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Sources: U.S. Drawing Up Plans To Punish China; Spain Closing Largest Makeshift Hospital; Tour Company Helping To Protect Great Barrier Reef. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired May 1, 2020 - 05:30   ET



ROBYN CURNOW, CNN ANCHOR: Economies has descended into a clash of, yes, Democrats versus Republicans. Many Democratic governors have opted for a gradual approach while many Republicans and business owners are insisting on quick and broad reopenings. But the Republican governor of Ohio is standing out, extending his state's state-at-home order.

Jeff Zeleny is in the state capital, Columbus -- Jeff.


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 15th. Since then, she's had May first 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 (voice-over): She and other restaurant owners have not heard a word as Gov. Mike DeWine inches toward reopening parts of the Ohio economy.

GOV. MIKE DEWINE (R), OHIO: 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 (voice-over): 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 that.

ZELENY (voice-over): 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 -- my wife, Fran, made this -- but just putting something so you're covering your mouth and your -- and your nose.

ZELENY (voice-over): The governor's staggered reopening plans started May first with hospitals allowing procedures not requiring an overnight stay, followed on May fourth by construction and manufacturing. And May 12th, 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 (voice-over): 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, ORGANIZER, OPEN OHIO: I'm not going to question his initial actions, but the continued actions of not opening it up are what's really bothering a lot of people.

ZELENY (voice-over): 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 (voice-over): 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 time line, 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, Gov. 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


CURNOW: Thanks, Jeff, for that.

Now, another story we're following here at CNN. The outlook for U.S.- China relations may be bleak. Multiple Trump administration sources tell CNN that plans have been drawn up to punish China for coronavirus missteps.

And the president has zeroed in on a theory that the disease originated in a Chinese lab, not a wet market. And we've seen no proof of that and it certainly contradicts U.S. intelligence chiefs.

Alex Marquardt has more on all of that -- Alex.


ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY 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 with 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.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There's a lot of theories but, yes, we have people looking at it very, very strongly. We have scientific people, intelligence people, and others.


JOHN ROBERTS, FOX NEWS CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: 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 (voice-over): 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 manmade 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: He would know that -- national intelligence (ph). MARQUARDT (voice-over): 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, RESPONSE COORDINATOR, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS TASK FORCE: It's going to take us a while to really map and trace this particular virus -- map it through its experience in humans and get the scientific evidence of where this virus originated.

MARQUARDT (voice-over): With the U.S. passing 60,000 deaths and over one 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's a very sophisticated country and they could have contained it. They were either unable to or they chose not to and the world has suffered 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.

And this is exactly where the Intelligence Community hates and is afraid to be involved in politics. But clearly, they've 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.


CURNOW: Thanks, Alex.

So let's take a look now at a few key European countries and how they're dealing with this stage of the coronavirus fight.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says the U.K. is past its peak. He will reveal, he says, a plan to reopen the economy next week. But the London mayor was blunt, writing in the "Evening Standard" newspaper that pubs and restaurants may need to stay closed because of social distancing challenges. He also says masks on public transit could become a new normal.

Meanwhile, Germans will see an easing of restrictions. Chancellor Angela Merkel says people can visit playgrounds, museums, and churches with heightened hygiene practices.

And then, officials in Spain are confident hospitals can handle the coronavirus load now. Madrid's emergency field hospital is scheduled to close today.

Well, that's where we find Scott McLean. Scott is in Madrid this hour.

And I know you reported a lot from that location. What are the implications of the fact that it's closing down? Hi, Scott.


Yes, we were here a couple of weeks ago and virtually every one of these beds was filled to the capacity. And nurses and doctors were obviously working around the clock to try to discharge as many of these coronavirus patients as they possibly could. Today, the last few patients will walk out the door and this has been a long time coming.

What's amazing to think is that this facility has 1,500 beds. You can see -- you can see them in this pavilion. They stretch for quite a ways.

And there's two of these pavilions that have been operational. It's seen thousands of patients since it opened just six weeks ago. It's already seen its peak and now, obviously, it is shutting down.

It's quiet here today. Obviously, we're allowed to walk around because there's no patients here. But it hasn't always been this way, especially in the early days.

This particular facility, which opened to try to ease the burden on the overwhelmed hospital system -- this facility was plagued by mismanagement issues. In some cases there weren't enough staff, there wasn't enough equipment -- things like that.

