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Health Experts Stress Need for Social Distancing; U.S. Facing Shortage of Tests and Supplies to Make them; Trump Signs Emergency Aid Package; Life Under Lockdown; Travel Group Returns Home Unaware of Virus Spread; U.K. Government Closing Most Schools Indefinitely; U.S. Ramps Up Response As Cases Soar Past 8,700; Outbreak Takes Heavy Toll On Business And Daily Life. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired March 19, 2020 - 01:00   ET




PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: So I'm Paula Newton. You are watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Studio 7 at CNN's world headquarters in Atlanta. Ahead this hour, Italy's deadliest day. The country sees a spike in coronavirus deaths as leaders around Europe and around the globe continue to try and contain this outbreak.

Global Markets take another beating over pandemic fears erasing all the gains in the U.S. stocks have made since Donald Trump took office. But at least China seems to be turning the corner. For the first time, the country has no new domestic coronavirus cases to report.

OK, as Europe and the United States settle into their new reality in the age of coronavirus, the numbers become really more shocking by the hour. Italy has announced its biggest single-day jump in new cases more than 4,000 in just 24 hours. Close to 36,000 people have now been infected. The entire country is under lockdown.

Now in the United States, meantime, Donald Trump is turning to the military for help. He's invoking a 1950s law that could force factories to make badly needed medical supplies like masks and ventilators, and he's deploying two Navy hospital ships to hard-hit areas. In the U.K., meantime, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is closing all schools until further notice starting Friday. He says the coronavirus outbreak is a national emergency that demands unprecedented action.

CNN, Matthew Chance joins us now from London. Many people have been concerned by what they heard from Boris Johnson in the last day because there seemed to be a different strategy in the U.K. Why the change now and why the urgency?

MATTHEWS CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, what the government says that they all have been following scientific advice all along. And that advice, at this stage, according to the government, is that you know, that people don't go to work if they can work from home, that people self-isolate as much as possible. And, of course, that finally after much criticism from people inside

this country and other countries as well, schools in the United Kingdom are being closed from Friday later on this week. And the many, you know, hundreds of thousands, millions of children that attend those schools will be told to stay at home with a few exceptions. Take a listen to what Boris Johnson, the British Prime Minister, had to say about that issue.


BORIS JOHNSON, PRIME MINISTER, UNITED KINGDOM: The objective is to slow the spread of the virus. And as I say, we judge that this is the right moment to do that. But of course, as I've always said, we also need to keep the NHS going and to treat the rising number of cases. So we need health workers who are also parents to continue to go to work. And we need other critical workers with children to keep doing their jobs too.


CHANCE: Apart from the closing down of schools in the U.K., the government has hinted that there could be much more draconian measures to follow particularly here in London, which has been the most -- well the worst affected region of Britain. There are two and a half thousand confirmed coronavirus cases in this country. 100 people -- more than 100 people have died, the majority of those individuals inside the British capital.

And the government is now considering according to multiple sources within the government, a very harsh crackdown in London to impose you know, a curfew here, to impose measures to stop people going outside, to put police outside key installations like supermarkets to close down shops, with the exception of supermarkets and pharmacies. That's not been announced yet, but it's something that's being actively considered, were told, in the corridors of power in Britain.

NEWTON: Yes. And you can't blame people in Britain for being terrified right now. I mean, we've seen the run on the supermarkets all over the world. We are now seeing in Britain. I mean, looking at these pictures, Matthew, just a few hours ago in central London, a shop, a supermarket, there's nothing there, Matthew. And I'm sure you've seen this at hand when you've gone to try and get supplies yourselves.

I mean, I think Brits are really -- they are obviously quintessentially keep calm and carry on, and yet even in what you just said, if central London is affected, I can still see people when the schools closed, then going out to the countryside and possibly infecting other people outside the London core. It's the problem.


CHANCE: Yes. And I think it's a problem that we've seen in other countries such as Italy that have attempted to impose sort of regional lockdowns. In that way, people in Italy, for instance, thousands of them got on a train when northern Italy was quarantined and headed to Southern Italy, playing a big part in spreading the virus across that nation.

And of course, you know, the expectation is that the likely be a number of people, perhaps a large number of people that attempt to do that as well. And but you know, the British government has been emphasizing that, you know, they're not going to be using, you know, kind of the most draconian police powers to force people to stay indoors at this stage. They say that this country remains a country of freedom. But yes, these are, you know, unprecedented times. It's an emergency situation.

And you're right people in Britain do have this reputation for being calm and to carry on regardless. But that, you know, that traits, that virtue is going to be tested to the full in the weeks and the months ahead.

NEWTON: Yes. Well said, Matthew. That is definitely what people are afraid of there. A tough morning ahead in Britain. Thanks so much, Matthew. I appreciate it. Now, right now, there are at least 8,700 cases of the coronavirus in the U.S. and 149 people have died. The state of New York is particularly hard hit as U.S. officials are taking new steps every day to try and keep the pandemic from overwhelming the system. CNN Erica Hill has the details.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I view it as a -- in a sense of wartime president. I mean, that's what we're fighting.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): The President and I agree this is a war and we're in the same trench.

