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Queen Elizabeth II Gives Rare Address On Coronavirus Crisis; White House Sending A Grim Message About Just How Bad Things Will Get In The Fight Against The Coronavirus; New York State Accounts For Nearly Half Of All Coronavirus Deaths Nationwide. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired April 5, 2020 - 15:00   ET

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


[15:00:00]

DR. JEROME ADAMS, U.S. SURGEON GENERAL: It's going to be happening all over the country and I want America to understand that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: The prediction comes as the number of confirmed cases in the U.S. surges to over 324,000. More than 9,100 people have died so far, with over 1,300 deaths reported on Saturday alone.

New York continues to be one of the hardest hit. Nearly half of all death in the country have happened there. This morning, Governor Andrew Cuomo said hospitalizations are down, but saving lives continues to be a major challenge.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): The bad news is, the number of beds doesn't really matter anymore. We have the beds, it's the ventilators, and then it's the staff. That's the problem.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: And after this breaking news, in the U.K., Queen Elizabeth II is addressing the pandemic in a rare televised speech. This as the United Kingdome reports more than 5,900 new cases and more than 600 new deaths. Let's listen in.

QUEEN ELIZABETH II, UNITED KINGDOM: I'm speaking to you about what I know is an increasingly challenging time, a time of disruption in the life of our country. A disruption which has brought grief to some, financial difficulties to many, and enormous changes to the daily lives of us all.

I want to thank everyone on the N.H.S. frontline, as well as care workers and those carrying out essential roles who selflessly continue their day-to-day duties outside the home in support of us all.

I'm sure the nation will join me in assuring you that what you do is appreciated and every hour of your hard work brings us closer to a return to more normal times. I also want to thank those of you who are staying at home, thereby

helping to protect the vulnerable and sparing many families, the pain already felt by those who have lost loved ones.

Together, we are tackling this disease, and I want to reassure you that if we remain united and resolute, then we will overcome it.

I hope in the years to come, everyone will be able to take pride in how they responded to this challenge. And those who come after us will say the Britons of this generation were as strong as any, that the attributes of self-discipline, of quiet good human resolve and a fellow feeling still characterize this country.

The pride in who we are is not a part of our past, it defines our present and our future.

The moments when the United Kingdom has come together to applaud its care and essential workers will be remembered as an expression of our national spirit and its symbol will be the rainbows drawn by children.

Across the Commonwealth and around the world, we have seen heartwarming stories of people coming together to help others, be it through delivering food parcels and medicines, checking on neighbors, or converting businesses to help the relief effort.

And those self-isolating may at times be hard. Many people of all face and of none are discovering that it presents an opportunity to slow down, pause and reflect in prayer or meditation.

It reminds me of the video first broadcast I made in 1940, helped by her my sister. We as children spec from here at Windsor, to children who had been evacuated from their homes and sent away for their own safety.

Today, once again, many will feel a painful sense of separation from their loved ones. But now as then, we know deep down, that it is the right thing to do.

While we have faced challenges before, this one is different. This time, we join with all nations across the globe in a common endeavor using the great advances of science and our instinctive compassion to heal. We will succeed and that success will belong to every one of us.

We should take comfort that well, we may have more still to endure, better days will return. We will be with our friends again. We will be with our families again.

[15:05:10]

QUEEN ELIZABETH II: We will meet again.

But for now I send my thanks and warmest good wishes to all.

WHITFIELD: A very strong reassuring Queen Elizabeth II there addressing the U.K. because of this coronavirus pandemic, a rare presentation from the Queen usually reserved for the time of Christmas or even welcoming a new Parliament, but she stressed, you know, resolve, self-discipline to all that were listening.

Joining me right now to discuss is CNN's Royal correspondent, Max Foster who is live for us outside Windsor Castle where the Queen just gave that address. It was pre-recorded along with Victoria Arbiter, CNN Royal commentator and expert. Good to see you both.

All right, Max, you first. Let's talk about, you know, her very resounding messages there, starting with thanks to first responders and thanks to people who have been disciplined enough to stay at home and stay safe.

MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I mean in this, she is really reinforcing the government message when she talks about appealing to people effectively to remain united and resolute so we can overcome it, thanking those who are staying at home, thereby helping to protect the vulnerable.

