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Ohio State Hopeful for 20-30K Fans at Football Games; Steven Reed, (D), Mayor of Montgomery, Alabama, Discusses Running Out of ICU Beds as Cases Surge; Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson Revive "The Match" for Charity. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired May 21, 2020 - 14:30   ET



DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's part of the difficulty with other events. Not just time of the event but up to two weeks following when people could still be potentially spreading this virus.

So I don't like saying it because I love these types of events, too, but it's hard right now because the virus hasn't changed. It's still out there. I think it's going to be challenging in big public settings like that to provide the sense of security and safety that people are going to want.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST; Sanjay, thank you so much for the insight.

GUPTA: Thanks.

KEILAR: You're Dr. Reality, not Dr. Doom and Gloom.


GUPTA: Thank you.

KEILAR: We appreciate the dose of reality.

Be sure to watch Dr. Gupta and Anderson Cooper for tonight's global town hall. First lady, Melania Trump, will send a message as well. That's at 8:00 Eastern tonight.

Moments away from the president's tour from the Ford plant in Michigan. The state's attorney general warning him to wear a mask. But will he?

As cases surge in southern states, I'll speak live with the mayor of Montgomery, Alabama, who warns they're running out of ICU beds.



KEILAR: Amid reopening across the country, from theme parks to beaches, there's worrying signs coming out of the Deep South where new numbers show a spike in new coronavirus cases. The mayor of one city, Montgomery, Alabama, is warning the city's

health care services are already at capacity and is considering a new shelter-in-place order to control the spread.

The mayor of Montgomery, Steven Reed, joining me now talk about this.

Mayor, thank you so much for coming on.

Give us a sense. What is the state of your city and your hospitals right now?

MAYOR STEVEN REED (D-AL), MONTGOMERY: Thank you for having me.

The state of our hospitals right now, our ICU beds are almost at capacity level and we're in a place that is manageable but not sustainable.

And when we think about this, the strain it's putting not only on our health care system but certainly those medical professionals involved, it's very alarming.

And we started getting calls probably about a week and a half ago from hospital administrators explaining to us the number of COVID patients they were seeing, not just increasing, but coming in worse shape.

So we thought we needed to remind our community that this pandemic is not over. We're still in a tough battle. And now is not the time for us to relax.

KEILAR: So you heard that about a week and a half ago, you said, from hospitals. And yet, a week ago, restaurants, gyms, and salons opened up across Alabama. So what do you think the spike is due to and are you fearful it's about to get a whole lot worse?

REED: I think it's hard due to the fact we opened up the economy too soon. I would have liked to see a more cautious approach to us.

I was a small business owner. I was in the restaurant industry. I understand the challenges there.

But I think we went about it prematurely. And you combine it with the fact people have stopped practicing some of the disciplines they had maybe just a few weeks ago when we were making progress has thrown us right back into this place where we are right now that we're in a very precarious situation across the board.

And we have to make sure we're doing things that are necessary to beat this COVID-19 virus and to make sure that we aren't acting out of a sense of haste and out of a sense of premature relaxation of what we want to do in order to get back to our previous way of living and daily activities and things that we're all looking forward to doing, but not too soon.

KEILAR: So you're considering issuing a shelter-in-place order. How do you think your city is going to react to that? REED: Well, my hope is that we don't have to do that. That's why we

had the press conference yesterday to be transparent and let people know exactly where we stood in this community.

We wanted to let them know that cases have more than doubled over the last month. And we have seen not only a rise in deaths but we also have seen a rise in positive cases. So we wanted to try to let people know where are so they can go back to sanitary guidelines that they were using at the beginning of this pandemic.

And the community has been great. They've really done a great job of going over and beyond to look out for their neighbors, their loved ones, and to help even small businesses and entrepreneurs.

But it's not over. And we can't decide when it's over. I think, as Dr. Fauci said before, the virus will decide when this is over. And we aren't there yet in Montgomery and other places are.

