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Latest on Coronavirus Pandemic across the U.S.; Doctors Use Oxygen Hood as Treatment; Trump Erupts at Campaign Chief; Sweden's High Death Rate. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired April 30, 2020 - 06:30   ET



JACQUELINE HOWARD, CNN HEALTH REPORTER: Group of 305 patients hospitalized in Georgia. Eighty-three percent were African-American. In that same group, about 11 percent were white, three percent Asian or Pacific Islander, and 3 percent Hispanic. There was no significant difference among the patients when it came to needing ventilation or dying in the hospital. The researchers say that these hospitalization rates suggest a difference in how severe the pandemic is for different populations.


The University of Georgia, the University of Alabama, Texas Tech University and the University of North Carolina systems have announced plans to reopen their campuses for in-person teaching by this fall. Now, the reopenings at the UNC system's 17 campuses may look different from each other with some opting to shorten the academic year or reducing class sizes.

Now, Texas Tech's president says that he will be implementing a phased reopening and the University of Georgia and the University of Alabama say that they have created working groups or a task force to ensure a safe transition.

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Omar Jimenez in Green Bay, Wisconsin, where multiple meat packing facilities are seeing coronavirus outbreaks among employees. Now, countrywide, we have seen more than 20 facilities have to close at one point or another over the course of the past two months. Tyson Foods among them.

But with this new executive order, they say they are now going to be doubling bonuses for employees, increasing short-term disability benefits and even adding health screening measures, which highlights one of the most challenging aspects in this. One worker I spoke to here in Green Bay, who's recovering from coronavirus himself, says it's going to be difficult to keep these places safe based on how closely these employees have to work together.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Our thanks to our reporters for all the latest information. This morning, doctors are finding new techniques to treat the most

severe cases of coronavirus. Look at this. What's going on here and why does the doctor we're going to speak to say he's finding success with this treatment? Next.



ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: During this crisis you've heard so much about ventilators, the desperate need for ventilators to help coronavirus patients breathe. But what if there were an easier, less expensive, safer way to get oxygen into critically ill patients? Well, some doctors at Phelps Hospital in New York believe they may have found an alternative. One of those doctors is Dr. Steven Thau. He's the chief of pulmonary and sleep medicine at Northwell Health's Phelps Hospital.

Dr. Thau, it's great to see you this morning.

And this is exciting. I mean when we heard about something that you and your colleagues were trying, we just had to talk to you because you had -- let me note -- make sure I get this right, 42 patients who came into your hospital, all of whom were experiencing respiratory distress and would have needed to be intubated, on a ventilator. But you decided to try something different. So can you describe what you did?

DR. STEVEN A. THAU, CHIEF OF PULMONARY AND SLEEP MEDICINE, PHELPS HOSPITAL: Sure. Gladly. Thank you, Alisyn and thank you very much for having me on your show.

You know, look, we all stand on the shoulders of giants here. But -- so a lot of the groundwork that was done at the University of Chicago by Doctors Quest (ph) and Patel (ph) and highlighted by Chris Austin (ph) was that these oxygen hoods could make a difference by providing a secure environment for the oxygen to accumulate and to get to higher levels than we would ordinarily achieve through a mask. So --

CAMEROTA: OK. I mean, but Dr. Thau, I just -- I just have to stop you because we have video of this. And I know this is deadly serious stuff, but it looks like something out of the old show "Lost in Space." I mean you're just putting a big bubble on patients' heads. And so how does that work as well as getting the oxygen right into their lungs with them being intubated?

THAU: It creates a whole environment with -- usually we use like more -- people are more familiar with the non-rebreather (ph) mask, the kind of -- when they say that the oxygen will fill up the mask but, you know, the -- will fill up the bag. Well, that creates an environment where a lot of the excess oxygen that's typically lost in the environment all gets accumulated. And, as a result of the higher flow that we use, oxygen is more typically used in, you know, two liters, three liters, maybe. Well, this is 30 liters, sometimes even higher, 40 liters, 50 liters. As a result, you're getting almost -- you're getting almost pure oxygen within that hood. CAMEROTA: Yes.

THAU: So it's much more oxygen than you would be able to achieve through a conventional mask. And --

CAMEROTA: OK. So just tell us -- I mean tell us what your -- what the results were.

So of these 42 patients that you tried this on, can you tell us how many of them had to ultimately end up on a ventilator and how many recovered and were able to go home.

THAU: Gladly.

So, again, the numbers that we had that -- we had six patients that also wound up getting -- that wound up getting convalescent plasma. So I do want to -- we did want to include that in the data. So it came out -- I'm sorry, eight patients. So it came out to 34 total patients and we were able to spare 19 of them from requiring intubation.

Now, all of these would have been people that would have wound up on a ventilator. And as a result of these hoods, we were able to rescue them from requiring intubation and that came out to a 56 percent success rate in terms of not requiring intubation and --

CAMEROTA: That is remarkable. I mean that's just a remarkable rate.

