Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo: Half Of New York Regions Begin Reopening; Los Angeles Explosion Melted Firefighters Helmets And Torched Their Coats; Dr. Zhong Advocates Reporting Accurate Disease Numbers; Hackers Target Law Firm, Threaten To Release Damaging Donald Trump Info; Black Light Experiment Shows How Quickly Virus Can Spread. Aired 1-2p ET

Aired May 17, 2020 - 13:00   ET

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


[13:00:00]

GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): We paid up 100 percent of our wallet debt. We had paid - we have inherited over seven or eight years ago we were using $9.13 billion of the surplus last year to pay down long-term pension obligations.

So you know it's right as it relates to the unfunded liabilities in states across this country is facing but it relates to the operating accounts of the state. They were never healthier, the reserves never higher and so this is a direct result of a global pandemic manifesting in different ways all across this world around the globe and across this country.

And so with respect I would just caution people to look at this as a frame of charity when its fundamental purpose of government is to protect people's safety and to protect their well being. This is a moment where we need to meet the moment head on and acknowledge this is not a red issue or blue issue. This is impacting every state in America.

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: Hello again. Thank you for joining me this Sunday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. We begin with most of the country reopening even though the Coronavirus pandemic is far from over.

By midnight tonight, 48 of the 50 states will have eased at least some restrictions and stay-at-home orders. As you can see from this map, at least 30 states are seeing steady or rising new Coronavirus cases.

Texas is one of the first to reopen saw its single highest day increase in the Coronavirus since the beginning of the pandemic. The numbers are still rising. All of this as the White House pushes forward with plans to rapidly reopen the rest of the economy.

President Trump promising that a vaccine will be ready for distribution by the end of the year, something many health experts say is a long shot. In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo is urging residents to go get tested. He says it's easy and fast so much so that the Governor himself was tested for Coronavirus during the live briefing today. CNN's Polo Sandoval joins me right now. So Polo, with more than 700 testing sites available throughout New York, the Governor says there really is no excuse for New Yorkers not to get tested at this point.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What the Governor said here Fred is essentially their testing capacity is far more than what is actually being used. So the Governor really did stress the importance of testing as you just said not only and telling people how easy it is but also showing them actually having that test administered to him.

Just a few minutes ago the Governor recognizing that testing that will be key in trying to get now his state back on track but the rest of the country. This is pretty much a typical Saturday in the city. Walking, running, riding bikes droves of people hit the board walk in Ocean City, New Jersey Saturday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KEVIN GISONDI, FORMER SOMERS POINT, NEW JERSEY: There are more people than I expected to be on the board walk.

GAVIN SOMMERS, FORMER SOMERS POINT, NEW JERSEY: It feels like a regular summer right now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANDOVL: Area one of the first to get the green light to reopen from Governor Phil Murphy. Garden State set to reopen the beaches by Memorial Day weekend.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. PHIL MURPHY (D-NJ): Every metric we have followed is showing us that we can move forward.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANDOVAL: And it's not just people in New Jersey egger to get out after weeks cooped up amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It feels great, to be honest.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's very exciting. I think it's finally time that everyone gets out and enjoys themselves and finally have some fun.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANDOVAL: In Virginia the first phase of eased restriction now allowing restaurants to increase capacity to 50 percent. As of this morning, at least 48 states are partially reopened Connecticut and Massachusetts being the last holdouts.

Something that is not sitting well with protesters in Boston who gathered outside Governor Charlie Baker's home demanding he reopen the state. On the other side of the country, protesters in seaside, Oregon also calling for their coastline to reopen ahead of the busy summer season.

In Oklahoma, they stood in line for hours waiting for the Tulsa casino to reopen a similar scene in Arizona where hundreds braved the heat outside one casino that just reopened its doors.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Glad to be doing something like grocery shopping.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Busy, in fact it's packed in there. There wasn't a whole lot of outside social distancing. It started out that way but didn't end up that way.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANDOVAL: Despite a stay at home order in Washington, D.C., people packed the National Mall to enjoy the warmer temperatures, including the water front areas of the - in Georgetown. Meanwhile in Michigan one animal park defying it's state wide stay at home order packed full of families.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RECKA STORA, FROM WAYLAND, MICHIGAN: They haven't been wearing a mask for two months. I've been touching gas pumps. I believe it's about building our immune system. My faith is in God. I'm not worried about a virus.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANDOVAL: In New York State, a gradual reopening continues for five regions. More densely populated ones like New York City remain under a stay at home order through May 28th. One thing is returning Governor Andrew Cuomo announcing horse and auto racing will resume June 1st but without fans.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): There will be guidelines for the actual participants but no crowds.

