Return to Transcripts main page


NY Gov. Cuomo Holds Coronavirus Briefing; Cuomo: New York Hospitalization Rate Is Down, 783 Coronavirus Deaths Yesterday; U.S. Reporting Most Deaths Of Any Country Globally; Doctors & Nurses Traveling To Hot Spots To Help Fight Virus; U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Half-brother: PM's Treatment Before Hospital A "Shambles"; Tech Companies Using Cell Phone Data To Track Coronavirus. Aired 12-1p ET

Aired April 11, 2020 - 12:00   ET




GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): These are -- we are dealing with bureaucracies and applications so there's a host of need on the legal front. We're hearing a about it all across the board. The court system with chief judge Janet DiFiore working in the New York state Bar Association are just asking for volunteers. Anyone have anything more on that?

REPORTER: Governor, was the extra 600 a one-time thing for those on Unemployment, and also the $200 Million you had announced for low-- income households and food. How is that being distributed and what can they expect?

CUOMO: Who wants to answer that? Rob?

ROB: The 600 will continue right through the period through the 36-39 months period and then potentially after December 31, it could be an additional 600 after that but we're waiting for that.

REPORTER: And the 200 million for the food in low-income households, how's that being distributed?


ROB: Which -- I'm sorry which 200 million?

REPORTER: Two hundred million that was announced yesterday and the day before --

CUOMO: The funding for the SNAP funding.

ROB: Oh, the SNAP. That's going to go through the normal process, through normal program, through the agencies. That will all go out immediately.

REPORTER: Does that also back up in a similar way the unemployment system or is that firing on all cylinders? ROB: Separate, that's moving along. We haven't had any issues. That's moving.

REPORTER: -- that basically senators like (inaudible) saying that people -- Democrats want to see you replace Joe Biden on the ticket. I wanted your reaction and what you think of that? Would you consider doing that?

CUOMO: Democrats would like to see me replace Joe Biden on the ticket. That is on one hand flattering. On the other hand, it is irrelevant. But to the extent, it's flattering, I appreciate it. And look, when I talked about keep politics out of this. You know everyone is -- everyone has been, I hope it's changing, but everyone has been very suspicious of government and government officials, politicians.

It's always about their politics. They're always trying to take the next step on the ladder, their roots, be very careful about what they say because nuanced, they're deceptive creatures, politicians. I never felt that. I never believed it but now it's more important than ever before that people understand, there's no politics here.

Sometimes it can work and it can work right and sometimes at a time of crisis, you actually see people who -- who play to their strength. There is no politics here. I have no political agenda. Period. I'm not running for president. I'm not running for Vice President. I'm not running anywhere. I'm not going to Washington. I'm staying right here.

I said to the people of this state unequivocally. When I was running for governor, I will serve as your governor. Well, they all say that and then they do something different. Yes, I'm not that person. I am going to do what I said I was going to do because that's who I am.

So that's what I'm going to do. Period. End of story.

REPORTER: -- if he offered you a cabinet secretary, would you turn it down?

CUOMO: I was a cabinet secretary 20 years ago. Been that, done that, been that -- there. No, thank you. I'm going to do what I said I was going to do. I don't know why it's so hard to accept from an elected officials. They may actually have meant what they said and actually believe in sticking to it.

No President, no vice president, no going to Washington to serve as the cabinet. I said I did it eight years with the Clinton administration. I loved it. It was a great experience. I was HUD Secretary, Housing and Urban development secretary, worked all across the country, worked in every state in the United States.

Love the experience but I have probably the most important job to me that I could have and probably more important than ever before, frankly, given what we just went through.

REPORTER: Can we return to your comments about the schools and businesses in Westchester, Suffolk, Nassau counties as well as New Jersey and Connecticut. Does that also -- would that also include state businesses and schools?

CUOMO: Well, two things when we closed the schools, we coordinated it not just in metropolitan area, we coordinated it statewide.


