Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

CDC Recommends Wearing Facemasks in Public to Reduce Spread of Coronavirus; President Trump Informs He Will Not be Wearing Facemask; General Terrence O'Shaughnessy Interviewed on Military Contributions to Combatting Coronavirus Spread; President Fires Inspector General for the Intelligence Community Michael Atkinson Who Reported Ukraine Call to Congress; Health Care Workers Interviewed on Experiences in Dealing with COVID-19; Doctor Answers Questions about COVID-19; Ninety-Year-Old Woman Recovers from Coronavirus. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired April 4, 2020 - 10:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:00:27]

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, so grateful to have you with us here on Saturday, April 4th. I'm Christi Paul.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell. You are in the CNN Newsroom.

A few hours from now, the White House Coronavirus Task Force is set to hold the daily briefing. The update yesterday brought some important new guidelines. The CDC is now advising Americans to wear facemasks when they go outside. President Trump made the announcement, but then he said that he would not be following the recommendation.

PAUL: And while nearly every state is now ordering residents to stay home, the president says he doesn't want to issue a national shelter in place order. He says he's leaving it to the governors.

BLACKWELL: Of course, Americans are looking for hope this morning, hoping that today will not be like yesterday and the day before, another record setting day for COVID-19 deaths. The U.S. reported 1,169 deaths yesterday, and so far America has lost 7,100 people to the virus.

PAUL: CNN national correspondent Kristen Holmes is live at the White House for us. Kristen, do we have any indication what we're going to hear from the president today?

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We don't as of right now. It has been a question of whether or not we are going to hear about those masks yesterday or today. And, of course, we know we heard about this yesterday.

And I want to dive into that, because this was just the latest. The remarks from the CDC and President Trump in this push-pull between health officials and the White House over what Americans should be doing to protect themselves from coronavirus. We know early on these health officials were really sounding the alarms about this disease, saying that they believed it could be widespread and it could cause some sort of outbreak here in the U.S. And you heard President Trump on the other side essentially saying to Americans that it was probably not as bad as the flu, that the flu had this many cases, counted to the thousands of cases, and that they didn't think coronavirus was going to be the same.

So conflicting narratives as we have progressed as this virus has been here on American soil. And yesterday was no different. We heard President Trump announce the CDC, the Centers for Disease Control, was recommending, issuing new guidance that Americans should wear some sort of cloth or fabric over their face when they're in public, particularly if they're in those hot spots, but almost in the same breath he said this --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So with the masks, it's going to be really a voluntary thing. You can do it. You don't have to do it. I'm choosing not to do it, but some people may want to do it, and that's OK. It may be good, probably will. They're making a recommendation. It's only a recommendation. It's voluntary.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOLMES: And of course, he said he would not be wearing a mask. But I want to note one thing. While President Trump himself is saying that he's not going to take those preventative measures, the White House is. We did learn yesterday that the White House is actually going to give these quick coronavirus tests to anyone who is anticipated to come into close contact with President Trump or the vice president. So while the president may not be wearing a mask, it sounds as though he won't be around anyone who is asymptomatic, might not be showing those symptoms, because they will actually be tested and get those test results in 15 minutes before they are near the president.

PAUL: All right, Kristen Holmes, appreciate it so much live from the White House for us. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says that his city is expected to run out of ventilators tomorrow. CNN's Athena Jones is following the latest in New York. Athena, to you, this has been the moment that all of these mayors have feared, the moment at which there is a need to save a life and the life-saving equipment is not available.

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Victor. That's exactly right. We have been talking about the supplies running out for weeks now, supplies of personal protective gear, supplies of ventilators. We heard the mayor, Mayor de Blasio, say earlier this week, Sunday is D- Day. He said that the city of New York is going to need 15,000 total ventilators to get through April and May. And just to get through next week they need at minimum 2,500, ideally 3,000.

I can tell you that in the last few days since he first started making that loud warning, the city has gotten in 400 ventilators, and so those are being disbursed, and they need be in place, I'm told, by a spokesperson by tomorrow. But the hope is that after having made this call, they've made some moves that are going to keep the city from reaching that exhaust point by tomorrow.

