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Mark Zandi, Moody's Analytics Chief Economist, Discusses 6.6 Million Americans Filing Unemployment Claims This Week; Faces of Unemployment Amid the Coronavirus Crisis; British P.M. Boris Johnson Moved Out of ICU; New Study Indicates Coronavirus in New York May have Originated in Europe & Parts of U.S.; New York Has Largest Amount of Death Today Since Outbreak Began; Dr. Eric Feigl-Ding Discusses Virus in New York Possibly Came from Europe & Parts of U.S.; A Look at Coronavirus Impact Around the World; State Democrats & Republicans Disagree on Easter Exemptions to Stay-at-Home Orders During Easter. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired April 9, 2020 - 14:30   ET



MARK ZANDI, CHIEF ECONOMIST, MOODY'S ANALYTICS: But the process is quite complicated. And actually, most of those smaller businesses, fewer than four employees, fewer than 20 employees, really don't have much experience, if any experience, working with a bank or the SBA.

Everything is overloaded because everybody wants to do it at the same time. So I think they'll be completely overwhelmed by the business failures and bankruptcies.

That's why when Congress comes back from recess. They need to focus on that part of the economy because that's where a lot of the jobs are. And that's key to the economic recovery because, if we have a lot of business failures, unemployed workers, when they can go back to work, they won't have a business to go back to work for.

That's where we really need to focus our attention over the next four to eight weeks.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Anthony Fauci said, when thing comes back, it's not like turning on a light switch. The president said he would love to see a big bang. How do you envision a reopening?

ZANDI: I just don't see this as a big bang. How can it be? Unless there's a vaccine, unless there's some kind of therapy we all feel very confident about. People aren't just going to travel. Businesspeople aren't going to allow their people to travel.

I employ several hundred people across the globe and I'd be very reticent to send people traveling to conferences and other things until I'm confident they're not going to get sick.

How would you feel about going to Disneyland or a basketball game or any venue with lots of people like a movie theatre? I just don't see it happening. And on top of that, businesspeople will remain wary and cautious. They're not going to make big investments. They're not going to go and our and expand their business, hire more people, invest in business and software until they have clarity around that. That could take a while.

So Dr. Fauci is right. Very hard to see this economy coming back quickly. It's going to be a slog until we have some kind of medical solution.

COOPER: Yes. Mark Zandi, appreciate your time. Thank you.

ZANDI: Sure.

COOPER: A new CNN poll finds half of American polled say the coronavirus has caused them financial hardship. One in six say that hardship is severe. With record numbers of Americans filing for unemployment week after week, we're taking a lot at who the people are who are feeling most pain,

Vanessa Yurkevich reports.


VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN BUSINESS AND POLITICS CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): For the millions of Americans applying for unemployment, this probably sounds familiar.

JACORY WRIGHT, ELEVATOR DISPATCHER: You have to hang up and call back. Hang up and call back. Hang up and call back.

ED CHAN, GIG WORKER: It was tough. The system does crash.

YURKEVICH: Right now, millions of Americans, no matter their age, sex or race, are confronting a chilling but shared reality. Unemployment offices around the country, ill-equipped to deal with the sheer volume. Phone lines jammed, sites crashing and lines of Americans in Miami, waiting for paper unemployment applications.

WRIGHT: I already can't swim, and I literally feel like I'm drowning.

YURKEVICH: Jacory Wright lives in Dallas, furloughed from a job he loves on Tuesday. It was the most he's ever made, $18 an hour. But Wright still lives paycheck to paycheck. And now, without health insurance.

WRIGHT: My insurance is gone. I'm HIV positive, so now I have to go through the process of being able to get my medicine paid for again. And it -- it doesn't just take people out of a financial comfort zone temporarily. It literally does a domino effect to certain people.

YURKEVICH: It was a domino effect for Stephanie Bonin, too, who has owned Duo Restaurant in Colorado for 15 years.

STEPHANIE BONIN, OWNER, DUO RESTAURANT: In order to be able to reopen down the road, we had to make the hard decision to lay our entire staff off.

YURKEVICH: That's 20 people, including herself, without jobs, now applying for unemployment.

BONIN: We are creating an entirely new population of -- a new population of people who are not used to being in the social services program. It's a change of identity for, I think, many, many people in the United States right now.

YURKEVICH: Ed Chan, from Queens, New York, is a gig worker, stringing together four jobs to make $40,000 a year.

CHAN: I think it might take me at least another year to rebuild my life, my portfolio of work right now. So it kind of sucks. I mean and it's a dreadful thing to think about, but that's what (INAUDIBLE).

YURKEVICH: If March's unemployment numbers are a sign, April will bring more sleepless nights. Last month, jobs in the restaurant industry fell over 400,000. And the unemployment rate for black workers shot up to 6.7 percent.

