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WHO Warns the U.S. Could Be the Next Coronavirus Epicenter; Trump Wants an Easter Economy Reopening; Nearly Half the U.S. Under Stay-at-Home Orders; China Easing Travel Restrictions; Tokyo 2020 Postponed; Virus Threatens Health of Europe's Medical Personnel; Virus Killing More Men Than Women Worldwide; Asia Markets Rally on Stimulus Hopes; Trump Wants U.S. Economy Opened Up by Easter; Biden Says He Would Have Enacted Defense Production Act; Renewed Restrictions After Spike in Hong Kong Cases. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired March 25, 2020 - 00:00   ET




JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello and welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm John Vause.

Ahead this, hour the U.S. bracing for the worst of the coronavirus. With local authorities and health officials raising the alarm of a dire shortage of lifesaving medical equipment and supplies. The U.S. president is calling for restrictions to be eased so the country can get back to business by Easter.

Meantime, in India, lockdown. The prime minister ordered 1.3 billion people to stay inside and off the streets for three weeks.

And Tokyo 2021?

The Summer Olympics officially postponed until next June.


VAUSE: The coronavirus pandemic continues to sweep across the globe like a slow-moving wave; where it has been, travel restrictions and lockdowns eased where it is heading. Those measures being ramped up amid fears of a searching death toll, approaching 400,000 worldwide.

The WHO is warning the United States could be the next epicenter of the COVID-19 disease. By CNN's count, there are more than 52,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the U.S.

Despite that, President Trump has seemed to abandon the somber and serious tone from last week. He is no longer talking about a crisis that could last for months but rather insisting recovery could be just weeks away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: So I think Easter Sunday and you will have packed churches all over our country. I think it would be a beautiful time and it is just about the timeline that I think is right.


VAUSE: For now, New York state appears to be the epicenter of the disease in the U.S. and is reporting nearly half of all known nationwide cases. We begin our coverage with CNN's Nick Watt.


NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): We knew New York was bad; turns out, it's even worse.

ANDREW CUOMO (D), GOVERNOR OF NEW YORK: The rate of increase has gone up. We are not slowing it and it is accelerating on its own.

WATT (voice-over): Doubling about every three days, peak infection now projected to hit in just 14 to 21 days.

CUOMO: The apex is higher than we thought and the apex is sooner than we thought. That is a bad combination of facts.

WATT (voice-over): He has upped his estimates of New York's needs to as many as 140,000 hospital beds. They don't have enough. They need another 30,000 ventilators at minimum. New York says FEMA sent 400 ventilators this morning; later, the federal government said they have delivered 2,000.

CUOMO: What are we going to do for -- with 400 ventilators when we need 30,000 ventilators?

You are missing the magnitude of the problem.

WATT (voice-over): "You" is the federal government.

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And tomorrow, there will be another 2,000 ventilators shipped from the national stockpile.

DR. ASHISH JHA, HARVARD GLOBAL HEALTH INSTITUTE: We all have to rally around New York but then understand that there will be other places next. I can't predict which ones but I believe that California, Washington, Florida, I'm deeply worried about.

WATT (voice-over): After China, after Europe, could the United States be the next epicenter?

DR. MARGARET HARRIS, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: We are now seeing a very large acceleration in the numbers of cases from the United States, so it does have that potential.

WATT (voice-over): And this is going to last.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are looking at probably late May, June, something in that range, maybe it could be as late as July. WATT (voice-over): Morgan Stanley now saying GDP could fall 30

percent April through June, unemployment could explode to nearly 13 percent. Just last week's new jobless claims they say could be 3.4 million. If true, that is nearly five times the record set during the 2009 financial crisis.

TRUMP: We have to go back to work much sooner than people thought.

CUOMO: I understand what the president is saying, this is unsustainable that we close down the economy. But if you ask the American people to choose between public health and the economy, then it is no contest.

WATT (voice-over): Well, we will see. By midweek, just over half of all Americans will be under some sort of stay home directive.

WATT: The president insists it is the data that is driving him toward that possible Easter reopening, although he clearly likes the symbolism of the date; he calls it beautiful.


WATT: As to which parts of the country might open first, he mentioned the Farm Belt, parts of Texas and out West. And as he so often is, Dr. Anthony Fauci was the voice of reason and restraint. You can have a date, he said, but you have got to be flexible -- Nick Watt, CNN, Los Angeles.


VAUSE: CNN medical analyst Dr. Amy Compton-Phillips is with us this hour from Seattle.

Dr. Compton-Phillips, thank you for joining us. I'd like you to listen to the U.S. president from that daily briefing on the coronavirus. Here he is.


TRUMP: There is tremendous hope as we look forward and we begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Ultimately, the goal is to ease the guidelines and open things up to very large sections of our country as we near the end of our historic battle with the invisible enemy.


