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Scientists Urge Caution as Millions Head Outdoors This Weekend; Authorities Arrest Man Who Shot Video of Arbery Killing; Commercial Plane Crashes in Pakistan; Trump Refuses to Wear Mask During Public Tour of Ford Plant. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired May 22, 2020 - 06:00   ET



NICK WATT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hospitals in Montgomery, Alabama, reporting they're nearly out of ICU beds.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's, in part, due to the fact that we opened up the economy too soon. I would have liked to have seen a more cautious approach.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think that's the approach we need moving forward, is to encourage people to be outdoors, where we know that the risk of transmission is much slower.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: There's no doubt that the Moderna trial that you've heard about is still in very early stages.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASE: We saw neutralizing antibodies at a reasonable dose of the vaccine. That's the reason why I'm cautiously optimistic about it.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're going to put out the fires, but we're not closing our country.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and the around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Friday, May 22, 6 a.m. here in New York.

And the unofficial start of summer is here. And it will be a different Memorial Day than we've ever had. Millions of Americans are expected to hit the beaches and parks this weekend, but scientists warn them to stay far apart.

On CNN last night, Dr. Anthony Fauci implored Americans to wear a mask outside and to stay at least six feet away from everyone else. So we'll break down more on how you can stay safe this weekend.

Meanwhile, as the U.S. death toll from coronavirus nears 95,000 people, President Trump ordered flags to fly at half-staff for the next three days to honor those lost to the virus.

JOHN BERMAN, New information about the most likely ways to catch coronavirus, including changes in guidance in some of the ways you might have been most concerned about.

And new concern about some areas in the south that might be showing spikes in cases since reopening. The mayor of Montgomery, Alabama, says his city has only one intensive care unit bed left.

So let's begin our coverage with CNN's Rosa Flores, live in Delray Beach, Florida, where Rosa, the beaches are open this weekend.

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You're absolutely right, John. Good morning.

Memorial Day is here, and millions of Americans are expected to hit parks and beaches like the one where I am. But scientists are urging caution.


FLORES (voice-over): Miami was one of the last cities in Florida to begin reopening. But it could be one of the first to experience a second wave of coronavirus according to a new model by the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania monitoring social-distancing practices.

DR. DAVID RUBIN, DIRECTOR, POLICYLAB CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL OF PHILADELPHIA: The value of our forecast is that there's still time to modify behavior. Because if you wait too long, then the risk for some of this resurgence and this -- and this spike in cases becomes even higher.

FLORES: Other cities on high alert, based on this model, include Houston and Dallas and much of Alabama, where the mayor of Montgomery says the situation is already dire.

MAYOR STEVEN REED (D), MONTGOMERY, ALABAMA: The ICU beds are almost at capacity level. And we're in a place that is manageable, but it's not sustainable. We thought we needed to remind our community that this pandemic is not over.

FLORES: But Alabama Governor Kay Ivey eased restrictions on her safer at home order --

GOV. KAY IVEY (R-AL): If things get worse, and I certainly hope and pray they don't, then we're going to continue putting personal responsibility on each and every individual citizen.

FLORES: -- opening the door to allow camps and childcare facilities to open this weekend and schools to open June 1.

But in New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo moved summer school online and has yet to make a decision about opening camps.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): If I won't send my children to day camp, I wouldn't ask anybody else to send their children to day camp.

FLORES: And with so many students' academic years abruptly changed by the pandemic, the University of California system will no longer require standardized testing schools for admission until 2024.

The long weekend signaling the unofficial start of the summer. At Orlando's themed resorts, shoppers already returning to Disney Springs and Universal Orlando proposing to welcome back guests to parks in early June. But you'll first need a temperature check and to wear a mask to enter.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This would be a gradual, capacity-managed opening.

FLORES: Beachgoers can explore the Jersey shore beginning today, with some restrictions.