And so, with Spain now working to loosen some of its restrictions -- in fact, adults will be able to exercise outdoors beginning tomorrow. There is worry about a second wave of infections. Authorities -- they're obviously confident that they can contain this but not so confident that they're willing to take all this down.

You see every one of these beds has a light. That's a nurse call button and it's attached to oxygen here -- not a ventilator. Obviously, those are in short supply. But oxygen, so at least patients can get a steady stream going into their mouth and nose.

So all of this will stay in place for at least the next month just in case Spain sees another spike, Robyn.


CURNOW: OK, that's interesting -- great stuff. Scott McLean, good to see you there live in Madrid. Thank you.

Now, the pandemic has shut down businesses across the world but instead of sitting idle, some companies in Australia are using their downtime to help restore one of our planet's greatest natural wonders. We take you down under just ahead.


CURNOW: Well, Australia's lockdown has brought its tourism industry to a standstill but that doesn't mean all businesses have been sitting idle.

This is the staff from Passions of Paradise, a dive tour company now using their resources to help restore Australia's Great Barrier Reef. Staff have been volunteering throughout the pandemic to help plant coral on the threatened reef.

In March, the Great Barrier Reef, we know, experienced its most widespread coral bleaching event. It was the third mass bleaching event on the reef in just five years.

Well, the founder and managing director of Passions of Paradise joins me now, Alan Wallish. He's in Cairns, Australia. Good to see you, sir.

If you could just explain to us -- I know there's a lot of technicality but what have you guys been doing while there's been lockdown down under?



WALLISH: Yes, we've taken this opportunity while we're down obviously -- the same as you because of the virus -- to actually get out to the reef and do some coral planting. This is an exercise that we've been doing for a little while anyway. And since we had the staff and the boats up until they shut us down four weeks ago, anyway, we were going out there.

And what we were doing was taking fragments of coral that we would find on the bottom of the seafloor and then replanting them back up onto the coral subsurface. And we just used a little clip. It's very simple, very cheap, very efficient.


And we can't plant about 100 corals per hour, per diver -- and in a three-day period we're able to plant 1,700 coral. So those corals -- those little baby corals are all growing away as we speak. And hopefully, when we can start taking like yourself back to the Great Barrier Reef, we'll be introducing you to our new baby corals.

CURNOW: Oh, that's fantastic.

And I think what's important here is that is this is a very specific, small, concentrated effort by local operators and you're each doing your bit in your local sites. This is -- this is about a concentrated targeted effort, isn't it?

WALLISH: That's right. I mean, yes, everybody does their bit.


WALLISH: So what we want to do is make the -- make the world a better place. And what we can do out here on the Great Barrier Reef is protect our sites that we take our tourists to. And one of the ways we can do that is to nurture our coral and -- you know, by just adding to the mix that's out there already. It gives us an opportunity to provide good coral cover so that when our tourists come out they see a very healthy reef.

And it's also good for the scientific community as well because we've got a real-time laboratory happening out on the reef. And this gives really important data back to the laboratories.

CURNOW: Yes, it certainly is an interesting collaboration between science and tourism.

And just talk us through what these coral nurseries are like, as well. I see there's also been some of that. That in itself sounds just delightful -- a coral nursery.

WALLISH: Yes, that's actually a lot of fun.

What they are is -- we just have -- think of a doorframe -- aluminum doorframe on your -- on your front door. We put them about five inches underneath the water and just attach them to some floats. Then we find broken coral on the bottom from the area and we cable-tie them onto those -- onto those frames. And then within about three weeks, they graft themselves onto the frame and then the coral starts growing.

So from just a little coral fragment about that big, within about six months or so will have something three or four times that. And we now have a colony of corals and we'll have that colony now forever. And what we can do is use that to (audio gap) pieces of coral and transplant them onto the reef.

So it's like a holistic thing. We've actually ended up with our own little coral nurseries which will propagate coral for the dive sites that we go.

CURNOW: I know this has been tough financially and economically for many people around the world -- certainly, hitting the tourism industry where you are but has this been sort of a little shining light of positivity amidst all of this? That you've been able to have the time to create and nurture these new little baby pieces of coral.

WALLISH: I have to say it's probably the only thing giving us a bit of a smile at the moment.


