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Interview with Former Italian P.M. Matteo Renzi on Coronavirus and a Warning; Harvard's Dr. Michael Mina Discusses Coronavirus & Answers Viewer's Questions; Brazilian President Tests Negative for Coronavirus After Meeting with Trump. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired March 13, 2020 - 11:30   ET





GOV. MIKE DEWINE (R-OH): We do not want to be in a position that the poor people of Italy are, where you know, they're deciding who's going to live and who's going to die because they don't have enough respirators, they don't have enough equipment.


BOLDUAN: That was Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, talking about the aggressive measures that he's trying to take to try and slow the spread of the virus, closing all schools in the state, banning any large gatherings of people.

The governor pointing to Italy as what he's trying to avoid.

Italy is being the hardest hit country in all of Europe. The country also just reported its single biggest increase in cases, now more than 15,000 people infected. More than 1,000 people have died.

While, the U.S. is not there, you can see by looking at the graph here, this graphic, that the United States is following a similar trajectory right now.

What can and should Americans learn from the Italians?

Joining me from Florence, former Italian prime minister, Matteo Renzi.

Prime Minister, thank you for coming in.


BOLDUAN: Your country's been locked -- the country of 60 million people has now been locked down. It's now into four days it's been in place. You have said that what has been done in Italy there, every country in Europe is going to need to do as well. Do you mean complete country lockdowns for France, for Germany? [11:35:12]

RENZI: Well, I think every country must choose the better way. The most important thing is that, please, don't underestimate the problem of coronavirus. The lesson you can learn from our country is exactly that -- don't risk to make the same thing.

For example, in the first days after day zero of emergency, a lot of Italian cities organized events in the square, meeting exhibition, dinner, public dinner. Why? To show, we not be afraid, we don't block our life.

This is the current way against the charisma, against the tracks of the human life, but not with a virus. Because if we organize a lot of events, paradoxically, we create opportunity for the virus to increase the spread. This is the problem.

And so, my message is, I don't know if it's better, the solution for France -- yesterday, President Macron decided to block the schools. Chancellor Merkel created a different solution of -- Prime Minister Johnson used very strong words today.

I don't know what is the better solution. Every prime minister have to decide. But everyone have to bring very important decision. Because if we underestimate the risk of coronavirus, really, we risk to create a pandemic event terrible for everyone.

BOLDUAN: You know, yesterday, Italy's current foreign minister told my colleague, Christiane Amanpour, that reports that doctors are having to choose who to save and who to not, and the foreign minister said it was, quote/unquote, "fake news." What are you hearing, prime minister?

RENZI: The problem is that if coronavirus is not a terrible tragedy in term of fatality -- this is very important -- it is a problem, it is a virus, it is dangerous because it's immune. But we can fight against coronavirus.

The problem is when, altogether, altogether are in fact, and altogether go in hospitals, and that has happened in some areas north of Italy. For example, the audio, the video launched from Christiane Amanpour and others, American doctor in the north of Italy near to Milan.

But if we, in the next days, we will be able to reduce the spread of virus and guarantee to addressing the hospital with more organization, we can save everyone. There's not the necessity to choice. I say that, I say this, I said older.

This is very important. The problem is the number of the people who enter all together in the hospital. We cannot choose. This is our challenge. Of course.

In China, in the first seven days, eight days, they built a hospital of 1,000 people. In South Korea, they choose a system more committed in using the new technologies. I think, in Italy, we choose now to block the lockdown, the total

lockdown. The very important thing is reduce, reduce, reduce the level of increase.

And this is a problem also for you, for the United States, for France, for Germany, for U.K., because if you check the cross of statistics in the first days after the day one of emergency, you can verify this benchmark. USA, in France, Germany, U.K., Spain, have more or less the same level of increasing of people infected.

BOLDUAN: Right, then --


RENZI: This is the message -- don't waste your time.


BOLDUAN: Don't waste your time. And that is -- I mean, your message is so important, especially -- I mean, you're coming to us via skype because you want to send the right message to all Italians about the need to be safe and precautious.

And I appreciate your time. Prime Minister, thank you so much.


RENZI: I respect the law.

BOLDUAN: Thank you so much, sir. You have another call coming in. I appreciate it.

We'll be right back.



BOLDUAN: One candid warning from the country's top infectious disease expert coming in now. Anthony Fauci saying he would not fly right now, unless it was an emergency. It's that kind of blunt and real talk it seems Americans are really looking for right now.

