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Alarming Rate of Latinos And Blacks Killed And Infected By Coronavirus; Parenting During The Pandemic; New Zealand Announces The Fourth Day Of Declining New Coronavirus Cases. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired April 9, 2020 - 07:30   ET




GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: Natural disaster, Hurricane Katrina. The people standing on those rooftops were not rich, white people.


ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: That's New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo talking about the massive toll the coronavirus is taking on underserved communities and communities of color.

New York City now reports that coronavirus is killing black and Latino people at twice the rate that it's killing white people. A staggering 62 percent are black and Latino in the United States.

So, joining us now is Rev. William Barber. He is the president of Repairers of the Breach and co-chair of the Poor People's Campaign. Good morning, Reverend.


CAMEROTA: I'm sure it is no surprise to you to hear what Gov. Cuomo and others have said, which is that the most vulnerable people are the poor people and communities of color.

And, you know, doctors explain it through these comorbidities. They talk about diabetes and hypertension and obesity. How do you explain what we're seeing?

BARBER: Well, thank you so much.

And one of the reasons the Poor People's Campaign is having a mass Poor People's assembly (INAUDIBLE) viral now through the mobile lens is because even before the coronavirus, there were 140 million poor and low-income people in America -- that's 43 percent. But in black communities, 61 percent -- 26 million people were poor and low-wealth -- low-income prior to this virus.

And so what we have is we have historic inequities. And we know from a number of studies, including the Institute of Medicine, that African- Americans have less access to affordable, high-quality health care and often receive lower-quality care than their white counterparts.

Now, what epidemiologists tell us is that pandemics expose the fissures of our society. They expose all of the things that we haven't fixed prior to the pandemic. So we had less health care, we had less wages in poor communities and then in poor African-American communities -- 61 percent for low income. We had 700 people dying a day in America -- over a quarter-million a year from poverty and low income and the things that caused even before this virus.

CAMEROTA: And I -- you know, as you know, there are $2 trillion worth of taxpayer money now that the federal government -- you know, Congress has tried to infuse into society to try to staunch some of the bleeding from this crisis. But I know that you think that it may not end up in the hands of the neediest.

BARBER: Well, it's not. I mean, even when you look at the last bill, we wrote a piece based on scripture that says unless you take care of the poor and the least of these -- several scriptures talk about defining (ph) evil, so we talked about the evil inside of the $2 trillion deal. That corporations immediately got $1.5 trillion earlier, then $500 billion. Think about that.

Weeks earlier, we were saying we couldn't afford health care, we couldn't do living wages. So now we have people working on the front line, many of them low-income jobs, and we say they're essential but they're not being treated like essential workers. They don't have health care, paid sick leave. We don't --

So what happens? People end up not going to get treated. They can't stay home. We give all this money to corporations.

What if, instead, we had done -- as the Poor People's Campaign has been saying -- is make sure everybody (INAUDIBLE) paid sick leave and unemployment and living wages. Then what happens is we close the fissures because they tell us in public health the pandemics will always expose the marginalizations -- the inequalities that already existed prior to the pandemic.

And for instance, for Pence and Trump to say well, they're just hearing about these disparities, that is either because of ineptitude or outright intentional decisions to be ignorant of these realities.

But furthermore, Pence and Trump have actually promoted -- and many in the Republican Party -- they've promoted voter suppression. In every state, for instance, that's a voter suppression state is also a state that has denied Medicaid expansion, denied living wages, fought unemployment, fought paid sick leave, fought union rights prior to the pandemic.

So we had a situation of inequity prior to the pandemic and the pandemic is exposing those inequities. But it's also forcing on us a time of consciousness to say we're going to change it because that's the only way you're going to deal with it. You have to deal with the inequities.

And instead of paying all this money to corporations to fill their bloated coffers, we ought to be putting that money -- we must put that money to work closely these fissures if we're going to deal with this pandemic and close the length of time that they can stay within the society.


CAMEROTA: I want to end on your message to the faithful. We're just a few days away from Easter, of course.

And I understand that we're just a few hours away from you having a town hall with other faith leaders in the Muslim and Jewish communities. So what -- what's your message today?

BARBER: Well, you know, every major religion during this time, whether it's Ramadan, whether it's Passover or whether it's Christianity -- today is Maundy Thursday -- in Christianity, a time of deep repentance -- all of them connect back to how society is treating the poor and what they need to repent.

Passover began when Pharaoh was oppressing poor people. Ramadan -- during that time, you fast to remember partly those who are poor and those who do not have.

