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CNN NEWSROOM

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz Discusses "The Plate Fund"; Trump: "End of Road Might Be Near; Inside NYC Hospital Emergency Room During Coronavirus Fight; Dr. Mark Jarrett Discusses NY Reporting First Decline in Daily Coronavirus Deaths; Acting Navy Secretary Slams Ousted Ship Commander; Dr. Liise-anne Pirofski Discusses Antibody Therapy Being Developed for Coronavirus. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired April 6, 2020 - 11:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[11:00:00]

HOWARD SCHULTZ, CO-FOUNDER, THE PLATE FUND & CEO, STARBUCKS: Poppy, I'm here to talk about the plate fund, the need for shared humanity and for us to come together as a country to do everything we can for people who can't help themselves at this moment.

I think this is an opportunity for compassionate serving leadership for all of us. Whether you're running for office, whether you're in politics, whether you're a citizen, let's do what we can for those who can't help themselves. And restaurants need our help.

(CROSSTALK)

SCHULTZ: The Plate Fund -- (INAUDIBLE)

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, they do. We'll push them there to apply for that assistance.

Thank you, Howard. And good luck to your team.

(CROSSTALK)

SCHULTZ: Thank you, Poppy. Thank you.

HARLOW: Yes.

Thanks to all of you for joining us today. I'm Poppy Harlow.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Jim Sciutto.

"CNN NEWSROOM" with John King continues right now.

JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everybody. I'm John King. And this is CNN's continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.

We begin this hour with the cruel coronavirus reality right here in the United States. Nearly 10,000 have now died and officials say the hardest and the saddest week is just now beginning. Roughly 2500 people perished this weekend.

The trajectory, from fewer than 100 deaths when the president put his social distancing guidelines in place -- you see it there -- almost 10,000 death now. So it's frightening, the quickening pace at which the virus is killing our fellow Americans.

A new watchdog report, out today, shows significant stress on U.S. hospitals heading into a week the surgeon general predicts will be a Pearl Harbor moment for this country.

A government inspector general today backing up the accounts we get from governors across the country that hospitals are battling severe and widespread shortages of critical medical supplies.

The White House says the mitigation is working, but whether it flattens the curve is conditional. A top Health Department official says, quote, "Another peak in a few weeks may overwhelm the health care system if Americans ignore those social distancing guidelines."

That underlying uncertainty and dependence on everyday follow-through clashes with the Sunday evening optimism at the White House, that the end of the road might be near.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want to say to the American people that we are beginning to see the glimmers of progress.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I see a light at the end the tunnel. If I didn't, I would not be -- I would not be very thrilled with what we've done.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY & INFECTIOUS DISEASE: If we start seeing now a flattening or stabilization of cases, what you're hearing about potential light at the end of the tunnel, doesn't take away from the fact that tomorrow or the next day is going to look really bad.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: New York remains the epicenter of this outbreak of the pandemic here in the United States, the place we need to watch the most this week, the death toll in New York City tops 2,0000,000. That is, by far, the highest in the country.

Three hospitals in the city will only treat coronavirus patients.

CNN was granted access inside an emergency room of one of those. Miguel Marquez was at one of them and joins us now with this exclusive and, in many ways, depressing report Miquel?

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is incredibly sobering, John. We were at SUNY Downstate. This is a place that is now making the transition to being COVID-19 only facility, just a massive, massive effort by that hospital. About a quarter of the patients that are admitted there end up dying

from COVID-19. We visited two E.R.s in the last two weeks or so, and both of them wanted us to come in there to see what they're dealing with so the entire country, the entire world could see what this crisis actually looks like.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARQUEZ (voice-over): The frontline in the fight against coronavirus. The Brooklyn emergency room of SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University. Patient after patient, struggling to breathe. This morning has been brutal.

DR. CYNTHIA BENSON, EMERGENCY ROOM PHYSICIAN, SUNY DOWNSTATE: Today is pretty intense. We've had a bunch of people die in a very short period of time which we, you know, are prepared for, but when it happens so many times in one shift, it's pretty hard to tolerate.

MARQUEZ: As we arrive in the E.R., the latest victim of coronavirus at SUNY Downstate is being wrapped up in the emergency room bay where doctors tried to save them.

