Return to Transcripts main page
ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
U.S. Coronavirus Death Toll Tops 10,000; Dr. Fauci: "Might Not Ever" Get Back To Life Pre-Coronavirus; HHS Watchdog Report: "Severe" Shortages Of Testing Supplies, Long Wait Times For Results At Hospitals; U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson Moved To ICU With COVID- 19; "Washington Post:" Fox News Host Giving Advice To Trump On Drug He's Pushing As Coronavirus Treatment; Family Shocked By Loss Of Marathon Runner To Coronavirus. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired April 6, 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: Good evening, everyone. There is a lot to get to tonight.
Some potentially positive signs in New York, the epicenter of the fight to save infected people, and plenty of continued warnings about difficult days and deaths ahead. We're going to get to all of that.
The White House Coronavirus Task Force press briefing ended a short while ago, and if you tuned in to it hoping to hear from the country's top scientists, you were likely disappointed. What we mostly heard was the president.
What we saw was a hijacking -- a hijacking of the task force press conference by a president determined to rewrite the history of his early and reprehensibly irresponsible response to this virus.
What the president showed us today is what the nation's top scientists have to deal with every day, a president who now uses these briefings as a re-election platform, an opportunity to lie, to deflect, to attack, to bully, and cover up his own deadly dismissals of the virus for crucial weeks.
According to the president today, all governors are getting everything they need and testing is now and always has been great. Reporters who asked fair questions but didn't kowtow or suck up to this president were attacked and belittled.
And a special venom was reserved for a career official at HHS, who he doesn't even know, who released a non-political study with extensive interviews with doctors and hospitals across the country, describing the lack of supplies and insufficient testing, and mixed messages they've been getting from the federal government, all things that have been reported on.
I just have to point out, this is not normal. And it matters, because this is life and death. If you look at the chart, by the way, that the White House showed to show the extensiveness of the testing, you'll notice their statistics do not begin until March 5th.
February was a lost month, and people died because of that. And the numbers tested do not begin to appreciably rise on their own chart until more than halfway through the month of March. That's how late it was.
Nonetheless, this is the victory the administration is repeatedly claiming. This is what the president is clinging to, claiming that testing always has been great. It hasn't. Still not. Hospitalization rates and fatalities are expected to increase dramatically from the coronavirus.
President Trump, however, spoke again today of light at the end of the tunnel. No word of how long that tunnel may be or how dim the light currently is. There are some positive trends, but as New Jersey's governor today said, this is no time to take our foot off the gas.
The number of dead in this country passed the 10,000 mark today. The current number is 10,781. The number of cases, 364,723. Even if a peak is reached and passed in one area, the administration has said it expects rolling peaks at least through next month.
Just tonight, Los Angeles County health officials urge residents to not go grocery shopping this week if they can. One reason the president can even speak of a light at the end of the tunnel, social distancing and the stay-at-home orders that most states have implemented.
Another state today issued a stay-at-home order, South Carolina. That brings the total number of Americans under such an order -- the total percentage to more than 97 percent of the country.
Still, there are seven states that don't have an order in place. Arkansas, Iowa, North Dakota, Nebraska, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming. We should note that Dr. Anthony Fauci said this evening that Iowa and Nebraska have instituted rules very similar to stay-at-home orders.
The other threat tonight -- the threat to our frontline defenders and hospitals who tested positive for the virus, and the medical supplies that multiple governors say they must outbid each other for.
Illinois's governor said today that what his state is getting from the Strategic National Stockpile is a, quote, "mere fraction of what we asked for". Other governors have made similar remarks.
And yet, tonight, President Trump paints a far different picture. Everything states wants, he says, is already there for the most part. Quote, "They're happy, every one of them." Life according to the president.
Erica Hill joins us now with the latest. Erica?
ERICA HILL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, good evening. I can tell you one thing that may make the governor of this state and several other states happier would be stricter social distancing. That has been hammered home, as you just pointed out.
And while we are seeing some glimmer of hope here in New York, what was made clear by this governor and several other officials today, is that this threat is far from over.
HILL (voice-over): 250 beds at the Meadowlands in New Jersey. 2,500 each in Chicago's McCormick Place Exposition Center, and New York's massive Javits Center, where COVID patients began arriving over the weekend.
The Navy hospital ship, "Comfort", now accepting COVID patients as well. The two facilities acting as relief valves for the state's hospitals, as New York's death toll continues to rise, though more slowly.
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: While none of this is good news, the flattening -- possible flattening of the curve is better than the increases that we have seen.
HILL (voice-over): The CDC today warning the country's death toll could be higher, because data is lagging by as much as two weeks.
As a New York City councilman tweets, the city may need to bury victims in parks, because morgues and trailers outside hospitals are reaching capacity." That's not happening at the moment, though, Mark Levine's staff says it is part of a contingency plan, which seemed to catch the governor by surprise.
CUOMO: I've heard a lot of wild rumors, but I have not heard anything about the city burying people in parks.
