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U.K. Records Lowest Daily Death Toll Since March; Florida's Governor Claiming Victory Over Coronavirus; Israel Announces Plans For Phased Reopening. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired May 5, 2020 - 05:30   ET



ROBYN CURNOW, CNN ANCHOR: And then also, we know that people are suffering when it comes to just paying the rent or the mortgage. And I know in Miami we saw -- I think it was 10,000 applications filed in just an hour for rent relief. This is also an example of just how people --


CURNOW: -- are stretched.

ROMANS: It is -- this is a kitchen table economics crisis. People are worried about their health but they're also worried about how they're going to pay the bills.

That program in the city of Miami was fascinating. It was -- it was -- it was rent relief and small business loans for -- you know, rescue money for small businesses and this was over-subscribed in just an hour. And it just shows you April first came and then May first came and the months keep going by here and the bills are due.

But for many of these people who are trying to look for jobless checks, by the way, they're -- they filed a month ago and they still haven't received their jobless benefits as well. So it just shows you this many layers of kitchen table economics that people are really grappling with here.

Aside from the anxiety of the disease and the health care issues, it's paying the bills. That is the primary focus of so many American families right now.

CURNOW: And also what's in your fridge. We've talked about it before and I know CNN has done a lot of reporting on the food supply chain here in the U.S. But there certainly is concern about meat products, about pork, I know, and trying to avoid the sort of run on these products in the way that perhaps toilet paper was the focus for people a few months ago.

ROMANS: I know. You know, I think that there will be sort of a business school study of behavioral psychology, right, or behavioral economics here with the meat. So we know that there have been some shutdowns and there have been

some meat supply issues but nothing that would -- you know, that would say that you're not going to be able to eat meat. Maybe you'll -- maybe in the future, you could have less variety or maybe prices are going to go up. But, Kroger and Costco now both have said that they're limiting how much meat people can buy at one trip to the -- to the grocery store.

And mostly what I'm hearing from economists, they think this is kind of hoarding behavior, you know. People all of the sudden, they're hearing these headlines of a Tyson's plant closed and so they're buying five pounds of ground turkey and 10 pounds of ground beef. And then that is -- you know, that's why you're having some of these disruptions at the grocery stores.

CURNOW: Yes. I mean, also, just all playing into the deep anxiety --


CURNOW: -- that folks are feeling.


CURNOW: Christine Romans, always good to speak to you. Thanks so much. Have a lovely day.

ROMANS: You, too. Bye, Robyn.

CURNOW: So, the United Kingdom has recorded its lowest daily coronavirus death toll since the end of March. Good news there. The rise of 280 deaths reported on Monday brings the total to nearly 29,000. However, the U.K. Health Sec. Matt Hancock cautions figures tend to be lower after the weekend due to a lag in reporting and that number will likely rise.

Well, Nick Paton Walsh is watching all of this in London. Hi, Nick. What can you tell us?

NICK PATON WALSH, INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: Well, Robyn, as you said, that number of 288 extraordinarily low, particularly given the new government way of accounting, not just positive tests of people who've died in hospital but those across the country they're aware of. But, yes, as we see quite regularly, after weekends the number goes down, then it goes back up again.

This will be significant during this week because it's on Thursday that the government have to renew restrictions on social movement around the United Kingdom. They're expected, though, to probably introduce some lessening of those as the weekend approaches towards us in a substantial policy speech.

We're hearing also, too, some more of the detail as to how the U.K. government is beginning to inform itself here.

Now, we know, for example, that they believe the infection rate -- the chief scientific officer has been saying to Parliament in testimony just earlier on today they believe that the scientific infection rate, which has to be well below one for them to be relaxed enough about reducing the lockdown here, may be as low as 0.6 percent possibly in the cap for London; possibly higher elsewhere. That's not by any stretch of the imagination ideal but it is perhaps low enough to contemplate a relaxation, too.

We've also been learning as well from some of the figures we've seen that updated numbers of deaths show that the spread of the virus within England, certainly, and the United Kingdom seems to be a lot earlier than previously thought, certainly in terms of the deaths.

When the public official death toll was still zero, four people had, in fact, already died. And that appears to have increased up until the lockdown when publicly, the death toll was 359, I think, correctly. But, in fact, was 847.

