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Bodies Pile up at Detroit Hospital; Coronavirus Pandemic across the Country; Latinos Affected by Coronavirus; Trump to Unveil Economic Task Force; USS Theodore Roosevelt Sailor Dies. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired April 14, 2020 - 06:30   ET




ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Michigan's governor says the curve is beginning to flatten in parts of her state. Michigan has more than 1,600 deaths. The majority in Detroit, where hospitals have been overwhelmed.

CNN exclusively obtained these really upsetting photos on your screen from a Detroit hospital. These show bodies stored in vacant hospital rooms and piled on top of each other in refrigerated units.

CNN's Ryan Young is live for us in Detroit with more.

So tell us the context of these photos, Ryan.

RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Obviously very tough photos to look at.

I can tell you, over the few days my team and I have been working on this, we've been talking to health care professionals throughout the Detroit area. And it was at a couple of hospitals where we were getting some information from them about some of the conditions they were working in.

Now, we'll show you some of these photos. This was during a time when there was an influx of patients. And, obviously, this entire area's been hit very hard by Covid-19. What some of the professionals inside the ER were telling us, that basically at some point they were overwhelmed. There were patients dying in a hallway. They also had so many bodies they didn't know where to put them at one point. And you can see them in this one room where it's a sleep study room. They've placed them in there for a period of time.

But it's the freezer room that really caught our attention, where you can see the bodies stacked on top of each other. I can tell you, some of the staff there became so upset they started reaching out to us. They didn't think there was enough preparation put in place to make sure they were able to absorb all the people they were seeing.

The patient ratios were also off. They had a lot of nurses and -- not enough nurses to the patients. And so we'll show you the freezers from the outside. We know they had to order more freezers. So they had five freezers to be included on the outside to have all the patients that they were receiving.

At this point the hospital says they surged more staff. They've added more freezers. But you can tell the toll on the staff themselves. They were very upset talking to us over a several day period saying more needed to be done.



JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Ryan Young for us in Detroit.

Ryan, terrific reporting.

People need to see. It's tough to see, but people need to see the actual impact of what's going on across the country.

We have a whole bunch of developments in the pandemic across the country. Texas trying to figure out how to restart its economy, like every other state, and the U.S. Supreme Court doing something it has never done before. Our reporters across the country bring you the latest.


POLO SANDOVAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Polo Sandoval in (INAUDIBLE), Texas, where the state is evaluating exactly what needs to be done if it wants to slowly start to reopen businesses that have been hard hit by the coronavirus crisis, while at the same time safeguarding public health. In Austin yesterday, Governor Greg Abbott saying that he would be announcing this strategy by later this week that would outline exactly how those businesses would open in the smartest (ph) but at the same time in the safest way possible.

This move likely going to bring about some questions, especially since Texas is yet to see some of those Covid numbers peak. So, technically, according to health experts, the virus is still spreading.

But, still, the governor saying that it is possible to protect those lives and livelihoods at the same time.


Farmers in Florida are being forced to destroy their crops because of the Covid-19 crisis. One farmer we talked to in Homestead, Florida, says that the nightmare started about two weeks ago when schools and restaurants started shutting down and the supply chains got completely interrupted. Since then, farmer Sam Arcusio (ph) says 70 percent of his acreage has gone to waste. He grows squash, zucchini and green beans. Yes, he says that some of it does go to food banks but the rest has to go in the trash. And here's the other bad news, he does not have insurance.


A total of 38 residents in veterans' homes in New Jersey have died from coronavirus. It happened at veterans' homes in Paramus and Menlo Park. The New Jersey National Guard has deployed combat medics to both locations to help those at the homes.

ARIANE DE VOGUE, CNN SUPREME COURT REPORTER: This is Ariane de Vogue in Washington, and for the first time the Supreme Court's going to hear oral arguments by telephone and they're going to allow the public to listen in real-time. This has never happened before but this change is being made because of the pandemic. We're going to hear a handful of these arguments in early May and they include two blockbuster cases, including President Trump's bid to shield his financial documents from return and another case having to do with faceless (ph) electors. Both these cases now will be decided before the next election.

This is a very rare move by the Supreme Court. It's not yet allowing cameras in the courtroom, but it's a real first step toward transparency at the high court.


BERMAN: Yes, history by necessity there.

Our thanks to all of our reporters.

So the coronavirus hitting Latinos harder than the population at large. Why? A closer look, next.



