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California to Close Beaches as Florida Gears up to Reopen; Some Businesses Reopen but with Extra Cautions; Georgia Nail Salon Reopens, but Getting Few Customers; U.K. Revises Death Toll, Now at More Than 26,000; Oxford University Says Vaccine Trials Results Possibly Ready by Mid-June; Captain Tom Moore Honored with Military Flyover. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired April 30, 2020 - 04:30   ET



ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Well, states on opposite coasts of the U.S. are taking opposite approaches to fight the coronavirus. In California, the governor is planning to close all state beaches and parks beginning Friday after people rushed to the beaches last weekend, and Los Angeles mayor is even offering free virus testing for residents.


ERIC GARCETTI, LOS ANGELES MAYOR: So if you think you might have COVID-19, want the reassurance that you don't, you've been around people that you have seen with symptoms, get a test. We can do it. And I want to remind everybody. These tests are free for the public. No cost at all to you. But you can't put a price on the peace of mind of knowing that you can't infect someone around you.


CHURCH: Meanwhile, Florida is set to reopen some businesses in most of the state Monday. Restaurants and retail spaces can open their doors with limited capacity. But a "Tampa Bay Times" investigation found the Florida Department of Health intervened to keep a tally of coronavirus deaths from being publicly released. Despite that investigation, here is what Florida's governor had to say.


RON DESANTIS, FLORIDA GOVERNOR: Facts should be comforting. We've done much better than everybody said we would do and we're going to continue to apply fact-based, data-driven approach to the problems that are before us. Saying Florida was going to be like New York was wrong and people need to know it was wrong.


CHURCH: So which approach is correct? CNN's Tom Foreman takes a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Two coastal states, both drawing oceans of travelers' home to massive populations and wildly different in their approaches to containing COVID-19. In California, the earliest reports of the virus spurred the first stay at home order in the nation on March 19th.

BARBARA FERRER, LOS ANGELES COUNTY PUBLIC HEALTH DIRECTOR: If you are presumed to be positive or you're waiting for a test result, you need to immediately notify your close contacts so that they can begin to quarantine themselves.

FOREMAN: The most populous state clamped down on restaurants, public event and spaces. The result, a surprisingly low 48,000 cases in a recent assessment. About 1,900 deaths and plans to relax restrictions.

GAVIN NEWSOM, CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR: We believe we are weeks, not months, away from making meaningful modifications.

FOREMAN: Florida took a different path. The third most populous state did not push residents to stay home until April and did not move to shut down huge spring break crowds on beaches. With so many older medically vulnerable citizens epidemiologists feared a huge outbreak, but the current count again, an unexpectedly low 33,000 cases, approximately 1,200 fatalities. And parts of Florida, too, are poised to reopen.

DESANTIS: We're making progress. You know, we need to continue to put people back to work.

FOREMAN: Both of those states have fared better per capita than much smaller Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Jersey. Which racked up considerably higher, horrific infection numbers. And topping them all --

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR, CNN TONIGHT: New York state is now the epicenter.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In New York, the death toll reached a new high.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: New York remains the U.S. epicenter.

FOREMAN: With almost 300,000 cases and more than 23,000 deaths, New York is by far the hardest hit state, in raw numbers and person for person. Why is the northeast home to more than half of U.S. COVID-19 deaths? While the region quickly followed California's lead with stay at home orders, there is some evidence compliance may have been less robust adding the population density of major northeast cities and the fact that no part of the country relies more on crowded public transit and that may have been the true formula for disaster.

(on camera): All of this is largely speculation at this point, but that's why epidemiologists want hospitals to keep as many details as they can about who shows up, where they've been, who they had contact with so they can recreate a viral map of COVID-19's deadly travels.

Tom foreman, CNN, Bethesda, Maryland. (END VIDEOTAPE)

CHURCH: Well there is a lot of risk in deciding to reopen a business in the middle of a pandemic, even if customers are willing to come back, they'll find it's a much different experience than before. CNN's Brian Todd explains.



BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At a waffle house in Atlanta, they've got red tape across some booths where it's no go. Some of the stools are marked off limits and the cooks and servers are all wearing masks. An X on the floor marks a spaced waiting area. At the Federal American Grill in Houston, the owner's ticking through a similar checklist.

MATT BRICE, OWNER-OPERATOR, FEDERAL AMERICAN GRILL: Disposable menus, masks, gloves. We have different color linens on our tables. So if it has a black linen on it right now, then we're not seating it. And then if it has a white linen on it, we're seating it.

TODD: Across the U.S., thousands of businesses are drawing up and taking through extensive, sometimes exhaustive checklists for reopening. Some have done it on their own. Others are being told by local officials, if you want to reopen, these are the things you'll have to do every day.

MIKE DUGGAN, DETROIT, MICHIGAN MAYOR: You'll test your employees first to make sure they are negative. You will do temperature checks every day as they come into work. You will wear masks in the workplace. That's the way it's going to be for a while.

TODD: At airports where concourses are empty, planes are parked idol, and pilots get packets with wipes and masks. Some airlines will now leave all middle seats unoccupied and offer masks for every passenger. JetBlue is making masks mandatory for all passenger. Restaurants represent multi-faceted challenges.

DR. JAMES PHILLIPS, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL: There is going to be spacing out between the tables and reduced occupancy within the restaurants, as well as shielding of the workers from the food. They may be requirements that you wash your hands immediately upon entering the restaurant.

TODD: Possibly hand sanitizer at every table. Plexiglass barriers for cashiers already seen at many stores, could be part of each managers checklist for reopening. Or even plexiglass between people at tables. Look for more businesses to go cashless.

For offices, items on the checklist include more spacing between employees. Staggered shifts when possible. Managers in the U.S. could tap into the creativity shown in other countries. Vending machines in subways in Germany and streets in France sell masks. Police in China are even testing helmets with built-in temperature scanners. And one public health expert says, restaurants in Hong Kong he went to in January, even had how-to social sessions for customers.

GAVIN MACGREGOR-SKINNER, GLOBAL BIORISK ADVISORY COUNCIL: Every time I went into a restaurant, they would take my temperature for me. When I sat down, they would explain, here's the knife, fork and spoon that's used to pick up the food. This is the separate knife, fork and spoon that's going to be used to put the food in your mouth.

TODD (on camera): Experts say businesses and local governments have to factor in a significant potential problem with planning on some of these measures. Already things like thermometers, hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes and masks are tough to get. And if restaurants and other businesses have to do things like put hand sanitizer at every station or table, that's going to create much more of a crush on the supply chain. So businesses have to figure that out with their local governments.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


CHURCH: So let's talk now with Jenna Cao, owner of a nail salon in Alpharetta, Georgia. Who has reopened her business. Thank you so much for talking with us.

JENNA CAO, OWNER, CHATEAU DE NAILS: Thank you for having me. It's a pleasure.

CHURCH: So George's governor announced last week that nail and hair salons along with other close proximity businesses could open Friday. And you complied so how many clients came?

CAO: Well, to be honest, not that many clients came. My phone did blow up when Governor Kemp said that we could open on that Friday. We were booked for maybe three days and then after that, I mean, everybody is scared. They're still not coming in. I tried to reach out to my clients to retain them and let them know that we're here, we're open. But all of them have told me that, you know what, I just -- it's just too risky right now and I decided to take a break and when this is all over, I'll be back in.

CHURCH: And why did you feel that you had to reopen your business at this time?

CAO: It's just very unsettling everything that we're going through. As a small business I had to open because, you know, needing to maintain my business and support my family and being able to provide for my employees. And it's just been horrendous because I've applied for a couple of the SBA loans and still no help. I mean, we're still waiting to hear, you know, how this is all going to turn out and how they're going to help us.

CHURCH: No help at all?

