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Trump: Protective Gear In National Stockpile Nearly Depleted; 211,600-Plus Coronavirus Cases In U.S., At Least 4,745 Deaths; Over 87 Percent Of Americans Under Stay-At-Home Orders; U.S. Reports 917 New Deaths Today, Most in One Day; At Least Four Passengers Have Died On Zaandam Cruise Ship Since March 7; FL Gov. On Cruise Ships: We Are Willing To Accept Florida Residents. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired April 1, 2020 - 20:00   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: And good evening, everybody.

Just a short time ago, President Trump and his task force wrapped up another coronavirus briefing. The president confirming reports in "The Washington Post" CNN, that the nation's stockpile of much needed equipment -- gloves and other medical supplies is near depletion -- PPE.

Quoting President Trump, "It is because we're sending it directly to hospitals."

Well, earlier today, New York City's mayor said they need millions of specialized masks by Sunday. Connecticut's Governor, Ned Lamont said it's a scramble for supplies and quoted, "It's a bit of a mess out there."

In Michigan a hospital in the Henry Ford health system has reached capacity. We're going to speak to Michigan's governor in just a few moments.

Also today several more states finally doing what most scientists have been suggesting for sometime, announcing stay-at-home orders today. Florida's Republican Governor Ron DeSantis issued one, finally, carving out an exception for houses of worship.

Just a day ago the governor was holding out from declaring an order, citing there was no guidance from the White House, which, then yesterday painted a stark picture of 100 to 240,000 people dying. That was if their social distancing guidelines were followed nationally, which they are currently not.

After Florida's declaration, similar one from Georgia and Mississippi. Tennessee, though, they are taking the opposite approach. Its governor said he will not issue a stay-at-home order. I'm quoting Governor Bill Lee -- quote, "There is a wide range of efforts across the country, none of which has given real data or evidence of what is most effective in social distancing." Health officials have said the opposite. The scientific community is

quite clear on this. Quoting Dr. Deborah Birx at yesterday's White House briefing, "There's no magic bullet, there's no magic vaccine or therapy, it's just behaviors," she said.

Today the U.S. reached 200,000 cases. Currently we're 211,691 and I just want to put that in perspective for a moment. According to CNN's Ryan Struyk, who took us -- it took us 66 days -- a little over two months to get to the first 100,000 cases. Took five days to log the next 100,000.

Every day this week we have seen higher death totals. Today no different, 911 people died today. Total deaths in this country so far, 4,745. Earlier, California's Governor Gavin Newsom appeared on CNN, had a message for his fellow governors who have not issued stay-at- home orders. He said, "What are you waiting for?"

We'll talk later about what the president said today, about the road ahead and why he'll not issue a national stay-at-home order.

First we want to focus on the most urgent matter -- the public health crisis and those incredible people who are fighting it.

Want to bring in CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency room physician, and Baltimore's former health commissioner.

Sanjay, the president makes it clear that he won't support any kind of federal stay-at-home order, eve though he now seems to be on board, acknowledging, this is what we need to do, stay at home, social distance, and certainly all the words from his own scientists are -- we need to do this and more of it.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Look, I -- it's really hard to explain this one, Anderson. I mean, I think that clearly, as long as it took, I mean, I think the science is now certainly being followed at the federal level. I mean, these recommendations are coming based on the science that we're seeing, based on what has happened in other countries around the world. All of that.

I think it's worth pointing out as well, Anderson, that, you know, you talked last night to Chris Murray who made some of these models that everyone is now citing in terms of, you know, the number of people who could die.

Those models are predicated on the idea that we essentially have every state in the country with stay-at-home orders. That has to happen by the end of this week, he said, in order for us to even have that few deaths.

So, you know, it's -- I just don't understand it at this point, I don't get it. Obviously the president has made some of these recommendations -- whatever -- 17 days ago, for the first time nationally. But there's lots of states, you know, even where I am here in Georgia -- I know the order has been now made, but it doesn't go into effect, I think, until Friday or so, so --


GUPTA: It's just -- it's hard to -- hard to understand.

COOPER: Same in Florida, Friday.

GUPTA: Same in Florida, yes. I mean, those models, again, are predicated on the fact that we essentially have a national stay-at- home plan.


GUPTA: Other countries like Italy -- and everyone always cites Italy as a worst case scenario, but they ultimately did do a national plan. Much smaller country, I get it, but, you know, that's what it took.

COOPER: Yes. I mean, Dr. Wen, the science is clear. I mean, there is -- you don't hear a scientist saying, "Oh, no, you know what, the -- it does -- it's case by case is fine." And one state not doing it, it means that the rest of us who are doing it will likely have to do it longer if our neighboring state, for instance, is not doing it. It only works if everybody does it.


DR LEANA WEN, EMERGENCY ROOM PHYSICIAN, VISITING PROFESSOR, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY: You're right, Anderson. It - we know that this virus is new, no-one has immunity to it, it can spread so quickly and this virus, just like all other pathogens, they don't know boundaries. they don't know state boundaries.

And the longer we wait for there to be a national order of some kind, the more deaths that it will cost us as well, I mean this is the very core element of prevention. You don't wait until something is really bad before you start implementing preventive measures.

