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Trump Takes Coronavirus Test; Google Contradicts Trump; Trump Repeatedly Gets Key Facts Wrong During Briefings; Should Trump's Main Focus Be Markets Amid Virus?; Spain On Lockdown; Dr. Celine Gounder Answers Viewers' Questions On Coronavirus; Four More Cruise Ships Quarantined Over Coronavirus. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired March 14, 2020 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. You are live the CNN NEWSROOM.
And 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.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I also took the test last night, yes. And I decided I should, based on the press conference yesterday. People were asking, did I take the test?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When will we know the result, Mr. President?
D. TRUMP: I don't know. Whatever it takes. A day or two days. Whatever it is. They send it to a lab.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: The president says he also had his temperature checked just before walking into the briefing room, and so did everyone else who attended that briefing today. For the first time, every journalist and member of the Press Corps was checked. One person was actually denied entry to that briefing room. He had a high temperature, we're told.
A few prominent D.C. figures are now self-isolating this weekend, after realizing that they were exposed to someone who was positive for the virus. U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham and Rick Scott, Congressman Matt Gates and Mark Meadows, all taking these precautionary measures.
And a short time ago, we learned that the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, Ronna McDaniel, is also awaiting results of a Coronavirus test. She, reportedly, has a fever and other symptoms and is staying away from people until the test results are in.
Enormous developments overseas this weekend. France taking the extraordinary step to close all restaurants, cafes, movie theaters and nightclubs. Every business not considered essential to daily life. And just in to CNN, the government of Spain is also shutting down all commercial activity. Now, here in this country, supermarkets, wholesalers, big box stores are seeing a lot of nervous shoppers stocking up on food staples and cleaning products. Many stores are even limiting the amount of certain products customers can buy so there's enough to go around.
Let me get to the White House now and CNN's Kristen Holmes. Kristen, let's talk about what happened at that briefing today. The president's surprise announcement. And you, you even had your temperature checked today, right?
KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Ana. And this just really shows an enormous escalation in precautions that they're taking around the president and vice president. We've been asking for days what President Trump was going to do differently. Was he going to social distance?
We saw him, just yesterday, in the Rose Garden with all of those officials very close proximity to them, shaking all of their hands. And we have learned that staffers, as well as members of the task force, are also having their temperature being taken. So, clearly here, this is becoming a very serious matter.
And, as you said, we see a slew of Republican lawmakers as well as high-profile Republicans who interact with President Trump all right now taking that extra level of precaution there. They are self- quarantining, trying to stay away. Stay out of public after they had those interactions with someone who did test positive.
And this all comes after what happened at Mar-a-Lago last weekend. We know President Trump was at a party in which at least two people have tested positive for Coronavirus. Two people who were in his vicinity.
So, clearly here, the White House is buckling down. They are understanding that this is highly contagious. And the president has been puts into several compromising positions with people who later tested positive for Coronavirus.
CABRERA: All right. Kristen Holmes, thank you. I want to ask you, though, about another thing, because a lot of people are waiting to figure out, on the testing front, where they can go. Who should be tested. And just how this process will work. And, a day ago, the president seemed very happy to claim that Google was heavily involved in his anti-virus efforts. It doesn't seem to be the case today, does it?
HOLMES: That's right, Ana. And I actually want to start by just playing to you exactly what it was that the president said yesterday. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO C LIP)
D. TRUMP: Google is helping to develop a Web site. It's going to be very quickly done, unlike Web sites of the past. Google has 1,700 engineers working on this right now. They've made tremendous progress.
(END VIDEO CLIP) CABRERA: So, very quickly after this announcement was made, we learned that this was not actually the case. That there was no national Web site that was in the works from Google. And that was, actually, some surprise that this had taken this form. Because, again, where he got the number of 1,700 engineers working on this national Web site, it's still a remained unknown.
So, today, Vice President Pence was asked about that. And he tried to offer some clarity to clean it up. He said that we learned more details at 5:00 p.m. Friday. And he also said what we had learned that there was a test pilot program that was not -- done -- being done by Google but by their parent company that was supposed to be just for the bay area. That's where they were going to roll this out.
