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NEW DAY

Georgia to Reopen Some Businesses; Kim Jong-un in Ill Health; New Deal Stimulus Package; Coronavirus Impact on Children's Health. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired April 21, 2020 - 06:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[06:30:00]

MAYOR BO DOROUGH, ALBANY, GEORGIA: We remain at capacity. Our hospital has been under stress and I and our medical staff and health care providers have done so and will continue to do so. But the fact that there are available beds throughout the state is somewhat misleading.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: How much warning were your given about this decision that it would be coming so soon?

DOROUGH: Well, of course, there was anticipation. I think the general assumption was that the governor would lift most of the restrictions effective April 30th when the shelter in place ordinance expired. But what the governor has done without saying it is essentially rescind the shelter in place ordinance because reopening these businesses is completely inconsistent with the shelter in place approach.

BERMAN: How worried are you, Mayor?

DOROUGH: I'm very worried. As I said, I -- I am seeing here in Albany positive trends. Our hospital is discharging patients. More patients than admitting, which we were advised early on that would be the point where we saw the light at the end of the tunnel.

The virus hit us harder and earlier than anywhere else in the state. And I am hoping that we have past the peak. But then you read about the possibility of a second wave and I am obviously concerned about that and, likewise, I am very upset that we are -- have been constrained from taking precautions to protect our citizens.

BERMAN: Mayor Bo Dorough, we thank you for being with us this morning. We wish you the best of luck in the coming days.

DOROUGH: Thank you for having me. Good day.

BERMAN: So, serious questions this morning about the health of North Korean Dictator Kim Jong-un. We are told he's in a dangerous, dangerous health situation. The latest on his condition next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:35:55] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We've had breaking news overnight.

The U.S. is monitoring intelligence that suggests North Korea's dictator, Kim Jong-un, is in, quote, grave danger after undergoing some kind of surgery. Speculation about Kim Jong-un's health began when he missed this huge national celebration of his grandfather's birthday last week.

Joining us now is North Korea expert Gordon Chang. He's a columnist for "The Daily Beast" and author of "Nuclear Showdown: North Korea Takes on the World."

Gordon, we have some video of this big, national celebration for Kim Jong-un's grandfather where he is supposed to be there front and center. He is absent. What does this tell us, if anything?

GORDON CHANG, AUTHOR, "NUCLEAR SHOWDOWN: NORTH KOREA TAKES ON THE WORLD": It tells us that Kim Jong-un is in serious condition because, first of all, this is the most important day in the North Korean calendar, the celebration of the birth of regime founder Kim Il-sung. And also Kim Jong-un, unlike his father, loves the limelight, so everyone expected him to be there, and that means that because he wasn't, it's got to be something quite grave.

CAMEROTA: We know that his health is not great. I mean we can just sort of see that with our own eyes. He's overweight. He sometimes uses a cane. I understand he's a heavy smoker. Do we know anything else about his health?

CHANG: Well, we know that in 2014 he disappeared for six weeks because of gout. There is a belief that he's got diabetes, his legs aren't very strong. That -- for instance, that ride up Mt. Pecktu (ph), both in August and December of last year on the white horse, that really supposed to have strained him and weakened his health. So we shouldn't be surprised by these reports that he's had cardiac surgery. There are reports that foreign doctors came in and may have given him coronavirus and that is going to complicate his situation.

CAMEROTA: Is that right? So there are reports -- that's really interesting. So it is possible that foreigners came into North Korea and brought coronavirus. I mean is that just speculation or is there some reason to believe that he might be suffering from coronavirus right now?

CHANG: Well, that is speculation. But there have been reports to that effect, which are unconfirmed, that the doctors came in, in February. And that would make sense, Alisyn, because that was a time when coronavirus was raging and countries did not quite know the full extent of the problem. So doctors coming in from either Europe or China could very well have carried the disease.

CAMEROTA: So if Kim Jong-un is incapacitated, who takes over?

