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CNN NEWSROOM

U.S. Leads World in Cases as Death Toll Jumps; Medical Workers Face Virus without Proper Gear; Democratic Contenders Weigh in on the Epidemic; Infection Strikes Highest Levels of U.K. Government; Spain in "War" to Buy Medical Supplies; Closures, Layoffs Take Heavy Toll on U.S. Workers; Italy Reports Nearly 1,000 Deaths, 4K+ New Cases on Friday; India Reports Biggest Single-Day Jump in Cases; Japan Records 100+ New Cases in a Single Day; Scenes of Kindness and Hope amid Outbreak. Aired 5-6a ET

Aired March 28, 2020 - 05:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


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ANNA COREN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): The U.S. reaches a grim milestone in the coronavirus pandemic as almost 50 percent of its residents are ordered to stay home.

Doctors and nurses across the U.S. say they're feeling abandoned. Why weeks into the pandemic they still don't have enough supplies to protect themselves.

While in Europe, we're seeing makeshift morgues as death tolls skyrocket.

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

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

Globally, Johns Hopkins University now says more than 600,000 people are confirmed to be infected and more than 2,700 have lost their lives.

Millions of people around the world are out of work because of the pandemic. On Friday, President Trump signed a stimulus package that dwarfs others we've seen outside of the U.S., $2.2 trillion. It includes measures to send cash directly to many American families.

The president is invoking an old Cold War era law to get General Motors to begin cranking out hospital ventilators. Asked if it will be enough, he would not commit.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) 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.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COREN: Covering the pandemic like only CNN can this hour, we're live in Rome as Italy records its highest death toll in one day since the outbreak began. Also why coronavirus cases are suddenly on the rise in Japan and South Korea.

Plus, the staggering economic toll of all this, how so many are struggling to make ends meet. We start with CNN's Kaitlan Collins at the White House with more on what prompted Trump to invoke the Defense Protection Act.

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KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: After days of prodding by state governors, the president says that he will actually use the Defense Production Act he signed in recent weeks.

That gives him federal powers to tell private companies that they have to make a certain product. It is normally used during wartime but is being used in this pandemic. It's notable the circumstances in which is using it.

His administration had been in talks with General Motors and a smaller company to produce ventilators that hospitals say they are in desperately short supply of but those talks were put on hold. There was a disagreement with the administration and GM over the price tag and, timeline of how long it would take for them to produce those ventilators.

Despite those talks being stalled, General Motors said that it was still moving forward with the process like it was going to be producing them. It did not appear that there was a lot of time to be lost.

However, we are told by sources that the president grew irritated with reports about the hold on those talks and, today, he moved ahead without much notice, saying that he would use the Defense Production Act to require General Motors to make these ventilators.

People familiar with the discussion say that it will not really change the timeline that much. GM still has to retool its factories to get them to be able to make ventilators and these are complex machines. They take a lot of time.

We should also note that we are told by sources that the administration did not give General Motors a heads-up that it is going to be signing the DPA to get these ventilators made. Of course, it comes as the president had been pretty critical of some of the governors who said that they were not getting what they needed from the federal government.

People like New York governor Andrew Cuomo who says that his state will need 30,000 ventilators, he expects, when they hit their apex of these cases, these cases of coronavirus, in New York City.

For now, the president is putting his trade adviser Peter Navarro in charge of coordinating the DPA, so the question is whether or not they're going to start using it more aggressively or if that's just as one company for now -- Kaitlan Collins, CNN, the White House.

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COREN: As this deadly virus moves through America, the reality is not matching the glowing self assessments from the White House.

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COREN: Many nurses and doctors are forced to put their own lives at risk. Drew Griffin looks at the shocking conditions they face.

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DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): What does proper protective gear look like?

Chicago anesthesiologist Cory Deburghgraeve sent this video, double gloves, N-95 mask, face shield, all, as he demonstrates, needed to protect

health care workers like himself whose contact while intubating coronavirus patients is near cheek to cheek.

DR. CORY DEBURGHGRAEVE, ANESTHESIOLOGIST: So as you can see, my head was this close to the patient. So if they're coughing or having sputum, that's all going right into my face.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): It is a far cry from this, a mask stapled together to last until the end of a shift. Nurses in upstate New York being told they get one surgical mask for five days because of shortages and medical personnel getting sick on the front lines.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have about 41 people in our hospital who have tested positive for the coronavirus.

