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Dr. Fauci Says, Entire U.S Should Be Under Stay-At-Home Orders; Florida Religious Services Exempt From Stay-At-Home Order; New York Governor Says, New York Will Run Out Of Ventilators In Six Days. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired April 3, 2020 - 07:00   ET


MARY HALLIDAY, NURSE, NORTH SHORE MANHASSET HOSPITAL: And she was more than willing to do it, and sent me a whole of messages afterwards of everything that she did with the patient.


She sat with him. She said a prayer, offered to Facetime the family if they wanted. It was really great. So it's where I can't go, I try to reach out and just make that possible, if I can.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN NEW DAY: Well, Mary Halliday, Arianna Dumas, Liz O'Rourke, you guys are angels on earth. You are angels that you're taking on this responsibility and being these surrogate loved ones for people who can't be there. I'm sure the families appreciate it so much. And thanks so much for sharing the idea with our viewers today. Take care of yourselves.

And New Day continues right now.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN NEW DAY: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is New Day.

And breaking overnight, the top infectious disease expert in the country, Dr. Anthony Fauci, tells CNN that the entire nation should be under stay-at-home orders. And more than that, he doesn't understand why they're not. Ten states are still holding out and President Trump is still resisting issuing a nationwide order.

More news, CNN has learned that the CDC is recommending guidelines for what different towns and cities should look for in their communities before they relax social distancing. It's a four-week process. The White House says a decision will be made soon about whether all Americans should be wearing homemade masks or face coverings whenever they go outside.

A scientific panel warns that coronavirus can be spread not just by sneezing or coughing, but just talking, even breathing.

CAMEROTA: So, John, 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 have not yet been delivered. There are also new questions this morning about the 1,000-bed Navy hospital ship that's docked in New York harbor, that's called the Comfort, it has 1,000 beds but they are largely empty. CNN has that it only has 20 patients on board because of red tape. One of New York's leading medical officials calls that situation a joke.

And later this hour, we will also get advice from a family with triplets who are in the NICU right now. It just couldn't be a more stressful time for them. Luckily, they know a lot about family therapy and they're going to share with us how to handle these anxious times. John?

BERMAN: All right. I want to begin with Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo, Director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at University of Alabama at Birmingham, and Dr. Rochelle Walenksy, Chief of Infectious Disease at Massachusetts General Hospital.

And, Dr. Marrazzo, I want to start with you, and I want to play you what Dr. Anthony Fauci told us last night on CNN about how he feels about a nationwide stay-at-home order. Listen.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: 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.


BERMAN: I don't understand why we're not doing that. We can put a list of the states up on the screen that haven't instituted a stay-at- home order yet. And it's important to note the president says he will not institute a national stay-at-home order. I was struck by the fact that Dr. Fauci basically declared that he disagrees with the administration policy.

That aside, Dr. Marrazzo, what would the utility of a nationwide order be? Why do you think Dr. Fauci feel so strongly about this?


First of all, I think the fact that there is now a bobble head available of Dr. Fauci tells you all you need to know about how authoritative his voice is. Really, he has been the trusted communicator for the most common sense and the most informed information about this epidemic, pandemic that we have had so far.

I think what he's pointing out is something that I said yesterday in another press conference. And it's really that people are very much in need of a playbook that we can all be playing from. We need a national consistent voice. And we need that voice to be informed by science and caring about public health and our communities. And I think Dr. Fauci has never taken his eye of that ball.


That is what he is about. He's about science. He's about doing the right thing. And he's about making this pandemic tolerable even though it's going to be horribly painful, as tolerable as it can be for our community.

So he is really speaking truth to power in this case.

CAMEROTA: And, Dr. Walensky, there's no other choice. We don't have a treatment right now. All we have is our own behavior in order to stop this, or slow it down, or flatten the curve. All we have are the stay- at-home social distancing orders. And, I mean, maybe people need to hear it's working. There are -- perhaps you could provide some evidence that in the places that have done this more stringently, it's working.


