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California's Governor Makes a Tough Decision; Coronavirus Takes Life in Iran Fast; Victims Share Their COVID-19 Battle; Scarcity in Medical Supplies Jeopardizes Everyone; Madrid Expects 80 Percent Could be Infected; Coronavirus Pandemic; California Orders 40 Million Residents To Stay Home; Italy's Death Toll Over 3,400 Surpassing China; Boris Johnson, We Can Turn The Tides In Next 12 Weeks; China Reports No New Locally Transmitted Cases For Second Day; CNN Global Town Hall, The Importance Of Social Distancing; Olympic Flame Arrives In Japan; Wall Street Bracing For Another Volatile Session; Celebrities Sing To Take Virus Off Public's Mind. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired March 20, 2020 - 03:00   ET




NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. Three a.m. Eastern here in Atlanta, Georgia, and we are coming to you live from world headquarters. I'm Natalie Allen.

Next here on CNN Newsroom, near lockdown. The state of California ordering people to stay home because of the coronavirus. That's tens of millions of people.

Also, ahead, surviving the virus. A man who went through the worst of the disease explains what it was like.

Also, dangerous shortages, what's being done to get medical equipment that could save more lives.

Thank you again for joining us.

Again, more fast developments, fast moving developments on the coronavirus. More than 900 people in the U.S. State of California have tested positive, but that number is expected to grow exponentially over the coming weeks. And that has prompted the governor to take drastic measures.

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 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.


GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): A state as large as ours, a nation state, is many parts. But at the end of the day, we are one body. There is a mutuality, there is 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 in the state of California will abide by it. Do the right thing, we meet this moment, they will 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 in the world that we reside.


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 are 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, you can leave the home to go to the supermarket, pick up a few, you can go and get medicine, of course the hospitals are open, you have your police department, your firefighters, they are 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.

ALLEN: I spoke earlier with Dr. Carlos del Rio, professor of medicine and global health at Emory University and ask him what he thought about the California lockdown, and he was very opinionated about it.


CARLOS DEL RIO, PROFESSOR OF MEDICINE AND GLOBAL HEALTH, EMORY UNIVERSITY: I think it's the right decision. I think that really, in order to really stop the spread of this virus, in order to stop transmission, we have got to really enforce, literally, what I think is a quasi-shutdown of the country.

And it is very unfortunate that because we have, you know, we have federal government, we have state governors, and public health is run at the state level. So, really, each state has to make decisions, and that makes it so much harder than in many other places were a central government can say do this.

But the reality is, I bet you over the next several weeks, we're going to see more and more states do this. Because that's the only way really to start this transition. ALLEN: Right. It certainly speaks to how dire the predicament looks

for California and for everyone else. We have been disheartened to see a lot of young people not taking this seriously, that are still partying for spring break, what do you say to people about following this edict and how important it is?

DEL RIO: I would say that, you know, it's not only about your health, it's about the health of others and quite frankly, keeping people safe and keeping people alive and not overwhelming our health care system.


We are in a dire situation already, and it's not going to be a lot worse over the next several weeks. We are going to be looking a lot like Italy, and I would remind people if they have any doubts, just read the reports from Italy. And they will break your heart, and they make you want to cry.

And if we do not want to be like Italy, we better do something right now, and the reality is, I think unfortunately, we may be too late. We should have done something like Italy a week ago, and we haven't done it.

And we are going to see a rapid increase in hospitalizations, and ICU admissions and deaths as a result of this virus because we simply have not taken it seriously. It's really very unfortunate, and quite frankly irresponsible.


ALLEN: There you have it. Well, we have grim news on the coronavirus from Iran. Health officials there say one person is dying from the virus every 10 minutes. They are also reporting a new infection at the rate of 50 people an hour.

Of course, Italy's death toll has now surpassed China with more than 3,400 fatalities, and that figure is prompting tougher actions across Europe.

CNN's Delia Gallagher is standing by in Rome for us, journalist Al Goodman is live in Madrid, but we want to start with CNN international security editor Nick Paton Walsh in London. Nick, how is London reacting to what's going on in Italy, and how is that affecting decisions being made there?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: The United Kingdom has taken some criticism perhaps, globally, for the laxity of its measure so far. But they have been tightening up quite fast over the past days, and today is the first day in which schools apart from the children what it called key workers, will be closed.

