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White House Economic Adviser: "Pause" On Additional Relief For Now; Lufthansa Warns 10,000+ Jobs Could Be At Risk; Putin Facing Pressure To Rescue Faltering Economy. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired May 4, 2020 - 05:30   ET




PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): In the morning when it came to surfers. Let's look at this beach -- Huntington Beach. What we saw was some of the surfers got out early in the morning and rode the waves. And then, the officers got on bullhorns and told them to exit the water. These surfers did.

All this, in Orange County, where they now have 2,743 cases of COVID- 19. That's a population of three million and many people argue here that that is not a staggering number. And that would include some surfers that we talked to who feel that this beach shutdown is just overreaching.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The governor wasting all these resources on putting cones up, putting caution tape, and driving down the coast and seeing a cop at every light is the most ridiculous thing I've ever seen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's ridiculous. I mean, like, there's other things that you could be doing in terms of like having people say hey, you've got to keep moving on the beach. But don't stop people from enjoying this out here.

GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D), CALIFORNIA: Those images are an example of what not to see -- people, what not to do.

This virus doesn't take the weekends off. And that's why I cannot impress upon you more to those Californians watching that we can't see the images like we saw, particularly on Saturday in Newport Beach and elsewhere in the state of California.

VERCAMMEN (on camera): Gov. Newsome, of course, stressing that social distancing is important to stop the spread of COVID-19 and he didn't like the idea of people stacked up on the beaches.

Newsome also said that "This week, we're going to be able to make announcements that will give some people more confidence in the ability for California to get back on its economic feet."

That will be welcomed here in Huntington Beach and all of Orange County, as well as those Northern California rural counties where there are zero COVID-19 cases.

Reporting from Huntington Beach, I'm Paul Vercammen. Now back to you.


ROBYN CURNOW, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks, Paul, for that.

Now, the top White House economic adviser is raising the possibility that more stimulus money may be needed to be handed out. But, Larry Kudlow tells CNN the Trump administration wants to first assess whether additional aid is really necessary.


LARRY KUDLOW, DIRECTOR, U.S. NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL: There may well be additional legislation. There's kind of a pause period right now. But what 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've 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.


CURNOW: Well, Christine Romans joins us now from New York with more on all of this. Hi, Christine. Good to see you -- Happy Monday. And what do you make of those comments there that additional relief is essentially on pause?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT, ANCHOR, EARLY START: Well, most economists are penciling in a lot more relief because you heard Larry Kudlow there talking about how this money that's gone out so far is for stabilization. There will need to be transformation loans, potentially, for small business so that they can change the way they do their business and try to grow once we start to reopen here.

He also -- Larry Kudlow -- he didn't -- he didn't rule out the fact that you could refill that Paycheck Protection Program. He told Jake that maybe there'd be more money for that and that had been highly successful.

The president, at the same time, talking about a recovery next year that looks great -- listen.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're going to do more and everybody wants to do more. It's really -- it's actually -- on that aspect of it, it's very bipartisan.

So the answer is yes, we're going to do more and you're going to have your job. You're going to get another job and you're going to get a better job. You'll get a job where you make more money, frankly.

We're not doing anything unless we get a payroll tax cut. That is so important to the success of our country and to the following year because I think that the following year has a chance to be one of our best years.


ROMANS: So the president saying there will be more aid and he's pushing for a payroll tax cut or a payroll tax holiday, something that is -- you know, he's kind of alone in that in Washington, really, because that helps people who already have a job and the issue here is 30 million people who are out of work and getting them back to work.

So you hear the president saying he's into more aid. Most economists are penciling in more aid. Larry Kudlow is saying well, let's see how the rescue we've done so far is working before we do more.

CURNOW: So in staying on the same line of conversation, we know the New York mayor has said that the White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett is a bit of a cheapskate because he said that the U.S. may not need another stimulus. What do you make of that, as well?

ROMANS: You know, look, you're going to see a battle royale between the states and the big cities --


ROMANS: -- and Washington over state and local aid. I mean, these governments have seen their tax revenues crater.

