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Trump: School Districts In Hotspots "May Need" To Delay Reopening For A Few Weeks; New CDC Guidelines Come Down Hard In Favor Of Opening Schools; U.S. Hits 4 Million Coronavirus Cases Today, At Least 144,000 Deaths. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired July 23, 2020 - 20:00   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Hello, welcome. I'm Anderson Cooper in New York.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: And I'm Dr. Sanjay Gupta. This is our 18th CNN Global Town Hall, CORONAVIRUS: FACTS AND FEARS. It's being seen around the world on CNN International, CNN Espanol and streamed on

COOPER: We start off tonight in a very bad yet totally foreseeable place. The experts warned it could come to this and now, sadly it has. Cases today crossing the four million mark in this country. Not so long ago, it was 15. Not 15,000 or even 1,500 people, it was 15 people and the President was saying it would soon be zero.

And sad tonight, it is four million plus.

GUPTA: And the pace of growth is also accelerating. It took 99 days to reach to a million confirmed cases, 43 days to go from one million to two million, more days to add another million. And Anderson, we've gone from three to four million in only 15 days.

COOPER: Wow. The President spoke out today, and made no mention of that milestone or the 144,000 of those four million plus, 144,000 people in this country who have now died.

He did however cancel the portion of the Republican National Convention in Jacksonville, Florida, no real surprise there. New deaths in the state, 173 reaching yet another daily high. He also continued his push for classrooms to reopen without really a national plan.

And just moments ago, those revised and delayed C.D.C. guidelines on the subject came out. We've been going through them. We're going to bring the very latest on what they say and what has changed, and remember, the President said that they were too tough before and too impractical.

We'll talk about all of this tonight with Bill Gates whose foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is supporting promising work on vaccines. GUPTA: And we're going to be taking your questions as well, so will

Bill Gates, tweet them to us with the #CNNTownHall or leave a comment on the CNN Facebook page.

COOPER: A lot of you have sent in questions in video form. You can see some of them up on the screen right now. We'll get to as many as we can tonight with Bill Gates.

We'll also have reports from across the country from the White House and the breaking news from there as well as the ballpark where baseball is back for the first time. We start with where we are right now.


COOPER (voice over): More than 144,000 people in the United States have died of the coronavirus. C.D.C. is estimating that number will surpass 150,000 in the next three weeks.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's so important to get the message out, we're still at the beginning of this pandemic.


COOPER (voice over): Twenty three states in the country, you're seeing a rise in their numbers. Texas saw a record number of deaths this week and hospitalization rates are up across the country.

California now has more confirmed cases than New York. Officials there are still considering a widespread stay-at-home order.

White House Taskforce coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx warns there are alarming increases in 12 cities across the nation.


DR. DEBORAH BIRX, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE COORDINATOR: There are other cities that are lagging behind that and we have new increases in Miami, New Orleans, Las Vegas, San Jose, St. Louis, Indianapolis, Minneapolis, Cleveland, Nashville, Pittsburgh, Columbus, and Baltimore, so we're tracking very closely.


COOPER (voice over): Birx said aggressive steps are needed to control the virus. At least 30 states now require wearing masks in public. Social distancing and masks remain key as we wait for a vaccine, and officials say, there is progress on that front, but even if a vaccine proves to be effective, public health officials warn this virus may never go away.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: I think we ultimately will get control of it. I don't really see us eradicating it.


COOPER: Reality check from Dr. Fauci. Sanjay, where do you think we stand tonight?

GUPTA: Well, Anderson even though these last five months have felt like five years, we are still very much in the early days. And look, the pandemic is picking up speed.

One professor described this pandemic as a large ship. When a large ship like that first starts to move, it can be relatively easy to stop, but as it gains speed and it gains momentum, it's harder to stop even if you slam on the brakes. So it's going to take more extreme measures now and it is going to take patience.

One of the more alarming things we heard today was that the C.D.C. is now saying COVID-19 will be among the leading causes of death in the United States just behind heart disease and cancer.

We've had more deaths from this than diabetes, Alzheimer's and stroke. Imagine that for a disease that didn't even exist in humans until the end of last year.

And despite all of that, we still don't have nearly enough testing. Instead of doing surveillance, we are just now using test to point out spots in the country where there is bleeding so we can try and apply some pressure to the wound.

Anderson, I was in the operating room this weekend and despite the fact that we could do brain surgery on someone, we could get all sorts of tests ahead of time from coagulation numbers to a CT scan, we still couldn't get a COVID result fast enough.

Meaning all of us -- surgeons, nurses, anesthesiologists -- we all had to use up PPE to try and protect ourselves. That is no way to stop a pandemic.

