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FDA Approves Use Of Remdesivir As COVID-19 Treatment; Dozens Of States Will Be Partially Reopened By May 10; White House Blocks Dr. Anthony Fauci From Testifying At House Hearing On Coronavirus; President Trump Says He Has Seen Evidence Linking Virus To Wuhan Lab; Black-Owned Businesses Face Health, Economic Risk Amid COVID-19; CDC: Eighty Percent of Hospitalized COVID-19 Patients In Georgia Are Black; U.S. Federal Reserve Commits To Use "Full Range Of Tools" To Help Economy. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired May 2, 2020 - 06:00   ET




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A day of hope as well as uncertainty as the FDA approves the first emergency use of treatment for the coronavirus.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every patient will receive Remdesivir because the first trial showed benefit, shortened the course of illness and showed a decrease in mortality.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Families are suffering across the state and across the country and it's time to get the economy moving again.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a very contagious disease so I still think it might be a little too soon to come back out and be this close together.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There will be more dead people. Just say it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: According to a just-released report written by the CDC's principal deputy director, limited testing, the continued influx of infected travelers from overseas all fueled the devastating early spread of this virus.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This virus doesn't take the weekends off. This virus doesn't go home because it's a beautiful, sunny day around our coasts.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is NEW DAY WEEKEND with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: And there is the sun coming up a little bit here in Atlanta. We are so grateful to have you with us whether you're here in the United States or around the world.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you. We are entering a really important period in the fight against coronavirus. More states are reopening. Right now, more than 30 states are easing restrictions, dozens of states will be partially reopened in some way by May 10th.

PAUL: And starting this weekend, a trip to the mall may be an option for you if you're in a particular state. Mall giant Simon Property Group says they are reopening 49 malls across 10 different states and in California, there's tension over that state's approach. A large crowd you see here rallied in Huntington Beach yesterday. They're protesting the governor's order to close all beaches in Orange County.

BLACKWELL: And of course we're looking ahead to the month of May, but we're also learning about some key moments in March that led us to this point. There's a new CDC report that lists international travel, a lack of testing, asymptomatic spreaders as some of the factors that accelerated the spread of coronavirus in the early days of the outbreak here in the U.S..

PAUL: And there is one particular hesitation for a lot of states -- the lack of testing, tracing and treatments. There's some optimistic news on the treatment front now, the FDA giving emergency use authorization to the experimental drug Remdesivir that allows it to be used to treat hospital patients with severe COVID-19 cases.

BLACKWELL: Let's bring in CNN Health Reporter Jacqueline Howard. Jacqueline, good morning to you. I want you to offer some clarity this morning. What is this FDA authorization, what isn't it and and what should people expect from Remdesivir?

JACQUELINE HOWARD, CNN HEALTH REPORTER: Yes. So the authorization basically now gives a thumbs up to distribute and administer Remdesivir as a treatment for the most severe COVID-19 patients who are in the hospital. So that's what the authorization does.

Now, the drug itself, Remdesivir, it's not a cure. What was found in an initial study on Remdesivir is that while the drug was found to shorten recovery time, so among patients who took the drug, they were able to recover in 11 days compared with 15 days among patients who took a placebo.

So the drug did shorten recovery time, but there were still patients taking the drug who sadly still died and so the drug is promising in that it shortens recovery time, but it's not a knockout cure at this point.

PAUL: All right. So Jacqueline, we want to talk about this new CDC report as well that says there's a lack of testing and continued travel that fueled this early transmission of the pandemic in the U.S.. What's the takeaway there?

HOWARD: That's right. Really there were four factors that the CDC study found to really drive the spread of the coronavirus here in the U.S.. So like you said, travel and lack of testing were two. The other two were large social events or like mass gatherings and then the fourth was the introduction of the virus in high-density areas.

So if you remember back in March, there were a lot of outbreaks in nursing homes for instance. That's an area where there are not just a lot of people, but a lot of vulnerable people and that was found to drive the spread of the virus.

So by looking back at what really happened in March, that can help us plan and better prepare for future outbreaks.

