Return to Transcripts main page
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo States Number Of Deaths In New York Possibly Stabilizing; New York Governor And New York City Mayor Have Conflicting Messages On Schools Closing For Remainder Of School Year; Coronavirus Pandemic Disproportionately Affecting African- American Communities; Coronavirus Pandemic's Impact On Immigrant Communities Examined; Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, (D-NY) Is Interviewed About Continuing Government Economic Aid During Coronavirus Pandemic And IRS Issuing Of Checks To Americans; Experts Answer Questions About Health, Psychological Well-Being, And Finances During Coronavirus Pandemic. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired April 11, 2020 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello again, everyone. Thank you so much for joining me. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.
We begin with staggering new numbers on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic. This morning New York Governor Andrew Cuomo saying the number of deaths in his state are stabilizing, but at a horrific rate. More than 780 people died in New York on Friday alone.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO, (D) NEW YORK: These are just incredible numbers depicting incredible loss and pain that we really especially this week are -- all 783 individuals and their families are in our thoughts and in our prayers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: Meanwhile, the overall total in the U.S. hitting a grim new milestone with more than 2,000 deaths in a single day on Friday. The total number of deaths is now over 19,000 with more than 506,000 confirmed cases.
We have a team of correspondents standing bay for you to bring you the latest developments in this coronavirus pandemic. Let's start in New York where the mayor and governor seem to be at odds over the question of closing schools in the city for the remainder of the school year. CNN's Evan McMorris-Santoro is in New York for us. So Evan, what are both leaders saying?
EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fred, it's been a Saturday of kind of sad, hopeful, and strange news. The sad news being, as you noted at the top, 783 deaths, another horrible, tough number for New York. Following that, the hopeful news, the governor is saying that is actually part of maybe a plateau that shows that maybe this is the peak we've all been waiting for may be upon us.
And then the strange news, which is that if you're sitting in New York today, you had two back-to-back press conferences, the first being from the mayor of New York being very adamant that schools are going to close, or, I'm sorry, were going to remain closed to the end of the year, followed by a conference with the governor that said something very different.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D), NEW YORK CITY: Everything we're doing is to protect our children, our families, to help end the pain and the trauma. We've all been through so much, but we have to work constantly to make sure that this ends. This is the thing that we all have to be focused on.
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO, (D) NEW YORK: The mayor has an opinion in New York City. Laura Curran, the county executive of Nassau, will have an opinion on Nassau. Steve Bellone will have an opinion in Suffolk. George Latimer will have an opinion in Westchester. But I want to coordinate all those opinions and reopen them at the same time. I'd also like to ideally coordinate that with Connecticut and New Jersey.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: So, basically the deal is this. The governor of New York says that he can open the schools, he'll decide when to do it. He'll decide if they stay closed. The mayor of New York says they should stay closed. The mayor of New York City says the schools should stay closed the rest of the year through summer school. He was talking about preparing for the next school year, talking about the future of the schools. But the governor saying, actually, not too fast, there, Mayor de Blasio, I am the one who makes the call on school openings or closings.
WHITFIELD: To be continue. Meantime, Evan, CNN is learning about the impact of the first responders.
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: That's right. We've got news today from the Fire Department that more than 700 members of the Fire Department have been diagnosed with COVID-19, just another blow for the city's first responders. We've seen the police be hit very hard by this disease.
Some of them are coming back to work now. Some of them have passed away from complications of the disease, and now the Fire Department as well. The city is still trying to run with diminished capacity, and so far they have been able to do it, but just another story of how hard this crisis has been on the people who we rely on in this city to help us through crises. Fred?
WHITFIELD: Evan McMorris-Santoro, thank you so much.
And this just in to CNN, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy is issuing an executive order expanding requirements to ride any mode of transportation with the state's transit service or on private carriers, and that includes buses and light rail. All riders will now be required to wear a face covering at all times. The governor is also directing the transit services to cut capacity of their vehicles in half to help with social distancing. The order goes into effect Monday night, 8:00 p.m. New Jersey is second in the nation in the number of coronavirus cases with more than 58,000 confirmed to date.
