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Stay-at-Home Rules End in 7 States as U.S. Starts to Reopen; Protestors in Michigan Call for Reopening; British P.M. Urges public to Stick to Restrictions; Sources: U.S. Drawing Up Plans to Punish China for Coronavirus; Ohio Extends Stay-at-Home Order as Businesses Push to Reopen; Bill Gates: Best-Case Scenario is Vaccine Next Year; Lebanon's Economic Freefall Fueling Protests; Hong Kong Leader Warns Against Protests as Pandemic Slows; South Korea Has Become Model of COVID-19 Containment. Aired 12-1a ET
Aired May 1, 2020 - 00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Hello. Welcome to our viewers joining us from around the world. I'm John Vause. Coming up this hour on CNN NEWSROOM.
Brave new world. As hundreds of millions of people slowly emerge from a lockdown, life as we once knew it is now a socially distant memory. The British prime minister declares the outbreak has peaked. Details to come on reopening the country.
And without proof and with a credibility problem, the U.S. president accuses China of, either by choice or by neglect, for the spread of the coronavirus worldwide.
It seems the dawn of the new normal is with us. Governments from Europe to Asia to North America are easing restrictions on stay-at- home orders, slowly lifting lockdowns.
But in a world still gripped by a pandemic, life from this point will be very different from how it was just weeks ago, when billions of people were ordered to stay inside.
In the U.S., stay-at-home orders will end on Friday for seven states. And in the days to follow, at least another 31 states will begin phased reopenings.
For weeks now, the U.S. economy has stalled. Unemployment has soared to levels not seen since the Great Depression. Just last week, nearly four million Americans filed new jobless claims. Total claims since this crisis began in mid-March now 30 million.
Later on Friday, Donald Trump will leave Washington for the first time in more than a month, spending the weekend at Camp David. And despite the U.S. accounting for a third of all cases worldwide, a quarter of the death toll, the president is pleased with his administration's response.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think when you ask, how did we do, and I have to say it, because the news is so fake and so corrupt. I think we did a spectacular job. The federal government has done a spectacular job.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson says the outbreak has peaked and will announce plans next week for restarting the country's economy.
In Germany, playgrounds and museums will soon be allowed to reopen. Worshippers will be allowed to attend religious services. But Chancellor Angela Merkel gave no details on plans for rebooting the biggest economy in Europe.
And in Spain, which implemented one of the toughest lockdowns in Europe, starting Saturday, outdoor exercise will be allowed but limited mostly to one kilometers of walking each day.
For a small minority in the U.S., these lockdown orders have been seen as a direct violation of their constitutional rights. On Thursday, hundreds of protesters, some heavily armed, gathered on the steps of Michigan's state capital as lawmakers debated the governor's request for an extension to emergency powers which she says are needed to combat the coronavirus.
The protesters seemed to be a mix of anti-government militias and supporters of Donald Trump.
The governor of Michigan admits her lockdown order is the toughest in the country but only out of necessity.
Elsewhere across the U.S., state governors are now deciding how soon, how, fast and what will be given the go ahead to reopen. Here's CNN's Nick Watt.
NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): More than 30 million Americans have now lost their jobs during this unprecedented national shutdown. Pain and frustration rising.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Open Texas now. Open Texas now.
WATT: By this weekend, more than half of our states will have started to reopen, with restrictions.
In Texas, the COVID case count isn't falling. Still, restaurants and retail can reopen tomorrow at 25 percent capacity.
JULIAN RODARTE, CO-OWNER, BETO AND SON: We're not going to make anything here. It's just for the staff to be able to keep providing for their families on the day-to-day.
WATT: Tomorrow, you'll be able to get a legal haircut again in Wyoming. In Utah, from midnight Friday, bars and restaurants can open. In Oklahoma, bars will stay closed, but gyms and movie theaters can open.
On the flip side, Louisiana just extended stay home through May 15. Ohio extended, no end date given. Boston extended its curfew through May 18.
Now, the federal social distancing guidelines were issued 45 days ago, advice that expires today. And, now it's up to each governor to figure out reopening.
MIKE PENCE (R), VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And the new guidance that we've issued is guidance for how they can do that safely and responsibly.
WATT: A draft of possible new CDC guidelines for businesses and institutions calls for stationary collection boxes in church; in restaurants, disposable menus, plenty sneeze guards, no salad bars; and in schools, desks six feet apart.
Hard-hit New Jersey is taking it slow. First to open, among other things, golf courses. But one per cart and stay apart.
GOV. PHIL MURPHY (D-NJ): We said, You know what? Let's -- let's open them up this weekend. But let's make sure everybody plays ball. So this is a real test case for us.
WATT: Here in California, Orange County beaches opened last weekend, but the crowds packed too tight. So?
GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): We're going to do a hard close in that part of the state, just in the Orange County area.
WATT: This Vacaville barber plans to defy the state's continued stay- at-home order.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to defy it all the way to the end.
WATT: In Iowa, a gradual reopening, but only in counties with low case growth, and a nod to our grim new reality.
COVID-19 isn't going anywhere anytime soon. The virus will continue to be in our communities, and unfortunately, people will still get sick until a vaccine is available.
