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Holiday Weekend Raises Concerns Of Coronavirus Spike; All 50 States Will Partially Reopen Or Have Eased Restrictions By Tomorrow; Trump Deems Houses Of Worship "Essential" Amid Pandemic; Staying Safe Before And During Your Flight; CDC Publishes New Pandemic Guidance For Religious Worship; Washington Debates New Round Of Coronavirus Stimulus Payments. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired May 23, 2020 - 07:00   ET



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are -- a little windy out here, Andrea.

JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We give the lights attend for falling so symmetrically, Jeannie Moos, CNN, New York.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, MEMBER OF THE CORONAVIRUS TASK FORCE: Memorial Day, it's a very important holiday. Hopefully the sun will be out. We'll be having people who want to get out there and get fresh air, you can do that. Go out, wear a mask, stay six feet away from anyone to see you have the physical distancing and go out as long as you're not in a crowd and you're not in a situation where you can physically transmit the virus.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In America, we need more prayer, not less. Governor's need to do the right thing and allow these very important essential places of faith to open, right now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Coronavirus patients who are seriously ill and given chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine were more likely to develop abnormally heart rhythms or even die.

TRUMP: The hydroxychloroquine. Try it. If things don't go as planned, it's not going to kill anybody.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY WEEKEND, with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Beautiful shot over downtown Atlanta. The sun is up this morning, the start of the Memorial Day weekend. Good morning to you. For the first time in at least the last 10 weekends, all 50 states have reopened in some capacity. It is Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of summer, but health experts are concerned that large gatherings may lead to a spike in cases.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, after weeks under lockdown, millions of you are going to be able now to celebrate the holiday weekend outdoors from coast to coast. Several beaches are open.

BLACKWELL: A lot of businesses have opened as well but the President wants more. And although the majority of states already allow houses of worship to hold gatherings in person, he's calling on Governor's to reopen the mosques and churches and the synagogues, deeming them essential. And he said he has the authority to override the local governments if they do not follow his recommendations.

PAUL: And there's a new study that's found hydroxychloroquine, a drug the President has touted and taken himself is linked to an increase in death in coronavirus patients.

BLACKWELL: Let's start this morning with CNN's Polo Sandoval. He is following the latest on the effort to reopen this weekend. Polo, good morning. What are you seeing?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Victor, good morning to you. I can tell you what we expect to see, we are going to see people not just here in New York but across the country head outside. And look, you just played a little bit of Dr. Anthony Fauci's statement a short while ago.

You have the nation's leading infectious disease experts saying it's OK to actually go outside. It's OK to be with your family. However, it's also extremely important to continue to take certain precautions and to not take or throw caution to the wind. And as you're about to hear from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, it's a very similar message that New Yorkers are hearing as well.


GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): It's Memorial Day weekend. We expect people to be getting out, going to parks, beaches, etc. We understand that. But we have to remain vigilant at the same time. I know the weather is warmer. I know people have been cooped up. I know this tremendous energy to get out. You have to remain vigilant.


SANDOVAL: So, where do things actually stand? You can expect beaches, both on the West Coast and East Coast. Many beaches to be open right now. Here in New York, for example, New York State beaches are open. However, New York City beaches, that iconic Coney Island, it is open for people to actually go but swimming and also social gatherings, that's not going to be allowed today.

So, what you can expect are people will be going out there and there are some of those hotspots that will be closed off. And as this is going to be a major test right now, since many of the seaside communities have been preparing for those crowds, so it's going to be interesting to see exactly where things stand perhaps in the next couple of weeks as people do go out and about. And then finally, of course, President Donald Trump drawing those lines when it comes to houses of worship.

We heard him say yesterday, this message from the White House that he believes that those should reopen immediately. And then, the CDC issuing that subsequent guidance issuing those community leaders, so faith leaders, to be able to open if those conditions are right.

The President also with a threat for some of those governors who resist saying that he will override them but ultimately though, Victor and Christi, when you look at everything, it's still very unclear if he actually has the legal authority to do so.

