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Trump Unveils Three-Phase Approach to Reopen Economy; U.K. Extends Lockdown Until at Least May 7; U.S. Explores if Virus Spread from Chinese Lab, Not a Market; China Q1 GDP Posts First Decline on Record; U.K. Company Hopes to Begin Mass Producing Antibody Tests; U.S. States Weigh Easing Stay-at-Home Restrictions; Telemedicine Gets Boost from COVID-19 Outbreak; Brazil's President Fires Health Minister; Women Leaders Praised for COVID-19 Response; Gold Medal Skier Opens Up About Father's Death; 99-Year-Old Vet Raises Millions for U.K. Health Workers. Aired 12-1a ET
Aired April 17, 2020 - 00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hello. Welcome to our viewers, joining us from around the world. I'm John Vause.
Coming up this hour on CNN NEWSROOM, the urge to re-emerge. Around the world, governments are looking to ease restrictions to get workers back on the job, restart long-stalled economies, but with no vaccine and know no widespread testing in many places, there are fears the virus could flare again.
Plus, the U.S. president who claimed total authority over when and how the country would restart, issues guidelines and recommendations which many states are already ignoring.
And China denies the leak from the lab allegation, insisting the coronavirus, was not released from a high-level security laboratory which just happens to be in Wuhan, not far from the wet market where they say the pandemic began.
Around the world many governments are balancing the desperate need to end shelter-in-place orders, or lift lockdowns to restart their economies and the very real possibility that any let-up could see a surge in new cases of the coronavirus, erasing all the gains made after painful shutdowns of entire countries.
The virus has been detected in at least 185 countries and regions. And Johns Hopkins University says worldwide, more than 2.1 million people have been infected. More than 144,000 people have died.
Singapore had been seen as a success story in dealing with the pandemic, but the city state saw its largest single-day increase in infections since the outbreak began, with the government reporting more than 700 new cases on Thursday. And then there is the economic toll which has gone from horrendous to
devastating to overwhelming. The French government has vowed to do whatever it takes to protect business, from the worst economic crisis since 1945.
And the powerhouse of Europe, Germany, is looking at a massive economic recession and warns life will not be the same once the pandemic is over.
With more than 90 percent of the U.S. under stay-at-home orders, President Trump continues to push for a May 1 deadline to try and reopen the country, announcing new federal guidelines for lifting restrictions. These were guidelines and recommendations. They were not decrees, and they suggest that the state should see a downward trend in cases for two weeks, before entering a three-phased gradual approach to reopening schools, restaurants and larger public venues.
The president says these guidelines are not mandatory, which as CNN's Kaitlan Collins reports, is a reversal of his claims earlier this week.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The president is unveiling these new guidelines he says ae the first steps to re-opening the U.S. economy, and on a call he had with governors shortly before he unveiled these in the briefing room, the president backed off his claims of total authority to tell states what to do, those the claims that he made earlier this week, when he now told governors they are going to be the ones calling the shots about when it is that their states will reopen.
And if you read through these guidelines, there are several phases. The president says it's a slow start, step-by-step, that you're going to see these states start to reopen, but none of the guidelines in here are state-specific. Though the president did say he believes there are some states that could start doing this right away. That they do not have to wait for the end of April and wait for those guidelines that they put out in recent weeks to expire. They can go ahead and move ahead with these new phases.
Now while these phases lay out when they believe that schools, gyms, whatnot should start reopening, there is a little bit of a sense of vague numbers here. It doesn't really say when these states should start doing it, what levels of cases they have in their states. Instead, it just says as long as they've had this downward trend for a certain amount of days, then they can feel comfortable moving from certain phases to another phase.
Now, of course, one thing that is not addressed in this packet of guidelines the president distributed to these governors is a strategy for a national testing system. Over the last several days, the president has heard concerns from senators, from governors, from business executives, who are worried that there are still inadequate testing throughout the nation, and therefore, it is going to hinder any kind of attempt to reopen the country And when the president was asked about this at the briefing, he repeatedly deferred to states to say it's up to them to be the ones to make sure that they are up to par with testing before they start reopening businesses and sending kids back to school and people back to work, though of course, there are a going to be looming concerns. Because a lot of the concerns we've heard from states is they are saying they need the federal government's help, in order to get to that place.
Kaitlan Collins, CNN, the White House.
VAUSE: Dr. Amy Compton Phillips is a CNN medical analyst and chief clinical officer for Providence St. Joseph Health. She is with us this hour from Seattle.
Doctor, thank you for taking the time.
I want to start with many countries now looking at trying to ease up these restrictions, or if they're not in the process of doing that, they're planning to do that.
It seems to come back all the time for this issue of widespread testing, and here in the U.S., President Trump on Thursday had yet another misleading statement on testing. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have now completed more than 3.5 million tests, by far the most anywhere in the world. Areas of our country that have been hotspots have done much more testing, on a per capita basis, than South Korea. We've done more than South Korea. And South Korea has done a good job, but we've done more.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: He means that, you know, one in 100 people in the U.S. have been tested, which is far fewer than a lot of other countries.