PAUL: All right. Jacqueline Howard, always appreciate your insight. Thank you. Each of the states partially reopening by May 10th is taking its own approach to easing these restrictions. So there are different measures in different states. Some are choosing to go slow steady, easing restrictions in phases. There are others that are moving right away towards opening businesses such as restaurants and theaters.


BLACKWELL: Yes. CNN's Alison Kosik is with us now to take a look at these. Alison, good morning to you. Some are moving to safer-at-home instead of stay-at-home, stay-at-home 2.0 or just getting rid of it altogether. Walk us through some of the approaches to easing these restrictions.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christi and Victor. Yes. As we turn the calendar from April to May, we are seeing at least 30 states lift some of their restrictions and partially reopen and if you look at the way some states are doing it, pretty much everybody really doing it very differently, you know, from Idaho to Illinois, from Arkansas to Alabama. Alabama for instance, all employers, retail stores and beaches will be allowed to open. Illinois, state parks and golf courses, retail shops will be allowed to open.

But there is one constant with all of these openings with the warning of course to keep socially distant. Not everywhere, though, is having these restrictions lifted. North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper, for instance, has extended the stay-at-home order another week with the expectation to reopen in phases beginning on May 8th.

Look at what's happening in Michigan. The governor there extending the state's emergency order until May 28th. She's still allowing a number of businesses to open, for example businesses that do -- that do business outside like construction and real estate. Those allowed to open on May 7th, but a number of businesses will remain closed. That's as she says that the number of cases and deaths in the state grow.

In California, I'm seeing a mixed message there. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti saying he doesn't think the city will reopen anytime before May 15th. That's despite Governor Gavin Newsom's announcement that he thinks that it's going to be days, not weeks away from lifting restrictions. So really if you look across the country, it's sort of this patchwork quilt of re-openings and restrictions being lifted, others of course keeping restrictions in place, Christi and Victor.

BLACKWELL: Alison Kosik for us there in New York. Alison, thanks.

PAUL: So even as businesses begin to reopen, what you're going to find when you visit is going to look much different depending on where you are. Stores are getting ready to welcome back shoppers. They're putting in place some new rules, though, that follow social distancing.

BLACKWELL: CNN's Natasha Chen looks at how this is happening in Georgia.


NATASHA CHEN: In Georgia, the state that has taken the most aggressive measures to reopen the economy, the new month brought with it an entirely new place to get out of the house -- the mall.

ANIELA RESPRESS, AREA GENERAL MANAGER, NORTH AMERICAN PROPERTIES: First of all, it's been scary the first time when we heard about it, but also exciting for our tenants to be able to open back up.

CHEN: The state's shelter-in-place order officially expired Thursday night for most Georgians, though Governor Brian Kemp extended the order for the elderly and vulnerable populations to shelter in place through mid-June. Still his executive order allowed retail stores to open back up on Friday, about a week after restaurants, barbershops and even tattoo parlors. At Avalon, an upscale outdoor mall in Atlanta suburbs, management readied the grounds for shopping in the socially distant era.

RESPRESS: Well, all of the common area furniture have been placed six feet apart.

CHEN: And the walkways are one-way only, but only one-fifth of about 100 shops at Avalon were open and many of those were either curbside pickup or by appointment only. Altar'd State, a women's clothing store, was one of the few that had its doors open.

MADISON BURNHAM, ALTAR'D STATE ASSOCIATE: And of course there always is like that fear of just like maybe that one person will walk in who has it, but we are also taking really good precautions to just make sure that that doesn't happen and have a lot of sterilizing everything, you know, we have the option to wear masks, we wear gloves at the cash drop just to make sure, you know, we're not touching anything.

CHEN: New protocols include steaming every article of clothing that a customer tries on and regularly disinfecting the fitting rooms and because only 10 people including employees are allowed inside at any time, there was a line of customers waiting outside. We found Kate Martin at the end of that line.

KATE MARTIN, SHOPPER: I'm a nurse, so instinctively I think like it's still too contagious. It's a very contagious disease, so I still think it might be a little too soon to come back out and be this close together, so we'll see.

