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Americans Flock To Public Places As Death Toll Nears 100,000; W.H.O Pauses Studying Hydroxychloroquine Due To Safety Concerns; California Cautiously Reopening Its Beaches. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired May 25, 2020 - 12:30   ET



JOHN KING, CNN HOST: Pete Muntean for us on the boardwalk. We'll continue to watch the situation there. And obviously the cloud cover keeping people apart right now. We shall see.

Let's discuss this now with Dr. Emily Landon. She's an infectious disease expert at the University of Chicago. Dr. Landon, thank you for being here today.

Let's walk through this on Memorial Day. That's outdoors, right? I'm sure if you could see, I don't know if you could see at home, the crowds on the boardwalk the other day when it was sunny, an 80, people very close together. I assume that's a -- on the do not list. However, you think people are better off if they can keep some distance better off outside than inside? Why?

DR. EMILY LANDON, INFECTIOUS DISEASE EXPERT, UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO MEDICINE: Yes, I'm definitely better off outside than inside. Outside has a lot more airflow and ventilation than what we get inside of buildings. And that can make it -- in a little bit safer to have more people in a space.

Certainly, there's a lot more risk from having 10 people in a small room than 10 people in a gymnasium. And it's the same sort of idea with being outside. But there's definitely too close and some of those people were probably getting a bit too close.

KING: And as people have more opportunities, more choices, if you will, they can leave their homes and do things. Many states you can now sit down at a table and eat in a restaurant, allegedly with social distancing. Where would you put that on the list, the high risk, low risk, medium risk?

LANDON: Probably medium to higher risks. See, outside is better than inside. And anything where you can wear a mask is better than when you can't wear a mask. And eating definitely requires taking off your mask.

So you'll still want to keep a pretty good distance and it can put people at a lot of risk when we're chewing and drinking and talking. There's a lot of respiratory droplets being spread in that general area. So it depends a little bit on who you're eating with and what the setting is.

But I would definitely take pains to go to a restaurant outdoors that had their staff following precautions, wearing masks with lots of hand hygiene or a hand sanitizer available, where they have a policy about how to protect the guests and the staff because if they're protecting the staff, then the staff is less likely to be sick, and when they're serving you.

So we can make everything a little safer. But certainly, I don't think a restaurant would be my first choice.

KING: And so every parents in America has been dealing with remote learning and the like. It's Memorial Day, there's no school today. Let's say you're planning a backyard barbecue and you're thinking my third grader or my fifth grader, my ninth grader, hasn't seen his or her friends in forever, up close. Can I invite them over for a burger and a hotdog today, or is that a risk?

LANDON: Well, again, outside is better than inside. And then maybe it would be better to have them do an activity that didn't involve eating so that they could keep their masks on and keep a bit of distance. So maybe it's a good time for a backyard games party.

I'm not sure I would call it a party though. I would limit the invitation list to people that you know that you feel safe that they've been quarantining, taking care of themselves, it might be a good time to start increasing our social circles. But if all of us increase to lots and lots of different people, then we'll be creating opening chains for the infection to spread.

Whereas, if you sort of pick one family and spend your time just with them, and then just with you, it does increase the risk a bit. But it can keep that risk within that group so that any infection that someone may get can be sort of stopped in its tracks.

KING: Let me close on this one, the President pushing on Friday for houses of worship to open up. In reality, most states they are open to a degree with restrictions. Thirty states they're fully open, another 17 states plus the District of Columbia open with some restrictions.

The President says he wants more. Some people think this is about the November election more about going to a mosque or synagogue or a church today or this coming weekend. But inside a church building a synagogue, a mosque, low risk, high risk, medium?

LANDON: I think being inside with a lot of other people. Even if you're all wearing fabric masks can be pretty risky, especially when services include things with a lot of singing and speaking together. That kind of stuff we have seen evidence is a high risk for massive spread of infection in one choir practice early on in the epidemic in Washington State, one person who was asymptomatic didn't even have any symptoms of coronavirus spread infection to almost everyone who was there during the time of the rehearsal.

And so I would say indoor services are not a great idea. Outdoor services may be safer, but you've got to keep your mask on and it's still going to be pretty high risk if they're singing or talking where everyone is enunciating or repeating phrases together.

So this may be something that you want to attend online still, especially if you're a higher risk individual or if you're living in a community where the cases are going up instead of coming down.

KING: Dr. Emily Landon, really appreciate your help, expertise as we all try to navigate this new normal. Thank you very much.


LANDON: Thanks.

KING: Thank you.

Up next, the World Health Organization pauses all tests of a drug the President has repeatedly promoted. The WHO says, there are now concerns it puts patients at risks.



