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More U.S. States Easing Virus Restrictions This Week; California City May Temporarily Close Beaches; Trump Denies Plans to Fire HHS Secretary; South Korea: North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un 'Alive and Well'; U.K. Prime Minister Back to Work after Recovering from COVID-19; Coronavirus Disproportionately Affecting Communities of Color; Wisconsin Economy in Downtown from Virus Shutdown; Spain Eases Restrictions, Lets Children Exercise Outside; Comedian Entertains Fans with Basketball Star Impressions. Aired 12-1a ET
Aired April 27, 2020 - 00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is CNN NEWSROOM. I am Anna Coren.
In some corners of the world hardest hit by the coronavirus, authorities are slowly turning the dial and trying to bring aspects of life back to normal. Well, multiple U.S. states will begin easing stay-at-home restrictions this week, despite a steady climb in the American death toll. It's now nearly 55,000, with almost a million confirmed cases.
Each state loosening the lockdown is doing it their own way. In Minnesota, some manufacturing businesses are reopening. Elective surgeries will resume in Iowa, and the same goes for Colorado, which is also allowing real-estate showings and curbside delivery for retail businesses.
In Georgia, it's restaurants like Waffle House that will reopen Monday and on top of the salons, tattoos parlors and bowling alleys that did so last week.
With many of the soft openings, social distancing rules are still required, and according to the White House task force, the need for them won't go away any time soon.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. DEBORAH BIRX, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS TASK FORCE COORDINATOR: Social distancing will be with us through the summer to really ensure that we protect one another as we move through these phases.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COREN: But those protections are ravaging the American economy. For five weeks in a row, millions of workers applied for unemployment benefits, and one of President Trump's economic advisers is painting a grim picture.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KEVIN HASSETT, WHITE HOUSE ECONOMIC ADVISOR: 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. During the Great Recession, remember, that was the financial crisis around 2008, that we lost 8.7 million jobs in the whole thing. Right now, we're losing that many jobs about every 10 days.
The next couple of months are going to look terrible. You're going to see numbers that are as bad as anything that we've ever seen. And I think the unemployment rate is going to jump to a level, probably around 16 percent, or even higher, in the next jobs report.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COREN: Well, however, U.S. treasury secretary is projecting a more positive outlook, predicting the economy will bounce back in mid- to late summer.
While the governor of Colorado is still urging residents to stay-at- home as much as possible, he has officially relaxed the existing restrictions. His plan is to allow businesses to reopen the first week of May, with a reduced workforce.
But, as Gary Tuchman shows us, all of Colorado is not ready to let their guard down just yet.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is the city of Greeley in Weld County, Colorado, where many businesses will be open on Monday, just like in the other 63 counties in Colorado. The governor has called for a reopening of retail businesses that were considered nonessential, but that have followed safety protocols and will deliver goods to curbside.
On Friday, on May 1, those retail stores will then allow people inside if they are still following the safety protocols.
Also on Friday, barbershops, beauty shops, manicurists, tattoo parlors, and other personal care businesses will be allowed to open.
What's different about this measure is that the 64 counties have some say in how this works out in this state. For example, Denver city and Denver County do not want things to open tomorrow, so they're allowed to postpone it.
But other counties like here in Weld County want more businesses to open. They're supposed to ask for a waiver from the state to reopen businesses. As far as we know, that waiver hasn't been asked for, but county leaders here have told business leaders they can open up their stores. ' So this place right here, this is a barbershop called The Barbershop. Their plan is to reopen on Monday. They say they have a full book of appointments between 9 and 6. You can see on this door, there's a sticker. There was a cleaning crew that came in here, on April 26 to sanitize it, to clean up. They specialize in COVID cleaning, they say.
So the plan is to open this business, this barbershop, even though the governor doesn't want barbershops to open just yet.
This is Gary Tuchman, CNN, in Colorado.
COREN: Well, in California, a weekend heat wave sent flocks of people straight to open beaches, but with close to 44,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, and more than 1,700 deaths in the state, some officials are worried.
CNN's Paul Vercammen tells us one city is considering closing the beaches for now.
PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The weather cooled off, but more of that head-on collision between the need to social distance and people's desire to get some fresh air and get down to the beach, here in Southern California.
Here in Ventura County, the beach opened. Limited access, maintain your distance, the authorities said. Don't go ahead and throw any bonfires or parties or that sort of thing. So most people were cooperating.
