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CNN NEWSROOM

Man Stuck on Cruise Ship 8 Weeks During Pandemic; Fed Chair's Warning: Downturn May Last Until "Late 2021"; Small Business that Took 10 Year to Build Destroyed in Weeks; Trump Administration Blasts China & WHO over Transparency; Update on Coronavirus Response Around the World; Surrogate Babies Stranded in Ukraine. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired May 18, 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]

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: So, Ann, what are your concerns here? Obviously, that must be your primary worry.

ANN GRIMES, MOTHER OF TAYLOR GRIMES: Our primary worry is definitely the mental aspect of it. Being able to see him and know that physically he's fine, we're good. But it's the mental, the ups and downs.

We get a call because he's six hours ahead. We could get a call at 4:00 in the morning and he's having a bad day and you can't reach out and really do much other than give him a shoulder, an outlet. But it's the mental part that really is a struggle for us, seeing what he's going through.

KEILAR: So at this point, Taylor, you've taken eight tests and you've had different results. I know you're awaiting some test results. But what are the medical professionals there telling you about the going back and forth and having the positive and then the negative and not having two negative tests in a row?

TAYLOR GRIMES, STRANDED ON CRUISE SHIP EIGHT WEEKS AFTER TESTING POSITIVE: One of the most concerning aspects of it is the fact I'm not really getting a straight answer.

I understand this is a new virus, you know, there's a big learning curve. Especially because being asymptomatic, I'm not top priority. I understand that. I'm OK with that.

However, when it comes to the positive/negative, positive/negative, all I can do is sit here and wonder. Is it a fault of the test? Am I somehow re-infecting myself by being in this small enclosed space for so long? Is there something wrong with me? Like am I some medical anomaly causing me to hold on to the infection even longer than studies are showing I should have gotten over it?

KEILAR: Have any U.S. government officials, have you been in touch with anyone, are you on the radar?

TAYLOR GRIMES: I've been in constant contact with my embassy here in Italy. And the woman who's been my point of contact has been amazing, incredibly nice, very supportive. She has fought tooth and nail as much as she is able to. Obviously, she has limitations on what she can do because I'm not on American soil.

But I also know that my family back home have reached out to local politicians as well, just to see if they can get any kind of movement. Anything that the American government may be able to do just to maybe get me tested more frequently, maybe -- well, actually, no. That's about all that can be done, get me tested more frequently.

KEILAR: Taylor, we're glad that you feel you have good outreach there with American officials. We're going to keep monitoring your situation there. We are hoping and praying for another negative test for you to come back. And in the meantime, hang in there.

We really appreciate you.

And, Ann, we really appreciate you talking to us.

Thank you so much.

ANN GRIMES: Thank you.

TAYLOR GRIMES: Thank you so much.

ANN GRIMES: Have a wonderful day.

TAYLOR GRIMES: Appreciate it.

KEILAR: You, too, both.

Uber says it's cutting another 3,000 jobs and closing dozens of offices.

This, as the Fed chief warns the economy may not fully recover until the end of 2021.

Next, I'll be speaking to a business owner who says he lost the company it took him 10 years to build and it happened in just a matter of weeks.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:37:12]

KEILAR: Two months after the pandemic began wreaking havoc on the economy, employment levels not seen since the depression, the chair of the Federal Reserve is downplaying the likelihood that the outbreak lead to a second Great Depression but he's warning the economic recovery could extend to the end of 2021.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEROME POWELL, CHAIRMAN, FEDERAL RESERVE: This economy will recover. It may take a while. It may take a period of time. It could stretch through the end of next year. We really don't know.

SCOTT PELLEY, CBS NEWS ANCHOR: Can there be a recovery without a reasonably effective vaccine?

POWELL: Assuming there's not a second wave of the coronavirus, I think you'll see the economy recover steadily through the second half of this year. For the economy to fully recover, people will have to be fully confident and that may have to await the arrival of a vaccine.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KEILAR: My next guest knows the economic ramifications of all of this all too well, the devastating impact of this pandemic is having on small businesses.

Daryl Austin is the owner of an advertising company in Utah.

Daryl, I just want to thank you so much for joining us.

This is a really difficult situation for you because you and your wife spent 10 years building up this small successful business, only to see it largely destroyed over the course of two months. Just tell me what the last eight weeks have been like for you guys.

DARYL AUSTIN, SMALL BUSINESS OWNER IMPACTED BY COVID-19: Thank you so much, Brianna, for having me on.

They've been difficult. They have. It's not just the economic ramifications, of which have been significant. We haven't lost the company completely, thankfully. We've still got the company. Just lost half our clients so far.

