tv The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN March 20, 2020 2:00pm-3:00pm PDT
>> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. i'm wolf blitzer in "the situation room." we're following the breaking news this hour. millions more americans are being told to stay home as the number of coronavirus cases in the united states now tops 16,000. connecticut and illinois have just joined new york and california in ordering nonessential workers to shelter in place. that's more than 20% of americans, although president trump says he's not considering a nationwide lockdown order. let's begin this hour out in california. cnn's nick watt has the very latest from los angeles. nick, the only way to slow the spread of the coronavirus, the experts say, is for people to stay home. >> reporter: that is absolutely right, wolf. we've all been getting caught up in the semantics, is this a lockdown, is this shelter in
place. the bottom line, if you don't need to leave your house, then don't. this is what it looks like here in los angeles. i think we can cut to a drone shot we have of a few hundred feet above me. l.a., a city of 4 million people. this is what it looks like. it's not deserted, but believe me, if you lived here you would know it is way, way quieter than usual. >> this is the day everything changed. >> reporter: californians, new yorkers, the populations of illinois and connecticut, will all soon be under orders to stay home. that's more than 70 million americans. >> to avoid the loss of potentially tens of thousands of lives we must enact an immediate stay-at-home order for the state of illinois. >> these provisions will be enforced. this is the most drastic action we can take. >> reporter: people can go to the store, get out for solitary exercise, but stop socializing.
>> i'm going to bring the family to see mom? no, not now. >> reporter: exempt, food service and health care providers who are struggling nationwide to find the supplies to keep themselves safe. >> we're going to see them taken out of the workforce, in some cases see themselves being ill. here is where things can fall apart verydistillers are making hand sanitizer. nurses are making their own masks. the mayor of our most populous city is saying it will run out of medical supplies in two or three weeks. >> i have made repeated appeals to the federal government to get us basic medical supplies and there is no meaningful response. where the hell is the federal government in the middle of the biggest crisis we've seen in generations? >> reporter: the president says
he has now pulled the trigger on the defense production act, giving himself essentially wartime authority over private industry to produce supplies. >> we have a lot of people working very hard to do ventilators and various other things. we have millions of masks which are coming and which will be distributed to the states. >> reporter: today's white house press conference got tense. >> what do you say to americans who are watching you right now who are scared? >> i say that you're a terrible reporter. >> do you really think going off on peter, going on on a network, is appropriate when the country is going through something like this? >> i do. >> reporter: when asked again to address frightened americans -- >> my message to the american people is there is a very low incidence of death. >> reporter: midnight tonight, the mexican border will join our northern border and close to nonessential travel. the undocumented will not be allowed to cross. >> we're not sending them back to mexico. we're sending them back to their
own countries. >> reporter: 2.25 million americans filed for unemployment, eight times last week's figure and an all time record. all interest on federal student loans now suspended. tax deadline day pushed three months to july 15th. >> this is not a permanent state. this is a moment in time. >> reporter: and the question is how long will this moment in time last. the mayor of l.a. this morning said we're talking about to stay at home for a month. but he says they may push it out until two months. the president today did praise governors for implementing these measures but said that it's unlikely that anything similar will be implemented right now on a federal level, wolf. >> nick watt out in california for us, thank you. let's go to the white house, our white house correspondent boris sanchez joins us. there's mixed messaging from the white house on whether a drug used to treat malaria would work on coronavirus patients. is there a split between the
president and the doctors on his team? >> reporter: wolf, dr. anthony fauci downplayed the idea that there is a split between the president and his scientists. clearly, though, the president has made several incorrect, inaccurate statements about these treatments. he seems reluctant to acknowledge that this is a hail mary. listen to the difference between president trump's and dr. fauci's statements. >> we're trying to strike a balance between making something with a potential of an effect to the american people available, at the same time that we do it under the auspices of a protocol that will give us information to determine if it's truly safe and truly effective. >> it may work and it may not work. and i agree with the doctor, what he said, it may work, may not work. i feel good about it. that's all it is, just a feeling. you know, i'm a smart guy, i feel good about it, and you're going to see soon enough. i sure as hell think we ought to give it a try. i mean, there's been some
interesting things happen and some very good things. let's see what happens. we have nothing to lose, you know the expression, what the hell do you have to lose. >> there really isn't that much of a difference in what we're saying. the president feels optimistic about something, his feeling about it. what i'm saying is it might, it might be effective. >> reporter: dr. fauci went on to say this treatment is being made available to people who hope that it will work and then data will be collected to see if it actually is effective. he went on to say the difference between his statements and the president's is a question of how one feels about it, wolf. >> very interesting, boris sanchez, thank you very much. joining us now, dr. deborah birx, we've seen her daily in her role as response coordinator for the white house coronavirus task force. dr. birx, thanks so much for joining us, thanks so much for what you're doing. >> good evening. >> and thanks for your career over the years in dealing with these kinds of issues. let's talk about some of the issues right now that are on the