Every one of those people who is out of work, every one of those retail sales transactions that isn't happening means less money into their coffers. They still have to pay police, they have to pay firefighters, they have to pay teachers. They have to pay streets and sanitation, right? In some cases, their costs are going up to keep people safe at a time when the money is not coming in.


So I think that that is a sign of this conflict between the federal government, Congress in particular, and these state and local governments who think that they're going to need a lot of money in state aid. And that will be the next, I think, political fight to watch on Capitol Hill.

CURNOW: OK, thanks so much. Christine Romans live in New York. Speak to you again tomorrow. Thanks, Christine.

ROMANS: Yes, bye-bye.


So we know at least 10,000 people could lose their jobs at Lufthansa Airlines. The company is looking to reduce its fleet size after reports show a preliminary $1.3 billion loss in just the first quarter due to this pandemic.

Well, Fred Pleitgen has all the details from Germany on this.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): There is almost no place in Europe where you can see the coronavirus- induced crisis of the world's aviation industry better than here at the hub of Europe's largest airlines, Lufthansa, at Frankfurt in Germany.

Now, what you can see behind me is a lot of parked planes. And as you can imagine, those planes are not getting any revenue right now but those planes still cost a lot of money. Lufthansa still has to pay all the pilots, they have to pay all the ground staff. They still have to manage the fuel. And obviously, these planes still require a minimum amount of service as well.

The airline says right now, it's flying at less than one percent of its usual capacity. So normally, they have about 350,000 passengers every day. Right now, they say that's around 3,000 passengers that they have every day, just to put that into perspective.

Now, Lufthansa says that it needs government assistance and says that it doesn't necessarily only need that assistance to get through this crisis, but also to be competitive after the crisis ends. And one of the reasons for that is that other airlines here in Europe and around the world have already secured government assistance.

You look, for instance, at Air France and KLN. They are getting loan guarantees. They're getting loans and payroll assistance from their respective governments of France and of The Netherlands. And, U.S. airlines are also getting assistance from the Trump administration as well.

Lufthansa says it's confident that it can get through this crisis but they do say that it is going to take several years and this airline could look a lot different than it did before the coronavirus crisis.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Frankfurt, Germany.


CURNOW: Yes, and I think that's the case for many airlines around the world.

Thanks, Fred, for that report.

So you're watching CNN. Still ahead, Russia is grappling with a brutal few days fighting the coronavirus and President Vladimir Putin is under pressure from a floundering economy.


[05:40:42] CURNOW: So we know that Japan has just extended its state of emergency until the end of May. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says he will review the infection rate mid-month to see if it can be lifted sooner.

In the meantime, hard-hit prefectures remain under stay-at-home orders. Other areas will resume economic activity gradually.

Johns Hopkins reports that Japan has almost 500 deaths and nearly 15,000 cases.

And, Russia reported more than 10,000 new cases of coronavirus again on Monday. Cases have jumped in the past four days. That's despite a lockdown that's left the capital of Moscow looking like this with streets largely deserted. Now, last week, President Vladimir Putin extended Russia's isolation period through May 11th, warning the peak is not behind us.

And the pandemic is certainly putting pressure on Russia's president like he's not seen before. Russia's economy is taking a hit right now, just like everyone else. The IMF, the International Monetary Fund, estimates that Russia's GDP will shrink more than five percent this year.

Its economy remains heavily dependent on the oil market and the country's budget right now is based on getting roughly $42.00 a barrel. But, Brent crude is at levels lower than Mr. Putin has seen in 20 years of running the country.

And one former finance minister says the number of jobless Russians could more than triple to eight million unemployed this year.

And here's the thing. Russia has more than half a trillion dollars set aside in international reserves, so what is Mr. Putin waiting for?

Well, Matthew Chance is our Moscow correspondent and he joins me now from London. Matthew, hi, good to see you. So what do we know about this rescue plan and Mr. Putin's hesitation?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I mean, already, some weeks ago, the Kremlin announced various relief measures to excuse people from mortgage payments, and debt relief, and tax relief, and things like that. But, I mean, it's been criticized within the country for being nowhere near enough of the kind of debt that the country needs to ride out this economic storm that it and many other countries in the world are experiencing.

