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Confirmed Global Coronavirus Cases Top Four Million, Death Toll Jumps To 281,000-Plus; Fauci, Heads Of CDC And FDA Quarantine After Virus Exposure; Worst Jobs Report In U.S. History: 20.5 Million Jobs Lost In April. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired May 10, 2020 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right, and we did have this conversation, essentially, he believed what he saw was he was standing in his yard and he saw the young man being pursued.
And he thought perhaps this was some sort of criminal activity he was witnessing and he wanted to get a picture of Ahmaud, he says, in case he got away, and they were able to show to authorities who the person was.
Again, he claims that this was all being an observer, not being a participant, but that is hard to fathom, given that explanation.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: So, he was making the presumption that it was the jogger who was doing something wrong as opposed to the other two who allegedly pursued him.
WHITFIELD: All right, Martin Savidge. Thank you so much.
Hello, again, everyone. And thank you so much for joining me, I'm Fredricka Whitfield. Happy Mother's Day.
We begin with the world attempting to get back to normal in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Right now, there are more than four million confirmed cases globally and over 281,000 deaths, and those numbers are only expected to rise.
One of the key models used by the White House now projects 137,000 us deaths by August, that's 3,000 more deaths than the previous projection.
The revised number due to what researchers call, quoting now, "an explosive increase in mobility," end quote, among Americans and states that have reopened.
Meanwhile, several of the top U.S. medical officials may have been exposed to the virus. Dr. Anthony Fauci, CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield and FDA Commissioner Dr. Steven Hahn, all going under quarantine after coming into contact with White House staffer or staffers, who recently tested positive for coronavirus. And today, President Trump's economic adviser says everyone in the
White House knows the risks they are taking.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KEVIN HASSETT, WHITE HOUSE SENIOR ECONOMIC ADVISER: I knew when I was going back in that I would be taking risks that, you know, I'd be safer sitting at home at my house than going into a West Wing that even with all the testing in the world of the best medical team on Earth is a relatively cramped place.
We set up a big data operation in the basement when I got there, and we were interacting constantly with people who are going to and from FEMA right at the beginning, when we were there, there were some people who caught COVID at FEMA
So, we've all been exposing ourselves to risks you know, we under the best guidance we could possibly have to keep us safe, but we're willing to take that chance because we love our country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: All right, let's start our coverage at the White House. CNN's Jeremy Diamond joining me now, so, Jeremy, how will these quarantines affect the day-to-day operations of that Coronavirus Taskforce?
JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, that certainly is a big question. Look, these are three of the very prominent doctors on this Coronavirus Taskforce. You've got Dr. Robert Redfield, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and you have Dr. Steven Hahn, the head of the Food and Drug Administration and Dr. Anthony Fauci who, of course, has become really one of the most public faces of this Taskforce.
They are all entering some form of quarantine for the next two weeks working from home. Some of them, including Dr. Fauci and Dr. Redfield said they'd be willing to go to the White House if necessary, but that they would take all the precautions, including, for example, wearing a mask on the grounds of the White House.
We have not yet heard, though, from the White House about any other officials who are entering quarantine and you would think that there might be others, particularly because these three doctors were learning that they're going in self-quarantine about 24 hours after Katie Miller, the spokeswoman for the Vice President and also for this Coronavirus Taskforce after she tested positive.
There are many more White House officials and administration officials who would have come into close contact with her beyond these three doctors on the Taskforce.
One big question that still remains for example is whether Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House's Coronavirus Coordinator whether or not she will enter some form of self-quarantine. But again, so far the White House is not confirming that; and again,
keep in mind at the White House, this is -- these are tight quarters. Officials are working in some pretty small office spaces at times.
The White House though is now encouraging officials to telework from home, if at all possible. But of course, when you're talking about the West Wing and those cramped quarters that you're seeing on your screen now, those are officials who deemed essential and who typically would have to come into the White House, including to meet with the President.