WATT: Now, we're told one might be ready in January. The White House now calling this Operation Warp Speed. They'll start manufacturing while it's still in trials.
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Assuming it's going to work, and if it does, then you can scale up and, hopefully, get to that timeline.
WATT: And a therapeutic, Remdesivir, that antiviral showing some promise, still needs FDA emergency approval.
FAUCI: They have not made a final decision yet. They have not announced it. But I would project that we're going to be seeing that reasonably soon.
WATT (on camera): Testing will also be key. And here in Pasadena, California, they are testing anybody with an appointment, whether you have symptoms or you don't. And that is going to be key moving forward. It's available here in California, but some other places, it is not.
Nick Watt, CNN, Pasadena.
VAUSE: Dr. Armand Dorian is chief medical officer at the University of Southern California, Verdugo Hills Hospital in Los Angeles. And it is good to see you.
DR. ARMAND DORIAN, CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA VERDUGO HILLS HOSPITAL: Thanks for having me, John.
VAUSE: OK, so it seems the world is putting their hopes on this quick development of a vaccine for the coronavirus. The White House is now involved in a way, which is described as a Manhattan-style project, and it's called Operation Warp Speed. This is what Donald Trump said about that operation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I hope we're going to have a vaccine, and we're going to fast- track it like you've never seen before if we come up with a vaccine. I think they probably will.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: So there is almost universal agreement when this sort of began at the beginning of the year that. no matter how much we wanted this process to move along quickly, human trials could take as long as they take, and that was 12, maybe 14 months. It wasn't possible to safely speed up that or fast-track it. So what's happening now?
DORIAN: I mean, I think, in the end, what's happening is there's so much pressure on everybody. And we all, not only the scientific community, but the human race realizes that the solution for this is going to be the vaccine.
The concern I have is, yes, we want this to be superfast, but when you label it warp speed, Operation Warp Speed, are we going to make a mistake here and do something too quickly and then cause a bigger problem? Because if we lose the confidence in people in our vaccine, if it's not exactly the way we want it, we may never get an opportunity to get them back.
VAUSE: It is also problems with people who, you know, do not have a lot of faith in vaccines in the first place. In naming the operation Warp Speed, and you know, it basically brings back all of their doubts, I guess, in many ways.
DORIAN: Yes, and look, there's no question, there is no question that vaccines are a given necessity for us in this time. And it will be the solution.
But also, it's about everybody getting the vaccine. And if we're going to create any mistrust, any potential for harm, and we don't get everybody to get it, then we don't get herd immunity. Then it's worthless. So it's very important that we pair the two: the development and the confidence in the vaccine at the same time.
VAUSE: What was interesting is that Doctor Fauci had a kind of a different take on how this fast-track approach will work. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FAUCI: We're going to safely and carefully, but as quickly as we possibly can, try to get an answer as to whether it works and is safe. And if so, we're going to start ramping up production with the companies involved. And you do that at risk. In other words, you don't wait until you get an answer before you start manufacturing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Yes, and that, just from a logistics point of view, makes a lot of sense. You start production and, then, you know, if it works, it works. If it doesn't, you start all over again.
Bu my question is, is it a question of when there is a vaccine, not if? Is there a consensus that it is possible in a realistic timeframe?
DORIAN: I think we will have a vaccine. But what do you mean by a realistic timeframe? That's the big question.
I mean, I -- this would be the fastest we've ever had a vaccine. And I love the fact that we're being creative and willing to put risk and financial risk in having people actually make production of something.
But we have to -- I mean, his first two words were very important. We have to be safe. We have to take our time and make sure it's the proper vaccine as far as which one we end up delivering.
So if that's the combination, what's the long pole in the tent? Maybe it's production, because we're going to need a lot of vaccines. But we have to make sure it's effective and safe.
VAUSE: Has there ever been anything like this before? The WHO, for example, says there is more than 100 potential vaccines in the works around the world right now. And that is an unprecedented, it seems, anyway, global effort in trying to find a solution to this.
DORIAN: There's never been anything like this before. To have that many different companies working to win the prize of getting that top vaccine, in one sense, is so amazing, because we've all come together. In another sense, it does bring up a little bit of anxiety, because in
that competitive spirit and nature, you're hopeful that nobody will cheat or game the system in the process of making sure it's safe.
VAUSE: Yes. I mean, that's the one the WHO says are basically viable. There's a whole lot of others, too, I imagine, out there.
But until we do get this effective vaccine, the only way of controlling this virus, I think, is social distancing. And so here's what our new pandemic world may look like. These guidelines are coming from the CDC in the U.S.
When schools finally go back, desks will be six feet apart. Students will have lunch at their desks. No assembly. No field trips.
For religious services, they should be held online or outside or a combination of both. Masks should be worn. No passing the collection plate.
Restaurants, the menus, the dishes, the knives, the forks, all disposable. Condiments will be in those little packets that go everywhere when you try and open them. And the best advice of all, which is good before a pandemic, just avoid the salad bar.
You know, knowing -- people are people. And there will only have a finite amount of time to adhere to these guidelines, and then it all starts breaking down. So if we still don't have a vaccine, people stop doing the social distancing, the end result is what? Wave after wave of the coronavirus?
