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Netflix to Reduce Quality in Europe for Never 30 Days; Stimulus Plan Aims to Pump $300 Billion into Small Businesses; Trump Speaks to Governors at FEMA Headquarters; Life Under Lockdown in Milan. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired March 19, 2020 - 14:30   ET




BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: Hunkering down at home amid the outbreak means that hundreds of millions of house-bound people are turning to the Internet for information, for working and, let's be honest, for much needed diversion.

But there may not be enough bandwidth to handle all of it. Now, Netflix says the quality of its video streams in Europe for the next several days.

I want to bring in CNN tech reporter, Brian Fung.

Brian, I think everyone wonders, if things get worse in the U.S., is that going to happen here?

BRIAN FUNG, CNN TECHNOLOGY REPORTER: That's exactly right. When I asked Netflix what their plans were for the United States, they said they didn't have anything to share yet.

What they're doing now is in response to calls from European officials who are worried about the ability of the Internet to handle all of the Internet traffic of folks staying home, working from home, taking classes online and trying to stay entertained as they've become essentially shut-ins.

Now, the issue here is that as the Internet shifts consumption from the workplace and in school during the day, to folks at home, that's going to be putting a lot more strain on all of the different parts of the Internet that come together and make that work, bringing content from different parts of the Internet to your devices.

Verizon said in the last week, it's seen video game on its network increase by 75 percent. Web browsing has gone up by 20 percent. Video streaming is up 12 percent. This is still just the beginning of, you know, what we're going to eventually see in the United States, a big, big surge in Internet traffic.

What we're hearing from telecom companies is that they're increasing capacity, adding more capabilities, developing better software to help to manage that network. And keeping a closer eye on that network, so that when they do see spikes in demand, they can respond to it.

Now, I think what's also important to point out here is that there are lots of security questions that come into play when folks work at home. Whether that's an unsecurely configured wi-fi or whether your child's device has a virus, those issues could compromise the networks. A lot of security experts say you've got to be on the highest lookout as well.

KEILAR: That's a good point. I see the video game traffic up more. We see that.

Brian Fung, thank you very much for letting us know how this is changing things.


The death toll in Italy hit 3,145 today. It surpasses China. It makes it the deadliest place for this virus in the world for that. We'll take a look at what's happening on the ground there.

And of course, we'll take you to FEMA headquarters as soon as President Trump arrives there. Stand by.



KEILAR: As part of the Trump administration's $1 trillion stimulus bill, $300 billion could go toward helping small businesses deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

If approved, this is money that would go into a loan guarantee program. This would essentially allow companies to maintain payroll and expenses for an extended period of time.

CNN's Vanessa Yurkevich is in the New York City neighborhood of Soho.

Vanessa, this is an area that's known for boutique small businesses. Tell us what you're hearing form business owners there.

VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN BUSINESS & POLITICAL REPORTER: Hi, Brianna. This is a familiar scene for a lot of Americans across the country. Small businesses shuttered, store by store, all of these businesses here are closed. What does that mean? They can no longer for some pay their employees. They're having to lay people off work.

We know here in New York, there's been a surge in calls to the unemployment office. The unemployment Web site crashed. It's leaving a lot of small businesses and their employees wondering what to do.

We caught up with two businesses deciding to stay open, mainly for their employees. Listen to what we have to say.


UNIDENTIFIED BUSINESS OWNER: We limited everybody. Instead of working a full shift, we work a half a shift each so everybody can work and take home a paycheck home at the end of the week.

UNIDENTIFIED BUSINESS OWNER: Everyone I know is stressed and anxious. And it's mainly not getting sick. It's how are they going to pay their bills. It's a financial stress, rather than, like, am I going to get the coronavirus.


YURKEVICH: Many small businesses, like this flower shop behind me, that is choosing to stay open, are trying to toing themselves during this time. This flower shop is going to try to do at-home flower kits so those in quarantine can have something to do.

But many small businesses up and down this block and cities across the country are struggling. And they're really waiting to hear from the federal government, Brianna, on what kind of stimulus money they may be able to get in order to copy keep going during these incredibly hard and uncertain times -- Brianna?

KEILAR: Vanessa, thank you so much.

