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Coronavirus Pandemic Across the U.S.; Loss of Custody due to Coronavirus; China Restricts Research; First Wave of Stimulus Checks; Oil Nations Reach Deal. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired April 13, 2020 - 06:30   ET




JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: New developments in the coronavirus pandemic this morning. There is now a push to get new data from communities of color and seven people in California are paying a big price for a night on town. We have reporters across the country to bring us the very latest.


SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Sarah Westwood in Washington.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser told CNN on Sunday that there should be a national focus on collecting coronavirus data from communities of color. And this as early numbers from states like Illinois, New Jersey, Louisiana suggest that African-American communities may be disproportionately affected by Covid-19. Bowser also said that the peak medical surge in D.C. could come much later than May 1st. That's the Trump administration's target date for looking at reopening parts of the country. Bowser said the peak may not hit until June. D.C. has closed non-essential businesses through April 24th.

RYAN BROWNE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Ryan Browne in Washington.

The number of positive coronavirus cases on the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier reached 585 Sunday, a dramatic increase in positive cases since Captain Brett Crozier first issued his warning about the spread of the pandemic on that ship. Now only one sailor so far has been hospitalized and the Navy says it's evacuated nearly 4,000 sailors on to Guam where they're either in hotels or being quarantined and isolated on U.S. Naval bases.

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Paul Vercammen in Los Angeles, where extreme social distancing measures in place, including over the Easter weekend, no gathering in public parks. And in Santa Cruz, the police chief saying that seven individuals came to town to, in a sense, buy some sort of refreshments. Well, they were each fined $1,000 for violating the social distancing guidelines.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Ed Lavandera in New Orleans. The number of coronavirus cases topped 20,000 this weekend. And when

you take a closer look at the statistics, there's kind of a mixed bag. The death toll now stands at 840 in this state. But the other two statistics that state and health officials have been looking so closely at, the number of hospital beds being used and the number of people on ventilators. Those two numbers have fluctuated back and forth. But health officials here maintain that that is a sign that the curve is beginning to flatten here in this state. But they say it all depends on people continuing to act the way they've been acting and to keep following the stay-at-home, the shelter at home orders that are in place, at least officially through the end of this month.


ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Our thanks to all of our reporters for giving us a status reports across the country.

Now to this story, an emergency room doctor in Miami has lost custody of her child because of her work combatting coronavirus. She joins us to tell us her story, next.



BERMAN: This morning, a Florida doctor on the front lines of this pandemic has temporarily lost shared custody of her four-year-old daughter because of her proximity to coronavirus at work. The child's father filed the emergency order and the judge ruled in favor saying, quote, in order to protect the best interests of the minor child, this court temporarily suspends the former wife's time sharing. The suspension is solely related to the outbreak of Covid-19.

Joining me now is the doctor and mother going through this, Dr. Theresa Greene. She's an emergency medicine physician in Miami.

Dr. Greene, thank you for being with us. Thank you for your work on the front lines of this pandemic. Everyone appreciates what you're doing.

You're appealing the judge's order. You call it discriminatory. Why?

DR. THERESA GREENE, EMERGENCY MEDICINE PHYSICIAN: If I was married and I -- I'd be, you know, given the opportunity to go home to my child. No one could tell me that I shouldn't do that.

And good morning. Thank you for this opportunity.

You know, my brother works -- is an engineer and he's building the tent hospitals up in New York and he gets to come home to his two kids. No one's questioning that decision.

We have, you know, good evidence that -- that has really made me feel better in what I'm doing and sticking by that shows that, you know, children are minimally affected by the disease and that health care workers who use proper precautions are not at increased risk than the general population of contracting the virus.


So I think it is discriminatory for a judge to tell me that I can't come home to my child.

BERMAN: Your daughter's just four years old. How much does she understand about what's going on right now?

GREENE: She doesn't. She doesn't. She knows mommy's sad. I had her here for a couple days before I gave her up. And, you know, I said to her, you know, I don't know -- I might not see you for a long time and she said, I'll see you Friday. And, you know, it was Friday. So, I mean, she doesn't -- she doesn't understand. And I really worry about the toll that's going to take on her. She, you know, there -- there is a study -- I'm by no means an expert in, you know, children's mental health, but, you know, I've been reading studies that show that children suffer significant psychological damage from separations such as these. And, you know, the other thing that I sort of want to get in today, that the number one predictor of long-term mental health for minor children of divorce is (ph) a level of conflict between the parents. And, you know, usually the judge would respect the rights of both parents to be present in a child's life and I think this, you know, is a rash decision in not allowing that without at least hearing the evidence.

