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Some California Counties Rejecting Strict Regulations; Analysis: No Coordinated U.S. Plan To Track Antibody Tests; Russia Has Fifth-Highest Number of Coronavirus Cases In The World. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired May 8, 2020 - 05:30   ET



ROBYN CURNOW, CNN ANCHOR: 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 owned this hair salon for 35 years. On Monday, she and her daughter reopened it. Anxious clients filed in.

MARSHA MILLER, OWNER, HEADLINES SALON AND SPA: And I cried through the whole thing because I couldn't -- I was so happy that it turned around on me.

SIMON (voice-over): It has been an emotional whiplash because the very next day California regulators said she needed to close back up and not doing so could jeopardize her license. Still, Miller is staying open.

MILLER: We haven't gotten a paycheck in six weeks. We haven't gotten unemployment. What are we supposed to do?

KRISTI GOLDBY, BUSINESS PARTNER, HEADLINES SALON AND SPA: Emotionally, it's been hard this last week. I mean, watching my mom who's -- this is her life, you know, and I took it on as my life a handful of years go. And so for us, it's emotional. It's emotional for our staff because now they feel conflicted to support us but they are scared.

SIMON (voice-over): What you're witnessing is a tug-of-war going on right now between rural California and Gov. Newsom. Yuba and Sutter counties in Northern California have reported only 50 positive cases of the virus. Its leaders decided it was safe for some businesses to reopen in defiance of Newsom's stay-at-home orders.

GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D), CALIFORNIA: They put those businesses at risk -- not only the health of their communities at risk.

SIMON (voice-over): Nonetheless, restaurants here now have dine-in customers. It's an image you won't see in other parts of the state.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These little mom and pop businesses, they've got to open up in order to be able to survive.

SIMON (voice-over): Linda's Soda Bar and Grill in downtown Yuba City is a local institution.

LINDA MCKENNA, OWNER, LINDA'S SODA BAR AND GRILL: The customers were ecstatic. Somebody walked in and said it's like Christmas morning. So, yes, they're thrilled that they can come back in and see their friends they haven't seen for a while.

SIMON (voice-over): But restaurants, too, are also putting themselves at risk in defiance of the governor -- at least those that serve alcohol. The state ABC -- Alcohol Beverage Control -- is informing restaurants they could face disciplinary proceedings which could include losing their liquor license by remaining open.

HENRY STUEVE, OWNER, KRANKIN HANKS SPORTS BAR AND GRILL: I considered the Red Coats showed up yesterday and shut me down.

SIMON (voice-over): For Henry Stueve, staying open was a risk he couldn't take.

STUEVE: It's crippling to our business if we lose our license. We wouldn't have a sports bar. It's kind of -- you know, you wouldn't have one.

SIMON (on camera): So you said I need to shut down.

STUEVE: So we shut down.

SIMON (on camera): Well, state regulators say they are sympathetic to the plight of these businesses but clearly, this is a warning and these places need to decide if they're going to remain open.

Dan Simon, CNN, Yuba City, California.


CURNOW: So we know that health experts say that a key component to safely reopening any community is adequate, reliable testing. Now, that sounds simple enough but some of the testing that's considered critical in the U.S. is just not living up to the hype, as Drew Griffin now explains.


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The antibody test -- the blood test that can tell whether someone has COVID-19 even without symptoms has been so important. President Trump, last month, announced the test would be a major decision-maker in getting America back to work.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're also working to bring blood-based serology tests to the market as quickly as possible so that Americans can determine whether or not they've already had the virus and potentially have immunity. GRIFFIN (voice-over): But as millions of antibody tests are being shipped across the country, a CNN analysis finds there's no coordinated effort by the federal government to track the full number or all the raw data of those tests from every state.

Like other areas of the U.S.'s coronavirus response, the antibody testing process has been confusing -- a mix of false starts, changing rules, and no coherent plan for all the states to report results.

DR. PETER HOTEZ, BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE: The way it usually works is that data is fed into the various state health departments, then the state health departments will often funnel information to the CDC.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): But many states aren't collecting any antibody testing data. Of the 41 state health departments that responded to CNN's questions, only 22 states said they are currently collecting some data on antibody testing. And only California, New York, and Louisiana said they require it.

HOTEZ: One of the problems has been that the -- a lot of the tests that have been given temporary authorization turn out to be not very accurate.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): As CNN has reported, in its rush to jumpstart antibody testing across the country, in March, the FDA allowed antibody tests to be sold without any federal review and many inaccurate tests flooded the market. This week, the FDA reversed that policy, now requiring test makers to prove tests work like they should, but the damage was already done.

