Return to Transcripts main page


75 Million Americans Ordered to Stay at Home; U.S. Coronavirus Cases Top 18,000, At Least 236 Deaths; Member of VP Pence's Staff Tests Positive for Coronavirus. Aired on 8-9p ET

Aired March 20, 2020 - 20:00   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: And good evening.

Tens of millions more Americans saw their world shrink to four walls or the walls of their homes, myself included. Someone on my team believes they may be positive for the coronavirus, and so, out of caution, I'm going to be broadcasting tonight from my house in New York.

I don't have any symptoms. I feel fine. It's just an abundance of caution to keep everybody around me and all -- everybody on our staff is going to be staying out of the office for a while.

People are now being asked to stay at home here in New York City. That was the big news in New York. Also in Connecticut, California, and Illinois.

Cases topped 18,000. A staffer for Vice President Pence testing positive. Questions continue about supplies, of course, and the president's demeanor and the president's statements.

A very busy night, ahead. Doctors on hand to take your questions as well.

But I want to begin with CNN's Erica Hill who's joining us from New York.

Erica, the announcement today, all over New York from Governor Cuomo. Talk about exactly what this means.

ERICA HILL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So what it means is starting Sunday night, this is an executive order, 100 percent of workers are supposed to stay home.

Now, essential workers are exempt. Those are things like healthcare workers, first responders, people who work in food services. The media is also exempt, so you may see us certain places outside, so I just want to give people that warning in advance.

And I should say, Mayor De Blasio here in New York City is praising this move by the governor. And he says that the governor will have his full support from the FDNY and NYPD. The governor says it will be enforced with both civil fines and mandatory business closures if businesses are open or have workers there when they're not supposed to, as of now, though, Anderson, no fines for individuals.

But it is just one of many areas changing tonight across the country.


HILL (voice-over): New promises from the White House.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have millions of masks, which are coming. And which will be distributed to the states. They will be here soon. We're having them shipped directly to states.

HILL: Critical supplies, now, on the way. Though, the president was light on specifics. It's not clear when they'll arrive, nor where the White House is getting them. States, meantime, are moving swiftly to try to contain the various.

GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): It's time for all of us to recognize, as individuals and as a community, we need to do more.

HILL: California telling the state's 40 million residents to stay home. While they can go out for food, medical appointments, even a jog, officials are urging people to limit the excursions and the interaction.

While New York's governor went even further, mandating all nonessential workers stay home starting Sunday night.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): We talked to people all across the globe about what they did, what they've done, what worked, what doesn't work. And that has all informed this policy. We need everyone to be safe. Otherwise, no one can be safe.

HILL: The governor is advising public transportation only if absolutely necessary. Any outdoor exercise must be done alone. Visits with loved ones, discouraged.

The strictest rules will apply to the most vulnerable. Those over 70, the immuno compromised, anyone with an underlying illness.

The governor warned the new rules are not optional.

CUOMO: Somebody wants to blame someone or complain about someone, blame me. If everything we do saves just one life, I'll be happy.

HILL: Neighboring Connecticut announcing similar measures Friday. As Illinois orders its residents to stay at home.

GOV. J.B. PRITZKER (D-IL): Left unchecked, cases in Illinois will rise rapidly.

HILL: In Florida, some counties are now closing beaches as the governor resists calls to do the same statewide.

SHERIFF MICHAEL A. ADKINSON JR., WALTON COUNTY, FLORIDA: You either think it's a liberal conspiracy, or that we're the jack booted thugs trying to take control of everything. So -- and the reality is that this is a science issue.

HILL: Illinois also issuing a stay-at-home order Friday afternoon.

As life comes to a halt, jobless claims skyrocketing. Economists at Goldman Sachs predict the next report will show 2.25 million Americans filed for unemployment in the past week.

MAYOR ERIC GARCETTI (D-CA): There is no question that people are going to be so hard hit.

HILL: Hotels, restaurants, airlines, all announcing layoffs after an unprecedented drop in demand. As nurses and doctors are called out of retirement to help and new restrictions limit movement, the reality of this pandemic is becoming more clear.

In New Jersey, one family has now lost four loved ones to coronavirus in a matter of days. Several more are in the hospital, 19 under quarantine.