That's what we do for health conditions. And it's the same thing that we would do here, we actually know what works, and it is really just stunning that there are still officials who are not following the evidence and every day that we wait is inaction that's going to cost us more lives.

COOPER: I mean there's an abdication of federal leadership is what it is. At a certain point, you know, yes, you can leave it up to governors. But at a certain point the Federal Government has to make a stand and make guidelines.

Just as the governors are begging for some sort of federal, you know, organized buying of ventilators and the like rather than the state-by- state approach of people bidding each other up which the President himself yesterday said, states shouldn't be doing that, they should call the white house, we'll do it and send them out. That's just not happening

Sanjay, Dr Fauci also talked about a program of containment once we've made it to the other side of the curve that social distancing measures could be loosened at that point. We're so far away from-from the curve, from that part of the curve.

GUPTA: We're far away from the curve, we don't really know where we are on the curve, and there are several different curves. I mean because of what we're just talking about, all these states sort of, you know, not even some of them not even having these social distancing mechanisms, it's going to maybe delay their curves, but the curves may be bigger in those states.

So it's very hard to sort of imagine what the other side of the curve is going to look like for the country. And then you almost had the reverse problem when you're on the other side of the curve. OK, we're doing OK now, but we're not sure these other states are doing OK.

If we take our foot off the gas, could we suddenly have a resurgence of cases not because of us, but because of another state that is still further behind on the curve? People may be frightened still, you know, I mean just from an emotional sort of mental standpoint.

Do I really want to go out now because we got through this, but if\I push an elevator door button, if I touch a handle, if I come too close to somebody, is it going to be the same problem all over again? That's also the disadvantage of having this be so piecemeal.

What will happen, I think, when they do ultimately say, okay look as a nation we're on the other side of the curve and the numbers are coming down and the pace of the numbers, you know, is coming down, then we can get back into some of these techniques that we talked about a couple months ago, Anderson.

You still identify people who have the virus, you still isolate them, you still contact trace them, it's very hard to do right now because of how robust the community spread is. But when you're on the other side of the curve, you do that and keep doing it until ultimately, you know, the virus gets to a negligible level in this country. It can happen, but we are a long way away.

ANDERSON: You know, Dr. Wen, we're in a situation right now where because of the models that the White House presented yesterday and which on a model that Dr. Murray who we had on the program last night has done, which does assume that by the end of this week all states in this union will have stay-at-home orders.

By the end of this week, if that doesn't happen, there could very well be a scenario -- I don't know that the White House, for political reasons, would want to do this to embarrass the governors of states who have not put in these orders, but they could come back out with new estimates about the death toll.

And if you believe, you know, what--the science behind these graphs, the death toll would be higher because of they would now have to factor in that not all the states are doing this and that would be on the heads of the governors of those states.

WEN: And there's another factor, too, which is that we are out of the equipment and supplies that we need. I mean, we're hearing that no state has the ventilators that they need. We're hearing that the federal stockpile doesn't have any more personal protective equipment left.

And all of that will factor into the bottles, too, Anderson. I mean, I'm really concerned about this, we are on -- barely on mile one of a marathon. We don't even have the supplies now and we need to hear, what is the seriousness of the situation, and also what's the plan that the Federal Government has to procure these supplies?

Because otherwise, and I've heard Sanjay and you talk about this so much, that we will have a problem of rationing, and that rationing is going to lead to doctors and nurses being forced to make difficult decisions about who gets care and who doesn't. Not only for patients with coronavirus, but all these other patients who also have health care needs, too. And that's not an inevitable outcome, that's something we can actually work to prevent.


But we have to figure out how to do that now, and have to come up with an urgent solution now.

COOPER: I mean, again, it becomes clearer every day about the cost of the failures of federal leadership coming from the top.

Sanjay, thank you. Dr. Wen, thank you as well. I want to bring in Kaitlan Collins at the White House. Kaitlan, the president was asked about the nationwide stay-at-home order. I want to play what he said.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: States are different, and I understand that the governor of Florida, great governor, Ron DeSantis, issued one today. And that's good, that's great. But there are some states that are different.

There are some states that don't have much of a problem. There are some -- well, they don't have the problem. They don't have thousands of people that are positive, or thousands of people that even think they might have it, or hundreds of people in some cases.

So you have to look -- you have to look at states. You have to give a little bit of flexibility. We have a state in the Midwest, or if Alaska, as an example, doesn't have a problem, it's awfully tough to say, "Close it down." So we have to have a little bit of flexibility.


COOPER: The problem with the logic of that, Kaitlan, is that in those states where they allegedly don't have a problem, which really just means they don't -- you know, they haven't tested enough people, the problem is they haven't tested enough people. There aren't enough tests, or even if there were, they're just not doing it, and they're not doing contact tracing; and they're not testing random individuals to know how widespread it is, and people are asymptomatic. KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Exactly. That's what's

happening in states like my home state of Alabama, where initially they didn't have that many cases, and now they're seeing it skyrocket because the testing is only now becoming more available. They're realizing how many people have had it. Of course, a lot of these people have had it all along, they've been spreading it to other people, and that is what the health experts have said we're seeing on a nationwide basis.

