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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Magic Johnson On The Coronavirus Racial Disparity; World Health Organization Doctor On Coronavirus; Pastor Rick Warren: Worship From Home This Easter. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired April 9, 2020 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, ANDERSON COOPER 360: Magic, thank you so much for being with us.
MAGIC JOHNSON, CHAIRMAN & CEO, MAGIC JOHNSON ENTERPRISES, NBA HALL OF FAMER: Thank you for having me, both of you, and thank you for helping so many people, educating them. It's very good.
COOPER: You are - you are a hero to me, personally. Your bravery, back in 1991, announcing to the world that you're HIV-positive, it opened a lot of people's eyes. It saved a lot of people's lives who got tested because you had, took greater precautions, because of you.
Thanks to - to the medicine, HIV is now a chronic condition. You are thriving, as are people who have access to medication. They are living lives just like everybody else. These viruses are obviously very different, Corona and HIV, in a whole lot of ways.
But you lived through one pandemic. I'm wondering when this current crisis started, did it have a different resonance for you having - giving - having it - had the experience of living through the - the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
JOHNSON: Well I think that, you know, when you think about HIV and AIDS, first of all, I'd like to thank Dr. Ho and all the doctors for educating me about HIV and AIDS at that time.
Elizabeth Glaser, who was dying, really helped me mentally and physically. She told me a lot of drugs were coming down the pipeline, and she was absolutely right. So, those drugs have prolonged my life, for now, almost 30 years. But when I think about this virus, it's completely different.
But we must now, in the Black community, educate ourself better because we thought, and a lot of people were saying it, and these are Black people saying that, you know, Blacks couldn't get this virus, Coronavirus. And they were absolutely wrong, too much misinformation going out into our community.
And if we look at the numbers, African-Americans are leading in terms of dying from the Coronavirus. Also, those who are in the hospital, most of them are African-Americans.
So, we got to do a better job, as African-Americans, to social distancing, stay at home, make sure, you know, we educate our loved ones, and our family members, about this virus, and do what we're supposed to do, to keep safe and healthy.
And then when you add - add that up to, you know, we don't have access to healthcare and - quality healthcare, and then, you know, so much of us - so many of us are uninsured, so that also creates a problem too, just like it did with HIV and AIDS, and the same thing with the Coronavirus.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Right.
COOPER: Yes. I mean it's also for, you know, African - people of color are treated differently often, too often, in hospitals, in terms of even being given pain medication in some cases than - than other people.
I mean there are long-standing inequalities and disparities in treatment, access to treatment, access to testing.
JOHNSON: That's it.
COOPER: And those have existed for a long time, and that also has ripple effects in the current pandemic.
JOHNSON: Well when you think about, first of all, African-Americans, we deal with a lot of health issues already. So, we talked about HIV and AIDS. But obesity, when you think about diabetes, high blood pressure, so all these things, we already deal with.
And then you add Coronavirus on top of that, that's a tough situation for most African-Americans and minorities. Period. And then the lack of access to healthcare, that's just unbeatable combination. And so, we must get better.
Hopefully, there'll be affordable healthcare for all people, not just minorities, but for everybody. And if the prices can come down, then I think you're going to see African-Americans be a lot healthier.
GUPTA: You know - you know, there's another - there's another thing too, that add into that mix, Magic, which is that a disproportionate number of frontline workers, people in food service, logistics, transportation, whatever it might be, are also African-American. They are more at risk.
JOHNSON: That's right.
GUPTA: They do their jobs. They're more at risk.
So - so what and I - I mean, that's not something that's likely to change soon. What would be your message then to make sure these structural inequalities that Anderson's talking about, you know, don't continue with this particular pandemic? JOHNSON: Well first of all, you know, those jobs are there - especially, if you have - you haven't gotten a good education, that's really been our problem. And so, we have those jobs.
We're hard-working people. We want to take care of our family. But at the same time we understand that the hospitality sector, the restaurant sector, is driven a lot by minorities, and especially African-Americans.
And that's why the unemployment number, you think about 17 million Americans are unemployed now, a lot of them are African-Americans because they are in those sectors. But I don't want, you know, we - we can't just say it's because they're in those sectors.
We, as African-Americans, we got to do a better job. And then, we got to make sure our kids can educate themselves, so they can have jobs in other sectors, so we won't be talking about this, hopefully in the next five years.
COOPER: You know, I was talking to some people about this today. You know, one of the things I think this - this pandemic has done is it - it shows inequality that exists in society.
It's like an X-ray that - that pre-existing problems in the society, it magnifies them, and it brings them more to the light, these racial disparities, homelessness, things like that.
COOPER: But - but it also is it's - it's an extraordinary opportunity to start to see each other differently, you know. The - the idea of who are important - who's important in our society, you know, we think it's celebrities, we think it's, you know, people make a lot of money.
But, right now, all those celebrities and all those people making a lot of money, we're all depending on people who are not making money, who are delivering boxes of goods, who are working in an Amazon Fulfillment Center--
COOPER: --who are driving the bus, who are, you know, who are saving our lives because they're keeping this entire system going.
