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Impact of Coronavirus on American Life; Record Unemployment Last Week; Answers to Viewer's Coronavirus Questions. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired April 2, 2020 - 08:30   ET



MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Not the disease, but its fallout.

OPAL FOSTER, GRAPHIC DESIGNER: I lost my job about --


FOSTER: About two weeks ago due to work slowdown because of the coronavirus.

SAVIDGE: Foster is among millions of Americans suddenly unemployed. She's also single-handedly raising a son with Downs Syndrome and worries when normal life will return.

FOSTER: Part of our normal is, you know, being able to get speech therapy and things like that through school.

SAVIDGE: To get by, they rely on freelance work, food pantries, and each other.

FOSTER: What keeps me going --


FOSTER: Is this little person right here. He's pretty phenomenal and pretty funny.


FOSTER: Yes. And he definitely keeps me going. He's definitely my sunshine.

SAVIDGE: There was no sunshine in Roger Hoover's life as coronavirus closed business after business in his small town, including his marketing firm. Then, he got an idea.

ROGER HOOVER, PORCH PORTRAITS PHOTOGRAPHER: As an advertiser, I photograph and tell my client stories. With no stories to share for them, I took to the sidewalks of Kent, Ohio, photographing residents and business owners.

SAVIDGE: Porch Portraits were born. The combination of social distancing and storytelling, where each porch and those on it have something to say about the times in which we live.

Like the Finley (ph) family, who have anguished over attending funerals out of state for loved one, or Charlie, the 77-year-old teaching himself guitar in quarantine.

HOOVER: Sharing our stories, it brings us together. But it's also a snapshot in time for future generations to look back on.

SAVIDGE: And we have one last story. As coronavirus closed in on Atlanta, the operators at the county animal shelters feared if staff got sick, they couldn't properly care for all the cats and dogs they housed.

KAREN HIRSCH, LIFELINE ANIMAL PROJECT: We asked Atlanta for their help and in just one week we had over 700 adoptions and foster homes for our animals.

SAVIDGE: Now, almost every kennel and cage is empty, as hundreds of families have found the cure for coronavirus quarantine.

Martin Savidge, CNN, Atlanta.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, we do have breaking news. First time jobless claims. New unemployment filings just in. They are massive.

CNN chief business correspondent Christine Romans here with that number.

Romans, wow.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: A jobs shock, 6,648,000 people last week filed for unemployment benefits for the very first time. Nearly every state saying it was -- Covid-19 was the reason people lost their jobs, either laid off or furloughed. Service sector and hotels led the wave last week and now has broadened out to almost every sector of the economy, including healthcare, social assistance, manufacturing, retail, and construction and warehousing, John. Just a job shock there, twice the record number of layoffs and furloughs.

BERMAN: That's right. We were together last week talking about the number. This number, twice as big.

Christine Romans, let's dig in, digest this for a few minutes. We're going to take a quick break. We'll talk about it right after this.



BERMAN: All right, the breaking news, a record shattering 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment last week. That's on top of the 3.3 million who filed the week before. Joining us now, CNN chief business correspondent Christine Romans, CNN anchor and correspondent Julia Chatterley, and CNN White House correspondent John Harwood.

Romans, once again, just -- the top line number, double what it was last week. I think higher than the worst we even expected for this week.

ROMANS: Yes, it really is a job shock here. And you've got 10 million layoffs or furloughs, that means in just the past couple of weeks, 10 million. It's pointless for me even to make a chart of it for you, John, because it just looks like a geyser going straight up.

I'm actually even a little surprised that the state unemployment offices were able to handle this kind of volume. Last week we know there were so many people filing for unemployment benefits, they weren't even, in some cases, able to get all of them.

Another notable thing about these numbers from the Department of Labor, John, is that the numbers doubled and it has spread from hospitality and restaurants into just about every corner of the economy, including healthcare.

BERMAN: Yes. It's everywhere in just about everything, Julia, which means that, you know, it is affecting everybody. You are either unemployed right now or you know someone who is. People are struggling.

JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: It's -- these are devastating numbers. And to Christine's point there, I think, what we've also heard in the past week is governors of Ohio, of Kentucky, of New York saying, our systems simply can't deal even now with the volumes that we're seeing. So the fear is that even with the astonishing size of the numbers that we're seeing, there's still more to come. And that's what all the analysts are saying.

I was just trying to get my sort of arms around what we're talking about here. We're talking about Los Angeles, Chicago, Phoenix, and Philadelphia, the entire population, not just the working population, all claiming for unemployment benefits in the space of two weeks. These are the kind of numbers that we're talking about. And the big risk here is that these numbers continue to accelerate.

BERMAN: That's right. It normally takes in a huge recession, like an epic recession, 2007-2008, it takes months and months and months and months and months to achieve job losses like this. This happened in just two weeks.

John Harwood, I know you expected bad, right? This is worse than I think the bad that most people expected to begin with. But then the question is, how long does it last?

JOHN HARWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: John, you know, this thing is not complicated. It's not subtle. We have pulled the plug out from the American economy and the result is an economic catastrophe.

How long is it going to last? That depends on the public health answer to this situation.


You know, we've talked about, in the past, in the last few days, certainly when we had last week's numbers, that the federal response, both in terms of the Federal Reserve and the fiscal response from Congress is like relief efforts during a hurricane. This is a nuclear bomb that's been dropped on the American economy. And I do think that these numbers, the -- as shocking as they are, are going to change some of the political discussion of this going forward.

Just yesterday, Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republican leader, threw cold water on the idea floated by both President Trump and Nancy Pelosi for a phase four stimulus with big infrastructure package and other elements. He said, well, no, we need to process what happened in the first fiscal relief.

There are millions of people right now who are without the means to support themselves. Yes, there is some fiscal help on the way, but on the way is not the same as being here right now. It's devastating, as Julia said.

BERMAN: You know, Romans, we talk about what type of recover we will be -- if we're trying to be forward looking here. And there's a question about whether it will be v-shaped, in other words, down and straight back up, or let's do a u, u-shaped, which is down, stuck in the bottom for a while and then go up.

I think the concern is, when you see numbers as big as the ones we're seeing today, it makes a v harder to imagine because stuff gets broken.

ROMANS: Yes. Yes.

BERMAN: The economy can't handle this type of situation.

ROMANS: And that's why -- and that's why they've thrown $250 billion into expanded unemployment benefits. And that's why they've changed the rules so that furloughed workers can apply for unemployment benefits and those furloughed workers are still technically kind of on the books of their company, they still have healthcare from their company, but they're going to get this unemployment benefits.

The idea being that when you get on the other side of this v-shape or u-shape or whatever, you get on the other side of this, you have those workforces ready to go again.


ROMANS: And that's what I think is -- I don't even want to say the word "bright spot," but that is something that is -- hopefully will be a cushion here --

BERMAN: Right.

ROMANS: That you've got workers who are ready to get right back to work when we get out of this.

BERMAN: Julia, I know just enough stuff to get me in trouble here.

HARWOOD: Hey, John.

BERMAN: Go ahead, John.

HARWOOD: I was just going to say, to the healthcare point that Christine just mentioned, another pressure point in this discussion is whether or not the Obamacare exchanges get opened up to people who are not just furloughed but laid off and don't have health insurance.

Yesterday, Mike Pence said, well, the underprivileged have Medicaid. But there are a lot of middle class people who do not have access to health care if they get laid off.

Joe Biden has said he is going to raise this issue with President Trump when they communicate as they both talked about doing. But that's another key dimension to this debate right now.

BERMAN: Absolutely, health care is an area of major concern.

And, Julia, what I was going to say is, I was -- I saw the factory orders. That factory orders had dropped substantially. You know, plummeted, in fact. Which, again, raised questions to me about how or when a recovery would happen if your -- if manufacturing grinds to a halt, for instance, it means that even if the virus, you know, some of the numbers there start to go down, the economy won't pick right back up again because there are no orders. There's nothing to be made just yet.

