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More Countries Approach Reopening; Some Retailers Reopen; Engineering Professors Study the Power of a Cough; Boris Johnson Names Son After Doctors Who Saved His Life; Britain's Response to Deadly Crisis; Top Court to Heart Challenges to Netanyahu-Gantz Deal; Race to Develop COVID-19 Vaccine; Major Airlines to Require Passengers to Wear Face Masks; Michael Jordan at His Greatest. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired May 3, 2020 - 02:00   ET




ANNA COREN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Sunny weather proves just too tempting for some. Signs of a lockdown fatigue in some areas of the U.S. still under threat from the coronavirus.

Most U.S. states are easing restrictions but the new normal is not business as usual.

From player to pop culture icon, we look at "The Last Dance," a new series of documents of basketball legend Michael Jordan's final season.

Hello and welcome to CNN NEWSROOM, I'm Anna Coren.


COREN: We begin in the U.S., where many states are cautiously coming back to life amid concerns some of them are going too far too fast. More than 30 states, over half the country, are now easing coronavirus restrictions to some degree.

Picture perfect weather drew crowds on to the National Mall in Washington, even though officials asked people not to cluster. They were watching a military flyover honoring health care workers and first responders.

New York's Central Park was also busy. The city's mayor told CNN that, for the most part, New Yorkers are complying.


MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D-NY), NEW YORK CITY: But families have been doing that the right way and people are overwhelmingly abiding by that social distancing. More and more people are putting on the face coverings.

We're giving them out for free today, all over the city, to make it easier. So New Yorkers have been pretty amazing in following the rules where it's tough.


COREN: In the meantime Governor Andrew Cuomo announced, for the first time ever, the subway in the city that never sleeps will shut down each night for five hours for deep cleaning.



COREN (voice-over): Protests erupted after California's governor ordered some beaches closed. The U.S. has about one third of the 3.4 million coronavirus cases in the world with more than 66,000 deaths.


COREN: In the U.K., more than 600 people have died in the past day alone and now the U.K. could pass Italy for the most coronavirus deaths in Europe.

In Spain, after seven weeks of lockdown, people were allowed to go out for some fresh air on Saturday.

In China, where the virus is believed to have originated and where restrictions are slowly being lifted, Shanghai reports 1 million visitors over the first two days of the May Day holiday.

One of the hardest hit sectors of the U.S. economy is retail. As states are beginning to open up so are shopping malls. The largest mall operator in the U.S. says more than 2 dozen of its locations reopened on Friday across eight states. Five more in Georgia are set to open on Monday.

CNN's Natasha Chen spoke to people there about shopping in the era of social distancing.


NATASHA CHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: 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: First of all, it's been scary the first heard about it, but also exciting for our tenants to be able to open 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 Frida, about a week after restaurant, barber shops and even tattoo parlors. At Avalon, an upscale outdoor mall in Atlanta's suburbs, management readied the grounds for shopping in the socially distant era.

RESPRESS: All of the common area furniture have been placed six feet apart.

CHEN: And the walkways are one way only. But only about a 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 that fear of just maybe that one person will walk in who has it, but we are taking really good precautions to just make sure that doesn't happen and have a lot of sterilizing everything. We have the option to wear masks. We wear gloves at the cash wrap just to make sure we're not touching everything.

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 a 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 still too contagious.


MARTIN: It's a very contagious disease, so I still think it might be a little too soon so come back out and be this close together. So we'll see.

CHEN: But you're here.


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 mask-less, who could have been unknowingly passing it to more vulnerable populations.

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

CHEN: Natasha Chen, CNN, Alpharetta, Georgia.


COREN: Let's talk more about those closed beaches in Southern California. That is the governor's order for all of Orange County. The gradual reopening of the U.S. is not happening there this weekend. Three cities in Orange County are taking the governor to court over his decision. CNN's Paul Vercammen reports.


PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Here on Huntington Beach, Surf City, an eerie scene ,the beach completely empty after a judge let stand Governor Newsom's closure of Orange County beaches.