And Anderson, we know the mental health of the country is also increasingly fragile. Last year at this time, one in 15 Americans reported they had depression. Now, they say it is one in four. So it's tough all around on all of us.


GUPTA: But Anderson, I've got to tell you, you know what makes me happy? Getting these pictures that you send every now and then. That really does bring a smile to my face and thank you for sharing them.

COOPER: Yes, that's Wyatt.

GUPTA: He is cute.

COOPER: Yes, he has no idea of anything that's going on outside and I'm very happy about that. But he is -- yes, that's my favorite picture. He is really quite adorable. He smells like milk, like I feel like he's so full of milk that like if he got accidentally cut, it would be milk that comes out.

GUPTA: He is a curious adorable boy.

COOPER: Yes, my favorite is waking up and like getting to his room in the morning to be there when he wakes up because that's -- there's nothing better in the world. Well, thank you, Sanjay. Appreciate that.

GUPTA: Of course. Thank you.

COOPER: More now on the President's announcement today that the Jacksonville Florida portion of the Republican National Convention will not be happening.

CNN chief White House correspondent, Jim Acosta joins us now. So Jim, let's talk about how this came about because originally again, it was supposed to be elsewhere.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes Anderson, I think some of this started on Monday. The Sheriff down in Jacksonville, the local Sheriff announced to that community down there that he did not have the resources available, the staffing available to police, essentially, and provide security for this Republican Convention down in Jacksonville.

And I talked to a Convention official earlier this evening, who said, the Sheriff making that announcement and that Sheriff being tied to local politicians in that area who also had concerns about this, that some of those concerns were being relayed to Republican officials down in Jacksonville and that was being communicated up to Washington inside the Trump campaign and over to the White House.

And I talked to this Convention official earlier this evening, Anderson who is describing a scene of chaos saying the situation is chaos inside the R.N.C. right now after the President pulled the plug on Jacksonville, saying that there are some staffers who were down in Jacksonville who don't know what to do now. They don't know whether they should go home or whether they should go to Charlotte where the Republican Party and the Trump campaign were planning to have delegate meetings for the Republican Party around the nomination of President Trump for a second term.

And in the words of this convention official, Anderson, this is a quote, "multimillion dollar debacle." And who knows where that money could have gone.

This convention official essentially saying they've spent millions and millions of dollars on hosting this event in Jacksonville. It could have been better spent on perhaps fighting against this virus.

GUPTA: Jim, did they say what the rationale was really for moving it?

ACOSTA: Well, the President had this news conference, Sanjay over here at the White House earlier this evening and he was saying that, you know, he just could not in good conscience have a speech and a party down in Jacksonville, given all of the health concerns. But truth be told, Sanjay and you know this, we've all been following

this for weeks now, the President moved this event down to Jacksonville because the officials in Charlotte, North Carolina where the convention was originally supposed to take place were not bending to the President's wishes to have a big splashy convention in the middle of the pandemic.

And so the President really put himself in this position. He's been his own worst enemy at times in fighting this virus. He wanted this down in Jacksonville, Florida, and then that state became, as you know, Sanjay, just one of the biggest hotspots in the country with cases surging, and so the President had to pull the plug.

But talking to this Convention official earlier this evening, this is a very depressing move by the President because they were getting eager to have this party for the President. Now they can't do it.

But Sanjay and Anderson, one thing I will tell you talking to this official, and I think it is pretty telling, there are officials inside the R.N.C. who weren't even sure they were going to show up for their jobs down in Jacksonville because they were so worried about this virus. So this really spun out of control for the President.

COOPER: Jim Acosta, appreciate it. Coming up next, Randi Kaye who is in Florida where the convention will not be. Let's talk about the situation in Florida -- Randi.

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's pretty bad, Anderson, so it's no surprise that the President would cancel that convention -- 10,249 new cases and a record number of deaths, 173 we are reporting today. That brings the total to more than 5,500 deaths here in the State of Florida, and we're getting word just yesterday, a nine-year-old girl becoming the fourth minor to die from COVID.

We have two 11-year-olds, a 16-year-old and a 17-year-old and now more than 25,000 minors, those under 18, infected with this virus. Also statewide, 9,400 people hospitalized, 15 percent of the ICU beds are left. That's all we've got. And 54 hospitals are without any ICU beds at all.

Also 51 hospitals around the state requesting more medical staff, in fact, 2,400 nurses have been requested in 12 different counties and in Miami-Dade, the worst hit county of all here in Southern Florida, the positivity rate is 20 percent, about 2,000 people are hospitalized in that county and Sanjay, they have completely run out of ICU beds. They're now converting regular beds to ICU beds in the hospitals there.


GUPTA: I mean, yes, it's tough to find the space and where are you, Randi? Are you in front of some sort of stadium there? What's going on there?

