Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

Los Angeles Can Expect to See Sporting Events Without Audiences; U.S. Coronavirus Deaths Are Pacing Slightly Ahead of Projections This Week; Germany Gradually Scaling Back Its Lockdown; Japan's State of Emergency Extended; Unemployment Claims Surge Due to Coronavirus; Americans Without Work Rationing Their Medicines; U.S. President: New Social Distancing Guidelines Coming; Challenges of Tracking Probably COVID-19 Deaths; Louisiana Death Toll Tops 1,100; Nairobi Slums Brace for COVID-19; Pandemic Devastates Bangladesh's Garment Industry; 3-D Printers Being Used to Make Medical Supplies. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired April 16, 2020 - 00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[00:00:00]

(MUSIC PLAYING)

JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello everyone, I'm John Vause. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Studio 7 at CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta.

Donald Trump continues to push for the U.S. economy to restart sooner rather than later. That's despite pushback from mayors, governors and his own health experts.

On Thursday, the White House is expected to release the president's guidelines for lifting shelter in place and stay-at-home orders across the country. It's just not clear how many cities or states intend to follow those guidelines.

With mayors of major American cities, including Los Angeles, New York and New Orleans warning residents not to expect concerts or sporting events or any event involving a mass gathering to take place until next year.

The much touted Business Council, which is more like a series of phone calls between the president and CEOs, has made it clear, they want guarantees of more coronavirus testing before anyone returns to work.

As we learn more about this virus, the worse it seems. A study in the journal "Nature Medicine" says the virus could be most contagious 2-3 days before someone who is infected shows any signs of symptoms.

There has been a big increase in the number of confirmed cases and the death toll in the U.S. because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as Johns Hopkins University are now including cases where someone was probably infected by the coronavirus.

That means the number of lives lost in this outbreak, in the United States, has passed 30,000. CNN's Erica Hill has more now on all the major developments throughout the day.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The iconic Hollywood Bowl will remain empty this year.

MAYOR ERIC GARCETTI (D-CA), LOS ANGELES: It's difficult to imagine us getting together in the thousands anytime soon. We've got many, many miles to walk before we're going to be back in those environments.

HILL (voice-over): The mayors of Los Angeles and New York suggesting concerts and sporting events likely won't return before 2021.

MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D-NY), NEW YORK CITY: We've got one chance. If we move too quick, we put 50,000 people in Yankee Stadium and that's part of why you see a resurgence of the disease, that would be the worst of all worlds.

HILL (voice-over): The mayor of New Orleans also recommending her city shelve major events like Jazz Fest until next year.

As the president continues to push for a symbolic May 1 reopening, officials around the country are trying to adjust expectations.

GOV. JARED POLIS (D-CO): We also know that we're in this for the long haul. The virus isn't going to disappear or go away anytime soon.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): I say, personal opinion, it's over when we have a vaccine. It's over when people know I'm 100 percent safe and I don't have to worry about this.

HILL (voice-over): That vaccine likely at least a year away.

DR. ROBERT REDFIELD, DIRECTOR, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION: We're going to have another battle with it, you know, up front and aggressively next winter.

This is why it's so important that we take the time now to really improve our testing capacity, expand our public health capacity to do early case recognition, contact tracing and isolation.

I call it block and tackle, block and tackle.

HILL (voice-over): San Francisco is launching a partnership to tackle contact tracing. Los Angeles now offering same or next day testing to its 10 million residents. Anyone with COVID symptoms is eligible.

In New Jersey, the nation's first saliva testing site is now open. Major League Baseball pitching in for antibody testing. Players, their families, concession workers, some 10,000 volunteers in total, part of a nationwide study to better understand the infection and its spread.

As Georgia prepares for a potential surge, Michigan's strict stay home orders brought protesters out in Lansing. New York and Connecticut announced new regulations for face coverings and in Massachusetts, which is now in the surge, the governor emotional, talking about the 957 lives lost in his state.

GOV. CHARLIE BAKER (R-MA): I pay attention to the numbers, but what I really think about mostly are the stories and the people who are behind the stories.

HILL (voice-over): The story of Gregory Hodge, an EMT in New York, just one example of the many lives stopped short. The 24-year veteran of the FDNY assisted at the World Trade Center after 9/11. He died as a result of COVID-19. Gregory Hodge was 59 years old.

[00:05:00]

HILL: Also in Massachusetts today, Governor Charlie Baker announced an additional $130 million in funding which will go towards mitigating the spread and threat of COVID-19 in long term care facilities, saying he really wants to make sure the most vulnerable populations are protected -- back to you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: Erica Hill, thank you.

