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Rare Look Inside ICU Battling Coronavirus; WHO Warns World That Crisis is Far From Over; Financial Toll Growing Amid Pandemic. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired April 1, 2020 - 05:00   ET



ROBYN CURNOW, CNN ANCHOR: Hi. Welcome to our viewers joining us here in the United States and all around the world. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Robyn Curnow.

So, just ahead on the show: a rare look inside an ICU battling coronavirus. The extraordinary steps the hospital is taking to care for patients while trying to keep the staff safe as well. So, we have that.

And, the World Health Organization is warning the pandemic is far from over. We'll speak to their spokesperson to see what to expect in the coming days and months.

Plus, with the financial toll from the pandemic only getting worse, we'll look at the impact the virus is having on small business owners and those with loans.


CURNOW: So, we do begin in New York, the eye of the coronavirus crisis in the U.S. There are over 41,000 positive cases in the city, and there were at least 830 new deaths reported on Tuesday in the U.S.

These are mind-blowing numbers. And even more mind-blowing are these images from around the country -- field hospitals springing up in New York, Miami, Detroit, rows and rows of hospital beds to keep up with the ever-increasing number of coronavirus patients coming in every single day.

And the U.S. President Donald Trump struck a somber note after a top U.S. health expert said there is no magic bullet, no vaccine for this virus.


DR. DEBORAH BIRX, U.S. CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE COORDINATOR: The peak is over the next two weeks, and this is tracking mortality. So, the number of fatalities from -- we think we can still blunt through the superb medical care that every client is receiving, but also even more stringent, people following the guidelines. DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: A lot of people have

said, a lot of people have thought about it, ride it out. Don't do anything. Just ride it out and think of it as the flu, but it's not the flu. It's vicious.


CURNOW: What a contrast from Mr. Trump's tweet just a few weeks ago. You remember this one, when he compared the coronavirus to, yes, the common flu, tweeting: Nothing is shut down. Life and the economy go on.

Well, now the president is asking people to start wearing masks or scarves if they go out, although 80 percent of Americans are under some form of stay-at-home orders until the end of the month.

And as the number of coronavirus patients grow every day, cities around the U.S. are certainly struggling to make sure they get the care they need.

Here's Nick Watt with all the details on that -- Nick.


NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In Pittsburgh, long lines at a food bank. In Atlanta, city workers on the front line now getting hazard pay. In New York today, the first patients arriving at a field hospital in Central Park, and that Navy hospital ship is preparing to take non-COVID-19 patients, freeing up beds in city hospitals.

The governor calling on hospital systems and government to step up.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: Time to say to the federal government and to FEMA and HHS, you have to learn how to do your job and you have to learn how to do it quickly, because time is not our friend.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We need prayer, we need support, we need gowns, we need groves.

WATT: Here at the epicenter, the rate of new cases still climbing but now slowing.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, U.S. NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: What we're starting to see right now is just the inklings -- and I don't want to put too much stock on it because you don't want to get overconfident.

WATT: Nearly eight in ten Americans are now under some sort of stay- at-home order.

GOV. LARRY HOGAN (R), MARYLAND: One of the last tools in our arsenal, because we reached the point where the cases had exploded.

WATT: Californians have been told to stay home more than 10 days now. DR. JAHAN FAHIMI, INTERIM EMERGENCY MEDICINE MEDICAL DIRECTOR, UCSF:

I think, quite honestly, the shelter in place and the social distancing is working, because that surge has yet to come.

WATT: But even with social distancing, one model now suggests that at the peak, mid-April, more than 2,200 Americans will die in a single day.

CUOMO: The main battle is at the apex. We're still going up the mountain. The main battle is on the top of the mountain.

WATT: Hotspots now growing in Detroit, New Jersey, New Orleans.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're tracking at about 5 percent on the mortality rate, and it's just -- that's high.


WATT: The Zaandam cruise ship is still steaming towards Florida, four dead onboard. The cause is not confirmed, but eight confirmed coronavirus cases and nearly 200 others with flu-like symptoms. It's scheduled to dock midweek but does not have permission right now.

Writing in a Florida newspaper, the president of the cruise line says governments have turned their backs on thousands of people left floating at sea.

And the economic price we're paying, hoping to save lives? Second quarter about to start. The U.S. economy could shrink by 34 percent, according to Goldman Sachs. A cafe in Wisconsin, takeout only, of course, now giving away food for free.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If somebody can afford, that's great. If they can't, well, that's fine, too. They've still got to eat.