CAO: Still waiting. It's in process right now, that's what they're saying. CHURCH: And why do you think the governor chose these close proximity

businesses to have opened first and would you have preferred that he waited a little bit?

CAO: Absolutely. Like I said, it's just a very fearful time. And I did prefer him to wait. But at the same time, I don't know what the right thing is to do.


Because I have to, you know, make sure that the business doesn't die out or I lose my business completely because we don't know how long this is going to last.

CHURCH: And of course the other side of this is the safety. What sort of safety measures do you put in place? And how worried are you that you or your employees might get sick?

CAO: Oh, we're very scared. We, you know, all have families at home. I have two young girls at home. What we're doing now inside my business is before you come in, you call and make an appointment and I screen everyone on the phone. I ask them if they have traveled recently or if they've been sick or come in contact with anyone who is sick. And if they are, then we will not accept them at this time.

And also, you know, upon entering they have to wash their hands for 20 seconds. I require everyone to wear a mask as well as myself we're wearing face shields, masks, gloves. Sanitizing everything down as soon as the clients get up and leave and before they sit down. So you know, we're doing everything we can just not to, you know, contract the virus ourselves as well as exposing our self to be able to provide the services we need to make a living.

CHURCH: And of course, you know, you mentioned that people were booked for the first few days. But you are not seeing people come in now. But you bought the thermometers. You bought all of the screens. You bought all of the cleaning fluids. How long do you think you can keep going like this? And how will you pay the bills?

CAO: I have no idea. I'm just taking this one day at a time hoping that the loan will kick in some time soon. I got an advance, an advance on the -- what is it -- the economic injury disaster loan but, again, I mean, I really need the loan to help, you know, satisfy my landlord so that that they can satisfy their mortgage company and, you know, we can pay my employees and just stay in business.

CHURCH: Right. And so, for you right now, you will keep all of your employees, presumably, with the hope that this small business loan comes through in full?

CAO: Yes.

CHURCH: Right, well, we wish you the very best. It is a difficult situation for all these small businesses, and particularly these close proximity businesses. We wish you well for the future.

CAO: Oh, thank you so much.

CHURCH: Well, as many as 60 bodies have been found in trucks outside a New York funeral home. Police were alerted after someone reported fluids dripping from the truck, some of them unrefrigerated. The funeral home ran out of room for bodies waiting for cremation and stored them in the trucks. Authorities moved the bodies into a refrigerated truck provided by the state. And we'll be right back.



CHURCH: Well, the United Kingdom has revised its coronavirus death toll. Patients who have died outside hospitals are now included. The new criteria brought Britain's death toll to more than 26,000 people making it Europe's second highest toll. This as the country is about to miss its 100,000-testing target today. And CNN's Nick Paton Walsh is in London. There's a lot to cover there , but, Nick, I do want to talk to you first about this positive news we're hearing from Oxford University's vaccine trials. What are you learning about that?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I mean, nice to talk about something that isn't deeply negative, particularly here in the United Kingdom. But Oxford University, who are working at a great pace here to get a vaccine ready along with AstraZeneca, the drug company, say that they have had some positive news. They now have several hundred people who they have vaccinated they say, or at least put the vaccine into. And now they're just trying to work through in trials to see how effective that has been. They hope, they say, to have results by mid-June.

Now that, of course, will require further regulation, further testing. You know, the big problem with vaccines is no matter how effective they are, you don't know long term what the impact potential of them might be. But certainly, this is a top end university working with the government to some degree and now a major drug manufacturer who say they will step in to assess with the manufacturing capabilities that the company and the University would have in getting this out in the massive scale required. Important, too, the Universities say they and the drug company will do this at cost, not for profit, because of the scale of the emergency -- Rosemary.

CHURCH: Yes, I also wanted to talk about testing. Because as we just mentioned, of course it's been a problem all over the world getting enough testing out there for people but understand that the U.K. has missed its target. What's going on there?

