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Millions of Americans Turn to Food Banks; Doctors on the Frontlines Struggle; Remembering Those That Have Passed Due to COVID- 19. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired April 13, 2020 - 07:30   ET




ALISYN CAMEROTA, NEW DAY HOST: Millions of Americans are turning to food banks to feed their families during this pandemic. Just one example is the San Antonio Food Bank. They gave out more than a million pounds of food on Thursday. That is the largest single-day distribution in its 40-year history. Joining us now is Eric Cooper. He's the CEO of the San Antonio Food Bank, and Sheron Jackson. She's a single mom who's now relying on that food bank for her family. Great to see both of you. Thank you for joining us.

Eric, the thing that got my attention was this picture in the San Antonio Express, and aerial view of the parking lot. I mean, it's a stunning picture of cars just snaked back and forth, back and forth through this parking lot waiting for food. I know that you've been the CEO there for I think 20 years. Have you - is there anything you can compare this to? Have you every seen anything like this?

ERIC COOPER, CEO, SAN ANTONIO FOOD BANK: It was a sobering sight and truly unprecedented for us. Typically we feed about 60,000 people a week. In the COVID-19 crisis, this has doubled to about 120,000 people a week, but it's not uncommon. As you said, this is happening in cities across America. We're apart of a national organization called Feeding America, and as I talk to those food banks, they're all seeing turnouts like what we saw last week, and it is unprecedented. It's overwhelming, and we're worried we might run out of food.

CAMEROTA: We'll get to that in a moment, but Sheron, just tell us about your life. You're - as I understand it, you're 37-years-old, a single mom -



CAMEROTA: -- of two young kids. And so, how - you're a daycare worker, so how has your life changed in the past few weeks with fighting coronavirus?

JACKSON: Well, I was working like up to 30 to 40 hours a week, and now I'm down to 18 hours a week. So it's affected me and my family, trying to provide for my family.

CAMEROTA: And so, what have you told your kids about what your new situation is?

JACKSON: I just told them that it's going to - we're going to have to rely on each other at this moment and that we help each other out. My son don't really understand, but my daughter does.

CAMEROTA: Because your son, I guess, is 6, and your daughter's 15.

JACKSON: Yes, ma'am. Yes, ma'am.

CAMEROTA: And so, Sheron, tell us about what it's like to go to the food bank. How long do you wait? What kind of food are you able to get?

JACKSON: Well, I've been to two. One time I was in line for about two hours.


They had gave us water, some vegetables, some goodies for the kids.

CAMEROTA: Yes, and I know -


JACKSON: Like cookies.

CAMEROTA: I mean, I know that for anybody with dietary issues as so many kids have, this is a really tough time, and you're struggling with that I think with your son. He needs to eat particularly healthfully.

JACKSON: Yes, because of the fact that he doesn't gain weight the way that he's supposed to like other kids do.

CAMEROTA: Eric, let's talk about the demand. So are you running out of food?

COOPER: It has been incredibly difficult to really rely on philanthropy to meet this wave of need. We're lucky that last week we got a good swell of produce items and were able to get those to families, but I think the real answer to hunger is the right food in the right amount at the right time, and food banks are struggling to align that. We're always in some ways rationing our food to try to meet the need, but in the COVID-19 crisis it's just having enough food.

And so, we're really hoping for more state and federal support to come our way to be able to meet this need, educate families about the safety net, SNAP, but so many stories from families where in our community there are hospitality workers that a husband and wife I met they met and the hotel where they both work and they have three beautiful children, and now both of them laid off and desperate for help. And so, they were in that line of so many. CAMEROTA: And Eric, just how quickly it can happen. I mean, Sheron is just one example that you have a good job, you're providing for your family, this happens, and a few weeks later you don't have enough food to feed them.

COOPER: Well, and they never imagine this, as cars would go by a few yelled out my name. And I thought, OK? And they were our volunteers. They know us from coming and serving and now are in a situation where they're in this line to get food. And it breaks our heart that families are having to wait so long and we're doing all we can to get them through. And many families are holding up little signs saying thank you or making heart signs and pressing in on the glass.

I loaded one car, a minivan with some of the vegetables we were giving out and along the back seat popped up three heads, three little kids that were so excited and one sharing with their mom that they were getting a gallon of milk, and it just breaks your heart. We want to do more, but in this COVID-19 crisis the demand is great. And I think food banks across the country that are a part of feeding America could use more volunteers, more funds, and definitely more food in the right varieties if we're going to nourish those struggling by this crisis.

