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U.S. Coronavirus Fight Enters Crucial Weeks; Barr Expands Early Release At Prisons Hard Hit By Coronavirus; Georgia Governor Opens Beaches Day After Statewide Stay-At-Home Order; Michigan Now Has Third Most Coronavirus Cases And Deaths; "New York Times:" Ousted Navy Carrier Commander Tests Positive For Coronavirus. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired April 5, 2020 - 14:00   ET




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And they're having to come up and say hi, this is love. This is the only kind of love you can get from them. The brother and sisterhood at the fire house.


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: A real family. The firefighter has not been named, but it is great to see how his co-workers came together to brighten his day.

All right. Hello again, everyone. Thank you so much for joining me on this Palm Sunday.

I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

We begin with a dire warning from the White House in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak. This morning the U.S. Surgeon General compared this coming week to some of America's greatest tragedies telling Americans to be prepared as the death toll continues to rise.


VICE ADMIRAL JEROME ADAMS, U.S. SURGEON GENERAL: This is going to be the hardest and the saddest week of most Americans' lives, quite frankly. This is going to be our Pearl Harbor moment, our 9/11 moment only it's not going to be localized. This is going to be happening all over the country and I want America to understand that.


WHITFIELD: The prediction comes as the number of confirmed cases in the U.S. surges to over 321,000. More than 9,100 people have died so far with over 1,300 deaths reported on Saturday alone.

And states are struggling. This morning Louisiana's governor said his state could run out of ventilators by the end of the week. In New Orleans, the coroner's office and mortuaries have reached their limits. Meanwhile, New York, the hardest hit state in the country now accounts for nearly half of all deaths in the country. And this morning Governor Andrew Cuomo said that while hospitalizations are beginning to drop, the challenge to save lives is proving to be more difficult.


GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: A number of people tested 18,000. Positive cases are up 8,000. Total of 122,000 cases.

Number of patients discharged, total discharged is 12,000. 1,700 discharged in one day.

Number of deaths is up. That's the bad news. It's 44,159. And we pray for each and every one of them and their families. And that is up. And that is the worst news.

But the number of deaths over the past few days has been dropping for the first time. What is the significance of that? It's too early to tell.

CNN's Jason Carroll is live for us in New York. So the Javits Center officially opening its doors to coronavirus patients tomorrow?

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right. And look, the governor has made it very clear that getting the Javits Center open and operational is a top priority. It's going to be run by the feds, not from local officials here in New York City.

But when it's up and fully operational, it will be able to handle, Fredricka -- 2,500 COVID patients. And you can imagine that's going to relieve a lot of the hospital while the pressure that the hospitals here are facing.

There's been a lot of talk also about the apex of all of this. The governor talked about that as well. He says all the projections show we still might be a few days away from that. That's why he says it's imperative to get ventilators into New York City as quickly as possible.

He said he knows where all the ventilators are in the state. He says he knows about the federal stockpile and says there were not enough ventilators in the federal stockpile. That's why he says it's essential to get ventilators here now. Once there's no longer a need here, he says, then the ventilators can be redeployed to other states where they will also be needed -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: All right. Jason Carroll -- thank you so much.

Right now turning to the White House. CNN's Jeremy Diamond is there. So Jeremy -- we're hearing some very sobering warnings coming from the President and the Surgeon General. Elaborate on that.

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: We certainly are -- Fredricka. As we saw, the number of deaths in the United States from coronavirus hit a record high at more than 1,300 yesterday, we also heard from the President of the United States who is warning Americans of the grim reality ahead.

And that reality is that, that death toll was going to only get worse as the over the next couple of weeks. Particularly over next week. The President warning that this is going to be a horrendous time and also saying that there is going to be a lot of death.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This will be probably the toughest week between this week and next week. And there will be a lot of death unfortunately. But a lot less death and if this wasn't done -- but there will be death.



DIAMOND: The top health officials on the President's task force though weren't just warning of the death toll that is going to rise over the coming weeks. They are also pointing to the next week, the next two weeks, really, as a crucial time for Americans to do everything they can to slow the spread of the virus.

And that is why and why we saw the Surgeon General Jerome Adams compare this to a Pearl Harbor or 9/11 moment for this country. And he urged those eight governors -- those eight Republican governors who have so far refused to issue stay-at-home orders -- the only governors in the entire to not do so, to at least give us a week.

