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Over 20 Million Private-Sector Jobs Vanished In April; Laurie Garrett, "Foreign Policy" Columnist & Author, Discusses Her Prediction Of Coronavirus Decades Ago & Why Best-Case Scenario For Resolution Is Three Years; More People Are Flying But Airlines Still Struggling; Updates On The Coronavirus Response Across The Country; Trump Reverses Decision To End Coronavirus Task Force. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired May 6, 2020 - 14:30   ET



RICHARD QUEST, CNN BUSINESS EDITOR-AT-LARGE & CNN HOST, QUEST MEANS BUSINESS: And now, as the reopening comes on, Brianna, the test becomes, how many of those jobs come back as companies get under way again.

One other point, Brianna, quickly to bear in mind. This horrible number doesn't take into account those small businesses that have kept employees on under the PPP plan. And those employees, of course, could, in time, also be laid off.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: It's a very good point.

Richard, thank you. Richard Quest, live from New York for us.

New details on how early the virus began to spread inside the U.S. as more states and cities review deaths from the fall for evidence of infections.

Plus, the woman who predicted the coronavirus decades ago will join me live on why she thinks the best-case scenario for all of this resolving is three years.



KEILAR: I'm Brianna Keilar. And welcome back to CNN's special coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.

There's one journalist in particular who has been warning of a crisis like this for decades. Laurie Garrett, a Pulitzer Prize and Peabody award-winning writer, author of "The Coming Plague, Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance," and she's a columnist for "Foreign Policy."

Thank you so much for joining us.

Your book actually warned of a pandemic like this one all the way back in 1994. So you saw this coming, and everyone is wondering, of course, how long now that it's here it's going to last and your projection is three years. Tell us about that.

LAURIE GARRETT, COLUMNIST, "FOREIGN POLICY" MAGAZINE & AUTHOR: Three years is the best-case scenario. That's if we actually come up with an effective vaccine in the next 12 months, if we actually develop a vaccine that is usable outside of the rich world because it's both affordable and requires no boosters, no refrigeration and no injection. And then we marshal an army of 10 or 40 million people around the world to deliver vaccine to 7.5 human beings.

If we don't do all those things, this virus is going to be like HIV. It will become a permanent feature, a new risk to humanity. Something that didn't exist as a risk to humanity a few weeks ago and now will become permanent, constantly plaguing the population and circulating around the world.

KEILAR: That is your best-case scenario as well as your worst-case scenario and I know you don't foresee at this point a vaccine anytime here in the next year. So that would lead us to believe that actually, we're looking at something longer than that three years.

GARRETT: Brianna, I think, of course, everybody feels the pressure for answers to very immediate questions. When can I reopen my hair salon? When can I go back to college? When can I get outside and play? And I understand all those pressures.

I also know that those that are involved in fighting the epidemic are really caught up in the issues of this minute. How do I deal with this nursing home case? How do I deal with this infected prison, et cetera?

But if you're looking in the long-term and you're comparing this to other diseases that have emerged with pandemic level in the last hundred years, you have to understand that this is going to keep circulating. This is going to keep coming back.

And if we don't come up with an almost miraculous vaccine, I mean, 100 percent effective, no serious side effects, single dose, no booster, and can be used in poor countries as well as rich countries, and the political will to get out there and vaccinate across the whole world, then we're really looking at something that is going to be affecting not just those of us alive today but our children and our children's children.

And I don't think that's a scenario any of us want, so we have to have a new level of political resolve, Brianna.

KEILAR: Yes. And no one's really discussing that even as a possibility. No one really seems to want to go beyond what this looks like even as they try to argue for reopening the economy.

And look, we hear from people, as you know, Laurie, who are saying, we're suffering economically. We appreciate that this is something that is killing people, but we're not going to live without making money, without having a job. And there's this debate about whether Americans should accept deaths because the country needs to reopen.

Where do you fall in that debate? GARRETT: Well, I think it's shortsighted. The whole debate is about

what tactics do we want to use to address the epidemic at this minute. But this is an epidemic we're going to be dealing with a year from now, and two years from now.

But this is an epidemic that's going to affect everything in our lives, including how we conduct our election campaign, how we vote in November, then how we do an oath of office for the president in the inauguration in January. And what looks like our future. Do kids go back to college? Do schools reopen?


We have an endless set of these kind of decision points where we have to weigh in the balance. The Great Depression that is occurring now, the massive unemployment, all the political and social and economic repercussions of this virus against fighting the virus itself and keeping humanity alive.

And these are going to be -- we're just in our first baby steps here. We have endless numbers of these moments, Brianna, really difficult decisions have to be made.

The question is, how good is governance. Are people basing it on science, hope, dreams, on reality? And who in the population influences those decisions?

And we're going to see this play out differently in every state, every major city, and every country in the world. We don't have any unified response. We desperately need one but we don't have it.

KEILAR: It is a stark reality you're describing there, Laurie. But, obviously, it's important as people are grappling with the policy decisions that will affect just how bad this is.

Laurie Garrett, thank you so much.

GARRETT: Thank you, Brianna.

