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U.S. Surpasses 700K Cases; U.S. States Grapple With Reopening; No Current Specific Treatment For COVID-19; U.K. Launches Vaccine Task Force; Over Half U.S. Schools Shut For A Year; Some Inmates Released To Curb Virus; Trump Administration Seeks Another $250B For Small Businesses; Some Florida Beaches Reopen; Music In The Lockdown Age. Aired 5-6a ET

Aired April 18, 2020 - 05:00   ET




NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): President Trump promises more coronavirus testing, while getting testy with some governors in his push to reopen America.

Also ahead this hour, hundreds of thousands of small businesses in the U.S. are hanging by a thread after a lifeline of money ran out.

What now?

Plus, the future of live music. Two of New Orleans' finest artists join me live. How they plan to keep you dancing through it all. Got to keep the music going.

Hello, everyone, live from CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta. Welcome to our viewers here in the U.S. and around the world. I'm Natalie Allen. CNN NEWSROOM starts right now.


ALLEN: 5:00 a.m. here on the U.S. East Coast. Thanks so much for joining us.

The United States is entering the weekend with a battle over when and how to reopen the country as the number of reported inspections and deaths soar. Data tracked by Johns Hopkins University shows the U.S. with more than 706,000 cases and more than 37,000 deaths. That is not stopping talk of phased reopenings. Adequate testing is key for it all to work. And President Trump says the resources are there.


TRUMP: We have tremendous unused capability within those laboratories. And I hope the governors are going to be able to use them. The governors are responsible for testing. And I hope they're able to use this tremendous amount of available capacity that we have.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ALLEN: But the CDC director under former president Barack Obama disagrees that the onus should be on the states or that testing has been anything but lacking.


DR. THOMAS FRIEDEN, FORMER DIRECTOR, CDC: It is absolutely the federal government's responsibility. Currently, we're doing, in this country, less than 150,000 tests a day.

Earlier today, we released a report and we calculated quite simply if we were just testing the highest priority people and nobody else, we'd need about three times as many tests.

And since we're also testing some lower priority people, we're going to need more than that. And if we tried to test really extensively, it would be 10 to 20 times that.

This comes as President Trump is lashing out at several governors, all Democrats tweeting liberate, Virginia, Michigan and Minnesota. That prompted this response from Virginia's chief executive.


ALLEN: This comes as President Trump is lashing out at several governors, all Democrats tweeting, LIBERATE Virginia, Michigan and Minnesota. That prompted this response from Virginia's chief executive.


GOV. RALPH NORTHAM (D-VA): I would just simply say that, as the governor of the commonwealth of Virginia, I, along with this staff, is fighting a biological war. I do not have time to involve myself in Twitter wars. I will continue to make sure that I do everything the I can to keep Virginians safe and to save lives.


ALLEN: So that is where the nation stands, with surging deaths, testing concerns and Twitter insults from the president. And despite it all, a growing pressure to open states up. Our Nick Watt has more about it.


NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Huntington Beach, California. A protest march complete with Trump 2020 flags. Similar scenes also other parts of the country. They are calling for the country to open up again.

Jacksonville, Florida. They just reopened the beaches. The crowds came. Immediately. Many completely ignoring the social distancing guidelines that are still supposed to be in place.


MAYOR LENNY CURRY (R-FL): Folks, this can be the beginning of the path way back to normal life. Please respect and follow these limitations.


WATT: In Texas State, parks will open Monday. A week from now, stores can open for pickup only. But.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: School classrooms are closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year.


WATT: Governors not the president will be calling the shots.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We must get this right. Because the stakes are very high.


WATT: Some saying we're just not there yet.


The fact of the matter is, it's better to be six feet apart than six feet under. And that is the whole point of this. We've got to save lives. Every one matters.


WATT: There were also protests against stay home orders in Michigan. And today the president tweeted liberate Michigan.



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think elements of what they've done is too much.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): You have to develop a testing capacity. That does not now exist. We cannot do it without federal help.

MICHAEL PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our best scientists and health experts assess that states today have enough tests to implement the criteria of phase one. If they choose to do so.


WATT: Reopening will be regional.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Opening some states and not others it's a little bit like, you know, somebody said to me it's a little bit like having peeing section in the swimming pool.


