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U.S. Leads World in Cases as Death Toll Jumps; Officials Try to Counter Trump's Misstatements on Coronavirus; Infection Strikes Highest Levels of U.K. Government; Spain in "War" to Buy Medical Supplies; Louisiana Plans for Onslaught of Patients; Passenger Describes Ship Isolation; Italy Reports Nearly 1,000 Deaths, 4K+ New Cases on Friday; India Reports Biggest Single-Day Jump in Cases; New Yorkers Thank Essential Workers; Caring for Loved Ones with COVID-19. Aired 4-5a ET

Aired March 28, 2020 - 04:00   ET




ANNA COREN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): The U.S. desperately needs ventilators as confirmed coronavirus cases reach a level no other country has seen. Yet every appearance seems to bring a different message from President Trump on how to solve the shortage.

We'll take you to one of the growing contagion hot spots, New Orleans to see why many residents are seeing parallels to Hurricane Katrina.

And how the fight against the virus could be changing in the U.K. now that prime minister Boris Johnson has it as well.

Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Anna Coren live in Hong Kong. CNN NEWSROOM starts right now.


COREN: The rapid spread of COVID-19 shows no sign of slowing with the United States now the focal point of the global pandemic. Infections in the U.S. have soared past 100,000. More than 400 people died on Friday, the country's highest one-day total yet.

Globally Johns Hopkins University says close to 600,000 people are confirmed infected and more than 27,000 have lost their lives. And millions are out of work. On Friday, Donald Trump signed a stimulus package that dwarfs others we've seen outside the U.S., $2.2 trillion.

It includes measures to send cash directly to many American families. The president also said he is invoking an old Cold War era law to get General Motors to crank out hospital ventilators. Asked if it will be enough, he would not commit.


TRUMP: We have distributed vast numbers of ventilators and we are prepared to do vast numbers. I think we're in great shape. I hope that's the case. I hope that we're going to have leftovers so we can help other people, other countries.

JONATHAN KARL, ABC WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: So everybody who needs one will be able to get a ventilator?

TRUMP: Look, don't be a cutie pie, OK?

Nobody's ever done what we've done. Nobody's done anything like we've been able to do.


COREN: We're covering the pandemic like only CNN can. And we'll show you the makeshift morgues in Spain to deal with the rising body count. We'll take you to South Africa where their economic hub is on full lockdown.

And look to the growing concern that not just in New Orleans but other large American cities could soon face a crisis like New York's. So let's begin there in the U.S.

Many political health and business leaders are trying to figure out the mixed messages they are getting from the White House, even as they try to battle the virus in their cities and towns. Here is Jim Acosta.


JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With the number of dead in the U.S. growing rapidly from the coronavirus, top Trump administration officials are sounding like they are throwing cold water on the president's goal to reopen the U.S. by Easter.


MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, the president expressed really an aspirational goal. He said that he would love to see it around Easter. But whenever that day is that we can responsibly begin to open up portions of the country.

But let me be very clear, there is going to be areas of the country where we need to continue to lean into mitigation efforts.


ACOSTA (voice-over): During a CNN town hall, coronavirus task force doctor, Anthony Fauci, pointed to the rising number of cases arguing that it is no time to slam the brakes on social distancing.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: That is when you have to hunker down, nail down, mitigate, mitigate, mitigate.

ACOSTA (voice-over): The president has been all over the place on the need for medical supplies, tweeting, he wants to see top automakers producing hospital ventilators.

"General Motors must immediately open their stupidly abandoned Lordstown plant in Ohio or some other plant and start making ventilators now.

"Ford, get going on ventilators, fast."

The president tweeted, "Invoke P. Invoke P means Defense Production Act," the law that gives him the power to force companies to manufacture to produce sorely needed virus fighting equipment.

But on FOX News he questioned New York governor Andrew Cuomo's plea for tens of thousands of ventilators for his state.

TRUMP: I have a feeling that lot of the numbers that are being said in some areas are just bigger than they are going to be. I don't believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators. You know, you go into major hospitals sometimes they will have two ventilators and now of a sudden they are saying, can we order 30,000 ventilators.

ACOSTA (voice-over): And Cuomo explained he's expecting his state's medical emergency will get much worse.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): I hope we don't need 30,000 ventilators.