[10:05:01]

Another of these moves I should mention broadly is Governor Andrew Cuomo, who announced, and he signed this executive order saying that the state is now going to be allowed to take any ventilators or personal protective equipment from institutions that don't need it right now and transfer it, redistribute it to institutions that do need it. Those places that are losing their ventilators momentarily, either they will be returned or they will be reimbursed for the cost of it. But all of this is to try to make sure that the supplies are where they need to be when they are needed, because we know that not only is New York state the epicenter of this crisis in America, New York City is the epicenter of that epicenter, accounting for more than half of the cases in New York state. So these supplies issues are ongoing.

PAUL: I know you're standing in front of the Javits Center, Athena, and it's now a field hospital. It was a convention center. Before they were saying non-COVID patients were going there. What's the pivot? Why did that change, and how?

JONES: That's right. That is changing. Starting on Monday, this center behind me, this huge convention hall with 2,500 beds, originally there were going to be 1,000, not they're more than double that, in order to help deal with the overflow from these hospitals. Starting Monday, they will be accepting patients with COVID-19.

And the thinking here is that if you talk to hospital administrators or people working in hospitals, E.R. doctors, ICU nurses, they are seeing a lot of COVID patients. I spoke with an E.R. doctor in Brooklyn yesterday who said that even people coming into hospital for other ailments, like appendicitis or a stroke, when they end up doing a chest x-ray -- when they're admitting the patients they typically do a chest x-ray, and they're seeing what they call telltale signs of a coronavirus infection, this infection visible in both lungs.

And so the bottom line here is that, as we've heard from the governor, as we've heard from hospital administrators, as we've heard from staffers at hospitals, not a lot of patients coming into the hospital these days are non-COVID patients. Everyone ends up being a COVID patient. And so one hospital administrator said he was relieved to know that Javits was now going to be accepting them because that's the reality across the city and state right now.

BLACKWELL: Athena Jones for us there outside the Javits Center in New York. Athena, thank you.

The military is now deploying additional forces to support the coronavirus response. Military hospital ships already being put to use to help alleviate the stress on hospitals.

PAUL: A U.S. defense official tells CNN the military is preparing 15 Army task forces designed to support urban area hospitals dealing with the pandemic. General Terrence O'Shaughnessy is with us. He is the commander of the North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. northern command. Good morning to you.

GEN. TERRENCE O'SHAUGHNESSY, U.S. NORTHERN COMMAND: Good morning, and thanks for the opportunity to talk about some of the treat work our folks are doing.

BLACKWELL: General, good morning to you. Victor Blackwell here. Let me start here. You called this a war, and you talked about the use of medical weapons. We've seen Athena Jones there outside the Javits Center, the USNS Comfort there in New York as well. Give us a broader picture of how the military will be assisting in this fight and how broadly we could be seeing this across the country.

O'SHAUGHNESSY: Thanks for that. Our commander in chief has declared war on COVID-19, and we're a huge part of that, obviously. And we're treating this as a large military campaign. As you mentioned, we have the Comfort in New York City, we have the Mercy on the other coast. We also have Army expeditionary units also to the Javits Center you were just highlighting as an example, but also to Seattle. We have another Navy unit out of Jacksonville that went to New Orleans and Dallas.

And why I say all that is it really highlights this is a whole of nation approach. While New York City is clearly a very serious situation, we have to look all across the nation, bring the capability that we have in the U.S. Department of Defense, whether it be medical, logistics, et cetera, and make sure that's available for our nation at this time of need.

PAUL: I wanted to ask you, you just mentioned the Comfort in New York City, the Mercy in L.A. There are reports there's only 20, 22 maybe, people maybe on one of those ships. They can house actually 1,000 in terms of patients. Can you give us an update on the status of those ships and any logistical problems, perhaps, that are keeping more patients from being loaded there?

O'SHAUGHNESSY: So we're plugging into the broader New York City hospital dynamic, if you will. We've been working closely with the New York City officials, the state officials, to really just be another hospital that's available for them. And we're providing the full spectrum of capability. And the way we looked at this is we want to be able to provide the highest end capability. So whether it's an automobile accident, a gunshot wound, trauma type of events that might happen, we make that available for them to come to the Comfort.

The ambulances can come right to the Comfort. They'll be taken into the Comfort, taken care of. We have 11 operating rooms. We have 80 ICU units there. They're prepared to handle the highest end trauma victims.

