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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
CNN Global Town Hall Coronavirus: Facts and Fears with Facebook and Instagram. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired March 23, 2020 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Hey, welcome. I'm Anderson Cooper in New York.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: And I'm Dr. Sanjay Gupta in Atlanta. And as you can see, we are now doing what millions of Americans are doing right now: We are social distancing.
COOPER: We may be separated by distance, but now more than ever we recognize that we are still part of a community. We're connected as citizens who have to act in concert with each other to protect ourselves, our loved ones, and all our fellow citizens. So we're partnering with Facebook and Instagram for tonight's CNN global town hall.
In our first one, you may remember two weeks ago the seats in this room were full. Last week, and again tonight following the guidelines against large gatherings, they're empty. And Sanjay and I are in different studios. Same goes for all the guests joining us tonight. We can't let those barriers, however, of distance and difficulty prevent us from continuing to report facts about the virus, what we know and what we don't know. And it's facts, not fear, that we want to bring you tonight in the next two hours.
In partnership with Facebook and Instagram, we're going to continue answering the questions that you've been sending in from around the country and the world. Some of them are texts, some are video, some are live, and they are all things you want to know.
GUPTA: So the bottom line is, what this outbreak won't stop is our continued reporting on it. So while the seats there may be empty, the town hall is going to go on, and we're going to spend the next two hours talking to experts, including White House task force member Dr. Anthony Fauci, also a top World Health Organization official, experts in emergency medicine and mental health, as well.
COOPER: We're also going to check in with our reporters from around the globe about what they have been seeing right now, including in China, which tonight, after enduring so much, may -- may -- finally be the source of at least a glimmer of hope. And even those quarantined in places like Italy and Spain have found ways to unite and show their love and support for each other. You've probably seen the images in Italy of people singing together from neighboring balconies. Well, in Spain, every night around 8 p.m., people clap in their
apartments by open windows to show their support of the doctors and nurses and medical professionals risking their lives every day. Listen to the sound of a community clapping.
It happens every night all across Spain, citizens applauding the bravest public servants, signaling they are all in this together, and together they will overcome it, even in the face of a challenge that's growing by the hour.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(UNKNOWN): Health care workers on edge as supply shortages loom.
KING: Financial markets plummet because of deepening coronavirus fears.
(UNKNOWN): An eerily quiet Times Square, the latest reminder that life today is different and will be for some time.
COOPER: The coronavirus is now reported in all 50 states in the U.S., with more than 13,000 positive cases, according to the CDC. In this country, so far, more than 150 people have died. At our last town hall one week ago, there were at least 1,500 cases in 46 states. Two weeks ago, it was just around 200 cases.
DR. JEROME ADAMS, U.S. SURGEON GENERAL: We have a choice to make. Do we just want to keep going on with business as usual and end up being Italy?
COOPER: Cities and states across the country are doing their part to try to flatten the curve. Restaurants, bars, shops are largely closed. The Bay Area in California has instituted a shelter-in-place order for more than 7 million residents. And the federal government has asked all Americans to avoid gathering in groups of more than 10.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's within all of us. How I behave affects your health. How you behave affects my health. Never, I think, have we been so dependent on each other, at least not in my lifetime.
COOPER: Globally, there are now more than 200,000 cases, and there have been more than 8,000 deaths, according to the World Health Organization, though there are some signs of a slowdown in China and South Korea, and in the U.S., the first vaccine trial has just begun. But still, experts say this isn't going away anytime soon.
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: The worst is yet ahead for us. It is how we respond to that challenge that's going to determine what the ultimate endpoint is going to be.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: With that sobering assessment in mind, I want to get some thoughts from Sanjay, Sanjay, about where you think we are. GUPTA: Well, look, I mean, Anderson, obviously so much has changed
even in a week since our last town hall, tonight, me here in Atlanta, you in New York, to keep our physical distance. And physical distance is how I think we should start describing this new reality, Anderson. It's really important. But I also hope that we can still be social and connected and not become isolated, which is a real concern, even now.
But regardless of what you call it, Anderson, there was some news that really jumped out at me this week, and that is some new data, some new modeling data from China that shows four out of five people who were diagnosed with the coronavirus contracted it from someone who didn't know they had it. Let me repeat that: four out of five people -- 80 percent who were diagnosed with the coronavirus -- contracted it from someone who didn't know they had it.
There's a message in there I think for all of us. We are, as I said, all dependent on each other more than ever, and more than I can certainly ever remember in my lifetime. And it's why we all have to behave like we have the virus. If you behave like you have the virus, it will tell you how to act throughout your day. You'll be more careful. You'll be more mindful. You'll slow down and hopefully, Anderson, we'll all be a little bit more kind to each other, as well.
COOPER: Be careful, act as if you have the virus already.
GUPTA: That's right.
COOPER: Sanjay, late today, New York's mayor, Bill de Blasio, warned that the city is two to three weeks away from running out of medical supplies, like masks and ventilators, that is, breathing machines. A doctor friend mine actually texted me this morning, he's texting all his friends -- he works at the hospital -- and said, if anybody has any masks out there, can you please donate them to the hospital, because we're starting to ration them out.