HILL (voice-over): Around the country, communities adapting, and bracing for what the surgeon general cautions will be the hardest and saddest week yet.
DR. JEROME ADAMS, U.S. SURGEON GENERAL: This is going to be our Pearl Harbor moment, our 9/11 moment only it's not going to be localized, it's going to be happening all over the country.
HILL (voice-over): In New Orleans, mortuaries and morgues are at capacity. Louisiana's governor says they could run out of ventilators and beds by the end of the week. Officials in New York warn they may have even less time and resources.
COMMISSIONER DEANNE CRISWELL, NEW YORK CITY EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT DEPARTMENT: The numbers that we're really watching is still the number of hospital admissions -- the numbers that are going into the ICU and eventually on ventilators. And we're not seeing a decrease in those numbers yet. Those are the numbers that are really going to strain our health care system.
HILL (voice-over): Meantime, a new government watch dog report finds -- quote, "Severe widespread shortages of critical supplies across the country, adding to the strain. And the report says, those shortages are making it harder for hospitals to test and protect their staff.
The government adding new travel restrictions for all cruise ship passengers and crew arriving in the U.S. No longer allowed on commercial flights and subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine.
A third passenger from the Coral Princess now docked in Miami, has died. In New Jersey, a mother and ICU doctor, is recovering from the virus, anxious to hold the children she wasn't sure she'd see again. Dr. Julie John even made them a good-bye video.
DR. JULIE JOHN, INTENSIVE CARE UNIT: I just wanted to tell my kids that they are the most important thing in the world to me. I love you and I want to be there, but I can't. But be amazing, be nice. And then -- I just -- that's the most important thing, right. When you're -- when you can't breathe, I thought of my children and how I can say good-bye in the best way.
COOPER: What's the latest update from Governor Cuomo on the amount of ventilators the state has?
HILL: So, he said when he was asked about that today, Anderson, basically everybody is running low on everything. They are over capacity in some cases, they are splitting ventilators. But what he did say is that no-one who has come to him said, "I have a critical need, I'm out of ventilators," has not gotten one. He said 802 were sent to New York City. That number, he said, was based on what he was told was needed and those were shipped in for the 11 public hospitals here.
He also said this flex surge questionnaire, essentially, they've been doing with hospitals around the state every night to figure out what's needed, has really helped and they've been shifting around the state has needed.
COOPER: All right. Erica Hill, thanks very much. We're going to get to the politics in a moment, but first we want to talk about some of the developments in the fight against this virus. We want to bring in our chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
So, Sanjay, Dr. Fauci suggests that this evening, that --
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Anderson.
COOPER: -- life as we knew it, may never again and certainly not before there is a vaccine, be back to normal. I mean, that's his job, to give the public an unvarnished accounting regardless of what the president is saying.
COOPER: I'm wondering what you make of what he said. GUPTA: Yes. I mean, that's a bit jarring to hear for sure and I think
the question was specifically as you pointed out, Anderson, could life return to normal before a vaccine came out?
You know, I think the point that Dr. Fauci was making was that there is going to be a lot of -- a sort of a hangover effect from this whole thing, you know, in terms of how people may still be a little cautious until -- if the virus is still circulating to some extent.
I think as we get therapies that are, you know, proven to be effective, everybody on the planet is hoping that we -- that we find therapies like that, which would come a lot faster than the vaccine. That it will start to, you know, return to a more normal sort of sense of what we were experiencing several months ago.
But, you know, Anderson, as we talked about, I mean, there's going to be no sort of all-clear flag that is waved around this, you know. It's going to be a slow sort of roll back into life. People are -- there's still going to be a fair amount of psychological effect from this, I think, even aside from the physical effect.
I think it's something that Dr. Fauci has talked about for a while. So, it's - you know -- look, you and I have covered a lot of stories -- nothing quite like this. It is amazing to me how quickly people do move on ultimately. As tough as this has been right now, I have to say -- you know, not to disagree at all with Dr. Fauci, of course, but I do think people do ultimately bounce back and I think that --
GUPTA: -- will happen here as well.
COOPER: On Saturday, Governor Cuomo said that in his opinion, people will be able to start to go back to work when there is a testing program that can be, in his words, brought to scale. I mean, is the United States even close to that?
GUPTA: No, I don't think we're close to that and you know, the sort of test that Governor Cuomo was talking about, as you know, Anderson, is this serology test or also known as an antibody test.
It's looking for the cells in your body that are generated in response to your exposure to the virus. So when you fight the virus, you make these antibodies, you can test for those antibodies. We're not at scale yet, there is an emergency authorization that was put in place last Thursday to allow one company to start doing this.
The ambassador came out today and said, hey, look, there is a lot of basically bad companies out there as well. My colleague Elizabeth Cone was reporting on that today as well saying be aware a little bit, there's going to be a lot of people saying, we have the antibody test. There is not really one out there besides this one under emergency authorization. So we're absolutely not there yet, but we will get there and I will
tell you, Anderson, I think the antibody test is a big deal just for the same reasons we were just talking about, once people have some confidence that they have these antibodies, they have some confidence that they may be protected, we don't know how long they'll be protected yet.