We visited SUNY Downstate for about three hours midday Friday. In the short time we were there, in the emergency room alone, six patients coded. In other words, they suffered heart or respiratory failure. Four of them died. A devastating part of just one day.

BENSON: This is what we trained to do and this is what we signed up for. Just not in this volume. You know, you may have a code. Maybe on a bad shift you may have two codes where you carry that emotion and you wonder if you did everything that you could. I think it's emotionally hard to prepare for this level of sickness and suffering and morbidity and mortality in such a short period of time. I don't think any of us are well-prepared for it.

MARQUEZ (on camera): Have you ever seen this E.R. jammed like this?

DR. LORENZO PALADINO, EMERGENCY ROOM PHYSICIAN, SUNY DOWNSTATE: Not quite like these days, no.

MARQUEZ: You're not at max yet, but you're pushing it?

PALADINO: Yes. We're pushing it. So at times, the emergency room here there's no room to move. But we have a system of where we decompress them out behind here in the hallways. Our other room is the fast pack. Not many people have been bringing in their children so we've taken over part of pediatrics. There's also clinics back here that we can turn into beds. And they wait there once they're stabilized from here, and then go upstairs.

[11:05:20]

MARQUEZ (voice-over): The corridors in the E.R. here lined with those suffering from coronavirus. Patients unresponsive, struggling to breathe.

It is the hard reality of this virus. For some patients it attacks the lungs, depriving them of oxygen, slowly suffocating them.

PALADINO: With COVID, the pneumonia is not just in one lung, but rather in both lungs, leaving the patient with no good lung. And it's also widespread throughout both lungs with a massive inflammatory reaction that's damaging the lungs.

MARQUEZ: Keeping the most critically ill patients suffering from coronavirus breathing, it is as simple as it gets in medicine. But still a mystery as coronavirus resists treatments, confounds doctors, and kills patients.

PALADINO: Here in terms of the airway, we have to manage their airway once they become so altered from the lack of oxygen that they're unable to keep it open themselves.

MARQUEZ (on camera): And what is the mortality rate? Once they go on a vent, what happens to mortality?

PALADINO: It increases exponentially.

MARQUEZ: More patients die in other words?

PALADINO: They do. The numbers are not exactly the same from country to country. And there are various factors for that. But we all agree that it skyrockets.

There's some fluid in the lungs.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Dr. Lorenzo Paladino is an E.R. doctor who has done groundbreaking work on putting more than one person on a single ventilator. It's research he hopes that will never have to be used here.

PALADINO: What keeps us up at night is precisely what motivates us to do that kind of research here at SUNY Downstate, is that we want an alternative to give to these patients. And not just the ventilators, but also for CPAP and isolation, oxygenation high flow. We try all sorts of maneuvers in order to keep them breathing and keeping them from suffocating or having a cardiac arrest.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Code 99. Code 99.

MARQUEZ: And it's not just in the emergency room where patients struggle to breathe and code.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Code 99.

MARQUEZ: While interviewing doctors in other parts of the hospital --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Code 99.

MARQUEZ: -- nearly constant overhead announcements.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Code 99. Code 99.

MARQUEZ: That another patient has coded. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Room 815.

MARQUEZ: Those announcements for patients already admitted, not those in the E.R.

(On camera): Can I just stop you for a second? This --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Code 99.

MARQUEZ: This is the fifth or sixth code 99.

DR. ROBERT FORONJY, CHIEF OF PULMONARY AND CRITICAL CARE MEDICINE, SUNY DOWNSTATE: Code 99 is typically a rare event. We're having I would say 10 code 99s every 12 hours at least.

MARQUEZ: Well, we've been here for about 30, 40 minutes and that's the fifth or sixth one.

FORONJY: And a lot of that -- what that represents is calling for a team to put an individual -- a patient on a breathing machine.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): What is most jarring about seeing the inside of an E.R. and hospital making the transition to being one of three in New York state that will only treat patients suffering from coronavirus, outside it is quiet and feels like an early spring day.

(On camera): It's slow moving. And it's damn boring for a lot of people. But this is a disaster.

