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U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Condition Improving; WHO Says Africa Tops 10,000 COVID-19 Cases and 500 Deaths; Bernie Sanders Drops Out, Clearing Joe Biden's Path. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired April 9, 2020 - 05:30   ET




The team is -- the staff morale is still really high. The team is all pitching in and working very hard but we are very aware that particularly in London and the U.K., we haven't yet reached the surge or the peak. That's going to happen in the next couple of weeks. So we all have to continue to work much harder to make sure that we can care for these people.

ROBYN CURNOW, CNN ANCHOR: And what are you wearing? Just describe for us. I know so much is being said about this protective equipment that you wear but you have to change, don't you, between each patient.

CARTER: So, we wear personal protective equipment and it's not just about how we wear it. There are also things about how we actually put the equipment on.


CARTER: And crucially, and I think the point that people often forget is how we take the equipment off. The equipment can cause, as it has for me, really bad headaches, dry mouth. It's really warm and uncomfortable. It's crucial that we keep it on because it protects us and it protects our patients, but it really is quite an ordeal to be working in that type of equipment.

We can keep the mask on for a long period of time but we do change the gloves and the gown between patients, particularly in high-risk areas like the resuscitation department in the emergency department, which is where I was working a couple of days ago.

So, there are lots of considerations. We have to keep ourselves well- hydrated, we have to take regular breaks. And hospitals are really keen for us to do that to make sure that we're as healthy as we possibly can be to make sure that we can look after the patients that need us the most.

And I think what I would say is the most important point here, particularly in the U.K. as we're going into the Easter weekend and, of course, across the world is that we need to maintain the restrictions that are in place in terms of people staying away from each other as much is as feasibly possible.

Life at the moment for everybody should not feel normal. Life should feel quite difficult in a sense. People should be keeping themselves away from each other. That makes the job of doctors and nurses and other health care professionals across the world easier because it means that less people will need our help. That's a really, really key message that I hope the public can listen to.

CURNOW: Yes, a call from the front lines.

Tell us what it is like working and trying to resuscitate folks. I mean, the fact that people are coming in and need that level of intervention in the E.R. is an indication of just how bad this is. Talk us through one of your days.

CARTER: So, the day will start whenever the shift begins. We take a handover from the team that had been working before us and then we work like we do every day assessing patients to the best of our abilities. So working in a resus department, as is the case for resus departments across the world, you see patients that are very sick -- that are unwell that require intensive intervention.

The good thing about the preparations that we've all been making in the U.K. is that we have the critical care colleagues with us and available to make decisions about further and ongoing management. And they are there to be able, for example, to make decisions around ventilation and also make decisions around the most appropriate care for patients.

One of the personal difficulties I've been finding is that because this is a pandemic, hospitals have made the decision to not have families and relatives with patients. Now that's the right decision from a public health perspective. It protects patients, it reduces transmission, it means that we get ahold of this virus.

But unfortunately, it also means that patients cannot have loved ones with them when they're very sick. And what we know is patients want doctors and nurses to treat them and look after them; they also want their relatives to know how they're doing. So we also have to spend a lot of time, as we should, speaking to relatives on the phone, keeping them abreast of the situation and in the loop, and informing them much more than we ordinarily would do if anything changes, simply because they're not with us in the department.

So, as doctors and as nurses, we've had to change almost the way in which we interact with relatives and patients' families and loved ones because we're having those conversations over the phone when usually, we'd be having those conversations in person.

It's a massive learning curve. What it's showing is the very, very best of health care. I think that, as I said, the message has to be that we need that to remain. We need the health service to be able to continue to look after these people to save lives and protect the NHS, which means that people need to stay at home.


CURNOW: Yes. I think you tweeted no sunbathing this weekend. It's going to be a sunny weekend across the U.K. and I think you tweeted basically, don't go -- don't leave your home no matter what the weather is like.

Dr. Harrison Carter, thank you very much for all of your expertise and all the hard work you and your teams have been doing and will continue to do. Really appreciate it for all of us. Thank you.

So, still ahead here on CNN NEWSROOM, another night in ICU for Boris Johnson, the British prime minister. But, Downing Street says he is improving. We'll have more from London on his fight against the coronavirus. That's next.


CURNOW: Welcome back, you're watching CNN. I'm Robyn Curnow.

So the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has now spent a third night in intensive care at a London hospital. We're following his battle against coronavirus along with the latest on how the U.K. is coping.

Max Foster is outside St. Thomas' hospital in London. Max, good to see you. So, a little bit of good news about the prime minister.

MAX FOSTER, CNN LONDON CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely -- we were told by the Chancellor of the Exchequer that he's improving. We're being told that he's sitting up in bed, he's interacting with his doctors. Obviously, he's still in intensive care so it's still a very serious situation, but very positive news indeed coming from the hospital.

He won't be ready for some time, of course, to engage in his full-time job full-time because he'll need to recuperate. He'll be in the hospital for some time, even if he gets out of intensive care very soon.