DORIAN: The end result is, remember, one person will subsequently infect 1,000 people in one month's time. So we have to use that mathematical model and realize that we have to gauge the human ability to withstand or sustain these types of restrictions with the balance of keeping them at home.
So when it comes to kids who are sitting at home now, yes, they're home schooling, but they're able to get on their Xbox or their PlayStation, walk around in their house. And now, you're going to put them in an environment where they're locked to a chair, eat in that chair, can't move from that chair. There's no recess. There's no playtime. I don't know how long that's going to exist without them being rebellious, because they're kids.
And then when you think about just us going out into society and restaurants, there's going to be small, little cracks in that armor. And each crack is a potential risk. And each risk has the potential to spread.
So that's the game we're going to play. So it's going to be leaning in, leaning out. It's kind of like feathering a pedal. You can't just go all in. You have to gradually work your way in.
And we've seen big mistakes made by other countries. And hopefully, we're all going to come together and understand there are certain times where we're going to have to back off. But can we back off? Can we go back into a whole stay-at-home policy?
That I don't know. With the amount of frustration in the society right now and with where the economy is, it's going to be very difficult to control.
VAUSE: Yes. The pandemic -- I can't remember when a pandemic was politicized in the history of the world like, I guess, this one has actually turned out to be.
But Armand, good to see you. Thank you for being with us.
DORIAN: Thanks for having me, John.
VAUSE: Well, a sign the worst in New York may have passed, the U.S. Navy hospital ship Comfort is heading back to its home port in Virginia.
The ship arrived just over a month ago with 1,000 beds, treated almost 200 patients with COVID-19. While the Comfort heads home, almost 700 U.S. military doctors and nurses are staying behind to work in hospitals throughout the city.
And in Spain, the country's largest makeshift coronavirus hospital, set up in a sprawling conference center, is set to close in just a few hours after treating nearly 4,000 patients. There are just 22 still being cared for.
Spain's government will allow some stores and restaurants to open as soon as Monday. The first phase of a four-phase transition to the new normal.
The U.K.'s plans for a nationwide restart will include working from home, issues for childcare, and the need for wearing face masks. Boris Johnson, the prime minister, says he will unveil that plan next week to ease back into public life while still suppressing the virus. He says the country has now hit a very welcome milestone.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: We've so far succeeded in the first and most important task we set ourselves as a nation to avoid the tragedy that engulfed other parts of the world.
Because at no stage has our NHS been overwhelmed. No patient went without a ventilator. No patient was deprived of intensive care. We have 5 of the 7 projected nightingale wards.
And it's thanks to that massive collective effort to shield the NHS that we avoided an uncontrollable and catastrophic epidemic, where the reasonable worst-case scenario was 500,000 deaths.
And so I can confirm today that, for the first time, we are past the peak of this disease. We're past the peak, and we're on the downward slope. (END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: But the prime minister also had a warning. This is still the time for constant vigilance. Max Foster has details.
MAX FOSTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Boris Johnson trying to give the British public some light at the end of the tunnel.
(voice-over): They're frustrated by being locked down. And yet, they see the numbers around the virus improving all the time.
He accepted that Britain was past the peak of the virus. And he said he would come up with a comprehensive plan to get Britain out of lockdown, getting back to work. Getting children back into school.
But he said five key tests do have to be met. They include making sure infection rates aren't rising too quickly, and making sure the NHS is coping.
The big test, though, is not increasing the risk of a second wave of the virus by lifting the lockdown. That's a huge challenge, and it's difficult to see how it's possible without a vaccine. And of course, there isn't one there just yet.
Boris Johnson, though, doing his bit to reassure the British public that there is a plan coming, and they just need to stick by the lockdown rules for now. Everyone needs to stay together. He's probably particularly concerned about people just walking out and breaking the lockdown because they just don't feel it's the right thing to do any longer.
Max Foster, CNN, Windsor, England.
VAUSE: Germany is taking a slow and gradual approach to easing restrictions, which includes religious services allowed under strict hygiene measures. Playgrounds, museums, galleries, memorial sites can reopen, but they'll have to present hygiene plans.
And Chancellor Angela Merkel says more measures are due to be announced on Wednesday. The government is looking at how to open daycare centers, more schools, allow the German soccer league to get back on track.
Russia's prime minister has tested positive for the coronavirus. Mikhail Mishustin made the announcement during a video conference with President Vladimir Putin on Thursday.
The prime minister is the highest-ranking person to test positive in Russia. Mr. Mishustin will go into self-isolation, and his deputy will serve as prime minister.
Russia is reporting more than 100,000 confirmed cases, with over 1,000 deaths.
Well, the U.S. president, once again, taking aim at China for its response to this pandemic. Just ahead, why Donald Trump's controversial remarks about the origins of the coronavirus contradict his own intelligence experts.
Plus, it's a race against time as doctors try to find a vaccine. Bill Gates says there's still a long time to go. More on that in a moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: One of two things happened. They either didn't do it and, you know, they couldn't do it from a competence standpoint, or they let it spread.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Donald Trump on Thursday there, ramping up his attacks on China over its response to the coronavirus.