That was a very different tone though from what we heard from the President yesterday. I asked the President specifically why he wouldn't urge those governors to take those steps. The President said that he felt it wasn't his role to do so and he said that he believes those governors are doing a great job despite the fact that they are not urging those stricter measures.

The President did say though that if there is a significant outbreak in one of those states that he might change his tune. Of course, Fredricka -- what we know about this virus is that once there is an outbreak sometimes it's already too late to slow the spread -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right. Jeremy Diamond at the White House. Thank you so much for that.

All right. Let's discuss all of this now. Dr. Patrice Harris is the president of the American Medical Association. She's also the former director of health services of Fulton County, Georgia.

Doctor -- good to see you. Thank you so much for being with me. So -- and hopefully you're well as well.


WHITFIELD: So today the Surgeon General described this upcoming week as a Pearl Harbor and 9/11 moment. And as the president of the American Medical Association does your organization share that assessment?

DR. HARRIS: We do. We worry about that, and by the way, thank you for having me on. But based on the projections that we have seen, particularly in those areas that are hardest hit, next week is likely to be our worst week thus far, particularly regarding ICU admittances and unfortunately the number of deaths.

And so that is why it is so important to be ready, and prepare to have those ventilators, to have adequate PPE. We definitely don't want to overwhelm our health system. We need to be on the front side of that. And that's also why it's so important for those who have not been in areas that have been hardest hit to begin to prepare and really practice social distancing and stay home.

WHITFIELD: So, Dr. Harris -- what makes this upcoming week potentially one of the worst in this crisis thus far?

DR. HARRIS: Well, one of the things that we have always recommended was to use the data. And as we can see based on the data that is reported out of New York, each state is tracking their own data and, of course, we have the folks at the administration tracking national data.

But if you look at the press conferences that Governor Cuomo has been presenting, he has been tracking the data. And based on his data, they are just days away from an apex. So based on the data which we should always use to make these projections, next week does portend to be a very, very difficult week.

WHITFIELD: So Dr. Deborah Birx, you know, the White House coronavirus task force coordinator had this to say about the upcoming week, in her view, as well. Listen.


DR. DEBORAH BIRX, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS TASK FORCE COORDINATOR: This is the moment to not be going to the grocery store, not going to the pharmacy but doing everything you can to keep your family and your friends safe. And that means everybody doing the six-feet distancing, washing your hands.


WHITFIELD: So Dr. Harris, you know, people need to still go to the grocery store, pharmacies, you know. What are they supposed to do with that kind of advice?

DR. HARRIS: Well, we know that physical distancing works, and I think that was the point that Dr. Birx was making. Absolutely we know there will be a need to get groceries. We certainly have to eat and medicines, and those basic -- some essential services.

But other than that, and that's why the AMA sent a letter to the National Governors Association last week, really urging all states to immediately make sure that they act on emergency orders to close down any non-essential services, limiting non-essential activities, and prohibiting large gatherings.

WHITFIELD: Now, then there's the mental aspect to all of this, you know. You're a practicing psychiatrist. You know, when people hear they shouldn't go, you know, out to the store, you know, that they need to stay at home, really to help protect everybody's lives. I mean, how do people deal with that kind of mental anxieties that are now coming with these instructions, these warnings, these outlooks?


DR. HARRIS: First of all, that's a very important topic and I'm glad you raise it. Of course, I am a psychiatrist and so I know that fear and anxiety are normal human emotions to any crisis, particularly a public health crisis such as this. But what we should do is use that fear and anxiety in action to bring us to action.

There are things about this epidemic, pandemic that we cannot control, but there are some things that we can control, and that is the physical distancing. Staying in when we can. Only going out for essential needs. And so in that way we are taking some control and doing what we all can.

As this epidemic has evolved I have always said that individual actions lead to collective impact. And so I hope folks can take the worry and anxiety which are normal and bring that into action.

WHITFIELD: There remain eight states that do not have stay-at-home orders in place. What are your concerns about that reality? And do you believe that there should be a national, you know, stay-at-home order put in place by the White House?

DR. HARRIS: We believe that each state should make sure that they have these emergency stay-at-home orders. That was, again, the reason we sent the letter to the governors. Everyone has to take action. This virus knows no borders, and so we encourage -- and we did in our letters all of the states -- and those remaining eight states, those governors, must -- must -- enact these orders.

