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CNN Live Event/Special

Nearly 50,000 Deaths and 867,000 Coronavirus Cases in U.S.; Dr. Fauci: "We Will Have Coronavirus in the Fall; GA Governor Allowing Some Businesses to Reopen Friday; Health Officials Warn it May be Too Soon; Wuhan Slowly Emerges From Long Coronavirus Lockdown; 2 Californians Died of Coronavirus Weeks Before Previously Known 1st U.S. Death; Trump Suggests Testing Injections of UV Lights or Disinfectants to See if They Would Kill Coronavirus; U.S. Coronavirus Death Toll Nears 50,000; New Antibody Study Suggests as Many as 1 in 5 New Yorkers May Have Had COVID-19. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired April 23, 2020 - 20:00   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: And thanks for joining us. I'm Anderson Cooper in New York.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: And I'm Dr. Sanjay Gupta. This is our CNN Global Town Hall - Coronavirus Facts and Fears.

COOPER: This is our 8th consecutive Town Hall. As we pointed out, the way we're putting these Town Halls has changed with our knowledge of the virus, but we intend to try to keep on rolling with those changes, and doing them for as long as we can.

As for the circumstances for tonight's edition, Dr. Anthony Fauci described them this way. This is, he said, a very critical time. He said that different parts of the country are dealing with different stages of the outbreak, and at different points on the road back to some kind of normal.

GUPTA: We're going to talk about what that all means tonight in real world terms for you. With one of his colleagues on the coronavirus task force, FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn, who will also be taking your questions.

We're also going to ask him about what the President said at the briefing today about using ultraviolet light inside the body, or injecting a disinfectant to try and kill the virus.

Also joining us, New York governor, Andrew Cuomo. Always has plenty to talk about, including a new study estimating that nearly 14 percent of New Yorkers have antibodies to the coronavirus. For New York City residents, the figure was even higher, 21 percent.

COOPER: Also joining us tonight, chef Jose Andres, whose organization, World Central Kitchen, is doing everything they can to help feed the hungry in America. And also tonight, Alicia Keys joins us with her new song, just released today, dedicated to the front line workers keeping us all safe, healing the sick, keeping the country running. It's a beautiful song, inspiring. You're going to hear it in full, and Alicia will be with us as well.

As always, a reminder. You can tweet us your questions with the #CNNTownhall, or leave a comment on the CNN Facebook page. We'll also get to as many of your video questions as we can. As you can see, there are plenty of them, and we thank everybody for sending them in.

In addition, we have reporters from across the country and around the world tonight, including Wuhan, China, where people are cautiously emerging from months of lockdown. We begin, though, with this critical moment, as Dr. Fauci put it, here at home, as the virus's grip thankfully eases in some places, tightens in others, as some states grapple with reopening, and the death toll nationwide approaches 50,000.


COOPER (voice-over): There are now more than 860,000 positive cases of coronavirus in the U.S. More than 49,000 people have died. And though the number of cases across the country is currently declining, there are fears a second wave could be even worse than what we've seen so far.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: We will have coronavirus in the fall. I am convinced of that. What happens with that will depend on how we're able to contain it when it occurs.

COOPER (voice-over): We've also learned the virus has been in the United States earlier than previously reported. Autopsies in Santa Clara county in California showed two people died of the virus there in February. The first on February 6, more than three weeks before the first recorded victim in Washington state.

DR. ASHISH JHA, DIRECTOR, HARVARD GLOBAL HEALTH INSTITUTE: That means there was community spread happening in California as early as mid- January, if not earlier than that.

COOPER (voice-over): It's been almost six weeks since the President declared a state of emergency in the U.S. Scenes like these are no longer surprising in most parts of the country, but some states are taking the first steps on reopening. Georgia is one of them. Governor Brian Kemp is allowing some non-essential businesses to reopen beginning tomorrow, even though public health officials warn it may be too soon.

FAUCI: I would tell him that he should be careful. And I would advise him not to just turn the switch on and go, because there is a danger of a rebound.


COOPER: So having set the stage, I just want to quickly, Sanjay, get your take on where things stand from your perspective as a doctor in a state where life is going to change significantly tomorrow.

GUPTA: Yes. We'll see what people do. I mean, this is hard to believe, Anderson. We know here in Georgia, like every other place, that there is this desire to get things back to some sense of normalcy. But we also know the governor has been told the state doesn't meet the criteria for reopening.

We know Dr. Fauci has openly advised against reopening. We know even the President said he strongly disagreed with the decision. And here we are, and we don't know why.

We do know it's likely to lead to new infections, possibly new hospitalizations, and sadly, possibly new deaths. We don't know why of all things, as you mention, why hair salons and massage and tattoo parlors are on the places of - to open first. I mean, you can't social distance in places like that.

We also know, Anderson, as you -- as you mention, we - there are more and more studies suggesting not only is the virus more widespread than we had previously confirmed, but that it arrived much earlier as well. And we know in that knowledge is some good news and bad news. The bad news is that more people have been infected. But the good news is they didn't have that much in the way of symptoms, and this may not be as lethal as previously thought.


So sow we have to figure out what this all means, I think, Anderson, as we chart our path forward.

