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Trump: "I See the New Normal Being What It Was Three Months Ago"; One of Trump's Personal Valets Tests Positive for COVID-19; Bleak U.S. Jobs Report Expected in Coming Hours; Georgia Men Charged with Murder of Jogger's Death. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired May 8, 2020 - 05:00   ET



ROBYN CURNOW, CNN ANCHOR: Hi. Welcome to our viewers here in the U.S. and all around the world. Thank you very much for joining me. I'm Robyn Curnow.

You're watching CNN.

So, just ahead:

The White House rattled as one of president's personal valet tests positive for coronavirus.

This as the U.S. government is just hours away from releasing April's jobs numbers. And we're expecting them to be unlike anything we've seen since the Great Depression.

And a white man and his son are arrested in Georgia accused of killing an unarmed black man after shocking footage of the moments before his death sparked outrage.


CURNOW: Great to have you along this hour.

In the coming hours, many shops and retail stores in California are set to reopen. Now, behind the push to restart the U.S. economy is skyrocketing unemployment. The latest monthly jobs report and latest unemployment rate are due out early Friday, just in the next few hours, and many are expecting the absolute worse, as in Depression-era numbers.

Even so, most Americans are willing to go slow. A new poll, new Pew research poll, look at these numbers, found two-thirds fear states are trying to reopen too quickly. Meanwhile, the White House is dealing with another coronavirus scare. President Trump now says he'll be tested daily after one of his personal valets tested positive.

And President Trump says he wants the U.S. back where it was three months ago when the coronavirus was a still a distant threat. Experts say that is unlikely. Still, dozens of states we know are taking steps to reopen. We'll get the latest now from Nick Watt -- Nick.


WATT (voice-over): In Three Forks, Montana this morning, kids walked back into school with tweaks.

BONNIE LOWER, SUPERINTENDENT, WILLOW CREEK: We have six foot distant marks on the playground so that they can play games at recess and save six feet away from each other.

WATT: Montana hasn't suffered as much as most. Meanwhile, with Lady Liberty looking on bodies now being stored frozen in trucks, in New York City, our epicenter was waiting for overwhelmed funeral directors to catch up.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): If you're going through hell keep going. And that's what we're doing. We're going through hell. But what we're doing is working so we're going to keep going.

WATT: Going slow on reopening, even though New York's new case counts are falling, daily new case counts continue to climb in 19 states, still every one of them among the 44 that will begin to reopen by this weekend.

In Texas, cases climbing but haircuts, manicures are a go as of tomorrow morning.

CROWD (chanting): Shall live free! Shall live free!

WATT: The State Supreme Court just ordered the release of a salon owner jailed for operating under lockdown.

In Oregon, the Trailblazers practice facility will also open tomorrow and that's OK says the NBA up to four players can train solo at any one time, as long as local restrictions are followed. And there are now different detailed directions in different places.

GOV. NED LAMONT (D-CT): Restaurants outside only, you're 90 percent more likely to get infected inside than outside.

WATT: More than 33 million Americans have now lost their jobs during the pandemic, Depression era numbers. Others have worked on and paid a price. Tin Ai (ph), a meatpacking worker in Colorado couldn't afford to quit. Now she's infected and fighting for her life.

Three of the country's biggest pork processing plants partially reopening today, after outbreaks union and management working on how to keep workers safe.

MARK ZANDI, CHIEF ECONOMIST, MOODY'S: I really don't think the economy kicks into any kind of gear until we get a vaccine or some kind of therapy that everyone feels comfortable about. And even then, it's going to take several years to get those jobs back.

WATT: The FDA did just approve another potential vaccine moving into phase two testing, more than 100 now in various stages of development, but you can only rush so much needs to be safe, needs to work.

MARK MULLIGAN, LEAD RESEARCHER, NYU LANGONE VACCINE CENTER: I do really think we're talking about getting through to the end of the year and into early next year before we would have a definitive answer.


WATT (on camera): Here in Los Angeles, they are going to follow the California timetable and begin to reopen Friday, but just baby steps. Retail, but only for curbside pickup. At the weekend, golf courses and trails will also open, but everybody has to wear a mask.

Now, San Francisco has said they need a little bit more time. They probably won't start for another 10 days.

Nick Watt, CNN, Los Angeles.


CURNOW: Thanks, Nick, for that report.

Now questions are being raised about coronavirus protocols inside the White House after one of the president's staff tested positive for the virus.

Jim Acosta reports from the White House -- Jim.



JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For President Trump, the pandemic just hit home as in the White House, as one of his military valets has tested positive for the coronavirus. But the President is insisting it's no big deal that a personal aide was infected.