CHEN: But you're here.

MARTIN: I am. CHEN: She's wearing a mask, which the mall is also giving to its customers, but still not everyone is.

MARTIN: They should be, but they don't take it seriously.

CHEN: The retired nurse had a message for the young and the maskless who could have been unknowingly passing it to more vulnerable populations.

MARTIN: You might not get sick, but they will and they will get it from you. Do it for your grandmother.

CHEN: Natasha Chen, CNN, Alpharetta, Georgia.


BLACKWELL: Now, a lot of these states are reopening against the advice of a lot of medical experts.


PAUL: Yes. Epidemiologist, public health expert and CNN political commentator Dr. Abdul El-Sayed is with us now. Dr. Sayed, so good to have you with us. First of all, your reaction to the reopenings and some of the measures that we see being take -- being taken. How effective do you think they'll be?

ABDUL EL-SAYED, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, Victor and Christi, we've all seen those horror movies where the protagonist finally confronts their tormentor and you think that they've gotten them, but then the tormentor's not quite dead yet and comes back and that's my fear with how we've seen these reopenings. We've gone through this very painful moment of social distancing and yes, let's be honest, there have been costs to the economy, to people's lives, but we are doing this so that we could save lives.

In a lot of ways, we did. You look at the overall mortality numbers, they're a lot lower than they could have been, but the question is are we letting up too soon? Did we go through all of this pain only to see this come roar back because we didn't complete the mission?

And that's the -- that's the challenge here and so this is really concerning. I think we have to be honest about the fact that this is not gone yet. We have not built up the testing capacity or the tracing capacity to be able to make sure that we are able to contain this and so social distancing is still recommended by the majority of public health experts and this is where this is really concerning.

BLACKWELL: Let me ask you about the biggest medical headline of the last, I guess, 12 to 24 hours, Remdesivir, the FDA are giving this emergency youth authorization -- use authorization for the antiviral treatment for coronavirus. Gilead released the results of its study midweek. By Friday, there's this EUA. What's your reaction to the authorization and the timeline?

EL-SAYED: Well, look, the timeline's extremely fast and it does speak to the fact that we don't really have strong medications to be treating COVID-19 at the frontlines. Remdesivir has shown some promise in these studies. I want to be clear though, there was no significant difference in mortality, the likelihood of death for patients who were on Remdesivir versus not on Remdesivir.

The big outcome here is that those who were on Remdesivir had a significantly lower time in the hospital, which is a good endpoint, but this is by no means a cure for COVID-19 and we have to be honest about the fact that this is a drug reserved for folks who already have very severe symptoms. At the same time, it's good to know that there is something that physicians will have on their arsenal to be able to take this on.

PAUL: There's also a headline this morning about this team of pandemics, pandemic experts that have released a report saying we can expect this to last for at least the next 18 to 24 months, up to two years essentially. They give three different scenarios.

They say the most potent scenario is that a larger wave is going to hit in the fall and the winter, there will be smaller waves through 2021 and it's a pattern that requires reinstitution of mitigation measures to fall -- in the fall to drive down spread and prevent overwhelm of healthcare systems.

What do you see in terms of the pattern, Doctor? What do local and state governments need to be doing right now to expect reoccurrence and emerging in the fall?

EL-SAYED: Yes. So this really gets back to the first piece of the conversation we shared. The fact that we're reopening so quickly really does set us up for the kind of resurgence that these experts are potentially predicting. At the same time, we have to be really thoughtful about the fact that this group, it's unique insofar as they both looked at the history, what we can learn from past pandemics including the 1918 flu pandemic and then also trying to interpret the epidemiologic data that's come out of this COVID-19 pandemic itself and what they've come to is that there are three potential outcomes.

The first is that we just have a series of up-and-down sawtooth resurgences that all look something like what we just came out of or are coming out of right now, but then one where we have this major resurgence in the fall and my hope is that public officials on the front line making decisions about what comes next really do heed the evidence that if we do not do what we need to do right now, the impact of that second curve could be so much bigger in terms of lives lost, in terms of disease experienced and then yes, of course in terms of the impact of the mitigation efforts that we'll have to see happen on the health and well-being of our economy.

