the alarm about coronavirus on his ship. Wait until you see the sendoff he just got from his sailors for what the Pentagon calls poor judgment. Also ahead, imagine giving birth to triplets during -- well, first of all, imagine it ever. But imagine doing it during a pandemic and being told you couldn't hold them for a week. Fortunately, the mother is a mental health therapist and both parents join us next.



ALISYN CAMEROTA, CO-ANCHOR, NEW DAY: A developing story now. The U.S. Navy has taken action against the captain who warned about a coronavirus outbreak on an aircraft carrier. He has been relieved of his command. And this is just in to CNN. Look at this video. This is new video showing the send-off that, that captain received from his sailors. Let's listen. CNN's Ryan Browne is live for us at the Pentagon with all of the

breaking details of this. Wow, he got a rousing applause and chanting there.

RYAN BROWNE, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER: That's right, Alisyn. Clearly, the sailors expressing their appreciation for their captain, and of course, the Navy yesterday relieving the captain Brett Crozier of command for what the acting Navy Secretary called extraordinary bad judgment and starting a firestorm by sending this warning that the coronavirus pandemic was getting out of control on that aircraft carrier, the USS Theodore Roosevelt, and that sailors could die as a result.

Now, the Navy is saying they're not -- they didn't fire him because of the letter itself, but because of how widely he disseminated it. He copied some 20 to 30 people on it we're being told, and that he did not properly safe-guard the information in that memo, allowing it to get out, potentially, allowing it to get leaked to the media. So the Navy is saying that's why they're doing it.

He went outside of the chain of command by disseminating it so widely. However, you can see there from the reaction of his sailors and you heard from other families that he remains very popular with the crew itself. And they see that his action, his warnings helped lead to the evacuation of many of these sailors from that ship.

Some 1,000 sailors have already been evacuated, and there's plans to evacuate another 2,000 soon. Now, the cases of corona have been spreading on that ship over 100 at this very date, and that number is expected to grow.

CAMEROTA: Wow, that shot of him turning around to look up, back up and salute one last time is all pretty powerful. Ryan, thank you very much for that report, John?

BERMAN: Look, I have to tell you, he probably knew this could cost him his job if he spoke out, and he laid it all on the line. He thought it was important enough to potentially lose his job to save the lives he thought of the sailors on board that ship. And based on that reaction, it does seem that the sailors agree with him.

CAMEROTA: And I appreciate it --


BERMAN: This morning though, he's no longer in command. So the flood of coronavirus patients has forced hospitals across the country to make some difficult choices. Non-emergency surgeries and procedures are being canceled, and patient care being rationed. CNN's Elizabeth Cohen joins us now with more on that. Elizabeth.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John. John, a surgeon in New York City using that word, saying we have had to ration care. But it's not just in New York City, the epicenter of the outbreak. This is happening in other places too.


COHEN (voice-over): Marlee Baxter was born with half a heart and had three open heart surgeries before her second birthday.

JOLENE BAXTER, MARLEE BAXTER'S MOTHER: Oh, I love that smile so much. Yes, I do, so much.

COHEN: Today, Marlee is three years old. And recently, her mom Jolene realized she's not getting enough oxygen. This number is very low. Marlee's doctors ordered a heart catheterization to figure out what's wrong.

(on camera): Has she had that heart catheterization?

BAXTER: No, she has not. The hospital called and canceled.

COHEN (voice-over): Because of coronavirus in dozens of states, governors have ordered temporary stops on non-emergency procedures, leaving patients like Marlee who lives in Oklahoma without the care they need.

(on camera): Has the hospital given you any word for when she'll be able to have it?

BAXTER: None at all. I have not -- I haven't heard from them at all. It is very frightening.

COHEN (voice-over): With so many medical resources being diverted to coronavirus, doctors are having to make choices about who gets care and who does not. CNN obtained this letter from the head of the Pediatric Heart Surgery Program at Columbia University.

We have had to ration care, he wrote, we have had to make decisions that I personally have never had to contemplate before. So many patients now not getting the care they need.

ASHISH JHA, HARVARD T.H. CHAN SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: For a lot of patients, these are crucial surgeries, procedures, tests that they need. People with chronic disease, people often with an acute illness that needs to be managed. We have to make sure we don't lose track of the tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of Americans who are suffering silently because of the impact of COVID on our healthcare system.

COHEN: Back at Marlee's house, she and her mom are making masks for nurses as they wait for the pandemic to end.

BAXTER: I'm sitting here just wondering when are we going to get this done. And just pray that she stays healthy until we get it done.


COHEN: I spoke with another patient, a woman in Minnesota who can tell from the irregular heartbeats that she's having that her pace- maker battery might be wearing out. She had an appointment to get it tested. That appointment canceled. John? BERMAN: All right, Elizabeth Cohen for us, thank you very much. This

just shows you the challenge on the entire health care system. It has an impact on people even if they don't get coronavirus. Alisyn?

CAMEROTA: Right, John, we just want to take a moment now to tell you about a few, just a few of the lives lost to coronavirus. New Jersey Kim King Smith died Tuesday at age 53. She's the first University Hospital Newark employee killed by the virus. The hospital's CEO says the night shift EKG technician had one of the most positive attitudes of any employee. Governor Phil Murphy called her a superhero.

Santa Rosa, California, police officer Marylou Armer was known for treating domestic violence victims with respect and for her Pilipino home-cooking. She was admired in the department for rising from evidence technician to detective. The Police Chief Ray Navarro says Armer's death hit the department hard. And her passing was noted with sadness by Governor Gavin Newsom. She was just 43 years old. We'll be right back.



