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Trump Itching to Ease Social Distancing after 15 Days; U.K. Implements Stay-at-Home Order; U.S. Hospitals Facing Shortage of PPE; Governors in 16 U.S. States Issue Stay-at-Home Orders; Nurse Describes 'Battlefield' Inside U.S. Coronavirus Epicenter; 129 People Linked to Facility Test Positive, 29 Dead; Tokyo's Nikkei Surges at Tuesday's Opening; Virus Drives Layoff Fears at U.S. Restaurants and Bars; Trials Underway to Find a Treatment; Trials Underway to Find a Treatment; Outbreak Further Escalates China-U.S. Tensions. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired March 24, 2020 - 00:00   ET




JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Wherever you are around the world, thank you for being with us. I'm John Vause.

Coming up on CNN NEWSROOM, 100,000 new cases worldwide in just four days. The WHO now warns the coronavirus pandemic is accelerating.

Grounded: British prime minister closes down bars, pubs and restaurants, orders everyone to stay at home after a weekend which saw a lot more socializing and not much social distancing.

And, consistently inconsistent: the U.S. president warns the pandemic is going to get bad at the same time he wants to ease restrictions intended to the spread of the virus.


VAUSE: With the number of confirmed cases passing 330,000 globally and close to 15,000 dead, the World Health Organization is warning the coronavirus pandemic is accelerating. When the virus was first detected in December 2019, it took 57 days to infect on 2000 days; the last 100,000 cases took four days.

That's despite a growing number of cases and extreme measures to contain the pandemic. The U.S. has more than 43000 confirmed cases, more than 500 dead. The Trump administration has been repeatedly criticized for not just the slow response but a lack of national leadership, leaving major decisions to local and state officials, which has resulted in an inconsistent patchwork of regulations and recommendations which varies from town to town, state to state.

And now more states are issuing stay at home orders, two out of every five Americans will be impacted by Wednesday. According to the WHO, India has fewer than 500 known cases but lockdowns and curfews now affect its entire population of 1.3 billion.

Streets in megacities like New Delhi have been abandoned and, in the U.K., prime minister Boris Johnson is issuing a sweeping stay at home order. Shops, gyms, places of worship are being shuttered. Police will break up public gatherings.

And on the day the U.S. reported its highest daily death toll, President Trump says he wants to ease social distancing guidelines, which have been put in place to slow the outbreak. He wants Americans back at work in a matter of weeks, not months, to restart the economy.


TRUMP: Our country wasn't built to be shut down, we will not let the cure be worse than the problem. At the end of the 15-day period, we will make a decision as to which way we want to go. I'm not looking at, months I'll tell you that now.


VAUSE: The U.K. stay at home order is set to be its most stringent restriction in recent times. Here's the prime minister laying out the new law.


BORIS JOHNSON, U.K. PRIME MINISTER: From this evening, I must give the British people a very simple instruction you: must stay at home. The critical thing that you must do to stop the disease spreading between households.

I know the damage that this disruption is doing and will do to people's lives, to their businesses and to their jobs. But at present there are just no easy options and the way ahead is hard. But in this fight there can be no doubt that each and every one of us it's directly enlisted.

Each and every one of us is now obliged to join together, to halt the spread of this disease, to protect our NHS and to save many thousands of lives.

And I know that as they have in the past, so many times, the people of this country will rise to that challenge and we will come through it stronger than ever. We will beat the coronavirus and we will be it together.


VAUSE: CNN's Max Foster reports on what these restrictions mean and how they will be enforced.


MAX FOSTER, CNN LONDON CORRESPONDENT: I'm in Windsor which of an evening would normally be very busy. But ever since Boris Johnson's announcement, it simply has not been. The whole nation, it appears, gathered around their TV sets to hear his address to the nation.

And he delivered what many people expected, which was a lockdown of the United Kingdom. People are being told not to leave their homes unless they absolutely have to, for medicine or to get food. They are exercising a bit.

But if they break the rules they can be fined by the police and the police can also intervene if people gather in groups of two or more. This follows a weekend where images were circulating on social media here in the U.K.


FOSTER: Of people in trains far too close to each other, people out in parks or at markets, cramming these spaces and not living up to that 2-meter rule which Johnson has asked them to live up to.

It's been a big problem and it's causing a risk and Boris Johnson feels he had no option but to bring in the police and enforce this more powerfully than he has. So Britain has gone into a new phase now. We haven't seen these sorts of restrictions on movement in a generation.

It will be difficult to adjust and difficult to enforce as well, particularly in rural areas, where there are not that many police able to police people's movements -- Max Foster, CNN, Windsor, England.


VAUSE: More than two-thirds of India is on a complete lockdown to stop the spread of the virus. What started as a self imposed quarantine has turned into a shutdown of all businesses, except for essential services. CNN's Vedika Sud is in New Delhi this hour.

The question is now, less than 500 cases but that's where they were two weeks ago. Obviously there is concern that once it takes hold in India, a country with a health system and detection methods not good as places like South Korea or the United States or Europe, this will spread like wildfire.

