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Interview with Mayor of San Diego Kevin Faulconer (R); Live Coverage as USNS Comfort Docks in New York City; Amazon and Instacart Workers Strike Today. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired March 30, 2020 - 10:30   ET




JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: Well, we're going to show you a sight for sore eyes: live pictures of the USNS Comfort, arriving in New York. It's going to dock at a port there shortly. Hundreds of hospitals beds on that ship, they're going to provide relief to New York hospitals overwhelmed with coronavirus patients. As we've been saying, here's a ship built for times of war and now it's doing its part in the epicenter of this outbreak.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: Our Shimon Prokupecz joins us now. It's a pretty beautiful sight, Shimon, in the midst of all this. Can you talk to us about what kind of aid they'll be able to give, who's going to go to the ship and when that can start?

OK, looks like we lost him. So we're going to try to get reconnected to him --


HARLOW: -- Shimon, can you hear us? No? All right, guys --

SCIUTTO: You know, Poppy, one thought that we should mention to viewers about --


SCIUTTO: -- the Comfort, right, is that the idea, I believe, is not to bring coronavirus patients --

HARLOW: Right.

SCIUTTO: -- to the ship, but bring on patients who were in hospitals treated for other things, to clear space for coronavirus patients in those hospitals.

HARLOW: That's a great point. We have Shimon now.

Shimon, I'm glad you're with us. Talk to us about the aid that the -- that the USNS Comfort will give. Is it correct, this will not actually be for COVID patients, it's going to be to take care of all the other sick people in New York City?

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right, that's exactly right, Poppy. It's to relieve the pressure from hospitals that are facing now, because of the COVID patients, the whole point of the USNS Comfort is to relieve the pressure that a lot the hospitals in the area are facing because they're inundated with the critical care that they need to give to a lot of the COVID patients.

So this ship that's going to dock here in just moments, is going to take patients who may need surgeries. There's operating rooms on this ship, there's -- they can do anything that a hospital can do, on this ship, once it docks there. There's going to be doctors and nurses and all sorts of equipment that potentially anyone who needs serious care, any other care other than, of course, coronavirus.

Activity around me, as you can see, is starting to pick up. There's helicopters in the air, there's intense security surrounding the ship as it makes its way, just about 15 blocks or so away from the dock here. And once it gets here, we expect to hear from officials and then probably by tomorrow, it should be able to start taking patients.

SCIUTTO: I don't think we can underestimate what this means, what this shows here. The military, coming to help a city overwhelmed by this. And Poppy, as you were saying earlier, temporary hospitals being put up in Central Park. And New York, the governor says, has not reached its peak yet --


SCIUTTO: -- still a couple of weeks away.

HARLOW: That's just an amazing thing to comprehend. We are grateful to everyone on that ship, and we'll hear from the governor of New York soon. Shimon, thank you very, very much.

On the other side of the country, California is working to keep up with an increasing number of coronavirus cases there. The state has reported more than 4,600 cases and 100 deaths.

SCIUTTO: Joining us now to talk more about this, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer. Mayor, thanks for taking the time. I'm always conscious of thanking you and others because I know you've got a lot on your plate, dealing with this.

One big-picture question for you, California hit this problem earlier than, say, a state and a city like New York --


SCIUTTO: Are you -- have you peaked there? What is the data telling you?

FAULCONER: Yes, Jim, good morning. We haven't yet, and that's why all of the precautions that we've been taking both here, you know, across the state and particularly here locally in San Diego, with, you know, the closures of our beaches and our parks, is really designed with one goal, which is what mayors are doing all across the country. How do we ensure that we have that social distancing -- this is serious -- and making sure people are following it.


HARLOW: One number that you got, Mayor, on Friday, I think just paints the picture of the scary reality you and so many cities are facing. And that is that on Friday alone, you had the single largest jump in reported coronavirus cases, 76 new cases, that day. Has that made you change measures? Are you considering potentially a quarantine of the city?

FAULCONER: Yes, we've taken some pretty aggressive measures because of the numbers, not just you know across the state, but particularly -- like here in San Diego --


FAULCONER: -- with that one goal. We have 500 cases in -- approximately right now in San Diego today. It's why we moved early, Poppy, on really the first big city in California to close our beaches, to close our parks.

That's tough for folks, I get it. But it's incredibly important, particularly in these public spaces, that we cannot have these large groups and gatherings. So we've taken some pretty stringent actions that we hope -- of course, we see the results of in the coming days, in the coming weeks. But this will -- this is the new normal here in San Diego and California.

SCIUTTO: Mayor Faulconer, hold on for a moment here. We have some breaking news from New York, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaking live where the USNS Comfort is arriving there, the hospital ship. Let's have a listen for a moment.


