Return to Transcripts main page
Dr. Fauci: Almost Certain Virus Will Be Here In Winter; Spain Aims To Lift Restrictions In Four Phases; U.S. GDP Report To Be Released In Coming Hour; Lebanon's Economic Protests Turn Violent; U.S. Food Banks Struggle to Cope with Surging Demand; Critical Shortage of Testing Supplies at U.S. Labs; El Salvador Authorizes Lethal Force against Gangs. Aired 1-2a ET
Aired April 29, 2020 - 01:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Amid all the uncertainties of this pandemic, for now, there is one depressing constant. Each day brings a steady and unrelenting increase in the number of confirmed cases and the number of lives lost. That means it's only a question of when not if passing depressing milestones like this one.
More than a million confirmed cases in the U.S., a death toll passing 58,000. Which means in the three months since the first recorded deaths from the coronavirus in the United States, COVID-19 has killed more Americans than nearly two decades of conflict in Vietnam. And the leading expert in the U.S. on infectious diseases. Dr. Anthony Fauci is just one of many to one the worst may be still to come. Here's CNN's Nick Watt.
NICK WATT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: As more states open up --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're ready to go. Enough is enough.
WATT: The number of Americans projected to die also goes up. One key model now suggests more than 74,000 of us will be killed by COVID-19 by early August. That's up from a projection in early April of just over 60,000.
ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: If we are unsuccessful or prematurely try to open up and we have additional outbreaks that are out of control, it could be much more than that. It could be a rebound.
WATT: Yesterday, Georgia allowed indoor seating and restaurants and assuming social distancing is relaxed, Friday. One model projects the state's daily death toll could nearly double. These are only models. They differ and can ultimately be wrong.
KATHLEEN TOOMEY, COMMISSIONER, GEORGE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH: We didn't meet the full gating criteria that we met several of them and we are approaching a plateau which made us feel that it would be safe to move forward.
WATT: Today, Florida's governor was in Washington.
GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): I've worked with the White House on kind of going to phase one. I'm going to make an announcement tomorrow.
WATT: Meanwhile, in Alabama --
GOV. KAY IVEY (R-AL): It's now time that we also focus on economic health.
WATT: Starting Thursday, all stores, beaches and employers can open up but with some social distancing. Now, 31 states inc1luding Florida and Alabama are just not testing enough to reopen according to Harvard researchers.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So tests are absolutely important. They're critical, they will be expanded dramatically as we will reopen, but it's not the only tool we have in the toolbox.
WATT: Confirmed cases continue to rise, but the economy is crumbling.
KEVIN HASSETT, SENIOR U.S. ECONOMIC ADVISER: I think that we're looking at numbers between 16 and 20 percent. The unemployment rate at that point will be something that's about as high as something that we haven't seen since you know, the 1930s.
WATT: Here in California, the governor says that restrictions will begin to be lifted in weeks and not months. He said it will be based on facts and not ideology. And he said that childcare will be part of phase one.
He's also talking about schools perhaps starting the next academic year, early as late July because it's hard for parents to go back to work if they don't have something to do with the kids. Nick Watt, CNN, Newport Beach, California.
VAUSE: Dr. Amy Compton-Philips is the chief clinical officer at Providence Health and Services. She's also a CNN Medical Analyst, and she is with us this hour from Seattle. Good to see you, Doctor. So, first of all, I want you to listen to what the President actually said on Tuesday when he was asked about this ultimate goal of five million tests and how soon could happen. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you saying that you're confident you can surpass five million tests per day? Is that --
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Oh, well, we're going to be there very soon. If you look at the numbers, it could be that we're getting very close. I mean, I don't have the exact numbers. We would have had them if you asked me the same question a little while ago because people with the statistics were there. We're going to be there very soon. We're really doing a great job on testing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: As it happens, I do have the exact numbers. On Tuesday, over 200,000 tests were carried out in the United States. That is for a total since mid-January of 5.8 million tests. That's the total overall. So 200,000 -- 203, 000 in one day. And there is nothing in this new White House blueprint for testing which explains how the country will go from 200,000 a day to five million. So essentially, what the President said is just plain wrong.
AMY COMPTON-PHILIPS, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: I think you're exactly right. Particularly if you're thinking about viral diagnostic tests, you know, the nasal swabs where we actually see whether or not people are shedding the virus, and so are contagious. Now, I do suppose if you were going to have any kind of glimmer in there of maybe something that they were thinking about, this serology tests, the tests for antibodies, that can be done ramped up at a much faster pace.
But that tells whether or not people have been exposed in the past, not whether people have the virus currently. And it's that nasal swab tests, the one that tests whether or not people have the virus currently, that's the one that we really need five million a day.
VAUSE: OK, so there are different types of tests. You've just touched on this, which is good, because my next question was about this, essentially, what, three types. You've got the polymerase chain reaction test, which is the most reliable, the antibody test, and then the antigen test.
