Return to Transcripts main page
NEW DAY SATURDAY
Some States Begin To Reopen Despite Health Risk Warnings; CDC, Lysol-Maker Warn Not To Ingest Disinfectant To Treat Virus; Sources: Effort Among Aides, Allies To Get Trump To Stop Doing Daily Briefings; Second U.S. Navy Warship Hit By COVID-19 Outbreak; U.S. Navy Recommends Reinstating Fired Captain; Trump Signs $484 Billion Coronavirus Relief Package; Gov. Cuomo: COVID-19 Impact Is An "Economic Tsunami". Aired 8-9a ET
Aired April 25, 2020 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Families around the neighborhood and list the animals and the addresses where they can be found. Really creative.
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: That is good stuff. My kids would love that.
BLACKWELL: Love it. Next up, NEWDAY starts now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As the U.S. death toll crosses 50,000 lives lost, some businesses reopen to new world.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will get Georgians back to work safely. We are trying to keep our business alive and keep my staff able to survive.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: These are our gloves. We'll probably run out by the end of next week.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One of my managers has three little girls. We all have to know when we're going home to at the end of the night its safe.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's so much confusion. People are asking is it safe, you know, I don't know what to do.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm going to try it. I just feel like us as a country, we're going to have much bigger problems financially if we don't.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Well, good morning to you on this Saturday morning. We want to give you a warm welcome, whether you are in the United States, or anywhere else around the world. I'm Christi Paul.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell. It is good to be with you this Saturday. This morning, states are beginning to reopen. And they're trying to balance the data about health and the coronavirus and the economy. Right now, according to Johns Hopkins University, at least 51,949 Americans have been killed by COVID-19.
PAUL: And yesterday, we got our first glimpse of what reopening looks like. There was a barrage of criticism over this. The Georgia Governor Brian Kemp moved ahead with the most far-reaching effort to reach out to the economy that we've seen yet.
Several mayors in the state not happy about it, but his plans contradict guidance and models that's often cited by the White House. Those models show Georgia shouldn't even begin to reopen until June 22nd, but the governor says they're ready.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. BRAIN KEMP (R-GA): We've laid our plan out to meet the Phase 1 criteria. I think it's the right move at the right time. But I'm really appreciative of all they're doing. We also had multiple conversations with him and the Vice President.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: In contrast to the protesters we've seen in Michigan and Wisconsin calling for the states to reopen, in Georgia protesters are pushing back against reopening. You see here some of the dozens of people who blasted their horns and waved signs as they drove by the governor's mansion yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They say that it's supposed to be two weeks of decline and we haven't seen that. He's not even following the White House guidelines. Even Trump says this is too soon. If he's saying that then that's a lot.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: CNN's Natasha Chen has been meeting with Georgia business owners to talk about the dilemma they're facing and how they determine whether to open.
NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Businesses like Jenkins Barber Shop opened on Friday for the first time in almost a month.
ERIC GREESON, BARBER: Sterilize your chairs between customers, as you can see we have the benches marked.
These are disposable here.
CHEN (voice-over): Georgia's governor says the state is ready.
KEMP: We will allow gyms, fitness centers, bowling alleys, body art studios, barbers-- CHEN (voice-over): Barbers like Eric Greeson, who happens to be diabetic.
GREESON: As was a barber, what we have to do and I definitely would not have opened anything against the health officials' recommendation or the President.
CHEN (voice-over): The President who initially supported states to quote "liberate," pulled a 180m issuing a public rebuke of the Republicans he once endorsed.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I didn't like to see a lot of things happening and I wasn't happy with it and I wasn't happy with Brain Kemp.
CHEN (voice-over): The state won't see a peak in daily COVID-19 deaths until next week according to widely accepted data.
GREESON: Everybody's scared of this basically. But we're also afraid that if we don't open, then the person down the street will. And then we won't have business.
CHEN (voice-over): This barbershop was one of two that were open out of the 10 Donna Whitfield visited on Friday morning.
DONNA WHITFIELD, BARBER AND BEAUTY SUPPLIER: These are our gloves. We'll probably run out by the end of next week.
CHEN (voice-over): She's a barber and beauty supplier in Georgia and Alabama. It was her first day back in the truck in a month. She'd rather not risk bringing the virus home to her husband who has cancer, but she also can't afford not to work.
WHITFIELD: I'm just kind of on the fence. You know, I don't know - I hope we're doing the right thing.
