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Quest Means Business
U.S. Jobs Miss Sparks Debate on Unemployment Benefits; England to Allow Quarantine-Free Travel from 12 Countries; Officials Say More than 350 Hurt in Colombia Protests; U.K.s Labour Party Loses Stronghold In Hartlepool; Federal Grand Jury Indicts Former Officers In Floyd Death; Petition To Cancel Tokyo Games Gets 230,000 Plus Signatures. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired May 07, 2021 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
RICHARD QUEST, CNN BUSINESS HOST: We have an hour to go until the closing bell on a Friday, the end of the week, the last trading session and it is
very likely to be five for five this week, in fact, I'd say more than likely. Have a look at the numbers, 200 on the Dow. Strong session right
the way across the board.
Triple stack similarly is enjoying a good gain across the board. We've got strong performances and we'll go into the reasons over the course of the
program because interestingly, the markets are up, but the main event in the economic calendar is a huge miss on the U.S. jobs and that sparked a
debate about Joe Biden's stimulus plan, but perhaps not about interest rates.
England's new green list for travel gets an unpleasant reaction from the airline industry.
And Elon Musk says it will be, in his words, a wild card as he prepares to host "Saturday Night Live."
We are live from New York, end of the week, Friday. We've made it. It's the 7th of May. I'm Richard Quest and I mean business.
Good evening. Tonight, new U.S. job numbers are raising questions about the course of the U.S. recovery. There are 266,000 jobs added last month. Now,
that might be sounding okay, but it is way off the one million jobs that were expected, bearing in mind the lockdowns and the re-openings.
The unemployment rate also ticked up from six percent in March to 6.1 percent in April. And it's kicked off a debate over whether President
Biden's stimulus package is simply too big and underlying and within, it discourages people from returning to the workforce.
The President speaking earlier made the exact opposite case.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Today's report is rebuttal, the loose talk that Americans just don't want to work. I know some
employers are having trouble filling jobs. But what this report shows is that there's a much bigger problem, notwithstanding the commentary you
might've heard this morning. It is that our economy still has eight million fewer jobs than when this pandemic started.
The data shows that more workers -- more workers are looking for jobs and many can't find them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: The Investors, the market doesn't seem to mind. The Dow and the S&P at all-time highs. The NASDAQ up nearly one percent, and it looks like it
might head that way. And the reason of course is simple, that the market believes that the poor unemployment numbers will stay the Fed's hand from
starting to taper and will increase the monetary and the fiscal stimulus that's coming to the market.
Clare is with me. Clare Sebastian in New York, Phil Mattingly is in Washington.
Let's do the economics first, Clare. These numbers are very hard to pass. It's difficult to make any major statements on the back of them. But if you
had to, what would it be?
CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: There are a few different narratives here, Richard. On the one hand, we are seeing some evidence of a
sort of shift reverse of the lockdown trends. On the one hand, we see that big uptick in leisure and hospitality that's 331,000 jobs added last month.
That continues the trend that we have been seeing as they come back from that huge amount of losses that we saw last year, of that food services and
drinking were up by about 187,000. And on the flipside of that, we see a drop in grocery store jobs, down by about 50,000 and a drop in messenger
and courier jobs down by about 77,000.
So that sort of looks on the surface like a bit of a shift of what we saw during lockdowns, but we also see other things that are continuing. Like
for example, the inequality that this pandemic has exacerbated. Women fell out of the civilian labor force, about 64,000 of them. So the uptake and
the participation rate, that really comes from the male side of the population.
So, we do see that perhaps childcare issues are also playing into this. So, extremely difficult data, as you say, to pass, very difficult to make head
or tail of it, Richard, but I think, you know, a lot of people do think that this is just one month, don't look at this as an overall trend and we
should still see a strong summer for job gains.
QUEST: Right. Okay, but Phil, taking what Clare has just said, bearing in mind that last month and the revisions on previous months was down, I can
see the political argument being made that the stimulus and the unemployment insurance and all the Federal aid has simply made it too
advantageous not to get a job.
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Look, it's a point you're hearing from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. It's a point you're
hearing anecdotally from businesses and it is not just us hearing it, the White House is hearing from those private businesses rather regularly,
economic officials tell me.
However, they don't believe that it's as pervasive, or at least a singular driving force to the disappointing numbers today as perhaps other factors
Look, there's no question about it. The enhanced unemployment benefit certainly is advantageous for some particularly lower-paid workers. But
keep in mind, Richard, why that was put in place in the first place. It was put in place to essentially give people a bridge, not to have to work until
the end of the pandemic, and the Biden administration officials make clear they don't believe they're at that point yet.