And, in fact, we learned, sources telling CNN's Jake Tapper, that California officials were shocked when they saw the graphic that was presented with that news of the Google national Web site. Because it was their graphic that they had been using with working with this parent company on, again, a small state pilot program here.
So, the idea that that somehow turned into this being a national Web site -- now, again, Vice President Pence saying we're going to learn more details about this thing. It was, in fact, a small program, but that Google was intending on it spreading, you know, being available to everyone, to members of the public nationwide.
But a lot of questions here as to why exactly President Trump chose to say this. And surrounding such a controversial issue. We know how hard it has been for people to try and get testing, to figure out what they need to get testing. So, to have it at this time and on that topic, it just seems very confusing. And, again, it's simply untrue at the base there.
CABRERA: And that's the bottom line. Kristen Holmes, thank you.
New York has its first death from coronavirus. The state now has more than 500 confirmed cases of the virus. The New York archdiocese announced this afternoon that all masses are canceled effective immediately. The famed St. Patrick's Cathedral will celebrate a private mass daily on a Web stream. Churches will remain open for private prayer.
And, just a short time ago, we learned that a second New York city firefighter has tested positive. But they likely got the virus while off duty, not from treating a patient.
Polo Sandoval is in New York City for us. Polo, what do we know about this is first New York death?
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: An 82-year-old woman, Ana, according to New York state's government officials here, essentially confirming that, as you mentioned, she is the first death in the state of New York. While it is tragic, it is certainly not surprising, as authorities have been warning that we are likely going to continue to see the number of cases increase.
As you mentioned, well over 500 now across the state of New York. And now, sadly, the first Coronavirus-related death. We should mention that, according to officials, this woman had long been suffering from emphysema complications.
So, it really does remind us, yet again, of who the most vulnerable, in the United States and, really, around the world, are to this virus. Those who are elderly and those who have suffered from previous medical complications. And that, unfortunately, is the case here with this 82-year-old woman now confirmed as the first case of a Coronavirus-related death.
CABRERA: Polo, you've also been keeping an eye on New Rochelle outside New York City, where the first containment zone was set up. Tell us what's happening there today.
SANDOVAL: Yes. And, remember, the reason why this is happening up just north of New York City is because that is, essentially, one of the largest clusters across the country. So, what the governor did is employed these teams to conduct these drive-through testings.
Today is day two. Just yesterday, according to the numbers that they expected, they could have seen possibly up to 200 vehicles. These are six lanes that were established in New Rochelle.
Again, north of New York, where we've seen many cases already. About 172 in that county reporting. Those vehicles drive through. A sample is collected. And then, they're notified a few days later. This is by appointment only. Priority certainly being given to the residents of New Rochelle, because we've seen such an increase in the amount of coronavirus cases there.
But this is certainly the governor's way of trying to identify those people who have been exposed to this, possibly infected with this. That way they could quickly isolate and quarantine them -- Ana.
CABRERA: All right. Polo Sandoval, thank you.
I want to bring in Dr. Celine Gounder, an infectious disease specialist and epidemiologist. And, Doctor, let me ask you about these school closures that a lot of people are dealing with now. Eighteen states have closed public schools all across the state. And that is affecting, now, 21 million-plus children, and their families, obviously.
The CDC just put out some guidance that, essentially, says that closing school for two to four weeks may not do a whole lot, in terms of minimizing the spread of this virus. And, in fact, may actually be more harmful to the people who are caring for those children. You know, it says, negatively impact the older caregivers at home. What are your thoughts on that?
DR. CELINE GOUNDER, INTERNIST, INFECTIOUS DISEASES SPECIALIST AND EPIDEMIOLOGIST: Well, it really depends on what the kids are doing if they're not in school. So, are they hanging out with friends in the neighborhood? How many of them are hanging out together at the same time? Dr. Del Rio, who was just on, was saying, well, maybe if it's a smaller group, it's lower risk.