And there have been persistent room as a possibly greater restrictions across the capital, certainly in the days ahead. Knock down by the government who said that restrictions on travel coming in and out of London weren't going to happen, zero prospect of that. The government, I think having seen some of the figures coming out of

Italy changing its modeling, its prediction as to how many people might need intensive care. Here in London one model in fact suggesting nearly a quarter of a million could perhaps die.

But Prime Minister Boris Johnson trying to project hope yesterday for people amid the uncertainty and the sort of spiraling chaos frankly. Here's what he said.


BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: We can turn the tide within the next 12 weeks. And I'm absolutely confident that we can send corona packing in this country. But only if we take the steps, we will all take the steps that we have outlined.


WALSH: Now, essentially, the government here has been pleading people to follow their advice but not implementing laws to enforce that. There is draft legislation being pushed through the British Parliament which may give police possibly the ability to detain people for a matter of weeks if they aren't seem to be following government recommendations.

But really, Boris Johnson said that London was three weeks ahead of the rest of the country, and his scientific advisor was saying that in fact we were about three weeks ahead of Italy as a nation. That lead to many to be concerned that the capital may be on the brink of saying scenes like those which we've seen in northern Italy, Natalie.

ALLEN: All right. And as he talks, we see people walking through the streets of London, what is the mood like there, Nick, feeling like perhaps this is bearing down on them now?

WALSH: I think there is confusion frankly, people's opinions possibly split. I think there is an element of Londoners which want to carry on their daily lives, oblivious to this. Some, frankly, need to work to put food on the table. And then really, there are supermarkets seen long queues at supermarket openings. I even heard of somebody who saw an hour or two violent disputes over groceries in one supermarket.

There is a sense, I think, of panic, there is certainly confusion as to where the government strategy is going. Now you have to give the government some credit here, frankly, and that the figures are changing hour by hour, day by day. They are simply rolling with the punches, messy as that does look on the outside.

Initially, I think the U.K. wanted this virus to spread enough that we would get what was call herd immunity in the United Kingdom, limiting the ability of the virus to be sustained within the population going forward in the years ahead.

They seem to have step back from that idea in the past week, fearing a large death count could potentially be unsustainable for the health service here. But London seeing its first day of school closures, thinking that we can and may bring in more limits on movements here, but if you walk out on the streets, a lot of the time it is frankly daily life as normal.

And great confusion I think as to what that means about how seriously Britons are taking this, particularly in the densely populated capital, which as I say, the government here says is three weeks ahead in terms of virus spreads through the rest of the country. Natalie?


ALLEN: Yes. That sounds almost surreal that there are some folks just going on as business as usual. All right. We appreciate your reporting on it for us. Nick Paton Walsh in London, thanks, Nick.

Now let's turn to CNN's Delia Gallagher. She is live in Rome, Italy, and it's just absolutely heartbreaking what Rome, what Italy has gone through, and the deaths are just staggering. What's the latest, Delia?

DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN VATICAN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Natalie, to the point that you are discussing with Nick, the experience here in Italy shows that it's difficult for people, especially in democracies to understand about limiting their freedom of movement. It's not something that we're used to.

And so, we saw in Italy, we've been under countrywide lockdown now for two weeks. And it just takes time for people to really understand what that means.

And just yesterday here in Rome, we have police cars going around the streets with a loud speaker saying, respect the rules, stay inside. So, there is a kind of gradual realization for people about exactly what it means that they can't go outside, can you walk your dog, can you go jogging and all those sorts of things that takes time for people to really understand and get the lockdown.

And the discussion is still going on here in Italy. We had the vice president of the Red Cross from China here in Italy yesterday and he was saying that the lockdown measures here are not strict enough. That he was still seeing public transportation moving and people moving around.

So, the governors of some regions have now requested to the central government of Italy that they put on even stricter lockdown measures. Nothing yet has been announced but something is expected because of course we see that the numbers still continue to arise.

The other thing that the Chinese vice president of the Red Cross said, is that in Wuhan, their numbers began to decline after a month of their lockdown. And the 14 regions in the north of Italy have been on lockdown since March 8, so they haven't quite reached that one-month peak yet.

Obviously, experts are looking for that in the coming days, Natalie.

Now the other thing that's happening on the front of helping hospitals is a couple of things. One is allowing 10,000 medical students in their final year to waive their final exam so that they can go out immediately in the field and help relieve some of those doctors and nurses that are absolutely exhausted especially in the north.

The other thing has been a countrywide call for doctors and nurses that are in retirement to come out of retirement and to go and help relieve some of the emergency medical workers in the north, Natalie.