Attorneys for Huntington Beach and (INAUDIBLE) and others have launched a legal assault against the governor, arguing, among other things, that he was violating their constitutional rights, saying that he made his decision from a podium in San Francisco and had used compressed photos from the ground that did not reveal what Newport city officials say from the air which was that there was social distancing last weekend.

Basically what happened in the end is the judge upheld Governor Newsom's order but not before some heated arguing, especially by the Newport Beach city attorney.


MICHAEL GATES, CITY ATTORNEY, HUNTINGTON BEACH: Huntington Beach has done an absolute remarkable job. And notwithstanding, the governor issues this order shutting our beaches.

We feel targeted, I think it's punitive and if he -- if it was really a matter of statewide concern which is his purview, he would have close all the beaches up and down the state, but he didn't.

He's picking on Orange County, he's picking on Huntington Beach. And the empirical data, the data about spread and cases and deaths here in Huntington Beach Orange County absolutely do not support the beach closure.


VERCAMMEN: A deputy attorney general arguing for the governor says this is not a case of singling out Orange County. This is more of a need to social distance in the middle of a pandemic.

Also in Orange County, sporadic protests popping up in various cities, all of them asserting that Governor Newsom had overstepped his bounds.

Perhaps if there's any silver lining in all of this, he indicated that he may start to reopen parts of California beginning as early as Monday -- reporting from Huntington Beach, I'm Paul Vercammen, now back to you.


COREN: The mechanics of a cough: before the coronavirus pandemic hit, the general population likely gave this little thought. But two engineering professors at a university in Florida are showing us just how powerful a cough can be. CNN's Randi Kaye reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Heavy cough, three, two, one.

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Inside this lab at Florida Atlantic University, two engineering professors are measuring the power of a cough.


KAYE: Using a dummy, they fill its mouth with a mix of glycerin and water, then with a pump force the dummy to cough. Then wait to see how far the droplets travel. They fill the air, visible with the green laser light simulating what happens when we cough.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It generates particles on the order of 10 to 20 microns, which is roughly close to what the smallest droplet sizes are when we cough.

KAYE: Take note how quickly the simulated respiratory droplets spread. The droplets expelled traveled a distance of three feet almost immediately. Within five seconds, the droplets were at six feet then nine feet in just about ten seconds. Remember, nine feet is three feet beyond the recommended social distancing guidelines.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Already reaching roughly nine feet now. It's still moving further, slowly.

KAYE: The fog of droplets lingered in the air but kept moving forward, taking just another 30 to 40 seconds to float another three feet.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's getting closer to 12 feet now.

KAYE: Yes, he said 12 feet.

Over and over again, the simulated droplets blew past the six-foot mark, often doubling that distance.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Okay. It has passed three feet already, approaching six feet. And it looks like it has crossed six feet. And now it has slowed down.

KAYE: How long might they linger at nine feet and 12 feet?

MANHAR DHANAK, CHAIRMAN, FAU ENGINEERING DEPARTMENT: So at nine feet, they could linger for two to three minutes, okay?


DHANAK: But the concentration is less than what it would be at, say, six feet by a factor of eight.

KAYE: The professors say the droplets become less dense the further they travel but they still hang in the air, still with the ability to carry disease. And watch this. Even when we put a simple mask on the dummy, particles still disperse from the sides of the mask though they didn't travel far. Certainly if you are not wearing a mask, you are supposed to cough into your elbow. But if you cough into your hand, this is what happens. Let's turn out the lights. I'll put my hand up against the mouth of this dummy and simulate a cough.

You can see the droplets spray in all directions. They may not travel as far, maybe about three feet or so but they spray everywhere. And they can linger in the air possibly for as long as three minutes.

Intensity of the cough matters. So we tested a gentle cough too. The lighter cough didn't go very far at all, about three feet. But the question remains, how close is too close?

Do you think based on what you've seen in your own lab that six feet is enough for social distancing?

DHANAK: Six feet is the minimum distance that you should keep.

It seems that --

KAYE: But further is better?

DHANAK: Further is better.

KAYE: Randi Kaye, CNN, Dania Beach, Florida.


COREN: We have this news just in. North Korea has fired several bullets across the border into the demilitarized zone, according to South Korean officials. They say the shots were fired towards a South Korean guardpost but no casualties or damage have been reported.

