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Virus Hits West Wing; Syndrome That May Be Linked To Coronavirus; Jobs Lost In April; Robert Reich, Former Labor Secretary, Discusses Soaring Unemployment Rate; California Governor Says About 70 Percent Of State Can Reopen; Pandemic Shakes Up Routines For European Travelers; Public Debate Surrounds California Sex Offenders' Early Release. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired May 9, 2020 - 17:00   ET



ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: You are in the CNN NEWSROOM. Thanks for staying with me. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York.

More businesses, restaurants, services and leisure activities opening to Americans this weekend. By Sunday night, people in at least 47 states will see their stay-at-home restrictions eased, to some degree, restrictions put in place to slow down the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

Now, a sharp focus will remain on social distancing and cleanliness. That's despite the number of infections in the U.S. now rising to more than 1.3 million.

Now, one reason state leaders are so eager to get things rolling again, staggering, historic unemployment. That has soared to nearly 15 percent nationwide. The U.S. economy lost 20.5 million jobs in April alone. The pandemic wiped out literally years of economic growth in just two months.

The coronavirus now detected in the halls of the White House. President Trump confirming that Vice President Pence's press secretary tested positive for the virus. Earlier in the week, one of the president's personal valets also tested positive.

Also, a blistering slam of the Trump administration's handling of the coronavirus crisis coming from former President Barack Obama. He was recorded during a private phone call Friday night, and described the U.S. response to the crisis as an absolute chaotic disaster.

And another reminder that this virus can affect anyone. Roy Horn died Friday of complications stemming from the coronavirus. He was one half of the legendary magic stage act, Siegfried and Roy. Horn was 75 years old.

A lot to get to but let's begin in New York, where health officials are scrambling after three children, one, a teenager, one, a five- year-old and one, a seven-year-old have all died now from a syndrome that may be linked to the coronavirus. Dozens more have also fallen ill. CNN's Polo Sandoval is following the developments. Polo, it's been assumed for weeks that this virus poses much lower risk to children than it does adults. But Governor Cuomo casting doubt on that assumption earlier today. What have you learned?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Ana, as the Governor called it, this is a new issue. But, at the same time, also a very disturbing one, particularly for parents because of the symptoms, obviously, from this illness. It's very likely connected to COVID-19. And it really does go against what we had heard from the beginning from officials that, perhaps, younger people in the population would not be as vulnerable.

But, in this case, according to the governor, these new hospitalizations, total of about 73 cases, in and around the New York area, of children, toddler or elementary school age children, that are presenting these symptoms very similar to toxic shock syndrome, also known as Kawasaki disease.


GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: Now, these are children who come in who don't present the symptoms that we normally are familiar with, with COVID. It's not a respiratory illness. They're not in respiratory distress. But the illness has taken the lives of three young New Yorkers. So, this is new. And it's developing.


SANDOVAL: So, the big question, exactly why is this happening? The authorities are still looking at those three particular cases to try to find a little bit more if these children were, perhaps, predisposed to some of these complications.

Also, when it comes to answering the question of how is this actually happening? We do know that the state of New York is going to be working with the CDC to try to develop what would be national criteria. Because it's very likely that we could, potentially, see hospitals across the country see children similar ages with similar symptoms.

CABRERA: It's so concerning. And, Polo, a big issue in New York City has also been testing in lower income minority communities, and the governor addressed that today as well.

SANDOVAL: Yes, and a big part of the story is in the numbers here. What they did, they looked at about 21 of the zip codes in and around New York City with the highest COVID-related hospitalizations. And they found that 20 of those had above-average communities in which they were, obviously, struggling economically or also socially diverse communities as well. So, they feel that that is really one of the focal points here that they really want to look at.

So, they're unveiling this testing initiative, where they'll be working with various community groups to try to get people to go in for testing so that they know for sure whether or not they're negatively affected by this. But something that we heard from Governor Cuomo today, recognizing that this is certainly an issue, not just here in New York but throughout the country. Usually, some of those communities that are struggling economically are those that are, perhaps, the hardest hit.

CABRERA: Indeed. Polo Sandoval, thank you.

