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Weighing The Economy Against Protecting Public Health; U.S. Wants Allies To Join Pressure Campaign Against China; Grand Jury To Hear Case Of Georgia Man Chased And Killed. Aired 5:30-6a ET
Aired May 6, 2020 - 05:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ROBYN CURNOW, CNN ANCHOR: In Florida -- look at this -- one barbershop reopened illegally. The owner explains his desperate decision.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DANIEL LIRIANO, FLORIDA BARBERSHOP OWNER: We have not received no stimulus, we didn't get no unemployment. So basically, we're just starving. We have to pay our bills. I have kids.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW: And then, a salon owner in Texas is paying the price for a similar decision to stay open -- seven days in jail and a $7,000 fine.
Meanwhile, take a look at this. A protest to reopen a bar in Texas saw the arrest of seven people there. Those people were carrying firearms, they say, because of their Second Amendment rights. The police accuse them of a show of force to defy the governor's orders.
Here's how the bar owner sees the situation.
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GABRIELLE ELLISON, OWNER, BIG DADDY ZANE'S BAR: We can't take it no more. We're not going to make it.
I am aware of what's going on down the road -- I'm shocked -- and I have customers come through.
You know they've got SWAT built up -- they've got SWAT built up. Why would you bring in SWAT on a peaceful situation?
The possibility of getting my license taken, heartbreaking, but they've already tooken (sic) my income.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW: And then in Maine, one brewery is defying that state's governor for a second time. The business is trying to impose social distancing but its health license has already been pulled. Now, one of President Trump's top economic advisers expects a jobless
rate as high as 20 percent when the numbers come out on Friday -- and we heard Christine talking about that -- the worst since the Great Depression.
And those dire figures are what's driving the push to reopen American businesses even it means putting more lives at risk, as Brian Todd now explains -- Brian.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The images make it clear people want to get out --
PROTESTERS: Open Texas now.
TODD (voice-over): -- and millions are desperate to get back on the job.
WAYNE RICHARD, SMALL BUSINESS OWNER, FRISCO, TEXAS: The Constitution says we have a right to life and liberty. I have a right to work.
TODD (voice-over): But the rush to get back to normal brings a stark warning from America's top infectious disease expert.
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES, NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH: How many deaths and how much suffering are you willing to accept to get back to what you want to be some form of normality sooner rather than later?
TODD (voice-over): The jarring choice offered by Dr. Anthony Fauci comes as new models project a possible sharp increase in coronavirus- related deaths in America through August. Those models tied to recent reopenings of businesses and public spaces across the U.S. and relaxed social distancing.
But the president was adamant, again, that people have to be allowed back to their jobs and he believes keeping them away could kill them, too.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If they held people any longer with the shutdowns, you're going to lose people that way, too -- and you already have, I'm sure. But between drug abuse and -- I mean, they say suicide -- a lot of different things.
TODD (voice-over): Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, whose state has been hit harder than most, told our Dana Bash as many lives as possible should be saved. But he asked if Americans could come to an acceptance of certain levels of death in order to get the economy moving again.
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 in these families.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: But will people be able to swallow the notion, if these projections are right, of nearly 3,000 deaths a day?
CHRISTIE: They're going to have to.
DR. SEEMA YASMIN, FORMER DISEASE DETECTIVE, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION: Some of this language from Chris Christie and other politicians just lacks basic humanity, I think. In the long run, we will be able to replace some jobs. We're not going to be able to replace the lives that are lost.
TODD (voice-over): That debate between American's political leaders and its top doctors over the human cost of reopening -- over the kind of carnage Americans could be willing to accept is intensifying.
YASMIN: You can't have a strong economy when people are dying or are dead. How will you reopen offices and factories and schools if people have died?
TODD (voice-over): But one public health expert says Chris Christie's message is an important one, that Americans need the unvarnished truth that reopening, whenever it happens, will come with a human cost.
DR. AMESH ADALJA, JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY CENTER FOR HEALTH SECURITY: The fact that you're now admitting that there are going to be increased deaths I think is a step to actually being honest with the American public, and that's what the stakes are here. That's what -- that's what the trade-off is going to be. The costs of having an economy functioning are going to be increased cases and increased deaths.