And this just in to CNN. We are now learning that 550 sailors from the USS Theodore Roosevelt have tested positive for coronavirus. The Navy says 92 percent of the sailors have been tested and more than 3,000 have been moved ashore. The spike in cases comes shortly after Captain Brett Crozier was removed from his command for sounding the alarm about the spread of the virus onboard the aircraft carrier. It also comes just days after a sailor who tested positive was found unresponsive and was admitted into intensive care.
And then people in Michigan are now largely banned from traveling between homes as the state reports the third highest number of coronavirus cases in the nation. CNN's Ryan Young joins me now from Detroit. How is that news being received?
RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Fred, this is the first day of it. They're going to try to see if they can flatten the curve here, because obviously, the numbers were still going up in this area. The hospitals have been dealing with more patients than they can handle in a lot of places. And we do know that some hospital staff has also tested positive for the coronavirus.
One thing that we want to point out, right behind us is the TCF Center, that has 970 beds. They put that online yesterday, the first 25 patients. We're told more patients will be coming in the next few days.
We want to show you some of the grim things that we've seen as well. These are the refrigerated trucks that are at the medical examiner's office. They are worried about running out of space. We know hospitals, funeral homes, and the medical examiner's office have all had to add body space because of the number of people who are dying. From Thursday to Friday we know 205 people died in the state. That was the deadliest day so far from COVID-19.
And taking it a step further, we've noticed that 40 percent of African-Americans have been dying from this virus in this state. In fact, some people think it might be higher because the data wasn't as accurate as they thought it would be. There is a racial task force that has been put together. The lieutenant governor will have the first virtual meeting this afternoon. We talked to a health care expert who told us this about the issues here in the state.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. KIMBERLYDAWN WISDOM, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, HENRY FORD HEALTH SYSTEM: It's not shocking to those of us that have been doing research in this area and have studied it, because we know that these disparities exist, they're persistent, they're profound, and they have existed for a long time. It's just that COVID now has actually shined a bright light on it now, has exposed the disparities that we see each and every day, particularly affecting people of color.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
YOUNG: Absolutely. So you can tell the state is now trying to make a shift to get the word out to some other communities. One thing that we did notice before is they felt like if they got out there with people who may be a little older, but they would be able to sort of shut this down in terms of the spread.
I do know the city of Detroit is going to take some of the fast testing that they got from Abbott Labs. They're going to go to nursing homes throughout the city. There are 27 they've selected so far to go in, do more testing, see if they can figure out who is in need, which seems like a great idea. Fred?
WHITFIELD: All right, Ryan Young, thank you so much, in Detroit.
So in the midst of this pandemic, half of the country's farmworkers, who are undocumented immigrants, face uncertainty, and many of them don't have health insurance or even receive sick leave. CNN's Paul Vercammen is in Los Angeles. Paul, what are you learning about this vulnerable population?
PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: All week long, Fredricka, the mayor of Los Angeles saying that Los Angeles should not forget its huge immigrant community. These are uncertain and tough times for immigrants in this city.
VERCAMMEN: Irma and Miguel, undocumented immigrants from Guatemala with three children, they drove to a free cookout for the Los Angeles Dodgers to ease family's burdens in the COVID-19 era.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): They are closing all the businesses and these are jobs that we need.
VERCAMMEN: The couple's cleaning work vanished with countless other jobs in L.A. county. It has more than 900,000 undocumented residents according to recent estimates.
ISAAC CUEVAS, DIRECTOR, IMMIGRATION AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS, L.A. ARCHDIOCESE: Many times they don't qualify for a lot of the federal protections that are being issued out right now.
VERCAMMEN: Isaac Cuevas battles for immigrant rights of the 4.3 million parishioners Catholic archdiocese of Los Angeles. So many are Latino immigrants praying for help.