VAUSE: Donald Trump seems to be talking as if the worst days of the coronavirus in the U.S. are in the past but if you look at all the projections, the worst is just around the corner.

So what would we be looking at if Trump orders some kind of return to business as usual?

DR. AMY COMPTON-PHILLIPS, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: It's a great question. I really think that scenario would be the miracle scenario. And I think our job is to hope for the best but plan for the worst. What we are doing now is to make sure the data and models are guiding our actions.

And how do we plan for it?

That's what you heard Governor Cuomo doing, making sure that we know what the worst-case scenario is so we can be prepared for that when it happens. We can have the appropriate PPE, have the ventilators, have the staffing in place so that, if it does hit, we will be ready for it.

VAUSE: When it does hit, on that timeline, it looks that New York state has two weeks ahead of the rest of the country. Governor Cuomo lashed out at the lack of preparation and resources being distributed by FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, here he is.


CUOMO: Someone says we are sending 400 ventilators.


What am I going to do with 400 ventilators when I need 30,000?

You pick the 26,000 people who are going to die because you only sent 400 ventilators.


VAUSE: In Italy, doctors had to make those kind of choices of who lives and dies. I guess doctors here will have to make those same choices.

How do they do that?

COMPTON-PHILLIPS: Well, I think the innovation and the creativity of the entire health care workforce, as well as the people who help us, is incredible and I think that is something we should focus on.

So right now, I was reading an article in Italy about how they have converted scuba machines into ventilators and right now our engineers are working on making sure that we can have the ventilators that exist to take care of more than one person but also converting all of the O.R. anesthesia machines to ventilators, making sure that our anesthesia machines, not even in hospitals but at ambulatory surgical centers can be converted.

As well as if we need to, converting other kinds of respiratory equipment and spare parts lying across the hospital into worst-case scenario ventilators. So while there is potential for it to hit, I also know that ingenuity and creativity of everybody involved are working very hard to make sure we don't hit that worst-case scenario.

VAUSE: I hope you are right. Trump has left a lot of the extra decision-making to state governors and local authorities, so assuming to companies he says lifting restrictions, no more social distancing, so even if those local authorities have refused -- and that is likely to happen -- but the words of the president still matter, right?

They can be encouraging to everyone who defied the restrictions in the first place. One doctor was quoted as going as far as saying, if restrictions were lifted prematurely, President Trump will have blood on his hands.

Is that a fair statement?

COMPTON-PHILLIPS: I think, if restrictions were lifted prematurely, we definitely could see an increased death rate that is unnecessary. There are no good choices here, only good decisions. So what is the best decision we can make to save the most lives while we actually allow people who can't afford food, they need to figure out how to buy food.

So what South Korea taught us is that if we get the doubling rate of the infection lower through social distancing, we can start to lower that curve.

And while we are doing that, while people are social distancing, working incredibly hard to ramp up that testing capacity so that we can start testing more effectively and isolating people who are infected, we can then start loosening the social isolation restrictions without putting people at as much risk.


COMPTON-PHILLIPS: So that is the way to get ahead of this thing. We can break the back of this pandemic if we do it the right way.

VAUSE: There does seem to be an argument that the president is making and there have been some who support him in this, the economists in particular, that there is a cost benefit to most policy questions. If the speed limit was 35 miles per hour, fewer people would die, but we make a choice to allow higher speeds on freeways because that's to the benefit of the greater good.

Republicans argue that clean air is not worth the cost of regulation. The argument being made here that getting back to work seems to be a lot better for the economy than having a lockdown but that's the overall good for the country.

How do you see it?

Is there any merit to this argument in this case?

COMPTON-PHILLIPS: I think we as a society have to decide what we believe human life is worth. So I am a doctor, obviously, a person who sees great value in humans. So it is a decision that, as a society, you have to figure out what is the most important thing to you.

Even in China -- in China, they made the decision that short term pain for benefit of the greater good was worth it. And I believe that, as Americans, we actually do care about our neighbors and we do believe that everyone in this country is worthwhile. So I do hope that we can do the short term pain with the appropriate

relaxing, as we are able to test and isolate people so that we can end up with a better, stronger country in the long run.

VAUSE: Very important, Doctor, thank you. Appreciate it.


VAUSE: All of India, more than 1 billion people under total lockdown for the next three weeks. The order came Tuesday, during a televised address by Narendra Modi. CNN producer Vedika Sud is joining us now, live from New Delhi.

So this lockdown, it has been in place coming up to 10 hours?

There is two weeks, six days, 14 hours to go. For many people this is going to be a long haul and this is a drastic measure for the government.

Why did they decide to do this?

VEDIKA SUD, CNN PRODUCER: Well, you have the math right. This was the theme and a lot of critics across India also feel this was the need, because you talk about population of 1.3 billion. A total lockdown was the need, because you already had about 22 of the 37 states under lockdown.

So it was a matter of just a few more hours before the states would voluntarily come forward and say, you know, what we are under a total lockdown as well.