But I think it's going to go a long way not only towards the physical part of this, but also again, the psychological part of this which is something that we need to be talking about more and more. Just the anxiety around this that's preventing people from doing things.
When you get a test result like that, hey, I was exposed, I didn't even really know it, I didn't get that sick, but now I'm inoculated or essentially immunized against this, I think you know first frontline workers and then other essential workers and other people will feel more comfortable about really getting back to work.
COOPER: Do we know for a fact that once you've had it, you are as you said essentially inoculated against it?
GUPTA: No, that's a fair point, Anderson we don't know that yet for sure. I mean, you know, Dr. Fauci has said he's basically convinced that's the case. But you know, until we can actually, you know, we're 3 1/2 months into this, until we can actually look at this data a little bit more long term, we won't know for sure.
But this is a coronavirus. If it behaves like other coronaviruses have in the past, and other viruses for that matter, once you're exposed you should have some protection. And also, you know, unlike the flu virus, Anderson, which has what's called antigenic drift, it sort of, you know, mutates essentially a little bit every year which is why you need a new flu shot every year.
So far this novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 seems to be relatively stable. So that's good. So if you get exposed to it, you should have those antibodies that protect you against that virus that is staying stable.
COOPER: Sanjay, stay with us. I want to bring in CNN's White House Correspondent Kaitlan Collins. Kaitlan, the President was asked this evening about test results and availability and I just want to play some of what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When can hospitals expect to receive a quick turn-around of the test results?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Are you ready? Are you ready? Hospitals can do their own testing also. States can do their own testing. States are supposed to be doing testing, hospitals are supposed to be doing testing. Do you understand that?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE)
TRUMP: We're the federal government. Listen -- we're the Federal Government, we're not supposed to stand on street corners doing testing. They go to doctors, they go to hospitals, they go to the state, the state is a more localized government. You have 50 of them. And they can go 50 -- within here you also have territories, as you know and they do the testing.
And if you look at the chart, if you take a look -- did they put it up? Yeah. Just take a look. These are testing, and the results are now coming in very quickly. Initially speaking, the tests were old, obsolete, and not really prepared. We have a brand-new testing system that we developed very quickly and that's your result. And you should say, congratulations, great job, instead of being so horrid in the way you ask a question.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: First of all, it's not a reporter's job to say congratulations to any politician. But when it came to testing, this is what he said when he was visiting the CDC just last month. I just want to play this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Anybody that wants a test can get a test.
(END VIDEO CIP)
COOPER: So which is it? I mean what's the--
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, the testing has been the number one failure of the response to this so far. If the President knows that, his aides know that, they do not make any secret of that. It's something that is well known inside the White House.
But you're seeing today the President insisting, essentially, that testing is fine, it's something he's been saying for a few days now. They are going pretty far by saying it's the state's responsibilities to make sure that they can test people, even though, of course, the Federal Government has played such a large role in this and of course, we do know that testing has ramped up, we've seen these rapid tests the Abbott Labs can give you one 15 minutes or less start to come out.
But it's still uneven access to those tests and you're still seeing health care providers saying as testing is ramping up, another issue that they're seeing is a backlog in getting the results and that causes even more problems because we already know there is a shortage of PPE, that protective gear they're wearing.
But when people come into hospitals they think they could have coronavirus; they still haven't gotten the results back, they're still treating those people like they could potentially have coronavirus, still dressing as they would. And the other thing we're hearing from hospital providers is that
they're saying they're also running low on the supplies they need to actually test people. So it is very far from the truth to say that testing is fine and adequate at this point and state officials have made clear and so have people inside the administration to the President that it's still something they're working on.
COOPER: Kaitlan, I know the answer to this question, but is there anybody around the President who has suggested that maybe he either should not take part in the coronavirus task force briefings? He could have his own separate briefings?
But I mean there is a lot of people who tune in wanting to hear from scientists and just wanting scientific information that can help them and their families be healthy and stay alive and get a sense of what's coming down the pike, or even have the President not try to use this as a platform for re-election.
But it's incredibly frustrating I think for a lot of people watching this the way the President is using this and hijacking this coronavirus task force briefing every day.
COLLINS: Yeah, I'm sure there are people inside the administration who would prefer the President did not spend over an hour at the lectern answering those questions. But often it's the President's idea to come out there.
Like yesterday there was no briefing scheduled, it was the President who decided he wanted to hold a briefing, he often picks who is going to be going out to some of those briefings. Like yesterday, of course, you saw Dr. Fauci, Dr. Birx out there alongside the President and he likes these briefings.
He once even moved the briefing; I think it was originally scheduled for 4:30 and a source told me the President wanted it moved to primetime so they had it at 6 o'clock when the President finally came out. So he is viewing these things as you would expect the President to view these things, through the lens of ratings and what not, seeing these briefings and he's even talked about that on Twitter.