One thing experts keep warning us of is that this virus is going to continue to stalk the population until we develop herd immunity, either through a vaccine or enough positive cases. One key indicator of herd immunity could be a high number of positive antibody tests.


CABRERA: Now, these tests are, you know, supposed to indicate whether someone has been infected with the virus, at some point in time, possibly without even showing symptoms. But the results are really only helpful if there is a coordinated effort to track them.

And as our Drew Griffin finds out, that isn't the case right now.


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The antibody test, a 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 have already had the virus and, potentially, have immunity.

GRIFFIN: But as millions of antibody tests are being shipped across the country, a CNN analysis finds there is 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 of 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: But many states aren't collecting any antibody testing data. Of the 41 states 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: 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, HARVARD T.H. CHAN SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: There are a couple of reasons that we really want to know who's 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: 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've 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.

GRIFFIN: Drew Griffin, CNN, Atlanta.


CABRERA: I want to bring in emergency room physician, Dr. Jeremy Faust, and infectious disease specialist and epidemiologist, Dr. Celine Gounder. Dr. Faust, the White House has said these tests are going to be a major decision maker in getting people back to work.

But when you consider that there's no coordinated effort to track the results of these tests, and there are concerns over their accuracy and it's still unknown whether having the virus guarantees immunity, are antibody tests going to be as helpful as we've been led to believe?

DR. JEREMY FAUST, EMERGENCY ROOM PHYSICIAN: They will be helpful when we know what the information means. We now are at a disadvantage. We wasted time by rolling out tests that weren't vetted and now we have to play catch-up.

What we could do is actually increase our testing of people who have the virus now and respond accordingly. If we knew where the people were who actually have the virus, we'd have a much better sense.

I have the sense that the antibody is supposed to be this, sort of, hero to come in and say, oh, look how many people already had it. We're actually OK. But, at the same time, we're ignoring the fact that we actually don't even really know who has it right now.

CABRERA: Exactly. We're trying to ramp up this antibody testing. Dr. Gounder, at the same time, the U.S. is not where it needs to be on diagnostics testing. The Harvard Global Health Institute estimated this week that the United States needs to do at least 900,000 tests a day by May 15th, the diagnostic tests. But, right now, is only doing about 250,000.

Do you expect the U.S. to get closer to that number, 900,000, daily, now that the FDA has approved an at-home saliva test?

DR. CELINE GOUNDER, EPIDEMIOLOGIST: So, the at-home saliva test is based on work that was done by researchers at Rutgers. The problem is that an academic medical center cannot scale up this kind of test to provide it to the entire country.


GOUNDER: So, you're really -- in this country, especially, we rely on the private sector. And some of the big corporate commercial labs, like Quest and Bio-Reference, have already said that they're not interested in doing saliva-based testing. Labcorp is willing to do saliva-based testing, but with their own test kits. And this goes back to the problem of, do you have the number of test kits and the related supplies that you need?

And it's a little bit like if you think about the Keurig K cups and then espresso pods. If you have one of these machines, like, say, you have the Abbott machine or the Roche machine, you need to have all of the supplies that go with that machine. So, that -- you know, that really creates some real obstacles here, in terms of having all of the pieces necessary to do the tests.

CABRERA: My understanding is these new tests wouldn't require a swab. It would be, you know, something the person at home spits into. Dr. Gounder, do you know how this at-home test might work?

GOUNDER: Well, that's right. So, you would have somebody spitting into a collection kit and sending that back to the lab. But that still doesn't change the fact that you need to have the rest of the reagents, the tests, the cartridges, all of those other things. So, really, what you're saving here are the swabs that you put in the nose.

And then, because somebody can collect this themselves, they don't have to have an interaction with a healthcare provider in a health facility. So, we're saving on all of the personal protective equipment that those healthcare providers might need to use, if they're collecting specimens. And we're preventing transmission in health facilities because people aren't going there to get tested.

CABRERA: Dr. Faust, Chinese researchers said, on Thursday, that the coronavirus can persist in men's semen, even after they have begun to recover, raising questions about whether the virus could be sexually transmitted. What do you think? FAUST: I think that we're going to hear stories about virus being

detected all over the place. We're going to hear about it on the surfaces of the tables at the restaurants when those reopen. We're going to hear about sewage. We're going to hear it about stories like this.