forefront. health care workers, and this is hard to believe, are actually telling cnn they're already reusing personal protective gear, something that would have been unthinkable not too long ago. how soon will hospitals start getting supplies through what's called the defense production act? >> well, these are all really critical points and great questions. so every day we are working with hospitals and the front line workers to really figure out how we not only use what we have but also bring more to their hospitals and clinics. what do i mean by that? we know in china and south korea, because of the burden of the patients and the individuals serving them that actually really were able to decrease the amount of masks that were utilized wards of covid patients to make sure they were cared for well but there weren't as many exchanges made for the n95 mask. in addition, as you know from the president and vice
president, unlocking all the construction work for masks were critical because there were ten times more of them than there were the health care masks. so we went from 3 million to 35 million just with one manufacturer. and those should be arriving now in every single clinic because that was the legislation that allowed that liability to be removed so we could all use the same masks. >> are the companies, dr. birx, doing this voluntarily or is the president directing them to do so? >> what has been really remarkable to me is how much manufacturers and the american people have responded. so these are manufacturers coming to us and saying, well, first we went out to 3m, it was really amazing that the vice president thought of going out there, because before we went to the 3m manufacturer, we didn't realize that 90% of our masks made in the united states were for construction workers. so immediately being able to see that and transform that into access for our health care workers were absolutely critical. so we went from 3 million masks to almost 33 million masks
overnight. and those are the masks that will be going out to a lot of the health care providers. but i think we're also looking to innovate on sites, as i talked about creating covid wards. if we can get an option where people could self-test then we could really eliminate the amount of personal protective devices needed in the testing arena. we're looking at all these things to be both sparing of our current supplies as well as finding new innovations to expand our supplies. >> a lot of other equivalent pm needed now in hospitals across the country. do you think it's time, dr. birx, to start mandating production of these critical supplies, a time to start converting factories to the production to meet these kinds of demands? >> we're so fortunate with the legislation that just came out that we just unlocked 90% more masks than we had just two days ago. so i think we're looking to see how much of the need is met by that.
honeywell has also volunteered. i've also seen reports of construction workers taking their current stock to their local clinics. we put out a call to the manufacturers and to the construction workers to do that. people are responding, others have donated mask. we're looking at what is the need now as we do these innovations and unlock further potential. >> italy saw more than 600 deaths in the last 24 hours alone. they actually have more hospital beds per person than we do here in the united states. is enough being done right now to increase hospital capacity? because certainly that is a potential need. >> certainly we're responding with all the resources of the federal government. and i think you know the army corps of engineers has been out and talking to the individuals and the governor in new york. we're moving the dod's "mercy" and "comfort" to be available. we're looking at m.a.s.h. units
and va's and ambulatory surgical centers. now that we've asked people to give up elective surgeries, that opens up a large number of beds that are already fitted with ventilators that can be utilized. i have every confidence in the american people to come up with even more innovations to be able to serve chris individuaindivid. in italy it's important to look at the geography. they may have lots of hospital beds but the outbreak is concentrated in the lombardy region. it's relevant how many beds they have in this region. that's why we're tracking this in a county by county, city by city manner. we have to know where the surge capacity will be needed, not only where it is. >> the data coming in from italy is amazing because it shows, correct me if i'm wrong, dr. birx, that the virus is actually twice as deadly for men as it is for women. are the cases here in the united states following that trend? >> yeah, we talked about that
this morning, in the briefing. i'm really glad the information is getting out from those press briefings. i really want to thank all the ministers of health who have been providing us data from around the world. and so we've been watching mortality very carefully. we want to really understand how to prevent mortality in the united states. we've been tracking and we've talked about how important prior medical conditions, and in italy, again, most of the individual who succumb to this disease had three other prior existing medical conditions. so we've been tracking very hard in putting out those warnings, warnings about age. this new data about the male/female ratio is really quite striking. you're absolutely right, from age 50 on, almost twice as many men are dying as women. so that really makes us really have to look into that and understand that and really just having the knowledge of that helps us in the united states so we can be very specific in talk to the american people about how to protect and how to protect.