And so let's not let up too early, let's make sure that we pay attention to what history has taught us, what this epidemic is teaching us and let's make sure that we're doing what's best for the public's health and for our future.

PAUL: All right. Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, always good to have your perspective. Thank you so much for taking time for us. BLACKWELL: Thank you, Doctor.

EL-SAYED: Thank you for having me. Stay safe.

PAUL: You as well.


BLACKWELL: So the White House has blocked Dr. Anthony Fauci from appearing before the Senate -- I'm sorry -- the House next week, but can he attend a Senate hearing? The reason they gave for not allowing him to testify about the nation's coronavirus response, that's coming up.

PAUL: And if you need a bit of an escape, celebrities are live streaming across the globe in a 24-hour event. It's called the "Call to Unite." Oprah Winfrey, Julie Roberts, lots are participating. Everyone is invited. We'll tell you more.


PAUL: Nineteen minutes past the hour right now and the White House is blocking Dr. Anthony Fauci from testifying next week at a House hearing on the coronavirus pandemic. Now, this is even though he's a key member of the task force coordinating the government's response to the crisis.

BLACKWELL: He's the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.


House lawmakers want answers about the coronavirus, but he is expected to testify the following week at a Senate hearing. So why block him from speaking to House members? CNN's Kristen Holmes is at the White House. Do we have an answer to that, Kristen? Good morning.

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Victor and Christi. Well, the White House is saying that it would be, quote, "counterproductive" for Fauci to testify with this ongoing response to coronavirus, which of course makes sense. However, as you noted, that in two weeks, he is supposed to testify in front of the Senate.

So what will change in that two weeks? We know that the coronavirus response will still be going on then and one thing that we should note of course is that a lot of people are asking questions as to whether or not this is political.

We know that the House controlled by Democrats and the Senate by Republicans and one thing about Dr. Fauci, you know, you mentioned he's a key person on the task force, but he has often contradicted President Trump. Even just in the last two weeks, he said at one point that the U.S. did not have the capabilities to really ramp up the testing that it needed to do. President Trump almost immediately hit back at that. And we also heard just earlier this week Fauci saying that he was a little bit more cautious. He didn't know about those easing of the social distancing, the reopening of the states, something we know President Trump is all in on.

PAUL: So Kristen, I want to ask you about the White House and they're now trying, as we understand it, to kind of walk back some of what President Trump has said about the strength of the information linking the coronavirus to that lab in Wuhan, China. What are the details there? What is the movement here?

HOLMES: Well, Christi, look, this all starts back on Thursday when President Trump said that he had seen evidence that had a high degree of confidence that this virus had originated in a lab in Wuhan, but he offered no proof. Now, this came hours after a very rare statement from his own intelligence community that said they were still looking into the cause of the virus.

Now officials, as you say, kind of walking it back, saying it's a little bit of both, that the majority of the intelligence community, they believe it originated in a lab, but stressing also that there are still some areas of the intelligence committee that don't -- community, excuse me, that don't necessarily believe that, that they're still looking into it there. So clearly kind of hedging the president's comments.

Now, there has been a lot of talk about retaliation against China for its handling of the virus. This is what President Trump said yesterday about the potential of tariffs.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're going to see what happens. A lot of things are happening with respect to China. We're not happy obviously with what happened. This is a bad situation all over the world, 182 countries, but we'll be having a lot to say about that. It's certainly an option.


HOLMES: So of course there he just kind of stresses that it's an option, that they're thinking about it, but I do want to note I've spoken to multiple White House officials who say tariffs are certainly on the table when it comes to some form of retaliation against China.

PAUL: All righty. Kristen Holmes live from the White House for us. Always good to see you. Thank you, Kristen. We have some new details for you this morning as well regarding former Vice President Joe Biden. Once again he is denying that he ever assaulted former Senate staffer Tara Reade. He addressed the allegations last night at a virtual fundraiser saying, quote, "The claim is simply not true. It did not happen."

