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U.S. Coronavirus Deaths Dwarf 9/11 Attacks; Shortage Of Ventilators And Staff A Problem In New York And Michigan; Prime Minister Boris Johnson Hospitalized Due To Coronavirus; China's Wet Market Face Global Pressure To Close Down; Japan Weeks Away In Becoming Like New York; Coronavirus Overturns U.S. Economy; Trump Denies There Is Massive Recession. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired April 5, 2020 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And they're all going to come up and say hi. This is love. This is the only kind of love you can get from the brother and sisterhood at the firehouse.
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ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: That's love.
Thanks so much for staying with me. You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. And across the United States right now, a blanket of fear, uncertainty, and sadness that gets heavier by the week and by the day.
It shows little sign of going away, at least for the immediate future. More people today are confirmed infected with the coronavirus and more people are confirmed dead because of it.
And this unbelievable comparison, the deadliest event of America's recent history, the terror attacks in 2001 now dwarfed by the death toll of the coronavirus pandemic -- three times the fatalities of 9/11. Five times the number of people who perished in Hurricane Katrina.
This feels like we are witnessing a horrific new writing of world history, living through it. You are right. We absolutely are. And today, the U.S. Surgeon General was very blunt trying to prepare us for even more terrible days to come.
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JEROME ADAMS, U.S. SURGEOON GENERAL: This is going to be the hardest and the saddest week of most Americans' lives quite frankly. It's going to be our Pearl Harbor moment, our 9/11 moment, only it's not going to be localized, it's going to be happening all over the country.
And I want America to understand that, but I also want them to understand that the public along with the state and the federal government have the power to change the trajectory of this epidemic
ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: We are struggling to get it under control. And that's the issue that's at hand right now. Just buckle down, continue to mitigate, continue to do the physical separation because we got to get through this week that is coming up because it is going to be a bad week.
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CABRERA: Buckle down, mitigate. It's going to be a bad week.
Around the world today, more than 1.2 million people are infected and more than 68,000 people have died. Some countries like Spain and Italy are cautiously reporting their first slow downs in numbers of the people who are sick and those who have died.
But here in the United States in various hot spots like New York, California, and now Michigan, officials are preparing people to experience much more heartbreak in the week ahead.
And I want to begin in what is the current epicenter of the virus here in the U.S., New York. I just spoke to Governor Andrew Cuomo who told me this about the number of deaths dropping for the first time in days.
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GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK (via telephone): Everyday we're waiting for this "apex of the curve." And there is a theory that the apex is actually a plateau where you'll hit a high number and then you'll stay at about that high number for some period of time and then start to drop on the other side.
But it's the first time we've seen any drop, at all. So, you know, in a place where we're just hoping and praying to see a light at the end of the tunnel, it was good news. We'll know better tomorrow and the next day when we see what those results are.
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CABRERA: I want to go straight to CNN's Evan McMorris-Santoro who is in New York City outside the Javits Center. Evan, what's the latest on the ground there?
EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, as you mentioned from in your interview with Governor Cuomo, so much of what goes on when it comes to this pandemic is about projections and modeling.
And one of the things that, you know, is going on behind me is the Javits Center, the massive convention center is being on Monday, being reopened as a specific COVID hospital, staffed by federal personnel.
And, you know, that's part of the efforts here to ramp up the number of hospital beds and availability of medical care for that apex that the governor suggested to you may be here, but we don't know yet. In his press conference earlier today, the governor spoke about using
those projections to ramp up these hospital beds and how we may have actually reached the level of hospital beds that we need, but it doesn't actually mean that we're done with the adding of medical capacity.
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CUOMO: -- 140,000 beds was the worst case -- 110,000 was more of the moderate case. I don't -- look, I hope we're somewhere near the apex, right or we're somewhere near the plateau. So, I would hope we don't know need anywhere near that number of beds. That's the good news. The bad news is the number of beds doesn't really matter anymore.
