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CNN NEWSROOM

Trump Faces Backlash over Injecting Disinfectant; Some U.S. States Reopen amid Criticism; U.S. House Dems Investigating Unproven Coronavirus Tests; Cubans Wait in Long Lines for Food and Supplies; Businesses are Reopening but Are They Safe?; Learning from the 1918 Pandemic; Georgia NBA Player Worried. Aired 2-2:30a ET

Aired April 25, 2020 - 02:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


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MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello, everyone, and welcome to Studio 7 here at CNN Center in Atlanta. I am Michael Holmes.

The numbers are staggering and they continue to grow. Almost 2.8 million cases of coronavirus worldwide. Almost 200,000 people killed.

This comes as the World Health Organization launches a new program to speed up the development and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, tests and treatments. The U.S. not taking part.

The WHO director general saying, quote, "We are facing a common threat which we can only defeat with a common approach."

The United Kingdom says that it will host a global vaccine summit in early June, as a way for countries around the world to support vaccine development pointing out that diseases have no borders.

In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration has approved the first at home test kit for COVID-19. It would require a doctor's referral and a person can then perform a self-swab and mail the swab in.

Meanwhile, those stunning statements, yet again at the White House, you remember Thursday, the president of the United States floating the idea of injecting disinfectant to rid the body of the virus. Friday he tried to clear it all up. CNN's Kaitlan Collins with the details.

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KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Trump started Friday by signing that replenishment fund for that small business loan program that they've started since the coronavirus outbreak has shuttered so many of them.

But the president ended Friday with what was one of his shortest briefings of his administration's response to the coronavirus outbreak where he took no questions. The FDA commissioner spoke briefly and took one question but other than that, the president did not engage with reporters.

And that came after earlier in the day he tried to say that his comment the day before, where he suggested that potentially you could use bleach or sunlight inside the body to cure coronavirus, were widely panned by doctors.

The president had said on Friday that he was just being sarcastic when he suggested as much during a briefing the night before.

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QUESTION: Can I clarify your comments about injections of disinfectant?

TRUMP: I was asking a question sarcastically to reporters like you, to see what would happen. I was asking the question of the gentleman who was there yesterday, because when they say that something will last 3 or 4 hours, 6 hours but if the sun is out, if the use disinfectant, it goes in less than a minute away. Did you hear this yesterday?

I was asking a sarcastic question to the reporters in the room about disinfectant on the inside.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: You'll remember in that briefing on Thursday night, a senior DHS official came out, was laying out the findings of a study that they had done that talked about sunlight, ultraviolet rays and disinfectants like bleach and alcohol killing coronavirus on surfaces, not in the human body as the president later suggested that medical experts should look into, despite his claims later on that he was just being sarcastic.

The president said sarcastic but his press secretary said earlier in the day that he was being taken out of context. And then Dr. Deborah Birx in a briefing that she had taped before the president made those remarks about it just being sarcasm, said that the president was just processing information he had just received in real time, which of course was in front of the cameras and that later led to the CDC issuing a statement saying that household disinfectants should be used as is marked on their labels and, of course, not ingested.

The surgeon general ad tweeted that people should consult with their doctors before taking any treatment when it came to coronavirus and of course many more of the president's critics were saying he should not have been speaking and just ad libbing at the briefing after that presentation -- Kaitlan Collins, CNN, the White House.

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HOLMES: Joining me now, CNN senior political analyst Ron Brownstein, he is also the senior editor at "The Atlantic" magazine.

Good to see you, let's talk about the president's frankly absurd suggestion that he was being sarcastic when he suggested internal light, infecting (sic) disinfectants and all of that nonsense.

But this does speak to the president's performance at these briefings, increasingly freewheeling and, at times, potentially dangerous.

What's your take?

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Dangerous to voters and dangerous to him, politically. One thing that is striking, throughout his presidency, only about 40 percent of the country have said that they consider him honest and trustworthy, an incredible number for a sitting U.S. president.

[02:05:00]

BROWNSTEIN: But the consequences of that prevarication really have not been that enormous in the day to day life of Americans. He exaggerates crowd at the inaugural. He lies about what he is doing about climate change. But in this case, Michael, I believe it has really brought home the consequences. "The Wall Street Journal" NBC poll says only 36 percent of the country say they trust the information that he gives from the White House podium. That was before that he suggested that they inject themselves with disinfectant.

