Return to Transcripts main page


CDC Recommends Wearing Facemasks in Public to Reduce Spread of Coronavirus; President Trump Informs He Will Not be Wearing Facemask; Coronavirus Patients in New York to Begin Treatment at Javits Center Makeshift Hospital; New Orleans Reported Epicenter of Coronavirus Outbreak in Louisiana; Pregnant Fiance of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson Recovering from Coronavirus Symptoms; Spain Reporting Decreasing Number of Coronavirus Cases; President Trump Fires Inspector General for the Intelligence Community Michael Atkinson Who Reported Ukraine Call to Congress; Health Care and Finance Professionals Answer Questions Related to COVID-19. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired April 4, 2020 - 14:00   ET



VANESSA BRYANT, KOBE BRYANT'S WIDOW: Obviously, we wish that he was here with us to celebrate. But it's definitely the peak of his NBA career, and every accomplishment that he had as an athlete was a steppingstone to be here. So we're incredibly proud of him.


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Kobe Bryant and rest of the class of 2020 will be enshrined on August 29th in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Hello again, everyone. Thank you so much for being with me. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

We begin with a shifting strategy from the White House, the administration now recommending Americans voluntarily wear masks to prevent a symptomatic spread of the disease following new guidelines from the CDC. But President Trump says he is not ready to follow those same guidelines himself.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So with the masks it is going to be really a voluntary thing you can do. 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 are making a recommendation. It's only a recommendation. It's voluntary.


Earlier today I asked Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer what he thought of the new guidelines, and this is what he said.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): We have to listen to the experts, the medical experts. And there have been too many times when others, I won't name who, you can guess, have just ignored the military experts thinking -- sorry, the medical experts. We have to listen to the medical experts. They know best. If they say wear a mask, I'm wearing a mask.


WHITFIELD: All this as more Americans become infected with coronavirus. Just moments ago John Hopkins University updating the total number of U.S. cases, now over 290,000, and more than 7,800 deaths. Nearly 96 percent of the country is under stay-at-home orders, covering 42 states. Coming up in the next half-hour we'll talk to a panel of experts to answer your coronavirus questions.

And we have a team of correspondents right now standing by to bring you what's happening with the nation's response to the coronavirus pandemic. CNN is learning starting on Monday coronavirus patients in New York will begin treatment at the Javits Center. The makeshift hospital has been treating non-coronavirus patients. However, today New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that he was successful in working with the president to convert the use of the U.S. Army run hospital.


GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): It is going to be very staff intensive, very equipment intensive. But the theory there is the best that we can relieve the entire hospital system downstate by bringing those COVID patients to Javits, and from the intake to the treatment. And it's going to be very difficult to run that large a facility. But if that works, and if that works well, that changes the numbers dramatically.


WHITFIELD: CNN's Evan McMorris-Santoro is there outside the Javits Center. So Evan, what else did the governor have to say?

EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Hi, Fred. I am here at Jacob Javits Convention Center which has become kind of a New York City landmark, a new landmark, if you will, of this state's fight against the COVID-19 virus. Initially the plan was for it to just take patients that were non-COVID patients to free up more beds in the traditional hospital system as the beds start to fill and more patients come in. But on Monday, in fact, it will now turn into a COVID hospital where patients with the disease will come here to Javits to be cared for, which again, is part of alleviating the hospital system. But a slight shift for the role of the Javits Center that could have a big impact on a state that is still waiting for equipment, trying to figure out what to do, because the governor says the apex, the high point of infection, is still around the corner.


CUOMO: By the numbers we're not yet at the apex. We're getting closer depending on whose model you look at. They'll say four, five, six, seven days. Some people go out 14 days. But our reading of the projections is we're somewhere in the seven-day range. So we're not yet at the apex. Part of me would like would like to be at the apex and just let's do it, but there's part of me that says it's good that we're not at the apex because we are not yet ready for the apex either.


MCMORRIS-SANTORO: As someone who is standing outside the Javits Center, let me say I also agree it is not good that we're at the apex yet.