[13:05:00]

CUOMO: No fans. But for the industry itself or the televised viewers, that can still work.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANDOVAL: And just a few moments ago we also heard from Governor Cuomo who said that that list of people who would qualify for testing that is expanding not just patients were symptomatic but also essential workers. And then lastly here Fred, those who are possibly heading back to work as part of that phase one protocols mainly those in manufacturing, construction those who are working for curb side retail establishment. Of course the goal is here to try to expand the number of COVID testing.

And then finally Fred, there is high hopes. Especially here in New York that at least sees more sporting events, perhaps even baseball! One thing is likely to happen, if we get to that point, expect those stands continue to be empty, at least for now.

WHITFIELD: Right, we shall see. Polo Sandoval, thank you so much. All right, Texas saw its biggest one-day jump in COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began with more than 1800 new cases reported yesterday. This coming as Governor Greg Abbott eases restrictions and more businesses are set to reopen tomorrow.

Austin's Mayor Steve Adler joining us right now. Mr. Mayor, good to see you. So this spike comes as testing for COVID ramps up in Texas. Do you think that's enough to explain the huge increases that you're seeing?

MAYOR STEVE ADLER, AUSTIN, TEXAS: No one knows the answer to that question. We're going to have to try this but then be incredibly vigilant in watching the data and the numbers. We need to look at hospitalizations and the impact these policies have on new admittances.

No one knows the answer to that question. What we know based on the last six to eight weeks, if we're on the wrong path we're going to be able to react in time to fix it. If that happens, I sure hope that the Governor is on board for that.

At this point, we don't know. We'll watch the numbers we're going to get those numbers out very transparently and immediately to the community so that everyone can make their individual decision about what is best for them.

WHITFIELD: A few weeks ago when we talked you had some trepidation about reopening too soon. Some businesses have since opened and there are a lot of patrons who are happy about that. How has it gone in your city? How has it allayed your fears at all?

ADLER: Well, you know, there's a lag between a change in policy and new hospitalizations. It's about three weeks. So it's this coming week that we're going to really be seeing whether or not there's a change in hospitalizations based on the policy which is why we have to watch the numbers.

In my community here in Austin, I'll tell that most people are taking it kind of slowly. The Governor has opened things up but most people are being pretty cautious about engaging. I think that's the right thing to do until we start seeing the numbers and the data so people can make informed decisions.

WHITFIELD: So yesterday's one-day jump in cases doesn't appear to be a fluke, does it? According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, your state has been seeing more than a thousand new COVID-19 cases in a single day every day for more than a week now. It is a trend that began over two weeks ago when Texas began reopening. So does that make you or anybody kind of take pause about this speed in which it's reopening?

ADLER: It makes everyone, I hope, take pause. I think because everyone is watching this to see what this grand experiment is going to result in. We know for an absolute certainty that as you increase physical interactions between people, you are going to increase the number of new cases. It just happens.

That's why everybody is staying at home shut this thing down. The question is, are those new cases will come at such a pace that we are put on a path to overload our hospitals? That's why we have to watch the numbers daily.

WHITFIELD: So what is it like to be a Mayor who isn't always necessarily in step with how the Governor is seeing this and wants to advocate responding to the pandemic?

ADLER: You know, it's hard sometimes, certainly on the messaging issue. My Governor, my Lieutenant Governor advising everybody to continue, for example, to wear face coverings because it's the right thing to do. It doesn't help you but protect the people around you.

But, yet, at the same time my Governor issued an order that said that I couldn't make that - I couldn't enforce a provision and said that with criminal penalties or fines or sanctions. I think that sends a confused message to the community. If it's important, why can't we enforce it?

[13:10:00]

ADLER: We're in the awkward position any the city of making it mandatory because it is important but telling the community that the penalty associated with no wearing face coverings is that more people are going to get sick and some of them are going to die and hoping that that's penalty enough to get individuals to make the right individual choices.

WHITFIELD: And do you feel like people are generally receptive to that scenario when you put it that way?

ADLER: Generally receptive but not in the same way or the same force is it would be if we were not confused on the message and very clear about what we expected people to do? What we don't know is with this partial compliance, what it's going to do to the numbers? Which is again, why we have to watch these numbers? The community has to watch the numbers every day.