I mean, that's terrifying. New York City and state have seen numbers skyrocket in the last several days, in part because of ramped up testing, so according to the city Health Department, there are at least 3,600 plus confirmed cases, more than 1,100 of them new today, at least 22 people have died.
CNN's Erica Hill is in Times Square for us now. What other options does New York City have to get supplies, other than help from the federal government?
ERICA HILL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I mean, that's the issue for so many municipalities, not just New York City, for so many hospitals. The mayor saying today they're good for the next couple of weeks, but he is very concerned about April, because their reserves, he said, will not last, and he is calling directly on the president, Anderson, for some help.
GUPTA: You know, Erica, we've been talking about the ventilator issue, I mean, for weeks now. And very clearly, we don't have enough for the country. I'm curious about New York, though. What did Governor Cuomo have to say about the ventilators, the breathing machines specifically?
HILL: He was addressing those directly today. He said they can locate about 5,000 to 6,000, Sanjay, but he says they need 30,000. He said he's been talking to other governors. Every state is trying to buy them. The problem is, they're just not there. He said he even sent people to China.
What Governor Cuomo said is he really needs this Defense Procurement Act to go into play here, because it's the federal government, he says, who can really make a difference by putting these different factories and manufacturers to work making ventilators.
COOPER: Erica Hill, thanks very much for us.
We go next to Italy, which surpassed China today in the number of people who've lost their lives to the virus and the rise in cases and fatalities has been steep. Just two weeks ago, according to the World Health Organization, there were a bit fewer than 3,100 cases there, 107 fatalities. This time last week, it was more than 12,000 cases, 827 people had died. Today, according to Italian authorities, the death toll stands at more than 3,400 and the case count now tops 41,000, with 5,300 new cases reported today.
CNN contributor and Daily Beast Rome bureau chief Barbie Nadeau joins us right now from the Italian capital. Barbara, a Chinese Red Cross official toured Italy today. What did he have to say about the effectiveness of the lockdown there?
BARBIE NADEAU, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: He stayed we're doing it wrong. He was so disappointed to see that city buses were still moving, to see that people were still out jogging. He thought the stores were open too long, and he thought that we just weren't locked down enough.
And as a result of that, or certainly coincidence, the Italian government said they're deploying the military today to help with the lockdown to keep people off the streets and into their houses as these numbers rise. I think Italians just don't quite get it yet that we need to stay in the house, stay at our places.
GUPTA: I hope a lot of people are paying attention to that, because, again, a lot of people are saying we need to learn some of the lessons that you've see, Barbie, there in Italy.
But, you know, the thing that strikes me is that there's enormous pressure, enormous strain on the health care system there in Italy, not to mention the possibility of simply being unable to seek medical care for needs outside of the virus. Has that improved at all? Is that just getting worse in terms of the capacity?
NADEAU: No, it's getting much worse. I mean, you think if you have a ruptured appendix or you break your leg or something like that, you know, you don't really know that you'll be able to go to the doctor. We also -- our dentists are closed. Eye doctors are closed. We really have no medical care right now unless it's on a real emergency basis. And even then, you're a little bit afraid or people are afraid that if they go into an emergency room, that they'll contract the virus. So these are the, you know, collateral damage, the domino effect of all of this.
COOPER: You know, Barbie, one of the things that's so scary about what the Red Cross official was saying -- and, I mean, if what Italy has done thus far is still not enough, it's a real warning to folks here in the United States, because there's nothing worse than instituting half measures and, you know, everybody is supposedly staying at home, but clearly they're going out more than they should or have more access to travel than they should, and then they could be told, you know, this is for a month, and then if it's not enough, it's just going to be extended even more.
It's better to have it be all at once, to have it be more drastic, to err on the side of being more cautious than it is to let this drag on.
NADEAU: No, that's definitely right. It's time to just rip off the Band-Aid and make everybody stay at home. You know, people are out walking their dogs, but you see the same dog with four or five different people throughout the day. You know, the grocery store people are buying one banana or a sack of potatoes at the time. People aren't necessarily thinking the way they need to be thinking.
One of the things they do make now, everybody has to wear a mask if you go into the grocery store. If you don't, they give you a piece of plastic essentially to put over your face. Everybody has to wear gloves when they're outside. So they're trying to get people to think in terms that they might be carriers, even though they don't have symptoms.
COOPER: Yes. Well, just as Sanjay said, act as if you are infected. Barbie Nadeau, appreciate it.
Coming up next, we go to China, which is reported to -- it's reported no new locally transmitted cases for the first time since the pandemic began. The numbers, though, are still daunting. According to the World Health Organization, total cases have stayed at roughly 80,000 to 81,000 over the last three weeks, as the death toll climbed from 3,015 to more than 3,200.
David Culver is in Shanghai for us. So, David, no new locally transmitted infections reported since the pandemic began today. Assuming those numbers are accurate, the data is accurate, which there may be questions about, I mean, how are people greeting that milestone?
DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Anderson, we know there are a lot of questions about that, people questioning the data. But the government is our only source for that, the National Health Commission in particular. So the World Health Organization relies on it and President Trump has even said that, as of now, he has no reason to question it. He just has to accept it and move forward. It's being received, obviously, very positively here. It's being
highly promoted by state media. What's interesting is hearing Barbie say that folks there in Italy are not taking it as seriously, I would say here it seems that people are hesitant to breathe easy. They're still very reluctant to think that this thing has passed them, and perhaps that is something that World Health Organization officials are grateful for, because they say it avoids complacency.
GUPTA: Yes, and I guess there's still this concern, is there going to be a resurgence of cases? We don't know the answer to that, I know, David. But what does the Chinese government plan to do now? What is their role now?
CULVER: Well, this is a concern, Sanjay. And it's a concern of a second wave. But they're portraying this as really an external threat more than anything else. Their fear is imported cases, because while the locally transmitted cases has sat at zero over the past 24 hours, since the most recent reporting, they say they've seen 34 imported cases coming from other countries.
So what are they doing? Well, they're stepping up some of the screening procedures and evaluations of people who are traveling in from all over the world, which is a complete reversal of what we saw just a few weeks ago, when everyone was fearing people traveling from China. Now they're fearing folks coming from other countries.
And they're putting people in a mandatory government-designated quarantine facility as soon as they come in for 14 days. And also those lockdowns are still in place. I mean, it was eight weeks ago today, Sanjay, that we were in Wuhan, and you and I were communicating throughout that period. But that's eight weeks that people have been living under this extreme lockdown, in many cases, sealed inside their homes.
COOPER: David Culver in Shanghai. David, thanks very much.
In Washington, the president and task force members briefed the public on a wide range of subjects, including the ongoing equipment shortages, testing problems, perhaps a promising drug to try. And there were a string of answers from the president that raised, well, in many cases, more questions than anything else.
Joining us now, a member of the task force, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Dr. Fauci, again, thank you for being with us given your busy schedule. What's the most important thing you want people to know tonight?
FAUCI: You know, I think you just were mentioning just a few moments ago, is the importance of people to take very seriously the guidelines about physical separation. You mentioned the idea of transmission of infection not only when someone is symptomatic, but we're getting more and more information that someone can transmit even when they're asymptomatic.
So in order to protect oneself, society, and particularly the vulnerable people, we've really got to adhere to the physical separation. You know them well now: avoiding crowds, stay out of bars, stay out of restaurants, stay out of places where there's a congregation of people. And particularly individuals who are elderly or individuals who have an underlying condition should essentially self-isolate themselves for the time being in order to shield themselves from what might be an innocent, unintended, inadvertent transmission of infection to them.
That's the message I would really like to get out, particularly to the younger people who may not take it seriously. I mean, I just think back when I was young, I kind of felt like I was invulnerable. So, well, you know, I'll do fine. But it's not just you. You know, it's you and society and the people that are vulnerable.
So, please, cooperate. We're going through a very difficult, unprecedented time right now.
GUPTA: And, Dr. Fauci, we are going to talk a little bit more about the specific risk to young people a little bit later. But I want to ask you something about what Ambassador Birx, who's a coordinator for the White House coronavirus task force, what she said on another network about the possibility of a federal air travel shutdown. And what she said was everything is on the table.
I mean, is that something you want to see? Do you think that would be effective?
FAUCI: You know, I don't know, Sanjay. I mean, when Dr. Birx said everything is on the table, it's truthful. We discuss everything in the task force. I have not heard a serious discussion about shutting down domestic travel. Might that come up the next time we start looking at this, and we look at it constantly? Certainly, I think that's what Dr. Birx meant by everything is on the table. But there's no plan tomorrow or the next day to seriously think about shutting down domestic air travel.
GUPTA: A question about something that happened today, Dr. Fauci. The president said that the FDA will fast-track antiviral treatments for patients with coronavirus, saying that an antimalarial drug would be made available. And he said that the drug would be made available almost immediately.
When we -- when the public hears that -- and obviously there's a lot of interest and a lot of hope in this -- how much confidence should we put in that? And do we know that that drug would even work? Because, as you know, FDA Commissioner Hahn, he sort of -- he didn't go that far.
FAUCI: No, no, so -- so let me put it into perspective for the viewers, and perhaps we'll understand it better. There is a drug -- two drugs. They're very similar, chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine. They've been used for decades for malaria, as well as for the treatment of certain autoimmune diseases like lupus. It's a very inexpensive drug. It's tried and true, and it's been around for a long time.
There's been anecdotal -- non-proven -- anecdotal data that it works, when people give it to someone, it makes them better. But when you have an uncontrolled trial, you can never definitively say that it works.
In addition, there's been some in vitro data, in the test tube. You put the hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine in with the virus, it tends to impede the virus. It's done that with a number of other viruses.
What was said today at the press conference -- this is an already approved drug. So, it could be available, for example, when you use it off-label, which means somebody uses it for a purpose that it wasn't officially approved for.
What the president was saying is that we're going to look at all of these drugs and we're going to try to get them available in the context of some sort of a protocol where you just don't distribute drugs willy-nilly. You may make it more accessible than you would have previously, but you do it in the context to at least get some feel for both safety and whether it works. That was the message about the malaria drug, hydroxychloroquine, and chloroquine.
