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Crowd Still At Some Beaches Despite Social Distancing Guidelines. Italy's Records Biggest Single-Day Jump In New Coronavirus. New York City Case Jump By 1,200+ In A Day. At Least 8,525 Coronavirus Cases In U.S., 145 Deaths. Remembering The Lives Lost. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired March 18, 2020 - 20:00   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening. Thank you for joining us. We hope tonight's broadcast helps you and your family stay safe and informed.

Today, life in America continues to cross into the new abnormal. Nationwide, confirmed cases of coronavirus grew by more than 2,300 since 6:00 a.m. this morning. They now top 8,500, with nearly 3,000 cases in New York state alone, according to Governor Cuomo. At least 145 people in America have now died of the virus.

Today, President Trump invoked emergency wartime authority to speed production of protective equipment and ventilators, both of which are in short supply.

And adding to concern about overwhelming the healthcare system, a member of the president's task force, Dr. Deborah Birx, warning reports out of France in Italy that more young people are becoming seriously ill from the virus. She said that younger patients may have seen the cases in China and South Korea and got a misleading impression that this was a disease mainly of the elderly and people with pre-existing conditions. We'll talk more about that in just a moment.

This video is from Italy and it gives you a look at how dire things are. We will talk about this video with Dr. Sanjay Gupta coming up and what Italy may teach us about what may happen here.

On the economic front, tens of thousands good-paying jobs. Detroit's big automakers announcing a temporary production shutdown. And starting Monday, the trading floors of the New York Stock Exchange will be shut down, with all transactions taking place electronically. The Dow Industrials, by the way, shed another 1,300-plus points today.

And CNN today learned that the federal government is planning for a crisis that could -- could last 18 months, a year and a half or more. We'll talk about that. What that may look like tonight.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer joins us as well to talk about the relief bill that just passed today, and another larger bill now under discussion. We'll also pause for a moment to reconnect, if we can, with the reason

why this all matters because in what's become a daily blizzard of warnings and life-changing announcements and numbers, rising case counts, it's very easy to lose touch with that.

So tonight, and as long as we can, we'll try to bring you the stories of those who have lost their lives in -- with this virus. This evening, a man in Florida, according to local reports, who was married for 56 years. His name, Richard Curren. He has died.

Also, retired New York City firefighter and fire marshal John Knox, who already lost some of the use of his lungs from working at ground zero. We are going to tell you his story tonight. In a way, as of this moment, New York is a kind of ground zero again.

CNN's Erica Hill joins us now from Time Square.

So, Erica, the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange going to be closing on Monday. I mean, that's almost unheard of.

ERICA HILL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It -- it's historic, to put it mildly. And it's important to -- to point out, as you did at the top, Anderson, that while the trading floor will be closed, electronic trading will continue. We haven't seen it shut down -- yes, during World War II. Yes, after 9/11.

The reason the floor itself is being closed because two employees tested positive this week. Our own colleague Alison Kosik telling us Monday morning when she showed up at the exchange where she's been for years at this point, she said everybody knows her by name. For the first time, they started taking temperature and they started checking temperature as you go in. The exchange is telling us some of those tests, when there were issues, they sent them for further testing and two of the employees, again, have tested positive.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I view it a as a -- in a sense, a wartime president. I mean, that's what we're fighting.

GOVERNOR ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: The president and I agree this is a war. And we're in the same trench.

HILL (voice-over): As New York announces at least 2,300 confirmed cases, the most in the nation and a jump of a thousand in just one day, Governor Cuomo taking new measures to combat the spread.

CUOMO: I'm asking all businesses to work from home. But today, we are announcing a mandatory statewide requirement that no business can have more than 50 percent of their workforce report to work outside of their home.

HILL: The executive order exempts essential services including first responders, health care workers, pharmacies, and food delivery. About 20 percent of the New York cases require hospitalization, making the need for additional beds increasingly urgent. President Trump responding today.

TRUMP: We're sending, upon request, the two hospital ships, they're being prepared right now.

HILL: The Navy ships will be sent to New York and the West Coast.

Multiple states also putting out an urgent call for nurses as the virus is now confirmed in all 50 states.

TRUMP: It's the invisible enemy.

HILL: Meantime, life continues to change. The border with Canada closed to all nonessential travel.

Across northern California, nearly 8 million Americans now told to shelter in place.

And in Kansas, children will be home for the remainder of the school year.


GOV. LAURA KELLY (D), KANSAS: Unprecedented circumstances threaten the safety of our students and the professionals who work with them every day, and we must respond accordingly.

