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CNN NEWSROOM

Business Allowed to Reopen in Much of Florida Monday; Meat Supply Chain Vulnerable Amid Virus Outbreak; Trump Administration to Assess Whether Additional Aid Needed; Trump Economic Adviser Says a Pause on Financial Stimulus for Now The U.K.'s Plan to Test, Track and Trace; Robots Delivering Good to Avoid Human Interaction. Aired 4:30- 5a ET

Aired May 4, 2020 - 04:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[04:30:00]

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ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back, everyone. We do want to recap our top story. More than 40 U.S. states are set to have eased at least some coronavirus restrictions by this coming weekend, but the threat remains. Johns Hopkins University reports cases nationwide have topped 1.1 million and the number of people killed by the virus stands at more than 67,000.

Florida is among the latest states making a push to reopen, and that's where CNN's Randi Kaye filed this report.

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RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Today begins phase one in the reopening of Florida. That includes state perks. It will also include some of the largest beaches in the state of Florida, including Pensacola, Destin, and also Clearwater. They will be open from sunrise to sunset. Social distancing, of course, is encouraged.

Also open, as of today, will be restaurants. They will have seating outside, as long as the tables are 6 feet apart. Inside, people will be allowed up to 25 percent capacity.

Retailers also can open their stores up to 25 percent capacity, as well. Elective surgeries can resume, and golf courses will be open again, too.

Some things that will still be closed, though, will be movie theaters, dog parks, salons and spas. The governor met with salon owners over the weekend, and they were pleading with him to allow them to open, but he said he's going to have to take that under consideration. They said they can text customers, have them wait outside, whatever it takes, but he did not commit.

Also still closed are three major counties in southern Florida that were hardest hit, the most populous counties. That will be Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach County. But on bright note, the governor does plan to increase testing in the state. Right now the state is testing about 15,000 people a day. He hopes to ramp that up to about 20,000 people a day by May 15 and 30,000 people a day by June 15.

Also, Walgreens, he just announced, will also be opening some drive- through testing areas at nine locations, and the National Guard will continue to ramp up testing in nursing homes.

Randi Kaye, CNN, West Palm Beach, Florida.

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CHURCH: Meat packing plants in the United States are under a federal executive order to stay open amid the coronavirus crisis, but that can raise serious issues for plant managers, ranchers and workers. CNN's Omar Jimenez reports now from Wisconsin.

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OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's a farm in its fifth generation, but one that's never operated in an environment like this.

TERRY QUAM, MARDA ANGUS FARMS; We'll make the changes we need to make.

JIMENEZ: Terry Quam is an Angus beef cattle farmer in Wisconsin and represents the first link in a farm to table food supply chain with segments on the brink of crisis.

(on camera): How concerned are you specifically?

QUAM: There's no handbook for this. There's no answer of when things are going to come around and be normal. When will people get to go back to the restaurants and eat the healthy beef that we produce at the restaurants.

JIMENEZ (voice-over): Quam has mostly affected by the stay-at-home orders. Buddy also markets to meat packers. The same types of facilities that are now seeing coronavirus outbreaks across the country including in Brown County which includes Green Bay. Wisconsin where more than half of all confirmed cases in that county stem from meat packing plants.

Roberto Martinez says he was concerned workers like himself weren't being given enough protective equipment so he said something about it and now he's unsure if he's been suspended or fired.

I don't think I did anything wrong, he says. I simply asked for more protection, more safety so that myself and everyone who works there won't get infected or lose their lives.

Martinez says he along with a workers rights group, Voces de la Frontera, filed a complaint to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration claiming they were having to work at a faster speed due to less workers being present and that their PPE was getting so wet with sweat some was dripping on to raw meat.

One of our co-workers next to us, we saw him sick, he says. He said, you know what, if you're feeling bad, why don't you go home and go get checked.

[04:35:00]

He said, no, I don't have anything. And like I said, there's the fear that this person had to lose the benefits of his job. It's a balance workers across the country are trying to find.

ERNEST LATIKER, TYSON FOODS EMPLOYEE: They told me I have a better chance of catching the coronavirus going out to Walmart than at Tyson. Come to work, you safe.

JIMENEZ: Tyson told CNN they couldn't address the specific situation as described but that particular Tyson plant in Iowa closed with over 150 confirmed cases tied to the facility. This as thousands of other workers in the U.S. have either shown symptoms or been hospitalized. And with President Trump's executive order compelling these locations to reopen or stay open, workers are caught in the middle.

Who wants to die, Martinez says. I think no one. And so, it's not the same thing to be in the danger versus when you're looking at the danger. The effects have been noticed a grocery stores too. Kroger, for example, putting limits on some meat purchases tied to shopper demand.

Back on the farm the worries are less about what people are eating and more about finding places to sell.

QUAM: When mother nature throws us a curveball, you've got to figure out a way to get around it and work with it and take care of business.

JIMENEZ: And the business of keeping America fed is being tested alongside the health of the many who make it a reality.

Omar Jimenez, CNN.