CAMEROTA: Our next guests are new parents to premature triplets born last week. The babies are currently in the hospital in the Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit, and because of the coronavirus, their mom was not able to hold her babies -- oh, and by the way, that mom is a mental health professional who is now going to help the rest of us with our anxiety.

Annibel Tejada and Tendayi Kapfidze join us now. It's great to see both of you. I have to tell you how much I relate to your story. Fifteen years ago, also in March, I gave birth to premature twins who had to be in the NICU for a month. And I remember it as being some of the most anxiety-producing, stressful, sad time of my life. And that wasn't during a global pandemic. And so, Annabelle, how are you two staying sane?

ANNIBEL TEJADA, NEW MOTHER OF TRIPLETS: Well, it's good that you've asked, we're just taking it one day at a time. Not only are we being with having three premature little girls, both that nobody have to take precautions to get to the hospital and even to get to the NICU area that every day has more restrictions for the safety of the babies and ourselves.

CAMEROTA: And we see you in this picture, I think, holding one of the babies, but you haven't been able to hold all of them. And why not?

TEJADA: Yes, not only are they premature, they're taking more precautions and we are not allowed to do skin-to-skin as of now, so we have to wear the gown, the gloves and the face mask. But I was able to hold her for like 55 minutes yesterday, so that was nice.

CAMEROTA: That is beautiful. Tendayi, how are you coping with all of this? TENDAYI KAPFIDZE, NEW FATHER OF TRIPLETS: I think I'm coping OK. I'm

-- you know, I was mostly concerned for my wife because when she actually gave birth, I couldn't be there. The hospital wasn't allowing fathers to be at the labor and delivery. So I actually had to watch the entire birth on Face-Time.


CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh, Annibel, just explain that moment to us. I mean, again, these are some of the happiest, but also most stressful times of any parent's life. And so, how did you do that alone?

TEJADA: I don't know how I did it, but I did it. I actually went for a regular ultrasound appointment, and then it was showing that I was having contractions every nine minutes. So when I got to labor and delivery, my high risk doctor was there, and he said that it was time for them to come, and I'm thinking that I was going to have extra days, hoping that maybe they will change some rules.

But the next thing you know the doctor is telling me that they were coming on that day. And I received a lot of support, but I was super nervous, I was super anxious, I almost cried, I was on the phone with him almost the whole time until I was taken into the O.R. and my doctor was there with me throughout the whole way, and it was reassuring to see so many medical professionals helping when I got to the O.R.

I was nervous, I was shaking, but then, there were like 20 people around me in the O.R., and I was feeling more confident and comfortable that each girl was going to receive the care that they needed. Boy, it was, you know, a nerve-wracking experience the whole time.

CAMEROTA: I can imagine -- by the way, I had the same story, I went just to my -- for a regular check-up and they said, OK, you're going to deliver in 48 hours. I was, like, I don't have a crib yet. It's so -- I mean, this is what happens with, you know, twins and you guys have triplets. So you happen to be a mental health professional, and you're a professor that teaches a course on mental health. You are a therapist.

So you have some tips for how the rest of us, even when we are not dealing with preemie triplets can get through this very anxious time. And so I just want to put some of these up for people. First, you say, prioritize yourself. How on earth do you do that with newborns or any children around?

TEJADA: Well, at least, for me, I go to the NICU every day, but even there, I make sure that I'm eating lunch, drinking a lot of water, staying hydrated is very important. Sometimes when we don't drink enough water, that can cause our insides to get higher. And you know, just taking a step back because if you're not able to care for yourself, how are you going to care for the rest of the family, and that's what I tell parents at home.

Make sure that you have your own time, even if it's 30 seconds or a minute throughout the day where you're just sitting there or you're standing somewhere comfortable and you're just breathing in and out to start the day.

CAMEROTA: Well, let's talk about that. So, is that -- I mean, in terms of addressing anxiety, this is such an anxious time for so many people. So, you start the morning with breathing exercises --

TEJADA: Certainly --

CAMEROTA: And when people feel overwhelmed, when people feel overwhelmed by anxiety, what should they do? Oh, can you guys hear me? Can you hear me? I have a horrible feeling that we've lost their transmission -- OK, we're going to get them back because that is a burning question that so many of us have in terms of what to do when the anxiety kind of builds, and how you can try to quell it.

They are so good to be with us on NEW DAY, John, in the middle of this, you know, newborn preemie storm that they're having, and we're going to try to get their transmission back as soon as we can.

BERMAN: Look, I'm a parent of twins also, we're both parents of twins. And my wife and I would always joke that the only thing that would give us more anxiety than having twins is when we saw triplets. You saw a triple stroller, we saw it drive by us once and we had heart palpitations. Because we thought, how can they possibly manage and during a pandemic, I can't imagine, and they were lovely people. That was so nice. Thanks so much.

So when healthcare workers come home, they risk exposing their own families to coronavirus. It's a serious dilemma and here's one solution, RVs for MDs. It's a Facebook group started by a Texas doctor's wife that connects healthcare workers with RV owners. So far, some 200 have found temporary homes. You can help RVs for MDs or find other ways to pitch in during this pandemic by going to impact. NEW DAY continues right now.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are recommending that we use non-medical grade masks or 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 is just so intense and it's only began.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a big tractor trailer loaded with 300,000 masks, they'll be coming to the Javits Center.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's like watching a slow-moving hurricane across the country. Why not deploy the national resources and just stay ahead of the hurricane?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are dying! We are getting sick. Does it matter how many ventilators we get if we are dead. (END VIDEO CLIP)

CAMEROTA: And good morning, everyone, welcome to our viewers.