ALLEN: I mean, there are just no words to describe the commitment of the people on the front line continuing to work on this. It's a -- Delia --

GALLAGHER: That's right.

ALLEN: This is remarkable.

GALLAGHER: Yes. And of course, you know, they put their own lives at risk, and there are many of them that are also contracting the disease and therefore have to step back from their work.

This is a major problem now in the north. So, aside from being the exhaustion that they are enduring with nonstop work on the front lines, they also have the risk of contracting the disease themselves, which of course takes them out of the workforce and causes the numbers of medical workers obviously to even be further diminished.

So that is an ongoing problem, the reason why they are trying to bring in these reinforcements, whether medical students or retired doctors and nurses into help.

But certainly, valiant work that they are all doing risking their lives with their own families at home to be concerned about, Natalie.

ALLEN: Well, I cannot imagine. Delia Gallagher in Rome. Delia, thank you so much for your reporting for us.

Now we want to move to Spain. Madrid's regional president warns that 80 percent, 80 percent of the city's residents will eventually get the coronavirus. Johns Hopkins University is now reporting more than 18,000 infections in the country.

Journalist Al Goodman joins me now from the Spanish capital of Madrid to talk more about what steps are taking there, Al, to try to curb this outbreak?

AL GOODMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Natalie. Well, the president of the Madrid region whose office is in this building here of to my left, she herself has tested positive for the coronavirus. And her number is the 80 percent that the six million people in the Madrid region may well get this is in line with what, for instance, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned to the German people and other officials.

Basically, as the numbers rise, and just to give some perspective, the number of cases in Spain is still just a little more than a third of what Italy has. The number of deaths in Spain 760, it's about a sixth of what Italy has. [03:14:56]

So, Spain hasn't caught up with Italy, it doesn't want to catch up with Italy. And since the state of emergency went into effect here about a week ago, the government has move swiftly on two fronts. One, on the medical. They're just trying to shore up just like we heard Delia talk in Italy.

They are calling out to retired doctors. They're bringing on younger doctors who are just out of medical school so that they are shoring up the numbers and they are -- the military is planning to put a field hospital next to existing hospitals.

There are empty hotels which are now allowing themselves to become auxiliary hospitals to the main ones so that the milder patients for coronavirus can be in these hotels under the care of doctors and nurses. That's on the medical front.

On the lockdown front, the government has pretty much got the population staying home, either because they want to, or because police have been issuing fines. And they are tweaking it.

So, the late -- some of the latest figures, the latest orders are that in taxis, for instance, we've seen a few here in the Puerto Azul where I am, one passenger per car. They really want to really enforce this social distancing.

Here in our CNN crew, we're all standing far apart, we're moving together but we're standing far apart. So, these are the kinds of things that are going on. And they are just taking it day by day, they're trying to stay ahead of it, but just like Nick said up in London, the events are changing so quickly that the officials who are working so many hours, and frankly are pretty exhausted in some cases, they are just trying to stay up with this and trying to stay ahead. Natalie?

ALLEN: We certainly hope they can. Thank you so much for your reporting, Al Goodman live for us in Madrid. We'll be in touch.

There is much more to come here, we'll get a live report from Iran which has been hard hit by the coronavirus.


KEVIN HARRIS, CORONAVIRUS VICTIM: It is unchartered territory. To be as sick as I am and be the first case in our area. This is the worst way for people to go. I'm suffocating on dry land.


ALLEN: And we'll also hear from that patient right there. How it feels to have coronavirus. You'll hear from him when we come back.


ALLEN: Like so many other nations around the world, Iran is coping with the effects of coronavirus, but the extent of the outbreak there is so alarming.

Authorities say an Iranian is dying from COVID-19 every 10 minutes. Let's get the latest now live from Tehran is journalist Ramin Mostaghim joining me. Ramin, this is just hard to fathom. These numbers coming out of Iran.

RAMIN MOSTAGHIM, CNN JOURNALIST: Yes, indeed. In fact -- in fact, today is the beginning of new year, Nowruz, and the beginning of spring but it seems very bleak and sober mood spring. Because unfortunately, some of the inhabitants of the big cities, including Tehran, the capital, they didn't observe the self-isolation.


They left the city two or three days before the beginning of the spring. They headed to the north resorts, west, east, wherever they could go, and then potentially, they are conveyors of the infections to their own relatives.

They didn't listen to the advice of the medical staff and the health industry. And despite the medical staff, nurses, hospitals, auxiliary hospital, even the army are contributing to help to fight with the infections across the country, they are doing the heroic job but they cannot cope with this -- I mean, head of the infection which doesn't seem to let up and it's going on.

