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Answers to Your Coronavirus Questions; Unemployment Claims Spike; Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is Interviewed about Unemployment and Congress. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired April 30, 2020 - 08:30   ET



DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Getting sick and some even dying. I mean that didn't make sense because what we heard in the beginning, you'll remember, was that it was elderly people primarily with pre-existing conditions, so what was going on here.

In part it could be that those younger people also had pre-existing conditions. But it seemed to be the dose. And we also see that if people have a higher exposure to the virus, they're more likely to get sick, possibly, and also more likely to develop these antibodies or more of these antibodies.

So there's a whole sort of dose relationship here that I think people are still sort of understanding and that goes back a little bit to the masks as well. These masks, these cloth masks, aren't perfect, but you can start to reduce the amount of virus you're putting into the environment, thus reducing people's exposure, the amount of virus that they're going to take into their system.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: OK, Sanjay, thank you very much for all the answers to those questions.

GUPTA: You got it.

CAMEROTA: We are getting some breaking news right now because the numbers are in.

First, I'll tell you two quick programming notes.

Dr. Anthony Fauci and Bill Gates will join Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Anderson Cooper live for this new CNN global town hall "Coronavirus: Facts and Fears." That's tonight, 8:00 p.m.

Also, CNN's Jake Tapper is going to investigate what really happened during the U.S. fight against coronavirus in a CNN special report, "The Pandemic and the President." That will air Sunday night at 10:00 p.m. Eastern.

But, John, get us to our breaking news.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, this is the breaking news. The Labor Department just released new unemployment figures for last week.

CNN chief business correspondent Christine Romans has the details.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Another devastating number, John, 3,839,000 people filed for unemployment benefits for the very first time. That brings the six week total over the past six weeks to about 30 million people out of work.

When you look at the size of the labor market at the -- at the beginning of March, that's 18.6 percent of the American labor market filed for unemployment benefits in just the past six weeks.

This was another devastating number. These numbers are slowing, but, I mean, they're awful, every one of them. And every one of those numbers is a person who has rent to pay or mortgage to pay tomorrow, May 1st, and may still be waiting for their unemployment benefits. It's been very difficult for the states to coordinate just this massive wave of people who have been put out of work by the coronavirus, John.

BERMAN: You bring up a good point.

I also want to bring in CNN anchor and correspondent Julia Chatterley here.

People might look at these figures, 3.8 million, and say, oh, that's less than it was a few weeks ago when 6 million people were filing, Julia. If you had told anyone two months ago that 3.8 million people would file jobless claims in one week, their hair would be on fire. That is an enormous number of people still filing six weeks into this crisis.

JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: I mean we're talking one in five workers in the United States in the space of six weeks now out of a job, furloughed or frightened for the future of their jobs. And, yes, that trend rate is coming down, as you quite rightly mention, John, but it's still millions of people. And the expectation is that there's still going to be millions more, even as we get to the end of this week and we've got states beginning the process of reopening.

We know how complicated that's going to be. We know that workers are frightened, that consumers are still frightened. We don't know what reopening looks like. So I think as much as we're seeing these numbers coming down, expect millions more and expect when you're looking at these numbers, an unemployment rate in the United States that dwarfs anything that we saw in the great recession. We're talking between 16 and 20 percent unemployment. I mean I can say that again and I still won't believe it.

BERMAN: Yes, 30 million people in six weeks. Again, it is almost beyond belief.

Christine Romans, I have a question about going forward. ROMANS: Sure.

BERMAN: As states begin to reopen in some ways, and presumably in some cases people start going back to work, how will that be reflected in the numbers that we see starting next week?

ROMANS: Well, there are some real challenges for people who have lost their jobs here or have been furloughed. I mean, think of it, some people aren't looking for new work right now, they've been furloughed, and at some point they're going to be asked to come back.

But what if they have somebody in the family with a pre-existing condition? What if the kids who are still out of school, what if they fear for their own safety going back to work? They have some really big questions to answer here. And some people, quite frankly, are getting unemployment benefits that might be a little bit better than the pay that they had when they left. They're going to want to take as much time as they can, right, for a safe, working environment to go back to. So I think that we're going to have a kind of a murky situation here going forward as they try to get these people back to work.

You know, in Iowa, John, the governor just recently said that, look, if you're invited to go back to your job and you don't want to go, that's called a voluntary quit. You don't get jobless benefits. So before some people even receive their first unemployment check, they are confronted with this -- this -- this problem about when you're going to go back to work and will you be safe.


BERMAN: Yes, you should not have to be forced to choose between your health and your job. That is a moral equation that people shouldn't have to deal with right now.

Julia, what is the latest on the PPP laws? This next round of money available to small business. Anecdotally, I have heard from some companies that have been able to get their hands on money where they weren't before, but overall I understand it's still rocky.

CHATTERLEY: It's still rocky. For eight hours yesterday, banks that had an asset value of above a billion dollars were told they simply couldn't access the system. I was getting calls and texts from people saying, is that even legal? It's an effort by the Small Business Administration to try and continue to level the playing field here. But Christine and I both know small businesses that went to some of the bigger banks for a desperate lifeline and they are still waiting.