COOPER: All right. Let's get the very latest now on states, including Georgia -- where Sanjay is that have decided to begin re-opening, as we've been discussing against medical advice. CNN's Martin Savidge is in Atlanta for us. So, salons, barbershops, gyms are they actually going to open in Atlanta tomorrow?

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's the key question, isn't it Anderson? At this point, there is no official sort of head count that's been done, there's no real tally that the state has as far as what businesses are going to re-open. We've contacted many of the businesses that have fallen into the brackets that the Governor's given the executive OK to, and it's a mixed bag of answers that you get.

Many of these hair salons say that they will open, nail salons too have also said that they're going to open. But then there are just as many that we have contacted that have said no, they aren't going to open, they're worried for their customers, they're worried for their employees.

And then there's the issue of just the requirements they have to meet as laid out by the Governor -- there are about 20 of them. And that includes everything from of course, the staff having to wear the proper prepared equipment -- that's the PPE. Some businesses say they've had a hard time getting that. Then other businesses will have to re-arrange the sheer physics inside of the office, they'll have to separate work stations.

Gyms would have to separate how closely the running machines are, say. So, all of these problems, they're working through and there is just as many that say that yes, they'll open. But many of them are driven because of desperation for money, they've got to pay the rent of they've got to pay their own mortgage.

Others are driven more by fear, they've said they just don't know if the customer's going to come, they don't know if they can protect their employees, they don't know if they can even protect themselves. So, right now, they're going to stay closed. We simply will have to wait to see what tomorrow brings, Anderson.

GUPTA: You know, Martin, it's not just Georgia as well, I mean, South Carolina, Texas, Colorado, these are just a few of the other states that are looking to re-open and I mean the balance is that more than 26 million people have filed for unemployment.

It's tough out there and there's no doubt the Governor's are under extreme pressure to re-open the economies, but what -- in your reporting how are these places reconciling that with the public health issues?

SAVIDGE: It's difficult. You know, for instance in the state of Georgia here, there are huge economic pressures that are weighing -- and those can't be denied, they can't be ignored.

I mean, those impact people at a wide, wide range. But the truth is when you ask the Governor, when he is pressed upon, you know "Well, what is it that says this is the right time?" He'll say "Well, the data is moving in the right direction" and the medical experts that he's relied upon have told him it is OK. This is a good time. Others listen to that and say "What data? What medical personnel are you speaking to?"

Because when you look at the hospitalizations due to coronavirus in the state of Georgia, those numbers have been going up. We know the death toll has been going up, we're now closing in on close to 900. The Governor's supposedly has been talking to hospital officials, he's been asking them "How many people have been coming through the ER? How many beds do you have available in the ICU? The problem here is the lack of testing.

Georgia has lagged behind many of the other states and the Governor himself has admitted this and said that "Look, we will test more as we open." But the experts are saying "No, you need to test first to figure out if you can open and testing is the only thing that will really allay the public fears." So, the Governor can open the doors, no one knows if anyone is going to walk through them.

COOPER: Yes. Martin Savidge, thanks very much, Martin. Appreciate it. Coming up next is CNN's David Culver, where this all began in Wuhan, China. So, David, some states in the US considering opening as we've just been talking about. If China's a couple of months ahead of us and Wuhan is officially re-opened, what is it like there?

DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, that was part of the reason, Anderson, we made the trip here to Wuhan -- the original epicenter of this outbreak and we wanted to get a feel for how businesses and life were starting to come back online or if they were.

And I want to show you some video that we captured as we were driving through one of the commercial streets, in particular. What you'll notice looking out the windows here is that many of the stores are still closed. They have the steel, garage door like gates down.

A few are open, I would say probably less than half by our observations, but the part of the reason for that is because there's concern by the shop owners that they'll be able to actually re-open successfully and find a customer base. And there's concern from the customer side of things that they can walk into a store without facing any potential exposure.

Now, what we have seen are the stores that have re-opened -- some of the major brands, have done so with some modifications, if you will. They've retro-fitted their procedures and they've done so by moving a lot of their products to the front. They keep people out of the store, so out of the physical space and they come to you as you walk up to the store front. There's no real cash or credit card exchanges here.


It's all done by mobile phone and they can scan it.

So, there's very few interactions that involved human touch, and that's intentional and, obviously, it reassures a lot of the folks here. But that's how they're doing this for the most part. There are still places like gyms and, I would say, movie theaters, not opening at all, and no indication that they'll open in the near future. I mean, that's just a reality of trying to continue to limit the exposure here.

GUPTA: David, I know you've been following some of the news back here in the States as well. The former director of the U.S. office involved in developing a coronavirus vaccine says he was sidelined in part because of his resistance to touting these medications, potentially dangerous ones, that President Trump was talking about.

I remember talking to you early on, there was a similar situation with the whistleblower in Wuhan. Is that right?

CULVER: And there were several whistleblowers here originally, Sanjay, you're right. I mean, with -- Dr. Li Wenliang is the one you're referring to, and that's just a beyond tragic story, it's heart breaking.

