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Taking Restrictions Off Means More COVID Cases; Greece Seriously Taking Tough Measures; India Punishes Alcohol Shops with Skyrocketed Taxes; U.S.-China Feud Getting Uglier Each Day; President Trump Suggests Vaccine May Be Available Later This Year; Global Race For A COVID-19 Vaccine Intensifies; U.S. Government To Decide How Remdesivir Will Be Distributed; Anthony Fauci, Reopening Economies Is A Very Difficult Choice; Key Model Forecasts 134,000 Plus U.S. Deaths By August; Park Ranger Telling Crowd To Distance Pushed Into Lake, Suspect Faces Charges On Attempted Assault On Public Servant; New Evidence About Virus In France; Italy Reports Less Than 100,000 Active Cases; Hair Salons In Germany Open For Business To High Demand; Israel Announces plans For Phased Reopening; United Airlines To Staff, Consider Leaving Voluntarily; Warren Buffet Sold All Stakes In Four Airline Stocks; Brazil's President Defiant Amid COVID-19 Crisis. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired May 5, 2020 - 03:00   ET




ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: This hour, countries around the world are taking very different approaches to getting back on their feet.

Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. This is CNN Newsroom. And I'm Rosemary Church. Just ahead.


ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: How many deaths, and how much suffering are you willing to accept to get back to what you want to be some form of normality sooner rather than later?


CHURCH: A price of reopening America's economy, there are fears it could cost tens of thousands of lives as the U.S. gets back to business in the midst of a worsening pandemic. But it's a very different story in Greece.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Greece is defying expectations. Despite an aging population and creaking healthcare it is holding off COVID-19.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CHURCH: The country is expecting to welcome back tourists by this summer, albeit a very different kind of summer. We are in Athens for you.

And then Brazil's president calls the pandemic a fantasy, but his country now has the highest number of cases in the southern hemisphere. CNN investigates just ahead.

We are now watching a gradual global lifting of restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus as governments are eager to get back to business. That's playing out in the United States, which remains the hardest hit country, both in terms of cases, and COVID-19 deaths.

But as the states reopen, there is an alarming new forecast that projects 134,000 deaths by early August. Nearly double its previous estimate. The sharp increase in part tied to relax social distancing. And we will get more from the U.S. just ahead.

Well, as a number of coronavirus deaths surpasses a quarter of a million globally, according to John Hopkins University, Europe is cautiously getting back to work. People in Germany can now get a professional haircut. In Italy, bars and restaurants are back in business, but you can only grab take away.

In Spain, people can finally exercise outside, and in Greece people can now get out and about and the country is looking forward to a summer tourist season. But as U.K. -- in the U.K. it's a very different story. It sits on the cusp of becoming the hardest hit country in Europe.

And to examine those two extremes, CNN's Nick Paton Walsh is in London. And Nic Robertson is in Athens. Welcome to you both. So, let's go to London first. And Nick, while the U.K. recorded its lowest increase in coronavirus deaths since the end of March, the government warns those numbers could go up, and as we just mentioned it could have the highest death toll in Europe. That is shocking.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: Well, it is dozens away sadly from possibly overtaking Italy. That has a smaller population than the United Kingdom, that sort of back and forth with those terrifying chilly numbers having over the last few days.

The 288-death toll that was announced yesterday is startling low, but often reflects what happens over the weekend when reporting of deaths seems to lag, and you a rise in those numbers happening later in the week.

We expect that probably to happen. In fact, government officials have been suggesting that is the case. The big question with the United Kingdom is, it was always about whether or not its government funded free of the point of view healthcare service will be able to sustain itself during any peak of a pandemic get enough ICU beds available. It did. It did manage to hold up quite well, but still, we have this incredibly large death toll as a result. And in fact, some of the updated numbers have suggested that in

England about half of those who died were over the age of 80. So, the question that U.K. is asking itself, I think it's why exactly has the death toll been so large, given the things that they were fearing would cause it to be that big, didn't actually necessarily occur.

And that brings the question as to whether or not the lockdown was put in early enough, they put in they say late enough to be sure that people sustained obedience to it over the period in which it wasn't forced.