And at the beaches in Los Angeles, you can surf, swim or exercise. At some, city officials anticipate more residents spending time outside. Seattle and New York City will close down some streets to make way for pedestrians and cyclists. Dr. Anthony Fauci says it's OK to enjoy time outdoors smartly and safely.

FAUCI: Go out, wear a mask, stay six feet away from anyone so you have the physical distancing and go out.

FLORES: Meanwhile, in Michigan, a judge dismissing a Republican-led lawsuit against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's use of emergency powers to extend Michigan's state of emergency.

GOV. GRETCHEN WHITMER (D-MI): Well, that means that we can stay focused on epidemiology and the public health expertise as we continue to turn the dial and reengage sectors of our economy.


FLORES: Now, here in Florida, most beaches are open except for Miami- Dade and Broward counties.

Here in Delray Beach where I am in Palm Beach County, beaches reopened on Monday. And Alisyn, they're supposed to be open from 9 to 6 p.m., but we've already seen groups of people this morning.


FLORES: Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: People are very eager to go to the beach, Rosa. Thank you very much with that beautiful backdrop that you have there.

So let's talk about going to the beach. Because as Rosa said, beaches in a number of states are now open for the holiday weekend, including the best beaches in the world, the Jersey shore.


Joining me now is the mayor of Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey, Paul Kanitra.

Mayor, born and bred Jersey girl here. So let's talk about what --


CAMEROTA: Great to see you. Let's talk about what it's going to look like in Point Pleasant Beach. Is it true that the lifeguards there are going to be wearing face coverings or masks?

KANITRA: So, right. When people get on the beach, it's going to be a very different experience from the very start. The lifeguards are going to be one up, one down in the lifeguard stand. They're going to have neck gaiters (ph) or bandanas around their neck that they can pull up if they need to interact with the public very quickly.

But even their gear's going to be different. The -- the ambu bags that they use for resuscitation are going to have specialized HEPA filters. Their medical kits that they normally carry with them are going to have PPE equipment, gowns, masks, gloves, things along those lines in case they need to react to a situation on the beach pretty quickly.

CAMEROTA: That's really interesting. Is it true that you enlisted the help of a town engineer to figure out exactly how many families your beach can accommodate and where they should sit?

KANITRA: So we've tried to take every single detail into account here in Point Pleasant Beach. We want to be known as the safe destination in July and August and in the vital months here.

So we brought our town engineer in to take a look at the space in between the high watermark and the base of the dunes so that they could actually map out and figure out how many groups, how many rough participants we could have up there while still maintaining a six-foot radius.

Now, it's not marked out on the beach, but we have a number that we're working with. And when we reach capacity, we're going to cut things off, because we know that will no longer be safe.

CAMEROTA: You know, other beaches in New Jersey are taking different tacks. And I read some of them are confusing to me. Seaside Heights, for instance, another beach town, is banning beach chairs, blankets and swimming. No swimming in Seaside Heights until July. No swimming in Cape May. How does that make sense?

KANITRA: Well, you know, I think what you're seeing is up and down the coast of New Jersey and across the country, a one-size-fits-all solution does not work. Every single municipality has a lot of different realities. Some beaches are privately owned. Some are publicly owned. Different size police forces are managing those.

There's different numbers of access points on our boardwalk here in Point Pleasant Beach. We have 30 different access points. Normally, actually, behind me, it would be absolutely packed right now at 6 a.m. for a summer Memorial Day weekend concert. And I think that shows the stark difference in Memorial Day weekends from the normal.

CAMEROTA: But what is the status of those shops behind you? Will the boardwalk be open? Will restaurants be open?

KANITRA: So we're taking a very slow and methodical approach here, just like we are in the planning of the beach with the lifeguards, with the numbers, the capacity. Things along those lines.

The beaches on the southern half of town are open right now. They're open for all sorts of recreating. We're going to have lifeguards starting tomorrow, actually. So if you want to go swimming, you'll be able to swim. If you want to walk, run, lie on the beach and sunbathe, you're able to do all those sorts of things.