Just this morning, though, the Kremlin launched a new Website pointing to about 80 new measures that it's enacting to help businesses, to help individuals to get through this very difficult time in Russia.

But you're right, it hasn't announced a major sort of relief fund effort like countries that the United States or Britain or other countries in Europe have announced in order to make sure their populations don't suffer as much.

And I think there are a couple of ways of looking at it. First of all, Russia is trying, I think, to keep its powder dry. It does have half a trillion dollars -- more than that, in fact, in its national reserve fund, but it doesn't want to spend that all at once. And with oil prices as low as they are it knows it's going to be really hard to get that money back and to replenish those coffers. So it wants to wait for the right time to spend the money that it -- that it has to spend to support the economy.

I mean, I think the other way of looking at it -- perhaps the more negative way -- is that the fact that the Russian government is allowing businesses to bear the brunt of this -- they're allowing ordinary citizens to lose so massively as a result of this pandemic -- sort of indicates the degree to which they are disconnected from the population at-large. And I think that may have consequences for the future popularity of the Russian president.

CURNOW: I want to talk about that in terms of that disconnect. I mean, do you think -- I mean, clearly, Mr. Putin has a tight grip on power there. What is going to be the impact on that and his popularity?

CHANCE: Well, you're right. He does -- he does have a very tight grip on power. His popularity ratings have always been very high. I'm not sure the extent -- I haven't seen the figures -- what extent, if any, that popularity has been dented by this pandemic.

But, I mean, there's always been a social contract -- an unspoken social contract between the Russian government and Vladimir Putin and its people. The people give up that of democratic freedoms. They tolerate a high degree of corruption in the country. And in exchange, the Kremlin delivers them higher standards of living.

That's worked very well with a few exceptions over the past 20 years since Putin has been in office. But if that breaks down, then that will have serious consequences for the popularity and the grip on power that Vladimir Putin has over the country.


CURNOW: And, Matthew, I know you're in London. When do you think there's going to be a -- you know, a letdown in terms of borders with Russia and that sort of reemergence within the international community?

CHANCE: Well, I mean, it's pretty difficult to say, isn't it, particularly in Russia. And we've seen these figures that have been -- that have been coming out. They're having 10,000 a day now for the past couple of days -- more than that -- of new infections. The death rate is still very low but there's a high degree of skepticism about the accuracy of those figures.

In fact, the mayor of Moscow said something really interesting a couple of days ago, saying that he believes that two percent of the population of Moscow may be infected with coronavirus. That would amount to -- that would amount to 250,000.

And so, we're still very much on the sort of incline phase of this pandemic in Russia and until that's leveled out, I think there's very little chance of them opening the borders again and all business resuming.

CURNOW: OK, Matthew Chance. Always good to speak to you. Thanks for your perspective.

So you're watching CNN. Still to come, New Jersey residents were able to take advantage of some state parks as far as facilities and golf courses for the first time this spring. Details ahead.



CURNOW: So, while many U.S. states are opening or getting ready to open, there's still lots of concern about safety. New Jersey opened golf courses and some parks this weekend, as you can see here, and the state's governor says he'd like to reopen by Memorial Day at the end of May.

New Jersey has the second-highest number of coronavirus cases and deaths in the country. The governor says that's why it's too soon to tell whether a Memorial Day reopening is possible.


GOV. PHIL MURPHY (D), NEW JERSEY: As we push these curves down and folks continue to comply and keep social distancing, that's the best weapon we've got to get the best outcome by the time we do get to Memorial Day.

The state park step we took was partly for mental health reasons -- for folks to get out and be able to get some fresh air and stay away from each other.

So, I don't begrudge folks' right to protest but we've got to call -- we've got to make our decisions based on the science, the data, the facts, and they all suggest, as you -- as you rightfully point out, we're not out of this yet.


CURNOW: Well, senior vice president of digital news and programming Mitra Kalita, here at CNN, is in New Jersey living under lockdown with her kids and her elderly parents. And she recently wrote about living with three generations during the pandemic for CNN and this is what she wrote.

