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Trump Poised to Unveil New Federal Coronavirus Guidelines; US Coronavirus Deaths Are Pacing Slightly Ahead of Projections This Week; Japan's State of Emergency Extended; U.K. Likely to Maintain Social Distancing Until Coronavirus Vaccine Available; Tracking COVID-19 Cases; Unemployment Claims Surge Due to Coronavirus. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired April 16, 2020 - 02:00   ET




JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello and welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm John Vause.

Coming up on CNN NEWSROOM, the rules for reopening: how fast and how soon?

Donald Trump pushing to restart the economy. But mayors and governors are pushing back.

Ominous signs of economic decline from retail sales to jobless numbers, all indications are some difficult days ahead.

Life after COVID-19: defeating the coronavirus it seems is just the beginning. Take a closer look at the long road to recovery.


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

On Thursday, the White House is expected to release the president's guidelines lifting shelter in place and stay-at-home orders across the country. It's not clear how many cities or states intend to follow those guidelines with mayors of major American cities like Los Angeles, New York and New Orleans warning residents not to expect concerts, sporting events or any event with a mass gathering until next year.

The much touted Business Council, more like a series of phone calls between Trump and CEOs, they made it clear that guarantees they want more testing they say is needed before anyone actually comes back to work.

And as we learn about this virus, the worse it seems, a study in the journal "Nature Medicine," saying it could be most contagious 2-3 days before someone who's infected shows any symptoms. And 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 the U.S. has passed 30,000. CNN's Nick Watt has all the day's major developments.


MAYOR ERIC GARCETTI (D-LOS ANGELES, CA): It's difficult to imagine us getting together in the thousands, anytime soon.

NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So, no ball game, no concerts here in Los Angeles says the mayor, maybe for another here. Another year.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): It's over when we have a vaccine. We want to use New York City as a laboratory, we are ready, willing and able.

WATT: But a vaccine could take anywhere from 8-18 months. Meantime, to reopen at all, we need lots of testing and there is a potential impasse.

TRUMP: The governors are supposed to do testing, it's up to the governors.

CUOMO: We cannot do it, at least without federal support.

WATT: We'll reopen a bit, but this summer will still be different to all other summers.

MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D-NYC, NY): If we move to quickly 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.

WATT: California now exploring disposable restaurant menus and servers, wearing face masks.

ROBERT REDFIELD, DIRECTOR, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION: I do think we are going to have some social distancing that's going to be a critical part of our strategy as we go forward.

WATT: Starting soon, New Yorkers must carry a mask everywhere they go and wear it.

CUOMO: Any situation in public where you cannot maintain social distancing.

WATT: New Jersey now names and shames stay-at-home scofflaws.

GURBIR GREWAL, NEW JERSEY ATTORNEY GENERAL: From loitering in public places, to stupid things like holding front lawn Pink Floyd cover band converts. What's encouraging is that there is more compliance now than at the beginning of the emergency.

WATT: Reopening will be rolling regional, New York and New Jersey might have passed the peak. Meanwhile, Massachusetts has climbed to the third highest case count in the country.

ROCHELLE WALENSKY, INFECTIOUS DISEASE PHYSICIAN, MASSACHUSETTS GENERAL HOSPITAL: We're probably going to get a peak number of needs for ventilators in about five to seven days and likely the peak number of deaths five to seven days after that.

WATT: The CDC now estimates nearly 10,000 healthcare workers have been infected with this virus. And the food and retail union now running this PSA says 30 members have been killed by COVID-19.

MARC PERRONE, PRESIDENT, UNITED FOOD AND COMMERCIAL WORKERS INTERNATIONAL UNION: Do I think that they should receive hazard pay or appreciation pay or whatever kind of pay you want to call it, the answer is yes, I do, because they're taking more risk every single day.

WATT: They want grocery clerks designated as extended first responders. Now that is our new normal and it will be for a while.


