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CNN NEWSROOM

Dan Cronauer, Gym Owner, Discusses People Inspiring Him to Open Up on Monday Despite the State's COVID-19 Lockdown Order; California Officials Cave to Elon Musk; Florida Cases Stabilize after 1 Week of Reopening; NBA Stars Old Secret Meeting about Resuming Season; Update on Coronavirus Across the Country Update on Coronavirus Response Across the World. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired May 13, 2020 - 14:30   ET

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


[14:30:00]

DAN CRONAUER, GYM OWNER: So a couple of things there. Definitely concerned about the physical health. Required everyone to wash their hands. Everyone said absolutely. No one wants the ruin a good thing. Everyone religiously wiping down equipment, using the Clorox spray left and right.

Were they wearing masks? Sure, yes, we had some people wearing masks. Others weren't. It was really up to their requirement, or up to their preference.

(CROSSTALK

CRONAUER: What did the police say? They gave us a warning. We declined the warning. They were helpful in trying to explain what the law was. They don't know what they're citing and they're trying to do our best and we're trying to do our best providing our service. They serve citations. Plenty of warning to shut down but willingly accepted them.

KEILAR: tomorrow, actually, the president. It's going to be visiting Allentown, Pennsylvania. That's not too far from where you are. What message do you want? About an hour.

CRONAUER: Yes. I don't know if it's necessarily the president I want to hear from. It's the other business owners in the area. The gym owners who have the same amount of care for their patrons that we do and understand what they're going through. The president is just one guy. Small businesses and gym owners are a way bigger population.

KEILAR: Thank you so much.

It's really important as we see people exploring these restrictions to get your insight. I know a lot of people are going to disagree with you on your decision but it's really helpful to talk to you and understand what your patrons are saying and what your mindset was behind this. So we appreciate you coming on.

Cronauer: I appreciate that.

Do you mind if I share one more thing my friend told me? KEILAR: Real quick.

CRONAUER: She didn't like the name social distance, right. Social distance, alienates our people. Physical distance is a good word. We do need to stay away and be cautious of people but socially, we need to be there for each other more now than ever.

KEILAR: Yes, no, that is a very good point. Connection is very important at this point in time as we have this discussion in a little bit about mental health as well.

Dan, thank you again. We appreciate it.

More now on breaking news. A new study that questions the reliability of the rapid test that the White House is using.

Plus, after a very public feud with state and county officials, Elon Musk may have reached a deal about how to operate his Tesla plant in California after he was threatening to move it out of state.

Russia now second only to the U.S.in the number of coronavirus cases. We're going to take you around the globe as our live special coverage continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:37:12]

KEILAR: New today, the standoff between Tesla CEO Elon Musk and California officials coming to an end with Alameda County leaders caving to the billionaire and agreeing to let his Tesla factory reopen with modifications.

CNN's Dan Simon reporting from San Francisco with more on how this standoff was resolved.

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT:: Brianna, Tesla getting the green light to resume operations after agreement with Alameda County officials allowing Tesla to restart its factory next week, assuming it complies with all the additional safety regulations.

It makes it confusing. They restarted the factory this week and you did have that very fiery tweet from Elon Musk who all but dared officials to arrest him there on the factory floor .

But behind the scenes. You have civil discussions taking place between Tesla representatives and county officials and they now seem to have worked things out -- Brianna?

KEILAR: Dan, thank you for that report.

Florida was on a path to a coronavirus disaster but some experts say the state is weathering the pandemic far better than some predicted. You'll remember those viral videos of spring breakers on beaches, definitely not social distancing. And then Governor Ron DeSantis waited for a cue from President Trump

to issue any stay-at-home orders. He was criticized for being delayed and deemed the WWE as essential during the state's shelter in place.

Well, now it has been one week since Florida's phased reopening and new cases in Florida actually appear to be stabilizing.

I'm joined by Thomas Ladha (ph) ,a research scientist at the University of Florida.

We should be clear here. Still more than 900 new cases reported in the last 24 hours. So Florida by no stretch out of the woods yet. But we haven't seen the massive numbers like we've seen in New York or New Jersey. Why is that?

