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U.S Death Toll Climbs As Global Coronavirus Cases Top 1.1 Million; Coronavirus Ranking System Could Determine Who Gets A Ventilator; Pregnant Fiancee Of U.K Prime Minister Says She Has Coronavirus Symptoms; Former Italian P.M. Matteo Renzi Discusses The Current Prime Minister's Security Guard Dying From Coronavirus & Spread Of Coronavirus In Europe; Ten Million Filed For Unemployment In Just Two Weeks; Inside A Seattle ICU Showing The Fight To Save Coronavirus Patients. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired April 4, 2020 - 15:00   ET




ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: Hello on this Saturday. You are live in the CNN Newsroom. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York.

Let's get you the very latest. Right now, there are more than 1 million cases of coronavirus worldwide as the U.S. reports more than 297,000 cases and a death toll now above 8,000 in the United States.

Today, the governor of the hardest hit state, New York, said they could be still a week away from hitting the apex of new cases. And right now, New York has more than 113,000 total cases. They are getting help in this fight. The Chinese government is facilitating the donation of 1,000 ventilators set to arrive at JFK Airport today. And the State of Oregon is also lending New York 140 ventilators.

Today, the governor of New Jersey, Phil Murphy, said his state has lost nearly 100 more of its residents than it did in the September 11th attacks. Let that sink in for just a moment, he tweets. This pandemic is riding one of the greatest tragedies in our state's history.

Now, to help stop the spread of the virus, the CDC is now recommending all Americans wear cloth face covering is out in public. Although its guidance, the president says he himself will not be following.


REPORTER: What will people gain from wearing a mask and why are you opposed to wearing one yourself?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I just don't want to wear one myself. It's a recommendation. They recommend it. I'm feeling good. I just don't want to be doing, I don't know, somehow sitting in the Oval Office behind that beautiful, resolute desk, the great, resolute desk. I think wearing a facemask, as I greet presidents, prime ministers, dictators, kings, queens, I don't know. It somehow I don't see it for myself.


CABRERA: A source close to the coronavirus task force tells CNN President Trump is being urged to consider national stay-at-home recommendations, something he has so far refused to do. But across the country, 42 states have already put in place their own stay-at-home orders. That's nearly 96 percent of the U.S. population.

Back to New York now for just a moment because this is where the most people are infected in this country and where the most people have died. And right now, they are putting the final touches on the sprawling Javits Center, a huge convention and event space being quickly converted into a 2,500 bed hospital. And CNN's Evan McMorris- Santoro is there outside the Javits Center here in New York.

And We heard from Governor Cuomo earlier today, Evan, that he is very eager to have this makeshift hospital ready to go. He says it will change the numbers dramatically.

EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Ana. I'm here at the Javits Center. And, originally, when this was conceived, the idea was put a thousand or more beds in here, use those beds to take people out of the existing hospital system who have COVID freeing up the other hospital beds for COVID patients. Well, that plan has changed.

And on Monday, this Javits Center hospital, more than 2,500 beds, as you mentioned, will be home to COVID patients. And the more important part about the beds is that there is also people, the personnel to man and operate the beds. That's the main issue the governor says, going forward, is personnel and equipment.

Now, of course, as you mentioned, New York State is the epicenter of the pandemic in the United States and New York City where I'm standing is the epicenter of that epicenter, but the governor said today that he is concerned about a new area nearby here, just in the east where the virus is also on the rise.


GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): Watch Long Island, because it is like a fire spreading. And at one point, the fire, it doesn't max out in one place, but it consumes where it is and then it is moving out. You look at where it is moving, you see the Long Island number is growing. I mean, it has been growing for the past ten days, right, and it's been growing steadily.


MCMORRIS-SANTORO: In the past ten days, Long Island has gone from 15 percent of the total cases in New York to 22 percent of the total cases in New York. That's all part of that continuing surge in cases here before we reach the so-called apex, where cases start to go down. Governor Cuomo said today that is still between a week or more away, and that is why hospitals like here at the Javits Center and other facilities are so important.



CABRERA: OK. Evan McMorris-Santoro, thank you so much.

And we should note, there is a hospital here in the State of New York that says they lost seven people overnight to coronavirus in that one hospital alone, and 80 percent of the patients in that hospital are testing positive for coronavirus.