The prime minister addressed the nation last night at about 8 o'clock. He made some very strong statements there. He said, yes, this will be a hit to the economy, a huge hit to the economy. But the Indian government's priority is the safety of the people.

He also went on to say that from the prime minister, the common man in the rural areas, this total lockdown has to be implemented. He also went on to talk about how developed nations that have a very strong health care system have not been able to battle the coronavirus too well in the coming days and in the past few weeks.

Learning lessons from them, India has decided to be under total lockdown for the next 21 days. Of course, the biggest hit will be taken by the economy here in India.

VAUSE: Just talk logistics for a moment.

How, for example, will people be fed?

SUD: That's a good question. Moments after the prime minister delivered his speech, there was panic buying. A lot of reports of people moving out of their homes because the total lockdown would be implemented from midnight, for the next 21 days.

That is when the prime minister took to Twitter, the government reached out to people through social networking sites, as well as the police, and tried to show people that panic buying is not the way out. The prime minister, he also reached out to the people through Twitter.

He also said do not go into a panic buying mode. Essential commodities will be made available to all of India. But, yes, over the coming days, we will bring you reports on whether the implementation of these essential services, especially food to all, has been successfully implemented across India.

Because, we are talking about a huge population, especially in the rural areas of India.

VAUSE: We appreciate the update, Vedika Sud from New Delhi.

And in a stark contrast to India, travel restrictions are being lifted in the Hubei province. But Wuhan, where this all began, will remain under lock down for two more weeks. Steven Jiang is live with us from Beijing.

Steven, these restrictions have been lifted now for a couple of hours.

What does it look like and what are people saying, what is it feel like?


STEVEN JIANG, CNN SENIOR PRODUCER, BEIJING BUREAU: That's right, the authorities in Hubei making their pledge announced on Tuesday to lift most travel restrictions in the province outside of Wuhan, the provincial capital.

Overnight, we have seen workers remove many of these roadblocks that have been set up on major highways as well as expressways. You are starting to see traffic flow again on these roads and then out of the province.

Of course, anyone who wants to leave the province will have to show this very important green QR code on their phones. That is the evidence the government has deemed you healthy and low risk.

The code will be checked before you enter these expressways and highways. But for people, millions of them in Wuhan, they have to wait longer. Their freedom will only come on the 8th of April.

Still within the city limits of Wuhan, you are seeing signs of authorities' efforts to try to get economic activity resumed and some sense of normalcy returned.

Starting today, they will resume bus services on 117 routes and they have also announced they will partially reopen the city's subway system starting next week. Already, many workers in the city have gone back to their jobs, especially in large auto plants which are very important to the city's economy.

One thing to keep in mind is Wuhan and the rest of Hubei province is very important as an industrial hub not only for China but in the global supply chain. That is why the authorities are obviously eager to have economic activities resume as soon as they can.

So we are seeing signs of that. And today, the rest of Hubei, on April 8th it will be Wuhan as well.

VAUSE: That will be a happy day, I imagine. Steven, thank. You appreciated. Steven Jiang from Beijing, thank you.

Postponed: the IOC and Tokyo organizers bite the bullet and delay the Summer Olympic Games. It was inevitable.

But is that enough time?

Also, ahead why men seem to be more at risk of dying from the coronavirus than women.




VAUSE: They are still calling it Tokyo 2020, only now it will happen in 2021. The International Olympic Committee and Japan's prime minister agreed to postpone the Summer Olympics until next year because of the coronavirus. Will Ripley has the details from Tokyo.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The signs are all over Tokyo, symbols of what was supposed to be a Japanese revival, a comeback, crushed, at least for now. Tokyo 2020 organizers and the International Olympic Committee bowing to global pressure, pressure brought on by the novel coronavirus catastrophe.


RIPLEY (voice-over): Memories of another disaster nine years ago, still fresh on many Japanese minds: 2011's mega quake, tsunami and Fukushima, triple meltdown.

Winning the Olympic bid in 2013 brought a surge of national pride and badly needed jobs. Japan invested tens of billions of dollars, new infrastructure, new technology. 2020 was supposed to be a banner year, a year now defined by a once in a century global pandemic.

"We have overcome natural disaster, war, but things are different now. This will be the biggest challenge we ever face," says Shigeto Ishiba (ph), one of Japan's most powerful lawmakers.

He says Japan's aging population and shrinking workforce makes it much harder to bounce back. The Olympics are a cornerstone of prime minister Abe Shinzo's plan to transform Japan into a global destination, a plan to jumpstart the Japanese economy. Analyst Keith Henry says even a delay has serious financial implications.

KEITH HENRY, ANALYST: Basically this is a service sector economy, obviously. With the railroads, the hotels, the regions of Japan that are counting on people spending a few days in Tokyo and wandering the mountains or the beaches of the hinterlands of Japan, the damage economically will be widespread all across Japan.