Multiple sources tell CNN the administration is now drawing up plans to punish Beijing. The president also claims to have seen evidence the virus originated at a lab in China, but that's not the word from U.S. intelligence. Details now from CNN's Alex Marquardt.
ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's a theory about the origin of the virus that has long been out there. The Trump administration has repeatedly pushed the narrative that the coronavirus may have escaped from a Chinese laboratory in Wuhan, rather than originating within an animal in a seafood market in Wuhan, which is the leading medical theory.
Tonight, the president telling reporters he has seen evidence that indicates the virus did come from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
TRUMP: There's a lot of theories, but, yes, we have people looking at it very, very strongly. You have scientific people, intelligence people and others.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What gives you a high degree of confidence that this originated from the Wuhan Institute of Virology?
TRUMP: I can't tell you that. I'm not allowed to tell you that.
MARQUARDT: Several sources tell CNN that top administration officials have been pushing the U.S. intelligence agencies for evidence to support that theory. So far, the intelligence community has not come to any conclusion, saying today, in a remarkable statement, that all they know is that the virus came from China, and that it is not man- made or genetically modified. "The intelligence community will continue to rigorously examine
emerging information and intelligence," the statement said, "to determine whether the outbreak began through contact with infected animals or if it was the result of an accident at a laboratory in Wuhan."
Today, the president seemed to dismiss that statement.
TRUMP: You would know that? National intelligence?
MARQUARDT: The head of the lab in Wuhan has rejected the lab theories, telling Reuters they could not and would not create a new coronavirus, and that their security is strictly enforced.
The experts on the White House coronavirus task force have said that the virus went from animals to humans.
DR. DEBORAH BIRX, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS TASK FORCE COORDINATOR: It's going to take us a while to really map and trace this -- this particular virus, map it through its experience in humans, and get the scientific evidence of where this virus originated.
MARQUARDT: With the U.S. passing 60,000 deaths and over 1 million positive coronavirus cases, the Trump administration is stepping up its efforts to pin the blame on, and punish, China. Multiple sources tell CNN the White House is coming up with long-term efforts to use against them, tactics like sanctions and new trade policies.
TRUMP: China is a very sophisticated country, and they could've contained it. They were either unable to, or they chose not to. And the world is suffering greatly.
MARQUARDT (on camera): This is yet another example of President Trump being at odds with the intelligence community, something that started at the beginning of his term and has continued throughout.
But this is exactly where the intelligence community hates, and is afraid, to be, involved in politics. But clearly, they felt the pressure, and all of the questions, and felt they needed to say what they know and what they don't, which includes the origin of the coronavirus.
Alex Marquardt, CNN, Washington.
VAUSE: Well, for more, Jamie Metzl joins us this hour from New York. He's a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's held various senior positions with the U.S. government, from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to the State Department, the National Security Council. It is a very long list, but we'll leave it at that.
Jamie, thank you for being with us. Good to see you.
JAMIE METZL, SENIOR FELLOW, ATLANTIC COUNCIL: Nice to see you.
VAUSE: OK. Donald Trump says a lot of things. He has a reputation for repeatedly lying and distorting the truth, for revising history. I guess the question is how can he be believed? You know, when the president of the United States accuses the People's Republic of China of either deliberately or negligently releasing a deadly pathogen, which could potentially kill millions of people.
But he does that without a shred of evidence, and he has that reputation for not being entirely honest.
What comes next? What are the consequences from this?
METZL: Well, it's a very big deal. We should just be clear. Donald Trump is a known, and recorded, liar. But the government of China is a huge liar, as well, and so we need to look at all of these claims by taking a step back and just evaluating it.
I've seen and reviewed a lot of research, and I'm pretty convinced that this virus was not genetically engineered. But it's still very much an open question of what is the origin of this outbreak? I mean, as a naturally-occurring virus, it could have naturally jumped in the wild from a bat to a pangolin or a civet perhaps, to a human. That's a possibility.
Or, it could be a naturally-occurring virus that was being studied in one of the virology labs in Wuhan. In my view, that's probably the most likely source of this outbreak, but we don't know. And one of the reasons that we don't know is because the Chinese government has been so incredibly secretive. They've destroyed evidence. It has all of the markings of a cover-up.
And just because Donald Trump is so remarkably unreliable, and just because it's in Trump's interest to put all of the blame on China to try to cover up Trump's own failure, doesn't mean that the origin of this outbreak isn't, probably, in my view, one of these two virology labs in Wuhan.
VAUSE: The point, it just clouds the issue when that is the last thing which is needed right now. Because at that same news conference, Trump throws this statement into the mix. Here he is. Listen in this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: China doesn't want to see me elected, and the reason is that we're getting billions and billions of dollars, many billions of dollars a month from China. China never gave our country anything. China gave us nothing. Not 10 cents.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Again, they're not paying billions of dollars. The tariffs are paid -- that's paid for by American consumers or companies. But he repeated this claim about China not wanting him to be reelected a number of times. And do you see this as sort of an effort to build up a narrative here: China is angry that Trump made such a hard deal with him, and so they released this virus as a way of payback? I don't know. It's sort of lunatic Bill (ph) stuff.