We do know though that the White House is taking some steps up for precautions, including ramping up that testing. Previously, it was once a week, but after a military valet tested positive earlier this week, they have since moved that to once a day.
So, certainly some precautions being taken and we do know that those three doctors who are entering self-quarantine, they were set to testify on Capitol Hill in just a couple of days. They will instead be testifying by video conference now -- Fred.
WHITFIELD: And Jeremy, you underscore, you know, tight quarters in the White House, but there's also been some reporting that some folks would come to work there at the White House wearing masks and they would take them off while in the close quarters of the White House. What do you know about that reporting?
DIAMOND: Well, what we do know is that much of the staff has really made their own decisions as to whether or not to wear a mask and most of the White House staff based on our reporting has not been wearing masks when they are inside the White House.
Some officials for example, at the National Security Council, including the Deputy National Security Adviser, Matt Pottinger, for example, we know that he has been wearing a mask, but we are starting to notice some changes.
Just yesterday, we noticed that when the President was meeting with military leaders, none of them were wearing masks. The White House says that's because they were all tested before going into that meeting.
But we do know that the Secret Service agents in that room, they were wearing masks for the first time. The day before we had actually seen them in several moments with the President, they were not wearing any masks. So, certainly some changes appear to be taking hold.
WHITFIELD: All right, Jeremy Diamond at the White House. Thank you so much.
All right. Also, we're in Washington, the recent steps taken to hold the economy afloat may not be enough. It comes as the U.S. sees its highest unemployment rate since the Great Depression. On Friday, we learned that more than 20 million people lost their jobs
in April. But the White House top economic advisers say a fourth stimulus package for taxpayers and small businesses may be a bit premature.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVEN MNUCHIN, U.S. TREASURY SECRETARY: What the President and I are now saying is, we spent a lot of money. A lot of this money is not even into the economy yet. Let's take the next few weeks, I'm having discussions with both the Republicans and the Democrats to understand these issues.
The President and I are having conversations with outside people, with business. We just want to make sure that before we jump back in and spend another few trillion of taxpayers' money that we do it carefully.
LARRY KUDLOW, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL: I do think There are issues here, and there probably are going to be some agreements and disagreements. Each side has strong positions.
So, it's not that we're not talking, we are; it's just informal at this stage. And really, after all this assistance, let's have a look at what the impact is in at least the next couple of weeks for the economy.
HASSETT: This is the biggest negative shock to an economy that we have ever seen in our lifetimes. And it hit an economy that in January was about the strongest economy we've ever seen.
And so when you've got two giant forces like that colliding, then any economist who tells you they know exactly what's going to happen, you know, is feeding you a line.
The fact though, is that with all of the aggressive bipartisan action to toss maybe as much as $9 trillion at this sort of bridge to the other side, that we see things like in the Jobs Report on Friday, almost everybody who declared themselves unemployed said they expect to go back to work in the next six months.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: All right, CNN's Sarah Westwood joins me right now. So Sarah, we heard economic adviser, Larry Kudlow say that there were informal talks underway about a fourth stimulus. Where do things actually stand?
SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, Fred, right now, White House economic advisers appear to be really taking a wait and see approach. You heard Kevin Hassett saying to Jake Tapper this morning that they believe they have the luxury of time right now to see how the stimulus money from the CARES package that was passed last month, or excuse me, in March would be dispersed.
They are saying that the enormity of that package should be enough to hold the economy over until they can come up with what they need to have in the next recovery package.
Larry Kudlow also said he has been collecting ideas from bipartisan group of lawmakers both in phone calls on Friday. He says he has another one planned for Monday, but that's really far behind where Democrats appear to be. They're really beyond the stage of collecting ideas.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, for example, yesterday sort of laid out what House Democrats are looking in the CARES 2 package. They want increased funding for testing. They want more support for state and local governments for their costs lately and for their lost revenues. They want food stamps, for example, more direct payments for Americans.
