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World Series Champ Launches Campaign; Small Businesses Struggle to Access Funds; Coronavirus Pandemic Update from Around the World; Answers to Coronavirus Questions. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired April 22, 2020 - 08:30   ET




JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Ryan Zimmerman and the Washington Nationals are supposed to be on the field tonight, or they were, defending their World Series title. Instead, with the season still on hold, the two- time all-star going to bat for healthcare workers, Zimmerman and his wife have launched the Pros for Heroes Campaign.

Ryan and Heather Zimmerman join me now.

Thank you so much for being with us this morning. And, Ryan, I have to say, look, I wish you were playing baseball tonight also. I can't tell you how much I miss it. But there are ways in which what you're doing now, you know, even more important.

So tell me about the campaign and what its goal is.


Yes, we started Pros for Heroes, gosh, I guess only a week ago. One of our family friends here in Virginia, the husband's a doctor, and we kind of just asked him what's, you know, what's the most needed thing now for healthcare workers? And the first and easiest thing he said was meals. And that's kind of how we started doing it. Easter weekend, Heather and I gave $150 meals a day to this specific ICU unit that was getting hit the most with Covid cases. And then last weekend we ramped that up to 500 meals. And, you know, we kind of have been able to do this with a collection of athletes around the D.C. area that have jumped on board and, you know, we've had over 1,400 people donate just in this area.

So it's been -- it's been fun to see the support from the community and, you know, anything we can do to help these front line healthcare workers is huge right now.

BERMAN: And you've been trying to make contact with them when and how you can, which sometimes means Zoom conversations. I want to play some of that.


R. ZIMMERMAN: Hey, guys. Hope you guys are doing OK.


R. ZIMMERMAN: Happy Easter to everybody!

CROWD: Happy Easter!

R. ZIMMERMAN: Heather and I just wanted to say thank you for all that you're doing.


BERMAN: So, Heather, you've said this is emotional for both of you, moments like that. And that Ryan even gets choked up. Talk to us about that.

HEATHER ZIMMERMAN, WIFE OF RYAN ZIMMERMAN: Yes, I mean, this -- you know, this all initially started because we were sitting at home and we're obviously safe and we're wondering what we can do to help. And you're hearing about these healthcare workers every day on the front lines who they are literally the only people with a set of skills to be able to assist Covid patients.

So to be able to put a face with those names that you're hearing about or just reading about in the newspaper is really special and you know that -- that five minutes of time that you're seeing these people on the zoom calls is the quick reprieve in their -- in their day or in their 12-hour shift until they have to jump back into something else. We were on a call the other day where they actually got a trauma call right at the end of the Zoom call.

So it's -- yes, it's very emotional and -- but it helps. It makes you feel like you're doing something for them.

BERMAN: They got a trauma call, Ryan, right at the end of the Zoom call. What is that like?

R. ZIMMERMAN: Yes, it was actually -- we had Nicholas Backstrom from The Capital and Ryan Kerrigan from the Redskins on with us just to kind of say hi and, you know, everyone was happy and then all of a sudden you hear these beeps and one of the nurses says, well, there's a trauma call. So I think it shows you how real this is and, you know, as athletes, you know, I was talking to a couple of my buddies around the area and we all wanted to do something. There was just really nothing set up.

So, you know, we thought about doing this. And a lot of these guys have jumped on. And it's kind of become a coalition that, you know, hopefully we can have spread nationally if it keeps going like it's been going.

BERMAN: Let's hope. Let's also hope that at some point we see you back on the baseball field. And there have been a lot of things discussed at the Major League level right now. One of the things discussed as recently as last night, there were reports that, you know, maybe play in three different cities in indoor stadiums with no fans.

How comfortable with you be, Ryan, going back and playing in an empty stadium?

R. ZIMMERMAN: Yes, I mean, playing in an empty stadium would be interesting to say the least. I think a lot of us feed off of the energy of the fans.

You know, at this point, we're all already to play. And I think, honestly, a lot of Americans want to see sports on TV. There's no doubt it could be, you know, a good outlet with people stuck in their house to have something to watch.

But, you know, first and foremost, I think, obviously, the people involved need to be safe. But, you know, all of America needs to be safe. You know, sports are entertainment and, you know, that's what we're made to do, but I think a lot of this is bigger than sports.

So we have to make sure, you know, 100 percent certainty that nobody -- nobody could get hurt or nobody could get infected and pass it along.


And, you know, it's hard to say if you can do that now.

So, we'll see what happens. I think it's all being done in good faith. But, you know, I think -- I think it's a big undertaking.

BERMAN: Heather, how would you feel about that? I know you have your third child on the way and congratulations on that. But one of the things that's being discussed is somehow sequestering the players in hotels, maybe even separate from their families for months.

H. ZIMMERMAN: Yes, it would be super strange. I -- and like Ryan said, I mean, I get the urgency, the sense of urgency to start up sports again. It would give something -- give people something to do while they're at home. But it is -- it's tough to imagine being here with -- I am lucky, we live here year round, so I've got -- I've got some parents and friends that can help out. But I'll be here at home with three kids and no husband. And with -- I mean when he goes on a road trip for 10 or 11 days, it's a lot. So to imagine him going on the road for two, three, four months would be kind of crazy to even envision.

