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NYPD Disperses Rabbi's Funeral Crowd in Brooklyn; U.S. GDP Shrinks in First Quarter; Coronavirus Update from Around the World; Answers to your Coronavirus Questions. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired April 29, 2020 - 08:30   ET




JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking overnight, thousands of mourners at a rabbi's funeral in Brooklyn causing concern because, as you can see, people are clearly not social distancing there. The city's mayor went to the scene to try to help disperse the crowd, but he is now under scrutiny this morning for what he said after.

CNN's Shimon Prokupecz live here in New York with the very latest on this.


SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Yes, and the video, John, really showing the number of people that attended this funeral. We're told by officials at the NYPD, some 2,500 people, in the end, wound up attending this funeral. You can see the police there, they came in. More police officers came in toward the end of the funeral to try and split the crowd apart, disperse some of the crowd members, summons were issued and, as you said, John, the mayor, after getting word of this himself, went there.

And then his tweet, which has really created all this backlash in terms of what he said in the tweet and the way he generalized the Jewish community saying in this tweet that the time for warnings has passed. I have instructed the NYPD to proceed immediately to summons or even arrest those who gather. His tweet saying that my message to the Jewish community and all community is this simple.

And, of course, members, leaders of the Jewish community taking issue with the way the mayor here generalized, singling out the Jewish community as a whole, when this really relates to this one Hasidic Jewish community in Brooklyn that was having this funeral.

And, of course, this has been an issue since the beginning of the pandemic. The mayor, on a daily basis, getting questions from the press corps about these gatherings, religious gatherings, and this particular Jewish community. The mayor saying that he had been trying to work with them for the -- for months, to try and get them to lessen some of the gatherings, to not have as many people at this gathering.

But, clearly, the issue now boiling over last night. The mayor sending out his tweet, which has now created all sorts of backlash from the Anti-Defamation League, to leaders of the Jewish community, John.

BERMAN: Backlashes because this was a group of Jews in Brooklyn. This was not the entire Jewish community having an issue with social distancing.

PROKUPECZ: That's right.

BERMAN: Shimon Prokupecz in New York, thank you very much. Clearly, though, the crowd there causing concerns.


ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: All right, John, we now have a comprehensive look at how much damage coronavirus is doing to the U.S. economy. We have the new GDP numbers, next.



ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BERMAN: And the breaking news, dramatic new figures just in showing the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Let's get right to CNN chief business correspondent Christine Romans with the new GDP numbers.

And, Romans, something we have not seen in years.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: That's right, you're getting a look at the coronavirus recession, a contraction in the American economy of 4.8 percent in the first quarter. This is because the government says the response and spread of Covid-19.

Haven't seen a number like this since the fourth quarter of 2008 when the economy contracted a whopping 8.4 percent. That was a recession so bad it got its own name, the Great Recession. This one's already -- already living up to that kind of a moniker.

The government also pointing out in a technical note that you can't capture all of the damage of the pandemic in these numbers because some of the source material happened so late in the month that it's not even in there. Some of the source numbers aren't even in there. So you can look for potentially this number to be revised even worse. And next quarter, I mean forecasts for 20 percent to 30 percent contraction of the U.S. economy because of school closures, workplace shutdowns and basically an economy in deep freeze, John.

BERMAN: All right, Romans, stick around. I want to bring in CNN anchor and correspondent Julia Chatterley and CNN White House correspondent John Harwood.

And, Julia, 4.8 percent decline in GDP in the first quarter, which to me is a stunning number, first of all, because we haven't seen a negative number like that in 12 years. But, also, January and February were positive months. The first two weeks of March may very well have been positive. So that gives you a sense of how bad things must have been in just two and a half weeks in March to drag this number down.

JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: This is exactly the point. We had relatively stable growth in January and February and half of March. So to be able to pull this number down, it shows you what impact this shutdown is having. And it also gives you a sense of what April is going to look like and what we see when we start to get to the second quarter.

The story's not been written yet, let's be clear, because we're starting to see states open up. But we just don't know what that looks like. We know that lockdown works in terms of caseloads. We don't know what recovery looks like.

And I'll pull in just from Boeing, one of the biggest employers in the United States, this morning saying they're going to make 10 percent of their staff redundant (ph) going forward. It's going to take years for travel to resume. The message here is, as bad as this number looks, the worst is still to come. And all the support that the government's already provided is only just starting to kick in.


And that's going to be a critical factor in the recovery when we get it in the second half of this month, depending on what reopening looks like.

BERMAN: So, John Harwood, I've never covered an administration that will talk down its own economy. But that's different than giving sunny, glowing, hopeful assessments if there might not be reason for it.

And over the last 24, 48 hours, we've heard people like the president and others saying, the fourth quarter is going to be great. Things are going to start to turn around. Is there any reason to actually think that's the case? I mean these numbers don't provide a lot of hope today.

