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China Slams Pompeo; Coronavirus Update from Around the World; States Need Funding for Recovery; Answers to your Coronavirus Questions. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired May 4, 2020 - 08:30   ET




ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: We are following a developing story out of China, where state media just went after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo after Secretary Pompeo said he has, quote, enormous evidence that the coronavirus came from a lab in Wuhan.

Let's get straight to CNN's David Culver, who joins us from Shanghai with the breaking details.

So, what are they saying in response to those comments?

DAVID CULVER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Erica, this is coming from CCTV, so that's a state broadcaster here. It came in the midst of their flagship evening news cast, their broadcast, which oftentimes pushes a certain narrative that is government controlled. And so one of the things they have been pushing out significantly over the past week or so, multiple times, is attacks against Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Tonight, they took it a step further. They called him evil in his commentary, in his accusations that this originated within a lab.

I'm going to read you some of what they say. They accuse him of creating rumors recklessly in the face of science. And they go on to say that he is repeating a made up lie.

Now, what they were referring to is, of course, the origin theory from the lab at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which CNN traveled to just about a week or so ago, but they're also referring to comments that Secretary of State Pompeo made over the weekend, particularly those that seemed to confirm a report from the Department of Homeland Security suggesting that China not only concealed the virus, and the severity of it, but also seemed to start stockpiling some of the PPE, the badly needed medical equipment. Play you a little bit of what Secretary of State Pompeo had to say.


MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: We can confirm that the Chinese communist party did all that it could to make sure that the world didn't learn in a timely fashion about what was taking place. We -- there's lots of evidence of that, some of it you can see in public.

This was classic communist disinformation effort that created enormous risk and now you can see hundreds of thousands of people around the world, tens of thousands in the United States, who have been harmed. President Trump is very clear, we're going to hold those responsible accountable and we'll do so on a timeline that is our own.


CULVER: So, John, that is what has really angered the Chinese government and that's been expressed through state media.

What's going to be interesting to watch here is how long they hold onto that narrative. The ministry of foreign affairs in particular, we put out a request to hear their comments on this. The reason I say that is because they seem to be pushing that the U.S., and Secretary of State Pompeo in particular, are deflecting based on their lack of preparedness in the U.S., saying that they're just pushing this out there as a lie because they weren't ready in the U.S. for this virus.

The reason I say it's going to be interesting to see if they stick to that is because other countries are now starting to question the origins here.


You're hearing it from Australia, the U.K., other parts of Europe, and so if that continues, can the Chinese really hold onto that deflection strategy and that claim and hold onto it with any weight going forward. It will be interesting to watch.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: It really will.

Also interesting, the markets not reacting well to this new and apparent rise in tension between the United States and China. Very concerned that it will create new trade issues going forward. That's a whole separate issue.

David Culver, thanks very much for being with us.

CULVER: Right.

BERMAN: Globally, nearly 248,000 people have now died from coronavirus. There have been at least 3.5 million confirmed cases. Italy is taking a new step out of lockdown today.

CNN has reporters there and all around the world with the latest developments.


BARBIE NADEAU, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I'm Barbie Nadeau in Rome, where across Italy today the country is starting phase two, co-existing with coronavirus. Behind me is the Campdelfuri (ph) market, in the center of Rome. Normally this is one of the bustling, most busy places in the city. But as you can see, it's just starting to gradually come back to life.

Restaurants and coffee bars can offer takeout service. Four million people who have now been able to work at home will be able to finally go back to the job.

And people will start being able to hold funerals. Maximum 15 people to start to be able to honor and bury their dead.

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Scott McLean on the Spanish island of Formentera, which only had seven coronavirus cases, but had to lock down like the rest of the country. Today, Formentera and three other islands are having restrictions lifted, some restrictions, a week ahead of the rest of the country. And they're not taking any chances.

Before we were allowed to board the ferry here, we had to have a blood test to ensure that we didn't have the virus. Restaurant terraces, stores, churches, they are all allowed to open with limited capacity. There's only one problem, and that's that almost no one is allowed to actually come here. This island's economy revolves almost 100 percent around tourism and the tourists won't be back any time soon.


Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro yet again greeted hundreds of supporters on Sunday out protesting social distancing measures. And, yet again, Bolsonaro did not wear a mask and insisted that Brazilians should be allowed to go back to work. This on the very same day that the number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Brazil surpassed 100,000 and the death toll topped 7,000.