The South Korean military responded by broadcasting a verbal warning and returning fire twice. It says, according to protocol, this is not the first time something like this has happened.

There were brief exchanges of gunfire in both 2014 and 2017. It is not known what caused this latest exchange. We will bring you more details as we get them.

Coming up, Britain's government is defending its response to the coronavirus epidemic but hindsight is giving us a clearer picture. We will talk about that next.





COREN: British prime minister Boris Johnson and fiancee, Carrie Symonds, announced their son's name on Saturday on Instagram. It is Wilfred Lawrie Nicholas. The name Nicholas is to honor the two doctors who Mr. Johnson says saved his life during his recent bout with coronavirus. They are both named Nick, the other names are the grandfathers of the couple.

We're learning more about Boris Johnson's time in intensive care. He told "The Sun" that he was given liters of oxygen to keep him alive and officials were putting together strategic plans in case he did not make it. Joining us now is our Nick Paton Walsh from London.

Nick, it would appear that Boris Johnson's condition was even more serious than many realized.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: When the prime minister, despite his office's own attempts to minimize how serious his condition was, he has returned to the near-death nature of this experience, saying how it was a old tough moment, I won't deny it.

They had a strategy to deal with, quote, "a death of Stalin" type scenario. Obviously you would expect a government to have contingency plans in case their leader who's in intensive care succumbed to a disease. I'm sure there's a bit of a hyperbole flourish there by Boris Johnson.

Again an attempt by the prime minister to remind people in the United Kingdom how lethally serious this disease is, too. Possibly to also take away the headlines from a story here increasingly pointing to how Britain being slow in the early days ahead of the worst death toll in Europe. Very close to overtaking Italy's horrifying toll there.

This is drawing increased scrutiny as to exactly what it was the United Kingdom did and when. Boris Johnson has always said he was happy with the timing of the lockdown. But there's a lot of focus now on exactly what happened before that and quite what the exit strategy is now for the U.K.


WALSH (voice-over): Britain is close to having Europe's worst death toll.

So what did it do wrong or differently?

When global alarm bells were ringing loudly, the U.K. was clear it would not lock down too early and that some spread was unavoidable, even desirable.

PATRICK VALLANCE, U.K. SCIENCE ADVISER: If people go too early, they become very fatigued. It's not possible to stop everybody getting it and it is also actually not desirable, because you want some immunity in the population.

WALSH (voice-over): Hindsight always gives a clearer, unfair verdict. But new, updated government figures show the death toll, just in England, was a lot larger than known at the time in the days leading up to the lockdown.

And the prime minister said he was still shaking hands... BORIS JOHNSON, U.K. PRIME MINISTER: I shook hands with everybody, you

will be pleased to know.

WALSH (voice-over): -- and no deaths were announced; four had already died in England when Cheltenham horse races were criticized for going ahead, ended the U.K. toll was officially 10 when really 58 had died.

And when the lockdown slammed pub doors shut publicly, the toll was 359. But really 847 had died in England alone.

Should the U.K. have moved faster?

NIGEL EDWARDS, NUFFIELD TRUST: It is too early to tell. But there are some early signs looking at experiences in some other countries that if we'd gone a bit earlier, we might be looking at slightly better results now.

SIAN GRIFFITHS, CJHK: It's more likely to be next year when people in the cold light of day can look back at all the different countries and (INAUDIBLE) at the time what did and what didn't work.

KEITH NEAL, UNIVERSITY OF NOTTINGHAM: If you take different measures at different times, then different people would become infected. If we had come in a week earlier, then probably less people would have died up until now.

But as the disease continues to spread to the population, the differences are that people will die.

WALSH (voice-over): Testing and contact tracing was a problem from the start partially dismissed and then heavily embraced.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 100,000 tests per day.


WALSH (voice-over): Many grand schemes were announced, home antibody tests, apps, a volunteer army. But this one actually happened, nearly on time, albeit late. It can't have helped decision-making that Boris Johnson was nearly killed by the disease, too, at its peak.

