Return to Transcripts main page


Coronavirus Pandemic, Johns Hopkins, At Least 2.5 Million Cases Globally; U.S. Senate Pass $480 Billion Relief Packages; U.S. Stocks Down Over Oil Price Worries; U.S. Oil Futures Still Trading At Low Levels; President Trump Vows To Make Funds Available To Aid Oil Industry; Study, Low Income Americans Harder Hit By Shutdown; South Africa Announces %26.3 Billion Relief Plan; Taking The Antibody Test; Reopening States Could Drive Up Death Toll; President Trump Details Plans To Halt Immigration To U.S.; Immigration Pause Will Last Only 60 Days; Veterans Study, No Benefit From Hydroxychloroquine; Antibody Blood Testing Shows Exposure To The Virus; Netflix Adds 16 Million Subscribers Amid Virus Shutdown; Marking Earth Day Amid The Pandemic; Covid-19 Outbreak Transforms The Animal Kingdom; Satellite Images Show Big Drop In Europe's Air Pollution; Art Museums Attract Thousands Of Virtual Guests; Art Museums Move Exhibits Online During Shutdown; Man Gives Free Coffee To Essential Workers; Duo Virus Expected in Winter; No Health Expert Agrees to Rushing the Economy; U.K.'s Death Toll Increased 41 Percent; Singapore's COVID Cases Doubled. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired April 22, 2020 - 03:00   ET




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

Just ahead, as some U.S. states prepared to start reopening, a stark new warning that a second coronavirus outbreak wave this winter could be much worse to handle.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You get the feeling this is a city trying to reawaken after what was a 76-day halting of life.


CHURCH: Our correspondent returns to where the pandemic started. Wuhan China. We bring you a rare look inside a city trying to reemerge.


While people shelter indoors, animals flock outdoors. This hour, we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. And we begin with a stark warning. The coronavirus could make a

comeback this winter in the northern hemisphere, even worse than before.

The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tells the Washington Post a resurgence would be especially dangerous if it coincides with flu season.

Meanwhile, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and several others are defending plans to reopen businesses even though they haven't met the suggest -- that suggested guidelines from the White House. Kemp claims gyms and hair salons will be just as safe as grocery stores and other essential businesses. He says reopening bowling alleys, tattoo and massage parlors is a measured step. And those businesses can screen customers for signs of the virus. President Trump defended the move.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: But the governors, I want them to do it. If they -- if we see them doing something, we don't like we'll stop it very quickly, but they are doing a good job. They are being careful.


CHURCH: And remember the drug hydroxychloroquine that President Trump has been touting to treat COVID-19 patients? Well, a new Veterans Administration's study shows no benefits and higher death rates compared to people who didn't take the drug. The president seemed unconvinced.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm wondering if you're concerned this V.A. study showed that actually more people died that use the drug than didn't. And I'm wondering if Governor Cuomo brought you back any results on --


TRUMP: No, we didn't discuss it. I don't know of the report. Obviously, there have been some very good reports. Perhaps, this one is not a good report. But we'll be looking at it.


CHURCH: And we get more on the day's developments from CNN's Nick Watt.

NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The virus has killed more than 44,000 Americans, and it will return this winter, and it might be even worse. So, the CDC director tells the Washington Post, because it could coincide with regular flu season and two respiratory outbreaks at once would hammer our health systems.

Meanwhile, our leaders are trying to agree on how to reopen from round one. Take, Dallas County. They extended stay at home through mid-May, setting off a possible showdown with the governor.


GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R-TX): To the extent of my statewide order has statewide application, it would overrule any local jurisdiction.


WATT: in Iowan, Democrats lawmakers want a pork processing plant closed after an outbreak. The governor won't do it. The governor in Georgia says barbershops, nail salons, gyms can all reopen on Friday, but sell cycle says it won't. Congregations can gather, but one bishop is telling his flock not to, and other governors are wary.


GOV. NED LAMONT (D-CT): I'm glad I'm not an immediate neighbor of Georgia, because I think all you are doing is potentially throwing some gas on the flames there.


WATT: Testing, of course, is required to keep track of the virus as we reopen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If we don't have the data, we don't know what we are up against.


WATT: The continued lack of testing, partly what's making some in Georgia so anxious about reopening.


MAYOR KELLY GIRTZ, ATHENS-CLARKE COUNTY, GEORGIA: We need testing, we certainly need work on treatment, and we need contact tracing of the sort that we just don't have in the state yet.


WATT: The White House guidelines say that you should start reopening only after, among other things, a downward trajectory of documented cases within a 14-day period.