CNN is reporting that U.S. officials are looking into a widely held conspiracy theory that the coronavirus was created in a Chinese lab, not in a wet market in Wuhan. There are reportedly being concerns over the safety and management of that lab, the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

U.S. intelligence sources tell CNN it's believed the virus was not associated with any kind of bioweapons program. President Trump was asked about these reports at Wednesday's White House briefing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I will tell you more and more we are hearing the story. We will see. When you say multiple sources, now there is a case where you can use the word sources. We are doing a very thorough examination of this horrible situation that happened.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: The Associated Press reports that Chinese government documents show a time link between when Beijing became aware of the threat posed by this virus and when the public was warned. CNN's David Culver reports now from Shanghai.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The internal documents acquired by the Associated Press suggest that China's top officials knew the potential severity of the virus, but for six days held off on sounding the alarm to the public.

The AP report is based on what they characterized as a leaked memo from a confidential teleconference involving the head of China's national health commission. CNN has gone through the government's public released of that teleconference which highlights the worries expressed by health officials to other leaders.

Now here is what we know of what China knew and when. Going back to December 8th, the Wuhan government disclosed the first patient symptoms of the then unknown virus. Nearly a month later, January 3rd, Wuhan health officials stressed there is no obvious human to human transmission, and on that same day, China notified the U.S. of the virus. On January 7th, President Xi Jinping's first public awareness is made

known and he ordered actions to be taken. A week after that, on January 14th, that the teleconference and that's when, according to a government release which came up more than a month after the conference, there was a sober understanding of the situation that was made known to top government officials.

They added that, quote, "clustered cases suggests that human to human transmission is possible."

But here's the concern, publicly, as late as January 19th, the Wuhan health commission said that the outbreak was controllable and preventable and not contagious. The next day a very different narrative.

Leading health officials acknowledged that cases of human to human transmission and even, they stressed, that medical personnel had gotten infected. Three days later, Wuhan went on lockdown.

Now, in response to past questions over transparency, China has repeatedly maintained that they have been open and forthcoming in their handling of this outbreak.

CNN has reached out to the national health commission for their comment on this latest reporting -- David Culver, CNN, Shanghai.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: In the U.K., there is evidence that the curve is starting to flatten but the number of dead is expected to continue to rise, at least for a while. Government officials say the lockdown is having a positive impact, with hospital admissions falling by 1 percent nationwide on Tuesday, 5 percent in greater London.

The government is considering extending those lockdown measures for three more weeks, saying it is too soon to ease up on restrictions.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS WHITTY, BRITISH CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER: We do all think that this has flattened out; sadly, we do think that high numbers of deaths will continue for a -- certainly a short while on from where we are at the moment.

I think there's an additional reason that we are there, so I think at the moment we are not yet at the point where we can say confidently and safely this has now past the peak and we can start thinking very much about the next phases. (END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: So far this virus has killed almost 13,000 people in the U.K. and that includes a pregnant nurse who died on Sunday. Her baby, a little girl, was delivered successful and is doing fine.

Europe's biggest economy is ready to lift part of its coronavirus lockdown. The German chancellor Angela Merkel announced smaller shops will begin reopening as soon as next week as long as they follow certain hygiene plans.

But as CNN's Fred Pleitgen reports, while some restrictions are being eased, others are ramping up.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The German government is taking small steps to try and reopen this country's economy and the society after some pretty strong measures to try and combat the coronavirus crisis.

Angela Merkel went in front of the press on Wednesday and said that Germany is actually making some measures more restrictive than before.

[00:10:00]

PLEITGEN: For instance, there are not going to be any gatherings with large crowds in this country until the end of August.

Germany also says that social distancing measures that have been put in place will remain in place until at least May 3rd.

Now, on the other hand, the Germans were also saying that smaller shops are going to be able to open next Monday. However, they do say that people going to those shops are strongly recommended to wear face masks. However, it is not a total requirement of the German government is putting out there.

Angela Merkel's government says that so far, their response to the coronavirus crisis has been efficient, as she put it, the Germans have a large amount of confirmed coronavirus cases.

However, the death toll still remains fairly low. Now Angela Merkel said that in their reasoning for loosening some of these measures, but at the same time keeping a lot of the hygiene measures in place and the social distancing ones as well, is they say they don't want to reverse some of the gains that they've made.

Right now, in Germany, the number of new confirmed coronavirus cases is going down. But the Germans do fear that there could be a spike if some of these measures to loosen and open the economy go in the wrong direction -- Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Berlin.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: Russia has seen its biggest increase in cases so far, nearly 3,400 reported on Wednesday alone. It comes as the Russian president Vladimir Putin in a video call with officials announced a $2.7 billion economic aid package meant to support all regions across the country.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA (through translator): I have already spoken about the need for additional financial assistance to the regions, their incomes have now dipped for various reasons.

At the regional level where a lot of workers under wages support the economy and the citizens have a big load, the regions must have the financial resources for this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Officially, Russia has reported 25,000 cases of the virus. Most in Moscow, where there is a shortage of hospital beds and officials are working to open more than 20 medical facilities.

More than 400,000 people could die from the coronavirus in Japan if it does not ramp up its efforts to contain the spread. That's according to a team of experts set up by Japan's health ministry. They told the broadcaster NHK that 850,000 patients would need ventilators.

Let's go live now to Tokyo and Kaori Enjoji for more on this.