ELIZABETH FUSCO, LOST 4 FAMILY MEMBERS TO CORONAVIRUS: It is absolutely surreal. It's like the second we start to grieve about one, the phone rings, and there is another person gone, taken from us forever.

HILL: The heartbreak of one family, a sobering reminder that changing daily life could, ultimately, save it.


COOPER: Erica, we all know how difficult it is for -- for all of us to actually get a test if we need it. Even with a doctor's -- doctor's recommendation. Are, at least, medical personnel able to get tested?

HILL: Well, you know, part of that sort of depends is definitely what I have been hearing from people. We can tell you, though, is we talk about all the issues not just of testing.

But, also, of the equipment here in New York City, the Department of Health is actually advising health facilities in the city to not test asymptomatic healthcare workers or first responders who may have come in contact with somebody because, Anderson, they need to preserve that PPE, the personal protective equipment. They are concerned that if they are using too much of it, they are going to run out.

So that just sort of puts in perspective for you, too, where we are at in terms of equipment. And they also mentioned in that letter to health facilities that they were concerned about swabs and testing.

COOPER: Wow. Erica Hill, appreciate it. Thanks. Stay safe.

I want to go to now our doctors. Thankfully, Dr. Sanjay Gupta is with us, and also, Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency room physician. Also, former health commissioner for the city of Baltimore. Sanjay, so the staffer for the vice president testing positive. What

does that mean for the vice president? I mean, should he, then, go into quarantine?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, they say that the vice president -- what I read from that statement -- did not come in contact with this person. This is -- this is one of those things where, you know, you got to look at the situation, and basically try and determine was this a high-risk situation, medium-risk, or low- risk? And -- and it's going to be medium or high considering that the person has tested positive.

But then they want to figure out how much contact did anybody have with this person? Was the person who tested positive symptomatic at the time they were at the office? Were they coughing and sneezing? Things like that. Then they make recommendations based on that.

If it's high risk, the person, you know, was coughing, and sneezing, symptomatic and positive, then the people who came in direct contact will likely have to go into quarantine for some time. Medium risk is sort of a little bit more up to the judgment of the physician. Sometimes they may recommend a short quarantine like 72 hours like you remember, Anderson, they did with those congressmen. And then they obviously monitor contacts for symptoms.

So these guidelines do keep changing a bit but that's the current guideline. So, it should not mean anything for the vice president if he didn't come in contact with him or her.

COOPER: So -- so we now have -- I -- you know, a couple days ago, they were calling shelter in place, although that seems sort of wrong. So, we're -- I think you and I talked about last night just stay at home orders. Stay at home orders in New York, Connecticut, California, Illinois.

Is this enough? Is this going to be effective?

GUPTA: Well, look. You know, Anderson, I mean, this is one of those things. And, you know, as I said last night even, I don't take any joy in saying that I think this is not enough.

I mean, you know, the idea that you have these states, you know, New York and California, big states certainly doing this, I think is important. But you know, viruses don't stop at the border. You know?

I mean, the idea that this virus is in the United States, that it's spreading. That it's spreading, probably, in other communities we haven't gotten really a sense of that because of inadequate testing. I think that's all true.

And we know, Anderson, again, as we have talked about for a couple of weeks now, and Dr. Wen has talked about this, as well, is that if you're going to do these policies, if you are going to practice, you know, really implement social distancing, physical-distancing, measures and do some of the things that are happening in New York, where you are, and California -- you got to do it now. You got to do it early.

You got to do it consistently. You got to do it honestly. People have to be honest about it. And you have to do it diligently.

I get the impression people are waiting and when they wait, the same -- the same measures won't have as much impact and it's just going to drag this out longer and longer.

COOPER: Dr. Wen, I mean, you are an emergency room physician. You know, God only knows how much you've seen in emergency rooms in your career. Do you have a sense of -- I am trying to get a sense of what doctors are seeing every day in hospitals. What they are like.

I mean, I have plenty of friends who are doctors who are, you know, seem very, very concerned. They're asking, you know, friends if they have any extra masks that they can donate to the -- to the hospitals.

How dire is it? It's hard to get a sense when you're outside, you're not seeing it inside, you know, cameras aren't inside the -- inside, you know, the -- the hospital wards dealing with this.

