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More Than 30 U.S. States Move to Restart Their Economies; Ohio Extends Stay-at-Home Order's as businesses Push to Reopen; British Prime Minister Promises Plan to Restart Economy; Boris Johnson Says Britain is Past the Peak of Its Outbreak; Russian Prime Minister Test Positive for COVID-19; Lockdown Amplifies Divide Between French Cities and Suburbs; NASCAR to Resume Races in May; Top Ballet Dancers Put on a Show From Their Homes. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired May 1, 2020 - 04:30   ET



NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: 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 that will help people get back to work. Some of those moves are fairly modest, while others are more aggressive. But of those states appear to have met the White House's vague guidelines for reopening. For more about what's at stake, here's CNN's Anderson Cooper.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): The U.S. has now had more than a million positive cases of the coronavirus. More than 62,000 people have died. New modeling shows this pandemic will continue. The new projected death toll in the U.S. is estimated to be 72,000 people. That's up from 67,000 projected only one week ago.

At least 31 states will be partially reopened by the end of the week. Public health officials warn the governors in those states to be careful.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: You can't just leap over things and get into a situation where you're really tempting a rebound.

COOPER: Food supply is also a concern as thousands of meat plant workers around the country have been infected with the virus. To protect the plants and the food supply chain, the President signed an executive order forcing plants to stay open. The workers wonder how they will stay safe.

There are encouraging steps in the fight against this virus. Companies in the U.S. and the U.K. say they may have a vaccine ready for partial emergency use in the fall. And White House coronavirus task force member Dr. Anthony Fauci says a vaccine for the general public may be available in January.

FAUCI: We want to go quickly, but we want to make sure it's safe and it's effective. I think that is doable.

COOPER: In the meantime, researchers believe the antiviral drug remdesivir could be an effective treatment for coronavirus patients. In New York, which remains the epicenter in the U.S., the USNS Comfort has discharged its last patient and has left New York City's harbor.

The field hospital at the Javits Center is also winding down. But with more than 1,000 deaths reported a day nationwide, this virus is by no means contained.

ANDREW CUOMO, NEW YORK GOVERNOR: Every day, I think maybe today is the day the nightmare will be over, but it's not.


In their push to reopen, a handful of states have allowed their stay- at-home orders to expire. Ohio's was slated to be among them, but its Republican governor decided to extend the order. The decision coming as some business leaders call for the economy to reopen. CNN's Jeff Zeleny is in Columbus, Ohio.


SHEILA TRAUTNER, OWNER, HUBBARD GRILLE: I would say it's been frustrating, strenuous obviously.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Sheila Trautner bar and dining room is frozen in time. From the night, restaurants across Ohio were ordered to close on March 15th. Since then, she's had May 1st 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 on Friday.

MIKE DEWINE, OHIO GOVERNOR: We're starting to open up a little bit. Not fast enough obviously for a lot of people but we're trying to do this 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 a 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 a pretty much an explosion, people felt fronted 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 have to be as pretty as this or -- my wife Fran made this -- but just putting something, so you're covering your mouth and your nose.

ZELENY: The Governor's staggered reopening plan starts May 1st, with hospitals allowing procedures not requiring an overnight stay. Followed on May 4th, by construction and manufacturing. In May 12th, with retail and customer service shops. Other businesses like barber shops, gyms and restaurants are not on the immediate horizon.

DEWINE: But all of my decision is my decision and I take full responsibility for the decision.

ZELENY: But with 1 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 ORGANIZE: So I'm not going to question his -- really his initial actions, but the continue actions in not opening it up are what's really bothering a lot of people.

ZELENY: Lisa Knapp helped organize Open Ohio, one of the groups protesting at the state capitol that believes the Governor is 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 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 patch work 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.


ALLEN: While many U.S. states are reopening, a turf war is brewing in California after Governor Gavin Newsom ordered beaches in one county to close. His action comes after 90,000 people packed Newport Beach during a heat wave last weekend. And now officials from two Orange County cities are pushing back hard taking the Governor to court to challenge his order. They argue the closure is political and that the county has the lowest coronavirus deaths per capita in the state. We'll keep you posted on that one.

Well, multiple administration sources from the Trump White House tell CNN that plans are being drawn up to punish China for coronavirus missteps possibly with sanctions or even canceling U.S. debt. President Trump made his frustration with China clear on Thursday.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: One of two things happened. They either didn't do it, you know, they couldn't do it from the confidence standpoint or they let it spread. And I, you know, I would say probably it got out of control. You know, there's another case that how come they stopped all the planes and all of the traffic from going into China but they didn't stop the planes and the traffic from coming into the United States and from coming into all over Europe. I mean, look at Italy. Look what happened to Italy. And it's very lucky -- this country is very lucky and I'm very lucky that I put the ban on China.