>> that's really striking indeed. you've also, dr. birx, raised some serious concerns about younger people in the united states becoming seriously ill, a cdc report just out on 500 hospitalized patients, it found that nearly 40% were between the ages of 20 and 54. so what are you actually learning about these younger patients and what's your message to them? >> well, thank you, wolf, but you know, the day we say up to 55 is younger -- >> i said 20 to 54. >> i understand, but if you look at 20 to 44, it's 20%, and only 12% were in the icu. and the numbers get so small then, that's why we've been working very hard with italy and europe and south korea so really understand what they saw so we can send out important guidance to our nurses and physicians on the front lines. i want to thank the hospitals in
seattle who have been providing us information about what they're seeing and how they're confronting it. that said, we know younger people can get sick. the reassuring piece is at least so far only one individual under 19 has succumbed to this illness and that was in china. those numbers can change, particularly if a young person has a preexisting medical condition. that's why we're saying to everyone, we know a lot of the cases will be mild but you can't predict who is going to get the severe illness because you don't know when you see somebody on the street that they have the condition. that's why we have to follow the guidelines the president put out. >> yesterday president trump said a drug called chloroquine could be made available and he said, quote, almost immediately. that's what he said, to treat coronavirus. but today dr. fauci said there is only anecdotal evidence that this drug could potentially have any effect at preventing or treating the virus. how close are you to approving
any drug at all that could treat this virus? because we know a vaccine is, according to dr. fauci, at least a year, year and a half away. >> that's grea great question. dr. fauci and i were both on the front lines of the hiv/aids response. from 1981 to 1988 when we didn't have effective drugs, we tried a lot of things and some of them did help some. it's reasonable to try particularly an off-the-shelf drug which chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine are, it's important to study them. but when you have an epidemic like this with a virus that's new, you want to try whatever you have as long as they can't harm the patients. so being very clear about the side effects, making sure that the patients fit the profile, and giving the physicians the ability to make those decisions for those patients with those patients, and really having that dialogue. so making these drugs available makes it available to physicians
to have that dialogue with their patients and provide that as an option. and i think you know there's also remdesivir studies going on, also other things we're working on simultaneously, they'll all go into trials. if we can make some drugs available early just to make sure that there's an option for people to try them, i think it's really critical. >> and if they can effectively treat these coronavirus patients, that would be enormously important, even if we have to wait much longer for an actual vaccine. i know the administration has been working on a way to report the total number of tests being done in public and private labs around the country. where does that stand? can you give us an estimate of the total number of tests that have been already done nationwide? >> well, you know, i'm a data triangulater. i know that in general our positi positivity rate is between 9 and
11%. the latest numbers are 15, 16,000. >> 16,500, that's our latest number. >> if 90% are negative, you can do the calculation of how many tests we have done. but we were going to spend the press conference tomorrow talking about our approach to testing. i just want to make it clear, you know, the pandemic flu preparedness, it really relied on us, our first pandemic being a flu pandemic, so we did have testing available for flu. but with a new virus, you have to come up with a brand-new test. i think we started on the flu platform, quickly realized it had to go onto a commercial platform. that's why the president called in the manufacturers. but from the time the president called in the manufacturers to the time we had this test commercially available was a matter of less than two weeks. that is the kind of work and innovation that is coming out of our private sector and out from the american people to ensure
that we can serve everyone with quality tests. >> the tests are so important. one of the reasons hospitals are apparently running through the protective gear is because it can take days to get test results. what's being done to get tests that could give much more rapid results? >> thank you, and thank you for talking about that. so last friday, just seven days ago, roach, a high throughput, high speed assay, was approved. they've become the backbone of all these tests you're seeing getting done. but of course there was a backlog because the prior test could only do ten to 12 tests a day per machine. this machine can do hundreds of thousands. so we're working through the backlog. i want to reassure the american people, we're going to see dramatic increases in positives as we run through the backlog of tests. it's probably going to take us through next monday to run through all of the tests that people have been waiting to run. and then we'll be able to really interpret our curves again, because right now the curves
that we're seeing are a reflection of the new cases that have occurred over the last four to five days. >> dr. fauci also said it's going to be several weeks, several weeks more of social distancing for people to stay at least six or ten feet away from other people. when he says several weeks, three weeks, five weeks, eight weeks? what does that mean? >> i think all of us are looking the same epidemiologic curves. if you look at china and south korea you see a pattern that starts to emerge about the amount of time it takes you to reach the peak and the amount of time it takes you to come down. because they were much more strict in their social distancing, it's very interesting to see what happens in italy because that would be the other side of really understanding, if you don't do a lot of that up front, what does your curve look like. and because we're behind italy and europe, we're going to be able to interpret that data and to give you a much better answer what that curve will look like for the united states.
