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California Governor Orders 40 Million Residents to Stay Home; Italy's Death Toll Over 3,400, Surpassing China; Markets Struggle Under Weight of COVID-19 Fears; Japan Determined to Hold Safe, Secure Olympics on Schedule; London Landmarks Mostly Deserted Amid Fears of Lockdown; U.S. Company Announces At-Home Testing Kits for Virus; China Reports No Local Infections for 2 Straight Days; Taiwan Takes Precautions to Curb Spread of Virus; India Executes Four Convicted in Brutal Gang Rape, Murder. Aired 12-1a ET
Aired March 20, 2020 - 00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello everyone. I'm Paula Newton, and this is CNN NEWSROOM. We are tracking a lot of big developments in the coronavirus pandemic right now but first.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): This is not a permanent state. This is a moment in time, and we will meet this moment together.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NEWTON: The entire state of California, 40 million people, put on lockdown in the hopes of slowing the spread of the disease. A deadly milestone in Italy as the number of people killed in that country tops that of China for the first time since the outbreak began.
And a terrifying development out of Iran. where officials are reporting one death from the virus every 10 minutes.
OK. With the number of coronavirus cases rising by the hour in the United States, California is taking decisive and drastic action. The governor ordering all 40 million residents to stay at home indefinitely. Remember, this is the largest state economy in the United States, now on shutdown.
CNN's Dan Simon has details from San Francisco.
DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Governor Gavin Newsom must have received a very bleak assessment that he would issue this order for the entire state, telling all 40 million Californians that they now need to stay at home. The projections are rather frightening. He said that more than half of
all state residents will come down with the coronavirus in the next eight weeks. This is what he said Thursday evening.
NEWSOM: A state as large as ours, a nation state, is many parts. But at the end of the day, we're one body. There's a mutuality, and there's a recognition of our interdependence that requires of this moment that we direct a statewide order for people to stay at home.
That directive goes into force and effect this evening. And we were confident, we are confident that the people of the state of California will abide by it. They'll do the right thing. They'll meet this moment. They'll step up, as they have over the course of the last number of weeks, to protect themselves, to protect their families, and to protect the broader community in this great state and the world that we reside in.
SIMON: From what we understand, the state order will essentially mirror what people have been living with in San Francisco over the last few days.
And so we should put it in perspective for you. What they're saying is that, unless you have some type of essential activity that you need to attend to, you should stay indoors.
But we should point out that you can leave the home to go to the supermarket and pick up a few things. You can go get medicine. Of course, the hospitals are open. You have your police department, your firefighters. They're still working around the clock.
But you can come outside, for instance. You can get some exercise. You can take an evening stroll. You can ride your bike. All of those things are OK under this order.
Dan Simon, CNN, San Francisco.
NEWTON: All right. We want to bring in Kathryn Barger now. She's the chair of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.
I'm sure this was an incredibly tough decision. Take us behind some of your thinking as to why you felt this absolutely had to be done.
KATHRYN BARGER, CHAIR, LOS ANGELES COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS (via phone): Well, I mean, obviously, our goal is to slow down the spread, because one of our biggest fears is that our hospitals will not be able to handle a surge if it, in fact, happens. So we've taken decisive steps, based on public health experts, that really, we're hoping people will heed this warning.
And we're calling it Safer at Home, because truthfully, the less people you come in contact with, the better off you are. And that's why we really tried to make this a slow, methodical process as we move forward, asking people to stay at home but recognize you're going to still be able to get food. You're still going to be able to get essential services provided. But it's better to stay within your own home in order to keep everybody safe.
NEWTON: Right. Understood. This had started, obviously, in the San Francisco area. But was there data? Have you been seeing an outbreak of cases in other parts of the state? I mean, what exactly precipitated this at this moment?
BARGER: Well, here's what we know. I mean, obviously, the testing is coming in, and the good news is we've had lower numbers the last 2 days. But that's because we are now getting people tested, so we think that number is going to rise. So we are trying to prepare.
And again, it's about slowing it down. I mean, we would say we'd get ahead of the curve, but quite frankly, we are -- and if you look at Italy's data, we are behind it. So we are trying to be as aggressive as possible to really make people recognize that the numbers are going to go up. And our goal is to try to bring that down over time so that we do not have hospitals inundated and an inability to handle it.
NEWTON: Understood. How long do you expect this to last at this point?
BARGER: Well, it's open-ended. I mean, our order -- and again, our order came in right before the governor made his announcement. But in many ways, it's very -- it mirrors what L.A. County is doing.
In L.A. County as a whole, we've got Long Beach and Pasadena which have their own public health departments. But with 10 million people here, this order stands in play.
And the goal -- you know, we don't know. It's open-ended. We put it till mid-April, but realistically, it's probably going to go beyond that.
NEWTON: Yes, it's interesting. You know, we're looking right now at pictures of empty highways at -- in L.A. As you say, many Californians already heeding that advice, working from home.
Listen, we wish everyone the best of luck in trying to, as you said, flatten that curve. And we'll continue to touch base with you. Kathryn, thanks so much.