Yes, I would completely agree with Dr. Marrazzo and reiterate that social distancing is a blunt tool. It's an imperfect tool. It's a tool that we really have to be patient with. But, yes, we don't have another tool, so we don't have a way to treat you when you come into the hospital. We can certainly give you supportive care but we don't have something to give you otherwise. And so what we can do is prevent. And the best way we know to prevent is through social distancing.

We know from epidemiologic studies back to the 1918 flu, that communities that social distance did better than communities that didn't. We know that the earlier we enact social distancing, the faster it works. The better it works.

And we really need to do so now. Because, in truth, it's always that.

BERMAN: So, Dr. Walensky, and doctor, this is part of the need for social distancing, the White House has been told by this panel of doctors that there is evidence that coronavirus is being spread not just by coughing or sneezing but by breathing or just talking.

Now, I know to an extent this either should have been obvious and was obvious based over the last two months based on what we saw out of China. But I want to know what the implications are of this in terms of public policy, what we do going forward and what we've already done over the last few weeks.

WALENSKY: Right. This was important information to have. Although, as you note, it really shouldn't have been a surprise. We've known for a long while now that people who have asymptomatic infection can give this disease to other people. So how else would they give it if not breathing, speaking, being in close proximity and then the fomites that might live on the surfaces that they would touch with -- the other people might touch. So I do believe that we consider this to be a droplet infection, an infection that you can wear a surgical mask and protect yourself and others. I do also believe that there probably some of this is airborne, that travels relatively short distances from talking or speaking. And that's really why we're talking six feet apart. You really need to stay apart from one another, and why people are now talking about masks for everyone as they leave their homes.

CAMEROTA: Yes. Dr. Marrazzo, this new information from the scientific panel, I mean, I guess that we're all saying yes, of course, we should have known it was airborne and you can get it from just breathing, but we didn't really know that. I mean, I think that people's mindset was you have to touch a surface or somebody has to sneeze on you or near you.

But when I heard this yesterday, that it's in the air and that it's from breathing or talking, then suddenly, it just kind of clicked for me, because, you know, there has been these super spreader events at a cocktail party, say, or a medical conference outside of Boston. And, you know, we knew that everybody there wasn't sneezing and coughing so, so many dozens of people were getting it at these events, it must have been in the air.

MARRAZZO: Yes, I couldn't agree with you more. And in some ways, we don't like to rely on anecdotes. We like strong evidence in medicine. We really love to have evidence-based guidelines to treat patients. On the other hand, there is a story that has been largely, I think, not in the national media of a choir group just north of Seattle, in which there were about 60 people. They took extraordinary precautions in terms of hand hygiene, they didn't touch each other. They were really very careful. And almost all of those people got infected and two died of 60 people.

I mean, you can look it up, it's online, I'm not making this up. That says to me that even in a setting where you're being extraordinarily careful with your hand hygiene, that if you forcefully expel breath like you do when you're vigorously singing, that that can absolutely do it.

Now, also think about when you walk by somebody who is smoking a cigarette, right? Yes, you can smell the smoke, but you can often smell what's come out of their lungs. And those are two very different smells. So if you think about a cloud of breath coming out of somebody's lungs, that's the image that you really want to think about when you're thinking about protecting yourself from breathing these particles in.

BERMAN: Look, I think this information was available and was being said, particularly at the highest levels around the president and the task force a month ago.


And if it's only informing public policy now, it's too late. I mean, it was something that was known and available to them before. It didn't take this panel of scientists to tell them just now. Though I want to move on to a different subject, Dr. Marrazzo, which is the Comfort, this naval ship that's in New York Harbor, with 1,000 beds that floated in here to the city with such huge fanfare, just 20 patients on board as of this morning, just 20. There are 1,000 beds on here.

Now, this is to treat patients who don't have COVID-19, to free up space for other patients. But it's not doing it, it's not freeing up space, because there are limitations who gets on board. There are 49 other things that can keep you from getting on board. You have to go to another hospital first. You have to test negative for coronavirus. Is this serving the purpose that it's supposed to serve if only 20 patients are on board?

