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Some Amazon, Instacart Workers To Strike Citing Unsafe Conditions; Mayor Patrick Payton (R), Midland Discusses Coronavirus Outbreak Compounding Misery After Low Global Oil Prices Hit City's Economy; U.K. Facing Up To Six Months In Lockdown; NY Mayor de Blasio Welcomes "USNS Comfort" & Speaks On Coronavirus Response; State Rep. David Bowen (D-WI) Discusses Over 1,100 Cases In Wisconsin, 13 Dead, & African-American Community Hit Hard. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired March 30, 2020 - 11:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


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[11:33:46]

JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: Maryland just moments ago becoming the 28th state to have some form of a stay-at-home order. Governor Harry Logan's order takes effect at 8:00 tonight. He says you can only leave your home for essential work or essential services that you need. Maryland now the 28th state with such an order in place.

This hour, more signs of the coronavirus economic impact. Macy's stores are closed. The company now says it plans to furlough a majority of its 125,000-member workforce. The furlough starts this week.

The week ahead will bring us big clues about the coronavirus economic fallout. Weekly unemployment claims, remember, last week, hit a record. This week, Moody's Analytics warns the United States could see another three million Americans file for jobless benefits.

Tomorrow, the consumer confidence index comes out for march. Wednesday is the first of the month and so, for many Americans, it is the date to pay your rent and mortgage. Auto sales data comes out as that day as well.

On Thursday, we'll find out how many Americans did apply for new jobless benefits last week.

And on Friday, we get the March unemployment numbers. The last report, the monthly jobs snapshot, will likely be somewhat misleading. Those employee surveys are taken early in the month, so early in March before so many sectors were decimated by the coronavirus.

[11:35:01]

Meanwhile, delivery based businesses, like Amazon and Instacart, have seen a surge in business. But that is causing a different kind of stress. Some of their employees claim they're now working in unsafe conditions.

Vanessa Yurkevich is in New York with more details of that.

Vanessa, what are the complaints and demands?

VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN BUSINESS & POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, John. Instacart and Amazon employees are going on strike right now, saying they're not being protected by these companies that are surging.

At Instacart, employees are going on strike saying they don't have hand sanitizer, they don't have gloves or wipes, they don't have hazard pay. The company late last night said they would give their employees hand sanitizer and would give them 14 days paid leave for anybody who contracts the coronavirus. But those employees still on strike.

At Amazon, on Staten Island, at one of their facilities, an employee tested positive for coronavirus. And the employees there say they need to shut down the facility, they need to clean it, and they need to pay them while they are cleaning the facility.

Amazon responded in a statement. They said they're following the local guidance from state authorities and they're making adjustments to their business hours. They're also going to do enhanced cleaning. And they said they also instituted temperature screenings in order to meet the demands of their employees.

But, John, this is something we'll see with many companies around the world as employees are feeling unsafe at their job. But companies are trying to meet the bottom line, but more importantly, John, take care of their employees in order to get the job done -- John?

KING: Vanessa Yurkevich, appreciate that. One of the many mounting challenges as we try to sort through this. Vanessa, thank you very much.

For one community in west Texas, the coronavirus is a second gut punch. Midland was first hit with oil collapse, the collapse in global oil prices. That hurts domestic production and it hurts towns like Midland. And now coronavirus is adding anxiety and more economic hardship.

Joining me, Midland, Texas, Mayor Patrick Payton, who is also a pastor.

Mr. Mayor, thank you so much.

I was talking yesterday with a "Washington Post" reporter, who came through your community recently and spoke to you. And what struck me from her conversation with you is you were talking about how your sad experience as a pastor, specifically your experience presiding over funerals, is sadly becoming handy these days -- that's a terrible word -- because of the stress in your town. Please explain.

STATE REP. PATRICK PAYTON (D), MIDLAND & PASTOR: Thank you, John. I appreciate this time to be with you.

As I was sharing with the "Washington Post," many times you go through a grief process any time you do a funeral with the family. The positive side is, by the end of the day or the next morning, you begin to see some relief in sight. As we wake up every morning, it seems like the news gets worse and worse.

You heard of it affecting places like Amazon. It seems like we're all waking up to a fresh tragedy every morning, and we're learning how to deal with this pressure with really very little end in sight.

KING: I want to read from your own Facebook posting, because one of the things we need to do a better job of in this, I'm in Washington, obviously big cities in California, but small-town America, medium- town America, like Midland, is getting punched by this as well.

