Return to Transcripts main page


Holiday Weekend Raises Concerns Of Coronavirus Spike; Trump Deems Houses Of Worship "Essential" Amid Pandemic; Gatorland In Orlando Set To Reopen Today; CDC Publishes New Pandemic Guidance For Religious Worship; Hertz Files For Bankruptcy After "Dramatic" Drop In Demand; Russia Has Second-Highest Global Number Of Confirmed Cases; British PM Faces Pushback On Quarantine Regulations. Aired 8-9a ET

Aired May 23, 2020 - 08:00   ET


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What's going on in the world take away from your accomplishments. You worked hard, you accomplish these amazing things. So let that shine and don't let coronavirus rein on your parade.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Fantastic advice, and congratulations.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Absolutely. Next hour of NEW DAY starts right now.



DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Memorial Day is a very important holiday. Hopefully, the sun will be out. We'll be having people who want to get out there and get fresh air. You can do that.

Go out. Wear a mask. Stay six feet away from anyone so you have the physical distancing and go out. As long as you're not in a crowd and you're not in a situation where you can physically transmit the virus.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In America we need more prayer not less. Governors need to do the right thing and allow these very important essential places of faith to open right now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Coronavirus patients who are seriously ill and given chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine were more likely to develop abnormal heart rhythms or even die.

TRUMP: hydroxychloroquine try it. If things don't go as planned, it's not going to kill anybody.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY WEEKEND with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul.

PAUL: Good morning to you from sunny Atlanta. I hope you're seeing some sunshine today too as we kick off the holiday weekend together here. Thank you for spending some time with us. This morning, this is the first time in at least 10 weeks that all 50 states have in some capacity reopened. It's Memorial Day weekend, as I said, the unofficial start to summer and there are health experts concerned that these large gatherings you may be planning could lead to a spike in cases.

BLACKWELL: Yes. You understand that after weeks under lockdown so many people will want to be able to go out and enjoy the holiday weekend outdoors, and on each coast beaches are reopening.

PAUL: Now there are a lot of businesses that have opened their doors, but the President, he wants more. Even though the majority of states already allow houses of worship to hold gatherings, he is calling on governors to reopen churches, synagogues, mosques, deeming them essential. And said, he has the authority to override local governments if they don't follow his recommendations.

BLACKWELL: There's also a new study that's found that hydroxychloroquine - this is the drug that the President has touted and taken that it's linked to an increase in death in coronavirus patients.

We will begin with CNN's Polo Sandoval who's following the latest on the efforts to reopen the country this weekend. This holiday weekend he, of course, is in New York. Polo, good to see you. What are you seeing so far this morning?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the streets are emptier very even for a holiday weekend at this hour. And what I can tell you is it is certainly going to be shaping up to be a - little like a Memorial Day weekend unlike any that we've seen before.

Yes, those beaches will be less crowded. There are no big parades, of course, scheduled. But when you hear from the nation's top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci, he says it is OK to leave home and to at least enjoy Memorial Day weekend. However, it is also certainly not the time to throw caution out the door.


SANDOVAL (voice-over): President Trump insists that nation's houses of worship must reopen this weekend. On Friday, he deemed them essential before the CDC unveiled new interim guidance for communities of faith.

The President also said he would override states that resist, though, it's not clear if he has any authority to do so. Some of the nation's governors reminding the Commander-in-chief that reopening decisions fall under states.

GOV. CHRIS SUNUNU (R-NH): It is the governor's decision, of course, and that's why I think he said, look, when the CDC guidance comes out, take a look at the guidance and see what might be possible. That's the approach we're going to take.

SANDOVAL (voice-over): This weekend also marking the symbolic start of summer and a major test for beachside communities that have been preparing for crowds. Many beaches are open on the East and West coasts, though, you can expect social distancing restrictions and capacity limits to be in place.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm excited. I think it's good. I think people need to be outside and enjoying what nature has given us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've been cooped up inside for so long and it's nice to get outside and get a little work in.