And you know, while the PCR test is the most reliable, it's not exactly easy to make those kits and then the other ones come with problems as well, right?
COMPTON-PHILIPS: Yes, they all have what we call false positives and false negatives. And so what we really want to make sure we can do is not miss people who are infected, right? So, we want them to be very sensitive, we want to make sure we identify everybody who's got the germ. And so, you want a very high sensitivity for these tests.
At the same time, we don't want bad specificity. We don't want to inadvertently tell people that they are infected when they're not. And so, particularly with the antibody tests, there's real issues right now trying to figure out what are the ones that have the best sensitivity and best specificity. We're not as sure about those.
With the viral RNA tests, those are the ones that are pretty good, but they're more complex and harder to do and harder to scale up.
VAUSE: And just very quickly, this is why Dr. Birx talks of the need of a breakthrough in the technology, right?
COMPTON-PHILIPS: Yes, it is. Absolutely. VAUSE: OK, so the antibody testing, it has revealed that the virus was much more widespread in New York than first thought. Listen to Governor Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): Obviously, we missed it. March, we're taking actions in March. I have the first case in March but the data is now saying it may have been here in January. It may have been here in February. And if you look at the infection rate of 20 percent in New York, it makes it hard to believe that this has just been a few weeks.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: OK, so that's a snapshot of what happened, but what are the implications of that moving forward?
COMPTON-PHILIPS: So the implications of that is that this virus is sneaky. This virus can circulate in the community before people know it. And because of its rapid contagiousness, the time that it can double very quickly when it's not contained, if you're not proactively looking for it, if you're not doing surveillance, it can sneak in and explode in the community before you find out about it.
And so that is why when we're starting talking about opening up the economy, why we start talking about testing in the same breath because we don't want to have a repeat of what happened in New York, that as we start opening up economies and getting people out of their house again and back about their daily life, we don't want people to start spreading the virus around and us not catching it because it is so subtle.
VAUSE: And this is one of those things that has been jumped on by some conservatives by the Townhall Web site which had this headline. Antibody testing proves we've been had, it reads. And goes on to say how, you know, this antibody proves that it's, you know, widespread are not as deadly as first thought.
Conservatives over at RealClearMarkets declared, "This pandemic is over. Let's stop the economic suicide and get back to work." You know, they say that this whole proof that the COVID-19 is not as deadly as first reported, but they don't seem to really understand what is in the data here because there are two different fatality rates right. Those who die from the -- from the disease, and then there is the rate of infection revealed by the widespread testing, and both can be right at the same time.
COMPTON-PHILIPS: Both can absolutely be right at the same time. And you know, the challenge is that if anybody just grasps one small slice of data, you can make up anything you want about that. That fundamentally, this is a is a contagious virus quite contagious, very few people except perhaps in some boroughs of New York City are immune to it. And the rest of the country, it's probably in single digits that are immune to it at this point, and or at least have been exposed to it so presumably immune. And so it is -- it's at real risk for exploding again in communities
because we can't test for it well yet we don't have our five million tests a day, and there's a very low level of immunity. And so, because of that, it's it is a real risk for us having a major second wave if we're not very careful as we start opening up the economy.
VAUSE: Dr. Amy Compton-Philips, I'm not so sure how well I explained the fatality rates for the different numbers there, but thank you for clearing up. I appreciate it. Thank you for being with us.
COMPTON-PHILIPS: Yes, thank you.
VAUSE: The U.K. is emerging as one of the hottest countries in Europe. It's official death toll though is about to get worse. The government will no longer keep the official count limited to those who die in hospital. That means deaths from elderly care facilities, domestic homes, or assisted living communities will be included in the official count.
With that new criteria, the U.K. death toll as of April 17 was more than 22,000, an increase of 54 percent. After a six week lockdown, Spain has announced a four-phase plan to ease restrictions with the goal of returning to some kind of normalcy by the end of June.
Meantime, France is aiming to possibly lift its lockdown by May 11 allowing shops, businesses, and some schools to reopen. CNN's Melissa Bell has more on that from Paris but we will start in Spain, with CNN Scott McLean reporting in from Madrid.
SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Here in Spain, the Prime Minister has announced the government's plan to gradually relax restrictions and move toward the "new normal." Though the normal that Spain knew even less than two months ago still isn't on the horizon at all.
Phase One of the reopening will allow some stores to reopen while restaurant terraces and churches can open at 30 percent capacity. There will be special time set aside for senior citizens to go out. Schools won't come back until September. By then, Spain should be on phase two where even outdoor shows might also be allowed with some limitations.
In the final phase, masks will still be encouraged and social distancing will still be mandatory. Now some regions may be able to move through these phases quicker than others, but free movement across the country won't be allowed until all of the regions are on the final phase.
None of these phases have hard dates attached to them, except that each one will last a minimum of two weeks. Scott McLean, CNN Madrid.