VEDIKA SUD, CNN PRODUCER: Just eight short of the 500 marker, 500 positive cases of the coronavirus, the deaths now stand at nine. Yes, you make a valid point that the health care system is not up to the mark to face so many cases that could be coming in.

Like the British prime minister, we have the Indian prime minister on Sunday, addressing the nation and then on Sunday we had a lockdown which was voluntary, after which we have seen a lot of states and union territories in India go under lockdown over the last 48 hours.

Domestic and commercial flights will be grounded from tonight, this is a huge development. We already have trains that are suspended across India. Here's a report to understand what the lockdown really is about and how the prime minister has been appealing to the people of India to stay home.

He has repeating over the last 96 hours, Indians, stay home and that is one way we can avert a bigger crisis than we are already facing.


SUD (voice-over): India's streets, normally teeming with crowds of people, are quiet today. The sounds of silence are exactly what the government wants to hear after it imposed lockdowns on 75 districts that will keep millions of people at home until the end of the month.

The tough measures to stop the coronavirus that has been spiking here recently, even if it means stopping its residents from working.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Ever since the government announced the lockdown and the taxis and autos will not run, that we must run out coronavirus, we are supporting everything in that area.

SUD (voice-over): Public transportation has been shut down including rail stations, metros and rickshaws. Domestic commercial flights will also be suspended, some buses are running for essential workers. But critical services like grocery stores, pharmacies and gas stations will remain open.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): This was a good idea by the government that the vegetables, grocery, milk and chemist shops are open. That is why we have also kept our shop open.

SUD (voice-over): India's prime minister Narendra Modi asked citizens on Twitter to heed the lockdown and warned that many people have not taken it seriously.

Whether or not the world's second most populous nation follows those instructions could determine how many people live or die in the upcoming weeks in a country with a health care system that is already underfunded and overtaxed.


SUD: And that is the biggest crisis, like I mentioned, that India is facing at the moment. The appeal to stay home, Indians, that's the best way forward. This comes at a time, where we have 30 states and union territories going ahead with a complete lockdown. And at this point in time, we are expecting the other seven to follow suit.

It's so important because there are a few Indians across the nation who are not paying heed to this advice by the prime minister of self quarantine -- John.

VAUSE: There is always a few, wherever you go. Vedika, thank you. New Delhi with the latest.

Across the U.S., medical officials are reporting a shortage of crucial medical supplies, saying Washington has failed to meet demand for masks, ventilators and other resources. As CNN's Nick Watt reports, state officials are now taking matters into their own hands.



NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This massive Manhattan convention center about to be converted into four field hospitals, 1,000 beds between them.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): We have not even begun to see the influx of patients. This is still the relative quiet before the storm.

WATT: The governor has ordered every hospital in New York to increase bed capacity by 50 percent. New York state now home to around half the confirmed cases in this country, with more than 20,000, that's tripled in three days and with more than 150 deaths.

BILL DE BLASIO (D), NEW YORK MAYOR: If we don't get the ventilators in particular, we will actually start to lose lives that could have been saved.

WATT (voice-over): The state says many cases are ages 18 to 49. Experts suggest vaping might be a factor.

CUOMO: You can get it. The numbers show you can get it if you're a young person.

WATT: The economy cratering the restaurant, food service industry alone estimates 7 million could lose their jobs. Restaurant manager Jay Bokin (ph) already has.

JAY BOKIN (PH), RESTAURANT MANAGER: People are not going to be able to support their families.

WATT (voice-over): And stay-at-home orders still spreading: Ohio, Louisiana, Connecticut, Indiana, West Virginia and Michigan among the recent additions. But not everyone is taking social distancing seriously enough.

DR. LARRY BRILLIANT, ENDING PANDEMICS: We can't have the kind of social distancing that parts of Italy had or we will turn into Italy with those case counts and those death rates.

WATT (voice-over): But more than 6,000 have now died in Italy; among them, more than 20 doctors. Here, thousands of retired health care workers are now heeding the call to come back to work.

DR. ANNE SAKS-BERG, RETIRED DOCTOR RETURNING TO WORK: I feel I have a moral obligation to share my skills. We can't imagine what it's going to be a like a week or two from now.

WATT: So many places now struggling for supplies.

GOV. GRETCHEN WHITMER (D-MI): We just received our allotment from the federal government's national strategic stockpile. The allotment of personal protective equipment for one of our hospitals, that allotment is at barely enough to cover one shift at that hospital.

WATT (voice-over): Mercy, the Navy hospital ship with 800 personnel aboard, today set sail for Los Angeles. WATT: Here in Los Angeles, they have made a deal with a South Korean company to buy coronavirus test kits direct from them. They say they hope to be carrying out 5,000 tests a day by the end of this week.

And one council man said they just couldn't wait around for the federal government -- Nick Watt, CNN, Los Angeles.


VAUSE: When it comes to the number of confirmed cases or the death toll from the coronavirus, it's important to remember those numbers are underreported. Especially in countries where widespread testing has been slow to roll out or delayed, like the U.S. or Italy.