SANDOVAL (voice-over): For Florida residents only beaches in hard hit areas like Fort Lauderdale and Miami Dade County will stay closed. As a new study warning, some southern states could see a spike in COVID- 19 cases. In other round of reopening just in time for the holiday weekend South Carolina theme parks are open again, as are bars in Texas with limited capacity and dancing discouraged.

ART HARVEY, WESTLAKE BREWING CO.: We have to do a lot of extra precautions that we didn't have to do before, increased sanitation, hand sanitizing stations. Our staff has to wear masks.

SANDOVAL (voice-over): So, overall, it's OK to venture away from home says the White House's coronavirus response coordinator.

DR. DEBORAH BIRX, WHITE HOUSE COVID-19 TASK FORCE COORDINATOR: -- understand you can go out. You can be outside. You can play golf. You can play tennis with marked balls. You can go to the beaches if you stay six feet apart. But remember that that is your space, and that's the space that you need to protect and ensure that your social distance for others.


SANDOVAL (voice-over): But the White House is expressing concern over the region seeing a high number of COVID cases in cities like Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington despite stay-at-home orders.


SANDOVAL: As for New York City beaches, those are closed to swimmers and also no gatherings on those according to the mayor here. That has certainly field the concern that now you might have some of those New Yorkers headed to area coastline regions here.

But in the meantime we did see a reversal from Governor Cuomo last night. He has now signed an executive order allowing for any kind of non-essential gatherings, talking barbecues and sides, but that's as long as it's kept to 10 people or less, and also as long as people adhere to those protocols, social distancing, disinfecting and whatever.

BLACKWELL: All right. Polo Sandoval for us there in New York. Thank you Polo.

PAUL: Thanks Polo. So for the first time in 20 years, AAA isn't issuing a Memorial Day travel forecast. They say the data that they used to make predictions is clearly off because of the coronavirus. BLACKWELL: But there was a release this week in which the company says drivers will see the cheapest Memorial Day gas prices in almost two decades. They say the last time the average national gas price was under $2 a gallon was on a holiday in 2003.

PAUL: So what that note, CNN's Pete Muntean, recently went on this road trip of his own and he discovered a few things that he says we should know about if we're thinking about hitting the road. We take a look.


PETE MUNTEAN, CNN TRANSPORTATION CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Road trip. I set out on I-95 toward Virginia Beach. It, along with some beaches in New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland, are open for the holiday weekend.

MUNTEAN (on camera): This is like always the big linchpin in 95. We're breezing through right now. This is easy.

MUNTEAN (voice-over): But University of Maryland researchers say road trips are nearing pre-pandemic levels last weekend, climbing 18 percent in Maryland and Virginia alone. Travel firm INRIX thinks typical traffic will return in some spots this weekend, a driving holiday that's become difficult to forecast.

JEANETTE CASSELANO, PUBLIC AFFAIRS DIRECTOR AAA: For the first time in nearly two decades AAA is not releasing a travel forecast, because the economic data is just not readily available for us to do so.

MUNTEAN (voice-over): Researchers do say that the car is about the safest way to get around right now, but it's one you stop where things get more difficult.

MUNTEAN (on camera): When you see what this is like.

MUNTEAN (voice-over): The rest stops are open in Virginia. But that can vary state to state. The CDC underscores wearing a mask and washing your hands when traveling. Here, crews are cleaning bathrooms every hour.

KELLY HANNON, VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION: We want people to be reassured that they can come in here and they can have a place that is going to be clean for them--

MUNTEAN (on camera): Of course, an essential part of a road trip is a snack and AAA says, be mindful of the buttons that you press on a vending machine. Maybe use a card instead of cash, they say, especially after you use something like that make sure you hand sanitize afterward.

MUNTEAN (voice-over): Weekend gas prices are the lowest in more than 15 years according to AAA.

MUNTEAN (on camera): One more thing to think about on your road trip, all of the things that you touch at a gas pump - the nozzle, the key pad, one researcher telling me maybe use a knuckle to hit these buttons or use it on a touchscreen that's better than your fingertips. They emphasize make sure that you wash up afterwards or maybe touch all of this with a paper towel or even gloves.