(END VIDEOTAPE) (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
MELISSA BELL, CNN PARIS CORRESPONDENT: The French Prime Minister has been outlining what the lifting of France is partial lockdown in place now for six weeks will look like. From May 11th, it will be a partial lifting of the lockdown that will begin. Schoolchildren will begin to go back to school on a voluntary basis, although that will be staggered according to their ages.
Certain businesses, retailers will reopen with restrictions on the numbers of people allowed inside the shop at any given time. People will be allowed to go back to work, although still the government is urging people who can to continue working from home. What they're worried about is this sort of (INAUDIBLE) of too many people getting back to work and things like public transport being overwhelmed. That will be limited to those who really need to take it at peak hours.
So a lot more details to be worked out about exactly how this is going to work in practice. But it was times that the Prime Minister that the country looked to getting back to a sense of ordinary life after lockdown that has really seen the country come to a standstill.
This because the fight against the COVID-19 appears to be being one for the time being. Although the French government was at pains to explain that it would continue up until May 11th keeping an eye on those crucial figures and more specifically, the numbers of people who are being treated in hospital. Where there are spikes said lawmakers today, they would rethink the lifting of the confinement.
That staggered lifting will take place from May 11th into June, a preliminary period to make sure that it is working and that critical second wave is still being avoided. Melissa Bell, CNN Paris.
VAUSE: Nationwide locked down in Russia will be extended for at least a few more weeks. President Vladimir Putin is warning the peak of the outbreak is yet to come. With over 93,000 cases, Russia has quickly become one of the world's worst-hit countries. And as bad as these numbers are, CNN's Senior International Correspondent Matthew Chance reports there are questions about their veracity.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: As the coronavirus pandemic continues to ravage Russia, the country has extended its strict lockdown measures that are expected to be lifted at the end of this month. In an address on state television, the Russian President Vladimir Putin said the lockdown would now be enforced until May the 11th through traditional holiday period in the country.
And earlier, Russian authorities said more than 93,000 people had been confirmed as infected with the virus. Meaning, Russia now has more cases than China has. But the skepticism of the figures including 900 deaths in a country of more than 140 million people are accurate. According to President Putin, the peak of the outbreak in Russia is
not yet behind us and he warned Russia that they must face a new and grueling phase of the pandemic. The Russian leader who faces some criticism himself from official handling of the outbreak, also acknowledge shortages of protective gear or PPE for Russian medics.
Production of PP said was high compared to what it was before, but still not enough he warned what was needed in the future. Matthew Chance, CNN.
VAUSE: In the coming hours, we'll know the impact of the initial wave of damage caused to the U.S. economy by this pandemic. A live report in a moment. Also ahead, Australia's call for an independent investigation into how the COVID-19 outbreak began gets a threatening and blistering response from Beijing.
VAUSE: OK, there we are, the Nikkei is down just by -- almost flat really. These are the Asian markets. Hong Kong down by -- or up rather by a quarter of a percent, Shanghai up by half a percent, and Seoul KOSPI up by almost one percent as well.
OK, and then the futures, Dow Futures are still on positive territory up by a percent almost, NASDAQ up one and a quarter, and S&P by just over one percent. We'll see how those numbers hold as the day goes on.
Now there is bad economic use and then there is really bad economic use. We'll get to bad news in a few hours about the hit to the U.S. economy in the first few weeks of the pandemic. The really bad use will come after that. CNN's John Defterios is in Abu Dhabi with more. So John, first quarter GDP is expected to be bad but that's just the warm-up act.
JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN BUSINESS EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: I think it is the warm-up act, John. It's a great way to put it. This is a half-day of reckoning, if you will, because the bad news is going to be settling in now, and then to the end of June, at the very worst-case scenario here.
The U.S. was late waking up to the challenge, therefore, the economy didn't grind to a halt early in their first quarter, but certainly, by March, that was the case, and I think that's why we see wide variances. In terms of the expectations on the first quarter, we have Goldman Sachs downgrading the first quarter and turn negative nine percent. And then another respected bank on Wall Street, Morgan Stanley, suggesting a negative three and a half percent around that range.
But there's alignment in the second quarter and the level of depression. Both of those banks and a number of others are suggested we could lose better than a third of the economy with, John, unemployment now, the claims are about 26 million. That could double by the end of June, according to the U.S. Federal Reserve, so it is radical.
And the real question here is whether you go back in and get a snapback which would undermine consumer confidence and of course not having workers on the production lines if we get hit by the virus in the second half in a severe way.
VAUSE: Yes. We're also looking at the airlines who have taken a big hit because essentially no one is traveling anywhere at the moment. Travel is down like 95 percent. For British Airways employees, that means some pretty big layoffs in the planks. So what are they looking at?