WALSH: Yes, likely to miss its target. Prime Minister Boris Johnson will face questions personally at a daily press conference today for the first time since he recovered from the virus. And there will be two key numbers there. Both really, which relate to testing.

The first, the U.K. government's decision to change how they count the dead here. It's always been people who have tested positive in hospital to form part of the chilling daily toll. That went down a bit and now it's gone back to an uncomfortable 700 number. Clearly too high for the government to feel comfortable. But they adjusted that now up to 26,000 yesterday to include anybody who's died with a positive test across the country.

That's still misses out people who've not been tested and that's the vast preponderance of the British population. Because tests are incredibly hard to come by here. The government had launched this extraordinarily ambitious goal -- well, by their standards -- to get 100,000 tests done every day, by today. They have failed to do that so far. And that is unfortunate given it's one of their main key public promises. They are short they say by tens of thousands, possibly. This is a time like between what they are capable of doing and what they do on a daily basis. But it's another key challenge for the U.K. because they simply don't know how many people have it. And without greater transparency or visibility over something like that, it's very hard to make informed decisions about when you can start to ease the lockdown.

That next key decision point May the 7th. Just over a week away now. So a lot of tough thinking to be done. The good news of the vaccine, yes, certainly there for mid-June. Great to verify ability but big problems with numbers here in the U.K. And the sad fact, the 26,000 dead so far is not the full number. We may see more and also too, in the weeks ahead we may overtake Italy as the highest death toll in Europe -- Rosemary.


CHURCH: Yes, the U.K. like the United States any of the countries in a particularly great spot right now. Nick Paton Walsh joining us live from London. Many thanks.

Well, after more than seven weeks under strict lockdown, the Italian region of Calabria is easing restrictions. Starting Thursday, businesses like bars, bakeries and pizzerias where tables can be out in the open will be allowed to serve customers.

Meanwhile, Spain says facemasks will not be mandatory when the country begins its new normal though they are recommended. The government says the number of daily recoveries from coronavirus now outweighs new infections by nearly three to one. Spain will soon start reopening its economy which will happen in four phases.

And you are watching CNN NEWSROOM. Still to come, many happy returns and a new honor for a national hero as thousands wish fundraising veteran Tom Moore a happy 100th birthday. Back in just a moment.



CHURCH: A birthday celebration fit for a true hero. Those are British military jets flying over Captain Tom Moore's home in the U.K. to mark his 100th birthday. The World War II veteran captured the world's heart after raising more than $37 million for the U.K.'s National Health Service. And perhaps I should say Colonel Tom Moore. To celebrate his fundraising achievements, Moore is being promoted to honorary colonel. He has also been represented his World War II defense medal, which he had lost. But as CNN's Anna Stewart reports, that's only a small part of his birthday celebrations.


ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): Tens of thousands of cards filled a school hall. And a makeshift sorting office near the home of someone very special. The message is simple and heart felt --


You're our hero.

STEWART: War veteran, Captain Tom Moore, captured the world's heart when he walked 100 laps of his garden ahead of his 100th birthday raising tens of millions of pounds for NHS charities. And since crossing that finish line --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Congratulations.

STEWART: -- he's been nonstop opening a Nightingale Hospital in northern England. Appearing on numerous TV shows.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Seem to have more energy than I do.

TOM MOORE, RAISED MONEY FOR NHS: I've enjoyed every minute of it.

STEWART: He's even had a train named after him and recently he is the oldest person to ever hit number one in the record charts.

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP, SINGING: And you're never walk alone.

STEWART: In honor of his birthday, the "British Royal Mail" are marking every letter sent in the U.K. with a special postmark. Of course, this week thousands of those letters are destined for him. Happy birthday, Captain Tom.

Anna Stewart, CNN, London.


CHURCH: Isn't he marvelous.

And thanks for your company. Stay safe. Stay strong. I'm Rosemary Church. CNN NEWSROOM continues next with Robyn Curnow.