HILL: More confirmed cases across the sports world. The Ottawa Senators the first in the NHL to announce a player has tested positive. The entire team has to isolate.

Meantime, pressure growing to cancel or postpone the Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo.

In Florida, defiant beachgoers causing alarm around the country while officials stress this is only the beginning.

GOVERNOR GRETCHEN WHITMER (D), MICHIGAN: I hear people say certain age groups are immune, I know this. In Michigan we have a 5-year-old that has tested positive for coronavirus. This is a situation that impacts everyone in every age group and I implore people to take this seriously.


COOPER: Erica, you're in Time Square. Have you noticed any changes there? I mean, are there -- I was surprised earlier today when I was driving through New York, how many people were out and about compared to I was in Washington, D.C. this morning.

Have you noticed what's Time Square like right now?

HILL: I think there are fewer people out and about in Times Square than maybe some of the neighborhoods, Anderson. There is a marked difference from when we talked to you from this same spot on Monday night. And that's because Broadway is dark. Stores are closed. Restaurants and bars are closed. And it really feels very empty and it's a feeling I have never felt in Time Square before.

COOPER: All right. Erica Hill, thanks very much.

We just learned the first setting member of Congress has tested positive, Florida Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart. He says in a statement he is feeling much better but urged people to take the virus, quote, extremely seriously.

Meantime, the Senate passed phase two of coronavirus relief efforts, including paid leave for those who can get it. Lawmakers working on phase three, a massive stimulus package.

Joining us now, Senate minority leader and New Yorker, Chuck Schumer.

Senator Schumer, thanks for being with us.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): Good evening, Anderson.

COOPER: Just in layman's terms, can you just talk about the tangible effects Americans might expect to see from this bill that's passed?

SCHUMER: Yes, there are a number of things.

First, we need to have a Marshall Plan for our hospitals. As the number of illnesses increase, the number of people will seriously increase, our hospitals are not totally prepared. They need more beds. They need more ventilators.

They need more equipment. They need more personnel. Some hospitals report now that they have finally gotten the tests, they don't have the swabs, the nasal swabs, to implement the tests.

So, we need a Marshall Plan immediately, and the ventilators -- you know, a few weeks ago, some of us were talking about the testing problem and we fell behind. Two weeks from now, the problem of a lack of respirators, a lack of beds, will be just as crucial. So we need that. We need a second thing.

We need what we call employment insurance. If you -- right now, unemployment insurance is hard to get. You get paid only a fraction of what you'd have at work. And many people are not covered.

We want to say anyone who loses his or her job because of this crisis will get paid fully by the federal government.

It's employment insurance, not unemployment insurance. And that will put money in the pockets of the people who need it most.

Third, we need to improve on this bill we passed today for both paid sick leave and paid family leave. We need it to be extensive. We need it to cover almost everybody. And we need the federal government to step in so businesses aren't hurt, especially, small businesses when they're not having any income.

And, finally, we need to make sure that everybody who has this illness gets treatment for free, basically. If people have it and the beginning signs of it and they don't show up, and they just walk around and spread the disease because they're afraid it'll cost them $200, $300, $400 through a co-pay or deductible, we have to stop that.

So those are some of the things we, in the Senate, we Democrats are pushing for. And I think, Anderson, we can come to a bipartisan agreement.

I spoke to Secretary Mnuchin tonight. I know some of the things they're interested in. Some of the things we're interested in. A lot of them overlap and there are some things we're going to want.

The one thing I did tell him as well, though, if there are going to be some of these corporate bailouts, we need to make sure workers and labor come first. That people are not laid off. That people's salaries are not cut.

If these big companies, many of which did buybacks. The airlines did I think about $300 billion of stock buybacks. They have to put their workers first if they're going to get this help.

COOPER: Yes, you talk about a Marshall Plan for, you know, for the hospitals. Obviously, the hospitals here are the front line. We don't want medical professionals, the nurses, the doctors getting sick. You know, they are going to be working around the clock. They already are.

You know, that's over long-term. This may be a long-term. That's part of the thing.

How likely is it, do you think, that whether it's the national guard or the military, is going to be needed or the Army Corps of Engineers is going to be needed to start building field hospitals?


I mean, taking over convention centers, school facilities, whatever it may be.

SCHUMER: Yesterday -- yesterday, we asked for the president to use something left over from the Korean War of the 1950s called the Defense Production Act, which allows us to use the military to both create things and build things, like hospital beds and temporary facilities. We've seen how those were built in other countries.

It also allows a mobilization of manufacturing and allows the federal government to tell manufacturers we need more masks, we need more swabs, we need more ventilators.

