Return to Transcripts main page


Live Coverage of Memorial Day at Arlington National Cemetery; Memorial Day Weekend Crowds Portend Increase in Coronavirus Cases; Vacation Businesses in Michigan Planning for Downturn. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired May 25, 2020 - 10:30   ET





UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Order. Right shoulder, arms.





UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Order. Right shoulder, arms.


Gentlemen, a moment of silence.

Gentlemen, please turn (INAUDIBLE).


ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: And the president and the vice president, leaving there, after the annual wreath-laying ceremony, rather, for Memorial Day at Arlington National Cemetery, a somber moment as the nation mourns and also offers deep gratitude for those who have given their lives.

You're watching CNN. We'll be right back.



HILL: The United States, nearing 100,000 deaths due to coronavirus. The crowds, though, were out over the Memorial Day Weekend, leaving many to ask if it's all too soon. I'm joined now by infectious disease specialist Dr. Carlos Del Rio.

He's also the executive associate dean at Emory University Medical School for the Grady Health System.

Doctor, always good to talk to you. You know, I'm curious, we saw these crowds out over the weekend. There are some concerns, even out of Arkansas, from the governor about a second wave.

Vice President Pence, though, the other day, praised Georgia's efforts -- of course, where you are, in Atlanta -- saying that Georgia was leading the way. Is that what you're seeing in your state? Is Georgia leading the way as an example for reopening?

CARLOS DEL RIO, INFECTIOUS DISEASE SPECIALIST: Well, you know, it's too soon to know. I think after the governor made the -- you know, opened the state, people still stayed at home. There wasn't this huge amount of people going out. Now, we'll see, after the Memorial Day Weekend, what happens. But we are beginning to see an uptick in cases in Georgia, and I think it's clearly a result of people relaxing social distancing.

And I think we need to remind people, this virus is still around. It hasn't gone away, and you can still get sick, you can still die. So we need to be careful, and I think reminding people that, no, it's not over, it's not yet over.

And we need to -- you know, while we're relaxing measures, we still need to continue thinking about social distancing, we still need to wear a mask, we still need to wash our hands.

HILL: There's also the question of, as there are more cases popping up and as you point out, there are a lot of folks looking at, OK, so when are we starting to see this spike? And then we'll backtrack a couple of weeks and see how it all coincides with easing of restrictions.

There is more testing going on as well. How do you look at the numbers and square where we're at? Is it more about testing from around the country? Is it more about easing restrictions?

DEL RIO: Well, I think testing is important, that it goes up. And I think we all are wanting to see about 30 tests per thousand population in every state, and I think a state that achieves that is doing a good job.

So testing is critically important because you're going to have outbreaks, there's no doubt about that. If you're having -- as you're easing restrictions, you will see these outbreaks. But what you need to be able to do is rapidly identify them, rapidly contain them and prevent that they spread further.

It's almost like a fire department strategy, you need to contain the fire before it breaks into an entire neighborhood or entire forest being on fire. So the sooner you pick up cases, the sooner you identify them and isolate them, the better it is. Now, cases will go up. So I don't worry that much about cases, I worry

more about ICU and hospital bed capacity. We need to monitor those things.

HILL: And that's --

DEL RIO: And again, if you look at those, those are critical components because the cases that go into the hospital and go into the ICU is really where we have our limited amount of beds. And where we need to be careful that we not exceed our bed capacity.

HILL: And that is so important, to make sure that if there is a spike, if there is a surge in cases, that the hospitals in the area are equipped to deal with that, as we're seeing the concerns come out of Montgomery, Alabama. Dr. Carlos del Rio, always appreciate your insight. Thank you.

DEL RIO: Thank you, Erica.


HILL: Brazil's president, greeting supporters while not wearing a mask despite the growing outbreak in that country. Overnight, the U.S., also announcing a travel ban for folks flying in from Brazil. Details and a live report, that's next.


HILL: This morning, Brazil is seeing an explosion of new coronavirus cases, 15,000 in just the past 24 hours. And that surge is prompting the U.S. to ban travel from Brazil. Nick Paton Walsh is there, at a cemetery for coronavirus victims. Nick, good morning.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: I'm in one of the hardest-hit cities in Brazil, Manaus, in the heart of the Amazon. Just a quick sign of what we're seeing behind us here now. In this town -- very heavily infected -- these are the graves of people who they have confirmed positive coronavirus cases in.


And there have been 1,500 burials in this cemetery since the pandemic began. In fact, another coffin has been one of three that have arrived to go into a mass grave since we've got here. But these are the number of cases that they think happened potentially because of the coronavirus. It's a startling number here, and a very heavily hit town.