GUPTA: I mean, you know, the reason we ask, obviously, Dr. Fauci, about this -- and it's constantly this balance, I imagine, in your job and everyone's job, this balance between hope and honesty. I mean, it was described, as you know, at the press conference as a "game- changer." I mean, again, how should the public interpret that sort of thing?
FAUCI: You know, Sanjay, I'm not so sure it was -- I mean, I was watching it on TV. I was, you know, around the corner from the conference looking at it on a TV. I don't think it was necessarily described as a "game-changer."
But let's make sure people understand what it is. Today, there are no proven, safe, and effective therapies for the coronavirus. That doesn't mean that we're not going to do everything we can to make things that have even a hint of efficacy more readily available, so long as you do it in the context of some sort of protocol that would take a look of getting some information about safety and efficacy. But there's no magic drug out there right now.
COOPER: Just wanted -- this is Anderson. Just want to put it in non- doctor terms, because I'm not very smart. People should not go to their doctor and say, "I want chloroquine because I hear that may work"? Is that correct?
FAUCI: Yes, that's correct. I mean, I think, if you would want it -- if I wanted to use chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine, I'd try to do it in some sort of expanded access clinical trial, as opposed to just going. People are going to do it anyway. But, I mean, as a matter of principle, to just go out and say, "Prescribe this for me," what that would do would probably deplete the supplies for the people who might need it if it shows to be working.
I mean, that's one of the real, I think, unintended consequences of everybody out there flooding, trying to get the drug.
COOPER: So, Dr. Fauci, Mayor de Blasio announced today that New York City is expected to run out of medical supplies in two to three weeks. I spoke to him last night. I just want to play a bit of what he said and have you respond.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D-NY): What I'm really deeply concerned about is medical supplies and, then beyond that, even other basic supplies that people need in their lives, but the medical supply situation, Anderson, you're talking about ventilators, surgical masks, surgical gowns, really basic stuff that we're deeply concerned about where we're going to be in a few weeks. And here's the problem: The federal government is absent in this discussion right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: What about that, Dr. Fauci? Is the federal government absent in the discussion? And what can a city do?
FAUCI: No. No, I spoke to Mayor de Blasio today by phone. And I understand he has -- he has a significant problem that he's trying to address at the local level and is looking for some federal help.
I mean, right now, if you look at what's going on, there's a strategic national stockpile in which there are at least 12,700 ventilators in there, as well as tens of millions of masks. That may not be enough.
So what the federal government is doing -- and it only -- it isn't just the federal government that needs to do it. It's got to be also local states, private industry, and others working together with the federal government.
But what's being done right now, as you may have heard, that the president is tapping the Department of Defense to get many more ventilators into their stockpile so they'll be ready to use, as well as doing things like getting more masks.
About beds, that's important. One of the ways you can obviate the problem of beds is to do something that's been suggested strongly: To the best of your capability, put off and cancel elective surgical and medical procedures, because many of those procedures, as elective as they are, they consume personal protective equipment, like masks and gowns and gloves and things like that.
So if you do that, you're not going to completely solve the problem, but you'll help mitigate the problem. That's one of the things.
The other thing is that we have a couple of naval ships, the Mercy and other ships that can be there, that can then come by -- and one is coming to New York -- and then free up beds that you can put non- coronavirus patients there to free up beds. Again, it isn't the absolute solution to what is a problem. I get calls all the time from my colleagues in various places saying it looks like they're running out of equipment. We've got to meet the challenge and do as best as we can to be able to fulfill the needs.
COOPER: All right. We got to take a quick break. We're going to return with our viewers' questions for Dr. Fauci as our CNN Facebook global town hall continues.
COOPER: We're back taking questions in this CNN Facebook global town hall for Dr. Anthony Fauci. Dr. Fauci, we're going to get to a question in a minute.
We've got some questions, though, from people who've been wondering why you haven't been at the last two White House task force press briefings. I think a lot of people like to hear from you and feel confident in what you are saying. Why haven't you been there?
FAUCI: Well, the reason is that I had some really important stuff that I needed to do back at the NIH, which is my real original day job. Also, they want to just get different perspectives up there.
I'll be on tomorrow. I'm told that I'm going to be at the press conference tomorrow. But you're right, a lot of people were concerned, A, that I'm sick, that I died, or that the president is mad at -- is angry with me. None of the above. I'm fine, and I'll be back.
I just really had some important work regarding the vaccine and the drug situation that I really needed to be physically present with my team at the NIH, which have important things to do, and it kind of conflicted with when the press conference was. It was really a very innocent thing. I'll be back tomorrow.
COOPER: OK. I want to get to our viewer questions. This one is sent in via Facebook from Sarah Peterson. She asked, why isn't the president practicing social distancing in the White House and especially during briefings? While video and photos are being taken, shouldn't they be leading by example? You are all kind of crowded up on that -- on the podium.
FAUCI: Well, you know, it's a very important point, and it's really related, Anderson, to the question you just asked me. One of the reasons why they decided they wanted to rotate a bit and give people with different types of expertise -- like today was a -- more of a regulatory issue with the FDA and the different drugs. So they really wanted to focus mostly on the FDA.
