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Staying Mentally Healthy During Social Distancing; Inside New York Hospital on the Front Lines of Outbreak; Sweden Takes Own Approach to Combat Outbreak; U.S. Trails Other Countries in Per Capita Coronavirus Testing; More States Restrict Travel as Virus Spreads; Union Members Refusing to Work at Makeshift Hospital; White House: Up to 200K Could Die from Virus in U.S.; Movement of Indian Migrant Workers Causes Concern; E.U. Countries Divided over Virus Response. Aired 12-1a ET
Aired March 31, 2020 - 00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello and welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm John Vause.
Coming up on CNN NEWSROOM, the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S. could claim somewhere between 100,000 and 2 million lives. That's according to the White House.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is a war zone, it's a medical wars zone, we are trying to keep our head above water and not drown.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE (voice-over): On the front lines of the fight against this pandemic, CNN has exclusive access inside a New York City hospital, where health care workers are saving lives while fearing for their own.
And in Spain where there are more confirmed cases than in China, some doctors and nurses are refusing to show up for work.
VAUSE: It came with a cold start, a bleak best-case scenario from the White House, coronavirus task force. If Americans did everything right, the death toll from the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S. could be limited to somewhere between 100,000 and 200,000 people.
Just for context, think the Rose Bowl in Pasadena or Wembley Stadium in London. Both have a capacity of 90,000. Right now the U.S. has recorded more than 3000 fatalities, with
160,000 confirmed cases. Restrictions on movement either recommended or ordered now impact three of every four Americans and the U.S. president has extended those guidelines until at least the end of next month.
Add to that the White House may soon recommend anyone in public should be wearing a face mask.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Today we reached a historic milestone in our war against the coronavirus. Over 1 million Americans have now been tested, more than any other country by far. Not even close. And tested accurately.
JAMICHE ALCINDOR, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": Mr. President, you said several times that the United States has ramped up testing but the United States is still not testing per capita as many people as other countries like South Korea.
Why is that and when do you think that number will be on par with other countries?
TRUMP: Well, it is very much on par. The -- the -- look, look, per capita we have areas of country that's very, what, I know South Korea better than anybody, it is a very tight. You know how many people are in Seoul?
Do you know how big the city of Seoul is?
TRUMP: 38 million people. That's bigger than anything we have, 38 million people all tightly wound together.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: For the record only 10 million people live in Seoul not 38 million. South Korea has tested 1:130 people; the U.S. 1 in about 300. Monday the United States recorded 500 fatalities, the deadliest day so far. Details now from CNN's Nick Watt.
NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT(voice-over): A life lost in Brooklyn, one of thousands now across this country.
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: I would like to avoid it but I wouldn't be surprised if we saw 100,000 deaths.
WATT (voice-over): Today a Navy hospital ship docked in New York City.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The last time this great hospital ship was in New York was in the wake of 9/11.
WATT (voice-over): A field hospital now in Central Park and fines for those who refuse to social distance.
MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D), NEW YORK CITY: The fines are in the range of $250 to $500. That obviously will be a violation of summons that would be provided. I don't want to see that happen,
WATT (voice-over): One research organization now projecting New York will reach peak death rate 10 days from now, at nearly 800 deaths that day. Michigan will be a day later, California 25 days from now and Virginia not until mid-May.
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): What you see us going through here, you will see happening all across this country. There is no American who is immune to this virus.
WATT (voice-over): In Michigan, confirmed cases exploded from around 50 to nearly 6,500 in two weeks.
FAUCI: We're also worried about Detroit. Detroit is starting to show some signs that they're going to take off.
WATT (voice-over): State to state travel restrictions also spreading, Rhode Island now ordering all visitors to self quarantine. They weren't just stopping cars with New York plates and New York state threatened to sue, from noon today anyone traveling to Texas from these states and cities must self quarantine 14 days.
WATT (voice-over): Hotspots in all those places. And now it's time, we are told, for more rural areas to brace themselves.
DR. DEBORAH BIRX, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE COORDINATOR: If the metros and the rural areas don't take care now, by the time you see it, it has penetrated your community pretty significantly.
WATT (voice-over): Louisiana today reports 485 new cases and 34 deaths; still, hundreds reportedly attended this church Sunday.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The church is the most essential thing in all the world.
WATT (voice-over): The pastor in Florida, who once prayed over the president, was arrested today for continuing to hold large services.
Doctors from the front lines begging us all to stay home.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you can think of it as your lungs being filled with fluid, like you're drowning. And once you get that point where you are drowning, you need a ventilator to stay alive. And we're running out of equipment for people.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The one that's beeping in the background is a young patient who was presumably healthy before they came in. This is not something that's isolated to the old.
WATT: Here in the U.S., the federal government doesn't have any domestic travel restrictions in place. But the states are pretty much taking care of that themselves, with these mandatory quarantines for people traveling into many states.
