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Political Showdown Between President Trump and WHO's Director General; U.S. Recorded Another Grim Milestone in Coronavirus Death Toll; President Trump Eager to Re-open U.S. Economy; WTO Warns Global Trade Will Be Crippled by This Pandemic; Russia, OPEC To Meet Thursday Amid Falling Oil Prices; Update From London On The British Prime Minister Boris Johnson; U.S. Reports Greatest Single-Day Increase In Deaths; France's Nationwide Lockdown To Extend Past April 15; U.K. Death Toll, Signs Of Plateau In New Cases; Italy's Death Toll Rises, But ICU Cases Decrease; Spain's Death Toll Rises For Second Day In A Row; Macron To Address Public As Virus Deaths Surge; World Food Program, WFP, Warns Covid-19 Could Cause Mass Famine; Acting U.S. Navy Secretary's Trip Cost $243,000; Bernie Sanders Drops Out Of U.S. Presidential Race; Race For The White House; Israel Celebrates Passover Under Lockdown; Funnyman Murray Helps Local Gym. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired April 9, 2020 - 03:00   ET




ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Right now, there are more than 1.5 million cases of the coronavirus around the world. And we've got everything you need to know about what's going on. You are watching CNN Newsroom. I'm Rosemary Church.

Just ahead.


TEDROS ADHANOM GHEBREYESUS, DIRECTOR-GENERAL, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: If you don't want many more body bags, then you refrain from politicizing it.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: And he would have been much better serving the people that he is supposed to serve if they gave a correct analysis.


CHURCH: This hour, the American president and the head of the WHO getting into a political spat while thousands of people around the world are being killed by the coronavirus.


MYRIAM VARELA, HOSPITAL BUSINESS ASSOCIATE: What do us essential workers do? How do we stay safe, when we are not even safe at work where we're supposed to be safe because we have to deal with this pandemic, and we're not safe getting to work?


CHURCH: They look after us when we are sick, deliver our mail, cook our food. We look at the risks essential workers are taking to help us all.

And we take you live to the hospital where Britain's prime minister is being treated right now for the latest on his condition.

The United States has marked yet another grim milestone. The most new coronavirus deaths reported in a single day. More than 1,900 deaths were reported on Wednesday according to Johns Hopkins, and a total of more than 14,000 patients have died nationwide.

An influential model cited by the White House now projects the country's coronavirus daily death toll will peak on or around Sunday when it predicts some 2,200 patients will succumb to the virus.

And scientists now say warmer weather won't make the virus go away contradicting what President Donald Trump once suggested.

And in France, the nationwide lockdown is expected to extend beyond its current April 15th end date. President Emmanuel Macron plans to address the country on Monday.

More than 10,000 people have died in France since the pandemic started. The government reported 562 new deaths Wednesday, but warns that number is likely much higher since it lacks data from elderly care facilities.

Well, tensions are building between Donald Trump and the World Health Organization. That group's chief warned Mr. Trump that politicizing the virus could mean many more body bags. But Wednesday, the president reupped his criticism of the WHO's handling of the crisis.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The head of the World Health Organization today warned against politicizing --

TRUMP: I agree with that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- and he said that consequences of politicization could actually create more body bags, and it's a pretty vivid image. I mean, what -- what do you believe the consequences of the U.S. pulling out its funding of the WHO?

TRUMP: Well, I think when you said more body bags, I think we would have done -- and he would've been much better serving the people that he is supposed to serve, if they gave a correct analysis.

I mean, everything was as I said China centric. Everything was going to be fine, no human to human, keep the borders open. He wanted me to keep the borders open. I closed the borders despite. And that was a hard decision to make at the time. (END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: Mr. Trump is also threatened to withhold U.S. funding for the WHO. French President Macron has called the group's director general and express his country's support. Mr. Macron also said he refuses to see the global health body locked in a war between the U.S. and China.

And CNN's Isa Soares has more on the simmering tensions between the White House and the WHO.

ISA SOARES, CNN ANCHOR & CORRESPONDENT: In Geneva, the head of the World Health Organization fired back at the criticism of the body.


GHEBREYESUS: If you don't want many more body bags, then you refrain from politicizing it.


SOARES: Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus asked about criticism leveled against the WHO by U.S. President Donald Trump said it is dangerous to get political during a pandemic.



GHEBREYESUS: No need to use COVID to score political points. No need. You have many other ways to prove yourselves. This is not the one to use for politics. It's like playing with fire.


SOARES: The day before Mr. Trump criticized the WHO, claiming it hadn't raised enough alarms about the virus.


TRUMP: They called it wrong, they called it wrong, they really -- they missed the call. They could have called it months earlier, and they would have known. And they should have known. And they probably did know. So, we'll be looking into that very carefully.