[10:10:00]

Simultaneously we also have at the Javits Center, we have a lower end capability, lower acuity, and we can bring COVID patients there. They could be COVID convalescents. But we also just recently, in fact it'll be IOC today, we're bringing in 48 ICU beds in there as well, so we can take a higher end COVID patient as well. So the concept here is we're going high end all the way to the lower end medical needs, and we're plugging into the New York City and the New York state broader system. And we're open for business, we're ready for them to bring in the patients even at the higher level. And we want to be part of a relief valve that we know New York needs right now.

BLACKWELL: So you talked about how the military will be helping localities and medical professionals. How will the military protect its own? We know that often quarters are close, and sometimes the job requires personal interaction. So how will you prioritize the social distancing and the protection of the service members?

O'SHAUGHNESSY: So I'll break that down in to two different areas. One is our medical professionals are out there just doing heroic work, just like so many civilian health workers out there. We're focused on having the right PPE, personal protective equipment, making sure they're providing the right protocols. And they all have the training, they're ready to go, they're in the fight right now, and that will continue.

But simultaneously it's important to note that U.S. North Com and NORAD have the mission of defending the homeland. And we can't stop during the COVID virus. And so we've taken great measures to ensure our ability to defend our great nation. And I'll use an example. Right now as we speak, I have a crew up in the Cheyenne Mountain, originally designed for nuclear warfare, 1,800 feet of granite, ventilation systems. We've isolated crews up there, taken away from their families. They're staying there. We're feeding them, we're billeting them, and they're doing their mission there completely isolated from the COVID environment.

So those are the types of things we're doing just to ensure that we can maintain our ability to defend our nation while simultaneously bringing a lot to bear in the whole of America approach to get after this COVID-19.

PAUL: Commander, is there a different psychology for military members who are serving here at home in the midst of a fight like this with coronavirus, as opposed to in a foreign land?

O'SHAUGHNESSY: There is. We've all been all over the world doing amazing things for our country, but there's a sacred responsibility to defend our homeland right here. And so it really gets you right in the heart that we're able to be a part of this response, this whole of America response, while simultaneously maintaining our ability to defend our nation. Nobody is going to take advantage of any vulnerabilities. We're ready, we're prepared, and we're part of the whole of America responds.

BLACKWELL: So General, the now former commander of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, Captain Brett Crozier, was removed for exercising, as the acting secretary of the Navy said, poor judgment. He wrote and released a COVID-19 memo talking about it spreading on the aircraft carrier. He said in part, "Removing the majority of personnel from a deployed U.S. nuclear aircraft carrier and isolating them for two weeks may seem like an extraordinary measure," as these spreads. He goes on to say that "Keeping over 4,000 young men and women on board the TR is an unnecessary risk and breaks faith with the sailors entrusted to our care." He released no classified information, no evidence that he sent it to the media. What was the poor judgment here? Do you think he did something wrong?

O'SHAUGHNESSY: Of course, I'll leave that to the Navy channels. I think they're handling the situation quite well. But what I will say, as a commander myself, we just take an incredible responsibility of taking care of our airmen, our soldiers, our marines that are under our charge. And so across our Department of Defense what you see is commanders trying to do the right thing, take care of their people and get the mission done. In this particular case there were some things that weren't quite following the chain of command while involved in this, and I think the Navy has taken the right actions and are handling the situation appropriately.

PAUL: Commander Terrence O'Shaughnessy, we just want to say thank you so much to you and to all the military members out there for your service, for all that you're doing to take care of this country. Take good care and thank you so much.

O'SHAUGHNESSY: Thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: Thank you, sir.

PAUL: Now, I know that you have questions as well about coronavirus, and we want to make sure that we get those answered. That's one of our priorities here. We have experts to answer those questions. So let us know what's on your mind. Share your stories by tweeting us. You can get me @Christi_Paul. Victor is @VictorBlackwell. We're on Instagram as well. We're going to try to get those answers for you throughout the day here.

BLACKWELL: Listen, we know hour after hour of some of these reports, they can really be heavy. So we are including some of the positive stories. Stories that show humanity at its best. In New York, heroes are honoring heroes. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(CHEERING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[10:15:16]

BLACKWELL: So this is great. You have got the firefighters, who are using their lights and sirens to applaud and thank the health care workers. And then standing on the street there you see some of the health care workers applauding as well the firefighters there. This happened at several hospitals, fire crews gathered there across the city to show their support for health care workers.

PAUL: Such a good sight to see. Our experts are standing by to answer your questions, as we said,

about coronavirus, including one question about the best way to disinfect reusable masks.