CHANG: That's a great question because there is no obvious successor. The most capable individual is his younger sister, Kim Yo-jong. And normally she would be the one leading things, but in a confusion influenced society like North Korea's regime, she's at a disadvantage. But she's gotten a lot of titles recently. She's supposed to have the absolute confidence of her brother. And so I think that she would be the regent, in effect, during a period of incapacity.

CAMEROTA: And what if he dies?

CHANG: Then there's turmoil because you've got to remember, Kim Jong- un had two years or two and a half years of succession planning. His father, Kim Jong-il, had two decades of succession planning. Whoever takes over has had no succession planning.

There's got to be a Kim family member there somewhere to give legitimacy to the regime. They call it the Paektu bloodline. But that person is going to be ill prepared. And Kim Jong-un's brother, who would normally be the person, is -- just did not get the dictator gene. And Kim's child is a 10-year-old girl from all indications. Of course she's not ready either.

CAMEROTA: But what does not get the dictator gene mean? Why is the brother ill-suited for this?

CHANG: He has apparently no interest in governing. His main interest is going to Eric Clapton concerts, as people have talked about. He's not considered to be very tough as an individual.

[06:40:03]

So that's why his father did not pick him, even though he was older than Kim Jong-un.

CAMEROTA: We're -- Gordon --

CHANG: Kim Jong-un really had a predilection to being a ruthless despite.

CAMEROTA: Very quickly, we only have a few seconds, if Kim Jong-un dies, would we even know?

CHANG: We wouldn't know for a little while. It -- we didn't know for two days when his father died. I think that this time the period would be much longer because there would be more uncertainty this time.

CAMEROTA: Gordon Chang, we really appreciate your expertise. Thank you very much.

CHANG: Thanks, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: OK, a deal for a second round of small business relief appears to be eminent. Why this package will be better somehow for the mom and pop businesses that need it most. We'll look into that.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: This morning, the White House and Democrats appear to be closer to a $450 billion deal to help small businesses and expand coronavirus testing. A vote in the Senate could take place as soon as today.

[06:45:00]

Joining me now, CNN anchor and correspondent Julia Chatterley and CNN chief business correspondent Christine Romans.

Romans, what is in this deal and how close are we, really?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's more money. You know, they've had to fill up the tank here for small business and there's been so much criticism of how the first round of funding went, they need to get it out there quickly.

You know, speed was actually kind of the enemy of precision in that first round. Now we're hearing all kinds of reports of small business who simply were shut out and big publicly traded companies that were awarded -- were awarded some of these loans. So they've got to get more money out there, but they're going to have to have some oversight to make sure that it's a little less tarnished than last time.

BERMAN: Right, speed is one thing, judgement is another, Julia. There are now questions about who got so much of this money, including many publicly traded companies that are worth over $100 million. That doesn't exactly sound like the mom and pop small business we were led to believe.

JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: I know. And thousands of employees as well. Remember, every business of all shapes and sizes is trying to protect their workers here. And these big listed companies did nothing wrong. They did perfectly legal things by getting access to this money. But the argument here is that it's immoral.

The risk here, though, and it goes to exactly what Christine was saying, if a portion of this cash is restricted, given to just the smaller lenders, that's going to mean the Small Business Administration has to mess with its models and the application process again. So it could slow the process down.

But the delicate balancing act here is clear. And for the millions of businesses on the other side of this, small ones, they remain -- you know, they remain waiting.

BERMAN: One of the sticking points in the negotiating rooms at this point, number one, is that the oversight issue to make sure that money gets out to some of the smaller people and also Democrats want a national testing strategy.

What does that mean?

ROMANS: Yes, so, Nancy Pelosi, the House speaker, you know, has said that she wants money and a national strategy for testing here. Even as some of these states are starting to loosen up, by the way. And that's something that the White House and Republicans have said should be -- should be left to the states. So you're seeing some quibbling, some haggling here over what a testing strategy is going to look like. And the idea, how come these are linked? Well, the idea is that before

you can open up the economy, you have to have testing and you have to have a plan and a national strategy for testing, the Democrats and Nancy Pelosi say is the way to open up the economy.