If it wasn't for truck drivers, UPS delivery folks, you know, these are the people who, they don't get a lot of acknowledgment in regular times. And things are now flipped, so they are keeping us alive.
JOHNSON: Yes, they are. And - and so, we got to thank them. Look, I employ a lot of those people. And I want to thank them right now because, right now, people who work for me are in hospitals right now.
I can tell you in New Jersey, in Newark, New Beth Israel, my team is working almost around the clock to - to feed the doctors, and nurses, and also all the other patients, not just the Coronavirus patients, but all the other patients, who are also at that hospital, and have dietary needs, special meals, to keep them going. So, I want to thank them.
And then, I have also other - a team of people who work in the school system because in those same neighborhoods that we're talking about, we're feeding those school children twice-a-day meals, so that they can have meals that they normally, if - school was out now, because of this virus, if we don't feed them, they wouldn't eat all day.
JOHNSON: So, we want to continue to feed these young people, and that's what we're doing. So, I want to thank my team.
But there's a lot of people, the grocery store workers, who are still working, to feed all of us, to make sure we have a meal.
Also, the doctors, nurses, first responders, the police, the fire, all of those people we want to thank them because they're still working, while we're, you know, sitting at home.
But last but not least, you know, it's been inequalities and injustice going on for a long time, especially when you think about minorities.
And so, you have to change, first of all, in City Hall, on the state level, on the local level, and then at the federal level. And if things don't change there, then nothing's going to change in Urban America.
So, until somebody says "Hey, we're going to make sure that African- Americans, and Latinos, and others, have a level playing field that the same opportunities that others have, minorities are going to have," until those things change, we're still going to have a lack of healthcare. We're still going to be behind the eight ball when you think about African-Americans.
GUPTA: And - and, Magic, I want to ask you something that Anderson brought up earlier. And I'm just curious how you think through this.
When you think about HIV/AIDS, in the beginning, there weren't any proven therapies, no proven medications. And yet, there was a real desire, you know, a real need for them, a real clamoring for them, understandably, because people were dying.
This is a different sort of pandemic, as Anderson mentioned. But some of those same tones seem to be here as well. "We want to rush this through because people are dying. Let's just try anything."
And - and obviously there's - there's concerns. There could be side effects, there could be real concerns. But how do you think about that, Magic?
JOHNSON: Right. Well when I first announced HIV, almost 30 years ago, there was only one drug, AZT, at that time. And now, there's over 30 drugs, right? And so, now people can real - really live a healthy life--
JOHNSON: --because of those drugs. And I think here, with this Coronavirus, hopefully we can find some drugs that will prolong life.
And that we got to make sure first though, every American can get a test, can get tested because, right now, there's a shortage of tests. So, people want to get tested, but they can't find a test kit, so that's also a problem too.
So, the reason my life, I'm still living, is because early detection. I - I had a test. I had a physical. It came up that I had HIV. And that saved my life.
And so, people want to get tested. Until they get tested, people won't be comfortable because that's going to tell them whether they have this virus or not.
COOPER: Let me add some follow-up on what Sanjay was saying.
We're talking about AZT which, as you mentioned, in '91, when you announced that you were positive, as you said, that was the only thing that was out there. And a lot of activists had, you know, fought to get that drug brought quickly on to the market, so that they could use it.
There wasn't, you know, the - the amount of testing that there would normally be because it was such a desperate situation, and it turned out AZT alone was not effective, and actually had really hurt a lot of people, and probably resulted in - in people dying.
Were you back - I don't know if you - I don't want to ask too many personal questions.
But was AZT something you tried or were you tempted to because I know a lot of people who survived said they chose not to try AZT, and feel like that kept them alive, at least long enough to get the cocktail, in which AZT was also involved with.
JOHNSON: Anderson, you - you're spot on. I tried it in the beginning.
And then, the cocktail came right behind it. And they were testing the cocktail when I first announced in 1991. And so, I came along at the right time because that drug came right after that.
And between me working out, keeping a positive attitude, as well as taking the cocktail, that's what made me live for now almost 30 years.
GUPTA: And I - look, I don't want to belabor this point.
But - but there is a real push of some of these medications to release them earlier than you normally would because, you know, we don't have the data on it yet, Magic, and I'm not trying to put you on the spot. But how do you think that this should be balanced, this desire for medicines, because people are getting really sick, and dying from this virus, versus the need for evidence, just given that you went through this yourself.
JOHNSON: Well - well, you know, listen, right now, this virus is so new, and nobody has a cure or a drug that can help people. It doesn't seem like that anyway.
And so, until we come up with some drugs that can prolong life and - and also help people beat the virus, we're going to continue to have people passing away dying, and that's unfortunate.
Because here we are, the biggest and strongest company in the world, I'm - I'm sorry, country in the world, and we should be having drugs that can help people through this virus. And I hope that - that the doctors and scientists can find a cure or a drug that can help people beat this virus.
COOPER: You know--
JOHNSON: So, I'm hoping that that happens soon.
COOPER: You know, one of the things I was thinking about - I was thinking about you a lot today.
And - and, you know, you - I - putting myself in your shoes in 1991 to have come out, and sat down in front of a, you know, room full of reporters with all the prejudice and - and, you know, bigotry and misinformation about HIV/AIDS, at the time, and announced what you did, and said what you did.
