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Coronavirus Hitting Black Communities Harder Than Others; Small Business Loan Program Plagued By Glitches; MLB Considering Playing Games At Single Location. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired April 07, 2020 - 12:30   ET



VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: And then it's spread everywhere. This is a disease, the numbers for the black community are going to be completely different than the numbers coming out of China or Italy, because it's an epidemic jumping on top of a bunch of other epidemics already in the black community.

We already have an epidemic of high blood pressure, which is lethal if you get this disease. Nobody is saying that. We already have an epidemic of asthma, obesity, et cetera. In other words, you got to start saying to your black relatives, your black friends, do you take pills every day? If you take pills every day, are you supposed to? Get your butt in the house and don't come out because you are going to die.

Well, I'm not 80 years old. I don't -- no. It's not just age. In our community, it's going to be are you sick. And black people are underinsured, underemployed and barely healthy on a good day because of things that were just mentioned. We have to change the discussion. We can't say comorbidities that doesn't mean anything to the people who are in harm's way.

The people who are in harm's way, do you take pills every day? Do you got sugar, diabetes, do you got pressure, high blood pressure, hypertension? You could die in a week. You could not be here. You've got to start screaming this to the black community or we're going to have a catastrophe on your hands here.

JOHN KING, CNN HOST: And Laura Barron-Lopez, some of the politicians are starting to try to get more attention. I want you to listen here to the Governor of Illinois, who gets the statistics and agrees with Dr. Jones about where it's coming from.


GOV. J.B. PRITZKER (D-IL): Communities of color and particularly black communities in the City of Chicago, suburban Cook County, and cities and towns all across our state, disproportionately shoulder the health care conditions that lead to worse outcomes with COVID-19. That's a product of generations of systemic disinvestment.


KING: He talks about the generations Laura. Again, I want to show you the Illinois numbers because I just think people need to understand by looking at the numbers and understanding the disproportionality of this. Fifteen percent of the population of Illinois is African- American, 29 percent, double the population essentially percentage in the cases. And then 42 percent of the deaths.

You've been doing a lot of reporting on this issue. Everybody is in crisis mode right now, trying to protect their citizens, trying to get their hospital supply they need. Do the politicians get it for the long term or will this fade when COVID is shoved aside by some other crisis?

LAURA BARRON-LOPEZ, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, what's really key to ensure that this is something that doesn't get brushed aside after coronavirus is more contained is that data and there's a lack of data right now. And this has been a long issue in the public health sector. Public health experts, epidemiologist have long warned about this.

They've said that when a pandemic like this comes, we do not have this structures in place. It's piecemeal data collections specifically on race and ethnicity across the state. There's elements were the chain of reporting, race and ethnicity gets broken down, whether it's the physician not writing it down because they're overwhelmed during a pandemic, or once it gets to the testing lab. Testing labs, a lot of them actually don't even have a space where the physician can write in ethnicity.

So that leaves populations such as the Latino population potentially having nowhere to put their ethnicity when a physician is inputting that. So there's a lot of note, there's lots of lacking data right now, when it comes to this and that's important. It's important to have those numbers because then the policymakers I was talking to whether it's a local, state, or federal say that only then once they have that information, can they make decisions about where the federal funding is going, whether or not resources need to be redirected to different communities, to minority communities if they're being hit harder?

And so that's really the key question right now. And states like New York actually told me that they hadn't been collecting the data up to this point and that they are going to on race and ethnicity moving forward. Also Pennsylvania, admitted that they just aren't collecting race and ethnic data at all, which was stunning.

KING: Laura, Van, Dr. Jones, thank you for your time today. Come back. Make sure go ahead, Van, go ahead.

JONES: Just a few things. One thing that every governor can do is to reduce the prison population. You can get people home safely. You can put ankle bracelets on, that's going to be a big, big problem. All those people sitting there in jails are going to get sick and bring that back out. And another thing, rush the respirators to black communities, rush the master black communities, we already know where it's going to blow up. Let's get there first. KING: All three of you, appreciate it.


KING: Please, please. Absolutely, Dr. Jones, please.

C. JONES: Right. So what I have to say is when we get these numbers, we can't just sit on them. We must act because one of the most inefficient nefarious ways that racism operates is through inaction in the face of need. So we cannot just be documenting these numbers. We must get the resources there and the information in the communities that are hardest hit.


KING: Let me make a promise, all three of you, let's stay on top of this not only in the several weeks ahead, but in the months ahead and let's come back to it as we need to and don't be afraid to kick the tires. Don't be afraid to kick the tires, that's what we're here for. All right, thank you all appreciate it very much.

Up next, we head around the world, the prime minister in intensive care, Japan issues a state of emergency, France warning, things are about to get worse. Details ahead.



