Return to Transcripts main page


U.S. Market Futures Pointing Up Ahead of Open; Trump and Pelosi Say They Want More Economic Stimulus; Small Business Owners Hit Hard by Crisis; Comedy Club Owner Forced to Lay Off Employees Amid Crisis; CNN Speaks to Frontline Medical Worker in U.K.; Couple Scraps Wedding Plans, Gets Married Online . Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired April 6, 2020 - 04:30   ET



ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. You are watching CNN NEWSROOM and I'm Rosemary Church.

The U.S. Surgeon General says the week ahead will compare to Pearl Harbor or 9/11. The sobering comment came as the number of U.S. cases topped 337,000 according to Johns Hopkins University. At least 25,000 new cases and more than 1,100 deaths were reported on Sunday alone.

U.S. President Donald Trump is again promoting the use of an anti- malarial drug to treat the coronavirus even though it has not been proven to work. At a news conference on Sunday, Mr. Trump acknowledged he is not a medical expert but recommended the medicine anyway saying he is using common sense.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson spent the night in the hospital where he's said to be undergoing tests as a precautionary step. Mr. Johnson continues to have coronavirus symptoms days after he tested positive. On Friday he said he was still experiencing a raised temperature.

Well, this hour futures for the U.S. markets are looking up, but make no mistake, the coronavirus has been a massive economic problem here. Look at the red lines on this graph showing a record 10 million Americans filing for unemployment claims in just the past two weeks. Now that's hitting small businesses where nearly half of all-Americans work, especially hard.

The government has set aside hundreds of billions of dollars in loans to help them make payroll. All as part of an historic $2 trillion economic rescue effort. As big as that package is, the Speaker of the House wants additional stimulus measures.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), U.S. HOUSE SPEAKER: I think right now we need a fourth bipartisan bill and I think the bill could be very much like the bill we just passed. So I'd like to go right back and say let's look at that bill. Let's update it for some other things that we need and again put money in the pockets of the American people. I think that we have a good model. It was bipartisan. It was signed by the President but it's not enough.


CHURCH: In a briefing on Sunday the President was asked about those comments and here's his response.


TRUMP: We're talking about a different way of doing it, but I like the concept. I like the concept of infrastructure. Our country has to be rebuilt. We have to rebuild our roads and our schools, our bridges, we have to rebuild our country. So I like an infrastructure bill. I also like money going directly to people. It's not their fault that this happened.


CHURCH: And while politicians argue over how to stimulate the flat lining economy, small business owners are finding it hard to navigate the system. Adam Norwest owns a comedy club. And when he joined me earlier, I began by asking how he's coping.


ADAM NORWEST, COMEDY CLUB OWNER: I mean, as best I can, really. Emotionally, you know, it's -- it's tough, but, you know, I watch CNN all the time and I watch the news and seeing what other people are going on -- or have going on is so much more devastating that, you know, I try and count my blessings as far as that goes. And, you know, just trying to get through it. Every day, you know, stay happy and healthy and quarantined away in my house and doing the best I can.

CHURCH: You're doing all the right things and I know --


CHURCH: -- I know you had to lay off some employees. Talk to us about how difficult that was.

NORWEST: Yes, I mean, it was so tough because I -- we have about 100 employees across our four comedy clubs, and at first, you know, the announcement was, you know, nothing bigger than 250 people, then down to 100, down to 50 people. So at first it wasn't even all of the restaurants. And so, I didn't know if, you know, it was just our industry, the entertainment industry that was laying people off at first because, you know, the news was so vague about things.


You know, partially from, I don't know, trying to protect us or not knowing. And so I had to have really tough conversations about, you know, I want to help you, but I don't know where my next, you know, dollar is going to come from and, you know, hopefully we're going to open in two weeks but I wouldn't be surprised if it was June, July, August, September and I'm so sorry. And, you know, I'll do whatever I can but --

CHURCH: It's a difficult message to send people, isn't it? And how will the federal government stimulus plan help your small business enterprise? And what has been your experience with that process so far? Has it been ease? Has it been straightforward?

NORWEST: No, I mean, it's been pretty difficult. So the idea of the stimulus plan is very exciting, however, actually getting it done, I don't know what's going to happen. The whole process with help from the government on the state level and federal level has been a little difficult as far as like unemployment goes. I have employees that are being declined unemployment and we can't figure out why. We can't get anyone on the phone. And so, you know, from there and then, you know, we applied with SBA, then we applied through our bank and no one has a timeline. No one knows where we're at in the que. No one knows what the next step is.

And so, if that money comes through, you know, we're going to be OK. And we're going to be able to breathe. And we're going to be able to at least bring back on like some of our managers and help them out and hopefully be able to use some of the money to help other employees out who aren't getting it. But it's kind of day to day. We just have to hope at this point that it comes through.

