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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Field Hospital Built In NYC's Central Park; Gov. Ned Lamont (D- CT) Is Interviewed About The Coronavirus Crisis; NYC Mayor: 1,200 Staff, 750 Beds From Hospital Ship Comfort To Be Put To Use Immediately; New One-Day Record Of At Least 519 U.S. Deaths Reported Today: Total Dead Nearing 3,000; Remembering The Victims. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired March 30, 2020 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: And good evening, everyone.
Today was the deadliest day yet in the coronavirus pandemic. According to CNN health, 519 people died in this country. That's in one day.
Now, to put this new number in perspective, the total number of deaths from this pandemic is currently 2,948. That means that about one in every six deaths happened today. The virus is clearly gaining momentum and it is going to get much worse.
On Sunday, Dr. Anthony Fauci told my colleague Jake Tapper even with current stay at home orders, we could see between 100,000 and 200,000 deaths in this country. We did caution that is a moving target, that the modeling for virus is imperfect. Still, total cases now at 160,010 and rising. More than three quarters of Americans are now under stay at home orders.
The governors of New York and California put out a call for more healthcare workers today. Meanwhile, states saying they are still short a wide array of medical supplies, from gowns and masks, to major medical equipment. Hard to believe that, in this country, we're short of the medical equipment, even hospital gowns and supplies and masks that doctors and nurses so desperately need. It's unimaginable.
This morning, on CNN, the lieutenant governor for Louisiana said they may soon run out of ventilators, as early as this weekend.
President Trump had new announcements today on testing, both an increase in the amount and speed of testing. We'll have more on that tonight.
But as always, we want to keep our eyes first on the public health and those fighting to preserve it on the front lines.
Erica Hill joins us first from New York City with the latest.
Erica, you're in Central Park. An extraordinary scene there today. A field hospital being set up in New York Central Park. ERICA HILL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. It's a little tough to
wrap your head around. Just behind me, it's a little dark. You can't see at this hour.
But I was in those tents earlier and this is just one of a number of facilities that is either being built or converted in New York and possibly we could see this happening around the country, Anderson, as this country does its best to take care of the growing number of coronavirus patients.
HILL (voice-over): Help arriving in New York with the Navy hospital ship Comfort. A thousand beds on board to help ease overcrowding in the city's hospitals. In Central Park, a new field hospital reserved for those with the virus, as the governor pleads for more help.
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): If you don't have a healthcare crisis in your community, please, come help us in New York now. We need relief. We need relief for nurses who are working 12-hour shifts, one after the other after the other. We need relief for doctors. We need relief for attendants. And we will return the favor.
HILL: Healthcare workers may be welcome but from New England to Texas, officials increasingly wary of travelers, mandating self-quarantine for those crossing state lines. Hot spots like Chicago, Detroit, and New Orleans continue to see a spike in cases and are sounding the alarm.
DR. ROBERT HART, CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER, OSCHER HEALTH: We're adding 50 patients a day into our hospitals. And many of those are critical care.
HILL: Those on the front lines are facing new challenges to providing care and comfort.
ANTHONY ALMOJERA, EMS LIEUTENANT PARAMEDIC, FDNY: When he realized that his wife had passed away and we did everything we could. And then, afterwards, I went to tell him and normally, I would put my arm around him. But this time around, I had to keep distance. For the first time in my 17-year career, I went back inside the truck and cried.
HILL: The numbers are also rising among first responders, nearly a thousand positive cases at the NYPD. Five employees have died. And despite repeated calls to stay home, some Americans continue to put others at risk.
LT. GOV. BILLY NUNGESSER (R), LOUISIANA: We've got a pastor here, outside of Baton Rouge, driving around picking up people to go to church. Until people heed this warning, we're not going to get on top of this.
HILL: The nation's top infectious disease expert warns this virus is coming. DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY &
INFECTIOUS DISEASES: There are a number of areas in the country that have relatively few cases. Those are the ones that are vulnerable and dangerous. Those are timbers that can turn into big fires.
HILL: Fires that spread with alarming speed.
CUOMO: We've been behind this virus from day one. You have the scientists and the data projections showing you a curve. The curve goes like this. You're over here. Prepare for the high point of the curve, and do it now.
COOPER: The field hospital, I understand, that we mentioned, they built that, I understand, in like 48 hours. What's it like?
HILL: Yes, it's pretty remarkable. We went down in there today. We went into the respiratory care unit. The ICU, essentially. It was set up, as you mentioned, in 48 hours.
