Return to Transcripts main page
President Trump Says He's Got Total Power; New COVID-19 Projections Shows Zero Deaths for U.S. By June; Italy Gradually Allows Workers Back to Work; North Korea Seeks World Attention Amid a Pandemic; Sweden's Experiment Fears to Have Consequences; Coronavirus Pandemic, Coronavirus Cases In The United States With Most Cases; Johns Hopkins, 582,500 Plus Cases, 23 600 Plus Deaths In U.S.; U.S. States Form Pacts To Coordinate How To Reopen; Criticism Of The World Health Organization's Response; U.S. Supreme Court To Her Cases Over The Phone; African Students Allege Mistreatment By Chinese Government; France Extends Emergency Measures Until May 11; India's Nationwide Lockdown Extended; Ghost Volunteer Try To Scare Indonesians Into Staying Home; Forest Fires Burn Close To Chernobyl Power Plant; Statue Honors Medical Workers; Michelin-Starred Chef Feeds Homeless In Denmark; Dutch Growers Destroy Millions Of Tulips. Aired 3-4a ET
Aired April 14, 2020 - 03:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Watching CNN Newsroom. And I'm Rosemary Church.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: You're so -- you're so -- you're so disgraceful -- it's so disgraceful the way you say that. Let me just --
PAULA REID, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, CBS NEWS: Right now, there are 20 million people unemployed. Millions and thousands --
TRUMP: The President of the United States calls the shots.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: An angry president lashes out at reporters for their coverage of the coronavirus, while falsely insisting his authority is total.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: "We are living in a dictatorship," she says, "I don't agree. We're just numbers, we don't count." (END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: While some European countries are extending lockdown, the first steps are being taken to ease restrictions. We are live on the grounds across Europe to find out why.
Plus, one of the world's most iconic statues is illuminated with the images of healthcare workers.
Good to have you with us.
So, with the number of coronavirus infections around the world starting to plateau more countries are thinking about how to get their economies moving again, and when to let people go back to work.
France is extending its emergency measures and keeping its borders closed until May 11th, but President Emmanuel Macron says schools will start open progressively next month.
The U.K. isn't ready to relax its stay-at-home orders either. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab says the country still hasn't past the peak of the virus. And chief scientific adviser Patrick Vallance says the number of deaths in the U.K. will keep going up this week.
In Spain, around 300,000 people went back to work Monday. Mainly those who can't work from home like construction or factory workers.
And here in the United States the nation's governors are working together on plans for restarting the economy despite a bold new claim from Donald Trump that he has total authority regardless of local stay-at-home orders.
Well that was just one of several false or misleading claims he made on Monday's daily briefing. Face with criticism the White House was slow to respond to the pandemic, President Trump went on the attack.
Kaitlan Collins has our report.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it was really extraordinary briefing in the White House where the president came out, he played this campaign style video of media clips where he said that media figures and Democrats were downplaying the coronavirus, as he sought to defend his response after the New York Times published that extensive documentation of just how slow the president was to respond to the coronavirus outbreak here in the United States, and how he resisted calls from senior officials to take more aggressive measures sooner.
The president denied that report but not specifically anything included in the report, included about how his HHS secretary came to him in January warning of a possible pandemic, but instead the presidents focus on the other's response to the coronavirus outbreak, including in the media and with Democrats as he defended his moves in that. And, of course, this comes as now the president is weighing when to reopen the country. And we know that inside the White House there had been discussions about May when those guidelines that the president has put in place till the end of April expired, and what he's going to do then.
And the president made an argument in the briefing room that he believes he has total authority over when that happens. Governor say that is not the case, the president does not have the decision, the final decision on when it comes that they will reopen restaurants, stores and whatnot, and they say they are going to do that on the state by state basis.
Judging on the data that they are seeing. But the president falsely insisted that he has total authorities as President of the United States to make that case. Though, of course, we know the Constitution would say otherwise
And when I ask the president who it was that told him and told him wrong that he actually had that authority, he did not answer and instead moved on to other questions. As we wait to see what exactly the final decision is going to be about when the president says it's time for the country to reopen.
Kaitlan Collins, CNN, the White House.
CHURCH: And the briefing was often contentious. Here is the full exchange between Kaitlan and President Trump on his claim of total authority over states.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: You said when someone is President of the United States their authority is total. That is not true. Who told you that?
TRUMP: OK. You know what we're going to do? We're going to write up papers on this. It's not going to be necessary. Because the governors need us one way or the other, because ultimately it comes with the federal government.
That being said, we're getting along very well with the governors and I feel very certain that there won't be a problem. Yes, please, go ahead.