DR. LEANA WEN, EMERGENCY ROOM PHYSICIAN: Anderson, it's really shocking because what we're seeing now, in the U.S., mirror what we saw in China two months ago. Just that we couldn't have imagined that this would happen in the U.S.


I mean, two months ago, we were hearing about Chinese nurses who had to reuse their face masks for days. Or doctors who were trying to make their own gowns out of raincoats and ponchos. And now, I am seeing the same threads happen in the U.S. where my colleagues are begging, over social medium, for people to donate personal protective equipment to them.

I mean, that should just not be happening. We would never send our soldiers into war without armor and make them buy their own ammunition. But that's what's happening here.

And I am having colleagues who are talking about that they're afraid to go home for fear that they will spread COVID-19 to their loved ones. So we need a lot more action by the federal government. We just can't keep hearing that we hope that we will get more supplies soon, because soon is not a timeline. More is not a quantity. And hope is not a strategy.

COOPER: Yes. Yes. I mean, I've -- since Katrina, hope is not a plan. You know, people use that word efforting a lot. Oh, yes, we're efforting this.

Efforting, first of all, it's not a real verb, I don't think. And efforting to me means it's not here. It's not useable. It's not ready. It's somewhere, maybe, in the pipeline. But, you know, maybe just a pipe dream.

Sanjay, I want to play something from the coronavirus task force today, because, you know, for all the talk the president kind of now rising to the occasion. Of course, the -- we see, as time goes on, that sort of wears thin very quickly. He gets testy very quickly. He lashes out, you know, at a reporter today for, you know, a complete softball question.

He also, now, seems to be fixated on a -- a medicine which we talked about last tight night in the in the town hall, we asked Dr. Fauci about. Dr. Fauci was asked about an antiviral treatment for patients with coronavirus. Let's listen.


REPORTER: Dr. Fauci, this was explained yesterday. There has been some promise with hydroxychloroquine, potential therapy for people who were infected with coronavirus. Is there any evidence to suggest that, as with malaria, it might be used as a prophylaxis against COVID-19?

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: The answer is no and the evidence you are talking about, John, is anecdotal evidence. As the commissioner and president mentioned yesterday, we are trying to strike a balance with making something of a potential of an effect to the American people, available at the same time that we do it under the auspices of a protocol that would give us information to determine if it's truly safe and truly effective.

TRUMP: I'm a big fan. We'll see what happens. And we all understand what the doctor said is 100 percent correct. It's early.

But we've -- you know, I've seen things that are impressive. And we'll see. We're going to know soon.


COOPER: I mean, is it really -- I mean, is it appropriate -- I mean, I know it's not appropriate. It just seems inappropriate for the president of the United States to be sort of like a commentator on a sports game about, you know, the health of Americans. Sort of maybe it'll work. Maybe it doesn't. There's no evidence. But I got a gut feeling about it.

And Dr. Fauci's standing there saying, you know, there's no evidence.


COOPER: There's anecdotal. But just because you're, you know, my friend down the street says, oh, yes, it works, it doesn't mean anything.

GUPTA: I mean, look, yesterday the president said this was a new drug that had been approved for coronavirus. It has not. It's not a new drug and it's not been approved for coronavirus.

He said it could be a game changer and Dr. Fauci, as you mentioned, said, well, there's only anecdotal evidence, at best, around this. It was a remarkable press conference today because obviously, you know, one person is saying, look, I got my feeling about this, my gut instinct. It's not scientifically based. It's not evidence based but it's how I feel.

Then Dr. Fauci coming up and saying, look, I'm a scientist. Here's what we're going to do. Maybe it's going to show promise. Maybe not.

We're going to test it. That's what we're going to do. And if it doesn't work, we'll move onto something else. We'll fail quickly at least.

But, you know, it was really striking. It was really this collision. I got to tell you, Anderson. You know, there was another trial started one week after the first patient was diagnosed with coronavirus. It involved two HIV drugs. You may have heard about this trial.

A lot of promise behind that one, as well. But, unfortunately, on Wednesday, two days ago, the trial results came back and it wasn't effective. That's why you do science, you know, so you don't have to waste your time possibly giving people something that's not going to work and could cause some harm.

So -- but it was really fascinating to see Dr. Fauci fact check, on the fly, what was going on there today.