This is taking a vulnerability that's always existed and raising the stakes and making it more concrete for people.

HOLMES: It is such an interesting point that you make.

If it's crowd size that's one thing but if it's working out how to inject bleach it's an entirely different matter. That is a fascinating one.

The question is the comments and people outright saying lies now impacting his standing with voters. I know you say it does with the trustworthy thing but I know you've also been looking at crucial swing state polls in general, states he has to win, what do they show you?

BROWNSTEIN: No question that the president right now is losing almost all of the swing states that he would have to win. In 2016, he won 30 states, Hillary won 20. There are none of those 20 states that he is in a position to take away from the Democrats, so the Democrats have to win back a few of the Trump states.

Michigan calling out this week 8 to 10 points, the president is trailing. Just footage of him standing at the White House podium a few weeks ago, saying that I told the vice president he should not return the calls of that woman from Michigan, while the state was buckling under one of the most severe outbreaks, I think Michigan is hard for him.

Pennsylvania, another state he won narrowly over Hillary Clinton in 2016, again, polling consistently this week showing him trailing Joe Biden. If Biden holds all 21 states, wins Michigan and Pennsylvania, he only needs one more. And that one more is always thought to be harder. But the last polls in the next most logical targets, Wisconsin,

Arizona and Florida, all have him ahead, maybe Florida most striking of all, two polls showing Biden ahead of Trump.

One consistent note, Biden is doing much better than Democrats have done since the year 2000 with Al Gore among seniors. This may be the one group that is most exhausted with Trump's personal performance and volatility.

HOLMES: And most at risk with coronavirus, too.

Maybe that is having an impact in how they are thinking. I want to ask you this too. As the election approaches, you have the president pushing the incorrect theory of voter fraud with mail-in voting. At the same time, attacking the U.S. Postal Service, which was extraordinary.

Do you think the 2 are related as the election approaches?

Secondly, how effective are mail-in ballots would be concerning all this going on?

BROWNSTEIN: I read about that recently. In 2016, one quarter of all- American votes were cast by mail. Most experts think that will go up to 1:2 in 2020.

In one sense, the president has already lost his war on mail-in balloting. If you look at the 6 states that both sides agree are most likely to pick the winner in November, that is Florida, North Carolina, Arizona, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania. And all of those states, the law already allows any voter to obtain a mail ballot for any reason.

And all of those states, mail-in ballots will be greatly increased from this level 4 years ago. The question is whether the post office will be in a position to handle this and that is, I think, an open issue.

The president's crusade against the post office maybe partially more rooted in his distaste for Jeff Bezos and Amazon and "The Washington Post," than it is about uprooting the election.

It's worth noting that generally speaking over the last 25 years, it has been Republicans who will focus more on getting their voters to vote by mail, Democrats focus on more what is early voting in the U.S., go to a polling center 10 days to 2 weeks before an election and particularly this idea of souls to the polls, a phrase used Sunday before the election to move large numbers of African American voters to vote early.

It is ironic that the president is turning against vote by mail which has been a tool that most Republican consultants will tell you has worked to their advantage in states like Florida and Arizona and Iowa in the past.

HOLMES: In doing so Trump is trying to push this voter fraud thing, which is absurd, disproven and not a thing. Ron, got leave it there, good to see you thank you for that.

BROWNSTEIN: Thanks for having me.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HOLMES: Several types of businesses are now open again in the U.S. state of Georgia. Just 3 weeks after its stay at home order went into effect. One influential model says that Georgia is opening 2 months too early to be safe. But governor Brian Kemp is going his own way and other states are following suit. CNN's Erica Hill has a look.

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ERICA HILL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): An unprecedented experiment, now underway in Georgia. Salons, tattoo parlors, gyms, all have the governor's blessing to reopen. The mayor of the state's largest city, urging residents to stay home.

MAYOR KEISHA LANCE BOTTOMS (D-GA), ATLANTA: Nothing has changed. People are still getting infected. People are still dying. We do not have a cure to this virus. The only thing that has helped us is that we have stayed apart from one another. And I am simply asking people to continue to do that.