WHITFIELD: Austin Mayor, Steve Adler, thank you so much. Be well.

ADLER: Thank you. Stay safe.

WHTIFIELD: Thank you. Still to come-- (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All of a sudden, just a big explosion and it looked like a mushroom cloud of smoke fire just everywhere.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: And take a look at that plume of smoke and fire. Nearly a dozen firefighters are injured after massive explosion in downtown Los Angeles, Saturday the latest on that investigation straight ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[13:15:00]

WHITFIELD: Four Los Angeles firefighters are in intensive care after suffering severe burns while responding to a fire that melted their helmets and torched their coats. At least seven others also were suffering burns to their hands, arms, ears, and backs after being forced to go through what is being described as a fire ball while coming down a fire truck ladder.

And you can see the firefighters on the cell phone video climbing down through that huge wall of flames. The firefighters originally climbed up the ladder to try to ventilate the roof of the building when the structure was deemed unstable and the call was made for everyone to get out. An explosion that shocked flames and smoke into the sky all of the 11 injured fire fighters are expected to survive. Paul Vercammen has more.

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When the firefighters respond to the structure fire at this business, the doors are locked. So the fire spokesman tells us they began to cut open locks with power saws. Cut their way into the building.

Another group of firefighters go up on ladders to the top. But suddenly it starts to seem wrong. They hear a loud-pitched whine. It is continuing to get louder. The heat increases and they decide they need to get out and get out fast.

As that one group of firefighters is going down the ladder, they wind up going through fire an inferno, an explosion the firefighters getting burned on their hands, their ears, and some of them on their backs. When they finally got down, if you look on the street, evidence of just what they suffered through.

Their coats burned, their helmets melted. Across the street, a fire truck, part of it charred, as well. These firefighters came from nearby Engine 9 on Skid Row. They had a long battling against COVID outbreak on Skid Row and then this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CAPTAIN, ERIK SCOTT: LOS ANGELES FIRE DEPARTMENT: This incident happened at a Fire Station 9, which is arguably one of the busiest fire stations in the entire nation. They serve the Skid Row District. Many of the people there are experiencing homelessness. There's a lot of Coronavirus testing going on there, a lot of challenges.

These are highly skilled firefighters. They run so many calls a day. That's what was unique about this is there was no real indicators. It wasn't a placard hazmat building. There wasn't thick smoke billowing out. There weren't any of these other precursors that lead up to this dreadful event that ended up transpiring moments later.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VERCAMMEN: There's the ladder the firefighters descended down. They said that the inferno, at one point, was a 30-foot blow torch of flames. They don't know what caused the fire. The business smoke and tokes is described as a honey oil business or cannabis oil or hash oil. They said it was filled with butane that is highly flammable.

One thing on the ground you get a sense for, relief. Not one firefighter so far lost his life in this battle. For that, they're very grateful. Reporting from Los Angeles, I'm Paul Vercammen.

WHITFIELD: All right, incredible close call. All right, more than 36 million Americans have lost their jobs since mid March. Now an economist is predicting that some 250,000 Americans could end up homeless by this year's end, if the trend continues.

A Columbia University Professor projecting a 40 to 45 percent spike in homelessness around the country using a model that correlates increases in homelessness with increases in unemployment. This as the Coronavirus exacerbates an already dire homeless crisis in California. Here is CNN's Dan Simon.

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: As the nation battles one crisis another is getting worse. This is San Francisco, directly across the street from City Hall a large homeless encampment. And nearby in the troubled tenderloin a growing despairs on the impoverished streets.

The city officials said there's nearly a 300 percent rise in the amount of tents since January. The city's shelters had to be thinned out to prevent the spread of the virus. The biggest shelter had more than a hundred people test positive.

[13:20:00]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The shelters it is a Petri dish where when people are so close together. When the beds are like 3 feet apart. It's not safe.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SIMON: In Los Angeles, a series of outbreaks on Skid Row has lead to a franking effort to test as many homeless people as possible at least 254 testing positive officials say. In New York hundreds of homeless have been removed from the subways for nightly cleanings.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CUOMO: If homeless people are on trains, it's not even safe for the homeless people to be on trains.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SIMON: Homeless advocates say the Coronavirus pandemic is forcing cities to make difficult choices. In San Francisco, following CDC guidance that encampments should not be cleared, the city is allowing them to sprout but trying to make them safer.