MCMORRIS-SANTORO: But listen, what is happening now with days to go possibly until this apex comes is the state is still trying to put together equipment and personnel to try and figure out how to deal with the rising cases the apex will bring. So the shift has really changed now. We've really changed from hospital beds, which places like the Javits Center and the hospitals up the block have helped to alleviate, and into a push now for equipment and for medical personnel, which the governor says he is trying to get from around the country and around the state. Fred?

WHITFIELD: All right, Evan McMorris-Santoro, thank you so much at the Javits Center. Let's turn now to the White House. CNN's Jeremy Diamond is there. Jeremy, quite the about-face now from the White House. Why now?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: That's right, Fred, because it is not only that the White House and the CDC previously did not have a recommendation on facemasks. It is that they previously recommended that Americans not wear them in public. Now the CDC and the White House reversing course, recommending that all Americans when they go out should be wearing some kind of a cloth facemask, not those medical grade facemasks to not take them away from those medical workers.

The surgeon general, Jerome Adams, explained that about-face yesterday, explaining that recent studies showed that larger amounts of people infected may have no symptoms, and that means that more of the spread of this virus could be driven by asymptomatic individuals.

But of course, these new guidelines followed an internal debate inside this administration over the last week. And some of that debate became very clear out in public yesterday. Dr. Debby Birx, the coordinator of the Coronavirus Task Force, was explaining that she doesn't want Americans to have a false sense of security if indeed they go out wearing these cloth masks. And of course, you heard the president himself yesterday undercutting these guidelines really even as he announced them to the public. The president saying that these guidelines are voluntary, and also emphasizing that he, himself, did not plan on wearing a mask. Fred?

WHITFIELD: Jeremy Diamond at the White House, thanks so much.

With over a quarter-million Americans infected with coronavirus, Republican Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana is now calling for a national registry to track the number of people who have recovered from the virus. CNN's Paul Vercammen joins me now from California where a recovered patient is doing his part to help those still in the fight. Paul, explain how this is happening.

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it happened here, Fredricka, at St. Joseph's hospital at the leading edge of the fight, only a few in the country being allowed to bring in these recovered COVID-19 patients and have them donate their plasma. So for Jason Garcia, he first went through that agony of being told he had COVID-19. He recovered, and then he came in here, and in a little less than an hour donated his plasma, so rich in antibodies, to another patient. And they say that patient is already doing better. Let's hear from Jason.


JASON GARCIA, RECOVERED CORONAVIRUS PATIENT: It felt amazing. It felt good. I'm glad that the nightmare of testing positive and the fear, the dread to know that I recovered. And now that this bad thing can now potentially -- my antibodies are there to give to other people and potentially help them fight the fight that they are having problems with, and pretty much help them fight the fight of their lives and survive. So I'm glad that this turned out to be a positive thing.


VERCAMMEN: And the hospital tells us very soon they will also tap in to Jason's A-positive blood for two other COVID-19 patients. And you may know that the FDA approved two nationwide trials of two treatments that will be taken from these recovering COVID-19 patients. This has long been a strategy in helping fight disease, Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: Indeed. It's incredible. Paul Vercammen, thank you so much.

So as New York works to control the spread of the virus, new hot spots are growing across the country. In Louisiana, there are now over 12,000 confirmed cases. New Orleans, the epicenter of the state's outbreak, is opening a new field hospital to combat the growing numbers. CNN's Ed Lavandera just took a tour of the convention center where that hospital will be. So Ed, when is this facility expected to be up and running?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We are told by officials it will be up and running, accepting its first patients on Monday. This just as the state of Louisiana is updating, as you mentioned, it's latest numbers, nearly 12,500 cases of coronavirus now in the state, 409 deaths, and the number of hospital beds being used and ventilators being used continues to creep up.

However, the senator, U.S. senator from Louisiana, Bill Cassidy, tells CNN this morning that he believes that the numbers and the pressure on the hospitals across this region is starting to tick down, perhaps a sign of something good happening.



SEN. BILL CASSIDY (R-LA): We have an increasing rate of deaths, but I am told that emergency room admissions are beginning to decrease. Hopefully, that is the kind of the breaking of the wave. And although we know that ICUs will continue to be full for a while, if we have decreased admissions, hopefully that means decreased transmission.