QINGYAN CHEN, PURDUE UNIVERSITY: Well, I don't think that people understand the risk very well.

MUNTEAN (voice-over): The big concern from health experts that quarantine fatigue will lead to more travel and spread coronavirus even further.

PAUL ROUX, TRAVELER: I think people are just getting fed up of being close in all those winter months and now want getting out.

MUNTEAN (on camera): Doing any traveling for Memorial Day?


MUNTEAN (on camera): No, staying home?



BLACKWELL: Pete Muntean for us there. Thank you, Pete.

Let's go to Orlando now. Some theme parks now have the approval to reopen. Universal plans to welcome back visitors on June 5th. The first of the major parks to announce a date. Now, the mayor of Orange County of Florida there also gave the OK to a dozen smaller local attractions. One of them, Gatorland plans to start welcoming back guests today, of course with some new rules in place. They say that they can keep their employees and the visitors safe and have fun while doing it.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Our staff, led by the Social Distancing Skunk Ape, will be watching to make sure everyone stays six feet apart.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's a - I feel much safer. Thank you, Social Distancing Skunk Ape.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Man, he's insistent that you stay distant.


BLACKWELL: All right, we're going to talk about the Skunk Ape in just a moment. But let me bring in the President and CEO of Gatorland, Mark McHugh. Mark, good to have you on the show.

MARK MCHUGH, PRESIDENT AND CEO, GATORLAND: Hey, good morning everyone. Great to be here. Thank you.

[08:10:00] BLACKWELL: So you have got the green light to open. You're starting today. Give me an idea of what you're going to put in place to make sure that your employees and your visitors are safe?

MCHUGH: We're excited. We've put together a 32 page, very detailed operational plan of working in the COVID - post-COVID world. We've submitted that to Orange County, our local county and the Mayor, Mayor Demings. And his task force reviewed that, approved that, certified it and they sent it to the state and it's now duly filed with the state.

We have implemented a temperature check program with our employees, face mask - mandatory face mask program with our employees. We have social distancing placards all over our park. We introduced him about a - over a 100 additional hand sanitizing stations. We had hand sanitizers everywhere to begin with. You can't even turn around without running into one now.

And we're asking all of our guests when they come in to certify to us that they do not have any symptoms of COVID, that they've not traveled internationally in the last two weeks and that they agree that we have the right to take their temperature as well. So we've been planning and working on this for many, many weeks. We're so excited to be able get back open.

BLACKWELL: Hey Mark, the Skunk Ape got to a bit of my next question, but a lot of people are going to be coming to your park and others as a way to escape what's been going over - going on over the last couple of months. How do you make sure that the experience is still fun and not just an exercise in following rules?

MCHUGH: Well, first of all, we're very serious about safety. And all that seriousness and all of our safety operations are going to be running at - a lot of it in the background. We have introduced the social distancing Skunk Ape by just chance. His wingspan is six feet from fingertip to fingertip. So he's going to be our little mascot.

He'll be going around the park. And like the video, he won't be touching people, but he's going to be a fun way to help us maintain these social distancing guidelines and all of our safety guidelines here in the park.

BLACKWELL: As we put the rules up on the screen, you are requiring the employees to wear face masks, but not the guests. We know that the face mask were worn not primarily to protect the person who's wearing it, but from everyone else from their aerosol. What went into the decision to not require the guests to wear them?

MCHUGH: Well, they had difficulty enforcing that in in our locality here, but we are strongly recommending face masks as part of the signage that they'll see when they come up and we're giving away free face masks to the guests that aren't wearing one. We're going to offer them one.

So, we're going to do the best we can to encourage our visitors to wear masks. We think that's important. It's just been difficult to enforce a mandatory mask policy in our region. BLACKWELL: I understand or expect at least that a lot of these changes cost a lot of money. Will visitors, will guest see an increase in ticket prices?

MCHUGH: No, this is just the cost of doing business these days. I think businesses need to implement all of these safety programs and it's not something that we're going to pass to our customers. We want our customers coming back out, same pricing we had before. We've got a 50 percent discount to Florida residents, our way of saying thank you for 70 years of supporting Gatorland here in this community.