And the question is, other than grabbing a headline, what does it mean? Some of it's very concerning and some of it's just panic. And I'll give you an example. We could -- we can detect genetic material from skeletons, human remains. That doesn't mean that that DNA is about to become alive. So, similarly, when we detect the genetic material of this virus, it doesn't mean that it means that it's transmissible at that level.

So, I look at that and I say, yes, we're going to be hearing about all this kind of stuff. But, as with the antibody testing, what does it mean? And that's the question that I think we need to be a little bit more careful with, when we analyze those kinds of stories.

CABRERA: So, do we know, at this point, though, could it be sexually transmitted? Because that is a question that we've seen a lot from our viewers throughout the course of this pandemic and our coverage.

FAUST: It certainly has not been looked at. So, we know that, obviously, there's sexual transmission just through regular sexual activity. And there's also just that we know that the way this virus spreads is just person-to-person contact, so just regular contact, let alone any intimate contact. So, I think the jury's out on that.

We have heard cases of transmission that happened for longer than the time period that the CDC has identified as the average. And -- but we don't really yet have the detective work done on how that occurred. Was it just that person had a -- had a longer immune response or was it something like this? We just don't know and we'll find that out, I expect, in the -- in the months to come.

CABRERA: There is still so much to learn. Dr. Gounder, Governor Cuomo said, this week, that 66 percent of hospitalizations in New York for coronavirus are people who've been staying at home. That was shocking to me, because you think that it would be people who are, perhaps, essential workers, who are being exposed on a daily basis to other people, and you know, may have a higher incident of the virus being near them. What does this tell you?

GOUNDER: Well, this tells me a couple things. One, in Wuhan as well -- as well -- as well as elsewhere, we've seen that transmission within the household, within the family, is a major driver of this. And so, probably what you're having is somebody in the family who's the person who is still working or still going to the grocery store, still running those errands, and they're bringing the virus back home.

And, you know, I literally have a patient on service at the hospital right now who is an elderly woman who is incapable of leaving the home. And her daughter is the one that runs errands for her. And she was infected, probably by her daughter, because she really had no contact with anyone else. CABRERA: And which is just an important reminder for all of us who do

have to leave the home, to do some of those errands or who are going to work, you have to take extra, extra precautions to protect our loved ones.

Dr. Celine Gounder, Dr. Jeremy Faust, always good to hear from both of you. Thank you.

Bruce Springsteen said his legendary song, "The River," was based on this haunting premise, what happens when all the jobs are gone and the people are still around?


CABRERA: With nearly two and a half times the jobs lost in April than in the entirety of the financial crisis in the early 2000s, we're about to find out. Everyone gets the problem, but we're going in search of solutions. Next, with Robert Reich, President Clinton's labor secretary. He was named by "Time" as one of the 10 best cabinet members of the 20th Century. He will join us live, next, with answers on how we begin to recover.

You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


CABRERA: The U.S. economy is in a free fall, caused by the chaos of the coronavirus pandemic. In April, 20.5 million jobs were lost. It is the worst jobs' report, since the government began tracking this data in 1939. The unemployment rate soared to 14.7 percent. The only other time America has seen worse was during the Great Depression.

I want to bring in CNN's Chief Business Correspondent Christine Romans.


CABRERA: Christine, I want to show our viewers the cover of "Time Magazine" that shows the unemployment rate since the Great Depression. Do you think we will hit depression level unemployment, or might we already be there since some Americans who aren't looking for work because of the pandemic aren't even being counted in the official unemployment rate?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: I mean, Ana, we're there. And that picture, "The Great Reckoning" on the cover of "Time Magazine," it shows you the story. Those are the numbers. Every one of those numbers is a person trying to figure out how their family finances are going to go from here and how long this will be.

Now, a lot of people are still hopeful that these are temporary layoffs. And that government jobs report on Friday showed that 18 million of these -- of these job layoffs were considered temporary. But it's up to policymakers to make sure this doesn't become a Great Depression, and this is depression-era like, but temporary and we move on from here. CABRERA: What sectors and demographics are taking the hardest hit

right now? What does it tell us about the overall health of the economy?