In Christianity, the last thing Jesus was talking about headed toward the cross was let me tell you how you're going to be judged as a nation. When I was hungry, did you feed me? When I was naked, did you clothe me? When I was sick, did you care about me? When I was a prisoner, did you visit me?

Those are the considerations, not just praying and having this personal relationship. These holy seasons are called to question the unholiness of society and to challenge us to do right by the least of these and understand until we do that, then our society is always broken and it makes us more susceptible to these dangers.

So this is a time of great repentance so that we can have a resurrection of moral consciousness in this country and then apply that in our public policies.

CAMEROTA: Rev. William Barber, we appreciate your words. Have a peaceful Easter.

BARBER: Blessings to you. Thank you.

CAMEROTA: Thank you.

With schools closed, millions of parents all over the U.S. are getting a crash course in parenting, homeschooling, discipline, boredom, you name it. During this pandemic, one mom we know shares her personal story of how to get through this, next.



JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: So this morning, millions of children are out of school because of the coronavirus pandemic, which is a major adjustment for their parents, too.

CNN contributor Mary Katharine Ham knows about parenting through a crisis. In 2015, her 34-year-old husband Jake passed away unexpectedly. Suddenly, she had to adapt to life as a single parent. In her new piece in "The Atlantic," she applies the lessons she learned through her own crisis to parenting during today's pandemic.

Mary Katharine Ham joins me now. And first of all, thank you very much because I read this story yesterday after I had exploded on my sons for virtually no reason. And I felt terrible and this made me begin to feel a little better.

You write, basically, you know, what if you woke up one day and had to be a completely different parent than the one you were the day before. And that's how I was thinking. I'm like I don't know how to be a teacher. This isn't what I signed up for.

MARY KATHARINE HAM, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, CONSERVATIVE BLOGGER AND COMMENTATOR: Yes, and that's what a lot of people are going to -- and I feel you on blowing up on your kids for no reason. We've all been there.

And I was -- as we were sort of going into this new period and people were saying to themselves well, I'm not a homeschool mom, I'm not a homeschool dad -- how do I do this -- it occurred to me that it reminded me of the time right after my husband died when I had to shift gears really fast.

And there's a lot going on. It's very similar. We have a lot of grief feelings going on. There's economic stress, there's disorientation.

And so my thought was simple from that time in my life. The parent you are today is not the parent you have to be tomorrow. You can shift -- it is hard. But I wanted to sort of give people some things that I stumbled on that helped me make a mindset change, which made actually changing easier for me.

BERMAN: It's so true. The parent you are today doesn't have to be the one you are tomorrow.

I also just want to clarify it wasn't for no reason that I yelled. One of my sons locked the other out of the house, OK? So it was justified but maybe just not justified to the extent that I -- that I carried it through.

You write, and this is what struck me first -- you say, "It sucks. Acknowledging and accepting this is key."

HAM: Yes because -- look, grief has a lot of stages and I really do think that's something we're all going through as a country right now, sort of mourning a way of life that has passed for the moment. But all those steps of grief don't come in order. You can experience them all at one time.

And so, acceptance is helpful for just taking the next step. And you have to just tell yourself OK, this is very hard right now and it's harder for different people in different ways, but what am I going to do with the cards I have been dealt?

And one of the things that psychologists who study children who are in families going through transition have found is that if you accept it and sort of begin new traditions around your new normal, that can be helpful to your kids transitioning.

BERMAN: "Prove it to yourself with small wins," you write.

HAM: Yes, a couple of things. One, when you're in a crisis situation the idea of forever is very, very hard. That's why when people -- when schools started announcing there would be no school this year parents were like wait, what? Because they thought OK, I'm going to do this for a couple of weeks.

OK, so give yourself small goals and short-term horizons. You can be the parent you want to be tomorrow -- the homeschool parent -- for a couple of hours and then phone it in for the rest of the day. But if you do one thing per day that makes you a little better at the parent you're trying to be in this very tough situation, you will feel stronger every day if you just get a tiny bit better.

The thing I did in a time of crisis was I knew I had to get up and give my kids breakfast. And that to me was a symbol that I was doing the thing I was supposed to do as a mom. Bacon is really therapeutic for me.


And it meant that I started off the day with my one little win. And if that was the only win, that was OK, but I built on that over months.

BERMAN: You say believe in your own abilities.

HAM: Yes. So, parents -- the main thing I saw is a lot of people were saying I don't know if I can do this. And it's fair to be concerned about that but I do think it can handicap you if you don't recognize your ability to change.

