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Coronavirus Facts; CNN Reporters on Coronavirus around the World; Answers to Your Coronavirus Questions. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired April 17, 2020 - 08:30   ET



ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: John Berman walks down the hallway before me and says, stay healthy. And, one minute later, I walk down that same hallway. Are those droplets still in the air?

DR. HARVEY FINEBERG, CHAIR, NATIONAL ACADEMIES STANDING COMMITTEE ON EMERGING INFECTIOUS DISEASES: The ones that you can see on that video have already hit the ground. They wouldn't be suspended in air.

It is possible, even just from breathing, some of us are much more effective at generating these so-called bio aerosol tiny droplets into the air. In principle, they could be hanging around, but they would also be very diluted, even in most indoor open spaces, relatively large rooms and so on, they get diluted to a point where they are probably not infectious because that also depends on what we call the inoculant (ph), the number of particles that you actually inhale or that land on your respiratory tract.

So this is not really a major worry, but it's an added reason to wear masks outside and when we're in grocery stores or other places with other people around because that does both protect you to a small degree, but, more importantly, it protects others from your speech or your generation of these large droplets.

CAMEROTA: But I want to ask you about that, because that is the conventional wisdom, that we -- that we wear masks to protect other people from us emitting what we see on the left side of our screen in that video.

But when I look at that video, isn't it protecting me -- if I have a mask on, I'm not inhaling through my nose or my mouth all of those droplets coming at me.

FINEBERG: It all depends on the size of the droplet relative to the mesh of the mask or the fiber. You can breathe through the mask, so particles as tiny as molecules of oxygen or carbon dioxide, they're moving through that mask.

The question is, how fine is the mask at stopping small particles? That's why this so-called N95 mask, which stopped 95 percent of tiny particles, are so important for our health worker. For the rest of us, it's mainly about stopping those larger droplets. And you have a point, it probably stops some coming in as well as arresting all of those that you would otherwise put out.

CAMEROTA: Dr. Harvey Fineberg, you have given us an education on all of this. It's really great to talk to you today. Thanks so much.

FINEBERG: My pleasure. Thank you.

CAMEROTA: So doctors on the front lines are giving us a view that we cannot get with our own cameras.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is our ICU rooms. They've all converted into negative pressure rooms.


CAMEROTA: We have more video diaries from inside a hospital in the world's biggest hot zone, next.



BERMAN: New this morning, China has revised the death toll in Wuhan up by 50 percent. Yet another reason to question the information being released by China. But China claims it's not because there were actually more coronavirus deaths. Our reporters around the world have that story and all the latest developments.


DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm David Culver in Shanghai.

Revising the death toll. Wuhan city officials added 1,290 new death cases to its total number. That is a 50 percent increase. It comes as China has faced increased scrutiny over its reporting of coronavirus cases and deaths. CNN reported extensively on the early claims of cover-up and underreporting, some telling us their loved ones were never tested, died after experiencing coronavirus symptoms, and were instead marked as severe pneumonia cases.

In revising their numbers Friday, Wuhan city officials say they did so to ensure, quote, open and transparent disclosure of information and data accuracy. But the new figures are still met with heavy skepticism given the increased distrust with China's early handling of this outbreak.


And on Thursday I stepped into the coronavirus intensive care unit in Tel Aviv Seroski (ph) Medical Center, a process that required me to cover nearly every inch of my body in protective equipment, for my own safety and for the patients' safety.

This ICU treats the most critical cases at the hospital, 24/7. Israel's mortality rate from coronavirus has hovered around 1 percent, one of the lowest in the world because of social and travel restrictions and because of units like this.

SHASTA DARLINGTON, JOURNALIST: I'm Shasta Darlington in San Paulo.

After weeks of infighting and threats, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has fired his health minister, Luiz Henrique Mandetta. The outgoing minister was one of the biggest proponents of social isolation in Brazil. He supported governors when they closed schools and closed businesses, and in some cases mandated sheltering at home.

But that put him at odds with Bolsonaro, who has repeatedly downplayed Covid-19 as nothing more than a little flu, and warned that the economic fallout from the quarantine measures could actually be worse than the virus itself.

CLARISSA WARD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Clarissa Ward in London, where the U.K. government has announced a three-week extension of its lockdown. U.K. authorities saying that although there are indications that the restrictions put in place have been successful, it is still a mixed picture and in some places the numbers are continuing to spike.

While some European countries are already beginning to loosen those restrictions, officials here saying that that would risk a secondary wave of infection that could be even more devastating for the public health system and the economy.


CAMEROTA: Our thanks to all of our correspondents.

Now, back here in the U.S., we have an update for you from a couple we introduced you to earlier this week. This was a couple in Kansas, Brian and Kristen Ward, and they had been desperately trying to get a loan through the government's Paycheck Protection Program to help save Brian's restaurant and his employees at Vikings Grille.


