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New Unemployment Numbers Released; Doctors Capture Front Lines Reality; Answers to your Coronavirus Questions. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired April 16, 2020 - 08:30   ET




ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: And we do have breaking news. New numbers. The Labor Department just released new unemployment figures for last week.

Joining us now to discuss what we are seeing, Julia Chatterley.

Julia, what do you got?

JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: Well, we now see an extra 5.24 million people filing for unemployment benefits for the first time in the past week, as you can see, so it's not as high as some of the worst expectations. It's pretty much in line, but it's still, John, a further 5.2 million people. If I add that to the numbers that we've seen for the past few weeks, we're now talking about 22 million people just in the last four weeks filing for the first time. In terms of states where we've seen an increase in claims. Georgia, Michigan, Arizona, Texas. And it's broad across the industry, trade, social assistance, health care, hotels, retail, you name it, every sector just about coming under pressure and this is the result.

BERMAN: And 5.2 million new jobs lost in one week. And just so people understand, if you add that to the job losses from the three previous weeks, that makes 22 million --


BERMAN: Which is roughly, roughly all the jobs that were added to the U.S. economy since the great recession, correct?

CHATTERLEY: Correct. We're approaching that level. And, remember, this is just in the space of four weeks. Five weeks ago these people were getting on with their lives, they had jobs, and in the space of four weeks, wiped out a whole decade near of job gains. That's what's so unimaginable about this for -- for these people and for these families.

BERMAN: All right, want to bring in CNN White House correspondent John Harwood. And, John, 5.2 million is a staggering figure. One that would not have

been believed a month ago. However, if there's one dim ray of light here, is it's a smaller number than what we've seen for the previous two weeks when there were more than 6 million job losses. Does that indicate to you any potential leveling off here?

JOHN HARWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Not necessarily. It could be an artifact of who can apply and processes in the states which are uneven and different state by state. There's some states, like Florida, that have had difficulty letting people apply for these jobless benefits and recording the number that exists out there. This is a catastrophic rolling catastrophe that we're seeing.


The -- it indicates that the actual unemployment rate in the country is now over 15 percent. We haven't seen a rate that high since the Great Depression. And it's clear that, for all the talk about restarting the economy to try to alleviate this pain, that the key to doing that is what you were discussing a few minutes ago, John, with Ron Klain (ph), is instituting a testing regime at a large level, surveillance testing, symptomatic testing, contract tracing, that would allow businesses to have the confidence and consumers to have the confidence to restart the economy and get us going again.

The real challenge is going to be when we have this level of people out of work, you have to wonder how many of the businesses that they work at are still going to be functioning when we do have -- are in a position to restart the economy. So the toll is staggering and we don't know how to calculate it right now because if it's a restaurant, if it's a store, is that going to still be a viable enterprise when we're ready to go? We don't know that yet.

BERMAN: And, again, both of you have mentioned the effective unemployment rate right now might be north of 15 percent as we sit here. We won't know that officially until the end of the month.

John, you brought up a couple things that I think are really important. One, you can't divorce testing from all of this. You can't divorce the medicine from all this. We can talk about reopening the economy, but until people feel comfortable going to a store, it's just not going to happen.

The second thing you talked about is, what parts of the economy are just broken in a way that won't be easily fixed as you bring back the dimmer. And the third thing, and I think this is where I want to bring the conversation now is, what is Congress doing, right? The fund, the payroll protection fund to help small businesses get back, we're told, is almost depleted. So when are we going to see more money in it, John?

HARWOOD: Well, I think there are talks ongoing right now between Treasury Secretary Mnuchin and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Whatever they come up with has got to be unanimous. They're not -- they're in pro forma session. They need unanimous consent to move things. That always pushes toward a narrowing of the agenda. Speaker Pelosi has been trying to get additional items, which are also needed, funds for state and local governments, which are now broke as they deal with the pandemic. Funds for a testing ramp up. Senate Democrats want $30 billion for that. That may have to wait until the next piece of legislation. But we're going to see those talks continue today between Pelosi and the administration.

I do think that by the end of the week, we are highly likely to get Congress to move money for this paycheck protection program because the demand for it is an indication that the economy needs it and everyone agrees that it's the right thing to do. The only question is what else goes along with it.

BERMAN: It's an unquenchable demand at this point, Julia. I'm not sure you can ever satisfy the thirst that's out there. It's the scope of which we've just never seen before.

There is some indication that the disbursement of the money to date has been uneven in the sense that maybe going to people who have a record with the banks, quicker access, so construction funds, real estate firms who have a constant relationship with the banks might be getting it more quickly than a restaurant, who needs it just as badly.

CHATTERLEY: Oil and gas sector is another one that's been mentioned that's managing to get the money, where there are existing relationships clearly in the beginning for these lenders. They wanted to get the people that they could get this money to as quickly as possible. But, of course, the criticism now remains that there are, particularly for the smaller businesses, the people that have less than five employees, they weren't ready, they weren't able to get access to the system and they need to be catered to too.