JOHN HARWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: We just don't know, John. That's what's such a conundrum about this situation. This number, as Julia and Christine were just indicating, is just a foretaste of what we're going to get in the second quarter, which is going to be much worse. It's kind of like the unemployment report we got from March, the rate went up to 4.4 from 3.5 in the previous month. It's going to be over 15 percent in the next quarter -- or in the next monthly report.

But it has nothing to do with the underlying health of the economy. This is a very specific response to this public health crisis. We turned the economy off in effect. And what we don't know is how quickly can we begin to grow again and, when we do, how much of the same economy is it? What is -- what is the fallout? What -- what is permanently rearranged in the economy as opposed to just stopped. Medically induced comas is the term people use. And once you get out of the coma, you have the same economy. We don't know. And that's going to depend mostly on what happens scientifically and what happens in terms of the public response to the mitigation efforts. How quickly can we get that curve down, how quickly can we get people feeling confident because even if businesses open up, if states open up, if government says it's OK, if people are scared, and right now they're very scared, it's not going to work.

BERMAN: Christine Romans, I'm still trying to get my head around the number, the 4.8 percent decline in the first quarter when three- fourths of that quarter was probably positive.

What does that tell you about what we're going to see in this second quarter? You know, you talked about the Great Recession and 8 percent drop in one quarter. I mean, it seems to me, we could be in the 20s, 30s --


BERMAN: And that's depression era. You've written a lot about this the last few days.

ROMANS: Yes, I mean, it is depression era, but it doesn't have to be a depression. And here's why. Washington is writing checks like crazy to try to get money into the pockets of small business and into jobless Americans and into everybody, you know, with these stimulus checks. You are already hearing people talk about, we might need more stimulus, we're going to need state aid, we're going to need this, we're going to need that, more small business loans potentially. So Washington has said it's ready to write some checks here.

The speed of getting that aid into the pockets of Americans and into the bank accounts of businesses is critical here because we have a unique situation in this country. In other countries you've got the government stepping in and just paying the payrolls of businesses so everything stays the same and you don't have this anxiety eating away at the confidence of Americans. If confidence can return, that is the key that the aid has got to get in the pockets now, and Washington has to make clear that it will not allow a depression.

BERMAN: That last point, Julia, very quickly, that Christine brought up, the confidence there. This isn't necessarily about the decisions the president's making, this is about the decision that everyone watching this right now will make, do you feel safe to go out and shop?

CHATTERLEY: Absolutely. Whether you're a consumer or a worker, remember, let's be clear. But 70 percent of the economy -- and we often talk about this -- is consumption. It's what we do. It's when we travel, we go out and spend. We go to cinemas. We shop. That's what this is going to come down to in terms of the speed of the recovery and the strength of the recovery.

And as Christine said, getting money into people's pockets will determine how able they even are to go out and spend, even if they feel comfortable to do it.

BERMAN: All right, Julia Chatterley, John Harwood, Christine Romans, thank you very much. A decline of 4.8 percent in the first quarter of this year, just a taste of what's to come.


CAMEROTA: OK, John, let's look at what's happening globally. More than 200,000 people have died from coronavirus around the world. CNN has reporters across the globe to bring you the latest developments.


PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Phil Black in Stockholm, where authorities are pursuing a controversial strategy. There is no lockdown. There are few rules at all. Mostly people are being advised to work from home and follow social distancing. It means many shops and services are still open, including bars and restaurants. The authorities say they're not deliberately trying to build immunity in the population, but they are trying to find the right balance, they say, for managing Covid-19 in the long term. It means for this small country there has been a big human cost. More than 2,300 people have died, which is a significantly greater figure than other neighboring countries which have employed tougher measures.



Tensions are running high in Lebanon following another night of violent protests. After nearly two months of a coronavirus lockdown, people are back on the street in what is being described as the hunger. Protests. Lebanon's fragile economy was hit hard by the lockdown. In recent weeks, the currency, the Lebanese lira, has tanked. The inflation rate has gone up. Food prices have skyrocketed. People are angry, they're hungry and they are desperate.


And as the coronavirus continues to ravage Russia, the country has extended its strict lockdown measures until the middle of May. That comes as Russian authorities say nearly 100,000 are now confirmed with the virus. And according to the Kremlin, the peak of the outbreak in Russia is yet to come. President Putin even went on state television last night warning Russians they're about to face a new and grueling phase of the pandemic.

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Scott McLean in Madrid, where the prime minister has announced the government's plan to gradually relax restrictions and move toward the, quote, new normal. Phase one will allow some stores to reopen, restaurant terraces and churches will be allowed to operate at 30 percent capacity, and there will be special times set aside for senior citizens to go out.

Schools won't come back until September, which should be in phase two. And in the final phase, masks will still be encouraged and social distancing will still be mandatory. Now, none of these phases have hard dates attached to them and the normal that Spain knew being this lockdown began still isn't on the horizon at all.


CAMEROTA: OK, up next, Dr. Sanjay Gupta is back to answer your questions.