And now, we have these White House guidelines, which actually leave widespread testing to the individual states. Firstly, do the states have the resources, the capability, or the intention to start screening?
DR. AMY COMPTON PHILLIPS, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Well, every state would absolutely love to start screening, but unfortunately, the capacity just doesn't exist right now.
So we have been ratcheting up capacity, both at state labs, at hospital labs, and at commercial labs, but we're not at the level that that we can do widespread testing, particularly for asymptomatic people, which when you're starting to talk about unleashing the economy again, you have to really ramp up the number of people that get tested, whether they have symptoms or not. And we're not there yet.
VAUSE: Well, the World Health Organization released their own guidelines a few days earlier, for the conditions which they say are needed before these restrictions can be eased. That includes healthcare systems which can "detect, test, isolate and treat every case and trace every contact."
While testing is left at the state level, it seems unlikely the U.S. will ever actually reach that standing, right?
PHILLIPS: It will be very important to coordinate across state lines, and right now, what you've seen in the U.S. is actually collaborations of neighboring states, forming those kinds of consortia, because we know people moved back and forth again. It's not -- they don't -- I'm in Seattle. I could easily drive down to Portland and drive back up again.
And if you have very different levels of infection and very different capacity to detect infection, you would simply be bringing an infection from one location to another if that happens. So we really need to act in a coordinated fashion.
VAUSE: If we look at Germany, which has been praised as one of the few countries which has done a lot of things right during this pandemic, and that includes early and widespread testing, more than any other country in Europe.
And now some businesses are being allowed to reopen next week. And at this point, they're saying testing will be ramped up even further, and the E.U. is advising member states, if they want to lift lockdowns they should have, you know, a German-style testing regime that allows for tracing and quarantining of those who are sick, while also slowly allowing those who are not to go back to some activities.
So on the one hand, the Europeans and the WHO are saying restriction restrictions should be lifted in tandem with widespread testing. In the U.S., though, it just seems to be this optional extra. Something which is not needed, and it doesn't make any sense how those two things can exist in the same universe.
PHILLIPS: I think you're actually right. So I think what's really important, you know, Germany from the very beginning has had a plan, and they stuck with that plan, and they followed that plan very cohesively and regularly.
And so that's what we're really looking for here is to actually have a cohesive, coherent plan that we can stick with, we can follow that makes epidemiological sense, that's scientifically valid, and we can enact.
And so I think -- I think that many people are trying to work on creating that plan. The governments are trying to work on creating that plan. But we need to have a plan and stick with it that we can actually implement. And that absolutely includes testing, tracing, quarantine, being able to enter the context of anybody with the infection, knows that they've been in contact.
VAUSE: A plan. A plan would be good. There was a plan. It was the pandemic playbook but it didn't get used, unfortunately.
Of course, as soon as we have a vaccine, then, all the stuff isn't really necessary, I guess.
I want you to listen to Adrian Hill. He is a researcher from Oxford, and he says they may have a vaccine ready by the end of this year. And that includes human trials. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ADRIAN HILL, LEAD RESEARCHER, OXFORD UNIVERSITY: It's a very potent vaccine technology. It works for a -- with a single dose, and regulators have seen it so many times before that they have the confidence to give us the go-ahead to try and see if we can get an efficacy result this summer.
And that's important, not just because we want the vaccines sooner rather than later, but it's crucial to vaccinate while there's still a peak of the epidemic in the country. Because that means you can get a result in a couple of thousand people, hopefully, rather than 20,000 or 200,000, which you would need once the pandemic dies down.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: OK, there's a couple of things here. So explain why it is that this, you know, human trials, which we were told would be the slowest part, seems to be accelerating quite quickly with this vaccine. If they pull that off how remarkable would that be, and lastly, at that point, he's talking about why is it better to test during the peak? We'll have the vaccine ready for the peak?
PHILLIPS: Yes. So it would be really remarkable. I would be absolutely delighted if this works.
But -- but I do think, you know, miracles are miracles and they're unusual. So -- so I think that -- that I would be cautiously optimistic that this is the one big answer.
We still don't really even understand the immune response to this virus quite yet. You know, we don't know how quickly the IGM and IGG that typically are protective against the virus, when they actually go up and whether or not they do confer immunity, because we're seeing reports about people who have the -- have been infected previously, and now are testing positive for the virus again.
So we need to understand some of the immune response, which is going to be really important in vaccine development.
The reason why testing a vaccine when there's a lot of the virus, a lot of the disease circulating, is because you can actually see a difference faster. And so that's what he was referring to with testing the vaccine during the peak.
VAUSE: We're out of time, but thank you so much for being with us and walking through all of this, because it's -- there's so much out there in terms of hope with the vaccine. And a lot of it, as you say, it's in that miracle category, which we're all hoping happens. But it's no guarantee. Doctor, thank you.
PHILLIPS: Thank you.