Our beach -- our boardwalk here is a little narrower. So we're just giving ourselves a couple more weeks while we get more seasonal officers, more resources available so that we can manage things appropriately and give people that safe experience that they expect from Point Pleasant Beach.

CAMEROTA: And very quickly, what's people's comfort level? Are you seeing a huge demand for rentals already?

KANITRA: We actually think that July and August are going to be absolutely slammed here, which is why we're trying to put the pieces in place properly right now. I think after everybody has been so cooped up for so long and they see good weather out on the horizon, they know that the transmission rates outside are much lower than inside. And they're going to feel safe on the beaches here.

We're expecting a deluge of vacation rentals, of hotel rooms getting booked. So if you're planning on coming to Point Pleasant Beach, make sure you start getting ready right now.

CAMEROTA: Duly noted. Mayor Kanitra, thank you very much. Best of luck this weekend and going forward. We'll be watching.

KANITRA: Thanks, Alisyn.


BERMAN: I think you need to recuse yourself from New Jersey stories.

CAMEROTA: Well, I thought about that. I'm sure -- I'm not sure my objectivity is at its fullest during New Jersey stories.

BERMAN: Also, I do want to see a birth certificate, because I'm not convinced. I'm not convinced. I'm a New Jersey birther with you. We'll get to that, though.

CAMEROTA: I've got a million photos that I'll show you.

BERMAN: All right. So how can you stay safe this holiday weekend? Joining me now is Dr. Colleen Kraft. She's the associate chief medical

officer at Emery University Hospital.

Dr. Kraft, great to see you. Here's your chance to speak to America to tell them, if they are going to go out this holiday weekend, how to do it safely. So what's the one or two things people should do?

DR. COLLEEN KRAFT, ASSOCIATE CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER, EMERY UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL: Right. So we need to -- good morning. And we need to do the things that we've been talking about for all this time, right? So we need to maintain social distancing. We need to work on our own hand hygiene and our own face hygiene. And we need to, if we are around people that are coughing or sneezing, avoid them.


And so these are the things that we've been talking about throughout this whole pandemic. And those should not change just because the weather is nice and -- and the New Jersey beaches -- beaches are open.

BERMAN: Right. The virus is not taking a holiday. So be just as vigilant as you have been.

I want to ask you about a couple developments that have percolated over the last few hours.

No. 1, concern about hotspots in the south. There have been some models that have suggested some spikes in southern cities, and we're actually seeing it in certain places.

Let's talk about Alabama. Montgomery, Alabama, the mayor there says they're down to one ICU bed. One. Sending people to Birmingham, more than an hour away. Birmingham has seen a spike in cases. So what's the concern there?

KRAFT: So the main concern is that are -- as we reopen the country and reopen different areas, that we can support individuals at their sickest in our healthcare systems.

And so, you know, I think that we are -- we need to become as a nation a little bit more regionalized instead of just state resources. I think what we will start to see is how we capitalize on the region.

So for instance, you know, I'm in Atlanta, and we, you know, can definitely interact with, intersect with other areas that may have limited resources.

And again, if we have limited resources bringing our -- our patients to other places if possible.

BERMAN: Does the fact they're down to one ICU bed in Montgomery indicate to you that perhaps the level of reopening has been too rapid in that area?

KRAFT: I think it's difficult to tell, just because one ICU bed today may be a few more tomorrow. And so these numbers actually changed quite a bit day-to-day as somebody that follows this in her own hospital. And so I think that it's definitely a cautionary tale.

And as we've said before and I've said on your program before, we need to continue to try to protect ourselves and to take this seriously as we reopen the state. So even though we want our economic engine to continue, we want to make sure that we're being safe.

BERMAN: The CDC came out with some new numbers last night. They were really interesting. It has to do with the estimates of cases in different ways.

Thirty-five percent of coronavirus infections, they say, are asymptomatic. Thirty-five percent asymptomatic.

