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Updates to the Coronavirus' Impact on World Affairs; U.S. Pork Processing Plants Set to Reopen; Trump Valet Tests Positive for Coronavirus. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired May 7, 2020 - 10:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


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[10:32:54]

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: All right, so how are countries around the world handling the outbreak? A British official says the U.K. will likely drop its stay-at-home message on Sunday.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: We have reporters all around the world. Let's begin with our Nick Paton Walsh, who joins us live from London. Hi, Nick.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: As you were saying, I'm hearing from an official with knowledge of the policy they're deciding to announce on Sunday. While they're still working out the final details, it looks likely that the key part of the British message here, stay at home. People are only allowed out for exercise once a day, or to get food or medicine. That will likely be dropped.

Also, people will be allowed to, quote, "expand their social groups." Unclear how they're going to define that, but essentially saying you might be able to see a certain limited number of people outside of your household. This is going to be a bit of a light reduction of the most restrictive measures Britons have seen since World War II.

They may also reopen outdoor stores like garden centers, hardware stores. But it's unlikely that pubs, restaurants, clubs, or department stores are going to be open for the foreseeable future. So change is coming from British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Sunday, but very gradual indeed.

SCIUTTO: Yes. Like you're seeing in many states here, not all of them.

Let's go to Hong Kong, one of the first to experience this outbreak. And they're really becoming one of the playing fields between the U.S. and China. China, slamming Secretary of State Mike Pompeo over his continued claim the coronavirus may have originated in a Chinese lab. What's China's response to that?

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, an economist -- journalist with "The Economist," Jim, has called this "The Scold War," this escalating war of words between Beijing and Washington, both governments accusing each other of mishandling the coronavirus pandemic.

And as you mentioned, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, going so far as to suggest that it could have come from a government lab in the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the coronavirus was first discovered back in December, before it spread around the globe.

The Chinese government is accusing the Trump administration of scapegoating China to cover up for its own failures at home in the U.S., claiming that this is a Republican political strategy to help with the November presidential election.

[10:35:14]

So there is no shortage of kind of angry rhetoric going back, and Chinese state media have used much harsher language, with one anchor actually calling the U.S. the world's biggest exporter of the novel coronavirus -- Jim and Poppy.

HARLOW: Thank you for that.

Matt Rivers, following the latest on Brazilian President Bolsonaro's inner circle, someone else there testing positive for COVID-19 as he continues to go to rallies?

MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Poppy. This time, it would be the official spokesperson for Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. He tested positive for the virus on Monday. This is the second high- ranking communications official for the Brazilian president. You'll remember, it was Bolsonaro's press secretary, back in March, who tested positive. And that was right after he made a trip to Mar-a- Lago, where he stood next to President Trump and took a photograph.

And, yes, President Bolsonaro continues to attend political rallies, gatherings of hundreds if not thousands of people, calling for an end to quarantine measures in his country. This as Brazil has more than 125,000 confirmed cases.

SCIUTTO: Ivan Watson, Matt Rivers, Nick Paton Walsh, thanks to all of you.

HARLOW: All right, this just in to CNN. First this week it was J.Crew, now it is Neiman Marcus. Neiman Marcus, the luxury retailer, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, just the latest retail giant to do so. It's just a mark of the stunning times that we are in. Much more, after the break.

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[10:40:48]

HARLOW: Well, Smithfield Foods is set to reopen a major pork processing plant in South Dakota today. This is one of several meatpacking plants that is going to open their doors again, after closing due to the coronavirus outbreaks. But closing after -- Jim -- you know, a long time, weeks of complaints and cases. SCIUTTO: Yes. CNN's Dianne Gallagher, she's been covering this from

Atlanta. Dianne, I mean, the key questions here, are they reopening because they've got a handle on the outbreaks --

HARLOW: Yes.

SCIUTTO: -- or are they reopening because of a business decision? What's happening?

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, according to the company -- and, look, Smithfield's not the only one of these large pork processing plants reopening today. In fact, the three largest port processing plants that have shut down simply due to this pandemic are in some form, opening their doors again today.

