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Top Medical Expert: Remdesivir Drug Shows "Positive Effect"; Social Distancing Violations Handed Out in New York; Analysts Predict Steeper 2Q Losses; U.K. Revises Death Toll, Now Second Highest in Europe; Sweden Defends Decision to Not Impose Lockdown. Aired 2-3a ET
Aired April 30, 2020 - 02:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello and welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm John Vause.
Coming up on CNN NEWSROOM, the first glimmer of a sign of a hint of hope, of a treatment for the coronavirus, an antiviral drugs already developed which has been reducing recovery times and hospitals.
It took a few weeks of a lockdown and the last four months of the U.S. economy to contract. The real horror show is yet to come.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These are regular people who are working solid middle class jobs and their lives just capsized overnight.
VAUSE (voice-over): No tourists, hotels, casinos devoid of life, the hardworking folks of Sin City, feeling the economic pandemic pain.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: It may seem incremental, a matter of a few days in hospital, mortality rate a few points lower but after months of nothing but grim, depressing news, researchers have found one drug that is effective in treating the coronavirus.
It's an antiviral drug called remdesivir and it was developed to treat Ebola. The leading U.S. expert on infectious diseases says after one trial involving about 1,000 patients recovery time was significantly reduced for those who were taking this drug.
CNN's Nick Watt has more on remdesivir and the breakthrough which has come as the world battles quarantine fatigue.
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: What it has proven is that a drug can block this virus.
NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Very early results from trials of remdesivir suggest this HIV drug actually might treat COVID- 19.
FAUCI: The data shows that remdesivir has a clear-cut, significant positive effect in diminishing the time to recover. This is really quite important.
WATT: This is not a cure. In studies touted by Dr. Fauci today, it lowered mortality and shortened the duration of the illness.
DR. KATHLEEN NEUZIL, CORONAVIRUS VACCINE RESEARCHER: For an antiviral to work in a positive way in these very sick patients, to me, is indeed very good news.
WATT: Many states in this country now planning to reopen and soon, despite dire warnings from Dr. Fauci for the fall.
FAUCI: It is more likely than not that we will see this again and again until we really stick the nail in the coffin of this outbreak by a vaccine.
WATT: Pfizer now says it will begin testing one in the U.S. shortly and claims it could supply millions by the end of the year.
Oxford University in the U.K. started human trials last week of its own possible vaccine.
Still, America's biggest mall operator plans to start opening 49 malls across ten states Friday.
Parks reopened in Miami.
Florida's governor, who was late to close, just unveiled his plan for reopening the state.
GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): This new phase will start on Monday, May 4th and will for the time being exclude Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties. These counties have seen the lion's share of the state's epidemic.
We need to focus on facts and not fear.
WATT: But there's concern Florida's death toll may not be accurate. The medical examiner's commission stopped releasing its list of coronavirus deaths, which were often higher than official state tallies, after the health department intervened.
This according to "The Tampa Bay Times." They say the list might need to be redacted, hence the delay.
Right now, it does not appear that any state meets the vague advisory White House guidelines that call for a downward trajectory of documented cases within a 14-day period before any reopening. Haircuts are already allowed in Colorado and Georgia. In California, we're told that's still months away by a governor now feeling pressure from those earlier openers.
GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): There's no question it puts pressure. I would be lying to suggest otherwise. I'm worried we can erase all the gains in a very short period of time.
WATT: Meanwhile, a new Marist poll shows 65 percent of Americans think it's also a bad idea for people to return to work without further testing and 91 percent think we shouldn't be holding large sporting events yet.
FAUCI: I hope that there's some form of baseball. I mean, it's for the country's mental health.
WATT: Around 2,500 just attended the funeral of a popular rabbi in Brooklyn. Twelve summons were issued for violating social distancing and refusing to disperse. The city's mayor called out the entire Jewish community on Twitter and was criticized.
MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D-NY), NEW YORK CITY: I regret if the way I said it in any way gave people a feeling of being treated the wrong way. That was not my intention. It was said with love, but it was tough love. It was anger and frustration.
WATT: That model often cited by the White House says 74,000 will have died by August 4th. It could be sooner.
(on camera): One more note on that drug, remdesivir that so many people hope will fight COVID-19. Right now, it's not approved for use anywhere in the world for anything, but the FDA here in the U.S. is now in talks -- ongoing talks with its maker to try to get that drug to patients as quickly as possible -- Nick Watt, CNN, Los Angeles.
VAUSE: More now on remdesivir and one key question, just how optimistic should we be?
Here is CNN's Elizabeth Cohen.