WATT: California projects to hit its peak need for beds and peak death toll within the coming few days and pre-planning is paying off. This entire hospital was set aside just for COVID patients. And as we approach the peak there is still plenty of capacity -- CNN, Nick Watt, Los Angeles.


VAUSE: CNN is covering this global health crisis. Our international correspondents are reporting from Shanghai, Abu Dhabi, London, Berlin, France.

First this, CNN now reporting U.S. officials are looking into a widely held conspiracy theory that the coronavirus was released from accidentally from the Chinese lab and didn't not come from a wet market in Wuhan.

The Wuhan Institute of Virology has been the focus of reports of poor safety and management. U.S. intelligence sources tell CNN it is believed the virus was not part of a bioweapons program. Trump was asked about these reports at the White House briefing.


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.


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.


VAUSE: 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.

So 850,000 in need of ventilators and there's not enough? KAORI ENJOJI, JOURNALIST: That is right, they're probably only 1,300 according to some associations of these life supports that we will need. And this is a warning call from many doctors over the last couple of weeks. This latest figure that you mentioned, 400,000 possible deaths, is a worst-case scenario that doctors who have been advising the government about the virus put out there to local media.

And they say that unless people take social distancing more seriously, John, you could see cases spike up to as much as 850,000, which is significantly more than the 8,700 cases they have right now.

The absolute number may seem small in comparison but the pace of the increase has not been. You see a doubling of patients in Tokyo in the last eight days. The ICU Association is saying that the number of patients who need life support have doubled over the last two weeks alone.


ENJOJI: And when you consider that the number of intensive care unit beds available in Japan is significantly lower, just 5 per 100,000 patients, which is less than half than Italy has, the outlook is fairly grim.

And when you break that down into areas like Tokyo, which continues to see spikes in patients, there are only 145, according to one association, of these so-called specialized negative pressure rooms that you need when you are trying to contain these infectious diseases.

So these are alarming figures. It comes at a time when, despite the emergency measures the government announced about a week ago, that people are still going outdoors. The government is trying to downplay that it was going to be major change to your daily life.

But that seems to have backfired because people are going about and the parks are fairly crowded in the residential areas. I think governors around the region are trying to be proactive and trying to relay this message that you need to adopt the social distancing measures. And you need to stay away and stay home unless you want to avoid these numbers that the medical association is warning about.

On top of that, you must remember that Japan tests far less than other countries. The prime minister has said he wants to test up to 20,000. But right now the only people that get tested are those who are showing symptoms -- John.

VAUSE: It's one of those wake up moments, so many countries have had that moment when the death toll becomes very real. I guess that's the moment now for Japan. Kaori Enjoji, Kaori, thank you so much.

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.


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. 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.


VAUSE: To the U.K. now, where there is evidence that the curve is starting to flatten. Government officials say is proof that the lockdown is doing what it should.

Hospital admissions are down, falling 1 percent nationwide on Tuesday, 5 percent in greater London. But the number of dead is expected to rise and the stay at home order will likely be extended.


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.


VAUSE: To London and CNN's Nick Paton Walsh.

Nick, when this lockdown went into effect last month, I thought the plan was to review every three weeks, which is where we are at right now.

What criteria are they using to decide when to end these restrictions?

What is the exit strategy?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: That has not been specifically laid out by the British government. They say they're guided by science and they have been looking at the pace of deaths, as you saw there the chief medical officer talking about, the peak having possibly come to now about four days ago, these were the pronouncements for April 12th.

And it's fair to say if you are observing the numbers coming in from hospitals, you want to be sure that they are permanently going down before you suggest that the peak is behind you.


WALSH: The government, too, is facing a complicated task here in that they're reporting on numbers predominantly good news at the moment, one figure standing out from yesterday's briefing, country currently has 2,600 spare capacity hospital beds. This suggests that in fact there are measures to increase the number of intensive care units in places available have been successful.