"As time goes on and our new lives seek rhythm, I wonder if there are lessons to be learned from my surrounding generations. Our immigrant parents came here with little but uncertainty. That which we complain about now -- not being able to travel, get our nails done, see friends and family -- is something they endured for years, partly a result of starting out with little, then because their thrifty ways stuck."

Well, Mitra Kalita joins me now from her family home near Princeton, New Jersey. Great to see you.

And you, like many families, chose to quarantine together at your elderly parents' house. You call yourselves the sandwich generation or the quarantine buffers. Why, and how has it been?


In mid-February, my father actually had a stroke and while coronavirus was very much in the news we weren't yet in lockdown mode. So we were visiting my father pretty regularly. He was in rehab.

And we went from one weekend of a dozen visitors and family all around him to days later being told that the nursing home would no longer allow visitation. And so we made the decision to get him out and do therapy at home.

But, you know, as a woman caught between caring for my father and my children needing homeschooling and then, of course, there's work, it just felt like it was easier for all of us to ride this out together.

CURNOW: And you talk about -- obviously, you've got a huge job here at CNN and it's another Monday morning, another week ahead of you. How has this experience been a powerful reminder for working moms, and also the juggling that goes into working from home?

KALITA: That's right, Robyn.

I mean, I think that we already were dealing with a lot, right? Middle-aged women sort of have not just the challenges and responsibilities of work but many of us were already in a situation of checking in with elderly parents. And, of course, there's everything that our children need. Coronavirus just kind of took that and intensified it so much.

For me, the lessons really have been to focus on literally the security and safety of individuals. And it's very easy to feel inadequate as I'm looking at people's Facebook feeds where they're baking and learning new hobbies -- you know, reading books, writing books, learning new languages. But I've sort of had to accept that where I am right now is the right place to be and to kind of use the measure of everybody else would be absolutely the wrong tactic right now.

So I've just taken some peace that I'll look back on my life and be so grateful that I was able to be there for my family. That's really my hope.

CURNOW: And I think that's kind of a clarity that many people have shared, particularly when it comes to elderly parents.

What are the lessons -- and I know that so many people have done this -- your story certainly hits a chord. What are the lessons you've learned from your immigrant parents while hunkering down in your childhood home? KALITA: So, it's been fascinating because I almost -- you know, I haven't lived at home since I was a teenager on this, like, regular basis. And, you know, my parents' landline rings all day long with people checking on them. And I have to notice that like for our generation, the Zoom calls and the check-ins seem relatively like a recent phenomenon.

Whereas, for my parents coming to this country in the 1970s, this is really their way of life, right? They set up and complete strangers became family and they had to create community however they could.

And I think that's just been an important lesson. I literally -- it rings and punctuates like every hour in this house. It's a little early right now so you're not hearing it.


So I think the ties of being a part of something greater than ourselves has just been an immense lesson. Also for my girls to be able to see that up close has been really phenomenal. And I also just think that for my parents, it's allowed us to reconnect with our culture in a way that we're so busy we just don't get the chance to do that.

CURNOW: No. And I hear you getting e-mails already so your workday has begun.


CURNOW: Thank you for joining us, Mitra Kalita. Appreciate it very much. All part of CNN's corona diaries.

Thanks for your company. I'm going to hand you over to John and Alisyn. Have a good week.



TRUMP: I used to say 65,000 and now I'm saying 80 or 90. And it goes up and it goes up rapidly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The medical experts haven't altered their projection, which was 100,000 to 240,000 deaths in the United States.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Operation Warp Speed, the Trump administration's ambitious plan to make 100 million doses of a vaccine available by November.

DR. DEBORAH BIRX, RESPONSE COORDINATOR, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS TASK FORCE: On paper, it's possible. It's whether we can execute and execute around the globe.

GOV. JARED POLIS (D) COLORADO: And I don't think anywhere in the country of the world is out of the woods. But certainly, people are relieved in Colorado that they've been able to go back to work. GOV. RON DESANTIS (R), FLORIDA: And I think we're going to be able to continue to take some good steps, but it's certainly not the Florida that we had in February.


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

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. It's Monday, May fourth, 6:00 here in New York.

Alisyn is off. Erica Hill joins me this morning. Can I just say, Erica, you've been doing such an amazing job.