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Fauci Admits COVID-19 Mitigation Could Have Started Earlier; Kansas Church Opens On Easter Despite State Ban On Mass Gatherings; U.K. PM Boris Johnson Released From Hospital; Spain Set To Begin Easing Coronavirus Restrictions; Louisiana Has More Than 20,000 Cases, 800-Plus Deaths. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired April 12, 2020 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Patients can also come out the other side stronger with antibodies. Your immune system's memory of the virus that could help could fight it off again. Survivor Diana Berrent (ph) is donating her plasma so others can benefit from her antibodies.
DIANA BERRENT, CORONAVIRUS SURVIVOR: I like to think of it as a superhero. Me and all of the other survivors we have to use internally-built hazmat suits.
TODD: Infectious disease specialists say the plasma from a recovered patient can help others but they also have a word of caution for coronavirus survivors. They say you have the antibodies to possibly prevent you from getting infected a second time but they also warn that they don't have the data to say with certainty that you cannot still spread it to others.
So they recommend that patients who have survived continue to socially distance themselves from others, at least until the public restrictions are lifted.
Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello again, everyone. Thank you so much for joining me on this Easter Sunday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.
We start with a candid admission from the nation's top infectious disease. Dr. Anthony Fauci saying today that there was pushback to shutting down the economy and initiating social distancing at the early onset of the coronavirus outbreak. And that deadly -- and that delay rather, may have caused Americans' lives.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Obviously you could logically say that if you had a process that was ongoing and you started mitigation earlier, you could have saved lives. Obviously no one is going to deny that. But what goes into those kinds of decisions is complicated. But you're right. I mean obviously if we had right from the very beginning shut everything down, it may have been a little bit different. But there was a lot of pushback about shutting things down back then.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: Despite that, Dr. Fauci says he has reason for cautious optimism citing a decrease in the rate of hospitalizations, ICU admissions and intubations.
Let's begin our coverage at the White House.
CNN's Jeremy Diamond is there for us. So what is the administration saying about all this?
JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well Fred -- today is the day by which President Trump had at one point hoped to see the country reopening again, wanted to see the economy raring up and open to go.
But that was before the President extended the social distancing guidelines for another month. Now, as he is on this Easter Sunday, the President is once again considering when he can begin to reopen the country. And he is looking at a date that some of his advisers are pushing which is May 1st.
Now, we did hear this morning from Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is one of the voices who will be weighing in with the President as he mulls this decision that the President characterizes perhaps the most important decision of his presidency.
Fauci saying that there could be some reopening beginning next month, but it should be a phased rollout.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NIAID: It is not going to be a light switch that we say, ok, it is now June, July or whatever -- click. The light switch goes back on. It's going to be depending where you are in the country, the nature of the outbreak that you've already experienced, and the threat of an outbreak that you may not have experienced. So it's going to be having to look at the situation in different parts of country. I think it's going to have to be something that is not one-size-fits all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DIAMOND: Now Fred -- there are discussions inside the White House about whether this reopening could start to happen by geographic area, by age, even by sector of the economy. And there is a heavy push inside the White House to ramp up that testing capacity as well as that antibody testing capacity to see if people have built up an immunity to the virus and can begin to go back to work.
But we also heard from Dr. Fauci on this "New York Times" report about those three crucial weeks at the end of February and in early March during which the medical advisers at the White House and in government had concluded that they needed to move towards mitigation measures but the President, of course, didn't announce those social distancing guidelines until mid-March.
Dr. Fauci confirming that there was pushback inside the administration, something that we've reported on in the past -- political and economic advisers to the President who didn't want to see the economy shut down. Fauci today saying that lives could have been saved -- Fred.
WHITFIELD: All right, Jeremy Diamond. Thank you so much at the White House.
All right. Now to New York where the curve appears to be flattening. Governor Andrew Cuomo says he wants to reopen the state as soon as possible. However, in order to do that, he says more testing needs to be made available.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: We want to reopen as soon as possible. The caveat is, we need to be smart in the way we reopen.