KAYE: I'm at the FITTEAM Ballpark. You can probably see a little bit over my shoulder here. This is where the Washington Nationals actually do their spring training. But it closed up here in March. They packed their bags, the National Guard took it over and turned it into a testing site.

We actually were here earlier and got some video of people coming here and getting their tests done. They tell us they've done about 30,000 tests here since March, since they've turned it into a test site.

But it's not just the long lines that we saw, it's people here in Florida, waiting two and three weeks, some of them for getting to get their test results and that just can't continue.

The Governor today, saying that he is going to start these self-swab lanes. There's already four of them. These are expedited lanes. He is going to open another four by the end of the week.

But then he's also talking about maybe hopefully opening these priority lanes for healthcare workers, people who have been exposed, the elderly, but a lot of people are wondering, well, why are we still talking about that? Why haven't we done that?

We've been spiking now since June, and in fact, just very quickly I spoke to this one -- I was in contact with the mayor of Holly Hill, Florida before coming on the air tonight, Chris Via. He has been waiting 16 days for his test results. A mayor in Volusia County, he finally just went to another lab and got tested. He couldn't wait anymore and he is pushing the Governor to open some of these priority lanes in Volusia County. He is hopeful that it will happen.

COOPER: Still talking about testing. I mean, it's just -- it's extraordinary that you know, and waiting -- the idea of waiting two or three weeks for results. I mean, we'll talk to Bill Gates about this.

But you know, he was on months ago talking about this saying, you know, a delay like that, it just means -- the test is kind of meaningless because you spend two or three weeks interacting with other people and maybe you've been passing on the virus.

Just as training camps are adapting, so are ballparks. It is the opening day for Major League Baseball. No people in the stands down at the field at the National Park in Washington, a well-known fan of the field throwing out the first pitch. Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And now one of the more well-known Washington National fans, Dr. Anthony Fauci to throw out the first pitch.


COOPER: Dr. Fauci throwing out the first pitch. I'm no sports expert, but it looked a little wide to me.

GUPTA: A little wide, a little low, hitting the ground.

COOPER: I've heard it's really hard to do that, though. I have a friend who did that and yes, it hurts really hard. Threw out the first pitch, he was invited to the stadium, no longer

invited to attend the President's briefings anymore, neither he nor any of the scientific authorities permitted to be in a position to correct anything the President might say what used to be the daily Coronavirus Taskforce briefings.

Dr. Fauci's presence in the ballpark obviously says something about where we are at the moment. So do the fact that just today we learned that one of the National's young star outfielders, Juan Soto has tested positive for the virus.

CNN's Tom Foreman is at the ballpark for us tonight -- Tom.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Anderson. You rarely see the ceremonial first pitch and attempt to walk the batter. But nonetheless, that's how it went.

This is the strangest opening day for Major League Baseball, ever, frankly. And this will be the shortest baseball season since the 1880s. They are only going to play 60 games, which is about a third of the season.

The goal here is to keep most of the teams playing in a general region, so there's not a lot of travel. There will be all sorts of health protocols. Players will be checked for COVID every two days. They will have temperature checks every day.

They will not be allowed to mix it up on the field. There's no spitting. There's no high fives and even though you heard some noise there when Dr. Fauci was trying out the ball, there are no fans. Fans are remote.

There are cutouts of fans in the stands and people at home can use their computers or their phones to tap an app to indicate if they like something or don't like it and sound will be piped into the stadium to give a sense of how fans would be reacting.

But as I said, no matter how you do it, the strangest opening day of baseball we've ever seen.

GUPTA: And I should point out as well, I think the NBA and the NFL, excuse me, are also preparing to return to play. The NBA is talking about this bubble approach. What are you hearing about those other precautions -- Tom.

FOREMAN: The bubble approach is really a novel idea. Basically, they're saying let's get everyone together down there at Orlando. Let's sort of screen everyone in safely and then let's keep them in a sealed sort of screened environment while they all play against each other in a limited forum basically.

And in doing so, with teams that were selected because they had a chance of being playoff teams, we'll winnow it down, move toward a playoff and have an NBA playoff if, if nothing goes wrong and they don't have some breakout of the disease that drags it all to a stop.


FOREMAN: The NFL is even more complicated. They have a little more time to hold. They would start in September. But the problem for the NFL as they're still talking about having teams travel in their typical 16-game season, all over the country going to different places, playing in different stadiums, and it's not clear what the protocols will be in each stadium.

For right now, going into camp, one of the most famous players out there, Tom Brady, the quarterback showed up today. He was tested for COVID. That's step number one for everyone coming in. There will be repeated tests, repeated census of are you safe before you can even start mixing it up with other players?

But for the NFL to pull off the kind of season they want to pull off. That is a tremendous reach right now.