VAUSE: So one topic on COVID-19 tests that I did not get to ask the doctor about was from the U.K.
Back in march and before he was diagnosed with the virus, Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressed the ideal testing in this way, with a quote, saying, "As simple as a pregnancy test, that could tell whether you have had the disease. And its early days, but if it works as its proponents claim" -- these are these new tests -- "then we will buy literally hundreds of thousands of these kits as soon as practicable. But obviously, it has to the potential to be a total game changer."
So testing, it seems, is not just as simple as that. The British government has actually found out that those test kits don't work. And they paid millions of dollars for them, and now they've had to send them back.
In the meantime, the U.K. government extending stay-at-home orders for at least three more weeks. The foreign secretary says measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus have been successful.
CNN's Nic Robertson explains on what it will take to begin reopening the country.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, the government, of course, has been under a lot of pressure to give an indication of how it will extend the current lockdown. How -- what its exit strategy is.
We got our first indications of that from the government today. The secretary of state for foreign affairs, also the first secretary of state for the country, Dominic Raab, laid it out, five points. Point No. 1, that the health service can cope, meaning that they've got enough critical care beds.
Secondly, that there is a sustained and measured decrease in the number of deaths.
Thirdly, that there is reliable data. And I think that's an important point, reliable data that the number of infections are going down.
So what the government is telling us here is that this is going to be science-led. The full thing, and this is something the government has been criticized for failing on so far, failing to have enough personal protective equipment, PPE, and feeling to have enough tests to test the presence of the virus. The government says the fourth point is they must know that they have
adequate and capable amounts of PPE and tests available.
And the fifth point they say -- and again, this is a very important one -- that the National Health Service, the health service can cope with any eventuality, that whatever the government does to get out of the current lockdown situation doesn't create a second wave, a second spike of infections that would overwhelm the health service.
So those are the five points that the government's laid out very clear. For now, that lockdown is going to stay in place, until the seventh of May. It will come up for review, then, in three weeks.
Nic Robertson, CNN, London.
VAUSE: Well, the U.S. says it's looking into what many have called a conspiracy theory. And there is a new report claiming that China sat on critical information for a number of days, and that Beijing has been holding crucial information.
CNN's David Culver reports now from Shanghai.
DAVID CULVER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: At the start of the outbreak, this is where China directed the world's attention, suggesting that this Wuhan seafood market was the source of the novel coronavirus outbreak.
CNN even traveled there just before the city lockdown in January. Officials had shut down the wet market, and security told us to leave.
U.S. intelligence officials tell CNN they are investigating another possible source, suggesting the virus may not have originated naturally, as China has advertised. But rather that it possibly started in a Wuhan lab.
Sources say it is one of many origin theories the U.S. is looking into.
Chinese officials pushing back against that claim on Thursday, the foreign ministry spokesperson dismissing that the virus started in a lab, instead stressing that, quote, "This is a scientific issue that should be studied by scientists and medical experts."
Yet, it is the same spokesperson who last month floated a controversial theory, tweeting that it might be the U.S. Army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan.
TRUMP: China tried to say at one point -- maybe they stopped now -- that it was cause by American soldiers. That can't happen. It's not going to happen, not as long as I'm president. It comes from China. CULVER: The latest debate over the virus's actual origin coincides
with a damning Associated Press report. It claims China sat on critical information for six full days, from January 14 until January 20, downplaying the outbreak in public before finally revealing the full scope of the threat.
The A.P. report is based on what they characterized as a memo from a January 14 confidential teleconference involving the head of China's National Health Commission.
CNN has combed through the government's public report of that teleconference, which was released more than a month after it took place. It says a, quote, "sober understanding of the situation" was made known to top Chinese government officials, adding that, quote, "clustered cases suggest that human-to-human transmission is possible."
But that was not the message shared publicly from health officials at the time. In fact, as hundreds of millions traveled, leading up to the lunar new year holiday, mass gatherings at airports and railway stations, the Wuhan health commission maintained that the outbreak was controllable and preventable and that this was not contagious.
It was not until January 20 that leading health officials acknowledged publicly cases of human-to-human transmission. And they even stated that medical personnel had gotten infected.
CNN spoke with one of the doctors who early on tried to sound the alarm and contracted the illness.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING CHINESE)
GRAPHIC: I can barely breathe.
CULVER: Wuhan ophthalmologist Dr. Li Wenliang was reprimanded in early January by Wuhan police. They accused the 34-year-old of spreading rumors after he had messaged friends, warning them of a SARS-like illness going around.
Instead of listening to his warning, police silenced Dr. Li and other whistleblowers. He died of coronavirus in early February.
CNN's early reporting also highlighted an under-reporting of cases, Wuhan residents telling us that their loved ones were never tested, despite suffering from coronavirus-like symptoms. Instead, their deaths listed as severe pneumonia. Whether it was intentional or due to a lack of testing, for some, China's reported numbers of coronavirus cases and deaths does not add up.
MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: The mere fact that we don't know the answers, that China hasn't shared the answers, I think, is very, very telling.
