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Watchdog Report on Coronavirus Response; Couple Dies Week Apart from Coronavirus; Answering your Coronavirus Questions. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired April 6, 2020 - 08:30   ET



RON KLAIN, COORDINATED WHITE HOUSE RESPONSE TO EBOLA UNDER PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, you know, this is kind of what a lot of us have been saying for five or six weeks, that as things got very bad, as the disease progressed, we see these critical shortages in the hospitals. And this is a real failing of the federal response. It's the job of the federal government to get, take control of the supply chain, take control of the manufacturing chain and get these supplies where they need to be.

And I think what's scariest in here is we're starting to see signs of something, again, I think it was imminently predictable, there as this disease unfolds, doctors and nurses are getting sick. They are on the front lines. They're inadequately protected. They are going to get sick. And that's a problem obviously because we don't like to see doctors and nurses getting sick. They're great heroes and whatnot. But also because when they get sick, the capacity of our system to treat patients goes down. We're -- just at the time we need more capacity and hospitals to treat patients, the capacity is going to shrink because so many of our doctors and nurses are getting sick.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: And then there was the issue about guidance, about messaging from the federal government. And I want to put up on the screen something that this inspector general found as well on that, too, if we can throw that up.

Some hospitals reported that the multiple changes in guidance contributed to a greater sense of confusion, fear and distrust among staff that they could rely on hospital procedures to protect them. Hospitals reported instances of receiving conflicting guidance from different federal, state and local authorities.

That's interesting because there has been mixed messaging or inconsistent messaging from the beginning. It's very interesting to see HHS itself acknowledge that.

KLAIN: Yes. Yes, it is. I mean, look, this is a problem we've had here with the way the Trump administration's organized a response. We're on our fourth different leader of the response in five weeks, starting with Secretary Azar, then Vice President Pence, Ambassador Birx, now it appeared Jared Kushner's in charge, maybe Peter Navarro is in charge, I'm not sure. But the bottom line is that if you don't have a clear sense of who's

in charge, who's speaking authoritatively for the federal government, that confuses people on the front lines.

Look, let's give credit where credit's due. These hospitals, they are doing amazing work with too few resources, too few people, too little equipment, too little gear. They can't take time to kind of sort out Jonathan Allen's (ph) reporting over like who's in charge in the Situation Room. They need to understand -- they need a clear, crisp, sharp guidance about what they're supposed to do and how they're supposed to do it.

BERMAN: So where do you think we are this morning, Ron? I know as we look forward to the next seven to ten days, the -- you know, we might reach the peak here in New York. Then it will peak in other places. But where do you think we are and how well prepared are we for what happens next?

KLAIN: Well, sadly, we aren't prepared. I mean, look, I think we will obviously see a peak sometime in New York, but it's -- I think it's important to know, the day after the peak is the second worst day of the epidemic. And even once New York passes its peak, we're going to see peaks in other places. And we just -- the supplies haven't been produced. President Trump still hasn't ordered the manufacturers to produce what we need. The federal government still hasn't taken control of the supply chain to get the supplies to where we need.

We're still in this horrible situation where the governors are kind of left on their own to try to get what they can get, however they can get them. They're doing a great job with that. But telling 50 states you're on your own isn't a coordinated, coherent response to the situation we're in.

BERMAN: What do you think it will take, long-term, Ron, when you really look out here, for the country to get back, I don't want to use the word normal, because I don't know what that will mean ultimately.


BERMAN: But what are the steps that need to happen?

KLAIN: Yes. So, first, obviously we have to get the number of cases down. We have to bend the curve as the epidemiologists say.

But then I think there are a couple other things. We have to have widespread, ubiquitous testing. You know, the president boasts that anyone who wants a test can get a test. That report from his own government says that's not true. We have to be able to sort the sick from the well before you can get back to normal in any way, shape or form. You have to have widespread testing.

And then you have to have a fully staffed and robust health care system as a backup. And when we start to go back to work and jobs and schools, whenever that happens, people are going to still get sick and you have to know they can be treated effectively in our hospitals. So I think those things curve down testing available, health care system in good shape, those are the preconditions for any steps towards a resumption of normality.

BERMAN: Ron Klain, we appreciate your time this morning. Thanks so much for being with us.

KLAIN: Thanks for having me.

BERMAN: Alisyn.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: OK, John, the coronavirus pandemic has killed nearly 10,000 Americans. Alfredo and Susana Pabatao were together for 44 years. They are both health care workers. He is a medical transporter and she is an assistant nurse.

And two weeks ago, Alfredo was taken into the ICU with suspected coronavirus. Four days later, Susana was admitted. And the two died alone in their own hospital rooms just a few days apart.

And joining us now is their daughter, Sheryl Pabatao.

Sheryl, we're so sorry for your loss, to lose both of your parents in the space of just four days is just so heartbreaking.


Just -- I know they were together for 44 years. So tell us about your parents.

