Return to Transcripts main page


Six People Die In Washington State Due to Coronavirus; Coronavirus Task Force Promises To Have Daily Briefings; Gov. Jay Inslee (D-WA) Is Interviewed About The Effort That His State Is Doing Now After What Happened In Washington; Trump Out Of Step With His Own Health Experts On Coronavirus; Health Officials Say Buying Masks Could Make Outbreak Worse. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired March 2, 2020 - 23:00   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Anderson Cooper. This is an AC360 special report on the coronavirus outbreak.

Just moments ago, the death toll climbing to 105 cases across the United States. Six people have died, all in Washington State, four of them residents of a nursing care facility near Seattle.

Tonight, more firefighters in that area have been put into quarantine after responding to coronavirus calls at the facility. We'll go there live in just a moment.

At the White House, President Trump defending the administration's response, Vice President Mike Pence and the first of what he says will be daily briefings from his coronavirus task force, calling this an all-hands on deck effort.

We begin our special coverage with CNN's Nick Watt in Los Angeles. So, Nick, some major developments tonight.

NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: yes, there have been. Listen, Anderson, up until this point the focus has really been on the west coast of this country. Twenty confirmed cases here in California, three in Oregon, and 18 up there in Washington State.

But just within the past hour we have heard of one more case from Massachusetts. Somebody who had been on a school trip to Italy. And two more cases in Georgia. Those people we're told are being held in isolation in their home while authorities try to make sure that they weren't in contact with other members of the community before their diagnosis.

But you mentioned that White House task force this afternoon, the one message that came loud and clear out of that, Anderson, there will be more cases here in the United States.

Six now dead in Washington State. Four of them elderly residents of this nursing home near Seattle. At least 48 schools now closed across the state for deep cleaning and a warning from the governor.


GOV. JAY INSLEE (D-WA): We think folks should begin to think about avoiding large events and assemblies.


WATT: Today, nationwide we topped 100 known cases across 12 states. Known is the keyword. There are likely many more.


ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Right now, today, on this day, Monday, if you look at the country as a whole, the risk is low.


WATT: But the virus is now spreading within American communities.


ALEX AZAR, SECRETARY, UNITED STATES HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES: The degree of risk has the potential to change quickly.


WATT: Today the first confirmed case in New York, the nation's most populous city.


GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): There is no doubt that there will be more cases. This is New York. We're a gateway to the world.


WATT: Travel restrictions are now in place to and from some global hot spots.


MICHAEL PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We'll assure that anyone traveling on a direct flight to the United States of America receives multiple screenings at all airports in Italy and South Korea.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Of course, the virus is here already and the enhanced testing that will be going on in the next week or two will help us define exactly the nature and extent of the problem that's here already.


WATT: Earlier in this outbreak criticism, not enough test kits, too few labs, that, we're told, is changing.


STEPHEN HAHN, COMMISSIONER, FOOD AND DRUGS ADMINISTRATION: The estimates we're getting from industry right now by the end of this week, close to a million tests will be able to be performed.


WATT: But one growing concern, what to do with those who've tested positive, or the potentially infected. Up in Seattle the county is buying a motel to isolate them and after that deadly outbreak at the nursing home --


KURT TRIPLETT, CITY MANAGER, KIRKLAND, WASHINGTON: We have two police officers and 27 firefighters that are currently in quarantine. Because each of them responded to an incident at the Life Care Center in the past two weeks.


WATT: Tonight, the city of San Antonio suing the federal government after an evacuee from Wuhan held in quarantine at a nearby base was released and later tested positive. This judge just issued an emergency order.


NELSON WOLFF, JUDGE, BEXAR COUNTY: Anyone coming out of there, which is 120 of them left, come out into the county that we will prohibit that, and the sheriff's office will detain them if that were to happen.


WATT: The plan going forward for the country.


AZAR: Prepare for the worst, hope for the best.


WATT: And the promise from the White House task force, to keep us informed.


PENCE: We'll be back here every day, get used to seeing us.


WATT: Interestingly we just got -- interestingly we just got the White House schedule for tomorrow. They will be having one of those briefings but, Anderson, it will not be on camera. Now, testing is going to be the key going forward. Interesting thing

about this virus, for 80 percent of the people who get it, it's pretty mild, or a symptomatic, which in one sense that's good news but it makes it harder to contain.

There could be many people walking around right now, they don't know they've got it, they are shedding that virus and infecting other people who might be affected more badly than they were. So, the testing will be key, and that is going to be rolling out within the next few days, we are told.