But Monday, I think, the first, Kentucky, the governor has now banned all nonessential travel out of the state. They have a relatively low confirmed case count but the governor does not want people leaving Kentucky catching the virus and then bringing it home -- Nick Watt, CNN, Los Angeles.
VAUSE: The global epicenter of the outbreak, Italy, is extending restrictions on movement until at least April 12th. That is Easter Sunday. It's already said now reporting more than 100,000 confirmed cases and over 11,000 fatalities. Among the dead, 63 doctors.
Nearly 9000 Italian health workers have tested positive. There are now more coronavirus cases of the coronavirus in Spain than China, nearly 88,000 according to the Johns Hopkins University count. But according to the government, the daily infection rate has slowed, since strict shutdown measures were enacted. Even so, more than 7300 people have died. CNN's Scott McLean reporting from Madrid.
SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: On Monday, Madrid declared a period of mourning for the thousands of victims of the coronavirus in the city, that is the regional government building where the flags are at half staff.
Spain has more confirmed cases than China and more than twice as many deaths according to the official numbers. The top epidemiologist in this country, the man leading the press conferences on TV, he has himself now tested positive for the virus.
New restrictions on movement were announced over the weekend, meaning Spaniards are all restricted from going to work unless their work is deemed essential. One of the main train stations in Madrid was near empty on Monday. That is a big difference than the much fuller platforms, much fuller trains that we saw before these restrictions went into effect.
Meanwhile, one of the country's biggest unions representing health care workers, says that some of its members are now refusing to go to work at a convention center in Madrid that is being used as a hospital ward.
They say that people are not staying one meter apart from each other and that supplies and staff are far too scarce. The Madrid government has acknowledged some problems at the facility. But says some of the employees' claims are overblown and that there is enough equipment -- Scott McLean, CNN, Madrid.
VAUSE: The World Health Organization's senior expert on emergencies says while lockdowns and travel restrictions should lead to some stabilization, there is still much more which needs to be done.
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DR. MICHAEL RYAN, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: Everyone has talked about the curve up and everyone talks about the stabilization. The question is, how do you go down?
And going down isn't just about a lockdown and let go. To get down from the numbers, not just stabilize, requires a redoubling of public health efforts, to push down, not -- it won't go down by itself. It will be pushed down. And that is what we need countries to focus on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Dr. Neha Nanda is an epidemiologist who teaches at the University of Southern California Medical School.
Thank you for joining us.
DR. NEHA NANDA, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA MEDICAL SCHOOL: Thank you, John.
What is your reaction first up to what we heard from the White House coronavirus task force, that if we do everything right in the United States, the death toll will be somewhere between 100,000 and 200,000?
Considering right now this country is not doing everything right, so would you expect that death toll to be much higher?
What is your first feeling on this?
NANDA: So I think the way things are moving, the key things to prevent death and disease, today as we know it, are non pharmaceutical interventions. And social distancing leads the pack. We have started social distancing, we have been very proactive in California.
I think if we become very diligent about social distancing we may be able to not exceed the predicted death toll.
VAUSE: The U.S. president has been talking up this antimalaria medication which has seen some positive results. On Monday he announced the drug is being distributed across the country. Listen to what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: So the pharmaceutical company Sandoz has been working with us very closely and, as Alex mentioned a little bit, 30 million doses of the hydroxychloroquine to the United States government given. And Bayer has donated 1 million doses of the chloroquine, which will soon be distributed to state and state health officials around the country.
Teva Pharmaceuticals is also donating 6 million doses of hydroxychloroquine to U.S. hospitals.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: The FDA gave approval over the weekend, even though there's been no real testing of these drugs, they're saying the benefits will outweigh the risks. But there are a lot of risks that come with these drugs, right?
NANDA: Yes, the drugs we are talking about is the antimalarial drug called chloroquine. And another one called hydroxychloroquine also known as Plaquenil. At this time there is no robust data to suggest we can use these drugs extensively in patients.
However given what I said, we don't have a lot of ammunition. So if we do decide to test these drugs or use these drugs on our patients, we have to be very cautious. So hydroxychloroquine is known to cause cardiac effects. People can go into arrhythmia, that is an irregular heartbeat, that can be life-threatening.
So if we do use these drugs, we have to be very cautious and we have to be good about monitoring the adverse events. There is some anecdotal evidence around hydroxychloroquine in combination with azithromycin. It's a case series that was put together. But it is not robust data. Not at all.
VAUSE: There are risks but they're desperate times, desperate measures. We're being told that the coronavirus will be most likely be seasonal, expected to return later this year in the Northern Hemisphere. Here's Dr. Anthony Fauci.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: Are you prepared for this to strike again in the fall?