And every day on a daily basis, we have more than 150 deaths toll increased. And more than thousand new positive cases detected.

So, I can say that this spring, this four -- unfortunately on the other hand, two weeks of Nowruz, two weeks holiday is a litmus paper test for the Iranian to exercise self-isolation and self-quarantine at their own home.

And if they, if they just observe voluntarily quasi-shutdown of the country, then we can hope that in two weeks' time we will be at the positions that China is today. that otherwise, this coronavirus is not going to be defeated easily.

So, this is a litmus test for two weeks for all Iranians just to defeat, whether they defeat these infections or the infection unfortunately, will defeat them.

And this is a very good opportunity two weeks holidays of Nowruz to be observed as a self-isolation voluntarily and quasi- shut down of the whole country in order to defeat a pandemic which is very -- I mean, very hard hitting the Iranian society and has very bad impact in the future. Natalie?

ALLEN: Now hopefully these sobering numbers will have an impact on people so they will step up and pay attention. It is very, very sad news there from Iran. Ramin Mostaghim in Tehran for us. Thank you so much. Take care.

MOSTAGHIM: Most welcome. Ba-bye.

ALLEN: As the number of known coronavirus cases in the U.S. soars, we're getting a better picture of the stages of infection.

Brian Todd now on what it's like to have coronavirus.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kevin Harris with a painful cough.


HARRIS: Yes, that's the cough.


TODD: He is laid up in a hospital in Warren, Ohio, a victim of coronavirus. Experts say a cough is one of the first symptoms you feel when you have the virus, but it's a certain kind of cough.


MICHAEL MINA, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF EPIDEMIOLOGY, HARVARD T.H. CHAN SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: A cold and a flu can sometimes cause a really runny nose, and sort of more of a mucous feeling inside, in your cough and in your nose. Whereas, this virus seems to be much more of a dry cough.


TODD: Fatigue, fever, and body aches can set in the first couple of days you have it, expert say. Lisa Murke isolated at her home in Colorado describes how that felt.


LISA MURKE, CORONAVIRUS VICTIM: My muscles ached and my joints ached. Really it felt like somebody was like stabbing me with an ice pick.


TODD: Doctors say even with those symptoms, it's sometimes hard to know if you have coronavirus. Getting tested is critical, and as Hawaii Five-O star Daniel Dae Kim says, unpleasant.


DANIEL DAE KIM, ACTOR: The test itself was really awkward and painful because they show a huge swab into your nose.


TODD: A few days in there's a telltale sign of coronavirus.


MINA: As the infection can progress the symptoms will change from just a dry cough to actually difficulty breathing.


TODD: Kevin Harris says his breathing got so difficult. His intense nausea actually brought relief.


HARRIS: After I threw up, I could breathe. Once you get to the other side of it, you can breathe a little bit better. I mean, as to where this thing. You think you're going to die during one of those episodes. You, I mean, you know you're going to die, but then you don't.


TODD: Then there is the feeling of isolation for those self- quarantined and even hospitalized patients.

CNN check in a few times with Clay Bentley who said his locked hospital room in Georgia felt like a jail cell, even when caregivers came in.


CLAY BENTLEY, CORONAVIRUS VICTIM: When they come in the room, they have to wear these Ebola suits and masks, so you know, I can hardly see them. They are gloved up and gowned up, so they come here and do what they have to do and then they leave. So, I mean, it's a terrible feeling. I mean, I feel like you just stood from the whole world.



TODD: Kevin Harris took a Facebook live video of a visitor to his room who had to be heavily protected.


HARRIS: Can I see you? You can ask me.


TODD: Last weekend, after eight days in the hospital, Bentley told CNN what it felt like to finally turn a corner.


BENTLEY: My oxygen levels are starting to rise, and I'm starting to feel air in my lungs again, and I'm able to breathe freely now.


TODD: But doctors say for patients like Bentley and Harris who had to be hospitalized with respiratory problems, those issues may not go away soon.


MINA: There is a chance that there could be some lasting effects on pulmonary function on lung function and some of this ability to breathe in the future.


TODD: But Dr. Michael Mina is quick to point out that the vast majority of coronavirus victims will not see those lasting effects. And he says a couple of weeks after getting infected, most of them will be clear of the virus and unable to transmit it to others because their immune systems will have destroyed the virus.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.

ALLEN: As more cases are diagnosed, the demand for medica equipment is rising and health experts are afraid the medical system cannot keep up with the needs of caregivers.

