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White House Unveils Three-Pronged Approach to Reopen Economy; Trump Says Some States Are Ready to Reopen for Business; U.S. State Struggle to Ramp up Testing; 22 Million Americans Filed for Unemployment in the Past Month; China's GDP Plunges after Lockdowns; U.S. Struggles to Determine Reliable Antibody Testing; Fans Pay Tribute to America's Dr. Fauci. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired April 17, 2020 - 04:30   ET



NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Well, as cases continue to soar, the White House is giving America's governors a set of guidelines on reopening the economy. It includes details on when to reopen places like restaurants, gyms, and public spaces. President Trump says some states that aren't battling major coronavirus outbreaks could open for business -- and I quote -- literally tomorrow. That's his quote. Kaitlan Collins has more from the White House.


KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: The President is unveiling these new guidelines, he says are the first steps towards reopening the U.S. economy. In a call he had with governors shortly before he unveiled these in the briefing room, the President backed off his claims of total authority to tell states what to do. Those claims that he made earlier this week when he now told governors they are going to be the ones calling the shots about when it is that their states reopen.

And if you read through these guidelines, there are several phases. The President says it is a slow start, step by step. They are going to these states start to reopen. But none of the guidelines in here are state specific. Though the President did say he believe there are some states that could start doing this right away, that they do not have to wait for the end of April and wait for those guidelines that they put out in recent weeks to expire. They can go ahead and move ahead with these new phases.

Now while these phases lay out when they believe that schools, gyms, whatnot should start reopening, there is a little bit of a sense of vague numbers here. It doesn't really say when these states should start doing it, what levels of cases they have in their state. Instead it just says as long as they've had a downward trend for a certain number of days, then they can feel comfortable moving from certain phases to another phase.

Now course, one thing that is not addressed in the packet of guidelines that the President distributed to these governors is a strategy for a national testing system. Over the last several days the President has heard concerns from Senators, from governors, from business executives who are worried there is still inadequate testing throughout the nation and therefore, it's going to hinder any kind of attempt to reopen the country.

And when the President was asked about this at the briefing, he repeatedly deferred to states, saying it was up to them to be the ones to make sure that they are up to par with testing before they start reopening businesses and sending kids back to school and people back to work.

But of course, there are going to be looming concerns. Because a lot of the concerns we've heard from states is they are saying they need the federal government's help in order to get to that place.

Kaitlan Collins, CNN, the White House.


ALLEN: The President also reiterating his claim that the U.S. is testing for COVID-19 more than any other country in the world. But some governors and business leaders say it still isn't enough. Erica Hill has that for us.


NED LAMONT, CONNECTICUT GOVERNOR: If we have gone after the testing agents a few months ago we'd be in a very different position than we are today.

ERIC HILL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Testing and tracing key to any phased reopening. Minnesota's governor wants to test 5,000 people a day before making any substantial changes. Massachusetts announcing a community tracing initiative to track those who've tested positive for COVID-19 and anyone they've had contact with.

CHARLIE BAKER, MASSACHUSETTS GOVERNOR: We consider this to be a critical effort to not only slow the spread of coronavirus but to help our commonwealth return to some semblance of normal life while keeping an eye on where the virus is still present.

HILL: In New York Governor Andrew Cuomo calling for the government to step up, while also offering insight into when businesses can reopen.

ANDREW CUOMO, NEW YORK GOVERNOR: This is not just government deciding, it's government deciding with private businesses who now have to take a look at this new normal, this new reality and tell us how they think they can adjust to it. One of our questions and evaluations is how essential is that business service?

HILL: As the President issues new guidelines, states continue with their own.

GINA RAIMONDO, RHODE ISLAND GOVERNOR: We're all sick of it. And we all wonder, is it necessary, wearing a mask makes it even more difficult, but the answers are, it is necessary.

HILL: New mandates for face coverings. Stay at home orders extending in New York and Wisconsin, which is now partnering with six other Midwestern states to coordinate efforts as Americans wait for further instruction many are hurting. 22 million Americans have filed for unemployment in just four weeks and with no clear end in sight, scenes like these are becoming more common.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who's next for emergency?