I think one of the bottom lines from a policy perspective that I picked up today both from the President's public remarks and also from White House
economic officials is they don't believe this makes them need to change course in any way, shape, or form.
Obviously, you talk about the $1.9 trillion plan with those enhanced unemployment benefits that was already done, but they already have $4
trillion in additional economic and infrastructure proposals on the table. They believe this report actually bolsters those, particularly when you
look at what Clare was talking about, women leaving the workforce, paid leave, the necessity of putting all of these kind of broader economic
proposals into play as opposed to just a singular simulative measure.
QUEST: Okay, that's the political and the economic point and as both of you were mentioning there, thank you -- as both were mentioning, there's a
straightforward case being made now that we're beginning to see labor shortages. Clare talked about it and Phil made it clear, it is what the
argument is in terms of unemployment insurance.
The reason unemployment benefits can in many cases match a proper salary. Here's an example.
On average, a New York City waiter makes around $730.00 a week. The state would give him $365.00 weekly unemployment benefits, although that can go
up to a maximum of $500 in certain circumstances. Now, think about what the federal government is chipping in. The Federal government is chipping in
$300.00. Add $2,000 from the stimulus payments, and you come out about equal.
In some cases, you could even come out better off. Montana and South Carolina have now stopped the extra Federal payment, saying it is too
generous. Montana is offering instead a return to work bonus.
Not everyone is struggling to find staff. Restaurant hiring did pick up last month, and the Secretary of Labor tells CNN there are many reasons why
some people are reluctant to get back into the workforce.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARTY WALSH, U.S. LABOR SECRETARY: I think that there are definitely barriers to people coming back to work. There are lots of issues around
childcare. There are still many of our kids that are still in school in a hybrid model, some are in person, some are learning remotely.
We also have concerns of -- people have concerns about the virus as we get more and more people vaccinated that's a good sign, there are still people
concerned about it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: Now, in a moment, I'll be talking to the economist, Stephanie Kelton about this debate. But you don't have to go far, it was even at last night
at dinner. I was out having dinner in New York and the restaurant owner was telling me they can't find work. Apparently, people are not applying for
the jobs that are available.
So now, Vanessa Yurkevich is speaking to the bosses who are struggling to fill their staff.
PHILIPPE MASSOUD, CHEF AND OWNER, ILILI NYC: ... a war of survival, a new war of survival.
VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN BUSINESS AND POLITICS REPORTER (voice-over): Philippe Massoud never thought he'd be facing a shortage of restaurant
workers in the middle of the pandemic.
MASSOUD: We have no staff to open for lunch at all.
YURKEVICH (voice-over): Dining in the U.S. is at about 90 percent of pre- pandemic levels according to Open Table and nearly 8.5 million Americans are still out of work, but Massoud can't find anyone to fill his 15 open
positions, from manager to dishwasher.
MASSOUD: Normally you get at least 30, 40, 50 people, 60 people. We only had three people respond to our ads, and none of them showed up.
YURKEVICH (voice-over): In January, seven percent of restaurant operators named recruitment and retention as their top challenge. By April, that
number was 57 percent. One issue some employees have left the restaurant industry for good like John Jasieniecki who quit in January after 16 years
as a server and bartender.
JOHN JASIENIECKI, SWITCHED CAREERS: I had intended on being a lifer.
YURKEVICH (voice-over): But with unstable pay and after contracting COVID- 19, he knew it was time for a career change.
JASIENIECKI: COVID was very stressful. Yelling at people to put on their masks is not what I want to do every day.
YURKEVICH (voice-over): Jasieniecki now works in maintenance for several high-rises in downtown Denver.
JASIENIECKI: It is a different world working 9:00 to 5:00 as opposed to 5:00 to 2:00.
YURKEVICH (voice-over): Restaurants in Miami have been at 100 percent indoor capacity since October of last year. But Carlos Gazitua says he
doesn't have enough staff to open his dining room.
CARLOS GAZITUA, CEO, SERGIO'S FAMILY RESTAURANTS: Florida is a bellwether state. We've been open a lot longer than many states in the United States.
So, this is coming to a theater near you.
YURKEVICH (voice-over): And he says, it is only getting worse. He can't fill more than 30 percent of his positions even after raising wages. He
says the $300.00 weekly expanded unemployment benefit is stopping people from coming back to work.
GAZITUA: People should keep the unemployment benefits if they go to work now and they commit to working to the end of the year.
YURKEVICH (voice-over): The expanded unemployment benefits don't expire until early September.
