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Trump Set to Unveil New U.S. Reopening Guidelines; Americans Rationing Meds Until They Get Stimulus Money; Wednesday was Worse Day for U.S. Markets Since April 1; Report Says China Suppressed Critical Info About Threat; U.S. Says Iranian Vessels Harassed American Warships; Teen Start-Up Helps Deliver Groceries to the Vulnerable; Sports-Crazed World Settles for Lame Alternatives. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired April 16, 2020 - 04:30   ET




ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Well, new federal guidelines aimed at reopening the U.S. economy are set to be rolled out today as President Trump pushes to get Americans back to work sooner rather than later. But that move comes as a number of state and local officials say they're nowhere near reopening. Still, the new guidelines are expected to suggest a variety of options for businesses like increasing the availability of testing.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: That's what I want to do. We have great tests. And we want the states to administer these tests for the most part. But we're standing behind them. If we're not happy with the job the governors are doing, we will let them know about it. And as you know, we have very strong action we can take, including a close down.


TRUMP: We have the right to do whatever we want, but we wouldn't do that. But, no, we would have the right to close down what they're doing if we want to do that. But we don't want to do that and I don't think there'll be any reason to do that. But we have the right to do that.


CHURCH: Now during that briefing President Trump also said that adding his name to paper checks won't delay delivery of stimulus payments. Some Americans have already started receiving money, but others might not see a check in the mailbox for several weeks. Now CNN's Kyung Lah says some people who depend on prescription medication to stay well or stay alive, can't afford to wait.


KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Diabetic Brandi Titus counts her days, by the insulin she's got left.

TITUS: When you turn it upside down, you can see there is not much left in it.

LAH (on camera): What happens when that insulin is gone?

TITUS: I am very worried that I will end up in a hospital bed, sitting next to someone that has coronavirus. I contract said virus, and then it ends up killing me.

LAH (voice-over): Already rationing her insulin since losing her house keeping job of the coronavirus shut down, this week is the crossroads for her.


LAH: And others like Michael Shawki, whose survival depends on life saving prescriptions and the federal stimulus money they are waiting on to pay for them.

SHAWKI: So, this is my last injection.

LAH: A two-time cancer survivor, and Crohn's disease patient, Shawki has insurance. And yet --

(on camera): What's the co-pay for all of that?

SHAWKI: This is around 500 total, like if I got all of these with taxes, probably, about $500.

LAH: He was able to afford these life-sustaining drugs by managing a chain of New York bakeries, but when the coronavirus hit Manhattan last month, he was laid off. Now, he's rationing what he has left without knowing when his expected stimulus money will come in.

SHAWKI: Each day, this gets scarier.

LAH (on camera): How dire is this crisis for you?

SHAWKI: I think, life or death for some people, you know, like for me, my fear is if I'm going to cause long term damage to myself, people are living check to check already when they're working. What do you think when the income goes away, do you think they are going to be able to survive on a few weeks? No.

LAH (voice-over): Shawki took to Twitter, begging for help along with so many others. An essential employee rationing seizure meds until the stimulus check comes in. A single mother who needs prescriptions for her family, for each when their supply of necessary treatments is a deadly game of chance.

TITUS: I wake up about 3:00 a.m. with a blood sugar that's about 400, 420.

LAH: Brandi Titus' blood sugar levels are four times higher than average. She says it's not if she goes to the emergency room, but when.

TITUS: I wouldn't have a choice, my body will go into diabetic you know, acidosis.

LAH: Unlike those expecting government relief in the coming days, she won't be getting a stimulus check.


She is behind on her child support, so like thousands of others, she doesn't qualify. She is on her own.

TITUS: It's hard. $100 might not be that much to you, but it could be my saving grace for tomorrow.

LAH (on camera): Michael Shawki was watching President Trump's White House briefing, he says this issue of the president's name on the stimulus check, and whether or not that might delay the checks arriving, while angry is in the right word. He uses the word hurt. He says Americans are hurting. And this should not be about anyone other than helping those Americans.

Kyung Lah, CNN, Los Angeles.


CHURCH: And the economic picture across the United States remains bleak. The weekly jobless claims report coming out in the next few hours is expected to show another 5 million people filed for unemployment benefits. And that will bring the total to more than 22 million in just a month.

And U.S. stock futures were down in afterhours trading on Wednesday after the Dow logged its worst day since the beginning of this month.

So to break this all down for us, let's get to Alison Kosik in New York. Good to see you, Alison. So if those American jobless claims are as bad as expected at around 5 million, what will that mean in terms of the U.S. unemployment rate?

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Rosemary. So if we do see claims come in from last week at 5.1 million, that could put the unemployment rate somewhere over 10 percent. Somewhere in the teens, probably around 13 percent, and that's really mind blowing when you consider how quickly this has happened since the economy was shut down here in the U.S.

