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Coronavirus Pandemic; Sweden Defends Decision To Not Impose Lockdown; Aerospace Giants Report Dismal Earnings; How Airlines Are Trying To Get Flyers' Confidence Back; Major U.S. Shopping Malls Reopening; Simon Property Group Reopening; Dubai's Mega-Mall Reopens With Strict Safeguards; Las Vegas Eager To Reopen As Workers Struggle; Laid-Off Casino Workers Line Up At Las Vegas Food Bank; Las Vegas Casinos Roll Out Reopening Plans Amid Shutdown; France Falls Into Recession As Quarter One GDP Plunges 5.8 Percent, Worst Quarterly Decline Since the End Of World War II; Lebanon Braces For More Protests As Crises Mount; Demonstrators Protesting Unemployment, Inflation; South Africa Rugby Captain Siya Kolisi Helps Township During Lockdown. Aired 3-4a ET
Aired April 30, 2020 - 03:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: America's markets soar on that news as well, undaunted by the latest grim GDP figures. More on that in just a moment.
Then for weeks, Russia insisted it had the pandemic under control but as the country nears 100,000 cases, the strain on the country's health care system is becoming extreme.
Good to have you with us.
Well, finally, some good news in the coronavirus fight, and it's centering around a single drug. Remdesivir, the antiviral seems to be the best thing we've come across so far. It's not a miracle cure, nor is it a vaccine, but a study shows patients with severe coronavirus infections who took Remdesivir could recover faster than patients who did not take it. From 15 days down to 11.
Now, it also results in a slightly low mortality rate, and what's exciting to doctors, is this is the first thing that seems to have an in impact on the coronavirus.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: It is a very important proof of concept, because what has proven, is that a drug can block this virus. 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, more companies, more investigators get involved, it is going to get better and better.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Now, the maker of Remdesivir says it has enough supply for at least 140,000 treatment courses for patients, and there are reports the U.S. Food and Drug Administration may announce the drug can be used on an emergency basis.
So, the data is preliminary but hopeful, and you heard there from Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease doctor in the United States, a key researcher in the studies spoke earlier with my colleague, Chris Cuomo. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDRE KALIL, PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR, REMDESIVIR TRIAL: There are two things that are very important for me, and I am seeing that as not only as researcher as a clinician that somebody takes care of patients every day.
So, there was -- so the two findings that we know today that Dr. Fauci mentioned was one, is that the time to recovery is reduced by four days. This is not a small deal, this is a big deal because it's four days out of 15, 14 days. About a third of the time that the patients are going to require oxygen and are going to require respiratory, you know, respiratory support and are required to be in a hospital, it was reduced by a third.
So why this is important? Because if you ask 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 four more days because every day that you stay in the hospital you increase the chance of complication, increase the risk of complications.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Understood.
KALIL: So that's from the patient perspective. This is -- this is definitely something very important because you are 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 the trial was not powered for mortality, but there was a trend for improving mortality from 11.6 to 8 percent with Remdesivir. So, if you put together --
CUOMO: People dying. Three percent reduction in deaths?
KALIL: Exactly. If you put together almost 4 percent reduction in deaths with four, you know, four days reduction on the need for hospitalization and respiratory support, this is not something to take lightly, especially when it comes from a trial that is that robust.
Now this is not a cure, as I said in the beginning, this is not a cure. (END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: And that only goes to highlight the importance of testing for the coronavirus as pointed out by experts time and again. But the U.S. President appears to be downplaying that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: If we do two million tests, they said how come you don't do three? Well, we do three and they said how come you didn't four? That's like a -- that's like a dream for the media, but we have done incredible with the testing, and you'll see over the next coming weeks.
Mike, you may want to speak about that a little bit, but over the next coming weeks, you'll see some astonishing numbers. I don't know that all of that is even necessary.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Well, actually, it is necessary. But critics say the president is contradicting his own administration's guidance and the advice of experts because he wants to paint a picture of an America that's over the virus and roaring back. This is not the first time he has done an about-face on testing, it's not even the first time this week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, on testing yesterday you said that we will very soon be testing five million people?
TRUMP: Well, I don't know where it came from.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You said that.
TRUMP: I'd like to refer to these two people because I don't know where it came up. Everyone kept saying you said there would be five. That was a study that came out. Somebody came out with a study of five million people.