But just down the road, a couple of miles, L.A. County beaches still shut down. No access allowed. So, people left L.A. County. They went to the beaches in Ventura County and Orange County. So we talked to some of those residents here, and they say they were just desperate for a chance to get out of the house.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, as a person who loves to get out, I wanted to get out. You know, we've been stuck inside, and, honestly, how can you stay inside on such a beautiful day? You know, as long as we're abiding by the rules that they are giving us, why shouldn't we be able to do what we want?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Our own four walls around us at home are starting to feel like prison. So, you know, if we can walk around outside on our street, why can't we walk around at the beach, as long as we're social distancing?
VERCAMMEN: L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti weighed in on this on Twitter. He said, "We won't let one weekend ruin a month of progress. While the sunshine is tempting, we are staying home to save lives." As idyllic as the scene looks behind me, there are people who told us
on this beach they don't have a job. Well, they are exhorting city officials, their state representatives, the governor, to give some timeline in this state. They want to go back to work.
Reporting from Ventura County, California, Paul Vercammen. Now back to you.
COREN: Well, Americans receiving stimulus checks are also getting a letter signed by President Trump. The one-page message says the White House is fully committed to families receiving the support they need and that the president was proud to sign the measure into law.
At least one lawmaker called the letter inappropriate. Democratic Representative Charlie Crist said that it sounded like the president was campaigning.
Meantime, Mr. Trump insists his health and human services secretary is staying on. Kristen Holmes has the details.
KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: President Trump taking to Twitter Sunday night, denying reports that White House officials were looking into replacing HHS Secretary Alex Azar.
(voice-over): Sources confirmed to CNN on Saturday that those discussions were taking place. It's important to remember that it had been much speculation to White House aides for weeks over what was going to happen to Azar, keeping in mind that President Trump named Vice President Pence the head of the task force over Azar.
We also knew Azar was butting heads with Seema Verma, another task force member. But more importantly, a close ally of Vice President Pence, and we had not seen Azar in any public briefing or doing any interviews for weeks.
But one thing to note is the timing of all of this. While the Trump administration's handling of the coronavirus pandemic has been widely criticized, the last few weeks have been particularly bad, ranging from Republican governors begging the federal government for help with testing, to those comments on Thursday night about ingesting some sort of disinfectant to clear your body for coronavirus.
So this is a time of extreme tension, of blame-shifting and of finger- pointing. But it does appear tonight that President Trump is saying that Azar will not be a victim of that blame shifting. At least, he will not be a victim tonight.
I do want to mention that sources also pointed out to us that there wasn't a huge appetite for a big shake-up at the White House during this coronavirus pandemic response.
Kristen Holmes, CNN, the White House. (END VIDEOTAPE)
COREN: And joining me now in New York, CNN medical analyst Dr. Kent Sepkowitz.
Doctor, great to have you with us.
I think it's fair to say there is real confusion about what should be happening in the U.S. right now. Obviously, some states are reopening, relaxing social-distancing restrictions. And then you have Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus task force coordinator, come out and say that social distancing will remain in place through summer. Who should the public be listening to?
DR. KENT SEPKOWITZ, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: The public should listen to the physicians. I'm a physician, so I'm biased, and I think that Dr. Birx has often showed candor and directness, not always, unfortunately. But I think her advice is appropriate. I think that the sense that we've suffered enough, and therefore, we get a, you know, snow day or something like that to go and have fun is mostly immature and sort of disappointing to see people adopt.
COREN: Because Dr. Birx has also said that a testing breakthrough is needed before the economy reopens.
COREN: So why are governors doing this?
SEPKOWITZ: I think that they have real pressure. I mean, I -- Nobody wants to have to do this. Right? Nobody enjoys social distancing. It was maybe a little bit interesting for a week or two.
Now we're -- you know, in New York we're about hitting the two months. You know, a crashing economy is a terrible thing. People complaining every second of the day is a terrible thing. Their voter base complaining. It's a very terrible thing. It ain't easy, you know? None of this is easy.
Taking the path of less immediate resistance, which had opened it up, it's going to look good for a few weeks, and then there will be cases. And how many cases, where the cases are and, importantly, will we be able to see the association between a surge in cases and the relaxation of the stay-at-home rules. It's going to be hard.