DEFTERIOS: Yes. In fact, John, you and I have had conversations about the bailouts for the U.S. carriers and looking at the energy industry. This is coming to Europe right now with the parent company of British Airways IAG suggesting they have to slash about 30 percent of the workforce, 12,000 employees at B.A. alone.
As you're suggesting here, they're saying it's a new normal that this is not going to come back in the second half in a gradual way, that perhaps we'll think about travel in a very different way. And then I looked at the online digital company TripAdvisor, it's laying off 25 percent of his workforce. People are not searching to travel. They depend also on advertising budgets from the governments, for example, in the Middle East and other parts of the world, and that's down. So they're laying off 600 people in the United States, TripAdvisor, another 300, overseas.
So you can see that the ripple effect, if you will. Once you see the travel sector freeze up, hotels get hit, airlines layoff, and even the digital advertising is starting to slow down as well.
VAUSE: Yes. And like when Google starts talking about having concerns about their performance, you know, this economy is really bad.
DEFTERIOS: Yes. John, it's a good way to put it because they made $33 billion in the first quarter of revenues and that was up 14 percent. But the chief financial officer had to guide Wall Street and the journalists community as well and say, look, we too are getting hit here.
And this is the reason why John. They depend on the auto dealers, restaurants, travel companies, and the like to advertise on their search results, right? So they said that their earnings were up 14 percent. That beat expectations.
The stock was up again solidly about seven percent after hours, but they're saying like we were talking about on GDP, the second quarter is going to be awful, so brace yourselves for it. And then this phase in, when do we get the phase and of growth in the third and fourth quarters? And there's a question mark about how strong it's going to be in the second half of the year for sure. VAUSE: Yes. A lot of question marks at the moment, John. More to come, I guess. Thank you. John Defterios live for us there in Abu Dhabi. I appreciate it. Thank you.
DEFTERIOS: You bet.
VAUSE: When the U.S. president openly and repeatedly accuses China of failing to prevent this pandemic and talks about an investigation, Beijing has been notably silent. But when the Australian government called for an independent international investigation, the response from the communist government was swift and severe.
China's ambassador in Canberra warned of a backlash by Chinese consumers over the push for inquiry. He said, "Maybe the ordinary people will say why should we drink Australian wine, eat Australian beef. The parents of students would also think whether this is the best place to send their kids."
China is Australia's biggest market. And after the energy sector, education and tourism are the biggest export industries. So any type of boycott would be devastating for the economy, especially now. For more, we head to Los Angeles and Ryan Patel, Senior Fellow at the Drucker School of Management at Claremont Graduate University. It's been a while, Ryan. Nice to see you.
RYAN PATEL, SENIOR FELLOW, DRUCKER SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT: Likewise, John.
VAUSE: OK, so this dispute between Canberra and Beijing, it's only escalating. Australia's Foreign Minister warned Beijing in the last 24 hours gets economic coercion. And at the same time, there was another scathing opinion piece in one of China's newspapers.
It read in part, "the Morrison administration, in reference to the Prime Minister, is spearheading this malicious campaign to frame and incriminate China with groundless conjecture and outlandish fabrications. During this global existential crisis, Canberra is exercising despicable opportunism, and it's deluded in thinking it will result in geopolitical gains. All government should be following the basic principles of humanitarianism during these dark hours of human history and rally behind a global fight to end this pandemic, instead of guilefully -- I got that wrong, I know I would -- try to stab China in the back."
Unlike the U.S., the Australians can't go one on one with China. You know, they sell their souls to Beijing years ago for the longest period of economic expansion on record. And now they can either toe the line or speak out and pay the price.
PATEL: Well, you're right. And they can't tell -- I mean, they really can't toe the line. They need actually more help, and it's more than the Southeast Asian. You know, one of the biggest trade partners, as you mentioned, almost over north $190 billion in two-way trade is with China, so that's one. Two, 65 percent of, you know, Australia's trading part partnership is in Asia, which obviously is predominantly tied to China. So they're going to need other countries to step in here.
And I am not shocked actually, John, that tourism was actually thrown in the language too about not sending tourism to Australia. And why I think that's a big deal? Because if you think about the GDP of Australia, here, you've got enough people growing and you grow at a nice clip. However, it's the tourism that actually pushes the services retail exponential stuff that is going to go into Australia, like New Zealand did with that trade deal, it was tourism. And they didn't - they didn't leave nothing off the table, China didn't, and it made it really clear that they would hurt economic impact.
And unfortunately, in this scenario, you mentioned about the U.S. and China going back and forth. China was really showing force right away because you know why, because it can.
VAUSE: Yes, that was my next question. The only reason why I can think of this being such as a scorched earth policy when it comes to the Australians, not only because they can but also it sends a message, they may not be able to take on the U.S. but they can take on everyone else.
PATEL: And it's key. Don't forget Australia, most people -- I know you don't, but most people forget, Australia isn't that Asian pack you know, in ability to grow and China's influence in that piece. So how they deal predominant with Australia does send a message to the rest of Southeast Asia which is really, really important to China.