CULVER (on camera): China has repeatedly maintained that they have been open and forthcoming in their handling of this outbreak. On Wednesday, China's foreign ministry said that, in an open and transparent, and responsible manner, China has kept the WHO and relevant countries updated on the outbreak.
But if the only cover-up and mishandling at the local level was, in fact, known by top officials, their delayed action might overshadow the massive containment effort that China so proudly promotes.
David Culver, CNN, Shanghai.
VAUSE: China's run of uninterrupted economic growth has come to a screeching halt. The government was forced to shut down the economy for weeks at the beginning of the year, and that has resulted in a contraction of 6.8 percent for the first quarter.
This is just another sign of how devastating this virus has been on economies both big and small.
Let's go to Steve Jiang now, live in Beijing, for more on these numbers.
This is actually even worse than what they were expecting, right? I mean, and when you look at these numbers, it hasn't been this bad, since, what, 1976?
STEVEN JIANG, CNN SENIOR PRODUCER: That's right. It's been unprecedented. The last time they had this kind of economic contraction was, as you mentioned, when Chairman Mao was ruling the country.
So not only the GDP contraction mentioned, but some other figures that came out this morning were equally horrific. For example, retail figures, down almost 20 percent for the first quarter, which normally was one of their biggest busiest shopping seasons, because it included the lunar Chinese new year holiday period, and also industrial output from large factories, down more than eight percent, and export/import, down more than 6 percent.
So these numbers are just horrific to look at, but when you translate them into what's going on in the ground, it's even more worrying, because that means more and more businesses, especially small and medium-sized ones, private ones are going to close it. They're not going to make it, and the more people will face unemployment.
So these, of course, will translate into social instability, always the government's top concern.
Now, I was walking around, John, in a shopping district in Beijing, one of the busiest places in the city, just a few days ago. In this mall, I saw, like, on the first floor, a majority, over 60 percent of shops, have closed doors. They have signs of closure, or landlords posting numbers, looking for new tenants.
And I was talking to this one owner of a bar. He has reopened. The business has been abysmal, because not only people are not still reluctant to go out. They also have been ordered to only take in 40 percent of capacity. And that is just one bar. Most of the entertainment and leisure industry has been ordered to remain close.
And then, we've been hearing reports from parts of the country where factories have reopened, but then re-closed because of lack of businesses, as the rest of the world, as you know, continues to face this pandemic. And so a lot of these export-oriented factories just simply have no clients right now.
So all of these anecdotal evidence, coupled with these numbers, I mean, Chinese -- the Chinese economy is not really out of the woods yet, despite officials pointing to some bright spots, for example, some signs of rebounding in March, the narrowing of contractions, losses in march. And they're expecting an even better second quarter GDP, you know, compared to the first quarter.
But despite all of these encouraging words from officials, they are still facing a very bleak future, at least for now, John.
VAUSE: Sometimes the best way to get an idea of what's happening in China, because the numbers are often not very reliable, but it's shoe leather. Walk around, look what's happening. And what's obviously happening in Beijing is not good.
So Steven, thank you for the insight. Thank you for being there. Appreciate it.
Well, there is promising news out of the U.K. on the race to mass produce a reliable COVID-19 antibody test. We'll explain why there is hope one might be available, and available soon. Stay with us.
VAUSE: Well, in Britain, one company says it's very close to producing thousands of quick, reliable, affordable antibody testing kits. An antibody test is often cited as being essential to return to normal life, because it should tell if an infected person have developed antibodies for COVID-19, which may protect them moving forward, give them an immunity.
Now, CNN's Nick Paton Walsh has details.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): We know little about the virus that's emptied our world, but cling to one hope: that if you've had it, you might be immune, for a short while, at least.
(on camera): In deserted cities like London and around the world, the question is, is there an antibody test out there that's reliable enough to tell if you've had the disease, and it might be safe to go back to work?
(voice-over): It's a massive global race to an antibody test, with possibly one British solution. Company Mologic say they have a quick test, and after lengthy validation by independent scientists will, in days, have European self-certification.
They do hope to do hundreds of thousands in a laboratory this month, and within weeks, make ten-minute home testing kits.
Professor Sanjeev Krishna has been validating these tests at St. George's Hospital, London.
SANJEEV KRISHNA, PROFESSOR OF MEDICINE, ST. GEORGE'S UNIVERSITY OF LONDON: I'm very pleased with the results that we've seen so far. We have done quite a lot of work to ensure that the test does detect antibodies in those people who have definitely had the virus. And we're now expanding those studies to look at and see how specific the test is.
WALSH: By specific, he means the important part, to be sure the test doesn't mistake other viruses or health problems for the coronavirus. This is a prototype version of the test, for use by doctors or healthcare workers in hospital.
KRISHNA: And who is at the greater risk than healthcare workers taking care of patients with COVID-19?
WALSH: They hope to soon make a version for the home -- This is Sanjeev's kitchen -- for everyone for as little as $1.20.