ERICA HILL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: As New York announces at least 2,300 confirmed cases, the most in the nation and a jump of 1,000 in just one day, Governor Cuomo taking new measures to combat the spread.

CUOMO: And I'm asking all businesses to work from home. But today we are announcing a mandatory statewide requirement that no business can have more than 50 percent of their workforce report to work outside of their home.

HILL: The executive order exempts essential services including first responders, healthcare workers, pharmacies, and food delivery. About 20 percent of the New York cases require hospitalization making the need for additional beds increasingly urgent. President Trump responding today.

TRUMP: We're sending upon request the two hospital ships are being prepared right now.

HILL: The Navy ships will be sent to New York and the West Coast. Multiple states also putting out an urgent call for nurses, as the virus is now confirmed in all 50 states.

TRUMP: It's the invisible enemy.

HILL: Meantime, life continues to change. The border with Canada closed to all non-essential travel. Across Northern California. Nearly eight million Americans are now told to shelter in place. And in Kansas, children will be home for the remainder of the school year.

GOV. LAURA KELLY (D-KS): Unprecedented circumstances threaten the safety of our students and the professionals who work with them every day, and we must respond accordingly.

HILL: More confirmed cases across the sports world. The Ottawa Senator is the first in the NHL to announce a player has tested positive. The entire team asked to isolate. And after four Brooklyn Nets players including star Kevin Durant tested positive. An NBA source telling CNN it's "crazy more teams haven't tested players."

Meantime, pressure growing to cancel or postpone the summer Olympic in Tokyo. In Florida, to find beachgoers causing alarm around the country while officials stress this is only the beginning.

GOV. GRETCHEN WHITMER (D-MI): As I hear people say certain age groups are immune, I know this. In Michigan, we have a five-year-old that has tested positive for coronavirus. This is a situation that impacts everyone in every age group. And I implore people to take this seriously.

HILL: One other important change here in New York City, the floor of the New York Stock Exchange will not open after two employees tested positive. It's important to note though, trading will continue, electronic trading will continue, but that historic floor will, in fact, be closed. In New York, I'm Erica Hill, CNN.


NEWTON: OK, given everything we've just reported, you can imagine stock markets in Asia are going through another turbulent day. Now, most to fallen sharply but what I want you to see there is the KOSPI. It is seeing the biggest decline they're down almost seven percent. The Hang Seng also having a rough day.

Now they're mirroring the rough trading day on Wall Street on Wednesday. The Dow, you can see there, fell more than six percent and has now erased almost all of the gains it made under the Trump administration. The downward trend is expected to continue in the coming hours. U.S. futures are down right across the board as you see them there.

Joining me now from Washington is David Lynch. He's a global economics correspondent for The Washington Post. David, as scary as the markets look, and we'll start with what the numbers have looked like over the last several days including today, I mean, I'm telling people yes, it looks like panic. No, actually, it's a completely rational reaction to the point -- to the point that we do not know the economic damage to this pandemic yet.


DAVID LYNCH, GLOBAL ECONOMICS CORRESPONDENT, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, I think that's right. You know, markets are forward-looking and they're all about making a bet, or an assessment of a company's value based on what it's going to earn in the future. And so if you're an investor or running a mutual fund and you're trying to figure out what's Boeing going to earn in May and June and July, what United Airlines is going to bring in, what's Hilton Hotel is going to bring in, how can you possibly calculate that?

Because what's really going to determine the answer to those questions are issues of public health that are really not your expertise, and at the moment are unknowable.

NEWTON: Yes. And as you said, not only not the markets expertise, but unknowable at this point. So that's talking about how the market reactions are going in the numbers. And then there is, of course, the real economy, the businesses, all of that is just beginning to crater.

I mean, David, look, I'm in a hotel right now. And I'm one of four people I've told in a hotel of 170 rooms. This will hurt. In terms of that, what does stimulus look like? What should it look like?

LYNCH: Well, I think at the moment it's looking like throwing an unimaginable sum of money at the problem and hoping that it plugs, an enormous gap in the economy. And I don't mean any of that as a pejorative. I mean it in terms of this is the most profound, the broadest, the most difficult economic crisis that this country is faced in 100 years. And it's not easily remedied by the traditional tools of economic policy.

You know, when economies get in trouble, the first recourse is generally the central bank, in our case, the Federal Reserve, will cut interest rates to make credit cheaper, easier for businesses to get. Well, there's no interest rate at which businesses are going to invest now because there's no reason to invest because no one is leaving their house. No customers are coming for any new products that you're going to sell any new capacity, you're going to open up.

So the traditional remedies of a central bank are very weak in this case. And that's why the government, the federal government, the President, and Congress, are getting together and trying to approve $1 trillion as what I think is going to end up being the first of several major attempts to plug this hole.