That's a message to people to stop going out, very clearly reflecting the government message, the government would have had a role in this, would have asked her to step in. The key concern about people not sticking to the rules, and she is basically appealing to them as this revered figure, not just in the U.K., but around the world, to try to do what the government tells them to, to keep the vulnerable safe.

This is a living historic figure. She has lived through many crises. She's met most American Presidents in her lifetime. This is someone that's been through other crises before and she is comparing it to the war era and the isolation that people felt at that time.

So, she is saying this is very, very serious. She's reiterating that. But we all are in this together. We all need to work together. She is there unifying the country and the world. Hopefully, that's what this message, Fredericka, was about.

WHITFIELD: Yes, it was an extraordinary parallel to make, Victoria, how important was it for the Queen to do that? To essentially say to everybody, I've been through stuff before, you know, you can, too. How does her message resonate perhaps better than anyone else's?

VICTORIA ARBITER, CNN ROYAL COMMENTATOR: I think the Queen for most Britons alive today, she is the only monarch they can remember. And there's some comfort in the fact that she is always there.

She leads us through times of crisis. She leads us at times of national joy as well. And so there is tremendous comfort for Britons around the world who are watching. I'm watching from America and I, too, took comfort in her message, the fact that she is unifying us in this way.

Now, the U.K. has not been impacted on this level since World War II. This is this generation's World War II. And so I think by talking through what she has experienced before she lived through it, they came out better for it.

And I liked that she ended this message by talking of the hope for future, better days are to come, even though we've still got to endure so much, and I think there, she is putting herself in amongst her people and saying, we're in this together.

WHITFIELD: Yes, also, there was the omission. She didn't make reference to her eldest son, you know, Prince Charles, who was, you know, who did test positive for coronavirus.

And, you know, Max reminded us earlier that he was self-isolated for seven days. How calculated, you know -- and why that calculation that she wouldn't make reference to him?

ARBITER: I think really, this was all about speaking to the people, making this a message to the people. They are well aware that Prince Charles has experienced symptoms, but there was also a lot of criticism that Prince Charles was able to get a test when a number of people working on the frontlines have not been able to get to test.

This was not a poor me. The Queen appreciates that she is giving this message from self-isolation in a castle where she is being very well taken care of.

There are N.H.S. workers who have not been able to get their shopping, who have been thrown out of rented accommodation, who have been having to stay in their car so as to protect members of their family.

So this wasn't about, look how rough we've had it. It was, we're in this together. I'm here to lead the way I have done in the past through times of trouble. I'll do so now. And I think that's where the reassurance comes is that yes, she's delivering this message from the white drawing room. She's safe within the confines of Windsor Castle, but she too is separated from her family and she too is going through isolation as Max mentioned in a very high risk group.

WHITFIELD: Max, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson also tested positive for coronavirus. Would he have requested that she do this? That she have this televised address?

FOSTER: He would certainly be -- have to give the all clear for it, I suspect and our political sources are suggesting that the government wanted to bring the Queen in at this point, which is interesting. The timing is interesting, because I think from my perspective here in the U.K., it does feel as if the government is relatively in control.

[15:10:19]

FOSTER: Bringing the Queen in is usually the nuclear option when chaos is sensed, and they will need someone to unify the country. I don't know what the government thinking is on this, but they clearly wanted to bring her in at this time.

We were always expecting some sort of address to the nation, but it does feel sooner than many people had expected. Perhaps the government is concerned that things could break down.

But this wasn't just a message to the U.K., because this is a global issue. This is a global figure and it was a rallying call in many ways to the world, talking about how we will succeed in defeating this virus. So, she talks about while we have faced challenges before this one is different, this time we join all nations across the globe in a common endeavor, using the great advances of science and our instinctive compassion to heal, we will succeed, and that success will belong to every one of us.

So rallying people to say, if you stick by the rules, if you work with the government and with other governments around the world, we can beat this and get through. And she is one of the few figures that people look up to and will sort of take that message from, I think.

WHITFIELD: And Max, she did make reference to 1940 being alongside her sister. You know, it's hard to imagine that any other world leader anywhere could be able to give that kind of reassurance like she did.

FOSTER: I think it's her presence in the history books. If you go through history books, she is often there and photos in whatever country you're from, actually, to some extent.

She has been one of the most -- she is the most well-traveled monarch ever and she has also taken the Commonwealth extremely seriously. She has got very close relations with the United States, of course, and when you travel with her, you see how foreign heads of state want that photo with her.