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CHURCH: And American leaders are under growing pressure to ease restrictions and let people go back to work. Tens of millions are unemployed. And on Sunday, the Trump administration released results from its small business loan program. Jeremy Diamond has the details.

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JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: With millions of Americans struggling financially across the United States, President Trump's Chief Economic Advisor Larry Kudlow said the Trump administration will take the next couple of weeks to determine whether additional financial stimulus from the federal government is needed and what form that financial stimulus will indeed take. Kudlow indicating that the White House needs to assess what kind of impacts the current financial stimulus is already having on the economy and how the economy begins to rebounds as some of these states begin to reopen their economies. But Kudlow indeed describing this as a pause.

LARRY KUDLOW, HEAD OF WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL: There may well be additional legislation. This kind of a pause period right now. To it I would say to you at this particular juncture, let's execute the continuation of what we've already done. Let's see what the results are. The outlook in the weeks and months ahead directly is not positive, as you noted. The unemployment is very, very high, almost 30 million people. We are covering them with generous relief packages. Just trying to stabilize things and get folks through this. And then we will see.

JIMENEZ: Now while Kudlow says the White House is making that assessment, here's what we already know. 30 million Americans have filed for unemployment since Mid-March and that small business loan program that was approved in just over a week, in just the last week are ready more than $175 billion of that $310 billion of additional funding for that Payroll Protection Program for small businesses, it's already been used up. That's more than half of those additional funds that were already sent out.

So clearly, there is a serious need in the United States for economic stimulus. And while the White House works to figure out what kind of additional financial stimulus it needs, we've heard from the House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi. She is urging an additional $1 trillion for state and local economies. And regardless of what form this stimulus takes, we did hear earlier this week from the Federal Reserve Chairman, Jerome Powell, he said that additional direct financial relief for Americans is needed right now.

Jeremy Diamond, CNN, the White House.

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CHURCH: And CNN's Christine Romans joins us now on the line from New York. Hi, Christine. Glad to talk to you. So White House advisor, Larry Kudlow says any additional relief is on pause. Where does that leave many Americans lining up at food banks because they're out of work.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's fascinating this moment we're in because you've got millions of Americans who are, quite frankly, in crisis at the moment. And economists have been penciling in more stages of relief, including direct aid to people. A lot of economists have been saying they think you're going to need another round of stimulus checks. And so, to hear that we're on pause for now to see how the current rescue has gone, it's just not what most people have been hoping for.

CHURCH: And the meantime New York City Mayor de Blasio isn't happy with White House advisor Kevin Hassett's comments that the U.S. may not need another stimulus package. What's he saying about that?

ROMANS: Well, he's saying that Kevin Hassett is a cheapskate. The mayor calling the president's economic advisor a cheapskate. And saying, why don't you come to New York and see for yourself.

[04:40:03]

States like New York, these mayors and governors think that they're going to need federal rescue. They will not be able to pay their state workers. They will not be able to give the services that states are accustomed to because of the cratering so to hear several members of the Trump administration over the weekend starting to sort of pump the brakes on more rescue money, even as millions of Americans are just beginning to feel the current money, you know, just kind of caught some people by surprise.

I will point out here, there's a playbook for this. 30 million Americans losing their jobs over six weeks is just remarkable. And the feeling is that you need to be thinking about transformation loans for small business, not just rescue loans. You need to be thinking about how to rebuild the economy going forward and making sure that there is the right amount of support.

What you're hearing from the Trump administration is that they want to see what is working in the stimulus. You know, they rush a lot of money out very quickly. So what is working? What can they build on? So there's a prudence in some of the language that you're hearing but certainly not what economists and markets had expected. They expected to hear that there will be sort of unlimited support to get us out of this moment.

CHURCH: Yes, so I wanted to ask you about it. Because how would markets respond to that? What can we expect in the coming hours?

ROMANS: Well, it's interesting this morning because there's just still so much uncertainty about what reopening will look like and concerns about that. And you know, last month -- unite have talked about this -- last month was the best month in the stock market in decades, even as it was the worst month for Americans since the great depression. And that disconnect really caught a lot of people by surprise. The markets really sort of looking way ahead to reopening and maybe have gotten a little bit ahead of themselves. Markets are anticipating more stimulus and more rescue in bailout from the federal government and Congress, fiscal support, including direct aid to states. And also, the Fed has said it will support credit markets. It will support the economy no matter what. Even the Fed chief -- as you heard in Jeremy Diamond's piece there -- said that more direct aid to Americans will be necessary.

So I think that we should be careful about markets here in the next days and weeks and months, quite frankly. Because, you know what? The markets are not reflecting the pain on main street right now. I'm much more concerned about people trying to pay their rent and buy food than I am about investors at the moment.

CHURCH: Yes, totally. I mean, People are hurting and that has to be realized surely. Christine Romans, many thanks. Joining us live from New York. Appreciate it.