NEWTON: Yes. Two words that you said that one was an unimaginable figure. That's not a throwaway adjective, quite frankly, and the fact that they're going to have to throw everything they have at this. To that end, though, you know, I've been openly wondering, at what point in time, how long can you press pause on the economy and make the economy the sacrificial lamb to the point where the bloodletting is unstoppable where, you know, when this first wave of the pandemic goes through, that there's going to be some hard questions, right, about -- at what point does the economy actually start to effect -- really affect real people and their lives, their well-being their mental well-being and the fact that, you know, you then might have another health crisis?

LYNCH: All of that is true. Number one, it's already out affecting real people's lives. Marriot announced yesterday that they're going to be laying off thousands of hotel workers for obvious reasons. The airlines, I think, are doing the same. Small businesses across the country are in an immediate crisis, because most of them don't have deep cash reserves that they can draw on.

But in a sense, we really have no choice but to shut the economy off for some period of time because businesses as usual where we all leave our homes in the morning and get on the subway or get in our cars and go to work and spend eight or nine or 10 hours in a crowded factory or a crowded office building with lots of other people, that's just impossible to do safely at this point.

NEWTON: But surely, David at a certain point in time, we can't do this beyond maybe four, six, eight weeks.

LYNCH: Well, I think we're going to find out. And I think we can look to the example of China and learn from China because they're a couple of months ahead of us in this story. And remember, they shut down their factories in part for the Lunar New Year celebration, but also to try and break this trend -- the chain of transmission to flatten the curve, so to speak, which is what we're now in the process of doing.

China is now starting to bring its factories back online and has been for a week or two. It's not going super quickly, but they have made progress. And they're getting to the point I think where we're going to get some good information as to whether there is a second wave.


NEWTON: Right and that's also important. And you know, that seven weeks, right, so they were basically shut for seven weeks and then started to bring a lot of that stuff back online. David, so much to talk about here. We will continue, obviously to try and make sense of everything going on around the globe economically. Thanks so much.

LYNCH: Sure.

NEWTON: OK, that was sobering but this is good news. China reported no new local cases of coronavirus Wednesday, and the country has some valuable lessons others could learn from. We are live in Beijing. That's just a head. Plus, moms in South Korea are finding unique ways to juggle working from home while caring for their kids.


NEWTON: In the U.S., three members of a single New Jersey family have all died from the coronavirus after at least seven of them contracted the infection. That's according to the New York Times which says the four other family members are at this moment still in hospital, three in critical condition. It also says the 73-year-old mother died not knowing that two of her adult children had died before her.

The Times says a family dinner more than a week ago appears to be the source of the outbreak. CNN has not heard back from the family's representative. So while leaders around the world impose restrictions and try and offer financial relief, a lot of this battle, as we just learned, depends on people's behavior toward each other. Christiane Amanpour has more.


CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: The Coronavirus pandemic is nearing 200,000 cases worldwide. Governments across every continent, continue to impose travel restrictions, close borders and call for social distancing. They hope it'll stem the spread of the virus amid concerns that too many people are not taking these precautions seriously enough. In the United States, a surge in infections as the death toll passes 100 and all 50 states now report cases.

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: How you behave affects my health. Never I think have we been so dependent on each other, at least not in my lifetime.

AMANPOUR: The Pentagon has pledged to make masks and respirators available, and the Trump administration is pledging a $1 trillion stimulus package to support the ailing economy.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We want to go big or solid. The country is very strong. We've never been so strong and that's what we're going to be doing. With this invisible enemy, we don't want airlines going out of business. We don't want people losing their jobs or not having money to live.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For those in difficulty due to coronavirus --

AMANPOUR: European countries are preparing trillions of dollars in rescue packages, and in some cases pledging that no company will be allowed to fail as a result of this disease. Airlines have slashed more flights and global markets remain jittery as businesses big and small suspend operations. With nations in lockdown, struggling to supply hospitals, tend to the sick and even stock supermarkets, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a human biosecurity emergency.

SCOTT MORRISON, PRIME MINISTER OF AUSTRALIA: Stop hoarding. I can't be more blunt about it. Stop it. It's not sensible. It's not helpful. And I've got to say, it's been one of the most disappointing things I've seen in Australian behavior in response to this crisis.

AMANPOUR: Behavior in too many parts of the world, as grocery lines continue to lengthen, and people prepare to hunker down for weeks, if not months. Christiane Amanpour, CNN, London.


NEWTON: Given everything we just saw, we want to know how and when we're going to get to the other side of this. China might be pointing in that direction. It is reporting only 34 new coronavirus infections in the past day, that is good news, as they're all people arriving from other countries. And even though their outbreak is far from over, the country does hold some valuable lessons for other countries. CNN Steven Jang is live in Beijing and he has been following this very

closely for several weeks now since really China went on lockdown at the end of January. These numbers are significant, Steven, in terms of them getting a handle on it. In terms of what you've seen, what does it tell us about what other parts of the world should be doing right now?

STEVEN JIANG, CNN SENIOR PRODUCER: Paula, that's right. Much has been said about the Chinese government's herculean and sometimes brutal efforts in containing this virus here. Now, you know, you mentioned some of that, the lockdown, but also where the mass roundup of all suspected cases in the epicenter, the tracking of everyone's health condition and travel history using the high tech and big data.

