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Inside Wuhan After Lockdown; Unemployment Numbers for Last Week; Answers to your Coronavirus Questions. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired April 23, 2020 - 08:30   ET

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


[08:30:00]

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Types of businesses. Are you seeing them open and what's the result been?

DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When I saw that in the U.S., John, I decided to kind of spend the day with my team and go around and get a feel for how businesses were operating here. I want to show you some video because as you drive through some streets, what you're going to notice is that for every store that's open, you've got one, maybe two, that are still closed. They've got the steel garage door-like shutters coming down and they -- and they have remained closed from the lockdown three months ago until this day.

And then you do have some that have found a new way of opening. So those businesses will be like fast food, for example, those restaurants, even Starbucks or McDonald's, or Burger King, what they're doing is they are keeping customers out of the physical store, they've set up a table in front of their storefronts and even some local convenience stores have done the same thing where you can go up, you don't touch anything, you point out what you want, they'll bring it to you. Because of how electronic payments work here, everything's done on the phone, so you're not handing over a credit card or cash. It's all done at a safe distance is how they perceive it. But they also even have markings on the ground as to where you're not to encroach going into the stores.

I think also, though, you contrast that with the sense of normalcy that is coming back in some places. So while you have places like gyms and cinemas that aren't going to be opening for the near future here in Wuhan, you have certain procedures that have changed. And even -- yes, I can tell you, a hair salon, for example, they have decided to buffer each customer, one person comes in, an hour, and then the next person comes in. And in that hour in between, they do a full sanitation. So that's how some of these places have decided to reopen under this new normal as some have said it.

But going to a park today, if you can see some of this video, this was interesting for us to see. You saw people who were out really just enjoying each other's company, somewhat keeping a close -- a safe social distance, but some were getting rather close. I mean they just wanted, I think, to take in a nice spring-like day. And I think for some it's reassuring to see that. But then you have these levels of complacency, as I've kind of accessed it, where you have some who are extremely complacent and have even pulled down their masks to enjoy a meal outside and will touch their mask a good amount, and then you have others who will still wear the full PPE gear from head to toe, the scrubs type, and then covered in the hazmat suit, wearing the goggles, wearing the mask, wearing the gloves.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, David, yesterday you showed us the process of you getting tested. So have you gotten your results back yet?

CULVER: Ah, yes, we actually just picked those up. I can show you what that video looked like, if folks are wondering. That was when we made a really easy appointment, actually. It was pretty straightforward. As soon as we got here, the hotel helped us make it. And we were able to connect with a local hospital, go in there, and for me it was just a throat swab. The same for my whole team. And then they told us within 24 hours we'd get the results. And it was very efficient. We were in and out within ten minutes. And we did get our results.

And so it's nice to know that, yes, we're negative, that's great to have and it's reassuring for us as a team because if any one of us had gotten a positive result, the reality is we all likely would have been in government quarantine because we would have been around confirmed cases, right? You've been exposed to that. So they would have had a reason to quarantine all of us.

So this will allow me, for the next seven days, no more than that, to move pretty freely within certain parts of China. So, for example, if I were to go back to Shanghai, I could do that without too much trouble.

CAMEROTA: Wow. Well, we're happy to hear that. We're happy to hear that you're healthy and have gotten the all-clear on your test results.

And, David, thanks so much for sharing all of your reporting. It's really helpful for us to see.

CULVER: All right, thanks, guys.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BERMAN: All right, we do have breaking news.

Just getting these aerials of tornado damage in Polk County, Texas. This is north of Houston. A tornado touching down there overnight. As you can see, the damage is extensive. At least three people were killed. As many as 30 injured. That storm was part of a series of tornados that also ripped through parts of Oklahoma and Louisiana. A total of six people were killed.

CAMEROTA: OK, we'll obviously keep an eye on that, John.

We also have the new unemployment numbers. They have just come out. So we will bring you the breaking news, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:38:19]

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

CAMEROTA: OK, we do have breaking news.

The Labor Department has just released unemployment figures for last week.

CNN chief business correspondent Christine Romans has the numbers.

So, Christine, tell us what they are.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Just another awful week, 4.4 million jobs, 4.4 million people filed for the first time for unemployment benefits in the week. And when you look at the last five weeks, more than 26 million people, 26.4 million people have gone to their state unemployment offices or websites and filed for the first time for jobless benefits.

To put that into context, the pandemic has wiped away all of the jobs created, all the job gains since the Great Recession. And just in these past five weeks, some 16 percent of the labor market have filed for unemployment benefits.

This is essentially a job market that is broken. This is what it looks like when you stay at home. You've got all these people losing their jobs and waiting, in wait mode now, to see what the next move will be and when the economy can start to reopen. The hope, of course, is that this is temporary, but we just don't know the next moves.

CAMEROTA: And so is that the unemployment rate right now, 16 percent you're saying, and what's the historical context for that?

