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California Governor Gavin Newsom Closes California Beaches; New Tests Shows Promising Results of Treating Coronavirus with Remdesivir; President Trump Reportedly Lashes Out at Campaign Manager over Low Polling Numbers; Some Restaurants Struggle to Rehire Workers. Aired 8- 8:30a ET

Aired April 30, 2020 - 08:00   ET


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Los Angeles, it is the first major city to offer a free coronavirus test to any resident who wants one, though there is so much demand already that residents are having a hard time finding a slot.

Overnight, inexplicable the president questioned whether more testing questioned was even necessary. It is. There are now more than 60,000 reported deaths. Basically 61,000 reported deaths in the United States, more than 2,500 recorded yesterday alone. So despite all the happy talk and the talk of success in dealing with this, the number of new deaths is not dropping at all.

This morning, new weekly jobless numbers will likely show 30 million Americans filing for first time claims in the last six weeks. We're going to ask House Speaker Nancy Pelosi what more Congress can do for the millions of now unemployed Americans. She joins us live minutes from now.

First, the states moving to reopen this morning. Ed Lavandera joins us live from Dallas with that. Ed?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John. Well, 31 states across the country will begin the process of partially reopening here in the coming days. But it is a patch work of rules, regulations, standards, guidelines that businesses in the economy have. It is like baby steps, the economy learning to walk again. The question is, will it fall down?


LAVANDERA: After seeing packed beaches in southern California last weekend, Governor Gavin Newsom will announce the closure of all state beaches and parks indefinitely starting Friday, according to a California police chief's association memo sent to CNN. And as California completes its sixth week under stay at home orders, Newsom reminded residents why it is crucial to stay the course.

GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM, (D) CALIFORNIA: What has taken us almost two months to produce in terms of getting stable numbers could be unwound in a period of just a week or two. Why put ourselves in that position? LAVANDERA: It is the last day under stay at home orders here in

Texas. Tomorrow, malls, retail stores, theaters, and restaurants can resume business at 25 percent capacity. Florida's governor is giving the green light to some businesses too. Unless you live in Miami-Dade, Broward, or Palm Beach counties.

GOV. RON DESANTIS, (R) FLORIDA: We do have hope. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. I'll outline the steps that we'll be taking going forward. This new phase will start on Monday, May 4th.

LAVANDERA: But as federal guidelines on social distancing end today, some states like Arizona are extending stay-at-home orders through May 15th, yet allowing retail stores to offer curbside and delivery services starting May 4th.

GOV. GREG DUCEY, (R) ARIZONA: We're going to bring back a small step in terms of revival to main street with a partial reopening to retail.

LAVANDERA: Meantime, despite state leaders saying they need to ramp up testing, President Trump continues to downplay the need for a robust national program.

DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have done incredible with the testing, and you'll see over the next coming weeks. but over the next coming weeks you'll see some astonishing numbers. I don't know that all of that is even necessary.

LAVANDERA: But it is necessary according to members of Trump's Coronavirus Task Force. And many state leaders are evaluating whether it is safe to restart certain sector of the economy.

GOV. JOHN CARNEY, (D) DELAWARE: Every state in the country, frankly, needs testing to be able to double or more than double the testing that we're currently doing to protect people as we reopen our economy in a phased kind of way.

LAVANDERA: Los Angeles is becoming the first major U.S. city to provide free coronavirus testing to all residents with or without symptoms.

MAYOR ERIC GARCETTI, (D) LOS ANGELES: We all know this is a silent killer. It moves quietly through the population. It is still not enough tests as you heard. But it is a great and bold step forward.


LAVANDERA: And just because businesses can reopen doesn't necessarily mean they will, and we're hearing anecdotally many businesses who are concerned and worried about reopening. At this particular location, trinity groves, a popular area of restaurants, businesses here, Alisyn, do plan to launch and relaunch tomorrow.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: OK, good to know. Ed, thank you very much for that report.

Joining us now is CNN's chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Sanjay, great to see you. Let's start with the news about Remdesivir. So are you in the this is very exciting camp, or the let's pump the brakes camp?

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it is exciting. There has been nothing else out there that has done anything for this. So there is not a lot to compare it to. It is not, pick whatever sports metaphor you want, a homerun, knockout punch, or anything like that. It is an existing drug that has not been approved for anything in the past. I've been following the story of Remdesivir since 2014 with Ebola. And there has always been promise around this drug.