Because different school districts were doing different things and you can't operate that way. At this time, in this situation. That's normally designed for local flexibility. School district makes an individual decision with their calendar.

Education is basically a local decision. There's a Snow day in Buffalo doesn't mean that there's a Snow day on Long Island. But this is different. You're asking a society to stay home. Well, and close my business. That triggers certain questions and there's a direct connection between schools and business.

And the application does not follow geographic jurisdiction or boundaries. So you live in Westchester. How do I tell businesses to close in one area unless I address all the issues in the surrounding areas, right? And the geographic lines between Westchester and New York City don't matter and the lines between New York state and Connecticut and New Jersey don't matter.

The work force is basically a tri--state workforce so coordinate school and business and coordinate geographically and make the decision based on the facts at the time. I reject any elected officials or any expert who says I can tell you what's going to happen four weeks from today. I reject it. I mean you looked at all the models.

So I mean I accept it. I hear it but I'm not prepared to act on it. So I talked to other county executives. They're all elected by their constituents. They all have an opinion. Some people believe the businesses will open in May. Mayor of New York City. Some people think we should open them in two weeks. Some people think we should keep them closed until June.

I hear it all. We'll discuss it. We'll coordinate it but at the end of the day the decision must be at a minimum for the metropolitan area, hopefully state wide, ideally regional with Connecticut and New Jersey. So that's -- that's my goal. Coordinate school and businesses, minimum metropolitan area.

New York City suburbs, hopefully statewide and it's a little bit of a different situation upstate and downstate and hope it stays that way. Ideally, I'd like to do it with Connecticut and New Jersey.

REPORTER: Sir, are you saying -- are you saying that it's your legal authority to make the decision on New York City schools not Bill de Blasio's.

CUOMO: It is my legal authority in this situation. Yes. That's why when I close them, we close them statewide. It was not just New York City that we closed. We closed at that same time the island and the northern suburbs and then we coordinated all of upstate, is that right?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And Jessie, remember when we did the executive order with the 180 day waiver, school district need a waiver if they're going to have less than 180 days of school and so we said that you -- we're sending them all at the same time. Everyone's on the same schedule and New York pause is extended through April 29

Everyone's on the exact same schedule and when we extend that, that's when we extend the 180 day waiver.

CUOMO: And it has to be coordinated. I don't see how -- I understand this -- the debate on when to reopen schools. I understand the debate on when to reopen businesses. I don't understand how you would start businesses in May but not open schools until June.

But keep schools closed until June. I don't get that. I think you have to coordinate the business with the schools because schools do education, schools also do day care effectively for a large percentage of the New York City population.

So how can you say to people, I think you can go back to work in May. But the schools are going to continue to be closed so figure out what to do with your children during the day but you're going to have to go to work in May. How do I go to work if my kids are home?


REPORTER: I guess some dissonance though here of the Mayor of New York city saying schools are going to be closed two hours ago and you say, no, no, no, that's not the case. I think for parents that might be confusing and -- and unsettling.

CUOMO: Well, we just clarified it.

REPORTER: Can you give us some sense of when that might be resolved like a definitive --

CUOMO: It's not going to be decide in the next few days because we don't know. I can't tell you what's June is going to look like. I can't tell you what May is going to look like. So no but I can tell you it will be a metropolitan--wide decision.

It will be coordinated with the business decision. It will be coordinated with the rest of the state and it will ideally be coordinated with New Jersey. It will definitely be coordinated with New Jersey and Connecticut because I'm not going to operate without coordinating with New Jersey and Connecticut.

But ideally, it's uniform with New Jersey, Connecticut because this is, they're all connected, these things. School and business and geography are all connected.

REPORTER: Fewer hospitalizations -- new hospitalizations reported. Does that mean that we need to change the plan for the field hospitals at this point? CUOMO: Would be -- there's no changing of the plan. I'm praying that

we don't need a single bed in the additional overflow capacity. I hope Javits is empty. Well, it's not. There are several hundred people in Javits but ideally we never needed a bed in Javits. We never needed it bad on the U.S. navy ship comfort.

