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Trump: China's Incompetence To Global Killing; Sources: Fate Of CDC Director In Question; Brazil Sees Single-Day Spike Of Nearly 20,000 Cases; U.S. To Send Total Of 200 Ventilators To Russia; Cyclone Amphan Makes Landfall, At Least 12 Dead; Cyclone Amphan Makes Landfall in India; All 50 States Now Partially Opened; Dozens of South Korean Schools Closed Hours after Reopening; U.S. Nursing Home Workers Alarmed over Lack of Supplies; Alleged Architects of Carlos Ghosn's Escape Arrested in Boston; The Changing Space of the COVID-era Office. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired May 21, 2020 - 01:00   ET




ROBYN CURNOW, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello. Welcome to our viewers joining us here in the United States and all around the world. Thanks for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Robyn Curnow. So, just ahead, new modeling shows tens of thousands of lives could have been saved in the U.S. if it had shut down just a little bit sooner. Also, more Coronavirus cases are popping up in South Korea including some students, just as schools had actually started to reopen. And then, two U.S. men including a former Green Beret have been arrested in a plot to smuggle former Nissan Chief Carlos Ghosn.

It has been 10 weeks since the World Health Organization declared the Coronavirus a global pandemic. 10 weeks, and we're still seeing record breaking numbers. The WHO reports 106,000 new cases of the virus worldwide in just the past 24 hours. Now, that's the biggest one-day jump since the outbreak began. Now, about two-thirds of those new infections are in the U.S., Russia, Brazil, and India. Three of those countries already lead the world in overall cases. And the U.K.'s Boris Johnson and they all have a thing in common, leaders who have downplayed or even mocked the virus.

U.S. President Donald Trump famously predicted the virus would magically disappear and Brazil's President has rallied against social distancing. Well, earlier lockdowns and social distancing in the U.S. could have saved tens of thousands of lives. New modeling from Columbia University suggests if Americans started staying at home, just two weeks earlier, 83 percent of the deaths in the U.S. could have been prevented. The lead researcher says it's not too late to learn from their findings.


JEFFREY SHAMAN, ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH SCIENCE PROFESSOR, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: As we loosen these restrictions, it's possible we could start to have the growth of the virus in a lot of communities if we're not careful. If social distance practices lapse, if people aren't wearing face masks as they start to go to businesses and restaurants and theaters. If we don't monitor this, and if we don't recognize it really early and jump on it, it's going to jump out of control again. We're going to have problems again. We're going to -- we're going to have growth that's beyond our expectations, and we're going to see surges of people coming into hospitals again.


CURNOW: Now, we should note this research has not been peer reviewed, as of yet. Meanwhile, President Trump is ramping up his criticism of China's response to the pandemic. This time all but blaming President Xi Jingping. Earlier, he tweeted, China's incompetence led to, quote, mass killing worldwide. In recent past, Mr. Trump has showered his praise on China and his counterpart in Beijing.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And now, we're friends with Xi. In fact, maybe we've never had a better relationship. And we're working with them very closely on the Coronavirus.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you concerned that China is covering up the full extent of coronavirus.

TRUMP: No, China is working very hard.

We've been working very much with China. I've spoken, as you know, with President Xi, they went through hell, and their numbers are starting to look very good.


CURNOW: Well, Anna Coren joins me now live from Hong Kong with more on all of this. Hi, Anna, what more can you tell us about the Chinese reaction, if any, to Trump's latest words?

ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: (INAUDIBLE) we're yet to hear from Chinese officials. But we are expecting something from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs a little bit later this afternoon. I mean, these war of words between the Trump administration and Beijing have been ratcheting up now for some months, we see Trump praising China and Xi Jinping back in March. But these last few months, tensions have been increasing, as the blame game continues.

And these latest tweets in the last few hours from Donald Trump really ups the ante. I want to read you this latest tweet because it really points the finger at Xi Jinping without naming him directly. He says, "Spokesman speaks stupidly on behalf of China, trying desperately to deflect the pain and carnage that their country spread throughout the world. Its disinformation and propaganda attack on the United States and Europe is a disgrace. It all comes from the top. They could have easily stopped the plague, but they didn't." Obviously, that follows his tweet of the incompetence of China that's responsible for the mass worldwide killing. [01:05:09]

Robyn, as we know, Trump's critics say that this is part of Trump's reelection strategy. He's China-bashing policy, and we know that it resonates with his base. But we also have to remember that there is a great deal of scrutiny on China at the moment, with the origins of this virus, you know, breaking out in Wuhan. So, Donald Trump not backing down; he knows that it plays well for his domestic audience. But this is definitely, you know, increasing tensions between the two countries. Robyn?

CURNOW: Yes, and this is rhetoric, but also we're seeing some other actions which could exacerbate these tensions. The U.S. State Department has announced plans to sell advanced torpedoes to Taiwan. China, of course, claim sovereignty over Taiwan and past ourselves have angered them. So, how is this going to play out?