This week in one New York City hospital, an assistant nurse manager Kivus Kelly (ph), who suffered from asthma, died. His sister said the last time she heard from him was Wednesday.

MARYA SHERRON, KELLY'S SISTER: He texted and said that he was in ICU. He had the coronavirus. He said I can't talk because I choke. He was having difficulty breathing. He said, I'm going to be OK.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): Many medical workers are fighting without the thinnest level of protection: the face mask, the plastic face shield, the flimsiest of plastic gowns that could mean the difference between treating the infected and becoming one of them. Kelley Cabrera, an emergency nurse in The Bronx, New York, said she gets one set of gear to last a day, masks to being reused for five days.

KELLEY CABRERA, EMERGENCY NURSE: It's like we're going into a war with no protection. We know how this is transmitted. We know that this is incredibly contagious. And we're seeing it -- we're being exposed over and over again. And it is criminal. This is absolutely criminal.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): Supplies across the country are dwindling.

In Arizona:

DR. ARYA CHOWDHURY, E.R. PHYSICIAN: I can tell you my biggest concern right now as an emergency physician is the lack of PPE.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): In Michigan:

DR. JONEIGH KHALDUN, STATE OF MICHIGAN: I've now got doctors and nurses on the front lines who are using one mask for their entire shift.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): The biggest question is, where is it?

Where are the strategic stockpiles that the president and his administration talk about?

TRUMP: We've got tremendous amounts of equipment coming in.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): Only 12 percent of health care facilities said they've received supplies from the federal government, according to a recent survey of 1,110 health care providers. Nearly half don't have enough face shields. And nearly one-third are almost out or completely out of masks. Desperate medical workers don't know where to turn.

CABRERA: We just feel like we've been abandoned. We're being told to do things that are really dangerous.

GRIFFIN: They're telling us, because of the shortage of equipment, they are being asked to do what would have gotten them fired just a month ago. They are in a desperate situation for supplies -- Drew Griffin, CNN, Atlanta.

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COREN: We have Dr. Richard Dawood, medical director at the Fleet Street Clinic, joining us live from London.

Doctor, great to have you with us. As you heard that health professional in that story moments ago, she said, we're at war.

Is that you how you feel? DR. RICHARD DAWOOD, FLEET STREET CLINIC: Yes, is this a call on all of us in the medical community to really go above and beyond. It's a very difficult situation.

I understand, you know, all of the fear and anxiety but also -- this is also bringing out the best in people from all walks of life in some sense of volunteering and applying themselves to this complex and unprecedented situation.

COREN: Let's talk about the toll that it's taking on health professionals. We know in Italy that 51 doctors have died treating coronavirus patients as have many other health care professionals around the world. As a doctor yourself, tell us about the risks that you are taking every day.

DAWOOD: Well, I'm very fortunate in that I've just come through this, I just got over what was a very mild infection. And I think that there are -- and I know two other colleagues who are, you know, at a similar stage in this process.

And I think one of the things that's going to happen is there's going to be a body of people who have come through the infection, who can then put themselves back in the front line, without any real fear and can perhaps relieve some of the pressure on here currently working there.

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DAWOOD: So I think that's one of the things we really need to do -- that's one of the advantages of testing. We need to test and support people where they have the infection and get them back into the workforce at the earliest point.

COREN: So Dr. Dawood, just to be clear, you contracted coronavirus?

DAWOOD: Yes. But I was very fortunate. I had a really mild case. I was unwell for perhaps four or five days but that's now over and I'm back at work. And I've put myself forward to work in an emergency setting.

And I can see that lots of my other colleagues who have been treated are doing exactly the same thing and trying to get back into action. I think, before long, we will have a workforce that's relatively protected.

That doesn't diminish the need for us to do everything possible to protect those who are in the front line, who have not yet become infected with this. We must get good working practices out there and protect the front line.

COREN: Well, it's great to hear that you have made a full recovery and you're back at work treating these people. We are weeks if not months into this crisis and yet governments continue to be scrambling, whether it be equipment for hospitals, whether it be protective gear for health professionals.

Why is this happening? DAWOOD: Well, I don't -- you know, I think one could spend a lot of time examining the reasons and the delay.