RIPLEY (voice-over): Finance minister Taro Aso (ph) went so far as to call coronavirus "proof of an Olympic curse." He was born in 1940, when World War II extinguished Japan's Olympic flame.

Tokyo was supposed to host the canceled 1940 games. It would end up waiting 24 years. The 1964 Tokyo Olympics, Japan's re-introduction to the world, showcasing a miracle recovery, rising from the ashes of war. Today, a new war against a deadly virus, putting Japan's Olympic dreams on hold, yet again -- Will Ripley, CNN, Tokyo.


VAUSE: With us now from Atlanta is Ed Hula, the founder and editor of "Around the Rings," the font of all Olympic knowledge.

It has been a while, it is good to see you.

ED HULA, "AROUND THE RINGS": Great to be with you.

VAUSE: In the history of the modern Olympics, there have been cancellations before, usually because of wartime. But the games have never been postponed. I guess for the athletes, they will be the ones most impacted by all of this. The IOC president had this message. Here it is.


THOMAS BACH, IOC PRESIDENT: Dear fellow athletes, let me start with the good news first, we will all be able to celebrate the Olympic Games of Tokyo 2020, even if it's 2021. But finally, you can be sure that you can make your Olympic dream come true.


VAUSE: But will they be able to?

You train and train for years and years towards that one particular moment in time and now that has been delayed and pushed back.

How will they deal with all of this?

HULA: That is the heartbreak for some athletes. Others will be able to compete just fine. It will take some adjustment. Everybody is going to have to give a little bit. It is not the perfect situation. But it beats cancellation.

I think it does give the athletes a chance to compete, at least in 2021. But there will be some pain along the way, some disappointment because there are athletes who have probably qualified to compete in Tokyo in 2020.

Maybe they get hurt on the way to 2021. Maybe they get hurt and something else happens in their lives that doesn't allow them to compete in the Olympic Games. Bad luck in some instances.

But I think overall, good luck for athletes because they now have a great deal of anxiety and uncertainty eliminated. They had all of this weighing on their minds a week ago, train, not to train, how to do it safely.

VAUSE: It has been tough. And also tough for the organizers in Tokyo to come to this point and make this decision. Economically, businesses both big and small in Japan are expecting record profits this year; now they're seeing ruin.

Is a 12-month long delay enough time?

That's the same timeframe as a vaccine at the earliest. How are teams and athletes expected to train between now and then?

And what happens if the virus is still out of control?

HULA: I guess that's one of the great unknowns, whether the virus will be under control by then. Everybody has got their fingers crossed that medicine and science will prevail.


HULA: And they will find a way to beat the virus so that it's not an issue. But for the athletes who are continuing after the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020, they are still in the competitive routine. They are still aiming (INAUDIBLE). Say in 2021, for example. The track and field world championships are that year.

Swimming world championships are in 2021. So the best athletes in the Olympics will go on to those events as well. So there are some who will be lost along the way. There will be great disappointment over that. But at least the majority of athletes who are striving for the Tokyo Olympics, I think, will have a chance to compete in 2021 as well.

VAUSE: Well, the Olympic torch relay in Japan itself was set to begin Thursday, time was pressing.


VAUSE: So there is a timeframe here. They really had to make an announcement before Thursday.


HULA: Yes, it would be very messy to begin the torch relay in Japan and then have to stop it some days later, a few weeks later, because, whoops, the Olympics won't be until 2021.

VAUSE: Organizing the Olympic Games is not easy.

But what about postponing the Olympic Games?

What is involved in that from a logistic point of view? How difficult will this be?

HULA: That is almost as difficult as mounting the Olympic Games, because there are so many working parts to deal with. First of, all there is the problem with the calendar. They have to find a way to shoehorn the Olympics into the 2021 sports calendar.

The Olympics as well as the Paralympics, which follow the games after about two weeks. There is about a 30- to 45-day window that they have got to secure and make sure they can fit in there.

Then there is all the tickets they sold. We are four months away from the games, John. And they have sold 8 million tickets. The people who buy those tickets, you can tell them to come back next year. Those people may not be around. They may not be able to. We have to figure out what to do with all those tickets that have been sold.

And people who have good tickets now don't want to give them up. It is a real dilemma there. Other issues involve hotel rooms, 40,000 hotel rooms have been reserved and even paid for, thousands of them have already been paid for. They are not good anymore.

That gives you an idea of the complexity on that level. And the personnel, the people working for Tokyo 2020, expect them to be through with their jobs this year after going on for another year.


VAUSE: There are a lot of complications. The IOC president tried to wrap this up with a hopeful note of what these Summer Olympics may come to represent. Here he is.


BACH: We are all standing together and everybody making his or her contribution, then I am really confident that, at the end, these Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020 can be the light at the end of this dark tunnel. We are all going through it together now. And we all want to see the Olympic flame at the end of this dark tunnel.