Let's go live to President Trump at FEMA.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: FEMA is totally involved, in addition to everybody else. And a lot of progress is being made, so I look forward to speaking to the governors.

And from what I understand, we have pretty close to 50 of the governors and some territories on, and we have a lot of -- just about everybody showed up, so that's very nice. And we will put them on the screen as soon as you want.

Thank you. Thank you very much.

Mike, do you want to say something?

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you, Mr. President, and I want to -- I want to add our thanks, not only to the great team here at the National Response Coordination Center and FEMA, as FEMA takes the lead in implementing the policies that you approved from the White House Coronavirus Task Force, but as you as you do continually, Mr. President, I want to thank all the governors that are joining us today.

Today is an opportunity to talk about the progress that we are making on mitigation, on testing, on supplies. We understand as FEMA's -- as FEMA's mission, that this effort, through FEMA, will be locally executed, state managed, and federally supported. And I want all the governors to know that we are with you every step of the way. We are absolutely determined, at the President's direction, to make sure that you have the resources and the support as you see to the health and wellbeing of your communities.

We commend the governors. At this point, Mr. President, as we told the country today, three states are 50 percent of the coronavirus cases in America today, so we're focusing resources at the point of the need. The governors in those states, their state health officials are responding with great professionalism and great speed. We'll continue to support those that are directly impacted.

But by standing up, through your national emergency declaration, Mr. President, standing up FEMA and standing up the National Response Coordination Center, we want our governors, we want all of our state and local health officials to know that we are, as you say, bringing the full -- the full weight of the federal government to bear to support our states and our local communities, and that we'll get through this coronavirus and we'll get through this together.

TRUMP: I agree with that 100 percent. Thank you very much. And for the media, I guess perhaps you're going to stand aside. We're going to have the screen right behind you. And we'll start opening this up to the governors, if that's OK. Please. Yes, go ahead.


OK, who is next speaking?

GOV. BRIAN KEMP (R-GA): This is Brian Kemp, from Georgia, Mr. President.

TRUMP: Hi. Hi, Brian.

KEMP: Can you hear me all right?

TRUMP: I can hear you fine. Thank you, Brian.

KEMP: I just want to thank -- thank you all for the constant communication. And I applaud the move to stand FEMA up at level one. I appreciate HHS and all that they have done.

I had just three quick things for you. One, I just want to encourage you all to leave the directive for the National Guard with the governors. As you all know, I think we -- we're on the frontline of the fight, and we're in the fight with you. But I believe that we can best make those directives based on what's going on in our state.

TRUMP: I like that idea, Brian.

KEMP: I don't know if I speak for --

TRUMP: That's done. I like it.

KEMP: Well, thank you.

The second think I have is, I want to thank you standing up the federal medical facility close to Dobbins Air Force Base. As you all know, we had many passengers from the Grand Princess in Georgia -- almost 500 that were from all over the country. We were glad to work with you all to support our neighbors from other states, including 31 Georgians.

TRUMP: Thank you. KEMP: We're down to about 200 people there right now. We have got things working very well there. But I want to encourage you, when those visitors leave, I would like for you to consider leaving that facility stood up to help us with the surge that we're seeing in our -- especially in Metro Atlanta area hospitals. So I just want to keep that on the table if you're willing to consider that.


KEMP: And then the third thing -- and I will pass this along to you -- this is just kind of a big idea, if you will, is as the stimulus packages continue to move through the Congress -- we created an economic impact subcommittee of my coronavirus task force. They had a recommendation, and we just got this not too long ago. But we've been vetting it all morning. But one idea to help the states in these struggling revenue environments that is unlike the recession when things went down slowly, when states had time to prepare. At the end of the year, we're all facing drastic revenue drops. And the idea of a block grant to the states to help fill revenue shortfalls would be something I'd like for you to consider.

And also, we had an idea on the unemployment insurance. But I'll get to you all for consideration. I just want to get that on your radar --


KEMP: -- and we'll talk to our congressional delegation as well. I know you have a lot of things to consider, and we just wanted to throw that out there.

But thanks again for the constant communication and support.

TRUMP: Thank you. Very good. And thank you very much. And we will consider everything you've said. Thank you very much.