GOV. BRIAN KEMP (R-GA): We are on track to meet the gating criteria for phase one.

(END VIDEO CLIP) WATT: Not really. Monday, April 6th, 1,099 new cases. Fourteen days

later, yesterday, just one less. Not so in Tennessee, but they plan to reopen some businesses on Monday. Not so in South Carolina, but they opened beaches and retail stores today.


MAYOR STEPHEN BENJAMIN, COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA: And the reality is that South Carolina has not peaked yet according to our own professionals.


WATT: Myrtle Beach, defying the governor, will keep beach parking closed.

So, hair salons open in Georgia on Friday, while maintaining social distancing. How does that work? We don't know. Dr. Birx was asked at the White House press conference, and she said, I don't know how, but people are very creative.

Nick Watt, CNN, Los Angeles.

CHURCH: Well, more now on that warning of a coronavirus resurgence this winter. Some experts point to the Spanish flu outbreak in 1918 and 1919 as an example. And you can see the huge spike in cases in the late fall and early winter.

The CDC director says a resurgence of the virus later this year could bring dire consequences if it comes during flu season.

Last year, the flu killed at least 34,000 Americans. The coronavirus has killed more than 45,000 people in the U.S. in less than two months.

Well, joining me now to talk more about this is Arpana Verma, a clinical professor of public health and epidemiology at the University of Manchester. Professor, thank you so much for being with us.


CHURCH: So, the CDC director, Dr. Robert Redfield is warning that a second wave of COVID-19 could prove even more devastating if it reemerges in the winter along with the flu.

But President Trump says the U.S. will be able to deal with it. Well, that's not what we've seen so far. So how concerned are you about a second wave? And will the extra eight months ahead of us make a difference in the way the United States, the United Kingdom, and of course other nations prepare for this possible second wave?

VERMA: I think it is very important that we are able to really protect the vulnerable people that we need to really focus on now from catching the virus before the winter flu season starts. As we know, the vaccines for the winter flu have already started been started to be produced. And so, it won't contain any of the required coronavirus vaccine to protect against the current waves that we are in now.

And so, we have to through social distancing, whilst we find a vaccine and other treatment, really to start to see the numbers of human to human contact reducing in the current viral problems that we've got now, before the winter flu season starts in September.

CHURCH: So, this is -- this really emphasize the need for all of us to get that flu shot to cover us from that problem.

VERMA: Definitely.

CHURCH: And then of course, all we have the only weapon for COVID-19 is the social distancing. So, countries around the globe are trying to balance the health of their citizens with the eagerness to open up the country. And there is a lot of that. And we are seeing that here in the United States, probably more than anywhere else.

A very aggressive effort to open up businesses, particularly here in the State of Georgia where the governor has given the green light for close proximity businesses like hair and nail salons to open on Friday. What's your reaction to that? Particularly as this states data reveals that the number of cases are not yet declining.

VERMA: I think it's important for local information to play into what policies are being allowed to open businesses fundamentally means that we will be increasing human to human contact which fundamentally could see an increase in the number of coronavirus spread, because we know that you are infectious when you don't know you have the disease.


And at the moment, we don't have adequate evidence to show anything other than social distancing actually works. So being able to provide protection for the workers and the clients of those businesses, and it is difficult to understand in the situation how that would actually take place.

Because we know that there is very mixed evidence behind wearing just one of these surgical masks or a cloth mask. It's not known that that stops you from getting coronavirus. It may stop you from spreading the virus, but it's difficult to assess whether that's happening or not in close proximity.

The only real protective equipment that we have are those that we give to our key workers and frontline staff. And we know that those do stop the person that's dawning the equipment from getting coronavirus.

But at the moment, it's difficult to understand how those types of protective equipment could then be given to all the workers in the various defenses scenarios for the businesses that are going to be opening.

CHURCH: Right. It certainly has many of us in this state shaking our heads. Professor, thank you so much for talking with us. We appreciate it.

VERMA: Thank you.

CHURCH: Now to the United Kingdom where the death toll in England and Wales could be significantly higher than what the government has been reporting.

New data collected by the U.K.'s Office of National Statistics through April 10th suggests there may be about 41 percent more fatalities than what's been reported. Meantime, hospital workers say they are running critically low on personal protective equipment.

And for more on this, CNN' Nic Robertson joins us now live from London. Good to see you, Nic. The death toll in England and Wales is now 41 percent higher than originally reported. What's behind this discrepancy?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: This is because the government reports its figures for those who have died of coronavirus in hospitals. It says it needs to do that and this is why, and the reason it releases these figures publicly every day is so that they can compare like for like with what other countries are reporting.