You wrote, "I went to bed on March 8 and woke up and the next morning and the economy had literally cratered overnight. Even this past week, hundreds upon hundreds, if not thousands of people, had been laid off from their jobs. And this is just beginning as we all try to deal with this."

When a man or woman come up to you and say, Mr. Mayor, or Mr. Pastor, what do they need from you at this moment?

PAYTON: Really, they need a sign of comfort, and where they're finding this comfort is in one another. It's one thing we can take as a positive note.

It's been happening in this city, but I see it happening all over the country and in social media, is that people are beginning to see they need their neighbor. We're not meant to do life alone. We're not meant to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps, and we all need one another.

The one encouraging thing I'm seeing is people willing to go to the grocery store for each other. When people walk up to me and say, what are we going to do, what are you going to do, one thing we can do is watch over one another. And as the old saying goes, take care of your neighbor.

KING: You've lived through this in the past in the sense that, when the oil prices go down, some of the workers there go get a job somewhere else and then at the come back when it spikes again.

What are the complexities this time where you can't do that, where you're told to stay where you are?

PAYTON: That's right. People are staying where they are. The other complexity is, many times, when you have a boom or bust in the oil industry, people move in and out and can find jobs around the country.

As you just mentioned earlier in the jobs reports that are coming out, now people are finding it's difficult to just go somewhere else and find work as we see our economy crash in so many sectors as well in the oil and gas industry.

We're all facing a new reality in not being able to move around to different spots as we're going through something we've never gone through before. [11:40:11]

KING: Mayor, thank you for coming on. Keep in touch. Remember the smaller places in America and what you're going through as well.

PAYTON: Thank you very much. Appreciate it, John.

KING: Thank you, sir. Thank you.

Coming up for us, life on hold, whole cities on lockdown all around the world. We'll be live in London, next.

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[11:45:16]

KING: In the United Kingdom where coronavirus deaths have topped 1400, the Prime Minister Boris Johnson now self-isolating after showing symptoms of COVID-19. This just days after Johnson became the first to world leader to contract the illness. This, as government officials warn the country could face a significant period of lockdown, possibly up to six months.

CNN's Clarissa Ward live outside a hospital in London.

Clarissa, six months. What are you hearing from medical professionals?

CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: John, six months is a very long time, because, let me tell you, these doctors are already being asked to make excruciating decisions about who has the best chance of survival and who should be essentially left to go home and die.

And the reason they're asking those tough questions is because there simply isn't enough room in many of these hospitals. They need to maximize the room they have and make sure that the people with the greatest chance of survival are the ones who are getting access to the medical equipment that they need.

I'm not just talking, John, about coronavirus patients. Let me give you an example. I spoke recently to a top London oncologist, who was explaining to me that they've been asked to categorize their patients from one to six, six being the most sickly with the least chance of recovery.

Those people who fall into category six are now being given a phone call by their oncologist and told simply they cannot continue with chemotherapy. They cannot come to stay at the hospital.

Partly because of the risk, they're in a vulnerable group of cancer patients, but partly also because these hospitals need to be cleared, beds need to be made and priority needs to be given to those who have the best chance of recovery -- John?

KING: Clarissa Ward, appreciate that.

Sorry we have to cut this short. We have to get you to New York and Mayor Bill De Blasio.

MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D), NEW YORK CITY: -- well-known to all of us in New York City.

But I want to thank everybody who was a part of this. We have to remember this is a wartime atmosphere. We all have to pull together. We may have differences in peace time, but we all have to be as one in wartime. I know our colleagues in the military understand that. We all need to understand that now.

So I do want to thank President Trump, I want to thank Secretary Esper, I want to thank Chairman Milley, everyone at the United States Navy, the United States Marine Corps, the United States Coast Guard, all the people at FEMA, so many people at the federal government who came together to make this happen and so much more for New York City.

I want to thank Governor Cuomo and everyone in the state government who has joined us in pushing from day one for this kind of support. I want to thank, from our administration, everyone who worked to get the dredging done, working with the military.

I want everyone to understand -- and Admiral Muston (ph) will affirm this -- this ship is ahead of schedule because the amazing work of the military. The dredging was done faster than anyone knew it could be done to allow this ship to dock.

I want to thank everybody in the City Economic Development Corporation, our emergency management team and the State Department of Environment Conservation and the Army Corps of Engineers. Everyone who pulled together.

This was supposed to take two weeks for this ship to dock. They did it in eight days. That means help has arrived quicker and we'll be able to do the lifesaving work right now.