Since the beginning of this outbreak, Alisyn, as well, the World Health Organization has been optimistic about Remdesivir, this antiviral, being able to show some effect, but this is the first time we have actually seen the proof of concept, as Dr. Fauci put it, that it can work. When you look at the numbers in terms of what it can do, you're not likely to be blown away by it. I know you've seen these numbers already, we can show them again, but in terms of overall recovery, it did decrease the recovery by 31 percent, from 15 days to 11 days. The mortality rate trended downward. But the reason they say that's not significant is because basically the study is not large enough to say that the difference in mortality between eight percent and 11 percent was because of the medication itself. It could have been other things.

But, yes, I'm not one of these guys who likes to jump up and down about things, I'm a realist. But we haven't had anything that has shown any promise. So for that reason, I think it's exciting.

BERMAN: Dr. Fauci is a realist also, Sanjay. And there is some breaking news this morning. Moments ago, Dr. Fauci suggested that it's possible that there be a vaccine by January. Now, he also noted he's been saying all along, it can take a year to 18 months, and he was saying starting in January, so he said, if it is January, 2021, that's not far off from what I originally said. But January, 2021, would be very, very soon, and he at least allowed for the possibility, given where we are maybe with the Pfizer trials or with Oxford that something could happen by January.

GUPTA: Yes. He has been striking more optimistic tones the last few days. There is no question. This is an accelerated timetable, I think, by all accounts, because I think 12 to 18 months I think is what people have been saying. And that's also to make sure that we can manufacture enough of this vaccine as well.

I think what Dr. Fauci is saying is when you start to see -- if you start to see signals that this is effective, and you start to see some -- what they call efficacy signals in the population early on, definitely seems to be causing a decline in infection rates among certain groups of people versus a group of people who are not receiving the vaccine, then you go ahead and you start manufacturing at that point, I think it is what Dr. Fauci is saying. If you wait for all the results to come in, the manufacturing process, which can take a while, will end up being the rate limiting step here. So he's basically said, he said this before, that if we start seeing

those signals, just go ahead and start making it. It may be that it doesn't work and it may be that you lose all that manufacturing, the money that you spent on that. But unless you do that, you're going to get so far behind that it is not going to have the impact that you would want. So still optimistic, I think. But we'll see what happens.

CAMEROTA: I feel like Dr. Fauci has been more optimistic ever since the Brad Pitt thing. Am I right?


GUPTA: That was your idea, wasn't it? Wasn't that your idea?

CAMEROTA: I wasn't going to bring that up, Sanjay, but thank you for mentioning that.

OK, let's talk about what's happening in L.A. because I need you to help explain this. So Mayor Garcetti has announced that anyone who wants COVID-19 tests in L.A. county can get a free test. How are they able to administer that amount of tests? How do they have the swabs when it is so hard -- it has been so hard for other states to do this.

GUPTA: I'm not sure they're going to be able to keep up. I think there may be a lot of demand for these tests. A lot of people are curious, do they have it, do they want to start having that psychological confidence. So I think they may have a hard time starting to keep up with the demand there.

I also think that until we have widespread testing, we probably do need to be a bit more strategic. I'm not saying they should cost anything, I'm just saying be more strategic in terms of who should be getting the tests, at least initially. I think the idea that there are still high risk populations, not necessarily populations that have symptoms, but just high risk populations, people who live in nursing homes, people who live in areas of housing where they simply cannot maintain physical distance with other people, I think that those should be prioritized in some way. But I do think the idea of whatever strategy you use making it more widely available is going to be the key to reopening, as we have always said. So it's a strategy, it's a good start.

BERMAN: Yes, it's free, which means people might be more likely to go try and get tested right now. It is so jammed with requests that you can't get an appointment on the website. But they will try to get there, and that's important.

Sanjay, some more news out of California. CNN reported overnight that today we expect the California governor, Gavin Newsom, to declare all beaches closed in the state as of tomorrow. Why? It was these pictures.


And I know the pictures drive you crazy, Sanjay, of people over the weekend who crowded the beaches, clearly not social distancing there. So the governor is going to close them. That's hard, though, obviously on people who want to be outside, particularly as it gets hotter out there.

GUPTA: Yes. These are tough choices, I can imagine. But that's the right choice. John, we have been talking about this for months. This is a serious virus, and it is a contagious virus, and I know that people want to be outside, pardon me, and they're still looking for the loopholes in order to allow them to get outside and do that. But that's not the way we should be approaching it, to say, OK, here it says I can absolutely do this, and therefore I'm going to go ahead and do it.

We're all in this together. We've said that so many times, it is not a euphemism. If people choose to do these things, they're taking a risk, and the risk they're taking is not just for themselves, it is for everybody else. They could contain that virus, harbor that virus in their body, and then spread it. Everyone knows that at this point. They touch surfaces that other people may touch, one bathroom, whatever it may be. It is just very hard to stay as safe as we need to stay right now by engaging in the images we just saw there.

CAMEROTA: OK, Sanjay, thank you very much for all the info as always.