MARRAZZO: Absolutely not, and I don't understand it either. But it speaks to and amplifies the problem we have been having with red tape all along. You heard from the New England Patriots manager just now what effort it took to heroically go to China and get the number of personal protective equipment items that they talked about. Why are we having so much trouble? Probably, again, because we do not have a national voice helping make this stuff happen at the local level.

The local health authorities and the local operations people really have been, again, I use the word heroic, and I don't use it lightly. They have been struggling very hard to make these things happen in the face of really formidable obstacles. And I imagine, I don't know for sure, but that that's what's happening in New York. And it's really very tragic.

CAMEROTA: Well, we're not at the peak yet, as you all keep telling us. We're probably at least two weeks away or probably two weeks away from now from the peak in the hardest hit places. And so, Dr. Walensky. Should, starting, everybody on the street, outside, anytime you go to the store, any time you go -- leave your home, be wearing a mask?

WALENSKY: Well, I'm not going to mention the word mask without a huge shout of gratitude to the Kraft family and our New England Patriots for what they did yesterday. It was a beautiful moment in our meeting when we learned that these were coming and not -- it was not the only one to well up in the room. So thanks very much to the Krafts and the Patriots.

As we talk about masks and whether people need them and should be wearing them, I want to remind people of several things. First, I think we're going to get some guidance from the CDC on this relatively soon. Dr. Fauci mentioned that last night.

Second, wearing a mask outside of your home is not a ticket to leave your home. So it is sort of a belt and suspenders approach, where your belt is staying home for social distancing. And if you need to go out, if you need to get an essential item, that's when you would put a mask on.

The other thing I want to remind people is that the mask -- wearing a mask is an act of all altruism. You are not protecting yourself from getting a disease. You're protecting others from any disease you might have.

And the third thing I would just remind people is, first and foremost, we need our masks for healthcare workers. And so as you're thinking about what kind of barrier you would put on your face, please remember to not take the masks from the healthcare workers and to continue something -- consider something that might be homemade.

BERMAN: Yes, bandana, a mask, something with cloth. Dr. Marrazzo, mask, good idea?

MARRAZZO: I think masks are a fine idea for all the reasons that Dr. Walensky articulated. I personally, and I think many experts would agree, that social distancing is ultimately going to be more important than masks. Because, remember, with social distancing, you kind of get it all. You get far away enough from the person that you're not going to ideally have that respiratory contact or with their breathed air. And you also get the benefit of not coming into contact with things they have touch.

One thing I really want to emphasize though is that social distancing has been getting a lot of press. But, remember, it is a luxury. It's a luxury for people who have the room to actually socially distance themselves. When you look at the map that came out yesterday that the New York Times published about people not traveling, you'll notice that the areas of the country most vulnerable to not being able to socially distance really is the area of the country in the southeast where we have the most challenges with socioeconomic and health disparities. So please be aware of that.


BERMAN: It's a great point. Dr. Marrazzo, Dr. Walensky, thank you very much for being with us this morning. I really appreciate your time.

MARRAZZO: Thank you, stay healthy.

WALENSKY: Thank you.

BERMAN: So you just heard it there. You could not hear it more clearly, social distancing saves lives.


But Florida is exempting religious services from their stay-at-home orders.

We're going to speak with Miami's archbishop, next.


CAMEROTA: A stay-at-home order goes into effects in the State of Florida today, but churches, synagogues and other houses of worship are exempt. And many people are getting sick at church. Outside of Sacramento, California, 71 people infected with coronavirus have been linked to a single church, making it one of the largest outbreak clusters in the United States.

So what is the answer for churches that want to stay open? Joining us now is Miami Archbishop Thomas Wenski. He is urging Miami area priests and parishioners to adhere to social distancing rules. Good morning Archbishop.


CAMEROTA: It's great to have you here. It's not just Sacramento obviously that's struggling with this, though as we said, 71 parishioners are infected or have tested positive.