So it's notable the president was making that argument, because you didn't hear that from the doctors yesterday when they were presenting those graphic models with those grim numbers, and they were putting out this guidance. And the guidance did not say, "If everyone follows these measures perfectly, except for in Idaho or Wyoming, then we will have this projected death toll." They said if everyone follows these social distancing guidelines, then this is what right now we think we're going to see.

I do want to mention one other thing the president said. He was talking about some countries trying things, he said "herd mentality." I believe he meant "herd immunity." That is something that you saw play out in Sweden, where initially they left their businesses, schools, and whatnot open because it was operating under this idea that if enough people in the group have this coronavirus, have this infection, then they're immune to it, and then they won't be able to give it to someone who is not necessarily immune to it.

Of course, they were later warned by academic experts about massive death tolls as a result of that, and they quickly reversed course.

COOPER: I just want to put a map up, Kaitlan, of the states that do not have stay-at-home orders as of now. There's Alabama, Arkansas, Iowa, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming.

I mean, you know, again, they may not have a lot of confirmed cases, but we talked to Dr. Fauci last week, and he said in those states where they allegedly don't have a lot of cases, the testing is not being done to the extent it should be, and the contact tracing of the people who are positive is not being done to the extent it should be.

So, again, the logic of this -- you don't hear any of the president's scientists saying, "Oh, yes, we agree with him that these states don't need to -- don't need to do this." Is there any sense why the president is so reluctant to impose national restrictions? Because clearly his own scientists, whether they will say that to his face on the podium, clearly they don't believe that there should be just this kind of, you know, willy-nilly decisions of what states get to do whatever they want to do.

COLLINS: And that's why it's important to keep in mind the president isn't just listening to the doctors in this situation. He's also hearing a lot of calls from governors, including the Florida governor, who you saw reluctantly today put that stay-at-home order nationwide, signed that executive order, and that came after just days ago they were saying that they didn't need one. But today he cited the president's changed demeanor as to why he was now putting that in place. So a lot of these governors, at times want to have strong relationships with the president, are operating off their conversations with him, and they're following suit with him. So that's why it is so important what the president says about this, because it can change how these governors operate in their states.

While yes, it is ultimately it is the governor's decisions, of course the president has a lot of influence there: his aides know that. And, as you were noting, it's not lining up with the doctors are saying about this, with what the president is saying.

Look at what the surgeon general said this morning. He said he considers that guidance that they reissued yesterday to be a nationwide stay-at-home order.


Now, of course, they cannot enforce that. They believe they are not telling all these states to do it.

But that's what the Surgeon General himself is saying. Basically telling all these states they need to be following suit with this, though, of course, we know there's about a dozen that still aren't.

COOPER: Yes. Clearly, the president is not listening to the Surgeon General. Kaitlan Collins, thanks very much.

Still ahead tonight, Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer joins me. We discuss the supply issues threatening hospitals in her state. Also, a report on two cruise ships with thousands of passengers headed for Florida. The question is, will the state's governor, Ron DeSantis allow them to disembark?


COOPER: Well, moments ago, we learned today's death toll from the coronavirus has increased again, now at 917. Again, that's the highest single day total yet in America. Again, shows the strain placed on healthcare professionals.

As we reported at the top of the program, President Trump, tonight, says the strategic national stockpile -- personal protective equipment for doctors, nurses, police, firemen, EMT, firefighters, first responders, is just about depleted. President Trump said this evening, they're sending it directly to hospitals.

Joining me now is CNN National Security Analyst, Juliette Kayyem. Juliette, can you just walk us through how it's possible that the national stockpile is depleted? Because, from what I understand, FEMA works for ways to find, supply, and distribute to states, but --


COOPER: -- are there situations where FEMA is actually competing with the states, which is what the governor was saying? [20:20:00]

KAYYEM: Yes, absolutely. So basically how it works is you have a known quantity of things. So let's just say it's masks, those masks are counted by FEMA and then distributed to the states based on need. So it's a basic supply chain.

Now, this one is much more complicated, you've got lots of needs and lots of demand. So basically what happened was you have a strategic national stockpile you start getting--totally predictable by the way this should not have been a shock, 50 states making requests simultaneously.

FEMA is trying to deliver those materials on time and at the same time trying to replenish the strategic national stockpile and, therefore, is on the open market with the other states competing, because the President still refuses to utilize the Defence Production Act to essentially get rid of that competition in the market.

What people forget about that Act is, it actually creates a price, right, just your basic market price so that no one is competing with each other.

COOPER: Right. Just yesterday after Governor Cuomo said this is ridiculous, this system, we're competing and FEMA is competing with us, the President was asked about that, didn't seem to quite understand it then finally said, well the states shouldn't be doing that, they should call the white house, we'll get them and send them out. He clearly just doesn't understand


COOPER: I don't know what-


COOPER: I don't want to speak for him, but that is not an accurate representation of what's happening.

KAYYEM: Right, that's exactly right. So, the President -- the president doesn't know basic logistics in this sense and you'd think he would given his background. Just basically how it works and where the federal market is the best market so that the states are not competing with each other and then they can also demand supply from the private sector.

In other words, right now it's a seller's market so all these companies able to raise the prices because-

COOPER: Right.