This is the first time that Samaritans' Purse, who is deploying this field hospital, has had to do so in the U.S., they told us. And it's also the first time they have been running two field hospitals at once. They have one that's operating in Italy and they're learning from that about what they need to do for coronavirus patients.
This field hospital behind me has 68 beds. In the ICU, though, there are just ten. That will be a hot zone, they said. So, staff coming in and out will have to dress outside, Anderson.
There is one ventilator for each patient. Patients coming to this hospital, again, this is only for coronavirus patients, will most likely come from the outer boroughs of New York City, so not necessarily Manhattan but more the Bronx and Queens and possibly Brooklyn.
And what was interesting, too, is the nurse team leader who we spoke with. I said are you concerned at all about your staff? Are you concerned about getting the virus or passing it on? And he said what's different about this deployment is that, in this instance, what they are dealing with on the ground here in New York City is also what everyone and their family is dealing with at home, Anderson.
COOPER: Yes, Erica Hill, thank you very much. Appreciate it.
Joining me now is Governor Ned Lamont of Connecticut, which announced another 578 cases today. It's one of the country's hot spots on the virus.
Governor, thanks for being with us.
Where do things stand in terms of resources in your state? Do you have -- I mean, I think I know the answer to this -- but do you have enough ventilators, supplies, and equipment right now?
GOV. NED LAMONT (D-CT): Hey, good evening, Anderson.
We're working very closely with Andrew Cuomo. As he said, New York needs relief. I would broaden that. I would say the New York metropolitan area needs relief because we, in southern Connecticut, are part of that pandemic that's coming out of New York City.
A lot of the resources are going state by state. They ought to think about this in terms of the region. No, we're very short. We had our ventilators all set to come. And at the last moment, FEMA redirected them.
COOPER: What do you mean they redirect -- where did they redirect them to?
LAMONT: I'm not sure, but we're scheduled for delivery. We're waiting expectedly. And then they found another place that they considered more urgent than Connecticut.
But, frankly, Southern Connecticut is again part of what's going on in New York City. We have a very high infection rate there and that's where we need the help.
Look, Andrew can't put out the fire in New York if we have a fire in Fairfield County, Connecticut. They got to think about this as a region.
COOPER: You were on a video conference earlier today with the president, vice president, and governors. What did the president communicate to you during that call?
LAMONT: Interesting, the point of view.
I mean, John Bel Edwards from Louisiana. How did New Orleans become such a hotspot? Mardi Gras.
You know, Governor Polis in Colorado, talking about skiers coming in from around the world that came in from the mountains.
For us, the pandemic began, probably, in the town of New Rochelle, just south of Connecticut. And from there, it expanded into New York City and up into southern Connecticut. Now, it's going into Central Connecticut. You can watch it move.
COOPER: According to "The New York Times," the president told governors on that call that the shortage of test kits has been resolved. After at least one governor said they don't have adequate tests.
Can you give some clarity on that? I mean, is -- is testing a problem in -- in your state? Is it a problem -- I mean, we know, from Dr. Fauci, that even in states where there haven't been a high number of reported cases or confirmed cases, there still needs to be more testing because they, frankly, just don't have enough testing. That was last week. LAMONT: No, we desperately need more testing. Three weeks ago, we were
doing 20 tests. Now, we're doing closer to 2,000 a day.
But especially in the part of the state where, right now, we don't have the high infection rate, this is when you test. This is when you can quarantine people.
But our real need is PPE and vents. I need nurses going in, and they're scared to go in, scared to go into the hospital, scared to go into the nursing homes. Our policemen and our firemen, you know, they -- looking for support as well. Everybody wants that protection. We can't get it.
COOPER: The CDC travel advisory that went out yesterday for Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, for the next two weeks, rather than a quarantine. Was that the right move, in your mind?
LAMONT: That was the right move. It took us a while to get there. And the thought of a mandatory quarantine that the president mused about -- you know, my phone was ringing off the hook. What does that mean? Are you going to shut down the highways?
But we worked collaboratively with the White House and said it's impossible to enforce that, we have hundreds of roads leading into Connecticut and New York.
No way to enforce that.
And I think what they did in the end with the travel advisory made sense. We want people to get tested when they come back and forth, in and out of the state.
COOPER: Governor Ned Lamont, I appreciate your time. Thank you.
LAMONT: Nice to see you, Anderson.
COOPER: I want to bring in CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, and Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency room physician and former Baltimore health commissioner.
Sanjay, I mean, modeling showing by mid-April more than 2,000 people may be dying a day in the United States. I'm wondering what you make of the numbers and of Dr. Fauci saying, you know, 100,000, 200,000?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Look. I mean, you know, these are -- these are jarring numbers for a lot of people to hear, people who are sort of hearing these numbers for the first time. But, you know, frankly, Anderson, some of these are sort of best-case scenario numbers. I think Dr. Fauci said that as well.