This is just clear information with hindsight as numbers fulfill through the reporting system here but does begin to provide some of the reasons why there's so much scrutiny now about the U.K. approach. They were slower at putting in the lockdown, saying they needed to hit the right times -- people obeyed it. And now they're being asked exactly what is it they're going to do to reduce the economic toll on the U.K., Robyn.

CURNOW: Nick Paton Walsh there in London. Thanks, Nick.


So coming up here at CNN, weddings in Israel -- they're back, but no dancing. Find out what other rules the country has for its reopening.


CURNOW: Well, Florida's governor is touting his administration's response to the pandemic as much of the state now prepares to reopen. So far, Florida has seen nearly 37,000 infections and 1,400 deaths -- relatively low numbers considering its large size. But now, questions are arising over how the state is actually confirming its cases.

Here's Randi Kaye with that.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As some of Florida's beaches and businesses start to reopen today, the state is also opening up the records of coronavirus cases and deaths in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. The list from Florida's health department details more than 300 facilities where staff or residents tested positive for the coronavirus, including those who have died, but the numbers don't always add up.

Take the Atria Willow Wood assisted living facility in Fort Lauderdale. Officials there tell CNN seven residents have died from the coronavirus. But the chart released by the state May first tells a different story -- just three resident deaths, noting that three others are quote "under investigation." And there's more. The state's data also indicates a staff member died.

The facility told me a staff member did test positive for the virus but recovered and even returned to work.

Still, that's hardly the only discrepancy. At Five Star Premier Residences in Hollywood, the state's chart shows one resident and two staff members died. But, Five Star told me by phone that its three confirmed deaths from the coronavirus were all residents. Five Star says they did not lose any staff as the state's most current list suggests.

JORGE ZAMANILLO, MOTHER DIED OF COVID-19: It was devastating. You know, I couldn't understand how something could escalate so quickly in a matter of days.


KAYE (voice-over): Jorge Zamanillo's mother died from coronavirus at the Residential Plaza at Blue Lagoon in Miami. The state's chart shows three deaths at that facility.

But, Jorge shared these letters from the facility to families. One dated April 20th, reports the death of three residents. Another from April 27th reports the death of another resident, bringing the total to four. Yet, the state health department's chart, which is supposed to be updated weekly, still shows three deaths at that facility.

Our calls to Residential Plaza were not returned. Neither were e-mails or calls to the governor's office and the state health department.

Jorge says families deserve the real numbers.

ZAMANILLO: Then when the state provides a list that we know is incomplete or it doesn't match up with the total counts that have been released locally, we know something is wrong. We know for a fact that it's not jiving. You know, the numbers are definitely off.

And it's very disturbing. We're not sure what is -- what is being covered up.

KAYE (voice-over): Perhaps it's just fuzzy math. Whatever the reason, the numbers just don't sync up.

At The Court at Palm Aire in Pompano Beach, the state's chart shows seven deaths, including six residents and one staff member. The facility tells us there have been seven deaths but they were all residents.


CURNOW: That was Randi Kaye reporting there. Thanks to Randi for that.

So we know that Israel has unveiled its plan to end its coronavirus shutdown. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says gatherings of up to 20 people will be allowed and people can visit immediate family, including the elderly. But he warned if there are more than 100 new infections a day or more than 250 patients in serious condition, the reopening will have to stop.

Well, Oren Liebermann is in Jerusalem and watching all of this. Hi, Oren, lovely to see you. Tell us more about this plan.

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So this is a gradual process, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called it. And as you pointed out, it's one that can be reversed or stopped if the numbers aren't good or begin to move in the wrong direction.

But for now, Israel numbers, especially when compared to Europe or the United States, are very good. As of last night, there were just over 16,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in Israel and 235 deaths. But in the previous 24 hours there were only 44 new cases and three deaths. So because those numbers are low and have been decreasing, that's why Israel has begun to reopen.

We saw that earlier this week with some schools reopening -- first, second, and third grade, 11th and 12th grade. And the rest of the schools should reopen by the end of the month with higher education coming back in mid-June.

And we see that reopening expanding. Malls and markets will reopen on Thursday. As you pointed out, you can now visit immediate family, including grandparents. These are all still under health restrictions.

For example, malls and markets will not be able to seat people to eat, so even that will have to be done elsewhere and that will be under restrictions. Visiting family, yes, without physical contact. So, again, these social distancing requirements remain in place.