But it really does depend -- the purpose of closing down the schools is not to protect the kids. It's to protect the parents and the grandparents. And so, if the kids are still out there, potentially being infected, you haven't really accomplished anything. And, secondly, the schools are an important way of delivering other essential services. Not just an education, but childcare, as well as, for many kids, reduced and free school lunches.
So, that's -- you know, that kind of thing, having maybe breakfast and lunch at school every day when they're in school, is something that really does have an impact on working class families.
CABRERA: And I think that's one reason why it's so hard to make those decisions. And that's one of the reasons why some governors and some officials have chosen to keep schools open. I know up in our school district with our kids, they've decided to close school for a few days versus a few weeks. And maybe, you know, that gives an opportunity for any germs to dissipate, for them to give a good, hard cleaning.
I want to ask you also about the testing, and the fact of the matter being that President Trump, now, has been tested. He's still holding these press conferences. I'm just wondering, should he be self- quarantining? Could he be at risk still of, you know, not only having the infection, himself, but also, potentially, exposing others, since we know he was around people who have since tested positive?
GOUNDER: Well, whether it's the president or anybody else, if you have been in contact with a known case, you should be isolating yourself from others for 14 days. You should be tested. You know, and during that 14-day period, it's possible you could be transmitting to other people. So, regardless of who you are, those would be the recommendations.
CABRERA: All right, Dr. Celine Gounder, thank you. We know you will be back with us to answer viewer questions later in the hour.
Up next, in a national crisis, Americans turn to their president to lead them through a tumultuous time. And President Truman's motto was, the buck stops here. President Trump's --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No, I don't take responsibility at all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
CABRERA: That may be the most iconic line an American president has ever uttered in a time of national crisis. It came from Franklin Delano Roosevelt on March 4, 1933. And that line, from FDR's first inaugural address, was delivered as the country was still mired in the Great Depression. It offered reassurance in a moment when Americans had lost just about everything, especially hope.
And with us now is renowned presidential historian and award-winning author, Doris Kearns Goodwin. Her latest "New York Times" bestseller happens to be titled, "Leadership in Turbulent Times." So very appropriate for where we are in this moment. Thank you so much for being here.
DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN, AUTHOR: Oh, I'm glad to be here.
CABRERA: I want to compare FDR's iconic moment to how President Trump has sought to reassure the nation right now. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're doing a great job with it. And it will go away. Just stay calm. It will go away.
It's blindsided the world. And I think we've handled it very, very well.
We have thousands or hundreds of thousands of people that get better just by, you know, sitting around and even going to work. Some of them go to work, but they get better. Democrats are politicizing the Coronavirus. When you have 15 people, and the 15, within a couple of days, is going to be down to close to zero.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: So, Doris, if the current administration could take a page out of FDR's leadership, what would that look like right now?
GOODWIN: Well, I think the most important thing, even more than that lane, you know, the only thing we have to fear is fear itself, he started out saying, this is pre-eminently a time for telling the truth. The dire facts have to be understood.
And what he did then was to say, but the only thing we have to fear it fear itself. Because, he said, if we come together as a nation, if you accept that I am now taking responsibility for this. I'm a new president. There's going to be action. I'm going to go to the Congress. I have a series of measures to recommend to them. To take the banks that all failed. Individual banks were closing. People couldn't get their money out. States were closed banks. So, we had a whole national holiday, as he called it, for the banks, for an entire week. He said, I will take responsibility for this. And if Congress doesn't give me what I need, I will take the executive order as if we were at a war. It gave people such a sense that there was a leader in place.
There's a wonderful story of somebody writing into him saying, my roof fell off. My dog is lost. I've lost my job, and now everything's OK. You're there. That's the mystery of leadership, when you feel like your government is at least dealing with it as difficult as it is.
CABRERA: How would you assess President Trump's leadership right now?
GOODWIN: Well, the hopeful thing is that, you know, those statements that we all just heard right now have been replaced a little bit by an evolving sense of the incredible depth of this crisis. I mean, none of us, except who maybe are 90 or so, have lived through a time when our lives have been so disrupted as this.
So, there really is a sense of panic, not just about the public health crisis but about what's happening in our daily lives. And you need to know that the government has its full resources. So, the bill that was passed on a bipartisan basis is a good sign. The fact that the president began to talk about maybe he shouldn't be shaking hands is a good sign.
