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Trump Silent As 100,000+ Americans Die From Coronavirus; Violent Protests And Fires In Minneapolis Over George Floyd Death; Answering Your Questions About Staying Safe. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired May 28, 2020 - 07:30   ET



ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: How are we supposed to proceed with this information?

DR. JEANNE MARRAZZO, DIRECTOR, DIVISION OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES, UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA AT BIRMINGHAM: Yes, it just seems that we get more and more information to make us more and more anxious every single day.

You know, I think the six-feet rule really was always a general approximation and it's a simple way to think about protecting yourself from the virus.

We know, ultimately, what it comes down to is the density of people in a given area, whether it's a room, whether it's an office, whether it's a plane, or whether it's a subway car. If you are in an area where you're really close with people and that virus is not in air that's circulating well, it's going to be easier for you to breathe it. We do know that.

So again, the six-foot rule is something for people to get their heads around. It's very clear if you are going to be in a place with somebody -- and the rule is 15 minutes, right, so closer than six feet for longer than 15 minutes. That's the threshold that we have been using.

Even when we talk about bringing people back to work we're thinking about that sort of parameter to guide them for safe spaces.

So again, it really has to do with the density and the time that you're exposed to people who could be shedding the virus, and that's what you need to think about.

CAMEROTA: That is really helpful because I actually didn't know that 15-minute rule and we talk about this every single day.

And so, Beth, I mean, I think that people do need these quick bullet points -- rules. Everybody wants to know --

MARRAZZO: Exactly.

CAMEROTA: -- what the rules are and I know they're a moving target, Beth. But the idea of wear masks -- OK, got it. You know, stay six feet away. That seemed like one that we were going to be able to accomplish.

The idea now of don't be near somebody for more than 15 minutes, that's hard if you are going back into a workplace. For instance, if your workplace is reopening. But, OK, we can live with that.

But, Beth, would you go -- would you go further? I mean, it sounds like we shouldn't, right now, basically be indoors. If these aerosol particles can live indoors for long periods of time maybe we should just all keep staying outdoors.

BETH CAMERON, PHD, FORMER WHITE HOUSE SENIOR DIRECTOR FOR GLOBAL HEALTH SECURITY AND BIODEFENSE, VICE PRESIDENT, GLOBAL BIOLOGICAL POLICY AND PROGRAMS, NUCLEAR THREAT INITIATIVE (via Cisco Webex): Well, I think we are -- I think, first, just what Jeanne said is right. We're learning more and more about this virus every day.

But I think we do know and have known for a while that some of these super-spreading events where we really see larger chains of transmission and clusters are happening because people are crowding into spaces in much less than six feet proximity without face masks. Or they're talking a lot or singing, where we've seen some of these outbreaks in, for example, choir practices.

So I think what it means is that we need to continue to practice what we have been practicing, which is doing more things outside to the extent that we can, really trying to de-sense (ph) ourselves in those activities. If we're going to be out in a park, some cities are using circles to show where people can be having their picnic and be in a safe social distance. And it means we really need to get creative here at home and also in the workplace with the way that we go about our daily lives.

I think most importantly, it means that we need to be protecting each other and everyone really needs to participate, which is why the face masking is so important. It's really kind of like vaccines in public health. If everyone isn't doing it you really aren't getting the whole benefit because you do it to protect others, not just to protect yourself.

Though I do think that we are going to have to be careful with large crowds indoors and with indoor activities that last for long periods of time. And we knew that and I think the research is just continuing to sharpen that information.

CAMEROTA: And obviously, employers are trying to figure out what the workplaces are going to look like if we do want the economy back up and running.

But I do want to move to Alabama for a second, Dr. Marrazzo, because that's where you are. And they are really struggling. The cases are just going in the wrong direction.

So can you give us a status report? MARRAZZO: Yes, it's amazing. I was thinking this morning that it feels like a decade ago that our roles were reversed, right? You were in New York really struggling and right now, we're facing a similar situation in Alabama.

You know, the challenge here is that Alabama -- like many rural states, in particular, and states that have a fragile health infrastructure -- has always had a challenge, right, providing good primary care and outreach to vulnerable populations.

And they are populations who are vulnerable because perhaps they live in more remote areas, there are socioeconomic disparities. And there are underlying comorbidities, which we have been talking about a lot, especially hypertension, especially diabetes, especially obesity.

So, in a way, as we have been talking about, we anticipated this. It's the potential for a perfect storm.

What we're seeing is that people who are getting ill in areas of the state that have lost health care infrastructure, right? Rural hospitals have been shutting down for decades now and that's accelerated in the last 10 years as we have really moved to a largely for-profit health care system.


So you've got people who are already really vulnerable in settings where there are not excellent or not adequate health care facilities now dealing with this really devastating virus. So that's shunting people to larger cities. Those larger cities are then going to have to share resources to take care of these people, and that's really what we're struggling with.

I will say that one advantage we had here -- and it's a sad advantage but we at least had the gift of time to plan for this, which many people did not.

CAMEROTA: Well, that's really helpful for us to understand what's going on in Alabama.

Dr. Marrazzo, Beth Cameron, thank you both very much for all of the information.