A lot of these obviously have serious human rights and privacy implications. That's why many have said these measures cannot be easily replicated in the rest of the world. But what we are seeing though, is already many governments around the world, including the United States are adopting some of these policies, at least in some form.

We're talking about city-wide, region-wide lockdowns, travel restrictions, mass closure of businesses, mass testing, as well as obsessive health checks, and some of them have already proven to be working. So I think a lot of analysts are saying look, not all of China's failings are due to its authoritarian system. So same thing -- same thing can be said about that. Not all of its successor due to its political system.

So what is really going on in the West right now is the kind of mass mobilization and extreme policies we have seen in the past during wartime. And this global pandemic is indeed a war. And Paula, one saying I have heard lately, I think it's very much relevant here is that wartime democracies are efficient, effective, and fearsome things. Paula?

NEWTON: Yes, a lot to think about there. And Steven, you know, I think about it myself. I can't believe that several weeks ago, I was talking to you about the shutdown in China and how incredible it was. And here we are living through it in other parts of the world. To that end, though, we have those cases that are coming into China, and I'll say and other countries in Asia as well that are travel related. That must be quite concerning at this point.

JIANG: They're very much concerned about this potentially the second wave of new infections involving cases from overseas. That's why you're seeing officials nationwide, but especially here in the capital, strengthen their screening and quarantine procedures targeting international arrivals here in Beijing with a very few exceptions. Anyone coming from abroad now is required to go through a 14-day quarantine at a government facility at their own expense. So no more self-quarantine at home.

The authorities here also we're trying to crack down on people who try to lie about their health condition or travel history in order to sneak in. They have actually launched several criminal investigations into people who have done so. They're also advising Chinese nationals living overseas not to come back at this point unless there is an urgent need.

But of course, that's going to be a tall order, as people really try to rush back at a time when the situation is getting worse outside of China where things appear to have been brought under control inside of China. Paula?

NEWTON: Yes. Being given even a little bit of success here. You can see what China wants to hang on to those hard-fought gains against this virus. Steven, thanks so much. I really appreciate it. Now the WHO is reporting at least 8,400 cases of coronavirus in South Korea with 84 deaths. Now, a South Korean health official says there is a slowdown of new infections, good news, but people should continue to keep their guard up.

With social distancing becoming the norm, many parents in South Korea are having to work from home. Sound familiar at this point? Libraries are finding ways to help them though. Parents can now call ahead and borrow sterilized toys right from a makeshift library set up in a parking lot. CNN's Paula Hancocks talk to one mom who is having to juggle work from home while looking after her children.



PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Keeps playing or screaming in the background. A conference call with a little hug from your daughter amid chat. This is the new reality for millions of working parents around the world. Kim Gahae works in P.R. for telecommunications firm SK Telecom, as does her husband. They've been working from home here in Seoul for four weeks with their 6-year-old and 18-month-old. Schools, kindergarten, and childcare centers are all shot.

KIM GAHAE, MANAGER, SK TELECOM: I play with them and work at the same time. It's really not easy. I still really hear what you're saying.

HANCOCKS: A couple of minutes into our chat, the challenges become clear.

GAHAE: I'm sorry. Can you -- can we --

HANCOCKS: Yes, of course. So how can you concentrate? How can you --

GAHAE: I'm sorry?

HANCOCKS: How can you concentrate on your work when you have your children there as well being children.

GAHAE: I kind of prepare a lot of fun stuff, I mean, for them so they can play with them. I bought a lot of puzzles and worksheets.

HANCOCKS: Kim says being prepared with a checklist each day is key. Know what you have to achieve. She says one of the challenges is not being able to take the children outside for fear of contact. We usually go to (INAUDIBLE) to enjoy the spring. We sign and we go to play round every day, ride a bike, but it's very hard to do it at this moment.

HANCOCKS: Playgrounds here have been mostly empty for weeks despite more than six million children usually in some form of education or childcare, being at home. Kim also hopes this period of working from home could be seen as a viable alternative to being in the office when needed in the future.

GAHAE: I expect that this will be something that we can -- I mean, all the like working moms and even working dads can utilize.

HANCOCK: The main benefit, Kim says, as a working mom, she finally feels she's spending enough time with her children. Paula Hancocks, CNN Seoul.


NEWTON: And we do have to keep that in mind, right, more time with the family. OK, people are understandably frightened though about this pandemic, but what is keeping doctors up at night? We ask an expert on infectious diseases straight ahead.



PAULA NEWTON, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back. You are watching CNN NEWSROOM.

I'm Paula Newton.

The headlines this hour.

The free fall in global stock markets is only getting worse amid the uncertainty over the coronavirus. So far the Seoul Kospi has seen its largest decline in Thursday's trading in Asia. You see it down there, more than 7 percent. This follows another devastating day on Wall Street which saw more steep losses right cross the board.