TODD (on camera): And despite the projections for an increase in deaths tied to early reopenings, two Trump administration officials have told CNN those numbers are not expected to affect the White House's plans for reopening the country. It could set up an excruciating, drawn-out debate between America's political leaders and top doctors, which could extend maybe into next year.
Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.
CURNOW: Thanks, Brian, for that.
So, President Trump has been stepping up efforts to blame China for the coronavirus pandemic. Well, now he's trying to get foreign allies to do the same. We know that two sources have told CNN Trump administration officials spoke to foreign allies about ways to point the finger at China to show Beijing deliberately concealed the severity of the COVID-19 outbreak.
This, as the White House alleges the virus escaped from a Chinese lab. But intelligence officials from one of the Five Eyes nations says the coronavirus has a natural origin. Here's what the top U.S. general also had to say.
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GEN. MARK MILLEY, CHAIRMAN, U.S. JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: Is it natural or was it manmade somehow or somehow manipulated by manmade procedures? As I said the last time -- and I am still where I was the last time -- the weight of evidence, nothing's conclusive. The weight of evidence is that it was natural and not manmade.
Did it come out of the virology lab in Wuhan? Did it occur in the -- in the wet market there in Wuhan? Did it occur somewhere else? And the answer to that is we don't know.
And as mentioned by many people, various agencies, both civilian and U.S. government, are looking at that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Meanwhile, China is pushing back against much of this.
Steven Jiang is live in Beijing with Chinese reaction. Steven, hi. What can you tell us?
STEVEN JIANG, CNN SENIOR PRODUCER: Well, Robyn, that's right. The Chinese government is pushing back strongly and repeatedly in recent days. Both officials and state media have been launching a series of scathing attacks at U.S. assertions that this virus originated in that Wuhan lab.
And in the Chinese Foreign Ministry's daily press briefing that just ended about an hour ago, the chief spokeswoman was asked about Mr. Trump's effort to really U.S. allies to blame China. She simply -- she did not mince words in her response. Here is what she said.
"We urge the U.S. to stop spreading disinformation or misleading the international community. It should deal with its own problems and deal with the pandemic at home. I believe the strategy of the Republicans in their election shows that all too clear, and now we are fed up with such tricks."
Now, she went on to say the choice facing the international community is not between the U.S. and China but rather, in her words, between lies and the facts and between a bully and a partner.
So this is quite an over-the-top kind of responses from Beijing we have been seeing for days. Why? Because the stakes are enormously high.
If Mr. Trump and his White House officials' assertion turn out to be true that this virus did leak from the Wuhan lab, imagine the tremendous -- the astronomical pressure the Beijing government will be under to be held accountable given the pandemic has cost so much economically as well as in terms of human life.
So that's not a position Beijing ever wants to see itself getting into and that's why we are seeing this kind of increasingly nasty, if you will, tit for tat muscling between the two governments. And it's not going to stop or slow down anytime soon, especially as we move closer to the U.S. presidential election -- Robyn.
CURNOW: Yes. Thanks so much Steven Jiang for that report live from Beijing. Thanks, Steven.
So, I want to take you to Britain now where the news is grim. Its coronavirus death toll is now the highest in Europe. You heard our doctor say that a little bit earlier on in the show.
Meanwhile, the British government, though, says almost 29,500 people have been killed by the COVID-19 virus, overtaking Italy which was, of course, once the epicenter of this pandemic.
The British Foreign Sec. Dominic Raab calls it a massive tragedy -- that's a quote -- as the nation waits to hear how the government will ease the U.K.'s lockdown measures.
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DOMINIC RAAB, BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY: And as we consider the decisions that we will take next to protect life but also to protect our way of life, it's now clear that the second phase will be different. We will need to adjust to a new normal where we as a society adapt to safe new ways to work, to travel, to interact, and to go about our daily lives.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW: Nina dos Santos joins me now in London. Hi, Nina.
And I understand also that Boris Johnson, the prime minister, is expected to speak in Parliament very soon. He has some explaining to do, doesn't he?
NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, he certainly does, too, especially the families of, as you said, the 29,427 people who so far, have lost their lives in the United Kingdom to coronavirus, Robyn, making that the worst death toll among any European country.