BLACKWELL: Reade alleges that in 1993, Biden forced her against a wall in the halls of Congress and sexually assaulted her. In addition to his denial, the former vice president has asked the Secretary of the Senate to release any documents related to Reade's allegations.

Well, still to come, we know that the COVID-19 virus is hitting the African-American community disproportionately and in Georgia, a lot of the restrictions have been eased. So black business owners are trying to answer this question -- how to reopen without exacerbating that gap?




PAUL: Twenty-eight minutes past the hour. Now, we know African- Americans are being hit disproportionately by COVID-19. there's a new study by the CDC that found, in the state of Georgia specifically, 80 percent of hospitalized COVID-19 patients in March were African- American.

BLACKWELL: Now, as Georgia leads the country in easing restrictions, some African-American business owners are balancing protecting their businesses and protecting their mostly African-American customers.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just south of Atlanta, Gocha's Breakfast Bar is open, but business is slow.

GOCHA HAWKINS, OWNER, GOCHA'S BREAKFAST BAR: We went from a full restaurant of 120-seat capacity to maybe two or three people trinkling in.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Owner Gocha Hawkins is offering dine-in services days after Georgia Governor Brian Kemp eased restrictions on restaurants, but because does she think this is right for all restaurants?

HAWKINS: I didn't think it was a good idea because just the masses of people in restaurants, the not social distancing, I just -- I thought it was too soon. Too much too soon.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Carlos Davis' barber shop in Albany is open too and he's afraid.

CARLOS DAVIS, OWNER, CUT-OLOGY: Fear of what's out here, but in fear if you don't get back to opening, you won't have a business to open.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a challenge that some African-American business owners who serve mostly African-American customers are weighing -- how to reopen without contributing to the racial disparity of coronavirus cases. According to the most recent census, African- Americans account for 32 percent of Georgia's population.


But in cases in which race is reported, African-Americans account for 40 percent of coronavirus cases. Dyan Matthews is president of the South Fulton Chamber of Commerce, a group represents businesses in eight north Georgia cities, most are majority African-Americans.

DYAN MATTHEWS, PRESIDENT & CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, SOUTH FULTON CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: The biggest fear is that a lot of the non- essential businesses are just going to end up having to open up all their doors. If that's going to continue raising the numbers in our community, putting us even more and more at risk.

BLACKWELL: Glenn Singfield II co-owns The Flint restaurant in Albany.

GLENN SINGFIELD II, CO-OWNER, THE FLINT RESTAURANT: I spoke with my governor, mayor, all that. However, we have to do what's best for our community and our people and our employees.

BLACKWELL: That's why some of these business owners are taking steps to keep themselves and their customers safe.

GOCHA HAWKINS, OWNER, GOCHA'S BREAKFAST BAR: They're only coming in one or two at a time.

BLACKWELL: Gocha's says that she'll limit capacity to 10, although a total of six customers have dined in each day this week. Carlos' barbers are wearing face-masks and cutting by appointment only.

CARLOS DAVIS, OWNER, CUT-OLOGY BARBERING SHOP: It's kind of a gamble, but really, kind of don't have a choice.

BLACKWELL: Glenn is not taking a chance.

SINGFIELD: Anybody getting sick and passing away or getting sick period will hurt us personally. We are standing where we're going to remain safe for a little while.


BLACKWELL: That's a tough choice for a lot of those business owners. Next hour, we will talk more about the effect of COVID-19 on the economy, and after another devastating report of unemployment numbers and filing for unemployment benefits, we're going to talk about how the government is considering helping in the next round of potential relief.

PAUL: The COVID-19 crisis in Russia is skyrocketing. We have some new numbers that are just in. We're going to show you a massive spike in infections, and now healthcare workers are getting sick. It says they're overwhelmed. We have some new images we want to share with you from inside one distressed hospital. That's next.