So that's Smithfield in Sioux Falls, South Dakota; the Tyson plant in Waterloo, Iowa; and the JBS pork plant in Worthington, Minnesota. Altogether, those accounted for almost 15 percent of all U.S. pork production. So having those offline was difficult for the industry.

But, look, between them, they had almost 2,000 workers who were sick. At this point right now, they have these measures going into effect -- Jim and Poppy -- they say they're going to keep the workers safe -- I've talked to some of them, they're nervous.

HARLOW: Yes, of course they're nervous. Because you know, the CDC report recommended 100 things that they needed to change for full safety.

GALLAGHER: Yes.

HARLOW: Are all of those going to be changed?

GALLAGHER: Well, look, they've given us a big list of the different things that they have put into place. They've also done things like relaxing their -- their absentee policies, they've said. But, again, these workers, they don't have a lot of confidence in this.

Now, that particular Smithfield plant, it has been closed since April 12th. So it's been closed a lot longer than all these other plants have been, and they say they have put different measures in there to protect the workers, including to -- better guidance, and better adhere to that guidance with social distancing.

So what's key about that is that that means they're not going to be able to return to a full workforce. They start their kill process, the slaughtering of the hogs again, on Monday -- Poppy -- they're trying to space it out, they said. But again, workers want to see it in action before they really judge how they feel.

HARLOW: Dianne, thank you for that reporting.

[10:43:09]

Dealing with unemployment is difficult enough for so many families, trying to stay afloat during this crisis. But for single parents -- can you imagine that? -- it's even harder. We'll talk about that and check in with single mothers, how they're coping during this.

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SCIUTTO: Well, brace for these numbers. Another 3.2 million Americans filed for first-time unemployment benefits last week, down from the peak but still about four times the peak week during the Great Recession. The total number of Americans who have filed jobless claims in the last seven weeks is now 33 million Americans, that's 10 percent of the population.

HARLOW: Families are struggling, of course, just to make ends meet during this pandemic. Single parents? They are bearing the brunt of this alone. Our correspondent Vanessa Yurkevich shares their stories.

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VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN BUSINESS AND POLITICS CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): More than 30 million Americans are struggling right now to keep their families afloat. Single parents struggle along.

CHANDI BOZEMAN, SINGLE PARENT: I don't want to fail at not being able to take care of myself and my son.

YURKEVICH (voice-over): A quarter of U.S. children live with a single parent, more than three times the global average. Chandi Bozeman is one of those parents. She filed for unemployment for the first time after closing her salon in Dayton, Ohio in March. She was denied. Even as a teen mom, Bozeman said she never asked for help.

C. BOZEMAN: I've never filed for unemployment. And the minute that I do, the minute that I need the help, it's not there for me.

[10:50:00]

YURKEVICH (voice-over): Katrina Harvey knows what it's like to make tough choices. When she was homeless in 2015, she sent her then-11- year-old son Carson to live with relatives.

KATRINA HARVEY, SINGLE PARENT: It was absolutely the hardest thing I've ever had to go through.

YURKEVICH (voice-over): But in January, after years of saving, Harvey rented a new apartment in Orlando.

HARVEY: I can finally start putting money away and get ahead and, you know, this happened.

YURKEVICH (voice-over): Harvey was furloughed from her restaurant job in March, and filed for unemployment. She received her first check last month. The money helps, but the fear of returning to her past never goes away.

HARVEY: I didn't want it to affect my son, you know? Because he went through all of those same struggles I did, you know? And so for him to be put back in a place where he feels uncertain, you know, then that can be really hard for him to deal with.

YURKEVICH (voice-over): In Texas, Kim Willis is running a full household. She's taken in her twin daughters, back from college, and her 79-year-old mother who suffers from early dementia.

YURKEVICH: Is that tough?

KIM WILLIS, SINGLE PARENT: It is tough. But I'm the daughter for the job.