Forty percent of transmissions occur before a person feels sick.

Four percent -- now sorry, this is the important one here. They say the mortality rate here, the mortality rate that they're measuring is .4. Point four percent of people who get sick from COVID will die; 1.3 percent for people over 65.

And 3.4 percent of people with symptoms will need hospitalization. That rises to 7 plus for people over 65.

What's your assessment of these numbers?

KRAFT: So the asymptomatic number is quite surprising to me. Because if you remember at the beginning of the outbreak, we really thought that the majority of cases were asymptomatic. I think, as we do more robust testing across the United States, we will be able to see those numbers will probably change again.

The case fatality rate or the mortality rate is really the one that I think we're focused on. And that really has dropped dramatically since the 3 percent or 4 percent we are seeing.

And this just really has to do with testing at a larger denominator. And so this is now drawing it more towards a bad case of flu rather than those severe coronavirus infections that we know about such as SARS.

BERMAN: Yes, 0.4 percent is much lower than the initial concern, if it is in fact that. That's at the lower end of estimates that we've seen.

Other bits of news from the CDC overnight. Before last night, they actually put out guidance about transmission of coronavirus. And they say it is person to person mostly. Person to person through the air. They deemphasized a little bit the concern about surfaces, about the idea of catching it from surfaces. So how are we supposed to assess this?

KRAFT: I think this is a difficult one to navigate from a personal standpoint. So as somebody that works in the hospital, I'm not going to be less concerned about high-touch areas that have a lot of individuals coming in contact with them, such as elevator buttons, door handles, surface -- like counter surfaces or keyboards or cell phones. All of those things, I think, remain areas that are used frequently by potentially a number of people and should be considered still suspect.

I think some of this recommendation is to get people from, you know, using their Lysol wipes to wipe down their groceries after they go grocery shopping. I suspect that it's more towards that end.

But I would say that if you're still in an area that's highly used, highly public and you haven't cleaned that surface, I think you should still be concerned that you could get a virus infection, much like all of our virus infections from that surface-- surfaces.

BERMAN: Right. Dr. Colleen Kraft, thanks for being with us this morning. Have a healthy and safe Memorial Day weekend.

KRAFT: You, too. Thank you.

BERMAN: So the man who recorded the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery has now been charged with murder. We have new details next.



CAMEROTA: Developing overnight, Georgia officials have arrested the man who recorded this video of the fatal shooting of Ahmaud Arbery.

William Bryan Jr. is being charged with felony murder and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment. He will be booked in the same jail as Gregory and Travis McMichael, the father and son who are accused of shooting and killing Arbery.

CNN could not reach Bryan's attorney for comment, although he has insisted no crime was committed.

The Arbery family's attorney says they have long believed that Bryan was involved and are relieved to hear of his arrest.

BERMAN: Also developing this morning, new details about the terror- related shooting at a naval air station in Corpus Christi, Texas, that we first told you about yesterday morning.

The shooter has been identified as 20-year-old Adam Alsahli, a U.S.- born resident -- a U.S. resident born in Syria. Officials have identified social media accounts believed to belong to the shooter that express support for ISIS and al Qaeda.


Sources say this man shot a security guard in the chest, hitting her bulletproof vest, before charging the gate. He was then shot and killed by naval security forces.

The incident comes just days after the FBI announced the shooter at a naval air station in Pensacola last year had communicated with al Qaeda.

CAMEROTA: So pastors in California defying a state order while gyms in south Florida are closed just days after reopening. CNN's reporters are around the country and have all the developments for you.


DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Dan Simon in San Francisco. More than 1,200 pastors have signed a petition saying that they will resume in-person services beginning on May 31.

That would be in defiance of the state's current stay-at-home order. The pastors say that those restrictions go too far and that churches should be considered essential.

Now, under Governor Newsom's plan, churches would be allowed to reopen under phase 3. Right now, the state is in the phase 2 and no word yet on what he may do once those churches reopen.