Many people there, I guess, need this wakeup call because they have so far been very complacent about the pleas come from the government.

KAORI ENJOJI, JOURNALIST: That's right and this wakeup call from the group of (INAUDIBLE) have been advising the government, saying that unless people really enforce social distancing, there is a worst-case scenario on the cards for Japan.

I think the reason behind this is because even, despite the state of emergency, yes, businesses are closing but there are plenty of people on the streets of Tokyo. You do not see the kind of social distancing at the supermarkets or on the roads that you have seen in other countries, European cities and also in the United States.

I think the measures by the government to try and calm the public before they announced the state of emergency has backfired because it hasn't really driven home the point that the coronavirus situation in Japan remains severe.

Look at the numbers, the amount of cases in Tokyo, which is really a big concern for everyone, the number of new cases there has doubled in the last eight days. It is now over 2,400. When you take a look at some of the medical groups, the Japanese Society of Intensive Care Medicine is saying that, over the last two weeks, there have been a doubling of patients who are on life support.

This is a very troubling statistic, in a country when these life support systems are really not that abundant. They say only 1,300 are available in Japan nationwide. And all of them are not going to be available for COVID-19 patients, because you have to remember that Japan is a very grain (ph) society. They had constraints in the hospital system even before the outbreak of coronavirus.

So you are looking at a situation, particularly in Tokyo, which is very dense, with 14 million people. Yes, some of them are starting to work from home but, no, they aren't really adhering to the calls for social distancing.

There is a lot of criticism, that maybe the government didn't act soon enough and forcefully enough. This is really not a lockdown. This is a very soft lockdown. You have, you know the speakers around the cities, announcing to the citizens, please stay home but you are not seeing policing and they can't police here like they used to.

So it is more calls for social distancing via peer pressure. And usually in Japanese society that works but this time it hasn't been that effective. So I think these latest calls by these doctors, if they don't take these social distancing call seriously, you could see a lot more deaths; according to them, more than 400,000.

VAUSE: Yes, the numbers are terrifying.

[00:15:00]

VAUSE: Thank you. Kaori Enjoji there for us in Tokyo.

Joining me now is Dr. Kentaro Iwata, an infectious disease expert.

Thank you for being with us. We heard from government health experts that they have been very direct here. They are laying out what needs to be. The lead doctor said that all Japanese must change the pattern of action and help stop the outbreak as soon as possible.

They say that if that doesn't happen, the death toll will be hundreds of thousands. The number of people needing ventilators would be more than the number of ventilators that exist.

It's sobering and very late. Same warnings were heard in the U.S., in Italy, in Spain, why are Japan so far behind where other countries have already been?

DR. KENTARO IWATA, INFECTIOUS DISEASE EXPERT: Well, I'm not exactly saying that Japan is far behind. Japan had had taking different strategy compared to the other nations such as European nations and the United States. That had been doing pretty well in containing the outbreaks by searching the clusters of infections and tracking down and so-called search and destroy strategy had worked well up until a couple of weeks ago, when the surge of the infection started to increase.

Then the strategy ceased to function well. So we needed to change the way that we handled the disease. But there is almost always a delay in changing the strategy in Japan's tendencies. So that was sort of a failure (ph) I have to acknowledge.

VAUSE: So there was a point where the original strategy didn't work. We are now seeing the infection rate accelerating, more 9,000 cases confirmed. Because there's no widespread testing, do you think that the calculation applies to the number of people that are infected is 10 times higher than the number suggests?

Looking at more like 90,000 people actually with the virus and because of the time lag, the incubation takes 14 days, so what we are looking at is 90,000 people infected two weeks ago?

IWATA: It is likely that the actual numbers were under reported. It is meant to be because Japan's government didn't recommend you go to the doctor unless you have persisting symptoms. And because 80 percent of the coronavirus infection could recover spontaneously without treatment, the majority of people with infections could stay at home and they will get well.

So Japan's government didn't have an intention to search every infection and count them. So I think (INAUDIBLE). But what is now happening now is I think they are failing to search the severe infections, even in situations where the expansion of the infection is ongoing.

So the number of people with persistent symptoms, high fever, difficulty breathing did not get testing because of the insufficient test infrastructures or maybe the hesitance of public health officials to do the tests.

VAUSE: If social distancing is implemented on a wide scale, office workers stay home as the prime minister has stated, is it possible to see this plateau within two weeks?

IWATA: Yes, theoretically --

(CROSSTALK)

VAUSE: -- practice? Because what we've seen is that the Japanese people that are usually deferential to following guidelines, they are not in this case. We've heard from the government for works now, begging them to social distance.

IWATA: As I told you, in theory, if you cut the route of infection, which is droplet or contact, then the expansion of the infection will cease. That is the theory and that is the truth.

But you need to comply with the plan of social distancing, which is not very successful at this moment. Lots of people keep having close distance, continue to commute by train, walk together. So the plan is there but it's not being successfully implemented yet.