That big encampment now being called a safe sleeping village with the tents spread out behind a chain linked fence to allow for social distancing. And the city like New York and L.A. has secured hotel rooms for the homeless, a thousand of them, but well below its original goal of 7,000.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Things right now are kind of a rollercoaster but the rollercoaster on fire.

SIMON: Is somebody who has worked in this industry for a long time, what are things like for you?

JEFF KOSITSKY, MANAGER, HEALTHY STREETS OPERATION CENTER: It's challenging. It's heartbreaking to see so many people suffering on the streets. It's heartbreaking to see years of work feel like it's gone backwards.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SIMON: Jeff Kositky is tasked with managing the city's COVID-19 response for the more than 500 homeless who sleep on San Francisco streets.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KOSITSKY: We're providing food. We've set up many new pit stops in the Tenderloin. We've added hand washing stations.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SIMON: But residents and business owners more frustrated than ever with the piles of drug needles and human waste. This law school is among the plaintiffs that filed a lawsuit against the city demanding it do more to clean up the streets calling the Tenderloin a horror show.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE ABUYAGHI, OWNS TENDERLOIN AUTO SHOP: It's unsafe. It's unsanitary. Whatever is going on here, it's inhumane.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SIMON: Mike Abuyaghi shows us the back of his auto repair shop. Homeless are occupying the alley and tapping into city power.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ABUYAGHI: It's like, you know, you come to work and you want to focus on what you're here for. Then you have all the craziness going on.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SIMON: Dan Simon, CNN, San Francisco.

WHITFIELD: From the nation's Capitol, President Trump just landed on the south lawn of the White House after spending the weekend at Camp David. He spoke to reporters just a few moments ago. Let's listen in.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: So I think we had a great weekend. We did a lot of terrific meetings. Tremendous progress is being made on many fronts, including coming up with a cure for this horrible plague that has beset our country.

I think a lot of things that have happened very good. It was a working weekend. It was a good weekend. A lot of good things happened.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What about Obama's comments --?

TRUMP: I didn't hear it. Look, he was an incompetent President. That's all I can say grossly incompetent. Thank you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: All right. That in response to it was Former President Obama during commencement speeches yesterday saying lots of mistakes have been made as he tried to encourage the next generation to fill the leadership roles.

Let's go to Kristen Holmes who is at the White House, the President very brief there while wrapping up his Camp David weekend?

KIRSTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and not really a surprise. I mean, we expected him to want to react in person. Of course, the earlier we got the press statement yesterday from the Press Secretary about those remarks that President Trump had made.

When it comes to Former President Obama, President Trump likes to remark on his own. That's kind of what we were waiting for. I mean, you have to keep in mind all of this, the Former President's remarks, as were just happened, were just unfolded comes after a week of President Trump really excoriating the Former President on Twitter bringing up baseless claims that he was involved in some sort of conspiracy.

This is something that we know was going to be on the agenda for Camp David. Of course, we haven't gotten readout for what actually happened, but going into the weekend, we know that there was going to be some discussion as to how to really push these claims about the Former President forward?

Everyone is looking toward that 2020 November Election. That's kind of where it all stands. But, again, it's not surprising to hear President Trump himself lashing out at the Former President. We know much of his Presidency has been spent really going after certain key policies that the Former President put into place, so again not a surprise here to hear him react.

WHITFIELD: And Kristen among the things that President Obama said in his commencement, you know, addresses yesterday before the HBCU graduates and then later to the nation's, you know, high school and college graduates saying, you know, it's this pandemic has torn back the curtain that many are in charge don't know what they're doing.

[13:25:00]

WHITFIELD: Many are not even pretending to be in charge. He never mentioned the words President Trump but the inference was there.

HOLMES: Yes. That's right. I want to be very clear because this is very a rare public criticism made by the Former President. He has been mostly mute when it comes to the current administration. We talked just about a week ago about a private conversation he had a phone call with ex-staffers.

He was trying to encourage them to get involved in Joe Biden's Campaign. That's when he said it was an absolute chaotic disaster, referring to the Trump Administration's response to Coronavirus.

But again, that was a private conversation. This is in front of tens, if not hundreds of thousands of people that broadcast on every network. He was very clear and deliberates what he was trying to say here.

It's interesting because, you know, you never heard, as you said, Former President Obama mention the current President by name and in that statement from the Press Secretary, also, no mention of Former President Obama.