COLLINS: Has any governor agreed that you have the authority to decide when their state opens back up?
TRUMP: I haven't asked anybody. Because you know why? Because I don't have to. Go ahead, please.
COLLINS: But who told you the president has the total authority?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Well, a widely sided coronavirus model predicts the U.S. will see zero deaths from the pandemic after June 21st. Some experts are questioning the model's predictions that's largely because it makes broad assumptions about the country's ability to prevent another outbreak once containment measures are lifted.
Now earlier, the creator of the model spoke with CNN's Anderson Cooper about the projections.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTOPHER MURRAY, DIRECTOR, INSTITUTE FOR HEALTH METRICS AND EVALUATION: So we get to know deaths by the middle of June, on the same basis that we've been saying that since two, three weeks ago, that's what happens if everybody stays the course on the closures right through to the end of May.
Now, right now, having a national discussion about rolling opening, and if that does start to happen then we will of course have to change our forecast. Because the risk of resurgence is really very large in some states.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: And the number of experts has pushed back on the notion, there are no new deaths after that day. A professor of epidemiology at Harvard said, quote, "there is no way that amount of control could happen this summer." I'm wondering how do you respond to that.
MURRAY: Well, the one thing we absolutely know for sure is that social distancing measures work, it leads to a situation where every case is infecting less than one other case, and that means if you keep the course, you'll get transmission essentially down to zero.
And we saw that in various parts, and we're seeing that happen live in Italy, we saw it in China, no reason it wouldn't work here. The real question is what's the way to decrease the risk of a resurgence if we don't stay the course.
COOPER: Is it, I assume your models based on the idea that somebody who has been infected cannot get infected again. And I know that sort of a working assumption of Dr. Fauci and others, but is that something that has been proven definitively at this point?
MURRAY: You know, there is these reports that are coming out that have people concerned about, you know, the recrudescence of the virus, which is a little different than being infected again.
But just to be clear that in our model we're not assuming that there's a lot of people who become immune to the virus. In fact, we think that because of the closures we will end up getting to June with only about 5 percent of the country who had been infected.
MURRAY: So, the reason we can get to zero is not because of immunity, it's because we've actually just put the brakes on transmission through social distancing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: All right. For more on this, I'm joined now by Clare Wenham. She is an assistant professor of global health policy at the London School of Economics. Good to have you with us.
CLARE WENHAM, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS: Good morning.
CHURCH: All right. So, we just heard Dr. Murray explaining his new projections of zero new deaths from coronavirus after June 21st if everyone stays home or social distances until the end of May. How would that even be possible given the death toll we've already seen in the U.S. of more than 23,000 people and more than 119,000 across the globe, particularly when you're talking about vulnerable groups here. The elderly and those who have underlying health issues.
WENHAM: Yes. Well that is interesting. You know, I think models can tell us a lot, but what the models can't tell us is the politics behind it. Right? Governments going to adhere by the recommendations of these models, or are they going to draw their own course. We had (Inaudible) Donald Trump, you know, he is thinking about reopening the economy perhaps sooner than might have been predicted by this model.
So, I think we can't really say how effective these models are going to be because those models don't take the politics into account. And they don't always take into account how public psyche might change as well. Are people going to be happy to be, you know, get caught in self-isolation for longer? Or conversely, if the decision is to open up life is normal again, are people going to be doing that? Or are they going to be staying at home scared of the infection?
CHURCH: Yes, indeed. I mean, that is the problem, isn't it? As you mentioned here in the United States, President Trump is pushing to open the country up for business by May 1st. He may move that date. We don't know. So that would certainly have an impact on this projected.
What would be the smartest way to open up the country, especially given the U.S., and indeed the U.K., they don't have extensive COVID- 19 testing in place, or contact tracing, or antibody testing? So where do you and how do you do this? What would be the first stage?
WENHAM: Well, so I think exactly what you just said. If we look to the countries that have been able to handle, get a handle on this better than others. So, Taiwan, South Korea, Hong Kong. They all got have something in common which is rapid testing, rapid self-isolation, rapid contact tracing.
Now, we have not something that we've seen certainly here in the U.K., and as far as I'm aware in the U.S. that testing is only been amongst those (Inaudible).
So, we have no real sense of community transmission. Right? And so, I think you can't possibly make decisions about opening up until we got a sense of actually how many people are being affected. And then when people are infected, keeping them at home and who they have been in contact with.
You know, in theory that's the best way to can then reopen, reopen up for everything else for people who haven't been infected or aren't currently infected.