There's a few things that have been addressed in the last week. The fin tech lenders. You were speaking about this earlier on the show with a guest, they tend to cater to minorities, to women. They've now been accessed, but it doesn't help if the money simply run out. And that's what the lenders are saying. They cannot make any more loans at this stage.

This weekly shocker that we have in terms of people claiming for benefits is exactly why Congress needs to wake up and understand that they're no less or more deserving than the healthcare sector, or our heroes on the front lines. But this specific program is about stopping job losses today, saving businesses today. It was woefully underfunded in the beginning and the idea that it needs more money and it needs more money now should not be a surprise to anybody. We've got 30 million small businesses in the United States. It's half of employment. The idea that you can make -- and they've made 1.6 million loans at this stage and that being enough is nonsensical.

BERMAN: What about John's point that we are entering a stage -- because no economy can sustain losing 5 million jobs a week.


BERMAN: Even if 5 million is better than 6.6 million we lost the week before. So what is at risk of being lost perhaps permanently here? CHATTERLEY: You know, I spoke to the former head of the Small Business

Administration last week and she told me that in a best case scenario we will lose 20 percent of small businesses in this country.


We are talking 6 million businesses. You multiply that up by the number of jobs. What's also going to be critical, in addition to the numbers that we're seeing today is, how quickly we can add those jobs back. Some may have just been furloughed. Some may be permanently lost. But it's the speed that we can get the economy going that will be critical to saving businesses and critical to saving jobs and protecting individual people.

And to bring it full circle, John, testing is what businesses are saying is required.

BERMAN: Well, and, John, the president was told that yesterday, correct?

CHATTERLEY: Well, that's -- that's the most positive result I think that's happened so far from this reopening of the economy task force. The president has been disavowing responsibility for testing, saying it's the governor's responsibility. He heard from business leaders on that call, we need this to happen. And so that is going to make an impression on the president. And when he came out for his briefing last night, he had a slightly different tone, saying, well, we're working with the states on testing. He continued to say, well, we have the best tests in the world and all that. That's not the point. The point is that we need a ramp up, we need surveillance, we need contact tracing, and those are the things that will instill the confidence that's necessary to get the economy going again.

CHATTERLEY: Every member of that call yesterday said the same, and they won't change their tune.

BERMAN: Julia Chatterley, John Harwood, thanks so much for being with us.

Just to reiterate, 22 million jobs lost in four weeks. All the job gains since the Great Recession, Twelve years' worth of jobs gone in four weeks.

In the meantime, two doctors on the front lines taking us inside their hospitals for a look at what things are like right now fighting the virus. That's next.



CAMEROTA: Because of privacy issues in hospitals and quarantine guidelines, it's hard for us to film healthcare workers doing their jobs. So we asked them to film themselves throughout their day as they fight this virus.

Here's the video diaries of two New York City doctors.


DR. MATTHEW BAI, MOUNT SINAI QUEENS HOSPITAL: Every day has been stressful. The days that I was working clinically and seeing patients, things just happened one thing after another. One patient comes in, you stabilize them and you move on to the next one. Or one patient comes in as a cardiac arrest, and you work on them, and they get pronounced and then you have no time to process this and you have to move on to the next patient.

This is a walk-through of our department today. May not seem like it, but today looks a little bit more decongested than usual. We've got several patients transferred out, but more patients are coming in to fill up the spots. Before there was patients in the hallways. Now they're all in their rooms.

DR. ERICK EITING, MOUNT SINAI BETH ISRAEL: I'm on my way into the night shift. Looking forward to -- to trying to make a difference.

This is our dedicated respiratory isolation pod. This is where the action is. It's definitely gotten a little bit busier today throughout the day. We're seeing what feels like some sicker patients today.

And then, as we're walking through here, coming over to our orange area, also an acute area, a lot of action going on today.

Well, it's 5:00 a.m. I'm still on my overnight shift. And we're seeing plenty of coronavirus cases. Some people as young as in their 20s, and people as old as in their 80s. A couple of people who have been admitted to the intensive care unit. I think the best success story that we've seen this evening was somebody who had an oxygen saturation that was 48 percent when the ambulance got there, and the patient is not doing much better, is going to go into intensive care, but doing much better. It's a relief when we get to see stories like that.

I think the most interesting or bizarre presentation was somebody who came in with leg cramps and it turns out they have coronavirus. So we're just seeing people with all kinds of symptoms.

I just signed out. Just finished my overnight shift. It is 8:15 in the morning. I feel like I'm walking away, feeling very positive, feeling like we did some good things for patients. And it was a good night. We had a great team.

BAI: I look forward to the day that things are somewhat back to normal and I get to see my family in person and give my wife and 17-month-old daughter a big hug.


CAMEROTA: We learn so much from these, I mean, on every level, John, the idea that he is quarantined away from his daughter --

BERMAN: Yes. CAMEROTA: Is, of course, heart-breaking. And then to hear Dr. Erick there talk about how sort of optimistic he is. He looks forward to being able to go in and making a difference despite the tough conditions that he sees and confronts every night there.