We'll take a short break here. Still to come, you're watching CNN NEWSROOM. Cotton swabs and mobile phones -- we will tell you how the U.K. is going to test, track and trace the coronavirus. That's next. [04:45:00]

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CHURCH: Well, the U.K. coronavirus death toll is in decline, and that means the U.K. government can start focusing on a strategy to restart the economy that's been stalled under lockdown. Testing is a key element of those plans. Once someone is tested, their contacts must be tracked to cut off the spread. The government is going to trial a new process, including a tracing app, before rolling it out across the country as Michael Gove explains.

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MICHAEL GOVE, BRITISH CABINET OFFICE MINISTER: And this week we will be piloting new test track and trace procedures on the Isle of Wight with a view to having them in place more widely later this month. All of these steps will help us get more people back to work and help us to support the delivery of our public services.

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CHURCH: Well, CNN's Nick Paton Walsh is standing by in London. He joins us now live. Good to see you, Nick. So the U.K. will trial these new testing and tracking procedures. How critical is this for U.K. government to get this right considering the stumbles that have been made?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well look, I mean, it's important to approach this announcement with a degree of caution. They will begin this week. They hope to in an area of the U.K. called the Isle of Wight. It contains separate island trial this particular app and they hope possibly tens of thousands of people may download it there. And then subsequently that information may be used to work out who has symptoms, possibly who has the disease, who has had the disease may be as well and begin a contact tracing and testing regime in that particular island.

Now as it stands, of yesterday, it doesn't appear the app was available for download for people in the Isle of Wight as well. So this is becoming another one of the U.K. government's flag ship policies that often do get wheeled out and then have a slight issue in terms of implementation.

Possibly though better success story here may be if the week ahead they manage to harness part of Britain's cyber defense mechanisms to get this app rolling in a safe fashion too.

Remember the U.K. is choosing a different approach here. Some countries in Europe have decided to do a decentralized approach. Where essentially your mobile phone does Bluetooth handshakes with other devices near it and remembers who it's been near in the event that you later have a problem. The centralized approach for the U.K. is pursuing has an app which essentially you would be able to fire itself up and feedback information to a centralized database. That obviously raises some privacy issues. That is why cyber security specialists in the U.K. government are being brought in to be sure that this isn't impregnable to those who have known nefarious interests.

But this, again, another flagship policy at a time when the U.K. death rate told daily has gone down. It often does that at the weekend sadly according to official lags and how data is reported. It may go higher than the 300 as we saw yesterday in the days ahead. It does appear to be sliding. The U.K. officials themselves, say that we are past the peak here. But really that has to be sustained and the death toll has to be in manageable area to ensure there is no suggestion the peak may continue. At some point in the future for them to roll out the broader relaxation on restrictions of movement that they hope to do in the days ahead. A lot riding on how they get the economy going again here and a lot on the Boris Johnson administration to see quite how they can execute that -- Rosemary.

CHURCH: Nick Paton Walsh bringing us the latest life from London, many thanks.

WALSH: I'm sorry, Rosemary. I've lost you.

CHURCH: Well New Zealand continually praised for its coronavirus response is marking another major milestone. On Monday, no new coronavirus cases were reported for the first time since mid-March when the country went into lockdown. Last week the Prime Minister Jacinda Arden lowered lockdown measures with 75 percent of New Zealand's economy now back up and running. Quite the success story there.

We're back in just a moment. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.

[04:50:00]

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CHURCH: Look at that. A spectacular sight from a different point of view. Yesterday we showed you these pictures of the Blue Angels and Thunder Birds over the National Mall. And here's a few from inside the cockpit as the planes flew across Washington D.C., Baltimore and Atlanta.

Fantastic. And their special flight was to honor health care workers and first responders on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic and we honor them as well.

Well, with over a million Americans contracting the coronavirus, people are trying to avoid interacting with others while still taking care of basic needs like shopping. CNN photojournalist Kim Uhl shows us a small neighborhood market in Washington that's using robots to make deliveries.

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TRACY STANNARD, OWNER, BROAD BRANCH MARKET: This is the Broad Branch Market and we are a neighborhood corner store. It's been here for 100 years.

[04:55:00] I'm Tracy Stannard and I'm one of the owners. We have a long-running history of providing for the neighborhood. When the virus first became sort of, you know, in the news, we still had customers in there. It became really clear to us that if any of us got sick, the store would have to close. And it's always here for the neighborhood. We sort of have that reputation that we're always there for them. So it was really important to figure out how we could do that at this time too.

What makes us special now is that we have our little robots making the deliveries. The company reached out to us. I think they with the closing of college campuses they had some available robots and they were looking at places across the country where they could use the robots in communities.

There's a couple of ways people are ordering currently. You can download the starship app, and then you put all your items in the cart and you send it. And then the picker, my employees in the store, will fill the orders and then will load the bot and it will be sent out to you. The robot sends you a text when it's near your house and then it tells you on your phone how to open it.

ROBOT: Hello. Here's your delivery.

STANNARD: And heads home.

People love them. You know, there are certain people that love them just because they're fun and cute but there are others that really appreciate the separation.

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CHURCH: How's that? That's a good news story.

Thank you so much for your company. Do stay safe, stay strong. I'm Rosemary Church. CNN NEWSROOM starts next with Robyn Curnow.

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