[00:20:00]

VAUSE: I guess it will take longer for the message to sink in. Dr. Kentaro Iwata, thank you so much for being with us.

IWATA: Thanks.

VAUSE: There's more evidence of the devastating impact has had on the U.S. economy, unemployment, retail sales, industrial output, the price of oil. When we come back, the ominous signs of tough times ahead like you have never seen before. Also out of work and running out of lifesaving medication, tough

choices for so many.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(MUSIC PLAYING)

VAUSE: There is no letup in the grim economic news, each new report bringing its own misery. U.S. retail sales for March were down almost 10 percent. The weekly jobless claims report will be released later, that's expected to show another 5 million people filing for unemployment benefits.

CNN's John Defterios live from Abu Dhabi.

These numbers, 10 million now, expecting another 5 million. That's 15 million. That puts the unemployment rate at around 15 percent, I think.

JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: If you come in at 5 million, it puts the unemployment rate at least 13 percent. That seems high and it is but it is likely to double by June to 30 percent. That's how stark the situation is. And I think the jobless claims weekly are the best barometer of a bad situation, it tells us how bad the businesses are doing, the freezing up of commerce itself.

We will have that number an hour before the opening bell but it wasn't a terrific day on Wall Street on Wednesday with losses of 2 percent for the Dow and just over 2 percent for the S&P 500. That is because we had two key reports. The one that shocked everyone was the loss of retail sales.

It was a record low, down 8.7 percent and industrial output was lower as well. Because things are not moving, we can't be too surprised, I guess the fact that it was a record is what provided most of the shock.

Now we have a heated debate by Trump of when to loosen restrictions on the economy, I was speaking to business leaders in the last 24 hours, one in New York, another one in California.

They said this is providing more uncertainty. We don't like the idea that the head of the United States government is arguing with governors. It actually holds back retail sales because people don't now which way to move, when they're going back to work and when it's safe to, because you can have a boomerang on the economy. This is what the IMF was suggesting.

VAUSE: The IMF held a virtual meeting in Asia, it's not as bad as the rest of the world if you are looking at Asia compared to everyone else.

DEFTERIOS: Yes. I think it is worth flagging, though, for this reason. [00:25:00]

DEFTERIOS: The U.S. is pegged to drop nearly 6 percent this year, Germany nearly 7 percent. But for Asia, it is a flat line, no growth. But that's the worst performance in six decades. That gives you an indication of where we are today.

China and India will grow. They're the two most populous countries in the world. But if you think of the export countries in Asia, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, China, India moving into that space, the slowdown internationally is what is undermining this bloc that has provided growth. 6-9 percent growth for the last 20 years.

Here is the managing director of the IMF at her virtual press conference.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KRISTALINA GEORGIEVA, MANAGING DIRECTOR, INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND: Everything is on the table in terms of measures we can take. What we do is, first, do all we can with the resources we have. Second, make sure that that there are no gaps in what we have to be of service to the membership. Everything is on the table.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DEFTERIOS: Service to the membership, John. In IMF speak that means that you have to worry about the developing world, they did provide the debt relief that we were talking about yesterday but most are saying it's not enough, knowing what is going to come in Africa and Latin America due to the virus.

VAUSE: Thank you, John Defterios, live in Abu Dhabi. Thank you, John.

For some Americans, it's not the coronavirus but the economic downturn which is a bigger threat to their health. For some, no job means no medication. It's a searing indictment on the U.S. health care system.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRANDI TITUS, DIABETIC RATIONING INSULIN: Maybe three days left.

KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Diabetic Brandi Titus counts her days by the insulin she's got left.

TITUS: When you turn it upside down, you can see there is not much left in it.

LAH: What happens when that insulin is gone?

TITUS: I am very worried that I will end up in a hospital bed, sitting next to someone who has coronavirus. I contract said virus and then it ends up killing me.

LAH: Already rationing her insulin since losing her housekeeping job because of the coronavirus shut down, this week is the crossroads for her.

MICHAEL SHAWKI, RATIONING MEDICATION: That's the last one, yes.

LAH: And others like Michael Shawki, whose survival depends on life saving prescriptions and the federal stimulus money they are waiting on to pay for them.

SHAWKI: So this is my last injection.

LAH: A two-time cancer survivor and Crohn's disease patient, Shawki has insurance. And yet, what is the co-pay for all of that?

SHAWKI: This is around 500 total, like if I got all of these with taxes, probably, about $500.

LAH: He was able to afford these life-sustaining drugs by managing a chain of New York bakeries but when the coronavirus hit Manhattan last month, he was laid off. Now he's rationing what he has left without knowing when his expected stimulus money will come in.

SHAWKI: Each day, this gets scarier.

LAH: How dire is this? This crisis for you?

SHAWKI: I think, life or death for some people, you know, for me, my fear is if I'm going to cause long term damage to myself, people are living check to check. When they're working. What do you think when the income goes away, do you think they are going to be able to survive on a few weeks? No.