If you've been a parent for any length of time you know that you've already changed in ways that you never envisioned before you were a parent, including the fact that you definitely let your kids go out in a princess dress or a Spiderman mask even though you swore you would never do that. You have lost that battle fully.

But adapting is a skill that you have and telling yourself you don't won't help you get through these next couple of months and this huge transition we're going to -- going through.

And yes, there are so many other concerns and people think oh my gosh, it really seems like a luxury to think through all of this. But if you have a mindset that tells you you can walk through this in small steps, every single day it will be tough but you will give yourself a path forward.

BERMAN: And let your -- yes, and let your kids inspire you, which you write about also, too. I mean, they are such sources of joy sometimes in these dark moments, so it's wonderful.

Mary Katharine Ham, thank you for being with us this morning. Thank you for writing this. I found it incredibly gracious to compare what you went through to what we're all going through right now and because of that, so incredibly helpful. I really appreciate it.

HAM: Thank you so much. You guys hang in there out there. Get some small wins. Write your own story. Control what you can control --


HAM: -- because there are things and you can make it easier on yourself. Good stuff.

BERMAN: Yes. I may be the one in the princess dress by the end of the day.

Mary Katharine Ham, thanks very much for being with us. I appreciate it.

HAM: Thank you.

BERMAN: Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: That was so helpful, John. I'm so glad you guys had that conversation.

Now we want to take a moment to remember some of the nearly 15,000 Americans who have died from coronavirus.

The New York Police Department mourning the death of custodian Deidre Edwards. She worked for the department for nearly 15 years. Edwards is the 10th civilian NYPD employee to die in this pandemic.

Michigan war hero Walter 'Bud' Baker succumbed to coronavirus on Monday. The Army veteran was shot 13 times in Vietnam and he earned the Distinguished Service Cross fighting to save the lives of other soldiers. He brought that same selflessness back home, working with a local veterans group in later years.

A nurse who worked at the jail in Hudson County, New Jersey for more than 20 years has died of coronavirus complications on Sunday. Gov. Phil Murphy praised Daisy Doronila as a working single mom who gave tirelessly to her family and community.

And we also want to update you on the story that we brought you yesterday about 27-year-old Leilani Jordan, a grocery worker in Maryland who died from COVID-19.

Her family set up a GoFundMe page to pay for funeral costs and other bills and you all delivered to help them. It was at $33,000 when we started the interview with her parents yesterday. Now it is at $74,000.

Her mother says they are, quote, "incredibly thankful that the story of Leilani is getting out" and they hope that it will inspire people to be more compassionate to each other when this is all over.

We'll be right back.



CAMEROTA: Let's take a look at what's happening this morning across the country, including the upcoming potential hotspots of Washington, D.C, Baltimore, and Philadelphia. We have reporters across the country to bring us the latest.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Ed Lavandera in New Orleans. The latest coronavirus statistics in this state show a mixed bag.

Once again, the number of deaths spiked in a big way -- 70 new deaths announced, but the number of people using hospital beds because of coronavirus has dipped. That's the first time we have seen that. And for two days in a row, we've also seen the number of people using ventilators has also dropped.

The governor has said they hope this is the beginning signs that the trend is starting to look in the right direction -- that the curve is beginning to flatten. But here, health officials are saying it's still far too early to tell for sure.

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Omar Jimenez in Chicago where officials are on the verge of getting operational a refrigerated warehouse to potentially store bodies in the midst of this coronavirus pandemic.

Day one, they say, they'll be able to receive about 400 bodies. But by the time it's said and done they say their capacity will be well over 1,500. It is a place they say they hope they don't have to use but the reality is it's a place they are preparing to use.

ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT AND ANCHOR: I'm Erica Hill in New York. Just across the river in New Jersey, Gov. Murphy has ordered all non- essential construction must cease by Friday night.

He has also said that all essential retail -- this includes grocery stores and pharmacies -- must limit their occupancy to half of the approved capacity and all employees and customers must wear face coverings. He said all those stores also need to offer special shopping hours for high-risk individuals, noting there is quote "one set of rules for the state."


Dr. Deborah Birx is warning that the D.C. areas are expected to be the new coronavirus hotspots. Now, this is according to a source who was on a conference call when Dr. Deborah Birx was speaking with House Democrats on Wednesday afternoon. Dr. Birx also says that the Baltimore-Washington, D.C. area is seeing a 15 percent positivity rate with 500 new cases per day in D.C. and 200 new cases per day in Baltimore.


