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W.H.O. Says 102 Potential Vaccines Being Developed Worldwide; White House Reviewing New CDC Guidance on Reopening; Dr. Fauci Says Vaccine Might Be Available by January; Stay-At-Home Rules and in Seven States as U.S. Starts to Reopen; 30 Million Unemployment Claims in U.S. Is Mid-March; Amazon Sales Jump 26 Percent in First-Quarter This Year; Apple Quarterly Review Hit $58.3 Billion Last Quarter; Higher Prices, Fewer Amenities are the New Era of Air Travels. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired May 1, 2020 - 04:00   ET



NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Opening up. More states in the U.S. ease restrictions in a high stakes balancing act.

Anger in the state of Michigan. Protesters some carrying guns gather at the state capitol.

Also this hour --


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Everybody wants to get a vaccine for their country, for the safety of their country, and if possible, make it available to the world.


ALLEN: The race for a vaccine. There are now more than 100 in the works worldwide.

Live from CNN world headquarters in Atlanta, welcome to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. I'm Natalie Allen and this is CNN NEWSROOM.

4 a.m. here on the east coast. Thanks so much for joining us.

The World Health Organization says there are now more than 100 potential coronavirus vaccines in the works around the world. Eight have been approved for clinical trials. And America's most prominent disease expert says if everything goes exactly right, a vaccine could be available as soon as January.

Anticipating that the worst is over, more than 30 U.S. states are taking tentative steps to restart their economies, but during Thursday's CNN Town Hall Dr. Anthony Fauci warned about trying to reopen too fast. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FAUCI: So the concern that I have is that there are some states, some cities or what have you who are looking at that and kind of leap frogging over the first checkpoint. And, I mean, obviously you could get away with that, but you're making a really significant risk that if you do that and you don't have in place the absolute clear-cut capability of identifying, isolating and doing the contact tracing when people do start flipping -- because there's no doubt in my mind that when you pull back mitigation you're going to start seeing cases crop up here and there. And if you're not able to handle them, you're going to see another peak, a spike.


ALLEN: Even with the reopenings, no one should expect to return to their normal routines any time soon. CNN's Erica Hill looks at what's been happening around the United States.


ERICA HILL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): By the end of the week 31 states will be partially open despite none of them appearing to meet the vague White House guidelines that call for a downward trajectory of documented cases within a 14-day period before any opening. Many resuming elective surgeries, opening parks and golf courses, restaurants and stores adopting new safety measures.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think our customers are going to feel comfortable, you know, shopping in our store.

HILL: As CNN learns, the White House is reviewing a draft of reopening guidance from the CDC. Recommending schools place desks at least 6 feet apart, move lunch to the classroom and avoid assemblies. Faith-based organization should also limit large gatherings. Restaurants should avoid salad bars and buffets, also use disposable plates, utensils and menus.

JULIAN RODART, CO-OWNER, BETO AND SON: We're not going to make anything here. It's just for the staff to be able to keep provided for the families on a day-to-day.

HILL: In New York, the State Health Department is investigating the discovery of dozens of bodies in unrefrigerated trucks outside a Brooklyn funeral home.

BILL DE BLASIO, NEW YORK MAYOR: Let's be clear about this. Funeral homes are private organizations, private businesses. They have an obligation to the people they serve to treat them with dignity. I have no idea in the world how any funeral home could let this happen.

HILL: While in California a busy weekend on Orange County beaches prompting Governor Gavin Newsom to close them.

GAVIN NEWSOM, CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR: We're going to do a hard close in that part of the state, Justin the Orange County area. HILL: In Los Angeles, the mayor says his city can now test all 10

million residents across LA County for free regardless of symptoms.

ERIC GARCETTI, LOS ANGELES MAYOR: We all know this is a silent killer. It moves quietly across the population. And while it's so important for people who don't show symptoms to get tested is because oftentimes, they're the super spreaders.


HILL: Health care workers will have priority at the city's 34 testing sites. Which the mayor says can process 18,000 people a day.

Remdesivir a potential coronavirus treatment, could receive emergency use approval from the FDA as soon as today as experts warn this is only one piece of the puzzle.

DR. LEANA WEN, FORMER BALTIMORE CITY HEALTH COMMISSIONER: We still have to focus on the core public health measures of testing, tracing, building the public health infrastructure. The idea of remdesivir does not replace those elements but it does offer some hope.