COOPER: Yes. Dr. Wen, it just -- again, I was just flabbergasted that I'm not sure why the president feels the need to comment on -- on things that are just scientifically not factual. I mean, again, he's got really good people around him. Let them -- like, just stick to the science.

WEN: That's exactly right. And we've seen this from the beginning, though, that he's wanted to paint this much rosier picture than what may actually be happening. But I think the American people really just want to know the truth. We want to know the facts.

We want to know what do we know, what do we not know, and what are the actions that are going to be taken? And I think that's what we should all be doing going forward. Leading with the facts and the science and the truth.

COOPER: Doctors, appreciate it. We'll talk to you later on and we're going to be taking questions from our viewers. So many people with questions. We're going to give you facts, not hunches, not things we just kind of think sound right, facts, coming up. Not falsehoods.

Also, Drew Griffin's going to be investigating -- investigating the testing. I mean, I know you all know that there's not enough testing. We all know this. But, you know, this country was attacked by some force and the defense that we had still wasn't up and operational.

You know, people would be fired. Heads would roll. People would be outraged about this.

The fact that this country, with all the power, all the money, all the capabilities it has, all the public health systems it has, does not have enough testing at this point, after weeks and weeks and weeks of, you know, nods and promises from -- from, you know, from the -- the top people in the White House on down, is just an outrage. Drew Griffin's going to look into more on exactly what went wrong, and this can't happen.

We're going to have another pandemic down the road sometime. And we got to learn lessons and we got to start learning them right now.

We're going to take a short break. We'll have a report from the White House coming up.



COOPER: Interesting briefing today. The coronavirus task force. The president, as you know, has over the last couple days, been showing up at those briefings, front and center. Often, introducing people and kind of riffing in a -- well, in the way that he does about possible medications, possible cures, possible treatments.

And he's short on specifics. Though, he makes, often, very -- very bold statements.

I want to play you a -- an exchange he had with our -- our Kaitlan Collins where she tried to pin -- pin him down on some actual numbers about ventilators and what's being done to get more ventilators made. Let's take a look.


REPORTER: This is important. You haven't actually directed any companies to start making more ventilators or masks. Correct?

TRUMP: I have. I have, yes. I have.

REPORTER: How many?

TRUMP: A lot. They're making a lot of ventilators and they're making a lot of masks.


COOPER: Joining us, "New York Times'" Maggie Haberman. She's CNN political analyst, and David Gergen, whose bipartisan West Wing experience goes back, well, to the Nixon administration.

Maggie, just two days ago, I think people were kind of saying, oh, well, the president's tone was more appropriate. He seemed, you know, to be taking this seriously, which he had been nothing but really dismissive for the long -- for the longest time about it, saying, you know, well, it will probably go away in April. It's going to miraculously disappear. There are 15 cases. They're all feeling better. It'll pretty much end after that. It's not going to cost a lot of money.

All of which have proven false, of course. And there were plenty of people who knew, at the time, that that would not be the case. He is now front and center on this.

I'm wondering what we make of that exchange where, you know, a simple question as well, okay, you talked to companies to get them to produce more. What companies have you talked to? Yesterday or two days ago, they gave a whole long list of companies they had spoken with. And now, the president's saying, oh, yes, a lot.

Is there any evidence of this?

MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: No, Anderson, there isn't. And I give a lot of -- a lot of kudos to Kaitlan for sticking with the very specific question there that she was trying to ask. The president gave at least three different answers to that same question throughout that briefing. It is not clear that he has actually asked companies or ordered companies to do anything.

What is happening is that companies seem to be agreeing to do certain things. But that is not the same thing as using the Defense Production Act that he did -- he did sign. But he has not invoked even though he kept saying that he did. And you referenced something, at the top, about the fact that in the first couple days, the president was getting praised for his tone.

I think what was notable about what he was doing in the first two days is that, more often than not, the quality of the information he was giving was -- was solid. He was actually sticking to the facts. So forgetting about whether he was somber or yelling at reporters because that was always going to come back no matter what.

But in the last two days, what you've seen is him veering away from that. You have seen him suggesting that reporters whose -- whose outlets his outlets reporters were expelled from China a day earlier were siding with China against the U.S. in terms of dealing with the fallout from this virus. Today, he made all kinds of unfounded claims about medicine that may be used. But that Dr. Fauci made clear has a long way to go before it could be. And the president sounded a lot more boosterish.