What does smart mean? It means a coordinated approach, a regional approach and a safe approach. Nobody wants to pick between a public health strategy and an economic strategy. And as governor of this state I'm not going to pick one over the other.
CUOMO: We're going to need testing, more testing, faster testing than we now have when you start to move people back to work. And we're going to need federal help. There is no doubt about that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: Evan McMorris Santoro is in New York for us. So Evan -- the Governor also said that while new hospitalizations are down, the death rate is still terribly high. What did he have to say about the state's new numbers and his outlook?
EVAN MCMORRIS SANTORO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right -- Fred.
You know, the holiday doesn't stop this pandemic. And even as we're talking about the possibility of what comes after this pandemic, we're still here in New York very much in it.
I just want to read the numbers -- the latest numbers today. Total cases in this state -- 181,825. 9,385 total dead from complications of COVID-19 as released by the Governor today. But the Governor, you know, wanted to talk about the fact that look, these tough numbers are part of how this state and this city is going to deal with this crisis, and start to look to the next phase of this whole thing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CUOMO: And so with the good news because we deserve some good news Lord knows, change in total number of hospitalizations is down again. This is the number that we have been watching because the great fear for us was always overwhelming the hospital system, the capacity of the hospital system.
You're not seeing a great decline in the numbers. But you're seeing a flattening. And you're also seeing a recurrence of the terrible news, which is the number of lives lost, which is 758.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: 758 today, 783 yesterday, and around a similar number the day before. When you think about this curve that is now hopefully flattening here in the New York area, you still have to think about just the sheer number of ill and people that have passed away from this disease, and what is still to come as New York and New York City tries to get through this -- Fred.
WHITFIELD: Evan McMorris Santoro -- thank you so much for that.
All right. Let's go to Kansas now where despite a state supreme court ruling to allow a mass gathering ban, some churches still remained open this Easter Sunday.
Joining me right now to talk about it is CNN's Gary Tuchman in Kansas there. So Gary -- I understand you spoke with the pastor. What did he say?
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right -- Fredricka.
First I'll tell you it's unseasonably cold on this Easter Sunday in Kansas, but there is an Easter spirit throughout the state, despite the fact that most churchgoers aren't going to church. But here at the Risen Savior Lutheran Church in Basehor, Kansas which is just outside of Kansas City, a lot of people went to church.
We were here two hours ago just before the church service began, and we saw cars pulling in. We counted a total of 24 cars in the parking lot. Most of the cars had multiple people. We counted at least 40 people who went in.
But the pastor corrected us. He says there weren't 40 people inside. Our count was wrong. He says there are 55 people inside. Now, we said to him, aren't you violating the new law?
And he has told me on the phone yesterday and today, no. He doesn't think he's violating the law because, indeed, there may possibly be a loophole in this law restricting religious gatherings to 10 people or less because according to the executive order that was signed by the Democratic governor, it states that preachers, readers, choir or musical performers don't count against your 10.
What this pastor is saying is that everyone inside the church was singing, and when they were singing they were performers because they post videos on YouTube after the service is over. So that's his explanation. Whether that would work in court, we have absolutely no idea.
But we can tell you, the Republican attorney-general of this state who wasn't in favor of the executive order signed by the Democratic governor now says there should be voluntary compliance but he has advised all police forces in the state not to arrest anybody if indeed churches have more than ten people.
One more thing I'll to tell you -- Fred. Right down the street from us is a Catholic Church and two parishioners drove by a short time ago and they were very upset. And asked them why. And they said because they won't allow us in the church. They're only allowing ten people in our church today -- Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: So then Gary -- the pastor you spoke with was he trying to establish that they were singing, the choir, you know, was singing, and service was under way for a live streaming purpose? Or recorded for congregants to watch later?
It doesn't look like Gary could hear me. All right. Well, we got his signal and we got his story and that was great. Thank you -- Gary Tuchman.