LAH: Shawki took to Twitter, begging for help along with so many others. An essential employee rationing seizure meds until the stimulus check comes in. A single mother who needs prescriptions for her family, for each (inaudible) their supply of necessary treatments is a deadly game of chance.

TITUS: I wake up about 3:00 am with a blood sugar that's about 400, 420.

LAH: Brandi Titus' blood sugar levels are four times higher than average. She says it is not if she goes to the emergency room but when.

TITUS: I wouldn't have a choice, my body will go into diabetic, you know, acidosis.

LAH: Unlike those expecting government relief in the coming days, she won't be getting a stimulus check. She is behind on her child support, so like thousands of others, she doesn't qualify. She is on her own.

TITUS: It's hard. $100 might not be that much to you but it could be my saving grace for tomorrow.

LAH: Michael Shawki was watching President Trump's White House briefing, he says this issue of the president's name on the stimulus check and whether or not that might delay the checks arriving, angry isn't the right word. He uses the word hurt. He says Americans are hurting. And this should not be about anyone other than helping those Americans -- Kyung Lah, CNN, Los Angeles.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: Still to come, Wednesday's White House briefing on the coronavirus didn't start with news about the pandemic nor the latest on financial health for struggling families but rather Trump's demand for Congress to approve his judicial nominees. We'll explain why when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause with the headlines this hour.

[00:32:23]

More than two million people around the world have been confirmed infected with the novel coronavirus. And according to John Hopkins University, nearly 137,000 have died.

The U.S. has been the hardest hit, followed by Italy, Spain and France.

A study in the journal "Nature Medicine" finds people may be most infectious in the two or three days before they show any symptoms, adding to a growing body of evidence that seemingly healthy people are spreading this disease. And because of this, researchers warn that contact tracing and other ways of monitoring the spread must -- must be adjusted.

U.S. intelligence and national security sources tell CNN the U.S. is pursuing a theory the virus originated in a lab in Wuhan and not in a wet market, as originally believed and someone in that lab became infected and accidentally released the virus into the public.

Well, in the midst of this global crisis, the U.S. president has made it clear this is not the time for partisan politics. And yet, he has clashed with mostly Democratic governors, and now he has a new threat for Congress, in particular Democrats in Congress. CNN's White House chief correspondent, Jim Acosta, has details.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JIM ACOSTA, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Trump is expected to unveil new social distancing guidelines on Thursday, aimed at reopening parts of the U.S. The president told reporters gathered in the Rose Garden that the new guidelines are geared toward states where the coronavirus pandemic has not been as serious, but the president told reporters that he'll be watching what governors do closely, claiming at one point that he has the right to overrule whatever they decide. Here's what he had to say.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have the right to do whatever we want. But we wouldn't do that. But no, we would have the right to close down what they're doing if we want to do that. But we don't want to do that. And I don't think there will be any reason to do that, but we have the right to do that.

ACOSTA: The president also expressed frustration with some of his nominees that have been languishing up on Capitol Hill. At one point, the president threatened to adjourn Congress to get things moving, but it's not clear whether Republicans or Democrats will go along with that idea.

Jim Acosta, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: And the president is doubling down on his decision to freeze funding for the World Health Organization. But he's getting plenty of pushback, both at home and around the world.

The head of the WHO says they're getting on with the job, despite the president's decision.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. TEDROS ADHANOM GHEBREYESUS, DIRECTOR-GENERAL, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: This is a time for all of us to be united in our common struggle against a common threat, a dangerous enemy. When we're divided, the virus exploits the cracks between us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: The U.N. executive general says now is the time to support the WHO, calling it "absolutely critical to the world's efforts against COVID-19."

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter called WHO "the only international organization capable of leading the effort to control this virus." And philanthropist and Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates tweeted this: "Halting funding for the World Health Organization during a world health crisis is as dangerous as it sounds. The world needs the WHO now more than ever."

New York City has more than 6,800 confirmed and more than 4,000 probable coronavirus deaths, according to the city's website. The health department there is defining probable deaths as people who did not have a positive laboratory test, but their death certificate lists COVID-19 as the cause of death anyway. That's because many of them, the sad reality is, are dying undiagnosed and alone, at home.

CNN's Brian Todd has our report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Leonardo Frazier shows CNN the simple-looking device that made all the difference for him.

LEONARDO FRAZIER, COVID-19 PATIENT: You strap it on your wrist here. TODD: It's a finger monitor, measuring Frazier's oxygen, heart and blood. The 54-year-old wore it at home alone, while he was battling coronavirus. It was connected to his cell phone, and when his condition took a sudden nose dive, it let his doctors in Northeastern Ohio know. FRAZIER: It told me I needed to be in the -- I needed to come down to the E.R. immediately. And so that's what I did.

TODD: Frazier says he felt so incapacitated at home alone that he doesn't know if he'd have had the wherewithal to get himself to the hospital.

FRAZIER: And this right here saved my life, and that's why I'm here today.