WATT: Some neighboring states are coordinating. A new bloc just formed in the middle of the country. And let's not forget there are still thousands of healthcare workers on the front lines.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a lot of sick patients. Multi organ failure.


WATT: Still too many lives in the balance.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And this patient here, it's a pregnant patient whose a, unfortunately on the verge of being intubated and was trying to save her.


WATT: Here in California, the governor says we are now in the midst of a pandemic induced recession. Look at LAX. Normally, one of the busiest airports in the world, not a plane in the sky. The governor will not say when he will reopen the California economy. He says that will depend on the science -- Nick Watt, CNN, Los Angeles.


ALLEN: Right now, there is no approved therapy for the COVID-19. But there are more than 100 trials underway. Several involve an older drug called remdesivir. It is an antiviral that was once tested on Ebola. Remdesivir is currently the subject of a couple of studies at the University of Chicago. A principal investigator says it's early but she's optimistic.


DR. LEILA HOJAT, UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL CLEVELAND MEDICAL CENTER: We had a lot of our patients improving and going home. And I think we're all really pleased to see that. At this point, if that's related to the study drug or not but we're expecting results on that a little later this month.


ALLEN: However, there are concerns about the methodology used in one of those studies, as an infectious disease specialist explains here.


DR. CELINE GOUNDER, CLINICAL ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, NYU SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: Let's say you have 100 people who had the flu. I'm going to have half of those people eat carrots for five days and half eat carrots for 10 days. Everybody had the flu and some got better and we were pretty happy about that.

That's basically the level of evidence that you're getting from the Chicago study. It's literally some of the patients got five days of remdesivir. Some got 10 days. These were not the sickest patients, the ones on ventilators. They're not patients with underlying medical conditions.

So, one, we did not really have a control group to prove this was the drug having the effect. And secondly, the very group that most need treatments, the sickest people that were least likely to survive, were excluded from the study.


ALLEN: All right. So here is what we know about remdesivir. It's an antiviral medication made by Gilead Sciences. It is administered intravenously and tricks the virus by mimicking its building blocks. It's an investigational drug and not approved in any country for use. And it was developed in 2014 for the Ebola epidemic and has also had some success in treating MERS and SARS in animals.

Those two viruses are similar to COVID-19. Let's talk with professor emeritus Keith Neal, he studies infectious diseases at Nottingham University and comes to us from Derby, England.

Good morning to you. Thanks for coming on.


ALLEN: From what you know about the drug remdesivir, are you encouraged?

NEAL: I think some of the signs are encouraging. What's really worrying me is what most countries haven't done in United Kingdom, that's that we're entering people in proper randomized clinical controlled trials. We give it to some ill patients and they continued to get better, it's no proof that it's doing any good.

And it doesn't identify any side effects. I think we've recruited over 5,000 patients into a number of different nationwide trials in the United Kingdom, looking at early and late treatments of different drugs.

Given the speed of the illness and people who will get better in a week or two, we should have results relatively early on. And it's a pity this hasn't been done in other countries beforehand.


ALLEN: Well, how can that happen?

How can you grow these trials? NEAL: Because we have a National Health Service, which is able to coordinate things nationally. It has advantages and disadvantages, having a centralized system. And this is one of the advantages of a centralized system.

ALLEN: I want to talk to you about the numbers here, over 2 million cases worldwide and close to 154,000 deaths, with no treatment yet, let's talk about the particulars about this disease that patients say might be mystifying. They often lose their sense of taste, smell, there are hallucinations, they're lethargic. We hear about the crushing persistent fever and the fact that it's all over the place and not the same for any individual patient.

What's curious to you about that aspect?

NEAL: The only thing that's actually surprising is the loss of taste and smell which is not too unusual, given coronaviruses often cause common colds. That causes inflammation in the nose. Our sense of smell would therefore be affected and the sense of taste is strongly linked to the sense of smell.

Having a wide range of symptoms for any particular disease is totally well recognized, certainly common influenza, we know that many people go through the influenza season, catch the flu and actually never have any symptoms they recognize in retrospect, because we can prove they have the flu with antibodies.

At the same time, people of the same age can actually be killed by the virus, so a whole range of symptoms is not unusual. I think what we don't see at the moment is the number of people who are asymptomatic, which has been studied recently in a New York City hospital with screening all pregnant women coming in.