Oregon's health department said antibody testing data are of dubious reliability. Several other states, like Vermont, saying the tests are not accurate enough to use them for any public planning.


CAROLINE BUCKEE, T.H. CHAN SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH, HARVARD UNIVERSITY: There are a couple of reasons that we really want to know who has had this virus. The first is just to figure out where we are on the epidemic curve. And that has really important implications for policies like whether we're going to go back to work and whether we're going to reopen schools.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): The CDC is only collecting data from some states. But it's also doing what's called seroprevalence surveys, collecting blood samples from labs across the country that were originally used for other purposes like routine cholesterol tests and performing testing to look for antibodies in the blood sample.

For now, the real number of people who have been infected with COVID in the U.S. is still unknown.

HOTEZ: Saying 1.2 million people have been infected is almost certainly a vast underestimate. The problem is we don't know if that real number is 10 times more or 20 times more, and by having widespread antibody testing that would give us a better idea. (END VIDEOTAPE)

CURNOW: That was Drew Griffin reporting there.

Now, the British prime minister's spokesman says the country will ease restrictions there with, quote, "maximum caution." Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to announce the next steps on Sunday. His spokesman cautioned the rules could be tightened again if required.

Meanwhile, Scotland's leader is pushing for an extension to lock down there.

And the French prime minister, Edouard Philippe, says his country is on schedule with hundreds of thousands of businesses allowed to reopen on Monday. But he also says Paris and the surrounding areas are going to need, quote, "extra discipline" because of how dense the population is. Cafes, bars, and restaurants, though, will have to remain shut for now.

And, Australia's prime minister has announced a three-step plan to open the country by July. The plan increases the size of groups of people that could gather phase-by-phase. Initially, 10 people could attend weddings and 30 people could go to funerals. By step three, up to 100 people could assemble and interstate travel would then resume.

And the number of new coronavirus cases in Russia surged on Thursday to a new daily total. More than 11,000 new cases were reported in just 24 hours and the country now has the fifth-highest number of cases in the world.

Let's get the latest from Matthew Chance. Matthew is our Moscow correspondent based, though, in London just for the moment while travel is on hold.

Matthew, what do you make of these new numbers coming out of Russia? Hi.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi. Well, they're pretty -- they're pretty grim, aren't they? I mean, as with many countries in the world right now, this explosion of coronavirus infections is still taking place.

And in Russia, it's been particularly badly affected, which is a -- you know, a bit of a turnaround from initially in this -- early on in this pandemic when Russia was saying that it had the whole situation under control. That doesn't seem further from the truth. We have 10 1/2 thousand more -- 10 1/2 new cases confirmed within the past couple of hours as the -- as the news of daily, sort of, total of cases have come to light.

But many officials, at this point, are saying that the official statistics on the number of people infected in Russia are way, way off the mark.

And the mayor of Moscow, Sergey Sobyanin, was on state television yesterday reiterating a point he'd made before, which is that he believes from the studies they've done in the Moscow government that two to 2 1/2 percent of the city's population -- as many as 300,000 people -- are likely to be infected with the coronavirus and they just haven't -- even though they've been stepping up testing, they haven't tested all of those people yet.

And so, it's a huge amount of upside on the number of people in Russia who are likely to be hit with this virus, Robyn.

CURNOW: OK, Matthew Chance. Thanks for that update there.

So, you're watching CNN. Still to come, a few businesses find themselves well-suited to the quarantine age. How shifting habits are actually driving sales for some companies amid the pandemic. We'll check in with Christine again.



CURNOW: So the economic upheaval from the coronavirus pandemic hasn't hurt every business. We know some companies are proving more resilient than others during these tough and uncertain times. A few are even seeing demand for their products skyrocket as consumers have certainly shifted toward staying inside.

Well, Christine Romans is back with me now. Now, I mean, we can't underscore the fact -- overstress the fact that clearly, as we were saying earlier, we're in Depression-era times.


CURNOW: People are out of work. This is really hard for much of America and the world.

But we do know that some companies have proved resilient, particularly those like home exercise equipment. Peloton sales, we know, have been doing brisk sales. What do you make of that?

ROMANS: It has been fascinating to watch it and I've been calling it nesting and besting.