ROMANS: The unemployment would be -- I mean, look, this -- we clearly have an unemployment rate today that is the highest it's been since the Great Depression. This is far worse than the Great Recession. This is worse than 1982. No real playbook for it as well. I mean there are some concerns that the economic figures aren't even capturing all the people who have been sidelined by this just yet.

CAMEROTA: I want to bring in Julia Chatterley, CNN anchor and correspondent, as well as CNN White House correspondent John Harwood.

So, Julia, I mean, is it time to just reset our expectations because how are these numbers going to do anything but get worse until the economy can safely reopen?

[08:40:09]

JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: It's a great question. This is the fear gauge now, I think, for the U.S. economy. These are jobs lost, furloughed or people who were simply afraid for what the future looks like here. The expectation, I think, is that we've seen the worst in terms of the weekly numbers that we're talking about of people asking for help. But even now, on a weekly basis, we're still expecting these numbers to remain in the millions. And to your exact point, it's going to come down to a couple of

things. When can we start feeling safe enough to reopen states in the nation's economy and get people back to work, and the other thing, of course, comes down to the lending program, the PPP. That was about saving jobs, saving small businesses on a daily basis. .

So, we keep coming back to it, but getting money to those businesses will hopefully stem some of these claims because it will allow people to remain in their jobs. The success of that remains pivotal.

CAMEROTA: Yes, I mean, God willing, it depends on how long this goes on.

And, John, that brings us to the argument, the political argument, and it's very hard to understand where President Trump is with this because on some days he encourages people to be liberated and get back to work and encourages governors to reopen, and then yesterday he said something so curious during the press briefing where he claimed that he had said to Governor Brian Kemp of Georgia, who is reopening tomorrow, that he thought that -- President Trump claimed that he thought that that was a bad idea.

So, which one is it?

JOHN HARWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Alisyn, President Trump consistently bends under pressure. And sometimes the pressure is from his political base, which is anxious to get back to work. Business owners, friends of his, people who resent what's happening in big cities, if they live in small towns or rural areas. And other times it's from the public health professionals. And so even as we had the president shaming Robert Redfield of the CDC at his news conference yesterday, and reports about a -- somebody removed from vaccine development because he dissed the president on Hydroxychloroquine, you also had the president saying what he said about Governor Kemp.

But I just wanted to add a little perspective to your earlier conversation with Christine. The highest recorded unemployment rate in the history of the United States is 25 percent during the Great Depression. It is likely now that our actual unemployment rate at this moment is around 20 percent when you take those 26 million people who have been added to the roles with those who are already unemployed before.

What that is going to do is increase political pressure on a next round of relief after the one that the House is expected to pass this week. And it underscores just the extent of the economic catastrophe.

Now, this isn't the Great Depression. It's a completely different thing. Some people call it a medically induced coma for the economy. But there is depression level suffering right now in the economy, which is going to put the onus on both the Fed, which has stepped up in a very fulsome way, as well as Congress to keep going since we can borrow money at extremely affordable rates right now.

CAMEROTA: And so, Christine, I know that none of us have seen anything like this in our lifetime and you don't have a crystal ball, but if the economy can't open, as we keep hearing from the models, until at best late May, June, July, are we going to see numbers like this, like the ones we're seeing today, every week?

ROMANS: Well, I mean, I think I agree with Julia, that maybe the peak has been put in for the worst weekly numbers. But you're going to see just pain every week if you don't have the money flowing. And that's why the Fed and why Congress are working so hard to get that money flowing. We're still in the very early moments of getting that stimulus money, that bailout relief to main street, right? And that money is going to start to flow, these enhanced unemployment benefits, those will start to flow as well in the days and weeks ahead.

The most important thing here now, honestly, is government support for the economy. Ironically, you know, at the beginning of this political cycle, the government involvement in the economy was the worst thing you could be talking about and now everyone's talking about how involved the government is going to have to be in the economy just so that you can -- you can stem the pain from these numbers. Every one of these numbers is a person who's now very anxious and has bills to pay and a family. That is really the core of this.

CAMEROTA: Julia, what's the timeline for that next -- those next monies to flow?

CHATTERLEY: And this is such a critical point because we've seen this government now agree and hopefully today will sign off on the next package, $2.5 trillion plus worth of support. The problem is, when you look at individual states, like our reporting on Florida, just 15 percent of the people that have actually successfully filed for benefits and money here have actually got the cash in their hands. When we look at small businesses, there was a survey this week, Lending Tree said just 5 percent of successful small businesses have their hands on the cash. It's that transition mechanism that's so crucial here and lots, millions of people, are still waiting.

[08:45:09]

ROMANS: OK, Julia, Christine, John, thank you all very much for helping us understand this breaking news on the jobless claims.

John.

BERMAN: So many coronavirus developments every hour. Here is what to watch today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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

1:30 p.m. ET, House votes on relief bill.