CNN's Athena Jones looks at the shortages and what might be done to solve it.

ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's a warning that authorities are sounding across the country.


GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): This is a crisis for our health care system management.


JONES: The coronavirus pandemic could overwhelm hospitals, particularly in and around big cities, leaving them without enough beds, equipment, or staff to treat patients effectively.

In New York, the state with the most COVID-19 cases in the country, Governor Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order to increase hospital capacity to make sure they are prepared for potential flood of sick patients.


KENNETH RASKE, PRESIDENT, GREATER NEW YORK HOSPITAL ASSOCIATION: Nothing has been as large as this, this is huge.

JONES: Kenneth Raske, president of the Greater New York Hospital Association is helping lead the state's effort.

RASKE: We've asked every hospital throughout the metropolitan area in New York to come up with a plan to add to their intensive care unit beds, because those are the ones that have been most in demand.


JONES: New York's health care system has 53,000 hospital beds and 3,000 intensive care unit beds according to Governor Andrew Cuomo. And at the virus' peak, the state could need between 5,500 and 110,000 hospital beds and 18,000 to 37,000 ICU beds. Both New York and New Jersey have been pleading with the army corps of

engineers to build temporary medical facilities, which the defense secretary says once deployed could help civilian hospitals by taking non-coronavirus patients off their hands.


MARK ESPER, U.S. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: We could take care of your trauma patients so that you can open up rooms for patients with the COVID-19.


JONES: And in a worst case scenario large venues like this one, the Javits Center, a 760,000-square-foot convention hall here in Manhattan could also be used to house pictures.

But it's not just about patients, it's also about doctors and nurses.


JEAN ROSS, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL NURSES UNITED: We are not at all afraid to take care of the COVID-19 patients. It's what we do.


JONES: Shortages of personnel protective equipment like masks could put health care workers at risk.


ROSS: Our complaints, our requests are begging for proper protective equipment is going on deaf ears. If you lose us, look what happens to the patients and the health of the community.


JONES: Machines like ventilators that save lives could cost lives in a shortage. Manufacturers are ramping up production, but are struggling to keep up with the demand. The administration is invoking the Defense Production Act to expand production of protected gear. And the Defense Department says it will help with the ventilator supply.


ESPER: We're also prepared to distribute to HHS up to 2,000 operational deployed ventilators for use as needed.


ALLEN: Well, the latest news from the United States, the governor of California issuing the first day at home order for any American stay. We'll tell you the details and check if other states could soon follow. That's coming up.


NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: You are watching CNN Newsroom, live from Atlanta, we appreciate it. I'm Natalie Allen, let's take a look at our top stories. The state of California is ordering all 40 million residents to stay at home to stop the spread of coronavirus. Essential activities are still allowed, grocery stores, pharmacies, and banks will remain open. The governor says Californians are expected to self- regulate.

Italy is turning to its army to collect dead bodies and move coffins to crematoriums. That shows you how many people are dying so rapidly. More than 3400 have died there, surpassing even China. Patients are being treated in field hospitals, and a growing number of doctors and nurses are being infected.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says the U.K. can turn the tide on the coronavirus in 12 weeks with some cooperation. He wants people to stay at home and avoid bars and restaurants, the virus has killed at least 144 people in the U.K.

As we mentioned, California now the first state in the U.S. to issue a stay at home order. The directive in effect now affects 40 million residents. CNN's Nick Watt has more on what Americans face across the country.


NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's here, it's spreading, the FDA now fast-tracking antiviral treatments. One currently used against malaria.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's going to be very exciting, I think it could be a game-changer, and maybe not.

WATT: A vaccine, still some time away.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): It has changed everything. And it will for the foreseeable future.

WATT: Carnival cruise lines, now offering up its fleet.

TRUMP: If we should need ships with lots of rooms, they will be docked at New York, at Los Angeles and San Francisco at different places.

WATT: A field hospital also now on U.S. soil. $1 trillion national stimulus on the table.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If everyone stays at home for 6 months, then, you know, it is going to be like the great depression.

WATT: Clusters cropping up at least 46 positives now at this one Illinois care home, three dead, four others infected, in just one extended New Jersey family. DR. SEJAL HATHI, RESIDENT PHYSICIAN, MASSACHUSETTS GENERAL HOSPITAL:

Hospitals across the country are rapidly running out of masks, gowns, protective eyewear, that they desperately need. We are being asked to reuse, and recycle single-use respirators and surgical mask when we go see patients.