And this is a graph they show at their daily press briefings. But the reality is, people are dying in care homes, people are dying at home, and that's not getting rolled into the government statistics. So that first week in April where the government said 9,288 people had died, so far from the coronavirus.

The Office of National Statistics says actually the figures is 13,121. A discrepancy of 41 percent. It could even be higher. There could be a discrepancy of 75 percent if you look at the sort of weekly averages for deaths in that week going back a number of years.

So there is cause for concern for the government. They have in the early hours of today received part of a shipment of much-needed personal protective equipment, particularly the fluid repellent surgical gowns.

But there is more at the moment going wrong for the government, finger-pointing internally about missed opportunities to buy ventilators from the European Union. But if you look to the countryside here and out of the capital, the picture is a little better.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good morning, it is 6 o'clock on Friday the 17th of April.


ROBERTSON: England stirs from sleepless slumber.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The headlines this morning. The boss of an NHS --


ROBERTSON: Fretful nights past, more fevered days ahead.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan have said he believes people should wear face masks whenever --


ROBERTSON: Yet, far from the capital, in country villages, there is a new calm. This butcher Lee Downer is putting on extra deliveries.


ROBERTSON: How is it going over the last few weeks with coronavirus around?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's extremely busy. Every shop in local.


ROBERTSON: The Fishmongers Ashley Major is benefiting despite supply issues, because villagers want to stay away from big towns.


ASHLEY MAJOR, CO-OWNER, THE FISHMONGERS: We've got more people staying in the village. People aren't going into Salisbury or shop spree to do a weekly shop. They're shopping local, which is nice.


ROBERTSON: An old resilience is reemerging. And not just to the country's fickle weather.


The community here is fantastic. And that has made all the difference. So, we've got lots of local farms shops and small businesses who have been really good at getting sort of small scale supplies.



ROBERTSON: Tisbury Parish, population 2,400, has a history of getting through tough times. Survived five years of the 14th century Black Death pandemic. And it's adapting to todays.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have been doing our services over zoom. Which been very exciting. (END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTSON: Something else making the difference here, too. Distance from the hot zone, London.


IAN TALBOT, CO-OWNER, TISBURY DELICATESSEN: I think we're probably quite lucky because we're living in the countryside where you don't feel you are quite so close to people.


ROBERTSON: Psychological, not just social distancing, the new village normal.


TALBOT: I don't look at the news continuously. Because I think you can't fill your head with a lot of negative stuff.

LEE DOWNER, OWNER, DOWNER FARM MEATS: I stopped buying newspapers, because it's a bit depressing otherwise.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is BBC Radio four. It's half past 4 in Surrey. It's time 4 p.m. with Evan Davis (Ph).

Hello there, heading into the full weekend of lockdown.


ROBERTSON: At the nearby hospital, where the few courageously help the many infrequent ambulances come and go in calm inducing silence. Cases of COVID-19, in this southwest corner of the country, so far, at least, the lowest in the nation.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And it is exactly 5 o'clock right now. Any moment, we will head over to Downing Street for the official daily COVID-19 briefing.


ROBERTSON: Yet, even here, no man an island, no home a castle against the virus is greedy onslaught.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Eighteen thousand nine hundred seventy-eight are currently in hospital to coronavirus in the U.K. And sadly, of those hospitalized with the virus, 14,576 have now died.

(END VOICE CLIP) ROBERTSON: In pretty well-hilled Teffont Evias, population around

260, five homes have self-isolated so far. The village, rallying to keep that number down. But now, COVID-19 closed hotel, shopping for the village, saving residents exposure to the virus.


SIMON GREENWOOD, DIRECTOR, HOWARD'S HOUSE HOTEL: Our demographic is quite old, you know, they're all staying in. They don't want to go out. They don't want to drive to the nearest village, which is, you know, at least five miles away. So, we come up with a plan to (Inaudible) from here.


ROBERTSON: Rural England has risen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Another three weeks of this?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is that a problem? I used to be in a submarine, so nine months, three months at sea, 90 days underwater with 70 people is normal.


ROBERTSON: So, sets another day. The only certainty? Dawn will follow. And eventually, lockdown, fear, and virus will be purged.

A question today for the prime minister stand and it's the prime minister's question time in the hybrid parliament that's up and running again. There will be a handful of M.P.'s socially distancing in the chamber and questions coming by video link.

The leader of the -- the new leader of the opposition will have his first opportunity to grill the prime minister stand, and Dominic Raab, foreign secretary of state. Many questions about the government's handling for sure on the agenda. Rosemary?

CHURCH: Yes, absolutely. We know you'll keep watching that for us. Nic Robertson, bringing us the very latest from London. Many thanks.