They want that photo with a historic living figure. They want that to be in the history books, they know that she'll be in the history books, and there'll be alongside her.

So people do look up to her. She is this revered figure. And when there are heads of state meetings, you can see the body language. You can see U.S. Presidents -- you can see Donald Trump, of all people, the Queen is someone who he clearly looks up to, one of the few probably out there.

WHITFIELD: Yes, and Victoria, she looked and sounded strong. Your thoughts.

ARBITER: Yes, and I think that will be reassuring to a number of people as well because of course, once Charles was ill, we then learned that Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Charles's wife, her ex-husband has also contracted the coronavirus, one of the Queen's footman has contracted the virus.

And so I think there has been some anxiety about the Queen. She's just two weeks shy of her 94th birthday. Of course, Prince Philip is with her. He'll be 99 this year.

So I think it would have been reassuring to a number of people, but just to point out to she's the last remaining head of state to have served in uniform during World War II. She is the first female member of the British Royal Family to have served in uniform.

So these words are words of wisdom. They're coming from a place of experience, and I think really, the message was spot on today.

WHITFIELD: Yes, poignant distinctions. Thank you so much, Victoria Arbiter and Max Foster. Appreciate you both. All right, this week could be a Pearl Harbor and 9-11 moment. That

shocking warning coming from the U.S. Surgeon General after President Trump said there will be a lot of death. That straight ahead.

Plus, tracking the coronavirus, we will show you how two tech firms found out how spring breakers possibly brought the virus from beaches back to their hometowns.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:17:48]

WHITFIELD: WHITFIELD: The White House is sending a grim message about just how bad things will get in the fight against the coronavirus.

This morning, the Surgeon General said this week will be another Pearl Harbor moment for Americans and President Trump telling reporters that they will be, I am quoting now, "a lot of death."

This, as medical experts warn the next two weeks will be crucial in the fight to stop the spread of the virus. CNN's Jeremy Diamond is at the White House right now for us. So, Jeremy, how are officials gearing up for what is yet to come?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fredricka, yesterday we saw more than 1,300 Americans reported dead from the coronavirus, the largest single day total during this coronavirus pandemic.

And as that was happening, you heard the President of the United States yesterday, warning Americans about the grim reality to come, talking about the next one to two weeks being horrendous -- a horrendous time for this country.

The President saying that there will be a lot of death. That warning was echoed by the President's health experts, Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx, but what we also heard from those health experts was not just warning Americans about the death toll to come, but also urging them to do everything in their power to try and slow the spread of this virus over the coming weeks.

You heard the Surgeon General, Jerome Adams calling this a Pearl Harbor moment, a 9-11 moments for the country and when he was asked about those eight governors, who so far have refused to issue stay-at- home orders, you heard Dr. Adams saying, give us a week at least, give us what you can in order to slow the spread.

The President, meanwhile, yesterday I asked him about that and why he wouldn't urge those eight governors who are all Republicans to issue stay-at-home orders, the President said he felt it was not his role. And he said, he believes that those eight governors are nonetheless doing a great job.

Fredricka, he was also saying that if there were to be a significant outbreak in one of those states, then perhaps he would change his tune, of course, what we know about this virus and because of the asymptomatic spread, once you do have a significant outbreak, in many ways, it is already too late to stem the spread of the virus -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: And no scheduled briefing today, correct?

DIAMOND: That's right. That's right.

WHITFIELD: All right. Jeremy Diamond. Thank you so much. All right, meanwhile, states remain on the front lines of this disaster. 42 states are now under disaster declarations with today's addition of Delaware and South Dakota.

[15:20:10]

WHITFIELD: Hotspots continue to pop up in Illinois. There are now more than 10,000 cases across that state. Governor JB Pritzker says it's impossible to know the full extent of this outbreak because they simply don't have enough tests.

Joining me right now, Dr. Khalilah Gates. She is a Pulmonary and Critical Care specialist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. Good to see you, Doctor.

DR. KHALILAH GATES, PULMONARY AND CRITICAL CARE SPECIALIST, NORTHWESTERN MEMORIAL HOSPITAL-CHICAGO: Thank you. Thanks for having me.

WHITFIELD: Absolutely. Glad you could be available. So you know, you're on the ground there. You're seeing these patients checked in, you're working with your colleagues. You know, you're assessing the need, and, you know, the supply shortages. What are your observations?

