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President Trump with Own Version of Science; Complacency Proves to Have Consequences; Wuhan Business Owners Felt the Brunt of Lockdown; U.K. Started its COVID Vaccine on Humans; Seesaw Effect Seen in Oil Prices; Coronavirus Pandemic; Many U.K. Doctors Don't Have Proper PPE; 48 Hours With NHS Front Line Workers; New Model, Virus Has Been Spreading In U.S. Since January; Covid-19 Impacts Ramadan Rituals; Observing Ramadan Amid Covid-19; Student Group In Spain Helps Feed The Needy; Businesses In Brighton, U.K. Give Back To Health Workers. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired April 24, 2020 - 03:00   ET




NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to CNN Newsroom. I'm Natalie Allen.

Next here this hour. Some U.S. states are planning to reopen businesses today despite a key coronavirus model showing that it will not be safe for nearly two months.

Also, U.S. President Donald Trump pitches an odd method to fight COVID-19, involving bright light and disinfectants.

And we go into an intensive care unit in the U.K. CNN's Nick Paton Walsh spent 48 hours with the doctors and nurses battling the virus.

Thank you again for joining us.

The United States is about to reach 50,000 deaths from COVID-19, and those numbers are expected to keep climbing. The World Health Organization says it could be months before scientists know what drugs will help fight this disease.

Thursday, President Trump raised eyebrows when he suggested that sunlight or heat could work. A top doctor on his coronavirus task force told him, neither is a treatment for coronavirus.

Despite no vaccine and concerns about testing, several states are firing their economies back up today. Right here in Georgia, the state is letting certain businesses like gyms, salons, bowling alleys, and tattoo parlors to reopen. But one data model shows that the state should wait another two months to relax restrictions.

In the hardest hit state of New York, test results are showing the virus is far more widespread than previously believed.

For more on that, here's CNN's Nick Watt.

NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The number of people infected by this rampant virus in New York State, the global hotspot might actually be stunning 10 times higher than we thought.




WATT: Phase one of an antibody testing program suggests that as many as 2.7 million New Yorkers might have already been infected. But the state's current confirmed case count is just under 270,000.


GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): Thirteen-point-nine percent tested positive for having the antibodies. They had the virus. They developed the antibodies and they are now quote, unquote, "recovered."


WATT: New York's death toll of around 19,000 is almost certainly also too low.


CUOMO: That number is going to go up. Those deaths are only hospitalizations or nursing home deaths. That does not have what are called at home deaths.


WATT: Now, a higher infection rate could mean this virus is actually less deadly than we thought. Kills fewer of those who get it. And.


ADALJA: We are developing some immunity to this. There are people that have mild illness that don't even know that they are sick. And those individuals maybe part of how we move forward as we start to think about reopening.


WATT: But New York is not opening up. Not yet.


RICHARD BESSER, FORMER ACTING DIRECTOR, CDC: We need to see how it's playing out in each community and have the ability to test thoroughly and protect citizens before we think about opening up.

ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: We absolutely need to significantly ramp up. I am not overly confident right now at all.


WATT: Where ever, whenever we open, cases will likely rise.


MAYOR CARLOS GIMENEZ (R), MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA: We're never going to come up with something which just gives you a zero probability or possibility that you're going to spread the virus. But what we want to do is make sure that you reduce the possibility.


WATT: In Miami-Dade, despite a new case count that is not consistently coming down in accordance with those White House reopening guidelines, apparently, they are planning to open arenas, golf courses and parks with twists.


GIMENEZ: You will be able to play tennis. Singles tennis but not doubles tennis. You have to jog in a certain direction. So, there are a lot of differences.


WATT: And meat packing plants still seeing outbreaks across the country. Tyson just closed its fourth facility. A beef processing plant in Washington State to test all employees. This place usually produces enough beef every day to feed four million people. Not anymore.

Nick Watt, CNN, Los Angeles.

ALLEN: In the United Kingdom, scientist have started human trials for a potential coronavirus vaccine, but the government does stress social distancing measures could extend into next year if no vaccine or treatment is found before them.


Let's go now to CNN's Nic Robertson, joining me live from London. And good morning to you, Nic. Certainly, this vaccine trial is a hopeful one.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: It is. Two people have been injected so far. About 300 people will be given this vaccine in the short -- over the next few months. They will be aged between 18 and 55.

Not everyone is going to get the actual vaccine, of course, there is another substance will be injected into people that that is the control in this. But what the researchers hope is to be able to scale this up, if it is successful, come full, and have millions of potential vaccines available. That's the hope. This of course, is just the very beginning of the

research. The government has initiated that it's test, track, test, track, and trace method now to try and get on top of the virus. They're scaling up the number of people that can be tested.