I think what we can do that's more positive is to apply the mass of human ingenuity that we have to call upon to get ourselves out of this situation and find ways around it, to ramp up production of medical equipment, to make sure where it exists and where supplies exist, they're being distributed to people who need them.

So, yes, I'm not sure how productive it is to keep exploring the reasons. What we really need now is for people to explore the solutions.

COREN: And what are the solutions?

DAWOOD: Well, I mean, I can speak to what's going on in the U.K., for example, where there's been a massive upgrade in the production of ventilators and ventilator technology.

Businesses, companies, manufacturers that don't normally produce that kind of equipment have ramped things up. There's been a call for innovation. A number of new designs are in production as we speak. And this is being scaled up.

There must be any number of factories, production facilities, manufacturers that have got products and goods that can be used to help make hand sanitizer, PPE masks; people in the clothing industry, there's so many things people can do to help.

And that's what we really need to happen. One of the things that's going to reduce mortality in this crisis is if we can do more to get this kind of equipment out to people in places that need it.

Equally, what doesn't seem to have much coverage lately is the huge response by the scientific community in terms of compressing the pace of drug development, uniting science facilities from all over the world, in this huge crowdsourced effort to get things moving.

And, so, that's, I think, that really is what each of us needs to do, is to consider exactly what we can do to help and how we can contribute.

COREN: Yes. Countless people around the world working like yourselves to try and get on top of this virus. Dr. Richard Dawood, great to have you with us. Many thanks.

DAWOOD: Thank you.

COREN: The Democratic presidential candidates are giving their suggestions for how to take on the growing coronavirus pandemic. CNN's Jessica Dean has more on what they told their supporters and the nation.

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JESSICA DEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He's currently leading the delegate count in the Democratic nomination. And on Friday night, former Vice President Joe Biden took part in a CNN town hall focused on the coronavirus pandemic and the response to it.

The former vice president saying that if he were president, he would support a national lockdown. He is also asked a question about freezing rent payments. He said he advocates freezing rent payments across the board for up to three months.

The former vice president also had a very strong message to President Donald Trump.

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is not personal.

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BIDEN: It has nothing to do with you, Donald Trump, nothing to do with you. Do your job. Stop personalizing everything.

DEAN: Former vice president Biden also talking about how he's been personally dealing with the coronavirus pandemic in his household and he's saying that advisers he's talking to currently think this could go well into late May, early June but stressed nobody really knows right now for sure.

Also on Friday night, the other person in the running for the Democratic nomination, senator Bernie Sanders holding a virtual town hall. He was talking about the coronavirus pandemic and response as well and advocating strongly that now is the time to listen to scientists.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is not a time for political rhetoric. This is a time for science and for the American people to understand the reality of what we're facing.

DEAN: Of course senator Sanders and Vice President Biden have both been forced off the campaign trail due to the coronavirus pandemic. So all of their events are virtual, like the ones on Friday night -- Jessica Dean, CNN, Philadelphia.

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COREN: Well, lots of criticism to go around after prime minister Boris Johnson and other British officials test positive for coronavirus. The 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's also some new data that's giving people hope. All of that and much more, coming up.

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SONJA REINERT, EMORY HOSPITAL: Going to work, it is a choice that I make, because I love being a nurse. When I became a nurse, I never thought that I would have to choose between my job and my family.

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COREN: Well, fears and frustrations on full display there from a nurse in Atlanta, Georgia. The husband and son both have asthma, which could cause complications if exposed to the virus. She's also calling for people to donate critically needed supplies.

This highlights how medical workers, the people we need most right now, are struggling to fight the war.

Well, many are wondering if British prime minister Boris Johnson has been following his own advice during this pandemic now that he has tested positive for the coronavirus. The prime minister made the announcement on social media.

Minutes later, his health secretary also said he had the virus. And hours after that, England's chief medical officer said he was having symptoms. The cabinet office minister meanwhile said the rate of infection has been doubling every three to four days, that's even though the country has been on virtual lockdown for days now.

Also France is extending its confinement measures to April 15th. The prime minister saying 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 had to convert an ice rink into a morgue and a convention center into a giant military hospital.

But some officials say they have hope now that the number of new cases each day seem to be going down and the increase in the death rate appears to be slowing. CNN's Nic Robertson joins us from London along with Al Goodman in Madrid.