The number of people infected with the virus could be 10 times the official number and that's why almost every health care professional is urging all of us to stay home and avoid contact with others as much as possible.

Dr. Emily Porter is an emergency room physician who ran the numbers using CDC data and came to the conclusion, if nothing is done to slow the outbreak, no social distancing, no attempt to limit contact, no effort to slow transmission, more than 7 million Americans would die simply because of a lack of respirators.


DR. EMILY PORTER, EMERGENCY ROOM PHYSICIAN: That means that 49 people out of 50 are going to die because we do not have the respirators and ventilators to take care of them.

That's scary. That's just scary. That should -- that scares me. That's should scare everybody who can understand basic math, including my 2nd grader, that one in 50 are bad odds.

So what that also means is that the doctors have to choose who that one in 50 is.

Can you imagine?

Can you imagine if you had to say, oh, I'm sorry, you have had cancer before, so therefore you don't have a perfectly clean bill of health, so you're not worth saving.

Can you imagine saying, oh, I'm sorry you're 80 and I have got a 30- year-old that needs the ventilator.


VAUSE: And she joins us now from Austin, Texas.

Thank you for being with us.

PORTER: Thank you.

VAUSE: I'll start with the latest news that we heard in the last couple of hours. The president saying he wants to see some return to business as usual or as close to usual in a matter of weeks or months. He's worried about the economy, even though it seems his health advisor is not on board with this. Here's what the president said earlier.


TRUMP: If it were up to the doctors, they may say, let's keep it shut down. Let's shut down the entire world.


VAUSE: Is it possible to fix the economy before you have the virus outbreak under control?

Despite what the president says, can you do both at once?

PORTER: I heard him say that actually live today -- he's not listening to the doctors. I think the biggest problem is that we don't have a unified response. Our country is so spread out and he's leaving it up to the governors and then some of the mayors.


PORTER: And the more local government is choosing to be more cautious. So our governor has not shut down Texas. But he said yesterday county by county. So Austin/Travis County is going on lockdown tomorrow. So that helps us in Travis County but you can drive two miles and get to another county.

So I feel like what doctors are saying is that it has to be unified across the board. If we do it piecemeal and little by little, things will keep spreading. The idea of flattening the curve is that you have everyone in a unified response at once. You can stop the infectivity that keeps happening and not go past your health care capacity, which is not just ventilators.

My video was mostly about ventilators, because that's what looks scary but also ICU beds, nurses, doctors, gloves, masks and everything. And that is going to increase.

VAUSE: This idea of a uniform approach, all or nothing, we're all in it together. You made it very clear in that YouTube clip.


PORTER: This is about everybody coming together for the common good that we want a future for our children. And it is two weeks, man, it's like two to four weeks and I hope that if you care about anybody other than yourself, including especially these 47 million Americans, that you will also do the same.

And just not complain about it and just do it. Because it's what we've got to do.

(END VIDEO CLIP) VAUSE: It's what we have to do but if not everyone is doing it when does the two week period begin and that four week period begin --


PORTER: That's the problem. So the president said something called this 15 days, 15 days to flatten the curve. The problem is, is that nobody is enforcing it. So I have been social distancing my children.

I'm a mom of four, my husband is on the front lines in the E.R. and we are staying home, we are watching the fire burn at our house. We literally watched the fire burn the other night.

When I did go to grab a few groceries on Sunday, there were people in Walmart, in the toy aisle, buying garden shrubs and shopping. So there is no uniform response. That two weeks, who knows; it hasn't started yet, in my opinion. In my house it started but in my county it hasn't started, in my state it hasn't started.

And certainly across the country it has not started. I just posted on my Twitter account, @DrEmilyPorterMD a side by side of the graphs, of Italy, the number of deaths per day and the number deaths per day in the U.S.

If you compare them side by side, we are trending worse than Italy right now. Theirs actually started going down the last couple days, the number of deaths per day from coronavirus in Italy has actually gone down the last few days.

But it is because they have a lockdown. It was beautiful; I saw them singing to each other out their windows, on their porches and things. It was beautiful. But they did that and now we are seeing, there are cases that are trending down, their deaths trend down.

Same thing with China but we are still trending up. And we are like eight days into this or this 15-day period. I don't get it.


VAUSE: And here's the thing, the official numbers we're seeing in terms of cases and death toll is a snapshot of where we were, right, 15 days ago.

Can you say why is that the case and what it means?

PORTER: I think we just started testing people. So I know my sister, in southern California, about 1.5 weeks ago, with her whiteboard, she got the head of the CDC to agree that everyone in America could get tested without financial issues.

So it's $1300 to get tested; the government will pay for it.

The problem is where are the tests?

Where are the tests? So at our hospital, we are being told that, and at hospitals around here, the only people who have these (INAUDIBLE) can get tested. Well, so nobody has been on a cruise in two weeks. So those questions when you go in -- I got an allergy shot a few days ago -- they asked me if I'd been to China or Italy but they didn't ask me if I went to the grocery store with everybody else.

Because now we have community spread. And so these numbers, the number of patients are going to explode, as we get more and more tests made available to us. But it is really the number of deaths. I know a lot of people who have needed testing, I won't name names, who can't get it because they are not meeting these criteria.