And this is not -- this has been brewing like the idea of having an independent search, Europe has and the U.S. has, and you know, it's really interesting to see if Australia would be able to gain a little bit more frenemies as you would mention to be able to get this going.
VAUSE: That was Ryan Patel at Claremont Graduate University. We thank him for his time. Now, U.S. airline JetBlue the first to require all passengers to wear some kind of face-covering beginning May 4th. Other airlines are offering masks and sanitizers at no cost. A way to win back customers they've lost during this global shutdown. CNN's Pete Muntean reports.
PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Passengers telling me that they would like to see JetBlue policy extend to other airlines. Here in Atlanta, it is hard to believe that this is the world's busiest airport. In fact, TSA data says that passenger levels have actually ticked up slightly in the last few days.
I flew it for Washington earlier today. It is nothing like those viral videos that you saw pop over the weekend of crowded flights on American Airlines. Passengers were well spaced in the waiting area, on the jetway. The boarding process is actually a little bit different. Passengers boarding back to front.
I spoke to some passengers here earlier today. Some said they were reluctant to fly. Others though say they are ready to get going.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm just going to try to get out and spend a couple days on the beach, walking some fresh air, get some sun, they said the sun helps kills it, per se.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think the people that are traveling are probably healthy. They're not ill or critical or in bad situation. So very few people traveling as I can look around and see.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you can stay home and you don't have to, don't.
MUNTEAN: Now, the big question here is whether other airlines will follow JetBlue. United Airlines tells me today that it is changing its policies all of the time. American Airlines says that it will soon start handing out disinfectant wipes to passengers as they board so we will just have to wait and see.
VAUSE: Well, for the first time, films not released in theaters will be up for Oscar consideration, which means films distributed early on streaming platforms are eligible for the 93rd Academy Awards. But let's be clear, this only applies to next year's Oscars because the pandemic and people staying away from theaters. Past towards seasons have always required films to have a commercial release in order to qualify.
Cinema chain AMC is banning all future releases of Universal Pictures films in its theaters worldwide. Blame it on the Trolls. The movie Trolls World Tour was released on demand because theaters closed. After earning nearly $100 million in rental fees, executives told the Wall Street Journal, they expect to release new movies both on demand and in theaters in the future, and sequels that choice to break the traditional business model radical and the threat to the movie theater industry. The chain says any studio which abandons deals already set in place will face the same ban.
Playing hardball. OK. Banks are on fire in Lebanon. When we come back, the frustration and anger over the economy giving way to violence. And many Americans also doing something they've never had to do before during this pandemic, waiting in their car for hours at a time just to get enough food for the family.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Well, before the global pandemic, Lebanon had seen months of unrest over soaring prices and unemployment. Now, after nearly a two-month long lockdown, demonstrators are back on the streets.
As Arwa Damon reports, these new protests have turned violent.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Protests broke out across Lebanon, but we are really focused in the northern city of Tripoli, where some pretty dramatic images emerged showing buildings being set on fire, banks being attacked, ATM's being vandalized.
People are enraged. They have had it. And they are hungry. One of the protesters who was killed in clashes with Lebanese security forces was just 26 years old. And he has been dubbed the martyr of the hunger protests.
Lebanon, of course, has been in an economic tailspin for months. Right now it is a country that is crumbling very quickly, and its population is growing increasingly desperate.
Protests first broke out because of the economic situation back in October of 2019. These current clashes that are taking place were described by one of the protesters as being the fiercest in all of Lebanon's recent demonstrations that we have been seeing taking place.
What COVID-19 has done to the Lebanese economy is quite simply further exacerbate an ongoing problem. In fact the ministry of Social Affairs says that 75 percent -- 75 percent of the Lebanese population is in need of aid at this stage.
The people are angry at the government but they are especially angry at the banking sector. Banks have been imposing discretionary capital controls on people which means that for months now, they are waiting for hours, begging tellers to release their money.
And the banks -- the central bank has been refusing to formalize these capital controls, which many have feared would just be hurting them, the average citizen, hurting small businesses, while allowing the financial elite to be able access their funds. And those fears came to fruition when the Lebanese prime minister announced that in January and in February, $5.7 billion U.S. were transferred out of cash- strapped Lebanon.
At this stage, it is not just the Lebanese population that is suffering too but also Lebanon's refugee population, with the international rescue committee saying that 87 percent of refugees living in Lebanon are also in need of food. And it doesn't look like the situation is going to get any better anytime soon.
Arwa Damon, CNN -- Istanbul.
VAUSE: The U.S. president has signed an executive order requiring meat processing plants to stay open. Some of the largest plants in the U.S. shut down when thousands of workers tested positive for the coronavirus. At least 20 workers have died.