BERMAN: All right, Julia, can we talk about what I think is one of the most stunning economic phenomena that I have ever seen, which was yesterday for a time --

ROMANS: Wow.

BERMAN: Oil futures were negative, which means that oil producers would pay you to take their oil somehow. What does this tell us?

CHATTERLEY: Yes. Oil producers paying buyers to take the money physically off their hands. It tells us a few things. One, that we're driving less, we're flying less, so the demand for oil we know is far lower than it's ever been. We know there's still lots of supply despite that big oil producer deal.

And the big fear yesterday was that in the United States we are simply running out of places to store the oil that we're producing. It's got huge implications for jobs in states like Texas, in North Dakota when we see oil prices this low.

What it doesn't mean, though, is that when you try and fill up your gas at this -- the pump that you're going to be paid to do so.

BERMAN: No, you have to have a place to put 100 million barrels of oil --

CHATTERLEY: Yes.

BERMAN: Which is not your, you know, your Prius gas tank.

Romans, it was interesting to me, I read a lot of these producers, you can't just stop pumping the oil, which is part of the problem.

ROMANS: Right. It's so interesting because it shows the world is upside down here, right? I mean the world usually runs on oil. Oil is so valuable it's called black gold. And yesterday it was worth less than zero, right? And so these producers, at this point, are just trying to find a place to put this stuff and they'll pay you to take it from you.

You -- usually when you have oil prices that fall, that means gas prices fall, and that's good for consumers. But this story is not good for consumers. This is -- this is a demand situation where lower gas prices aren't going to cause people to drive more or take more trips. I mean this is a very unusual -- I just keep saying it's upside down. The world is upside down. Coronavirus has turned us upside down.

BERMAN: Christine Romans, Julia Chatterley, thanks so much for this. Really appreciate it.

So as the pandemic continues, as people continue to stay at home, what is the toll being taken by kids across the country? There are new concerns about mental health. We're joined by a pediatrician to talk about this, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:53:35]

CAMEROTA: Children have mostly been spared from the worst effects of the coronavirus, but the virus is still having a major impact on their health. One New York City pediatrician tells CNN that parents are avoiding bringing their kids to the doctor for other illnesses and for their standard vaccinations.

Joining us now is Dr. Edith Bracho-Sanchez. She's a primary care pediatrician and assistant professor of pediatrics at Columbia University's Irving Medical Center.

Doctor, I just want to read a little bit of your op-ed that's on CNN that everybody can -- can read. It says, our offices, the emergency room, previously place where's parents found solace and reassurance, are now seen as dangerous. On any given day, about half of scheduled infants come into our office for vaccines. And illnesses and injuries for which parents would have previously sought medical care promptly are now advancing and worsening at home.

So, I mean, that's obviously one of the unintended consequences of everyone trying to keep their kids safe. But what do you mean that illnesses and injuries are getting worse at home? Can you give us some examples of what you're seeing?

DR. EDITH BRACHO-SANCHEZ, ASST. PROFESSOR OF PEDIATRICS, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY IRVING MEDICAL CENTER: Of course. That's exactly right, Alisyn, we're getting really worried in that parents are waiting at home, sometimes for too long. We're seeing, for example, burns that happen at home at this time where kids are home and parents, rather than going into an emergency room or coming into our offices right away are deciding to wait at home.

[06:55:00]

We've seen some of these conditions worsen. And then we're in a worse place than we would have been had they called us and had we worked out a safe way for them to be seen in the office.

CAMEROTA: One of the cruel ironies, of course, is that at this moment, when we are all so desperate for a vaccine to stop the coronavirus, parents are now skipping vaccinating their children for all of the other diseases. And so what's the upshot of that?