But there's so many different aspects to this, Anderson. Take many large cities. New York City, how do the workers get to work? Right now, by the subways.

But if the subways aren't used anymore, how are they going to get there? And yet, the subways are a place where people come in close contact.

So this is a massive problem. It takes bold, strong, immediate action. And we'll have to stay at this for a while because there are so many different problems we have to deal with.

But we can't be partisan. We can't be timid. It's got to be bold and strong and comprehensive. And we're prepared to stay here and do that.

COOPER: How much of the decisions in New York are made by the governor or by the mayor of New York City? How much is it a federal response? Obviously, it's got to be everybody working together.

SCHUMER: Well, it is, and we have good coordination with the state and the city. The federal government's job is mainly to provide the resources.

Even a city as large as New York, a state as large as New York, can't do it on its own. They have good leadership there. But we need to make sure that the money for the people, for the unemployed, for the hospitals, comes from the federal government. We're the only place that can do that.


SCHUMER: And in states not as wealthy as New York, all the more reason.

COOPER: You know, Senator Schumer, after 9/11, especially in the terrible days right after 9/11, there was an extraordinary spirit not only in the country but in New York City. It was a privilege to be in New York at that time, to stay with the city, and to watch the people come together.

Citizenship, now, seems to me more important than it has been for a long time in our lives. Can you just talk to people about what that means?


COOPER: Whether it's New York or somewhere else, to be a good citizen right now.

SCHUMER: Well, first, let me say, yes, I have lived through 9/11. I lost three people, three friends that I knew in the towers. I was there through the crash in 2008.

But this is the worst of all for a variety of reasons. First, we're very uncertain as to what is going to happen. There was some uncertainty after 9/11, in the days after, we were worried we might be attacked again but it's not the same as this. How long is it going to last? Who does it affect?

We're not even certain who what is the -- who it affects. We're just learning now that children can be affected by the illness. So there's that.

And then there's isolation. What New Yorkers and Americans like to do is come together, as we did after 9/11, in times of crisis. But, here, you can't. You are you're not supposed to be near other people because obviously it spreads the disease. And I urge people to -- to make sure they keep their distance.

But -- so it's much harder. Having said that, I believe in the spirit of New Yorkers. I have talked to a lot of people on the telephone today. And people are willing to do what it takes, and overcome this virus. And, once again, bounce back.

After 9/11, a lot of people said New York would never bounce back. And we came back bigger and stronger.

COOPER: Yes. Well, we're all in this together, more now than ever before.

SCHUMER: We sure are.

COOPER: Senator Schumer, thank you.

SCHUMER: Thank you, Anderson.

COOPER: I want to get perspective now from CNN's chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, as well as someone who is ready to take tough decisions. Dr. Peter Slavin, president of the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

Dr. Slavin, let me start with you.

The situation tonight, in your view, the medical situation for the doctors, for the nurses, the patients, what is the situation in Boston? There's been a huge cluster of cases, nationally. I mean, you heard Senator Schumer a moment ago saying we need a Marshall Plan for hospitals.

What -- what -- how bad is it? What do we need to make it better?

DR. PETER SLAVIN, PRESIDENT, MASSACHUSETTS GENERAL HOSPITAL: Well, clearly, the situation is heating up here in Boston. A week ago, we had no cases and any of our hospitals across our health system, Mass General or Brigham. And tonight, we have 13 patients with clear disease and another 150 who were suspicious to have the disease, who are in the process of testing. So -- so the numbers are going up dramatically.

We -- we are concerned about where this is ultimately going to head. We certainly can expand our capacity dramatically. But if -- if this gets as bad as it was in certain parts of Italy, this -- this could be an overwhelming problem.

We've been preparing for things like this for -- for years. We've been preparing for this particular disaster for a couple of months. And -- and we're as ready as we can be. And -- and our staff is -- is energized to try to do their best to take the best care possible of our patients.

COOPER: And, Dr. Slavin, can you say how many ICU beds they have?


I mean, do you have enough beds? Do you have enough ventilators?

It's hard to model out. It's hard to project what this may mean. We don't know because the testing problem, we don't know how many people have it or -- or even have been able to do tracing on all the people who may have it.

SLAVIN: At Mass General, we have over 100 ICU beds. And we have come up with a plan to potentially double that number and we think we have the space in our operating rooms, recovery rooms, and we have the ventilators to be able to -- to accommodate that.

We also have been setting up outpatient spaces for patients with acute respiratory illness to be seen and treated and tested. Fortunately, in Boston, the testing capacity is ramping up very dramatically.