MASSOUD: We're supposed to go hire people, to retain them, but at the same time you're paying unemployment, is creates a conflict of interest so to
YURKEVICH (on camera): Right. So for four months, what is the plan?
MASSOUD: Lose more money and do what we can to stay open.
YURKEVICH (voice-over): Vanessa Yurkevich, CNN, New York.
QUEST: Professor Stephanie Kelton is Professor of Economics and Public Policy at Stony Brook University, author of "The Deficit Myth" joins me
from New York -- from Setauket in New York via Skype.
Professor, is it a red herring this idea that the unemployment insurance is discouraging a certain element of jobseeker from going back into the
workforce? Certainly anecdotally, I've heard it half a dozen times here in New York.
STEPHANIE KELTON, PROFESSOR OF ECONOMICS AND PUBLIC POLICY, STONY BROOK UNIVERSITY: Well, I've heard it anecdotally, and I think that, you know, it
is a little bit deceptive, right, because for sure I don't want to discount the credibility of some of these stories that we're hearing, some of the
difficulties that employers have faced in different parts of the country when it comes to trying to staff back up.
I think to be sure, some of that is going on, but I think that if you look closely at the data that in fact what Secretary Yellen has been talking
about today is that where you see higher job growth happens to coincide with states that have relatively higher unemployment replacement rates,
which is not, it is in fact the opposite of what you would expect to see if the unemployment benefits were at the root cause of the jobs numbers, the
disappointing numbers that we saw today.
QUEST: So what do you make of this number? Should we take much from this latest set of data? Or is it simply too confused to extrapolate any trend?
KELTON: Yes, we are scratching our heads. I know that as an economist, I am definitely not alone. This was a stunning report. We are all trying to make
some sense of it, and I think that largely what I think my colleagues are doing is sort of saying this may be a one-off, a really peculiar thing that
happened. It may have to do with some of the seasonal adjustments in reporting.
But you know, you mentioned that you had dinner in New York City recently, and I actually spent the first night in New York City in over a year just
earlier this week and I went out to dinner, I walked down the street. I saw lots and lots of outdoor dining. I could have walked into any one of those
places and sat down. I did eventually settled on one.
I had a person come over immediately take my order. There were plenty of workers to handle the limited capacity diners that were there. So, I think
a lot of things are happening.
I think it is definitely the case that there is some hesitancy on the part of workers to go back into a workplace that many still consider unsafe. I
think that childcare issues are very real. I know many young mothers with kids who are still out of the workforce because they have third graders,
second-graders who are home and not in school, and they need to be home with them.
And I think some of those life changes those things and then what Janet Yellen all raised are legitimate.
QUEST: And yet, at the same time, just to add to the confusion and the mists of economics, which are not always clear to the best of times, we
have the market up very strongly this week and that's on the back of it doesn't believe that interest rates are going up. But we also have a hiccup
when Yellen suggests they might go up.
We've got Powell looking for evidence before he'll make -- he is looking for substantial progress. I'm left wondering where direction -- where the
direction is at the moment.
KELTON: Well, I think that, you know, investors got a little skittish. I think that was in a sense understandable if you're a fixed income trader
and you hear kind of rumblings or talk of a possible rate hike, then there's going to be an inevitable reaction there.
But I think what we saw today in this latest jobs number is just more kind of evidence that we need to listen to the Fed Chairman that he has been
telling us all along the signs that he is going to be watching for, and that what we have is a very patient Fed on our hands, that they are not
going to move rates higher unless and until we have firm, solid, ongoing evidence that the labor market is healing. And I think we've just got a
slog ahead of us.
QUEST: Professor, many thanks, and apologies. I confused your name at the beginning of course, Stephanie. Thank you very much for joining us. I look
forward to seeing you when we're all vaccinated and we can all meet up in New York, and I'll pick up the check. Thank you, Professor.
Now, airlines are disappointed with England's new green list of travel destinations. They say the U.K. is being too cautious about easing
Elon Musk adds to his resume. He is going to host "Saturday Night Live." And he says he'll be a wild card.
QUEST: Airlines are disappointed by England's green list of countries that people can soon visit without quarantine. The list is limited to 12
countries. It includes Portugal, Australia, New Zealand, and Israel. However, holiday favorites like Spain, France, and Greece remain on the
So, returning from those countries, you still have to self-isolate at home and probably for five days until the test and release screen system.
Willie Walsh, head of I.A.T.A said it is a very disappointing list and frankly not worth commenting on. Cyril Vanier is in London.