KRISHNA: Collect your blood.
WALSH: This test contains tiny, inert traces of the virus and shows a line when the antibodies in your blood react with them. Mologic hope all their validating gives them an edge in the crowded market, and even approval by the WHO or FDA soon, for the final goal of mass, cheap home tests.
Krishna tested negative, by the way.
JOE FITCHETT, MEDICAL DOCTOR, MOLOGIC: So if the test comes out to be exceptionally accurate, it takes 10 minutes, and they can certain (UNINTELLIGIBLE). But the way we are approaching it at the moment, is we have a well-functioning laboratory test that is robust, that is validating this week. And we can scale manufacturing to high numbers. But we want to see light at the end of the tunnel, and we need to make sure it's on the headlights (ph). And there is some lines (ph). And we will keep working on ensuring get a good reliable test that does more benefit than harm.
WALSH: Science facing huge hurdles of mass production and accuracy but also, to promise the hope they bring is real.
Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, London.
VAUSE: Well, the U.S. president believes some states will be able to reopen and reopen soon, but the leaders of those states say not so fast. Without widespread testing or the vaccine, easing lockdowns could come with a huge risk.
Also, how one group is leading the charge against the coronavirus and while their male counterparts should -- should be paying attention.
VAUSE: Welcome back to our viewers here in the U.S. and around the world. I'm John Vause. We'll have an updated now on our top stories this hour.
Singapore is reporting its largest spike in coronavirus cases to date within 24 hours, reporting 728 new infections on Thursday. The government says many of them are among the country's migrant workers.
China's reporting a 6.8 percent slump for its first quarter GDP, the biggest decline in decades. The contraction is one of the starkest economic signals to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic so far.
The U.S. president now says it's up to state leaders to decide when to ease social distancing restrictions. The White House, though, has issued guidelines to help the governors. It comes in three phases. Each phase depends on how much the number of the coronavirus cases are falling and whether hospitals can treat patients without being in crisis.
Well, for President Trump's former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, the pandemic means release from federal prison. He's serving three years, and 21 inmates and staff at his jail have tested positive for the virus.
Two years ago, before there was a pandemic, Cohen pleaded guilty to tax Freud -- tax fraud, rather, campaign finance violations, and lying to Congress. He was scheduled for release in November 2021. He'll now serve the rest of his time at home.
Governors in the U.S. have taken the lead on how and when they will emerge from lockdown. Some have extended stay-at-home orders. Others are planning a slow and gradual reopening. But much depends on a scarce resource: coronavirus testing kits.
Erica Hill reports.
GOV. NED LAMONT (D-CT): If we've gone after the testing agents a few months ago, we'd be in a very different position than we are today.
ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR/CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Testing and tracing key to any phased reopening. Minnesota's governor wants to test 5,000 people a day before making any substantial changes. Massachusetts announcing a community tracing initiative to track those who have tested positive for COVID-19 and anyone they've had contact with.
GOV. CHARLIE BAKER (R-MA): We consider this to be a critical effort to not only slow the spread of coronavirus, but to help our commonwealth return to some semblance of normal life while keeping an eye on where the virus is still present.
HILL: In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo calling for the federal government to step up, while also offering insight into when businesses can reopen.
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): This is not just government deciding. It's government deciding with private businesses, who now have to take a look at this new normal, this new reality, and tell us how they think they can adjust to it. One of our questions and evaluations is how essential is that business service?
HILL: As the president issues new guidelines, states continue with their own.
GOV. GINA RAIMONDO (D-RI): We're all sick of it, we all wonder is it necessary? Wearing a mask makes it even more difficult, but the answers are it is necessary.
HILL: New mandates for face coverings, stay-at-home orders extended in New York and Wisconsin, which is now partnering with six other Midwestern states to coordinate efforts.
As Americans wait for further instructions, many are hurting. Twenty- two million Americans have filed for unemployment in just four weeks. And with no clear end in sight, scenes like these are becoming more common.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This stands for emergency.
HILL: Food banks and pantries seeing a surge in need, as donations drop off.
In New Jersey, overwhelmed staff and a morgue well over capacity at this nursing home, where 17 bodies were found in a facility that has space for just four.
In yet another change for students, the college board announcing the SAT can be taken at home this fall, if schools, often used as testing sites, remain closed.
And as states push for the federal government to help with testing, Amazon is developing its own. CEO Jeff Bezos telling shareholders, quote, "We think it's worth trying," and saying the company will "share anything we learn."
(on camera): Here in New York, as I mentioned, what's known as New York pause has now been extended. That has been extended through May 15 in the state. In addition the new regulations on face coverings, we learned, apply to anyone over the age of 2.
Back to you.
VAUSE: Erica Hill, thank you for that report.
Now right now, what our future, post-pandemic, will look like remains uncertain. Will we continue to have cocktail hour over Face Time, or work remotely from home?
But what started as a stopgap measure for doctors to see patients is looking likely to be here for good. It's called telemedicine, and doctors are once again, yes, making house calls, kind of. And it's happening the world over.