With the high rate of infection, although New York City has been a hot spot, over three-quarters never had a fever. We thought pregnancy was an increased risk.

ALLEN: Another aspect in this defined. Let's talk about still the lack of testing in the U.K. and in the U.S., of course, both are seeing horrific numbers of cases and deaths. The U.S. president is encouraging states to reopen.

But what if the foot is off the gas too soon with social distancing, considering there's not a treatment or widespread testing?

NEAL: I think testing is -- the role of testing is to identify patients for contact tracing. What we've done in the United Kingdom to bypass not having enough resources to test at the current moment of all patients for symptoms, was asking them to self-isolate and for their household contacts to self-isolate, which is what we would do if they were found to be positive. I'm not sure if the States are more aware of that.

ALLEN: We appreciate your insights and your expertise so much, Professor Keith Neal, we hope you'll come on again. Thank you, sir.

NEAL: Thank you.

ALLEN: Well, there are fears the United Kingdom will be the hardest hit country in Europe because of the government's strategy at the beginning of the pandemic. National Health Service providers say there's a critical shortage of clinical gowns. They say they tried to get emergency deliveries from other countries but it was too late.

Those countries had also run out of personal protective equipment for doctors. The U.K. is one of the most affected countries when it comes to the deadly virus. And the British government is trying to catch up.


ALOK SHARMA, BRITISH BUSINESS SECRETARY: I can announce today that the government has set up a vaccines task force to coordinate the efforts of government, academia and industry towards a single goal. To accelerate the development of a coronavirus vaccine. This task force is up and running and aims to ensure that a vaccine is made available to the public as quickly as possible.


ALLEN: The U.K. has been showing its appreciation to health care workers like here in Scotland with the sound of bagpipes. But some doctors are saying they need that equipment more than cheers. We get it.

Nina dos Santos is joining us from London.

Good morning to you, Nina. While they try and scramble for the health care workers, there's also a move afoot for a vaccine there.

What can you tell us?



DOS SANTOS: What they're trying to do, as you heard from the business secretary there, his job it was to announce this task force, is try to leverage the expertise that they have both in the field of academia and industry also well. Remember, U.K. is home to very large pharmaceutical groups like AstraZeneca and the big behemoth, GlaxoSmithKline. Both have proven track records for vaccines that are effective and safe.

The government putting $17 million, 14 million pounds that is into our currency here into this task force. Some academics question whether more money is needed for that but that's a conversation for later.

They've also accelerated building a specific testing facility although the government's chief scientific adviser did caution if anybody is expecting this to be available just around the corner, it may well be on the other side of the summer, many months from now.

Scientists at Oxford University are working on a vaccine as well as those here in London at Imperial College, who indicate they may have something ready by summer. By the fall, any vaccine and any mass testing will be crucial to wind down the lockdown and turn back the economy into action, Natalie.

ALLEN: That would be the one huge breakthrough, would it not. Nina, it's still incredible that the U.K. is having trouble with gowns for the front line health workers and they're also behind in testing. What's the latest on that?

DOS SANTOS: Both of these two issues have been massive embarrassments to the government here. What we learned, through the night, is Public Health England which is the body that sets the guidelines for nurses and doctors, those really here on the front lines here facing the highest risks of contracting the coronavirus, some of them have lost their lives. They were advised to reuse their PPE, personal protective equipment.

We're talking about the visors, the masks and also the protective gowns that nurses use to protect themselves from aerosol droplets, when they have to do procedures, for instance, getting ventilators to patients. That's a very risky procedure.

And the U.K. may well run out of gowns early as this weekend. One of the questions that the U.K. has is the devolved system here in the U.K. means that some parts of the country, like Scotland and also Wales, have the right to set their own public health standards.

And some of those parts of the country have enough supplies. So the big question is why is it that one part of the bulk of the country, why is it that a large swath of this nation is facing shortages and other parts of the country have been able to organize themselves seemingly better?

On the front of antibody testing kids, there's embarrassment there that the government says it aims to test 100,000 people per day in this country. We learned on Friday that the capacity remains at 38,000. And not even 38,000 people on Friday were tested.

So that is a big concern here. As I was saying before, vaccines and mass testing a way to unlocking the lockdown that we've seen that will now be in place three weeks from now. But even before that to save more lives, especially on the front line, more protective equipment will be needed -- Natalie.