Well, in northwest Brazil, excavators are having to dig mass graves to handle the influx of coronavirus victims. Local government says they typically handle 30 burials a day. But now because of the virus, they are now averaging more than 100 per day. The mayor says the healthcare system is no longer able to provide everyone with treatment, so people are now dying at home.

Singapore was originally deemed a success for its response to the coronavirus. But as new clusters of cases emerged, we tell you how the government is responding. Back in a moment.



CHURCH: Well, new this hour, what could be a first of its kind lawsuit. The U.S. State of Missouri is suing China over the coronavirus. Missouri's attorney general released a statement saying quote, "The Chinese government lied to the world about the danger and contagious nature of COVID-19, silenced whistleblowers, and did little to stop the spread of the disease. They must be held accountable for their actions."

Well, it goes on to say businesses are closing and people are struggling to put food on the table. The virus has claimed more than 200 lives in Missouri. And infected at least 6,100 others. But legal experts say the lawsuit faces an uphill battle, because China is protected by sovereign immunity.

CNN has reached out to China for comment.

Well, Wuhan, the Chinese city where the virus originated, is now slowly returning to some semblance of normalcy, even as life is upended almost everywhere else.

CNN's David Culver reported from Wuhan in January, when the outbreak began. And managed to leave just ahead of the lockdown there. Now, he is back in Wuhan with this report.

DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Being back here in Wuhan, the original epicenter of the novel coronavirus outbreak, you get the feeling that this is a city trying to reawaken after what was a 76-day halting of life. A brutal and harsh lockdown, the conditions that kept many people, in some cases, sealed inside their homes for those two plus months unable to leave even for some fresh air.

Now, as you can hear behind me, traffic picking up again. People are starting to resume life though with this cautious optimism as they go forward, knowing things could change quickly.

The lockdown happened 76 days prior to April 8th. And when it came into effect, in only came with a little notice, just a few hours' notice. And so, people know that things can change rather suddenly. And they are prepared for that.

And yet, the screening mechanisms that are in place now are rather intense. To get into Wuhan, for most locals, it's rather straightforward. But for foreigners in particular, and this shows the concern for imported cases, you are questioned extensively as to what country you are coming from, how long you've been in the country here China, and where do you plan to be going while here.

It's all about tracing from here on out, and they have of course technology that does that. But they also rely on self-reporting and a lot of questioning as you make your way from the train station, for example, into a hotel. Now here, overall, you get the sense that people are trying to look past what was a very difficult period. And they are doing so by taking advantage of what they have right now in this moment.

And for our driver, for example, that was going outside the city and taking in a hike with his family, or camping. Enjoying the outdoors, enjoying nature, for this moment at least.

David Culver, CNN, Wuhan, China.

CHURCH: And Singapore, once praised as a model for its coronavirus response is now grappling with a spike in new cases. In particular, clusters are turning up amid migrant workers. As a result, the government is extending its restrictions until June 1st.

So, let's head to Singapore where Manisha Tank is standing by. Good to see you, Manisha. So, as we say, Singapore was initially hailed for its great ability to contain this virus. Now, this second wave. How is the government responding to this?

MANISHA TANK, JOURNALIST: Well, the government is responding by extending a lockdown which started earlier this month, Rosemary. And I can tell you that in the last few minutes and we've had a bit of breaking news here. Which is the number of reported coronavirus cases in Singapore has now surpassed 10,000 cases.


So, we now stand at 10,141 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Singapore. And it's remarkable. Because just two weeks ago, we stood around the 1,400 mark. And that gives you an idea of how much this has jumped in just such a short space of time.

Most of the new cases reported overnight in the last 24 hours have come from the migrant worker communities. That's 1,016 new cases overall. Fifteen of which are Singaporean or permanent residents.

So, you've got two streams going on here. You've got the outbreak in the migrant workers dormitories, particularly construction workers from that group, a lot of them live in these tightly packed dormitories and tight spaces.

But the other track you have is amongst the local community outside the dorms, and the concern there has been about unlinked cases. And this is one of the reasons why the government has decided to extend the lockdown measures.

This is what the Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had to say in his last address.


LEE HSIEN LOONG, PRIME MINISTER OF SINGAPORE: We will therefore extend the circuit breaker for four more weeks, beyond the 4th of May. In other words, until the 1st of June. Then, provided we have brought the community numbers down, we can make further adjustments and consider easing some measures.


TANK: Singapore's prime minister there, Lee Hsien Loong.

What is really quite interesting here is just how fast all of this has happened. And I want to just contextualize it for you, Rosemary. This is because there are health teams in those dormitories that actively and aggressively testing many of the migrant workers.

