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Trump Extends Social Distancing Guidelines Until April 30; Videos From Health Workers Reveal Dreadful Conditions; U.S. Faces Highest Known Number Of Virus Cases. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired March 30, 2020 - 01:00   ET

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


[01:00:00]

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MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. I'm Michael Holmes. Now, as the coronavirus spreads through the U.S. like wildfire, a one skeptical President Trump now calling for more social distancing than ever. He wants several weeks have it now and is firmly backing away from his earliest suggestion that parts of the country could reopen by Easter.

This coming as the U.S. becomes home to the most COVID-19 infections of any country in the world, nearly 140,000 with a death toll that's more than doubled in just the last few days. A number of global cases fast approaching three quarters of a million. In many parts of the world, medical personnel are pleading for more protective equipment, hospital beds, and of course, ventilators.

New York City's Mayor saying the city only has enough supplies to last through the week, and that it needs hundreds more ventilators immediately. Jeremy Diamond question the U.S. President about the federal response to the crisis and his own shifting narrative.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Trump on Sunday announcing that he is extending those social distancing guidelines to slow the spread of the coronavirus epidemic in the United States, announcing that he will keep those guidelines in place for all Americans across the country until the end of April.

This was days after the President was suggesting that he might want to begin reopening the country's economy by Easter Sunday. And the President's suggesting that just a few days ago. But clearly, the President was convinced by his public health experts that he needed to keep these restrictions in place in order to avert worst case scenarios as far as the death toll is concerned.

Nonetheless, the president acknowledging that 100,000 Americans could die from the coronavirus. That was an estimate put out earlier on Sunday by Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the leading public health experts. And the president saying that if he can keep it under that number, he feels like it will be a good job. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If we could hold that down, as we're saying, to 100,000, that's a horrible number, maybe even less, but to 100,000, so we have between 100 and 200,000. We all together have done a very good job.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DIAMOND: Now, the President also refused to back down on this statement that governors of various states across the country shouldn't be critical of him or his administration, but should instead be appreciative. That was the word that the President used on Friday during a news conference when he said that those governors should be appreciative. And if they don't treat him right, then he would not call them back. I press the President's on that on Sunday. Listen in.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DIAMOND: You were talking about governors of different states, and you said I want them to be appreciative. You also said if they don't treat you right, and I don't call --

TRUMP: But I didn't said that. I didn't said that.

DIAMOND: These are direct quotes, sir.

TRUMP: Excuse me. Ready? Ready? Take a look at what I said. I want them to be appreciative of me, OK. And then you cut it off, because it's fake news.

DIAMOND: You and of your administration, absolutely.

TRUMP: Listen, just please, let me just finish it. You just said it again. You know --

DIAMOND: I could have read you your full comments, sir, if that would be easy.

TRUMP: Let me just say, look, your statement and your response and your answer is a lie. Because here's the story. You're ready? I said, I want you to be appreciative of me, and then you go on -- and then I go on, and you cut it off. But it says, because when you're not --

DIAMOND: You said, I want them to be appreciative. I don't want them to say things that aren't true. I want them to be appreciative. We've done a great job. And I'm not talking about me, I'm talking about Mike Pence, the Task Force. I'm talking about FEMA --

TRUMP: Thank you.

DIAMOND: The Army Corps of Engineers --

TRUMP: Thank you.

(END VIDEO CLIP) DIAMOND: And you can see there, the president pushing back, but ultimately, sticking with the same point that he doesn't feel these governors should be disrespecting him. Of course, in the past the President has also talked about this as a two-way street between him and the governors of various states. Of course, those governors who have been critical of the president haven't been critical of him personally. What they've been saying is that the federal government hasn't been doing enough to get them vital medical supplies and equipment, whether it be ventilators for those N-95 respirator masks.