COREN: Yes, this latest arms sale, which the United States has just announced in the last few hours, $180 million of torpedoes and equipment. This is no doubt going to anger Beijing, because, as you say, China sees Taiwan as part of -- a part of the mainland, and it talks of reunification, and it will take it back by force if necessary. Well, interestingly, the Taiwanese President saying when she was inaugurated yesterday, after being reelected for a second term, and the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, he issued a statement congratulating her, the highest U.S. official to do this. Now, this truly angered Beijing. They came out warning of retaliation, and that this was threatening the relationship between, not just the two countries but between the Chinese and American military. But take a listen to what President Tsai had to say during her inauguration speech, it certainly -- she certainly strikes a defiant tone.


TSAI ING-WEN, PRESIDENT OF TAIWAN (through translator): We will continue these efforts, and we are willing to engage in dialogue with China and make more concrete contributions to regional security. Here I want to reiterate the words: peace, heritage, democracy, and dialogue. We will not accept the Beijing authority's use of one country, two systems to downgrade Taiwan, and undermine the cross- strait status quo. We stand fast by this principle.


COREN: President Tsai blatantly rejecting the one country, two systems policy. Her approval rating is absolutely, you know, through the roof. She has the backing of her citizens to be making such bold statements. But the Chinese we know have their heart set on reunifying Taiwan back to the mainland and, you know, in the last few weeks, Robyn, we've seen Chinese military warplanes and aircraft carriers in the Taiwan Straits. And then, of course, U.S. are conducting flight surveillance operations in the area. So, you know, this is playing out, not just in words, but as you say, in actions, too.

CURNOW: Yes, it certainly is. Really concerning. Anna Coren, great to see you. Thanks so much for joining us there, live in Hong Kong. So, I want you to tune in for a CNN Special Report, "CHINA'S DEADLY SECRET" hosted by Fareed Zakaria. That will be on Sunday, 9:00 p.m. in New York, 9:00 a.m. Monday in Hong Kong. It'll be fascinating stuff. And, of course, only here on CNN.

Now, over at the White House, a small group of demonstrators have gathered on late Wednesday to protest the Trump administration's handling of the pandemic. They staged a mock funeral lining a nearby park with body bags. Meanwhile, the President says the head of the Centers for Disease Control, Dr. Robert Redfield, is doing a, quote, very good job, but others in the White House are not on the same page. As Jeremy Diamond now reports



JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Questions about Dr. Robert Redfield's future as head of the Centers for Disease Control. With tensions simmering between the White House and the CDC, a senior administration official telling CNN's Kristen Holmes, there are informal conversations about Redfield's fate. Another source said Redfield who privately dismissed concerns about his job security last week is now worried he may have a target on his back, after a top White House official took the infighting public.

PETER NAVARRO, WHITE HOUSE TRADE ADVISOR: Early on in this crisis, the CDC which really had the most trusted brand around the world in this space, really let the country down with the testing. That did set us back.

DIAMOND: President Trump echoing that criticism behind closed doors, taking a swipe at the CDC during a lunch with Senate Republicans. But publicly ...

TRUMP: I think they work very hard. I will say they originally, they had no tests and one of the tests had a problem very early on, but that was quickly remedied.


DIAMOND: Other officials pushing back saying, there isn't an appetite for a major shake-up amid the pandemic. The question mark over Redfield coming as the CDC released 60 pages of detailed reopening guidelines, without a word from the White House, which initially shelved those guidelines.

KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: You're saying how come the White House isn't talking about this? That's just false. As opposed to what? I mean, the CDC guidelines are posted, that's -- they're accessible to everybody. That is a White House product because it's a CDC product.

DIAMOND: A lack of fanfare for the CDC guidelines, but not for reopening. CONWAY: As for the rallies, there will be a campaign, there will be rallies. I sure hope so. Because people want to -- want to do that. I would just say if you're socially distancing at a rally, if you only have two out of every 10 seats filled at a Trump rally, it look more like a Biden or a Clinton rally, so that would be odd.

DIAMOND: And meanwhile, Vice President Mike Pence traveling outside of Washington for the first time since the day that his press secretary tested positive for Coronavirus, the Vice President heading down to the battleground state of Florida, where he had lunch in a restaurant with the Florida Governor Ron De Santis. And as you can see in this footage from Pence's visit down there, nobody wearing masks, not very much social distancing going on. That's despite the recommendation from the CDC that if you're not able to stay six feet apart from somebody, you should be wearing a mask to protect other people from yourself in the event that you are potentially infected.

And we should note, of course, that while -- that it's been 12 days since the vice president had traveled since the Vice President's press secretary tested positive for Coronavirus. That's less than the 14 days that the CDC guidelines say you should self-isolate for if indeed you're in close contact with someone who tested positive for Coronavirus. The President, meanwhile, we'll see if he decides to wear a mask or not on Thursday when he heads to a Ford manufacturing facility in Michigan. Ford has said that masks are required at that plant. The President, though, non-committal so far on whether he will wear a mask for the first time. Jeremy Diamond, CNN, the White House.


