Return to Transcripts main page


Fauci Says We Still Have A Way to Go with The Coronavirus Antibody Tests; CDC Director Says Asymptomatic Spreading Could Be as High As 25 Percent; Florida Beaches Crowded after Limited Reopening; Brooke Baldwin Says Coronavirus Taught Her That Connection Is Vital to Happiness. U.S. Death Toll Doubles Over A Week. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired April 20, 2020 - 15:30   ET



BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: OK. And I want to ask you about something that also complicates all of this which is these silent spreaders.


KEILAR: Because the CDC director, Dr. Robert Redfield says that silent carriers could be as high as 25 percent. I know you there at Harvard have the number more at 15 to 30 percent. So just explain to us in the idea of how many daily cases we have, how many that would mean are folks who have no idea they have this and could spread it other people?

KATZ: Yes, so based on some numbers that we ran at the Harvard Global Health Institute, it looks like it's about 150,000 new cases of COVID- 19 daily in the United States right now based exponential spread of this virus.

And so, based on data that have come out of places where they've had more widespread testing, we can probably estimate that about 15 to 30 percent of those people will be completely asymptomatic. And again, you need lots of testing to determine this. But somewhere in that ballpark is probably about right. And those people will really never have symptoms.

Whereas the second group we consider pre-symptomatic which means they will be asymptomatic or have no symptoms for the first few days after they've contracted the virus and then will go on to develop either mild, moderate or severe symptoms. So, it is a large number of people.

KEILAR: I mean that's pretty stunning. Because when you're talking about if there are 150,000 new cases daily, you're talking about a ceiling of up to, what --

KATZ: 45,000.

KEILAR: -- 45,000 people. I mean that's -- that's eye-popping. So, when you're looking at the folks who are most likely to be asymptomatic carriers, do you have a profile on them?

KATZ: So, I think that's still being determined. I do think that people who have otherwise been healthy and are young will probably be more likely to be asymptomatic or have very mild symptoms. And, of course, as we know from the data already, as you get older, as you have more other co-morbidities as we call them or other health-related issues, you're more likely to experience symptoms and probably more severe ones.

And I think the biggest risk is you can be spreading this virus whether you're symptomatic or not for up to perhaps two to three weeks from the time that you've contracted it.

KEILAR: OK, so if you're asymptomatic, you have it, you never know, you could be spreading this for two to three weeks. If you're someone's who's pre-symptomatic, you're in this contagious phase, eventually you're going to show some signs, how long are you in this phase of maybe spreading this to other people without even knowing that you can?

KATZ: Yes, it seems to be on average about five to seven days from the time that you've been exposed and have contracted the virus. So, within that first week, if you are going to develop symptoms, you'll probably develop them within the first week.

But, again, those early symptoms may not be the full story. We know already from many cases that those symptoms may start out mild and then get increasingly severe and that's where the challenge lies.

KEILAR: As you look at these protests that are going on across the country, people who -- we understand they want to go back to work, but a lot of them don't seem to understand the science here, that's what our reporters on the ground are telling us. When you look at this, what do you see, when you look at these protests?

KATZ: Yes, I'm just so deeply concerned. I really recognize that people are eager to get back to work and certainly want to support that endeavor. But there is just no way it's safe enough without adequate testing and we just haven't had it. And I think because we were so behind in getting testing out there, we fell months behind. And so, there's really no way to tell how large the epidemic is in any given place right now, because we just don't have adequate testing. It's just not safe for people.

KEILAR: Yes. Thank you so much for putting this into perspective Dr. Katz, we appreciate it.

KATZ: Pleasure. Thanks for having me.

KEILAR: Up next, crowds back at the beach. How local officials are defending the decision to ease restrictions next.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KEILAR: In Florida, the mayor of Jacksonville is defending his decision to reopen public beaches and parks after pictures over the weekend went viral. Packed beaches only a few people wearing masks. And now South Carolina's governor is also expected to lift social distancing restrictions on some beach, river and lakefront access points including retail stores.

We have CNN reporters Rosa Flores in Florida for us and Natasha Chen is in South Carolina.

Rosa, I want to start with you. These beaches reopened for the first time since being closed due to coronavirus, are Floridians taking the proper precautions? Because looking at the video it doesn't appear that way at all.

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think the video speaks for itself, Brianna. Take a look. Roll that video. You'll see that people flocked to the beaches with towels and coolers in tow.