EDWARDS: Some of the messaging has not been as consistent or as clear as might have been helpful. I give the government a bit of the benefit of the doubt. These are somewhat unprecedented times.

WALSH (voice-over): Still, despite the huge toll, the U.K.'s health service was not overwhelmed. Even huge overflow hospitals like this one in London were barely used. Half of those who died in England, so far, were over 80.

Did U.K. not protect them enough?

Or was there little that could be done?

Tough questions that time and grief will answer.


WALSH: Some introspection already underway here. You heard what could've been done differently, perhaps not to score political points, although that is already happening in some parts of British society.

It may be also to see if that could inform the measures coming ahead, how to get Britain out of a lockdown. Some polls are suggesting that Britons are reluctant to return to normal life and still fear the disease. So much is not known here.

Yes, the U.K. has a larger population than Italy but I think many are looking at it having the largest death toll in Europe, maybe that happening in the days or hours ahead and seeing that as a moment in which Britain should reflect on.

How has it managed to have a health service, which many feared would strain under the burden of people needing intensive care. But it performed remarkably so far. Yet still so many lives were lost.

I think many will look at how half of the dead in England appeared to be over 80. Whether that informs future policy and quite how fast Boris Johnson in between his own extraordinary narrative of becoming a father, surviving the disease himself, previously winning a landslide election and finalizing a divorce, whether he can bring the focus of the British population as to how they can get through the messy months ahead and keep the death toll as low as possible, even though, at this point, it is still often over 700 a day reported dead, startling numbers still.

COREN: Yes. Staggering indeed. Nick Paton Walsh, as always, many thanks.

Israel, meanwhile, is letting some schools reopen this Sunday but some local leaders are taking no chances. CNN's Oren Liebermann is in Jerusalem and joins us right now.

Oren, are there concerns that authorities are reopening schools too soon?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anna, the answer is yes but perhaps not from a health perspective. That is because Israel's numbers when it comes to coronavirus have been relatively good, compared to much of Europe and the United States.

There are about 16,000 cases of coronavirus and 230 deaths as a result of the virus. At this point there are more recoveries than there are new infections. The government sees those numbers positively.

Why is there concern it's too soon?

Because the decision was made on Friday afternoon and confirmed that some schools would open on Sunday. Some of the biggest cities in the country said, you did not give us enough of a heads up. We're simply not ready. We will open later this week.

That's why there's some concern that they are not ready after such a quick notice to reopen.

What schools and grades will reopen?

It will be first, second and third grade as well as 11th and 12th grade. Kindergarten and daycare will not reopen and the grades that to reopen will look very different. Temperatures will be taken, masks will be required, a max of 15 students per class, there will be social distancing.

Because of those numbers, school may have to happen in shifts. They are still grappling with how to make this happen but they've looked at the number of coronavirus cases here and the number of deaths and decided it is OK to move forward.

It is gradual and it will continue to be gradual. Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned that restrictions could be put back in place if the numbers start growing to avoid a worst-case scenario.

COREN: Oren, shifting gears, Israel's political saga continues. The high court will hear challenges this week to the formation of the Netanyahu-Benny Gantz government. Tell us about what we are expecting.

LIEBERMANN: These are high court hearings about the coalition agreement between Netanyahu and his former rival, Benny Gantz. It requires changes to Israel's basic law which is as close to its constitution. There have been questions about whether someone under indictment like Netanyahu can form a government.


LIEBERMANN: But the high court has put that off, saying now is not the time. With only a few days left here with having to make a decision. The high court will hold a few days of hearings and decide what happens here.

The coalition agreement requires fundamental changes to Israel's law, including can someone under indictment form a government?

There are other questions about the makeup of some of the committees, do they include enough of the opposition members, all of that will be tackled over the course of the next 48 hours. And then we wait for a decision from the high court.

It will be an expanded panel of judges, 11 judges will hear this because of the significance of this. It's clear at this point, it's written into the coalition agreement that if the high court says you cannot have this coalition agreement, that Israel could very well go to a fourth election, as crazy as that sounds. That means Israel's political saga keeps ongoing.

COREN: Another election, hard to believe. Oren Liebermann, joining us from Jerusalem, many thanks.

