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New Antibody Study Suggests As Many As One In Five New Yorkers May Have Had COVID-19; U.S. Jobless Claims Reach 26.5 Million; Alicia Keys Honors Unsung Heroes Of Pandemic In New Song "Good Job". Aired 9- 10p ET
Aired April 23, 2020 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): Anecdotally, we were hearing it was roughly this high. But what it shows is it is more widespread, Anderson, and it also, I think, reinforces the point that the virus got here a lot earlier than any of the experts told us it was here.
It's about 14 percent statewide have antibodies, which means they've been infected, about 20 percent of New York City, just think about that, 20 percent of New York City.
So, it is significantly more widespread than most people had imagined. And I think it confirms the point that it spread faster, and it got here earlier, than we originally believed.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: So, moving forward, when you think about testing, is there a - is antibody testing a priority in terms of the overall picture of testing? Or is it, you know, the other forms of testing that are out there?
A. CUOMO: Well, you have antibody testing, and you have diagnostic testing, right, positive or negative. The antibody testing, I think, is important for a couple of reasons.
Number one, when a person tests positive for the antibody, then you can have that person donate blood for the convalescent plasma, which is probably one of the best therapeutics that we're looking at right now. But also, that is the indicator of the infection spread, right?
So, as you are talking about reopening, and the weather is getting warmer, and more people are coming out, just because of circumstance, or they just - they can't stay in anymore, or you start to reopen businesses, the gauge to see what's happening is the gauge of the spread of the infection.
Is the infection gaining ground? The antibody test is that answer. So, we did a baseline survey now, do that every three or four days, watch that infection rate, is it going up or is it going down, and that's the guidepost to calibrate the activity level.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Governor Cuomo, you know, it's interesting, it's one of those situations if you knew then, what you know now, if we knew that this had been spreading more widely, and earlier, right now, the first confirmed infection, I think, was March 1st in New York.
But I think, undoubtedly, it was earlier than that now, based on all the data that we're seeing. Should anything, have been done differently then, in terms of tackling this at that time?
A. CUOMO: Well look, you know, global pandemic, the words have been used for many years, Doctor. But we've never actually lived through it. So, I don't think that this country - country was ready for it. I don't even think our experts were ready for it.
You know, in retrospect, it seems so simple, right? China has a virus last November, last December. The virus can get on a plane, can go to Europe, can come to New York, can be anywhere in 24 hours.
What made anyone think it was going to stay in China last November and last December? And then, we're taking actions in March. What happened to January and February?
You know, when you look back at it, it seems to be so plain and so obvious. The President has talked - spoken about the World Health Organization, and what they should have done.
But I think we have to take a hard look. Where were the experts, the organizations, the International watchdogs, who should be watching for something like this, because obviously we missed it.
March, we're taking actions in March. I have the first case in March. But the data is now saying it may have been here in January, may have been here in February. And if you look at the infection rate of 20 percent in New York, it makes it hard to believe that this has just been a few weeks.
GUPTA: Right. I mean - I mean part of the reason that I ask obviously is because there was a travel ban from China at the end of January and, as you know, from - from Europe, sort of middle of March and, you know, again, if we only knew then what we know now.
But - but it seemed like the virus was already spreading here at that point. I mean, do you think that those - those travel bans, in retrospect, made a difference?
A. CUOMO: Well, in retrospect, close the door on China, yes, that makes sense. But it had already left China. What made anyone think it was going to stay in China in November and December?
It got on a plane. It went to Europe. It went to in Italy. It went to the Lombardy district, where you have a lot of Chinese workers, and then it was in Europe. The strain in New York came from Europe.
A. CUOMO: It didn't come from China. Close the door on China, the virus is already out. You know, it's closing the barn door when the horse is gone.
COOPER: Yes. [21:05:00]
A. CUOMO: And when you think back, I mean I don't do public health, but I'm not even a doctor, Doctor. But November, December, what made anyone think the - the virus was still going to be isolated only in China after two months?
A. CUOMO: Makes no sense.
COOPER: The - there have been concerns obviously about the reliability of antibody tests in the market.
I know the New York State Health Commissioner said the test your State developed is reliable enough to determine immunity and can - and can be used to send someone back into the workforce.
Do you think he's right? And is that how one of the ways you plan to use this test, moving forward?
A. CUOMO: Yes. Well Anderson, if I didn't think he right - was right, he wouldn't be my Health Commissioner, right?
COOPER: Fair enough!
A. CUOMO: He's a great doctor. I understand the questions about the antibody test. For our baseline survey, what we used it for today, for a snapshot, even if it's plus or minus a couple of points it's still - still a snapshot, and it's still educational.
COOPER: And that wasn't frontline workers, right?
A. CUOMO: The antibody test--
COOPER: That - that was people - you said that it was people who--
A. CUOMO: No.
COOPER: --had stayed home, essentially.
