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Top Officials Contradict Each Other on U.S. Economy; Markets and Commodities Continue Roller Coaster Month; Spain Eases Restrictions, Lets Children Exercise Outside; How Stay-at-Home Orders are Impacting Children; South Korea Saying North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un is Alive and Well. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired April 27, 2020 - 04:30   ET




ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to our viewers here in the United States and of course all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church and you are watching CNN NEWSROOM.

In the U.S., more states are allowing businesses to reopen this week in an effort to restart their economies. Wall Street will surely keep an eye on all of this. Right now U.S. futures are up all across the board looking fairly encouraging there. And this after the three major indices recorded losses last week.

Since March 14th, some 26 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits hoping to get financial relief after being laid off, of course. And many of them don't know if they will ever get their jobs back. And now the White House is sending mixed messages about the economy. Take a listen to the Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, and White House economic advisor, Kevin Hassett.


STEVEN MNUCHIN, U.S. TREASURY SECRETARY: I think as we begin to reopen the economy in May and June you are 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.

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 a 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 we've ever seen. I think the unemployment rate is going to jump to a level probably around 16 percent or even higher in the next jobs report.


CHURCH: Well two very different world views there. And our Christine Romans joins us now from New York with more. Good to see you, Christine.


CHURCH: So Georgia reopened some businesses last Friday. More states will follow suit this week. And of course, the big question, when will our economy bounce back. As we just heard, not everyone is on the same page when it comes to answering that question. What's being said about it?

ROMANS: You know, the Treasury Secretary there is painting a picture of what's called a v-shaped recovery. And it's so important because how these states reopen and how carefully they reopen will be what decides whether we have a v-shaped recovery, w-shaped recovery or something that is more like an L, which was Japan during the 1990s. And I know that's sounds kind of, you know, technical and wonky. But really, how we rescue, how the U.S. government and fed rescue the U.S. economy and how the states open up will determine what this recovery looks like.


What you heard there from Kevin Hassett I think was sober and absolutely right. We are in the midst of depression-level economic numbers. There's no question about it, 26.5 million people out of a job in five weeks. All of the job losses of the great recession, less than 9 million, took months to accumulate. So we have seen a shock to the system unlike anything we've ever seen before and how these states and what happens next is truly a mystery, quite frankly, because we've never done this.

CHURCH: Yes, so true. And people really just want to know what the truth is. What really will happen. They don't need to be given any false hope on this. They've had enough of that. I want to ask you, too, the small business bailout officially reopens today. Many want to know will most smaller businesses really get the help they need this time around. Because they really got diddle. Didn't they before?

ROMANS: Yes, look, in six hours this will open again. And the Treasury and the SBA are telling banks if they already have loan applications in the cue, go ahead and process those. There's been 60 billion, Rosemary, that's been set aside to get to these small community lenders. There are a lot of small businesses in America that work through community development pipelines. There aren't really plugged into the big banking infrastructure. You've to get those underserved communities help here as well. So there's 60 billion set aside for that.

And so, over the weekend the U.S. government was tweaking sort of the protocol and the portal so that now today in about six hours they can try to process more of these loans. CHURCH: And, Christine, do we know how many of those big restaurant

and hotel chains returned their money?

ROMANS: You know, it's interesting. There are some hotel chains who are saying they're not going to return their money. They're saying, look, we have employees just like people who aren't public companies. We don't have access to the capital. I think you're going to see more fights along these lines here and I think you're going to see more pressure from the Treasury Department, public shaming even in some cases to have these companies give it back.

You know what's really infuriating is that, you know, there's a $10 million limit here. But there are some companies that have different name companies -- like one person who runs several different companies who managed to get more than 10 million by claiming them under all of the different companies within the conglomerate. That's not what the intention of this was for.

CHURCH: No, a good public shaming can go a long way. It seems to be that's all they've got. I don't think they've got a legal leg to stand on.

ROMANS: Well you know, the Treasury Department has said, if you have other access to capital, you should give it back. And there were some tweaks in the statute. But no, mostly it's an honor system.

CHURCH: Yes, absolutely. Christine Romans, thank you very much. As always, appreciate it.

ROMANS: You're welcome.