It is the lack, Cyril, of France, Spain, Greece, those very popular destinations that has eyebrows raised. Because we don't really fully
understand how the English government, the Boris Johnson administration came to their decisions.
CYRIL VANIER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Richard, what they've told us is that the countries have been categorized based on the prevalence of
coronavirus in those countries, the prevalence of variants of concern, and the vaccination rates.
VANIER: And, you know, within the European Union, for instance, you have very different COVID situations. France still has 20,000 to 25,000 cases a
day. The vaccination program started pretty slowly as we know, even though it has picked up pace. And so the U.K. must feel that France is a less safe
country to go to than Portugal. And that is why you have the green, amber, and red lists.
Now, one of the catches in this list system, I was just looking up the details of the rules is if you come back from a green list country, but you
are transiting through a red list country -- so for instance, you fly back from Portugal and you stop over in Paris or you drive through France back
to the U.K. or from some other destinations, you're on a boat, you transit through an amber list country, you have to respect those rules when you
come back to the U.K., which actually means quarantining at home for 10 days.
And I want to share something with viewers, Richard. That quarantine is pretty strict. I've been back from France, and I was visited twice by
police in addition to having done a total of four tests -- Richard.
QUEST: And of course, if you're going back via somewhere like the U.A.E., which is on a higher list, then -- and if you're transiting in there and
got caught by the regulations, that would be more -- then, you're going into sort of a hotel scenario. Okay.
So, Cyril, they say this list is going to be reviewed every three weeks. That is not much comfort to people who are looking to book holidays for
school holidays in July and August.
VANIER: Yes, absolutely. And I think for travelers from England who have some flexibility, they are better off waiting for the second later part of
the summer, and maybe then that green list will be extended because, you know, as the vaccination rollout continues in Europe and as numbers fall in
several countries, numbers are currently falling in France and Germany as well, it may be that some of those more popular tourist destinations are
added to the green list.
There is something else, Richard, now, the U.K. government didn't mention this, but there have been calls to treat islands such as the Greek Islands,
the Italian Islands which draw so many tourists differently from the Mainland. So if those islands happen to have a low infection rate, then
maybe those could be added on the green list.
The government, to be clear, has not said that they would do that, but there have been calls for that to happen. So maybe there will be some
flexibility later on. But, as I said, the main thing you want to watch here is if vaccination increases in those amber list countries, they could
switch to green.
QUEST: All right, at the moment you're going to Portugal, you're not going back to visit family in France to this summer, so be prepared for that,
Cyril. Thank you.
Cyril Vanier joining us from there.
Now, Japan is in the midst of its fourth wave of COVID-19 as it gets ready to host the Olympic Games. For Japan and many other countries, life is a
long way from returning to normal. We'll talk about that in just a moment.
More than 350 people have now been hurt during protests in Colombia. Demonstrations are angry at how the government is managing the economy and
the pandemic. Polo Sandoval is in Bogota joining us now.
The situation there, we've been reporting on it for some days about the protests, how it started about taxation, and then moved into wider issues.
But it's still going on.
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is, Richard. That's because we have to remind our viewers that it was about a week and a half when Evan Duque, the
President of Colombia rolled out what he hoped would be well received, which was a tax reform initiative that you mentioned here that would
essentially try to increase tax revenue to dig this country out of this economic hole that it continues to dig deeper into, especially with the
coronavirus pandemic still raging on.
However, because of criticism, especially much of it coming from workers unions, he quickly withdrew that, but, as you just said, a lot of damage
had been done. The people here have already been triggered and what we keep hearing from people over and over again, Richard, is that they have had
enough when it comes to economic inequality.
So, even though that tax initiative is no more, they are now seizing this opportunity, not just here in Bogota but in over 200 cities and towns in
this country to raise their voice against the government and say that something needs to be done about a couple of things. A, that economic
inequality that continues to get worse and, B, what they continue to say is this strong-armed response by Security Forces, by the police to these
protests that have resulted in multiple deaths. The numbers are difficult to track, but they are rising -- Richard.
QUEST: Okay, behind you, I can see sort of some training, some celebration, some early weekend festivities, Polo. I mean, how risky is all of this in
the COVID environment? I see people walking behind you wearing masks, but there doesn't seem to be a lot of social distancing going on.
SANDOVAL: No, you certainly don't -- we are not seeing a whole lot of that social distancing. Yes, masks are being worn by many people. I wouldn't say
all. But, nonetheless, I do not see that social distancing that I'm sure health authorities would like to see.