FAUCI: In fact, I would anticipate that that would actually happen because of the degree of transmissibility. However, if you come back in the fall, it will be a totally different ball game. Our ability to go out and be able to test and identify and isolate and contact trace will be orders of magnitude better than what it was just a couple months ago.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: And that obviously is the good news but the key to all of this is a vaccine. And even if the vaccine is ready, which is unlikely, how effective will it be?
Because I think about the seasonal flu and the CDC said the current influenza vaccine has been 45 percent effective overall against 2019- 2020 seasonal influenza A and B viruses. So when the next coronavirus arrives, will it be a different strain?
What would you expect in terms of effectiveness of any vaccine? [00:15:00]
NANDA: The effectiveness of any vaccine is decided by how quickly the virus can outsmart us, as in how quickly does it mutate. And at this time, we know very little about the mutation rate of this virus. What was shared, right now, I am a strong believer in that, that it will likely come back.
It won't cause as much of morbidity is we are seeing, because, first, we will have testing and second my hope is that, after we all have seen it over time, there would be this herd immunity that will help us combat the virus.
John, did I answer your question?
VAUSE: Yes, absolutely. But very quickly, what we are seeing is word from China that they're having some success in dealing with COVID-19 by looking at research from how they dealt with the SARS epidemic.
Also in Australia, we are hearing that there has been some success with using HIV antivirals to deal with COVID-19.
So the bigger picture here is, will there be a treatment that is available in front of us, if you like, we just have to find it from existing medication?
Or is there a reality that we have to start from scratch?
NANDA: What we have right now as options, you mentioned antimalarial drug but then you talked about hydroxychloroquine and then there's another interleukin-6 inhibitor. There are a handful of drugs that have been used for other disease states.
We are experimenting with them today and I think it will be through clinical trials, we have some clinical trials going on, it is the trials that will tell us if we really have effective treatment.
As of today, there is not an effective treatment. So we have to weigh the risks and benefits when we are using the right drug on the right patient. And I say the right patient because there are some drugs that should only be used at a certain stage of disease. So I think there should be more to come on this.
VAUSE: There is more to come and there's so much we don't know and that is the problem. Doctor, thank you, we appreciate it.
NANDA: Thank you, John.
VAUSE: Still to come, migrant workers doused with bleach. The outrageous measures taken by some officials in India.
Also, the pandemic may be attacking the unity of the E.U. We will tell you what is causing that division.
VAUSE: India is reporting its biggest one-day spike in confirmed cases, 227 on Monday, despite the entire country being in the midst of a 3-week long lockdown. That shutdown has left 45 million migrant workers unemployed.
Amid fears those workers could spread the virus, CNN's Sam Kiley reports, local officials are using some harsh and extreme measures.
SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Migrant workers doused with a solution of bleach on arrival in India's state of Uttar Pradesh. National authorities said that the disinfection of travelers like this was overzealous.
KILEY: But it reflects widespread fears that the mass movement of hundreds of thousands of Indian migrant workers back home during a three-week national lockdown could spread the disease quickly across a nation of 1.3 billion people.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NARESH TREHAN, CHAIRMAN & MANAGING DIRECTOR, MEDANTA HOSPITAL: Now they're all packed together like they're like sardines. And the infection, if it is there, which most likely there is, will spread like wildfire. And then it will be impossible to control. (END VIDEO CLIP)
KILEY: India has a relatively low number of known infections. The national lockdown is intended to slow virus contamination, but it also means instant unemployment for vast numbers.
"Whatever food was left, we ate it, and now we have no way going forward here that's why I'm going back home," says Zafar Abas (ph), a bag maker who is leaving Delhi. He went on, "if I go back to my village, we have access to government hospitals there, so if any of us fall sick we can be treated."
In poor rural areas, locals are doing what they can to combat the virus. Dousing village streets with turmeric water, a natural disinfectant, and self-isolating from crowded homes. In trees.
India's government has pledged $23 billion in a stimulus package for the virus-sickened academy.
Some trains are being turn into coronavirus wards. But markets still team with people. Millions of whom live crammed in slums, already frequently hit by epidemics of cholera and other diseases. Police have resorted to uncommon punishment sometimes to enforce the lockdown.
This officer, wearing a helmet modeled on the coronavirus, has try to charm people off the streets. But whether by brick bat or bouquet, beating the spread of the deadly virus will be impossible amid scenes like this, where workers struggle unto buses and spread out across the nation -- Sam Kiley, CNN.
VAUSE: Tens of thousands of British travelers stranded outside of the U.K. because of canceled commercial flights may soon head home. The government and a handful of airlines are planning to charter flights for a mass airlift. There's likely no charge for passengers. Total cost may be close to $100 million.
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DOMINIC RAAB, BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY: So for those still in those countries where commercial options are available, don't wait. Don't run the risk of getting stranded. The airlines are standing by to help you. Please book your tickets as soon as possible.
