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Concern Entering Holiday Weekend With Coronavirus Climbing; Employers Struggle To Compete With Virus Unemployment Payments; Texas Naval Base Shooting Appears To Be Terror-Related. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired May 22, 2020 - 05:30   ET



CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Down at a stubbornly slow pace. And a push to reopen doesn't change the reality of the virus.


ANDY SLAVITT, FORMER ACTING ADMINISTRATOR, CENTERS FOR MEDICARE AND MEDICAID SERVICES: The lag time that occurs between the time when we start to see these cases and when they -- when they convert to a really big spike can be a -- can be a matter of weeks. Nothing magic happened while we were staying home. During these lockdown periods it's not like the virus got less contagious or less deadly.


LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: One immediate concern, beaches will be open in states around the country this Memorial Day weekend.

Overnight, the CDC released an estimate that 35 percent of coronavirus infections produce no symptoms at all, and new guidance says the virus spread easily and sustainably between people but not significantly on surfaces or objects.

Huge concern is focused on the south now -- places like Florida where new cases in Palm Beach are projected to nearly quadruple in the next month. And in Texas, the Houston area could see cases skyrocket more than tenfold.


DR. DAVID RUBIN, DIRECTOR OF POLICYLAB, CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL OF PHILADELPHIA: Areas that have moved too quickly, like in the south, they're distancing practice has been -- you know, has eroded more quickly. The value of our forecast is that there's still time to modify behavior because if you wait too long then the risk for some of this resurgence and the -- and this -- and this spike in cases becomes even higher.


ROMANS: Cases are already climbing in North Carolina and in Mississippi where several casinos have reopened. There's also a surge in Alabama. Phased reopenings started weeks ago

and a new safer-at-home order begins tonight that allows schools to reopen in June. There was even an outdoor graduation near Birmingham this week.

A shortage of ICU beds has the mayor of Montgomery concerned.


MAYOR STEVEN REED (D), MONTGOMERY, ALABAMA: If you're from Montgomery and you need an ICU bed you're in trouble. If you're from central Alabama and you need an ICU bed you may not be able to get one because our health care system has been maxed out.


ROMANS: A critical care doctor in Montgomery tells CNN at least one hospital has no ICU beds available now.

JARRETT: Frontline workers and medical officials urging Americans not to act like this crisis is over. Doctors and nurses spoke to House lawmakers just yesterday.


DR. MEGAN RANNEY, EMERGENCY PHYSICIAN AND RESEARCHER: I do not think that we are currently prepared for a second wave. We still lack adequate protective equipment in most hospitals across the country.

TALISA HARDIN, REGISTERED NURSE, UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO MEDICAL CENTER: A lot of us have personally went online and bought our own respirator masks because they weren't provided for us, trying to keep ourselves and our families and patients safe.


JARRETT: One doctor said that lawmakers should focus on consistency in their messaging so that the public can believe them.

Well, gyms in one major city forced to close after shortly reopening, and the Archdiocese of New York has plans to welcome people back slowly. CNN has reporters covering it coast to coast.


DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Dan Simon in San Francisco.

More than 1,200 pastors have signed a petition saying that they will resume in-person services beginning on May 31st. That would be in defiance of the state's current stay-at-home order. The pastors say that those restrictions go too far and that churches should be considered essential.

Now, under Gov. Newsom's plan, churches would be allowed to reopen under phase three. Right now, the state is in phase two. And no word yet on what he may do once those churches reopen. RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Randi Kaye.

The mayor of Fort Lauderdale is now closing all gyms and fitness centers after they just opened days ago. They've been closed for months, they've been losing lots of money, and they've been in somewhat of a standoff with county officials. Now, they are closed again.


Five hundred-seventy employees of the Tyson Foods Wilkesboro, North Carolina poultry plant have tested positive for Covid-19. That's 25 percent of the more than 2,200 employees who were tested.

Tyson says that most of those tests took place at a three-day on-site testing event in early May and that any employee who tested positive received paid time off and also can't return to work until they've met Tyson and CDC standards.

And the plant resumed operations on Tuesday after operating in a limited capacity for the past week.


Another sign New York is looking for ways to reopen, Cardinal Timothy Dolan announced how the city's parishes will reopen in the coming weeks. It's called the Faith Forward plan and the cardinal says it's based on CDC and state guidelines and that will happen in phases.

Some of the changes to expect in the beginning, no distribution of Holy Communion. Holy water and baptismal fonts will be empty. In addition to that, parishioners will have to wear masks and practice social distancing.


Gov. Cuomo had already announced that the state will permit religious gatherings of up to 10 people.


ROMANS: All right, thanks to all of our reporters for those reports.

And some Americans are earning more money not working. Will anything get them back into the workforce?


ROMANS: Millions of Americans have stopped paying their credit card bills and car payments. Credit tracker TransUnion says a record 15 million credit cards were in financial hardship programs in April. That means their lender has allowed them to delay making payments amid the pandemic. Nearly three million auto loans were in these programs.