WATT (on camera): Now, the first place in the U.S. to order people to stay home was a block of seven counties up in the San Francisco Bay Area. That was about two weeks ago. They have just extended that stay- home order through May 3rd, nearly another five weeks.

And the governor of California was asked today if he regretted making the whole of California stay home so early in this crisis. No regrets from Gavin Newsom. He said his only regret would be if we cut the parachute before we land.

Nick Watt, CNN, Los Angeles.


CURNOW: Thanks, Nick, for that.

Now, doctors and nurses in Washington state, which was where the first coronavirus was detected in the U.S., are adapting to a new reality in how they treat patients with the disease.

Sara Sidner takes us inside one hospital completely revamped to battle COVID-19.

Take a look.


SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Harborview Medical Center here in Seattle is believed to be the first hospital in America to have a patient die of COVID-19. That was more than a month ago. And since then, everything has changed.


SIDNER (voice-over): Nurses and doctors at Seattle's Harborview Medical Center suit up. To go to battle with coronavirus, they have to go through an exhaustive dressing regimen, hoods and tubes and masks and gowns, just to enter a patient's room.

LYNCH: We think the greatest risk, actually, for healthcare workers is when they remove things, that they contaminate themselves.

SIDNER: They have a checklist and a spotter helping with every step. They also have to adapt to new realities and shortages.

LYNCH: So, these are what are called PAPR hoods. These are the hoods that hook up to these machines that filter air.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And that's the hose that hooks up to the back of the hood.

LYNCH: They do get cleaned inside and out so they can be reused, because the way they were built was for one-time use, but that's not the way -- if we did that, we would already be out.

SIDNER (on camera): Wow.

(voice-over): They have completely revamped two intensive care units.

LYNCH: So, this whole unit was meant to be for people with brain injuries and strokes and so forth.

And so, now, we have to move all of them some place else because we have to continue that care.

SIDNER (on camera): So, all the people with brain injuries were moved and this was turned into a COVID-19 ICU unit.

LYNCH: Correct.

SIDNER (voice-over): All to try and help coronavirus patients live, isolate them from others and keep the staff safe, too.

(on camera): So, I am not wearing the full personal protection equipment because in these rooms where the actually COVID-19 patients are, these are considered negative pressure rooms. That means that we are considered in a safe space not wearing full personal protection. Patients are being cared for, but we don't need to wear the full

apparatus unless we are a doctor or nurse who has to go into the room to care for the patient.

(voice-over): Inside the rooms the patients are hooked up to a shocking number of tubes, using those precious ventilators, the only thing keeping them breathing.

LYNCH: So, for the ICU patients, they tend to stay -- they get very sick, and they stay sick very long. So, you need to require ventilator for weeks at a time. And that's really the big issue.

SIDNER: Across just their four hospitals, 60 coronavirus patients were hospitalized last week. Already, this week, it's at least 100.

For each one, a delicate dance to keep staff healthy and patients alive.

(on camera): It is just coming in here, and seeing the work that's being done and seeing the patients being cared for, it's stressful, it's -- I'm scared for their families as well. And so, as you walk through and you see the hard work being done and people doing everything they need to take care of patients, just awe-inspiring, considering the fact that they too could be putting themselves in harm's way.

(voice-over): Outside the hospital, a large tent has been erected to assess and test potential coronavirus patients.


And this is happening before the anticipated surge here.

(on camera): I feel dread and I feel fear and I'm not working on the front lines. What are you feeling as you're dealing with all these COVID-19 patients?

ARIEL ROGOZINSKI, REGISTERED NURSE, HARBORVIEW/UW MEDICAL CENTER: Certainly, a sense of anxiety because we -- right now, we're kind of wondering what it's going to be like when the peak comes, and once people are, you know, flooding in.

SIDNER (voice-over): While the number of new infections in Washington seems to be slowing down, there's a growing sense they haven't seen to worst of it yet.

LYNCH: What they do every day is heroic. Going and taking care of patients without protection is not acceptable.

SIDNER (on camera): The surge everyone is worried about is expected to happen here on April 19th, and all of the hospitals in this region are hoping they're prepared.

Sara Sidner, CNN, Seattle, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE) CURNOW: Thanks, Sara, for that. Great report there.

So, that was the situation here in the U.S., but the World Health Organization is warning the rest of the world, especially Asia, that the pandemic is far from over, and that we really cannot let our guard down.


TAKESHI KASAI, WHO REGIONAL DIRECTOR FOR THE WESTERN PACIFIC: We still don't know how long this COVID-19 fight will continue. There are people around the world, 24 hours, seven days, they are doing their best to fight with this COVID-19, but it's unlikely that this virus will disappear next week or even next months.