CURNOW: So, I want to bring in Dr. Neha Nanda. She joins us now. She's an epidemiologist and the medical director of the Infection Prevention for Keck Medicine at the University of Southern California. And she's Joining me now from L.A. Thank you very much for joining us, doctor. And I know that you've been busy yourself. But I don't know if you heard the top of our show, the headline in the last hour or so is that America would have saved tens of thousands of lives if there'd just being a lockdown and social distancing a week earlier. What do you make of that?

DR. NEHA NANDA, MEDICAL DIRECTOR OF THE INFECTION PREVENTION FOR KECK MEDICINE, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA (via Skype): So, as we know, with this virus, some intervention, some tools are key. That's physical distancing and hygiene. So, the whole physical distancing you practice, you are going to benefit more. So, the sooner you do it, the better it is. And I think that answers the question.

CURNOW: Yes, it certainly does. And then, what do you do -- make about the other details and data coming from the World Health Organization that essentially, the globe has had its worst day yet, when it comes to the number of infections that that has been recorded? Is that an indication that testing is being ramped up? Or do you think it's more indication of just how much this virus is amplifying?

NANDA: Yes. So, it's a question that is very difficult to answer given what we know today. Like you said, testing being ramped up, being available everywhere, definitely adds to the (INAUDIBLE) in our saying are new cases really increasing, or is it just testing that's playing a role? What we do you know about this virus at this time is that the rate at which it mutates, as it changes its DNA, that's not too high. So, if we have been good about interventions like physical distancing, our new cases should not be exponentially rising. But again, if the testing is expanding, it's hard to piece it out at this time. I know I didn't answer the question. But the answer is it's difficult to answer if it's really new cases because of lack of interventions or it's because of rampant testing.

CURNOW: And basically your messages is that people should be social distancing, even if regulations, say, You're OK to go out and have a haircut or, you know, go to the beach or a bar, but I also want to show you some of the pictures, and I'll view some pictures that we've been seeing here in the U.S. There was graduations this week with people weren't wearing masks. People were not social distancing. We've had a number of images of people in bars also not wearing masks snuggled up next to their beers and their partners. You know, what -- how is this going to impact life in a month or six weeks? Do you expect many deaths to be amplified by these sorts of experiences?


NANDA: So the number of cases -- if we do not practice physical distancing, and if we jump too early, and we give up our discipline, which we've been so good about thus far, we are going to see repercussions and repercussions could be in the form of simply new cases. And some of those cases hopefully will recover or there could be deaths like you talked about.

So I think we have to -- again, if that's what's happening, which it is happening, we have to really be good about disciplining ourselves to not do that.

And if we are opening businesses, because that's the other piece to it, we have to do it very very cautiously.

CURNOW: You study viruses, you -- this is your job. What what are the questions you still have about this virus and the way it attacks the human body?

NANDA: So I'll tell you one big question and that is driving a lot of questions is, we are still defining the clinical spectrum of the disease. We don't really know what all it can manifest as.

And every week, if not every three days, we identify a new clinical manifestation. And that's exactly for that reason, CDC has had to change its case definition at least two times. Until we don't learn more about the clinical spectrum that would impact our early identification of cases, which obviously is very important to quick isolation or prompt isolation to be able to contain contagion.

CURNOW: Yes, so pretty basically, what you're saying is this is not just about a respiratory disease that is attacking different parts of the body and presenting in so many different ways.

Dr. Neha Nanda, I really appreciate you taking the time to speak to us and share your expertise. Thank you for joining us.

So this week, Brazil's battle against the coronavirus has seemingly spun out of control with record numbers of new cases and a death toll now close to 19,000 people. Our Matt Rivers has the latest on the situation there, Matt.

MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: For another day and another new daily record for the country of Brazil in terms of its newly confirmed cases. The government Wednesday evening, reporting nearly 20,000 newly confirmed cases that brings Brazil's overall case total to more than 291,000. That number is third highest in the world.

Although, if we see the trend line that's been going on in Brazil for the past two weeks or so continue, then it is very likely that we will see Brazil soon past Russia for second place on that list, at which point it would trail only the United States in terms of newly confirmed cases.

The death toll in Brazil is just shy of 19,000 at this point. And as a result of all of this, the lower house of Brazil's Parliament passed a proposed law that would make it mandatory for everyone to wear a mask when out in public.

Meanwhile, Brazil's Health Ministry is passing requirements, new regulations that are a bit more controversial. It was Wednesday that Brazil's Health Ministry authorized the use of both chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine to treat patients who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, the latter of which of course, is the controversial drug that President Trump himself has said that he has been taking despite the fact that in the United States, the Food and Drug Administration has said that both of those drugs should only be used in hospitals and during clinical trials, because they both pose grave risks of serious side effects and even have the possibility to kill.

Matt Rivers CNN, Mexico City.

CURNOW: And Mexico is another Latin American country seeing a sudden spike in coronavirus deaths. 424 people died of COVID-19 just in the past 24 hours alone, bringing the total number up to more than 6,000 deaths. More than 2,200 new coronavirus cases were reported as well in the past day. Mexico has the third highest number of COVID cases in Latin America, after Brazil and Peru.