BERMAN: Listen, Heather Zimmerman, Ryan Zimmerman, we thank you for what you're doing. Thanks so much for being with us this morning. Congratulations on the World Series title and we look forward to seeing you play.

Congratulations, most importantly, on the coming baby.

H. ZIMMERMAN: Thanks so much.

R. ZIMMERMAN: Thank you so much. Thanks for having us.

BERMAN: All right, so many small business owners say they were left empty handed by a government loan program that ran out of money.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are -- we employ people. We make things move. And to be hung out to dry like this and totally forgotten about.


BERMAN: More from them, next.



CAMEROTA: The House is expected to vote tomorrow on the $485 billion relief package for small businesses. It was just passed by the Senate. Many of those small businesses are owned by women who say they are struggling to get that government relief money.

CNN's Vanessa Yurkevich has more.



VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): When the Paycheck Protection Program was announced, Stephanie Caudle knew she needed to be first in line.

STEPHANIE CAUDLE: I set my alarm that night for 11:55 so at 12:00 it went live and I applied. The site didn't crash for me, so I thought that the odds were in my favor.

YURKEVICH (on camera): And did you get the PPP loan?

CAUDLE: No, I did not get approved.

YURKEVICH (voice over): Coddle runs Black Girl Group out of her home in Atlanta, connecting women of color freelancers with other businesses. She's one of the thousands of small business owners around the country who were left empty handed when the first $350 billion Paycheck Protection Program ran dry.

CAUDLE: I was going to use the Paycheck Protection loan money to be able to provide somewhat of a freelance stimulus fund for my freelancers.

YURKEVICH: Congress says more money is on the way, but the first round sent tens of millions of dollars to bigger, publicly traded companies, like Potbelly, Ruth's Chris and Shake Shack. These companies say this money will support their employees. Still, Shake Shack returned its loan. CAUDLE: I've heard about big restaurant chains being able to get

money. And it sucks because it's just like, they already have access to so much capital, but people like me, who am -- I am a small business owner, we don't have that same access to funding.

YURKEVICH: In New York, the epicenter of Covid-19, there are more small businesses than anywhere else in the country. Helana Natt runs the Greater New York Chamber of Commerce.

HELANA NATT, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, GREATER NEW YORK CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: The frustration that was out there was that the big clients of the big banks got the money. I have 3,300 members and I have a database that I speak to regularly. And only one person has.

YURKEVICH: Julia Testa owns one of those New York small businesses that didn't get funded. For of the seven employees at her flower shop are out of a job.

JULIA TESTA, OWNER, JULIA TESTA DESIGNS: You just feel like, as a small business owner, we run the economy. That we are -- we employ people. We make things move. And to be hung out to dry like this and totally forgotten about is just -- it makes us feel -- makes me feel unappreciative.

YURKEVICH: Women in the U.S. have been hit hard by the pandemic, making up nearly 60 percent of job losses in March. And women own 42 percent of all small businesses.

But these female business owners say they're not discouraged. In fact, they say they will apply to any future rounds of PPP, but offer this advice.

TESTA: Maybe like when you see an application for Ruth's Chris, maybe you rationally think, like, you know, do they need it or does Julia Testa Flowers with seven employees need the money?

CAUDLE: I just ask them to please, please, please do everything that they possibly can to help us because we're in need, not in the next year, we are in need now. And we're counting on them to be able to survive.


YURKEVICH: Now, it's just not about the money, it's also about the implementation of the this money. Many small businesses that I've spoken to say they don't have the same access or relationships with these banks that help process these loans, so they never feel like they truly get to the top of the line, John.

And when we're talking about small businesses, we are talking about maybe a handful of employees that these owners have. And they simply don't have the cushion, the financial cushion to keep going. Many say they have months if not weeks until they have to be making very serious decisions about whether or not to close their doors.

John. BERMAN: I think that's exactly right, there is no cushion for these companies. They could not afford to have it go wrong the first time. Let's hope they get what they need now.

Vanessa Yurkevich, great report. Thank you very much.

The government in the United Kingdom under scrutiny for its response to the pandemic. CNN has reporters around the world bringing you the latest developments.



Tough questions for the government today. The Office of National Statistics say that the government's daily death toll figures are being underreported, that the real figure may be more than 14 percent higher.

Also emerging, details that virus test kits given to healthcare workers have been flawed, meaning that doctors and nurses have arrived on hospital wards when they may, in fact, be coronavirus positive.

[08:45:10] . Finger-pointing inside the government. A senior civil servants saying that it was a political decision not to join an EU consortium to purchase much needed ventilators, subsequently back-tracking his statement.

Questions today. Prime minister's question time in government, his deputy, Dominic Raab, the first secretary of state, standing in for that.

FRED PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Fred Pleitgen in Castile (ph), Germany, where several European automakers are once again ramping up their production. Volkswagen, like the plant here in Castle (ph), is leading the charge, opening several factories this week alone. Now, the workers here have to work under extremely strict health and safety regulations and Germany says that it got the coronavirus pandemic under control through extensive testing and also a dramatic increase in ICU capacities.