HILL: The nation's top infectious disease experts says if the next phase of trials is successful, a vaccine could arrive by January.

FAUCI: We're going to safely and carefully but as quickly as we possibly can, try and get an answer as to whether it works and if it is safe. And if so, we're going start ramping up production with the companies involved.

HILL: Some colleges say they will bring students and staff back to campus in the fall including the Universities of Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, Vermont and Texas Tech.

And in New York City a grateful sendoff to the USNS Comfort, as the hospital ship heads home to Virginia.

(on camera): And in New York City, an unprecedented move here as we learned today that starting next week the subways and buses, public transportation is going to be shut down between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. for deep cleaning. Ridership is down more than 90 percent but there are still some 11,000 people who rely on public transportation. During those hours many of them essential workers who need to get to their jobs. The city will make special accommodations to make sure they can get to their place of employment. But this is seen as a necessary step to ensure that public transportation is safe and clean so that hope people can return to work. Back to you.


ALLEN: Oregon is the latest state to announce it is relaxing some restrictions bringing the total number of U.S. states to 32. Beginning Friday it will allow non-urgent procedures to resume in hospitals, medical centers and dentist offices.

Well, as we mentioned, the quest for a coronavirus vaccine is underway around the world, and to be truly effective in ending the pandemic, massive numbers of doses will have to be manufactured even before it is certain that it works. Here's Dr. Fauci explaining that.


FAUCI: But importantly what's being done now that's different than with most situations are, is that before we even know a vaccine works, we're going to have to make an investment of hundreds of millions of dollars to start developing a vaccine so that we ultimately prove it works. You don't have to wait five or six months to scale up to get enough doses to give to a meaningful number of people. That's a risky financial circumstance, but it's certainly, certainly is worth the risk given what's at stake.


ALLEN: Let's go to Cillian De Gascun now. He's the director of the national virus reference laboratory at University College Dublin, thanks so much and good morning to you.

CILLIAN DE GASCUN, MEDICAL VIROLOGIST: Good morning, Natalie. Thanks for having me.

ALLEN: Sure thing. What do you make of this promise from this drug remdesivir as far as a potential treatment?

DE GASCUN: I think it's still very early days. There's a number of trials ongoing at the moment. And the results to date have been somewhat conflicting. So I think it's good to know there is something coming potentially down the track but I think it's probably too early to get our hopes up. We won't see all of the data published in peer- reviewed so other scientists and medics can take a look at the data in its entirely and make an informed decision. It is potentially promising but it is very early days so we need to be cautious.

ALLEN: All right, fingers crossed on that one. Meantime, Cillian, some states in the U.S., seven are opening back up. Dr. Anthony Fauci warning that doing so prematurely can lead to a rebound and get is right back in the same boat where we were a few weeks ago. How risky is it to just kind of say, OK, we're back in business with some limitations?

DE GASCUN: I think it's important to acknowledge that this is very challenging and it's not straightforward. Because there are no easy decisions at this time. We do know that it's likely that a large part of the population is still susceptible to this infection. We also know that the virus is going to continue circulating for as long as there is a susceptible population and there are people for it to infect. So physical distancing, hand hygiene, all of those measures still remain vitally important. And there may be some elements of society and commercial activity that can recommence by maintaining those measures. Because we're not going back to normal and I think it's important for people to appreciate that.

[04:10:00] This is a new normal. All of the new behaviors from a physical distancing perspective, from a hand hygiene perspective and a spiritually adequate perspective, all of those things need to be maintained for many weeks and months to come. And there may be some opportunities where things can open up while maintaining that.

So for example, you may potentially let children back to school with reduced number of students per the classroom. Because we don't believe children are at a significant risk group at this point in time. Equally there are some outdoor activities such as tennis or golf, for example, that may be possible to play where you can maintain physical distancing. But it is very challenging to think of the likes of anybody that's going to be a high density or high congregation of individuals, that is still going to be very challenging and still a risk. So anything that will be done I would suggest should be done cautiously, slowly and methodically. So that it's a step wise progression over the coming weeks and months and not a single case of flipping a switch and trying to set everything back to normal.