KAYYEM: Illinois wants this and Texas wants that. I will tell you; it just seems like the President doesn't understand how the systems work and also is disrupting the system. So it's the worst of both worlds, right. He's, you know, bartering and yet doesn't understand that the system actually does work., this is the easy part. COOPER: The President said tonight, quote, "We will fairly soon be at

a point where we have far more than we can use." When it comes to the national stockpile, that seems to contradict what DHS officials told CNN, what the President himself said later on in the same press conference.

KAYYEM: That's exactly right. The idea that -- the idea that we will have too much stuff is so enraging because I see these doctors every night on your show and throughout the day demanding, begging for PPE and other materials they need, patients who are going to need extra care.

They think this is like a one moment in time. We are talking multiple weeks ahead of us of just waves of people getting sick. The idea that we have enough right now is just -- they're living in never-neverland. They think it's like a hurricane, it comes and you know what you need and then you leave.

This is going to be waves of demands across 50 states, it could have been predicted and now we need to gear up for it. But it's just a weird-it's a weird reaction. I should also say something else, most of this stuff does not go bad.

What's the worst that happens? You over order, then you replenish the strategic stockpile, you sell it back to states, or as the statute envisions, you sell it to other countries. There is a--there is a statute that makes a lot of sense and for some reason still, the President will not aggressively use it.

COOPER: Juliette, thank you very much. I want to bring in Dr. Craig Spencer, the Director of Global Medicine at Columbia University Medical Centre. Dr Spencer we've been saying there are still governors who have not put stay-at-home orders in their place.

I'm not a scientist, but every scientist I have spoken to says this is a no-brainer, Bill Gates among them, this has to be done nationwide. It's a tough pill to swallow, but we gotta do it. The sooner we do it the sooner we will be able to get out of these stay-at-home orders.

And all these projections which are shocking nevertheless of 100,000, 240,000 people, those are based on the entire country, every state doing it and they are not.

DR. CRAIG SPENCER, DIRECTOR OF GLOBAL MEDICINE, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTRE: Exactly, yeah. I've been saying the virus cannot infect you if the virus never meets you. Our only hope right now is social distancing, we don't have a magic bullet medication, we don't have a vaccine.

We only have staying away from sick people and we don't know who are sick with enough time. I appreciate that Florida has put in place a stay at home, it's much later than it should have been, Texas needs to follow suit. All of the other states that you read out, everyone needs to follow suit.

It is our only hope right now to flatten the curve and prevent this wave of infections from going across the U.S. my family is in --

COOPER: It's a little --

SPENCER" Michigan, we're concerned about cases there. My family is in New Orleans -- I have family and friends in New Orleans, we're concerned about cases there.


My parents are in Florida. We're seeing a huge spike in cases there, we need to act now so that others don't experience what we've been experiencing here in New York.

COOPER: Yes. I mean, it's a little rich for the governor of Florida to now have a stay-at-home order which doesn't actually go into effect until Friday, and not want this cruise ship to dock with a lot of old people on it, but he invited spring-breakers -- you know, spring- breakers were coming down, no problem because, supposedly Florida didn't seem to have a problem, even though obviously they just weren't testing.

Let's just talk in the hospitals, what's happening, because you and I during the break, we were talking about something that I had read, which is that doctors now are trying to, you know -- the amazing thing of a situation like this is, people learn how to adapt and doctors are doing that.

I read that when -- for one COVID patient, doctors were realizing -- nurses were realizing, it takes an awful lot of personnel to address this one patient and that means an awful lot of PPE, and that there's ways to now, try to streamline that. Can you explain?

SPENCER: Absolutely. So, every day we're getting new protocols, we're learning a lot about this disease, so we're thinking about how we readapt and reorganize our emergency departments.

We're doing some really good things, so we're trying to isolate the risk of exposure, having certain teams that do the intubation, so putting people on mechanical ventilation, making sure that it's not everyone in the E.R. that is doing that.

That's great because right now there are multiple patients being put on ventilators, sometimes multiple at one time, many an hour. So, isolating that risk to one person or one team lowers the likelihood of infection for everyone, decreases the amount of personal protective equipment and makes sure that the people that are doing it are the right people to be doing it, yes.

COOPER: And just to be clear, that's a very -- I mean, that's an intimate -- and that's not the right word -- procedure, you're basically right on top of somebody, you're sticking something down somebody's throat, they're coughing.

SPENCER: It's risky.

COOPER: That's a high-risk procedure. SPENCER: Absolutely, it's one of the highest risk procedures which is

why everyone is putting in place protocols to lower the risk from that. We need perfect PPE, we need the right people to be doing that procedure otherwise it does increase the risk for everyone.

COOPER: You --

SPENCER: We're getting -- we're adapting, we're thinking about the best way to prevent that infection but still, again, the most important way is to decrease the number of people that are coming to our emergency room, decrease the number of people that need to be put on ventilators and that all -- it all goes back to physical distancing.

COOPER: We would never allow soldiers in a war to not have equipment, to not have -- I mean, it's happened and, you know -- but there was outrage about it. There should be equal outrage that even at this stage, you know, you're concerned and other doctors and nurses and all these people are concerned about, you know, masks and gloves and it -- and, I mean, are medications being depleted as well?

SPENCER: I'm glad you brought that up because that's just what I was going to say, it's not just personal protective equipment. I read an article last week calling for the Defense Security Act be put in place -- Defence Protection Act, to get us the PPE.