LAVANDERA: This is a really delicate situation, because many people here in this state simply don't want people to hear that and let their guard down. As we toured inside the convention center where the 1,000- bed makeshift hospital has been set up and is on the verge of start running, the regional medical director for the state of Louisiana's health department is basically saying that people should see all of those beds and prepare for what's to come.


DR. JOSEPH KANTER, LOUISIANA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH: This should be a message that is not time to let up. Look at what is happening here, look at the magnitude of this. We are still very much in this. In fact, we haven't even hit halfway.


LAVANDERA: And Fredricka, as we look at the numbers that have come out this week, state officials here have been saying they really pay close attention to the number of hospital beds being used and available and the ventilator use.

And even though the uptick today was slightly lower than what we've seen in recent days, those numbers have steadily gone up every day this week, and that is why state officials here are warning that the only thing that can be done to prevent these hospitals and the intensive care units to be overwhelmed is to continue practicing social distancing, and that that is the one thing that will prevent the situation from becoming so dire in hospitals across the state, and in particular here in the New Orleans region. Fredricka?

WHITFIELD: All right, Ed Lavandera, thank you so much in New Orleans.

Coming up, coronavirus, what do you want to know about the disease? Your family, your money. Go to right now and post your questions, and our panel of experts will answer some of them starting at 2:30 eastern time.

Also ahead, life on lockdown overseas. When will social distancing rules be relaxed? CNN is live all around the world.

But first, we remember Joe Lewinger, one of the many victims of coronavirus. He was a husband and father of three from Long Island, New York. And last night his widow, Maura, spoke with CNN's Erin Burnett.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MAURA LEWINGER, WIDOW OF CORONAVIRUS VICTIM: I think he was the most amazing husband. He made me feel cherished and loved every single day. Every single day my husband wrote me beautiful love letters in my lunch box. Not just have a great day, but just beautiful letters about what I meant to him and our plans for the weekend, maybe, if it was Friday, or just about maybe the nice morning -- we always had a beautiful morning. He always took care of me. He always got me my coffee and just wanted to help me get out of the house, and help me in every way.




WHITFIELD: Welcome back. The pregnant fiancee of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says she is, quote, on the mend after having coronavirus symptoms for a week. This comes a week after Johnson announced he tested positive for the virus. He has been in isolation with mild symptoms ever since. CNN's Bianca Nobilo is in London. So Bianca, give us the latest.

BIANCA NOBILO, CNN BUSINESS ANCHOR: Hi, Fred. Yes, we learned this evening in London that Boris Johnson's fiancee Carrie Symonds has been in bed for a week with coronavirus symptoms. She said that she didn't need to be tested. She is on the mend and she's feeling stronger.

Adding to the anxiety here, of course is the fact that she is pregnant. She's expecting their baby in early summer. That was announced five weeks ago when Boris Johnson and Carrie also announced that they were getting married.

After Boris Johnson tested positive for coronavirus, and that was announced eight days ago, Carrie Symonds moved out of 10 Downing Street where they were living together to another location in London. So she has not been dealing with these symptoms and the anxiety associated with the prime minister. She's been apart from him.

Boris Johnson is still self-isolating because after seven days of having coronavirus symptoms he still maintained a temperature. So listening to medical advice, he now has to continue self-isolating until that temperature subsides.

This all goes to underscore what we all know well at this point, that nobody is immune to catching COVID-19. Also, Britain has faced its deadliest day yet, recording 708 deaths in the United Kingdom. Now, scientists also caution that that number is likely to be an under report of the number of deaths that are happening, and that is because this is just the recorded deaths in the last 24 hours and not the actual deaths. So there's likely to be a lag on that, too.

It is very important, therefore, that people in Britain abide by the new social distancing regulations. Where there has been concern expressed by the government, by the prime minister, by the health secretary that people in Britain are not abiding overall by their social distancing rules. In fact, I've even seen anecdotal evidence of that. About 10 meters from me, Fred, yesterday the police broke up a large gathering of young people that had been flocking to tourist sites and an uptick in motor vehicle traffic. So it is essential as Britain is reaching that peak that people in the country do abide by the social distancing rules.

WHITFIELD: All right, Bianca Nobilo, thank you so much from London. Appreciate it.