CUOMO: I hope some natural weather change happens overnight and kills the virus globally. That is what I hope. But that is my hope. That is my emotion, that is my thought. The numbers say you may need 30,000.

ACOSTA (voice-over): The president even attacked Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer, who is battling her own coronavirus hot spot.

TRUMP: We've had a big problem with the young, a woman governor from -- you know who I'm talking about -- from Michigan.

I want to thank Republicans and Democrats for coming together, setting aside their differences and putting America first.

ACOSTA (voice-over): The president signed the $2 trillion stimulus bill, passed overwhelmingly by Democrats and Republicans in both houses.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): No bill is perfect. But we want to make sure that at least comes near -- part of the way to being sufficient.


ACOSTA (voice-over): But they had to use parliamentary procedures to bypass a stunt pulled by GOP Congress man Thomas Massey, who forced lawmakers to return to Washington for a possible formal vote, putting the members and their families at risk.

The president slammed Massey as "a third rate grandstander who "just wants the publicity."

Former secretary of state John Kerry topped that, tweeting, "Breaking news, Congressman Massey has tested positive for being an A-hole, he must be quarantined to prevent the spread of his massive stupidity, finally something the president and I can agree on."

Massey was asked about his newfound infamy.


QUESTION: -- third rate grandstander?

REP. THOMAS MASSIE (R-KY): I'm at least second rate.


COREN: Jim Acosta reporting there.

New York City is reporting more than 26,000 cases of coronavirus and there is growing concern tonight about emerging outbreaks in other major cities. Erica Hill has more.


ERICA HILL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Los Angeles, the latest city to see a spike in cases, tripling in less than a week. Across California, the numbers jumping, 26 percent in one day, to more than 3,800.

With more than 100,000 confirmed in the U.S., new hot spots expose a growing need. In Detroit, the city's police chief and 39 officers among those testing positive. Hospitals pleading for help.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We do not have enough masks. We do not have enough gowns. We need more from the federal government and others.

HILL (voice-over): Chicago and New Orleans battling a surge as Atlanta braces.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The anecdotal information I have received is that the ICU beds are already 90 percent at full and that we will exceed our capacity by May 3rd.

HILL (voice-over): In an effort to stop the spread, one North Carolina county is banning all visitors and nonresident property owners, citing the unprecedented health threat posed by COVID-19.

As Massachusetts tells all travelers entering the state, to self quarantine for 14 days.

And Rhode Island announces plans to go door-to-door in coastal communities, looking for anyone from New York.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right now we have a pinpointed risk that we need to address and we need to be very serious. And that risk is called New York City.

HILL (voice-over): As Americans across the city grow restless, those on the front lines are increasingly clear: stay home if you want to stay out of the E.R. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We know we are at the epicenter. We are the tip of

the spear here. And to use a analogy, our concern is that, at this point, we are perhaps just at the outer bands of a category 5 hurricane. This may get worse, before it gets better.

HILL: Elmhurst Hospital just behind me is one of the hardest hit in New York. As for cases here, Mayor de Blasio said earlier today, there are more than 25,500 confirmed cases in New York City.

He said that when he spoke to the president on Friday, he specifically mentioned this hospital here in Queens to the president, because the president is from Queens -- back to you.


COREN: Erica Hill reporting there.

And Dr. Peter Drobac is a global health expert and he is joining us from Oxford.

Peter, great to have you with us. If current trends continue in the United States, some U.S. cities could have coronavirus outbreaks worse than Wuhan. We heard from that doctor in that earlier package describing this crisis as a category 5 hurricane.

How would you describe the situation in America at the moment?

DR. PETER DROBAC, OXFORD UNIVERSITY: I think that is not inaccurate. At the moment New York is the new Wuhan and the real fear is that in a couple weeks we might have several Wuhans in the U.S.

The epidemic doubles at about every 2.5 to 3 days. That would put us on track for about a million cases and 10,000 deaths in the U.S. in just about 10 days from now.


COREN: That is extraordinary, Peter.

Where is the virus spreading the fastest and why?

DROBAC: At the moment, we're seeing both Europe and the U.S. in sort of the steepest part of the curve. And I also would pay attention with some concern to Brazil, which is much earlier in the epidemic now with only about 3,000 cases and 100 tests.

