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WH Economic Advisers Deliver Contradictory Messages On Recovery; All Patients Discharged From The USNS Comfort; White House Discussing Plans To Replace HHS Secretary; Unsure How Long Antibody Protection Lasts In Recovered Patients; Some California Beaches Reopen, Social Distancing Enforced; Several Georgia Businesses Refuse To Completely Reopen Despite Lifted Restrictions; U.K Reports Lowest Daily Death Toll Since March 31st. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired April 26, 2020 - 14:00   ET



FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: This is a motorcade going past the home of Tamela Taylor-Orr (ph). She's an assistant principal at a middle school in Prince George's County. Her husband 55-year-old Curtis Orr died suddenly after contracting the virus earlier this month. Her friends, colleagues and students say they wanted to find a special way to show their support while also paying tribute to her husband.

Hello again, everyone. Thank you so much for joining me. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

We begin with two of President Trump's top economic advisers striking very different tones on the economic impact of the coronavirus. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin painting a rosy picture on the recovery prospects this morning saying he expects the economy to really bounce back by September, while senior White House adviser Kevin Hassett delivered a very dire warning.


KEVIN HASSETT, SENIOR WHITE HOUSE ECONOMIC ADVISER: Make no mistake. It's a really grave situation -- George. This is the biggest negative shock that our economy I think has ever seen. We're going to be looking at an unemployment rate that approaches rates that we saw during the great depression.


WHITFIELD: Hassett noting that the U.S. lost just under 9 million jobs during the 2008 financial crisis, while nearly 27 million people have already lost their jobs as a result of the strain of the coronavirus and the strain it's placed on the national economy over the last five weeks.

And now as states across the nation push to reopen their economies in order to get people back to work, the governor of Colorado is worried about a possible second wave as the U.S. quickly approaches one million coronavirus cases. This as correspondent Cristina Alesci joining me now with more on this. Cristina -- so how surprising was it to hear a White House official paint such a grim picture of the economy in contrast with the Treasury Secretary?

CRISTINA ALESCI, CNN POLITICS AND BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: well, it was surprising because what the President has been doing in his daily briefings is painting a very rosy picture and telling the American people that the economy will experience what he likes to call a V- shaped recovery essentially suggesting that reopening the economy will be as easy as shutting it down.

And we already now looking at how the states are approaching reopening that that is not the case. Most states are taking a phased approach, meaning that certain industries can open before others. So what Kevin Hassett, the official that you just played sound from, what he is saying is that there is more pain ahead, because he's looking at the second quarter growth estimates for the economy, and that time period starts in April. And that's when you're going to see the economic pain that Americans are feeling right now. Listen.


HASSETT: You know, I think the next couple of months are going to look terrible. You're going to see numbers that are as bad as anything we've ever seen. I think GDP growth in the second quarter is going to be, you know, negative, big number. Wall Street estimates are negative 20, negative 30 percent as an annual rate.

And so that's because we've done something that's really unprecedented. We basically stopped everything. And so output has kind of gone to zero for huge swaths of the economy. And so that unprecedented move gives us a really, really big negative shock.

But the good news is that all these policies that we've adopted have hopefully built a bridge to the other side of that stop.


ALESCI: Now Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin spun it very differently today. And that is not entirely surprising, because he has been the face of these efforts to turn this around and really try and mitigate the pain of the economic fallout we're seeing. Listen to his statement today.


STEVEN MNUCHIN, U.S. TREASURY SECRETARY: I think as we begin to reopen the economy in May and June, you're going to see the economy really bounce back in July, August, September. And we are putting in an unprecedented amount of fiscal relief into the economy. You're seeing trillions of dollars that's making its way into the economy. And I think this is going to have a significant impact.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ALESCI: So Fredricka -- you heard him right there. He is betting that all of stimulus efforts that have gone into the economy, the $3 trillion that the Congress has approved, will make an impact and will mitigate the economic pain.

But it's certain at this point that the longer that this shutdowns go on, the harder it is to get that V shape the President is hoping for heading into November. Of course, it's going to impact his re- election.

But the one thing that Trump is not going to be able to do is spin the economic story for the American people because the American people are going to feel, you know, whether or not they've had the job security and the confidence to make the purchases.