PAUL: All right, Polo Sandoval, appreciate seeing you. Thank you. So, President Trump is calling on governors to move up their timeline as we were talking about to reopen houses of worship calling them essential all but three states are allowing religious services to resume. You see it here on the map in some form, but the president says he'll override as Polo was saying governors who don't allow places of worship to reopen by the weekend.


BLACKWELL: Now, the federal recommendations are voluntary. The Constitutional power falls to the state of local leaders as well. One of the top doctors on the President's Coronavirus Task Force, as we discussed, Dr. Birx says religious leaders need to be part of that conversation as well. She says that social distancing is the key to staying safe.


DR. DEBORAH BIRX, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE COORDINATOR: But there is way to social distance like you are here in places of worship. And I think what we're trying to say with the CDC guidance is there's a way for us to work together to have social distance see and safety for people so that we decrease the amount of exposure that anyone would have to an asymptomatic. And I say it that way because I know all of you, and all of Americans, if they didn't feel well, they wouldn't go to church that day.


PAUL: So, our next guest argues, we don't need to open churches to practice our faith and the essential services that places of worship provide, he says, never really stopped. We're talking, of course about Father Edward Beck, he's a Roman Catholic Priest and a Religion Commentator for CNN and he's with us now. Father Beck, so good to see you. Thank you for taking time for us today.

I want to read something that you wrote on You said, "During this pandemic, I have buried the dead at cemeteries with limited family members present. I have prayed with people via FaceTime and Zoom, I even heard a confession in a supermarket parking lot." We know people are looking for hope and support and answers through all of this. So, your argument that the services have been going on is very real, but what do you find people need emotionally, spiritually most right now?

FR. EDWARD BECK, CNN RELIGION COMMENTATOR: Well, I think people are talking about needing connection, Christi. And they're not getting that simply through Zoom. So, I understand the desire to open churches so that we can have a sense of community and gathering again.

And as you said in the intro, most states are in fact open for worship, they are allowing it. There are only three states right now, where houses of worship remain closed, and they have planned for reopening. So, I'm not really understanding the argument of the administration. You know, this open everything right now when it's in fact happening and in process.

BLACKWELL: Father Beck, there was a piece in the post a couple of weeks back and it stayed with me and I revisited that this weekend. It says that this pandemic will change the landscape of houses of worship because so many of them just cannot afford to stay open.

It cited a study that found that a third of congregations had no savings, about half had no way to collect donations electronically, they're not getting the weekly offering. You know, there's this, this empathy for the barber, for the coffee shop owner, for the restaurant tour, but what about the clergy? I mean, this could be a matter of survival for them, for those churches too, right?

BECK: Yes, Victor, it's decimating certain communities, especially smaller ones. Te larger communities are saying donations are down, maybe around 50 percent. So, they can get through this because they've had somewhat of a reserve, and they're looking to open now fairly soon. And hopefully, things will come back slowly.

But smaller congregations, I know already have some that have closed, they just haven't been able to make it. And that hasn't gotten a lot of attention, you're right. And I think people think well, the church it just exists and, you know, God provides but people need to provide too, and it's been very hard for people to provide and churches in the midst of this pandemic.

PAUL: So, when you look forward to some of those churches who when you when you look to the future and some of those churches that have closed, what happens to them? Do you -- is there, is there are there plans being made for some sort of connection or re-gathering even of different churches to maybe start a new one because those people will still need a place to go?

BECK: Yes, some, of course, have some plan to reinvent themselves in some way, maybe even a new worship space. And congregants are also going elsewhere, and they're finding other communities as we move through this opening. Of course, I mean, they still haven't been able to do that yet.

But I think it's going to be a real challenge, Christi, for people who had a home in a certain church. I mean, even if it was only 50 people who gathered every weekend, that was their community, and it's a community that's no longer there for them and so really a difficult transition.

PAUL: That's personal.