We have the beds. It's the ventilators and then it's the staff. That's the problem.
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MCMORRIS-SANTORO: And just to put it in perspective, this state went from around 50,000 hospital beds to around 80,000 hospital beds in a matter of weeks. But as the governor said in the press conference, the problem now is equipment and personnel to make sure those beds can actually be used. Ana?
CABRERA: Evan, thank you. Although New York remains the current hot spots, other places in the nation are seeing spikes in cases, one of those is Detroit and that's where we have Ryan Young this afternoon. Ryan, what is the latest you're hearing from officials on the coronavirus there?
RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Really Ana, it's a mix. When you think about all they're trying to do to get ahead of the curve just like they did in New York, and when you think about this, you see the operation center here for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, they are building extra bed capacity here as well.
This is the TCF Center. Of course, the auto show is normally here. It's not here, of course, that's because it's been canceled. They're putting a thousand extra beds in this facility alone. They're hoping to get that open by next week.
That's as the hospital beds in this entire area starting to fill up. Just think about Michigan in terms of the numbers here, over 15,000 people have tested positive and over 600 people have died so far.
There is a bit of good news though, here. Let me show you this video from Ford. They've been able to start mass producing the masks, the shield that go over the first responder's faces. They're at a point where they can produce one every ten seconds. They've already produced a million.
They're also sending 121,000 to New York to help out with the people who are there, who are on the front lines of fighting this. Despite all of this, though, you can understand why the governor here is still thinking a more aggressive approach needs to be taken.
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GRETCHEN WHITMER, GOVENOR OF MICHIGAN: We know right now that we are going day to day to day on terms of having the N-95 masks, gowns, gloves for our frontline. And that's I think where we're spending so much of our energy trying to get more out of it, stockpile, trying to contract with anyone where we can get these materials and have Michigan businesses ramping up production.
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YOUNG: Ana, we've been here for about a week and I can tell you no matter where you go, you talk to people who know somebody who's either got the coronavirus or has passed away from it. It's really starting to hit folks hard here. They're hoping that it gets better as the week goes on, but like I said before, the ICU beds are already starting to run out.
CABRERA: Ryan, thank you for that update. It does not sound good, but in California, Los Angeles counties also seeing an influx. It saw its largest single-day increase in deaths on Saturday, 28, and I want to go to CNN's Paul Vercammen in Los Angeles. What more can you tell us, Paul, about the coronavirus than in California?
PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, they are saying in some ways that the social distancing has worked because don't forget, this is a state with 40 million people. The mayor here in Los Angeles, urging people not to take their foot off the gas pedal.
You may know that he also urged people in the city to put on their masks. Put on masks made of bandanas or scarves or whatever materials possible. Do not take up those N-95 masks that should be reserved for health professionals. We talked to some people on the street today here in Hollywood who were wearing their masks and some who were not.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it's all unnerving. I think all of this is unnerving. I think we're all trying to navigate, some people are, you know, being more cautious than others, and I just hope everybody continues to be cautious, you know, bring hand sanitizer with you, wash your hands, listen to what they're saying and we'll get through it, I guess.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean, I'm in a condensed area, I could see the benefits, but at the same time, I just feel like, I don't really need to.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Trying to stop the spread of whatever is happening, you know, as they say, you know, it's not helping you not get it, but it's helping you not spread it. And you're going to be out, you should be out and be safe about it.
(END VIDEO CLIP) VERCAMMEN: And other precautions here in California, as they are concerned about moving towards that ape. There is a nurse in San Diego. She comes in contact with COVID-19 patients. She's now quarantining herself on her own property in a small trailer because both of her sons have compromised immune systems.
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JOANN BOOMER, NURSE IN SAN DIEGO: I'm not afraid for myself, okay. I went to work. I know that's my job. I do it. Yes, I'm scared to death when I have -- when you know you're taking care of a COVID patient. (Inaudible) him, I'm more afraid for my children who I chose to go to work, I didn't choose to come home knowing that I'm exposing them to something that could potentially kill them.