CHURCH: Well, Spain is launching a countrywide rapid test antibody study to learn the real impact of the coronavirus pandemic. 60 to 90,000 volunteers in 50 provinces will be tested for antibodies. The government says this will give them data on the spread of the virus by region, as well as by age and gender. And Spain is also beginning to relax some of the smallest confinement regulations. Children are now allowed to spend an hour outside per day after weeks of being cooped up indoors. CNN's Scott McLean shows us what it's been like for one family locked up inside.


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 Andres and 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.

Come on Alex, 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 haven't 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.


CHURCH: And for more on how lockdowns are having an impact on children, psychologist Linda Papadopoulos joins us now from London. Thank you so much for talking with us.


CHURCH: So we just saw the relief felt by parents and kids in Spain now that they were allowed to go outside and play just for one hour a day after weeks of being in lockdown. What impact is all of this having on children and teenagers, do you think?

PAPADOPOULOS: I think potentially really big impact. This is going to be one of those (INAUDIBLE) moments in their lives. So I think there's a couple things with kids. Number one, I think they take on everyone else's emotions around them. So depending how parents model behavior, they're going to absorb those anxieties, those insecurities.

Beyond that though, is depending on their age, they are more or less cognitively able to understand things. And I think when there isn't a lot of clear information, what we see with kids is they kind of makeup reasons for why things may be the way they are. And often times those reasons tend to do with what they're doing. So that's why we see a lot of kids, kind of becoming very anxious about, is this happening because I'm not washing my hands correctly? Or did I do something wrong? There's a real sense that we need to make sense of this.

So while we speak about the importance of parents' kind of being clear with kids, explaining what's going on, but also giving them a sense of volition, of control. What you can do, you know, to make things better.

Now this shift, of course, is going to be not just about what can I do to keep safe and make things better, but it's going to be a shift in the direction of normality. Which undoubtedly is something they will have craved, which undoubtedly is something that will give them that sense of -- I think that sense of security which they very much need.

CHURCH: Yes, and so I was going to ask you what advice you would suggest parents take on all of this. And it's different depending on their age. And you are saying honesty, telling them what the true situation is. But there comes a point where you do worry that you're going to give them a sense of hopelessness, particularly as we confront, certainly in the northern hemisphere, the summer break.

I mean, I've got three teenagers. Trying to explain to them that life isn't going to change very much. You know, they're not going to be able to go on any of these breaks for their summer break from school. It's actually going to be a continuation of pretty much the same sort of thing. That's a difficult thing to tell teenagers. And you worry about making them feel a sense of hopelessness.

PAPADOPOULOS: No, I have a teenager as well, I know what you mean. I guess are me the trick is this. It's about saying, look, there are some stuff that we genuinely can't control. So there's no point in worrying about that. But what can we do? So it's kind of moving the focus from uncertainty to what we are sure about. We are sure that and I think this is an important one -- it's all hands-on deck. That literally, millions of researchers and doctors are looking into this, that this will move.

We know for sure that if we, you know, engage in social distancing, if we, you know, if we engage in hand washing, then we should be safe. But we also know for sure that everyone wants this. So there will be tweaks. And I think it's about being, you know, as creative as possible. You know, again, you know, I hate the whole term social isolating. Because I think, you know obviously, we don't have to socially isolate, we have to physically isolate. Thank goodness for teens, for example, it's about, you know, having the online world, being able to be creative on there.

But I think also, as we're seeing in Spain, some outside time regardless of the child's age is really important. That physical activity we know has a huge impact on mental health as well. So kind of discussing ways that they can do that.

And I think finally, perhaps the most importantly, is keeping that ongoing discussion, right? What you don't want is them to kind of feel these feelings and feel they're not entitled to them. Because, you know, so many people have it worse, therefore, I'm being silly. I think it's OK to be unhappy about things, to discuss them. But then find, you know, the things I can control, I can take some gratitude from are some enjoyment from and move on.

CHURCH: And of course, because we're adults and you know, we're involved in the news, all of us, so we want to know what's happening. We've looked at the data. We know that once these restrictions are lifted there will be a second spike. We know that. So again, you have to be careful how you're going to handle that as parents to tell your children. Again, you don't want to actually have them come back to you saying, you said everything was going to be OK.