Meanwhile, let me take you to the State of Louisiana, because what could happen there is still major tragedy. Right now, a convention center in New Orleans is quickly being turned into a makeshift hospital as the state faces a massive surge in cases in just 24 hours. Here are the numbers there today. More than 12,000 cases total there, more than 400 deaths, 1,700 people in the hospital right now and nearly 600 on those life-saving ventilators.

CNN's Ed Lavandera is in New Orleans. The city has been hit particularly hard. Ed, I understand you were given a tour of this convention center turned makeshift hospital?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We did just a short while ago. Medical officials and military officials that have been working to set up this complex inside that convention center gave us an understanding of how it will all unfold. The one thing people need to know just as a matter of how this is going to work, do not just show up here at that convention center and expect to walk in. Patients who will be treated there will be transferred there from hospitals in the New Orleans area. So don't show up at that place thinking that you're just going to be able to walk in and get treatment.

So this convention center is essentially set up for patients who don't need the most critical care but are, perhaps, on their way to recovery but still need medical treatment. So they have a thousand beds. There are plans if things get very intense here in the coming weeks where they could ramp that up another 2,000, 3,000 beds as well. So we'll see how far down the road if that kind of intensity will be needed there inside of that convention center.

But officials here say that starting on Monday the first patients will begin to arrive, this as we continue to see the uptick in the number of cases here in the State of Louisiana and in the New Orleans area in particular. And health officials here in New Orleans say that that convention center and all of that open bed space should serve as a symbol pf what is to come here in the coming weeks.


DR. JOSEPH KANTER, LOUISIANA HEALTH DEPARTMENT: This should be a message that it is not time to let up. Look at what is happening here and look at the magnitude of this. We are still very much in this. In fact, we haven't even hit half way.


LAVANDERA: And, Ana, here, the governor and state officials continue to warn the shortages of PPE, protective gear and ventilator is still something that they're monitoring very closely and very concerned about. Ana?

CABRERA: OK. Ed Lavandera, we are sending our very, very best to the people in that state. Thank you.

The CDC is now recommending the use of face coverings when any of us goes out in public. And that's a reversal of previous guidance that suggested masks were unnecessary for people who weren't sick. But health officials stress they don't want people rushing to go get medical or surgical masks. Instead, one option is to make your own.

Surgeon General Jerome Adams shared how it can be done without having to sew anything and using items from around the house.


DR. JEROME ADAMS, U.S. SURGEON GENERAL: Fold it to the middle from the bottom. Fold it to the middle from the top. Fold it again to the middle from the bottom and again from the top. And then two rubber bands, one on one side and one on the other side. Then you fold either side to the middle and you have yourself cloth face covering. It's that easy.


CABRERA: Joining us now is CNN Medical Analyst and Director of the Medical Ethics Division at NYU's Langone Medical Center, Art Caplan, and Dr. Wayne Riley, President of Downstate Medical Center in New York City.

And, Dr. Riley, can you just explain to us in the simplest terms possible the masks. Is it accurate to say a facial covering is to protect others so if you are wearing a facial covering, you know, the others around you may be protected but you personally are no safer?

DR. WAYNE RILEY, PRESIDENT, SUNY DOWNSTATE MEDICAL CENTER: Yes, Ana, that is correct. What we know about the virus that we probably didn't know a few weeks ago is that a lot of us are asymptomatic carriers. And if we just go about our daily lives without protecting others by wearing the mask, the epidemic could worsen. So this is something that I agree with and I think the public health guidance on this is accurate.

Please don't rush out and buy medical masks. We are in short supply. All the hospitals and health centers all over the country are in short supply of the hospital grade. But as the surgeon general just mentioned, you can sort of roll your own at home, if you will.


There are YouTube videos out there that explain how to do this. There was a terrific piece in The New York Times the other day how to make a mask. So for right now, we think it is a good practice.

CABRERA: And, Art, you are one of the nation's leading experts in medical ethics. Is it every American's ethical duty to each other to wear a facial covering at this point?

DR. ARTHUR CAPLAN, DIRECTOR OF THE MEDICAL ETHICS DIVISION, NYU's LANGONE MEDICAL CENTER: Well, I think it helps. Look, it's not a massive step in terms of controlling this plague, but it helps. I think it's incumbent on the president and his team to show good behavior and role model. The president says he is not going to do it. Until he does, I fear a good number of Americans won't. They watch what he does. They watch what the vice president does. They watch what is going on from the leadership so that's problematic.

