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Democrats Push For Massive New Stimulus Despite GOP Resistance; Nursing Homes Account For More Than Half of U.S. Coronavirus Deaths; Major League Baseball Sending Players Union Plan To Start Season. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired May 12, 2020 - 07:30   ET

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


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[07:30:44]

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, new this morning, House Democrats are working to finalize their plan for another round of relief payments despite clashing with Senate Republicans in the White House, again, over what should go in this package.

Joining me now is CNN chief business correspondent and "EARLY START" anchor, Christine Romans. And, CNN anchor and correspondent, Julia Chatterley.

Christine Romans, what is in this package that Democrats are going to unveil over the next several hours?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT, ANCHOR, EARLY START: So, the Democrats have started with basically, the blueprint that already passed in March, right -- that $2 trillion -- and they're adding onto it a little bit. But basically, it looks an awful lot like that.

Monthly assistance to Americans, new funding to make sure that all voters can vote absentee. They want to shore up unemployment insurance, state and local government aid, rent and mortgage aid, and more money for business.

You know, this is something they're moving forward with pretty quickly here. They want to make sure there's more aid, given the magnitude of what we've seen in the economy.

There's some discussion among progressives in the party about more direct relief to all Americans in the form of stimulus checks but the GOP really is just saying kind of wait and see here. They want to wait and see.

BERMAN: All right, Julia, why do some Democrats think this is necessary, not to mention cities and states around the country? Why do they want or need this money? And why are Republicans saying we're not sure if they need it yet?

JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: Nancy Pelosi said all the way along, think big because actually the cost of holding back here and allowing further economic deterioration in the face of mass unemployment actually provides bigger risks here. There's certainly an argument for that.

On the Republican side, I think the message has always been very clear here, John. Let's give the money that we've given -- it's trillions of dollars -- see where the gaps are, and then fill them. Some of that, you can argue, comes down to what the economy looks like as we begin to reopen. But there's always some tit-for-tat in terms of policies here.

Republicans very focused on protections for businesses as they get their workers back in the door. They don't want the risk of legal action as we go forward.

I think everybody recognizes state and local need more money. It just comes down to when, how much, and how it's spent, and that's part of the challenge.

BERMAN: Christine Romans, we are getting a sense every day of who is being hit particularly hard in this pandemic and there is a gender discrepancy now that you're picking up.

ROMANS: You know, in 2008 and 2009, that was called the man session or the he session because it was construction and manufacturing jobs, so men were really hit hard in the last recession.

And this time it is women more than any other downturn we've ever seen here. When you look at leisure and hospitality, so many women in those jobs -- and, in fact, some women hold a couple of jobs in that industry.

Look at these unemployment rates. For women overall, it spiked to 15 1/2 percent. And women of color just devastating. Hispanic women with unemployment right now of 20 percent.

You know, in February, women had about half the jobs in America. The Economic Policy Institute said they are 59 percent of the job loss, so this has been particularly devastating for equity and equality here.

BERMAN: Julia Chatterley, out in California, Elon Musk, who runs Tesla, is very publicly saying to the state of California we are going back to work even though you tell us we can't. What's his argument and what's the outcome going to be here?

CHATTERLEY: This is an interesting one for me because remember, the state's starting to see manufacturing facilities open up. His specific county is saying whoa, hold on a second.

If everybody did what Elon Musk was doing here then there'd be anarchy and we wouldn't have a lockdown in the first place, so I think that's the first criticism. But there is an argument to be made here by Elon Musk and he's making it, however loudly, that he has experience from China in reopening a factory under these kind of facilities.

There's a 38-page plan of what reopening looks like. He's presented it to the county. He's got support from mayors like Palo Alto and Freemont, including where this factory is based. I would argue it's not the right way to go about it but there is a business reason perhaps that he can manage this and has experience of doing this.

Of course, as usual with Elon Musk, it's a lot of drama and it's out in the open, which is the challenge here. It's an interesting one.

[07:35:02]

BERMAN: Look, it is worth noting that Elon Musk was wrong. He may have experience --

CHATTERLEY: Many times.

BERMAN: -- but he was wrong about where he thought this pandemic --

ROMANS: Yes.

BERMAN: -- was headed. It's certainly much worse with far more deaths than he ever projected there would be.

All right. Julia Chatterley, Christine Romans, thanks so much for being with us -- Alisyn.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: OK, John, now to graduation.