COOPER: Tom Foreman. Tom, thanks very much. Coming next and for the bulk of the rest of the hour, Bill Gates talking about vaccine research and other ways of stopping the spread of this virus, taking your questions as well as our CNN Global Town Hall continues in a moment.


COOPER: This is our 18th CNN Global Town Hall. It's obviously happening in a far darker place than anyone would have hoped, more than four million Americans have so far been infected.

GUPTA: More than 144,000 lives have been lost as well and back in 2015, our guest tonight foresaw a pandemic like this one.

COOPER: Yes. Now, through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and support for vaccine research, Bill Gates is helping to lift the cloud that we're all living under.

He is co-chair of the Foundation, which is on the forefront of the battle against HIV, malaria and neglected tropical diseases and now COVID.

Bill, thanks so much for being back with us. It's been four weeks since you were last with us in these Town Halls, more than 20,000 Americans have died since then, since we last spoke about this disease, a million and a half more have become infected in those -- in that time.


COOPER: It's certainly clear we're in a worse place than we were back then four weeks ago. I'm just wondering to you what stands out right now in terms of where we are in the trajectory of this?

BILL GATES, CO-CHAIR, BILL AND MELINDA GATES FOUNDATION: Well, the infection rate in the U.S. is deeply troubling, because the summer when it's warmer, when people are indoors more, actually, it's easier to reduce the infection than it's going to be out in the fall, And right now, those infections are largely in young people, which

means the death rate, although it's come up is nowhere near its peak.

As those infections cross over the generational boundary, which with this level of infection, there will certainly be some of that, the death rate will go back up.

And so we're in a very tough situation. Globally, there are many countries now that are in their first wave, and for them that are a lot poorer, that's very difficult -- South Africa, India, really large numbers there.

So, you know, things are definitely on sort of the bad side of what we would have predicted four weeks ago.

GUPTA: You know, when you were here in May, Bill, there was a study that we talked about. It came out by researchers at Columbia, and it basically said if we had shut down just two weeks earlier, it would have prevented more than 80 percent of infections.

So, you know, for example, instead of four million now, there would probably fewer than a million, and we didn't do it, obviously. But I think the question now looking forward is, did we learn the lesson?

I mean, nobody wants to shut down again. But do we need to shut down only some parts of the country? How do you balance the public health versus economy sort of back and forth now six months into things?

GATES: Well, there's certainly some activities that the benefit they provide versus the risk of infection means they -- you know, probably shouldn't be allowed for the rest of this year and until the numbers get way, way down. Going to bars -- in fact, I joke if people went to bars and they didn't talk, it would be okay. They just sit quietly and drink.

But, you know, restaurants, public gatherings, we should have clamped down on those even more at the time we opened them up and people said, hey, your cases are increasing, so you can't be opening up and people hoped that we'd get away with that because people liked to come out, but we didn't in most parts of the country, we didn't get away with it.

GUPTA: Four days after the first person in the United States was confirmed to have died from coronavirus, which wasn't too far from Microsoft headquarters.

Back then Microsoft told their employees, they could work from home. It was just one patient at that point. And that was a big decision, I imagine. Do you know what was the company's thinking, and will that will they be allowed, you know, to continue to work from home?

GATES: Yes, I was part of those discussions. And, you know, we're saying, wow, no one is going to go into work. They're all just going to be at home. And I realized that was a natural thing to do once a pandemic hit. I hadn't thought about, okay, how much work will they be able to do? You know, which of course, is the internet and the software tools. That's worked up better than I would have expected.

That is office workers, including programmers, the lack of productivity from being at home is not very high. It's a little tougher for new employees. You have to work hard to get the camaraderie and make decisions. But I think those office workers will be amongst the last to go in.

And so there's no known date for either the Foundation employees or the Microsoft employees to go back right now. I haven't been in either of those offices since that day in March where we said, wow, no one is going to go to work.

COOPER: Do you think it's going to continue like this? Not just I mean, for the foreseeable future, in terms of you know, until there's an effective vaccine and effective treatment, but I mean there are a lot of people predicting the death of American cities. The death of office life as we know it.


GATES: Yes, I wrote a book a long time ago called "The Road Ahead" where I said people, cities would be less dense because people do digital working and up until recently, that trend was the opposite of what I predicted. Cities got more and more vibrant.

I don't know how we'll strike that balance when we get out of this. But there are three innovation tracks, innovation and testing, which is still way behind and much worse than people think. Because if you don't get the results within 24 hours, it's a basically useless test. Innovations and therapeutics, and innovations and vaccines.

And so we're in a race here to get those things quickly, because if we didn't have innovation, I would not have feel that good about where this is all headed because people's willingness to change distancing, you know, it seems hard. We just haven't had the message, the leadership in this country, like many other countries, including something like Australia that, you know, aren't that different or Germany that isn't that different, that have really done a great job.