Now the question is do people actually have the desire to get back to work. There been some polls suggesting that as Boris Johnson later on this week begins to unveil some of the measures which British media suggest could be part of relaxing restrictions here, like people going back to work but no hot desking, social distancing in many environments too.


They're encouraging people to possibly cycle to work, not use public transport. Will we see enough people embracing those measures? And do the numbers as we've seen them so far make that necessarily a good idea.

There are real concerns in the U.K. as to how this number got quite so high, and what needs to be done to ensure the economy taking a huge battering right now, gets going again without a second peak down the road, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Yes, understood. Nick Paton Walsh joining us live from London. Many thanks. Let's

Let's go now to Nic who is in Athens where Greece has surprised everyone, haven't they, with their handling of this pandemic. What's the latest on all of this?

ROBERTSON: Well, people have begun now coming out in streets more than they were, in fact, it's always sort of been a night and day change while we've been here over the weekend. It's had a lockdown Monday. Those restrictions eased. The streets filled with traffic again, the noise you can hear perhaps behind me.

So, there is a real sense here that it's out of phase one and into phase two, but the reason Greece did so well in phase one was because it had to. Because there were factors that meant that it had to go into that hard-fast lock down.

But arriving here now just a few days ago as we did, it is still very, very carefully controlled situation.


Welcome to Greece. The new normal at Athens International Airport.

Thank you. Thorough COVID-19 testing, we are negative. Everyone off our flight is giving it. It's tough love, but Greece is defying expectations. Despite an aging population and creaking healthcare, it is holding off COVID-19.

And it's no easier if you live here. Until this weekend, just to leave home you have to register with the government, text the number one through six, get at the pharmacy, buying groceries, exercise, all part of a hard-fast lockdown. Greece is new post populist, but pragmatic prime minister says it's working.

KYRIAKOS MITSOTAKIS, GREEK PRIME MINISTER: So, we feel we have reached that point where we have almost completely suppressed the epidemic, at least its first stage, and we can -- we will gradually begin to relax.

ROBERTSON: Do you feel like you have dodged the bullet?

MITSOTAKIS: We feel we've dodged the first bullet very clearly.

ROBERTSON: Putting on a mask there. Putting on personal protective gear because we're going to go into the ICU.

So how are these patients doing?

Dr. Anastasia Kotanidou leads the way.


ROBERTSON: Better? Good.

KOTANIDOU: Yes, yes.

ROBERTSON: Yes. Life of for some still in the balance. But ICU here at one-fifth capacity, thanks, she says to the early lockdown.

And they subdue in the hospitals?


ROBERTSON: One hundred fifty deaths around 2,600 confirmed infections. Less than New York some days, and not a single doctor or nurse in this Athens main COVID-19 hospital infected.

KOTANIDOU: So, we don't have any infections from staff or doctors.



ROBERTSON: That's incredible.


ROBERTSON: This seems to be dare I say, a very strong message for the United States and the United Kingdom, whose track record on this pandemic are probably some of the worst in terms of death and infection rates.

MITSOTAKIS: I think we've done the right way. Of course, we didn't get everything completely right but if you look at the numbers, you can't argue with what we have achieved.

ROBERTSON: Mitsotakis' challenge now? Restarting the economy. Selected stores reopened Monday, another new normal. Hair salon owner Constantino Sklavenitis greets customers with a temperature check and hand sanitizer. Reopening after several weeks, one-third capacity, but longer hours.

CONSTANTINO SKLAVENITIS, OWNER, BEAUTIQUE HAIR SALON: Economically we're definitely taken a hit. Now hopefully within two months, yes, we can go back to norm, but normal will not be what it was.

ROBERTSON: It could be a long journey. Tourism, 20 percent of the country's economy tentatively targeted to begin July.

And that's where things could get tough. Imagine these beaches teaming with tourists again. Friend and potential enemy invisibly intertwined. A blade that cuts both ways. Economic salvation or a second wave of COVID-19 suffering.

MITSOTAKIS: Ideally, we want to have more high-end tourists, where we can actually respect social distancing. We have it --


ROBERTSON: But it's a risk.

MITSOTAKIS: It's tough. It's a very tough trade-off. I will be honest with you, Nic, nobody knows exactly how to do this.