But also starting to see that exponential rise and it really looks a lot like the U.S. did about a month ago, where President Bolsonaro has his head in the sand, reluctant to do very much.

Meanwhile governors and mayors are scrambling to try to start some social distancing. Brazil could be the first big hot spot in Latin America.

COREN: And Peter, New York City, as we saw in that package, now the epicenter of the virus in the United States, has had less success flattening the curve at this point in the outbreak than Wuhan or Lombardy in Italy. Tell us why.

DROBAC: Well, you know, there are different degrees of sort of lockdown and I think New York has tried to be quite aggressive but maybe not to the extent that Wuhan and other parts of were able to be, totally isolated and that will have a greater effect in flattening the curve.

We also need to keep in mind that cases and deaths we're seeing today reflect transmission a week or two ago. You typically don't see an effect on an intervention that you start today for about a couple of weeks. So we can hope we're at the point where we may start to see some flattening of the curve in New York City in response to the measures that have been taken.

COREN: And you mentioned the lockdowns.

What is the best and worst case scenarios for the United States, given that there is no overarching policy on staying at home?

DROBAC: I think continuation of this kind of patchwork approach in the -- (INAUDIBLE) -- sorry, I just got feedback --

COREN: That is OK. You're with us still. That is good. Please continue.

DROBAC: So I think the worst case scenario for many models is that we might see as many as 200 million infections and 1 million to 2 million deaths if not aggressive measures are taken very soon.

I think this patchwork approach is quite dangerous. We know that there is community transmission really across the country and everyone should be looking to New York with concern and with action.

And at this stage of the game, I think it would be really prudent to start considering strong national social distancing measures and possibly even a national lockdown in the U.S. to try to get this under control and buy ourselves some time.

COREN: It is interesting you talk about a national lockdown because we're hearing President Trump calling for certain regions in the U.S. to get back to normal in just a matter of weeks.

How realistic is that?

DROBAC: It is not realistic. And I think if you look out 10 days, as I said, we could be at a million cases and 10,000 deaths in the U.S. We'll also by then be seeing a lot of other hot spots that are looking an awful lot like New York with hospitals and medical systems being overwhelmed.

I think in that setting nobody would be able to responsibly say that it is time to relax measures.

COREN: Peter Drobac, always great to get your analysis. Many thanks.

DROBAC: Thank you. COREN: Lots of criticism to go around after British prime minister Boris Johnson and other British officials test positive for coronavirus. A health crisis at the top of the U.K. government at the worst time possible.

Plus Spain is taking some new drastic measures to fight the virus. There is also some new data that is giving people hope. All of that and much more coming up.





COREN: Welcome back.

An eerie sight from America's playground for grownups. This drone video shot from high above the famed Las Vegas strip. This time of year, it would be filled with tourists and residents and now virtually empty.

Some of those who have been hospitalized with coronavirus are sharing their experiences. They all have a strong warning, socially distance yourselves and never think that it can't happen to you.


MARK MCCLURG, U.K. PASTOR AND CORONAVIRUS PATIENT: This coronavirus is deadly. It is dangerous. Coronavirus wants to kill you, it wants to take all the life out of your lungs such that you can't even breathe.

I'm grateful I'm alive today. All the doctors and nurses (INAUDIBLE) I don't know what else to say, I love you. Lastly don't think that this won't touch you, coronavirus. Don't think for one moment that this is just a cold or cough.

Please. Look at me and listen. If you get coronavirus and you have to go into the ICU, that means that you are going to struggle to breathe if you can't go on a ventilator. So please listen to all the things from government. Keep the social distancing.


COREN: And many are wondering if British prime minister Boris Johnson has been following his own advice during this pandemic after he tested positive for coronavirus. The prime minister made the announcement on social media; minutes later his health secretary also said he had the virus.


COREN: And hours after that, England's chief medical officer said he was having symptoms. The cabinet office minister explained how Johnson is leading the country from quarantine.


MICHAEL GOVE, BRITISH MINISTER FOR THE CABINET OFFICE: Prime minister has coronavirus and is self-isolating at home in Downing Street. He began experiencing mild symptoms yesterday afternoon. And was tested on the advice of England's chief medical officer.