Italy's cases continue to soar. The Civil Protection Agency reported more than 4,200 new infections Wednesday alone, bringing its total to more than 35,000 cases and nearly 3,000 deaths. The government says on average, deaths in Italy are happening eight days after patients show their first symptoms.

Now we know you have a lot of questions about the coronavirus. And we, of course, want to get you some of those answers. For that we turn to Dr. Anne Rimoin. She is a professor of epidemiology at UCLA.


NEWTON: We just went through Europe. it is clear how this virus is ravaging Europe. Is North America likely next? It doesn't matter how much shut down as we are going through that now. Do the spikes in the cases and the deaths alarm you here right now? DR. ANNE RIMOIN, PROFESSOR, DEPARTMENT OF EPIDEMIOLOGY, UCLA:

Absolutely. I think we have to look at the global data which is very compelling. And countries that have not deployed rapid social distancing measures that have been very extreme in nature are suffering the same fate that Italy has suffered.

And we in the Untied States having had major testing failures, not being able to ramp up quickly to be able to test people, to employ social distancing measures are far behind the curve. So I believe that we will be too, going in the same direction as Italy.

NEWTON: So you do expect hospitals to be overwhelmed? You expect a lot of suffering, in terms of people getting sick with this virus, and having severe respiratory illness?

RIMOIN: I think you have to look at the global data. And the global data tells us what happens when we do not have the right methods in place.

You know, the good news is that we have had a little bit of time to prepare. We are probably about 10 days behind Italy, as we understand it. And so hospitals are ramping up. They are doing the best that they can.

But we do have major shortages with PPE, with the personal protective equipment that is really necessary, the masks, the gowns, the gloves. All of these things are in very short supply here.

So, you know, the truth is, we will -- you know, it will really depend on how well the social distancing methods that are now in place are working, and how well the population sticks to it.

NEWTON: And to that end, something that is alarming -- we interviewed Dr. Steven Choi. He is the chief quality officer for Yale, New Haven Health System, right -- just outside of New York. And that is a hot spot right now.

You know we asked him what is keeping you up at night. He said the lack of social awareness in the community. He says this battle will be won or lost outside of the hospitals. He says we have days to respond to this call for action, not weeks and certainly not months.

How, Doctor -- do you then take that plea from somebody who is on the front line in a hospital in the United States? And really trying and get it through some people in the United States that, as you said, it's business as usual really in some communities.

RIMOIN: I think that the reality hasn't set-in for the vast majority of the American public. I think what is different in the United States is that we haven't had to deal with these kinds of emergency situations before.

You know, I've spent my career working in the Democratic Republic of Congo and other places in Africa, you know, where epidemics have ravaged communities. And people understand what it's like to have to take action. And that actually, public health depends upon the community.

And so I agree very strongly with that statement that the battle is going to be fought on the basis of how communities behave. And if people can take social distancing seriously and really limit the spread.

I mean we keep talking about flattening the curve. And the only way to do that is with really community engagement. And you know, this is no different than any other outbreak that we'd ever seen. It all rests with the community.

NEWTON: I'm sure it is still possible to flatten the curve but do you believe this social distancing started too late to really get it to where we need it to be.

RIMOIN: Well, what I would say is its' never too late to do something, to make it better. And we are really at a critical point.

Could it have been better if we had all started earlier, had the testing ramped up earlier and we knew exactly what we were dealing with? Absolutely.


RIMOIN: But there is still time to make it better than it was going to be if we had done nothing, or if we had done a little. Every minute counts.

And so that's the key thing I think people have to really understand. Every minute counts. Let's do the best that we can. Any social distancing that happens right now, will pay off two weeks from now. So I think we're the key.

NEWTON: And in terms of some of the problems that have happened happening in United States, one of them, of course, has been testing. I read in the Italian press that there was a community in Italy of about 3,000 people, so it was a small community. They decided, ok, let's just -- they could and so they did. They tested everyone. They then isolated the people that were positive. And then in the next week they had zero cases.

Do you believe that, going forward, that as the testing ramps up, that that will also contribute?

RIMOIN: Absolutely. We are able to test and really understand who has COVID-19, who does not. We will be able to do the same thing on a much larger scale. It is all dependent upon the testing that is available.

However, we do know that it isn't just about getting the test kits. The test kits are one thing but there are other pieces of it that we need. There are all sorts of what we call re-agents which are basically the chemicals that make the test work. We need the swabs. There are shortages in many, many places so it is not just the test.

So I think the people really need to understand that testing, while critical, is not just a magic kit that gets put in somebody's hand and it gives a result. So, I think that there are many complicated steps to putting it all together.

But I do believe that with testing and with good social distancing, we will be much better off.

NEWTON: Ok. I have to go, but there is one thing that is top of mind, I know for many people right now. They are wondering if we get through this wave and people do get infected, can you get re-infected or does that give you the key to what we want right now which is some sort of immunity against this virus?

RIMOIN: What we know about coronavirus, this coronavirus COVID-19 and other -- is based on what we know from other coronaviruses really.