HILL (voice-over): Customers weighing health concerns as owners must also confront mounting bills.

TARA GLYNN, HAIR SALON OWNER: I'm going to try it. I just feel like, us as a country, we are going to have much bigger problems, financially, if we do not.

HILL (voice-over): Meantime, about an hour south, cars line up for food at the Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Neighboring North Carolina is not easing up yet.

GOV. ROY COOPER (D-NC): We love our friends in Georgia but we are really concerned about how quickly this is happening and we want to make sure that we keep our numbers as low as possible.

HILL (voice-over): Oklahoma moving forward with a plan similar to Georgia's. The mayor of Tulsa noting cases in his city are still on the rise and expects that will continue.

MAYOR G.T. BYNUM (R-OK), TULSA: Waiting on those cases to decline as people for 100 miles in every direction are being encouraged to ease social distancing would be futile.

HILL (voice-over): Golf courses open in Wisconsin Friday; libraries and craft stores can offer curbside pickup, the state reporting 23 people who voted in person or worked the polls at the primary there earlier this month have now tested positive for COVID-19.

Curbside pickup is available today in retail stores in Texas, Colorado stay-at-home order will end Sunday, though not in Denver.

MAYOR MICHAEL HANCOCK (D-CO), DENVER: Nothing will change until maybe 8:00 or at least midnight on May 9th.

HILL (voice-over): Tennessee state parks have reopened, more Florida beaches will soon and diners can now eat at restaurants in Alaska, though capacity is limited to 25 percent, a patchwork response unfolding as experts warn, the country is not out of the woods.

DR. CARLOS DEL RIO, EMORY UNIVERSITY: People keep talking about the peak like there was the end game, it's not the end game, it's simply a model.

HILL (voice-over): California announcing a new partnership to get restaurants back online and deliver meals to at-risk seniors.

GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): it is not just about the meals, it's about a human connection. It is about someone just checking in as they are delivering those meals and making sure that people are OK.

HILL (voice-over): A chance to reconnect and to help as this crisis continues.

HILL: Also in California, for the first time since World War II, the California State Fair and Food Expo has been canceled. Typically, some 700,000 people attend the event which runs from mid-July to early August. The venue, where it is held, is also currently being used as a drive-through testing site in the state -- back to you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HOLMES: Erica Hill, thanks.

Dozens of coronavirus antibody tests apparently on the U.S. market without FDA authorization.

Guess what?

Some of them don't even work. A shocking CNN exclusive report coming up next.

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HOLMES: Welcome back.

President Donald Trump announcing that the FDA has approved the first at home COVID-19 test kit. It can be mailed to a patient, who can then mail it back to get the results. All of it, under a doctor's supervision.

Then, there is this. A congressional subcommittee memo obtained by CNN says that the FDA is not doing enough to protect Americans from unproven coronavirus antibody tests. Instead, the memo says, some companies are making tests public with

almost no guarantee that they actually work. Senior investigative correspondent Drew Griffin with this exclusive report.

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DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Slammed by criticism it slowed down testing during the early coronavirus outbreak, the FDA sped up the process for the next step by allowing dozens of antibody tests to go straight into the marketplace, most without FDA authorization.

DR. STEPHEN HAHN, COMMISSIONER, FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION: President Trump asked the FDA to remove all unnecessary barriers.

GRIFFIN: And antibody test is supposed to detect whether someone has had a novel coronavirus infection and recovered, even with no symptoms.

But, except for a handful which have been authorized by the FDA, it's hard to tell whether the hundred-odd tests out there work.

REP. RAJA KRISHNAMOORTHI (D-IL): Basically, the results could be catastrophic for so many people. Just imagine someone who thought that they are somehow immune because of the president of antibodies and then they go out and they expose themselves and they get other people sick.

GRIFFIN: Illinois Democratic Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi is chairman of a House oversight subcommittee investigating the antibody test market.

Its preliminary report obtained by CNN says, a lack of enforcement by FDA has allowed manufacturers to make fraudulent claims, that the FDA is unable to validate the accuracy of antibody tests that are already on the market and FDA has failed to police the coronavirus antibody test market, has taken no public enforcement action against any company and has not conveyed any clear policy on serological tests.