So it's not necessarily always a channel of information for the President to try to get out the latest developments there because often you see him come out like he did today, repeat things we've heard him say before. He takes a few questions and then he leaves the room and lets the Vice-President and the doctors and the Admiral answer questions about stocks, shortages, testing, things of that nature and what's going on there.
COOPER: I mean the President was bullying, you know, belittling, combative. I want to play another exchange when he was asked about the inspector general's report from the--his own department of the HHS Department, Health and Human Services. Let's watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: How long has that person been in government? JONATHAN KARL, ABC CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Did serve in the
TRUMP: Oh, you didn't tell me that.
TRUMP: Oh, I see. You didn't tell me that, John. You didn't tell me that. Did serve in the previous -- you mean the Obama administration. Thank you for telling me that. See, there's a typical fake news deal. No, look, look --
KARL: You just asked me when -- you asked when she was appointed, I told you when she was appointed, by your administration.
TRUMP: You're a third-rate reporter and what you just said is a disgrace, okay. You asked me, you said, sir, just got appointed. Take a look at what you said. Now, I said when did this person -- how long in government? Well, it was appointed in the Obama administration.
KARL: (INAUDIBLE) your administration sir.
TRUMP: Thank you very much, John, thank you very much. You will never make it, go ahead, please.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: First of all, she wasn't appointed in the Obama administration. It was actually in 1999 apparently when this person's career started. The idea that he's waiting for Jonathan Karl to inform him about a top official at HHS. He doesn't even know who these people are.
COLLINS: Yeah, and the question before that had been asking about this report and instead of responding to the report and what it found about these shortages in hospitals, because it interviewed hundreds of hospitals across 46 states, the President asked who the inspector general was.
Not what the report said or how they would respond and Anderson, when you read the report, you actually see at the beginning they stress to say this isn't a criticism of the handling so far. It's basically a tool so you can help handle this better as you move forward.
And if you read it, it's actually some pretty devastating stuff talking about how in some hospitals are going to nail salons and auto body shops to get masks and scrounge up materials that they need because they're facing shortages.
And so the President's combative tone there, I do want to point out the Admiral got up at one point, he's been streamlining a of the shortages and the supplies and what's going on. He was talking about only testing, saying that the Inspector General should have come to him about that because they ramped up testing when they were conducting these surveys in these hospitals.
But Anderson, it's not just about testing, it's also talking about a lack of protective gear, a lack of hospital beds, staffing shortages, logistical challenges, things of that nature. But likely why the President was so agitated by a question about the Inspector General, you have to look at what he did on Friday night when he fired the Intelligence Community Inspector General, because that is the person who turned over that whistleblower complaint to Congress that, of course, led to his impeachment.
COOPER: Yes, of course, it's an opportunity for vengeance, and we'll watch and see what happens to this official from HHS. Kaitlan, thanks very much.
We should also point out in this study -- I talked to somebody who was involved with the study earlier today. It was a very specific set amount of time. And as Kaitlan said, they did hundreds of interviews with doctors and hospitals across the country. It wasn't some political study.
Just ahead, I'll speak with Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer about what the president said today about him, and get his take on the administration's response to the crisis. And later, an update from London where British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been moved to intensive care as he fights coronavirus.
COOPER: The HHS was not President Trump's only target in that news conference. He attacked Senator Chuck Schumer multiple times, as well. In fact, last week, in a letter, he said that Senator Schumer was personally to blame for not being prepared for the virus.
Joining me now is Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer. Senator Schumer, President Trump, this evening, called you lightweight, a disgrace. He was also attacking the press, disputing facts, lying and rewriting his own history. What does it tell you about where he is on this?
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): Well, his attacks don't phase me, Anderson. I'm trying to get something done.
I hear from so many different New Yorkers, how they can't get the protective materials, the PPEs, the gloves, the masks, the tests, even still, the ventilators that they need.
I hear from hospital executives who are spending hours of their time hunting and pecking, calling private companies, calling foreign countries to try and get the stuff they need. So what I did two weeks ago, I called the president and I said, "Why don't you invoke the Defense Production Act?" That's an act that was passed in the Truman administration during the
Korean War, to allow the president to invoke -- to have the military take over the factories and the supply chains and even more importantly, distribute the materials where they're needed.
And I told the president, we needed a strong military person to do that, someone with a lot of experience, the military knows command and control.
SCHUMER: They knows logistics, they know quarter-mastering.
COOPER: He attacked you about -- he attacked you about that again today, saying that you wanted a military person --
COOPER: He said he's got plenty of military people around.
SCHUMER: Well, that's the point, it's not plenty. You need one person in charge, right now in the White House, and they're trying their best. But you have many different people in many different directions, nobody knows who exactly to listen to. And, Anderson, the proof of the pudding is on the ground, it's not just me.
The president said the governors are happy with them, the front page of "The New York Times" had the governors criticizing him and calling for a national system. The deputy inspector general put out a report today that showed how bad it is. The facts are, it's bad.