If you look at Wisconsin, right, where they have voted in person during the pandemic, there's a jump up in cases, but we're not really reading about it. The data's kind of blurry. Nobody wants to come out and say, I told you so. This is happening.
So I think, you know, we're heading off into vague, vague, hard-to- measure consequences of this that won't be altogether cleared until a month or two after this. And that's tragic.
COREN: And you would have to assume that these conflicting messages and the confusion is very dangerous, and that a second wave is unavoidable.
SEPKOWITZ: Yes. Yes, totally so. A second wave connotes the notion that we -- that we handle the first wave, which this would actually be a lack of handling of the first wave. I think it would be a continuation, which is, you know, tragic. It really wastes all of the work of these months.
And, you know, I think three-fourths of the country endures all this time, trying their best. We set the dial back to zero. We don't get any credit in the bank for all these days that we've been in isolation, if indeed, we break isolation and -- and the pandemic returns, which it -- I mean, it will, whether or not it is, you know, mid-March in New York City level of horribleness. I doubt it. But it's going to be plenty bad.
COREN: Well, Vice President Mike Pence has said that by Memorial Day weekend, which is a month away, the U.S. will largely have the coronavirus epidemic behind us. Do you agree?
SEPKOWITZ: No, not at all. The death rate will be lower, so we could claim that as a victory, I suppose. It's odd that they keep making these easily-disprovable pronouncements. They've been saying them since, you know, Trump did this with the 15 cases, and it's a miracle.
And why they keep setting themselves up to look like idiots, I don't know.
As Dr. Fauci said, kind of brilliantly a while ago, the virus will decide when this ends. We don't decide. It's crazy that we keep doing this was. This is what -- you know, this is what my kids would do, you know, when they were younger. You know, can we open the presents now? Come on, come on, come on. And adults are supposed to say, I know it's hard, you know, but we have to wait. That's sort of the adult voice that we are supposed to adopt. But it seems that we are giving into the adolescent, you know, make a mess and screw it sort of approach to this. Very, very disappointing.
COREN: At the end of the day -- at the end of the day, this is a matter of life or death. So it is truly bizarre. Yes.
SEPKOWITZ: Yes. Especially, too, with 55,000 people dead in the United States. And it's not like it's an abstract, crazy idea that something bad might happen. Something bad has happened. It is happening and will continue happening. It's just the height of -- of immaturity and an inability to delay gratification.
COREN: Well, Dr. Kent Sepkowitz, great to get your insight. Thank you so much for joining us from New York.
Officials in South Korea say North Korea's leader is, quote, "alive and well." Questions about Kim Jong-un health -- Jong-un's health, I should say, have been floating around for days now.
Well, he missed the celebration of his grandfather's birthday on April 15, a national holiday in North Korea, sparking rumors that he was very ill, or even dead. Our Paula Hancocks is in Seoul for us and has been following the story
very closely. Paula, it is fascinating. Obviously, as we said, the rumor mill has been churning as to the state of Kim Jong-un's health, and the fate of his nuclear state.
But the South Koreans have now weighed in. What can you tell us?
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right. The only thing that we actually know for sure is that Kim Jong-un did not turn up to his -- to pay respects to his grandfather on Day of the Sun on April 15. That, in itself, is significant. That is something that many officials, experts will agree on, the fact that his absence was noted, and, of course, the speculation does follow.
But what we've been hearing from the South Korean side is that they believe things are as normal. They have consistently said that they don't see anything unusual going on in North Korea at this point. We had Moon Chung-in, who's a special adviser to President Moon going one step further, saying that he believes he's in Busan (ph) and he is alive and well.
And yet, we are also hearing, as Jim Sciutto reported, one U.S. official saying that they are monitoring reports that -- that he could be in bad health.
So of course, it is very difficult to know exactly what is happening. We will know for sure when North Korea announces something. But I did speak a little earlier today to Thae Yong-Ho. He knows North Korea better than any of us. He is the former 2IC from the British embassy for North Korea. He defected. He has now just been elected as a South Korean lawmaker, as well.
And he cautioned against all these rumors and reports, saying that the -- if it was actually the case that he was in bad health, the people that knew about that would be very small and just restricted to the wife, the sister, those VIP's who are with him all the time and know his movements.
He said most of the officials within North Korea wouldn't even know where North -- where Kim Jong-un is from one day to the next.
