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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
Sioux Tribe Rejects Governor's Call to Remove Checkpoints; Nearly 1 In 3 Deaths Involve Nursing Homes; Small Business Frustrated by Constraints of PPP Rules; South Korea Records Spike in New Cases Linked to Nightclubs and Bars; Shanghai Disneyland Reopens. Aired 3:30-4p ET
Aired May 11, 2020 - 15:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Traffic and concerns and whether supplies for example can get through, medical personnel can get through, but the tribe has said, of course, we are going to let trucks through. We've been watching them just wave people through.
But for the most part what happens is someone pulls up to this checkpoint, a couple of people from the nation go up to them and they say, you know, where have you been? They ask for information. They ask whether or not they have some symptoms, whether they have fever, and this is really about contact tracing, Jake. Because what they don't want to happen is that they have an explosion of cases in and on the reservation.
Why is that? For about 12,000 residents here there are only eight available hospital beds at the hospital here and there is no ICU. So, the closest ICU, the closest hospital that has all of the things you would need for someone with a severe case of COVID-19 is about three hours away.
We talked to the chairman of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and he told us, look, we are in dire straits if this COVID-19 gets into our community and starts spreading fast.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HAROLD FRAZIER, CHAIRMAN, CHEYENNE RIVER SIOUX: On behalf of our people, we have to maintain them checkpoints and continue to do the things that we're doing until it's safe.
SIDNER: You're going to keep those checkpoints?
SIDNER: No matter what the governor or the state tries to do?
FRAZIER: No matter what.
(END VIDEO CLIP) SIDNER: No matter what, he said. Even if they are taken to court or something more. He said he and the Oglala Tribe are going to stand firm on this because they feel that they are simply protecting their people and they don't expect that if they do get hit that they're going to get a whole lot of help from anywhere else either -- Jake.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: And Sarah, this battle is ramping up as we're learning just how badly the pandemic is hitting Native American tribes across the country.
SIDNER: Yes, here it's interesting. They only have one case, they were able to track it by the way right here at a checkpoint. But -- and you're seeing the checkpoint in action right behind me -- but the Navajo Nation having a much more difficult time. They are really being hit hard. They have one of the highest cases per capita in the nation, more than many other states.
And to deal with this sort of thing when you don't have the resources. We've seen what has happened for example in New York. Imagine a scenario similar to that in a place where you have very few resources, you just simply get overwhelmed very quickly. Doctors Without Borders are now going into the Navajo Nation trying to help them out -- Jake.
TAPPER: All right, Sara Sidner in South Dakota, thank you so much.
And we should note, we did ask South Dakota Governor Noem to come on our air to discuss this issue. Her office did not respond to our request.
You may have seen this image after it went viral over the weekend. It's a United Airlines flight packed with passengers. The company said the jet was more full because of the volunteer medical staff on board. It's just one example of crowded gatherings happening as the nation begins to reopen.
CNN's Erica Hill is in the virus epicenter in New York City. And Erica, there are still 20,000 new cases of coronavirus a day in the United States.
ERICA HILL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and that's what we keep hearing from officials especially here in New York as we hear daily from Governor Andrew Cuomo. A reminder that while numbers may be going down and while phased reopening is beginning across the country and even soon here in New York state, the virus is not gone. The virus dictates the timeline and the virus will be here for some time.
You mentioned that United Flight, that packed United flight, Dr. Ethan Weiss posting a picture. He was one of a number of one of health care professionals who were returning to California. He had been volunteering at hospitals here in New York and was seemingly troubled when he saw how many people were on that flight, noting people were scared and shocked.
United in a statement said in response they've overhauled the cleaning and safety procedures and implemented a new boarding and deplaning process to promote social distancing, noting specifically that that flight to San Francisco as you pointed out has an additional 25 medical professionals on board who were flying for free to volunteer for their time in New York. The doctor did thank United for what it was doing for the folks on board and for flying health care professionals across the country but also said he didn't plan to be flying again any time soon.
TAPPER: And Erica, the death toll in the United States in the next few minutes is going to surpass 80,000. One in three of the deaths is a nursing home resident or worker, according to a "New York Times" analysis.
SIDNER: Yes, that is right. The "New York Times" crunched their own data base of numbers and that's what they found. In fact they found that while I believe it's 11 percent of the cases -- I'm just checking my numbers to make sure I have this correct -- in the country, have happened in long-term care facilities. As you point out it is one in three of deaths.
We saw this from the very beginning when we saw that cluster outside of Seattle in Kirkland, Washington at the Life Care Center facility there. There have been issues at nursing homes across the country, frankly. In New Jersey the governor brought the National Guard into some veteran homes there, issues at veterans' homes in Massachusetts as well as concern grows about the most vulnerable people in our communities -- Jake.
