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Trump Backs Protester Pushing for States to Reopen; Governors Say There Aren't Enough Test to Reopen; Brazilian President Attends Rally to End Quarantine; Mexican Health Official Downplays Pandemic; At Least 16 Dead in Canadian Shooting Rampage; Human Trafficking Increasing Amid Pandemic; Actors Kunis and Kutcher Launch Charity Wine. Aired 4:30-5a ET
Aired April 20, 2020 - 04:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. You are watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Rosemary Church.
Let's check the headlines this hour. More than 3/4 of a million people have been infected with COVID-19 in the United States. That's almost a third of the world's cases, far more than any other country. The death toll in the U.S. now stands at more than 40,000.
The U.S. President says he will compel a company to make swabs under the Defense Production Act. Donald Trump says he's invoking the measures after running into, quote, a little difficulty with the manufacturer. Sources tell CNN he's talking about the main based Puritan Medical Products. The move comes as the U.S. looks to source more swabs for coronavirus testing.
And a deal to bring further financial relief to American small businesses could come as soon as Monday. That's in just a few hours from now. President Trump and the Treasury Secretary say they're very close to reaching an agreement with Congress. The bill would bring about $300 billion in additional funding for small businesses as well as extra funding for hospitals and testing.
Well, governors across the U.S. say they need more tests before they can safely reopen. The White House says they have plenty. Natasha Chen looks at the state of the nation right now.
NATASHA CHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's been 50 days since the first coronavirus death in the U.S. Tonight, that death toll is more than 40,000. Nearly doubled from one week ago. Yet with 22 million people who filed for unemployment in the last month there are increasing calls for and indications of Americas soon reopening. Florida is reopening beaches, Texas is ruling out plans to soon resume commerce, and people are protesting in several states against stay-at- home orders.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Freedom and liberty. We're losing it.
CHEN: President Trump is itching to reopen America.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We are going to start to open our country.
CHEN: Not just a reboot an economy and freefall, but with his poll numbers sliding and an election just months away, to resume a treasured pastime.
TRUMP: I hope we can do rallies. It's great for the country, it's great spirit. It's for a lot of things.
CHEN: But Trump has acknowledged it's the governors who are the authorities when it comes to reopening society.
TRUMP: The governors will be empowered to tailor and approach that meets the diverse circumstances of their own states. Every state is very different.
CHEN: And many of those governors from both parties have said it won't be safe to reopen until the Trump administration extends them one critical lifeline.
ROY COOPER, NORTH CAROLINA GOVERNOR: More help is needed from the federal government on testing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We simply have not had enough test kits.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We governors are doing the best we can with what we've got.
ANDREW CUOMO, NEW YORK GOVERNOR: The president doesn't want to help on testing.
CHEN: Trump fired back, calling the governors complainers and saying he's already created, quote, tremendous capacity when it comes to testing.
TRUMP: They do not want to use all of the capacity that we've created. The governors know that. The Democratic governors know that. They are the ones that are complaining.
CHEN: Republican governors have been sounding the alarm too.
LARRY HOGAN, MARYLAND GOVERNOR: But to try to push this off to say that the governors have plenty of testing and they should get to work on testing somehow, we aren't doing our job, it's just absolutely false.
CHEN: And just a day after Trump sent a trio of tweets urging his supporters to, quote, liberate Minnesota, Michigan, and Virginia, all states governed by Democrats.
He supported the actions of the protesters who have chosen to disregard social distancing measures while millions more heed the expert's advice and stay at home.
TRUMP: I just think that some of the governors have gotten carried away.
CHEN: Offering only blame, instead of the assistance governors say they so desperately need.
CUOMO: Don't pass the buck without passing the bucks.
CHEN (on camera): Already we're starting to see one state planning to reopen some things this week. According to the Charleston, South Carolina paper the "Post and Courier," the governor there is expected to announce tomorrow that beachgoers and visitors will be allowed public access to rivers and lakes, and that retail stores that have been closed for two weeks will be allowed to start accepting customers purchasing clothing, furniture, and jewelry according to the new order.
CHURCH: Well, a new poll by NBC News and "The Wall Street Journal" shows most American voters, 58 percent, are worried the government will loosen stay-at-home restrictions too soon. That's compared with 32 percent who are more concerned the U.S. will take too long to loosen restrictions which will harm the economy.
While most world leaders are doing their best to lead their country through this pandemic, Brazil's President, it seems, is just one of the crowd. Jair Bolsonaro joined a rally Sunday, calling for an end to quarantine measures. He was there without a mask coughing at times while addressing hundreds of supporters. The President fired his health minister last week after weeks of disputes over the isolation measures which have been imposed by state governors. Mr. Bolsonaro has insisted the economic fallout should not be worse than the virus itself. Brazil has the most confirmed cases in Latin America with more than 38,000 reported.