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SR. MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Finally some good news about the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers have found that a drug seems to work. It is not a cure-all. It won't take care of the problem but it seems to fight the virus.
It is called remdesivir, they've been studying it for a couple of months. It's been in the news. Let's take a look at what remdesivir is.
It is a experimental drug that was developed for Ebola but it didn't work very well for Ebola. As a matter of fact, it's not on the market for any disease.
In the study for remdesivir, more than 1,000 patients in the United States, Spain, Germany and other center were randomly assigned to either remdesivir or a placebo, a medicine that does nothing. The placebo patients took 15 days to recovery. The remdesivir patients 11 days to recovery.
That is a 4-day difference and doctors say that that is important for two reasons. One is that four fewer days in the hospital means four fewer days where something could go wrong on the ventilator or perhaps getting a hospital acquired infection.
The second reason is that it is an indication that remdesivir is doing something. So they can take that knowledge, they can look at what it is doing. It is blocking an enzyme that is needed for replication and create other drugs that could do a similar thing or maybe there are other drugs that could accompany remdesivir.
So this isn't the end of the road. We are at the beginning of the road. But it's good that they have this first step. The top infectious disease doctor in the U.S., Dr. Anthony Fauci, says that remdesivir could become the standard of care, standard versus experimental to give patients this drug -- back to you.
Dr. Anish Mahajan is chief medical officer of the Harvard UCLA Medical Center. He joins me now from Los Angeles.
Doctor, sorry I mangled your name there. But I want to start with remdesivir. I want you to listen to Dr. Fauci on how the drug helped with the recovery rates, here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FAUCI: The data shows that remdesivir has a clear-cut, significant, positive effect in diminishing the time to recovery. This is really quite important for a number of reasons.
We think it is really opening the door to the fact that we now have the capability of treating. And I can guarantee you as more people and more companies and more investigators get involved it will get better and better.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: He's clearly very optimistic about this. The patients given the drug during the trials saw four days less in hospital, 11 compared to 15; a reduction of about a third.
If the ICU is filled with COVID-19 patients, the time in hospital reduced by a third, that means that the patient load for that ICU is reduced by a lot of with a third as well, right? DR. ANISH MAHAJAN, HARVARD UCLA MEDICAL CENTER: Yes, this is really the first good news that we've heard about COVID-19. This treatment, remdesivir, at least what we're hearing from Dr. Fauci, suggests that it reduces recovery time. This is very good because it will help our health systems keep up.
VAUSE: So if patient time in hospitals is reduced by a third that seems significant in terms of hospital resources, strain on the health care system.
It is too soon to say that this could be a game-changer?
MAHAJAN: Yes. It's too soon. It's a glimmer of hope, the first good news, a building block to what will eventually be a game-changer. The reason I say this is because we have yet to see the actual data.
Once the data is published in a peer reviewed journal, which Fauci has indicated will be soon.
MAHAJAN: Scientists can figure out which patients did the treatment actually benefit and who did it not benefit.
I think everyone knows that coronavirus or COVID-19, of all the people that get it about 20 percent of them will need hospital care and about 5 percent of the overall number will need critical care.
It will be very important to look at the steady results when they are published to see which specific patients benefited, who actually got the benefit. Hopefully many of them did but we have to look at the data.
VAUSE: The breakthrough is being compared to the research in 1897, it took 25 years after that for a medication to be developed to treat HIV. There could be a long road ahead.
MAHAJAN: It's hard to say but this was dramatic news because this study that Dr. Fauci is describing was launched in February in record speed for a clinical trial. It's a randomized, double-blind control trial.
What we mean by that is that patients were randomly assigned to either get remdesivir or a placebo drug. And it was double blind, the doctors giving the drugs and the patients didn't know which they were getting. This is the golden standard for a study.
We learned from Dr. Fauci that this drug is effective in reducing the recovery time but it does so by about 30 percent. It does not cure the virus but it helps people get better faster.
The next step is to combine the medication with other medications that can attack the virus in different parts of its life cycle. What happens is, if you can attack the virus in different parts of its life cycle, you're more likely to be able to defeat it faster and faster. VAUSE: I will show you results from a study in the U.K. that showed
the results of 16,749 patients hospitalized, 49 percent survived, 33 percent died. 17 percent still being treated.
I should stress, it's a small percentage of the most serious of cases. It really suggests that there are so many risks, very high risks, especially for people with pre-existing conditions, right?
MAHAJAN: Correct. The patients who do have the highest death rate due the COVID-19 are in fact patients who are older and patients who have other comorbidities or other medical illnesses, like diabetes, obesity, hypertension and the like.
