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Trump: I Took Coronavirus Test, No Results Yet; U.S. Has 2,480- Plus Coronavirus Cases, 50 Deaths; Forty-Seven Employees At Washington State Nursing Home Test Positive; Emory University's Dr. Carlos Del Rio Discusses White House Virus Coordinator's Warning On Testing Negative, France And Spain Shutting Down Commercial Activities & Answers Viewer's Questions. Aired on 4-5p ET
Aired March 14, 2020 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM. Thank you for staying with me. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York.
And add this name to the list of people now tested for the coronavirus -- President Donald Trump. The president announcing today that White House doctors have now tested him for the infection. He says the results may take a couple of days to come back from the lab. He told reporters at the White House that his temperature was taken before he walked into the crowded briefing room this afternoon.
We are live at the White House in just a moment.
But, first, here's where the national figures on the coronavirus stand right now.
Nationwide, just short of 2,500 people have the virus. There are cases now in every state except West Virginia.
At least 50 people have died. The vast majority of them in Washington state, and the vast majority are older people.
The governor of New York today reporting the first death in his state, a woman in her 80s who was already sick with emphysema.
Public schools in 18 states have now canceled classes. That means more than 20 million students, K through 12 children primarily will be staying home this coming Monday and beyond. For how long, that's not clear right now.
The lead doctor on the government's antivirus task force warning Americans to expect the number of cases to still go up and a number of people who die to go up, as well. The most vulnerable groups are still those senior citizens and people who are already sick or have compromised immune systems. From coast to coast today, grocery stores and wholesalers are looking a lot like this -- anxious shoppers are scooping up food and water and cleaning supplies. Paper products, anticipating a possible long stay at home.
Many stores are now either limiting certain products per customer or adjusting their hours so everybody is impacted.
Let's get to the White House right now and CNN's Kristen Holmes.
And, Kristen, the president, he popped into that coronavirus briefing a short time ago. He said he did submit to a test because, quote, the press is going crazy. And yet, his doctors had said the testing was unnecessary.
KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right, Ana. It was a surprise when he did say he had, in fact, been tested. When he said he was tested last night -- because I want to remind our viewers that it was last night, just before midnight, that we heard from the White House doctor in a memo saying that President Trump and Vice President Pence did not need to be tested. That their interactions were so limited with those who had been exposed to coronavirus, to those who had tested positive for coronavirus, that they did not in fact need to be tested.
But we saw President Trump coming out saying that he decided to ask for the test, that he was going to wait for the results. He said he wasn't sure when those were going to be. Of course, we've reached out to the White House. We would -- we expect an update on that.
Now, this briefing was interesting on a multitude of levels. There was a lot of new announcements made, particularly interesting an extension on the travel ban. Take a listen to what Vice President Pence had to say about that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The president has made a decision to suspend all travel to the United Kingdom and Ireland effective midnight Monday night Eastern/Standard Time. Again, Americans in the U.K. or Ireland can come home.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: And we've also learned that there are conversations about potential domestic restrictions, as well. We asked them about it. They said they were having these preliminary talks but wouldn't get into any details.
And sources have told us that these are really talks about those hot spots. What would it look like if there was some sort of restriction in getting to those areas who had been hardest hit, had the largest amount of cases of coronavirus. But Vice President Pence is talking to governors of states on Monday. And it's likely to be a big question there.
So, a lot of new information coming out of this. We also heard from the secretary of the treasury, Steve Mnuchin, who said there was likely going to be some financial aid help going to the industries that were most hard hit by the coronavirus. Of course, that being cruise liners, airlines, and the entertainment industry -- Ana.
CABRERA: Kristen Holmes at the White House for us -- thanks. A 180 from President Trump in one area at least of his coronavirus
response, during yesterday's Rose Garden news conference, we saw the president repeatedly shaking hands or trying to with business leaders and others. Of course, that's absolutely contrary to the advice of every doctor right now.
And today, the president seemed to acknowledge what so many of us are trying to keep in mind.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: People come up to me, they shake hands, they put their hand out. It's sort of a natural reflex. And we're all getting out of it. All of us have that problem. Somebody comes up to you, they put their hand out, you probably tend to just shake it. And we're all getting out of that.