BARGER: Thank you very much. You take care.
NEWTON: All right. And a reminder, right? That is the largest state economy in the United States. It practically has the economy of a G-7 country. Big developments, which we'll continue to follow here through the coming hours.
And we, of course, have a number of late-breaking developments and some major headlines to talk to you about.
Let's get to this first. The U.S. State Department is telling all Americans not to travel abroad. And the Trump administration is considering possibly grounding many or all domestic flights. That's on the table.
And New York Mayor Bill De Blasio is warning medical supplies are running low. He says there's enough to get through this rest of this month, the month of March. But the city is looking at a serious shortage by the beginning of April.
Meantime, Iran's health ministry says one person is dying every 10 minutes in that country. Every 10 minutes, with another 50 people be are being infected every hour.
And then to Italy, where the death toll from coronavirus is now at more than 3,400, surpassing even China. Now, the government in Rome is considering extending, of course, those school closures. They're already in a nationwide lockdown, as the situation just keeps getting worse.
CNN's Melissa Bell has more.
MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A spike in new cases in Italy, where intensive care units are stretched to breaking points in places like Lombardy, the first region hit, with 70 percent of the more than nearly 3,000 deaths recorded so far in the country and stark warnings from the doctors there.
DR. STEFANO MAGNONE, HEAD OF PUBLIC DOCTORS' ASSOCIATION, LOMBARDY: At the end of march, we ran out of the capacity here in Lombardy.
BELL: In towns like Rugamo (ph), it is the army now transporting the dead to be cremated, with people taking to social media to express their anger and their grief. Like Roberta Zaninoni, who lost her father to the outbreak.
"He did not deserve to die like this," she says. "They are dying like dogs."
It is because their healthcare systems are under strain that European countries have locked down one after another, trying to bring the outbreak under control before they are overwhelmed.
France placing the country on a war footing as Emmanuel Macron announced its lockdown.
"We are at war," he said.
Authorities are already warning that the two-week lockdown might have to be extended, with intensive care units stretched and the number of new cases doubling every day. Resulting shortages are also a concern.
JEROME SALOMON, DIRECTOR, FRENCH HEALTH AUTHORITY: Masks are a rare resource. There is no shortage, but there are tensions. They're for medical personnel only.
BELL: As in Italy, the nature of the epidemic, which strikes fast and in clusters, is testing some parts of France more than others, with the army now delivering respiratory equipment to a hospital in Muse (ph).
In Germany, Angela Merkel gave a rare televised address, comparing the situation to the Second World War.
ANGELA MERKEL, GERMAN CHANCELLOR (through translator): It is serious. Take it seriously. Not since German reunification, no, not since World War II has there been such a challenge to our country.
With Europe facing a medical crisis like no other, China has stepped in, delivering equipment and masks to Italy, France and Spain.
URSULA VON DER LEYEN, PRESIDENT OF THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION (through translator): We are grateful for support from China. Two hundred thousand N-95 masks, two million surgical masks, and 50,000 testing kits. This support is highly valued, and we are grateful for it.
BELL: Another looming problem for Europe: a report from Lombardy that health workers are being infected at faster rates than anyone else.
Melissa Bell, CNN, Paris.
NEWTON: Dr. Celine Gounder joins me now. She's a CNN medical analyst, a clinical assistant professor of medicine and infectious diseases at the New York University School of Medicine and, of course, the host of the "EPIDEMIC" podcast.
Yes, we're into week two of pandemic already. In terms of the way you are seeing this now, and I'm going to speak specifically about the numbers in the United States, is it in line with what you expected to see, or much more grave at this point?
DR. CELINE GOUNDER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Well, given how we've responded to this epidemic, this pandemic, it is very much in line with what I expected to see, because we're mimicking the same responses and patterns as other countries, like they have in Italy, in other parts of Europe. So it's really not surprising.
We are still very much in the exponential phase of this. And so I anticipate fully that, in the next two, three weeks, we're going to see a huge spike in cases. We're just at the beginning of that right now.
NEWTON: And when you say just at the beginning and a huge spike in cases, the fact that everyone is trying to practice social distancing, you know, they're basically only on, you know, essential needs only. Do you believe we will understand if that pandemic curve has been flattened within the next week? Or do you think we're looking more towards April to figure out if that's happened?
GOUNDER: Yes, I think it's going to take several weeks to figure out if we're having any impact. Because what you see today is really a reflection of what happened a week or two ago. So you're going to need to wait at least a week, if not longer.
And then what you'll see is maybe a little bit of a decline. But to really see this flatten out and tail off is going to take much longer than that.
NEWTON: Wow. I mean, we have more disheartening news from Italy every day. Certainly, they are really not seeing any light here yet.
In terms of those numbers, why not? Because it has been a good 10 days where they have put an extreme measures. And yet it still, the deaths and cases continue to spike.
GOUNDER: Well, again, what you're seeing in Italy is still a reflection of what was happening, you know, two weeks ago, so before they instituted extreme measures. And it really takes time.