Do I think we will? I think we will, but I never said it. We're testing millions of people. We're testing more people than anyone -- any country in the world by far. By double. By much more than double. More than everybody else combined we're testing, but somebody started throwing around five million. I didn't say five million. Somebody said five million. I think it might have been the Harvard report. There was a report from Harvard.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You were asked about it --
TRUMP: And they said five million. Well, we will be there, but I didn't say it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You argue saying you're confident you can surpass five million tests per day, is that --
TRUMP: Well, we're going to be there very soon. If you look at the numbers, it could be that we're getting very close. I mean, I don't have the exact numbers. We would have had them if you asked me the same question a little while ago because people with these statistics were there. We're going to be there very soon.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: But that actually seems unlikely. The top administration official in charge of testing told Time magazine Tuesday that there is no way this country could conduct five million tests per day, and I'm quoting.
"There is absolutely no way on earth on this planet or any other planet that we can do 20 million tests a day or even five million tests a day."
But the U.S. president has made it clear he wants the country up and running. He's planning a trip to Arizona next week, and want sports to return.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: You're not going to have a stadium that's 30 percent the size of what it was three months ago. If I watch Alabama play LSU, I don't want to see 20,000 people instead of 120,000 people. We want it to be the way it was.
Now, we're going to wait until it's gone, and it will be gone, and we've done a lot to get rid of it, but we -- we want to open our country. The people want this country open.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Everybody wants their country open. That sentiment is shared all over the world, and not just in the United States. So, could a treatment like Remdesivir mean that economies can reopen? That social distancing and wearing masks is no longer necessary? Well, let's hear again from that researcher.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KALIL: I can tell you with a 100 percent certainty Remdesivir is, should not change even -- even, you know, even with the data we have today, with the positive data that we can shorten the time of disease, we can potentially save lives. Remdesivir.
Remdesivir will not do anything to, in terms of public health. Remdesivir is strictly is going to benefit people with moderate to severe disease that are right in the hospital.
So, just having the Remdesivir available let's say with the approval, it's great, it's going to be great benefit patients that are sick, very sick from COVID in the hospital, but when it comes to public health, Remdesivir is going to have absolutely no impact because Remdesivir is not a drug to be used to prevent an infection.
It's not a drug to be used with somebody on a mild infection or in a home to really improve or cure without any medications. Remdesivir is for a very specific small portion of patients that get really sick that have a higher risk of death and this is the patient population that will benefit from Remdesivir.
So Remdesivir should not have any significant impact in terms of public health policy, in terms of opening or closing. This is a whole different subject that will not be influenced by the availability of Remdesivir.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: All right, we are getting some news just into CNN for the first time in 72 days. South Korea is reporting that it had no new local coronavirus cases in the country on Wednesday. Four new imported cases were reported, though, that's according to the country's Center for Disease Control. There are now almost 11,000 cases in the country with 247 deaths.
And for more, I am joined now by Muhammad Munir. He is a virologist at Lancaster University in the U.K., and he joins me from Lancaster. Thank you so much for talking with us.
MUHAMMAD MUNIR, VIROLOGIST, LANCASTER UNIVERSITY: Good morning.
CHURCH: I do want to talk first about the good news because we received this in the course of the day, certainly this is great news for COVID-19 patients experiencing severe symptoms in hospital.
We haven't yet seen all the data on Remdesivir, but Dr. Fauci says a preliminary trial shows recovery time went from 15 to 11 days. How significant is this considering, I mean, it's really mainly these people who are experiencing severe symptoms in the hospital.
MUNIR: Yes. Well, I think this is really good news, especially if we look on to how many remedies have been tried and many of them really fall down.
So, 31 percent recovery is really good news for people who are already sadly have gotten sick and that means that they will leave the hospital four days earlier.
And if we look on to the other established remedies, for example, Tamiflu is treating flu, that is not also very different than the reserves that we are seeing now with Remdesivir. So, overall, it's good news.
Of course, we don't yet know if this will have any impact onto reducing the mortality, or onto the overall severity in terms of different age groups, but this is certainly good news and we hope to turn all.
CHURCH: Right. There was some suggestion that it did decrease mortality somewhat.