THAU: Right.

CAMEROTA: And, also, another thing that we should let people know is that these hoods that we're seeing, they cost, correct me if I'm wrong, $158, versus how much does a ventilator cost?


THAU: Yes. Yes, in the thousands. I mean sometimes you've to -- the hoods can -- no more than $200. So there are different things you can add to the hood. Some of them -- about $180, but it's -- but it's close enough.

CAMEROTA: And so is this something that other hospitals around the country can look at and are trying as far as you know?

THAU: So we -- you know, we were lucky that we have the largest hyperbaric chamber in the tristate area. So we have -- we had that relationship. Dr. O'Neill (ph) spent years developing the hyperbaric chamber and the whole team for hyperbarics. And, as a result, we were able to, you know, those relationships were already established. So we were (INAUDIBLE) just to make a phone call and get 50 of these shipped right away.

Now, they are available to everybody who -- to anyone who needs them. Now it's an issue of production and supply chain.


THAU: So (INAUDIBLE) trying to get it. The difference is, because of our -- the hyperbaric team that we have at Phelps --

CAMEROTA: Sure. You were able to get your hands on it.

THAU: Able -- we were able to get that talent and skill to apply that to the patients who are in critical distress.


Well, Dr. Steven Thau, we really appreciate you showing us how relatively easy this looks and to hear about the success that you've had with it. So, thank you very much for explaining what seems like something other doctors could adopt. We really appreciate it.

THAU: Gladly. Anytime. Thank you for having me.

CAMEROTA: Thanks for being here.

OK, new developments overnight on how President Trump is reacting to the pressure and the criticism of his administration's response. So we're going to talk to CNN's reporter who broke this story. He's going to join us, next.



BERMAN: Developing this morning, CNN has learned that President Trump ripped into his campaign manager, fuming over his sliding poll numbers and the growing criticism of his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

CNN's Jeremy Diamond broke this story. He joins us now live from Washington.

Jeremy, I understand there was a tense, uncomfortable, loud phone call on Friday. What's your reporting on this?


President Trump is growing increasingly unnerved about his prospect for re-election, particularly in the last week as he has gotten updates from campaign and RNC officials showing that he is losing in some key battleground states to the presumptive Democratic nominee, the former vice president, Joe Biden.

And I'm told that on Friday evening that anger spilled over, John, in a phone conversation that the president had with his campaign manager, Brad Parscale. The president berated Parscale for his poll numbers, suggesting even at one point that he would sue him. It's not clear how serious the president was about that threat to sue his campaign manager, exactly what he would sue him over. But, clearly, again, this is a sign of the president's anger over -- over the situation boiling over.

Now, of course, the coronavirus pandemic has really changed the entire landscape of the 2020 election for President Trump. It's taken away his biggest calling card, which was the economy. And now the president is really grasping at different ways that he can perhaps regain the upper ground here.

Now, the data that the president got was two days before that outburst at his campaign manager, Brad Parscale. And what I'm told, John, is that the president got data from the RNC, from the Trump campaign, internal polling data, that showed that he was losing in key battleground states, but also that those daily combative news conferences were really hurting him with some of the key swing voters he needs to get to vote for him in order to capture four more years.

And that is kind of the subtext of all of this, John, is that many of the president's aides, including Brad Parscale, including the RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, have been trying to convince the president to scale back his briefings, suggests to him, not to lightly at times, that they're hurting him, that they are self-defeating. And, of course, between when the president got that data and his outburst with Brad Parscale was perhaps the president's most self-defeating briefing yet. And that is where the president suggested at one point that Americans might ingest disinfectant in order to cure themselves of the coronavirus. Since then it seems the message may have begun to sunk in. But, nonetheless, the president's anger at Joe Biden persists.

BERMAN: So, to be clear, the data -- the lousy data that he looked at was before he suggested that people inject themselves with disinfectant or at least that people study injecting disinfectant. So that data was bad beforehand. He then said that. Then his campaign apparatus and his political machine inside the White House told him, you better stop these briefings. But he likes the briefings and he thinks they were helping. There seems to be a detached reality there.

DIAMOND: That's right. And during -- you know, when he was being presented with this data, I'm told that the president actually changed the topic of conversation when he was being presented with this -- with this data about the briefings, which this person told me is a sign that the president is frustrated and just wants to move on, doesn't want to hear what he's being told. And so it sounds like it didn't sink in for the president until that briefing really sent an onslaught of criticism his way and -- and really amplified the voices of those aides who were frustrated.

Now, beyond the issue of the briefings, there is --

BERMAN: And I understand -- and I understand, Jeremy, he didn't --


BERMAN: He didn't believe -- he doesn't believe the polling, that he's trailing Joe Biden now?