SOARES: In his remarks on Wednesday, the director general of the WHO pointed out that the organization had been closely following and issuing advisories about the virus since early January. Mr. Trump also criticize the WHO for not supporting his travel ban of people coming from China.


TRUMP: They said there's no big deal, there's no big problem, there's no big nothing. And then ultimately, when I closed down, they actually said that I made a mistake in closing it down, and it turned out to be right.


SOARES: A CNN fact check found that although Trump is correct that the WHO didn't support his travel restrictions with China, the WHO opposes most international travel restrictions and sees them as ineffectual. And while not addressing Mr. Trump's criticism directly, the director general called on U.S. and China to now cooperate.


GHEBREYESUS: The United States and China should come together, and fight this dangerous enemy. They should come together to fight it.


SOARES: Mr. Trump also repeatedly said the WHO had been China centric. The director general says they don't play favorites.


TRUMP: If you look back over the years even, they're very much -- everything seems to be very biased towards China. That's not right.

GHEBREYESUS: We are close to every nation. We are color blind. We are, what do you call it, world blind, we don't see. For us, rich and poor is the same. For us, weak and strong is the same. For us, small and big is the same. For us, people in the south or in the north, east or west, are the same.


SOARES: At one point on Tuesday, Mr. Trump said he would suspend funding for the organization, though he later denied, saying that and then clarified he was just going to look into it.

Isa Soares, CNN.

CHURCH: And a short time ago, I asked World Health Organization expert Jamie Metzl for his take on President Trump's attacks against the agency. Metzl is the author of "Hacking Darwin: Genetic Engineering and the Future of Humanity. He's also a former National Security Council official under President Bill Clinton.


JAMIE METZL, SENIOR FELLOW, ATLANTIC COUNCIL: So, the WHO is an essential organization. We need a strong WHO. And even before this crisis began, we didn't have the WHO we needed. And it's not really the fault of the WHO, it's the states who haven't given it the resources, the mandates to do what needs to be done.

In the early stages of this crisis, China was keeping experts from the WHO and the CDC out, and that was a major mess up by China, and we are all suffering in the result of that. And then the World Health Organization went in. Could they have

sounded the alarm earlier? Absolutely, yes. Could the President of the United States who had all of the intelligence reports coming from U.S. intelligence about the severity of the situation, could he have played a leading role in sounding the alarm? Absolutely, yes.

We're all learning as we -- as we go. But this kind of name-calling isn't helpful, and one thing we can be sure about, the world needs the WHO now more than ever.

CHURCH: Well, President Trump accuses the WHO of being biased toward China. Is there any evidence to suggest that?

METZL: Absolutely, yes. I think everybody knows who watches this base that China has blocked Taiwan from playing a meaningful role in the World Health Organization. And that hurts everybody because one of the things that we are learning from this virus which we already know intellectually, is that we are all connected.

A virus doesn't know national boundaries. And so, if China is playing politics through the WHO, that's going to hurt everybody. And certainly, the WHO was more conscious in sounding the alarm in China than probably they would have been has there been an outbreak in some weaker African country.

And I think that's something real and there are a lot of places to point fingers, certainly at China, certainly at the United States, and the WHO could have done a better job in retrospect.


CHURCH: What about the advice that WHO gives in terms of travel bans? It thinks that you shouldn't close a boundaries and borders, and clearly that works and has worked. Do you think they need to reassess their approach and their policy on that?

METZL: This is a broader issue, Rosemary, because viruses don't know boundaries. Yes, we can put up boundaries, we can cut off travel. The United States, when we cut off travel and the Trump administration cut off travel from Asia, the virus was already here. And we didn't know it.

And so, what we need to do is recognize that the whole world is in this together. All humans are in this together. And we need to create a collective surveillance and response capacity that can say identify where the problems spots are and go there immediately with emergency teams.

All of the countries that are putting up walls, some of them will have worst situations inside the walls than outside of them. It's like in the middle ages, cities built these big walls to keep invaders out but when the Black Death arrived you are worse off inside of those walled cities.

We have to come together as one species and work together and the WHO and the U.N. more broadly is our vehicle for doing that. And shame on us that we haven't empowered them.

CHURCH: But isn't the whole concept of stay-at-home really closing borders, and I want to use New Zealander as an example of this, because the prime minister of New Zealand moved very quickly and very aggressively with the approach of more eradication rather than just flattening that curve.

As a result, there is just over 1,200 cases in that country and one death. That is pretty significant.


CHURCH: And she shut the border. She stopped traveling in and out of her country. So, surely, that whole concept, it's just a larger version of stay-at-home, is it not?

