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U.K.'s Boris Johnson Faces Reporters for 1st Time Since Recovery; Fed Chair Powell: Economic Data the Worst We've Seen; Zuckerberg Praises Lockdowns While Musk Calls Them "Fascist"; California Business Owner, Juan Desmarais, Discusses Why He'll Defy Governor, Reopen Shops. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired April 30, 2020 - 13:30   ET




BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: This is just in, the British government is facing harsh criticisms for its handling of the coronavirus pandemic. It comes as the U.K. has revised its numbers of fatalities to include those who died outside of the hospital.

The U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who just recovered himself from COVID-19 and returned to work, led this daily briefing. And the prime minister promised he'll reveal his plan to stop the spread soon.


BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I will be setting out a comprehensive plan next week to explain how to get our economy back, one, how we get children back to school, back into childcare, second. And third, how we can travel to work and how we can make life in the workplace safe. And ensure how we can continue to suppress the disease and at the same time restart the economy.


BALDWIN: Let's go straight to 10 Downing to CNN chief international correspondent, Clarissa Ward.

Clarissa, what has the response been to the prime minister there?

CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know it is interesting, Brooke, I think people really expected Boris Johnson to get a grilling from press because of several factors and a lot of harsh criticisms that's been levelled at the U.K. government of his handled this crisis.

Particularly when it comes to the issue of PPE and the sort of persistent shortage and lack of equipment for Britain's health care workers.

Also, when it comes to the issue of testing. Today is the last day of April. This is the target that the government had set to be testing 100,000 people a day. Earlier this week, they were testing 30,000 people a day.

But the prime minister says today they were at capacity to test some 80,000 people a day, which is a significant improvement but still not hitting 100,000 a day target.

Of course, the death toll, which you mentioned, at 26,000. This is one of the worst in Europe. It now transpires that the death toll basically spiked because, before they were given death tolls based on people dying at hospitals, not people dying in care homes.

For several reasons, I think there was an expectation that the press was going to give the prime minister a hard time. Actually, they were conciliatory than expected. And he, in turn, was positive but would not be drawn on specifics, Brooke, about when the lockdown may be lifted. And he said next week we'll find out more -- Brooke?

BALDWIN: OK, we'll tune in next week.

Clarissa Ward, good to see you in London. Thank you.

Back here at home, unemployment claims hit a startingly new high as the White House compares the number to the Great Depression.

And in Georgia, as the state reopens despite warnings, teenagers will be now allowed to get a driver's license without taking a driving test.


And, two tech giants facing off. Mark Zuckerberg praising lockdowns while Elon Musk calls them, quote, "fascist."



BALDWIN: Next time you make a Costco run, make sure you bring a face mask. Starting Monday, the retail giant is making face coverings a requirement just to walk in the door and says they must be worn all times unless you are less than 2 years of age or have a medical condition that prevents you to wear one

Meanwhile, Starbucks says it's beginning the reopening process and plans to have 90 percent of its stores in the U.S. running by June. About half of Starbuck's American stores closed during the pandemic.

And another devasting number today, 3.8 million Americans filed for fist-time unemployment benefits last week. You can do the math. That brings the total number over the last six weeks to 30 million.

Even before these latest figures were announced, Fed Chief Jerome Powell had a grim assessment of where the nation is headed.


JEROME POWELL, CHAIRMAN, FEDERAL RESERVE: We are going to see economic data for the second quarter that's worse than any data we've seen for the economy.


BALDWIN: CNN's business anchor, Julia Chatterley, is joining me right now.

Julia, when you hear him say worse than any data we have seen, what does that tell you?

JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS ANCHOR: It tells me even he's struggling to comprehend what he's seeing here. This six-week period that we have gone through is worse than any comparable periods in the Great Depression. That's just a fact. He also said more money is going to be needed and he's quite right, too.


We are talking about one to five workers are at risk now in the United States. He also it's hitting those that are the least able to bear it hardest.

I want to share you a research survey from Pugh Research last week. They said over half of the lower-income families has seen someone lose a job or someone having a pay cut. Once again at the end of the month with bills to pay.

The hope is that the money that's been provided will help push people. And as states start to reopen, those jobs getting added back safely. It is just a lot of uncertainty, Brooke, right now.

BALDWIN: There is. I wanted to ask you about this story of Mark Zuckerberg versing Elon Musk. Facebook versus Tesla. These two are squaring off over the lockdowns. What are they saying?