Shaking hands is not a great thing to be doing right now, I agree. But people put their hand out, sometimes I'll put the hand out, you don't think about it. People are thinking about it more and more.
We have to think about it. It's important.
But no, we all have to get away -- getting away from shaking hands is a good thing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Dr. Vivek Murthy is a former U.S. surgeon general under President Obama and in the first months of the Trump administration. He is now consulting Joe Biden's presidential campaign on its public health advisory committee.
Doctor, the president has now been tested, he says. We're waiting to see the results. Now, last night, the White House physician said no need because the president wasn't showing any symptoms. What's your read on this?
DR. VIVEK MURTHY, FORMER U.S. SURGEON GENERAL UNDER OBAMA & TRUMP: Well, you know, I would defer to the White House physician who has the best knowledge of the president's health.
But I think there are two elements, points to keep in mind. One is the point that all of us are vulnerable potentially to this infection. It doesn't matter if you're the president of the United States, if you're the front line worker in a hospital, if you're a mother or father at home, we all have the potential to get infected by this novel coronavirus which is why we have to be careful.
But the second point it raises is that testing is incredibly important, and making it available to people who need it is essential. And that's what we don't have enough of right now.
CABRERA: Right. MURTHY: I am talking to doctors and nurses in hospitals across the
country who are seeing patients who have symptoms that could be consistent with this novel coronavirus, but are unable to get them tested. And that is just unacceptable for what -- where we should be right now.
CABRERA: Two questions. First, how long does it take to get the results back when somebody is tested?
MURTHY: Well, how long it should take and how long it does take are unfortunately two different answers. We know that other countries have been able to get the test to a place where they can turn around results within hours. Unfortunately, in our country, feedback I'm getting from many clinicians across the country is it's taking several days usually for them to get the results back. And those are days during which people who have been in contact with the person in question have to be potentially quarantined if they're doctors or nurses and removes them from the work force at a time when we need more doctors and nurses.
So, you know, we need to shorten the turnaround times for these tests. We also need to make sure the tests are available to everyone who needs them.
CABRERA: And so, my second follow-up on the testing specifically because we are experiencing shortages, should people who aren't exhibiting symptoms but perhaps have had contact with somebody who did test positive be getting tested themselves?
MURTHY: Well, I think at this point the guidance that we're seeing coming out of the CDC is that people who have been in contact with somebody who may have the coronavirus should out of an abundance of precaution -- you can self-quarantine yourself. But most importantly, you should contact your doctor to get guidance on what the next step should be.
A doctor should talk to you and examine you if possible, if they feel that that's the appropriate thing at that time, to understand if you have symptoms. When they may do out of caution is if they hear your symptoms and feel they are concerning, they may ask you actually not to come in because you may risk infecting other people and may instead guide you to self-quarantine if you've got mild symptoms and guide you to get tested.
But this is a challenge, is that when many people who are in this situation may have symptoms, who don't want to go into the health care setting but need to get tested, the question is, where do I go? And what other countries have set up drive-thru units and places where people can get tested without exposing many others.
What we heard yesterday from the president and his team in the Rose Garden was that there are partnerships being built with private companies to enable that kind of testing to be done. My hope is that those will come together quickly and expand testing in a safe and accessible way. CABRERA: Why has it been so difficult for the U.S. to do this? When
you hear of other countries like South Korea who have done it so quickly and been able to ramp up the testing, is it just the way that their health systems are set up differently than ours?
MURTHY: Well, it is a bit of a mystery. You know, we don't fully understand the details of what is going on within the government in terms of the production of these tests and what went wrong in the early days. What I can tell you is that our government does have the capacity to get tests out there quickly. If you look back at H1N1 and how we responded to H1N1, we were within two weeks of the flu get over a million cases shipped from the government to state labs and other labs across the country.
So, we have the capacity to push this out. But we also have to recognize in settings like this that we've got to constantly be upgrading and evaluating our ability to respond to these pandemics. That means not only ensuring that we can create tests that can be delivered, not just the state labs but hospitals, but we also have to think about equipment. We have to think about space.