At this time of year in the Nigerian state of Kano, it's common for people to contract any of a number of infectious diseases. But this year, there's been a spike in fatalities. Even as the coronavirus spreads around the world, some are calling these deaths mysterious. CNN's David McKenzie has more.


DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The gravediggers in Kano are revealing a hidden truth, an awful toll.

"The day before yesterday, we buried 18 bodies," he says. "Yesterday we buried 20 people and today we have received 14."

Locals call this extreme hot season the merger, the time each year when malaria and other infectious diseases converge. This year is worse. "The numbers are double unusual," he says. "Normally we bury only six

or seven a day."

The government denies that a COVID-19 outbreak is the cause. But their toil raises questions. The dead are mostly elderly and the numbers are rising fast.

In Kano, dread is rising with it. This video shows the region's mega hub of commerce and trade as it once was. It is not where Nigeria and surrounding countries can afford to have infections spread unabated.

DR. IBRAHIM MUSA, EPIDEMIOLOGIST: We're testing (INAUDIBLE) the fear and the anxiety of the public.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): Kano physician and epidemiologist Dr. Ibrahim Musa says many doctors have no protective equipment. With clinics closed due to COVID-19, they are forced to treat patients for just a few hours before sending them home.

MUSA: What we are seeing is just the tip of the iceberg. So in the next 2-3 weeks, that is when the clear picture will emerge whether we are dealing with a fairly massive spread of COVID-19.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): Kano's lockdown came later than elsewhere in Nigeria. The federal government promises to scale up tests and send equipment. Even before COVID-19, health here was never a guarantee.

But there were some hard-fought gains. In June, the U.N. says it could be declared polio-free after decades of education and immunization. But humanitarian officials fear that that success could now lost.

MAULID WARFA, UNICEF: In any humanitarian situation, the world needs to offer a lot of support. But now, the dust is almost everywhere and everybody is trying to protect their own eyes. The world might be forgotten as the countries fight the coronavirus on their own.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): COVID-19 is global and state officials promised an investigation into the rise of deaths. But valuable time has been lost and the impact is already devastating -- David McKenzie, CNN, Johannesburg.


COREN: The race to find a vaccine, a magic medicine to make this all go away. Ahead, how the U.S. is injecting a fortune into a company that has never brought an approved vaccine to market.





COREN: Welcome back to the program. I'm Anna Coren.

Millions of people around the world are living under a new normal, thanks to the pandemic. A vaccine could keep it from being a permanent normal. The race is on; human trials are underway in the U.K., Germany and the U.S.

But CNN found that the U.S. is spending hundreds of millions of dollars on a company with unproven technology and a storied history. CNN's Drew Griffin explains.


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Three weeks ago, Ian Haydon was injected with one of the first possible vaccines against the novel coronavirus. He runs, takes his temperature several times a day and he has not gotten sick.

IAN HAYDON, VACCINE TRIAL PARTICIPANT: Today, I feel exactly like I did two months ago. I've absolutely no symptoms, nothing to report.

GRIFFIN: Haydon was injected with a vaccine using a new medical technology developed by a company called Moderna, which has never had a drug or vaccine approved for market.

The basic technology, synthesizing messenger RNA. A molecule in a person's body prompting the body to make its own medicine. In this case, directing living cells to kill off any novel coronavirus.

In theory, the science behind the vaccine should work. In reality, no one knows for sure. Moderna CEO promoted the company's technology and speed at this meeting at the White House March 2nd, which President Trump ran like an episode of "Shark Tank".

TRUMP: We want it fast. OK?

GRIFFIN: Most to the companies were talking vaccines some time in 2021. When Moderna's CEO Stephane Bancel took his turn, he told the president this.

STEPHANE BANCEL, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, MODERNA: And then, it will be a few months to get the human data that will allow us to pick a therapeutic dose to start the phase two right away.

TRUMP: So, you're talking over the next few months, you think you could have a vaccine.

BANCEL: Correct, correct, for phase two.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: You won't have a vaccine. You'll have a vaccine to go into testing.

BANCEL: To phase two, yes.

GRIFFIN: Dr. Anthony Fauci tried to temper the enthusiasm.