CURNOW: Now, the White House task force is discussing asking Americans to wear masks in public, but it wants to be sure there are enough masks for medical personnel first. Good point there.

So, around the world, people are getting creative and making and using face coverings.


RICHARD QUEST, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It is the fashion accessory that could save lives. All around the world, masks are becoming mandatory attire for health workers in a time of COVID-19, and where the economy's halted and manufacturers otherwise shuttered, companies large and small are kicking into overdrive, answering the call, trying to meet the incredible demand for more masks.

In the United States, the White House says there simply isn't enough supply for everyone to wear a mask.

The nation's top infectious disease doctor told CNN health care workers must come first.

FAUCI: The one thing you don't want to do, you don't want to take masks away from the health care providers who are in a real and present danger of getting infected. That would be the worst thing we do.

QUEST: And so, in an effort reminiscent of the Second World War, the likes of Gap, General Motors, and even Major League Baseball say they're opening their factories and getting to work. When New York Governor Andrew Cuomo asked for help, calling on companies to be creative, the designer and "Project Runway" alumni Christian Siriano, put his sewing staff to the task.

CHRISTIAN SIRIANO, MEMBER, COUNCIL OF FASHION DESIGNERS OF AMERICA: We are up to almost 500 a day. So, we will have a couple thousand by the end of the week, and we're really excited. I mean, who knew that that was what we were going to be doing?

QUEST: Italy has been amongst the hardest hit by coronavirus. It's also home to some of the world's top fashion houses.

Prada says it will make 100,000 masks by next week. Gucci says it will make more than a million in total.

Throughout Europe, as leaders warn of shortages, the offers are rolling in. The owners of France's Yves Saint Laurent, Dior, Louis Vuitton and Givenchy, Zara and Balenciaga in Spain, they're all promising hundreds of thousands of masks.

In Greece, modern ingenuity is on full display. Start-ups there are using 3D printers to crank out face shields. These can go straight to doctors and nurses on the front lines, where having a mask is truly a matter of life and death.

Tunisian fashion designer has retooled her small workshop in Tunis into a mask powerhouse. She has 30 tailors and is making up to 1,500 reusable masks every day.

With so many people stuck inside, making a mask at home is turning into the perfect social distancing activity.

Jan from put out this handy do-it-yourself guide.

JAN, INSTRUCTOR, SEW IT ONLINE: What the hospitals have asked us for in masks is they want one side and a different side on the other side.

QUEST: From mom-and-pop outfits to household names and multinationals that span the globe, companies are stepping up, churning out masks, and trying to do their part in the fight against coronavirus.


Richard Quest, CNN, New York.


CURNOW: So, coming up, the coronavirus pandemic is certainly taking a financial toll on many, many people across the globe. We'll hear from a small business owner in the U.S. worried about the fate of her shop.



MICHELLE HELSETH, SMALL BUSINESS OWENER: Sorry. I'm concerned of 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.


CURNOW: So, that small business owner's concern comes as negotiations quietly begin among U.S. lawmakers in what could become a fourth stimulus package. Some Americans are worried that the $2 trillion package that President Trump signed last week won't be enough to help them. Already, many are struggling to pay mortgages, rent, and other essential bills that are due right now.

So, Christine Romans joins me now from New York with more on all of this.


You heard that lady there. I mean, what is the situation with small business loans?

Hi, Christine. Good to see you.


You know, well, the lifeline has been tossed out by the government here, and that's really important. There is small business relief that will be grants. These will be loans that don't have to be paid back, and that's if you keep your workers.

The government essentially wants to pay small businesses to keep their workers, to keep the lights on through this next period. They're calling this the paycheck protection program. And they're providing these loans -- and that's what they are, very low-interest loans, 0.5 percent interest rate -- they're providing these loans for payroll costs, for interest on your mortgage, for rent, for utilities.

And if you keep your workers or hire back your workers that maybe you fired a couple of weeks ago, you will be able to forgive that loan and keep that money. And that, I think, is what the government is really keen here, is to get money in the hands of small business owners and to keep them whole here and try to keep people employed.

CURNOW: OK. So, that's a little bit of good news. Let's hope that money gets to them soon.

But as we know, today is April 1st.


CURNOW: It is the first of the month. Many people had to pay rent, mortgages, and they just couldn't afford to. I mean, today is, you know -- I know it's supposed to be April Fools' Day, but this is a stark reality of what this month is going to look like.

ROMANS: Yes. I think that we're all skipping April fools' day this year.