YURKEVICH (voice-over): But she was furloughed from her hotel job in March. It took 300 calls to unemployment, day and night, to get approved. Willis got her first check on April 17th.

WILLIS: I've been carrying the weight of being a single parent with my family. And so my logic was, OK, well, it looks like the government is the backbone to this family. So I need to get through.

YURKEVICH (voice-over): Living quarters are also tight at the Bozemans'. Chandi and Jamel are sharing a 1-bedroom, taking turns sleeping on the couch.

JAMEL BOZEMAN, CHANDI BOZEMAN'S SON: As long as My mother's OK and she's operating fine, I can adapt to anything. I'll sleep on the floor if I've got to.

YURKEVICH (voice-over): Jamel also applied to a grocery job to try to help his mom, but Chandi doesn't want him to take on that responsibility.

C. BOZEMAN: I'm not allowing him to work because I don't want my son subjected to the virus. He wants to help take care of me, and I won't allow him because it's my duty as his parent to protect him.

YURKEVICH (voice-over): Vanessa Yurkevich, CNN, New York.

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HARLOW: Wow. Vanessa, thank you so much for that story.

CNN is exploring the past, the present and the future of women's rights in the U.S. and around the world. Be sure to see more of this reporting under "REPRESENTED" at CNN.com.

SCIUTTO: This breaking news, just in to CNN, learning that an assistant, a member of staff close to President Trump has now tested positive for the coronavirus.

HARLOW: White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins is with us. Kaitlan, who is this and how close are they to the president?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Yes, Poppy and Jim, we're breaking this story with my colleague Peter Morris. And we're told that a member of the U.S. Navy who is one of President Trump's personal valets has now tested positive for coronavirus, and of course this is obviously raising concerns about the president's possible exposure to the virus.

The White House has confirmed our reporting after we reached out. They said that they were recently notified by the medical unit that a member of the military who works on the White House campus has tested positive. They said that the president and the vice president were tested after that, and both tested negative for the virus. They say they remain in great health.

But to give you some perspective on who this person is, the valets are members of this elite military unit, they're dedicated to the White House and they work very close to the president and the first family as well.

We're told by sources that the president was upset when he was informed yesterday that a valet had tested positive. The president was then tested after that, and of course the White House says he's negative.

Now, we haven't identified who this valet is. It's a man, but we are told he was exhibiting symptoms yesterday morning and that, you know, the news that someone close to the president had tested positive was -- caused quite a stir inside the West Wing, of course, for obvious reasons.

Now, we should note that we have paid a lot of attention to just how much the president is tested, the vice president. We're told that it's about every six days that they're tested, as well as the people who often meet with them.

But, you know, what this goes to show you is that despite that testing, oftentimes, you know, now we see that someone very close to the president who works in the Oval Office, is in the West Wing frequently, has been tested positive.

SCIUTTO: Kaitlan, what has the president's reaction been to this news?

COLLINS: So far, we only have a source who said that the president was upset by it. Of course, he's repeatedly leaned on the fact that he regularly has tested negative for coronavirus.

Any time when he talks, you know, this week about how he doesn't need to wear a mask, he doesn't feel like, as when he visited Arizona and looked at that Honeywell facility, and he said that he totally didn't need to wear one.

But of course, you know, this was a big concern when this outbreak first started, is you know, keeping the president and the vice president safe, obviously. And that's why they've brought in these rapid tests to test people who are meeting with them. But this goes to show that even someone who is very close to the president can still test positive.

And we're waiting to learn more. There's no comment from the president himself yet, just one from a White House spokesperson, confirming our reporting. [10:55:02]

HARLOW: Kaitlan Collins, thank you. Important reporting, appreciate you breaking that story and bringing it to us -- Jim.

SCIUTTO: No question.

CNN has confirmed that the Trump administration is rejecting CDC guidelines for when and how states should reopen, guidelines the White House requested from the CDC. We have new details.

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[11:00:07]

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: Hello, everyone, I'm Kate --