The longer he is out there, less effective it seems and I guess I don't understand why he is standing at the podium seven days a week. There were surely other people who can do it.

COOPER: Well, I don't have any inside knowledge. You have far more than I do. But just from a news standpoint, I mean, this is -- the president, David Gergen, is somebody who knows where the news cycle is. He has a great radar for this, this is probably his greatest specialty. He's, you know, he's finely tuned antennae like an ant, and can sense vibrations from far away.

And he knows that Dr. Fauci and some of the other people involved in this process are starting to look good, and are seen as credible and their star is rising a little bit. He even commented to Dr. Fauci in, you know, at a briefing that Dr. Fauci's becoming very famous, or words to that effect.

And we know this president -- that's -- to me, and I'm just guessing, it seems like that's why he is now front and center.


I mean, he's just standing there introducing people because this is where the news cycle is and he wants to be in front of it after days and weeks of, frankly, incredibly harmful misinformation.

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Anderson, I think what's happened is that he made this U-turn. He's much more serious earlier in the week. And it's shown up in the polls. There two polls out now that, for the first time, have him above 50 percent in approval on how he's handling this -- this virus question.

An ABC poll has him up 12 points from where he was only a month ago and his handling of it. So, I think that was working, and why he reverted to form today is a mystery. Why he would smear the press, yet again, which does not help him. It only divides.

And why he would engage in -- you know, sugar coating and holding out probably false hope about this miracle drug that has actually been on the market for quite a long time to take care of malaria.

You know, presidents don't sell snake oil very well. And he would be far better off to take a page from the Pentagon, which learned long ago, especially after Vietnam, how to handle the press. Now, sort of standard practice at the Pentagon, the secretary of defense comes out and frames an issue for the press. But then he turns it over to the generals to talk about the tactics and the -- and the strategy and to get more down in the weeds. And -- and they are very believable. And it works for the Pentagon.

I think -- and, in fact, if he could just turn over all the medical side of this to Fauci, who is terrific. And just frame the general, he would be so much better off and the country wouldn't be as confused.

I think when you confuse people, it also gives them incentive to say maybe this is not so serious at all. Maybe there's this miracle drug around the corner. Why don't we just go to the beach and just have a good time? It's all going to pass. It's all a hoax anyway.

COOPER: Maggie, you wrote -- you tweeted earlier today and said, quote, some administration officials say there was a week and a half period after Pence took over where the White House response was functioning better. Then additional cooks (ph) stepped in and the president wanted more visibility.

I mean, it's about visibility, isn't it?

HABERMAN: A lot of it is. And, Anderson, when you were listing, you know, the number of people who have gotten applause for how they have handled their moments at the podium, you missed one and that was Mike Pence. And I think when we started seeing the president, it was, I believe, Sunday when he first came out. And that was the last night that we really saw Pence speaking a lot.

The president spoke. He said fake news. He listed off a bunch of companies. He was angry about -- I don't even remember what news story it was. But he was angry about something. He didn't really take questions and then he left.

And Pence was then left to talk about the barebones facts of what was taking place in the response. And he was seen pretty broadly as effective at doing it and I don't think it's a coincidence that the president has been much more visible at the podium ever since.

Look, there were some complaints from some quarters about how Pence was doing when he took over. There were certainly concerns. I think a lot of governors have since said that they found him to be pretty easy to work with and they appreciated it and thought he was responsive.

But then you had Pence's office ask Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law and advisor, to help merge (AUDIO GAP) operations of the White House and of the vice president's office because the vice president's very small team was getting overwhelmed trying to respond to questions, and everything was going through them at that point.

From there, Jared Kushner took on a much bigger role. And then, from there, the president wanted to come out and take an even bigger role. It made sense, according to a lot of experts, to have this task force based out of the White House, in a way that it hadn't been before. Before Azar, Alex Azar, the HHS secretary, had been running it.

But there are now so many cooks involved, so many people who are involved in it that it's just hard to know exactly what's coming from where.

COOPER: Yes, Maggie, David Gergen, appreciate it. Thanks.

When we come back, we are going to take a look at what is the holdup with the testing? More tests are certainly available. That is certainly good news. There's a lot more than there were. But we are going to take a look at what happened and what the problems are now.

We'll be right back.