Where commercial flights are no longer running, the government will provide the necessary financial support for special charter flights to bring U.K. nationals back home.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: This virus is infecting relations between European countries. Some of the hardest hit countries are claiming they have not received much needed financial aid. At stake is the health of the European Union. Senior international correspondent Fred Pleitgen has more.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): A German medevac plane on a mission to help ease the stress on Italy's collapsing medical system as ambulances stand ready to bring six urgent care patients to hospitals, the crews say transporting coronavirus patients brings a whole set of challenges.
We have to make sure the patients remain in stable condition, the medic says. The flight is additional stress for them so during the entire flight, we need to assure that their condition does not deteriorate.
After a slow start, E.U. countries are accelerating their help for the member states hardest hit by the outbreak. France also sending dozens of intensive care patients to Germany, where around half the country's ICU capacities remain vacant. This after Europeans saw mostly countries like Russia, China and even Cuba step in to provide medical assistance to countries in need.
Some European leaders especially from countries hardhit by the outbreak have criticized what they saw as too little solidarity in the union. Italy, for instance, earlier on has slammed Europe for not responding to pleas for medical equipment. And even the head of the European Commission called for stronger more concerted action. URSULA VON DER LEYEN, EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENT: When Europe really needed an all-for-one spirit, too many initially gave an only- for-me response. And when Europe really needed to prove this is not only a fair weather union, too many initially refused to share their umbrella.
PLEITGEN: On the medical side of things, E.U. members are now stepping up their efforts but deep divisions remain on sharing the financial burden, the crisis is already unleashing.
PLEITGEN: Several hardhit countries calling for shared European bonds, so-called corona bonds, while countries like Germany, Austria, the Netherlands and Finland reject the idea, fearing they would be on the hook for other nations' debts. The disagreement threatening to tear the E.U. apart, some warn.
"I hope everyone fully understands before it's too late the seriousness of the threat faced by Europe," Italy's president says. Solidarity is not only required by the values of the union but it is also in the common interest.
And while European politicians struggle to find common grounds to deal with the virus' economic fallout, medical worker, soldiers and many ordinary citizens are showing their solidarity.
Another German air force plane touching down, this time in France, ready to fly more patients to Germany helping to ease the strain brought on by the coronavirus epidemic -- Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Berlin.
VAUSE: Twitter has taken the unusual step of removing a number of posts from a world leader who has continually contradicted the advice and warnings from health experts. Brazil's president Jair Bolsonaro has repeatedly called the coronavirus "a little flu," has been very critical of self isolation restrictions announced by governors and mayors.
Shasta Darlington reports from Sao Paulo.
SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro has taken his opposition to social distancing one step too far, at least for Twitter. Two of his posts were taken down by Twitter for violating their rules on COVID-19.
Bolsonaro had posted videos of himself visiting shopping districts in Brasilia, where he told workers to keep on working and where he talked about the idea of chloroquine to cure or solve the COVID-19 problem, saying it is working.
Videos were posted to his Facebook page. Twitter took down the post, saying, it's no longer available because it violated the rules. Twitter has expanded its rules to cover content that could be against public health information provided by official sources and could put people at greater risk of transmitting COVID-19.
Bolsonaro has repeatedly referred to the coronavirus as nothing more than "a little flu" and he has criticized governors and mayors that have implemented social distancing measures, that have closed schools and businesses. They've warned people to stay off of the streets and that is because the virus is spreading quickly in Brazil. There are now more than 4,500 confirmed cases and more than 150 deaths -- Shasta Darlington, CNN, Sao Paulo.
VAUSE: Still to come, with New York City bracing for the worst, CNN has an exclusive look inside one hospital, already struggling with the surging number of coronavirus cases.
Also, as much as Europe shuts down, Sweden seems almost business as usual, why they are approaching this differently, that's also ahead.
VAUSE: Welcome back. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause with the headlines this hour.
Spain has overtaken China in the number of infections caused by the coronavirus. According to Johns Hopkins University, there were nearly 88,000 cases in Spain on Monday. A health emergency spokeswoman, though, said the daily infection increase has slowed since strict shutdown measures were imposed.
Italy is now reporting more than 100,000 confirmed cases, more than 11,000 dead. Sixty-three doctors are among those who have died. The Italian government is extending restrictions on movement until at least April 12, Easter Sunday.
The U.S. suffered its deadly [SIC] day yet, with at least 574 fatalities. New York has opened a field hospital in Central Park to deal with a surge in cases. President Trump has extended stay-at-home guidelines through the end of April, and says anyone out in public may have to wear a mask.
To Los Angeles now and psychologist Wendy Walsh is there, standing by. Wendy, good to see you again.