Joining me now is Dr. Kathleen Jordan, vice president and chief medical officer at St. Francis Memorial Hospital in San Francisco.
Dr. Jordan, thank you for being with us.
DR. KATHLEEN JORDAN, VICE PRESIDENT/CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER, ST. FRANCIS MEMORIAL HOSPITAL: Thank you for having me.
VAUSE: OK, so right now, keeping your doctor and their clinical, their surgery at a healthy distance, it's part of life. It's sensible, you know, but it's also convenient. It makes life a lot easier.
But what are the other reasons why, and the other benefits that, you know, you believe that telemedicine is going to be kind of the new normal, if you like, from this point on?
JORDAN: It's definitely been proven to be a great tool in this pandemic. It's more than just convenient.
You know, we've -- we're using it in the hospital, but we're also using it in the outpatient setting for a multitude of reasons. So primarily we started using it for patients that were concerned about COVID-19, and it was a great way to keep them at home, socially distanced from the rest of us, keeping our healthcare workers safe and keeping their families safe, that they don't have to transport them.
But I think what we also found is that people with chronic medical conditions, they were afraid to come to the healthcare setting. They didn't want to catch COVID-19 in the waiting room. They didn't want to catch it in the emergency room. And they went to turn to virtual visits. And their doctors turned to virtual visits to help them.
And I think docs, as well as the patients, have appreciated not only the convenience but the efficacy. And -- and with that efficacy, the barriers to care are going to go away.
VAUSE: So for this to happen, regulations and financial rules and a whole bunch of regulations and rules sort of had to be waived or scrapped or changed. So why did it take a global pandemic for that to happen?
JORDAN: Well, it didn't really take the pandemic for that to happen. Virtual care has been around for a long time, and regulations and payers have been paying for it in increasing amounts. We expected growth, even without the pandemic.
I think what the pandemic did was push it to the forefront. And now what it's really done is leapfrogged into the point where both patients and doctors are very comfortable with it. And I think that the demand is going to be there, and it's going to push the regulators.
VAUSE: Where there are positives, it is my job to find the negatives. So some of the negatives that have been pointed out is this loss of personal interaction between doctor and patient, and some say that's quite a big price to pay.
JORDAN: Well, I do think that there is a role for continuity of care. So I don't like the on/off and seeing a different provider every time you need care. For proper care of chronic conditions, as well as diagnosis of some conditions that need serial visits, you do need continuity of care.
So I would look for telemedicine to support your continuity of care and not to replace it.
VAUSE: One of those who are technically challenged, and you know, this could apply mostly to older people who find, you know, all this to be a bit difficult, a bit confronting, and some, you know, just don't like it.
JORDAN: Just don't like virtual care? You know, I've talked to a few of those people.
VAUSE: Struggled with the whole concept.
JORDAN: Yes. Well, I get it. I had a friend who had a father who really was holding out waiting for the pandemic to end to go in. He finally succumbed, and now he's the biggest fan.
He's telling friends. He's telling families, and he thinks it's really cool. So I think that's exactly what's happened. We've been forced to use virtual care and then been very pleased with it.
So I've been seeing a lot of people satisfied with it on the front end.
VAUSE: Very quickly, not every doctor out there is of the highest moral standing. Not every clinic does the right thing, and you know, there has often been fraud and abuse in the past. Is this one of those things where there could be opportunity for increased fraud and abuse, by those that are less than honest?
JORDAN: You know, unfortunately, that's -- that's always the case, but the pros, and being bringing care to more people, bringing care to remote places, bringing expert care beyond their geographic distributions, the pros far -- the pros far outweigh the cons. So I would really like to see access to telemedicine, help us, everybody with access to care.
VAUSE: You know, it would be nice to see a doctor once in a while, rather than the -- you know, the P.A. or the nurse, which would be good. So Dr. Kathleen Jordan from San Francisco, thank you. Appreciate you being with us.
JORDAN: Thank you.
VAUSE: Well, they only make up seven percent of world leaders, but they seem to be having the biggest success right now in fighting the coronavirus. Just ahead, we'll find out what the women in charge are doing right, and it's plenty.
VAUSE: Welcome back, everyone.
Brazil's president, Jair Bolsonaro, the man referred to as Trump of the tropics, is on record as a coronavirus doubter. He's called it little more than the flu, refused to social distance. And now he's fired his health minister, who's been at odds with him since this crisis began.
And all the time, the number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Brazil has continued to rise.
CNN's Shasta Darlington has our report.
SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: After weeks of infighting and threats, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has fired his health minister, Luiz Henrique Mandetta.
The outgoing minister was a major proponent of social isolation in Brazil. He supported governors when they closed schools, closed businesses, and in some cases, mandated sheltering at home.
But that put him at odds with Bolsonaro, who has repeatedly downplayed COVID-19 as nothing more than a little flu and who's insisted that the economic fallout from these quarantine measures could be worse than the virus itself.
Bolsonaro spoke to the press, calling the ministerial change a consensual divorce.