But the threshold for who requires a test also varies from hospital to hospital and state to state. The CDC has their requirements and some hospitals have different requirements.

So the hospital near where I am, they were doing drive-through testing. Anyone that wanted to do testing. They ran out of supplies in two days. Two days they ran out. So now they're saying, we are only testing people who are flu negative and who don't have influenza.


PORTER: Because you can't possibly have both. You can actually. But they're saying if you are flu negative, then we will test you.

Guess what?

The reagent that you need to test for the flu is also what you need to test for coronavirus. So they ran out of reagent to test for coronavirus. They have all the tests but they can't run them because they're testing all these people for flu.

So it's so chaotic. We need a unified leadership, Dr. Fauci is wonderful, he's trying to give us recommendations. But the question is, who is listening?


VAUSE: We are out of time, Doctor, but, yes, we have needed some type of direction and leadership for a while now and it hasn't materialized yet. We can hope that it will one day. Thank you for being with us.

PORTER: Thank you.

VAUSE: Well, nurses described their health care centers as a war zone, they're fighting to keep patients alive in a virus hot spot.

And also the race to find a treatment for this virus, the hope that existing drugs might be repurposed and used for patients suffering COVID-19.



VAUSE: The U.S. state of Washington was the first to see a major outbreak in the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. It swept through a nursing home. CNN's Sara Sidner was the first to hear the story from the health care workers there. Here's her exclusive report.


CHELSEY EARNEST, R.N., LIFE CARE CENTER: It was like a war zone.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All of a sudden, there were so many patients, everybody needed medications, everybody needed treatment.

NANCY BUTNER, LIFE CARE CENTERS OF AMERICA: We had 70 staff within a week that were out.

SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): These health care workers were among the first to battle the COVID-19-19 outbreak in America. Few in the United States have more experience with the deadly toll it took.

SIDNER: How quick do you see the demise of someone with COVID-19?

EARNEST: Less than 24 hours.

SIDNER (voice-over): They work at Life Care Center of Kirkland, the nursing home where the first known U.S. cluster of COVID-19 deaths and infections occurred. For a month, they have been treating and continue to treat coronavirus infected patients.

SIDNER: Have any of you had symptoms of the novel coronavirus?


SIDNER: Have any of you tested positive for COVID-19?

SIDNER (voice-over): For weeks this was the location of the most deaths from the novel coronavirus in the United States. This is the first time their story of what happened inside has been told.

EARNEST: If you Google signs and symptoms of coronavirus, it's runny nose, fever and cough. I have not seen a runny nose yet. What I see is much different than that. I saw what I described as red eyes.

SIDNER: I've never heard of red eyes before.

Why is that?

Has that information just not gotten out into the public?

EARNEST: It is something that I witnessed, in all of them. They have like -- you can describe it like allergy eyes but the white part of your eye is not red. It's more like they have red eye shadow on the outside of their eyes.


EARNEST: But we've had patients that just had the red eyes, it's the only symptom that we saw. And go to the hospital and pass away in the hospital.

SIDNER (voice-over): As of now, the CDC does not list red eyes as a symptom of COVID-19. Chelsey Earnest is a registered nurse and a nursing director at another Life Care Center facility in Washington state. And that's what she saw.

When an urgent call for help came from the Kirkland facility, she volunteered. She arrived one day after the staff learned a patient tested positive for coronavirus.

SIDNER: Why did you answer the call?

You didn't have to be there. This was voluntary.

EARNEST: Well, I'm a nurse and they are not my patients but -- hold on. I'm so sorry.

SIDNER: It's OK. Take a breath.

SIDNER (voice-over): Earnest and her fellow staff members saw the death toll rise like a rocket, the terrifyingly vast deterioration of the patients, always seemed to happen on the night shift, her shift.

EARNEST: That's how I describe it, you're going off to war and you are in a battlefield, where supplies are limited. The help is slow to get to you. And there is lots of casualties.

SIDNER: And you can't see the enemy.

EARNEST: And you can't see the enemy.

SIDNER (voice-over): Suddenly a third of the staff had symptoms and was out sick. Before they all knew it, the virus sweeping through the entire building. It was the oldest patients who were dying, fast.

BUTNER: The average age was 80 years old.

SIDNER (voice-over): Nancy Butner is the vice president of Life Care Centers of America Northwest Division.

BUTNER: Just the patients losing them, because we've been with them for so long, and it's hard.

SIDNER (voice-over): After two days of madness, things seem to calm but not for long.

EARNEST: There was a little lull and I heard a cough and so I started following the coughs.

SIDNER (voice-over): According to the CDC and Life Care Center, at the height of infections, 129 people linked to this nursing home tested positive: three-quarters of the patients about a third of the staff and 14 visitors; 29 people associated with this facility have died due to coronavirus.

In the weeks that followed, the CDC came out with a report on the facility. It found in part the facility's limitations in effective infection control and prevention and staff members working in multiple facilities contributed both to the spread of the virus, both inside the facility and out.

BUTNER: Many nursing staff work at one or more facilities.