And it's difficult that you work so hard and sacrifice so much over such an extended period of time to see it just kind of disappear is hard. And of course, I understand that it's against the backdrop of far more devastating circumstances for many more people and I appreciate that.

But it is -- it has taken its toll on my family. It's hit me at least economically even though the virus itself hasn't.

KEILAR: Let's talk about the timeline for you. You say you lost half of your clients. If you're looking at this pandemic and it's going to continue, it's continuing to make advertising maybe not something that's in the budget for a lot of businesses. One of your clients put it to you that it's a luxury.

How long can you go kind of at sort of half capacity here before you might have to shutter your business?

AUSTIN: We're not sure. We're trying very hard to find other clients that are interested and taking advantage of the number of people that are currently on social media.

But they're all facing the same thing. And I have a really hard time employing sales tactics when I get their circumstance and I honestly don't even have the desire to persuade them to do something that may not -- I mean, they have more difficult considerations, and so I don't know how long we can last. [14:40:18]

But I know that a lot of them are even in worse situations. So we're just hanging in there. We're taking it a day at a time, limiting our expenses as much as possible while trying to keep work on the table for our freelancers, but it's taken its toll.

KEILAR: When you hear the Fed chair, the Fed chief warning this could be going on through the end of 2021, that that's where the economic recovery could be going, how do you respond to that?

AUSTIN: I just read last night in Forbes that more than 50 percent of business owners think they can't make it, a small business owner, sorry, they can't make it more than another three months.

And 99 percent of all businesses in America that employ half of our workforce are small businesses, so it's terrifying. Not just for myself, but to think about our economy, and what's at stake. It's difficult.

KEILAR: What's it been like for you as a family?

AUSTIN: It's taken a toll financially. We're OK. We're hanging in there financially. We were lucky in that we planned ahead for some kind of a thing for at least a few months. So far, the last few months, we've been OK. And thankfully, we have less overhead than some of the companies behind the scenes as advertisers.

But one of the things difficult is the stress levels have gone way up.

I remember at the beginning of this, listening to the Joe Rogan Experience and he was talking to the infectious disease expert, Michael Osterholm, and said, what can we do to prepare when this comes to America because it wasn't really here yet, and the doctor said, we need to get our immune systems up, our weight down, get good nights' sleep.

And I told my wife, it's ironic because one thing I'm not getting through all this is very much sleep at all. It's just, the stress levels have really impacted me personally and our family. It's been challenging.

KEILAR: Well, Daryl, thank you so much for coming on. You speak for a lot of people when you talk about your personal situation, and we'll be thinking of you and we'll be wishing the best for you as we go through this very tough time.

Thank you.

AUSTIN: Thank you very much.

KEILAR: The Trump administration once again pointing the finger at China for the pandemic. We'll hear the scathing remarks in an address to the World Health Organization.

Plus, dozens of babies born to surrogates are stranded in Ukraine as their foreign parents cannot get in the country to get them. You'll hear from one American couple fighting to bring their newborn home.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:47:56]

KEILAR: The Trump administration once again blaming China for the coronavirus pandemic. Alex Azar, the secretary of Health and Human Services, also blasted the World Health Organization in a speech today to the group's global assembly.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALEX AZAR, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY: In an apparent attempt to conceal this outbreak, at least one member state made a mockery of their transparency obligations with tremendous cost for the entire world. We saw that WHO fail at its core mission of information sharing and transparency when member states do not act in good faith.

This cannot ever happen again. The status quo is intolerable. WHO must change. And it must become far more transparent and far more accountable.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KEILAR: This comes as dozens of countries are urging the World Health Organization to start an investigation of the origin of the pandemic.

And that is where we begin our check-in with CNN's international correspondents.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Ivan Watson, in Hong Kong. The World Health Assembly is holding an annual meeting on video conference, of course, because of the coronavirus.

Now, more than 100 member countries signed a resolution calling for an impartial independent and comprehensive evaluation into how this pandemic really spread across the world.

China has opposed calls for an investigation, in part, because the disease was first discovered in a Chinese city back in December.

The head of the World Health Organization has agreed to an inquiry, in his opening remarks. Leaders of Germany, France, China and other countries spoke at the video conference. The U.S. president was absent.

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Ben Wedeman, in Rome, where Italy is further easing its nationwide lockdown. As of today, bars and restaurants, shops and hairdressers can reopen, with strict limits on the number of people allowed inside.

Churches can hold public masses again. Pope Francis held his first today in almost two months. But the prime minister here warns it all is something of a calculated

risk, which carries with it the danger of a second wave of deadly infections.