We do know that other coronaviruses can provide some protective immunity at least for a period of time. We don't know where we stand with COVID-19.

What we think -- where we keep hearing about these issues of re- infection, they're likely to be relapses. So that the virus have been totally cleared from somebody's system and comes back again.

And there have been -- this happened with SARS in fact. So this is not an unheard of phenomenon. I just think we're waiting to find out what it all means. And that's the tough part of where we stand with the virus right -- the novel coronavirus.

NEWTON: Yes. It really is tough -- the waiting, when even experts like you are saying you're still waiting for the data.

Dr. Anne Rimoin in Los Angeles -- thanks for joining us. Really appreciate it.

RIMOIN: My pleasure.


NEWTON: So you just heard her speaking there about how important testing is, right. Well, as the number of cases of coronavirus grow around the world, tests and even supplies for the test key are becoming harder to find.

CNN's Drew Griffin spoke with experts who say preparations should have started the moment China experienced its outbreak.


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: In the cascading shortfalls of the national response to coronavirus, testing labs across the country are sounding the next alarm. Telling CNN there are shortages, not just in tests but the components needed to conduct the tests.

The head of a 51 hospital network in the west says key parts are missing.

DR. ROD HOCHIMAN, CEO, PROVIDENCE ST. JOSEPH: In certain cases, it's reagents for some of the chemicals that are used. And even in certain cases it's just availability of the appropriate swab in order to take the sample.

GRIFFIN: It's the same story at New York Presbyterian Hospital.

DR. YOKO FURUYA, MEDICAL DIRECTOR OF INFECTION, PREVENTION AND CONTROL, NY PRESBYTERIAN: There do continue to be some challenges around expanding the testing significantly at this point.

GRIFFIN: And at the University of Nebraska's testing lab --

DR. MARK RUPP, INFECTION CONTROL CHIEF, UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA MEDICAL CENTER: We're in the situation now where we actually don't have the reagents to do the extraction from the samples so that we can run the tests.

GRIFFIN: Health officials in multiple states tell CNN they do not have enough tests for people who need them because of a shortage.

In Minnesota, the state health agency is limiting testing to only the highest priority specimens, due to a national shortage of COVID-19 laboratory testing materials.

The Ohio Department of Health told CNN, they are only testing our most vulnerable patients due to a global shortage of supply.

And in West Virginia, the state health officer says she had to scrape together supplies from flu tests.

DR. CATHY SLEMP, WEST VIRGINIA STATE HEALTH OFFICER: There's all kinds in the chain of testing. There's swabs, there's extraction things, et cetera, et cetera. There are shortages on many pieces of it.

GRIFFIN: West Virginia still has a critically low number of tests. Military veteran Kenneth Hawthorne says he's been to the medical room three times in the past two weeks, sick with a cough, fever but tested negative for flu. He says he cannot get tested for COVID-19.


KENNETH HAWTHORNE, VETERAN UNABLE TO RECEIVE TEST: They keep telling me that my wife and I were at low risk, so we weren't priority to take the test.

GRIFFIN: A major test maker Roche Diagnostics Corporation tells CNN demand for its test is "greater than our ability to supply it".

How did this happen?

DR. ROD HOCHIMAN, CEO, PROVIDENCE ST. JOSEPH: Well, I think we needed to rethink how we're going to deal with an epidemic or a pandemic in this case. The minute there was an outbreak in China several months ago -- that should have started a whole sequence of events going.

Now, as everyone would say, that's the history. But what are we going to do now?

GRIFFIN: Industries are responding. Ramping up production and both Lab Corps and Quest tell CNN they are greatly increasing the number of tests they can process per day.

But in the meantime, the CEO of the Association of Public Health Laboratories calls the situation a huge problem. "I am really concerned that we are not going to have the capabilities to test those who really need and should get a test.

The Food and Drug Administration told CNN it's well aware of the shortages and is trying to provide information on alternative sources of re-agents, extraction kits, swabs and more. But as one lab official told me, this is analogous to the run on toilet paper. Labs now chasing dwindling supplies and hoping manufacturers can fill the void and soon.

Drew Griffin, CNN -- Atlanta.


NEWTON: Ok. We know you still have lots of questions, right? Join Dr. Gupta and Anderson Cooper for a third CNN GLOBAL TOWN HALL: CORONAVIRUS FACTS AND FEARS" it's live on Friday, 6:00 a.m. in Abu Dhabi and 10:00 a.m. in Hong Kong. This program will replay a few hours later -- that's 8:00 a.m. in Hong Kong, 4:00 p.m. -- pardon me -- 8:00 a.m. London, 4:00 p.m. in Hong Kong.

Ok. President Trump has signed off on a coronavirus relief package.

We'll have details on how that will help Americans as they try and deal with this virus. That's next.


NEWTON: Ok. So the fight against the coronavirus is taking a very big toll, as you can imagine and as we've shown you, on the American economy. So Washington is acting. President Trump signed a Senate- approved multi billion dollar bill. This is only an emergency and aid package stimulus to come. It includes though paid emergency leave, and measures for free testing.