THOMAS LADHA (ph), RESEARCH SCIENTIST, UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA:: The main reason is that Floridians acted much earlier, much before there was a stay-at-home order, and I fully acknowledge as an epidemic model. We did not expect that.

People started staying at home in mid-March and the statewide state order didn't take effect until April 3rd.

KEILAR: Part of it has to do with Floridians doing the right thing, not, say, Florida. We should give credit to individual Floridians as well here, right?

LADHA (ph); Yes. It's a fascinating thing. This is unchartered territory for epidemiology. Generally, when we talk about infectious diseases, we don't think in terms of people's behavior changing in response to an epidemic.

For example, every winter, we have seasonal flu, but for the most part, people don't change their activities. They don't stay home because they're worried about getting the flu.

[14:40:03]

And so, this is something that we're having to learn about. We don't know exactly what people responded to. It's possible that people were responding to school closures. That has both maybe a sort of information that comes along with it, like normally in Florida. We don't close schools for things other than hurricanes.

So if you're going to close schools because of an Infectious disease, it may be pretty hard. Or alternatively, people are paying attention to news coverage and when they saw that there was an emerging health crisis in New York City, they took action here, honestly, much to my surprise, but basically the same time.

KEILAR: Yes.

LADHA (ph): So I guess, I would say the epidemiologists really believed that there was a problem in Florida already at that point. It wasn't that so many people were getting infected that we were overwhelming hospitals, but we believed that it was widespread in the state, just not at a very high level.

But people were responding in Florida, as if it were something they could see around them.

KEILAR: Really interesting. A lot of Floridians have a connection to New York, so they'd be looking to see what's going on. I wonder, when you look at the state government response there, the Governor Ron DeSantis, took a lot of criticism for being delayed in telling people to stay home. Really waiting for a cue from President Trump.

But as you look at it from this vantage point now, here in the middle of May, how has the state government response been in your opinion?

LADHA (ph); That's a complicated question. As far as what's happened thus far, I would say the stay-at-home didn't matter. What mattered is people took action before that and they took action at a time that was really critical, we showed exponential growth in Florida.

Now, what happens next is another question. That's not to say that the governor's actions are irrelevant. They certainly are important, and it's possible that if the governor says everything is fine, people can go back to normal activities that could cause a huge increase in cases because this is a costly thing to be doing. There are economic costs to stay-at-home and psychological costs and I

know a lot of people including me would love to get back to normal life. \\\

KEILAR: Yes, certainly we all would, right?

Thomas, thank you so much. Showing us working from home is not always easy, as well with all of the noises and such. We didn't actually hear that, by the way.

But, Thomas, thank you so much for joining us. We really appreciate it.

And right now, we get our first look at some pretty critical testimony that we'll be hearing tomorrow from the man who was forced to resign as the head of a key vaccine agency. He's warning the, quote, "the darkest winter in modern history," if the U.S. does not act correctly.

Plus, NBA all-stars talking behind the scenes about what a return to sports could or should look like. One of them joins me to talk about what happened on that call next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:48:23]

KEILAR: Arizona has invited major league sports to resume games in the state this weekend, just as word got out some top NBA stars held a secret meeting about when it should resume its season.

Eight veteran all-stars, including Lebron James, Chris Paul and Steph Curry, were reportedly on this conference call. And they were conducting, really, an unofficial poll about how players felt about getting back on the court.

Paul is also the president of the NBA Players Association.

And the vice president of that group, Jaylen Brown, is joining me now. He plays for the Boston Celtics. He was on that call.

Jaylen, thank you for being with us.

And players out since March 11th. I know a lot of people are watching to see when you all come back and when it's safe for you to come back. What can you tell us about this conversation?

JAYLEN BROWN, VICE PRESIDENT, NBA PLAYERS ASSOCIATION: I think that the purpose of the conversation is for getting a feel of what players want, and a bunch of information that's being gathered right now. With that information proceeds, we'll be able the continue things regularly. So what was the consensus?