The coronavirus continues to keep a firm grip on this country averaging still about 50,000 new cases a day, and so that is certainly concerning for
officials that these kinds of events could become super spreaders.
The small peaceful group of demonstrators that you see behind me here in the Plaza Bolivar in the heart of Bogota, it's really a much smaller group
compared to what we've previously seen. But yes, to your point, that is certainly a concern that as the coronavirus continues to rage on, at least
the pandemic continues to rage on in this country, it could potentially be made worse by these protests that are happening.
But many people have told me, who I asked, if that's a concern, they said really the poverty, the increased poverty is what really worries them, and
that's why they are out and about making their voices heard -- Richard.
QUEST: And across the southern part of the continent, I mean, Argentina and Brazil, right the way up towards Central America and then down into those
countries, there is still not a vaccination -- it hasn't reached anything like that which is necessary, never mind herd immunity. We're talking about
just to make a difference.
SANDOVAL: Absolutely. There's certainly agreement among many health officials especially here in Colombia that those vaccination efforts are
not where they should be, that only a small percentage of the people here, especially the most vulnerable are yet to be vaccinated. So that is also
another agenda item when it comes to what these protesters are pushing for, is to reform their healthcare system, to revisit not only that, but their
These are grievances, Richard, that have been adding up for many, many years. So this is a story that goes far beyond just the last 10 days when
this tax reform was introduced. It goes potentially for years as these kinds of issues have slowly been building, and there is concern among the
international community that we could see more of these kinds of demonstrations not just here in this country, but other parts of Latin
America, those parts that have been devastated by the pandemic.
We've seen what this virus can do to people, but now we're able to see firsthand what it can do to an economy.
QUEST: Polo Sandoval in Bogota, thank you, sir.
This is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS, end of the week. The markets are up. We'll take a break.
QUEST: Hello, I'm Richard Quest. More QUEST MEANS BUSINESS as we continue. Elon Musk gets to host Saturday Night Live, SNL. He says he's a wild card
and anything could happen.
Silicon Valley is eyeing its next frontier, which is Twitter, Facebook and Google are all expanding in Africa. We'll report on that. Before any of it.
This is CNN and on this network the news always comes first.
In United Kingdom, voters in the opposition stronghold of Hartlepool turn to the Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Conservative Party. And the chosen
Jill Mortimer over Labor's opponent, Paul Daniel Williams. Mortimer will be Hartlepool's first female M.P. and first conservative in 57 years.
The U.S. federal grand jury has indicted Derek Chauvin and three other former Minneapolis police officers in connection with George Floyd's death.
They're alleging the officers violated Floyd's constitutional rights. Chauvin of course you'll remember was convicted last month on state murder
charges in the death. The new indictments are being celebrated by civil rights activists.
Doctors say a Malian woman who gave birth to nine babies in Morocco is in good health. However, her five girls and four boys are having a difficult
journey because they are very premature underweight. They were born after pregnancy of any 30 weeks, and the smallest is just over a pound.
More than 230,000 people have now signed a Japanese petition calling for the Tokyo Olympics to be canceled. The petitions organizer says the game
should be scrapped to prevent the spread of the virus and save lives. The games are set to begin on July the 23rd.
And this huge Chinese rocket is plunging towards Earth. It's expected to enter the atmosphere. This weekend. No one knows where or when it's going
to land. China says the chances of harm extremely low and then most of the rocket will burn up on reentry. Concerns remain about where the debris may
The U.S. and U.K. begin to reopen and look to life after COVID-19. The virus remains persistent and deadly in many other parts of the world. The
average number of new cases a week still at alarming levels. Just look at it. Record highs.
India of course we know is struggling with a devastating second wave and the head of the country's main opposition party says the situation there
could threaten the rest of the world.
In Japan parts of the healthcare system are a breaking point. And the country is getting ready to host the Olympics in a couple of months.
In Latin America and Central America there are various imperatives. Hundreds of people have been injured in protests, as you heard in Colombia,
partly over the response to the virus.
And in Argentina, hospitals are facing oxygen shortages. Brazil's reporting a total of more than 15 million cases.
Our next guest says it's crucial the world pays attention to the variance. Dr. Richard Besser is the CEO of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, former
acting CDC director is with me from Princeton. Look, Doctor, forgive this first world question that is being asked with all the arrogance of
privilege that we're vaccinated, we're opening up. Things are getting back to normal. New York, London, even the western part of Europe to a large
extent is moving in that direction. We are apt to think that this is over. You're telling me firmly it's not.