CUEVAS: With our help in social services and social justice, we're pushing to make sure that they don't get evicted, that they have food on the table, and that spiritually they're sound.
VERCAMMEN: Cuevas says the church mediated with landlords who tried not to honor the L.A. moratorium on evictions for renters who cannot pay due to coronavirus circumstances. Immigrants' advocates say too many of their clients won't speak up or apply for aid during the COVID-19 crisis because they believe it will raise red flags that will lead to deportation, or if they have green card legal resident status, they fear their citizenship application will be stalled.
But L.A. offers many programs available to undocumented and legal immigrants, including My Health L.A., or L.A. Care if they qualify. It's the largest publicly operated health plan in the U.S. The CEO of L.A. Care encourages immigrants to apply and fill out their census forms because he believes that will help them when L.A. hits the pandemic recession.
JACK BAACKES, CEO, L.A. CARE HEALTH PLAN: They're going to be eligible for Medicaid and we need to know how many there are because it will determine how much funding flows to any state, whether it's California or somewhere else in the country.
VERCAMMEN: No health care, no jobs, but Irma and Miguel found food.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are very grateful.
VERCAMMEN: Dodger dogs and snacks, a virtual feast during a pandemic.
VERCAMMEN: And this weekend we would see a lot of these immigrants in the churches, but even the downtown cathedral will be closed. Mass will be conducted online for all the click-on and see. Back to you now, Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: Paul Vercammen, thank you so much.
Coming up, the fight over funding for small businesses is deepening after Republicans doubled down. Democratic Congressman Hakeem Jeffries responds live. There he is.
Plus, CNN viewers and readers from around the world have asked more than 90,000 questions about coronavirus, and they've asked it on CNN.com. In about 20 minutes a panel of experts will join me to answer some of those questions. Go to CNN.com to submit your questions on health, family life, and your money. That's at 2:30 Eastern right here on CNN.
WHITFIELD: Republicans are doubling down on funding small businesses amid a growing fight over a new stimulus package. This coming after Democrats blocked a GOP plan to add an additional $251 billion to the loan program, instead demanding more money for states and hospitals. CNN's Sarah Westwood is joining us right now. So Sarah, what is the status of this battle over the latest emergency relief bill?
SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, Fred, right now this is a complete stalemate. Republicans this morning were doubling down on their position that they want a clean influx of cash for the Paycheck Protection Program. That is a program established under that phase three stimulus bill that offers emergency loans for small businesses just to keep their workers on the payrolls, to keep having people receive their paychecks. All they want is $250 billion, a little bit more than that, flushed back into that program to keep it afloat.
Democrats, they want to take this opportunity to give more money to struggling states, struggling hospitals that are struggling with the coronavirus outbreak right now. But Republicans are arguing this is a time sensitive issue. They say that sometime by the end of next week the Paycheck Protection Program could run out of money. That could cause companies to have to start laying off workers as soon as next week if they don't get these emergency loans. Democrats are saying this is not moving on such a quick timeline. There is time to negotiate.
Now, the twist is that yesterday Treasury Secretary Mnuchin spoke on the phone to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, spoke to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and both Pelosi and Schumer indicated that there could be room for some bipartisan talks. In fact, Schumer suggested Mnuchin actually agreed to have bipartisan talks.
But I'll tell you, Fred, I spoke to a number of White House officials who say right now that is not an option. They do not want to reopen negotiations. They don't want to deal with anything that could potentially go into a phase four stimulus bill. They just want to focus on getting more money for this Paycheck Protection Program.
WHITFIELD: And Sarah, when can Americans expect those stimulus checks to start arriving into their bank accounts and maybe even mailboxes?
WESTWOOD: Fred, right now the IRS says some people could start seeing the checks as soon as next week. That's people who have filed their 2018, their 2019 tax returns, and have authorized direct deposit. They could see their money in just a few days. That's in keeping with what Mnuchin said earlier this month.