WRIGHT: If you don't have a job at the moment, if you don't have insurance at the moment, if you didn't save up, if you don't have wealthy parents, you are shut off at the moment. Your life is on hiatus.


YURKEVICH: Just earlier today, the Department of Labor announced that 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment last week. And, Anderson, that's not even including folks still waiting in line, still trying to get through.


And that is why the $1200 check from the federal government, as a part of that stimulus package, is so critical for so many Americans. If you have direct deposit, Americans could expect that in just a few weeks. But if you don't, you might be waiting months, months that many Americans can't afford to wait -- Anderson?

COOPER: Time is of the essence.

Vanessa Yurkevich, thank you very much.

There's an update on the condition of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. We'll have more on that after the break)


COOPER: We've got an update on the states of the prime minister of Great Britain.

Our Nic Robertson joins us for that -- Nic?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: It's news the British people have been wanting to hear, Anderson. The prime minister is out of ICU. He remains in hospital, is back on the ward, the regular ward, so they can continue to monitor his progress. We heard earlier in the day that he was continuing to make positive progress.


So the update from the doctors this evening, out of ICU, back on the ward, presumably, and this will be the assumption a lot of people are making, Anderson, he's out of immediate danger. That will be the big takeaway here.

COOPER: He was sick for about 10 days before going to the hospital, correct?

ROBERTSON: He was. When he went, he went in a regular vehicle. The hospital five minutes driveaway. Didn't go into an ambulance. It wasn't an emergency. It was a precautionary step. And there were going to be routine tests.

And 24 hours later, he was taken into ICU. We didn't really get any details of his condition that night. It was merely he was in ICU in case they needed to put him on a ventilator. And 48 hours after he went into ICU, the first indication that he was engaging positively with a medical team that he was sitting up.

So there's a whole sort of 24-48 hours, Anderson, where we really don't know the condition of the prime minister. Was he coherent, lying down, unable to sit up, unable to make positive communications?

Now there does seem to be a positive step. Again, absent real medical detail here -- Anderson?

COOPER: Some good news for him.

Nic Robertson, thanks very much.

We'll be back with more.



COOPER: A pair of research projects suggest coronavirus may have been circulating in New York City much earlier than first thought and the earliest cases likely came from travelers from other parts of Europe and other parts of the U.S. and not Asia.

It's a sentiment also believe by White House Coronavirus Task Force member, Dr. Anthony Fauci.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: We cut off the travel from China relatively early and we were seeded with a relatively few number. But the epicenter switched to Europe, particularly northern Italy. And given the travel and the air traffic from anywhere in Italy but also, particularly northern Italy, it's just not surprising that, unfortunately, and inadvertently, New York was seeded before they really knew what was going on.


COOPER: New York's governor said the state reached highest number of deaths today. And 800 deaths reported just yesterday, pushing the statewide total to more than 7,000.

Eric Feigl-Ding, an epidemiologist and health economist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, joins me now.

How likely is it this virus has been circulating more than anyone realized?

DR. ERIC FEIGL-DING, EPIDEMIOLOGIST AND HEALTH ECONOMIST, HARVARD T.H. CHAN SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: It's definitely been circulating. We know that for a fact in Washington state. We know it from the genomic epidemiology from Europe earlier than we imagined. Because of undertesting, it has been sitting under our nose undetected because we have no ability to sniff it out with no testing.

COOPER: New York's governor said the state has seen deadliest days since the outbreak began. On Twitter, you said the numbers may be off by perhaps as much as 400. Can you explain that?

FEIGL-DING: The numbers are really undercounted. This weekend, there's always a weekend lull and you saw that immediately on the Monday. It went back up by several hundred.

In addition, we know that the number of home deaths are not being counted in the confirmed deaths. The number of probable suspected COVID deaths at home have gone up really high. The average death in New York City before this epidemic was 25 home deaths a day. Now it's well above 250.

We're basically 10 times the number of home deaths and that's just an indication of under-detecting the number of deaths by tenfold.

COOPER: If somebody dies at home, they're never counted as a COVID- related death? Or --


FEIGL-DING: Not yet.

COOPER: Do they have to be tested?

FEIGL-DING: Not immediately. See, they don't immediately enter the daily tally. They would have to be retroactively tested after they died but many of them are related to COVID.

Some, for example, heart attacks that were related because they couldn't get to the hospital because hospitals are overwhelmed. But in a way, that's also COVID-related death because the hospitals are overwhelmed because we're over the hospital capacity, but many of them are indeed likely COVID deaths.

And now New York City has just announced yesterday they will count them as part of suspected or probable COVID deaths in addition to reporting the confirmed.