On to Spain now, where the government says it will extend the country's nationwide state of alarm for the second time until April 26th. CNN's Scott McLean is in Madrid for us. So Scott, explain what this means.

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Fredricka. First, the good news. The good news is that there are signs in Spain that the situation here is stabilizing. The number of active cases being confirmed every day is going down.


And though the death toll is still remarkably high, more than 800, it is the lowest that it's been in a week. The concern now is what happens when Spain reopens its borders and lets everybody out of their houses. Will the lockdown, a real national sacrifice, be worth it? The prime minister today said that the situation, or that this country was at a historic crossroads. He announced, as you mentioned that he'll be asking the Spanish parliament to extend the state of emergency for a second time, which would mean that Spaniards would now be home bound until at least April 26th.

He also signaled that when Spain does emerge from this sort of national hibernation, that it would be done in phases, that the restrictions would not be lifted all at once. He also promised that nonessential workers who were ordered to stop working just beginning this week would be allowed to resume at Easter.

One of the biggest problems as well, Fredricka, in this country has been the health care system. Health care workers, more than 10,000 of them have been infected with the coronavirus. There has been a lack of personal protective equipment in the hospitals and a lack of ventilators for patients. And while the situation has undoubtedly improved over the last couple of weeks, Spain seems to still struggle with procuring the equipment that it needs. Case in point, 114 ventilators that were supposed to arrive in Spain from Turkey will actually be staying in that country after Turkey announced that it couldn't justify exporting the machines given the needs of its own population.

WHITFIELD: All right, Scott McLean in Madrid, thank you.

As coronavirus cases spread in prisons across this country, U.S. Attorney General William Barr is ordering prison officials to maximize early release programs for a wide swath of vulnerable inmates. Several states have seen growing clusters of coronavirus outbreaks at prisons in states like Louisiana, Connecticut, Ohio. The move comes at the end of a week that saw eight federal inmates die from the virus.

And two months after his impeachment acquittal, President Trump has fired the inspector general who alerted Congress of the whistle-blower complaint that led to the president's impeachment. The firing of Michael Atkinson took place, and it is the latest in a string of firings by the administration of those who played a role in the inquiry.

CNN's Sarah Westwood joins us now. So Sarah, has the White House explained the reason behind this firing?

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Fred, we haven't gotten a lot of details yet about what led the president to take this move at this time, as you mentioned, two months after the end of the impeachment trial. But the president said in a letter sent late last night to Congress that he had essentially lost confidence in Michael Atkinson's ability to continue as the Intelligence Community Inspector General. He sent a letter to the House and Senate Intelligence Committees late last night, saying that at the end of the 30-day waiting period that he is required to take, to plans to remove Atkinson from that position. Sources tell CNN that Atkinson was informed last night that he would be placed on administrative leave.

This naturally sparked outrage among Democrats who learned of the president's possible retaliatory move against Atkinson. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi saying in a statement last night the president must immediately cease his attacks on those who sacrificed to keep America safe, particularly during this time of national emergency.

Of course, the timing of the president's move coming in the middle of his administration's response to coronavirus has been heavily criticized by Democrats, including the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, one of the first to learn of the president's move last night. Congressman Adam Schiff said in a statement "At a time 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 greater risk."

Earlier today the Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer speaking to CNN said this is part of a pattern from President Trump firing people who were related to his impeachment inquiry. Take a listen.


SCHUMER: There's all too familiar a pattern in this administration. When you tell the president the truth, you get fired. This guy was a patriot. This guy stood for -- our intelligence agencies have done such a wonderful job. They don't make movies about them like about the military because, obviously, most of it is secret. But they risk their lives like our soldiers do, like our men and women in uniform do. They do amazing things to protect this country. And by politicizing it, dismantling it, not wanting to hear the truth, that's since World War II we have built up this fine, fine agency, and the president is undermining it.


WESTWOOD: Now, recall that the president had fired two witnesses who testified against him. Alexander Vindman was reassigned from the National Security Council after testifying in the impeachment inquiry. Former U.S. ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland was fired. The president, Fred, did not name a permanent successor for Atkinson, said that nomination would come at a later date. But did name a career intel official, Thomas Monheim, to hold that position in the interim, Fred.