Those patients, when they have such severe respiratory distress, when they have COVID and end up on the ventilator, unfortunately, it is those patients who have the highest rate of death.
Dr. Mahajan, thanks so much for being with us in Los Angeles, we appreciate your insights and your time.
VAUSE: Global markets continue to be driven by emotion but sentiment on Wednesday was hope. The Dow soared more than 500 points on hopes remdesivir maybe a treatment, a viable, treatment for the coronavirus.
The U.S. economy shrank by 4.8 percent in the first quarter and it seemed to go unnoticed by the markets. Analysts warn it could be 10 times as bad in Q2. Boeing is planning to cut 16,000 jobs after posting steep losses. General Electric also took a huge hit, about $900 million in earnings have been wiped out because of the coronavirus pandemic. Business journalist Kaori Enjoji has more on this.
So 4.8 percent, it's bad enough for contraction but the reality is, that was the impact of the last few weeks of that first quarter, when the lockdown went into effect. This next quarter, it will be all pandemic, all the time and that is when the horror show gets underway right?
KAORI ENJOJI, JOURNALIST: It will be far worse than the first 3 months of this year. Take a look at the numbers you mentioned from Boeing and also from General Electric.
This is one section of the economy but it's a mighty one. Boeing is what makes America money and it's the biggest exporter the U.S. and both of these are in the aviation space. Boeing makes the planes, GE effectively services them.
And you have all the airlines that are flying the planes. It has been a nightmare for them and CEOs are saying this might take years for this industry to recover. Even if it does recover, it might be a much smaller scale, according to General Electric.
They are burning through billions and billions of dollars. They are cutting jobs and if it's this bad for Boeing, it's going to be similarly bad for a company like Airbus.
ENJOJI: It's such a big industry that when a big company like Boeing announces all of the 17,000 suppliers or so that they buy from are going to hurt as well. Take the 787, 35 percent of those parts are made here in Japan, so the ripple effect is huge, John.
VAUSE: One of the biggest mysteries at the moment is just how many airlines will survive after this pandemic and what will air travel look like in a new post pandemic world.
ENJOJI: The million dollar question, I don't have the answer for that. We have already seen a realignment and the consolidation of the industry over the last decades, they have a lot of alliances trying to share flights and so forth, trying to minimize some of the overhead.
But I can only go with what the comments we are getting from GE and Boeing and they should know. And they say the commercial aviation will be a lot more difficult and a lot smaller than we have seen because of this pandemic.
The funny thing about this, John, is that we have had a complete sort of -- the market seems to have completely ignored the reality, the data. And it is completely driven by psyche at this point.
I guess it makes sense, in a way, that the whole downturn, when it started in late January, February, was driven by psyche and emotion as you pointed out. We had no idea what this coronavirus was all about.
Right now, we are getting data, as you pointed, out that suggests the economy is very weak and going to be that way for the foreseeable future but right now, it seems to be mind over matter.
VAUSE: Not a lot reason for what's happening and I guess it will be that way for quite some time. Thanks, Kaori Enjoji. In Tokyo, thanks for being with us.
When we come back, at what price?
What was the cost in human life for Sweden's decision to not implement a nationwide lockdown to contain the virus?
VAUSE: The death toll in the U.K. from the coronavirus has seen a sudden spike after a government revision of how the numbers are collected. Until now, only the hospital deaths were counted.
Now with these changes, those who died in the wider communities at home or in care facilities, are included. The official death toll has been revised up by almost 4,000, bringing the overall total since the outbreak began to just over 26,000, the second highest in Europe, the third highest in the world's.
VAUSE: That means as countries like France and Spain start to ease up on lockdowns, the British have to stay inside for a few more weeks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JONATHAN VAN-TAM, BRITISH DEPUTY CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER: This virus will absolutely come back. You have seen secretary of state refer to the resurgence in Germany and the difficult considerations that are going on there.
This is with us for quite some time, potentially for as long as until we get a vaccine, so from that perspective, we have to be really careful and really surefooted and I am just not going to suggest for a moment that any of this should be rushed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: CNN's Nick Paton Walsh is in London, so Nick, thank you. Appreciate you being with us.
The prime minister will have some very tough choices to make on how long the lockdown will stay in place, why it will stay in place, how it will end he is doing this having gone from the ICU to the maternity ward in just a few weeks.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: I mean, it's a tumultuous few weeks for himself. Certainly months even with an extraordinary election, majority finalizing a divorce, then nearly dying it seems at some point. He says it was 50-50 from the virus and now a new father.