HILL: Food banks and pantries seeing a surge in need as donations drop off. In New Jersey, overwhelmed staff and a morgue well over capacity at this nursing home where 17 bodies were found in a facility that has space for just 4.

In yet another change for students, the college board announcing the S.A.T. can be taken at home this fall if schools often used as testing sites remain closed.


And as states push for the federal government to help with testing, Amazon is developing its own. CEO Jeff Bezos telling shareholders, quote, we think it's worth trying and saying the company will share anything we learn.

HILL (on camera): Here in New York, as I mentioned, what's known as New York pause, has now been extended. That has been expended through May 15th in the state. In addition, the new regulations on face coverings, we learned, apply to anyone over the age of 2. Back to you.


ALLEN: Well, President Trump's former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, will be released from prison due to the coronavirus pandemic. He's serving a three-year sentence at a U.S. prison camp in Otisville, New York, where 21 inmates and staff have tested positive for the virus. Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 to tax fraud, campaign finance violations and lying to Congress. He was scheduled for release in November 2021 but he will serve the rest of his time in home confinement.

But the news was not as good for another disgraced Trump associate. A judge denied Roger Stone's request for a retrial Thursday. Stone convicted for lying to Congress about his role in the 2016 Trump campaign. He claimed the jury forewoman did not disclose her anti- Trump leanings in a pre-trial questionnaire. The judge said Stone's legal team failed to fully research and question her. Stone faces 40 months in prison.

Well, some 22 million Americans have filed for unemployment over the last four weeks alone. That's about 13 percent of all workers in the U.S.

Let's go now to Alison Kosik in New York to see how the markets are taking the news. This is -- really illustrates the millions of people that are hurting through this -- Alison.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: It certainly does, Natalie. Good morning to you. And despite that terrible news, we are seeing green arrows not just yesterday on Wall Street but we are seeing futures soar this morning.

A couple pieces of positive news giving futures a boost. Boeing announcing their plans to resume commercial airline production. The company saying it will resume production for commercial aircraft with first employees returning to work as early as April 20th.

Also helping, pharmaceutical company Gilead which has been testing one of its drugs as a potential treatment for the coronavirus, it popped more than 16 percent in after-hours trading following a report about early success in one of its drug trials.

But back to your point about those claims number, it is incredible that you think about in just one month, four short weeks, the U.S. has lost all of its job creation gains since the 2008 financial crisis. The 5.2 million who filed for the week ending April 11th brings that total number to 22 million Americans out of work, 22 million. That's 13 1/2 percent of the U.S. labor force. That's one out of every eight workers here in the U.S., Natalie, is on unemployment -- Natalie.

ALLEN: That's unbelievable. And another unfortunate side note here about the situations. The Small Business Association loans running out of money as unemployment claims continue to be in the millions. That's money meant to help businesses keep employees on the payroll and it's run out.

KOSIK: Yes, I mean, and we just talked about these unemployment claims. It means these unemployment claims numbers, which are in the millions, will continue to move higher because this money is meant to help businesses keep employees on the payroll. As you said, the money is gone. The 350 billion that was earmarked for small businesses is no longer there.

So there are ongoing negotiations on Capitol Hill. They were expected to generate some sort of agreement yesterday. We haven't seen that, and the concern is that that extra 250 billion won't get out there. This was a first come first serve basis kind of program where small businesses went online and applied for these loans. But, Natalie, a lot of these small businesses were left in the dust and these are the small businesses who need this money the most.

ALLEN: Absolutely. Small business owners, the folks that run the coffee shops and everything else, the people that you want to cheer for in this. Alison in New York, Alison Kosik. Thank you, Alison.

Well, the coronavirus has ended the extraordinary run of non-stop 40- year growth for the world's second largest economy. We're talking about China. Its GDP plummeted by almost 7 percent in the first three months of this year. That that translates into hundreds of billions of dollars of lost activity. Let's dive into the numbers with our Anna Stewart. She's over in London live for us. And good morning to you, Anna. This certainly is extremely bleak. A historic punch for China. What can you tell us?


ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: And yet it isn't really a surprised. If you consider the IMF's warning earlier in the week that the global recession will be worse than the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009. So if you tracked it for the key one for China, it's slightly worse and some analysts were expecting. But it doesn't really come as any huge surprise.

Now what is interesting, as you say, let's take a deeper dive into those numbers. Because what's it tells us about what happens once restrictions are lifted? What sort of recovery could we see in China and what might that tell us about other economies around the world. So looking at the numbers for March, when some shops have lifted, some activity resumed, industrial production seems to have made some decent recovery in China.

However, the demand side of things hasn't really matched it. Retail sales in China were still down some 16 percent in March even though some shops had opened. And you were speaking to Alison Kosik there about job figures, unemployment. That will weigh into this in China. People won't have as much money to spend. And also, for China, such a big exporter, you've also got to consider the fact that there will be a lag as the rest of the world doesn't want to buy as much from this economy.

So it's not possibly the v-shaped recovery people were hoping for. But it's early days. This is just the first quarter. We're still waiting, of course, the data for the coming months, the second quarter.

Looking at Asian markets this morning, they are all higher. Hong Kong Hang Seng, Shanghai, the Nikkei leads the Asian gains. They are up over 3 percent. No big surprises that we are seeing them higher.

First of all there was a very late Wall Street rally yesterday. Some of that actually based on some early data on a potential treatment for COVID-19 out of the United States. Also of course, the White House issuing guidelines for restarting the economy. But I would say Asia specific, the numbers we see today and China does suggest that the Chinese central bank will have to put more fiscal stimulus into action. I think that's why we see markets higher -- Natalie.

ALLEN: All right, we'll see when that happens. Anna Stewart running the numbers for us there. Not looking good. Thank you so much in London for us.

Well, the United States is rushing to develop reliable COVID-19 antibody tests. Ahead here, why getting an accurate test has been a problem



ALLEN: Countries around the world are working on antibody tests. Essentially, they could determine if someone has been exposed to coronavirus and develop a protective protein in their blood that could possibly make them immune. But in the U.S., there have been issues with test liability. CNN's Drew Griffin tells us why.


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It is the one test that could tell you whether you're safe to leave the house, the antibody test. A finger prick test for people without symptoms to determine if your blood carries the antibodies of COVID-19, meaning you've been exposed to the virus at some point and now potentially immune. How immune? We just don't know.

DR. ANIA WAINBERG, MOUNT SINAI HOSPITAL: We still have a lot to learn about what having antibodies means. Does it mean that you're immune? Can people be re-infected? How long will immunity last?

GRIFFIN: At least 70 antibody tests have been developed by companies are hospitals taking advantage of relaxed FDA rules during the coronavirus crisis. But without the FDA certifying the tests, there's no way to know which ones work. Leading the companies to use lists of fine print including positive results may be due to past or present infection with other viruses. One sign of the confusion, Dr. Allison Fox bought 200 tests for her practice in New Jersey only to be told by the New Jersey Health Department, do not offer any COVID-19 tests to your patients.

DR. ALLISON FOX, NEW JERSEY PHYSICIAN: It's incredibly frustrating. It doesn't make any sense to me at all.

GRIFFIN: The FDA is now trying to straighten the mess that has been what one testing official called the wild, wild west of antibody marketed tests. The National Cancer Institute and its serum testing lab has been drafted to determine which tests work, which do not. That is key says Dr. Ania Wainberg, who heads up the testing program at New York's Mount Sinai Hospital, which was just given emergency use authorization.

WAINBERG: It's incredibly important that as we learn more and use these tests to develop our plans and policies, to reopen society that we can rely on the results we're being given.

