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Florida Residents Line up for Unemployment; Masks for the People Charity; Answers to Your Coronavirus Questions; MLB Arizona Plan. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired April 8, 2020 - 08:30   ET



ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: And risking potential exposure, of course, to the virus. That state's website keeps crashing and the phone lines have been overwhelmed with workers who have lost their jobs.

CNN's chief business correspondent, Christine Romans, is here with us with the latest.

People are desperate.


CAMEROTA: I mean you just see it in those numbers there.

ROMANS: They really are. And there's a new number out this morning. A third of renters didn't pay April rent. You can see exactly why because, you know, they don't have the money and the jobless claims aren't there yet. That's in Florida where they're doing paper claims because the system is overloaded. In North Carolina, the governor there saying that usually they have 3,000 jobless claims a week. They have 400,000 right now. And across the country, I'm talking to states where they are hiring. The unemployment office, ironically, is what's hiring in this country now. We've just never seen this many people out of work.

Janet Yellen, the former Fed chief, she said, you know, look, it's probably 12 percent or 13 percent unemployment right now and going even higher.

So that being said, there is new money coming. Within hours there will be money, $260 billion that will be going to the states to pay for those enhanced extended unemployment benefits. The money is coming, it's just having a really hard time getting out.

In the meantime, the president is talking about plans to reopen the economy. And how? Listen.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I'd love to open with a big bang, one beautiful country, and just open. But it's very possible, you know, there are some areas that are not affected very much.

And we're looking at two concepts. We're looking at the concept where you open up sections and we're also looking at the concept where you open up everything.


ROMANS: Of course a lot has to happen before the public will be comfortable enough or confident enough. Our own polling this morning shows that when asked if social distancing ends at April 30th, 60 percent of Americans said they're not comfortable going back to the way things were if social distancing ends.

You know, what is the public health strategy? I mean there's obviously optimism. You want to get those people back to work and the economy opened, Alisyn and John, but, you know, you need to see testing, monitoring, you need to see antibody treatments, eventually a vaccine, contact tracing, and quarantining where necessary to avoid future outbreaks.

Germany has a plan to reopen its economy and it's very slow and very careful. So as we're -- as we proceed here, I would say proceed with caution on talks about a big bang, John.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Christine Romans for us on the economic impact.

Romans, thanks very much.

Coronavirus is infecting and killing black Americans in the United States at a disproportionately high rate. Blacks account for about 70 percent of deaths in Louisiana, 41 percent in Michigan, 42 percent in Illinois, way, way outpacing their place in the population right now.

Joining us now to talk about this and talk about their efforts to fight this, W. Kamau Bell, the host of CNN's "UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA," and Pastor Mike McBride, civil rights leader and pastor of The Way Church.

Kamau, my friend, it is wonderful to see you, but I'm not going to start with you. I'm going to start with Pastor Mike because he outranks both of us, particularly on Holy Week.

Pastor Mike, tell me about Masks For the People, which is this movement that you are now leading, along with Kamau.

PASTOR MIKE MCBRIDE, THE WAY CHURCH: Well, it's great to be here with you this morning. Masks For the People is a humanitarian effort. And this is how we really believe it's important to shift our language. We keep hearing we're at war. If we use the language of war, then we're more prone to be comfortable with violence, we're more prone to be comfortable with exploitation and profiteering and make enemies. But humanitarian language means that we must have a sense of radical generosity, radical solidarity, radical hospitality. So Masks For the People is an effort to make sure that our loved ones in urban neighborhoods, in rural communities, black folks, brown folks, who aren't essential workers but have not been treated as worthy citizens, by having access to PPE, to masks, and to hand sanitizer, to testing and to other kinds of ways to protect them as they do their front line work, we're trying to raise a million dollars to get that work, that stuff to those who are on the front lines. We love our hospital workers, but there are other folks as well on the outside doing essential work. Masks For the People is about raising the resources, charity work, since we can't depend on our government to do it, and get that stuff on the ground as fast as we possibly can. And it's great to be able to work with W. Kamau and Steve Kerr and a whole bunch of other folks to make that happen.

BERMAN: So, Kamau, when we look at the statistics, they should be shocking to people in the sense that there is no part of the population that should suffer so disproportionately in a pandemic like this. So, yes, they should be upsetting, but they shouldn't be surprising, should they?

W. KAMAU BELL, CNN HOST AND EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, "UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA": No. I mean the reason why they're (INAUDIBLE) most people is because most people have ignored the impacts of racism and structural institutional racism in the black community since the dawn of this country. So there's lots of upsetting statistics that come out of the black and brown communities, specifically the black community, but people don't tend to care.


People -- you know, there's a narrative in this country that whatever's happening to black folks is black folks' fault, which is clearly not true. Institutional and structural racism is dragging down black folks, which we talk about on "United Shades" all the time. And this -- a crisis like this just makes it worse.

BERMAN: What was the reaction, or what has the reaction been, Kamau, to the effort to get masks, as many masks as you can, and to get people to wear them.