Though, that most recent episode, becoming a father, doesn't appear to be delaying very or somehow distracting from the task ahead at this point. There are some suggestions that he may be in fact leading the press conference today, given on a daily basis, a complicated day for the United Kingdom because this was the day they were supposed to have met their target of 100,000 tests a day, testing being a key problem here in the United Kingdom.
There is certainly not going to make that and they will argue about whether the capacity versus a number of people actually being tested could get something closer to that goal or not but a startling headline, John, really, today is the 26,097 death toll.
The second highest in Europe and it puts frankly the United Kingdom on a course, given the reduction in the number of daily deaths that we are seeing in Italy, to likely beat Italy's startling death toll in the weeks ahead here.
That is because of the change of how the United Kingdom tallied up this. They not only look at the number of people who have tested positive and then died in hospital, it's those who tested positive and died elsewhere in the community as well in England, that already being the way the other parts the United Kingdom had tallied their death tolls.
An important distinction there the because this is about positive testing and testing is an enormous problem here in the United Kingdom. It is incredibly hard to get a test even if you are one of the people that United Kingdom says should be able to get a test, essential workers, those over 65 and those who can't work from home.
This is still a predominant challenge here for the United Kingdom. There is in the weaker heads the need to lay out the case is to what sort of lockdown has to continue in the weeks ahead. They have not spelled out the fact that we will still be seeing restrictive movement here in the United Kingdom for the month ahead.
That is something that Boris Johnson may well be asked intensively about today. There's an extraordinary complicated task for them because they have set five key goals which is bringing the infection rate down, the death toll down and at the same time as well as ensuring there is enough protective equipment for their staff in hospitals and we don't risk a second peak.
Those are all measures that the government can decide whether they have met or not to some degree. But the economic damage is extraordinary as well. So Boris Johnson will be facing pressure to get the economy started again, to avoid that second peak plus the frankly personal transformations that he has been through, presumably into his vision of this disease as well over the past month or so.
But that death toll because of the revision here so starkly high and you have to remember that is not the full picture, because there are still some who, part of the statistical figures we have seen, may well have died and not had a positive test causing that perhaps toll to be revised further up.
So the U.K. learning a lot and reaching in the next week some stark decisions, John.
VAUSE: Thank you, it seems the U.K. is moving ever so closely to that model in which the death toll could be closer to 60,000. Thank you for being with, us Nick Paton Walsh in London.
Sweden is one of the few countries where the government did not issue a stay-at-home order. Instead, there is advice about the benefits of social distancing and calls for a personal responsibility.
Critics now have questioned this lockdown-like approach, Sweden has more than 20,000 confirmed cases and hundreds of dead. We sent CNN's Phil Black to Stockholm to find out more.
PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: To visit Sweden now is to enter a strange land where people can just hang out together. To seek shelter from the cold and cozy restaurants, go for a drink or a coffee.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It has been crowded all over. All the bars, restaurants and so on. BLACK: You can shop for fashion and beauty products, or even allow a hairdresser to invade your personal space.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sooner or later we will get corona, I think, too.
BLACK: So, you've accepted that that will happen?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
BLACK: And in the meantime, it's important to look good?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. You're right.
BLACK: That sums up the authorities approach here. COVID-19 is going to be around for a while and society must find a way to live with it.
So, no forced lockdown, instead, an emphasis on personal responsibility. Please work from home, keep to yourself in public. The official rules in bars and restaurants is stay in arm's length apart. No gatherings of more than 50 people, elementary and middle schools are still open, while most high school students and college students, study at home.
Anders Tegnell is the state epidemiologist driving the policies here. He claims success in flattening the curve and keeping serious cases within hospital capacity and he says it's a good thing. His agency estimates 26 percent of Stockholm's population has now been infected because in theory, that means more immunity.
BLACK: But you insist that herd immunity has never been a goal?
ANDERS TEGNELL, SWEDEN'S CHIEF EPIDEMIOLOGIST: No, but it will help us in achieving our goal which is slowing down the spread as much as possible so that we can keep in good healthcare.
BLACK: But for a small country, Sweden is already paying a big human cost. More than 2,400 people have died here. Vastly greater numbers, the neighboring countries which imposed much tougher restrictions.
TEGNELL: That is true. Even in --
BLACK: What do you take from that?
TEGNELL: Yes. That we need to investigate and try to understand why. We know for sure one of the reasons why is that we have this huge amount of cases in our homes.
BLACK: It's a disturbing trend around heart of those who've died here live in care homes. The Swedish government admits they failed to protect the elderly. The open policies are broadly popular here but there is anger too, especially among those who have lost so much to the virus.