BERMAN: I want to read to you -- I want to read you a statement from the attorney of your ex-husband. It says, Mr. Greene and I have the utmost respect for Dr. Greene's, that's you, commitment to her critical work during the pandemic. The Greene's temporary time sharing dispute was presented before the court and a decision was reached based on the best interests and safety of a minor child limited to the temporary circumstances presented by Covid-19. Pursuant to Mr. Greene's request and as ordered by the court, Dr. Green is to be provided future make-up timesharing for each day missed and daily video communication with the child. We will continue to pursue ways to resolve the delicate situation and believe that a result can be achieved safely and fairly.

The suggestion there is that this is about the safety of your daughter. And there will be those who look at this and say, this is about the child's safety. She shouldn't be near, quote-unquote coronavirus. How were you guaranteeing or how did you plan to guarantee that she was safe from coronavirus?

GREENE: First of all, we have adequate PPE at my hospital and, you know, I've been -- I have been seeing coronavirus patients since approximately March 12th and maybe even unbeknown way before that. And we've, you know, utilized the full PPE. We're very careful. I've been practicing medicine or, you know, training in medicine for 18 years now. I know what I'm doing. This isn't the first, you know, communicable disease that I've encountered.

And, yes, it is, you know, severe and there's danger and we're being very careful. I mean the whole tone at work is completely different, you know, that we're very careful about anything we touch. BERMAN: Right.

GREENE: And I'm actually not at all a germophobe. We use everything we can. I'm actually going, like, you know, equipment (ph) above and beyond to protect myself and my child. And I come home. I strip down in the carport. I take a shower. And the fact of the matter is my daughter is not usually here when I'm working. We have our -- you know, our custody schedule is set up so that I work on the days that I don't have her. So she won't be exposed, you know, in that way. And I hope to not contract the virus because of the precautions I'm taking that's best (ph) for her.

BERMAN: Yes. Do you feel like you're being forced to make a choice here?

GREENE: It's a really, really tough spot to be in. I do. I think that that's the position I've been left with. I think it's, you know, it's not fair. It's cruel to ask me to choose between my child and (INAUDIBLE) physician. Like, I won't abandon my team at work or the patients who will increasingly look to me to save their lives in the coming weeks, but it's torture, you know. And I think my daughter, you know, I want her, when she grows up, to be proud of me by abiding by the oath I took when I went into medicine, but I also know that she needs me now.

BERMAN: When do you think you'll be able to see her again?

GREENE: I don't know. I mean this judge also didn't give an end date. I, you know, really do hope that this is overthrown, but -- or overturned, I'm sorry. But I really have, you know, no certainty there and it's the end of the pandemic? I mean no one can say when that will be. And we don't really have any, you know, at the discretion of this judge.

BERMAN: Well, Dr. Greene, we're sorry you're going through this. We thank you for the work you are doing in saving lives on the front line of this pandemic. And we hope there is some resolution to this. Thanks so much for being with us this morning.

GREENE: All right. Thank you very much. Appreciate it.


BERMAN: All right, this morning, China is restricting the publication of research about the origin of coronavirus. Why? And what impact could that have on the fight against coronavirus? We have a live report next.


CAMEROTA: Developing this morning, China is imposing restrictions on the publication of scientific research on the origins of coronavirus.

CNN's Ivan Watson joins us now from Hong Kong with the latest.

What do they not want people to see, Ivan? IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They want to

control the publication of research about the origins of the coronavirus, Alisyn.

Now, we just learned about this last week when one of my colleagues spotted the new guidelines on the web page of one of China's premier universities, Fudan (ph) University. And these guidelines were printed there with the sentence, quote, academic papers about tracing the origin of the virus must be strictly and tightly managed. And it had instructions for academics to submit applications to a government committee to see whether they could publish the results of their research.


Now, that web page had the name and phone number and e-mail address of a Chinese ministry of education official. And we called that individual. The person who answered the phone said, yes, these news guidelines have been published, but they're not for public knowledge. And shortly after a call, that web page disappeared. But we've since learned that at least two other Chinese universities have published similar guidelines restricting the publication of research about this deadly disease.

Now, we've reached out to the ministry of education, the ministry of science and technology, haven't gotten a response from China. We've talked to a number of medical researchers around the world and they say this smacks of censorship and it will restrict sharing information about this deadly pandemic, crucial information from China with the rest of world. It also fits a pattern of the Chinese government shutting down doctors and researchers who first tried to sound the alarm about the disease, like Doctor Li Wenliang, who was summoned by police and then later got coronavirus and died in hospital in February.