SIDNER: Do you think that that will change, the idea of having people work in different facilities after COVID-19?

BUTNER: I don't know that it would and it's -- again, in health care, you work in different settings.

SIDNER: If everyone was trained on infection control, how is it that so many patients got COVID-19 and so many members of the staff also got COVID-19?

EARNEST: There is usually two patients to a room and some of the rooms are bigger and they have three patients and you have caregiving staff that are very close to their residents. We hug them, we kiss them, we love them. And I couldn't have been perfect on my PPE process.

SIDNER: Wearing the personal protection equipment, you couldn't have been perfect because things were happening so fast, you were trying to save lives.


SIDNER (voice-over): She arrived after the first person tested positive. It took five days to get the results. Frightened families were outside, furious.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who is they so we can follow up with them?

SIDNER (voice-over): They couldn't get information on their loved ones for days.

BUTNER: We just could not answer the phone quick enough, we had a significant drop in staff, we had significant care needs that were priority, over, unfortunately, talking to families on the phone.

SIDNER (voice-over): In those first few days, the Life Care Center said they made a cry for help to government agencies, from county to federal to state.

SIDNER: Did you get what you needed when you needed it?


SIDNER (voice-over): No one was doing just one job. Stephanie Booth is in charge of payroll.

STEPHANIE BOOTH, LIFE CARE CENTER: I worked in the kitchen, I don't know, I've done a little bit of everything, I did some housekeeping.

SIDNER (voice-over): Everyone was doing everything until doctors and nurses arrived from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Health and Human Services.

The number of patients in the facility has dropped now from 120 to 42. Of those 42 patients, 31 have tested positive for novel coronavirus.

SIDNER: What advice would you give other facilities, other doctors and nurses, other staff members, about dealing with COVID-19?


CHELSEY EARNEST, REGISTERED NURSE, LIFE CARE CENTERS OF AMERICA: I didn't expect it would be so lethal. And -- and I have no shame in saying that I was wrong.

SIDNER: Nurse Chelsey Earnest says she was wrong about thinking that the coronavirus was just a bit worse than the flu. She does not think that anymore.

And while the staff says they did make some mistakes, this was the first place in the United States to try and deal with a brand-new virus.

Sara Sidner, CNN, Kirkland, Washington.


JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: And then there is the economic impact from the coronavirus and the uncertain future now facing so many who are no longer working.





VAUSE: After the break, a closer look at the jobs being lost and the livelihoods at stake.

And just once, could they work together in the U.S. Senate? The answer is no. Republicans and Democrats bicker over a trillion-dollar stimulus.


VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody.

Major Asian markets opened slightly higher on Tuesday. Tokyo's Nikkei index soared more than 4 percent in early trade, boasted by a weekend and moves by the Bank of Japan. Journalist Kaori Enjoji is in Tokyo with details on this. And it looks

like, you know, the central banks see all the governments make these moves, the stimulus, and to get the economy going, they tend to work. The markets react, not quite like the U.S.

KAORI ENJOJI, JOURNALIST: Well, John, similar factors but totally different reaction today across the board in Asia, with a rally in major markets here. Tokyo has been rising extremely well since the start of trading, surpassing the 18,000 mark for the Nikkei 225. That's a rally of more than 1,000 points at one point, and this is the highest it's gone since -- in six trading sessions.

The U.S. market didn't react to this wall of money that the U.S. Federal Reserve put up, but investors here are liking that news. And the fact that, of course, as you mentioned, the Bank of Japan is continuing to pour money into the market through riskier assets, purchases of what they call ETFs or exchange rated funds, even though they're losing a lot of money on those investments. That and the fact that commodities are rebounding and triggering a wave of buying across the board throughout the region. You see them, Australia, the Chinese markets, as well.


And we're also seeing U.S. treasury yields slip and commodities start to rebound, so very different picture today, John, here across the Asian region.

VAUSE: Absolutely, Kaori. Thank you for that. We appreciate the update. Kaori Enjoji there in Tokyo with the latest.

Well, a turbulent session on Wall Street ended with stocks much lower, despite new emergency measures by the Fed. The Dow sank 3 percent as the Senate failed to approve a stimulus package for a second day.

The S&P 500 down 2.9 percent. The NASDAQ dipped about 3 points, as well.

It shouldn't be like this, but the U.S. Senate has tried and failed now twice to pass an emergency trillion-dollar stimulus bill. Democrats have blocked the measure, arguing there is no oversight on the money allocated for big business, while offering too little for states and hospitals.

Maine Senator Republican Susan Collins accused Democrats of stalling. She was especially angry with the minority leader, Democrat Chuck Schumer, who briefly object to her speaking on the Senate floor.


SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R-ME): Do we agree on everything? Of course not. But surely, surely in this time of extreme crisis for our country, when people are getting sick, when people are dying from the coronavirus, when we are facing unemployment rates, which could go as high as 20 percent, according to the treasury secretary, surely we ought to be able to pull together and work quickly to respond to the needs of the American people.


VAUSE: As lawmakers bicker and argue, the pandemic is destroying small businesses across the U.S. Here's CNN's Kyung Lah.