And Russia's economy faces the double blow of a pandemic and crashing oil prices, but the Kremlin has been holding back major financial support despite having more than half a trillion dollars in reserve. Economists say that could have a devastating impact on living standards, putting pressure on President Putin to dip into Russia's emergency funds to rescue the economy and his own popularity. This as the country continues to record record rates of coronavirus infections, up another 10,500 today, a further sign Russia's pandemic is yet to peak.


HILL: And our thanks to reporters from around the globe.

We want to remember some of the nearly 68,000 Americans lost to coronavirus.

Idris Bey was a 27 year veteran of the New York Fire Department and a beloved EMT instructor. One former student called him spontaneous, charismatic and hilarious. The former Marine was also tough. Fire officials say he earned a medal for actions after 9/11. Idris Bey was 60 years old.

Colorado paramedic Paul Cary traveled to New York to help the city respond to the pandemic. The 66-year-old contracted coronavirus and died at a hospital in the Bronx. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio praised Cary's sacrifice as a powerful story of human devotion. He noted first responders honored Cary as if he'd been a lifelong New Yorker.

Sister Josephine Seier died on Friday in Greenfield, Wisconsin, at age 94. Officials say she is the sixth nun at Our Lady of Angels Convent to die of coronavirus. The convent says it is working with health officials to prevent further spread. Sister Seier was a nun for 79 years, ministering in social work and caring for the elderly.

We'll be right back.



BERMAN: This morning, a new, coordinated message from the White House economic team that financial aid to cities and states is not coming, at least soon. That will be alarming to so many of these cities and states in great need.

John Avlon with a "Reality Check."

JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: In the last six weeks, more Americans have died of coronavirus than were killed in the Vietnam War, while 30 million people have lost their jobs. Talk about American carnage.

But the president's son-in-law thinks they all deserve a trophy.


JARED KUSHNER, WHITE HOUSE ADVISER (ph): This is a great success story and -- and I think that that's really, you know, what needs to be told.


AVLON: But that wasn't the worst idea in Washington recently, with states reeling from Covid deaths, decimated tax bases, skyrocketing unemployment, and struggling to pay cops, firefighter, teachers, pensions and jobless claims. In response, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell floated the idea of letting states go bankrupt.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): My guess is their first choice would be for the federal government to borrow money from future generations. That's not something I'm going to be in favor of.

(END VIDEO CLIP) AVLON: But McConnell presided over a massive growth of the deficit and the debt before the pandemic hit courtesy of Trump tax cut to many of the big businesses that are getting big bailouts. It's now, of course, much worse with the federal debt projected to exceed 100 percent of GDP.

Then there's this fact. States can't declare bankruptcy under federal law. It can only default. It's not like Trump's business has declaring bankruptcy after making bad bets in Atlantic City, which is probably why Governor Cuomo called it --


GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): It's a really dumb idea.


AVLON: And Speaker Nancy Pelosi said --


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): He's making it look like there's some blue state/red state thing here.

Everybody is united in saying, in order for us to survive, we need to have these resources, and they will.



AVLON: McConnell's also pushing an old stereotype that happens to be completely wrong. Let's look at the facts. New York state puts nearly $22 billion more each year into the federal government to terms of taxes than it takes out, while McConnell's Kentucky gets $45 billion more from the federal government than it gives.

So, no matter what McConnell says, could it be that red state are bigger freeloaders than the blue states when it comes to federal funds? Well, while McConnell's apparently been trying to win the worst idea in Washington, Donald Trump said, hold my beer. And, no, I'm not even talking about injecting disinfectant. Instead, Trump is talking about tying state relief to amending so-called sanctuary city provisions.

Now, here's the thing. One of the reasons sanctuary city provisions exist is to help contain public health crisis, like the one we're in now. Follow the logic here. If undocumented immigrants are afraid to go to the hospital, the disease outbreak in the city will get much worse because it would be identified much later. But if logic were driving the Trump train, he wouldn't have declared workers in meat packing plants essential workers just a few short months after ICE raids to get many of those same workers deported.

But if your immigration policies are being engineered by a White House adviser who backs up his arguments with white supremacist websites, even pandemics provide an opportunity to push through a partisan agenda.

And that's your "Reality Check."

HILL: John Avlon, thank you.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta back now to answer some of your questions.

We have some great ones for you this morning, Sanjay. No relationship advice, though, that I see on here on a Monday.

We do have an important one about hair styling safety and I think this is coming up for a lot of people, especially as they're seeing salons get the green light in some states.

Nancy writes, is it safe for me to get my hair done? My stylist works in her home, so it's just she and I there. Both of us will wear a mask. Any other tips you can give me for safety? She sprays all the surfaces with Lysol before each client. Thanks.