METZL: The whole thing is preposterous. If we think of America as Nancy Kerrigan, Donald Trump is Tonya Harding. And how do you think the Russian and the Chinese skaters felt when Tonya Harding kneecapped Nancy Kerrigan?
This is the greatest moment in generations for China and Russia. Because they are seeing America, with all of our greatness, and everything that we have done over so many generations to save and help build the world that has helped so many people all around the world, America suddenly is suffering from this autoimmune disease. And we're doing to ourselves what our worst enemies have tried, and failed, to do to us for generations.
VAUSE: Jamie, thank you so much. We appreciate you being here, and we also appreciate you sticking around for a little longer, because we've got a few more things to talk about when it comes to this virus. So we'll catch up with you later this hour.
METZL: Looking forward to it.
VAUSE: Well, despite growing demands from businesses to reopen the economy, the governor of Ohio standing firm, insisting it's too soon, even as other states end their lockdowns.
More on that after the break.
VAUSE: In the U.S., the decision of when and how to restart a state's economy has descended into a clash of blue versus red, Democrats versus Republicans.
Democrat governors have opted for a slow and gradual approach, while their Republicans colleagues, it's been more like full speed ahead, damn the torpedoes.
But the Republican governor of Ohio stands out for standing up to business demands and extending a stay-at-home order. CNN's Jeff Zeleny has details.
SHEILA TRAUTNER, OWNER, HUBBARD GRILLE: I would say it's been frustrating, strenuous, obviously.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Sheila Trautner's bar and dining room is frozen in time from the night restaurants across Ohio were ordered to close on March 15.
Since then, she's had May 1 etched into her mind, a date she hoped to learn when she could at least start planning to reopen. TRAUTNER: I was hoping that we would hear that restaurants could open
in some capacity by a specific date.
ZELENY: She and other restaurant owners have not heard a word, as Governor Mike DeWine inches toward reopening parts of the Ohio economy.
GOV. MIKE DEWINE (R-OH): We're starting to open up a little bit, not fast enough, obviously, for -- for a lot of people, but we're trying to do this in -- in a reasonable way.
ZELENY: DeWine, a Republican, was the first governor in the country to close schools, sounding a serious alarm about the threat of coronavirus, well before the White House.
But now, as stay-at-home orders are expiring across the nation, his slow and measured approach is testing Ohio's patience. That became clear here this week, as he encountered sharp criticism for ordering all citizens to wear masks in public, as he does.
DEWINE: It was, quite candidly, pretty much an explosion. People felt fronted by -- by that.
ZELENY: Within a day, he pulled back, deciding to only require store employees to wear masks, but leaving the decision for the broader public to shop owners. But he still holds up his own mask as an example for what he hopes Ohioans will do voluntarily.
DEWINE: It doesn't need to be as pretty as this. My wife, Fran, made this. But just putting something so you're covering your mouth and your -- and your nose.
ZELENY: The governor's staggered reopening plan started May 1, with hospitals allowing procedures not requiring an overnight stay, followed on May 4 by construction and manufacturing. And May 12 with retail and customer service shops.
Other businesses like barbershops, gyms, and restaurants are not on the immediate horizon.
DEWINE: But ultimately, the decision is my decision, and I take full responsibility for the decision.
ZELENY: But with one million people across Ohio seeking unemployment benefits since the coronavirus outbreak began, DeWine faces extraordinary pressure to reopen the economy. His cautious approach is suddenly facing a new test.
LISA KNAPP, OPEN OHIO ORGANIZER: I'm not going to question his initial actions, but the continued actions in not opening it up are what's really bothering our people.
ZELENY: Lisa Knapp helped organize Open Ohio, one of the groups protesting at the state capitol, that believes the governor's crippling the economy and needlessly taking away civil liberties.
KNAPP: Small businesses are going to lose everything, if they haven't already. And so many people are going to be out of jobs.
ZELENY: The question is Ohio's tolerance for a third straight month of DeWine's strict approach.
Inside the Hubbard Grille, Trautner isn't demanding to open her doors tonight, but she says she deserves to know when that could happen.
TRAUTNER: We need clarity as to when we can reopen and a potential timeline. And that will help us plan appropriately for the future.
ZELENY (on camera): So as business owners here in Ohio begin looking to other states and see that their businesses are, indeed, opening, of course it is creating a sense of wonder when they will be able to do that here.
But this is all part of the messy patchwork of rules happening state- by-state here as the country comes out of this coronavirus fight. Several states are letting their stay-at-home orders expire, not here in Ohio. On Friday, Governor Mike DeWine extended that order. He says the virus is still dangerous, and it's better to be safe than sorry.
Jeff Zeleny, CNN, Columbus, Ohio.
VAUSE: Donald Trump has described himself as being a wartime president, waging an all-out battle with the coronavirus, an invisible enemy with personality traits of being deceptive and cruel.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I think it's going to be a tremendous day when we win this war. And we will win the war.
We're doing everything we can each day to confront and, ultimately, defeat this horrible invisible enemy. We're at war. In a true sense, we're at war. And we're fighting an invisible enemy.
It's not a battle. It's a war. As soon as we're finished with this war, our country is going to bounce back like you've never seen before.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: This pandemic, though, wasn't a surprise attack like Pearl Harbor. Experts have been warning for years it was coming.