WHITFIELD: How big a setback then in your view is it that these eight states have not put stay-at-home orders in place?

DR. HARRIS: Again, following the evidence, and the evidence has shown us those areas who enacted social distancing and these other measures early are having less spread. And certainly if they are still having the same numbers they have slowed the spread.

And so the evidence is clear. And so following the evidence, these measures work.

WHITFIELD: Dr. Patrice Harris -- thank you so much for your time. Stay well. Appreciate it.

DR. HARRIS: Thank you. Thank you.

WHITFIELD: All right. Up next, a closer look at one of the most dangerous under reported aspects of this pandemic. -- the rapid spread of coronavirus in prisons.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They are ultimately afraid, everyday they ask the officers, where are our cleaning supplies? We need cleaning supplies. We are afraid.


WHITFIELD: The concern is raising serious questions about the safety of officers, inmates and the criteria for release. We'll discuss that next.



WHITFIELD: U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr has ordered federal prisons hit hard by the coronavirus to expand early release programs. But CNN has learned that some inmates are scared to leave as some have no place to go and no assurances that they are healthy.

Joining me right now to discuss is Van Jones, a CNN political commentator and former Obama administration official. He's also the CEO of Reform Alliance, an organization dedicated to reforming the criminal justice system. Van -- good to see you.


WHITFIELD: So this early release. Is this the best option?

JONES: It's the only option. And I think people have to understand, there are 2.4 million people right now who are in jails and prisons. It's actually the biggest health care system in the United States, and right now those people cannot social distance. They don't have access to hand sanitizer, soap, Lysol -- none of that stuff and they're pack on top of each other.

You say, well geez, I got my own problems. Why do I care? It's everybody's problem for three reasons. Number one, jails and prisons in the United States could turn into morgues over the next couple of weeks. It's a moral tragedy.

But also the jails can become super accelerators of the virus. Guards got to come in. Staff got to come in. They're going to be bringing that back out into the community. That's a big danger..

Also if they all get sick and they all have to go to the hospital, 2.4 million people could overwhelm our public health care system.

So Barr is right that we need to be doing a couple of things -- getting as many people out as we safely can and people who are well. The churches should be opening up their doors and houses of worship should be opening up their doors to make sure people who don't have a place to go can at least get out of the death trap. The other thing is we shouldn't be putting more people in right now for minor, petty stuff and we should be surging in instead medical supplies and help. So yes.

But this is something that nobody's thinking about this right now but I'm going to guarantee you something. When you start seeing people dying by the hundreds and thousands in these prisons and jails, we're going to realize we may have missed an opportunity to really knock this virus back by getting people out of harm's way.

WHITFIELD: Right. Clearly, people don't have a choice and option of social distancing when, you know, as inmates. So let's talk about some of the latest numbers of people. Eight inmates at federal prisons have died of coronavirus over the last week alone. What needs to happen to ensure that 100 percent of the incarcerated population along with guards, other people who work at these facilities are kept safe?

JONES: Well, there's a couple of things that can be done. You have a lot of people who are in jails and prisons right now who are elderly, who are sick -- who are sick, you know, not of the virus but they're just old and sick. They should be able to come out.

You've got a lot of people sitting in jails and prisons right now, especially jails just because they can't afford bail. They're not a flight risk. They just can't afford bail. Those bails should be dropped to zero so people can just go home.

Any arrest right now, any minor charge right now, can be a death sentence. And so you need for there to be leadership from the sheriffs to the governors to the President of the United States and Barr to say, let's get as many people out as we safely can and it can be done.

And people who you might be little bit more concerned about there are ankle bracelets. There are ways to get people out safely and people who may or may not be well, you can quarantine those people in houses of worship and other places. You can build outside of the jail.


JONES: But you cannot have people stacked on top of each other -- four, five, six, seven in a set so one person gets sick and then they're all sick. That is inhumane. It's unacceptable and action needs to be taken right now because if we go the direction we're going, we're going to have a pandemic in our prisons. You cannot defeat a plague nationally when you have 2.4 million people in prisons who are super-accelerating the virus.