ROBERTSON: So, remember that COVID-19 test at the airport? Well, one of the keys to tourism success the prime minister says is a new international standard whereby visitors of the country will be tested at home before they arrive here.

So, you begin to see this is all interlink with other countries. It's not easy. Everyone is going to play that part. And those big international decisions not even close than yet. Rosemary?

CHURCH: Yes, they've done an incredible job and it is all about the testing. Nic Robertson bringing us the latest from Athens there, Many thanks.

Well, a much a different story in India. The country has recorded its highest single day increase in cases, that's 3,900 in the last 24 hours. It's an increase of more than 1,200 cases above the previous single day high. And officials are slapping a 70 percent tax on alcohol sales in New Delhi because of social distancing violations. And Vedika Sud is in New Delhi, she joins us now live. Good to see

you, Vedika. So, talk to us about these violations, and also the latest on the situation across India during this pandemic.

VEDIKA SUD, CNN PRODUCER: Well, as of yesterday the third lockdown is in place. Some restrictions have been eased in areas that are not seeing as many cases of the infection as others. But what's also very interesting is how liquors flowing at a time when restrictions are still on.

Yes, alcohol shops have been asked to open, but we saw big lines all over lines especially in Delhi. Now, when you talk about that 70 percent liquor seize (Ph), that applies to the national capital of India, Delhi, where people violated the lockdown rules of social distancing, and they were close to each other standing in those lines in Delhi.

A lot of shops were asked to close on Monday itself. And that says which is a huge significant amount is now being slapped to discourage people from going out and buying alcohol. But also talking about the figures.

Yesterday, we've seen the single highest -- the numbers in the last few months. This is the highest, in fact, ever since the first COVID case hit India, but also what's worrying other cases in Asia's second largest slum which is Dharavi.

We have almost 623 cases there and 20 deaths that have been registered. Remember, this is one place where you have about a million living in Mumbai. And Mumbai is in Maharashtra which has now registered the highest number of cases in India, perhaps one-fourth at least of the cases that India is witnessing as we speak.

Another very important point. We've seen clashes since yesterday also take place in the western state of Gujarat, as well as another state in Karnataka, the southern state of Karnataka in the city of Bengaluru when migrants have been wanting to go home.

There is worse migration now taking place in the cities, these migrants are really desperate to get home, they feel safer there, as some of them have said to media agencies, as well as other agencies. And special trains up line between states for this.

What's interesting though, is both the states have to agree to those special trains flying between the two states. So, the rest of the states where these migrants are they're pretty upset that they haven't been able to get to homes to their homes yet because in which we saw clashes between migrants and police personnel yesterday even to late night.

About 4,000 people in Gujarat in the city of Surat, and another 1,500 migrants -- migrant workers, rather, in the city of Bengaluru. So there has been tension prevailing amongst the migrant workers as well at a time when construction work and other works are now being allowed in the green zones and the orange zones across India. These people want to go home. They are not happy with the situation as I speak with you, Rosemary?

CHURCH: All right. Vedika Sud, reporting there from New Delhi. Many thanks to you.

Well, parts of Spain are emerging from an eight-week-long national lockdown. The Spanish islands will relax restrictions more quickly than the mainland because of fewer confirmed cases of the coronavirus.

Meanwhile, Spain's prime minister will ask parliament for a two-week extension of the state of emergency, but the conservative opposition is firmly against what would be a fourth extension of the emergency powers.

Well, new projections of an alarming rise in coronavirus deaths in the United States. We will take a look at the numbers as dozens of states push forward with their re-openings. We're back in just a moment.



CHURCH: Hello and welcome to our viewers in the United States just joining us now. I'm Rosemary Church. And this is CNN Newsroom. Good to have you with us.

Well, a disturbing new forecast now predicts a dramatic rise in U.S. coronavirus deaths as states reopen for business.

There have been more than 68,000 deaths, but a model often cited by the White House from the University of Washington now estimates more than 134,000 deaths by August 4th. That's nearly double its previous prediction.

The model serving as a warning that the situation could get worse just as people get back to work and back outside.

This was a scene in Panama City Beach, Florida, people not respecting social distancing guidelines, a similar scene in Washington as crowds enjoyed the weather some wore masks but many didn't.

And in New York, residents also took advantage of the nice weather but were seeing packing Central Park.