And for the record, the coronavirus is a blob, little more than a packet of genetic material surrounded by spiky protein shelf, 1000th of the width of an eyelash. And it leads such a zombie-like existence that it's barely considered a living organism. That from "The Washington Post."
[00:35:03] The reality is, the United States and the rest of the world failed to prepare for this crisis, and the only questions about the next deadly viral outbreak is when, not if, and how bad will it be?
Senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, Jamie Metzl is with us, back with us now. And he's also the author of "Hacking Darwin: Genetic Engineering and the Future of Humanity." So thank you for sticking around.
In just the last two decades, researchers and scientists have spotted new strains of African swine fever, Ebola, E. coli, foot-and-mouth disease, hepatitis E, Listeria, Nipah virus, Q fever, Salmonella, Vibrio, Yersinia, Zika, H1N1, H1N2V, H3N2V, H5N1, H5N2, H5Nx, H6N1, H7N1. I mean, the list goes on.
We are living in the era of pandemics. So at this point, where do you see the next major threat coming from?
METZL: So it's going to come from one of the places where it's come from naturally. And it's very likely going to come from the world of synthetic biology, where the main lesson of the genetics revolution is that our one little species among billions now has the ability to rewrite and hack the code of life.
And so this was not -- almost certainly was not a genetically- engineered virus, but it wouldn't be that hard to genetically engineer a virus like this.
A few years ago, a research team in Canada created a genetically- engineered horse pox, which is a cousin of smallpox, for around $100,000. Now, that can be done for less than $10,000.
So if we can't get our act together and prepare for what we know is coming, shame on us.
VAUSE: And the reason why researchers and scientists know that this is a natural, as opposed to a man-made virus is because it's just not that good at killing people.
METZL: Yes, that's the ironic thing. There was a piece in "Nature Medicine" that did this analysis. And they said that, if this had been -- this virus had been engineered to kill, they could have done a much better job. And this is a very, very deadly virus, but we can easily imagine scenarios that could be worse.
But it's not all about vulnerability. We also have defenses. But if we want to build our defenses, we have to actually do it, and we've certainly failed in that regard.
VAUSE: Well, a few weeks, ago the U.S. president tweeted, "Once we open up our great country, and it will be sooner rather than later, the horror of the invisible enemy, except for those that sadly lost a family or friends, must be quickly forgotten. Our economy will BOOM, perhaps like never before."
It is astonishing how consistently wrong Trump has been, especially when he tweets that this pandemic must be quickly forgotten. That's probably the last thing we should be doing right now.
METZL: Well, we can't forget it, because we haven't won this battle yet. There are countries like Taiwan, like New Zealand that are actually doing a great job. The United States has done a monumentally terrible job. The response of President Trump and his administration has been one of the great failures of leadership in all of American history.
Whatever the origins of this virus were and wherever this outbreak comes from, there are countries that are doing better, and there are countries that are doing worse. And we are doing worse because of the failure of President Trump and his administration. And how many people have to die before we can get our act together?
VAUSE: Because 15 years ago, the George W. Bush White House issued a national strategy for a pandemic. It was updated under the Obama administration.
The coronavirus has a few unique qualities, but it still fits a fairly predictable template. This was not a sneak attack from Mars.
The problem is that, you know, Donald Trump, as you mentioned, sort of fired everyone and just dismantled the program and everything that was put in place.
And this is the reason why. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We can get money, and we can increase staff. We know all the people. We know all the good people. It's a question I asked the doctors before. Some of the people we've got, they haven't been used for many, many years. And if -- if we ever need them, we can get them very quickly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Yet, that explanation from Donald Trump seems to demonstrate just a deep misunderstanding of the concept of disaster prevention.
METZL: Prevention. Just imagine if he was saying that about the fire department: We don't have a fire right now. We fired the fire department. If there's a fire, we'll need them.
What we need to do, we need a global surveillance network, and we've built it. We had officials forward deployed in China. And they were -- and they were pulled back. We haven't supported the establishment of this kind of global system, whether it's the U.S. working with allies, partners, the World Health Organization.
And then, even with the information that we had, Taiwan declared their national emergency on December 31. Months after that, Trump was still calling this whole thing a hoax. And it wasn't until March that he declared from the White House podium that this was serious. And even then, has been spewing dangerous misinformation and telling people to inject themselves with Clorox. It's -- this is really deadly. [00:40:03]
VAUSE: We're out of time, Jamie. But you did make a good point in the op-ed on CNN.COM. Armies don't stand down and disband after a war. They stay in place for the -- I guess for the next one. And that's what's needed right now.
Good to see you. Thanks so much for being with us.
METZL: My pleasure.
VAUSE: Philanthropist Bill Gates says best-case scenario, we'll see a vaccine ready by early next year. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is now part of the global vaccine effort. And earlier, Bill Gates spoke with Anderson Cooper and Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
BILL GATES, PHILANTHROPIST: There's great progress on the vaccines. I have to say, the fact that Oxford, their monkey data, they're talking to AstraZeneca. You know, Moderna's made progress. Biotech (ph), Pfizer, these companies are moving at full speed. They've totally prioritized this.