TRUMP: I like the sound of a couple of months better, I must be honest.

GRIFFIN: The next day, the FDA green-lit Moderna's product for a trial. And within weeks, the federal government pledged to give Moderna up to $483 million, more than any other vaccine company.

Moderna had an edge over other companies. Its scientists had already been collaborating with the NIH on a vaccine for another similar virus, so it was able to quickly pivot.

But Professor Nikolai Petrovsky, who's working with a competitor to Moderna is just one of the experts who question whether the U.S. government's investment makes sense.


NIKOLAI PETROVSKY, PROFESSOR OF MEDICINE, FLINDERS UNIVERSITY, AUSTRALIA: If we want to really have an impact on this pandemic, then we should be using vaccine platforms that are being proved to be safe and effective, rather than an unproven technology.

DR. TAL ZAKS, CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER, MODERNA: We have delivered on everything that we have promised.

GRIFFIN: Dr. Tal Zaks is Moderna's chief medical officer, interviewed via computer from his base in Boston.

ZAKS: Actually, the public investment proportionately is a small investment on top of what this company has invested in its core technology for years now.

GRIFFIN: For the last decade, the company has been trying to use its mRNA technology to cure cancer, restore damaged tissues, even cure heart disease and develop vaccines. The research promising, the results mixed.

Moderna has never brought a vaccine to market, never had a drug FDA approved. And skeptics are wondering why your company was able to achieve this contract.

ZAKS: We're a young company with an emerging technology. And for that reason, we have not yet brought anything to full licensure. We have time and again demonstrated clinical results in phase one across multiple different vaccine applications. GRIFFIN: But vaccine development is tough. Even the lead investigator for Moderna's vaccine trial at Emery University, says nothing is certain.

DR. EVAN ANDERSON, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF MEDICINE, EMORY UNIVERSITY: If it's successful, it could allow us to shorten the timeline for developing new vaccines in the future. But it comes with its own challenges.

GRIFFIN: Dr. Evan Anderson, says challenges for this type of vaccine include that it's difficult to store, difficult to mass-produce and no one knows yet whether it's effective.

The NIH is testing Moderna's vaccine on humans without waiting for animal trials. A speed that was unheard of before the pandemic. The company is already preparing to produce its vaccine in mass quantities on the sheer hope it gets approved and can be distributed almost immediately.

ZAKS: The biggest source of pressure is the fact that you know, this is personal. I think for my colleagues and I, who are in the front line of trying to develop a vaccine, it's an equal weight of the sense of potential that we can do something about it and a tremendous sense of responsibility that we have to do something about it.

GRIFFIN: Moderna, says, right now, it is on track to move into phase two, phase three trials. And with luck, we'll be able to produce enough vaccine under emergency use authorization if they get it to begin inoculating millions of people. By the end of this year, tens of millions of people by 2021. Drew Griffin, CNN, Atlanta.


COREN: Drew Griffin reporting there.

Well, flying in a post pandemic world, what lies ahead for the future of air travel?

We will explore when we come back.





COREN: Scores of people gathered in the U.S. capital and other cities to watch a flyover of Navy Blue Angels and Air Force Thunderbirds. The military planes were flying to honor first responders on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.

Officials urged people to stay home to watch. But crowds did gather on city sidewalks. Berkshire Hathaway, the investment group managed by Warren Buffett,

announced it sold its entire stake in the four largest U.S. airlines in April. With that news comes as airlines require passengers to pair face coverings and taking other measures to adapt to the new reality. CNN aviation correspondent Pete Muntean has more.


PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: A scene too similar to travel before this pandemic, new videos of packed planes, passengers bottled up in rows and aisles, raising new fears about social distancing when flying and new calls to restrict air travel even further.

This week JetBlue became the first airline to require passengers to wear masks, its COO calling it the new flying etiquette.

Now all major U.S. airlines, Alaska, American, Delta, Frontier, Southwest and United have volunteered to do the same. But the leader of the Association of Flight Attendants goes further, telling CNN there must be a federal ban of leisure travel by air.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because the flights have been pulled down, we're seeing more and more full flights without policies that really address proper social distancing.