GATES: So what we're observing here, I'm speaking specifically for Northwestern is that we have been able to work together to kind of increase the supplies that we have.

And so the major thing is testing, and so to identify who has the disease is important. And so we have our own in-house testing. We are also -- that could give us results within 24 hours.

Some of our people in the lab are working on tests that could actually give us results sooner than that. And we also have the Abbott test that we just received in-house and we're trying to validate that test.

And so it's all about using the resources that we have to identify our patients to be able to treat them and provide them the best care that we can.

WHITFIELD: So then when you hear the Surgeon General say, you know, this week could be, you know, a 9-11 moment, a Pearl Harbor moment. What do those words say to you and your colleagues about how to brace yourselves?

GATES: I think those words simply reiterate what we already are preparing for and that this is a fight. This is a fight to save our patients, this is a fight to save our community and we're preparing for that.

We have plans in place. We have Plan A, B, C through Z, depending on what this actually looks like. Our leadership is keeping close tabs on what the predictions are, we're paying attention to the numbers, and we're making adjustments daily to kind of compensate for that.

So these are scary times. But we can't run away in fear. We have to face what's happening and do the things that we need to do to be prepared and I'm feeling pretty confident that we are being prepared as best we can, and that's not to say that we aren't going to come into some problems.

But the idea is that we are preparing and reacting to what we're seeing is important.

WHITFIELD: You and your colleagues, you've trained for this, but to hear even, you say, you know, these are scary times. What does this make you and your colleagues feel, you know, when you gear up and head into work every day, knowing what you're up against? How frightened are you when you say these are scary times? What does that mean for you?

GATES: So it means that this is a virus that we've never seen before. It is having effects that we've never experienced before. The idea of potentially running out of ventilators for patients who need them, the idea of having a healthcare system that is overwhelmed is in fact quite scary, and we can't be paralyzed by that fear.

We have to acknowledge it, but then continue to move on so that we can prepare and minimize whatever damage may come with this. We are not in denial about the numbers and the projections. We are hopeful that the continued push for social distancing, and now potentially wearing masks will help flatten the curve.

And so we remain hopeful in that, but we also remain realistic in the numbers and we are preparing for that and we are fearful for ourselves as well. We're going to be on the front lines, we know what that means. We know that we have PPE, but we also know the risk for ourselves.

And so, we tackle this every day, we face it. But we are not in denial about the current situation at this time.

WHITFIELD: All right, Dr. Khalilah Gates, thank you so much for taking the time out. Thank you and to your colleagues for all that you are doing.

GATES: OK, thank you so much.

WHITFIELD: And a glimmer of hope. In New York, Governor Cuomo says the number of hospitalizations is down, but it may be too soon to tell if the state has hit a plateau.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:29:13] WHITFIELD: All right, right now, New York State accounts for nearly

half of all coronavirus deaths nationwide. And while Governor Andrew Cuomo said hospitalizations are taking lower, the challenge to save lives is only getting harder.

Today, Defense Secretary Mark Esper stressed help is on the way announcing the Pentagon is sending an additional 1,100 military personnel to help the state cope with the outbreak and that includes doctors, nurses and other medical personnel.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARK ESPER, U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY: We will soon be taking over the Javits Center, a 2,500-bed capacity to show you how all in we are.

The United States Military will soon be running the largest hospital in the United States that shows you our commitment.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: CNN's Evan McMorris-Santoro is live at the Javits Center in New York, where coronavirus patients will be admitted soon as early as tomorrow, right?

[15:30:05]

EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Fred. I can tell you, having still down here by the Javits Center, the Convention Center that's now a massive military run hospital starting next week. I've been here for a couple of weekends now, I can tell you the only people walking around really are people in uniform.

The military is a big part of the fight here in New York, which remains the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States.

Governor Andrew Cuomo today said that it's not just here in Javits that those military personnel will be used. About a thousand of them are coming in or around 1,100, as you said, 325 of those doctors, nurses and technicians who run machines like ventilators are being deployed today to New York's public hospital system, which is currently the most taxed part of the system under coronavirus, according to Governor Andrew Cuomo.

So the military, they're already here and they're going to be a big part of the solution moving forward -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: So Evan, do we know anything about logistics like, you know how people would be transported there? You know, how the word gets out for those who, you know, feel sick about checking into Javits as opposed to any other New York facility starting tomorrow?