BLACKWELL: Father Beck, you wrote in this piece on, that to open all places of worship would be foolhardy and dangerous. I've heard from you know anyone who wants to go back to a restaurant or a movie theater. The first thing many people say is well, I'm no safer at Target or Walmart or the grocery store and they haven't shut them down to those people you would say what about the -- your opposition to opening all of the houses of worship?


BECK: Well, first of all, I want to open all of the houses of worship, Victor. I just think it should be done in a safe and incremental manner, so that all of the precautions are in place. Going to church is different than really any of those venues you just mentioned. People bless themselves with holy water. People hug themselves at a sign of peace. People come to communion, where there is interaction.

I mean, its sacramental ministry uses oil, it uses water, it uses touch. So all of that, of course, is going to have to be regulated now, but it's not simply the same as showing up at a supermarket, you know, where you can just keep your distance and get on the line, especially if people are going to do it in a way they're accustomed to do it. So, I think churches, synagogues, mosques, they need to have specific guidelines to address those concerns.

BLACKWELL: All right, Father Edward Beck, always good to have you inside. Thank you, sir.

BECK: Thank you both.

PAUL: Thank you Father. Right now, the Transportation Department is preparing to let at least 15 Airlines suspend service to airports that they normally are required to fly to several airlines asked for permission to suspend service because the number of all of us flying has declined because of the pandemic.

BLACKWELL: But for those who are still traveling, CNN Sanjay Gupta has tips on how to stay safe.


SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Things are going to feel a lot different the next time you go to the airport. First of all, it'll be less crowded, that's for sure. Certain precautions are in place like plexiglass at the counters, telling people to keep their distance when they're on line. Let's go see what securities like.

Traveling in the age of coronavirus is all about averting risk. For airports like here at Hartsfield Jackson in Atlanta, which is the world's busiest, it's about focusing and keeping things clean and distanced.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And once again, thank you for the spacing.

GUPTA: For travelers, it's about masks and touching as few things as possible, whether at check in. Don't forget to put your boarding pass on your phone ahead of time, less surfaces to touch.

We're going through security. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go ahead and put that in the machine, sir.

GUPTA: One thing to keep in mind, try and count how many surfaces you touch throughout the whole process.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I need everything out of your pockets, please.

GUPTA: One study found that the biggest germ hotspots for respiratory viruses in the entire airport, these security bins.

One thing I do want to show you is how I pack nowadays. I got my hand sanitizer. So, this is when I do-do a little hand sanitizer, put that back in. Make sure everything's back in the bag and I can be on my way. Constantly wash the hands up. So, look, they're cleaning the bins back there. That's a good idea.

It's one of the big concerns is always going to be those sorts of train rides. Right now, things aren't that crowded, but as airports start to pick up, you may want a lot extra time so that you can walk to the concourse instead of ride.

Bill Lynch is one of the few people who has kept flying. How do you quantify that for somebody who says, look, I don't know if I should fly or not right now; I'm not sure if the risk and the reward balance makes sense/

BILL LYNCH, DELTA CHIEF CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE OFFICER: And it might feel a little awkward the first time you get on board an airplane to see only 60 percent load factors all the middle seats blocked, everyone wearing a mask. But after a while, that becomes very, very comfortable.

GUPTA: Delta's not the only one. Other major carriers are doing similar. Road Warrior Brian Kelly, you may know him better as The Points Guy doesn't think social distancing in the sky is going to be permanent.

BRIAN KELLY, FOUNDER, THE POINTS GUY: Financially, it's just not possible. And I don't believe it's good for consumers to do that because we're going to pay for the cost of all of those empty seats.

GUPTA: In a statement, the International Air Transport Association said that while they support the use of masks by passengers and crew, they don't support mandating social distancing measures that would leave middle seats empty. To reduce risk, many airlines like Delta are wiping down more frequently, and misting the entire planes with disinfectant.