WHITFIELD: So take a look at this video recorded by an inmate at a low security prison in Ohio and a for help saying one of his cellmates is dying of coronavirus. You know, what's your organization, Reform Alliance, able to do to help address, you know, severe situations at facilities like this?

JONES: Well listen, I'm very glad that Attorney General Barr has come out and said we have to do more. I want to encourage him to do even more and go even faster because you do have this thing beginning to spread. The Reform Alliance working with Jay-Z, and Meek Mill (ph) and Michael Rubin and others got a 100,000 masks going into Rikers island and prisons across the country.

So we're doing what we can to surge medical supplies in but we've got to get people out who can come out safely and well to reduce the number of people who are behind there suffering.

Can you imagine, you have some minor charge. You know, maybe you ran a stop sign or maybe you sold some drugs, non-violent and you're sitting jail, or maybe you did something very serious but you were not charged and you were not sentenced to die from a virus in a U.S. jail or prison. Nobody has been sentenced to die by a virus in a jail or a prison.

And you're sitting there and you cannot move. And you hear someone coughing. You hear another person coughing. You're begging please give me something, let me wash my hands, give me a mask, give me something. And nobody comes to help you.

This is what's happening across the country. It is a tragedy, and it can be avoided. We can safely remove people from those circumstances, still hold them accountable but not kill them and make everyone else more safe including the guards.

If we, you know, by taking prudent action. We have a safer plan at -- a safer plan to deal with this. But the guards are at risk, the staff is at risk, people behind bars are at risk and therefore all of us are at risk.

We cannot allow a pandemic to run through the prison system in the United States of America.

WHITFIELD: Right. So now let's talk about the general populace too, you know, communities of color, you know, are being especially hit hard by coronavirus. You know, in the state of Michigan African- Americans account for 40 percent of coronavirus deaths but represent 14 percent of that state's population, according to data from the state. So why is this happening? What is not being addressed?

JONES: You know, one of the things that I think happened early on that was a tragedy, and you know this. People in the black community started saying, well, maybe we're immune to it. Maybe black people just don't get it. Everybody we see on television is an affluent white person who went overseas. Maybe we're going to be ok.

And also, you know, maybe it's just for old people. So maybe if you're in a nursing home or something like that. What we're beginning to see is in the African-American community, people in their 50s, dying. In their 40s, dying. In their 30s, dying of a disease that we thought was for older white people.

Just like HIV. People thought, this is for white guy. This is for rich, white guys who are gay. And it became a pandemic in the black community and destroyed African nations, put them on their heels.

A similar trajectory has now begun, with this disease going from older affluent white to now younger, browner and poor because in the black community you already have underlying health issues.

Hypertension. If you have hypertension, as I do, and you get a virus, it is deadly. Nobody's talking about that. It's not just older people. It's people with hypertension.

WHITFIELD: The pre-existing conditions.


JONES: Yes, existing condition. We just say conditions. We don't say sugar -- diabetes as we call it. Sugar in the black community. Asthma. Hypertension. Obesity. Those are diseases that we have at younger and younger ages in black and brown communities.

That's why our numbers are not going to be 70 years old and 80 years old. It's going to be 30s and 40s and 50s. You're seeing it already.

The other thing is density. If you're living in an urban environment, if you're living in a housing project, if you're living a prison, you can't social distance as easily. So we can't do some of the things that people are being asked to do.

All of this means there should be a special alert and a special alarm telling African-Americans, Native Americans, Latinos -- you may be at special risk. Don't look at your age. Look at your underlying health and stay at home.


WHITFIELD: Great advice. All right. Van Jones -- thank you so much. Really appreciate it.

JONES: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: All right. In about 30 minutes from now, Queen Elizabeth II set to deliver a rare televised address to the U.K. on the coronavirus outbreak. A live report from Windsor Castle next.



WHITFIELD: Images that speak volumes emerged out of Vatican City this morning. Pope Francis celebrating Palm Sunday, a holy day of celebration for Christians, in a near empty St. Peter's Basilica.


However, the pope's message, clear, imploring the youth to step up, even putting their lives on the line to help others during this pandemic.

Next hour, Queen Elizabeth II is expected to address the coronavirus pandemic in a rare televised speech outside of the typical Christmas address and when there is a new parliament. The last time a broadcast like this took place was 18 years ago in 2002, following the death of the queen mother. Five years before that, she gave a similar address before Princess Diana's funeral.