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Scott Mclean in Madrid, where after more than five weeks under a lockdown, the government had promised more freedom for children beginning next week. Though kids who had visions of playing with their friends at the park may have been sorely disappointed.

Initially, the loosened restrictions would have only allowed kids to go to the parents to the store or pharmacy, though after public criticism they were further loosened to allow kids it go for walks.

And despite a decline in death toll and a ramped up testing capacity, today the Spanish parliament is expected to approve an extension of the stay at home order until May 9th.


CAMEROTA: Our thanks to our reporters around the world.

And there are more developments on coronavirus.

Here's what to watch today.


ON SCREEN TEXT: Soon, New York Gov. Cuomo briefing.

2:00 p.m. ET, Ohio Gov. DeWine briefing.

5:00 p.m. ET, White House task force briefing.




CAMEROTA: We've been asking you to send us your questions about coronavirus and CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta keeps coming back to answer them, sometimes against his better judgment.


CAMEROTA: But not today, Sanjay. Not today. These are all great questions.

This comes from Rick. He wants to know, is there data that compares people infected with coronavirus who had previously received a flu vaccine to those who didn't get one and is their recovery different?

GUPTA: Yes, that's a great question. Different virus, even though these are both viruses, there's not really any correlation between having received the flu vaccine and whether that's protective against the coronavirus. But you should very much get a -- get a flu vaccine.

Quick point, Alisyn, I remember you and I talking about this some time ago, but less than -- fewer than half the adults in the United States last year got the flu vaccine. Now as we talk about the fall and the potential idea that both coronavirus and flu could happen at the same time, one thing that would really help is if people do get their flu shot this year in terms of decreasing that because, you know, if you can decrease the number of flu cases, you'll take the strain off the hospitals and reduce the amplitude of that second wave.

CAMEROTA: I'm going to run to get mine this year, run.

GUPTA: I'll go with you.


BERMAN: So, Sanjay, as our audience can tell, you've been cutting your own hair. But doing a very nice job.

GUPTA: Wow (ph).

BERMAN: This question -- this question is from doctor -- from a Dr. Kishore who writes, is it safe to go to a barber for a haircut. If unsafe, what precautions should the barber take and what precautions should I take?

GUPTA: Well, two things I need to say. One is that, you know, my wife has helped cut my hair off and on for the last 20 years, since I was a resident in neurosurgery, and she does a pretty good job. And it's a lot of the clippers, but my hair's pretty easy to cut, I guess. She does --

CAMEROTA: It looks fabulous.

GUPTA: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: It looks great.

GUPTA: You can't -- yes, you can't keep a safe social distance when you're getting your hair cut. I mean this should, you know, be common sense to people at this point. And we -- we are all in this together, so we're all learning together. But there's certain things that are just true. So, you know, I mean for a period of time, not forever, you want to do things that maintain a significant physical distance.

We may get to the point where people can get such rapid testing that we can know if people are infected or not. And that would help in terms of people being able to go out and do things like haircuts. But we're not at that point. We're not at that point here in Georgia or in -- really any place in the country. Hopefully we get there, but we're not there yet.

CAMEROTA: OK, this comes from Deb in Dover, Pennsylvania. At the White House briefings it's often mentioned that the U.S. has done more testing than any other country. Is that true? Wouldn't it be more accurate to compare testing numbers by the amount of tests administered per million people?

GUPTA: Great question, great point. And the answer is, yes. I mean, you know, this is just a sample size issue. You want to basically get a large enough sample size for the data to be meaningful.

And, you know what, I don't care about other countries, frankly. You know, we -- we keep saying, well, we're doing more than other countries. That -- it doesn't matter. That doesn't matter. There are countries that are doing better than us and there are countries that are doing worse than us in terms of testing.

What matters right now here is here. And what we know is that we need to be doing way more testing than we're doing. Maybe a million or so tests a day. I think we're around 150,000, 160,000 a day. And the reason you want to do that much testing is you get a better idea of where the virus is, how it's spreading and how to contain it. This is a solvable problem, OK? I want to make this clear. We have the

strategies to be able to contain this virus. It's not going to be easy, but we know how to do it.

BERMAN: All right, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thank you very much, as always. Terrific questions this morning. Really appreciate it.



BERMAN: We have two quick programming notes.

Alicia Keys joins CNN for the world premiere of her new song dedicated to the heroes on the front lines of the pandemic. Be sure to watch our special coronavirus global town hall tomorrow night at 8:00 p.m.

CAMEROTA: And CNN is teaming up with "Sesame Street" for a special town hall on Saturday morning. This is at 9:00 a.m. Eastern. Sanjay and Erica Hill will be joined by Elmo, Big Bird, Abbie and Grover to tackle your family's questions. So you can go to to submit your questions, particularly for Grover.

BERMAN: Yes, well, Snuffleupagus will be a three anchor format here on this show on Friday.

I always say you're my imaginary friend as it is.

CAMEROTA: It's true. I never see you, like Snuffleupagus.

BERMAN: Uh-huh.

CAMEROTA: All right, on that note, CNN's coronavirus coverage continues, next.