So we wanted to kind of sound the alarm and remind people they should wear masks in public, continue washing their hands and disinfecting everything that they can.

And most importantly, they should stay at home as much as possible even though restrictions have been eased around the state of Alabama.

KEILAR: So I'm assuming you're looking at some of these in-person graduations of high schools in your state where many people are not wearing masks. And that's probably the advice you have for those folks, right? They should not be out doing that.

As you look at your ICU beds being almost full, what do you think about those kinds of things happening?


REED: You know, I understand a family's joy in celebrating a graduate and celebrating a milestone and many families doing that with friends and classmates. I had a daughter who graduated college but commencement exercises were postponed until next year, so I understand that.

But we can't get back into those habits and those behaviors at the risk of our loved ones, at the risk of people that we come in contact with, other coworkers and our colleagues.

Each statistic is a person. Each statistic is someone that has a loved one that's counting on them and that wants them to be healthy. And so we're not going to put ourselves at risk.

It's not something I recommend but I respect their rights to do what's in the best interest of their residents. But in Montgomery, Alabama, we're not there yet.

KEILAR: Mayor Reed, thank you for coming on.

REED: Thank you for having me. KEILAR: The urge to get back to normal is driving some bizarre

innovations, including Plexiglas pods for restaurant tables and disinfectant sprayers at pubs.

Plus, we'll take you live to Brazil where nearly 20,000 new cases of coronavirus were just reported in a single day.



KEILAR: In one of the world's hardest-hit spots right now, Brazil has hit a record high for new coronavirus cases. The country's health ministry reported nearly 20,000 new cases in just a 24-hour period and that brought the total number of confirmed cases to more than 291,000 and almost 19,000 deaths.

CNN international security editor, Nick Paton Walsh, is at one of the largest cemeteries in Sao Paulo.

What can you tell us?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: Behind me, the new graves from April. I have to tell you, it's startling here. The scenes here. A funeral pretty much every 10 minutes, filling them up. And this is just the beginning.

We were at a hospital earlier on, where we spoke to a doctor and they believe here in Sao Paulo, close to capacity. The peak is possibly two weeks away, not even at it right now.

And an idea behind me here, what they're kind of bracing themselves for because these are the empty graves, freshly dug. We just see how many thousands there are here. 8,000 dug since the pandemic hit here and expecting many more to be needed.

Now, the numbers are already staggering, Brianna. The problem really is that they're not the full picture. Testing simply isn't as widespread here as Brazilians would like. And much of the problem, this is half of the new cases currently in Latin America, which I should point out, over the last three days, has, in fact, had more new cases than the U.S. or Europe has.

The government here giving contradictory advice and sometimes dangerous advice. President Bolsonaro called this a little flu. A little bit more cautious in recent statements.

But the government too has recommended the use of anti-malaria drugs. You heard President Trump talk about them and how he's been taking Hydroxychloroquine himself as well. But they don't have a proven benefit against coronavirus. In fact, some say they may even cause you harm.

We spoke to a woman here who was burying her mother, her only mother, taking Hydroxychloroquine, and that she blamed that drug for contributing to the death of her mother. As I speak here, another funeral procession passing by us. It is a

startling sight to see.

This is a densely populated city in Latin America where, as I say, the health care system is beginning to groan already. The ICU we were in earlier, one of the biggest in this city, is already full.

And they're still two weeks away from the peak. Brianna, this is going to get an awful lot worse.

KEILAR: What practices are businesses taking, are individuals taking as you see them, Nick? Are they taking this seriously despite mixed messages from the government?

PATON WALSH: Yes, So far, what we've seen here is they are taking it seriously. Sao Paulo is not the entirely of Brazil. The government of this particular state is much clearer about the need for people to take preventative action. Wearing masks anywhere you go. And rare to see someone not wearing a mask. To some degree, that's being taken seriously.

But it's not about what you do now but two weeks ago when you could have been infected.