WENDY WALSH, PSYCHOLOGIST, CAL STATE UNIVERSITY CHANNEL ISLANDS: Good to see you.
VAUSE: OK. Clearly, we will be spending a lot more time at home, either by ourselves, with roommates, so at this point, what is the one big thing that you would advise that we should all be doing right now so we keep our mental health in good shape, and we don't go basically insane? WALSH: It's very simple. Reach out and connect with others. Use the
brilliance of technology to face-time, to telephone and talk to people every single day, even if you've got nothing to say, or no reason. Make a bunch of phone calls to people far away or in the house next door that you can't talk to. Because we are wired to bond, and our brains do better when we are in a village and we are connected with others.
VAUSE: How important is it that we acknowledge how we feel, that we're stressed, we're scared, we're worried, whatever?
WALSH: It's really important. You noticed, the first week of quarantine here in the U.S., there was a lot of nervous energy. If you looked on social media, people were doing Pilates, and yoga, and exercise classes, and cooking classes, and it was sort of frenetic energy.
And now we've gone into a generalized sense of lethargy, and we're seeing real symptoms of depression. And cognitive problems, right? Trouble remembering things. Feeling disorganized, feeling easily overwhelmed by that e-mail box. And you know what? It's OK. Everybody is feeling it. And my best advice is, if you have a to-do list, celebrate yourself if you do only one thing on that list every day. That's all that matters.
VAUSE: You know, I'm in the news business. I probably shouldn't say this. But how important is it right now that, you know, you watch the news, you're informed, but you turn it off at some point, because there is a risk of being overwhelmed, right?
WALSH: You have to self-regulate when it comes to the news. So I happen to check it in the morning and the evening. That's my deal. I do it with my morning coffee to see if I missed anything, and at the end of the day, in case anybody had a press conference that I need to hear about.
But the rest of the day, I am not constantly checking. And I specifically don't depend on social media and rumors for my news. I go to credible sources.
VAUSE: Yes. Right now, we're looking at a third of the planet which is under some kind of lockdown or restriction of movement. Take a look at this map here. This sort of gives you an idea of just how widespread. These are the countries with governments that have either recommended or issued some kind of order of stay at home.
Given just how widespread all of this is, should that bring comfort, that we're all going through this together, or stressed because of the sheer size and scope of this crisis?
WALSH: Well, obviously, the size brings more feelings of anxiety. But I hope that people can understand that not only do we have a physical health threat here, we are experiencing a global mental health crisis, that we are in a globalized depression together. But that word "together" should be the healing thing. Is that we will get through this together, and we have to, if we happen to not be living completely alone and in isolation.
We have to hold those near and dear. I happen to have my two daughters home. One is 17, one is 12 (ph). And I think to myself, when am I ever going to get this time, all three of us together in our nest again? I'm trying to focus on the good in this, as well.
VAUSE: Going out and getting exercise, staying physically healthy, is important, but we've seen in a lot of places beaches are being closed, parks are being closed because too many people went there.
So what's the advice now in just, like, simply getting out, trying to get some fresh air, trying to get some physical exercise? What should people do?
WALSH: Well, it's clear that exercise is one of the best remedies for depression, and in fact, intensive exercise, even for a short duration, is the best thing for our heart.
I happen to live in a beach community in California, so I was really sad when they closed the beaches, but yes, people were on the boardwalk, and the strand, were very, very densely moving.
So, my personal solution has been to wake up before the sun comes up and go for a very fast run -- run for 15 or 20 minutes, when there's not a soul out on the street. Literally, I've been running at 5 in the morning, in the middle of the road, where there's no cars or people. It's quite eerie. It's like I'm in a sci-fi movie, but I make myself do it every morning.
VAUSE: Yes, find a solution. There's always a way, I guess. You mentioned this. Social media and the Internet and reaching out, and it seems to take on new dimensions. You know, it's a place for so many to share what they're doing, how they're coping.
Here's a few examples on Twitter. One woman posted, "Having a study break, and out of curiosity, checked #tinder" -- the dating site -- "got a message off a match saying, 'If corona doesn't take you out, can I?'"
Another posting said, "How are you passing the time today? Anyone come up with innovative ways?" A little spinning wheel to decide whether you sleep, do exercise, or whatever.
And this: "Got Lucas" -- little boy -- "interested in something today. Father and son bonding over plaster of paris volcano. Come back tomorrow. See if it sets and erupts."
I mean, all these kind of things that are just sort of fairly mundane, everyday stuff, but how important is it that people get those experiences out there? Even if it's just everyday kind of life?
WALSH: This is the big stuff. It's not the mundane stuff. It's the real drivers of human survival. This desire to connect. So even though it feels light, I had a group of women play a game of "Taboo" by Zoom last night, that guessing game. And even though we weren't talking about anything deep, and it was just a silly little game, I felt so much more restored.