GUPTA: You mentioned, I thought it was really interesting, just the productivity, you say didn't really necessarily go down, at least for established employees. I'm just really curious about that. I don't know if you heard the President's remarks today about online learning versus in-person learning. Just take a quick listen, I've got a question about this.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: One study estimates that due to school closures last spring, the average student will begin the school year roughly 35 percent behind in Reading compared to the typical year and more than 50 percent behind in Math.


GUPTA: It's a big question I've had and my wife and I talk about it all the time. I mean, how much of a gap is online learning causing versus in-person learning? You heard the President, I mean, 35 to 50 percent behind. Is this something we have to accept? Or do you think technology will improve and the education will improve?

GATES: Yes, the President was reading from a report there. And it's absolutely valid. What you see is this gigantic disparity, which is that the younger the kids are, the worse online works for them. The less resources their school has, so inner city schools versus suburban versus private, and the less that the teachers were given time to prepare for online, the worse it is.

And so I absolutely feel that younger kids, inner city kids, as we're thinking about what should resume that should be a very high priority.

There are actually private schools that had experimented with online, whose kids have internet, who, you know, that have got a place in their home. They are able to deliver most of the learning.

And you know, so those schools aren't suffering the same deficit. So it strikes along the same lines of inequity that we see in almost everything in society.

COOPER: The C.D.C. just released their new guidelines for our viewers. The President had said that the other ones were too tough and too expensive. I think you would want tough guidelines, but that that's another matter. They've released now new ones for reopening schools and in it they state quote, "There is mixed evidence about whether returning to school results in increased transmission or outbreaks." Do you think that's true, Bill? Is the evidence mixed on this?

GATES: The data from South Korea where they studied 56,000 cases and the data from Israel where they opened up the high schools quite negative on this.

On the other hand, the Nordic countries, who tracked it quite well, who had a very low level of virus infection at the time they did these openings and they started with the youngest kids. They didn't see that same connection.

The real problem comes as an infection gets connected to someone who is older. So if the teacher is over 65, if that kid lives in a multigenerational household, where it's not easy to separate the kid from the older person, that's the part of this that does create real risk.

Now, we have this huge benefit of having those kids in school, and so this is going to require some judgment. It is not going to be close all schools or open all schools.


There are various things about having half the kids go in one week and then half the other week. So you can space kids out and things like that they're things that are will be tried. There's a lot to be learned from the way that Europe did it. Europe didn't just go back to normal school activity. They went to modified approaches. I'm glad to hear there's likely to be some money for schools on a bipartisan basis in this next bill, because I mean, some of that and spreading best practices, there will mean we can reduce the education deficit.

GUPTA: And it's worth pointing out as well then if you have a lot of virus circulating in your community regardless, I mean, that's a problem. Even if kids don't necessarily transmit as much it could certainly add fuel to that pan -- you know that that viral fire there.

COOPER: Let's talk about the vaccine timeline. What are your thoughts now on the vaccine and just in terms of, I think I heard you say something elsewhere about maybe needing multiple vaccinations that it wouldn't just be like a onetime vaccination. Can you just explain how you see this?

GATES: OK, none of the candidates that we have much date on look like they'll work with a single dose. So these are all multi dose vaccines. And as we really look at the effectiveness in the elderly, some of the constructs may require even more than two doses to get the kind of protection we want. The vaccine has to do three things. It's got to be safe. It's got to reduce transmission, and it's got to protect the health of the individual. And these vaccines, the FDA, you know, laid out how they want these trials to be done. Fortunately, they required a proof of efficacy, but they set the bar pretty low, they set it at 50 percent efficacy. So the first vaccine that gets approved, may be fairly weak in some of these criteria. Our foundation is funding a not only the first generation of vaccines and the capacity for those, but also a second generation that will be ready, you know, four to six months later, that may get us closer to 100 percent protection or 100 percent transmission reduction.

And so, there's a lot of uncertainty in the vaccine enterprise, which is hard to explain. You know, when people want to summarize, hey, is the vaccine miracle on its way. The phase threes are about to start. They've defined a criteria that is about infection plus symptoms, that's a bit different than the two goals. And so the error bars for how impactful that vaccine will be, are still pretty high. You know, with the right safety profile absolutely getting that out will be the beginning of the end, particularly if we get it to the right people and we get it out to the whole world.

GUPTA: You know, part of the reason we want to talk to you as well as obviously, you're someone who is funding, one of the biggest vaccine efforts out there. And I'm curious when you're having conversations with people, you know, within these, these institutions, what are the conversations about and what steps are you taking as a large funder to ensure that you're going as fast as you can without compromising the safety of the vaccine?