They say they have the capacity to test 51,000 people a day, remembering, they promised to have 100,000 by the end of the month. That still seems to be a stretch. But they say they are now expanding the pool of people who will be tested for the virus to vital workers and their families as well.

So that can be expanded to up to 10 million people across the country. The government is also now said it's going to employ 18,000 people on the tracking part of the tests, track and trace method of getting on top of the virus.

So, you know, the government here is sort of pushing forward with its message that it is on top of the things that it says it will get on top of in testing, and providing an environment that people can ultimately end the lockdown from.

What we have heard from the first minister of Scotland on that, who has been much more outspoken than the government here, the United Kingdom government in London, the first minister of Scotland who runs many things in Scotland, including the health services, said, look, when this lockdown ends, it will be a new normal. It won't be like it is today. We'll have to do things and businesses, leisure centers, and schools that we don't do today.

For example, she said, perhaps there will be bigger social distancing inside schools. Meaning, pupils won't go to school every day. That there will be rotations. She also said that Scott should be ready for some changes, that there could decisions that new ideas, new regulations may have to come into play very quickly.

So, the country is slowly being prepared for what, the end of the lockdown may look like. The government is trying to get on top of how they would manage that type of scenario.

ALLEN: All right, Nic Robertson with that, we appreciate it, Nic. Thank you.

Let's talk more about it with our guest now, Sterghios Moschos joins me from Newcastle England, he is an associate professor of molecular virology from Northumbria University. Good to see you. Thanks for being with us, Sterghios.

I want to talk about our report there from Nic Robertson, this vaccine, the vaccine studies, the tests that are underway, what are you hearing about it, and is it hopeful?

STERGHIOS MOSCHOS, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR IN CELLULAR & MOLECULAR SCIENCES, NORTHUMBRIA UNIVERSITY: So first of all, I need to congratulate (Inaudible) very generous effort for moving so fast with this particular project. So, he's got a lot of experience working with this vaccine product,

and it's great to see that it's actually started its safety trials as quickly as possible.

Now, we need to emphasize that while this is the first stage, and you will notice that there's only two people vaccinated, that's just to make sure that there is no unexpected safety issues that will crop up going forward.

So, the correct pace, and the correct steps are taken to move forward.

ALLEN: Right. People have to understand that this is a process, and when we say that there will be social distancing for months, that is why.

MOSCHOS: Yes, it will -- I mean, we have to be very clear. When we design vaccines, we try our best to make sure that these things work. (Inaudible) But it can take us years before we find the right combination. That will actually allow the person who receives the vaccine to be protected.

There is a lot of encouraging data coming from animal experiments worldwide. But you know, we killed diseases every day, but we don't manage to do that in humans as easily. We have to bear that in mind.

So, for the time being, we should all be happy that this is being done, and the money is being poured into research to try to solve this problem as fast as possible. But for the time being, we must continue maintaining social distancing as long as it takes.

ALLEN: Yes. I want to talk with you about that, professor. Because some U.S. states are starting to reopen businesses today. That is, opening them without massive testing. Will rushing into reopening societies increase infections without testing?


MOSCHOS: Yes. I wanted to be as cathartic as that. I know you're laughing. But listen, in northern Japan they're experiencing a second wave. In Singapore, they are experiencing the second wave. And Singapore is a hot country. There is a lot of myth about, you know, heat and humidity will affect it, nonsense.

We are in a situation where we've got this virus, that it's going to pick up the thread from the point it left off, and just go wild with it. People need to think clearly, listen to the medical advice and implement it as well as they can.

Some states in the United States, some countries worldwide think otherwise, these are political decisions and not scientific decisions. Don't take your life, your loved one's lives, your friend and colleague's lives at risk. Because someone said OK, let's just sort the economy first, and then sort out the public. You need the public to have an economy.

ALLEN: Absolutely. It needs a healthy one at that. Well, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease experts in the U.S., I guess everyone knows him by Tony at this point, he said, we will have coronavirus in the fall, I'm convinced of that.

You talked about that just for a second. But what do we know about this virus that indicate warmer temperatures this summer will not have an impact?

MOSCHOS: So, we have evidence from the early days when we had transmission in countries in Asia where it is warm and humid climate. And we have quite a lot of transmission in those places as well.

We have evidence from the United Arab Emirates and parts of the world where it's got dry and hot climates and there's transmission there as well. So, you know, the data is out there. The hot heat doesn't seem to affect the situation much.