Well, after seeing our interview on Tuesday, state government officials, a bank worker, and even total strangers reached out to help the Wards. Kristen now tells us their loan has been approved, and Brian is working towards getting the restaurant back up and running. They also say they are grateful for all of the help.

There you go, John.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Power of Alisyn Camerota.

CAMEROTA: Thank you. That's --

BERMAN: That is wonderful news.

CAMEROTA: I mean I think that we all know who the real hero here is.

BERMAN: Absolutely.

CAMEROTA: OK. BERMAN: Speaking of heroes, helping others during the coronavirus pandemic often means putting yourself at risk and that's par for the course for volunteers with Team Rubicon, a nonprofit that helps veterans give back during times of crisis founded by Marine and 2012 CNN hero Jake Wood. The group has responded to more than 500 natural and humanitarian disasters during the last decade. Now they are serving the country once again.


JAKE WOOD, TEAM RUBICON: Team Rubicon has launched a nationwide neighbors helping neighbors campaign. Our volunteers are engaged in hundreds of communities all across the United States, ranging from helping to establish testing and screening sites in collaboration with major healthcare systems, to assisting organizations like Feeding America and Meals on Wheels.

Veterans may have taken the uniform off, but they still have service in their hearts. They still have those incredible skills. And in times like this, we should be turning to the veterans in our communities.


BERMAN: Jake is encouraging all Americans to volunteer with his latest campaign. For more about what he is doing and how you can get involved, go to We are big fans of Jake and his entire family.

So, how are people supposed to date in the age of coronavirus? Neurosurgeon and love doctor, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, answers that and your other questions, next.



CAMEROTA: Because of privacy issues in hospitals and quarantine guidelines, it's hard for us to film healthcare workers doing their jobs. So we asked them to film themselves throughout the day as they try to fight this virus. Here's another video diary from a doctor on the front lines in New York City.


DR. ADEL BASSILY-MARCUS, CRITICAL CARE PHYSICIAN: We have a lot of sick patients. Multi-organ failure. Few patients getting better and even fewer patients that need the ICU. But a lot of patients go from good -- they have good days and bad days and often up and down and then when they are down they are worse than before. Definitely challenging.

Another unusual thing we are observing in our ICUs is there is this no family members. Very difficult for family to come these days. And that's creating another element of difficulty for the families not knowing how their loved one is. So we spend extra time try to connect with the family, you know, through a video chat or just simple phone call. But it is very unusual situation where you don't have any family member next to the patients at any time.

This is our ICU rooms. They're all converted into negative pressure rooms. We have a lot of people in the room, or immediately outside. We have a very busy day. A lot of emergencies on both sides of the unit. One -- we go from one patient to another. Interestingly, a lot of our patients are young with no past medical history, unlike the common knowledge that it only affects older patients with a lot of co- morbidities (ph). That's not to be -- not really what we're observing here.

A lot of patients have minimum co-morbidities, like just high blood pressure or maybe diabetes and we have a lot of young patients. This patient here, a pregnant patient, who is, unfortunately, at the verge of being intubated and we're trying to save her. I won't be surprised if she's going to be on a ventilator by the end of the day

It's the middle of the day. Busy as you would expect. Most of our patients are not talking. They are on the ventilator. Sometimes on continuous dialysis. Sometimes not. But there is not a lot of interaction. I mentioned earlier not family to talk to either. So it's unusual for us to communicate with anybody except the family by phone. Just extubated a patient and she's talking. Really made my day and I had a conversation with her and she's getting better.


BERMAN: Our thanks to the doctors for their stories in this remarkable view inside those hospitals and our thanks also to Mt. Sinai for letting that happen.

So, you all have so many questions still about coronavirus and what the reasonable expectation should be.

CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta back with some of the answers.

And, Sanjay, today the questions, I think, are really pertinent because they have to do with where we are as the discussions about reopening begin here. This question comes from Victoria in Washington, D.C. She asks, in reopening the economy, how can temperature checks be touted as a screening measure for Covid-19 if people can be asymptomatic?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Victoria, great question. We're all learning as we go along.

Typically, you know, these types of screenings have been useful for other types of potential outbreaks and epidemics. But, you're right, you know, we are now -- have plenty of evidence that people who are asymptomatic can harbor the virus in their bodies and even spread it and people who are pre-symptomatic. So I think that the screening may still be a tool, but I think this makes the case, as you've talked about all morning, that testing, actual testing for the presence of the virus is the key.

[08:50:10] Without it, nothing else works. Screening is really not going to be effective because of what we're learning about how this illness sort of plays out.

CAMEROTA: OK, Sanjay, on that topic, another testing question. This is from Terri in Virginia. They keep talking about testing as a way to work towards the opening. But if they do testing one time, and send somebody back to work, who's to say they don't come down with it the next day or two days later? Wouldn't testing have to be done daily? Wouldn't the antibody tests help with this?