COOPER: Welcome back. I'm broadcasting from my house. Somebody on our staff believes that they may have coronavirus. We're waiting to hear results. I'm just out of an abundance of caution. I'm going to broadcasting from my home at least for the time being.

We have been taking a look at the testing, the issues that have been doing on for quite. And we all know there's been problems from the get-go. There's been a lot of promises about a million tests being sent out and then millions more. And then if you went to your doctor, with the doctor's permission anybody could get a test, once the doctor's permission. That wasn't true.

Any way, we are where we are. Wanted to look at where the status is right now. So CNN's Drew Griffin has been looking into that. Let's take a listen to his report. Drew?


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): How did the United States end up in this position with a desperate shortage of coronavirus tests, a shortage of supplies to administer these tests, even a shortage of protective equipment for medical workers? The U.S. Government knew the virus was coming back in the beginning of January. On January 8th, when the CDC published an emergency health advisory on a reported cluster of pneumonia of unknown origin in Wuhan, China. Medical experts tell CNN, the Trump administration failed to act at this critical time.


JEREMY KONYNDYK, CENTER FOR GLOBAL DEVELOPMENT: What we see is the lack of preparation over the last two months has now put us in a terrible position.

GRIFFIN: In late January, the first U.S. case of coronavirus was identified in Washington State. But while Chinese officials began locking down the city of Wuhan, President Trump was in Davos, Switzerland, telling the world that China's problem would not be the world's pandemic.

TRUMP: We have a totally under control.

GRIFFIN: Trump barred most non-U.S. citizens from flights coming in from China but behind the scenes, mistakes were already being made. As the numbers climbed to 35,000 cases worldwide, the CDC was creating its own coronavirus tests, a slower process that included sending the test to public health labs to make sure the test would work. Those public labs found out the test was flawed.

SCOTT BECKER, CEO, ASSOCIATION OF PUBLIC HEALTH LABORATORIES: So they immediately reported that and CDC began an investigation very quickly, but more and more labs as they were verifying this through the coming days also found the same problem.

GRIFFIN: But three crucial weeks testing was at a near standstill, while the CDC tried to fix the problem, and the U.S. health system was flying blind. The virus spreading across America and U.S. health officials had no way to test for it.

KONYNDYK: That kept us from having visibility on domestic transmission of the virus for weeks and weeks and weeks.

GRIFFIN: When the CDC's new test was finally fixed and ready there weren't enough to fill demand.

This letter shows public health laboratories begging the FDA to relax restrictions and allow them to create their own tests. It happened within days, but in a race to contain it, the virus was well ahead.

By March 6, there are 100,000 cases worldwide and more confusion from the administration. TRUMP: Anybody that wants to test can get a test.

GRIFFIN: When the President said these words across the country shortages were everywhere. Today, the shortages of tests include just about everything needed to administer the test.

DR. CATHY SLEMP, WV PUBLIC HEALTH OFFICER: There are shortages on many pieces of it.

GRIFFIN: Public health officials say it just didn't need to be this bad. Two years earlier, the White House made another potentially dangerous mistake, laying aside the pandemic Response Unit within the National Security Council. So the White House says the same roles exist just under different titles. The team President Obama had bolstered to combat global pandemics after Ebola outbreak was gone.

Critics say that Trump administration decision hampered efforts with coronavirus.

KONYNDYK: I think it made us slower and it made us more prone to mistakes.

GRIFFIN: Jeremy Konyndyk used to run foreign disaster assistance for USAID says all the shortages from testing, to swabs, to masks can in part be traced back to that one.

Beth Cameron, who under Barack Obama ran the pandemic Response Unit says there is no doubt.

BETH CAMERON, FORMER SENIOR DIRECTOR, WH NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL: But what we have gotten more out of this if the office had still been intact, I think absolutely.

GRIFFIN: The President who alternately said he didn't know anything about disbanding the pandemic team and also defended it now denies his coronavirus response has been anything but perfect.

TRUMP: We were very prepared and the only thing we weren't prepared for was the media.

GRIFFIN: Drew Griffin, CNN, Atlanta.