Remember that some scientific advisers internationally had cautioned already as early as April the ninth that the U.K. could have the highest death toll in Europe. And now, sadly, that grim milestone was passed yesterday evening.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson will appear in the House of Commons, albeit for a pared-down prime minister's question time because remember that social distancing rules still apply there. So some MPs will be dialing in from their constituencies.
You can expect that he'll be asked whether or not the U.K. took steps too late to lock the country down. Also, why they didn't implement more screening for passengers coming from coronavirus-hit countries after it's now transpired that only a few hundred people were actually quarantined when -- during the last couple of months, nearly 18 million people have gone back and forth from other nations into this country, potentially spreading this infection further.
Testing still remains a sore point for the government. It emerged in that press conference you just heard from Dominic Raab yesterday afternoon that the government is still behind its testing -- its testing target of 100,000 people per day.
What they're likely to talk about later on today is to spin things forward to talk about how this lockdown could be lifted eventually. You might hear news over the course of the weekend about that.
And also, remember that the U.K. is implementing a contact tracing scheme now. The application that's being specifically designed for that is going live today in a test site in the Isle of Wight, which is an island off the south coast of the U.K. -- Robyn.
CURNOW: Yes, and that, I think has been -- worked really well in other parts of the world.
Thanks for that, Nina dos Santos. I really appreciate that. Good to see you.
So, a U.S. mother is demanding justice for her son who she says was murdered while jogging. Protests and new evidence are emerging as authorities investigate. That story is next.
CURNOW: So, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is recovering in a hospital for treatment for a gallbladder problem. We know the condition is not cancerous and the Supreme Court justice is expected to leave the hospital in the next day or two.
A court spokesperson says she will participate in Wednesday's oral arguments. The justices are conducting sessions by phone because of the coronavirus.
And a grand jury here in Georgia will hear the case of a man shot and killed while jogging. This, as new evidence is coming to light. Police say a 25-year-old African-American man was out for a jog when he was chased, shot, and killed.
CNN has obtained video of the apparent attack on Ahmaud Arbery, which happened back in February. The video shows two men armed with guns near a pickup truck when the confrontation erupts. Three gunshots are heard before he falls to the ground.
And I must warn you the video you are about to see is disturbing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
Ahmaud Arbery being shot by two men. (END VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW: CNN has not independently verified the video but it is consistent with the description of the Glynn County police report of that attack. The video was obtained after a local radio host posted it online. It has since been deleted from the Website.
Now, CNN's Martin Savidge reported on the mood in South Georgia. Here's Martin.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Shock or outrage, frustration. The video is -- some people have told me it made them ill, others say it brought them to tears.
There's been a tremendous amount of frustration here for months now because many people felt that due to the pandemic, this story had not received the notoriety that it needed.
And also, due to the lockdown that the state had -- the stay-at-home order -- and the fact that large crowds weren't allowed, people couldn't demonstrate. They couldn't vent their frustrations. They couldn't say how unjust they believe all of this has been.
There were protests tonight. People said, essentially, the pandemic be damned.
Here's what the head of the local chapter of the NAACP said about the video.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was extremely disheartened. Literally, upon viewing the video, I began to cry to believe that human beings could treat another human being that way.
And, of course, we see stuff on T.V. But to be able to see it for yourself -- him fearing for his life and being trapped like some animal between two cars while men with guns set there trying to take his life as he fought for his life, it was extremely disheartening.
SAVIDGE (on camera): That's right.
There is a third district attorney on this case. The first two had to recuse themselves because of connections or perceived connections to one of the men in the video that has a gun. The third D.A. has come out today, coincidentally enough, and said he will be taking this case to a grand jury. Now, that is a relief to a lot of people here to hear that news.
But at the same time, then there's the realization of wait a minute here -- there are no grand juries going on right now and there are not likely to be grand juries for quite some time. In fact, the earliest could be the middle of June. So it adds to the frustration.
It's been over two months since anything has happened. Many believe an arrest should have been made on the very first day. And now they're being told they'll have to wait until June at perhaps the earliest and it could be longer than that. So it's adding to the boiling temperament here.
CURNOW: Martin Savidge for that report.
You're watching CNN. We'll be right back.