By the way, you know consumer purchases, the consumer, is the backbone of the U.S. economy right now.


WHITFIELD: All right. Christine Alesci -- thank you so much from New York.

And today New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced his state is starting to make plans to reopen, thanks in large part to the lowering numbers of confirmed cases and hospitalizations the state is seeing.


GOVERNOR ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: The descent continues, and that's a very good starting place. We are now back to where we were on March 31st before we started this dramatic increase in the number of cases.

We're still watching. Big question is how fast does that number continue to come down?


WHITFIELD: All right. And there's more proof of that today. All patients onboard the USNS Comfort were discharged from the ship.

CNN's Evan McMorris-Santoro is there with the Comfort which is docked in New York. So Evan -- how significant is it that all have been discharged? Was the number ever very high?


This is Evan McMorris-Santoro here at the USNS Comfort. Forgive me -- I can't hear you on my earpiece so I'm just going to go ahead and read some news about what's going on here just into the CNN NEWSROOM.

Here at the hospital, this hospital ship has now been discharged of all patients. There are no more patients on the Comfort. But it's going to stay here in dock for a few more days as the crew cleans it up and gets it ready to ship out to the next location. It served 182 patients while it was here but never was fully utilized to the full capacity that it had. So that's moving on to the next thing.

Shifting to New York we have a story here now where the New York pause began five weeks ago today. That's the -- that's the stay-at-home order put forward by Governor Cuomo. And there's been a lot of controversy about what would happen in 19 days on May 15th when it's supposed to come to an end.

And up to now this has been mostly speculation about what would happen but today Governor Cuomo mentioned in his press conference that there might actually be some light at the end of the tunnel when that May 15th date comes.


CUOMO: The pause is state-wide until May 15th, right? Then you have the CDC guidance that says hospital -- total hospitalization is declining for 14 days. Ok.

So we get to May 15th. What regions have seen a decline for 14 days? Well, we're assuming we will have seen a decline in the state for 14 days. But what states -- what regions of the state has seen a decline for 14 days. That's where you will start the conversation to get to phase one.


SANTORO: So it's important to note here that what we're talking about is not the reopening of the entire state at one time. Most people who are home from work right now and home from school right now, will remain home from school and home from work after May 15th but we're going to begin a phased reopening process potentially could happen.

The first phase will be a reopening of manufacturing businesses and construction businesses followed by other businesses that can submit plans saying that they could reopen.

So Fred -- we're still waiting on more news about that. But it looks like there's a possibility that some opening could happen after May 15th.

WHITFIELD: Right. Thank you -- Evan. And based on a lot of conditions spelled out by the Governor. Evan McMorris-Santoro -- thank you so much for that.

All right. One of the top medical experts on the President's coronavirus task force tried to downplay the President's controversial remarks about injecting disinfectants as a way to treat coronavirus.

Today Dr. Deborah Birx dismissed the controversy as just a dialogue involving the President.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DR. DEBORAH BIRX, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE COORDINATOR: That was a dialogue he was having between the DHS scientists and himself for information that he had received and he was discussing. We had made it clear and when he turned to me I made it clear and he understood that it was not as a treatment.

I think that kind of dialogue will happen. I think what got lost in there which very is unfortunate I think, in what happened next is that study was critically important for the American people.

And you say, why was that important? Because we had an MIT study just from a few weeks ago that suggests when people are talking and singing, aerosolized virus be moving forward.


DR. BIRX: I think as a scientist and a public health official and a researcher, sometimes I worry that we don't get the information to the American people that they need when we continue to bring up something that was from Thursday night.

So I think I've answered that question. I think the President made it clear that physicians had the study there. I think I've made it clear that this was a musing as you just described. But I want us to move on to be able to get information to the American people that can help them protect each other and also help them understand how devastating this virus is to different age groups and different symptoms and different comorbidities.


WHITFIELD: CNN's Kristen Holmes joins us now from the White House.

So Kristen, did that make it any better?