Well, meantime, Mexico's deputy health minister is downplaying the coronavirus outbreak in an interview to "The Wall Street Journal." Despite confirming over 700 new cases on Sunday. As CNN's Matt Rivers reports the government's attitude towards the pandemic is shifting public opinion.
MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Over the last six weeks or so, President Lopez Obrador's administration has received some criticism from people who say that the administration's response to this outbreak, in terms of putting in place the kind of preventive measures that experts say would help slow the spread of this virus, but they didn't do it fast enough. And there's some talk of that again today that thanks to an interview given by the Deputy Health Secretary here in Mexico, who is leading this country's fight against the coronavirus.
Deputy Health Secretary, Lopez-Gatell, spoke to "The Wall Street Journal" and, in that interview, he basically says that he's not convinced that this particular pandemic is any more lethal than an ordinary influenza outbreak.
He said, in part, quote, I don't know yet. The W.H.O. says it could be 10 times that of influenza, but I think we need to see more evidence.
Now, the Deputy Health Secretary is certainly right when he says that it is too early to know, ultimately, what the death rate will be as a result of this virus. But there are a lot of epidemiologists who would disagree with him and would say that this outbreak is more lethal than an ordinary influenza outbreak. But no matter who is right, ultimately, there, what's clear is that what Mexican public health officials are saying will help shape public opinion here in Mexico.
So I've spoken to several Mexicans, lots of Mexicans over the past several weeks, and some of them have expressed to me that they don't think, they say -- I was speaking to a security guard yesterday who said to me that he's been listening to what the government has to say, and he's looking at the numbers. And he doesn't think that this virus is as bad as, let's say, the media, in his opinion, says it is.
Now, to be fair, the Deputy Health Secretary has always said this is a serious issue, that people need to stay at home, that people need to socially distance. But at the same time, when he says things publicly like that he's not sure that this pandemic is any worse than an ordinary influenza outbreak, that can help shape the opinion, not of all Mexicans, but of some Mexicans that perhaps they're -- you know, they don't need to take this threat of this virus as seriously as they probably should.
Matt Rivers, CNN, Mexico City.
CHURCH: And you are watching CNN NEWSROOM. Still to come, 16 people are dead after a shooting rampage in Canada. We will have the latest on the investigation.
Plus, human trafficking may be increasing during the coronavirus pandemic. We will bring in a specialist to learn why the global crisis makes victims more vulnerable.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUSTIN TRUDEAU, CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER: My heart goes out to everyone affected in what is a terrible situation. I want to thank the police for their hard work and people for cooperating with authorities.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: That's Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaking at a news conference after a horrific shooting rampage in Nova Scotia. Police say at least 16 people were killed. The shooting began late Saturday night in a small town of Portapique. The suspected gunman led police on a chase that ended more than 90 kilometers away in Enfield on Sunday morning. CNN's Paula Newton has the details.
PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Canadian police really describe this as a reign of terror that went on for more than 12 hours. The 911 calls started to come in late Saturday night. Police say they went to one property and saw several people -- several victims both inside and outside the property.
But at the same time, they saw lots of fires in that area and in other areas, in some cases dozens of miles apart. They were trying to attend to all of these multiple crime scenes. And at the same time, there was a manhunt on for a local businessman. People say they had no indication that anybody would try and attempt this kind of a rampage in what is really a rural and very quiet community.
The manhunt continued throughout the night. People terrified already, already in lockdown, were told to really barricade themselves in the basement if they had one and to look out for this man. He was said to be perhaps wearing some type of an RCMP uniform -- a police uniform -- and perhaps in a police car.
Police point out that this means that these acts were in some way, shape or form premediated. They also say that in terms of the victims, that he may have known some of them but others, the acts really looked senseless and absolutely random.
They finally tracked the suspect down at a gas station. They won't say exactly how he died but do confirm that he is, in fact, deceased.
Now, the heartbreak will be coming in the next few days. But one personal story already.
RCMP lost Constable Heidi Stevenson, a veteran of 23 years, a mother of two.
And this is in the middle of this pandemic where people cannot even properly mourn -- just trying to process all of this. Certainly, it will be one of Canada's worst mass killings in history. And really, a national tragedy which will be so difficult for that community and for the entire country, really, to cope with given what so many are already dealing with.
Paula Newton, CNN, Ottawa.
(END VIDEOTAPE) CHURCH: And we all know the COVID-19 pandemic is having a terrible financial impact, but it's also causing a surge in human trafficking. According to the coalition to abolish slavery and trafficking, during a crisis, traffickers take advantage of people's fears and vulnerabilities and in many cases the traffickers are close to the victims. And now many of them are sheltering in the same place as their abusers with fewer ways to get help.