There was also a report, as well, from 38 North, saying that his personal trainer's believed to be in Wonsan (ph), as well. We're not sure what, they said, what that actually tells us, whether or not he is there, as well.
But again, Thao Yong-ho said that could well be a decoy. The North Koreans know when the American satellites can see them, and they often used to send trains. They often used to put lights on at night in different buildings to try and mislead where exactly Kim Jong-un was -- Anna.
COREN: Yes. Quite incredible. Paula, great to see you. Paula Hancocks reporting there from Seoul. Well, health inequalities in the midst of a pandemic. When we return,
we'll take a look at the devastating toll the virus is having on people of color.
COREN: Welcome back.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will have a lot on his place during his first day back at work. Well, Monday marks his official return on battling a debilitating case of the coronavirus. And it will be a busy first day. As the government works to roll out more testing, the opposition power wants to see a plan for reopening.
CNN's Max Foster has more.
MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So Boris Johnson back in Downing Street and expects to be back at work. We haven't seen him for around two weeks, since he appeared in a video when he came out of hospital.
The big question is will he appear at the daily government press conference in Downing Street, updating the nation on the virus? If he does, he'll be under immediate pressure to explain how the government plans, if not now then eventually, to bring the nation out of lockdown.
The opposition Labour Party has been asking big questions over the weekend on that. What is the plan exactly?
The other big pressure point is the amount of testing. Virus testing. Particularly on essential workers that have been carried out. The government had said it was aiming at that 100,000 tests by the end of the month. Currently, they're at about 30,000. So they have come up with this plan to get the military to set up mobile units around the country. About a hundred of them being set up in hard-to-reach areas.
So that hopefully will bring the number of tests up. But the government will have to explain if it doesn't.
Max Foster, CNN, Windsor, England.
COREN: The coronavirus is taking a heavy toll on minority communities. And nowhere is that more evident than on the faces of families who have lost a loved one. CNN's Phil Black has more.
PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The moment of painful loneliness for one man. He's a grieving son and brother, made to wait in a place that can offer no consolation for his loss: a car park under a mosque in North London, now being used to deal with the unequal consequences of COVID-19.
It's become a workshop, a busy production lab, rapidly building coffins, trying to keep up with the pandemic's ruthless demand.
This is the confronting reality. What it really means when doctors say people of color are being disproportionately impacted by the virus. So many people in this community are dying there aren't enough coffins for them.
The carpenters pause as the body is wheeled out of the nearby mortuary room. This is what the grieving man has been waiting for, to begin saying goodbye.
The mosque is closed, so he has to pray here, in the car park, for his mother inside that casket and his brother, who lies in another just meters away.
The 70-year-old woman and her 32-year-old son died a few days apart. Both had contracted COVID-19.
Across London in a Muslim burial ground, we see more improvisation for dealing with death on an extraordinary scale. The backlog for burials is now so long, Muslim scholars were consulted to approve these trenches, each one excavated to hold 20 bodies. Just days later, the first is already full.
Staff in Britain's National Health Service first noticed the terrible numbers of black and ethnic minority people falling to the coronavirus, partly because they were losing so many of their own.
Like Thomas Harvey, who'd worked as a hospital carer for 20 years.
TAMIRA HARVEY, LOST FATHER TO CORONAVIRUS: It's really weird we're not having my dad around. It hurts every single day.
BLACK: The usually strong, healthy father of seven was isolating at home with COVID-19 symptoms when he collapsed in the bathroom. His family and police broke through the door. Paramedics worked to save him. His daughter Tamira says she'll never forget the words she heard soon after.
HARVEY: When he came upstairs, and he was just like, We can't anything else. And that was just that.
BLACK: Who said that to you?
HARVEY: I'm sorry.
BLACK: It's all right.
HARVEY: The paramedics.
BLACK: Much of the evidence is anecdotal, but in the United Kingdom, as in the U.S., it appears undeniable. COVID-19 is devastating communities of color. While reasons are researched and debated, a greater need looms clear. Protecting vulnerable people who are experiencing a desperately unfair burden of pain and loss.
Phil Black, CNN, London.
COREN: A heart-wrenching story.
No job, no work, no clue when they'll open again. The struggles and fears of people in Wisconsin. Their stories and more after the break.
COREN (voice-over): Welcome back. This is CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Anna Coren, live from Hong Kong.