So CNN has learned that President Trump erupted in a phone call with his campaign manager. The president is reportedly fuming over his sliding poll numbers and growing criticism of his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

So CNN's Jeremy Diamond first broke this story, he joins us live from Washington. What did you learn, Jeremy?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: That's right, Alisyn. President over the last week has grown increasingly unnerved by his reelection prospects. Three sources familiar with the matter telling me that on Friday evening the president's frustrations and concerns about his 2020 reelection prospects boiled over in a conversation with his campaign manager, Brad Parscale. I'm told the president berated Parscale for his own slide in the polls and even threatened to sue him at one point. It is not exactly clear what the president would sue his campaign manager over or how serious the president was about that threat.

But, again, it just underscores the extent to which the president's state of mind, really, about the 2020 campaign. Beyond that, of course, we know that it came at a time when the president was facing a ton of criticism for his comments last week about ingesting disinfectant in order to cure the coronavirus, something that, of course, is not true and even dangerous. One source close to the White House telling me that the president knew that he had messed up at those briefings and was lashing out.

CAMEROTA: So is he upset about the polls that we all see from time to time, or is this internal polling?

DIAMOND: Well, two days before the president's outburst at his campaign manager, Alisyn, I'm told that the president was briefed on internal RNC and Trump campaign polling, that showed him heading for defeat, really, in some of these key battleground states. It also showed that the president's briefings were really rubbing swing voters the wrong way, the combative presence, the comments, sometimes outlandish comments that he has made at those briefings.

But keep in mind, those internal polls really reflect what we're seeing in the public polling, in some of these battleground states, like Michigan, like Pennsylvania, where the president is trailing the former vice president by a significant amount.

Now what we have seen from the president not only in private as he's talking to his aides, but even publicly in an interview with Reuters yesterday and on Twitter this morning, the president saying I don't believe the polls. And that has been, of course, a consistent theme for the president is whenever the polls show something he doesn't want to see, he doesn't believe them. But, of course if the polls show he's leading in a state, you'll bet he's going to be touting it.

CAMEROTA: So now we hear that he will be going out, because he wants to get back to doing big rallies, and so obviously that may affect his poll numbers, who knows? Thank you very much for all of the reporting, Jeremy, and sharing it with us.

So coming up in just moments, we have House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. She is going to join us to talk about the government's response to the pandemic as well as the jobs numbers.

Some businesses in Texas will reopen tomorrow. A longtime health official there talks about how to move forward safely. What the plan is, next.



ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We are standing by for the latest unemployment numbers. With many businesses reopening, some restaurants across the country are struggling to rehire their workers, some of whom might make more money being unemployed.

CNN's Vanessa Yurkevich explains this.


KURT HUFFMAN, OWNER, CHEFSTABLE GROUP: It's a surreal experience to try to create something with somebody and just feel incredibly powerful to have to shut it all down.

VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN BUSINESS & POLITICS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's been over a month since Kurt Huffman closed 20 of his restaurants, furloughing 700 employees.

HUFFMAN: I apologize.

YURKEVICH: His emotions still raw.

HUFFMAN: Clearly, it's still -- it's still weighing on me a lot.

YURVEVICH: COVID-19 wreaking havoc on businesses and employees, tens of millions of Americans already filed for unemployment, millions more are expected. But as some states reopen, businesses are starting to rehire.

HUFFMAN: Once the $600 federal money started arriving, we noticed it was almost impossible to get people to come back to work.

YURKEVICH: The federal stimulus gives unemployed workers an extra $600 a week through July. Unemployment now pays equal to or more than average weekly wages in 38 states, including Oregon where Huffman owns restaurants.

HUFFMAN: Our employees are confronted with the decision which is do I want to go back into work, an environment I'm not exactly positive is safe because there's no testing available, and make less money? So the obvious answer is no way. Why would you do that? I wouldn't do that if I was them.

HEIDI SHIERHOLZ, SENIOR ECONOMIST, ECONOMIC POLICY INSTITUTE: Lots of low wage workers, front line workers who lost their jobs quickly due to social distancing measures, in some cases, those workers can earn more on unemployment than they were in their old jobs which does just highlight, we had a wage problem in these jobs before this crisis ever happened.

YURKEVICH: In Minnesota, Christian Ochsendorf owns five Dunn Brothers Coffee shops.


Revenue is down 85 percent and he furloughed 46 of his 60 employees. But slowly, he's coming back online.

CHRISTIAN OCHSENDORF, FRANCHISE OWNER, DUNN BROTHERS COFFEE: We have been trying to bring people back on, especially our key employees, because it costs us about $3,500 per employee to train them.