MIRREY GOURIE (PH), FATHER DIED FROM CORONAVIRUS: I'm so sorry. It hurts when I say his name.
BLACK: Mirrey Gourie (ph), buried her father Joseph on Monday. She says he and many others would still be alive if Sweden had just chosen a different path.
GOURIE: There is people dying and there is a human being like me, like you, like my dad. They are not just statistics or numbers.
BLACK: Sweden's experience will inform governments around the world as a plot their exits from lockdown, but authorities here say it is still too soon to judge their actions, because they, like everyone, are struggling to deal with the threat they are only starting to understand -- Phil Black, CNN, Stockholm.
VAUSE: Well, we will take a short break. When we come back, the pandemic has brought tourism and the entertainment industry to a grinding halt. That's a double whammy for a city like Las Vegas, where they are calling for the famous Strip to reopen within weeks.
Also, the biggest shopping mall in the world back in business, live in Dubai, we will find out who can get in and who can't.
VAUSE: Returning now to that breakthrough in the search for a possible treatment for COVID-19. Early results from a study on Remdesivir, a drug originally designed to treat Ebola show it significantly reduces recovery time. One of the researchers spoke with CNN's Chris Cuomo.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDRE KALIL, PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR, REMDESIVIR TRIAL: The time to recover is reduced by four days. This is not a small deal. This is a big deal because it's four days out of, you know, from 15, 14 days, about a third the time that the patients are going to require oxygen, are going to require respiratory -- you know, respiratory support, are going to require to be in a hospital.
So why this is important? Because if you asked me, if I would stay, you know, if I would stay two weeks in a hospital and two weeks minus four days, I would -- I mean, there is nobody that would tell that they would prefer to stay for more days because every day they'd stay in a hospital, you increase the chance of complication, increased risk of complications. So that's from the patient perspective. This is -- this is definitely something very important because you're going to really have a third reduction on your time to recovery.
The second thing that is as important as well is that there was a trend even though not statistically significant, because of the trial is not powered for mortality, but there was a trend for improving mortality from 11.6 to eight percent with Remdesivir. So if you put together --
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: People die, three percent reduction in death?
KALIL: If you -- if you put together almost four percent reduction in death with a four -- with you know, four days reduction on the need for hospital and respiratory support, this is not something to take lightly, especially when it comes from a trial that is that robust.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Around the world, human trials are underway for a coronavirus vaccine. German company BioNTech just completed initial dosing of a small number of volunteers. Our man in Berlin is very Fred Pleitgen.
FRED PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: BioNTech is the only German company so far to have obtained regulatory approval to begin trials for possible vaccines against COVID-19. It's also one of only a handful of companies in the world to already be in clinical trials and the company said on Wednesday that it had completed the first dosing of the new trial vaccine which is called BNT162. The cohort for this first dosing was 12 people and they are all now vaccinated.
The company says in a second phase of the trial they want to move to a larger cohort of about 200 people ranging in ages from about 18 to 55. They might test a lot of things in that second phase of the trial, but especially whether or not the trial vaccine is actually safe.
Now, it's still unclear at what point in time this vaccine is going to be ready for general use, but on the global level, BioNTech works together with the U.S. pharmaceutical company Pfizer. And both Pfizer and BioNTech have already said they also want to begin clinical trials in the United States pending regulatory approval there which they believe will happen very soon. Fred Pleitgen, CNN Berlin.
VAUSE: The largest mall opener -- owner, I should say, in the U.S. is planning to reopen dozens of retail centers. And starting Friday, Simon Property Group says it will reopen 49 malls and outlets across 10 U.S. states. That will be based on current state and local stay at home closure orders.
The first property is set to open in Alaska, Texas, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee, Georgia, and South Carolina. Shopping centers in Indiana and Missouri will follow. SPG says they will upon request have free masks and sanitizing wipes for shoppers as well as temperature checks which will be done by infrared thermometers.
The world's largest mall by square footage has reopened. But after a month-long closure, crowds are not exactly rushing back to the Dubai Mall, at least not yet. CNN's John Defterios is live at the aforementioned Dubai Mall. He joins us now.
John, the mall is that over again for another day. And that actually brings some important symbolism that is back in business, but it's back in business with some very strict prevention measures.
JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN BUSINESS EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: That's correct, John. It's eerily quiet here because we're 90 minutes from the mid-day opening local time here in Dubai. I'm in the Fashion Avenue as it's known here. And usually this mall takes in about 300,000 people a day.