But history will judge whether or not by claiming victory early, as he has done, you know, it's going to go down. Things are fine. We've got these beautiful tests. That's like declaring victory before the game is over. And the game is just beginning. So, will that credibility last? I mean, the trust and the word of a president is the most important thing.
CABRERA: Do you see something he could do to build that back up?
GOODWIN: Well, I think taking actions will begin to do that. I mean, it's -- credibility is something that if it's lost, it's hard to come back. But I think he's beginning to evolve, in some ways. We have to hope he is. I mean, for the countries at large, we've got to believe that the government's really going do everything it can to help the people who are out of school with their kids.
All the -- all the -- it's a huge problem that's been created now, as big as anything. It is as big as if we were in a war. I think we're at that kind of situation.
And so, we've got to see a team around him, not just the team of the CDC but who is the team that are advising him? You know, how come some of these statements that he makes are not factual? If somebody's written the thing beforehand for him. All -- he has to prepare everything he says.
And I think he has to focus on this 24 hours right now. In a crisis, that's the most important thing you want in a leader is that you know that they're putting all their efforts. They're doing as best they could. This is a tough situation. CABRERA: Yes.
GOODWIN: So, we've got to hope, I guess as a country, that he will evolve into taking more and more responsibility.
But that's the number-one thing he has to do. This is the weight on him. And he should be glad to take that for us. That's what we need in a leader.
CABRERA: You know, we've talked about the president's response. I want to, for a moment, flip the switch and look at the American people's response. Because we're seeing people going out and emptying store shelves at supermarkets. Stocking up. There's a runout of toilet paper. Stores are running out of water. I guess that response we're seeing, what does that tell us?
GOODWIN: Well, I think it's really important. When I think about what happened after Pearl Harbor in America. When they had to ration goods because the same thing was happening. That scarce goods were being hoarded by people.
And people finally accepted, when they were all doing it together, that they'd had a number of stamps. They could use it for food or they could use it for clothes or whatever. You know, they were -- they had so many uniforms they had to build for the -- for the soldiers. That they had to cut out cloth for ordinary clothes. So, you've got cuffless trousers. You've got shorter skirts than you ever had before.
And, most importantly, gas had to be limited. You couldn't have pleasure driving. And that was really hard for people. They were so used to their automobiles. But they took it in strides. They say that people walked more. They carpooled more. They played cards at home more. And they created victory gardens when they didn't have enough food.
So, we've got to remember, this is why history can give us solace. The American people came through and that was a really tough time. So, hopefully, they'll come through when they realize they have a lot to do with how we're going to respond to this whole thing.
CABRERA: I love ending on that high note. And you're right. We're seeing some really wonderful things happening outside of the doom and gloom that we're learning about through the Coronavirus. But you see people who are being very generous, donating money to others and stepping up in a big way.
Doris Kearns Goodwin, we appreciate your time. Thank you so much.
GOODWIN: You're very welcome.
CABRERA: And as we go to break, I just want to show you how much this pandemic has already changed everyday life in America. These are pictures from Times Square here in New York in recent days. This is usually a very bustling place at all hours. Now, virtually empty. [17:22:12]
CABRERA: Breaking news. Just moments ago, the governor of Louisiana announced its first death from coronavirus.
And also just in, New York now has a second death from coronavirus. In all three cases, the patients had underlying health conditions. And that brings the nationwide death toll to 52, at this hour.
If there is any time to give absolutely accurate information to the public, it is during a global pandemic. But more than once now, President Trump has gotten key facts wrong. When he addressed the nation Wednesday night, for instance. He said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: To keep new cases from entering our shores, we will be suspending all travel from Europe to the United States for the next 30 days. And these prohibitions will not only apply to the tremendous amount of trade and cargo, but various other things as we get approval.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: It turns out, there was no ban on cargo. And White House officials had to clean this up afterwards. And then, yesterday, President Trump claimed Google was creating a Web site where Americans could input their symptoms and find a testing center. His advisers even showed a graphic of how this works.
