Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

PA Governor Livid Over Steelers Quarterback Getting Haircut Despite Order; Coronavirus Headlines From Across The Country; Sara Nelson, International President, Association Of Flight Attendants, Discusses Aviation Safety Measures; Dr. David Shulkin, Former Veterans Affairs Secretary, Discusses Sources Saying Trump Will Stop Taking Controversial Hydroxychloroquine In Coming Days. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired May 20, 2020 - 13:30   ET

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


[13:30:00]

CARLOS NORMAN, OWNER, NORMAN'S CUTTIN' EDGE BARBERSHOP: And it's been a rough journey. But, you know, we're getting thought it at Norman's Cutting Edge Barbershop.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: I think some people might look at the video, they see - through the mirror, they can see two other guys besides you and Roethlisberger. One appears to be the cameraman. There's you, there's Roethlisberger. Were safety measures taken?

NORMAN: Oh, absolutely. We just -- I actually -- there's shots with me with my mask off, but I took my mask off just for a few shots. Most of it was staged, for the most part. And the other guy was a cameraman. There were two cameramen there, actually.

KEILAR: So, Marc, you represent your client. And I wonder what you think -- your response is to the governor and his comments?

MARC KOHNEN, ATTORNEY FOR CARLOS NORMAN: Well, I do represent Carlos, and we're dear friends and have been for 30 years.

With that said, we're not trying to get into a contest of will with the governor. To the contrary. Mr. Norman has been closed for business ever since the governor's orders went out and he has remained closed. There's been no commercial transactions.

And we felt there was just a little bit of a rush to judgment without all of the facts and the presumption that, somehow, Mr. Norman had opened up, when in fact, that was absolutely not the case.

One friend doing a favor for another friend. And one of the friends just happens to be a prominent professional athlete.

So, we should all be so lucky to have a barber friend that can make us look better.

Carlos, I'll come see you when I come to town next time.

NORMAN: Anything I can for the Steeler nation. You know, Ben's going to lead us to the Super Bowl. And you know, I think I did what any other man would have did if Ben

Roethlisberger kind of called him and said, "hey, would you cut my hair?" you know? So, I understand, I take the epidemic serious. I appreciate the nurses, the nurses at the Berlin Foundation, doing what they do. You know, we appreciate everybody who's working hard to keep this epidemic at bay.

But for the most part, you know, I just did a favor for a friend.

KEILAR: Carlos, talk to me about this. You're running a small business. You can't reopen. We've seen -- look, we've seen some barbershops, salons across the country reopening and getting fined.

Talk to us -- I know you actually kind of have a side job that's helping you through all of this, but what does this mean to be shut down for so long?

NORMAN: Well, the thing is, I see a lot of small businesses struggling, and it's sad because a lot of them are friends, you know. I've got my local coffee shop that I go to every day, Deso Cafe.

And I have different small businesses in the community that, you know, we patronize, but they're closed. They can't open up and generate the revenue because, you know, people like myself, waiters, waitresses who go to these places, can't go, you know, buy their products, you know. And it's sad to watch them losing their business.

Yes, I'm fortunate because I have a side job, Zaden LLC, which, you know, it gets me over. I do handyman work as well as I'm a part-time arborist. And people don't know that about me. So when I'm at the barbershop, that's what I'm doing. I work out of that location also.

KEILAR: Well, we really appreciate you coming on. As we said, you took a lot of heat and we're glad to get your perspective on all of this.

Carlos Norman, And Marc Kohnen, his lawyer, thank you guys.

KOHNEN: Thank you very much for having me.

NORMAN: Thank you.

KOHNEN: Thank you.

KEILAR: Just a stunning before-and-after picture of a nurse who survived weeks of coronavirus. We will hear his story.

Plus, McDonald's workers suing the chain over safety measures. Hear what they're claiming.

[13:34:02]

And JetBlue taking a big step to socially distance 30,000 feet in the air, as United makes a separate announcement about keeping planes clean.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KEILAR: Just days after fast-food chain McDonald's announced its guidelines to reopen restaurant dining rooms, its workers across the country are suing, saying the safety measures fall short.

Hundreds of McDonald's workers in 20 cities are striking today. They want to pressure the company to improve safety protections for workers. Union reps say dozens of employees have gotten sick and that workers have been told not to wear masks or gloves.

Let's get to more headlines that we are following across the country.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Dianne Gallagher, in Atlanta. The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union says that 68 of its workers have died and more than 10,000 have either tested positive for or been exposed to COVID-19.

Now, the union cautions, the numbers across the country are likely much higher because these are just internal numbers that they've developed from companies that they represent. They continue to push for hazard pay, noting that the pandemic has not ended.

Workers spoke on a press call about the challenges they're now facing, including getting customers to wear masks.