ROMANS: This is a low-wage worker unemployment crisis. It really is. You look at retail. You know, millions of jobs lost there. Hospitality, leisure, travel, even in doctors' offices, you're losing jobs. But I think those are going to come back quickly, when you start to do elective surgeries again. Those are real profit centers for doctors' offices and hospitals. And it looks like they're making moves now to get that part of the economy moving again.

But I'm very worried about these low-wage job losses. And if the 2008- 2009 downturn was a he session, it really hit men, this is a she session. I mean, women really hit hard here. Minorities hit very hard. Teenagers. The people who are working in these frontline, retail customer-facing jobs have just been decimated here by the shutdown of the American economy. And so, it's been uneven.

It occurs to me, you know, Google, this week, announced that its employees are going to stay home through the end of the year. Other companies, tech companies and big corporate giants, are offering paid leave for their workers to be able to take care of their kids during the rest of the school year, to take care of elderly relatives, to take care of their family obligations.

So, you look at the, sort of, haves and have nots right now in the -- in the job-crisis situation. You've got some companies taking very good care of their workers, because they want to make sure people are safe and people are taken care of. And then, you've got so many people just shut out completely. It's just really a tragedy.

CABRERA: All right, Christine Romans, thank you. And we'll have more on the economic impact of this pandemic, but we're also hearing from former President Obama, weighing in on the White House's coronavirus response in what is likely his harshest criticism of President Trump. President Obama described his handling of the pandemic as a chaotic disaster.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's part of the reason why the response to this global crisis has been so anemic and spotty. And it would have been bad, even with the best of governments. It has been an absolute chaotic disaster, when that mindset of what's in it for me, and to heck with everybody else, when that mindset is operationalized in our government.


CABRERA: That brings us to your weekend presidential brief, a segment that highlights the most pressing national security issues the president is facing. And with us now is Sam Vinograd, a former senior advisor to the national security advisor in the Obama administration.

So, Sam, you're an alumni. You heard from the former president on this phone call. How significant are his comments?

SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, Ana, Obama always says it best. But the backdrop here is that President Trump has consistently insulted President Obama. President Obama, for his port -- for his part, has more strategically reserved his candid assessments of President Trump for the campaign trail.

Back in 2018, during the midterm election cycle, for example, he described President Trump as, among other things, a threat to our democracy. Now, during another critical election moment in the 2020 election cycle, President Obama did something that I remember him doing in The Situation Room. He laid out the stakes.

In this case, the stakes of a second term for President Trump. He pointed to the DOJ's efforts to drop criminal charges against Michael Flynn, for example. Because the fact is that if President Trump is elected to a second term, these Flynn developments may just be the tip of the iceberg, in terms of the perversion of our rule of law by the president's personal priorities. President Obama appears focused on injecting urgency into this campaign season. And I, personally, found his words very effective.

CABRERA: The coronavirus now hitting the White House, as staff members there -- obviously, it is now impacting the Trump administration directly. Katie Miller, the president's -- or the vice president's press secretary, tested positive. She's the second White House staffer to test positive for coronavirus just this week.


CABRERA: President Trump's personal valet also testing positive a few days ago.

Sam, you worked at the White House for four years. How serious is this news about Katie Miller and the valet, the fact that the coronavirus is now inside the West Wing?

VINOGRAD: Well, these developments illustrate manifold threats. First off, these developments threaten the White House's own narrative that they are able to keep the American people safe. If they can't protect the president, if they can't protect the vice president, that doesn't inspire confidence that they are able and willing to protect the American people more broadly.

And, more directly, these developments threaten the very functioning of our government. White House staff are viewed as essential personnel. In other words, their ability to go to work and perform their responsibilities is essential to the functioning of our government.

That makes protecting their health paramount. Doing so is more difficult, in times of infection, because, speaking from experience here, social distancing is a luxury that White House staff don't normally have. I've worked in a converted closet for years, feet away from my closest colleague. So, that means that urgent and necessary measures need to be implemented, in order to protect the health of White House personnel. We're learning now that White House leadership didn't mandate, for example, that staff getting close to each other and to the president wear masks. So, even if this infection is contained, it is now public knowledge that White House leadership didn't prioritize the health of their staff. And that represents an ongoing vulnerability going forward.