CURNOW: Absolutely. It's not so funny, is it?

ROMANS: No, it isn't. And because you have a twin problem here of a health care crisis that has become a financial crisis. So, American families and families all over the world, Robyn, have two anxieties all wrapped up into one, and it's really troubling here.

Today is the day that rent is due, and you're already seeing people talk to their landlords about having rent deferred, to having a break here, and some landlords are doing it. By the way, if you have a mortgage, a federally backed mortgage, you can ask for forbearance. I want to caution everybody -- if you don't have to pay the bill today, you are still going to have to pay the bill, and that's what kind of the trouble is here.

There are some lenders that are allowing you to defer your mortgage payment today, if it's due today. Bank of America is one of them. There's other banks. Wells Fargo, Ally Bank, they all have designated hotlines to try to talk about deferring those payments, but you will have to pay the bill eventually, so I think that's really important here to point out.

There's money coming, you know. Unemployment benefits for these furloughed, hundreds of thousands of furloughed workers will almost make them whole in many cases. So, the government with all this stimulus money, this rescue money, is trying to just keep the money flowing to families so they can pay those bills.

The problem right now, Robyn, is that today is April 1st. The money hasn't come yet. So right now in this short-term period, this is about people cutting each other some slack, actually. That's what this is all about right now.

CURNOW: On all levels, I think this is a huge learning curve and a testing moment on all levels, not just financially in terms of cutting some slack.

ROMANS: I agree.

CURNOW: Christine Romans, thank you. Good to see you. Hope you have a wonderful day.

ROMANS: You're welcome.

CURNOW: So, 500 additional U.S. troops are now being sent to the southern border with Mexico. The Pentagon says they're being deployed to help border enforcement agents with coronavirus-related issues. Now, with the latest from Mexico City, here is Matt Rivers.


MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the number of cases and the number of deaths continue to rise here in Mexico. The new case total as of Tuesday evening, 25 people have died as a result of this virus, while some 1,215 people have tested positive so far. That's about three times the amount of positive cases as compared to this time exactly one week ago.

As a result, Mexican health officials, federal officials have put in place a health emergency at this point. That means shuttering all nonessential businesses, government offices, all schools are closed, and everyone is being asked to stay at home and to properly social distance with other people around them. This is going to go through April 30th.

And it's a good thing, because I was speaking to one doctor here in Mexico City last week, and he was telling me that there is no way that the public health system here in Mexico could deal with anything remotely close to what we're seeing going on in places like the United States at this point, and perhaps that's the reason why we heard from the deputy health secretary here in Mexico over the weekend, where he said that Mexico, this would be its last chance, as he put it, to stop this outbreak from spreading.

And yet, despite all those warnings, we're getting mixed messages from the president of Mexico. So, on the one hand, over the weekend he posted a video, about 15 minutes long, telling people this is serious, telling people they need to stay at home. And at the same time, another video went viral over the weekend, and that would be of the president in the western Mexican state of Sinaloa, where he briefly met and shook hands with the mother of famed drug lord and former boss of the Sinaloa drug cartel, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman.


He met her briefly during his trip out there. Now, aside from the obvious questions that that encounter brings up, he also is very clearly not following the safety protocols that he's been promoting -- stay at home and socially distance. He didn't do that, and clearly shook her hand.

Now, asked about that, asked about the criticism that really sparked online after that video spread, the president said that, as far as the woman goes, he would shake the hand of any 92-year-old woman who wanted to shake his hand. And in regards to the criticisms surrounding him touching another person, he said that it would have hurt his heart not to shake someone else's hand, that it's been very difficult for him not to hug and shake people's hands.

So, clearly, the president of Mexico saying one thing when it comes to this outbreak and doing another.

Matt Rivers, CNN, Mexico City.


CURNOW: Thanks, Matt.

So you're watching CNN.

U.S. service members are getting hit by the coronavirus, some of them stranded on an aircraft carrier. How the government is handling that situation.

Stay with us. We'll be back after the break.


CURNOW: Welcome back to all of our viewers here in the U.S. and around the world. Thanks so much for joining me this hour. I'm Robyn Curnow.

So, I do want to update you on our top story this hour. The U.S. president, Donald Trump, is warning Americans the next two weeks of the coronavirus pandemic will be painful. The country is already struggling to contain the outbreak and has so far recorded more than 3,800 deaths nationwide, but the president and his task force now believe the virus could claim as many as 240,000 lives, even with strict containment measures in place.

Well, the commander of the U.S. aircraft carrier says decisive action is needed to save his crew.