And for somebody who actually opened up to CNN, we were the only foreign TV network that he spoke with prior to his passing away. And his story started back in December when this was an ophthalmologist here in Wuhan working at a hospital, wanted to tell his friends of this SARS-like illness that was going around.

He didn't want to be a hero, he just wanted to let friends and family know that this could be dangerous. And that message was shared. Local police got a hold of it. They reprimanded him, they told him, "You are not to be spreading rumors". And after that, they sent him back to the hospital.

Now, one of the things that we wanted to do as we followed up with that story and after his passing in particular, because it's become incredibly politicized on both sides - the Chinese Government trying to shift it so that the narrative reflects him as a national hero, whereas folks even on Chinese social media initially were saying, "No, this is somebody who was ignored and could have changed the course of this pandemic early on, and instead was suppressed.

And then on the western side of things, as the Chinese reflected, they believe he is being used for an agenda that portrays China as having covered up and mishandled this from the beginning, in which there are several indications that did happen, certainly at the local level.

But I wanted to hear from Dr. Li's family in particular, his wife. His widow still lives here in Wuhan, and I'm going to give you a glimpse of our attempt to reach out to her respectfully. We didn't want to air any of her voice in the short phone call that we had with her, and we did change the voice of our translator to protect those involved, but this was our initiation to try to hear from her.


CULVER: 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.


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


CULVER: Her words were rather straightforward, and just saying, "I can't really say much, I've got too many things going on. I'm too busy right now."

Anderson, Sanjay.

COOPER: David Culver. David, thanks very much.

Want to move on to your questions. You can see them on our social media scroll, the bottom of your screen. Joining us to help with some answers, FDA commissioner, coronavirus taskforce member, Dr. Stephen Hahn.

Dr. Hahn, thanks so much for being with us, we really appreciate it.

DR. STEPHEN HAHN, FDA COMMISSIONER, TASKFORCE MEMBER: Thank you, Anderson, and thank you, Sanjay, it's an honor to be here. Thank you.

COOPER: I want to get to viewer questions in a moment. I do want to play something that the president said today in the briefing about possibly dealing with the coronavirus, as we've been getting a lot of questions about it, and I just want to play it and ask you about it.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Supposing we hit the body with a tremendous -- whether it's ultraviolet or just very powerful light. And I think you said that hasn't been checked, but you're going to test it.

And then I said, "Supposing you brought the light inside the body, you" -- which you can do either through the skin or in some other way, and I think you said you're going to test that too. Sounds interesting.

And then I see the disinfectant where it knocks it out in a minute, one minute. And is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside or -- or almost a cleaning, because you see, it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs.


So, it will be interesting to check that. So that, you're going to have to use medical doctors. But it -- but it sounds -- it sounds interesting to me.


COOPER: Just from a medical standpoint, when the president said, first of all, about treating the body with light and somehow bringing the light inside the body, where do you fall on that?

DR. STEPHEN HAHN, COMMISSIONER, FDA: So, I think the data that were presented at the press conference today were really important in terms of what kills the virus. And I believe the president was asking a question that many Americans are asking, which is, okay, this is what kills the virus, it's a physical agent, in this case UV light. How could that be applied to kill the virus in, for example, a human being?

We have plenty of examples in medicine where light therapy has been used for treatment of certain diseases. So, it's a natural question that I as a doctor would have expected to hear from someone as a natural extension of the data that were presented.

COOPER: But -- but just from a medical standpoint, I mean, you wouldn't -- would you -- I mean, there are -- there's people who are listening, obviously, to the president of the United States and -- and take what he says very seriously.

Are you concerned at all, from a medical standpoint, of somebody, you know, injecting themselves with a disinfectant or, you know, hearing what the president said and -- and trying to experiment on themselves, thinking that might be something worth looking at? There's -- is there any evidence about taking a disinfectant that's used, you know, on the table where I'm sitting and using it internally? That doesn't seem like a good idea from my -- I mean, am I wrong?

HAHN: Yes, I think it's an excellent point you're making. You -- you -- we certainly wouldn't want, as a physician, someone to take matters in their own hands. I think this is something that a patient would want to talk to their physician about. And -- and no, I certainly wouldn't recommend the internal ingestion of a disinfectant.

Again, this is a conversation that occurs every day in America between a patient and a doctor. I've been in that position. I'm sure Dr. Gupta has as well. And it's really important we address them because people will ask those questions of us.

GUPTA: Well, doctor, I just -- just, I think we should be clear, though, that the idea of doing some kind of UV light therapy -- which is sometimes used for local issues in the body, but not for a widespread viral infection -- and the idea of injecting disinfectant, I mean, there's no -- those questions may be getting asked, but there's absolutely no merit to that. That doesn't need to be studied. You can already say that that doesn't work, right?

HAHN: And I -- and I think, Sanjay, that -- that that is exactly what a patient would say to a doctor, and that would be the answer of the medical experts to anybody who answered that question.

COOPER: It does not work.

GUPTA: Okay. Well, let me -- let me ask, let me move on to the -- the -- all the various tests out there, because this is obviously something that we've talked a lot -- a lot about, the need for tests.