ALLEN: I want to ask you about the latest research coming out of New York. It's now believed that one in five New Yorkers has had COVID-19. Some may not have known it. The antibody test suggests the virus has spread much more than previously thought.

And what else can this testing reveal about the infection rate in a population?

MOSCHOS: OK. So first of all, I need to point out that to the best of my knowledge at least, there is no information in the public domain as to how specific this antibody test is.

One of the major criticisms of the Santa Clara (Ph) study was that the antibody test in their own hands looking to be not as reliable as they would have like it to be.

We've got other coronaviruses that cause common cold, and therefore, does that mean that 20 percent of these people in this calendar year had a coronavirus infection that gave them a common cold? Or does it mean that they have COVID-19?

Until that detail comes into the light, I'm not prepared to take this data as (Inaudible), if you like, as (Inaudible) spread of the infection. And this is a really important.

ALLEN: OK, we'll wait and ask you that again when we get more information about it. We always appreciate your expertise and your time, Sterghios Moschos in England, thank you.

MOSCHOS: You're very welcome.

ALLEN: We want to turn now to Singapore, which is seeing a dramatic spike in coronavirus cases. According to Johns Hopkins University, they have recorded more than 11,000 total infections. And for the past four days, they have been reporting more than 1,000 cases a day.

I'm joined now by Manisha Tank, live in Singapore for us. Manisha, hello to you. And what can you tell us about what might be behind this surge. MANISHA TANK, JOURNALIST: Well, we know where the surge is coming

from, it's in the migrant worker community. And these are people who normally live in quite close proximity, Natalie. Even though now they are being socially distanced.

So, you know, the government here is trying to do something about it. But yes, you know, I'm a Singapore resident and when this outbreak came to the shores, we were very quickly given free masks. Every household got that. We were also got free hand sanitizer.

There is a massive public information campaign, we were the first to have trace together apps, for example, that trace who has the coronavirus. So, you would think that there was a lot of confidence, but it turns out that you are only as strong as your weakest spot.

Just enough personal space for a bed and some belongings. This is just one dorm like many in Singapore. These construction workers call home. Under lockdown, with nowhere to go, they find themselves quarantined, isolated, fearful of a deadly virus.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm scared of this coronavirus. Because so many people dead.



TANK: Leaving their families behind, they flock here from India, Bangladesh, and other parts of Asia, in search of better pay and economic opportunity.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If I catch it, I can't take care of my family.


TANK: Despite Singapore's early accolades for coronavirus control and prevention, the city-state has a surge in cases in foreign working dormitories.

As the government pursues aggressive testing, some are asking if the situation could have been avoided. Especially in a community that normally lives tight-knit and crowded, shared facilities.

New social distancing measures are now in place, but so-called stringent circuit breaker measures to control the spread of coronavirus have been extended until June. The threat of asymptomatic infection lingers.


LEE HSIEN LOONG, PRIME MINISTER OF SINGAPORE: Fortunately, that number of unlinked cases has not come down. And this suggests that there is a larger, hidden reservoir of COVID-19 cases in the community.


TANK: Coronavirus cases in Singapore have gone from fewer than 1,000, to more than 10,000 in less than a month. The economic cost from the pandemic and efforts to control it has led to three bouts of economic stimulus in as many months. It is also sound a warning for other countries with densely packed populations.




TANK: Despite the challenges many workers who spoke to us remain positive, like Jasin (Ph) who gave us a tour of his room and the adjoining block.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Actually, Singapore government has made a very good step for the migrant workers who are staying in dorms. Especially they like to take care of us.


TANK: Government agencies and charities have stepped up support. Some workers in good health are still performing the essential services that keep Singapore running, and are being put up elsewhere.

So, this is the view from my apartment here in Singapore. It's midmorning. Normally this time of day I would hear the roar of grass being cut, or maybe the roar of a neighbor's renovation going on. And often, in those construction and maintenance teams, you'll find lots of migrant workers. Along with the extended lockdown, things around here at the moment are eerily quiet.

But even with lockdown measures, experts warn of yet more cases to come.


YING: Our modelers in Singapore project that we are looking at possible case numbers of an additional 10 to 20,000 more.


TANK: For now, migrants like Jasin wait in limbo away from their families, unsure when this will end.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My family is also worried. They always call. My mom calls, my dad calls, my wife calls me. They are all worried about us.


TANK: So, you see, Natalie, even here we are experiencing the second wave of cases. And there is a really important lesson to be learned here in Singapore that we just can't be complacent even with the best public information campaign, and with all the measures that we already had in place, we are seeing these cases move very, very fast. And we can expect to see that continue over the coming weeks.