But people who have not filed those tax returns, have not been receiving Social Security and have not authorized that direct deposit, they could have to wait weeks or even months to see their checks. Also on Friday, the IRS launched a tool for people, lower income folks who might not have had to file a return to input some of their basic information to the IRS, maybe speed up that process for them, Fred.
WHITFIELD: All right, Sarah Westwood, thank you so much.
Congressman Hakeem Jeffries is a Democratic Representative from New York and a member of the House Judiciary and Budget Committees. Congressman, good to see you.
REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES (D-NY): Good to see you, Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: So you're part of the Democratic leadership crafting the next House stimulus bill. Why are Democrats opposed to increasing the funding for small businesses, instead focusing on more money for states and hospitals?
JEFFRIES: Well, we're not opposed to increasing support for small businesses. Quite the contrary. What we've said is that we agree that $250 billion will be necessary in increased authorization for the Paycheck Protection Program, but we need to target that assistance to the businesses that need it the most.
For instance, we want to target the assistance to farms, small farmers, to women-owned businesses, to family-owned businesses, the mom-and-pop shops on main street that are so important to the heart and soul of our economy, to veterans-owned businesses and to minority- owned businesses. This group of entities doesn't have the same access to financial institutions as some of the medium-sized companies that are also benefiting from the Paycheck Protection Program.
So what we're saying is at least $125 billion, half of the $250 billion, should be set aside to make sure our farmers and our veterans and our mom-and-pop shops can benefit from the assistance that was authorized.
WHITFIELD: So what is the obstacle? What are you hearing? Why the resistance on that?
JEFFRIES: That's a good question. Essentially, Mitch McConnell has taken a my-way-or-the-highway approach. This is totally illegitimate in the context of a Congress that includes not just the Senate Republican majority leader. There are 100 members of the Senate. He has asked for unanimous consent.
He hasn't gotten it. There also is a separate part of the Congressional branch of government, the House, which the American people indicated by putting Speaker Pelosi back in the chair, should be standing up for values for everyday Americans. And that's essentially what we're doing.
We also have said if we are going to enact an emergency package that we need to provide relief to state and local governments that have been hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic, and also set aside funding for our first responders in the hospital context because we know that they have been overwhelmed by this pandemic as well.
WHITFIELD: So what's the timeline on this? What do you think is going to be reasonable when you look at the calendar?
JEFFRIES: Well, we have divided governments, so in the divided government context we just need to find common ground. And that is what Senator Schumer and Speaker Pelosi and others have said we've endeavored to do. Mitch McConnell has adopted this my-way-or-the- highway approach. Hopefully he'll come off that and realize this is a democracy, not a dictatorship.
I think we can get an agreement over the next few days, and certainly that is what should happen on behalf of the American people. But if we are going to allocate hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer assistance, we have to make sure it gets to the people who actually need it the most.
WHITFIELD: Let's talk about these IRS checks that could start going out as early as next week into people's banking accounts. It's part of that $2 trillion stimulus package. How much of a difference do you think that is going to make for families, individuals?
JEFFRIES: Well, I think it's incredibly important as a first step, and we need to make sure that the Treasury Secretary and the IRS can get this money out sooner rather than later. We were promised that it will begin to go out as early as next week to perhaps as many as 60 million Americans. That would still leave behind tens of millions of Americans as well who are suffering.
And so we are urging people, if you do not traditionally file electronically with the IRS and don't have an authorized direct deposit account, to go to the IRS website and to utilize that tool, input your information, so you can get the $1,200 check as soon as possible.
But it seems to me that we are also going to have to consider doing more, because the pandemic is not going to go away at the end of this month. The financial harm is not going to go away the end of this month. And so as long as it continues, Congress is going to have to step up to provide assistance to displaced workers, to the poor, the sick, the afflicted, to working families, to senior citizens. That's what we should do. That's the right thing to do on behalf of the American people.
