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The Lasting Effects Of The Pandemic On "Generation C"; South Africa Using HIV/AIDS Experience To Fight Coronavirus; Blue Angels, Thunderbirds Pay Tribute To Medical Workers. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired April 29, 2020 - 05:30   ET




ROBYN CURNOW, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back. I'm Robyn Curnow here at the CNN center in Atlanta. It's 5:30 a.m. here on the east coast. Welcome to all of our viewers around the world and, of course, here in the U.S. Good to see you this morning.

So in a few hours' time, we'll get a better sense of just how badly the pandemic is hitting the U.S. economy when the Commerce Department releases the first-quarter GDT -- GDP report. So right now, before we get to that, that's what futures -- the future are looking -- are looking like, all in positive territory.

But let's go to Christine Romans who joins us now from New York. Christine, all very well and good -- the arrows green, pointing up. But really, that doesn't give us an indication of the economic hits, does it --


CURNOW: -- at all?

ROMANS: And, you know, what we're going to see is January was a strong month in the U.S. economy, February was fine.

March is when we really came to grips with the coronavirus disaster and you're likely going to see the end of the longest expansion in American history happened in that -- in that first quarter, in the beginning of what could be a nasty recession. Forecasts anywhere from four to 11 percent contraction in the U.S. economy in the first quarter.

And that's just a taste of what we'll see in the second quarter when you're likely going to have a depression-level -- depression-level collapse of the American economy.

But the president -- the president is really focusing on the v-shaped recovery idea and looking forward -- listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You're going to see a big rise in the third, but you're going to see an incredible fourth quarter and you're going to have an incredible next year. I think you're going to have a recovery.


ROMANS: So what we know is the first quarter was probably the beginning of the recession. The second quarter will be tough. How we reopen, Robyn, and how consumers behave, that's what's going to dictate what happens after that.

CURNOW: Yes, and what -- and what does that mean -- I mean, reopening? I mean, despite what the president says, there's still so many uncertainties. I mean, this could go on way beyond next quarter or the one after that.

ROMANS: It's so interesting because really, I've been describing the economy as in a deep freeze and you're seeing a little bit of thawing -- attempts to thaw.

For example, "The New York Times" is reporting that Simon, the property group that owns some of the biggest malls in America, opening up 49 properties this week. And with social distancing and extra cleaning and shorter hours -- but you're starting to see mall reopening.

You heard the president say that they are going to order people back to work in the meat-packing plants because they want the meat supply to keep going. We know that the automakers in Detroit are eyeing May 18th for restarting some of their lines. So you're seeing business leaders in some parts of the economy try to carefully tiptoe back in here.

But again, with social distancing, with cleaning, with health checks, there are a lot of -- a lot of things that have to happen right for there to be that v-shaped recovery the president wants.

CURNOW: OK. Good to see you. Thanks, Christine Romans --

ROMANS: You, too, Robyn.

CURNOW: -- live in New York. Thanks, Christine.

So, the coronavirus pandemic has certainly fueled fears and heightened anxiety as so many of us stay at home and stay away from family and friends. Life as we know it is now very, very different to what it was just a few weeks -- a few months ago.

And for young people, in particular, this ripple effect of all this could all last years as they struggle to find work or even social interaction. They're part of a group now being called Gen C -- Generation Corona, I suppose.

In an article in "The Atlantic," it says quote, "Generation C includes more than just babies. Kids, college students, and those in their first post-graduate jobs are uniquely vulnerable to short-term catastrophe. Recent history tells us that the people in this group could see their careers derailed, finances shattered, and social lives upended."

Well, Amanda Mull is a staff writer at "The Atlantic" and she wrote that article and joins me now from New York. Amanda, hi, good to see you.

It's a fascinating piece you had. I was sharing it a lot with my team because I think there is this concern here if you've got kids or even if you just know people who maybe are graduating in this coming week or so. The impact is really hard to fathom, isn't it?

AMANDA MULL, STAFF WRITER, THE ATLANTIC: Yes. Kids in school and students in college are particularly vulnerable at this portion of their lives right now trying to make the transition from childhood to adulthood, from one type of school to another, from school to their first jobs. And, you know, uncertainty hits everybody differently and people who are already in very uncertain stages of life stand to be impacted particularly hard.


CURNOW: And, of course, uncertainty comes with youth. I mean, that's the whole point of it. You shouldn't have it all mapped out. But when the sort of foundations of the economy are so wobbly with the financial wreckage just here in the U.S., there's a ripple effect.

And what your article clearly lays out is how this could on way beyond the sort of initial boundaries of this virus and the return to sort of so-called normal life.

MULL: Right. What we learned from the 2008 financial crisis is that a lot of people graduating school right around then, a lot of people who were in their very first jobs or were in college experienced a decrease in their -- in their earning capacity over the next 10 or 12 years, and they're still being affected by that. And there's no indication that those people will ever recoup those losses that they incurred just by being born at the wrong time and being in college at the wrong time.

