Return to Transcripts main page


A Widow Says No One Is Clapping for Workers Like My Husband; Video Show NYPD Officer Tackling Man in Social Distance Arrest; Jordan Begins Reopening Following Strict Lockdown; European Commission Says Europe Faces Recession of Historic Proportions. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired May 6, 2020 - 15:30   ET




BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: We talk a lot about the battle on the front lines for health care workers, right, and when we do that we're mainly talking about doctors and nurses who are trying to save lives. But they are not the only health care workers who are on the front lines who are struggling.

There are so many nonmedical hospital workers who are getting hit hard by the coronavirus. Many are losing their lives as well. We're talking about people who push patients in gurneys and wheelchairs through hospital corridors or those who pull medical files and guard emergency rooms.

People like the husband of my next guest, Eneida Becot, who lost her husband, Edward, last month to the virus. For two decades he worked at Brooklyn Hospital Center in New York. Anita, I just want to say we're so sorry that you are here talking to us under these circumstances and we're so appreciative that you're doing it because there are so many people who are in your position. Can you tell first, how you're doing, how you're doing right now as -- and really what you want people to know about your husband?

ENEIDA BECOT, LOST HER HUSBAND TO COVID-19 (via Cisco Webex): Hi. We've been basically taking it day by day. Me and Ed have a 15-year- old son and our other kids, it is been pretty difficult. It's going to be a month, I believe, this Sunday since he passed.

And he was just a great guy. He was known as the mayor of Brooklyn Hospital and he loved his job. He loved the patients that he transported for tests. His co-workers, his community and it's just been taking it day by day. It's been difficult and it is still surreal that he's not here.

KEILAR: You two are a beautiful couple. We can see that, we can see the love that you have for each other in those photos. And you said that he was -- he was called the mayor. So, this is someone as he's transporting patients, you know, he's giving them the love too, I'm sure, they're in difficult situations. I wonder when it came down to the conditions that Ed was doing his work in, did you feel that he was being protected in the way that he should be?

BECOT: I think in the beginning, when this whole thing happened, I don't think -- I think there was a lack of communication as far as I don't think they knew the severity of the virus when it happened. They did have the protective equipment, but he was exposed I think before he was able to wear the gear.

I think if there was a better understanding on how this virus could have impacted everybody, there could have been protection earlier on and it probably could have saved him. But I think it was just -- nobody knew the severity and the impact the virus would have. Especially, on the health care workers.

KEILAR: Yes, we've seen "The New York Times" has reported that union leaders and even hospital employees have been really concerned that they didn't get the PPE that nurses and doctors got it first which as we know is difficult to get.


But we're talking about a lot of workers who were exposed as you said.


KEILAR: And one of the things that I found startling about your husband's case was that he was exposed and at a certain point he started showing symptoms, you thought he might have COVID and he went to get tested. And tell us what happened?

BECOT: So, we went -- I think it was March 19th, I think it was a Friday. He was showing the symptoms. We went to get him tested but the symptoms weren't severe enough for him to get tested. So, they sent him back home that Friday. That weekend he was declining. He was declining fast. So that Monday I took him again. By the time we got to the E.R., they took him and put him in ICU and put him on a vent.

So, my issue was I felt that Friday they should have taken him and tested him and kept him. And I don't know that weekend or those three days could have made a difference. But the fact that he was an employee and he was exposed, I think he should have been tested and admitted that Friday.

KEILAR: Yes. And I mean you don't know if it would have made a difference but now, you're left wondering --


KEILAR: -- which I think is a horrible situation to be in. You know, I think anybody looks at that and wonders well, why wasn't he tested, he was exposed. I know for you, you know, at 7:00 p.m. New Yorkers as they gather to bang their pots and pans, they're applauding in front of hospitals.

I think a lot of people -- I think Eneida, maybe they don't know, they don't know there are a lot of people like your husband who was transporting patients. He was an unsung hero. They don't know that there are people doing such important work that keeps the hospital running whether it is janitorial services or the like. What do you want people to know?

BECOT: I want them to know that aside from the phenomenal jobs these doctors and nurses are doing, you have transporters like my husband, you have security, housekeeping, the employees in medical records, the clerks, the supply rooms, even in food services that also play a role and interact with patients and they're just as important as the doctors and the nurses and they should be acknowledged and they play a vital role, you know, in their care.

KEILAR: Some of the reporting that we've seen has pointed out that these vital roles -- I mean the hospital doesn't operate without people like your husband. These vital roles are disproportionately filled by African-Americans and Latino Americans, and we're seeing folks like that just take a disproportionate hit when it comes to being infected with or dying from the coronavirus. What do you want people who are looking at that statistic to know on a human level?

BECOT: Life is short and everybody should be acknowledged. It doesn't matter their title, it doesn't matter if they are the guy that cleans the floor or the young lady or the girl that cleans the room that we're all human and we -- my husband sacrificed his life, you know, taking care of others and we should just all just treat a human life equally regardless if they're a doctor, they're a nurse, whatever, they are, they're employees and they should have been treating the same way.

KEILAR: Eneida, I know you said it is about a month now. I know you are on the beginning of this journey without your husband for which I am so sorry. But can you tell us a little bit about him. I know you don't want him to be forgotten, we don't want him to be forgotten, he's been essential in this. Tell us about him and what you miss and what you want people to know about him as they remember him.

BECOT: What do I miss? Oh, my god, everything. He was the life of the party. He genuinely loved people. He loved what he did. He was working there probably for 25 years. And he was an advocate for -- he was also a delegate, so he was an advocate for people.