GATES: Well, the speed, a lot of that will relate to building factories in advance and building them before we know which vaccines will succeed. With vaccines, the factories are somewhat different depending on which construct, it is sadly, you can't just build a generic vaccine factory. And so, you know, the discussions with AstraZeneca. Johnson & Johnson, Novavax, Sanofi about OK and you have factories, not only in the U.S. that the U.S. actually has done a good job funding, but some in Europe, some in India, make sure that that we're going to get out there. So that's a big part of this, for us is making sure these vaccines work for everyone. We're even doing fund -- helping to fund trials in South Africa to make sure that, you know, when you've got a population that's got different diseases, more malnutrition, no more HIV is the vaccine, you know, as effective there.

So the getting the trials done is big and then having those factories and having resources as yet, the money to buy this vaccine for the poorest in the world hasn't been assembled, although I'm talking with a lot of people in Congress that can that -- can this which would be less than 1 percent of the money be allocated in this next relief bill.


COOPER: You know, everybody is trying to figure out their life for the next, you know, not just days and weeks, but for what is the next year look like? I'm personally trying to wrap my mind around, you know, I'd sort of had this thought early on that OK, well, maybe by the fall of 2020, you know, we're going to be in a very different place. It doesn't seem like that. And in fact, it seems like only in the wintertime, it's only going to get worse, unfortunately. So at least, it's not going to be helped by the weather. Just personally what is your timeline? What do you think the neck -- does the next year of our lives for the next six months in the next first six months of 2021? Does it look like the last six months?

GATES: Well, I hope you'll view this as good news. I believe that although we started variously that the diagnostics scaling up by the end of the year, there'll be some advances that'll get us out of this horrific situation. And we could do better --

COOPER: When you say diagnostics, you mean the testing?

GATES: Just the testing. I think that therapeutics is actually the most promising thing and not talked about as much as the vaccines. Because if you have multiple therapeutics, that between them are reducing the death rate and the amount of serious sickness by over 80 percent, probably over 90 percent, that does start to reduce the horrific burden. So I think by the end of the year, therapeutics will be making a big difference. And then as you get into 2021, somewhere in there, you'll get approval by the first half, and then so by the end of 21 -- 2021, if people are willing to take the vaccine we'll be able to stop the transmission in the rich countries and maybe a within nine months after that in the world at large.

COOPER: We got to take a quick break. We're going to have more with Bill Gates, our Global Town Hall continues. We're going to answer some of your questions as well. We'll be right back.



COOPER: We're talking tonight, CNN Global Town Hall with Bill Gates with a number of coronavirus cases passing 4 million today in this country and more than 144,000 lives lost here.

GUPTA: And we've asked you, our viewers to send in questions for Bill Gates and you did send a lot of them in. So let's get right to them. We'll start with Rikki in Florida who sent in this video, let's take a look.


RIKKI MCDERMOTT, MOLECULAR BIOLOGIST: Based on the learnings and experiences of the Gates Foundation and overcoming the lack of trust that some societies have had in getting vaccines for diseases such as polio, what suggestions or advice would you give us health officials to help them to convince the nearly 50 percent of Americans who say that they would not get a COVID-19 vaccine if it were available today that it is safe?


GUPTA: That's a great question, Bill, I mean, lessons from around the world. I mean, polio vaccine hesitancy is not unique to the United States. What would you say?

GATES: Yes, the tactic we've had using the polio campaign is to figure out people's trust network. Is there a religious leader or a tribal leader that they trust, and then to have that religious leader. They are, you know, sincerely a believer in the polio vaccine stopping that paralysis that they not only speak out about that, but they set it an example. In that case, it's a vaccine for children. So they give it to their own children in a very visible way. And so, when we had a horrific problem with that, in Nigeria, it was teaming up with those traditional leaders, and eventually got rid of wild polio in all of Nigeria, which was the last place in Africa.

So, it's reaching out and understanding that that web of trust and it, you know, required huge effort many years here, and we want to convince people, at least over 80 percent to take this vaccine, you know, next year so, and I hope we figure out who the influencers are.

GUPTA: Right. I think a lot of communities are saying right now who are those trust leaders in our community, our society, whatever. I mean, the other thing that you hear is that there's this hesitancy, right. They'll get vaccinated. Yes, but we're going to wait for the second generation of vaccines to come out because that'll be safer. What do you say to that any validity?