COOPER: Nick Watt. Nick, I appreciate it.

Earlier in the program, I believe I misspoke. I just want to be clear. There are 105 cases in the United States. Known cases of people who were infected.


There have been six deaths in Washington state, six deaths total in America, more than 105 cases, more than 105 people known to be infected.

In Kirkland, Washington, they're putting more firefighters in quarantine tonight after they had contact with coronavirus patients.

CNN's Omar Jimenez is there for us. So, Omar, talk to me about the first responders who had contact with patients at the nursing facility there.

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Anderson, we just got a firsthand look. Just a few moments ago we had some emergency responders pull into the life care nursing facility behind me where a lot of these cases had been stemming from, and all of them got out of those -- out of their vehicles, in protective, in protective gear, basically, PPE suits as they were making their way towards their entrance.

But even though they didn't bring anyone out we do know, based on guidance from the city of Kirkland, that they want all of their first responders who are going out to potential sick calls to show up in those suits because they don't want to take any chances.

You mentioned two new firefighters being put into quarantine tonight, that is bad news but it's also precautionary as basically the mentality that people are having here.

On the good news front, we did learn literally just moments ago from the city of Kirkland that one firefighter has now been released from quarantine after hitting that two-week incubation period and showing no symptoms.

Now, earlier tonight we heard from the International Association of Firefighters, who said that a number of those in quarantine had been moved to isolation, meaning that they had shown symptoms. The city of Kirkland disputes that, saying none of at least their firefighters had been moved to isolation.

Again, good news, meaning they have not shown any potential symptoms of the coronavirus so far, Anderson.

COOPER: Obviously, elderly people with preexisting conditions that are particularly vulnerable, this facility appears to be at the epicenter for the Washington outbreak. Is it known why in particular this facility?

JIMENEZ: Look, that's what investigators are trying to get to the bottom of right now. Both at the state and federal level. Now, when you break it down by the numbers you have five deaths in this county alone, four of them stemming from the Life Care Center nursing facility here.

When you look at the cases overall that we've seen across this county, 14 in this county, eight of them coming from the center in particular. So, it's why the nursing facility has tamped down and not allowed any visitors to come forward. And again, why state and federal investigators are treating this as an outbreak site, Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Omar Jimenez, I appreciate it, thanks very much. Joining us right now is Washington Governor Jay Inslee. Governor, thanks for being with us. Sorry it's under these circumstances.

INSLEE: You bet.

COOPER: Four more deaths in Washington State today. What's the latest you can tell us?

INSLEE: Well, first, we're mourning for these folks. We're honoring our first responders. The firefighters and police officers are responding. We want to take care of them.

We are now very seriously ramping up our capacity to deal with this, both in our testing. We went out early in our state. I'm glad we did. To establish our own local state ability to test for these samples and that's now expanding dramatically.

We're also looking at our surge capacity for our medical care ability because if this continues to expand it could be real stress on our medical delivery system so we're looking for a way to surge, to have both facilities and equipment and personnel.

And then as you indicated at the top of your show, we're starting to think about the ways that we might be able to prevent spread through large groups. But most importantly, I'll reiterate this, the people who are the most important actually in constraining the spread of this are individuals, because washing one's hands, not shaking hands, and not going to work when you're sick is actually some of the most important things.

So, individuals are going to be very important in this group effort, we're all in this all together and I'm glad that our governments are working together on this. COOPER: How does it work, in your state, and I guess state by state,

but in your state, how many, you know, for instance, tests, you know, are you able to do on any given day? I mean, do you -- what sort of capabilities do you have? And where are those -- those done? Does every hospital have tests that they can do with people who come in?

INSLEE: So, we established early in this event our ability at our state lab, and right now we've ramped that up. They can do about 200 tests a day and we will increase that because we've ordered some new equipment.

We've also got the University of Washington labs, which are very large, to come online. They'll come on sometime this week, and they actually did 1,000 tests, actually looking first -- looking at Asian Flu victims.

Then we anticipate that we will get private labs, which have enormous capacity, and now that the CDC has opened the door to private labs, and this is a good thing, to allow private labs to provide this testing capability.


But look, we've got to prevent these infections in the first place. That's what we're focusing on and I hope we get that job done.

COOPER: It's got to be very difficult for medical personnel right now because, you know, there's flu season, there's the common cold, people, you know, who are coughing, are obviously going to be worried they may have it.