She focused on the response of the Trump Administration to the Coronavirus in general. They did say, they took a little bit of a swipe at the predecessor saying that they depleted the stockpile so clearly a swipe at Obama but no naming there.

And then we get to the President, the President himself who really doesn't seem to be able to help himself but to actually lash out at the Former President. So it's a very different approach here really by all three, the Press Secretary, the current President, and Former President Obama.

WHITFIELD: All right. Kristen Holmes, thank you so much from the White House, we appreciate it. We're back in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[13:30:00] WHITFIELD: The medical expert who saw China through the SARS outbreak is back in the spotlight as the country's leading voice during the Coronavirus. CNN's David Culver spoke to the man being called the Dr. Fauci of China.

DAVID CULVER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is an interview that we have been working to get for months a conversation with the Dr. Fauci of China. His name is Dr. Zhong Nanshan. And in our exclusive interview, he spoke about what he believes are the concerns still on the horizon for China, even though things here are starting to open up? It may feel safer but he says they're not in the clear and warns of a second wave. He also is highly critical of how things handled early on, particularly in Wuhan?

In the U.S. many have turned to Dr. Anthony Fauci the nation's top infectious disease expert as that medical voice of reason. In China, it's Dr. Zhong Nanshan, the well-known respiratory expert speaking exclusively with CNN.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. ZHONG NANSHAN, CHINA'S LEADING MEDICAL EXPERT: I cannot compare with Fauci, who is the advisor of the President.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CULVER: Perhaps he does not physically stand next to President Xi Jinping, but Zhong has the trust of China's Central Government. His advice sparks near immediate action. Take, for example, Wuhan's unprecedented lockdown. On January 18th, five days before the city was shut down, he traveled to the original epicenter of the outbreak. He questioned the local health officials.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. NANSHAN: And the very beginning they kept silent.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CULVER: Zhong who gained international praise for his work on SARS 17 years ago believed this rapidly-spreading novel Coronavirus was far more devastating than being portrayed by Wuhan health officials.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. NANSHAN: I suppose they're reluctant to answer my questions. Local authorities didn't like to tell the truth, at that time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CULVER: Publicly Wuhan health officials, as late as January 19th labeled the virus as preventable and controllable and later the city's mayor even acknowledged not releasing information in the timely fashion.

Zhong pressed harder for the actually numbers. When he got them, he headed to Beijing on January 20th and he briefed the Central Government and within hours he was addressing the nation in his live interview on state-run CCTV. Zhong revealed that human-to-human transmission was likely and as proof he said the virus had already infected multiple medical personnel.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. ZHONG: That's very dangerous. This disease is very contagious. I suppose, at that time, the Central Government listened to our comments and advice.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CULVER: Within three days, Wuhan went into a harsh lockdown that lasted 76 days. Even with China's Central Government now taking the lead, there's still skepticism over the official numbers. Zhong believes it's partly political and says the Chinese Government would not benefit from underreporting.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. NANSHAN: The government has got the lesson from the outbreak of SARS 17 years ago. All government department should report the true number of diseases so if - if you do not do that, you will be punished.

CULVER: What do you believe to be the origin of this virus, in particular?

DR. NANSHAN: I think the origin is a very difficult to control any conclusion at the moment. But I believe this kind of a disease is already linked from animals.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CULVER: U.S. President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have said they have evidence that it leaked from a lab.

[13:35:00]

CULVER: Namely the Wuhan Institute of Virology and origin theory many international medical experts and even U.S. Intelligence say is highly unlikely.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CULVER: Now it seems more and more medical experts do not believe it originated there. Do you feel that with certainty?

DR. NANSHAN: I don't think so, it took up two weeks so we could closely check up and proved nothing about that. No. I don't think so.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CULVER: Zhong's focus now is on preparing China for a second wave of the outbreak. Over the past few weeks, new clusters of cases surfaced in several cities including Wuhan.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. NANSHAN: We are facing a very big challenge. It is not better than foreign countries I think, it's at the moment.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CULVER: Zhong like Dr. Fauci has achieved a celebrity status here in China. His scientific expertise aside many are impressed with Zhong's physical drive.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CULVER: What is that you have been doing during this period to stay mentally scene, physically fit? How does Dr. Zhong conduct his days?