A. CUOMO: Yes. This - the random survey was just random people, literally outside on the street, grocery stores, et cetera.
Normally, you would use the antibody test along with the diagnostic test. So, you'd have a backup. You would know if the person was positive or negative today, and the antibody test would say whether or not they had it, which could speak to immunity.
But I would even take all of these things with a grain of salt because nobody will really say to you directly "If you have the antibodies, you are immune." You know, they have a little caveat there that says "We think." So, all of this is relatively new.
GUPTA: I think you sort of talked about this, Governor, but I just want to be clear on this.
If someone has had the infection, and they've recovered, such as your brother, such as our colleague, Chris, what is the guidance for them, in terms of how they should behave going forward?
There's a still - still a lot we don't know, as you mentioned, about immunity, how long it might last, how strong it is. So, what - what do you tell them with - with the amount of information we have now?
A. CUOMO: Well we say we test them again to see if they test negative. Until they test negative, Doctor, we don't say that they - they are quote-unquote over the Coronavirus officially, until they test negative.
Then, what we just discussed, theoretically, they have the antibodies, and some will say they're immune from the - from the virus. But I can't get a straight answer, or an answer I would rely on, to say how long they are immune or if that immunity is 100 percent.
But I think it's fair to say they have some immunity towards the virus. But I would be cautious about saying it was absolute.
COOPER: You've talked about testing, contact tracing being the bridge to - to eventually reopening or some sort of getting back to whatever it's going to be the new - the new normal.
You announced a partnership with - with former New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg develop - implement a program to test for the virus, do contact tracing. I know you've said Bloomberg is designing the program.
Can you fill us in at all on what it would look like, what the timeline may be to get it up and running, and what kind of, you know, numbers of people we're talking about for contact tracing?
A. CUOMO: Yes. Everyone says we're in uncharted waters, right?
And we're now going on the next leg of the journey, which is the reopening leg. And even if it's not reopening, in a State like New York, which has a significant number still, the weather's going to get warmer, people are going to come out of their homes. Period!
So, you're in these unchartered waters, the one thing you can take is you can take soundings, right? You can find - measure the depth of the water as you go along.
And to me, that's what testing is. Test every three days, every four days, and watch that infection rate. Is it going up or is it going down? If it starts to go up, you have a problem. That's testing.
Tracing is then every time you find a positive, put on the detectives, the Disease Detectives, and trace the contacts of that person.
Who did you go for a walk with? Who did you have over the house? And just trace all those contacts, find the positives, isolate the positives, so they can't spread the disease, which is one of the ways you reduce the spread of the disease.
Place like New York with so many, we have 250,000 people who tested positive, how do you begin to trace all those contacts, where one person can immediately trace down to 10, 20 people?
You're going to need an army of tracers, literally thousands of people, who do this. That has to be ramped up. It's never been done before. That has to be put in place.
And that's what Mike Bloomberg has volunteered to help us do, put it together, train them, and do it on a Tri-state basis, because if you're in New York, that's Connecticut, that's New Jersey, that's Long Island. And no one jurisdiction can do it.
So, it's a very challenging task. I worked with Mike when he was Mayor. I was Governor at that time. And he is a great - great public servant.
He's also gone through this in his - in his own business with China closing and opening, and then in Europe closing and opening. So, he's had experience on all sorts of dimensions of this problem, and he offered to help, and he's a great talent, and we need help from great talents.
COOPER: So, you don't know how big that army of tracers is going to be, at this point?
A. CUOMO: It will be in the thousands when all is said and done.
GUPTA: Governor, I got to ask about this medication, hydroxychloroquine, which I think everybody knows this name now because there's been a lot of news about it. There's a clinical trial that's been ongoing in New York. We know some of that data has been presented to the FDA.
Is there - is there anything that you can tell us about some of the data that we've heard from other places, including the VA, was it didn't look like it actually made a difference really.
What can you tell us?
A. CUOMO: Yes. We had a number of hospitals in New York that have been testing hydroxychloroquine. They gave it to several hundred patients. They compiled preliminary data. They sent it through the State to the FDA. The FDA has the data.
I think from the review that I heard, basically it was not seen as a positive, not seen as a negative, and didn't really have much of an effect on the recovery rate. But I'm not a doctor, Doctor. So, I'm really not qualified to review the data.
COOPER: Is that something the FDA's going to release at some point? A. CUOMO: That's - that's up to the FDA, Anderson. I don't know how they work.
COOPER: Yes. Governor Cuomo, we appreciate your time, and all your efforts, thank you.
GUPTA: Thank you, Sir.
A. CUOMO: Thank you. Thank you for having us. Thank you, Doctor. Good to be with you.
COOPER: In light of new studies and models, including the one in New York, want to turn next to one of the top researchers of the World Health Organization. As you know, the Organization has come under political fire lately, which is a subject for another time.