And here's a funny one for you. I did meet somebody on a dating app who said, you know how guys used to say, Well, let me show you my fast car, my big house? He said, Hey, can I mail you some N-95 masks? I've got some.
VAUSE: That's quite a pick-up line.
WALSH: How they're really trying to impress women now.
VAUSE: Very smooth. Cocktails at 6 p.m. on Skype is the other one, which has taken on a quite different dimension. But good to see you. Wendy, good advice. I appreciate it.
WALSH: Good to see you.
This just in the CNN. China is delaying its national college entrance exam, the Gaokao, because of the outbreak of the coronavirus. The test, taken by millions of students every year, will now be held July 7 and 8.
Well, Hubei province and Beijing will announce new exam times at a later date.
The U.S. now has by far the most confirmed cases in the world, more than 160,000. And that has led healthcare workers nationwide running low on everything from ventilators to basic protective gear, even space for the dead.
Nowhere has been hit harder than New York City and one hospital and Brooklyn gave CNN exclusive access and showed us firsthand overwhelmed staff working what they described as a war zone. Miguel Marquez has our report.
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Every corridor, every corner, every ward, every inch of Brookdale Hospital Medical Center in Brooklyn now inundated with those suffering from COVID-19.
(ON CAMERA): What are you looking at on a daily basis? How difficult is this?
DR. ARABIA MOLLETTE, E.R. DOCTOR, BROOKDALE HOSPITAL: This is a war zone. It's a medical war zone. Every day I come in. What I see on a daily basis is pain, despair, suffering and healthcare disparities.
MARQUEZ (voice-over): Through Sunday afternoon, Brookdale said it had at least 100 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with nearly 80 awaiting confirmation. More than 20 people have died so far from the disease. On top of its normal emergency flow, coronavirus is pushing the hospital to the max. MOLLETTE: We are scared, too. We're fighting for your lives, and we're
fighting for our own lives. We're trying to keep our head above water and not drown.
MARQUEZ: Doctors, nurses, even those keeping the floors clean, face a rising tide, uncertain how long it will rise. Unsure this coronavirus won't sicken them as they struggle to stay a step ahead.
(on camera): What do you need right now?
MOLLETTE: We need prayer. We need support. We need gowns. We need gloves. We need masks. We need more vents. We need more medical space. We need psychosocial support, as well. It's not easy coming here when you know that what you're getting ready to face.
MARQUEZ (voice-over): The deaths here keep coming. While filming, another victim of COVID-19 was moved to the hospital's temporary morgue: a refrigerated semi-trailer parked out back. The hospital's regular morgue filled to capacity.
(on camera): How much room do you have in your morgue?
KHARI EDWARDS, V.P., EXTERNAL AFFAIRS, BROOKDALE HOSPITAL: Usually we have around 20-plus bodies that we can fit comfortably.
MARQUEZ: And you've gone over that?
EDWARDS: Gone over that. And they've -- the state has been gracious enough to bring us apparatus to help keep families and keep the bodies in comfortable areas, because we didn't want bodies piled on top of each other.
MARQUEZ (voice-over): Brookdale needs more of everything. Today, Edwards said the hospital has 370 beds. They'd like to add more. Many more.
Two weeks ago, this was the pediatric emergency room. Now it's dedicated to victims of COVID-19. Plastic tarp taped to the ceiling offering some protection and a bit of privacy.
The intensive care unit filled nearly to capacity and sealed so fewer doors and less traffic than usual comes and goes. This window is the only place where family members can watch their loved one inside the unit as they chat with them via cell phone. It's sometimes as close as they can get as COVID-19 takes another life.
As grim as it is right now, Dr. Mollette expects it will get worse.
MOLLETTE: It could end in the fall. It could end at the end of the year. But this is why we're begging everyone not just to only put that pressure on the emergency department but also for everybody to help us to help them by staying home.
MARQUEZ (on camera): You think we're in it for the long haul? This is -- this is months, not weeks?
MARQUEZ (voice-over): Another worrisome thing she's seen coming through the doors, not just the elderly and those with compromised immune systems.
MOLLETTE: I work at two hospitals. So I work here in Brooklyn, and then I work at another hospital in the Bronx. And it's the same thing. In the South Bronx it's the same thing. I've had patients that were in their 30s, and they -- they are now intubated, and they're really sick. I've had patients that are well --
MARQUEZ: No underlying conditions?
MOLLETTE: No underlying conditions. So the thing is about -- between life and death, as far as this coronavirus is that this virus sees no -- there's no difference -- it has nothing do with age, has nothing to do with lack of -- access to health care, has nothing to do with socioeconomics, race or ethnicity. This virus is killing a lot of people.
MARQUEZ (voice-over): Brookdale has one advantage. Hospital officials say it can do rapid testing for coronavirus on site. Its own lab right now up to 300 tests a day. They hope to get to 500 a day.