And still, so much of the time Brazil could have used to repair itself was perhaps lost due to its president. There will be deaths, but more if the economic damage is substantial as well. You've heard that kind of health versus wealth problem. No more acute, frankly, here, where we see these numbers escalate so terrifyingly fast.

And I have to say, not really seeing anything quite so enormous in terms of effort in terms of this. This just tells you how worried Sao Paulo is about what the next few weeks could bring.

And I have to stress, they haven't hit the peak yet and their hospitals seems to be getting full.

KEILAR: Yes, you really put it into perspective there. As you said, a funeral every 10 minutes there in Sao Paulo there in Brazil.

Thank you, Nick, for that report.


Still ahead, live in Michigan where President Trump is set to tour a Ford plant making ventilators. We'll see if he heeds a request from the attorney general to wear a mask.


KEILAR: Golf superstars, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, are teaming up with NFL stars, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, this weekend for a golf charity evident that will benefit COVID-19 relief efforts. Players and CNN's parent company, Warren Media, will make a donation of $10 million.

But even though it's all for charity, competition is fierce among these four.


TOM BRADY, NFL QUARTERBACK: I think we'll have a lot of fun. There's been a little trash talk, you know, as you've seen a little behind- the-scenes. There will be a lot more of that.

I have to get it out early because once I'm out on the courts I'll be very quiet because of all the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) shots I'll be hitting.



KEILAR: Joining me now, Turner sports commentator, Brian Anderson.

I kind of enjoyed that. I'm looking forward to this match. I'm wondering what it will look like.

BRIAN ANDERSON, TURNER SPORTS COMMENTATOR: In the middle of this heaviness and you're doing a great job reporting all of that. We're glad to be able to present a little bit of a distraction and some entertainment. That's coming up Sunday.

Golf felt like the first sport that was going to be able to offer that kind of entertainment value. And so we found the match. It happened once before at Thanksgiving 2018, Tiger and Phil. That was a much talked about. But this time around they added their quarterback fans.

They will all be mic'd up. The charitable donations are in place for good reason. We can get that out of the way and watch these guys compete. It will be fun.


Five announcers basically all with microphones and four competitors all with microphones. What could do wrong. We have a lot of open mics out there.

KEILAR: Judging by those bleeps, I feel something may go wrong. That's going to be great.

Tell us about this advantage Tiger might have.

ANDERSON: Tiger is on his home course. The last match was in Las Vegas. I think Tiger feeling like he's going to do this again he wants this on his home turf.

Tiger and Peyton Manning will be a team and then Tom Brady and Phil Mickelson. I love those teams. I think we'll get a lot of banter back and forth.

Tiger and Peyton have played in a lot of events together. They have been in pro-ams the together. Played social golf together.

Peyton is like this world-class trash talker, very subtle in the awe- shucks way. He brings the best out of Tiger.

We have Charles Barkley in the booth with us. The 2008 Masters champion is with me. We have Justin Thomas, who is currently ranked fourth in the world. He's a member as well. He'll be on the course. He'll be one of our announcers. A new experience for him.

So, they will have earpieces. They will be on a listen and interact.

They will be in golf carts, which is interesting. We'll have cameras in the carts, NASCAR style. So we'll be able to interact. And Charles will be able to throw his addition.

Charles is actually competing on one hole following the event. I don't know all the stakes just yet but we're the actually going to see Charles swing a golf club, which who knows how that will go. I hope he makes contact.

KEILAR: Yes. Who knows? Let's hope he doesn't miss the ball.

Brian Anderson, this will be awesome. Thanks.

And again, "THE MATCH: CHAMPIONS FOR CHARITY" will air Sunday at 3:00 p.m. Eastern on TNT, TBS, TruTV and HLN.


KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan. Thanks so much for joining us.


Right now, President Trump is on the ground in Michigan. He's about to tour a Ford assembly plant about 30 minutes from Detroit.

The president made Michigan the center of a big fight the past few days.