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WHO: COVID-19 Soon to Hit 1 Million Cases; Almost 90 Percent of Americans Facing Stay-at-Home Orders; Australian PM: We Are Slowing the Spread; Florida Governor Issues Stay-At-Home Order amid Pressure; UAE: Our COVID-19 Testing "Eclipses" Western Powers; E.U.: Emergency Measures Must Not Last Indefinitely; Coronavirus Testing Backlogged in U.S.; Trump Administration Blames China for Delayed Virus Response; Analysts: U.S. Unemployment May Top Five Million; U.S. Sailors Evacuated from Battleship Hit by Coronavirus; Israel's Ultra- Orthodox Jews Ignoring Anti-Virus Measures; Panama Imposes Stay-at- Home Rules by Gender. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired April 2, 2020 - 00:00   ET

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


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TEDROS ADHANOM GHEBREYESUS, DIRECTOR-GENERAL, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: Over the past five weeks, we have witnessed a near exponential growth in the number of new cases. Reaching almost every country territory and area. The number of deaths has more than doubled in the past week. In the next few days, we will reach one million confirmed cases and 50,000 deaths.

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JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Right now there are more than 200,000 confirmed cases across the U.S. But the president and his health experts are preparing a nation for much worse to come. The U.S. already has almost twice as many cases as Italy, almost 3 times as many as China.

According to Johns Hopkins, the death toll in the U.S. has surpassed 5,000, doubling in the past 3 days. There is a new report that has found that one in 4 cases show no symptoms and evidence is mounting that those asymptomatic patients are contagious.

Across the United States almost 90 percent of the population now under a stay at home order.

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DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: States are different. I understand that the governor of Florida, great governor, Ron DeSantis, issued one today. That is good, that is great but there are some states that are different.

There are some states that don't have much of a problem, there are some --

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TRUMP: -- well, they don't have the problem. They don't have thousands of people that are positive or thousands of people that even think they might have it or hundreds of people in some cases.

So you have to look -- you have to look at --

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TRUMP: -- you have to give a little bit of flexibility to every state. In the Midwest or if Alaska, as a example, doesn't have a problem, it is awfully tough to say close it down. So we have to have a little bit of flexibility.

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VAUSE: We should not that Alaska does in fact have a stay at home order. Meantime one of the biggest questions facing Americans and so many across the world, whether or not they need to wear a face mask in public. Health experts would rather people would just stay home. CNN's Nick Watt reports.

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NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Florida has finally relented and issued a stay-at-home order.

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R), FLORIDA: I think even though there are a lot of places in Florida that have very low infection rates, it makes sense to make this move now.

WATT: Nearly 7,000 cases statewide, nearly doubling since the weekend.

In New York, nearly 8,000 new cases in a single day. The governor just closed all the playgrounds in New York City.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: I say to my fellow governors and elected officials all across this country, look at us today. See yourself tomorrow.

WATT: This nurse is in Georgia.

CARLEY RICE, CRITICAL CARE NURSE: I didn't ever think that I would see this amount of deaths all at one time.

WATT: Sunday nationwide, at least 383 died. Monday, 575. Yesterday, 830, was our deadliest day. Today, we've already passed that number.

Current projections: at least 100,000 of us could perish.

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our most recent modeling suggests that with strong mitigation, the range is still -- it's still heartbreaking. WATT: And some say inaccurate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This model assumes like Wuhan, we're going to shut down all 50 states. That's not going to happen.

WATT: Take Louisiana, right now a hot spot and running low on supplies.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Date for running out of beds is going to be around April 10th.

WATT: They have a stay at home order but other states do not.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): Why the president doesn't take action, you're just going to have to ask him about that.

WATT: Soon, we could all be told to wear masks.

JEROME ADAMS, U.S. SURGEON GENERAL: We've always said, we're going to learn more, we're going to adjust. And we've learned that there's a fair amount of asymptomatic spread. And so, we've asked the CDC to take another look at whether or not having more people wear a mask will prevent transmission of the disease to other people.

WATT: Sandy Rutter, a breast cancer survivor and single mother, has died, living six kids behind who could not hug her goodbye.

ELIJAH ROSS-RUTTER, MOTHER DIED OF COVID-19: They took a walkie- talkie and they placed the walkie-talkie right by her bedside on the pillow. I told her I loved her. I told her everything is going to be all right with the kids. You know, like us older siblings, we're going to -- we're going to make sure everything is okay with them and that they will grow up to be some adults that my mom would want them to be.

WATT (on camera): Here in California, the governor had a message for other governors who had not yet implemented a stay-at-home order.

His message: what are you waiting for?

Here in Los Angeles, behind me, this is an RV park that is now being set aside for people to self-isolate or self-quarantine if they don't have a home or if they just don't want to infect other people inside their home --

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WATT: -- Nick Watt, CNN, Los Angeles.