Because essentially, the incubation period, time from exposure to time of disease can be as long as 14 days. So that's why there's this lag time between when you institute measures and when you actually see an impact. And unfortunately, part of the additional problem is that the hospital systems are overrun. And then so you have a second place where you can be having lots of infections. Even if the community is shut down, the hospitals themselves become massive sites of transmission.
NEWTON: And I want to talk about that in terms of what's happening in Italy and everything we've heard about the lack of supplies and public healthcare workers absolutely inundated. And then bring it back here to North America and what's going on with the numbers, specifically in the United States.
I mean, the shortage of equipment, of beds, this is real, right? It was extraordinary. I mean, the CDC today was saying if you run out of surgical masks, it's OK in an emergency to use a scarf or a bandana. I mean, what do you think of that when you hear that?
GOUNDER: I find that to be incredibly alarming and incredibly upsetting, too, because I know there are people sitting at home with their own stashes, boxes of N-95 respirator masks. I know there are companies that have bought huge stashes of them for their employees. They're not the ones that need them.
And the idea that we would be caring for patients in such intense settings, intense exposure, and we're supposed to order a bunch of bandanas on Amazon to protect myself? I mean, literally, some of my colleagues today were talking about that. That's what they were doing.
And to me, that is crazy that that is how we are undervaluing and treating healthcare workers who are really the ones that are going to dig us out of this situation.
NEWTON: To that, in terms of preparedness, you know, on CNN here, we were talking to members of the Obama administration, saying that in the handover, in the transition to the Trump administration, that they talked about these pandemic scenarios.
Did you know that? Were you involved in any of that? I mean, we have to stop acting like this came out of nowhere, right?
GOUNDER: This definitely did not come out of nowhere. We had multiple experiences: H1N1, Zika, Ebola, you know, SARS. All of those should have taught us lessons that seem not to have been retained.
And yes, there -- I was not involved in those practice exercises at the time of the handoff, but they were done with very thorough detail and information as to what should be done.
Unfortunately, many of the Trump administration officials who were involved in those exercises are no longer there. So there is really no institutional memory and understanding of what was being transitioned then passed off.
NEWTON: And here we are. We will all have to work together, I think, to make sure we get on the other side of this and not have that nightmare scenario that they're unfortunately living through in Italy.
Dr. Celine Gounder, thank you for joining us. I really appreciate it.
GOUNDER: Yes, my pleasure.
NEWTON: OK, in the midst of all that, of course, Wall Street is steeling itself for another volatile trading day when the New York Stock Exchange reopens. That's about nine and a half hours from now.
Here's what's happening at this hour, though, in Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Seoul. As you can see it there, very modest gains, Seoul rebounding from a tough day yesterday, Tokyo Stock Exchange, luckiest of them all, it is closed until Monday. I'm sure they're lucky and thankful for that break.
In New York meantime, the Dow on Thursday finished up about 188 points after some fairly dramatic gyrations. I know, we're used to that. But following the bruising losses of the last month, you bet: traders were just happy to get this session over with and get that gain in.
With us from Los Angeles is economist Ryan Patel with the Drucker School of Management at Claremont Graduate University.
I mean, I always feel like we ought to just take one big deep breath, right, before we start discussing the economy here, given you know, the serious nature of the pandemic we're dealing with.
But there are many people, of course, absolutely concerned about this. You're in California. As I keep saying, this is the largest economy in the United States, OK? Forty million people. I don't know, are we have to 3 trillion dollars in the economy? I can't remember my latest figures.
RYAN PATEL, ECONOMIST, DRUCKER SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT, CLAREMONT GRADUATE UNIVERSITY: Yes, three trillion.
NEWTON: Good. I got that one. So that's it. It's shut down, indefinitely. We just had one of the
L.A. supervisors here saying this is -- they have no timeline for this.
What are we looking at here? Is it a recession? A global depression? And what -- how profound would the difference be between the two?
PATEL: Well, we need to take multiple deep breaths after what just happened a few hours ago, because usually I -- you want to stay calm and cautious.
But think about what this was. This was an Asia kind of -- Everyone was talking about how trade was going to affect with Asia. Then it turned to Europe, how the U.S. would be affected from the European, you know, lockdown. And now we are in the U.S.
And just to give you an example, like you mentioned, California is more than 3 trillion in GDP, 15 percent of the U.S. GDP. Just take that for an example. When businesses shut down indefinitely, this is no longer a two-week, oh, let's see what happens. People are talking about when do we get back to normal? If and when, and how does that turn out?
And what's happening, especially in the small businesses, in the mid- sized companies, they have no choice to lay off and close down employees. That's unfortunate.
We saw in the unemployment rate jumped from the first week of March, to the second week, to 33 percent of people filing unemployment. And what that means, into the recession terms, is when you see unemployment start to rise, you see consumer confidence, as this was not a confident piece of news, of being -- they're not saying it's a complete lockdown, but pretty much, it feels like it. Almost like we're going toward Italy, and Spain, and France. And this is not the only part of the country that's going to face this. Obviously, you saw it in Washington.