There are also reports suggesting that some of the excess hospitals built, have not been heavily called upon yet. Too, the fact that we have a daily death toll that is still staggering in the 700s over the last few days but it is not continuing to mount from the horrifying 900 number we saw in the last few days.

So the numbers appear to be giving slow good news, yesterday we were warned of a reporting lag from the holiday weekend behind us in the days ahead in terms of the death toll.

But the British government is facing a complicated task because, it is clear we do not have the testing capacity of other nations to be sure where the virus is or who has had it in the past. And so therefore the criteria appear to be based more on epidemiology and modeling. And today they will have to, it seems, continue the substantial restrictions on people's movement here, the greatest that's happened since World War II.

Still also knowing in the back of their minds the numbers are providing good news. That is a complicated message but not necessarily bad for the United Kingdom. I say good news. We are still losing 700 people per day here in terms of the reported death tolls we're hearing. Adding to that, too, the fact that that's a part of a number, of

numbers of bodies in the U.K. that suggest that's about 50 percent below the true toll -- John.

VAUSE: The numbers are staggering, it's horrendous to think that this is happening everywhere, in U.K. and all around the world, Nick, thank you in London.

The financial toll of this pandemic is growing and more and more signs of a battered workforce.




VAUSE: New York City has more than 6,000 confirmed and more than 4,000 probable coronavirus deaths, according to the city's website. The health department is defining probable death as people who did not have a positive lab test but their death certificate lists COVID-19 as the cause of death.


VAUSE: That is because many of them are dying undiagnosed and alone at home. CNN's Brian Todd has details.


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


TODD (voice-over): 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 nosedive it let his doctors in northeastern Ohio know.

FRAZIER: It told me I needed to be in the E.R. -- I needed to come down to the E.R. immediately. And so that's what I did.

TODD (voice-over): 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 (voice-over): 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 coronavirus from home, where experts say a victim's condition can plummet in an instant.

DR. PETER PRONOVOST, UNIVERSITY HOSPITALS: 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 (voice-over): 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 (voice-over): New York state officials are now scrambling to try to fill those gaps of information, devising ways of counting probably 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-NY), NEW YORK CITY: And it's just horrendous but the numbers speak for themselves. I'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's changed is COVID-19.

TODD (on camera): But experts say getting a truly accurate count of the overall numbers of people who die 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.


VAUSE: While the economic outlook everywhere is bleak, it's only supposed to get worse in the U.S. Weak earnings and a fall in retail sales rocked the stock market on Wednesday. This dire news expected to continue in the coming hours. In weekly jobless claims, the U.S. expected to show another 5 million

people filing for benefits. For the first time in almost 60 years, economic growth in Asia stalled, a flat 0 percent to 2020 according to International Monetary Fund.

Oil prices, a measure for global growth, remain at record lows because of a combination of demand plummeting and oversupply.

Now to Abu Dhabi and to CNN's John Defterios for more on this.

John, with these jobless claims, if it's in fact 5 million people filing for benefits this week, takes it to 15 million since its all began, what does that mean for the pace of unemployment?

JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: Well, the tally is growing at a record pace, John, and we've delved into the lives of people who've lost their jobs, people who are trying to keep a business open.

If you take 5 million in the month it's 20 million, right?

Which is incredible, with the jobless rate, as you're suggesting, at 13 to 15 percent. It will get much worse. The U.S. Federal Reserve suggested 50 million jobless by the end of June. So the pace is picking up rapidly.

That is why we say this is the worst since the Great Depression in the 1930s, no doubt about it. Retail sales as you were suggesting dropped 9 percent, the worst on record. Not too surprising because of the lockdown that we are seeing.


DEFTERIOS: Now we know from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, their virtual spring meetings that take place every year, this time all done online. About 100 countries just over that, have now asked for financial support because of the coronavirus. Here's the managing director of the IMF.


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.


DEFTERIOS: So we talked about, John, the Asian numbers from the International Monetary Fund flatlining in 2020. Now for context, during the global crisis 10 years ago, Asia still grew 4 percent; they've averaged 6 percent growth for the last 20 years.