So, some of them whose symptoms may never have shown up, they are showing up because of the aggressive testing that's going on.

CHURCH: Manisha Tank, many thanks to you. A lesson perhaps to the rest of the world not to move too quickly to open up our living spaces and our businesses. Many thanks.

Well, the world's most populous Muslim nation is about to begin Ramadan unlike any other. Indonesia is banning citizens from traveling to their hometowns for Eid al-Fitr celebrations. Marking the end of Ramadan, the Eid homecoming known as Mudik is an important tradition for millions of people.

Well, there is no relief in the oil markets. Storage is nearing capacity and the demand just isn't there. More on the latest promise of help as prices plunge.


CHURCH: Welcome back to CNN Newsroom. A quick reminder of our top story.


The number of coronavirus infections has top 2.5 million worldwide, with almost 178,000 deaths. The U.S. remains the country with the most confirmed cases, but the head of the CDC warns the situation could still get worse. He says a second wave of the virus may emerge this winter, right when flu season starts. He predicts both outbreaks will further overwhelm hospitals and doctors.

More help is on the way for U.S. businesses devastated by the pandemic. But there are concerns about how far the money will go. The U.S. Senate passed a fourth relief package, Tuesday that includes another $310 billion for loans to small businesses. The initial loan program run out of money in less than two weeks. There is a large backlog of applications and it is expected the new funds could run out in less than 10 days. The Senate Republican leaders said relief packages alone will not revive the economy.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER: I think it is also time to begin to think about the amount of debt that we are adding to our country and the future impact of that. And I think we also have seen, with this catastrophic damage to the economy, that until we can begin to open up the economy, we can't spend enough money to solve the problem.


CHURCH: And the House is expected to vote on that bill Thursday. Oil prices remain in dire straits. And investors are clearly worried. U.S. stocks fell sharply again Tuesday. Concerns about storage capacity and a lack of demand are keeping oil prices at historic lows.

And John Defterios is in Abu Dhabi with details on this. He joins us now live. Good to see, you John. So, what looked like a U.S. market collapse seems to be something much more. What is going on here?

JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: Well, I would say it's a total capitulation when it comes to the energy market, itself. And it is international, Rosemary. That it was not an aberration on Monday when we had that U.S. contract expire and that major plunge that we were seeing. The silver lining here, we had a major sell-off on Wall Street, but it is not spreading deeply to Asia. Just Tokyo that is down. But the oil market remains under intense pressure. If we look at WTI and Brent. WTI in the U.S. struggling to hold on to $11. Brent was below $17, but hovering around that level. And it hit an 18-year low yesterday.

But if you look from the start of the year for the international benchmark, we have to remind our viewers, were at $68 a barrel and then tumbling below 20. What is that telling us right now? Inventories are swelling. We had another report coming from the United States last night showing and expansion of inventory by 13 million, which is historically high, by the way. And we are going well over a half a billion barrels and may hit that record we saw on 2017, of 535 million barrels running out of space in Oklahoma, perhaps running out of storage space in the United States by the end of June.

And it's a similar tale here in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Russia, the other major producers of the world. And I think the real concern is that the collapse of demand, which is about 30 million barrels a day now could spread into the late June period into July at a lower level, but still keeping a dark cloud over these oil market.

CHURCH: Yes. That is a real concern. And John, President Trump intervened to end the price war. But that's having little effect on prices. How likely is it that he would perhaps move into bailout the U.S. oil industry?

DEFTERIOS: Well, Rosemary, remember the bailout the airline industry, and he was very proud to have done that and spend the billions of dollars to do so. It's taking shape in the energy industry. So, they are formulating a plan here. A delicate balance for him not wanting to be seen to be bailing out big oil, but there are 10 states and his base which produce shale in a very large way.

So, they are considering the options here. I would expect that is going to take shape indeed. Also, there is more radical options on the table coming from Capitol Hill and oil state Senators who want to put an absolute ban on oil coming from the Middle East, particularly when it comes to Saudi Arabia, which by the way has a very large refinery in the United States in Texas. Perhaps tariffs on Middle Eastern oil and Russian oil, Nigerian oil coming into the United States.

That would not sit well even with the industry, which imports the oil. But the president is going to feel the heat of the November ballot. He bragged about this idea of having 13 million barrels a day and being ahead of Saudi Arabia and Russia. That won't be the case when they go to the polls in November as a result of this oil crash.

CHURCH: John Defterios. Always good to chat with you, thank you so much. We appreciate it.