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well Fred -- it really confirms everything that we've been hearing from aides and allies. Even if President Trump was up there musing, he was musing during a national press briefing that was supposed to be medical experts talking about coronavirus, giving information to the American people. People who are scared, who are depressed, they are in their homes. They know that they've lost their jobs. And they're just trying to figure out what is going on.

So that leads to a larger question as to why exactly it was that he got this information as we know about 15 minutes before the briefing and then was pondering it onstage in front of the cameras.

And we have heard from aides and allies that this is a big reason why they have said either to President Trump or behind closed doors that they'd like him to stop having these briefings, or at least very, very carefully plan them. If it's something that there is an optimistic approach, if there are new, good numbers that could be something President Trump comes out for but otherwise, to leave it to the medical professionals. Nobody in the White House, or at least nobody that I've spoken to, wants to be talking about President Trump's remarks. However it is important to note that President Trump stood up there with medical experts and said in front of cameras to the American people watching that it could happen, suggested that there could be some sort of testing in which Lysol or bleach or disinfectant was injected or ingested into your body and killed out coronavirus.

This then led to companies as well as health departments saying, don't do this. This is incredibly dangerous. So although they'd like to change the topic, these are things President Trump himself said during a medical briefing.

WHITFIELD: That's right. It even meant that there were poison centers in several states who started receiving more phone calls from people inquiring about ingesting disinfectants.

So Kristen -- I also understand that you have new reporting on a possible shake-up at the White House with discussions under way for a plan to replace potentially the Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar?

HOLMES: Well, that's true. So we're hearing from a senior administration official who says there are talks among White House officials to replace Azar. And this, of course, comes after several different events.

One, President Trump making Vice President Pence as the leader of the coronavirus task force instead of Azar. Two, Azar having a bad relationship tension with Seema Verma, another HHS official and also a member of the task force and also a very close ally of Vice President Pence. And it also comes after we really haven't seen Azar in a public briefing in weeks.

So I want to note those things first. That is the argument that we're hearing from senior administration officials. On the other hand what we are hearing is that there is a blame game going on. This is coming out after weeks of negative criticism from Americans, from state leaders, on the handling of this coronavirus. And it should note that the senior administration official stressed that the ultimate decision to remove Azar will come from President Trump.

WHITFIELD: Kristen Holmes at the White House -- thank you so much.

All right. Maryland Governor Larry Hogan is also raising concerns about the President's comments about whether injecting or ingesting disinfectants is in any way effective in combatting coronavirus.


GOVERNOR LARRY HOGAN (R), MARYLAND: We had hundreds of calls in our hot line here in Maryland about people asking about injecting or ingesting these disinfectants, which is, you know, hard to imagine that people thought that that was serious. But people actually were thinking about this. Was it something you could do to protect yourselves? (END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: Dr. Julio Frenk is the president of the University of Miami and a former minister of health for Mexico. Dr. Frenk -- good to see you.

DR. JULIO FRENK, PRESIDENT, UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI: Thank you. Very nice to see you as well.

WHITFIELD: Thank you. So how is this misinformation about disinfectants -- ingesting them -- how is that becoming a distraction to people?

DR. FRENK: Well, you know, when I worked at the World Health Organization we used to say that there are communicable diseases, like COVID-19 and then there are communicated diseases. The spread of misinformation, rumors, et cetera, that very often accompany emergencies.


FRENK: And that's why a key element that's important than any other like testing, like contact tracing is a coherent, clear, concise and credible communication strategy where you don't see contradictions between political figures and scientists, where people get clear, non- ambiguous information. And it is a very important part of any strategy to deal with any emergency but particularly a pandemic like this one.

WHITFIELD: And then there's the issue of whether someone has immunity after they have contracted coronavirus. And, you know, the White House has taken one position. Dr. Deborah Birx explained her position that studies, you know, are ongoing about that.

Meantime you also heard the World Health Administration put out its warnings that they didn't have any evidence that there was immunity. What do you believe people should take from the issue of whether immunity, you know, can come from someone -- whether immunity is something that a victim of coronavirus, you know, can expect?

FRENK: You know, by definition anytime there's a new germ, like this coronavirus, we have uncertainty Because it's the first time that that particular germ has encountered humans.

And wo we are learning as we go along. And uncertainty (ph) is a defining feature -- now, it's getting better and better because we're getting more and more information. So that's one element that we're getting more information.