VAUSE: All very well and good and let's hope he is correct. A year from now, that is the light at the end of the tunnel.

The question is, what if it is not?

It puts so much pressure on these games to be so symbolic and a victory of mankind over the virus. I think the Japanese prime minister said that last week.

That's a lot of pressure on these games.

HULA: That's a lot of pressure on these games, which are already supposed to be the balm that will soothe the pain after the 2011 earthquake, the great eastern earthquake in Japan, the tsunami, the nuclear power plant disaster that followed that.

These games were supposed to be the games of reconstruction and now they are also a symbol of hope for the rest of the world. That is putting a lot of weight on the Olympic Games. I am not sure that is a fair job to ask the Olympics to carry.

VAUSE: It is a big ask for anybody.


Ed, as always, thank you so much for being with. Us we appreciate it.

HULA: Good to be with, you.

VAUSE: If we are in a war with the coronavirus then medical workers are the ones in the trenches. In Europe there is a staggering number of them who have been affected. Details, when we return.


JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Welcome back, everybody. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause.


In Italy, there were hopes that maybe the coronavirus had peaked; up to two days of a falling death toll. But in the past 24 hours, the numbers once again surged, the government reporting 743 dead. The World Health Organization now confirms almost 64,000 cases in Italy, with more than 6,000 dead.

The death toll also rising in the U.K. The government reports 87 dead on Tuesday. The WHO puts Britain's overall death toll at 335, more than 6,600 confirmed cases.

On Monday, Boris Johnson announced a strict new stay-at-home order, the tightest restrictions Britain has seen since the end of World War II.

Well, doctors and nurses around the world are the ones on the front lines battling the coronavirus, but across Europe, medical personnel are becoming infected at an alarming rate. CNN's Isa Soares reports on the dangers they're facing.


ISA SOARES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Overworked and overwhelmed --


SOARES: -- these heroic medical staff in the U.K. are calling on Brits to stay home and help them help us.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We need to stay healthy so we can help you. You can help save our lives. Stay at home. SOARES: This as they confront warlike scenarios they never dreamed

they would encounter.

DR. RINESH PARMAR, U.K. DOCTOR'S ASSOCIATION: We have doctors tell us that they feel like lambs to the slaughter, that they feel like cannon fodder.

SOARES (on camera): Across Europe, doctors and nurses are on the front lines, battling the coronavirus. An alarming (ph) statistic is alarming: the number of medical workers themselves who have become infected.

(voice-over): In China, just under four percent of the cases reported through February 11 were healthcare workers.

In Spain, it's over 10 percent, and Italy is not far behind.

Nearly 4,000 national health service workers penned an article expressing concern that they don't have adequate protection. The NHS says it's stepping up deliveries of vital supplies. But it is in Italy where the crisis has been most acute.

BARBIE NADEAU, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Here in Italy, coronavirus first took hold in Europe. Many in the medical community were caught off-guard by just how quickly and tenaciously the virus took hold.

SOARES: More than 20 Italian doctors have now died. Among them was Dr. Roberto Stella (ph).

DR. MICHELE LEONI, FRIEND OF ROBERTO STELLA (ph): Roberto Stella (ph) was a friend of mine. Roberto Stella (ph) was a great, enthusiastic doctor.

SOARES: Michele Leoni says he hopes his friend is remembered as someone who gave back, who started a program for high school students to learn about medicine.

Dr. Angelo Pan is the head of infectious disease medicine at a hospital in Cremona.

DR. ANGELO PAN, INFECTIOUS DISEASE CHIEF: Because even a small error can give you an infection, and then you have to hope not to get any serious problem. It is quite scary, yes.

SOARES: Dr. Pan says his hospital is well-supplied. The pandemic came so quickly, though, that he did not have time to train his colleagues in infectious protocols. Patients are now being treated throughout the hospital.


PAN: Now, I am taking care of the patients in the orthopedic wards. They are not used to managing patients that have transmittable viral infections. I'm scared about the outbreak.

wards. They are not used to managing patients that have transmittable viral infections. I'm scared about the outbreak. I hope I do not die before the outbreak ends up.

SOARES: The crisis hit Spain later than Italy, but the number of cases here has skyrocketed. One of the big problems we're seeing in hospitals like this one is a lack of protective equipment.

The nursing union has even created an instructional video on how to fashion a waterproof gown out of garbage bags. She explains how to fold and tape the bag just so, so that it provides protection and fits.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you feel safe at work?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "No, we don't feel completely safe," he says. "You don't stop to think about it or we wouldn't go in to see the patients, but we have to."

MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A lack of personal protective equipment is also a serious problem here in France, where the governments introduced some of the most stringent quarantine protocols in Europe.

The first French doctor died this past week. And already now, at least four medical workers have died. I spoke with a lawyer who represents doctors suing the French government over the lack of equipment and masks, in particular.