CHURCH: Well, the economic shutdown is having a devastating impact across the United States, but it is hitting low income Americans harder than others. A new study shows overall, 43 percent of adult's report they or someone in their household has taken a cut in pay or lost a job. But 52 percent of low income wage earners have been affected that way, and they are less prepared to withstand the financial fallout.


And in South Africa, the economy was in crisis even before the coronavirus. Now, of course, the situation is much worse. President Cyril Ramaphosa is now announcing a massive coronavirus relief package more than $26 billion. CNN's David McKenzie has more.


DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Even before covid-19 hit South Africa, this country was already in a recession. So, this massive relief plan is impressive in its size. Some 10 percent of the GDP, 26 or so billion U.S. dollars will be used. Largely to help the expansion of the health budget to fight the disease directly. But President Cyril Ramaphosa also announced helping small and medium enterprises, as well an expansion of social grants given to the most vulnerable, and just food distribution to those who are already going hungry.

How are they going to pay for it? Well, there will be a redistribution of funds. But the president also said South Africa will go to multilateral lenders like the World Bank and IMF to try and get the money to stave off an economic collapse. South Africa is still in the middle of a five-week lockdown. The president hinted that there will be a phased reopening of the economy, but gave no details. He says those details should come later this week. David McKenzie, CNN, Johannesburg.


CHURCH: And tune in this Thursday for a special coronavirus global town hall. Alicia Keys joins CNN for the world premiere of her new song, dedicated to the everyday heroes on the front lines of this pandemic. That's Thursday at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Friday at 8:00 a.m. in Hong Kong.

Well, the value of an antibody tests. Dr. Sanjay Gupta takes one and explains what can be learned from the results.



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This pause on new immigration will also help to conserve vital medical resources for American citizens. It's a short break from new immigration, depending on the time we are talking about, we will protect the solvency of our health care system and provide relief to jobless Americans.


CHURCH: Donald Trump there, announcing his plan to suspend immigration to the U.S. for the next 60 days for those seeking green cards. But critics say it has yet another attempt to distract from his mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic. CNN's Jim Acosta has our report.



JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Trump's own estimates for the number of Americans killed by the coronavirus are running into a new reality.

TRUMP: We are going towards 50 or 60,000 people. That is at the lower as you know the low number was supposed to be 100,000 people. We could end up 50,000 to 60,000, OK. It's horrible.

ACOSTA: Those expectations of 50,000 to 60,000 dead based on modeling estimates embraced by the White House could be jeopardized by states that are racing ahead, like Georgia. Where Republican Governor Brian Kemp is ready to reopen.

GOV. BRIAN KEMP (R-GA): This measure will apply statewide and will be the operational standard in all jurisdictions. This means local action cannot be taken that is more or less restrictive.

ACOSTA: A source close to the coronavirus task force warns those kinds of announcements could backfire, telling CNN if some states jump prematurely into opening, we certainly could surpass 60,000 deaths. But Attorney General William Barr is accusing some states of going overboard in their social distancing measures, arguing some governors may be violating the constitutional rights of their constituents.

WILLIAM BARR, ATTORNEY GENERAL: When a governor acts, especially when a governor does something that improves upon infringes on a fundamental right or a constitutional right, they are bounded by that.

ACOSTA: The president has yet to come down hard on states favoring speedy reopening, despite his warning last week that he would go after governors who don't follow his administrations guidelines that recommend steady declines in coronavirus cases. TRUMP: We are recommending, as you see in the charts, we are

recommending certain things. There will be in place dependent on what the governor wants to do. If we see something wrong, we will be expressing ourselves very strongly.

ACOSTA: With new polling finding most Americans are unhappy with the president's handling of the pandemic, while pleased with their own state governors, Mr. Trump is turning to his pet issue, immigration. Tweeting, in light of the attack from the invisible enemy as well as the need to protect the jobs of our great American citizens, I will be signing an executive order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States. But the president has already boasted that he is taking tough action on the borders in response to the virus, at a rally last month.

TRUMP: We have strong borders. And really are tough and early action has really been proven to be 100 percent right. We went out, we're doing everything in our power to keep the sick and infected people from coming into our country. We are working on that very hard.



We closed our borders very early.

ACOSTA: The president could be facing another setback in battle against the virus. A new study found that hundreds of patients at veterans care facilities saw no health benefits after taking the drug hydroxychloroquine. The steady even revealed patients who took the drug had a higher death rate. The president had touted the drug as a game-changer.

TRUMP: I feel good about it. Totally, it's just a feeling. You know, I'm a smart guy. I feel good about it. We will see. You are going to see soon enough.