Netanyahu has said that the key to this process continuing -- the process of reopening is founded upon hygiene, social distancing, and listening to the health requirements. He has been front and center when it comes to Israel's response to the coronavirus crisis and that certainly remains the same now as he boasted about Israel's accomplishments.


BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): Israel's achievement in the campaign against the coronavirus are serving as a model for many countries. The world looks at us. We learn from the world and the world learns from us.


LIEBERMANN: As for the tourism sector, he said that will even begin reopening towards mid-June with hotels, motels, and some international flights. The first two destinations, Greece and Cypress. Israelis who have lived under these restrictions for going on two months now -- that, I suspect, sounds a bit like paradise.

But again, Robyn, that warning from Netanyahu that if these numbers start moving in the wrong direction, all of this could be over very quickly.

CURNOW: Yes. Certainly, Greece and Cypress perhaps indicating a good holiday season for many, but definitely moving in the right direction.

And just talk to us how different communities in Israel have actually reacted to this plan.

LIEBERMANN: So we see in the different communities most sharply when it comes to the education system. The sort of regular education system for most students -- that was first, second, and third grade, 11th and 12th. But even there, many schools in some of the major cities in Israel didn't open because they simply weren't given enough of a heads up. So they reopened a bit later in the week.

Meanwhile, the Ultra-Orthodox schools and the Arab schools remain closed but for different reasons.

For the Ultra-Orthodox, it's partially because they've had the highest infection rate in their community in the country. So for them, it was an extra measure of safety.

Meanwhile, for the Arab community, their political leaders say that their outbreak of coronavirus was two weeks later and right now, it's the month of Ramadan. So for those reasons, it was decided to hold off just a little longer in reopening schools.

So there is a bit of a difference here and a bit of a difference in comfort level and how this is all moving forward. Again, it's a very gradual process and I suspect it will remain so for quite some time.


CURNOW: Yes, but either way, in the right direction, as I said.

So, thanks so much. Oren Liebermann in Jerusalem -- bye.

So you're watching CNN NEWSROOM. Good to have you with us. I'm Robyn Curnow.

Still ahead, Greece is hoping to welcome back tourists as soon as this summer. What the country did right to fight the coronavirus pandemic. We'll take you live to Athens right after this short break. Stay with us.


CURNOW: We have this developing story.

Venezuela's president says that two American mercenaries were apprehended after a failed coup attempt launched over the weekend. Nicolas Maduro showed -- look at these images -- what he claimed were their U.S. passports and Silvercorp I.D.'s in a live T.V. address. He also showed photos of them post-capture.

Silvercorp is a Florida-based security services company. The CEO of Silvercorp told "The Washington Post" two Americans were captured on Monday.

CNN has reached out to the U.S. State Department and Silvercorp but it has not yet heard back. And, of course, we'll have more from CNN's Barbara Starr in the next hour with more on that story.


Meanwhile, people in Greece are now allowed to go out and enjoy some shopping as the country eases some of its lockdown restrictions from the coronavirus. Bookstores, hair salons, flower shops are all open for business this week.

Greece has been praised for its response to the virus pandemic, implementing tough restriction measures. Now, businesses there are getting ready to welcome tourists back this summer.

And that's actually where we find our Nic Robertson. Nic is in Athens with more on all of that. Nic, hi.


It's going to be cautious steps and it's not a direct path between here and tourists coming back into the country, but that's certainly the aspiration of the government here. Tourism a major part of the Greeks' economic prospects, if you will. The success of the tourism business this coming summer, it will really sort of shape -- you know, shape how well the country can do over the -- over the next year.

But everything that they've done so far has been careful and cautious and there's been good reasons for that.


ROBERTSON (voice-over): Welcome to Greece, the new normal at Athens International Airport.

ROBERTSON (on camera): Wow, thank you.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): Four COVID-19 testings were negative. Everyone off our flight is getting it. It's tough love but Greece is defying expectations. Despite an aging population and creaking health care, it is holding off COVID-19.

ROBERTSON (on camera): And it's no easier if you live here. Until this weekend, just to leave home you had to register with the government. Text a number one through six, go to the pharmacy, buying groceries, exercise, all part of a hard, fast lockdown.

Greece's new post-populous but pragmatic prime minister says it is working.