ROMANS: And what I mean by that is that people are sort of competing via Facetime and Zoom with their friends and cooking, for example, and exercising. You know, Peloton -- I've seen the Peloton installation truck in my neighborhood several times over the past week and they are back-ordered, quite frankly.

One point one million new, free, digital-only subscribers in March and April, so they're getting to new audiences. And people are stuck -- I mean, you can't go to a -- you can't go to a cycling class, right? So you cycle -- do your cycle class at home.

So some parts of the economy have seen the benefit of this shifting of consumer money and consumer behavior.

CURNOW: Yes -- nesting and besting, I do like that. And that also -- I mean, I know that it deals with puzzles.


CURNOW: I know that early on in this we were looking for puzzles at Target and they were all sold out.

Flour and baking products --


CURNOW: -- because a lot of us are sitting with our kids at home baking more than we used to.

And also, of course, many of us have had to cut our husband's hair. So there are these little things -- you know, razors and hair scissors. We're having to do it all ourselves and that has helped.

ROMANS: I know. I definitely need a haircut. My husband needs a haircut.

CURNOW: I could do it.

ROMANS: We've cut the kids' hair but we haven't cut our own hair yet. I think that could be --

CURNOW: I tried my husband's. He's still got a little hole at the back but he can't see it, so it's fine.

ROMANS: It is not my skill set. It really isn't.

But you're right. I mean, how many people do you know who are posting on their social media sites about their sourdough starter, right? I mean, five months ago if you told me that I would know four people who were trying to start sourdough for their home baking adventures, I would have never have believed it.

Puzzle manufacturers say they're having a hard time keeping up with demand from retailers. Outdoor games, for example -- you know, badminton sets and volleyball sets. I mean, things that families can enjoy together. So it has been a really interesting shift in consumer behavior.

It's funny -- I think that for people watching here, retail apparel is something that is just clogging the pipeline right now for stores. There will be big sales on retail later this summer as they get ready for what is usually the holiday shopping season. And I heard one analyst call it -- it's Black Friday in May in terms of the prices you're going to get on a lot of Websites.

So it's interesting to see where there are opportunities and where the consumer dollars are shifting.

[05:45:01] CURNOW: Yes. And I think, again, that all that spare time at home.

There's another -- there's another aspect that I've seen is people who are going through, say, their old digital photos -- their old photographs wanting to digitize those. Those sorts of things about trying to organize your life where it's closet planners and that sort of thing. That's also played into it, hasn't it?

ROMANS: I think that's also the nesting --

CURNOW: Yes, you're right.

ROMANS: -- the nesting and besting kind of theory.

And what's interesting about some of those things -- the consumer electronics, for example -- you know, digital printers and digital stuff like that. There have been some supply disruptions because of the COVID-19 problem and also some big demand. So some things like that can be back-ordered, I think.

But I think that the supply chain problems are going to ease themselves out. I mean, I know that Nintendo Switch sold like crazy. It has some new games that were really -- that were really popular. And there was some supply disruptions there because of the international model of the production. But there -- you know, the home games and Nintendo Switch also had a very, very good quarter.

CURNOW: Yes, they certainly did.

But certainly, it doesn't underscore that we're going to get some very, very bloody numbers in the next hour or so --

ROMANS: We will.

CURNOW: -- in the next few hours on these -- on the unemployment rate and many others.

Christine Romans, good to speak to you. Have a good weekend -- thanks.

ROMANS: You, too. Thanks, Robyn.


So, European leaders, we know, are marking the 75th anniversary of victory in Europe or V-E Day where Nazi Germany surrendered, marking the end of World War II in Europe. Now, the celebrations are muted, of course, with COVID-19 restrictions in many places in many countries.

But it's certainly a moment to pause and reflect, particularly in times like this. And this is why this is being somber, what you see here -- the French President Emmanuel Macron placing a wreath -- a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Paris.

We know the German Chancellor Angela Merkel is also expected to take part in a similar ceremony in Berlin. And the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson paid his respects a day earlier at Westminster Abbey in London.

So you're watching CNN. Still to come, we know that schools in one U.S. state are reopening and it's triggering a very fierce debate. We'll show you how schools worldwide are preparing to make sure that returning students are safe.



CURNOW: Take a look at that jetBlue Airlines finding a big way to say thank you to health care workers and first responders in New York City -- a three-plane flyover on Thursday evening.

