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Faces of America's Unemployment Crisis; Kansas Family Struggles White Waiting for Stimulus; Answers to your Coronavirus Questions. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired April 14, 2020 - 08:30   ET



REIGN FREE, OWNER, THE RED DOOR CATERING: Feeling as if I'm a failure, even though this is affecting everyone.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): From fear to frustration.

CARLY OZARD-OLIVIA, ACTOR, SINGER AND SONG WRITER: I'm not sure what else I'm supposed to do.

SAVIDGE: Thirty-six-year-old Carly Ozard-Olivia of New York is an actor, singer, songwriter and dog walker. Make that was.

OZARD-OLIVIA: All of my jobs have been canceled due to Covid-19.

SAVIDGE: As a freelancer, she's grateful to be included in unemployment benefits. But the confusion of filing is driving her mad.

First, she was told to call to make an unemployment claim.

OZARD-OLIVIA: So me and everyone called in and some got through, some didn't get through.

SAVIDGE: She said the number was always busy or hanging up.

OZARD-OLIVIA: And then a new number was introduced.

SAVIDGE: She eventually got a human who took her information and promised to call back.

OZARD-OLIVIA: So I've been waiting with tons of other people for that phone call from someone. While we're waiting, musicians are taking to FaceBook to say that the rules have changed.

SAVIDGE: She was told instead an online application would be e-mailed to her.

OZARD-OLIVIA: So there's no form in my inbox, and I'm not sure if I'm still waiting for a phone call or if that phone call's not coming.

SAVIDGE: It could be a comedy skit if it weren't so painful. OZARD-OLIVIA: So while we're all cooped up in here, the quality of

life has been -- the anxiety and stress around, will I receive my unemployment benefits today?

SAVIDGE: Forty-one-year-old Deveon Whitley of Kennesaw, Georgia, is one of the lucky one who still has a job.

DEVEON WHITLEY, EMPLOYEE, EIS FABRICO: I work here at Fabrico. My title is material handler.

SAVIDGE: EIS Fabrico makes all kinds of stuff used in solar power, electronics, aerospace. Lately the company's making medical face shields, donating 5,000 to the Atlanta area medical community.

WHITLEY: It fills me with a sense of pride, you know, that I'm able to do something to give back to the people.

SAVIDGE: Even though he's working, he's haunted by the possibility that could change in an instant.

WHITLEY: What worries me the most about the coronavirus and the havoc it has caused is not knowing whether or not you still have a job or what supporting your family, paying your bills, your car notes, mortgage, where that's going to come from. It's like how long will your job hang in there?

SAVIDGE: When it comes to coronavirus unemployment, Deveon understands all too well the problem is still spreading and no one's immune.

Martin Savidge, CNN, Atlanta.


ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Our thanks to Martin.

And now another story like this.

Many small business owners are struggling as they shutter their businesses and try to get help from the federal government. One such family joins us now.

Brian Ward co-owned a restaurant that is now closed because of coronavirus and his wife Kristen is a stay at home mom, now struggling with how to feed their family.

Guys, thank you very much for being here. It's -- we -- we really appreciate you sharing this hard time that your family is going through with us.

And so, Brian, let's just start at the beginning.

You -- you opened your own restaurant in July. It was called Vikings Grille. You were getting your sea legs. You were get some good momentum. Then coronavirus hit. You had to lay off 26 people and what now? I mean what -- what about your family? What are you doing for an income or money? BRIAN WARD, CO-OWNER, VIKINGS GRILLE: So, you know, we've tried to get unemployment benefits because they told us originally now business owners would qualify because of the Covid situation. It's been a mess. We haven't been able to get anything done there yet.

CAMEROTA: But explain that, Brian. What's the problem? Why can't you get unemployment?

B. WARD: So they're saying because I'm self-employed that it has to go to a committee or something to make a decision. It just hasn't happened. It's been two weeks.

CAMEROTA: So the checks that have gone out, as part of the $2 trillion stimulus, you have not gotten anything.

B. WARD: We have not, no.

CAMEROTA: What about the Paycheck Protection Program that we hear about. So you had 26 employees that you could try to keep on board. So what about that program for small businesses?

B. WARD: Yes. So we've looked into that and we were informed from the bank that we spoke with that because we haven't been opened a year and haven't filed business taxes yet we weren't eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program. And, in my mind, you know, we're in our first year. We're -- we're the types of business that could really use the help.

CAMEROTA: For sure. And, you know, we don't know about that year stipulation that the bank told you, you might -- you might need a second opinion on that. I mean it sounds like you're running up against all of this red tape. But we don't know that there is a year ruling that you'd have to have been open for.


So -- so, I mean, look, this is -- your -- this is complicated stuff and you're now trying to learn the process. But don't give up on trying to get that.

B. WARD: Yes, we -- we're going to keep trying and, you know, I want to keep all my people employed if possible. So we're definitely going to keep trying.

CAMEROTA: And so, Kristen, where does that leave your family? How -- your -- we said you're a stay at home mom but, of course, you're looking for a job now so that you can have some sort of income. So how are you feeding your kids who are two and six years old?