[14:50:09]

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Paula Hancocks, in Seoul. A study out of South Korea shows that more than 100 infections were linked to one intense dance workshop. Now these are not new cases. They were classes held back in February. The cases were identified by March 9th and sports facilities have been closed.

But researchers say it showed just how quickly the virus could spread within an enclosed space, especially when there's physical exercise.

SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN BRAZIL BUREAU CHIEF: I'm Shasta Darlington, in Sao Paulo. Brazil has surged past both Spain and Italy in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases.

In Sao Paulo, the mayor has warned that the health system is on the verge of collapse. He said 90 percent of intensive care beds are occupied but less than half of the population is sheltering at home.

Meanwhile, President Jair Bolsonaro joined another anti-lockdown rally in Brasilia where he posed for photos with supporters and did push-ups with men in red berets.

FARAI SEVENZO, CNN NAIROBI CORRESPONDENT: I'm Farai Sevenzo, in Nairobi, Kenya. The numbers for COVID-19 are keep rising. We're over 900 cases.

At the moment, the country is on high alert. There's a dusk-to-dawn curfew. Everybody is on tender hooks, including the medics that CNN spoke to just a couple of days ago. They're worried about more ventilators, their personal protection equipment.

And, of course, now the virus has moved from people who travel a lot to the community, to people who have never been on a plane, never been outside of Kenya. And we are very much at the beginning of the curve in this East African nation.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KEILAR: Thank you, all.

And we're following a story in Ukraine where dozens of babies born to surrogate mothers are stranded. The nationwide lockdown is preventing parents from traveling there to pick up their newborns.

Matthew Chance caught up with an American family who overcame the restrictions to be with their new daughter.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOEL LEINEKE, FATHER OF SURROGATE NEWBORN: So this is my daughter, Amber Rain Leineke. She's a little tired at the moment. MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Amid this lockdown, a family united. One American dad getting into Ukraine just to hold his newborn daughter.

(on camera): She is a very lucky girl, indeed.

J. LEINEKE: I'm a lucky father.

CHANCE: When you saw her for the first time, what was going through your mind? What were your feelings?

J. LEINEKE: At the same time, I was elated to see her. I was also just -- my heart was broken, right, that I was the only one there for myself. And -- and that my wife wasn't able to be in the delivery room, and it was -- it was both. It was really mixed.

CHANCE (voice-over): Mixed but relieved, because dozens, just like Amber Rain, born amid the pandemic in Ukraine to surrogate mothers, remain stranded, marooned in a screaming lockdown.

CNN gained access to just one facility in Kiev, where tight coronavirus restrictions mean more than 50 babies here can't be collected by their legal parents, mostly locked down themselves in Europe and the United States.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

CHANCE: "Some parents have waited 15 years for this dream to come true," the owner tells CNN. "One couple are both 55 years old. Another has tried 36 times for a baby," he says. "They can't wait any longer."

Ukrainian officials say they're trying to speed up access to foreign parents. But the pandemic means the country's borders are sealed. Special permits are a bureaucratic nightmare.

MICHELLE LEINEKE, MOTHER OF SURROGATE NEWBORN: Doting on these children.

CHANCE: For Michelle, watching ALL this remotely with her two other kids in California, even the thought of being unable to reach a child in another country is agonizing.

(on camera): What must their parents be going through now, parents who can't get to their children?

M. LEINEKE: I can't even imagine. I can't imagine not being able to be there. We had the same thought before we were able to get there. And so for me it was mind-numbing to know that somebody that we don't even know would be taking care of our daughter.

Luckily, we were able to find a way, but other people, because their countries aren't allowing them to travel into another country, are not being allowed in.

We found a way, and we were lucky. But others aren't so lucky, and I'm sure they're just devastated. CHANCE (voice-over): At the moment, Ukrainian officials say around 100

babies born to surrogates are stuck in clinics like this one around the country.

But pregnancies are in progress. And they say numbers could soon rise to 1,000 if borders stay closed. The longer the lockdown, the more Amber Rains with nowhere to go.

[14:55:07]

(on camera): Well, there is growing criticism in Ukraine, because of these stranded babies, of commercial surrogacy in the country, the human rights ombudsman there has called it a massive and systemic problem, and it could be curbed in the future.

But for the moment, the focus is on trying to get the babies already born, united where -- with their legal parents

Matthew Chance, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KEILAR: And we're back to our breaking news. The market is up on hopeful early results from a vaccine trial.

Plus, new models on the trends of this virus are just moments away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:00:00]