DR. NANSHAN: I keep exercising and sport and all the things. Keep an open mind. Eat not too much every time. I can do something in my age of 84.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CULVER: Dr. Zhong also spoke about the collaboration that he says is ongoing with his medical counter parts in the United States particularly with Harvard University. He suggests that despite things getting highly politicized and tensions between the U.S. and China heightened, the conversations and the collaboration is still underway at least among certain medical professionals. David Culver, CNN, China.

WHITFIELD: Still ahead, how Las Vegas is trying to reopen. An inside look at the preparations casinos are making.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[13:40:00]

WHITFIELD: Las Vegas casinos are betting on reopening in just a few weeks but they won't be going all in. Card tables and slot machines are being retooled with social distancing in mind. CNN's Kyung Lah got a first-hand look at what gamblers can expect?

TONY RODIO, CEO, CAESERS ENTERTAINEMENT: It's really eerie and sad. This place normally would have so much energy and so much excitement going on.

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is Caesar's palace in the dark because of the Coronavirus. You can hear our voices echoing through the lobby.

RODIO: Yes. You don't hear that echo because it's muffled because of all the bodies and all the sound I mean, your activity.

LAH: There's not a soul here. Something the iconic casino has never experienced in its 54-year history says Tony Rodio CEO of Caesar's Entertainment. You're talking about every day active operational.

RODIO: Every single day, every single second, there weren't locks to lock the front door. It was really tough in the beginning and there were so much uncertainty in how long this was going to last. We're starting to see movement.

LAH: As Nevada moves to reopen parts of its economy, Caesar's is making changes across the casino floor.

RODIO: This is the typical configuration for blackjack-style games. Normally there are six seats. In the new world, there will only be three chairs. Nobody will be able to be within 6 feet of any of the three customers that are playing.

LAH: This looks like it's a little less than 6 feet, I mean, are you - is that the goal?

RODIO: I think that you're real - if not it is 6 feet, you're close to 6 feet and you're certainly not face to face.

LAH: This is the craps table.

RODIO: Correct. In the new world with social distancing, we're going to limit it to three on a side.

LAH: Like a bunch of people come because it's an exciting game--

RODIO: Between the dealers, the supervisors, security, we're going to limit it to 3 on each side. They have to be - anybody else has to be 6-feet away. We will be deactivating every other slot machine and removing the store from the game. A customer can't even stand here and play this game because the game is not even active. And so we will do that throughout the whole floor.

LAH: In addition, a video released to Caesar's workers and the public shows employees will use electronic sprayers they'll disinfect dice, slot machines, and elevator banks. Workers will be required to wear masks and have their temperature taken.

Guests, while encouraged to wear masks, are not. Casino workers have already raised concerns about returning to the Vegas Strip. For people that say can I be 100 percent sure that I won't get sick coming in here? Is that something that you can say to your customers?

RODIO: I don't know if anybody in the country can say that to anybody in any circumstance. I'm a casino operator so I don't tend to know everything about an infectious disease, especially one as contagious as this. All I can do and ask of my team is to listen to the experts.

LAH: Are you ready for people to come back?

RODIO: My gosh, yes! I'm ready, our staffs are ready, our team is ready and customers are ready.

LAH: This is what it looks like outside Caesar's Palace. People would normally be getting out of their taxis, walking up those stairs with their luggage. All of this would be filled with Limos and UBERs and there's nothing. What that meant for employment is that of their 60,000 worldwide staffs says Caesar's Entertainment they've had to furlough 90 percent of workers. Kyung Lah, CNN, Las Vegas.

WHITFIELD: All right. Coming up next a cyber crime stretching from Hollywood to the White House, hackers targeting Lady Gaga and now President Trump.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[13:45:00]

WHITFIELD: All right. We'll have much more on Coronavirus later on this hour. First a developing story out of New York. Hackers have targeted a prominent law firm and are threatening to release dirt on President Donald Trump if they don't get a $42 million ransom.

The cyber attack on the firm run by star lawyer Alan Grubman has already led to the leak of confidential files regarding Lady Gaga but the firm says it has never worked with President Donald J. Trump.

CNN's Donnie O'Sullivan joins me now. So Donnie, what do we know about this hack and the claims about damaging information about the President?

DONNIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN REPORTER: Hey, Fred, yes. As you mentioned, some of the biggest celebrities in the world work with this law firm that have now found themselves in a remarkable situation, really where they have hackers holding them to ransom demanding $42 million to get access to their own files and also to guarantee that the hackers won't release more information about its clients.

