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Health Experts Say Breathing, Talking May Spread Virus; 6.6 Million Americans Filed for Unemployment Just Last Week; Russia Sends Medical Supplies to U.S.; Oil Prices Continue Surge on Hopes of Deal; U.S. Navy Relieves Commander After Memo on Virus; U.S.S. Roosevelt Sailors Testing Negative Quarantined in Guam; English Soccer Clubs Criticized for Taking Government Money; Love in the Time of Coronavirus. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired April 3, 2020 - 04:30   ET




NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back. World health experts now report more than 1 million cases of coronavirus across the world. That's about eight times what it was three weeks ago when the World Health Organization declared a pandemic.

As cases soar across the United States to nearly 1/4 million, new evidence supports wearing a mask in public. The head of the National Academy of Sciences says recent studies suggest the virus can be spread through casual breathing and talking.

Well, the economic pain of the pandemic is staggering for Americans, 6.6 million people apply for unemployment benefits last week. That is in addition to the 3.3 million who applied the previous week, meaning nearly 10 million Americans have lost their jobs since this outbreak started.

Let's talk about it with CNN's chief business correspondent, Christine Romans, from New York early this morning. And good morning to you, Christine. It's good to see you.


ALLEN: Let's talk about these numbers. Just devastating and historic. And the question is, can we expect similar massive layoffs in the coming weeks?

ROMANS: I think you can, quite frankly, because we've been hearing from states and people trying to file that they haven't even been able to file yet because the state systems in some cases have been crashing under the weight of all of this. They simply haven't been built for so many people to be out of work all at the same time. So we are in unprecedented territory here.

If you talk about the 10 million layoffs in just a couple of weeks, I mean, really in 2 1/2 weeks the whole ship has turned here and millions of people are headed to the unemployment offices. That means probably in early April you're talking about a 10 percent unemployment rate in this country. I mean, think about it. It hit 10 percent in October of 2009 briefly. Spent ten years coming down and now quickly in just two weeks has reversed all of that. So really a stunning historical moment here.

ALLEN: Yes. So it's hard to even fathom what people are going through and their struggles. All right, we'll continue to watch it. Thanks so much. Christine Romans for us.

Well, you're watching CNN NEWSROOM. Still to come here, President Trump hints Saudi Arabia and Russia could soon reach a deal to end their oil price war. How realistic is that? We'll talk about it.



ALLEN: Russian leader Vladimir Putin dispatched a cargo plane to New York Wednesday loaded with ventilators and other crucial medical supplies. U.S. President Trump called the flight a quote, very nice gesture even though the U.S. may have paid for at least some of it. And it is raising troubling questions about why Russia would part with equipment it might need itself. CNN's Matthew Chance takes a closer look at that.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): You know it's getting bad when even Russia sends in urgent medical aid. This giant plane load of essential supplies from Moscow including testing and protective gear is a humanitarian gesture, says the Kremlin, one for which New York air traffic control at least seemed grateful.

AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLER: Romeo, Foxtrot, Foxtrot, 8460, we sincerely thank you for all the assistance you are bringing in. Contact Kennedy Tower one, one, nine o point one. Have a good day.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One, one, nine o one, you're welcome in fact.

CHANCE: But help like this is rarely free. In this case it seems the U.S. government paid for part of it, the Kremlin says at least half was donated by Russia. The question is, what does it get in return?

It's odd because Russia is currently struggling itself with the coronavirus pandemic. The streets of the capital deserted amid an enforced lockdown. And while official casualty figures are relatively low the Kremlin is slowly admitting their problem is far from under control. In fact, the Russian President has just appeared on state television extending the national lockdown through April.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA (through translator): The threat still remains. According to virologists the peak of the epidemic in the world has not yet been passed including in our country.

CHANCE: Hardly the time say critics to be sending much needed medical resources abroad.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Wouldn't it be nice if we actually got alone with Russia. Wouldn't that be nice.

CHANCE: But Moscow may have other considerations. It wants painful American sanctions lifted imposed for its meddling in the U.S. election and its military interventions in Syria and Ukraine.


Humanitarian aid to the U.S. could obscure its misbehavior elsewhere. But even if it doesn't, this potent image of Russia helping one of the world's most powerful countries may be the Kremlin's richest reward.

Matthew Chance, CNN.


ALLEN: Well, oil prices are fluctuating this morning after a record spike Thursday. You can see Brent crude is up 3.27 percent while West Texas down now .39 percent. On Thursday U.S. oil prices surged 25 percent after President Trump suggested massive production cuts. And Saudi Arabia called an urgent OPEC meeting. We'll be following that when it happens.

CNN business emerging markets editor, John Defterios, joining me from Abu Dhabi to break all this down. First of all, let's talk about President Trump's request for a cut of 10 million barrels. Is that realistic, John?

JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN BUSINESS EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: Well, it's very ambitious. It would be a record cut, but we've seen a record drop in demand at the same time, Natalie, of nearly 20 million barrels a day. It's about 20 percent because planes are not flying and people are not moving, factories have shuttered. So everything that demands energy is at a standstill right now. He said 10 million and perhaps even 15 million.

To give you some context here. At the last OPEC meeting that took place March 6th in Vienna, we had a huge split between Saudi Arabia and Russia over just cutting another 1.5 million barrels a day. So it will not be easy.

In the last 15 minutes we found out now that the emergency meeting will take place virtually on Monday. I just talked to sources at OPEC headquarters and I had two that confirmed it. We're working on the time. It is our understanding though that there'll be producers from all around the world invited well beyond the 23 that make up this OPEC plus.

So I would imagine U.S. producers will join in on the call -- those from Canada, Mexico, Brazil. They're trying to see how could you possibly get to 10 million which is OPEC plus alone. And that is a key point here. It's called burton sharing. Two senior sources that I spoke to that are part of the alliance said the President can't imagine pushing us to cut 10 million barrels a day all by ourselves. It's just not possible. The other producers will have to be involved in that process at the same time -- Natalie.

ALLEN: All right, we're watching that virtual meeting. But is the coronavirus, John, changing the geopolitics of oil in a profound way right now?

DEFTERIOS: It's a fantastic question, and the answer is yes. You know, because of OPEC always being labeled as a cartel before, under U.S. antitrust law they can't negotiate with OPEC, that's being thrown out the door right now. We see the Texas regulator talking to the OPEC secretary general. We see the U.S. energy secretary talking to his counterpart in Russia. Donald Trump talking to Vladimir Putin.

Now the missing piece of that equation here is having Saudi Arabia and Russia talking together again and sitting at a table eventually to push through this alliance that's now three years old.

The other thing that emerged here, Natalie, Saudi Arabia we thought was going to push this cut originally back in March. That didn't happen. So then it flooded the market. We thought this price war would last until June. It's only one month into the price war and you can see that the pressure that the President put on the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammad bin Salman, led them to call off the price war. Let's see if it works.

But the alliance between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia and the geopolitics with the U.S. backing Saudi against Iran, this is when you get pay back in Washington, for that stance that President Trump has taken. It's not done yet but it's on its way.

ALLEN: All right, we appreciate it as always, John Defterios in Abu Dhabi for us. Thank you, John.

Still to come on CNN NEWSROOM, social distancing rules keep us indoors and away from one others. But couples are still finding a way to tie the knot. We'll have that story coming up.



ALLEN: The captain of the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt has been stripped of his command after writing a critical memo about the spread of coronavirus on his ship.

We are not at war, Capt. Brett Crozier wrote. Sailors do not need to die.

Navy officials say Crozier was removed because he went outside the chain of command and sent the memo over an unsecured system. Journalist Mindy Aguon joins me from Tumon in Guam. Where sailors from the Roosevelt who have tested negative are being moved to hotel rooms to be guaranteed. Of course, one part of the story is the commander being relieved of duty. The others are the health of the sailors. What's the latest there -- Mindy?

MINDY AGUON, JOURNALIST: Hi, Natalie. Joint regent Mariana's Admiral John Menoni announced during a press briefing with local media today that the first group of 180 sailors had been moved off Naval Base Guam and into local hotels here in Tumon that happened late last night. Another 300 to 500 sailors are expected to be moved in the next 12 to 24 hours.

Now before they are moved off Naval Base Guam, they must be verified that they've been tested negative. The admiral saying that the Navy is also ensuring that sailors are practicing social distancing. That includes even when they're being transported to the lodging sites. The sailors will be required to stay in quarantine for a period of 14 days. They will not be allowed to leave their rooms. After they are cleared, we're told they will be allowed back onto the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt.

While in quarantine in the local hotels military personnel will be conducting daily health checks of the sailors. Admiral Menoni that the said guaranteed sailors have a simple mission, that's to stay healthy and mission ready.

Now the military has not revealed the names of all of the hotels that have been selected so far. We did visit a few of them last night and really did not see a lot of action. We saw a few military supply trucks going in and out of the Sheraton hotel last night.


We believe that the transport of the actual Theodore Roosevelt sailors is happening in the middle of the night when island residents, of course, are sleeping.

There were some very specific conditions that needed to be met for a hotel to even be considered for the quarantine of the sailors. And one of them was that they can't have any existing hotel guests in the hotels. So we've been told that several hotels were looking to move some of their houseguests into other facilities to allow and accommodate for the sailors.

ALLEN: All right, we appreciate it. We'll follow this story. We can imagine that their loved ones are very concerned about these sailors. Thank you so much, Mindy Aguon, for us there in Guam.

Well, a handful of top clubs of England's Premier soccer league are taking government money to help pay their employees during the pandemic. And some critics say they shouldn't since the team share a piece of the league's staggering TV rights deal. One British lawmaker even accused the clubs of living in a moral vacuum. CNN's Christina Macfarlane has more about it.