And Russia is now reporting more than 300,000 cases of coronavirus, second only to the U.S. worldwide. Early on, Russia certainly seemed to have the pandemic under control. But all of that has changed as Matthew Chance now reports.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: These are the first images of a batch of U.S. made ventilators being loaded on a military transporter bound from Moscow. Now it's America's turn to send Russia medical aid. U.S. officials say there's 50 in the shipment, another 150 will be sent soon. But a few months ago, it was Russia sending aid, including doctors and

medical equipment to Italy at the height of the pandemic there. From Russia with love is what Moscow called it. For critics it was more like propaganda from the Kremlin.


CHANCE: Russia was projecting an image of control. Even the U.S. got a handout. A plane load of Russian aid sent to New York as that city became the American epicenter of COVID-19.

No matter what later emerged, the Russian ventilators were unsafe. The fact Moscow was helping America in a crisis was a P.R. coup for the Kremlin.

With extremely few recorded infections back then, Russia appeared to bask in its performance.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA (through translator): Thanks to the prompt measures taken in the first weeks of the epidemic, we managed to contain the massive penetration and spread of the infection in Russia. Now despite the potentially high level of risk, the situation is generally under control.

CHANCE: But it wasn't and it still isn't. Perhaps the first sign was this, Putin in full play garb, visiting Moscow's main coronavirus hospital in March. Previously he'd appeared unprotected.

Soon Russia had record daily infections. The grim truth, Russia's pandemic emerging as key figures including the Prime Minister, then Putin's longtime spokesman Dmitry Peskov were hospitalized, feeling concerns about Putin's own health.

Soon with the highest number of infections after the U.S., Russia seemed to descend into a coronavirus hell. Images of infected medics coughing in makeshift wards exposed to hideous conditions.

Here, a doctor is arrested trying to deliver much needed medical supplies. She argued the country was in denial about its coronavirus problem. For at least three more critical of the pandemic response mysteriously fell out of hospital windows, more out of desperation with their workload said colleagues with a conspiracy to silence critics, two died of their injury.

It's why this first shipment of U.S. aid to Russia is so significant, not just a return favor to the next worst affected country in the world, but also an admission by Russia finally, that it needs help.

Matthew Chance, CNN.


CURNOW: So India also recorded its largest single day spike in infections on Wednesday with more than 5,600 new cases, that's according to Johns Hopkins University. Now the country has surpassed 112,000 cases. Still to come, India's spiking cases comes as the country grapples

with another disaster. The latest on this super typhoon, the cyclone that has hit India.



CURNOW: We know at least 12 people are dead, thousands of homes destroyed after cyclone made landfall in Eastern India on Wednesday.

In fact, the situation is so bad in parts of West Bengal, the head of the National Disaster Response Force says one area has, quote, been pulverized. We also know flash flooding is expected in both India and Bangladesh and authorities have been working to evacuate millions of people.

Those efforts though have been complicated by the coronavirus; relief teams are trying to get out people safely by also -- but also trying to keep themselves healthy.

Well, I want to check in with Pedram Javaheri, he's been tracking the storm. And you know, we're hearing descriptions like areas are being pulverized, we also hear in Bangladesh has suffered huge loss and damage. Just give us some sense of what we know has happened on the ground.

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN INTERNATIONAL METEOROLOGIST: You know, when it comes to a storm of this magnitude, of course, you know the expectation it could be significant when it comes to damage of course.

At landfall point, we know the storm surge was about five meters, that is equivalent to a Category 4 or a Category 5 system making landfall. And of course, this is a vulnerable area. So you put this together, the damage could be significant. The storm came ashore with winds of 160 kilometers per hour, so it was significantly weaker than its peak intensity of 270 kph which, of course the strongest we've ever observed across the Bay of Bengal, but quite a bit of moisture.

A lot of people think that when a storm makes landfall, the energy dissipates, that is all said and done. That might be the case in parts of the world. But when it comes to an area like this where as you travel north, the elevation increases to the highest locations on our planet, of course, the foothills of the Himalayas, and then eventually the Himalayan mountains just north of this region, all of that water is going to rain out as it runs into these mountains and then eventually all that water will work its way down, the 24,000 kilometers of waterways across Bangladesh. So a lot of that does eventually end up back into the Bay of Bengal.

And notice as the system here gradually shifts off towards the east, the areas indicated in orange, brown and yellow. That's where the highest moisture content is left. And this is the imagery here, a forecast ahead into next Tuesday. So it's kind of giving you a sense of scale of how far out the moisture will still be present with tropical moisture surging in. Of course, the source region, the Bay of Bengal, further towards the south really helps exacerbate the issue here.

And when you're talking about the rooftop of our planet in the Himalayan mountains, the air is going to be forced to rise and anytime you force air to rise, it cools and it condenses into additional cloud. And then of course, additional heavy rainfall comes downstream of this. So that's the concern moving forward.

The damage left on the ground, authorities saying it might take them as much as three or four days before they can make their way down to some of these areas on the coast to see the damage that has been left in place and assess the full extent of this.

But on the northern fringe of this, the heavy rainfall will certainly continue. In fact, the single wettest locations on our planet do reside across this region of Eastern India where heavy rains are expected, as much as a quarter to a half a meter of rainfall possible within just the next three to four days here, Robyn.