But we need it for more. Right now there are nationwide shortages of the exact medications we need after we put people on a ventilator. So there is #weneedmeds trending on social media. We need them. Doctors are aware that the medications we need -- and we're going to need more in the next couple weeks -- are already in short supply. We need to increase that output immediately, otherwise we're not going to have the tools that we need, in addition to the personal protective equipment to provide the highest quality of care for our patients.

COOPER: You know, I do wish -- I mean, you know, nobody knows how long this is going to go on, but this idea that, like, these 15-day increments -- so -- well, yes, it's going to be another 15 days. I mean, it's going to be longer than that. I mean, at least the president now, is talking about a month.


COOPER: You know, to the end of May it -- very likely in New York, we could be in this situation. I mean, we just don't know.

Dr. Craig Spencer, I really appreciate your time and thank God for all you're doing, and all your colleagues. Thank you.

SPENCER: Thank you very much, Anderson.

COOPER: Just ahead I'm going to talk to Michigan's Governor Gretchen Whitmer about the situation in her state, what she needs and is seeing, and any thoughts or advice she has for what should be going on. And later, two cruise ships with dozens of passengers with flu-like

symptoms -- I mentioned them. Several with confirmed cases of coronavirus. They want to dock in Florida, they've been out for a month on this -- nobody -- no country is going to -- has been allowing them.

The question is, will the governor and other officials in Florida allow them to disembark. That, ahead.




COOPER: As we reported earlier, the president says he does not plan to issue a national stay-at-home order, preferring to trust the judgment of state leaders.

But I want to show you this map. Again, the states that have so far refused to issue such orders are Alabama, Arkansas, Iowa, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, and Wyoming. Earlier, we showed you a map that included Texas: Texas does have a stay-in-place order as of yesterday.

Joining me now is Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer, who issued a stay-at-home order for her state last Monday.

Governor, you'd originally said you had no plans for a stay-at-home order. Obviously, no governor wants to do this. You ended up reversing that, as I said, last Monday. The idea that this is not yet nationwide, I don't understand, just -- the science doesn't back that up. The science -- the science is clear: every governor should be doing this.

I know it's not your job to tell other governors what to do, but don't the people of Michigan suffer if other states aren't doing it, and y'all are going to have to stay at home longer, and so are we here in New York, because not all states are online yet?

GOV. GRETCHEN WHITMER (D), MICHIGAN: Yes, we were pretty aggressive. You know, we were one of the first states to pull our kids out of school, to close bars, to make restaurants dine-out. And then, with the stay-home, stay-safe order, it became very clear, after talking to epidemiologists and physicians, that it was the right thing to do.


We have to take this incredibly seriously. COVID-19 does not discriminate between party line. It does not discriminate between state line.

We really should have a national strategy instead of a patchwork of policies. But that's what we're doing. And that's why I think it's important that we governors are leading and showing the way and being aggressive. And I'm grateful that I have great, you know, colleagues here in the

Midwest in particular. We've been pretty aggressive as a geography, and I think that's important. But without a national strategy, without a uniform policy, this is going to go on longer than it needs to and more lives are going to be lost, more than we otherwise would.

COOPER: Yes. Again, as you say, more lives will be lost because of these delays. Let's talk about Michigan -- what you need. Where are things right now for you?

WHITMER: So, we've got a lot of the hospitals that are already at capacity and we are in the early part of what we think will be a pretty dramatic upswing. We know that it is growing exponentially. We lost 75 people in the last 24 hours.

I think that it's something that -- we know we've got too little PPE. We have too few hospital beds. We definitely have too few ventilators. And we're worried about our first -- our frontline responders, our nurses, and our respiratory therapists and our doctors.

So we're trying to lure people to come back into the practice of medicine. Make it easier, releasing -- you know, relaxing scope of practice. And also encouraging people from other parts of the state and other parts of the country to think about coming in to Detroit area, because that's where we have so many people that are really struggling right now.

COOPER: Governor Cuomo talked with great frustration the other day about the situation he finds himself in, competing against other states, and all these states, you know, trying to do the best they can for their states, and competing and driving the price of PPE and other ventilators and things up, and then FEMA coming in and also competing then against states.

The White House seemed not clear on this. The president said, well, that shouldn't be happening, and they should just call the White House, and the White House will do it, and then distribute them. Clearly that is not the case. So what needs to change?

WHITMER: You know, I made the same observation last week, and I think that it made some people really unhappy with me. But the fact of the matter is, we are desperately trying to obtain these -- this PPE that is so critical.

We're not getting enough out of the federal stockpile and we know how that's been diminished. So it's on us to go outside the federal government, to try to contract, and when we're all competing against one another, it means that there are a lot of people who aren't going to get what they ultimately need.

Contracts that are supposed to be coming in -- millions of N95 masks have been either delayed or totally cancelled after we were counting on that to happen. And so, that's precisely why a more aggressive use of the Defense Production Act is so important.

Our need is right now. And while we see some businesses ramping up, we know that there are going to be people who don't get the kind of care that they need, because we just don't have it right now. And we're taking a Herculean undertaking. We're working 24/7 to do this.