CNN's Royal Correspondent, Max Foster, joining us outside Windsor Castle, where the queen gave her address, or at least tape recording, right? So what can you tell you us about all that happened?

MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: Of course, a lot of people are very keen just to see how the queen is. She's also in her 90s. So I haven't been told whether or not she's been tested for coronavirus and want to see she's well. She clearly is because this went ahead. It was delivered in a room with only cameraman just in full PPE at a distance. So they were very careful about the filming of this. We get to see it, as you say, at the top of the hour.

And it's interesting that the government has asked her to step in at this point because she's there to sort of bring the country together in times of crisis, as you've described. This is a very rare thing for her to do. But, clearly, there is some concern in the government at this point.

We know that she's going to talk about how challenging this has been for the country and how some empathy for the disruption that it's brought, some grief to some, financial difficulty to others, how this disrupted daily life. And we know that she's going to talk about how in years to come, she hopes that everyone will be able to take pride in how they responded to this challenge.

And I think this speaks to what the government's concerned about, the fact that people have started going out again on to the streets, creating a risk of spreading this virus. She will talk about thanking those who have been following the official guidance to stay at home and protect the vulnerable. She's very well-regarded in this country, very revered in this country. And I think the government is hoping that she would step in and perhaps this weekend going forward people will abide by the rules set by the government, Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: Max, what about her health? What has been said about her health? What will just her imagery be able to say about how she's feeling?

FOSTER: I think we do look to her in times of crisis, but this is also a message for the commonwealth as well, because this is a global problem. She's a global figure speaking to the world on this issue. And she's revered around the world. So I think we do look to her often. She's often there in times of crisis, and you look to her to sort of, for some sort of guidance when things become difficult. Now, it's becoming difficult as lockdowns are extended in Europe and the United States, of course, as well.

So I think we're looking to see how well she is and see that she hasn't been affected by the virus. We still haven't confirmed whether or not she's had the virus. It doesn't appear though that she has, even though she's met people, including the prime minister who have had it.

WHITFIELD: Okay, even though you mentioned, reminded us, that Prince Charles did test positive. He self-isolated for about a week. And as far as we know, he's feeling good. Great. Thank you so much, Max Foster. I appreciate it.

All right, the State of Georgia is under a stay-at-home order, but that doesn't seem to apply to the beaches and parks. Those remain open. Now the mayor of one Georgia Coastal town is firing back, calling the move reckless. More on that straight ahead.



WHITFIELD: All right. Residents in Georgia are dealing with mixed messaging from the state's top official. Just a few days ago, Governor Brian Kemp ordered a statewide stay-at-home order for more than ten million residents. Kemp said he decided to order the lockdown after learning new information how the coronavirus spreads, information that critics and health experts say had been public for weeks and in some cases months.


GOV. BRIAN KEMP (R-GA): Well, we've been telling people from directives from the CDC for weeks now that if you start feeling bad, stay home. Those individuals could have been infecting people before they ever felt bad. Well, we didn't know that until the last 24 hours.


WHITFIELD: But just hours after that statewide state-at-home order went into effect Friday night, Governor Kemp confused and angered some when he decided to reopen some beaches by issuing an executive order overrode measures put in place by beach communities.

CNN's Natasha Chen is following this development for us. So, Natasha, why this change for Georgia beaches and how are beach communities reacting?

NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fred, the reason may not be explicit, but you can tell by the photos the governor tweeted this weekend of relatively empty beaches that his office currently doesn't believe this to be a problem. His office told me that there were about 150 people on the beach at Tybee Island this weekend.

Of course, that's really frustrated the mayor there, Shirley Sessions, who made a statement, talked about how the Pentagon has had to order 150 body bags for Americans killed by the coronavirus. She called the governor's mandate reckless, that they were going to take legal avenues.

Here is what she said in a Facebook video.


MAYOR SHIRLEY SESSIONS (D), TYBEE ISLAND, GA: Well, I'm asking our residents on Tybee and our businesses to please continue to comply with safety restrictions that we have put into place. They're not mandated anymore because the governor has rescinded that at least until April 13th. We don't know what's going to happen after that.

And I do want to let everyone know that the City of Tybee has not opened the beaches. Our governor has mandated that the beaches in Georgia be opened.