WALLISH: But (audio gap) being out on the reef. We love our environment. I mean, we just love the reef to death. And so to be able to just interact with it and help it, this is just -- this puts a smile on our face all the time.

Our staff just love being in the water. They're dive instructors. And so, you know, this is giving us an opportunity to keep our staff busy, keep their skill levels up, and do some useful work on the reef for science.

Yes, it hasn't been a good time. Like you -- like yourselves in America, the whole of Australia is shut down, although we have been given permission as of tomorrow to start having picnics. So, you know, it's a very, very weird world at the moment so being able to get out on the reef and do a little bit of reef work is -- yes, it's saving our minds, so to speak.

CURNOW: Well, at least also then you can have a picnic tomorrow. Good on you. Thanks so much. Really appreciate speaking to Allan.

WALLISH: You're welcome.

CURNOW: Well done to you and all of your team of being out there and just making a little bit of a difference. Director of Passions --

WALLISH: Stay happy and it would be great to see you over here in Australia when all this is over.

CURNOW: Yes. I was actually born in Australia, in Perth. Spent many years also living in Sydney. So I might not sound like it but I am a bit of an Aussie.

But it's great -- that's why it's great to see you all of you pulling together on this -- on this pretty big deal.

Have a wonderful weekend.

WALLISH: Thank you very much.

CURNOW: All the best.

WALLISH: Thank you very much.


So, you're watching CNN. Still to come, CNN's own Anderson Cooper is a dad. This is the best news. Let's focus on the good news.

We'll show you the moment he told the world about his new pride and joy. Look at the little guy -- oh.



CURNOW: Congratulations are in order for CNN's own Anderson Cooper who is now a proud dad of a baby boy called Wyatt Morgan Cooper. There he is there.

He made the announcement on Thursday during a televised town hall. What a cute baby. Listen to that moment and I do suggest perhaps you get yourself a tissue.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR, ANDERSON COOPER 360: I just wanted to take a moment to share with you some joyful news of my own. On Monday, I became a father. I've never actually said that before out

loud and it still kind of astonishes me. I'm a dad. I have a son and I want you to meet him.

This is Wyatt Cooper. He is three days old. He's named after my dad who died when I was 10 years old. I hope I can be as good a dad as he was.

My son's middle name is Morgan, which is a family name on my mom's side. I know my mom and dad liked the name Morgan because while I was going through her things recently I found a list they'd made 52 years ago when they were trying to think of names for me. Morgan was on the list.

So, that's Wyatt Morgan Cooper, my son. He was -- he was 7.2 pounds at birth. And he is sweet, and soft, and healthy, and I am beyond happy.

As a gay kid, I never thought it would be possible to have a child and I'm so grateful for all those who paved the way and the doctors and nurses and everyone involved in my son's birth.

Most of all, I am eternally grateful to a remarkable surrogate who carried Wyatt, watched over him lovingly, tenderly, and gave birth to him. It's an extraordinary blessing which she and all surrogates give to families who can't have children.


My surrogate has a beautiful family of her own -- an amazingly supportive husband. I'm also so thankful for all the support that they have given Wyatt and me. And she has kids of her own and I appreciate their support as well. My family is blessed to have this family in our lives.

I do wish my mom and my dad and my brother Carter were alive to meet Wyatt, but I'd like to believe that they can see him. I imagine them all together, arms around each other, smiling and laughing and watching, looking down on us.

I'm happy to know that their love is alive in me and in Wyatt and that our family continues new life and new love.


CURNOW: Just wonderful news there. Congrats to Anderson and to Wyatt.

I hope your weekend is full of blessings, too, big and small. Thanks for your company. I'm Robyn Curnow. "NEW DAY" is next.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: By this weekend, more than half of our states will have started to reopen. Pain and frustration --

TEXAS PROTESTER: Open Texas now.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You do have a right to fight for your inalienable rights.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because people are going to go back to more association, it's very likely that they'll be a huge repeat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a chance the U.S. will have a COVID-19 vaccine by January.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES, NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH: That's an assumption that it's going to be safe and effective and we're going to be able to do it quickly. Each of those are maybe likely. That's what I mean when I say by January we'll do it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You certainly don't want to put an unsafe or an infected vaccine out to the populous.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Friday, May first -- welcome to May.