And I just want to bring awareness that he just had a heart of gold and the impact -- I always knew he made an impact on people but the impact that he made when he passed away and how many people that contacted me and told me personally what he did for them, it was just -- it was very touching.


And although he's not here, I wish he knew like, he was on "60 Minutes", you know, "The New York Times" and now and, you know, and CNN that the world needs more people like him. You know, he was selfless. That is what I want everybody to know. There is nothing he would not do for anyone.

And when he walked in a room, he just lit everything up. And he had this infectious smile and he was a big jokester. His main thing is just to make people happy. And that is what he loved doing his job, he interacted with people every day.

Spoke to them and he just wanted to make sure that their visit at the hospital was the best possible stay and experience that they had regardless of what they were going through, and that he is genuinely a beautiful human being and he's going to be missed greatly, not only by our kids, family.

KEILAR: Eneida, he sounds like a beautiful person. We thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and also your memories of Ed with us. Eneida Becot, thank you.

BECOTE: Thank you.

KEILAR: And we'll be right back.


KEILAR: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is condemning a troubling video that shows a NYPD officer tackling and punching a man who approached during a social distancing arrest. Take a look at this.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look, look. He didn't do -- he didn't even do nothing. He didn't even do nothing. Look. He didn't even do nothing. He didn't even do nothing. (BLEEP)


KEILAR: Well, the officer shown in this video here is actually now on modified duty restrictions while an investigation is underway. This video sparking controversy over police use of force and handling of minority communities during the coronavirus pandemic. I want to bring in CNN's Shimon Prokupecz. Shimon, that is a very difficult video to watch. What is the mayor's message here to the NYPD?

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER (via Cisco Webex): Yes, and the mayor and the police commissioner have come out both and said that it's very disturbing what went on here and that is why the police commissioner put this officer on desk duty now.

This is just one of many videos that have now come to surface and the concern here is that some of the officers who are now having to deal with social distancing policies and splitting people up and telling people how they should behave in this pandemic may not be approaching it in the most appropriate way. And so, the mayor and the police commissioner both have said they're going to look at the guidelines, they're going to see if they need to do some different steps here. Today the mayor again addressed some of what he's going to be doing in the coming days.


BILL DE BLASIO, MAYOR, NEW YORK CITY: But the message to NYPD is be consistent across all communities. You know, communicate with people as always under neighborhood policing. Help people to understand this is about their own health and safety and their family.

Because it's actually been quite rare that the NYPD or any other agency encounters much resistance. The vast majority of New Yorkers get it, and they're living this way. Sometimes they need to be reminded, sometimes they need to be offered a face covering but they accept, and they act accordingly.


PROKUPECZ: In his complaints, Brianna, from the minority community, that is now sparking some of the concern in the police commissioner and the mayor, they have come to the mayor's office and they have said, you know, we think that people in the black and brown community are being treated differently than folks in some of the areas of upper Manhattan.

You know, we've seen video and photos of people in Central Park and people at different parks around Manhattan and there's been some concern that those people are being treated differently versus some of the people in the minority communities.

KEILAR: All right, Shimon, thank you for that report, so important, Shimon Prokupecz in New York.

We have some breaking news. Researchers in the U.K. say they've seen an unprecedented cluster of children with rare problems likely related to the coronavirus. We'll discuss that news ahead.



KEILAR: In the U.K., researchers say they're seeing a, quote, unprecedented cluster of inflammatory problems in children. The cases seem to resemble a severe form of Kawasaki disease, a rare condition that causes inflammation to the walls to the arteries and can limit blood flow to the heart. All of the children included in the study were previously healthy. Let's get more from my CNN colleagues around the world.


CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Clarissa Ward in London where Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been facing some tough questions in the Houses of Parliament behind me as the U.K. meets a grim milestone, overtaking Italy to have the highest death toll in the whole of Europe.

Prime Minister Johnson really evading the question as to why the U.K.'s casualty toll is so high. He said it was not appropriate for the time being to compare different countries with different population sizes. But he did concede that the government's response to the spread of the virus in care homes has not been very good, saying, it's something I deeply regret. FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Fred

Pleitgen in Berlin where the European Union says it faces a recession of historic proportion. Now the European Commission is forecasting that economies of the EU are going to contract by a record 7.5 percent in 2020.

Of course, the European Union countries have already come together and agreed on measures to prop up the economies of the continent but also to combat unemployment. However, the European Commission says it believes it will take at least a year for the economies to rebound.

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Jomana Karadsheh, Jordan says it has recorded no new coronavirus cases over the past eight days. But as it is gradually and cautiously reopening the economy, the risks are still high. The country of about 10 million people has less than 500 confirmed cases and nine deaths.

They say that the reason for this initial success is because Jordan moved fast, it hit hard with one of the strictest lockdowns in the world. They also put in strict quarantine in place. They went for aggressive contact tracing and random testing. But they know that the price for this initial success is going to be the impact on the country's already struggling economy.



In the Chinese city of Wuhan, that is the original epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic where the disease was first discovered back in December. Authorities there announced that high school seniors would go back to school for the first time in months, today, Wednesday, that's largely so they can prepare for this really important standardized test in China that students have to take to get into university. Authorities estimated around 58,000 students would be going back to class today.


KEILAR: And we have breaking news. The President says he is keeping the White House coronavirus task force together. As he says, the pandemic is worse than Pearl Harbor and worse than 9/11.

Plus, the former CDC Director testifies before Congress, issuing a stark warning about how bad this pandemic is and how bad it will be.