BLACKWELL: Mark, I know we only got a couple of seconds left, but you've got some gators there behind you and I understand you have some meat nearby too.

MCHUGH: Yes, we're going to start feeding them. This is Thrasher over here. He was sneaking out and trying to get me a while ago. You got Craftsman directly behind me Scuba Steve over here. That's a bunch of their friends back there. So, yes, Savannah and Mike have been trying to keep them from sneaking up here on me trying to grab me. Alligators are funny that way.

BLACKWELL: Listen, I've been to Gatorland when I lived in Florida for quite a while. Mark McHugh, it's good to have you on. Good luck with this reopening. Thanks so much for your time this morning.

MCHUGH: Thank you. Everybody come out and see us, and everybody be safe and healthy. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Certainly. Coming up this hour, an Oxford University's COVID-19 vaccine goes into Phase II clinical trials.

PAUL: CNN speaks to two brave volunteers who received the experimental treatment already, we'll talk to them.

Also, parents you're heading back to work, which means kids have to head back to daycare. There are some changes you need to know about in centers across the country. We'll tell you more.



PAUL: So President Trump is calling on governors to move up their timeline to reopen houses of worship, he says they're essential.

BLACKWELL: Allowing religious gatherings is up to state and local officials, religious leaders as well. And really look at the map, all but three, the states in red, are allowing religious services to go on in some form. So that's 47 states plus the District of Columbia that are allowing it to happen. But President Trump says he wants houses of worship back open this weekend and will, his word, override governors who do not comply.

PAUL: CNN's Kristen Holmes is at the White House right now. So Kristen talk to us about the way that is behind the President deeming places of worship essential?

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christi and Victor. Well, when it comes to actual legal action, we haven't been able to find any that President Trump can take, and the administration really has not provided any to us.

But this is the latest in this kind of battle between federal and state officials, who is actually responsible for what, and does state or federal have power over actually reopening. Remember, just weeks ago that we were having the same conversation over states opening in general. President Trump saying that he was in charge of when states reopened.

Of course, we know since then, that wasn't true and the states have gone on their own timeline, some of them quicker, some of them slower. So this is just the latest in this kind of push-pull that we've seen. But listen to what President Trump said when it comes to places of faith.


TRUMP: The governors need to do the right thing and allow these very important essential places of faith to open right now for this weekend. If they don't do it, I will override the governors.



HOLMES: So, when you look at this, obviously, same language here, override, I can do that. But we talked about the power dynamic. Let's talk about why this is important. This is coming at the same time that the CDC is putting out guidance of high transmission rates at church events. That's one part of this.

The other part of this is that the CDC did issue some guidelines. I want to pull this up here for our viewers who might be planning to attend some of these institutions this weekend. This is the guidance from the top health agency. It says promote social distancing, limit sharing objects and clean daily, provide soap and sanitizer.

So for anyone planning on attending any of these faith institutions over the weekend, they should be looking for at least some of this guidance as they head into that. Again, coming at a time where the CDC is saying that it's very dangerous still to get into those large church events without that social distancing.

PAUL: All righty. Kristen Holmes, live from the White House for us. Always good to see you, Kristen, thank you.

BLACKWELL: The economic crisis is hitting the travel industry and we've discussed it this morning very hard. Now, a major rental car company is being pushed into bankruptcy. What this filing by Hertz means for the company and others like it.

PAUL: And our Clarissa Ward talks participants in coronavirus vaccine trials about why they are willing to face the risks.



BLACKWELL: Another high profile company, this time Hertz, is turning to bankruptcy to deal with the economic impact of COVID-19.

PAUL: Yes, the rental car company is blaming a drop in travel demand that they say was "sudden and dramatic." CNN's Alison Kosik is following this. So, Alison, I want to just give some clarity here. Hertz is not going out of business, but what is our takeaway from this move?

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you Christi and Victor. You know, you look at what's happening with the entire car rental industry, it's literally getting crushed because people aren't traveling. This pandemic, of course, hitting right at the time - for Hertz, at least, when it was doing pretty well.