We never needed an overflow bed in the field hospitals.

REPORTER: Councilmember Mark Levine yesterday had noted that the increase in the number of new hospitalization is so low in New York city because they are at capacity and people are being turned away. Has--

CUOMO: That's not true. That's not true. Well, this idea that people are going to a hospital and they're being turned away from the hospital? No.

REPORTER: People that would have otherwise been hospitalized a few weeks ago.

CUOMO: No. Doctor?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And just we do a daily call with the hospitals and we get updates from them and there's no reports of that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Governor, we spoke to his office -- and he explained the way we're doing this which is we're using all the hospital capacity in the system so people are moving around as needed.

So if they're going -- we're -- we're managing that process so if there is a problem with one facility, we move them to another hospital so no one is getting turned away. We are monitoring this on an hour by hour basis. Exactly how many people are in the hospital so no one has been turned away.

I think he realizes that now and he's been thankful, we've been talking repeatedly to his staff, him and his staff to make sure they understand where we are in the process.

CUOMO: Yes and it also defies all logic, right? The high point of hospitalizations was 2 weeks ago. That's when we had the crush on the hospitals. If you look at that hospitalization chart, it was about two weeks ago but you know, ten days, that's when there was a crush on hospitals.

We have been down on the down slide for a while now. So the hospitals are not -- we have empty beds right now in hospitals over the past couple of days. They wouldn't be turning away anyone and that's -- that's just is virtually an impossibility.

REPORTER: The prison system is now quarantining prisoners who have been affected with Covid-19. Can you speak to if the prison system actually has the capacity to do that and how they might be doing that effectively or not effectively?

CUOMO: They can quarantine within the facility. You know you have a prison but then you have distinct operating wards within a prison so they have total capacity to quote unquote quarantine within the prison system.

REPORTER: Do you have a date on whether or not you're you know moving forward with any granting clemencies to anybody or releasing any further --

CUOMO: Not anything new, no.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you guys. Thank you.

REPORTER: -- in terms of parole releases?


REPORTER: So it's still about 240. Is that right?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was about 240. I know it was anticipated to go to about 400 but I don't know that the numbers have reflected that shift. I can get you an update on that.

REPORTER: -- because five minutes from here, four hours ago, Albany nurses went on the record in a press briefing stating that they don't have proper PPE and that they're being told to ration and where their PPE mask up to 20 times and they say this is contradictory to what the president says, what state officials say, what hospital administrators say. What is your response to that? We're confused.


CUOMO: I only can tell you what hospital administrators say. We ask every hospital every day what do you need. We have been getting every hospital what they say they need. I -- if there's a disconnect between the nurses and their hospital administrator, I can't help with that right now but I -- they should talk to their hospital administrators because whatever their hospital administrator said they need, we've done. Thank you, guys.


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: All right, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo there, tackling a number of issues this Easter and Passover weekend of reflecting on some sober -- sobering realities of the current state of affairs, from the coronavirus deaths in New York to the economy to school closures and really, it's the latter either promoting you know confusion or real clarity, the governor they're saying, contrary to the New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio saying public schools closed for the rest of the school year into late June.

The governor there saying he has the authority to reverse that and as far as he's concerned, decision has not been made. No decision on school closures. He wants it to be a metropolitan issue. I've got an incredible panel with me -- panel with me now. Let's talk all of this. Cristina Alesci, Mark Preston and Dr. Darria Long on the phone with me. So Cristina, you first. Why the governor there and the correlation

he's making about school closures. You can't have an opening economy and then you have schools closed and vice versa. He says right now there is no decision on clothes -- on the closure of public schools.

CRISTINA ALESCI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. The governor there contradicting what the mayor told us, just a little while ago about school closings and that the city alone can't make that decision. It needs to be a coordinated effort with the metropolitan area and even statewide ideally and it has to be a coordinated decision with the reopening of businesses because what do parents do when they have to you know, go back to work hypothetically if you have a reopening up businesses before you have a reopening of schools.