WHITFIELD: All right, Sarah Westwood, thank you so much.

All right. From social distancing to stimulus checks, don't forget to send us your questions about coronavirus on Our panel of experts will answer some of them next.

But first, Surgeon General Jerome Adams shows us how to make a facemask with items from around the house.


DR. JEROME ADAMS, SURGEON GENERAL: Fold it to the middle from the bottom. Fold it to the middle from the top. Fold it again to the middle from the bottom, and again from the top. And then two rubber bands, one on one side and one on the other side. Then you fold either side to the middle, and you have yourself a cloth face covering. It's that easy.




WHITFIELD: Welcome back. So we are living in difficult times right now. That is the understatement. Schools are closed. People are isolated. Families and businesses are struggling. And we all know that you've got a lot of questions about coronavirus. And many of you have been posting them on So for the next 30 minutes we are going to try to answer as many as we can, and hopefully that will help ease you a bit.

Joining me right now to answer some of those questions, Dr. Darria Long, emergency room physician and clinical assistant professor at the University of Tennessee. We also have Dr. Gail Saltz, psychiatrist and psychoanalyst. She also has a new podcast called "Personology." And Richard Quest, CNN Business correspondent and host of "Quest Means Business." Good to see all of you. Thank you so much for doing this for the next 30 minutes.

So Dr. Long, you first. The first question is from Nick in New Jersey. And he asks "Should I worry about contracting the virus from mail and newspapers?" DR. DARRIA LONG, EMERGENCY ROOM PHYSICIAN: So, nick, this is something

a lot of people have been asking me, and there is not evidence you may contract the coronavirus from mail and newspapers, but that said, if you want to be on the safer side, we know that COVID can live on cardboard for about 24 hours. So if you want to take the extra precaution, you can effectively quarantine the mail to stay in your garage or someplace for about 24 hours, then open it up, and then wash your hands really well after you do it.

WHITFIELD: Dr. Saltz, Gloria from New Mexico asks, "What advice do you have for people unable to give the deceased a proper funeral?"

DR. GAIL SALTZ, PSYCHIATRIST AND PSYCHOANALYST: Sadly, this is a huge problem right now and probably will be for some time. It is important for the living to be able to mark in some way and therefore grieve and go through the process of loss to have some sort of marking. And because we can't have funerals, I really recommend that people creatively find a way to do just that with the other people that cared about this person. So that can be anything from a Zoom sort of funeral, if you will, or a phone conversation as a group where each of you say what you want to say about the deceased. You can literally release a balloon in your backyard, some sort of marker creatively to come together, because that's what you can do now.

WHITFIELD: Richard, Sonya asks, "Can I use my pension or 401(k) early and without penalty because of coronavirus?"

RICHARD QUEST, CNN BUSINESS EDITOR AT LARGE: Yes. Under the Coronavirus Act you are allowed to make a withdrawal without penalty. However, the real issue is not whether you can but whether you should. First of all, it has to be repaid because if you don't repay any loan that you take from your 401(k) then that will become taxable. And, secondly, remember your 401(k) is your money for the future. You are literally borrowing from the future if you take money out of it. And you will be doing so at a time when the market is down more than 20 percent, 22 percent. So you're selling at the worst possible time. And then of course you're not getting as much value and gain from your pension.

Ultimately, though, legally, yes, under the Cares Act the penalties have been lifted. But I would suggest your 401(k) money is an absolutely last resort.

WHITFIELD: Untouchable. Dr. Long, Todd from Texas writes, "Since ventilators are in short supply, would a CPAP machine be an alternative?

LONG: So this is a question, Todd and Fredricka, that we've been getting from many people. Can we use CPAP machines, which seem to be widely used? The answer is no. A ventilator and a CPAP machine can be very different, and a ventilator needs a lot more equipment as well to be attached to the wall. And the people who require medically a ventilator cannot survive on a CPAP machine alone. So if somebody requires a ventilator, they do need that machine itself. We need the set up as well. And the people who are able to manage that patient on a ventilator, say in the ICU and the doctors and nurses. So they are just not interchangeable.

WHITFIELD: Dr. Saltz, Brad from Pennsylvania asks, "What types of long-term effects will the virus have on people's mental health?"