This cuts to the heart of what we're seeing and why we're still going to see, I think millions more people asking for help here because it was tough to achieve and it's failing at this stage. We're not saving the jobs we intended to.

BERMAN: All right, the breaking news just in, 3.8 million more Americans filing for first time jobless claims in the last week. That puts the number over 30 million in six weeks. Julia Chatterley, Christine Romans, thank you very much.

ROMANS: You're welcome.

BERMAN: Big question now is, what will Congress do next to help this growing number of unemployed Americans. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi joins us live, next.



CAMEROTA: Breaking news, more than 30 million Americans have lost their jobs in the last six weeks. The coronavirus pandemic is creating an economic crisis in the U.S.

Joining us now to talk about this and more is House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Good morning, Madam Speaker.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): Good morning.

CAMEROTA: So that was the breaking news that we just had moments ago. And, of course, these are jaw-dropping numbers. I mean 30 million Americans in the past six weeks, 18.6 percent of the U.S. workforce has now filed for unemployment. I mean so that's basically the unemployment rate.

What -- when you hear these numbers, when do you think that those numbers of jobless people will start going down instead of up every week?

PELOSI: Well, if I knew that, it would be a great thing if any of us knew that. But the fact is we have to do everything in our power to make a path for that to happen. I myself think that the path to our re-entering the economy is testing, testing, testing. It all comes back to science and the health and well-being of the American people. So we're talking about people's lives and the jaw-dropping figure of over 60,000 Americans already lost their lives to this -- to the coronavirus. And now we have these numbers, which are only increasing by the week.

Hopefully, if we have -- my -- I believe that we have to have a path that is about testing so that there is confidence for people when certain opportunities open up are there, that they have the confidence that they can join the workforce because other people there have been tested as well. You cannot -- you cannot turn the economy around without the scientific leadership on it.

And, again, testing, testing, testing, contact tracing, isolation, treatment and the rest, so that people will go forward, because God bless the American people. This is about workers and their families. And if you want to go into the workforce and take a risk, and then bring that home to your family, you have to think many times over about that. CAMEROTA: I also want to ask you about states and about the federal

aid, you can call it federal aid, you can call it a bailout, whatever you want, but what the governors say they need. And as you know, a week ago, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell basically suggested his preference for -- to allow some states to go bankrupt over bailing them out.

PELOSI: Yes, well --

CAMEROTA: I mean I'll just quickly -- let me quickly quote him. He said, we're not interested in solving their pension problems for them, we're not interested in rescuing them from bad decisions they've made in the past.

It sounds like he has softened his rhetoric since then. So are states going to get federal money?

PELOSI: Yes, indeed.

Let me just say that what the distinguished leader said was an excuse, not a reason, to do something. Everything we have done in the four bills that we have passed, all of which have been strongly bipartisan, and I'm very proud of that, has been about the coronavirus. It's not about one thing or another, it's about the coronavirus.

So, when we're looking at the states, and municipalities and counties, and the assistance that we give them, we're looking at, what are your outlays for the coronavirus and what is your revenue lost because of the coronavirus? Has nothing to do with anything that went before.

Same thing with the hospitals. It's about what -- what have you spent on the coronavirus, and what have you lost on the coronavirus? All of it that.

So when he says that he references Illinois, all the troubles in Illinois came by a republican governor. So he's making it look like there's some blue state/red state thing here that we're bailing out -- has nothing to do with any other issues of the budget of any state. It only has to do with the coronavirus. And the governors are united, Democrats and Republicans. The mayors are united, Democrats and Republicans. County -- everybody is united in saying in order for us to survive, we need to have these resources, and they will.

CAMEROTA: And how much money will they get? Governors want $500 million.


PELOSI: Billion.

CAMEROTA: Of course, thank you. And so, I mean, I'm -- and I'm talking about the National Governors --

PELOSI: We could do that in a second.

CAMEROTA: Yes, I mean, the m, b, t, I mean we're at -- we're also talking a trillion. But I mean the Governors Association, that's the figure they've used. So what figure are you using?

PELOSI: Well, I'm looking to them for the assessment they have about the expenses that relate to outlays for corona and revenue lost. We're not going to be -- be able to cover all of it. But we'll be able to enable them to have sustainability.

But understand this, that $500 billion, should that be the number, is not for one year. That's more like three years -- over a three-year period. And then same thing with state and local -- excuse me, municipalities and counties. We want to have a separate account for them because many of them don't get -- really get what they need from the state. Sometimes the governors are not inclined to do that. Other times they just fiscally are unable to do it. And so we want to have separate, direct support for townships, even as low as 50,000 and below. And this is a very big change.

But, again, coronavirus revenue lost and we're waiting for their figure. It's approaching 500 billion too (ph). But, again, over a -- at least three, perhaps four years.