MUNIR: Yes, certainly, it did decrease but the study has of course, this is probably the best study conducted so far for looking on to the efficacy of drugs on thousand patients on across different countries.
So, overall, the randomized model that was applied was pretty convincing, but yet, these are preliminary research and a lot more need to be seen. But this is certainly once again I want to emphasize that this is really good news, and in many days, we have seen it so far.
CHURCH: Yes. And that is exactly what everybody wants. So, Remdesivir will help those COVID-19 patients in the hospital, but for everyone else, we will still need to continue social distancing, wearing masks, and hopefully getting better access to testing while we all wait for the elusive vaccine.
So, how worried are you that if the U.S. and other nations open up too quickly and we are seeing that happen now without sufficient testing in place, that we will see another deadly wave of this pandemic and perhaps a race everything that we've gain so far?
MUNIR: Absolutely. I think this is a really difficult time and we do understand that everyone is touching its patience when it comes to the lockdown, because it's certainly a social disruption and no man will like we have that. But we have achieved so far.
If we look on to the data on to the new number of cases and mortality they are plateauing or decreasing. So, this is certainly a good time to reemphasize that we have to carry on practicing social distancing and so on.
But the matter of the fact is that vast majority of people not only in the United Kingdom and the United States but across the world are still uninfected and these will certainly be, you know, bear (Inaudible) onto the floor and (Inaudible) we are not going to keep burning it until it ran out of fuel.
So, we have to really emphasize that we don't provide enough fuel to the virus and we have to carry on with the social distancing and the control we are following.
CHURCH: Yes, that is critical. And sometimes that message gets lost. But I did want to ask you this because there are a lot of questions surround the number of infections being recorded in various countries, as well as the death tolls.
Some being viewed as more reliable than others. And we have also seen the U.K. revise their numbers now counting all COVID-19 deaths even if they occur outside of the hospital which seems logical and perhaps should have been done and should be done throughout the world.
So how reliable or any of these numbers in getting a true picture of what we are dealing with here?
MUNIR: Yes. So, Rosemary, I think this is really critical question and we have been emphasizing right from the beginning of this crisis that the number of cases that are documented are certainly not the true representation of actual disease severity.
And probably this is the major reasons for unpreparedness in the countries because until you don't really know the severity and the scale of the disease in the country you can't estimate what are the demands for PPEs, what are the demand for overall preparedness in the hospitals.
But one of the contributing factors has been the asymptomatic carriers. So, until someone is not showing clinical sign overall, they stay healthy and like, 25 percent of people who contract the infection they stay healthy, therefore it is really difficult to catch them until you apply testing.
And testing has been a problem right from the beginning in terms of scaling it up and so on.
MUNIR: In the U.K. situation, it has been like that for a while, and we have been stressing that we need to calculate all of those people dying inside the hospitals to be in the part of calculation but the people who have been dying outside the hospital, for example, care homes or in the community hasn't been a part of the calculation.
So that was the reason. For the last two, three days we were seeing that there was a decline in the mortality which was good news, but once they started calculating the patient, people who have been dying outside the hospital it seems like we are not getting down. We are now more leveling and flattening. So that is certainly something of concern in the near future as well.
CHURCH: Still so much to learn, so much to do. We are really struggling all across the globe. Muhammad Munir, thank you so much for talking with us. I appreciate it.
MUNIR: Good to be here.
CHURCH: And if you are looking for some positive economic news, Wall Street was about the only bright spot on Wednesday. The Dow soared more than 500 points on hopes the drug Remdesivir might prove to be a promising treatment for the coronavirus.
But that is where the good news ended. The U.S. economy shrunk by 4.8 percent in the first quarter, its worst performance in almost 12 years. Analysts predict the second quarter will be much worse.
And yet, President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner considers the U.S. response to the pandemic a success. His remarks came less than a day after the U.S. topped one million cases of the virus.
Now despite the continued lack of testing happening in the country, here is what Kushner had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JARED KUSHNER, SENIOR ADVISOR TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We've achieved all the different milestones that are needed. So, the government, the federal government rose to the challenge and this is a great success story.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: And for weeks, Russia also had insisted it had the pandemic under control, now it's nearing 100,000 cases and 1,000 deaths. Russia's prime minister says predicting an end date for the countries restrictions is impossible.