METZL: There is something to that, but that assumes that all of the countries of the world aren't working together. So that, yes, if some countries are taking this seriously, and some countries aren't, and there is not a concerted global effort, then yes. If you are country like New Zealand that has a history of being separate as your motive of protection, it may make sense.

I'm not against that. But that only makes sense in a world where there is not a coordinated international response. And then it's everyone for themselves. And we're seeing that between countries, we're seeing that even between states here in the United States, and it doesn't work because if every country is making its own decisions, yes, some may be better off, but it's going to change and this pandemic is going to change.

CHURCH: I do want to ask you this. Because medical professionals all around the world have been struggling to save lives without sufficient supplies of personal protective equipment.

How was that even possible given the WHO had been warning countries to get ready for a possible flu pandemic. Was the mistake at their end or with other nations not being ready for this?

METZL: Again, we have multiple problems. One of the problems is that we haven't created a WHO that has the authority and the mandate or the resources to do what needs to be done. But there is even bigger problem.

Let's just say that we weren't talking about a global pandemic, but there had been, I hate to say this, a nuclear detonation maybe in Washington and London, and Beijing simultaneously, we'd be having this exact same conversation about why we knew there were nuclear weapons, that we knew there were all these kinds of things that we could've done, why didn't we?

And the bigger point is we need to have as a global humanity, a coordinated process. Perhaps, a U.N. agency that's identifying the biggest existential threats to our world and then planning against those. And we need to have that kind of agency with the power to make, to

take real meaningful steps to identify hotspots, to respond quickly. Because this may not even be the last pandemic we have in this decade. We have no idea what's coming, and we're not organized to face this or many of the other very big existential threats that we faced.


CHURCH: Jamie Metzl talking to a short time ago.

And there is a growing focus on when the Trump administration first knew about the coronavirus threat. The Defense Intelligence Agency denies the reports that it warned back in November that a virus was spreading in the China and that the outbreak could be a cataclysmic event.

During the weekend, Defensive Secretary Mark Esper said he was unaware. And on Wednesday, a reporter asked President Trump about it.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ABC is reporting that your intelligence community was warning about the virus as early as November. And produce a detailed report about the outbreak in China.


Wouldn't you first learn about the intelligence and could you have acted on it then?

TRUMP: Well, I learned when I saw it, when I learned about the gravity of it, was sometime just prior to closing the country to China. And when we closed up the flights coming in from China and various other elements, and then as you know, we closed up to Europe. So, I don't know exactly, but I'd like to see the information.


CHURCH: And even as the death toll soars, the number of new coronavirus cases here in the United States is trending downward. The White House says that's because Americans are paying attention to stay-at-home orders. But experts say they have to keep doing that for the trend to continue.

CNN's Erica Hill has the latest.



ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR & CORRESPONDENT: A blunt assessment from the top.


FAUCI: It's going to be a bad week for deaths.


HILL: For the second day in a row, New York State announcing a new high for single day deaths. Seven hundred seventy-nine on Tuesday. With morgues overloaded, hard-hit communities are bringing in refrigerated trailers and more help.

In New York City, hundreds of National Guard members and more than 50 active duty mortuary military specialists are now assisting the medical examiner's office. As states and cities report a rising death toll, there is some hope.

Projected deaths nationwide now expected to be closer to 60,000 by August, revise down significantly, thanks to social distancing. The message from officials, this is no time to let up.


MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D-NY): We're all looking to finally get out from under this, but it's not that time yet. The progress confirms the strategy is working.


HILL: The White House task force also zeroing in on several additional cities as potential hotspots including Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Houston.

New CNN polling reveals a majority of Americans feel the federal government has done a poor job preventing the spread. Eighty percent feel the worst is yet to come.


ASHISH JHA, DIRECTOR, HARVARD GLOBAL HEALTH INSTITUTE: More rural areas are starting to get hit, and I'm really worried because hospitals in those areas don't have as many ICU beds, don't have the same capacity.


HILL: With each day there is also mounting evidence that the virus is impacting African-Americans at a much higher rate. Underserved communities also hit hard.


GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): Whatever the situation is, natural disaster, hurricane Katrina, the people standing on those rooftops were not rich white people. Why? Why is it that the poorest people always pay the highest price? Let's learn from this moment and let's learn these lessons, and let's do it now.

(END VIDEO CLIP) HILL: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the state will increase testing and research in minority communities starting today to better understand the disparity.

Meantime, supply needs continue to be a concern across the country. G.M. announced it will produce 30,000 ventilators for the national stockpile, costing nearly half a billion dollars. But those won't be delivered until the end of August.

Another concern, how and when to reopen the country? That conversation is starting with a focus on antibody testing to learn who was infected but asymptomatic.


DEBORAH BIRX, COORDINATOR, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS TASK FORCE: This makes a very big difference in really understanding who can go back to work and how they can go back to work.