DR. RICHARD BESSER, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, ROBERT WOOD JOHNSON FOUNDATION: It's not over and, you know, while it may -- you may get some
comfort in putting on blinders and looking just within a country's own borders. Transmission anywhere in the world is a threat to people
everywhere in the world. So whether it's a call for humanitarian assistance because it's the ethical moral thing to do or out of a country's self-
BESSER: The countries with more resources need to do more to try and control this pandemic around the globe.
QUEST: Listen to what Dr. Fauci said to our affiliate in India. And I want to know, if you agree.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR NATIONAL, INSTITUTE FOR ALLERGIES AND INFECTIOUS DISEASE: I think it's clear that you have to take the step of
shutting down most of the country, particularly the involved areas. And I don't mean, shutting down for six months, you don't need to do that that
long, you just need to break the chain of transmission. And one can do that by shutting down to the extent possible for two, three weeks, four weeks.
And then as soon as the cases start coming down, and you vaccinate more people, then you could get ahead of the trajectory of the outbreak.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: India's first lockdown was long, it was brutal, and it was highly unpopular. And it's believed that the Prime Minister doesn't want to do a
second one. Do you agree with Dr. Fauci this is the way forward?
BESSER: Well, I think that if you don't have your public health leaders and your political leaders on the same page, you're not going to make progress
on this. What Dr. Fauci lays out is a public health strategy that will be effective. But for that, to be able to even be feasible, you have to be
able to provide support to people who need it. That means people who, who are unable to put food on the table, if they're not going to work each day,
you can't expect them to stay home for two weeks.
They'll starve and so there's that -- it shifts the problem from one being of how do we get vaccines and how do we get medical supplies to how do you
provide the food support the other supports that people need to be able to social distance in lockdown, and that's a challenge as well.
QUEST: So help me understand this variance problem. At the moment, we believe that the current vaccinations deal with the latest variants, and if
they're not completely effective, at least they prevent any serious deadly hospitalizations. But so in that scenario, what is the urgency or the
impetus for somebody like me? I mean, I'm fully vaccinated, the variants and I -- what I'm trying -- what I think many of us are finding difficult
to understand is A, are we at risk from the variance and B, those people who don't want to get vaccinated while a plague on their houses. That's up
BESSER: Yes, you know, it's -- if vaccination were purely a personal decision, then then this would be easy. If someone wants to assume the risk
of getting the disease, that's their choice. But it's not just about that. It's about what happens when transmission continues. And viruses when they
spread, they -- when they multiply, they make mistakes, it's just something that they do as they -- as they multiply.
And when a mistake occurs in a virus, if it's a virus that can then survive and transmit, it can be another strain that is in circulation. So far, the
variance those mutants that have occurred are covered by the existing vaccines. But that's really just good fortune, it is very possible for
mutations to occur in the virus, so that all of the people who've been vaccinated right now, once again, become at risk.
So getting vaccinated is a way to reduce the transmission, reduce the number of areas that are there, protect those people who can't get
vaccinated for whatever reason, protect children for whom there aren't vaccines available. But we have a vested interest in controlling this
everywhere around the globe, so that variants don't spread.
QUEST: Forgive the self-interest questions here. But I think there are many people who have I know from my own discussions with friends and family that
once a nerd is look, can I fully vaccinated? Can I be a carrier of the -- of the virus, even though I'm not going -- I mean, I may be asymptomatic. I
know this is something that's bedeviling people when they travel, and people are highly concerned about it in daily life.
BESSER: Yes, you know, it's one of those questions, Richard, where there's no definitive answer. A number of studies are suggesting that people who
are vaccinated are much less likely to carry the virus in their nose and their -- in their body and spread to others. But the public health
community has been unwilling at this point to say there's enough evidence to say, if you're fully vaccinated, don't worry about spreading this to
And that's why, you know, even if you're vaccinated, if you're around someone who's had really high risk for severe disease, they're precautions
that recommended that the people take. Hopefully that question will eventually be answered. I think it will be.
BESSER: But in the meantime, we still need to make sure that we're protecting those who are at greatest risk for severe disease.
QUEST: Dr. Ghosh, thank you. I much appreciate your answering our questions. And particularly on this variants question, which, of course
we'll talk more about with you, I hope in the future. Thank you, sir.
Now, Elon Musk is making his debut as a late night house. And he says he's ready to rock the world of entertainment and business, which has investors
deeply worried about what he's going to do say, act. Anyway, well, after the break.