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VERCAMMEN: And on another front, another place that they are ramping up for a surge, Cal Poly, San Louis Obispo has built a makeshift shelter in its gymnasium. And among other things, it has a lot of oxygen, including oxygen concentrators.
Those are extremely important because there are times when people could go home from the hospital or be taken out of some acute care and get on to those cots, get the oxygen that they need. They now will have about 165 cots, but they may be looking for other health care professionals to go into that county.
They're centrally located. They said they do have the potential for 900 beds or cots. They just don't have the people to help with that. Back to you now, Ana.
CABRERA: All right, Paul Vercammen, Evan McMorris-Santoro and Ryan Young, thank all of you for the work that you are doing. Thank you, thank you.
More breaking news now, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been admitted to the hospital as he continues to battle coronavirus. This comes just two days after the prime minister released a video saying he was feeling better, but still had a fever. CNN's Max Foster is joining us with more. And Max, what more are you learning?
MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ana, we can't say he's getting worse, but he's not getting better. That's the point. So, on medical advice, he's been admitted into hospital. This is what Downing Street said in a statement.
"This is a precautionary step as the prime minister continues to have persistent symptoms of coronavirus 10 days after testing positive for the virus." We're being told he's in hospital, receiving more tests.
I'm told it wasn't an emergency admission. He wasn't taken by ambulance. And I'm also told that he is still firmly in charge of government, speaking to ministers, speaking to officials. What we need to know now, though, Ana, is will he be kept in overnight?
That's the next signal that is might be more serious. But at the moment, Downing Street, very much trying to contain any sense of concern here because obviously the optics of the prime minister going to hospital with the virus after 10 days is quite worrying to a lot of people and it will be as they wake up tomorrow morning.
CABRERA: And it comes just a day after we learned that the prime minister's pregnant fiancee is having coronavirus symptoms. Any update on her?
FOSTER: No update from her. She seems in good spirits. That's what we're getting from her team, at least. And she's been tweeting personally about that, trying to detach herself from the situation of the prime minister. But obviously, they're living separate lives in Downing Street.
Currently, the prime minister is in hospital now. Will he stay there? Will he be there into the week? I mean, it is very concerning. And just tonight here at Windsor Castle, of course, the queen putting out a very rare statement on camera, trying to -- a rallying call, really, for the public to stay positive and get through this together.
But all of these things, all of these stories come through, and it's very worrying for people to see, people in power suffering from this, as well as the people around them.
CABRERA: It's a wake-up call to all of us. Max Foster, thank you for your reporting.
Coming up, growing scrutiny over China's live animal markets and their role as a potential breeding ground for devastating outbreaks like the current coronavirus pandemic. I'll have a live report, next.
CABRERA: Our next story involves the rising global pressure on China to shut down its wet market selling wild animals. Epidemiologists believe the coronavirus pandemic began at one of those markets in Wuhan, China.
This week, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert suggested the international community should immediately force China to permanently close those markets.
I want to bring in CNN's Will Ripley in Tokyo. And Will, you have been tracking the controversy surrounding China's wet markets. How is China responding to all of this global pressure?
WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRRESPONDENT: Well, I think China for years, Ana, has been trying to enforce better health and sanitation regulations at their wet markets, but they have not always succeeded. There are some wet markers that are like farmers' markets in the U.S. People like to go there because they can talk to the vendor, the food
is fresh, and it's far more affordable than supermarkets, which for a lot of Chinese are overpriced and over-processed.
But there are also these other markets that in many cases are operating underground. And they're not just selling produce and meat, they're selling wild animals, wild animals that infectious disease experts say put everyone around the world at risk for the next pandemic.
RIPLEY (voice-over): Across China, as the novel coronavirus pandemic slows down, the wet markets are opening back up. For many in Asia, they're the only affordable source of fresh produce, meat, and seafood.