And they figured, rather than have everybody who's involved on the stage, they want to just socially distance a little. It wasn't exactly precise, but we're seeing that there. We're also seeing that in the Situation Room. As a matter of fact, we were there in the Situation Room, and the vice president was telling people, you know, go to one of the outside rooms and look at it on the screen.
So we're not just completely discarding that. But in order to really do the job, you kind of have to be together a bit.
GUPTA: Good answer, Dr. Fauci. You got to take care of yourself. Bonnie Richardson (ph) is a retiree in Mifflintown, Pennsylvania, and she sent in this video. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: At what point would they ramp up testing to those who do not have symptoms so they can find out how the virus is spreading? I know right now they do not have enough tests, but wouldn't it be prudent to get enough tests to include young people without symptoms?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GUPTA: What do you think, Dr. Fauci?
FAUCI: No, it's a good point. But the issue is, as you know, we've had issues with testing. We're getting testing standing up right now much, much, much better than we did. The critical issue is to get the testing first to those areas where you have somebody who is, in fact, having symptoms and you want to see if they're, in fact, infected.
The idea of doing a broad screening, including asymptomatic people, is not a bad idea.
I've been talking about that for a while. But when you prioritize what you need to do, we really need to get the testing to the people who are in a situation where you really need to know.
The other is surveillance. It's a valid question, and I am for it. But, right now, it's not the highest priority.
GUPTA: OK. All right.
COOPER: Dr. Fauci, I know you have been asked a lot of tough questions over the years, and you have had people yell and scream at you.
So, nothing we ask you isn't something you have already faced throughout your career.
But when people hear -- like, all the stuff -- all the talk about testing for the last couple weeks, all the verbs are like, we're getting it standing up, it's in the pipeline, it's been sent out.
When can we stop using that kind of jargon and just say, yes, there's testing, it works, it's there?
COOPER: I mean, I -- it just -- one of the things that it frustrates people that it's every week, it's like kind of a different verbiage. FAUCI: No, I totally agree, Anderson, I mean, completely.
I feel as frustrated as anybody else. Right now that we have gotten the private sector involved, the heavy hitters who are making it, who can do the high throughput, they're out there, they're telling us that we're able now, not immediately, but in a very graded way, in a very steep way, going to be able to have testing that is going to be available for the people who need it, walk-through, drive-through, doctor's office. This is what we're told.
Every time you say that, Anderson, somebody calls up and says, I tried to get a test and I couldn't get it.
Now, does that mean that it's broadly unavailable or is that just a one-off? I can tell you right now we are much, much better off than we were a couple of weeks ago.
Are we perfect, where everybody can get what they want? No, obviously not. The phone calls tell us that.
COOPER: It's frustrating when people hear, like, celebrities and famous people getting tests, and other folks not able to. But you know all this.
COOPER: This next question is on an Instagram video question sent in by Carolyn Brush.
Let's take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAROLYN BRUSH, NEW JERSEY: Hi, Anderson. This is Carolyn from New Jersey.
My question is, what if I have been self-isolating for two weeks, and my son and his family are also doing the same thing? After that two- week period, will we be able to see each other? I really would love to see my grandchildren.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Dr. Fauci?
FAUCI: Yes, the -- is she talking about the recommendation for the 15 days for now, and then we will reevaluate for someone to self-isolate themselves?
FAUCI: Or is she talking about the fact that she may have been exposed and she wants to self -- there are two different things there. And the answer to the first one is, if you're doing it, like you're an
elderly person, or you have someone with a condition, and you want to self-isolate, you do it for the time where you're in a situation where there's a risk.
We may renew that after 15 days. But if you're a person who may have been exposed and say, I'm going to go, and 14 days, I'm going to self- isolate myself, after those 14 days, if you have no symptoms, you haven't been infected, you're OK after 14 days, you can go out.
But there are two different scenarios there. So, we got to be careful we know that we're answering the right question.
GUPTA: All right.
I will take the next one here.
Roy Wolfe has a Ph.D. in studying drinking water quality. And he's in Fullerton, California.
Roy, what's your question?
ROY WOLFE, FORMER BOARD CHAIRMAN, WATER RESEARCH FOUNDATION: Why are you recommending bottled water, when tap water safe, meaning all of the drinking water regulations?
Recommending bottled water only drives panic, diminishes trust in tap water, and is more costly.
GUPTA: Is there -- is there any issue with the water, Dr. Fauci?
FAUCI: No, I'm not -- I'm very sorry. With due respect, I'm not sure what the question is.
I mean, you drink tap water. That's fine. I drink tap water. I drink bottled water. I don't--
COOPER: No, but when people are told to stock up on supplies, oftentimes, they are told -- not by us, but by others -- get bottled water, stock up on bottled water.
It does seem, given that the water supply is not -- from what we know, not under threat --
COOPER: -- there's no reason really to hoard bottled water.
FAUCI: No. No, no, there's not.
I mean, some people, for reasons that they may feel, or actually live in a place where there the water isn't necessarily top-notch -- most of the places in the United States, it is. I have no trouble, nor does my wife and family, of drinking tap water? We drink bottled water sometimes.
Bottom line, there's no problem with tap water.
COOPER: All right.