WHITFIELD: Because a lot of people are already way behind the $1,200 that they might expect to get in the form of those checks or deposits.
So let's talk about your district. It is at the epicenter of this crisis. What are people telling you about how they're coping and what else is needed?
JEFFRIES: We have certainly been hit hard in central Brooklyn and throughout New York City. But we are a resilient city -- 9/11 couldn't knock us down. The great recession couldn't knock us down. Superstorm Sandy couldn't knock us down, though some have mad the observation that this particular pandemic, both the public health crisis combined with the economic crisis is almost like 9/11, superstorm Sandy, and the great recession rolled up into one moment.
So it has been tough, but New Yorkers are tough as well. And we've banded together. We want to make sure that our essential workers, our health care workers, our transit workers, our postal employees, our grocery store clerks, our first responders, have the personal protective equipment necessary to continue to go out and do the phenomenal job that they've been doing. That has been a focus of many of us on the ground at this moment.
WHITFIELD: All the best, Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, stay well and that to your constituents as well.
JEFFRIES: Thank you. Happy Easter.
WHITFIELD: Happy Easter.
And this just in to CNN. We're told the Pentagon is using the Defense Production Act for the first time in this fight against coronavirus to produce more than 39 million critical N95 masks over the course of 90 days. Already the Defense Department has pledged 10 million of such masks from its own stockpiles to contribute against the pandemic.
All right, coming up, you have questions on the coronavirus, we have answers. After the break, a panel of experts will join me live. And it's not too late to add your questions to the mix. Go to CNN.com to submit one right now.
But first, here is some good news. Actor and Producer Tyler Perry is paying it forward in a very big way to help seniors and other people at higher risk for contracting coronavirus. On Wednesday he paid the grocery bills of everyone shopping during the high-risk hours at dozens of Winn-Dixie stores in his home state of Louisiana and Kroger stores in Atlanta where he now lives. The shoppers were stunned at checkout when they were told that Perry had picked up the tab. Thousands of shoppers received Perry's random act of kindness.
WHITFIELD: Welcome back. From a soaring death toll to new headlines about testing and treatment, it was another pretty busy week of coronavirus news. So as part of our mission to separate fact from fiction, we're dedicating the next 30 minutes to answering your questions, questions you posted on our website.
Joining me right now, back by popular demand, Dr. Darria Long, emergency room physician and clinical assistant professor at the University of Tennessee, and Suze Orman, host of the "Women in Money" podcast and author of "The Ultimate Retirement Guide for 50 plus." Thank you for being with us again.
So first let me talk about a host of medical questions we're getting. Dr. Darria Long, we are going to get to a lot this half hour, but let's start with some right now. First question, "Why are younger people dying from the virus while some older people are not?"
DR. DARRIA LONG, EMERGENCY ROOM PHYSICIAN: Fredricka, we are seeing patterns in that this disease strikes older and younger people, but there are some risk factors that can put somebody who is younger at higher risk. One is genetics. There is some genetic component that increases your risk of being severely ill. But then there are also just general risk factors. We say in the hospital that I may take care of somebody who we say is a young 70-year-old, meaning they may be chronologically 70 years old, but their health is good. They're otherwise fit. They may have the health of someone who is much younger.
We also, on the flipside, may see somebody who is an old 30-year-old who is putting their body through wear and tear. We know other things, uncontrolled asthma, obesity, poorly controlled diabetes and other chronic health conditions all can worsen your chance regardless of what age you are.
WHITFIELD: And then Renee from Maryland wants to know this about testing. She asks "How accurate are the coronavirus tests, and how common are false negatives?"
LONG: So this is a great question from Renee. And she is talking probably about the PCR test, which tests if you are acutely infected with the virus, separate from the antibody test, which I know we'll be talking about later. The FDA and CDC are not releasing the exact accuracy of these tests.
We think that there is probably about a 20 percent to 30 percent miss rate, meaning you could get a negative test and still have it. I as an E.R. doctor, many of my colleagues, we are effectively seeing the same thing when it comes to our patients.