CHURCH: Right. It makes perfect sense, doesn't it? So how likely is it that everyone will need to continue with social distancing and the wearing of masks when countries start to go back to work, and perhaps until there is a vaccine? Do you see that a likely outcome here?
WENHAM: So, I think if we can get accurate tests and accurate antibody tests, which tell us if you've had a previous infection that might be a useful first step. Now there's a lot of ifs in there.
There is also obviously a rapid cost to is and you know, how quickly can it be done? And so, you know, are hesitant to give a date on it, it's difficult to say exactly how it's going to happen. But I think we can, you know, look to models and to other locations which have done very well at this and we what we can learn from them.
But also, not try and jump too soon. So, you know, we don't know what's going to happen when countries reopen their economic activity which go over the weekend. Spain has, but it's too early to really tell whether that's going to have a negative effect for the epidemic.
CHURCH: It is still bewildering why the United States and the United Kingdom are enable, incapable it seems, of getting this extensive testing made available. But that is for another day.
Clare Wenham, thank you very much for talking with us. I appreciate it.
All right. So, in Italy where the death toll now tops 20,000. Some nonessential businesses will be allowed to reopen Tuesday on a trial basis. But at the same time, the government is extending the country's lockdown.
And CNN's Ben Wedeman tells us people there are ready to get outside.
WEDEMAN: Rush hour in Rome, yet more than a month into lockdown, no one is rushing anywhere. Landmarks normally teaming with tourists are empty. It's been a while since anyone through a coin in this fountain.
Wild grass grows thick between the once well-tread cobblestones in Piazza Navona. Spring is in the air, but the road to the sea side is deserted. The beach, off limits.
It's getting to the point where cabin fever is colliding with spring fever. People are getting restless. Over the Easter weekend, the police issued more than 26,000 fines to those accused of violating the emergency regulations. The government has extended the lockdown until May 3rd, a move some support.
"I wish it weren't like this, but I agree," says Martha. "It's inevitable given how many people have been infected."
Her friend Linda insists it's already too much.
"We are living in a dictatorship," she says. "I don't agree. We are just numbers, we don't count."
"I don't think we're well organized," Francesca tells me. "It's easier just to close everyone up at home, instead of managing it in a more rational way. According to age groups the kind of work."
People may be restless, but the dogs are fine. They are free to go outside taking their humans for frequent walks. We're gradually becoming accustomed to house arrests.
Ben Wedeman, CNN, Rome.
CHURCH: Well, the South Korean military says not long ago, North Korea fired what are thought to be short-range missiles towards the sea between South Korea and Japan. North Korea has carried out multiple launches in recent weeks. And this one comes right before a very significant day on the North Korean calendar.
CNN's Paula Hancocks joins me now from Seoul with more. So, Paula, in the middle of a pandemic, North Korea firing multiple suspected cruise missiles. What are you learning about this?
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Rosemary, it appears to have been a fairly busy morning for North Korea. We're hearing from the joint chiefs of staff here in South Korea that there were, as you say, short-range cruise missiles that were launched, and also separately, there was an air drill in which they were a number of fighter jets flying air-to-surface missiles as well.
So, they are saying that they are watching closely to see if anything else happens. But what you've mentioned in the intro there is key. The fact that there is a very important day coming up. April 15th which is tomorrow. That is the Day of the Sun in North Korea. And it's the most important day on the calendar. It's the birth date of the founder of the country, Kim il-Sung.
And it's one that quite often is marked with a military parade, all the like. But it does appear significant that this is coming the day before that. It could well be related.
Queue at least one meter apart have your temperature checked, sanitize your hands, put on disposable gloves, and then vote. This is a South Korean parliamentary election during a pandemic. More than a quarter of the electorate came for early voting last Friday and Saturday, a record to avoid the crowds on election day Wednesday.
President Moon Jae-in was one of them. This election seen as a midterm referendum for him and his party. More than 14,000 polling stations will be disinfected regularly. For those who tested positive for coronavirus, they are encouraged to
vote by mail before the end of March. If you tested positive after that date, you then vote at a special polling stations, as long as your symptoms are mild. If you are in quarantine, you can vote in the hour after polls close, but only if you're symptom free. When it comes to campaigning, some of it was virtual. But most of it was not.
It feels like it has been a long time since I saw a crowd like this in central Seoul. It is packed with media supporters, and candidates. Nothing about that crowd really says social distancing to me at this point.
But what we are hearing from candidates is that they still have to campaign and they still have to try and get as many votes as possible.
