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Supreme Court Takes Up Obamacare Contraceptive Mandate Challenge; More Than 20 Million Private Sector Jobs Lost In April; Ford Announces New Shipments, Orders Of PPE For Health Care Workers. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired May 6, 2020 - 12:30   ET




JOHN KING, CNN HOST: The Supreme Court working from home today it has just finished hearing arguments over a controversial piece of the Affordable Care Act and issue the requirement that employer provided health insurance companies cover the costs of birth control. This marks the third time the justices are taking part by telephone through the COVID-19 pandemic.

CNN's Ariane de Vogue, is following this case and the argument. Ariane, how to play out?

ARIANE DE VOGUE, CNN SUPREME COURT REPORTER: Well, you know, this case was about the Trump administration's attempt to weaken the Affordable Care Act's so called contraceptive mandate, right, the law requires employers to provide coverage at no cost to a woman.

Now, under the Obama administration, the law had exemptions for people with religious objections, for instance, churches, houses of worship, their houses of worship. There were also some accommodations. But the Trump administration moved to expand those exemptions so that more employers didn't have to comply with the mandate.

So at court today, Chief Justice John Roberts, he suggested at one point that maybe the government's rule had gone too far. And of course the liberals pounced on this. They brought up led by Ruth Bader Ginsburg, by the way. They said, look, this leaves so many women without coverage and that the women don't have the same concerns, religious concerns of their employers.

So they really pushed hard, all of them. And of course, John, they were led by Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who was calling in because these of course, were telephone, oral arguments, because of COVID. She happened to be calling in from a hospital bed, because she is now recovering from what the court has called a benign gallbladder condition.

She put out a statement last night saying that she was in the hospital but that she was going to participate in these arguments. Because this is a case that she of course, really cares about and she was. She was a vigorous questioner. She was a little weak at the front. But she hit her stride at the end. And it just goes to show, John, she's a tough woman. She's 87 years old, a four time cancer survivor.

In the hospital, again, she expects to be there just for a couple of days. But she was participating in these oral arguments that just ended, John.

KING: Ariane de Vogue, we'll wait for the ruling, of course. And in the meantime, we wish Justice Ginsburg well. We hope she is out in a few days as you say. We wish her a speedy recovery. Ariane de Vogue, thanks very much that important reporting.


Up next for us, a new report on job shows an epic collapse because of the coronavirus outbreak.


KING: A new report today gives us a closer look at the devastating coronavirus jobs impact. Payroll giant ADP National Employment report says more than 20 million private sector jobs were lost in April. The service sector was hit the hardest.

CNN's Julia Chatterley joins us now. Sixteen million service jobs lost in April, what more?

JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN BUSINESS ANCHOR, FIRST MOVE: I can tell you what more. To give you a sense of these numbers, John, the total jobs lost in April, are more than double the total jobs lost during the Great Recession.

This is what we're looking at here. And, yes, it was services because things like restaurant and bars make up two-thirds ultimately, of this economy. So it's not to be surprised or not surprised that that was what was hardest hit but its broad based too.

There's good news and there's bad news here that the bad news is I think this underestimates the job destruction, the wages that have been cut, the hours that have been cut. The good news is, states begin to reopen, some jobs, many jobs we hope will come back.

Listen to what to White House Economic Adviser Kevin Hassett, sent to say about this specifically, earlier today.


KEVIN HASSETT, SENIOR ECONOMIC ADVISER TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: Now, gradually the governors as they decide that it's safe are going to start opening up. And as they do that, there's necessarily going to be more output and more GDP. And so I think that Q2 is going to be a massively negative number. My guess right now is probably around minus 40 percent. And then Q3 will be a very, very large positive number because we're going from stopped to not stopped.


CHATTERLEY: He's completely right. When you go from virtually nothing to something that bounced back looks big. But John, remember what we're looking at here. We could see an unemployment rate in the United States this week of up to 20 percent. We're still in a pandemic. We're bouncing back from depression era unemployment.

I think the government needs to remember here that their job isn't done in terms of financial assistance of mid millions of people suffering, paying a price of this pandemic.


KING: We get that report on Friday the latest --


KING: -- unemployment report. And I suspect we'll be having another depressing chat on them. Julia Chatterley, appreciate your insights as we track this going forward.

When we come back, Ford among the automakers being asked help with coronavirus production and help now. Ford executive joins us in just a moment.



