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Interview with Gov. Larry Hogan (R-MD); Interview with President and CEO of Ford Motor Company; Correcting Coronavirus Misinformation. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired March 24, 2020 - 08:30   ET


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR, NEW DAY: Johns Hopkins literally overcame the Spanish Flu or the Flu of 1918. They're good people to listen to down there.


BERMAN: Given the variance in messages, the different messaging coming from the administration, coming from you, coming from public health officials, which message do you want the people of Maryland to listen to?

HOGAN: Well, I want the people of Maryland to continue to pay as much attention as possible. We want them to listen to us, and we've been very strongly telling them that unless you have an essential reason for leaving your home, we want you to stay in your home.

We are closing all of those businesses that are not absolutely essential. We've closed the schools. and we think it's absolutely critical that everyone be a part of this, breaking the back of this virus so we don't infect hundreds of thousands more people in our state and we don't have thousands of deaths.

We just had a big spike in the past week, we're up about 600 percent over the week before and there's no time -- you know, we're going up, we're not going down. And this is not over by any stretch of the imagination, and we need everybody at the federal, state and local level of government, the private sector, and every individual to help us fight this battle.

BERMAN: The state of Virginia, your neighbor, announced closing its schools for the rest of the school year. You were one of the first states to close schools at all. Do you envision perhaps having to announce soon that they'll be closed for the rest of the school year?

HOGAN: So we were on a call yesterday with Governor Northam and Mayor Bowser in the District of Columbia. And we're all talking about those types of things. We have been meeting with all of our local school superintendents, with our state superintendent of schools for the past weeks, several weeks.

We said over the two-week period we were closed, we were going to do an assessment. And we should, over the next couple of days, have some decision about that. Basically, it -- trying to make the decision on the health needs and saving the lives of children and stopping the spread, but also figuring out how we make sure we can educate those kids remotely, online and with take-home work for the younger kids. So it's -- we want to make sure we do everything right and make the right decisions, but that should be coming shortly.

BERMAN: Everyone can see the economic impact of this all around them at every minute, right? People are losing jobs, we all know people who have lost their paychecks. But how do you balance that with the need for public health and to save lives? How do you put a value on this effort to save lives?

HOGAN: Well, John, that's the hardest part. And that's -- yesterday -- almost every day, we've taken unprecedented action in two ways. To, one, on the health front and two, to try to mitigate the damage on the economic front. Yesterday, while announcing the closing of nonessential businesses, we also rolled out a whole series of economic things to help at the state level while we're waiting for the federal assistance.

The good news is that, you know, they have a couple of stimulus packages that are going to get some checks in the hands of people that need it, that are helping on unemployment, that are helping to put some more money back in the economy. But they're -- the latest one is stalled in Congress, you know, partisan bickering. You know, we've got to get the Republicans and Democrats working together to get this done for the American people.

But in the meantime in the states, we're taking our own actions. We've put together programs to help the small businesses, help those workers that are losing their jobs because you can't make the decision, one versus the other. Do we let people die or do we kill all the businesses and jobs? We -- it's a twin battle that we've got to be fighting, both at the exact same time. And that's exactly what we're trying to do here.

BERMAN: We wish you the best of luck in that battle, going forward.


BERMAN: Governor Larry Hogan of Maryland, thanks so much for being with us. Please keep us posted in the coming days.

HOGAN: Thank you, John.

BERMAN: President Trump has called on American car companies to help make hospital ventilators. The CEO of one of the big three joins us, next.



ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR, NEW DAY: A shortage of ventilators and masks, protective wear for doctors remains, of course, a major concern for the health care workers on the frontlines of this pandemic. President Trump is urging corporate America to step up. And this

morning, the Ford Motor Company announced that they are heeding that call. They will manufacture masks and ventilators.

Joining us now is James Hackett, he's the president and CEO of Ford Motor Company. Mr. Hackett, I see in the notes that you'd like me to call you Jim, so I will oblige.

So I have a million questions for you. Can you just explain how this happened? Did the White House call you? Did FEMA ask you to start making ventilators? How and why did you decide to do this?

JAMES HACKETT, PRESIDENT AND CEO, FORD MOTOR COMPANY: Well, good morning, Alisyn. You know, it's kind of like history at Ford has been with World War II, the arsenal of democracy, chronicled the story of us building bombers every 63 minutes. We actually made iron lungs, back when there was the polio crisis. And it's inside Ford, where people remember these stories. So actually, the ideas were coming from within the company, asking where they might help. And of course, we relayed this to the administration.

I want to just explain that it's a -- it's a consortium of businesses. In the U.S., General Electric, their medical division is working closely with Ford. And it's such a complicated machine that parts are being subdivided across a big supply chain. In the U.K., we're working with McLaren and Airbus for Prime Minister Johnson, and trying to build ventilators there. So we have to scale this up --


HACKETT: -- because the factories, as we know, then, weren't built to produce the volumes we need to make.

CAMEROTA: I was going to ask you that. How hard is it to retool your automotive factories to now make ventilators? And how quickly can you do this? When might we see the first ventilator coming out of one of your factories?