The widespread shutdowns in more than a dozen states prompted fears the nation's food supply chains are breaking down. The head of the country's largest meatpacking union has warned that presidential order needs to come with safety measures for workers adding this statement. "While we share the concern over the food supply, today's executive order to force meatpacking plants to stay open must but the safety of our country's meatpacking workers first. Simply put, we cannot have a secure food supply without the safety of these workers.
Well, it's an increasingly common sight across the U.S. long lines at food banks, another sign of pain caused by this pandemic. At one food bank in Little Rock, Arkansas demand was so high that the donated food packages were gone after an hour. For many, this is the first time they have had to ask for help like this.
CNN's Jason Carroll reports food banks themselves are now struggling to cope with a surge in demand.
JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The line of cars stretched for more than a mile.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How many people are in your household?
CARROLL: The wait way for food at this emergency distribution site in Newark, New Jersey -- more than an hour. But the need is so great those who came looking for help were more than willing to wait.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have never done this before. It's a shame that I have to do this.
CARROLL: Many here say it is their first time asking for food.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's two families in here, ok.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Open your trunk right here.
CARROLL: People like Rita Charles, who brought her elderly neighbor.
RITA CHARLES, FIRST TIME AT A FOOD BANK: We're alone, you know, even my neighbor, she's alone, too. So that's why we appreciate it.
CARROLL: Julio Ortega, a furloughed truck driver came with his wife who was laid off from her job at a dry cleaner.
JULIO ORTEGA, FURLOUGHED TRUCK DRIVER: It's an experience, you know. First time. The kids -- it's hard for them.
CARROLL: Week after week, as the number of unemployed rises across the country, so too does the number of people needing food assistance. Feeding America -- the nation's largest group of food banks -- says it is now seeing a staggering 100 percent increase in demand at some of its distribution sites like this one in Little Rock, Arkansas where they ran out of food in less than an hour, Tuesday.
The states seeing the biggest spike -- Ohio, Florida, California and Texas where in San Antonio last week people lined up for hours. And with the increased demand comes more worries about meeting those demands given diminishing donations food banks once received from what were reliable sources before the pandemic.
ERIC COOPER, SAN ANTONIO FOOD BANK CEO: Restaurants, hotels and caterers aren't donating. Grocery stores are selling out. And so there is not as much food to collect while the demand has doubled.
CARROLL: So much need, and yet so much waste.
Down the food chain -- hogs in Minnesota to be euthanized, chickens slaughtered, their carcasses thrown out while dairy farmers such Paul Fouts (ph) are forced to dump 8,000 gallons of milk last week.
PAUL FOUTS, DAIRY FARMER: It kind of makes you feel sick to your stomach, really.
CARROLL: Part of the problem? Restaurants and schools now closed so farmers have fewer outlets to sell in bulk to. And with so many people sick, it has crippled their distribution channels, like the trucking industry.
FOUTS: I mean the food is here. The farmers have it. And the consumers need it. Somehow we've got to get the system in between to work for that.
CARROLL: Billions in federal assistance is scheduled in the next few weeks to aid farmers, along with a program to get distributors to work with food banks.
And at the state level, New York which saw a 60 percent jump in food bank demands, launched an initiative to help cut the waste.
GOVERNOR ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: We are also immediately to stop this dumping of milk and get it to people who need it.
CARROLL: In the meantime, the lines and the demand keeps growing.
Jason Carroll, CNN -- Newark, New Jersey.
VAUSE: Well, the U.S. President was back before the cameras on Tuesday. He was back making false claims about how soon the government will ramp up widespread testing.
Most experts say to safely restart the economy, about 5 million tests are needed every day. The President said that should happen soon. Even though the White House is leaving all of the heavy lifting to the states.
But senior health adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNN's Jake Tapper, the federal government has to do more.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: The blueprint for testing clearly indicate something that we really have to do. There has to be a partnership between the federal government and the states.
The federal government has to provide strategic guidance, as well as technical assistance. We had a phone call with the governors where that was explained. One of the problems has been is the test getting to the people who need them. Or are there tests out there we're not connecting the dots.
And what we are trying to do, and I believe that was pretty well articulated to the governors, was if that is not happening, if we are not connecting those dots, we need to help them to do that. We can't just leave them on their own on the one hand. And the federal government can't do it by itself on the other hand.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: When do you think? I mean when will it all be up to speed? When will everybody who needs to get a test be able to get one?
DR. FAUCI: Yes. And I like the word you used -- Jake, when you said "need". Because there's a lot of times people say that I want to test and it's not part of the strategic approach.
But needing is important. Everyone who needs a test, according to the way we are approaching -- the identification, isolation, contact tracing, keeping the country safe and healthy that hopefully we should see that as we get towards the end of May, the beginning of June.
Jake, that's what I'm being told by the people who are responsible for the testing. I take them for their word.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Well, critics -- and there is a lot of them -- say this new White House blueprint is not really a plan but just rather a note to pass the buck to the states.