So you take a city well known for rainfall say London, the amount of rainfall London gets in an entire year is forecast to come down across this area of Bangladesh and Eastern India within the next three to four days.

So, again, all of this on top of damage left behind from the storm system, not a good sight.

CURNOW: Wow, that's kind of warning. Thanks so much Pedram Javaheri there, standing by. Thanks so much.

Well, I want to go now to Vedika Sud. She joins us from New Delhi and you just heard the picture that Pedram is painting. What do we know that it -- what do we know is happening on the ground at the moment because I know comms are down? So, do we have a sense of the devastation?

VEDIKA SUD, CNN PRODUCER: Well, as far as Bangladesh is concerned, what we do know from the officials there is that there's huge damage to the coastal areas of Bangladesh, every coastal area rather of Bangladesh. But the numbers of casualties of the people injured is yet to be ascertained by the government there because it's still reaching out to some of the remote areas.

Back here in India, as far as West Bengal is concerned two districts have been damaged severely for will impact to normalcy within the next four to six days is what we're being told.

But I see four challenges here. One being rehabilitation of these people, the other being sanitation, the third being self-distancing. And of course, the fourth major concern as I speak to you is making sure that those comms are up as soon as possible because even the relief task force in these areas are facing difficulties in reaching out to each other for the entire rehabilitation process.

What we also do know as Sundarbans which is known to be a mangrove area, which is shared between Bangladesh and India has been pulverized. That is what the chief of the National Disaster Response Team had to say to us this morning.


ROBYN CURNOW, CNN ANCHOR: And what is devastating is that we're hearing about this massive rains, winds, of course the storm surge.

And then on top of that, there's the issue of COVID-19, of coronavirus. This is kind of this double whammy as people are trying to evacuate and stay, or even trying to return. They're going to have to also sort of figure out social distancing. I mean how do they do that?

VEDIKA SUD, CNN PRODUCER: Absolutely. And this comes at a time when it's going to rain consistently over the next few days as is just mentioned over the channel (ph). So that's a worry as well, isn't it? That's another challenge.

And social distancing at a time when some of those huts and those villages are facing huge destruction all around them. Trees have been uprooted; you have these (INAUDIBLE) down. So distancing at a time when these poor people in these areas don't even understand what coronavirus really is. And now comes a storm that has left a lot of devastation around them. So that is going to be a huge issue as well.

It's going to take time for, you know, (INAUDIBLE) to be certain and those two districts that we've been talking about in West Bengal. Communications are down like I said.

Another worry is water and food for these people. We do know that (AUDIO GAP) are providing them with water and food, but for how long is the question.

CURNOW: Yes. Thanks for that update -- Vedika. Appreciate it. We'll check in with you again in the next hour or so.

So, you're watching CNN NEWSROOM.

Still to come. It is only day two of schools starting to physically reopen in South Korea but some actually have already shut back down. The reasons why, when we come back.


CURNOW: I'm Robyn Curnow. Thanks for joining me. It is 33 minutes past the hour here in Atlanta.

So, our top story, of course, coronavirus. And here in the U.S. the drive to reopen is certainly moving full speed ahead, despite growing death and infections in a number of states.

California saw more than a hundred fatalities just on Tuesday alone -- it's second deadliest day so far.

Here's Erica Hill with more on all of that -- Erica.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A 50-state experiment now in full swing.

JONATHAN RESSLER, ARCHIE MOORE'S: It's been a rough time. Two months without, you know, normal operations is not easy in the restaurant business when there are such thin margins.

HILL: Restaurants offering outdoor dining in Connecticut. Hair salons originally slated to reopen today, now on hold until June 1st.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of us here today, we did what was necessary and what was called for us to do and it just -- the rug got pulled out from underneath us.

HILL: Salons in Miami Beach can open today but beaches there remain closed.

MAYOR DAN GEIBER, MIAMI BEACH: One thing we don't want to do is rush so fast that we create a spike in the virus.


HILL: In-person car sales now allowed in New Jersey. Los Angeles County setting a goal of reopening on July 4th as Alaska declares everything will be open Friday morning.

GOVERNOR MIKE DUNLEAVY (R), ALASKA: We now have a knowledge of this virus. We all know how it operates so it's going to be up to us as individuals to deal with it.

HILL: Alaska is one of 18 states seeing an uptick in new cases over the past week along with Kentucky.

GOVERNOR ANDY BESHEAR (D), KENTUCKY: And we're humble enough to know that it's very possible we make a decision that we've got to pull back.

HILL: The Missouri School Board Association releasing a draft plan for K through 12 schools. Suggestions include a delayed start and a blend of in-person and virtual learning. Noting there cannot be one plan for all schools.

The CDC also releasing long-awaited guidance for schools and businesses, though not for religious institutions. Despite a separate CDC report detailing the spread of the virus at an Arkansas church.

FATHER EDWARD BECK, CNN RELIGIOUS CONTRIBUTOR: Other congregants have been infected with the virus, so I think we really have to be smart about this. And I think it should have included the guidelines for all the groups that gather and including religious ones.