But I do think we have a duty to try and do as much as we cannot to infect others. As Wayne said, we can be carriers and not know, not have symptoms. So it is important not to spread the disease.

CABRERA: Dr. Riley, here is another question from a viewer, because we've got a lot of questions on this, and I want to encourage our viewers to please continue to tweet me @anacabrera. They ask, what is the best material to use to make your own makeshift mask? And, also, once you make them, how should we be using them and cleaning them?

RILEY: Sure, great question. First of all, I agree with Art, this is no time for vanity. Examples of adherence to guidance is so impactful with the American public and again the guidance that has been issued I think is sound. So I agree fully with Art.

Now, in terms of the materials, you know, again, these instructional videos will give you great advice on using cotton materials, leftover scraps from other projects that you may have around the house. And the key thing is, as you make them, you have to double ply them. And, again, the surgeon general has a great video that you just showed. So just about any sort of fabric that is not uncomfortable to have close to your face and your nose would be sufficient as a protective barrier.

CABRERA: Here is another viewer question, Dr. Riley. Should I immediately change my clothes or take a shower every time I come home from work or from running errands?

RILEY: I do. And I think that is probably sound advice. We know that the virus is out there in the community. As you're out and about, you may not realize that you picked up the virus. So I know all healthcare professionals, we do that. When we get home after working and taking care of patients, the first thing we do is get in the shower and wash off. Because, again, this virus is very delicate. Soap and water just knocks it to its knees. So, again, I think that is very good advice.

CABRERA: Art, I'm wondering if it is better safe than sorry, if that is the mentality now using masks, for example. Why the reluctance do you think for the administration to go there sooner?

CAPLAN: I think two reasons.

RILEY: Well, again, I know, yes, Art has a great --

CABRERA: Go ahead, Art.

CAPLAN: There is some fear that if you see people with masks, they're going to relax their social isolation. In other words, they get a false sense of security. They don't understand. The masks don't prevent them from getting sick. And they start to feel, oh, I don't have to isolate. Maybe I can have somebody over. We don't want to relax our behavioral isolation. It is still the best defense and the most important defense. So I think they're worried about that.

And I think the other reason there has been a little reluctance about the masks is it is a little bit anxiety-provoking, it's a little bit nervous-making when everybody is out there with a mask. Nonetheless, I think it is time to do that. And, again, I want to urge everyone who is thinking about making or wearing a mask, that's great, but the crucial thing is to remain isolated. That's your biggest weapon against this plague and that's the strongest moral duty every American should take seriously.

CABRERA: And, Art, you know the U.S. has changed so rapidly in such a short amount of time. Now, we're approaching a death toll that is almost three times that of 9/11. As a medical ethicist, what is, I guess, the issue that is most frightening to you at this point?

CAPLAN: Something is happening, Ana, and I think it is important that we all understand. We had a medical system that was very respectful of patient choice, patient autonomy. Many of us have living wills with directions about what we would want at the end of life, very strong and informed consent.

When you're in a plague and if resources really get stressed and really there is a surge and we're just overwhelmed at the hospitals, you're not going to have the same freedom of choice, you're not going to have that same what we call an ethics autonomy, the right to decide for yourself. You're starting to practice medicine for the community, for the good of all. So I think that is a shift that is going to be perhaps to accept but it's coming, potentially coming.


CABRERA: Dr. Riley, quickly if you will, same question to you. What is your biggest fear as a medical doctor right now?

RILEY: Well, I worry about my staff. The wonderful nurses, physicians, respiratory therapists, phlebotomists who are on the frontline taking care of patients, I worry about them going down or being infected with the virus. I worry about PPE shortages. I was on a call with the governor early this morning.

We only have about one and a half days left of surgical gowns. So we are going to get creative. We're going to use rain ponchos, we're going to use garbage bags. And, again, this is the point where we are. We cannot wait for the national stockpile to supply us as we all know the national stockpile is pretty diminished. So we're going to get creative. And you know, you have to -- necessity is the mother of invention at times like this.