TRUMP: Know who is, good person, but I've had very little contact, Mike has had very little contact with him. But Mike was tested and I was tested. We're both tested.

Yes, it's a little bit strange, but it's one of those things.

ACOSTA: But the potential for the virus to spread around the White House does exist. White House officials tell CNN few aides to the president actually wear masks around the West Wing, just as the president decided to forgo putting on one earlier this week during a factory tour in Arizona.

TRUMP: I just don't want to wear one myself. I think wearing a face mask as agreed, presidents, prime ministers, dictators, kings, queens, I don't know it's somehow I don't see it for myself. I just -- I just don't.

ACOSTA: One White House official said that the President, he's a unique individual. He can't be seen walking around wearing a mask. Another close advisor pointed fingers at the press.

KELLYANNE CONWAY, WHITE HOUSE COUNSELOR: I think if anybody should start wearing masks in showing more respect, it should be the media.

ACOSTA: White House officials have said it's not necessary for the president to wear a mask as he and aides around him are routinely tested for the virus. But the director of the National Institutes of Health said one of the tests often used by the White House has a notable false negative rate.

DR. FRANCIS COLLINS, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH: I think the other concern has been that it does have about a 15 percent false negative rate. If you're in a circumstance where you really, really don't want to miss a diagnosis of somebody who's already carrying the virus, you'd like to have something that has a higher sensitivity than that, and I know they're working on how to make that happen.

ACOSTA: As for restarting the economy, the White House is rejecting proposed guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control, offering recommendations on just how to reopen restaurants, schools and other public spaces. The Coronavirus Task Force official told CNN issuing overly specific instructions that CDC leadership never cleared for how various types of businesses open up would be overly prescriptive and broad.

Guidance in rural Tennessee shouldn't be the same guidance for urban New York City.

RICHARD BESSER, FMR ACTING DIRECTOR, CDC: I find it very concerning. You don't want to get into a situation where public health and public health science is set up as the enemy of restarting the economy.

ACOSTA: The economy could use a shot in the arm after 3.2 million people filed unemployment claims last week, making for a stunning 33.5 million since mid-March.

TRUMP: He was an innocent man.

ACOSTA: But the president is welcoming a development away from the pandemic after the Justice Department drop charges against former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who had pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators after once firing Flynn for lying to Vice President Mike Pence about the Russia investigation. The president now views Flynn as an innocent man.

Mr. Trump appeared to signal what was coming last week.

TRUMP: I tell you here, when I looked at what they did to him, they tormented him, dirty cops, tormented General Flynn because he's in the process of being exonerated.

ACOSTA (on camera): As for taking precautions here at the White House, the president said he will be receiving a coronavirus test on a daily basis. Same goes for the vice president, other aides who work closely with the president. That is a major change in protocols and provides a stark contrast with what many have experienced across the country, that it is sometimes difficult to get tested.

Jim Acosta, CNN, the White House.


CURNOW: So amid worries in the White House and caution in emergency rooms, there's disagreements about the state's reopening and how they're doing it, as we know.

So, let's speak to a professional on the front line, emergency medicine physician, Raj Kalsi. He's in Naperville, Illinois.

Doctor, good to see you this morning. Thank your for joining us.

So, we know the CDC recommendations for reopening. The White House says they're too restrictive. You heard Jim lay that out. They are now being edited as we know.

As an ER doctor, what do you think of these guidelines?

DR. RAJ KALSI, BOARD CERTIFIED EMERGENCY MEDICINE PHYSICIAN: So, I review some of the guidelines. And, Robyn, first of all, thank you for having me back.

CURNOW: Nice to see you.

KALSI: I can lead with happy Nurses Week to the amazing nurses out there and happy Teacher Appreciation Week.

The guidelines are pretty broad. And I was looking at some of them that include schools and how we're going to process students and education, how they're going to go to lunch and how they're going to isolate certain groups of kids from other groups to bars and restaurants.


I do agree that this will have to be unique to every state, including different demographics and different settings in a congested city like Chicago, New York. There might be different rules than, say, rural Montana. And I don't think we can apply one rule to every single population.

CURNOW: Yes, that's interesting. So, we also know that's what is played out on a macro level in the U.S. That there's been this sort of -- well, sort of patchwork response by the states.

You're in a state that's been on solid lockdown for weeks, but then 47 states are easing restrictions this week. I mean, do you think that should be happening? Or is it the same premise? That each state is a different place, therefore they can make their own decisions based on where they are.

KALSI: That's a good question. I think releasing social distancing and relaxing all of these rules is entirely arbitrary. This virus is not contained. And if you remember two months ago when we just started hearing about

coronavirus and three months ago when we heard about it internationally, it quickly grew to thousands. Now, we have 80,000 in under six months. That will start again.