You're going to see multiple places in the U.S. take these hits. And that's when we start getting into the recession conversations, because people are going to choose not to spend more and have that lay-offs. And people are going to get -- This is where the panic sets in. Do you want -- If you've got money in cash, do you want to spend it? Are you being stringent with your money right now?
And the answer to that question has been going towards yes it has, when there is no timeframe to the indefinite. It does have a little bit more of a scare.
NEWTON: Right. And a scare that you think even global depression, at this point, is a word we should start using?
PATEL: Well, part of that, because it's already heavy for the U.S. If we were already talking about the Chinese, the number two economy in the world, and people were already going to feel it, now you've got, what, the No. 1 economy in the world going to feel it. Yes, I thought, truthfully, with the European -- you know, the
European economy taking a hit, I thought the U.S. was definitely going to feel it because of China, as well. And you know, not to say that it would be completely negative, but the GDP was going to take a hit.
PATEL: But now with the U.S. on its own turn, it's almost like, well, everyone needs to trade with everybody, and if everybody's in the same boat, who's going to help you and bail you out of that?
NEWTON: Yes, and that extends to so many different things. Let's talk about bailing out here. OK. The United States, Mitch McConnell was just speaking to CNN, you know, basically saying that it's going to be at least a trillion dollars, perhaps more.
You know, what does a bailout look like in terms of how should that money be distributed? And Ryan, you know as well as I do, right, there is this debate right now as to which companies should be bailed out, and should you be bailing out the companies, or should you just be giving the money directly to Americans?
PATEL: Yes, I mean, our -- we live in a different world than we did 10 years ago. This administration talks about how systems were old, and that they were just following the systems.
We live in a gig economy. Let's just be honest. North of 30 percent are in the gig economy. So if you bail out some of these companies, does that help these folks out? Does that help the consumer spending out?
And so this conversation is actually very different. It shouldn't be traditional of, like, Let's help these two companies. This has to be very strategic on places and people that you can actually make an impact.
So if you can't get to the individuals in some of the stimulus packages, you'd better figure out a way to do so. This is not like, Hey, we're going to go help Boeing or some of these airlines out, which obviously need that help, but it doesn't stop there. Right? It does help those hourly workers get paid, but there's also a different part of our economy now that is much different.
And I think if we've learned anything from the coronavirus in the way that the administration has responded and has stated how there was old systems in place and process, and that's why they were behind, let's just take that conversation there. Then this is the same thing. How can you follow the same pattern on trying to help the American people when we -- our economy is a lot more diverse digitally now?
NEWTON: And so it's -- I don't have a lot of time here, but it sounds like you're saying give the money to those people who have no backup, no safety net, and really be careful about the corporations you try and bail out? PATEL: Well, you know, in an ideal world, we do both. The
conversations happening in Congress right now. I feel like that those folks are not included in this conversation, and that's a mistake. Those folks that -- meaning the people who are the entrepreneurs, they don't come from the big companies, they need to be included.
NEWTON: Yes, and I think that there are some voices on the Hill saying that they need to be included. I know you and I, whoever we talk to, we can hear them, right? They're saying that they need to be included.
Ryan, I've got to go. One question just hanging out there in the ether, right? Is the medicine going to be worse than the disease at this point. But we will leave it for another time.
Ryan, thanks so much. Really appreciate it.
PATEL: Appreciate it.
NEWTON: OK, we're headed to London after the break, where fears of the pandemic have left many iconic sites nearly empty and residents are trying to prepare amid talk of a coming lockdown, yes, lockdown there, too.
Plus, the Olympic flame arrives in Japan, amid calls from world leaders and athletes alike to postpone those games. A live report from Tokyo just ahead.
NEWTON: The Olympic flame has made his way to Japan. Just a few hours ago it arrived at an air base north of Sendai. It now begins a 121-day trek across the country.
This comes amid calls to, of course, cancel the games outright. Yes, cancel the Olympics.
On Thursday U.S. President Donald Trump said he talked to Japanese Prime Minister Abe earlier this week, but Mr. Abe hadn't made a decision on whether to postpone or cancel the Olympics.
We want to bring in journalist Kaori Enjoji, who joins us from Tokyo.
This has been a debate back and forth, and you know, the eyes of the world are on Tokyo right now. There are some athletes, IOC members, even, saying what's the holdup? It's just time to postpone these things.
The deputy prime minister in Japan even called them cursed. You know, athletes can't train properly. What's the holdup here? Why don't they make a decision?
KAORI ENJOJI, JOURNALIST: Well, Paula, that's a question that the Japanese public has been asking, as well, for weeks. And I think part of that answer lies in that ceremony that happened
this month, with the Olympic flame arriving here in Japan in the area that was devastated by the 2008 tsunami and earthquake.
And I think this shows that, from the day that Japan and Tokyo won the bid to host the Olympics, this has been more than just convening athletes from around the world. This has been a battle for Japan, and an effort by Japan, to prove to the world that Japan is back. Back from the 2011 disaster, which killed thousands of people, and back from decades of recession where the economy has faltered and given up the No. 2 spot to China.