Tonight, just the facts and the science. With that, joining us now is Maria Van Kerkhove, the Organization's Technical Lead for COVID-19 Response.
It is so great to see you again. Thank you so much for - for being with us.
We spoke to Governor Cuomo from New York State about what they found in this State, when it comes to antibodies and the population. And I wonder what you make - make of that, how it tracks with other places you've seen?
DR. MARIA VAN KERKHOVE, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION TECHNICAL LEAD FOR COVID-19 RESPONSE: So, thanks again for having me. It's a pleasure to be on the show.
Yes. So, we are tracking a number of studies right now that are looking at the extent of infection in people. And this is measured through these antibody tests.
So essentially, when a person gets infected with this virus, it takes a week to two weeks to develop antibodies, which means that the body is reacting to it, and it means that they've been infected. And these antibody tests will be able to detect people that may have been missed through surveillance systems.
And so, what we're seeing from a number of countries, and I just saw an article from The New York Times on the one from New York, but I haven't seen the study itself, that found that's - a proportion of the population, one in five, I think it said, of people in New York have antibodies to COVID-19.
COOPER: Right. It was just - it was just under--
VAN KERKHOVE: Now, without seeing the study, without--
COOPER: It was just under--
VAN KERKHOVE: Yes?
COOPER: --14 percent statewide. In New York City itself, I think it was like 20 - 21 percent.
VAN KERKHOVE: OK. So, what we're doing at WHO is we're tracking these types of studies all over the world. And what we're trying to understand is one, where the studies are being done, how they're being done, so what are the people that they've - they've looked at?
Is it - what kind of population, is it a random sample in the - in the general public? Is it a certain type of population like healthcare workers, and then what tests did they use, because not all tests are the same, and then what did they find?
And in all of the studies that we are aware of, the seroprevalence, so this is the proportion that has these antibodies, ranges from 2 to 3 percent up to - I've seen one that in Germany, up to 14 percent. So that means, in that population, that proportion has antibodies. That means that proportion was infected.
What's interesting about this is that these numbers, this seroprevalence is a lot lower than some of the early models predicted, and may have - that would have suggested that this virus was circulating a lot more and that much more of the population was already infected. So, these studies right now are not actually showing us that.
COOPER: And, like you said, I haven't read the complete study yet.
But from what I've just been doing on the reporting of it is that the Governor said it was - this was not essential workers. This was people who were non-essential workers, who were basically home, which I guess, you know, would - would make a difference, Sanjay.
GUPTA: Yes. No question. I think you want to get a pretty diverse sample to really get an idea of how much penetration this virus has had. If it was only frontline workers, I wouldn't be surprised by high numbers.
But the fact that it was mostly not frontline workers, I think makes a - makes a difference. I mean that - that suggests that this is a higher number. This had more spread than we realize.
I wonder - I wonder Dr. Van Kerkhove, if I could ask a question about this - this report from Stat today. I'm sure you saw it.
It basically was a study from Gilead about Remdesivir, this antiviral medication, lots of interest in this. The World Health Organization put it up on their website for a bit, and then they took it down. But we do - Stat actually published a screenshot. And what it showed was that 237 patients found that Remdesivir was not
associated with a difference in clinical improvement, and that the study was terminated prematurely.
Gilead, for their part, they says - they say that the study was not significant because they didn't have enough enrollment. But obviously, everybody in the world wants to know what's going on with these medications, Doctor.
What - what can you tell us?
VAN KERKHOVE: I mean I think you've just highlighted it.
Everybody in the world wants to know which drugs, which medications are going to work, which medications are going to save lives, which medications are going to prevent people from who have mild disease to developing severe disease, and go on to die.
And I think what you're highlighting is this urgency that we all have to know the results of these studies. There's hundreds of clinical trials that are ongoing right now, and I know you've highlighted this on your show.
And what we're trying to do is we're trying to track all of these studies that are ongoing, so that we can have a better understanding of each of these medications that are being evaluated, how they're being evaluated, understand their efficacy, understand their safety, and understand collectively what this actually means.
Unfortunately, right now, we don't have any evidence that one works yet. And we're working really hard. And we have the Solidarity Trial that we've launched, which is trying to evaluate this in a clinical trial format.
And so, it's critical that these studies get done. It's critical that these studies are done well, so that we can get to this answer that everybody needs.
GUPTA: When are we going to get those results, do you think?
VAN KERKHOVE: They can't come soon enough. So there's hundreds of clinical trials, as I just mentioned. But what we need is enough of a sample to be able to statistically evaluate the efficacy and the safety.
I think we're - I think it will happen soon. You know, as I said, we're tracking all of them. But I think we are, you know, weeks to months away from really knowing this.