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VAUSE: Italy is extending a national lockdown until at least April 13th. It started over three weeks ago and it was due to expire on Friday. But the country remains Europe's hardest hit, over 13,000 deaths so far. The country has yet to see a consistent stabilization in both the death toll and number of new infections. British prime minister Boris Johnson calling Wednesday a sad, sad day.

Deaths in the U.K. reached 563, the most in a single day since the outbreak began. Johnson released a video, talking about what his government is doing to deal with the spiking numbers and the mounting pressure. Bianca Nobilo has our report.

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BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Britain has seen its deadliest rise in a daily death toll since the beginning of the outbreak; 563 deaths, bringing the total number of deaths to 2,352. One of the victims was the youngest recorded victim of the coronavirus in the United Kingdom.

Ishmael Mohammad Abdulrahaf (ph), he died alone without his family, his parents and his siblings, in a hospital in London. His family released a statement, calling him gentle and kind.

There is a sense of urgency in Britain as the number of deaths Wednesday rose steeply on Tuesday's 381. The NHS and the military have been scrambling to build a hospital, NHS Nightingale, at London's ExCel Centre. It will have a capacity for 4000 beds.

But crucially, doctors I have been speaking to and nurses have been complaining about not having sufficient amounts of personal protective equipment, having conflicting guidelines on how to use and hospitals running out of ventilators.

Pressure continues to mount on the government in Britain to test increase testing capacity both for citizens and crucially for the National Health Service. The government set the target of testing around 25,000 people a day by mid- to late April.

At the moment, they are not coming close to that. With around a quarter of Britain's health staff off because of self isolation or because they are sick, it is critical that, in the coming weeks as the country reaches the peak, the government mgs to increase its testing capacity -- Bianca Nobilo, CNN, England.

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VAUSE: Professor Peter Collignon joins us, executive director of pathology at the Australian Capital Territory as well as a physician specializing in infectious diseases.

Thank you for joining us. Australia has navigated the crisis a lot better than many other countries. Not a lot of community transmission.

Is it possible to point to one factor in particular for those relatively low numbers?

DR. PETER COLLIGNON, INFECTIOUS DISEASE PROFESSOR: I think it was many actions. It was summer here and autumn so we did not have the widespread transmission that the U.S. and Europe has had for a couple of months. Our cases are mainly returned travelers, reflecting what was happening in the U.S. and Europe et cetera.

We are now not only seeing new cases, we're seeing a decrease in cases. The curve is actually dropping. I think it's what we did on the 20th of March, we closed our borders, we quarantined return travelers. We quarantined anyone in contact. Cases are isolated until they're not infectious.

We have, relative to the rest of the world, a lot of testing per population. Our positive rate is about 1-2 percent. We think we're catching them all. We've looked at people coming into the hospital with pneumonia. We're not seeing a lot of community transmission.

We have closed all of our bars, restaurants, clubs. But we have managed to keep most of the workforce still at work. But social distancing is being practiced by the vast majority of people, keeping 2 meters apart.

So far that is reflected in what we are seeing. When we come into winter in a couple of months' time that will be a real test. But so far, Australia relatively speaking has had a good news story.

VAUSE: On the issue of returning to normalcy, when social distancing can come to an end because of the flattening of the curve, there is a study, they warned that to flatten the curve in a way that makes it manageable to both society and for hospital services, there needs to be another phase of further tightening if not lockdown.

This happened in April. Depending on the scenario and updates and better data an ease of social distancing could commence in June, your winter. Explain why the added lockdown period may be necessary.

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VAUSE: If the forecast is of Australia, what does that mean for timelines from U.S. and Britain?

COLLIGNON: Well, that's not my university and I also don't agree with that. Lockdowns put in place in Sydney, in our two bigger states, was done after we were already seeing a fall.

For instance, in Australia, if you walk outside two meters away from other, I don't see how you will get the virus. I think lockdowns are an important part of this. I fully agree in areas like New York and London, where there's a lot of community transmission, you're close to each other, you don't have a choice.

But in Australia where we have very little community transmission, I think lockdowns are a mistake. I don't think it will do much, it will cause a lot of problems. And 20-30 year-olds (INAUDIBLE) distance, some die, but relatively at very low rates.

Unless we keep them inside, convince them why it's a good idea to continue this, not only for 6 months, maybe 2 years until we have an effective and safe vaccine, we have to keep people social distancing.

Maybe get everybody to wear masks, not so much as to protect them but so they don't cough over others. But what do has to be proportionate to the amount of transmission we are seeing around our community at the time.

In Australia I think it is inappropriate at this stage to go to lockdown, it may be different in winter if we get a lot of community transmission, but currently I think it would be counterproductive.

VAUSE: So right now the social distancing guidelines are enough --

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COLLIGNON: Our epidemic, folding in our most populous state, has the most cases, New South Wales, but Australia wide, suggests that what we did 5 to 10 days before the peak was effective. They were pretty harsh measures. We closed down bars, clubs, restaurants.