A startling new image showing the dramatic strain on Russia's healthcare system are emerging.
Senior international correspondent Matthew Chance has more for us on this. Matthew, the numbers don't add up given what we know about the mortality rate for this virus, and now new images suggest Russia is struggling to keep up with the infection like some many other countries around the world. But what are you learning on this?
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I mean, a lot of very disturbing figures that have come out in the past 24 hours and the likelihood is those figures are going to increase substantially.
But there is a whole raft of, sort of, reports emerging, for instance, about particular hospitals in Russia that are being locked down with both the patients and the staff inside, all displaying symptoms of COVID-19.
And I think this is important. There are actual in a country where criticism and descent to the official line is quite rare, we are seeing healthcare workers post desperate messages on line, sort of showing how the difficulties are that they are facing in everyday life.
For weeks, Russia insisted the pandemic there was under control. But these startling images from a hospital in the south of the country show just how overstretched its health service has become.
This cold, tiny room was a laundry storage cover according to the narrator. Now it's a makeshift ward for five coughing women. No room for social distancing here. And these aren't even the hospital's patients. They're medical staff, the narrator says, who have fallen ill with symptoms of the virus and with nowhere else to be treated.
We can't confirm they have COVID-19, but a local government official says the women were later moved to a fully equipped ward and several hospital employees were disciplined. Still, it's a grim picture with a toll this coronavirus is taking on Russia's health workers.
This Russian doctor says she believes a large proportion of medical workers are already sick, and in current working conditions, she says more infections for just a matter of time.
Across Russia, the plight of essential medical staff has become a major concern. Moscow's main coronavirus hospital is reported to have suffered mass resignations of key workers. Like Natalia Lyubimaya, who complaints on social media of excessively long shifts, lasting days on end, lack of equipment, as well as food and salary shortfalls.
The hospital denies it's using staff, but even the Kremlin is now acknowledging acute shortages of personal protection equipment or PPE despite ramping up production.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): In March, 3,000 protective suits for doctors were produced per day. By mid-May, it would be over 150,000. Yes, in comparison with what it was just recently, it is a lot. But in comparison with what is needed now, it is still not enough.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHANCE: It's been just a few weeks since Russia was exporting assistance overseas to the U.S. and especially Italy, where Russian doctors were shown working side by side with a European comrade.
But at this hospital at home in St. Petersburg, Russia's second biggest city, ambulance drivers said they were waiting up to 10 hours outside just to deliver a single patient.
The numbers, it seems, are already overwhelming, and Russia's peak, according to the Kremlin, is yet to come.
But we are expecting an update shortly on the latest casualty figures inside Russia. But in the meantime, President Putin has been preparing the ground in the country for the potential of more bad news. Telling Russians, they are about to face a new and grueling phase of this pandemic. Rosemary.
CHURCH: Matthew Chance with that shocking report on what's happening in Russia. Many thanks.
And coming up here on CNN Newsroom.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm so sorry.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It hurts when I say his name. (END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: As Sweden continues life without a lockdown, critics say it's taking too much of a toll on human life. We'll have that when we return.
CHURCH: Well, amid growing criticism over the British government's coronavirus response, the U.K. has revised how it counts its official death toll. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab announced the decision on Tuesday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DOMINIC RAAB, BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY: From today, we are moving to an improved daily reporting system for deaths so that deaths in all settings are included whenever the individual has tested positive for COVID-19 rather than just those in hospitals.
We have recorded an additional 3,811 deaths in total. And I think it's just important to say that those additional deaths were spread over a period from the second of March to the 28th of April. So, they don't represent a sudden surge in the number of deaths.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: CNN's Nick Paton Walsh joins us now from London. So, Nick, what more are you learning about the U.K.'s revised official death toll?
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: To some degree, this was a number in an elemental circulation already in that U.K. had clearly known through some of its national statistics being released that the number they were counting on a daily basis, those who died in hospital with a positive test nowhere near encapsulated the whole here.
And even this number in fact, may fall short of it to, yes, it is an update or revision of those who have died with a positive test across the country, mostly from the England and the United Kingdom where the way the numbers have been counted have been slightly different.
But it doesn't include all of those who had COVID-19 on their desk to pick it as a possible call. The issue here really is testing. And this number puts the United Kingdom very close to being the worst in Europe.