TAPPER: And Erica, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said today that the state can, quote, intelligently prepare for reopening coming up on Friday. What does he say that will, should look like?
HILL: So, it will actually -- for parts of the state, parts of this state will be able to open everything on Friday. So, don't get too excited. But let me just let you know what the risk of those are. Low risk businesses and recreational activities. So, starting Friday May 15th, landscaping, gardening and low-risk recreation activities like tennis and drive-in movie theaters, OK across the country but only certain regions will be able to open more fully.
So, there are three upstate that can. They will be allowed to open certain businesses like construction, manufacturing, curbside retail and there are two other regions that the governor said have met six of the seven metrics and they could be ready, Jake, as well by the end of the week. As for any steps beyond that, he said all that will depend on what happens once the phase reopening begins in each region, basically it is a step by step approach because no one wants to go backward -- Jake.
TAPPER: All right, Erica Hill in New York. Thank you so much.
Coming up it was billed as desperately needed help for small businesses, but many businesses are now calling it a nightmare. We'll explain why, next.
[15:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
TAPPER: Small businesses are complaining that there is a major problem with the big rescue package, 75 percent of the money given out has to go to payroll. But some small business owners want the money to pay bills. The Treasury Secretary said it would be up to Congress to change that rule.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVEN MNUCHIN, TREASURY SECRETARY: They do know how to execute on it, and it is working great. If Congress wants to change that rule, I'm happy to work with Congress if there is bipartisan support to do that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: CNN's Phil Mattingly talked to some small business owners about the strings attached to the PPP money and how it makes it hard to use -- Phil.
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The government small business rescue program was designed as a dream lifeline for business owners.
LAURY HAMMEL, CEO AND FOUNDER, LONGFELLOW HEALTH CLUBS: I actually think they did the right thing.
MATTINGLY: But for some ravaged by the pandemic like Laury Hammel who owns a series of health clubs in Massachusetts and Utah, it has become a nightmare.
HAMMEL: We're in a situation where all of a sudden, we find out that we don't have the ability to spend 75 percent of what we got from the PPP.
MATTINGLY: After a rocky rollout, the program has kicked into gear. More than 4.2 million loans, more than $500 billion to save small businesses, all of which could be forgiven if certain rules are followed. But those rules that 75 percent of the funds must be used on payroll, 25 percent for things like rent and utilities and all within eight weeks have become a dramatic problem.
With businesses like Hammel's still unable to open on state's orders and many of their furloughed workers making more money from enhanced unemployment insurance.
HAMMEL: I'm not going to be paying all these people money for not coming to work, not only because it doesn't help them out because if the business isn't around then they're not helped.
MATTINGLY: And the business saving program has created yet another desperate moment. The SBA's own Inspector General said, quote, tens of thousands of borrowers won't be able to have their loans forgiven due to the rules.
MARK HARMAN, PRESIDENT, STANZ FOOD SERVICE: Basically how I describe it to people, it's this gigantic pothole and it's dark and so you no idea how deep it is or how long and you need to have something to fill that pothole.
MATTINGLY: Mark Harman, the president of Stanz Food Service, a distributor based in South Bend, Indiana has watched not just his business but the restaurants it serves struggle with the program's rules.
HARMAN: They're all decimated. They seriously are decimated. And the PPP loan while its intent was I think was good, it's not practical for what they do.
MATTINGLY: Harman contacted Indiana Senator Todd Young with his concerns and Young a Republican along with Democratic Senator Michael Bennet have drafted proposals to try and address the issues. The question now, is it too late?
HARMAN: What has happened with this kind of a pandemic essentially, it's catastrophic what it is doing to our industry and it's going to be really, really hard to come back from if we're not saved.
MATTINGLY: Now, Jake, the issue here is a couple of pieces. While these small businesses want the money, they want to be able to utilize the money. But with their employees right now often doing better with unemployment insurance, they want to wait until they could open up to use that money. And given the timeline is only eight weeks with which they could use it, they want that expanded.
They also want the opportunity to use the money for things besides payroll. Now as Treasury Secretary Mnuchin earlier today, the point of the program was to pay employees, to keep employees on payroll. But when you talk to small business owners one of the things they say is if they're still shut down, if they can't open the doors and if their employees are getting money from unemployment benefits, the key is to ensure that when they can open up, there is a business to actually exist to pay employees.
That is what they're working on right now, that's what they're lobbying Congress to try and do and there is bipartisan support for those fixes.
The big question right now, Jake, will they be able to move anything on Capitol Hill any time soon to address those issues?