But there is an interesting dichotomy here. Even as we hear the President's rhetoric, the vice presidents of the United States Mike Pence, he just on Saturday, did phone governor Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, one of those governors who the President was targeting, and Whitmer then thanked him not only for the call, but for delivering more than 100,000 additional N-95 masks. Jeremy Diamond, CNN, the White House.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HOLMES: Now, New York State reporting close to 60,000 cases of the virus, by far the most anywhere in the U.S. But health workers have been struggling to treat those patients largely because yes, they are low on equipment, staff, and even morale. Now some are filming the dreadful conditions they face on the front lines and are sharing their experiences with CNN.

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(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MONALISA MUCHATUTA, EMERGENCY MEDICINE DOCTOR: Hospitals are running out of medications. Some hospitals don't have protective gear for staff, or family members, or patients that come to the hospital. We're running out of medications, we're running out of equipment, and we're even running out of oxygen which is something that patients that have COVID-19 need.

So we don't want to test your immune system in this day and age. If you're feeling unwell, stay home. If you're exposed to somebody, stay home.

BENJAMIN OBASEKI, NEW YORK DOCTOR: There was a common misconception going around that it's only an elder people in our population that's being affected. This is simply untrue. Every day we're having people, younger, adults come in who have very little comorbidities or other illnesses going on, who are being seriously affected by this illness. Affected to the point to where they have to be put on a ventilator just to breath.

MUCHATUTA: Like the one that's beeping in the background.

OBASEKI: Exactly. The one that's been in the background is a young patient who was presumably healthy before they came in. This is not something that's isolated to old. Please hear this warning and do whatever necessary to prevent this from spreading. MUCHATUTA: All right, we love you. We want you to stay healthy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOLMES: And joining us now to discuss all of this Anne Rimoin, professor at the UCLA Department of Epidemiology. She's live for us in Los Angeles. And good to see you. Thanks so much, Professor. I mean, potentially, when you hear the president saying 100,000 deaths -- well, if we get 100,000 deaths, that's a bit of a win. That's a good thing. It's a shocking figure 100,000 to 200,000 deaths. But in your view, is that a not unreasonable estimate?

ANNE RIMOIN, PROFESSOR, UCLA DEPARTMENT OF EPIDEMIOLOGY: Well, you know, the thing about models is that they are predictive and just based on all of the assumptions that go into them, and all of those things can change. So you know, I have a colleague who's a modeler who likes to say all models are wrong, but they can be useful.

So we need to take this as what a scenario could be if we are not taking into account good social distancing, good practices of hand hygiene, and all the things that we can do to flatten the curve. We do have the possibility to make a difference in the outcome. We are not powerless.

We can -- we -- and I think that that's the thing that people forget. We have methods to flatten the curve. And if everybody does what they're supposed to do, by social distancing, hand hygiene, and keeping their droplets to themselves by covering their mouth with face -- with a with a makeshift mask, or a handkerchief, or a bandana, you know, we can make differences even just as a community.

HOLMES: Yes. That is so true, that those numbers are frightening but they can be altered. Models can be altered by behavior.

RIMOIN: Absolutely.

HOLMES: I wanted to -- I wanted to ask you about this, the PPE which everyone knows what that means these days, the supplies used in the U.S. You know, what did you think of the president suggesting that hospitals are hoarding ventilators and essentially stealing masks. That was extraordinary. He said, if something's going on, you reporters should look into it. Where are they going? Out the back door. What do you make of that and the shortage itself and the supply issues?

RIMOIN: Well, the fact of the matter is that we have a shortage of PPE. And this is poor planning. This should have been -- PPE should have -- production should have been ramped up months ago when we knew that this was a problem. But that said, I think everybody's spending a lot of time accusing everybody else about what they accusing people about what they have done or what they haven't done. And the fact of the matter is we have to stop playing politics and we have to stop -- start fighting the virus.

And to fight the virus, we need more PPE, we need more ventilators, we need people to do their part to slow the spread. And this is what's going to stop the virus. All of this political wrangling is not going to help anybody?