CHATTERLEY: Well, let's be clear, both of the CEOs have come under a fair amount of criticism for their businesses. But Elon Musk has radical opinions and is not afraid to share them.

It tweeted, "Free Americans now." He suggested the stay-at-home, shelter-in-place measures were "Fascist."

I want to point this out. He tweeted on March 13th, "Based on current trends, probably close to zero new cases in U.S. by end of April."

Brooke, just to be clear, 24,000 today. So he is wrong. In his defense, he did say, "The opening should be done with care and appropriate protection."

Oh, boy the contrast with Mark Zuckerberg.

Straight out yesterday saying he was concerned reopening too fast will risk lives. That's what I hear from a lot of business leaders and a lot of workers are afraid, too. You know better than most, Brooke, it is a punishing virus and people are scared.

BALDWIN: I was one of the lucky ones. It's just striking to hear he difference between these two tech giants. It's night and day.

Julia Chatterley, thank you very much.

As the president says he will travel next week, the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, is under pressure to stop the Senate from returning over the health risk.

Plus, Barron Trump's elite private school gets small business relief month. His school is not the only one.

I will talk to the California's owner who says he plans to defy the state's orders and will open his shops. We'll ask him why.

Stay here.



BALDWIN: In California, some business owners are dying the statewide stay-at-home order and opening their doors for business. Owners say their companies and livelihoods are simply becoming unsustainable. And that, more than ever, is about staying above water. And it comes despite possible repercussions and fines of up to $1000.

Juan Desmarais is with me right now. He owns three barber shops in California.

Juan, thank you for staying with me.

You're at one of your shops. You are opening one of your shops tomorrow.

First, sir, welcome.


BALDWIN: Up to now, you told my producers, you have been cutting hair. You said it was under the table. You are opening all of your shops tomorrow. You are defying the state's order to stay home. Tell me why?

DESMARAIS: I am. There's a couple of reasons why. I have a family and I have invested a lot of money in these three shops the last few years. And I feel it is our constitutional rights as well as American's constitutional rights. It is pretty clear.

BALDWIN: I hear you citing the Constitution but what about citing the state of California and the White House's guidelines that says California needs to see a 14-day decline before reopening. California has not seen that yet. How you can you guarantee your clients' safety. I know haircutting is a hands-on job.

DESMARAIS: It is a very hands-on job. It's sanitary, probably one of the most sanitary industries you could go in. We are definitely giving a ton of instructions how we sanitize and clean. We're experts.


BALDWIN: So how do you maintain being sanitary while having your hands in someone's hair and having people in a confined space of a barbershop? How will it work? How will it be safe?

DESMARAIS: We'll take appointments only, individually, one-on-one. And we'll be wearing gloves and masks, changing out every client. And we'll sanitize our seats for every client. We'll call one at time. No waiting. We are ready to get back to work and that's what we'll do. No one is going to bail us out and my barbers and as well as my own livelihood is at stake.

BALDWIN: Your barbers are on the same page and they want you to reopen as well?

DESMARAIS: Absolutely. They are hurting a lot more than I am. They are all young men and young families and there's young ladies that work with me. We are ready to get back and get to work and open the state and fix this economy.


BALDWIN: We all want the economy reopened. I was reading the story about, what was it, 30 million Americans filed for unemployment the last six weeks.

I read something you told my producer where you basically said, I don't care if I get it. Meaning, COVID-19. Do you still feel that way?

DESMARAIS: Absolutely. I mean, a lot of us are going to get it. The statistical data is that we're not likely going to die. With have a 79 percent chance of living whether we contract it or not.

Now the people that --


BALDWIN: Hang on, hang on, Juan. Let me jump in because I think neither of us are doctors. And there's a lot of numbers being thrown out.

I've had it. It was not fun. and I had it way better than a lot of the folks on ventilators.


BALDWIN: And half of the folks put on ventilators don't make it out of the hospital. So just, I don't think you want to say, maybe, it's OK if I get it.

DESMARAIS: Well, I don't know if half the people on ventilators don't get out of the hospital either.



DESMARAIS: You're a healthy young lady and you recovered from it. I'm a healthy young man. I'll recover from it. I have no underlying risks.

Any clients are welcome to not come to the shop as long as they feel it necessary for the loved ones or themselves. I'm not going to force any of my clients to come to my shop.