COOPER: We got a lot of viewer questions sent in, and I want to get to some of those.
Beverly in Austin, Texas wants to know, "Is it possible by the time a vaccine is found, the virus will morph and the new vaccine no longer works?"
VAN KERKHOVE: So, that's a question, I think, that's what she's asking is if this virus will mutate, if this virus will change, meaning the vaccine - a vaccine that's developed now, based on the virus now, will not be effective.
VAN KERKHOVE: So, we have - there are more than 10,000 full genome sequences that are available. And there're scientists that are looking at these all - all the time.
What we know is that this virus is relatively stable. There are some changes in it. But these are normal changes that you would expect from a virus like this, but nothing that drastically changes it to think that it behaves differently.
So, the vaccines that are being developed now, and hopefully, again, this is another situation where we need these to be rapidly accelerated. So, by the time a vaccine is available, we'll be effective against this virus.
I think what is important from the first question you asked me, about the serology, yes, it indicates that there's more people that were infected than we may have been detected through the - through the surveillance programs.
But it still means that a large proportion of the population is susceptible. And that means that this virus is going to be around--
VAN KERKHOVE: --for a long time. So, we need this vaccine to help get us through this.
GUPTA: Doctor, let's see if we can get to one more viewer question.
Lindy, from Kansas, this is a good question, says "If people are the most contagious before symptoms appear, why do people, businesses, et cetera, use temperature as a measure to determine entrance into an office or an enclosed space?"
VAN KERKHOVE: So, that's an interesting question, so let's break that down into two parts. One is about when people are most infectious.
So, from the data that - that we've seen that are looking at testing people before they develop symptoms, and through their symptom onset, it appears that most people are infectious, the most infectious, right about the time they develop symptoms. And this is even early, early on in symptoms.
We know that they can be infectious before they develop symptoms, a day or two before, but it's really when people are starting to feel unwell. But you have to transmit the virus through respiratory droplets, infected respiratory droplets.
The other issue with that question around the - the temperature is that not everyone starts with a temperature. So, the majority of people who do develop COVID-19 disease do have temperature, but it may not be in that first - first few days.
So, what's important for people to understand is that you could start out just feeling a little bit unwell, and then you may develop symptoms. The thermal scanners will pick up people who have temperature. But there's lots of reasons why people may have temperature.
So, some - some people use those thermal scanners and some don't. But a thermal scanner doesn't mean that you will - you will pick up everybody who has COVID-19.
COOPER: Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, thank you very much. We appreciate it.
Coming up next, Chef Jose Andres, on what he's been doing to try to help those left hungry by the layoffs, and lockdowns, and how his remarkable team at World Central Kitchen is making a difference.
And later, feeding the spirit and soul, a new song by Alicia Keys, dedicated to the men and women still on the job, feeding people, healing them, helping us all get through this. We'll talk to Alicia Keys, and you'll hear the song as our CNN Global Town Hall continues.
COOPER: Another 4.4 million more Americans filed for unemployment benefits since our last Town Hall, bringing the number of newly unemployed in this country to just over 26 million.
Some of it, as this footage shows, can't feed their families. They're lining up for food. This is from just outside Miami, more than a 1,000 families, some sleeping in their cars, keep a place in line.
And we've seen scenes like this playing out nationwide for - for weeks, tens - 10,000 people showing up at a food distribution in San Antonio.
They're a call to action to our next guest, because when people are hungry, after disasters of all kinds, Chef Jose Andres, and his team from World Central Kitchen are there to feed them. We're always glad to see him, even under circumstances like this.
Jose, for those who - who don't know, can you just explain how your program works with World Central Kitchen and what you are hoping to be able to do nationwide, and are doing nationwide.
CHEF JOSE ANDRES, WORLD CENTRAL KITCHEN: Listen, World Central Kitchen, very simple. When people are hungry, when people are thirsty, after a hurricane, or an earthquake, a fire, we show up, and we make sure that we bring food in those emergencies.
Here, we are facing an emergency that every day keeps growing. Even when we are going to be taking care of the health crisis, let me tell you, we have a humanitarian food crisis in our hands.
So, what we are doing is supporting everything everybody else is doing. We're trying to cover the blind spots, the dark spots. It's a lot of systems that are breaking.
NGOs, for a lot of reasons, they don't have enough money. They don't have volunteers. Many of them are shutting down. Food banks are overwhelmed. The school districts are overwhelmed. Supermarkets, all of the sudden, normal things, as getting a plate of food is not so normal anymore.
So, what the World Central Kitchen is doing is simple. Let's use the resources of America to feed America. We are already with more than 500 restaurants, across America, feeding in many cities, in many states.
We are only coming up with very simple and smart solutions to make sure that we are able to feed anybody that is hungry. That's what we're doing right now.