Layoffs and furloughs have strained families, making it difficult for them to pay bills as unemployment benefits slowly trickle in.

TransUnion notes while hardship programs give consumers temporary relief, banks and lenders are looking for further guidance about what to do next -- what steps to take once stimulus packages dry up.

JARRETT: Well, if you could make more money on unemployment than in the workforce, would you still try to get a job? Some people are saying no, now.

CNN's Kyung Lah reports.



ANDREAS NUNES (ph), RELIABLE STAFFING: How's it going? My name is Andreas and I'm calling from Reliable Staffing.

KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As businesses look to reopen --

NUNES: I will work with you during the Covid situation.

LAH (voice-over): -- job recruiters like Andreas Nunez (ph) search for people to take the jobs. Yet, one out of every five calls he makes --

NUNES: They don't want to come out. They don't want to come out because the prices are right.

LAH (on camera): How does unemployment fit into that piece?

NUNES: People would rather just get the unemployment.

LAH (voice-over): Because in many cases it pays more. Unemployment benefits average more than $350 a week nationwide in state benefits, plus an additional $600 per week in federal stimulus funding.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Before unemployment, I was lucky to make between $250 and $300 a week.

LAH (voice-over): This recent college graduate, who asked her name not be used, was laid off from a bowling alley in Ohio in March. Her untaxed unemployment is three times her old take-home pay.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have been able to pay off my car three months early.

LAH (on camera): You are making more money not working. What is -- what do you think about that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's lessening the stress of going back to work.

LAH (voice-over): Exposure to the virus is the biggest concern, she says, as the economy reopens.

LAH (on camera): If the bowling alley calls and says we want to hire you back but you have this option of unemployment, which one do you choose?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: See, that's actually a hard question. This is the first time I've felt financially stable in a long time but then again, I'm very much the type of person where I like to feel like I'm earning my money in the same way. Like everyone has, in my mind, a right to live comfortably and not have to worry, and I think this level of unemployment money is allowing that to happen.


LAH (voice-over): But that doesn't help employers like Josh Sauder.

SOUDER: I have employees that won't return my calls. I had one employee show up and quit two days later to go back on unemployment.

LAH (voice-over): Souder runs The Drunken Crab in North Hollywood, California. When we met him at the beginning of the coronavirus crisis he had just laid off 75 employees.

SOUDER: I'm worried about having a heart attack, to be perfectly honest with you.

LAH (voice-over): Today, his dining room sits empty, carryout only.

Unemployment verification requests are delivered by the handful.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right. Would you like Ranch with your Cajun fries?

LAH (voice-over): A few employees are back. As far as the others --

SOUDER: The amount of money that people are making on unemployment right now quite honestly is more than what we were paying them before.

LAH (on camera): Do you feel like you're competing with unemployment?

SOUDER: No question. I don't blame them but we do need workers to come back eventually. This is a limited amount of money that you will receive for a limited amount of time that will run out.

LAH (on camera): The federal stimulus money -- the $600 per week -- is set to expire at the end of July.

The unemployed woman you heard from in our story, she said that this entire experience has taught her that her wages and the wages of people who might work in the theater behind me -- well, those wages simply are not high enough in this country, especially if you consider college loans and health care.

Kyung Lah, CNN, Los Angeles.


JARRETT: All right. Thanks to Kyung for such an interesting piece.

Sweeping changes await students whenever they finally return to the classroom. Medical experts say the priority will be keeping the virus away from buildings and campuses. So how do you do that? Well, temperature screenings, staggered arrivals, no sharing supplies, smaller classes -- which, obviously, raises the question where do you put everyone?

Concern about mental health also came up at last night's CNN town hall.


GEOFFREY CANADA, PRESIDENT, HARLEM CHILDREN'S ZONE: And we're going to have a mental health epidemic among our children in this country.

Just think about it. The poorest kids, they know people who died, they know people who are sick. The very air you breathe, the people you pass on the street are suddenly dangerous to you.

All of that trauma is going to come into our schools and into our classrooms, and we really need to prepare for this.


ROMANS: Children with underlying health conditions are especially vulnerable and getting kids to follow social distancing guidelines is not easy. Of course, you can't have parents going back to work if kids are still at home, but that's unlikely to happen quickly without a vaccine.


JARRETT: New York is reexamining camp guidelines for this summer in light of an inflammatory syndrome in children linked to Covid-19.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo unwilling to take the risk of moving too quickly when so much is still unknown about the disease.


GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: Until we have this answer on this pediatric syndrome, as a parent, until I know how widespread this is, I would not send my children to day camp. And if I won't send my children to day camp, I wouldn't ask anybody else to send their children to day camp. It's that simple.


JARRETT: As of now, neighboring state Connecticut is allowing some day camps to run this summer.

We'll be right back.


ROMANS: Officials say Thursday's shooting at a naval air station in Corpus Christie, Texas was terror-related and a potential second person of interest is at large.


The gunman, a 20-year-old male, is believed to have expressed support for terrorist groups online. Sources say he drove to the station and shot a security guard in the chest, hitting her bulletproof vest. He was shot and killed by naval security.