ALLEN: The President also claims to have seen evidence the virus originated at a lab in China but the intelligence community says the investigation is still ongoing. Writing in a rare public statement that they will, quote, rigorously examine emerging information and intelligence to determine whether the outbreak began with contact with infected animals or if it was the result of an accident at a laboratory in Wuhan.

Well, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has recovered from COVID. Now he's back leading the country and he has a plan. We'll have a live report in London about that coming up.

Also, in the suburbs of Paris a growing sense despair sparking violence. We'll take you there live and tell you what's behind it.




BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: 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) ALLEN: British Prime Minister there Boris Johnson. He's recovered from COVID. He's back at work and Nina dos Santos joins me live from London. He certainly has a lot on his plate -- Nina.

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, he does. Boris Johnson appearing there in the first coronavirus daily press briefing that he's attended in a number of weeks after spending time in intensive care himself recovering from coronavirus. And then of course, having a happier hospital visit earlier on this week for the birth of his son with his fiancee, Carrie Symonds.

It has to be said that some observers watching that press conference said that, you know, they were slightly alarmed that the Prime Minister sounded quite breathless. Obviously, you can hear that it's taking some time to recover from COVID-19 for himself and other people who have been so badly affected.

But his message was, we're over the worse but we want to avoid a second peak, a second spike in the infections. And for that reason there is no time now to be complacent about these lockdown strategies. He's asking people to still adhere to them until they have further work from the government. And the next question is, when will that be? Well, he signaled that the government would start to unveil some kind of strategy to ending the lockdown as soon as next week.

This could involve a staggered opening of schools. Whether or not it's time for big gatherings, that potentially according to government scientists could be premature at this point. But there is some light at the end of the tunnel. That was the message from Boris Johnson.

Now one of the things that the government is trying to avoid, Natalie, is to see the infection rate, the rate upon which one person can pass the virus on to more than one person. They don't want it to get above 1. They don't want one person to be able to infect more than one person -- the R-rate as the scientists so deem this. They don't want it to get above one. They don't want one person to be able to infect more than one person because then the virus can take off exponentially.

Currently the U.K. because of its lockdown strategy that was imposed on March 23 has managed to bring that R-rate down to below one. But they don't want to see anything to go above it. So that's the kind of strategy you're going to hear over the course of the next week to come. As the U.K. starts to unveil how it's going to plan to crank backup the cogs of the economy.

One of the key things that they're going to have to do though before they do that, is to get a grip on the testing situation in the U.K. Now remember today is an important day because it marks the day by which the government set a self-imposed deadline of testing 100,000 people per day. And there was hefty skepticism going up until today that the government would actually manage to reach that target. Well, today in the early morning radio shows, also yesterday evening in some of the political debate shows, the government was key to stress that they believe they are likely to meet that target or very, very close to it. Some believe that they believe would be a huge accomplishment. Mind you though that the latest death toll in the U.K., still stands at over 26,700 people in the last two months -- Natalie.

ALLEN: Staggering. All right, Nina dos Santos for us there in London. Thanks so much, Nina.


Russia's Prime Minister has tested positive for coronavirus. Mikhail Mishustin made the announcement during a videoconference 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 acting Prime Minister. Russia reporting more than 100,000 confirmed cases with over 1,000 deaths.

Almost 300 people died of the virus in France on Thursday. That is certainly tragic. But as you can see here on this graph, it is part of a wider decline in the number of daily deaths through the end of April. Still, this graph doesn't tell the whole story about who is getting sick. For that let's turn to CNN's Melissa Bell joining us now live in Paris. Melissa, hello to you.

MELISSA BELL, CNN PARIS CORRESPONDENT: Natalie, good morning. It is the 1st of May here. Normally it is a celebration of workers here in France observed by the unions. Last year by the yellow vests. This year of course none of those demonstrations are taking place. But the unions have called for action at people's windows. For people to make as much noise as they can to mark their rights. Pointing to the fact that coronavirus -- and this is true pretty much everywhere in the world -- has acted as a sort of amplifiers of societal differences that were perhaps more carefully hidden.

Here in France you have this added factor, Natalie, that by its geography, by its history, there is very much Paris that is clearly defined and then it's outskirts. What we're been seeing is not just that there are two very different confinements being lived side-by- side but also how much Paris profoundly depends by its often-maligned suburbs.


