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Tornadoes Ripped Through Southern U.S.; Prime Minister Boris Johnson Grateful for His Second Life; U.S. Tops COVID-19 Cases in the World; Spain Gradually Lifting Restrictions; President Macron to Address the Nation in Few Hours; Violent Storms Push Through Southern United States; CNN Shows You One Day Inside a New York Hospital; Worldwide Coronavirus Case Count Now Approaching Two Million; Experts are Skeptical on Oil Strategy; Andrea Bocelli Performs Concert in Empty Duomo Cathedral; Pope Francis Streams Easter Mass and Calls for Global Ceasefire; "SNL" Returns with Cast Members Doing Sketches from Home. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired April 13, 2020 - 03:00   ET




ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church. Welcome to CNN Newsroom.

Well, two big stories this hour. The death toll from the coronavirus nears 115,000 lives with much of the world still on lockdown. And even as the U.S. stay indoors this Easter weekend, deadly tornadoes are cutting apart the destruction across the south right now.

Well, eight people are now confirmed dead in those tornadoes. You are looking at Alabama, one of the states hit very hard. Some of those areas are also dealing with flooding. Hundreds of houses just spleen to the part in the storms and the violent weather isn't over yet.

In fact, those storms are in the Atlanta area right now. And our Pedram Javaheri joins me now to give us an update. Pedram, as if people don't have enough to deal with COVID-19 of course. How bad is this looking right now?

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: They were in the height of it. Certainly, we've seen some incredible reports coming out of areas not just across portions of Mississippi and Alabama, as you noted now, into metro Atlanta.

The cab county portions of Fulton County near the Atlanta Hartsfield?ackson Airport are report of a tornado, confirmed tornado on the ground across the region.

The tornado warning across the area expected to be a lot to expire within the next minute or two. But certainly, enacted pattern across the region. I want to show you what's happening as we've had a wild night, and I

often talk about. When you get overnight, tornadoes they are statistically two times more likely to be fatal than ones you get into the daytime hours.

So, certainly it goes without saying, this is dangerous as it gets. We've had significant run-off tornadoes. The one in the Atlanta metro has been a lot to be expired. There is a little one, a smaller one farther to the south, they're near Forsyth, that is a town of Forsyth east of McDonough near Eatonton.

That's an area where the tornado is on the ground at this hour, moving farther towards the east. But again, into the metro region where the population density far, far greater. The tornado warning that was in place, the tornado that was on the ground has retreated back up into the cloud. So certainly, better news coming out of that region.

Heavy rainfall continues though throughout the overnight hours. And we think this is the height of it. Beyond the next couple of hours not much left for metro Atlanta but all that energy of course will migrate farther towards the east and then park itself off the eastern seaboard.

We do have tornado watches through at least seven in the morning, not only through northern Georgia but portions of North Carolina, that includes the city of Charlotte, also the city of Greenville in South Carolina as well.

Reports shipped out (Ph) as such with nearly 40 reports of tornadoes so far in the past several hours. You notice the vast majority of them related to straight- line damaging winds, almost 200 of those in the past couple of hours, and about 30 large-scale reports as well.

But again, the energy shifts toward the east. We think the coastal region of the Carolinas, coastal Georgia, other parts of the mid- Atlantic states really going to be most impacted into the morning, and eventually afternoon hours.

And climatologically, April into May is peak season for tornado activity. But of course, so much has been happening around the world the last several weeks, several months, this kind of let up on people without people realizing this is the time of year activity is heightened. And of course, at its highest within the next couple of weeks.

But you notice, much of Alabama into Georgia probability of about 15 percent for tornados. And we know of course confirmed tornados in the region. And that, Rosemary, it looks as such here that Savannah, Charleston, Wilmington, Raleigh and then up towards Richmond, Virginia as the cities we're watching carefully when it comes to severe weather from Monday morning, and eventually Monday afternoon about 55 million people in that area at risk.

CHURCH: Yes. And, Pedram, what's heartbreaking about this is that people are already on stay-at-home orders, trying to stay in their home to shelter. And of course, they've got this to deal with. And some people have lost their homes as a result of this. So, it's very important that we keep an eye on what is happening on the ground.