We've changed the social interaction in our country. The trouble is we will have to continue that for 6 months to 2 years. We have to do something that is realistic, we need to protect those most at risk of dying, those over the age of 70 or 50 with heart disease for instance. They need to be much more socially isolated than everyone else.

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VAUSE: Finish your thought, please.

COLLIGNON: As much as possible, when we have documented low transmission, because we are testing, seeing what is happening, we need to actually do all we can to stop transmission. But locking us up for a long period of time is unlikely to work.

VAUSE: Quickly, in the U.S., the governor of the state of Florida only just put in place a stay-at-home order. Seven out of the 50 states have yet to act and for now parts remain open, restaurants are serving meals in the restaurants, bars, clubs and schools are not closed.

There was an op-ed in "The Washington Post" written by Bill Gates. He writes that, "This is a recipe for disaster because people can travel freely across state lines, so can the virus. The country's leaders need to be clear. Shut down anywhere means shut down everywhere."

If the best-case scenario in the U.S. is premised on Americans doing everything right, that will limit the death toll to a quarter of 1 million or 240,000, if it's business and usual and they don't get it right and only get 2 million deaths, so as the situation stands now, where do you expect to see the final number, closer to 240,000 or 2 million?

COLLIGNON: I think both extremes are both wrong. You may have to do lockdown if you have huge rates of transmission. Again, Australia has only 25 million people. Not all areas are the same. You have to look at what the data shows for transmission and respond in consideration of that.

I think it's a mistake to keep bars, clubs and high density indoor areas open, because that's a recipe for spreading it. But complete lockdown, you have to look at what local transmission rates are.

We've locked out borders. We are not letting people in and the U.S. may have to do that, too. High areas of transmission, New York as an example, maybe you should stop people for a while traveling from other states until the transmission rates are lower.

We can't continue for 6 months to 2 years. We have to have a modified response to protect those most at risk, be able to do things sensibly and, for instance, stopping people from going outside in the sunshine, providing they can do it without being within two meters of other, people that might be worth doing, providing you don't have rampant uncontrolled transmission.

VAUSE: Professor, thank you very much, we appreciate your insight. This is a debate that's going on all around the world. People want these conditions and recommendations to end and a return to normalcy. But obviously, that won't happen for a while. We appreciate you being with. Us thank you.

COLLIGNON: Thanks for having. Me

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VAUSE: Doctors at one emergency room in the U.S. have been stung by how quickly the virus affects patients, leaving some in critical condition, others barely affected. CNN's Ryan Young reports on this new reality for doctors in Michigan.

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JUSTIN BRIGHT, EMERGENCY ROOM DOCTOR, HENRY FORD HOSPITAL: It's a bit eerie walking through the E.R. now because everyone is all in this crazy protective gear. And you can't even tell who is under there.

RYAN YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tonight, a new reality sinking in for doctors in Detroit.

BRIGHT: I've had shifts that have put spooked me in a way that I've never been spooked before in my job.

I think the big shock is how rapidly some of these patients are deteriorating in their clinical condition. Like their breathing and their oxygen needs to get pretty -- pretty intense and pretty critical and we have to intervene.

YOUNG: For nurses like Michelle Thompson, the dramatic jump in cases has been a sobering reality.

MICHELLE THOMPSON, EMERGENCY ROOM NURSE, HENRY FORD HOSPITAL: Up until a week ago I thought, how much of this is hype and this and that? And until you start seeing it come in and how real and how sick people can get with this. We are seeing young people as well get very ill.

YOUNG: For a city that's been emerging from an economic crisis that has been decades in the making, Detroit once again at the center of another crisis, has a profound step backwards. BRIGHT: It is a perfect storm of patients with poor access to care. Poor financial situation. Just a normal life for them. Poor transportation and poor health. And so that is the perfect recipe for what we are seeing in Wayne County right now.

YOUNG: Business as usual grinding to a halt for the motor city. Plans for the annual Detroit auto show scrap to make way for this makeshift hospital capable of holding 1,000 patients.

On Tuesday, the state received 400 ventilators from the strategic national stockpile. Officials say they'll need thousands more but doctors like Bright warned, there is only so much they can do.

BRIGHT: It's tough because we have ventilators and we have experimental medication, but there is no magic cure for this. Our goal is really just to keep them alive while their immune system fights it.

YOUNG: Fear, anxiety, and hope, all part of the daily battle for those with the biggest impact on saving lives.

BRIGHT: I'm tired of being afraid and I'm tired of worrying about the next germ that I get is going to be coronavirus. And I'm really trying to maintain a positive attitude where all of us are on the front lines.

YOUNG: And you could focus on the numbers all you want when it comes to the cases here in Detroit but you think about these doctors and nurses and support staff that are going to work every single day to fight this virus, they are worried about going home and giving it to one of their loved ones.

The doctor was telling us, Dr. Bright, soon as he gets home, he strips down and then make sure he takes a shower before greeting his family. It's a battle that they all are fighting all across the state, especially with the fact that now hospital beds are becoming in short supply -- reporting in Detroit, Ryan Young, CNN.