And I think politicians have been very, very eager, and spent a lot of capital, to ensure that they are going to go ahead with the Olympics to show that Japan is back.
And the fact that they chose to continue with this flame ceremony in this area today, despite the fact that it was an empty plane bringing that flame. There was no children that were scheduled to be there to greet them. The athletes that were supposed to be part of that ceremony were not there.
But still, the head of 2020 Tokyo said -- who is also a former prime minister, said that they are still going ahead. I think the political capital that has been spent on this has been just too much.
NEWTON: And if you could clear up some confusion that I've had over the last few days, is it the IOC's decision, or Japan's decision?
ENJOJI: Technically, it is the IOC's decision, Paula. But as you know, it's -- there are a lot of people banking on this. And by banking on this, I mean $12 billion is the official estimate on how much Japan has spent to bring the Olympics here.
But we -- everyone knows that the actual figure is significantly higher on that. Take into consideration the dozens -- hundreds of sponsorship deals that would be canceled in the event that the Tokyo Olympics don't go through.
Not to mention, the millions in ticket sales that have gone through, and the expectations that businesses have built over the years in anticipation of this. The tally for that would be phenomenal.
So technically, it is an IOC decision. And I should point out that, compared to the rest of the world, Japan is a very, very consensus- driven society. It's frowned upon when a leader comes out and makes a unanimous [SIC] decision to do this or that. There's a lot of behind- the-scenes maneuvering and consensus building, before that final announcement is -- is made. I think that partially explains some of the uncertainty that has been going on here over the last couple of years.
NEWTON: Well, many athletes all over the world -- and they're the ones that really have a lot on the line here -- are waiting to see what that decision is. Thanks so much. Really appreciate the live update there from Tokyo. Now, the U.K. reports 144 deaths from COVID-19 amid more than 3,000 cases. In London, landmarks are mostly empty, but the streets are not, and as the city's nine million residents try to prepare for the unknown. Here's CNN's Nic Robertson.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice-over): London's most iconic landmarks are almost deserted. The flags are out, but the tourists, and most everyone else, are gone.
(on camera): Trafalgar Square, normally bustling, but even this tiny scattering of people may be too many to slow the spread of the virus. The prime minister has said that people must follow government instructions ruthlessly.
(voice-over): This couple, taking a last ride before a rumored London lockdown.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I'm waiting for it to happen, honestly. Yes, we're all working from home already. Just trying to get out today to get the last bit of kind of fresh air that we can.
ROBERTSON: The prime minister, though, ruling out a hard lockdown of the capital for now.
BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I want to stress that, you know, there is no prospect of us wanting to stop public transport in London or stop -- stop the tube or the buses. We're not going to be telling people that, under no circumstances, if they really need to go to work, can they go to work.
ROBERTSON: A few miles away, neighborhoods still busy. In the lime outside the butcher shop, there is apprehension.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You keep the walk (ph) going on, and you have the little kids with you all the day. But we have (UNINTELLIGIBLE). But what is there to do, we have to go ahead (ph).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The U.K. is still reactive instead of proactive policy, but every country, a different culture. Hopefully, they will be inclined to stop any serious spread.
ROBERTSON: Even without a full lockdown, though, changes are coming. Cuts in bus, rail services, as well as the city's fabled underground service, the tube.
(on camera): Up to 40 underground tube stations could be closed. The plan is to keep enough of the network running to allow people in vital professions to be able to get to work.
(voice-over): For some, it would be the end of the line for work.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I won't be able to get to work without the tube. ROBERTSON (on camera): Really?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Actually. Yes. That's my only option, is to get into Central London.
ROBERTSON: So what happens then?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know. I have to stay home, I guess.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): For others, a further step into the surreal.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Had a lot more family arguments recently since we've all been together. I don't know. It will be surreal. It's a bit weird. It's like being in a zombie film or something.
Nic Robertson, CNN, London.
NEWTON: OK. Virus testing kits in the United States are too often in short supply right now, causing yet another crisis. We talked to the CEO of one company that's trying to change that by making testing available from home.
NEWTON: You are watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Paula Newton. Headlines this hour. California's governor has ordered the state's 40 million residents to stay home. But the order will not be enforced by police. Essential services like grocery stores and banks will remain open, and Californians are expected to self-regulate.
Italy is turning to its army to collect dead bodies and move coffins to crematoriums. More than 3,400 people have died there, surpassing even China. Patients are being treated in field hospitals, and a growing number of doctors and nurses are now infected.
The Olympic flame is now in Japan. Just a few hours ago it arrived at an airbase north of Sendai. This comes amid calls from world leaders and athletes alike to cancel or postpone the games.
As of now, Japan says it's determined to hold a safe and secure Olympics on schedule.
As the number of cases of the coronavirus grows, the U.S. is, as you've heard, still struggling with ramping up those testing capabilities. One U.S. company is hoping to change all that.
Everlywell is a Texas-based company that offers dozens of various lab tests and says it will soon add COVID-19. They hope to have the test available as early as next week.