KRISTEN WARD, FAMILY'S BUSINESS CLOSED DUE TO CORONAVIRUS: So right now we're just -- they have a free school lunch program for Manhattan Ogden Schools. And we've been doing that weekly and just going up and picking up lunches and they put an extra thing in there for breakfast. So that's been really helpful. And just kind of meal planning and watching every penny that we spend. It's just been really difficult.

CAMEROTA: It sounds really difficult. How long can you last like this?

WARD: Not much longer. Our savings is pretty much gone. And it's kind of hard for me to get a job right now because I haven't had experience in six years. So that's making it really difficult for people wanting to hire me. And it's also really scary because if I get a job, then I would be exposing my family, my children to Covid if -- if I end up getting it. So it's just a tough situation right now.

CAMEROTA: It's a really tough situation for you guys. This isn't -- you're not supposed to fall through the safety net like this. But that sounds like that's what's happening.

And, Brian, I know that you say that you -- you're a worker. You've been working since you were 15 years old. And so how are you coping right now?

B. WARD: Yes. So, up until, you know, the Covid situation, I was working seven days a week, trying to get the restaurant off the ground. And to have the abrupt halt now I'm home every day, it's -- it's definitely been an adjustment.

CAMEROTA: Yes, I mean, Kristen, you used the word "numb." That you're -- there's a numb feeling. And can you just describe that?

K. WARD: Yes. Well, it's just -- it all happened so fast. It still doesn't seem real yet. So it is kind of numbing that we're jobless, we have no income, we don't know how to support our family right now, and it's hard getting help right now. It's just very numbing.

CAMEROTA: Yes, we can imagine. And you have two little kids you have to feed and support.

Well, guys, we will check back in with you because there has to be some sort of help for you. So we will check back and let us know if you make any progress with the Paycheck Protection Program because, you know, you guys are the people that are not supposed to be falling through the cracks right now.

So, hang in there. Take care of yourselves. And we'll circle back with you guys.

K. WARD: Thank you so much.

B. WARD: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: Thank you for sharing your story.



We want to remember some of those lost to coronavirus.

Lolita (ph) and Luis Torres (ph), who were mother and son living together in Queens. Luis worked at a nursing home. They both started feeling sick about two weeks ago and died last week just a day apart. She was 73. He was just 47. Lloyd Torres (ph) calls the loss of his mother and brother devastating and says for those who are walking around thinking life is still normal, it's not.

Bishop Gerald Glen (ph) was the influential pastor of New Deliverance Evangelical Church in Virginia. In a sermon on March 22nd, Bishop Glen told his congregation, quote, I firmly believe that God is larger than this dreaded virus and said he was not afraid to die. Both he and his wife got the virus a short time later. Bishop Glen passed away Saturday, just hours before Easter.

And Valerie Vivaros (ph) was just 21 years old. She was a nurse's assistant at a facility in Riverside, California, where there had been an outbreak of cases earlier this month. Her family says she died Friday, just a week after being diagnosed. They say Valerie was working toward her nursing degree and was passionate about caring for others.

May their memories be a blessing.

We'll be right back.



CAMEROTA: While millions of Americans practice social distancing, healthcare workers cannot do that. Because of privacy issues and hospitals and quarantine guidelines, we cannot film them doing their jobs, so we asked them to film themselves throughout the day as they try to fight this virus. Here is our next video diary.


DR. ERIK BLUTINGER, EMERGENCY MEDICINE PHYSICIAN: Ready to walk into the ED (ph). We'll see what the situation is like. I heard that our volume is just exploding. And we have so many people in the hallways that are all Covid positive.

As I'm getting ready to prepare my work station, I literally am just Clorox bleaching my entire desktop, including the keyboard, to avoid contracting this virus.

Things are just totally crazy right now. Everyone is Covid positive in these hallways. All you hear is oxygen.

I'm seeing young patients, old patients, people of all age ranges who are just incredibly sick. And you can even hear it now that as I'm walking through patient rooms, and the hallway, you just hear oxygen.

So I'm walking into the critical care room. And the critical care room is where we have our sickest patients. Just wanting to show you some of our equipment.

So this is a ventilator machine. We keep this protected with plastic covering just to make sure it does not get contaminated.


We have our suction. We have our oxygen. We've got our monitor.

I've never seen us have an empty spot in the critical care bay, but we try to make sure that we at least have space for one more emergency that comes through our door.

I'm taking a step outside. Oh, sun. This is the brand-new tent that we've set up. It's meant for surge, which means patients that for which there is no space in the emergency department will put (ph) in here. You'll see two big tents. We have it very well demarcated. And I'll -- we'll go inside just to kind of take a look.

All right, so this is one of the tents that we are about to get up and running. As you can see, there's a registration desk. And as we kind of walk through this tent, we've got a huge range of supplies.

We're about to walk into the second tent that now has patients. And we're just walking through. So as you can tell, we've got patients in each bed lined up. We really have some fearless (ph) staff. Everything is closed and confined.