ANDREI LEGOUN, LAB TECHNICIAN, BROOKDALE HOSPITAL: And right now we have about 52 specimens in there. Right about to -- that we're preparing to test at the moment.
MARQUEZ: The hospital following Centers for Disease Control guidelines on who gets coveted tests. Patients admitted for possible coronavirus, healthcare workers showing symptoms, and symptomatic long-term patients. Each test a laborious and time-consuming process.
LEGOUN: It's very easy to make a mistake. Very easy. Just from an extra milliliter of reagent, adding it to the machine can mess up the entire, all the batch, the entire batch. All the 52 specimens, we would have to start all over from the beginning.
MARQUEZ: E.R. doctors are used to stress. Dr. Mollette says she has never experienced anything like this.
MOLLETTE: I don't really sleep that well at night. I'm worried about my family. I worry about my safety. I worry about my colleagues. I worry about how the shift is going to be the next time I come. I worry about if a family member is going to come and be a patient, as well, or fall victim to the coronavirus. I worry about a lot of things.
MARQUEZ: The disease, a marathon that healthcare workers alone cannot win or even finish.
MOLLETTE: It's not up to just only to the emergency department to pull through and to make sure the curve is flattened. This is a responsibility for everybody in the country to help us pull through. So -- MARQUEZ: So stay the "F" home?
MOLLETTE: Exactly. I'm very --
MARQUEZ: Is that literally -- I mean, how --
MOLLETTE: Stay the "F" home. Exactly. Exactly. Because it's not just on -- it's not just us that has to help flatten the curve and take care of everybody. Help us help you.
MARQUEZ (voice-over): She says it will take everyone pulling together. The worst days, she fears, are still ahead.
Miguel Marquez, CNN, Brooklyn, New York.
VAUSE: In Austria, the government will require everyone in a supermarket to wear a face mask. The country's chancellor explains why.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEBASTIAN KURZ, AUSTRIAN CHANCELLOR (through translator): The supermarket chains will be in charge of distributing these masks. This means that, as soon as the shipments have arrived, and unfortunately, it is currently difficult to order large quantities on the world market, but probably from Wednesday, supermarkets will start handing out masks at the entrance. At the time these masks are being distributed outside supermarkets, it will become mandatory to wear them inside.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: The chancellor added the move was necessary as a number of measures to try and slow the spread of the virus.
Well, not every country in Europe has imposed strict regulations to try and contain the coronavirus outbreak. In Sweden, it's almost business as usual, and for many, it seems life goes on practically unchanged. CNN's Bianca Nobilo explains why.
BIANCA NOBILO, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The usually bustling streets of Copenhagen are largely deserted as Denmark's capital resembles many European cities on lockdown, but in a country just eight kilometers away, the scene is very different. In the Swedish city of Malmo, life appears to be carrying on almost as normal.
"We still have a lot to do," says this hair salon owner. Though some clients have canceled, appliance have been fully booked at least one day this week.
Her salon is among the shops, restaurants and bars across Sweden remaining open for business, as the country takes its own approach to the coronavirus pandemic.
Children are still attending class, as primary schools stay open in most of the country.
MIKAEL KALMENSTAM, SCHOOL PRINCIPAL: I guess the Swedish government see other possibilities. The school is a -- is a very important function in society.
NOBILO: Sweden has some of the fewest limits on social movement of any European country. Containment there is largely braced on voluntary action, as the governor adopts a wait-and-see attitude.
The public health agency's lead epidemiologist says a public quarantine would do more harm than good, and that new cases may level out if the public follows advice on social distancing. So far, rates of coronavirus cases in Sweden appear to be keeping pace with neighboring Denmark and Norway.
CARL BILDT, FORMER SWEDISH PRIME MINISTER; There might be a difference in Sweden in the sense that we might have, which is some sort of genetic disposition to social distancing in our society anyhow. We are not that dense a society in terms of social contacts under normal circumstances.
NOBILO: The Swedish approach is not without controversy, however. Some experts are accusing the government of not doing enough to fight COVID-19, but officials say they're not ruling out stricter measures in the future.
Meanwhile, the country prepares for the inevitable, as the military constructs a hospital for future coronavirus patients.
Bianca Nobilo, CNN, London.
VAUSE: Well, up next, the coronavirus and economic pain. For so many owners of small businesses in the U.S., there are fears whatever government help there is will be too little, too late.
VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody. That $2 trillion stimulus package in the U.S. includes hundreds of billions of dollars for loans to small businesses.
But, right now, there are still bills to pay, and many owners say they're worried the stimulus money, when it eventually arrives, might not last as long as they need. Kyung Lah has our report.