CABRERA: Sam, just quickly, we know that after the Flynn announcement, President Trump spoke with President Putin. The official readout didn't mention this. But, apparently, he spoke with Putin about what he called the Russia hoax. How significant is that?

VINOGRAD: Well, having staffed more presidential calls than I remember, I can tell you these calls are supposed to advance U.S. national security, not undermine it. And when we look at President Trump's words, let's remember we are still under live attack by Russia.

During this call, President Trump advocated -- showed to President Putin that he and President Putin share the same enemies' list. Russia is intent on undermining the credibility of our institutions, and President Trump did just that on the phone with their attacker.

And, again, remember, this FBI investigation was into Russian efforts to attack our 2016 election. I don't know if it's possible, at this point. But someone should try to take away some of President Trump's phone privileges, because they directly undercut the ability of our own home team to protect our democracy going forward.

CABRERA: All right, Sam Vinograd, as always, great to have you here. Thank you for that information.

VINOGRAD: Thank you.

CABRERA: And you know what? I know you sprayed yourself in the eye with hairspray before your hit. Couldn't even tell. You look fantastic.

VINOGRAD: Thank you for saying that, Ana. I'll do better next time.

CABRERA: We'll be right back. Thanks, Sam.




CABRERA: We are back with more now on the devastating economic numbers. In April, 20.5 million jobs lost. The unemployment rate soaring to 14.7 percent.

Here to discuss more of the economic impact is former labor secretary, Robert Reich, who is also the author of "The System: Who Rigged It and How We Fix It."

Secretary, always good to talk to you.

These dire economic numbers are the main factor, of course, in pushing states to reopen, but you say that won't necessarily bring jobs back. Why?

ROBERT REICH, FORMER LABOR SECRETARY & AUTHOR: For the simple reason, Ana, that some of that reopening is going to exactly do the opposite. It's going to make the COVID-19 pandemic even worse.

Because, you see, we're the only nation that is experiencing increases in deaths and also increases in infections at the same time we're trying to reopen. That doesn't make much sense. It's going to make the pandemic worse.

But it also could make the economic crisis worse because there's no way that the economy can actually function when so many consumers are afraid to go into work or afraid to actually go into shopping malls and other places where a lot of people are congregating.

CABRERA: On one hand, we've been reporting that many low-income jobs are deemed essential and they employ a high minority population, which may explain why African-Americans and Latinos are being disproportionately impacted and infected by coronavirus.

On the other hand, as, you know, we've reported here, these groups have some of the highest unemployment rates in April. Among Hispanics, it was 18.9 percent in April, for example.

How do you explain this?

REICH: Well, it's really a double whammy with regard to a lot of people of color and a lot of poor people, the largest proportion of whom are often people of color.

Because not only are they essential workers who are not getting adequate protection in warehouses and in hospitals and other places, but they are also people who, if they are unemployed, they don't have the adequate health care they need. They often have preexisting conditions. They're living, many of them, in crowded conditions that are, unfortunately, ideal for the pandemic.

And so, if you are poor in America, and if you are African-American or Latino, you are particularly vulnerable in these two very different ways.


CABRERA: Many are now turning to the government for help, but we've heard stories of people not able to get through to the unemployment system as the systems are completely overwhelmed with this new surge in demand. What should the government be doing to more effectively help these Americans?

REICH: Well, the Labor Department, of which I used to be secretary, needs to make sure that state unemployment insurance offices are actually getting the resources they need to be able to process these claims effectively, efficiently, quickly.

You see, right now, we've got over 30 million Americans who have filed unemployment insurance claims over the last seven weeks. But my information is very similar to the information you're getting. A large number of these people still have not been able to get unemployment benefits.

Why? Because those unemployment insurance offices are overwhelmed. This entire system is antiquated. It doesn't have the resources it needs. And the federal government needs to step in and make sure that these state resources are there.

CABRERA: You told me about a month and a half ago that you expected a quick recovery, that it could bounce back in six months. I just think of all that has happened in just the past month. Are you still that optimistic?