one qualifier, though. because these came in as seeds from different locations at different times, each community curve is perhaps going to look different because where it started and when it will finish. so washington is ahead of new york. and so you can't put all of the united states together. you've got to look at this in a most granular, geographic way so you can understand each community's curve and what it means for the needs of the hospitals and for the spread of the virus. >> how many americans, when all is said and done, dr. birx, do you believe will be infected with this virus before it's all over? >> you know, that is probably the most important question that anyone has asked me, because that really is the bottom line. we have models that predict by its level of infectiousness. but it's never actually experienced covid-19, so those are just models. when we look at the china and south korea data and you look at
how many people were infected per a million patients, you see somewhere around less than 200. now, italy is already over that, and approaching 1,000 per million. but you see, those are not anywhere near saying that we're getting 900,000 of a million patients infected. that's what some of these models are predicting. when san francisco says they think 25 million out of 40 million people will get infected, that's based on a model. that's not based on utilizing the data we have from south korea and china and then projecting it onto our own population. >> but is it fair to say millions of americans will be infected? >> i really can't say, because of the other piece of this. until we know how many people are asymptomatic, because when you try to decide how many millions are infected and you're only looking at cases, it's very difficult. i know your next question is then going to be about surveillance. but i think once we have the testing of all those individuals who need to be tested for their
own clinical care, we can start really expanding surveillance. it's ongoing right now in washington state, which will give a much better answer for how many people are asymptomatic, how many people have mild disease, and how many people have serious disease. then we'll really be able to tell what you the fatality rates are but also how the virus is spreading more accurately and get to your bottom line question of how many people will be infected. >> you've been very generous with your time, dr. birx, we're grateful to you, and to what you and your coronavirus task force are doing right now, you're saving lives and we really appreciate it. thanks so much for joining us. >> thank you, wolf. up next, new york state is asking all residents to simply stay home. i'll speak with the governor, andrew cuomo, about some of the drastic actions he's now taking to try to slow down the spread of coronavirus. robinhood believes now is the time to do money.