Julia Cheek joins me now. She's the CEO of Everlywell. And thanks so much, Julia. Obviously, a lot of interest in these at-home kits. How does it work and how can you be assured of its efficacy?
JULIA CHEEK, CEO, EVERLYWELL: Absolutely. Thanks for having me.
So Everlywell Connects has always connected consumers to lab partners. And that's exactly what we're doing here with our COVID-19 home collection tests. And there is no important difference here. This is not a test like a pregnancy test that results right away.
This is a test to help you get a full virtual experience. You collect your sample at home. We use CDC transport protocols to send it to one of our approved laps for COVID-19, and then you get your results once it hits the lab in 24 to 48 hours.
We include with that an independent telemedicine provider. So that means you submit your symptomology online. You're going to have access to a test as a result of that. And then you get a diagnosis from a virtual physician with next steps. And that same group is able to report these positives back to the state and federal agencies to help track the spread of the virus.
NEWTON: OK, and just to be clear just on how this is going to work and the mechanics. In the first instance, do you need a doctor's prescription to order it?
CHEEK: You do need a doctor's lab requisition. So that is conducted virtually with our tell a health partner online on Everlywell.com.
NEWTON: Depending on -- depending on your symptoms. OK, so you will actually have to use one swab? Two swabs?
CHEEK: Ideally, we would be able to provide multiple swabs or even pool for a household for additional research. In this case and this moment, given the swab shortage around the globe, there is one swab, and the protocol is that you swab in each side.
NEWTON: When you say each side, you mean?
CHEEK: Each side of your nose.
NEWTON: On each side of your nose.
Now, we've been seeing some of those tests. And you have to go fairly deep inside your nostril. Are you clear that people will do this properly at home? And then what does that mean for the outcome of the test?
CHEEK: Right. So there's two steps here. We are clear that people will do it properly. There are a number of peer-reviewed studies that have looked at self-collection swab efficacy and different types of swabs versus clinical collected. And that has been done over a number of years, really more related to other types of viral testing, like influenza.
And there -- the conclusion has generally been that people are very capable of doing this. You do have to provide proper training, which we will view with clear instructions, videos, et cetera. It's important to note that we are really the leaders in consumer
education around sample collection. We do this across a number of samples today for Medicare providers, for other enterprises and employers. And this is everything from stool to STI swabs to blood, etc.
So that is how we're able to educate people. In terms of the efficacy, our labs that we're working with have the negative predictive value exceeds 96 percent. The range is 96.4 to 100 percent. And a greater than a 93 percent positive predictive value. And they are all complying with the FDA's emergency authorization.
NEWTON: OK. Understood. This will have a cost, though. I mean, this is not the kind of test, once it's prescribed, it's not going to be free?
CHEEK: Ideally, we would love to make it free. We are speaking with legislators to understand how the aid package will work. We've had a lot of NGOs reach out and talk to us about being able to cover the cost of the test.
To be clear, we've actually published an infographic breaking down the $135 cost. This cost will have no profit. The price of 135 has no profit to Everlywell. We're offering it solely to cover our costs, which are -- which are published and transparent.
Now, that being said, this is a full price, including a diagnosis with a telehealth provider at no additional cost. There are no surprise bills. You don't have to wonder if you should go to a facility because you don't know how much it's going to cost you.
NEWTON: Understood. Listen, testing has been so controversial. Right, Julia. And many people believe that the more testing that's out there, you know, the better we will be to get to the other side of this pandemic.
And yet on the other hand, is this a drop in the bucket? What Everlywell is doing? No matter how innovative? What do you think?
CHEEK: You know, we would love to be able to offer more than our initial supply which we released as 30,000. And while that is material in making an impact today in the landscape, we are confident that all of the private laboratories, all of the public response from the government, universities, and hospitals will resolve the supply chain constraints in the coming weeks.
That being said, it's a really important part of the national response to COVID-19. You know that the healthcare facilities are overrun. You know the drive-through facilities are overrun. There has to be a component for safe and effective at-home testing so that we're ensuring that people aren't exposing others further.
I think it's important, and it will be a material impact when it launches. And we'll continue scaling to a quarter of a million tests a week.
NEWTON: Understood, Julia. Really important information there. We'll continue to follow whether or not, you know, the -- any kind of the aid packages or NGOs will cover that test.
NEWTON: And I so appreciate your time, Julia. Thanks so much.
CHEEK: Thanks for having me.
NEWTON: Meantime, on Thursday, CNN hosted a global town hall on the facts and fears of the coronavirus with CNN's Anderson Cooper and chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, answering your questions about the disease.
Now, one of the world's most preeminent epidemiologists, Dr. Anthony Fauci, talked about the importance of social distancing.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: What's the most important thing you want people to know tonight?
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASE: You know, I think you just were mentioning it just a few moments ago, is the importance of people to take very seriously the guidelines about physical separation.
You mentioned the idea of transmission of infection not only when someone is symptomatic, but we're getting more and more information that someone can transmit even when they're asymptomatic.