HOLMES: Yes, certainly, it needs to get distributed. That's the bottom line. You're a professor of epidemiology. I was going to attach on your expertise for this for our international viewers. I mean, if the projections for the U.S. potential predictions -- I mean, what are your concerns about places like Africa, where many nations on their continent do not have advanced medical infrastructure, people are often crammed together in tight quarters, millions don't even have the ability to wash their hands? Is it terrifying to what could happen in a continent like Africa?

RIMOIN: Absolutely. I run a research program in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and I have a lot of staff and faculty and family there. It's something that I am very concerned about. And having spent the better part of my career working with healthcare workers on the frontlines of Ebola, monkeypox, other diseases, you know, this is a huge problem.

And I think that, you know, normally we spend a lot of -- we like to think that these problems can only happen over there, and now we're seeing all of the parallels right here in our own system.

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HOLMES: Right.

RIMOIN: But going back to your big question, you know, am I worried about Africa? I'm very worried. But this is -- this is a healthcare system that is already very stressed. Healthcare workers are few and far between, and there are very few ventilators even in place. But even more concerning, is what happens to the social fabric when we start having -- seeing all of these people dying and getting sick, lack of resources.

You know, it's more than just an issue of health in you know, everywhere in the world. When people start getting scared, you know that it has a spillover effect, and that's terrifying to me.

HOLMES: Yes. And the societal issue is an important one. In fact, we have a guest later in the program to discuss exactly that issue, so it's interesting you raised that. Just very quickly. I only got a minute left. The President has loudly said that the testing is widespread. It's the most in the world which it isn't in per capita terms. It's not even close. How necessary is it to test country wide, particularly to detect asymptomatic carriers who are inadvertently spreading?

RIMOIN: Without widespread testing, we have no idea where we are in the curve of this epidemic. And so widespread testing widely available is critical. We need to know who's symptomatic. But of course, we need to know who's asymptomatic as well, because the denominator could be completely different. It changes everything if everybody already is infected.

So the failure of testing here in the United States has been enormous. And the fact that we do not have widespread testing out right now means that we can't prepare. Testing only tells you where you were 10 to 14 days ago, so we don't know where we are. It's very few -- very few people are able to get a test right now here in the United States, so we are far behind the curve. We need to ramp up immediately.

HOLMES: Yes. I think everyone would agree with that. I'm going to leave it there, unfortunately. Professor Anne Rimoin, thank you so much. I really appreciate it.

RIMOIN: My pleasure.

HOLMES: Well, the Spanish health ministry now reporting 838 new deaths. That is the country's highest increase to date in this pandemic, and brings the overall death toll in Spain to more than 6,500 people. With one of the highest rates of infection in the world, Spain's hospitals and morgues are quickly becoming overcrowded.

Here to tell us more is journalist Al Goodman joining us from Madrid. I mean, you're two weeks now into the state of emergency lockdown order. Is there any good news? Has it impacted the death toll?

AL GOODMAN, JOURNALIST: Hi, Michael. When that stay at home locked down order went into effect just two weekends ago, there were slightly more than 300 deaths in Spain. Now, there, as the figure you just gave, well over 6,200 according to some counts, 6,500 is the figure you gave according some other counts.

And the troubling thing is that 37 percent of those deaths have come in just the last three days. And although most of the victims are over 70 years old, some with preexisting conditions that were particularly susceptible to COVID-19, it has also taken here as in other countries, the young. I'm thinking of the announcement that a 40-year-old Civil Guard commander, a young fit man was also taken by this disease.

And where has it hit? Its hit particularly hard in the two biggest cities in Spain, right here in Madrid, the capital, and in the second city, Barcelona, over on the training coast. So even though the numbers of the percentage increase of the deaths are stabilizing, the official say they had to take some more action.

That's why they have instituted starting today for the second two weeks to the lockdown that all non-essential workers. Construction workers are particularly is a large group of people who have been continuing on building projects, doing home improvements, and these kinds of things, they have to say home.