CNN's Drew Griffin investigates.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: What the President says at his briefings --
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Confident that we have enough testing to begin reopening and the reopening process --
GRIFFIN: -- is not the reality at labs across the country.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Every day is a struggle.
GRIFFIN: A CNN investigation finds a critical shortage of COVID-19 testing supplies at many labs is delaying and halting testing. And the supplies that are available are often distributed unevenly, leaving big commercial labs with everything they need, while some hospitals, clinics, and other medical centers don't have enough.
MARY BOOSALIS, PRESIDENT & CEO, PREMIER HEALTH: I knew we needed capability to do a thousand tests a day. And we didn't have that.
GRIFFIN: Mary Boosalis is the CEO of Premier Health Hospital System, who sent a letter earlier this month to Ohio's governor, saying inequitable distribution re-agents, the chemicals needed to perform tests, was impacting patient care standards.
BBOSALIS: We kept running into anecdotal information from vendors that said they had the re-agent, but they couldn't sell it to us. And so that was of concern to me.
GRIFFIN: Different labs need different supplies. For some, it's swabs. Others, pipettes or re-agents. Multiple health care facilities tell CNN supplies they order either don't arrive or they only get a fraction of what they need.
SUSAN BUTLER-WU, KECK SCHOOL OF MEDICINE, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CAROLINA: It's not unusual for us to place an order and to be told that the order is going to be canceled and I can't be filled, or that we only get 10 percent of what we order.
GRIFFIN: Meanwhile, the biggest commercial labs, like Quest and LabCorp tell CNN they have the supplies they need. The White House task force even shared plans to prioritize supplies for commercial labs. The big labs make up more than half of all testing in the United States, more than three million tests so far. Though experts say the inequity is leaving critical health care facilities where sick patients go to get tested without necessary supplies.
WU: I think it's a disgrace. So to prioritize testing to be sent out away from a hospital that may have the capacity to do in-house testing is basically contrary to all the principles of optimal patient care.
GRIFFIN: The heads of major lab associations have been writing directly to the task force asking for help. Like Carmen Wiley, with the American Association for Clinical Chemistry, describing significant barriers to testing because of shortage of necessary supplies.
CARMEN WILEY, AMERICAN ASSOCIATION FOR CLINICAL CHEMISTRY: We feel there's a disconnect between the theoretical capacity and what we are actually able to do.
GRIFFIN: Some state governments also complaining about lack of supplies. Washington, D.C.'s health director says the district is only able to do half the number of tests it could if it had proper supplies. And it is clear the task force knows. This document shared with governors obtained by CNN, shows the federal government discussing barriers to testing, including insufficient laboratory personnel, funding, and supplies.
TRUMP: Today we are releasing additional guidance on testing to inform the states. GRIFFIN: Monday, the White House released a blueprint for change that
critics say changes little. States and local labs fend for themselves for precious supplies, adding to confusion, scarcity, and lack of tests where they're needed most.
Overall, testing numbers are inching up when experts say we need leaps. Harvard estimates 500,000 tests a day at minimum are needed to reopen the country. The current averages are less than half that amount.
Vice President Mike Pence Again this week is promising millions of tests will be conducted every week very soon -- a promise he has made before and not kept.
Drew Griffin, CNN -- Atlanta.
VAUSE: Well, still to come, another key endorsement for Joe Biden and his run for the presidency. But it comes as he faces renewed scrutiny over a decades' old allegation from a former senate staffer.
Also ahead, shocking images from El Salvador's prisons, as the president authorizes lethal force against street gangs.
VAUSE: El Salvador's president has authorized the police and military to use lethal force against street gangs. Dozens were killed throughout the country last weekend. Gang members were blamed for the violence. Also blamed for taking advantage of the coronavirus pandemic.
Meantime new images have emerged from the country's prisons showing a harsh crackdown on inmates.
CNN's Matt Rivers reports.
MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Very shocking images that are coming out of El Salvador after that country's president shared images showing some changes inside the country's maximum security prisons on his Twitter account.
We can show you some of these images now. You can see things like jail cells being shuttered with metal. And also inmates basically lined up on top of each other during a search of the (INAUDIBLE) prison -- that is about 40 miles outside of San Salvador.
The images basically showed dozens of shirtless inmates with masks lining up, sitting down back-to-front -- pretty shocking stuff there. The government basically saying that these are part of changes that they have put into place after a particularly violent weekend in El Salvador which saw some 50 murders take place.
Gang members who have already been arrested are now being put in a 24- hour lockdown across the country's seven maximum security persons including putting metal sheets over jail cells and housing. There's some additional measures including putting metal sheets over jail cells and housing prisoners who are members of different gangs together.
The president saying said that they did this basically because they believe that a lot of the murders that took place over the weekend were ordered from gang members who were inside of these prisons already. And that is just what is happening inside the jails.
The president also gave the right to the army and the police to use lethal force against what he called quote, "terrorists who were carrying out imminent threats against the physical integrity of the population."