WHITFIELD: And then Kristina from Hawaii wants to know, "Are all soaps created equal? Which is the best one to use?"
LONG: So Kristina, great, great question. I've been getting this a lot. I get this question from my patients, I get it definitely from my friends and family. I get this on my Instagram account where I am answering questions. And as a note, I'm happy to answer people's questions afterwards there as well, because, just like you, trying to separate out fact versus fiction.
It looks like when you're using soaps that probably an antibacterial may be a little more helpful than, say, a generic moisturizing soap. But Fredricka, just as important as what you use is that duration. We say in medicine the solution to pollution is dilution, meaning you need to have that time of the soap on your hands to really disrupt the virus and be able to wash it off. So that 20 seconds is really important.
WHITFIELD: You just sing "Happy Birthday" right?
LONG: Yes. Get that good lather in there.
WHITFIELD: So here is another question for you. "I've heard there's potential coronavirus could return this fall or winter. Is this something we're going to see every year like the flu?"
LONG: So there's two parts to this question, because it's really important that our audience knows that the whole point of doing this lockdown and social distancing, and this flattening the curve that everyone talks about, was not eradicating or erasing the curve. We are not eradicating this illness. So after we release the lockdown, it is likely that we continue to see some waves of the illness. The whole point of the lockdown was to keep those waves underneath what our hospitals could handle.
So whether that is coming back and continuing through the summer or coming back this fall or continuing until we have enough immunity and the vaccines, that will likely continue. This virus will continue to be in our community. The point of the lockdown and the social isolation was as it continues and if it comes back we will have the testing. We'll have the hospital capacity. We'll be better able to manage it as time goes on since this will likely be ongoing.
WHITFIELD: Wow. And then Dr. Fauci has stated that the antibody tests will be available soon. "Is it recommended that every American take the test so that we can figure out who has the antibodies, who doesn't?"
LONG: So, in an ideal world, yes. Let's let everybody take the test.
And some interesting data from Iceland where they have been testing widely, they found that up to half, 50 percent of the people who have the infection, are asymptomatic. So it would be great to know as much as we can, because what does that antibody test tell us? It tells us that someone has been exposed. It tell us that they may have immunity.
And even more important for the immediate, which is what is on everyone's mind, is about releasing this lockdown, because those people who may have been exposed and may have immunity can possibly more safely go back to work more quickly in a really phased, strategic way.
WHITFIELD: All right, stay with me. We've got many more questions that really zero in on life at home, your finances. Don't go anywhere. We'll be right back.
WHITFIELD: Welcome back. We have got your questions, and I'm joined again by Dr. Darria Long as well as clinical psychologist Jeff Gardere and money expert Suze Orman. They are here to answer all of your coronavirus questions.
So Jeff, here is a question for you. A viewer asks how can I stay spiritually connected when I am unable to attend Easter services this weekend?
JEFF GARDERE, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: Well, the Lord says I have many homes, and one of those homes may be the one that you're actually living in right now. So it's important to know that if you can't go to church or your house of worship, you can have it where you live. It's important to be able to open up that holy book every single day, to meditate, to be able to say prayers. And one of the things that a lot of people are doing because they can't get to their house of worship is to start prayer circles that they've been doing online and certainly on their cellphones.
WHITFIELD: All right, and Suze, a viewer wants to know, "How has coronavirus affected the housing market? Is it still a good time to buy or sell a home?" SUZE ORMAN, HOST, "WOMEN AND MONEY" PODCAST: I have to tell you, for
the housing market to go up means people have to be able to afford to buy a home, and I'm not sure that is going to be able to happen. So I don't think that the housing market is going to last with it going up. I probably would not be buying a home right here. If I had to, though, I would be selling a home if I needed to sell it, but I wouldn't be buying at this point.
WHITFIELD: OK. And Dr. Long, Wes asks, "Could COVID-19 spread from second-hand vaping, and how quickly will it get into your lungs?"