COOPER: Sanjay, there is a study from the journal pediatrics that says while children in China infected with coronavirus showed less severe symptoms than adults, infants and toddlers were vulnerable to moderate and severe infection. Do you have any sense of -- of why that could be? What that might mean here? Or what -- you know, obviously, that's a -- an extraordinarily different focus than we have been -- been hearing so far.

DR. ANDERSON COOPER, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I mean, I think what we've been hearing, what the narrative has sort of been is that, you know, kids are sort of basically protected from this because that's what some of the early data has shown. And it is true that they are still far less likely to become infected or -- or seriously sick from this. But I saw the same study. And it was a study of about 9 -- about 2,200 patients. And there was a 14-year-old boy, one child who died.

But they found that, while adults, about 20 percent of them will develop serious or critical illness, with kids, it was about 6 percent. So a lot lower, but not negligible. And as you mentioned, with infants and toddlers, about 11 percent of infants and toddlers who got the infection became seriously or critically ill.

So, it's -- it's -- they're at risk. I think we need to remember that. One of the studies also, Anderson, showed this. And I think it's really important in the context of all that's been going on. That four in five people, four out of five people who are confirmed to ever the coronavirus, contracted it from someone who didn't know they had it. Four in five people who got it got it from someone who didn't know they had it.

We all have to behave like we have the virus. That's -- that's the whole point I think we're learning from these studies.

COOPER: Let me repeat that. We all have to behave as if we have the virus. Can you just explain that?

GUPTA: You know, people keep saying -- asking, so how are we supposed to conduct our lives? What are we supposed to do differently? And we give all these sort of recommendations about washing hands, wiping surfaces and all that. And those are all good recommendations but I was thinking to myself over the last week, Anderson, how best to convey how to live your life.

I don't want this to be, again, alarmist. I think you and I are both intent on not alarming people. But if you believe you might have the virus, could be something through your hands, could be something you are carrying in some way, how would you not infect someone around you? What would you do to try and best reduce the chance of that happening?

Wiping surfaces. Making sure your hands are clean. Obviously, if you have any symptoms at all, isolating yourself. All those things. I mean, you just have to behave like you have it. It'll change how you -- how you interact with people and how you interact with your environment.

COOPER: Dr. Slavin, can you just explain for people who should and shouldn't be showing up at a hospital right now trying -- trying to get a test? I had a doctor offer me a test because I had a slight cough. I don't have a fever. I've -- so I said no because I think only tests should go for people who really show signs and symptoms.

SLAVIN: I think the only people who should be coming to hospitals who those -- are those who may need to be hospitalized. People with high fevers. People who are developing early signs of breathing difficulty.

People who have more mild symptoms should -- should stay at home. They should be in touch with their doctor. And there is really no reason, at this point, to test them.

We need to direct the limited number of tests to people who need to be admitted to hospitals so we know how best to care for them and cohort them. And we also need the tests for healthcare workers and other first responders so that they are not making a bad situation even worse.


SLAVIN: And we need to employ technologies like telemedicine so that we can continue to provide care to patients, particularly vulnerable patients, from -- from home. Telemedicine can, clearly, make -- continue care for those individuals and do it in a way that doesn't expose them to -- to being around other people.


Dr. Slavin, thank you so much for what you and all your nurses and doctors and technicians and everybody are doing. And, yes. Thank you for helping save people. We appreciate it.

SLAVIN: Thank you.

COOPER: Sanjay, we'll come back to you shortly.


COOPER: Coming up next, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio on whether New Yorkers will be asked to shelter in place and what the next steps are here. What needs to happen here and in the city where you may live. We'll be right back.



COOPER: Shockwaves were felt here in New York when our next guest said he was, quote, absolutely consider a shelter in place order. He is the mayor of New York City. Mayor Bill de Blasio. He joins me now.

Mayor de Blasio, thanks so much for being with us.

What is the most important thing you want people to know right now?

MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D), NEW YORK CITY: Anderson, I'm trying to help New Yorkers recognize that it's going to get a lot worse before it gets better. And I definitely want to talk to you about that shelter- in-place idea, which is basically the model you see in San Francisco right now.

But, even beyond that, what I'm really deeply concerned about is medical supplies. And then beyond that, even other basic supplies that people need in their lives. But the medical supply situation, Anderson, you're talking about ventilators, surgical masks, surgical gowns, really basic stuff that we're deeply concerned about where we're going to be in a few weeks.

And here's the problem. The federal government is absent in this discussion right now.