KYRIAKOS MITSOTAKIS, GREEK PRIME MINISTER: So we feel we have reached a point where we have almost completely suppressed the epidemic -- at least its first stage and we can -- we can -- we will gradually begin to relax.

ROBERTSON (on camera): Do you feel like you have dodged the bullet?

MITSOTAKIS: We feel we've dodged the first bullet, very clearly.

ROBERTSON (on camera): Putting on your mask -- you whole mask here. Putting on this protective gear because we're going to go into the ICU.

So how are these patients doing?

ROBERTSON (voice-over): Dr. Anastasia Kotanidou leads the way.


ROBERTSON (on camera): Better? Good.

KOTANIDOU: Oh, yes, yes, yes.

ROBERTSON (on camera): Yes, yes.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): Life for some still in the balance. But, ICU here at one-fifth capacity thanks, she says, to the early lockdown.

ROBERTSON (on camera): And this helped you in the hospitals?


ROBERTSON (voice-over): One hundred fifty deaths; around 2,600 confirmed infections -- less than New York, some days. And not a single doctor or nurse in this Athens main COVID-19 hospital infected.

KOTANIDOU: And we don't have any infection from that stuff --

ROBERTSON (on camera): None?

KOTANIDOU: -- or doctor -- no.

ROBERTSON (on camera): That's incredible.


ROBERTSON (on camera): This seems to be, dare I say, a very strong message for the United States and the United Kingdom whose track records at the moment on this pandemic are probably some of the worst in terms of death and infection rates.

MITSOTAKIS: I think we've done it the right way. Of course, we didn't get everything completely right but if you look at the numbers you can't argue with what we -- what we have achieved.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): Mitsotakis' challenge now, restarting the economy. Selected stores reopened Monday, another new normal.

Hair salon owner Constantino Sklavenitis greets customers with a temperature check and hand sanitizer. Reopening after seven weeks, one-third capacity but longer hours. CONSTANTINO SKLAVENITIS, OWNER, BEAUTIQUE HAIR SALON: Economically, we're definitely taking a hit. And hopefully, within two months, yes, we can go back to norm -- but normal not be what it was.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): It could be a long journey. Tourism, 20 percent of the country's economy, tentatively targeted to begin July.

ROBERTSON (on camera): And that's where things could get tough. Imagine these beaches teeming with tourists again. Friend and potential enemy invisibly intertwined -- a blade that cuts both ways -- economic salvation or a second wave of COVID-19 suffering.

MITSOTAKIS: Ideally, we want to have more high-end tourists and -- where we can actually respect social distancing. We have --

ROBERTSON (on camera): But it's a -- but it's a --

MITSOTAKIS: It's a tough --

ROBERTSON (on camera): -- it's a risk.

MITSOTAKIS: It's a tough -- it's a very tough trade-off. I'll be very honest with you, Nic, nobody knows exactly how to do this.


ROBERTSON: And remember that COVID-19 test at the airport? Well, the prime minister says that there really needs to be new international standards set if tourism is going to be successful. In that way, people could be tested at home before they actually arrive here.


And, of course, that's going to take cooperation internationally. It's not just one country acting alone. It's everyone together and we all know how long these things can take, Robyn.

CURNOW: Certainly. Great piece there. Thanks so much. Nic Robertson there in Athens.

So thanks for your company. I'm Robyn Curnow. I appreciate you joining me and I'm going to hand you over to "NEW DAY."




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The projected number of deaths forecast by early August in this country just nearly doubled.

DR. LARRY BRILLIANT, EPIDEMEOLOGIST: It isn't that the models change anything. They're just looking at what is already happening. JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: The White House --

they are pushing back on this internal administration projections that estimates as many as 3,000 deaths per day by the end of this month.

ANDY SLAVITT, FORMER ACTING ADMINISTRATOR, CENTERS FOR MEDICARE AND MEDICAID SERVICES: This virus, it doesn't have to outsmart us. We are choosing not to pick a path.

CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), FORMER GOVERNOR OF NEW JERSEY: We've got to let some of these folks get back to work because if we don't, we're going to destroy the American way of life and these families.


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 Tuesday, May fifth, 6:00 here in New York.

Alisyn is off. Erica Hill with me again this morning. Great to see you.

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, my friend.

BERMAN: So this morning, it has never been more clear that America faces a stark question.