There's also that, as you know, in Florida, your state, in Tampa, you know that there was the pastor who was arrested because he was continuing to hold church services against executive -- well, against local orders. This is a picture of the river at Tampa Bay Church.

In Louisiana, there's a pastor who has been given summons for six counts for violating an executive order there. And I just want to play for you what that pastor's father says about why it's so important to them to keep church open. So let me get your response to this.


TIMOTHY SPELL, FATHER OF CHARGED PASTOR TONY SPELL: The church, again, is not a non-essential.

The church is the most essential thing in all the world.


CAMEROTA: So, Archbishop, what do you say to your fellow clergy that say that they need to stay open?

WENSKI: Well, I say that we are open in the sense that parish our offices are open, our priests are answering their phones, they might have a skeleton staff in the office to attend to people. And we do provide essential services, we operate a school system, for example.

And so we continue to be open. But at the same time, we do not have any services, any celebrations of the liturgy, the mass with a congregation present commenced in the cases March 16th here in South Florida. And since that date, many of our priest have tried to accommodate people by scheduling, for example, a drive-by or drive- thru confession.

But in the past couple of days when the authorities say that the next two weeks will be critical, especially here in South Florida, which is the epicenter of this pandemic here in Florida, I instructed that my priests would not offer drive-thru confessions, drive-through palms or anything.

However, we do say mass every day. And we say mass without a congregation present. At that mass, we might have the assistance of a reader, of a song leader. But they practice social distance in order to accompany the priest at that masses. And those masses, for the most part, are live streamed through Facebook or through other media or through the internet, so that parishioners can participate remotely.

So, in one sense, we are essential and we continue our basic work out of the rectory offices, responding to sick calls when we are called, but not inviting people or gathering people to the churches, and this is a sacrifice for all of us because it's Holy Week that's about to begin.

CAMEROTA: Absolutely. And so what are saying to your fellow clergy who feel that as we approach Palm Sunday that the congregation is an important part, that all being together, that community is important? What do you say to them this morning?

WENSKI: We are together. We're not separate. But we are distant at this particular time. We are united in the one body of Christ. But we have to maintain the social distance for the public good, for the common good.

And many of my clergy are already self-isolating because they are suspected of having the virus or they've been exposed to somebody that has. I have other priests that have to self-isolate because of pre- existing conditions because of age or a disease like diabetes or an organ transplant that puts them at risk if they were to get infected.

And I instructed those priests that if somebody calls them and they cannot respond, then they are to contact a priest who can to respond to that need if the hospital calls. And we have priests that are still answering calls to hospitals and the hospitals know how to receive them and get them up in the necessary protective gears so that they can administer to the sick person, which is providing certainly an essential service.

CAMEROTA: That's nice. So your priests are still going into the hospitals, but they're just wearing all of the protective gear.

WENSKI: Yes. And the hospitals invite them and call them, they will respond. And, of course, the hospitals can work with them and get them in the protective gear that they need. And we have some hospital that have priests on staff as chaplains. So they have been doing this for a long time.

The Archdiocese of Miami has one of the largest critical care -- largest critical care provider with nursing homes and assisted living facilities in the Southeastern United States.


WENSKI: So we with the hospitals -- we have chaplains who are working in those hospitals, maintaining social distance and doing everything that the protocols call for as to ensure their own health and the health of their patients.

[07:25:14] CAMEROTA: Yes, understood. Archbishop Thomas Wenski, we hear your message that you can be spiritually united while being physically distant. So we hope that other people heed that understanding as well. Thank you very much for taking time to talk to us on New Day.

WENSKI: God bless you.

CAMEROTA: You too.

A Navy hospital ship is supposed to help New York City's overflowing hospitals, but why are there so few patients on board this morning? We talk to New York Mayor Bill de Blasio about that and so much more, next.



BERMAN: Hospitals in New York quickly reaching the breaking point. Governor Andrew Cuomo says they will be out of ventilators in six days. Hundreds of doctors, nurses and therapists are needed in New York City.