BALDWIN: I'm just -- listen, again, I feel for you. I feel for all of these Americans who want to get back to work and eager to. But as you're sitting here and talking, there are numbers --I'm pointing to data, to facts on the side of the screen and you can see how many total cases globally, the deaths and specifically, in the United States.

So I just want to point that out. And I know you care about your customers and want to keep them safe but I'm pointing out the reality of this virus.

Are you willing -- I don't know how much you charge for a haircut, but if we're talking about thousand dollar fines, how does that work out in terms of pennies, nickels and dimes because if they come knock on your door and charge you this fine, how are you going to be providing for your families if you end up paying up?

DESMARAIS: Well, listen, I'm not going to live in fear. It's not American. I was a Marine. I was a law enforcement officer for over a decade.


BALDWIN: And we're grateful to you for your service.

DESMARAIS: I'm not going to live in fear.

Right. And so, anyone who's going to tell me to walk away from my huge investment and --


BALDWIN: No one is telling you to walk away, Juan. I'm just offering a different perspective.

DESMARAIS: They are absolutely telling me to walk away. They're saying that --

BALDWIN: Who's the they?

DESMARAIS: -- six months, possibly.

The government. Governor Newsom. He's telling us that we're third phase, which -- let's just pretend that we're going to open on June 1st, which we're probably not. That means we're up to 45 days after we open, going to be allowed to enter our shops.

That's going to be six months-plus, that I have to pay my landlords, my water, I paid my city licenses to work.

So you're telling me to invest in an opportunity that I made for myself but not be able to work and return that investment. And that's just unacceptable.


BALDWIN: I hear you loud and clear, Juan. and I also know you're not alone. You're not the only small business owner who wants to reopen.

DESMARAIS: I'm definitely not.

BALDWIN: I'm sure you have friends. I'm sure you have small business owner friends. Are they saying the same thing as you are?

DESMARAIS: Absolutely. More than not.

Now, this great thing that gets to drive this pandemic is fear. And so there are among the people I talk to are fearful. They're fearful of citations and fearful.

I'd rather get citations (ph), do as much as I can, work and hustle, not ask the government for a single penny. And if I flop, I'd rather flop working than flop just sitting there letting them take away my rights, take away my businesses, and take away the legacy I'm going to leave my children.

BALDWIN: So you're reopening tomorrow. Let's say they come knock on your door, because, obviously, you're not -- this isn't a secret you're reopening. They come knock on your door.


BALDWIN: No, I've got you. But they fine you the thousand dollars. Do you -- and tomorrow's Friday. Do you then on Saturday reopen?


DESMARAIS: Absolutely. Absolutely, I'll keep rolling.

Listen, they're letting criminals out of jail left and right. The courts are all shut down. How long do you think it will be before we're even --


BALDWIN: Juan, Juan, Juan, nobody is letting criminals out of jail left and right. Let's stay on topic.

DESMARAIS: Absolute, they are. They are absolutely letting criminals out of jail left and right.


BALDWIN: What does that have to do with coronavirus, sir?

DESMARAIS: You're asking about the citation.



BALDWIN: I'm just asking if you defy.

DESMARAIS: I'll defy to the end. If I end up with 20 tickets in the superior court, six months from now, that's a risk I'm willing to take.

BALDWIN: So that's $20,000. And if you want to have your other barbers provide for their families, how does that math work out?

DESMARAIS: That means I'll have to shut down my shops and I guess someone will take my Harley or I might get time in the county jail. For me, the trade-off --


BALDWIN: I hope that doesn't happen.


BALDWIN: I hope that doesn't happen.

DESMARAIS: Me, too, trust me.

BALDWIN: I wish you well. It's just tough all the way around.

Juan Desmarais, good luck, sir.

DESMARAIS: We just need to get back to work. Yes.

BALDWIN: I understand. I hear you. Thank you, thank you.

DESMARAIS: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Just into CNN, we have learned from world health officials there are more than 100 potential vaccines in the works around the world. We'll talk about that. Who gets what, when?

Plus, the CDC set to issue new guidelines that will dramatically change American life for all of us, at schools, restaurants, and churches. So stand by for those specifics.



BALDWIN: Welcome back. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank you for being here.

Right now, the White House is considering new CDC guidance that would make a dramatic impact on our schools and restaurants and churches and mass transit.