Following one ruling party candidate, the mask was on and off. As with the gloves. And physical contact was frequent.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEE NAK-YEON, CANDIDATE, DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF KOREA (through translator): So-called nonverbal language can have more of an impact than spoken words. This election has a self-limitation for us to use nonverbal language.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANCOCKS: But as a candidate, when a supporter wants to hug you, it's very hard to say no. Officials don't believe turnout will be affected too much borne out by those we spoke to on the streets of Seoul.
This construction worker says Korea has had elections even during wartime, so I think the election should go ahead as planned.
This mother says, "I have no choice but to come out today to get schoolbooks for my daughter, but I'm keeping social distance from others. So, I think I should be OK on the election date."
With close to 44 million registered voters, this election is a big test for South Korea and its efforts to fight the virus. And countries around the world peg for their own elections this year, we'll be watching very closely.
So that election coming up here in South Korea on Wednesday. And it will be watched closely because it's really unprecedented to be having an election in this kind of situation. We are hearing from officials here in South Korea that they have had to hire 20,000 extra people just to be able to take the temperatures, to make sure that the health situation is in check.
That they are hand sanitizing, they're giving out these disposable gloves before they vote to make sure that no one is put in any extra jeopardy of catching the virus when carrying out their Democratic duty. Rosemary?
CHURCH: It is extraordinary to see how they are able to carry this. Of course, they did such extensive testing, didn't they? And they were so on top of this.
Paula Hancocks, thank you so much for bringing us up to date on that situation.
And still to come on CNN Newsroom, we will head to France where people are being told to stay home for another month as the country tries to turn the corner. Back in just a moment.
CHURCH: Spain is one of the countries hit hardest by the coronavirus, and it is easing back to work. On Monday, an estimated 300,000 workers went back to their jobs mainly in construction and manufacturing. For the time being though, shops, restaurants, and bars remain closed.
CNN's Scott McLean takes us to one of the busiest metro stations in the city of Madrid.
SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Here in Spain the lockdown isn't scheduled to end until April 26 at the earliest, but today some 300,000 workers in Madrid alone are returning to their jobs in sectors like manufacturing and construction.
This is the Principe Pio metro station, one of the busiest in the city where several lines intersect. Officials say they are seeing a fraction of the normal ridership which is good news, but just for good measure. They're also having police officers handout surgical masks to people who are coming and going.
This decision to allow people back to work is not without controversy, especially considering there are still some 3,000 or 4,000 new infections that Spain is seeing every single day. We spoke to one woman getting on one of these trains who told us that she wouldn't even leave her house to buy bread, so she is understandably nervous now going to work.
Other people say this is a welcome development because they have to go to work. They need the money to pay their bills.
Scott McLean, CNN, Madrid.
CHURCH: And CNN caught up with some of those commuters. We asked for their thoughts on the country's decision to get some people back to work.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAURA VIA, MADRID COMMUTER (through translator): In my situation I want to work because I have no money left and to pay the rent, bills, I have my child at home, so I really want to go back to work. Let's hope these measures don't make things worse, because we are already asphyxiated.
MISAEL GARCIA, MADRID COMMUTER (through translator): I'm not worried, I'm an essential worker, so I was working even during the quarantine.
ANGELINES ANTOLIN, MADRID COMMUTER (through translator): I am very concerned because I'm at home I do my groceries to last for days and then I have to come here and see this, it makes me feel a bit scared.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Well there is no end in sight for the U.K.'s coronavirus lockdown. While some European countries are starting to relax their restrictions, British leaders are warning the country still not past its peak. The U.K.'s chief scientific adviser says Britain will likely see an increase in COVID-19 deaths this week.
The country has been under a stay-at-home order for three weeks, and the death toll there has topped 11,000.
And as we've been reporting, almost all of India and much of Europe are still on lockdown. Sweden has done the opposite. Streets are bustling, restaurants are open, trains and buses are still running. But critics fears Sweden's decision to back the status quo will backfire, as Phil Black explains.
PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In these strange times this is a strange sight. People just hanging out in bars and cafes, enjoying the sunny Easter weekend with friends and family. The coronavirus hasn't skipped Sweden, they're just dealing with it very differently. No forced closures, no lockdown, some, including President Trump, think the country is betting everything on that controversial theory of herd immunity.