CHURCH: Jim Acosta with that report. Well, antibody testing is considered a major tool in showing how widespread exposure to the virus is. CNN's chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, had the test and explains the process.


SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: There are two different tests that we are all becoming familiar with. A diagnostic test that searches for the genetic markers of the coronavirus, and this one that tests for antibodies. The first thing you will notice is that the antibody test requires blood. For me, it was just a poke.

But then look at all the steps that take place after that. My blood is taken down to the lab, and then spun down in a centrifuge. You are looking at my serum. That is the clear part that might contain antibodies if I have been previously exposed. The way to find that out is fascinating. Just take some of my serum and put it in the same test tube as the virus and see what happens.

DR. JOHN ROBACK, MEDICAL DIRECTOR, BLOOD BANK, EMORY UNIVERSITY: If you have antibodies against that, they are going to bind and we are going to be able to detect that.

GUPTA: Dr. John Roback is the medical director of the blood bank at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, where I practice as a neurosurgeon. I was able to get this test because I am still working as a doctor in Emory. And health care workers are considered to be at high risk for covid-19. Now this particular test, approved under FDA emergency authorization at Emory was developed by Roback and his colleagues. Right now, they test up to 300 people a day. By mid-June they expect to be processing thousands a day. It is far more sophisticated than the tests you may have heard of recently.

What do you make of these at home tests for antibodies?

ROBACK: I don't think they can achieve the sort of performance characteristics we can with these tests that we have in our clinical laboratory. We have a lot better control over the testing conditions, over the sample that was collected.


GUPTA: Here's what happens in your body when you are infected. The blue line, that's how long the virus typically lives inside of you. Take a look at the green line. Early on, IGM antibodies appear, but they disappear shortly after. And then the red line, that is the IGG antibody. That's the one that appears after the infection is cleared and might provide immunity. For just how long? How strong? That, we don't know yet.

We do know that for other coronaviruses, like SARS, antibodies lasted two to three years. And MERS, the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, had antibody presence of about three years. But with this new coronavirus, it is still too early to tell. And in order to answer the question, researchers are going to focus on this term, neutralizing activity. You see, it does not necessarily matter how many antibodies you have. It only matters how well they work at keeping the virus from entering a human cell. And that can vary from person to person.

ROBACK: It is fascinating that not everybody that has high levels of antibodies on the tests we are doing now actually have very much neutralizing activity. That those antibodies might still be helping, it -- you know, causes us to pause a little bit before we, you know, just categorically say, if you have high antibodies, you are immune.

GUPTA: What is the real value of having the test?

ROBACK: I think if you have, if you are positive on this test, it indicates you have been exposed. That can give you a little bit of peace of mind, I think that you know, that you know, the cough I had two weeks ago, that was really covid-19. It could indicate that, you know, some of your close contacts should be tested.

GUPTA: But perhaps most importantly, Dr. Roback told me something I had not really considered before. That if you test positive for the antibodies, that means you have dealt with this infection and you beat it. And chances are, that if you are exposed to it again, you will beat it again. As for me, that part is still an open question mark. I tested negative.


CHURCH: Dr. Sanjay Gupta reporting there. Well, it seems Netflix is one of the big winners during this coronavirus pandemic, with people stuck at home binge-watching shows like Tiger King. Netflix added 16 million new subscribers in the first quarter of the year. And now has 183 million worldwide. Even though most filming is shut down, the company plans to release all of its shows and movies scheduled to run in the second quarter.

Well, an earth day like no other as millions of people stay inside. The planet is changing even as we are not outside to see it happen.


CHURCH: Well, you may not have realized it with everything that's going on right now with the pandemic, but this is earth day's 50th anniversary. And if you are one of the millions of people doing your part by staying inside, it may feel a little hard to celebrate the great outdoors. But you are helping others stay safe and well, and the planet itself is benefiting from this global lockdown. Especially the animal kingdom. It is transforming before our very eyes. CNN's Paula Newton shows us how creatures great and small are enjoying the absence of humans.



PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Horns, engines, train whistles, people out and about. The background sounds of everyday life, gone quiet. With coronavirus shelter in place orders around the globe, it is turning the tables on human norms. Animals are filling up the empty spaces. From wild deer traipsing through the streets of Japan, to lions lounging across the streets usually traversed by cars in Peru national park, to herds of goats and whales helping themselves to neighborhood bushes and flowerbeds.

The animal kingdom is, for now, reclaiming spaces normally occupied by people. And no, it is not your imagination. Birds do sound louder. A phenomenon that some experts say comes in part from birds being less stressed by human sounds, causing them to congregate in larger numbers and more easily communicate with each other.