But at this now closed wet market in Wuhan, the original epicenter, wild animals were also for sale last year. CNN is not able to independently verify these graphic images from early December, the early days of the pandemic.
They show a meat market menagerie, beavers, snakes, raccoons, ready for sale, slaughter, and skinning. White House coronavirus task force member, Dr. Anthony Fauci, says the new coronavirus was transmitted from animals to humans, similar to other deadly pandemics, like bird flu and SARS.
FAUCI: I think they should shut down those things right away. I mean, it just -- it boggles my mind how when we have so many diseases that emanate out of that unusual human/animal interface, that we don't just shut it down.
RIPLEY (voice-over): Some parts of China are known to have an appetite for exotic animals, long believed to have nutritional and medicinal benefits. For years, the Chinese government has tried and failed to ban the sale of some wild animals tied to previous outbreaks.
Hong Kong broadcaster i-Cable found civet cats for sale at this market in southern China in January, 15 years after the SARS pandemic led China to ban their slaughter and consumption. CNN cannot independently verify the video.
LEO POON, PROFESSOR OF VIROLOGY, HONG KONG UNIVERSITY: These animals, we don't know their history. We don't know what kind of pathogens or viruses that they are having in their body.
RIPLEY (voice-over): Cats, dogs, rodents, even porcupines, all readily available in some parts of China and other Asian countries.
SEN. LINDSAY GRAHAM (R-SC): People eat cats and dogs throughout the world as part of their diet. We need to stop that. It's the 21st century. RIPLEY (voice-over): Things may be slowly changing in China. This
week, the city of Shenzhen announced the nation's first-ever ban on eating animals raised as pets, often stolen and then sold as food.
Humane Society International calls it, "a brutal trade that kills an estimated 10 million dogs and 4 million cats in China every year." In February, China passed a law banning the consumption of wild animals in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
FAUCI: I would like to see the rest of the world really lean with a lot of pressure on those countries that have that. Because what we're going through right now is a direct result of that.
RIPLEY (voice-over): Making wildlife markets like a petri dish for the next pandemic.
RIPLEY (on camera): And the current pandemic tied to that wildlife market in Wuhan is really starting to accelerate in a dangerous way here in Tokyo. They are now every day seeing spiking cases of well over a hundred people, more than triple what the daily infection count was this time last week.
Tokyo has essentially run out of hospital beds, because everybody who tests positive, they've been putting into the hospital. Now, they're trying to scramble to negotiate to move mild-symptom patients into hotels.
But this is all happening kind of at the last minute, even though Tokyo has seen what's been happening in New York and Italy and Paris and other places. They didn't seem to think it could happen here. They thought they had everything under control by doing really intensive contact tracing, focusing on clusters.
Now, they fear they have community spread. I spoke with two Japanese epidemiologists over the weekend who says Tokyo is just weeks away, weeks away from what's happening in New York and other places. And yet still, there is no state of emergency here, no lockdown of the city.
And if you -- I was in my apartment all weekend long, but there were people who were out and about without masks doing their normal thing this weekend, seemingly either unconcerned or unaware of the danger of the virus spreading in this city.
CABRERA: Strong reporting, Will Ripley. Thank you for that update.
Former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang is with us this hour, in his own words describing how he has been the target of racist attacks related to the coronavirus.
But first, what will the pandemic mean for the week ahead on Wall Street? CNN's Chief Business Correspondent, Christine Romans has your "Before the Bell" report. Christine?
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: The first quarter was disastrous for stocks and it's hard to say if April through June will be any better. The Dow recorded its worst start to a year in history, down more than 23 percent. The S&P 500 plunged 20 percent, its worst quarter since the financial crisis.
So where does the market go from here? Many analysts expect to see stocks under pressure, especially as the economic data worsens. Last week, a shocking 6.6 million Americans filed for first-time jobless benefits. That shattered the prior week's record of 3.3 million.