HILL: Dr. Birx says those tests could be available in the next 10 to 14 days. Though in reality, there is no clear end date for this pandemic. Pennsylvania and New York following New Jersey's lead, flags lowered to half-staff in honor of the thousands lost to this virus.

CHURCH: Erica Hill with that report.

French researchers are casting new doubt on a possible COVID treatment repeatedly touted by Donald Trump. The group says its study of hydroxychloroquine didn't even meet its own standards. One doctor calling it a complete failure.

The American Heart Association and other cardiology groups say using the drug along with the popular antibiotic could have serious health risks. But the president continues to push.


TRUMP: We're distributing the hydroxy all through the country. It's being distributed in large amounts. We have it coming in now, and we're up to 29 million doses, then we went to 30 million doses. But we have it coming in all throughout the country, and much of it is being distributed. In fact, it will start going down what we have in our stockpile.

And again, it's had -- you know, I hope it works. Again, I'm not a doctor, as you possibly have found out. I'm not a doctor, but I'm a person with common sense.


CHURCH: Clinical trials of the drug are underway in the United States and doctors have emergency authorization to use hydroxychloroquine in hospitals but not at home.


Well, as the coronavirus pandemic grows, the global economy shrinks. Ahead, what the U.S. president is proposing to get people back to work.


CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone.

Well, the coronavirus has been hammering the global economy for months, and the damage is expected to continue throughout the year.

The World Trade Organization now predicts that global trade will fall by at least 13 percent in 2020, and perhaps by as much as 32 percent with North American and Asian exports hit the hardest.

But in the U.S. where jobless claims have been soaring by the millions, President Donald Trump is hoping to restart the economy with a big bang.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, what specifically has to happen for you to feel that it is safe to reopen the country, and what is your plan to do that?

TRUMP: Well, I think we can say that we have to be on that downside of that slope and heading to a very strong direction that this thing is gone. Now we can do it in phases. We can go to some areas, which you know some areas are much less affected than others.

But it would be nice to be able to open with a big bang and open up our country, or certainly most of our country, and I think we are going to do that soon.

You look at what's happening, I would say we're ahead of schedule. Now you hate to say it too loudly because all of a sudden, things don't happen, but I think we will be sooner rather than later.

But we'll be sitting down with the professionals, we'll be sitting down with many different people making a determination and those meetings will start taking place fairly soon.


CHURCH: Well, new guidelines from U.S. health authorities for essential workers who may have been exposed to the virus. Employees, including healthcare workers and food supply staff can go back to work if they don't have symptoms and agree to practice safety measures.

CNN's Jason Carroll meets some people whose services are desperately needed.


JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Businesses closed, streets empty, as New Yorkers like many people across the country continued to live under a stay-at-home order. But for those who are deemed essential --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of stress.

CARROLL: -- it's a lot of stress.

Staying home is not an option.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just pray to God that I make it through the day.

CARROLL: A number of so-called essential workers we found shared a common worry. Thankful to have jobs when so many now do not, but also, grave concerns about working during a pandemic.

KHAJA KHATEEB, PHARMACIST, THOMAS DRUGS: It's not easy. It's scary, I'm telling you. Every day we come in we pray to God, you know, to keep us safe, you know. But it's our responsibility at this time to take care of the customers and the patients.


CARROLL: The focus here at Thomas Drugs on Manhattan's upper west side ensuring the staff's safety while keeping up with customer needs for items such as thermometers, gloves, and masks.

KHATEEB: It's hard for us to get it from the distributors. So, we are just trying to get it, but still, you know, it's not easy.

CARROLL: But for some essential workers they have to deal with scenes like this before they can even get to work. Myriam Varela works in an emergency and shot this video in a Bronx subway station last Friday.

VARELA: What do us essential workers do? How do we stay safe, when we are not even safe at work where we're supposed to be safe because we have to deal with this pandemic, and we're not safe getting to work?

CARROLL: Varela says she has no choice but to take the subway. She says she doesn't have the luxury of a car, so she has to commute by train and an hour and a half each way, every day, from her home in Harlem to Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx. She says the CDC recommendation of six feet of social distancing is challenging at best.

VARELA: To be honest with you, that really doesn't exist in the train. That's like --

CARROLL: It doesn't exist?

VARELA: It's like nonexistent. It's to the point that you are lucky if you get on when there is a little bit of people. Usually, it's very crowded in the morning.

CARROLL: The city's transportation authorities say ridership is down more than 90 percent, and they do watch for hotspots. But they say it is difficult operating even a reduced schedule because there are fewer healthy people to run the trains.

Jazzmen Cloye works at Trader Joe's and commutes by train as well. Cloye says she does what she can to keep her distance on her way to work, where her job is to help customers keep their distance.