Now, human rights groups looking at this situation across the board had criticized the president here for several different reasons, not the least of which being that you can see in these images, there is obviously no social distancing going on inside that jail.
You know, this is a president who took office last year after campaigning on curbing what is undoubtedly one of the world's worst gang problems, that being in El Salvador. And so he is clearly willing to show the world that he is taking drastic, controversial, and what he would probably call necessary action to stop the spread of violence due to gangs inside his country.
Matt Rivers, CNN -- Mexico City.
VAUSE: Well, Brazil's highest court has ruled an investigation can move forward into allegations President Jair Bolsonaro tried to interfere with police probes. Bolsonaro is accused of political interference after he replaced the head of the country's federal police.
Anti-corruption crusader Sergio Moro who stepped down as justice minister in protest last week says Bolsonaro wanted a police chief he could influence. Bolsonaro calls Moro a liar and denies any wrongdoing.
Former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton officially endorsed Joe Biden during a virtual town hall on Tuesday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER U.S. STATE SECRETARY: I am thrilled to be part of your campaign to not only endorsed you, but to help highlight a lot of the issues that are at stake in this presidential election.
(END VIDEO CLIP) VAUSE: But even as Biden picked up this endorsement, he is still facing scrutiny over allegations from a former senate staffer, Tara Reade, who says Biden sexually assaulted her during the 1990s. Reade's former neighbor has come forward saying Reade told her about the alleged assault a few years after it took place.
The Biden campaign though denies the allegation, has re-issued a statement which says "Vice President Biden has dedicated his public life to changing the culture and the laws around violence against women. He offered and fought for the passage and reauthorization of the landmark Violence against Women Act. He firmly believes that women have a right to be heard and heard respectfully. Such claims should be diligently reviewed by an independent press. What is clear about this claim, it is untrue. This absolutely did not happen.
VAUSE: We'll take a short break now. The U.S. Navy and Airforce taking to the skies to thank frontline workers. We'll have their salute when we come back.
VAUSE: Well he captured hearts around the world. The 99-year-old World War II veteran who raised millions of dollars for health care workers in Britain and single-handedly lifted the morale and spirits of an entire nation.
His name, Captain Tom Moore. He received more than 125,000 birthday cards because his 100th birthday is happening on Thursday. Enough cards to fill a grand hall of a local school.
Earlier this month, Moore walked 100 laps in his garden to raise money for the National Health Service. His goal about 1,200 bucks. (INAUDIBLE) that was small beer. Ultimately, he brought in more than $36 million and it's still counting up.
Well, the streets of New York City may be empty and silent. The skies overhead on Tuesday were filled with Blue Angels and Thunderbirds.
Here's CNN's Jeanne Moos.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Instead of sending thank you cards or flowers, why not send the Thunderbirds?
And the Blue Angels -- Blue Angels make sense when you are honoring medical workers being hailed as angels. Here at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens, workers gathered outside for the fly-by dedicated to them and others like them.
New Yorkers watched on roofs, on tables and on beaches. Gunboats patrolled the Hudson, choppers buzzed by.
But this was the buzz. The city awaited, flying information, 1,500 feet above, spewing white trails, they were fueled in the air and more fly-buys over Philadelphia and Trenton, even celebs like Hugh Jackmen couldn't resist posting video. Shot vertically -- Hugh?
HUGHA JACKMAN, ACTOR: Look at that. That is amazing. Thank you so much.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I had goosebumps. It was so beautiful. It was so, so beautiful. It was a little fast though.
MOOS: Up to 400 miles an hour, so fast Elmhurst Hospital workers said they did not have time to get their cameras rolling. Masks faces and gloved hands underscore the medical nature of the thank you mission. Spectators tried to social distance with varying degrees of success.
Yes, well, are those airplanes six feet apart?
Actually, the jets meet social distancing standards. Staying apart in formation about 10 feet. As for those medical workers.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't think words can say how grateful we are.
MOOS: And we can all use a little sparkle these days as the Blue Angels fly by, will the real angels in blue stand up?
Jeanne Moos, CNN -- New York.
VAUSE: Thank you for being with us.
I'm John Vause.
Please stay tuned. CNN NEWSROOM with Anna Coren is next after a short break.
ANNA COREN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello.
And welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Anna Coren.
Coming up on CNN NEWSROOM. The push and pull on reopening America. The White House promoting testing goals while medical experts warn about the risk of a second wave of infections.
The Spanish government unveils a new plan to ease restrictions after enduring one of the strictest lockdowns in Europe.
And later, banks on fire in Lebanon. Frustration and anger over an already fragile economy now devastated by coronavirus.
[01:59:59] COREN: The top infectious disease expert in the U.S., Dr. Anthony
Fauci is warning it could be a harsh winter in the U.S. without effective testing and contact tracing for the novel coronavirus.