TODD: But Frazier's is a rare case. He happened to be placed in a pilot program at University Hospitals in Ohio, designed to help save the lives of patients who are fighting the coronavirus from home, where experts say a victim's condition can plummet in an instant.

DR. PETER PRONOVOST, UNIVERSITY HOSPITALS, OHIO: It's unpredictable. And so some patients will go home, and they'll stay well. Their lungs will get improved. Others may deteriorate. We don't know who will.

TODD: And often they deteriorate and die at home with no one knowing. Officials in the areas hardest hit say they're struggling now to count those who are isolated with the virus at home. And the numbers of people they believe are dying at home, they say are staggering.

New York City councilman Mark Levine, who chairs the city's health committee, said before the pandemic 20 to 25 people died at home in New York on an average day. But in recent days, Levine says, "It's been over 200 people a day who are dying at home. We presume that most of that increase is due to coronavirus."

Even with ramped-up testing, experts say the numbers of those who died from coronavirus may be well undercounted when all is said and done because of the massive gaps in monitoring of those who died at home.

DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, MASSACHUSETTS GENERAL HOSPITAL: I think during this acute period of time where so many people are not accessing medical care, the folks who are dying at home, the numbers that you're talking about, this will definitely, I think, be a blind spot during this period of time.

TODD: New York state officials are now scrambling to try to fill those gaps of information, devising ways of counting probable coronavirus deaths, including victims who were not previously tested and those dying at home, whose symptoms fit certain parameters of the virus.

MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D), NEW YORK CITY: I mean, it's just horrendous. But the numbers speak for themselves. We've been over this with our health colleagues, that this used to be a very, very rare thing in New York City. And suddenly, it's jumped up. And obviously, the only thing that has changed its COVID-19. TODD (on camera): But experts say getting a truly accurate count of

the overall numbers of people who died from coronavirus at home may be near impossible. One doctor told us there's another category of people who could be counted as overall victims of this pandemic. The people who die at home from things like heart attacks, strokes and other illnesses, who refuse to go to the hospital out of fear they might get coronavirus.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: The virus has now left more than 1,000 people dead in the U.S. state of Louisiana, according to Johns Hopkins University. The mayor of New Orleans has extended a stay-at-home order for another month, and as CNN's Ed Lavandera reports, air pollution in parts of the state could have a significant role in the death toll.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In mid-March, Diane and Edward Jasmine attended church services led by their son in LaPlace, Louisiana. Pastor Antoine Jasmine noticed his parents looked ill that morning. A few days later, the couple ended up in the hospital as doctors confirmed they were both infected with coronavirus.

ANTOINE JASMINE, LOST PARENTS TO CORONAVIRUS: This is the last time I saw them was seated here.

LAVANDERA: Last week, Pastor Jasmine was recording a sermon when he got the dreaded message.

JASMINE: I was preaching, and then I got the text, Your father just passed. And I kept preaching.

LAVANDERA: Two hours later, he got another message. His mother had also died.

[00:40:06]

JASMINE: If someone had told me your parents are going to leave you, I would have not accepted it. It just was mind-blowing. It still, today, is still shocking.

LAVANDERA: The Jasmines lived their whole lives in St. John the Baptist Parish, which sits along the Mississippi River between New Orleans and Baton Rouge. It's home to a sprawling collection of chemical and industrial plants.

The area has been at the center of battles over air pollution for decades. It's often called Cancer Alley.

This tiny parish with a population of about 45,000 people has the country's highest per capita coronavirus death rate, according to a data analysis by "The New York Times." Five-hundred and sixty-nine coronavirus cases have been reported in St. John's, and 47 people have died.

ROBERT TAYLOR, ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVIST: We are dying at unprecedented numbers right here in St. John's.

LAVANDERA: St. John Parish resident Robert Taylor leads a protest of environmental activists. They believe long-term exposure to the toxic air in their neighborhood has made them even more vulnerable to dying from COVID-19.

TAYLOR: We're losing people. I mean, it is terrible. What is it going to take for people to stand up to this?

LAVANDERA: When you see the list of the counties that have the highest death rates, you know, and all of a sudden you see St. John at the top of this list, is it pretty shocking for you?

TAYLOR: I was shocked. The coalition is right. We have a lot of people here who are ill. We are ill because we're under attack.

You must stand up to this.

GEORGE HANDY SR., CONCERNED CITIZENS OF ST. JOHN: If you're breathing in these chemicals every single day, it automatically affects your immune system. COVID attacks mostly people with low immune systems. Those are the ones that are dying.

LAVANDERA: Some say residents in the parish were slow to take social distancing seriously to keep the virus from spreading. It's also a parish with his rates of underlying health issues. Tulane University epidemiologist Susan Hassig says more research is needed, that there is no definitive link between the chemical exposure and the high death rate in St. John Parish.

DR. SUSAN HASSIG, EPIDEMIOLOGIST, TULANE UNIVERSITY: We don't know whether it's contributing two percent of the increased risk or 10 percent of the increased risk, or maybe higher. We just don't have the information that we need at the present time to be able to make that kind of a statement.