CAMEROTA: Coronavirus is taking a huge toll on the Latino population. In New York City, the death rate among Latinos is higher than any other group.

CNN's Nick Valencia has more on this.


NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Anthony Acevedo says he honestly can't remember the last time he got sick, but two weeks ago he tweeted that he felt an itch in his float, more severe symptoms followed.

ANTHONY ACEVEDO, TESTED POSITIVE FOR CORONAVIRUS: Yes, so I got the results that I was positive with the Covid-19.

Body aches. I had a whole lot of body aches. And recently I developed a lot of night sweats.

VALENCIA: His condition hasn't improved. Acevedo thought he was turning the corner, only to be diagnosed with pneumonia. The 35-year- old works in hospice care, making home visits to terminally ill patients. He knew he was at higher risk of contracting the virus and said he had been taking precautions. But in his line of work, that doesn't always guarantee your safety.

ACEVEDO: Latinos are mainly, you know, the CNAs and the janitors. When you go into these facilities, that's where you see us. You see us as the janitors cleaning everybody's room and you see us as the once changing all the diapers, you know, giving them showers, you know, feeding them face-to-face.

VALENCIA: Dr. Genoveva Ollervides O'Neill, who serves the Latino community in Vancouver, Washington, says Latinos are often found in these essential but lower-level hospital jobs. She says such employees may not have health insurance or the option to stay home if they get sick.

DR. GENOVEVA OLLERVIDES O'NEILL, FACULTY PHYSICIAN, UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: This leads not only to worsening health for those people, but also spreading of this pandemic and prolonging the illness and the effects that this is going to have.

VALENCIA: According to the Pew Research Center, concern about the virus is even more pronounced among Latino than the wider American public. About two thirds say the outbreak is a major threat to the health of Americans, compared to about half of the general public.

MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D), NEW YORK CITY: There are clear inequalities, clear disparities in how this disease is affecting the people of our city.

VALENCIA: In the epicenter of the outbreak, New York City, the mayor says Latinos are dying at rates higher than any other group, making up 34 percent of deaths. Other locations have been slow to release a breakdown of deaths by race or ethnicity, so no national trends are clear yet.

Meantime, Dr. O'Neill and other medical professionals say underlying health conditions and economic disparities, which disproportionately affect communities of color, play a role.

O'NEILL: Oftentimes you'll find us living in multigenerational households with grandparents, along with newborns, and just creating a situation where it's very hard to contain the spread of disease.

VALENCIA: This past week, the U.S. surgeon general addressed how communities of color are getting hit hard by the virus and urged blacks and Latinos to protect themselves. But he was criticized for the language he used while doing it. Dr. Jerome Adams said he was only using words he would with his own family.

Latinos used to getting together many times a week with family and friends are now finding themselves having to change their normal routines. Like these coffee happy hours at Ventanitas (ph) in south Florida.


Acevedo sees the risk for himself and others. It means not pushing to go back to work before he's ready.

ACEVEDO: To me, that's the worst fear is to hurt people, to put other people in danger. So just to know that I have it so I can, you know, stay home and try to take care of this properly without infecting other people.

VALENCIA: Nick Valencia, CNN, Atlanta.


CAMEROTA: Our thanks to Nick for a look into how hard it is for some workers.

President Trump is pushing to restart the economy, but what do business leaders say they need to keep employees safe? That's next.


BERMAN: So President Trump says he will unveil today the members of his economic restart task force. What do we know about who will be included and what are business leaders saying they need to see before they bring employees back to work?

CNN's Julia Chatterley joins us.

Now, Julia, those are two completely different questions. Let's take them one at a time. Number one, what do we know about this task force and its makeup?

JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: Well, from what I hear, John, good morning, the White House has been gathering names. And we're talking big CEOs across all the different sectors in the economy.


So think construction, think healthcare, think retail. I'm talking about CEOs like the Walmart CEO, for example, just to get their expertise on how quickly their sector can open up and what conditions need to be in place.

We know, and the sense is that the White House gets, that this has to be phased process and these experts are basically going to say what they need.

And, John, I can tell you, to answer your second question, from the business leaders I'm speaking to, at the forefront of their mind is testing. Mass scale testing. Some of them even saying to me that they will have testing capabilities in-house if that's what's required to protect their employees. They're not going to bring them back unless the conditions are safe. And I think this is the message that the White House will get front and center from these leaders that join this task force.