The mark's (ph) jobs report didn't capture the worst of the layoffs because the survey was taken early in the month, but it was still sobering.
The U.S. lost 701,000, the first decline in nearly 10 years. The unemployment rate rose to 4.4 percent. April will start to reflect the true damage. Oxford Economics predicts that payrolls will shrink by 24 million and the unemployment rate will reach 14 percent. In New York, I'm Christine Romans.
CABRERA: President Trump has a simple explanation for the disaster that is the American economy right now. Millions of businesses bleeding out, possible unemployment numbers not seen since the Great Depression and consumer spending hitting a brick wall. The president says, it's not real.
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DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And then you see 6 million people unemployed, unemployment numbers get released, and you see 6 million people. And it's an artificial closing. It's not like we have a massive recession or worse. It's artificial, because we turned it off.
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CABRERA: That was a few days ago. Not a massive recession, says the president, because it's artificial. And yesterday, the president again, accentuating the positive, denying reports that the nation's major banks are having trouble dealing with the flood of small businesses who need emergency cash just to stay afloat.
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TRUMP: We're way ahead of schedules. The banks have been great. JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America. They're so far ahead. This is typical with you, in particular. We hear they're behind -- they're not behind. It's been a flawless -- it's been flawless so far, far beyond our expectations.
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CABRERA: I want to bring in Andrew Yang. He's a former Democratic presidential candidate and now a CNN political commentator. And Andrew, you pitched yourself as the math guy. You ran on this notion of stimulating the economy with federal money to all Americans.
I mean, sadly, we have a need for an emergency version of that idea right now. Does the math work out in this historic economic package that the president signed?
ANDREW YANG, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it's tremendous that Americans will be getting money straight into our hands in the next number of days because millions of households need it desperately.
To me, the administration should be doubling down on that approach. Put more money into our hands in a predictable and regular timeline, until this crisis is over.
The quotes you just had of Donald Trump talking about the small business administration of the $350 billion in emergency loans, the fact is there is this massive bottleneck. I've talked to entrepreneurs who have been trying to get a hold of their banker and no one can do it.
It's not a magic wand to say the money is there. Getting the money into the hands of business owners around the country is going to be a real problem for quite some time, unfortunately.
CABRERA: I hosted a town hall with you about a year ago and you were saying then, we need to send everyone $1,000 every month. One year later, I should say, the country, as we know it, is completely unrecognizable.
Goldman Sachs this week predicting unemployment will go to 15 percent. Now, for perspective, it's at 4.4 percent right now and hit 10 percent during the financial crisis. If people needed $1,000 a month a year ago, what do they need now?
YANG: Well, they need more than that and this $1,200 is going to last most households only a matter of days, or at best, weeks. So to me, the leaders who are calling for 1,500 or $2,000 a month for every American for the duration of this crisis have it right.
The fact is, only a small fraction of the $2.2 trillion stimulus is going directly into households. And that to me is out of whack. More of the money should have gone directly to households, in part because it's actually easier to get money into our hands directly than it is to try and funnel it through large institutions who are going to have to identify the recipients.
CABRERA: Right, the bureaucracy, obviously, weighs down the process a little bit and the ability for people to get that money quickly. When it comes to these checks, however, Trump administration officials told lawmakers this week some people may not see their direct stimulus payments until 20 weeks from now. That's almost September. What's your reaction to that? YANG: That's obviously way, way too long. And happily, most Americans
who file taxes directly where they got it on direct deposit, the timeline is going to be much shorter than that. But there are hundreds of thousands of Americans who are still trying to figure out how they're going to get their checks.
They didn't file taxes. They're not sure how they're going to receive it because they don't have direct deposit. So to me, this illustrates the fact that we needed to make this non-means tested and make it as broad and vast as possible so that people don't slip through the cracks.