RANDY HICKS, OWNER, SOUTHERN LANES: They paid or not what they have done--
CHEN (voice-over): The right thing for Randy Hicks is making sure his 25 employees at Southern Lanes Bowling Alley could still support their families and he knows people may criticize his decision.
HICKS: I'm sorry for that. I hope they don't hold it against us for no reason. We're not trying to hurt anybody. If you look we just want to get the business go.
CHEN (voice-over): Fellow owner Debra Holland is a cancer survivor.
DEBRA HOLLAND, OWNER, SOUTHERN LANES: I'm conscientious about what we have. The cleanliness that we have, the exposure we have. As I don't want to have to go to the hospital with this virus or anything. I'm missing a half a lung.
CHEN (voice-over): The phone kept ringing with eager customers who all had to do temperature checks before coming in could only use half of the 32 lanes and were limited on the number of bowlers per lane. Even with restrictions there was a strong sense of relief.
HOLLAND: I literally felt the burden being lifted off my shoulders.
CHEN (voice-over): And many of their regulars felt the same like Leon Perpignan who came before doors even opened.
LEON PERPIGNAN, BOWLER: I just wanted to do something I enjoy doing. That I haven't done allow. Besides all the honey to-do lists are all done.
CHEN (voice-over): Natasha Chen, CNN, Douglasville, Georgia.
BLACKWELL: With me now is the Mayor of Brookhaven, Georgia, John Ernst.
Mr. Mayor good morning to you.
MAYOR JOHN ERNST (D), BROOKHAVEN, GEORGIA: Good morning Victor. Thanks for having me.
BLACKWELL: A pleasure to have you here. So we're a day in now to this reopening. What's the scene? What's it look like in Brookhaven?
ERNST: Really pretty much when I drove around yesterday I didn't see much difference at all. It looks like most people had stayed pretty much in. I made up a few errands, went to my own office one time and it looked pretty much the same.
BLACKWELL: So we know that on Friday there was the opening of barbershops and salons and people by now know the list. But what we don't talk as much about is the relaxing of restrictions on religious institutions, places of worship.
At the start of this, the governor asked for faith leaders to go online or at one point drive up or drive in services. That ended. But there may be some people who approach religious service differently than they would a bowling alley or a tattoo shop, obviously. Are you expecting churches to return tomorrow?
ERNST: I would expect that's some would. In my area I would be - probably a lot of them aren't going to stay in. Brookhaven was the first city in the State of Georgia to do a social distancing. So we had - we are the first ones out.
Our case rate has been relatively very low considering how dense we are and our socio economical data. And so, I suspect people around here are still going to heed the federal guidelines and try to be in and about.
Churches, obviously, the Albany case where a couple of funerals really created the super spreader that really hobbled Albany.
ERNST: I'm myself Roman Catholic and I know the Archbishop has declared that there was not going to be a services for a while. So I would hope that it comes a little bit later.
BLACKWELL: There are lot of denominations that are still asking people to stay at home and continue to teleworship. Let me ask you about the numbers here and let's put them up on the screen. Across the State of Georgia, the number of cases up, the number of deaths. We see 22,491 cases. The latest number 899 deaths.
The first death in Georgia was roughly six weeks ago and about a quarter of Georgia's victims have died in just the last week. So what do you expect that this relaxing of restrictions will mean for these numbers for the people of Georgia, for the people of Brookhaven?
ERNST: Well, I want to reopen Georgia and Brookhaven and the economy as much as anyone else. And I just believe that we're not - because we're not following the federal guidelines, that we have a great mis- messaging that's been constantly going on in this whole pandemic.
The piece you just had on had multiple people say I just don't know what to do. Even the people who are opening up say I don't know if I'm doing the right thing. And if we have had the - you use those federal guidelines to ensure people - there's not going to be a right or wrong answer or it's going to be really hard to know. But if you follow the guidelines it gets people confident. When people get confident that's when they'll get out into the economy and that's when the businesses will start thriving and be better.
By doing it in orderly fashion we can also monitor the virus and monitor how this spread is. My concern is that we will come out now and we'll see a spike in cases which will either have actual governmental shut downs again or people will be scared and not come out. And so it needs to be an orderly process.
People are just - if you think about it, this whole pandemic - biggest problem has been the lack of knowing what's really happening and that the fear that that causes. And so we - by having all these issues and the fear, like - you know, people will --- you're trying to get this thing restarted, and restarted strong.