Everyone is going to decide whether or not it makes sense to fly. It's the sort of risk-reward proposition. One thing I'll tell you is that separating yourselves out obviously important, that's the distance, but think about the duration. Shorter flights are obviously going to be better as well. One thing you'll see here at Delta is that they are boarding from the back to the plane first 10 people at a time we hear.

Now, when you get to your row couple things to keep in mind: try and touch as few surfaces as possible. When I sit down, I'm actually going to try and choose a window seat. And the reason being that I'll just have less contact with people who are walking by the aisle. Here's another tip. You open this which is called the air Gasper, and you turn up as high as you can, and feel the air there right in front of you. That's going to cause some turbulent airflow in front of you, and possibly break up any clouds of virus. It's a small tip, it might make a difference. Easy to do. Could be worth it.



PAUL: Thank you so much as always, Dr. Sanjay Gupta there.

BLACKWELL: That's an important one because I would have thought to close that but he says open it to keep the air moving. OK. Thank you, Sanjay. So, Hertz, arguably the, the biggest company the highest profile company, at least yet to turn out to bankruptcy to deal with the economic impact of COVID-19, rental car company, says the drop in travel demand was sudden and dramatic and it's costing them in revenue and future bookings.

PAUL: Now, this doesn't mean Hertz is going out of business, we want to point out. The company says this move allows them to restructure their debt. Hertz does already say they have cut 12,000 jobs in North America and furloughed another 4000 workers. So, that speaks to what a lot of people say right now is the need for another round of stimulus checks. One member of the Trump administration says it's "pretty likely." There are some pros and cons to this though we're going to talk about that with our financial expert next.

BLACKWELL: Also, from virtual school graduation to into a real pandemic. We meet one medical graduate who is headed for the E.R. to help battle the coronavirus.



BLACKWELL: The CDC has issued new guidance for religious institutions if they want to reopen during the pandemic. They should provide soap and hand sanitizer, encourage the Use of cloth masks and clean their facilities daily.

PAUL: They also need to promote social distancing and consider limiting the sharing of objects. Now, President Trump called houses of worship essential and called on governors to reopen religious institutions for services. In most states, many institutions were already allowed to hold gatherings of some sorts.

BLACKWELL: A CNN analysis found there are only three states in which houses of worship will remain closed. Joining me now is Dr. Nadia Abuelezam, she is an Assistant Professor at the Connell School of Nursing at Boston College. Dr. Abuelezam, thanks so much for being with us this morning.


BLACKWELL: Let's start here with churches. Again, you know, 47 of the 50 states, I should say 48 because then you add D.C., have churches open in some form, with some restrictions in some ways. There's an element of getting in front of a parade but from an epidemiological perspective, public health perspective, what's your view on allowing churches to open?

ABUELEZAM: So, there's obviously a spectrum of risk associated with any behaviors that we're taking up at this point. And unfortunately, I have to say that indoor activities and indoor activities that are prolonged, so lasts for a reasonable amount of time do carry a higher risk than other types of activities like outdoor activities.

So certainly, there is risk with opening up houses of worship, but there are precautions that people can take. You've mentioned some of them like wearing cloth masks, constant sanitization. And if people can minimize their time inside, minimize the number of conversations they're having with people that can also minimize risk as well.

BLACKWELL: You talk about the outdoor events and gatherings. I want to look ahead. We've talked a lot about what's happening this weekend. Let's look down the road. We know that late yesterday, Nevada's governor says that he's aiming for June 4th, which is next Thursday to allow casinos in the state to reopen. Universal Orlando will open its parks on June 5th. These governors are making decisions based on what I've seen so far, the local and state cases, the hospitalizations, but these are global tourist destinations, what should go into that decision-making process? And should they open now based on the national and global picture?

ABUELEZAM: Sure. I mean, the reality is that in many states that are reopening, we have not seen a significant decrease in the number of new cases. And in fact, the number of new cases has remained steady. The particularly scary thing about reopening is that we won't actually see the effects, the negative effects of reopening for many weeks, because it will take time for people to get infected, to develop symptoms, and perhaps to enter the hospital.