And Dr. Anthony Fauci, a key member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force has stressed the dangers of relaxing social distancing measures too soon, and he was asked about the latest model. Listen.


FAUCI: I don't know if those numbers, because I have skepticism about models, about they are only as good as the assumptions you put into them, but they are not completely misleading. They are telling you something that's a reality. That when you have mitigation that's containing something and unless it's down in the right direction and you pull back prematurely, you are going to get a rebound of cases.


CHURCH: And despite those words of caution, states continue to reopen even as cases rise. Arizona is now rolling back restrictions, and in the coming day it's expecting a visit from President Trump.

CNN's Nick Watt has more.

NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Today, restaurants can reopen in Nebraska, in Florida, bars in Montana, offices in Colorado. Yes, some social distancing restrictions remain but by the end of this week, more than 40 states will be partially back open for business.


ANDY SLAVITT, FORMER ACTING ADMINISTRATOR, CENTERS FOR MEDICARE AND MEDICAID SERVICES: We have been staying indoors, we have been slowing down the spread. But what we haven't done is get rid of the virus.


WATT: This is what new normal looks like, eating in Texas, complete with masks. In Miami Beach today, they had to close the popular South Point Park again, after police issued 7,300 warnings to people not wearing masks.

The projected number of deaths forecast by early August in this country just nearly doubled to more than 134,000 in that well-known model from the University of Washington. The reason?


ALI MOKDAD, HEALTH METRICS SCIENCES PROFESSOR, INSTITUTE FOR HEALTH METRICS AND EVALUATION: One of them is increase mobility before the relaxation. Premature relaxation of social distancing, we are adding more presumptive deaths as well, and we are seeing a lot of outbreaks in the Midwest, for example.


WATT: Another model used by the administration projects a sharp rise in deaths to around 3,000 a day by June 1st, according to sources. And a rough eight-fold increase in the number of new cases every day nationwide.

Now, in 15 states, the daily new case count is falling. Among them, those northeast hotspots.


GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): You see the decline is again not as steep as the incline, but reopening is more difficult than the closedown.


WATT: But in 20 states, the daily new case count is still rising. Among them, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois. [03:19:59]

The governor of California will now allow some retail to open Friday with significant modifications. He says certainly areas of lower concern can move even faster.


GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): We will afford them that right with conditions and modifications that meet the health needs of the entire state.


WATT: Meanwhile, the White House is now focusing on 14 potential vaccines.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We are very confident we will have a vaccine at the end of the year.

ASHISH JHA, DIRECTOR, HARVARD GLOBAL HEALTH INSTITUTE: Miracles can happen. It could come together. But I'm certainly not banking on it.


WATT: The makers of that potential therapeutic, Remdesivir, say they've now donated 140,000 courses to the federal government.


DANIEL O'DAY, CEO, GILEAD SCIENCES: They will determine, based upon things like ICU beds, where the course of the epidemic is in the United States, they will begin shipping tens of thousands of treatment courses out early this week.


WATT: And today in D.C., history was made.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oyez. Oyez. Oyez. All persons having business before the honorable, the Supreme Court of United States are admonished to give their attention.


WATT: That's the Supreme Court for the first time ever meeting by teleconference.

So, California will begin opening Friday. This was one of the first states in the U.S. to tell us to stay home. On Friday, that will be 50 days ago. But the governor says that certain local areas can move faster or slower if they want. The mayor of San Francisco has already said that her city might need a

little bit more time before they begin to reopen.

Nick Watt, CNN, Los Angeles.

CHURCH: Well, for weeks, the Trump administration has been pushing an unproven theory that the coronavirus emerged from a Chinese lab. But new intelligence shared among U.S. allies, suggests it most likely spread from a wet market in China.

A diplomatic source tells CNN, and I'm quoting here, "We think it's highly unlikely it was an accident. It is highly likely it was naturally occurring and that the human infection was from natural human and animal interaction." End of quote.

Now this comes after the U.S. Secretary of State insisted China was responsible. Take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Secretary, have you seen anything that gives you high confidence that it originated in that Wuhan lab?

MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, there is enormous evidence that that's where this began. We've said from the beginning that this was a virus that originated at Wuhan, China. We took a lot of grief for that from the outset, but I think the whole world can see now.