At this point, we do know that you can measure antibodies to see if a person had been exposed to the virus. Then the question is, does that provide protective immunity, which is a key element as we think about reopening the economy because obviously if it does provide protective immunity to themselves, meaning they can't get the disease, but also to others, meaning they cannot get others, you know -- then those people could be back in the workforce. I think at this point we're learning the more testing we can do the more rapidly we will learn. The sort of community-based large-scale sampling that was done in New York that we're actually doing right now in Miami with a team from the University of Miami is essential because that's exactly the start of the sort of large-scale testing.

This is a testing not to see if you have the disease but do you have the antibodies? Because the more we can establish that that provides protective immunity, the quicker we can have all of those peoples rejoin the labor force.

WHITFIELD: So it sounds like, Dr. Frenk, you might be in agreement with what Dr. Deborah Birx said early today on that issue. Take a listen.


BIRX: The CDC is not only measuring antibody but they're also looking and seeing whether that antibody is neutralizing. Is it a functional antibody in our functional assets (ph)? At the same time through the FDA and working with hospitals they're collecting plasma and giving plasma and recovering antibodies, recovered people's antibodies back to sick people to see the impact it has.

So all of that data together, I think, is going to create a very clear picture about antibody. I think what WHO is saying we don't know how long that effective antibody lasts. And I think that is a question that we have to explore over the next few months, and over the next few years.


WHITFIELD: So are you in agreement with that? How do you understand that?

FRENK: You're right. Yes. It is exactly right. And the more we do, the more we will learn, and be able to solve this. In the meantime, your general -- doing more testing is good, and we need tests that have been approved, that are reliable. That is a key part of the strategy.

WHITFIELD: And then you talked about the University of Miami and its research teams studying the virus. How optimistic are you about the findings, the potential findings?

FRENK: I have no doubt that the way we're going to win this war is through the instruments of science that comes from scientific research. And it's just a reminder of how important it is to invest in science. Its tests, its drugs and its eventually a vaccine. We have teams working on the three fronts.

And it's also this social time that how allows us to understand human behavior. This issue is about how do you communicate effectively. So it's a scientific approach that allows us to arm the public health professionals with the necessary tools to control this and future pandemics. There will be other pandemics. And you know, the one thing that, pardon me for (INAUDIBLE) -- have found frustrating over the years is that every time there's an epidemic or a pandemic, there's a lot attention, people are paying attention. But then that attention wanes down as soon as the emergency's over.

I hope this is a wake-up call that we need to sustain those investments. We need to have the platforms for tests, drugs and vaccines ready so as soon as there's a new pathogen that appears, and there will be others in the future, you can immediately plot that particular genome, enter those platforms and quickly to turning out the test drugs and machines that are needed to deal in a more timely way than we have done this time around.


WHITFIELD: All right. Dr. Julio Frenk of the University of Miami -- there in a Miami -- another great city where I once lived. Another favorite place, I lived right down the street from the University of Miami. Thanks so much for being with me today.

FRENK: Thank you -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: All right.

All right. Coming up, some restaurants in Georgia are reopening tomorrow. I'll talk live with one owner who says it is too soon, in their view, for in-person dining.

And the beaches are back in business and parks in California. But is everyone social distancing there?


WHITFIELD: Relaxed restrictions and a record heat wave are sending crowds to beaches in California this weekend. Several counties surrounding Los Angeles reopened their beaches. Take a look at those images. But they are still making sure people follow social distancing guidelines. How are they doing that?.


Let's go to CNN's Paul Vercammen live in Ventura County, California. When you look at those images that we just showed it looks quite difficult encouraging people to have greater social distancing?

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, one thing that we're finding, though, Fred -- is a lot of people want the beaches to stay open in Ventura County where we are right now and in Orange County. So they're listening to the lifeguards and the police officers. Look behind me. They've laid out some rules here.

So throwing the frisbee in bound, you're socially distant. But you cannot get a group of people together, congregate, start a firepit -- that sort of thing. That would be out of bounds. And in talking to someone off camera just seconds ago, he's from Los Angeles County, he went just a few miles into this county, saw friends he had not seen in six weeks but they maintained their social distance.