QUEST: Now Elon Musk is taking center stage on Saturday night. When it's Saturday Night Live. He can move markets with a tweet. The Security
Exchange Commission wants sued him over that. Now he's hosting live network television. There's speculation at the Tesla founder and the rocket
entrepreneur could try to send a stock to the moon or that's a cryptocurrency instead. Musk has called himself The Dogefather while
announcing his SNL appearance.
Although today he tweeted that people should invest in crypto with caution. In that, cryptocurrencies promising please investing caution. He's also
teased his erratic nature and a promotion for NBC.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ELON MUSK, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, TESLA MOTORS: Hello. I'm Elon Musk and I'm hosting SNL this week with musical guest Miley Cyrus and I'm a wildcard
to this. No telling what I might do.
MILEY CYRUS, AMERICAN SINGER-SONGWRITER: Same here, rules: no thanks.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But it's also the Mother's Day show. So your moms aren't going to be here.
CYRUS: Forget what I said.
MUSK: Fine, we'll be good-ish.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: Linette Lopez is with me. The columnist for Insider. She's with me from New York. All right, surely, the X -- this is one of -- I don't know,
you tell me but I think this is one of these things where the hype and the expectation will be much greater than the reality.
LINETTE LOPEZ, COLUMNIST, INSIDER: That's quite possible. But remember that, as you mentioned, Elon did have to pay $20 million fine for doing
securities fraud on Twitter. And if anybody can figure out how to do securities fraud on sketch comedy, it's Elon Musk.
QUEST: And that's really the first, isn't it? I mean, that's absolutely the fear that they've got, but I mean, NBC must be -- they must -- I was going
to say they must have got some assurances, but you can't.
LOPEZ: Yes, it's really impossible to get assurances for Elon. Elon goes through lawyers very, very quickly. He has not had a permanent general
counsel since I think early 2019 when his last permanent general counsel quit in less than four months because Elon was being so erratic on Twitter.
His acting general counsel just left Tesla to join a competitor in the autonomous driving space.
And of course, that's a space where Elon has come under fire lately because the reality of what is autonomous vehicles can do is not commensurate with
what Tesla basically says that the vehicles can do and their marketing. Elon calls it, you know, it's an autonomous driving vehicle, it's -- he
says there are going to be Robo taxis by the end of the year. But in government filings, the company has admitted that their technology just
isn't there yet and probably won't be there by the end of the year, like Elon said,
QUEST: And yet at the same time, this man that we are talking about, he is responsible for the company that has just taken several astronauts to the
space station. And the tremendous responsibility that comes with the seriousness of life and limb that comes with that. Do you think there is
something unseemly that that person then presents Saturday Night Live? Or not? Maybe this is all good. Maybe it's taking the mystic. What do you
LOPEZ: I think that it's important to know that SpaceX has a separate CEO that is running that company, Elon is definitely the founder. It's a baby.
But he is more involved in the day to day operations of Tesla. And Tesla's solar panels, company solar, which used to be Solar City. So, you know,
SpaceX is kind of a different animal, even though these are their related functions. Elon is a very strange man.
And I don't know what else to say, except if you're his attorney, watch very closely, try to prep him. But there's not a lot you can do about the
things that he's going to say. He's not a normal CEO. He doesn't really take advice like normal CEOs. And yes, there's a seeming disconnect from
the amazing things that SpaceX has been able to do. But you look at Tesla, and you see that there are a lot of strange things going on in that
company. And that's the one that he has spent more time with then SpaceX.
QUEST: So, last question, will you be watching this weekend Saturday Night Live?
LOPEZ: I tend to watch Saturday Night Live the next day, Sunday morning when I'm sleeping in. So, I might watch it Saturday night? I don't know.
But I try not to disrupt my plans (INAUDIBLE)
QUEST: Very well put. We will -- if this -- if there's something we need to talk about afterwards, we will. Thank you. I appreciate your time tonight.
Thank you. Have a good weekend.
LOPEZ: Oh there will be.
QUEST: American tech companies are looking to Africa for future opportunities. That story as QUEST MEANS BUSINESS continues on this Friday.
QUEST: Rwanda hopes to bring Africa's first mRNA vaccine manufacturing facility to that country. According to the country's president Paul Kagame.
U.S. tech companies are expanding their presence across Africa, setting up the continents economy for a multimillion dollar boost. CNN's Nada Bashir
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NADA BASHIR, CNN PRODUVER (voice-over): When it comes to big tech investment, the giants of Silicon Valley have traditionally looked at Asia.
But some of the world's leading tech companies are now shifting their focus to a new market and investing big in Africa.