So, it will be very hard to monitor and to know what the impact of these reopening are in the short term. I do believe, again, that there are risks for reopening spaces where people will be indoors for prolonged periods of time, having conversations, having long interactions, so all precautions need to be taken up in those spaces as we've mentioned before.

BLACKWELL: Yes, we'd love to see those plans as soon as they come out from the casinos. I spent the last couple of days in Alabama, and while I was there, Governor Kay Ivey, she announced that she was amending an order which essentially would allow schools to reopen on June 1st. There are several requirements for social distancing, disinfecting items.

I want to put this up, this is about face masks. It says: "An employee's shell to the greatest extent possible at all times when in regular interaction within six feet of a person from a different household wear those, those facemasks." It says employees only, doesn't speak to the students. Also, is it only if you're within six feet? If some of these particles can, can remain in the air? What's the effectiveness of a directive like that?


ABUELEZAM: Sure. I mean, I think it's important to remember that wearing a mask will help. So, having students wear masks, I've seen other school districts suggest that students will also wear masks as well. I did also want to mention something that I'm not sure I've heard a lot about, which is ventilation in classrooms and in workspaces to the point that you've just mentioned, it's really important.

And Dr. Sanjay Gupta mentioned, it's really important to have air moving to make sure that viral particles are not sort of sitting in the air and potentially inhaled. So, I think ventilation is something that the school district should also be considering.

BLACKWELL: Yes, we're going to talk later this morning with the managers of local attractions with resort managers as well. How are they going to incorporate all of this guidance and still make sure that it's a good time, make sure that people feel safe and they're enjoying the time that the reason they're going to these places. Dr. Nadia Abuelezam, thanks so much for being with us this morning.

ABUELEZAM: Thank you for having me.

BLACKWELL: Sure. Christi.

PAUL: So, listen to this number: 23 percent unemployment. That's a projection coming out of the White House right now. Could you see more relief in a stimulus perhaps headed your way? We're going to talk about that.



PAUL: So, if you're hoping for another round of stimulus checks, there is a good chance it could happen. At least that's what White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett, believes.


KEVIN HASSETT, WHITE HOUSE ECONOMIC ADVISER: We had a big economic team meeting with the president last week. We went over options. And I think that, as we move forward, it's pretty likely that there will be a fourth phase of stimulus.

There are a number of things, technical things that need to be fixed about stuff we did in the past, and so on.


HASSETT: And so, yes, I think they're pretty much, folks think now there is going to be another bill. And yes, the question is exactly when, but I think it's coming sooner rather than later.



BLACKWELL: So, of course, that would be good news for tens of millions of Americans who are out of work in the last nine weeks. A close to 39 million people have filed for unemployment benefits.

PAUL: So, let's bring in financial expert Ted Jenkin here. Ted, it's good to see you this morning. Thank you so much.

TED JENKIN, FINANCIAL EXPERT: Good morning. Good morning, Christi.

PAUL: Speaking of stimulus checks, I know, obviously, there are a lot of people who think they need this, and there are -- there's a new sector that people are looking how do these college grads, who aren't able to get jobs right now with the state of the economy the way that it is. What is the value of another stimulus?

JENKIN: I mean this is a question. Are we designing the money the right way? And you're right, Christi. There's going to be 4 million college graduates here in 2020. And the question is, will the stimulus money help them get a job? It will not. Even if the parents get $1,200, it's not going to help them go to work.

And there is conflicting data, Christi. You know, one out of two Americans, say they're living paycheck to paycheck.

But when you look at the savings rates, they're up to 13.1 percent last month, it's the highest since 1981. So, we put the money in the hands of people. And Mark Cuban said this a few days ago, we've got to get them spending money and get it out there, and consuming goods and get them back to work.