SALTZ: It depends on the group. Right now over half of Americans are reporting significant mental health effects from the virus, from the pandemic, and that is expectable.


As this resolves, different groups will experience different things. People who have had more immediate trauma may have a longer period of both anxiety and possibly depression as a result or even go on to develop PTSD symptoms if they, for example, were on a ventilator for a long period of time or had a horrible loss or a horrible experience.

But believe it or not, most people after this is really over will have developed coping tools to manage the emotions that they're having and actually, in some ways we often see after a terrible, terrible trauma of this kind that crowds come out in some ways resilient, having built a level of coping skills to deal with very difficult times that actually gives them a certain resilience as they move on through life.

WHITFIELD: Everyone, stand by. We've got more questions for you to answer in just a moment.

But first, heroes saluting heroes. A moving moment in New York City as firefighters salute health care workers outside NYU Langone Medical Center.





WHITFIELD: All right, we're back with our panel answering the coronavirus questions that you asked on our website Richard Quest, here is a question from Richard. "Should people use their credit cards to buy food and pay bills? Bankruptcies are going to explode."

QUEST: Well, the second part is certainly true. Bankruptcies are going to rise considerably. Although, to be fair, Fredricka, if you use the necessary unemployment benefits and all the other benefits that are available, and the payroll protection plan, then that will certainly be mitigated. But let's not kid ourselves. People's expenses are much higher than those benefits.

To the absolute point, there is nothing wrong with using your credit card to pay for those things, providing you have a means for paying off the credit card. If your only hope is just to run it up and then pay the minimum payment each month, you're going to be getting yourself into very serious debt and doing so quite quickly. However, if the use of your credit card is part of a properly managed

strategy, recognizing that once you're back at work, once the furlough is over, that you'll be able to pay it down in a reasonable way, then, yes, it is a reasonable strategy. Just remember, Fredricka, credit card interest rates are in the 20s.


QUEST: They are absolutely usury by most standards.

WHITFIELD: My goodness. Dr. Darria Long, Patricia in New York is asking, "there is a lot of talk about social distancing, but what do you do when you're on an overcrowded subway or bus?"

LONG: Yes, and Patricia is in New York, so she may be one of those groups of people who can't avoid the subway or the crowded bus because they are essential and they have to get to work. So for those people, there are some guidelines we can tell them. So for one, of course, maintain social distancing as much as you can. If you can stay six feet away from other people on the bus or subway, do so. Other than that, absolutely I would want somebody to be wearing a mask the entire time they are on there, even a cloth mask, be wearing a mask. Then you can do two other things. You can wear an outer layer that you carefully remove when you get out of the subway or bus, or wear gloves.

But key point, we are seeing a lot of people wear gloves, and I do want to say you have to remove them carefully or you eliminate the effect. So you're going to pinch the outer glove with one hand and then take your clean finger to remove the other so that you're not touching the outside. Of course, wash your hands afterwards.

WHITFIELD: Makes sense. Dr. Gail Saltz, David from Long Island asks "How do I talk to my 65-year-old father about limiting his visits to the store without sounding like I'm scolding him?"

SALTZ: David, the relationships that are happening between adult children and their parents and kids who suddenly arrive back home, there is pressure going on, so much anxiety going on that things are being heard in critical ways or people are saying things in irritable ways, which is all very understandable.

But if you realize that your parent is used to being the parent, and you simply say, hey, I love you and I'm really just worried about you, so I'm asking you not to do this because I understand it puts you at greater risk, and for me, my worry, my anxiety, I would really feel better if you wouldn't do it, which is different than saying, hey, I know better, and I told you so.

But people are really struggling with relationships right now. And I just offer, try to have empathy and stand in the other person's shoes and realize that everybody is a little more anxious at least and a little more irritable, and take a step back when you make your comments.

WHITFIELD: May have to modify your approach. All right, Richard, Josh from Pennsylvania asks "Can an employer threaten your job if you don't have a babysitter or caregiver for your child that's related to the coronavirus?"

QUEST: This is a really complicated one, because it will differ depending on jurisdictions around the country. Essentially, everybody is an employee, or in most states, you are an employee at will, which means you can be fired pretty much at a whim.