MAHER OSTA, COCIETY FOR THE PROTECTION OF NATURE IN LEBANON (SPNL) (through translator): The birds are more relaxed. They are not trying to get away from cars, from the crowds of people, even the heart of the city itself.

NEWTON: And in Thailand, researchers say there has been a baby boom. As sea turtle nests are at a 20 year high, thanks to the absence of people walking in the sand where these endangered species lay their eggs. But some animals are noticing the void left by their human counterparts. Monkeys like these used to tourists feeding them on a daily basis, swarm over a little bit of food left behind.

And for the great apes and giraffes and other wildlife used to putting on a daily show and their zoological homes, some workers say they are now playing the part of tourists. They mediate signs of sadness they notice from the animals who still move like clockwork each day to the very spots the used to interact with spectators who are no longer coming to the parks. But as spring blooms in much of the northern hemisphere, the quieter, gentler atmosphere may be beneficial, if only for a short time.

FRANK DEAN, PRESIDENT OF THE YOSEMITE NATURE CONSERVANCY: I think nature is obviously welcoming the change. The wildlife is certainly are.

NEWTON: Bears are awaking from hibernation a bit more free to explore. Newborn ducklings, baby elephants, and the like emerging into the world at a time when the earth is vibrating just a little bit less and turning just a little more slowly. Paula Newton, CNN.


CHURCH: And satellite images show how the coronavirus pandemic is reducing air pollution levels in Europe. Take a look at Italy. The image on the left shows nitrogen dioxide concentrations in March of last year. Compare that to the same time this year on the image on the right. Paris has seen the most significant drop at 54 percent. A similar story in Spain, where Madrid saw decreases of around 45 percent. The European space agency says the drop in pollution coincides with the strict quarantine measures across Europe.

And for more on earth day, and some of the world's natural wonders that could be at risk of climate change, just head to our website,

Well, artists like Van Eyck, Rafael, and The Frick, didn't live to see the internet. But that is pretty much the only way you can see them now as the coronavirus shuts the doors of art museums. Exhibits are moving online, attracting thousands of viewers. CNN's Nick Glass has more.


NICK GLASS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The landmark Andy Warhol showed London's Tate Modern closed after just five days. The galleries swift response? An online video from the curators.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Andy Warhol is mostly known as pop artist actually, in this exhibition he really wants to return to the man and think about all of the desires, the fears that may have driven him to create art.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We wanted to take him out of the hype and start to look at Andy Warhol through the freelances of the idea of the immigrant story, his career identity, and the idea of death and religion.

GLASS: From a bewitched Andy Warhol to a youthful Rafael. The Italian renaissance artist died 500 years ago this very month. The show celebrating his brief life closed in Rome after just four days. The gallery video went online shortly afterwards. It attracted well over 300,000 visitors in a matter of days.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Leo the tent was a highly cultured lover of the arts who was conscious of the role that images could serve in consolidating and promoting the identity of the papacy. In the years spent in the service of this pope, Rafael was vetted as the greatest living artist.

GLASS: This is the museum of fine arts in Ghent, Belgium, host to a rare exhibition of work by the Flemish Master Jan Van Eyck. But now you can only visit it online and what they called the stay at home museum. Only about 20 Van Eyck paintings survive. The show has managed to assemble half of them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now this room is dedicated to the subject of mother and child. It is focused on actually on one of two versions of the Madonna and child the Madonna. It is a gem like painting. And you can see how precise Jan Van Eyck depicts even the splash of water coming up.

GLASS: The Frick collection in New York claims to be one of the American museums to pioneer virtual tours over 20 years ago. There is much to see, including three The Frick. You just have to imagine the flood of invisible visitors, 1,000 percent more than normal, says The Frick. Something similar is happening in London's Courtauld Gallery. Jewels in fact closed for refurbishment before the coronavirus. This month alone, the Courtauld says it has had more virtual visitors than it normally gets in a year. Nick Glass, CNN, at his laptop in central London.


CHURCH: Very nice. Well, in an effort to boost spirits, a San Francisco man is handing out free coffee to essential workers from his kitchen window. Ben Ramirez is using this toy guerrilla arm to hand out the brew. It's an idea he got from his son. Ramirez has been giving away about 10 to 15 cups a day during the pandemic.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of people have actually been very thankful having just like a space to come get your coffee and talk to somebody for a second. You know, it makes them feel like they are back in their, you know routine.


CHURCH: Ramirez works in the tech industry, but says one of his dreams is to eventually open a cafe and a coffee roasting company. He certainly got the hang of good customer service right there. Thanks so much for joining us. CNN Newsroom continues after this short break.