BLACKWELL: Yes, well, you know--
ERNST: The people--
BLACKWELL: Go ahead. Wrap it up quickly. Go ahead finish your thought.
ERNST: People that, put economy and health and try to put them against each other, it's a false dichotomy. With health and economy, it's one and the same. And I want the strongest health and strongest economy. I think we do that by doing it in an orderly fashion.
BLACKWELL: Well, the epidemiologists tell us that it is maybe a two week to three-week lag time from infection to when we see these people potentially show up in hospitals and we'll know in a couple of weeks if as the governor said this is the right time. John Ernst, Mayor of Brookhaven, thanks so much.
ERNST: Thank you.
BLACKWELL: Now there are other states that are starting to reopen and restart their economies.
PAUL: Yes, some businesses are welcoming customers again for the first time in a week. CNN's Cristina Alesci has that story. So talk to us about what the other states are doing, Cristina, and good morning.
CRISTINA ALESCI, CNN BUSINESS AND POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. Life in - for many Americans across the country is going to be a little bit different really starting yesterday through the weekend and into Monday, and that's because the states that they live in are lifting and easing some of those social distancing restrictions.
And we've been reporting on the most aggressive, which has been Georgia, and Georgia's allowed nail salons, barbershops to reopen on Monday. Georgia is also going to let restaurants reopen. Oklahoma too, very similar to Georgia in the aggressiveness of lifting these social distancing guidelines.
Other states are taking more measured approaches. So if you think about Colorado and Texas they are going to allow, for example, curbside retail to happen over the next couple of days. But what we are going to learn through this process is that reopening the economy is going to be way more complicated than shutting it down.
Shutting it down, it all happened at once. When you reopen an economy as complex as ours, we have a supply chain that basically functions like a series of gears. You can't have one gears spinning so fast and another one not moving. And what I mean by that is, look, I'm talking to officials in New York who are trying to decide what industries when the time is right to reopen.
Construction, for example. You can have construction workers potentially safe on the job working at far distances from one another. But do you have the materials? Is the supply chain there? These are the kinds of complicated questions they're are going to kind of complicate the reopening.
And in addition to that you have consumers who still have big question marks, but these states are moving to reopen their economy because they're feeling the fiscal stress. They're feeling the financial stress of all of this happening.
BLACKWELL: Yes. Governor Cuomo has been explaining for weeks, gears and valves. Gears and valves, you close one, you open one, and they have to work together. Cristina Alesci, thanks so much there in New York for us.
PAUL: Thank you Cristina. So we have some new details this morning on what led up to President Trump's wild suggestion on Thursday that researchers should look into testing the injection of disinfectants to kill the coronavirus. That's next.
BLACKWELL: Weeks after being fired for sounding the alarm about a coronavirus outbreak on board the USS Theodore Roosevelt, the former commanding officer may soon be reinstated. We'll tell you why.
PAUL: Some sharp - excuse me, sharp criticism for the President this morning after telling reporters he was being sarcastic when he suggested medical experts look into testing the possibility of injecting disinfectants as a treatment for the coronavirus.
BLACKWELL: Yes. Then doctors and state leaders and companies, even the ones that make those products, had to warn everyone, do not follow this suggestion.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARBARA FERRER, PUBLIC HEALTH DIRECTOR, LOS ANGELES COUNTY: Please don't you don't inject, ingest or even put on your body any disinfectants that you're using for cleaning purposes. Its completely inappropriate and it's extraordinarily dangerous. People die from ingesting some of these products. So I really hope everyone understands. If the President was being sarcastic, it doesn't really matter. That information wasn't accurate and please don't act on it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: Let's go to the White House now. CNN's Kristen Holmes following the latest there. Kristen we've got new reporting - new CNN reporting about what led up to those remarks and what's happened since? What have you learned?
KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Victor. So a lot of new reporting incoming in this morning. Most of it revolving around that presentation we saw on Thursday night before President Trump made, of course, those comments you mentioned about ingesting Lysol or bleach, disinfectants to kind of get rid of coronavirus within your body.
So William Bryan, he's the Head of Science. He is the person who we saw up at the podium. He's from DHS - Department of Homeland Security. He has actually made that presentation twice to the Coronavirus Task Force before he made it in front of the cameras. The first time being on Wednesday when he was told to refine it, to tweak it.