You know, our vaccine team is working with them to say, OK, what can we do to help you? Making sure that the funders understand how to rank these various activities in terms of what's most promising to be cheap and scale.
But until you have a Phase 3 plan that has the safety and efficacy plan approved by a regulator, who's going to give the indemnification that, yes, we want to put this out into all these healthy people, until then, you're just kind of speculating. And nobody's near to writing that Phase 3 plan and taking it to a gold standard regulator.
So the best case now is, you know, somewhere early next year. You always have to be careful. Is it the first unit to be manufactured? Or is that 100 million, 300 million, 7 billion? You know, so which -- what volume are you talking about?
But pome phase threes are going to start faster than I expected. The RNA approach, which we've been backing for over a decade, there's, you know, three of those that are all progressing.
Thank goodness, we also have some non-RNA approaches, because we have never had an approved RNA vaccine. So things like the Novavax, the Johnson and Johnson, Sanofi, JFK, those also, you know, are very promising. So yes, it's exciting, but the idea of being pressed to give a date, you know, I try and say the same thing Dr. Fauci is, because he and I are looking at the same data; and we want to let people know. It's quite a range of possibilities.
(END VIDEOTAPE) VAUSE: For those who missed our global town hall on the coronavirus, don't worry. It is playing again next hour. You can hear more from Bill Gates as he joins Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Anderson Cooper on a two- hour-long program. It starts at 9 am in Abu Dhabi, 1 p.m. in Hong Kong.
And with that, we will take a break. Still to come, with Lebanon's economy in freefall, street demonstrations are turning violent. So just what's the government doing right now? Details after the break.
VAUSE: Well, Lebanon is seeking help from the International Monetary Fund, because its economy, they say, is in freefall. The coronavirus pandemic has only exposed and worsened decades of deep-rooted corruption and appalling governance.
As CNN's Jomana Karadsheh reports, the economic problems are now fueling unrest, as well as violence.
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The streets of Lebanon's second city are transformed into a battle zone at night. Protesters lobbing petrol bombs at the military, undeterred by the tear gas and rubber bullets as they defy the nighttime coronavirus curfew, picking up where they left off before the pandemic: an uprising against the ruling establishment and living conditions that have gotten even worse. A currency that's lost more than half its value, soaring food prices, and rising unemployment.
"We're out to demand our rights. The dollar now is 4000 lira. These young men have no food at home. They can't afford food," this protestor tells us. They chant, "revolution."
KARADSHEH: Daytime brings an uneasy calm to the streets of Tripoli, the country's poorest city. No surprise it's at the heart of the so- called hunger protests.
The unemployed and the hungry gather in Clock Tower Square. There's a lot more than a global pandemic on people's minds here.
"If the situation remains like this, there will be escalation," this man says. "If your child's hungry, you will eat your rulers to feed your children."
The nearly two-month coronavirus lockdown hit an economy already on its knees. Staying at home for most here meant losing their livelihood, their daily wages.
Before the pandemic, World Bank projections put the country's poverty rate at 45 percent for this year. Now, the cash-strapped government says three quarters of the population needs aid.
"Everything has gotten more expensive," this street vendor tells us. "We don't know how we're living. When I go to sleep, I pray I never wake up."
It's a desperate situation, and Ahmed (ph) wants to show us what poverty really means in his city. Under the centuries-old souk, families living, if one can call it that, in an underground, rundown structure. Two families crammed into this.
The makeshift kitchen and toilet blend into one. Even this miserable existence comes with $25 a month rent.
Ahmed (Ph), a taxi driver, says he can no longer afford his baby girl's formula. It's doubled in price. He doesn't take part in the protests. Nothing comes out of them, he says.
Far from the chaos on the streets, Lebanon's poorest and most vulnerable suffer in silence and out of sight.
Jomana Karadsheh, CNN.
VAUSE: Hong Kong bracing (ph) on this Labor Day, and the chief executive is warning against a return of those street protests. More on that with a live report when we come back.
VAUSE: Hong Kong is marking Labor Day amid calls and concerns for pro- democracy demonstrations. But with the number of coronavirus cases beginning to slow, Chief Executive Carrie Lam is urging protesters to stay at home.
In a statement posted on Facebook, she said, "Hong Kong is currently able to withstand the pandemic." But warned the city may be unable to not withstand the resurgence of violence and continuous devastation caused by politics."
CNN's Kristie Lu Stout, live for us this hour in Hong Kong.
So Kristie, when we're looking at the situation there as far as these protests go, what -- this is a very sensitive time, I guess, for the pro-democracy demonstrators, for the government, for the people of Hong Kong. It seems everybody right now is on edge, and a pandemic is not helping.
KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's a sensitive time. And there are growing concerns that protests and clashes will return to Hong Kong even during a pandemic. There are usually Labor Day protests taking place this day. This is May 1, after all, here in Hong Kong, but labor unions were not granted permission to protest by Hong Kong police, because they were citing concerns over the coronavirus.
Pop-up protests are expected today. There have been posters and telegram messages, encouraging protesters to shop at yellow businesses that support the pro-democracy movement.