LONG: So this is a question from Wes about vaping and can that increase the risk of spreading it to others. I think it is important to answer that, and also your own risk as somebody who is vaping. So there are some thoughts that if you are vaping, coughing, increased coughing and maybe deeper breathing, you may be more likely to spread COVID to other people. But what we also have to emphasize that studies are showing that people who vape, smoke, smoke cannabis, any type of smoking are at higher risk of developing potentially more severe COVID and more complications from COVID.
WHITFIELD: Because of the respiratory, I guess, requirements in vaping, and then that's the vulnerability.
LONG: Exactly. It decreases your immune system and hurts your lungs.
WHITFIELD: Jeff, how do you explain the value and importance of education to a younger student when his or her older sibling just got a free pass to advance to the next grade?
GARDERE: Well, I think the best way to explain it to that child is no one has gotten a free pass during what's been happening in these extraordinary times. What we've been able to do is switch out education to go online. Some students have gotten pass/fail instead of grades because we understand as teachers and administrators that everyone has been affected by this. So the lesson for that child is not that someone got over. It's that we all banded together in order to support that student, and we would do the same thing for them. This is what community we are now finally learning is really all about.
WHITFIELD: And, Suze, Danielle asks this. "What do I do if I cannot reach my state unemployment office?"
ORMAN: Danielle, if there was ever a time for you to be persistent, now is the time. Unemployment was used to taking maybe 200,000 applications a week, not 6 million. So you're going to have to be persistent. Many unemployment offices are actually setting up little areas like at FedEx's, at places that you can go and do it right there. But if I were you, I would be calling at off hours, 8:00 in the morning, 3:00 in the morning, whatever you could do. But you have to keep trying over and over and over again until you get through.
WHITFIELD: And then here is another one for you, Suze. "I have maxed out my credit cards and I have been told to get a payday loan. What is the catch?" ORMAN: Yes, there is a big catch that with a payday loan, the way that
they're structured, please know, everybody, not only are they at about 300 percent interest, but you cannot discharge them in bankruptcy the way they are structured. So the last resort -- in fact, never, you should never, ever, ever under any circumstances, I don't care what situation you're in, you should never get a payday loan. Whoever gave you that advice, don't ever listen to them again.
WHITFIELD: I've never even heard that before. Is that like a third party? That's not something through your own employer is it?
ORMAN: No. That's something, there are payday loans all over the place, Fredricka, where you go and they say cash your check, do these things. You go in, and it's like, seriously, at 300 percent interest. But they're renewed every 90 days, the contract, and that's why they're not dischargeable in bankruptcy. The worst thing you could ever do in your life.
WHITFIELD: It sounds never ending. All right, Dr. Darria Long, Jeff Gardere, Suze Orman, stick around. We have got more questions right after this.
But first, here is a story that's going to make everybody smile. A Georgia bar owner was able to help her now unemployed staff by collecting the cash that was attached to the walls.
Jennifer Knox owns the Sand Bar in Tybee Island, and customers leave their mark by writing on dollar bills and then staple them to the walls and ceiling. Knox collected about $4,000, giving staff members $600 each.
WHITFIELD: All right, welcome back. I'm joined again by Dr. Darria Long, clinical psychologist Jeff Gardere, and money expert Suze Orman here to answer all of your questions that you've submitted to CNN.com.
So Dr. Long, Maegan from Georgia wants to know this -- "If you are wiping down a large load of groceries, can you use one antibacterial wipe, or does the wipe become contaminated at some point?"
LONG: So, Maegan from Georgia, that is my hometown. So when you are using your wipes to wipe down groceries, make sure most importantly is you want to use a wipe that has been approved by the EPA to be active against coronavirus. That is most important.