And equally, every time we do introduce some measures are relax some measures, we need to wait probably two to four weeks to see what impact that has had. So what people will be soon looking at is the number of cases per day, the number of people being admitted to hospital, the number of people going into intensive care and the number of people that are dying. They're the numbers that we really need to focus on.

CHURCH: Right, and as you said, it should be taken in baby steps. We saw what happened with the Orange County, California, beach situation and then the Governor had to pull back and close them again because people were not distancing themselves.

Let's talk about the race for a vaccine now, Cillian. The world has dozens of significant studies underway right now. The U.S. could have one at the very beginning of the year, says Dr. Fauci. Do you think that's possible from what you are seeing in these studies?

DE GASCUN: I think that's a challenge. I think it's a very tight timeline. People would be familiar with the seasonal influenza vaccine. That takes us about six months to manufacture and scale up every year. Even though we know the influenza very well at this point. As far as coronavirus is a new virus to us. In principle it should work. There are coronavirus vaccines available in the animal industry. So in principle it should be doable, but it's really key since when we're developing new vaccine for use in the human population, safety is really paramount. Because we're injecting, in essence, healthy individuals. So safety and effectiveness are the two key measures.

And the third aspect of that is actually trying to scale up production. Because obviously, the global population is over 7 billion at this point. So we want to be sure that we can develop an active vaccine that is available for all. So even simple things like the logistical challenge of scaling that up during manufacturing capacity once we have an effective vaccine will be quite challenging. So it will be great to see something in the first half of the new year. But I think it's probably slightly further away. ALLEN: All right, until then the new normal continues. Cillian De

Gascon, in Dublin Ireland, thank you so much for speaking with us. We appreciate your expertise.

DE GASCUN: Thank you.

ALLEN: Still to come here, masks, heat shields and temperature checks. We take a look at how airlines are preparing for travel in a post pandemic world.

And the U.S. releases new jobless figures and the data shows staggering numbers of Americans now needing work and help.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I never see myself to do this before. I never see myself to do this before, but what can you do? I said before that I'm not going to go over there because maybe there's somebody else that somebody really needs that, and then now I have to do it. I haven't got any unemployment.





UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is very important that we as Americans stand up for our constitution and for our civil liberties, because as we know, government continues to take and take.


ALLEN: Tense scenes here in Michigan Thursday as hundreds of protesters, some carrying guns, gathered inside Michigan state capitol building as the House and Senate were in session. Police say the demonstrations against the state's stay-at-home order were mostly peaceful. Michigan's governor signed a new executive order extending the state's coronavirus emergency declaration to May 28th. Last week Governor Gretchen Whitmer also extended Michigan stay-at-home order until May 15th.

The coronavirus is taking a grim toll on U.S. jobs. Almost 20 percent of American workers have requested unemployment assistance in the past six weeks. Here are the numbers -- 3.8 million initial unemployment claims were filed last week and more than 30 million new claims have been filed since mid-March.

Let's go live now to New York City as CNN business correspondent Alison Kosik. These unemployment numbers are just hard to comprehend -- Alison.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I mean, it's very, very hard to explain just how deeply devastating this is, you know, for Americans across the country. You know, we're starting off a new month. It's May 1st. It would be hard-pressed not even to mention the markets. I mean, stocks coming off their best month in three decades. That juxtaposed with this terrible economic data that we seem to get on a weekly basis.

As you mentioned, unemployment claims numbers, more millions of Americans filing for unemployment benefits, another 3.8 million. That brings the number of claims over the past six weeks to 30 million people unemployed here in the United States. That's 18.6 percent of the U.S. labor force that are on unemployment benefits as businesses across the country have been forced to shut down. Each claim number is a person who has bills to pay.


You know, they're not just statistics here. The reality is, joblessness is really a dire problem because with it being May first 1st, it means there are mortgages to be paid today, there is rent to be paid today. Unemployment benefits, yes, they're a key form of financial support for Americans but they certainly only barely scratch the surface of what Americans owe at the first of every month -- Natalie.

CHURCH: Right, and that's why we see so many states just trying to figure out a way to slowly reopen businesses because so many people are hurting. Let's talk about first quarter earnings announced for Amazon and Apple. How did that work?