Deliberately allowing the disease to move through the population so younger people with antibodies surround and protect the elderly and more vulnerable.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Sweden did that. Th herd. They call it the herd. Sweden is suffering very, very badly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACK: Absolutely not true, says the Swedish government.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANN LINDE, SWEDISH FOREIGN MINISTER: Our goal is the same as in most other countries, we want to save lives. We want to hinder the spreading of the virus.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACK: Swedish health officials say their approach is designed to slow the virus, where it spreads most and they don't think that's in bars and restaurants. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERS TEGNELL, SWEDISH CHIEF EPIDEMIOLOGIST: I'm not convinced that lockdowns and these kinds of things work very well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACK: Anders Tegnell, Sweden's state epidemiologist says their strategies focus is asking everyone to avoid travel, work from home when possible, and isolate if you feel unwell. And he says it's worked flattening the curve. Keeping critical cases within the capacity of the health system.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TEGNELL: I think one other strong reason for why we have been doing what we're doing in Sweden is that we feel that this is very sustainable. We can keep on doing this for a long, for months then without any harm to society.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACK: But the numbers tell a different story. For a small country, Sweden has suffered a relatively high number of deaths. Now at 919. The deaths per 100,000 people stands at 8.83, higher than that of the United States, at 6.73, but still far less than Italy at nearly 33.
And there is one especially disturbing trend in Sweden's experience so far, health officials say around half of the total figure killed lived in homes for the elderly.
The World Health Organization says it's imperative that Sweden must do more. And 2,000 Swedish scientists have signed a petition because they fear current policies will mean many more deaths.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CECILIA SODERBERG NAUCLER, PROFESSOR OF IMMUNOLOGY, KAROLINSKA INSTITUTE: Our scientists think that they are in control, but what we are saying is that the catastrophe is luring around the corner, so you're not in control in two, three weeks' time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACK: Critics say Sweden is now trapped in a high-risk experiment. Swedish officials believe they found the right balance. Either way, in the coming months Sweden will have much to teach the world about how to best manage COVID-19.
Phil Black, CNN, London.
CHURCH: And when we come back a closer look at why the U.S. president, is threatening to cut funding for the organization which oversees world health in the middle of a pandemic.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone.
A quick check on our top story. The number of coronavirus infections around the world is starting to plateau. And the head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control says that the country is nearing the peak of the outbreak.
Data from Johns Hopkins University shows the daily number of new infections declining. The U.S. surgeon general says cases appeared to be leveling off in some of the country's hotspot. But testing is still not widely available. Only a small percentage of people have been tested. As a Monday, Johns Hopkins reports at least 582,000 cases of coronavirus in the United States with more than 23,000 deaths.
President Trump is set to announce the formation of a new council, the opening our country council which will focus on ways to stimulate the economy. Earlier, I spoke with an economist, and Colombo University professor Jeffrey Sachs about the challenges and risks to lifting stay-at-home orders and reopening for business. Here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEFFREY SACHS, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY CENTER FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELEOPMENT: The only way to open an economy safely and prudently, is if you have a public health system that is catching every case, every cluster early, isolating people, quarantining people were that is necessary. It requires systems because if you don't have that in place and you open up, even a low level of transmission becomes a full scale epidemic once again.
And so, it is so basic. But Trump is so ignorant, that he can't hear it. We don't have any of the proper messaging at the national level. So, it's left to the mayors and the governors. And when the mayors and the governors say, we are going to have a public health approach, then Trump and his luster says, no, no, I am the one in charge.
CHURCH: But I have to ask you though, how is it possible that a superpower is incapable apparently of having covid-19 testing extensively across this country? As well as contact tracing, as well as anti-body testing? Because really until those three specific mechanisms are in place extensively, this country surely can't open up. Can it?
SACHS: We've never seen a collapse of governance in the United States as we have under Trump. It is absolutely no one in powerful circles that the man is utterly incompetent. But until this epidemic, that well-known secret was absolutely tolerated by the business elites, the corporate elites, and others, because Trump delivered a tax cuts for them and he delivered deregulation. And as long as the stock market was high, they said, what difference really could it make if demand is completely incompetent? We're rolling in dough. And that is what happened in the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP) CHURCH: And you can see more of my interview with Jeffrey Sachs next
hour on CNN Newsroom.
When President Trump does find fault in handling the pandemic, it is the World Health Organization and he has threatened to cut U.S. funding because of it. The criticism is connected to China's early reporting on the disease, and the WHO's resistance to challenge it. Nic Robertson has our report.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is going to be a virus that stokes the human race for quite a long time to come.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: When the World Health Organization, the WHO speaks, we listen, right? The question is, should we?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: it seem to be very China centric.
ROBERTSON: President Trump thinks not. He is considering defunding them.
TRUMP: We get the majority of the money that they get.