Is it safe for Nancy to go to her hair -- her hair dressers?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, I have to say that at the beginning of this pandemic, I would not have guessed that hair questions would be some of the most common questions that we would get but I guess it makes sense.

Here's what I would say is that, I mean, clearly the -- what Nancy is describing in terms of, you know, the precautions she's taking reduces the risk. The risk is lower as a result of that, but it's not zero as a result of this. It's just very hard to physically distance, obviously, if you're cutting someone's hair.

You wear masks. That can help. But unless you're wearing the N-95 masks, which are fit-tested and everything, there's still a chance that, you know, viral particles could -- could be getting out into the environment. Doing a good job of wiping surfaces and stuff, because as she's alluding to, you touch surfaces, and then you touch your eyes, your nose, and your mouth, and that's one way that the viruses can be spread as well.

So that is the -- that is the issue here. So it's just -- it's a risk/reward proposition. I think a lot of people are obviously making the decision to go out and get their haircut or get their hair styled, whatever now, but it's -- there's still a risk here.

BERMAN: And, look, I guess the good news is, people are at least think about it and considering ways to mitigate it at least some.


HILL: True.

BERMAN: It's not perfect, but at least some.

Sanjay, I think this is a really important question. This comes from Brendan Small in Chicago. We flattened the curve so hospitals weren't overwhelmed. Are we supposed to keep social distancing as intensely under lockdown until we get a vaccine or will most people contract the virus anyway? Wasn't the idea not to overwhelm the hospitals with a wave of infected?

To that point of hospitals, that was a big part of trying to flatten the curve, to make sure that hospitals weren't overwhelmed.


BERMAN: So how would you respond to that?

GUPTA: Yes, I think there's two points. It's a very fair point. I mean that was the flattening of the curve that hospital resources are at this amount, if we can -- if we can spread out the number of people who are getting infected over a longer period of time, you won't overwhelm hospitals.

I think there's two -- two other points though. One is that there was also a hope that you would reduce the overall number of infections as well. So you want to space them out but also reduce the volume of infections overall as well.

Number two is that, you know, it's -- it is a little bit of a race here. If we can -- if we can sort of wait this out a bit and let the science catch up, in terms of effective medicines and hopefully a vaccine at some point, I know it's a ways away. I mean this is not -- you know, people are acting like this is over. It's not over, you know? It's -- we have some time to go still. So if we can wait it out a little bit longer, some of these other things, like the therapeutics and the vaccines, may start to catch up.

HILL: Sanjay, thank you. We'll have more questions, of course, for you tomorrow.

GUPTA: You got it.

HILL: Just ahead, she is a doctor who thought coronavirus would kill her. She survived, and now she has the best gift of all. "The Good Stuff" is next.



BERMAN: All right, it's time now for "The Good Stuff."

And you might remember Dr. Julie John, an internal medicine physician who got coronavirus while treating patients. She record a heartbreaking video to her children, worried that she might die. This is what Dr. John said when we spoke to her just a few weeks ago.


DR. JULIE JOHN: I was so short of breathe, I couldn't breathe. And I just wanted to tell my kids that they are the most important thing in the world to me and mommy was a doctor, but I never stopped caring about them and, you know, things like treat the world good, it's been great to us, and I love you, and I want to be there but I can't.


BERMAN: All she wanted to do was see them and to hug them. But we're now happy to report that after fighting the virus for more than a month, Dr. John tested negative and was finally able to hug her kids for the first time in more than a month.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mommy's negative!


BERMAN: Look at that. (INAUDIBLE) muscle flexing. That is the best hug ever.


HILL: I love it. I love that they won't let go.

BERMAN: Oh my God, look at her son. I'm hugging and flexing all at once. That's how big this hug is! Oh, that's so nice.

Look, despite her ordeal, Dr. John is set to return working in critical care next weekend. She says she feels compelled to get back to being on the front lines.

Oh, I can't get over that.

HILL: Such an incredible moment.

BERMAN: Did he give her a little slug there, too? I'm not just going to flex, I'm going to hug you and sock you in the face all at the same time.

HILL: I mean, listen, he's really showing off those muscles there, isn't he?

BERMAN: Yes, well, clearly he got that strength from his mother, who is a warrior.

HILL: Yes.

BERMAN: Fought through the virus and is going back to work to treat patients. That's awesome. So nice to see. Congratulations to Dr. John. We wish her the best of health going forward.

CNN's coronavirus coverage continues, next.