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New Jersey Ramps up Testing; Small Business Loan Site Crashes; Stay at Home Numbers Drop; Trump Adds to Confusion over Kim Jong-un. Aired 9:30-10a ET

Aired April 28, 2020 - 09:30   ET



ANDREW BROOKS, HELPED DEVELOP A COVID-19 SALIVA TEST: All of those studies. We've submitted that data and we're just waiting on a final decision from the FDA as to whether or not we can put that in play, which would be done within hours of when we get that approval.


I guess my question is one of just thinking about, when you're in the doctor's office getting your nose swabbed, as uncomfortable as it is, they know it's you. Whereas, if someone's sending something in from home, I guess it's -- there's somewhat of a trust factor here to know it's that person.

BROOKS: So that's a great question. And what we will do as a part of our program when approved for home collection is -- and we started working with a number of telehealth companies that the require that the patient identify who they are, that they identify the device that they're using in order to keep complete physical and digital chain of custody of that test for many reasons, but a very good one that you point out there.

HARLOW: Yes, and making sure that they're actually not just the one who ordered it, but they're the one whose saliva you're collecting.

Just listen to this. I thought this was an interesting and important exchange this morning that George Stephanopoulos had on ABC with the director of U.S. coronavirus testing.


GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS: We're going to be -- need to -- need to be testing 5 million people a day in June, up to 20 million in July, and that the guidelines you laid out can't get us anywhere near that.

ADM BRET GIROIR, DIRECTOR OF U.S. CORONAVIRUS TESTING: So we don't believe those estimates are really accurate, nor are they reasonable in our society.

(END VIDEO CLIP) HARLOW: Not accurate or reasonable, counter to what this Harvard research says. What do you think? You're on the front lines of this testing.

BROOKS: I mean repeated testing is going to be critical for a number of reasons. I think that depending on the industry, depending on the situation, that testing paradigms are going to be aligned with that specific industry and they're going to be different. Testing everyone every day I believe is not feasible or plausible or will provide the information that's required. But a combination of repeated testing with contact tracing on an industry, you know, by industry basis is what is really going to be required for us to be able to operate safely.

HARLOW: And, remember, it's not forever. There will be a vaccine at some point, right?

BROOKS: Correct.

HARLOW: But this is until that point.

Thank you, Dr. Brooks. Good luck. It's going to be really fascinating to follow this as it rolls out across the state.

BROOKS: Great. Thank you.


JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Well, there are more glitches for round two of the Paycheck Protection Program. Will businesses now be able to get the lifeline they need? Some worrisome signs.



HARLOW: A rocky start to the second round of the Paycheck Protection Program. The website crashed yesterday when thousands of businesses applied for that more than $300 billion in loans.


Joining us now, CNN congressional reporter Lauren Fox and CNN chief business correspondent Christine Romans.

Lauren, these issues were supposed to be corrected the second time around. There was a lot of talk about correcting these issues. What happened?

LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Well, essentially lawmakers and aides on Capitol Hill that I've been talking to over the last couple of days said that they were promised by SBA that some of those early technical glitches we saw in the first launch would be resolved this time around. But yesterday lenders very frustrated at the fact that they were having a very hard time inputting into the system the applications of some of those small business owners. And I'll tell you, there are really two lanes of frustration. One is

the technical side. How slow this program is to run. The other is the fact that there are more and more reports of individuals and businesses getting this money that a lot of people think may not actually deserve it.

You know, CNN confirmed yesterday that the L.A. Lakers got one of these PPP loans and, while some publicly traded companies are eligible, and Congress didn't do anything to change those eligibility requirements when they increased the funding, the bottom line is there's going to be a lot of scrutiny when lawmakers return -- and I can't believe I'm going to say this -- next week to Capitol Hill. You can already hear from individuals like Chuck Schumer, the leading Democrat in the Senate, that this program and the implementation of it has been an abject failure.

Jim and Poppy.

SCIUTTO: Yes. Goodness.

Christine Romans, I mean part of this is simply the overwhelming need, is it not?


SCIUTTO: So many businesses out there just desperate for these funds?

ROMANS: Yes, last year I think 25 billion was the amount of this kind of funding that the SBA put out. So, think about that, they put $350 billion funding out in ten days, and then now they've gone back with another $310 billion. I mean -- just the volume is just unbelievable.

You know, in some other countries, they didn't do it this way. What they did was the government stepped in and paid a percentage of every company's payroll to keep small businesses sort of whole until we could get through to the other side.

That's not the way Congress did it here. Congress put out a pot of money and then told everybody to come and apply for it on a first come, first serve purpose (ph). And then -- and then they even allowed the big companies and public companies to come in and get a piece of it too. So it's just been kind of unfair, it feels, from top to bottom.

The Treasury secretary says that anybody who gets this money, if they get more than $2 million of this money, that there's going to be a review and they might not have the loan forgiven. But that doesn't guarantee that the money goes to a small business in the first place. So this has really been a -- this has been rocky.