BLACKWELL: Also, President Trump gets rid of the man who told Congress about the Ukraine call and the whistle-blower report. Up next, why some Democrats say that puts our national security at risk.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:20:19]

BLACKWELL: Just getting this in from the New York governor's office. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo will hold his daily COVID-19 presser at the top of the hour, scheduled to start at 11:00 a.m. eastern. Of course, top of mind, what we heard from Athena Jones in New York City that Mayor Bill de Blasio said that tomorrow the city of New York will run out of ventilators. So expect for that to be one of the topics as it is daily for the governor. Again, that news conference scheduled to start at the top of the hour in New York.

PAUL: President Trump last night fired the Inspector General for the Intelligence Community, Michael Atkinson. He's the person who first told lawmakers about the Ukraine whistle-blower's complaint.

BLACKWELL: Let's bring in CNN White House reporter Sarah Westwood. Sarah, good morning to you. The president says that he lost confidence in Atkinson. We've seen others who were involved in some way in the president's impeachment dismissed, fired, reassigned. Is this a surprise at all?

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Victor and Christi, good morning. This is just the latest in a string of moves the president has made against people who were involved in his impeachment inquiry. Recall that he removed from the National Security Council Alexander Vindman, that was an official who testified against him in the impeachment inquiry, reassigned him off the NSC.

Also, Vindman's twin brother, who had nothing to do with the impeachment inquiry other than his relation to Vindman, he was also reassigned away from the NSC. And the president fired former ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland. Sondland delivered some of the most damaging testimony in the impeachment inquiry.

So this is not totally a surprise because the president has made these moves against people who were involved in the impeachment inquiry. Michael Atkinson, the Intelligence Community Inspector General was the person who informed Congress about the whistle-blower complaint.

The president informed the House and Senate Intelligence Committees last night, late last night in a letter that he planned to remove Atkinson at the end of a 30-day period. He has to wait 30 days before removing Atkinson, but Atkinson has been placed on administrative leave until we reach that period. The president saying he lost confidence in Atkinson. And also sources tell CNN that Atkinson was informed about his firing late last night. Democrats, unsurprisingly, reacted with outrage to the president's

move, with House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff saying "At a time when our country is dealing with a national emergency and needs people in the Intelligence Community to speak truth to power, the President's dead of night decision puts our country and national security at even greater risk."

This echoes a tone we heard from many Democrats across Congress who said that the president's move took away a crucial layer of oversight that protects national security. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said "This latest act of reprisal against the Intelligence Community threatens to have a chilling effect against all willing to speak truth to power." And obviously there is a lot of criticism, Victor and Christi, of the president's timing, firing Atkinson at a time when his administration is focused on the coronavirus response.

PAUL: We know the president is supposed to replace him with Tom Monheim a little bit later on. Thank you so much, Sarah Westwood, appreciate it.

Still ahead, separate cities, but it's a shared reality. We have two emergency room workers with us next talking about the challenges they're facing on the job, and some things that they are really struggling to overcome.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:28:11]

PAUL: Good morning, I'm Christi Paul, so glad to have you here.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell, good to be with you. Today we are expecting an update from the White House, another one, on the coronavirus response. The CDC advises Americans now to wear facemasks when they go outside. President Trump made the announcement but says he will not follow that recommendation.

PAUL: Nearly every state is ordering residents to stay home. The president says he does not want to issue a national shelter in place order. We're going to monitor the task force's briefing a little bit later today. We'll bring you the very latest as it happens.

There are more than 400 miles, though, that separate the cities of Madison, Wisconsin, and Detroit, Michigan. Yet inside the hospitals in both of the cities, we're hearing a strikingly similar message. Health care workers saying they are concerned about running out of personal protective equipment, about having to reuse what they do have, and not only about the risk to themselves have them concerned, but their families if there's not a solution.

So I want to bring in a couple of people who are on the front lines here, Joe Maginn, an E.R. Nurse in Madison, Wisconsin, and Tinae Moore, an E.R. tech in Detroit. First and foremost, I want to say thank you both for everything that you're doing. We appreciate you. We remember you. We just want to make sure that you know that you're not alone through all of this, but we know that you are doing really important work. Tinae, I do want to begin with you. I understand you're a mother of two and you're asthmatic. And you're out of E.R. right now because -- were you getting sick, is that what happened? Or because you're asthmatic they just wanted to release you to be home?