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VAUSE: More proof that a combination of early and extensive testing and then aggressive tracking of cases can lead to can significant containment of the outbreak. They did just that in the United Arab Emirates. Sam Kiley reports.

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SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Known for its oil wealth and architectural ambition, the United Arab Emirates now sees itself as a world leader in fighting the coronavirus through testing. Recently bringing drive-through testing for the virus to the Emirati capital.

There is no question that here in the United Arab Emirates, because they are ruled by monarchies, they are not subjected to the trials and tribulations of democratic rulers. They also have a high level of surveillance of the population.

Both of those things mean that they can impose pretty draconian responses to problems. When it comes to the coronavirus, they though, have been very far ahead of the curve than other western nations.

The UAE closed schools and colleges before the epidemic in China and nearby Iran spread into a global pandemic. And before long, the Emirates were in a near total lockdown. Now, with just over 600 known infections and under 10 deaths, authorities here say that they are testing on a relative scale that eclipses western powers.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, the idea is to identify the positive, do the contact tracing, test all the contacts, screen populations, if need be, to identify all the positives and isolate them to stop the spread of infections.

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KILEY: The more tests done, the easier it is to isolate those who are infected and break the pandemics chain. It's a simple process that's been ruled out across every one of the emirates. It's free to vulnerable patients and those showing symptoms.

In the U.S., the U.K. and most other nations, tests are limited to those likely to be infected. Here, everyone is encouraged to get screened. It costs about $70.

Good morning.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How are you?

KILEY: I'm scared.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No need, sir. It will be very fine. I have to take temperatures.

KILEY: Are you going to shoot me?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, no, no. Just take. Yes, it's very normal only 36.6. KILEY: Then it gets uncomfortable.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, don't worry, everything is OK. I just want you to relax. Try to make your head up. Everything is good. Just close your eyes. Do not feel what I --

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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just relax and spread like this.

KILEY: Like that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just close your eyes. Nothing to worry, OK?

KILEY: It sounds appalling now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Close your eyes, OK? Relax, I'll finish. I'll finish. Very good.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's very. Good

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Very good. Whenever it's coughing that means that it's right.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Take this. Take this.

KILEY: Thank you. Results are out in 24 hours.

AYSHA AL-DHAHERI, HEAD OF HEALTH PROMOTION, ABU DHABI DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH: The aggressive of the test is very important because it will early detect the cases and provide the proper care and also allow the system, the healthcare system to trace the cases and contain the spread of the disease.

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KILEY: That might work in the Emirates but as the World Health Organization has said, testing on an even greater scale is a global imperative -- Sam Kiley, CNN, Abu Dhabi.

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VAUSE: For world leaders who lean towards authoritarianism, the coronavirus pandemic has been an opportunity to expand and solidify their hold on power. Hungary's Viktor Orban has increased his control in the government, all in the name of fighting the virus. As CNN's Nic Robertson reports, Orban has plenty of company.

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VIKTOR ORBAN, HUNGARIAN PRIME MINISTER: (Speaking foreign language).

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Unfolding on national TV, a blatant power grab. Hungary's autocratic prime minister Victor Orban, using COVID-19 as apparent cover, wins a vote, giving him the power to rule by decree.

No time limit on the sweeping reforms that effectively allow Orban to lock up journalists who criticize him for up to 5 years. Perhaps as shocking, the European Union's tepid reaction, a page-long written response, not even mentioning Hungary by name.

ERIC MAMER, EUROPEAN COMMISSION SPOKESPERSON: Any emergency measures must be limited to what is necessary and strictly proportionate. They must not last indefinitely. [00:25:00]

ROBERTSON (voice-over): All across Europe, police say forces and armies are getting new powers. Interpreting the limits is a hot button issue. In the U.K., one regional force was criticized for using a drone to film a couple driving to a beauty (ph) spot to walk their dog and then shaming them by posting it online.

MARTIN HEWITT, NATIONAL POLICE CHIEFS' COUNCIL: There have been some incidents that we would not have wanted to happen before trying to understand how to work in this very new environment.

ROBERTSON: We are all asking ourselves those same questions, how much freedom to give up, for how long and under whose control?

What Orban is doing in Hungary, however, goes way beyond that debate. Europe's most illiberal democracy has just lurched toward a Russia- style autocracy.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): Since he came to power a decade ago, Orban has been straining against Europe's democratic values, refusing to taken in migrants during the 2015 crisis; more recently, hollowing out Hungary's judiciary, over time turning the country into a one-party state.

All this, when truth about the coronavirus pandemic is at a premium.

MAMER: Now it is more important than ever that journalists are able to do their job freely and precisely so as to counter disinformation and to ensure our citizens have access to crucial information.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): Orban's timing is perhaps not surprising; only a few weeks ago, Russia's Putin extended his own rule until 2036. As the world is distracted by the pandemic, both men reaping personal gain -- Nic Robertson, CNN, London.

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VAUSE: It's hard to see the direct impact from social distancing, leaving many asking does it really do any good?