What do you tell somebody right now who's sitting in Washington State who, you know, has a cough, they're home, they're worried about it, do they go to a hospital? I mean, they haven't had -- they haven't been to China. Do they go to a hospital to a doctor to check out their cough? What do they do?

INSLEE: Right. Well, if -- I just think of this as my family. If I had a family member with a cough and some respiratory issues and a mild fever I would suggest, number one, stay home. Do not go to work. Repeat, do not go to work. We've got leave policies you can take advantage of. That's the single most important thing.

You might want to try to remove yourself from your family members and try to isolate yourself. Wash your hands, don't shake hands with anyone.

If you get in a situation where you have shortness of breath, where there is really difficulty breathing, that's a situation where I think going to the emergency room is appropriate.

But one of the issues is, we obviously have extensive flu, we don't need everyone who has those symptoms to immediately go to medical care. But if you're concerned, go to your doctor, they can give you advice. Or if you're in a shortness of breath situation, emergency room may be appropriate. But as you've indicated there's a lot of reasons to have a cough that are not coronavirus.

COOPER: Right.

INSLEE: We think about 80 percent of the people who actually have the disease will only have either none or mild symptoms. Maybe 20 percent of the people would require some medical attention. And that's the folks we want to see actually get that.

COOPER: And I know tonight you've suggested that people there in Washington should begin to think about avoiding large events and assemblies, you're not, though, making a formal request right now for events to be cancelled. Is that correct?

INSLEE: That's correct. And this is a tough judgment call, frankly, because there's no algorithm to tell you exactly when you adopt these mitigation programs to try to prevent people from becoming close to one another.

But that is an option, first off, people can do it voluntarily. And we encourage people, if they are fragile, if they have, you know, cardiovascular disease or compromised immune systems they themselves probably ought to be thinking about whether they want to go to large conclaves of people.

But we have numerous groups, nonprofits and others, that are starting to think about whether it makes sense to carry on with some of the larger gets -- get togethers. Now I do have a vision, an emergency authority, I have authority to issue an order if that became necessary regarding a large get togethers or school closures, if that became necessary.

We have not made that decision. That's a day-to-day issue. The good news is we have some of the best scientists in the world right here in Washington State at the University of Washington, Washington State University.

In fact, they've done some of the real cutting-edge research in the last four days that gave us some insights on how the virus is evolving.

So, we feel good about the epidemiological information we have and we'll make the best decision at the right moment. But again, individually Washingtonians and Americans can make decisions on their own to be in the front lines of this issue to prevent the spread of this disease.

COOPER: Yes. It's a wise message to everybody that they are really the front line, we all are on this. Washington Governor, Jay Inslee, I appreciate it.

INSLEE: You bet. We're all leaders.

COOPER: Yes. Thank you for joining us. I appreciate it.

INSLEE: Thank you. COOPER: Coming up, why we could begin to see a spike in coronavirus cases here in the United States. Our special report continues in a moment.



COOPER: Welcome back to our 360 special report on the coronavirus outbreak, now blamed for six deaths in Washington State and more than 100 cases across the country.

I want to get more with CNN's chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta who is with me. Also joining me, former Obama White House health policy adviser, Dr. Zeke Emanuel, former Obama homeland security adviser and chief counterterrorism adviser, Lisa Monaco, she is also a CNN senior national security analyst, and infectious disease epidemiologist, Jennifer Nuzzo with Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Thanks for being with me. It is such an important conversation right now. Where are we on this, big picture?

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, the numbers do continue to grow. I think people are hearing, some people are sort of hearing about this, waking up to this now for the first time because it's sort of been plodding along and then they're starting to see this increase in numbers and obviously, sadly, the increase in deaths as well.

Public health officials, they anticipated this. This is not a surprise to them, despite how much has been going on in China for some time. The idea that eventually this virus, which, you know, doesn't respect boundaries or borders, it's a little strand of RNA was going to come across the oceans and travel around the world. That was sort of known.

What I think it's going to be interesting now, because what's going to happen this week is a lot of tests are finally going to go out. We're going to talk about testing. There's been inadequate testing but when this testing goes out, I think we're going to see a sudden jump in numbers.

COOPER: Because there's a lot of folks who may be asymptomatic who are not showing signs that they're having it.

GUPTA: That's right. That's right. So, it's bad news and good news. Bad news because people are going to hear about this sudden increase in numbers but I think it's also going to be reflective of that point exactly, that there's a lot of people out there who did not, you know, get particularly sick with this. And if you look at the data, some 80 percent of people really don't have much in the way of symptoms.