Once you release distancing and relax everything, it's just going to start again, until we have a way to mitigate the virus itself. And once you get the virus, control the catastrophic problems that some people will have with the virus.

CURNOW: Yes. I mean, it's certainly desperate times, and again, those projections of numbers, particularly here in the U.S., are also startling.

We know that hospitals have stopped doing elective surgery. But we also know that people are afraid to come in for other conditions, that kids aren't getting immunized. How much broader is the impact of this on the health communities and people?

KALSI: It's huge. And if I could take a moment to implore America as a doctor and as a human being that has a doctor myself, America, if you need to come to the emergency room, come to the emergency room. It is safe. We will make you safe.

Yes, there is coronavirus. There is COVID-19 in emergency rooms. But you need to seek emergency care like you used to.

I get phone calls all the time. Is it safe to come to your ER? Doctor, is it safe to come there? Yes. Come to the ER. Do not wait.

What we are seeing now, Robyn, is new waves of mortality. We are people who waited with chest pain, people waited with abdominal pain and they are having catastrophic problems. And some are dying at home.

In certain areas of the country, we are getting more calls about people being found dead in their homes. And we really encourage people to just come to the emergency room like you would are in the first place. If you don't know what to do, call us in the emergency room. Or call your primary doctor.

And, two, as we don't do elective surgeries, we need to realize that elective surgeries are the primary way that hospitals make money. And that money is sent to all our health care workers. And if the hospitals don't make that revenue, we don't pay our health care workers and we are hemorrhaging money across the country. That's just a fact.

At some point, we need to start elective surgeries again. And people need their elective surgeries for a reason. And that third wave of mortalities, people that delay those surgeries, they get sicker with the illnesses that they needed them for.

CURNOW: And also, there's one other thing I wanted to ask you before you go. It's Mother's Day here in the U.S. and in some places across the world on Sunday. You know, there's so much is being discussed about mental health and about isolation particularly of the elderly. Should people visit their moms, or give grannies a hug? What should people do on Sunday?

KALSI: Yes, I know this is hard. I have the blessing of having both my parents with me. My wife has both her parents with her. And we are not going to go visit our parents. We're going to FaceTime with them. We're going to Zoom with them.

I need to reiterate to everyone out there that is looking to doctors and health care workers on this very important piece of advice -- restrict yourself from visiting those that are frail, vulnerable, have multiple medical problems that are still just as vulnerable on Mother's Day as they were on Easter and I'll tell you, Robyn, we have families ventilated who gathered around Easter and they are fighting for their lives now.

CURNOW: OK. So you don't want that legacy for Mother's Day.

Dr. Raj Kalsi, great advice. Thank you for joining us here. Thanks for speaking to us.

KALSI: Thanks, Robyn. Be safe.

CURNOW: Yes. You too.

So, Japan is the latest country to approve a notable drug in the battle against COVID-19.


Remdesivir is the only drug so far that has been even somewhat effective against the coronavirus in a rigorous trial It could shorten some patient's hospital stays for about four days. But its maker Gilead Sciences says there is only enough available right now for about 200,000 patients.

And in another study of another drug has found no evidence it helps COVID-19 patients. You remember Donald Trump had initially urged the use of hydroxychloroquine. That is used to treat malaria and lupus. But a new report in the New England Journal of Medicine said patients who got the drug didn't fare any better or worse than those who didn't.

You're watching CNN. Still to come, taking stock of the battered economy and upcoming jobs market. We'll detail the devastating damage to the labor market. We'll have a live report with Christine, next.

Also, this man, Ahmaud Arbery, was called last February in a distressing incident caught on video. Well, now, two men have been arrested and charged in the state. We have that story also just ahead.


CURNOW: I'm Robyn Curnow. Welcome back.

So, we are about to get the clearest picture here of the economic toll the coronavirus has taken on the U.S. The government's jobs report for April is due out in three hours' time. [05:20:04]

And economists are predicting Depression-era levels of employment -- unemployment.

Christine Romans joins me from New York.

We know this. People are feeling. This is a daily reality, daily pain.

But the numbers will certainly lay it all out, won't they?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: They're going to show. I mean, we already know, Robyn, that one in five people who are employed in the beginning on of March have either been laid off or furloughed, one in five.

So, we already know sort of the depth of this pain. And that's going to translate into something like 20 million jobs lost in the month of April and unemployment rate spiking to 16 percent to 20 percent. There's kind of a wide variation of how bad it will be, but a consensus that it will be very, very bad.

Now, here's something that's really important. We keep talking about these Depression comparisons. But this is not the Great Depression. The Fed has signaled it will essentially have unlimited support for the credit markets, for the financial -- for the financial backbone of the American economy.

