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Widow of Whistleblower Doctor Talks to CNN; Road to Reopening America; Hydroxychloroquine Patient Study; NFL's First Virtual Draft; Challenges of Dating During a Pandemic. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired April 24, 2020 - 06:30   ET




ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Wuhan, China, is trying to return to normalcy.

CNN's David Culver has returned there to the city to see how life has changed since it became the epicenter of the virus. And he spoke to the widow of the whistleblower, the doctor who sounded the alarm about coronavirus but was silenced by the government and later died from the disease.

David Culver filed this report moments ago from Wuhan.


DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Part of the reason that we decided to return to Wuhan, China, the original epicenter of this outbreak, was to get a better understanding of how life has changed post lockdown. There are many factors to consider. Among them being the mental health challenges that many people face, some of them sealed inside their homes for 76-plus days. And, also, how businesses are struggling to come back online.

But, beyond that, we also wanted to tap into what has been a painful, recent history for many here. And that involves some of the early allegations of cover-up and mishandling and underreporting. Things that we've reported on extensively in the three plus months that we've been following this story.

And the story that stands out for many is that of Dr. Li Wenliang. He was an ophthalmologist who worked at a Wuhan hospital who early on back in December saw a SARS-like illness, as he described it, going around. He flagged it to his friends through a group chat. That got sent to police. Police called him in. They reprimanded him. They sent him back to the hospital where he contracted the illness.

And while battling the illness, he spoke to CNN. We heard his voice, albeit it briefly and belabored -- belabored breathing. And it was very difficult to hear that. And one of the things he conveyed to us was that he did try to sound the alarm, but he didn't want to be a hero. Less than a week later, Dr. Li passed away.

Now that we're here in Wuhan, we wanted to reach out to his family. His widow in particular. We decided to go by her house. We didn't, obviously, want to be harassing and get too close to her in an uncomfortable way because there is a distrust of foreigners, and particularly a fear that we could be bringing with us the virus and exposing people to a potential risk. And so, instead, we were outside her apartment building. We placed a phone call to hear whether or not she'd be willing to share her story.

Now, the voice you'll hear in this is the changed voice of our translator and, out of respect, we decided to not share the voice of Dr. Li's widow. But take a listen.

We've pulled up now to the apartment building of Dr. Li Wenliang. He is really seen as a hero here in China. His widow lives in a building that I'm looking at just down the street here. We're going to give a call to see if she'd be willing to share a little bit with us about this whole experience and how she's been able to process it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (speaking in foreign language).

CULVER: That was Dr. Li's widow who announced her identity on the phone. We're just in front of where she lives. Part of the concern has been, since his story has been politicized by -- by some here, and outside of China, the concern is now that there's more pressure on his family to keep quiet and to (INAUDIBLE) they not share beyond what Dr. Li himself already shared.

Well, at least we tried.

What you didn't here there was her conveying to us that she didn't have time to talk, she's too busy with other things. Perhaps it was genuine. Perhaps it was out of fear of speaking to the foreign media and offending local and central government officials.

Overall, being back here has been somewhat of a surreal feeling. You get the sense that, in some ways this city is eager to recover, to come back online. And, in many ways, there sits this wait, this hesitation of what could be around the corner. A second wave is what many here, John and Alisyn, are expecting to come.


CAMEROTA: Our thanks to David Culver for that update.

So the decision to reopen is up to each state's governor. And we examine the different approaches different ones are taking, next.



BERMAN: New this morning, a number of states beginning the process of loosening restrictions put in place to keep coronavirus from spreading. This is despite warnings from some scientists. Still, with the pressure and need to get the economy going again, what is the right way to do this?

CNN's Tom Foreman joins us now with more.

Good morning, Tom.


Really what's happening is a lot of people are looking into this question of the right way. And what they're saying in this instance, these are like two kitchen fires, the virus and the economy. Both have to be contained, but both require patience.


LYNN SHERROD, TENNESSEE CAFE OWNER: Good morning, guys. Welcome to Little Black Bear Cafe.

FOREMAN (voice over): At his tiny restaurant in the Tennessee hills, Lynn Sherrod's FaceBook postings are cheerful. His reality is not.

SHERROD: We've lost probably 90 percent of our business.

FOREMAN: So, when he heard his state will be lifting many restrictions meant to contain the virus, he was pleased, sort of.

SHERROD: We all need the income and we want the economy back. But, at the same time, we want to do it in a safe and healthy way.

FOREMAN: As calls grow to reopen America, that's the puzzle many big research names are tackling, how do you unlock the closed economy safely?


And certain keys are showing up in almost every proposal.

First, testing.

PRESET: Ultimately we're doing more testing I think than probably any of the governors even want.

FOREMAN: Despite that false claim, the National Governor's Association says in its new recovery roadmap, testing capacity remains inadequate, giving no clear picture of where the virus is or how it is spreading. And most proposal insist testing must be vastly expanded.