I mean, as you know, we have been talking about this for a couple months and the concern was that this could be something that could possibly lead, sadly, to hundreds of thousands of people dying. The 100,000 to 200,000 number that Dr. Fauci is saying is really based on this idea that we are aggressive with these measures that we're talking about, these stay-at-home measures, Anderson. And, as you know, as Governor Lamont just said, I mean, other people said, it's different in different places in terms of the amount of testing, the ability to know just how affected these states are.
Ambassador Birx today said even in states if there's not that many cases, if you look deep at the data, it looks like it's starting to follow the same curve as places we are currently calling hotspots. So, yes, again, I know this is going to be jarring for people to hear. It's actually lower I think than some of the initial projections and it's based on the fact that we basically get everything right from here on out.
COOPER: But, Dr. Wen, getting everything right, I mean, Bill Gates, Sanjay and I talked to him last week and one of the things -- I mean he was saying just pointblank is you have to have, across the country, the same standards of stay at home orders. You can't have different things in different states, based on, you know, how many people have tested positive in any given state. Because, again, of the testing problem. And that unless there is kind of unanimity across the country, this is just going to drag on longer.
Is that right?
DR. LEANA WEN, EMERGENCY ROOM PHYSICIAN: I think it is right. And I've come to this after several weeks of actually having a very different view on this, which is initially I thought it made sense to have this rather different approach depending on different regions in the country. But it's become clear, as Sanjay was just saying, that all these epidemic curves in different regions of the country are, eventually, going to look the same.
And we are playing whack-a-mole. We might get things under control in New York and then there is going to be an outbreak in Louisiana and in Michigan and Florida. And then there are other places that are -- that are going to come up and be a problem. And because of lack of testing, we actually don't know where we are at any given point in time.
So I think, at this point, it does make sense to have a national approach. Until we can figure out how can we stabilize our healthcare system? How can we get widespread testing? And how can we implement social distancing across the board? Until we can get there, we do need some type of national, coordinated effort.
COOPER: And, Sanjay, how important is testing, not just for people who are potentially positive but almost, a random sampling of people to get a bigger sense of -- of how widespread this is?
GUPTA: Well, that -- that, certainly, is important. I think, you know, we've sort of tabled that conversation, it seems, in this country because, you know, we're having a hard time testing even people who are showing symptoms. The type of testing that you're talking about, surveillance testing, to try and find people who -- who may be carrying the virus but aren't showing symptoms, it's very important.
I mean, Anderson, if you look at a country like Germany, for example, they have done a lot of testing there. They started quite early and you can see the difference it makes. I think some 63,000, 64,000 they confirmed to be carrying the coronavirus.
COOPER: So what does surveillance testing give you that just testing people who are known to be, you know, or believed to be positive with symptoms get -- not get you?
GUPTA: Well, so with surveillance testing, because this can be spread by people who are asymptomatic, first of all, you would be able to identify those people and hopefully isolate them so they're not continuing to spread. But, also, again, we don't really have a clear idea of how widespread this infection is in the country. We're just, basically -- even though we are doing a lot more testing than we did before, it's still on specific groups of people.
There is lots of states, as you just heard, that can't get enough testing. And we really don't have clear eyes on these other states where we're just listing, you know, dozens or, you know, 30, 40 positives. It's certainly more than that. So, it's to give us a better idea of what's going on in the country.
COOPER: So, Dr. Wen, for those of us -- you know, who are social distancing, staying at home, living under stay-at-home orders and, you know, trying to, as most people are, trying to do their part, and follow the guidelines, are -- are we going to have to stay at home longer because of other states where people are not doing that?
So that once those states finally end up doing that, that's going to sort of add time to our time? Is that right?
WEN: That's a great question, Anderson, and I think you're right. That we -- if we let up on the social distancing measures too soon, we are going to see another peak, another resurgence. And then everything has to start all over, and we may need to reset the clock.
And that would mean that all those sacrifices that people are making, not going to school, losing their paychecks, and so forth, all that would be in vain. And that's another reason for having this national approach instead of this one state at a time approach, because, at the end of the day, this is a disease that's very easily transmittable. That knows no boundaries. And it's spreading so quickly throughout the country.
So I do think about if we can avert just one death and, in this case, it's not one death. It's tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of deaths, maybe we need far more restrictive measures across the board now to save a lot of suffering later.