GRIFFIN: The FDA has given emergency use authorization to four antibody tests. But the very first company to get it hasn't been able to get its tests into the United States. Cellex telling CNN, Chinese export rules have prevented them from shipping their antibody test to the U.S. so far, but they hope and expect that this issue will be resolved very soon. Why so important to have widespread antibody testing and make sure they work? Two big reasons, says Harvard epidemiologist, Caroline Buckee.

CAROLINE BUCKEE, HARVARD T.H. CHAN SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: So the first thing is just to work out how many people have been infected, whether we're close to the epidemic peak or whether we have a long way to go. GRIFFIN: And the second involves what's known as herd immunity. If

having the virus and recovering means we won't get it again and enough of us have had the coronavirus and now carry that immunity, then a large percentage of us, of the herd, won't be able to spread it.

BUCKEE: We don't need everybody in the population to be immune to the virus, we just need enough people to be immune that the virus can't start to spread again and take off exponentially.

GRIFFIN: That's why it's so important for this next batch of testing to be widely available, easily reportable, and above all, accurate.

Drew Griffin, CNN, Atlanta.


ALLEN: Well, we all know him, Dr. Anthony Fauci. He's become the face of America's fight against the coronavirus. And now his likeness is becoming a hot commodity. We'll have that in a moment.



ALLEN: Well, one aspect of the lockdowns that we are all experiencing is that we're having to do things at home that we normally rely on others for. Case in point, haircuts. Our Dr. Sanjay Gupta tweeted about giving himself a haircut. CNN's Anderson Cooper also decided to give it a go. So what could go wrong? Well just take a look. From Thursday's CNN Town Hall.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR, AC 360: I'm hoping to make a tutorial about how to give yourself a haircut because last night I took a razor and buzzed my head and I gave myself a giant bald spot over here, which I have been very -- I missed -- I thought it was a 7 and it was a 5 and I don't know.


COOPER: I've been walking around all day with my hand on my head.

GUPTA: This is so like staring straight at the camera --

COOPER: It's fine straight on, I have to be seen only this way. Because as soon as -- it all gives it away.

GUPTA: Wow. I hope that grows back, Anderson. I think it will. I'm not sure, but I think it will.

COOPER: Maybe that's for next week, you can do a tutorial.


ALLEN: Poor Anderson. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy. Well, with millions tuning in to get the latest on the pandemic, the

crisis has produced some new household names in America like 79-year- old Dr. Anthony Fauci, Tony. And as Jeanne Moos reports, Dr. Fauci now has a new claim to fame.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He doesn't mince words.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: That's thoroughly preposterous, untrue and actually ridiculous.

MOOS: He's not one to applaud his own work, and he probably would hide his face if presented with the latest token of love for Dr. Anthony Fauci.

JUSTIN ROTHSHANK, NEW ENGLAND TOY: We feel that he is a superhero in our company.

MOOS: And a superhero gets a cape emblazoned with a mask and a "f" for Fauci. Fauci socks already have a toe hold. A pair of them with a stuffed Fauci. And New England Toy Company usually makes plush characters. But with part of the proceeds going to charity, prepare for a cuddly version of the doctor.


ROTHSHANK: He just looks like everybody's grandfather.

MOOS: Fauci fans can drink from a handmade mug that one owner calls his cup of reassurance. Advance orders for this have been so strong that the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame says it's their bestselling bobblehead ever. With a $25 price tag, 5 bucks goes towards protective gear. Already they've presented a check --


MOOS: -- to the American Hospital Association. Front line workers get their dose of love daily at 7 p.m. when New Yorkers clap to show they care. They even got a New York, New York sing along.

And transportation workers got their horns tooted midafternoon Thursday.

But this look of love had everyone swooning. Two nurse anesthetist, a married couple, had bickered on their way to work at Tampa General Hospital. This is the moment between surgeries when they locked eyes and made up. Mindy Brock told the "AP," what's important is that we stick together and not just Ben and I, but the human race right now. They're not letting coronavirus stress burst their bubble.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


ALLEN: Oh, that picture says so much. Love ending on that one. Thank you so much for watching. I'm Natalie Allen. More news after this with my colleague, Robyn Curnow. Take care.