ALLEN: Right, other places around the world should take note. We've seen some states here in the U.S. are opening up and everyone is saying it's not the right time.

Manisha Tank, we appreciate your report. We'll be thinking of those folks in Singapore.

Still to come here, it's been pretty much the wildest week in oil history, where will things go next? We'll see where prices could be headed and what are the ramifications. Stay with us.



ALLEN: Oils wild week continues with gains on Thursday bouncing back from Monday's historic sub-zero prices. The WTI closing it just over $17 a barrel. A tweet by U.S. President Trump contributed to the comeback.

Let's talk about it now with our man who knows these things, John Defterios in Abu Dhabi. John, good to see you. This has been the most volatile week in the history of the oil market, going into negative territory and poise to finish higher Friday. Where does that leave us?

JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN BUSINESS EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: Well, let's start with the big number. And that is a 50-dollar swing over the span of the week, that is, as you suggested, unheard of. Because we went to negative 37 on Monday and had this recovery to the four.

Let's take a look at the live numbers now. And WTI as you are suggesting closed yesterday at 17. We're nearly in the same space. And we have North Sea Brent, which is a global benchmark, just below $22 a barrel. It's been swinging above and below that line.

Not bad considering where we were at a 21-year low for Brent earlier in the week, until we had the tensions between the U.S. and Iran and the patrolling of the U.S. military ships for shipments going out of the Strait of Hormuz.

Now having said that, we're still looking at losses of eight over the last nine weeks as a result of this drop in demand. And this is making it a premium for onshore storage facilities.

For example, here on Fujairah on the east coast of the UAE, it's starting to fill up rapidly, just like what we've seen in Cushing, Oklahoma. And now the trend is looking at the global map here of tankers, super tankers, around the world. There are about 800 around the world, and nearly half are empty.

So, think about it, Natalie, they're looking at leasing the ships to store the oil. They can hold two million each according to, the data that comes through here, and something we haven't seen for the better part of 25 years in various crisis to use the floating super ships of the sea for storage.

This is not a comparison to the global financial crisis 10 years ago, but to World War II and the drop in demand. It's 30 percent right now, and the International Energy Agency is suggesting it could for the year, keep down by 10 percent, which would be a record, and double what we saw 10 years ago during the financial crisis.

ALLEN: Well, let's talk about historic high, shall we? And that is the unemployment numbers every week it just gets more and more disastrous. There is no way of knowing when that's going to change.

DEFTERIOS: Yes, you're right. At least through the end of this quarter, the end of June, and there is a link, and that's why we see oil prices hit those historic lows on Monday because demand is down.

And if we take a look at the numbers there is a phase behind each number that we post here. The latest figure was 4.4 million benefits being dished out here on the unemployment lines. And if you look at the staircase of the graphic there, we've never seen anything like it. And you take the tallies since the start of the pandemic. We're looking at jobs lost of 26 million.

Again, for context against previous crisis like the global financial crisis. Over the last 10 years since 2010, the U.S. economy created 22 million jobs. Right? We wiped out 26 million since the start of the coronavirus, that's how bad it is.

The U.S. Federal Reserve is suggesting this could double in the worst- case scenario towards the end of June, and this is not just a U.S. problem, Natalie. We saw the figures out of Europe, and out of South Korea, it's a similar tale.

ALLEN: Yes. It is global. All right. John Defterios in Abu Dhabi, thank you very much, John.

As U.S. businesses anxiously await the moment, they can reopen their doors, many are closely watching how Wuhan, the original epicenter of the virus works to get back to normal. Its harsh lockdown lasted for 76 days.


And as CNN's David Culver reports, some small businesses there in China are struggling to survive now.

DAVID CULVER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Wuhan's mild spring weather luring people outside. They do not need much convincing after enduring the most extreme of lockdowns. CNN found folks enjoying the company of neighbors, or soaking in the

stillness, all the while still wearing face masks. A reminder that the original epicenter of the novel coronavirus outbreak is not in the clear.

Two weeks after Wuhan lifted its lockdown, a drive-through commercial street shows many storefronts still shuttered. The shop staying open finding a new way to serve customers.

You can only go up into the box up front. It has a little table setup. You order with somebody who either comes to the door or you can do it through a nap. The idea is, you are not to go into the store. All of this still open business, but also keeps the social distance.

But for some small business owners there is no reopening in sight.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): For private businesses like us, there is almost no subsidies.


CULVER: We talk with Mr. Wang, CNN agreed not to use his full name as he wanted to avoid any trouble with local officials. After three months of sitting closed, the 35-year-old restaurant owner struggling with rent.