SANTORO: So a lot of those details have not been fully released yet. But I will tell you this from what we know from watching these press conferences. The idea of Javits is to move patients from existing hospitals, out of

those hospitals to free up space in those hospitals. So if it follows the way this has been going right along, it'll be that you'll go to a normal hospital, the people in that hospital will then transfer you here to Javits.

I don't think we haven't seen much indication yet that the idea is you're going to walk right into Javits yourself, it's all part of what the Governor is trying to do here is create a new hospital system all across the state including these new federally-run hospitals like the Naval Ship, and here at Javits and also the existing state and public and private hospitals as well -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right, Evan McMorris-Santoro, thank you so much at Javits Center.

All right, the Trump administration wants to use cell phone tracking data to help fight the coronavirus.

Now, a pair of companies in the U.S. are trying to show through that system, what it would look like by tracking data from thousands of spring breakers who ignored social distancing guidelines and then traveled back to different places across the country.

CNN's Donie O'Sullivan joining me right now with more on this. Donie, so tell us about how this technology is going to track people.

DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN REPORTER: That's right, Fred. We all remember those spring breakers a few weeks ago, who would not leave the beaches of Florida despite all the warnings from officials around the country.

A lot of us, I guess, don't realize how much we're being tracked by technology companies and embedded within apps that we use every day like transport apps and maps and even weather apps, there are -- there's information that's being sent back to those app developers about our location.

So you see with this map, which was created using the folks on the beach in Florida, a lot of these kids would have had some apps on their phones that was tracking their location.

These two companies, Tectonix and X-Mode were able to draw basically a bubble to see, okay, here are the people who were on the beach in Fort Lauderdale in March and let's see where they went after that.

And as you can see, they spread out across the United States, some even as far as Canada. And I guess what this is really trying to demonstrate is that you know, if you don't practice social distancing, if you aren't doing what officials and health officials tell you to do, we saw that when some spring breakers just came back last week from Mexico to Texas, a lot of them brought back the coronavirus.

So it's been it possible that some of these people whose phones are being tracked may have been carrying the virus.

WHITFIELD: So now what about privacy issues? Has that been raised? O'SULLIVAN: Absolutely. So, I mean, I think, you know, a lot of us are

freaked out about how much technology companies like Facebook and Google and everybody tracks us. And a lot of times, they don't really tell us or want to disclose quite how much or they're certainly not shouting from the rooftops about how they're able to track us.

But what we've seen over the past few weeks, is we're seeing these companies like the two companies that I mentioned that developed the map in Florida, they're now sort of, you know, pivoting and saying, well, we have all this information on Americans where they go and who they see and maybe we can use this to help stop the spread or at least track the spread of the coronavirus, which might be very well intended and all well and good.

But it also has the impact, of course of I think maybe normalizing how much we're being tracked. So, you know, hopefully when this pandemic is over us, it will be interesting to see if these companies are as willing to talk about how much tracking information they have on us.

[15:35:10]

WHITFIELD: Are measures like this being used in other parts of the world?

O'SULLIVAN: Yes, countries all over the world have been trying to implement some form of technology like this. You know, in states where there are less liberties, like Russia, they're using facial recognition technology.

So in our 170,000 surveillance cameras that already has facial recognition technology as part of their day-to-day surveillance, what they've been doing there is they've been identifying people who are breaking stay at home orders and are actually finding them.

In Israel there, they have started to use some spy technology, and then in countries in Europe, they're trying to do different approaches using Bluetooth.

So if you were to walk by -- if you were to download an app, which is a coronavirus tracker and to walk by somebody who has the virus, that you would get an alert, but they are very much built on opt-in methods.

So, you know, there's a real interesting balance here of, do you want people to opt-in and be tracked to do this type of tracking? Or do you do it as they're doing it in countries like Russia and just sort of showing you.

WHITFIELD: All right, Donie O'Sullivan, thank you so much for that. Appreciate it.

All right, take a look at this stunning video just in, more than 3,500 rental cars are destroyed after a fire at Florida -- at a Florida airport, rather. Officials say the fire scorched some 15 acres of land after it started in a rental car overflow area at Southwest Florida International Airport on Friday. It took nearly 18 hours to get the fire contained. No one was hurt and

no structures at the airport were affected and the cause of the fire still under investigation. Extraordinary images there.