CABRERA: I want to get to the op-ed you wrote for the "Washington Post" a couple of days ago. It was a call to action, directed mainly at Asian-Americans in this country. And I want to read a line from it and I want to know what moved you to write this because something happened to you, and these are your words.
"We Asian-Americans need to embrace and show our American-ness in ways we never have before. We need to step up, help our neighbors, donate gear, vote, wear red white and blue, volunteer, fund aid organizations, and do everything in our power to accelerate the end of this crisis. Demonstrate that we are part of the solution. We are not the virus, but we can be part of the cure."
What happened to you that you felt the need to write that? And why direct that at Asian-Americans?
YANG: Well, my family and I have been in our houses most of the time, like many Americans, but at a grocery store, I, for the first time in years, even decades, I actually felt self-conscious and even a little bit ashamed of who I am, of being Asian-American, on the basis of dirty looks or accusatory glances from people in the grocery store who were shopping for essentials the same way we were.
And that's really just a shadow of it, Ana, because you have hundreds of Asian-Americans reporting assaults, worse, a stabbing in Texas. The use of the crisis text line has surged 160 percent for Asian-Americans over the last number of days.
We all know that the racial animosity towards Asian-Americans is higher than it's ever been in my life right now because this virus is devastating so many lives and communities. And we have to do everything we can to show that we can be part of moving our country through this crisis.
My organization, Humanity Forward, has already donated $1.2 million directly to working families in the Bronx and around the country. And we all need to do much, much more, Asian-Americans and all Americans.
CABRERA: I know you've received some criticism for your message. What do you say to someone who argues American identity should not be something you have to earn or prove?
[17:35:04] YANG: This is a crisis that we all need to use as a call to action to come together and do everything we can. And that's not just Asian- Americans, it's all Americans. But certainly, I think Asian-Americans right now, unfortunately, have it -- have been put in the crosshairs in a way that is, again, new to me in my lifetime, in my experience.
And so this is a really challenging time, but it also to me can be a time when we demonstrate that we can, again, be part of the solution and put to bed any notion that somehow we have anything to do with this virus.
CABRERA: Andrew Yang, as always, it's great to talk you. Thank you and you're obviously a great example of an Asian-American in our society right now. And I know a lot of people are looking to you and your message. Thank you. We'll be right back.
YANG: Thank you, Ana. Be kind.
CABRERA: Be kind.
CABRERA: One refrain we keep hearing, it is going to get worse before it gets better. And we are told the worst is likely to come this week or next. So, what will that look like and how do we get back to normal, or at least new normal?
Let's bring in our doctors. Dr. Jeremy Faust, he's an emergency room physician at Brigham & Women's Hospital, and Dr. Wayne Riley, the president of Downstate Medical Center here in New York.
Dr. Faust, President Trump says the next couple of weeks will be horrendous. The surgeon general today is comparing what's to come to Pearl Harbor and 9/11. You know, after everything we've already seen, the incredible challenges doctors and nurses are already facing, what does getting worse even look like? What are we about to witness?
JEREMY FAUST, EMERGENCY ROOM PHYSICIAN, BRIGHAM & WOMEN'S HOSPITAL: Well, hopefully, we're not going to see the kind of capacity issues that New York is facing (inaudible). But if we do, we'll have to do our best to get ahead of that.
Because unlike other crisis that were being compared to, we actually have quite a bit of notice here and we know there are things we can do to help. So, we need those supply lines to come. We need people to isolate.
Because I think that the message should be that we can do something -- we can't do something to make this all go away, but we do have some power to make it better, and that's what we have to focus on as what we each can do.
CABRERA: Dr. Reilly, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo predicts the apex will arrive this week, at least in New York. And then of course, after New York hits its peak, the other states will start to hit theirs. But once, you know, as a country we hit that apex, does it get better? Is it downhill from there?
WAYNE RILEY, PRESIDENT, SUNY DOWNSTATE MEDICAL CENTER: Well, Ana, we're simply entering the beginning of -- the end of the beginning, if you will. We're about to hit the apex within the next four to five days as our governor said.