But at the end of the day, it shouldn't be states having a, you know, Wild West fight over this. We should have a unified national strategy so that every American, no matter what state you live in -- you know that you're going to get the care that you need if you get -- contract this virus.

COOPER: Yes. I mean, again, this is -- I hate to keep saying this, but this is a failure of national leadership right now. Governor Whitmer, appreciate it. Thank you.

Earlier, we reported the governor of Tennessee was not going to order citizens to shelter in place. Here's what Republican governor, Bill Lee, said. Quote, "There is a wide range of efforts across the country, none of which has given much real data or evidence of what is most effective in social distancing." That's just wrong.

Joining me now by phone is Democratic Congressman Steve Cohen of Tennessee. Congressman, you sent a letter to the governor today, imploring him to issue a mandatory shelter-in-place order, calling it the greatest health crisis in your state's history. I wonder what your reaction is to the stance that Governor Lee is taking.

REP. STEVE COHEN (D-TN): Well, I've been surprised. I told him on a call we had with the entire congressional delegation last week that I thought he should do it, and wrote him originally that he should do that.

He gave a response that he was concerned about personal freedoms. And it was -- this is not a time to be concerned about personal freedoms. We're talking about the most serious public health crisis in the history of our earth.

There has probably never been a crisis that will result in so many deaths, and certainly not in the United States. And in Tennessee, we know, and he knows. Today, he said he's trying to get dormitories and convention centers and hotels to be lined up as additional hospital rooms, because he foresees the next three to four weeks, the hospitals being overwhelmed.


Well, if he sees the hospitals being overwhelmed, he ought to take action in spite of his concern about, quote unquote, "personal freedoms", to protect Tennesseans lives.

I had a friend die today, Dan - Den Spector, in Memphis. John Pride is a friend of mine: he's in stable but critical condition. I felt good that he was in stable, not critical; but Dan went from critical to critical but stable, and died. There are going to be lots of Tennesseans die, and this is no time for that.

We need to act with the most care that we can, the most protection we can, for citizens. Because people don't know they have this -- COOPER: Right.

COHEN: -- and I'm personally -- my district is a district that's on the border of Arkansas and Mississippi. I was pleased that even Mississippi went to -- to a -- to a standard, and mandated shelter-in- place --

COOPER: You know, I --

COHEN: -- and then they've ordered, they said, "We're going to get their sick."(?)

COOPER: I mean, what -- what, you know, what limits personal freedom is this having a tube shoved down your throat and being hooked up to a ventilator because you can't breathe, and a machine breathes for you. That's really what ends up hurting your personal freedom, and that's what's going to happen to an awful lot of people.

I don't -- it -- you know, we talk about we're all in this together, and literally we are, because what's happening in your state: if Tennessee doesn't have these orders in place, there's going to be more people die there than in neighboring states; but all of those who do have them in place are going to have to have them in place longer, because ultimately Tennessee is going to end up with shelter-in-place. They're just going to do it late, and more people are going to die.

COHEN: Right. The virus doesn't know county lines or city lines. Governor Beshear in Kentucky instructed his people not to go to Tennessee, because we have a less strict, less careful, less healthy policy than Kentucky. And what I've seen, and it's really distressing, is it's basically red states that have not had the more stringent controls and health protections for their citizenry, and it's because they're following Trump, who said it would just disappear, it was just the flu, it will magically disappear.

COOPER: Well, do you think, I mean, now that the president has at least, you know, seems to accept the 100,000 to 240,000 figure -- which, by the way, is based on the idea that all states have shelter- in-place orders, which they don't. Do you think if the president said, "You know what?" to all the governors, "You should do this. You know, I can't mandate it legally, but all of you should do this," that that would at least give the governors cover to do it?

COHEN: It gives them cover, and I suspect that's why Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi acted today. But, you know, Trump was for the second coronavirus bill that we passed in the House, and there were still 40 Republicans that voted "No" on giving people that suffer from this unemployment compensation, sick leave, gave free tests, gave hospitals more opportunities, small business more opportunity.

And the 40, even though Trump was for it, voted against it, and they were predominantly from the southern red states. And it says something about their constituencies, and them: even with Trump giving them -- giving them cover, they still were not willing to go beyond what I think they thought their constituency thought, and their constituency must think that they are beyond this, that they are somehow impervious to this virus.

Well, they're going to get it just like people who are blue people are going to get it. It doesn't know blue and red: it knows people, it knows lungs, it knows eyes, it knows mouths, it knows noses. And the governor should know that, and he should protect Tennessee.

COOPER: Congressman --

COHEN: We're the volunteer state. We shouldn't volunteer: we should be forced to do this, because when we go out -- even if you don't -- you don't know you have the virus, you're spreading it to other people. And that's the most damnable thing you could be doing, and you need to be concerned about that, get in your house, and then watch some tube, and learn how to cook.

COOPER: Is there widespread testing in your state, at least?

COHEN: Where there's some it's not widespread.

COOPER: That's what I thought.

COHEN: We've -- Memphis, our mayor in Memphis has done a good job. All the mayors, which are blue areas and have democratic mayors, have all ordered shelter-in-place. But the rural areas have not, and the governor has not, and it's just -- it's irresponsible.

It's astonishing to me, Anderson. He says he's the governor, and he's a nice guy, but, you know, you can be a nice guy: you need to act. And he says it's just personal freedoms.

