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Interview with Pastor Jim Franklin; Brazil ICUs Running Out of Beds; Economic Downturn Disproportionately Affects Women and Minorities. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired May 22, 2020 - 10:30   ET




JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: The state of California is allowing some businesses to reopen, but church gatherings, still banned. Despite that, more than 1,200 pastors in that state have signed a petition to resume in-person services at the end of this month.

Pastor Jim Franklin is one of those pastors, and he joins me now to talk about it. Pastor, good morning to you. Thank you for taking the time this morning.


SCIUTTO: So in this letter, pastors via the lawyer write, "The Christian church and other faiths have been relegated to nonessential status by governing agencies throughout the U.S. But we, the signers of this declaration, believe and contend that gathering together in fellowship and worship is essential."

I ask this question. What is essential about meeting in person as opposed to remotely for these services? I mean, our kids are doing that for school every day.

FRANKLIN: I don't think any teacher would, in any way, argue the fact that having in-person teaching, where they're able to interact with those students, see them face-to-face, is in any way replaced by a video screen. It's the same difference. You can watch a fire on a video screen and enjoy the sound of it, see the vision of it but there's no way you can experience the warmth and the ambiance of an actual fire. There's a big difference.

SCIUTTO: Oh, I'm not saying it's the same. I mean, I watch my kids every morning, it's not the same as being in a classroom. But the fact is, schools, to protect the students, are continuing this remote learning because of the risk from infection. I wonder, what's the difference? Why take the risk for people going to church that we're not taking for kids going to school?

FRANKLIN: Well, in the same way. What we're looking at here, especially in the state of California, schools have been placed in phase two of the reopening. Churches were put to phase three. All we're asking is to be treated fairly. In the same way if people can go to a big box store, if they can

gather there, if they can go to a restaurant, which are now opening here in California, they can gather there to get physical food, then why can they not come to a church under the same guidelines and enjoy some spiritual food? I mean, what's the difference?

SCIUTTO: No, no, I'm not certainly not against it, I spent my life, growing up, going to church every Sunday. But I suppose, you know, the question here is the data, right? And the data does show that church gatherings, given the concentration of people there -- but also just the act of singing, right? Of course we all sing at church. And singing in particular, bellowing out spreads the particles of the infection. I just wonder, what then do you recommend doing in the physical space of the church to prevent that risk, which is established in the studies?

FRANKLIN: Well, again, I think if big box stores, if Walmart, Costco, Target can figure this out, where large people -- large number of people can gather under a roof, that churches are also able to figure it out. It's very simple, masks. That's what has been recommended, and that's what will be utilized in church services -- or what we're recommending in ours. So there's ways around this.

SCIUTTO: OK. Masks, also are you talking about spacing people six feet apart, as you often see in stores like a Walmart or elsewhere, grocery stores?

FRANKLIN: Of course. This will not be church, quote-unquote, "as usual," as we had it before all of this hit. There'll be social distancing, sanitation, masks, no congregating. All of those things that the CDC guidelines that are being held in every other place, we're just saying, well, just let us do that same thing at church, don't put us in a separate category.

SCIUTTO: What do you do here if the governor does not bend on this? Will you go ahead and defy, defy the orders?

FRANKLIN: Well, what we -- and I'm sure you're aware that this week, the Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division sent a letter to the governor, warning him that what he was doing was violating the civil rights of churches. So there does come a time that people have to stand up for their civil rights. We go all the way back to the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who stood up for civil rights from a pulpit. There comes that time, always to keep people safe.

We obviously, as pastors, want to keep people safe. These are not our customers that come through our doors, these are people that we have -- I've pastored for 25 years here. I've buried people, I've married people, I have been with them in good and bad time. If anybody's going to protect these people, it's going to be their pastors.


SCIUTTO: Pastor Jim Franklin, we wish you and the people of your community the best of luck.

FRANKLIN: Thank you so much.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: That was really interesting.

All right. So Brazil, as we talked about yesterday, getting worse, seeing a record number of coronavirus cases. We're going to take you inside one of its biggest and hardest-hit intensive care units.



SCIUTTO: Just staggering numbers out of Brazil, where health officials are reporting just an explosion of new coronavirus infections in Sao Paolo, Brazil's biggest city. They cannot dig graves fast enough, and hospitals, simply overrun.