BERMAN: Numbers across the country, now across the globe.

New this morning, New Zealand reporting its fourth straight day of declining new coronavirus cases. The island nation is now halfway through a tight month-long lockdown, which today's numbers suggest is having an effect.

CNN senior international correspondent Ivan Watson joins us now with more on this. New Zealand bragging it isn't just flattening the curve but crushing it, Ivan.



New Zealand only had 29 new cases detected on Thursday, so it can boast in the short-term some progress that many other countries would be envious about. And the government has been pretty ambitious. They've established a goal to completely eliminate the disease from New Zealand's shores.


WATSON (voice-over): In the midst of a deadly pandemic sweeping the globe, the leader of New Zealand sounds a note of optimism.

JACINDA ARDERN, NEW ZEALAND PRIME MINISTER: I remain cautiously optimistic that we are starting to turn a corner.

WATSON (voice-over): Since the beginning of the outbreak, New Zealand has identified more than 1,200 coronavirus cases and suffered just one death.

WATSON (on camera): Do you think New Zealand has lessons to offer other countries with how it has dealt with this crisis?

SIOUXSIE WILES, MICROBIOLIGIST, UNIVERSITY OF AUCKLAND: I think the go hard-go early is the lesson but obviously, we're not out of the woods yet.

WATSON (voice-over): New Zealand identified its first case of coronavirus on February 28th. Less than three weeks later, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced New Zealand would become one of the first democracies to shut its borders.

ARDERN: From 11:59 p.m. tonight we will close our border to any non- residents and citizens attempting to travel here.

WATSON (voice-over): The ban on foreign visitors, a dramatic move for an island nation whose economy depends on tourism.

ARDERN: Over the past few weeks, the world has changed and it has changed very quickly.

WATSON (voice-over): Two days later, a rare address from the prime minister's office, not seen in New Zealand in decades, outlining a response plan. Just four days after that, Ardern imposed a state of emergency and announced a nationwide shutdown.

ARDERN: As we head into the next four weeks, stay at home. It will break the chain of transmission and it will save lives.

WATSON (voice-over): Enforcement hasn't been easy. Police received tens of thousands of reports of people ignoring the lockdown, including these surfers.

But the most egregious case came from the country's health minister.


WATSON (voice-over): Ardern demoted but did not fire him after he drove his family to the beach for a walk.

CLARK: I've been an idiot if I'm being frank, and I understand why people will be angry with me.

WATSON (voice-over): Ardern was thrust into the international spotlight last year when an Australian gunman massacred Muslims in the city of Christchurch. Seventy-two hours after the deadliest mass shooting in New Zealand's history, Ardern announced a ban on semiautomatic weapons while also consoling a traumatized nation.

ARDERN: Evening, everyone.

WATSON (voice-over): In this latest crisis, the 39-year-old has shown her softer side, broadcasting live on Facebook in a sweatshirt and sending a message to children that despite the lockdown, the Easter Bunny is still an essential worker.

ARDERN: And if the Easter Bunny doesn't make it to your household, then we have to understand that it's a bit difficult at the moment for the Bunny to perhaps get everywhere.

WATSON (voice-over): It is far too early to say whether New Zealand's strategy will succeed but there may be some lessons here for other countries grappling with coronavirus.


WATSON: Now, Prime Minister Ardern said that on March 25th when New Zealand had more than 200 cases, that scientists had models that suggested New Zealand could follow the tragic trajectory of countries like Spain and Italy, which have seen more than 10,000 deaths as a result of the disease. And that's part of why she imposed this strict four-week lockdown. And so far, they've been able to avoid that terrible fate. Now she's urging her citizens not to relax over the Easter holiday. She's saying they still need to lock down. And she's imposing new restrictions, saying any citizen of New Zealand who comes home needs to go under mandatory 14-day quarantine in a government facility.

And I have to say, we've reported on other countries and what has worked and what hasn't worked in their struggle against this pandemic and there are lessons here. Here in Hong Kong, very few fatalities as a result of this illness. And it just makes you think if some of these strategies could have been adopted earlier in the U.S., in Italy, in France, in the U.K., how many lives could have been saved -- Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Ivan, thank you very much for showing us those models where it appears to be working and what we can glean from that. Thank you for all of that reporting.

Now to this group that we don't normally think about as being vulnerable and needing help. Cross-country truckers are keeping America supplied during this pandemic but they're having a hard time finding places to eat.

So one Indiana chef and restaurant owner has set up a cooking station along State Road 32 in Crawfordsville.