The fear that you and - and your wife must have felt, in those days, where, you know, there wasn't the cocktail, there wasn't drugs that now it's a chronic condition.
COOPER: You're thriving, you know, you're as healthy as anybody else, as long as you keep taking the medicine, and anybody who has access to medicine, you know, is as healthy as anybody else.
There's a lot of people who have fear tonight sitting, for a lot of different reasons, economic reasons, but also fear of getting this virus, fear of, you know, losing a loved one. How do you deal with that fear?
COOPER: I mean, in 1991, in 1992, there wasn't a lot of reason to hope.
JOHNSON: Yes, I think that, first of all, the first thing we did, we just prayed a lot. You know, God really blessed me. But the one thing also, you know, I continue to have a positive
attitude, I continued to work out. And - and then also, I took my meds. So, I followed the advice of my doctor, who was Dr. Ho at that time, and still is.
And so, I think, right now, it's similar to what happened with - with HIV and AIDS. When - when I announced, it was a White gay man's disease, right? Everybody was saying, "Oh, man is going through a White gay man," right?
And they - people were wrong because they thought - Blacks thought that they couldn't get HIV and AIDS. It's the same thing as to Coronavirus. It reminds me going back 30 years, and we were all wrong. And the numbers is switched from a White gay man's disease to a minority disease, right?
JOHNSON: And - and which it is today, HIV and AIDS, more minorities get HIV and AIDS than any other group of people.
And the same thing here, that misinformation went out in our community and said "Oh, Blacks can't get Coronavirus," and everybody's been wrong about that, whoever's been saying that in the Black community.
So, that's why we see these numbers so high because, you know, people went out there, spreading that word that Blacks couldn't get it. And now, we see that not only can we get the Coronavirus, but we can die from the Coronavirus.
So, in our community, we got to do a better job of making sure everybody knows that they can get this virus, and it's deadly.
COOPER: It also just seems to me, and I don't want to belabor this, but - but, you know, when - when we don't see each other, when we don't see our brothers and sisters, who are disadvantaged, or who are living a different life, than - than we are, when we don't interact or see each other, that's when you don't end up having testing, you know, emphasis on testing in the Black community.
We've seen this with, you know, HIV/AIDS. We've seen this, you know. Then doctors don't think about "Well how do I reach out"--
COOPER: --"to this population in a different way perhaps but so that they - so that we bring that population in."
When we don't see each other as a society, it - and that filters down to who gets medical care, and who doesn't. And that's just, you know, that's wrong and that needs to change.
JOHNSON: Well, see Anderson, the problem is people want us to drive to Suburban America to get that test. COOPER: Right, exactly.
JOHNSON: Why can't you have that testing done right in Urban America right in the inner cities? And then, we want doctors who look like us--
JOHNSON: --because that's important too, so they can deliver that message to us of "Hey, this is what you're up against," and that's - that's an easier message to accept when it's a doctor of color that can explain to us how it's going to affect, not only us, but our family members--
JOHNSON: --and our community.
So, a lot of times, what happens is we don't get the information because it's only over here, right, over in Suburban America, and not in Urban America. And then when we get it, we usually give out the wrong information, right?
And so, I'm here today to tell all minorities, this virus, you can get it, and you can die from it. So, make sure you do everything you're supposed to do, stay at home.
I've been hearing they've been having car parties around the country. You can't do that. You got to stay at home by yourself with your family and - and make sure keep yourself a safe distance from everybody else. That's very important.
And then, here in California, you know, I drove up here in my mask. I got gloves. I got mask. I'm - I'm staying safe. My wife is staying safe. So, we urge everybody, get your masks, get your gloves, and stay safe.
Stay at home, watch your TV shows, watch old NBA games. I've been watching NBA TV, the old classic games and also, you know, binging out on all my TV shows that I like as well.
GUPTA: You were a lot of those NBA classic games, by the way Magic, as well, so you're seeing yourself a lot, I imagine.
Quickly, do you think the misinformation spread is - is worse now? I mean, there's social media, there's all these digital platforms.
Compared to 30 years ago, when there was misinformation about who HIV/AIDS affected, here it was thought to be primarily an older White person's disease, this new Coronavirus.
Is it harder, do you think, to get good information out?
JOHNSON: No. No, it should be easier. I mean with social media and with cell phones, you know, that's where people are living, on their cell phone, and on their iPads, and laptops, and so on. So, we should be able to get the information out better.
But what happens is you have some people given the wrong information because they haven't been educated enough. And those people have a following, you know, and a big following.
So, if somebody says "Hey, oh we can't get it as Black people," and they have millions of people who listen to them, then they're going to go tell other people what that leader, or what that guy, or what that woman said, and that's - and that's wrong.
And so, I'm here today to correct that that you can get it. And look at all the numbers that CNN has - have shown us every single day.
JOHNSON: You've shown us the numbers where African Americans lead in every category. So, we got to tell and get the - get the right message out to the urban community.
GUPTA: We've got to ask you one question, Magic, about sports. You're obviously a basketball legend that everyone knows you. You're also part owner of the LA Dodgers. Right now, there are no sports.
