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U.S. Marks Most Number of Deaths Reported in Single Day; New York Marks Highest Single Day Death Toll Tuesday; New Model Estimates 60,000 U.S. Deaths by August; Doctor: Social Distancing Guidelines Need to Remain in Place; COVID-10 Survivor Shares His Story to Help Others; W.H.O. Chief Fires Back After Trump Attacks Organization; U.K.'s Prime Minister Condition Improving; Millions More Expected to File Jobless Claims in U.S. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired April 9, 2020 - 04:00   ET



DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR CNN TONIGHT: Those states are close to his heart. It's so amazing. Thank you, Tyler. Thanks for watching everyone. Our coverage continues.

ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, and welcome to our viewers joining us here in the United States and all around the world. You are watching CNN NEWSROOM and I'm Rosemary Church.

Just ahead, some projections are changing in the coronavirus pandemic. Experts are predicting a less dire forecast for deaths in the U.S. thanks to social distancing. After a devastating couple of weeks for working Americans, the government is set to release another jobs report in a few hours and we will have a preview.

Humanitarian groups have warned of famine for developing countries dealing with the pandemic, but even developing nations are worried about food security. A live report from Berlin.

Well, the U.S. has now marked another grim milestone in its battle with coronavirus as it reports the largest number of deaths in a single day. That figure, 1,922 with Johns Hopkins University reporting Wednesday that the total death toll has passed 14,000, but there is some encouraging news. New modeling predicts fewer U.S. deaths than initially thought thanks to social distancing. And the number of new cases in the U.S. is also trending down. Still, there is growing concern Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C., could become the next hot spots. This as New York City still works on flattening its curve. Erica Hill has the details.


ERICA HILL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A blunt assessment from the top.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: 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 -- 779 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 assisting the medical examiner's office as states and cities report a rising death toll, there is some hope. Projected deaths nationwide now expect to be closer to 60,000 by August revised down significantly thanks to social distancing. The message from officials, this is no time to let up.

BILL DE BLASIO, NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: 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, 80 percent feel the worst is yet to come.

DR. 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 also mounting evidence that the virus is impacting African-Americans at a much higher rate. Underserved communities also hit hard.

ANDREW CUOMO, NEW YORK GOVERNOR: Whatever the situation is, with 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.

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.

GM announced it will produce 30,000 ventilators for the national stockpile costing nearly half a billion but those won't be delivered until the end of August. Another concern, how and when to re-open the country. That conversation is starting with a focus on antibody testing to learn who was infected but asymptomatic.

DR. DEBORAH BRIX, WHITE HOUSE TASK FORCE COORDINATOR: 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 could be available in the next 10 to 14 days. Though in reality there is no clear end date for the pandemic. Pennsylvania and New York following New Jersey's need. Flags lowered to half-staff in honor of the thousands lost to this virus.

[04:05:00] (on camera): At the Javits Center behind me, 104 of the 2,500 available beds are being used for COVID patients. Governor Cuomo noting that the number of available beds is actually a good sign because the state is prepared should they need more. Back to you.


CHURCH: Thanks for that report.

And in a letter to the White House, a prestigious scientific panel says it doesn't appear coronavirus will go away with warmer weather. That contradicts the claim of a summer miracle the U.S. President once made. So as temperatures warm in the northern hemisphere, it's clear the new normal we've come to know will likely be very much in place from facial coverings to social distancing. One doctor explains why.


DR. JONATHAN REINER, CARDIOLOGIST, ADVISED WHITE HOUSE MEDICAL TEAM: The virus is going to lessen in frequency and -- but it's not going to go away completely and there are going to be hot spots and we'll have to watch for flare-ups. So we're going to have to keep social distancing in place as well as masking is going to become a staple of the United States. A lot of what has succeeded now we're going to have to keep in place going forward.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR, OUTFRONT: Yes, and I guess, you know, you're talking about for in that case, I would imagine, Dr. Reiner, many months, correct? At least until a vaccine?

REINER: I think we're talking 18 months to 24 months.


CHURCH: And the top infectious disease expert in the U.S. says one customary greeting should be eliminated for good.


FAUCI: I think for a while there's going to be clearly some attention to physical separation but not to the extent where it is disruptive of the normal, social and business-type interaction. Just forget about shaking hands. We don't need to shake hands. We've got to break that custom. Because as a matter of fact that is really one of the ways that you can transmit a respiratory born illness.


CHURCH: So let's talk now with Dr. Alan Kozarsky, an eye doctor here in Atlanta who has recovered from COVID-19. Dr. Kozarsky, great to have you with us.

DR. ALAN KOZARSKY, RECOVERED FROM COVID-19: It's great to be with you, Rosemary.

CHURCH: And that's really good news that you are fully recovered and have been for about three weeks now after contracting COVID-19 in Atlanta. Now you were on a mission trip to Honduras when you first realized you might have the coronavirus. What were your symptoms at that time?

KOZARSKY: Well, I was actually on a flight out of Atlanta to San Pedro Sula, Honduras and I developed a little bit of a dry cough on the trip down and didn't make much of it since we were coming up to allergy season. By that evening in Honduras I felt a little bit febrile, and by the next morning it was pretty evident that it was very flu-like and I was tired and aches and pains and I said, I am the last thing they need in Honduras right now and it's time to go home.