BERMAN: What about leg cramps? A patient presenting with leg cramps. We're learning there's a lot of different stuff going on right now from coronavirus. It's not just breathing problems. It's really, really interesting to see.

CAMEROTA: OK, so if you're a healthcare worker on the front lines of this virus and you'd like to share your story with us, please reach out to us on NEW DAY's FaceBook page or Instagram accounts. You can also find me directly on Instagram at Alisyn Camerota and you can find at John Berman on something called Twitter.

BERMAN: Oh, I see what you did there. I see what you did there.

All right, we've been asking you to send us your questions about coronavirus and you have been obliging. And CNN chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, is back with some answers.

First, Sanjay, I just wanted to give you a chance to react to that video from the doctors we just saw.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it's obviously very inspiring to see what so many of these healthcare workers are doing. And, you know, you could probably tell, I guess a lot of people, you could tell when they're wearing the N95 masks just in terms of listening to their breathing at various times. It's very hard to wear those masks and be very active throughout the hospital.

I also notice, you know, just how close people are in proximity to each other. We keep talking about physical distancing. In that setting, where you have the virus circulating, it's very hard to maintain just that basic sort of distance.

I was struck, too, John, by the same thing, the leg cramps. You know, we're learning so much about this disease and -- and some people will developed neurological things like loss of smell, first, some people will have heart issues, cramping is something we've heard about before. How exactly this particular virus is affecting the body, it's not just a -- it's a respiratory virus, but it's not just affecting the lungs as we're -- as it's becoming increasingly clear. So we're, again, learning in ways that I -- you know, people watch those segments and the medical establishment, all of us are learning together, I think, here.

CAMEROTA: Sanjay, viewers keep sending in really interesting questions for you. So here's one, it's from Valerie, that I think a lot of us want to know. She says, my son is 33 years old. He lives with his grandmother, who's 84. He works in a supermarket. Should he be going to work or not and can I visit her, the grandma who's 84, if I have no contact at all with anyone? GUPTA: Yes, well, this is -- this is tough. And, you know, I mean,

Valerie, so the second question first. I think it would be best to at least for now, for a period of time, to try and still remain in contact, but maybe not directly physically. If you do go over there, you know, really make sure to maintain your physical distance. But the best advice would probably be at this point FaceTime or something else as opposed to going over there.

Your son, the grandson now, he's working at a supermarket, that's considered sort of an essential task, a front line task, coming in contact with people. Hopefully he is being as safe and hygienic as possible during his job. It's challenging. But at home, given that his grandmother is considered someone who's vulnerable, everyone has to behave like they have the virus. So he has to really behave at home as if he might have the virus. Coming home, making sure to wash clothes, not sharing the same cutlery, isolating as much within the home as possible.

It's tough. I mean I don't want to make this sound easy at all. I'm sort of going through the same thing here in my basement to some extent. It's not going to last forever. It's going to last longer than it is right now. But that's probably the best advice for now.

BERMAN: All right, I have a question from Sandy here. Would Covid-19 stay on facial hair longer than a clean shaven face?

And this is an important question to me, Sanjay, because I'm obviously so virile.

GUPTA: Right. That's what I was think too.

The -- so one thing about healthcare workers, you know, because -- I know this isn't about healthcare workers, but for healthcare workers, they really -- men do need to shave because the mask needs to get a tight fit around the face. So a lot of my colleagues who used to have beards have now shaven those beards off.

As far as viral infections, I think the basic advice remains, you've just got to keep things as clean as possible. Interestingly, actually, for bacterial infections, this is a virus, but for bacterial infections, clean shaven men actually may be more at risk. It probably has more to do with the micro abrasions you get on your face from shaving as opposed to beards. But if you do keep a beard, you've just go to make sure you're keeping it clean and do all the other things that you would do. You know, don't touch your face, wash your hands off and maintain social distance.

CAMEROTA: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, marriage counselor, mask maker, hairstylist. Hmm, we've just added -- we've added one more job description, as we do every day.

This comes from Carl in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Why can't we suspend privacy rules to allow local media to report the names of people who have tested positive for the coronavirus? People want to know, you know, who in their neighborhood has it.


GUPTA: This is a strange time we're living in, right, to even ask the question. Because there's obviously privacy concerns, as Carl sort of notes in the question.

I don't know. You know, I mean, the question is, what else -- what other information might you release as part of that. You know, it does seem like a significant invasion of privacy. And, unfortunately, we have a history of then using those -- that sort of information to perhaps discriminate against people, you know, for their jobs, for their insurance, whatever it might be.

The flip side of that may be a possibility, which is not so much saying who is infected, but who may be immunized. People have talked about the idea of immunity certificates. I don't know that we're there in this country yet, but that has been proposed in other countries and maybe it will be something that we look at just to know that people are safe.

BERMAN: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, it's great to see you this morning. Thank you for the huge variety of advice and tips you give us after day.

GUPTA: You got it.

BERMAN: All right, the pandemic is having a devastating effect on the U.S. economy. We're getting new numbers on the historic job losses.

CNN's coronavirus coverage continues next.