BRACHO-SANCHEZ: And the -- and the consequence of it, Alisyn, is that at the other end of this pandemic, we might start to see outbreaks of vaccine preventable illnesses. Those illnesses like measles, like mumps, like rubella, like the flu for which we have vaccines because parents are too afraid in this moment to go into our office and get vaccinated. CAMEROTA: But, I mean, I understand the fear of not wanting to go to a

doctor's office right now. I feel it too. And so is it safe to bring your child into a doctor's office where there may be other sick kids or sick parents?

BRACHO-SANCHEZ: Alisyn, it is safe. And the message for parents that are listening this morning is, work with us. Pediatricians in this country are going out of their way. We're getting very, very creative to keep an environment that is safe in our offices, where kids can come in and not be exposed to Covid-19. So, work with us. Call us. Ask us about the measures that we have taken. And keep vaccinating your kids. We really don't want to be in a worst place coming out of this pandemic.

CAMEROTA: Let's talk about the mental health of children, because we don't talk about it much. We think that they are generally spared from coronavirus, except that, of course, they're around in the climate, around all of the adults who are stressed. So what are you seeing?

BRACHO-SANCHEZ: Alisyn, I treat immigrants, minority, low-income families in New York City. And these families, in many cases, live many generations to one household, right? So imagine that you're a child in this household and you're being told to stay inside because there's a virus that's hurting (ph) everyone out there.

And then you still have to see your mom going out because your mom works in a grocery store, because your mom works in cleaning services. And so your mom is going out into this danger. And the next thing your grandma starts coughing and has a fever.

And I've seen this happen. Grandma passes away. And now you, as a child, have a mild cough and run in nose, which is the symptoms that we're seeing in children. So imagine what this is doing to the emotional well-being of these children. And it is no wonder that kids are starting to act out, they are starting to show symptoms of anxiety, of depression. And so we really, really have to start thinking creatively about how we address some of these things.

CAMEROTA: And can you just give us some tips for parents out there who may have stressed out children?

BRACHO-SANCHEZ: Absolutely. So remember, first of all, that anxiety and depression in kids doesn't always manifest in the way that it manifests in adults. We're expecting kids that are anxious, that are looking sad.

And sometimes kids just act out and that is their sign that something is wrong. And the first thing you want to do is open the lines of communication. I know that it is hard because parents are stressed themselves, but you really want to ask, you really want to listen and you want to give age-appropriate information, always speak to your kids with the truth.

CAMEROTA: Doctor Bracho-Sanchez, we really appreciate you beginning to light all of these consequences for children that we hadn't necessarily thought of. Thank you very much for all of the information.

BRACHO-SANCHEZ: Thank you, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: So we have some major developments on the coronavirus, as well as breaking news out of North Korea. NEW DAY continues right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Georgia getting ready to reopen during the Covid-19 pandemic.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're probably going to see our cases continue to go up, but we're a lot better prepared for that now than we were over a month ago.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He has not spoken to anybody here in the city of Savannah. What we can do, and we're doing here, is that we're encouraging people to follow common sense.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that the worst is yet to come for a lot of people.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are hearing leader Kim Jong-un could be in grave danger.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Five days ago Kim was notably absent from a ceremony honoring his grandfather.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Such a small group of people in North Korea actually have first-hand knowledge about Kim Jong-un's movements, let alone his health condition.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

CAMEROTA: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY.

We begin with the gamble being taken by some U.S. governors. Even with the national death toll from coronavirus doubling in just one week, some states are relaxing many social distancing restrictions.

So, this Friday, in Georgia, gyms, bowling alleys, hair and nail salons, massage therapists, even tattoo parlors can reopen. Theaters there and restaurants can reopen on Monday.

South Carolina is already reopening their retail shops.

Then there's Tennessee, Texas, and Alaska that plan to reopen later this week.

[07:00:00]

None of these states has seen a 14-day decline in cases, which was one of the guidelines from the Trump administration.