And there's the diagnostic test for the virus, there's the antibody test. And, you know, we -- there's been various statistics given, for example, the -- the Abbott rapid test may have had up to a 15 percent false negative rate. I -- I just wonder, how do you balance -- because there is obviously a need to get these tests out there, but how do you balance the validation and making sure they have confidence versus, you know, putting them out too quickly?

HAHN: Yes, this is a really important point because you're exactly right in terms of the balance between speed and validity and accuracy. So -- so, we apply a criteria when we look at tests from the FDA for validation.

And I think what's really important to remember is that these tests, which normally take years, when we've talked to the commercial manufacturers about these tests, they take years to develop. These tests are being developed in weeks. And so, we have the validation data and we know that those data -- we approve them when the validation data suggests that they're reliable, accurate and reproducible.

But we also know when they go out into the community and are being used, we're going to get feedback about how they actually operate in the real world.


HAHN: They may be being used under conditions that weren't originally tested, things like that. We are always incorporating data that we hear and then adjusting our authorizations based upon that. So, this is an ongoing effort. And you're absolutely right, it's a balance that the FDA and also test users must have and must use going forward.

COOPER: But -- just someone, you know, at home who's seeing ads, you know, for -- for antibody tests, you know, online and stuff, how does somebody know what tests has been approved by the FDA, if -- if any, or how many tests have the FDA approved? And how do you know what's an approved, you know, valid test, and what's just some internet ad that's popped up?

HAHN: So, I would definitely encourage anyone who is a user of tests to go to the FDA website where we've listed this. But we've approved 62 diagnostic tests.

That includes both the antibody test as well as the diagnostic test.


Of those 62, four are antibody tests. But we have 390 laboratory test developers -- academic labs, as well as commercial labs, in line working with us on their laboratory tests.

So, what I can provide assurance to the American people is that those tests that we've reviewed and that we have authorized have gone through the criteria established for validity, reliability and reproducibility by the FDA. We've also listed on our websites those laboratories and laboratory manufacturers who have put tests in the market place but haven't come through our process as allowed by our regulatory flexibility.

Some of the things that we've done just to provide additional assurance because those manufacturers are required to perform the validation, they're required to tell us that they performed the validation and then they must appropriately label the test in the package insert to state that they have not received FDA authorization. But we've taken additional steps.

We've asked those manufacturers for the tests and in co-operation with the CDC, the NIH as well as others we are doing validation studies of those tests. We will be very transparent on our website and in communications with the American people and users of these tests --


HAHN: -- about those results. So, that we can handle some assurance about the validity.

COOPER: So, check the website -- only four have actually been approved thus far on the anti-body test from the FDA. I know your colleague on the task force, Dr. Fauci said today that he's quote: "not overly confident right now" end quote, about US testing capacity.

The President said in today's briefing he disagreed with Fauci on that. We're also learning today that public health labs still can't meet demand for testing due to supply chain shortages -- swabs, re- agents, things like that. Are you confident in the current status of testing right now?

HAHN: So, Dr. Fauci, Dr. Burks and others have made this assessment, it's been stated from the pressers at the house press conferences, that we are confident that we have enough tests for phase one of the re-opening America plan. But we do acknowledge the fact that we need to keep the pressure on developing more tests and getting more tests out there.

And secondly, as we go to phase two and phase three and as the states develop their plans, we know that we're going to hear from them about the testing needs that they have.

COOPER: Right.

HAHN: And to your point about the testing supplies, we've heard that. I've talked to colleagues in the front lines and totally acknowledge that there are pressures in the supply chain.

We had a call with the Governors this week, yesterday, FDA had a call with our technical experts and the laboratory test chiefs of the states and we are moving supplies, we are working with FIMA on this -- so, that we can get those right re-agents, liquids, supplies to the states to get as many tests as possible up and running.

COOPER: You said you were confident in the number of tests available, but it's the re-agents, it's the -- all the supportive things, the swabs, so, even if the tests are available it doesn't mean anything if they can't actually be used.

Are you confident right now in the number of tests that are able to actually be utilized and get results on? Is that enough?

HAHN: So, the task force assessment was based upon the 1.1 million tests per week that are being performed now. So, actually having the supplies to do those. What I'm speaking to and your point I think as well, is that as we really ramp this up -- as we get the unused capacity back online, which we absolutely must do. That's where we're seeing these pressures on the supply chain.

I was on the phone with members of congress today, with representatives and Governors about this and we are really working hard to identify where those gaps are and fill those gaps with things like re-agents and swabs, etcetera. And let me, Anderson -- if you don't mind, give you one example, we recently authorized the use of a synthetic swab, very similar to a q-tip to be used for all sorts of diagnostic tests.

That's a pretty significant advance because the manufacturers are able to make 10s of millions of these. So, as we move into the next couple of months and want to scale up testing even more, these are really important authorizations to get more supplies into the system.

GUPTA: And I should point out, those swabs are a lot less invasive as well, having gone through the other tests.

So, I appreciate you getting that out there. Let me ask about treatment, everyone wants to know, this is the Food and Drug Administration, where are we with treatment? Some of these trials started in December, many of them are followed for a few weeks.

We're four months now into this, it seems like we should have been making some gains on treatment trials and specifically what do we know about hydroxychloroquine?