COOPER: Yes. I want to play something that Vice President Pence said today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) PENCE: Let's be clear. The risk to the American people of the coronavirus remains low according to all of the experts that we're working with across the government.


The president has said we're ready for anything. But this is an all- hands on deck effort.


COOPER: So, Zeke, you hear them saying it's an all-hands on deck effort, what does that actually entail, I mean, how is this being combatted? I talked to the governor there in Washington, who's in charge in Washington for efforts there? Is it the CDC? Is it the --


ZEKE EMANUEL, FORMER OBAMA WHITE HOUSE HEALTH POLICY ADVISER: Well, you need more than the CDC, the CDC has one slice of the activity. But you also need the FDA, because you need to have drugs and approval of devices. And approval of any therapeutics that you're going to use.

Homeland security has to be involved. The State Department is going to be involved if you're going to have travel restrictions and transportation restrictions.

And the other thing that you really need, that I have yet to really see, is you need connection to the states and localities. That's where the front line is because the CDC is in Atlanta and they can send teams out.

But the first reports are going to go to the local public health officials, to the state public health officials and then back to the CDC in Atlanta. So, the all-hands on deck really requires a lot of coordination and keeping everyone in step and that everyone includes all the states.

As you heard the Governor Inslee, you know, deciding about when to close schools --

COOPER: Right.

EMANUEL: -- you know, what to do with a quarantine, how to manage the surge that they might need on hospitals. All those things are happening very locally. And so, you need Washington to coordinate now. When we were doing H1N1 swine flu we were on the phone to local health officials every day, multiple times a day.

COOPER: Jennifer, I mean, the governor made an interesting point, which is that the front line of this is individual citizens and families who, you know, are monitoring their own health, their family's health and they're the ones who will be able to prevent the spread of this from spreading even farther with a greater reach.

JENNIFER NUZZO, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, JOHNS HOPKINS BLOOMBERG SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: Yes, absolutely and I'm really glad he made the point about not just kind of showing up at the emergency room. I think that could be the worst thing that we could see happening.

COOPER: Explain why.

NUZZO: Well, I mean, first of all, we want to reserve hospital resources for the people who need it, the severely ill patients. This could play out such that we have more patients than we could possibly handle and we don't want to clog emergency rooms and other facilities with people who are just mildly ill.

COOPER: Right.

NUZZO: Or just want to get --


COOPER: That's my concern is that emergency rooms are going to be flooded with people saying I have a cough and can I get a test. First of all, the governor is saying they can do 200 a day right now but that's really not enough if this, in fact, grows.

Is this a homeland security issue? Because we know earlier in the week, we saw Joe Kennedy going after the acting head of homeland security who seemed surprised that he considered it part of homeland security, and clearly fairly or not the acting head of homeland security didn't seem to think it was part of his purview.

LISA MONACO, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Of course, it's part of his purview, it's a whole of government effort, or it ought to be. Right? Homeland security has a piece of this. But obviously, Health and Human Services, CDC, the State Department, foreign aid should come into this, right, the most effective thing we can do to protect ourselves from pandemic disease is to defend forward as I've described it, which is to help and assist other countries and to prevent that -- those diseases before they get to our shores.

So this has to be a whole of government effort, which is why it's got to be coordinated out of the White House, all of the gaps that Zeke was talking about, that Jennifer was talking about, those are gaps that the White House ought to be identifying by working tightly and very closely with state and local officials.

So, I served in the White House during the Ebola -- during the Ebola epidemic. Right? And we convened regularly, conference calls and discussions with state and local public health officials, what are the gaps that they were seeing, what assistant did they need and helping to coordinate that very, very quickly. That's got to be done out of the White House across the government.

COOPER: All right. We're going to take a quick break, we're going to talk, continue our talk throughout the hour. We're not trying to raise alarms. We just want to get facts, information and allay any fears, irrational fears that people may have.

Coming up, we'll trace how President Trump has been out of step with his own health officials and more of the facts on the ground when we continue.



COOPER: Only six weeks ago, President Trump claimed to have the coronavirus outbreak under control. Tonight, six Americans have been killed by the virus, more than 100 have contracted it. The question is how is the president is out of step with his own health officials.

CNN's White House Correspondent, Kaitlan Collins takes a closer look.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Anderson, as health experts were sounding the alarm about coronavirus President Trump was downplaying it and pushing these unproven theories about it. And we've seen him do that before in his presidency undermine experts.