If a government relief check arrives, he says, the assistance will likely come too late especially if there is another spike in infections here.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Considering the possibility of a second wave, very likely, we will leave this business and find another job.


CULVER: Mr. Wang opened up about the mental health struggles of living under lockdown, sealed inside his home.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I was actually very scared at that time. When I saw the news that the pandemic was gradually under control, I felt less nervous. When I got bored at home, I just watch TV, I played on my phone and slept.


CULVER: And yet, Mr. Wang, like many across the world, also had to deal with news that three of his loved ones contracted the virus. One of his extended family members passing away.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Of course, we were very sad. We couldn't see him for the last time when he died or even give him a farewell ceremony. It was a big regret in our heart. We would go to his grave after the pandemic to hold a simple ceremony for him.


CULVER: Likely, thousands of similarly delayed remembrances is to take place here in Wuhan over the weeks ahead. As others, cautiously move forward with living. These, the faces of those who endured a harsh lockdown, now navigating their way into an uncertain future.

And here we are, more than three months after the lockdown initially took effect, and you can tell there that folks are still very hesitant to walk back into life as it was prior to the lockdown.

And businesses, the ones that will reopen will do so, as you see, with very different modes of how they operate. The ones that remain closed, including fitness centers and cinemas will be doing so until they give formal approval to reopen.

And even once they reopen many of them are still concerned that the customers will be very reluctant to come back, concerned that they will face that added exposure ahead of what could potentially be a second wave of this outbreak.

David Culver, CNN, Wuhan, China.

ALLEN: CNN was able to spend 48 hours on the frontline of one of the hardest hit hospitals in the U.K. The message doctors and nurses there have for us all. That's coming next.



NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to CNN Newsroom, I'm Natalie Allen. British doctors say they are having a tough time getting the personal protective equipment, PPE, they need to take care of coronavirus patients. Doctors Association U.K. found 38 percent report they do not have proper eye protection. The same percent say they don't have top quality face masks when they most need them. Six of 10 say the mask they wear have not been tested to ensure that they fit properly. And 75 percent say they do not have long sleeved gowns. So, how are doctors their handling such a terrible crisis? CNN's Nick Paton Walsh spent 48 hours with those fighting the virus in the U.K., where, despite the lockdown, so many are dying each day.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When, if ever, does it end? This vast hospital, it's in the U.K.'s second worst top spot, the midland's, and has no easy answers. So our London men here, the living, and the dying, keep coming. And they fear, the second wave maybe near. We look to numbers for comfort, but in this ICU, the odds are about

even with covid doctors say. During the 24 hours we were here, two patients died, and two got out of ICU. As the virus rages through our ordinary world outside, in here, its power is in the quiet it imposes.

Standing here, you're not only see the ferocity of this disease, but the silence with which it kills, and also the helplessness of the people suffering. One doctor wore a body-cam during a lifesaving procedure of pruning, turning a patient on their front to ease breathing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are at a 100 percent to understand why it works. Essentially, what it does is it changes the distribution of air within the chest, but also changes the way the blood is distributed within the chest.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're doing pretty well, keep going out? You'll have some ice cream when that tube comes out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When people pass away, it's more often, because we've come to the conclusion that they will not going to survive whatever we do, rather than them dying suddenly.

PATON WALSH: the hardest for staff, with isolation means patients die here without their family nearby. Mass doctors and nurses are the last people they see alive.

DR. ROGER TOWNSEND, CONSULTANT, UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL COVENTRY: I've held a telephone to the ear of the gentleman who is dying. So that his wife can speak to him. He was sedated, but we would always assume that someone can hear you. Even the nurses looking after the patient will stay and hold their hands as they pass away. So, they are always with someone. When my colleagues confessed that they were scared, I confess I said I'm scared too, but for how long this is gone on, I think the best we can do is wear the PPE, keep our fingers crossed that we don't get it, and yes. So, am I scared, no, not scared than when I started.

NERISSA CIFRA MANALAD, NURSE, UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL COVENTRY: It's been really difficult (inaudible). I just cried in the shower. I cry in the shower, I cried at night, at home I cried again. It's just that I'm scared. I'm just scared. And I'm you know, I'm just basically like, oh, when am I going to catch this. You know, because we're here. We are dealing with patients who are infected. Despite having all of our PPE, you just still you don't know, isn't it? Even if you go by the book, there are people who are still getting infected. So, really that I'm just so scared.

PATON WALSH: This is not over and it's not even clear if this is the beginning of the end, or a lull before another wave.

TOWNSEND: We need to continue with the lockdown that we have, to stop the spreading and for the next six weeks, we are on standby.