KING: This news just in, the World Health Organization says it will stop studying for now the use of hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 that because of safety concerns. That of course hydroxychloroquine, the anti malaria drug the President has been pushing repeatedly and says he was taking to prevent COVID-19.

CNN, Elizabeth Cohen, following this story. Elizabeth, the World Health Organization saying, let's pause.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. And that's because of that study that was published in "The Lancet" that you and I spoke about on Friday, John.

What that study showed was that not only did hydroxychloroquine not work, and Trump has been saying all this time, oh, it works. Well, guess what, not only didn't it work, people who took it were more likely to die. And they were also more likely to have cardiac arrhythmia issues.

And so this is, you know, the World Health Organization is saying, this is the responsible thing to do if you have a huge study and that Lancet study was a huge study across six continents. When you have a huge study showing these safety issues, ethically, you have to consider should we still be studying it or not? And but they decided is, let's take a pause here and make sure we're doing the right thing.

KING: Any idea how and what they mean by pause just to look at other data, to have consultations, or just pull back?

COHEN: Right. I mean, I think it's only been a couple of days since that study came out. So the feeling that I got from reading, what they put out there is that they're not going to be, you know, doing these trials at the moment. And they're going to sort of take a look at the data and decide how they're going to move forward. But it's very unusual for an organization to stop a trial in the middle like that. That is very unusual. In order to stop it, you have to be very concerned about the safety effects. Sometimes they'll stop it because they see the safety effects in their own patients, but especially to have another trial make you want to stop your trial is very unusual.

KING: As you said, the responsible thing to do when a concept. Elizabeth Cohen, thanks so much.

President Trump now threatening to pull the Republican National Convention out of Charlotte, North Carolina, scheduled to take place there in August. The coronavirus pandemic has made that uncertain as the state continues to work through its reopening plan.

Joining us now, CNN White House correspondent, Kaitlan Collins. Kaitlan, a threat from the President, he doesn't like the Democratic governor. He wants him to open more quickly. What else?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And he's saying that if they don't get an answer immediately, they are going to start looking for another convention site.

And John, as you're familiar, it's very difficult to change convention sites this late in the game. I'm not even sure if they've ever changed one so suddenly. But the President is saying that they're going to do so. Unless they can guarantee a full convention, he basically wants it to be able to be full capacity.

And that's been some concerns that the Republican National Committee has been having with state officials in North Carolina about really what this could look like, given there is such uncertainty, even by the end of August, how the nation is going to look when it comes to reopening.

And the President is framing it in a political light saying that he believes that they would try to basically thwart their efforts to hold the convention site here, though, we should note that my colleague Jeff Zeleny spoke with the Governor of North Carolina last week. And he said it's not a political decision on whether or not the convention is going to move forward.

They're just looking at what the numbers are going to look like in that state. And they say that they don't feel confident yet on whether or not they can give them an answer. So that's still to be determined. We'll see how those conversations with the state officials play out in between them and the RNC.

But the President is making his start pretty clear on Twitter today, and we're told by sources, he is serious about that. Now, John, you showed the President earlier speaking at Fort McHenry, visiting Arlington National Cemetery, paying his respects to the fallen today on this Memorial Day.

But it comes after a weekend where the President was incredibly active on Twitter and one of the main things he was doing was amplifying a message from a supporter of his who often post racist and sexist comments, and he did several disparaging ones over the weekend that the President himself then amplified to his much larger audience than this person has where he was hitting the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Stacey Abrams, Joe Biden, several others.

And of course promoting a conspiracy that a news anchor on another network has committed murder which of course we should note is not founded. There is no evidence for what the President is saying there. But that is how his weekend spent. So if you saw, you know, him today in person honoring the fallen, it was a much different message than what you saw from the President over the weekend on his Twitter feed.

KING: Yes, teleprompter Trump and Twitter Trump, that can be a parallel universe. Kaitlan Collins covering the White House for us. Kaitlan, thanks so much.


Just ahead for us people visiting California's beaches keeping their distance this holiday weekend.


KING: California is taking a more measured approach to its beach reopenings. It's a big contrast to some of the scenes you've seen on the east coast in Texas, for example. We have seen crowds, little social distancing. Out in California, though, beaches are open, but just for beach activities and exercise, no laying out, and sunbathing.

Stephanie Elam is at Manhattan Beach, just south of Los Angeles for us. Explain the big distinction.

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The big distinction, John, is that you have to keep it moving. You cannot stretch out on your beach towel and hang out with your cooler like you would normally want to do on a Memorial Day holiday.

Instead, let me step out the way so you can take a look here. You can see the surfers are out. You can see some people are out there walking. But I can tell you, as someone who's come here on Memorial Day weekend, this is nothing to what we normally see.