I want to also thank from the military one of the leaders who did the work to make this moment possible, Marine Corps Colonel Brian Deplessus (ph), who is with us.

Thank you, Colonel.

And from our team, Colonel James Hendon (ph), Department of Veteran Services.

Colonel James Hendon (ph), thank you.

So with this ship comes an extraordinary complement of talented individuals and service to our nation, 1200 medical staff and sailors here to help us all. And 750 beds will be put into play immediately to relieve the pressure on our hospital system.

Let me be clear that this is such a crucial part of the plan we are putting in place, but I want you to understand the sheer manage any magnitude of the plan. We need to triple our hospital bed capacity in New York City by May.

[11:50:03]

The number of beds we had at the beginning of march have to triple by May. It is a daunting task, but we got a big, big boost, the arrival of "Comfort." This is like adding a whole other hospital to New York City.

It's like think of all the hospitals in New York City, like Bellevue and all the other famous hospitals we think of, it is like another one that just floated right up to help us right now.

KING: The New York City's mayor, Bill De Blasio, at a ceremony welcoming the U.S. Navy hospital ship behind him, critical, 750 beds immediately into New York. The mayor thanking the president and the Pentagon and the Navy and the Coast Guard, the Marine Corp, for getting that ship there ahead of schedule to help ease the overcrowded situation in New York, obviously of the coronavirus epicenter right now.

Up next for us, protect yourself. That's the message from the state representative who tested positive for COVID-19. He joins us with his experience, next.

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[11:55:33]

KING: The urgent message from city leaders in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, COVID-19 is no joke. Take it seriously. Stay-at-home.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): We have to take this seriously. Those of you who are treating it like a game, treatment with conspiracy theory. It doesn't matter what you try to think is this or that. People are getting infected with this virus. People are dying from this virus. So we need you to take this seriously.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Right now, more than 1100 cases in Wisconsin and 13 people have died. Health officials in Milwaukee says the city of African-American community is being hit especially hard. Calling it a crisis within a crisis.

One Milwaukee resident now recovering from the virus, state representative, David Bowen. He joins me now.

Representative, thank you for being here to share your experience.

As the public service announcement notes, there are people out there who thinks this is over hyped and this is not so bad. You ,more than anybody, can help people understand that's not the case. Tell me your story.

STATE REP. DAVID BOWEN (D-WI): Thank you for having me on, John. This virus is much more easier to get than people think. I had a

chance to see a colleague elected on the local level at a cafe, clearly, he didn't know he had the virus. I didn't know he had the virus. Just like what I was contracted by the virus several days after that.

I experienced very intensive symptoms that really that resemble the common cold but they do intensify. And I was wondering why I was experiencing symptoms that is were so strong. I got a call from the Health Department that I was exposed to somebody that was exposed to COVID-19.

Everything made sense at that point. It made sense for me to seek medical attention for my primary health care physician, which a lot of people in my community don't have access to health care and it is blowing up this problem.

KING: Let me jump in on that point. The contact-tracing work. You had symptoms but, when you're calling, they found you and said may have a problem, too.

Take me inside of uninsured community. This proportion number of African-Americans and Latinos at the moment. What can be done? We are in this now. What can be done to raise awareness when it comes to healthcare disparity.

BOWEN: Absolutely. You are seeing a majority African-American population on the north side of the city accumulates the vast majority of the cases we are seeing, the big chunk of the cases we are seeing statewide.

And essentially we need to get resources to families and we need to get especially for folks feeling the economic brunt and problem with the economy right now trying to provide for their family and trying to provide for their family and where we need to get those resources on the ground for families.

There are a lot of misinformation that was shared and especially when you have folks from the top, down spreading this information both to the public and it allows folks not to take it seriously as they should.

KING: Have you turned the corner from yours experience, friends you're talking to, not just people involving in politics? Do you get a sense even the president of the United States as the country shuts down for the month of April, is it sinking in for those reluctant to acknowledge this severity?

BOWEN: I think it is almost there. The problem is people are still trying to find help to help pay their rent or mortgage, a number of different things. They don't have a certainty those things will be taken care of or they'll be given the help to take care of those things.

At the same time, you have a lot of people in our community, all African-Americans, passing away in Milwaukee County from COVID-19. And essentially we have to get the information out there of how easy

it is to contract this virus, spread it, to get people the medical attention they need that we know they were cutting through years of disparities. Equity that needs to be used to get folks access to the help they need. Right now, we are so far behind.

[12:00:07]

KING: I hope your experience helps us catch up.