BERMAN: In some ways we've been asking these questions probably reverse from what they need to be. Who has the authority to reopen the economy, the president or the governors? You know who has the ability to reopen the economy? The people working in it when they feel comfortable going back to work. And it sounds like these business leaders know that they have to make these workers comfortable.

CHATTERLEY: Absolutely. They know that if they say to the workers, hey, guys, without some form of mass testing, or protections in place, their workers are going to be very reticent. They could have, you know, pushback, significant pushback on their hands.

We've already seen that, remember, from companies like Amazon. They know they have to have the protections in place. And, again, to go back to some of the conversations I've had, they've said that these decisions that they will make on a company basis will even be separate from the timing from state governors, from the timing that perhaps the White House and the president thinks that he can announce. They will make the best decisions for their workers. So there's a sequencing here and it begins with those that have to protect their workers first beyond anyone else.

BERMAN: We have a little bit of time left, Julia. I know it's earning season and this will be like an earning season like we've seen like no other.

CHATTERLEY: Absolutely. It's a slow blizzard. It's been that way since March. We've got no idea of ultimately when the snow's going to melt.

What we do want to hear from these CEOs, and it's JP Morgan and its Wells Fargo today, a few things. What cash are they holding here to protect against losses on things like mortgages, on credit cards and loans? That will give you a sense of the scale of the damage. What do they say about ultimately pushing money out to people who do own the stocks, like dividends? Do we see a mass cancellation? But the question is, what can they tell us about the future, John? What do they think we can get the economy restarted? And, again, full circle, what are they going to do to protect their workers too. Same message.

BERMAN: Right. And, again, it's the workers and consumers who play a big part in making this decision.

CHATTERLEY: Yes. Confidence.

BERMAN: Julia Chatterley, thanks so much for being with us.

CHATTERLEY: Thank you.

BERMAN: So the captain of the USS Roosevelt removed from command after sounding the alarm about a coronavirus outbreak on board, now one sailor is dead from that vessel. The latest on that story, next.



BERMAN: Growing questions this morning over the U.S. Navy's handling of a coronavirus outbreak aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt as news that one sailor has now died, hundreds more infected. CNN's Barbara Starr live at the Pentagon.

This just keeps growing, Barbara.

BARBARA STARR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is not what the Navy obviously wanted to see. They had really hoped that things would turn out better. But the reality is now one sailor has died serving aboard the Theodore Roosevelt. This sailor had been on land in isolation, was found unresponsive, moved to an ICU unit on Guam, where the ship is, and passed away. There are four additional sailors also in the hospital in Guam. So far, we are told, they are not on ventilators, they are not in the ICU.

But, as you say, John, nearly 600 members of the crew are now testing positive for the coronavirus. And, obviously, including their dismissed, relieved of duty captain, Captain Brett Crozier, also testing positive for the virus.

One of the big questions now is will that captain regain command of his ship? We expect to see the results of the investigation perhaps sometime this week. The Navy has not ruled out reinstating him.

But, look, there is a long way for the Navy to go on all of this. Before this sailor passed away, we talked to one of the top admirals in the region who had been aboard this ship, met with the crew to hear their concerns. He reports that they were still troubled and upset by everything that had happened.

But perhaps most significantly the admiral found that many members of the crew felt -- had the perception that they simply hadn't been given enough information about the virus, about the treatment program to get them off the ship, get them into 14-day isolation, and then get the crew back reassembled on the ship and get back out to sea.

So the fact that the crew felt the Navy had not given them enough information contributed to a lot of -- a lot of this and is, perhaps, very significant about how much the military still has to do to communicate to its own forces.

BERMAN: And the fact is, it's one of the single biggest outbreaks there is in American territory right there on that vessel.

Barbara Starr at the Pentagon, great to see you this morning. Thanks so much for that report.

STARR: Sure.

BERMAN: So what's the plan to deal with America's growing public health crisis? NEW DAY continues right now.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not only are the curves flattening in some of those major metropolitan areas, but they're starting to decrease.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Some of these hot spots, the numbers are starting to plateau, but it also might give the sense to people that we're out of the woods on this, and we're not.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is something that governors across the country have been talking about for quite some time, the regional cooperation.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The president of the United States calls the shots.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Just last week the president was saying it's up to the states if they want to issue these stay at home orders, but now when it's coming time to open up, he is saying that he has the authority.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just think he likes us to run down these rabbit holes. Governors are going to make the determination what's best for their state.



ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.