KEILAR: I wonder, first off, do you want to come back? Do you want the season to continue and what was the consensus on the call?

BROWN: A lot of the guys want to play. I think the most influential players that were on the call we speak of, a lot of those guys want to continue the season and that's very important to us, but we also got to be able to see how others feel.

[14:49:57]

Everything is moving in the right direction. Just make sure the NBA understands and represents and making people feel like things are ok and things are not and potentially danger. So all of us want to play. I think the players want to proceed to play. So all of us want to play.

I think the players want to proceed to play but we want to make sure this is safe as NBA and a brand you want to make sure you're on par with the science and research being done.

KEILAR: So what happens if you do come back and a player tests positive, what do you do?

BROWN: That is an interesting question. First we have to get to the part of coming back or not. But if that were to happen, I guess same thing, maintain social distancing points.

And I think the testing is what is going to determine -- determine whether we come back or not, the testing speed and things like that, these resources have to pick up to be able to come back and all of that research is being gathered, when do we do it, how do we do it and how far and I don't think the decision will be made until at least maybe two weeks from now. And we'll see and hopefully things move in the right regard.

KEILAR: And, Jaylen, when you do come back? Are you expecting to play without any fans at all and how long are you expecting, if that is your expectation, how long do you think that will persist? T BROWN: hat is a great question. To be honest, it's uncertain. I think the right answer now would be without fans but there's more data and research to be undertook.

To be honest, you might have to not see people in large gatherings for a while so we'll see how things proceed as other cities and states start to open up. We're seeing and getting results from places that are beginning to -- with society and so that data and research is going on right now and I think we'll know a lot better in the next week.

KEILAR: There are players who reportedly only want playoff contenders to come back, they don't want the rest of

BROWN: the league to come back. Is that an idea you personally would get behind? For the playoffs to come back and not the regular season? I think that is kind of like misunderstood already in a sense. I don't want to jump the gun.

But I think the playoffs is what makes the league most of its money and I think that if we all agreed to come back and play in the playoffs, I think it could generate or be all right so that we'll be able to have a solid salary cap going into next year.

So playoffs is what is porn. I think that is the big money maker for everybody. This league is a business.

But all guys want to play, I think. All NBA players, this is what we were born to do and what we love to do but not at the expense of other people's health. If we start things up too early and then not be in a good situation.

KEILAR: Yes. Well, look, you know you're missed. As my husband turned to me and said the other day, I miss sports very simply. And I think a lot of Americans feel exactly the same way.

Jaylen Brown, thank you.

BROWN: Thank you.

West Virginia governor just announced that tanning salons will open in that state for next week. What is that going to mean?

Plus Russia is now suspending the use of ventilators linked to two deadly hospital fires.

And we're learning that some of the same machines were shipped here to the U.S.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:58:24]

KEILAR: The governor just announced that bars and nightclubs will remain closed until May 31st despite trying to reopen other sectors of the economy. But in Germany, they have kept night life going. Drive-in discos.

And for other headlines around the world, let's check in with our international correspondents.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

IVAN WATSON, CN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Ivan Watson, in Hong Kong, where authorities have announced a disturbing development. What they're describing as an invisible transmission chain. New coronavirus cases, only two people, a 66-year-old grandmother and 5-year-old granddaughter who have diagnosed positive for the coronavirus.

They are the first examples of community transmission in 22 days. Which is a serious concern for this densely populated city which has managed to keep its coronavirus death toll down to only four since the pandemic began.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I Matthew Chance. And Russia is suspending the use of ventilators linked with deadly fires in the hospital.

At least six coronavirus patients were killed in recent days after blazes in their intensive care wards. A number of the Russian-made machines were sent to the United States last month.

Part of shipments of medical supplies from Russia to New York, the U.S. officials say the ventilators have not been deployed.

This, as Russia reports another 10,000 new coronavirus infections. It now has more than 240,000 cases. The highest total in the world after the United States.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KEILAR: Thanks, guys.

And our special coverage will continue now with Kate Baldwin.