GUPTA: Because it's interesting, Sanjay, you look at Italy or Spain, which are, you know, have had people now under very restrictive measures. And now, they're adding more restrictive measures because it -- it hasn't been enough. That's not the position one wants to be in. Obviously, I guess it's a political decision whether all states, you
know, have to have stay-at-home orders and I guess it's up to the state governors. But what would your message be to state governors?
GUPTA: Well, I -- I -- I think that, basically, people know what needs to be done at this point. I mean, you know, there are some states that are going even further. You know, I think Virginia now set until June 10th they're essentially making stay-at-home orders.
When you look at Italy, you look at Spain, yes, they implemented measures but they did it late. You look at a country like Germany, they tested early, they implemented measures early. Their fatality rate is less than 1 percent. In Italy, it's closer to 11 percent.
I mean, we know what to do. We should just do it at this point. I mean, I think it's become very clear.
And I feel like we have been sort of, you know, incrementally getting towards what everyone knows needs to be done.
I think, when you listen carefully to what Anthony Fauci and Ambassador Birx have been saying, they've basically been saying this now, in so many ways, over the last couple of weeks. We need to, probably, have a federal, sort of, mandate on terms of what people can do. You know, stay at home. We have been saying that, recommending it.
Here, where I live in Georgia, it's still not being done because the governor hasn't implemented it. So, that's going to -- as you pointed out Anderson -- sort of reset the clock until we get this thing taken care of.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thank you. Dr. Leana Wen, appreciate it as well.
Still to come, more on the Navy medical ship that's now docked in New York City, the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic right now and how state and local officials are trying to relieve strain on hospital and staff.
And later, the story of one man who needs a liver transplant and the difficulties of getting this lifesaving procedure because of the coronavirus.
COOPER: As we reported, today is the deadliest day in record for the United States so far. More than 500 deaths from coronavirus in one day, 519, actually, at this hour. The current epicenter of the pandemic, New York state, also recording a gruesome milestone, more than 1,000 deaths in this state. It's the most in the nation. The current count in New York, at least 1,218 people.
As we also noted earlier, the U.S. Navy ship the Comfort docked in New York City today and that give some comfort to people here in the city. It adds more than a thousand beds and 12 operating rooms for the beleaguered hospitals here.
Shimon Prokupecz joins us now from New York.
So talk to me about the plan for the USS Comfort while it's docked in New York because it's not going to be taking coronavirus patients.
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Anderson. And that's the key thing here. That is not something that this ship is going to take.
And, really, you talk about Comfort. It's really about relief -- relief for many of the doctors and the nurses and the medical teams that are dealing with the coronavirus all across the city.
And so, what they are going to do here, there's a thousand beds. There are operating rooms. There are labs. It's a hospital.
And what -- what they're going to do is they're going to take patients who meet the criteria. They're going to transfer them out of hospitals across the city and bring them here so they can get the care that they need. And this way, it relieves a lot of the city hospitals from having to focus on these patients. And they could, specifically, focus on patients and more -- most importantly in all of these, it's the critically ill patients that hospitals are starting to see arrive at their hospitals, suffering from coronavirus, suffering, needing those ventilators.
Those hospitals are going to really start focusing on that. And the ship behind me here, the hope is they can relieve some of the pressure from the hospitals, from the doctors, and nurses who are dealing with other issues, as well as the coronavirus, Anderson.
COOPER: Yes, and, Governor Cuomo at his press conference today, he warned things in New York are going to get worse before they get better. You know, he was talking about the apex of this and, really, they are still trying to prepare for that.
PROKUPECZ: They are. You know, he called the numbers. And when you think about the number of dead across the state, 1,200, the number of people in the hospital, those numbers are growing.
He described it as staggering when you look at it. And we're not even at the apex yet. You know, they are saying anywhere from 14 to 21 days is where we're going to get there. So the numbers are going to grow.
Talking to doctors at hospitals across the city, the scenes that they're describing already about how the emergency rooms are inundated, there's no room for patients. They have to -- to treat patients, to put -- to intubate patients. They have to squeeze through whatever small space they have so they can get in between beds to treat patients.
[20:25:03] It's only going to get worse. And the governor -- this is why he keeps saying we need the supplies and we need the ventilators, and we need as much as we can get and we need it to keep coming here, Anderson.
COOPER: Yes. Shimon Prokupecz, appreciate it. Thanks.
Another major city under intense strain tonight, New Orleans. According to New Orleans emergency medical services, 114 out of 170 EMS workers in that city have had direct contact with someone confirmed to have COVID-19. Five EMS workers, so far, tested positive.
Joining me now is the director of New Orleans EMS, Dr. Emily Nichols.