COOPER: Essentially when you talk about, you know, working with hundreds of restaurants, right now, not only are you using some of your own restaurants to - to feed people, you're actually kind of piloting a program that you would like to see the government take up as a - as a program, to basically keep restaurants open by paying them to make meals that feed hungry people.
ANDRES: Correct. That's what we are doing but for a simple reason. We are proving a concept. Let's face it. This is a true humanitarian emergency.
I need the White House, Congress, to recognize that we are in the middle of a true food crisis. The lines are growing up everywhere at the same time. This is not about Republicans or Democrats. This is about Americans, We, the people.
Many people right now, as they are losing their jobs, they are in desperate need of somebody to be feeding them. So, it requires a 360- degree approach. We cannot put the responsibility only on the food banks or in few NGOs or on the school districts.
We need to make sure that the federal government recognizes that need, and they start funding the states, the NGOs, may be the private sector, may be activating FEMA, recognizing that this is an emergency, and making sure that we take care of the problem right now.
Because if not, in the weeks and months ahead, these may become something so big that then it will be too late for us to face. The federal government should step up right now, as we speak, to make sure that every American in need of feeding their families can do so in a simple way.
GUPTA: Jose, let me ask a question just about the - the environment because it goes without saying, you know, that the - the virus is circulating out there. And you want to feed people, but you also, I know, want to keep your volunteers, your workers safe. How do you - how do you balance that?
ANDRES: I invite everybody to follow what we do at World Central Kitchen. Remember Sanjay, that we began feeding already people in Yokohama, in Japan.
World Central Kitchen, we've been at the forefront, putting aside our heroes, our doctors, and nurses, in the hospitals, already taking care of those people in need of food, even during this pandemic.
We follow, from Yokohama all the way to California, in Oakland, we follow the health code very clearly. All our teams are super- protected, very conscious that we need to be protecting ourselves so we can keep doing our job.
Every single restaurant, we make sure that when people are waiting in line, everybody stays six feet away that everybody's wearing masks that everybody is washing their hands constantly that they wear gloves.
At the end of the day, let's face it. I'd rather prefer to be home. I'd rather prefer have every one of our volunteers, thousands of them is staying home, but somebody has to be feeding America.
We cannot just say let's wait for this to go back. These people that are hungry, homeless, elderly, low-income families, children, we need to feed them.
So, it's not for me just to say, "Let's forget about it. Somebody else will." No! We have to do it. We need all to come together.
So, what we're doing is making sure everybody is protected, everybody's healthy, everybody's safe. People go from our Kitchen to (ph) directly home. This is the way we keep them safe.
So, I cannot escape that reality. People are going to be hungry. This is going to be few weeks, if not few months. And, in the process, I cannot just let people going hungry alone at home and being forgotten. We need to make sure that everybody is going to be fed through this crisis.
COOPER: You know, you talk about people being forgotten. And I think it's something that we were going to talk to Alicia Keys about this, coming up.
But one of the things you and I have talked about is how, you know, a situation like this is kind of an X-ray machine, and it - all the problems that have existed in society, inequalities that have existed, really are seen very, very clearly.
We now have a situation where all of us are able to, you know, largely stay at home. I mean, Jose, you're out and about, and - and we're both working.
But - but all of us, the citizens who are able to stay at home are only able to do so because of the pizza delivery person, the farmhand in California, the person picking apples in Washington State, you know, peaches in Georgia, and onions in parts of Georgia, and the delivery drivers, all these people who are not paid the way they should be in normal times, and they're not valued the way they should be.
And you've talked about kind of this being an explosion of - of empathy that we need to have, moving forward, when this is all done.
ANDRES: The weaponizing empathy is a minimum. But we need also, the White House, and Congress, to step up. Just we pass - they passed $19 billion for the USDA and where some money is going to be going - much of the money is going to be going for the big farms.
But that's what we need to be taking care of, the small farms, but more important, the workers, every single farmer, every single person working in the slaughterhouse, the people working in the supermarkets, we need to make sure that we take care of them.
We need to make sure that also we give them protective gear. We need to make sure that they are paid right. If they get sick, we need to make sure that we are actually paying them for being sick, and having to stay home.
Actually, I am expecting more from the White House and Congress to take care of those people that are putting their lives at risk to keep America fed. If we don't recognize that, almost it's like we're not recognizing that we are in the middle of a pandemic, in the middle of a crisis.
So again, I do believe that the federal government has to recognize that this is a humanitarian crisis that if they don't start supporting the states and the cities, many people are going to go hungry.
I just came back from New York, Corona, Queens, Harlem, it's lines of food everywhere we go.
If you're in a public housing, you have sometimes six, seven, eight, 10 people, living in a one-bedroom apartment. This is the same people that make Manhattan successful, is no way that we're not going to be trying to feed those people, keep those people as safe as we can, and trying to solve many of the issues we are facing right now. Many people are underpaid, undervalued.