JAVAHERI: Absolutely.

CHURCH: And Pedram, we appreciate you keeping us up to date. Many thanks. We'll check back in with you very soon.

JAVAHERI: Thank you.

CHURCH: Meantime, the world is now dealing with close to two million confirmed cases of the coronavirus. As people pray for the worst to be over, on Easter Sunday, the U.S. reported nearly 1,500 more fatalities. And that brings the national death toll to more than 22,000. That is according to Johns Hopkins University, the highest in the world.


And the head of the American Food and Drug Administration is offering a little bit of hope. He's saying models show the U.S. is very close to its peak and that he believes the worst may have passed.

Meanwhile, the leading U.S. expert infectious disease tells CNN's Jake Tapper that earlier action could have saved lives. Take a listen.


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 everything down, it may have been a little bit different. But there was a lot of push back about shutting things down back then.


CHURCH: And CNN's Jeremy Diamond brings us the latest on the coronavirus response from the White House.

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, President Trump on Friday said that it could be the biggest decision of his presidency. That is the decision on when to reopen the Unites States economy. It's a question that has been on President Trump's mind this past weekend, this Easter weekend when President Trump initially said he wanted to see the United States economy back open again.

That of course, was before the president decided to extend those social distancing guidelines for the entire month of April. But now the president is once again mulling whether or not to extend those guidelines and whether there's a way that next month he can already begin to reopen the economy.

But Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the government's top public health experts, he said on Sunday on CNN's State of the Union that while he does see the possibility of reopening part of the economy next month, it can't happen in one fail switch (Ph).


FAUCI: 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 having to look at the situation in different parts of the country. I think it's going to have to be something that is not one-size-fits-all.


DIAMOND: Dr. Fauci though will be just one of the voices weighing in as President Trump mulls this decision. The president is also hearing from other aides inside the administration and advisers outside of the White House who are urging the president to put a date on the calendar for when he can begin to reopen the country. Some of those advisers pushing the president to reopen the economy by May 1st.

That is something that no public health expert so far is willing to endorse. That's not a date that they are willing to endorse.

One thing is clear though from the public health experts perspective is that the United States really needs to continue to ramp up testing capacity, not only to test to be able to detect if individuals have the coronavirus but also that serology testing that is designed to detect if an individual has the antibodies, meaning that they've had the virus in the past and they've built up some immunity.

So, that is the question that the president has been pondering. Again, we know from his public comments, even as the president faces some of the grimmest realities of this virus, he continues to talk about wanting to get the economy open as soon as possible.

Jeremy Diamond, CNN, the White House.

CHURCH: And on that point, the U.S. president has again been insisting that it's up to states to take the lead in the fight against the virus.

Donald Trump addressed state governors directly in a terse tweet, saying there are, quote, "no excuses for them not to have their systems sorted out." Mr. Trump claims it's the federal government's role to support them and not necessarily take the lead.

Meantime, some good news from one COVID-19 hotspot. New York remains the worst hit state in the U.S. with hundreds of new deaths every day and nearly 200,000 reported infections. But Governor Andrew Cuomo says hospitalizations are dropping and the curve is flattening.


GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): Let's start 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 is 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.


CHURCH: And the Democratic challenger set to take on Donald Trump in this year's presidential election is laying out his own plan for how to safely reopen America.


In an op-ed in the New York Times, Joe Biden insists that people need to keep social distancing and that much more testing needs to happen on a much wider scale. The former vice president wrote this and I'm quoting. "This isn't rocket science. It's about investment and execution. We are now several months into this crisis and still this administration has not squarely faced up to the original sin in its failed response. The failure to test."

Meanwhile, a stock warning from the British health secretary.


MATT HANCOCK, BRITISH HEALTH SECRETARY: Today marks a somber day in the impact of this disease as we join the list of countries who have seen more than 10,000 deaths related to coronavirus. The fact that over 10,000 people have now lost their lives to this invisible killer demonstrates just how serious coronavirus is and why the national effort that everyone is engaged in is so important.