All right. Up next, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson out of the hospital after beating coronavirus.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: It's hard to find words to express my debt.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: His message to hospital workers after spending three nights in intensive care.
Plus -- more than 600 new coronavirus deaths in Spain. So why is the country beginning to ease some restrictions?
WHITFIELD: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is now out of the hospital just days after being moved from intensive care. Johnson contracted the coronavirus and was later admitted to a hospital when his symptoms suddenly worsened.
For the first time today the world heard from Johnson in a video statement where he praised Britons for respecting the request to social distance.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNSON: Good afternoon. I've today left hospital after a week in which the NHS has saved my life -- no question. It's hard to find words to express my debt but before I come to that I want to thank everyone in the entire U.K. for the effort and the sacrifice you have made and are making.
When the sun is out and the kids are at home, when the whole natural world seems at its loveliest and the outdoors is so inviting, I can only imagine how tough it has been to follow the rules on social distancing.
I thank you because so many millions and millions of people across this country have been doing the right thing. Millions going through the hardship of self-isolation faithfully, patiently, and with thought and care for others as well as for themselves.
I want you to know that this Easter Sunday I do believe that your efforts are worth it and are daily proving their worth, because although we mourn every day those who are taken from us in such numbers, and though the struggle is by no means over, we are now making progress in this incredible national battle against coronavirus.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: CNN's Bianca Nobilo is in London for us. So Boris Johnson, you know, praises people for adhering to social distancing but it wasn't that long ago when he wasn't the biggest advocate of those policies.
BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So about two or three weeks before the Prime Minister tested positive, he went on some morning TV shows where he said that he had been shaking everybody's hands at hospitals. He was then criticized heavily for doing that because obviously as prime minister and a key figure in the country he's setting an example to so many.
Then Britain went into lockdown and the adherence to the lockdown in some stages has been patchy. I've even seen, Fred -- from where I am a couple of large gatherings being broken up by police. There was a slight increase in traffic. There were some of the most popular days that parks in the country had ever seen after the lockdown had been announced.
So lots of evidence to suggest that what the Prime Minister said initially probably wasn't helpful.
But now that the prime minister is out of hospital and on the mend, Chequers, the Prime Minister's retreat in the countryside, it's very important that the media and the government and all the focus is on what happens now in the strategy. Because even members of the government's scientific advisory board SAGE, have suggested that the government made mistakes in the early period of this, that abandoning the commitment to do community testing, and not having a faster lockdown may have not bought our national health service the time that they could have done.
So I think it's important now that some of the attention is off Boris Johnson, that the focus returns to scrutiny of the government decisions. Because Fred -- it's been an incredibly unique time not only because the country is dealing with this devastating outbreak like so many but the prime minister was in the hospital.
The leadership of our opposition party has just changed and parliament is now in recess. So when you're looking at scrutiny of government decisions, which have so much agency right now, it's imperative that the opposition, that the media, that others hold the government to account as they're making decisions which affects so many lives.
WHITFIELD: All right. Bianca Nobilo in London -- thank you for that.
All right. Meanwhile, Spain now says it will begin gradual steps towards easing coronavirus restrictions. The country has been one of the hardest hit in Europe with hundreds of new cases still being reported every day.
CNN's Scott Mclean is in Madrid for us. So Scott -- how much is the government expected to ease these restrictions?
SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Fredricka -- so it's a baby step but it's not insignificant. There are some promising signs here in Spain.
First, the increase in active cases is the lowest that it's been in more than a month. The death toll is still soberingly high, more than 600. But that's a far cry from the peak of this pandemic.
The lockdown officially will go on until April 26th. Officials expect it will be even longer than that. But what they are doing beginning tomorrow is allowing some non-essential workers to return to their jobs.
This affects sectors like construction and manufacturing. It does not mean that the restaurants, bars and shops will be reopening anytime soon.
But the whole reason that this group of non-essential workers was ordered to stay home in the first place two weeks into this lockdown was so that the hospitals and that the ICUs were not completely overwhelmed.