President Trump, at this point, is the Herbert Hoover of his generation. There is a massive national crisis going on and he is consistently late and very, you know, marginal in what he does. He is taking actions that are far, far behind the curve and aren't addressing the core concerns.

I'm talking about a massive number of new cases we expect of coronavirus. We're almost to 2,000 cases right now in New York City, alone. That's going to cause a surge into our hospitals. They are going to be using up their supplies, rapidly, in an unprecedented manner.

We've been appealing to the federal government to get us a resupply. And President Trump has not done anything to maximize the amount of medical supplies being produced, and to ensure they're distributed where they're needed the most in the United States.

COOPER: So you talked to the hospitals in New York City, the healthcare system in New York City, and they're going to run out in a matter of weeks, you're saying?

DE BLASIO: There are some products I'm worried about that it could be as soon as that. And -- I mean, looking at this surge, I mean, Anderson, you know, yesterday, we saw a jump of 100 cases. Today, we saw a jump of hundreds of cases, almost a doubling, overnight, over 1,800 now, pushing 2,000 cases in just this city. And this rate is just going to keep increasing.

I talked to head of our public health system, Dr. Mitch Katz. He's got enough supplies for the immediate future. But you're talking about a massive surge in demand. And we have been appealing, constantly, to the federal government to start a supply system that will actually help our hospitals survive an unprecedented surge in cases.

This is the problem.


DE BLASIO: Hospitals are going to have massive new demands, and things like surgical masks, you just burn through those in a normal day. Let alone in an emergency.

COOPER: Yes. You also -- the -- the shelter in place. What is the current thinking of that? I know you talked to Governor Cuomo about it. He -- he, last night, was indicating he doesn't think it works because other areas aren't doing it. So people from here go somewhere else.

DE BLASIO: Yes. I want to answer that. And Governor Cuomo and I spoke a few hours ago, Anderson.

Just one more point on the supplies and all. I just want to emphasize. President Trump has to mobilize the United States military to fully act in the coronavirus situation.

COOPER: You want the military in New York City setting up field hospitals in, what, Javits Centers things like that?


I want their medical teams, which are first rate. I want logistical support. I want their ability to get stuff from factories all over the country, where they need it most.

The only -- the only force in America that can do that effectively and quickly is the United States military and they're being sidelined right now by Donald Trump when he should be calling them to the front, this is the front right now.

COOPER: And you're not talking National Guard. You're talking about U.S. military.

DE BLASIO: I am talking about the United States military going the places where they can save the most Americans. And that's places like New York and Seattle and California, and soon, it's going to be a lot of other places.

Why are they building a wall? And why are they at their bases when they're needed right now -- they're ready to go. The military's ready to go. The president needs to give the order.


COOPER: So shelter in place. Should -- should -- should people shelter in place? Are you -- is that an order you're going to make?

DE BLASIO: What it means -- look. The best example, Anderson, is San Francisco right now, and that area of California. Millions of people.

That is a smart order. I urge every American to look at what San Francisco is doing. I think that's where it's going to be going for a lot of us.

It's very clear rules about staying home with only minimal activity. Get rid of all nonessential work and -- I mean, again, horrible human consequences in terms of people's livelihoods, but necessary to slow down the growth of this disease. It's a smart plan. That's where I think we should go.

I talked to the governor a couple much hours ago. He and I had good conversation. We're going to have a further conversation. He is trying to think about the needs of the whole state and how to balance this strategy, I respect that.

But I do think we -- we share urgency. And we're working together on a common approach.

COOPER: Mayor de Blasio, appreciate your time. Thank you.

DE BLASIO: Thank you, Anderson.

COOPER: Just ahead, it seems like this proved not everyone is heeding the guidance that could very well save lives. That's certainly not folks sheltering in place.

There are questions about social distancing and more about the coronavirus with two of our medical experts when we return.



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Is not everyone is certainly falling to the plea to self-distance. This is the scene (INAUDIBLE) earlier today, is just today on St. Simon's island off the Georgia coast. According to our Gary Tuchman, it's not just college students. families and the elderly as well. Many still at the beaches or in bars, still congregating groups of clearly more than ten. That's the limit the White House suggests in the guidelines on Monday.

For more on this and to here to answer your question about the coronavirus, we have Dr. Sanjay Gupta back with us, also joining us Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency room physician and formoer Baltimore Health Commissioner.

Sanjay, you see -- I mean those pictures the people on the beach, there you hear Dr. Birx, the White House task force saying they're seeing concerning numbers from France and Italy about young people getting seriously ill from coronavirus. How possible is it that young people are more at risk than previously thought? I mean -- because we've heard the -- I remember you talked I don't know if it was two weeks ago about even in what are considering some moderate cases overseas, some of those people who were young people have scarring of the lungs that --


COOPER: -- t goes on for the rest of their lives.