Now, what's happened throughout southern California this weekend during this first test, weather test, after COVID-19 breakout -- you have got different rules for different counties. So just to the south of us, mere miles in L.A. County, you cannot be at the beach in any way, shape or form. Law enforcement officers are all over this right now and they're not allowing it.

So what we're hearing from residents is they want a clarification of these rules, because in Orange County, show those pictures, New Port Beach, they're being extremely accommodating. They're saying people can go to the beach, just follow the social distancing guidelines. And we saw and observed that people were being extremely polite and courteous and the lifeguards echoed that.

So it's an unfolding story here in California with all of these various counties trying to figure out just what to do during a heat wave. But as I said, we are seeing people behaving and adhering to those social distancing guidelines.

Back to you now.

WHITFIELD: Wow. Paul Vercammen. Ok. Contrasting images whether those beaches are 20 minutes apart or whether they're hours' distance between them. All right. Thank you so much for that view.

All right. Up next, businesses in Georgia facing an ethical dilemma. Follow the governor's order to reopen, or err on the side of caution and risk losing more money? More on the debate, straight ahead.




WHITFIELD: All right. Despite being given the green light by Georgia Governor Brian Kemp to reopen, some business owners are not choosing to do so.

Joining me right now is Billy Streck, owner of the Atlanta restaurant, Hampton and Hudson, along with, hello, Samuel Glickman, founder of The Georgia Barbers Network. Hello to you two. Good to see you both.

All right, so every business owner is -- qualifies to reopen is really trying to ponder a number of things and assess quite a few things. So, Billy, I understand you have chosen not to reopen your restaurant for in-person dining but you have made adjustments for take-out and delivery options. How difficult was it to come about that decision?

BILL STRECK, GEORGIA RESTAURANT OWNER, HAMPTON + HUDSON: Yes. I mean, I think from the very beginning, it's crazy to see how30 days can impact your life completely. But going back to when this first started, you know, we really wanted to come up with a model that was going to be able to service the neighborhood, the community, service workers, and I transformed my restaurant/bar into a, what you are calling now Hampton and Hudson General Store.

So to kind of -- bring it kind of full circle, where we're at right now, you know, we definitely want to keep the momentum going. It is very extremely hard not to open. But, right now, you know, we are definitely focusing on our customers, our employees, people in the community. You know, it's a little bit too soon, I think, right now. But also for us to give back a little bit to the -- you know, we're working with Mill Bridge, which is -- they help with restaurants and people that are on the frontlines.

WHITFIELD: Okay. So, Samuel, different clientele, different personnel concerns. I mean, my husband got a call from his barber saying, okay, we're open and my husband was like, not yet, not ready for that. Overall, what are barbers, hair stylists telling you about how comfortable they are about reopening right now?

SAMUEL GLICKMAN, FOUNDER, GEORGIA BARBERS NETWORK: Well, the comfort level is not there for sure. We do have some barber shops that reopened, you know, on Friday. But for the majority of us, especially within our network, we've been communicating for the last four, five weeks actually on protocol and, you know, just the different safety measures that we were going to take, put into effect prior to the governor putting out his own protocol. And we just -- right now, we're not safe.

The reality is, the items that we need to open up our businesses to confidently serve clients, those items aren't accessible to us.

WHITFIELD: Right. And that's what I mean when I say, different clientele, different personnel considerations, because now you're talking about, you know, the welfare of your personnel and customers, because you all are often well within six feet of one another.


So there are also liability issues now, right, that a lot of barber shop owners having to take into consideration. And that means it's costly. They've already lost a lot of money. So, how are they managing that? What are the liability responsibilities they're having to worry about, the equipment standpoint?

GLICKMAN: You're absolutely right. I've been calling my insurance company for the last week trying to get them to give me an idea of the certain practices that we can do and what we can't do, what's insured, what's not insured. And to be honest, they don't even really have answers. There are a lot of things that have been listed on the state website for us, things that aren't even accessible to us right now, like disposable capes. There is no such thing as disposable capes. There are no disposable capes.