It's just been a completely life-altering experience from start to finish, and within a week, I mean, this was unbelievable.

LAH: Like the virus spreading across the globe, the economic damage leaves no restaurant untouched.

SOUDER: We would have all the seats filled.

LAH (on camera): All of these seats?

SOUDER: There would be a line out of the door.

LAH (voice-over): California's stay-at-home orders to fight coronavirus changed the entire industry in an instant.

SOUDER: We went from being about to franchise to basically running a to-go business. I, you know, haven't slept. I am -- I'm worried about having a heart attack, to be honest with you.

LAH: With no diners, the Drunken Crab is hemorrhaging thousands of dollars a day. Restaurants a sign of what's to come in the U.S. economy. The industry estimates up to seven million people will lose their jobs in the next three months, nearly half of all service workers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have a good night.

LAH: Josh Souder already forced to make that hard choice.

SOUDER: I had to -- you know, was forced to lay off 75 people. At first, you're thinking about them. OK, I feel horrible for them. And then they have to go home and tell their family, "I just got laid off."

JAY BOCKEN, RESTAURANT GENERAL MANAGER LAID OFF THIS MONTH: I called my wife over the phone, and said, "Honey, I'm on my way home." And she just -- she pretty must immediately knew.

LAH: Laid off from the Drunken Crab, former general manager Jay Bocken immediately filed for unemployment. One of the 2.5 million Americans that Goldman Sachs estimates filed jobless claims in the first week, and more expected in the weeks to come.

BOCKEN: You're talking thousands and thousands of people looking for work simultaneously. It's going to hit every aspect of life. And the government needs to react and help us get through this. That's the only way it's going to work.

People are not going to be able to support their families for more than two months.

LAH: And already, signs of money is getting tight. Outside the west Hollywood bar, Employees Only, a line. Inside, the small staff preps meals, free meals for workers who show a pay stub. Like bartender Geri Courtney-Austein.

GERI COURTNEY-AUSTEIN, BARTENDER: All of us, like, immediately lost our jobs as a Monday or a Tuesday.

LAH (on camera): Are you worried about how long this is going to last?

COURTNEY-AUSTEIN: One hundred percent. Yes. If it goes on month, I don't think any of us have any idea what we're going to do.

SOPIT: The moment has happened. We're going to dig ourselves in a hole, regardless.

LAH: Are you scared?

SOPIT: I'm concerned.

LAH (voice-over): Restaurant owner Tom Sopit rent is $1,000 per day. He doesn't want to fire anyone, but this is a new reality he will have to face.

SOPIT: Yes. All we can do is help each other.

LAH: Kyung Lah, CNN, Los Angeles.


VAUSE: A lot more on the economy when we come back. Also ahead, when it comes to finding a vaccine for this virus, it's all about speed. Now, researchers are testing a number of existing drugs, hoping for a treatment to save lives.



VAUSE: This health crisis will only be over when an effective vaccine is developed, but that could be at least a year away, maybe more. In the meantime, though, numerous drug trials are underway to try and find a way to treat the coronavirus. CNN's Isa Soares reports.


ISA SOARES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the fight against coronavirus, speed is everything. Scientists around the world hold high hopes that a treatment can be found, will only wait for a vaccine. That means testing existing drugs.

In Geneva, the World Health Organization launched an unprecedented trial that will compare treatments and identify the most successful. The study will test four different drugs, from an anti-malaria medication to an anti-viral, to a combination of two HIV drugs.

The unprecedented effort could eventually include thousands of patients across dozens of countries. A (UNINTELLIGIBLE) drug trial was launched in France on Sunday with at least 800 patients who have a severe form of the disease.

In the U.S., New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says drug trials will begin in the state on Tuesday with the following drugs acquired for the trial. Seven hundred and fifty thousand doses of chloroquine, a decades-old drug approved to treat malaria. Seventy thousand doses of hydroxychloroquine -- that's an anti-malarial now used as an autoimmune drug. And 10,000 doses of Zithromax, an antibiotic used to treat various infections.

Cuomo also announced Monday the FDA-approved a testing of antibodies from recovered coronavirus patients.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY); There have been tests that show, when a person is injected with the antibodies, that then stimulates and promotes their immune system. It's a trial for people who are in serious condition.

SOARES: In one trial here in the U.K., researchers are taking a different tactic, an inhaled respiratory drug: SNG-001. It will be trialed here this week on 100 coronavirus patients. The aim? To treat one of the virus's most debilitating symptoms.

(on camera): Explain to us how this would actually work in practice.

PEDRO RODRIGUES, RESEARCHER, SYNAIGEN: So the device is a handheld nebulizer. So there is a chamber on top that is going to contain the study drug. This is going to be administered directly to the patient's lungs by mist. So the patients are going to be able to breathe in. This is the mouthpiece. It clicks in, and then the patients can use it.

SOARES (voice-over): The coronavirus attacks the lungs, infecting and hijacking the cells. The makers of this drug, Synaigen, believe SNG- 001 will ramp up the cells' defenses and kick start the immune system.