The U.S. will contract by nearly 6 percent and the largest economy in Europe, talking about the recession there, negative 7 percent for Germany in 2020?

And the fund is saying it will get much worse depending on when we restart the economy or if we have a boomerang, getting the virus for a second time.

VAUSE: It's been a few days now since we had OPEC and Russia and Mexico agreeing to this historic cut in oil, the deepest ever, almost 10 million barrels a day yet the price of oil remains at a record low.

So what's going on?

DEFTERIOS: We crossed $20 for the first time and closed there in 18 years. This is fairly simple, John. We have 3 billion people in lockdown. Demand has dropped. So OPEC's cost 10 million barrels. The U.S. has seen production drop by 2 million barrels this year. So that's 12. Demand is dropping by 30 million barrels.

So the International Energy Agency said we've never added so much capacity in one single week since the 1960s. There is about a half a billion barrels of surplus crude in the United States alone. This is a sensitive issue for Donald Trump because the jobless rate will rise on the oil basis going forward.

VAUSE: Thank you, John Defterios in Abu Dhabi with the latest on those numbers, we appreciate it.

When we come back, surviving COVID-19. We'll talk with someone who went through it all and now is on the road to recovery. What's it like? We'll find out firsthand.




VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody.

More than 2 million people around the world have now been infected with the coronavirus. Johns Hopkins University says 130,000 have died. A new study published in the journal "Nature Medicine" finds people may be most infectious 2-3 days before they show symptoms.


In the U.S., governors and mayors are working for a slow and gradual restart of their economies, which means restrictions on businesses and travel will likely continue well into the next year until there is an effective vaccine.

Right now, the world is learning about this virus in real-time, and along the way, old assumptions are being challenged amid a flurry of new studies, research and anecdotal evidence. Like the belief that once a patient recovers they'll have immunity like they would after most other viral infections, but that might not be the case for COVID- 19. In very serious cases, there's also the unknown long-term impact on

the body, in particular the liver. And for those who fall seriously ill, they describe symptoms of COVID-19 as being like nothing they have experienced before. Mark Campanale was diagnosed with COVID-19 last month. He was discharged from hospital almost two weeks ago. He is with us from London. Mark, it is good see you again. It's been a while. To be totally transparent, I should mention that your wife and my wife are cousins. So it's good to have you with us. Nice to see you.

MARK CAMPANALE, RECOVERING FROM COVID-19: Yes, thanks. Hello from a lockdown city, London.

VAUSE: yes. You know, it turns out that beating this virus, it seems, is just the beginning. So at this point, where would you say you are in terms of making this full recovery?

CAMPANALE: Yeah, I'm feeling a lot better. I mean, last week, I was struggling still. Right now, I'm beginning to get up and about, get out -- getting out of the house. But I feel like I've just done a 10- kilometer run, so my body's not in great shape. It feels like, you know, like you're dizzy and being dragged down. I wasn't expecting that.

VAUSE: And you've lost some weight.

CAMPANALE: I have. Gosh, just in a matter of three weeks, I lost like six kilos. I'm sweating, not eating properly. You know, it just seemed to drop off me. So my jeans are having to cut in a few belt sizes.

VAUSE: OK, well, (INAUDIBLE). You know, what we know about this virus, it targets the lungs and lead to lack of oxygen, which creates a whole lot of complications for you know, the kidneys and the heart, that kind of stuff. So what have doctors told you about you know what the long term prognosis is here?

CAMPANALE: Yes, well, they've not said anything. I think the situation is so grave. You've got a lot of people going to the hospital now. And the same I understand in the U.S., and it's just about processing people. I had great care in the hospital I attended. We have a national health service in the United Kingdom, which means they look after everything for you. And they took great care of me.

But at the time, I was, you know, I got better, I was off the oxygen, and left the hospital, I've not spoken to anyone since then. And they didn't give you really any guidelines. I suspect probably they don't know how long you're contagious for there. I asked him a few times. They said they didn't really know. And they didn't talk to me about lung function or liver function.