LAVANDERA: Antoine Jasmine doesn't know how his parents' lifelong exposure to air pollution might have affected their battle with coronavirus, but the question will always linger.

Ed Lavandera, CNN, LaPlace, Louisiana.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: Next up on CNN NEWSROOM, a catastrophe waiting to happen. What happens when the coronavirus takes hold in an overcrowded slum? We'll take you to Nairobi after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VAUSE: The French president says he has support from some of the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council for a global truce during the pandemic. [00:45:04]

In a radio interview, Emmanuel Macron said, "President Xi Jinping confirmed his agreement to me. President Trump confirmed his agreement to me. Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed his agreement to me. I think President Putin will definitely agree, too," he said.

The U.N. secretary general made the call for an immediate ceasefire last month, saying the fury of the virus illustrates the folly of war.

Pope Francis echoed the plea during his Easter mass and called for an end to the production of arms.

In the slums of Kenya's capital, poor sanitation and overcrowding means once the coronavirus takes hold, in the slums of Nairobi means that once COVID-19 takes a hold there it could spread like wildfire.

Here's Farai Sevenzo, reporting from Nairobi.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

FARAI SEVENZO, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Chaos in Nairobi's largest slum, Kibera as scores of residents desperately rush for food donations.

Coronavirus restrictions means Kibera's breadwinners are not earning, swelling the ranks of the unemployed. As Kenya's lockdown continues, these are now common scenes. Late last week, a food donation caused a stampede. Some of Kibera's residents are afraid.

FREDERICK OCHIENG, KIBERA RESIDENT: You can see for yourself. You can see that the line is too long. People are not distancing. No sanitation going on. No water to wash hands. You can see now that wasn't a round. We even fear for our lives. Mothers carrying children. You can see this is too much on us. This is too much. I think the world can see this. Oh my God. This is terrible.

SEVENZO: That fear is felt across the African continent as countries impose lockdowns. Kenya has a dusk-to-dawn curfew to curb the outbreak.

Here, the pandemic has exposed the vulnerability of millions, driving sub-Saharan Africa towards the first recession in 25 years, economists say.

Kenya's infected numbers are still in the low hundreds. In most countries on the planet, not enough people are being tested as the numbers rise. And this is a country of over 50 million people. Hundreds of thousands of Nairobi's poorest citizens live in informal settlements, in slums like Kibera and Mathare.

The market, the bars are open as traders try to keep the slum economy moving.

Community NGOs have donated much of the water and sanitizers being used on these streets, but will this alone stem the spread of the virus amongst the world's most vulnerable?

KENNEDY ODEDE, FOUNDER, SHOFCO: Social distance.

SEVENZO: Kennedy Odede is the founder of the charity Shining Hope for Communities, SHOFCO. He says his NGO looks after people in ten slums across Kenya. CNN caught up with him.

ODEDE: Social distancing, to be told, if you have a two-bedroom house, three-bedroom house, here they live in 10-by-10 room, six children. How will they do that? So it's going to be difficult.

I think we just have to be prepared. It's going to be a disaster. Right now, in this community they don't care about corona killing them. They care about they're dying from hunger.

SEVENZO: With no mass testing, the fear here is palpable.

Farai Sevenzo, CNN, Nairobi.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: Textile makers in Haiti will soon be back in business, but growing concern about the coronavirus. The government says operations will restart next week, with regular health inspections to ensure regulations are being followed.

Textile exports are the major source of income for Haiti, and the government is reporting just 41 confirmed cases and only three virus- related deaths.

Bangladesh garment export industry also suffering because of this pandemic. As CNN's senior international correspondent, Ivan Watson, reports, international brands are being called on now to support their suppliers.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Shopping malls in main streets deserted around the world, as workers and shoppers stay home during coronavirus lockdowns. And global demand for clothing collapses.

The impact is devastating for fashion brands and their staff. But nowhere is this pain being felt as sharply as in Bangladesh, which relies on clothing as its main export and economic backbone.

Garment orders worth more than $3 billion are being canceled or suspended, threatening millions of jobs in this impoverished South Asian nation.

AMBIA BEGUM, GARMENT WORKER (through translator): We are facing a lot of problems, as we have to pay rent and buy food. How can we support our families?

FATEMA AKTHER, GARMENT WORKER (through translator): I am poor, and I have a baby and a husband who are both dependent on me. I don't know how I will survive.

WATSON: Anger is rising among factory workers, who are mostly women supporting entire families. They protest in the capital, demanding unpaid wages.

ARUNA KASHYAP, SENIOR RESEARCHER, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: These workers are really poor. They worked in the supply chains and the operations of these brands for months and years. And at this moment of crisis, it's really important for brands and retailers to live up to their human right responsibilities.

[00:50:04]

WATSON: Bangladesh is the world's second biggest garment manufacturer, after China, providing cheap skilled labor to meet the world's demand for fast fashion for international brands such as Gap, Primark and Nike.