GOVERNOR ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: -- put (ph) together the important (ph) people (ph) now for the apex. Yes, we're bringing in (ph) ventilators today that we're not using today, because we don't need them today. You put the material together that you need to fight the war, and the war is engaged in two and three weeks. That's what we're doing (INAUDIBLE).

-- plan of action is in (ph) this situation. I've dealt with disasters all across this country. I was in the federal government, I dealt with dozens of disasters. If you wait to prepare for when the storm hits, you lose. Because it's too late to prepare when the storm hits --


HARLOW: OK, so as you can tell, we're having a hard time hearing Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York. Doesn't look like he has a microphone on. If we can get a microphone close enough to him, obviously, what he's saying, very important as the USNS Comfort pulls up. We'll go back to that. But do -- I think we still have San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer with

us --


HARLOW: -- Mayor, thank you very, very much for waiting.

One of the questions that we had for you is, I keep thinking about all of these essential workers --


HARLOW: -- and child care, and what sort of setup they -- I mean, my family's luck, my husband can take care of the kids in the morning, I come to work, I go home after the show, take care of the kids and, you know, we swap, right? But for so many people --


HARLOW: -- that's not possible with their schedule. So what are you guys doing for children of essential workers?

FAULCONER: Yes, great question, Poppy. And it's affecting everyone, to your point. And one of the things that we've been doing in terms of child care, particularly for our first responders and having all of the -- using some of our city facilities for that -- we've got to keep our police officers, our firefighters, our lifeguards out there every day. It is tough, and I can't say enough about --


FAULCONER: -- everybody that's been pitching in to really make it happen.

HARLOW: But they have child care? I --

SCIUTTO: And they --

HARLOW: -- oh sorry, I was just -- do they have child care, sir? Like, does every kid that needs it, have it?

FAULCONER: We don't have it for everybody at this point, that's the reality. That's why we've been working so -- you know, so quickly if we can, particularly with that focus on first responders, because we need them out there.


SCIUTTO: Mayor, we've been asking governors, lieutenant governors, mayors from cities red and blue, are they -- do they have what they need to respond to this? Are you getting the help from the federal government, from private sector to fill those needs? Tell us what the situation is in San Diego.

FAULCONER: Yes, Jim, obviously, you know, we're very thankful for the federal stimulus. I think that's a great start -- there is going to be some money for cities and counties. But that's, you know, it's going to impact all of us, not only when we talk a lot about medical supplies, but also dollars from the economic side of this.

You know, one of the things that we just stood up in San Diego and just announced last week was a Small Business Relief Fund. I mean, the backbone of our economy here in San Diego is small businesses. We had over, you know, 4,000 companies apply just on Friday for our Small Business Fund.

And, you know, it's all about how can we help these folks try to get back on their feet, try to, you know, get through, weather this storm. This is not just an issue in San Diego, but this is an issue, obviously --


FAULCONER: -- all across the country. So I've really tried to set the tone here in San Diego. It's not (INAUDIBLE) if you're a Democrat, Republican, it's bringing this city together, put in policies that are going to help people, and help people now.


HARLOW: San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer --

SCIUTTO: Well, we wish --

HARLOW: -- yes, good luck.

SCIUTTO: Yes, we wish you --


SCIUTTO: -- we say this to all of you, we just wish you the best of luck there and the residents of San Diego --

FAULCONER: Jim, thank you.

SCIUTTO: -- as they respond to this.

FAULCONER: Thank you, Jim.

HARLOW: OK, we'll be right back.


SCIUTTO: Welcome back. Some workers, particularly delivery workers, they're worried about their safety on the job in the middle of this crisis, understandably so. And some, now gearing up for a strike.


HARLOW: Vanessa Yurkevich has this story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN BUSINESS AND POLITICS CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): As millions stay home, millions are out, risking exposure to the virus on the frontlines.


I'm a New Yorker, I typically don't get scared of anything. But you know what, it's essential that I'm out here.

YURKEVICH (voice-over): They're not doctors and nurses, but they are taking care of Americans.

MAZZELLA: Be safe, OK?

YURKEVICH (voice-over): From Tony Mazzella, a UPS driver, to grocers, to food delivery personnel --

MAZZELLA: -- package right down here? Thanks. That's (ph) your (ph).

YURKEVICH (voice-over): -- all deemed critical industries, working around the clock in the face of a pandemic.

MAZZELLA: I deliver medicine regularly. We deliver packages to the hospital regularly. I just feel, for lack of a better work, privileged that we're still able to work and do our jobs.

YURKEVICH (voice-over): UPS has nearly a half a million employees on the job around the world. Here are some still working in Bergamo, the epicenter of the coronavirus in Italy, singing in solidarity.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): People like us never give up!

YURKEVICH (voice-over): Companies like UPS and Fresh Direct say they're following CDC and WHO guidelines for social distancing and hygiene protocols.