They're trying to get the traffic in the city on the trains in the cars and people moving around the city down to the levels of a Sunday, they say. These people will be paid back -- they will be paid now, and they will have to give those hours back.

But they're really trying to stop the pressure on the intensive care unit beds. There just may not be enough of them. In some places, the government already admitting that. They had almost 5,800 of these ICU beds before the crisis started. They've added more, but they're very worried in certain areas, particularly in the two largest city that they don't have enough to take care of this new influx of people. Michael?

HOLMES: Yes. Of course, they say that what happens now was born two weeks ago, and seeing that in Spain as well. Al Goodman, good to have you there in Madrid for us. Thank you. We're going to take a quick break. When we come back, South Korea in the U.S. reported their first cases of Coronavirus on the same day, but their responses, vastly different. I'll ask an expert what the U.S. needs to do to catch up when we come back.

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HOLMES: Welcome back. Recapping our top story. President Trump extending social distancing guidelines in the U.S. until April 30th. The move coming as the country faces more than 139,000 cases, at least, of the coronavirus, the highest number in the world.

Last week, Mr. Trump focused on a quick economic recovery, saying he wanted the U.S. to open up by Easter. Well, on Sunday, he acknowledged the number of deaths could top 100,000 and might not peak for another two weeks at least.

Louisiana is running out of supplies, meanwhile, as the number of cases there grows. The state has reported 151 deaths from the virus, the fourth most in the U.S. Among those dead a member of the governor's own staff.

Let's talk more about how the U.S. is handling this pandemic or perhaps more relevantly has handled it. Jeremy Konyndyk is the Senior Fellow for The Center for Global Development. He is also the former head of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance. The right man to talk to joins me now from Takoma Park, Maryland.

Good to see you. You were quoted in a recent article saying, "We are witnessing in the United States one of the greatest failures of basic governance and basic leadership in modern times." Explain why that is so.

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JEREMY KONYNDYK, SENIOR FELLOW, CENTER FOR GLOBAL DEVELOPMENT: Well, because we had a six-week period between when we saw the explosion of cases in Wuhan, China in the mid to late January until we began seeing case counts really begin to mount here in the early middle of March. We had a six-week period when we could have been preparing.

And during most of that time, the federal government rather than taking that threat seriously, acknowledging the risk posed to the country, and doing something about it, was instead telling the whole country that the risk was low, downplaying the threat, and focusing mainly on keeping Chinese travelers out of this country rather than preparing our own -- our own our own domestic hospital and so on.

HOLMES: Yes. And to that point. I mean, it was on January the 30th, the World Health Organization declared a global emergency and you had Donald Trump saying, we only have five people, hopefully everything's going to be great. The interesting thing is the U.S. and South Korea got their first cases on precisely the same day, and then proceeded to handle it very differently.

I don't particularly want to play a specific blame game, per se. But you see negligence in the U.S. response, and at any level willful negligence?

KONYNDYK: Well, I think there was a certain arrogance. I think there was a sense that this was happening in China, but it was unlikely to happen here. And, you know, through the month of February, that what you heard over and over from the White House and from federal health officials was that the risk was low, and the situation was under control.

And we know now of course, that neither of those things were true. We also know that that they were made -- those statements were made from a position of blindness because of the testing failures in this country. And so, I think going back to that date of January 20, and comparing what the U.S. did and what South Korea did is very instructive.

South Korea because of the experience with SARS, and MERS and other major infectious disease problem, took this very seriously and began immediately scaling up large scale testing in the country so they would know when they were starting to face problems. We did not do the same here.

HOLMES: You know, it's interesting. Why do you think us leadership played down this threat in those early days? I mean, the reporting is U.S. intelligence saw what was happening in Wuhan, China and warn the administration of the potential that we have since seen fulfilled. I mean, when you say that statements were made that weren't true, do you think that was knowingly so?

KONYNDYK: I don't think they knew that there were more cases than they were seeing. I think they were making statements that were not supported by the evidence that had available to them. I don't think there was willful deception there, but I think there was -- I think they were blind to what was going on in the country. And that is, you know, not quite as bad as deception, but it's certainly a degree of governing negligence.