TINAE MOORE, EMERGENCY ROOM TECHNICIAN, SINAI GRACE HOSPITAL: No, actually, I was showing symptoms of a temperature and a cough on the last day that I worked. And I was currently told to be in quarantine for 14 days. So as I reached that, I did speak back with my doctor, and I am --

[10:30:04]

PAUL: There are gremlins in the system, I apologize. We're running into some technical issues. Tinae, thank you.

Joe, I want to ask you about what's happening in Madison. I know that you are there in the E.R. And I know you have a concern not just about the PPE supply, but about management, you say, withholding information. What do you mean by that?

JOE MAGINN, E.R. NURSE: So they're not necessarily withholding information, they're very busy right now.

PAUL: Of course.

MAGINN: Everybody is very busy right now. So with our union we're having daily and sometimes multiple times a day conversations with our management and trying to stay up-to-date with what's going on. So I don't think they're intentionally trying to withhold anything from us.

PAUL: Right.

MAGINN: We work closely together. So --

PAUL: What is your greatest concern when you go into the E.R.?

MAGINN: My greatest concern is being able to do my job safely, being able to take care of my patients safely so that they can have the best outcomes possible whenever they come through our door. So we work diligently through that. We're constantly planning and trying to get to that.

I think when people come to the hospital, it's a very scary place because they don't quite understand what a hospital is. And if I could, I'd like to explain the basis of a hospital. You think about like a body, you got a body, that's your walls and your ceiling, the actual physical building. You have got the head, that's the patients that in there, that's what we're doing this all for. And you've got the thing that does the work on the body, the arms. You have two arms of the hospital. You're got administration and H.R., and their job is to take care of the business side, the dollars and cents, and make sure that we're in regulatory compliance with all the Medicare, JAGO (ph), the DOL, the FDA, the CDC. The rest of the alphabet stew. That's their job. Thank God they'll do that job because trying to keep all that straight is hard. And the other arm that does the work is the health care workers and

our support team, all the people that make a hospital run and take care of the patients. And I'd just like to say that having my union gives me the chance to, if I notice something I can tap the other arm and say, hey, I see something that can help the body or hospital. I see something that can help our patients. I see something to make this arm of the hospital stronger and more lean. I can even see something that makes this arm of the hospital more longer and stream. I can do it without fear of that arm going like this. And it's just so important right now, because we need our hands and arms together so that we can do what, everybody in America, wash your hands.

PAUL: Yes. No doubt about it.

Tinae, I know we talked about you having your children with you. Before you left, Tinae, what was it like where you were? What was it like in the hospital you work? Help us understand how you felt going into work every day. And are you ready to go back?

MOORE: Currently I'm not ready to go back. I'm facing the issues of not having enough PPE or reusing all of our disposable items that we're protecting ourselves potentially, and exposing other people at the same time. We need more supplies. We need more safety. We need more individuals and workers to help us as well. Our staffing is critically low at the moment because, as we continue to fight this virus, everyone is being sent home because they're symptomatic.

So every day is a challenge. And it's just not -- at this time, it's unbearable to just try to stick together to make sure that we can tackle this and hopefully get it to where it's stable and not constantly climbing.

PAUL: Are you home with your children, Tinae?

MOORE: Absolutely. Yes, I am.

PAUL: OK. OK.

Joe, what about you? have you been able to see your family on a regular basis? Do you have concerns as we've heard from others who say I'm afraid to go home to my family after I've been in the E.R. because I don't know if I'm compromised.

MAGINN: Yes, absolutely. I hear that from nurses not just here in Madison, but from all over the country. We're caretakers first and foremost, that's why we got into this job. And we're not just caretakers when we're at the hospital. We're also caretakers when we get home. We take care of small children. We take care of elderly parents. We take care of our spouses and partners, a lot of whom unfortunately have comorbidities that might make them very susceptible to having bad outcomes with this virus. So it's a very forefront thought in most of our minds is we don't want to bring that virus back home to them.

I do have my children here with me. My wife is also a frontline health care worker, so she's actually at work right now. God bless her and thank her so much for putting up with me. She's an angel. If you know me for more than 10 minutes you'll be like how does your wife put up with you?

(LAUGHTER)

[10:35:05]

MAGINN: She really is my angel, and I just want to thank her for going it. But yes, my children are here. We're doing everything that we can, washing our hands extremely frequently, doing our social distancing, and try to take care of what we can, do what we can to slow this down.