MUNTEAN: But the nation's air travel is at a virtual halt. Nearly half of all commercial jet liners are now parked. The a TSA says only five percent of passengers are passing through airports compared to a year ago. I set out to see what it's like to fly right now, traveling from Washington D.C. to Atlanta and back.

It's hard to find someone not already wearing a mask.

Airlines are stepping up their use of electrostatic sprayers to disinfect passenger cabins. Airlines are also not booking middle seats, hoping to keep up social distancing on board. Industry groups say the average domestic flight is now carrying 17 passengers, up from just 10 passengers just over a week ago.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think the people that are traveling are probably healthy. They're not ill or critical or in a bad situation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody should be wearing a mask.

MUNTEAN: The Department of Transportation gave airlines permission to start scaling back service to small city airports. Plane-maker Boeing's CEO is forecasting a years-long recovery for airlines. Even still, the industry is holding out hope that new measures will mean a new normal of flying again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're hopeful that that will happen.

MUNTEAN: From what I saw passengers do seem keen on social distancing, not only on planes but also here in the terminal. Delta and United have both done away with boarding by zone, instead now boarding by row, starting with the back of the plane first -- Pete Muntean, CNN.



COREN: Joining me now is Brian Sumers. He is a senior aviation business editor at Skift.

Great to have you with us. The airlines industry has ground to a halt.

How does it plan to get back to business?

BRIAN SUMERS, SKIFT: It will take a long time before it gets back to business. A lot of airlines all over the world are in great trouble right now. They have aircraft parked in the desert all over the world.

Some airlines are going to come back a little faster than others. But they are basically going to take their airplanes from the desert a little a bit at a time. It will not be the V-shaped curve people were hoping for. It's going to take a while.

COREN: It is grim. The International Air Transport Association, anticipates the world's carriers will see revenue drop by more than half this year. It really is extraordinary.


SUMERS: It's the worst disaster in the history of aviation. Where I am in the United States, people used to talk about 9/11 as the worst it could get.

One, 9/11 was basically a North American phenomenon and, two, air travel got back to normal within a few months or years maybe. But this is going to take a very long time. Really until people feel it is safe to travel again.

Maybe folks will want to drive somewhere or take the train or go close to home. But if you are talking about flying a long haul, it will be a long time before most of the public is really willing to do that.

COREN: I want to talk about some of the job losses in the airlines industry. British Airways have cut 12,000 jobs. EasyJet has laid off some 4,000 cabin crew. Qantas, 20,000 staff are on leave. The list continues.

Do you think it is fair to say that the consequences of this pandemic for the airlines industry has not been fully realized?

SUMERS: No. The consequences have not been fully realized and that is especially true in the United States where I sit. The only reason there have not been mass layoffs in the United States is because the U.S. government is paying the salaries of airline workers through September 30th.

As soon as October 1st comes around, tens of thousands of Americans are going to lose their jobs and that is on top of the job losses that you spoke about in other countries. We all wish this was not the case but 2019 was one of the high points in history of aviation. More people were flying than ever before. Airlines needed to staff up to meet that demand.

That demand is gone. It's not just gone now, it is gone for at least 2-3 years. I do think everything is going to bounce back, maybe in 5-7 years, we will be talking about how this was a long time ago. But in the short term, this will be bad for job losses.

COREN: As you say, experts predict it will be years before air travel returns to 2019 levels and this is because people will travel differently. They will travel locally and be reluctant to get on an airplane.

SUMERS: Absolutely. You talk about experts but it's not just experts. Airline executives are coming on their earnings calls and shareholder meetings and saying 2022 and 2023 at the earliest. These are airlines like Lufthansa, United Airlines, so it's going to be awhile before things get back to normal.

COREN: Even before the coronavirus, airlines played a direct role in how disease spread around the world. Now you have this pandemic and obviously it went global because of the way people traveled.

What measures do you think the airlines industry will put in place moving forward?

SUMERS: Airlines will try their best to make people comfortable while flying. So you've already seen them roll out these new initiatives. A lot of airlines are cleaning airplanes more thoroughly and more often. Believe it or not, some airplanes just were never cleaned very well. So they're doing that.