The prime minister is continuing to lead the government's response to coronavirus, chairing meetings and communicating with key members of his team through video conferencing.


COREN: International diplomatic editor Nic Robertson is standing by for us in London.

Nic, the pandemic is threatening the U.K.'s political establishment.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: It is. It already touched it a few weeks ago, the health minister, the deputy if you will to the secretary of state for health, herself tested positive; her 84-year-old mother tested positive.

You know, the good news if you will for the British public is that she got back to work. She was on the front benches of Parliament earlier in the week. But it is a very chilling message that the prime minister, the key components leading the fight against coronavirus in the U.K., can be taken down by it.

The message clearly from the government is one of stability, continuity, that they are not going to be put off course by the very fact that some of them are having to work from isolation, seven days of isolation. But it will fuel the understanding in the U.K. that it can touch anyone.

Health workers here have been told at the press conference on Friday by the government that they will start to get tests over the weekend, which is good news for the health workers. But it is not in the numbers they've been calling for, it's coming late and it will perhaps be not sufficient to really do the job, which is making sure enough health workers can be on duty at the hospitals, can be on hand to help people who come down with severe symptoms.

So the country really is struggling to get a grip with this, knowing that it is on the upward curve at the moment of this pandemic. The prime minister should be out of quarantine by this time next week.

If he is, that would then therefore be a positive message. But it is far from clear how the virus is going to affect him. The first secretary of state, who is the foreign minister here, Dominic Raab, he would be designated to take over from the prime minister. So there would be continuity but all of this, of course, is rattling the country.

COREN: Yes, absolutely. Nic Robertson, good to see you. Many thanks for the update.

France is extending its confinement measures until April 15th. The prime minister says the epidemic there is just beginning, even though almost 2,000 people have already died.

In Spain, that number is more than 5,000, based on data from Johns Hopkins University. Madrid has converted an ice rink into a morgue and a convention center into a giant military hospital.

But some officials say that they have hope now that the number of new cases each day seems to be going down and the increase in the death rate appears to be slowing. Let's now go to Al Goodman in Madrid.

Al, why are officials hopeful?

AL GOODMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, they were quite hopeful at the beginning of this week, even saying that the peak of the curve could come just in a matter of days. One official saying it could happen on Wednesday, last Wednesday. None of that happened.

They have retooled in the face of the actual evidence that is coming in on the number of cases and deaths. Now they are saying that the peak of the curve is soon and they are hopeful with these figures.

The number of deaths that you gave in the last -- the most recent figures, there was a 769 deaths in just a 24 hour period, the most in this whole crisis for Spain. But officials are taking some hope that the percentage of the increase of deaths has not been so high.

So that 769 was up from the previous day but down from another spike earlier. So they are looking at these statistics.

And on that makeshift morgue at the ice rink, unfortunately the officials here in Madrid are now outfitting another morgue in the coming days. You can see this bus coming behind me, the buses are running here in Madrid but they are practically empty.

So the second makeshift morgue out by the airport will be ready in the coming days. On a brighter note, the WHO announcing, the World Health Organization announcing that Spain is now joining a list of about 45 countries that will be participating in a clinical trial to see if four different drugs or a combination of those four drugs, how effective they might be against COVID-19.


GOODMAN: The WHO saying the more countries that participate, the more people who volunteer for this who have COVID-19, the faster they may come up with a solution.

COREN: That certainly is promising. Al Goodman, many thanks.

Restrictions in movement are clearing more than just the city streets, it appears to be clearing the skies. This is satellite imagery from the European Space Agency. It is showing a drastic reduction of pollution over Europe. The satellite obtained this data between March 14th and March 25th.

And that information was compared to equivalent data from last year.

And we're heading to New Orleans after the break, where health workers without enough protective gear are preparing for a flood of patients. Why they say that this crisis is looking disturbingly familiar.

Plus from a passenger confined to his room on a cruise ship isolated outside the Panama Canal.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We just want the ports in the country to help us because we just don't want more people to die.