So really far ahead of where Republicans and the White House appear to be right now. Hassett did suggest that perhaps there may be some openness among Republicans in the White House to having more support for state and local governments. That's something that Republicans have really been fighting over.
But, Fred, with that April jobs report, that 14.7 percent unemployment numbers, it's really going to be a lot of pressure on the White House and Republicans to get something done. It's just not clear that reluctance is a tenable position moving forward.
WHITFIELD: All right, Sarah Westwood. Thank you so much.
All right. Meantime, last hour, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announcing in a prime time address a long-term roadmap for the gradual relaxation of his country's lockdown. It includes moving to what he is calling a Stay Alert Plan and introducing a COVID-19 alert system.
I want to bring back CNN's Max Foster outside 10 Downing Street, the Prime Minister's headquarters. So what exactly are these changes?
MAX FOSTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, three stages to the plan. The first one, immediate, which is asking those working in manufacturing and in construction to get back to work as soon as possible, but avoid public transport.
Then that goes into the second phase, potentially, where schools and shops could start reopening next month, and then potentially in July, hospitality could open as well.
But this is all conditional on the infection rate in the U.K. staying down. If that starts rising again, and they'll slow that whole timetable down, Boris Johnson says.
Some confusion about the messaging as it has been throughout this whole strategy it seems here at 10 Downing Street.
As you say, Boris Johnson now asking people to stay alert, so moving his messaging away from stay at home. Have a listen to this part of the address they gave last hour -- Fredricka. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: And thanks to you, we've protected our N.H.S. and saved many thousands of lives.
And so I know, you know, that it would be madness now, to throw away that achievement by allowing a second spike. We must stay alert. We must continue to control the virus and save lives.
And yet, we must also recognize that this campaign against the virus has come at a colossal cost to our way of life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: So the stay alert messaging has been called puzzling by the opposition parties. And interestingly, Scotland and Wales haven't signed up to it, let's stick with stay at home. So, some divisions in the Union appearing there.
Boris Johnson also saying that he is going to enforce a 14-day quarantine for anyone flying into the U.K., not really clear why that's starting now as opposed to before.
France, they will be exempt and interestingly, that followed a call with President Emmanuel Macron of France tonight. He said, any quarantines would have to be reciprocal and it seems as though Boris Johnson backed down with that because it would have meant a day trip to France, which people do in the U.K. would mean 28 days, quarantine, Fredricka, which didn't seem palatable to the French President.
WHITFIELD: All right, Max Foster. Thank you so much, in London.
All right, coming up, businesses, families and local governments struggling. So, what's needed to get the economy back on track after the worst jobs report in U.S. history?
WHITFIELD: More than 20 million Americans lost their jobs in April. Unemployment now stands at a devastating 14.7 percent, a number we haven't seen since the Great Depression.
Today, the President's top economic officials downplayed the need for another stimulus package for now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MNUCHIN: With the President and I are now saying is we spent a lot of money. A lot of this money is not even into the economy yet, we just want to make sure that before we jump back in and spend another few trillion of taxpayers' money, that we do it carefully.
KUDLOW: I think that many people would like to just pause for a moment and take a look at the economic impact of this massive assistance program.
HASSETT: The fact though is that with all of the aggressive bipartisan action to toss maybe as much as $9 trillion at this sort of bridge to the other side, that we see things like in the jobs report on Friday, almost everybody who declared themselves unemployed said they expect to go back to work in the next six months.
And so there's a lot of hope out there that we've done enough to make it so that when we get to the other side, we can get going again and have a transition back to a great economy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: Mark Zandi is the Chief Economist for Moody's Analytics. Mark, good to see you. So, do you agree that, you know, it's best to wait and see how the money from the stimulus packages impacts the economy before even considering yet another one?
MARK ZANDI, CHIEF ECONOMIST, MOODY'S ANALYTICS: No, I think that would be a mistake. We have, as you pointed out, lost over 20 million jobs so far and we're on track to lose a couple more million jobs this month in the month of May.
Unemployment is as high as it's been since the Great Depression and it is going to rise further in the month of May.