So expect the tallies to be revised up every day as more of these expected probables are confirmed at a later day.

COOPER: Are they testing people postmortem to see if they had COVID?

FEIGL-DING: Yes, they have to. Unfortunately, they have to. There's still a testing backlog.

As you know, in New York City, they're not testing. When I say, on the frontier, not brand-new cases, as some people are just getting symptoms of cough or fever, but most of the time, as people come to the hospital with shortness of breath.

And postmortem deaths are further undercounted. So this is why we have to get through this backlog.

If we truly want to know the number of New Yorkers and Americans killed by this, we need to do testing both behind and postmortem and make sure we get all the cases because, without that, we don't have a true clearing of saying, are we truly flattening the curve. I don't think so, until we truly get to know how many people


COOPER: Fascinating.

Eric Feigl-Ding, I appreciate it. Fascinating and alarming. Thank you.

FEIGL-DING: Thank you.

COOPER: During this holy week of Easter and Passover, Americans are being warned not to gather in places of worship. Some state lawmakers are fighting that. More ahead.


COOPER: Just moments ago, the Spanish parliament voted to extend the nation's state of emergency until April 26th. It's the second times it's been extended. The prime minister says the last thing the country needs is to step backward in battle the outbreak, which has killed over 15,000 people nationwide.

CNN correspondents around the world have more on the pandemic's impact.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Ben Wedeman, in Rome, where 105 Italian doctors died due to coronavirus while officials here are closely scrutinizing the total death toll among the general population. Now in excess of 18,000. Mayors in the north have told us their information indicates the

actual death toll may be double the official statistics in the worst hit parts of the country because only those who tested positive for COVID-19 and died in hospital are being officially reported.

DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm David Culver, in Shanghai. Faved freedoms for the first time since the outbreak, students and teachers given a timeline for when they will return to school. It will be a gradual resumption and done in batches.

About 24 hours after the original epicenter of this outbreak, Wuhan re-opened, we learned a northeastern Chinese city is going into lockdown. All 70,000 residents there will be confined to their homes. They will be given limited access to leave really only once every few days for groceries.

It's due to the concern of imported cases, this time from Russia. But all of this as China now works to prevent a second wave.


COOPER: I thank all my colleagues for their reporting.

Here in the United States, officials say the deaths from coronavirus could peak on Easter Sunday, which is just three days from now. Political leaders and health officials are urging people of faith to keep religious gatherings to 10 people or less.

Here's Louisiana's governor, Jon Bel Edwards, echoing that warning.


GOV. JOHN BEL EDWARDS (D-LA): Easter will not look like previous Easters but that but doesn't mean you can't find some significant way to meaningfully worship and to celebrate but we shouldn't do it in groups of people that violate what we've been talking about.

There was no Easter exemption from the stay-at-home order. There was no Easter exemption from the 10-person limit. The virus won't honor that.


COOPER: CNN's Amara Walker joins us now.

Amara, there's a big debate in Kansas right now as well. Explain what's going on.

AMARA WALKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That debate could turn into a legal battle as the governor of Kansas is now indicating.

So, Anderson, this boils down to whether or not religious gatherings should be limited to no more than 10 people. And the Republican leadership in the state House and Senate are saying absolutely not. And that's why on Wednesday, they voted along party lines to reverse this executive order that did just that. Initially, the governor's executive order exempted religious services and funerals and memorials. But a couple of days ago, that order has been revised and replaced.

Now the Republican leaders at the state legislature are saying this is all about their constitutional rights, preserving their freedom of religion.

And the House leadership released this statement not too long ago saying, quote, "We agree with the governor that the first priority of our state government is to protect the health and safety of Kansasians. However, the recent executive order goes too far in singling out one entity and limiting the free exercise of religion without any current data to indicate the need for this level of prohibition."

But the governor, Governor Laura Kelly, who is a Democrat, is condemning this bid. She said it's a shockingly irresponsible decision that will put every Kansasian's life at risk.

Here she is.


LAURA KELLY, (D), KANSAS GOVERNOR: I'm here to serve my state and lead people through a moment of historic crisis and pain. There are real life consequences to the partisan games Republican leaders play today and I simply cannot stand for it. Kansasians are dying every day at the hand of this pandemic, and there's no room or excuse for these pity political distractions.


WALKER: Now during that news conference on Wednesday, Governor Laura Kelly instructed her chief legal counsel to look into options to resolve this matter and confusion.

As you mentioned, with this upcoming Easter holiday, state officials are still warning the public to avoid gatherings in general.

Anderson, back to you.

COOPER: Amara Walker, appreciate it. Thank you very much.


Our special coverage of the coronavirus pandemic continues right now with Brooke Baldwin. I'll see you later tonight.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan. Thank you so much for joining me.