CHATTERLEY: It's such a great point, John, and you go back to the position we were in when we came into this. You remember, we were talking endlessly about a tariff war going on. The manufacturing sector was already in recession. The agricultural sector in this country was already in recession. The bottom line is, we're a nation of consumers in the services sector.

My big fear is that people have seen their stock market wealth depleted. They're going to be using their emergency savings.

We're going into a fifth crisis here, which is a confidence crisis. And to the point John was making about more stimulus being required here, fine, we've got an extension and an expansion of unemployment benefits, but it's only a four month period and we don't have a gage of how long we're going to be in this lockdown situation.

My understanding is the Senate want to see what the impact is of the money that they've already provided. But I -- if we're not talking about an infrastructure bill, I certainly think we're going to be talking about more money for the states and perhaps an extension of the money that's going to low and middle income families here. It's critical. So far it's been survival. Now it has to be some form of recovery pushed too.

BERMAN: Mitch McConnell seemed to throw some cold water on that yesterday.

But, Romans, I see you nodding.

ROMANS: Yes, I mean, look, time is of the essence here. I mean the money from the --


ROMANS: From the first three phases of stimulus has got to get out the door. People have to understand the tax credits and the -- and all of the goodies in there that are to help the -- are meant to help them keep their employees and to weather the storm if they've lost their job. But they've got to get the money there fast.

This is going to be a big test for the execution from the Treasury Department and the SBA. I mean this is going to be a really fascinating Washington story to watch, to see how they -- how they deploy that $2 trillion efficiently and quickly.

BERMAN: You know, John Harwood, Christine Romans and I have talked about this. Romans needed years of therapy after covering 2007-2008 because it was the likes of which, you know, no one had ever seen before.


Now this. I'm wondering what lessons we learned then that are applicable now or if this is even so much bigger than that.

HARWOOD: Well, it is so much bigger. One of the thing that we learned from 2008 was that we needed better Wall Street regulation, bigger bank cushions. That was done. And that was a positive thing when we entered this situation. It was not a financial crisis.

The problem is, as you were talking with Christine and Julia about, is the longer this goes on, the more it will become a financial crisis because banks are going to burn through the capital cushions that they were required to hold because of the Dodd-Frank regulation that came out of 2008. So the longer this recession persists, and it's not going to be a straight v-shape, that it might not long terribly long depending on the public health progress we can make, but the longer it goes on, the more loans that are good for -- on banks books right now become bad loans and then we get to a financial crisis and then who knows what the capacity is going to be both politically and economically to compensate and adjust.

BERMAN: And, of course, there's still the public health issue. Who knows when a consumer will feel safe to go to a restaurant, feel OK going to a basketball game to spend the money. We just don't know those answers yet and that will have a huge impact on all of this as well.

Christine Romans, John Harwood, Julia Chatterley, thank you all very much. And 6.6 million filing for unemployment last week.

That's the financial situation. Again, it's all contingent right now on the medical situation. You've got a lot of questions about that. Dr. Sanjay Gupta here to answer them, next.



CAMEROTA: All right, every day we've been asking you to send in your questions about coronavirus and every day CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta keeps showing up to answer some of them, and we really appreciate that.

OK, Sanjay, let's get right to it.

Jeff in Idaho wants to know, I'm wondering when the experts think this will peak. Everyone is acting like this will be over in a couple of weeks. States are issuing stay at home orders for just two weeks.

I know, Sanjay, from everything you've told us, that these are rolling peaks. It will be in different places. But can you tell us, generally, the hardest hit places, where will those peak -- when will those peak, sorry.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I think, you know, it's likely to be within the next two or three weeks. But you're right, I mean, there's different places because they issued these orders later or different time periods. It's going to -- it's going to peak at different times.

But I think what, from the medical standpoint, what they're really trying to establish is, when is the greatest demand for hospital beds, ICU beds, ventilators, all these things that we've been talking about for some time, when is the peak for that going to happen? It's tough to give an exact date, but a lot of the estimates are pointing towards the middle of this month. So sometime over the next couple of weeks.

BERMAN: So, Sanjay, Janet from Pembroke, Massachusetts, writes, if I get the coronavirus, would having the pneumonia shot help in preventing the disease progressing to a case of pneumonia?