(on camera): What hospitals could face is a healthcare crisis. A shortage of beds, a shortage of respirators, as well as a shortage of staff. What this drug could do, if it works, is really ease the pressure on the healthcare system, with patients being able to administer the drug at home.


(voice-over): Richard Marsden is the CEO of Synaigen and, while confident, tells me this is not the miracle the world is waiting for.

RICHARD MARSDEN, CEO, SYNAIGEN: This is not a cure. This is designed to help the lung during a very difficult episode. And we can keep people out of hospital, if we -- if we can stop people needing more intensive treatment when they first get to hospital, then that's a major success.

SOARES: Despite the speed of these trials, experts around the world warn none of these options are guaranteed and, even if successful, could take months. So while the medical community races to combat this deadly virus, they call on everyone to do their part to slow the speed of the pandemic.

Isa Soares, CNN, Southampton, in the south of England.


VAUSE: On the line from Sydney, Richard McGregor, a senior fellow at the Lowy Institute, also a former bureau chief for "The Financial Times" in Beijing and Washington.

So Richard, as we reported earlier, the Democrats are blocking a trillion-dollar stimulus packet in the Senate. I want you to listen to Sen. Tammy Duckworth explain why. Here she is.


SEN. TAMMY DUCKWORTH (D-IL): There is nothing in this bill that they propose that will protect people who can't make their mortgage payments from being evicted and rent payments from making evicted. There's nothing in this bill that protects students from student loan that.

This bill is all skewed towards corporations. It's skewed towards a slush fund that Steve Mnuchin is going to be able to write checks for whoever he wants, with no oversight, even to Trump organizations.


VAUSE: Just quickly, for starters, is that a fair assessment from the way you read it? But more importantly, I guess, the bigger question here, is there a point of no return? Is it about days or weeks when it could just be too late to try and jump start the economy? Or is it more of sort of a sliding scale? The longer it takes, the more it costs.

RICHARD MCGREGOR, SENIOR FELLOW, LOWY INSTITUTE (via phone): Well, there's never any no point of return, but there's a point at which your returns are diminishing. And I would say that we're getting to that with the debate in Congress at the moment.

On the one hand, it's a kind of healthy debate that you would expect in a democracy, and remember, we went through similar delays with TARP back in 2008, 2009. They foundered the first hurdle, got it right with the second hurdle.

But this is an entirely different sort of problem, I think. It's not just an economic problem. It's also a political problem of the U.S. system from the White House down, mind you, not just Congress, not being able to manage the issue.

VAUSE: What's the best-case scenario, assuming, for a moment -- and this is a big assumption -- that everything that can be done is done to help the global economy? What does that look like, best-case scenario, in terms of unemployment numbers, the stock market, debt, you know, the whole shebang? What are you looking at, best-case?

MCGREGOR: I don't want to make a prediction on, you know, times and numbers. I think there's the old saying, it's choose a time, choose a number, not both. Because you'll inevitably be wrong.

But you'll not just get a downturn. You will get a prolonged downturn. Just as it took many, many years to come back from 2008, 2009, to the same level of output for the U.S. economy, and indeed, the global economy, we're going to see that here, as well.

And I think it's important to remember the world's second biggest economy, China, on the way, in some respects, to being the biggest, in 2008, 2009, the last big global crisis, China bounced back quickly.

But this time, no matter what you hear coming out of China, it's not bouncing back quickly. So there's going to be no driver of global growth, and that affects the United States, as well.

VAUSE: Just speaking of China, you know, they have contained the outbreak but, as you said, the economy is another story. There's one report just out to investors which says it's worse than you think.

Here's part of it: "The China recovery story is no longer just about domestic resilience but also factors beyond Beijing's control. Now the rest of the world was undergoing the sorts of severe restrictions that China went through weeks ago. Global mitigation efforts from the biological threat are expected to throw much of the globe into recession."

So now what? We're heading into a situation where, as these factories kick in, there's going to be oversupply. That's going to lead to increased trade tensions. And there are implications here for the world if China is facing these kind of serious problems.

MCGREGOR: Absolutely. I mean, China before we went into this crisis, it was growing steadily, but under a great deal of financial stress, especially private companies, state companies and the like.

Now all the sorts of, you know, underlying problems of the Chinese economy are going to be exposed, or they're going to be fixed at great cost to the Chinese government, the Chinese state. In other words, it's going to be debt piled upon debt, piled upon debt. That's the first thing.

The second thing, of course, is that much of China, if China's productive capacity is being restored, not entirely, but who is going to buy it? You know, we've had much of the Chinese work -- workers that haven't been paid for three months. That is a demand shock inside China. And now, of course, the rest of the world is going into the same abyss. We've got a demand shock outside China.

[00:50:20] So there's really nowhere for all these products to go, unless they're making masks or ventilators.

VAUSE: Yes. Very quickly, we'll finish up with the U.S. president. He first tweeted and then doubled down on these comments on Monday that, you know, the cure can't do more harm than the disease. The recently recalled White House economic adviser, Kevin Hassett, he foreshadowed this just a few days ago on CNN. Listen to what he said.


