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CNN's global town hall on the coronavirus has now concluded.
Actress Taraji P. Henson and famed science writer and author of "Spillover" David Quammen spoke to CNN's Anderson Cooper and Sanjay Gupta during tonight's weekly global town hall on coronavirus.
Check the Town Hall tab above to catch up on what happened during the show.
Actress Taraji P. Henson, known for her roles in "Empire" and "Hidden Figures," joined CNN's ongoing town hall to discuss the devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the African American community.
"One of the things that is so destructive about this virus ... is the sense of community, a loss of a sense of being able to reach out and hold the hand of your grandmother or your mother or your best friend and just talk about what is going on," said CNN's Anderson Cooper.
"It is tragic and it is traumatizing," said Henson.
"We know that African Americans and people of color are disproportionately affected by not only the virus but the secondary mental health impacts associated with the virus," added psychologist and mental health researcher Alfiee Breland-Noble.
Some context: African Americans are dying at disproportionately higher rates compared to all other ethnicities.
As of May 11, 17,155 black Americans are known to have died due to Covid-19, according to an analysis from the American Public Media (APM) Research Lab.
That's out of nearly 65,000 deaths for which race and ethnicity data was available. More than 80,000 people total had lost their lives to coronavirus at the time of the analysis.
A second trauma in the community: Henson also pointed to the trauma the black community is facing regarding the death of George Floyd, which has sparked outrage and protests against police brutality across the country.
"At this point, it seems like we have to save ourselves because these issues keep coming up. Racism, police brutality, these are traumas that have been passed down through generations since slavery. We still have not dealt with that trauma. And here we are," she said.
Actress Taraji P. Henson has launched a mental health program to help those suffering during the coronavirus pandemic.
"Because of the stigma around mental health, I had to do something. So we created a virtual fund-raising campaign for free sessions for people of color and, you know, disadvantaged neighborhoods," Henson said.
Henson, who is perhaps best known for her roles in "Hidden Figures" and the hit TV show "Empire," also discussed the death of George Floyd and the impact that has made on the black community.
Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, died on May 25 after pleading for help as a police officer used his knee on Floyd's neck to pin him — unarmed and handcuffed — to the ground in Minneapolis. His death sparked outrage and protests across the country, demonstrations that continued today.
"It's just like it won't let up, you know? It's like I'm trying to stop a bleeding wound and it just keeps bleeding, you know? But I'm raising money to help those who can't," Henson said. "It's tragic and it's traumatizing. And I mean, at this point it seems like we have to save ourselves."
As more and more states reopen restaurants, there are a handful of things Americans can do to protect themselves and others when eating out during the coronavirus pandemic.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta shared a few tips Thursday evening during CNN's global coronavirus town hall, which included bringing your own cleaning wipes just in case tables and chairs aren't being sanitized quickly.
"I'm obviously not going to wear the mask when I eat but you're going to have a hard time maintaining physical distance. You get up to go to the bathroom or anything, wear the mask. I'm one of those people that carries hand sanitizer everywhere I go. You probably should as well. If your restaurant has an online menu, check it out ahead of time," Gupta said during CNN's global coronavirus town hall.
Earlier today, researchers in California and Taiwan suggested that six feet of distance may not be enough to protect people from being infected with Covid-19.
Maria Van Kerkhove, the technical lead for the Covid-19 response at the World Health Organization, and Leana Wen, an emergency physician, joined CNN's ongoing town hall to explain what we know about transmission so far:
- What is the WHO's recommendation for social distancing? The organization recommends one meter (about 3.3 feet) or more. "The longer the distance, the better," said Van Kerkhove. "If you can do more, you should do more."
- Use common sense: The six-feet measure is just a rule of thumb, said Wen. "It's not as if you are five feet from someone, you will get coronavirus, and if you're seven feet you are safe. I think it is important for us to use common sense."
- How does the virus transmit? It's a respiratory virus, meaning the virus travels through droplets from our noses and mouths. The bigger droplets tend to fall straight to the ground, while smaller droplets can stay in the air for a little longer. If you cough, sneeze, or sing, the droplets are being projected out and can travel — but typically, the virus isn't traveling long distances through the air.
- What exactly is "close contact"? When authorities try to gauge who has been exposed to the virus, they have to consider not just physical distance, but time duration and the nature of contact. The WHO uses a guideline of 15 minutes — but that's quite long, and someone in a high-risk environment could get infected in less time than that, Van Kerkhove said.
Author David Quammen spoke with Anderson Cooper and Sanjay Gupta Thursday about how he managed to predict a scenario that look much like the coronavirus pandemic in his book “Spillover” eight years ago.
In the 2012 book, Quammen predicted the next pandemic that would kill millions would be “strange, unfamiliar, but it won’t come from outer space, odds are that the killer pathogen, most likely a virus, will spill over into humans from a non-human animal.”
Quammen said he was able able to foretell many of the details of this pandemic by simply listening to the scientists.
“The only reason I predicted it in ‘Spillover’ in 2012 was because I was listening to a select group of shrewd infectious disease scientists and they were saying this: 'It's coming,'” he said.
Quammen said many of the details he learned while researching the book ended up being eerily similar to the breakout of Covid-19.
“It'll be a virus out of an animal, possibly a bat, possibly a coronavirus, or an influenza... possibly in a place like a wet market... and then it will transmit, and spread around the world if we are unlucky,” he said.
Quammen said really the only surprise is how “how unprepared we have been to deal with it.”
Brazil reported 26,417 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Thursday, a record high for the country, bringing the nationwide total to 438,238, according to the Brazilian Health Ministry.
The country also recorded 1,156 new coronavirus-related deaths over the past 24 hours, according to its health ministry, raising the overall death toll to 26,754.
Thursday is the third day in a row that Brazil has recorded more than 1,000 deaths in a day.
Actress Taraji P. Henson and famed science writer and author of "Spillover" David Quammen will take part in CNN's weekly global town hall on coronavirus tonight.
The town hall starts at 8 p.m. ET.
How to watch: The town hall will air on CNN, CNN International and CNN en Español. It will stream live on CNN.com's homepage and across mobile devices via CNN's apps, without requiring a cable log-in.
You can also watch on CNNgo, and subscribers to cable/satellite systems can watch it on-demand.
We'll also be covering it with live updates here.