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we're following the break news from connecticut and illinois. they've just told all nonessential workers in the state to simply stay home. california issued a similar order last night, and new york did the same thing earlier this morning. the governor of new york, andrew cuomo, joins us now. governor, thanks so much for joining us. we have lots to discuss. let's start with what the president said today. he said the federal government shouldn't be acting, in his words, as a shipping clerk for the states. he says it's your responsibility, not the federal government's responsibility, to make sure your state has sufficient emergency supplies. so what's your response? >> yeah, i think first, wolf, that is a typical federal handbook response. if you read the emergency management protocol, they will
say, the federal government stands in support of state and local governments. that's why, hurricane katrina, if you remember, which was a debacle, president trump basically blamed it on the local mayor and the local officials, because the handbook says you support the local officials. by the way, the state emergency handbook says that also. except it doesn't make any sense, and it doesn't work. if you have a major emergency situation that overwhelms the capacity of the local government, then the federal government should step in. i think in this situation where you know you have all these states scrambling for supplies, the federal government has powers that the states don't have, let the federal government manage federally those activities that they can do better. certainly they can do supplies better than i can. i'm bidding against every other state. i'm trying now to manufacture our own masks. i'm asking private companies to
go into the mask business. the federal government, first of all, can ask companies to be responsive and then they have the federal defense procurement act where they can order them to manufacture. and i think that function really could be taken over by the federal government and it would be more effective. they then know how to distribute it because they know where the cases are across the nation. >> do you have right now, governor, all the protective equipment, the masks, the ventilators, the other equipment that you need to fight this highly contagious and deadly virus? >> no. i don't have enough gloves. i don't have enough ppe. we don't have enough ventilators. the ventilators are the long pole in the tent here. this is unique. if you don't have a ventilator for these people, people are going to pass away. so we're in a scramble on all of those items. the president says that companies are stepping forward and they're going to increase the manufacture of this equipment. but from my point of view on the
ground, i need to know how many, when, where. i have to be able to plan. i have to be able to have stock so hospitals don't run out. if you have a hospital run out of masks, and the medical staff and the nurses refuse to go into an operating room where they would be justified, then that would be a true tragedy. so this whole component of supplies, we need many more, and it has to be better managed and better scheduled. >> cdc actually says if there are not enough masks, put on a bandanna or a scarf. it's hard to believe something like that could happen in the united states of america. you've asked the army corps of engineers to retrofit various buildings in new york into hospitals. now the u.s. military says it is looking at this as a possible way to provide an additional 10,000 hospital beds in new york alone. does that give you hope that you may finally be getting some of
the emergency help you need? >> well, the army corps of engineers came in the other day. i sat with them. we did a quick tour of available sites in the state. and we've identified a number of sites. i communicated with the vice president today. we're looking at the javits center for facilities in new york city. we're looking at using state colleges on long island and in westchester to create these temporary hospitals, pop-up hospitals, if you will. the army corps of engineers does that, and apparently they can do it relatively quickly. we're going to need those backup hospital beds because remember, wolf, this all comes down to a health care management crisis. hospitals overwhelmed, not enough equipment, wrong equipment, et cetera. so the more equipment, the more
strength for the hospital system, the better. these backup beds would be a big piece of that. right now we're projecting that our health care system, our hospital system, our capacity would be 50% of what we need. icu beds, that we only have a third of what we need. so that's our situation, and that's why these emergency hospital beds are so important. >> they certainly are. we're getting new, disturbing numbers, how many confirmed cases there are in new york state right now, how many confirmed deaths. we're going to have that and a lot more to discuss, governor. i need to take a quick break, we'll relative humidity conversati -- resume the conversation right after this. es] i see something else... a star... with three points. you're in a... mercedes. yeah, we wish. wish granted.
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this just coming in to cnn, officials in new york city just reported there are now 29 deaths, 29 more deaths in the city with more than 5,100 actual confirmed cases of coronavirus. we're back with new york governor andrew cuomo. governor, you've now mandated that 100% of your state's nonessential workforce simply
stay home starting sunday. tell us what led to this very dramatic decision. >> well, wolf, as we said, look, it's hospital capacity and you don't want to overwhelm the hospitals, do everything you can to increase the hospital capacity, which we're doing. the only other thing you can do is slow down the spread of the disease, flatten the curve, et cetera. the way you do that is reduce density. i first tried 10%, then 20%, then 50%. and now we can't slow down the numbers, the trajectory is continuing to go up. so we said no nonessential workers, reduce the density, keep people home. it's the best thing we can do to slow down the spread of the virus so we don't overwhelm the hospital system. we keep essential functions open. grocery stores, pharmacies, telecommunications, et cetera, because it's important that
society feel confident and stable. but to slow down the spread, no nonessential workers. >> mayor de blasio of new york city just praised you for this decision. you've said the mandate to keep people at home isn't necessarily effective unless a large enough we have graphic footprint cooperates. the president says there are no plans right now for a nationwide lockdown. do you believe there should be? >> the footprint is exactly right. i spoke to mayor de blasio about it, we both agree. i spoke to governor murphy about it, governor lamont in connecticut, pennsylvania, delaware. we're trying to coordinate that as a footprint. you have to adjust to the numbers, let the science dictate, let the data dictate. there are parts of the country i wouldn't do it at this point, because you just don't have the numbers, you don't have the science and the data to back it
up. i believe you're going to see a continuing spread. and remember, when you shut down all nonessential workers, you're just stopping the economy. and you're creating a lot of hardship. i wouldn't do that unless the numbers dictate that you do that. >> the president today praised you at his news conference or earlier in the day. how is that relationship between you and the president working out? >> well, look, i have had a very confrontational relationship with the president from day one. we have a lot of political disagreements, as everybody knows. and as the new york governor, there's probably been no one more vocal against many of his policies. but look, where we are today, politics be darned, wolf, i'll tell you the truth, i don't care about democrats, republicans. we're all americans at the end of the day. we can have a different political point of view.