CHURCH: All right let's get more now from CNN's Kristie Lu Stout. She joins us live from Hong Kong. Good to see you, Kristie. So, China state media responded to Mike Pompeo's claim that he has this enormous evidence proving that the coronavirus came from a Chinese lab. What are they saying?

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They responded in a very forceful way. I should also add that we did reach out to the ministry of foreign affairs in China for comment. Today is a public holiday in China, they will return to work tomorrow. We'll likely to get an unofficial response from them then.

But, last night, it was a scathing commentary on CCTV, the China state broadcaster, which called the U.S. Secretary of State evil, and accused him of spewing poison and spreading lies. It also went on to say this. Let's bring it up for you full screen for our audience to look at.

Quote, "Politicians in the United States appear to run out of new ways to smear China. They have frustratedly repeated their wild claims and continued to propagate the idea that the virus was man-made and leaked from a laboratory. United States politicians have evil intentions behind the political farce."

I should also note that the CCTV broadcast also name checked two individuals, an executive director of the World Health Organization, as well as another scientist. Both individuals are virologist at (Inaudible) University. Both individuals who said that the virus is natural in origin.

But there is also push back from another source, as you mentioned the Five Eyes network, this is the security network between the U.S., U.K., Canada, New Zealand, and Australia. They contradict this claim coming from the Trump White House that the Wuhan Institute of Virology is to blame. They say that there is simply is not enough evidence.

Now, there's definitely a lot of reasons why there been some question marks hanging over this institute in central China, the Wuhan Institute of Virology is well known for its study and research into coronaviruses, into bats.

Two years ago, there were reports that U.S. diplomats in China sounded the alarm twice about safety issues at the lab, but when Secretary Pompeo repeated the claim that the lab is the origin of the virus, on Sunday he did not provide any concrete evidence.


Now, meanwhile, we know that China has been propagating its own origin theory about the virus where senior Chinese officials using social media to see (Ph) the idea out there that the U.S. army is to blame. That the U.S. army, somehow, brought the virus to Wuhan.

So, there you have it, an escalating war of words between the two most powerful countries in the world at a time when they really should be working together to end the pandemic. Rosemary?

CHURCH: Yes. It will be interesting to get the official word from China to see where this goes from here.

Kristie Lu Stout joining us live from Hong Kong, many thanks.

We'll take a short break here. Still to come, the global race for a vaccine is intensifying. The U.S. president says he is confident there will be one by the end of the year. But not everyone agrees. More on that when we come back.


CHURCH: Well there are currently more than 100 initiatives to develop a coronavirus vaccine around the globe. According to the World Health Organization, at least eight have reached the clinical trial stage, which means they are approved for testing on humans after successful animal trials.

On Monday, world leaders pledged $8 billion to fight COVID-19, that includes money for research, manufacturing, and distribution of a possible vaccine.

Now the country with the world's most confirmed coronavirus cases, the United States, did not take part in that global effort. But the U.S. president is upbeat that the vaccine will be ready soon. CNN's Elizabeth Cohen reports others are skeptical.


ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Sunday night, President Trump was quite sure about the prospect of a vaccine against COVID-19.



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are very confident that we are going to have a vaccine at the end of the year, by the end of the year. Have a vaccine.

COHEN: But not everyone seems so sure. Dr. Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House coronavirus response, was cautious Sunday about whether a vaccine would be ready by January. Saying it depended on the progress of clinical trials.

DR. DEBORAH BIRX, CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE COORDINATOR, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS TASK FORCE: On paper it is possible, it is whether we can execute and execute around the globe.

COHEN: Dr. Anthony Fauci, also cautious saying January is possible, but --

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALERGY AND INFECTOUS DISEASE: What might happen is that people months from now will say, well, you said we're going to have a vaccine in January, no I didn't say that, I said we're going to shoot to be able to have one.

COHEN: And the scientists at the University of Oxford, had to walk back a statement his colleague made, that she was 80 percent confident that the Oxford vaccine would work.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I certainly wouldn't put the possibility at 80 percent that is a pretty big number.

COHEN: While the world waits for a vaccine, several U.S. teams, at the company Regeneron for example at the Vanderbilt University are working on a treatment for people infected with COVID-19 that could come along faster. It is called the monoclonal antibody they hope to start studies in the coming months. People who had survive vocid-19 develop antibodies to the virus.