CHURCH: Right. And I wanted to ask you this, too, because the Trump administration is seriously considering opening up the country in early May. From a medical perspective, how viable do you think this is if we don't have extensive COVID-19 testing available and if we don't have extensive antibody testing to check that workers are immune from this virus before they actually return to work?

KOZARSKY: Well, it is amazing how quickly this disease spreads and how it spreads from country to country, person to person and its ability to do that cannot be respected enough.

CHURCH: So your sense is that that would be premature, to get people back to work? Basically we're talking the first of May if that becomes an option without those testing mechanisms in place.

KOZARSKY: No, I think there's a lot of thinking going into this, and if we can test people for antibody, if that becomes an easily-accessed test and we can first put-back to work the people that we know that were exposed, that will be a huge number of people that have actually had this illness without symptoms and show the expected immunity and resistance to it. And it makes sense that those people working together would be the first group that could safely go back to work and then joined by the others as this becomes much less prevalent.

CHURCH: Right, and presumably still with social distancing in place and the wearing of facemasks.

KOZARSKY: Well, as long as everyone pretends that everybody else has this illness, then we're all going to be relatively safe. And if we give it the respect that it needs because that is the biggest measure that we can take in order to keep the numbers down and to keep everybody safe.


CHURCH: Right, and as a doctor yourself, you've seen your colleagues out on the front lines of this fight against COVID-19 battling to save lives and, in many instances, working with depleted supplies of personal protective equipment and ventilators. How is it possible that they're still not getting adequate supplies of this protective gear? What's going on? Because President Trump keeps telling us at these daily briefings that lots of gear is being sent out. Where is that disconnect coming from? KOZARSKY: Well, I think, you know, everyone might have been saying

the words and how many things in life do we become warned of that don't actually happen? And the fact that this actually happened took a lot of people surprise. It took a lot of people surprise, and the enormity of it, even the epidemiologists I think are a little bit surprised.

During my whole career, you know, for 40 years in medicine I've been -- you know, we've listened to epidemiologists and we think they're relatively boring and they don't really move the needle as far as medicine is concerned, but they have certainly had their week and months here as far as, you know, what they've shown us and how important all of these basic measures are and what logarithmic growth really looks like.

CHURCH: Yes, they most definitely have. And of course, we will likely continue with social distancing for many weeks to come. But what role do you see homemade facemasks coming in the days and weeks ahead and possibly even when everyone returns to work.

KOZARSKY: Throw in the kitchen sink and every little bit helps. You have the distance and you may not have the submicron barrier that you want in your facemask and it may not be an N95 or a P100 mask, but if you have a couple of layers of a bandana or anything that you're going to make, it's better than nothing and it reminds you that this is still active and measures need to be taken to avoid spreading this disease.

CHURCH: And, doctor, just finally, what's your message to anyone out there who's still not staying home during this pandemic crisis?

KOZARSKY: The answer is this has to be so respected. This has to be so respected. I got off very easily, and I was thinking about this upcoming interview, Rosemary. And there I was, I was a doctor. I was, you know, in bed at home and coughing and febrile, and you don't think very much of this. And people may not respect it enough, but what you don't know is whether you're going to be one of those very unlucky few people that your cough today and a tolerable level of illness will become shortness of breath tomorrow and you're going to be on your way to the ICU and need a ventilator. And if you can't picture that, then you can't take this seriously enough. And if you picture it correctly, you're going to take the right measures.

CHURCH: That is an incredible point that you make because this is a lottery with this virus. We don't know much about it. We're learning as we go along but that is an incredible point you make. Dr. Kozarsky, thank you very much for talking with us.

KOZARSKY: And you, too, Rosemary. You take care.

CHURCH: And the sure to join us later on CNN for our Global Town Hall hosted by Anderson Cooper and Dr. Sanjay Gupta. They will bring you the latest facts and answer some of your questions about the coronavirus pandemic. That is at 8:00 in the evening in New York, 8:00 Friday morning in Hong Kong. Well, the World Health Organization has been one of U.S. President

Donald Trump's preferred pandemic punching bags. On Wednesday he doubled down on his attacks on the W.H.O.'s handling of the crisis after the organization's director warned him not to politicize the virus. CNN's Isa Soares has our report.


ISA SOARES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In Geneva the head of the World Health Organization fired back at the criticism of the body.

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

SOARES: Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus asked about criticism leveled by the W.H.O. by U.S. President Donald Trump. Said, it is dangerous to get political during the 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 W.H.O. claiming it hadn't raised enough alarms about the virus.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They called it wrong. They called it wrong. They really -- they missed the call. They could have called it months earlier. 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 W.H.O. pointed out that the organization had been closely following and issuing advisories about the virus since early January. Mr. Trump also criticized the W.H.O. for not supporting his travel ban, people coming from China.