HARLOW: But the country's president continues to dismiss the threat. Our Nick Paton Walsh takes us inside a hospital where the doctors themselves are now worried about dying.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR (voice-over): Sao Paolo, the biggest city and hottest spot for the coronavirus in Brazil, the deathly quiet outside Emilio Ribas hospital, no new patients arriving on ambulances, is not a good sign. In fact, it spells the worst because this huge ICU has run out of beds.

PATON WALSH: Well, startling here is that the peak is possibly well over a week away from hitting Brazil. And already, this enormous ICU is full. And in between the beds, there is a growing sense of anxiety -- fear, really -- about what lies ahead.

PATON WALSH (voice-over): Doctors here have heard President Jair Bolsonaro dismiss the disease as a little flu. But presidential platitudes haven't protected them.

One of their nurses died two days ago. Inside this room is one of the team's doctors, on a ventilator. And another has tested positive, this day.

JAQUES SZTAJNBOK, EMILIO RIBAS INFECTIOUS DISEASE INSTITUTE: Never before it touched us like this -- this time, because we have never lost a colleague in this intensive care before. Yes, definitely it's not a flu. It's the worst thing we have ever faced in our professional lives.

PATON WALSH: Are you worried for your life here?

SZTAJNBOK: Yes, yes.

PATON WALSH (voice-over): It's a virus that stifles and silences. But suddenly, here, there is commotion. One patient, a woman in her 40s, has had cardiorespiratory failure. The doctors' heavy pulse is the only thing keeping her alive. But after about 40 minutes, it's clear she can't survive. The body is cleaned, the tubes that kept her alive, disconnected, and she's wheeled out. The space will be needed. It all happened so fast, but leaves a long scar.

A scene so distant from presidential rallies, masks now common much of the time, but wealth put before health.


PATON WALSH (voice-over): We have to be brave, he says, to face this virus. Are people dying? Yes, they are, and I regret that. But many more are going to die if the economy continues to be destroyed because of these lockdown measures.

The holes here, in the hills above Sao Paolo, are not dug ready for a recession though: endless fresh graves for the dead, who also seem to never stop arriving.

PATON WALSH: In Brazil, the numbers are already staggering. And it's clear, it's not the entire picture because testing simply isn't as widespread as they would like. But everywhere you go, you see the people understand this is just the beginning.


SCIUTTO: Just harrowing, to see that there, those mass graves. Thanks to Nick Paton Walsh for that report.

HARLOW: Yes, for sure. And the doctor saying that he's afraid of dying, but still going to work to treat those patients.


OK, so the other side of the health crisis, of course, is the economic tragedy that has unfolded. But it's been even worse for women and minorities. We'll talk about that, next.


HARLOW: OK, so the economic downturn, one thing you need to know is it is disproportionately impacting women and minorities, by a lot. Experts are predicting one-third of daycare child care centers may not reopen again at all. You've got schools still closed, your summer camp may be cancelled, just like mine just was.

This is putting parents in an impossible position, particularly women who often bear the brunt of child care. What do they do? How do they go back to work?

And look at the jobs numbers. The unemployment rate, most recently, for women, above the average, climbing to 15 percent. For black and Hispanic women, even, even higher.

Since it's been recorded, women have never experienced an unemployment rate in the double digits like this. Let's talk about it.

Joanne Lipman is with us, she's a distinguished journalism fellow at Princeton. She is also a contributor to CNBC Market. Margaret Anadu is the head of Urban Investments at Goldman Sachs. It's so nice to have you both, I've really been wanting to cover this.

And, Joanne, it was your op-ed that really made me think we have to bring more light to this. What is a "She session"? What is happening in this country?

JOANNE LIPMAN, DISTINGUISHED JOURNALISM FELLOW, INSTITUTE FOR ADVANCED STUDY IN PRINCETON: Yes. It's -- you know, as you said at the top here, women are being disproportionately affected for a variety of reasons, and particularly women of color.

And, you know, one is that women are overrepresented in the industries that are hardest hit by the pandemic, including things like hospitality and restaurants and child care. Women also disproportionately -- we make up more than 60 percent of all the lowest wage-earning jobs, and so those have been disproportionately hit as well.

But you add to it, as you just referenced, the fact that women are taking on the bulk of child care and homeschooling at home. And in fact, I just got figures from Boston Consulting Group, which did a survey of five countries. And they found that Americans as a whole, American parents, are spending 29 additional hours per week on child care and household chores.