CABRERA: Right. Earlier this week, in fact, we were told the last shipment from that national stockpile had already gone out. Dr. Wayne Riley and Art Caplan, great to have you both with us. Thank you very much.

RILEY: Thank you.

CAPLAN: Thank you.

CABRERA: Coming up, a CNN investigation as coronavirus cases grow. The ranking system that could decide who gets a life-saving ventilator and who doesn't. But, first, have you ever seen Paris like this, some of the most iconic locations in the world, the Arc de Triomphe, the Eiffel Tower now empty because of coronavirus.



CABRERA: We all know, of course, how deadly coronavirus can be and ventilators now at the center of the national discussion can be vital. But decisions on how they are used and when they are not are fast approaching.

Here is CNN's Senior Investigative Correspondent Drew Griffin.


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: The horrifying pictures from inside New York hospitals show patients hooked up to the only machines keeping them alive. When the virus takes over the lungs, ventilators take over the breathing. Without them, immediately when needed, the prognosis is dim.

MEGAN SCHLANSER, METRO DETROIT NURSE: Yes. You can watch a patient go from breathing room air to 72 hours later needing to be intubated.

GRIFFIN: So far, hospitals have kept pace but barely. The situation is so bleak, the U.S. government put out a video on treating two patients with one ventilator.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You obviously wouldn't do it unless you're in dire circumstances.

GRIFFN: But the dire circumstances are here. States and the federal government are in a bidding war for ventilators made in China.

CUOMO: We can't get any more ventilators.

GRIFFIN: And it is time now to prepare for what may be the inevitable. This article in the New England Journal of Medicine was written to prepare doctors in the event they must choose who gets a life-saving ventilator and who does not. Robert Truog is one of the authors.

ROBERT TRUOG, DIRECTOR, HARVARD CENTER FOR BIOETHICS: I have worked all weekend on helping on a number of them. And hospitals now, many hospitals have these in place. So I think that it's going to be extremely difficult.

GRIFFIN: Unbelievably difficult for those physicians who have to make the call.

TRUOG: That's right. And, of course, the families and patients as well. These are life-and-death decisions, and it's going to cause a tremendous amount of suffering if we get there.

GRIFFIN: The decision, who lives, who dies, would come down to a point system. The elderly, patients diagnosed with cancer, COPD, diabetes, any chronic lung or terminal illness would be eligible for care but score lower than those who are otherwise healthy with a potential longer life to live. The points would determine what's in the best interests of society, not just the individual.

TRUGO: Everybody is eligible. But beyond that point, it does come down to giving it to those people where we're either going to save the most number of lives or the most number of life years. And, yes, it does mean that people with other severe illnesses will receive a lower priority score.

GRIFFIN: In New Orleans, where the virus is predicted to get even worse, there are enough ventilators now, but within days, they could be out.

KANTER: And then after that, you begin having very challenging conversations about how you allocate the vents and you think about which patient would benefit the most and that is a horrifying place for anyone to be in. It would certainly be a damning indictment of our country.

GRIFFIN: What is infuriating is that we were warned. CNN has found ten different government reports from 2003 to 2015, which all predicted if we were to have a pandemic like this, the United States would run out of ventilators, and here we are.

Drew Griffin, CNN, Atlanta.


CABRERA: Coming up, how a picture of an exhausted nurse in Italy became a symbol for healthcare workers all around the world. But first --


REPORTER: We have Cheryl as our passenger. You're living it up (ph) on first class. Yes, everybody shout-out to Cheryl, the only passenger on the plane.


CABRERA: One woman got a special shout-out from flight attendants as the only person onboard a Boston-bound flight. Cheryl Prado was flying to see her dying mother and the crew of American airlines bumped her to first class and addressed her personally over the loudspeaker. Cheryl says she spent the flight telling them about her mom, and she says it is kindness like theirs that will get us all through this.



CABRERA: We are following a developing story out of London where we have just learned the pregnant girlfriend of U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is experiencing coronavirus symptoms. The prime minister has been isolated since testing positive himself for the virus.

Let's get right to CNN's Bianca Nobilo in London for us. And, Bianca, what more are you learning?

BIANCA NOBILO, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Ana. Yes, we discovered this evening that Carrie Symonds, who is the fiancee of Boris Johnson, has been suffering coronavirus symptoms for a week. Now, she said that she hasn't been tested because she doesn't need to. She also said on Twitter today that she was feeling stronger and she was on the mend.