PATON WALSH: Still, the sick come, worsening, and improving. Jacqueline, who delayed coming to hospital, because she feared catching there, the virus she already had, is improving.

JACQUELINE SMITH, PATIENT: They called three times, and I kept refusing to come, I was scared to come in. Oh my goodness. It's so tight, you've got somebody sitting on your chest. You try to breathe, and you are not getting anywhere, it's very frightening.

PATON WALSH: This hospital has had over 170 patients die from covid, it now has about 170 who have it, or possibly have it. A toll, leaving them both ready, and cautious, about a second wave. In a pandemic, so riddled with unknowns, it leaves a certain only of how much we need each other. Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Coventry, the United Kingdom.


ALLEN: Dr. Rinesh Parmar, he is the chair of the Doctors Association U.K., he joins me now from west midlands in England, thank you so much doctor for joining us. And good morning to you.


ALLEN: It seems no matter how many times I see stories from the front lines there, what these medical teams are under, it is more chilling every time you see it. It is surreal. I want to say, weeks into this pandemic, what does explain that there still isn't, as we mentioned earlier, we gave the numbers, there's not proper safety equipment for these teams really risking their lives to save others.

PARMAR: This is our concern. So, we totally understand that there is a global demand for personal protective equipment and we know that countries around the world are trying to source it, but we are several weeks down the line now, and what doctors are calling for is real honesty, and candor, from the government. And we heard towards the end of February in the middle of March here in the U.K., that the government told us that this is a simple distribution issue, and once we overcome that distribution issue, we have sufficient supplies.

We are then hearing that opportunities have been missed to actually source more personal protective equipment from the European Union, and even now, we are hearing that deliveries that were due to take place from Turkey, have not arrived on time, and the equipment that we expect to arrive hasn't come in full. And (inaudible), you start getting messages to our workers on the front line with this, really worried about how are they going to get the vital personal protective equipment. They say desperately need to keep themselves, their colleagues, and their family members safe.

ALLEN: Right. It was a week ago that I was reporting that the supplies from Turkey were coming that day. And that was a week ago. Let's talk about the risks that these doctors, these nurses, are putting themselves in without proper PPE. What is it about trying to care for, and save covid-19 patients that makes doctors especially vulnerable without PPE?

PARMAR: So, we know that it spreads through droplets and aerosol particles that patients may breathe in and out, or may develop when they are coughing. And so, it is really important that we have the right grade of masks, and eye protection, and long sleeve gowns that doctors and nurses on the frontline really need. And our doctors and nurses are working with covid positive patients for several hours a day, and anything up to 12 to 14 hours.

And if they are in that environment, we need to ensure that they have the best quality protection. We sadly heard stories of nurses wearing INGLIS: bags or trash bags just because they do not have personal protective equipment. Doctors going out to local stores to source their own eye protection. And these kinds of stories are really harrowing to hear. Because we think, our health care workers are putting themselves at risk, while working in this environment, and the least we can do is give them the equipment they need to keep themselves safe.

ALLEN: And what do you think about the government's response to this situation?

PARMAR: We are hearing that the government is doing absolutely everything they can, and we totally appreciate that this is a global crisis with global demands. And what we would really wish for, is firstly, some honesty about exactly what situation we are in, how much stuff we have, and how long that will last. And how they are planning to remedy and fix that situation. And also, some clarity on when our guidelines changes, into what personal protective equipment to use, what the evidence is behind that, and we have had situations where doctors, for example, are cleaning, and, wiping down their surgical gowns, and then reusing them.


And we really don't know whether that practice is safe, or whether it offers them the same protection, or whether in fact they are going to spread the infection between colleagues are even between patients. That is the worst thing that could happen.

ALLEN: Right. In our report from Nick Paton Walsh, you know, just to see that nurse say that she cries when she gets home, she cries, you know, when she is going back to work, and she cried during her interview, you understand the immense pressure, and worry, that they have. Not knowing if they are going to get this with all that their putting into, does it hurt to see what they are going through?

PARMAR: Absolutely. It is heartbreaking to see our colleagues suffering, it is heartbreaking to see our colleagues actually -- as you mentioned in the report and there are doctors and nurses that are also getting sick, and some of our colleagues are having to care for their colleagues on ventilators. And so, it is harrowing to see not only the effects on our staff, but also, on patients, and our family members, who are also worried about us every day we go to work.

ALLEN: Well, we hope, certainly hope, that this gets remedied, and soon. Doctor Rinesh Parmar, from West Midlands, England, thank you so much, sir.