COREN: Welcome back. You are watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Anna Coren. Headlines this hour:



COREN: Louisiana authorities are frantically preparing for an onslaught of coronavirus patients. The state now has more than 2,700 confirmed cases and 119 deaths. New Orleans's infamous convention center is being converted into a makeshift hospital as medical workers echo their colleagues across the U.S., saying they need more protective gear. Here is Ed Lavandera.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The brown paper bags you see on this New Orleans hospital wall is where medical teams must store their N-95 masks as they go in and out of rooms where coronavirus patients are being treated.

A hospital worker shared this photo with CNN. We've blurred out the names of the medical workers on each bag. The medical staff must reuse the masks until they are soiled.

This photo shows a machine that converts a room into what's known as a negative pressure room, where COVID-19 patients are treated. This keeps the airborne contamination from spreading outside of the room. The hospital confirms these temporary rooms are being created to handle the growing number of coronavirus patients.

This is one of three drive-through testing sites set up in and around the city of New Orleans, long lines of cars winding through this parking lot. But each of these sites can only test 250 people per day. This site reached its limit in two hours.

So far, more than 21,000 people have been tested statewide. Louisiana's governor says the state is in a dire situation as the number of coronavirus cases continues to spike quickly.

GOV. JOHN BEL EDWARDS (D-LA): We're one day deeper into this event. While we don't know what the duration will be, we know we're doing everything within our power to respond to this crisis. And we need everyone, I implore everyone to do their part as well.

LAVANDERA: The governor has said hospitals could run out of bed space and ventilators by early April. Medical teams are preparing to turn the convention center into a makeshift hospital. State officials say 120 beds will be ready to take coronavirus patients by this weekend and the site could ultimately stage more than 1,100 beds.

Fifteen years ago, the New Orleans Convention Center was the sight of despair and grief in the days after Hurricane Katrina. For many, this is bringing back the emotional memories of seeing this place once again at the center of another crisis.


LAVANDERA: Ecoee Rooney is the president of the New Orleans District Nurses Association. She spoke with us from inside one of the hospitals treating the growing number of coronavirus patients.

(on camera): What kind of stress are these medical professionals under inside these hospitals in New Orleans?

ROONEY: They are under tremendous stress, obviously. We are, you know, dealing with something that we've never dealt with before.

LAVANDERA: Do you feel like the worst is still yet to come?

ROONEY: We know that this is going to get worse before it gets better.

I will tell you, you know, there is a lot of fear and anxiety. But what I'm seeing more than anything is that people are responding so amazingly.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Across New Orleans, life is at a standstill.

Most businesses are shuttered and the usually bustling streets are mostly quiet. A city used to being in the eye of storms is not used to finding itself in the eye of a viral pandemic.

LAVANDERA: CNN has also obtained written information about one particular coronavirus patient here in the New Orleans area.

According to the written information that we have seen, it shows that, in one case, a patient wasn't treated immediately because the doctors and medical staff didn't have enough personal protection equipment around them to be able to enter the hospital room where that patient is -- Ed Lavandera, CNN, New Orleans. (END VIDEOTAPE)

COREN: And authorities are not sure if the coronavirus is what killed four older people on board a cruise ship stuck outside the Panama Canal.

Holland America says that it has more than 100 sick with flu-like symptoms. Two have tested positive but the others have not been tested. As of now, it sits outside the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal. Panama does not allow ships with infections to pass through the canal.


COREN: One of the passengers on that ship spoke with CNN's Erin Burnett Friday evening about the situation on board.


CLIFFORD KOLBER, CRUISE SHIP PASSENGER: The situation is pretty terrible, as a matter of fact, especially since we had four people die. And that makes it really sad. But the captain high school been amazing. He is doing everything he can. This has been going on for about 10 days.

The thing is, just that we feel as though the ports, especially in the United States, just don't want to take us in. Holland America caters to the older people, so that's what's happening. They were elder people who passed away already.

And we just want the ports in the country to help us because we just don't want more people to die.


COREN: Holland America says that it is following the CDC guidelines to move healthy passengers to another ship nearby.

And a major figure in American social justice has died. Joseph Lowrey was known as the dean of the Civil Rights Movement. He cofounded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference with Martin Luther King Jr. and worked to help desegregate the South.

And he later established a foundation for justice and human rights. He died Friday, he was 98 years old.

COVID-19 fatalities surge once again in Italy to the highest numbers seen since the crisis began. This as authorities say dozens of doctors diagnosed with the virus have died.