Well, over a trillion dollars of the support that's been already provided is already in the economy. So, we are seeing the strongest boost from the support currently right now when we're losing these millions of jobs.
And then even -- we'll get a bounce this summer as businesses reopen. But on the other side of that, in all likelihood, we'll be back in the quicksand because I don't see businesses, consumers really doing much of anything.
They're not going to kick into gear until we have some kind of idea how this virus is going to play out when we have a vaccine or some kind of therapy.
And you know, of course, I could be wrong, you know, maybe things will turn out, hopefully better than I'm anticipating. But the one thing we've learned in this crisis and in the financial crisis 10 years ago is that it's better to err on the side of being too aggressive than being too meek in the response. So, we should respond strongly and quickly.
WHITFIELD: Sure. So, this comes as governors across the country are facing big budget shortfalls and worried that they will have a very difficult time funding things such as education, emergency services, without some help from the Federal government.
Can states, you know, sit, wait and hope for the economy to make a quick bounce back or do they need Federal help?
ZANDI: They need Federal help. Now, there's an example, a really good example of where help is needed immediately. You could see that in the jobs numbers.
On Friday, we saw that state and local governments laid off a million people -- a million jobs were lost in state and local government and they employ 20 million people typically. So, that gives you a sense of the stress they're under. And these are jobs we need.
These are -- as you pointed out -- police, fire, and emergency responders, social services, teachers and they are middle paying jobs.
So if we -- if state and local governments don't get that help immediately, they're going to be cutting more in May, June and July, just when the economy is starting to get going.
WHITFIELD: So, we're talking about nearly 21 million Americans losing their jobs in one month, April. Forty seven states now partially reopen this weekend, but you know, how solely are these economies going to be able to recover?
A lot of business owners are worried if being partially open is really sustainable, or if their customers will even have the money to spend?
ZANDI: Yes, no, that's a great point. So, we will see a bounce in economic activity, you know, by Memorial Day as we go into June and July, as businesses across the country start to reopen.
So, they'll start hiring back some of their people and the economy will feel a bit better.
But it's hard to imagine with the virus out there and all of the uncertainty that it is creating, that you and I, as consumers are going to do what we typically do, we're just not. And businesses can't do what they typically do.
There's going to be all kinds of social distancing measures that they're going to have to employ and engage with.
And then think about it from a business perspective. I mean, would you make a big investment decision with all of this uncertainty out there? So, in all likelihood, the economy is going to feel better in the next couple of months.
But on the other side of this business reopening, I think the economy is going to be struggling. And that's what we need to be preparing for now. That's what lawmakers -- Congress and the administration, the Trump administration -- should be working on now.
Now, you know, maybe we can wait and see a little bit. But while we're waiting and seeing, we should be planning for the real possibility that this economy needs more help.
WHITFIELD: All right, Mark Zandi, good to see you. Thank you so much.
ZANDI: Sure thing.
WHITFIELD: All right. Coming up, a battle over coronavirus checkpoints in South Dakota. The governor giving two Sioux tribes an ultimatum. We're live with the latest.
WHITFIELD: A battle is brewing between the Governor of South Dakota and two Native American tribes over road checkpoints designed to prevent the spread of coronavirus on tribal land.
On Friday, Governor Kristi Noem sent letters to leaders of two Sioux tribes with an ultimatum, take down the checkpoints or face legal action.
That ultimatum has now been rejected by one of the tribes setting up a legal showdown. Sara Sidner joins us from a very windy Timberlake, South Dakota.
Sara, what are you hearing there?
SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is a checkpoint that the Cheyenne River Sioux tribe has set up here. Their whole reason for doing this and they want to be very clear about it is that they want to be able to contact trace. They are trying to, and I'm quoting the chairman here, "save their people."
If COVID-19 were to get into the tribal areas, they simply do not have the resources to deal with a major outbreak and standing next to me, happens to be Chairman Harold Frazier of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe.