Italy is slightly worse at over 27,000 or 26,097 in the U.K. were probably rise to beat Italy at some point sadly in the weeks ahead. And the question of course, being the testing here.
Very hard to come by test in the United Kingdom at this point and they keep expanding the categories of people who are allowed to apply for them from frontline healthcare workers, now to those who are over 65 and to those who cannot work from home anymore.
But they simply cannot get those tests to people fast enough. There has been a goal to0, by today, get 100,000 tests done every day, and that simply hasn't been met. The government talks about differences between the number of tests they have capacity for, and those that they're actually able to do.
A slight distinction there, frankly, decide I think despite the fact they haven't met one of their clear goals here for the British population. Increasingly hard, though, for the U.K. to get a handle on how widespread this disease has been because they simply aren't able to work out who has had it and that is a more complicated task but also who has it currently.
So, testing will be very much in the focus today. It's likely that Boris Johnson, the prime minister will give his first appearance at the daily press conference as the U.K. government had been giving. He'll face questions about testing, he'll face questions about this revise toll, which I say it will likely in the days or weeks ahead, make the U.K. the worst affected country in Europe.
By this count alone, and not by the broadest statistical counts of lives lost with COVID-19 put on the desk ticket (Ph) of individuals too, but he will also face questions about the lockdown. We have about a week now, until they are supposed to release a new strategy or continued the current social distancing restrictions put on society here.
The signals being given is that we are not likely to see a week from now a sudden binary lifting back to normality, there will be changes. But Boris Johnson will be under pressure to work at how much of that he can say to people right now, how much of an early signal he'll give people time to prepare to get their businesses potentially back open again, and how much they need to continue to dial warnings to the United Kingdom to make sure people stay indoors.
We are still seeing 700 deaths being reported every day from positive cases. That's a stark number indeed. It fluctuates, but certainly a sign that the I.K. is very much in the tunnel and seeing a light, but it has to be absolutely clear what strategy out is. Rosemary?
CHURCH: Yes. Still shocking numbers, as you say. Nick Paton Walsh reporting there from London. Many thanks.
Well, Sweden has taken a very different approach compared to the U.K, the United States, and even Russia. It has not imposed a strict lockdown, instead, people are advised to keep their distance and take personal responsibility.
Critics, though, have questioned the effectiveness of that approach as Sweden has still recorded more than 20,000 cases and hundreds of deaths.
CNN's Phil Black has our report. 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.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It has been crowded all over. All the bars, restaurants, and so on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACK: You can shop for fashion and beauty products, or even allow a hairdresser to invade your personal space.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
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, 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Aerospace giants have obviously taken a huge hit in this market, because so few people have been traveling. Boeing was already struggling to recover from the 737 Max crisis before all of this happened and now it says it is cutting 16,000 jobs in reducing production because of the coronavirus.
Airbus is also burning through cash and warns of supplies going bust and G.E.'s jet engine business is getting slammed. The virus wiping out nearly a billion dollars of earnings.
Airlines are changing their policies to respect social distancing guidelines. One example, Lufthansa announced all passengers and flight attendants will have to wear masks starting next week. CNN's Pete Muntean, looks at whether these steps are enough to reassure travelers and flight attendants.
PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: A scene too similar to travel before this pandemic, new videos of packed up planes, passengers battled up in Rosen Isles, raising new fears about social distancing when flying and new calls to restrict air travel even further. JetBlue this week became the first airline to require passengers to wear masks. It CEO calls the move the new flying etiquette. United followed suit announcing that it will give passengers masks though not requiring that they be worn.
The leader of the Association of Flight Attendants told CNN there must be an across the board mass requirement and a federal ban on leisure travel by air.
SARA NELSON, INTERNATIONAL PRESIDENT, ASSOCIATION OF FLIGHT ATTENDANTS: We are seeing more and more full flight without policies that really address proper social distancing or required wearing a mask.
MUNTEAN: But the nation's air travels is at virtual halt, nearly half of all commercial jetliners are now parked. The TSA says only 5 percent of passengers are passing through checkpoints compared to a year ago. I set out to see what it was like to fly right now, traveling from Washington D.C. to Atlanta and back.
It's hard to find someone not already wearing a mask.