HAHN: So, there are -- we've authorized 62 clinical trials in the United States and there are 211 additional trials that are in the planning process and that we're looking at with the great innovators and researchers around the country.

We expect to read out from some of these antiviral trials as soon as a month from now. You probably know that the National Institutes of Allergies and Infectious Disease - Dr. Fauci's institute -- has sponsored a number of - of these trials. But we all know that this takes time, because these studies, although very rapidly brought on, have a certain cadence that we have to go through to get the information and collect it in the most rigorous way possible.

And one of the things that I've said repeatedly, and the FDA stands behind, is that we will use the appropriate science and data to make the decisions about safety and effectiveness on behalf of the American people.

With respect to hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, there are anecdotal reports, and we've seen one this week, that suggest that there's benefit, but also that suggest that there might not be benefit. These are observational studies. They're not actually clinical trials. And what we're going to use at the FDA are actually the results of randomized clinical trials to help us make the best decision.

Of course, we want to include all the data that comes forward to us, including this real world evidence from observational studies. And that's really important for individual physicians to take into account as they make decisions for their patients.

COOPER: Yes. The governor of New York says he sent the information from the testing in New York that was done to the FDA as required. Do you know when that information from that test is going to be released? Because that seems to be, like, a significant test.

HAHN: It's a significant observational study. You're absolutely right. And we are working very closely with the state of New York - Dr. Zucker, Governor Cuomo. It's been a terrific partnership. We're on the phone with them regularly. And so we will be looking at that data. 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.

COOPER: OK. And here's a question from a viewer. It reads, "How will the coronavirus affect the food supply chain? Specifically, is there a risk of infected human food handlers infecting food products along the supply chain from production to delivery/transport to customers' homes?"

HAHN: So, I can give great assurance that the American food supply is safe. We also very much care about our food workers, both in the retail and in the manufacturing setting. And so it's really important for folks to follow the CDC guidance in terms of protection.

And to the question -- the question about getting infection, we have no evidence that the -- that the virus, the COVID-19 virus, is transmitted by food or by food packaging.

COOPER: Dr. Hahn, we appreciate all your efforts, and we appreciate your time tonight. Thank you.

HAHN: thank you both very much. Everyone have a good night, and stay safe.

GUPTA: Thanks, doctor.

COOPER: Coming up next, we'll talk to the top public health official of the California county where, as we've learned, the first known death from the virus case happened weeks before what authorities thought had been the first fatality. Stunning news. Not to mention a sign that coronavirus has been with us longer than first imagined. When our CNN Global Town Hall continues.



COOPER: And welcome back to our 8th Global Town Hall. We continue now with the major discovery that coronavirus has been here longer than first imagined.

Until this week, we thought that the first death from the virus was at the very end of February in Washington state. But now, tissue testing of a 67 year old man who died on the 17th of the month, and a 57 year old woman who died on the 6th, showed they both had coronavirus.

What's more, neither patient had a recent history of travel, meaning presumably, they were infected in the community. Meaning coronavirus may have been circulating far earlier than first understood. Both cases were in Santa Clara county, California, in the San Francisco Bay area.

Joining us right now is county health officer and public health director, Dr. Sara Cody. Doctor Cody, thanks so much for - for joining us. So the announcement that - that two people sadly died much earlier than the original time line. Only - you know, obviously you can only say so much as these cases are still open and under investigation. But what do you believe this possibly signals about local transmission and - and just how the virus spreads?

DR. SARA CODY, HEALTH OFFICER AND PUBLIC HEALTH DIRECTOR, SANTA CLARA COUNTY CALIFORNIA: Well, I remember in February - so early February - we had just two cases confirmed in Santa Clara county, and they were both among travelers. But we were - we were hearing from a number of physicians about patients presenting with flu like symptoms without travel history.

So we were asking ourselves early on, you know, what the extent of - of the virus might be in the community. But all of the indicators we had suggested that it was, you know, very low risk, and probably not much.

But now what we understand in retrospect, with now three deaths prior to our first confirmed death in the county, is that obviously the virus was circulating, and perhaps fairly widely, in our county. Which in some ways is not that surprising, given that we're a very large county, very demographically diverse, and there's a lot of travel to every corner of the world, including Asia, for both business travel, and travel for family and friends.

GUPTA: And, doctor, you know, neither one of these cases, as you mention, had travel history. We know --

CODY: That's right.

GUPTA: -- now in retrospect when these - these patients passed away. But when - if you do the time line, when do you think they were actually exposed, then? How - you, know, what point do you think the virus was actually present?

CODY: Well, it's - it's difficult to say. But in general, you know, on average maybe there would be an exposure, and then about another week when someone would show symptoms, and maybe two to three weeks later, a death from severe illness. So if you - if you back up from that, it was probably two to three weeks before that they would have been exposed. And as you mentioned at the beginning, we don't know of any travel, so we do believe that exposure was here in our community.

COOPER: Just moving forward. When you're thinking about, you know, in your area doing contact tracing. I've talked to a lot of people about how many people one needs for contact tracing.


We're, you know, we're going to talk to the governor of New York later tonight about this. What do you think in -- for your area - do you have enough people doing contact tracing? In an ideal world, what kind of ramping up would you be able to do?