Thank you so much for joining us. I really appreciate you coming out here on this very windy and chilly day. Can you tell me, you know what -- why you put these checkpoints up in the first place?
HAROLD FRAZIER, CHAIRMAN, CHEYENNE RIVER SIOUX TRIBE: Well, you know, the whole purpose is to monitor and try to track this virus if it should ever come in. We're doing this to -- you know, that's the main goal of these checkpoints.
And also, too, we know that this virus does not travel. It's the people with the virus that travel, so we want to ensure that if people are coming from highly -- from hotspots or highly affected areas that you know, we ask them to go around our lands.
SIDNER: I'm going to just read a little bit of what the Governor has said. She sent a letter on March 8th and basically said, look, I am requesting that the tribe immediately cease what she called interfering of regulating traffic on U.S. and state highways and remove all of the checkpoints. She wants it done in 48 hours.
And what is your response to that? Are you going to remove these checkpoints? It is now basically 48 hours since that letter was sent.
FRAZIER: Yes, well, right now, you know, again, our main thing is to save lives and ensure good health of all the residents of this reservation. And, you know, we're just going to keep going.
You know, a lot of times in South Dakota this time of the year, and this summer, there's going to be road construction, and a lot of times you know, there's checkpoints where are you have Pelican and places like that. And, you know -- and so, we're kind of used to it here in South Dakota.
So, I don't know where they're really coming from that we're interfering with any traffic.
SIDNER: Are you going to take them down as she has requested? Or are you going to stay put?
FRAZIER: We're going to stay put. You know, this is right now with the lack of resources we have, medically, I mean, this is our best tool we have right now is to try to prevent it, and I believe that this is a good, good practice and if we should ever get it, you know, again, it's a good tool for us to use to try to isolate as quick as we can the virus.
SIDNER: What is your biggest concern? You know, you talked about, you know, the fact that this virus, if it comes into the tribal areas, what would happen? Would you have the resources to actually deal with an outbreak of COVID-19?
FRAZIER: You know, no, not on a reservation, we do not. The nearest healthcare, critical care is three hours away from where we live. So, we just don't have it to deal with any of the potential that could come.
SIDNER: How many beds do you have? How many hospital beds do you have? And do you have an ICU in case someone needs to be treated?
FRAZIER: We only have an eight-bed facility and we do not have an ICU.
SIDNER: For 12,000 people that live on the reservation?
FRAZIER: Yes, only eight beds.
SIDNER: All right. Thank you so much. I know this has been a difficult time for you all and I know the governor is also pressing to try and get these open.
I just want to ask you one last thing. Are you stopping everyone from being able to come onto reservation lands? How is this working?
FRAZIER: No, you know, a lot of -- we're definitely allowing what we determine essential travel, commercial. We need supplies, we need medical help, you know, so basically the only thing that we are -- we do ask everybody stop, fill a health questionnaire and so forth.
Other than that, nobody is really stopped. Just if there's a car coming from a hotspot that, you know -- and just traveling or just coming through with nonessential, then they will be turned around and asked to go around us.
SIDNER: So, the vast majority of people are being let through but nonessential travelers for example, tourists, they would not want them to come through this reservation especially if there's any chance they were at a hotspot, any chance that they may have contracted the coronavirus -- Fred.
WHITFIELD: All right, Sara Sidner, thank you so much for being there and bringing this to us. Appreciate it.
Roadblocks and tough restrictions, an emergency lockdown has just expired in the City of Gallup, New Mexico, so was it successful in stopping the spread of coronavirus there? I'll ask the mayor, next.
WHITFIELD: An emergency lockdown put in place to stop the spread of the coronavirus has just been lifted in Gallup, New Mexico. This after the governor invoked the state's Riot Control Act and put up roadblocks to cut off access to the city which borders the Navajo Nation Indian Reservation.
Gallup sits in McKinley County, which accounts for less than four percent of the state's population, but about 30 percent of the state's coronavirus cases.