Just talk about bare necessities, paper towels. For every average person that uses a trifold brown paper towel in the bathroom, you're looking at about three paper towels per hand wash. For seven barbers in a shop, averaging ten bookings a day, that's 70 washes right there, not including the barbers. So you're looking at 140 to 150 paper towels being used a day.

When we're talking about ordering online, bulk orders, they're not allowing us to order bulk. I ordered paper towels on Amazon, they won't be here until the 11th of May. And so there are lot of things that you need that just aren't accessible to us. And kudos for those who have stocked up and prophetically got ahead of this thing six months ago. I don't know who that is.

WHITFIELD: So what are you going to do, Samuel? What are you and your colleagues going to do because you want to get back to your business whenever you feel safe to do so and you want your business to be viable? But, you know, listening to the calculus right there, I mean, it just gets everyone deeper and deeper into the hole.

GLICKMAN: Right. So the reality is, before we opened up, we've just got to make sure we have enough supplies stocked up. Right now, it's not about when, it's about how. And the when has become irrelevant in Georgia because our state has already opened back up.

But how we open back up is what's important. And the reality is until we feel like we have enough -- well, I can only speak for me. But until I feel like I have at least three months' worth of supplies, it doesn't make sense for me to open up, because --

WHITFIELD: I'm sure.

GLICKMAN: Yes. I want to be consistent with the protocol as well. If I run out of supplies, are we going to shut down again? I mean, some things just don't make sense right now.

WHITFIELD: Yes, this is a real roller coaster. So, Billy, you have been able to be adaptive, you're calling your place a general store now too. But being adaptive, you know, it means having money, having the capital to do that. Do you feel majority of your colleagues in the business, restaurant business, are able to do that in order to stay afloat?

STRECK: Well, I think we're going to -- well, we're going to see a lot, you know, with trying to reopen and what that means. I mean, of course, you know, capital is everything right now and a lot of us in this industry right now are struggling, because when this all kind of hit, you know, it was right around the time when the state and city taxes were due, rents were due, you know.

So if you really look at it, it's going to be -- it's going to be a challenge to get back up and going because you need the capital. And then, obviously, with some of the government funding, people are really relying on that, and it's been -- it's been hard to see and talk to, you know, some fellow restauranteurs and just kind of see where they're at and, honestly, we're all in the same situation from large to small.

And it's going to be tough, because, you know, we do have to have the capital to get open and going. We have to bring back, slowly bring back employees to take money to do that as well and then the product that we've gone through for the past month, that all of needs replenished as well. So it's really difficult.

WHITFIELD: Some very tough choices. Well, I'm wishing you both the best. Billy Streck, Samuel Glickman, all the best as you try to, you know, balance the best decisions personally and professionally for you and everyone you're around. All the best to you. Be well, be safe.

STRECK: Thank you.

GLICKMAN: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: All right. Coming up next, signs of progress in the fight against coronavirus, a new information on the outbreak in the United Kingdom, as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson heads back to work.



WHITFIELD: The United Kingdom says 413 people died from the coronavirus in the last 24 hours. It's the lowest daily death toll recorded there since March 31st. And as it continues to fight the spread of the coronavirus, the government said today it is planning to use the military to launch mobile coronavirus testing units for the country's frontline healthcare workers.

CNN's Max Foster is in Windsor, England, for us. So, Max, what do we know about how these mobile testing units will work?

MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Well, most of them are being run by the military, as you say. There's going to be about 100 of them around the country in hard-to-reach areas. So they're effectively pop- up centers that could be set up in about 20 minutes. And the reason they're doing this is that they are struggling to get enough tests done in the country. They're doing about 30,000 a day but their target is 100,000.

And one of the issues there is that essential workers are finding they're having to travel a very long distance in order to get to one of these testing centers. So they're trying to bring the testing centers closer to the people, the essential workers. So they're going to fire stations, for example, hospitals, police stations, and then they'll take the swabs there, send them in to these mega labs which can turn around the tests more quickly.


So they're trying to aim at this 100,000 figure in terms of tests, Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: Boris Johnson appears to be fully recovered, right, from the coronavirus? Is he expected back at work right away?