It turns out Google had no idea that the president was talking about this. And it was actually a very small pilot Web site that will only be available in an area of California right now.
Well, fast forward to today. The president was directly asked whether he was planning to extend the European travel ban to the U.K. and Ireland. And he made clear it was something he was considering.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Reuters is reporting that you're going to extend the European travel ban to the U.K. and Ireland on Monday. Is that accurate?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're looking at it very seriously, yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Well, less than 15 minutes later, at the very same press conference, Vice President Pence announced there was, in fact, a travel ban on the U.K. and Ireland, and it will go into effect on Monday. Listen.
(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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: I want to bring in President Clinton's former White House press secretary, Joe Lockhart; and CNN National Security Analyst Peter Bergen. Joe, as someone who has been this charge of White House messaging, I just wonder how are so many important facts being explained so incorrectly?
JOE LOCKHART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think the president doesn't really have a handle on the details. It's very clear, when he comes out to these press conferences, that he just is shooting from the hip, winging it. And it causes a real credibility problem. You know, he's putting out information that is not accurate.
If you only listen to the president over the last couple of weeks, it was only in the last couple of days that you would think this was a problem. He kept downplaying it. He kept getting things wrong. And, you know, I think what they should do is let the president step aside. Let the doctors take the lead here.
The second thing is you need to establish credibility. And you can't establish credibility, if you won't acknowledge the mistakes you've made in the past. The president, yesterday, said -- yesterday, said he took no responsibility at all. So, it's hard to believe him going forward when the whole world can see that there were some missteps, plenty of missteps, leading up to today.
CABRERA: Peter, when the president addresses the public on this crisis, do you think he makes things better or worse?
PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, it depends. I mean, the market spoke on Wednesday when they dropped, you know, the biggest percentage drop since 1987.
And the markets also spoke on Friday after the much better press conference when he actually announced some real measures that might make a difference and also took a much more somber and realistic view of the crisis.
But you know, the "Washington Post" said, you know, famously, he said 16,000 misleading or false statements in the past three years. You know, Trump never does his homework, rarely trusts experts, always goes with his gut, surrounds himself by "yes" people. It's the kind of perfect storm for this kind of response.
Not to say that he's not capable of righting the occasion -- occasionally, I think the Friday press conference that we saw, you know, announcing the national emergency, having a better plan for testing, which is the -- you know, the testing issue, of course, is the real issue here.
We've had 15,000 tests at the same time the North Koreans have had -- South Koreans have had 230,000 tests in a country that is much, much smaller. And this is really the main issue.
When there's a coronavirus commission, of which there certainly will be, just as we'll have commissions on Pearl Harbor, the 9/11 Commission, there will be the central problem people want to explore.
CABRERA: Joe, Peter mentioned the stock market. And the president actually autographed a picture of the stock market after stocks closed a bit higher on Friday, and this aired actually on FOX News.
Is the market what he should be focusing on right now? Is that the best measure of how the country is doing?
LOCKHART: No, I don't think -- I don't think it is. The market is reacting to some of the uncertainty that the president himself is creating, and the underlying economic slowdown that is naturally going to happen when countries and borders close.
What the president needs to do is stop focusing on the markets and start focusing on the American people.
There's a -- an extraordinary lack of empathy in everything the president does. If you go back to, you know, President Bush, President Obama, President Clinton, when we had situations where there was a national crisis, their first instinct was to talk about who was hurt, feeling their pain, and what we're going to do for them.
The president seems more interested, you know, in things like the market and the financial package, and a lot of that has to do with his re-election.
He, you know, he famously said, I don't want to bring these people off the boat because I don't want the numbers to go up. He's got to change that tone, and he's got to change it soon.
CABRERA: Peter, I know you spoke to an infectious disease expert who has been warning for a decade about a pandemic like this. Talk to us about why this virus is so much more concerning than past coronaviruses like SARS and MERS, and it's not fair, it's not equal at any level when you compare it to the flu.
BERGEN: Well, I think there are two issues. One is what is the case fatality rate and what is the transmissibility of the virus. The case fatality rate, if we're lucky, is going to be 1 percent. That's 10 times what the number of the seasonal flu. It could be higher.