CHURCH: Now despite this, he says Britain's health service has not been overwhelmed and still has more than 2,000 spare critical care beds. Other health experts say the worst for the U.K. is yet to come and the country could be one of the worst affected in Europe.

Well, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is now out of the hospital and recovering from the coronavirus at home. Mr. Johnson was hospitalized last week when his symptoms suddenly and dramatically worsened. He spent days in intensive care and he's thanking the people who helped him pull through.


BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I hope they wouldn't mind if I mention in particular two nurses who stood by my bedside for 48 hours when things could have gone either way.

That Jenny from New Zealand Invercargill on the South Island to be exact, and Luis from Portugal near Porto. And the reason in the end my body didn't stop to get enough oxygen was because for every second of the night they were watching and they were thinking and they were caring and making the interventions I needed.


CHURCH: And CNN's Max Foster joins us now live from London. Good to see you, Max. And of course, the hospitalization of Prime Minister Boris Johnson was clearly more serious than the people of Britain were initially told. What more are you learning about that, and of course the grim milestone just reached in terms of deaths across the U.K.

MAX FOSTER, CNN LONDON CORRESPONDENT: Well, that 10,000 figure is a grim milestone as you say. Only five countries have reached it. So, you know, sort of achievement you don't want to come up with during this crisis in any country. And also, there is this pressure also in the U.K. to perhaps loosen some of its lockdown measures in the same way as Italy and Spain as such, still. But we're behind the curve in that sense.

As far as Boris Johnson is concerned, he is recuperating at his country, Rosie, outside London while his government is run from here. You're right to point out there's sense in the U.K. that perhaps Brits weren't fully informed about how serious the case was for Boris Johnson.

Certainly, he talks there about pretty much coming close to death within that 48-hour period but he bounced back from that because of the NHS staff around him. He named them individually and he also uses it as a reason to emphasize to the nation that you need to stick by this lockdown.

He describes the lockdown as a shield against around our treasured National Health Service in the United Kingdom. So that's what his message was really about. But as you say, Rosemary, many people struck by how well he looked in it considering how critical he was just a few days ago.

CHURCH: Yes, it is extraordinary. And Max, I wanted to ask you because the prime minister is clearly very appreciative of the care he received while in the hospital. Could his experience change the level of help the medical professionals across the U.K. have been receiving in terms of personal protective equipment and ventilators like so many other countries there's not a lot of it around.

FOSTER: Now ventilators have been an issue because U.K. companies haven't been able to come up with the ventilators required in the same way that other countries have been able to. So, Britain is actually been going to other countries like Germany asking for ventilators. So that's a big issue.

You have seen communities coming together though, to try to support the health service. So, lots of small communities sewing these masks that health service workers need, and also other items that can help them in their work for lack of this PPE that should have been coming through. They've been sewing masks. You can put the professional filters into to try to support the health workers as well. [03:15:05]

Prince William stepping into the fold as well, very much supporting other key workers. So, he's working with charities to try to support them as they support vulnerable members of the community. For example, this farmer in Wales who he is speaking to, these farmers delivering food to people living in isolation.


PRINCE WILLIAM, DUKE OF CAMBRIDGE: I think Britain is at its best weirdly when we're at crises.


WILLIAM: That community spirit, that community feel comes rushing back quicker than anything else.


FOSTER: So, the next big question for the U.K. due on Thursday is whether or not the lockdown is ease. Nothing we're hearing here in Westminster suggests that that is the case, I think all the scientist is suggesting we need to know when we're at the peak before you can even start talking about easing the lockdown, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Yes, very true. Max Foster, many thangs to you bringing us that live report from London. I appreciate it.

We'll take a very short break here. Still to come, are Spain and France starting to turn a corner. The latest from two of the world's hardest countries. That is next.



CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone.

Well, two of the hardest hit countries, Spain and France are taking gradual steps forward in their fight to curb the coronavirus. Spain is starting to lift some of its restrictions Monday, allowing workers in fields like construction and manufacturing to return to their jobs.

Meanwhile, the French health ministry says they are starting to see a plateau. With President Emmanuel Macron due to address the nation in just a matter of hours.