So in order to protect oneself, society and particularly the vulnerable people, we've really got to adhere to the physical separation.
You know them well now. Avoiding crowds. Stay out of bars. Stay out of restaurants. Stay out of places where there's a congregation of people. And particularly, individuals who are elderly or individuals who have an underlying condition should essentially self-isolate themselves for the time being in order to shield themselves from what might be an innocent, unintended, inadvertent transmission of infection to them. That's the message I would really like to get out.
NEWTON: OK. Now, if you missed it earlier, we'll be showing to you again. The program will replay at 8 a.m. in London, 4 p.m. Hong Kong time.
Now, what looks to be a very hopeful turning point in China. Once again, it's reporting no new local cases of the coronavirus. But experts warn another wave of infections may be on the way. What the country is doing to prepare. That's next.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) NEWTON: OK. For the second day in the row, yes, I have some good news. China is reporting no new locally-transmitted coronavirus cases. Now, while it may be a major milestone in containing the virus -- and it is -- health experts warn China needs to be prepared for a potential second wave of infections.
CNN's David Culver reports from Shanghai.
DAVID CULVER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As medical personnel prepare to move out, Chinese state media say doctors and nurses in Hubei province are now beginning to scale back their lifesaving efforts at the epicenter of the novel coronavirus outbreak.
"Now we are returning home, so I am really excited as we won the victory over the epidemic," this medical worker said.
With the epidemic spreading in the U.S., health experts here warned, even with an increase in the number of patients recovered and a drop in daily reported cases, this is not a mission accomplished. Wuhan health officials will only consider lifting lockdown restrictions after 14 consecutive days without any new cases reported.
DR. BRUCE AYLWARD, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: The single biggest danger is complacency. And this was something we talked about in China a fair bit. That people drop their guard against this disease.
CULVER: In the past two weeks, officials reported nearly half of the new cases in mainland China came from abroad. In Hong Kong, more than 90 percent of new cases are imported.
Chinese officials are now heavily focused on external threats. At Beijing Capital International Airport, China's CDC conducting strict screenings for international arrivals.
Passengers bused to this exhibition hall turned transit center, health evaluations conducted at individual booths set up to represent each province. Most every traveler entering Beijing from overseas is now required to be quarantined at designated government facilities for at least 14 days.
For those of us traveling within mainland China, big data is helping the government track us and trace potential exposures. We each have a QR code assigned to our smartphone numbers. It allows us access into some hotels, malls, grocery stores, even restaurant chains.
Green means you are clear and OK to enter. Yellow indicates you've potentially been in contact with a confirmed case and should self- isolate at home. Red means forced quarantine.
On the streets of Chengdu (ph), images reminiscent of "Robocop." Police using infrared cameras to scan body temperature as people stroll by.
Across the country, officials say various command centers have been set up to monitor the health information of more than 300 million people.
Here, privacy it seems, once again taking a backseat to national health security.
But even as Chinese media proudly shows China's medical personnel helping other countries, sending supplies in teams like this one in Italy, uncertainty remains on the home front.
In Shanghai, two months into this outbreak, people slowly venturing out of self-isolation and into the spring-like weather. Some public parks, reopened. Life cautiously resuming. The waters are calm for now, but as lockdown restrictions ease, concerns grow for a potential second wave of infections.
David Culver, CNN, Shanghai.
NEWTON: OK. Now, despite being just a short distance away from mainland China, Taiwan has appeared -- is now appearing that they have a handle on the coronavirus outbreak. It is still too early to tell, but out of a population of nearly 24 million people, the World Health Organization is reporting that the island has about 77 infections at this hour. And this is good news, as well. Only one death.
So what is it doing right? For more, Taiwan-based journalist Hilton Yip joins me now via Skype.
Taiwan, you're talking about a place that is very tightly packed, urban environment. It is a marvel that Taiwan managed to really have a successful containment.
And if we look at a map right now, you know, you can see those 77 cases in context to the countries around it. I mean, even if you look at a country like Singapore, maybe 5 or 6 million people there, they still had 313 cases.
And then you look to South Korea and Japan. You know, many, many more cases. Yes, higher populations, but still. Even if you do the averages, still, Taiwan did incredibly well. What did it do right?
HILTON YIP, JOURNALIST: OK. Hello, Paula. Thank you for having me here.
Taiwan has done a lot of things right. It started -- it was vigilant early on. It also implemented a lot of proactive measures, even up to now. But it started doing this from December 31.
And then the first thing is that it did all this with a lot of transparency. And so the point is that it's an all-around strategy. It's a very broad strategy. So I think they did a lot of things right. It wasn't just, like, one or two things.
NEWTON: And when we say it just wasn't one or two things, you know, we just reported that California shut down. So we're looking at that happening at this point in the pandemic. What can be modeled? I mean, when you say they did a lot of things
right, what can be modeled in other areas right now?
YIP: OK. You know what? This is kind of tough, because one thing that Taiwan did is that it's from December 31. They actually started inspecting passengers from Wuhan. And then in January, on the 23rd or so, they started banning flights from Wuhan.