BELL: Well, you know, I think people are very aware overall that they can't trust the federal government to tell them what's going on. They can't trust Donald Trump. They can't trust the press conferences. We can't even trust the black surgeon general to tell us what's going on.

So the thing about this benefit is that we're relying on activists and leaders who are already in the black community. People who the people of the community already trust. So that has a -- it's been a very positive reaction. The hard part right now is that most people in those communities don't have money to donate to this cause. So we have to reach outside of this community to find people to donate to the cause.

BERMAN: And, Pastor Mike, one of the things we've heard is that African-Americans underserved by the healthcare system in this country. African-Americans also disproportionately on the front lines of many of these lines of work now considered essential businesses. Whether it be in public works, whether it be bus drivers, we know that awful story of the bus driver in Detroit. African-Americans are still out there working and putting themselves at higher risk.

MCBRIDE: Absolutely. And we can't forget that there is also this challenge. It's a moral challenge that we're facing right now because we have our loved ones who are incarcerated, in prisons, and they are being left to die. We're hearing some of the most horrific stories of individuals in prison. They don't have access to masks. They don't have access to sanitizers. And there are conversations being had that are actually saying we're going to write these folks off. In a pandemic, no life is disposable. And we are doing ourselves a huge, huge disservice if we begin to decide whose life is worthy.

It helps us to realize, even in our Masks For the People, that the problem is not just race, it's racism. It is the disproportionate impact that is a result of political decisions made by the powerful, shutting down hospitals in the rural south because governors would not accept Obamacare, not having the kind of resources, corporate resources being made available to our essential workers on the front line, deciding that prisoners, or those who are incarcerated are not worthy to have life-saving materials to slow down this virus. It is unconscionable and it is our responsibility to not only lift up this challenge, but to do something to change the material conditions until the federal government and our nurses and doctors can catch up with the impact of this virus.

BERMAN: The effort is called Masks For the People. You can see it on Kamau's Twitter feed and the hash tag there, you know, donate if you can.

Pastor Mike, Kamau, it's terrific seeing you. Be well.

MCBRIDE: Thank you.

BELL: Thank you.

BERMAN: There are so many developments on the pandemic each hour.

Here's what to watch today.


ON SCREEN TEXT: Soon, New York Gov. Cuomo briefing.

1:00 p.m. E.T., New Jersey Gov. Murphy briefing.

5:00 p.m. E.T., White House task force briefing.


BERMAN: Dr. Sanjay Gupta is back to answer your questions about coronavirus, next.



CAMEROTA: OK, you've been sending in your questions for days now. And back by popular demand is Sanjay Gupta, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, here to answer your questions.

OK, Sanjay, the first question comes from Rita, and I think it's a really good one. She basically wants to know why are the number of cases in New York state and New York City ever day continuing to increase or even stay the same when people have been self-quarantining and the state has been in shutdown for more than two weeks, i.e. the incubation period.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. Right. Well, an understandable question. I mean, first of all, there have been some positive signs, as I think you guys have pointed out this morning overall. The death rates will continue to go up, but the pace at which they're increasing may start to come down. And that's one of the first things you're going to see in terms of the impact from this -- this -- these social distancing, these physical distancing measures.

The other thing to keep in mind is that the incubation period around 14 days, think about it like this, from the time someone is exposed to the time that they are diagnosed can be some time. If they're going to go to the hospital, it can be another, you know, 10, 11 days after that. And then if they're sadly going it die, several days after that. So you're really talking about three or four weeks perhaps of a lag time from the point of exposure.

So, you know, hang in there, Rita, I get it. Everyone's going stir crazy. We are as well. But there are some signs at least that it's working here and we've seen those signs in other countries as well.

BERMAN: All right, we have a question from Tyler from Colorado, who asks, when is it realistically safe to schedule weddings and other such gatherings? Also, Sanjay, how do you feel about fall weddings in general?

GUPTA: I did a spring wedding myself, although the weather can be dicey in the spring, so you've got to be careful.

Gosh, congratulations, you're getting married, you know, first of all, to who sent in the question.

This is a tough one. I mean we have a list of things that the -- you know, the country's sort of looking for to before we can sort of start to think about waving the all-clear flag. There's not going to be a specific flag. But there it is. You know, you want to make sure that the hospitals in your area, I think you said Colorado, which, by the way, is supposed to have peaking apex around now, I believe, in terms of number of cases.


So keep an eye on that.

You want to make sure your state system can track, test, monitor and trace people who may be positive and follow this for the next few days. Not a good answer today, but as far as a fall wedding goes, follow this for the next couple of weeks, make sure the numbers are -- continue to come down. What the country wants to see is that the number falls to below 60 people dying from this on any given day and seeing those numbers go downward. So tough to answer now. Maybe the next few weeks, a better answer.

CAMEROTA: Speaking of tracking and tracing, this comes from a conscientious viewer who says, this is Ulysses, who says, should we keep a daily travel diary to help assist in the contact tracing efforts?