But a very alarming development in just the last few hours. Two lawmakers, you see them there, tested positive for the coronavirus becoming the first members of Congress to contract the disease.

Now other lawmakers who came into contact them will be going into self-quarantine to try and avoid spreading the virus right through Congress.


NEWTON: Peter Matthews joins me now from Los Angeles. He's a political analyst and professor of Political Science at Cypress University.

And unfortunately, I hate to be blunt, we started with the medical and health crisis, the pandemic. We are now in the depths, the beginning in fact, of a very deep economic crisis, and now we have a political crisis. This is serious, the fact that two of them tested positive, isn't it? PETER MATTHEWS, POLITICAL ANALYST: It's amazingly down the depths of

the deep. We cannot despair though. We just have to bring the country back.

It is pretty serious right now with all three of those things hitting at once. And the economy is just -- it's a great depression if we don't watch it and get the stimulus package through almost a trillion dollars the President was asking for.

Hopefully though that the Senate and House will actually vote for that for giving out money into to people's hands. It has to go to the working people of America. The checks have to go right to them so they can go out there and spend it. And also alleviate some (INAUDIBLE).

NEWTON: But to that point, Peter -- the only moments of bipartisanship we've seen in years could now be sabotaged by this virus going through congress. Isn't this extraordinary in terms of the implications of needing those members there to vote, and yet wondering how you get it done if really no one should go back to Congress tomorrow likely from a medical point of view?

MATTHEWS: Just think -- it's the first time in history we have a direct impact on policy based on the condition of the actual members of Congress. And it's so ironic what's going on and it's very dangerous. And they're actually looking into maybe having remote voting, but they have to change the House rules for that.

It has to be done soon. They've got to work something out. The votes have to be taken so these packages can be passed and save the country from disaster and a lot of people's debts as well.

NEWTON: Peter -- is that possible? Can they change the rules and get this done, even if they have to do it remotely from wherever they're quarantining in D.C.?

MATTHEWS: They will have to change rules as what they can do, that's the way it works. But they can do it quickly if need be. And they can do it remotely.

The whole idea is to get it done. And it's a real big challenge obviously.

I guess so many people are being infected, over 8,500 people have been infected. 140 have died already. And it's getting -- it's skyrocketing every day.

And we should look at South Korea and see how they handled it as well. They had rapid, quick testing early on -- 10,000 people a day. And they found, they go the whole thing under control by putting people into, you know, seclusion, social distancing and other kinds of strict measures.

It was done earlier, and South Korea now has a leveling off of the infection rate. In fact it started decreasing. It's decreased already. So we have to look at other countries as well, learn from them. NEWTON: And in terms of stimulus and that's going through. I mean,

unfortunately for the United States, they're shouldering a lot of this because the entire global economy is waiting to see what happens with their stimulus in order to carry the day.

I mean do you worry that this is really going to destabilize -- I guess what I worry about is in the next eight hours, 24 hours, 48 hours. You're going to have this virus derail perhaps something that the entire world is waiting to see.

MATTHEWS: The world really because America is the largest engine. It's the largest economy in humankind. And it's a driving force and the world is waiting to see if we can get it together here in this moment of terrible, terrible crisis.

And members of the Senate and the House have to do this somehow or the other. Get it passed. And the President is ready to sign it and get the money into people's hands so they can start stimulating the economy again and things can (INAUDIBLE). People will be out on the street others.

People can't pay their rent right now because they've been laid off, their hours have been cut back. Many restaurants have closed. It has to be done though -- Paula. It really has to be done.

NEWTON: And you're confident that that rule change can happen, and you think they will find a way, infected or not?

Matthews: I do believe they will because they really have to do that. And it's so important that both Houses get it together and get this voting done right away. And not delay one minute. Every time they delay one hour even, you know, hundreds more people are being infected and/or dying. And the economy could collapse.

I mean we're looking at the very possibility of a 20 percent unemployment rate if this keeps going. And that will be the level of the great depression, that kind of unemployment. What brought us out of the great depression was stimulus. I think it's the most (INAUDIBLE), you know, federal program is a new deal.

NEWTON: Yes. A lot on the line there.

Peter Matthews -- thanks so much for joining us. Appreciate it.

MATTHEWS: My pleasure. Thank you.

NEWTON: Ok. As more and countries go under lockdown, an American mother living in Italy is giving a glimpse into what has become the new normal. Others, prepare yourselves (INAUDIBLE).



NEWTON: For days, Italy has been under a nationwide lockdown as the cases of coronavirus, as we've told you, continue to soar. American mother of two living in Milan shares the harsh reality of what life is like under quarantine.

CNN's Barbie Nadeau has more.



BARBIE NADEAU, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Rachel Buchholz lives with her husband and two children on the outskirts of Milan. They are at the center of this country's coronavirus outbreak. And she has been recording video diaries on Instagram -- a window into one family's life under lockdown.

BUCHHOLZ: Day two of quarantine.

Day 16 of not being allowed to meet in large groups, so no church, no school.