MCLEAN: And it's important to keep in mind that Spain is still using a convention center here in Madrid as a hospital ward. It's still using 13 hotels as hospital wards. We just spoke to one public health expert who said for that reason and also because Spain does not have very widespread testing that perhaps this is a little bit too soon.
What officials are doing though is, they are saying that they're going to run trains and buses more often than usual during the rush hours to make sure that people can adequately socially distance and just for good measure they're also going to be handing out some 10 million masks at transit hubs. Just something that would have been totally unthinkable at the beginning of this outbreak because there weren't even enough for health care workers.
The prime minister is also battling mixed messaging. One the hand, lockdown continues. On the other hand, some people are allowed to go to work. He said look, we are not in phase two, the de-escalation phase of this outbreak quite yet.
So he's urging people to continue to stay home and to continue to follow the restrictions as they are. He said when restrictions are lifted, there will be markers in place to see how the country is doing, and to pull back any of the easing of restrictions if necessary -- Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: All right. Scott McLean in Madrid, Spain -- thank you so much.
All right. Up next -- there are more than 20,000 cases of coronavirus in Louisiana. So how is the city of New Orleans handling this outbreak? We'll go there live.
WHITFIELD: In Louisiana, there are currently more than 20,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 840 deaths. Residents are under a state-wide stay-at-home order through April and the governor says it's possible that could extend into May.
CNN's Ed Lavandera is in New Orleans for us. So what is the latest from New Orleans -- Ed?
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Fredricka -- well, just a short time ago the new numbers are coming out here from the health department in the state of Louisiana.
And once again, kind of a mixed bag of information here, but the overall sense here is what state and health officials have been saying for the last few days. It's that they believe what these numbers, even though they are slightly mixed in many ways, is signaling that the curve is beginning to flatten here. But that there is a great deal of concern that any kind of letting up on what people are doing here in this state could be a cause for concern.
Over the weekend here the number of cases has now passed the 20,000 mark. There are 840 deaths. The two factors that state and health officials here have been looking at so closely is hospital bed use and ventilator use. And those numbers have kind of been going back and forth over the last few days and we continue to see that here today as well.
This as we -- it's just been just over a month since the first case of coronavirus was detected here in the state of Louisiana. And in just a month's time, this sprung to more than 20,000 cases here in the state.
So a great deal of concern especially today on Easter Sunday That people would be -- that cabin fever setting in, wanting to get out, anxious to get out and perhaps that would hurt the social distancing practices that so many people have been engaged in over the last few weeks.
But what the state of Louisiana is dealing with today is an incredible severe line of thunderstorms moving through the area. In fact, tornadoes touching down in the northern part of the state. So that is another thing to be concerned about here in the state today -- Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: Gosh. One after the next. All right. Ed Lavandera -- thank you so much.
All right. Dr. Dara Kass is an emergency room physician in New York who has recovered after contracting COVID-19. Doctor -- good to see you on this Easter Sunday.
DR. DARA KASS, EMERGENCY ROOM PHYSICIAN: Thank you for having me.
WHITFIELD: So give me an update on your situation. How long was your bout with this coronavirus?
DR. KASS: So I had a pretty typical mild case where I was only sick for about eight days where I had the fever -- I'm sorry, I had the cough, the shortness of breath, the headache muscle aches but I never really got the severe fever or the deep shortness of breath that's indicative of the pneumonia that a lot of people have.
WHITFIELD: Well, thank goodness for that.
Now, will you or have you had a second, you know, test to see if, you know, you still have any of those antibodies in you or anything like that?
DR. KASS: So there are two tests that we talk about, right. The antibody test which shows that you've recover, and hopefully your body now has an immune response. And because I signed up to be a plasma donor, I actually do know that my body has antibodies to the coronavirus.
What I don't know actually is if I'm still contagious because unfortunately where I live, we're not testing people to make sure they're negative for the infection. The regular PCR that we're doing for lots of people when they test positive, so I actually don't know if I still carry the virus which is why I'm still sitting here in a hotel instead of back in my house.