And Africa braces for the pandemic. South African soldiers patrolling the streets as a nationwide lockdown goes into effect. We'll take you live to Johannesburg.




COREN: Italy reports its highest daily jump in COVID-19 fatalities since the start of the virus; 969 deaths were reported by Italy's civil protection agency on Friday amid 4400 new coronavirus cases.


COREN: In total, there have been over 86,000 confirmed cases in Italy, more than 66,000 of those are still considered to be active.

And the virus there is taking a terrible toll on the health workers who are struggling to treat patients. The Italian Association of Doctors say 51 doctors who tested positive for COVID-19 have died, including 32 in the hard hit Lombardy region. Almost 6500 Italian health workers have been affected.

Dr. Lorenzo Menicanti, head of cardiac surgery, is joining us live from Milan, Italy.

And, Doctor, firstly, my condolences. To lose 51 doctors who are on the front lines treating these patients, it is a tragedy and really goes to show what these this crisis is doing in Italy.

DR. LORENZO MENICANTI, POLICLINICO SAN DONATO: Yes, it is terrible things. Particularly the patient -- the doctor that die are a general practitioner that were first exposed to the virus when they went to the different houses of the patient. Probably they have not the good protection.

And this is the region for what we have this so high mortality. And that probably also is depend on the fact that there was -- this patient died after some days of disease, that means that theoretically they achieved the disease just in the beginning of the situation.

Probably now they all are concerned about stronger protection for that. And it is hopefully that we will see this number decrease by the time. But of course, this is a tragedy. Yesterday we had in Lombardy more than 500 patients die. So we are under stress, no question about that. The only thing --


COREN: Tell us about that stress. Tell us about what your day involves.

MENICANTI: You see the hospitals are completely changed. The great majority of hospitals devoted to this pathology. Our own hospital is devoted to cardiovascular disease now is completely converted to coronavirus.

So all people is under huge stress, of course the people that treat patients but also the people that have to manage the hospital.

Can you imagine that we have a hospital that absorb a huge quantity of oxygen for example, so we were obliged to build up new lines to have a good quantity of oxygen. And also the number of respirators must be increased. So it is a very stressful situation. The only good thing is that probably we are reaching now the peak of the situation. And we see that, in the last few days, the numbers of patients that have presented in the emergency room are decreasing, slowly but are decreasing.

So we record a higher number of deaths but in the last two days, we see a slight decrease of number of patients that ask to be hospitalized. So this trend must be checked in the next week but the feeling is that probably we have reached the peak around this time.

COREN: Dr. Lorenzo Menicanti, we thank you for your work and we thank your peers and all those doctors and health workers on the front line battling this crisis. Many thanks for speaking to us here.

MENICANTI: Thank you very much. Have a good day.

COREN: China's new ban on most foreign visitors is going into effect as the government tries to curb the number of infected people coming into the country. Officials say all 54 new cases reported Friday are people who traveled to China from abroad.

Meantime, South Korea is reporting a spike in new cases and so is Japan. The health ministry in Tokyo is recording 112 on Friday; that is the first time Japan has reported more than 100 new infections in a day.

A similar situation in India, 149 new cases in the last 24 hours. They say that it is India's biggest single day jump so far.


COREN: India has reported nearly 900 total coronavirus cases and 19 deaths. Crews are sanitizing neighborhoods to curb the spread of the virus.

The sprawling South African city of Johannesburg is eerily quiet as the country implements a 21 day lockdown. Soldiers and police are patrolling the streets to enforce the rules. The lockdown began as the country reported its first two coronavirus deaths and more than 1,000 confirmed cases. David McKenzie is joining us from Johannesburg.

Tell us about how South Africa are dealing with the pandemic.

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I think like many countries in Africa, there is a real worry that the health system cannot cope with it. If you look at the situation in northern Italy and how difficult it has been for them, the situation here could be much worse in the end.

It is eerily quiet in my neighborhood today and throughout the country. On Friday we were out on the streets and this is the economic capital of Africa.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MCKENZIE (voice-over): And just look at these images where many law firms and financial practices operate. Not even a single car on the street we saw except for police vehicles. And that is having a massive economic impact, of course, in this country and all across the world.