French authorities have now ordered 250 million of them. But one of the doctors suing the government says it is far too late. He says authorities here are guilty of incompetence. The French government tells CNN they have no comment on the lawsuit.

DR. LUDOVIC TORO, CO-FOUNDER, C19 HEALTH WORKERS GROUP (through translator): If this lawsuit had arrived in France, then OK, we would have been unprepared. We wouldn't know how it works. But we watched China for three months and Italy for 15 days. How could they have thought it was going to be different here. And the proof is that today, we have exactly the same figures in terms of mortality.

SOARES (on camera): As the number of cases in Europe continue to spike, it is these doctors and nurses who are selflessly putting their health, as well as their lives on the line so that we can survive.

Isa Soares, London.


VAUSE: There is so much we don't know about this virus, but it seems one trend has emerged. More men are dying than women. CNN's Max Foster reports on what could be the underlying factors putting men at high risk.


MAX FOSTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Countries around the world are struggling to contain a virus that's upended life as we know it. And across the globe, a surprising statistic has started to emerge: It appears more men may be dying.

There's no good data about the shared tests that are given to men and women, respectively, but in Florida, nearly 60 percent of the confirmed coronavirus cases are male. And 70 percent of the deaths are male.

Researchers have found this emerging pattern of men dying from the virus at higher rates, in countries in both Europe and Asia.

DR. DEBORAH BIRX, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE COORDINATOR: From Italy, we're seeing a -- another concerning trend that the mortality in males seems to be twice in every age group of females.

FOSTER: Comprehensive data about those who have got sick could help inform more effective responses to the crisis. But public health researchers say that when governments such as the United States either don't collect or don't publish their data, it's impossible for experts to gain an accurate sense of what's going on.

SARAH HAWKES, PROFESSOR OF GLOBAL PUBLIC HEALTH, UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON: People have the data. What we're not seeing happening, it seems, is a -- is a collation, a collection of that data at state and national level with the speed with which one might hope to see from the perspective of global health research.

FOSTER: CNN found that, of the six countries providing data, split by sex, all showed men dying at higher rates.

More than 70 percent of those who died in Italy are men. In France, more women have tested positive for the virus, but more men have succumbed to it. The same in South Korea.

Across the countries for which we have data, spanning nearly a quarter of the world's population, we found that men were 50 percent more likely than women to die after being diagnosed with COVID-19.

So why might men be more vulnerable? It's still too early to say, but one hypothesis is gaining traction.

HAWKES: Across their life courses, men have greater risks of exposure to behaviors that will lead to adverse health outcomes in the long term.

FOSTER: Researchers say that means smoking and drinking.

Lifestyle factors there may be making men more susceptible. It's the type of insight that could inform who receives which treatment and when as the U.S. ramps up its virus response.


The most effective way of reducing the death toll will be knowing who is at the most risk and needs to be protected first.

Max Foster, CNN, London.


VAUSE: Just last week, President Donald Trump declared war on the coronavirus. Now it seems he's sounding the retreat, sparking outrage from Democrats and even public criticism from a tiny member of Republican lawmakers.


VAUSE: Major Asian markets are rallying on this day. The Nikkei opened up nearly 5 percent. That's on word that the Tokyo Olympics will be postponed. That's good news, because many had feared they may be canceled.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng dropped more than 2 percent on hopes that U.S. lawmakers will agree on a massive stimulus package, and that will hopefully shore up the U.S. economy. This follows Wall Street's best performance in nearly 90 years on Tuesday.

The Dow surging 11.4 percent, the biggest one-day percentage increase since 1933, the Great Depression.

OK. Kaori Enjoji, live in Tokyo. So, you know, comparisons to comparisons, there is no way to tell where the stock market is going to go.

KAORI ENJOJI, JOURNALIST: Absolutely. I think no one is willing to call a bottom yet. And I think the gains -- even though they were phenomenal, Wall Street and Asia seems to be moving in lockstep -- pale in comparison to the weakness that we've seen in the capital markets over the last month alone.

But as you pointed out, the expectations for stimulus from the U.S. government relief that the Olympics weren't canceled, but instead postponed for about a year. That seems to be bringing back some of the hedge funds and investors back into the market. Particularly for Tokyo, which has reclaimed the 19,000 mark for the first time in two weeks.

People are, though, saying that consumption and tourism is still going to suffer dramatically in the weeks ahead, as we get fresh data. Particularly noticeable will be some of the unemployment claims that we're going to get later on this week. And they're very nervous about that. So no one I speak to say they want to call a bottom yet.

I think there's also the factor that you have to consider that Japan has spent $10 billion plus, in preparation for these games and, postponing them, could cost them a few billion dollars. The estimates vary.

But at the end of the day, they say the economic impact and fallout from the coronavirus and the social distancing, with businesses closed, people being told to stay at home, that will really be the key determining factor about whether or not -- how long this recession will continue.

But on the day, given the gains on Wall Street they are higher across the board here in Asia, John.