PAPADOPOULOS: No, you don't but at the same time, you know, we know that when the second spike comes, it won't blindside us the way that this did. Right. Every day we know a little bit more and I think there is something about the language that we use. Right. Around, you know, being stuck at home, I get to stay at home. You know, I've got to do schoolwork online. I get to continue learning. So I think be aware of the language that you're using with kids.

And also, you're right, you're not going to promise that it's going to be lights on, because of course it's not. And I think that's the other -- again, depending on the age of the child, this idea of kind of a progression towards, you know, what the new normal is going to be rather than a, you know, a slight switch is really important. And I think it is something you can discuss. So maybe again explaining that, you know, there will be moments where it feels more normal and moments when it doesn't.

You know, we have experienced crises like that to some extent in the way that we approach certain security and surveillance. You know, older kids you can kind of get quite philosophical about it. For the younger kids I think you need to kind of couch it in terms of, you know, we'll take the temperature of what's going on, then depending on what's happening, we've got this toolbox. And here's the tools we'll use. Some of the tools will be stay at home, some tools will be, you know, do school differently. But sometimes will be able to relax those. So there's again, a sense of, you know, we're not making this up necessarily as we go on but we're just responding to the information that we have out there which is a really important thing to do.

CHURCH: Yes, absolutely. Great advice. I'll take it all on board. Linda Papadopoulos, thank you so much for talking with us. Really appreciate it.

And you're watching CNN NEWSROOM. Still to come, South Korea thinks it knows what the real status of North Korea's leader is but major questions remain. A live report from Seoul after this short break.


CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone.


Well a top aide to South Korea's President says the North Korean leader is, quote, alive and well. That is despite reports Kim Jong-un was in grave danger following surgery. He missed the celebration of his grandfather's birthday on April 15, sparking rumors that he was very ill or even dead.

With the latest now, CNN's Paula Hancocks joins us live from Seoul. Good to see you, Paula. So South Korea insists Kim Jong-un is alive and well. What evidence do they have to support that? Particularly after the U.S. intelligence revealed to CNN last week that Kim was perhaps gravely ill after surgery?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Rosemary, they're not giving us the evidence as to why exactly they believe that. We did hear from the advisor to President Moon saying that they believe he is alive and well. Saying that they believe he is in Wonsan, which is on the coast of North Korea and has been since April 13.

Now we also heard from President Moon Jae-in himself today. It's the second-year anniversary of the summit between himself and Kim Jong-un back in the DMZ in Panmunjom. And he was talking not about the leader's health, he didn't even mention Kim Jong-un's health, but he did say that he was pushing forward and planning for the future of the peace economy. Saying there is a trust between himself and Kim Jong- un. So he was looking forward and he was talking as though he is assuming, he will have a partner to be talking to about this to in the future.

So South Korea is really being very adamant in the fact that they believe there is nothing unusual going on in North Korea and that the North Korean leader is alive and well. Now obviously, there are many different reports from around the world that suggest that his health is an issue.

Now I did speak to Thae Yong-ho. He's a high-profile defector who used to be in the elite in North Korea in the British Embassy. And he's now a South Korean lawmaker. But he said the very fact that Kim Jong-un did miss April 15th, that key date in the North Korean calendar, his grandfather's birthday, does raise eyebrows. And he said that that would suggest that there is a health issue. Maybe he was unable to walk properly. He was unable to stand. But he also cautions against assuming that those who say they have rumors know the truth.


THAE YONG-HO, FORMER NORTH KOREAN DIPLOMAT: The only people who can confirm his real condition might be Kim Jong's wife or his sister or his close, you know, the aides. Those rumors of where he is now, whether he has any surgery I don't think, you know, that is really based on the facts.


HANCOCKS: And Thae Yong-ho reaffirming that we'll know when North Korea wants us to know -- Rosemary. CHURCH: Absolutely true. Paula Hancocks, joining us live from Seoul

in South Korea, many thanks.

And we're back after a short break. You're watching CNN.



CHURCH: Lovely, New Yorkers being treated to a serenade on Saturday to lift their spirits in the midst of this coronavirus pandemic. Musician Jeff Jacobs climbed out onto the balcony of his girlfriend's Manhattan apartment and played a few feel-good tunes. A message of support for the city and everyone going through this.

And thanks so much for your company. Stay strong as we all go through this. I'm Rosemary Church. CNN NEWSROOM continues next with Robyn Curnow.