GUPTA: Yes, good question. You know, so even though there are -- these are all pathogens, you know, one vaccine doesn't really protect you against the other. You know, sadly, you know, the -- what these viruses or bacteria will do in your body elicits different types of responses. So it doesn't protect you against that, but protecting you against other respiratory illnesses is helpful. I mean when you show up and you're not sure, is this Covid or is this something else, if you've had the flu shot, if you've had the pneumonia shot, you can start to rule things out more easily. So not direct protection but still helpful.


BERMAN: Sanjay, what is pneumonia? Can I ask -- I'm sorry, Alisyn. We exactly is pneumonia, because we talk about it all the time and it's one of the thing people are getting from coronavirus, but they get it elsewhere too. How would you describe it to people? GUPTA: Well, you know, it's interesting because you think about a lung

infection, that's typically how people will describe pneumonia. But the -- the -- with pneumonia specifically you have evidence on a chest x-ray of what's called an infiltrate. So some fluid buildup or some inflammatory protein buildup within the lungs that is -- that is visible on an x-ray. So you don't -- you really can't diagnose it for certain unless you get that x-ray. But that's typically what it is. It's an infection of the lungs.

CAMEROTA: OK, let's go to Roger. Roger's question is, what is the basis for even suggesting that Covid-19, the spread, will wane in the spring? If so, how come this virus is spreading as rapidly in countries with subtropical climates?

But is it, Sanjay? Is it spreading as rapidly in warmer climates?

GUPTA: No. That's sort of interesting. You know, if you looked early on at least, really, where most of the spread was in the northern hemisphere of the world where it was much cooler and not that much spread in the southern hemisphere. Most of the cases in the southern hemisphere at that time, we're talking a couple of months ago, were from people who had traveled there and probably taken the virus with them.

As it started to cool in the summer hemisphere, you are seeing more community spread in the -- in the southern hemisphere. So it sort of raises the question, is there a sort of -- a climate variability to this, a seasonal variation? We still don't know for sure.

I can tell you that -- that Dr. Fauci, you know, he is, I think, he believes that there's more evidence that that is -- that is happening. And so as it starts to warm in the northern hemisphere, you may start to see a drop-off.

We don't exactly know why that is. It could be the humidity, the temperature. It could be that there's less clustering. Who knows for sure.

But, Alisyn, I guess maybe this goes without saying, that that also means, as it starts to cool again in the northern hemisphere, in the fall, that you could see another wave of this. And that's something that we have to be mindful of and prepared for.

CAMEROTA: OK, Sanjay, we really appreciate you answering the questions. We just appreciate everything you do for us. Thank you very much.


GUPTA: You got it.

CAMEROTA: And be sure to join Sanjay and Anderson Cooper for a live CNN global town hall "Coronavirus: Facts and Fears." That's tonight at 8:00 Eastern on CNN.

BERMAN: All right, it is time for "The Good Stuff." A sled dog driver in Maine is using her team of dogs to deliver groceries and medical supplies to the elderly and others most at risk for coronavirus. Hannah Lucas (ph) and her team of 12 dogs do about 50 to 75 miles a day. She says as long as there's snow on the ground, she's going to keep on doing it. That's an amazing picture.

Senior residents at an assisted living facility in Iowa getting something surprised llama therapy to cheer them up during their isolation.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is just a fun way to kind of remind them that they haven't been forgotten, that they are very, very loved and that -- it's just a way to make them smile.


BERMAN: Is your mama a llama? Is your good stuff a llama doesn't rhyme --

CAMEROTA: I beg your pardon?

BERMAN: Well, that's a (INAUDIBLE) -- one of the great children's books of all time. I was trying to rhyme good stuff with llama. It's not possible. So I just went with the book.

CAMEROTA: Yes, that makes sense. I thought you were actually referring to my mom. But, no, I see that it's just a book. So that's really helpful.

We're getting slap happy now because we've had so much news, so much intense news this morning, John. Unemployment in America just reached another historic level. So we have all of the breaking news for you, as well as coronavirus coverage, next.