GUPTA: No live sports, no basketball, no baseball, no hockey, no golf, nothing. How do you think sports is going to come back from this? And do you think there's going to be a right time for that to happen.
JOHNSON: It definitely will be a right time.
I know Commissioner Addis - Adam Silver has done a wonderful job with the NBA. He wants to make sure that the players will be safe before they come back as well as it'd be safe for all the employees who work at those arenas.
And so, I think sports will come back. It's just a matter of when will we make sure that this virus has not affected, it's - is leveled, and it's not affecting the whole country anymore. And when those numbers drop, and it stabilizes, I think that sports will come back.
And then, the Dodgers and MLB, they're talking about coming back maybe in May, and I hope that happens. But first, the players have to be safe, and then the numbers have to be stabilized for that to happen as well.
But, look, America and all of us who live in this great country that we live in, we need sports, especially in a time like this, but only if everybody is safe. Now, the key is I think sports will come back, probably without fans first. The key is when will fans be allowed to come back?
COOPER: Yes. Well let me ask you--
JOHNSON: And that's going to be the key.
COOPER: Let me ask you about the LeBron James, who I know, you've said as the greatest athlete in the world, who's also an LA Laker, he recently said he doesn't know how we can imagine a sporting event with no fans.
Do you think fan-less games are a viable option, not only for the NBA, but other leagues as well?
JOHNSON: Well I think that, you know, LeBron is right. I mean it's hard to play without fans, I mean. But I think that once you have one game without fans, say the NBA comes back without fans, once you play one game, you adjust to not having fans there.
But I think that also too, we've all played our whole life on the playgrounds and - and pickup games without fans being there. So, basketball players know how to adjust, trust me.
And I think also too those guys want to - they want to see who's the - the World Champion. They - listen, if they have a chance to go back, if they're healthy, if they all get tested, and they go back, and they know they can be healthy, and nothing can happen to them, they will go back to crown a champion because they want to see who's the best team in the NBA.
JOHNSON: Because I'm - I'm looking forward to seeing if the Lakers are going to win the championship. I'm looking forward to seeing that.
COOPER: Magic Johnson, it is so - it's always great to talk to you and I really appreciate you being with us.
JOHNSON: Oh, my pleasure. Thank you for having me. Everybody out there, please stay safe and do what you're supposed to do, and let's make - let these numbers go down, so we can get back to our life.
COOPER: Magic Johnson, thank you.
GUPTA: Thanks, Magic.
COOPER: And our Global - Global Town Hall continues.
A Doctor from the World Health Organization will answer your Coronavirus questions.
And later, Pastor Rick Warren, talking about faith, during this time.
COOPER: Welcome back to the CNN Global Town Hall Coronavirus: Fact and Fears. At the bottom of your screen, you see our social media scroll, showing questions people are asking. In the past couple of days, have seen President Trump making allegations against the World Health Organization's response to the pandemic.
The Organization has responded by detailing a timeline of their response to the pandemic, and the Head of the Group saying to President Trump, quote, "Please don't politicize this virus."
He also added they would do an after-action report, as they do with all disease outbreaks, so they can identify the strengths and weaknesses of their response. So, those are the politics.
Tonight, on the Global Town Hall, we want to focus on the science, and the health, and answering your questions.
We want to introduce Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, who's been with us before. She's the Technical Lead for COVID-19 Response at the WHO.
Thanks so much for - for being with us. I want to get to viewer questions in a moment. But first, I'm wondering for your assessment of the fight against the virus, at this moment, both here in the U.S. and around the world.
DR. MARIA VAN KERKHOVE, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION TECHNICAL LEAD FOR COVID-19 RESPONSE: So, thanks for having me. Good morning, good evening.
Yes, our assessment, our focus is 100 percent on saving as many lives as we can. We're seeing an incredibly resilient global population, right now, fighting really hard against this.
We're seeing governments put everything that they can against this to try to minimize infections, to save lives, and to minimize the public health economic impacts.
We're seeing some good signs in the number of countries, which we talked about before.
We're seeing reductions in cases across Asia. Several countries in Asia are now seeing - seeing some - some reintroductions. And so, they've - they've put in place, again, the public health measures that worked the first time.
We're seeing still some increases in outbreaks, in case numbers, across Europe, across North America. And so, we're seeing a good fight happening there, and we want that to continue.
What we are really worried about is how this virus will behave across Africa, and some lower income countries, in Latin America, in some island countries. So, it's - it's a bit of a mixed bag here, in terms of - of what we're seeing globally, in terms of its epidemiology.
But the - the human spirit that we're seeing, the solidarity across the globe, the unity in bringing people together is really inspiring.
GUPTA: Doctor, you know, I think for the last three months for me, I know longer for you, I've followed these numbers and these models on a daily basis. And it can get a little confusing to really understand, looking at the models, where this is really going.
When you look at the numbers of cases and deaths around the world, and all these changing curves, first of all, does it - does it make sense to you, these models? And what stands out to you? What should we be paying attention to?
VAN KERKHOVE: So, what we do, when we look at the numbers, is we look at the cases that are reported, the cases that are being identified, and we look at the growth rate.