PAUL: Joe I'm sure you just won some dreamboat points with your wife for that one, saying that on national television. Good for you. And thank you to her, obviously, because you said she's on the front lines as well working.

Tinae, are you having any conversations with people, some of your friends or colleagues who are still working in the E.R. and how things are going there? Because to see what is coming in and out of those emergency rooms and those hospital rooms has got to be taking a psychological toll on people?

MOORE: Absolutely. Just because I'm at home quarantined, I'm still working from home to make sure that my staff is OK.

PAUL: We've got you.

MOORE: Oh, OK. I just wanted to make sure. I just want to make sure that my staff is OK. On a daily basis they are contacting me before, during, and after their shifts. And we're still battling the same thing every day, which is not having enough supplies. And also the numbers are climbing with individuals that are coming in sick who are possibly infected from the virus. So as we continue to try to stay afloat and to stay positive, it's still making our jobs a lot harder to maintain when we don't have everything we need.

PAUL: Joe Maginn and Tinae Moore, thank you both so much for the work you're doing. It's some of the most important work going on out there, no doubt about it, especially, especially right now. We appreciate you. Thank you.

MOORE: Thank you.

MAGINN: Thank you very much.

BLACKWELL: So all morning we've been asking for the questions about coronavirus and how to protect your family. The soaps, do I need anti- bacterial or just does my normal Dove work? Walking the dog, food deliveries, we're answering your questions. We have got a medical expert on the other side of the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:41:20] BLACKWELL: So we're wrapping up week three of the social distancing guidelines now. And, of course, the hope is that it will drive down the number of new coronavirus cases. But right now almost the entire country is under some type of stay-at-home order, but of course the orders are not uniform across every jurisdiction. And some are only going into effect now. Alabama announced theirs yesterday. Georgia went into effect at 6:00 p.m. eastern.

Joining me is Michelle Williams, Dean of Faculty of Harvard's T.H. Chan School of Public Health and an Epidemiology. Dean, thanks so much for being with us this morning.

MICHELLE WILLIAMS, DEAN OF FACULTY, HARVARD'S T.H. CHAN SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: Thank you, good morning. Pleasure to be here, Victor.

BLACKWELL: So good to have you with us. Let's start here. I want you to listen to something that Dr. Deborah Birx, the coronavirus task force coordinator, said about the curves, the peaks across some of these states, and then we'll talk.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. DEBORAH BIRX, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE COORDINATOR: We really do appreciate the work of the citizens of California and Washington state, because we do see that their curve is different. Their curve is different from New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. And we really believe that the work that every citizen is doing in those states is making a difference, and it will make a difference for the frontline health care providers.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: So the curve, of course, being the line graph of new cases of COVID-19. She's saying that California's curve is flattening a bit, but not in New York. Their stay-at-home orders were announced within hours of one another. To what do you attribute the potential difference in these curves?

WILLIAMS: Thank you for that question. It's a very important one. And I would say that it's very important that everyone understand that the simple act of physical distancing is critically important to slowing down the transmission of this virus. And if we accomplish, to the best level possible of the social distancing, we can prevent this virus from overtaking our health care system.

This is a perfect example of a public health action that every single citizen can take. And what the curves tell me for California and Washington state versus New York is the timing of the implementation of the physical distancing and the extent to which the population, every single member of the communities across these three states, adhered to the social distancing. The better, the faster, the more sustained we can in flattening that curve, protecting our health care system, and protecting our first responders.

BLACKWELL: So Dean, let me ask you -- WILLIAMS: It's a selfless act. It's practicing physical distancing is

really a part of the social contract to not only protect oneself but to protect our society, our health care system, and our first responders.

BLACKWELL: That's much like the argument for now wearing masks. It's not so much about protecting myself. It's about protecting you if I'm asymptomatic and I can potentially spread the virus. Let me pass on a couple viewer questions here. First one up, "Once states peak in terms of COVID-19 infections, how long do we expect those peaks to last?"

WILLIAMS: That's really a very important question, and modelers all across this country are putting in information as it becomes available to increase the precision so we can answer this question.

[10:45:05]

We can get hints of this by looking at other states, looking at Washington state. We can even get hints of how long the peak will last from looking at other countries like Hong Kong and Singapore. It's really hard to answer with precision, largely because there's so many variables involved. The variables will include the capacity of the health care system to identify, isolate, and treat those infected so they can slow the spread. It will also depend on just how aggressively we have been testing and how much information we know so that we can actually predict the dynamics of the peak or the duration of how many days we can expand the -- we can reduce the doubling rates of positive infections and deaths.