And you're talking about the safety precautions that are in place right now. They are going to cap that at 90,000 for the time being. They're doing temperature checks on the way in and they have also age limits. Nobody over 60, the sign is out on the door, and no children under 12. So you can see they're taking a very conservative approach.
And this is also very tricky. You said people are not kicking the doors down to come back in to shop. I think the consumer is trying to feel their way through this crisis at the same time. Will we have a snap back here in the second half? What does it mean for their jobs? What does it mean for consumer spending, and also for the developer of this mall?
They have to try to manage all the different retail outlets they've supported during this transition better than 1,300. And you don't get the sense of it right now, but there's 10,000 employees in this building, as well, John. So it's a tricky game. And I think they're trying to make a statement though. We're coming back, we're doing so with extreme caution, and we're not in a rush to get back to the previous numbers.
VAUSE: Yes, it's -- I guess, it's slowly and steady wins today. But the epidemic is also having a financial crisis. You know, we've seen the price of oil collapse, which is, you know -- how is that now playing into the region's ability to actually, you know, respond to the pandemic?
DEFTERIOS: Well, I heard -- yes, I heard you talk a little bit earlier, John, about the double whammy of the coronavirus. I would say it's a triple whammy here in the Middle East, and specifically in Dubai. And I say that because it's sucked out consumer demand, of course, there's no doubt about that.
But the big Gulf carriers like Emirates, Etihad in Abu Dhabi are serving as a bridge between Asia and Europe and tourism has dried up because all the hotels have been closed, and that's just starting to ease up. And the third leg of that though, is oil prices, John. You talked about it. They need $50 and above and we're 25 and below, and it looks like we could stay there throughout the year.
We've seen a slight recovery, but that demand is linked to whether we have a snapback in the second half, and whether the consumer feels really comfortable after the shock of the second quarter that's coming. We had the first quarter GDP yesterday. It's going to get three to four times worse than that in the second quarter. That's the same here as it is in the United States, John.
VAUSE: Yes. We also have a situation with the airlines reporting some incredibly big losses. And, you know, we know that Dubai is -- and the Emirates is very dependent as of some many of the countries in the Gulf region dependent on their own national carriers for the tourism industry and everything else. So that's another potential negative area that they're going to contend with.
DEFTERIOS: Yes. There's no doubt about it. In fact, if you think about it, and you know, this plays very well, John. Dubai was built on trade tourism, and its carriers, right. And I took Emirates back in the early 1990s when it started, and it kind of broke new ground because nobody had this idea that this could serve as a bridge for trade, of course, but also now in its own right tourism, and then connecting people all around the world. And the growth area has been Africa.
That comes into a very different cloud at this stage. And you know, John, they put $50 billion at play for bailouts in the United States. Europe is considering how to tackle it. They have the state support here but even Emirates a month ago said, look, we'll need additional support from the private sector to keep up this flag carrier going forward and to serve as that incubator for growth here in the emirate as it starts to open up again.
VAUSE: John, thank you. John Defterios there. Enjoy the mall. It's not the one with the ski ramp. It's a little more classier than that one, so have a good day shopping.
DEFTERIOS: You're right.
VAUSE: Cheers. Take care. Casinos in Las Vegas are eager to reopen, and the CEO of Wynn Resorts is telling President Trump, he believes the city's famous strip could be ready for business in less than a month. CNN's Kyung Lah shows us what it's like right now in Las Vegas.
KYUNG LAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Las Vegas as we've never seen or heard before. The entire Vegas Strip shut down. 100 percent of casino doors closed, tourists gone.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Empty, it's like a ghost town and it's like really sad.
LAH: It's why Alicia Garcia and so many other laid-off casino workers are in this line. Miles of cars, hundreds of families wait outside the boulder station casino. They're not here for work but for free food from the food bank.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've never seen myself to do this before. I've never seen myself to do this before but what can you do?
LAH: A cancer survivor, Marcella Meriweather had a great union job at the MGM casino just weeks ago.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I said before that I'm not going to go over there because maybe there's somebody else, that somebody really needs that. And then now, I have to do it. I haven't got any unemployment.
BRIAN BURTON, PRESIDENT AND CEO, THREE SQUARE FOOD BANK: Guess what the face of hunger in Las Vegas today looks like you and me. Over half the folks have never been in a line like this asking for help. These are regular people who are working solid middle-class jobs, and their lives just capsized overnight.
LAH: Are you saying this is ground zero for the economic damage?
BURTON: I'm not saying that I know that this is ground zero.
LAH: The lights have essentially shut off on Nevada's economy, one based on tourism and leisure. No tourists, no entertainment, making coronavirus a bigger blow to Vegas than the 2008 financial crisis.