JAIR BOLSONARO, BRAZILIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): We discussed the situation of the ministry and the pandemic. It was a very productive and cordial conversation, in which we closed a cycle of the health ministry.
DARLINGTON: Mandetta also challenged the president's insistence that malaria drugs were the solution to the COVID-19 crisis.
The decision to change his minister comes as the virus spreads quickly through Brazil. We're seeing in major cities the emergency units are filling up fast. In the northern Amazon region, authorities warn that the health system is already collapsing.
But while governors are announcing measures to control the spread, Bolsonaro has been going out and visiting bakeries, and greeting his supporters.
Mandetta is being replaced by an oncologist, Nelson Teich, who's close to Bolsonaro but who's also publicly supported these social isolation measures. So at this point, it looks like we'll see some ratcheting down of the political tensions but not necessarily any major policy changes.
Shasta Darlington, CNN, Sao Paulo.
VAUSE: Well, among the few countries widely praised for their response to this coronavirus pandemic, there have been many common factors like testing and lockdowns and intervention measures were quickly put into place. And there have been at least one other factor, as well.
CNN's Max Foster has this report.
MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As the virus spread beyond China, countries and territories run by women appear to have had particularly effective strategies.
Taiwan's Tsai Ing-wen was one of the first leaders to recognize the threat to her island. Her aggressive early response included restricting flights from mainland China and ramping up production of personal protective equipment such as masks.
To date, Taiwan has reported only six fatalities linked to the virus, amongst its population of 24 million.
JACINDA ARDERN, NEW ENGLAND PRIME MINISTER: New Zealand's efforts have been cubed (ph).
FOSTERS: Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand was even more aggressive, as she enforced a national lockdown before any deaths were even reported. And she banned tourists, which are the country's biggest source of income.
ARDERN: From 11:59 p.m. tonight, we will close our border to any non- residents and citizens attempting to travel here.
FOSTER: When the virus hit Europe, female leaders were similarly proactive. In Iceland, Katrin Jakobsdottir offered free testing to all citizens, whether they were showing symptoms or not. And she used a tracking system so she didn't have to lock down and suffocate the economy.
Compare that to Sweden, which has by far the highest death rate in the Nordics and is also the only country there that isn't led by a woman.
Smaller nations are perhaps easier to manage, but that doesn't explain Angela Merkel's success in Germany, a nation of 83 million. This chart compares Germany's noticeably low death rate with other comparable European states and the U.S.
So what explains the apparent link between low virus mortality rates and female leadership?
SAMANTHA POWER, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: Each of the leaders you mentioned brings a combination of compassion and rigor, I think, to the way that they engage the public. You know, fact-based, evidence-based, science-based early. But also really showing empathy and showing and speaking to the humanity of what's at stake here in the crisis.
FOSTER: Managing a crisis requires recognizing it early on and acting decisively. The international evidence so far shows a disproportionate number of female leaders successfully taking that approach to the current pandemic.
Max Foster, CNN.
VAUSE: Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden appeared at a CNN town hall about this crisis. He called on Congress to create a special board to ensure supplies made it to where they were needed most.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't know why we don't set up something like a pandemic production board, where we open up, you know, things that oversee, you know, surging production, to test kits, and lab supplies; coordinating the distribution to states; identifying and testing sites; send sufficient, you know, trade personnel to staff these things. Train personnel. And ensure adequate lab capacity and clear guidance on who needs the test. I mean, I don't know where that is. I would have thought that would've been something that would have been decided, how you deal with it.
Because Doc, you've been saying all along, and I have great respect for you, that, you know, this isn't going to be over until we have a vaccine. And we're not going to be able to really make significant changes in the three phases the president is talking about, or any phases, until we're able to test much more broadly.
So when someone is -- comes back to work, they get tested before they walk in the door, so they're in a position you know that all the folks you have working in that plant or working in that facility -- I mean, I don't. And again, I'm not a scientist. I'm not a doc, but I've been paying an awful lot of attention. And it just seems to me that these are things the president would've done, had he taken responsibility early on.
But now, I think the Congress should pass the legislation and come up with something equivalent to creating a pandemic testing board. And give them the authority and get out of the way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Stay with us for the town hall in full at the top of the hour. That's 6 a.m. in London, 2 p.m. in Tokyo.
We will take a short break. When we come back, U.S. skiing sensation Mikaela Shiffrin lost her father in February. We talk exclusively to the gold medalist on how the tragedy will affect her and will she ski again?
VAUSE: Well, five-time gold medalist, American skiing sensation Mikaela Shiffrin, 2020 has been an awful year so far. Her father died in an accident at his home in early February. Then, the ski season ended abruptly, due to the pandemic.
Now, Shiffrin has opened up exclusively to CNN's Christina MacFarlane, and she reflects on how these life-changing events and how she's now found solace in singing.
MIKAELA SHIFFRIN, OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST: I used to think, I'm pretty good at keeping perspective on what's important. But I think that's changed now, and hopefully I'm just never going to take anything for granted ever again.