PARMAR: Thank you. ALLEN: Well, there are more than 860,000 coronavirus cases in the

United States that is according to Johns Hopkins University, a staggering number in itself. But new research from Northeastern University in Boston suggests covid-19 was silently spreading throughout the U.S. for weeks before it was detected. CNN's Brian Todd looks into this.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Patricia Dowd had been in good health, the 57 year old had a nutritious diet according to her brother, and took no medications. Rick Cabello told CNN she was an athlete in her high school days. She was always active. Now she is believed to be the first coronavirus related fatality in the United States. We previously thought the first covid-19 death had occurred in Kirkland Washington on the last day of February, but we now know, based on a posthumous test, that it killed Patricia Dowd in Santa Clara County California more than three weeks earlier.

DR. SARA CODY, SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIFORNIA PUBLIC HEALTH DEPARTMENT: That indicates that the virus was probably introduced, and circulating in our community, again, far earlier than we had known.

TODD: There is indeed jarring new information on how early coronavirus may have struck inside the United States, and how many cases there could have been. What amounts to a hidden explosion of the virus right under America's nose. A new model from researchers at northeastern University, shared with The New York Times, says that on March 1st, when New York City confirmed its first case, and there were only about two dozen confirmed cases in five major American cities, there could actually have been some 28,000 cases in those cities at the time.

ALLESANDRO VESPIGNANI, NETWORK SCIENCE INSTITUTE, NORTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY: We call these the cryptic stage of an epidemic. Is that the moment in time in which we have the transmission of the disease from individual, to individual, but we do not know yet. So, what we have is that the epidemic spreads silently, until it reached a critical mass, and at that point, we start to see the tip of the iceberg.

TODD: At the time Patricia Dowd's death in February, the virus was thought to be mostly concentrated in Wuhan China, where it originated. This is what President Trump said about the virus, just four days after Dowd passed away.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: But I think it's going to work out good. We only have 11 cases, and they are all getting better.

TODD: Not long after that, U.S. officials thought coronavirus cases were bottled up on cruise ships, thought that scanning incoming travelers could keep the virus out of the U.S., and the CDC said to only test people who had been to China, or had been in contact with someone who had. One expert says the new model from Northeastern points to disastrous early responses to the virus by U.S. officials and an opportunity lost.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This whole testing issue has been mismanaged from the very beginning, and we were identifying these cases, they were going, basically, out into the community, able to spread this virus to other individuals. And then, we ended up into the situation that we're in today using very blunt tools like mass shutdowns and extreme social distancing. It did not have to be this way.

TODD: But experts say that the new model can also help us going forward, they say that it can help hospitals plan for how many ICU beds, and ventilators, they will need. And it will help officials plan for the second wave of coronavirus in the fall. They say it can help them understand what kind of resistance the virus is going to have, and what parts of the country will have more widespread cases than other areas. Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.



ALLEN: Ramadan is the holiest month for Muslims, but the coronavirus is drastically changing how the holiday is observed. We have a live report about that from Abu Dhabi, coming next here.


WALLACE: Ramadan has begun around the world, but this year some rituals will look very different as the coronavirus forces many to stay home. Some of Islam's holiest sites like Mecca, and Medina and Jerusalem's al-Aqsa mosque will be empty because of covid-19 restrictions. For more about it, CNN's Sam Kiley joins me now live, he is in Abu-Dhabi. Hello to you Sam.

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Natalie, Ramadan has been declared a month long period of fasting and spiritual reflection as daytime fasting, followed by in the evening, the Iftar meal, the breaking of the fasting and very important gathering of prayers that follow and it is the collective celebration of this month long period. So important in the Islamic calendar which has been so desperately disruptive, nearly two billion Muslims across the world. This in part is how they are preparing for it.


KILEY: Lanterns for sale in Cairo. Traditional decorations to mark the month long fast of Ramadan. Spiritual reflection in the time of corona, inevitable. And the tradition of nighttime feasting and celebration, is now tarnished by social isolation, and a ban on collective prayer.

He says, (inaudible) prayers or what he misses the most. People wait for it year after year, and the gatherings, but now most people are afraid of visiting each other. You do not know what people circumstances are.

Across the Islamic world, at 1.9 billion (inaudible), Pakistan is an outlier. Defying advice to close mosques, to prevent contamination. It's Prime Minister, refusing to ban congregations.

Ramadan is a time of prayer, the nation wants to go to mosques. It's a time of prayer when people want to move closer to god, and they have made up their minds to pray, the Prime Minister said.

In the United Arab Emirates, a nationwide lockdown has shattered mosques for weeks. The murmur of prayer. Silence for now. Lonely Ramadan decorations try to lift spirits on near disserted streets.