But over the last month this is really the first time we've seen the president do so when it comes to something that could be a possible pandemic.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We do have a ground (Ph) and we think it's going to be handled very well. We've already handled it very well.


COLLINS: Twenty-two days after health officials in China announced they were investigating a pneumonia outbreak and just one day after the CDC warned that the U.S. should expect additional cases, President Trump told reporters this.


TRUMP: We have it totally under control, it's one person coming in from China. And we have it under control. It's going to be just fine.


COLLINS: But the virus was far from under control. And the following day the CDC expressed concern that Chinese officials weren't sharing critical information about the virus, which could help contain it.


The next day, the president tweeted about the virus, thanking the Chinese for their transparency in predicting it will all work out well. A week later, the Trump administration declared a public health emergency in the U.S. and blocked foreigners who visited China from entering the country, a move Trump now says he doesn't get enough credit for.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have done an incredible job because we closed early, and actually the Democrats said I was a racist.

COLLINS (voice-over): At a political rally on February 10th, the president expressed optimism the virus would disappear by spring.

TRUMP: Looks like by April, you know, in theory, when it gets a little warmer, it miraculously goes away. I hope that's true.

COLLINS (voice-over): But three days later, the director of the CDC said this.

ROBERT REDFIELD, DIRECTOR, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION: This virus is probably with us beyond this season or beyond this year.

COLLINS (voice-over): Almost two weeks later, February 25th, the CDC said the virus spreading in the U.S. is inevitable.

NANCY MESSONNIER, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL CENTER FOR IMMUNIZATION AND RESPIRATORY DISEASES (voice-over): It's not so much a question of if this will happen anymore, but rather more a question of exactly when this will happen and how many people in this country will have severe illness.

COLLINS (voice-over): At a press conference meant to reassure the public the next day, Trump directly disputed that characterization while surrounded by his coronavirus task force.

TRUMP: I don't think it's inevitable. I think that there's a chance that it could get worse. There's a chance it could get fairly substantially worse. But nothing is inevitable.

COLLINS (voice-over): And just three days later at another press conference, the president conceded this.

TRUMP: Additional cases in the United States are likely.


COLLINS: Now, Anderson, as we've seen these cases start to skyrocket in the United States, you've really seen the president start to change his tone on this, no longer downplaying it as much as we had seen him doing in the days before.

This comes as his administration now says they are going to be offering these daily briefings to give people information on the latest that they have about coronavirus, which of course is a rarity for this administration.

COOPER: They haven't had briefings in more than 300 plus days. It's interesting that they're going to start now. I'm just wondering what our panel of expert make of the response so far. I mean, not getting into bashing but just in terms of what's not working and what needs to work better. You were saying at least that there's been a kind of a lack of humbleness about the potential here.

MONACO: Yeah. I think the ability to communicate clearly, credibly, and consistently is everything in a crisis and particularly in a public health crisis like we're facing now. And one of the ingredients to that is being humble about what you don't know and being clear about that, being clear with the public about that.

I mean, so the -- in the piece we just saw, the mixed messages and the inconsistent messages and information that it was characterized at the beginning of this response, I think, contributes to panic, contributes to real legitimate concerns. The American people need to know where they can go for information that they can rely upon, and they need to know that they're going to get science and not spin.

EMANUEL: It's also at the moment we have a lot of uncertainty.

COOPER: There's a lot we do not know.

EMANUEL: Exactly.

COOPER: Let's talk about what we don't know. We don't know how -- if somebody is infected and they get over it --

EMANUEL: How long they're shedding.

COOPER: How long -- shedding is --

EMANUEL: Putting out the --


EMANUEL: -- spreading it. We don't know, for example, how many people in this country have it. The 105 is just the tip of the iceberg.

COOPER: We don't know that if you get it and you get over it, if you are immune for a while or not.

EMANUEL: Right. And we say 80 percent of the people have mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. That's reliant on Chinese data and we're 100 percent sure that's reliable data, especially in this context and there are many different habits they have than we do, for example, a lot more smokers and other things who may have -- I'm going to have a bigger problem. And so I think --

COOPER: In the fatality rate, we don't really know because we don't know how many people actually --

GUPTA: We don't know the denominator.

EMANUEL: The denominator, right. The number of -- so fatality rate is number of people dead over the total number who have it in mild cases as well as severe cases. Since we don't know, mild cases --

COOPER: Right.