And then again on Thursday, before the televised briefing, now notably missing from both of those presentations was President Trump. This led to a hastily briefing right before our televised briefing in the Oval Office, Bryan trying to break down his findings for the President. Of course, we know what happened next. Bryan up there at the podium, talking about UV light, sunlight, how disinfectants, all of them really cut down the half-life of coronavirus. But things really went awry after the presentation when you heard President Trump asking question after question and suggesting that scientists look into ingesting some of this a disinfectant - humans ingesting disinfectant, Lysol, bleach in order to clean out their system.
So a lot here of background that led here and we have heard a lot of excuses as to why President Trump said that. We know the Press Secretary said the remarks were taken out of context. To be clear, these were on video. When we play the remarks, we play them in the context that they were said. President Trump himself said that he was being sarcastic. Again, these remarks are on video.
Now, I've talked to multiple staffers who say the same thing. They admit that President Trump was not being sarcastic and they also say that this was an unforced error. They know that this was - this could have been prevented. This is, in the main parts, because President Trump enjoys being in front of the camera.
He enjoys looking as though he is leading those medical coronavirus briefings despite the fact that he has little medical knowledge. And aides admit this is what they were afraid of during all of these long freewheeling briefings. They were afraid he was going to say something that's not only inaccurate, but potentially incredibly dangerous.
BLACKWELL: Yes. No questions yesterday, no briefing today. We'll see what happens tomorrow and then going into next week. Kristen Holmes for us there at the White House. Thanks so much.
PAUL: Kristen, thank you. Listen, you're going to meet a couple on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic next. They're both doctors. They're both parents to three very young children and they cannot be together right now. What they're telling us about this virus and the upheaval that they've seen.
BLACKWELL: Welcome back. Second U.S. Navy warship has now been hit with an outbreak of coronavirus.
PAUL: At least 18 people on board the USS Kidd have been infected now. The first sailor who tested positive was medevaced off the ship after he displayed symptoms. We do know he is receiving treatment in San Antonio now.
BLACKWELL: An eight-member Navy medical team is conducting contact tracing and isolating sailors who may have been exposed.
PAUL: And we've got that outbreak as there are more cases now aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt. At least 840 sailors have tested positive. Now the U.S. Navy is recommending the former captain of the ship be reinstated. He'd been fired after warning about the spread of the virus aboard that aircraft carrier. CNN's Barbara Starr has more from the Pentagon.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: The Chief of Naval Operations, four-star Admiral Michael Gilday has recommended that Captain Brett Crozier get his command back and once again be in charge of the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt.
Crozier who was dismissed by the now fired former Acting Navy Secretary after he got upset about Crozier's complaints and worries that sailors aboard the Roosevelt were not being properly cared for in the wake of the coronavirus breaking out on the ship.
Now, after an investigation of several days, the Navy is recommending that Crozier be reinstated to his command. But it isn't going all that smoothly, because that recommendation went to Defense Secretary Mark Esper who declined to accept it right away.
A Pentagon statement says in part that "Esper intends to thoroughly review the report and will meet again with Navy leadership to discuss next steps. He remains focused on and committed to restoring the full health of the crew and getting the ship at sea again soon."
So Esper wants to read the full investigation before he accepts the recommendation of his own Navy leadership. There are now more than 850 sailors on the Roosevelt crew who have tested positive for the virus as the carrier remains tied up in port in Guam. Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.
PAUL: Barbara, thank you so much. We want you to meet a family on the frontlines of this pandemic. Both are doctors here in Atlanta. They have three young children, including a newborn baby, mind you. This tweet here might say it all to you.
"Thanks to all the health care heroes on the frontlines tweeting COVID-19 and a personal shout out to Dr. Justin Schrager, my husband of 10 years and father of our three kids, who's gone six weeks without holding our newborn and hugging our kids." Can you imagine what that's like?
Rachel Patzer, a doctor and Director of the Center for Health Services Research at Emory Department of Medicine with us now, as well as her husband Justin Schrager an E.R. physician. We thank you both so much for being with us. They are separate, because they're living separately right now because of what they are dealing with.
Rachel, I want to first get to the news at the top of the headlines today. What is happening in Georgia and the reopening of businesses. You tweeted out. "I'm disappointed with Brian Kemp, Georgia's decision to reopen some businesses next week, restaurants, theaters to follow and to let shelter in place expire April 30th. The decision ignores public health guidance and science and lives will be put at risk unnecessarily."