John and Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Ivan, thank you very much for alerting us to what's going on there. Thanks for the reporting.

So, back here, the first batch of stimulus checks have been deposited. What you need to know about what you can expect, next.



BERMAN: All right, new this morning, the IRS says it has deposited the first wave of stimulus checks over the weekend to eligible taxpayers. The funds will continue to roll out in the coming days. By Friday, the agency says it plans to launch an online tool allowing you to check the status of your payment.

Joining us now, CNN anchor and correspondent Julia Chatterley.

How much money got out already, Julia, and to whom? Do we know? JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: That's a great

question. If you were one of the 17 million people that filed your taxes last year or the year before, gave your direct deposit information, you could have got your cash as early as this week. It is going to take some time, still. That's the key, John. So start checking your account now.

The other thing, if you didn't file, because you didn't earn enough money, you can still go to the website for the IRS, You can file a bit of information, your direct deposit information, you can still get it.

The challenge is for the around 18 million other people who didn't give up that information, they're going to still wait for checks. And as we've discussed in the past, that could take up to 20 weeks. So it's a tale of two halves even now.

CAMEROTA: Twenty weeks. I mean that's just unthinkable. We have some guests coming up in the program who are grappling with, you know, going to food banks today. They need the money right now. And so what good is it in 20 weeks?

CHATTERLEY: Well, they're prioritizing low-income people. That's what they say. So whether it's the direct deposit or the checks going out, they are going to try and give priority to the people that need it most.

But, Alisyn, I don't really have a better answer for you other than for these people who still have outgoings and that those outgoings have not been stopped, which is the critical criticism, I think, of the government here. Those people just have to wait a bit longer.

BERMAN: So, Julia, some big economic news overnight. Oil producing nations have struck some kind of a deal to cut production in a major way, though maybe not enough. And President Trump played a role in this.

What do we know?

CHATTERLEY: The president did play a role. And it's a huge deal. It's a historic deal, but I simply don't think it's enough to see oil prices boosted from here. Let me tell you why. Demand is the bigger challenge here. What this oil deal does is cut around 10 percent of all the supply out there. But look at what Americans are doing right now. We're stuck at home. We're driving less. We're flying far less than ever. And that's the overriding pressure, I think, that's being placed on oil prices here. And that's going to continue until we see what the economy looks like when we come out the other side of this.

It's still going to mean a lot of pressure for oil producing states like Texas, like New Mexico, for example. And that's the big challenge here.

CAMEROTA: During all of this, Julia, obviously you've been telling us how much small businesses are suffering, even some large corporations are obviously suffering. Not Amazon. Amazon has stepped in to fill the void in a kind of jaw-dropping way.

CHATTERLEY: If I had to define a company that's pandemic-proof, it would be Amazon at this moment. And, guys, it's not just about the fact that we're staying at home, we're ordering online. Think about when you have a Zoom conversation, when you watch a movie on Netflix, when you download a book from Audible, you read a book on Kindle. All of these things are either owned by Amazon or fueled by Amazon due to their infrastructure support for websites and things. This company is all over the place. It's tentacles -- an octopus' tentacles across all sorts of spheres (ph). They have been challenged themselves, though, remember. They've had to hire around 100,000 workers and they've come under some severe criticism from some of those workers saying we're not protected enough.

BERMAN: It's interesting. I'm not sure we're talking about the octopus anymore. We might be talking about the ocean when it comes to Amazon.


BERMAN: Julia Chatterley, thanks very much for all of this.

All right, is the president thinking about firing America's top infectious disease doctor? He put out a message on social media overnight which raises questions.

NEW DAY continues right now.


GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): You see a flattening in the number of lives lost at a terribly high rate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you opened up the entire country May 1st, you would very clearly have a rebound.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI; WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS TASK FORCE: If we had, right from the very beginning, shut everything down, it may have been a little bit different. But there was a lot of pushback about shutting things down back then.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because of the underlying conditions that people of color suffer from, diabetes, heart disease, this virus attacks those underlying conditions with a vengeance.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is possible that we could get a resurgence in cases when we begin to reopen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I fear if we open too early, that we could be pouring gasoline on the fire, even inadvertently.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

CAMEROTA: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and all around the world. [07:00:01]

This is NEW DAY.

And as of this morning, 22,000 Americans have died from coronavirus.