GUPTA: Yes. I mean there's two things that really jumped out at me. One is that, as you start to look at the patients in China especially who have recovered, you know, they had the infection and recovered. They're listed as recovered. But you're finding is that maybe the illness had more of an impact than we realized initially. And remember, this is new for all of us.


But what they found was some of them had 20 to 30% drop in lung function. So harder time, you know, getting out of breath, going upstairs or running down the street, whatever it might be. So that was one thing.

But also, they found that in kids that they typically while adults are hit much harder by this, they found that in adults about 20% have serious or critical disease. They found in kids, the number was close to 6%. So, you know, it's not negligible, that the kids are going to be affected by this get infected, and have significant disease, not as much as adults protected compared to adults. But something worth considering and remembering.

COOPER: You know, Dr. Wen, ever -- all of us being responsible, you know, for ourselves, our families, our friends. You know, that's good science. It's good citizenship, because we're not really putting somebody else at risk, let alone or ourselves a risk. But if something like shelter in place, I mean, you see these pictures, people on the beach, maybe some of them think oh, it's fresh air. You can go swimming, get some exercise. I mean, is that OK for large groups? I mean this picture just if you believe in social distancing I mean that's just the antithesis of it. What about you know, if you have shelter in place, should you be able to go like is going out running by yourself? Is that OK is going for a walk with your, you know, your partner, OK.

LEANE WEN, FMR BALTIMORE HEALTH COMMISSIONER: So much of social distancing, Anderson is common sense. I mean, it's not common sense to be sitting at a beach with tons of people around. It's not common sense to go play basketball, that's not social distancing. But going out for a walk alone or with your partner with your household who you live with, going out for a hike and making sure that you stay six feet away from other people. That's fine. And in fact, that's good. It's good for your physical well-being. It's good for you, your emotional well-being.

But looking at these pictures here, I mean, that's been a vacation. That's not social distancing. And I keep coming back to how this is such an extraordinary time and so many people are making so many sacrifices, health care workers are on the frontlines putting their own lives at risk. Kids not being able to go to school, people not been able to earn wages, it is time for us to think about all these other people around us for giving up so much more. And all these other people that we're trying to protect to, and this is our shared responsibilities. So, it's not that we're trying to take the fun out of everybody's lives, but it's use your common sense. And please, please do not congregate. This is not a vacation.

COOPER: Also Sanjay, I think it's important to point out, you know, we can all make decisions, but you don't have to wait for the government to say, you know what, you should not congregate in groups of more than 10. You should, you know, stay at home as much as possible. Like we can do this ourselves. That's a choice and, and you can make that decision. You have to wait to be told to do it.

GUPTA: Absolutely. Anderson. I mean, I think you know, what Leana is saying, and we've been saying I think all of us for some time. We are all in this together. I mean, there's going to be these recommendations, but the recommendations may seem somewhat arbitrary. Here's something that really struck me today, Anderson is that this idea that uncertainty should not lead to inaction. I think a lot of people are saying until we're more certain about this, you know, we're not really going to take action, I'm not going to believe it. We may not be certain about these things until things get a lot worse. That's too late. Uncertainty should not lead to inaction. I think to your point we need to be acting now. If we're going to try and get ahead of this Anderson,

COOPER: Yes. Doctors, please stick around. We're going to take questions from viewers in just a moment.

Also talking about what we're seeing in Italy and what it may mean for here. This is Italy's present right now and U.S. officials are hoping that with our current guidelines, it may not become America's future but you just heard the mayor of New York saying they are running out of supplies fast.



COOPER: With U.S. officials combating the coronavirus or trying to prevent or scenes like this in Italy. These pictures come to us from Rome. Today, Italy announced its biggest single day jump in new coronavirus cases, just 24 hours Italy recorded 4,207 new cases just in 24 hours.

Again more than 4,200 new cases in just 40 -- 24 hours. Doctors and nurses have been working around the clock or in many cases being infected due to lack of adequate protection. 475 people died in that same 20-hour -- 24 hour period in Italy, there are no funerals allowed now to avoid large gatherings of people, families can't bury their dead. All told in Italy, there have been so far more than 35,000 cases and almost 3,000 dead. Back with us Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Leana Wen. I mean Dr. Wen, those picture from Italy, you know, it's interesting, because we really haven't seen pictures from inside, you know, hospitals where, you know, right in the midst of things, Sanjay got a look and talking to doctors in the hospital the other day. But we really haven't seen the images of and we don't have, you know, pictures of funerals and things that normally make people kind of pay attention in a way. When you see what's happening in Italy, when you hear the stories of there are is that the way -- is that the track that we are on just behind?