Scientist take the most powerful antibodies and synthesize them in a lab, and give them as a drug to people sick with coronavirus. And for now coronavirus patients have Remdesivir, the first drug that has been shown to have an impact against coronavirus in a clinical trial.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We intend to get that to patients in the early part of this next week. We are beginning to work with the government which will determine what cities are most vulnerable.

COHEN: We don't know if Remdesivir saves lives, early results are inconclusive, but it did shape four days of recovery time for hospitalized patients. That's why scientists continue to look for something even better against COVID-19. Elizabeth Cohen, CNN reporting.


CHURCH: Well, despite the lack of a vaccine, most of America is moving ahead to ease the restrictions that were imposed to contain the spread of the virus. The nation's top infectious disease expert, says the potential for dire consequences, can't be ignored when officials make political decisions to reopen now.


FAUCI: It's the balance of something that is very difficult choice, like how many deaths, and how much suffering are you willing to accept. To get back to what you want to be some form of normality, sooner rather than later. This is a virus that spreads as easily as any virus that I've ever known, a part maybe from measles.


CHURCH: Dr. Amy Compton Phillips, joins me now she is a CNN medical analyst and chief clinical officer of Providence health System, thank you so much for being with us.


CHURCH: So, a new key model predicts 134,000 U.S. deaths by early August, nearly double previous projections. And an internal White House document estimates 3,000 deaths a day by June 1st. And this numbers come as more U.S. states begin to open up, and we still do not have sufficient testing in place. Where is this all going?

COMPTON-PHILLIPS: I think those two things are absolutely, inextricably linked. The challenge is everybody wants to open the economy. We understand that it's an artificial decision to make a choice between and keeping living and making a living. We need to figure out a way to do both.

But if we focus on making a living, before we are ready and have the systems in place to do it safely, to have the mechanism to start opening the economy gently, while we advocate testing to understand where infections are coming from, we risk going back exactly where we were in early March with a rapid escalation of cases.

And that is now what the models are starting to show. That if we can't identify where cases are, if we can't do the testing to find people who are infected, and then isolate them, we risk going backwards instead of forwards.

CHURCH: So, how do we beat the odds here and still open up the economy? If people continue to be strict about social distancing and wearing masks as well as washing their hands regularly, could that help beat this terrible odds? COMPTON-PHILLIPS: It absolutely could help beat these terrible odds.

And so, if people do the right things, the mask wearing, the six feet distancing, the frequent hand washing, the not touching your face. It is absolutely much better than not doing that. There is also other tools that we can use, in Vietnam for example, they never had great testing capacity, but they were able to absolutely constrain the virus by doing something called syndromic surveillance.

Looking for the syndrome of cough, fever, shortness of breath and people who had symptoms. And then isolating people who had symptoms very, you know, carefully away from healthy people. And by doing that they have been able to stay on top of it. So, even with our testing shortage, if we at least use the tools, of the pandemics past, we can at least try to stem the tide, of growth that we foresee.


CHURCH: All right, of course, the easiest solution to all of this, would be extensive testing, that is what we have seen in South Korea, Germany, New Zealand, Australia, Taiwan, all countries that are successfully emerging from their lockdowns. Why has it been so difficult for U.S. leaders to grasp, that if there is extensive testing, you can isolate and contain this virus, and that everyone can get on with their lives? Instead we've seen the country open up with sufficient testing and contact tracing? Why?

COMPTON-PHILLIPS: It's fundamentally a belief in the data. So that, you know, people not -- I truly believe, that are portions of the government, do not understand the vast backlog we have of testing need. And so not understanding that, and pushing out the need to be on your own, forgetting testing to the states, has created this impossible situation, where one state is bidding against another state, and everybody is scrambling for the same small set of supplies, rather than saying let's have a coordinated infrastructure across the country.

Where we focus on ramping up the capacity to make these tests, and also looking for alternative types of tests, that might use other types of reagents and a different supply chain. So, I really think we need to be -- this needs to be a Manhattan project of testing, not just a one off for every man, woman and child for themselves.