The answer it does. A new study from the Imperial College in London says social distancing has saved almost 60,000 lives across Europe. U.S. measures to restrict movement and contact has slowed the rate of infections.

A great number of Americans are being tested for the coronavirus but CNN has uncovered a major delay in getting results. Our investigation is up next.

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VAUSE: Welcome back, everyone. I'm John Vause. An update now on our top news this hour.

Nearly three times as many cases as China, where the outbreak began. More than 87 percent of Americans are facing stay-at-home orders.

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Italy is extending a national lockdown until at least April 13. More than 13,000 have died from the coronavirus there, making Italy the hardest hit country in Europe. But the country's been on lockdown now for three weeks, and the number of new infections is still increasing.

The United Kingdom saw its deadliest day of the pandemic so far: 563 lives lost on Wednesday, including the youngest victim so far, a 13- year-old boy, who died alone in a London hospital. The defense minister has called up 3,000 military reserves to help with the battle.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is responding to news about the tragic milestone. He called Wednesday a sad day in the U.K. He updated the country on the government's plan to deal with the crisis.

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BORIS JOHNSON, U.K. PRIME MINISTER: We're also massively increasing testing. And I want to say a special word about testing, because it is so important. And as I've said for weeks and weeks, this is the way through. This is how we will unlock the coronavirus. This is how we will defeat it in the end. And what we need to do is massively ramp up not just tests so that you can know whether you've had the disease in the past, the so-called antibody test. Because that will enable you to go to work in the confidence that you can't be infected or infectious.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Well, the Trump administration continues to talk up the availability of carnivorous tests. CNN has uncovered evidence of a huge backlog which has delayed tens of thousands of results. CNN's Drew Griffin has this report.

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DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This was just two weeks ago.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Today we're announcing a new partnership with the private sector to vastly increase and accelerate our capacity to test for the coronavirus.

GRIFFIN: Big commercial labs coming to the rescue of a floundering coronavirus testing plan, but within a week of the president's major Rose Garden announcement, internal documents obtained by CNN, from one of the nation's largest clinical laboratories exposed huge backlogs, results delayed up to 10 days and demand outstripping the lab's ability to process tests. Data from those documents show on March 25, last Wednesday, Quest Diagnostics had 160,000 tests on backlog. Half of its total orders were waiting to be processed. And according to Quest data obtained by CNN, that backlog appeared to be growing by the day.

Quest told CNN it can now do 30,000 tests a day. And recently, "Our capacity has exceeded our demand, allowing us to reduce the backlog."

Illinois Governor Jay Pritzker said the federal government has failed to produce millions of tests promised by the president, and now commercial labs can't process all the ones they do have.

GOV. J.B. PRITZKER (D-IL): In fact, their federal testing is slowed down, because they throw it all at LabCorp and Quest, and they've got a huge backlog. Those tests are coming back in four to 10 days.

GRIFFIN: It's the latest in a series of problems that is crippling coronavirus testing in the United States. Two months into the crisis, and testing is still limited only to the sickest individuals in most places, limiting health experts in knowing exactly where the virus is spreading.

DR. CAROLINE BUCKEE, HARVARD T.H. CHAN SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: Right now I don't think that we're at capacity for testing. So we just don't know how big the epidemic is, or how big it's going to get.

GRIFFIN: Because of the backlog at Quest and other commercial labs, states and hospital systems tell CNN they have bypassed the log jam by starting to conduct their own in-house tests, which can turn around results in hours, rather than days.

Louisiana has turned to its state lab to more quickly turn around the tests, but that's only for the most critical patients. All the rest go to the backlog.

DR. JOSEPH KANTER, EMERGENCY ROOM DOCTOR: It's gotten better, no question about that. But it is still a problem. The commercial labs have been challenging.

GRIFFIN: The delays in getting test results back are straining limited supplies of personal protective equipment. Patients suspected of COVID-19 must be treated as if they are infected, requiring hospital workers to burn through gear waiting for results, in some cases only to find out days later they didn't need to.

KANTER: There's a direct relationship between the speed at which we can get results back for hospitalized patients and the amount of PPE that is going to be expended in their care.

GRIFFIN: The result of the limited testing and now huge backlogs is most of us are not going to get a test even if we are sick, and yes, that even includes nurses on the front lines.

MEGAN SCHLANSER, NURSE, METRO DETROIT, MICHIGAN: We're not getting tested as healthcare providers. We are -- you know, I've had a couple of friends who have said, you know, I feel like I'm getting sick, and employee health will say, you know, We don't have enough tests. You haven't fit all the criteria that, you know, we have in place, so -- so you're not getting tested.

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GRIFFIN (on camera): And even as testing improves, experts are telling us the 100,000 tests a day milestone announced by the administration yesterday still is nowhere near what they say we need to get ahead of this pandemic.

Drew Griffin, CNN, Atlanta.