When it comes to a woman's choice, he's not concerned to personal freedom. When it comes to somebody being in possession of marijuana, he's not concerned about personal freedom. When it comes to sexual activities between consenting adults, he's not for personal freedom.

But when it comes to some yahoo walking on the street and breathing unknown virus out to others, that's personal freedom? That's not.

COOPER: Congressman Cohen, stay safe. Thank you.


COHEN: Take care -- Anderson

COOPER: As we reported earlier Florida's governor is imposing stay-at- home orders for the entire state, finally. It doesn't start Friday, early Friday at least. But on the immediate horizon is a very big problem a Holland America cruise ship " The Zaandam," is standing to head to the port of Fort Lauderdale.

A sister ship with other passengers who were off loaded from that ship because they were asymptomatic that's also waiting. There are some passengers on the first ship with coronavirus and others with flu-like symptoms. Governor Ron DeSantis says for now he'll only allow Florida residents to disembark. Randi Kaye is there for us tonight. So what's the situation? What's going to happen once these ships get close? RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, right now, Anderson, the ships

are off the coast of Cuba and they're hoping to dock here at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale where I am at some point tomorrow

But there's no agreement in place for them to actually enter Florida waters right now and the situation you touched on, the situation on board is just terrible, it's a real nightmare. There are about 2,500 passengers and crew, of those four people have died. At last check eight have been diagnosed with the coronavirus and about 200 in all are experiencing flu-like symptoms.

They are self-isolating in their cabins, there are some supplies on board, but they are running low, they have some masks, they have some of those PPE gowns, but that's about it. Right now they are begging to dock here, but the Florida governor says he's not willing to give up hospital beds here in Florida for those people on board. In fact, his quote was, "you can't just dump foreigners or foreign nationals here in South Florida." Anderson.

COOPER: I mean they were -- I don't understand because the governor was more than happy to dump spring breakers from around the country and I guess around the world just a couple weeks ago. I'm not sure, these are, you know, I assume many of these people on board are American citizens.

KAYE: Absolutely. There are about 300, last check, 311 American citizens, 52 of them are Florida residents and then there is the big question of where are the bodies of those who passed away? We don't know if there is a morgue on board, the cruise line isn't saying anything about what they've done with the deceased on board. So that's a big question but we do know-

COOPER: Well, they'll probably use a freezer I would imagine.

KAYE: That those passengers who were feeling -- you would imagine so, but the passengers who were feeling OK have been moved to that sister ship, the Rotterdam and now we're just learning tonight, Anderson, that 14 passengers on that ship say that they have flu-like symptoms.

So now there is a problem on that ship as well. The crew on the original ship, "The Zaandam," they have stayed there, but we should note there are six ventilators, there's four doctors, four nurses on "The Zaandam.". But still that's not enough, that's why they need help. This is a desperate situation for them.

COOPER: Randi Kaye, I appreciate you following it, thank you. The question now, can blood plasma from coronavirus survivors be an effective therapeutic treatment for those diagnosed? That will be extraordinary. We're going to talk about that next.



COOPER: With death counts rising, no date certain in sight for an end to the pandemic, there's some small-scale testing now underway to determine if blood plasma from coronavirus survivors can be an effective treatment going forward.

The issue came up today at the White House briefing. Dr. Anthony Fauci said it was, quote, "the right thing to do".

Joining me now is Dr. David Reich, the President/COO of New York City's Mount Sinai Hospital, which is -- has -- one of the studies has just begun. Dr. Reich, can you explain the study? Who can take part in it, and do you think it's promising?

DR. DAVID L. REICH, PRESIDENT/COO, MOUNT SINAI HOSPITAL: Yes, we think it's very promising. We are enrolling people as donors who are at least 21 days after the initial diagnosis, and we're able to test them in our laboratory and do quantitative antibody testing to measure the level of antibodies in their blood.

And people who exceed a certain threshold, we send to the blood bank, and they extract plasma, and they send it to us, and then we identify recipients. And the FDA has created a process so we can enroll individual patients who are in the hospital with moderate to severe illness.

COOPER: I know some people who have survived this who would like to participate in something like this. They have to be 21 days clear. Is that right?

REICH: Well, it probably -- 28 days would be more ideal, but we're very early in the process in New York --

COOPER: From their diagnosis?

REICH: Yes. Yes, from the diagnosis. And what happens is that the peak of the antibodies is probably between four -- maybe even up to six weeks. But we're getting very early spikes around three weeks, and that's important, because we have a lot of patients sick, and some even dying in our hospitals in New York City.

So, it's very important that we get this therapy to people as quickly as possible.

COOPER: And how many people do you need?

REICH: Well, in order to find out if it's effective, I think that somewhere between 50 and 100 -- when we compare it with the rest of the population that was not able to receive it, by virtue of -- just lack of availability.

There can be some data which show association, which generate, sort of, a view that this may be effective therapy. It's very different than a prospective trial where other people in the nation are looking to do that over time.

But right now in New York, the crisis is so intense that we have to get the therapy to people as quickly as possible on a compassionate use basis, and then analyze our data.

COOPER: So how quickly might you know if this is working or not? REICH: I think that we'll have enough experience when we're six to

eight weeks into this, because of the rapid increase in the amount of plasma that's becoming available.