The transmissibility rate -- you've got Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, herself a scientist and a very sober person, saying 60 percent at least of the German population are going to get this virus.
Now the virus doesn't care if you're German, American, or Chinese or Republican or Democrat. So when you have this relatively high lethality compared with the high transmissibility, you're looking at large numbers.
Obviously, what we do in terms of containment, mitigation, all these things can drive the numbers down. But right now, we have community transmission everywhere around the United States.
And we're looking at a situation which I -- I don't think is not dissimilar from Italy potentially where, you know, we have a really serious problem because, you know, cutting off the European travel, you know, maybe that is a good idea but it's a little too late.
We lost a lot of time between, you know, January and now, where the testing should have been in place and, you know, government really failed us.
CABRERA: If infectious disease experts have been warning about something like this for a decade, how are we so unprepared?
BERGEN: You know, look, in the summer of 9/11, the CIA was warning of a potential attack. The Bush administration kind of basically didn't really pay attention to those strategic warnings. This is, unfortunately, human nature.
And we closed up, you know, we closed the cockpit doors after the hijackers have gone into the cockpit. It is very unfortunate.
We will have a lot of needed investigation of this because a lot of people were saying this is coming. We had big flu in 1957 that killed a lot of people.
This is worse because this is like a very virulent flu in terms of transmissibility. Then the coronavirus itself has a much higher lethality. So we're looking at a very, very serious situation.
CABRERA: Peter Bergen and Joe Lockhart, gentlemen, got to leave it there. Thank you so much for the conversation.
In other breaking news, Spain on lockdown. The prime minister announcing that people are banned from leaving their homes with just a few exceptions, like going to work, buying foods, or going to the hospital.
Let me get straight to CNN Correspondent, Al Goodman, in Madrid for us.
Al, give us the latest.
AL GOODMAN, CNN MADRID CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Anna. After a seven-hour cabinet meeting, the prime minister made a nationally televised address giving the details about this state of emergency that was announced on Friday night. Now it's actually in force. It's published in the official state bulletin.
He has been trying and officials have been trying to keep people apart from each other, a very difficult thing in this Mediterranean country where people like to be around each other all the time. That's how the virus spreads, and they fear, the officials do, that this could overwhelm the hospitals if the rates go up.
Spain has now got the highest rate of infections, second only to Italy. A week ago, it wasn't like that.
So in announcing these restrictions, they're basically try to get people to stay at home. You can go foods shopping, but you have to go by yourself, unless you're an elderly person who needs help. You can go to the pharmacy under the same conditions.
You can drive if you're going to work, to shop for food. You can fill up gas. But no leisure driving.
This day, as this emergency went into effect, there were reports of people up in the parks, in the mountains outside of Madrid just going out for a little Saturday in the park. The officials don't want that. They want people to be apart.
And in the food stores, Ana, they want people to be at least three feet, a meter, apart. And this may lead to food stores limiting the number of people coming in.
We've seen this in pharmacies and some other stores where people are -- you make a line outside of the store. Everybody's three feet apart. The line stretches way down the street. And then you go in one at a time. You're far away from the person attending you at the pharmacy.
I bought something the other day, I couldn't -- if I had reached out, I couldn't have touched the person behind the counter -- Ana?
CABRERA: Life changing right before our eyes.
Thank you so much, Al. We appreciate it, from Madrid.
Now we have Spain. We have Italy. We also have France taking pretty extreme measures to try to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
People understandably have a lot of questions about this virus and what perhaps you should be doing to protect yourself. A doctor, an infectious specialist is here to answer your questions, next.
CABRERA: We know there are a lot of questions about coronavirus, and that's why we've been answering your questions here with help from our medical experts. So please keep tweeting me, @anaCabrera, and submitting them at CNN.com/coronavirus.
Here to help keep you stay safe -- help you stay safe and to keep you informed is infectious disease specialist and epidemiologist, Dr. Celine Gounder. She's the host of "An Epidemic," an American diagnosis podcast.