ROBERTSON: January 22nd, Wuhan, one day from any form of lockdown, China is in crisis mode. The WHO praises China. Yet, as we now know from the previous two months, China has been silencing its doctors, stonewalling its people, lying by omission about the disease. In January, at least the WHO seems unwilling to question China's truthfulness. Raising concerns it could have done more to stop the pandemic before it got going. Dr. Peter Drobac is a U.K.-based global health expert.
DR. PETER DROBAC, GLOBAL HEALTH EXPERT, OXFORD SAID BUSINESS SCHOOL: If there was evidence early on that China was not sharing, or was covering up information about a new virus, and about this outbreak, and trying not to share that with the world, then certainly it would've been appropriate for the WHO to call them out on that.
ROBERTSON: The WHO's senior official Margaret Harris says that the WHO was doing all it could.
DR. MARGARET HARRIS, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION'S SENIOR OFFICIAL: By the 4th of January, we notified the world by social media and by this we put out a formal notification in what is called our disease break news.
ROBERTSON: But that was a long way short of the level of alarm public health officials say the world needed to hear. It would take another month to get to that point. On January 14th, China is still telling the WHO that they have not seen human to human transmission. That day, the WHO echoes China's message. Also, that day, the WHO reports Thailand gets its first imported case
of covid-19. Two days later, January 16th, the WHO reports that Japan has its first imported case. The same day, the WHO reports a 3rd country affected too and tweets, considering global travel patterns, additional cases in other countries are likely. But it isn't until January 19th that the WHO actually acknowledges what had become obvious to many experts. Human to human transfer was happening.
DROBAC: It is clear that early on China repressed information, it really didn't share information in ways that might have allow these outbreak to take hold in ways that became very dangerous.
ROBERTSON: China's epidemic has got traction, and it is on the way to becoming a pandemic. Still, January 22nd, the WHO director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus is still praising China. The next day, WHO experts fail to flag the looming threat.
HARRIS: Independent scientists with expertise are brought together. They came to Dr. Tedros and they said, we don't have a consensus at that point on the 23rd.
ROBERTSON: It would be a week later, the end of January, before they announced what to the world already seemed obvious in the broader health community.
DR. TEDROS ADHANOM GHEBREYESUS, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION DIRECTOR: I am declaring a public health emergency of international concern.
ROBERTSON: The next day, President Trump calls for travel ban on China. The WHO directed general criticizes Trump. Tensions begin building.
DROBAC: The more that we go on, casting blame back and forth, instead of working together, you know, this is really at our peril. China has the greatest culture of clinical expertise in fighting covid-19 as anyone in the world, we should be learning from them right now.
ROBERTSON: A point the WHO is keen to flag. That even while denying human to human transfer in January, China was providing vital genome data. The WHO passes to the world to help make test kits. Two months later, the WHO would declare the pandemic. The WHO's track record in previous crisis is checkered. Widespread criticism for their handling of Ebola, better on SARS when it stood up to China.
DROBAC: To go back to the SARS epidemic of 2003 to 2005. The WHO had quite -- at least a more muscular posture, including in calling out China early, and pushing them to provide more transparency and more information. They didn't have any more power at the time, but they simply use the kind of bully pulpit that they had.
TRUMP: I closed the borders despite him. And that was a hard decision to make at the time.
ROBERTSON: By late March, Trump's China travel ban has become a central plank of his defense of his own heavily criticize handling of the pandemic. The WHO becomes a scapegoat. TRUMP: They got to do better than that.
ROBERTSON: Most countries, including Trump's friend, Boris Johnson's government, are standing by the WHO. And so too, most experts.
DROBAC: This breaks out in sub-Saharan Africa, for example, in countries that have, you know, fewer ventilators in the entire country than one New York City hospital does. And we need WHO, and international support there to help them get prepared. And if so, WHO is weaken or paralyzed now fighting this political fights between the U.S. and China. That could really hurt us in the months to come.
ROBERTSON: Most experts agree that the World Health Organization does need reforming. Given extra powers, not replaced by another body. David Navarro is correct when he says the battle against covid-19 is far from done. The global consensus says, that the WHO needs to be part of that fight. Nic Robertson, CNN, London.
CHURCH: The U.S. Supreme Court will hear major cases on President Trump's financial documents. Religious freedom, and the electoral college by phone next month. It will also make oral arguments available for live audio broadcasts.
And these are some unprecedented moves driven by the coronavirus. The court has long resisted allowing live streaming of its sessions. Typically only about 500 people present in the room are able to hear the arguments. And officials say that there will be no video component.