They're putting their flight attendants in masks, some of them basically have hazmat suits, gloves, things like that. U.S. Airlines has just come out in the past week and require customers to wear masks.

But look, I am not a public health expert. It does seem to me that even this may not fix the problems. I'm asked basically to stay 2 meters away from anyone I come into contact with. You talk about an airplane, a confined space, it is literally impossible to do that.

So you have airlines coming out now, saying we're not going to sell the middle seat for a while. That is nice and that might make people feel good. But again, that is not 2 meters. It's just interesting to see what will happen over the next year or two until this virus recedes globally.

COREN: Brian Sumers, thank you for joining us.

SUMERS: Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE) COREN: After beaches reopened in Florida, many critics questioned if the move was too much too soon. One of those skeptics is apparently the Grim Reaper, who, as you see, walked the sandy shores near Panama City Beach alongside other beachgoers.

Not to be too alarmed, though, the dark face of death is actually a lawyer and activist, who says he is trying to highlight the dangers of reopening the economy too soon. It is noteworthy that the Grim Reaper was wearing a face mask. CNN NEWSROOM returns in just a moment.





COREN: The pandemic postponed the NBA season but it's not stopping fans from enjoying basketball history.

"The Last Dance" documentary on the '90s Chicago Bulls dynasty is getting rare, never before seen footage of Michael Jordan and his teammates. Don Riddell from CNN's "WORLD SPORT" spoke to the filmmaker.



DON RIDDELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the space of just 40 years, Michael Jordan defined himself as a global superstar, an NBA legend who transcended basketball and became a pop culture icon. The '80s and '90s were a never ending highlight reel for Jordan and the Bulls.

But since 1998 he has largely been off our screens, until now. "The Last Dance" is a new 10-part documentary series chronicling his final season in Chicago and a seemingly implausible sixth NBA title.

JASON HEHIR, DIRECTOR: He had the looks, he had the charisma, he was well spoken, he was intelligent and he was probably the most captivating performer in the history of the NBA.

RIDDELL (voice-over): Jordan agreed to let the cameras behind the scenes for that dramatic '97-'98 this season but the tapes have been under lock and key ever since.

HEHIR: It had been kind of production lore, urban legend. I watched 2-3 hours of it and was blown away. So once I found out I had the gig, it was a dream job.


RIDDELL (voice-over): The drama unfolds over 10 episodes, 10 hours in all, revealing one of the world's most famous athletes in some of his more candid moments. It's a chance for younger fans to get to know him, an opportunity for those who lived it to be reminded of the legend.

DAN ROAN, WGN SPORTS ANCHOR: Michael and I came to Chicago in 1984. I was a couple of months ahead of him, so I was able to see him from the very beginning with the Bulls. And what a huge circus it was, Don, I would have to say. Covering those six Bulls championships was probably the highlight of my career here in Chicago.

RIDDELL (voice-over): It was an era of great change in the world of sport and business and the time before we were so obsessed with the Internet and social media.

ROAN: I was a charity event for the Bulls back in the day and I was sitting in the bar having a beer. And Michael walked in, sat down next to me, we talked for about 20 minutes about golf, about basketball and just shot the breeze.

And when you think back on that moment today, it's impossible to imagine that that would happen in the current time. It just would not happen that way.

RIDDELL (voice-over): With a supporting cast of characters like Scottie Pippen, the irrepressible Dennis Rodman and the current Warriors coach, Steve Kerr, Jordan delivers a final title seemingly against all the odds.

HEHIR: To go back to these series and to see how close they were to everything falling apart and for him to put that team on his back time and time again, by the end of that '98 series, people were either physically or mentally checked out. And Michael has to carry the team once again.

If you wrote the ending to that series and if you wrote episode 10 in the script, you would be laughed out of a Hollywood office because it is so corny.

But it actually came true. And who better to orchestrate that than Michael Jordan himself?

RIDDELL (voice-over): Don Riddell, CNN.


COREN: I'm going to have to watch that.

I'm Anna Coren, thank you for your company. Stay tuned for another hour of CNN NEWSROOM right after the break.