CODY: Right. So, our goal - so, we've had our shelter employees since March 17. We know that we're making a difference, we're seeing fewer infections reported, fewer hospitalizations. So, the idea is that we dial it down enough such that we can investigate every case that's reported to us and every contact and that we can ensure that every case can isolate safely away from family members and that every contact can quarantine safely. That's our big goal.

We are rapidly trying to work out numbers to understand what that workforce looks like. Of course, we already do have a workforce that does case investigation, but it needs to be much larger. So, we're sort of looking at everyone else's estimates, as well as our own case counts and trying to get that number. Because it's critical that we ramp that up as soon as possible.

COOPER: Yes. Dr. Cody, we appreciate all your efforts, thank you very much. I want to remind you at the bottom of your screen, you'll see our social media scroll that shows the questions that people are asking - you can tweet us your questions with the hash tag CNN Town Hall.

You can also leave comment on the CNN Facebook page. Back now with Sanjay and joining us emergency room physician, former Baltimore Health Commissioner, Dr Leana Wen. Dr. Wen, the fact that this virus has been around longer than we initially thought, potentially spread to more people.

Certainly again, to a layman like me, underscores why testing and widespread testing - not just people with symptoms, is so important. Back then, now and moving forward.

DR. LEANA WEN, EMERGENCY ROOM PHYSICIAN: Absolutely, Anderson. I mean, I was listening to Dr. Cody and thinking that it's not only Santa Clara County that probably has this severe undercount.

And cases much earlier than we previously thought. There are probably epicenters all around the country that have yet to recognize that they have an outbreak on their hands - or they could have an outbreak on their hands.

That community spread was likely happening much longer than they realized. And as you said, this is why we need testing, because otherwise don't have the data to make decisions and if we're talking about re-opening, we would also be making decisions just blindly without being led by science and evidence.

COOPER: Sanjay, this question from a viewer was sent to us from Pankaj in California. Let's take a look.


PANKAJ TAMRAKAR, BANK TECHNICAL LEADER: Thank you for taking my question. As I was reading the FAQs on your website, I saw that two of the answers contradicted each other. For example, if I touch a infected surface and then I touch my mouth, I could get coronavirus.

At the same time you say, if I eat contaminated food, I would still be fine because the food goes inside the stomach and the virus kills it there. So, how do you explain this? Thank you.


COOPER: It's a good question. Sanjay?

GUPTA: Yes. Pankaj, thank you. It's very interesting, you know, it's funny you hear these questions and you forget sometimes that people may not always understand that when you're actually touching your eyes or your nose or your mouth, it's really the mucus membranes in your mouth and in your nose - or even in your eyes, where you may be spreading the virus.

So, he's right, because, you know, we talk about touching your mouth, but it's not because people might eat the virus, that's not a way that - this is not a food borne illness. It's a respiratory illness, but it can be spread by inhaling it and touching your mucus membrane. So, hopefully that explains it.

COOPER: I did not know that. Dr. Wen, this is a question Kathie sent in which reads, "It seems like such a waste for masks to be thrown after one use. Isn't there a way we can disinfect these so our medical can re-use these?" I've seen some things online about --

WEN: So, in -

COOPER: -- people in emergencies kind of trying to figure out how to disinfect a N95 mask.

WEN: That's right. So, in my medical training and in my clinical practice in the ER, I was always taught that these masks - these N95 masks were single use masks. That's the gold standard. And that's what the CDC said at the beginning of this epidemic.

The problem is we then ran out of N95 masks and so, there are some studies that are promising. For example, studies showing that vaporized hydrogen peroxide and UV light can be used to safely decontaminate these masks so that they can be used up to three times.

But I would say that this is still not optimal, and it does still break my heart that our front line providers are having to do something that is not the gold standard. And also that we're not adequately protecting our health care workers.

COOPER: Sanjay, the next question is from Jessica in Chicago, reads "After testing positive three times, my doctors allowed me to go back to work, because according to CDC guidelines, I have "felt" fine for more than 72 hours, and it has been three weeks since my first symptoms.


Is there a chance I could still be contagious?

GUPTA: Yes. No, this is a good question. And this - this sort of situation is going to come up. And we don't know if these are very accurate tests or not. She feels fine. What is on the CDC Web site will basically say you go three days without taking any medications that lower your fever, and you don't have a fever. It's been at least seven days since you've had symptoms, so it sounds like in her case that's the case. She's resolved her symptoms for three weeks. And your - your respiratory symptoms have essentially gone away. So those three things.

Now, she's tested positive. So the question is, does everyone who tests positive, are they - are they automatically infectious. And interestingly, on the CDC Web site, they say not necessarily.

So it's a tough one with her. I'm sure that her doctor is saying - you know, should probably tell her, "Not yet. Wait till she tests negative." But I think we're going to have more clarity on this sort of thing, and allow people to get back to work sooner.

COOPER: Dr. Wen, stay with us. We're going to have more answers to your questions coming up. Also later, Governor - New York's governor, Andrew Cuomo, is going to join us. And a special performance by Alicia Keys of her new song, "Good Job," dedicated to front line workers in the pandemic.