GATES: Well, when you take a vaccine, you're benefiting yourself in terms of reducing the chance you'll get sick. With all medicines there are some risk, very small and almost all cases, but some risk you're taking like, you know, driving a car, doing a lot of things. And you're also benefiting other people because you the vaccine reduces the chance of you're being a super spreader or transmitting the disease at all. And so it is a community based thing that I hope people, you know, looking at what the FDA is done and that there weren't shortcuts taken, there may be pressure, there may have been pressure, there may be pressure, but so far, they're not doing that. They're insisting on that, efficacy, lots of testing in old people. And so, I do think people have a tendency, you know, to say, this is almost like war, we got to help our fellow citizens. So, you know, I think we'll get the numbers down, although when they pull right now, it's almost 40 percent of people have at least a little bit of hesitation.

COOPER: As written in The New York Times there are 16,000 Facebook posts, espousing conspiracy theories about you, and the virus that these -- and I mean, I've seen these things, they're liked or commented on 900,000 times on YouTube, the top 10 videos that spread lies about you hitting almost 5 million views. It's also pointed out that according to Zignal Lab which is a media analysis company that tracks this misinformation about us the most widespread of all coronavirus falsehoods.


So there's a conspiracy theory that one of our viewers asked about I just want to play that that sound.


MATTHEW BURSTEIN: What would you say to the fringe portions of the public like conspiracy theorists that seem to think that you're somehow responsible for the outbreak?


COOPER: There's also a conspiracy theory that you're pushing vaccines, because you're going to inject people with a tracking device when they get the vaccine it's all part of a so-called globalist plot to control the world, a queue and on folks are you know, which actually group has been targeting me as well lately? They're claiming falsely that I'm somehow connected with Jeffrey Epstein and global kabbalists of sex traffickers. It's insane, what do you say to people who believe this stuff? Because I mean, I'm sure you are inundated by I am by people direct messaging me just insane stuff.

GATES: Yes, the combination of having social media spreading things that are very titillating to have this pandemic where people are uncertain and, you know, there's there they prefer to have a simple explanation. It's meant that these things are really in a millions of messages a day. And people like myself and Dr. Fauci become the target. Often the clever thing they do, you know, our foundation has given more money to buy vaccines to save lives, than in any group. You know, so you just turn that around you say, OK, we're making money and we're trying to kill people with vaccines or by inventing something. And at least it's true, we're associated with vaccines, but you actually, you know, sort of flipped the connection that we have there.

You know, I hope it doesn't create vaccine hesitancy. I hope, you know, this whole story of innovation that's going on that we do get the benefit of that. It's really the only good news, I'm bringing here today is that the diagnostic therapeutic and vaccine innovation, these amazing private sector companies without the coordination you would like, but they are doing it. And I do think people are on the therapeutic side will be surprised. And, you know, these are well meaning people, you know, this is a time where people are doing great work. And, you know, so I hope the conspiracy stuff dies down. It's really, the numbers kind of blow my mind and it's not just the fringe people that you would normally think of.

COOPER: It's not at all, I mean, I can tell you, I get stuff from people who seem, you know, they have lives, they have families. I don't know if they genuinely believe this and they've just been misled. But, you know, and for me, it's, you know, I, they claim I was on Jeffrey Epstein's airplane and going to his island with Tom Hanks or I mean, just insane, crazy stuff. What do you -- I mean, do you think I know internet companies are looking at this? Do you wish that they would play a role in taking stuff down which is demonstrably false? Because I mean, it does have real world parts, you know, it does have real world impact on vaccines or, you know, a nut showing up to a pizza parlor in Washington D.C. with a gun.

GATES: Yes, in some cases, they are taking things down. You know, it's a bad combination of pandemic and social media and people looking for very simple explanation, who's the bad guy here. And a lot of that's been connected to politics, more in the U.S. than in other locations. And of course, vaccines weren't popular with everybody even before this all started. So, you know, I'm a big believer in getting the truth out. And if, but it's kind of not as titillating to say, you know, Cooper's innocent. Oh, well, you know, that's not as exciting. You don't forward that to quite as many people as you do.


GATES: The accusation.


GUPTA: Sometimes the misinformation travels faster than the virus it seems. Let's see if we get to another question. This one is coming from a doctor in Arizona who writes this, our focus and rightfully so has been on the current situation, fighting the spread, how much time and resources have been employed to research post COVID health complications? And what specific health challenges complications are you most concerned about? Bill is this something that you've thought about or looked into?


GATES: Well, certainly our foundation has a lot of biologists because, you know, seen how this disease progresses, that gives us the clues to which therapeutics are going to stop the disease. And, you know, like many things like masks are smarter today than we were four or five months ago. There's an element, that's the lungs, but it's brought inflammation and a lot of clots. There's an element that's autoimmune about 20 percent of the cases, particularly the younger cases. And so we're coming up with diagnostics that differentiate the course of the disease. And then, you know, one of the drugs, the only one other Remdesivir that's really been proven is dexamethasone that our foundation was involved in. That's for that inflammation stage. So it's the late stage of disease. So these understandings are coming, I get, you know, journal articles four, five a day that, you know, I don't read every word up but it they -- scientists are doing a good job getting a sense of where we need to intervene. Early stage disease, it's clear antivirals, antibodies cutting down the viral load that helps a lot. As you get to later stage disease, the virus actually isn't the problem anymore. It's the cascade of events, mostly connected to clotting in the immune system.