There's a lot of really dark, difficult cases being handled right now in the department. But one bright spot in the day is the fact that the hospital announced that any time a Covid positive patient gets discharged, they would be playing a piece from the Beatles song "Here Comes the Sun" on the loudspeaker. And I actually, at one point today, I did hear it. And it kind of goes like this.

THE BEATLES (singing): Here comes the sun. Do, do, do. Here comes the sun.

BLUTINGER: It's actually one of my favorite Beatles songs.


CAMEROTA: So, John, ever since we learned from other doctors that they play "Here Comes the Sun," I can't stop thinking about that. I mean that is the one thing that they can hold on to while every hour of every day they're in those scenes.

And, by the way, I'm so grateful to them for recording these video diaries because otherwise we could think that while things are getting better, the worst is over, and then you see what doctors have to confront every day.

BERMAN: What makes this song so significant is they're listening all day to announcements on the loudspeakers and normally what they hear is code 99, which means someones -- you know, needs help desperately, maybe even to be intubated. So it's that, you know, once a day, once every few days where they hear George Harrison singing that makes such a big difference.

CAMEROTA: Thank God for our -- all of our healthcare workers.

Including the next one, Dr. Sanjay Gupta. He is back to answer your medical questions about coronavirus. That's next.



BERMAN: We all still have so many medical questions about coronavirus, and CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, he has the answers.

So, Sanjay, let's jump right in here. This question is from Laura Mckee. Could the ocean be contaminated by Covid after all the Florida beaches stayed open for so long once the pandemic was established. Seems like people could shed virus while swimming.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. Well, good news is that this is a respiratory virus, does not appear to be spread through water. It's interesting, you can -- you maybe can shed virus even while you're swimming. But then the question is, can that subsequently infect somebody else. And the answer to that seems to be no. So oceans, pools, we want people to continue social distancing, but this does not spread through the water.

CAMEROTA: OK, another environmental question for you, Sanjay Gupta, the environmentalist, since you play so many different roles. This comes from Linda. I wear disposable gloves before entering grocery stores, et cetera, and then I throw them in the trash can outside the store or in our own trash can at home. If the gloves have any traces of Covid-19, could it survive when it enters the landfill thus contaminating the environment?

GUPTA: This is the most fascinating questions. I would not have thought of that question.

And, again, I think I have some good news here. I -- this does not -- it can last on surfaces, this virus. It doesn't seem to last that long on surfaces. So by the time it got to the landfill, the virus and exposure to the elements really should not be a problem anymore.

And I should add as well that, you know, gloves are fine. One of the thing about gloves, though, is that sometimes people will wear gloves, do things and then touch their face. It's the touching of the face part that's a problem. You're not going to contract the virus through the skin of your hands. So, again, gloves, OK, but, more importantly, wash your hands afterwards and try not to touch your face.

BERMAN: Yes. And, in the short term, where you chuck your gloves matters too. I mean you don't touch to chuck -- you know, touch contaminated gloves right after their taken off either, correct?

GUPTA: That's right. That's right. Exactly.

BERMAN: This question is from Cindy in Coral Springs, Florida. Does the level of exposure to Covid-19 determine how severe the symptoms would be and the physical medical effects?

GUPTA: One of the most common things that we talk about, I think, is healthcare workers. I was having this conversation with some of my colleagues at the hospital last night. There's no doubt, for example, in hospitals where there's significant exposures, and especially during particular procedures, like when you take a breathing tube out, a patient coughs or something like that, significant amount of virus gets into the air, a high viral exposure at that point, is that of greater concern?

The right answer is, we still don't know, but there is a -- there is a lot of concern about this that it's not just a binary thing, are you exposed or not exposed, but how much is the exposure. And you know, again, you know, we talk a lot about healthcare workers. A lot of these are my colleagues. Look -- when you looked inside that video diary that you guys just showed, one of the things that I noticed, besides the obvious, is that you can't really social distance -- physically distance yourself in a healthcare setting. That increases viral load. Patients then are in the hospital are sick. That increases the viral load. And then they're coughing and sneezing and putting a lot of virus into the air. That increases the viral load. That probably does put certain people at greater risk.

Again, we don't know for sure. We're all learning together. But I think that's a legitimate concern.

CAMEROTA: I'm going to quickly jump to our last question because this one is about the timeline.


This is from Luz in Chicago. They are stating that it will take 12 to 18 months to come up with a vaccine. Do they mean 12 or 18 months from when it began in China or when it was discovered in the U.S.? And I would just add, or from now? What is the calendar here, Sanjay?

GUPTA: I think it's from when they actually started working on the virus, which was several weeks ago. That phase one trial is well underway. Probably a couple more months to get results back from that. Phase two will take several months after that. And then phase three. So, really, you know, maybe a year or so from now, you know, it's not an exact timeline. But -- and you also have to test this in a population of people where the virus is circulating to see if it works. That can take some time as well. So I would say spring of next year.

BERMAN: All right, Sanjay Gupta, thank you very much for the answers to these questions.

GUPTA: You got it.

BERMAN: We'll have you back again tomorrow. I have a feeling.


BERMAN: All right, a lot of developments this morning, particularly in this standoff between the president and leading governors about how to ease some of the restrictions. CNN -- our coverage continues right after this. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)