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VAUSE: The Trump administration is blaming a lack of transparency from China for any delay in the U.S. response. Even though most of the world seemed to work out this virus was a major problem, the U.S. president repeatedly downplayed the threat. Now his vice president suggested the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was a bit slow to respond.

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MIKE PENCE (R), VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I will be very candid with you and say that in mid-January, the CDC was still assessing that the risk of the coronavirus to the American people was low. The very first case, which was someone who had been in China, I believe, took place in late January around the 20th day of January.

The reality is that we could have been better off if China had been more forthcoming.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Live now to Steven Jiang, who's standing by in Beijing for us, as he has been since the very begin -- beginning of this outbreak.

And Steven, how is China reacting to this attempt by the Trump administration to rewrite a little coronavirus history?

STEVEN JIANG, CNN SENIOR PRODUCER: Well, you know, these U.S. accusations are not new, John. They have heard it before. And remember, the two governments were engaged in a war of words over the origin of the virus, not -- just not long ago.

Now, the two presidents, President Xi and President Trump, did talk over the phone last week and seemed to be sort -- they agreed to tamp down that allegation (AUDIO GAP) -- from Washington will probably get a very strong response from here, as well.

It's also interesting to see what kind of more evidence or detail we are going to see from Washington in terms of to what extent, for example, U.S. intelligence officials believe that Chinese government has been faking these numbers -- John.

VAUSE: OK, Steven, thank you. Steven Jiang, live in Beijing, as he has been for a very long time throughout this story. Thank you, Steven.

Well, the latest evidence of economic disaster from the coronavirus will come in just a few hours: New U.S. unemployment numbers. Analyst expect as many as 5 million Americans or more filed for benefits last week.

Journalist Kaori Enjoji is joining us now, live in Tokyo. And you know, for those who like a horror movie or a horror show, there is nothing more horrific then these numbers from what we are told and what we can expect. Right?

KAORI ENJOJI, JOURNALIST: Yes, I mean, 5 million is really an eye- popping figure when you think about the magnitude of the jobs that are being lost. And I think this goes to the heart of the problem, that factories are pretty much at a standstill everywhere.

You take a country like Japan, where I'm in, where the automobile industry is basically the lifeblood of industry and one of the biggest employers. And every single one of the eight automakers in Japan have a production line that's halted, partly might be because they can't get parts because of the coronavirus, and secondly, because the demand has basically dried up in key countries like China -- also the United States and Europe, as well. And this is alarming.

What's playing out differently, though, across the region is, in countries like Japan and South Korea, the labor laws are just so much stricter than in the United States.

It's very, very difficult for companies to scale back and furlough employees when crisis hits. So that's one of the reasons the unemployment figures in this region have now been as acute as they have in the U.S.

But that doesn't mean that the situation for corporates isn't dire. It just means that they have to hold onto staff much longer, and their funding needs are a lot -- increases. And the bad news is just pushed backwards. And I think that is a concern for the markets right now and for investors as to -- when people are trying to predict if and when this recovery is going to take place.

Right now, as far as the financial markets are concerned, John, the four percent losses on the three major indices overnight was a bit of a shock in the morning. And it pushed a lot of the markets down. But we have been recovering.

And it's partly because oil prices have been rebounding. When U.S. President Donald Trump made the comment suggesting that there could be some sort of breakthrough in talks between Saudi Arabia and Russia, as far as the price war is concerned, that triggered a rebound in oil prices, and that seems to be pushing some of the indices into positive territory.

But I think that right now, people are concerned about the corporate earnings, the fact that companies haven't been able to give guidance. And so when they do come out over the next couple of weeks, it's going to be lot deeper, the declines, than what, maybe, the market is ready for.

And on top of that, local expectation -- local fears that the coronavirus is seeing a spike again in some of these areas in Asia, where it once seemed contained. [00:40:00]

In Japan we continue to wait for the possibility the government may declare a state of emergency. The local governors seem to be urging the government to do so. But right now, the central government has said, Look, we're not at that stage to do so.

But I think concerns are mounting, because the cases are increasing, particularly among younger people, in hotspots like Tokyo and Osaka. The cases in recent days, there has been an increase in people aged in their thirties, twenties, forties, a lot younger than what we saw in previous weeks. And I think people are concerned, especially the government -- governors seem to be concerned whether or not Tokyo is prepared medically for that kind of outbreak.

VAUSE: And Kaori, just at the moment, until they get the virus under control, all these governments and central banks can only do right now is economic triage. Right? Because until there is the confidence that people can go out and spend, there will be no consumer demand. There will be no stimulus there that will actually work, right? So that's where they're at.

ENJOJI: Yes. I mean, governments are going to throw money to consumers, give cash handouts. And I think Japan is going to do that, as well, next week when they announce their stimulus.

But at the same time, you have, on the other hand, the -- you know, the countries saying stay at home, don't go to the stores. And you really don't know how -- how shops are going to respond to a state of emergency like situation.