And so, you know, part of the reason the death rate is down is we know, fuse ventilators last, they use anticoagulants more, they use oxygen earlier, they look at the poll talks (ph) or the medical profession is getting smarter every week, and eventually they'll be armed with the amazing therapeutics.

COOPER: Question from Cameron from Virginia, which reads what lessons have you learned from COVID-19 that will influence how you allocate future funding for pandemic prevention?

GATES: Well, the goal in 2015 when a lot of people in -- well help community including myself spoke out, was to have practice that we would say, OK, if you want diagnostics, what do you do? Well, the answer is you get the commercial labs to ramp up. But in the U.S., they actually put a roadblock in front of them made it harder at first. And, you know, CDC have limited capacity and even wasn't able to deliver on that. So the, you know, just like you do war games, you know, getting ready involves going through the scenarios.

We will invest, and I know, the U.S. government, other governments will, and having vaccine platforms that get us very rapid results. Likewise, next time we'll be able to scale up diagnostics 10 times faster than this time, and antivirals and antibodies, we'll be able to do those more quickly. So --

COOPER: So you think we'll learn the lesson.

GATES: You know, it's sad -- it's sad that it took this, you know, that these depths, the economic pain, the divisiveness that, you know, we're -- we still aren't sure how quickly it'll end. But the RMD priority and the potential to solve these things is absolutely there. And that's why I was excited in 2015 that it, you know, even if tens of billions have gone into these things, this is exactly the kind of thing that could have been stopped before it did significant damage.

GUPTA: You do think, so these lessons you think will be remembered? Because it does seem like at times we have a short attention and short memory when it comes to this. Do you think they'll be member or remembered or were they think fade away is this pandemic fades away?

GATES: Well, this one will be remembered. And, you know, if it happens in your generation, the priority of this funding, you know, I'm already seen big, big changes in how people think about this. Medical sciences, you know, is moving in a very good clip. So things like heart disease and cancer. You know, there's exciting improvements there. There's some tough things like diabetes and Alzheimer's, but even those are going well in our foundation on infectious diseases. You know, we even talked about malaria eradication is a thing this generation couldn't get done. So, they understand things are improving the tools will be there. They a bioterrorist epidemic is more difficult because they'll design a pathogen that's designed to evade the tools that you have, whereas nature is an intentionally serving up things that go beyond what you're ready for.

COOPER: Is this just something that is always going to be with coronavirus, that this is something that's always going to be with us and COVID-19 particularly, and that will just have better therapeutics, better treatment of it, better testing for it, and a more effective vaccine or vaccines that will helped prevent us from getting infected but it's always going to be out there.


GATES: Basically, yes. There are -- there's a disease smallpox that we completely eradicated. And it's amazing and I was looking at the flu data, the flu is down on the southern hemisphere now that they are seeing dramatically less flu than ever, because they took the steps to stop coronavirus that also tend to stop flu infection. So it is incredible. Whether which disease are worth driving to zero or not, is always a question. It's very expensive to get to zero for polio and smallpox. It does for those diseases. It makes a lot of sense. But we'll have crossover diseases for a long time and we just have to catch them early before they go exponential.

You know SARS, you know, it was tragic that in a very minor set of numbers, Ebola, we took our polio team and they all that personnel (ph) in Africa went after that and stopped it from getting out of the three countries. And so the numbers there also, were not that dramatic. So, it should not be a dramatic burden on human health if we're alert. You always worried that it'll start in a country with a very bad health system. So, you're worried about Africa here with China, even though, you know, you will debate how quickly they move good. At least, you know, once they really saw they had the capacity to, you know, share the virus and in and take dramatic steps, which when Ebola breaks out in Africa or other pathogens, it can fester bit longer.


GATES: Before it's clear.

COOPER: Well, you leave us with some hope tonight of better therapeutics. You know, better testing by the end of this year. And then vaccines in multiple stages. That's something makes me hopeful and which I wasn't when we started this night. So I appreciate you being with us as always, thank you very much.

GUPTA: Thanks, Bill.

GATES: Thanks.

COOPER: Our global Town Hall continues in a moment.



COOPER: Sanjay, I want to thank you as always, I want to thank Bill Gates for giving us not only his time to answer our questions, but also our viewers as well. Thanks to those of you who wrote in with your questions. If you didn't get your question answered tonight, the conversation continues at

The news continues right now with Chris Cuomo.