And then once you are wiping it down, you're asking, do I need to change out the wipes. I would say as long as the wipe is still moist, it's not torn, and it's still able to apply fluid to the container, then you are fine. Once it starts to get dry, then replace it and get a new one to make sure that those groceries are clean. And again, we're talking about that because the virus can remain viable on cardboard for about 24 hours, plastics for up to 72 hours, which is why you want to wipe some of them down. WHITFIELD: Oh, my gosh. OK, just smear it around then, that wipe.
LONG: Exactly, Fred.
WHITFIELD: All right, Jeff, a question for you. Christine asks, "How do I keep my children occupied while I'm working from home?" Oh, boy, that's everybody's dilemma right now, isn't it?
GARDERE: Yes, including mine. You might see a couple kids running through the French doors. Well, one of the things that we do in my household and we think it is very important, now is the time for projects in the home. So home improvement such as painting, getting the kids to do puzzles, making sure that they make their beds, tidying, straightening out things, and of course following the schedules of homework. We want to keep the habit of school going. So all of those things keep them busy.
But the other thing that it does is it keeps them on a schedule and it keeps the self-discipline, and the time goes faster, and they're still able to stay grounded and more mentally stable in that way. So keep them busy.
WHITFIELD: And helping them know they've got purpose, too, right? They have to do less and they have got to check it off.
GARDERE: That's exactly what we found, Fred, that now in this time of COVID-19, we are now working as families and as societies, working as groups helping one another. And we've gotten away from that for too long, but we are back in it, and in the right way.
WHITFIELD: Some kids might find that really useful and helpful, too. So Suze, people are looking for help in a lot of different directions, particularly financially, but this person asks "What type of help is the federal government providing small businesses?"
ORMAN: They are actually doing a lot for small businesses in that they have now designated approximately $350 billion from the SBA that if you have employees under 500, you have under 500 employees, go to your bank that you have a business relationship right now with.
And you can get a loan that will turn into a grant, and it will be forgiven if you use that money to keep your employees with a paycheck. It's called the Paycheck Protection Program. So they're actually trying to do a lot for small businesses. You have to go after those loans, though, because they're being gobbled up right and left right now.
WHITFIELD: OK, and then, let's see, Suze, here is another question for you. If I'm afraid to go to work but haven't been laid off due to coronavirus, can I quit and collect unemployment?
ORMAN: Yes, you actually can, believe it or not. So if you're just afraid. You don't want to go in. You are leaving your job. This isn't now where you have to be fired or furloughed. This is whatever it will take. If you have to stay at home with the kids. If you're going to get sick, if you have to take care of somebody, that is good enough reason. You don't want to leave your house, you will get unemployment.
WHITFIELD: Dr. Long, Jeff from Georgia asks, "If I'm someone who has had the virus and is fully recovered, is it safe for me to now visit my 84-year-old grandma?"
LONG: So, Jeff, this is a question that a lot of people are asking. The big question behind your question is, if you have gotten a virus and you have recovered, are you immune? We don't know that exactly. And we don't know if you are immune, how long that immunity will last. Most likely we think there is some immunity, there's some degree of protection provided to you by already recovering from it.
That said, you'd have to be very careful. And I always tell people right now, social isolation is really important until we hit those peaks. Once each state has reached their peaks, then we can start talking about how to strategically reduce social isolation. Until then I think we can all keep our guards up, even traveling to see your grandmother, maybe your clothes may have some virus on them, some contamination. Right now, somebody who is vulnerable, I think it is really important that we keep those people protected as much as possible, until we know more about this virus.
WHITFIELD: All right, we tried to tackle as many questions as we could in 30 minutes. We did pretty good with the help of you all fantastic experts. Dr. Darria Long, Jeff Gardere, Suze Orman, hope to have you back as soon as we're done here. We're going to be inundated with yet more questions, so don't be surprised if you hear from us again soon very soon. Clear your calendars.
LONG: Thanks, Fred.
WHITFIELD: Thank you so much, everyone, for joining us this weekend. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. So much more straight ahead in the CNN NEWSROOM with Erica Hill right after this.