The FDA tells CNN it is policing problem tests, citing a statement by its commissioner the day after the FDA met with the committee. "We have and will continue to take appropriate action against firms making or distributing unvalidated tests or those making false claims, such as issuing warning letters requesting that companies stop their unlawful promotion."

Still, the Democrats on the committee insists the FDA's actions have led to a free-for-all, tests popping up on the Internet for sale, the congressional committee citing a report that a Texas emergency room spent half-a-million dollars on 20,000 tests from China that were worthless.

Congressman Krishnamoorthi says the FDA needs to act immediately and stop unverified tests from being sold.

KRISHNAMOORTHI: They should clear the market. GRIFFIN: While the FDA has not banned sales, it has set up two pathways to approve tests. Just four of those have received emergency use authorization so far, though dozens of others have applied.

Meantime, companies are allowed to sell tests, as long as they're clearly labeled as not FDA-approved, to be used only in a laboratory setting.

But, according to David Grenache, chief scientific officer at TriCore Reference Laboratories, the rules are vague and require doctors to read fine print.

DAVID GRENACHE, TRICORE REFERENCE LABORATORIES: I have seen some e- mails from marketers, from salespeople who are quick to sell their devices. And, honestly, some of them are very deceptive. They make it -- they don't make it clear that these really should be performed in a laboratory.

GRIFFIN: Health experts say antibody tests are crucial in reopening the country, advising the public who may or may not be susceptible to further infection, which is why Chairman Krishnamoorthi is adamant about making sure that tests for sale work.

KRISHNAMOORTHI: I fear that a lot of people are going to continue to buy these tests based on faulty assumptions and then get faulty conclusions that could lead to dangerous life decisions.

GRIFFIN: The FDA says of this conflict reviewing and updating its policies but as the same, the policy stands. There's a lot of antibody tests will be sold on the marketplace as long as they are clearly labeled to be not a sole basis for determining infection. A clear admission from the FDA that it is not sure the tests actually work -- Drew Griffin, CNN, Atlanta.

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HOLMES: Food can be hard to come by in Cuba. That means, even during a pandemic, some Cubans put their hunger before their health. We will have more than that, when we come back.

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HOLMES: In Cuba, the coronavirus has killed around 49 people but social distancing measures are nearly impossible for the many forced to stand in line for hours for food and medicine and other basic supplies. As CNN's Patrick Oppmann explains, it is often hunger over health.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Everywhere you look, you see them, what Cubans call las polas (ph), lines, lines for food, lines for cleaning products, lines for everything, anything, that is for sale.

In the age of coronavirus, people like Lisette (ph) aren't even sure what they are lining up for anymore.

"It must really be something that is essential," Lisette (ph) says of the line, where she had already waited for over an hour, without knowing what for.

Everyone is lining up and these days there is a need for everything.

Long before coronavirus came here, Cubans were already world champions at waiting in line. The Cuban economy has been ravaged by 60 years of U.S. economic sanctions and failed Soviet style policies.

Despite an abundance of rich farmland, Cuba no longer produces enough food to feed its citizens. Every supermarket is owned by the government. Some people earn a living by getting in line early and reselling the few items there are at a higher price.

If times were tough before, with the coronavirus fueling panic buying, now they are downright mean.

"It can take 4 or 5 hours," Lasro (ph) tells us. "The problem is, there are a lot of people out in the streets looking and very few places that have food."

The Cuban government says it is dedicating all its resources to the fight against coronavirus but the sickness continues to spread.

OPPMANN: Cuban officials have made it mandatory to wear face masks in public and banned large gatherings of people. But you still see crowds outside of supermarkets here, people of course, still need to eat and, in Cuba, that means, first to get in line.

OPPMANN (voice-over): People can maintain a distance between each other in the back of the line. It gets harder to do, the longer you wait. Health officials warn that if people do not practice social distancing, the coronavirus will be impossible to defeat.

"The population knows what to do. If they do it, it is something else," he says. "Not leaving the house, washing your hands, wearing a face mask, that is the best vaccine we have."

Some Cubans, likely said, they hear the government's warnings but the rumblings of empty stomachs speak louder.