Dr. Nichols, thanks for being with us. What is it like on the ground in New Orleans right now for EMS workers?
DR. EMILY NICHOLS, DIRECTOR, NEW ORLEANS EMS: Well, thank you so much for having me, Anderson. It's a really somber time right now. Our workers are on the front lines. We often hear about the emergency medicine physicians and the doctors in the hospital. But my employees are the ones going into people's homes and being exposed to COVID-19, not only as members of the community but, certainly, as people who are on the front line and directing patients into the level of care that they can receive in the hospital.
COOPER: And I mean, going to homes is an added danger, obviously, for -- for -- for your -- your -- you know, for these EMS workers. With -- have -- you said five of them, so far, have tested positive. Do you -- can all EMS workers get tested, if they -- if they need it?
NICHOLS: So the city's done an excellent job of standing up drive- through facilities. So we have been able to get the testing that we've needed for our providers.
COOPER: That's great.
NICHOLS: We're one of very few cities that have been able to do that. We have tested, roughly, about 30 people thus far. We don't have all those tests back.
But anyone who has symptoms, we are taking them out of service immediately so we can try and limit their amount of exposure to anyone else.
COOPER: And -- and how are you doing on supplies right now? I mean, the masks that you need, the gloves that you need, all the personal protective equipment?
NICHOLS: We have the supplies that we need today. But it's really tough. Every day, we're taking inventory twice a day, actually. Our logistics team is constantly looking at innovative ways so that if we're low on one supply, we can make sure that we have something else that can be used in its place until we can get the re-up that we need.
We are good for the next few days but it is really a concern just as it is for so many other providers in the country. COOPER: Yes. I mean, the governor of Louisiana has raised concerns
about the hospitals in New Orleans and ventilators, you know, lasting through the weekend.
NICHOLS: Certainly. We are working daily with the hospitals. I have been in communication with a lot of the emergency department directors. And I work with the health commissioner every day to really try and make sure that every provider has those resources.
But the reality is we're trying to tap into a scarce supply right now. And so, it's really tough. We need a lot more support at this point, from the federal government, to really get everybody to a point where they are safe doing their jobs. We're providing critical missions and we want to feel safe doing that.
COOPER: How do you respond to -- to calls? Because I mean, are you getting calls from people who, you know, just want information? Are you getting call -- you know, do you have to deal with a lot of unnecessary calls?
Because, obviously, you know, they put out the word. It's only if you have, you know, some severe breathing problems that you really want to go to a hospital. How is it on the actually -- kind of on the front line?
NICHOLS: I must say the resident -- residents of our city have been really great listening to the advice and recognizing that 911 is only to be used for emergencies. So, we have been tapping into other places for persons to gather information and resources if it's not an emergency. But the reality is we are getting a lot of calls from patients with flu-like symptoms that are suspicious for having COVID.
And a lot of the patients are really sick when we get to their house. It's really scary right now. We are anticipating it's going to get worse.
COOPER: Yes, Dr. Nichols, I appreciate your time and all you are doing. And all your -- all your EMS workers, it's extraordinary what you do even in normal times, especially now, especially important.
NICHOLS: Thank you.
COOPER: Thank you. Stay safe.
Straight ahead --
NICHOLS: Thank you very much.
COOPER: -- details from the White House on President Trump's latest coronavirus pronouncements.
And later, we'll take you to Colorado for a life and death dilemma over what constitutes essential surgery in these new, normal times.
COOPER: Back to the breaking news, the single day death toll the United States now topping 500. That's the most deaths so far in a single day in this country. Total number of cases more than 160,000.
Now, the numbers are significant in and of themselves, but stand out even more when said against what the President was saying so early on.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: By April, you know, in theory, when it gets a little warmer, it miraculously goes away.
The coronavirus, which is, you know, very well under control in our country. We have very few people with it. The people are getting better, they're all getting better. We're very close to a vaccine.
We're going down not up, we're going very substantially down not up.
Of the 15 people, the original 15, as I call them, eight of them have returned to their homes to stay in their homes until fully recovered. And again, when you have 15 people and the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero. That's a pretty good job we've done.
It's going to disappear, one day it's like a miracle it will disappear. And from our shores we've, you know, it could get worse before it gets better. It could maybe go away, well see what happens. Nobody really knows.
Anybody that needs a test, there's a test, we -- they're there. They have to test. And the test to beautiful. Anybody that needs a test gets a test. As of right now and yesterday, anybody that needs, that's the important thing. And the tests are all perfect. Like the letter was perfect. The transcription was perfect, but this was not as perfect as that. But pretty good.