KING: Just moments ago, the British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab gave an update on the condition of the U.K.'s Prime Minister. Currently, Boris Johnson in the intensive care unit being treated for coronavirus. Raab said Johnson is not on a ventilator but is receiving oxygen treatment. He describes the Prime Minister as in good spirits. Raab added quote, if he knows one thing about this Prime Minister, he is a fighter.

Some hopeful news coming out of Italy, the Italian Protection Agency reports the number of active coronavirus cases in Italy is at its lowest level since March 10th. From Asia to Europe our international correspondents, Will Ripley, Jim Bittermann, and Frederik Pleitgen, Pleitgen, excuse me, spread out across the globe to show you how other countries are now coping.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Here in Tokyo this hour, a state of emergency is now in effect, the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe asking the public to comply. This is a request by the government. This is not police patrolling the streets, forcing people to stay inside but it is a very strongly worded warning that if Tokyo does not reduce human to human contact by 70 to 80 percent right now, this city, which currently has an official number of 1,200 infections will have 10,000 infections in two weeks, 80,000 infections in a month. This is from the prime minister and these are Japan's official estimates. Keep in mind, there's a lot of skepticism about the current tally of 1,200 cases here in Tokyo because of Japan's extremely limited testing. We actually don't know for sure how many people are walking around in this city asymptomatic. What we do know is that this is going to take a big toll on Japan's already struggling economy.

Japanese government also unveiling a nearly $1 trillion stimulus package hoping to stave off some of the economic damage for families and small businesses and corporations, as many of them are now closing their doors, as many people are staying home. Trying to prevent a catastrophe here in the Japanese capital.

Will Ripley, CNN, Tokyo.

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR EUROPEAN CORRESPONDENT: Here in France, the Health Minister was on French radio this morning saying that we have not yet reached the peak of the coronavirus epidemic. He said, there's still a ways to go. And that after a spike in the number of deaths in the last 24 hours, as opposed to the previous days in which the number of guests was going down, as well as the number of admissions to the intensive care units.

The Health Minister said that the confinement matrix here will go on as long as necessary. And in that regard, the mayor of Paris said today that there's going to be no further sports activity between the hours of 10:00 in the morning and 7:00 at night. Apparently, she and other people felt that there was far too much socializing going on during these sporting outings and not enough social distancing.

And in another regard as showing how much the confinement is going to affect just about everybody here, the mayors of Nice and Paris are saying, they're going to be shortly distributing masks. We don't know what kind of masks these are, but they're going to be distributed free to all French citizens. And in fact, they're supposed to be warned when you're out in public places.

Jim Bittermann, CNN, just outside Paris.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Frederik Pleitgen in Berlin, where Germany is now warning that the death toll from COVID-19 in this country could rise very, very quickly, very soon. The German Center for Disease Control says the reason for that is that more and more elderly people are coming down with coronavirus. They say that's because it's really creeping into retirement homes for instance, in this country.

One of the things about Germany so far is that it has a lot of confirmed coronavirus cases. In fact, the German Center for Disease Control said today it's almost 100,000 people who have been confirmed to have coronavirus, but the death toll is still fairly low in this country. One reason the Germans say is because of elaborate testing in this country. But they also say that the hospital system here is very good.

And in fact, also today, the authorities here were saying that there are definitely enough ventilators and ICU beds to treat everyone who comes down with coronavirus.


KING: Nearly two weeks after Congress passed that massive coronavirus stimulus plan, one of the legislations signature programs remains plagued by glitches and other problems. The Small Business Administration's new loan program is supposed to help give small businesses with nearly $350 billion in direct assistance. But the system used to process the loans crashed on Monday, leaving companies in limbo at a time they desperately need that money.

Joining me now is CNN congressional correspondent, Phil Mattingly. Phil, so it's a big program. Small businesses are desperate for the money but we've had hiccups to say the least.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, there's no question about it. Look, put it all in context here doing $350 billion in loans through financial -- right now that they're about to fall off a cliff. The volume has been enormous. The undertaking of trying to put this program together, get it online, and get the money out the door in the course of basically a week is something that most federal government agencies have never encountered before.


And the issues because of that are very real. On the lender side, you've had banks that aren't clear on what the guidelines are. So they've been wary in terms of how expansive they're willing to actually lend money. On the small business side, they've had difficulties getting in touch with lenders, getting their applications in, a lot of sites have gone down or have been taken offline as they've tried to implement the new guidelines from the Treasury Department.

In fact, just last night at 10:30 p.m., more than four days after the program was running, the Treasury Department was still putting out guidelines. And you mentioned that internal SBA, Small Business Administration, site, John, that banks need to actually get their loans online. That has gone down several times, including for a lengthy period yesterday, it's been beset by problems.

But one thing to keep in mind. The Trump administration is about to ask for more money for this program. Lawmakers believe this program will work and the glitches will get worked out. If you want to know how important it is, the administration is going back for more. They know how crucial this program is to helping with what everybody is dealing with right now, they just needed to get fully online and working, John.