VAUSE: OK, Kaori. We appreciate the update. Thank you. Kaori Enjoji, live in Tokyo.

Well, goodbye, somber and serious Donald Trump of just a week ago. Now it's the cure can't be worse than the problem Donald Trump taking center stage at the daily coronavirus briefings. The U.S. president seems unfazed by a near total lack of support from his advisers to ease up on restrictions so the economy can be up and running again in just weeks.


CNN's Jim Acosta has details.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Trump is heading over now.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In a televised town hall on Trump-friendly FOX News, the president said a date when he'd like to see the U.S. economy functioning without the current coronavirus constraints.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I would love to have the country opened up and just raring to go by Easter.

I think Easter Sunday, and you'll have packed churches all over our country. I think it would be a beautiful time.

ACOSTA: The president insisted his plan could work by encouraging Americans to go back to their jobs in the weeks to come, while still practicing social distancing.

TRUMP: We can socially distance ourselves and go to work, and you'll have to work a little bit harder. You don't have to shake hands anymore with people.

ACOSTA: When asked if she backs the president's goals for the virus, one of his top medical experts, Dr. Deborah Birx, would only say she wants to see more data on the global pandemic, during the nation's ongoing 15-day social distancing period.

DR. DEBORAH BIRX, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE COORDINATOR: Every American needs to continue the president's guidelines for these next -- these next six days or seven days.

ACOSTA: The president also denied his administration botched the shipment of coronavirus tests around the country, even though some governors say that's exactly what happened.

TRUMP: WE did not screw up, and I don't think CDC screwed up either.

ACOSTA: Mr. Trump continues to make questionable claims about the coronavirus, suggesting it's just as bad as the seasonal flu and car accidents. But experts say the coronavirus appears to be more deadly than the flu.

TRUMP: We lose thousands of people a year to the flu. We never turn the country off. We lose much more than that to automobile accidents. We didn't call up the automobile companies and say stop making cars.

ACOSTA: It's not just Democrats who disagree with the president.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): You have to stay in, and for the president to make light of that as if it's like, well, so what? Some people will die, but the economy will grow. No, you'll hurt the economy if more people are sick.

ACOSTA: Republican Congressman Liz Cheney tweeted, "There will be no normally functioning economy if our hospitals are overwhelmed and thousands of Americans of all ages, including our doctors and nurses, lay dying because we have failed to do what's necessary to stop the virus."

But some in the GOP, like Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, said some seniors may be willing to die to save the economy.

LT. GOV. DAN PATRICK (R-TX): No one reached out to me and said, as a senior citizen, are you willing to take a chance on your survival, in exchange for keeping the America that all America loves for your children and grandchildren? And if that's the exchange, I'm all in.

ACOSTA: The president also weighed in on the battle over the stimulus deal on Capitol Hill, revealing he turned down an agreement overnight.

TRUMP: I canceled the deal last night. I said, I'm not going to sign that deal, because Nancy Pelosi came in and put a lot of things in the deal that had nothing to do with the workers.

ACOSTA: In hard-hit New York state, Governor Andrew Cuomo blaster the Trump administration for failing to ship enough ventilators to overwhelmed hospitals.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): FEMA says, We're sending 400 ventilators. Really? What am I going to -- what am I going to do with 400 ventilators, when I need 30,000?

ACOSTA: The president fired back after hearing that.

TRUMP: He shouldn't be talking about us. He'd supposed to be buying his own ventilators. Thank you very much.

ACOSTA: Jim Acosta, CNN, the White House.


VAUSE: Former Vice President Joe Biden among those who are slamming Trump's response to this viral outbreak. The Democratic presidential frontrunner spoke earlier to CNN's Jake Tapper.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He should stop talking, and start to listen to the medical experts. You talk about having an economic crisis. You want an economic crisis? Watch this spike. Watch the number of dead go up. Watch the number of people who, in fact, connect with this virus. When are you going to be able to open the economy?

Look, we all want the economy to open as rapidly as possible. The way to do that is let's take care of the medical side of this immediately. One of the things -- he's not responsible for the coronavirus, but he's responsible for the delay in taking the actions that need to be taken, as far back as January.

And I just -- I find it incredible. Listen to Dr. Fauci. He's been there since Reagan. All the way through. He worked with our administration. He's a serious, serious player.

What is going on with this man?

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Mister Vice President, if you were president right now, there's a big debate right now about whether or not President Trump should be using the full weight and force of the Defense Production Act to, basically, compel American industries to manufacture all these medical supplies that are not yet available. Ventilators, masks, other PPE, protective gear for doctors and nurses.

If you were president, would you have enacted that? What would you be demanding of industry?


BIDEN: I would've enacted it a long time ago, Jake. I think it was three -- two, three weeks ago I pointed out that the president should enact this. He -- it should've been enacted months ago. This is a position where we know what's coming. All you've got to do is look around the world.