It will go away. Just stay calm, it will go away.
COOPER: Well, that was then Jim Acosta tried to ask the President about that today. Jim, what did he say?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, he tried to write it off as a snarky question Anderson, but he went on to I think, reveal part of his thinking and all of this. He said he was trying to keep Americans from panicking and remaining calm at one point, he said, it is going to go away. It's true that it will go away.
And then at one point, Anderson, he made sort of a cryptic comment. He said I could cause panic much better than you. I would make you look like a minor league player, not sure what the President meant by that one. And then he wrapped up his comments in response to that question by saying that he believes his administration his response has been, quote, almost a miracle. I'm not sure there are many people who believe that that is the case right now, Anderson.
COOPER: The President also pivoted on his messaging today saying that the economy is number two on his list that he first wants to save a lot of live, it's certainly different. I mean when you tune into his press conferences, a lot of the focus is on economic issues.
ACOSTA: It had been and you recall last week, when he was talking about reopening the country around Easter, he said, you know, this is not the kind of country that should stay shut down. We need to reopen the country get the economy moving again. It does sound as though Dr. Deborah Birx and Dr. Anthony Fauci got through to the President on Sunday. I think there's just no other way around it.
When they showed him the modeling explained to him how, you know, we can see 100 to 200,000 deaths in this country before this is all said and done, according to Dr. Deborah Birx, so even if we do everything perfectly, I think that got the President's attention.
He had been saying he was focused on the economy. But now I think he understands that this is what some of the health experts have been telling us and even members of the Coronavirus Task Force is that the economy is very much tied to the response and if the administration can't get the response, right, the economy is not coming back anytime soon, Anderson.
COOPER: And did the President today at all respond to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, because Governor Cuomo was asked earlier today about the President's comments sort of saying that that maybe ventilators and supplies were disappearing in the back -- through the back doors of hospitals and who knows where they were ending it up kind of implying that there's some sort of conspiracy to hide equipment or sell off equipment or something.
Governor Cuomo obviously said, you know, the describe that is just nonsensical, it's and explained that they're trying to stockpile some supplies because the APEX, the high point of this of the deaths is coming in New York and they need to have the equipment ready for that time.
ACOSTA: Right. I think Governor Cuomo said earlier today he doesn't know where the President is getting that from. And I think the President tried to move away from those comments, back away from those comments somewhat. But he hasn't fully explained what he means by all of this.
And so while the president is, I think, to a lot of Americans sounding like he's moving in the right directions and erring on the side of caution and keeping the public safe, he is still advancing these kinds of conspiracy theories, as he has done so often throughout his political career.
I will tell you one thing that I thought was interesting today about, you know, protective equipment when he was asked about the possibility of Americans wearing masks that the government might urge Americans to wear masks, I did talk to a source close to the task force this evening, who said that is something that is going to be under serious discussion inside the task force. The big concern, Anderson is whether or not there's the supply there for all Americans to be able to wear a mask or large portions of the country to wear masks.
At this point, they obviously don't have that and, and one big concern according to this source close to the task force is that obviously they don't want create a shortage for those doctors and nurses who as we know, are in dire need of that personal protective equipment, Anderson.
COOPER: Right. And just so we know right cooler (ph) right now, right now all the advice is you only wear a mask if a, if you can get one if you yourself have the virus, because it may prevent you from spreading it to other people, if you do not have the virus are not showing any symptoms. You don't need to wear a mask because it takes it away from other people who do need it. And in fact, you're going to end up probably touching your face a lot more than you would ordinarily.
ACOSTA: That's right Anderson. And I will tell you that I thought was a departure from what they've said in the past. They have said repeatedly --
ACOSTA: -- well, you don't need to wear masks unless you are sick. And it sounds as though today this is now going to be under discussion. It just goes back to this this notion I think that the President is finally seized on and that is that we this has to be taken. So very seriously, the country's well-being obviously depends on it, Anderson.
COOPER: Yes, the WHO reiterated that you don't wear a mask unless you have the virus or you have symptoms. And again, what really needs to be done according to all the health professionals is similar stay at home orders across the entire country.
COOPER: Jim Acosta, appreciate it.
COOPER: Across the country that pandemics not only having countless physical psych -- financial and psychological repercussions. It's also impacting those who need essential surgeries, surgeries like liver transplants for life or death hinges on an available donor.
Hospitals across the country are canceling surgeries, many in need of a transplant are left in limbo. Our Randi Kaye tonight has the story of young men in Colorado dealing with exactly that.