CHURCH: All right. Of course, we have discussed this and it's still very same isn't it, each you and I chat, and we did learn someday that we should know by June, if the Oxford University vaccine, currently in human trials works or not. So, that's not too far way to at least know. And in the meantime President Trump thinks a U.S. vaccine could be ready by the end of the year. White House coronavirus coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx says a vaccine by January looks likely on paper.

We are looking for some sign of hope, aren't we? That this vaccine will come sooner rather than later. What is your sense of where things stand with a vaccine?

COMPTON-PHILLIPS: Well, my sense is hope for the best and plan for the worse. So, if it works out that is fantastic, and that would be the world fastest vaccine literally, and so I would love to hope that way, but I think also we need to be planning for in case it doesn't work, what are the other vaccines, we also need to be investigating, which they are many other vaccines in the pipeline, but also medication therapies.

And so, we are starting to see some hope with medications coming out of the pipeline, so the fact that we now have evidence that Remdesivir, for example, is starting to decrease the severity of illness. And perhaps even the mortality benefit. That is great news. So, we are starting to accumulate some effective practices in treating the virus. While we continue to work on pathways to prevent the virus with the vaccine.

CHURCH: Yes. We are getting there aren't we with science, but there is a lot of impatience really at the base there, with so many people. They just do not want to stay home right now. But Dr. Amy Compton- Phillips, thank you so much for talking with us. T

COMPTON-PHILLIPS: Thank you so much.

CHURCH: Well a park ranger in the U.S., was doing his job, trying to tell a crowd of people to socially distance, when and man shoved him into a lake. Now a lawyer for the suspect, is speaking out. This video shows the incident in Texas, the ranger can be heard telling the group to disperse. As they were not maintaining proper distance. As he does this, someone pushes him into the water. The 25-year-old suspect, is now facing charges of attempted assault on a public servant. His lawyer says, he is embarrassed by his actions. So he should be.

Well, there is new evidence, that COVID-19 may have been in France, weeks earlier than was previously thought. Why this matters in the fight against the virus? That is next.



CHURCH: Welcome back everyone. Well, Italy now has fewer than 100,000 active cases for the first time in nearly a month. And it comes as millions of Italians are returning to work. Some factories and parks had reopen and restaurants and cafe are offering take out. It's a huge shift from the draconian lockdown impose on March 10. But Italy isn't out of the woods just yet. Health authorities reported another 195 fatalities in 24 hours on Monday, bringing Italy's over all death toll to more than 29,000.

And in parts of Germany lifting social distancing restrictions means time for a haircut. After a six week shutdown, barbers, hairdressers and stylist are back at work, but with very tight restrictions, and while demand is high, they're operating way below capacity.

Well, you are looking at a mostly deserted beach in southern France, Prime Minister Edward Philippe, is standing by his plan to gradually ease the country's confinement starting next Monday. And that is just by a symbolic vote by the French Senate, not to extend the state of emergency for another two months.

And we are now learning that, doctors in Paris are suggesting that COVID-19, was circulating in Europe well before previously thought. France reported its first cases in late January, and two people who had traveled to Wuhan in China. But new tests on frozen samples show another patient was infected with the virus in December. Doctors say, identifying the first patient is crucial to understanding how this virus can spread.

And CNN's Jim Bittermann, joins us now from just outside of Paris to talk more about this. Good to see you, Jim. So, what more are you learning about this and just how strong is the evidence that this infection did in fact start in December in France.

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well pretty strong, in fact Rosemary, the results of the doctor study is, at the San Domingo hospital are going to be published, in a very scholarly journal this week sometime because, the doctors believe that they have checked with samples twice. Basically what happens was that they went back, just out of curiosity more than anything else, they went back and reexamined all the pneumonia cases that came into the hospital in the month of December.

And of the 24 cases, that were severe, they found one that, this gentleman in his forties of Algerian origin, who tested positive for the coronavirus.


He was very sick and he even had to drive himself to the hospital in the early hours of the morning on December 27th. That is almost a month before the first known cases of coronavirus in France. So, why that is important, Rosemary is that, in fact the epidemiologist who watch this things, like to know how the virus is spread. In order to know how is going to be spread in the future. And so this is a very important sort of discovery. If born out and they are still doing some tests on (inaudible), one of this virus, that this gentleman had contracted. So, there's still some checking to be done but they are pretty much certain, that he was one of the very first cases, in France and in Europe. Rosemary.