The class of 2020 faces a graduation that is very different than what they had imagined -- canceled commencement ceremonies and a historic unemployment crisis. But older folks want to remind us that this is not the toughest graduation year ever.

Ninety-three-year-old Billie Shelley has been through a lot and she has some words of encouragement for today's graduates from senior to senior.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BILLIE SHELLEY, 93 YEARS OLD: Well, these are scary times for everybody but you'll get through it. Just have faith, do what you're told to do, and behave yourselves. That's what we had to do.

Like grammar school graduation was canceled because polio epidemic and we thought polio was very contagious, we understood. Everybody was afraid. They didn't have enough iron lungs for the people that needed them.

And by the time we got to high school, it had the other epidemic, the war, and that was even worse. I didn't have a graduation because of the blackout. They had told us that the bombers were going to come over and they had to cut all the lights out. It was just -- it was as black as it could get.

I graduated in very scary times but I turned out OK, though. I'm proud to be here. I have a wonderful husband and a wonderful bunch of children and grandchildren. My advice to the graduates now, you don't know what the future is

going to hold or what it's going to bring, but you have to have a prayer and a vision in your mind of what you want to achieve and go for it. Keep trying.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAMEROTA: Be sure to tune as America honors our high school graduates in an hour-long special, "GRADUATE TOGETHER." You can watch Saturday night at 8:00 p.m. eastern right here on CNN.

All right, it could be the piece of good news that sports fans have been waiting for -- the return of baseball. What we're learning about the 2020 season.

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[07:41:44]

CAMEROTA: New health care research reveals that long-term care facilities, like nursing homes, account for a staggering share of coronavirus deaths in the U.S. So what's being done now to protect residents and the staff there?

CNN's Jason Carroll joins us live with more. What have you learned, Jason?

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well look, Alisyn, these numbers show what health care officials have really been saying along, that this pandemic is hitting the most vulnerable in this country the hardest.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LEE REPASCH, MOTHER DIED FROM CORONAVIRUS IN NURSING HOME: I'm horrified. My family, we're overwhelmed with guilt that there should have been something we could have done.

CARROLL (voice-over): Lee Repasch's 84-year-old mother Lily died in March at the Andover Subacute and Rehabilitation Center in New Jersey. She was never tested but the facility was hit hard by the virus. It drew national attention after 17 bodies were discovered in a holding room there last month.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 53 percent of New Jersey's Covid-19 deaths were residents of the state's long-term care facilities.

REPASCH: There was this virus running through a nursing facility and running through all enclosed spaces and the nursing facility wasn't taking the correct steps to protect them.

CARROLL (voice-over): In at least 15 states, more than half of the people who died of Covid-19 lived in long-term care facilities like nursing homes, Kaiser reported. In Pennsylvania, it was 70 percent; New Hampshire, 72; and Rhode Island, 73 percent. The state of Minnesota reports 80 percent of coronavirus deaths there were in nursing homes.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think all of the states should be. They have the capacity to do it. They should be doing nursing homes. That is a real vulnerability.

CARROLL (voice-over): The White House, on Monday, recommended all nursing home residents and staff be tested for coronavirus. It comes more than two months after the nation's first major outbreak at a nursing home in Washington State that eventually killed 35 people.

RICHARD MOLLOT, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, LONG TERM CARE COMMUNITY COALITION: It's heartbreaking and horrifying, but it's especially heartbreaking knowing that we could have done so much more and we can still do so much more to protect them.

CARROLL (voice-over): Some nursing home advocates say given the number of fatalities, the federal government should be ordering testing, not just recommending it. And they say that's just part of what's needed.

MOLLOT: The problems that we're seeing, the suffering, the residents dying unnecessarily, that's something that happens every day at nursing homes across the country because we permit them to operate with generally low staffing and inadequate protocols to protect residents.

CARROLL (voice-over): Some states have called in the National Guard to help overwhelmed staff at care facilities like this one, on Monday, in Pennsylvania.

As for that care facility in New Jersey where Lee Repasch's mother died, the owners now face a $220,000 fine for its handling of the outbreak. But it's too late for Repasch's family.

REPASCH: We always thought we'd be there for her when she died and it was -- we weren't. And I think -- I think that's the worst part. We weren't there for her. We couldn't be and I hope she knows that.

[07:45:04]

I hope she knows how much we loved her and how much we tried to come be with her. I hope she didn't feel alone.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CARROLL: Really heartbreaking.