And there are immediate questions, as there always is, for any leader to address and the biggest one is probably coming on Monday. The one that we know about, at least, is this review of the lockdown. Should it be reviewed, should it be loosened, should it be tightened?

These are all questions that Nina's been considering over at Downing Street because the COVID meetings continue, cabinet meetings continue and top of the agenda right now is this lockdown. Whilst other countries are loosening, we're not quite at the peak yet so it doesn't feel appropriate, according to many people I've spoken to.


NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. And, Max, what we're going to see this morning is a COVID meeting is taking place as we speak with key members of the government, including the chief medical advisers, the health secretary Matt Hancock. And also Dominic Raab, we saw arrive about an hour and a half ago here at Downing Street, deputizing for the prime minister as and when necessary, as he said, as he remains in intensive care with COVID-19 as we speak.

First of the agenda -- first off on the agenda, rather, will probably be whether or not to review that lockdown to try and signal to the British people that it should stay in place at least for the immediate future -- maybe even for as long as another three weeks to go.

When they originally implemented this type of legislation to try and implement something like the lockdown which came into force 2 1/2 weeks ago Max, you'll remember that there was a clause in there saying that the health secretary had to review it every 21 days. Well, that time for a review means that he has to signal whether or not they're going to continue it by next Thursday.

But the time pressure, really, is much sooner than that because we've got the long Easter weekend coming up imminently, Good Friday is tomorrow. And also the weather's going to get better and Britains, some fear, might be tempted to leave their houses, especially considering that we've had this slight glimmer of hope in some of the press conferences saying that this disease may be showing signs of plateauing.

Having said that, though, I should remind our viewers the U.K. still suffered its deadliest day yesterday with 938 more people losing their lives to COVID-19. That brings the total to 7,097.

And we're expecting updates, of course, throughout the course of the day and that daily press conference at 5:00 p.m. local time here inside Downing Street that probably, Dominic Raab is going to be delivering. And that might be the time when he chooses to signal to the British people that these measures can't be loosened, at least not for the foreseeable future -- Max.

FOSTER: OK, Nina, thank you.

Robyn, I think with going into the weekend we're certainly going to be hearing from ministers. Their new concern is the -- you know, people may drop their guard with these figures -- that, you know, the numbers might be plateauing, which could prompt a second wave of the virus which could potentially be even more deadly.

So there's so much to consider here giving people as much freedom as they can without putting the wider population at risk.

CURNOW: And, of course, with the overriding concern that the actual prime minister is in an ICU unit -- in an ICU unit. So, I mean, it's certainly a lot to weigh up and timing, as you say, is everything.

Lovely to see you, Max, there. Beautiful day, beautiful background. Speak again tomorrow -- cheers.

So, in France, President Emmanuel Macron will make a televised addressed on Monday and the nationwide lockdown is expected to be extended in France beyond April the 15th. The government is reporting 562 people died on Wednesday alone but warn that a lack of information from elderly care facilities could make that number much, much higher. We know there were nearly 4,000 cases of the coronavirus just recorded on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Spain's prime minister says the country has reached the peak of the pandemic and will gradually start rolling back lockdown measures there.

However, CNN analysis suggests that the coronavirus deaths in Spain could be much higher than the official numbers released. Spain's health ministry reported over 3,600 coronavirus deaths in the Madrid region just during the second half of March, but the government issued over 9,000 burial licenses during the same period. That's four times higher than the same period in 2019. CNN analysis also suggests there could be over 3,200 deaths that cannot be accounted for.

Spain's health minister is pushing back against this criticism, saying the country is following protocol and all virus-related deaths are accounted for.

Meanwhile, coronavirus cases are certainly ramping up in Africa as well. Reported cases across the continent hit a new milestone topping 10,000 and more than 500 people have died from the virus.

The World Health Organization's regional director for Africa is now warning of financial and social devastation on the continent. He also expressed great concern for new African coronavirus hotspots as the disease continues to spread beyond major cities.

Well, David McKenzie is in Johannesburg, South Africa and he has the latest on that -- David.


DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This milestone announced by the World Health Organization is troubling, especially the news that there is now exponential increases in the spread of COVID-19 in different parts of this continent.

Public health officials say that Africa was hit later than many other regions. But now that it's entrenched in the cities in many parts of the continent and according to WHO, moving into smaller urban settings and rural settings, this could be an extremely difficult fight.


African leaders generally acted decisively. They have shut down their countries, including Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria, to a large extent. But they hope that this will be enough to really support them in the fight because in many places there is weak health infrastructure.

At the same time, though, there are very difficult decisions to be made in the coming weeks. More than 80 percent of the continent depends on the informal sector to survive. If you don't work, you don't eat. And they'll have to weigh up those difficult economic questions with the fight against COVID-19. David McKenzie, CNN, Johannesburg.


CURNOW: Thanks, David, for that.

So it's easy to forget that the U.S. presidential election is coming up, isn't it? But, Bernie Sanders has now dropped out of the race but he still might have a big role to play. We have that conversation, next.