And all I'm trying to do is improve their system in a way that most experts who have looked at this say it will work. It will get the materials where they're needed, on time, and, you know, as the crisis -- in New York, we're in crisis now, but it's going to spread to other places. And the lack of a single command and control organization to get the places -- to get the materials where they're needed is going to get -- it's going to make the situation even worse.
COOPER: I know -- I read that you reached out to the new Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, but -- I mean, given the president's comments today, is it doesn't seem like he's inclined to appoint somebody to be a czar on getting supplies.
SCHUMER: Well, Anderson, this is sort of life and death and so I'm going to keep trying. I've spoken to the vice-president, he was very respectful. I spoke to the chief of staff several times, he was respectful and listened to what I had to say. You know, hope springs eternal.
Maybe in the private moments in the White House they can convince the president that this is needed because (a) the present it isn't working; (b) you have too many people in charge and (c) most of the experts say this is just what's need. What they're doing is not working. COOPER: Well, also -- I mean, testing, which the president now says is perfect and everything's great, that remains incredibly important. Not just testing to see who may have the virus, but also it's going to become, you know, testing for -- to see who had the virus and that potentially, may --
COOPER: -- be able to go back to work, may have antibodies that can help other people.
SCHUMER: Antibodies, yes.
COOPER: That whole system needs to be ramped up and it's going to be --
COOPER: -- part of the recovery just as much as it was supposed to be part of the early days of this.
SCHUMER: You can't have a giant scavenger hunt where 5,000 different groups and people are looking for the same supplies and bidding against each other. You need command and control, you need a czar in charge -- I think a military person would be the right person.
In fact, I gave to Mark Meadows last night, three names of people who had done this extremely well in the military, they're non-political people. And if the president would choose one of them and say, "Get this done, you have my full backing," I think the system would improve.
But so far all I can do is keep trying and keep going forward because I think it's so important and it's the right thing to do, as do many governors, as does the inspector general as do most of the experts.
COOPER: The other frustrating thing is -- nobody can give you a clear answer on, OK, fine, there's not enough masks. By this date there's going to be this number of masks done.
COOPER: By this date there's going to be this number of, you know, face shields available. There's no sense -- they'll endlessly tell you --
COOPER: -- details of -- this factory is going to make 2,000 over here --
COOPER: -- and we talked to other people who are going to do this. Where's the -- where's the time line? Where's the schedule? SCHUMER: There's not a -- you need -- that's why you need a central
figure in command and control, because they don't have a time line and it's all -- it's a little bit too much ad hoc.
SCHUMER: It's gotten a little better, but it's got a long way to go and the situation -- as we get more crises cities and centers in the country -- is going to get worse.
SCHUMER: So all I can do is try to get something done because I think it affects health, it affects lives. It affects the well-being of my 20 million New York constituents and 300 some odd million Americans.
COOPER: Yes. Senator Schumer, appreciate your time, thank you.
SCHUMER: Thank you. Appreciate you very much.
COOPER: Up next we're going to get the latest from London where British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been moved to intensive care as his coronavirus symptoms worsen.
COOPER: Earlier today, President Trump offered his best wishes to British prime minister Boris Johnson, who was moved to ICU today after his coronavirus symptoms worsened.
Back with us to discuss is Dr. Sanjay Gupta, and Nic Robinson joins us now from London. Nick, what more do we know about the prime minister's condition? He entered the hospital, what, after like ten days of having the virus?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: He did. It's a very serious situation right now, Anderson. There's no doubt about it. I mean, people in this country are genuinely concerned. Some of the prime minister's staunchest political rivals have been sending messages of support, wishing him well.
What we know, and the last update we had was about six hours or so ago, when officials at Downing Street said that the prime minister was conscious when he was taken into the ICU.
They were -- he was taken in as a precautionary measure, in case he needed to be intubated and put on a ventilator.
But I think people also are a little concerned because they don't feel that Downing Street has been offering, perhaps, full clarity on the situation, because it was only 24 hours ago when he was taken to hospital, then they said it wasn't an emergency, that he was going in for routine tests, that it was a precautionary step.
Then, even just a couple hours before the announcement that he had been moved into ICU, senior government officials weren't giving a direct accounting of what was happening to the prime minister.
You wouldn't expect medical details, but the questions were -- well, the prime minister is still in control of the country: that's the government's message. So why is he taking up a bed in hospital? These beds are much needed.
So there's been a lot of scrutiny placed on that, and a lot of questions asked --
ROBINSON: -- but absolutely everyone now understands it's genuinely a serious situation -- Anderson
COOPER: Sanjay, what do you make of this?
SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, this does follow this pattern, Anderson, that we've seen, you know, people who -- who are diagnosed, I think some ten days went by, and they're sort of -- you know, they're doing okay, you know, have symptoms, certainly, but -- and then for some reason around this time period, you know, nine, ten, eleven days, they start to have a decline.
You know, typically it's some shortness of breath, and some, you know, other breathing problems. He was admitted to the hospital. As Nic was just talking about, they say it was for routine testing. But, look, that's a serious decision, to admit someone to the hospital in the middle of a pandemic. As Nic mentioned, hospital beds are premium, ICU beds are even harder to come by, and obviously ventilators.