CURNOW: Wuhan, China, the original epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, is taking another step forward towards normality. Officials say they're reopening more than 100 schools across the region. They expect nearly 60,000 students to return to class after spending months under lockdown there.
China claims to have the outbreak under control and has not reported a single death from the virus in three weeks.
And for the first time in its history, New York's entire subway system is shut down and reopened. This video shows crews deep-cleaning just a few hours ago. Each night, every train will stop running to get sanitized to stop the spread of the virus.
CNN's Brynn Gingras breaks down the historic undertaking.
BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's an eerie scene underground in New York City's subway system. Platforms and trains are mostly empty. The pandemic slowing the country's largest transit system to a crippling pace.
As New York gears up to slowly reopen, the Metropolitan Transit Authority or MTA, which runs the system, is strategizing how it will handle an eventual boost in ridership --
ERIK WEINBERG, COMMUTER: Of course, yes -- I think that there's some fear involved with going back.
GINGRAS (voice-over): -- and assure passengers it's safe to return.
It's starting with a never-been-done-before effort of shutting down the 24/7 operation for four hours a night to disinfect every single subway car top to bottom in every station, twice a day.
SARAH FEINBERG, INTERIM PRESIDENT, NYC TRANSIT AUTHORITY: That might not feel like a big deal but we have almost 500 stations and we're disinfecting every touchpoint -- every place where a rider much touch a railing. The next step is as ridership starts to come back, making sure we're keeping up with it. GINGRAS (voice-over): Disinfecting is the priority. What comes next isn't yet on paper. The MTA says it's getting ideas from other countries and medical professionals, like how to achieve social distancing.
FEINBERG: And the advice we've gotten from them is be vigilant about mask use and get as much space as you can.
ERIC LOEGEL, VICE PRESIDENT, TRANSPORT WORKERS UNION OF AMERICA, LOCAL 100: Ideally, in terms of social distancing, you have a pole right here, right? So that could be one person. The next person really shouldn't come into play until at least here. And then maybe have another person over here.
GINGRAS (voice-over): Eric Loegel drives the trains. He's lost nearly 100 colleagues to COVID-19 in the last two months. Pre-pandemic, he says he'd carried nearly 1,000 passengers on a single train -- about 150 people per car.
GINGRAS (on camera): How many people can actually fit on a car with social distancing?
LOEGEL: Oh, boy -- one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine -- maybe -- I'd say less than 30.
GINGRAS (voice-over): The MTA plans to hire new people to man the platforms and direct riders to less-crowded subway cars. Random temperature checks of passengers is being considered and decals on the platforms is also a possibility.
Since the pandemic started, ridership across all public transit is down more than 90 percent. The MTA estimates it will lose more than $8 billion this year and recently asked for nearly $4 billion in federal aid.
FEINBERG: We want ridership to come back but we know that we have to make people feel safe and secure.
GINGRAS (voice-over): For Weinberger, he says he'll be back, reluctantly.
WEINBERGER: For me, there really is no other option than taking the subway.
GINGRAS (on camera): This is going to look like a different subway, isn't it?
LOEGEL: It's going to be unlike anything we've seen before.
CURNOW: It certainly is. Brynn Gingras there reporting from New York.
Well, thanks for joining me. I'm Robyn Curnow. I'm going to hand you over to John and Erica with "NEW DAY" -- enjoy.
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TRUMP: As far as the task force, we're now looking at a little bit of a different form, and that form is safety and opening.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: It's a bad idea. It sends a message this is over -- we've gotten through this.
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: The faster we reopen, the lower the economic cost, but the higher the human cost.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We all want to be safe but I think we're all ready to support the economy.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: In a new whistleblower complaint filed today, Dr. Rick Bright alleges his early warnings about the outbreak were ignored and it led to his removal.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He pushed back on this idea that we should flood the streets with this drug because he knew it wasn't safe.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
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 Wednesday, May sixth, 6:00 now in New York.
Alisyn is off. Erica Hill joins me again this morning.
ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: Nice to be back with you.
BERMAN: So, 71,000 deaths from coronavirus as of this morning. New data shows that while the New York area has seen a drop in new cases, the numbers in the rest of the United States have steadily increased.
Now, those 71,000 deaths that many have noted is more than the U.S. death.