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An Economic Recovery Depends On How Things "Shape Up"; A Destination Exists In Arabian Desert

Aired April 3, 2020 - 04:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN 10 ANCHOR: Hi. I`m Carl Azuz for CNN 10.

We are living in historic times. The events that we see worldwide today are the kind that appear in history books and encyclopedias in the decades to

come. The big picture of how COVID-19 is infecting the world is still blurry. There`s just so much that`s still unknown about it.

There`s no vaccine or universal treatment for the coronavirus -- though, scientists worldwide are racing to find them. It`s not known exactly how it

spreads or how long it stays on surfaces if they get contaminated. It`s not known when exactly people are contagious once they`ve contracted it, and

the symptoms range from severe and deadly to practically nothing.

But more details about this disease get filled in every day -- where it`s spreading, how many people are testing positive for it where tests are

available, which medications are showing some effectiveness in fighting it and which ones aren`t, and how it`s affecting industries, businesses,

workers, parents and students?

When we put this show together, 92 percent of Americans were under stay at home orders. There were 11 states that didn`t have them in place, but some

of the local governments and counties within those states did.

Another part of this picture that`s getting clearer is the economic impact. There`s a jobs report due out Friday morning from the U.S. Labor

Department. It will be for the month of March.

And yesterday, economists expected it would show the U.S. lost a hundred thousand jobs and that the unemployment rate, the percentage of workers who

didn`t have a job would increase to 3.8 percent from its historic low of 3.5 percent.

But there`s a catch: the information for that survey is only as recent as the middle of March, and that`s before records started being broken for

initial jobless claims. This is the number of people who just started asking the government for help because they lost their jobs in layoffs or

business cutbacks.

Last Friday, we told you how that number which accounted for the third week of March was a record 3.28 million people. Today`s figure, which measures

the number of initial jobless claims in the fourth week of March, is a new record, 6.6 million people.

Is there a silver lining here?

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says when the U.S. defeats the virus, he expects the American economy will recover quickly, with gross

domestic products jumping back up and unemployment dropping back down to the way they were before the coronavirus struck. That literally depends on

how the recovery shapes up.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: How quickly can the economy recover from coronavirus?

A lot depends on what shape this recession takes. There`s an alphabet soup of possibilities, the V-shaped, the U-shaped or the dreaded L-shaped.

A V-shaped is the best case scenario here. It`s a sharp drop followed by an equally sharp recovery. It means the economy would ramp back up just as

quickly as it shut down, but that will largely depend on how quickly the virus is contained and how soon people can go back to work.

That`s why a U-shaped recovery may be more likely here. In that case, the economy contracts, then bumps along the bottom for a while before climbing

back. Many economists are betting on that scenario since uncertainty caused by the virus will just evaporate overnight.

Business owners and CEOs may curtail future investment and consumer spending, the biggest driver of U.S. economic activity, probably won`t

bounce back immediately either. Tat`s partly because of lost income, but also because of the psychological toll the viral outbreak has taken on

consumer confidence.

Beyond the V and the U, there`s the worst case scenario, the L-shaped. Picture a hockey stick with a long tail. That happens if the virus is not

contained, social distancing remains into the summer and businesses and consumers take years to recover. After the great recession, economic

activity took nearly four years to return to its pre-recession peak, the Great Depression was even more severe, lasting 10 years.

Thankfully, most economists are not predicting this outcome, but all of this is highly uncertain, and it all depends on the biggest unknown -- the

course of the virus.


AZUZ (voice-over): Ten-second trivia:

The Sahara is the largest non-polar desert on Earth. What is the second- largest?

Arabian Desert, Gobi Desert, Kalahari Desert, or Great Victoria Desert?

Covering about 900,000 square miles, the Arabian Desert is the world`s second-largest.


AZUZ: Stretching across Saudi Arabia, reaching Iraq and Jordan in its north and Oman and Yemen in its south, the Arabian Desert dominates the

Arabian Peninsula.

Today, we`re taking you to a part of this region called the Rub` al-Khali Desert, literally a desert within a desert. The British explorer Wilfred

Thesiger crossed it in the mid-20th century and he said it was named Rub` al-Khali or "Empty Quarter" because it`s so enormous and so desolate.

But a closer look at this desert reveals much more than sand and emptiness. There`s a place of the United Arab Emirates where it`s a destination.


REPORTER: This is the Rub al-Khali Desert known as the "Empty Quarter". It`s the largest, continuous sand mass in the world. It stretches across

Saudi Arabia, Oman, Yemen and the United Arab Emirates.

While some view it as a harsh and barren terrain, this man couldn`t live without it and calls it home.

AMRO AHMAD ABU AFFAR, ACTIVITY MANAGER: If you like to be away from the city and from the noise, you can have the peace over here. Because when you

go out in the desert, you cannot hear anything, no cars, no airplanes, no noise, no nothing. You just you can hear yourself while you are breathing.

CURRY: Nestled within the desert is the Qasr Al Sarab Resort, and Amro is the activity manager there.

AHMAD ABU AFFAR: I love the desert because the people they think it`s empty, there is nothing here. But there is a life, and especially on the

night. It`s a challenge to live, that`s true. But for me as a person, I love challenges and I love to be on the desert.

My favorite activity here is to do is dune bashing. For me as a person, I love -- enjoy that picture and I love driving.


AHMAD ABU AFFAR: I`m working with them and the guests are shouting. And dune bashing that means they`re enjoying.

If you look at the desert, you actually think it`s empty and there is no life here. But in fact, there`s a big life. There`s a wildlife even.

You see, this is the very camel I told you about. This is actually our own camel farm where we have around 30 camels. They are mixed between male and

female. They called him desert apache (ph) because why he`s walking on the sand, he don`t get stuck or I don`t think, he`s like floating and his hoof

is flat. And the second thing helping him to climb the dunes, the back legs actually, he has a three knees not one, has three.

If you would like to have the experience and the culture of Abu Dhabi, you need to go to the desert because the desert is also part of almost all of

the Arabic countries and it`s our culture.


AZUZ: Special delivery earns "10 out of 10". In northern Maine, along the U.S. border with Canada, there`s still plenty of snow on the ground and

that gives Hannah Lucas (ph) and her sled dogs plenty of opportunity to make deliveries. Lucas moved to northern Maine so she could train her dogs

for racing.

Now, with 12 dogs and two human helpers, they take groceries and medical supplies to elderly people in the area, traveling between 50 and 75 miles a

day on sled.

But for her, the dogs, it`s not Tamask (ph) trouble. For those who receive their help, their "Iditarodical (ph)." Some when thinking about their

generosity might get "Husky" voice.

But this is when it`s a good thing to go to the dogs. It proves that when you em-bark on a new trail, even if the going gets ruff, Friday`s are paw-


Last mention of the week goes to Princeville Junior Senior High School in Princeville, Illinois. You guys are paw-some for subscribing to our YouTube


I`m Carl Azuz for CNN 10.