We look at how quickly are those numbers being identified, and how quickly are numbers - numbers doubling? We call that the doubling time. That's a really important number.
And right now, across Europe, the doubling time is three to four days, and that's very fast. That means that the - the case numbers are going to grow very, very fast, and which can overwhelm systems.
What we're also looking at is not only where are those - what those numbers are, it's where those numbers are coming for, what is - coming from, what is the surveillance strategy of a country, how are countries looking, what is the testing strategy of the countries, so that we could put those numbers into context.
The other thing that we're going to be very important, that is very important, is how on the downward side of the curve, how fast is that happening and how is that happening? We're all looking at these numbers going up. But just as important is how these numbers are coming down.
We look at the percent positive through the tests. That's something that's really important, how many tests are done and how many are positive. If you're seeing countries that have a 30 percent positivity rate that means that there's a lot of cases that are out there.
If you're seeing countries that have a 1 percent positivity rate, that means that there are fewer - fewer - they're actually capturing more of their cases.
Models are models. Models are wonderful for scenarios. And they help us think about the what-ifs, what may happen, if we don't do different - don't put in interventions. But models are models.
What our - our goal is, is to make sure that the realities of those numbers, which can sometimes be very scary, don't become realities.
COOPER: What have you seen, in terms of societies getting back to some sense of normalcy, and obviously until there's a vaccine, you know, there's still going to be doubt, and fears, and concern, and the potential to slip back into - into the pandemic.
But what works in terms of getting a country or a society out of this and back to normal? What is - you know, Governor Cuomo refers to testing as the bridge. Is it testing? What is it that allows a place to get back that helps a place get back?
VAN KERKHOVE: Yes, this is a very hot topic at the moment because there's a lot of countries that have implemented these stringent movement restrictions, and a lot of stay-at-home orders, and this is global.
And so, we get a lot of questions about how do we get out of this. Testing is part of that strategy. But it's one measure as part of a whole comprehensive package of things.
One is you have to have testing in place. You have to have public health measures where you have a workforce that can find cases. It gets back to the fundamentals of public health. What is the workforce that can go out and actually do contact tracing?
COOPER: So, you need--
VAN KERKHOVE: Look for cases.
COOPER: Do you have a sense of how many people you need doing that, because we've heard different things, even tonight on this show. I mean, is it thousands of people, is it hundreds of people? Is it--
VAN KERKHOVE: It depends on the area that we're talking about.
COOPER: --obviously it depends on the size of country.
VAN KERKHOVE: I mean, if you're talking about globally, yes, it's - it's huge numbers of people. But this is where countries need to be creative.
We've seen you don't - you don't need medical professionals to actually do contact tracing. It would be great if you did. But we have a lot of medical professionals that are needed in hospitals to care for patients. But there's other people that can help do this.
We've - we've heard some creative stories of using teachers to help or using university students, but everybody needs to be trained and everybody needs to - to do it in the proper way, and be protected.
But it - what would be helpful is to think at the lowest administrative level that you can, and break down the problem into smaller areas, to see what you need where, you know, depending on that geographic area.
But you have to have those systems in place before you can start. You need to have your bed capacity lowered - higher, but not as filled.
You need to have beds in place, so that once you do lift these measures, should you have more cases, or should you have an increase in cases again, you have a plan to actually care for those individuals.
You need to have your workplaces in order, so once companies start to get people back to work, you need to have a plan in place that should you find a case, or should you has - what are you going to do?
So, there's a number of measures that need to be put in place. And where we've seen this done successfully, the lifting of these measures has happened in a - has happened in a slow and staggered approach.
The entire country doesn't lift all at once. It's done maybe piecemeal, maybe in an area where there's lower incidence, where there's lower circulation.
You start to lift some of these measures a little bit at a time. You open up your factories, and you have part of your workforce go back, not all of your workforce go back.
It's going to take some time. It's - it can't be done all at once because it's very dangerous that you can have a resurgence very quickly. But testing - having testing in place is one of the key factors.
GUPTA: We've got a lot of viewer questions as well for you, Doctor. Let's get to one from Kim, who sent in this, which reads "Does one's blood type play a factor in being able to combat the virus once contracted?"
VAN KERKHOVE: Yes. So, thanks. I'd heard that. I'd heard that question one other time.
As this - with this respiratory virus and with other Coronaviruses, no, it doesn't. All of us are susceptible to this - to this virus. It's a new virus, which means we haven't had a chance to build immunity. So, no, everyone is susceptible to this virus.
COOPER: Charles in Renton, Washington, sent in this video.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHARLES NEVI, RETIRED SCHOOL ADMINISTRATOR: In the absence of a vaccine, are massive infections necessary to create the herd immunity necessary to flatten the curve?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN KERKHOVE: So, thank you. I didn't hear the whole thing. But he asked about herd immunity. Is that what he asked?
COOPER: Right. He said "Are massive infections, in the absence of a vaccine, are massive infections necessary in order to develop herd immunity?"
VAN KERKHOVE: So--
COOPER: And maybe explain what herd immunity is too for - for folks.