HOLMES: You know, asked by CNN's Jake Tapper on Sunday if she believes that Donald Trump's playing down to the crisis cost American lives, the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was pretty blunt. She said, yes, I am. I'm saying that. Is that going too far?

KONYNDYK: No. The President sent a very clear signal to the entire federal government bureaucracy that he did not want this risk, played up. He did not want -- he did not want to alarm the public and more importantly, for him, he did not want to alarm the market.

So the sort of measures that we should have been taking at that time, signaling to our hospitals that it was time to prepare for surges in cases, beginning to establish nationwide surveillance for this disease, you know, hard measures that would have alarmed people and preparing the public for the sort of social distancing that we're seeing now. None of those things were done. None of those things were done proactively.

South Korea, Singapore, other countries did those things proactively, and they're in much better shape than we are now because of it. We're doing them reactively and it's very hard to catch up when you've given the virus six weeks of a head start.

HOLMES: Yes, yes, good point. I mean, part of -- part of your job has been mapping out how to stop diseases from spreading. So, the U.S. like other countries, as we've been discussing, is playing catch up. Given where we're at, what can be done or needs to be done now or done better?

KONYNDYK: Well, you know, the tragic thing is because we lost so much time, we now have a dramatically larger and more difficult job than we would have had, and we're going to lose a lot more people very sadly, than had to be the case.

I think we will get through this. I think the social distancing measures that are underway now will have some -- you know, will be helpful. What worries me is that I think we're only learning about half the lesson from countries like Singapore, South Korea, and China. You know, all of those countries, yes, they did social distancing, but they also put in place very robust public health interventions, very targeted testing, isolation, and quarantine, so that they had those kind of two protections at once.

We're really only doing half of that. We're not doing nearly the level of testing we need to, and our public health capacity, especially at a local level in this country is just far weaker than in those countries. So we need a major surge there, and so far, it's not yet happening.

[01:25:19]

HOLMES: Jeremy Konyndyk, thank you so much. I really appreciate your expertise on this.

KONYNDYK: My pleasure. Thank you.

HOLMES: We'll take a quick break. When we come back, how doctors in Spain are using snorkeling gear and a little ingenuity to solve their shortage of surgical masks. We'll be right back.

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MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back with protective masks in short supply. Some doctors in Spain have gotten creative turning snorkeling masks into lifesaving equipment. CNN Scott McLean with more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The coronavirus pandemic has turned the surgical mask into a hot commodity worldwide. Many Spanish hospitals they are in desperately short supply. A couple of doctors in Northern Spain watched colleagues in Madrid struggle with shortages and had an idea.

IGNACIO J. AMAT, CHIEF CARDIOLOGIST, HCU VALLADOLID: I had a mask, a decathlon mask in my house and I thought that maybe I can do some kind of connection to use it.

(voice-over): Dr. Alfredo Redondo is a cardiologist in Valladolid, Spain. Dr. Ignacio Amat is his boss.

AMAT: As always Alfredo has brilliant ideas. This one I think it was a little bit crazy. But it was through that we were all very concerned. So we have to evaluate all the crazy ideas.

(voice-over): Making it work took some engineering, replacing the snorkel with a common medical grade filter attached by a custom made tube 3D printed at the hospital. Each part can be sterilized and reused and the filters last five days.

AMAT: He's absolutely protected. There is a complete sealing.

(voice-over): The mask doesn't have official approval from health authorities, but ICU staff are already using them in Valladolid.

(on camera): I wonder what this tells you about the situation that your country is in?

AMAT: We are in a dramatic situation. I know the health authorities are doing as much as they can, but we need some solutions straight away.

(voice-over): That's because 15 percent of all confirmed cases in Spain are healthcare workers. One of the highest rates on Earth. Some hospital staff in Madrid have had to make gowns out of garbage bags, and reuse single use masks. To aid the initiative sporting chain decathlon has now blocked public sales of the 25-year-old mask, plus.