ALLEN: Absolutely. We appreciate you reporting for us this morning. Nina dos Santos in London.

Next here, trapped behind bars during a pandemic. When we return, we report on how jails and prisons are using a new strategy to contain the spread of the virus.

Also President Trump wants schools in the U.S. to open as soon as possible.

How possible is that? And before we go to break, look and listen to this Japanese violinist pay tribute to health workers, patients and volunteers, from a hospital roof in Italy.



ALLEN (voice-over): Yokoyama studied in Cremona, which has been ravaged by the virus. At the home of the Stradivarius violin, music like this is very special here. An exhausted doctor said he got goose bumps just listening and, for a moment, he felt good.






TRUMP: I think the schools are going to be open soon. I think a lot of governors are already talking about schools being open.


ALLEN: That's Mr. Trump's response to the prospect of schools being opened, as parents prepare for a possible return to work. But there is a disconnect between what he said and what local governments are doing.

At least 27 U.S. states have shut their schools for the rest of the academic year. Iowa, Illinois, Hawaii, Maryland and Texas joined that list on Friday.

Here in the U.S., jails and prisons are releasing some nonviolent offenders. They're hoping it will help contain the spread of the coronavirus. In Chicago, the Cook County Jail has reduced its population by nearly 25 percent. CNN's Omar Jimenez takes a look at the impact.


OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Inside America's jails and prisons, there's a high risk for the coronavirus to spread and nowhere for it to go.

In Chicago's Cook County Jail, that potential was realized in just a matter of weeks, growing from only a few confirmed coronavirus cases in late March to a number in the hundreds, infecting both detainees and employees and killing three detainees.

[05:25:00] JIMENEZ (voice-over): It meant employing new strategies, including reducing the jail's overall population by releasing people awaiting trial and those serving time for nonviolent offenses.

KIMBERLY FOXX, COOK COUNTY STATE'S ATTORNEY: We've been able to reduce the population in the jail in the course four weeks by almost 25 percent.

JIMENEZ: So this has already had a pretty big impact?

FOXX: We want to make sure we're creating conditions whereby people who don't need to be there aren't there and the people who are there have optimal conditions for their health and safety.

JIMENEZ: One of the jail's main tactic was literally creating a quarantine boot camp, it's where those who were infected or suspected to be are taken and it's where they stay, separate from the jail's general population.

JIMENEZ (voice-over): Hundreds of beds laid out in an attempt to slow the spread and stop an already bad situation from getting worse.

TOM DART, COOK COUNTY SHERIFF: Now for the people who aren't infected, how do we maintain that?

Boy, that's tricky.

JIMENEZ (voice-over): In a statement to CNN, the Cook County Sheriff's Office says hundreds of gallons of bleach and disinfectant is distributed throughout the jail weekly as well as masks and other protective gear.

But the types of issues at Cook County Jail are not exactly unique. That's why the U.S. Justice Department's inspector general is now launching a review on its federal prisons, where, throughout this pandemic, over a dozen inmates have died and hundreds more have gotten sick.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're battling a threat here that is unseen. That's not normally for anyone, certainly isn't normal for us.

JIMENEZ (voice-over): Back in Chicago, the specific populations affected are emblematic of a reality that already existed. Over 70 percent of the jail's population is black and black Chicagoans account for more than 60 percent of all coronavirus deaths in the city, despite only making up about 30 percent of the population.

And while many at the Cook County Jail have recovered, the elevated risk for spread is as high as ever. Continuing stories shared by jails and prisons across the United States. I'm Omar Jimenez, CNN, Chicago.


ALLEN: So many small businesses in the U.S. fighting for survival as the virus overwhelms the economy. We'll have their stories as Congress stands divided. Also are beaches and parks considered essential during a pandemic?

The answer might depend on where you live. We'll tell you how two U.S. states are handling their beaches right after this.





ALLEN: Welcome back to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. 5:30 am Here in Atlanta, Georgia. I'm Natalie Allen. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. Here are our top stories.


ALLEN: U.S. lawmakers are scrambling to save small businesses, trying to secure another $250 billion for loans after tens of thousands of businesses were told they were out of luck. A $349 billion loan fund from the stimulus plan was quickly tapped out. Our Phil Mattingly has that story.


PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN U.S. CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Millions of small businesses are hanging by a thread as the coronavirus continues to devastate the U.S. economy.

MICHAEL CERBELLI, CERBELLI CREATIVE: Our industry is hurting right now.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): A financial lifeline signed into law to help them has officially been severed. Michael Cerbelli has been producing corporate and social events for 43 years. He's committed to paying his seven employees through the crisis.

CERBELLI: For the past 30 days we've been busting our butts, taking everything from the back burner, bringing it to the front, working hard, preparing with our clients. But now, I've got to tell you, today, I'm a little scared.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): But the Small Business Administration has now exhausted its $349 billion paycheck protection program, leaving lenders and borrowers alike to see this message. In just 13 days, the agency approved more loans than it had in the 14 years prior combined.

It underscores the level of urgency and devastation that small business owners like Cerbelli currently face, also the limbo they find themselves in.

CERBELLI: I turned to my bank today and excuse me English but I said, am I screwed?

Am I getting the short end of the stick?

They said, unfortunately, you're still in the queue. You've never made it to that next phase.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): More than 800,000 applications were awaiting approval when the funds ran out. Those business owners have no idea what comes next and their eyes are on Congress.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: Every Senate Republican is ready to act today. Today. But Democrats have not let us reopen the program.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): But Republicans and Democrats are locked in a stalemate as they try to add funds to the program, Republicans pushing for an immediate and clean additional $250 billion, Democrats blocking that effort and countering. There are other urgent needs as well.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), MINORITY LEADER: It's vital we help small business but if we don't deal with the testing and health care problems and the local government problems, small business may have enough money to get back. But people won't go out on the streets.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): For small business owners, the details of that negotiation and how it ends up are the least of their worries. They just want a resolution.

CERBELLI: We are asking you to please remember us, the live events industry. The caterers, the hospitality people that bring life to the world.


CERBELLI: We are not celebrating right now. We are asking just for help.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): Phil Mattingly, CNN, Washington.


ALLEN: Well, the U.S. president is trying to blame Democrats for the country's economic troubles. He is accusing them of not working to approve more money for the next stimulus measure.

The current bailout gave money to individuals and created a loan program for small businesses but that money quickly ran out. Now lawmakers are pushing for a new influx of cash and President Trump says he's on board.



TRUMP: Nobody knew it was going to be the successful. When you said the money is gone, it has been a tremendous success as a program.

People really want it. Some people will not be able to keep their businesses open unless they get this money. It has been a tremendous success. It has been executed flawlessly. With a few exceptions, it has been good.

I think that the Democrats are going to do it. Nancy Pelosi, she is away on vacation or something. She should come back. She should come back and get this done. I don't know why she is not coming back. The fact is, she's not doing her job. There's nothing unusual about that for her.


ALLEN: The Democrats have actually been fighting for hospital states and local governments to be included in the program. Here's Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi put it.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), HOUSE SPEAKER: We want to have more money for small business. We believe in that. The entrepreneurial spirit of America is still important. But it also important for to us have more funds for those on the front lines, the health care workers, police, fire, EMS folks and all of those who really need help, as they try to save lives.


ALLEN: Closing down beaches has been a big issue in this pandemic. The governor of Hawaii has ordered all state-owned beaches to close until the end of the month, to combat the virus. People are allowed to swim and surf, as long as they follow social distancing rules but they may not sun bathe or play in the sand, got it. The governor also said certain activities like boating and hiking are OK, as long as it's just two people or relatives who live together.

In parts of Florida, though, it is a different story. Jacksonville has opened its beaches and parks with some restrictions. CNN's Randi Kaye tells us what happened when the barriers came down there.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When the beaches opened at 5:00, it was a mad dash for the ocean. People had been lined up on the streets. And when police gave the all-clear, they flooded the beach area. There were bikers, surfers, swimmers. People came to fish. They came to run. They came to walk.

They brought their dogs to the beach. There really was no hint at all that we were in the middle of a pandemic from the scene on the beach.

We know that the Jacksonville mayor, Lenny Curry, is saying all of these recreational activities are considered essential activities. He says that is in line with Florida governor Ron DeSantis' executive order. So that should be allowed to continue.

He is limiting the hours, 6:00 am to 11:00 am in the morning. And again, 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm In the evening. During the day, the hours of the beach will be closed.

