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Iran's Coronavirus Cases Jump By 1,000-Plus In Just 24 Hours; Italy's Health Care System At Breaking Point Amid Outbreak; Johns Hopkins' Dr. Amesh Adalja Answers Viewers' Questions On Coronavirus; U.S. Military Issues Strict New Travel Guidelines. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired March 16, 2020 - 13:30   ET




BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: Right now, Iran is grabbling with the biggest single day's spike in new coronavirus cases. More than 1,000 new cases reported in just in the last 24 hours. The number of total cases there nearly 15,000, nearly 900 dead.

Our Sam Kylie is with us from Abu Dhabi Sam?

SAM KYLIE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Brianna, the situation in Iran continues to be extremely dire. With 15,000 confirmed cases of infection, 123 dead. That's just in the last 24 hours. It was 113 killed by the disease in the previous 24 hours.

The Iranians have asked for $5 billion dollars-worth of funding to help them out. All this from the international community in the face of very heavy sanctions, financial sanctions, mostly imposed by the United States under the Trump administration, which restricted the ability of the international community to send money to help, so they are sending goods. The Emirates have just sent 32 tons of medical supplies into Iran -- Brianna?

KEILAR: Sam Kylie, thank you so much.

The World Health Organization says Europe right now is the epicenter of the outbreak. Italy reported nearly 25,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus. And this weekend, it marked its deadliest day with 368 deaths in just 24 hours.

CNN's Melissa Bell is in Rome -- Melissa?


MELISSA BELL, CNN PARIS CORRESPONDENT: In a sense, Italy is just a couple of weeks ahead of other parts of the world, other European countries, possibly the United States. Again, nearly one week after this extraordinary lockdown here, record figures in terms of the number of new cases announced yesterday and, tragically, in terms of the number of new deaths as a result of coronavirus.

We have been hearing from the Italian prime minister this morning who's warning that the peak has not been here yet.

It gives you an idea of how long it takes for a country to be on a lockdown an economy ground to a halt, people kept at home for any tangible results to be seen in terms of bringing the outbreak under control.

And that's terrible news for the rest of the world.


KEILAR: Melissa Bell, thank you so much.

In Germany, where the country is closing down most public places and telling people to stay home, there is a controversy stirring over whether a German drug company, CureVac, was approached by the Trump administration to make a possible coronavirus vaccine available but exclusively for the U.S., something that the drug company is now denying.

CNN's Fred Pleitgen is on the Germany border with Poland where there are new border controls that are being put in place there.

Fred, let's start with what we are hearing from this company.


KEILAR: Unfortunately, we are having some technical difficulties with Fred. We'll try to get that back up.

Now, coming up, a doctor will join me to answer your questions. A lot of good questions you have about the coronavirus, including whether you can drink alcohol and how to tell a difference between allergies and the virus.


Plus, what is it like to live with coronavirus. One man's firsthand account of what life has been like since he was diagnosed, next.


KEILAR: We are now getting a glimpse of what it looks like to contract the coronavirus. One man in Ohio, who tested positive, says it is like suffocating on dry land. Although he says he's still feeling better, the fear of the unknown is keeping him on edge.


KEVIN HARRIS, CORONAVIRUS PATIENT: I was leaning over this bed throwing up, thinking, oh, my god, don't let me die like this. I don't want to suffocate and going into cardiac arrest at the same time.

It is unchartered territory.

(END VIDEO CLIP) KEILAR: Joining me now to answer your questions about the coronavirus is Dr. Amesh Adalja. He's a senior scholar at Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security.

Doctor, before we get to some very good viewers' questions, we are just getting word that the first coronavirus vaccine trial administered to its first dose of participants in Seattle. Walk us through what it means and how significance it is or if it's a small step on a long journey here?


DR. AMESH ADALJA, SENIOR SCHOLAR, JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY'S CENTER FOR HEALTH SECURITY: It is a small step on a long journey but it is an important step. This is a vaccine that made it into clinical trials in record time. It's kind of a testament to the new vaccine technologies that are being brought to bear on these outbreaks.

So we are all excited about this but we realize we won't have a vaccine for 12 to 18 months. Despite the fact that we're in trials, there's a lot of questions to answer about this vaccine. It will be interesting to watch how it progresses through trials.

KEILAR: Let's get to viewer questions here. Our first viewer wants to know -- and I live in the city so I think a lot of young people with a thriving social life have this question. I've heard that alcohol can potentially weaken the immune system so does it mean that we should not be drinking?