And then early February, they started banning passengers, visitors from China.
So the point -- the issue is that they took a lot of measures to prevent the cases from coming to Taiwan and to prevent the cases from being -- from piling up. So so far, Taiwan is not under lockdown. So it's -- you know, it's kind of difficult to compare it to a place like California.
NEWTON: And that is a point, right? That's what's so extraordinary. Taiwan was not under any draconian lockdown.
YIP: That's right.
NEWTON: It was what we would call containment measures.
How important was testing in Taiwan? And are those cases an accurate reflection of the disease and if it is present in Taiwan?
YIP: I think that testing is very important and that the number of cases, you know, as you said, it's not a lot. However, there is one small correction. It's actually 108 right now, because over -- during the past few days, there have been a lot of imported cases.
YIP: But even still, 108 is not -- not a lot at all.
Testing is key. And -- but also containment, as well as isolation, quarantine. So all these measures are important.
NEWTON: But the testing was aggressive. They had the test kits, and they were able to test aggressively?
YIP: Yes, that's right. They did.
NEWTON: And I want to talk to you about that. You know, you mentioned the 108 cases. As I said, we are just using updates from the WHO. So clearly, it's not up to the minute.
YIP: Yes, yes.
NEWTON: But as you mentioned, though, those cases are travel-related.
How worried is Taiwan now that, after all of those hard-fought measures and doing all that work, that they're going to have this boomerang effect, where travelers coming in from Europe and North America will perhaps again make -- put them in the middle of this infectious -- of this infection?
YIP: And as a result, Taiwan has stepped up its travel restrictions. So I think, I believe, yesterday -- sorry, from today, they've stopped letting any overseas visitors enter Taiwan, except for -- except for Chinese citizens. So yes, they are ramping up their restrictions.
NEWTON: Well, thank you for bringing this perspective, because it is extraordinary. There is -- there was no shutdown of the economy there.
NEWTON: And yet they were able to really contain -- contain the cases. And that's remembering, right, 24 million people in a very contained space, urban environment.
YIP: That's right.
NEWTON: Hilton Yip, thanks so much. Really appreciate it.
YIP: That's right.
NEWTON: Now, four men were executed Thursday. We'll explain why some are calling it a watershed moment. Stay with us.
NEWTON: India has executed four men for the brutal gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old student on a Delhi bus more than seven years ago. Now, they were convicted in 2013 and had been on Death Row ever since. A crowd celebrated outside the prison, calling the executions a victory for women.
The case has been a pivotal moment for the country, as Vedika Sud reports.
VEDIKA SUD, CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): December 16, 2012. A day that shook India's conscience. A young aspiring physiotherapist brutally gang raped by six men on a moving bus in the capital of New Delhi.
SUD: Unprecedented protests forced lawmakers to tighten the anti-rape laws within months.
The woman, who by Indian law, can still not be named because she was a rape victim, died in a Singapore hospital from her grievous injuries. The Indian media called her by the pseudonym Nirbhaya, the fearless one.
"I have seen my 23-year-old daughter take her last breath," says Asha Devi.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We want justice! We want justice!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We want justice! We want justice!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We want justice! We want justice!
SUD: Despite amendments to the law, women remain vulnerable across the country. The Indian government's latest data indicates that on average, a rape is reported about every 16 minutes in India.
For many, it's time for justice. But it's also reigniting the debate over the death penalty.
VRINDA GROVER, SENIOR ADVOCATE: When conviction takes place, and men are incarcerated in prison, justice has been done. The false equivalence that is being drawn between justice and the death sentence is not only erroneous, but also dangerous.
SUD: A fund set up after the 2012 gang rape by the government of India to enhance safety of women now has $500 million in it, a large sum in this developing country. Government data indicate that nearly 90 percent of those funds remains unused by the states.
ANUP SURENDRANATH, DEATH PENALTY EXPERT, NATIONAL LAW UNIVERSITY: Now, if you look at why sexual violence happens, if you look at the state of our police, our law and order, public safety, are all concerns that the government has not invested in sufficiently.
SUD: Many women's rights activists also post to sexism and patriarchy in Indian society. Madhumita Pandey is a criminologist who has interviewed more than 100 convicted rapists and murderers in a notorious prison in Delhi, starting in the year 2013. She says many of these offenders perversely blame the victims for bringing on the attack.
MADHUMITA PANDEY, CRIMINOLOGIST, SHEFFIELD HALLAM UNIVERSITY: There is, of course, a lot of victim blaming in their narratives. For instance, she was character less. She did not stop me. She provoked may.
SUD: But while India debates the death penalty and its deterrence, the mother who cradled Nirbhaya as she died wants to see justice served.
NEWTON: Vedika Sud there, and we think her for that report.
Thanks for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Paula Newton. I'll be right back with more news in a moment. Stay with us.
NEWTON: Hello, everyone. I'm Paula Newton, and this is CNN NEWSROOM. We are tracking a lot of fast-moving developments here on the coronavirus pandemic. END