OK. Who's next? Next governor, please?

GOV. PHIL MURPHY (D-NJ): Hi, this is Phil Murphy.

TRUMP: You're looking well, Phil. You're looking well.

MURPHY: Thank you, Mr. President. So are you. Good to see you and the Vice President. Thank you for everything.

TRUMP: Thank you.

MURPHY: Just a couple quick points. We've had really good -- a really good week with FEMA, so I want to give them a shout-out. FEMA Region II is helping us --

TRUMP: Good.

MURPHY: -- set up testing. The Army Corps is actually visiting us in this building at 4 o'clock today to talk about repurposing facilities for more beds. So thank you for that.

TRUMP: Good. Yep.

MURPHY: We've has conversations with the VA in terms of backup medical support.

Two areas. One, just in terms of where we're going need some help: One is to underscore Governor Kemp's point on flexible block grants. Those will be important to us to allow us to continue to serve our people.

And secondly, we are -- the Lord helps those that help themselves. So I promise you we're doing everything we can get PPE. We're acquiring it. We're getting donations, but we still are going to need a big slug-out of the Strategic Stockpile. So for all the above: Many, many thanks.

TRUMP: And so, Phil, try -- try what you can. Do the best you can to get what you can actually get. And we're also having a lot of things produced that, frankly, nobody has ever seen anything like this before. But do the best you can.

And on block grants, we're going to consider that very strongly. Thank you, Phil.

MURPHY: Thanks, Mr. President.

TRUMP: Hello, John Bel.

GOV. JOHN BEL EDWARDS (D-LA): Mr. Vice President, we appreciate the communication, the coordination, and all the help.

I did want to just put on your radar screen the fact that I think if you look at cases by state, on a per-capita basis, we're right at the top of the country -- three or four.


And, of course, the healthcare infrastructure is designed to meet the populations. And my fear, based on modeling I've received today, is that as early as seven days we can start to exceed our capacity to deliver healthcare. And even after surging, we may only get an additional three days. And so I'm asking for help in terms of surging our medical capacity.

Here in Louisiana, we've got some requests in. For example, we have a VA hospital in New Orleans where we've requested to be able to surge patients there. We haven't received the response yet. We've got a request in for a federal medical station through HHS. We're just asking for help. That is the -- that is the 10-meter target for me right now, because we're going to do everything we can to mitigate and slow the spread, but in the time that we have, we've got to -- we've got to increase our surge capacity. That is my biggest concern. And I just wanted to express that to you and ask for your ongoing help as (INAUDIBLE) --

TRUMP: Yes. What is your second request?

EDWARDS: (INAUDIBLE) TRUMP: John Bel, what's your second request, please? The second request.

EDWARDS: Well, the second request, beyond surge capacity, is looking at National Guard and bringing them under Title 32 for funding purposes.

TRUMP: Right. OK. We're going to look at that, and I'm going to try and get you immediate approval on the hospital. I know about the hospital request. And so we're going to speak to the VA. We're going to see if we can get immediate -- at least as a switch, but we'll get that approved for you one way or the other. All right?

KEILAR: All right. So you're seeing President Trump at FEMA headquarters and he's talking to governors. He's taking requests there, as you see. A lot of demand from the states for intervention from the federal government. We're going to continue to monitor that. And we'll bring you any headlines as we see them happening.

Now, despite warnings and pleas, people are still going to the beaches in Florida. Many of them are still not closed. Look at this here. CNN is on the ground. Hear what the spring breakers are saying.



KEILAR: The CDC is now recommending that funeral directors offer livestreaming of services to avoid crowds during this crisis.

It's a grim reality that may be shocking to Americans but has been the reality for a while in Italy. The death toll reached 3,405 today and it has officially surpassed China.

And one American woman living in Milan has been sharing her experience online.

As CNN's Barbie Nadeau reports, what started as fairly upbeat has become much more serious.



BARBIE NADEAU, CNN CONTRIBUTOR (voice-over): 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.


NADEAU: 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 while, 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.



KEILAR: It's a reality that is setting in across the world.

I'm Brianna Keilar. And special coverage continues now with Jake Tapper.