ADALJA: Chronic alcohol consumption can weaken the immune system. We are not talking about people who have one or two drinks at dinner or something like that. But chronic alcoholics have a higher risk of developing respiratory infections. And they are at particular risk and should be social distancing themselves and cutting their alcohol consumption as best they can.

KEILAR: One other viewer says: I know coronavirus impact the lungs, so are cigarette smokers at a higher risk?

ADALJA: Definitely. Cigarette smoking is a real risk factor for respiratory viral infections. It actually paralyses the little hairs on your cells that help clear mucus. So if you are a cigarette smoker, you are at a higher risk and you should stop today.

KEILAR: Can the coronavirus, one person asks, cause permanent lung damage? Even if once you recover, are there residual problems?

ADALJA: Most people who have uncomplicated illness are not going to have residual problems. Those individuals who get admitted to the ICU, maybe be put on a ventilator, those type of people may have decreased lung function for maybe up to a year or so afterwards. There can have permanent lung damage if you have a severe case at lands you in the ICU.

KEILAR: What about pregnant women? What should they be doing differently at this time? ADALJA: Pregnant women have a state of immune suppression. Their

immune system is suppressed while they're pregnant. So they are often at higher risk for contracting influenza, for example, or having severe cases.

We don't know a lot about this coronavirus but, in general, I would say that pregnant women, because of their immune status, and because as they are getting more pregnant, it kind of pushes on their lungs and they have decrease lung capacity, they're more at risk for going into respiratory distress than someone that's not pregnant.

They should be having a lower threshold to see a doctor if they get infected.

KEILAR: What would threshold be to you?

ADALJA: Any kind of fever or minimal amounts of shortness of breath, especially if you are in the later trimester --


ADALJA: -- and with decreased lung capacity. And I would try to social distancing a little bit stronger than the average person if your pregnant, especially as you get longer into your pregnancy.

KEILAR: That is such -- there's someone close to me who is due here a couple of weeks. That's important information.

I saw this, person asked, if there's a nationwide shortage of blood donations butt I want to give, but is it safe?

ADALJA: It is safe to give a blood donation. Hospitals have a separate entry way. They're now screening. I was just in the hospital a couple of days ago seeing patients and there's different ways to go in the hospital. So they'll segregate those who are respiratory system from those who don't.

So you can donate blood. I think we need to think about that as we -- as our hospitals may go into crisis mode as these cases start to mount in the United States. We do want people to donate blood and you can do it safely.

KEILAR: Good to know.

One viewer says: I am suddenly sneezing a lot. How do I know if it is just my allergies flaring up or something more serious?

ADALJA: Most of the cases of coronavirus will have fever accompanying these respiratory symptoms. If you're prone to allergies and you're just sneezing and don't have a fever, it is unlikely to be the coronavirus. It's likely to be your allergies. You can take your allergy medications and see if it responds to that.

Fever is what you really want to look out for. Shortness of breath, fever and coughs and not sneezing. I would put in that content. KEILAR: Someone asked, one of our viewers' say: I've heard of

sanitizing cell phones along with credits and debit cards. What are other everyday items that need constant cleaning, too.

ADALJA: I think a lot being made of surfaces that you can touch. You can come up with different things. Today, I was on a conference call where people are talking about sanitizing basketballs.

It's important to remember that the majority of transmission is coming from people coughing and sneezing on each other. Wash your hands a lot. I would sanitize anything you touch, maybe pens or papers or tables that you use or laptops and computers and the mouse. All those things are places where you can have this.

I don't want to get compulsive on every little thing you do. The majority of transmission is respiratory droplets from another person. So I would use a lot of common sense here and wash your hands a lot and touch your face less and clean up the surfaces as best you can.

I think it will be impossible to figure out every little thing that's transmit it and it is not going to make much of a difference in the end anyway, I think.

KEILAR: Dr. Amesh Adalja, you are a wealth of information. We appreciate you going through all of those questions. Thank you.



KEILAR: This just into CNN. The V.A. reporting its first coronavirus- related death. What we are learning about that, next.

Plus, we're learning more of our breaking news. The first vaccine trial dosage just administered to a participant. We'll walk you through how all of that works.


KEILAR: This just into CNN. The Department of Veterans Affairs is confirming its first coronavirus-related death and now has 30 confirmed cases. The person in their 70s died in Portland, Oregon, in the facility there.