However, however, the Families First Coronavirus Act does have various provisions that could and can help you, along with the Family Medical Leave Act. Essentially, you can take, for example, paid leave. The new act gives two weeks of paid leave, and then you can go on to other leave, paid sick leave, which would give, for example, more time, although not necessarily at full pay.


So the short answer is essentially you don't have a protection as an employee at will. The longer answer is the nuances, there are plenty ways around it. You should not be fired.

WHITFIELD: All right, Everybody stand by. We have more got questions, and of course we've got answers in just a moment.

But first, take a look at this. A sign of the times at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, planes parked on the runway because of all the flight cancellations.

And here's a rare sight involving our food supply. Dutch farmers dealing with an overwhelming amount of potatoes because demand is down due to restaurant closures.



WHITFIELD: Welcome back. We're separating fact from fear in answering your coronavirus questions. Dr. Long, this question is from Edward in Florida. "Mosquito season is about to start. Should we be concerned about mosquitos transmitting COVID-19?"

LONG: Edward, you are in Florida, so that kind of is mosquito central. I'm in Georgia. I know it too. There is evidence -- we know mosquitos can carry other viruses, but there is not evidence right now that they can actually transmit coronavirus from one person to another.

WHITFIELD: All right, Dr. Saltz, here is a question for you. How do you avoid being lonely when you are single and forced to social distance?

SALTZ: This is -- we already had a public health epidemic occurring of loneliness in this country to begin with before this even happened. And actually, as many as 25 percent of Americans live alone in addition to the fact that now our coping skills are impeded by the fact that we have social distancing. I am telling people how important it is to find other means of talking

with people. That might be face time. It may be Skype. It might be Zoom. It might be just on the telephone. And what I'm telling people is the importance of using your words to convey more emotion than you probably normally do. And I say that because we can't touch each other, right? We can't hug each other. We can't do those things that are really important in dealing with feelings of loneliness. So I say, use your words in a more emotionally intimate way, and really express how you feel about this person, what you think about this person, what you want to hear from this person, how you understand them well, etcetera.

And sort of ramping up the emotional amplitude of your words really creates more of a feeling of connectedness and intimacy, and that is very helpful in terms of loneliness. So I really say to people, reach out to people that you haven't even talked to for a while or think about. Believe me, they will welcome it.

WHITFIELD: Richard, Tamara asks, "I have lived outside the U.S. for 16 years. I moved back in December of 2019 and started working December 30th. Do I qualify for a check?"

QUEST: Yes, is the short answer. But you're not going to like the rest of my answer.


QUEST: It depends on whether or not you have paid taxes and whether or not you are on the government's list, on the IRS's list. If they have your details and you have dutifully paid taxes over those 16 years or filed a U.S. tax return, as you're obliged to do under worldwide taxation by the IRS, then yes. Expats are entitled to, the best that we can tell judging by previous stimulus checks occasions.

One thing to note, just to finish on this, if I may, Fredricka. There is a lot of talk about people not getting their stimulus check until August or September. This is because of the way the checks are being distributed. Most people will get it by direct deposit into their bank account if the IRS has those details, because that's the way they paid their 18 taxes or 19 taxes. But the rest of them, it is just a process of the checks being sent out.

WHITFIELD: All right, we'll leave it there. Richard Quest, Dr. Darria Long, Dr. Gail Saltz, thank you so much to all for answering so many questions, and thank you to everybody for sending your questions. Really appreciate it.

Brave Americans all across our nation are risking their lives in the fight against the coronavirus. Health care workers, first responders, grocery store workers, delivery drivers, and countless others are making sacrifices every day. And our CNN Heroes team put together this tribute to honor them.


(MUSIC) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm a New Yorker. It is essential that I'm out here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a little risk coming outside, but I kind of feel like a super hero saving the world.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is a warzone. It's a medical warzone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is an extraordinary time where you need to see people at their best.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is in our heart and it is in our soul to sacrifice, to serve, to fight for you.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I travel coast to coast. As long as we can haul food for the American people, you will have plenty of food on those shelves.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My heroes are all of the people that I work with who are showing up and helping us fight this pandemic.