GUPTA: Let's take another video from one of my favorite cities, Mary in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
Let's take a look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARY YOBLONSKI, REGISTERED NURSE: Since we now have people who have recovered from the coronavirus, is it possible to develop some sort of treatment using the antibodies that they developed as a response to the disease?
Didn't they do something along those lines with Ebola?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FAUCI: Good question, Oshkosh, Wisconsin, very good question.
As a matter of fact, that's exactly what we're doing. We're gearing up for a study of both convalescent serum, which is a big word to say, taking the serum from someone who's completely recovered, getting it in a way that you can reinfuse it in somebody else, or getting out the proteins, the gamma globulin, the antibodies, from that serum, and use it as a way of both treatment and possibly prophylaxis, but mostly treatment.
Very good question. It's one of our top priorities.
GUPTA: So, you're basically that--
COOPER: Sorry. Go ahead.
GUPTA: You're basically saying that, because someone's recovered, they make these antibodies, and then you could use those in somebody else.
Did that work with Ebola?
FAUCI: You know, as a matter of fact, it wasn't antibody from convalescent serum. It was a version of that. It was a monoclonal antibody which was derived from an individual who was either vaccinated or whatever, where you took the cells that make antibody, you clone it, and you make a monoclonal antibody.
Monoclonal means it's very specifically directed against the pathogen in question. That was Ebola. And, in fact, the two treatments that showed a really good degree of success in the treatment of Ebola were two monoclonal antibody preparations. COOPER: Dr. Fauci, Ilana Gilman in Wildwood, Pennsylvania, has a
ILANA GILMAN, DIGITAL SALES EXECUTIVE: Yes. Thank you, Anderson. And thank you, Dr. Fauci.
My question is, can you become reinfected with coronavirus once you have had it?
So that's a question that's often asked. There's no design study that has proven that you're -- quote -- "protected."
But if this virus -- and I have every reason to believe that it will -- acts like any other virus that we have had any experience with, once you get infected and recover from that infection, your body will mount a response that will protect you from reexposure and re- challenge with that exact virus.
Now, there may be other types of coronaviruses that you may not be immune to. But if you get infected with the novel coronavirus that we're talking about tonight, and you recover, you can be pretty certain that you're protected against reinfection.
GUPTA: You sort of addressed this, but just how confident are you in this, Dr. Fauci?
I know we don't know. But, I mean, it seems like such a fundamental question. If people could get reinfected again, that would -- that would change a lot of things.
So, how confident are you that you do get some protection after you have been infected?
FAUCI: You know, there's different degrees of confidence, Sanjay.
There's confidence based on absolute data, and there's confidence based on a projection from what you know indirectly. We don't have a study in which we have definitively proven that, when you recover, if you get reexposed, you are protected.
But I have been dealing with viruses my entire professional life. And in the viruses in which you get infected, and you get a complete response where you clear the virus, that you can be protected. The duration of the protection varies. It might be lifetime.
I can tell you, if you get infected with measles, it is highly likely that you are protected from -- for life from reexposure to measles, highly likely, maybe a little bit less depending how long you live.
Other viruses, we have less experience with. But projecting what we know about viruses, I would say that it's a very good chance that you're protected. GUPTA: OK.
COOPER: Dr. Fauci, I know we have to let you go.
Just one quickly. I have had so many people in the last couple days come up to me and say that they don't believe, that they think this is a media exaggeration. They think there's some political reason why people or the government is doing this or talking about this.
They say the death toll, that it doesn't look anything worse than a flu.
What do you say to those people? I mean, it's -- I'm not sure you can rationalize with them. But what do you say?
FAUCI: Well, all they need to do is look at what happened in China and take a look at what's going on in Italy.
I had the opportunity multiple times to call my friends and colleagues, who, as I mentioned, many of them trained here in the United States, some in my own laboratory over the years.
And if you hear the pain in their voice about what's going on there, you take it really seriously.
COOPER: Dr. Fauci, appreciate all you're doing. Thank you.
Just ahead, on the subject of immunity and protection, we will talk to one of the volunteers in a vaccine trial going on in Washington State, one of the hardest-hit areas in the U.S.
COOPER: Our next guest in tonight's CNN Facebook Global Town Hall is on the front lines of the development for a vaccine.
He's not a doctor. He's a test subject for the experimental vaccine, a healthy father and family man from one of the hardest-hit regions in the United States, Washington state, who, when he's not offering his body to science, works in technology.
We're very thankful for what he's willing to do.
Welcome Neal Browning, the second person in the trial to receive the experimental vaccine.
So, Neal, you're healthy. You haven't been infected with coronavirus. How'd you decide to participate?
NEAL BROWNING, CORONAVIRUS VACCINE TRIAL VOLUNTEER: Completely through happenstance.
A series of events unfolded where the offer came up, and I accepted it. I feel like it's all of our duty to do the best we can to help recover the world from this pandemic.
GUPTA: That's great.
Neal, so the way this works, I understand, is that you got one dose of the vaccine so far. And one thing about this vaccine, it's not a dead or weakened version of the virus.
So, I'm curious, were you counseled that you might actually get the infection, and how did you feel after getting it?
BROWNING: It was much less invasive than a normal vaccine I have had.