COOPER: It's hard to believe(ph) at this, our 8th CNN GLOBAL TOWN HALL - CORONAVIRUS FACTS AND FEARS. As always, a reminder. At the bottom of your screen, you'll see our social media scroll that shows the questions people are asking. You can tweet us the questions at #CNNtownhall. You can also leave a comment on our Facebook page.

Before we return to questions though, I want to play those remarks by President Trump this evening, where he talked about UV light and disinfectant, which is used for disinfecting, you know, tables and killing the virus on surfaces. And he was talking about somehow using it inside your body, which is not medically, at all, a good idea. This is what the president said.


TRUMP: Supposing we hit the body with a tremendous -- whether it's ultraviolet or just very powerful light. And I think you said that hasn't been checked, but you're going to test it.

And then I said, supposing you brought the light inside the body, you can -- which you can do, either through the skin or in some other way. And I think you said you're going to test that too, it sounds interesting.


TRUMP: Right, and then I see the disinfectant where it knocks it out in a minute, one minute. And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or -- or almost a cleaning, because, you see, it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number in the lungs. So, it will be interesting to check that, so that -- you're going to

have to use medical doctors. But it -- but it sounds -- it sounds interesting to me.


COOPER: I mean, again, I'm going to leave it up to you two. But it just seems wildly irresponsible for the president of the United States to be musing out loud about people injecting disinfectant, you know, used bleach and other disinfectants used to kill viruses on surfaces and in your kitchen, doing anything with that internally. It just -- doctors --

GUPTA: Right.

COOPER: -- what -- what -- what do you make of it?

GUPTA: Well, he -- and he also said it -- you know, it needs to be studied. Actually, it doesn't. I mean, we -- we -- we know the answer to this one, you know. I mean, there's a lot of things out there we don't know the answers to and we need to investigate.

But the idea we would do a trial of some sort and inject some people with disinfectant and some people not and see what happens, I mean, as you pointed out, I think -- I think everybody would know that that would be dangerous and -- and counterproductive and -- and not at all moving us in the right direction. I don't know. Leana, what do you think?

WEN: Yes, I completely agree. And I also worry there are a lot of people for whom President Trump is the most trusted messenger. And I really hope that people are not listening to what he said tonight and thinking, "Well, maybe I should try this myself at home."

COOPER: Yes, I mean, I -- I just feel like we're all sitting around talking about it as if it's, you know, even something that's sort of vaguely acceptable and -- and normal for the president of the United States, whose words are supposed to matter, to be saying this out in public. I mean, it just -- as a citizen, I -- I -- I mean, it -- this is just a terrible, terrible idea. Nobody, anywhere, should be ingesting any of this stuff, correct?

GUPTA: Correct, unequivocal. And that's -- that's -- I mean, and I don't think there's no -- any -- any need to hedge on that. It was interesting when we talked to Dr. Hahn about it, what he said. You know, he was very careful, obviously, as I guess he needs to be. But he said, Well, these are conversations that are happening between patients and doctors --

COOPER: Right.

GUPTA: -- so we wanted to address them. Well, I mean, that's a -- we should address it then, don't -- don't --

COOPER: Right.

GUPTA: -- don't do this, period.

COOPER: But what -- what -- what terrified me about that, though, that conversation -- and -- and, you know -- is that it seems like, at times, our -- the medical professionals who are -- and scientific professionals who are, you know, allowed to speak at The White House by the president and the vice president and their ability to speak is dependent on the vice president and the president allowing them to speak.

These -- I mean, his answer was, well, yes, that's kind of like the questions that anybody would ask their doctor. And, yes, that's probably true. But -- but the president is not just anybody, and the briefing room of The White House is not a doctor's office. And millions of people are listening, and out of those millions of people, some people may try that.

GUPTA: Yes, I -- I -- I wouldn't normalize this at all. I wouldn't even say that -- I mean, I have a lot of respect for Dr. Hahn, obviously. But I -- I -- I don't think that this is a common conversation happening in doctors' offices.

I'm a doctor. Leana, you're a doctor. Has -- have patients been asking you, should they inject themselves with bleach? This isn't -- this isn't a -- I mean, I just don't think we should be normalizing that in any way, shape or form. Leana, what do you -- I mean, do you agree?

WEN: I -- I completely agree. I -- I don't even think we -- as you said, we should not be hedging here. Look, I understand the difficult position that Dr. Hahn and these other doctors and scientists are in, because they need to tell the truth, while at the same time not upsetting the president so much that they can't be credible in his eyes and be able to still continue to do important work.

But we, who are doctors who are not beholden to the president, we need to be telling the unequivocal truth.

And the unequivocal truth in this case is, do not try these things at home, and follow your doctor's advice and follow good public health guidance, as what would come from the CDC.


COOPER: Yes. It terrifies me that, you know, the people run the CDC and the FDA are worried about, you know, upsetting the President and watch what they say based on that because that just as a citizen, that worries me. I want to get more viewer questions, Dr. Wen, a viewer in Australia sent in this video question. Let's take a look.