Nic, for weeks, Boris Johnson refused to shut down the U.K. With him contracting the coronavirus, this is a wake-up to the British public.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: It's certainly an additional warning. If they hadn't taken the prime minister seriously before, they may do a little bit more now, the social distancing, the stay at home, it's all been in place now for a week, about a week now.

But the fact that the prime minister is now working from behind closed doors, you know, his office staff have to knock on the door, leave food, leave the paper, whatever it is outside. And he'll continue to sort of lead Britain's fight against the coronavirus pandemic by video link.

That's how he plans to do it. So it is a very clear and stark message that the virus touches everyone. But there still is a lot of concern. The British government announced Friday that it was building an additional two emergency hospitals on top of the one it was building in London in Manchester and Birmingham.

And announced as well that it was going to give health care workers coronavirus tests over this weekend and hoping to ramp up the numbers further into the thousands over the coming week.

But the reality is, this government compared to some others in Europe has been slow to accept that it did need to ask people to stay indoors, stay away from work, to exercise social distancing.

And indeed, it perhaps most critically at the moment, does seem to lag behind its neighbors in having enough coronavirus test kits available.

Remember, if it is only beginning to get to the critical health care workers now who are working in hospitals and only at the moment testing those already in hospital, the expected increase, increased 24 percent yesterday, on the number of cases testing positive, there is going to be a huge demand on the virus testing capabilities of this country.

And it does seem, at the moment, while the prime minister is behind closed doors, those at the cold face of fighting this, the front line, if you will, the medical workers, are, at the moment, still waiting in some cases to get tests so they can come out of isolation so they can continue to work safely.

COREN: Yes. It's crazy, isn't it?

Al, if I can go to you now in Madrid. I know that there are officials in Spain who believe that the country will turn a corner soon. But Spain suffered its deadliest day on Friday.

So what does this mean?

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AL GOODMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In terms of the absolute increase in the number of deaths but what's giving officials encouragement, Anna, is that we're halfway through the nationwide lockdown, the stay-at- home order, the social distancing.

Now there are some community activities. Shopping is one of them. So at a greengrocer in my neighborhood, people are out for their Saturday morning chores. Police are enforcing this.

In just the few minutes before I've come on live here, two different squad cars of national police officers have stopped me to check my CNN documents and also a letter for CNN, saying I'm authorized to be out and working for them and on the streets.

Now the death rate, the percentage rate has been evening out just a little bit, down from a spike, but its still going up and down. The authorities have said they were expecting the peak of the curve within days. That's what they said at the beginning of this past week. Now they've moderated that, saying they are hoping it would become

soon. In addition to that temporary morgue at the ice rink, there's going to be a second temporary morgue set up near the airport.

And the fallout from some faulty rapid test equipment that the government bought from a supplier in Spain, who imported it from China, this continues, the government following protocol, tested it in their own labs, they determined that it wouldn't really tell you who had COVID-19 or not. So they had to discard that and find other suppliers.

There's a massive effort still going on in Spain, like in so many other countries, to get the protective gear. And one indication that they haven't had it is that more than 9,000 medical workers in Spain have the COVID-19 virus. Back to you, Anna.

COREN: Al Goodman joining from us Madrid, Nic Robertson in London, great to have you both with us. Many thanks.

Well, the pandemic is having a huge impact on the American workforce. How the record number of newly unemployed are dealing with the impact of closed businesses and empty streets.

Plus, we go live to Italy to show the spike in fatalities on Friday. We will also check in with a woman who has been living under lockdown there for weeks. She'll give us a lesson in Italian to help us all stay safe.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking Italian).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Speaking Italian).

(INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) stay home, Stay home.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking Italian) means to stay home.

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COREN: Welcome back to our viewers in the United States and around the world. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Anna Coren in Hong Kong. The headlines at this hour.

(HEADLINES) COREN: As coronavirus cases in the U.S. soar, so do the number of people out of work. CNN's Jason Carroll has been speaking to several of those directly impacted by the closures and layoffs in one of the worst hit parts of the country -- New York.

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JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Millions ordered to stay home and a growing number of people across the country out of work, now that more and more businesses have been forced to close.

CONNOR ZAFT, PRODUCTION WORKER: Frustrating is one word. Impossible is another.