PEP GUARDIOLA, MANCHESTER CITY MANAGER: We miss football. We miss the life we had a few days ago. But now we're starting to listen, to follow our scientists, doctors and nurses. You are my family football. We'll come back from this stronger, better, kinder and a little bit fatter. Stay inside, stay safe. CHRISTINA MACFARLANE, CNN WORLD SPORT (voice-over): Sound advice from

the manager in one of the richest clubs and the richest football league in the world. But at a time when everyone is pulling together, the English Premier League and the stars are being accused of moral bankruptcy. That's after four top-flight teams this week opted to use a British government's scheme designed to help businesses survive during the coronavirus. With stars like to the Tottenham's Harry Kane , as well as, CEO Daniel Leavy reportedly each making millions in 2019, government ministers are fuming they're being asked to cover 80 percent of club staff wages.

MATT HANCOCK, BRITISH HEALTH SECRETARY: Given the sacrifices that many people are making, including some of my colleagues in the NHS who made the ultimate sacrifice of going into work and have caught the disease and have sadly died, I think the last thing -- the first thing that Premier League footballers can do is make a contribution, take a pay cut and play their part.

MACFARLANE: This stands in stark contrast with some of the biggest clubs in Europe. After Barcelona's entire squad took a 70 percent pay cut to support 430 non-playing staff.

While in Germany four Bundesliga teams created a fund to help other struggling clubs. And Italy's Juventus stars, including Cristiano Ronaldo, agreed to a four-month reduction to save the club $99 million.

(on camera): Here in the U.K. authorities meet to decide how to share the financial burdens imposed by the coronavirus, the clock is ticking on their reputation.

GARY LINEKER, FORMER PLAYER: Yes, they get a lot of money but I'm sure they want to help. They're consistently very good in the communities and I'm sure over the coming days that footballers will stand up to be counted, either taking pay cuts or making donations to charities or staff workers that are not playing.

So I'm confident that will happen. But it takes time, and everyone here is jumping on the bandwagon. Politicians do tend to do that occasionally, especially at football's expense. So if I'm wrong then I'll be as critical as anybody else.

MACFARLANE: So those significantly must move swiftly or face a reckoning that could be far more costly than money alone.

Christina Macfarlane, CNN, London.


ALLEN: Sports and so many other activities are those that have been canceled during this pandemic. Another, well, weddings. But people though are still finding a way to tie the knot. Here's Anna Stewart with that.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) RABBI MICHAEL SOMMER, HAR-SHALOM SYNAGOGUE: In the midst of chaos only love can stand as a beacon of light to guide us all and remind us of what is most sacred in the world.

ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): Newlyweds Dan Kraemer and Lynda Feldman planned to have a private wedding in Chicago in April.

DAN KRAEMER, NEWLYWED: And all of this corona stuff happening and I saw all of these people postponing things and canceling. And I said, let's just move it up instead.

STEWART: Rearranging plans, the couple decided to take their ceremony virtual by the video conference app Zoom.

KRAEMER Instead of a secret wedding with no relatives there and no drama, we invited everybody.

STEWART: Complete with musicians -- officiates.

KRAEMER: Father Grosse had a camera.

I think so.

STEWART: And photos.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You put a ring on her. That's good.

STEWART: Dan and Linda tied the knot in front of their friends and family across the United States and abroad all from the comfort of their homes.


LINDA FELDMAN, NEWLYWED: It was just such a neat thing to be able to have people from all over the country and honestly, the world. We have friends that are abroad and even like a 90-year-old lady that's in the nursing home that's guaranteed that would never have been able to make it because of health, cost, safety, be able to watch it and enough to figure it out on her iPad and attend. So that was just the coolest thing.

STEWART: And the two have a piece of advice for performing a virtual wedding. Don't forgot the bride.

KRAEMER: I'm sorry to interrupt. We forgot to bring the bride. We should probably bring the bride in. That's a great idea.

STEWART: Much like Dan and Linda, many others across the world haven't let coronavirus cancel their declarations of love.

In Spain, one of the country's hardest hit by the coronavirus, a couple is seen getting married on their balcony surrounded by all of their neighbors.

And the family in New Delhi restricted by a national lockdown dresses up and attends a virtual wedding in Phoenix. All to show that beauty can come from chaos.

Anna Stewart, CNN, London.


ALLEN: Love does conquer all, doesn't it? Well, that story is poignant for me because I am one of those brides who had to postpone my wedding. I wasn't supposed to be here at work today. April 2nd was to be my wedding day. Jeff and I may figure out a clever way to get hitched. Meantime, we went into the backyard and took some official wedding day selfies, got carry out from Uber Eats and then, well, I just came to work.

Stay tuned for official wedding photos one day soon we hope on my Instagram Natalie Allen, CNN. We're just glad to be safe and healthy.

Thank you so much for watching. CNN NEWSROOM continues next with Robyn Curnow. See you again tomorrow.