Harvard says it should be millions of people per day. Duke, the ultimate goal should be that all patients with Covid-19 symptoms seeking outpatient or hospital care receive a reliable diagnostic test. Only that can confirm a 14-day decline in infections, which even the White House says should precede reopenings.

Second, tracking. Several states are launching contact tracing efforts, meaning, identifying infected people and anyone they had recent contact with, asking them to self-quarantine. Doing that nationwide could require hiring as many as 300,000 people.

But on Boston's NBC 10, one of the leaders of the effort to add contact tracers there explains how it can work.

DR. JOIA MUKHERJEE, PARTNERS IN HEALTH: It seems big until you kind of break it down and realize that spread isn't going like, you know, scatter shot. It's going through social network.

FOREMAN: Third, rapid response. Researchers say hospitals must be on solid footing, protective gear, ventilators and more replenished so the medical system can respond quickly and isolate new outbreaks.

Alisyn Ho (ph) believes it's irresponsible of her state, Georgia, to say she can reopen her beauty salon without such measures.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I'm really -- I am really angry about it.

FOREMAN: And, fourth, continued restrictions. Every credible plan for reopening the nation still calls for degrees of social distancing, limits on travel and only a gradual resumption of business, so any emerging problems can be spotted and a shutdown instantly declared again.


FOREMAN: None of this is going to be easy and it's not cheap. The Rockefeller Foundation study says their plan alone could cost up to $3 billion a day. But we're losing more than that already. And one big caution from all of them, if anybody gets way too out in front of this and makes a big stumble, that could be a giant damage to public trust. And if people do not trust us and don't work together and move forward slowly, we will all pay longer and deeper than we want to.

BERMAN: Yes, I was talking to Nobel Laureate Paul Romer yesterday, who made that very point, that there's a risk to the economy of having to stop and start and start and stop many times. That in and of itself could be damaging.

FOREMAN: Absolutely.

BERMAN: That's a great point, Tom. Thanks so much for being with us.

FOREMAN: Absolutely.

BERMAN: All right, we are getting new information about what has been one of the most anticipated studies into a possible treatment for coronavirus. This is Hydroxychloroquine. There's been this study. We've been waiting for details. Now we have them. That's next.



CAMEROTA: Preliminary results are in from that highly anticipated study of Hydroxychloroquine.

And CNN's senior medical correspondent, Elizabeth Cohen, has the latest.


ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Hydroxychloroquine, President Trump has been touting it for weeks.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So we -- the Hydroxychloroquine is something that I have been pushing very hard.

If this drug works, it will be, not a game changer, because that's not a nice enough term. It will be wonderful.

COHEN: But it didn't work for very sick coronavirus patients according to the preliminary results of the largest study to date, sponsored by the New York State Department of Health.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): 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.

COHEN: This study, done at the University at Albany School of Public Health, looked to death rates among patients who took the drug and those who did not and found no statistically significant difference.

There was also no difference when patients took Hydroxychloroquine plus the antibiotic azithromycin, also known as a z-pac. Trump has been a cheerleader for that, too.

TRUMP: And I just hope that Hydroxychloroquine wins, coupled with perhaps the z-pac, as we call it.

COHEN: The state of New York shared the preliminary results with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

DR. STEPHEN HAHN, FDA COMMISSIONER: It's a significant observational study.

COHEN: The final results of the study, which could be released as early as next week, will include 1,200 patients.

HAHN: Obviously, you need to wait for the entire cohort of individuals to have been treated with the complete course of treatment to get a full read on that.

COHEN: The lead researcher noted that the patients in the New York study who took Hydroxychloroquine were already very sick. He said it's possible the drug could be effective for other groups.

DAVID HOLTGRAVE, UNIVERSITY OF ALBANY SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: One might try and use these drugs perhaps on patients who are a little bit earlier on in the course of their disease or perhaps in a way to try and prevent disease.

COHEN: The New York study is not considered the gold standard. That would be a double blind clinical trial, where doctors take a large group of patients and randomly assign them to take the drugs or a placebo, a pill that does nothing. Results of those trials at Harvard, the University of Washington and other centers are not expected for months.

Elizabeth Cohen, CNN, reporting.


CAMEROTA: OK, our thanks to Elizabeth there for that update.

Now to a subject so many of you have been asking about. What is social distancing doing to dating? "Glamour Magazine" wanted to find out and they will share some of the wild stories they've heard, next.



BERMAN: The first round of the NFL draft, like nothing we have ever seen.

Andy Scholes has more on the "Bleacher Report."

Good morning, Andy.


Yes, this was certainly a different NFL draft experience. You know, instead of hundreds of thousands of fans like you saw last (INAUDIBLE), it was web cams set up across the country and (INAUDIBLE) it went rather smoothly.

Payton Manning (INAUDIBLE) chilling open that honored first responders and delivered a message of hope that we will get back to sports as we know it.

And then Commissioner Roger Goodell taking over from his basement. You know, every year, one of the best parts of the draft is up (ph). Goodell reacting to all the fans booing him on stage. He conferenced in (INAUDIBLE).