CURNOW: Welcome back. It is 5:49 a.m. in the morning here in Atlanta.

And I want to update you on this news. Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden is now poised to go head-to-head with President Donald Trump in November now that the race for the Democratic nomination is effectively over. Sen. Bernie Sanders has become the last candidate to drop out.


Remember just how crowded the field was a few months ago? It was, in fact, historic.

Sanders explained what he -- what he called a very difficult and painful decision.


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I wish I could give you better news but I think you know the truth and that is that we are now some 300 delegates behind Vice President Biden and the path toward victory is virtually impossible.

So while we are winning the ideological battle and while we are winning the support of so many young people and working people throughout the country, I have concluded that this battle for the Democratic nomination will not be successful.


CURNOW: Leslie Vinjamuri leads the U.S. and the Americas Program at Chatham House in London and joins me now. Good to see you, Leslie.


CURNOW: So we heard Bernie Sanders there. He built a coalition, he made a difference, he created momentum. What next?

VINJAMURI: No, what next? I mean, you know, we're clearly in a very different context for the United States and for the rest of the world where people want to see unity. This election is now taking place in a very difficult climate as we all know too well. So I think that decision was an important one because it focuses the

debate -- it takes the pressure off the -- you know, just the operations of conducting the primary. What we saw in Wisconsin I think was distressing to so many people, and not only in Wisconsin.

So that decision now really channels the election. It's very clear what's coming up through the summers -- through the summer in the conventions.

CURNOW: If they happen.

VINJAMURI: And I guess one question is whether Sanders and most importantly, those who have been supporting him will get right behind Biden as we -- as we move forward towards November. That's really the key question now.

CURNOW: It certainly is.

So the diehard Bernie Sanders voters, where do they go? Can Biden peel them away? Do they sit this out in frustration? Can the Trump campaign woo them?

What is your sense about his base?

VINJAMURI: Well, I think it's very difficult to imagine his base not supporting the Democrats in this particular point in history.

Remember that the push right now -- the number-one issue will clearly be health care -- that President Trump hasn't been seen to be the health care president. He was against the Affordable Care Act. He didn't really have a good alternative for those people who are supporting Sanders.

You know, I guess there is a question do they turn out and vote? There's a practical question as we come up to November. Hopefully, the country and the world will be in a very different place by then but there could well be a practical issue to voting.

But I think as health care emerges -- if Bernie Sanders signals to his base that the -- that the country needs a president and that Joe Biden can really take this forward, then I think the chances of them supporting him are high.

But remember, his numbers are not good -- that he didn't have a path to victory. The turnout in Michigan wasn't what he would have anticipated.

Joe Biden did very well with the -- with the white, non-college- educated base that many people thought would go to Bernie Sanders. Actually, they voted for Joe Biden. So I think that even what we thought about the base isn't entirely -- hasn't proven to be true.

CURNOW: How much does Joe Biden need Bernie Sanders or has Bernie Sanders done what he's needed to do already which was, in many ways, shift the Democratic Party a little bit left? Is his -- is his work done or he is very much going to be part of this future? VINJAMURI: Well, you know, as we know, he's decided to keep his name in the -- in the future primaries. He wants to shape the Democratic Party platform. I think he has the potential to be a very important voice to get behind Vice President Biden to really move his base and channel the debate.

You know, the country is in a deep, deep crisis right now, not of anybody's choosing and not of anybody's fault, although there is a very serious question about how it's been responded to both in the last few months and going forward. And I think people will be looking for a signal from Bernie Sanders that he's united -- that he's united behind Joe Biden -- and that the vice president and Bernie Sanders behind him and all the Democrats.

And I think the other key point here is that the rest of the Democratic candidates, for the most part, had really already gotten behind Biden because clearly, the number-one agenda for the Democratic Party has been to defeat President Trump.


VINJAMURI: So there has to be a --

CURNOW: And just quickly before we go, I just want you to -- I just want to quickly ask do you think he will play a role in a Biden White House or a Biden administration? And we've got about 45 seconds.

VINJAMURI: I suspect not but I do think that he'll continue to be very, very important at the grassroots level for many years to come.


CURNOW: OK, Leslie Vinjamuri. Really appreciate you joining us there from Chatham House in London. Great to get your analysis and expertise. Thank you.

VINJAMURI: Thank you.

CURNOW: So thanks for your company. Let's help our medical workers by staying at home and staying safe. Have a wonderful day. Enjoy the isolation, perhaps.

I'm Robyn Curnow. We'll be back again same time, same place tomorrow. "NEW DAY" with John and Alisyn is next. You're watching CNN.



GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: The bad news is actually terrible. Highest single-day death toll yet.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How and when do we open the country? That conversation is starting with a focus on antibody testing.

DR. DEBORAH BIRX, RESPONSE 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.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every week I think how big and more intense (ph). I spent most of the night just going from one ventilator to another.


MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D), NEW YORK CITY: 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.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. It's Thursday, April ninth, 6:00 here in New York.

And the thousands-year tradition of shaking hands might be over for good. That's just one small symbol of how different our society.