But for women, again, it's disproportionate. Women are spending 15 hours more per week than men. And we absolutely need to solve for this child care issue because if we want the economy as a whole to get back on its feet, we can't ignore half the working population.

HARLOW: Of course we can't. And, Margaret, it's even worse for minority women, Hispanic women and African-American women.

MARGARET ANADU, HEAD OF URBAN INVESTMENT GROUP, GOLDMAN SACHS: Yes. What we're seeing in minority communities and especially with women of color is, really, the impact not just of pre-existing conditions on the health side, which have been, you know, discussed in terms of, you know, high blood pressure and things like that, but also the pre- existing conditions on the economic side.

So if you think about minority communities and their businesses, these are businesses that were not getting a fair share of capital, even before the crisis. And we're seeing that worsen today. So really, this kind of double whammy of the health conditions and the economic conditions for minority communities is incredibly troubling.

HARLOW: Margaret, we had you on a few weeks ago, we talked about how Goldman Sachs, the program to allocate capital to some of those minority-owned businesses, particularly sort of aside from what the PPP program is doing. Can you just speak to what the new data tells you? Because when those businesses fail, that pulls the rug out from underneath them.

ANADU: Sure. Yes, and the data's been encouraging. So we committed $500 million and you know, we've deployed the vast majority of that. And 50 percent of that capital has gone to minority communities, so the same hard-hit places like neighborhoods in New York City, New Orleans, Detroit. We've also seen roughly a third of that capital go into low-income communities.

And another really important piece is as we've looked at the employee median count of these businesses, it's three. So really being able to reach these small, Main Street, mom-and-pop businesses we were hoping to. And really, we're only successful doing that because of the distribution channel.

We worked exclusively through community lenders, community development financial institutions who focus on these underserved businesses and communities in their normal course.

HARLOW: IT's really important to make it a priority to get it to them.

Joanne, my concern is that this economic damage to women, and setting them back so far, could have long legs, right? Lasting implications, be permanent for some. Are you worried about that?

LIPMAN: We -- I am so concerned about this because we've seen this in the past, during the Great Recession, 2008, 2009. The first thing that got cut were these diversity programs, anything, you know -- basically, when you had the last few years, the fact that women have made substantial gains is in a large measure because the unemployment rate was so low, so the opportunities were spread for the larger population.

When you have these sky-high unemployment rates and you're doing away with programs that really are trying to attract women and people of color, you're going to have long, long-lasting effects. Unless we intervene now, and I do think we have to start thinking about things like daycare.

I mean, we're now looking at -- right? -- another stimulus program, you were talking about that earlier in the program. We need to factor in child care into that. And even start having a conversation about government-funded child care.

HARLOW: It's far beyond time for that. Joanne, thank you. Margaret, thank you both very, very much for highlight this issue.


We'll be right back.


SCIUTTO: Sure many of you are aware of this. Our nation's teachers are working under extremely difficult circumstances. If you could have imagined, back when the school year started.

HARLOW: Absolutely. The CNN Heroes team is giving the viewers an opportunity to say thank you to all of our teachers. That includes the teachers that are not only going above and beyond for their students, but also expressing gratitude for others.


ALICIA KEYS, MUSICIAN: -- doing a good job, a good job --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've been virtually teaching since March 13th, and will be for the rest of the school year.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Welcome to my dining room classroom.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to take a minute to recognize my heroes. As an elementary assistant principal --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- I really wanted to thank my administrators, my colleagues and our division staff for the way that they have prioritized our health and mental wellness during this time.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The teachers who have come up with such creative, wonderful ways to reach their students through distance learning --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They might just be third and fourth graders in some people's eyes, but I see powerful people with big hearts.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The students who have been working so hard, every day, and we can see that they are --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This teacher appreciates the heck out of them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So I am just so thankful for their grace and understanding and compassion and empathy. Thank you.

KEYS: You're doing a good job, don't get too down. The world needs you now.


HARLOW: We want to know what inspires you, so record a short video, thanking someone who's helping others during this crisis. Post it on Instagram with the hashtag #GoodJobChallenge. You may see it on-air or online.


SCIUTTO: You could also visit CNN Heroes' social media, where they are sharing the full stories of those teachers.

HARLOW: Thank you so much for being with us this week. We'll see you next week. I'm Poppy Harlow.