Doctor, to begin, can you tell us a little bit more about home-based testing. You said this will be sort of the next frontier of this.
DR. CELINE GOUNDER, EPIDEMIOLOGIST & INFECTIOUS DISEASE SPECIALIST & HOST, "AN EPIDEMIC" PODCAST: Right. We've been hearing a lot about the drive-thru testing. We had one in New Rochelle in New York City. The idea is to offload routine health systems so that you're reducing the risk to health care workers as well as other patients.
There are a couple of companies that I've been speaking to and others, as well, EverlyWell, Nurx, and some others, which are going to be rolling out either Smartphone app-based or web-based screening where you can basically fill out your demographics, do you have symptoms, have you been exposed. And it assesses.
If you're super high risk, you probably need to be calling 911 and going to the hospital if you're very sick. If you don't have any risk factors, wait things out, see how things go. If you're in the middle, not too sick but should be tested, the idea is this is a way to scale that up.
They'll FedEx you or Express Mail you the test.
CABRERA: You can test yourself essentially?
GOUNDER: Exactly. You can test yourself, send back the specimen.
This is really going to help scale up access to this.
Now, there are obstacles, unfortunately. Even though some of these companies -- I'm told Nurx is actively exploring, hopefully, going to launch soon. EverlyWell tells me in the next two weeks, they'll be able to launch.
But there are some obstacles. Even if they have the tests available to run and the labs ready to go, the swabs, for example, that you need to take the sample from your nose may be in short supply. We are seeing some supply chain issues with that.
So some of what they're also exploring is what are other specimens we can be testing, again, to make this more accessible.
Another barrier, New York State is the one state that does not allow home-based specimen collection and testing. If the governor is listening, please address this. We're one of the states that needs to scale up this kind of testing as soon as possible.
CABRERA: You're right. Testing is such a huge issue. This sounds like a good opportunity to get more people tested faster and still protect others from exposure.
Let me get to our viewer questions right now because some of them are simple as like, what do we do about our cell phones. We touch them all day, we touch other things. Cell phones -- money's another thing. What are your, I guess, best practices that we should be following?
GOUNDER: Yes, so in terms of the cell phone, that's one of the dirtiest things that we have, frankly. Because as you said, we're touching it all day, we're putting it near our face, touching it with our hands.
I personally, when I come home from wherever I've been, that's the first thing I clean when I come home. I wipe down my phone. Again, nothing fancy. It can be your regular household cleaning products. Then after that, I wash my hands.
So I would say just get into that habit. I've been training my husband to do the same. And you know, that will make a big difference for sure.
CABRERA: Right now, health experts have been warning people who are older, they have the highest risk, right? They're the ones who we're seeing primarily -- see the fatalities here.
One viewer asked: Is there a possibility COVID-19 could mutate and become a higher risk for younger people in the future?
GOUNDER: Gosh, I mean, you never know how things are going to evolve over time. There's no reason at this stage, however, based on how we've seen this evolve.
Usually, viruses actually get less deadly over time as opposed to more deadly. So that's not something I'm personally worried about at this stage.
CABRERA: OK. If somebody has coronavirus and then recovers, what's the timeline for how long they can infect others?
GOUNDER: Great question. And we don't actually have a good answer to that. And that's one area we are really trying to collect more information because that will determine how long does somebody need to be isolated after getting sick.
So right now, we're basically saying 14 days, we recheck a test. Those tests are not perfect for determining are you truly infectious or not. So still -- still a bit of a question mark.
CABRERA: Another viewer asks, if I can't get tested or tests aren't available, what's the most common coronavirus symptom that isn't flu like?
GOUNDER: Gosh. Wow. Because it's basically almost complete overlap. The most common symptoms of coronavirus are fever and cough. You do see a range of other things. Shortness of breath would be to me more concerning, suggestive of severe coronavirus disease. You can even see symptoms like diarrhea, which all of those symptoms you can see with the flu.
So it's very difficult to distinguish flu from coronavirus just on the basis of symptoMs.