You know, one of my worries with this outbreak is that if this pandemic follows the more dangerous pathway that we're worried about where hospitalization rates are high and fatality rates are high, then we are going to need far more masks, ventilators, ICU beds, and hospital beds, as well as more doctors and nurses than we have the capacity to deliver right now.
That's what we need to be preparing for always, even though these things happen every few years. Even though these things happened every few years, we've got to be prepared so when the time arises we can respond.
CABRERA: I mentioned that you have the rare distinction of working for both the current and past president.
From what you saw personally, was there a difference in focus or priorities, good or bad, when it came to medical crises?
MURTHY: Well, I was -- to be honest with you, I was not there long enough in the Trump administration to see the full vision that they had for public health roll out. For early months of any new administration, you know, can be a little chaotic as people are finding their footing, they're figuring out the building and how everything works and trying to, you know, put their vision on track.
But what I can tell you is that regardless of whether you're in a Democratic or Republican administration, there are three core principles that should be observed and followed in any response like this. One is you have to follow science and let scientists speak. The second is you have to be transparent about the information you have and communicate that clearly. And the third is you absolutely have to get resources to the front lines, to the departments of health, to the doctors and nurses and health systems that need it. And in this case, to many of the families and individuals who will not
be able to earn an income because they have to stay home and who are going to be struggling because of it.
CABRERA: Doctor, real quickly if you can, what are your top tips beyond hand washing for people to protect themselves?
MURTHY: Yes, I'm so glad you asked that because it is -- the measures that we take to protect ourselves and others that are going to make the difference between whether this becomes an epidemic with a high peak, meaning a large number of cases in a short period of time, or whether we flatten that peak and ensure that we have fewer cases that don't overload our system.
So in addition to hand washing, here are a few things I would make sure that you remember -- the second in addition to hand washing would be don't touch your face. Especially if you're out in public and places you may be touching surfaces that could be contaminated. The second is to make sure that you are also cleaning and disinfecting surfaces. That doesn't mean just countertops, but it also means your phone and your keys, as well.
Next, I would say to take advantage of options to telework if you can. If you are people with whom you're in contact, the lower the risk is.
And finally, we're all unfortunately at a place where we need to change how we greet each other. Many of us are used to giving hugs or shaking hands, I enjoy doing that when I meet people. But we're in a stage now where even that risk is too much to take. So, moving to noncontact greetings, like a hand on the heart or some other type of greeting is the appropriate thing to do right now.
CABRERA: Those are all very good tips. Thank you very much for joining us.
Former surgeon general, Dr. Vivek Murthy, we appreciate it.
MURTHY: Glad to be with you.
CABRERA: A lot of us go grocery shopping on the weekends. Maybe you've noticed, the store shelves are bare as the coronavirus spreads. Is stockpiling smart? That's just ahead.
CABRERA: Millions of Americans are now facing the reality of the coronavirus pandemic getting ready for the possibility of an extended stay at home. Many are making a mad dash to stores to stock up on everything from food to cleaning supplies.
But as CNN's Brian Todd found out, people who haven't been shopping in the last few days might be surprised by what they'll find.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Shopping in the age of coronavirus.
Sera Tansever wears a mask and gloves when hitting her local grocery store in Washington because she doesn't want to transfer germs to her mother, who has an autoimmune condition.
(on camera): Are you nervous, scared about this whole thing?
SARA TANSEVER, STOCKING UP ON GROCERIES: Yes, I am, I am. I've been following it pretty closely now and it's just I don't want us to be in a situation like Italy.
TODD (voice-over): Across the U.S., stockpiling seems to be everywhere tonight. A prominent analytics firm says online sales of, quote, protection items like hand sanitizer, gloves and antibacterial sprays shot up 817 percent in January and February because many people can't get them in stores.
AVI KANER, CO-OWNER, MORTON WILLIAMS SUPERMARKETS: Whenever we do get new rations in of hand sanitizer and wipes, we actually put them out by the registers and they go within minutes.
TODD: And there are runs on many other items.
(on camera): Were you trying to buy anything in there you couldn't get?
MAUREEN MILMOE, STOCKING UP ON GROCERIES: Yes, actually, all of the toilet paper is gone, a lot of the frozen foods, a lot of the breads.