REICH: I wish I were, Ana. I think that, actually, instead of a V- shaped recovery, we'll be lucky if it's what's called a U-shaped recovery. That is, a moderately quick recovery.

But I'm becoming, as I look at more and more of the data, more and more pessimistic for the simple reason that, as this drags on, as the pandemic goes on -- that is, the pandemic is the really the biggest problem we face with regard to the economy.

As it continues, we have not only the problem of a lot of people who are afraid to go into malls and into other places where they're going to buy things.

But they also are running out of money because the government, as we've talked about, the government is not providing the benefits they need. They are dipping into their savings. More than half of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck and were living paycheck to paycheck even before the pandemic.

And so you can't restart an economy if people are afraid and if they don't have money.

CABRERA: Former Secretary Robert Reich, thank you.

REICH: Thank you, Ana.

CABRERA: Today is the first day Californians can get the golf course and hike on trails. So what are officials doing to make sure people social distance? We'll have a live report from Los Angeles, next.

You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.



CABRERA: Phase two of California's reopening is now under way. Golfers are getting back into the swing in Los Angeles and flocking to newly owe opened city golf courses. California Governor Gavin Newsom saying modifications for businesses reopening in phase two may impact 70 percent of the state's economy.

I'm going to bring in CNN's Paul Vercammen in L.A. for us.

Paul, explain how this second phase of California's reopening is supposed to work. And how is it going so far?

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, so far, there's a sense of euphoria in Los Angeles as for those trails open behind me and the golf courses that you alluded to.

Let's talk about, first, these rules for businesses. It's basically sidewalk commerce. So you can sell your wares, whether you're a bookstore or a flower shop or a toy store, but you can only do so by pickup. L.A. has adopted this. Down the road, San Francisco will.

We should note the governor made another announcement and that is all Californians can vote by mail for the upcoming November election. They can also vote in person. He's going to announce extreme social distancing measures for those polling places later.

Now, back here in Griffith Park, with all of its golf courses and its trails, a lot of caution. People are being told you can do these activities, but you've got to keep on your facial coverings, and you also must stay six feet apart.

We talked to some golfers who were welcoming the chance to play and being careful.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want myself and all my friends around me to be healthy and stay healthy. So that's the trepidation, but it seems pretty evident.

I feel a lot safer coming here under the guidelines that we're doing than I do going to the grocery store. You got four guys walking down the space that's several football fields long and a couple football fields wide. We can easily stay 10, 15, 20 feet apart all day long. So I feel safe for that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm happy because all my friends here. They're doing this for the last 30 years playing golf every Saturday.


VERCAMMEN: And a couple other rules, no cash transactions at the golf course and no touching the flag stick.

Why is all this significant? Because 850,000 rounds of golf are played every year just at the L.A. city courses alone -- Ana?

CABRERA: We did see a lot of people wearing masks. Good to see people taking responsibility. Paul Vercammen, thank you.

Over in Europe, the coronavirus pandemic is shaking up routines for travelers on airplanes and trains.

CNN's Nic Robertson traveled from Athens to London to show us how much has changed.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: It's 20 past 5:00 in the morning, Athens. I'm checking out of the hotel. It's still dark outside. Long journey bark to London by plane, by train, from a relative cold zone COVID-19 to one of Europe's highest hot zones. See how it goes.

The airport, the sun is rising.

Here we go. A lot of destinations. Only two of them are international.

Thank you very much, indeed. Good luck.


So that's interesting. Before you can get on this flight, they want to make sure you have a connection to your final destination, that you're traveling to your home country or have a reason for going to another country.

Last look at Greece.

Sure, the plane is clean but, these days, you want to be doubly sure.

Like the flight when we came in here, leaving on this plane, we have to wear the facemasks. When you go in the back of the cabin, there's almost zero social distancing. Seats are full, three and three.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ladies and gentlemen, keep your distances, and we'll let you know when the doors are open.

ROBERTSON: That was quite an odd experience on a flight, three-and-a- half hours almost. And for the entire flight the aircrew stayed behind their curtain. They didn't come out. That's not something I've seen before.