All right coming up in the CNN NEWSROOM, priests are preaching to empty pews this Palm Sunday as coronavirus tests the faithful.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:41:14]

WHITFIELD: This morning, Pope Francis celebrated Palm Sunday, a Holy Day of celebration for Christians in an empty St. Peter's Basilica.

The celebration is usually held outdoors with thousands in attendance, and in his address, the Pope implored the world's youth to not be afraid to help others during this deadly pandemic.

And this new reality that we find ourselves in has challenged churches, synagogues, and other faith-based organizations around the world to find new safe ways to observe one of the holiest weeks of the year. Here is CNN's Natasha Chen.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NATASHA CHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Following stay-at-home orders can be complicated, especially for the faithful as we head into what is one of the holiest weeks for Christians and Jews alike.

So how do you gather for these sacred events -- Palm Sunday, Easter, Passover -- when you can't gather for the sake of everyone's health?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): I don't think the government has the authority to close the church. I'm certainly not going to do that. But I think particularly coming up in the Easter season, I think people are going to want to have access, you know, to religious services, whether it's online, whether it's in a more socially distant type of service.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHEN (voice over): Out of 42 states with stay-at-home orders signed by governors, 14 of them offer exemptions for places of worship or religious institutions.

They often include guidelines encouraging services to be done online. And for example, in Texas, the Attorney General says if gatherings happen in person, they have to follow C.D.C. social distancing guidelines, but most stay-at-home states are not making exceptions.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): With all due respect. It's essential that we practice physical distancing everywhere. Period. Full stop. (END VIDEO CLIP)

CHEN (voice over): In Sacramento County, California, health officials say 71 people infected with coronavirus are linked to the same church, a congregation attended by many Russian speaking members of the community.

The church closed its doors on March 18th, but the Health Department believes the virus is still being spread during fellowship meetings in people's homes.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LYEDMILA PETROV, RUSSIAN AMERICAN MEDIA: We do have a language barrier. We're doing a lot of material and products that are going to be coming out in Russian and English side-by-side to help the Russian community understand the severity of the coronavirus.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHEN (voice over): Around the world, practicing religion like everything else is increasingly becoming an isolated act even if it's in spiritual unity.

In early March, Saudi Arabia temporarily suspended travel for the year round Umrah Pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina for the first time in modern history.

Hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca in late July has yet to be canceled, but Saudi official said this week Muslims should not make travel plans just yet.

And until the resurrection of regular traditions, many of this week's Seders and masses will be held in a most untraditional way.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

POPE FRANCIS (through translator): We will celebrate Holy Week in a truly unusual way, which manifests and sums up the message of the Gospel, that of God's boundless love. And in the silence of our cities, the Easter Gospel will resound.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHEN (voice over): Natasha Chen, CNN, Atlanta.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WHITFIELD: All right. For more now, I want to bring in CNN religion commentator, Father Edward Beck. Father, glad you could be with us. We'll be listening to you as opposed to actually seeing you talk at this moment.

What is your message to the millions of people who want to observe their faith in this Holy Week, while also protecting themselves? FATHER EDWARD BECK, CNN RELIGION COMMENTATOR (via phone): Well, Fred,

the primary message is use your domestic churches -- that means your homes. That's the safest way right now to be worshiping, and get creative with the opportunities that are there.

I mean, you have a Bible, you have scripture. You have whatever prayer you use in your own state's tradition, you have things online. There are all kinds of virtual communities connecting.

[15:45:07]

BECK: It's just not safe, we're being told by medical experts to gather congregationally during this time, and I understand that that's hard for people.

For Christians, they can't receive the Eucharist. I mean, there's a hunger for that. And yet, I also know that there is a depth of spirituality that we can get to because of this experience, and connecting virtually, that is something new and novel and may actually deepen a spirituality in us that maybe has not yet been cultivated.

WHITFIELD: And what do you say to people who really associate their faith with, you know, a sense of community and gathering and many will argue that they are feeling you know, an absence if they're not associating with others?

BECK: Well, I understand that and it's true and maybe it's okay we have that hunger for a while, but I just think that everyone in the world is experiencing not only with their faith, but with their families, with their loved ones.