The unemployment rate just in February was at 3.5 percent. So the additional 5.1 million who are expected to have filed -- we're going to find out in a few hours, will bring those initial claims to a staggering 22 million people over the past month. Keep in mind, that's 22 million people. That's a person out of work. Every claim is a person struggling to pay their bills, and that number may not even be the right number to really capture the picture. Because so many states have been struggling with their own systems and trying to get people online to be able to file for those unemployment claims.

These weekly claims, Rosemary, as you know, give us the most timely data on the economy's health. They give us the picture of the depth of the downturn that we are in. The economists are predicting that the economy right now is in a recession --Rosemary.

CHURCH: Yes, it is just horrifying really on so many levels from a health perspective, an economic perspective. And, Alison, with U.S. stock futures down in after-hours trading Wednesday, after the Dow plunged, what can we expect when markets open in just a few hours from now?

KOSIK: Well, it looks like that we're seeing green arrows, believe it or not, to start this Thursday morning in a few hours. But you know what, there is already an expectation that there's going to be another devastating number coming in for the unemployment claims. We did see stocks though react to some really down beat data. Yesterday we learned that retail sales fell a whopping 8.7 percent. That's actually the biggest decline for the Commerce Department since it began tracking that number.

And a little watched manufacturing report plummeted in the month of April that we don't usually pay attention to these reports, but these are more indications of what kind of trouble the U.S. economy is in -- Rosemary.

CHURCH: And it's very worrying, isn't it? Alison Kosik bringing us the very latest there from New York. Many thanks.

Well, we are learning the U.S. is looking into a theory the coronavirus may have originated in a Chinese lab, not in a wet market in Wuhan. And that the disease was accidently released into the public. Now there reportedly have been concerns for some time about the safety and management of the lab in question. That's the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Intelligence sources told CNN the U.S. does not believe the virus was associated with any kind of bioweapons research.

Now this comes as a new report from the "Associated Press," based on an internal Chinese document. It says China sat on critical information about the scope of the threat for some time before alerting the public. CNN's David Culver has more on that.


DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The internal documents acquired by the "Associated Press" suggest that China's top officials knew the potential severity of the virus but for six days held off on sounding the alarm to the public. The A.P. report is based on what they characterize as a leaked memo from a confidential teleconference involving the head of China's health commission.

[04:40:00] CNN has gone through the government's public release of the teleconference which highlights the worries expressed by health officials to other leaders. Now here's what we know of what China knew and when.

Going back to December 8th, the Wuhan government disclosed the first patient's symptoms of the then known virus. Nearly a month later, January 3rd, Wuhan health officials stress there is no obvious human to human transmission. On that same day, China notified the U.S. of the virus.

On January 7th, President Xi Jinping's first public awareness is made known and he ordered actions to be taken. A week after that, on January 14th, that's the teleconference. And that's when -- according to a government release which came out more than a month after the conference -- there was a sober understanding of the situation that was made known to top government officials.

And they added that, quote, clustered cases suggest that human-to- human transmission is possible.

But here's the concern, publicly as late as January 19th the Wuhan Health Commission said that the outbreak was controllable and preventable and not contagious. The next day, a very different narrative. Leading health officials acknowledged that cases of human- to-human transmission and even they stressed that medical personnel have gotten infected.

Three days later Wuhan went on lockdown. Now in response to pass questions over transparency, China has repeatedly maintained that they have been open and forthcoming in their handling of this outbreak. CNN has reached out to the national health commission for their comment on its latest reporting.

David Culver, CNN, Shanghai.


CHURCH: And we'll take a short break. Still to come, a confrontation on the high seas. The U.S. accuses Iran of conducting dangerous maneuvers against American warships. We'll have the latest in a live report.



CHURCH: Well, the U.S. says Iranian navy boats harassed several of its warships Wednesday in the North Arabian Sea and got dangerously close. The U.S. has released video that appears to show some of what happened.

And you can see that multiple Iranian flagged vessels passing in front of an American Navy ship. And CNN's Sam Kiley is in Abu Dhabi with more on this story. He joins us now. So, Sam, what all are you learning about this? SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, so far,

Rosemary, there's been no comment at all from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps naval section, which is the unit that was conducting those harassment operations, as the United States Navy is calling them.

The U.S. says that they were targeted for over an hour by no less than 11 of these fast attack crafts that have been developed by the Iranians as what they call part of their swarm tactics. And they can't match NATO and least of all the United States fire power or size in the Persian or Arabian Gulf, depending which side of it you're on. But they can match them in terms of numbers. So they use the attack craft, very fast-moving crafts, to harass shipping. We've seen it quite a lot in the past.

It is international waters. As far as the U.S. Navy is concerned, this was a violation of some of the rules and conventions of international waters on the sea, not acts of war as such. Although one of the videos, Rosemary, one of the sailors or Marines on board a smaller ship notices that and mentions that the guns being manned by the Iranian's Marines are naval personnel are what he calls unpinned. That means detached and ready for action. They're actually being manned although they didn't train their guns on the U.S. forces.