WATT: The CDC now advising used homemade mask, e.g. bandana, scarf for care patients with covid-19 as a last resort. And in areas with community spread, consider allowing asymptomatic exposed providers to work while wearing a face mask. Here is one face of this growing pandemic.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You choke, you throw up, the pain, the headache.

WATT: And here is another.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel like we should change our lifestyles necessarily, just because of corona, especially because it is not really affecting younger people. I think like, this is why you don't take it seriously.

WATT: Arizona beach is in Florida are still open.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have to figure it out how to get these people off the beach. Unless you can figure it how to be completely be isolated from everybody else, I mean this is, individuals have to take responsibility.


WATT: It is even if you don't suffer much, you can give this to others. Although up to 20 percent of coronavirus hospitalizations in the U.S. are between 20 and 44, according to a new federal study.

CUOMO: People need to pay attention, no matter your age.

WATT: Some U.S. Congressman have now confirmed they have the virus. Georgia's entire legislature told to self-quarantine for two weeks after a state Senator tested positive.

CUOMO: I am not going to imprison anyone in the state of New York. I am not going to do martial law in the state of New York.

WATT: But they are considering converting New York City's hotels into hospitals.

CUOMO: 75 percent of the workforce must stay at home and work from home.

WATT: Netflix now reducing the bit rate on streaming in Europe so we don't all actually break the internet while we hunker down? Nick Watt, CNN, Los Angeles.


ALLEN: Of course, the coronavirus started in China, and China is now reporting no new locally transmitted cases for a 2nd straight day. So, it is now shifting its focus to preventing travelers from bringing the virus into the country. Steven Jiang is in Beijing for us, he joins us now live. And Steven that is hard (inaudible), that China has been through if now somehow this disease circles back in.

STEVEN JIANG, CNN PRODUCER: That's right. That is there growing concern in terms of a second wave of new infections involving people coming from overseas. Now, we have seen these numbers just keeps rising, including the latest report indicating three athletes from the national fencing team were tested positive after they recently returned from Hungary after training and competing there.

So that is why you 're seeing officials, really adopting new measures on top of their already very stringent of screening and quarantine measures targeting international arrivals. Now, they are diverting some of the international flights bound to Beijing to nearby cities, to have health screens done in these cities if you are deemed healthy, then you'll be allowed to board the flight, again, to come into Beijing.

So, this is really the new trend here. But of course, this kind of dramatic turnaround is really achieved at a huge, economic, and human cost. And you know, more than 3,200 people died in this country, including numerous doctors. I mention this because Dr. Li Wenliang was one of them and he of course was one of these whistleblowers who is trying to sound an early alarm about this virus, but was silence by local authorities in Wuhan.

Now, after he died from this virus on February 7th, his death sparked a nationwide outrage, and the government here in Beijing sent a team of investigators to Wuhan to look into the matters, and they just release their findings on Thursday night. But it was quite a letdown to millions of people here around the nation, because the investigators did not address any of these burning questions on their minds including who is really responsible for silencing the whistleblower, including Dr. Li as well as the deeper issues surrounding the initial mishandling of this crisis, or even the alleged cover-up.

They only basically blame the two very low level local police officers for taking inappropriate actions against Dr. Li. I think this issue is made all the more relevant right now because there is a war of words between the U.S. and China in terms of whom to blame with this outbreak with President Trump insisting on calling this virus, the Chinese virus. Saying the Chinese government does not -- did not warn the U.S. early enough to give the U.S. enough time to prepare for the pandemic now. And the Chinese are pushing back very hard really have their own narrative propaganda to cast doubts on the origin of this virus. Natalie?


ALLEN: Right, the back and forth from President Trump not holding back there. But it is true, that these brave whistleblowers were not listen to. And now look what's happened around the world. Steven Jiang for us in Beijing, always appreciate it. Thank you, Steven. On Thursday, CNN hosted a global town hall on the facts and fears of

the coronavirus. CNN's Andrew Anderson Cooper and Chief Medical Correspondent Sanjay Gupta and a number of experts answered your questions about the disease, one of the world's most preeminent epidemiologists, you probably know him by now, Doctor Anthony Fauci, talked about the importance of social distancing.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: What is the most important thing you want people to know tonight?

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALERGY AND INFECTOUS DISEASE: You know, I think you just mentioning it in 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 asymptomatic, but if we are getting more and more information that someone can transmit even when they are asymptomatic.


So, in order to protect oneself, society, and particularly, the vulnerable people, we really have 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 are having underlying conditions 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.