The Mayor of Gallup, Louis Bonaguidi joins me right now. Good to see you, Mayor. So, was the lockdown successful?
MAYOR LOUIS BONAGUIDI, GALLUP, NEW MEXICO: Well, we're hoping it still will show up in in the future days, let's put it that way. But right now, we're very disappointed that our numbers are still getting higher and higher on a daily basis.
WHITFIELD: And why do you think that is?
BONAGUIDI: Well, our next step basically, is to encourage everybody to wear masks. You know, maybe they're just not doing the things five feet -- five or six feet apart. You know, all we can do is encourage everybody to follow those rules.
But I see the next thing we're going to do basically is ask that everybody wear masks, definitely in the essential businesses, supermarkets and stuff, but we're doing everything we can basically to cut those numbers down.
WHITFIELD: And one of the reasons you requested this lockdown in your first days in office was to prevent people from surrounding areas coming in to Gallup to shop. Do you think Gallup is ready to begin reopening? Are you ready to have those visitors again?
BONAGUIDI: Well, at this point, we have no choice. I can give you the background as to the reason why we decided to do it. I mean, we've got two hospitals that are full. We have a high school -- a new high school basically now converted into a hospital. Our numbers keep getting higher and higher. So we just -- we were at desperation. I mean, we didn't know what to
do. And then in conversation with the governor, the only thing she could come up with was, let's lock it down.
WHITFIELD: So, you could use the economic boost that would come with shoppers, but you certainly don't need, you know, any further setbacks because of potential spread?
BONAGUIDI: Right. We consider Gallup, you know, at this point, we're considering Gallup to be the hotspot. And our concern is, you know, I mean, we're in the middle of five Indian reservations. We have on pay weekends, which is, you know, first month and I wouldn't say it's pay weekend, but for some reason, it's the day the majority of people come into town, and we get anywhere from 30,000 to 50,000 people coming into our community.
And that's one of the reasons why, you know, on the first of the month, we've got to do something because we don't want -- we don't want to give the people that are visiting our community the virus so that they take it home to their families. We definitely didn't want that.
BONAGUIDI: And so that's why I ended up with a crackdown.
WHITFIELD: Right. That's a significant number of people coming in. So, the group, Doctors Without Borders has sent at least two teams to New Mexico to help Native American populations fight the coronavirus.
The organization says the Navajo nation has historically not received the same attention and resources as other communities in the U.S. Are people in the Navajo Nation getting resources that they need?
BONAGUIDI: Well, we're hoping so. I know the Federal government is doing what they can and our state government definitely is doing what we can. But the Navajo reservation is the largest reservation in the United States and it extends into four states for that matter.
So, it's a large area to cover and I'm hoping that we get as much coverage as we can so we get these numbers down.
WHITFIELD: Mayor Louis Bonaguidi, best to you and best to everyone there in the area. Stay well. Stay safe. Appreciate you.
BONAGUIDI: Thank you. Thank you.
WHITFIELD: All right, coming up. A man lost his father to coronavirus and then the morgue lost his remains, a dire situation in Ecuador being compared to a warzone.
WHITFIELD: Wuhan, Madrid, New York and Guayaquil -- that last city may not be a household name, but Ecuador's second largest city has lived through one of the most horrific local outbreaks of the coronavirus anywhere in the world.
A CNN analysis shows the virus's death toll in Guayaquil, could be 17 times higher than official data suggests and that staggering death toll has ravaged a city roughly the size of Chicago.
CNN's Matt Rivers spoke to one young man who tells us first, he lost his father to the disease and then the morgue lost his remains.
And now a strong warning to our viewers, the video that we're about to show you is graphic and very difficult to watch, but we choose to air it because it is the stark reality of this outbreak in Guayaquil. Here's our story.
MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): These are bodies stacked in open shipping containers outside the hospital in Guayaquil, Ecuador, the country's second largest city. The person who shot this video shared it with CNN.