BLACKWELL: Dean, let me get one more in here, more of a practical question from a viewer. And I've been searching all over for anti- bacterial hand soap, and the question is, here it is, hand washing, do I need to use special anti-bacterial soap, or will my regular bar of Dove do just as good a job?

WILLIAMS: This is a really important question, and what your viewers have to understand is this is a virus that is quite susceptible to just basic soap and water. And so any soap and thorough washing should be absolutely sufficient for keeping hands clean. And remember to keep hands away from one's face. But any soap with a duration of washing of at least 20 seconds should be sufficient.

BLACKWELL: Thanks. So I don't have to drive all around town looking for anti-bacterial hand soap anymore. Michelle Williams, Dean of Faculty at Harvard's T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Epidemiology. Thank you so much for being with us.

WILLIAMS: Thank you, Victor.

PAUL: There's another aspect to this story that we really need to talk about. Jurisdictions around the country are reporting a higher rate of domestic violence calls, up roughly 21 percent in Seattle, 15 percent up in Georgia. We're talking to Katie Ray-Jones, the CEO of the Domestic Violence Hotline tomorrow on "NEW DAY." We hope you'll join us for that. We're going to talk to her about the kinds of calls they're getting, the stories that they're hearing, and talk about how at the end of the day, friends and family, we are now the ones that need to step up and report things now because child abuse cases have also dropped because most people report them when the kids are in school, at sports, at church, and that's just not happening anymore.

So if you have got questions about that, please go ahead and tweet me or get on Instagram for that as well. But a very important conversation we're having tomorrow right here on NEW DAY.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:52:25]

PAUL: So a 90-year-old woman from the Life Care Center in Washington contracted COVID-19, was almost near death, and then she bounced back. And she's in good health.

BLACKWELL: And now she has a message for you. She spoke with CNN's Sara Sidner.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GENEVA WOOD: I just didn't have any energy. Just wanted to be left alone.

SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Ninety-year-old Geneva Wood was sure she was taking her last breaths.

WOOD: I said to the doctor, this is the end. I'm not going to make it. And I want to see my family.

SIDNER: Doctors called her family to say their final goodbyes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They called and said her lungs were filling with fluid and her oxygen levels were all over the place, fluctuating, and they didn't think that she was going to make it.

SIDNER: Wood had just survived a stroke, but for rehab she was sent to a nursing home.

WOOD: I couldn't talk, I couldn't walk, I couldn't do anything for myself. All I could do was jabber. And they taught me to live again.

SIDNER: And suddenly, she was dying. Not from a stroke but from contracting COVID-19 there. It turned out Woods' nursing home was the first place in America to have a major deadly outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She had been fighting so hard coming back from a stroke, to be taken down by a virus, it was kind of cruel.

SIDNER: The strong-willed, feisty great-grandmother, who survived dozens of flus, the Depression, and World War II, was a mere shell of itself. And then her 90-year-old body fought back. WOOD: It's been exhausting, and it's great to be home, and I love it

here. This is one of the things I fought for was to be able to be with my kids, to give them a hug or a kick or whatever they needed.

(LAUGHTER)

SIDNER: I thought you were going to say a hug or a kiss, but you tricked me, and that was pretty darn funny.

(LAUGHTER)

WOOD: Whatever they need, right.

SIDNER: She's back kicking butts, enjoying her favorite chair, and making her special potato soup.

The fight to save her was worth it, her daughter says, and she has a message for politicians like Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, who said the elderly should be sacrificed for the economy.

DAN PATRICK, (R) TEXAS LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR: We'll take care of ourselves, but don't sacrifice the country.

SIDNER: What do you think of that?

[10:55:00]

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I guess maybe let his mother have the virus and see what he would do for her. If he wants to get rid of the elderly, then he's probably old enough to get that flu, or the virus, and see how he feels.

SIDNER: Her mom has a message for everybody else -- fight the virus with everything you've got.

WOOD: I'm corona free, and I have been given all clear. If you do what you're supposed to do, and don't take chances and keep fighting.

SIDNER: Sara Sidner, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PAUL: Thank you so much for watching. We hope you make good memories today.

BLACKWELL: Fredricka Whitfield is up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)