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Dr. Celine Gounder Answers Viewers' Question on Coronavirus Preparation; Bloomberg Discloses Heart Information & Calls on Sanders to Do Same; Biden Reflects on How Repeated Tragedies Have Impacted His Live; Police Says Gunman Killed 5 Co-Workers at Milwaukie Brewery; Markets Plunge Amid Rising Fears of Coronavirus as CDC Confirms First Coronavirus Case of "Unknown" Origin in U.S. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired February 27, 2020 - 14:30   ET



BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Plus, some new developments when it comes to health on the campaign trail. Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg releasing new information about his heart condition, and he's calling on Senator Bernie Sanders to do the same.


BALDWIN: Now that the United States is ramping up its state of preparedness for a potential coronavirus outbreak, many more questions are being raised, especially since the U.S. may have its first case from an unknown origin.

Back with us today to answer your questions is Dr. Celine Gounder, a professor of medicine and infectious diseases at the NYU School of Medicine and Bellevue Hospital. And she's the host of this new podcast, "Epidemic," with former Ebola czar, Ron Klain. That first episode comes out tomorrow.

Timely as ever. We'll be tuning in.

In the meantime, let me run through some of these viewer questions. One, a viewer wants to know what supplies should I buy?

DR. CELINE GOUNDER, PROFESSOR OF MEDICINE & INFECTIOUS DISEASES, NYU SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: So I would definitely have some alcohol-based hand sanitizer above 60 percent alcohol content. You want to have it in your purse, in your backpacks all over the place.


The first thing you do when you come home from work is do that. I've been doing that for years but I work at a hospital.

Another key thing we were asking during the break about medications, so things like Ibuprofen, Tylenol, a lot of medications, actually either the ingredients that are used to make medications or the medications themselves are from China.

So one thing I would do is call your doctor if you are on prescription medications, ask them for like a 90-day instead of a 30-day supply. Make sure you have refills. Have that stuff on hand.

There may be some disruptions in supply as well as getting into your doctor's office.

BALDWIN: That is such a solid piece of advice.

Second question, is it safe to order things from China online?

GOUNDER: There's no reason right now to believe that that's a way of contracting the virus. There's a delay between when something is manufactured, and a lot of this stuff is manufactured robotically. And then it sits in a warehouse before it's shipped.

So even if there were any chance of something being contagious for any period of time, by the time it comes to you, it's probably not an issue.

BALDWIN: Next question, what about getting infected with the virus twice? Are you immune once you've had it?

GOUNDER: Great question. Common cold coronaviruses, you don't actually have immunity that lasts for very long. And so we don't know the answer with this specific coronavirus. If you recover, are you immune? And if you are immune, how long does that last?

And that's actually going to be one of the challenges with designing a vaccine is how do you actually cause the immunity to last long enough to protect you.

BALDWIN: Dr. Fauci is saying it could be a year, year and a half before a vaccine comes to fruition.

Next question, how long can the virus survive on surfaces?

GOUNDER: Based on what we've seen, it seems like maybe out to ten days. But that's highly dependent on temperature, humidity. It's a little bit hard to say. Again, this is a new coronavirus.

BALDWIN: Next question, how is this different from any regular flu?

GOUNDER: Well, it is a different species of virus. That is a big difference. It is more deadly, you know, relative to the regular seasonal flu. And this is something brand new that our immune systems have never seen before, so you don't have any pre-existing immunity at all.

BALDWIN: I mentioned off the top, this patient from California who is this seemingly mysterious patient, hadn't traveled anywhere to any coronavirus infected countries, hadn't known anyone with coronavirus, and suddenly comes up with coronavirus.

There was a doctor at the California Department of public health who just said this is a turning point. Do you agree?

GOUNDER: I do agree. This is what we're talking about shift from epidemic to pandemic. When you start to see community transmission in different countries, that it's not just imported from China or from Italy or from someplace like that, that you're seeing it transmit here in the U.S. from person to person, that's hugely different.

And it means that our responses as public health officials and providers needs to change. We can't just target people based on travel history. We really have to broaden our net now.


If you want more of Dr. Celine Gounder, you can find her podcast, "Epidemic" with Ron Klain, starting tomorrow.

Thank you very much for coming by.

Keep your questions coming. We will get you answers. Go to

With less than 48 hours to go until the South Carolina primary, candidates are working hard to connect with voters. See Joe Biden open up at the CNN town hall on faith, family, and loss.



BALDWIN: We have some breaking political news out of the Bloomberg presidential campaign this afternoon. Mike Bloomberg is now releasing new health information concerning his heart, and he is encouraging the Democratic frontrunner, Senator Bernie Sanders, to do the same. The Senator had a heart attack last year, but his campaign has not shared full medical records.