Every morning, I'm on the phone for about an hour and a half with all the health experts on my committee, all the people working with me. They have been pointing out -- I wish I had the graphs here. You see them. The spike in U.S. cases are going like this. It's now surpassed what it would be, if we continue on this path, what happened in Italy.

Look, this is ridiculous. Make -- make the change. Like the governor said, Governor Cuomo, what is he going to do with several hundred, or several thousand. He needs a great deal more. The whole country needs them. And let's move now. And industry's prepared to do it. What is he waiting for? He says he's a wartime president. Well, God, act like one.


VAUSE: And later, on Twitter, Biden posted, "Let me be very clear. No one is expendable, no matter your age, race, gender, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation or disability. No life is worth losing to add one more point to the Dow." Well, the first round of containment seemed successful, and

restrictions eased, but now they're back. The fight against the coronavirus in Hong Kong, in just a moment.


VAUSE: Well, in terms of containment, Hong Kong is seen as a success. Tough measures were implemented quickly. Authorities were vigilant in chasing down those potentially exposed to the virus. And now, after using those measures, there has been a spike in infections, and those trick rules are back.

CNN's Ivan Watson, live in Hong Kong with the details on this. I guess the question is, Ivan, do they ease up too soon, and is that a lesson for others?

IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I think so. I mean, this is a pandemic that has affected Asian societies months before hitting North America and Europe, so you would hope that policy -- policy makers would look to places like Hong Kong, like Singapore, which took coronavirus very seriously from the beginning. Began locking down, closing the schools in late January, and managed to keep the numbers down for a month.

And then the entire society here in Hong Kong started to relax by the middle of March. And now that relaxation is catching up with the city. It's having to backtrack to stop a second wave of infections here.


WATSON (voice-over): Hong Kong is one of the most densely-populated cities in the world, and it's right next to mainland China, birthplace of the coronavirus pandemic.

But for a month and a half, this city managed to avoid a full-blown outbreak, possibly because of the discipline of people like Sarah Membrey.

As a precaution, we don't meet face to face.

(on camera): Hey, there.

(voice-over): Since January 29, Sarah (ph) and her family have stayed confined to their apartments in this building, only setting foot outside once or twice a week.

SARAH MEMBREY, HONG KONG RESIDENT: Basically, we just did not want to take any risk, because at home, I have my mom, who is -- who is a cancer patient, and we want to be really, really careful. And we also have two kids.

WATSON: Until last week, aggressive social distancing and the closure of schools and public facilities helped keep Hong Kong's coronavirus caseload below the 150 mark.

[00:55:08] But over the last week, the number of infections in Hong Kong suddenly doubled. Authorities say the majority of these new cases were in imported, involving people who traveled internationally.

(on camera): The Hong Kong government is responding to the recent surge in infections. As of last week, any new arrival here at the airport has to go into mandatory 14-day quarantine.

(voice-over): All arrivals get an electronic band to monitor them.

LINDSAY (ph) WILLIAMS, ENGLISH TEACHER: This is for quarantine, for 14 days, yes.

WATSON: Lindsay (ph) Williams, an English teacher from Ohio, has to spend the next two weeks stuck in a hotel room.

(on camera): How do you feel about that?

WILLIAMS: A little nervous, but I've got lots of snacks, books.

WATSON (voice-over): Hong Kong police have been doing spot checks. They say they caught five people who broke quarantine, and they're searching for at least 36 more who have gone missing.

Hong Kong's second wave of infections has Sarah Membrey on edge.

Membrey: It makes us all very nervous. I have to tell you that. But, then, we are also accepting the fact that this is happening.

WATSON (on camera): Do you feel safe right now?

Membrey: At home, yes.

WATSON: She's keeping up the self-imposed quarantine. Her 10-year-old son takes daily classes on video conference.

(on camera): What do you miss most about life before the coronavirus?


WATSON (voice-over): Nearly two months into their lockdown, this family has some advice for people just starting this process.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just stay positive.

Membrey: Just stay positive. That's the only way. And remain hopeful! We remain hopeful, I mean. Remain hopeful that a vaccine is going to come out soon.

WATSON: That's something the whole world is hoping for.


WATSON: Now, make no mistake, the number of infections continue to rise by the dozens, daily, here in Hong Kong and in another city in the region, Singapore, prompting both governments to ban nonresidents from even entering these cities, traveling to these cities.

The chief executive of Hong Kong has threatened to -- to stop alcohol sales at bars and restaurants in an effort to try to keep people isolated from each other.

There is no talk, John, unlike in the White House, of reopening schools before the end of April, of having people back into packed churches. That simply is not on the horizon in these cities -- John.

VAUSE: Ivan, thank you. It looks like it was just round one on the entire battle, huh? Ivan Watson there, senior international correspondent in Hong Kong. Thank you.

And thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause. Please stay with us. "AMANPOUR" starts after a very short break.