AMAT: Many, many people from around is trying to send us their scuba masks from home.

(voice-over): In Valladolid, the hospital is going all in on the easy breath. They already bought a second 3D printer. And it's also catching on other hospitals, desperate for a solution to protect staff on the front line.

Scott McLean, CNN, Madrid.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HOLMES: And joining me now from Washington is healthcare policy adviser, Nicole Fisher. She is the founder and president of Health and Human Rights Strategies. An important conversation to have as bad as things are and we asked them early in this already seeing in some parts of the world, your frustration with lockdowns, complaints about food supply, millions of jobs lost, financial stresses piling up, even a rise in domestic violence in a place like France. How does human psychology relate to those types of stresses or react to those stresses?

NICOLE FISHER, FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT, HEALTH AND HUMAN RIGHTS STRATEGIES: Sure. Well, thank you for having me. I think this is a really important conversation to have I mean, both historically and as you said, psychologically. You know, people -- humans haven't changed a lot over the centuries.

And when under stress, when in fear, lack of resources, frustrations, feelings of helplessness, we often get angry and our fight or flight responses kick in whether we want them to or not. And you see everything from as you said, you know, domestic violence to civil unrest, rioting. Throughout pandemics in history, there have been many cases of riots and protests.

HOLMES: Yes. You wrote and just quote, what happens to the human brain and subsequent behavioral responses when placed on lockdown much like imprisonment is very predictable which I found an interesting quote. What can happen when fear and need come into play when that reaches a desperation level?

FISHER: Well, I think you used a great word, desperation. When those, you know, sympathetic nervous system kicks in, we, you know, our body tells us, our brain tells us, we either have to get in position to fight what's coming at us or we have to run away.

And we've seen all over the world in, you know, this example of the coronavirus, when people find out early that they're about to be locked in, they run. What do they do? They take the disease with them. They take, you know, they become carriers, it spreads. Or, you know, there are cases like 2014 and '15 in the Liberian capital of Monrovia, people woke up and found themselves barricaded in. And because they were in place, they took that other position. They rioted. They fought. They took to the street.

HOLMES: Yes, you know, when that survival mode kicks in, I guess, you know, it's easy to lose things like sympathy, empathy. How much can a person change in that situation in terms of what they are prepared to do?

[01:35:01]

FISHER: I think a lot of people think they're prepared until something actually happens to them. When someone is faced with, how am I going to feed my family? Am I going to lose my home? There is not a lot in our current day to day lives that really actually prepares us for that. And often, we resort back to, you know, fundamental human nature, which oftentimes is not pretty and not rational and not kind.

HOLMES: I guess also class, income and inequality that that very much comes into play in this, doesn't it? There are those of us with a financial cushion, homes that are at risk. And there are many people, particularly right now who don't have that do not have that security may have lost the job, the rents due in a couple of weeks. What can that lead to if it happens on a on a large scale?

FISHER: Well, I mean I think, you know, these conversations are happening everywhere. And I was doing some work yesterday in which we were actually referring here in the United States to us almost move into a caste system of sorts. And for those of us who have worked in other countries, you know, all of a sudden, it's not just the haves and the have nots, you're finding full tiers of individuals who, you know, have access to different resources, they fall into different categories of, you know, what is possible, not only now, but in the future.

And, you know, unfortunately, we're seeing a lot of this come out in the home. And as you said, you know, there's people who have larger spaces, you know, they have more of an outlet, they can go to a different room. You look at some of the class issues, and people who have multiple family living -- met family members living in a small space. There aren't those outlets and rage and frustrations can come to the surface much faster.

HOLMES: And, you know, do you do have a concern not just in the U.S. but in other parts of the world as well? Do you have a concern that, you know, the glue that holds societal norms together could turn out to be fragile if this goes on and gets worse in that sense of supply and demand need?