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Randi Kaye. The mayor of Ft. Lauderdale is now closing all gyms and fitness centers after they just opened days ago. They had been closed for months. They'd been losing lots of money. And they've been in somewhat of a standoff with county officials. Now they are closed again.

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Dianne Gallagher in Atlanta. Five hundred seventy employees of the Tyson Foods, Wilkesboro, North Carolina poultry plant have tested positive for COVID-19. It's about 25 percent of the more than 2,200 employees who were tested.

Tyson says that most of those tests took place at a three-day on-site testing event in early May and that any employee who tested positive received paid time off and also can't return to work until they've met Tyson and CDC standards.

And the plant resumed operations on Tuesday after operating in a limited capacity for the past week.

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Jason Carroll in New York City.

Another sign New York is looking for ways to reopen. Cardinal Timothy Dolan announced how the city's parishes will reopen in the coming weeks. It's called the faith forward plan. And the cardinal says it's based on CDC and state guidelines and that it will happen in phases.

Some of the changes to expect in the beginning: no distribution of holy communion. Holy water and baptismal fonts will be emptied. In addition to that, parishioners will have to wear masks and practice social distancing.

Governor Cuomo had already announced that the state will permit religious gatherings of up to ten people.


CAMEROTA: Our thanks to our correspondents.

And we are just getting in some breaking news about a commercial plane crash in Pakistan. We have some details for you, next.



ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BERMAN: And we do have breaking news. We're just getting word that a commercial plane has crashed in Karachi in Pakistan.

Pakistan's aviation ministry says the Pakistan International Airlines flight had 99 passengers and eight crew members on board. The flight took off from Lahore before dropping off radar. It was scheduled to land in Karachi. We're going to follow this breaking story, and we'll bring you an update as soon as we get it.

CAMEROTA: OK, John. Back here in the U.S., President Trump is explaining why he broke the law and refused to wear a mask during his public tour of a Ford plant in Michigan.


TRUMP: I had one on before. I wore one in this back area. But I didn't want to give the press the pleasure of seeing it. But no, I had it in the back area. I did put a mask on.


CAMEROTA: OK. So for some reason the president did wear a mask in private, as seen in this picture from "The Detroit Free Press," but then he took it off once he was in front of the cameras. Why did he want to publicly break the law?

Joining us now Susan Glasser, CNN global affairs analyst and a staff writer at "The New Yorker."

Riddle us this, Susan. I don't understand the logic. Why was he breaking the law brazenly in -- in public, but then in private he put on a mask?

SUSAN GLASSER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: You know, it's very interesting. This has been my theory of the case for weeks now, is that, you know, Trump a notorious germophobe. Why has he exhibited this risky public behavior when, by all accounts, for many years, even long predating his presidency and long predating this pandemic, he was privately known to use hand sanitizer and keep away from people.

And I think he just, you know, said the quiet part out loud again, right, Alisyn. He said, you know, basically a combination of vanity and press hating is driving his public actions at a time when we know that his modeling behavior certainly affects his followers and what they're willing to do or not do.

People are just astonished at the politicization of mask wearing that has been the American facet of this pandemic. It's just not something that is present in most other places in the world.

BERMAN: As for your theory of the case, it also plays into what you have just written in a new column in "The New Yorker," which is that what the president has been doing on many fronts over the last weeks, frankly, since this all began, was distraction, was to draw focus to anything other than the fact that nearly 95,000 Americans have died in this pandemic.

GLASSER: Well, that's right. You know, he's -- he's mass proliferating reasons for us not to talk about the escalating death toll in the United States or the fact that the United States is first in the world in both cases, which he recently said was actually good news, because it was proof of extensive testing. And also, unfortunately, first in the world of deaths.

You know, this wrangling, I think, here in Washington is very symbolic over whether or not even to lower the flag in honor of all those people who have died so far. We're expected to pass 100,000 dead over this weekend, Memorial Day weekend.