KOSIK: Yes, when you look at the earnings season now, it's useful to put them in two columns, winners and losers. It certainly looks like Apple and Amazon are the winners. Now Apple holding up despite the pandemic. Apple reporting it actually grew in the latest quarter. The jump was driven by an all-time record for revenues for Apple services like Apple music, Apple TV and iCloud. Sales from those businesses rose almost 17 percent compared to a year ago. Apple also saying it set a new quarterly record for its sales of wearable devices.

Now Amazon -- Amazon sales actually jumping 26 percent in the first three months. But the company's profits took a big hit as it scrambled on how to manage the coronavirus crisis. Net income falling almost 31 percent from the same period to $2.5 billion. And I know that sounds like a lot. But Jeff Bezos put out a big warning in a release telling shareholders that the next quarter could really be challenging. Saying if you're a shareholder in Amazon, you may want to take a seat because he said we're not thinking small.

Putting it into perspective here. Under normal circumstances in the coming quarter, Amazon would be expected to make $4 billion or more in operating profit. Jeff Bezos says they're expected to lose or spend $4 billion or more just figuring out how to manage the coronavirus crisis. So Amazon coming out as a winner this quarter could come out as a loser for the next quarter. We shall see -- Natalie.

CHURCH: All right, Alison Kosik for us in New York. Alison, thanks so much. Well, even as parts of the economy begin to reopen, things will not be

immediately getting back to the normal we once knew. Take airline travel for example. Four major U.S. airlines say they'll soon require all passengers to wear face coverings while traveling. JetBlue, Delta, American Airlines and Frontier will start enforcing their policies over the next two weeks.

But the question remains, even with these new policies, when will passengers feel comfortable taking to the sky again. CNN's Richard Quest looks at what flying might look like in a post pandemic world.


RICHARD QUEST, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Social distancing and air travel, are contradictions in terms. With long pews, evaporating leg room and invasive reclining, air travel is particularly ill-suited for our new coronavirus reality. The pandemic has left global travel at a virtual standstill, and it's clear the way we fly will need to change before passengers will feel comfortable returning to the friendly skies on masse.

Before the crisis there was this massive drive to maximize capacity on board, pushing the flying public ever closer together. Now airlines must embrace the exact opposite. At the very least, it seems, the middle seat will probably stay empty for the foreseeable future. Even though that will make it almost impossible for airlines to make money. The International Air Transport Association's CEO, Alexandre De Juniac, says ticket prices will have to go up.

ALEXANDRE DE JUNIAC, DIRECTOR GENERAL, IATA: In these conditions, there is no airline that is able to fly and make money on these flights. So it means two things, either we cannot fly or we have to increase the price of the ticket by at least 50 to 100 percent. So it is the end of the cheap travel for everyone.

QUEST: Airlines are ramping up other proportions. On JetBlue, Air Canada, Korean and Lufthansa, masks will be mandatory for the duration of flights. Emirates is limiting carryon baggage to only the essentials. Meals are doled out in bento style boxes to reduce contact. Even the in-flight magazines have been removed from seat back pockets in case they carry the virus.

Expect to see cabin crews donning visors and gowns, full personal protective equipment could be the order of the day. And Qatar Airways says is doing thermal screenings of its crew.


In spite of all of these measures, Barry Diller, the head of Expedia, believes flying and social distancing are simply incompatible.

BARRY DILLER, CHAIRMAN, EXPEDIA: The idea that you can take the middle seat out of an airplane and have any kind of, quote, social distancing is absurd. You can't. It does not work. Social distancing works when it's complete. You can maybe clean planes better. Yes, that would be good anyway. But social distancing in these kinds of arenas is a myth.

QUEST: The Italian cabin designer firm, Avio Interiors, gave us a glimpse of what the future could look like. This shield could be fitted on existing seats putting a barrier between passengers to increase isolation. A more extreme interior overhaul turns the middle seat around entirely to keep contact between passengers at a minimum. To be sure, the travel industry will reopen and we will take to the air again. However, for passengers like you and me, the experience we go through will never be quite the same again.

Richard Quest, CNN, New York.


ALLEN: The pandemic continues to spread around the world, yet in the United States which has more cases and deaths than anywhere else, many states are relaxing restrictions meant to keep people safe. We'll have more about that right after this.


ALLEN: And welcome back to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Atlanta. I'm Natalie Allen.

More than 30 U.S. states are taking their first steps right now to ease restrictions --