ALLEN: Doctor Fauci, he certainly has been a hero through all of this, and he is nonstop helping the public. If you missed our show earlier, we will show it again, the program will replay at 8:00 a.m. in London, 4:00 p.m. in Hong Kong. The 2020 Tokyo games, well, they're 126 days away, or are they. The Olympic flame has just arrived in Japan, but will the games go on as planned? We will have a live report from Tokyo just ahead.

Plus, the coronavirus is threatening both lives and of course livelihoods. We take a closer look at what it means for the global economy, and what can be done to soften the blow.


ALLEN: The Olympic flame is made its way to Japan. Just a few hours ago, it arrived at an air base north of Sendai, it now begins a 121 day track across the country, this comes though amid calls to cancel or postpone the Olympics. But Japan insists the games will go ahead as scheduled. Will they?

Well, let's bring in journalist Kaori Enjoji, she's live for us in Tokyo, will that flame burned brightly, or will it be snuffed out? That is a big debate that is going on there in Japan right now. KAORI ENJOJI, JOURNALIST: That is right. As the flame arrived on the

northern area of Japan that was devastated by the quake, it was a reminder as to just how much is riding for the Japanese government in particular to successfully host these games this summer. And I think that partially explains the question as the big question that everyone has been wondering about, even the public here in Japan, as to whether or not these games should go through a plan.

The Japanese government led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wants to make this to come back here for Japan. The comeback here where they have gone through this huge earthquake, and the nuclear meltdown, two- decades of stagnation, and wants to show the world that Japan is black. And today, the officials, the top officials attending the ceremony reiterated their pledge to stick on course.


However, there was one member from the Japan Olympic committee, Ms. Yamaguchi, who herself is a bronze medalist saying for the first time, in a newspaper interview with the local paper, that they should consider postponing this event, particularly if athletes are ill prepared. This is a question that at least officials do not yet want to admit. I think this is because so much is riding on this, not just economically with the billions of dollars they have spent, trying to build the facilities, get the public ready, and of course the major sponsorship deals and businesses that would be affected if the game were postponed or outright cancelled.

But there had been polls in recent weeks that say that the public, more than half of them say that, that is a discussion they want to have, and they are questioning whether these games should go forth as plan. At a time when tourism has basically dried up, they were counting on some 600,000 spectators to attend the Olympics and although there had been calls from outside of Japan that maybe they might do this without spectators, it is an image that Japan really does not want to face at this point.

And when you take a look at the numbers, tourism is down 60 percent in the month of February. This is even before the travel restrictions and lockdowns went into place in Europe, for most of Europe, but many parts of Europe, excuse me, and of course now in the United States. And so with all those spectators and many of them bound in their homes and unable to travel here, what does that really mean for the Olympic plans that Japan initially had in store for them?

Right now as this flame arrives in northern Japan, it will be traveling over the next 120 days, but as you know Natalie, very few people out there cheering the runners that relay this torch.

ALLEN: Yes. You have to understand keeping a social distance away from the flame, unfortunately. Usually, such a happy time. All right, Kaori Enjoji, thank you so much, live in Tokyo for us.

Investors are holding their collective breath to see what Wall Street will do when U.S. markets open several hours from now. Steep sell off in recent sessions have triggered so called circuit breakers to temporarily stop trading. Here's a quick look to the U.S. futures market.

They've been mostly flat overnight, but as we know, every day brings its own surprises. Markets in Asia have been trading in positive territory that is a reassuring sign, Tokyo's market is closed until Monday.

In New York, the DOW on Thursday finish up, 188 points after some wild swings, and it was only last month before the pandemic really hit the U.S., the DOW posted its all-time high of close to 30,000.

Joining me now from New York, is Reade Pickert, she is a reporter of the U.S. Economy for Bloomberg. Reade, thanks so much for coming on.


ALLEN: All right, you know, we've got the health scare, and then we have the economy scare. You are reporting a surge in unemployment claims. Are we really looking at 2 million next week?

PICKERT: It is possible. So, if looking at one month, and looking at one state is any indication, so, looking at Ohio for instance, over a 4-day period, from Sunday, to Wednesday, they saw over 110,000 people file for unemployment claims. That is more than 28 times what they saw the prior week. And we are seeing that trend across the country. Illinois is seeing similar things, and if that trend isn't about the same you could see something like two million next week. And what's scary is that would be the biggest jump that we have ever seen.