TAPPER: All right. Phil Mattingly, thank you so much.
Tickets for Shanghai Disneyland completely sold out today after the park reopened for the first time in almost four months. CNN is going to go live to that theme park next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
TAPPER: In our world lead, schools across parts of Europe are beginning to reopen. In Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Denmark students are returning to class after months at home.
And in the U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson laid out a road map to reopening. Which includes a 14-day quarantine for visitors to the U.K., allowing British people to spend more time outdoors and stiffer fines for those who break the rules. Johnson was also criticized by some lawmakers who believe he's sending confusing messages.
Shanghai's Disneyland is open today. Tickets have sold out. But we should point out the park is limiting visitors so it's only at about 30 percent capacity. Normally the park can hold 80,000 visitors. CNN's David Culver is live for us in Shanghai at the theme park. David, some smaller crowds, obviously. What else is different?
DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's interesting, Jake, how they're selling these tickets. They're doing it through an online reservation system. So essentially you have to book a certain time when you're going to show up so they don't have everyone coming together at once at the front gate to go in.
And they have the 30 percent cap, that's the government regulation here. But we're hearing from Disney the numbers are far fewer than that, that they're allowing the number of guests to come in. and that is so that they're trying to almost try it out over the next several days to see with the fewer number, how they can actually maintain the social distancing. And they're doing it through markings everywhere you go in the park.
I've got to tell you, we walked around, and they have these yellow tapings all over the place that essentially suggest where you can stand. They'll have cast members constantly coaching people, educating them essentially to keep that distance.
You go to one of the performances, they have a yellow taped box where you and your family can sit. But then they have a space next to you that's going to be completely empty, same with the restaurants, same with the ride, essentially, every other row is blocked off. That's why they have to keep the numbers so low.
They say, Disney that is, that over the next several days they're completely sold out. But again, those numbers, as far as we can tell, are going to be far fewer than the 30 percent or the 24,000 roughly that they anticipate will be the maximum for the foreseeable future -- Jake.
TAPPER: All Right, David Culver at Shanghai Disneyland, thanks so much.
South Korea has largely been praised for its response to coronavirus but now officials there are increasingly concerned about a new cluster of cases, the highest number of new infections in about a month in that country. The World Health Organization warns that there have been spikes in several countries, including South Korea, where they've lifted restrictions, an example of the challenges for all of us as we move forward.
CNN's Paula Hancocks joins us from Seoul. And, Paula, this cluster seems to be linked to a nightclub.
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Jake, yes. This is all linked to one 29-year-old man who visited a number of nightclubs in the nightclub district here in Seoul back on May 2. So he visited a number of them. He then tested positive. And since that time officials say that at least 86 other people have tested positive as well, all linked to this one incident.
Now, we understand that they are trying to narrow down exactly who had been in that area over a two-week period. They got 5,500 people that they're trying to speak to, that they want to test. They say they've tested more than 3,000 already in a desperate attempt to try and contain this outbreak. Because just a few days ago this country was having zero local transmission. So, it's very different now. It's already had a knock-on effect.
Schools were supposed to be reopening in this country from Wednesday. It was going to be year three of high school and then a phased reintroduction of other grades. That's now been pushed back a week, and potentially that could be pushed back even further.
We've heard from the Seoul city mayor he said that the next two to three days are going to be critical in order to try and contain this outbreak. And the way that South Korea does that is that they use credit card record usage. They use police cooperation. They use mobile phone data to try and make sure they can pinpoint everyone who was in that area -- Jake.
TAPPER: All right, Paula, thank you so much.
Coming up in minutes, President Trump is going to hold a press conference at the White House. We're going to squeeze in a quick break. Stay with us. We'll be right back.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
TAPPER: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.
At any moment we expect President Trump to hold a press conference in the Rose Garden of the White House as the United States nears yet another grim milestone. We are almost at 80,000 deaths from coronavirus in the U.S. -- 79,935, to be precise. A month ago, at this hour the death toll had just surpassed 20,000. Now we're almost 60,000 beyond that. And now coronavirus has actually reached inside the White House with
two staffers, at least, infected. Three top health officials on the coronavirus task force are self-quarantining in some manner, all undercutting the President's message that it's time to reopen the nation and this virus can be controlled.
CNN's Kaitlan Collins joins me now from the White House. And, Kaitlan, White House staffers have just been told that they need to wear masks when entering the West Wing. They have not been told that until now?
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Jake, they're just now getting this guidance about a month after the CDC issued its own guidance about people wearing face coverings when they're in public. And now this email that they got from the White House Management Office says that they need to wear masks when they are entering the West Wing.