Now, this is all the more anxiety-inducing for her because she is pregnant. The prime minister and her are expecting a child in the early summer.

And this news comes on a day that Britain has had its deadliest death toll yet, 708 recorded deaths in the last 24 hours.


And there is increased concern that this weekend where a good weather is expected in Britain, is that it's going to cause more people to come out and breach the lockdown and social distancing.

There have been warnings from the mayor of London, the health secretary, and the prime minister that Brits have to obey the social isolation and self-distancing or it will cost lives. It is absolutely essential as the country nears that key moment, the peak, where the health system could be at its absolute capacity -- Ana?

CABRERA: Bianca Nobilo, thank you for that update. We'll check back as you learn more information about, again, the girlfriend of the prime minister of the U.K. now experiencing some symptoms herself.

You may have seen this photo, an exhausted nurse in northern Italy asleep at her keyboard after an endless shift. It's a picture where the setting really could be any hospital and just about any country right now. A symbol of what so many of our health care workers are going through.

But it's not just that picture we want to share but the words of the nurse who got sick herself and then recovered from coronavirus.

"Tonight, after 23 days, I can finally return to the trenches," she writes. "I can finally scream, I am healed! I have been called a hero. But the real heroes here are something else. The real heroes are all the patients who have made it and who will make it."

In a rare moment of positive news, the country reported today that the number of patients in the ICU had actually decreased for the first time. In all, more than 15,000 have died from the virus in Italy, including 73 doctors and 24 nurses.

We also learn today that the Italian prime minister's security guard died after contracting coronavirus.

Joining us now is the former prime minister of Italy, Matteo Renzi.

Prime Minister, thank you very much for joining us during this very difficult time.

One thing we hear in the United States is that when it comes to this crisis we don't want to be the next Italy. As somebody who is inside Italy, what is it like, what is life like there right now?

MATTEO RENZI, FORMER ITALIAN PRIME MINISTER: First of all, I think in Italy now there's a little signal of hope. You described the situation. The nurse coming back to work, people finally seeing some signal of hope and that it is very important.

But, of course, we lost too much people. And I think this virus really will change forever our country.

My consideration is that I look at the history of my country and I know, after the plague, there's always -- there was always some great advance. After the plague, there's a renaissance in my city, Florence. After the plague in history, we created the great seasons of humanity.

The problem now is staying inside. The challenge today -- and I believe really doctors and nurses are really heroes because of achieving the unbelievable result to save a lot of lives and, unfortunately, too much people died in Italy.

CABRERA: Right. Already as we mentioned 15,000 people or so have died in your country. Right now, the U.S. is approaching a little more than 8,000. In your opinion, what if anything did Italy do wrong? What should the U.S. do differently?

RENZI: I think it's very complicated. After China, South Korea had a very good reaction with a little number of people died and all the countries as Italy and Spain had too much problem particularly Italy but also Spain.

I am really worried for the United States because, if we follow the first signal which came from your country, I am worried because I think you became the first country in terms of mortality in the coronavirus and today the first country is Italy.

And I don't understand really the reasons of the problem in the Western countries. But, of course, we will discuss about the future. We will discuss about the responsibilities of the past. Now it's time to act to save the people. Because this is a priority

for you and this is a priority for us in Europe. Particularly, in Italy and Spain but also in France and Germany.

CABRERA: I know one of the biggest concerns here in the U.S. right now are for the people on the frontlines, like the health care workers, we've been discussing, who don't have the right protective equipment.


In Italy, as we mentioned, 73 doctors have died, 24 nurses have died. More than 10,000 health care providers or health care workers have tested positive for the virus.

Do you feel like these people were sent to work unarmed?

RENZI: I believe, yes. I believe that we lost too much doctors. And this is unacceptable in a pandemic because, if the pandemic is a war, the first line of war is the doctor, the nurse, the people who stay in the hospital.

So, particularly in the north of Italy, we had too much problem of lack of masks and protection. Now the situation is a little better. But I believe, in the future, we will study the reason of that delay, that problem.

It's not easy because a lot of people say, OK, who is responsible for the past.