YURKEVICH: But employees face new challenges beyond health concerns. Like home schooling kids or taking care of loved ones. And with limited and uncertain work hours to offer, Ochsendorf says rehiring has been more challenging.

OCHSENDORF: That would be like any other employer that's paying more in wages, where would that employee go, you know? They're going to do what's best for their family.

YURKEVICH: Minnesota plans to lift its stay at home order next week, while Oregon continues to evaluate.

(on camera): Do you expect even if your restaurants may be able to open at a greater capacity that you'll still have trouble bringing people back?

HUFFMAN: It's like do I want to reopen in a context where I have to ask my employees to come back to work and take a pay cut? I don't think it is fair to ask people to come back when there's no testing available.


YURKEVICH: Several states, including Iowa and Texas, are warning some employees that if they refuse to take their old jobs back that they will be cut off from unemployment. But, Alisyn, the question is how many hours can restaurant owners and small businesses really afford to offer employees at this point. Several states are not lifting their stay at home orders, so restaurants don't even have that opportunity to reopen.

And so, that is why, Alisyn, we're going to continue to see the millions of Americans applying for unemployment, just a short time, we're going to get a new set of numbers from the Department of Labor and it is looking like that number is going to continue, Alisyn, to be in the millions.

CAMEROTA: My gosh, such a great point, Vanessa. There is no playbook for how employers are supposed to do this and it is this pandemic, thank you very much.

As Vanessa said, we'll bring you the latest unemployment numbers in just a few minutes and we'll discuss the plan for America's economy, coming up.



JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, a lot of new questions about coronavirus this morning, and our chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta back to answer some of them.

All right, Sanjay, here we go.

This comes from Karen Frey from Missouri.

Since coronavirus is now affecting meat processing plants -- and it really is, there is a tremendous amount of suffering going on there -- could this have been transmitted from the unknowing ill meat processor handling the food to the meat itself?

So transmitting from one worker to another on the meat.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: That is unlikely. It is possible, but unlikely. Most likely the way that these workers got sick, and so many of them did get the infection, was probably through these respiratory droplets touching a surface. Someone else touching that same surface, and then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. Was that surface the meat? Perhaps. But that would be less likely.

And also keep in mind, I think most people probably know this by now, that the virus itself, if it is in your food, and then you eat that food, that's not the way you're going to get this virus. This is not a foodborne illness.

So these processing plants, we look at these images, it is hard for people to maintain physical distance and also, you know, the distance and the duration, sometimes people are in proximity for hours on end, that seems to be a factor as well.

CAMEROTA: OK, this comes from a viewer in California, Huy Vu, I hope I'm pronouncing it right.

If a person wears a mask to protect others, then is everyone -- then is everyone protected when everyone wears a mask? As such, isn't it sensible to suggest that mandatory mask wearing is the simplest and cheapest way to prevent another full blown outbreak?

GUPTA: Yes, I mean, there is places around the country that are now mandating these masks. I think based on this very rational. I mean, I think it is important to remember how does this virus sort of likely transmit? It does seem to be primarily through respiratory droplets. So that is where the six feet or two meters sort of comes from. It's unlikely for droplets to be spread through normal breathing, talking, more than that.

If you are coughing, sneezing, they can be spread more than that, but hopefully, everybody knows if you have those sorts of symptoms, you should certainly be staying home. You should not be out and about.

So, yes, you know, I think this is going to be a discussion point that keeps coming up. As you know there is places around the world that have mandated masks. They have mandated masks in Wuhan, for example, as they were starting to get into this outbreak. So there is probably real value in it, especially in situations where you're not sure you can maintain physical distance.

If you're outside, and there is no one else around, I don't think you need to wear a mask. If you're in your car with a windows rolled up, you don't need to be wearing a mask. In situations where you can't maintain the physical distance, you should have one to protect others around you.

But I think also to let people know you're serious about this. That you're not being cavalier and you can put the mask on if you're going to end up in one of those situations.

BERMAN: All right, Sanjay, this question from John Berman. By that, I mean me.

It has to do with density. If you look at the United States, obviously New York City and the surrounding areas had the highest number of cases.


BERMAN: Spread a lot further here. There are more people, they're living closer together. But there is also some indication or some question about whether people are actually getting sicker here as well from coronavirus. And there are some people suggesting it has to do with density and viral load. You get more of the virus.

What does that mean?

GUPTA: Yes, I think that it's -- when you think about the dose in this case, the dose being the virus, does it correlate with, you know, the severity of illness. I think there is pretty good evidence now, John, of that. I mean, we started to get an indication, we were following this in China, trying to understand why younger healthcare workers were getting sick and some even dying.

I mean, that didn't make sense because what we heard in the beginning, remember, was that it was elderly people, primarily with pre-existing conditions.