TRUMP: They said there's no big deal. There's no big problem. There's no nothing. And then ultimately when I closed it down, they actually said 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 W.H.O. didn't support his travel restrictions with China, the W.H.O. opposes most international travel restrictions and sees them as ineffectual. And while not addressing Mr. Trump's criticism directly, the Director General calling 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 W.H.O. had been China centric. The Director General said 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're close to every nation. We're colorblind. We're -- what do you call it -- world's blind. We don't see. For us rich and poor is the same. For us, weak and the strong small is the same. For us small and big is the same. For us people are 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: In the United Kingdom officials say they are seeing the first signs that new infections have started to plateau. Still, the government reported more than 900 coronavirus deaths on Wednesday and our Max Foster is standing by in London. He joins us now live. Good to see you, Max. So these are good signs that new infections are plateauing. And that's certainly encouraging. How will this news impact the current lockdown in place and other measures that Britain has?

MAX FOSTER, CNN LONDON CORRESPONDENT: Well, the government and the advisers to government are trying to be as transparent as possible because the public want information, understandably. But there is this issue with talking about a plateau because it does suddenly make people relax a bit and perhaps encourages them to go outdoors. And that that the forefront of the ministers' minds today as they meet for a Toprol meeting, chaired by Dominic Raab, not by Boris Johnson, and other decisions.

There's a review expected or due next week on whether or not the lockdown should continue, and I think that people are probably looking at the weather currently. I was just looking, Rosemary, weather this weekend, 25 degrees Celsius, 77 degrees Fahrenheit, possibly tropical for the U.K. It's an Easter weekend as well, a bank holiday weekend, public holiday weekend. So there's a real fear that people are going to feel slightly relaxed, go out to the parks and start causing a risk to the spread of the virus. So I think we'll hear from ministers going into the weekend or some sort of public figures that people should continue to abide by the lockdown.

CHURCH: Yes, that is the problem. And we never thought we'd have problems with good weather, but that is certainly the situation in the midst of a pandemic, isn't it? And, Max, Prime Minister Boris Johnson still in the ICU. What's the latest on his condition?

FOSTER: Well, we also heard yesterday that he was stable, that he was responding to treatment. Now we're hearing that he's actually sitting up and interacting with his clinical staff. So he's down in the hospital beneath me, very positive news on that front. We don't know how long he'll be in there in the intensive care unit though or whether or not there's some sort of relapse, but there isn't any suggestion of that yet. It does seem to be an improving situation.

Doesn't of course mean he can start going back to work or even start doing any work. He would have to be in one of the main wards for that to be possible. But technically, Rosemary, he's still in charge. But the better he becomes the more involved he can be in those key decisions, particularly that one coming next week on the lockdown.

CHURCH: This is very good news for sure as we keep an eye on the Prime Minister's condition. Max Foster bringing us that live report from London. Many thanks.


Well, the U.S. President says he wants to restart the economy with a big bang, but new polling suggests most Americans don't share his optimism.


CHURCH: Well, in just a few hours the U.S. is expected to release another labor report showing a huge rise in jobless claims. Last week's report saw a record 6.6 million Americans filing for unemployment benefits, and this week could be just as bad.

Well, now according to a new CNN poll, Americans are starting to get pessimistic about the economy, at least as long as the pandemic lasts. And CNN's Christine Romans is with us from New York to talk about all of this. Good to see you, Christine.


CHURCH: So those weekly jobless numbers, they'll drop in just a few hours. How bad might they be?

ROMANS: You know, before this crisis you are seeing, you know, 230,000 weekly jobless claims, pretty much every week. We're looking in the millions again. Anywhere from 4, 5 million to 7 million is the range of estimates. And part of the reason there's such a wide range of estimates, Rosemary, is because you've got people who haven't been able to get through to their state unemployment offices to file for these unemployment benefits.


If you look at the Department of Labor in New York, on its website it says please be patient. This web portal is the only way to file for jobless claims. Please be patient.

And we've been hearing from all kinds of out of work workers, who say they get on a phone line in their state and their told they're number 4,000 in line to talk to somebody about jobless claims. So it's been a very, very difficult few weeks for a lot of people and frankly these numbers probably underrepresent how many people have lost their jobs.

CHURCH: Right, and, Christine, Americans not as optimistic, not surprisingly, about the economy as their President is. What's that new CNN poll telling us?

ROMANS: I think this polling is fascinating, Rosemary, because it's been a quick dive. Just in a couple of months you've gone from people feeling really good about the economy overall, to now 60 percent saying the current economic conditions are poor. That's the lowest since 2014 or the highest poor rating since 2014. But also the speed of the change in how people feel about the economy is really stunning here. But also in these numbers people think once the pandemic is over things will be better again. So I think that's really important for confidence.

How Washington responds to this crisis, how quickly the states can get aid to those unemployed workers, how quickly those businesses can get the much-needed money. That will help keep confidence intact and that's incredibly important for recovery on the other side.

CHURCH: Yes, people need confidence, they need hope, and there's not a lot of that around now. But hopefully as we move forward there'll be a little bit of that. Christine Romans, many thanks to you for joining us there from New York. Appreciate it.

Well, the coronavirus is having a profound impact, not only on people's health but on the world economy. Ahead, why the virus is expected to have a deep and long-term impact on global trade.