WEN: It is if we -- yes, I mean it. If we don't do anything, which is not what's happening, we are doing something. We're actually putting all these other measures in place. But I think that this should be a stark warning to us that this is what could happen in the U.S. So we're not talking about months away, we're talking about it a couple of weeks.

This is what the U.S. could look like. And I think it really underscores why all these social distancing measures that we're trying to put into place now, as draconian and uncomfortable as they may be. This is what we're trying to avoid.

COOPER: You know, Sanjay, I heard the mayor saying he wants to see the military called in, in New York and other cities. Gail (ph) asked a question for you. We have a strategic oil reserves, she says to help keep our country prepare for disaster. Why don't we have a strategic health reserve with the necessary supplies, mask, gloves, gowns, respirator, et cetera? To be prepared for a health crisis? There is a reserve but what do we know about it?

GUPTA: Yes, I mean, there's this stockpile and it does have a certain amount of the supplies in there, for example, breathing machines, these ventilators that we keep talking about, there's around 10,000 of these ventilators. There's about 62,000 that are being used in the country at any given time. But that's not enough. You know, I mean, I think there's going to be real lessons learned from this Anderson.


I think that -- I think the bigger question now though, you know what, regardless whether you say we need to have a bigger stockpile sitting there is that we had a bunch of time and we really have had since the beginning of the year to be thinking about this.

And again, based on the federal government's own modeling, we knew what was going to be necessary and now mid-March, we're finally talking about buying these supplies. And when everyone keeps saying it's late in the game, that's what they mean.

COOPER: Well, also, other people, country want supplies too, so there's --

GUPTA: That's right. Everybody in the globe wants the supplies now.

COOPER: Yes. Dr. Wen, I mean Vivian (ph) wants to know, can the virus be carried into a home on shoes? WEN: It's possible. But this is certainly not the primary way that people are going to be infected with the new coronavirus. I would say, though, that if you work in a health care setting or if you're around people who have coronavirus, it's probably a good idea to take off your shoes before you enter the house, and then even more importantly once you come in to make sure you wash your hands because still the most likely place that you could have gotten exposed is through touching hard nonporous surfaces with your hands like doorknobs, elevator buttons and so forth.

COOPER: Yes. Dr. Wen, thank you so much. Sanjay, we'll see you and I'll see you tomorrow night, Sanjay for our CNN Facebook Global Town Hall, Coronavirus Facts and Fears to our international event from 8:00 p.m. to 10 p.m. eastern. Going to answer a lot of your questions, another chance to get questions answered from our medical experts about the pandemic. Again, CNN Facebook Global Town Hall tomorrow, 8:00 p.m. eastern, 8:00 to 10:00 p.m.

Still ahead, remembering a life lost to the virus and all the people who owed their life to the sacrifices that this man made.



COOPER: Well, each tonight starting tonight, we want to spend some time focusing on those who have lost their lives in this health crisis. So far there have been at least 145 deaths linked to coronavirus in the United States, 145 families who have been changed forever.

We're starting to learn about some of those lives lost and tonight, we want to tell you about two people. First, we remember tonight 84-year- old John Knox, a retired FDNY fire marshal. He died on Monday. He investigated hundreds of New York City fires over his nearly four decades with the Fire Department. What a career.

After September 11th terror attack, Knox came out of retirement. He didn't have to, he just put on his old, grabbed his gear, grabbed to pick axe and went down to ground zero to help find his fallen comrades at the World Trade Center.

Before joining the FDNY, Knox worked two years with the NYPD, served as a U.S. Marine in Korea. He was devoted to his country, city and his family. He's survived by his wife and four children and six grandchildren. His son Zach joins me right now. He's in self- isolation.

Zach, I'm sorry for your loss and your family's loss. Your dad just sounds like an extraordinary guy.

ZACHARY KNOX, FATHER DIED OF CORONAVIRUS: Thank you, Anderson. He was, he was. Talk about like a living legend and some of the stories you hear about him unless they've been verified by somebody else who is there, you wouldn't believe they're true. COOPER: Funny. So -- I mean -- so, is it -- was I right that 9/11 happens, he'd been retired for a couple of years and he -- I mean, he just did what he felt he had to do.