VAN KERKHOVE: So, yes, so herd immunity is when you have a large proportion of the population infected, which means they would have some level of immunity, and therefore the virus has nowhere to go. It has no one else to infect, to pass it to someone to someone. No, I mean what we want to happen is we want to prevent as many infections as possible, full stop. The goal is never to - to let this go.
We want to prevent as many infections as we can, and thereby reducing the number of people who would advance to severe disease, critical disease, and die, and at the same time, accelerate the development of vaccines too as fast as we can.
I mean, recently, we - we had more than 130 developer scientists, companies come together to say that they would be willing to work with us, to work globally, to advance vaccine, and that is something that we will push, and the whole world is waiting for.
GUPTA: Along those lines, Doctor, one of the questions we always get, I think, we've talked about it before, and I wonder if we know more now than before, but if you get this virus, if you get the infection, are you - are you for certain immune to it, if you're exposed again?
VAN KERKHOVE: So, you know, nothing in this is for certain. You know, we're - we're still, even weeks, and we're now in our fourth month of this outbreak, and we're learning - we're learning something new every day.
The studies are still being done, so there's nothing for certain yet. We've seen some preliminary results where - some preliminary studies, pre-published results, where some people will develop an immune response. We don't know if that actually confers immunity, which means that they're totally protected.
If we look at other coronaviruses, if we look at MERS coronavirus, back before this, I was actually MERS focal point as well, we would see people who would have an antibody response for maybe 10 months, maybe a year. And so, we don't know - even there, we didn't know if that conferred protection.
So, for this particular virus, the answer is we don't know yet, but those studies are being done. We need to really better understand how the body responds to it.
There's, you know, more than 300,000 people who have recovered from this, so we need to look at them and we need to see what level of antibodies they have, and if that actually means that there is protection.
COOPER: Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, we appreciate your time. Thank you very much.
VAN KERKHOVE: Thank you.
COOPER: Up next, as Easter weekend nears, I'll talk - we'll both talk with Pastor Rick Warren, about faith.
COOPER: This is CNN's Global Town Hall. We're going to get answers to more of your questions ahead.
Good Friday, of course, is tomorrow. Easter Sunday is only a couple of days away.
GUPTA: And normally, churches across the country would be packed, but not in the midst of a Coronavirus pandemic. So, with us now is Evangelical Pastor, Rick Warren.
COOPER: Pastor Rick, thanks so much for being with us. Appreciate it.
PASTOR RICK WARREN, SADDLEBACK CHURCH, AUTHOR, "THE PURPOSE DRIVEN LIFE": Hi, Anderson. Hi, Sanjay. Good to see you guys.
COOPER: Just let's begin with just kind of your thoughts of where - where we all are, right now, in this country's history--
COOPER: --and in - in this pandemic.
WARREN: Well, I first heard about the COVID-19 pandemic in January because Saddleback has campuses, our Church, actually in four continents. And Saddleback Hong Kong actually went to online services about eight weeks ago, and we distributed about 150,000 masks in Hong Kong in January and February.
WARREN: So, it's kind of like the - the canary in the mine that we heard early on that it was going to happen.
And as the news and the panic about COVID-19 began to spread, I started getting calls, texts, e-mails, social media messages from pastors and priests, all around the world, asking the exact same question.
"Is Easter going to be canceled this year?"
And my answer to the same - was the same to all of them, and it was this, you know, "As shepherds, we are called to protect God's flock, not just feed it and lead it. And if you really love your Congregation, tell them to stay at home on Easter." That's going to curtail - curtail assembling. But it's not going to curtail our celebration.
Easter will be - it'll be curtailed but it won't be canceled because nothing can actually cancel the Resurrection. It happened 2,000 years ago. It's what history in the A.D. and B.C., and every time we use the date, even our birthdays, we're using the Resurrection as the focal point.
But we - I've tried to help these pastors around the world. We have - I have quite a large network of about a million pastors.
On Monday, I did a Global Pastors' Prayer Gathering, and with leaders from all the continents, and over a million pastors around the world tuned into that, as we were preparing them for the first Easter in 2,000 years, where Christians aren't actually meeting, but there's a lot of other ways.
Easter will certainly be celebrated. And one of the things I reminded them is I said, "You guys, we're not the first Christians to stay at home in fear, on Resurrection Day" because that's actually what happened at the very first Easter.
Peter, and John, and all those other guys who were the disciples, had that same experience at the very first Easter.
John, Chapter 20, Verse 19, says, that night, talking about Easter night, the disciples were huddled in a home, locked, with the doors locked, for fear of the authorities. Now, they weren't afraid of a virus. But they were afraid that the same group of people who might have - who had crucified Christ might come after them.
And so, congratulations, you're - you're celebrating the way the first Easter was celebrated, in a home, with the door locked, for fear.
GUPTA: And - and--
WARREN: The second thing I would tell them is there was no mega church at the first Easter. Jesus just showed up in their home, to everybody's surprise, and I have no doubt that he'll do that again, in tens of millions of homes, this Easter.
GUPTA: And Saturday was a day of silence as well before--
WARREN: Exactly right (ph).
GUPTA: You know, I'm curious, you know, in your world, Pastor, and in my world, as a Doctor, the human touch is so important, you know, the laying out of hands in medicine.
WARREN: Right. Right.