WHITFIELD: So how long will you kind of self-quarantine there at the hotel?
DR. KASS: So actually until I test negative. I'm hopeful that I actually can go and get a test tomorrow which will hopefully be negative and then I can actually go home, which will be very, very nice.
WHITFIELD: I know your family will be happy to see you. So Governor Cuomo, he talked today and he talked about, you know, the curve flattening in New York. You're on the front lines and here you also tested positive and had your own battle for eight days.
you encouraged by what the Governor is saying about the flattening of the curve yet, you know, the number of deaths is still frighteningly high?
DR. KASS: So I think what the governor is saying, he's painting an accurate picture of what we're seeing in New York which is that there's still an overwhelming number of people dying of this every day in our city. Over 700 people every single day.
We're still seeing a huge number of critical care cases and patients hospitalized. What we're also seeing is evidence of the social distancing. So the number of new cases is actually going down.
And the thing that I think the governor is trying to tell us is this is working for us right now. But what he's also saying, and I think this is the most important thing the whole country can learn from New York is, we still haven't put into place the metrics we need to get out of the quarantine.
DR. KASS: Where are the cases? How do we surveil them? How will we contact trace them? And until we have regular testing and immunology we probably won't be able to loosen the restrictions anytime soon.
WHITFIELD: And what's your outlook on those real possibilities?
KASS: I think it comes down to federal leadership. I think that cities like New York, which have millions of people, can't possibly scale up testing on their own. I think the reason that the governor asks every single day for federal leadership to help us to scale up that testing, it's practically impossible for us to do it ourselves. If New York can't get back to business, really, can the rest of the country?
WHITFIELD: Yes, that's what the governor was saying yesterday, being the engine of the nation's economy, New York City.
So, Dr. David Nabarro, the World Health Organization Special Envoy on coronavirus, had a rather ominous outlook and warning today. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. DAVID NABARRO, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION'S SPECIAL ENVOY ON CORONAVIRUS: We're not so sure that it will come in waves in the way influenza does. We think it's going to be a virus that stalks the human race for quite a long time to come, until we can all have a vaccine that will protect us. And that there will be small outbreaks that will emerge sporadically and they will break through our defenses.
So the key to this particular virus is that every community has a kind of defensive shield, can pick up cases as soon as they appear, isolate them and stop outbreaks from developing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: All right. So it's not seasonal. It's here to stay, in his view. The whole idea about vaccines, how hopeful are you that it may be on the horizon in the short term?
KASS: Well, the vaccine timeline is not up for -- this isn't what we hope for. There's a normal predictable timeline to get a new vaccine and they know it's 12 to 18 months from the initiation of the trials. So we know we still have somewhere about a year until we have a vaccine for this, which is why we need to continue to be vigilant, use social distancing and the testing to keep our communities safe while also getting things back to regular order certainly as best as we can.
And I think Dr. Fauci was saying that today as well. This is really going to be something that we're going to have to address piece by piece and that we have to be reactive to the virus and respect the fact it has infiltrated all of our communities.
WHITFIELD: All right. Dr. Dara Cass, good luck to you and hopefully your next coronavirus test does, indeed, prove negative so that you can get on back home.
KASS: I hope so. Thank you so much for having me.
WHITFIELD: Be well.
All right, still ahead, a solitary service at the Vatican this Easter. Pope Francis holds Sunday mass to an empty cathedral.
WHITFIELD: President Trump planned to join millions of worshippers around the world in celebrating the Easter holiday in front of a computer. The president said that he would be watching Pastor Robert Jeffress online Easter service this morning, putting a fresh spotlight on the pastor's controversial history.
CNN White House Reporter Sarah Westwood joining me right now. So, Sarah, what more can you tell us about this?
SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, Fred, Pastor Robert Jeffress is not just the president's favorite pastor, not just someone that the president tuned in to see just on Easter Sunday but he's actually an adviser to the president. He's been close to the president since he campaigned for him in 2016, now an adviser sitting on his evangelical advisory board.