ANDRES: We don't recognize what they bring to society. And I think this is the moment to start recognizing the value that many of those workers, many of them undocumented, bring to the way of life that we enjoy in America.
COOPER: Yes. I mean suddenly, we're in a situation where undocumented workers are now essential workers, being called essential workers, even by this Administration because they're, you know, according to the Department of Agriculture, a 50 percent of - of paid farmhands, hired farmhands are undocumented.
Jose, it's good to have you on, and we appreciate all you're doing at World Central Kitchen.
Up next, talking about empathy, special musical message from Alicia Keys, to all the heroes of this pandemic, her thoughts and her new song, when we return.
COOPER: It cannot be said enough that the unsung heroes of this pandemic have been the hospital workers, the nurses and X-ray technicians, and doctors, the grocery store clerks, delivery workers, truck drivers, UPS folks, FedEx people, people working in Amazon, and other warehouses.
So many others who don't get praise, and certainly don't get paid what they should, yet they have been vital, a vital link, for our survival. And that is not an - that's not an overstatement.
We would not be able to be staying in our homes, we would not be able to do social distancing, if it wasn't for people, who a lot of folks don't necessarily look at every day, or think about every day. But those are the people who are keeping us all able to stay with our families, and stay as safe as possible.
It's these everyday heroes who are the inspiration for a new song called "Good Job" by 15-time Grammy winner, Alicia Keys, who we are very happy to have joining us right now.
Alicia, thank you so much for being with us.
ALICIA KEYS, 15-TIME GRAMMY AWARD WINNER: Thank you. Thank you for having me. I'm moved by all of this.
COOPER: We had some technical issues. I was glad to see that you were having trouble linking up with us. I had - did my first Zoom the other day. It took me forever to figure out even what that meant. And I know you got your - your laundry set was beeping. You got a lot of stuff.
What is quarantine like? I mean what is - what is your - what are your days like now?
KEYS: Well I'm in my laundry room right now. It's like the - the laundry's beeping and buzzing, and the fire alarm--
COOPER: Are you really in the laundry room?
KEYS: I'm literally in my laundry room. Apparently it's the best signal, I don't know why. But here's where it is, so I'm here.
But, you know, you know in the state of quarantine, it's definitely a - it's a new - it's a new thing for all of us. We're all trying to figure it out. But we're doing well. My family is well. We're healthy. And that's the most important. We're together and we're figuring out--
KEYS: --how to just create a schedule, and keep our frequency high and, you know, we're figuring it out like all of us.
COOPER: Yes. The song "Good Job," I want to talk to you about it because I mean it's - it just comes at such an important time, I think. And I, you know, every day, I ride my bike to work, and I'm lucky enough to be able to still have a job, and be able to come in.
COOPER: And, you know, it is delivery, it's folks on bicycles, delivering huge packages, and delivering food and it's the bus drivers, I mean, it's people who, you know, as I said, they don't - they're not getting paid, you know, the money that they should be paying, and - and normally, society doesn't value what they do. But they are saving all of the rest of us.
Can you just talk about, you know, about the song and also when you decided to kind of dedicate it to all the folks who are keeping us all alive.
KEYS: Yes, no seriously, which is what puts me in such a state of awe because music is obviously so powerful. But this song was actually written a few months ago already.
And it was just as important for different people in my life, different people, my mother, my grandmother, friends of mine, who I've noticed, you know, just getting up every day, maybe they've lost their job, trying to raise their kids, do they ever hear the words "Good job," you know, "You're doing a good job," even when you don't feel like it, and everything's so heavy and hard.
And, you know, fast forward to now, if anybody told me that this would be happening, I would have never imagined, and crazily enough, the song is like as if it was written, for this moment.
And - and so yes, there's so many people, who are our everyday heroes. There are heroes among us right now, you know.
And - and this song really celebrates the fact that you're doing an amazing job, and to your point, these people without them, where would we be, and what would be going on in our - in our lives and - and how - would the world even be going, what would we be doing?
So, it's really - it's really powerful, and I'm so grateful that this song is able to be dedicated to so many amazing people that are continuing to go every day, and helping us, helping the world turn.
GUPTA: Alicia, I got to say, first of all, it's a pleasure to speak to you.
And also, I don't know, whenever I see you, it's - it's calming, for some reason. I think it's your - I don't know what it is, about your demeanor, how you present yourself. I do feel calm hearing your music and - and watching you, so thank you for that--
KEYS: Thank you. Thank you.
GUPTA: --I think, on behalf of a lot of people.
We - I think the frontline workers, every one that Anderson was mentioning, are obviously going to be moved by this. What do you think the message is for everybody when they - when they hear this - this song?
KEYS: You know, I mean the message is, is as one of empowerment and of being uplifted.