Well, some African students say that they are shocked to the mistreatment they faced in China during the pandemic. Some of the allegations include forcible testing and quarantine. Even if they did not have any coronavirus symptoms. And you can read more about this brewing diplomatic crisis for China at our website. Just head over to CNN.com for the full story.
Meanwhile, in France, the government is extending its emergency measures until May 11th. Nearly 15,000 coronavirus deaths are confirmed in France. Though the health ministry says cases appeared to be plateauing. And CNN's Cyril Vanier is the anchor of your world today, he has been following the lockdown from Normandy France, for more than three weeks now. Good to see you, Cyril. So, France's death toll, the numbers are just shocking. But there are signs the flattening of the curve, and now this extended lockdown, but at the same time children will be going back to school, how is that going to work, and what is the logic behind that?
CYRIL VANIER, CNN SHOW HOST: Yes, hi, Rosemary. Good to talk to you. And absolutely France is now passed the 15,000 deaths, another grim milestone, but we finally got a sense of the path forward. When the French president formally addressed the nation yesterday. First and foremost he said the national stay-at-home order, which is already been in place for a month, must be extended by another month. And the reason for that is that it is starting to work.
We are seeing the number of beds available in intensive care, grow. There is more ability for the French intensive care assistance to take care of the sick, and we are starting to see the spread of the virus slow. So those things, those measures have to continue for at least a month. Listen to the president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRES. EMMANUEL MACRON, PRESIDENT OF FRANCE (through translator): The epidemic has not yet been mastered, we must continue our efforts, and continue to apply the rules. The more they are respected, the better and the more lies we will save, so for that reason that the lockdown, the most restricted lockdown, must be continued until Monday the 11th of May.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VANIER: So that date, May 11th, mid-May that is now circled on every agenda here in France. That is when schools will start to gradually reopen, and people will start to go back to work. People who can't work from home that is. So, the children, and the teachers at school will have to be adequately protected, there might be some protective gear, we don't know the details on that, the idea is that life starts going back to normal for them and the economy starts to reopen.
However the country and the economy, doesn't reopen for everybody at the same time. If you are elderly, if you have a weakened immune system, then the national stay-at-home order for you continues and indefinitely so. We don't know when the over 70's will be able to leave their home in France, or if you have diabetes or if your immune system is otherwise weaken.
Similarly that does not mean May 11th that does not mean that life is back to normal, from one day to the next. Because cafes, restaurants, bars museums, festival cinemas hotels, all of that will stay closed until at least mid-July. President macron directly address this question of when will life go back to normal, and he said at this moment to be honest, we don't have good answers to that questions.
CHURCH: Yes. We don't even know what the new normal will be. Because certainly none of us across the globe are going to return to the life we all knew. It's going to be very different. Cyril Vanier, bringing us the very latest from France, many thanks to you.
And we'll take a very short break here, still to come in India today, mark 21 of a three-week lockdown, for more than a billion people. And in just the last few hours, we have learned the tight restrictions are being extended. The Prime Minister's message to the nation. That is next.
CHURCH: India's nationwide lockdown has been extended to May 3rd. Prime Minister Nagendra Modi, announce the decision in his address of the nation just hours ago. Mr. Modi thank those who were abiding by the restrictions, despite the great pressures that come with the lockdown, including access to food. Well, CNN's Sam Kiley has been listening into that speech, and joins us now live. So Sam, tell us, what all are you hearing Prime Minister Modi say in his address to the nation.
SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Rosemary, I think the key element there, is as you say, is that the lockdown of 1.3 billion people in the world's biggest democracy, has been extended into the beginning of next month to May the 3rd. Now there is a glimmer of hope, particularly on the day as we are seeing the beginnings of the end of the lockdown in France and Spain, that India may be able to emerge from this vice that's been imposed, by the virus, because by April the 20th, there will have been a government assessment of the behavior, of India's state, which will enjoy a lot of local autonomy, in terms of the extent of which they've been able to contain, what they are calling hotspots of the virus.
And they may allow the central government, may allow a degree of the lifting of the lockdown on the state by state basis. If over the next 6 days, India's states have manage to be able to control these hotspots. Because India has a relatively low level of known infections, and relatively low level of deaths. And they are very, very keen to keep that way since the Prime Minister Modi gave his speech there, Rosemary, both the national airlines, and the air traffic control, have re-announced the continued blockade effectively of both the airspace and the airports until May the 3rd and in international rail ways will also not be running any passenger trains during that period.