HARLOW: They chose expediency over oversight, right? And there was a choice that needed to be made. But that's why you have entities like the Laker getting $4.5 million, returning it, but this is -- this is, you know, the price that is paid and that's a choice that was made.

There's new numbers, Romans, out of Pew -- ROMANS: Yes.

HARLOW: That less than one in three people who have applied for unemployment benefits in this country just last month got them. Less than one in three.

ROMANS: Yes, this is -- these are in March. Look at that, 29 percent received their benefits. They were unemployed. Only 29 percent of them had even gotten a check yet.


And I would -- I'm going to hazard a guess that it's even worse in April because April you had millions more layoffs and just absolutely clogged the state unemployment system.

The reason why there's such a big disparity there, because it depends on where you live. In March, if you lived in Massachusetts, for example, 65 percent of the people who were unemployed filed and got a -- got a check. In Florida, it was single digits. So it depends on the state unemployment agencies and it really varies by state.

HARLOW: OK, so will they get that money is the -- they'll still get that money and then can you talk about "The Wall Street Journal" reporting on the big automakers putting people back to work?

ROMANS: Sure. So first I would say, please be patient because the way the statute's written, the federal guidelines are written that you will get your -- your pay eventually. It will be back pay, but you'll finally get that pay eventually and you're going to get $600 extra that the federal government is going to pay. So you're just -- I don't know when that money's going to come, but you are by law supposed to get that money.

And in terms of "The Wall Street Journal" reporting, it's so interesting. You know, you have -- we're talking about people who haven't even gotten their unemployment checks yet and you're hearing about industries that are trying to reopen. The Detroit automakers, according to "The Wall Street Journal," are eying May 18th as the day to start to restart some of those production lines that have been put on hold because of the pandemic, guys.

SCIUTTO: Christine Romans, always good to have you on top of it. Thanks very much.

ROMANS: Thanks, guys.

HARLOW: Well, this morning, JetBlue becomes the first U.S. -- major U.S. carrier to require passengers to wear face coverings.

SCIUTTO: JetBlue said its decision is based on guidelines from the CDC. The policy comes after the airline began requiring all crew members to wear face coverings while working. The new requirement for passengers will begin May 4th.

HARLOW: Americans running out of patience with restrictions. And new study shows more people are leaving their homes, but what price are they paying and will society pay for that, ahead?



SCIUTTO: Well, don't forget, your smartphone knows where you are. A new smartphone data reveals that quarantine fatigue may be a very real thing.

HARLOW: That's right. Over the past two weeks, Americans have been getting out more, moving around more, despite warnings from experts.

Li Jong is with us, director of the Maryland Transportation Institute at the University of Maryland, led this research, and joins us now.

It is so interesting. I mean I was reading over the weekend and watched the "60 Minutes" piece on the company BlueDot, you know, that has really advised California and some of these other folks on -- on how much people are going out.

What is your new data showing you because I guess folks, you know, have this fatigue but they're also acting on it.


And certainly here at the University of Maryland we've been really tracking social distancing behavior since March, right? So after six weeks of increasing and holding steady in terms of social distancing behavior, we just observed the first ever reduction in social distancing behavior all across the nation. And the social distancing index, we have been tracking has gone down in the past ten days from 51 to 44 in the nation in terms of percentage of people stay at home. We've seen an 18 percent reduction of the amount of people that actually staying home. We also saw a significant 13 percent increase of trips that people are making for non-work purposes. And so, overall, across the nation, in 48 out of the 50 states and D.C., people are seemingly getting a little tired of quarantine.

SCIUTTO: Yes, you know, it's interesting, you -- because I see it, for instance, in Washington. You just see more people out.

I wonder, are there regional or state by state or city by city differences you're noticing here. Are there certain places where people are going out more -- even more now?

ZHANG: Yes. So, social distant behavior, ever since the beginning when we started tracing that behavior in different states and different counties, it varies a lot from city to city, between urban and rural areas. Right now the top ten states that have recorded the largest drop in social distancing behavior are Louisiana, Ohio, Indiana, Vermont, Alabama, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina and Texas. But this trend, this significant shift in social distancing behavior. This new trend really started first around April 14th, the Tuesday after Easter, in the southeastern states. But now we see this across the country (ph). HARLOW: Look, let's take a look for all our viewers at this video on New Port Beach, California, Huntington Beach, et cetera, and you see it. I mean you see people going out, some of them keeping their distance, some of them not.

You have talked about what I think is interesting in terms of the need to customize the message for social distancing to different areas. What do you mean?