Looking at how it was doing since the beginning of the year in January and February it posted a 6 percent increase in revenue. But once this pandemic hit, it just couldn't handle it. So, yes, it filed for bankruptcy protection. Its bankruptcy protection, meaning that it's going to go ahead and reorganize its debt and try to move through this process and still survive.

When you look at what happened with Hertz, most of its revenue, two- thirds of it, comes from those airport locations. But with fewer people flying and fewer people needing rental cars that huge chunk of revenue is gone.

The other significant area where we're Hertz gets its revenue, people who are having their vehicles repaired from being in car accidents. Well, that's happening less and less as people work from home and drive their cars less.

Adding to the pain in all this for Hertz, there's been a sharp drop in used car prices. So that means it's decreased the value of its fleet, so you kind of roll this all into one, Hertz looked at its picture, which - it's financial picture, which by the way it's carrying $17 billion in debt, it went ahead and filed for bankruptcy protection late last night. Christi and Victor?

PAUL: All right, Alison Kosik, good to see you this morning. Thank you for the update.

KOSIK: Sure.

BLACKWELL: South America has now become an epicenter of the global coronavirus pandemic, that's according to the World Health Organization. One of the worst countries hit there, Brazil.

PAUL: Yes the hospitals are just overwhelmed. The mayor of Sao Paulo says it will only get worse if people don't start social distancing right now. Brazil has more than 330,000 confirmed cases, more than 22,000 deaths and just this morning, Russia surpassed Brazil's numbers. Here are our correspondents with the details.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Matthew Chance. And as Russia's coronavirus infections spike up more than 9,000 today according to official figures to nearly 336,000 cases, the popularity of its President continues to plunge. Pollsters say Vladimir Putin's approval ratings have dropped from over 80 percent to just 59, an all-time low.

This is Russian officials praise humanitarian cooperation with the United States. Moscow receiving a first shipment of American ventilators earlier this week. It was only last month, remember, that Russia was sending medical aid to the U.S.



NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: I'm Nic Robertson in London where the Prime Minister is facing pushback over new quarantine regulations due to come into force June the 8th that will require anyone coming into the U.K. to isolate for 14 days. The fine could be for breaking term is up to $1,200. There could be further prosecutions beyond that.

But what the government is facing now is pushback from the business community who are saying it would be bad for business. There are exceptions to those quarantine terms for emergency workers and for truckers coming into the country.

The Prime Minister, facing pushback as well, one of his senior advisers was seen during a period where he was isolated with symptoms of the coronavirus a few months ago, visiting his parents 250 miles away against the terms of a lockdown in the U.K., the Prime Minister coming under heat to fire that top adviser.

In the meantime, the Prime Minister preparing for a possible G7 in the United States. He will be keen to see President Trump to first free trade agreement he's negotiating right now with the United States.


PAUL: All right, Nic Robertson, Matthew Chance thank you both so much.

Want to talk about this potential vaccine being developed at the University of Oxford. It's one of those possibilities that has reached the clinical trial phase. And after a successful initial trial, officials are recruiting thousands of adults and children to participate in the next phase.


BLACKWELL: CNN's Clarissa Ward spoke with two volunteers in the early trials to find out why they think this is a risk worth taking?


CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It is the oldest university in the English-speaking world. But Oxford University may soon be better known for taking a big step forward in the global race to develop a vaccine against COVID-19.

Graduate student Dan McAteer is one of more than 1,000 volunteers who signed up to be subjects in the first round of human trials. All participants had to be between 18 and 55, and in excellent health. Half were given the experimental COVID-19 vaccine, and half were given a control vaccine.

DAN MCATEER, OXFORD VACCINE TRIAL VOLUNTEER: I, like all of, us felt very much impotent and powerless in the middle of a pandemic. So, I thought this sounds like maybe I can contribute in some way.

WARD (voice-over): Mother of two, Lydia Guthrie had her inoculation three weeks ago.