You remember this moment when Anderson Cooper asked him about that?


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT): I think, Anderson, quite as much as any other candidate has, we received a release two detailed letters from cardiologists.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, "A.C. 360": Just to be clear, you don't plan to release any more records?

SANDERS: I don't. I don't think we will, no.


BALDWIN: CNN's M.J. Lee is with me with more on Mike Bloomberg.

So what are they releasing and what are they calling on others to do?

M.J. LEE, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: This is new medical information from the Bloomberg campaign about his heart health. And the key figure that they released is his left ventricular ejection fracture number. This basically is how much blood the left ventricle pumps out every time the heart contracts. According to a doctor's letter, Bloomberg's levels are normal, somewhere between 60 and 65 percent.

Remember, Michael Bloomberg had a stent procedure back in 2000 to treat a blocked artery. And Bernie Sanders had the same procedure a couple of months ago after he suffered a heart attack in October.

And I think you can see where this is going. After the release of this information, Michael Bloomberg's campaign has called on Bernie Sanders to release the same data point.

I just want to read a statement that we got from Bloomberg's spokesperson. He says, "Releasing this single scientific number about heart health could start to put to rest any concerns about Senator Sanders' secrecy about his recent heart attack."

Mike Bloomberg's doctor shared Mike's number. Will Senator Sanders ask his doctor to do the same?


We reached out to the Sanders' campaign to ask them whether they will do this, and here's what they said: "The letters that we've released are very thorough."

They're obviously referring to three doctors' letters the Sanders campaign put out at the time after his heart attack. So no indication right now this is information they're planning on releasing.

I did consult with our Dr. Sanjay Gupta just to get his expertise on this on the importance of this number. And he says that this number is the single best test of the overall strength of the heart and how well the heart is pumping blood to the rest of the body.

So clearly, the Bloomberg campaign believes that this is important information that presidential candidates could release, But obviously, this is a political move, too. They want to put Sanders sort of in the spotlight about his past previous health issues.

BALDWIN: And it sounds like Team Sanders is like, we've given you these letters, you know, case closed.

I know people will still continue to push as they should. I mean, there's been this whole issue with his campaign in terms of transparency, especially when it comes to a candidate's health.

LEE: There have been questions raised, particularly because, obviously, a heart attack is a very serious thing to go through.

And given Bernie Sanders's age -- and you know, we talk a lot about how it is so remarkable the top candidates in the Democratic race right now are in their 70s, right? Both Bloomberg and Sanders, 78. Elizabeth Warren is 75. Biden is 77. And Donald Trumps, the man they want to take on, he is 73.

I do think there are legitimate questions about the health of all of these candidates. And the transparency issue is a big one, whether voters feel like they deserve to know this kind of information from their presidential candidates.

BALDWIN: M.J. Lee, good to see you. Thank you for all of that.

LEE: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Speaking of, the former Vice President, Joe Biden reminded voters what made him such a beloved figure within the Democratic Party. In this powerful moment during our CNN town hall, Biden connected with a pastor who lost his wife in the 2015 mass shooting at Mother Emanuel AME church in Charleston, South Carolina, a few years ago.

And along with the Obamas, Joe Biden visited the church in the wake of the shooting that claimed those nine innocent lives.

Last night, Reverend Anthony Thompson asked Biden what impact his faith has in decision-making as a leader.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I kind of know what it's like to lose family and my heart goes out to you.

If you may remember, after Barack and Michelle and I were there, my family, I came back on that Sunday, the regular service, because I had just lost my son, and I wanted some hope because what you all did was astounding.

I don't know whether you all know this, all those who died, that were killed by this white supremacist, they forgave him. They forgave him. The ultimate act of Christian charity. They forgave him.

And you know, Reverend, I happen to be a practicing Catholic, but I went back to the church because I found particularly the black church -- in this case was AME, it was not an episcopal church. I found that there's that famous phrase from Kerr Guard (ph), faith sees best in the dark.

I find the one thing it gives me -- and I'm not trying to convince you to be -- to share my religious views, but for me, it's important because it gives me some reason to have hope, and purpose.

I've learned the only way -- I don't know how you've dealt with it, Reverend, but the way I've been able to deal with when my wife was killed and my daughter were killed, and then my son died. I've only been able to deal with it by realizing they're part of my being.

My son, Beau, was my soul. And what I found was I had to find purpose, purpose, and what was the purpose? Every day I get up. I'm sorry to go on. I apologize. Every day I get up, I literally -- and not a joke, Reverend. And I think you know this about my boy -- that I ask myself I hope he's proud of me today.

Because he asked me when he was dying, promise me, Dad, promise me, Dad. Promise me, he said, I know no one loves me more than you do, Dad, but promise me you'll stay engaged. He knew I'd take care of the family, but he worried what I would do,

is I would pull back and go into a shell and not do all the things I've done before.