Airlines are stepping up their use of electrostatic sprayers to disinfect passenger cabins. Airlines are also not booking middle seats. Hoping to keep up social distancing on board. Industry group say the average domestic flight is now carrying 17 passengers up from 10 passengers just over a week ago.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think the people that are traveling are probably healthy, they are not ill or critical or in a bad situation.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody should be wearing a mask
MUNTEAN: The Department of Transportation gave airlines permission to start scaling back service to small city airports. Playmaker Boeing CEO is forecasting a year's long recovery for airlines, even still, the industry is holding out hope that new measures will mean a new normal of flying again.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are hopeful that that will happen.
MUNTEAN: From what I saw, passengers do seem keen on social distancing, not only on, planes but also here in the terminal. Delta and United have both gone away with boarding by zone, instead now boarding by row starting with the back of the plane first.
At Reagan International Airport, Pete Muntean, CNN. (END VIDEOTAPE)
CHURCH: Well, the largest mall owner in the U.S. is planning to reopen dozens of major retail center starting Friday. Simon Property Group says it will reopen 49 malls and outlets across 10 U.S. States, based on current state and local stay-at-home closure orders. And you can see where those malls are and their opening dates on this map.
Well, some shoppers are already back in Dubai with one of the world's largest malls opening its doors again. But the crowds have been sparse after a month long closure. The mall is reopening at 30 percent capacity to start, normally 250,000 people a day visit the center, a total of 83 million last year. The mall features 1,300 retail stores and 200 food outlets.
And CNN's John Defterios is live at that mall in Dubai and joins us now. Good to see you, John. So, what precautions are they taking to ensure that shoppers are safe and are enough customers stepping out?
JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: Well, we have a lot in place already, Rosemary and it's almost eerily quiet here because it's a half hour before the official opening. But this is part of the message here as a soft relaunch if you will with the security measures in place. And during this quiet period before the opening, at midday in Dubai, let's bring in the chairman. He is the man who dreamt up the idea, developed it, and delivered it. It's Mohammed Alabbar, the chairman of Eemar.
MOHAMMED ALABBAR, FOUNDER AND CHAIRMAN, EMAAR PROPERTIES: Thank you, John.
DEFTERIOS: Good to see you.
ALABBAR: Good to see you.
DEFTERIOS: What is the message here? This is interesting because you have come in the first two weeks of Ramadan which you noted is a slower period. But the message of the outside world is where we are rebooting but we are not being overly aggressive.
ALABBAR: Well, we will try to say that, you know, there's so much had been done in the city. The governments have done an amazing job with the lockdown, and intensive testing where, you know, today we are probably at the highest per capital when it comes to statistics in the world. Everybody adheres to the new rules and regulations, I think more importantly, I think also, the government have helped the society learned the new norms. Therefore after more than a month of lockdown, I think also the government would want us to try to come back and try to come back carefully, gradually. And I like that idea especially that it coincides with the first two weeks of Ramadan where this is the slowest time of the year. These are the two slowest weeks of the year.
DEFTERIOS: So, it gives the retailers, the employee's come back, come back in? ALABBAR: It gives us time to try and even though we have done all the
things that we need to do to protect everybody, but I think it's a good trial and a good to go out and give it a try and be able to find tune and adjust as we start in the slow period of time.
DEFTERIOS: Are you talking about a slow period, the International Monetary Fund is suggesting that regions is going to have a recession of about 3 percent, maybe even higher here in the UAE. How do you plan for such radical disruption? This is not the Iran-Iraq war, the Gulf War. The Arab Spring divide benefited from it as a safe haven, this is really out of the box.
ALABBAR: Well, of course, you know, John, that Dubai is a commercial hub and we really depend on businesses from Asia, Russia, you've got Saudi Arabia, and everybody is around it. You've got Africa as well on the other side. Certainly the mix of business that we have people should really look at us that we really -- manly have -- our focus really on the oil and the oil income, specific to the oil income.
Plus the large income we get as contribution from tourism which will also be affected for a while. But I think, you know, the global cities in general are going to go through this new change in adjustment with some cities will adjust better than others and I don't really think that with the size of the city and the policy of the government are more dependent on oil. I think the chance for this city to go back, it will go back, I think it is going to (inaudible), all of us to go back, but I think it would be beneficial.