DR, ROBERT GORE, EMERGENCY ROOM PHYSICIAN, SUNY DOWNSTATE: This is definitely a disaster. It's kind of difficult to -- for people from the general public who don't work in the hospitals because when you walk -- when you drive down Clarkson Avenue, you're driving on New York Avenue, on Nostrand Avenue, which are pretty busy thoroughfares, it's almost crickets.

But then, here in the Emergency Department, it's a level of intensity that you only see in disaster zones that have been televised around the world.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MARQUEZ: Another point, another thing that will give you a sense of just how seriously this hospital is taking this and where it seems to be headed, their regular morgue has been overwhelmed already with the number of bodies. They brought two semi-trailers in, refrigerated trailers in.

They only have bodies right now on the ground floor of it that they have on stretchers, and they're going to start adding shelves to them so they can stack more bodies into those trailers.

There's also a plan in place to shut down streets around the hospital and bring in three more trailers. It is terrifying --John?

KING: It stops you in your tracks to hear that. Miguel Marquez, just fascinating. And we cannot, cannot, cannot say

thank you enough to those brave workers, the janitors and everybody, not just the doctors and nurses, but everybody in those systems who are risking themselves to try to help patients.

Miguel Marquez, a fantastic job.

Even as these deaths in New York top 4,000, there is some hope that the state might be reaching its apex. Might. New York reported its first decline in daily coronavirus deaths just yesterday. Governor Cuomo warning it's too early to draw any definite conclusions.

[11:10:01]

Joining me now, Dr. Mark Jarrett, the chief deputy medical officer at Northwell Health in New York City.

Doctor, thank you so much for being with us today.

You saw that report. And it is stunning, it is sobering, it is sad and depressing. You also see the heroes.

Are you having a similar experience in your hospital network in terms of when you hear code 99? What percentage -- let me ask you this way. You have a lot of COVID patients coming in. What percentage of them are ending up in an intensive care unit needing a ventilator?

DR. MARK JARRETT, CHIEF DEPUTY MEDICAL OFFICER, NORTHWELL HEALTH SYSTEMS: Sure. Through our system of 23 hospitals, we have approximately 3,400 patients who are positive with COVID in the hospital, and over 700 of those are on ventilators. That doesn't include the non-COVID patients on ventilators.

Most of our hospitals have about 90 percent of the patient population of COVID-positive patients, so similar to SUNY Downstate and similar around the whole city.

KING: I want you to listen to your governor yesterday. "Everybody believes this is going to be the week" -- did we lose the doctor's shot there?

OK, we lost the doctor. We'll try to get him back.

We'll take a quick break. Our coverage will continue in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:15:45]

KING: This just into CNN, the acting secretary of the Navy now slamming the former commander of the "USS Theodore Roosevelt." Captain Brett Crozier was ousted from his position after sounding the alarm about the spread of the coronavirus onboard his ship. More than 170 crew members from that ship, the "Roosevelt," have now tested positive for coronavirus.

Joining me now, CNN Pentagon reporter, Ryan Browne.

Ryan, the acting Navy secretary addressed the ship's crew, went after the former captain. What did he say?

RYAN BROWNE, CNN PENTAGON REPORTER: He said several things, John, one of which he said the former commander of the ship was either too naive or too stupid or intentionally leaked this letter that he sent to several officials warning of the situation on the "Theodore Roosevelt" where there was a major outbreak of the coronavirus. Over 10 percent of all cases within the U.S. military on that one ship so he had called for that urgent evacuation.

The Navy secretary slamming him for sending that letter, saying it showed poor judgment. He also accused the former commander of committing a "betrayal." Very strong words.

The Navy secretary made these comments in an address to the ship's crew, according to the copy of the transcript that's been provided to CNN. That same crew, just days ago, gave that now-fired commander a very warm sendoff, thunderous applause, chanting his name. You're seeing video of it here.

It's an interesting choice by this Navy secretary to give such harsh words for this commanding officer to that very same crew. He actually referenced -- the secretary referenced the fact that the commander was popular. Captain Brett Crozier was popular with the crew.

But he almost admonished them for giving him a sendoff, given the firestorm that that letter created. So some very tough words.

Now, Secretary Modly's office has not responded to a request from CNN for confirmation, but several Navy officials have confirmed to CNN that he did deliver these remarks over the P.A. intercom system aboard that ship Monday morning.

KING: And, Ryan, he also said that he thought the media had an agenda here. Correct?