BELL (voice-over): For some, France's stay-at-home order means living in fear. Diallo Boubacar, one of the 600 people who live in this social housing complex just outside of Paris, says that COVID-19 arrived here in early March.

One apartment is being disinfected after its occupant suspected of having coronavirus was found dead inside. Many including Boubacar were sick with COVID symptoms and told to stay in the building, where people live, four or five to a flat, but where many more will gather in the kitchens at mealtimes because, he says, many of them lost their jobs, and have nothing to eat.

DIALLO BOUBACAR, FRENCH RESIDENT (through translator): They have abandoned us, and yet, here we are, the workers. We participate in the enrichment of France, and we contribute to social security, and pay taxes. So, when it comes to contributing, we are not excluded. But now, with this crisis, we are. Our rights have been suspended.

BELL: At the local train station, people continue to travel in and out of Paris, for many of them working from home is just not an option.

TAHA BOUHALFS, FRENCH JOURNALIST (through translator): They are postman, train workers, supermarket employees, hospital workers, nurses, delivery men and the self-employed. It is they who bring sushi to the guys in their homes. It is they who allows society to continue to function. They are carrying society and bearing the greatest toll.

BELL (on camera): It's only six minutes on the train from Paris' Gare du Nord to the station here at Saint-Denis, and yet it feels like a different world. One simple figure in the first week in April, mortality rates inside Paris were up 174 percent on a year before. That same figure here in Saint-Denis is 295 percent.

(voice-over): At the Saint-Denys de l'Estree Church, the priest has just held his third COVID funeral in as many days.

VINCENT LASCEVE, PRIEST, SAINT DENYS DE L'ESTREE (through translator): What I can say is that maybe the confinement is harder here because of the living conditions for many. There is a much higher density of population with many more people living in each residence than say in the fancier apartments of Paris.

BELL: A stay-at-home policy that is not only harder to endure here, but one that is also more heavily enforced. France's interior minister says the number of coronavirus police checks in Saint Denys De L'estree, is twice the national average.

Taha Bouhafs told me that the epidemic has only amplified differences all too keenly felt here. He shows us a spot where last week, that sense of injustice turned into several nights of confrontation with the police.

BOUHAFS (through translator): There is already this social tension because people here are considered second-class citizens. They have the impression that they are abandoned and that there is a disdain and this violence that is unleashed on them.

BELL: Bouhafs says it is only a matter of time before the violence that he documented here last week erupts once more.


BELL: And this epidemic, Natalie, but also the measures that are taken to combat it, which act as such magnifying glasses on so many issues, will continue some more time. France is not due to begin the lifting of that partial lockdown until the 11th of May and even then, it will take some time for the country to get like what it was -- Natalie.


ALLEN: Right. So many around the world can feel that for sure. Melissa Bell, thank you for that report.

Germany is starting to pull back more restrictions. Here's just some of what Europe's largest economy is doing. Religious services can now be held under strict hygiene measures. Playgrounds, museums, galleries and memorial sites also will be allowed to reopen but need hygiene plans. Chancellor Angela Merkel says more measures are due Wednesday. The government is looking at how to reopen daycare centers, more schools and put the German soccer league back on track.

Well, when Shakespeare said all the world's a stage, ballet dancers took it seriously. Next here, we show you how these professionals are still putting on a show while on lockdown.


ALLEN: After a two-month hiatus, NASCAR is heading back to the racetrack this month. And the racing league is ready to go at full throttle with back-to-back events. But one thing will be missing.


There will be no fans in the stands because social distancing would be almost impossible. NASCAR is one of the first major sports leagues to announce the resumption of its season.

Ballet dancers might be out of work right now, but music is still going in their hearts. And in France dancers from the Paris Opera House found a way to raise the curtains on a show. CNN's Anna Stewart shows us the good stuff.


ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): Opera houses, theaters and ballet schools all closed.

But for the world's top dancers, the show must go on. From a kitchen for the Bolshoi, to door frames and balconies for the Czech National Ballet. And now dancers from the Paris Opera House dancing to Prokofiev's "Romeo and Juliet" from home. Despite being filmed on cell phones, these performances are powerful, resonating with people all over the world.

CEDRIC KLAPISCH, DIRECTOR: Because they shop themselves at home, I think that there is something about being normal human beings, you know, because they're exceptional dancers, but they are also fathers and mothers.

STEWART: They perform this as a thank you to all the essential workers saving lives and keeping the work going outside.


ALLEN: Love it.

That is CNN NEWSROOM for this hour. I'm Natalie Allen. I'll see you back hear about the same time tomorrow. The news continues right after this.