And we have journalist Al Goodman standing by in Madrid, and CNN's Cyril Vanier is in Normandy, France. Good to see you both.

So, Al, let's go to you first in Madrid. I wanted to ask you how Spain is dealing with this slow return to work. What does this look like?

AL GOODMAN, JOURNALIST: Hi, Rosemary. Well, we are seeing increased activity on the streets compared to recent days. The nationwide lockdown continues for a total of six weeks until the end of April. And the prime minister says he may have to extend that into May.

But as these construction workers and factory workers who initially weren't able to work under the lockdown, then for the last two weeks they were told to stay home because the government was trying to get down the rate of new infections and ease the pressure on intensive care beds at the hospitals. Now they are being allowed to go back to work.

So, I'm outside the construction site which is next -- which is part of one of the biggest hospitals in Madrid. This is going to be a new cancer ward. At the other end of this huge hospital complex, it goes on for several city blocks are COVID-19 patients. There seems to be pretty little activity at this particular construction site. There is a truck that has come in that wasn't here just a day or so ago. But we don't see working yet on the scaffolding.

But just in the last hour, we were outside metros where police officers were handing out some of the 10 million masks that they are handing out to workers. So, they are measuring the behavior of these factory and construction workers as they come back. Can they keep the social distancing of a meter or at least two meters? Can they wash their hands? How they behave will help determine the prime minister says how the rest of the people may be able to come back here in the coming weeks. Rosemary?

CHURCH: Yes. Of course, that is critical. And Al, I want to go to Cyril now in Normandy. And the French president is set to address the nation in just a matter of hours. What is he likely to say?

CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR: Well, Rosemary, I think the French have many, many questions for the president, many questions they hope will be answered. The first among them is how much longer is this national stay-at-home order going to last. The French had been at home for almost a month.

The last time the president addressed the nation in a formal setting from the Elysee Palace was on March 16. Since then he's been visiting hospitals, visiting research labs, but he hasn't told the French what the plan is going forward and they want to know how much longer they are going to stay home. How much longer school are going to be closed? What about borders, and when the country does reopen, what would it looked like, Rosemary.

The theme plays out almost endlessly on the news. Patients unable to breathe. The faces, the names, rarely, if ever, remembered. There are too many.

"We are at war," said President Macron when he addressed the nation mid-March putting life as we know it on pause. Schools, nonessential businesses, close. Visiting relatives forbidden. The nationwide confinement declared indefinitely. Almost one month on, the epidemic is just beginning to slow down in France but hundreds still die every day.

Macron is set to address the nation again Monday evening. This time, two minutes after the traditional eight o'clock start, a nod to the new evening ritual celebrating healthcare workers. For the president one unavoidable question, what comes next?


THIERRY ARNAUD, JOURNALIST, BFM TV: The longer the crisis is going, the less popular the president is becoming. And that is a problem for him clearly, and that is certainly one of the reasons why he wants to address the nation.


VANIER: The stay-at-home order will be expended. That much has been confirmed by the Elysee Palace. But for how long, the government scientific council advocate several more weeks.

Meanwhile, Emmanuel Macron searching for answers on the phone with the head of the World Health Organization, in research labs, in Paris, and Marseille. But breakthroughs on a possible cure for the virus are still thought to be weeks or even months away.


ARNAUD: He doesn't want to create a false sense that the hard part is over with, that the peak of the crisis is either now or just behind us, another weeks to come are going to be very easy, much to the contrary.



VANIER: Face with the biggest challenge of his presidency, Emmanuel Macron has few, if any, good options. The French press expects him to double down on the stay-at- home order, possibly until mid-May, expect a Churchillian speech, warns a member of the government, blood, sweat, and tears.

The fact is listing the stay-at-home order without mass testing of the population and some form of tracking of the sick could spark a second epidemic wave.

Meanwhile, the pressure to reopen the economy builds. The government's rescue package has ballooned to an unprecedented $100 billion and counting. Eight million workers already furloughed. Recession already here.