CAMEROTA: Well, I know our viewers will want to help, and they can go online to their local food bank. Very quickly, Sheron, how long do you imagine that you'll be in this situation?

JACKSON: At this moment, I really don't know. I'm just going day-by- day.

CAMEROTA: Like so many people are. Sheron Jackson and Eric Cooper, we really appreciate you sharing your personal experience with us. We hope that people will go online and help their local food banks. Thank you both.

JACKSON: Thank you.

COOPER: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: It's also a daily struggle for doctors on the frontlines in the fight against coronavirus.


DR. MELANIE MALLOY, ATTENDING PHYSICIAN MOUNT SINAI BROOKLYN HOSPITAL: It's hard. It's hard to think that some of your patients that you diagnose today might not be here tomorrow when you come back to your shift.


CAMEROTA: We have more of her story in her own words next.




BERMAN: This morning hospitals in the epicenter of the pandemic in New York City are stretched to the limit, rationing personal protective gear. Most of their ventilators in use. Doctors and nurses trying to cope with the intense stress.

What is a day in the life like in a New York hospital? CNN's Clarissa Ward joins us now with one physician's story. And for you, Clarissa, this isn't just any physician.

CLARISSA WARD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right John. Full disclosure, I am totally biased on this, Dr. Melanie Malloy is one of my oldest, dearest friends. She was my roommate for four years in college. She's an extraordinary woman. She's also a front line doctor in the emergency department at Mount Sinai Brooklyn Hospital.

It is a relatively small hospital and it has been inundated since the pandemic began. Take a look.

DR. MELANIE MALLOY, PHYSICIAN MOUNT SINAI BROOKLYN HOSPITAL: Hello, my name is Dr. Melanie Malloy. I am an attending physician at Mount Sinai in Brooklyn and Mount Sinai in Queens. I'm on my way to work.

WARD: We've asked my old friend to show us what life is like on one day in one New York hospital.

MALLOY: So, I'm picking up my PPE. I'm going to get some scrubs, I'm going to get mask, face shield, these (ph) just everything that I need to be safe on my shift.

WARD: For Dr. Melanie Malloy, this is the new normal.

MALLOY: I am going to start my shift.

WARD: The emergency room at Mount Sanai Brooklyn Hospital has been overflowing.

MALLOY: I walked in and they said, everybody's intubated, and it looks like it's true actually. Most of our beds are taken up by intubated patients, meaning patients who can't breath on their own and who are on the ventilator.

Almost everybody is on oxygen and almost everybody is a COVID patient.


WARD: Since the pandemic began, more than 1,200 corona cases have flooded in, pushing the hospital to 150 percent of its capacity.

MALLOY: So, today there are 43 people in the department. That's pretty much full, but I have to say, it's doing a lot better than a couple weeks ago when we had 86 to 96 in the department, 40 people boarding, it was really tough. It was really a bad, bad week. WARD: In the intensive care unit it's a similar scene.

MALLOY: I just wanted to give you guys -- get a little look at the ICU. So, we have a full ICU, we have every patient in here on a ventilator. And as you can see, it's not a huge space, but it's quite full. Every bed is full.

I'm going to try to go to the tents. This our fast track extension to, you know, from the get-go you can see, you know, we have tell people we can't test them for mild symptoms.

They just get registered here. Good morning. Here is our fantastic staff and then we have separate areas for people getting treatment.

WARD: For the doctors working around the clock to save lives, there are occasional perks.

MALLOY: One of my favorite things to do is eat free food. I'm super excited because we have Shake Shack. What?

WARD: Moments later, it's back to work.

MALLOY: So, I'm waiting for my next patient to be placed in a room. This one is different because as oppose to the mostly older patients we've been seeing today, he's in his early 20s. I think one thing we're learning is that we don't really know what somebody's going to come in with and have COVID.

Everybody had coronavirus, but some people also have heart attacks at the same time. This happens and it makes things even harder.

Well, my day's over. Well, my hospital day is over. It was -- it wasn't the worst day I've had, but it's always pretty draining. It's just -- it's hard, it's hard to think that some of your patients that you diagnosed today might not be here tomorrow when you come back for your shift or, you know, all of it, I don't know. I'm just tired.

WARD: For Dr. Malloy, the challenges don't end with her shift. A widow, she's raising three children on her own.

MALLOY: So, it's almost 10:00 o'clock at night and on my way home I got a FaceTime from my youngest child, who's four, and I think that's the hardest part. I think that's like just -- just being alone when I come home, knowing that my childcare's going to go home, my helper's are going home and -- and it's just me and whatever state my children are in. And I -- I don't really have a lot left in me.