JAZZMEN CLOYE, GROCERY STOR OWNER: It is risky to come to, work it's a little bit scary. But I'm trying to keep the safe precautions, I'm trying to keep six feet away, constantly wearing my mask, change my gloves, wash my hands frequently. So, I mean, it is a scare but you've got to stay safe.

CARROLL: And it's not just grocery store workers, keeping spirits in supply is deemed essential as well. At 67th Street Wine and Spirits, customers wait outside for their orders. Here, they're hired some furloughed restaurant workers to keep up with demands.

DAVID WEISER, MANAGER, 67 WINE & SPIRITS: At the end of the day, ultimately, it's about the people. So, if we can keep people employed, we feel happy.

CARROLL: Jason Carroll, CNN, New York.


CHURCH: And as we mentioned, economists believe this pandemic will hurt worldwide trade even more than the financial crisis of 2008. The World Trade Organization warns global trade could plunge as much as 32 percent this year.

The director general says the numbers are ugly and warns a painful consequence for people and businesses with North America and Asia being hit the hardest.

CNN's John Defterios joins me now live from Abu Dhabi. Good to see you, John. So, this WTO warning of global trade possibly plunging 32 percent is horrifying. How might this play out, do you think?

JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN BUSINESS EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: Well, I think the danger is that we are in the first act of the pandemic, if you will, Rosemary. We could have a reoccurrence of the virus in the 4th quarter of the year. And I'm very worried about the developing world because they haven't been bit tat hard by the pandemic just yet.

But let's take a look at the chart here. We can see what the WTO was talking about. There is a normal trendline there in gray, and then you see the drop in green. That is 13 percent, that's the best-case scenario. And as we were suggesting here, it could be a third of global trade, something we have not seen before.

There's plenty of liquidity in the banking system so it's not a financial crisis. Some $5 trillion dollars from the G20. But the real problem here is that the demand right now is only for food and pharmacies. We need to see it move out of those sectors.

And as I was suggesting, the real drivers for growth over the last 20 years, particularly in the last 10, are countries like India, Indonesia, Brazil, Nigeria, and Africa. Right now, we are going to see a major slowdown for those economies in the second half and make it very difficult for the U.S. and Europe to recover in that sort of climate.

CHURCH: Yes. Just totally understanding what you're saying there. And of course, the pandemic has also caused a drop in demand for oil. But Russia and OPEC will meet Thursday. What's the likely outcome of that meeting?

DEFTERIOS: Well, they're going to gather at about six hours' time, bringing together the OPEC alliance of 23 countries. They have extended the invitation to another dozen players including the United States, Canada, Brazil, Norway, the E.K., and they are trying to get a cut of some 10 million barrels a day.

The challenge, Rosemary, we've never seen a drop of at least 20 million barrels a day or up to 30 million barrels a day in demand. We're looking at 30 percent of global demand.

So, Russia and Saudi Arabia were fighting at the March meeting, they've come back together, they say we have a concrete proposal. What are you putting on the table?


So far, Donald Trump has said we can't collaborate with OPEC because of mandatory trust concerns. We've seen a normal drop in demand of at least a million barrels. They're saying that's not enough. So, they've called a G20 and the G members meeting as well tomorrow and at the same time and I think this is fascinating about the geopolitics of energy, Congressional leaders wrote directly to the conference of Saudi Arabia, Mohamad Bin Salman and saying that your time as the head of the G20 and an ally of the United States which has backed you with weapons, and in your fight against Iran to step up and make sure this deal happens.

It is complex, but they need to deliberate because oil prices have been hovering around $30 a barrel, lower down to $20 a barrel, and Donald Trump is even saying this is far too low for the U.S. shell producers.

ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: All right, we will be watching for the outcome of that meeting a few hours from now throughout the Thursday. John Defterios, many thanks to you joining us live from Abu Dhabi.

And coming up next, we will take you live to London for the very latest on the condition of Britain's Prime Minister as Boris Johnson battles covid-19 for a third night in intensive care. We will be back in a moment.


CHURCH: The coronavirus death toll is rising rapidly in the United States, but there are promising signs that fewer people will die from the disease in the coming months than once predicted. The U.S. on Wednesday recorded its highest death toll in a single day, more than 1900 patients to come to the virus. An influential models cited by the White House projects the virus will kill 60,000 people in the U.S. during the next four months.

But that's about 33,000 fewer deaths than its last projection. And in hard hit France, the nationwide lockdown is expected to extend beyond its current April 15th end date. President Emmanuel Macron plans to address the country on Monday about the revised plans. More than 10,000 people have died there since the pandemic started.

Well, in the United Kingdom, we are told Prime Minister Boris Johnson is now in stable condition, and responding to treatment for covid-19. CNN's Max Foster is at St. Thomas' Hospital in London where the Prime Minister is being treated. So, Max, talk to us of about his current condition right now.

MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: Rosemary, he has been here since Monday and we are told he is improving. Not those words specifically, but he is sitting up, he is working with the staff around him and the clinical staff and he's interacting with them.


So, very positive news in terms of his recovery. So people are very much looking to the point in which he could start working on matters of governments. His attention, it is required because next week, the lockdown is meant to be loosened to some extent. But, you know, it will have to be for the government as it currently stands to decide whether or not that continues the lockdown. It's going to be reviewed at least next week. Let's go to Nina Dos Santos. What sort of questions are they having to consider here? Because clearly we haven't reached the peak yet of the virus and so logic dictates that the lockdown should continue.

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Max, having to consider the infection rate and also the death toll because remember, that just yesterday, the U.K. recorded its worse death toll so far in this coronavirus outbreak, 938 people died just yesterday, bringing the total now to over 7,000 people in the U.K. There are statistics out there that suggested the U.K. could actually be one of the worst hit countries in Europe by the time August comes around.

Now, so the big question here for ministers who are going to be meeting in another one of those emergency government sessions entitled Covert Meetings, if you like, soon here in Downing Street and we have just seen Dominic Raab who standing in for the Prime Minister arrive five minutes ago for the start of those days events, is whether or not they can keep this lockdown in place, keep people sticking to the lockdown rules. Remember that is crucial with an Easter weekend coming up and the weather getting better as the weekend draws nearer.

Whether or not they can keep people sticking to those rules to try and flatten that curve of infection, we did have some good news yesterday during one of the coronavirus briefings given by the government scientific advisers, they said that there's an early indications that thing are starting to plateau but of course what they are really concerned about here is a second spike. So, what they are going to be talking about is whether or not to keep

that lockdown in place, and we probably won't get an official reading on that today, but they do have to review it within 21 days of the lockdown being implemented which is two and half weeks ago. So, that means we are expecting a decision probably early next week, Max.

FOSTER: OK. Nina, in Downing Street, come back to us as soon as you get the update, because they are all coming from Downing Street at the moment as opposed to the hospital, even though that's where we'll see Boris Johnson is.

We are going to speak now to an intensive care physician here in the U.K. with the NHS, Dr. Ron Daniels is also founder of the U.K. Sepsis Trust. So, Dr. Daniels joins me via Skype from Birmingham. Thank you so much for joining us. You are under more pressure than anyone else right now. People in your profession. How are you managing out there in the midlands?

DR. RON DANIELS, NHS INTENSIVE CARE PHYSICIAN: So, we know that the west midlands particularly has been particularly hard hit second only to London. And this has put strain on our NHS. We have expanded our capacity. We have doubled the number of critical care beds available, and because of that, because of that preparedness, we are coping in the west midlands. Patients keep coming in though, and we have heard about lockdowns, restrictions being reconsider next week, and I think most health professionals are anxious that we continue as we are.

FOSTER: And if you are in today's (inaudible) meeting as someone on the front lines, what would your advice be? What would you want them to be considering today?

DANIELS: So, the majority of the public are behaving impeccably on lock down and I think we are becoming accustom to it. There is a social anxiety about the minority who are misbehaving, and I think that will put pressure on that minority. And I'm not a politician, I'm not part of (inaudible), but I personally would like to see things continue as they are, and I think that reflects the balanced opinion of a significant number of my colleagues who have spoken to.

Right now, the NHS is coping. We have expanded our capacity, we have not yet filled the expanded capacity. I know we started to see patients admitted to the xl, but in general the NHS can cope right now. If we start to mix people again, if people start going to cinemas and bars, then we are going to see a significant spike and that might not be appropriate.

FOSTER: There's been some modeling done suggesting that the U.K. could have the worst death toll effectively of any country in Europe. Are you concerned that we responded too late to this crisis and that might be playing into those sort of figures?

DANIELS: Well, I think there are other issues to consider as well. We are a very densely populated country, which means that people interact more closely than in most vastly populated countries, if we consider that we have a similar population size to that of France, Germany, or Spain, and then we look at the size of the country, that becomes starkly apparent.


We've got a diversity of population in terms of ethnicity, and we do have a significant obesity issue. And we know that people with a high body mass index are more likely to do badly with this condition. So, I think there are a number of factors. However, I think we have to consider whether the initial strategy of our government in terms of heard immunity and freedom of movement was the appropriate strategy.

FOSTER: Expand if you would on the point you made there about ethnicity, because I know as the data comes in and you're seeing certain ethnic groups suffering to a greater extent than others, obviously, a very diverse population in parts of the U.K. Just explain what you are seeing in the data come through in terms of who is being affected, or which groups are being affected more.