PAUL: So grateful to have you with us here, 36 minutes past the hour. The coronavirus pandemic is starting to spread across Russia now. Cases there just surpassed 124,000, its biggest spike to date. And one of those infected is the country's prime minister. Now, critics have slammed President Vladimir Putin for initially underplaying the extent of the pandemic and now healthcare workers say they're suffering and they're overwhelmed.

BLACKWELL: CNN's Senior International Correspondent, Matthew Chance is with us from London -- and you've got some pictures to show us that really illustrate how stressed the health system -- services there are in Russia. But Putin initially said that Russia had this under control. What are we seeing?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, he did. I mean, it was just -- I mean, what was it? Two, three weeks ago that he came out on public television in Russia and said look, basically, don't worry to the citizens of the country. We have this under control. But the situation has turned around dramatically. I mean, just in the past hour or so, the Russian authorities have updated the casualty figures, they're now saying there are 125,000 people approximately who have been confirmed as having been infected with the coronavirus.

And there are now nine and a half thousand people they've identified in the past 24 hours. And that's the biggest daily jump that they've had since they began taking these records. And so, clearly, the situation is still spiraling upwards. And that's been reinforced by some of the video that's appeared on social media, that's come from medical workers and nurses and doctors who are working in the overcrowded hospitals across Russia.

One video in particular showed five medical workers who had all fallen ill and they were being put in beds inside a laundry cupboard in a hospital in southern Russia because they simply didn't have enough space for them outside in the wards with the other patients. And you know, the understanding is the expectation is that, that's the kind of scene that we're probably going to be seeing all over Russia as its health service really starts to creak under the strain.

Another example in a video of ambulances waiting outside the main hospital in St. Petersburg which is Russia's second biggest city. You know, ambulances are taking patients to hospital with symptoms of coronavirus, of COVID-19, and they're having to wait 10 hours outside the hospital before they can even get in and deliver that patient. That's how overloaded the Russian healthcare system is at this moment, Victor and Christi.

PAUL: All right, Matthew Chance, we certainly appreciate it so much, thank you.

BLACKWELL: Well, Britain is shifting its focus to ramping up coronavirus testing as Downing Street promises a plan next week to ease some lockdown measures.

PAUL: Yes, the government said it's met its goal. They test 100,000 people a day yesterday. But it later clarified more than 120,000 tests had been distributed. Not that all the tests had necessarily been completed. An important point to make there. BLACKWELL: An augmented reality company in China has joined the fight

against coronavirus. It's developed goggles that use an infrared camera to detect body temperature of people up to 3 meters away. So, people responsible for spotting fevers and potential coronavirus infections can do their job hands-free.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Compared with a thermometer, it's more convenient and safer. We can keep a safe distance.


PAUL: Well, the company is developing an enhanced version that can take the temperature of several people at once, and that's for busy places such as airports and shopping centers.

BLACKWELL: Here's a question. How does a business that deals in health and fitness operate in a health crisis? Well, the owner of a gym explains the steps that he's taken to keep himself and his customers safe as states re-open.


PAUL: So 31 states are re-opening their communities in some fashion this weekend. Well, Georgia became the first state to ease some restrictions.

BLACKWELL: Yes, Governor Brian Kemp allowed salons and tattoo parlors, bowling alleys and malls expected to open on Monday. And customers are going back to those places, some of them. Andy Scholes is with us now. You spoke with the owner of a gym near Atlanta. You know, I've not been back to the gym although my gym is open. You really got to wonder, how do they keep people safe especially in that environment?


ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS REPORTER: Yes, good morning Victor and Christi. You know, many big gyms right now are staying closed, but there are small business gyms that are opening their doors and, you know, Victor, me like yourself, you know, one of the things I did every day before all this started was go to the gym. But who feels safe doing that right now?

You know, it's not an easy answer, and I went to a gym here in Georgia to find out how they're trying to provide their members a safe place to work out.


SCHOLES (voice-over): Synergy Fitness across fit gym in Suwanee, Georgia, will officially re-open its doors on Monday, and when it does, it will look very different. WILL HAMILTON, OWNER, SYNERGY GYM: This is a 10-by-10 box. The boxes

follow the guidelines of the state, they're 6 feet apart. So, this could be theoretically be someone's garage, and the idea being, can they come in the door, can they stay in their box, everything they need is here. They have minimal contact with people. Minimal contact with other equipment, and they can clean their stuff and leave with really a seamless experience.