"People do not seem to realize the risk," she says. "On TV, in the media, they are saying we have to line up and be separated. But people forget to do it."

Many Cubans can only afford to buy the few items they need right now. So very soon, they will have to get in line and risk the exposure all over again. [02:25:00]

OPPMANN (voice-over): Patrick Oppmann, CNN, Havana.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HOLMES: Turmoil in Brazil, two government ministers are out in as many weeks. Last week, Brazil's president Jair Bolsonaro fired the health minister after they disagreed on a strategy to curb the spread of coronavirus.

On Friday, the country's popular justice minister resigned, accusing the president of political interference. Shasta Darlington with more from Sao Paulo.

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SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Brazil's justice minister Sergio Moro resigned on Friday, citing political interference from the president and sparking a massive political crisis.

Moro is a hugely popular figure who led a fight against corruption when he was the judge is in charge of the car wash investigation.

When Bolsonaro took office last year, Moro joined his government. His departure on Friday was prompted by Bolsonaro's decision to fire the head of the federal police. According to Moro, Bolsonaro was breaking his promise to give Moro complete autonomy to choose his own people to fight corruption and violent crime.

In a press conference, he also accused Bolsonaro of wanting to replace the police chief with someone he could, quote, "call directly" to get information and intelligence reports and suggested pending cases in the Supreme Court were also behind the decision.

Moro's departure from the government, a week after the health minister was fired, further isolates Bolsonaro as he faces an unprecedented health and economic crisis. Bolsonaro took to the airwaves on Friday night to defend himself against the accusations, saying that he is allowed, by law, to name the police chief and has done nothing wrong.

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JAIR BOLSONARO, BRAZILIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Mr. Minister, you will not call me a liar. There is no more serious accusation for a man like me, a military man, a Christian, a president of the republic, to be accused of than this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DARLINGTON: He accused Moro of being more committed to his ego than to Brazil. Around the country, Brazilians banged pots and honked horns in protest against Bolsonaro in what is being seen by many as a move to force the minister out -- Shasta Darlington, CNN, Sao Paulo.

(END VIDEOTAPE) HOLMES: Is it safe?

That's the key question facing U.S. states rushing to reopen. We will explore after the break.

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HOLMES: Welcome back.

As the coronavirus death toll in the United States tops 51,000, many places are looking to open back up for business. Some states already have, despite health experts warning opening too soon could take on a second wave of infections, possibly worse than the first.

[02:30:00]

HOLMES: But is it really safe to reopen?

CNN's Brian Todd reports.

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SHANNON STAFFORD, HAIR SALON OWNER: No mask, no entry.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Shannon Stafford wrestled with the decision to reopen her hair salon in Savannah, Georgia. She says she will take the temperature of clients as they enter, make sure they wear face masks. But as for social distancing --

STAFFORD: That is not going to be possible, not with the client and a stylist. You can try to distance between the next two people throughout the salon but it's going to be difficult because we are so hands on.

TODD (voice-over): Keira Johnson owns a restaurant in Valdosta, Georgia, named Steel Magnolias, despite the declaration from Georgia's governor that restaurants can reopen with social distancing measures in place. Johnson refuses to open.

KEIRA JOHNSON, RESTAURANT OWNER: I have a 19 month old son, one of my managers has three little girls. Most of my chefs have children and we all have to know what we're going home to at the end of the night is safe. That we are keeping it safe for them at this point.

TODD (voice-over): Georgia Governor Brian Kemp's decision to allow hair and nail salons, gyms, restaurants and theaters to reopen is drawing enormous criticism from President Trump to mayors and other officials in the state to public health experts who have an ominous warning tonight.

DR. MARK RUPP, INFECTION CONTROL CHIEF, UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA MEDICAL CENTER: So I think undoubtedly there will be additional infections as we try to open up businesses. So this virus has not miraculously just gone away, it's still there. It's still looking for ways to exploit frailties (ph).

TODD (voice-over): Next week, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee is allowing restaurants and retailers to open at 50 percent capacity. One expert says that may not go far enough and explains how coronavirus can spread in a restaurant setting.

GAVIN MACGREGOR-SKINNER, DIRECTOR TRAINING, GLOBAL BIORISK ADVISORY COUNCIL: This virus spreads through droplets as well as direct contact. So anyone who's touched anything I know, fork, spoon, plate, cup, glass, we have to treat it as hot with real virus (ph).