CHURCH: Kay Buck joins me now. She is the CEO of Cast L.A., the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking. Thank you so much for talking with us.
KAY BUCK, CEO, COALITION TO ABOLISH SLAVERY AND TRAFFICKING: Thank you, Rosemary.
CHURCH: Now your organization helps victims of human trafficking. So what impact has the COVID-19 pandemic had on your operations and of course on the victims of trafficking?
BUCK: Well, you know, during a local or global crisis, human trafficking victims are one of the most vulnerable groups. And because of existing barriers to safety and housing, access to health care and employment, they are even more vulnerable now in this pandemic.
So a pandemic is actually a time when traffickers who see human trafficking as a business, take advantage of people's fears and vulnerabilities and then coerce them into forced labor and commercial sex. So, you know, more than 80 percent of survivors coming to us today for emergency services are homeless. And now because of COVID they are running not only from traffickers but also from the coronavirus.
CHURCH: Right, and I wanted to ask you about that because I wanted to get an idea of what these perpetrators of human trafficking crimes are doing. How are they taking advantage of their victims in the midst of this pandemic? How are they changing their strategies? And who are these people?
BUCK: Well, traffickers are changing their strategies. However, they also still are putting their victims on the streets. In fact, just yesterday, Rosemary, my staff was in south Los Angeles and there was a case of a young woman who was being trafficked and she was able to get this away. And someone that she had run into on that street gave her our hotline number and she was able to call it and my staff then jumped into action and was able to get her a Lyft ride to a safe place where we were able to help her.
So on one hand traffickers are using the same strategies, ignoring all of the public health precautions. And on the other hand, we believe that more trafficking will be taken online. So we have to get prepared.
CHURCH: And what happens to those women who have to shelter in place with either the human traffickers or their abusers, sometimes of course that's one and the same? BUCK: Exactly. You know, because of the safer at home or shelter in
place orders, victims are trapped in place with traffickers. They might be family members, boyfriends or roommates or employers, and that makes them even more vulnerable to extreme abuse. Human trafficking victims are actually not safer at home and they really need shelter and services immediately.
The problem is that finding safety is much harder right now because there's few places where victims can go for help. We used to find -- identify a lot of victims in the health care system. They would go to hospitals because they felt that it was a safer place to go instead of law enforcement. And so now that the hospitals are being used for testing and, you know, dealing with the coronavirus, more victims don't have a place to go.
Another example is victims used to go to neighbors or nearby businesses and so I think it's really important right now that we get the word out that hotlines are available. Human service organizations that are essential businesses are still open and victims do have a place to go for help.
CHURCH: Absolutely. Kay Buck, thank you so much for talking with us. We appreciate it.
BUCK: Thank you.
CHURCH: Well, in Israel hundreds of people held a massive rally to protest the policies of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Demonstrators filled the streets of Tel Aviv Sunday all while practicing social distancing measures. Some held signs condemning what they considered an erosion of democracy in the country. Others urged Mr. Netanyahu's rival party not to join a coalition with the Prime Minister who currently faces corruption charges.
And you're watching CNN NEWSROOM. Hollywood stars Ashton Kutcher and Mela Kunis are raising money for the fight against COVID-19. And you can take part by raising a glass. We'll explain on the other side of the break.
CHURCH: Well, a U.K. couple had a surprise guest at their wedding when they held the ceremony online. Friends and family had gathered for a Zoom video call due, of course, to the pandemic.
And when it came time for the first dance, the NHS nurse and her newlywed husband were treated to a special performance by British singer, Ellie Goulding. Take a look.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To sing your first dance song we present Ellie Goulding.
ELLIE GOULDING, BRITISH SINGER: So, congratulations, Harvey and Hailey and you're both just heroes. And we all love you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: What about that? Very memorable. And if you find yourself stuck indoors because of the coronavirus pandemic and like to indulge in a little bit of wine, Hollywood stars Mela Kunis and Ashton Kutcher have an option for you and it's for a good cause.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MILA KUNIS, CREATOR, QUARANTINE WINE: We had fun testing the wine and it was delicious. But 100 percent of the profits would go to charities.
ASHTON KUTCHER, ACTOR: Charities, yes, that's why I would say, here's a toast to you and to everything you're doing.
KUNIS: Oh, and it's like an interactive wine. So you can write, you can quarantine wine with other people.
Kutcher: Oh, yes, and then share on your socials and then just #quarantinewine or #socialdistancing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: There you go. The husband and wife pal couple have launched a charity wine call Quarantine Wine. It's a Pinot Noir from Oregon. And the couple says all of the profits will go to organizations fighting COVID-19. Great stuff.
And thanks for your company. Stay home. Stay safe. Stay strong. I'm Rosemary Church. CNN NEWSROOM continues next with Robyn Curnow.