BLACKWELL: Hi, Ted. Kyung La, did a piece a couple of days ago out on the west coast, in which she spoke with some people who decided not to return to work because they were making more money, or bringing home more money through unemployment benefits.

That's obviously a conversation about a living wage, but also, if the unemployment benefits need to be restructured or reimagined.

JENKIN: Well, we use this idea of doing the PUA, Victor, which is this $600 stipend on top of unemployment. But let's think about this, if you were making $700 a week, and the average unemployment benefit in America is $378. And now, you get this additional $600 a week, you're up to almost $1,000 a week.

And then, you have to ask yourself, am I incentivize to go back to work? Or am I disincentivize to go back to work? And I've said, this $600 is like a shot of Novocaine in the mouths of Americans.

And when it wears off in July, or if it's extended until December or January of next year, there is going to be a lot of pain for Americans to find a job and go back to work. PAUL: Yes, there was a -- she spoke to actually an employer who said he feels like he's competing with unemployment, because there are people that he needs to come to work, and they're saying, I'm making more money staying home.

So, with that said when we talk about small businesses and how money in the PPP can be used, I know there's some confusion with small businesses in terms of how they can use that money.

Do you think that, that needs to be -- that part of it needs to be restructured?

JENKIN: I mean, I do. If you look at Germany that has 5.8 percent unemployment, they did a wage subsidy program. We chose to put the money in the hands of business owners, and the good news about the PPP, Christi, is that at least 75 percent of the money needs to go to payroll or payroll-related expenses.

The bad news is we saw a lot of publicly-traded companies try to take the money, and there are a lot of small business owners, due to confusion, not understanding the program, they're not taking the money at all.

And here is the real doozy, if you use the PPP money and the loan becomes a grant, and it's forgiven, all of those expenses that you spent in your business, the IRS gave guidance, and now said, Christi, they are not tax-deductible. So, a lot of business owners are going to see extra tax bill when they file in 2021.

BLACKWELL: Ted Jenkin, always good to have you, sir. Thanks so much.

PAUL: Thanks, Ted.

JENKIN: Thanks, Victor. Thanks, Christi.

BLACKWELL: Hey, look, listen if you're looking for work and we just talked about how many tens of millions of people are, some big companies are accepting applications right now. Let's go through a few of them.

PAUL: Yes. So, Lowe's is accepting both full and part-time positions. No surprise that healthcare companies are hiring here as well. CVS even designated a special section of its site to plea for applications.

Delivery services such as Amazon, UPS, FedEx, they are all hiring. We just want to try to give you some hope here and some resources. So, maybe you have, if you are in the need for a job, those are some of the companies that you know are hiring. You can take a look. Good luck.


BLACKWELL: Absolutely. Hey, up next, we're going to take you inside one of Brazil's largest hospitals it has been overwhelmed by coronavirus cases. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


BLACKWELL: The World Health Organization, says that South America is the new epicenter for the coronavirus. The biggest hot spot is Brazil, where confirmed cases and death tolls are rising quickly.

PAUL: Yes, the healthcare systems are just overwhelmed by the number of patients that are hospitalized. It's also proving deadly for the medical workers themselves on the front lines.

The mayor of Sao Paolo, says it's going to get worse if people don't start social distancing.

CNN International Security Editor Nick Paton Walsh is in Sao Paolo, Brazil. So, Nick, what are you seeing?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: Well, as you can see here, people are masked up, there is a lockdown in place. The numbers are terrifying, frankly.

And here in Sao Paolo, the epicenter -- one of the epicenter that is Brazil in South America, they are seeing a potential peak a week to two weeks away from now. Brazil, briefly yesterday became the second- worst country in terms of confirmed cases.

It's sort of vying with Russia, who later yesterday, in fact, earlier today, put out their new figures. Brazil will likely surpass them. Again, it's about 330,000 cases at the last count. That's less than New York has had.

But you have to remember, Brazil's counting here is from a health system that isn't as advanced testing as much as the United States. But in some of the poorer areas that we have visited, they are doing the best they can for themselves given the lack of times of government assistance.