FISHER: I do, and I think it is it's very fragile. And I think the places I'm most concerned about are those that don't have a lot of resources and those that don't have a lot of trusting government. I think that is where we're going to see the unraveling come apart first.

People are going to feel taken advantage of. They're going to feel like they don't know the whole truth. And you know, in these first few weeks, there's a lot of rallying together, you see people on balconies cheering each other on. The longer this goes on, the more nerves that will get shot along the way. And, and I think, in a lot of places where there's lack of trust in government, that's where we're going to start seeing civil unrest first.

HOLMES: It's a very worrying conversation to have but an important one without being alarmed about it as this goes on. Great to get your expertise on this Nicole. Nicole Fisher, I appreciate it. Thank you.

FISHER: Have a great night.

HOLMES: Well, the U.S. treasury secretary says, financial help is on the way for Americans despite the massive stimulus package investors still worried about how the economy will recover when this is all over. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[01:42:27]

HOLMES: Welcome back, the U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin says, Americans can expect checks from that massive stimulus bill to be deposited directly into their accounts within three weeks, experts warn that the waits for the emergency cash could take longer than that, though.

The notion though, trying to reassure investors, entrepreneurs, and workers that relief is on the way.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEVE MNUCHIN, U.S. TREASURY SECRETARY: The economy was in very, very good health. And we shut it down. And let me just say we're very sympathetic to the people who don't have jobs. And that's why the President was very clear that he wanted me to work with Congress on a bipartisan basis quickly to support those people.

So I hope number one, businesses rehire, small businesses rehire those people now that they'll have the money. Number two, people will have enhanced unemployment insurance. And number three, people have direct deposit money in their accounts to provide liquidity. And we want to get people back to work as quickly as we can, subject to the medical conditions.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOLMES: And John Defterios joins me now from Abu Dhabi. John, you know, what is the biggest economic challenge here? I mean, not knowing when people can go back to work and how deep the global recession will be. They will be what?

JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: Michael, I think it's the timeline of uncertainty, not being weeks but months now. And that narrative changed quite dramatically over the weekend there. I listened to the language of Steve Mnuchin. He's being much more sensitive to the plight of workers. He's a man from Wall Street and was seen as insensitive the week before.

The U.K. is a prime example though that we hear that there's going to be a lockdown for months. President Trump had this Easter target that's been extended. And for context, JPMorgan Chase on Wall Street is suggesting that in the first half, listen to this number, that the global economy will drop by better than 10 percent.

Per context here, the G20 stimulus was $5 trillion, Michael, if we have a 10 percent drop, we're losing $8 trillion. So it's a record amount of stimulus, but it's not enough to remove this cloud of uncertainty that hangs over workers because they don't know in genuine when things are going to pick up again. That's the reality we're faced with today.

HOLMES: Yes, it is. When it comes to the markets, there is pressure selling, increasing just start the week off. What do you see is the outlook?

DEFTERIOS: Well, Michael, it's hard to find a bright spot here. The Asia markets for the most part, were down pretty severe. Nikkei down in Tokyo was better than 3 percent. The other two major indices in Shanghai and Hong Kong down better than 1 percent. We saw a rally in South Korea in the last hour of trading to kind of cut those losses. Singapore which is extremely export dependent down better than 3 percent on the day.

[01:45:20]

The big news today and why the stock markets were down in Asia is that the price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia when it comes to oil, will begin in earnest on April 1, that's when the new supplies hit the market. Saudi Arabia and the UAE here in Abu Dhabi print another 3.6 million barrels a day when demand is collapsing.

So the oil prices here are hovering at a 17-year low. We could reach $20 a barrel for the U.S. benchmark which is WTI if I was going to look for a bright spot after the biggest selling in the dollar in the decade last week. We see some stability in the dollar. Gold is the safe haven right now, Michael, but it is still inching lower because there's no real safe place to put your money.