On most Ramadan nights, Salam's home would be filled with guests to break their fast at Iftar. Not this year.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our Iftar will not be big like the BBC, it will be very little. Including our present family, which is sitting at home, until this covid-19 is over.


KILEY: Are the children complaining about that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are a little bit bored, but they are aware and they understand.

KILEY: From Baghdad, to Beirut, Ramadan shopping is tinge with anxiety. Lockdown has led to an increase in poverty. He says, the stuff you are buying, you are searching for cheaper things to buy at a lower price, and overall, it is harder than ever to be able to put the same food during Ramadan on the table. It's harder.

But across the Islamic world, religious authorities had vowed to hold out. A glimmer of hope at this special but now difficult time of the year.


KILEY: Now, Natalie, here in the United Arab Emirates they were well ahead of the curve in terms of imposing lockdown and overnight curfews, closing schools and colleges long before the virus was seen to take such a hold as it has in Europe. That I have said, that they are going to relieve some of the overnight curfews here in the Emirates just by couple of hours essentially allow a little bit more shopping time in this important time of the year.

Similar moves had been announced in Egypt and even in Iran, but overall this is going to be a very, very tough period for the people trying their best to celebrate not only the communal aspects of Ramadan but the spiritual ones too.

ALLEN: Absolutely, it is a new day for cultures and religious people around the world. Thanks so much Sam Kiley, in Abu Dhabi. I appreciate that report.

When we come back here, Spanish students team up with firefighters to ease the pain in Madrid. How their special deliveries are helping families makes end meet.


ALLEN: When the coronavirus pandemic hit Spain, the country's economy was still struggling to recover from the 2008 financial crisis. Now, lockdowns have worsened the situation for many, even leaving some unsure of their next meal. But one group of hospitality students are trying to help. CNN's Scott McLean has their story.


SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Inside of this kitchen, volunteers are preparing food for Madrid's most needy. The funding comes from world central kitchen, the charity started by celebrity chef, Jose Andreas, better known for its work in the aftermath of floods, fires, and hurricanes. This is the closest we have lived to a natural disaster, a fractured economy, and the consequences is the same he says.

The meals are delivered by the Madrid fire department, used to responding to disasters, just not the kind that Spain is facing right now. The coronavirus crisis that has killed well over 21,000 people in Spain, is also torched a huge swath of the national economy. For many families, it is reduce their income down to zero.

Loaded up with food, the bomberos head out to deliver, five weeks into lockdown, the firefighters had gotten familiar with the people they serve, many of, who until, now had been unfamiliar with the inside of a food bank. Daisy Rivero lives with her autistic son, and works full time in a daycare center. She has been out of work for almost six weeks now.


He does not understand why we can't leave. I tell him, son, at least we have food now she says. The last financial crisis sends Spain into a long, painful, recession. 12 years later, before covid-19, it was still finding its economic feet, still struggling with 13 percent unemployment, in one of the highest debt burdens in Europe. Elizabeth Sanchez is a mother of two, with a third on the way. Her husband, who works in construction, has been forced to stay home since the lockdown began.

It was already difficult before, now it's even tougher. I pray to the lord this ends soon, she says. So far, her prayers have gone unanswered. While Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has promised the largest stimulus package in Spanish history, he is also promised to extend the lockdown for at least another two weeks. Scott McLean, CNN, Madrid.


ALLEN: And we have this for you as well, business owners, and restauranteurs in Brighton, England, are teaming up to give hardworking doctors and nurses a bit of a break, and they've raised 10s of thousands of dollars to do it. Anna Stewart reports from London.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here we are, just getting ready to send out 60 meals to Brighton Hope Hospital.

ANNA STEWART, CNN PRODUCER: La Choza is one of many restaurants in this British seaside town, working together to feed health workers. Part of a charitable initiative, kick started with a Facebook group. Originally, it ask people for grocery donations for NHS staff.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Look at how much they've helped, and people saying that they've got a bit of food that you can take.

STEWART: But soon, local businesses ask they could help to.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We teamed up with a bunch of associations, and we've got restaurants who are providing us with full meals a day.

STEWART: The cost for these businesses, many already struggling under lockdown, can be covered through local crowdfunding, although, many donate for free. It also gives the workers an opportunity to give back.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm a local taxi driver, and I'm not really working at the moment.

STEWART: Including the crucial delivery men Graham, (inaudible) goods to the front line, where it is a major boost for morale.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They deserve it. They are on the front line every day. They're in battle every day. The least we can do is give them some food to say thank you.

STEWART: Anna Stewart, CNN, London.


ALLEN: I will have the latest on the coronavirus spread in our next hour of CNN Newsroom, right after this.