We also know that they've opened up the bike paths as well. They've also have let it be open on these paths for people who are walking. You see a lot of people with masks obviously exercising. People find it hard to have masks on to. So you see some people without that.

The pier itself still remains closed. And you're going to see that through a lot of the counties here where they're allowing people to exercise, move, get out there do what they want to do in the water, but you can't linger in groups is what they're saying.


So for most part here, we're seeing that people are following the rules, and all of this coming at the same time. We do expect to hear from the governor of California today because he has been saying that we were days away, last week he was saying this, of opening back up places of worship, but they have to look at some guidelines for what are the best ways to do this.

We know some 1,200 pastors have petitioned, Newsom, and they want to have service, they're planning on having service on Sunday. So we're expecting to hear more about that today. But overall here, John, I can tell you, it looks like people here are following the rules and just happy to at least be able to get out of their homes and do some sort of exercise again on their beloved beaches, John?

KING: Looks like a pretty day. I'm jealous. Stephanie Elam at Manhattan Beach for us, thank you so much.

Coming up, NFL and PGA legends raised millions for coronavirus relief efforts with a charity golf match.



KING: An actual live sporting event this Memorial Day weekend, the match featuring for sports biggest stars and raising millions of dollars for coronavirus relief efforts.

Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, you know them, they're the golf pros joined by NFL legends Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, all for charity and, yes, so much needed fund.

Tampa Bay quarterback, Tampa Bay quarterback I just said that, Tom Brady may be struggling a little bit on the golf course and then he did this.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, he do it. Yes, my goodness.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wow. You made it.


KING: See that? That's a shot. He still took a little friendly trash talk from Charles Barkley for his game play. Brady later tweeting some trash talk of his own right back at Charles.

Christine Brennan watched the match. It was pretty remarkable. Christine, as you join us these -- to see just live sports, number one, to see the humor. Charles Barkley clearly wanted to give people grief, which is what he does best. What did you make of it?

CHRISTINE BRENNAN, CNN SPORTS ANALYST: John, it was great to see and when the conditions were so bad for those who watched, they noticed of course it was played basically in a deluge. And so when you think about that, and then know, obviously what these guys were doing out there, that really made them human. And it made it a lot more interesting. And obviously Brady having trouble and then holing that shot, golf, remained social distancing before there was social distancing.

And I think that's one of the things that obviously, certainly helps in terms of the sport being able to come back. They have the opportunity to play outside and spread people out in a way most other sports do not.

KING: And if he were still New England quarterback Tom Brady, no trash talk of Brady would be allowed on this program. But because he is Tampa quarterback Tom Brady now, he's fair game. I want to show you one of his retweets because he made fun of his own wardrobe malfunction on the golf course there. And he took he took a lot of grief for his game, but he also took a little grief for his fashion.

Do we have -- first, do we have the image there? What did you make of that, Christine, splitting his pants? I'm guessing, Gisele might have given him some grief when he got home after that.

BRENNAN: Well, you know, that's what happens, of course with live television. And the fact that that happened, I think made it all the more interesting to fans. You're having -- day, you're basically -- to the first six holes. And then by the way, your pants split.

But Brady handled it with humor, and with grace, and frankly, I heard from people who don't watch golf, who turned it on, and found it interesting and fascinating and they watched for a while. And I think part of it was the escape just for all of us, just the chance to watch something live as you mentioned earlier.

I think also to see these athletes not necessarily their element, the two quarterbacks doing pretty well by the end of the day and then of course to watch two of the greats of all time and Mickelson and Tiger.

And also I think the key element here, when sports can be an escape and take us away from our problems even for a few minutes, even just, let us go to -- before we come back to the reality of this pandemic and the coronavirus. Of course that's a good thing.

And then the money, $20 million raised for COVID-19 relief by all of these athletes. I think it paints them in a great way. I think it shows us their humanity. And they too are going through this. And here they were calling in. They were participating. And they were helping. And I think that's a very nice statement especially on this Memorial Day weekend.

KING: A golf is easier to pull off because it's outdoors. The other major sports league to play indoors are going through a process, the NBA now in talks with Disney about possibly doing it there. We only have a few seconds left. But how real is that and when will we know?

BRENNAN: We'll know in the next couple of weeks. They're hoping for June start with practice, John. And then July games, it will be a bubble.

The idea is put everything under a bubble. The NBA of course kicked us off with the -- all of our restrictions on March 11th by shutting down and getting all of our attentions and suspending operations will the NBA be the one wants to bring us back. I think that would be a fitting book end.


But if they're going to do it, they're going to do it right.