TODD: In one study, person A1 here marked in yellow had lunch in a restaurant in China on January 24 and then soon felt sick. Nine others marked in red seated nearby were diagnosed within the following 12 days. In gyms now reopening in parts of Georgia, experts say the risks could be even higher, even for people in pre-symptomatic stages. If they're working out too close to others.

RUPP: If one of those persons goes to a gym and works out vigorously and is breathing hard, exerting themselves, that seems to me to be kind of a recipe for spreading that virus in that pre-symptomatic stage.

TODD: So is it impossible for any salons, stores and restaurants reopening to operate safely right now? One expert says, not impossible, but those businesses have to quickly train their employees.

MACGREGOR-SKINNER: The business employees are going to require the training but also the necessary equipment to protect their eyes, nose and mouth. It could be glasses, it could be another face covering, it could be just better use of disinfectant or hand sanitizer or soap and water. But we can do it, but it's going to be done slowly.

TODD: Despite the encouragement of some governors to reopen, many businesses and states that are doing that have told CNN that they are not going to reopen right away. For some, they say the cost of reopening, with all of the safety measures they have to take, are too burdensome.

But for many, the overall risks are just too great.

One theater owner told "The New York Times," "Hell, no," when he was asked if he would reopen.

He said, if he did that and another outbreak is traced to his theater, quote, "You know what that would do to my business?

"I wouldn't have one." -- Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HOLMES: Well, if there does end up being a second wave of coronavirus infections, it would not be the first time this has happened during a pandemic. The Spanish flu, for example, which didn't really start in Spain, began in 1918. But then it had two more waves, stronger and deadlier than the first.

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HOLMES: Joining me now, Dr. Howard Markel, he's a physician and professor at the University of Michigan, a good man to have for this.

When we look back at the 1918 and compare it to what's unfolding today, it struck me, you were quoted as saying, as a historical epidemiologist, I really do not want to see my research play out before my eyes. Explain that in the context of then and now.

DR. HOWARD MARKEL, UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN: Several years ago, we were asked to look at the 1918 pandemic to look at what is now referred to as social distancing, quarantine and isolation, school closures, public gathering bans, and see what worked and what didn't work in American cities during that great pandemic.

We found that cities that acted early, that did more than one of them and did them for very long times had far lower cases and deaths than those that did not. So we had always planned or part of the planning for the nation's pandemic preparedness.

[02:35:00]

MARKEL: And this was only to be rolled out in a worst-case scenario.

So what I meant by that quote was that while we had been working on this dystopian vision for so long, no physician would want to COVID-19 crisis on his or her hands and I doubt that anyone else would either.

HOLMES: There were lessons and you touched on this, how different cities acted. I think Philadelphia and St. Louis were examples in the very different outcomes they had from their behavior.

MARKEL: To begin, Philadelphia was on the East Coast, they got struck very hard, very early but they did not do much at all and when they finally did anything, it was too late. The virus had hit its inflection point, there were so many people with influenza, they were all infecting other people with influenza.

In places like St. Louis and other American cities, Grand Rapids, Michigan, was another one, they acted very early, a few weeks before the crisis got out of hand. They also used more than one of the social distancing measures and did them for a long period of time.

But there was more to it than that. There was context, in that the leaders of those cities got along with the other leaders in the same city. So the health commissioner worked well with the board of education or with the governor or with the mayor.

And we found that then, as now, when there is internecine rivalries between different politicians at different levels, that is a prescription for bad stuff. HOLMES: And that was my very next question. You've spoken about that

battle in many ways between economics and public health. We are seeing that play out today.

Given what happened in 1918, do you fear a rush to normal right now?

Particularly where you got the push from the White House and that seems political and pretty strong?

MARKEL: Yes, and in places like Georgia as well; 23 of the 43 cities that we have studied released the brake too early. They had what we called a double hump curve. So it was an epicurve that went up, then went down when they put on the brakes and then when they released the brakes, the cases went back up, they put the brakes back on and it went down again.

But that 2nd hump was sometimes worse in number of cases and deaths than the first. Of course, it sort of put all of that work in and disruption for nothing. You still had to do it all over again and for almost a longer period at that.