CHASE HICKS, STOCKING UP ON GROCERIES: It's pretty hectic I would say. Frozen vegetables, cleaning supplies, even to a certain extent, meats and dairy are hard to come by.
TODD (voice-over): It's exhausting people on the other side of the grocery industry. At a Morton William Supermarket in New York, bread distributor Richie Maruffi is racing to restock.
RICHIE MARUFFI, DISTRIBUTOR, ARNOLD BREAD: Every single supermarket is just completely wiped out and I can't even keep up.
TODD: But some public health inspectors say let's slow down a bit.
DR. IRWIN REDLENER, NATIONAL CENTER FOR DISASTER PREPAREDNESS AT COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: They don't need a year's worth of toilet tissue. They don't need cartons of, you know, paper napkins. They -- they don't need to buy, you know, food for six weeks.
TODD: Experts say it's important for consumers to realize this situation is temporary. Focus on simple, non-perishables that can sustain us inside our home.
REDLENER: Figure out what your family likes, and it maybe cans of tuna fish, it maybe peanut butter and jelly, it maybe -- whatever it is that you feel like you can plan for a couple of weeks of not being able to go outside.
DR. JEFF DUCHIN, HEALTH OFFICER FOR PUBLIC HEALTH, KING COUNTY, WASHINGTON: Have medications in your home so you don't have to go out and refill a prescription if you don't need to.
TODD: Health experts point out going out and crowding into your local grocery store just by itself isn't the healthiest move. But standing in those long lines within a few inches of people is not the kind of social distancing that's recommended. And they say however, wherever you shop, do it calmly.
REDLENER: There's no reason to panic. There's no reason to rush out and buy every item on the shelves.
What that does is just increases people's sense of doom and gloom here, which will not be necessary.
CABRERA: Our thanks to Brian Todd for that report.
And joining us now is the former assistant secretary at the department of homeland security, Juliette Kayyem.
Juliette, the panic over things shutting down is really drawing a lot of comparisons to life after 9/11. Is that the way it feels to you?
JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, this is just bigger because of the national aspect of it. Everyone is responding, 9/11 was -- was sort of limited geographically.
KAYYEM: Everyone needs to take a deep breath in the sense that this is not a hurricane, this is not an earthquake. We anticipate the critical infrastructure will still maintain, you'll still have your lights, you still have your water, the supply chain will still move. President Trump was clear about cargo moving.
But I'll be honest, you know, I'm also a mother of three, and I normally have about three days just because this is my career. And I went up to seven. I didn't go to six weeks, but you know, just to make sure that I don't have to go out as much as I used to. And so, you know, just sort of start to fill the house.
But there's no reason at least now to believe that the supply chain will be interrupted. And as we've seen in other countries, Italy and France, even if they lock down restaurants and other places, of course, markets and pharmacies will still be open.
CABRERA: So what are the essentials people should be maybe having a little extra of?
KAYYEM: Well, I mean, we're so focused on food and toilet paper, there's medicines, people. I mean, this is --
KAYYEM: -- like you know, you want to have whatever you need personally, whatever your kids need personally, things that might be harder to get. Focus on that because that's going to be the most important thing. You probably have enough beans and rice in your house.
KAYYEM: And obviously chicken and meat are still going to go bad after three days. They don't get paused because there's a pandemic. So just get things that are non-perishable that are available, and think through the quantity of your family.
I mean, I was -- I was at the market today and joking that, you know, if you have three teenagers, the difference between hoarding and shopping is there's like a fine line, right, because you just need to pace it.
CABRERA: They eat so much.
KAYYEM: For your kids. You know, just for viewers, you know, I -- honestly, I want three days to seven days.
KAYYEM: And then I feel very confident with that, because I don't want people going out too much. You know, you just want to limit the times that you're in a market.
CABRERA: That's really useful advice. I'm just wondering bigger picture. When you were at DHS, was there a worst case scenario planned for a pandemic? And if there was, how does it compare to what we are seeing from the government right now?
KAYYEM: So there is. And so, we can look -- there's a look-back aspect. We're a couple weeks too late. We know this in terms of kits and everything else.