KING: General Motors says it plans to reopen its plants in the United States and Canada on May 18th. The automaker says it is working with unions and government health officials on the necessary safety measures to operate those plants safely.

This morning, G.M. reported $294 million profit that's a drop, a big drop from $2.2 billion a year ago. But it is better than the first quarter losses reported by Ford and Fiat Chrysler. Automakers are part of the coronavirus manufacturing scramble now. Ford, for example, is working with its airbag supplier on a new line of reusable medical gowns.

The company today announcing New Jersey has ordered 500,000. Ford also now shipping a new air purifying respirator first to a medical center, excuse me, in Seattle.

Jim Baumbick is a V.P. at Ford's Rossville assembly plant in Michigan. Mr. Baumbick, thanks for joining us today. So you have this new respirator. Your airbag manufacturer is working with Ford to produce these gowns which are washable and reusable. And behind you, they are assembling ventilators were a few months ago they were assembling batteries?

JIM BAUMBICK, VP, FORD ENTERPRISES PRODUCT LINE MANAGEMENT, STRATEGY, & PLANNING: Yes. This facility here, in this particular area, we used to build batteries. And as you can see behind me, each of the stations has been designed so that we can have an appropriate social distancing and following the appropriate measures.

KING: And so take me through this in the sense that, number one, when it comes to this PPE, whether it's with your airbag supplier, whether it's the respirator, whether it's these ventilators, as you -- as Ford gets back to its normal business, how much of this will be sustained or how much of it will get pushed aside?

BAUMBICK: Yes. Look, so we've been preparing to continue on production as long as the need is there, you know, fundamentally we want to do everything and everything we can to help. So as we start up production, we return to work, we can sustain and continue to build any of our personal protection equipment, but also the ventilators.

And once we've determined that the need is no longer there, we've met that demand, then we can determine when we would actually dial it down.

KING: This decision may be out -- it's more of a government decision than a Ford decision. But let me ask you this question. One of the big debates here has been, have we become too reliant on international providers of these vitals? And the other people say, well, you can't make them for that price point here in the United States. Do we have a better answer to that question? Will some of this manufacturing, whether it's these innovative gowns, whether it's the new air powered respirators, whether it's the ventilators, do you think a significant piece of that will end up remaining in the United States? Or will we go back to a global marketplace?

BAUMBICK: Well, look, I'm probably not the best to comment on that. But one thing I can tell you is, you know, in our history of Ford, we've always been there in the time of need, and certainly we're responding to this current crisis.

And so I think forward, you know, we could have another pandemic that would occur in the future, and certainly Ford's going to be there if the need is there. And so we're going to take a lot of our learnings from this exercise, and all the work we've been doing from personal protection equipment all the way to ventilators, and turn that into something that we're ready when the need is there. We can respond even faster the next time.

KING: I just say it says I've watched this supply debate breakout. We're grateful for what you're doing. And I'm sure people watching especially people who work on frontlines and health care who need this gear and other business, other sectors that need this gear are grateful to see these workers doing this.

You're also learning lessons because you have people in the factories. And as you noted behind you, you have social distancing. We have some video you provided on some of the other safety checks, whether it's temperature checks, whether it's partitions, and we're going to roll some of that. And I want you to talk through A, what you're doing to help the workers right now today and B, what you're learning as you go -- as Ford and other automakers other industries across the economy are going to start bringing more people back to work.

BAUMBICK: Yes. Well, clearly the most important thing for us to make sure we protect the health and safety of our employees. And as we actually work through the process, we're trying different technologies, not just social distancing, but watches that actually determine whether or not you've come in close proximity to try to determine what a typical and appropriate level of social distancing is.

And then also gives us some information where if somebody happens to contract the virus, we can then track and identify who has actually come into contact with that individual. So really, it's using technology, it's using the basic directions we've been giving -- given from a lot of our medical experts, and following all the best practices.

And we'd actually had a chance to learn in China, with our China team, as well as our European output.

KING: It's pretty remarkable when you watch through this workers, you know, they're maybe spread out a little bit more than they used to be, wearing these face shields in addition to the masks, what's the feedback from the employees?

BAUMBICK: Well, I think, you know, like anything, it's a big -- it's a change. And no reason not to get used to that myself included, and it's something that -- it's just a little bit of a new normal, and we have to recognize that we're doing the right thing, not just for individuals, but for everybody around.

KING: Jim Baumbick, I'm sorry, go ahead.