We did talk to a lot of people and we asked them how they felt about the beaches being open. They were very excited. They said they've been cooped up for months since the beaches closed here March 20th. But they also noticed that a lot of people were not social distancing on the beach.

We saw people sitting in the sun, sunbathing, gathering in small groups, having coolers, laying on their blankets. That is something that the mayor said cannot go on. He wants people to continue to social distance.

We did see one police officer who went up to a couple and did ask them to get up, because they weren't allowed to just hang out on the beach unless they were doing something like exercise. So that was happening.

We also didn't see very many people wearing masks for protection on the beach. So it will be interesting to see how long this continues, if this is allowed to continue here in this area because it seems as though the social distancing guidelines are not fully being followed here on the beach, as far as we could see on the first day. We'll see what happens from here -- Randi Kaye, CNN, Jacksonville Beach, Florida.


ALLEN: Well, musicians are coping with the pandemic like everyone. Taylor Swift, she's canceling concerts and calling it quits for now. It makes sense.

But what do you do if you bought tickets?

A couple of New Orleans' biggest acts are promising to play on virtually. We will talk to the lead singers of Big Sam's Funky Nation and Cowboy Mouth. They're live with us right after this.





ALLEN: Can't stop the music. This is music in the age of coronavirus. The biggest stars performing from home, social distancing like the rest of us.

Los Angeles says don't expect to see big concerts or sporting events until 2021. That hurts. Other cities say the same. Taylor Swift has also announced that she will be canceling her concerts for the rest of the year, one of dozens of acts to do so.

So what happens to those tickets?

Well, talk concert promoter Live Nation is offering "concert cash," up to 150 percent of the ticket value, we're told.

The virus has hit the U.S. state of Louisiana quite hard and it forced New Orleans to cancel its popular Jazz Fest and Voodoo Music Fest. When you think of New Orleans, Mardi Gras, Bourbon Street, music and gumbo, it's all there. And you can count Big Sam's Funky Nation and Cowboy Mouth among those, the city treasures.


ALLEN: Oh, yes, now both bands have gone from packing houses to virtual concerts.



ALLEN: All right. We are joined by Fred LeBlanc from Cowboy Mouth and Big Sam Williams of Big Sam's Funky Nation.

Gentlemen, I don't know if this is morning or if you're still up. But thank you for being with us this morning.

How are you doing?


ALLEN: I'm doing well. I just want to say shout out, I'm from Memphis, my family is from the Mississippi Delta. Huge music freak. Love the blues. Thank you so much, both of you.

You probably knew Jazz Fest was going to be cancelled.

But when you heard it, you know, how does that make you feel about where the city is with all of this, Sam?

Let's start with you.

WILLIAMS: It's pretty devastating. You know, that's one of the biggest shows we do a year. You know, we have some of the fan, you know, rely on us to come get the New Orleans (INAUDIBLE). So people plan out every -- you know, (INAUDIBLE) people planning tickets for the next year, then the next year.

So to have something like that, a staple of the city, in the country and the world, people come from all over the world to the Jazz Fest just to have it cancelled this year is pretty devastating. But it's probably for the best.


WILLIAMS: Better safe than sorry, you know.

ALLEN: Yes, has to be.

Fred, where are you with this? FRED LEBLANC, LEAD SINGER, COWBOY MOUTH: I'm on the same page as Sam, you know. It's probably not a bad idea to postpone it until next year.

Am I happy about it?

No, of course not. Like Sam said, it's the biggest event in New Orleans all year around and we all base our lives around it. We all base our jobs around it. It's got to be a pretty substantial hit financially, I know for Sam and myself. But it's not about what you lose. It's about making sure that next year kicks a whole lot of musical booty.

WILLIAMS: Exactly.

ALLEN: Everybody will be making comebacks from festivals to sports arenas, won't they?


LEBLANC: You know, after Katrina, you know, the thing about it was, everybody was feeling very down and everything like that. Once everything got rolling again, it was the greatest party ever.


ALLEN: Talk about that, Sam. You know, it was hardly -- no one could hardly believe that New Orleans could come back. And it really did after Katrina.