We are all just doing what we can. Lots going on on Skype. Thank goodness, that we all have Internet.

NADEAU: The first few days, she is upbeat.

When kindergarten is cancelled they made forts in the living and enjoyed the fresh air.

Soon people only venture out to make trips to the supermarket or pharmacy.

BUCHHOLZ: There are reasons you are allowed to leave your house, but if you leave your house for other reasons then you can be stopped and ticketed or put in prison.

People all talking one meter apart from each other. This is us, one meter apart. And this is the line for the grocery store. Everybody is standing far away from each other.

NADEAU: Like every parent in Italy, as the days drag on Rachel tries to keep the kids entertained.

BUCHHOLZ: So this is the schedule we made for the kids. It won't be strictly adhered to but Ben is already really excited about it.

I'm running up and down our street -- our little tiny, private street with the kids. Just trying to get the exercise in.

NADEAU: But one week in, reality sets in.

BUCHHOLZ: I think yesterday and today have been tough emotionally. Because -- for a lot of reasons I mean just kind of realizing the reality of what we are living in for the next several weeks, or months, we don't really know.

NADEAU: As news filters in of more cases and more deaths, they're struck by the tragedy unfolding around them. BUCHHOLZ: We have run out of space in mortuaries, so they are keeping

crematoriums open 24/7. And they have had to start stacking coffins in churches. Well, they wait to cremate people because they don't have anywhere else to put them.

People are, because it is an infectious disease -- people are dying alone. Their relatives can't come see them because it is dangerous. So they try to use doctors' and nurses' phones to face time their families to say goodbye to them.

NADEAU: With countries across Europe going into lockdown and the U.S. taking stricter measures to slow the spread of the virus, Rachel's quarantined diary may be a look at what is to come.

Trying to keep family life normal, while outside life is anything but.

Barbie Nadeau, CNN -- Rome.


NEWTON: We all need to brace ourselves. Quite an insight there.

Now, music festivals are among the many gatherings that are being canceled right around the world due to the virus. This year's Eurovision song contest, I know love it or hate it, it was scheduled for May in Rotterdam. It has been canceled.

The competition is famous for catapulting acts like Abba, yes -- and Celine Dion to stardom.

And the popular Glastonbury festival in the U.K. has canceled its 50th anniversary event this summer, saying in part this is now our only viable option.


NEWTON: Ok. To something different here. A group of adventurers spent 25 days, think about it, 25 days rafting the Grand Canyon. And yes, then they came back to civilization, and they found out the world had been immersed in a pandemic.

CNN's Jeanne Moos spoke with two of the travelers as they started adjusting to the new world that they suddenly found themselves in.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Imagine you are off in paradise.

MASON THOMAS, DIDN'T CHECK NEWS FOR 25 DAYS: It's a magical place.

MOOS: Rafting through the Grand Canyon and after 25 days, their group was met on the river back by a driver who picks up your gear and asks --

THOMAS: Have you had any contact with the outside world? Rolled his eyes and sighed. MOOS: He then proceeds to give you the headlines.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The stocks plunging, yet again.

JOHN KING, CNN HOST: We are fighting a war.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: You have to behave like you have the virus.

MOOS: Italy is in lockdown. And the thing they really didn't understand -- a toilet paper shortage.

KATE CONDINO, DIDN'T CHECK NEWS FOR 25 DAYS: It was a real instant glitch from happiness to like confusion, and kind of fear, and we all just kind of got quieter.

MOOS: When Kate Condino and her boyfriend Mason Thomas left for the rafting trip, they considered coronavirus an inconvenience.

CONDINO: My biggest worry was getting sick before the trip.

KMOOS: Now they are worried about Mason's mom who has pre-existing lung problems. As the group returned to cell service, their phones lit up.

THOMAS: That is when I got a text from my mom saying you need to call me immediately, the world is going crazy. Don't touch anybody.

MOOS: Mason, who goes by the river rafting nickname "One Chain" related to a comment posted to this "New York Times" story about their return -- is anyone else thinking about Charlton Heston and "The Planet of the Apes"?

CHARLTON HESTON, ACTOR: Damn you all to hell.

MOOS: even coronavirus isn't quite this apocalyptic.

ACTOR Jared Leto, having a similar back to civilization moment. He tweeted "wow, 12 days ago I began a silent meditation in the desert. Walked out into a very different world. Mind-blowing."

MOOS: Are you washing your hands a lot?

They already were to avoid spreading germs while camping.

Don't touch your face.

THOMAS: You saw that. Oh no.

MOOS: Kate said as their trip ended --

CONDINO: I was excited to go home and like hug all my best friends.

MOOS: At least she is still hugging Mason.

Compared to a rapidly changing world of masks and sanitizers, rapids and ignorance are bliss.

Jeanne Moos, CNN -- New York.


NEWTON: Oh, I needed that. I'm sure you did too. I know what you're thinking. They should have just stayed on the rafting trip.

I want to thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM.

I'm Paula Newton. The news continues right here after our break.