That -- the models will hopefully show if there's an association, so that others can learn from that. And I expect that many people in the nation will be participating in a national trial that has a controlled arm to it.

COOPER: So, if you are in the New York area and you have survived the virus, after, what, 20 some-odd days, you would want somebody to reach out to you, or would you want them to reach out before?

REICH: Well, right now in New York, there is a registry, and almost every patient to have had a diagnosis of COVID-19 has some physician relationship. There are people that weren't tested with mild symptoms, but everyone with a positive test can be contacted.

But we've had no lack of people reaching out to us. Several thousand have reached out. So there's been a wonderful groundswell of support from New Yorkers who want to help their fellow New Yorkers, and it's a beautiful thing to see.


COOPER: Yes, that's awesome. Mount Sinai, the field hospital in Central Park is part of Mount Sinai. What's your situation on supplies? Do you have enough ventilators, personal protective equipment? Do you have the things you need?

REICH: Well, across the street is actually run by a charitable organization called-

COOPER: Samaritan's Purse.

REICH: Samaritan's Purse, exactly and they are under our license and we're providing them with logistical support but they're staffed and run independently for the most part, but we will do everything we can to help them.

As far as PPE is concerned, in our entire health system, it's always a concern for us. We have to do extended use and reuse of n-95 masks because there are just not enough of them and we work very hard to provide all the PPE that we can to all of the employees of the health system, but it is a constant struggle, and we worry about, you know, where the next few days supply will come from. So, it is a serious concern in New York.

COOPER: Dr. Reich, thank you for all that you are doing and all your personnel are doing, it is extraordinary and we all need you, so thank you.

REICH: Thank you very much.

COOPER: I want to check with Chris, see what he's working on and how he is feeling. Chris, how you doing? I can't hear Chris. OK, sorry, could you at home hear Chris? Can

somebody in my ear tell me? OK, yeah, I didn't have Chris' audio at all so, sorry.

He looked OK. I don't know. Anyway, we'll check in with him, you'll hear from him in a few minutes from him anyway, he'll be coming just about 3 1/2 minutes from now. Tomorrow night, Dr. Sanjay Gupta is going to join me again -- Chris is back, hey, Chris there you are. Can you hear me?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Sorry, the virus has screwed up my technical abilities, evidently.

COOPER: Your smell and your voice, apparently.

CUOMO: Yes, what an irony with this, nose this size, it doesn't work. Look, last night I had one of the wildest nights of my life. I have never experienced anything like it thanks to this virus. I'll tell people the type of symptoms I have, not everybody has the same thing and I'll share what's been working for me --

COOPER: So you were already-

CUOMO: And what is not.

COOPER: So, you were saying the night even after you were on the air, like, the actual, the night?

CUOMO: Yes, I finished the show and I started to get - you know, we all grew up, you get fever chills, OK? The ones you remember as a kid where you'd have those dreams at night? Times like l0 or 15. I saw my father, I was having like hallucinations of people walking around, it was on the floor and it was like all sweat all over.

I mean this is wild stuff and it can go on for days and longer for people. So, now I know more what I'm dealing with, now I know what kind of fight I'm in. Now I'm ready to fight, you know once I know what I'm up against I feel more comfortable about it.

But I got great news today that makes any symptom I have meaningless to me and I'll share it on the show and I'm also going to take a really hard look at why we're still holding back. You've been doing brilliantly in every one of the interviews I've watched on the show tonight, it is madness, what's going on in Tennessee, what's been allowed in Florida, what the President did today about drug interdiction. We'll take that on and there will be dog ambiance also apparently behind me.

COOPER: I got to say, you know, it's just an abdication of leadership, it's just irresponsible not to do this nationwide.

CUOMO: I mean it's like as you posed so perfectly earlier on, we're all in it together. So what are we going to do? Just watch every community learn the same lesson, the same damn way because they wouldn't do the only thing they know that works? And then you have a governor like in Tennessee say, well we don't know

that, you know, this kind of social contacting really matters. As you said, that's just not true.

COOPER: It's the only thing we really know. I mean, that's -- anyway.

CUOMO: Mm-hmm.

COOPER: Chris, thank you very much. I'll see you again, I'm glad you are doing the show. Tonight, as more lives have been lost to the virus, we want to continue to remember some of the victims. Let's begun with that.

Douglas Linn Hickock was an army captain a Physician Assistant in the New Jersey National Guard. He's the first active duty U.S. service member to die from the coronavirus. He comes from a family of service; his dad was a major in the air force and his son is looking to join the navy.

His family says he wanted to contribute and make a difference and he certainly did that throughout his life. He was so proud of his military service, Douglas Linn Hickock was 57 years old.

Wallace Roney was a legendary jazz musician; he was a trumpeter who played with Miles Davis. He grew up in a music-loving family, his talent was, well, you couldn't hide it, it was evident early on. When he was just 12, he became the youngest member of the Philadelphia brass, a professional quintet. He recorded nearly 20 albums during his career. "The Washington Post" profiled him back in 1987, they called him one of the best jazz trumpeters in the world. Wallace Roney was 59 years old.

And Rabbi Romey Cohn, he was also known as Romey, he survived the Holocaust.