Well, parts of the U.S. are beginning to reopen for business, for better or for worse. After weeks of being shut down, many industries and businesses are ready to open their doors, but CNN's Natasha Chen shows us it's not that easy.
NATASHA CHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the state hardest hit by the coronavirus, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, for the first time, signaled that the pause on business, at least in some regions, might soon be lifted.
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): We need them to be creative, and think outside of the box.
CHEN: Cuomo suggested some regions, like upstate New York, could begin a phase one reopening at the end of the state's stay-at-home order next month.
CUOMO: So we get to May 15, what regions have seen a decline for 14 days?
CHEN: Fourteen days of a decline in cases is one metric the White House coronavirus task force says should be achieved before any sort of reopening.
But some states aren't waiting.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're good.
CHEN: Like in Georgia, where Governor Brian Kemp ushered in the nation's most aggressive back-to-work measures. On Friday, barbershops, gyms and even bowling alleys were permitted to reopen their doors, despite pushback from local officials and even from President Trump, despite having called Kemp earlier to tell him he supported the move.
Georgia barber Eric Greeson (ph) reopened Friday, something he didn't necessarily want to do. ERIC GREESON (PH), BARBER: Everybody's scared of this, basically.
Having yet to see a dime in federal aid, he and other small business owners are driven largely by financial desperation.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look, we just want to get a business going.
CHEN: But White House economic economic adviser Kevin Hassett said getting business going is not going to be easy.
HASSETT: During the Great Recession -- remember, that was the financial crisis around in 2008 -- that we lost 8.7 million jobs in the whole thing. Right now, we're losing that many jobs about every 10 days.
CHEN: Which is in direct contrast to what the treasury secretary told reporters at the same time.
STEVE MNUCHIN, TREASURY SECRETARY: You're going to see the economy really bounce back in July, August, September.
CHEN: Getting a head start on bouncing back is the hope of states like Georgia, Tennessee, Oklahoma and Arkansas, where dining at restaurants can resume this week.
And in Texas, Governor Abbott is expected to announce sweeping changes in the coming days.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in a minute. One minute. And is there a way we can do something like that?
CHEN: Meanwhile, inside the White House, a seething President Trump halted the nearly daily press briefings he's been holding for weeks after widespread criticism for wondering aloud whether ingesting toxic cleansers should be something to consider.
And as he continues to shift any blame for his administration's response to the virus, sources tell CNN that Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar may soon be a scapegoat.
As so many changes lie ahead, one thing remains constant.
GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): We're not out of the woods yet.
GOV. PHIL MURPHY (D-NJ): We're not out of the woods yet.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are not out of the woods.
CHEN (on camera): It was exactly two months ago President Trump said that we were, quote, "only a few days away" from seeing zero coronavirus cases in the U.S. Now, of course, we've seen those numbers soar past 960,000, with more than 54,000 Americans who have died.
COREN: Natasha Chen, reporting there. Well, the economy in the state of Wisconsin has been hit hard. The
latest casualty is a beef production plant that feed more than three million Americans, now temporarily closed.
Our Miguel Marquez looks at how residents of the state are struggling to get by.
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In cities across the Badger State, many businesses shuttered, manufacturing in freefall, farming plowed under. Wisconsin's economy in a state of near suspension with no end in sight.
SUSAN BERNA, UNEMPLOYED WISCONSIN RESIDENT: I have to turn off the news at a certain point. I have to go out for a walk. And I have to do other things so I don't get overwhelmed.
MARQUEZ: Susan Berna worked in promotions and sales. She had just started two part-time gigs, now both gone. She has some money saved and can survive for a while, but --
BERNA: I have crummy health insurance.
MARQUEZ: For Berna, it's the uncertainty of what getting the coronavirus could bring.
BERNA: I pay almost $300 a month, and it only covers me for $15,000 in a year.
MARQUEZ (on camera): Total.
MARQUEZ: So if you get coronavirus?
BERNA: I'll either be in huge debt or I won't be treated. I don't think they can turn people away, but I don't see any relief for someone like me who does have insurance. The governor has said he will cover people who don't have insurance, but I do.
MARQUEZ (voice-over): Since mid-March, more than 300,000 Wisconsinites have filed for unemployment. And economists say it is going to get worse.
(on camera): How big a hit is the Wisconsin economy going to take?