Arturo Ramos says he looked through them himself, looking for his dad's body.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ARTURO RAMOS, SEARCHING FOR FATHER'S BODY: One in the top of each other, one crossing each other. It is really devastating.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RIVERS (voice over): On March 31st, his dad, Flavio couldn't breathe after being turned away at 10 different hospitals because they were full, Ramos said, his dad was finally admitted at the 11th.
Flavio was placed in a wheelchair like this one and taken to a room with no bed. There were two dead bodies inside.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RAMOS: It's like a warzone. Like a warzone, there's a lot of people dying and nobody is taking care of them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RIVERS (voice over): Flavio died the next day. On his death certificate, it says he died of acute respiratory failure likely due to COVID-19.
But like so many others in Guayaquil, Ramos was never tested because the healthcare system has all but collapsed.
The hospital wouldn't comment about his father's case. But CNN has spoken to multiple doctors who say in March and April, hospital city- wide buckled under the weight of the pandemic. Their facilities were overwhelmed almost immediately doomed by a lack of staff and supplies.
The Federal government has apologized for its pandemic response and said they weren't ready for an outbreak with a staggering death toll.
Based on government data, three different Ecuador epidemiologists told CNN the COVID-19 related death toll could be higher than 9,000 in March and April combined.
The government has acknowledged the virus death toll is far higher than what they officially report, but say its lack of ability to test more means we'll never know the exact figure.
When Arturo Ramos went to collect his father's remains, hospital officials couldn't find them. He says he had to search on his own both in the morgue and in these shipping containers.
After five days looking through hundreds of bodies, Ramos says he never found his dad.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RAMOS: I couldn't go anymore. Mentally -- mentally I wasn't like a hundred percent.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RIVERS (voice over): The government didn't respond when asked about Flavio Ramos or the shipping containers, but say many families are still missing dead loved ones.
Last month, the Attorney General launched an investigation into the mismanagement of remains at hospital morgues and anyone can go to this government website and type in the deceased name to see if there's any news.
More than a month after he died, a search for Flavio Ramos ends in no results found.
RIVERS (on camera): And the things -- as if things couldn't get worse for Arturo Ramos, he told us that last week, he himself tested positive for the coronavirus. He can't grieve for his dad with his family because he is separated from them for their own safety.
Meanwhile, the Ecuadorian government now says they've got a better handle on the situation. And as a result, they are slowly easing certain restricted quarantine measures that have been put in place, but you can't really blame people when they talk to us, people in Guayaquil, and they tell us look, we don't trust the government to open things back up correctly.
And if they don't do it correctly, they're scared that things could go back to the way they were so terribly back in March and April -- Fred.
WHITFIELD: Wow. We're hoping the best for him. Matt Rivers, thank you for that exceptional reporting. Appreciate it.
And we're back in a moment, but first, this week's global energy challenge.
JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN BUSINESS EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR (voice over): More than 50,000 ships crisscross the globe bringing us the goods we need to survive, accounting for about 80 percent of global trade by volume.
But the fuel these giants of the sea burn has made it one of the largest polluters in the world.
Since the start of the year, new regulations from the U.N. agency that oversees the shipping sector have come into force. The International Maritime Organization rules prohibit ships from using fuels containing more than 0.5 percent sulfur.
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ROEL SNIEDER, PROFESSOR, DEPARTMENT OF GEOPHYSICS, COLORADO SCHOOL OF MINES: By reducing by over 75 percent the sulfur emissions from shipping, we have seen studies that pointed out reduction of premature deaths in the period immediately after the introduction of the requirement by over a half a million premature deaths.
DEFTERIOS: John Defterios, CNN.
WHITFIELD: All right, welcome back. Happy Mother's Day to all of you moms out there -- caring, teaching leading and loving -- and I know you'll agree mothers are so often selfless the ultimate in multitaskers and jugglers.
WHITFIELD: And that includes, of course my mom, Nola Jane Whitfield, 87 and fabulous. Mom, I know you're watching. So this message to you.
You are my inspiration and a model of all things great.