I mean I think that we can see that there's so many people - one thing that I think is really powerful about this time is that we see that so many people, there's an empathy, you know, there is a desire to really come together, to be together, to show up for each other, and to understand each other more deeply.
I think there's this - this idea, this separateness that maybe has existed before. And in deep crises or different tragedies, oftentimes, it's isolated to one location. And so, we can obviously feel empathetic for those people over there.
But it's never been in - in the way that it is now, where everybody--
KEYS: --simultaneously can feel the exact same thing and understand the exact same fears, the exact same uncertainties and concerns, you know.
And so, I think that's - I think what the message is, is really, you know, a message of gratitude, a message of thanks, a message of knowing that we are going to make it.
And the way that we're going to make it is by being together is by - is by - is by uplifting each other and sharing, you know, these - these everyday moments that really make us stronger, but specifically, you know, for the essential workers, for the teachers, for, you know, the - the guy at the grocery store that gets up every morning at 5:00 A.M., so that somebody else can eat, for that delivery person that you're talking about that you saw on the bike on your way to work, making sure that - that an elderly person has - has food in the refrigerator or the medicine that they need.
You know, these things that seem so mundane under normal circumstances are huge. And so, the appreciation to those heroes that are walking among us is what the message of this song is, and really just, you know, reminding each other, don't get too down because you're needed. You are needed more than even these words could ever express.
COOPER: Yes. Amen to that.
I want to show the video to folks and then we'll talk a little bit more afterward. It is - this is your music. It's our images. It's the brand-new song by Alicia Keys, "Good Job."
(ALICIA KEYS' "GOOD JOB" SONG HONORING UNSUNG HEROES OF THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC)
You're the engine that makes all things go And you're always in disguise, my hero I see your light in the dark Smile in my face when we all know it's hard
There's no way to ever pay you back Bless your heart, know I love you for that Honest and selfless I don't know if this helps it, but
Good job, you're doin' a good job, a good job You're doin' a good job Don't get too down The world needs you now Know that you matter, matter, matter, yes You're doin' a good job, a good job You're doin' a good job Don't get too down The world needs you now Know that you matter, matter, matter, yes
Six in the morning And soon as you walk through that door Everyone needs you again The world's out of order It's not as sound when you're not around All day on your feet, hard to Keep that energy, I know When it feel like the end of the road You don't let go You just press forward
You're the engine that makes all things go Always in disguise, my hero I see your light in the dark Smile in my face when we all know it's hard There's no way to ever pay you back Bless your heart, know I love you for that Honest and selfless I don't know if this helps it, but
Good job, you're doin' a good job, a good job You're doin' a good job Don't get too down The world needs you now Know that you matter, matter, matter Yes, that's a good job You're doin' a good job, a good job You're doin' a good job Don't get too down The world needs you now Know that you matter, matter, matter
The mothers, the fathers, the teachers that reach us Strangers and friends that show up in the end From the bottom to the top, the listeners that hear us This is for you, you make me fearless
Oh! Don't get too down The world needs you now Know that you matter, matter, matter, yes
COOPER: Wow! That was great!
I mean to be able to do that, Alicia, wow, what a blessing.
KEYS: Thank you. I mean, like I said, I also can't even believe it, the timing of it.
But I'm just honored to be able to share this piece of music that was obviously created for this moment, in this moment, when we need each other so much and just, you know, to give thanks so, I'm grateful.
COOPER: I just watched it. And I was thinking, you know, I - no good comes out of anything like this. But what I - I fear that, you know, I can't wait for this all to be over.
I hope that when it is all over that we don't forget all the folks in those images that we don't forget that we only made it through because of a lot of people who, you know, are risking their own lives and don't get, again, the - the salaries they should, don't get the recognition they should.
I mean, you know, they are essential, not just in a pandemic. They're essential everyday of our lives. And I just hope we don't go back to ignoring them to the extent that people ignored them. I hope we continue to value them and elevate them.
KEYS: Yes, yes. No, you're exactly right. I mean there's so much to learn, I think, from this time, and there's so much to rethink.
You know, I've been thinking so much about how the Black and Brown communities have been so disproportionately affected, just thinking about even how so many low-income families have such a difficult time living healthy lifestyles anyway, and good food, and the cost of it, and healthcare, and - and even the systemic racism that we know is prevalent in America.
I think that it's just, you know, talking about the essential workers, so many of who are Black and Brown, and I feel like it's just time for America to be reborn, and to fix so many of these issues and, to your point, of really recognizing people and seeing people, and recognizing the value, and asking ourselves who do we want to be, who do we want to become, who - who do we want to become out of this?
And - and you're exactly right. I think the last thing that we all want is to go back to whatever was like it's time to go forward.
And even in the interview that you did with Magic, even talking about how this is an opportunity to see the importance of people, and to really recognize that, and - and to shift the perspective.