NOAH WILLIAMS, CENTER FOR RESEARCH ON THE WISCONSIN ECONOMY: It's quite substantial. Our overall numbers are a decline in economic activity on the order of about 50 percent.
MARQUEZ: Fifty? Five-zero?
WILLIAMS: Fifty percent, year over year.
MARQUEZ: Williams and his Center for Research on the Wisconsin Economy tracks anonymous cell phone data at 50,000 establishments statewide. From mom-and-pop retail shops, to malls, movie theaters, and manufacturing plants, big and small. His latest data indicates a 60 percent reduction in manufacturing activity.
WILLIAMS: It's crushing, to be honest. It's manufacturing is the backbone of the state.
MARQUEZ: Last October, CNN profiled Wisconsin Aluminum Foundry in Manitowoc. Then, it was struggling with the effects of the trade war with China. Today, it's keeping all its employees paid, but new orders are down 90 percent.
In agriculture, a similar story. The price of milk in a tailspin. Milk so cheap, farmers cannot give it away.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This would have been on a store shelf 24 hours from now, but it's not. We're just dumping it down the drain.
MARQUEZ: The restaurant and hospitality industries nearly at a dead stop. Coming back online won't be easy or quick.
BRANDON WRIGHT, OWNER, HAMBURGER MARY'S: Our sales are down about 90 percent. It would be good to survive through the current -- what they're saying, like by -- by the end of May. If it goes any further than that, then we're going to have to do a lot of adjustments.
MARQUEZ: Those adjustments will be made across the economy, leaving millions vulnerable.
RON TORRISI, UNEMPLOYED DISABLED VETERAN: I've got $983 in the bank right now.
MARQUEZ: Ron Torrisi, a Navy veteran now on disability, was homeless for two years. His job as a cook ended seven weeks ago when Buckingham's Bar and Grill in Madison closed, his monthly income cut in half.
(on camera): What's your level of anxiety and stress about the future right now?
TORRISI: It's pretty high right now, I have to say.
MARQUEZ (voice-over): An avid fisherman, he spends hours every day hooking large-mouth bass and forgetting about how he'll survive the months ahead.
In this political battleground state, the battle for many has become surviving from one day to the next.
Miguel Marquez, CNN, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
COREN: In Europe, a surplus of potatoes means more frites, or you might call them fries at dinner, because of the pandemic. Every person in Belgium has been asked to eat an extra portion of fries each week by the Association of Potato Producers.
Well, Belgium faces a surplus of 750,000 tons of potatoes, with shops and restaurants closed because of the virus.
After six long weeks trapped indoors, children in Spain are finally allowed outside for some fresh air and exercise. It makes life easier on their parents, too. We'll show you how they've been surviving. That's next.
COREN: Welcome back.
Spain is beginning to relax some of its strongest confinement regulations. Children under the age of 14 are now allowed to spend an hour outside per day after weeks of being cooped up indoors.
On Sunday, the country reported its lowest number of coronavirus deaths since late March, one fact the government is using to ease restrictions.
Scott McLean shows us what it's been like for one family under lockdown.
SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the moment that Alejandra Granados' family has been dreaming of. It's the kids' first time outside in six weeks.
For families like theirs, lockdown has meant trapped inside a thousand square feet. Alejandra and her husband had been working from home, juggling their six- and three-year-old sons, Alex and entre regretting their decision to buy an apartment and not a house. We spoke a few days before the kids were allowed out.
ALEJANDRA GRANADOS, MOTHER OF TWO BOYS IN LOCKDOWN: You feel sad because you feel trapped. You're at home.
MCLEAN: In Spain, adults have had some excuses to leave their homes. To walk the dog, go to the store, or in some cases, work. Kids have had no excuse to go out at all.
GRANADOS: Psychological, yes, I think it's a big impact for me and my family. We are always fighting and yelling at each other, and sometimes at night, I cry before going to bed because I feel a lot of frustrating myself.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Come on, burpees.
MCLEAN: Stuck inside, the kids have had few outlets to burn off their energy. GRANADOS: Sometimes I notice that Alex doesn't want to talk at all. He
just goes to his room and he's just staring out the window. And I think the coronavirus is, after all, showing us something that we have never seen before. But we are frightened.
MCLEAN: On Tuesday, the government promised kids some freedom. But the trip to the store with their parents was not with what a restless public had in mind.