ALLEN: Right. And we see the federal government daily announcing programs and plans to help people out, but that is a lot of people filing for unemployment. And we know that this isn't going away anytime soon, that makes it worse.

PICKERT: Yes. So, the government has, they are putting through policies, and trying to put through more to help Americans and help companies to keep people on their payrolls. But the problem now is, any form of fiscal stimulus that you see, economists really see that as making a recession less severe, not avoiding a recession altogether. So, economists are still predicting to see this sharp, severe recession in the 2nd quarter.

ALLEN: Well, consumer spending here in many other countries meantime is going to fall then a great deal when you say the word recession, people stop spending, and their losing their jobs as we talked about or getting laid off. So, we are definitely in a recession now, so what is the classic definition of a recession?


PICKERT: So, the classic definition, so a dictionary definition would be two quarters where GDP, or the economy as a whole, shrinks. So that would be about six months. But the official dating committee in United States, the people who decides what constitutes a recession, have a slightly different definition. They see it as a significant deterioration and decline in economic

activity across the economy. And the way they judge that, is by looking at things like GDP, but also looking at things like employment, looking at manufacturing data, looking at income, the only challenge though is that for us to wait for the official, you know, call. It may take something around a year if history is any guide. So we could, you know, very much be in a recession, but not officially known for a long time.

ALLEN: All right. I have also heard talk of a global depression. So what would it take if that were to happen? We are talking not just about the U.S. economy, but much, much further, much wider.

PICKERT: So, a lot of the economist are expecting a global recession. And so expecting to see economic output decline across the board. But for something to be an actual depression, the length is really important. So, a depression is a severe recession that last for years. And for it to be seen on a global scale would be basically unprecedented.

And the U.S. alone, in the last time that we saw a depression, was the great depression in 1929. And that depression lasted for years, unemployment surged and no economist that I have spoken to expects that to be the case.

ALLEN: Right. Well, we are looking at a trillion dollars move to bail out the U.S. economy. The United States is already $23 trillion in debt. Will that compound the recession that we are seeing, or about to see?

PICKERT: So, most economists that I've spoken with had felt that there is no amount that is too large to be stimulating the economy right now. Especially because it is really cheap for the government to be borrowing, but I'm sure there are plenty of people, fiscal hawks, people who are particularly worried about the budget deficit that, you know, may express a little bit of pushback in terms of how big the stimulus package that the government puts forward this.

ALLEN: Well, what we do know is a lot of people will be hurting right now, and be wanting to know any help that is coming their way. Reade Pickert, thanks so much for talking with us, we appreciate your time.

PICKERT: Thank you for having me.

ALLEN: Celebrities are imagining a new way to distract from all of the bad news during these uncertain times. We explain how they're soothing frayed nerves through song. Coming up here.


ALLEN: Self isolation is ramping up in a world that's hunkered down is in dire need of some relief. Thankfully, if you are to finding their voice, and imagining a few ways to provide some comfort. Our Jeanne Moos has that story.

[03:55:12] (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Forget this masked singer, these are the masks inspiring songs these days. Stars like Bono, singing about quarantine, shot from closer to six inches than six feet. Pop singer Joe Joe was warning young people to stay in. John Legend gave a quarantine concert with his wife Chrissy Teigen in a towel, accompanying John with a rear end assist. From Yo-yo Ma playing Bach, to Cardi B.

A broken D.J. and producer said her rent to music. With proceeds going to food banks and shelters. Is it any wonder that Wonder Woman herself Gal Gadot has gotten a bunch of celebrities together to sing --

GAL GADOT, ACTRESS: Imagine there's no heaven.

MOOS: From Jimmy Fallon to Sia.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Imagine all the people.

MOOS: From Will (inaudible),

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- and hunger.

MOOS: To Mark Ruffalo. Gal Gadot says she was inspired by the Trumpeter who played imagine from a balcony in Italy to comfort other stuck at home. Though some criticized Gadot's version, imagine no possessions, sung by some of the wealthiest people in the world, but how about singing have yourself a merry little quarantine? Outside Nashville, Brenda Sparks has turned her Christmas lights back on.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We just wanted to bring a little light.

MOOS: Into these dark days, others are doing the same.

So is Christmas in March, or Christmas in spring? Will actually going to become a thing? Might be worth it to deck the halls if the halls are where you imagine, you will be spending time. Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


ALLEN: Whatever it takes to help us all get through this. Thank you so much for watching, I'm Natalie Allen, our top stories right after this, then, stay with us, for a replay of CNN's global town hall on the facts and fears of the coronavirus, thanks for watching.