LYDIA GUTHRIE, OXFORD VACCINE TRIAL VOLUNTEER: I did have a few moments beforehand of thinking, whoa, you know, I might be injected with this experimental vaccine. That sounds like something out of a science fiction film. But we're all having to make decisions about risk.

WARD (voice-over): Guthrie says she experienced some side effects similar to a mild flu. Next week, she will go back for her first blood test.

GUTHRIE: We have an e-diary system, so every day I get an e-mail as a prompt to log in and complete a short questionnaire about my health and well-being. I also complete a questionnaire about my daily activities.

WARD (voice-over): The vaccine's developers have made some bold predictions, saying it could be mass produced as early as September. But some experts have cast doubt on that optimism, pointing to test results on monkeys, while none of the vaccinated animals suffered from pneumonia after being injected with COVID-19, they did still contract the virus.

Jenner Institute director professor Adrian Hill says the data has been misconstrued.

ADRIAN HILL, DIRECTOR, JENNER INSTITUTE: We are very confident that the result in those monkeys is as good as we could've hoped for.

WARD (on camera): Is the goal of this vaccine to create immunity, or is it simply to prevent the worst symptoms?

HILL: So, I think it will likely to be one of the other. It doesn't work at all or it works against infection and disease. That's certainly how vaccines work.

WARD (voice-over): McAteer concedes he will be disappointed if the vaccine doesn't work. MCATEER: If you are part of something and you've given it your time and it's been a subject of a bit of anxiety, of course, because there are risks attached, of course, you want your vaccine to succeed. But fundamentally, we just need a vaccine to succeed or even better multiple vaccines to succeed.

WARD (voice-over): In the end, the real race is against the virus and time. Clarissa Ward, CNN, Oxford.


BLACKWELL: We've got some breaking news. This is coming in from San Francisco. Right now firefighters are battling a four-alarm warehouse fire. This is on Pier 45. It's just been contained to just a section of the pier, but a quarter of it has now - has been lost.


PAUL: Officials say, this is the fire that spread to two buildings now on the pier. Here are some of the latest pictures that we are getting. But look at this fire. These are live pictures of what's happening there right now. This is, they say, as well a fire that is in danger of spreading to a third building.

There is no word yet as to the cause of what you're looking at, but this historic pier is in heart of the Fishermen's Wharf neighborhood, and its hauled the two historic war vessels, the SS Jeremiah O'Brien and the U.S.S. Pampanito, both were used during World War II. We have not heard of the specific damage to those yet.

But, again, live pictures coming to us. Thank you to KGO for the pictures. But you can see how expansive that blaze is right now and the job firefighters have in front of them. We will keep you updated, and hoping everybody stays safe through this.

So as states reopen, children across the country are going to go back to daycare. I know a lot of you are wondering is it safe. We're having that conversation next.



BLACKWELL: Let's talk about cost of the pandemic that really doesn't get a lot of attention, missed vaccinations. The World Health Organization says that as many as 80 million babies worldwide have not gotten their routine childhood vaccines.

PAUL: Yes. And without those shots, the W.H.O. warns the coronavirus could then spark another outbreak from a different disease. We're getting this information as we talk about daycares across the country that are making big changes to keep your kids safe as states reopen.

Here's how things might look different when you go back. Each child will receive temperature checks. Class sizes will be reduced, toys will be cleaned and handwashing will take place after each play session outdoors.


Lea Austin is the Executive Director of the Center for the Study of ChildCare Employment at the University of California-Berkeley, she's with us now. Lea, thank you so much again for getting up early for us. We appreciate it.

I think there's one question that people just want to know. I know that it is probably dependent on each facility, so I don't know if there's a universal answer to this. But are kids going to be safe if they go back to daycare?

LEA AUSTIN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR THE STUDY OF CHILDCARE EMPLOYMENT: Well, providers across the country are doing what they can to try and meet CDC guidelines and provide safe child care. But the reality is, in the middle of this pandemic, child care is not a safe space and it's not only for the kids we have to think about. We have to think about their teachers and the people who are working with that. And we have to think about their communities.