ZACH BRANSON, NEEDS LIVER TRANSPLANT: I have about roughly 30 to 45 days.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Zach Branson says his doctors told him he could have only weeks to live. It's a painful twist in his story, which seems so promising just weeks ago. In late February, Zach's uncle Troy Branson learned he could donate part of his liver to save his nephews life.
BRANSON: He sent me a message saying everything came back OK and that he was approved as my living donor.
KAYE (voice-over): Zach was thrilled surgery was scheduled for March 25th. Zach's eyes have turned yellow from his condition, and he says he lives with daily pain and nausea. Zach was born with a rare liver disease and had surgery as an infant. At the time doctors told his parents that he'd eventually need a transplant. He was already making big plans for a new lease on life when the coronavirus hit.
On March 13th, his surgeon called to tell him the transplant operation was off.
BRANSON: They indeed were canceling or postponing any living, living transplants for roughly two weeks potentially longer depending on how this COVID-19 virus goes.
KAYE (voice-over): Zach explained that while his life saving surgery is deemed essential, his uncle side of the deal is not. Because his uncle is a living donor, Zach says doctors told him that was considered an elective surgery because his uncle was choosing to go under the knife.
Last week in an email from University of Colorado Hospital Denver where Zach was going to have his surgery. The chief of transplant confirmed they were reviewing all potential living donor transplant patients saying not all of them were being canceled. Also that the assessment involves, "projecting the risk of a recipient's potential death if a transplant is delayed".
So now Zach is waiting for a liver from a deceased donor, but there's no guarantee he'll get one. And Zach says doctors told him it could take up to a week to test a deceased donor to make sure they did not have the virus.
BRANSON: If we can't have testing results within a few hours that organ has gone to waste. They're not going to put that organ in my body without knowing if it has that virus or not.
KAYE (voice-over): Some of Zach Branson's family members say this amounts to a death sentence, but he says he's made peace with it.
BRANSON: I feel that I've definitely lived much longer than anyone ever expected. And I've accomplished a decent amount of things, touched a few people. So whatever, you know, even if that death sentence is the case, you know, I'm willing to accept that.
KAYE (voice-over): But Zach is still holding out hope he can beat the odds. BRANSON: I've made it, you know, 31 years past previous doctors' expectations that, you know, I meant to be here and continue. I can definitely be, you know, hanging around for another year, if it takes that long for things to get back to normal.
COOPER: Randi joins me now with an update on Zach's situation. I hope it's good news, Randi?
KAYE: It is great news. In fact, Anderson he learned late today from the hospital that he does have indeed a new surgery date.
KAYE: They plan to give him a liver transplant on Monday. Zach says he thinks this has something to do --
COOPER: On this Monday?
KAYE: -- with media pressure -- I don't know about that we're just thrilled. He really did say that.
COOPER: But this Monday, this coming Monday?
KAYE: Of course, just -- this coming Monday, one week from today.
COOPER: Like -- wow, next - wow, that's amazing.
KAYE: It is really great news. So because he didn't know how long he was going to have to wait, we're just thrilled that he's getting the surgery. He said that the hospital is now telling him that they expect the corona virus patients to peak in two to three weeks. So this is really his only window to have it or he would have to wait another year and who knows if he would live that long. I also confirmed to the hospital today that they now have a special transplant wing which will be separate from any coronavirus patients.
COOPER: That's great.
KAYE: So they're really taking every extra precaution. And they also Anderson have this rapid test now so they can find out if somebody has it within just hours. They plan to use that rapid test on Zach --
KAYE: -- and his uncle his living donor on Sunday. And then assuming --
COOPER: That's great.
KAYE: -- they're virus free, which we all hope they will then do the surgery on Monday.
COOPER: Wow, amazing. Randi, thank you so much. We wish him the best. We'll follow up an incredible story. Up next also --
COOPER: -- is the pandemic celebrates the story of a doctor a state trooper who pulled her over for fading in a surprising outcome of the encounter.
COOPER: Earlier today in New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said this is a war and our medical personnel are the soldiers on the front lines. Well, one of those doctors is Sarosh Janjua from Boston who travels monthly to Minnesota for a job as a cardiologist. The other day she was on her way from her office in Duluth to Minneapolis when a state trooper pulled her over for speeding.
On her Facebook posting, she said she was prepared for a ticket and a lecture. The doctor joins me now. Dr. Janjua, can you just walk us through what happened then?
SAROSH JANJUA, CARDIOLOGIST: Good evening, Anderson. Well, I was speeding and on my way to work away from it, so no excuses there. I was pulled over by a trooper Brian Schwartz (ph), he was very polite, but quite firm and told me I shouldn't be speeding because if I got into an accident, I would not only take away precious resources, but also wouldn't be in a position to help anyone.