CARROLL (voice-over): Connor Zaft (ph) was laid off his production job last week. His savings will last until next month or so. Zaft worries that federal measures to suspend foreclosures won't help people like him because he's a renter.

ZAFT: If you have any sympathy for people like me, please, dear God, at least a 90-day rent free at least minimum just to let us get back on our feet.

CARROLL (voice-over): The economic outlook not much better for Uber driver Mokles Islam. He's still working but with so few passengers, he's not sure he can make April's car payment.

MOKLES ISLAM, UBER DRIVER: I'm working but it's a really big problem right now. I don't have any money in my hands right now.

COREN (voice-over): Word of some businesses hiring has been trickling in. Pizza Hut aims to hire more than 30,000 employees given the increased demand for takeout and delivery. Instacart, the on-demand grocery startup, plans to hire 300,000 more workers to meet surges for grocery deliveries.

Still, the national outlook is staggering. And for many people, they're counting on federal help.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everyone needs that money as quickly as possible. The challenge is, you want the money to go out quickly, you want it to be spent well. And sometime those objectives are (INAUDIBLE) intentions.

CARROLL (voice-over): For now, closed businesses like the iconic New York City restaurants Cafeteria and Empire Diner have a GoFundMe page for employees.

STACY PISONE, CAFETERIA AND EMPIRE DINER: It's been two weeks of sheer financial devastation.

CARROLL (voice-over): Stacy Pisone said she had to lay off the entire staff from both restaurants.

PISONE: Week two. CARROLL: Week two.

And how much longer can you sustain this?

PISONE: Well, you know, that's the question. That's the million dollar question. And we really can't sustain it very long.

CARROLL (voice-over): Jason Carroll, CNN, New York.

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COREN: To Italy now, which, on Friday, reported the highest number of coronavirus fatalities since the beginning of this crisis. Civil protection authorities say that there were 969 deaths, amid 4,400 new cases.

There have been more than 8,600 confirmed -- I beg your pardon -- 86,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Italy, including both those who died and those who recovered. At least 66,000 of those are still considered active.

Italian authorities say the country has not yet reached the peak of contagion. Let's go to Rome, where we find our Ben Wedeman.

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COREN: Ben, when are authorities expecting to reach the peak?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, they were hoping to reach it soon, keeping in mind the total lockdown in the country happened about two weeks ago. They're hoping by now there would be at least some leveling off of the number of new cases.

But what we've seen is, earlier this week, a decrease in the number of -- rather, a decrease in the increase of new cases. But that shot up yesterday.

And, of course, this death toll of 969 people in just one day that was reported on Friday evening, indicates that, really, that leveling off just isn't happening yet. So the Italian authorities are originally talking about easing restrictions on the 3rd of April.

That clearly is not going to happen as long as these numbers continue to increase. And, in fact, you know, Italy now has surpassed China with the total number of recorded cases. It long ago surpassed China in the number of reported deaths.

So this really, you know, people are talking about a light at the end of the tunnel; it is not appearing yet as far as Italy is concerned -- Anna.

COREN: OK. Ben Wedeman, great to have you on the ground there, many thanks for your reporting.

We've been following a British citizen who moved to Italy a few months ago to become a language teacher. She lives in a small town in the north and has been keeping a video blog. It includes what life is life in a lockdown. Take a look.

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KARLI DRINKWATER, LANGUAGE TEACHER: The first one, the one that you'll see every related to COVID-19 content is (Speaking Italian).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking Italian).

(CROSSTALK)

DRINKWATER: Yes, everything will be OK. So it's a way to just remind ourselves to just hang in there.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COREN: Karli Drinkwater joining us now.

Great to have you with us.

How are you doing?

DRINKWATER: We're holding up. And the mood is very slow, tedious now. It's a long, distant memory when we could walk outside, have a run, going on our bikes. We're kind of in a state of acceptance now. It's day 20 of a national lockdown. It's been two weeks where we can't even step outside without saying what we're doing and where we're going. It's really tough at this point, especially since the weather has taken a turn for the worse and we're seeing snow and rain. It's taken a toll on Italy this week.

COREN: I bet. I bet. Tell me what your day-to-day is like. Obviously, you're doing this video diary. We shared some a little bit earlier. But going out, getting groceries, going to essential services.

Is that possible?