It pretty much had no pain, no swelling, no discoloration.
I feel completely normal now. The only way that I would actually be able to contract COVID-19 right now is to be exposed to someone who has it and is contagious.
There's no way that I can get this from the way that this vaccine works.
COOPER: And so what is the process moving forward for you?
I mean, do you have to isolate yourself, so that you aren't exposed to somebody else? Or how does this work?
BROWNING: Yes, I'm certain that there would be complications were I to contract COVID while under the vaccine study.
It would definitely compromise the way that this is working. So I'm definitely exercising social distancing, washing hands, basically self-quarantining myself to the house. That way, I'm not exposed to anyone who's likely to infect me.
Moving forward, I have to go in back to the research facility once a week and have a blood draw. After the first four weeks from the initial vaccine, I will be given a second dose and go through another weekly regimen of doing blood draws to analyze the way my body's reacting to the vaccine and hopefully creating the antibodies to fight things off.
GUPTA: And do you know how long this is going to take? I mean, it's a question on everyone's mind.
I don't know if they told you a timeline or something for the results of the trial.
BROWNING: No, they weren't given any guidance on the results of the trial. I'm certain that, when they compile all the data from all 45 members taking part in it, then they will be able to release a report.
But, for right now, the idea is, the initial vaccination should cause an immune response in my body. They're doing the blood draws weekly to verify that. The second dose is supposed to simulate if I were actually being infected by it, and how quickly my body recognizes the COVID-19 proteins, reacts to them, and fights them off.
COOPER: Well, Neal Browning, I appreciate you doing what you what you are doing, because it could benefit a whole lot of people moving forward. Thank you so much, a brave thing to do.
Joining us now is Dr. Celine Gounder, a CNN senior medical analyst and clinical assistant professor of medicine and infectious diseases at NYU Medical School. She's also host of the "Epidemic Podcast," also CNN's Richard Quest, anchor of "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS," and, of course, Dr. Sanjay Gupta is with us still.
Dr. Gounder, what do you make of what Neal Browning just shared about the vaccine trials?
DR. CELINE GOUNDER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Well, you know, it's the very beginning of research on these different vaccines. And I want to emphasize these are candidate, experimental vaccines.
We don't know if they work yet. We don't know if they're safe yet. And there's a whole process to determining whether a vaccine is safe and effective. So, there's the phase one, which is small numbers of people, which is what he's participating in, which is really to figure out, are there any severe side effects, and then maybe are their immune responses?
And then you have the phase two, which is a larger study, where you're looking more specifically at immune responses, antibody responses. And then phase three, which is a large number of people, and those studies are done over the course of months, and you're really trying to look at people who get the vaccine, people who don't get the vaccine.
And among those who get it, do you see lower rates of infection? But that means it needs to be done in the context of community transmission among people at risk. And that's not going to happen overnight. That takes time.
So it's a process. And when Dr. Fauci estimates we're looking at 18 months for a proven vaccine, that's really fast, if we can achieve that.
COOPER: Let's get to questions.
Zofia Scully is a communications executive at Novartis Pharmaceuticals. She's in Florham Park, New Jersey. She sent in a question for us.
Let's take a look. Is that a video question?
No, I will read it. Oh, here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ZOFIA SCULLY, COMMUNICATIONS EXECUTIVE: If someone in a restaurant who is either ill with the virus or is not aware that they have the virus comes in contact with the food or the packaging, is it then possible that I can contract the virus through that food or the packaging? (END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: What about that?
GUPTA: So, it's interesting.
So, first of all, you're not going to get it from the food that you're eating. This isn't one of those types of viruses. It is a very respiratory virus.
But I got to tell you, I -- so, we have been ordering food out as well. And I'm curious about, Celine, if you have been doing that, but what we have basically done is, if we receive food, we will try and take off some of the packaging actually on the porch even, and leave it out there.
And then, when we come in, we sort of wipe any of the surfaces that any of the remaining packaging is on, and then obviously wash our hands, I mean, again, keeping in mind that it's hand-touching and then hands to face.
So that's how we have sort of approached it. And it seems to have worked. I feel pretty good about it.
COOPER: Dr. Gounder?
GOUNDER: Yes, I would agree with that.
I think the highest risk moment in getting food delivered to you is actually the face-to-face interaction, if you have one, with the delivery person. So, ideally, you would be able to pay them online, tip them online or whatever platform you're using for ordering food, and then have them leave it outside your door, wait until they leave, and then you get the food.
And then I would do exactly what Sanjay recommended.
COOPER: We've got another question.
Nyssa Reclusado is a research director of an entertainment company in Los Angeles.
What's your question?
NYSSA RECLUSADO, RESEARCH DIRECTOR: Hi. Thanks so much for this opportunity.
With these stressful and uncertain times, it seems even more important to be mindful of our physical and mental well-being. And I see being outdoors and nature, physically active, and getting fresh air as a great way to stay healthy.
My question is, are we being advised to stay away from local state and national parks and beaches at this time as well? I want to still be able to enjoy the outdoors, but do so responsibly,
following social distancing and other recommendations.
COOPER: Yes, it's -- we hear this a lot.