CHURCH: It's so difficult. And just finally, how might this perhaps change the way you run your business in your various clubs going forward? And what advice would you have for other small business owners?

NORWEST: Yes, I mean, we at this point are -- you know, I think we're going to get to the other side of this. And that's, you know, I think that as a comedy club too, that's going to be important. You know, we have a club in Wisconsin, one in Oklahoma and two in Washington so we're all over the country and I know that there's other comedy clubs all over the country and after this people will need to laugh again. So you know, we're holding onto the hope that things will be OK at the end of it.

Running our business going forward, I think that, you know, we're going to have to be a little -- you know, a little more protective of our money and maybe have, you know, a little bit more of a savings or a nest egg that is prepared for this type of situation, which we weren't before. You know, I know it's tough. So many businesses in this industry are week to week or day to day even on their money, but that's all we can really do, you know.

And I don't know, I think that in general if you, you know, take care of, you know, your staff and your customers and, therefore, your community and they're going to support you on the other side of things. So you know, if you're good to your community, your good to whoever you can. We support our military community and just kind of hope for the best.

CHURCH: Absolutely. Thank you very much, Adam Norwest, for talking to us --

NORWEST: Thanks, Rosemary.

CHURCH: -- and we wish you and all of your former employees who will be your future employees the very best. Thank you so much.

NORWEST: I appreciate it. Thanks, Rosemary.

CHURCH: All right, let's bring in Christine Romans, CNN's chief business correspondent. Always great to see you, Christine.


CHURCH: So we just heard from our guest there, but the reality of trying to get a small business loan under the federal government's relief plan is certainly not as easy as President Trump has suggested. People aren't answering phones. This gentleman doesn't know what's going on. So what are the big problems? Why are there so many problems with this? And how can they fix it? What sort of hope can we give small businesses as they listen to what you have to say?

ROMANS: So I think that by mid-week you're going to see some of these kinks worked out. I mean, that's what we're hearing from the banks, and we know that they were working around the clock over the weekend to try to get this money out the door.

Look, to be fair, the U.S. government has never done this before. This is $350 billion, free money for small business, and what has to happen here to connect the business with that money is they've got to apply for the loan, the loan has to be approved. It is that approval process, the technology between the SBA, the small business administration, and the banks, that appears to be where the kinks are.

Basically they're moving so quickly to get so much money to so many people that they just couldn't keep up. So hopefully the technology part of this is going to be fixed this week and the banks hope to be getting that money out the door. And remember, those loans are mostly forgiven if you keep your workers or hire them back. So the idea here is that a couple of months for your overhead costs for a small business owner.


To just keep you in place, to just keep you alive here while we look for what's going to be the other side of this and the economy can restart again -- Rosemary.

CHURCH: That's critical and very encouraging information, Christine. We thank you for that.

Meantime, house Speaker Nancy Pelosi is talking about another stimulus plan to give Americans more money, even though of course they haven't received what was already promised to them. When might all of this happen, do you think?

ROMANS: It's interesting because there's been chatter for a couple of weeks that there will have to be even more. And the House Speaker is saying that she wants to get it out. Take a look at the bipartisan plan that we've already passed, this $2 trillion, and let's just to it just like that again.

But what you're hearing from some Republicans including Mitch McConnell over in the Senate, is that look, let's see what works and where we need to do a targeted response. Let's see how the 2 trillion is spent and the best parts of that and double up on that later.

So you have sort of two views here, that more money is coming, do it quickly even before we have this 2 trillion out the door here. But the other view is like be cautious and find out what works better. The President has talked about infrastructure. There are a lot of different ideas out there. But I think the bottom line is in this huge $20 trillion economy, you're going to have to have more than a couple of trillion dollars to really plug the holes to make sure the economy is healthy on the other side -- Rosemary.

CHURCH: Yes, absolutely. Always love chatting with you. Christine Romans, live out of New York for us. Thank you so very much.

And you're watching CNN NEWSROOM. Still to come, from self-isolating citizens to the Prime Minister to the Queen, the U.K.'s National Health Service is feeling the love. But is applause enough? I speak to a British doctor.



ELIZABETH II, QUEEN OF THE UNITED KINGDOM: I want to thank everyone on the NHS frontline as well as care workers and those carrying out essential roles who selflessly continue their day-to-day duties outside the home in support of us all.



CHURCH: Queen Elizabeth there thanking the people the U.K. is depending on right now. 10 Downing Street echoed that sentiment in a statement announcing Boris Johnson's hospitalization. Saying this -- the Prime Minister thanks NHS staff for all of their incredible hard work and urges the public to continue to follow the government's advice to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.