GRAPHIC: In February 2020, Mikaela Shiffrin's father died from an accident at home in Colorado.
SHIFFRIN: Not just me and me and my mom, my brother, none of us have had a chance to even process anything.
I think about the last moments when I saw him, which is not, you know, he didn't look like himself. But I don't know. I could still feel him. You know, so I see that a lot.
We had moments where we were really sad, and then moments where, like the garage door closes, like, someone goes out to the garage and grabs something. And it's like, Oh, Dad's home from work.
My dad spent a lot of time at this house, and we feel closer to him here. And we have pictures of him up all over the house. That's like the photography picture.
CHRISTINA MACFARLANE, CNN SPORTS: I remember him standing in the finish area, when you're racing, standing among all the press with his camera, just like the rest of us.
SHIFFRIN: I think the image you have, you know, he's in the finish area. Like, that was him. He loved, loved photography. He loved capturing moments and making those -- keeping those memories forever. MACFARLANE: I suppose moving forward, given how important he's been to
your ski career, eventually, when you're ready, you'll want to continue skiing for him. Is that something that you think about?
SHIFFRIN: Yes. I mean, my motivation in a lot of ways is sort of increasing, in a sense, because you know, I'm waiting for Solda (ph) next year, for the first race of the season, to say, here we go. Like, this is where I want to be. This is where my dad wanted me to be.
I found being on the mountain was like being close to him, be closer to him, without being so close that it hurt.
MACFARLANE: So tell me how have you been working out and keeping in shape at home.
SHIFFRIN: Do you want me to show you?
MACFARLANE: Yes, I do.
SHIFFRIN: OK. This is the gym. Honestly, I've been doing a lot of body weight stuff, a lot of core. I've been using the bike trainer pretty much every day.
I feel like dancing is a really good, a great way to exercise, and also express yourself, and it's just -- it's good for your soul.
MACFARLANE: Do you have your medal medals on display at home anywhere? Or are they under the bed?
SHIFFRIN: They're not under the bed, but they are not on display. But I could -- I could pop them out for you, if you like.
MACFARLANE: Oh, I see the crystal globe.
SHIFFRIN: That's one of the overall globes.
SHIFFRIN: These are World champs. The gold from China (ph).
MACFARLANE: Very cool.
SHIFFRIN: I dropped it, so it has a couple chips right here.
I'm showing you the guitar,
MACFARLANE: Is there something you've been working on at the moment?
SHIFFRIN: I have -- I've been wanting to learn "Blinding Lights" by the Weeknd. It's one of my favorite songs right now.
MACFARLANE: Thank you. That was so lovely. I hope the Weeknd is watching and paying attention.
SHIFFRIN: No. I hope he's not.
VAUSE: If nothing else, the pandemic and global shutdown, has dramatically reduced air pollution over Europe. Take a look at Italy. On the left, nitrogen dioxide concentrations in March last year. Compare that to the image on the right, which was taken last month.
Paris has the most significant improvement in air quality, nitrogen dioxide levels down 54 percent. Again, March last year is on the left and this year, it's on the right.
In Spain, Madrid saw decreases of around 45 percent.
The British prime minister says a retired war veteran will get recognition for an extraordinary effort at fundraising. Captain Tom Moore, 99 years old, has raised more than $22 million. This is unbelievable, this story. Look at this. This is how he did it. Anna Stewart has the details.
ANNA STEWART, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Many small steps for this 99-year-old man, a giant leap for the NHS. A whole nation, rooted for British army veteran Tom Moore to complete a personal marathon, 100 laps of his garden, before his 100th birthday, raising money for the country's health service.
He crossed the finish line with a guard of honor from his old regiment.
Moore set out to raise 1000 pounds, but ended up raising over 12 million.
TOM MOORE, BRITISH ARMY VETERAN: I think it's an absolute fantastic sum of money. It's unbelievable that people would be so kind.
STEWART: The money goes to the organization NHS Charities Together, which supports the U.K.'s health workers, who are already sending messages of thanks.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We think you're amazing!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yay!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yay!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yay!
STEWART: It's inspired people across the country and abroad, and stunned his family.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's been on TV in France. We're going to Russia, Israel, America, Australia. Change has been incredible. STEWART: He has a message for all the people staying at home,
MOORE: I think you're also being brave, having to be hemmed up in such a small space for so long. Good for you.
STEWART: The public want to think Moore in return.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why we made a card for Tom.
STEWART: He turns 100 years old on the 30th of April.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (singing): Happy birthday to Captain Tom.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tag "Make a card for Tom."
STEWART: People all over the world are going to make it a birthday to remember.
Anna Stewart, CNN, London.
VAUSE: A small correct. Not that it matters, but it's actually $15 million U.S. dollars, but it's still an incredible effort. Good on you, Tom.
You've been watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause. Stay tuned for a CNN global town hall, "FACTS AND FEARS ABOUT THE CORONAVIRUS." That's just ahead.