HILL: Rhode Island announcing in-person worship can begin next weekend at 25 percent capacity. Indiana state parks, summer day camps and baseball fields will open in most of the state this Friday.

Ford resuming production at a Chicago facility today while temporarily closing its truck plant in Dearborn, Michigan after an employee there tested positive for the virus.

In New York city, still weeks away from reopening, new UV lights will help disinfect subway cars and buses, a crucial step in getting millions of New Yorkers back to work safely.


HILL: And here in New York state starting on Thursday, people can gather for religious services, 10 people or less though is the limit. They must maintain strict social distancing and wear masks. The Governor says drive-in and parking lot services will also be permitted starting on Thursday and he's convening an inter-faith advisory council to look at what the next steps could be for religious services across the state.

Back to you.

CURNOW: Ok. Thanks -- Erica, for that.

Now school is back in session and in-person for some students in South Korea. We know that temperature checks, masks, and frequent sanitizing are not part of this new normal. Some high school seniors return to their actual rather than virtual classrooms.

But some schools closed just hours after reopening when some students tested positive for the virus.

So let's go straight to Seoul. Paula Hancocks joins us now with more on all of that -- Paula.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well Robyn -- for most schools across the country yesterday, when the high school seniors went in, it was a pretty smooth start to the in-person classes, the face-to-face classes.

There were some hurdles though. We know that at least 66 schools in a city, Inchon City just west of Seoul had to close down after two students were found to be positive with the virus.

We heard from the Korea CDC today and they said that what they have to do going forward is schooling has to go alongside disease prevention.

But let's have a look at what the new normal looks like in South Korea.


HANCOCKS: A temperature check, hand sanitized, and wet wipes -- back to school during a pandemic. These are high school seniors, the first to physically come back. A sign South Korea is trying to return to a semblance of normality. Students queue two meters apart as they wait to enter the building and another temperature check with a thermal camera.

Desks in the classroom have been arranged to be at least one meter apart. Masks must be worn at all times. This semester may be starting more than 11 weeks late. But it feels

like a milestone in South Korea's fight against coronavirus. Over the next few weeks, younger grades will also be coming back to school in a phased approach. And schools are hoping that by June 8th every student will be back.

Online learning now replaced by face-to-face classes. The cafeteria at a school in Seoul has been disaffected and plastic partitions put in between where students can sit. Many seats left empty.

This will be the one area students are allowed to take their masks off. Principal Kim Seung-kyeon has been working for weeks to prepare for this day.

KIM SEUNG-KYEON, PRINCIPAL, JOONKYUNG HIGH SCHOOL (through translator): I'm so happy to see my students back again after a long wait. The students can now begin their school life.

HANCOCKS: But Kim knows the risks involved.

KIM: If we get a confirmed case the school will immediately shut and return to online classes.

HANCOCKS: Dozens of schools had to close again in Inchon City west of Seoul after two students tested positive, believed to be linked to the outbreak in Seoul's nightclub district.

Schools have been fully disinfected ahead of time. Officials say the health of the students is the number one priority.


A cluster of cases in Seoul's nightclub district pushed the opening date of schools back by a week. Another potential outbreak in the Seoul Medical Center is also concerning health officials.

But for some of those in school today, just being here feels like a victory.


HANCOCKS: And for those dozens that were shut down on Wednesday, the first day, just after a couple of hours of being opened, there will be a decision by tomorrow Friday as to whether or not they can open up again.

And then separately in the south east of the country, in the city of Daegu which was one of the hardest hit at the beginning of this pandemic, they also have a school that's been shut down due to a positive case -- Robyn.

CURNOW: Paula, thanks for that.

So the U.K. is also racing now with how and went to reopen schools. The British Prime Minister had hoped to do so by June the 1st but he's getting some serious pushback. Teachers are among those expressing safety concerns.

And Boris Johnson is also vowing to have a test and trace operation in place by that same date to raise confidence about reopening. But researchers have identified several possible security flaws in the U.K.'s contact tracing app. And Britain's opposition Labour Party leader says the operation is already way overdue according.


KEIR STARMER, BRITISH LABOUR PARTY LEADER: There's been no effective tracing in place since March the 12th when tracing was abandoned. That's nearly 10 weeks in a critical period without effective tracing. That's a huge hole in our defenses. Isn't it -- Prime Minister?

BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: What I can tell him, and I think his little feigned ignorance really doesn't come very well. But what I can tell him is that today I am confident that we will have a test and trees trace operation that will enable us, if all the other conditions are satisfied, and it is entirely provisional, it will enable us to make progress.


CURNOW: Well, the Labour Party is also pushing to scrap the extra fees foreign health workers must pay to the National Health Service. Their annual fee could rise to more than $760 later this week. Labour wants it waived to thank overseas health care workers for helping to fight the virus.

Meanwhile, tune in for the next "CNN GLOBAL TOWN HALL: CORONAVIRUS FACTS AND FEARS". And in fact much of this will focus on what's actually happening with education amidst this this pandemic. It should be fascinating.