GUPTA: How are you going to observe? I know you're going to do this, you know, via technology, but how important--
GUPTA: --is it, the human touch? And how - how much is it going to impact your Congregation?
WARREN: Well there's no doubt about it. Human touch is extremely important. In fact, everywhere Jesus went, he gave a look, a word and a touch, a look, a word and a touch. He would look people in the eye, he would give them, which said "You
matter to me," he would give them a word of encouragement, and he would give them a touch, pat on the back, a hug, a squeeze.
And, you know, you know Doctor that primates (ph) that aren't touched get Failure To Thrive syndrome that - that we are made to be touched.
But, right now, in our current restrictions on public gatherings, and on the lack of touch that we have, we - we need to remember that Jesus never intended for his church to just be merely an event that people go to.
It's a family that we're supposed to belong to. And God wanted a family. That's why he created the Universe. And while worship is the first purpose of the church, it's not the only one.
Jesus outlined four other purposes, including fellowship, creating authentic community, discipleship, helping people grow their souls, grow, spiritually mature, mission, reconciling disconnected people to God, and ministry serving the needs and hurts of everyone.
And any church can keep doing those even with social distancing. This last - in the last 2.5 weeks, we have fed 30,000 households in 2.5 weeks, just our church alone. And so, we have - we've started, we have about 550 ministries in the community. You don't have to have a big assembly to keep doing it.
In fact, I train pastors, and I've had over a million pastors, in 197 nations, take purpose-driven training. We tell them, here's how you spell church, C-H-U-R-C-H. C, care and comfort the anxious, H, help and heal the hurting, U, uplift the tired and discouraged, C, care for people's souls and spiritual growth, and H, heal the sick.
All of those can keep on being - people don't realize that the church basically invented healthcare. We invented the hospital, not government, not business.
The grease (ph) in Christianity spread, if you know history, it's because of two plagues in the Roman Empire that when people began to flee the urban areas of the Roman Empire because of the plagues in the 2nd Century and in the 3rd, Christians moved in to take care of the sick.
COOPER: You know, you talk--
WARREN: And they should see how they loved one another.
COOPER: You talk about feeding. It is - in a time like this, you really see how churches, food banks, community organizations are filling that need for feeding people, literally feeding people.
I also wanted to ask you - you and I were talking about this right before we - we came on-air.
COOPER: My - my brother died by suicide. You lost a son to suicide. You know what--
COOPER: You know the - what grief--
WARREN: What pain is.
COOPER: --what grief is like.
COOPER: There's a lot of folks who have lost loved ones, and who are scared tonight of losing loved ones, or who have lost loved ones, and may be watching. And I'm just wondering, what do you say to people in that, you know, what - in what is now the worst time in their life--
COOPER: --in which the - the future seems so distant, and it's hard to imagine ever even smiling again.
WARREN: Yes. Yes. Well, thank you for letting me talk about that because that's important. There's going to be a lot of grief.
People are going to lose loved ones who died, but they're also going to lose jobs. There's the grief of not being able to go to graduation, the grief of being - not being able to watch a baby be born. People are losing out in all kinds of different ways right now.
And so, there's going to be this tsunami of grief behind, even after we pass the top of the curve, and we're starting to flatten it, and it lowers that we've got to deal with the grief of lost opportunities and lost single - the times of life.
We're not very good at grieving. But grief is actually a good thing. Grief is the way we get through the transitions of life.
There is no growth without change. There is no change without loss, and there's no loss without pain and without grief. There is no time limit. There is no shelf life on grief. Everybody grieves differently.
And to force people, "Are you over it?" if you lose a loved one, it's like losing part of your arm, the rest of your life, you're going to know it's not there, and people go, "Are you over it?" No, you don't get over it. You get through it. But you don't get over it.
And after my son died, Kay and I, we had no idea that we would end up spending the next - the last seven years helping a lot of well-known people in grief because nobody knows how to deal with it.
You don't suppress it. You don't repress it. You confess it to God and you express it. Feelings are meant to be felt. The only reason we have feelings is because we're made in the image of God. God is an emotional God.
The Bible says God gets angry. The Bible says God gets sad. The Bible says God gets jealous. The Bible says God gets impatient. The Bible says God gets frustrated. We're made in his image.
So, feelings are simply meant to be felt. And if you stuff them, it's kind of like shaking up a can of Coke, and putting it in your refrigerator, it's one day going to explode and come out sideways.
And so, we're going to have to have a lot of grief counselors, helping people, after the threat of the virus subsides, with the next wave of emotional fallout.
I'm trying to deal with all of the - this is Saddleback's 34th national or international disaster that we've been, in the 40 years I've been a Pastor, this is the 40th, this - poignantly, this was - this Easter would have been Saddleback's 40th birthday.
Kay and I started this church 40 years ago with just the two of us. Now there's a 180,000 names on the roll, and we're on four continents. But it just happened. And - and so what we have to do is we have to teach people how to deal with grief.
GUPTA: Let me ask you a question, I think comes up for a lot of people. We're in the middle of a pandemic. It's felt existential to some people, an existential threat.
GUPTA: This is a question that was submitted over Instagram--
GUPTA: --that says this.