COOPER: And joined now by Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Dr. Leana Wen. I mean Sanjay the idea that the only thing they weren't prepared for it was the media is I mean, it would be laughable if this was not a deadly pandemic. It's just pathetic, actually, right now. The testing can you just explain? I'm sorry, go ahead?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: I just got -- you know, one thing I was going to say and I think this is an important point is that some of the data, and this is the thing that I, you know, I've been so focused on the last few weeks is the number of hospital beds, the number ICU beds, the number of breathing machines ventilators that were necessary, that are necessary is based on the federal government's own modeling. OK, this is their data, they have an idea for a moderate pandemic, not even a severe pandemic, for a moderate pandemic. What was going to be necessary, even after you start to mitigate the spread and make a moderate pandemic, what was going to be necessary?

And when they bought that time, because they had these large quarantines in China, when they bought that time because they quarantine passengers coming out of Wuhan, the time should have been used to prepare and that's the part that I think is going to end up being one of the most frustrating things in all this, as patients go to these hospitals, not able to get some of these critical resources to help treat them, to help save their lives. That could have been done. I mean, that's, you know, maybe it's one of those things that we'll analyze more carefully later. But I got to tell you, Anderson, that part should have been handled.

COOPER: In Dr. Wen, I mean the fact that at this point, nobody in a position of authority will say or can say, you know what? It's going to be in place five days from now.


GUPTA: Right.

COOPER: It's going to be in place two weeks from now. It's not, it's all this sort of endless, happy talk of, well, at the direction of the President. We have sent a strong response. I mean, every time Vice President Pence says at the direction of the President, you know, it's clearly why he's doing that, because he has to, you know, constantly show deference to the President. But no one can just give a date. And just stand up or and say, you know, yes, it's not right. You know, Dr. Fauci has come close saying that, you know, we're not where we need to be on testing, but no one can say, when we will be there.

DR. LEANA WEN, EMERGENCY ROOM PHYSICIAN: That's right. And we don't need to hear the blame. And let's figure out what happens. Let's move forward. I mean, we have to navigate from where we are now. But at least let's set a timeline. And the timeline needs to be when these tests will physically be in the hands of clinicians, who can then administer it to their patients. Don't want to hear more about millions of tests being made, when at the end of the day, it's about when our frontline providers will be able to access these tests to make clinical decisions and to guide public health decisions.

COOPER: Right. Again, I mean, I don't want to keep harping on this, because obviously, the President is facing a very difficult task, but it's been made more difficult by the fact that he didn't believe it for a long time. And though he stopped people from coming from China, or flights coming from China, which was certainly a good move, and he says he was criticized at the time, and the, you know, good for him for doing it. He also sat around with diamond and silk, praising, you know, praising how famous they'd become and talking about, you know, that this could just miraculously disappear come April from our shores. So, you know, for him to not even be able to say how many companies he actually talked to, to make -- and telling them to make more ventilators which he claims he's done, but he can't say how many companies he's actually talked to just saying many. It makes a lot of people believe he's just really riffing and not actually getting telling the truth because what he wants to actually name companies seems to have no problem tweeting about specific companies.

We're going to take a short break. When we come back we're going to take your questions for Dr. Gupta and Dr. Wen. What do you want to know about the virus? We're be right back.



COOPER: And we're back. We're taking your questions. Dr. Sanjay Gupta is here and Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency room physician, also the former Health Director in in Boston City of Baltimore.

First question from -- Sorry, I'm doing the show from my iPhone and I just logged out of this. First question, this comes from Facebook, from Chica (ph) in Nigeria. She writes, how soon can we have the results of the first phase of the ongoing vaccine trials? Sanjay?

GUPTA: You know, so we met the one of the patients, the first patients in the trial last night, Anderson, you remember Neil?


GUPTA: So that I think there's 45 patients, all sort of 18 to 55 years old. It's going to be about six weeks. I think they get two shots over a period of six weeks. And then probably a little bit of time after that to actually look at the data. So my guests as the next probably two to three months, we'll probably see phase one results come back. There's still phase two and phase three after that.

COOPER: Yes, I mean, when people hear six weeks that sounds really soon worse. I mean, even if it's really fast paced and fast tracked, you're still looking at is it true still looking at 18 months or so?

GUPTA: Yes, I mean, you know, originally Dr. Fauci said, you know, maybe a year would be would be fast, you know. I think when people are asking the question they want to know, when could I possibly get the vaccine? So maybe a year before the results come in, but then you got a manufacturer and scale that up so probably 18 months before people could actually benefit from the vaccine.