Rosemary, there's a lot we don't know but it seems one of the main lines of thinking of the government as far as reopening the countries is that it won't happen everywhere across the country and for everybody at the same time. It's probably going to depend. Depend on how old you are, depend on where you live and how hard hit your region has been, and also, possibly, how important you are to the country's economy.

It looks like they're thinking of staggering the reopening of the country when that happens, but that is still believed to be weeks away, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Yes, understood. All right. Many thanks to Cyril Vanier joining us there live from Normandy, and of course, Al Goodman in Madrid.

We'll take a short break here. Still to come, hospital in New York City are working a full capacity due to the coronavirus. And we go behind the scenes of one in Brooklyn to see what it's like for the doctors inside.

And we continue to track dangerous weather in the southern U.S. It's compounding the misery for so many people in the midst of this pandemic as well. Back in a moment.



ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to "CNN Newsroom." I'm Rosemary Church. It is just 3:30 in the morning here in Atlanta where tornado sirens were heard just a short time ago in parts of the city. Tornadoes and severe storms have been pushing through the southeastern U.S. since Sunday that have killed eight people and caused a lot of damage. Fraying nerves are already very much on edge as a result of the pandemic, of course.

Let's go back to CNN's Pedram Javaheri. He has been keeping a very close eye on all of this. So Pedram, what are you seeing? What is the most up-to-date info you have?

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: We saw several tornado warnings to tell you about, meaning tornadoes are on the ground across regions of eastern Georgia and parts of Carolina. We are going to talk about that here. But, of course, when we talk about an even as such, when you get overnight tornadoes, they become that much more dangerous and much more lethal.

Take a look. There are at least multiple tornado warnings there, one around the Clemson University, the city of Clemson there east of Toccoa, Georgia, and other one pushing in near Salem that is east of Clayton, Georgia, working its way into the autonomous region there. It is incredible to see the intensity of the storms maintain and bring down tornadoes even in areas that have elevated terrain.

Now, looks farther towards the south. This is south of Athens, Georgia near the town of Eatonton. This particular tornado has been on the ground for at least the last 30 or so minutes. Reports of some properties -- back towards the west near Thomaston, you can see that on the bottom corner on the left side of your screen, Thomaston, reports of literally properties that have been displaced off of their foundation across this region.

So we know that tornado across that region, potentially very strong wind moving across the Eatonton region. We think this will continue for at least the next 15 or 20 minutes, before this particular warning is allowed to be expired. But broader speaking, tornado watches across the region, home to some 12 million people that includes Panama City, Florida, Tallahassee through much of the state of Georgia, parts of western South Carolina and also into North Carolina. Notice Charlotte, very high population across that region, in line for tornado watch through at least the morning hours.

Take a look. The vast majority of the activity has been designated to strong, severe wind gusts, almost 200 of those, but about 40 of them related to tornadoes. We think as the energy shifts to the east, the intensity of the storms is going to be rather strong here going towards Monday afternoon.

In fact, about 55 million people are still at risk on Monday afternoon for severe weather. You will notice the areas indicated in orange. That is at risk here. On the scale of one to five, that is a three. For tornadoes and damaging winds, that includes Raleigh, Richmond, Wilmington, and portions of Savannah, Georgia and Charleston, South Carolina.

So it is an incredible run of severe weather. This is exactly the time of year, Rosemary, to look for this sort of other taking place. Unfortunately, it is doing so with the pandemic in place, which makes the damage more complicated.

CHURCH: It must definitely does. Thank you so much. A lot people are affected by this. Many thanks to you, Pedram. We will come back to you in just a little bit to get an update. Appreciate it.

As we have seen over the past few weeks, hospitals in New York City are overwhelmed and doctors are desperately trying to save the lives of thousands of patients infected with the coronavirus. CNN's Clarissa Ward introduces us to Dr. Melanie Malloy, a physician on the frontline. They were college roommates and remain very close friends.


MELANIE MALLOY, ATTENDING PHYSICIAN, MOUNT SINAI BROOKLYN HOSPITAL: Hello. My name is Dr. Malanie Malloy. I am an attending physician at Mount Sinai in Brooklyn and Mount Sinai Queens. I'm on my way to work.

CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): We've asked my old friend to show us what life is like on one day in one New York hospital.

MALLOY: I am picking up my PPE. I am going to get some scrubs. I am going to get mask, face shield to be safe on my shift.

WARD (voice-over): For Dr. Melanie Malloy, this is the new normal.

MALLOY: I am going for my shift.

WARD (voice-over): The emergency room at Mount Sinai Brooklyn Hospital has been overflowing.

MALLOY: I walked in and they said everybody is intubated. Most of our beds are taken up by intubated patients, meaning patients who can't breathe on their own and who are on the ventilator. Almost everybody is on oxygen and almost everybody is a COVID patient.

WARD (voice-over): Since the pandemic began, more than 1,200 corona cases have flooded in, pushing the hospital to 150 percent of its capacity.

MALLOY: Today, there are 43 people in the department. It's pretty much full. But I have to say it is a lot better than few weeks ago when we had 86 to 96 in the department, 40 people boarding.


MALLOY: It was really tough. It was really bad, bad week.

WARD (voice-over): In the intensive care unit, it's a similar scene.

MALLOY: I just want to take you here, guys, to take a little look at the ICU. So, we have a full ICU. We have every patient in here on a ventilator. As you can see, it is not a huge space but it is quite full. Every bed is full.

We are going to try to go to the tents. This is our fast ER extension. From the get-go, you can see -- we have to tell people we can't test them for mild symptoms. Good morning. Here is the fantastic staff. We have separate areas for people getting treatment as well.

WARD (voice-over): For the doctors working around the clock to save lives, there are occasional perks.

MALLOY: One of our favorite things to do is eat free food. I am super excited because we have Shake Shack.

WARD (voice-over): Moments later, it's back to work.

MALLOY: So, I am waiting for my next patients to be placed in a room. This is one is different because (INAUDIBLE) he is in early 20s. I think one thing we're learning is that we don't really know when somebody is going to be contracting COVID. Everybody has coronavirus. Some people also have heart attacks at the same time this happens. It makes things even harder.

Now, my day is over. My hospital day is over. It wasn't the worst day I've had, but it's always pretty draining (ph). It's hard. It's hard to think that some of your patients who you diagnosed today might not be here tomorrow when you come back to your shift or, you know, all of it, I don't know. It's just sad.

WARD (voice-over): For Dr. Malloy, the challenges don't end with her shift. A widow, she's raising three children on her own.

MALLOY: So, it's almost 10:00 at night. On my way home, I got a FaceTime from my youngest child, who is four. I think that's the hardest part. I think that's -- like just being alone when I come home knowing that, you know, my childcare is going to go home. My helpers are going home and it's just me and whatever state my children are in. I don't really have a lot left in me.

WARD (voice-over): The next day, Dr. Malloy takes a moment to talk to us.

(On camera): It's crazy, what you are seeing and dealing with. Have you ever experienced anything like this?

MALLOY: Never. And, you know, like, even the older folks and older doctors, they are like, I have never seen this before in my life.

WARD (on camera): So one thing that I know you weren't allowed to show us is the morgue.

MALLOY: There are now two large trucks or trailer trucks that are refrigerated. They are full of bodies wrapped in white plastic bags. I was told that they can hold 50 people and the one that I saw was full.

WARD (on camera): Do you not worry about getting sick?

MALLOY: Of course, we do. Of course, I do. The way that we are working in the E.D., it is a kick of coronavirus. It's literally dozens of positive patients. The viral load in that place must be astronomical.

WARD (on camera): What do you wish all Americans understood about what you are going through?

MALLOY: I really want Americans to take this seriously, to know that even if you are in an area that's not a big city, you still are in danger. We don't know who is going to get really sick. It does not spare anyone, particularly.


CHURCH: These doctors are amazing. They are indeed our heroes. And the world is now dealing with close to two million confirmed cases of coronavirus. The big question, when will it be safe for life to return to some level of normalcy? Keith Neal joins me now to discuss all of this. He is a professor emeritus of Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases at Nottingham University. Thank you so much for talking with us.