But you'll see very few masks. Now, the mayor of Jacksonville defending his position today during a press conference saying that people are responding well, that they're following the rules. But this move is being criticized by U.S. Congresswoman Donna Shalala. She's a Democrat here from Florida calling the move reckless and premature. Take a listen.


REP. DONNA SHALALA (D-FL): And you cannot open up the beaches as much as I'd love to run down to the beach, opening up the beaches is the most dangerous thing that you can do. We must demand leadership from our leader in Tallahassee and in Washington because this is about life and death.


FLORES: Now when she talks about leadership in Tallahassee, she's talking about Governor Ron DeSantis, the governor here has been heavily criticized from the onset of this pandemic for not closing all of the beaches here in Florida.

He did issue a statewide stay-at-home order earlier this month, but it included an exception for recreational activities, that includes running, walking, which is exactly what you saw along those beaches.

And, Brianna, we know that the governor has left the decision to open or close beaches to local authorities, and that's why you see the mayor there in Jacksonville exercising that power, reopening the beaches this weekend and those videos, of course, going viral -- Brianna.

KELAR: So, is there an exception, Rosa, for folks taking their coolers or is it really just supposed to be for exercise? FLORES: You know, it's really just supposed to be for running,

walking, exercise. As a way for people to get some exercise during these quarantine times when everybody is supposed to stay home.

Now we understand that there in Jacksonville there are police officers patrolling the beaches, making sure that people are social distancing, that they're not just loitering around. But as you saw in that video, Brianna, the video speaks for itself. Some people appear to be exercising that and others are not -- Brianna.

KEILAR: Yes, some of these times you can see it is just so crowded. Rosa, thank you so much for that.

And Natasha, let's talk about South Carolina. Because there's over 4,000 coronavirus cases there, there's 120 deaths. So what restrictions is the governor wanting to lift?

NATASHA CHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, he's about to talk about that in a few minutes inside at a press conference. But I've been speaking to someone with direct knowledge of the plans and we're told that these businesses that had closed on April 6th during an executive order, those are the ones he would like to reopen. And they include furniture stores, places that sell clothing, jewelry, shoes, books, music, florists, flea markets, department stores, sporting goods, so they are welcome to open but with the restriction of keeping it to a 20 percent capacity.

Now they're also talking about reopening beaches, which has very much concerned the beach towns that say they're still going to restrict that to residents only regardless of what the governor's order says.

And I've just been talking to a person who was laid off from a furniture store. He has been unable to get his unemployment processed for two weeks. He has not gotten a stimulus check and so he's really in need of income and he's hearing about these furniture stores perhaps reopening but also worried about whether he'll get sick because he has asthma. Here is what he told me.


JOSH OUTLAW-HUGHES, LAID OFF FURNITURE WORKER: I could be risking infecting myself. I could be risking infecting others. I would rather stay home until I know it's safe, until the health professionals have told us that it's safe than go out and risk all that.

But at the same time, I'm running really low on money. So, I'm between a rock and a hard place of do I go back to work to try and make money and risk getting sick or do I stay home and go broke?


CHEN: Now the South Carolina Retailers Association tells me they've been working with the governor's office, that their retailers are putting together precautions for their employees and their guests, and at same time you have these beach towns very concerned. In fact, representative Joe Cunningham whose district covers those

Charleston area beaches, he said that this is a decision that should be left to the local municipalities and leaders, they are dealing with different situations perhaps than the rest of the state and it's really up to them, he says.

KEILAR: All right. Natasha, thank you for that report from South Carolina.

And next we will check in with CNN's Brooke Baldwin on the road to recovery from coronavirus. Her experience battling what she called a full two-week beating.



KEILAR: Well, she refers to herself as one of the lucky ones and she certainly is. You know Brooke Baldwin as the CNN anchor who's usually in the chair this hour. I'm not supposed to be here, I'm just pinch hitting, because coronavirus knocked her out for a solid two weeks.

Brooke at this point is up and recovering and she wants to share a gift that she learned while she was battling coronavirus. So, let me bring in Brooke Baldwin, one of my dear friends. And just tell us how you're doing, tell us how your husband James is doing.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST WITH CORONAVIRUS: First of all, it is so nice to talk to you, my dear friend, on this show. I never thought I would -- I knew I would get to this point, but man, I feel like I went to hell and back. And I was one of the lucky ones.

I love you asking about my husband, first and foremost, he's OK.