WARD: The next day Dr. Malloy takes a moment to talk to us.

It's crazy what you're seeing and dealing with. Have you ever experienced anything like this?

MALLOY: Never. And -- and, you know, like even the older folks, like the older doctors are like, I've never seen this before in my life.

WARD: So, one thing that I know you weren't allowed to -- to show us is the morgue.

MALLOY: There are now two large tractor trailer trucks that are refrigerated. They are full of bodies rapped in white plastic bags. I was told that they can held 50 people and the one that I saw was full.

WARD: Do you not worry about getting sick?

MALLOY: Yes, of course we do. Of course -- of course I do. The way that our -- that we're working in the E.D., it's so -- it's a pit of coronavirus. It's literally dozens of positive patients. The viral load in that place must be astronomical.

WARD: What do you wish all Americans understood about what you're going through?

MALLOY: I really want Americans to take this seriously. To know that even if you're in an area that's not a big city, you still are in danger and we don't know who is going to get really sick. It does not spare anyone particularly.

WARD: Now, at the peak, Brooklyn Mount Sanai -- Mount Sanai Hospital Brooklyn was operating at 150 percent of its capacity, a complete and utter nightmare. It is now operating at a definitely more manageable 110 percent capacity,


but that is still, John, simply not sustainable in the long-term.

BERMAN: So Clarissa, let me first of all say it's the least surprising thing ever that you have a friend saving lives, but what's Dr. Malloy telling you about equipment and how they're set up in her hospital?

WARD: So she's fortunate in that they do have enough PPE, and you saw that in the beginning it has to be checked in so that they can keep monitoring all that equipment, but there are a lot of other things that they have simply run out of at least temporarily. She said at one point they ran out of oxygen tanks. At another point they ran out of a specific antibiotic they were using. At another point, they ran out of fentanyl which is a sedative that is used before people are intubated, and more crucially, John, they are constantly running out of beds.

BERMAN: Clarissa Ward, thank you so much for this report, and please pass on our gratitude to our friend as well for all the work she's doing. Alisyn -

CAMEROTA: What a remarkable report, and that - and Dr. Malloy is really an impressive person. We want to take a moment now to remember some of the people who have died fro coronavirus.

Maria Krier was a nurse who recently started working at a Littleton, Massachusetts nursing home. At least 10 residents of that center have also died. Krier got sick two weeks ago. She passed away on Friday. She was just 59-years-old. William Hayes is now the twentieth member of the New York Police Department to die from coronavirus. The traffic enforcement officer spent 31 years with the NYPD and was an Army veteran. And the New York sports world is mourning the loss of Anthony Causi, a beloved photographer for The New York Post. He captured iconic highs and lows of the New York sports world since 1994, plus he was just 48-years- old. He is survived by his wife, Romina, and their children, 5-year- old, John and 2-year-old, Mia. The back page of The New York Post this morning is a photo of Causi, camera in hand. It says, "Our eyes, our heart, and our city's loss." We'll be right back.



BERMAN: So Tiger Woods still gets choked up talking about his win at the Masters one year ago. He says the moment with his kids and his mother was surreal. Andy Schulz has more in the Bleacher Report. Hey, Andy.


All right, New Day continues right now.

ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR OF THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGEY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: It is not going to be a light switch. I think it's going to have to be something that is not one size fits all.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are discussions inside the White House underway about when they can begin to reopen the country.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If we don't keep our mitigation and restrictions in place, we could have a spike that could be more severe than the peak was.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The reporting that we document in the piece, the warnings were there if the president had wanted to listen to them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They were quite concerned from January that this was a contagious disease that was going to make its way to the United States.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I think February 2020 is really going to be seared in Americans' memory as a month where we really drop the ball.

ANNOUNCER: This is New Day with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

BERMAN: Good morning, and welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is New Day. 22,000 Americans dead and counting. A grueling debate about whether it is too soon to ease restrictions on social distancing. And just as this is happening, breaking overnight President Trump publically signaling with his frustration with the man seen by some as the public health conscious of the country. The president highlighted this message overnight on social media that called for the firing of Dr. Anthony Fauci. It is likely no coincidence that this comes after Dr. Fauci told CNN this. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

FAUCI: You could logically says that if you had a process that was ongoing and you started mitigation earlier you could have saved lives. Obviously no one is going to deny that, but what goes into those kinds of decisions is complicated, but you're right. I mean, obviously if we had right from the very beginning shut everything down it may have been a little bit different, but there was a lot of pushback about shutting things down back then,


BERMAN: A revealing New York Times investigation outlined how President Trump spent weeks ignoring warnings about coronavirus.