You know, if someone has been sent to the ICU there's just -- there's typically just a couple of reasons why. One is for additional monitoring, or this abundance of caution, which may be the case with the prime minister. Typically, it's because, look, they think there is a real chance he may need some breathing support with a ventilator. Sometimes it could be, you know, something to do with the heart, as well, but, you know, there is no reason to necessarily suspect that here.
So, you know, deciding to place the prime minister on a breathing machine, obviously a big decision when people have been placed on these breathing machines. It's -- it's -- it's a time period, then, that they're going to be on these machines.
In New York the average length has been, you know, some 11, 12, days of needing breathing support. It's a serious illness, you know, so right now they've got to figure out exactly what's going on. Is this just the virus has replicated so much that it's causing these problems? Is it the prime minister's own immune system that is causing these problems? But, you know, again, as Nick mentioned, it is concerning, no matter
how you look at it.
COOPER: Sanjay, when somebody -- and I'm not talking about this case in particular, but are there figures of when somebody is placed on a ventilator how many people, you know, make it off the ventilator and survive? I'm trying to get a sense -- do you know? Again, not related to this particular case.
GUPTA. Yeah. With -- with -- with coronavirus -- yeah, with coronavirus in general, I mean, some of the -- there's been a lot of studies on this, and I've been evaluating these studies and looking at them. And look, some of them are pretty grim, I will tell you, that -- suggesting even as few as 20 per cent of people will come off ventilators.
But there's been several studies, and what I will tell you is that the range that I've seen is anywhere from around 40 to 80 per cent of people, you know, will -- will -- will -- yeah, not be able to come off the ventilator. So it's significant. But again, as you -- as you say, every case is going to be different, so I'd hate to sort of, you know, suggest that about the prime minister in any way.
COOPER: Yeah, no, of course.
GUPTA: But I think it's safe to say it's a serious illness at that point, that people develop a respiratory distress-type symptom. The lungs, sometimes as a result of different things that are happening in the body, they just become hard. It's like a dry sponge. Think of it like that.
You put some detergent on that dry sponge, it's -- you're able to squeeze and contract it well. If it's stiff, no matter how good the ventilator is, it's hard to actually make it do what you want it to do.
COOPER: Sanjay, well, lets hope for the best for the prime minister, and for all this -- the people right now in hospital. Sanjay, thank you, Nic Robertson as well.
Up next, there's breaking news from the Washington Post on where President Trump is getting his medical advice. You might be surprised, but, then again, you actually might not be.
COOPER: There is breaking news from "The Washington Post," some insight on backdoor medical advice that President Trump is receiving about an antimalarial drug he and his allies say can help those with COVID-19.
Others warn it's untested for this purpose, and can have serious side effects, though potentially could be promising. It's one of the hundreds of medications that's actually being studied and looked at. But there's no definitive testing. There's no definitive studies that say it works for coronavirus.
The source in this is an anchor of his favorite news channel. Here by phone to explain is one of the reporters who broke the story, "Washington Post" White House reporter and CNN political analyst, Josh Dawsey.
So explain what you've learned about the president, and hydroxychloroquine, and how he's getting medical advice.
JOSH DAWSEY, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, WASHINGTON POST (via telephone): Sure, Anderson. The president has heard from a number of right-wing allies, Rudy Giuliani, friends in New York, some of his favorite hosts, including Laura Ingraham, who was in the White House on Friday.
She brought two of the doctors who are on-air on her medical cabinet on television. And the head of the FDA, Stephen Hahn, was summoned to the Oval Office, where he listened, and the president listened to their presentation on the drug and why they thought it would be useful.
It was seen internally as a sign that the president was putting pressure on the FDA, because he was bringing more supporters, more allies, in to talk to FDA officials about the drug that he is now touting to basically anyone who will listen at any time.
COOPER: Wait a minute. So the president of the United States called the head of the FDA in to listen and be briefed by two doctors who appear on Laura Ingraham's program about this?
DAWSEY (via telephone): And Laura Ingraham.
COOPER: Wow. And Laura Ingraham also, too.
DAWSEY (via telephone): The president -- this has been a fixation in conversations in recent days. He's talked about this. And our reporting -- repeatedly with Rudy Giuliani, his long-time lawyer, doctors in New York who he knows from his previous life --
COOPER: Do we know why he's pushing this drug so aggressively? Because, I mean, there are hundreds of drugs that are actually being looked at by scientists. And there are some studies on this which show some positive results, but they're really not -- they're not peer reviewed.
They're not -- there wasn't a control group in a lot -- I think, two of the studies. The other one was small and inconclusive, I believe.
DAWSEY (via telephone): We don't know. We know if you talk to people around the president, they say he has heard anecdotal evidence that these drugs work. And that people in New York are telling them they work.