MARILYN KIRKPATRICK, CHAIRWOMAN, CLARK COUNTY, NEVADA COMMISSION: We're talking that this is worse because at that time at least we had some occupancy within the hotels.
LAH: The chairwoman of the Clark County Commission which covers the Strip says key now how casinos reopen.
KIRKPATRICK: I'd rather open slow and methodical. I don't think that anybody wants to close the second time.
LAH: Casinos have begun rolling out reopen plans. The Venetian and Wynn casino say guests will see new cleaning measures like thermal cameras, electrostatic sprayers using hospital-grade disinfectant, and U.V. lights for disinfection.
Luxury traveler Jimmy Prior expects under that new normal the economy will at best crawl back. He drove up to the food bank in his Hummer. It's what he used to drive Vegas visitors around. COVID changed life like a switch.
JIMMY PRIOR, DRIVER: It's scary, you know. It makes you realize, you know, what you used to have and now you don't have it, right.
LAH: This is something that would be unimaginable just a few weeks ago, being able to walk like this in traffic on the Las Vegas Strip, and something else. This sidewalk would normally be packed with people but there is nobody here. The reason why it would be packed is because of this. We're in front of the Bellagio. Those are the iconic fountains that are off because of the economic shutdown here in this state.
Now the governor has not indicated when casinos might start again, though he has indicated the stay home order may be extended a little bit longer. Kyung Lah, CNN Las Vegas.
VAUSE: Stranded at sea and refused safe harbor. Coming up, hundreds of Rohingya refugees men, women, and children have nowhere to go. They're denied asylum over fears of spreading the coronavirus.
VAUSE: This pandemic has seen most countries turn inwards to care for their own leaving those with less than nothing shut out and ignored. Right now, somewhere in the Indian Ocean, two fishing trawlers crammed with hundreds of Rohingya men, women, and children are trying to find a safe harbor.
First, they escaped ethnic cleansing in Myanmar, then they fled the overcrowded refugee camps in Bangladesh. But despite pleas from the U.N., and in violation of international law, Malaysia turned them away over fears of spreading the coronavirus, and Bangladesh won't take them back. They're starving, they're thirsty, they are dying and they have nowhere to go.
Kimberly Dozier is a CNN Global Affairs Analyst and contributor to Time. She joins us this hour from Washington. Kim, thanks being with us. We appreciate that. This is really -- it's just beyond tragic, and you've been reporting on this. And it seems, these fishing trawlers have even been denied permission to dock and pick up new supplies of food and water.
KIMBERLY DOZIER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, according to humanitarian workers who've been trying to keep in touch with these trawlers, they don't know exactly when they took off or where from, but they think from Bangladesh. And one of them tried to get to Denmark was turned gay. Now, they don't know exactly where they are. One has been spotted near Thailand.
The fact of the matter is these nations have let it be known that because of their fears of COVID-19, they're not going to let the refugees land. This is the same thing that happened back in 2015, which led to something called the Bali agreement of those coastal nations, when they said this wouldn't happen again. They wouldn't let starving refugees by on the high seas.
But COVID-19 has really made countries fearful of outsiders and also, you've seen in Southeast Asia, that what they're doing is they're looking at the West. They're looking at the United States, they're looking at Europe, with all of the resources in those areas not able to cope with this pandemic. It hasn't really hit very hard yet in Southeast Asia, and they're bracing for it and fearful of letting anyone in.
VAUSE: Is this simply though a violation of international law? So, I thought refugees seeking asylum from persecution had to be granted asylum?
DOZIER: Well, when you have, for instance, the Trump administration, setting the example lowering the number of refugees that it will take, and in the course of this pandemic, President Donald Trump has announced that he wanted to shut off all immigration. Now, that initial Declaration was stepped back a bit by the actual
policy that was announced a few days later, but still, the overall message is if the U.S. can shut its doors to refugees, why can't these starving nations. It means that there are fewer nations with either the moral power or right now the political will to stand up for these endangered, threatened population.
VAUSE: And with that in mind, an editorial in Malaysia's Straits Times argues the country cannot take in any more refugees especially in the midst of this pandemic. They write, "We must seal all our land and sea borders, step up marine patrols to prevent illegal migrants from infiltrating into the country, speed up the spread of the coronavirus. While we cannot ignore the well-being of migrants and refugees already in the country, we absolutely had the right to reject new refugees and illegal migrants."
And from your reporting, you say aid workers are bracing for COVID-19 to supercharge you know, the already existing ethnic and religious divides. What else do they say?