This went on for an hour before they were able to make ship-to-ship contact. And then Iranian naval forces pulled back. This is all, of course, in the context of Iran being very badly hit by the coronavirus, at a time when it is suffering deeply under U.S. impose economic sanctions that have crippled its ability to trade on the international community. And they have labeled that in Tehran what they call that, medical terrorism -- Rosemary.

CHURCH: Very worrying situation. Sam Kiley bringing us up to date on what's been happening. He's bringing us that from Abu Dhabi. Many thanks.

We'll take a short break here. Still to come, teenagers in California may not be able to go to school, but that doesn't mean they are not staying busy during this pandemic. How a startup is turning high schoolers into heroes.



CHURCH: A 99-year-old British army veteran has become an unlikely hero in the fight against the coronavirus. Tom Moore has just completed a personal challenge of walking the 27-yard length of his garden or about 25 meters 100 times before he turned 100 years old at the end of the month. He's been raising money for the U.K.'s National Health Service to fight the pandemic and crushed his original goal of about $625,000, raising more than $15 million. When asked how he felt he simply said, fine. What a hero. Fantastic.

Well, a little help goes a long way especially during this pandemic. A startup in California called Six Street Supplies is signing up high schoolers to help the most vulnerable people in their communities. And they're doing that by delivering groceries. And I talked with the two young co-founders a little earlier.


ERIC LUO, COFOUNDER, SIX FEET SUPPLIES: Part of my inspiration came from a news story that I saw about an elderly couple in Oregon who paid someone $100 to do grocery shopping for them. And I realized that isn't an isolated incident and that people like that are all across this country and need similar help like that.

So we thought there are people in Santa Carita who will need people to go out and do grocery shopping for them. So we just wanted to make sure that we are available. Because without school we can make sure to take the proper time to get educated, take necessary precautions and do this properly without endangering anyone else.

And when it came down to finding like-minded people, there were a lot of people who were willing to help us out during this time. Even if they couldn't go out and shop because their parents didn't want them to. They were still able to help out behind the scenes with spreading the word on social media and reaching out to other organizations just to help us get the word out that we are available to help the people of Santa Carita.

CHURCH: It's a wonderful idea. And, Zoe, how do you and all of the other volunteers protect yourselves when you go shopping for these groceries? And do you ever worry that you may expose yourselves to COVID-19 by doing this?

ZOE MONTEROLA, COFOUNDER, SIX FEET SUPPLIES: Right. So at our headquarters we have masks and gloves for our volunteers to use. We've had trainings with registered nurses who have told us safety precautions, from, you know, using gloves carefully so we don't cross- contaminate. To keeping the safe distance when leaving groceries and going back to the deliverer's car. And just having proper hand washing techniques and just having the proper safety equipment at all times.


CHURCH: Two wonderful young people. Two heroes just there.

Well, the lack of sports in the midst of the pandemic has left a gaping hole for players and fans worldwide. And our Jeanne Moos reports on the unusual and even entertaining ways people are now trying to pass the time.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Baseball is not even a shadow of its former self. How fans pine for the crack of the bat, the ball in the glove. The bleachers are bleak, the stadiums empty.

TRUMP: But we have to get our sports back. I'm tired of watching baseball games that are 14 years old. [04:55:00]

MOOS: But if the Boston Red Sox organist can't play at Fenway Park.

JOSH KANTER, BOSTON RED SOX ORGANIST: Boston Red Sox hat and it's got a built-in mullet.

MOOS: Why not try to take us out of our misery with "Take Me Out to The Ball Game." Streamed live daily from Josh Kanter's living room, he then takes requests. Remember the movie "Dodge Ball" and parody of ESPN 8 and Ocho --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If it's almost a sport, we've got it here.

MOOS: ESPN moved up its annual homage to that parity and featured the stupid robot fighting league and the cherry pit spitting competition right down to the slow-motion replay of an almost 47-foot pit spit. On actor John Kaczynski's YouTube show, some good news, commentator Joe Buck voiced over videos not of major league pitching but a woman pitching laundry into her machine.

JOE BUCK, COMMENTATOR: And now watch this, wham, right off the face. That's a little bit of quarantine frustration right there.

MOOS: SNL made fun of the search for substitute sports by watching matches burn.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE, SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE VIDEO: The left match is barely hanging on and it's out.

MOOS: And popcorn pop.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All my God, from Adam malware is why we watch sports!

MOOS: The Mets public address announcer will now announce you.


MOOS: Colin Cosell is the legendary Howard Cosell's grandson.

COSELL: This is a way to bring the ballpark home.

MOOS: Giving fans a customize introduction for a little comic relief.

COSELL: For relief pitcher, number 15, Jeanne Moos.

MOOS: I don't have a ball, let alone a ball game.


CHURCH: There she is. Whatever passes the time, right?

Thanks for your company. Stay home, stay safe, stay strong. I'm Rosemary Church. CNN NEWSROOM continues next with Robyn Curnow.