So we know, for example, that statistically speaking, children are less vulnerable to COVID-19, although we're learning much more about the impact now on young children, particularly very young children who can have symptoms sometimes those can be life threatening. But it's also the women who are working in those programs.

This is a workforce that are nearly all women, over 90 percent of people who are child care teachers and they are members of the communities who we know are being disproportionately impacted by this virus.

Early childhood teachers in this country are earning incredibly low wages - poverty level wages. So they're among our lowest income communities. And across the country about 40 percent of them are black and brown women. In some states like California, most of our early childhood workforce are black and brown women, and we know those communities are being particularly impacted by this virus. So we also have to think about their well-being and safety.

PAUL: Absolutely, the well-being of everybody in that building. And speaking of that, and you are talking about the wages. You compare that to the cost of child care. For people who don't know, I just want to give you a real clear picture about this. The average cost of child care in Illinois, for example, according to Child Care Aware, which is an annual - has an annual cost of daycare center, averages $13,762 for an infant, more than $24,000 for an infant and a four-year-old annually.

Compare that to a public four-year university tuition there is $13,900. Average annual mortgage payments there in Illinois, just below $20,000. For single parents, that's on average 51 percent plus of their income that goes to center based infant child care. So parents surely cannot manage a cost increase if centers have to adjust the ratios say of children to child care workers, because they're talking about who are children per group. per classroom. Is funding from the federal government the only option right now to help?

AUSTIN: Absolutely. It is the only option, and really that's the option we also needed pre-pandemic and this crisis of child care has just been exacerbated by this pandemic. We have a system where parents cannot afford the cost of child care and the true costs actually ends up getting subsidized with the low wages of teachers.

And so these things seem at odds with each other, but when you realize how the funds get distributed to your overhead and all of those things, when you have what's left for your teaching staff, that doesn't go very far. You have to have smaller ratios, smaller groups of children already in child care centers. So you have higher staff costs. And that, in this kind of new way of managing child care, is only going to be exacerbated.

Plus, the added cost of cleaning and PPE and these sorts of things. So there really has to be federal intervention both immediately as we think about a bailout to sustain this industry and going forward, so we have a system that is working for parents who need it and you have to go to work. That it's working for the kids in those programs as well as for the teachers who are working with children.

PAUL: All right. Lea Austin there in California for us. Thank you again for getting up early. We appreciate it and best of luck to you. Thank you.

AUSTIN: Thank you for having me.

PAUL: Of course. And if you've had a child at home through quarantine, we're wondering how you feel about them going back to school or going back to daycare. If you're a teacher, do you have any trepidations about a full classroom? Are you ready to go back? We want to hear your thoughts and feelings about this situation. So tweet me @Christi_Paul. You can also get me on Instagram. We're going to share some of your responses there tomorrow on NEW DAY.

BLACKWELL: Up next backyard barbecues, soccer, swimming, if you're looking to just get out and enjoy the outdoors. We've got an expert who gives you some advice on how to do it safely.



BLACKWELL: It is the unofficial start to summer, Memorial Day weekend. The holiday may be a chance to unwind from the stress of the pandemic, but make sure that you follow whatever local rules are in place for gatherings where you live.

PAUL: Yes. For instance, if you do have a small gathering. Erin Bromage, an Associate Professor of Biology at the University of Massachusetts shared some things we need to keep in mind.


First of all, that backyard barbecue, bring your own food and don't let people put their hands into a bullet chips toward the mouth and back again. If you're doing burgers or hotdogs. The good news is heat is, obviously, very good at killing this virus, so communal cooking works.

But make sure the food goes straight to the plate of whoever is eating it. And consider having everyone sitting on the opposite side of the biggest thing you can put between them like a big fire pit or a big table.

BLACKWELL: So that's a good one. Let's talk about sports. Maybe you want to stick to soccer for this. It's better to just kick a ball around and dealing with something going from hand to hand. And if you want to go to the pool, it's not believed that it'll spread through properly maintained pool water, but social distancing is still important in and around the pool.

While outdoors, Professor Bromage recommends having masks nearby. If it's just a quiet afternoon between two households, he says, they're not necessarily needed as long as you maintain distance and there's no one among you who is at high risk.