I know you say social distancing is working. Do your concern stems from the fact that there's no vaccine and there's limited testing. What threshold do you want to see in Georgia reach to feel comfortable with a reopening?
DR. RACHEL PATZER, DIRECTOR FOR HEALTH SERVICES RESEARCH, EMORY UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: Yes. First I want to say, I'm really thankful for our local community that has listened to this public health advice and stayed homes. We could avoid this major surge in our health care system in our city that helps us, that helps Justin, helps health care workers. But I'm worried about that the number of new cases we're still seeing in Georgia.
So we still have a high number of cases. Just in the last 24 hours we've had over 600 new cases. And what I'd like to see is this threshold - I'd like to see that we have better testing capacity. And we know that there's likely underreporting of our testing. There's also delays in reporting of testing. And so we have likely underreporting of the virus in our state.
So I think that and given how difficult this virus is to control, it's really important to monitor the spread more closely. So we need to see more scale up of testing in Georgians even more. We need to make contact tracing of this virus very closely.
We need to make sure that this is - the community spread is stopped and we need to maintain these social distancing measures. So I think the public needs to know that this is not our returning to business as usual. We need to continue as much as we can for those who can.
PAUL: Sure. Justin, before we get to the personal aspect of this. Help us understand what's going on from your vantage point in an E.R. right now.
DR. JUSTIN SCHRAGER, EMERGENCY PHYSICIAN, EMORY UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL: So the emergency departments are seeing - are still seeing cases of coronavirus. And almost every E.R. in the city and the state has separated areas where we take care of people with coronavirus and it's certainly not business as usual in the E.R. yet.
PAUL: OK. So nor is your family life business as usual. I think it was very striking to hear that here you have this newborn and you haven't been able to hold that newborn or any of your children for six weeks. Rachel, tell me what it's like for you as a mom to be with these three children without your husband right now?
PATZER: Well, it's especially difficult because I'm back to work at least part time right now, so struggling to homeschool the kids - my older kids and be with the newborn up every few hours at night. I'm sleep deprived and then just not having the emotional support of my husband around for both myself and the kids. It's really difficult for me.
PAUL: And what about you Justin. I mean that that cannot be easy. As I understand it you're living in an apartment over your garage?
SCHRAGER: Yes. We have a small apartment above the garage that I sleep in when I - well, previously I slept on it when I worked overnight shifts in the emergency department just for some peace and quiet. Now I'm living up there. It's definitely not easy, you know, but it's not necessarily easy for anyone right now.
I mean, I think everyone in the community and around the country has made a sacrifice to some degree or another. That people than brave, people have closed down their businesses or done things similar to what I'm doing and it's bearing fruit. Certainly we have prevented, at least in some cities and states, this catastrophic surge that you saw in New York. And people want to make sure that their sacrifice was done - that their sacrifice was done for a good reason that wasn't done in vain.
PAUL: Can we show that picture again that was in the tweet that Rachel tweeted out earlier. The picture of you in a mask, six feet away from your children. Take us into those moments. When you're that close to them and you just can't get to them yet.
SCHRAGER: It's surreal. You're used to being an involved parent and playing around with the kids and being able to touch them and interact with them, do what needs to be done as a parent, discipline them when needed. But all that stuff is difficult. I'm practicing social distancing at home, which is a bit bizarre. I don't think a lot of people have to do that.
But frankly a lot of my colleagues, the nurses, doctors, I work with the techs, respiratory therapists, everybody's doing something like this. We started six weeks ago. And it's been - just been very difficult. It's been very emotionally difficult. And I know it's hard for the kids. Every day they want to do things with me that they're used to doing, but - the older kids. Its tough.
PAUL: We thank both of you so much for the work that you do. And we really hope that you can be together as a family very, very soon again, we hope that for you. Take good care of each other and thank you for taking time to be with us this morning.
PATZER: Thank you.
SCHRAGER: It's our pleasure.
PAUL: Of course. I want to introduce you to another woman on the front lines fighting this pandemic. Amy Goddard is her name. She's a single mom. She has two girls she lives in Georgia. But right now she's working in an ICU at an all COVID positive hospital in New Jersey.
Now, her friend Elizabeth Newton says quote "Amy is a selfless giving person with a heart for others. I know this is exhausting and emotional for her as she never feels she's doing enough for her patients." Well after hearing from Amy who talked about how she's finding strength right now Newton says, Amy became her inspiration for a movement on Instagram called "Share Her Story." So Elizabeth Newton wants you to share the names and faces of women on the frontlines of the virus who are risking their lives to save ours in this crisis. She says she can help you share her story as well.