Now, the NFL gave equipment to about 60 of the top prospects and each coach (INAUDIBLE) and owner also had cameras in their homes. (INAUDIBLE) many across the country.


And surprisingly actually no one (INAUDIBLE) Bengals select LSU's Heisman-winning quarterback Joe Burrow to be the first opening pick. Third straight year now that the Heisman winner has been picked first overall.

The big question last night, where would Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa get picked after that major hip surgery he had to undergo? Well, the Dolphins (INAUDIBLE) take him as pick number five.

And, of course, (INAUDIBLE). Everything here (ph). Check out Devon Kennard's father hitting the floor when his son gets drafted by the 49ers. Another (INAUDIBLE).

And, you know, since all of these (INAUDIBLE) were closed (ph), we got to see how coaches were taking in the draft. (INAUDIBLE), a very nice, modern setup at his home. Bill Belichick, meanwhile, John, (INAUDIBLE).

BERMAN: Bill Belichick with the same face that Bill Belichick has always.

CAMEROTA: That's him very happy.

All right, Andy, thank you very much.

SCHOLES: All right.

CAMEROTA: OK, how is it possible to date during coronavirus? Well, "Glamour Magazine" took a look at this dilemma in a piece they call "In the time -- "Love in the Time of Corona."

And here to share what they've learned is Natasha Pearlman. She's the executive editor of "Glamour Magazine."

Natasha, great to have you.

I mean this is just a topic of such interest because it's so weird to try to do this, I would imagine, right now. And so you asked your readers to share with you their stories, whether they had just begun dating or trying to build on some sort of romantic relationship. So just share a couple of your favorites.

NATASHA PEARLMAN, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, "GLAMOUR MAGAZINE": Oh, I mean it's been brilliant. One of -- one woman wrote us the most amazing story about how she's been casually -- very, very casually dating this guy for two or three weeks, maybe even (INAUDIBLE) at her apartment on the eve of lockdown with three duffle bags and some steak and moved in and just (INAUDIBLE) house. And, actually, what she said was having started up this relationship has been a bit of fun. They're kind of falling in love.

CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh, because that makes me break out in hives. The idea of a guy that you just met and might like showing up with his duffle bags and moving in I feel hives.

Wow. And so, I mean, is there any way for you to determine from the readers, are they extremely frustrated during this time or are they resorting to creative measures? I mean what are they mostly feeling?

PEARLMAN: What I would say is I think that she's probably slightly more in the minority. No, it's been great. But we've had a few stories of people who met someone very quickly before the -- you know, before coronavirus and then moved in together, but quite a lot of them are kind of struggling with the idea of dating. They're going on a lot of dates.

Our most popular story is "21 Viral Dates to Go on in Quarantine," touring the (INAUDIBLE), dinner roulette (ph), walking on a virtual beach. And lots of people have written to us saying how difficult it is and how brutal the virtual dating world is. It's almost worse than going on a real date because, for example, one woman got stood up after she got ready for her Zoom at 9:30 -- waiting for the Zoom and at 10:30 he still hadn't shown up.


PEARLMAN: And I feel --

CAMEROTA: For the love of God. That's -- I mean if you can't show up in front of your screen, well, that's telling. Good for her to know now.

But -- but about that piece that you say is your most popular --


CAMEROTA: The 21 virtual dates you can go on in quarantine. Just explain to us how that works.

So you arrange a beach date and then what happens?

PEARLMAN: You set up a Zoom, a kind of parallel Zoom to one another, and then, at the same time, on another window on your computer, you video (INAUDIBLE) tour of The Louvre together and you talk about that. You can also -- my actual personal favorite was, I think, it gives you a real insight into your partner is deliver dinner roulette. So they order you a takeout and you order them a takeout as a surprise and then you eat it together over a glass of wine. You can, at the same time, also do a workout together. So, again, log on in one window to a workout and in the other window on Zoom. The two of you can be doing it together. I think that's quite drastic and radical, but, you know, certainly I think it's captured the imaginations because so many of our readers are in this position. You know, whether they have been married before or whether they're in this -- the single world for the first time or still in there, I think this is a real moment where we want to be connecting with other people and nobody wants to be alone. It's such an isolating experience. And that's really what we're getting from our readers is how isolating it can be to be on your own in a house.

CAMEROTA: I think that is the upshot of this, that we still -- that the human condition doesn't like to be alone, whether you're dating, whether you're married, whether you're a child, whether you're -- you're older, and that this just brings it all to the fore. And so we'll see if it has any lasting impact on how we treat each other after this is all over.

But Natasha Pearlman, everybody should if to "Glamour" to check out all of the research that you've been doing and the -- what the readers have been sharing. Thanks so much for sharing a little bit with us.

PEARLMAN: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: Great to talk to you.



CAMEROTA: So today marks a milestone, a sad milestone in the coronavirus pandemic.

NEW DAY continues right now.