What do you do you because in in New York City especially and New York state, parents rely on schools for education of course but also for childcare but look, bigger picture here. The governor opened things up with the really grim picture of deaths in New York.

We had another 783 people die in New York. The total is now 8627. To put some context around this, this is a really shocking number for New Yorkers to absorb. This is three times now, three times the number of people lost to the 911 attacks and as a native New Yorker, that was the darkest day in the history of ours -- in the modern day history of our city.

And it's really something that New Yorkers are trying to get their heads around. This is not something that -- and this is why New Yorkers are so jarred when they hear about you know, possibly reopening of schools and businesses, you know perhaps from the federal government and we're still in the midst of fighting this pandemic in the city.

And there's so much uncertainty and so much anxiety as to whether or not you can reopen safely especially if you don't have the number of testing, the number of tests that -- that you need to be able to do that and against the backdrop of some really troubling signs in racial healthcare disparities that we've been seeing with this virus killing blacks and Latinos at double the rate of whites in this city.

That the governor's talked about this. How do you address this? He's opening up new testing sites in minority neighborhoods but clearly, there are some very big health issues to be addressed before all of these discussions happened about reopening schools and reopening businesses.

And that's what's happening here.

WHITFIELD: And those disparities because of a large number of you know, systemic you know, factors so Mark, you know the governor there saying the U. S. economy can't be reopened without the engine of New York City and you know, the president has been saying, he's aspirational.

He's considering. It'll be the biggest decision he ever makes to reopen the economy as early as May but at the same time, the governor said you know what, I've had a lot of honest conversations with the president and you know I may suggest something or he may be of the mindset in the morning.

But then by the afternoon, he changes his mind. Why did the governor feel that was important to say that to underscore that?

MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, because Fred, as we're hearing, the governor's come out and gives us these daily briefings and we're hearing the president and his task force do the same. At times we're hearing conflicting information and for all the aspirational talk we're hearing from President Trump and believe me, I do think at this time we need a leader where we can have some aspiration.


Where we can talk about the future but I think Cristina is absolutely right and I think that Governor Cuomo really laid it out in a very somber tone. He talked about how deaths are leveling off in New York City. At the same time as Cristina noted, it's the highest death total that they have ever had.

So just imagine that, it's leveling off with more than 500 people dying in one day but --

WHITFIELD: Right, even showed the graphic of it. We're talking about you know on average 783 people in New York dying just yesterday and he said those numbers were consistent with the daily numbers over the last week in the 600, 700s.

PRESTON: Right, right and again, as we're talking about opening it up, you know can the economy open back up. Governor Cuomo said it very succinctly. You're not going to open up a world economy without opening up New York and -- and let me add to that as well as the President saying that he can issue this order across the country.

You've see JB Pritzker in Illinois. You see Governor Newsom in California. You see Los Angeles county which has now put in an order for stay--at--home order till mid--May. Are all of those orders going to go away? I don't think that's going to happen. It's not going to happen and quite frankly, Governor Cuomo's right.

It's going to be the governors such as him and local officials who make the decisions based upon what the health officials are telling there.

WHITFIELD: But Mark, it's an interesting contrast because the president did have the authority, still has the authority to impose a national plan and then he deferred to the state saying I'm going to leave it up to the states to decide whether or not but then he just said yesterday, I have the power to open up the economy, to lift or reverse these stay--at--home orders that have been imposed by the states? Does he have the power to do that?

PRESTON: No, no, listen, I think at times the president overstates what he can actually do and what his ability actually is. Look, he has an incredible amount of authority to do certain things but let's not forget.

The president is one third of our government. The other server is Congress and the other third is the Supreme Court and then after that you go into how our government was structured with the governors and local officials. Look, we're very lucky that we haven't seen much strife.

We saw it today between the Mayor of New York City and the Governor. We seen it with some governors in red states, some governors who were choosing not to put in orders but by and large, I think we're doing OK so far.