WALSH: Brazil has always had the haves and the have-nots. But in Sao Paulo, coronavirus has the poor of its favelas going it more than ever alone.

We follow emergency workers through the dense streets that fuel the fire they're fighting. This is the place people don't want to live in, yet poverty means it's packed all the same.

It's in these densely packed alleyways, you can tell the real risk of a high infection rate.

In these tiny rooms, the sickness means kids must look on that those who would care for them. Renata, says she tests only when her patient has three symptoms, and even those tests are paid for by private donations. Mostly, the test is done. She tells me when the person is already in an advanced stage of the disease, cases can be tough. One obese woman needed eight people to carry her to our ambulance, and a man with Alzheimer's, well, we had to ask the family if we could physically remove him from his home. It's hard.

Up above is Maria, 53, who caught the virus despite being masked up in the market, she says, so she's distancing from our (INAUDIBLE).

Even yesterday, the owner of the pharmacy died, she tells me. Many are losing their lives due to someone's carelessness. Renata is part of a wide operation, medicine but masks here too. Teaching people how to make them and giving them machines to do it. And also food, 10,000 meals a day sent out in small numbers into the community because lockdown means they can't put food on their own tables.

This is a community in some ways already isolated economically, saving itself. May have a place where the sick are sent to isolate in, a former school. We can't film patients inside. Everything here is done at a distance and says that the worst is yet to come.

It's pretty likely these beds will sadly soon be full. A school given over to this purpose by the government, but an operation here funded by private donations. The bigger test here, how this amazing spirit of community holds up when the peak makes these streets seem even deadlier.


WALSH: Now, key to this is that those numbers you're hearing, second- worst number of confirmed cases in the world here, for brief (INAUDIBLE) are not the full picture. You saw in that package and we hear it increasingly here in Sao Paulo. Where the medical system, frankly, is the best the wealthiest city in Brazil.

You need three symptoms to get a test. Now, that extraordinarily limits the number of people who are able to even find out if they have the disease. Here, yes, masks are in evidence, a lockdown is an evidence, elsewhere in the country, though, the advice is sometimes different.

And the president to Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, started by calling this a little flu. He sort of changed his rhetoric now. Saying that it's a war the country's engaged in. But he is encouraging the use of hydroxychloroquine, which studies recently suggest actually may do more harm than good. Brazil saying it can be used in cases that aren't just severe.

So, it's so much conflicting advice here, and frankly, you saw those seems bad already. That numbers bad already and we are still possibly a fortnight away from the worst. So, sadly, I think Brazil is at the beginning of this, rather than midway through.


BLACKWELL: Heartbreaking. Nick Paton Walsh there for us. Thank you so much for that report.

PAUL: Yes. Nick, thank you.

So, still ahead, Joe Biden is apologizing for comments that he made about African-American support of him. He made these comments on a show called, "The Breakfast Club".

You're going to hear the apology, you're also going to hear what started this. What he initially said that left a lot of people shock.


BLACKWELL: The presumptive Democratic nominee for president, Joe Biden, is apologizing for some controversial comments he made on a radio show about black supporters. Watch.


CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD, HOST, THE BREAKFAST SHOW: It's a long way until November and we got more questions.

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You got more question. But I'm telling you if you have a problem figuring out whether you're for me or Trump, then you ain't black.

CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD: It don't have nothing to do with Trump, it has to do with the fact I want something for my community.



BLACKWELL: So, host Charlamagne tha God spoke with Erin Burnett after the show.

PAUL: Yes, he says that he was shocked to hear what Biden said and much like what he just said there, he cares less about Biden's track record, and more about his future plans.


CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD: I heard him, you know, talking about, you know, things that he did for black people back in the day. But you know, what have you done for me lately is my motto.

You know, I see black communities all across America catching hell regardless of who's in the White House. But it's not about Trump, it's about who is going to present the best deal for black people, who is going to have an economic justice plan for black people, who is going to finally give black people what they are owed for building this country.