FOSTER: Well, he's back in Downing Street, as we understand it, tonight and he'll be back at work tomorrow. He's due to be at least -- we haven't seen him for two weeks since appeared in a video after coming out of hospital where he was very, very ill, of course.

He's in hospital about a week. He's going to come back to work. Presumably, we'll see him at the daily virus press briefing at Downing Street in the afternoon. And he'll be under immediate pressure because there's more and more pressure coming from the opposition party, for his government to define an exit strategy out of lockdown.

WHITFIELD: All right. Max Foster, thank you so much.

All right, after joking about who might play him on Saturday Night Live, Dr. Anthony Fauci actually got the late-night comedy treatment from none other than Brad Pitt. We will show you, next.



WHITFIELD: The coronavirus crisis in Russia continues to deepen. The country says it has more than 60,000 confirmed cases of the virus and there is currently no timetable for ending a nation-wide lockdown there. As CNN's Matthew Chance explains, it is now sparking violent protests.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is the kind of chaotic scene the Kremlin has been desperate to avoid. Hundreds of protesters angered by the coronavirus lockdown, demanding more financial support. These demos in the southern city of Vladikavkaz were quickly brought under control by riot police.

But across the world's biggest country amid tight COVID-19 restrictions and a growing death toll, patience is wearing thin. That's a potential threat to Vladimir Putin. The Russian president depends on order and prosperity for his support. This pandemic may be undermining both, although you won't see him admit it.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT: The situation is under total control. Our society as a whole becomes united when confronted with a common threat.

CHANCE: And that threat is becoming even more common. Russia's confirmed COVID-19 cases are still well below numbers recorded in the worst affected states, but the virus appears to be spreading fast. This is identified in every ward of the vast country's regions.

Making the situation harder is the strict lockdown imposed by authorities with shops and businesses closed to stem infections, digital passes are needed in Moscow for any trips by road or public transport. It all fuels public resentment, especially amid job losses and economic hardship.

It's a mood Russia's main opposition movement is trying to tap into with an online Campaign demanding more financial compensation for more unemployed workers. The Kremlin says it hasn't even seen this, but millions of Russians have already been affect the clicked (ph).

ALEXEY NAVALNY, RUSSIAN OPPOSITION POLITICIAN: In addition to financial aid, we demand you stop deceiving us with the strange terms, self-isolation and non-working month and clearly call it as it is, quarantine.

CHANCE: Russia is, of course, not the only country facing a backlash against measures intended to save lives, but it points to how in this pandemic government, as well as people, may be vulnerable.

Matthew Chance, CNN.


WHITFIELD: Much more straight ahead in the Newsroom, but, first, this week's Staying Well.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One of the best ways to stay healthy is to eat a nutritious diet, fill half your plate with vegetables and fruits. This will help to give you plenty of immunity-boosting nutrients.

Research shows that fit individuals, those who partake in regular physical activity have a decreased rate of infection compared to sedentary individuals. Physical activity helps to flush bacteria out of the lungs, decreasing your chance of getting a cold, flu or other viruses. For an afternoon (ph) cardio workout, try jumping jacks, knee highs, butt kicks and burpees.

Stress management is so important. In fact, if we're too stressed it reduces our body's ability to defend against bacteria and viruses. So one of the simplest ways to manage stress is to simply meditate. Focus on your breath. And if your thoughts start to wander, simply focus back to the breath without judgment.

Sleep is so important. You definitely don't want to skimp on sleep. Not getting enough Zs can negatively impact your immune system. So, National Sleep Foundation recommends aiming for seven to eight hours a night. But if you can't get that amount, don't worry, you can fill in the gaps with naps.



WHITFIELD: Key White House coronavirus task force member Dr. Anthony Fauci left no doubts about who he wanted to play him on SNL when he was asked on CNN earlier this month, that is.


ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Which actor would you want to play you on -- here are suggestions that I've heard. Ben stiller, Brad Pitt, which one?



WHITFIELD: Well, it turns out, Fauci got his wish. Saturday Night Live at home returned this weekend with Brad Pitt, opening the show playing Dr. Fauci, the nation's top infection disease expert.


Pitt translated President Trump's recent remarks about COVID-19 testing.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT: Anybody that needs a test gets a test.