DEFTERIOS: You talk about going back. Does it take a year to recover? Do you see v-shaped? You collect data from your online businesses, like Noon. And you have all kinds of data coming from Dubai mall here. How long does it take to recover?
ALABBAR: I don't see a v-shaped. In fact, I'm one of the conservative people who look at this and I really believe that for human beings to go back to their lives, you will wait for the vaccine. It's a fact of life. I believe that people -- and what we are doing, John is that we are really trying to tell people that we can't just be scared and sick in our homes.
We have learned beyond that we have done amazing work and now let's try this thing and let's try this thing carefully. And let's check up our (inaudible). Let's be a good example to the world as well. So, I expect that we really have to go gradually moving towards the end of the year. If there is no major outbreak there and then probably, end to the first quarter next year.
DEFTERIOS: When you start to recover?
ALABBAR: Mid next year maybe we are back to normal.
DEFTERIOS: Wow. That's a long period of time. Final question for you. There are concerns here that the summer Olympics in Tokyo will not happen if the pandemic is still alive and with close to follow in October 2021 is the Dubai expo, what is your view? Could it be a rebirth and one way or the other you have to proceed with the expo this time around? Because it was delayed for a year?
ALABBAR: Well, I think I give time looking at the material you read and I read and everyone reads about where this is taking us. I think I'm 100 percent sure that the vaccine will be worse even if it goes back to next year, March, April and I believe that by October we should be all fine to really use expo as a time for a celebration and to unite the world after these dreadful times.
DEFTERIOS: It's nice to see you, I'd shake hands but --
ALABBAR: It's all right, John.
DEFTERIOS: -- that's not on these days. Mohammed Alabbar is the chairman of the Eemar. And you heard here first, he does thinks that the expo should go ahead one way or the other in October 2021. Rosemary, it was delayed from the year before with the delay of the summer games as well. Back to you.
CHURCH: All right. John Defterios, many thanks for that.
Well, Casinos in Las Vegas are also eager to reopen. The CEO of Wynn Resort 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 really like in Las Vegas right now.
KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Las Vegas as we have never seen or heard before. The entire Vegas strip shut down, 100 percent of casino doors closed, tourists gone.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 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. Not here for work. But for free food from the food bank.
MARCELA MERIWEATHER, MGM EMPLOYEE: I never see myself to do this before, I never saw myself to do this before, but what can you do?
LAH: A cancer survivor Marcela Meriweather had a great union job at the MGM Casino just weeks ago.
MERIWEATHER: I said before that I'm not going to go over there, because maybe there is somebody else that somebody needs that and then now I have to do it. I have no got any unemployment.
BRIAN BURTON, PRESIDENT AND CEO, THREE SQUARE FODD 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 from the 2008 financial crisis.
MARILYN KIRKPATRICK, CHAIRWOMAN CLARK COUNTY NEVADA COMMISION: We are 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 Commissions which governs the strips says, key now how casinos reopen.
KIRKPATRICK: I'd rather open slow and methodical, I don't think that anybody wants to close a second time.
LAH: Casinos have begun rolling out reopen plans. The Venetian and Wynn casino say guess will see new cleaning measures like thermal cameras, electrostatic sprayers using hospital great disinfectant and U.V. lights for disinfection. Luxury driver 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.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's scary, you know? It makes you realize, you know, what you use 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 are in front of the Bellagio, those are the iconic fountains that are off because of the economic shut down here in the state. Now, the governor has not indicated when casinos might start again. Though he has indicated the stay-at-home order may be extended a little bit longer. Kyung Lah, CNN, Las Vegas.
CHURCH: Well, in just last few moments, some fresh numbers on one of Europe's biggest economies have been coming into CNN. The French government has released its first quarter GDP numbers, showing its economy shrank by 5.8 percent. That is the worst contraction since the end of World War II, and the second quarterly contraction in a row. The government blamed the covid-19 lockdown for big declines and household spending, company investment and net trade.
We will take a short break here. Still to come, protesters back on the streets in Lebanon and more demonstrations are expected as the central bank defends its handling of the economic crisis. Back in just a moment.