PAUL: And finally when it does come to that cold beer, that glass of wine, they say be careful with alcohol because you don't want to loosen up too much with a drink and then forget about keeping track of the social distancing rules. And mouth on cups or bottles and glasses, they can be a potential spot where somebody can catch an infection, so make sure that when you're done everything is in the garbage safely.

BLACKWELL: All good advice.

PAUL: Yes, it is. So what do fat cats, falling lights, missing pants and a hairy knee have in common?

BLACKWELL: I thought about it for the answer to that. It's the last hour, but I want to keep my job, so I will skip.

PAUL: I was saying, I don't even want to know people at home are saying to that question. But there are - those are just a few of the surprises that are challenging broadcasters who are facing some difficulties and dicey situations during this pandemic.

BLACKWELL: Yes. And now our home studio backdrops are being beaten upon, criticized, scrutinized.

PAUL: Yes.

BLACKWELL: Here is Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Whether it's a cat on a weather forecasters lap.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That is a big cat.

MOOS (voice-over): Or wallpaper. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At home.

MOOS (voice-over): So loud it makes your head hurt. These dispatches from home give viewers plenty to read into.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You got the book--


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You seem very smart.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going for a prison library.

MOOS (voice-over): Even a prison library wouldn't put up with Bill Crystal's messy books.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Look at that, color, color books. What should I read tonight? How about something blue?

MOOS (voice-over): A Chicago weather man was caught reading with his hairy knee exposed, nabbed at home wearing shorts.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Try to get to Paul in just a little bit and we'll be right back after this.

MOOS (voice-over): And viewers aren't just watching Room Rater @ratemyskyperoom is judging.


MOOS (voice-over): The Room Rater gave Tom Friedman's backdrop four out of 10 saying, "It's like panic room meet after hours club." He gave Governor Christie zero.

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R-NJ): Just a gratuitous shot.

MOOS (voice-over): Repaint, burn the furniture, make masks from the drapes. Rater, Claude Taylor has no interior design credentials. He's just creating--

CLAUDE TAYLOR, CO-FOUNDER, ROOM RATER: Lighthearted social distancing content.

MOOS (voice-over): He picks up on toilet paper and crooked lampshades. Advises reposition plant to block vent, after he suggested to Peter Baker, "For God's sake man hang something on that picture hook." Baker hung two somethings. one of them on a door.

And when the rater gave Ken Burns a nine for his attic.


MOOS (voice-over): Ken Burns himself let the rater know it's a barn. Everybody's a critic.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wait, this guy have a framed picture of himself? MOOS (voice-over): Yes. Chris Cillizza tells us it's a photo of his

first appearance on CNN some 15 years ago.

How about home judging is enough to drive a reporter outside to clown around? But even outside isn't safe.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's not exactly clear how is it - it's a little windy out here, Andrea.

MOOS (voice-over): We give the lights a 10 for falling so symmetrically. Jeannie Moos, CNN, New York.


PAUL: Man, just glad, she's OK. That could have been bad. All right. Coming up at 10:00 Graceland calls itself the second most recognized home in America after the White House, of course. As it reopens, the question is, will guests be able to stay safe and enjoy themselves in this era of social distancing. The attractions owner is talking to us about that. It's not about Elvis. He was busy apparently.

BLACKWELL: All right let's get back to the breaking news. This is out of San Francisco.

Firefighters fighting this four-alarm warehouse fire. This is on Pier 45. We've got live pictures here courtesy of KGO. The fire has been contained to just the section there of the pier but a quarter of the pier - KPIX now with some video for us - has been lost.


PAUL: I mean boy you see it from that angle. Officials say this fire spread to two buildings on the pier. It's in danger of spreading to a third. No word yet on the cause of the fire. But we know this historic pier is in the heart of the Fisherman's Wharf neighborhood and it's home to two historic war vessels there as well. So they were both used in World War II, so we'll keep our eye on that for you.

BLACKWELL: We'll see you back here at 10:00 Eastern.