It stands to reason, based on how the economy is looking right now and what the projections are like for the next few years, that kids in high school, college, and maybe even younger right now stand to experience the same types of negative effects.

CURNOW: And it's not just about, say, lost internships. I mean, essentially, happy hour has been canceled. I mean, the impact -- the social impact for teenagers and for folks in their early 20s is also huge when it comes to dating and how people just communicate with each other.

MULL: Right. School, college, and the period right after college are really, really formative for everybody.

CURNOW: Yes. MULL: Those are the years where you learn how to (audio gap) social interactions, where you learn how to problem-solve or you learn how to respect other people's boundaries. Where you meet the people that you might marry and have children with.

So cutting off those interactions and sending people into their homes, back with their -- with their families is very, very difficult for people that age who are trying to establish the basic social bonds of a stable adult life.

CURNOW: That's fascinating.

So are we talking here perhaps about middle-class Americans who have -- who are feeling the brunt of this -- but actually, it's about -- it's about folks who are more vulnerable.

It's about inequality that is being magnified and deepened as we can see from food lines from our reporter Jason Carroll. I mean, what's it like for a 14-year-old or a 16-year-old to have to go and get food from a food bank when they've never had to do it before? Just seeing that equality be engrained on all levels in America is also what is so worrying here.

MULL: Right. The -- what we've learned from the pandemic, so far, is that it is not equal. We are all in this together in like a very shallow sense, but a lot of people are much further into this than others.

So what you see with little kids and with -- all the way through high school and college is that if people don't already have a good financial set-up at home -- if they can't afford Wi-Fi, if they can't afford their own laptop, if they don't have private space within the home to do schoolwork and to do Zoom classes --

If they have to be responsible for part of the family's livelihood by going out to get food, going out to do food deliveries for other people -- they're going to make tips -- things like that -- those kids are going to experience this much more harshly than kids who have their own bedroom and their own laptop and a strong Wi-Fi connection, and a lot of support already.

So this is only going to magnify those inequalities. And magnifying inequalities like that, it's such a formative stage of life. It really sets up poor working-class kids for a much more difficult future.

CURNOW: Right, OK. Thanks so much. Amanda Mull there. Appreciate you giving us that perspective.

MULL: Thank you.

CURNOW: So next on CNN, never again. South Africa vows to learn from past experience fighting HIV and use those lessons to tackle corona.


[05:42:07] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

IRRFAN KHAN, ACTOR: Scene from "Life of Pi."


CURNOW: That was Irrfan Khan in the movie "Life of Pi." The acclaimed actor has died at the age of 53. He also appeared in several other movies, including "Slumdog Millionaire" and "Jurassic World," as well as a string of Bollywood films. Khan revealed two years ago he'd been diagnosed with a rare type of tumor.

And the U.N. human rights expert says the coronavirus pandemic is emboldening the Myanmar military to carry out what she calls war crimes during recent fighting with insurgent ethnic groups.

In Rakhine state in western Myanmar, the outgoing U.N. special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar says the military is targeting civilian ethnic minorities during the clashes with a Buddhist militant group. Military -- the military is also known as the Tatmadaw.


YANGHEE LEE, U.N. SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR ON MYNAMAR HUMAN RIGHTS: It really is taking its -- actually, it's emboldening the Tatmadaw more and already, they have a strong arm.

And now, they have these additional powers in the name of enforcing or preventing the spread of the pandemic. Then they are -- they are really given another layer -- a greater, higher level of power to do what they've done always in the past few decades, but in a more severe and horrific manner.


CURNOW: Well, CNN has reached out to the Myanmar government regarding those comments but has not yet received a response.

Its April 21st statement on the clashes said the military is fighting against a terrorist group which is engaged in destructive activities. The statement also added the government was deeply saddened to learn of civilian casualties in these states. And it says it is -- it is resolved to continue with efforts to take the peace process.

Well, China will hold one of its biggest political events on May 22nd. That's according to the country's state-run news agency.

The National People's Congress was supposed to take place in early March but it was postponed as the country dealt with the coronavirus pandemic. The highly-choreographed spectacle has not been delayed or suspended since the end of the Cultural Revolution back in the 1970s and even went ahead during the 2003 SARS outbreak.

And when the U.S. President Donald Trump suggested using household disinfectants to treat COVID-19, South Africans were quickly reminded of their own dark past -- a time when the president then suggested strange and unconventional ways of treating HIV and AIDS. Well, South Africa has since moved on and adopted lifesaving measures to fight HIV, and it's counting on that experience to contain COVID-19, as David McKenzie now reports.



DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In Tocorsa (ph) Township, there's no denial of COVID-19, only fear.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People are just too scared. Otherwise, if I've got corona I will die.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): Here, they know exactly how a virus can destroy the very fabric of a nation. They lived through the worst with the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

ANITA PATO, COMMUNITY HEALTH WORKER: It was bad. It was -- they were scheduled for testing. (INAUDIBLE). We didn't do much.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): Health worker Anita Pato wants to make sure people know that this virus is different and so, too, is the government's initial response.

In the early 2000s, when HIV/AIDS spread uncontrollably in South Africa, it was met by a president and health minister who failed to grasp AIDS for what it was.

THABO MBEKI, FORMER SOUTH AFRICAN PRESIDENT: How does a virus cause a syndrome? It can't.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): Failed to listen to experts when it came to lifesaving treatment.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I say garlic, I say loved one, I say big truth.

MCKENZIE (on camera): You remember those days and I remember them in South Africa. Were you thinking about that when COVID looked to strike South Africa?

DR. YOGAN PILLAY, DEPUTY DIRECTOR GENERAL, DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH: Every day, every day. You know, we can't get large numbers of people dying. We came from a period where we had large numbers of South Africans dying from HIV. We can't repeat that, clearly, and we shouldn't.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): So the current government listened to its own experts, like Yogan Pillay, in taking decisive action, including a swift nationwide lockdown.

PILLAY: If we had a very robust economy that could withstand the shock, you could say that it was an easy decision -- easier decision to take.

MCKENZIE (on camera): It was a tough decision.

PILLAY: This would -- this was a very tough decision for the government to take but they took it because they didn't want to repeat the mistakes.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): South Africa still has the world's highest number of people living with HIV, close to eight million. But thanks to antiretrovirals and an army of community health workers, with funding and advice from the United States, the disease is no longer the death sentence it once was. Thirty-five thousand of them trained for the fight against HIV now containing the spread of COVID-19.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Speaking foreign language).

MCKENZIE (on camera): So what she's explaining to them is that even though there's a lockdown that they should go to the clinic that's open 24 hours if they feel the symptoms of COVID-19.

PATO: I feel like I'm a -- I'm a -- for sure, this disease must stop. It must not control us. We have to control this corona.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): And it's why here, even in the poorest communities where social distancing is impossible, there is hope that the curve can flatten and lives can be saved.

David McKenzie, Tocorsa, South Africa.


CURNOW: So, you're watching CNN. When we come back, the U.S. Navy delivers a touching tribute to honor health care workers from miles above.



CURNOW: While the streets of New York City may be silent, the skies overhead were filled with Blue Angels and Thunderbirds. Here's Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Instead of sending thank you cards or flowers, why not send the Thunderbirds and the Blue Angels?

The Blue Angels make sense when you're 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 in formation 1,500 feet above, spewing white trails. They were fueled in the air and did more fly-bys over Philadelphia and Trenton. Even celebs like Hugh Jackman couldn't resist posting video shot vertically, Hugh?

HUGH JACKMAN, ACTOR: Look at that. That is amazing. Thank you so much.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I had goosebumps. It was so beautiful.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was so, so beautiful. It was a little fast, though.

MOOS (voice-over): Up to 400 miles an hour -- so fast, Elmhurst Hospital workers said they didn't have time to get their cameras rolling. Masked faces and gloved hands underscore the medical nature of the thank-you mission. Spectators tried to social distance with varying degrees of success.

MOOS (on camera): Yes. Well, are those airplanes six feet apart?

MOOS (voice-over): 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.


CURNOW: And before we go, we'd like to share one woman's remarkable story of survival. I want you to meet Angelina Friedman. She's now survived two pandemics in her lifetime. She was born on a ship traveling from Italy to the U.S. in 1918 during the Spanish flu pandemic.

Well, now, after surviving cancer and a whole bunch of other things -- life, actually -- the 101-year-old has just beaten coronavirus. Her daughter says Freedman ran a fever on and off for several weeks after contracting the virus. Well, now, she's back to her old self and is already looking to get back to her crochet, as you can see here. Well done to her.

Well, here at CNN we are constantly working to bring you all the facts and the figures of the coronavirus pandemic. But you can also learn how you can help others and how you can get help. So please do go to


Well, thanks so much for your company. Let's help our medical workers by staying at home and staying safe. I'm Robyn Curnow. "NEW DAY" with John and Alisyn is next -- enjoy.



GOV. MIKE DEWINE (R), OHIO: We're starting to open up a little bit, but we're trying to do this in a reasonable way.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Amid calls to reopen the American economy, a patchwork of rules is spreading as haphazardly as the virus itself.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the game plan seems to be if we ignore it, it will go away. It's completely illogical.

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R), FLORIDA: If you look at some of the most Draconian orders that have been issued in some of these states and compare Florida, Florida's done better.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The White House plan is six to seven million tests a month. Ultimately, we to be at 20 million a day.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES, NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH: One of the problems has been is the tests getting to the people who need them, or are the tests out there were not connecting the dots.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. It's Wednesday, April 29th, 6:00 here in New York.