GUPTA: "Pastor Warren, I'd like to know where's God in a pandemic? Why does God allow such a harmful thing"--
GUPTA: --"to happen?"
WARREN: Sure. Very good questions and they're actually two.
The first one is where is God in a crisis? The answer is he's in the hearts of his people. All those people you see out there helping others, that's God in the hearts of those people.
I don't know why, but in a situation - as I've said, I've been through now 34 of these national pandemics, or international crises. Dr. Bob Redfield, we've travelled together around the world in different pandemics, including the AIDS pandemic, which Saddleback has been very involved in for decades.
Some people turn to God. Some people turn away from God. It just reveals what's inside of us. But there's two questions. The first question is where is God? People said "Where was my - where was God when my son died?"
He's the same place he was when his son died, on the cross. He was grieving the inhumanity of humanity to each other. He was grieving. God - the Bible says God weeps. But you also see God in the goodness of people.
When Katrina hit, I took 4,000 volunteers to - to New Orleans, and we worked there for three or four years. We paid - our Church paid the salaries of 400 small African-American churches where they totally lost their buildings. Where was God? He was in the hearts and generosity of our people.
The other question though is why does God allow this? When people ask "Why does God allow something to go wrong in the world" what they're expecting is Heaven on Earth.
This is not Heaven. This is Earth. In Heaven, everything is done perfectly. There is no sadness, no sorrow, no sickness, no stress. None of that's true here on Earth.
That's why we're praying the Lord's Prayer "Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven," because on Earth, it's rarely done. In Heaven, it's done perfectly, completely, and all the time. And so, we shouldn't expect Heaven on Earth.
God could get rid of all the evil in world, real simple, take away our choice because when I do evil God - our greatest gift is our freedom of choice. It's also our greatest curse because I don't always choose the right thing, and I hurt people, sometimes intentionally, sometimes unintentionally.
COOPER: Pastor Rick Warren, it's always good to talk to you. It's really good.
GUPTA: Thank you.
COOPER: I appreciate you - you taking the time to speak with us tonight.
WARREN: Thank you.
COOPER: I wish you the well and peace in the days ahead.
Up next, something to cheer up your spirit, a message of hope, ahead.
COOPER: Hope tonight has been an educational experience, use facts to cut through fear and myth. We want to talk a moment before we go to introduce you to some special people who fought the virus and won. They survived. [21:55:00]
According to CNN affiliate KOIN, World War II Veteran, William Lapschies is one of them. He recovered from the Coronavirus just in time to celebrate his 104th birthday. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAM LAPSCHIES, 104-YEAR-OLD CORONAVIRUS SURVIVOR: Thank everybody's together.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Love you, grandpa.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Love you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Bye, bye, Gran.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Bye, bye.
LAPSCHIES: Bye, bye.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well-wishers, including his daughter, had to maintain proper distance. And Stanley (ph) William is not only a Coronavirus survivor he's old enough that he lived through the 1918 Flu, which hit America when he was two years old.
GUPTA: That's pretty remarkable.
GUPTA: Rosny Daniel, an ER Doctor, contracted the disease in March. Not only was he mildly asthmatic. He told NPR that he also had Type 1 diabetes. He later had a fever. He had trouble breathing.
Daniel says as a - that as a doctor, he knew from the beginning that he had to maintain his distance when greeting people. So, taking a cue from Marvel movie "Black Panther," he insisted using the "Wakanda Forever" salute in place of a hand shake.
COOPER: That's a good one.
Then there's Geneva Wood, 90 years old, recovering from a stroke, she's resident of the Life Care Center in Kirkland, Washington, site of America's first major deadly outbreak.
Hit with the virus, her lungs filled with fluid, she thought she was at the end of her life. She convinced physicians to let her family gather around her for one last time. With such little oxygen in her lungs, she had difficulty talking. She was later transferred to a hospital where she began to recover.
She even told CNN she was glad to be home, so she could give her grown children, quote, a hug, or a kick, or whatever they needed. Her message to others with the disease is don't give up and keep fighting.
GUPTA: And, last tonight, a congratulations to Sean and Dawn Clancy of Ohio, and their newborn, Eli.
COOPER: Oh, my goodness!
GUPTA: Yes, cute.
Less than two weeks after young Eli's birth, he and his father, Sean, were both diagnosed with COVID-19. Sean says his son was lethargic. And that quote, his eyes weren't really opening. According to Cleveland TV station, WEWS, both of them are back home now, recovering, resting.
Congratulations to all three of you.
COOPER: God, congratulations.
GUPTA: And I know, you know, Anderson, a lot of people also ask about how they can help. It's a common question we get.
You can go to CNN.com/Coronavirus, figure out how to help there. There are now categories to search for however you want to contribute, and what you can do to help, from medical workers, to senior citizens, to supporting restaurant and service workers, and mental health resources. You can also go to CNN.com/Impact as well. Find more there.
COOPER: Sanjay, thanks very much. As always, appreciate it. I want to thank to everybody, our guests, and also all of you who submitted questions, if you didn't get your question answered tonight, the conversation continues at CNN.com/Coronavirusanswers.
The news continues, after a quick break, with Don Lemon.