RUBANA HUQ, PRESIDENT, BANGLADESH GARMENT MANUFACTURERS & EXPORTERS ASSOCIATION: And it is a plea of humanity. And I don't want any grant. I don't want any kind of charity. I just want the bare minimum justice for our workers.

WATSON: Several brands have now committed to paying for the products they've already ordered. But activists say some companies, including Gap, have so far failed to do that.

In a statement to CNN about this issue, Gap said, "We are acting quickly and prudently to responsibly reduce expenses. We're making decisions based on the best interest of our employees, customers, and partners, as well as long-term health of our business. We're committed to working closely with our long-standing suppliers to best assess how we can work together through this crisis."

The Bangladesh government is also calling for international brands to support their suppliers. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has announced a stimulus package of around a billion dollars, including soft loans to help factories pay their staff.

Some factories are also now producing personal protective equipment, including medical gowns, for domestic use and export, but many are worried that these steps won't be enough to save the industry or the millions of workers who depend on it to feed their families.

Ivan Watson, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: Where there is a need, there is a way. And in some places where there was a shortage of protective equipment, now there is a 3-D printer. We'll show you what these printers can actually do when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VAUSE: A year after a fire devastated Notre Dame in Paris, the cathedral's great bell rang out across the capital on Wednesday, 8 p.m. local time, a tribute to the landmark's resilience and also an honor for healthcare workers and first responders putting their lives on the line in this fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

Work to rebuild the cathedral was suspended in March because of the pandemic.

Necessity is the mother of invention. And around the world, need has seen a burst of innovation, the likes of which would be unthinkable just months ago. As David Culver reports, CD printers -- 3-D printers, I should say, are being used to make much-needed medical supplies.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAVID CULVER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As the novel coronavirus first swept through China, millions went into lockdown. And factories like this one in Wuhou (Ph), where Ben Baltes's Toybox 3-D printers are went dark.

BEN BALTES, OWNER, TOYBOX 3-D PRINTERS: Our supply chain was completely shut down for two months.

CULVER: But as China slowly restarts, Valdez's production is back up. And as millions in the U.S. are now under stay-at-home orders, Toy Box has seen sales go up, driven, he says, by the goodwill of his customers.

BALTES: You know, without our help at all, they essentially formed a Facebook group. And our community was the only really driving it.

CULVER: The Facebook group has become an online forum to share about various medical supplies that can be printed in 3-D.

JENNY LEE, RETIRED SALON OWNER: I just recently retired as a salon owner for 16 years, and I'm a stay-at-home mom now.

[00:55:04]

CULVER: Jenny Lee from Southern California has mobilized her whole family to help. They are help printing out Y-splitters for ventilators. It's a simple plastic that channels air from one input to two outgoing tubes, potentially maximizing the use of ventilators, of which some hospitals are experiencing dire shortages.

LEE: So there's so many people that reach out to me, and I'm like loaded right now. I have, like, so many.

CULVER: In Washington state, aerospace manufacturing engineer Christian Parker, working from home and joining in on that effort, along with his the three kids.

CHRISTIAN PARKER, 3-D PRINTS Y-SPLITTERS FOR VENTILATORS: I am not a medical professional at all. But if this is something that I can give that helps save somebody's life, or helped take stress off of a doctor or take stress off of a nurse or whoever, and help on those front lines, if it does that, then I'm good. And I'll keep doing it. HELEN XUN, JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: So the

splitter will allow for one ventilator to be used by multiple patients.

CULVER: Helen Xun at Johns Hopkins University says several hospitals in the U.S. without enough ventilators are now finding success with the simple Y-splitter.

XUN: So usually, you have one ventilator, one patient, and the clinician can change the settings to give the patient exactly what they need. But what happens when you have multiple patients on one splitter, you don't have as much finetuned control for the patients.

CULVER: So she and her team are now working quickly to develop an advanced type of splitter. In the meantime, she says the simple splitters printed in homes across the U.S. appear to be effective. And they're allowing people of all ages to stay home and help.

ADON WILCOX, 3-D PRINTS Y-SPLITTERS FOR VENTILATORS: Because usually, we'll just print a toy and play with it, but now we're able to help people by printing what they need.

PARKER: And I shipped out 10 units to a lady in California who's coordinating with hospitals in Zimbabwe and Ghana, as well. So we're now reaching international locations.

CULVER: Lee's family is now getting requests for other printed items, like S-clips for face masks.

LEE: I want to do something. At least I put a smile on the nurses and doctors. You know?

BALTES: Nobody really saw coronavirus coming. Supply chains are shot right now, but anyone with a 3-D printer is able to donate these things at home now.

CULVER: Baltes says it's not about people buying his products. In fact, he's made the source code for the splitters, S-clips and even children's face masks free and available for any brand of 3-D printer to use.

From a factory in China to families in the U.S. creating their own at- home assembly lines, a globalized effort to give back.

David culver, CNN, Shanghai.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause.

Please stay with us here on CNN. "AMANPOUR" is up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

END