KEVIN HASSETT, WHITE HOUSE ECONOMIC ADVISOR: If it runs into the summer and the fall, then I think that we're going to have to either have a great depression or figure out a way to send people back to work, even though that's risky.


HASSETT: Because at some point we can't not have an economy. If we just -- everybody stays home for six months, then you know, it's hard -- it's going to be like the Great Depression. And so the question is just, like, if we don't make any progress on the virus, then they're going to have to figure something out to get people back to work. And you know, maybe it's people work with -- with masks on and things like that.


VAUSE: It's a bit like planning for a war, what's considered acceptable rate of loss of life, I guess, which seems kind of harsh. Right?

MCGREGOR: I should hope -- I should hope not, as a way of increasing demand. The problem is, and you know -- and we're all experts these days -- that there's no nice way of handling this issue.

And the way of having a quick stop, it's like a throttle and a brake. You have to stop the virus spreading, so it doesn't matter, then, if you know, you take the controls off you're going to have the same problem and a bigger one, two to three weeks down the track. So I think there's a lot of people talking on a hope and a prayer in the U.S. at the moment. Their views have not been with accord with any other, you know, expert views around the world.

VAUSE: We should make the point, though, it's mostly the president which believes that that is a good move. Not many others have backed him, at least publicly, during that news conference, which was noticeable on Monday.

But Richard, as always, thank you so much for being with us. We appreciate it.

Richard McGregor in Sydney.

Still to come, from one conflict to another. As China's fight against the coronavirus resists, there's a new dispute with the United States. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VAUSE: Well, as lockdowns become the new normal across parts of Europe and in the United States, it's a very different story on the streets of Shanghai.

Here's what the city's waterfront promenade, the Bund, looked like just last month. There it is, deserted.

Take a look at the streets on Monday. Shanghai's local government has downgraded the city's emergency alert level from 1 to 2. Most people are still wearing face masks, but this Shanghai resident thinks it's now safe enough to go out.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I think, as long as we protect ourselves well and go to the hospital early when we don't feel good, then it won't be a big problem. We should not try to get close to healthy people if we don't feel good.


VAUSE: China has seen more than 81,000 cases of the coronavirus, but the vast majority recovered.

But now, there is a viral diplomatic fallout from this pandemic, with accusations of how the virus began, who did what and when, leading to renewed tensions between Beijing and Washington.

CNN's Alex Marquardt reports.




ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As the world declares war on the coronavirus, another battle has erupted between two of its great powers: China and the United States.

The Trump administration ramping up its accusations that China failed to identify, stop and warn about the virus early on.

TRUMP: I wish they could have told us earlier about what was going on inside. We don't know about until it started coming out publicly. But I wish he could've told us earlier about it, because we could have come up with a solution.

MARQUARDT: Beijing firing back, the foreign ministry according the U.S. of trying to defame them, to shift responsibility and find a scapegoat. The spokesman calling it "immoral and irresponsible."

The White House undeterred. CNN has learned that the National Security Council sent a cable to State Department officials with talking points about China's alleged cover-up and a disinformation campaign. Among those leading the charge is Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: There's been some discussion about China and what they knew and when they knew it, and I've been very critical. We need to know immediately. The world is entitled to know. The Chinese government was the first to know of this risk to the world.

MARQUARDT: China has accused Pompeo of lying through his teeth, while the secretary has repeatedly referred to the virus as "the Wuhan virus" for where it started.

The president has tried to walk a careful line, praising China's leader --

TRUMP: I have great respect for President Xi.

MARQUARDT: -- while also being keen to point the finger. A photographer spotting Trump changing, in his prepared remarks, the word "corona" to "China."

REP. MICHAEL MCCAUL (R-TX): It came out of the wildlife markets in Wuhan, and it's spread beyond control outside of China. For nearly two months there are many things they could have done to contain the virus, and they failed to do that.

MARQUARDT: While the U.S. struggles to flatten the curve at home, China has been able to and is now helping other countries in a way America cannot.

And as China looks to take that leading global role, it has hit back at the U.S., trying to shift the blame with disinformation. This foreign ministry spokesman, Lijian Zhao, claims that COVID-19 actually started in the U.S. and accused the U.S. Army of bringing the virus to China last year.

MCCAUL: The Chinese ambassador and the foreign minister saying, through their propaganda machine, that the United States military somehow concocted this virus and spread it in China, it's absolutely false. Everybody knows the truth here, and the truth needs to come out. And they don't want the truth to come out.

MARQUARDT (on camera): The Trump administration is also accusing Iran and Russian of carrying out disinformation campaigns, as well. But the focus, clearly, is on China.

As for accusations that the president is fueling racism against people of Asian descent by calling it the Chinese virus, the president now says, on Twitter, it is very important that we totally protect our Asian-American community.

Alex Marquardt, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE) VAUSE: Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause. Stay with us. "AMANPOUR" is next. And then we're back with the very latest on the pandemic. Stay with us. You're watching CNN.


CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, everyone, and welcome to "AMANPOUR" from London. Here's what's coming up.