It took a long time for me to get to the point to realize that that purpose is the thing that would save me. And it has.

And every morning I get up and I say to myself, when I give him my word as a Biden, I hope he's proud of me. I hope he's proud of me because the thing that makes me move on. And the impact that loss had, was astounding. And it had to be for you.



BALDWIN: Joe Biden there at our CNN town hall. Again, the South Carolina primary is this Saturday.

Let me get you back to all things coronavirus. The global outbreak is already causing economic chaos. Stocks are now on track for the worst week since the financial crisis since 2008.

And the massacre in Milwaukee. What we know about the hours before five people were killed at an iconic brewery. All of that ahead.

And a programming note for you about the CNN original series, "RACE FOR THE WHITE HOUSE." With the nation still reeling from JFK's assassination, his successor fights to prove he deserves the job. It is LBJ versus Goldwater, 9:00 Eastern and Pacific this Sunday on CNN.



BALDWIN: Grief and questions in Milwaukee one day after a gunman opened fire at the city's historic MolsonCoors brewing complex, killing five people before taking his own life.

Wisconsin's lieutenant governor called it, quote, "The scene of another American tragedy, another senseless American tragedy." Today, authorities are trying to discover what happened and why.

CNN's Omar Jimenez is in Milwaukee.

Omar, investigators have been at the brewery. They've been at the gunman's home. What are they discovering?

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN REPORTER: Yes, at this point, they are just trying to piece together that central question. What drove this 51-year-old active employee, as we learned, to carry this out? Five people, five co-workers killed in just a matter of moments a little bit after 2:00 p.m. yesterday.

The shooter's identity hasn't officially been released, but we have been monitoring a home where investigators have been going in and out of over the course of last night. And of course, have over the course of today as well.

When you look back at how this unfolded -- again, I mentioned it happened a little bit after 2:00 p.m. It was minutes after that that text messages went out to the more than a thousand employees that were working at the time telling them there's an active gunman on the complex, and for them to find a safe place.

When police arrived, that gunman was already dead, they say, from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound there. But it was too late in some sense that five people were already dead, five people who went to work thinking it was just any other day that they'd be able to go back home to their families afterward. And of course, that tragically didn't have the chance to happen.

Now, as far as the investigation goes, that's one thing. Outside of it, this is a community that's finding a way to heal. And we are just about 24 hours since this shooting actually began.

There will be a prayer vigil later tonight where, again, many members of the community will try to come together and reflect on the fact that there are six families, in total, who are now, a day later, without a family member they had just a day ago -- Brook?

BALDWIN: Omar, thank you. Omar, in Milwaukee.

Also just in, the trial date for Lori Loughlin and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, for their roles in the college admissions scam, has been set. The U.S. attorney's office in Massachusetts set the day for October 5th.

The couple faces multiple charges, including conspiracy to commit bribe, fraud and money laundering. Both have pleaded not guilty.

Loughlin and Giannulli allegedly paid half a million dollars as part of a scheme to get their two daughters into the University of Southern California as members of the crew team.

And we continue on. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank you for being here.

Here's a quote: "If you act now, you can save lives." That is the message from the head of the WHO, the World Health Organization. They are urging countries to take steps to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

In just the last 24 hours, seven new countries have reported cases for the first time, with 82,000 worldwide.

The surge prompting nearly all of Iran's neighboring countries to close their borders while Japan is closing schools for about a month.

Here in the United States, here's a stunning development. The CDC says this patient in California may be the first case in the entire country where this virus was transmitted without traveling to affected countries or being exposed to another known patient. The news here and abroad sending U.S. stocks in a tailspin, putting

markets on track for the worst week since the financial crisis back in 2008. The Dow down now 740 points.

As for our airports, TSA now rethinking its health screenings, potentially expanding them from passengers who are flying in from China.

And the threat is raising fresh questions about just how prepared the U.S. is to combat the coronavirus. The answer seems to be a mixed one if you listen to President Trump and top health officials.


ANNE SCHUCHAT, PRINCIPAL DEPUTY DIRECTOR, CDC: Our aggressive containment strategy here in the United States has been working and is responsible for the low levels of cases that we have so far. However, we do expect more cases.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't think it is inevitable. I think there's a chance it could get worse. There's a chance it could get fairly substantially worse. But nothing is inevitable.


BALDWIN: In Congress, members on both sides of the aisle are vowing to be ready, even as top Democrats criticize the president's actions to this point.



REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): Unfortunately, up until now, the Trump administration has made a chaotic response to this outbreak. We're coming close to a bipartisan agreement in the Congress with how we can go forward with the numbers.