Some of the other things that states are doing -- New Jersey, for example, John, brought in the National Guard to help with monitoring nursing homes there.

New York, for its part, the governor reversed a policy that had once allowed nursing home patients once they -- once they left to go to the hospital to be treated for Covid, they were allowed back into the nursing home without first making sure that they were cleared of Covid-19. That policy has been reversed. But, once again, this crisis just shows how much nursing homes across the country need attention -- John.

BERMAN: It has been devastating -- just devastating, Jason. Thanks so much for your reporting on this.

We want to remember some of the more than 80,000 Americans lost to coronavirus.

Lunisol Guzman worked as a shuttle bus operator at Montclair State University. Students remember her as hardworking and dedicated, someone who treated all with love and respect. Her daughter, Katherine, remembered her mother's contagious laugh and a giving heart.

Dan Spano was a gym owner and a personal trainer in Fairfield, Connecticut. He was motivated by his clients' success stories. His goal was to change people's lives through healthier lifestyles.

He was just 30 when he lost his battle with coronavirus. Friends and family remember he was a wonderful person with a wonderful smile.

Dorothy Davis was a nursing home employee in San Antonio, Texas. As the oldest daughter of eight children, she took on the responsibility of organizing family gatherings and making sure everyone was fed. Her niece said Dorothy was always the life of the party. Before she passed, more than 50 of her friends and relatives gathered over Zoom to say goodbye.

We'll be right back.

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[07:51:04]

BERMAN: So this morning we're getting word that we may get to hear "play ball" again in July, maybe. Major League Baseball owners are sending their plan to start the season to the players union today.

Andy Scholes with much more in the Bleacher Report. Hey, Andy.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, good morning, John.

Now, if this plan works out it would be pretty cool because with a short season like this, basically, every team would still be in it when the post-season rolls around.

Now, multiple outlets, including "The New York Times" and EPSN, say the owners are proposing a short spring training starting in June. Games would begin July Fourth weekend. They'd play 82 regular-season games as opposed to 162. They would expand the post-season from 10 to 14 teams.

Teams would play on a more geographical schedule to limit travel. Rosters would be increased to 30 players with up to 50 players available if need be. Teams would play in their home stadium but if state or local officials determine it's not safe for a team to play there, then they would be relocated to a different city.

But here is maybe the biggest hurdle now -- agreeing on the money. It's estimated the teams are going to lose about 40 percent of revenue by not having stadiums filled with fans.

According to multiple reports, the owners want the players to take a 50-50 split in revenues. Baseball is the only sport without a salary cap. Salaries have never been based on revenue in baseball.

And the players of Major League Baseball reached a deal back in March for prorated salaries and for further discussions on pay to take place if need be. But the Players Association executive director Tony Clark said the negotiation is over. The players are focused on how to safely get back on the field.

So, John, you know, it would be a shame if they can work out the testing, come up with a safe plan, and then can't agree on the money. For that to hold it up, that would be pretty tough.

BERMAN: It would. I mean, look, there are a lot of people who want to see baseball. I do know there are still players concerned about the health implications and they want assurances on that that they're not just getting it with a money tie-up. I've got to say, let's hope -- let's hope they find some solution there.

And you know what? The D.H. in both leagues, it's about time.

SCHOLES: Yes, I'm here on that.

BERMAN: I'm whispering that so purists don't come after me.

All right, Andy, thanks so much -- Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: All right, John.

As you know, the demand for llamas is surging. It follows a study that we recently told you about that found that their antibodies could be key to treating coronavirus.

CNN's Nic Robertson went to Belgium to meet the llama at the center of this exciting new research. Hi, Nic.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Hey, Alisyn.

Well, the key thing about llama antibodies -- the coronavirus antibodies they produce is the size. One of their antibodies is really small and that can wrap around the spike on the virus -- that spike the virus uses to burrow into healthy human cells.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTSON (voice-over): Say hello to Winter -- not just any llama. Her blood might save us all from Covid-19.

ROBERTSON (on camera): Researchers have discovered that llamas produce a type of antibody that could be vital in fighting the coronavirus infection in humans.

BERT SCHEPENS, VIB CENTER FOR MEDICAL BIOTECHNOLOGY: Those llama antibodies, they're binding entity is much smaller and much more stable.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): The eureka moment at this tiny Belgian lab came January 20th. They realized research with llamas a couple of years ago could catapult them to a cure fast and scaled up immediately from two to 20 staff.