And as we talked about earlier, with the factories around the world shut, that means corporate profits are under pressure. And business is basically at a standstill. The remedies that the governments are offering for the coronavirus hurts on the other -- on the other side. So yes, you know, there's a wall of money being put out there, but at the end of the day, the earnings and the corporate engine that needs to get back on its feet.

VAUSE: All right, K. Kaori Enjoji there, live in Tokyo. Appreciate that. Thank you.

Well, the U.S. Navy moves to evacuate sailors in Guam as the coronavirus invades an aircraft carrier. The evacuation coming after a sharp warning from the ship's commanding officer. A live report when we come back.

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VAUSE: An unknown number of sailors on board a USS aircraft carrier heading for quarantine in hotel rooms in Guam after the coronavirus was detected.

The USS Roosevelt's commanding officer wrote a very blunt letter, urging decisive action to save the lives of his crew. The acting Navy secretary says 93 sailors on board have tested positive for the virus, adding about 1,000 sailors have been evacuated so far.

Journalist Mindy Argonne is in Guam, joins us now live.

So this final number of sailors who are heading for quarantine. We don't exactly know how many, what, because of operational security. But do we know where they will go and how long they'll be in quarantine for?

MINDY AGUON, JOURNALIST: Hi John.

Joint Region Marianas Admiral John Menoni announced in a press conference with Governor Leon Guerrero an hour ago that those sailors who tested negative for COVID-19 will begin being transported to hotels likely here in Tumon in the tourist district, off base, within the next 12 to 24 hours.

He stressed that the USS Theodore Roosevelt sailors will only be permitted to depart the base following a negative COVID-19 test result.

They will remain in quarantine for the next 14 days under lawful order. Their chain of commander, Admiral Menoni (ph), stressing today that this will be an entirely military-run operation. These sailors will have no direct contact with the local community or the hotel staff.

He said they will continue to test sailors to prevent the spread and maintain mission readiness.

An estimated 1,000 sailors have already been taken off the warship. They've been placed in isolation quarters, as well as quarantine spaces on naval base Guam, by getting more sailors off the ship. Menoni (ph) said, the Navy is able to implement social distancing, with the remaining members required to stay on the ship, of course, to be mission ready.

He said the USS Theodore Roosevelt is not incapacitated. It could head out tomorrow, if necessary. He said that they would -- the health and welfare of the sailors is currently at the forefront.

Now, there are ongoing discussions, John, between the military, the government of Guam, and the Guam Hotel and Restaurant Association, as they work to identify potential hotels here in Tumon. We understand that there are seven potential hotels that have been identified. Again, agreements have not been made as of yet.

Although you can't see it now, Tumon is normally bustling with thousands of tourists visiting the island. Many of these hotel were scheduled to be closed for the month of April as most of the flights from source markets like Seoul, Korea, Japan and the Philippines have all stopped flights into Guam. The Hotel and Restaurant Association said they are currently working on agreements, and those should be done later today or tomorrow.

So again, Admiral Menoni announcing today that they are working with the government of Guam and the Guam Hotel and Restaurant Association to get those COVID-19-negative sailors off of the naval base and out to seven potential hotels located here in Tumon in the tourist district -- John.

BERMAN: Mindy, it looks like a beautiful day there. We know that the commanding officer of the Roosevelt wanted, what, 10 percent of the sailors left on board. He didn't get that, but at least he got some. We thank you for the live report. Thank you.

Now, Israeli officials are facing unique challenges in their coronavirus fight. Oren Liebermann explains why the orthodox Jewish community there has the highest rate of infections.

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OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The SWAT team advanced down the street, armed for combat but dressed for protection. In this ultra-orthodox neighborhood in Jerusalem, there are two problems: coronavirus, and a community where some refuse to obey government restrictions.

Infection rates in ultra-orthodox areas are higher than the rest of the country, according to the ministry of health. Also known as the Haredim, the ultra-orthodox community make up only 14 percent of Israel's total population, but in one hospital near Tel Aviv, they are 60 percent of the patients, a spokesman tells CNN. The danger of coronavirus has yet to fully penetrate the ultra-orthodox community.

SUPERINTENDENT MICKY ROSENFELD, ISRAELI POLICE SPOKESMAN: The majority of the public and the communities understand the message and realize the importance of staying at home. The problem being inside those religious communities, that unfortunately, they're not online, and they're not using communicative systems such as telephones and televisions. They don't exist inside the neighborhoods. Communication is part of the problem, compounded by a strict belief in God over government.

In the Jerusalem neighborhood of Mahersharim (ph), we found posters instructing people to obey the ministry of health restrictions to save lives, but they were right next to other signs, warning of a terrible discovery. That the coronavirus was caused by a lack of modesty, instructing women and girls to cover themselves and obey religious law.

Despite the outwards appearance of uniformity, the Haredi community has many factions and groupings. The rabbi of one group has little, if any sway, over others. That makes conveying one message to the entire community particularly difficult. Many Haredi leaders have instructed their followers to abide by the latest restrictions, but not everyone.