Facing widespread backlash, the health minister agreed to allow kids under 14 to play outside for an hour a day. It doesn't seem like much, but after six weeks inside, it's a sign this national nightmare might soon be over.
GRANADOS: It feels great. It feels like you get a lot of space around you. Freedom.
MCLEAN: Scott McLean, CNN, Madrid.
COREN: For more on how lockdowns are affecting children, psychologist Wendy Walsh joins us from Los Angeles.
Wendy, great to have you with us. Tell us the toll that it is taking on children, being cooped up inside, isolated from the community.
WENDY WALSH, PSYCHOLOGIST: I think probably the most difficult part for kids is missing on -- out on all the social interaction because play, especially make believe play, is all about social learning, right, and how they grow.
But I do want to -- I want to pull, you know, parents off the worry train a bit, because with the younger children, what they really need is a secure attachment with their primary attachment figures. Their parents.
So they're having a field day. The parents may be a little stressed, but things are actually very normal. I always say a baby's home is its parents' body. And so having parents home maybe go a long way to creating secure attachments.
And I also want to remind people that middle schoolers and teenagers, they've always maintained their relationships digitally. They're far ahead of it than we are.
COREN: Yes, for sure. How do we explain this to children so that it's not overwhelming?
WALSH: Well, I think the most important thing for parents is they learn to modulate and self-regulate their own emotions. And that doesn't mean to suppress or pretend that everything is hunky-dory.
I think having an honest, open expression of your own emotions -- if you're feeling sad, if you're feeling scared, put language to that so that children can see that modeled. And then also, show emotional management. Like, you know, mom feels
really afraid today, but I'm comforted by the fact that we have helpers there, the scientists who are looking for a vaccine. The doctors and nurses who are helping to heal people. And so that makes me feel hopeful.
So the kids get an array of emotions. But trying to suppress your emotions, trust me, they're little sponges, and they pick it all up.
COREN: Yes, they're very, very perceptive, aren't they?
COREN: Will this have long-term psychological effects on young kids, do you think?
WALSH: I don't think so. I think, in fact, it's good. I think it's good to have parents who aren't so busy and aren't running out for very long workdays.
I think in the long run, this is teaching families about having family dinner together every night, about doing jigsaw puzzles and playing games. And I remind those parents who are forced to home school their kids that baking and decorating cookies is both a math lesson, a chemistry experiment, and an art project.
OK, so don't worry. The kids have neuroplasticity. They're going to catch up educationally.
COREN: I'm going to have to remember that next time, Wendy, when I try to bake with my 4-year-old twin boys. It was a disaster.
But I guess it's not just the kids. It's also the parents. Because even though it eases that family time, and people are definitely being more connected. They are re-connecting, and we are hearing that from our friends, from each other.
People are feeling frustrated as we heard in that package just before. That mother frustrated, irritated, on the verge of tears. You know, the boredom sets in. It can be an unhealthy environment.
WALSH: And it can't stress the marital dyad, right, the adult romantic relationship can be under a lot of strain.
You have to remember, there are two great fears here. Fear of a potential health risk for you or a family member and fear of financial ruin. And these are very real -- I call them the background drumbeat to everything we do during the day.
And I think the most important thing is to discuss these fears with your spouse and also, this is a great opportunity to practice communication skills.
My favorite little trick is called a communication sandwich. It starts out with a layer of love, followed by a layer of a little something a little hard to chew on, and then backed up with another layer of love. So it starts out with a compliment, and then an ask, and then a compliment again, so that the person will stay open and hear what you're trying to say.
COREN: I'm loving this advice.
Wendy, what is your advice for everyone to remain sane?
WALSH: We know this will pass. I have teenagers and college students in my house. And I tell them to journal, journal, journal, journal. Besides the fact that it's really good for your mental health, because it creates space between your emotional experience and then your eyes reading it later.
But also, these are important documents. You know, people have been sending me poems, letters, and photographs from the great pandemic of 1918. And I have been devouring them with so much interest.
And I really encourage everybody, young people and old people alike, to document their experiences. Because in many generations coming up, they will look to us and go, Really? You lived through the great pandemic of 2020?
Yes, we did. And we'll have lots to tell.
COREN: Yes. It is -- it's an incredible time, absolutely.
Wendy Walsh, fantastic to get your insight. Thank you for that fascinating discussion and all your advice. Great to have you on the program.
WALSH: Good to see you.