HACKETT: Well, the way you need to think about it is, it's like a puzzle. So there will be parts made inside Ford, there'll be parts made at G.E., there'll be parts made at outside suppliers. And the coordination and speed of that is what we know, is like a conventional assembly line. And we'll be setting lines up in those various places outside of Ford, to put these together.

CAMEROTA: And just -- I mean, is there any way to give me a timeline? I mean, doctors say they need them now. Do you know how quickly --

HACKETT: Yes, yes -- sorry --

CAMEROTA: -- you can make them?

HACKETT: Yes, there's no higher sense of urgency. The biggest issue, for example talking to the U.K. last night, is there are six hours of testing at the end of this. You actually have to run the ventilator through a complete cycle to make sure there's no part of it that fails. It normally takes about 27 hours to make a ventilator. We think we can cut that in half. And I would say to you that the -- at scale, by the -- by the middle of May, we could be making hundreds of thousands of these ventilators.


CAMEROTA: I'm sorry, hundreds of thousands, how often?

HACKETT: I'm saying that by -- you have to scale this up, so I'm saying by early May, we could -- you could see, across the world, hundreds of thousands of ventilators being built from multiple suppliers, not just Ford Motor Company.

CAMEROTA: Yes. That would be such good news because it was just yesterday, Jim, that one of the members of President Trump's task force -- it's Rear Admiral Polowczyk -- he talked about the challenges of trying to cobble together all this different personal protective equipment and ventilators. So let me play for you what he said yesterday.


JOHN POLOWCZYK, REAR ADMIRAL, U.S. NAVY: We have a team of people that are searching the globe for personal protective equipment, figuring out where it is, figuring out if we need to buy it or just transport it and get it here faster.


CAMEROTA: They were searching the globe, he said, for some of the masks. You'll also be making masks, not just ventilators. And so I'm just wondering, how is it going to work? Are governors and heads of hospitals going to come to you directly or are you coordinating with the federal government to get it into the hands of people who need it?

HACKETT: Well, it's important to note that when we went out and said we wanted to help with ventilators, the number one item that they asked for were masks. And there's a couple different versions. The one that's -- I think we're going to make the biggest impact on is a positive air pressure mask.

As these health care workers wear this shield over the face, the air moves inside of them to keep the virus from actually entering their eyes. And because the parts inside of that mask come from like seat- cooling mechanisms that we have, we have ready-made supply chains that can produce products like that, that then can be assembled.

So we're talking about producing a simpler version of that. Looks like a welder's mask that folds over your face and protects the virus from coming in through your mouth or your eyes, we can produce hundreds of thousands of those pretty soon. We're actually starting to build those right now, so on the mask side, it's a faster process. And those are going to come much more quickly.

CAMEROTA: Listen, that will be music to the ears of any doctor.

But in terms of the distribution, are you --


CAMEROTA: -- working with the federal government? I mean, how are you getting it into the hands of doctors?

HACKETT: Well, this is -- now you're into the sweet spot of big American companies like Ford Motor Company. We buy a hundred billion dollars' worth of goods every year, so think of extremely sophisticated logistics systems to move things.

So absolutely, we can distribute this product through FEMA, we can also take our own normal systems to get them moved. And I just want to point out -- because we have to use our own workers in this process -- we're working extremely hard to make sure they're safe in the way that they're involved.

CAMEROTA: And I mean, just last question. How involved is the federal government? That's -- what I'm trying to get at is, is this part of the Defense Production Act or are you driving the train here?

HACKETT: What I love about the way the government and private industry has worked on this, is we got a message very early from the Department of Defense that said, Ford, tell us what you need. We'll make way, we'll help this happen quickly.

They've been super-helpful and the coordination of that will be to optimize for hospitals. There may be better ways that we can move it and they just say, go. And then we may also be giving them goods that they can put in -- in tow with everything they're delivering. There will be no barrier to making these things get to where they're needed.

CAMEROTA: Well, this is certainly good news. James Hackett, CEO of Ford Motor Company, we really appreciate you explaining it to us and we appreciate all of your people in the factories who are starting this work. Thank you very much.

HACKETT: Thank you.


BERMAN: If they could scale up to hundreds of thousands of ventilators by May, that would be miraculous.

Protecting homeless people from coronavirus presents a unique challenge. That's why one man who was once homeless himself decided to put portable sinks with soap and water around Atlanta. The CDC says that handwashing can help prevent spread the virus. Each day, Terrence Lester's team cleans and refills the sinks. Luster says he hopes the idea catches on. For more information on how you can help during this pandemic, go to


So, so many of you still have questions about coronavirus. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, here to answer your questions, next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: All right, we've been asking you to send us your questions about coronavirus, I was just reading through some of them right now. CNN's chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, back with us to answer some of them.

The first one, Sanjay, has to do with fever. It's from Brian in California. It says, "If I happen to become infected with the virus and have a high fever, should I take a fever reducer" -- now, this person lists Aspirin or Ibuprofen; also you could add in Acetaminophen -- or should you let the fever come down on its own?