HOLMES: Fears that could happen this time around. We have, of course, the advantages now of better science, better systems of communication. That was not the case back then.

How did having control of the epidemic and these days communication itself is hampered by easily disseminated conspiracy theories and misinformation.

MARKEL: Yes. Communication today is absolutely wonderful in that the science and scientists and epidemiologists from all around the world can communicate at the push of a button. That is a wonderful thing. But information can be disseminated to citizens about what they should do to prevent getting the COVID-19 virus.

But you are also right, there is bad information and, with social media and the Internet, misinformation can go around the world at the speed of electrons and that is very difficult to rein in as well.

HOLMES: We are right out of time but is there one lesson from 1918 that should be applied today that is not or one lesson learned?

MARKEL: One lesson learned is that through every epidemic I've ever studied, the last act is always one of global amnesia. We forget about the crisis at hand once it's over. We go back to living the lives that may have led to that epidemic or pandemic in the first place.

The 2nd COVID-19 is managed, we are going to have to plan for the next one. We live in a world of emerging infectious diseases and we never conquer microbes. We, at best, wrestled them to a draw.

HOLMES: So well put. Dr. Howard Markel, a pleasure. Thank you so much.

MARKEL: Thank you.

HOLMES: Global amnesia. The decision by Georgia's governor to reopen the state is causing

concern across the U.S. pro basketball player in Georgia native Jaylen Brown says that he fears for the safety of his family and friends living there. The Boston Celtics shooting guard spoke with Christina Macfarlane about it.

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CHRISTINA MACFARLANE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He was supposed to be focusing on the NBA playoffs, instead, Jaylen Brown of the Boston Celtics has been concentrating on another goal, keeping people safe.

Now his messages have urgently turned to the people in his home state of Georgia as Governor Kemp gradually reopens for business.

[02:40:00]

JAYLEN BROWN, BOSTON CELTICS: As a Georgia native I feel uneasy but I have family and friends there that will be the first to go back out into society. And I do not want to see Georgia be like the guinea pig for what the economy is trying to do and start back up.

I think all the people that I have listened to, who have some type of claim in science and DNA and understanding this virus, say this is almost ridiculous. I take it personal that is something that we're going to do because it bothers me and I'm concerned for my friends and my family.

TRUMP: Maybe you wait a little bit longer until you get into a phase 2.

So do I agree with him?

No, but I respect him and I will let him make his decision.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Going ahead and leapfrogging into phases where you should not be, I would advise him, as a health official and a physician, not to do that.

MACFARLANE (voice-over): After listening to White House briefings on the coronavirus, Brown says he hopes the president and local officials would get on the same page.

BROWN: The government or state officials said they will release more information and I think they should be more adamant about talking and putting the right information out there instead of complaining about the wrong information.

When I watch, some of these government officials, they just cause more anxiety and more panic, because I do not feel like people are on the same page. I think that we should be united in our stance (INAUDIBLE). MACFARLANE (voice-over): With the devastating toll this is having on minority and ethnic communities, Brown says the NBA is in a unique position to make a difference.

BROWN: I think the NBA is 75-80 percent African American and people of color, so I think that our communities, our families, our neighborhoods are being affected by that. And that is the importance of us as players, of the NBA to teams to stand in that, stand up and not to pretend but to actually try to go out and make change and do something.

Americans are having a lack of medical resources right now and I think people of color are suffering the most.

MACFARLANE (voice-over): It is uncertain when Brown will be back on the basketball court. But right now, he has focused on playing his part in the global effort to save lives -- Christina Macfarlane, CNN, London

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HOLMES: A follow-up for you now, 99 year old British war veteran captain Tom Moore, you may remember, raised more than $35 million for the National Health Service in the U.K. by walking laps in his garden.

Now he is the oldest person to top the U.K.'s music charts.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

HOLMES (voice-over): Moore's rendition, with a few guest singers of "You'll Never Walk Alone" debuted at number one just days before his 100th birthday, check it out, it is all over YouTube and it is something.

Thank you for spending part of your day with me and watching CNN NEWSROOM, "MARKETPLACE AFRICA" up next, I will see you in about 20 minutes.