EMANUEL: -- it's very hard to know for sure. And so all of this is a huge amount of uncertainty and being clear that we don't know the answers to these questions rather than confidently saying the risks are low, well, or, you know, the risk of dying are low or whatever is, I think, just the wrong way to go. I think they're getting better. The second thing I would say that they've really blown is they've had all this time to prepare the testing kits and make sure that they were distributed.

COOPER: They're not.

EMANUEL: But because there was this idea that only 15 cases, it's not coming to the United States, they didn't seem to prepare very well and we're only now beginning to have enough kits. We know that out in Seattle, there are probably three, four, 500, maybe more cases --

COOPER: Jennifer, in other countries, they were doing -- I mean, in South Korea, I think they were up to doing --

NUZZO: Fifteen thousand a day.

COOPER: Fifteen thousand --

NUZZO: A day.

COOPER: -- testing a day. We don't have that capability right now.

NUZZO: No, we don't yet.


NUZZO: I think we will soon. And the situation and our understanding of the situation here in the United States will dramatically change. But to the point about when you have an uncertainty and there are categories of information you don't know, you think about how you go out and get that information, and clearly testing was essential to being able to do that.

Going out and saying, even if we didn't think that there were cases already here, which I think most epidemiologists and medical public health experts strongly believe that there was, that the travel restrictions weren't going to prevent the virus from coming into this country, even if it was the case that there were no other cases here, you go out and you start the surveillance so that you can be ready for it, so you can catch it when it happens.

MONACO: The other thing, Anderson, from a homeland security perspective and the crisis management perspective, you want to be kind of preparing the groundwork. You want to be letting people know. Look, there are going to be more cases. You need to understand you're going to see a steady rise in numbers so people know what to anticipate and can plan for that.

COOPER: Yes. Sanjay.

GUPTA: There are a lot of things we didn't know, but we did know that this virus was going to come here at some point. The advantage of what was going on in China, which was the largest quarantine, I think, in human history, was that it bought time, it bought significant time.

I mean, at this point, if you look at where coronavirus is versus where H1N1 was, for example, the nine-week mark, you know, that time really could have been used more wisely. You know, Zeke was talking about if there's a mild pandemic in this country, according to the federal government's own estimates, we would require some 64,000 people to be on breathing machines.

COOPER: That's a mild pandemic.

GUPTA: That's a mild -- if it's a severe pandemic, it could be several hundred thousand. We have about 62,000 ventilators and 10,000 in the stockpile and we're in the middle of flu season so many of those are already being used.

COOPER: So if it's a mild pandemic, there might, just on paper, be enough ventilators --

GUPTA: Maybe.

COOPER: -- or people. Maybe, but some of those are already being used for people who have flu and other things.

GUPTA: Yeah. I think that's what Governor Inslee was talking about. There is going to have to be some tough decisions made. This idea of surge, you know, to be able to handle the surge of patients, it could have been part of the preparation over the last several weeks. But I think for a lot of people in the administration, I don't know, for some reason, they thought the numbers were not going to increase despite the fact that the public health officials --

COOPER: Before we go to break, I just -- when we come back, I want to ask you about -- one of the things the president has been saying is that, you know, by April, if the warmer weather comes, this may all just magically go away or miraculously go away, I think, was his terminology. I want to get your take on whether that is something real. And also, do we have stockpiles of other things? You talked about ventilators, masks, and things, what stockpiles like for that.

Coming up, as more people scramble to buy masks, they're likely making the coronavirus outbreak in some ways worse for those who actually get it and may not be able to get masks. We'll explain more on that ahead.




COOPER: Health officials are encouraging Americans to be prepared for a wider coronavirus outbreak by stocking up on supplies at home. Here is one thing they don't want to see people buying, which is face masks. CNN's Brian Todd has that part of the story.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Has the concern over coronavirus climbs in America? Top U.S. health officials have a stern word of caution: Preparedness is appropriate, panic is not. JEROME ADAMS, SURGEON GENERAL: There are things that actually can harm you and your community, and going out and hording masks is one of those things.

TODD (voice-over): Since the outbreak began, millions of people around the world have donned surgical masks, hoping to fend off the virus. Chinese President Xi Jinping was seen wearing one in public. But top health officials and experts say masks often don't provide adequate protection against something like coronavirus.

(On camera): So the typical mistake is what, I put this on and it may or may not fit, and what am I doing wrong here?