BLACKWELL: Thank you, Christi. Still ahead the struggle to stimulate the economy. So there's good news for some small businesses waiting for relief for as long as the money lasts. But what about states - these states that are going broke fighting COVID-19. Where's the help for them?
PAUL: Well some potentially good news for small businesses, President Trump signed into law a roughly $480 billion aid package yesterday.
BLACKWELL: So it authorizes an additional 310 billion for the federal government's Paycheck Protection Program. Now that means that small businesses that couldn't get the money from that $2.2 trillion bill few weeks ago, they may get a shot at money this time.
So let's bring in CNN Business Correspondent Alison Kosik. Alison, first, when can they get the applications in? But also there's no guarantee that everybody who needs help will get it even with the additional money. Right?
ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Victor, good morning. You are right about that. There's no guarantee. But you got to try. So small business owners, you can get your applications in at 10:30 in the morning on Monday.
So the law passed on Thursday and there's a little bit of a wiggle room between that time, because the Treasury Department is saying this time is going to enable other Small Business Administration to properly code the system and account for changes to the legislation.
So this is another $310 billion being replenished into the small business lending program. $60 billion of that is actually being carved out for small businesses who don't have existing banking relationships. And this was one of the many of the big problems with the first tranche of the $350 billion, is that a lot of these small businesses were actually cut out of the process if they didn't have those existing relationships for these forgivable loans. You remember that with $350 billion gone in 13 days.
So that is the big question here that you mentioned, Victor. What is the likelihood that this time around small business owners will get some of this money? And CNN Business found that if you've got that application already in, you're somewhat likely to get this forgivable loan from the government. The problem is that there's this huge backlog already in place of those small business owners who didn't get approved. But the thinking is, go ahead and put in the application if you already haven't, because if there is a third tranche of stimulus you'd be in line for that. Victor and Christi?
PAUL: So we're talking about small businesses needing money, but there are also some of the really hard hit states in this crisis here in the U.S. that could see potential budget shortfalls as we understand of 30 to 40 percent. That sounds like one big brewing problem, Alison. What's being done in that regard?
KOSIK: It really is Christi. I mean this is something that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has been very vocal about. He's saying that this could wind up being an economic Tsunami for states because we've seen unemployment numbers explode. It's literally driving down revenue that would normally be coming in from personal income taxes.
And not just from personal income taxes, revenue in many, many other forms that that states get their money from as people have stopped working, they've stopped shopping, there are no taxes coming in from capital gains, from corporate profits, from sales taxes, gas taxes, gaming, tourism even oil revenue. All of this is expected to decline.
So as a majority of these businesses continue to remain closed. These states are seeing tax revenues just literally dry up. It's opening up these massive holes in their budgets with shortfalls expected to be in the hundreds of billions of dollars nationwide. And all of this is going to have a tremendous impact on society. It could wind up evolving into a reduction in basic government services. So this could really be the next shoe to drop in the broader economy.
But Congress did include $150 billion in that $2.3 trillion stimulus package. That $150 billion did go to states. Problem is they can only use it for the public health emergency. They can't use it for these revenue issues.
So let's bring it back to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo who's been once again very vocal about this. This week he's talking directly about this problem saying that states need this federal aid. And he blasted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's response to the problem, which was let states go the bankruptcy route. This is what Andrew Cuomo said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): --morality of it and the ethics of it and the absurdity of it and the meanness of it. Legally, a state can't declare bankruptcy. You would need a federal law allowing states to declare bankruptcy. It's your suggestion Senator McConnell, pass the law, I dare you and then go to the President and say signed this bill allowing states to declare bankruptcy. You want to send a signal to the markets that this nation is in real trouble?
(END VIDEO CLIP) KOSIK: Victor and Christi, President Trump has said that aid for
struggling states will be in the next tranche of stimulus from Congress. Back to you.
BLACKWELL: Alison Kosik for us this morning. Alison, thank you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THE COUNT VON COUNT, SESAME STREET: Greetings. The Count von Count here with the message from all like Sesame Street friends. We want to say thank you to everyone out there who is helping those in need.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: Of course, that's The Count from Sesame Street. We are counting down to a very special CNN town hall with The Count, Oscar the Grouch, Elmo, Sesame Street gang. We're going to help some of your parents out there who might need some sort of guidance on how to talk to our kids about this, and the kids are going to get something too.