CHURCH: Now, the United Kingdom reached a very great milestone on Sunday of more than 10,000 deaths with some experts predicting it could very well be the worst hit of all European nations.


CHURCH: And then the United States lost more than 22,000 lives. Both countries have been slow to test the COVID-19 and both countries have failed to provide their medical professionals with sufficient levels of personal protective equipment. Why have these two developed nations lost so many lives and why were they not prepared for this?

NEAL: I think the issue is that this is sort of a once in a lifetime- type event. And although we've had planning for flu epidemics, this is much more severe than that. The other thing is, of course, being a pandemic, everybody wants everything at once.

One issue we've had with testing and compared to Germany is that the testing industry in Europe is largely based in Germany, so they've had more access to (INAUDIBLE) testing.

CHURCH: Right. That is a critical point. But, of course, you know, when you look at New Zealand, for instance, where they moved very quickly and they did testing very quickly, they've had one death certainly the last time I checked which is just simply amazing in the midst of this.

But I want to ask you this because U.S. President Donald Trump is talking about opening up the country for business on May 1st, and has told all 50 governors to get ready. No excuses. But the U.S. does not have sufficient testing capabilities or contract tracing or antibody testing. So how would the U.S. safely open its doors without these measures in place? Surely it would risk a recurrence of infections.

NEAL: I think it depends on what you want testing to do. In Britain, before we even had a lockdown, we went through a situation where people who have the COVID-19 symptoms were asked to self-isolate or their household to isolate as well in a way that -- these are the people we would want to test. Therefore, we have isolated them.

The big problem with that is we have isolated too many people. Therefore, we run short of key workers. The antibody test currently did not work. They very could show you had COVID-19 if you're severely ill. But we know those have been infected. What we need is a good antibody test to see who had a mild or asymptomatic infection.

CHURCH: How large do you think the population of people with antibodies who maybe had some very mild version of this and didn't even know it?

NEAL: We're not entirely sure. There was a report recently last week from Germany suggesting 15 percent of the population of a town that had been particularly bad hit also have some antibodies. The actual antibody test they have used has not been described and not been repeated elsewhere. The estimate for United Kingdom is between three and five percent, depending on which part of the country.

CHURCH: Right, which is very low really, but certainly that is more people that have been tested in the United States. I mean, only about one percent of the U.S. population has been tested. Why these developed nations having problems getting out some of these tests and decentralizing them so they can actually get them to various population, get the results, and get those back to people?

NEAL: I think I don't know the situation in the United States. But in the United Kingdom, we've always had come down to a line of centralization. I think now we are moving to a situation where this will now be done more at the NHS labs and also university labs. One of the difficulties of trying to achieve 100,000 tests a day is finding 100,000 people to test because at our (ph) backlogs, the number of people to be tested is likely to drop off quite quickly.

CHURCH: Right. Just very quickly, I did want to ask you what lessons you think the United States and the United Kingdom could learn from China or in other nations that have already been through this and they're starting to emerge from their various lockdowns?

NEAL: I think the Chinese situation (INAUDIBLE) state control exceeds even countries like Singapore and South Korea. South Korea had an advantage. They had dry run it five years ago with an outbreak of MRSA that killed 35 people. That was very similar to coronavirus. So, some of these countries have also slightly more autocratic behavior.

CHURCH: Right. So you think that makes it a lot easier to insist that people do certain things, right? Yes, I totally understand. Keith Neal, thank you so much for talking with us. I appreciate it.

NEAL: Thank you.

CHURCH: We will take a short break here. Still to come, after days of debate, oil producers agreed on a plan. Their strategy for shoring up prices and why experts think it won't be enough.


CHURCH: We'll be back with that in a moment.


CHURCH: OPEC and other oil producers will slash production by nearly 10 million barrels a day beginning in May. Oil prices jumped on the news, but analysts are worried it won't be enough to cut the oversupply. The energy market has been rocked by a price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia and the plunge in demand because of the pandemic.

CNN's John Defterios joins us now from Abu Dhabi to talk more about this. Good to see you, John. So how difficult was it to get this deal done in the first place and, of course, what will be the consequences of this significant cut in production?

JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN ANCHOR AND EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: Well, it took three special meetings in a span of four days. That's how difficult it was, Rosemary, to build a consensus here. It is just below 10 million barrels a day which is two times more at the peak than the global financial crisis back in 2008 and 2009 when it had a slash production back then because of falling demand which is below 10 million barrels a day because Mexico was holding out. It is only going to cut 100,000 barrels a day.

But the reality in the oil market today, Rosemary, is about over three billion people are locked down. They are not travelling. The trucks are not moving. Cars are not driving. This is dropping demand in such a severe way by at least a third. So the cut that the OPEC-Plus players put in is about 10 percent, states that it is going to be contribution from other countries like the U.S., Norway and Canada, which will add to that cut. They did not make that formal because of anti-trust concerns. And then we are going to see some of the industrialized countries buy oil at its lower price. To put it into the strategic reserve will show mop up stop on the excess demand.

It is a victory in a sense because, you know, a week ago at this time, Rosemary, we were talking about the fact that Saudi Arabia and Russia wouldn't sit down together. So Donald Trump did service the bridge between the two to get this deal moving in the right direction.


CHURCH: And in the end, some are still asking, will this production can't be sufficient in the end? What is the word on that?

DEFTERIOS: Well, you know, Rosemary, focus is until the end of June. We know we are in a global recession and demands are going to be lower. But I did the math over a 6-month period. This deal lasts until April 2022, which is extraordinary in itself. It will mop up about two billion barrels of excess supplies. So that is extraordinary. It will help the market recover.

But we are in a range right now -- the WTI, the U.S. benchmark is around $23 a barrel. We are down more than half from where we were at the start of the year. It is not enough for the U.S. shell, producers to survive. So what we saw play out over the last week here was a good cop, bad cop. Donald Trump bringing Russia and Saudi Arabia back together. They got the deal done. Abdulaziz bin Salman, the Saudi minister, makes sure everybody was lined up to make sure they had a deal before the market opens today.

But a lot of pressure on Saudi Arabia coming from Capitol Hill, saying, if you don't get this deal, we're going to put tariffs on Saudi and Russia oil coming into the United States, maybe even hold back military sales to Saudi Arabia and pull back on the support we have been giving you against Iran. So, it's a tough game to get it there. It's done. Now, we have to see demand recovery here in the second half of the year.

CHURCH: Indeed. All right, many thanks to our John Defterios joining us there live from Abu Dhabi.


CHURCH: And when we come back, live from the couch. It's Saturday night. The iconic U.S. show goes on as comedians embrace their work from home lifestyle. We will be back with that in a moment.




CHURCH: Truly magnificent. Italy may still be on lockdown, but world famous tenor, Andrea Bocelli, shared the gift of his extraordinary voice in a concert on Sunday from Milan's empty cathedral. The free "Music for Hope" concert was broadcasted on YouTube to celebrate Easter Sunday, and in the words of Milan's mayor, to warm the hearts of the world.

And Pope Francis held Easter mass on Sunday inside a nearly deserted St. Peter's Basilica. The service was streamed around the world for the many Catholics still under social distancing rules. Along with the traditional Easter blessing, the pope also called for a global ceasefire and an end to weapon manufacturing during the pandemic.

Actor Tom Hanks returned to host a special edition of "Saturday Night Live" just weeks after recovering from the coronavirus.


TOM HANKS, ACTOR: It is a strange time to try and be funny, but trying to be funny is SNL's whole thing, so we thought, what the heck, let's give it a shot! But, why me as host? Well, for one, I have been the celebrity canary in the coal mine for the coronavirus and ever since being diagnosed, I have been more like America's dad than ever before since no one wants to be around me very long and I make people uncomfortable.

CHURCH (voice-over): Well, actor Alec Baldwin also took part in the remote episode reprising his role as President Trump.


CHURCH: And thanks so much for watching "CNN Newsroom." I am Rosemary Church. I will be back with another hour of "CNN Newsroom" right after this short break. Stay with us.