WHITFIELD: Dr. Darria Long, the governor you know underscoring 783 people died yesterday. The number you know is stabilizing but at a horrific rate. Doctor Long, how do you see this?

DR. DARRIA LONG, EMERGENCY ROOM PHYSICIAN: Hi Fredricka, good to talk to you. I think the governor mentioned a lot of really good points and we see that death rate and have to remember that death rate reflects two weeks ago -- decisions made two weeks ago.

We have to be strategic about releasing guidelines. We don't want to do it too soon. That said, as we go forward in the next few weeks, months, as we get more data, there has to be a couple of things, consistency as Governor Cuomo said.

We can't have businesses doing one thing, day cares doing the other. We seeing huge amounts of inconsistency. Healthcare workers can return to work but yet national parks are closed. Communities are seeing a lot of confusion.

You need consistency and coordination but one separate thing is that we need to go rolling back -- when we roll back these guidelines, when we do, it needs to be community based. The guidelines for places that are hot spots are going to be very different than other communities that have different rates of disease.

So I think it's really important that we look at that. You know New York metro, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, they need to have something coordinated which may be different from other places, that after they hit their peak, have smaller numbers.

WHITFIELD: Dr. Darria Long, Cristina Alesci, Mark Preston, thanks to all of you. Really appreciate it and of course CNN's live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic continues right after this.




WHITFIELD: Michigan residents are now largely banned from traveling between homes inside the state. An expanded stay--at--home order is now in effect as the state reports more than 22,000 coronavirus cases and more than 1200 deaths. CNN's Ryan Young joining me now from Detroit. So Ryan, what more are you learning?

RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes Fred, you know they're trying to stop people from going to like, let's say their cousin's house and saying hello to them and -- and hanging out. That we saw over and over again. In fact I talked to a funeral home director who says they're having several family members dying all at once from Covid-19.

You can understand the pain that so many people in this state are going through. Over 21,000 people have tested positive. So many people have lost their lives. We want to show you these freezer trucks that are at the medical examiner's office. Between Thursday and Friday was one of the most deadly days so far for the Covid-19 in this area.

205 people died, lost their lives. It's been very painful and of course as we continue to have this conversation, we've been reaching out to people in the community especially as you get close to Easter. We talked to one reverend, he says look, not only is he telling everyone to stay at home. He's trying to say these are showing the inequities all across the city and the state and he hopes he makes a lasting change, moving forward. Take a listen.


REVEREND CHARLES C. ADAMS, HARTFORD MEMORIAL BAPTIST CHURCH: The virus and the nation's response has revealed the inequities that we have been complaining about for years. And now it is clear that this is a matter of life and death.

Access to healthcare is a matter of life and death.


Access to nutrition is a matter of life and death. Access to economic opportunity is a matter of life and death.


YOUNG: Fred, we've talked to two large pastors in terms of the fact of their congregations had over 5,000 people. And the reason why we did that is because everyone's focused, of course, on Eastern celebration. And even during times of strife, people like to come together.

Well, they're trying to tell people to do it on the Internet. You can understand that. Behind this is the TCF Center. That facility will have 970 beds that they'll be able to add to the capacity. That's so important because we know hospitals here are stressed, especially at the ICU beds.

One last thing to tell you, there are 1,400 ventilators in use in this entire state. Twelve hundred of them are being used in the city in the metro area of Detroit. So you know, there's a lot of pain and pressure on the healthcare system in this area.

WHITFIELD: Is that enough? All right, Ryan Young, thank you so much. All right, across the country, nurses and doctors are willingly traveling to coronavirus hotspots to be on the frontlines of this pandemic. Joining me right now is Dr. Sabrina Bent. She is a pediatric anesthesiologist from New Orleans, who is now helping in New Jersey. And full disclosure, Dr. Bent, a good friend of mine, so I might occasionally call you Sabrina.