SCHOLES: Synergy's owner Will Hamilton has spent hours on creating a plan to try to make his gym as safe as possible.

HAMILTON: Every station we have here has its own bucket, disinfectant, clean wipes. Not only can the members then clean their equipment before and after the workout which are both important. The coaches in- between classes will be staggering classes 30 minutes to give us time, not only to get the 10th person crew out and a new crew in, but also give our coaches time to make sure everything is clean. The bathrooms, the floors literally from top to bottom.

SCHOLES: Dr. Chris Hagenstad, an oncologist and member at Synergy says he feels safe returning to the gym.

CHRISTOPHER HAGENSTAD, SYNERGY GYM MEMBER: We look at an environment like this that's well ventilated, the safety measures are in place in terms of the social distancing, then we would consider this environment to be a low risk environment.

SCHOLES: While other members are not ready just yet.

CRYSTAL HARPER, SYNERGY GYM MEMBER: I do want to see the data, I want to see the trend, and I also want to feel that it's safe for me to come back, and that for my family to come back. Because it's not really about me. Yes, I am concerned about getting sick, but I'm really more concerned about some of my high-risk family members.

SCHOLES: Synergy will be following the guidelines set by the state of Georgia when they re-open, and they hope by re-opening, they can help bring back a little bit of joy to those who return.

HAMILTON: Is can we take that experience that we're safe and contained in our house and bring it back here to where we get all the culture, we get the music, we get the seeing each other's faces, we get the camaraderie that makes a place like this special. Can we just inject a little bit of that back into these workouts. And that's what we're really trying to achieve.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three, two, one, time! Good job, guys, nice work.


SCHOLES: Yes, and I talked to a lot of people about returning to their gym. And guys, about three out of four told me that they're not ready to go back just yet, and the owner of Synergy, Will Hamilton did tell me that if a member were to come down or test positive for coronavirus, that he would have to shut down again for weeks. BLACKWELL: Yes, I mean, you wonder what else can Will do? I mean, all

of the wiping down and spraying down and kind of creating different zones, looks like he's doing the best that he can. Andy, thanks so much.

SCHOLES: All right.

PAUL: Thanks, Andy. So the U.S. women's national soccer team's fight for equal pay hit a wall. A federal judge in California dismissed part of a lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation. He did so yesterday, saying, the women didn't prove discrimination under Equal Pay Act.

BLACKWELL: A spokesperson for the players says that they were shocked, disappointed by the ruling and they plan to appeal. Now, other portions of the case like better travel conditions and medical support, those are moving forward.

PAUL: So, I know you might feel like you need a bit of an escape this weekend. While celebrities from all over the world are participating in a 24-hour global live-stream event. It's called the "Call to Unite", and we're going to take you there, next.





BLACKWELL: Harmonizing over zoom is not easy. That's 98 Degrees singing here. They're part of this celebration that goes on for 24 hours, started last night where you've got some celebrities who are performing, others offering a message for this live-stream event, it's the "Call to Unite".

PAUL: Yes, Oprah Winfrey actually last night talked a lot about -- with Eckhart Tolle about how important it is to be present in this moment right now. Julia Roberts, Common, Mandy Moore, all participating as well as former President Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

BLACKWELL: And here's what they want from you. They want you to find a way to help someone else over the course of this day, make a donation, you can volunteer, share a story of hope and compassion.

PAUL: CNN entertainment reporter Chloe Melas is following what's going on. So, help us understand what else we're going to see? Really, I mean, the intention here is to move people to be able to better deal with this and maybe to see what's on the other side of it for them.

CHLOE MELAS, CNN ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER: Exactly, well, good morning. It's unlike anything that we've ever seen. I mean, recently, we had global citizen where you had musicians from all over the world get together for that live-streamed event.