[13:40:03]

One employee at a Kroger in Michigan, Christine, said that masks have now become a political war. Employees are scared. The union is now calling for stores to hire security.

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Rosa Flores, in Miami. Georgia and Florida are under scrutiny for their reporting of COVID-19 cases.

In Georgia, the State Department of Health posting a bar chart that showed a downward trajectory of some of the most impacted areas.

Now, the dates were out of order, suggesting that cases were declining, causing a lot of confusion. Georgia's saying that it was an error and that the chart was pulled down.

In Florida, Rebekah Jones, the scientist behind the highly praised dashboard, which keeps track of COVID-19 cases and deaths, was removed from her post on May 5th.

Now, she has had conversations with a lot of news organizations, not with CNN, but she has alleged that she refused to change state data to drum up support to reopen the state.

Now, since then, the Florida governor and the Department of Health have issued statements saying that she was insubordinate and disruptive, saying accuracy and transparency are always indispensable.

Now, according to the Florida Department of Health, she has until tomorrow to resign or she will be terminated. ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Ed Lavandera, in Dallas. A

federal judge here in Texas has ruled that registered voters who are not immune to the coronavirus and fear being infected while waiting in line can vote by mail.

This voting issue has become a flashpoint between Democrats and Republicans here. Democrats say that voters should not have to choose between their health and voting. Republicans say it will lead to widespread voter fraud. The Republican attorney general says he will appeal the decision.

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: I'm Pate Muntean, covering travel in Virginia. And commercial airlines are coming up with new policies to protect passengers.

United Airlines just announced that it will partner with Clorox and the Cleveland Clinic to guide its health practices.

JetBlue has said that it will now keep planes less full through July 6th.

United and JetBlue are the latest to come up with these policies in the absence of requirements from the federal government.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KEILAR: Thank you so much to our CNN correspondents for that.

I want to bring in Sara Nelson, the international president of the Association of Flight Attendants.

Sara, welcome again.

SARA NELSON, INTERNATIONAL PRESIDENT, ASSOCIATION OF FLIGHT ATTENDANTS: Thank you, Brianna.

KEILAR: And I want to start with JetBlue's Safety from the Ground Up Program. That's what they call it. Temperature monitoring for its flight and in-flight crew members, blocking the middle row for seat distancing.

What do you think about this? Is this going to work?

NELSON: Well, safety is always about layering. So, if you take the swiss cheese model where you have holes in the swiss cheese, if you layer them on top of each other, you eventually cover the holes. That's the idea here.

If you have temperature checks, deep cleaning plans, a sort of social distancing policies and you have everyone wearing masks, all of these things together are going to help keep us more safe.

What JetBlue is doing here in announcing this middle seat issue, I think that we need to be very clear about this, that just excluding the middle seats does not mean that it is actually possible to appropriately socially distance on a plane. This just gives the crew the ability to move people around fav a

situation where you have a medical emergency, you have a child who can't wear a mask, you've got some sort of condition where you need to be able to have some space to reallocate the passengers around the plane.

KEILAR: OK. Because you are being clear. I mean, when we think about, if you're walking down the middle aisle and you have three seats on either side, you're walking right past people. I mean, you're brushing almost against their arms. And even those folks without the middle seat.

But do you think -- I mean, do you think it's helpful, though, blocking the middle seat? Airlines like JetBlue are doing this. There's even been talk of stripping out the middle seat completely. We've seen how alarming it is when the middle seat is in use.

The CEO, John Pfluger (ph), says it will not work, actually, to strip out the middle seat entirely, but what do you think?

NELSON: No, I think that that is a futile option for us.

I think that what we need to do is we need to simplify what we're doing here. If you start stripping out the middle seat, as you've already noted, it doesn't actually give you proper social distancing as healthy authorities would say is necessary here. And you still have to walk by other people. There are other issues with this.

Everybody sort of glommed on to that middle seat issue because most people don't like to sit in a middle seat. But it also shows that most people, even though they think they know aviation, they don't. Because half of the aircraft flying domestically don't even have middle seats.

So, this isn't really a solution. And you can't really properly socially distance on a plane.

You need flexibility for the crews to be able to move people so that we are filling the gaps on those safety measures. There has to be this layered approach. Everyone has to wear masks.

[13:45:09]

And you know, frankly, this would be a lot easier and a lot more clear for the traveling public if this were coming from the federal government.

We really should have a task force where the federal government is bringing the industry and the stakeholders on the front lines all together to put policies in place during this time to keep us safe and also to regain confidence for the traveling public.

KEILAR: Yes, we know that you have requested that of the administration because we're looking at this patchwork approach. And I know you and a lot of others feel that's just not the way to go. So we'll keep watching with you.