COOPER: Right. Well, let's hope it's better than the getting the testing because we all know that's -- how that's been.

Dr. Wen, we have a question that came in on Facebook. Michelle wants to know, what advice would you give us nurses as we prepare to treat so many patients suffering with coronavirus? You know, doctor has been getting a lot of shout outs and you're both doctors and we love you. But I do just want to give a special shout out to the nurses and like X-ray technicians, lab technicians, all these folks who just, you know, make everything possible and/or just doing heroic work. But what's your advice Dr. Wen to nurses? WEN: Well, I also want to add my thanks to her and to all the frontline health care workers out there who are putting their lives on the line every day. I'd say, please take care of yourself. I know this is hard, especially as we're talking about the lack of protective equipment for nurses. But please take care of your physical health. Please take care of your mental health and the health of loved ones around you. And for those who are watching, who know a health care worker, a respiratory therapist, a pharmacist, a technician, doctor, nurse, et cetera please reach out to them and say thank you.

And I just want to mention a social media campaign that's been circulating that breaks my heart and inspires me at the same time. And it's, "I stayed at work for you. You stayed -- Please stay at home for me."

COOPER: Yes, and we've seen some amazing pictures. We showed some of them the town hall last night. We would probably, I don't know, I don't think we're showing them right now. We really don't have our staff, everybody on our entire staff is doing the show from their homes as well. So it's the first home produced a show that that we've done. So we don't have as many pictures as we -- or videos we normally were.

We're going to take another short break. We're going to have more questions from our viewers. And also I got a question for Dr. Gupta on behalf of my entire staff. And I think a lot of people out there will be wondering if you come in contact with somebody who believes they tests, are going to test positive but we've taken the test and is waiting. What exactly should you do? We'll ask Dr. Gupta that when we come back.



COOPER: Hey, welcome back. We're taking your questions to Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Dr. Leana Wen. Sanjay, I got a question. This is from Laura Kaman (ph) on Facebook. She wants to know, how do you effectively quarantine if you have family, kids, and pets. And I'm going to toss on my own question on top of that which is if someone you work with or someone you know friend has tested positive or taking the test thinks they have it, should you -- what do you do? Do you self-quarantine? Do you, for how long even if it's not sure if they're positive yet or and even if they're definitely positive and, you know, been around them a little bit just casually should you self-quarantine?

GUPTA: Right. Well so with the first question, I mean, if you're trying to quarantine inside your own house, it can be challenging obviously, if it's small quarters, but you do have to set aside a place, you know, a room or something that you can sort of call your own, make sure you're using your own utensils and try and, you know, keep physical distance as much as possible. I know it's challenging sometimes in houses more so obviously from the humans and the pets, animals, maybe the vector for this but it's unlikely that with this coronavirus it transmitted to your pets. With regard to the second question, two different scenarios. So if you've been around somebody who has been known, has tested positive for the coronavirus, it depends a little bit on, were they sick and symptomatic at the time that you were spending time with them, that would put you in a higher risk category. If they were not, you'd be in a medium risk category, at which point you should monitor for your own symptoms. And see if you develop any.


Some doctors -- and it's a bit arbitrary here, but some doctors would recommend quarantine for 72 hours. If the person is under investigation, but not tested positive, I think you just got to wait for that test to come back. There's really nothing to do until that test comes back. I mean, if the person was clearly symptomatic, and you're really worried that the person is going to come back positive, then you should probably go ahead and quarantine yourself.

Look, these are guidelines that change -- literally they change on a regular basis on the CDC website. So we've been putting it together ourselves to try and provide the best guidance, but really the key -- the highest risk situation is someone who is positive and symptomatic. If you had prolonged contact with somebody like that, you should definitely quarantine and pass, and if you develop symptoms, get tested.

COOPER: All right, Sanjay, Dr. Wen, thank you so much.

Up next, the latest developments in coronavirus crisis. 75 million Americans right now living in four states have been told to stay home as much as possible. Don't go to work, unless you're in an absolutely essential industry. If you work in a hospital. If you're working in a food supply, grocery store, food delivery, pharmacies, stay at home, isolate yourself three to six feet from people if you do go out at all. Also remember the Vice President Staff testing positive for the virus, all the latest developments when we come back.