DRINKWATER: It's possible to go and buy food from the supermarket and it's possible to go to the pharmacy. But those are the only things that we're allowed to do now as residents.

As I mentioned, we can't go out and do something just for our health. We've got to that state now, we've got to that level of containment, as the authorities just try to keep up with the bureaucracy of the new cases and the new deaths.

So we've had a self-declaration forum for a while now to allow us to go to the supermarket. But they change almost daily. It's really confusing as we get updates almost daily. And the forms that permit us to get to the supermarket get more and more complicated.

It started with having to take your personal details, your I.D., like where you live, like what you're doing. Yesterday, we have another form and we have to say which supermarket we're going to because, if you get checked by the police, they will see where you are at that point. If you're on a road that doesn't make sense for that route for the

supermarket, you could be checked and you could be fined. We now have fines up to 4,000 euros if we do something that does not comply with the national decrees.

COREN: That's a hefty fine but obviously it needs to be in place for people to take it seriously.

Are Italians abiding by these rules, by these lockdowns?

DRINKWATER: I would say the majority of us are. And we live in a very small place. And I finally went to the supermarket yesterday after an entire week of quarantine, being in the House, not being even able to step outside.

And when I walked to the supermarket yesterday, I didn't see anybody. It was just completely empty. The church bells were chiming to an empty piazza, there was absolutely nothing and nobody.

[05:40:00]

DRINKWATER: But there were clearly a handful of people who are not following these directions because there are still fines for people violating the decree, which is why we got to this level of containment and confinement.

We started the lockdown with a basic amount of liberty. We could go for a walk or a run. But that's since got harder and harder. And I think because there are a few people, just a small amount, that are making it really difficult for the entire nation. And we're in this situation now because of that.

COREN: Karli, you said going outside, it's very, very quiet. That must be rather eerie.

Do you also have a sense of fear, knowing how contagious coronavirus is, knowing also that you are in a part of Italy that is the epicenter of COVID-19?

DRINKWATER: It is really eerie. It's such a strange, surreal time. It feels like we're living this dystopian reality. It's a sad chapter of our lives and for Italy.

I don't personally fear catching the virus because I'm not the elderly and I don't have underlying health conditions. But that's exactly the point that we all have to work together and be selfless to help the people that could catch it and could get extremely ill from this.

Perhaps we could be a carrier. If you're a young person, you could be a carrier and be asymptomatic and don't know it. So I'm not frightened for myself. I'm frightened for the rest of the country. I'm frightened for the health system that is rapidly collapsing.

There are plenty of hospitals that cannot cope with the amount of new cases. Plenty of hospitals run out of ICU beds. Doctors are dying as well. There are people putting their lives on the line for this. It's about everybody as a whole, not just me personally, that I feel the anxiety and fear.

COREN: Karli, a very important message to share. Thank you for speaking to us. Keep up the great work and please stay safe.

DRINKWATER: Thank you.

COREN: Restrictions on movement, seeing that much of the world are clearing more than just city streets, it appears also to be clearing the skies.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COREN (voice-over): This is satellite imagery from the European Space Agency. It shows what the agency is calling a drastic reduction in pollution. The information was compared to equivalent data from last year.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COREN: Coronavirus cases are spiking in parts of Asia. We'll go to Tokyo to find out what may be causing it.

Plus, why a cruise ship with dozens sick on board is not allowed through the Panama Canal.

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COREN: Welcome back.

Panamanian authorities are not sure if the coronavirus is what killed four people on board a cruise ship stuck outside of the Panama Canal. Holland America has more than 100 sick. Two passages tested positive for the COVID-19 but others have not been tested at this time. Panama does not allow ships with infections to pass through the canal.

Health officials in India report at least 149 new cases in the past 24 hours. It's India's biggest single-day jump so far. India has reported more than 900 coronavirus cases and 20 deaths. Crews in Mumbai are sanitizing some of the poorest neighborhoods, to curb the spread of the virus.

China's new ban on most foreign visitors is going into effect as the government is trying 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.

Well, meantime, South Korea is reporting a spike in new cases and so is Japan, the health ministry recording 112 on Friday. Well, that's the first time Japan has reported more than 100 new infections in a day. CNN's Will Ripley joins us now from Tokyo. Will, what might be causing these spikes?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know what they say, the more you test, the more you find, Anna. And Japan is testing a tiny fraction, but more than 1,200 tests a day. They have the capacity to test around 8,000. So they're actually testing less than a sixth of what their stated capacity is.