NICO CALLEWAERT, VIB CENTER FOR MEDICAL BIOTECHNOLOGY: So we've worked really, really long hours and especially in February and March when we were racing to get the antibody.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): Now they're racing to test their antibodies on mice and hamsters.

ROBERTSON (on camera): Everything here is happening at a much faster speed than normal but it still takes time. That white flask there contains billions of antibodies that could be used in about 100 animal tests, but even that can take up to 10 days to produce.

[07:55:11]

ROBERTSON (voice-over): Unusually, for an academic lab this small, they're working parallel tracks, refining the antibodies as they go, planning to pick the best and scale up for humans as soon as they can.

SCHEPENS: You have to do multiple other studies like toxicity, repeat some animal experiments. And then hopefully, by the end of the year, everything should be in place to do the first clinical test.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): The biggest beneficiaries could be the elderly because generally, their immune systems are weaker. The labs' antibodies could aid the effectiveness of vaccines already being tested.

SCHEPENS: So it could be that the vaccine might protect healthy adults, but it might be less useful in the elderly. And this way, just by providing the antibody itself directly, you might protect the elderly as well.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): But many people are impatient. At a llama farm in the U.K., owner Bobby Schuck is already getting calls about the healing possibilities of llamas.

BOBBY SCHUCK, OWNER, THE LLAMA PARK: We have had rather silly people, in my opinion, who have phoned up and asked can they come and take blood from the llama to drink it. But, no, we're not going to let people drink their blood.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): And if they did, it wouldn't help. That's not how antibodies work.

What worries the researchers in Belgium is they may be running out of time as lockdowns begin to ease. CALLEWAERT: If you look at the daily case numbers globally, they're just flat. It's just we have about 100,000 cases every day --

ROBERTSON (on camera): Across the world?

CALLEWAERT: -- for the last month -- yes. It's pretty clear that as soon we relax things with international travel it's going to come back, and so we need to be ready for that.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): Winter, on the other hand, can take it easy. Her job, gifting her antibody code, is done.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTSON: You know what was really fascinating about talking with all these researchers is just how much they're learning about the Covid-19 virus -- the way it works and the way that they can manipulate these llama antibodies because there's a lot of different things you can do with them in the lab. How they can manipulate them, really, to defeat Covid-19 virus.

But they're not there yet and they -- even they admit this is great research, that they're making progress, but there are no guarantees. And I think that's perhaps one of the worries in the back of their mind as well, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Yes, Nic. I mean, researchers learn more every day about this virus and it is fascinating to see them using llamas.

Thank you very much for the reporting.

So there's a warning this morning from Dr. Fauci. NEW DAY continues right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dr. Anthony Fauci is expected to warn lawmakers that the U.S. will see needless suffering if the country opens up too quickly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Despite a warning, all the public health officials are united in that.

TRUMP: Testing certainly is a very important function and we have prevailed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I hear the word we've prevailed, that's hard to understand. We're only in the second inning of this nine-inning game.

GOV. MIKE DEWINE (R), OHIO: I think we've made a lot of progress. The actual testing is going up.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: When you see the number of lives lost, in my point of view, we're on the other side of the mountain.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

CAMEROTA: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY.

And this morning, the nation's top health officials will testify in front of Congress for the first time since the coronavirus became a pandemic. A lot has changed in those two months. Medical experts have learned a lot and this morning we will hear about that.

"The New York Times" got a preview and they report that Dr. Anthony Fauci will issue a stark warning to the American people. He'll say that reopening the country too quickly will cause quote "needless suffering and death." He'll also explain why he believes that reopening too soon will make it harder for us to return to normal.

The Senate's top Democrat, Chuck Schumer, will join us on NEW DAY in just a few minutes and we'll ask him what he expects to hear when Dr. Fauci testifies later this morning.

There's also a new CNN national poll to tell you about. It was just out this morning and it shows that a majority of Americans believe the federal government is doing a poor job with this pandemic. More Americans are overwhelmingly afraid or concerned about a second wave of the virus hitting us, John.

BERMAN: So as of this morning, more than 80,000 Americans have been killed by coronavirus -- a staggering loss that continues to grow -- and our hearts go out to those suffering.

Now, the president has issued a flurry of new statements this morning -- 26 by our last count -- and not one of them addresses those lost or those suffering. In his diarrhea of the tweet this morning, he touches on Bill Maher and Rose McGowan.

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