GUPTA: Right. Right. I mean, you know, it's amazing, people are really starting to understand this. First of all, if you get a positive result, that means you have the virus. That we know. If you have a negative result, it means at the point you were tested, you did not have the virus if it -- if it was a good test.

That's all it tells you. It's a snapshot in time. So it is possible that you could, you know, have a positive test a day or two later. So not only do people need to be tested, they need to be tested with some degree of regularity.

And then there's the antibody test. So if you come back and you have positive antibodies, that's a pretty good indication that you've had an exposure already to this virus, and that you now have some immunity to this virus.

We still don't know how much immunity you have, how long it is, how strong it is. I've talked to many people about this very issue and what they say is, look, we think it's very unlikely people can get re- infected.

We've seen some of the results out of South Korea. We think maybe those were either bad tests or in fact the virus never had left their body, it just stayed longer than we realized. But we don't think the idea of reinfection is possible. So the antibody tests will be helpful.

But, it is true that people who are going into more crowded settings may need to be tested on a regular basis.

BERMAN: May I ask one question.

GUPTA: Think of it more like a diabetes test or something like that. You know, like diabetics can test themselves at home. This isn't a blood borne test, but could we get to that point of testing?

BERMAN: Diabetics test themselves at home multiple times a day.

GUPTA: Right.

BERMAN: So, Sanjay, I want to ask one question about masks. This is skipping ahead here. This is from Carol. Is it safe to wear the same mask in public every time we go out?

GUPTA: Right. So it is safe to wear it. Now, keep in mind, again, I always say this, is that you shouldn't be going out much, right? You should be staying at home. But if you -- if you do go out, you can wear the same mask, but -- and these cloth masks, some of the ones that we've shown here on this program, you can just launder them. Wash them in the washing machine. So make sure you take them off properly so you don't contaminate yourself, and then put that in the laundry room and wash your hands afterward.

CAMEROTA: All right, so, Sanjay, we come to you for medical advice and information, of course, and we also come to you for relationship advice. You are also our relationship guru --

GUPTA: That's very important.

CAMEROTA: And that of the viewers. And so on your podcast, you tackled something that we've all been wondering about. For young people -- well, just anybody who's single. I mean how are you supposed to meet people and date and maintain a relationship in this era of coronavirus?

GUPTA: It's really challenging. You know, it's amazing, people are getting very creative. I mean I really feel for people who were just starting relationships or thinking about starting a relationship at the middle and the beginning of these stay at home orders.

We tell the story of Jeremy Cohen, somebody who a lot of people may have seen on Tik Tok, saw a woman in New York, in Brooklyn, and she was across the way. He didn't know how to contact her. He flew a drone over to her apartment building with the cell phone number. She texted him back and now they have this sort of, you know, this digital, virtual relationship.

They're actually -- you know, they're able to communicate in their own way, but it is -- it is very different. I mean -- and it raises these questions about people can have connection, you don't have to feel socially isolated. But you do lose the physical touch and physical touch is so important. It's important in dating. It's important to socialization and life and everything. So it's a different -- it's a different time. I mean it was amazing how many stories people sent in about their own personal experiences now with the relationships and how they have changed.

I should say that Jeremy, I think, he actually put himself into a plastic bubble once and kind of rolled down the street so that he could, you know, have some proximity to his new -- his new person here, you know, which, I mean, it's going to -- the stories that come out of this in terms of dating is going to be very interesting.

BERMAN: You know, I don't want to tell Jeremy how to live his life, but it may be that he's coming off as being too eager and trying too hard. You know, I don't --

CAMEROTA: There's nothing girls find hotter than a boy in a plastic bubble, am I right, John Travolta?

BERMAN: Yes. Yes. Excellent John Travolta reference there.

GUPTA: Yes. She said that -- she said that --

BERMAN: I mean, Sanjay, can't you just meet someone and move in right away?


I mean isn't the way to do it is if you're going to, you know, just move in right away and isolate with them?

GUPTA: Yes, I mean, look, part of that is you really have to be quite sure about this. I mean this is -- talk about, like, you know, being committed. This is a whole different level of commitment. So if you're going to spend time with them, and you're doing what we tell you to do, which his behave like you have the virus, after that you're all in. I mean, you know, you're going to be self-quarantined together. So it's a big commitment.

I don't -- you know, I don't -- I don't recommend that. And I'm not just saying that from a dating perspective. But -- but just keep in mind, this is still a virus that can cause significant illness. You know, I -- you talk about the deaths, but illness is something that we have to worry about as well.

BERMAN: No, we make light of it, but, you know, a first date that lasts 60 days is a long date.

GUPTA: Right.

BERMAN: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thanks so much, as always.

CAMEROTA: Thanks so much, Sanjay.

GUPTA: You got it.

CAMEROTA: CNN's coverage continues, next.