BALDWIN: Amazingly, he was totally exposed. Like we tried for the first two days.


The doctor was like, use separate bedrooms, separate bathrooms. So that lasted for a whopping two days. And then around day three is when the virus really took hold of me, just like debilitating body aches, fever, chills. And at night almost like this eerie melancholy would creep in. And you know me, I'm a glass half full chemically blessed kind of gal, so it was just really odd to feel that way as the evening would wear on, I would cry.

And, you know, by day three he was like, forget this physical distancing, he just would hold me and just whisper, you're going to be OK, and thank goodness I am.

KEILAR: And so, you wrote a personal essay on and you talked about what you learned. Can you tell us a little about that? BALDWIN: Yes, I mean it's crazy, and by the way, I think what I

learned, everyone can feel, because even though I was, you know, laid up in bed and feeling so hyper-isolated and unwell, you know, we're all in this together. We're all in this odd time of total self- isolation.

I mean don't you just miss reaching out and just touching, hugging someone? And so, I think the two biggest, dare I say, gifts of this coronavirus for me, number one, was clarity. You know, clarity comes from when we all have so many distractions and things on a calendar and kids and self-expectation.

And so, for me, it was like I -- my sickest days, I stopped thinking and really started feeling. And I think -- I started thinking a lot about, you know, joy. Why don't I go to the beach more? I'm like, suddenly obsessed with Charleston, South Carolina in a way that I never have been. And I just want to be at the beach, I want to see the sea.

I thought a lot about my marriage. You and I are similar gals, we like to do things on our own. And having my husband take such amazing care of me, I was able to say to myself, like, you don't have to be this self-reliant, super independent woman, you know, let him lover you, let him take care of you.

And the other gift was really connection. You know, when the story broke, I couldn't believe it, that I was sick. Thousands of people reached out to me. And the truth is, Brianna, I was initially uncomfortable with it. You know, I'm a journalist, my resting state is giving someone else the attention, not being on the receiving end of it. And I learned that I actually needed that love. I leaned into the love and prayers and the support. And I heard from all kinds of people.

And whether I know you or I don't know you and you sent me that love, I'm so grateful. And I realize that in these times of hyper-isolation, that kind of community, that kind of connection is a gift and we're all capable of just -- just being there for one another in a way that I think we haven't been in a long time.

KEILAR: We have just a quick second here, Brooke, but I wanted to ask you this, because I remember I had to fill-in anchor for you a few years ago when you had the flu, you got waylaid by that for about a week. And I was wondering how that -- having the flu compares to having coronavirus for you?

BALDWIN: Sure. I think just quickly, you know, you go into the flu, it's awful, but you know it's like basically a finite, five days, knock-down, drag-out fight with your body. You know it's a virus, you know you can't take anything for it, and you just sit in bed.

With coronavirus, it's like, I'm kind of OK in the beginning, and then, oh, no, you're not. I joke but I'm serious, it's like my body gave me the middle finger. Thank goodness my lungs did not, I was one of the lucky ones. Then you get a little better. And then my worst night came like over on night nine. You just don't

know what you're headed for and this is not a cookie cutter virus, it affects everyone differently. And I had no idea what I was getting into, and I think that was part of the fear. It was that and the isolation and the just not knowing when it would end, was awful. But I'm OK.

KEILAR: Yes, the unknown, the not having your comforts. You are very OK from appearances at least. We know that you're going to be on the mend a little bit longer as well. So, we're thinking of you, Brooke, we're thinking of James, and we hope to see you back here very soon.

BALDWIN: Love you, sister.

KEILAR: Love you too. Talk to you later.

All right. Coming up, a new warning, even if you recover from coronavirus, you could still get sick again. We're going to talk to Dr. Sanjay Gupta about that and more.



ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.

We begin this week with the coronavirus death toll in the U.S. standing at a staggering 40,000, to be precise it's 40,931.

This same time last week, the death toll was roughly 23,000. So that's roughly a doubling of the number of lives lost. A huge and horrific jump.

There's a person behind every one of those numbers, a stark example of the tragedy. Sunday's edition of "The Boston Globe" printed 16 pages of death notices. Boston is among the cities being closely watched right now by the White House Coronavirus Task Force, along with Chicago and Philadelphia.

This all comes as Dr. Anthony Fauci is once again warning the nation if restrictions are lifted too soon, the coronavirus could have a resurgence.