KYUNG LAH (voice-over): Behind the forced closure of each door on one short block of stores is a story. About the small businesses that employ half of America's private workforce. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I mean, when you put everything into watching
something grow. And then it stops suddenly, I was sitting on the floor just sobbing.
LAH: Jen Lays (ph) and Alex Hartounian (ph) owned fitness center Studio Metamorphosis.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I scrounged every single dollar, every penny to open, and we did it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How are we going to survive with -- We're going to wake up next morning and have zero income. Like, how does that work? You know?
LAH: Small businesses like Studio Metamorphosis are due to receive close to the 400 billion earmarked in the $2 trillion government stimulus plan.
But as business owners wait for that financial relief, they're trying to stay connected to customers. Yates holding free virtual workout classes, making no money.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm sorry.
LAH: While at Michelle Helseth's store, Native Boutique.
MICHELLE HELSETH, OWNER, NATIVE BOUTIQUE: I overdrew my account. I have payroll. Today.
LAH: Speed for this aid is key to her survival.
HELSETH: I'm concerned with getting dug deeper into a hole, more debt. It's like, Oh, I have a great opportunity to stay open, to be in more debt. We need grants, not just loans.
LAH: Emergency grants and loan forgiveness are a part of the stimulus package. So is a payroll tax credit and a pause on existing small business loans.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello again.
LAH: Welcome news to Bloom School of Music and Dance, that's moved to all virtual lessons, proving to be successful so far. But with a large payroll and high rent, owner Laura Porter worries how long this package will sustain mainstream, with weeks or months ahead of fighting the outbreak. And what this block will look like at the end.
LAURA PORTER, OWNER, BLOOM SCHOOL OF MUSIC AND DANCE: It's so frightening because it is a day-by-day thing. You know, I can't even look at September.
LAH (on camera): What is it that you would like your leaders in this country to hear from you?
PORTER: They have to listen to the average American out of work, you know. And small businesses are a big part of that.
LAH: We may be talking about this one block, but this is a tale of main streets and towns across America. There are 30 million small businesses in this country, 60 million Americans employed privately by these small businesses. That's a lot of people, a lot of families, a lot of communities fighting.
Kyung Lah, CNN, Los Angeles.
VAUSE: To be sure, these are troubling and difficult times, but after the break all over the world, random acts of kindness, both big and small are bringing home moments of happiness.
VAUSE: Barcelona footballs are giving up nearly three quarters of their salary to help the club survive the coronavirus pandemic. Superstar Lionel Messi made the announcement on Instagram Monday. He says players will also make additional contributions to guarantee every club employee his pay throughout the crisis.
But it's not just world-famous athletes pitching in. From impromptu serenades to surprise pizza deliveries, everyday people are coming together even though they cannot be together.
VAUSE (voice-over): They're the heroes next door. Like most of us, living under some kind of lockdown, anxious and scared, but still able to perform small but meaningful acts of kindness.
(MUSIC: "HAPPY BIRTHDAY")
VAUSE: Like the family singing outside their grandfather's nursing home for his 100th birthday.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We've worked, we've loved. We've had great lives, because we had a great example.
VAUSE: The neighbor who entertains his street by practicing his accordion while practicing social distancing.
AL PORRECA, ACCORDION PLAYER: If you've got problems on your mind, when you play music, you don't remember the problems.
VAUSE: A seamstress spending her days stitching together her own style of face masks.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The guys here --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Love it. VAUSE: There's that guy bringing pizzas to his local police station. And the churches, with their familiar and reassuring sound of bells, ringing out loudly to remind us we are not alone.
ASHLEY WILKERSON, SAINTS JOSEPH & PAUL CATHOLIC CHURCH: I think that's just a wonderful thing to do, to keep our connection to one another at this time of separation.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good morning!
VAUSE: There's no way to know for certain how many and how often all of these moments take place. There's no way to count them, like we do with confirmed cases of the coronavirus.
But we do know, as the virus spreads, so too, our acts of kindness and, with them, some hope that, together, somehow we'll get through this.
VAUSE: And here at CNN, at CNN.com, we have the latest updated facts and figures. And as millions of people are being impacted around the world, you can also find out how you can feed the hungry, protect health professionals, aid refugees and support service workers during this pandemic. Please go to CNN.com/impact.
Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause. Please stay with us. "AMANPOUR" is up after a short break.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, everyone, and welcome to "AMANPOUR." Here's what's coming up.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The better you do, the faster this whole nightmare will end.
AMANPOUR (voice-over): President Trump reverses himself to extend social distancing rules amid some cautious positive signs in Europe. I ask the experts who wrote the pandemic playbook for the White House why was it left on the shelf.
Then, leadership in times of crisis. How four-star general, Stanley McChrystal, converts his battlefield experience into fighting the coronavirus.
Plus, Trump's high-rated White House briefings despite uneven messaging.