GUPTA: Well, Ulysses, I mean, you should be staying at home, first of all. If you're traveling enough where you're thinking about a diary, that's probably is not -- not the right message.

I think it's important -- and I think maybe what you're driving at, Ulysses is, you know, as we come around the other side of this curve, tracing, you know, testing and then tracing of people is going to become important. It's always been important, but it's going to become especially important as we determine how states are really doing.

So, yes, keeping track of people that you come in contact with is really helpful for public health officials. But for the time being, Ulysses, try and stay at home as much as possible. It should be a short diary as things stand now.

BERMAN: That's right. Page one, blank.

GUPTA: Right.

BERMAN: All right, Sanjay, thank you very much, as always, for this.

GUPTA: You've got it. All right.

BERMAN: We want to take a moment to remember some of the nearly 13,000 Americans who have died from coronavirus.

Albert Barbara (ph) of Detroit was only 39-years-old. He just got married in October. His widow, Latrisha Rice (ph), says Albert developed a cough and then a fever, then had trouble breathing. But at the time they were told that wasn't enough to get a test. He eventually got worse and a test came back positive. That was the day he died.

CAMEROTA: Vitalena Williams (ph) was a grocery store worker in Massachusetts. She was 59 years old. Her husband Dave says she worked two jobs so she could send money home to family in Guatemala. She went to the hospital when she ran a slight fever and had trouble breathing. Doctors tried calling Vitalena's husband before she was sedated, but the call did not go through.

BERMAN: And Jersey City Councilman Michael Youn (ph) has passed away at the age of 65. He was a lot more than a local official. He was a Korean immigrant living in the American dream. More than 30 years ago he took over a convenience store and grew the business for decades. Mayor Steve Phillip (ph) calls Youn a great husband, father and grandfather. He never missed a chance to share how proud he was of his family.

We'll be right back.



CAMEROTA: Let's talk sports for a moment. Could Major League Baseball really come back next month with teams playing in Arizona?

Andy Scholes has more in the -- this morning's "Bleacher Report."

Hi, Andy.


You know, even if Major League Baseball can figure out, you know, all of the logistics of getting all 30 teams to play there in Arizona, they have to get the players on board with the plan to be quarantined for two, three, four months so that they can play out the season. And that might be one of the biggest obstacles.

Players around baseball reacting to the possible Arizona scenario yesterday. Brewers veteran pitcher Brett Anderson tweeting, it begins and ends right here with the picture of the ESPN report highlighting the portion about players possibly being away from their families for an extended period of time. Some players, though, they do have a different views. Rocky's all-star third baseman Nolan Arenado, telling "The Denver Post," if it's safe, I'm in. I want to get back out there and play.

Now, Major League Baseball released a statement on the Arizona reports yesterday saying they have been discussing contingency plans, including playing in one location, but they have not settled on that option or developed a detailed plan.

And while Major League Baseball tries to figure out what to do, South Korea's baseball league is actually going to start playing exhibition games on April 21st, targeting to start their season in early May, John. And, you know, South Koreans only had about 50 new cases per day this week. So at least for them and one part of the world, sports is on the horizon.

BERMAN: I would watch anything, any sport on TV. I'll watch chipmunks fighting out my window for sport right now. I'm, you know, so desperate to get sports back.

All right, Andy, thanks very much.

SCHOLES: All right.

BERMAN: It is time now for "The Good Stuff."

About a year ago I spent time with my favorite rock group, it's the Young at Heart Chorus, an incredible group of senior citizens who perform rock hits for audiences across the country. They were my "Champions for Change."


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (singing): Tainted love. Tainted love.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't give up when you get older. Don't be afraid of getting old, because you have so much to offer. You have so much to give.


BERMAN: So, for obvious reasons, coronavirus now has forced them to cancel all their performances, including their major benefit concert next month. But they have found a way to keep the music alive.

Watch this.


CHORUS (singing): You step out of line, the man come and take you away.

We better stop, hey, what's that sound, everybody look what's going down . Stop, hey now, what's that sound.



BERMAN: Oh, Buffalo Springfield never sounded so good.

So the chorus director, Bob Cilman, says that once they got the handle on the technology, which wasn't easy for them, the twice weekly virtual rehearsals have been very productive and super fun. And he says it will be really emotional when they can all be together again in person. And I've got to say, I can't wait for that.

CAMEROTA: I bet you can't, John, because I've never seen you look more in your element than when you were rocking out with that group.

BERMAN: Well, you know, they inspire me. And they, you know, they all dance about as well as I do, so.

CAMEROTA: No. No, John, don't sell yourself short. You grabbed that microphone with gusto and you were belting it out.

BERMAN: They made me sing. They make you sing. If you go spend time with them, they make you sing.

CAMEROTA: That was great. We love checking in with them. Thank you very much for an update on all of that.

So we do have some new projections this morning of the human toll of coronavirus in the United States and CNN's coverage continues, next.