MCKENZIE: Just overnight, the ratings agency Moody's downgraded South Africa to junk status. That was a long time in coming but the government says it couldn't come at a worse time.

And we were in downtown Johannesburg, witnessing the military clearing homeless off the street. They say that they will go to shelters; they were firm but polite.

Contrasting scenes in Kenya, where they instituted a curfew and at the ferry terminal that I've been to several times, you just see the images of the police there, really cracking down on people, leading to a large amount of criticism on social media.

All across the continent, they are in the earlier stage it seems of the spread of the virus but are extremely worried given the circumstances in many countries, it could be very bad indeed.

COREN: David McKenzie, appreciate the update. Thank you.

Well, it is not just hospital and doctors on the front lines of the virus front. Many are going to be caring for a sick loved one at home. How experts say you can do it safely.







COREN (voice-over): New Yorkers have taken up the new tradition of thanking health care workers, first responders and other essential workers while quarantined in their buildings.

CNN got several of these videos shared online of them clapping, cheering and even singing from their windows and balconies. Celebrations like this have been arranged online through social media in cities across the globe.


COREN: We want to take a moment to highlight some of the health care workers who gave their all to help their patients.


COREN (voice-over): This is Jordan Kelly, a nurse at Mount Sinai hospital in New York. His family says he tested positive for the virus 1.5 weeks ago. He died on Tuesday. The hospital says that he is a hero and was a compassionate and selfless caregiver.

A Florida doctor also died this week from the virus. Dr. Alex Hu recently traveled to China and contracted the illness. His hospital says he was a valuable member of their staff for the past 22 years and will be greatly missed.


COREN: It is not just the hospitals and clinics that will be overwhelmed by this disease outbreak. Many of us will have to care for loved ones sick with the coronavirus in our own homes. Brian Todd shows how to keep your household safe.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In New York City, Jessica Lustig says she feels like she is lives in a time warp. The deputy editor of "The New York Times" magazine has written a heartwrenching journal of what it is like to stay at home and care for her coronavirus infected husband, who she says is, quote, "wearing the same pajama bottoms for days because it is too hard to change out of them."

She writes her husband, who she call calls T, is isolated in his room away from their teenage daughter. Lustig says only she goes into his room to care for him, which public health experts say is the right move.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Keep everyone either away from that room, keep them away from their clothes and bedding and utensils and plates, anything else that they have touched. It's that one person looking out, being the care provider and looking out for them.

TODD (voice-over): But for Jessica Lustig, that means an exhausting and stressful routine. She says that she is, "rushing back and forth, making sure T has a little dinner, just a tiny bowl of soup, just an appetizer really, that he is unable to smell, that he fights nausea to choke down.

"Taking his temperature, monitoring his oxygen saturation levels with a fingertip pulse oximeter brought by a friend from the drugstore, dispensing his meds. Washing my hands over and over."

She can't leave a bottle of Advil in his room, she says, because she needs to handle that bottle. Anything her husband touches, she says, has to be carefully taken from his room to the kitchen or laundry room, where she and her daughter try to clean it without actually touching it with an exposed hand.

Experts say Lustig is following the playbook.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ensure all the utensils and the plates, when you feed them, are kept separately and we wash them up separately. Keep their clothes separate so when you put them in the washing machine to do the laundry, we keep those separate.

TODD (voice-over): And experts say, home care givers as well as their patients have to wear masks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Put a procedural mask on or they have one next to the bed, they put that on when you go in to give them the food or water or medication or going into help them to go to the bathroom.

TODD (voice-over): But front line doctors say they are worried about home care givers having everything that they need.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have no confidence that they have the equipment they need to protect themselves and their patients.


TODD: Home care givers have to deal with the emotional anguish of the patient's more bizarre symptoms.

Lustig writes, "The nights are hardest, when the fear and dread descend, T feverish, lying on his back, murmuring hoarsely, saying he almost just called their daughter CK by the name of his 20 years ago ex-girlfriend.

And that's what experts say home care givers also have to address here: the issue of taking care of themselves during the ordeal -- listening to music, reading, watching TV, anything that makes you happy, those are crucial, experts say.

And find another person to talk to, someone to whom you can off load all of your anxieties -- Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


COREN: Thanks so much for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Anna Coren. CNN NEWSROOM continues after this short break.