When we get through, we're given this, COVID-19 instructions. Notice for all persons entering Belgian territory. So these are the regulations you get handed when you arrive in Belgium. In Belgium they're 1.5 meters. In the U.K. and in Greece, it's been two meters, but here it's 1.5 meters.

The next stop is customs and a train.

Do you worry when you pick up the passengers that may be the passenger gives you the virus?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What can you do? This is life. It's your job.


I've got to find somewhere to get a coffee or a sandwich. I know you haven't eaten. We had a coffee in Athens at about 6:00 in the morning, and it's the middle of the day now, so a little caffeine would help.

Here we are. We're too early.

This is the joy of traveling by plane and train when there are only one or two planes and trains. This is the only Euro Star today, so we'll wait four hours.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Look after yourself, your fellow passengers, and the train by spreading out, by respecting social distancing, and by wearing your mask at all times.

ROBERTSON: Unlike the plane, the train is really quite empty. And we just learned from one of the staff that there is no service on the train today. It really is a bare-bones operation.

Fourteen hours to get here to London, but we've made it. Travel definitely has changed. It's slower. There are fewer frills. Do expect border guards to ask you more questions.

But you know what, underneath their masks, I have to say, everyone has got a big smile. We're all in this together. This is the new normal.

Nic Robertson, CNN, St. Pancras Station, London.


CABRERA: Thanks to Nic for that behind-the-scenes tour.

I know you, like me, have a lot of questions about the coronavirus, what to do, what to avoid, when to see a doctor. CNN's new podcast has answers. Join Dr. Sanjay Gupta for "CORONAVIRUS, FACT VERSUS FICTION." And you can listen wherever you get your favorite podcasts.

We'll be right back.



CABRERA: During coronavirus, several states have released non-violent prisoners, and that includes in California where a contentious debate surrounds the early release of seven registered sex offenders. Orange County officials are at odds over two elements of public safety, health and crime.

CNN's security correspondent, Josh Campbell, joins us.

Josh, tell us what's going to be with this.

JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN SECURITY ANALYST: Well, Ana, here in southern California, you have the Orange County district attorney, who is fuming, issuing an unprecedented statement blasting a local county court commissioner, who authorized release of seven convicted sex offenders early due concerns about COVID-19 in jails.

The district attorney indicating that he believes these people will reoffend. He was right on one account. One of these sex offenders has since been rearrested.

This is obviously raising questions about something we've been reporting on extensively. That is, what do you do with inmates around the country when you have a deadly virus that is spreading so rapidly inside these jails.

We heard from the Orange County sheriff, who weighed in. And really disputing the notion his jails might be unsafe. Indicating in a statement that his department "has responsibly created the capacity needed in jail to house sex offenders and other dangerous criminals." He also says he opposes efforts that excuse criminal behavior.

Despite the notion the Orange County jails might be safe, the numbers tend to tell a different story. Like many jails around the country, Orange County has seen COVID cases. As of last Friday, 251 inmates tested positive. That number up from 83 from just the start of the month.

Obviously, this is the latest in the national debate, what do you do with the vulnerable prison population when you have this deadly virus that is just working its way through the jails.

CABRERA: Right. There are a couple of sides emergency between those who advocate for prisoners' rights and safety, and those who say these prisoners are behind bars for a reason.

How do you expect this could play out moving forward not only California but around the country?

CAMPBELL: We've heard from law enforcement. The district attorney, the sheriff weighing in. One important voice in this national conversation is the criminal justice advocate. I've spoke on to a number of them reporting on these cases.

One advocate here at the ACLU in southern California telling CNN that he's concerned that the Orange County D.A. is, in his words, "fear mongering." Taking a scary case and making it sound like there's this major issue, which then causes fear throughout the public. The concern there being that this is what leads to mass incarceration.


And we're also told by criminal justice advocates that they're not saying they need to release all prisoners in this era of COVID-19, especially those who might be dangerous, but they are saying the burden should be on law enforcement to specifically articulate why a particular person is dangerous rather than just keeping them incarcerated as the pandemic continue -- Ana?

CABRERA: Josh Campbell, thank you for your reporting.

Up next, we're learning new details about alarming symptoms related to coronavirus showing up in children. We'll bring you the latest, next.

You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.