It's going to be a rough patch and I think as Dr. Fauci as he mentioned this morning on the other shows, said, we're struggling right now. We need to emphasize that social mitigation is important. Get people to stay home. Heed the warning. Get off the beaches. This is critically important so that we can hit a plateau phase and hopefully get to the other side of this.
CABRERA: The fact that Governor Cuomo says the number of deaths and intubations are going down in New York, could that potentially mean New York has already hit its peak?
RILEY: Well, time will tell. Those of us in medicine and public health, we don't take just one data point so, you know, time will tell, Ana. We hope that it will but we have to be prepared for this thing to escalate.
CABRERA: Dr. Faust, the president keeps touting hydroxychloroquine as a possible treatment. Again, no proven treatment yet, but Governor Cuomo says there are some promising treatments. How close are we to a proven treatment?
FAUST: I think we're a far ways off from knowing whether these medications work and for whom they work for. And that is what I want people to pay attention to. If we find out these medication works for a certain people at a certain time of illness, we must save it for them because if we hand it out like candy now, we will have shortages.
We're going to have shortages of medications that we know work, such as things that keep people on ventilators. And we need to get ahead of that now so that we don't make the same mistake that we've made with PPE and ventilators. We need to get ahead of medication shortages, because I want to save lives.
CABRERA: Dr. Riley, are you experiencing medication shortages in your hospital system?
RILEY: Yes, we are. We are critically short on all the medications we need to intubate and to maintain a patient on ventilators. We're down to about a day of hospital gowns. We burn through a thousand gowns per day at our hospital, and that's with providing two gowns per health care worker.
The PPE is critical. The supply chains are critical. And that's why I've urged our staff and physicians look, we have to think creative. I was a Boy Scout earlier in my life and be prepared is part of it. So, we have garbage bags. We may have to use those. That's only a plan B, but if we don't get the PPE, we have to protect health care workers and something is better than nothing. CABRERA: Wow, garbage bags. I can't believe that. Dr. Faust, you know,
Dr. Fauci has said the key to being able to ease some guidelines will be rapid testing. We know testing has still been an issue in a lot of places where the turnaround time just isn't there.
Not everybody who is experiencing symptoms are even getting tested yet because there are limitations there so it's mostly just people who are having to be hospitalized. Why is testing so crucial?
FAUST: Testing is absolutely important because uncertainty is the enemy. If we knew where the cases were and where they weren't, who had it, who's recovered, we could get so much more information.
As an E.R. doctor, when people ask me what's going on, I can give them good news and bad news and people are so resilient. But if I tell them I don't know, we just -- we really -- that feeds into panic. And right now, we need to be very concerned. But knowing where the problem is will help us flex our resources.
CABRERA: And Dr. Riley, I want to get in a couple of viewer questions. This was an interesting one we got, which is, are some blood types able to fight the virus better?
RILEY: We don't know that yet. This will be what we do in terms of what we call a post hoc analysis once we get to the other side. We just don't have enough data to suggest that if you're blood type A or B you're better able to fight off the disease. That's something that our research over the next few years will be able to tell us better.
CABRERA: Dr. Faust, another viewer asks, what metrics will define the end of confinement?
FAUST: Well, I just want to also add on to the previous point, which is something that we all know, which is that your genetic code is less important than your zip code, and blood types go through zip codes because there are different socioeconomic factors. So, I just want to watch very carefully because same people (inaudible) hit by medical problems don't happen over and over again.
So just watch for that. Is it about the virus or is it about socioeconomic factors. But how do we know? Well, the answer is just really going to be hard because we don't have enough national tracking.
The CDC's new national tracking is going online and it's now being -- it's voluntary. But we just don't have enough data. And until we know truly where the case loads are, then we really are sort of driving blind. And that's not okay.