BLACKWELL: And this weekend CNN's Chief Climate Correspondent Bill Weir takes us on the road to explore how this climate crisis is transforming life as we know it from South Africa to the Florida Keys. He speaks with scientists and farmers and activists about the devastating impact of a warming planet.
You can watch his 90-minute special report. "The Road to Change: America's Climate Crisis," tonight at 10:00 Eastern right here on CNN.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OSCAR THE GROUCH, SESAME STREET: Oscar the Grouch here to tell you to stay home. I don't want to see your smiling face. I don't want to smell your pretty perfume. I don't want to be anywhere near you. Hey this social distance and thing is kind of a Grouch's dream.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: Yes. Well, in a few short minutes Oscar is joining Cookie Monster Elmo, and of course, Big Bird right here on CNN. We're holding a very special coronavirus town hall for kids and parents all of you.
BLACKWELL: And CNN's Erica Hill gets to be part of it. Erica good morning to you. I feel like I've been impersonating Cookie Monster for weeks now with this work from home, snacking all day. But that's a different story. This is such a good idea to really relay some of the difficult elements of this to kids.
ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, it absolutely is, and I'm thrilled to be a part of it. I'm cohosting this morning with our good friend, of course, Dr. Sanjay Gupta and also Big Bird and we really wanted to address some of the questions, some of the thoughts, some of the fears that kids and families have these days.
And so we asked kids and parents to send us some of their questions and here are just a few of the ones that we've got. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When will this be over?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We want to see our friends.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why do we have to stay away from people, but not family?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When will all of us go back to school?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When can I go to the park again?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL: Questions from kids questions, but questions a lot of us grownups have too. It's really I think going to be not only an educational hour and a half for kids and families, but I think it's going to be really helpful to you guys. And as I said it's not just for the kids, trust me, I'm getting a lot out of this as well.
PAUL: We all are, I'm sure. But I'm wondering what we're going to hear specifically from the Sesame Street gang?
HILL: You know, they have a lot of thoughts and feelings too. Right? All these bouncers range in age. So Elmo is 3, Big Bird is about 6. And they have different things that they're dealing with. And one of things that Big Bird is really having a hard time with are some of these big feelings that he's having. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIG BIRD, SESAME STREET: You know sometimes it is hard and I do feel sad when I remember that I can't go to school and play with my friends. But, my friends have been helping me feel better--
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL: His friends have been helping him feel better I think probably in a lot of ways that our friends as adults have been doing that. And so we also want to take a look at how we can still connect, we can be socially distant, but we can still be connected Christi and Victor and we know that's so important especially in this realm. And we're also going to take a look at ways that we can all help our community, because there is still so much we can do for those around us, even if we have to keep our distance.
BLACKWELL: Great 90 minutes, as you said, not just for kids, but parents as well. Those kids at the top who said when is this going to be over, I want to see my friends. I hear you kids. HILL: We all, right?
BLACKWELL: I hear you. Erica Hill thanks so much. Looking forward to it.
HILL: Thanks guys.
PAUL: Erica, thank you.
BLACKWELL: Medical experts along with the Sesame Street gang, they'll answer questions submitted by families like yours that's in just a few minutes right here on CNN.
PAUL: So we've asked on morning how social distancing has impacted your life? How you're coping? Well, Lori Gersh Ostrich wrote this. "We're in our 70s. We live on a beach in Atlantic City, New Jersey. We're looking forward to the summer and on nice days cleaning out the backyard, walking our dog on the beach with masks on and keeping each other feeling positive.
BLACKWELL: And some folks are sharing pictures. Rhonda Lee wrote, "A month later Louis and mom are still settling into our new kitchen table as classroom routine. Patience and trial and error make up our every day."
PAUL: Rick Oppman says he's "splitting wood with my boys, with my stylish The Ellen Show vest."
BLACKWELL: April Horton, "We're baking cookies, hosting kids, COVID panels, making ice cream cakes." All good stuff, all good stuff.
All right Sesame Street's and CNN special town hall, "The ABC's of COVID-19 is up next. But we want to leave you with some incredible music.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: Yes. A group of classical musicians got together virtually, of course. Listen to this. Doing what they love most. The singers, obviously, can't be in the same room together, but that didn't stop them from seeing selections from Mozart's opera.
(END VIDEO CLIP)