So let's get to some more answers from the real experts. Joining me now, Dr. Michael Mina, an assistant professor of epidemiology at Harvard.

Doctor, thanks for coming in.

So, we've been getting a lot of viewer questions. I want to jump right in to get your take. They have been really all over the place because people are really concerned about every aspect of their life, including this. A lot of people asking: Is it safe to go to the gym right now? Because a lot of facilities are still open like that.

DR. MICHAEL MINA, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF EPIDEMIOLOGY, HARVARD UNIVERSITY: I think, in general, we're trying to caution people against recreational activities that are unnecessary that are going to put them in the position of crowding around many other people.

So, if somebody's going to the gym and they're well aware that it's a very empty gym, I think that it's OK. But it's important to understand, first, that they should be cleaning off all of the instruments very well with Lysol-type of wipes.

And really that this is a place that if there are other people, that during exercise, that could be a place where transmission might be elevated.

So, I would caution people that if their gyms are crowded, they really make an effort to go when other people are not around or just don't go at all for the time being.

BOLDUAN: And, Doctor, also as the number of cases rise in the United States, this is becoming more and more of a question from folks. If you get the coronavirus, how to know when you are healthy once again? Is it just simply when symptoms go away?

MINA: So, it's not just when symptoms go away. This virus -- a part of being healthy also means not being able to transmit it to other people. And we want to caution people that for at least a couple of weeks to be very cautious, if they know they have been infected.

The virus can actually continue shedding from those individuals for a week or more after their symptoms have entirely disappeared.

And so, it's very important for at least a couple of weeks, and to be safe, I would say three weeks, to really try to keep distance from other individuals, particularly those at the highest risk.

BOLDUAN: Yes. That's so interesting and important.

I've actually heard this next one, a concern raised by even Dr. Anthony Fauci himself. Here's one viewer question coming in that says: It's recommended to get extra prescription medication right now. What if your insurance won't approve it?

MINA: These are the very tough decisions that I think have to be made between insurance companies and government entities. And I think that these are tough questions. And I honestly don't have the answer for how the finances from the insurance companies are necessarily going to shake out.

BOLDUAN: Yes. And, Doctor, you're not alone. Dr. Anthony Fauci said the same. He said this is something that has to be looked at as we're looking at real possibilities of this all going on for weeks at a time.

Another thing coming in, because a big question is, of course, being careful the elderly, because, obviously, the elderly are the population being hit the hardest by the virus. What age is considered elderly by the CDC? MINA: The CDC considers older adults to be those who are over 65, and

that is really when we start to see large increases in risk of severe disease and potentially death as a result of this virus. So, I would say that above 65 is really the age bracket that we're referring to there.

BOLDUAN: Doctor, thank you for candid answers. So many more coming in. Looking forward to having you back to answer some more. Thank you so much.

MINA: Absolutely.

BOLDUAN: And please continue submitting your questions about the virus. Head to


Coming up still for us, we now are being told that the results are coming in from the Brazilian president. This comes after his meeting with President Trump last week. His aide tested positive, and he got tested. The results coming in. The details on that is next.


BOLDUAN: Just into CNN, Brazilian president has tested negative for the coronavirus. This, according to his Facebook page. Yesterday, his press secretary received a positive diagnosis while he was getting tested. And both of them was with President Trump last weekend.

CNN's Shasta Darlington joins me now from Brazil.

Shasta, it has been a bit confusing morning of what was going on. What are you learning?

SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, absolutely Kate, there's been a lot of peculation speculations people putting out, but different contradictory news about the official confirmation, which we now have because Jair Bolsonaro published on official media the result of the test. He's negative.

He also on Twitter published a picture of himself making an obscene gesture just to give you an idea of the tone that he's adopted during much of this crisis.


This is, of course, important because he was with President Trump over the weekend at Mar-a-Lago. His press secretary, as you mentioned, tested positive just yesterday. So everyone on that Brazilian delegation has been self-isolating and getting tested.

This was the most important result that everyone is waiting for in a country of well over 70 cases now confirmed -- Kate?

BOLDUAN: Great to hear the negative diagnoses. But also don't see a need for the gesture. Thanks for the reporting, Shasta. I really appreciate it.

Ahead, President Trump, he is announcing he'll be holding a news conference in a few hours. Are more restrictions coming?

More after a break.