This is all catastrophic of course, for the very large numbers of people who live on a day-to-day level are crossing. Millions of people rely on a day-to-day level of earnings, in order to feed themselves in the next 24 hours, there are also estimates of the cost so far to India of this virus lockdown, in some $92 billion, and the critics very much opposed to the Hindu nationalist government of Mr. Modi are saying, that they're very disappointed, these opposition critics, that there was no offer of more packages to alleviate the effects of this lockdown on the poor.
And also there's continued criticism of the Modi regime for what is allege to be a communal exploitation, a friction, particularly targeting of Muslims across India, partly because certainly Delhi, BJP, which is the ruling party there, not in Delhi, but the ruling party across India, Rosemary. They are starting to point the finger at a particular mosque in Delhi, as the original source of a lot of the virus from the spread across the country.
There had been a number of reports that it attacks an anti-Muslim demonstrations across India, and as they are referring among some extremist Hindu politicians to what they are calling a corona jihad. But there was also a no signal really from Mr. Modi that he is prepared to crackdown on the anti-Muslim sentiment, Rosemary. CHURCH: All right. Sam Kiley bringing us that live report, many
thanks to you. Well a village in Indonesia, is using an unusual method, to try and curb the spread of the coronavirus. Take a look at this, local volunteers dressing up as ghost to patrol their neighborhood streets, trying to spook residents into respecting the stay-at-home orders. Officials say the plan originally backfired, when people ventured out to take photos of the ghost for social media, but they have since been deployed on surprise patrols.
Well, the world will knock 34 years since the Chernobyl nuclear disaster later this month. And right now, firefighters in Ukraine, are scrambling to put out forest fires that have been burning in the Chernobyl exclusion zone for the past week. Emergency workers on the ground and in the air, have been trying to douse the flames, and officials say, they are concerned because radiation levels, have spiked since those fires broke out.
On Easter, Brazil thanked health workers around the world, with a little help from a real landmark, how technology transform an iconic statue of Jesus into a doctor in scrubs.
CHURCH: Look at this, bright colored tulip fields, with eye-popping shades of red, purple yellow and white, popular tourist attractions in the Netherlands this time of year, of course, with millions flocking to see them, it's a big business, but Dutch authorities are appealing to tourists to stay away this season, due to the pandemic. Tulip sales are also taking a hit, about 140 million tulip stems in the Netherlands, were reportedly destroyed in the past month since demand for those flowers has dropped.
Horrible waste isn't it. Well, what happens if you are gourmet chef, and the coronavirus forces your restaurant to close? If you're (inaudible), who put your -- you put your culinary skills to work feeding those who needed most of course. Susanne Gargiulo has the story.
SUSANNE GARGIULO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Welcome to the alchemist. This two star Michelin restaurant, is the latest shining star in a city famed for world class restaurants. But these days in a place where the average meal cost around $700, the menu is changing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So today we are making rice salad, tomato parsley,
GARGIULO: In the weeks since the novel coronavirus shut down restaurants across Denmark, Monk and his team of volunteers say they think cooking around 500 meals a day for the homeless.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A little bit chef in the kitchen, a little bit more calm actually, we are back to the basics, and make some just good decent food for the homeless, and the people who really needed the most. GARGIULO: His drive to make a difference, is not new. His 50 course
menu addresses everything from animal welfare, to climate change. Like this one, an edible dish calling the attention to plastic pollution in the world's oceans.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If we are trying the different dishes to create an awareness about subjects, and then when we can't do that it's makes sense to change the concepts.
GARGIULO: It's a much needed change, government restrictions and efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus have forced the number of homeless facilities to limit service and staff, making it harder to find a bed and a meal.
(Inaudible), runs a nonprofit, helping the homeless, has been delivering meals to frank while he has been quarantine with a suspected case of covid-19.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He wasn't going to get any food, if I didn't bring him anything.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's difficult, so we have to find some other stuff to do, so I'm doing this.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Having this meal every day in this rhythm is energy is up, he's (inaudible) is up and you never know what's coming, but you know, it's going to be really good because it's from you.
GARGIULO: Frank agrees, except on portion size.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not a lot but it's OK, you know.
GARGIULO: But there is more coming. Mong says for now, he's secured funds for at least another six months. Susanne Gargiulo for CNN in Copenhagen.
CHURCH: And on Easter Sunday, Brazil's famous Christ the redeemer statue was transformed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
It's more technological wonder than miracle, the iconic statue was lit up in scrubs to look like a doctor, it was of course a tribute to frontline health care workers, battling the coronavirus around the world. Also projected onto the statue, various national flags, a video of health care workers, and messages of gratitude. And we too salute all the medical professionals across the globe. Thank you so much for joining us this hour, I'm Rosemary Church, I will be back with more news in just a moment.