So, you know, Sabrina New Jersey, hotspot, New Orleans is a hotspot. So what led you to leave New Orleans and then lend a helping hand in Newark, New Jersey metropolitan area instead of staying in your state?

DR. SABRINA BENT, ANESTHESIOLOGIST FROM NEW ORLEANS NOW HELPING IN NJ: When the elective surgeries are canceled throughout most of the United States, I was sent home and wasn't working as a physician, and I prayed about that. And God answered my prayers and my company or the company I work for called us said there was a dire need for -- for clinicians in northern New Jersey. And so we answered the call and here we are.

WHITFIELD: And there you are. So, what kind of precautionary steps did you individually take or maybe even some of your colleagues before setting off to New Jersey? Did you, you know, equip yourself with your own supply of PPEs or anything like that?

BENT: Well, I don't have any of my own PPE. I did have a mask that I brought with me to take on the airplane and such. But I have hand sanitizer and pretty much that's it. I'm really counting on God to protect me in this.

WHITFIELD: So here you were, you know, about six of you, right, who, you know, colleagues, you went and then one got sick fairly, you know, early on in your journey. How is that person doing? Did they test positive for coronavirus?

BENT: I'm really not aware of his condition. But I hope that he's doing well and we haven't heard anything negative.

WHITFIELD: So what have been your observations now in the New Jersey area in treating people, in the need, in the supplies, the conditions?

BENT: Well, I think that it's a very serious, tough situation to work as a health professional. I think that in general, we don't have enough PPE. But I think the hospitals and the states are doing an amazing job with the PPE that they have. I feel like the federal government is where we've had failures. And that they are the ones that need to step up their game. And I think they need to stop high fiving and start high stepping and make it happen quickly.

WHITFIELD: Are you frightened at all?

BENT: Well, anytime you're in an environment where there's a deadly virus that's pages, even in the best of circumstances, it's a dangerous conditions, even with the very best of PPE. These are challenging times for us.

WHITFIELD: So in your home City of New Orleans, you know, and across the country, African--Americans making up a disproportionate number of COVID-19 deaths. You know, what have you seen to best explain this, whether it'd be in the New Orleans area or where you are?

BENT: Well, I think the explanations been around for years, decades, actually. There have been healthcare disparities and social economic inequities in this country for decades. And unfortunately, we don't have the right type of social policies and healthcare policies that have bridged the gap and made a difference in this country, yet.


I think that we -- with the Affordable Care Act and lots of other civil rights types legislations. We've helped people of color. But it's not enough and we haven't gotten far enough. And I also believe that most Americans don't understand that social policies, healthcare policies, help all Americans. It's not just people of color.

WHITFIELD: And then what about the mental anguish? How are you, you know, getting through it? You know, I mean, you're seeing a lot. I mean, know, you've been at this for a long time, you know, but this is very different than most operating rooms that you've been exposed to, ICU, how are you holding it together?

BENT: Well, I concentrate on doing the very best job that I can. I have a strong faith in God and I pray for help and guidance. And I have a very supportive family. And these are the things that get me through.

WHITFIELD: And you're doing an extraordinary job, I know so many people are very grateful and of course a big thanks. Of course going to your husband and two kids who are self isolated in New Orleans while you are, you know, really on the front lines there in the Newark area. Sabrina Bent, Dr. Bent, so good to see you, thank you so much. Be well, be safe.

BENT: Thanks. Thanks for having me.

WHITFIELD: All right, CNN viewers and readers from around the world have asked more than 90,000 questions about coronavirus on At 2:30 Eastern Time here on CNN, a panel of experts will join me to answer some of your questions. Go to to submit your questions on health, family, life, and your money. Again, that's 2:30 Eastern Time right here on CNN.



WHITFIELD: In Italy, the number of people who died from coronavirus has jumped by 619, bringing that country's death toll to nearly 20,000. This comes as President Trump announced the U.S. will offer new assistance to Italy.