SHERYL PABATAO, PARENTS DIED OF CORONAVIRUS ONE WEEK APART: They're inseparable. They're like teenagers, actually, because they are -- they love each other so much. Wherever my dad goes, my mom goes. They're just that unconditional love of a parent and unconditional love for each other. And I know there's no such thing as perfect, but for my siblings and I, they're a perfect couple, because even though they fight, at the end of the day, they still choose each other. So they're one of those stories that you barely hear nowadays. That I --

CAMEROTA: That's so beautiful. I mean the pictures of them, they're hugging, you know, their arms are around each other in every photo. They look vibrant. They look like they were having a wonderful life. And we can see that they were inseparable. And so I know that -- I mean, obviously, it's crushing when one parent gets sick and the fact that they both got sick and declined so fast. And I know that you were reluctant to tell your mom after your dad died because they were so close, and you really debated when she was so sick in the hospital whether to tell her. And do you think that that -- you did end up telling her and do you think that that sort of aided or I guess sped up her decline?

PABATAO: It did, actually. In a way, it was -- I felt like we should have not told her, because I don't know how it feels to really lose someone for 44 years, you know? So we originally didn't want to tell her, but we don't want her to read it anywhere or get it from anywhere else. So I decided myself to tell her, which is very, very, very rough, because I didn't even know how to start, but I just had to say it. And after that she -- I heard it from the phone that she started like declining, because I can hear the hospital's machine started making this crazy noise. I remember, I called my brother and I said, please call the hospital and check on mom because she just heard the worst nightmare she'll ever hear in her life and we don't know what's going on, we can't be there for her. You know, it's like, we're not there to comfort her. So it was really tough to tell her that.

CAMEROTA: That is really tough. And were you able to talk to her after that?

PABATAO: I -- she pretty much just said nothing, and then she hang up. And then half an hour later she called me back and it was like she knows she's about to go, because she's like, I can't do this anymore. I can't breathe. My lungs is burning. I -- oh, God -- she's like, get everything ready, get all like the paperwork, my 401(k), like, my funeral, like I have stuff there, like the life insurance, get everything ready. And she's like, I can't do this anymore.

CAMEROTA: That is so, so heartbreaking. I'm so sorry that you're going through this.

And it is -- those conversations are so remarkable to have when somebody's aware of what's about to happen.

PABATAO: Yes, she -- she literally just said that. And I remember, I tried to calm down and like I didn't cry, and I said, mom, I know it -- I know it hurts, I said, I know you're sad, and it's OK to be sad, but we're still here for you. You know, we're -- we're still here. We love you so much. You're going to get better. And I said please stop saying that. I'm like, you're going to get better. You're going to fight through this.

But, you know what? That night she actually had a rapid response and that's the start of her decline.

CAMEROTA: I mean you're just 30 years old, Sheryl, and that's too young to lose any parent, to lose either parent. And for you to have lost both in such a short time just days apart, how -- how are you and your siblings going to move ahead?

PABATAO: I honestly haven't even processed it yet. All I know is that I don't want anybody to feel the way we're feeling right now. And that's why the reason I am here, putting this awareness to everybody, the severity of this virus. And the thing is, it's like, we -- we didn't know the severity of it. Nobody really told us. And my siblings and I, we're all very -- it's not -- I don't even want to say we're hurt, because it's beyond hurt.


It's beyond pain. You know, losing one parent is hard enough, but losing both of them is just tragic because our parents, they're our world, you know. In my culture it's like we put them on the pedestal and my parents are my life. I had so many plans with them because they're -- my dad was only waiting for my mom to retire, and this was the year that they're supposed to retire. And, you know, this was their retirement. They were talking about. But, you know, I'm trying to bring awareness to this virus and it's

not to scare anybody, just to make them aware about the severity of it, because it's -- it's not, it doesn't feel good losing your loved ones, you know?


PABATAO: And there's still people out there that's taking this so lightly. And, like, I'm trying my best to just get the word out there. And my siblings and I were -- we couldn't even mourn, you know, because we can't even be with each other. We can't even hug each other. So it's really hard in our part.

CAMEROTA: Oh, it's so -- it's such a hard time. And you, Sheryl, you're so strong, honestly, to have gone through all this. And I know that it's not over yet, that you all are still distancing from each other.

But we hear your message. And we really appreciate you telling everybody to stay inside, to socially distance.


CAMEROTA: Now is no time to come out of your home because you don't want other people to have the same loss that you have.

We'll look at a few more pictures of your mom and dad. And, Sheryl, take care of yourself. We're thinking of you.

PABATAO: Thank you so much.

CAMEROTA: And just thinking of you and your family. And take care of each other.

PABATAO: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: We'll be right back.

PABATAO: Thank you so much.



CAMEROTA: We've been asking you to send in your questions about coronavirus and CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta is back to answer some of them.