I talked to the head of the Hospital Association there, who tracks things closely across the city, today. And he says the jury is still out. That they are not recommending against the drug. They know a lot of people are using them. [20:45:00]
But there is not enough data, as you say. That's repeatedly what Dr. Fauci has said at the briefings in the White House. That's repeatedly what others have said. We don't know if it will be deleterious long term or not, there's just not enough data. But the President says, what do you have to lose?
And If you talk to others of his advisors, like Peter Navarro, who's a trade advisor who has kind of become a medical and coronavirus advisor during this period, you know, because we don't have time for testing, we've just got to (INAUDIBLE).
COOPER: Right, he's a social scientist, but he says that allows him to sort of opine, I guess, about medical science anyway.
DAWSEY (via telephone): Exactly.
COOPER: The thing is there are side effects to this, also there are patients who have lupus who need it and now there are such shortages of it, it's difficult for them to get it. Josh Dawsey, I appreciate the reporting it's fascinating.
With me now someone who's fighting the pandemic on the front lines, Dr Steve Corwin President and CEO of New York Presbyterian Hospital. There's been back and forth about the use of hydroxychloroquine to treat patients with the virus. What do you make of this?
DR STEVE CORWIN, PRESIDENT AND CEO, NEW YORK PRESBYTERIAN HOSPITAL: I think just what you said, Anderson. There's anecdotal evidence, it's not particularly persuasive. We need randomized clinical trials to determine which of all these potential medications are going to be effective. Just giving it to patients and saying they got better does not mean that it's working.
A patient could get better on his or her own. A patient may get worse if you're giving it at the wrong time during the course of the disease. So I don't find it particularly helpful, many people are getting it prescribed because it's being -- it is FDA approved and they're giving it for an off-label use. But we really need to study it, we need to understand what drugs are going to be effective against this. I don't think this is a silver bullet by any stretch of the imagination.
COOPER: Your hospital is one of the best hospitals in New York. I know people who work there. It's been all hands-on deck. How are things?
CORWIN: Things have been roughing the past few weeks. A lot of what the inspector general said are the things we're struggling with. But in particular, think of it this way, we have 4,000 beds in our system. We have usually 450 ICU beds.
We're now operating 750 ICU beds and 650 of those 750 patients are COVID and they are universally intubated meaning they're on a mechanical ventilator. We are going to expand our ICU capacity to a thousand beds, converting OR's into ICU's. Anesthesia recovery areas into ICU's. Ambulatory operating rooms into ICU's and that puts an enormous stress an enormous stress on the system and an enormous stress on the staff.
COOPER: You know, the President was attacking the Health and Human Services Inspector General today for this report. The report essentially was saying what we've been reporting for a long time and in the report they talked to 100s of hospitals about shortages and problems with testing and all the difficulties with supplies. Do you think that report was wrong in any way?
CORWIN: I don't and as you know, we struggled as a country with testing early. That allowed for community spread to take place. That put us really behind the 8 ball and then we had trouble getting the testing up and going.
In my hospital system now we can test everybody coming into the hospital, but we can't universally test everybody in the country. Then we ran into the PPE problem, particularly around the n95 masks. We were worried about the kn-95 masks as there were so many counterfeits we think that a number of those are being certified so that's now better.
But now we're running into a problem with gowns. In terms of the creation of capacity and having ventilators, the ventilators were an issue. We did not anticipate -- my hospital system, the hospital system in general did not anticipate a pandemic of this magnitude.
We can't make that mistake again. I know the next crisis will be different than this one. But let me just give you a statistic, pre- crisis, we were using 4,000 masks a day of all sorts. Now we're using 90,000 masks a day,
CORWIN: We never anticipated the need for that supply. So there's a lot of blame that can go around but part of it is we've got to prepare differently, we have to have a different supply chain.
CORWIN: We've got to think about ventilators differently.
COOPER: Well also, I mean to be honest, there are worse possible pandemics that could be out there. I mean, there are -- Bill Gates has pointed this out, there are ones that have a lot worse side effects, there are ones that are more easily transmissible, you know, someone leaves a room and you enter the room, you can get the virus. I mean, there's a lot of things that this could be worse that we need to think about in the planning for whatever is down the pike in the future, no?
CORWIN: We've got to wake up on this, we've got to look at our hospital beds per 100,000. We've got to look at the public health system. The fragility of the supply chain here was astonishing to me. We've got to take a look at that.
[20:50:00] The strategic stockpile was wholly inadequate. We've got to take a look at that. There's a lot of soul searching we're going to have to do once we get over the hump. But I can tell you that we -- we -- we are hoping now to see, in New York, a flattening. But we're still really in the thick of it.
COOPER: One of the things that Bill Gates talks about is that, you know, he did this TED talk in 2015, and we talked to him, I think, a week or two weeks ago. You know, for tens of billions of dollars you can actually prepare for the next pandemic: you can set up a system, the vaccines can be made quicker, these things can be studied faster.
Which seems like a lot of money until you look at, already, what this has cost our country and the globe. Suddenly tens of billions of dollars doesn't seem so much.
CORWIN: No. This is a calamity.