Even the U.S. bond markets been under pressure as of late. I wouldn't call this panic selling. We've had a lot more volatility. But still, after the weekend of recalibrating the timeline to go back to work, we see the selling continue.

HOLMES: Yes. I'm not very reassuring. But thanks, John, good to have you on board there with the latest thing in the financial world. John Defterios of course in Abu Dhabi.

All right, as businesses continue to shut their doors, many customers turning to food delivery services to support their local restaurants. Is it safe? We will have the answers after the break.

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[01:51:04]

HOLMES: Well with cities around the world under lockdown, many restaurants and cafes have turned to take out and delivery services to keep their kitchens running, and at least some stuff employed. But how safe is this option? Is it possible to contract the virus from food? CNN's Amara Walker ask the experts.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

AMARA WALKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With most restaurants across the U.S. shuttered many of us are turning to food takeout or delivery. But how safe is it?

DR. BENJAMIN CHAPMAN, FOOD SAFETY EXTENSION SPECIALIST, NORTH CAROLINA STATE UNIV.: My message around takeout really is, go ahead and do it. It's a really safe alternative.

(voice-over): Dr. Benjamin Chapman, a food safety specialist at North Carolina State University says, there is no evidence that coronavirus is transmitted by food or food packaging, even if coronavirus somehow makes its way into your meal. DR. ANGELA RASMUSSEN, VIROLOGIST, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: In general, eating food is low risk and there has not been any evidence to show that coronavirus is transmitted by eating food.

(voice-over): And although the heat from cooking is more likely to kill off the coronavirus, Dr. Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at Columbia University says, the risk of contracting COVID-19 through a hot or even cold meal is extremely low.

RASMUSSEN: Coronaviruses in general are not stable at high temperatures, so it is highly likely that cooking food will inactivate the virus.

Cold foods we don't know how long the virus remains infectious on cold foods. However, for things like produce that you would presumably wash prior to eating, that should rinse off any virus.

(voice-over): Dr. Rasmussen adds, if the virus is ingested, our stomach would actually get rid of the virus.

RASMUSSEN: When you eat any kind of food whether it be hot or cold. that food is going to go straight down into your stomach where there's a high acidity, low pH environment that also will inactivate the virus.

(voice-over): CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta says that if you order food from the restaurant, there are some precautions you should take.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: What we've basically done is once we receive food, we'll try and take off some of the packaging actually on the porch even and leave it out there. And then when we come in, we sort of wipe any of the surfaces that -- any of that -- the remaining packaging is on and then obviously wash our hands.

I mean, again, keeping in mind that it's hand touching, and then hands to face. So that's how we've sort of approached it and it seems to have worked. I feel pretty good about it.

(voice-over): Dr. Celine Gounder, a clinical assistant professor of Medicine and Infectious Diseases at NYU Bellevue agrees that it's human interaction, not interaction with food that poses the greatest risk.

DR. CELINE GOUNDER, CLINICAL ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, NYU MEDICAL SCHOOL: I think the highest risk moment in getting food delivered to you is actually the face to face interaction if you have one with the delivery person. So ideally, you would be able to pay them online, tip them online, or whatever platform you're using for ordering food, and then have them leave it outside your door. Wait until they leave and then get the food.

(voice-over): If you prefer to head to the grocery store to throw together a homemade meal, wiping the products down and washing your hands are key. GOUNDER: I would suggest wiping down the external services of canned or wrapped foods. You should be washing your fruits and vegetables produce anyway, soap and water is just fine for that. Making sure you sanitize your hands after you unpack your groceries is also a key step here.

(voice-over): Amara Walker, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

[01:54:28]

HOLMES: And thanks everyone for spending part of your day with and watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Michael Holmes. Do stay with us, so I will have more news for you in just a moment.

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HOLMES: Hello and welcome to our view is here in the United States indeed all around the world. Thanks for your company. I'm Michael Holmes.

And coming up here on CNN NEWSROOM, new guidelines on social distancing from the White House have made warnings that the U.S. could eventually see millions of coronavirus cases.

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