Hosted as usual by Anderson and Sanjay. That's at 8 p.m. Thursday in New York and 8:00 Friday morning in Hong Kong if you're over there. Only here on CNN.

And here in the U.S. there's certainly growing concern about the safety of nursing home employees. For months now they've been fighting this pandemic from literally the front lines. And they often do it without proper equipment.

As Drew Griffin now reports, hundreds have come forward fearing for their lives.


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: For 25 years, Maurice Dotson worked as a nurse's assistant at West Oaks Nursing Home in Austin, Texas. Changing bed pans, diapers, sheets, and just being a friend to those elderly who no longer had any friends.

That ended when he died on April 17th, the cause? COVID-19.

QUENTIN BROGDON, ATTORNEY FOR DOTSON FAMILY: He wasn't given basic personal protective equipment such as a mask.

GRIFFIN: Maurice Dotson was one of 111 cases of COVID-19 at this nursing home. The state sent in Texas National Guard soldiers to disinfect West Oaks and other facilities.

Quentin Brogdon is the attorney representing Dotson's family in a lawsuit which says the nursing home failed to properly prepare, respond and provide its employees with personal protection equipment as required.

BROGDON: He gave his life to care for the residents of West Oaks. They were his second family. He could have called in sick. He could have quit. But it just wasn't in his DNA. He protected them but he wasn't protected.

GRIFFIN: West Oaks will not comment on the lawsuit, but in a statement the company said, "Our operations and protocols changed profoundly with the release of the CDC guidelines."

Nursing homes and long term care facilities from the start of this pandemic had been hotbeds of illness and death. One study shows 41 percent of coronavirus deaths in 36 states are connected to nursing homes. The virus spreads quickly to patients and staff who then leave work and spread it to others.

DEBBIE BERKOWITZ, NATIONAL EMPLOYMENT LAW PROJECT: In this pandemic, if a worker is infected with COVID-19, then they cannot only spread it to their coworkers, but they spread it out into the community

A CNN review of hundreds of complaints to federal and state governments show that workers at long term facilities feel their own lives are at risk. Writing complaints like "Employees are not provided personal protective equipment such as masks", "using coffee filters as masks, and garbage bags as gowns".

"Health care workers have died from the COVID-19 and the employer is unwilling to report it."

MARK PARKINSON, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN HEALTH CARE ASSOCIATION: We have been begging for additional equipment in nursing homes for the last two months and unfortunately, no one has listened. In some cases, we have had to go without it and the results have been tragic.


GRIFFIN: Mark Parkinson, president of the American Health Care Association says in the rush to find protective gear for unprepared hospitals, nursing homes have been ignored.

PARKINSON: Unfortunately with the resources that were denied to nursing homes and were instead were to hospitals have had really tragic results because it's impossible to stop this virus if you don't have the face masks that you need to keep it from spreading.

BERKOWITZ: It's like government malfeasance and how little they have done. GRIFFIN: Deborah Berkowitz is former chief of staff at OSHA, the

government agency charged with protecting workers. She says the government has failed by silently allowing nursing home deaths to multiply without acting.

BERKOWITZ: OSHA put out no specific guidance and just recently has no mandate. And you know, you know, guidance is voluntary. Employers can follow it, or they can ignore it.

GRIFFIN: OSHA's guidelines on protecting nursing home workers during the COVID-19 pandemic were published only this past week, three months after the first deaths were recorded at a nursing facility in Washington. Far too late to help workers like Maurice Dotson.

BROGDON: He was 51 years old. He didn't need to die.

GRIFFIN: OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration says it investigates all complaints and has been paying particular attention to protections for those health workers who have high exposure to coronavirus. That is of little comfort to the family of Maurice Dotson.

Drew Griffin, CNN -- Atlanta.


CURNOW: You're watching CNN.

Ahead, Carlos Ghosn's great escape -- two men accused of smuggling the former Nissan chairman out of Japan are now under arrest. We are live in Tokyo with those riveting details.


CURNOW: So two Americans accused of masterminding a brazen scheme to smuggle the former Nissan chairman out of Japan were rested in the Boston area on Wednesday. The Japanese government issued arrest warrants back in January for the former U.S. Army Green Beret who specialized in extractions and his son. They are thought to be the architects of Carlos Ghosn's shocking escape.

If you remember, he turned up in his home country of Lebanon late last year to avoid trial over alleged financial crimes. His getaway was a big embarrassment for Japan.

Let's go straight to Tokyo. Kaori Enjoji joins us more with all of the details. And we want to hear what they are.

KAORI ENJOJI, JOURNALIST: Yes. I mean, Robyn -- truth continues to be --


ENJOJI: -- the truth continues to be stranger than fiction, right, in the case of Carlos Ghosn, the ousted leader of Nissan who is by now, Japan's most famous fugitive. These arrests made overnight in Massachusetts, one for Michael Taylor and his son Peter for helping Ghosn escape late last year. And this means the two men could be sent to Japan to face trial. That is because the Japanese and the U.S. have an extradition treaty.