but we're all the family of america. and when we have a challenge like this, life and death, literally, we come together, we work together, and we do what we can. i said to the president, look, my state needs your help, i need federal support, i will be a full partner, and i put my hand out in partnership, and let's do what we have to do to save lives as americans. we'll get through this, and then we'll find something to argue about, i guarantee you that. but right now, i'm working in full partnership with the federal government. i want their help. i don't want to do anything to jeopardize their help. we have the army corps of engineers coming in. i need knows hospitals. i need those supplies. so we're working together. >> there will be plenty of time for politics down the road, this is the time to save lives and froer forget about politics, you're absolutely right about that, well-said. good luck to you and to everyone in my home state of new york. >> thank you.
i'm joined now by democratic congressman ben mcadams of utah who actually tested positive for coronavirus this week. congressman, thank you so much for joining us. first of all, i know you're home. how are you feeling, what sort of symptoms are you experiencing? >> thank you, wolf. i am at home feeling as sick as i've ever been. really labored breathe, i feel like i have a belt around my chest that's really tight. when i cough, my muscles are sore, i feel pain every time i cough, which is frequently. i'm short of breath and have a fever of about 102. so it's pretty bad. >> it's really sad to hear that, congressman. i know you don't know how you actually got the coronavirus. what went through your mind when you first started to feel these symptoms? >> first of all, i was so glad, when i first felt symptoms, that i immediately self-quarantined, so there was no risk of exposing anybody else.
i worry aboied about those seve hours before i was symptomatic who i might have exposed, i reached out to them to let them know. i want people to know how important it is to follow these guidelines. i'm 45, i'm in good health, and it has knocked me down. we need to follow the guidelines to slow the spread. this is going to be bad. >> 45 years old and no underlying health conditions, and you're feeling pretty bad. you're still at home. should you be in a hospital? >> you know, i'm in communication with the doctor, and they said that right now, as long as it doesn't get worse, i'm fine. the seventh and eighth day are kind of the worst days of it. i'm entering my seventh day right now. so we're going to watch it pretty closely and make sure it doesn't get any worse. and i should be fine, i hope. we're watching it closely. >> is there any specific medication they're asking you to take? >> no, they've said i can take
tylenol to watch the fever, but there's really nothing we can do. i can take cough medicine, i haven't, but there's really nothing we can do other than take it easy. when i get up and walk, if i go downstairs or walk around, i get winded, so i've just got to take it slowly and try to not lose my breath and stay in bed as much as i can. >> you're basically at home and not seeing anyone, no one's getting basically near you, right? >> no, my family is here, i'm trying to stay away from them as much as possible. i don't think i did a good enough job in the early days. the early symptoms are pretty mild, so i had myself convinced that out of an abundance of caution i was isolating, but the likelihood was low. and it turned out to be the coronavirus. so i feel like i should have done a better job of isolating for my family. we're worried and monitoring them for symptoms. >> let's hope they don't come down with it. do you have any tips, congressman, for other families that are going through what you're going through?
>> you know, for those who aren't symptomatic right now, you may think you're young and can get over it. it's a bad, bad sickness. you don't want to, even if you can survive it. let's follow the cdc guidelines. wash your hands, stay home if you can, practice social distancing, do everything that's recommended so we don't spread it to anyone else. if you do come down with it, i will just say, you know, take it easy, drink a lot of fluid. i've found it's hard to -- i don't have an appetite so i have to force myself to drink fluid, that's something they told me to do. a lot of times when i eat or drink, i lose my breath again. so i would just watch your symptoms and take it easy and plan on a rough ride. >> and you're only 45 years old. a lot of younger people, your age and younger, think it's not going to affect them, they're wrong. it can affect almost anyone. i just want to clarify, nobody in your family has any symptoms right now, right? >> not right now, but they are
quarantined as well because they had exposure to me when i was isolated and before i was symptomatic. so we're worried about that, and -- but not yet. >> we're wishing you a very, very speedy recovery, congressman mcadams, thank you for joining us. good luck. >> thank you. coming up, our chief medical correspondent dr. sanjay gupta will answer your questions about the coronavirus. we'll be right back. cake in the conference room! showing 'em you're ready... to be your own boss. that's the beauty of your smile. crest's three dimensional whitening...