REBECCA KATZ, GLOBAL PUBLIC HEALTH EXPERT, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: So right now, you're wearing a mask that's supposed to fit tested, that's supposed to be fully sealed. At this point it's not. So you'll see that you can actually -- there's space where your nose is, the particles could actually potentially get underneath the mask.

TODD (voice-over): Public health experts say many people who wear masks don't have them properly fitted. That means constant adjustments and more risk.

KATZ: You're not used to wearing it. You don't know what to do. You might be touching your face more often. All those are opportunities to actually get yourself sick.

TODD (voice-over): That's because our hands are our biggest transmitters of the virus. The more you touch your face, the greatest your odds of getting sick. Major retailers say there's been a run on masks at stores and if they're cleared off shelves, there's a dangerous potential ripple effect.

ADAMS: If we actually utilize masks inappropriately in the community and in the general public, they won't be available for health care workers who actually need them to respond.

TODD (voice-over): Public health experts say there are myths about masks. One is that one single mask can be used indefinitely.

KATZ: These are supposed to be single-use masks, but some people might wear them for days in which case you might get particle -- bacteria might grow inside the mask.

TODD (voice-over): So what should average, healthy people be buying? Soap and household cleaning supplies, experts say, and make sure you stock up on whatever medications you're already on. As far as the best habits to fend off coronavirus, health officials say there are some very simple but important steps.



FAUCI: If you cough, cough in your elbow and not on your hands. Try to stay away from crowded places. There are a lot of people who are coughing and sneezing.

TODD: What if you have to travel on a plane or another tight, crowded space? Should you wear a surgical mask then? Experts say that's a judgment call, but you have to make sure it fits you perfectly, that you know how to use it, and just use it one time.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


COOPER: We are going to talk more about this. We're going to take a short break. Coming up, we'll talk about that with our panel, our experts, as well as some of the other myths that it's important to dispel, particularly about planes. Our "360" special report continues.




COOPER: Before the break, Brian Todd had a report about masks and the controversy about them. We are going to talk about that now with our experts here. Masks, airplanes, what are some of the fallacies that are out there? What should people know, doctor?

NUZZO: I mean, first of all, I think the point about you will be putting yourself at greater risk if you horde masks and it is not available for the health care workers who are putting themselves on the line to make sure that if you do become infected that they're there to save your lives, so certainly mask used by well people is not encouraged and --

COOPER: Also masks -- aren't they normally used by people so that -- if someone is going to use it, it should be somebody who is sick so that they're not spreading it.

NUZZO: Exactly.

EMANUEL: The coronavirus comes out in droplets. That's the important thing. It's tucked in the droplets. It is not in the air circulating like a free virus circulating. So, the reason a sick person should wear this is to prevent the droplets from coming out and that is actually good.

If a well person wears it and they touched their face and their hands has touched on surface or something where there has been a droplet, it is the real worry. That is why washing of the hands is so important, cleaning surfaces and make sure --

COOPER: So if you're wearing a mask and you're touching tables and droplets --


COOPER: -- and you're checking the outside of your mask -- NUZZO: Right.

COOPER: -- then you're touching your eyes and you're adjusting your glasses --

EMANUEL: You touch your mouth, you know, you touch your nose --

COOPER: That's making worse.

EMANUEL: That's how the virus --

NUZZO: And there is some evidence that when people wear masks, they actually touch their face more frequently, which is why people say you could be putting yourself at greater risk.

COOPER: And so on airplanes and people say, well, the air is circulating around and you're breathing the thing and --



NUZZO: So air on the airplane is circulated more in cells, not the entire plane. So, yes, if you're next to somebody who is coughing and sneezing just like if you're sitting next to somebody in a movie theater or somewhere else that is coughing or sneezing, I knew then --

COOPER: It's close proximity to somebody else.

NUZZO: It's not the air. There's filtration of the air. In fact, they have done some studies that the overall air quality is probably more sterile than in other environments we don't have the same level of filtration.

COOPER: Interesting. What else do you want -- I was talking to you in the break about stockpiles the governments has, you know, and head of Homeland Security has been grilled about respirators. You talked about ventilators that we probably don't have enough of. This is a major huge and very, very serious outbreak. Things like masks, the government stockpiles?

MONACO: Absolutely. So we have something called the national stockpile where masks, personal protective equipment, the kind of moon suits that you see when health workers going in to treat folks, ventilators, stockpiles of medicines and medical countermeasures. So we have a national stockpile program.

One of the reasons why you want focus on this for instance in the White House is to make sure that that stockpile is up-to-date and that we are planning to constantly have the right things in this.