HARSHA SUNDARA, SPECIALIST MANAGER AT CONSULTING FIRM: My main concern is what if my groceries are contaminated? Should I keep it outside the house for a few hours and then should I also wash with soap water? Thank you.


WEN: Yes. So, I do get a lot of questions about groceries -- I'm sure that Sanjay does too, and three tips for having a safe grocery shopping experience. One is to reduce the number of times that you go to the grocery store, because you're much more likely to get coronavirus from having someone cough on you or being near you at the grocery store than you are actually to get it from the groceries themselves.

So, reduce the number of trips. Second thing is to wipe down the shopping cart, the handle of the shopping cart, the handle of the basket, things that you touch a lot while you're there and try to stay six feet away from others when you're grocery shopping.

The third is when you come back, you can leave your groceries for 24 hours and unpack them in 24 hours. Or for things that are perishable, you can put them all into - put all the bags in one place on the ground and then wipe down the containers of the bags with soap and water. And then wipe down the floor, where the groceries were with soap and water as well.

COOPER: There's a video online - Sanjay did a very nice tutorial on how to wipe down your groceries and things. Sanjay, Jason Offineer in California sent in this video, let's take a look.


JASON OFFINEER: Dr. Sanjay Gupta mentioned previously that containment efforts are most effective early on in an outbreak. With the number of confirmed US cases quickly approaching one million, will we be able to abate the spread of the virus as states begin to re-open or is the horse out of the barn?


COOPER: Sanjay.

GUPTA: Yes. Well, you know, both things can be true. Earlier efforts towards, you know, slowing down the spread have greater impact. That's just true. That's sort of more the containing the virus as opposed to mitigating it.

But I don't think the horse is out of the barn right now, we've actually made some great progress by these physical distancing stay at home measures. I mean, sometimes it's hard to notice the progress because we're all in the middle of it right now.

But it does make a difference. So, I think the key is - and maybe this is what you're driving at is that we have to stay the course right now and I think everybody is saying that. If you look at some of the models - Anderson, you've talked to Chris Murray from IMHE quite a bit, they're saying the date for re-opening is closer for most dates to the middle of June now. And that's based on the, you know, what they see in all these various places. COOPER: This next question came in via Twitter with our hash tag, CNN Town Hall. It's there at the bottom of your screen. It reads, "What should we do now to prepare for a possible second wave in the fall?" Sanjay, there's both what should people, you know, at home do but also medical establishments, scientific establishment, government.

GUPTA: Yes. No question, the same things we've been talking about for several months now still apply here. We need to make sure that we have adequate testing, we need to make sure that we have adequate hospital beds and ICU beds, staff, all those things we've been talking about.

But one of the things that I think gets misinterpreted a little bit is the second wave that Dr. Redfield, head of the CDC was talking about. I think he was really referring to this idea that coronavirus and the flu could sort of happen at the same time. And both of these do require significant hospital resources. So, one thing I would say - and this, you know, we talk about this all the time, Anderson, but I think it was last year, two years ago, fewer than half of American adults got the flu shot.

Flu shot's important. I mean, maybe more important than ever because you can know first of all, it's not the flu if you do get sick and second of all, you can really help decrease the significance and amplitude of that second wave.

COOPER: Yes. Dr. Leana Wen, thanks so much, really appreciate it. Up next, New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo joins us to talk about the results from the much anticipated coronavirus tests in his state.

We'll also talk to chef Jose Andrase about his efforts to keep America fed through World Central Kitchen, his relief organization. And Alicia Keys joins us for an interview as well as a special performance for her new song "Good Job", that celebrates the unsung heroes of the pandemic. You definitely want to hear this song.



COOPER: Just ahead, the new song by Alicia Keys, dedicated to all the unsung heroes of this outbreak. Sanjay and I have already heard it and it's really - it's great.

GUPTA: Wonderful.

COOPER: And she's amazing. She's going to be joining us a little bit later on. Plus one of the heroes, in so many crises, chef Jose Andres about his efforts through World Central Kitchen - his relief organization to keep America fed. We'll tell you what he's doing, we'll talk to him. First the Governor of the hardest hit state in the country.

GUPTA: New York now has suffered more than 20 thousand coronavirus deaths. But some signs grew this week, that the worst - thank goodness, may be over. COOPER: Hospital cases are dropping - along with it, the terrible burden on ICUs is finally easing somewhat. And as that hopeful trend continues, new data is emerging on just how many New Yorkers may have been exposed to the virus. Preliminary studies showing that 13.9 percent state wide tested positive for anti-bodies to it, around 21 percent of New York city residents in a random sampling study tested positive with anti-bodies.

We've been talking about it tonight and we're joined now by New York's Governor, Andrew Cuomo. Governor Cuomo, there's certainly a lot happening right now that's affecting you as a leader here in New York, which is still the epicenter of the outbreak.

I just want to start though with the anti-body study released today. If the numbers represent the true infection rate in New York, this really means the virus has been - I guess, more wide spread than previously known. Were you surprised at the number and does it change in any way your approach going forward?

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): Was I surprised? Look, I've been surprised by everything, right. The -- anecdotally we were hearing it was roughly this high, but what it shows is it is more wide spread, 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.