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of questions about how to protect themselves appear their loved ones from coronavirus. our chief medical correspondent dr. sanjay gupta is joining us once again with some answers. we've got a ton of questions. let me throw some out to you. we are hearing from the president that a drug used to treat malaria may work on coronavirus patients. should people ask their doctor about the malaria drug? >> no, not yet. this is very early days. everyone is hopeful that some sort of therapeutic is going to emerge in all of this. that would certainly help. but it's not -- it's not there yet, wolf. they were asked about this, the president and dr. fauci, at the press conference today. take a listen. >> a balance between making something with a potential of an effect to the american people available, at the same time we do it under the auspices of a protocol that would give us information to determine if it's
truly safe and truly effective. >> it may work and it may not work. i agree with the doctor, what he said. it may work, may not work. i feel didn't about it. that's all it is, just a feeling. i'm a smart guy. i feel good about it. we're going to see. you're going to see soon enough. i sure as hell think we ought to give it a try. there's been some interesting things happen and some very good things. let's see what happens. we have nothing to lose. you know the expression, what the hell do you have to lose? >> there isn't that much of a difference in many respects in what we're saying. the president feels optimistic, his feeling about it. what i'm saying is it might, it might be effective. >> to be clear, wolf, it is not approved, this drug chloroquine for treatment. it's got to go through trials. you've got to show it's going to be effective, that it's not going to cause some problems, how much to give. these are all open questions so it's not ready for that yet. as these trials come back,
hopefully we'll have positive results. >> now 17,750 plus confirmed cases of coronavirus in the united states. 225 confirmed deaths. here's another question. should men be more worried than women if diagnosed with coronavirus? >> the reason this has come up a couple of times, men more than women, because in the china data, the initial china data, they did show that men were more likely to get infected and develop serious illness or even die compared to women. in italy, wolf, i know you interviewed ambassador birx earlier, she mentioned two times as many men were likely to get serious illness and die compared to women. we don't know for sure why that is. in china and italy, it could have something to do with smoking rates, for example. some sort of pre-existing problem. there's nothing to suggest that this is affecting men just i innately more than women so they have to dig into that.
obviously people of to do everything they can to protect themselves, regardless whether you're a man or woman. >> if you get coronavirus and recover, can you contract it again? >> great question, important question. i think one of the most important questions. the answer is we're not sure. i talked to dr. fauci again about this, and we're ten weeks into this. so they're going to collect data on this. but what dr. fauci believes and many other public health officials tell me is that once you contract it, you should have some immunity against contracting it again. we don't know how long that immunity lasts. we don't know how strong it is. but you should be protected. wolf, it's kind of like when you get a vaccine, you're actually getting a little bit of the virus and it teaches your immune system to fight it if it ever sees that virus again. same thing happens if you get the infection, so you should have protection for a while. >> i spoke with congressman mcadams who has coronavirus right now and he really hopes after he recovers he will have immunity and won't have to worry about it down the road.
let's hope that happens. sanjay stand by. more breaking news. more states have just ordered residents to sampl lsimply stay home. more than 20% of all americans now being told to shelter in place. neuriva haically oven ients that fuel 5 indicators of brain performance. memory, focus, accuracy, learning, and concentration. try neuriva for 30 days and see the difference.
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we want to welcome our viewers here in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer in the situation room with breaking news on extreme new measures here in the united states to slow the coronavirus pandemic. the governors of illinois and connecticut just followed the lead of new york and california in ordering most people across those states to stay at home. that impacts more than one in five americans. new jersey also now preparing to shut down non-essential businesses. this comes as the death toll here in the united states has now risen to 225 and more than a quarter million people around the world now have been infected with coronavirus. let's go