But I think just for people to recognize there is planning for a 50- state disasters, I've been saying, or a pandemic. All states are going to be under stress. And so, you're going to see the movement of federal assets to help states. That's a good thing, not a bad thing. So, you want the support.
I think where we need to get better as a country is to have leadership whether it's mayors, governors or CEOs, sort of, you know, be very transparent right now. That's what I'm urging everyone, that you just -- you need to be communicating what the plan is, what you're hearing from your leadership position, what are triggering moments that may cause disruptions or changes.
And then also what is the other side of this look like. You know, it's good that planners right now are already thinking about, you know, what does the other side of this look like. What does, you know, getting back to normal -- and I think transparency about what the next couple of weeks plus, I'm not going to put a time frame on this, are going to look like.
CABRERA: We saw this week the one-mile containment zone set up in New Rochelle outside of New York City here where I am. The National Guard was deployed. We've seen other states also deploy the National Guard to certain areas.
Do you believe we need to be seeing more of that in other parts of the country?
KAYYEM: Yes, absolutely. So, what you're going to see first, just to explain to people because some people get nervous about the military. You're going to see the National Guard working under the government. It's called state active duty, governors control National Guards. Being used to support the stresses that are on public safety and public health right now. That is good, to do things that they otherwise might have to do like crowd control, traffic, whatever else.
We are also, it, appears, just based on some of the stuff coming out of DOD now, prepositioning our military to support those civilian authorities in terms of logistics, in terms of things like being able to build, you know, tent hospitals. We just need as much capacity as possible. We don't know how this thing is going to hit in terms of the wave geographically.
And so, what we're trying to do is, you know, you've got to divide everything by 50. And so you just want to plan for surging federal resources.
So, I think this is -- these are good signs, at least to the extent that there is planning and activation going on.
CABRERA: It only took one player testing positive to shut down the entire NBA season.
CABRERA: I just wonder what happens if a police officer in major city tests positive. Already in Denver, for example, the mayor put out a notice that Denver police will only respond to nonemergency calls, as they put it, as needed. Residents reporting theft or vandalism, loss of property, identity theft, for example, are being directed to the nonemergency line and the police website.
Juliette, is that the right call, and what is the balance when it comes to public safety?
KAYYEM: It is absolutely the right call. So we're going to have a work force strain, not only because, you know, our public safety and public health entities are going to get sick, so they are going to not be able to work. They have kids. So, they may have to stay home.
And you get some percentage who just -- you know, don't want to work right now. And then that's -- that happens sometimes in disasters.
So, your work force which you would want to be all hands on deck may not be all hands on deck. So what we as the public need to do is reserve their resources to focus on the crisis at hand.
That is another reason why these big events, you know, have to be canceled, not just for the social distancing aspects. These are huge strains on public safety and public health. Think about the Boston marathon. They have better things to do for individuals, you know, be careful so that you're not putting strains on public safety and public health. And you know, it's -- don't call unless it's an emergency, unless it's a real emergency.
CABRERA: All right. Juliette Kayyem, really good information. Thank you -- thank you so much for your expertise and sharing it with us.
KAYYEM: Thank you.
CABRERA: What can we learn about past pandemics to fight future outbreaks? The CNN film "Unseen Enemy: Pandemic" airs tonight at 11:00 here on CNN.
We'll be right back.
CABRERA: Now to Washington State. We learned today that 47 employees at the nursing home at the center of the coronavirus outbreak there have tested positive.
CNN's Sara Sidner is in Seattle.
Sara, the number of cases at this one facility is extraordinary. Where do things stand there?
SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Look, there has been an extreme amount of concern from the families who have patients inside. Many of them have their elderly parents or grandparents inside.
And we knew that the numbers could potentially be high of the staff testing positive. There were 22 people associated with Life Care Center facility who have died from coronavirus.
And then we were told, throughout the last couple to three weeks, that a third of their staff, about 180 people, said that they had symptoms of coronavirus. So we were expecting that several of them would test positive.
And, indeed, we are finally getting the full view of what has happened there. And 47 of its staff members have tested positive for coronavirus. That has really put this in perspective.