OK, Sanjay, this comes from Susan. She wants to know, what is the protocol for keeping cloth masks clean and virus free? Do they have to be washed after every use. And, if so, how? Of course this question is coming up since this week we're supposed to be, you know, using our homemade masks.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. Right. And, again, you know, if you have to go out in public and you're going to be in a public place where social distancing is just not really realistic, that's when we're talking about the cloth masks. I'm not saying that if you go outside just for a walk and there's nobody else around that you need to wear a cloth mask then.

You do have to wash it. Typical laundry is fine with it.

One of the biggest things here, I'll just grab my mask real quick off this -- I just have it sitting here, this -- my daughter made me this mask. Just make sure that you're not touching the front of the mask when you're taking it on and off. That's why you can contaminate yourself. People oftentimes start fiddling with their mask, then they touch their eyes, their nose or their mouth. That's how they get contaminated.

But, yes, just wash it. Make sure that you don't contaminate yourself when you do.

BERMAN: Yes, mine goes right in a bag and then right in the washing machine after I wear it each time.

This question is from Joseph, Sanjay. A tiger in the Bronx Zoo is infected with the coronavirus. This was the first known human to wild animal transmission. What are the implications of this?

GUPTA: Look, you know, John, we're learning a lot as we go along. This one I think was a surprise to a lot of people. I've been talking to some of my folks within the USDA even and they didn't think this was likely to happen. Of course we know this did likely spread from animals to humans, zoonotic, but to go the other way around, there had been some case reports in China of that happening maybe to cats.

So now there seems to be evidence of this. It was an asymptomatic zookeeper who likely spread this to the tiger. Sounds like the tiger is going to be OK. And there's no evidence at this point, again, we live and learn, so I say everything with a bit of humility, there's no evidence at this point that, again, that your pets, for example, will transmit this back to you. It does appear to be a fairly stable virus that needs to mutate a fair amount to do that. But, you know, obviously this is going to be something that these researchers are going to keep an eye on.

CAMEROTA: That is an interesting development.

OK, this comes from Jennifer. When a vaccine becomes available, will everyone get the vaccine and will we need it yearly as we do with the flu vaccine?

GUPTA: I -- well, I hope, Alisyn, you and I talked about this, I hope that people get the vaccine once it becomes available. We've learned from the past, like even with the flu vaccine, that about half the country doesn't get it. And flu can be a very big deal, as well as you all know.

With regard to whether or not this is something that is going to be needed every year, it's a question mark. Right now, just like we were talking about the last question, it does appear to be a pretty stable virus. Part of the reason the flu vaccine is given every year is because the flu tends to drift, the genetic sort of profile, it drifts every year and therefore you need a new vaccine to protect yourself.

With this particular coronavirus, it appears to be stable. If it does change enough, it will need probably a vaccine, you know, more than just once. But we don't know that yet.

BERMAN: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thanks so much for answering all these questions, especially about the tiger. Really appreciate your time this morning.

GUPTA: You got it. Thank you.

BERMAN: So there are so many developments on the pandemic each hour. Here is what to watch today.


ON SCREEN TEXT: TBA: New York Gov. Cuomo briefing.

3:00 p.m. ET, California Gov. Newsom briefing.

5:00 p.m. ET, White House task force briefing.


CAMEROTA: OK, stick around.


"The Good Stuff" is next.


BERMAN: It is time now for "The Good Stuff."

The Easter bunny spreading some joy in Omaha, Nebraska, at the start of what will be a very unusual holy week. Coronavirus restrictions have nearly halted business for Party Pals Omaha.


The owner wanted to lighten things up in the Avalon neighborhood, so his son suited up and left treats for families from a safe distance.


BRANDON FISCUS, OWNER, PARTY PALS OMAHA: Hope. Hope for the future and everything like that. So it's kind of a sense of normalcy a little bit hopefully.

We just enjoy being able to do it.


FISCUS: So we're in a position that we can, so we're trying to do what we can for the people and hopefully the neighborhoods enjoy it and it's looking like they definitely are.


CAMEROTA: OK, John, now to an extra special good stuff. A very big congratulations to Dr. Lena Wen. Her hospital -- I mean, I'm sorry, and her husband, Sebastian. They had a baby, as you can see on your screen. We've been waiting for this to happen. You'll recognize Dr. Wen. She's been a big part of CNN's coverage the last few weeks. She gave birth Friday to Isabel Wen Walker (ph). And Isabel met big brother Eli this weekend. We're told everyone is home and doing well.

I was personally pulling for an on-air birth, as you may remember, last week, John, but Dr. Wen decided to go to the hospital instead.

BERMAN: Well, we practically had it. Every morning we had her booked and the note -- the booking, she was always, might not make it because might be giving birth.

CAMEROTA: Correct.

BERMAN: Which is a good excuse.


BERMAN: You know, if you can swing it, that's not a bad excuse.

CAMEROTA: Right. That's right. I'll be looking for that from you soon.

BERMAN: That's right.

CAMEROTA: John, I'll see you tomorrow.

Meanwhile, a government watchdog report on supply shortages has just come out and CNN's coverage continues next.