A lot of people in the last four weeks, who stayed in the houses and think about the future or dream the future or try to build a future. But the problem today is this period because we lost a lot of human life but the situation is not over.

I believe for the next one year, one year, maybe two years, we will have the problem in the coronavirus.

My view is that it is impossible to consider the problem only in Italy or in Spain or in the United States. I think this is an unbelievable new challenge for the world, for the future of the world.

And I remember when I was prime minister, President Obama was very strong to invite every prime minister, every president to fight against the pandemic. I remember the discussion about Ebola in 2014.


RENZI: My suggestion, my wish for the new leaders, for the leaders of today, please consider health care and priorities about pandemic, not one little point but one of the crucial points, one of the challenging points for the future of humanity. Because coronavirus showed nobody is safe alone.

CABRERA: Yes. No doubt about it. It is a global issue right now.

Former Italian prime minister, Matteo Renzi, thank you very much. Our thoughts are with everyone in Italy. We send you the best.

RENZI: Thank you.

CABRERA: Meanwhile, millions of Americans are searching for ways to put food on the table as the government says stimulus checks aimed at helping to relieve their pain are still weeks away.



CABRERA: This just into CNN. A grim milestone. The U.S. is now reporting more than 300,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus. The death toll in this country has topped 8,100.

And the coronavirus pandemic is hitting the job market hard. Analysts predict it is only going to get worse by summer. More than 10 million Americans are now unemployed. That is just in the last two weeks of March.

Joining us now Richard Quest, CNN business editor-at-large and anchor of "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS."

Richard, you know, we have the Fridays jobs report that showed unemployment ticked up to 4.4 percent but that didn't even count the 10 million people who filed unemployment claims in the past couple weeks. Investment bank, Goldman Sachs, is predicting that unemployment rate is going to jump to 15 percent by June. How bad could this get?

RICHARD QUEST, CNN BUSINESS EDITOR-AT-LARGE & CNN HOST, "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS": I think you are looking at the outer number. So 13 percent to 15 percent unemployment is roughly where the outer lines are, of Goldman Sachs, Bank of Americas, JPMorgans. They're all in that range of 13 percent to 15 percent.

I hate talking about it in percentage terms, because it's people's lives and people's jobs. But we do talk about it like that. We're talking about the wholesale destruction and suspension of the work force of America. It's been put into deep freeze artificially.

And, yes, there are various unemployment benefits and there are various ways in which we can mitigate this economic loss. But my real concern at the moment is how many of those jobs will not come back.

I don't think we're talking about, you know, a vast number not coming back. But I think you're looking at between 10 percent and 15 percent of jobs that are lost that won't come back immediately when the economy gets started again.

CABRERA: Why? Why won't those jobs come back?

QUEST: Because many companies are rethinking their entire work force structures. Not just because people can work at home.

The best example during the week I can give you is Boeing. Now, Boeing is a bellwether. On all sorts of issues in any form of business, Boeing is a bellwether. And last week, Boeing announced a voluntary lay-off scheme besides any furloughs. They want to permanently reduce their work force.

The reason they say is because they don't know what the future work force will look like. What will they need? What will the composition be?

I think you are going to see that with a lot of companies. They're going to say, OK, we didn't choose to be in this position. But it is an opportunity for us to manage where we think our work force should be.

And I'll finish and give you one other thought about this. Many companies will be saying, do we need so many employees.

Unemployment is the last number to get better. After every recession, Ana, companies -- the last thing companies do is take on new employees.


So I predict that many companies will take back most of their existing work force but there will be small and medium companies that went out of business. Restaurants will be particularly hard hit. And others will be rethinking the work force for the future.

CABRERA: I also really worry about the mom-and-pop shops, those boutique shops.

QUEST: right.

CABRERA: Not even just those but the big retail shops. The way people are shopping is already changing and I worry this will be the last straw.

Richard Quest, thank you very much as always. It's not good news but we need somebody to bring us the truth. Thank you.

CNN goes inside a Seattle ICU to show you the fight to save coronavirus patients. The exhaustive procedures doctors go through even before they enter someone's room.



CABRERA: You are about to see inside a frontlines hospital, a place where only doctors, nurses, and infected patients see. It's where the physical fight against coronavirus is going on day and night. They don't have enough protection. They don't have enough space. And they don't know how much longer it will last.