COOPER: You have the job when you were in Homeland Security of actually keeping that up-to-date?

MONACO: So as Homeland Security adviser to the president, the team who worked with me inside the White House, we had a dedicated global health security and pandemic preparedness unit. We put that in place after Ebola because we said we need a capability here to prepare for this stuff, to be thinking ahead of time, to understand what should be in the stockpile, all of those things. That was a team that worked with me and the rest for us in the White House. Unfortunately, that team got dismantled in 2018.

COOPER: Why was the team dismantled?

MONACO: We don't know.

EMANUEL: John Bolton fired Tim Zimmer (ph) who was doing that -- in that role.

MONACO: He was --

COOPER: I mean, even if it was not this, everybody knows there are going to be other --

EMANUEL: Since H1N1, we've had H1N1, we've had two Ebola outbreaks, we've had Zika, we've had SARS, we've had MERS -- I mean, we had -- every two or three years, we are having one of these outbreaks. You need to plan for that.

COOPER: Right.

MONACO: The bottom line is pandemic disease is a national security issue. We have to plan for it.

COOPER: The administration is all hands on deck now. It should have been on all hands on deck -- should be manning the deck all along. Also, the president's idea that this will disappear in April, SARS, I understand, Sanjay, you and I talked about this.

GUPTA: Yeah.

COOPER: SARS sort of gone down --

GUPTA: And if you look at SARS, you know, it was sort of the same time of year, November of 2002, this was November of 2019. You did see this sort -- the sort of peek, end of March, beginning of April, I believe, as the weather started to warm and sort of the tail end of it was in July.

I think that's -- probably someone has mentioned this idea of the coronavirus and SARS having had this happened and maybe this would happen here. I think the president really seized on to that.

COOPER: Right.

GUPTA: This is what's like -- and it may, but there is no evidence of that, and you have other viruses which don't behave that way at all.

COOPER: No one can say for sure.

EMANUEL: You can't count on that. That's not an adequate response. It might happen in which case we'll all be happy. [23:55:00]

EMANUEL: It might, as the head of the CDC mentioned, it might just come back, it might turn out to be a seasonal virus, but it might not go away. You have to plan for it not going away if you're going to --

COOPER: Jennifer, just finally, someone is sitting out there tonight is worried about this. What do you say?

NUZZO: I mean, listen, the way you protect yourself from this virus is the same thing you would do to do protect yourself from the flu. So, again, wash your hands, really boring, but wash them well. You know, now is the time to re-examine doing that. I would hope people would do that when we are not on pandemic but certainly wash your hands.

I think the idea of coughing into sleeves is a great one. People talk about not shaking hands, you know. If you are somebody who is particularly vulnerable, so there is this question, should you not go to crowded spaces?

I think all of these questions out there about what protective measures to take in part reflect your own priorities and own personal risk. So if you're somebody who doesn't need to go out and you have vulnerability, then maybe that's the decision that you would make.

GUPTA: I'll make the point again. I think the numbers -- from a news perspective, we are going to see these numbers go up. People should take that in the context that we have given them tonight. I mean, they're going to go up. That's expected for sure.

But part of the preparation, I think, along with that is if you do get some of the recommendations that Governor Inslee was sort of toying around with now, should people stay home, should people not go to work and all that, is your house ready for that? Could you stay home for couple weeks in your home? Do you have the food, water, supplies, medicine, things like that?

I think that's just basic planning. Again, that shouldn't sound alarming to people. People should be doing that anyways. But we may hear that in this country.

COOPER: Also finally, not that it has anything to do with coronavirus, but people should get a flu shot --

GUPTA: Yeah.

COOPER: -- just so they don't get the flu and muck up hospitals.

EMANUEL: Only 45 percent of adults get --

COOPER: So anybody who is out there who is freaking out about coronavirus --

MONACO: Get a flu shot.

COOPER: -- the flu shot, not that it's going to help the coronavirus, but it's going to help (INAUDIBLE) with the flu and mess up hospitals.

EMANUEL: Roughly 30 million people get the flu --

COOPER: Right.

EMANUEL: -- even with the vaccine present.

COOPER: All right. We got to go. Thank you all for joining us. It's important information. We'll be staying on this story. Be sure to stay with CNN for that. The most important test for the presidential candidates is tomorrow, the 14 Super Tuesday primaries. Our special live coverage starts at 4:00 p.m. Eastern time tomorrow. I'm Anderson Cooper. The news continues next on CNN.