Now, there's been a feud between the mayor of this town and the Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro. President Bolsonaro called the mayor of this town an expletive during a leaked cabinet recording of him meeting some of this officials.

The mayor of Manaus spoke to me yesterday, and said that Mr. Bolsonaro was stupid, that he should shut up and stay at home -- I quote him here -- and also that he should resign, saying that he was partially responsible for the deaths here in Brazil because President Bolsonaro has played light (ph) with (ph) the disease, calling it a little flu. Was in fact yesterday seen at a rally of his supporters, at times not wearing a mask in their presence.

But it's extraordinary to stand here and see the volume of dead here in a town where -- a city of about two million inhabitants. Many of them are wearing face masks now. We spoke to the mayor yesterday, he accepted that a lot of his inhabitants had in fact been listening to the president over the advice of medical experts.

But this rising number of cases here in Brazil was so much epitomized by the damage that's already been done here, in this city of Manaus, quite startling to see the volume of dead. We were in an ICU here yesterday, which was packed, I have to say.

This is so far from the rest of Brazil. Pretty much everything that comes here has to be flown in, it's disconnected from the rest of the country. But that hasn't stopped amid at times (ph), the poverty here, the disease ravaging through this population.

I have to say, standing here and still watching the coffins turning up, it's a shocking sight about what may come as the peak hits in the week or two ahead -- back to you.

HILL: It seems just hard to comprehend, the number of crosses that we see behind you there, Nick. Nick Paton Walsh in Manaus, Brazil. Nick, thank you.

Well, states may be reopening their economies. For some businesses, though, it's not enough to just keep them open.



HILL: Memorial Day will certainly look very different for resort towns in Northern Michigan. This year, business owners are facing grim prospects because of the pandemic. CNN's Miguel Marquez has the story.


LAURA HART, OWNER, BLUW ROSES BOOKS AND MORE: We had a lot of dreams here, we --

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The dream? A bookstore Laura Hart (ph) and her daughters could run, that everyone in this Lake Huron tourist haven could enjoy.

HART: COVID came in and it changed the landscape. We wanted very much to be a community place where people could come, bring their kids, play games, you know, open mic nights, game nights --

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Blue Roses Books and More, Cheboygan's only bookstore, will close: another casualty of the pandemic.

HART: I think I've spent the past week crying. I know my daughter and I have both had some hard minutes.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Hart faced a hard calculation. With the high season short here and the pandemic keeping tourists away, she'd never be able to pay the bills into the winter when it's locals-only.

MARQUEZ: How tough is it going to be to lock that door and --

HART: It's going to be really tough. I'm going to miss it.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Cheboygan County in Northern Michigan, among the hardest hit in the state with more than 30 percent of workers applying for unemployment. The Food Bank of Eastern Michigan has more than doubled its distribution here. And even with businesses reopening, hiring isn't exactly bouncing back.

PAUL LEONARDI, KITCHEN MANAGER, MULLIGAN'S RESTAURANT: Normally, you know, we would be hiring and I'd be bringing on new faces. But now, I'm just working with the people that I have. You know, this is the kickoff to the season and it really feels like just another normal weekend, except for the stress of reopening.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Another stress? Food prices. With the price of beef through the roof, steaks off the menu.

LEONARDI: I've changed my menu. I'm very thankful that I bought a smoker two weeks before the pandemic hit, because now I could take cheaper cuts of meat and turn them into something fabulous.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): For this seasonal town, the pandemic couldn't have hit at a worse time.

KEVIN KEMPER, OWNER, MELODY'S LANE MICHIGAN MADE GIFTS AND MORE: We've lost our summer, basically. And we'll see more things fall by the wayside for the fall --

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Kevin Kemper expects to make only half of what he'd make in a normal year.

Another consideration? Outsiders coming in raises the risk of COVID-19 coming to a place that has seen few cases.

KEMPER: It's a concern because people are handling it different at every level.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): A high season of low expectations.


MARQUEZ: Now, the 32 counties here in the north have begun to reopen, they started that on Friday. It hasn't been exactly gangbusters so far. There's not a ton of people returning. That is a concern for business owners and for employees.

The unemployment does help those individuals, if they can't make the bulk of their money in the next few months, it's going to be a very, very hard winter next winter. And the following spring may be even harder, the knock-on effects from this pandemic.

HILL: Yes.

MARQUEZ: Back to you.

HILL: Yes, it's really, just the hits keep on coming. It is tough. Miguel, thank you.

Thanks to all of you for joining us today. I'm Erica Hill. NEWSROOM with John King starts right now.