And it has really put -- for example, the people, who are waiting outside the facility to speak with their parents, who cannot go in and touch them, put them in a bit of a panic.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Pops. Why don't you guys cover his legs up?
SIDNER (voice-over): One after another --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Better, same or worse?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You can open the windows today.
SIDNER: -- daughters and sons desperately trying to show their sick parents how much they love them without being able to touch them.
Their parents are living in a nursing home that is the epicenter of the deadliest outbreak of coronavirus in the United States to date.
Sisters Carmen and Bridget sat outside their mother's window with a picnic trying to soothe her on the phone. In reality, the sisters are filled with dread.
(on camera): Does she understand what's happening?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sometimes. Today and yesterday are both not good days for her. She is rather confused.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She said she woke up crying this morning.
SIDNER: Do you feel that your mother is deteriorating at this center?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely. Without question.
SIDNER (voice-over): They say their mother came to the Life Care Center in Kirkland, Washington, to rehab from a knee replacement and ended up getting coronavirus.
(on camera): What has the process been like for you?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's been horrible. It's like a nightmare that I just can't wake up from. I just want to see mom and talk to her face to face and laugh with her and joke with her and play backgammon, and all the stuff we used to do together.
SIDNER (voice-over): They do not speak their biggest fear, but they are acutely aware coronavirus has killed 22 people associated with this facility, 18 of them were patients.
Families are worried their parents and grandparents aren't getting the care they need, especially after hearing this.
TIMOTHY KILLIAN, LIFE CARE CENTER SPOKESPERSON: We've lost one-third of our active employees.
SIDNER (on camera): Are you absolutely sure the patients who are there are getting the care they needed considering you don't have the staff that you normally have? KILLIAN: I'm absolutely sure our staff is doing all they can with the
resources that they have.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Non-answer.
SIDNER (voice-over): That answer did not satisfy the families.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're saying "they." Who is they, so we can follow up with them?
SIDNER: There are too many lingering questions to count. How is it possible that some of the staff has still not been tested three weeks after the deadly outbreak? And why is this facility's entire staff not quarantined when a third of the staff has reported coronavirus symptoms?
At the beginning of the outbreak in Wuhan, China, the U.S. government flew Americans by charter out of Wuhan and put them on a mandatory 14- day quarantine.
Meantime, in this facility, where nearly two dozen people have died, and yet, staff can come and go.
(on camera): Why hasn't there been a self-quarantine?
KILLIAN: We have not received, and we have been in discussion with the CDC and the Department of Health in Washington. They have not told us to completely quarantine in place.
SIDNER (voice-over): He says no one else will take the patients unless they show life-threatening symptoms.
(on camera): Do you find that odd since they were quarantining and people who they had flown out of Wuhan for 14 days, even though they didn't test positive but they haven't quarantined a facility that has so many people dead?
KILLIAN: I can't speak to the CDC's own decisions and the directions that they're giving. I can only tell you what they have or have not told us.
KATHERINE KEMPF, FATHER QUARANTINED IN LIFE CARE CENTER: Dad, I love you. You look good.
SIDNER (voice-over): Still, the families of patients keep showing up trying to boost their parents' spirits.
KEMPF: You need to rub your legs. Get that blood flowing. OK?
SIDNER: Katherine Kempf's father has tested positive, though he is not showing major symptoms.
KEMPF: For him to say to me one on phone, it's rough in here, that's a huge statement for my dad. So to walk in there and just like -- SIDNER: Kempf has been bringing him herbal medicine. Her dad, she
says, is a stoic Vietnam veteran, but even he has indicated how bad things are.
SIDNER: Now he's losing friends to an enemy no one can see.
KEMPF: He's dealing with it stoically, and he's just doing this kind of thing. But the reality is his friends have died.
SIDNER: So you hear the struggle there, that the mental health is a big part of recovery.
And in particular, the facility spokesman has said that one of the things they are lacking is help with mental health counseling. Obviously, there are people who do not want to come into this facility.
And he says the patients cannot be sent out of the facility because no one will take them unless, of course, their symptoms are acute and they are life threatening, and then that is, of course, the hospital that takes them.