The airline used three New York City-themed planes that say "I Love New York", "NYPD", and "FD New York" jetting across the city's iconic skyline at 600 meters. It also donating -- it's also donating roundtrip flight certificates to 10,000 health care workers.

And a bit of science fiction has landed at Rome's International Airport. I do want you to look at these.

I mean, staff members are wearing these big black helmets which are actually equipped with thermo-scanners. They can measure body temperature from a distance of up to seven meters. In the airport is three of these Robocop-style helmets and they're expected to have five by the time travel gets back to normal.

And after almost two months of stay-at-home orders, some children in the U.S. state of Montana are heading back to school, but not everybody is happy about it.

Brian Todd now explains.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In Willow Creek, Montana, a school bus pulls to a stop, idles, and signifies a bold step in the intense debate over returning to normalcy. Only one child is let out of the bus at a time. Their distance measured by a teacher carrying a pool toy. And temperatures are taken at the front door.

On Thursday, Willow Creek Public School, grades pre-K through 12, became one of the first schools in America to reopen, and not everyone in the town of about 250 was happy about it.

STEPHANIE LABANOWSKI, RESIDENT OF WILLOW CREEK, MONTANA: I think it's a travesty that they're opening the school for 2 1/2 weeks. You're affecting the children, you're affecting the parents that they're going home to. And what about the grandparents? You don't know what they might pick up.

TODD (voice-over): But most of the people CNN spoke to in Willow Creek were in favor of the reopening, including Erica Wahl, whose two children go to the public school. ERICA WAHL, MOTHER OF TWO WILLOW CREEK STUDENTS: I know there's probably parents across America who think I'm dumb and stupid -- that I'm endangering my children's life. But I feel like taking them to Walmart is more dangerous and they have a higher chance of getting sick from going to Walmart or Target.

TODD (voice-over): School officials tell CNN they're taking every precaution they can think of. Six-foot distancing in classrooms and even on the playgrounds for recess, and allowing only one student in a bathroom at a time.

Montana's thin population and relatively low exposure to coronavirus could make that state an outlier. Officials in states with much more dense populations are wrestling with the complex calculations of reopening schools.

MICHAEL HINOJOSA, SUPERINTENDENT, DALLAS INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT: We're considering minimizing the number of students that come on certain days and then also staggering the arrivals. And then, actually have lunch in the classroom so that you don't have the situation. Have one-way hallways.

TODD (voice-over): Calculations that are playing out across the globe as we get our first glimpse of what school in the age of coronavirus looks like.

In Bann, Germany, just a few kids in the classroom. In Beijing, students seated in every other row. In Tel Aviv, one teacher has a plastic visor and mask; the other, no covering.

What needs to happen in any community for schools to reopen?

CAITLIN RIVERS, INFECTIOUS DISEASE EPIDEMIOLOGIST, JOHNS HOPKINS: The first is we want to see that a community has really turned the corner and that the number of new cases is steadily going down. The second is we want each community to have enough capacities to do diagnostic testing.

TODD (voice-over): But the superintendent of the Willow Creek School says there has to be a balance, pointing out her school reopened partially out of concern over children falling behind academically with inconsistent learning at home and concerns over the strain on parents.

BONNIE LOWER, SUPERINTENDENT, WILLOW CREEK PUBLIC SCHOOL: A lot of our parents are both working. Their kids are at home. Some of them have multiple children in school and they're trying to do their work and it was just very, very difficult.

TODD (on camera): The complexities of trying to reopen schools seem almost endless. One public health expert says a calculation that schools are going to have to make is that younger kids probably won't be as reliable with social distancing as older students.

[05:55:00] It will be very difficult, she says, to ensure that younger children are always wearing masks, staying apart from others, and not always running toward each other during gym, recess, or lunch.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


CURNOW: Now, that's going to be difficult. Thanks, Brian, for that.

Well, thank you for your company. I'm Robyn Curnow.

"NEW DAY" is next with John and Erica. You're watching CNN. Have a great day.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 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.

AL GORE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think that we are seeing the start of a botched reopen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have to have increased testing to allow our economy to fully reopen.

GOV. BRIAN KEMP (R), GEORGIA: It's absolutely horrific and Georgians deserve answers.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: Gregory McMichael and his son were charged with murder and aggravated assault in the death of Ahmaud Arbery.

JASMINE ARBERY, SISTER OF AHMAUD ARBERY: We feel a sense of relief. This thing was the turning point in recovering my brother's case and getting justice for him.


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 Friday, May eighth, 6:00 here in New York.