CNN's Sara Sidner reports from Seattle.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It has changed how we run this place.

SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Nurse and doctors at Seattle's Harborview Medical Center suit up. To go to battle with coronavirus, they have to go through an exhausting dressing regimen, hoods and tubes and masks and gowns, just to enter a patient's room.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We think the greatest risk actually for health care workers is when they remove things, that they contaminate themselves.

SIDNER: They have a checklist and a spotter helping with every step. They also have to adapt to new realities and shortages.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These are what are called PAPR hoods. These are the hoods that hook up to these machines that filter air.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) hose goes on the back of the hood.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Then you get cleaned inside and out so they can be reused. Because the way, they were built was for one-time use. But that is not the way. If we did, that we would already be out.

SIDNER (on camera): Wow.

SIDNER (voice-over): They have completely revamped two intensive care units.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So this whole unit was meant to be for people with brain injuries and strokes and so forth. So now we have to move all of them someplace else because we have to continue that care.

SIDNER (on camera): So all the people with brain injuries removed and this was turned into a COVID-19 ICU?


SIDNER (voice-over): All to try and help coronavirus patients live, isolate them from others, and keep the staff safe, too.

SIDNER (on camera): So I am not wearing the full personal protection equipment, because, in these rooms where the actual COVID-19 patients are, these are considered negative pressure rooms. That means that we are considered in a safe space not wearing full personal protection.


SIDNER: Patients are being cared for but we don't need to wear the full apparatus unless you are a doctor or nurse, who has to go into the room to care for the patient.

SIDNER (voice-over): Inside the rooms, patients are hooked up to a shocking number of tubes, using those precious ventilators, the only thing keeping them breathing.

DR. JOHN LYNCH, HARBORVIEW MEDICAL CENTER: So for the ICU patients, they tend to stay -- they get very sick and they stay sick very long. So you could require the ventilator for weeks at a time. That's really the big issue.

SIDNER: Across just their four hospitals, 60 coronavirus patients were hospitalized last week. Already this week, it's at least 100. For each one, a delicate dance to keep staff healthy and patients alive.

SIDNER (on camera): It is -- just coming in here and seeing the work that is being done and seeing the patients being cared for, it is stressful. It's -- I am scared for their families as well.

And so as you walk through and see the hard work being done and the people doing everything they need to take care of patients, it is awe inspiring, considering the fact that they, too, could be putting themselves in harm's way.

SIDNER (voice-over): Outside the hospital, a large tent has been erected to assess and test potential coronavirus patients. This is happening before the anticipated surge here.

(on camera): I feel dread and I feel fear and I am not working on the front lines.

What are you feeling as you are dealing with all of these COVID-19 patients?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is certainly a sense of anxiety, because we, right now, we are kind of wondering what it's going to be like when that peak comes and when people are flooding in.

SIDNER (voice-over): While the number of new infections in Washington seems to be slowing down, there is a growing sense they have not seen the worst of it yet.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What they do every day is heroic. Going and taking care of patients without protection is not acceptable.

SIDNER: Sara Sidner, CNN, Seattle.


CABRERA: Each week, we feature "CNN Heroes" who have found unique ways to make the world a better place. This pandemic has forced many of them to pivot and adapt to meet the needs of those who depend on them. And now they're sharing their messages of hope.


UNIDENTIFIED "CNN HERO": There are ways for you to serve your community while staying healthy at home.

UNIDENTIFIED "CNN HERO": This is a moment for all Americans to rise to the occasions by thinking about the greater good rather than themselves.

UNIDENTIFIED "CNN HERO": Community is powerful. And kindness is also contagious.

UNIDENTIFIED "CNN HERO": Give a call to a neighbor or friend. Reach out and try to make someone's day a little bit better.


UNIDENTIFIED "CNN HERO": Taking care of each other will last far beyond this COVID epidemic.

UNIDENTIFIED "CNN HERO": Helen Keller said, "Alone, we can do so little. Together, we can do so much."

UNIDENTIFIED "CNN HERO": And together, we'll get through this.

UNIDENTIFIED "CNN HERO": Together, let us make this world a better and healthy place for all of us.


CABRERA: You can learn more about the impact coronavirus is having on the work of these and many other "CNN Heroes," at

We'll be right back.