And the U.S. military is already playing a vital role certainly in managing this coronavirus outbreak here in the U.S.


The National Guard has been called out to help in 15 states, including New York, where Governor Andrew Cuomo is calling on the federal government to let the military have an even bigger role.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): We have an impending catastrophe when this wave of growth crashes on the hospital system and we don't have the capacity. Start now. Bring in that Army Corps of Engineers. This is what they do. They build. I'll give them dormitories. Build temporary medical facilities.


KEILAR: This also comes as the U.S. military has issued some strict new travel guidelines, not just for personnel, but for their entire family. Not just across the globe, but domestically in the U.S. as well.

This means that some people will be away from home longer than expected. For some it means missing important moments with family during a time of crisis. This is something certainly that my family as a military family is confronting.

Sarah Streyder is with us now. She is part of a military family. She's also the director of the Secure Families Initiative.

You are an active-duty Air Force spouse. Through the Secure Families Initiative, you also have this mission of telling stories about what war time looks like on the home front. For that, we certainly appreciate that.

You've been talking to a lot of military spouses who are having their families' lives kind of very much affected by what we're seeing going on. Tell us what you've been hear hearing.

SARAH STREYDER, DIRECTOR, SECURE FAMILIES INITIATIVE & SPOUSE OF ACTIVE-DUTY AIR FORCE SERVICEMEMBER: Definitely. Military spouses across the board are being hit, but especially those with deployed love ones abroad. They're the ones getting hardest hit.

Imagine being a single parent for the last six months to three years. And that homecoming or that family visit you've been looking forward to is suddenly halted.

There was one Army spouse who described it to me as the light at the end of the tunnel that is being farther and farther away from her. It is demoralizing.

KEILAR: They're dealing with -- yes, their loved one could be deployed to Bahrain but have to come through Europe to get back.

Then there's the issue of will they come back. Maybe they have to be quarantined. Are they going to be quarantined with the family or quarantined separate from the family? And the family may be making that decision.

STREYDER: It is a hard one to make. If you have kids and you're signing them up for 14 days on extended camping over at home, just you and your spouse, that's a pressure-cooker situation for a homecoming anyway. We know homecoming from deployments are rough as it is, let alone with this. KEILAR: Everyone thinks that homecoming, it is over and it is so easy.

You're in an adjustment period. It is a transitional time. It has to be dealt with gingerly. Add quarantine to that, that's not ideal. That's way too much.

Tell us about your personal circumstance, because I actually think this is something that a lot of people are dealing with. But it is not just the servicemember who can't travel to the Midwest domestically. The DOD cannot travel. We're banned by the military, if we're military spouses or children, from traveling.

What does this mean for your husband?

STREYDER: There was a lot of confusion the first couple of days when the memos came down. My husband's grandfather's memorial service is next month. Way out in California. We're not going to be able to attend that anymore. That's just one example of how it is hitting every military family, no matter where they are, no matter what the family looks like.

KEILAR: I think this is actually a very good moment for military families to teach civilian families a little bit about how you handle your life being thrown into chaos by something outside of your control.

You have a lot of experience with it. What would your advice be to folks who are reeling from this?

STREYDER: Yes, the biggest takeaway is that military families are a community that is already exhausted from being at war for two decades. And all of this is just piling onto families who are really spread thin.

But we're resilient. We're resourceful. And one kind of comfort that I take is knowing that I'm not alone. I'm not the only one going through whatever my unique circumstances are.

Even if they're not my next-door neighbor, even if I can't contact them in person, I know that they're out there and folks are available to reach out, which is great.

KEILAR: Reach out. Right. Reach out to them. It is so important.

Sarah, I really appreciate it. Sarah Streyder, thank you for joining us today --

STREYDER: thank you.

KEILAR: -- from a safe distance, noted.


KEILAR: Exactly.

We're going to take you live to the airports where experts called -- experts have called it a petri dish after the chaos of mass arrivals. Plus, we'll speak live with a brother and sister who have the coronavirus and they know where they contracted it.

Also, as anxiety rises nationwide over disrupted life, a psychologist will tell you how to cope.


This is CNN's special live coverage.


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Here we go on this Monday. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank you for being here. This is CNN's special live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.

And let me begin with the promising major development about a vaccine. The first participant has received a dose a trial version of this vaccine. This is according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The goal is to get it to 45 healthy people to try it over the course of six weeks.


Officials are hailing the speed at which the trial reached phase one, but they added this is the begin beginning of a process that will take many, many months.