That has a lot of people in Japan wondering if they've only tested 27,000 people since the start of the crisis yesterday how many more cases are out there?

And could there be a lot more cases after what we saw in the Tokyo parks and along the river this week, when people were out in droves viewing the cherry blossoms?

This week, China is starting to take steps that are unprecedented. Even during the disaster of the Fukushima plant, they never closed down the parks. But they're closing down the cherry blossom viewing areas in parks. (INAUDIBLE) Starbucks locations are closing down.

(INAUDIBLE) crossing is empty. These are unprecedented times around the world and unprecedented measures being taken place in Japan. But they are just happening recently, Anna.

COREN: Will, the timing of all of this is rather suspicious. The government only now taking it seriously, after the Olympics have been postponed.

RIPLEY: It is interesting, isn't it?

Japan had such a relaxed approach before the announcement of the Olympic postponement. They avoided the kind of firm restrictions on business and travel. They avoided declaring a state of emergency.

And that all seems to be changing. It has enacted big travel restrictions and are beefing up the airport screening and moving closer to a state of emergency in this country, all just days after announcing that Tokyo 2020 is going to be postponed by a year.

Now we don't know if there's any correlation of that. The Japanese government saying they're going by the numbers that they have. But it has people wondering why only now that the government is taking steps that other governments have taken weeks or months ago.

COREN: Interesting indeed. Will, thank you for reporting.

From the dark clouds of the coronavirus outbreak, some rays of light.

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COREN (voice-over): How this beautiful school choir and many others are trying to brighten the day in the midst of the pandemic.

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COREN: Family time during the coronavirus pandemic. Alyssa Burkes (ph) posted this picture of her husband, a doctor, on Facebook, saying hello to his son safely through a glass door. The doctor and the family have been self-quarantining from each other for a couple of weeks.

Burkes said she wants to remind people the sacrifices health care workers are making. What a beautiful shot.

Amid the pandemic, many people are coming together to do what they can do to make their day and their neighbors' day a little better. CNN's Tom Foreman looks at how some Americans are bringing light to the darkness.

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TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When the spring concert was canceled for this California high school chorus, the members sang anyway, each person recording his or her part, stringing them together online and the results are magical.

They are not alone. Coast to coast, people are finding ways to be brave, optimistic.

CHIEF TOM VAUGHN, SOUTHPORT POLICE: We're just kind of all getting together and figuring out how we can help in the best way.

FOREMAN (voice-over): In Indiana, police have been delivering groceries and medicine to older and disabled forks.

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FOREMAN (voice-over): In Florida, volunteers are offering drive up service for long lines in need of similar help.

And in Tennessee, country star Brad Paisley.

BRAD PAISLEY, COUNTRY STAR: We are mobilizing a group of volunteers to deliver groceries, one week's groceries, to elderly people that should not be out shopping on their own in these times.

FOREMAN (voice-over): In Maryland, volunteers have been working almost around the clock, making, so far, more than 35,000 face shields for hospital workers.

A half hour away...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I pledge allegiance to the flag --

FOREMAN (voice-over): The Lawrence (ph) family started saying the pledge of allegiance in their driveway each morning. Now the whole neighborhood has joined them, saying hello, checking in on each other.

A call for help went out from NBA star Frank Kaminski (ph) and many others, hearing that a lot of animal shelters are closing. Now record adoptions are reported, including at this shelter, which was set to shutter with 50 dogs. Now all have homes.

And on it goes, from Texas where a couple learned that a local restaurant was going dark and left the staff a $9,400 dollar tip, to Wisconsin, where an artist rendered a fast mural for all who might pass.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm just glad that I was able to do something that is bringing a little happiness to people.

FOREMAN (voice-over): So, sure, the future is uncertain, the economy is in turmoil but the businesses of kindness, gratitude and hope is booming.

FOREMAN: And remember, all these generous folks are facing the same dangers, the same questions we all are. But they are doing good anyway -- Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.

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COREN: Well, thanks so much for watching CNN NEWSROOM. Thank you for your company. I'm Anna Coren in Hong Kong. "NEW DAY" is up next, after this short break.