5:00 ET, White House task force briefing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: All right, gird your loins. Dr. Sanjay Gupta back to answer some of your questions about coronavirus, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:50:04]

BERMAN: It is the most talked about moment in any broadcast. Dr. Sanjay Gupta here to answer your viewer questions.

Sanjay, great to have you back with us.

This first question is very timely and it has to do with a story in the news, pets and coronavirus. The question is from Daniel, is it true a human can give a pet, a cat or a dog, the virus, but the pet can't give the virus to humans? What if the virus is on the pet's fur?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. No, we think about this a lot in our household as well.

So here's what we know. This virus, this coronavirus, came from animals in the first place. Likely bats is what the origin seems to be. It may have lived in other creatures as well. But it made the jump at some point from animals to humans. And then, over time, over the last couple of months, we've learned that some situations, seems to be pretty rare, humans have been able to give this to certain animals as well. A tiger, a lion, and now some pet cats. So that transmission seems to be there. Again, unusual, but possible. They found that these cats, I guess, were having respiratory symptoms. They tested them and they were found to have the novel coronavirus. It's not clear whether their owners gave it to them or they got it somewhere else. But, never the less, they got it.

Now, the last part of Daniel's question, can this actually go back then from pets to humans, that does not appear to be the case. You know, we have not had any evidence of that. The guidance right now is if that -- if you are sick, if you are having symptoms, you should stay away from humans and you should also stay away from your pets because you might potentially be able to transmit it. But it doesn't seem to go the other way around, doesn't seem to come from fur. It's a respiratory virus, so it is still the respiratory droplets that get into the air. But it's a big -- it's a big question, big topic of discussion still.

CAMEROTA: OK. Tula (ph) will be very happy to hear that, our new dog, our new pet, who listens to you every morning, Sanjay.

Let's go to Ira, who says, if asymptomatic people are not tested and identified, how can we ever get back to any semblance of normalcy?

GUPTA: Yes, this is -- this is the question. And I think we -- we're going to have to test asymptomatic people. That is sometimes referred to as surveillance testing. Our testing has been inadequate in this country for some time, as I think everyone knows now. At first the criteria were a little too strict, it could only be people coming from -- returning from China or people who had known contact with someone with coronavirus. But now, as we've seen, as you've reported, there's been people who likely started to get this virus within the community much earlier.

In order to get some sense of normalcy outside of a vaccine, which is obviously being -- being developed now as well, we're going to have to start testing people with some degree of regularity.

So, you know, Alisyn, John, it might mean at some point when we go back to work, if we are going to be in a situation where we cannot physically distance ourselves, first of all, may look different within our work environment. There may be a lot of people wearing masks, very few congregations, people really more separated out, deep cleaning, ventilation, but it might also mean, to this question, that you're getting tested on a regular basis. Hopefully it's not that swab test that I had because that's not going to be a comfortable thing. But, you know, if you have something that's easier -- I sort of use the metaphor of a -- of a diabetic getting their blood sugar test on a regular basis. This isn't a blood test, but some sort of easy test that people can do on a regular basis that gives a quick result that can then give them the confidence and the people around them the confidence that they're not carrying the virus. I think we are going to be at that point sometime soon.

BERMAN: All right, Sanjay, we have a really good question about masks from Andrew. Why can a mask, a face covering, prevent me from infecting someone else, but not protect me against the virus from someone else?

GUPTA: Yes, you know, the -- there are different types of masks out there. You know, there's the surgical masks that, you know, I wear in the hospital, for example, when I'm operating, and that is really to protect my patients from my germs when we're in the sterile operating room.

There are the N95 masks, which are fit tested and are really good at stopping most micro particles from getting in.

But the cloth masks really are to prevent you from infecting other people. You're wearing this cloth mask close to your mouth, close to the source potentially of these -- of these germs, the coronavirus in this case. So as Celine Gounder (ph), one of our medical analysts put it, it's kind of like, you know, thinking about a hose and the mask. If you put the mask right on top of the hose, it's not going to let much in. But if you move the mask further and further away, more and more particles can get out.

But a cloth mask still allows these viral particles to get around the sides and stuff. So it's better at protecting others from you than you from them.

CAMEROTA: OK, Sanjay, thank you very much for all of the information, as always.

And be sure to join Sanjay and Anderson Cooper tonight for a new CNN global town hall. And their guests will include the FDA commissioner, New York's governor, and chef Jose Andreas.

[08:55:04] Also singer/songwriter Alicia Keys will debut the world premiere of her new song that highlights the heroes of the pandemic. So join us for "Coronavirus: Facts and Fears" tonight at 8:00 p.m. Eastern only on CNN.

BERMAN: Also, CNN is teaming up with "Sesame Street" for a special town hall Saturday morning 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. Go to cnn.com/sesamestreet to submit your questions. That will be wonderful.

Look, we've got breaking news out of the White House this morning. CNN just learned new details about how President Trump changed his mind on Georgia reopening some businesses tomorrow. Our coverage continues, next.

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[09:00:05]