WILLIAMS: Oh, yes, we came back in full force. You know, like we never left. I actually played that first game back in the Superdome, the Saints played (INAUDIBLE) and Green Day, we did that collaboration in that field. It was absolutely amazing. We'd love to again, you know, we can't wait again after outside is reopen. You know. So can't wait to hit the streets.

ALLEN: What are you going to be doing meantime?

Because musicians are inherently creative. We know that people are livestreaming music shows. They have a cyber tip jar. I will give to your cyber tip jar if you have one.

WILLIAMS: Thank you.

ALLEN: Sam, what are you planning?

WILLIAMS: I have two large trainings every week. Wednesday-Thursday and a Sunday type brunch thing. They're both pretty early. Central time. Wednesday, I'll start at noon, on Sunday I'll start at 11:00 am. Check it out, Big Sam's Funky Nation on Facebook. I have all of my videos there.

Some of the clips you have right now, that's where they come from. If you want to check it out, check it out. We have a tip jar, too. Go to the Facebook page and get the rest of it.

ALLEN: Sounds wonderful.

And, Fred, your concerts are like rallies. We also want to say that you're a children's book author.

LEBLANC: Thank you.

ALLEN: What are you planning to do this year to, you know, stay engaged with your fans?

LEBLANC: Well, right now, we're trying to figure out ways to where we can perform live together on Facebook. And a lot of that depends on technology.

I've been doing a lot of Facebook live concerts, acoustic concerts, and fans have really responded really well. I got like 40,000 on my latest. I'm doing one Sunday evening. I do them every few days.

But you know, it's important that, you know, that I remember that, our fans are going through exactly what we're going through, too. And it's as much an encouragement session as it is entertainment. You can find it, Cowboy Mouth Facebook. Everything will go through there and it's all about keeping the spirit alive. Keeping the spirit of the American worker alive because that's the backbone of this country, baby.

ALLEN: That's it. You guys really have the only original culture, Creole-Cajun culture in the United States. We want to hear from you as much as you probably want to be engaged with folks.


LEBLANC: Put it this way, as soon as the leash is off of all of us and as soon as we're not hamstrung anymore, it's going to be the greatest time ever.

WILLIAMS: That's right.

ALLEN: Jazz Fest will set records when it is restored. We'll be seeing you online.

LEBLANC: Do very well, Sam.

WILLIAMS: Will do, man. Tell the (INAUDIBLE) what's happening.

ALLEN: All right, you guys are the best. Fred LeBlanc of Cowboy Mouth and Big Sam of Big Sam's Funky Nation. We really appreciate it, guys. Take good care.


ALLEN: Stay safe. Yes, you, too.

All right, next here, mission accomplished. And yes, salute retired Captain Tom Moore. That's Tom. The British veteran raised more money to fight COVID than he could believe and took a profitable stroll. We'll share that story next.




ALLEN: Whenever you think one person cannot make a difference, well, you think about Tom Moore. We've been telling you for the past couple of days about the 99-year-old British war veteran. Captain Moore has raised a stunning amount.


ALLEN: It's now approaching $28 million for the U.K.'s National Health Service. He also achieved his goal of walking 100 laps in his garden before he turns 100 years ago old at the end of this month. He told our Hala Gorani he is blown away by the amount he's raised.


CAPT. TOM MOORE, BRITISH ARMY VETERAN: I'm absolutely overwhelmed by this sum of money. May I remind you that in American dollars, it's even bigger. And we really -- we never, ever thought we would get to this source of money, which started off with a little modest figure, we made 1,000 pounds.


ALLEN: How about that?

The pledges are still pouring in. The money will go to a charity that helps hospital staff, volunteers and patients affected by the pandemic. From a 99-year-old British war veteran.

How about that one?

All right. Well, some dogs seemed to have gotten into this physical distancing thing pretty effortlessly. Check this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Excellent. Great to see you guys.

I'll ask you, how tough has it been during this quarantine for you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I understand. That makes sense.

Any suggestions at all?

Great contribution to the meeting.


ALLEN: That's so funny. U.S. college mascot dogs there, chatting over Zoom. You play have recognized the husky from UConn and Butler Blue, the fourth or Butler University there. The canines seemed to have loss interest in the meeting when a doorbell rang. Someone delivering food. Thanks for being creative, everybody, on Zoom. Thank you for watching

CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Natalie Allen. I'll see you here in 24 hours. "NEW DAY" is just ahead.