And - and it's an opportunity to see each other for who we actually are in this time, you know, and change the narrative.
So, I think that these heroes that you're talking about, who we don't want to ever forget, I mean let - let them be the heroes that they are, not just because we need them, not just because it's a crisis, not just because, you know, without them we wouldn't be able to get our this and that, but because these are really important human beings in - in our world.
And we want to, you know, lift each other up. So, this song is for you, this song is for them, this song is for our heroes, so that we can keep going right now, and we can keep seeing the best in each other, and keep recognizing how we're all in this together.
We don't get to do it if we're not doing it together. And it's definitely not going to be done well, if we're not considering all of us, you know. And so, I agree with you, and I want to see that continue. I want to see the change that we know we need. Obviously, we need it, or this wouldn't be happening.
GUPTA: Alicia, you just - you just talked about this. We did a lot of reporting as well on the - the disproportionate impact this has had on the African, and it's had on Black America. And - and--
GUPTA: --it's interesting because in some places you have 14 percent Black American population, and 42 percent infections or deaths. I mean, it's very clear they're being hit much harder than other folks.
And I just wonder when you - when you think about that, is there - is there a specific message to - to Black America tonight?
KEYS: Well I mean I think that that's, you know, it's - it's - we know that it's time for great change. It's been that way. And I really do hope that - that what we're saying is that first of all, we are powerful, we are essential, we are the heroes.
I mean we are - we've been heroes to this country since the very day it started, you know. And I think that we should be recognized accordingly, and we should definitely, it's just time for there to be - this America to be the equal compassionate America that we claim, you know, that we claim it to be.
COOPER: I don't know - we got to let you go.
But I don't know if you've seen, there's this video in a hospital, I think it's in New York, where when someone is able to actually - when someone recovers, and they're able to leave the ward, the hospital workers play - played this song. I just want to play this video. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(VIDEO OF HEALTHCARE WORKERS DANCING FOR EMPIRE STATE OF MIND)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Their play - they play Empire State of Mind every time someone is able to actually get better and leave, and it's their way of celebrating. I mean I - you've probably seen this video. Just again--
KEYS: I love that.
COOPER: --to be able to give voice to something that people use to express such an important moment has just got to be an extraordinary thing.
KEYS: It's the - when I first heard about that happening, I almost I mean I - I couldn't stop crying.
KEYS: I couldn't believe, you know, I born and raised in New York, knowing that New York is hit so hard, you know, just seeing the - the simple joy that everybody - I have goosebumps right now like the way that everybody in that hospital, whether you're a patient, or a nurse, or a doctor, like you know that somebody made it, and we are all going to make it, you know, we're going to make it through this.
To your point, I - I couldn't be more grateful. Music is such a powerful conduit. I know it's getting us all through in so many ways just - just being able to connect with each other. And I think that's the most important thing I would just want to take away.
I'm - I'm grateful to, and thank you so much for - for this beautiful opportunity to have this gift of these visuals, and this - and this, to go along with this song. And I think that the most important thing is that we really are in this together.
KEYS: And we really are going to make it, if we can truly see each other's hearts the way that we are now.
And if we could just take that with us, as we go, and as everything starts to come back, we could just take that with us, and never let that go, I feel like that we've grown, and there's something really powerful that's going to come from that.
GUPTA: Well we certainly want to - want to take that forward, Alicia, thank you so much, and thank you for the Zen, as well. I - I really do feel better, spending some time with you.
KEYS: I love--
COOPER: Yes, Alicia, thank you so much, awesome.
GUPTA: Thank you.
KEYS: Thank you all.
KEYS: It's so good to see you.
GUPTA: And Alicia's--
KEYS: Take care.
GUPTA: Alicia's song is also going to be the inspiration for a new campaign from the CNN Heroes team.
They want you, the viewers, to record a brief video, thanking the everyday people you see stepping up, and helping others through this pandemic. You can just post it on Instagram, using the #GoodJobCNNHeroes, and CNN will show some of them on-air, and online.
And a lot of you have also asked about how you can help, which I find terrific. You can go there to CNN.com/Coronavirus.
There's information there on how to help. There are categories to search for whenever you want to contribute. And you can always find some ways to get yourself some help as well. Another place to go is CNN. com/Impact.
COOPER: Sanjay, thanks so much.
I want to thank everyone who joined us tonight, including Alicia Keys, Governor Andrew Cuomo, Dr. Stephen Hahn, also thanks to those who wrote in with your questions. If you didn't get your question answered tonight, the conversation continues at CNN.com/CoronavirusAnswers.
The news continues with Chris Cuomo after this short break.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: All right, I am Chris Cuomo. Welcome to PRIME TIME.
Look, we know leadership matters, especially now, as we struggle for guidance on reopening. We need the President to be on the same page with science. Doubting the utility of testing, it's just silly.