BAUMBICK: No, it's just a very different time. And, you know, at the end of the day, we have to kind of respond to the crisis as a group.

KING: It is a very different time. Really much Jim Baumbick, really appreciate your insights and appreciate what those workers are doing behind you there and the lessons we're learning as we prepare to keep accelerating the people coming back to work. Jim, thank you very much for your time.


BAUMBICK: Thanks so much.

KING: Coming up for us, an international perspective, Germany announces plans to ease some restrictions and begin reopening.


KING: It's back to school day in Wuhan after months of lockdown, nearly 58,000 students returning to school today and Wuhan of course the original epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak.

Meanwhile, the United Kingdom now has the highest death toll across Europe. Prime Minister Boris Johnson though says he does want to start easing some lockdown restrictions.


Our CNN correspondents now around the globe with the latest international developments beginning in Germany where next steps now on the table.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, here in Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel says that this country is now out of the first phase of the coronavirus pandemic that it's pushing the coronavirus back, and that can therefore start reopening parts of the economy.

Now, there's several areas where that is going to happen. Larger stores are allowed to open their doors here once again. Also bars restaurants and cafes can gradually start reopening, however, under very strict hygiene measures.

Also Germany's Soccer League, the Bundesliga, will start playing again in the middle of May but probably not with any spectators in the stands. Now, Angela Merkel has come under a lot of pressure in recent days from the German economic leaders. They say that there could be irreparable damage to Germany's economy the longer that this lockdown lasts.

However, the Chancellor says that any sort of opening needs to continue to be very gradual or Germany does risk another spike in infections.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Berlin.

CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Here in London Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to outline to the nation on Sunday what the lifting of some of the restrictions that have been put in place to stop the spread of coronavirus might look like.

Those restrictions starting to lift as of next Monday but people are being cautioned to keep their expectations low. The Prime Minister has said that he desperately wants to avoid the possibility of a second wave of infection.

Meanwhile, earlier today, in the Houses of Parliament just behind me the Prime Minister face some really tough questioning as the U.K. overtook Italy to have the highest death toll in the whole of Europe. Prime Minister Boris Johnson essentially trying to evade questions on that subject saying that it's not appropriate to compare different countries that have different population sizes, though he did appear to concede that the government has not done the best job of handling the spread of coronavirus in this country's care homes, calling that quote, something I bitterly regret.

Clarissa Ward, CNN, London.

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Here in Hong Kong, I'm watching the war of words between Beijing and Washington over the coronavirus pandemic intensified with China lashing out at recent criticism that's coming from the Trump administration.

A spokesperson for China's Foreign Ministry claims that this is part of a Republican political strategy aimed at winning the next U.S. election. She went on to say that the Trump administration should deal with its own problems and deal with the pandemic at home.

Chinese state media has taken the rhetoric up a notch with an anchor recently highlighting the fact that the U.S. has the highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases and deaths in the world. And going on to say that the U.S. is quote, the main exporter of the novel coronavirus.

What you're not hearing these days from Chinese state media nor from Chinese officials is acknowledgement that the first known cases of the coronavirus were detected in the Chinese City of Wuhan last December, and that the outbreak is believed to have spread from there.

Ivan Watson, CNN, Hong Kong.


KING: Hello to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm John King in Washington. This is CNN continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.

Here in the United States, the confirmed cases now number, 1.2 million. Tuesday a startling jump in the daily death numbers, 2,000 plus, pushing the total U.S. coronavirus death toll north 71,000. But the American restart is happening whether the science supports it or not.

President Trump betting on a robust comeback and signaling changes for the future of his Coronavirus Task Force, the shift in focus from safety to vaccines and drug treatments. Vaccines especially are a critical piece of the coronavirus puzzle. The President traveling to Arizona yesterday to send a message, things are better and ready to reopen.

The President does acknowledge there is risk that the death toll might raise as more people get out of their homes and begin to interact. But he says the economy must reopen, overlap the latest case counts with the map and that risk is clear.

Let's go through some of the numbers here in the United States. Number one, just look at this, you see most of the states filled in, in green. That's because most, most will have at least a limited reopening by May 10th just a few days away.

Most of America opening up, some would question whether the science supports that. Take a look at this map, 13 states that shaded in pink, their case count still on the rise. Twenty-three states, things are about the same up and down from day to day.


Fourteen states, their case count is going down. People will tracking in those states, many of them reopening. Let's just look at a couple. This is the State of Mississippi --