I mean, my own community, Fred, has a mass that we have produced for 50 years online and on television, the Sunday Mass and we originally thought, well, it would be just be shut-ins, you know homebound people or sick people that would watch that mass, except we have found in 50 years that a community of faith has grown because they feel connected, because they see the same presiders, the same musicians, they hear good homilies and it has become a community of faith. Surprisingly, even to me, so it can be done.

You don't have to feel isolated simply because you're not connected physically to people. It's a challenge. But I think that it makes us appreciate it even more when we can come together, that we let that hunger be with us for a while.

WHITFIELD: Father Beck, thanks so much for being with us this Palm Sunday.

BECK: Thank you, Fred, blessings on the week.

WHITFIELD: Thank you. All right, the world has changed for all of us in the past two weeks, let's call it three weeks actually. Hear from Americans who are adjusting to their new realities all over the country, next.

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WHITFIELD: All right before I leave you this afternoon, moments of reflection -- in just a matter of weeks, the coronavirus has turned the lives of millions of Americans on its head, whether you're a hospital housekeeper, tasked with cleaning sick patient's rooms or a single parent struggling to stay afloat without a job. This new reality is tough to swallow.

CNN's Martin Savidge tells us powerful personal stories of how this deadly pandemic is changing people's lives.

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MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Dispatchers from the front lines of coronavirus.

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JOSH WILSON, ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICE WORKER: Well, it's become progressively more busy working in the ER.

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SAVIDGE (voice over): Thirty-four-year-old Josh Wilson is not a doctor or nurse. He's part of an often overlooked and unsung group of healthcare workers.

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WILSON: I am a housekeeper and what we do is we work in infection control.

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SAVIDGE (voice over): He cleans the rooms of coronavirus patients at a hospital in Plattsburgh, New York. It's hand-to-hand combat, a mop, cloths, disinfectant and ultraviolet light.

Critical work not just for patients.

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WILSON: We are also looking out for the staff members that are going home to their families, too.

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SAVIDGE (voice over): But Wilson worries he could take the virus home to his own.

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OPAL FOSTER, GRAPHIC DESIGNER: Hi, my name is Opal Foster and this is my son, Jeremiah Foster.

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SAVIDGE (voice over): In Rockville, Maryland, coronavirus has already come home to Opal Foster, not the disease, but its fallout.

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FOSTER: I lost my job about --

JEREMIAH FOSTER, SON OF OPAL FOSTER: Two weeks ago.

FOSTER: About two weeks ago due to work slowdown, because of the coronavirus.

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SAVIDGE (voice over): Foster is among millions of Americans suddenly unemployed. She is also single handedly raising a son with Down syndrome and worries when normal life will return.

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FOSTER: Part of our normal is, you know, being able to get speech therapy and things like that through school.

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SAVIDGE (voice over): To get by, they rely on freelance work, food pantries and each other.

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FOSTER: What keeps me going is this little person right here. He is He's pretty phenomenal and pretty funny.

J. FOSTER: Me.

FOSTER: Yes, and he definitely keeps me going. He's definitely my sunshine.

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SAVIDGE (voice over): There was no sunshine in Roger Hoover's life as coronavirus closed business after business in his small town, including his marking firm.

Then he got an idea.

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ROGER HOOVER, PORCH PORTRAITS, PHOTOGRAPHER: as an advertiser, I'd photograph and tell my client stories. With no stories to share for them, I took to the sidewalks of Ken, Ohio photographing residents and business owners.

(END VIDEO CLIP) SAVIDGE (voice over): Porch portraits were born. The combination of

social distancing and storytelling, where each porch and those on it have something to say about the times in which we live. Like the Finley family who have anguished over attending funerals out of state for loved ones.

Or Charlie, the 77-year-old teaching himself guitar in quarantine.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HOOVER: Sharing our stories, it brings us together, but it's also a snapshot in time for future generations to look back on.

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SAVIDGE (voice over): And we have one last story. As coronavirus closed in on Atlanta, the operators of the county animal shelters feared if staff got sick, they couldn't properly care for all the cats and dogs they housed.

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KAREN HIRSCH, LIFELINE ANIMAL PROJECT: We asked Atlanta for their help, and in just one week, we had over 700 adoptions and foster homes for our animals.

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[15:55:08]

SAVIDGE (voice over) Now, almost every kennel and cage is empty as hundreds of families have found a cure for coronavirus quarantine. Martin Savidge, CNN, Atlanta.

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