CHEN: She also said that the city put up barricades to the beaches that haven't been taken down yet. They won't be able to do that until tomorrow. So that may be one reason why there are relatively fewer people seen on the beach this weekend.

The governor, through a spokesperson, sent us this statement, part of what she reads, throughout this process, Governor Kemp has been guided by recommendations of Dr. Kathleen Toomey, public health officials in the private and public sectors and emergency management officials. And governor's office also stating they're providing resources to patrol the area.

Now, we've reached out to some businesses in the area, such as short- term vacation rental owners and property managers, those are shut down by the city before, now rescinded by the governor. And there's a mixed react about that. Some of them have already relisted their properties advertising that the beaches are open and applauding the governor, because they say families need a place to escape, to quarantine somewhere besides their homes.

Other vacation property owners and managers are telling me that they didn't even know that this was rescinded. Now that they found out, they feel that it's still the responsible thing to do to black out the date that people possibly aren't able to book because they say if they don't get a handle on this virus spreading through the community, that could be even more hurtful for their vacation business in the summer, Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right. Natasha Chen, thank you so much for bringing that to us. I appreciate it.

While New York remains the epicenter for the nation's outbreak, several other cities, including Detroit and Los Angeles, have quickly become hot spots as their case count continues to rise. We'll have an update from both cities straight ahead.

But, first, does cabin fever have you going stir crazy during this pandemic? Check out this week's Staying Well.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have certain plants, like the snake plant or the ZZ plant. And with those cleaning the air, it helps me sleep better.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The presence of plants in an individual's bedroom could facilitate positive sleep because the plant is going to take up carbon dioxide that's in the room and give off more oxygen. And we do know that sleeping in a more oxygen-enriched environment can certainly be helpful.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You hear that lavender and other plants have that scent that calm you enough to put you to sleep.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The actually studied it. The found that the people who were being exposed to the lavender actually slept better.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That makes me happy, just seeing it come alive.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A big part of what plants can do for our sleep is really helping to create the environment that an individual likes, and that's a big part of sleep right there.



WHITFIELD: Former NFL kicker Tom Dempsey has died of coronavirus complications at a nursing home in New Orleans. Dempsey started his career with The Sense and went on to play 11 seasons in the NFL despite being born without toes on his kicking foot. He was best known for kicking a record-setting 63-yard field goal in 1970, a record that stood for four decades.

The 73-year-old Wisconsin native was diagnosed with dementia in 2012. Dempsey is survived by his three kids and three grandchildren.

California remains one of the hot spot for the outbreak. State leaders are now working to have more residents tested and hoping they will continue to follow the state's shelter-in-place rules, as Los Angeles County just reported the largest single day rise in deaths.

CNN's Paul Vercammen joining us now. So, Paul, what is the situation?

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, they'll update those it numbers again soon, Fredricka, but they were awful in the last 24 hours that they counted. They had 28 more deaths and a 711 news cases more in Los Angeles County.

Let's look at the overall picture for California right now, Fredricka. You've got almost 14,000 cases, and you have 324 deaths. Now, let's contrast that, let's say, with Michigan. Michigan has had 14,000 cases and 540 deaths. What's interesting to note is California has 40 million people almost, Michigan, 10 million, and while this is no criticism of Michigan, many people are asking, what might California be doing well?

Well, there was early, early awareness of this issue in a very health- conscious state. Experts are also crediting that in Silicon Valley, for example, they told a lot of workers early to go home and then the shelter-in-place orders out San Francisco and say, all of these things may be keeping California's numbers down at this point, but they do expect a surge. Fredricka?

WHITFIELD: All right. Paul Vercammen, thanks so much.

Michigan is showing signs that it could be the next hot spot. The state has more than 14,000 cases of coronavirus and 540 deaths. Michigan now has the third highest number of cases in deaths and state leaders fear hospitals don't have the space or the supplies needed to deal with the growing crisis.

CNN's Ryan Young is in Detroit for us. So, Ryan, explain the situation there.


RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Fred, you know how tough this is because you hear it over and over from people. They are starting to realizing just how dangerous this is, especially when you go out among to the people in this community. Everyone is starting to seem to know someone who's either died or gotten ill from the coronavirus.

Now, look, you can see emergency operations Army Corps of Engineer truck here. The reason why -- we're at the TCF Center, this is going to be a critical space. They're putting a thousand beds on the inside of here. The reason why is because the hospital spaces are in short supply. So this will come online sometime next week.