DANIELS: So, we don't fully understand these data yet, but early indications seem to suggest that people of African and Asian origin seem disproportionately affected by the virus. Now that doesn't mean that they are more likely to contract and develop minor symptoms in the community, it just means that once we are capturing the people we are testing, who primarily are the people who are accessing health care services, so they have more than mild symptoms, there seems to be a disproportionate affectation of people from those ethnic backgrounds.

FOSTER: OK. Doctor, thank you so much for joining us and your insight. And thank you for sparing the time, it is usually appreciated. But it is important, Rosemary, of course, that those health workers, their voices are heard on our airwaves, because they are the ones with the most expert advice on this and they are very keen to get their information out. And we are helping them.

CHURCH: Exactly right. I mean, they are showing us what's really happening there at the frontline. Despite what some of the politicians are telling us. Many thanks to you, Max Foster. We will talk to you again very soon.

And be sure to stay with CNN, Dr. Sanjay Gupta is answering viewer questions about the novel coronavirus in another town hall. That is Thursday, live at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, 8:00 o'clock Friday morning in Hong Kong. And you could also catch the replay that's Friday morning at 6:00 a.m. in London, 9:00 a.m. in Abu Dhabi. Well, still to come, in Spain, the death toll rose for a second day in a row after a week long decline we are live in Madrid. That is next.


CHURCH: Italy maybe turning a corner in the coronavirus crisis as the number of intensive care patients is decreasing. The government says about 100 patients left the ICU on Wednesday. However the number of virus related deaths was up by 542 in the last 24 hours.

[03:45:00] In Spain, after a week long decline, there has been a rise in the

death toll for the second day in a row according to the government the virus claimed another 757 lives bringing its death toll to more than 14,000 people. And the French government reported more than 3800 cases and 562 deaths, Wednesday, but officials warn those numbers are likely to be higher, saying the data does not include numbers from elderly care facilities and President Emmanuel Macron will address the country on Monday.

I'm going to turn now to journalist Al Goodman, he is standing by in Madrid. Good to see, you Al. So, let's talk about this rise in the death toll, and what might be behind that after those numbers were going down and it also appears that Spain's coronavirus deaths could be much higher than official figures. So, let's discuss the latest on those numbers.

AL GOODMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, on the absolute number of the reported deaths going up after this week long decline, the officials have been saying that the people who go into the intensive care ward may spend two even three weeks there. So, they are having obviously difficulty in keeping everyone alive, but the percentage increase, the rate of increase is still getting lower, as are the overall new cases which are the number in the last 24 hour reporting period, just 610 new covid-19 cases across the entire country, that is less than 1 percent. So, that's encouraging news for the officials.

But a CNN analysis of public records suggest that the official death toll may be several thousand lower than actually what has happened, and here is what we look at. We took a look at the Madrid superior court issues of burial licenses for the second half of March when covid-19 was really walloping the capital in the region of Madrid and there were 9,000 of those licenses issued, but far fewer thousands of deaths reported from covid-19 in that same period.

This other figure, Rosemary, coming out about senior citizen care facilities that the Madrid regional government saying that although less about 780 people in those senior citizen homes were reported dead with covid-19 that actually several thousands more died with covid like symptoms according to the regional government, but they haven't been officially counted as coronavirus victims.

So, all of this, trying to adjust the figures that the health minister is saying, telling parliament on Wednesday that everyone who has officially been confirmed as a case, of coronavirus and died, that's been reported by Spain to the European Union and the World Health Organization, following the protocols, but there may be this disconnect between people who have had the symptoms but they couldn't get them tested. So, we are working on trying to get those answers and surely the officials will be questioned about that more this day. Rosemary?

CHURCH: Indeed. Many thanks to Al Goodman bringing us the very latest from Madrid. Well, as countries continue to shut their borders, getting food to those most in need is becoming challenging, the World Food Program now warns that the pandemic has the potential to cause mass famine in the world's most vulnerable regions. Fred Pleitgen get some perspective now from farmers in Germany.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Easter time is asparagus time in Germany, but in the country's famous Brandenburg asparagus region, there is fear the harvest could be in danger. Not from weather or pests, but from the novel coronavirus.

JOSEF JAKOBS, ASPARAGUS FARMER: If you have to shut down the company, the whole company would go down, of course and therefore we are very careful.

PLEITGEN: Josef Jakobs, a lifelong asparagus farmer is very careful to make sure his workers, mostly from Romania don't come down with covid-19. Fewer are allowed on the field at once to adhere to social distancing rules and each labor gets driven to his or her workplace separately rather than by large buses. But many agricultural firms around Europe are having trouble even getting workers now that most borders between countries have been closed due to the pandemic. In Germany, farmers have to organize flights to get the people they need for the harvest.