In the religious city of Bakshemi (ph) police warned those on the street they were violating the ministry of health directives. Officers went through the streets, breaking up public prayer sessions and issuing fines, a scene that played out in many of these communities.

Here, police broke open a door and found an ultra-orthodox man hiding inside. Police say they issued steep fines to 20 people for illegal gatherings.

Police helicopters searched from above, spotting large prayer groups, forbidden under the latest restrictions.

In the city of Nabrok (ph) over the weekend, hundreds gathered for the funeral of a prominent rabbi, with large crowds packing the streets. Health officials say they're considering locking down this ultra- orthodox city, an option rejected by the mayor. In a fight that has united so much of humanity here, there are still sides, and no matter who wins, the entire country is at risk of losing.

Oren Liebermann, CNN, Jerusalem.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

[00:50:20]

VAUSE: Panama is taking an unorthodox approach to bend the coronavirus curve. The government is using gender to decide who would be placed under restrictions of movement.

CNN's Patrick Oppmann explains.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Panamanian men and women will no longer be able to leave their homes at the same time after the Panamanian government has put in a series of new restrictions they say they help to limit the spread of coronavirus.

What had happened was, even though Panama had already put in some of the toughest measures in place to keep the coronavirus from spreading even further. They said officials, that they were seeing too many people out and about, using the excuse that they were shopping for food, which is really the only excuse, after emergencies, that Panamanians have to leave their homes.

The government has put a lockdown on the entire country. So the government said they wanted to come up with a system that would be easy for police to force and make it obvious who was violating these restrictions.

So starting Wednesday, Panamanian women will be able to leave their homes only for two hours each day, on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Panamanian -- Panamanian men will have Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.

Police say that if they catch people, they will tell them to go home. And if they don't listen, there could be fines. They could even face some jail time for breaking this lockdown. It is not a suggestion. It is mandatory. And as for Sunday, that is the day that both Panamanian women and men will have to stay home, which is now the only place in the country both men and women are allowed to be at the same time.

Patrick Oppmann, CNN, Havana. VAUSE: And the music world is mourning the loss of a legend to the coronavirus. New Orleans jazz musician Ellis Marsalis Jr. has died. He was 85 years old. He had six sons, and one of them, Branford, told "The New York Times" the cause of death was complications because of the virus.

Four of Ellis Marsalis's sons followed him into a career in music. And the mayor of New Orleans says he was the prototype of what we mean when we talk about New Orleans jazz.

Another of Marsalis's sons, Wynton, posted on social media, his father went out the way he lived: embracing reality. Good for him.

Next on CNN NEWSROOM, an eerie, unfamiliar scene on some of the world's most familiar streets as New York City goes silent, struggling to fight the coronavirus.

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VAUSE: It's the city that never sleeps, a place where normally, you feel the energy and the buzz of millions of people crammed onto one small island. But New York's once bustling streets are deserted streets, subways empty.

Times Square has fallen silent, and the Big Apple is a ghost town. Here's Richard Quest.

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RICHARD QUEST, CNN BUSINESS EDITOR AT LARGE (voice-over): Eight o'clock on Seventh Avenue. Normally, this main artery would be full of traffic, heading south to Wall Street and the towers of finance.

Today, few cars, fewer people. This is exactly as the authorities wanted. Stay at home.

The subway is still running, sort of. This one train, and there's a long wait for the next. Normally crowded platforms are deserted, as it should be.

[00:55:10]

As the train arrives, it's obvious there are few passengers on board. These are the essential workers of New York -- God bless them -- keeping the city going while the rest of us stay safe at home.

And behind those masks, what it faces, the train is the riskiest part of their day. It's three stops to Times Square. I should be battling by now.

(on camera): So this is Times Square. Normally, it would be packed with commuters. But as you can see, this major interchange, there is virtually no one here.

(voice-over): Times Square is the most obvious example of today's New York. This is rush hour in one of the busiest places in the city. (on camera): Times Square is known as the crossroads of the world.

Today, the crossroads are empty, and the traffic, well, this is the extent of the rush hour.

(voice-over): Some things don't change. The giant lit-up screens are still screaming their messages. Normally advertising the latest in everything. Now they give the latest advice to keep us safe.

As I walk through the square, time and again, one thought keeps coming back to me.

(on camera): Walking through Times Square, it actually feels like something out of a science-fiction movie, or a disaster film. There is nobody here and just warnings everywhere about staying at home and washing your hands. And of course, the ubiquitous police cars are everywhere.

(voice-over): Times Square has a special place in my heart. As I walk back home, I'm reminded why.

(on camera): Four months ago I was standing just here, looking up there when the ball dropped on New Year's Eve. 2020 had a lovely ring to it. A new decade with so much promise. Who could have imagined?

(voice-over): Who knows how long this will last? It's good to see it's all still here, waiting for us to return.

Richard Quest, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: Yes, well, 2020 sucks so far. I've got to say that one to you, Richard. But thank you.

You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause. Stay with us. "AMANPOUR" is next.

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