What we know about coronavirus so far

After concern about coronavirus, “The View” tackles fear and misinformation surrounding the virus with ABC News chief medical correspondent, Dr. Jennifer Ashton.
10:32 | 02/28/20

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Transcript for What we know about coronavirus so far
coronavirus, we're cutting through the fear and getting the facts from one of the best people, ever, she's our ABC news chief medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton. So, you know, everybody's got a million questions, lots of fearmongering going out there. We can't stop talking about it. You've been speaking directly with the CDC, you've been to the vaccine development lab and so when you see a press conference and someone says basically, everything's fine, not to worry, is that a good way to sort of put it out? What would you say to folks? Well, I'm glad we have an hour. Listen, I think this is an incredibly interesting story. It's ehevolving, it changes every day. We have some of the smartest doctors, scientists, public health officials working on this not only in this country but worldwide. It's anxiety-producing. In medical and science we like to know history. We don't have a lot of history on this. From my perspective there's a disconnect between actions and words. And I think that both are important. But I look at this really as a doctor and as a scientist and as a physician which is no different, even though there are potentially millions of people affected by this, I look at it like an individual patient and it's hard to see people who are, you know, I like to stay in your lane. That means, doctors and scientists, to address this. So when I see politicians and government officials and public health officials all getting into one sandbox it can get a little messy. But trump said to treat the coronavirus as the flu, is that right if. Well, listen, I think our biggest concern to you, to you, to you at home right now, today zis influenza, it's not coronavirus. And we have to remember -- What's the difference? Different family. So the Goldberg family, the Ashton family, the McCain family, they're all respiratory viruses. They're not the only one. So they behave -- they behave differently. We know a lot about influenza virus. But you know what, coronavirus isn't brand new, this strain is new. Coronavirus more deadly than the flu. That's one of the difference. We'll get into numbers. That's the 800-pound gorilla in the room because we don't have a good grasp right now on the numbers. When we hear 80,000 cases worldwide, the 80,000 is less interesting than how many people have been exposeded, how many people are tested? A number in isolation, you have to take it with not a grain of salt but -- right now, according to the CDC, this is a highly transmissable virus with a low mortality, fatality rate and that's really important right I mean, I hate to interrupt everybody but I read somewhere that it's like the Spanish flu back in the day that killed 50 million, is that true or not true? But things are different now than in 1918. I get that. But I mean -- You look so good. Don't I? I mean, I read that somewhere, really that many people are going to die from So you actually -- not the Spanish flu is important with your comment, joy, is that I read it somewhere, the biggest problem is where people get information and misinformation. You have to get your information from credible credentialed sources. If you don't, it can actually endanger public health and the response. Dr. Ashton, a lot of fear. Everybody's talking about it. In Japan, they're closing all schools, children can't schools, people are under quarantine. So, this is a worldwide pandemic. I'm getting sent text messages from my friend about a list of supplies I need to order, like we're doomsday prepping, should I be hoarding water right now? People are scared. Given a healthy dose of fear going on I think it's normal for people to be scared. 100% normal. The psychological aspect of this is real and it shouldn't be swept under the rug. It's normal for people to have anxiety, fear, when it can directly afc your health. That's a normal reaction. Good clinicians take care of the soul as well as the body. We have to address fear. We have to respond medically based on fact and not fear. Evidence not emotion. The short answer, should you be prepping? If you heard a weather alert hearing there's a big blizzard coming to the area, you might go out and get some water and supplies. Whatever. Alcohol. I'm coming to your house. Take this the same way in a certain sense. In terms of an alert like that. In medicine I think it's a good idea toer on the side of caution. People will criticize response if someone or some country doesn't do enough and they get a particularly hard hit, so personally, as a doctor, I'd rather do more. Better safe than sorry. Joy just mentioned masks, I fly a lot and I see some people with the small mask, like I see some people with these industrial-strength -- Any monograms ones. That's coming. That's coming what do the masks do or need to do? That masks one of the biggest parts in this story. Surgical masks are used in heflt care settings -- they're put on sick people, if you're spewing droplets, coughing, sneezing vomiting, that is literally blocked. No differently than this. They're not to protect the healthy from something coming in. The coronavirus particles are so small they go right through those. Any mask is single-use only. If it gets wet it's done. The other mask -- How would it get wet? Breathing, humidity. They're not meant to be used forever. The respirators for health care providers taking care of prolonged sick and infectious patients, they're not for the lay public. We're not recommending and by we, not me, CDC not recommending surgical mask for the average American person right now, at I don't have a crystal ball. If it changes in a month I'll be shocked. How do people get trusted for coronavirus in. If you get a fever and you call your doctor, they're not going to say, oh, my gosh, let's test you for coronavirus. The CDC just changed their screening guidelines for some patients. If you're hospitalized, if you have a fever and symptoms of knew blown Ya and you have recently mean in China, Japan, South Korea, Italy or Iran, you're a candidate for testing for coronavirus. If you're very sick on a ventilator, if they can't explain what you have, they'll test for coronavirus. Experts are reporting that we have new instance all over the country, California has 8700 possible cases right now, which is a huge number, are we testing enough to be able to say if it's real or not. The testing has been really challenging part of this. When you look for something in medicine you generally find it. If we're able to test more we'll pick up more cases but we need to ramp up the production of those kits. New York is still sending specimens to Atlanta. That will be involve zblg can I ask a question, when you say a virus explain the difference, why you can't take a pill with a virus. Viruses are generally not treated with -- they're definitely not treated with antibiotics. Some antiviral medications that we can use. But right now, there's no vaccination for this. So you've been in the vaccine lab, what do they do? A little pinch of coronavirus and a little bit of coffee -- What happened, just quickly, when the Chinese sequenced this virus, released the DNA fingerprint early, everybody was able to work on a vaccine. Nih a vaccine was delivered to them in the last week, they'll go into clinical trials, three months in April, phase two will take six months, the fastest we could see this vaccine available to you, you or myself is about 12 months to 18 months. Trump said it will be over this spring. I'd like to look in that crystal ball, I hope. Dr. Jen Ashton will be

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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