CORWIN: The millions of people that have lost their jobs, the recession that we're going to go into. The overwhelming, in many aspects, of what we thought was an adequate reserve within the health care system.
CORWIN: So I couldn't agree with you more. I think that it's -- you know, we've seen what can happen, and we're going to have to prevent it from happening.
CORWIN: You know, interestingly, in all the models around pandemics, and the sort of scenario planning you do, the first thing that every model assumed was that we would have early and ubiquitous testing of contacts.
COOPER: Right. When it's the opposite.
CORWIN: And that put us behind the eight-ball on this one.
COOPER: Yeah. A lost month of February, people talk about. Dr Steve Corwin, I appreciate all you're doing, you know, to combat it. Thank you.
CORWIN: Thanks, Anderson. Thanks for having me on.
COOPER: Still ahead: he ran a marathon in every continent, including Antarctica. He was always there for his family and friends, and now they're grieving his loss to coronavirus. We remember, next.
COOPER: Tonight we've been talking about the harsh reality the victims, their families, medical professionals, are facing every day in this.
One that -- the virus can strike even the healthiest of people, something my next guest knows all too well. Her cousin, Nick Jesdanun was 51 years old. He worked for the Associated Press in New York, and had no underlying health problems.
Take a look at all those medals, he was so healthy this past November he ran his 83rd marathon. Last month Nick contracted the virus, he seemed improving until last week and then on Wednesday he had a setback and the next day, he died.
Joining me now is Nick's Cousin Risa Harms. Risa I'm so sorry for your loss and I know you've got a big family and I know your cousin, and I think there are six or seven cousins but you all are like siblings to each other you grew up that close to each other. What kind of guy was nick?
RISA HARMS, LOST COUSIN NICK TO CORONAVIRUS: Nick was the oldest of us and he was the one our parents all told us, you know, we hope that you grow up to be like Nick. He was talented, really successful professionally, you know we're the first generation that was in America our parents are all from Thailand so he was our road map for the American dream.
COOPER: Wow. Nick seemed to be doing okay for a while, yeah?
HARMS: Yeah, yeah. So, you know, he was following all the orders at the time, he did not require hospitalization he actually was well enough to go visit his doctor, who checked his vitals, his breathing, checked his lungs and then just a couple of days later, he experienced a setback and, within a day, he felt like he needed to go to the ER and then and later on that evening, he passed away.
COOPER: My Gosh.
COOPER: And I understand you got a tweet or text message saying that -- what did it say?
HARMS: He was telling us, you know, I'm about to be, you know, put on a ventilator and you know he's like I'll be going to sleep for who knows how long, I have a cable man coming so, if you could cancel that appointment, you know we was really prepared to, you know, be in the hospital but obviously, you know, to come back.
And, you know, we were -- we felt lucky that he was even getting a ventilator, from everything we heard. But he ended up not getting on it, he never made it.
COOPER: He never made it on at the ventilator?
HARMS: Right. COOPER: Oh, my gosh. The pictures of running 83 marathons. I mean that's just incredible, what a life he led, I mean 51 I used to think it was old when I as a kid. My dad died at 50 now I'm 52 and I think 51 is, you know, pretty young. But I mean what an incredible life he lived.
HARMS: Absolutely and you know, he came into running in his 30s. So that was, you know, all 83 were in about 20 years and you know he always lived life to the fullest and I think that's what we take away from him is that, you know, every opportunity he had to something new or to explore a different part of the world or meet different types of people, he took it. He had nothing left on his bucket list.
COOPER: How long had he worked for the associated press?
HARMS: His entire professional career. So, after he graduated from college.
COOPER: Did he travel a lot for it?
HARMS: You know he was based in Pennsylvania, in D.C. and then New York so he definitely did some travel for that. But in terms of literally all around the world, his marathons took him there.
COOPER: That's amazing. So, he ran all around the world.
HARMS: Yes, he hit all seven continents.
COOPER: What was running like in Antarctica for him? I mean that that's incredible.
HARMS: Well, he said he took a little -- some pit stops to go check out the penguins so it wasn't a great time, he wasn't running for time. But that was Nick, he didn't run for time, he always brought a camera with him because he wanted to capture the people around him, spectators or sites -- it was all about absorbing the moment and remembering the moment.
COOPER: Yeah, it's like a young man I knew Dan Elden said, the journey is the destination and it certainly was for him in this. Rise I'm so sorry for your family please give your family my thoughts and love and I'm so sorry for your loss.
HARMS: Thank you, thank you for the opportunity to share his story Anderson. We really appreciate it.
COOPER: Yeah, thank you for talking about him, I wish I had met him, thank you take care.
HARMS: Thank you, you too.
COOPER: That's it for us. The news continues I want to hand it over to Chris for Cuomo Prime Time. Chris, how are you feeling?
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: I'm doing well, thank god, better than I deserve. There is so much great human potential that we are losing to the virus every one of them is heartbreaking and it was so important to hear the story so we remember the need by realizing that people are getting taken so way too soon.