Well, joining me now, one of those people on the frontlines, Dr. Simon Walsh, consultant in emergency medicine. He is the deputy chair of the British Medical Association Consulting Committee. And we do want to honor -- it is an honor for us to speak with you and salute your brave work on the frontlines. How are you coping right now with the number of patients? And what's been the hardest part of this?

DR. SIMON WALSH, CONSULTANT IN EMERGENCY MEDICINE: Good morning, Rosemary. Well, yes, thanks very much for your kind words there. And it was really welcome to hear the words of our monarch last night, Queen Elizabeth, at a time when the NHS is under the greatest challenge that it's ever faced. I

'm an emergency medicine consultant working in an emergency department, one of the biggest emergency departments in London. And along with my colleagues across the country, we are clearly finding this a very difficult time and a big challenge. The number of cases is rising and we're doing our best to manage that.

CHURCH: Yes, understandably. And of course, most doctors and nurses across the globe have struggled to get enough supplies of personal protective equipment and ventilators as they fight to save lives. What's been your experience with those supplies?

WALSH: Yes, well, so the British medical association has highlighted some real concerns about the personal protective equipment supply to frontline healthcare workers. And it's clear that there have been some problems with that, and along with the testing for healthcare workers and their families so they can get back to work if they're negative.

With the personal protective equipment, clearly, it's absolutely imperative that healthcare workers are given the equipment so they can work safely. We all want to be there on the frontline doing everything we can to help patients, but we can't be expected to do that, you know, whilst risking your own health and our lives, indeed, if we're not given the right equipment. And I'm afraid that despite the assurances we've been given over the last few weeks that the supply and the personal protective equipment has been procured, we're still hearing stories where front-line doctors and nurses are not able to access that when they need it.

CHURCH: Yes, and that sadly is the story everywhere. It's certainly here in the United States. We heard it across Italy and Spain and elsewhere. And it is mind boggling that enough of those supplies can't get to the doctors because you have to use so much when you're looking after this amount of patients. So what happens if you don't have enough ventilators? What decisions are you and other doctors having to make on who lives and who dies?

WALSH: Well, the question of ventilators is another very important one. We know that we are -- we haven't reached the peak in London, let alone the rest of the U.K. London is probably a couple of weeks ahead of rest the U.K. in terms of the rise in the number of cases. And yet we're still -- we're not even at the peak, but we have a huge demand for ventilators. And clearly a lot of -- one of the features of this disease is that a large proportion of the people do require respiratory support, ventilation with a mechanical ventilator.

Now there have been some extraordinary efforts done to increase the number of ventilators available. I'm afraid we didn't start from a very good point. Having very few intensive care beds and ventilators per head of population compared with the rest of Europe. Consultants and doctors throughout the NHS, across the U.K. through massive efforts managed to at least doubled their intensive care capacity. And in many hospitals go several times over what they normally abilities to ventilate patients.

Having said that, it's predicted that we will need somewhere in the region of 18,000 ventilators at the peak and as I understand it at the moment, we only have about 9,000 available. So we still have a long way to go, I'm afraid.

CHURCH: It has been a horrifying wake-up call for so many countries, hasn't it? And I think what has surprised so many people, is the United Kingdom and the United States haven't been in a particularly good position with this and a lot of their systems have been laid bare. But that is another story for another time.


Dr. Simon Walsh, I want to take another opportunity to thank you for all that you do and all the medical professionals across the globe. Because it is extraordinary what you're doing and under these sort of circumstances when you don't have enough protective gear, even more so. Thank you so very much.

WALSH: Thank you very much.

CHURCH: We'll take a short break here. Still to come, no wedding cake to order, no guests to worry about and most importantly, no drama. Some weddings are moving online to avoid the coronavirus pandemic. We're back in a moment with that.


CHURCH: So our next story proves not even the coronavirus can stand in the way of love. CNN's Anna Stewart met a couple who moved their wedding online.


RABBI MICHAEL SOMMER, HAR-SHALOM SYNAGOGUE: You are now husband and wife. You may break the glass.

DAN KRAEMER, NEWLYWED: It's actually an old jewel bag or something because we're in a pandemic, I couldn't get a nice one. But here goes. Look out at home, I'll step on you. Mazel tov.

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


KRAEMER: 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.

LINDA FELDMAN, NEWLYWED: I know, and I feel it. I really enjoyed the wedding. Thank you very much. STEWART: Complete with musicians -- officiates.

KRAEMER: Father Grosse had a camera.

I think so.

STEWART: And photos.

KRAEMER: 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.

FELDMAN: 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 in. 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.

KRAEMER: 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.

STEWART: All to show that beauty can come from chaos.

Anna Stewart, CNN, London.


CHURCH: And congratulations to them.

Thank you so much for your company. Stay home, stay safe, stay strong. I'm Rosemary Church. CNN NEWSROOM continues next with Robyn Curnow. Stay with us.