PAUL: So, later yesterday afternoon, Biden addressed his comments and a call with the U.S. Black Chamber of Commerce, and insisted that he does not take black voters for granted.


BIDEN: I shouldn't have been such a wise guy. I shouldn't have been so cavalier. No one, no one should have to vote for any party based on their race, the religion, or background.


PAUL: The latest from him there.

So, still ahead, residency it's hard enough for any medical student, right? Well, now, some are graduating directly into a global health crisis. Up next, one recent grad shares what it's like to become a doctor during a pandemic.


ANNOUNCER: "FOOD AS FUEL", brought to you by Wonderful Pistachios. No shells.

PAUL: So, as people cut back on trips at the grocery store, they're buying more in bulk. In this week's "FOOD IS FUEL", CNN Health Contributor Lisa Drayer, looks at how bagged salads and veggies really to affect nutrition.

LISA DRAYER, CNN HEALTH CONTRIBUTOR: You know greens are good for you but doesn't make a difference whether they're sold in a bundle or a bag? It depends on when you're planning to eat them.

All greens are washed to some degree. And the cleaning process can damage plant tissues and reduce water-soluble vitamins. So, triple washed back spinach may be exposed to more surface damage than the bundled kind.

The bag version does have an advantage when it comes to storage. That's because oxygen in bagged produce is replaced with a nonreactive gas like nitrogen and that helps preserve nutrients.


DRAYER: On the flip side, a fresh bundle of spinach sits on a shelf for several days, and is exposed to air, light, and moisture. And so, nutrients rapidly decline. So, package greens maybe a more appealing option if your veggies tend to sit in the fridge for a few days.

In that case, a bit of convenience will go a lot further than a bit more freshness. But whether they're in a bag or out in the open, veggies are still an important part of a healthy diet.



PAUL: Listen, the response to COVID-19 has changed plans for millions of students, as many of you may know. And many newly minted doctors are heading straight to the frontlines of this pandemic.

BLACKWELL: Our Lynn Smith spoke with a new Morehouse Medical graduate student about the next steps.


LYNN SMITH, CNN ANCHOR: Scenes like this are playing out all across the country for the class of 2020, virtual graduation ceremonies. For Morehouse School of Medicine fourth-year student, Helene Okpere, it's a little hard to accept.

DR. HELENE OKPERE, GRADUATE, MOREHOUSE SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: It kind of feels a little disheartening and disappointing because it's like you kind of dreamed of this day for so long.

SMITH: Okpere was inspired to pursue a career in medicine while on a mission trip to Ghana, during her undergraduate studies.

OKPERE: I knew that I wanted to work in an underserved population to really serve those who truly needed my help and didn't have the resources or the insurance or the money to be able to afford the medical treatment that they need.

I saw just how big the need was. That inspired me to want to serve underserved populations.

SMITH: Since then, COVID-19 has drastically impacted her chosen field and the reality of entering the health care profession during this global crisis, it elicits mixed emotions.

OKPERE: Part of me I'm a little nervous just because residency is already difficult as is. And then kind of adding on a pandemic to it, just kind of leads for new challenges that are really unforeseen.

I also be feel very excited and privileged to even be in this situation where I can go and take care of patients who are being affected by coronavirus.

SMITH: Spending time volunteering at a free COVID testing site has given her a glimpse of what she will soon be facing.

OKPERE: I was able to do the testing and actually do the swabbing. And just really be there for patients. I'm really happy that I was able to do it.

SMITH: And even though graduation season hasn't exactly gone as planned, Okpere's message to other graduates is clear.

OKPERE: Definitely, don't let this pandemic bring you down. Still celebrate to the fullest. Still, be with your family, be with your friends even if that's virtual. Don't let what's going on in the world take away from your accomplishments. You worked hard, you accomplished these amazing things. So, let that shine and don't let coronavirus ruin on your parade.