PELOSI: But, again, we want it to be based on the numbers and very clearly relate to revenue lost and expenditures made from the virus.

CAMEROTA: Understood. OK. Good to know.

You have set up a coronavirus oversight panel.


CAMEROTA: To figure out how these trillions of dollars will be spent. Your Republican colleagues seem wary of this panel.


CAMEROTA: They think it's a setup of some kind. Impeachment 2.0 some have called it.

Are there any Republicans on the committee? What do you say to them to assuage their fears about this?

PELOSI: Well, the appointments that I made to the committee are, I think, create a chemistry of working in a bipartisan way. Our distinguished chairman, Mr. Clyburn, has a record if his state of South Carolina of doing these oversight kind of activities under Democratic and Republican governors to much acclaim. This is about waste, fraud, abuse, profiteering, price gouging. Where there's money, there's mischief. There's just no question about it.

And, again, as we review all of that, to take us to where you began this conversation, how do we get to a place to open up the economy to, again, save lives, but also save livelihoods as we go forward? I'm very proud of it. It is modeled after something Harry Truman did when he was a senator at the beginning of World War II. He said, World War I, they had 116 committees after the fact, after the war to examine how the money was spent. He said, I think I'd like to have one during the war as we go forward and it will save lives and save money and it did indeed do both.


PELOSI: So it's modeled on -- and that was under a Democratic president at the time. So it wasn't about the administration. It was about, we don't want people that we've -- have examples of people trying to sell masks that they don't have, trying to abscond with the checks of people who are -- need to receive their direct payment.

CAMEROTA: Sure. Corruption. Yes. Understood.


CAMEROTA: OK, Speaker, I also want to ask you about former Vice President Joe Biden and about this allegation that is being made by one of his former Senate staffers. Do you think that it is time for Vice President Biden to address this head on himself?

PELOSI: Well, I have great sympathy for any women who bring forth an allegation. I'm a big, strong supporter of the Me Too movement. I think it's been a great -- made a great contribution to our country.

And I do support Joe Biden. I'm satisfied with how he has responded. I know him. I was proud to endorse him the other -- on Monday. Very proud to endorse him. And so I'm satisfied with that.

CAMEROTA: I mean he hasn't, to be clear, he hasn't addressed it. His campaign has addressed it, but he has not directly addressed it. Should he directly, publicly address it?

PELOSI: You know, it's a matter that he has to deal with. But I am impressed with the people who work for him at the time saying that absolutely never heard one iota of information about this, nobody ever brought forth a claim or had anybody else tell them about such a claim.

But, again, we have an important election at hand. One that is, I think, one of the most important ones that we've had. We say that every election, but I think this one is the most crucial. And I -- I supported him because he's a person of great values, integrity, authenticity, imagination, and connection to the American people.


He understands the kitchen table issues of America's working families. His father lost his job when he was a boy. He knows what that feels like for a family, how they're going to pay their bills, their health bills, education of their children, supporting seniors and their families and the rest. It's just -- he's the personification of hope and optimism for our country. And I was proud to endorse him. America needs a person like Joe Biden with his, again, his integrity and his vision for the future.

CAMEROTA: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, we really appreciate you being here on NEW DAY. Thank you for your time.

PELOSI: Thank you. My pleasure.

And thank you for what you're doing to tell the story of this. That information is so very, very important.

CAMEROTA: Thank you.

PELOSI: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: We'll be right back.



BERMAN: So today is National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day. And many animal shelters across the country are actually empty as people look to shelter in place with a pet.

CNN Hero Sherri Franklin finds homes for senior dogs.


SHERRI FRANKLIN, CNN HERO: When we got the shelter in place order for the Covid-19, we moved 86 dogs into foster homes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good morning, everyone.

FRANKLIN: We are having meet and greets, virtually, so that new adopters can meet their dogs before they actually touch them.


FRANKLIN: It's really has so heartwarming to actually see the first time the new adopter actually gets to meet their dog in person.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Look, that's your forever mama.


FRANKLIN: It's a great time if you've been thinking about adopting a dog. It's nice to be able to wake up and not focus on the bad news.


BERMAN: I love what Sherri is doing. I love those animals. They are the best in show. Those are the dogs that we should be holding up as examples across the country.

So to see the full story on how Sherri and many other heroes are helping in this pandemic, go to

CAMEROTA: I mean do you like the tsunami of social media outrage that you're creating? BERMAN: No, I'm being positive. I -- those dogs are great. Those dogs

are the types of dogs you should welcome into your house. And they're wonderful. And what she's doing is great also. I'm not going to let you drag me down.

CAMEROTA: I feel like you're preaching to the choir. As you may recall, I was ahead of the curve. We got our shelter dog in March.

BERMAN: You are an example to me always and to all of us.

CAMEROTA: Tula has been a wonderful addition to our family. I think I will post some pictures of her on Instagram today.

BERMAN: Fantastic.

CAMEROTA: You're welcome, John.

OK, great to have all of you with us. CNN's coronavirus coverage continues, next.