Here's what the law firm told us in a statement. They said, foreign cyber terrorists have hacked into our network and demanding $42 million of ransom saying they're working with federal law enforcement, that's the FBI, and that they said the leaking of their clients' documents is a despicable and illegal attack by these foreign cyber terrorists.

[13:50:00]

O'SULLIVAN: There are claims about the President, as you mentioned. The law firm says they have never represented Donald Trump and the hackers have not shown proof that they actually have damaging information on the President and may actually be a negotiating tactic on the part of the hackers to put more pressure on the law firm to pay up.

Now, how the hackers were able to get into the law firm's systems is they were use a type of attack calmed ransom ware, it's where once they get access to a system they basically can encrypt the files on a computer at this law firm, for instance, and the firm won't even be able to get access to their own files for a while.

And the hackers then demand a ransom saying pay us X amount of money. In this case tens of millions of dollars and we won't release this information and we will give you back access to your files.

Of course, even if they do pay the ransom, there's no guarantee that these hackers wouldn't just release it all anyway. So it's an incredibly worrying situation for the company, but, again, no evidence so far that they do actually have damaging information about President Trump.

WHITFIELD: Is there any indication that this may have something to do with people working remotely in some capacity?

O'SULLIVAN: Yes. That's really the question. We don't have an indication of that at the moment, but it is a very important time to remember that as we are all adjusts to working at home, there are new cyber threats that are part of that and while we have seen over the past few weeks.

We've seen cyber criminals across the board, across the world are using the Coronavirus as a way to try to hack people, organizations, even law firms like this. We have seen fake websites set up claiming to be the World Health Organization, the CDC and other official looking sites that are asking people to hand over their passwords, to hand over their email. So it's a good time to remember to be careful what you click online.

WHITFIELD: Indeed. All right, Donie O'Sullivan, thank you very much. As more restaurants across America reopen their dining rooms many are still concerned about how businesses are keeping their spaces clean. Coming up how a stunning experiment reveals just how contagious this virus might be?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[13:55:00]

WHIRFIELD: Well, remember what it's like to dine out before Coronavirus, right? Well, now a video from Japan may have you rethinking the safety of some restaurants. The experiment aims at showing how easily germs and viruses can spread when just one person is infected. Here's CNN's Anna Cronin.

ANNA CRONIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Common site on cruise ships, resorts and casinos piles of hot food in communal trays. Each patron helping themselves to as many servings as desired. If just one is infected it may be the perfect setting for a virus to flourish.

A new video out of Japan hopes show how fast it could spread? Medical experts teamed up with a country's public broadcaster NHK. In an experiment that stimulates a cruise ship's buffet-style restaurant.

First one of ten participants rubs his palms with special liquid only visible under black light. He represents an infected person who had coughed into his hands. Then he joins nine others as they spoon food on to their plates and sit down to eat.

After 30 minutes, the room goes dark before an ultraviolet light comes on the fluorescent liquid is now visible on a lot of surfaces. Items the so-called infected person had touched. Tongs, pitchers, food trays left residue others picked up and in turn spread to silverware, dishes, glassware clothing and phones.

After half an hour, every participant had come into contact with the liquid. Three of them had gotten it on their faces. A visual show of how easily a contaminated substance can travel?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN NICHOLLS, CLINICAL PROFESSOR IN PATHOLOGY, HONG KONG UNIVERSITY: This is where that video is at, there is a lot of material which is put on the hands. So that's a very artificial situation, but I think what they've been able to do is to actually show just what the consequences are of the spreading of potential infectious disease from hand, when proper hand hygiene is not performed?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CRONIN: Video of the experiment has been viewed millions of times since it was posted by NHK. The joint project supervisor says it's partly meant to illustrate how often surfaces are touched by many people? Like handrails, light switches or door handles.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NICHOLLS: May seem radical but I think that video should be put in front of every single public restroom. Many of the countries which opened up - the outcomes have been linked to small clusters what we will call not necessarily the people being super spreaders but location is being super spreaders which highlights the need for having much more attention to hygiene as well as the social distancing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CRONIN: NHK and its collaborators did a second cleaner version of the experiment using hygiene changes like separating dishes, replacing tongs frequently and asking participants to wash their hands during and after the meal. 30 minutes into that experiment, no one had picked up the fluorescent paint. Anna Cronin, CNN.

WHITFIELD: Hello again, everyone. Welcome this Sunday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.