I had problems with my lungs. I had a viral pneumonia which was what was diagnosed first, and they took chest x rays, and my chest I can feel my lungs aren't quite right. I know something's happened if you can feel it in your body. But as for what the doctors have said, nothing.

VAUSE: Can you remember what the symptoms were like when they first began? What the feeling was?

CAMPANALE: Yes, I thought I had seasonal flu. I mean, we're talking three, four weeks ago now, before obviously, it's all up in the media now. But then I just thought it was just, you know, flu. I was feeling a bit rough. And then this virus gets grips -- gets to grip with you.

And I went down very quickly with a intense fever like I've not experienced before, but took me to bed and I was sweating and sweating and getting headaches and I was taking fluids. I thought, well, you know, this will go after a few days.

And then after seven, eight days, it just seemed to get worse. Like I had difficulty breathing. And at that point in one night, I decided. I mean, I just was in such a bad state to call an ambulance and they came in and they you know they took one look at me and whisk me off to hospital.

VAUSE: I want to play a quick clip from your time being treated in the hospital. Here it is. I think your wife is asking the questions. Here we go.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How you feeling? CAN you say what -- how you're feeling?


VAUSE: Which pretty much sums it up? I mean, but can you remember much from those days. I mean, you can just see your breathing, you're disorientated, you're so confused as well.

CAMPANALE: Yes. So I mean, as this -- as your body fights back the virus, a lot of stuff closes down. And I was getting very disorientated and I was I couldn't concentrate, and I wasn't doing anything I normally do. I read and I write a lot and you know, I talk to a lot of people. And all of that kind of slows down and those functions kind of stop and you get disorientated very quickly.


VAUSE: You know, the cruel twist here is that even though you've been through all of this, it's entirely possible that you may not be immune. And there's no way to know if you are immune for how long it will last. So again, have you been told much about that by the doctors?

CAMPANALE: No, no, no, nothing. I think the general advice is that you're not contagious after say, seven to 10 days, but I've not been out the house, I wear a mask when I go out the house. And I'm assuming -- I avoid people. I'm assuming that potentially I'm still contagious. And they've not said oh, yes, you're clear. Because obviously there's lots of challenges getting hold of tests.

I got -- I was only tested when I got into hospital after day or two, and then they confirmed COVID-19. But they -- I mean, so little is known about it. They -- I don't think the doctors really were able to advise me as to whether I'm unlikely to get it again. And it's -- I'm assuming that it's like the flu. You're fine for season, then it comes back and it gets you again. But that's why we so desperately need, you know, a vaccine.

VAUSE: Well, Mark, you know, (INAUDIBLE) and everybody are just so very pleased that you're on the mend and gone through this. Good to see.

CAMPANALE: Good to see you. Thanks a lot.

VAUSE: Cheers.


VAUSE: You're welcome. Well, for the first time since this pandemic began, hospitals in France are seeing a decline in the total number of patients. And for the seventh straight days, the number of patients treated in the intensive care has fallen. Official say that's a direct result of a nationwide lockdown. Even so, the death toll has now passed 17,000.

CNN's Cyril Vanier joins me now from Normandy, France. So Cyril, what we saw in this death toll just what, 24 hours, it has been significantly bumped up, I think from 15,000 to 17,000. What's happened?

CYRIL VANIER, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Yes, John, I'm actually glad that you asked that question and that you put your finger on that because that number is slightly misleading. And I want to shed some light on that. The accounting in France and the tallying of the deaths has been changing over time to become more accurate, and it's pulling on different strands of information coming from different places, whether it's hospitals, whether it's nursing homes, whether it's the general population to give the best reflection possible of the number of people not only infected, but then who unfortunately passed away due to Coronavirus.