DIAMOND: That's right. And -- and -- and that is that the president has insisted repeatedly during these conference calls, one source familiar with these calls has told me, that he is not going to lose to Joe Biden. I am not losing to Joe Biden is what the president has exclaimed at different points during these conversations. The president, you know, despite the fact that he believed that Biden was his fiercest competitor, you'll remember when he, you know, talked about Ukraine and -- and the fact that the president was trying to get these investigations going into his potential rival, that's because the president felt like Joe Biden and was being told that Joe Biden was his strongest competitor.


But, nonetheless, the president really does believe what he says publicly, which is that the former vice president has perhaps lost a step.


DIAMOND: And -- and so he doesn't understand how he could possibly be losing currently or ultimately lose to Joe Biden in November.

BERMAN: Which is what the polls showed.

Just to be clear, Jeremy, there's kind of a self-care operation going on now where they're going to send the president to some battleground states as soon as next week. What's the aim there?

DIAMOND: That's right. The president is going to be going to Arizona, it looks like, next week to visit a factory. I believe it's a Honeywell factory where -- where they're producing some things related to coronavirus. And, really, this is because the president has been itching to get back out there. Campaign rallies aren't an option just yet, but the president has made clear that he does want to do that eventually. But, clearly, the president wants to be getting out into the country and this will be one of those outlets for him beyond those daily combative news briefings.

BERMAN: Jeremy Diamond, you broke this story. Thanks you so much for being with us this morning and filling in some of the gaps. Really appreciate it.

All right, everyone has been talking about one country that has taken a decidedly different path to fighting the coronavirus pandemic. In some ways opposite of the rest of the world. So how have their decisions affected the health of their people? That's next.



CAMEROTA: With countries around the world in lockdown, Sweden has taken a different approach. Life looks almost normal there. Shops, bars and salons are all open. But it's come at a high cost.

CNN's Phil Black has the story, live from Stockholm.

So, it sure looks crowded behind you. But what's happened there?

PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Alisyn, it is a strangely confronting experience and yet so familiar at stand in a busy shopping strip like this. Some really fierce debate among scientists over this Swedish approach.

There are those who believe it is balanced, viable in the long-term, a model to be used around the world, and others who say it is unethical and reckless because, they say, the cost in lives is just too high.


BLACK (voice over): To visit Sweden now is to enter a strange land where people can just hang out together, seek shelter from the cold in cozy restaurants, go for a drink or a coffee.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's been crowded all over. All the bars and restaurants and so on.

BLACK: You can shop for fashion and beauty products, or even allow a hairdresser to invade your personal space.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sooner or later we have -- get corona I think though.

BLACK (on camera): So you've accepted that that will happen?


BLACK: And, in the meantime, it's important to look good?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, you're right.

BLACK (voice over): That sums up the authority's approach here. Covid- 19 is going to be around for a while and society must find a way to live with it. So no forced lockdown. Instead, an emphasis on personal responsibility. Please work from home, keep to yourself in public. The official rule at bars and restaurants is, stay at arm's length apart. No gatherings of more than 50 people. Elementary and middle schools are still open while most high school students and college students study at home.

Anders Tegnell is the state epidemiologist driving the policies here. He claims success in flattening the curve and keeping serious cases within hospital capacity. And, he says, it's a good thing. His agency estimates 26 percent of Stockholm's population has now been infected because, in theory, that means more immunity.

BLACK (on camera): But you insist that herd immunity has never been a goal?

ANDERS TEGNELL, SWEDEN'S CHIEF EPIDEMIOLOGIST: No, but it will help us achieving our goal, which is slowing down the spread as much as possible so that we can keep good health care running.

BLACK (voice over): But, for a small country, Sweden is already paying a big human cost. More than 2,400 people have died here, vastly greater numbers than neighboring countries which imposed much tougher restrictions.

TEGNELL: That is true. Even -- BLACK (on camera): What do you take from that?

TEGNELL: Yes, that we need to investigate and try to understand why (ph). And we know for sure one of the reasons why is that we have this huge amount of cases in our area (ph) helps.

BLACK: It's a disturbing trend. Around half of those who have died here lived in care homes. The Swedish government admits they've failed to protect the elderly. The open policies are broadly popular here, but there is anger, too, especially among those who have lost so much to the virus.


BLACK: Mirrey Gourie buried her father, Joseph, on Monday. She says he and many others would still be alive if Sweden had chosen a different path.

GOURIE: There is people dying and there is a human being, like me, like you, lie my dad. They are not just statistics and numbers.


BLACK: The authorities here say they have some early takeaways that they think are useful to countries around the world. One, closing schools does little to restrict the spread. They say the other, when it comes to the social stuff, bars and restaurants, they believe little transmission takes place there, perhaps surprisingly, as long as people follow the rules. Authorities have been raiding and closing crowded venues here in Stockholm.


CAMEROTA: Phil, such an interesting look at what's happening in a parallel universe it feels away from where we are. Thank you very much for that reporting.

And NEW DAY continues right now.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The good news is that we now have a large trial that shows us that this drug has efficacy.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS TASK FORCE: The data shows that Remdesivir has a clear-cut, significant, positive effect.