There are also, quite worryingly, reports that up to 3,000 Hong Kong police in riot gear are patrolling Hong Kong with tear gas, with rubber bullets and ready to deploy in order to maintain order.
Now, we've been monitoring this area. I'm in the busy shopping district of Causeway Bay. We've been walking around here for the last hour or so. And we did see dozens of riot police wearing riot gear. And with the right gear on them. They're where I'm now, as we go live.
Now, the anger is real. There's a lot of anger here in Hong Kong directed at the government here in Hong Kong, as well as in Beijing, especially on the back of the mass arrests that took place last week. Fifteen high-profile pro-democracy leaders were arrested, including the 81-year-old Martin Lee, the founder of the Democratic Party.
There was also anger over comments made by China's most senior official here in Hong Kong, Luo Huining, who said that there needed to be new security legislation in Hong Kong in order to curb dissent.
And on top of that, additional anger against new claims that we've never heard before by Beijing, saying that they have supervisory power over the legal system and the political system here in the territory.
Tension has been bubbling. In recent days, there have been these flash mob protests at shopping centers across Hong Kong, where people would gather and sing the glory to Hong Kong song. The Hong Kong police came in, broke up those flash-mob singalongs, citing social distancing guidelines. There is a ban on gatherings of up to four people.
Carrie Lam, what is she thinking right now? It's interesting that you read that Facebook post earlier by the chief executive, because it signals something that's very significant. Carrie Lam is basically saying she is more worried about the Hong Kong protests than the pandemic itself.
In that post, she cites five consecutive days, zero COVID-19 cases here in Hong Kong. She says that we can manage the, quote, "harsh winter" of the pandemic, but she is worried that Hong Kong is unable to manage a resurgence in violence -- John.
VAUSE: Just very quickly. Heavy security presence, armed police, riot police on the streets, breaking up singalongs. To me this suggests, you know, the heavy hand of Beijing in some way.
STOUT: There's a lot of concern that Beijing is having a role behind all of this. In fact, that was a question I posed to Martin Lee, the founder of the Democratic Party, who was one of the 15 arrested last week. Whether or not Beijing played a role in that decision for those arrests to be made.
And he believed yes, that under the cover of the coronavirus, that Beijing is encouraging the powers that be to carry out these arrests. And that is raising fears of greater crackdowns to come -- John.
VAUSE: And just very quickly, I guess the pandemic has been an sort of an advantage for the government. But have there been many demonstrations during the pandemic?
STOUT: You know, it's been interesting. Because no massive marches, demonstrations, since the pandemic began.
But there have been, as you recall, that protest. The one-week-long strike in February by medical workers, who had their own five demands. But they were demanding more PPE and isolation wards, and a full closure of the border.
Also during this time, we've seen pro-democracy groups, like the one founded by Joshua Wong, Demosisto, engage in mass campaign drives to give away masks. That has been the focus of the movement so far.
STOUT: But with those new arrests, those new comments by Beijing, there could be more protests to come, John.
VAUSE: Kristie, thank you.
From Hong Kong, we're going to quickly go to South Korea. Ivan Watson reports on the success that they're having now in that country. Here he is.
IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Crowded beaches, traffic jams, open mega churches. Not exactly what you would expect in a country that just reported no new local coronavirus infections, and only four imported cases.
Yet this is South Korea, viewed by health experts as one of the few countries that did most things right from the beginning of the disease outbreak to flatten the curve and to save lives.
In the wake of an initial spike in infections in February, largely centered around the a religious group in the city of Daegu, the country adopted widespread testing measures, pioneering the drive- through method of diagnosis that allowed for faster testing with less exposure, that has now become common around the world. One that I had the unfortunate pleasure to experience.
(on camera): That's really uncomfortable.
(voice-over): After a slight initial hiccup in supply, and after an apology from the government for that failure, uniformity in mask distribution, with mass availability, and affordability, and aggressive contact tracing. Social distancing and quarantine enforcement. (on camera): The government mandated that I had to install an app on
my phone from the South Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare, which forces me to conduct a daily health check and, theoretically, can track me if I don't cooperate.
(voice-over): The U.S. and South Korea both reported their first laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 on January 20. Since then, South Korea has reported just under 11,000 cases, and only 247 deaths, and next to zero new infections recently, while the U.S. now has a total of more than a million cases and more than 63,000 deaths, with new cases in many states still continuing an upward climb.
A stark contrast between two nations who began the fight to combat the virus at the same time.
Even more remarkable, while schools were closed and the public advised to avoid large gatherings, the country held a parliamentary election with the highest turnout in 28 years. And restaurants and shops have remained open throughout the pandemic.
The Korean outbreak has so far proven to be much smaller and far less deadly than in countries like Spain and Italy, which eventually enforced full lockdown measures to quell the flood of illness that brought their healthcare systems to the brink of collapse.
Despite what appears to be somewhat of a victory over the spread of the virus, the South Korean CDC remains cautious. Amid concern for what the future may hold, the present feels pretty relaxed. A Golden Week holiday now bringing many South Koreans together, even though government guidelines advise them to celebrate apart.
Ivan Watson, CNN.
VAUSE: The global town hall is next. I'm John Vause. See you next week.