AKINWALE GOODLUCK HEAD OF SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA OPERATIONS, GSMA: These are vote of confidence in the tech industry in Africa. We have seen a lot of
innovation coming out of Africa, we've seen a lot of tech startups scale very quickly to attracting a lot of funding. And this is driving the
interest of the big internet payers like Twitter, Google, Facebook, et cetera.
BASHIR (voice-over): Twitter is among the latest big tech firms to establish a presence on the continent. The company says it is actively
building a team in Ghana, a move that has been welcomed by the country's growing tech industry.
(on camera): How important is it for Ghana that Twitter has announced it will be establishing its first Africa base in your capital city?
URSULA OWUSU-EKUFUL, GHANAIAN MINISTER OF COMMUNICATION AND DIGITALIZATION: Twitter just coming in is like a seal of approval on the steps that we've
been taking so far. We're excited about they're coming and hope to build on that and hope that we can also use them to attract other world class
companies to come and make Ghana their home.
BASHIR (voice-over): Like Twitter, Google has also chosen to invest in Ghana, launching its first artificial intelligence lab on the continent in
the country's capital, Accra. Meanwhile, Amazon expanded its footprint in South Africa in 2020, launching a new web services infrastructure region in
Cape Town. Facebook too favorites South Africa for its first office on the continent, establishing its Johannesburg base in 2015, followed by an
announcement in 2020 that the company would be launching a new office in Lagos.
And more than three decades on from opening its first office in Africa, Microsoft has announced its latest endeavor on the continent, working with
the Nigerian government to develop the country's high-speed internet infrastructure.
With a growing population of tech entrepreneurs, big tech investment is set to have a transformative impact not only on Africa's digital landscape but
on everyday life.
EKUFUL: We're hoping that this creates the opportunity for us to learn from each other's experiences and see how digital technology can open up the
space, energize our economies create wealth for our young people, provide alternative livelihoods.
BASHIR (voice-over): A report by Google and the International Finance cooperation projects major growth in Africa's internet economy, with the
potential to contribute nearly $180 billion to Africa's economy by 2025. And more than 700 billion by 2050. It's an economic boost with the
potential to create millions of jobs and new opportunities in education and innovation, a winning combination for continent striving to become the
world's next big tech hub.
Nada Bashir, CNN, London.
QUEST: Of course, you can hear more of what is happening in Africa in "ONE WORLD" with Zain. Monday to Friday is a well. Now, before we take a short
break, what a week. What a week. Last few minutes of trade on Wall Street. We're just about the height of the session. Not quite as you can see the
look on the top right. We are off a little bit but still nearly 237 or 270 points well over 34,000.
And the U.S. investors are shrugging off the jobs report. The Dow and the S&P 500 heading for record closes.
QUEST: The triple stack shows that it's broad based. It's the Dow which is the narrow blue chips as the S&P which is the wider market and the tax over
on the NASDAQ are all sharply up and they're all roughly around about the same, which shows us progress to the Dow 30. How that's doing. The Nike is
at the top, Boeing's got a strong session, even despite its woes on the 737, Max. Salesforce and IBM are weighing the market down.
And Verizon. Now when Verizon is at the bottom, it's either because of its own individual problems, or we're looking for rotation to slightly more
aggressive stocks. But I don't think that's the case today because Goldman, Amex, Microsoft, they are all amongst the leaders whilst Apple's in the
middle. That's where the markets working, I will have a profitable moment after the break.
QUEST: Tonight's profitable moment. What to make of the jobs numbers and the unemployment rate that we saw? I would suggest very little. The
discrepancy between the millionaire expected and the quarter of a million received is so great that you have to say this could well be a one off.
That is influenced by things like mothers who stayed at home because of childcare issues, unemployment insurance that skewed certain areas like
Even as the number of restaurant jobs increased. There's a whole range of issues. Because of the other hand side of this, don't forget the number of
hours worked and the average amount of hours, the wages that all went up, which suggests wage pressures in the economy. And the market liked it
because a bad number on jobs suggests the Fed will be stayed for raising interest rates or beginning tapering a little bit longer.
Now, I think it would be very risky to read too much into this month's number until we get better clarity which we should get in the June numbers
as more vaccinations, herd immunity and all those sorts of things come together. I think it will be a risky business to read much. Even though
there were revisions down it is classically on the one hand, on the other, on the this, on the that. What I suggest you do is put it to one side and
have a good weekend instead.
And as I finished tonight with the markets are to record by the way, that's QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. I'm Richard quest in New York. Whatever you're up to
in the weekend ahead. I hope it's profitable.
QUEST: The bell is ringing. The day is done, the markets at a record. Jake Tapper is next.