COOPER: And did you get a ticket?
JANJUA: I did not. I was fully expecting one. And before I knew it, Trooper Schwartz reached into my vehicle and I thought he was just going to hand me my license back but it turns out it was five N95 masks from his own supply The statement given.
COOPER: Wow, I mean, we should we should for anybody who doesn't know N95 medical masks are a precious commodity right now, I -- you know, you're both obviously in the front lines. Can you just explain what it meant to you to have that that gesture?
JANJUA: Well, at the hospital where I work, we're not quite starting to face shortages yet. They're just starting to see COVID-19 patients, a lot of suspected cases. But we're not feeling the shortages acutely as in New York, or New Orleans. And what I had been doing was reusing an N 95 mask for a suspected patients, or anyone that I wasn't going to be in close contact with.
And I think Trooper Schwartz saw one of those masks in my purse as I was searching for my license and he felt that I could need a little bit of a helping hand and I mean from everything you've heard N95 mess these days are worth their weight in gold. And for him to just selflessly hand something like that over when he stopped me for speeding violation.
JANJUA: I can't tell you what it did for someone that is very scary.
COOPER: What is it that scares you most right now?
JANJUA: That we're being run out of supplies, and doctors and nurses and health care workers are going to start getting sick or die. And that there's going to be a shortage a few months from now that can't be produced in a factory and that's healthcare workers.
COOPER: Well, Doctor, I wish you the best and I'm glad you had that that encounter and I'm glad you sped but I'm certainly glad the trooper did what he did. It's so important I think in this time for us all to realize just how connected we all are. And that we -- you know, and I know it's a cliche, but we really are all in this together. And that's just, you know, a small act of human kindness matters a whole lot right now.
And so I applaud, I applaud what he did and what you do every day. So thank you very much.
JANJUA: Thank you, Anderson.
COOPER: Dr. Sarosh Janjua and we wish you the best moving forward.
Here's another remarkable moment to share with you on this National Doctors Day. More than a dozen healthcare workers heading from Atlanta to New York City to help in the U.S. epicenter of this battle, each entering the call for help.
The photo was taken aboard their flight before they left the gate. Dr. Sanjay Gupta summed up the photo on his Twitter reminding -- saying and reminds him quote, of the dedication, bravery and sacrifice required to do this job. It certainly does that.
Up next we remember the coronavirus victims and the NYPD detective and others when we continue.
COOPER: Tonight we want you to meet some of those whose lives have been cut short by the virus.
Cedric Dixon was the first New York City police detective to lose his life in the coronavirus. It was a 23-year veteran of the force worked in the 32nd precinct in Harlem. His family and friends described him as kind hearted, generous a family man the kind of person who always wanted to help. He leaves behind a wife and children.
NYPD officers have been out on the streets, wanting people to stay isolated and socially distanced themselves while still continuing on their regular jobs after Detective Dixon's death. The NYPD Commissioner said we're hurting, we're crying and we continue to fight. We simply have no other choice. A lot of NYPD officers who are have the virus themselves. Cedric Dixon was 48 years old.
Maria Mercader was a CBS News producer and talent executive who worked at the network for more than three decades. She was a fighter. She was on leave when the pandemic hit. She'd been battling cancer and other illnesses on and off for the last 20 years. During her time at CBS, Maria helped produce coverage of some of the biggest stories of our time 911 terror attack. She won an Emmy for her work on CBS Sunday morning. Colleagues say she always had a warm hug, a big smile was quick to offer a word of advice or support.
Former CBS News Anchor Dan Rather called her a paragon of grit and grace and said she embodied the best of the CBS News mission. Maria Mercader was 54 years old.
Dominic Carbone was a clinical psychologist in the New York City area. His sister called him the most gentle person, understanding and patient, a wonderful uncle to her kids and a wonderful brother. His friends who are also his family, they say he was an amazing spirit. And see everyone who knew him loved him.
I was texting with one of his friends, Michael Puzo (ph). He and his partner, Mickey on Instagram and he told me the Dominic love music power ballads especially. And he loved it when they would all gather with friends around the piano and sing together. And that's how Michael and Mickey and his friends chose to remember him last week on Instagram Live
Since they couldn't gather together for funeral. They had a sing along online. Dominic Carbone was 56 years old.
Our thoughts are with all the families impacted by this pandemic news continues to want to hand it over to Chris for "CUOMO PRIMETIME". Chris?
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: All right, Anderson, thank you very much for reminding us of who is lost behind every number is a person.
Everybody I am Chris Cuomo. Welcome to PRIMETIME.