But you should look at something else. Ford is actually helping tremendously. You see these face shields that they're building, they're building a million of them so far. They're coming off the line one every ten seconds. That's the good news here. But the governor of the state, Governor Whitmer, says more needs to be done across the nation. Take a listen.


GOV. GRETCHEN WHITMER (D-MI): Not having a national strategy where there is one policy for the country as opposed to patchwork based on whomever the governor is is something that I think is creating a more porous situation where COVID-19 will go longer and more people will get sick and sadly more lives may get lost.


YOUNG: Fred, you know this is a critical need, especially this space with a thousand extra beds. We've also seen the all-call (ph) for other professionals from around the country, you come here to help out. And when we talked to doctors and nurses here, they are stressed dealing with this, but at the same time, they feel like they're doing the right work right now. But you can only imagine with that surge coming what next week may be like. Fred?

WHITFIELD: All right. Ryan Young, thank you so much.

Tonight, CNN's Miguel Marquez takes you inside inside an emergency room where doctors are on the frontlines in the battle against coronavirus. CNN special report inside the E.R., the incredible fight against coronavirus airs tonight at 9:00 P.M.



WHITFIELD: All right, this just in to CNN. The New York Times reports that the former Navy commander who was removed for sounding the alarm about a coronavirus stricken aircraft carrier has now tested positive for the virus himself. CNN Pentagon Reporter Ryan BrownE is in Washington. Ryan, what are you learning?

RYAN BROWNE, CNN PENTAGON REPORTER: Well, Fred, the Navy not commenting officially on whether or not Captain Crozier has, in fact, tested positive for the coronavirus for that New York Times report. But we are being told some 155 sailors aboard that ship so far have tested positive.

Now, they've tested only about half the ship to date. They've also been working to get as many sailors off of that ship. And that's something that Captain Crozier, before he was fired, had urgently called for and he was dismissed for disseminating his concerns too widely. But we're told that the Navy has actually failed to meet the target that it set for itself in terms of ship evacuations. They had hoped to have evacuated some 2,700 sailors off that ship. There are about 5,000 sailors aboard.

They've had hoped to evacuate half by end of Friday, but we're told that they've only done about 1,500 or so. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper was asked about this earlier today he said the Navy is trying to do everything they can to get those sailors off the ship. And he also defended the captain's ouster, saying that he had trusted the Navy leadership to make that decision.

Again, a lot of criticism being leveled against the Navy for ousting this captain who had so urgently called for his sailors to be evacuated from the ship that's ship facing this pandemic outbreak. And now, there are reports he himself has tested positive for the virus.

WHITFIELD: All right. Ryan BrownE, keep us posted on that. Thank you so much in those developments.

All right, the daily tide of troubling news reports can be pretty overwhelming. Sometimes people need a smile even if it only lasts a moment. That's where a cute story comes in, and Anna Stewart has three of them. Here is a dose of the good stuff.


ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: Another round of applause, the health workers in the U.K., the British Navy joined in, as did police up and down the country.

Emergency services on the other side of the Atlantic showed their appreciation for health workers too, this in New York.

In Australia, taking out the bins has become a weekly highlight, an opportunity for performance and a special outfit, be it Hawaiian dancer, Ironman or even a dinosaur. The movement inspired by this bin isolation Facebook group, which says the bin goes out more than us, so let's dress up for the occasion.

DOLLY PARTON, SINGER: Hello. I'm Dolly Parton.

STEWART: And those parents working 9:00 to 5:00, Dolly Parton has you covered.

PARTON: Are you ready?

STEWART: Each week, Parton will be reading a bedtime story online each week.

PARTON: Good night.


WHITFIELD: All right. Hello again, everyone. Thank you so much for joining me. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

We begin with a dire warning from the White House in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak. This morning, the U.S. surgeon general compared this coming week to some of America's greatest tragedies, telling Americans to be prepared as the death toll continues to rise.


DR. JEROME ADAMS, U.S. SURGEON GENERAL: This is going to be the hardest and the saddest week of most Americans' lives, quite frankly. This is going to be our Pearl Harbor moment, our 9/11, only it's not going to be localized but it's going to be happening all over the country, and I want America to understand that.