CABRERA: Somebody else sent in a tweet about the cough specifically. Is it a dry cough or is it more phlegmy? GOUNDER: Yes, it's usually more of a dry cough. Phlegmy coughs are wet
coughs, are usually more with bacterial infections than viral infections. You know, there's no, you know, bright dividing line between the two, unfortunately.
CABRERA: Let's talk about the warm weather because there's this idea the virus might dissipate as we head into the warmer weather months. We've touched on this before. But one viewer writes: "Keep in mind, Tom Hanks and his wife got the virus during Australia's hot summer."
Has there been any update on how this virus will react in warmer weather?
GOUNDER: Well, we don't know. We don't know yet because we haven't had our spring and summer yet. Presumably, if it behaves like every other respiratory virus that we typically deal with, it should slow down. It's not going to go away. It should slow down.
But then the question is, what's going to happen come the fall. You'll have back to school, weather getting colder again. So you could see things slow down and then pick right back up.
CABRERA: We don't know. A lot of unknowns.
Dr. Gounder, thank you very, very much.
GOUNDER: My pleasure.
CABRERA: Great to have you here again.
If you have any other questions about the coronavirus -- and I know you do and you are sending them my way, and I appreciate it because we want to answer those questions throughout the week on all of our shows on CNN. Again, my Twitter handle is @AnaCabrera. You can also submit your questions on CNN.com
Breaking news, we're now learning of four more cruise ships quarantined because of coronavirus. We'll have a live report on that, next.
CABRERA: We are following more breaking news. Four more international cruise ships are being quarantined for coronavirus. Three of those cruise ships have confirmed cases. The fourth has a presumed positive case.
Let's get right out to CNN's Matt Rivers who joins us now from Mexico City.
Matt, what more are you learning?
MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ana, let's start in the Caribbean. A cruise ship operated by Fred Olson Cruise Lines is now currently anchored about 25 miles off Freeport in the Bahamas where they are awaiting a resupply. Five people aboard that ship have tested positive for the coronavirus.
That ship mainly has British nationals on board. They were supposed to end their cruise a few days ago in Barbados but that is when those five tested positive.
They are awaiting resupply from the Bahamian government because, at this point, they are not being allowed to dock in the Bahamas. It is unclear where that ship is going to end up or if there could be more cases on board.
Moving around the world, there are other cruise ships dealing with something similar. We know there's a ship with a confirmed case off the coast of Brazil and off the coast of Chile in South America. There are two ships there. One has a confirmed case, an 83-year-old man. The other no confirmed case of yet.
But, Ana, this shows you the dangers that cruise ships can pose during times like this.
I was out in Japan covering the "Diamond Princess." That was the first cruise ship that really made headlines internationally. Hundreds of people eventually tested positive onboard that ship for the virus.
These are floating petri dishes, Ana. And certainly, a big risk for the people on board these four ships now quarantined in different parts of the world.
CABRERA: We've seen a lot of cruise ships out of U.S. saying they are taking a hiatus and won't be operating right now. And we keep hearing the medical experts saying do not take a cruise right now, period.
Matt Rivers, thank you. A difficult situation. Too late for some of those folks, obviously.
This is a difficult time for the U.S. and the world as the coronavirus pandemic is still spreading. So I want to take a moment to highlight people and companies that are stepping up to help.
U-Haul is one example for us. They announced free 30-day storage for college students who have suddenly had to move out due to schools closing. The Bill Gates Foundation, the Gates Foundation is contributing $50 million towards finding a treatment for coronavirus. And after it shut down due to this virus, Disneyland announced it will be donating excess food to a food bank in Orange County.
Some really good things happening out there in a difficult time.
Here at CNN, we want to make sure you have all the latest information on the coronavirus pandemic and what you can do to help. You can learn more about this, and as we learn more about past pandemics to fight future outbreaks. Tune in tonight, the CNN film "UNSEEN ENEMY, PANDEMIC." That airs at 11:00 here on CNN.
[17:55:08] I'm Ana Cabrera, in New York. Thanks so much for joining me.
My colleague, S.E. Cupp, continues our coverage of the coronavirus pandemic after a quick break.
S.E. CUPP, CNN HOST: Welcome to UNFILTERED. I'm S.E. Cupp.