COREN: Well, for sports lovers, a small sign that someday basketball will come back. According to reports, some players will soon be back on the court. We'll give you the details, up next.
COREN: Pro basketball games won't be returning quickly. But a glimmer of light for fans. The NBA reportedly plans to reopen some practice facilities on Friday. Players will voluntarily be able to train in cities where governments are relaxing stay-at-home restrictions.
No teams playing just yet. And don't expect basketball season to be picking up anytime soon.
One man is filling that basketball void, though. Meet Max, the comedian who has gained fame on Instagram by doing impressions of basketball stars like LeBron James and Steph Curry. Close to a million people are following his moves.
CNN's Patrick Snell has more. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
MAX PERANIDZE, NBA COMEDIAN AND IMPERSONATOR: Impersonating Lebron is not easy, because I actually was impersonating LeBron two weeks ago, and I twisted my ankle.
PATRICK SNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Attempting, finely-tuned impressions of your idol is not without its perils for 22-year-old Max Peranidze. But his attention to detail when it comes to imitating some of basketball's biggest names is now more than ever paying off in the most impactful way.
PERANIDZE: There's no live sports right now, so you know, I'm kind of just trying my best to, you know, keep up the spirits and make the videos for people that, you know, are going through hard times. I'm doing my part and doing my best just to make good videos, funny videos.
I get a lot of messages like, I needed this. Thank you. You know what I mean? I get good comments from the fans, I mean, and I just want to -- I just want to stay consistent with it.
SNELL: Max turned to his own brand of hoops comedy when a freak injury curtailed his college basketball career in Los Angeles. And while his popularity is now soaring with close to a million followers on his maxisnicee Instagram account, he reminds every mindful of the sacrifices along the way.
PERANIDZE: I don't have time to get a job, and you know, junior college doesn't give you money, so I just -- sometimes I'll be hungry, because I have to eat, like, one time a day.
SNELL: The last few months, though, have been truly life-transforming for Max, who arrived in the United States as a 10-year-old from Moldova. His videos even catching the attention of French World Cup- winning football star Antoine Griezmann.
PERANIDZE: I woke up, I checked my DMs, and then it was him. And his message was, he was like, I'm a big fan. You're hilarious. And -- and I was just like, wow. Because I know he's a -- he's a famous soccer player and everybody knows him. He has a big follower base. So I was just like, That's -- that's dope. I was -- I was happy and then -- and ever since then, I just kept it cool with him.
SNELL: And if you want to further proof Max and his talents really are now living the dream --
PERANIDZE: I just got a DM from one day (ph). One day, I was chilling out. I think I was -- I was eating a cheeseburger or something, and I just saw like on my phone -- and I got a DM from DOA (php), and he's like, Yo.
And I'm like, Yo, what's up?
And he says to me, like, So I've got this show coming out on NBA TNT Tuesdays. You know, I mean, I would like you to be a part of that. Would you be down for something like that?
And I was like -- I was like, man you don't even have to ask me. Count me in.
PERANIDZE: The garage door rises.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Zion and little brother.
PERANIDZE: The garage door closes. Green eggs and ham.
SHAQUILLE O'NEALE, FORMER NBA PLAYER: Are them dudes making that much money on social media? Both of them dudes have nice little cribs.
SNELL: And when it comes to working on future material, Max is already busy, clearly inspired by the U.S. TV miniseries "The Last Dance," featuring the 1997-98 Chicago Bulls, and the iconic Michael Jordan.
PERANIDZE: Jordan just really set the tone for the NBA. He's just -- he's one of the greatest to every do it. That would be the greatest ever to do it. I'm going to do (ph) big about him.
COREN: Patrick Snell with that report.
Well, the coronavirus knows no borders, but an elderly couple in Europe is showing that love does not either. He is 89 and lives in Germany. She is 85 and lives in Denmark. They've been an item for two years, so after the borders closed, they decided to meet on their respective sides every day.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KARSTEN TUECHSEN HANSEN, BOYFRIEND (through translator): There's no two ways about it. Love goes on. We can't do anything about it. She can't sleep. I can't sleep, because she's not there. It's nice to see each other, at least this once a day. We can't hug or kiss, but she's here, and we can talk about what's new.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COREN: Well, the couple says when they are at home, they wear masks and gloves to stay healthy. Love certainly makes the world go around.
Thanks for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Anna Coren. I'll be back with more news in an hour.