CAMEROTA: America's favorite doctor, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, is back to answer your coronavirus questions.

I'm running out of superlatives, Sanjay.

Sanjay, I don't know if you were watching last hour. We met Winston the dog.


CAMEROTA: Winston the dog is the first known case of a dog to test positive in the United States for coronavirus. But lots of people have questions about their household pets. This comes from Lisa Conklin. She says, can a human give a pet, cat or dog, the virus? And if the pet has the virus, can a human be infected by them? And how do you know your pet is infected?

So I think we now know the answer to number one. Yes, a dog can catch coronavirus from a human.

GUPTA: Right. Right. Yes. And I preface all these -- these answers by saying, you know, look, we're all learning as we go along here. We didn't really think that pets would be able to get this. Then we heard about the tiger and now -- and then cats and now a dog.

Yes, it does appear, two things, to be true. One is that humans can transmit the virus to pets. And it does even seem that pets could even, in rare situations, give it to each other. Pets -- one pet to another pet or one animal to another animal. It does appear to be pretty rare, though.

I mean, it's interesting, when you look at some of these studies, they've done studies where just validating tests, they've -- they've ended up testing lots of animal samples and they haven't found, you know, coronavirus in most of these samples. I think the pug in North Carolina was even found as part of a study as opposed to going in for a specific test for that animal.

So it does appear to be rare, but is possible. And what the CDC recommends is that these -- these pets all, if they're -- they be treated the same. I mean you try and reduce exposure as much as -- as much as possible.

Are you laughing at the tongue? Who are you laughing at there?

BERMAN: I'm just laughing -- I'm just laughing at, you know, I -- where's the dignity? I mean Winston deserves some dignity and we're showing these pictures of this poor, sick dog.

CAMEROTA: Well, wait a minute. Hold on. That is Winston enjoying himself right there.

GUPTA: That's a --

CAMEROTA: That's not Winston --

BERMAN: I don't know, I -- would you want a picture of yourself like that on TV?

GUPTA: That is a happy dog, don't you think?

CAMEROTA: Now, first of all, that reminds me, Winston has recovered. We should let everyone know, Winston has come out the other side of the coronavirus. He has recovered. So I think when you see that shot, he's enjoying himself there.

BERMAN: Look, all I can say is we'd learn a lot more if Winston didn't dodge your questions during the interview. It's a font of information that we didn't tap into.

I'm going to move on, Sanjay, if I can here. This question comes from Nancy Nagle. The WHO says you can get Covid-19 more than once. If that's really true, why bother with a vaccine.

Now, I'm not quite sure that WHO really said that, but what are the facts about whether or not you can get this if you've already had it?

GUPTA: Yes. This is going to be one of the big questions that, you know, it's come up many times. The World Health Organization put up this piece of information on their website, which they took down, that said that there's no evidence that having the infection protects you. They then took it down and replaced it with something that basically said you should have some protection after you have been infected. We don't know how long that would last or how strong it is, which is -- which is all we can really say right now.

If this behaves like other viruses, which is should, you should be protected for a period of time. But we don't know how long that time lasts. We're going to just need to wait. I mean we're four or five months into this. We need to wait and see how long that protection lasts.

Here's what I would say about the difference, though. People will say, well, if that doesn't work, then why would a vaccine work? It's a good question. It's a fair question. But, remember, vaccines go through a process of being trialed. They're looking at all these different things, trying to figure out if there's antibodies to a specific part of the virus that would really give you better protection, that would last longer. That's what the trial is for.

So, ultimately, when a vaccine is released, it will have been trialed to show that it's effective, not that it's just giving you antibodies, which may or may not be effective, but that the vaccine itself is generating a response in the body that may be certain kinds of antibodies, that are going to give you protection for a certain amount of time. That's -- that's -- that's why it takes a while to get to that point to prove that it's safe and effective.


CAMEROTA: Hey, Sanjay, we're out of time, but I realize we didn't answer one part of that pet question, can it pet give the human coronavirus, do we know?

GUPTA: Right. No, it doesn't look that that to be the case. Yes, humans to pets. Yes, even maybe pets to pets. But back, pets to humans, that does not seem to be the case. With the caveat that I gave, Alisyn, at the beginning, which is, you know, again, we're learning. I think it's very unlikely. We're all learning, though. This doesn't seem possible at the time -- at this time.

BERMAN: All right, Sanjay, thank you very much.

CAMEROTA: Sanjay, thank you.

BERMAN: A lot more answers from Sanjay than Winston, I will admit (ph) that.

All right, we have a new CNN global town hall tomorrow, Bill Gates joins Sanjay and Anderson Cooper for "Coronavirus: Facts and Fears." That's tomorrow night at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.

CAMEROTA: OK, and CNN's coronavirus coverage continues, next.



POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Top of the hour. Good morning, everyone. I'm Poppy Harlow.


The race, though it's going to be a long one, for a vaccine now. Pharmaceutical giant --