KING: Hopefully, they get their money they need and they get the systems working a little better as well too. Phil Mattingly appreciate the update there.

Up next for us, Major League Baseball reportedly working on a plan to return as early as sometime in May. But a return would be with some major changes to the game. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


KING: Major League Baseball now reportedly working on a plan to play ball in May. But if it does return that soon, the games could look very, very different.

CNN's sports anchor, Andy Scholes joins us now with more on this plan. Really Andy, baseball in May?

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Well, I mean, it's something that they're definitely discussing, John. And, you know, the idea of getting all the teams from a sport together and playing in one central location, you know, it's not a new idea of fans and be kicking that around for the NBA. "Sportsnet's" Elliotte Friedman has said the NHL had discussed playing the rest of their season in postseason in the State of North Dakota.

And now we've got multiple reports saying that Major League Baseball and the Players Association are discussing the idea of getting all the players and teams to the State of Arizona and beginning their games in May with no fans in attendance.

Now, Major League Baseball after these reports came out did release a statement on the matter of this morning saying, MLB has been actively considering numerous contingency plans that would allow play to commence once the public health situation has improved to the point that it is safe to do so while we have discussed the idea of staging games at one location as one potential option. We have not settled on that option or develop a detailed plan while we continue to interact regularly with governmental and public health officials. We have not sought or received approval of any plan from federal state and local officials or the Players Association.

And now staging all the games in Arizona it does make sense half a Major League Baseball holds their spring training in that state and all the stadiums are, you know, within about 50 miles of the Phoenix area. So there wouldn't be much travel involved. All the teams would -- although have to go to the Phoenix area, quarantine themselves in a hotel, and then they wouldn't be able to see their friends and family, you know, four months.

John, you know, "ESPN" was reporting that the most important step in this entire plan is that significant increase in available coronavirus test with a quick turnaround time because if this plan were to work, MLB would want to test very often and they wouldn't want to diminish access to the general public.

KING: Every single conversation we have, whether it's about sports, whether it's about local communities comes back to that very thing, the availability of testing.

Andy Scholes appreciate that. Let's hope they figure something. That would be nice to watch a baseball game, but only if, only if it is safe for everybody players and the fans. Andy, thanks a lot. Up next for us, one group is fighting to help restaurants stay in business while also feeding those who need a meal right now.



KING: More sad news out of New York City. We've learned now of the 12th death in the New York Police Department because of coronavirus. NYPD Auxiliary Police Officer Ramon Roman died on Sunday, April 5th from coronavirus related complications. More than 1,900 NYPD uniformed members have tested positive for the virus. That's contributing to the almost 20 percent of the NYPD's uniformed workforce currently out sick, although not necessarily all from coronavirus.

The Acting Secretary of the Navy now apologizing for saying that now ousted commander of the USS Theodore Roosevelt was quote, too naive or too stupid to be in command. And CNN is learning that apology came at the request, you might say the demand of the Defense Secretary Mark Esper.

Navy Secretary Thomas Modly blasted Captain Brett Crozier in an address to the ship's crew on Monday. He initially defended his remarks but hours later called Captain Crozier, quote, smart and passionate, and apologized for, quote, any confusion, his choice of words may have caused.

Modly statement came just days after he fired Captain Crozier for writing a memo that eventually leaked in which the captain warned of a growing coronavirus outbreak aboard his aircraft carrier, 230 sailors aboard the Roosevelt have now tested positive. Across the Armed Services, at least 1,649 U.S. service members have tested positive for coronavirus, one death was announced last week.

A shake up from the President's communications team, Stephanie Grisham now out as the press secretary leaving that role without ever having conducted a White House briefing with reporters. The First Lady confirms Grisham now back in the east wing to serve as her new chief of staff.

Sources tell CNN the new White House press secretary will be Kayleigh McEnany, who has been the national press secretary for the President's reelection campaign. Also joining the White House communications team, the current Defense Department Spokeswoman Alyssa Farah, she will become the director of Strategic Communications at the White House.

And this update for Michigan which has the third highest number of coronavirus cases in the country. Two of the state's largest health care providers say more than 2,000 of their staff members have coronavirus symptoms and are therefore staying home.

More than 700 medical workers at the Henry Ford Health System have actually tested positive for the virus. This comes as the Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer says hospitals are running dangerously low on personal protective equipment. And before we go, a shout out to one group trying to make a difference. Silver Spring Cares a community outreach organization just outside of Washington D.C., buys food from local restaurants and then delivers those meals to families in their Maryland community.

So far, Silver Spring Cares has raised more than $50,000 on its GoFundMe page, and it's been able to feed some 4,000 people. That is remarkable one of the many volunteer efforts we see across the country in this moment of crisis and stress.


Thanks for joining me today. Our special coverage continues with Anderson Cooper. Have a good afternoon.