Smart, loving, compassionate, both kind and fierce and endlessly elegant.
As a mom of three, grandmother of eight and great grandmother of five, I thank you for being the embodiment of independence, courage, and class.
And a dazzling apple from the tree, my sister Nina, mother of four and grandmother of five. You are a rock and a true sweetheart.
I salute these moms and join my colleagues in this tribute to their mothers and wives.
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BILL WEIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Happy Mother's Day.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Happy Mother's Day.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Happy Mother's Day.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Happy Mother's Day, mom.
ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: Happy Mother's Day.
CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So on this Mother's Day, I want to give a huge shout out to all the sleep deprived mothers, all the mothers who are homeschooling, all the mothers who are just trying to get through this tough time and in particular, to my old dear friend Dr. Melanie Malloy, attending physician at Mount Sinai Brooklyn Hospital in New York, but also a mother of three incredible children.
Your love for your children are a constant source of inspiration. I love you. You're amazing. Happy Mother's Day.
WEIR: Smile big, because we're giving special love to all the new mommies who are celebrating their first Mother's Day, like this one.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi.
WEIR: And to all the new grandmas quarantined away from their little grandbabies, our hearts go out to you like, Nana Cheryl up in Toronto, who is knitting enough swag to outfit a baby army and, Grandma Judy on the Oregon Coast and all of you out there celebrating away from the kids you love. We love you.
GUPTA: I want everyone to know that Mother's Day and my mom's birthday on the same day this year. So, it's a really special day.
You started your life as a refugee on the other side of the world and you became one of the strongest women that I know. We really wish that we could be there with you. We know we can't this year. I want to send you these instead and we'll be with you soon.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Happy Mother's Day, and mom, thank you for being my mom for 40 years, but especially recently when I was so, so sick with coronavirus, of course, my husband was taking amazing care of me.
But at the end of the day, I was just a girl who needed her mom and even though you were far away, I felt you and you reached out to my husband a few times, and I appreciate that, too. And thank you for caring and I love you very much. So, Happy Mother's Day and thank you for finally learning how to FaceTime.
LEMON: I usually spend this time of year with my mother because I bring her up to New York City so that I can spend Mother's Day with her and we go around the garden and we see all the beautiful plants and flowers. And we get to experience it together.
I can't do it this year because we are socially distancing. So, I want to say Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers and continue to socially distance for all the mothers, many of them who are older and have preexisting conditions. So, do it for the moms.
AMANPOUR: This is my mom. I get from my mom, my sense of moral compass, my sense of adventure, and my sense of fortitude. So, I guess everything I learned from her is helping me in this lockdown.
But what I miss so much like so many of us, is actually seeing my mom, who is now nearly 87. And of course, we have to stay away to keep her safe. And that's what we have to do. It's hard, but one day we'll get out of this.
BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: To my wife, Jamie, thank you for keeping us all healthy and sane over these past couple of months.
Before the pandemic struck, I thought I had a pretty good grasp of everything you did for our kids, keeping our house running. But I didn't know that half of it.
Now that we were all at home together, I see it even more clearly. Everything from all the Amazon deliveries to bath time with the kids. So, thank you, thank you, thank you.
CABRERA: Hi, mom. You are the queen of small acts of kindness. You are the epitome of courage and compassion, and fun. And I just want you to know how much I appreciate you and aspire to be more like you.
I am so blessed to have you as my mom, and I know Maria and Jack are extra lucky to have you as their grandmother. We love you to the moon and back.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: On this special Mother's Day, I'd like to salute all the wonderful mothers of our special heroes who are risking their own lives to save other lives.
The mothers of the doctors, the nurses, the healthcare professionals, the first responders. I can only imagine how nervous those mothers must be.
So, I want to thank them for what they're going through and for raising such wonderful children.
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WHITFIELD: Again, Happy Mother's Day and these amazing moms and moms to be, coming up, three doctors all expecting on the frontlines of the coronavirus. They'll join me live.