But as you mentioned, Jeffress is also no stranger to controversy. He has gone after other religions in the past, Mormons, Catholics, Muslims. And his comments about Mormonism in particular, calling it a cult, for example, caused Mitt Romney, a former GOP nominee, to label Jeffress a religious bigot, and say that Jeffress should not have been invited as he was to pray at the opening ceremony for the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem in 2018.
But Jeffress also said inflammatory things about gay people. He's described their life sometimes, for example, as filthy and miserable. So he is considered quite controversial, even among conservatives.
But like many evangelicals who support President Trump, Jeffress has couched his support of the president in terms of Trump, in their words, being the most supportive of evangelicals, the most supportive of Christians than any other president. Jeffress had something like that message in his sermon today. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REV. ROBERT JEFFRESS, SENIOR PASTOR, FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH OF DALLAS: Mr. President, our church absolutely loves you, as do millions of Christians across this country. We appreciate your strong articulation of the Christian faith. I've never heard a stronger affirmation of faith than the one you gave Friday, Good Friday, in the Oval Office.
We thank you for your commitment to religious liberty and we thank you for your strong leadership during this coronavirus crisis.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WESTWOOD: Now, Jeffress has defended President Trump on nearly every front, including against allegations of infidelity and throughout the impeachment saga. Jeffress has said that President Trump has done more for evangelicals than any other president. Fred?
WHITFIELD: All right. Sarah Westwood, thank you so much for that.
All right, like President Trump, millions of people around the world spent the day acknowledging the Easter holiday in a rather unconventional way. CNN's Delia Gallagher has more on how faith leaders brought worshippers together amid the coronavirus outbreak.
DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN FAITH AND VALUES CORRESPONDENT: It's a strange time to be celebrating. But perhaps now more than ever, the ancient rituals of Easter and Passover bring us together.
The Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem, the streets said walked by Christ before his crucifixion, normally crowded with pilgrims on Easter Friday is empty like never before.
But a few representing the many carry the memory.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Today, more during Holy Week, the whole world is ravaged by a pandemic that is writhen death and immobilizing us.
GALLAGHER: And as then a small sign of rebirth through Notre Dame Cathedral itself, victim of a devastating fire last year, prayers are raised for the COVID-19 victims and their families. And the creativity of community, a priest in Ireland offering blessings from an old Pope Mobile used by John Paul II. And in Germany, drive-in services.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For weeks, we've been at a distance. We stay at home. Churches are closed. Right now, for Easter, there's a need to come together this week.
GALLAGHER: Passover commemorating the Jewish exodus from Ancient Egypt during a time of plagues takes on new meaning today.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- celebrating Passover as we hope coronavirus will pass us over.
GALLAGHER: Seders are virtual across the world, as Jews celebrate while social distancing.
While governments continue to battle the global pandemic, urging all to stay home this Easter.
DOMINIC RAAB, U.K. FOREIGN SECRETARY: After all the sacrifices so many people have made, let's not ruin it now.
GALLAGHER: It may be song which can unite us. Opera legend Andrea Bocelli will sing alone in the Milan's Duomo Cathedral on Sunday evening.
ANDREA BOCELLI, ITALIAN TENOR: It will be a prayer. And as a consequence, it will not be important who is present physically but rather who wants to be with me spiritually in that moment.
GALLAGHER: A celebration of human spirit and transcendence, prayer of harmony in a time of hardship.
Delia Gallagher, CNN, Rome.
WHITFIELD: Still ahead, overwhelmed hospitals telling some coronavirus patients to go home. Is it a good idea? And how are those patients being monitored?
WHITFIELD: Renowned opera singer, Andrea Bocelli, using his voice to bring people around the world together on this Easter Sunday amid the coronavirus pandemic. The Italian tenor performing a free online show in an empty cathedral in Milan this morning, saying that the performance is not a concert but a player.