Another thing that we're seeing is that there is sometimes a lag in that reporting. And because of Easter Monday, the number of deaths tallied from the nursing homes, basically that's a cumulative number over several days, which is why you saw what initially looked like a sharp increase in the number of daily deaths yesterday. That actually has to be flattened out, averaged out over a number of days.

Now, to address what you said earlier, the turning point in France or really the headline in the numbers was that for the first time, France is seeing fewer people and fewer Coronavirus patients in hospital as compared to the day before. That is the first time that has happened. And that means the burden on the French health system is easing.

It also means it's good news for the days and weeks to come. Because obviously, the number of people who go into hospital, a fraction of those are then going to need intensive care. And sadly, a fraction of those statistically end up passing away. So if you have fewer people in hospital, that also means that down the line, downstream from today, we're going to see fewer people needing intensive care and fewer people whose lives will be taken by the virus, John.

VAUSE: At this point, we're looking at a lot of countries who are either using or considering digital tracking of infected patients, using their cell phones. This is one way of tracking the spread and containing it. But in France, that might not be so easy. Why is that?

VANIER: Well, it's going to be a political question. It's really at the moment, it's being set up as a debate between the health needs and civil liberty needs. So France has looked at what other countries, especially Asian countries have done.

And France acknowledges that digital tracking of the sick has been used effectively in multiple countries in Asia, whether it's Singapore, whether it's China. And France, his own scientific council, that is the board of scientists that advises the government has flagged digital tracking of the sick as one of the tools needed to start reopening the country.

Once you allow more people to leave their homes, more people are going to get this virus are going to be infected and you have to be able to keep track of them so that you can also keep track of other people they may have been affected. But that's where the problem lies. That means that your sensitive medical information is going to be recorded on your smartphone or on some digital tool and is then going to be tracked and possessed and kept track of by some third party, whether it's the government or whether there are private companies and interests involved in that technology.

And you know, France is an old democracy that values its civil liberties very highly. And when the President addressed the nation on Monday, he did say, look, this is one tool. This is one path we're going to look at, but I will not let this crisis impinge on our individual freedoms in any way. So he set the bar very high for a technology like this to be used and he wants lawmakers to be able to debate this before May 11th, the date he has set for the gradual reopening of the country.


VAUSE: Cyril, we appreciate the update. Thank you so much for being with us. Cyril Vanier there in Normandy in France. I appreciate it. And when we come back, we'll have more on digital tracking, how it works, and what it actually does mean for your privacy.


VAUSE: Until there's a vaccine for the Coronavirus, and that could take more than a year at best, health experts say widespread screening will be needed before easing up on social distancing. But for testing to be effective, it must be followed by contact tracing. In other words, tracking down anyone an infected person had recently had contact.

Public health experts have been doing this during epidemics for generations. It's one way to read a few new cases from becoming an outbreak. And that process was a bit like old school detective work, but not now. In the 21st century, your smartphone knows where you were last night. CNN Donie O'Sullivan reports now on how the technology works.


DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Remember when Spring Breakers in Florida wouldn't stop partying even after the Coronavirus pandemic hit the United States? What happened when spring break was over?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We can actually track movement of these devices over the remaining weeks of March, seeing where these devices went after Spring Breakers left the beach.

JOSH ANTON, FOUNDER AND CEO, X-MODE: So what you're seeing in this video is what happens if people do not exercise social distancing, where a group of individuals, you know or a few thousand people, in this case, gathered at a beach in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. And all the places they've traveled, showcasing how interconnected our world is.

O'SULLIVAN: Josh Anton runs X-Mode, a company that tracks the movement of devices like cell phones. His team says it's used location data to track where everyone on the beach in Fort Lauderdale in March went after they left, including those Spring Breakers


ANTON: From New York, to the Midwest, even Canada. You know the power of this location data, it can be used to understand not only, you know, how people and where people are traveling, post-gathering, but also potentially to prepare and to be proactive that something happens, right? To be able to identify future hotspots of where the Coronavirus could happen before it happens.