ZHANG: We have been also getting a lot of emails and phone calls after the general public read about our study. Because what we see is that people in different -- who live in urban areas, suburban areas versus rural areas, people in different income groups, racial/ethnic groups, they all have different things they care about. And then what we need to do, because right now we are seeing across the nation that people having this quarantine fatigue, that issue is what should we do about it. I think one of the major things that we can do together is to really customize the messaging to these individual groups and make sure they hear it from the right persons and they hear the message that they can understand so that way collectively we can communicate more effectively to all population groups on the importance of staying at home just a bit longer.


SCIUTTO: You know, early on we did some reporting on this broadcast about, in China, for instance, they were using smartphones and apps to contact trace, right, to see who was getting in close contact with people who were confirmed -- confirmed to have been infected.

Can the data that you were using here on social distancing help in this next phase of contact tracing as states open up?

ZHANG: Well, as we all see, contact trace practices vary a lot internationally. You mentioned in some of the Asian countries, they're really using individual cell phone trace data for contact tracing, while in European countries, they're taking a slightly different approach. They ensure that people need to opt in explicitly before their phone data can be used for contact tracing.

Now, here, at the University of Maryland, we've been running the largest transportation and (INAUDIBLE) data center in the nation for the past 20 years. Privacy protection is a very, very important issue for us. So we -- we ensure that the data we use are all anonymized and aggregated. So the data we have, we certainly cannot and do not want to use it for individual level contact tracing. But, instead, we're trying to provide these important trends and day-to-day changes in human behavior at a more aggregate contact state levels to assist the decisionmakers and also just help, you know, your viewers to see how social distancing and (INAUDIBLE) behavior are changing in their community and in their country over time.

SCIUTTO: Yes. Well, fascinating -- fascinating research. Really telling.

Lei Zhang, thanks very much. ZHANG: You're welcome.

SCIUTTO: President Trump has added to confusion surrounding the health of the North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un. We're going to get the latest on this, plus reaction from the region, next.



HARLOW: President Trump is now adding to the confusion surrounding the health of North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un.

Listen to this.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I can't tell you exactly. Yes, I do have a very good idea, but I can't talk about it now. I just wish him well. I do know how he's doing, relatively speaking. We will see. You'll probably be hearing in the not too distant future.

He didn't say anything last Saturday. Nobody -- nobody knows where he is. So he obviously couldn't have said it. If you have a -- this is breaking news, that Kim Jong-un made a statement on Saturday. I don't think so.


SCIUTTO: CNN's Will Ripley joins us now live from Tokyo.

And, Will, as we noted from the beginning on this, North Korea's the blackest of black boxes when it comes to foreign intelligence services. But there is some new -- I suppose you could call it educated guessing among South Korea and U.S. intelligence and other officials about the possibility, at least, that Covid could be related to this, some theorizing that Kim is hiding, hunkering down, protecting himself? Is there any substance to that?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We just don't know, Jim. I mean as you have correctly stated, aside from the U.S. intelligence that you first reported a week ago, it's all secondhand information that we're hearing.

And, yes, there is a theory out now that Kim Jong-un might be hiding out at his luxurious beachfront compound. There are even satellite images showing that his pleasure boat was out on the water in recent days. You know, maybe he's there because he doesn't want to get hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, which North Korea has denied having a single case inside the country, but pretty much everybody who watches the peninsula is highly doubtful of that claim, skeptical of that claim, and maybe China even sent in some test kits. In fact they're saying that they sent in test kits.

So is Kim Jong-un hiding from the pandemic? Did he have surgery? Is he in really bad shape and unable to, you know, be seen by cameras right now? We just don't know the answer.

What we do know is, President Trump and the Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe, have been alluding tot his confidential intelligence. They say they know Kim's condition and his whereabouts but they can't share that information just yet. So it continues to be this guessing game for, you know, the rest of the world trying to figure out what exactly is going on.

And on North Korean TV, they're not saying anything about Kim Jong- un's health. Today they showed a European soccer game and a children's film and a cooking show, but no facts, no confirmation, no denial of all these reports that have been circulating around the world, running the spectrum from Kim Jong-un at death's door, to him, you know, doing just fine at his luxury compound, maybe hiding out from the coronavirus pandemic.

HARLOW: Will Ripley, thank you. Thank you for that. It was so confusing hearing those different comments from the president yesterday. Appreciate it.

Thanks, Will.

SCIUTTO: A very good Tuesday morning to you. I'm Jim Sciutto.

HARLOW: And I'm Poppy Harlow.

States moving forward but a key model signaling the country will take a major step back. The model increasing the number of U.S. deaths to an estimated 74,000 deaths from coronavirus by August as many governors move more aggressively toward reopening. States across the country easing restrictions despite a clear lack of testing so desperately needed to get the full picture of where we are on battling this virus.

SCIUTTO: Well, President Trump, after making repeated promises about tests being available to anyone, is now saying the responsibility of testing falls on the states, and the federal government should act only as the supplier of last resort.


And new this morning, the Javits Convention Center in New York, which was converted to a field hospital and treated more than a thousand patients, will -