KNOX: Correct, correct, correct. The way the story went is he actually took his vehicle and all the gear that he still had remaining from his time with the FDNY and drove down to the battery, and made the trek from there all the way to ground zero, and he was down there for several weeks afterwards.

COOPER: Now, is it true you're supposed to return your gear but your dad was like, just bill me? I'm not getting this back. This is who I was -- who I am.

KNOX: Yes, pretty much, pretty much. He was like, you know, with all his investigations and he said that the coat, the helmet, he's like I'm keeping it. He said, yes, please, you can bill me for it.

COOPER: Good for him. When did you -- I mean, did you know what he had? I mean, what -- how did this hit?

KNOX: Well, one thing is, is that he actually -- I got the call from my younger sister then he went to the hospital. He wasn't feeling well for a few days prior. And what happened was he was a little bit dehydrated. He collapsed, and then my younger sister took him to the hospital at South Nassau. And I saw him the following day, I was actually about to leave for a work-related trip and I'm like, I'm dropping by the hospital, spend some time with him, and he was -- he looked normal, like someone who just maybe had a light flu. And then as I was returning home, and the plane hits the tarmac, I hear that he's not doing so well and then his breathing was impaired and he kind of went downhill from there.

COOPER: So from the time he started feeling sick to the time that he passed, how long was that?

KNOX: He almost spent about three weeks in the hospital.

COOPER: Wow. And how old was he?

KNOX: He was 84 years old. Young, I should say.

COOPER: Yes. I bet -- well, he looked in better shape than I am, jeez I'm 52.

KNOX: Yes. He was a very vibrant 84-year-old. I think people decades younger than that had trouble keeping up.

COOPER: He'd been going to the gym, I understand just until a couple of weeks ago.

KNOX: He used to make a joke that he started going to the gym at the age of 16 and then through basic training in Paris Island and he just never stopped.

COOPER: Wow. How do you want folks to remember your dad? I mean, obviously those who knew him and loved him are never going to forget him. He sounds like the kind of guy who always made a huge impact wherever he was. But how would you like the rest of us, just what else should we know?

KNOX: Well, a lot of things about him. I mean, he always kind of like -- he was a very -- it was kind of let -- not let his resume talk for him, but he was always very committed to being just a very -- just a man full of integrity. He lived and died by his word. That's the way he always was, and people loved him for it. And everybody love or hate him, always respected him. And not only that, it's just his career was just amazing. Not only being a Korean War Veteran. He also served in the Force Recon as well, too.



KNOX: And (inaudible) capacity (inaudible) was also with the PD, and then even his time as a fireman and fire marshal also like dealing with groups like FALN network in 1975 where they -- that bomb. He also -- I think someone mentioned that he -- he also arrested Abbie Hoffman. He also was with people on the investigation, weatherman underground.

COOPER: Oh really? Wow, that's really interesting

KNOX: Yes. And he had all these stories to tell. It was just amazing just to hear him and he was just a very kind and sweet man. All the people -- he always looked out for his man and the people around him.


KNOX: And so, if you needed him, he was there (inaudible).

COOPER: The weather underground, I think they blew up a building on 11th Street near where I live. And I walk by just the other day and I was reading up on it. I bet your dad was probably one of the people involved in the investigation on that.

Zach Knox, I'm sorry for your family, and -- but what a blessing to have had this man if your life for so long. And I appreciate you talking to us about him.

KNOX: Thank you very much. It's an honor to be on this show, and also for all the press, because unfortunately, everything going on with the coronavirus, you know, like he was not going to be able to receive the sendoff that I believe he deserves. So, this is a way to get his story out there and let them know about a life of very cherished New Yorker, basically a New York icon.

COOPER: Yes. He protected us all. Thank you, your dad, John Knox, he shall be missed. Thank you, thank you, Zach.

KNOX: All right. Thank you very much, Anderson.

COOPER: Thank you, Zach. KNOX: All right, thank you very much, Anderson.

COOPER: Also tonight I want to tell you about Richard Curren, a father of two, was a husband of 56 years. His widow Sheila tells our affiliate WPLG that he was perfect. They lived together in an assisted living facility in Fort Lauderdale until he suddenly fell ill late last week. According to the family the retired magician died early Tuesday morning of a respiratory infection connected to coronavirus. Just as with John, John Knox, it's unclear how he got coronavirus. They suspect community spread. They're urging everyone to take the virus seriously. Richard Curren was 77 years old. We'll be right back.



COOPER: Tomorrow night 8:00 p.m., our Town Hall. The news continues right now. I want to hand it over to Chris Cuomo for Prime Time. Chris for Cuomo Prime Time. Hey, Chris.