O'SULLIVAN: But the applications of X-Mode's technology go way beyond sunburned coeds. Anton says the company tracks 25 million devices every month in the United States and millions more around the world. X-Mode says it would be willing to work with governments and other groups to help stop the spread of the Coronavirus.

ANTON: We work with, you know, apps that have a real location use for -- use case for running location, whether it's transit apps, whether it's weather apps or apps that alert you about the earthquakes happening near you, right? We then integrate our location technology to allow data sharing, where user can opt in to sharing their location data.

We comply with GDPR, we comply with CCPA, but we try to go a step beyond that, which is, you know, being what we call privacy-conscious.

O'SULLIVAN: The company claims and licenses that data to third parties, including advertisers, without any personal identifying information.

Can your technology be used to track individuals? Can it track me? ANTON: It could, right? But we don't allow that. We don't allow any of our partners to do that because we just don't think that's the right thing to do.

O'SULLIVAN: While Anton says his company makes every effort to keep data secure and doesn't identify the owners of the devices it is tracking, there are serious privacy concerns about this kind of technology. In 2018, a New York Times investigation showed how location data could be used to identify the specific owner of a particular device.

You know, I don't think a lot of people realize that even this technology exists, that it's out there, and I think some people are pretty creeped out. What would you say to folks who have concerns when they sort of see that you can track devices like this?

ANTON: I'm going to quote Uncle Ben from Spider Man, which is, with great power comes great responsibility, right? You know, I think there's a fine line -- I think it's very important that users consent to this. And it's very important that you act with that data.


VAUSE: Yves-Alexandre de Montjoye joins us now from London. He's a professor at the Imperial College and an expert on data privacy. So Yves-Alexandre, thank you so much for taking the time. I want to start with the upside here. Because the reality is there really isn't a better device to do this to know where you are, where you've been. You know, your smartphone is always with you. It's like having a police informant sitting on your shoulder. And it's already been successful in contact tracing. So that's the upside, right?

YVES-ALEXANDRE DE MONTJOYE, PROFESSOR, IMPERIAL COLLEGE, LONDON: Yes, no, absolutely. I mean, the device can be very, very useful. The question is very much how do you use it while preserving privacy?

VAUSE: And we're looking at the situation that we have right now with this pandemic. They're talking about a special pandemic app for this system to work. So how many would need to download that app? Is it the majority? Is it the minority? What are the numbers here?

DE MONTJOYE: I mean, I'm not the expert on the epidemiological side of thing, but people have been throwing numbers around 60 percent.

VAUSE: And the problem that we have right now is that we are in this real struggle, this global health crisis. And the benefits of using a cell phone for tracing those who made be infected, at the moment, it seems to outweigh the risk to our privacy. But that's right now. What happens when this pandemic is over? Can you put the data back in the cell phone? How do we know how that information will be used later on and by who?

DE MONTJOYE: Absolutely. But I think most importantly, even now, we don't really have to make that trade off. I know it has been presented as well. It's either we can -- we can help curb the spread of the disease, or we can keep our privacy. I think what a lot of good work that has been published in the last couple of weeks shows is that actually you can do both.

If the protocol, if the apps are well designed, you can actually do contact tracing while preserving people's privacy, and in a way that is absolutely compliant with GDPR or CCPA.

VAUSE: I think, you know, your specialty in many ways has been able to sort of re-identify people who have been involved in stuff like this and essentially when there have been promises made that, you know, they would remain anonymous. So how easy is it if someone wants to re- identify, you know, out of this data? How simple is that process?

DE MONTJOYE: I mean, it very much depends on the protocol and the way the app is built. I think a lot of the work that we've been doing has been around demographic location data. And indeed, there we show that very quickly the data, it's quite rich, and it's quite easy to uniquely identify people.

So for example, in the paper we published in 2013, using mobile phone data location. We show that basically knowing four places and times where you were, is enough to uniquely identify you 95 percent of the time. So within 95 percent of the time, you're the only person that was on those four places at those four times.