DR. SAJU MATTHEW, PRIMARY CARE PHYSICIAN: This is really your opportunity to get in the best shape of your life while working from home.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm a freelance journalist and write for several magazines. When you're working from home, as I am, you're spending a lot of your days hunched over your laptop like this. So I do my best to move around as much as possible.
MATTHEW: For every hour that you're either standing or sitting, that you're actually taking a 15-minute break or maybe a 5-minute walk. You have to create different zones in your home, a place where you relax, an office space. The workspace is going to be key. If you have a good workspace, create that same space at home. If you work with a standing desk, definitely have that. If you have a desk versus working from a couch, then make sure you get that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was a while where I would get on deadline, I would be so obsessive about the work that I wouldn't exercise. And I realized a few years ago that I need to exercise every day. And if I don't exercise, that will impact the work.
MATTHEW: And when you're working from home, you can actually gain weight. So it's really important to plan that grocery list, prepare healthy meals.
I challenge you. You can actually make this an incredibly healthy and fun experience if you're disciplined.
WHITFIELD: Amid this coronavirus outbreak, hospitals are being overwhelmed by the influx of new patients. So many patients, in fact, that some who are less severely ill are being asked to fight the disease at home. But that can have deadly consequences.
CNN's Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen joining us now with a look how some hospitals are monitoring patients dealing with this disease while they are at home. Elizabeth, what they are doing?
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Fred, this is so important. Because the sad reality of this outbreak is that not every patient can get a hospital bed. Even patients who are sort of moderately ill sometimes are sent home to recover and they're told what to look out for but that is not foolproof.
So let's take a look at some really sobering statistics in New York City. What we are told is that, in New York City, before coronavirus, about 20, 25 people would die every day at home from various thing. But since COVID has been happening, that's more than 200 deaths a day. And officials there, they attribute that, they said, we think this is because of coronavirus. That huge difference is because of people dying of coronavirus at home. So, Fred, there's a hospital in Cleveland, the University Health System has decided to do something about this. And what they've done, is that when they send someone home, when someone comes to the emergency room and they say, we're not going to admit you, we're going to send you home with a device. And so they send them home with the device.
And there's a gentleman named Leonardo Frazier, who is a janitor in the area, he had COVID, he went home with this device and it is attached to a central command. And that's the really important part here. This device is digital and it is attached to what is -- well, I shouldn't say, attached. It is monitored digitally, electronically by a central command and it beeped. And then he got a phone call that said, Mr. Frazier, you need to come back into the hospital. He came back in and says that this device saved his life. So, again, a device that's easy to use but it is monitored by a central command somewhere.
WHITFIELD: Wow. So you're a lucky patient if you're at a facility that has that. But doctors, obviously, are very concerned about so many other coronavirus patients who are at home. What are their concerns?
COHEN: Right. So their concern is that, for many viruses, we have seen patients with flu turn on a dime. But for this virus, it seems especially true that people who look like they're okay actually aren't. Things seem to be fine and then disaster strikes. People get very sick very quickly. And so that's why a lot of doctors are pushing devices like this one so the patients can be monitored at home.
We can't monitor everyone in the hospital. It would be great if we could at least electronically monitor people who are at home.
WHITFIELD: All right. Elizabeth Cohen, thank you so much.
WHITFIELD: Hello again, everyone. Thank you so much for being with me on this Easter Sunday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.
We begin this Easter Sunday with a blunt new assessment from this nation's top infectious disease expert. Dr. Anthony Fauci, a key member of the White House's coronavirus task force now admitting lives may have been saved had the Trump administration done more at the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak.
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DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: I mean, obviously, you could logically say that if you had a process that was ongoing and you started mitigation earlier, you could have saved lives. Obviously, no one is going to deny that. But what goes into those kinds of decisions is complicated. But you're right. I mean, obviously, if we had right from the very beginning shut everyone down, it may have been a little different.
But there was a lot of pushback about shutting things down back then.
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