JAKOBS: If we don't get enough workers inside Germany then we can't produce everything and some fields will lay down and that would, if the production is smaller, then the prices will get higher, of course.

PLEITGEN: Rising prices are a problem in places like Europe and the U.S. But in areas suffering from severe food shortages like parts of sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East disruptions in food supply could lead to mass starvation, the World Food Program said.

BETTINA LUESCHER, SPOKESWOMAN, WORLD FOOD PROGRAM: What we are seeing is just a crisis on top of a crisis. Look, the thing that keeps me up at night is whether, and how we continue to feed some 87 million people who are hungry around the world.


PLEITGEN: WFP says it is already moving food stocks to strategic locations to get them to people in need as more countries shut down their borders trying to slow down the virus' spread and they are modifying some programs like school meals to get food to children even now that schools and many nations have been closed.

LUESCHER: This is like a tsunami of suffering that is going around the world and we have to make sure that the people who are affected by this and will get affected by this get the help that they need.

PLEITGEN: Like almost all other production around the world, food production and distribution are also impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. A burden for many people in developed nations, an existential threat for many of the world's poorest. Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Berlin.

(END VIDEOTAPE) CHURCH: The latest developments in what has become a headache for the

U.S. Navy, a Navy official says a trip to Guam by the acting Navy secretary cost almost a quarter million dollars. Thomas Modly flew to Guam, Monday on a VIP aircraft to address the crew of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, and the costly trip came after the aircraft carrier's commanding officer sent a letter to officials about the spread of the coronavirus on board the ship. Modly fired the officer and during the trip made disparaging remarks about him after backlash for those comments, Modly resigned on Tuesday.

Well, there were more candidates than most could remember, but now there is just one. Joe Biden is now the presumptive Democrat nominee for U.S. President. His last opponent, Bernie Sanders, suspended his campaign on Wednesday.


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, (I-VT): I know that there may be some in our movement who disagree with this decision, who would like us to fight on for the last ballot cast at the Democratic convention. I understand that position. But as I see the crisis gripping the nation, exacerbated by a president unwilling or unable to provide any kind of credible leadership, and the work that needs to be done to protect people in this most desperate hour, I cannot in good conscience continue to mount the campaign that cannot win, and in which would interfere with the important work required of all of us in this difficult hour.


CHURCH: Sanders had fallen far behind in the delegate count, notably, he did not endorse Biden but he said that he will support them Democratic nominee whoever it is. And you are watching CNN Newsroom. We will take a short break now. More news in just a moment.


CHURCH: Passover in Israel is usually a joyous occasion, but this year, the covid-19 pandemic is casting a cloud over a country under complete lockdown. CNN's Oren Liebermann reports it is forcing people there to celebrate the holiday in a very different way.



OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORESPONDENT: On what is supposed to be one of the most festive and joyous holidays of the year, Israel instead resembles a very different holiday, Yom Kippur the most somber solemn day in the Jewish calendar. With coronavirus restrictions in place, the streets are empty, the stores are close and the country is lockdown under a complete curfew from Wednesday night until Thursday morning.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instructed people to celebrate the holiday only with those living with them. Don't invite anyone to your home, don't go to anyone else's home, keep the festive meal for the holiday as close and as insular as possible. Instead it will be the internet bringing many families together this time around through video chats and messaging to out a positive note to the evening, Israelis were encouraged to head out to their balconies on the same time in the evening and sing in unison, one of the most well-known popular songs of Passover. The disclosure will continue until the weekend when Israel will reassess the closures effectiveness and whether it needs to be extended.

After this full closure, Israelis will be required or face masks outdoors. As of Wednesday morning, Israel had 9,404 confirm cases of coronaviruses and 71 deaths as a result of the disease, according to the ministry of health. Now, it isn't only Passover that is crucial holiday here, Easter celebrations will also face severe restrictions and limitations this weekend and then Ramadan begins closer to the end of the month. Those two holidays, Easter and Ramadan will also face restrictions much like Passover. Oren Liebermann, CNN, Jerusalem.


CHURCH: Comedian Bill Murray wants to be your new work out buddy.


BILL MURRAY, ACTOR: I've lost count.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got to go back to zero. Just kidding, that's 10, five more.

MURRAY: Let's eat.


CHURCH: You would never thought you'd see this. He created this work out video to support his local gym in Charleston, South Carolina, when coronavirus temporarily force the gym to close. Murray's friend, the owner turned to online workouts. Murray found out, and so he wrote, directed, and start in the video based on a workout he actually does at home. It has outtakes as well. His full workout is available, Thursday at Longevity Fitness, Charleston.

And thanks so much for joining us this hour. I'm Rosemary Church. I will be back with more news in just a moment.