We should mention that, on our own air, a psychiatrist, Gail Saltz, said that your mental health affects your immunities. That is why these families are so concerned and trying every single day showing up at the facility to try to cheer up their parents -- Ana?
CABRERA: The situation, those people obviously want the contact with their loved ones. Yet, there's a risk there.
Sara Sidner, thank you for that reporting.
Life during a pandemic. We're answering your questions about the coronavirus, up next.
Plus, a programming note. Two sides of the Democratic Party battling it out for the nomination. Biden and Sanders go head to head for the first time. The CNN and Univision Democratic presidential debate tomorrow night at 8:00 eastern here on CNN.
CABRERA: A warning from the White House coronavirus response coordinator, Dr. Deborah Birx, that even if a person tests negative for coronavirus, that means they're negative on that particular day and shouldn't stop safeguarding against infection.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. DEBORAH BIRX, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE COORDINATOR: When you get a negative test, that means you're negative that day. That doesn't mean that you couldn't get the virus spreading overnight because it replicates in your nose, in the nasal secretions, and you would have a positive test tomorrow.
So if you have a negative test, that doesn't mean that you can discontinue precautions. It doesn't mean that you can start taking risks because you are negative.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Joining us is Dr. Carlos Del Rio, professor of medicine and global health at Emory University.
Thank you, Doctor, for being here.
All day, we've been answering viewer questions on coronavirus. So I want to encourage our viewers to keep tweeting me @anacabrerra.
Before we get to those questions, Doctor, help us understand what Dr. Birx is saying there. Could someone have coronavirus and still test negative?
DR. CARLOS DEL RIO, HEALTH & PROFESSOR OF MEDICINE AND GLOBAL HEALTH, EMORY UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: No.
Thank you, Ana, for having me in your show.
I think what she's saying is if you test negative today that doesn't mean you haven't gotten it because there's something called an incubation period. So there's a time between the time of exposure and the time you develop a positive test and the time you develop symptoMs.
And that time, your test may still be negative because you're still not testing positive until there's a certain amount of virus replicating there that the test can turn positive. So just because you're negative, that doesn't mean you have not been infected.
And this is something that happens with almost every infectious disease. There's a time between the infection and the time a test comes back and the time you develop symptoMs.
CABRERA: OK. So at what points should people be getting tested then?
DEL RIO: That's why, you know, again, the testing needs to be done by a recommendation of a medical provider, whether a physician or a practice provider, somebody who says, yes, this person needs to be tested.
In general, we recommend testing in people that have symptoms or in somebody that has something consistency with the syndrome. We don't go around and just test people that are negative.
And it's really -- it's interesting today that, a few days ago, we said the president didn't have symptoms, didn't need to be tested. And I agreed that. Now the president just got tested. Something must have happened that made people at the White House decide he better be tested.
Again, testing is tricky. And because we don't have a lot of testing available in our country right now, I also think we need to be very careful, very rational about who we test. We don't want to be testing a bunch of worried well individuals when we need testing to be available for those that are sick.
CABRERA: Good point.
I want to get through as many viewer questions as possible. Let's get to those.
There's been talk about hospital beds and ventilators. One viewer brings up a great point. How many people will need respirators? If you need one and can't get one, what will hospitals do?
DEL RIO: There's many questions there. Number one, hospital bed capacity is an issue. We don't have enough hospital beds in our country. We almost all the time are running at pretty much full capacity. So a big surge of patients could be really not -- forget about events later -- there may not be enough beds. There may not be enough ICU beds.
The ventilators, there's something called the national strategic stockpile, there are ventilators. But it's not like you can hook it up in your living room. You need an oxygen supply and a bunch of other things.
What we need is to increase hospital ICU the bed capacity. If you remember, the Chinese, when they had the epidemic, they started building hospitals rapidly. They were able to get up and running in 10 days. I don't know how they did it.
Many cities are looking at, how do we look at facilities that are abandoned or are not being used and how do we rapidly turn them into clinics or hospitals. We're going to need a lot more hospital bed capacity. We don't have enough.
If we have what would be a bad influenza, which this may be much, much worse, we don't have enough bed capacity.
CABRERA: Wow, that's alarming.