CHURCH: An increasingly desperate situation in Lebanon as people cope with the coronavirus as well as skyrocketing unemployment and soaring inflation. There was a third night of unrest Wednesday and more protests are expected. The Prime Minister is pointing the finger of blame for the economic crisis at the central bank governor. And our Jomana Karadsheh is tracking the developments, she joins us now live. Good to see you, Jomana. So, a lot of finger pointing going on in the midst of this pandemic, and economic crisis. So, who is really to blame here?
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Rosemary, people in Lebanon are just fed up with the situation. You know, they are continuing what they started last year, these protests against the country's political elite, of course and also the economic situation. We have seen these protests continue on Wednesday evening as expected. The heart of these protests is the northern city of Tripoli, Lebanon's second city and it's poorest.
Our team on the ground there saw these protesters taking to the streets, and you know, people say that they are fed up with the situation. You know, it's an economic, financial currency crisis, but it is so real. It is impacting people's lives. People say that they are going hungry, they are struggling to feed their children, to pay their rent.
So, almost the entire population is feeling the impact of this crisis, and people are taking out their anger. These protesters are really taking out their anger, and frustration on the country's banking sector. We have seen these protesters attacking the central bank buildings in different cities and on Wednesday we heard from the long serving governor of the central bank, Riad Salameh, who came out in a rare hour-long televised speech, where he was addressing some of the criticisms and some of the accusations he has faced in recent days, especially from the country's Prime Minister Hassan Diab.
And in this speech he basically -- you know, the accusations he's faced is, you know, that he was accused of intentional ambiguity, lack of transparency and that there was a call by the Prime Minister to audit the central banks. So, you have the governor there defending his performance saying there is no -- there was no wrongdoing by him and that he doesn't take any decisions unilaterally. That this was done in coordination with the government.
And you know, Rosemary, we asked some of the protesters, our team on the ground asked them about that speech, about the response with they are hearing from politicians and what they say is, they could not care less about what their countries officials have to say right now and that they are determined to stay out on the streets.
CHURCH: Yes, it is so frustrating for people who are really in grave need of basic items. Jomana Karadsheh, bringing us the very latest there, I appreciate it. We will take a short break. Back in just a moment. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CHURCH: Well, South Africa's Rugby World Cup winning captain knows what it's like to grow up poor and now Siya Kolisi wants to give back. He's using his foundation to help people affected by the coronavirus pandemic. CNN World Sports Christina MacFarlane has the story.
SIYA KOLISI, SOUTH AFRICAN RUGBY CAPTAIN: It's our first project obviously it's my home. It really means a lot and I've seen the people struggling. My friends are giving me feedback. So we've got a special permit. We're going to come and feed. Make sure this is sorted out.
For me it's personal because I know there is nothing worse than hunger. There's nothing worse than listening to your stomach when you go to bed and you just hear it grumbling and you have nothing to eat and you have no other choice.
CHRISTINA MACFARLANE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: How faithful are you both that the damage that this covid-19 could cause in South Africa?
KOLISI: It could be years. That is what keeps me going and keeps you motivated to work as hard as I can to try and help the frontline workers.
RACHEL KOLISI, CO-FOUNDER, THE KOLISI FOUNDATION: It's so important for him and I know this, because he wants to make sure that he sees that food going into the right people's hands.
MACFARLANE: It feels like a lifetime ago doesn't it, that we were in Japan now, celebrating your historic rugby world cup Wynn. How often have you watched your highlights in that Rugby World Cup final?
R. KOLISI: The whole family sit down, like a couple of weeks ago, when the lockdown kind of started, and we've watched it all over again and got all the goose bumps all over again.
KOLISI: Thank you so much.
When I was playing, you don't see the people and everything that's going on. And you are just in the zone. I mean, our coach's speech before the game, it hit home. I remember everything he said, which that time was just exactly what we needed, you know. He spoke about all the struggles and things that you've experience in your life and how you can use that on the day so you can change the future of the other people coming behind you. I will never forget that feeling.
MACFARLANE: When all of this is over, how good will it feel to be back with them and for the world to have sport again?
KOLISI: That's going to be amazing. We're only going to fight this thing together, and we need to stand united together as humanity. And the sooner we realized that, the better this will be. The sooner we help one another, the better it's going to be.
CHURCH: Great story there, and thank you so much for joining us. I'm Rosemary Church. I will be back in just a moment. Do stay with us.