KEILAR: An alarming new study shows African-Americans are dying from the virus more than any other group.

As more leaders paint a rosy picture of the crisis, I'll be speaking with one columnist who said, quote, "He will not die of stupid."

And new today, the airline industry is reporting a notable surge in the number of people flying.



KEILAR: More people are starting to fly again, according to an airline industry group. And it's reporting that the average domestic flight is carrying about 23 passengers. Just for perspective, that's up from 17. But this is, of course, nowhere near pre-pandemic air travel. And that has left airlines struggling in more ways than one.

Let's bring in CNN Aviation Correspondent, Pete Muntean.

Pete, how significant is this rise? We're talking about a handful of people when you're talking about U.S. airline passengers per flight. But that's still -- you know, when you spread it out over all the flights, that's a lot. But is it enough to help the struggling airline industry?

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: It's significant but not significant enough to signal a turnaround.

We did a bit of a breakdown of the numbers. Average of 23 passengers per commercial flight, up from about 17 a week ago. The lowest was about 10 passengers per commercial flight back in April. But a year ago, commercial flights were 85 to 100 percent full. Still though, 6 percent of the norm.

This is in lock step, all the data coming from the airlines for America group, an industry group. It's in lock step with really what's coming out from airlines right now. saying that they're really just sort of setting the stage for furloughs, potential job losses after that CARES Act money runs out September 30.

KEILAR: Pete, you're saying 6 percent. When you look at traffic through the checkpoints, it's 6 percent of what it was?

MUNTEAN: Yes, 6 percent of what it was. That number cratered at the beginning, or actually the midpoint of April. So we know that it's just year-to-date down very significantly.

So not quite the turnaround that airlines are hoping for, even though they're implementing new policies for masks to try and win flyers back in hopes of a turnaround, though not quite there yet.

KEILAR: Yes, Pete, thank you so much. Pete Muntean.

Just ahead, why is there a reported drop in heart attacks across the country?

Plus, it's not just Wendy's. Big chain grocery stores limiting how much meat you can buy due to shortages.

And a barber in Florida is illegally reopening his shop because he says he and his family are starving, he needs to do this to survive. And he will join us live.



KEILAR: Starting today, the city of Denver is requiring people to wear masks in public under certain circumstances. The city's mayor ordering people to wear face coverings while inside of or waiting to enter businesses, bus stops, at health facilities until further notice. A similar order is in place throughout the state of Massachusetts. Let's get more now from my CNN colleagues across the country.


ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Rosa Flores, in Miami, where a big question lingers. Will the cruise line industry survive the COVID-19 pandemic? Norwegian Cruise Lines letting investors know they could be forced to go out of business but now the company has raised $2 billion and well positioned to weather the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, a Web site with about 500 travel agency members reporting that bookings for next year are down by 21.5 percent. Carnival and Norwegian reporting in their latest SEC filings, about half of customers are not asking for cash refunds.

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Dianne Gallagher, in Atlanta. Stores around the country are all limiting the amount of meat that customers could buy per trip. At this one, it is on chicken and pork. But it varies across the country.

Experts say it is not about a meat shortage. There's plenty of meat. This is simply to prevent panic buying. Although, economists do say you may see an increase in meat of 20 percent this month.

SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Sara Sidner, in Seattle. We sat down with Washington State governor, Jay Inslee. He said that his state still does not have enough personal protection equipment and not enough tests and not enough testing swabs.


Where does he put the blame for that? Squarely on the president, who he said has the power to force the federal government to mass manufacture the things the states need to fully reopen.

He's not disappointed with the president's leadership but he's been infuriated with it for weeks. But he is now seeing some of the items finally come into the states and being made with the help of the federal government.

He does say this. We, he believes, are at war, not with a human enemy but certainly we're at a scale of war both economically and physically.

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT; I'm Brynn Gingras, in Hoboken, New Jersey. It's a city that never sleeps. But for the first time in 115 years, the subway was shut down for a deep clean.

We know nearly 500 subway stations were closed overnight for four hours so more than 700 workers could clean every subway train top to bottom. About 252 homeless people were removed from the train. About half received services.

And the goal here really is to get riders and workers to return to mass transit system and to feel safe as they do it. This deep clean, this disinfecting process is expected to continue throughout the pandemic.


KEILAR: Everyone, thank you so much for that.

And more now on our breaking news. The former CDC director said this is just the beginning and he expects the number of people to lose their lives to reach 100,000 by the end of this month alone. We'll hear his warning.

Plus, interesting and potentially hopeful news about blood thinners and coronavirus patients.

And a violent arrest raises questions about police enforcement of social distancing orders.


KEILAR: It's the top of the hour. I'm Brianna Keilar. And I want to welcome viewers here in the U.S. and around the world to CNN's special coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.

Moments ago, President Trump explained why he is reversing his decision to phase out the White House Coronavirus Task Force. He now says he will actually add more staff to it.



TRUMP: Well, I was winding it down but it is a question of what the end point is. But I think it is a change. A little bit. I thought we could wind it down sooner. But I had no idea how popular the task force is until actually yesterday when I started talking about winding it down.