And Congress has passed almost $3 trillion in bailouts. There are, in 38 states, those people who are laid off, have jobless benefits that are slightly bigger than their paycheck was that they left. So they have been made more than whole by the government, even though it's been a real pain to apply for the benefits and a lot of paperwork.

But the government has really been pushing to go try to get money in their pockets to hold them over. What we don't know is how long this will last, what jobs come back first and what the economy looks like on the other end, Robyn.

CURNOW: No, we don't. So many unanswered questions still.

Also, when you talk about those numbers and so many people unemployed, so many families affected directly, that means a lot of people actually going hungry here in the U.S.


CURNOW: What do we know about that also? And the fact that that might become politicized as well?

ROMANS: You know, I say it's not the great the Depression because we don't have bread lines, except we do have food bank lines.


ROMANS: And that I think shows an underlying weakness, structural weakness in the American economy, when we had what looked like such a strong economy two months ago, in February, 3.5 percent unemployment. And now, we're hearing from these food banks that you have unprecedented numbers of people who are coming -- many of them saying this is the first time they've ever had to hold their hand out for government assistance or for private assistance in many cases for these food banks and food pantries.

So, it shows you I think just how slim the savings safety net was for many families and how so many families, you know, millions and millions of families working essentially paycheck to paycheck, right? When you have a calamity like this that happens, an economy that's been put to sleep on purpose to fight the virus, there was no -- there was no wiggle room for some of these people. I think that's what those food lines show you.

CURNOW: They certainly do. Christine Romans, thanks so much for that update.

ROMANS: Thanks, Robyn.

CURNOW: So, on Tuesday, the U.S. was shocked by cell phone video that showed the shooting death of an African-American man who was jogging here in Georgia.

Well, now, two white men are in jail charged with aggravated assault and murder. Sixty-four-year-old Gregory McMichael and his son Travis were arrested late Thursday.

Martin Savidge has more, but we must warn you here -- this report does contain that disturbing video.


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The father and son were taken into custody by a Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents. They were arrested in the neighborhood in which they lived. And they have now been transported to the Glynn County jail, charged with murder and aggravated assault in the death of Ahmaud Arbery.

That attack and killing took place on February 23rd. And so this case has had two speeds. You had stagnant for over two months and then suddenly lightning kind of action. The difference between the two was a very graphic video that was released on Tuesday morning that showed the struggle and the eventual death of the young jogger.

That video just a couple of hours later prompted the district attorney in the case to say that he was going to take it now to a grand jury. Due to the pandemic, there are no grand jury proceedings and aren't likely to be until the middle of next month. But then the governor of Georgia, a couple of hours after that, weighed in and said, the Georgians demand answers, and he said he would make available law enforcement assets from the state of Georgia.

And then later that night, the district attorney overseeing the case said, yes, he would take up the governor on the offer. By Wednesday, you had GBI agents actually in the area. And then by Thursday, you had the dramatic arrest.

It is just the first step. But for many, especially those who supported the family of Ahmaud Arbery, it's a very significant step.

Martin Savidge, CNN, Glynn County, Georgia.


CURNOW: Thanks, Martin, for that.

Now, a police report quoted one of the suspects saying Arbery resembled a suspect in a recent break-in. But Glynn County police that since January 1st, there had no reports of home robberies or break-ins in that neighborhood where he was running.


Meanwhile, his supporters will honor him later on Friday, which would have been his 26th birthday. People are being asked to run 2.23 miles and to document their run and post it on social media using the #IRunwithAhmaud.

So, you're watching CNN. Still to come, many California businesses aim to reopen in just a few hours. But some owners are already bucking the state's plans, saying they can't afford to stay closed any longer.


CURNOW: Welcome back. I'm Robyn Curnow. It is just about 5:30 a.m. here on the East Coast. I'm in Atlanta.

Welcome to all our viewers here in the U.S. and around the world wherever you are.

So we know that California is taking its first steps towards reopening. The governor, Gavin Newsom, spoke in a press conference Thursday about loosening restrictions on certain businesses. They include some retailers with curbside pickup and delivery options, and businesses such as auto dealerships where employees can social distance.

But many other businesses must still stay closed. The state's governor says that's because the danger is still out there.


GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D), CALIFORNIA: Let me be specific now to nail salons. This whole thing started in the state of California, the first community spread in a nail salon. I just want to remind you, remind everybody of that.


CURNOW: So, although California is slowly reopening, there is a battle going on between the state and local counties about how to go about it, because that's because some in less hard-hit areas are facing the same regulations as those in places where the outbreak is severe. And they say one size just does not fit all, as Dan Simon now explains from Northern California.


DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Marsha Miller has own this hair salon.