CABRERA: And Dr. Riley, one last question for you. We learned this week that we can catch coronavirus just by breathing. You know, breathing in somebody else's germs, I guess is the easiest way to put that. But can you catch it from secondhand smoke? RILEY: Can't say that there's evidence that suggests that, but we do
know that smokers may be more susceptible to some of the worst lung effects of coronavirus. So, I can't say that the smoke has been established, but we are pretty certain that if you're a smoker, you have higher predilection to having the disease and having worse lung disease as a result of it.
CABRERA: Great information, guys. I really, really appreciate you taking the time and all you do and all of your colleagues are doing right now to help all of us stay safe. Dr. Wayne Riley, Dr. Jeremy Faust, thank you.
FAUST: Thank you, Ana.
CABRERA: Coronavirus, what do you, what to avoid and when to see a doctor. CNN's new podcast has answers for you. You can join Dr. Sanjay Gupta for "Coronavirus: Fact versus Fiction." Listen wherever you get your favorite podcast any day, any time. We'll be right back.
CABRERA: Tonight, CNN's Miguel Marquez takes you inside an emergency room where doctors are on the front line in the battle against coronavirus.
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): While interviewing doctors in other parts of the hospital, nearly constant overhead announcements --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Code 99. Code 99.
MARQUEZ (voice-over): -- that another patient has coded.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Room 815.
MARQUEZ (voice-over): Those announcements for patients already admitted, not those in the E.R.
Can I just stop you for a second? This -- this is the fifth or sixth code 99.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Code 99 is typically a rare event. We're having, I would say 10 code 99s every 12 hours, at least.
MARQUEZ (on camera): Well, we've been here for about 30, 40 minutes, and that's the fifth or sixth one.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And a lot of that, what that represents, is calling for a team to put an individual, a patient on a breathing machine.
(END VIDEOTAPE) CABRERA: That's incredible. Miguel is joining us now. You've been talking to these folks who are in this incredible fight against coronavirus. What's your biggest takeaway?
MARQUEZ: Look, they are in and we are in for the fight of our lives with this thing. It is very clear. For as lovely a spring day as it is in many parts of the country and as quiet as cities, even like New York are right now, you go into these E.R.s -- this is the second one we've been in this week -- and it is -- it's terrifying.
In the short time we were there, 2-1/2 hours or so, there were six individuals that coded inside the E.R. Four of them died. The codes you heard in that clip from our story, those were codes having other parts of the hospital, not the E.R.
They are gearing up on a warlike basis against coronavirus at SUNY Downstate and we are all hoping that they can be both the front lines and the last line of defense against this thing. Ana?
CABRERA: Their dedication, their commitment, their just endless effort that they're putting in is incredible. How do they even manage their own lives?
MARQUEZ: It's -- every single one of them has a story about how they are able to manage their own existence essentially. All of them are living to some degree distanced from their own family.
Either they're living on a different floor of their own house and they don't see their family, or they've rented an Airbnb or they're camping out in an empty apartment that somebody had.
Their family can come by, say hello, drop off some groceries, but they see each other from 20 feet away, essentially. They've been doing that for weeks and weeks now.
There was one, the emergency room -- one of the emergency room doctors we had, her wife is a cancer survivor, so they have -- and they live in a New York apartment. She basically takes a different pair of clothes that she can ride home and then they basically stay in different parts of the apartment. It is stunning, the degree to which they are going to keep themselves safe and keep others healthy. Ana?
CABRERA: Yes, incredible sacrifices. So much courage we're witnessing. Miguel Marquez, thank you. I look forward to watching your reporting. You'll see much more in the CNN special report, "Inside the ER: The Incredible Fight Against Coronavirus" that airs tonight at 9:00 here on CNN.
And that's going to do it for me this hour. I'm Ana Cabrera. Thank you for being here. CNN's Wolf Blitzer picks up our coverage after a quick break. Goodnight. Stay safe.