Sara Nelson, thank you.

NELSON: Thank you.

KEILAR: Sources say that President Trump is getting ready to stop using a drug that's unproven and potentially even dangerous as a treatment for coronavirus.

It comes as medical experts and even former Trump officials warn of the dangers of Hydroxychloroquine, including the president's former Veterans Affairs secretary, who will join us next.

Plus, the new method New York City is using to clean its subways and buses.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[13:50:36]

KEILAR: Two sources tell CNN that President Trump is expected to finish his course of Hydroxychloroquine soon. He has been fervently defending his decision to take the anti-malaria drug as an unproven method to prevent coronavirus infection.

But some current and former officials in his own administration are cautioning against any American following his example without consulting their doctor.

My next guest is among them. Dr. David Shulkin, former Veterans Affairs secretary, having served under President Trump.

Doctor, thank you so much for coming on and talking to us about this.

As you know, the World Health Organization came out with a statement that Hydroxychloroquine has not proven to be effective against COVID- 19. You say the risks of taking this drug are real. What are your biggest concerns about the president taking this?

DR. DAVID SHULKIN, FORMER VETERANS AFFAIRS SECRETARY: I think so far, we've had a lot of studies that have come out and known shown evidence to say that this is an effective drug against the treatment or the prevention of COVID-19.

We, of course, had the study of the Department of veteran affairs that looked every patient in the hospital at that time. And since then, two large studies coming out of New York City, medical schools, shown no effect of Hydroxychloroquine.

So I think this is important to follow the research. There's still additional studies under way, Brianna. And if the research shows different findings, then, of course, we would change our recommendations.

But at this point, to take a drug that has no effectiveness or no known effectiveness, but potential harm just doesn't make a lot of sense. KEILAR: You are familiar with the physicians who treat presidents, who

treat this president. Are you surprised one of them may have agreed to prescribe this to him?

SHULKIN: Well, I think this is a decision that a doctor has to make with their patient. And I am surprised at this recommendation, particularly because the FDA has come out and recommended that there be extreme caution in giving this drug and this is an off-use indication for the drug. So I'm surprised that happened.

But that happens between the individual patient and physician, that's not the issue I'm concerned about. I'm concerned about the way that this is publicly being discussed and that other Americans may believe that this is now safe to do, and this clearly is not safe.

We also had the V.A. secretary talking about this is being done in the military. They're taking Hydroxychloroquine. But what Americans need understand that's needed to prevent malaria, where there's evidence that's preventing malaria in young healthy adults going into the military, which is very different than many people today who are out there concerned about getting COVID-19.

KEILAR: And, look, I'm a military spouse. I know a lot of people who have taken that drug, and it is not -- they will tell you, it's not a drug to take lightly. They certainly didn't enjoy being on it.

I wonder, and I think this is important, as you make this case to Americans not to follow the president's example.

This appears to be very patient-driven from the president to take this medication. So, you know, normally, if you press your doctor for something and they really think it's not a good idea for you to take something, they're not going to prescribe it.

But if you're the president and you say to your doctor, I really want to take this, how does that play out?

SHULKIN: As a physician, we all take an oath not to do harm. That's our primary goal here.

And what a physician needs to do is to share with their patient what they know does work. And what we know does work in preventing and making sure people don't get COVID-19 is good hygiene, the use of masks when you go out. Social distancing and being very cautious with, you know, being able to avoid getting the virus in the first place.

And so, taking drugs that have not shown any effectiveness to work and have potential harm, as it is in the case of Hydroxychloroquine, just simply isn't good medical advice.

KEILAR: As a former V.A. secretary, are you confident that the veteran community is being cared for as it should be during this COVID crisis?

SHULKIN: Well, I think I, like everybody who works in the Department of Veterans Affairs and every American, wants to make sure our veterans are protected. Particularly, coming up on Memorial Day, Brianna.

[13:55:10]

I think we all have to remember the debt we owe these great Americans who have sacrificed for our country.

But, you know, there are 20 million veterans in this country and the Department of Veterans Affairs is reporting there are a thousand deaths.

My concern is there's many more veterans suffering, many more that need help than that. That's a dramatic undercounting of the impact of this pandemic on our veterans in this country.

And we have to make sure that we're looking out and protecting all of our veterans in this county.

KEILAR: Dr. Shulkin, thank you for joining us. As we do approach Memorial Day, I think that's a very important reminder.

SHULKIN: Thank you.

KEILAR: More on our breaking news. CNN courses say the fate of the CDC director in question as tensions escalate with the White House.

Plus, a new study shows early success in six experimental vaccines after tests in monkeys.

Plus, as all states reopen in some capacity, see how far the virus germs travel during a restaurant experiment. You'll want to see this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)