CNN Contributor, Barbie Nadeau, is in Rome. So Barbie, how is Italy doing with these number of cases? What will they do with the assistance from the U.S.? BARBIE NADEAU, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, you know, the Prime Minister is very, very thankful for it, with assistance from the United States so much so he feels a little bit like he's been abandoned by the rest of the European Union. So the United States is proving to be a very good friend. And it's a friend in need right now.

The Italians are so devastated by is continuing death rate 5, 600 people dying a day, you know. We're putting it in context. It leaves a country of 60 million people, that's a sixth of the size of the United States. We've been on a draconian lockdown for more than five weeks now and people want to see these numbers start to go down.

The number of cases is stabilized. We're on a plateau but they want the number of new cases to start going down in the number of deaths to become something that is just not the worst news of the day every single day, Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: All right, Barbie Nadeau, thank you so much in Rome.

In the U.K., Prime Minister Boris Johnson continues to recover from the coronavirus and is now out of intensive care. But his half-brother is now slamming the Prime Minister's treatment before he was hospitalized, telling CNN it was quote, a shambles.

CNN's Bianca Nobilo is in London. So Bianca, what is this that Max Johnson is saying?

BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, the Prime Minister's younger half-brother has been really critical of the treatment that the Prime Minister received prior to him going to hospital. He said that he's massively relieved that he's now out of intensive care, deeply grateful to the National Health Service here.

He was asking a lot of questions about why it was that the prime minister was able to get to that point. He said he should have stopped working much earlier. He says, quote, he tested positive, so there was no doubt what he was dealing with, the world shambles comes to mind. The Office of the Prime Minister needs better protection.

Now, in response to that, Fred, Downing Street said that the Prime Minister's health is a private matter, and it was inaccurate to say that he hadn't received examinations. But the Prime Minister's half- brother, Max, says that the health of the Prime Minister is not a private matter. Obviously, it is integral essential to the health of the country now that Boris Johnson is at the helm.

But even though Boris Johnson is no longer in charge, it's now gone to the de facto Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab. They're all questions about why it took that long for the Prime Minister to get the care that he needed.

Now it's important in all of this because it is a sensational story that the Prime Minister needed to go to an intensive care unit and still remains in hospital not to lose sight of the current state of affairs in Britain, Fred. Nearly 10,000 people in the country have now died related to coronavirus. And that's just in hospital. So that doesn't take into account people who have died out of hospital. And there's likely to be a big lag on that too, 917 people reported to have died in the last 24 hours in the official toll today. And the Prime Minister's brother was also keen to stress that it's so important that the frontline health care workers get that PPE that they need not just in the health service, but also people who are operating transport, cleaning hospitals.

And so even though there's been so much focus on this one family, even his family members, I came to underscore that this is part of a much wider picture. And even though the Prime Minister has been suffering terribly from COVID-19, the fact that he's recovering is welcome. But when many families this weekend, celebrating Easter across the country, they would have lost loved ones. And be worried about their nearest and dearest who are suffering in hospital.


WHITFIELD: All right, Bianca Nobilo, thank you so much from London. We'll check back with you.

All right, you may be carrying the key to slowing the spread of the coronavirus. Coming up how tech companies and states are using cell phone data to track the virus.


WHITFIELD: Welcome back. New Mexico is now using cell phone data tracked by a third party tech company to develop social distancing models. Officials then use that model data to try to get a sense of whether or not people are honoring the state's stay at home order.

CNN's Sara Sidner joins me now from Pasadena, California. So Sara, what are you learning about this technique?

SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Fred, we're learning that several states and local governments are using statistics from cell phone tracking data and that of course, we, cell phone users play a big role in how they're getting that data.



SIDNER (voice-over): Official government orders to stay at home, stare you in the face. But are you obeying them? A tech company Unicast knows grading the nation state by state, even county by county as a Friday, Nevada, Vermont, and California were at the top of the list as far as residents staying put, six states were near failing.