BROWNE: That's correct. He said it was never OK to leak things to the media.

The secretary has been careful to publicly not accuse Captain Crozier of leaking this memo. But in his comments to the crew, he very strongly suggested that the captain did leak it to the media. And he said it's never OK to go to the media with concerns, saying they're not part of any kind of chain of command.

He said the media had a political agenda and that they would use this to embarrass the Navy and exploit tensions and create controversy in Washington, D.C. So harsh words for the captain and for the media from the acting Navy secretary.

KING: I wish he would understand that our agenda is to tell people the truth, including about conditions on those ships and those sailors the help and the attention that they deserve. It's intimidation going after the crew like that. Ryan Browne, appreciate that reporting from the Pentagon.

[11:18:41]

An antibody therapy for the coronavirus is being developed in New York. We'll talk to a doctor behind that research, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:23:48]

KING: People who have recovered from the coronavirus are now viewed as critical for helping those who are just developing symptoms or those at higher risk if they do get the virus.

Antibody therapy is a long-approved weapon in fighting infectious diseases. And there's a race underway to adapt the idea to the coronavirus battle. The goal is to use antibodies from recovered patients to boost the immune systems of new patients.

Dr. Liise-anne Pirofski is spearheading the clinical trial, one of the clinical trials of antibody therapy. She's chief of infectious disease at Montefiore Health Systems at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

Doctor, thank you for joining us.

Take us inside how this works. You find patients who have recovered, you take their blood, and then what?

DR. LIISE-ANNE PIROFSKI, DIRECTOR OF INFECTIOUS DISEASE, MONTEFIORE HEALTH SYSTEMS, ALBERT EINSTEIN COLLEGE OF MEDICINE: Firstly, thank you so much for having me on and telling this really important story.

What we do is that we identify people who have recovered from coronavirus. They need to have been recovered for at least 14 days and to have had documented disease. And we approach them and ask them whether they would like to contribute to this effort by providing us with a sample of their blood.

We take that blood to the lab and determine whether it has antibodies in it. If it does, we refer our patients here to the New York Blood Center to obtain blood to make plasma from it to treat patients who are sick.

[11:25:14]

I will say it has not been hard for us to find potential donors. The community around Westchester, that includes New Rochelle, one of the first communities to have suffered from this infection, have come forth just in an incredibly heartwarming and uplifting manner to offer their help to those who are now suffering from the disease.

KING: So if your trial proves fruitful, somebody out there watching who is either worried they're going to get this or someone in a high- risk community who wants help to keep them from getting this, when, when might something like this be available? PIROFSKI: Great question, with a slightly complex answer that I'll

break down into a couple of parts.

There's permission now from the FDA to use convalescent plasma in what's called a compassionate-use manner. Any physician in the country can actually register to be able to give this to a single patient or to a group of patients under what's called an expanded access use protocol.

That is for patients that are ill in the hospital who have perhaps not done well with the medicine they've received so far.

There are also clinical trials which we are planning and hope to launch soon, which would give us a scientific method to compare this intervention with standard care to see whether it works.

The goal, I feel, is to be able to establish the efficacy of this therapy in people that have minimal to early disease. So people who are admitted to the hospital with sort of impending respiratory failure but are stable to determine whether it can pervert the development of respiratory progression, the need for ventilators, and the many of things that you have been covering on your air.

And then the other important place where we have a lot of enthusiasm is in prophylaxis, in people who have had exposures, health care workers, first responders, and potentially residents of nursing homes.

There is a clinical trial that was recently approved for the latter at Johns Hopkins and, hopefully, it will launch soon.

I do need to point out that this modality is very, very different than taking a drug off your shelf and putting it into a clinical trial. We need to produce this product ourselves. So there's a full-court press going on right now to be able to stock blood banks with plasma from donors so that we are able to treat patients under one of these different protocols.

KING: Dr. Pirofski, we wish you the best of luck. Keep in touch as you go through the various steps so we know whether you're proceeding in the right direction, if the timetable changes at all. We appreciate your insights on that.

PIROFSKI: OK. Thank you so much.

(CROSSTALK)

PIROFSKI: OK, bye-bye.

KING: Up next, some signs of hope in Europe as Spain and Italy report some relatively positive numbers.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)