VAUSE: So when governments and big tech companies say, you know, hand on heart, we won't identify you, we promise. This will all remain anonymous. Seriously, how are you meant to -- they take them seriously and believe what they're saying, because there's always seems to end badly.

DE MONTJOYE: Yes. And that's why in this case, and especially as we would need to have 60 percent of the people trusting the company, the government enough to install this app, we need to be what I call overly transparent with exactly how the app work, exactly what are the security protocols that are being put in place, what are the privacy mechanisms that are being put in place, and really making sure that we can -- we can see the protocol, we can see the code, we can see the build, before they are being launched. It can be looked and inspected by researchers before launching any app. That's how you're going to build, you know, confidence.

VAUSE: And as someone who knows a lot about privacy and how these things work, you honestly think that it can be done in such a way to maintain privacy because the benefits and the risks that you may lose on privacy, but the benefits are just so I guess, immense in being able to contain this pandemic and other pandemics, that it's worth taking that chance?

DE MONTJOYE: Yes. And we do thing -- I mean, again, nothing is absolutely 100 percent perfect. But everything that has been done and research so far in the past couple of weeks are really showing that there are ways to do it properly. There are ways to do contact tracing while preserving privacy and some really good protocols they've already been proposed. So I really think we can do that. VAUSE: OK, Yves-Alexandre, thanks so much. We appreciate your insights and I hope you're right because obviously, it's something we need right now. Thank you.

DE MONTJOYE: Thank you.

VAUSE: Well, Russia has seen its biggest increase in cases yet. Nearly 3,400 reported on Wednesday alone. It comes as Russian President Vladimir Putin during a video call with officials announced a $2.7 billion economic aid package spent to support regions all across the country.


VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT, 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 work is underway to support the economy and the citizens have a big load, the regions must have the financial resources for this.


VAUSE: Russia has officially reported almost 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. Well, after vanishing from public view for more than a month, the president of Nicaragua has suddenly reappeared, vowing to win the fight against the Coronavirus.

In a televised speech Wednesday, Daniel Ortega did not address his long absence, which would raise questions about his health. Instead, he tried to reassure the public that Nicaragua is capable of dealing with this pandemic. He also defended his decision not to impose social distancing measures saying the country will continue working during the outbreak.

Well, grueling hours, some pretty grim conditions and hospitals are being pushed to the brink. But now, the heroic healthcare workers are looking to survivors for a reason to celebration. That's next.



VAUSE: Well, around the world, doctors and nurses are working 24/7 to care for tens of thousands of coronavirus patients. But these long and grueling days, they still have a moment to give survivors a send-off they'll never forget. Here's CNN's Anna Stewart.


ANNA STEWART, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A standing ovation for a patient leaving a hospital. Workers at Baystate Health in Massachusetts say they wanted to honor survivors of COVID-19. And while the applause drowns it out in the background, the theme from the movie Rocky is playing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The staff was asked they said, we love the Rocky theme song. We use our system to call a code Rocky, and anyone that's available can come to our lobby masked and appropriately socially distant and cheer for the patient.

STEWART: The patient in the video is Yolanda Mendez, a care home worker now recovering at home. Her recovery, she says, is a miracle. Thanks to her faith and the hospital staff.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The security guard, police, the president, it was an overwhelming happiness, joy, I cannot describe.

STEWART: Joy for patients but also the staff.


VAUSE: Well, the pandemic is certainly bringing out the best of many people. It's hard to find someone better than this guy. Tom Moore, 99 years old, British army captain in World War II. He set a goal to walk 100 lengths on his garden before his 100th birthday, hoping to raise about 1,000 quid, about $1,200, wanted to donate to the fight against the Coronavirus.

Get this. He's now surpassed that raising over $14.5 million. Tom was final 10 laps set for Thursday. Thousands now cheering him on every step of the way. Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause. Stay with us. A lot more news after a very short break with my colleague Rosemary Church. Stay with us.