This week, the Justice Department announced the attacker at a Pensacola naval station in December had been in touch with al Qaeda.

JARRETT: Sources telling CNN Secretary of State Mike Pompeo ordered State Department officials to find a way to justify his decision to bypass a congressional freeze on arms sales to Saudi Arabia and fast- track an $8 billion deal last year. Pompeo's demand meant officials had to reverse-engineer the situation to provide justification.

This is all coming to light now after President Trump fired the State Department's inspector general at Pompeo's request.

ROMANS: The U.S. hurricane predictions for 2020 could mean crowded shelters during the pandemic. NOAA is forecasting 13 to 19 named storms, six to 10 of which are expected to become hurricanes. Three to six major hurricanes are expected. An above-average season would be a record-breaking fifth-straight year with increased tropical activity.

JARRETT: Well, for those of you going outside, what's in store for the weather this holiday weekend? Here's Derek Van Dam.


DEREK VAN DAM, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning, Christine and Laura.

The long holiday weekend is finally upon us. Many of you want sunshine, but some of us may have to deal with some unwanted guests at your outdoor parties, namely rain showers.

Today, keep an eye to the sky if you're located across portions of Oklahoma, Texas, and Missouri. That's where we have a slight to enhanced risk of severe storms, including Dallas.

We also have some stronger storms in the forecast across the southeast -- specifically, across north Georgia and into the Carolinas. This is where an abundant amount of moisture is coming in from the Gulf of Mexico and that will allow for rain showers to really inundate our weekend plans, especially across the nation's midsection.

Here's your temperatures for today. Seventy-two for New York City, 85 for Atlanta. Lots of rain through the weekend for Chicago, as well as Houston and Atlanta, but we'll dry things out for the Big Apple come Sunday and Monday.

Back to you.


ROMANS: All right. Thank you for that.

Taking a look at global markets right now, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index down more than five percent, the worst day since 2015. This, on new Beijing would move to pass a hugely controversial national security law for the Asian financial hub.

On Wall Street, futures pointing a little bit lower here. Stocks closed down after another rough day for economic news. Two point four million more Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week bringing the total to 38.6 million -- just a shocking number -- since mid-March.

Existing home sales plunged nearly 18 percent in April. That is the biggest decline in a decade since, of course, the housing crisis.

Royal Caribbean hopes to set sail again as soon as August but only if it's safe. CEO Richard Fain tells CNN the August date isn't definite. The hard part -- the hard-hit cruise line is working with health officials on a plan to resume. Ships will have fewer passengers to allow for social distancing.

Another blow for an iconic retailer. Victoria's Secret is permanently close one-quarter of its stores in the U.S. and Canada over the next few months. It warned more could close over the new few years. These closures come weeks after Victoria's Secret's half-billion-dollar plan to go private was scrapped.

All right, if you haven't logged onto Netflix -- if you're ignoring that subscription, pay attention here. Netflix said it's going to start asking its inactive users if they want to keep their membership. If they don't want it or they don't respond, Netflix will automatically cancel the service.

Netflix said it will reach out to everyone who hasn't watched anything for a year since they joined. Netflix says inactive accounts represent less than half of memberships.

I wonder why they would cancel if they're making money on somebody -- you know, the subscription service? But I guess they're going to clean up the subscription rolls.

JARRETT: Exactly. I can imagine really anyone's ignoring it, especially these days with so many at home.


JARRETT: But you never know.

Well, following the widely successful Michael Jordan documentary, "THE LAST DANCE," ESPN says it will produce a nine-part documentary series on Tom Brady. "THE MAIN IN THE ARENA" will focus on Brady's nine Super Bowl runs with the New England Patriots. It's expected to be released next year.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ladies and gentlemen, it is time for Nurse Rose to go home.


JARRETT: A nurse in the Bronx who beat coronavirus getting a proper send-off there -- home from the hospital. Rose Japitana (ph) was met with a huge crowd at the Jacobi Medical Center in New York. Employees and other well-wishers gave her a big round of applause as she was wheeled out of the hospital and walked into the sunshine. That must have felt good after being in the hospital for so long.

ROMANS: Absolutely, and just a reminder of all these people who are working so hard to keep us safe. We should think of all of them this weekend on this important Memorial Day weekend.

JARRETT: Absolutely.


ROMANS: Thanks for joining us, everybody. I'm Christine Romans.

JARRETT: And I'm Laura Jarrett. "NEW DAY" is next.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hospitals in Montgomery, Alabama reporting they're nearly out of ICU beds.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's, in part, due to the fact that we opened up the economy too soon. I would have liked to have seen a more cautious approach.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think that's the approach we need moving forward is to encourage people to be outdoors where we know that the risk of transmission is much lower.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: There's no doubt that the Moderna trial that you've heard about is still in very early stages.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES, NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH: We saw neutralizing antibodies at a reasonable dose of the vaccine. That's the reason why I'm cautiously optimistic about it.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're going to put out the fires but we're not closing our country.


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