GUPTA: Yes, look, I mean, there's no reason why you can't go outside.
That's -- it's one of those things where you talk about the social or physical distancing, as I like to call it. You just got to maintain that when you're outside as well.
And if you're -- if you're exercising, if you're riding a bike or something like that, make sure you're wiping surfaces and still practicing good hygiene.
As we have been saying, as Anderson I have been saying, you -- in some ways, you have to behave like you have the virus. So I think that helps dictate your actions, but no reason I don't think you can be outside.
COOPER: Got another question.
Ali is a software developer, sent us this video from Beirut, Lebanon.
Let's take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALI KLEIT, SOFTWARE DEVELOPER: Hi.
My question is concerning grocery shopping. Should we disinfect our groceries after unpacking from a plastic bag, knowing that people tend to pick up and put back different types of items, such as fruits, vegetables, cans, and so on?
If yes, how should we disinfect vegetables? Is water and white vinegar spray an effective solution? What about plastic and cans?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Dr. Gounder?
GOUNDER: Yes, I would suggest wiping down the external surfaces of canned or wrapped foods. You should be washing your fruits and vegetables produce anyway. Soap and water is just fine for that.
But, again, I think making sure you sanitize your hands, wash your hands after you do all of that, after you unpack your groceries, is also a key step here.
COOPER: This is not just a crisis for the medical community. There's also the economic impact and this all -- that this is having.
I want to bring in Richard Quest to shed some light on what's going on.
Richard, I mean, the ripple effects of this are just -- I mean, they are huge. They're only getting bigger, whether it's large businesses. Small business owners have a ton of questions about, do they have to pay their rent? Can they get loans? I mean, it's a mess.
RICHARD QUEST, CNN EDITOR AT LARGE: Well, if you think of it this way, the chance -- yes, of course, thousands of Americans will catch this virus.
We're seeing the numbers already, but the majority will not. The majority of people will not actually get this virus, if they follow the good advice.
However, just about everybody watching tonight is going to be impacted in some way economically. It'll be because they're laid off, because their business has failed, because they have to seek food stamps or they have to seek help with the rent. Credit card debt could be rising.
So the understanding of the economic position and why the government, why the Treasury, why the Fed has thrown so much money at it so quickly, gives you an idea.
But it won't be enough, Anderson. There's going to have to be many, many more, billions, if not trillions, of dollars put forward by the Fed, by the Treasury, before this is going to be even alleviated.
COOPER: Richard, we have a viewer question for you.
Kesha Scott is a manager in the hospitality industry from Boynton Beach, Florida.
Kesha, what's your question?
KESHA SCOTT, HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY MANAGER: Hi.
My question is actually, is there going to be a plan in place for all of those people that have already lost their immediate income, as they're shift-to-shift-based tipped workers, not just check to check?
Also, will there be any kind of financial forgiveness for not just rent and mortgage, but car insurance and car payments, and things of that nature for basic cost of living? Because all of us that work in service industry, we base our shifts off of a.m. and p.m., not the checks that we're going to get.
COOPER: Yes, it's great question.
QUEST: It's a brilliant question, bearing in mind the number of people who will be affected.
We don't know is the short answer, because it's the -- first of all, you do have the two checks that will be coming from the federal government. But, as anybody can see, that is, at best, a stopgap measure. It won't pay the rent for one month in many parts of the country.
No, the reality of the -- it's -- the banks and the credit card companies are saying, get in touch if you have financial difficulties. But we do not know yet, because we haven't seen the policies of what they're going to do to actually help you.
For instance, here in New York City. All the major landlords, the companies of the major landlords, have agreed there will be no evictions for the next 90 days for rent -- for rent arrears.
But we haven't seen any form of formalized arrangement that will actually put money in people's pockets or give that sort of relief.
And there's -- some landlords of small buildings are saying to their tenants, look, you still got to pay rent. I still have a mortgage to pay.
COOPER: Dr. Gounder, Richard Quest, thanks so much.
A lot more ground to cover, as our CNN/Facebook Global Town Hall. "Coronavirus: Facts and Fears," continues in just a moment, including the California lockdown spreading massively, now to Los Angeles.
Plus, we will have more answers to your questions and reports from across the country and the world.
COOPER: And welcome back.
You're watching a CNN/Facebook global town hall. I'm Anderson Cooper, along with Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
In this hour, we're going to be joined by a top expert of the World Health Organization. He will be answering your questions.
Also, Sean Penn talks about what it's like to do relief work alongside the U.S. military, as his organization did after the earthquake in Haiti, and whether -- what kind of a role the military might end up playing in this. What are they capable of? What do they do better than anyone else?
Also, we will be taking questions from Facebook and Instagram for a mental health professional who's joining us as well.
But we want to begin the hour with the striking contrast in the country today, on the one hand, deserted cities, on the other, people still crowding into spring break hot spots, doing, frankly, the opposite of what just about every professional recommends, and potentially carrying the virus back home with them to their parents and their grandparents and their loved ones.
There's also breaking news, Los Angeles County now joining San Francisco and ordering people to stay at home, 10 million people -- 10 million more people being told now to shelter in place.
Sanjay, that's obviously a very big move for Los Angeles.