A lot of kids are out of school now. In fact, I think the latest number was at least 21 million children who will not be in school come Monday. Another viewer wants to know: Should we be allowing the neighborhood kids to play outside together during this period of social distancing?
DEL RIO: So that's a really good question. I've been asked a couple of times. And -- already today. I think play dates are look provided the kids are healthy, both kids, both parents need to say my kid doesn't have a fever, a runny nose, a cough. If they do, they shouldn't go to the play date. If they're OK, you know, I think if you have a small number of kids,
three or four kids in the neighborhood, if there's not a lot of transmission in the neighborhood, three or four kids together playing outside is going to be better than having the kid inside.
And from a mental health perspective, from a health perspective, you're better allowing them to have the play date.
CABRERA: Dr. Carlos Del Rio, thank you very much.
DEL RIO: Ana, you're welcome. Happy to be with you.
CABRERA: We appreciate it.
We'll be right back.
CABRERA: France has just announced plans to close all restaurants, cafes, cinemas, and clubs to halt the spread of the coronavirus. That plan goes into effect starting at midnight there tonight. And in making this announcement, France's prime minister acknowledged that French people find the concept of social distancing repugnant because they are a joyful people who like to spend time together.
And this is some breaking news just coming in. Spain is shutting down all commercial activity, except supermarkets, pharmacies, and medical businesses, as well as gas stations and tech and communication businesses. But all other establishments are shut down where there's a risk of contagion.
And I want to bring in Dr. Carlos Del Rio back with us now.
Doctor, again, this information is just coming in during that commercial break. Do you anticipate that we're going to see that happen here in America?
DEL RIO: So, Ana, I think all of us, when we first saw China establish very strict measures like this, we were all saying, hmm, this is surprising, this is really not necessary. And now we're realizing that this actually is what needs to be done. But it's because nothing was done initially.
I think what we need to do in this country is rapidly implement social distancing. We have to stop all big events. Whether sporting events, religious events, schools, we really have to go into an almost shutdown.
I would say, people frequently ask how many people should be at an event, a meeting, my number now is less than 25. And they all need to be healthy. Anything above that we should not have. If we don't do that, we're going to have to go into what France and Spain are doing, which a total shutdown of the city. We -- of the country.
We really need to take this seriously. And we made it to implement the necessary measures right away.
I think it took us a while to get there. I still think we have a little bit of ways to go to realize that this is important because, you know, it doesn't seem that bad when you say, well, there's only 1,000 cases in the country, the U.S. is big.
But, trust me, by the end of this month, in just a very few days, we may be at 20,000, 30,000 cases. That's just infection that's have occurred right now, plus a few new infections.
So we have to take this seriously. Yes, these are the right measures. An extreme epidemic requires extreme measures.
CABRERA: For how long?
DEL RIO: That's a question everybody asks. For as long as is necessary is my response. As long as we are in the exponential phase of the curve, we have to put these measures. Once we start seeing the exponential pace be slowed down, we will start releasing the measures and being less strict.
At this point in time, we have to do the necessary things to stop the spread of the infection and the exponential phase.
I keep saying over and over, the only way to prevent the spread of the virus, the community spread, is by spreading the community. We have to spread people because, if I'm more than six feet away from you, I will not transmit to you.
And if we can stop -- right now, this virus transmission from one person to about 2.5 to three other people, if we can stop that, and an infected individual transmit to less than two people, to less than one, we stop the epidemic.
CABRERA: It's so hard to stay away from people, especially loved ones, when we want to make sure they stay safe. Yet, we want to also embrace at the same time our friends and loved ones.
Doctor Carlos Del Rio, thank you for bringing us the facts and really bringing us the important advice to protect ourselves and others.
DEL RIO: Yes.
CABRERA: Just into CNN, 10 U.S. servicemembers have tested positive for coronavirus. A senior defense official telling CNN that one of those servicemembers has now been hospitalized. A Defense Department civilian, two contractors, and eight relatives or dependents of DOD employees have also tested positive. And we're working to gather even more information on that.
We'll be right back.
CABRERA: Hello. I'm Ana Cabrera, in New York. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
President Trump today surprising reporters at the White House by joining a high-level coronavirus briefing and dropping an update of his own, of the personal kind.