ENJOJI: And the prosecutor's office tells us this morning that they are making preparations for a request for prompt extradition. Now legally, they have to make that request in writing in 45 days, but ultimately it's up to the U.S. Secretary of State to decide.

Now, as you know, Ghosn was arrested in 2018 for financial misconduct. He has denied those allegations. And he was held here for nearly four months in detention and this escape on December 29th was a huge setback and an embarrassment, as you say, for the Japanese government.

We now know a lot more detail about that escape. We now know that Room 933 of the Grand Hyatt Hotel, not far from here, where Ghosn walked out of his house into the hotel. And all of them got into a train, a bullet train, and headed out to Osaka, and went to another hotel.

But, Ghosn was not seen coming out of that hotel and the allegations, according to the court documents are that he was hiding inside a big box -- two boxes, that the Taylors had brought with them, saying that they were musicians and the boxes were going to be used for their musical instruments.

Now, the arrest comes just one week before Nissan is set to announce a huge restructuring initiative. This is expected to undo years and years of aggressive growth strategy pursued by Carlos Ghosn as profits sink during the pandemic and months and months of management paralysis -- Robyn.

CURNOW: Ok. Thanks for that update. Kaori Enjoji there in Tokyo. Appreciate it.

So you're watching CNN NEWSROOM.

And if you are working from home, right now, what will your workplace look like when you return, if you return? Will watercolor talk and crowded cubicles still be a thing? The possible change you could expect. That's next.


CURNOW: As business reopen around the world and the workplace is getting a radical, radical make over. Gone are the days of open meeting spaces or mingling at the water cooler. In the COVID world, companies are reinventing, will reinvent how colleagues coexist. And for some the furniture, the office of the future is already here.

Clare Sebastian reports.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If they move my desk one more time, then I'm quitting.

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This from the movie "Office Space" is what offices used to look like -- confined spaces, minimal contact.

Over the past few decades, they have evolved to this -- open plans, social hubs, like the Salesforce Tower in San Francisco.

ELIZABETH PINKHAM, EXECUTIVE VP, GLOBAL REAL ESTATE, SALESFORCE: We love to come together. We love to collaborate. We love to have face- to-face meetings. We loved it when the officers were crowded.

SEBASTIAN: Salesforce has spent the last eight weeks turning those principles on their head. Inspired by this model from real estate state firm Cushman and Wakefield dubbed the "6 Feet Office", it's not exactly return to cubicles but there are eerie similarities.

PINKHAM: You have maybe plexiglass dividers between workstations on the open floor plans, and then even meeting rooms will have big capacity sides because they are not able to hold as many people as before.

It's really about giving people visual cues to help remember about that physical distancing.

SEBASTIAN: Plans are still being finalized, but masks will be mandatory, shifts will be staggered, temperatures checked, elevators in the company's many towers socially-distanced.

Across the corporate world, high rise offices present a particular challenge.

SCOTT RECHLER, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, RXR REALTY: We are changing technology to be able to use Bluetooth to go touchless into the elevators.


SEBASTIAN: Scott Rechler runs RXR Realty, the fourth largest office landlord in Manhattan. He is reevaluating every detail of his buildings.

RECHLER: All the HEAC systems (ph) have been changed so that they have filters that are the highest-grade filters that pull or pickup the smallest particles. Where possible we are changing the location like for pantries and printers that usually are corners were getting congested to more open spaces.

SEBASTIAN: And technology also critical to his plan.

RECHLER: You will have an app that before you even come to work, they'll be able to actually look to see what the health index of the building is. When you go into your space, there's going to be a tool on your app that actually will monitor your extreme social distancing.

At the end of the day, you'll be able to see were they 70 percent, 75 percent. SEBASTIAN: Amidst all that change, there's one part of this new office

reality that's already here. And that is working from home. Many companies are planning to stagger shifts, others are telling staff you can work from home, so they can keep going.

Twitter has even told its employees that if they want to, they can work from home forever. It's clear in this world where the virus is still a threat, the ultimate trick to keeping offices safe is having fewer people in them.

Clare Sebastian, CNN -- New York.


CURNOW: Thanks, Clare -- for that.

So as parts of Spain begin easing a two-month lockdown, one bar in Seville has a found a high-tech and hands-free way to serve drinks safely. Their newest bartender -- there you go -- a robot named Beer Cart (ph). It uses as a giant arm with a pincer to fill glasses of draft beer. The bar's owner had actually purchased the robot before the start of the coronavirus pandemic to help actually boost production, but he's clearly found a better use for it.


ALBERTO MARTINEZ, OWNER GITANA LOCA (ph) (through translator): Since everything is about avoiding contact between clients, the menu has to be disposable, the oil has to be single dose. We said, look, the robot which was going to be used for something else is very useful. So even with plastic, disposable cups, we can avoid contact. So, everything has become very self service.


CURNOW: And parts of Spain have begun phase one of a four-step plan to relax one of the harshest lockdowns actually in Europe. Bars and restaurants that are reopening must comply with strict hygiene rules. More than 27,000 people have died from coronavirus in Spain.

Well, thanks so much for your company.

I'm Robyn Curnow. I actually be right back with more news after a quick break. Stick around for that.