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Well, first of all, I think it's fine to reduce the fever. I mean, you know, the symptomatic sort of treatment of this is important, people will be more comfortable.

I think there's been a lot circulating around ibuprofen, though, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, saying is there a concern about these. It got a lot of traction on the internet last week. World Health Organization, CDC have both commented on this, saying there really is no problem with using things like ibuprofen.

One of the concerns is that those non-steroidal anti-inflammatories can suppress your immune system a little bit more. So if you're someone who already has a weakened immune system, maybe Tylenol's going to be the better bet. But for most people who don't have that sort of underlying illness, you know, I think any of those will work fine.

CAMEROTA: OK, this one comes from Leilani. It says, "Has any investigation been made into the probability that vaping and smoking may contribute to increasing vulnerability to younger age groups?" Is there -- I mean, obviously, it stands to reason that there would be a connection, but is there any data on that?

GUPTA: Yes. Well, you know, as you might imagine, Alisyn, this is just -- you know, three months into things, so people are still collecting data. But there's a couple of things that are -- that are worth noting.

You know, there's been -- there was significant gender difference for example, in terms of people who were most -- most sick and likely to die in China from the coronavirus. And a lot of researchers over that attribute it to the fact that men are much more likely to smoke as compared to women in China. You may be seeing some of that same thing in Italy.

We also know that in young people in the United States, as we've talked about, that young people are not immune from this coronavirus. People between the ages of 20 and 44 are -- they make up 20 percent of the hospitalizations. And we also know that about 20 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 34 vape.

So it's anecdotal at this point. But I think, Alisyn, you're right, it does stand to reason that if someone is creating some sort of lung injury as a result of smoking or vaping, and then they get the coronavirus on top of it, it could be a problem. We just don't know for sure yet, but I think that's how a lot of pulmonologists, lung doctors are sort of treating this.

BERMAN: So, Sanjay, Gary writes, "Do researchers know the temperature at which the virus is inactivated?" I don't know whether this is a question about the weather, whether warmer weather and humidity has something to do with it, or maybe sunlight. What do you know?

GUPTA: Well, it's interesting because there's a lot of discussion about what is going to happen over the next couple of weeks as the weather gets warmer. And I think it's a very fair question, and there have been other coronaviruses and other viruses in general that, as the weather starts to warm, you start to see the number of cases, the number of infections go down. And I think there's a lot of hope that maybe something like that would happen here, we don't know that it will.

The have been -- the vast majority of cases of coronavirus in the Northern Hemisphere, where the weather is cooler. There has been some evidence of person-to-person transmission in the Southern Hemisphere now as well, although a lot of the cases that went to the Southern Hemisphere were travel-related initially. But you are seeing some -- some person-to-person transmission in the Southern Hemisphere as well, so we're going to have to wait and see.

As far as just heat for one's own -- trying to eliminate the virus from their own body, look, just keep in mind, it's very hard to actually significantly change your body temperature. I've read all kinds of things, people ask me questions about, you know, should I be using hair dryers, am I, you know, blowing them up my sinuses? Should I be sitting in saunas for a long period of time? It is very hard to change your body temperature.

So those -- those types of things aren't going to change the likelihood that the virus is in your body or even replicating. But the idea of climate, you know, weather changes possibly leading to a -- to a sort of decreasing of the pace at which this is increasing, I think is possible.

CAMEROTA: All right, I'll stop sending you my questions about blow- drying my hair.

Meanwhile, this is from Barbara in Boynton Beach, Florida. It's hand sanitizer shortage, so she says, "I couldn't get hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol. However I could purchase non-alcohol sanitizer, which claims to also kill 99.9 percent of germs." Would that be as effective?

GUPTA: Yes. Well, sorry. So we -- you know, we've asked a lot of questions about this as well. And the answer, again, with a lot of these things, is we're still learning but it does not appear to be as effective. The CDC, they're really sticking to the 60 percent alcohol concentration as what is necessary to actually kill the virus, to inactivate it. You know, I remind people that soap and water, though, is very

effective as well. So, you know, if you can't get the hand sanitizer, I recognize that that's obviously a lot more convenient in a lot of situations. But don't forget, just soap and water, 20 seconds, don't forget the thumbs, that really works as well.


BERMAN: The best advice out there, as always, from Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Sanjay, thanks very much for being with us this morning. Thanks so much for answering all of these questions.

I miss you terribly, Alisyn, by the way.

CAMEROTA: I'm right next door, in a studio.


BERMAN: I know, but there's like a big wall. You keep saying that, but my -- I can't -- nothing happens.

All right. So in this unprecedented time, one more thing that has never happened before. The Summer Olympics, just postponed. CNN's coverage of the coronavirus pandemic continues, right after this.


JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: Good morning, I'm Jim Sciutto. Let's get right to the news.


Cases of coronavirus surge across the U.S. and around the world. The breaking headlines this morning?

The sports world, rocked. Summer Olympic games are postponed.