JOHN DOZIER, FRESH DIRECT EMPLOYEE: It's so crazy, like, to understand that, how much people really need us now in this pandemic. It's a little risk, coming outside every day to do their job, but I appreciate -- I kind of feel like a superhero in a sense, saving the world.

YURKEVICH (voice-over): With face masks prioritized for hospitals, there are few left for other critical workers.

Morton Williams Supermarkets in New York City have a small supply for their employees but not enough, so they made their own.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've got a homemade mask for you.


YURKEVICH (voice-over): Jennifer Camacho is one of more than two million grocery store workers across the country exposed to large groups of people each day. JENNIFER CAMACHO, MORTON WILLIAMS SUPERMARKETS EMPLOYEE: I am

definitely afraid of, you know, getting this virus. I'm doing everything I can to protect myself, and I'm here for the community.

YURKEVICH (voice-over): And her message to all of us?

CAMACHO: Take all your precautions, please. Keep us safe so we can keep you safe as well.

YURKEVICH (voice-over): As uncertainty grows, these employees still find joy in their work.

DOZIER: I'm happy about the fact that we're able to keep the elderly, like our grandmother age, to keep them in the house, safe, it's a great thing.

YURKEVICH: Now, some of these essential workers are going on strike today at Amazon and Instacart. These two companies are surging right now, but employees are asking for hazard pay and in the Amazon case in Staten Island, an employee tested positive at the facility there. Those and other employees are going on strike in just moments, asking the company to clean that facility and pay them when they're off the job -- Jim and Poppy.

Amazon saying that those employees can take the unlimited time that they get if they don't feel safe coming to work. But, Jim and Poppy, a reality right now, as companies are trying to meet this increased demand from Americans but also, more importantly, trying to protect their employees -- Jim and Poppy.

SCIUTTO: No question. I mean, you think of who has the most contact? It's first responders, but also delivery folks.


SCIUTTO: They're out there.


SCIUTTO: Vanessa Yurkevich, thanks so much.


SCIUTTO: Well, the Trump campaign has threatened TV stations with lawsuits over a political ad. Now, the group behind that ad is digging in.


HARLOW: A liberal group is expanding its ad buy despite the Trump campaign's threat of legal action. Take a look at the ad. We'll talk about it on the other side.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The coronavirus -- -- this is their new hoax.

We have it totally under control.

One day, it's like a miracle, it will disappear.

When you have 15 people and within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero.

We really think we've done a great job in keeping it down to a minimum.

I like this stuff, I really get it.

We've done on hell of a job. Nobody's done the job that we've done.

No, I don't take responsibility at all.

TEXT: America needs a leader we can trust.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Priorities USA Action is responsible for the content of this ad.


SCIUTTO: Joining us now is Guy Cecil, chairman of Priorities USA. And, Guy, you look at the ad, those are all quotes from the president himself. What is the legal argument that the president and his team is making here to pull the ads?

GUY CECIL, CHAIRMAN, PRIORITIES USA: Well, the reality is, the legal argument hasn't worked because the ad continues to run on stations across the country.

Their argument is that we're not telling the truth. But the fact is, we see every day that the president's press conferences are used for misinformation, for attacking governors and reporters, and for propaganda. And we think it's critical that we apply pressure on this White House not only to tell the truth, but to do their job and make sure that we're providing what we need to the American people at this time.

HARLOW: A "Washington Post"-ABC poll I know you saw, Guy, over the weekend, has the president at something we haven't seen before, and that is 48 percent approval rating. It is the first time we've seen it above his disapproval rating, which is at 46 percent. Do you have any concern that an ad like this could just backfire as he's enjoying an increase in national support?

CECIL: Well, first of all, I think it's important to understand that every American wants this president to succeed, I want this president to succeed in combating what is happening around the country. We need him in order to make sure that America has what it needs.

But it's also important to keep in context that these numbers pale in comparison to the response that other countries have given their leaders at similar times.

And so the important thing is not what the polls show today, it's not what the head-to-head match-up is. It's forcing this administration to tell the truth, to do their job and to provide what the American people need and what the states need to respond to this pandemic.


That that is --

HARLOW: What about --


CECIL: -- our focus, and that's what we want to continue to pressure this --


CECIL: -- administration to do.

HARLOW: OK, all right, we're out of time. But I know you've seen some of the fact-checkers on this, saying part of this is taken out of context, such as, you know, coronavirus, this is their new hoax. Those words were not said back-to-back by the president.

I'm sorry we're up against the end of the show, Guy. We'll have you back. Thank you for your time this morning.

And thanks to all of you for joining us. I'm Poppy Harlow. We will be back here with you tomorrow morning.

SCIUTTO: And I'm Jim Sciutto. There is much more ahead on "CNN NEWSROOM." John King is up next.