CHURCH: Wow. It is extraordinary, Jim Bittermann bringing us the very latest just outside of Paris. Extraordinary stuff, thank you.

Well, Israel is moving ahead with a detailed plan to end its coronavirus shutdown. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said gatherings of up to 20 people, will be allowed along with weddings, with up to 50 people, kindergartens and daycare's will open Sunday and sports facilities will gradually reopen by mid-June.


BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: Israel's achievement in the campaign against the coronavirus are serving as a model for many countries. The world looks at us. We learned from the world and the world learns from us. (END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: The Prime Minister says if there are more than 100 new infections a day or more than 250 patients in serious condition, the phase reopening would stopped immediately. Israel has reported just over 16,000 cases, and 235 deaths.

United Airlines is urging employees to consider leaving the company voluntarily. A memo, from a top executive said the airline has to right size its workforce. The airline is prevented from laying off staff for the next six months, under the terms of its $5 billion government bailout, but the memo says the airline would likely cut staff, as soon as October 1st. Noted investor, Warren Buffet, revealed his company recently sold its entire stakes in for airline stocks. He said it he believes it will take years for air travel to recover.

And still to come, here on CNN Newsroom, Brazil's leader appears defiant as ever in the face of a growing crisis as the number of coronavirus cases there plummets. We will have the details.



CHURCH: Brazil's president there greetings hundreds of supporters in Brazil on Sunday at a rally against social distancing measures due to the coronavirus. Jair Bolsonaro has been a strong opponent of quarantine measures. Even denouncing governors and mayors who imposed them. Some protesters carried signs calling for the military to dismantle Congress and the Supreme Court. Two institutions that had clashed with Mr. Bolsonaro that prompted Brazil's defense ministry on Monday to put out an unusual statement saying, it's committed to democracy.

Well, meantime, Brazil has reach a grim milestone, surpassing 100,000 coronavirus cases. The latest figures from Johns Hopkins University count more than 7,000 deaths from the virus. CNN's Isa Soares has our report.


ISA SOARES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Like so many others, the Tokush family will never be the same. Here in this improvised cemetery, the small family unit with some others safely on the phone bid a quick farewell to their 69-year-old father and grandfather. Who went to hospital with a finger wound, and came out with COVID-19. His grandson Esron, is in shock.

Tragedy though doesn't end it with his family, here in the city of Manaus, northwestern Brazil, excavators are digging trenches or mass. And while they bury their dead, President Jair Bolsonaro compared the pandemic to a little flu. Shaking the hands of his supporters in restaurants and supermarkets, and joining massive protests pressuring governors and mayors to loosen lockdown measures.

And knew that could bring even more pain to the people of Manaus. According to the Secretary of Health, Amazon State, ICU beds in Manaus are at 85 percent capacity. And as the city's confirmed case count remains among the highest in Brazil and rising, hospitals buckle under the threat of COVID.


SOARES: For Sandra, it's all too much. Her mom was admitted after having a stroke, and now she says her mother has tested positive for COVID.


SOARES: With ICU beds and short supply, many patients have been moved to maternity wards. This undercover video shows expecting mothers sitting face to face with COVID patients.


SOARES: It's not just patients who are expose. Several medical professionals say they favor price or for sharing their story with the media.



SOARES: Medical staff here say they feel unprotected, abandoned, and powerless. On this ward a nurse is working without personal protective equipment. According to a nursing technician at this hospital, mask are in short supply.


SOARES: Understandably it's taking a toll.


SOARES: The nightmare is likely to continue with no end in sight. President Jair Bolsonaro, city believes more than 70 percent of Brazil's population is likely to contract coronavirus. And that the economic downfall will ultimately take a deeper tone on the country than the pandemic.

More than a 100,000 cases of COVID-19 had been confirmed. And more than 7,000 people had been killed by the virus according to figures from Brazil's health ministry. Meanwhile the alarming rate in which (inaudible) are taking place, leave no doubt that number to be far higher. Isa Soares, CNN.


CHURCH: I'm Rosemary Church and I'll be back with another hour of news in just a moment. Do stay with us.