But here we have like you said, thought leaders, spiritual leaders, celebrities, you know, politicians coming together to try to really unite like the name of the event, a call to unite and to help uplift everyone. So Oprah kicked things off last night with her spiritual guide, her mentor. She has done many seminars with him, they have a podcast together, Eckhart Tolle.

And you know, some of what she said which I really found resonated with me, what she said "in this moment we have an opportunity to take a step forward as a collective consciousness." She also said "I'm hoping we all come out of this more united -- each other as part of a whole." And like you said, a lot of other celebrities are going to be taking part. It ends tonight at 8:00 p.m. So you still have time.

BLACKWELL: So Avril Lavigne, she is performing later today. You spoke with her, what did she say?

MELAS: Yes, I had a chance to speak to her about her new song, "We are Warriors", about coronavirus relief efforts. Take a listen.


AVRIL LAVIGNE, SINGER: I've just been so in awe of like seeing everybody come together and like really step it up, and it's just been like insane just to realize like the people on the frontlines, like the doctors, the nurses, the hospital workers, like all the essential workers, even the mail delivery and the grocery store, they are really holding the world together right now. And I was just thinking what can I do to show my gratitude and appreciation. These guys are the true heroes right now. They are the true warriors.


MELAS: She will be performing her song this afternoon and all net proceeds from that song go to Project Hope, that she and many other celebrities are lending their platform and their voice in a hope to unite the world.

PAUL: Excellent, Chloe Melas, thank you so much, appreciate it. Listen, most dog owners would probably say man's best friend is the one thing that's keeping them sane in self-isolation. There's that little four-legged companionship. But does help break up the monotony of social distancing.

BLACKWELL: CNN's Jeanne Moos has a look.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It used to be our dogs got upset when left alone, but these days we humans are the ones feeling separation anxiety. Maintain 6 feet social distance? Tell that to a dog. There's nothing like a cuddly pet to make the couch seem less lonely. Even Billie Eilish had an armful of pops.

BILLIE EILISH, SINGER & SONGWRITER: They're very tiny. Look at the babies.

MOOS: When she performed from self-quarantine, petting as she crooned. No wonder adoptions went from almost 200 last April to well over 300 this April at the Helen Woodward Animal Center in north San Diego.

ANNA FAIRMAN, DOG OWNER: So, I was like, you know, I know I can use a buddy.

MOOS: Anna Fairman adopted Archie in mid-March as a stay-at-home order went into effect. He's since gained 10 pounds and now --

FAIRMAN: Archie is 100 percent my best friend, a huge life saver during quarantine.

MOOS: He's learned the most basic. Quarantine tricks that he's not rolling over for Broadus, the pet tortoise. Dog owners are paying tribute to their pets, spoiling them with chicken pot-pie and widening lockdown by throwing a scones and cream birthday brunch for the good boy. Talking dog memes are making the rounds.

A Colorado woman trained her golden retriever Sunny to deliver groceries to the next door neighbor in self-isolation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What a wonderful thing, and it's just a sweet thing.

MOOS: Pet owners asked vets, should my pet wear a face mask in public? The short answer no! But someone forgot to tell Priscilla. Pity the poor dogs isolated from this groundhog hugging a slice of pizza in Philadelphia.

JIMMY KIMMELL, COMEDIAN: You've heard of Punxsutawney Phil, this is Quarantine Tim.

MOOS: Predicting, Kimmel says several weeks more of quarantine, instead of burying your head in the sand during the pandemic, let a puppy bury his head in your lap and raise your spirits by levitating your wizard of a dog. Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


PAUL: I don't know. That dog didn't look like it was appreciating that --


BLACKWELL: No, and a lot of the dogs I see on social media, I really think they're ready for us to go back to work. I mean, the way some people are dressing up these dogs --

PAUL: Yes --

BLACKWELL: And torturing them at home.

PAUL: Well, it's not torture. I mean --

BLACKWELL: They don't look to be enjoying it all the time --

PAUL: Sometimes the dogs just don't know better, and if you give them a treat, they don't care, they'll do it. Just saying.

BLACKWELL: All right.