Overall, the United States got a C plus. How did they do it? By tracking cell phone data. And now some state governments are hiring companies to do it too. They develop social distancing models that gauge how well residents are adhering to stay at home orders.

GOV. MICHELLE LUJAN GRISHAM (D--NM): As we dig deeper, using cell phone data.

(voice-over): The State of New Mexico is one of the first to go public about hiring a company Descartes Labs to get cell phone geolocation statistics.

MIKE WARREN, CO--FOUNDER, DESCARTES LABS: We came up with a way to measure statistically how far a typical person in the community was going away from where they started the day.

(on camera): So you actually could track cell phones to show that people were following or not following the stay at home order?


(voice-over): Mike Warren says other states have also signed on during the pandemic. China goes even further. It's using citizen's smartphones to control their movements around their cities. A QR code on their phone determines where they can go.

(on camera): Americans are really concerned about that kind of personalized tracking. Is that concern addressed by the technology?

WARREN: Absolutely. I mean, I personally I'm concerned about that as well. So we've got a number of controls that prevent us from tracking individuals.

(voice-over): He says, the data sold to the U.S. government is just statistics, anonymous information that does not reveal who the phone belongs to. You play a role in being tracked too when you download certain apps and agree to let them use your geolocation on your phone, that data is being used by third party companies and advertisers and now, some state and local governments.

There are plenty of companies buying the tracking data. For example --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Non-spring break.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, not really. I'm just trying to have fun.

(voice-over): Remember those spring breakers who flocked to beaches even after the warnings to social distance, X--Mode collected spring breakers phone data, another company Tectonics was able to show where those spring breakers ended up. Those little points of light are cell phones pinging from the beaches.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As we zoom further and further out, it becomes clear just how massive the potential impact just one single beach gathering can have.

(voice-over): If just a few of those spring breakers had contracted coronavirus, they could have spread it far and wide. Now, governments want this kind of data in part to see if stricter measures to distance citizens are needed.

GRISHAM: I'm talking with governors around the country about how you do that. And again, everything on the table, including if we needed to, I would consider curfews.

(voice-over): All these tracking capabilities have brought up the quintessential question about privacy. How much of your personal liberty are you willing to give up for security or the health of the nation?

WARREN: Well, like many things, it can be used for good or it can be used for evil.


SIDNER: But he says that, indeed, this data is being used for good. It could potentially help save lives to try and figure out exactly where government needs to look at to try and get people to social distance.

I do want to bring something else up though, Fred, that beginning next month, Apple and Google are releasing software that will allow health officials to gather detailed information about where people cell phones are. But Apple says you would have to affirmatively download an app to allow them to do that.

But what is interesting is a bit after that, we're here that the companies also plan to go a bit further and build new contact tracing capabilities right into the operating systems themselves. Again, they say, look, we are going to maintain a strong protection for your privacy, but it does make Americans a bit queasy to think that they are being tracked not only by companies that sell to advertisers, but by governments themselves getting that data. For now that data everyone says is being used for good, Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right, all fascinating. Sara Sidner, thank you so much.

All right, we've been bringing you stories of our incredible CNN Heroes going above and beyond during this pandemic. Well, here's Anderson Cooper with a look at three CNN Heroes doing whatever it takes for their communities.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): These CNN Heroes are finding new and unique ways to help their communities in the face of COVID-19 whether that's bringing their programming online for those recovering from addiction.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For somebody in recovery, social isolation can often lead to the relapse. It's crucial to keep each other connected. So now you can come to a class every hour of the day.


(voice-over): Delivering meals for children who no longer access them in school programs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We used to serve, 1,000 pounds of pasta a week. Last week, we serve 5,000 pounds. It's telling you the demand.

(voice-over): Or providing supplies and emotional support to struggling members in their community.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have intensified our food distribution to about 2,000 families in the past week. We are sewing masks and gowns. COVID-19 has taught us that nothing, nothing can break the human spirit.


WHITFIELD: And to see Anderson's full story on how these and many other heroes are helping combat this pandemic go to