DOZIER: Well, yes, that's an article I've just written for Time Magazine about how whether it's the U.N. Refugee Agency or Human Rights Watch or Doctors Without Borders, they are already trying to rush not just aid but education into various committees. To displaced people who are perhaps minority religions in countries, whether it's Iraq or Afghanistan or Southeast Asia, so that they know how not to get the virus. Because the fear is, if the virus breaks out in these already unwelcomed communities, that will further make the local populations want to reject them.
The other thing that they're seeing is that extremist slightly so- called Islamic State are already taking advantage of what they see as the higher economy nations not being able to take care of their own. And they're saying to Syrian refugees, for instance, in all whole town in northeastern Syria, we will help you, what do you need?
They're using this as an opportunity, perhaps not for recruiting, but to be there for already marginalized populations. That's a kind of a message that no people remember who showed up for them at their darkest hour.
VAUSE: Absolutely. Yes.
DOZIER: And that means it gives organizations like the Islamic State that were on the wane a new breath of life.
VAUSE: Yes. It gives some sort of credibility, if you like, as well, with many people who they help out with under these circumstances. But we're also seeing in Myanmar, this pandemic. Well, you know, it's a global tragedy. It's also a global distraction. And the military in Myanmar seems to be using that to increase and escalate and assault in Rakhine State.
DOZIER: Well, there had been fighting that had displaced 75,000 people last year. And there's a new spike of fighting between insurgents in Rakhine and the Myanmar military that the U.S. State Department has decried the U.N. multiple humanitarian organizations have said look, if you want us to try to rush aid into these remote areas ahead of the pandemic, we can't do it while everyone is under fire.
And the thing is they're fighting against time. They're fighting against the coming rainy season. A lot of these places are so remote where these displaced populations are not just Rohingya Muslims, but many Buddhists who were displaced by this back and forth skirmish. And some of them are -- you can only reach them by going to days on boats up a river. Those passageways will be impassable when the rains come.
VAUSE: Kimberly, it's good reporting to do right now because it is so easy to forget about these other issues in light of everything else, but this is still ongoing and something we need to watch, so thank you. Kimberly Dozier, CNN Global Affairs Analyst and Contributor to Time. Thanks for being with us, Kim. Stay well.
DOZIER: Thank you.
VAUSE: Good time for a break. We'll be back in a moment. You watching CNN.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOM MOORE, BRITISH WORLD WAR II VETERAN: I'm totally taken aback by what has happened here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Happy birthday, Captain Tom Moore, the World War Two veteran turned national treasure after raising almost $40 million for health workers in Britain just by walking 100 laps of his yard. Not only did he receive more than 100,000 birthday cards from around the world, but also a field promotion of sorts to Honorary Colonel, as well as a replacement for his long-lost World War Two Defense Medal. Well done.
So if you haven't done Zoom cocktail hour by now, you're missing out. It's all part about our new pandemic world which is moving online. And that means weddings are also following suit. Here's Jeanne Moos.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When locked down means you can't walk down the aisle, when friends and family can't gather to hear, consider saying, I the Zoom wed. Bride and groom invited as many as 50 guests who introduced themselves.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm uncle Michael from Canada.
MOOS: Drank and eat right up to the moment of the ceremony. The mother of the groom in the U.K. wore a fascinator. Friends of the bride dress fancy on top.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, the bottom part was pajama.
MOOS: Shoe designers Sayaka Fukuda and James Store Brown who works in finance were among the first New Yorkers to marry on Zoom after Governor Cuomo gave the green light to weddings via video conferencing.
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): So it's no excuses anymore. Yes or no, will you marry me?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you, Cuomo.
MOOS: These two newlyweds nuzzled and kiss their way through our interview, even rub noses. A longtime friend officiated the ceremony.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- to be your lawfully wedded wife.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I do.
MOOS: This really puts the zoom in marriage. How long did it take to arrange and invite guests?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Two hours.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two hours.
MOOS: The couple says lockdown, note the quarantine hair was great practice for marriage after dating three and a half years.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We'll look back on this and laugh and realize that, you know, there is a light and that we can get through things together.
MOOS: It may not sound like the language of love, but there's nothing new about this romance.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think he said, you know, now you may kiss the bride and then we do.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Literally, I could scream. If you see my video, I screamed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can now pronounce you husband and wife. Kiss the bride.
MOOS: There weren't cheers, toasts, but some guests complained.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some of us miss the kiss, guys.
MOOS: Don't worry, they're more than making up for that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That was great.
MOOS: Jeannie Moos, CNN, New York.
VAUSE: Your moment of hour. Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause. A lot more news continues after a short break with my colleague Rosemary Church.