And you can hear --

MARRAZZO: Thank you, stay well.

CAMEROTA: You, too.

You can join Anderson Cooper and Dr. Sanjay Gupta for a new coronavirus town hall. It is "FACTS AND FEARS." It is live tonight at 8:00 eastern only on CNN.

Violent and deadly protests in Minneapolis over the death of George Floyd. What will President Trump say about this crisis? We have new reporting, next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, just into CNN, we're getting our first look at some new video of the destruction in South Minneapolis after a night of protests following the death of George Floyd, the unarmed black man who died after an officer had a knee on his neck and Floyd pleading I cannot breathe.

The mayor of Minneapolis, moments ago in an interview, says he thinks the death of Floyd was murder.

President Trump says he has asked the Justice Department to expedite an investigation.


REPORTER: Mr. President, we were wondering if you have a comment about the events in Minnesota (INAUDIBLE).

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm very sad about it -- very, very sad -- sad about it.

REPORTER: Should the police officers be prosecuted, sir?

TRUMP: We're going to look at it and we're going to get a report tomorrow when we get back -- and we're going to get a very full report. But a very sad day.


BERMAN: All right, joining us now, CNN political analyst Maggie Haberman, White House correspondent for "The New York Times".

Maggie, I've heard from a White House official overnight saying this is something that has been on the president's mind all night. We saw that statement from him in Florida. We read a statement he put out on Twitter.

What do you expect to see today from the White House on this?

MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORK TIMES (via Cisco Webex): Well, I think that the president says something more John that echoes what he said yesterday. He will describe what took place as sad and tragic and say he wants answers, but also say something supportive of law enforcement. And I expect, again, that we will get a similar statement.

Look, what will be important for the president to do is to not say anything that is going to stir the pot and add to the scenes that we are seeing out of Minneapolis right now -- the unrest that has followed from the death of George Floyd. But I don't think that the president is somebody who people look to for comfort on a number of matters after 3 1/2 years now. But again, I think it will be important not to stir the pot. The situation is obviously very, very intense there.

One thing that I was struck by is the president used the words sad and tragic. It is true, it is sad and tragic, but it's something much more than that.

It's incredibly disturbing. The video is incredibly disturbing. It's not the first time in recent years that we have seen video of a black man saying I can't breathe while he is being held by police officers.

So I think that we'll have to see what tone the White House takes but I don't expect this is going to be something the president is going to spend a lot of time on today.

BERMAN: It's interesting you said we should not look to the president or expect to hear words of comfort from the president on this or many other --

HABERMAN: Well, I said I don't think people do look to him --


HABERMAN: -- and I think that's just because of what he has done over several years.

BERMAN: And that's notable given where we are this morning on another front, which is that 100,000 Americans have now been killed by coronavirus.

Now, the White House notes that a week ago the president did order flags at half-staff over this, but 100,000 Americans are now dead and we haven't heard a thing from the president.

He didn't make a statement about it yesterday. There was no tweet overnight about it. We haven't heard anything this morning from it. No message of condolence to the families of those killed.


HABERMAN: It's not something the president wants to focus on. It is -- as we have been noting here and elsewhere, it is an incredibly grim milestone. It's a milestone that officials have offered different predictions from the Trump administration as to whether it would be reached. You know, it's not a number that the president wants to highlight.

I do expect -- I think the administration is trying to figure out what they can do in some way to honor the dead. It has not been at the forefront of planning over the last couple of days but I do think there will be something.

But again, look, the president is very well aware that coronavirus is top of mind for a lot of people right now across the country and that the pandemic and his handling of it and the administration's failures to deal with it have brought his poll numbers down. And so I think that mentally, he associates it with that and it just becomes a chain reaction when he's talking about it.

And so, I think his advisers have given up trying to get him to say something more comforting and more concerning about those who have lost their lives. He does say things like one loss of life is too many, in fairness to him, but he usually says that and then he moves on to something else about the economy.

BERMAN: Look, it is interesting that his own advisers will acknowledge that comforting and empathy aren't necessarily things that the president is good at. It's as if saying a tennis player doesn't have a good second serve, but it's not that.

A president -- the job often is about comforting and empathy and about making America feel better or come to terms with something. And it is notable as the president has not made that effort over the last 24 hours.


Some of the things he has made an effort on -- some of the things he has put time into tweeting about -- you know, attacking Joe Scarborough with these just absolutely repugnant statements. And then, signing an executive order today trying to crack down on social media.

HABERMAN: Which is, again -- I mean, look, they've been talking about an executive order on social media for a couple of years now with the president kicking this into high gear -- and again, a draft is expected to be sent today. It is this kind of chain reactive behavior that we've seen from the president over time.

He moved ahead with this because Twitter came forward with a button that it affixed to some of his tweets where you could click on it and get additional fact-checks. Because among the things that he was saying were debunked conspiracy theories like that Joe Scarborough had been involved in a staffer's death or his baseless claims of widespread fraud involved in voting by mail.

And he is reacting to Twitter doing that. And again, he's wanted to do this for some time.

It does rile up the conservative base. There are lots of conservatives who have echoed his complaints over time.

But as you say, he's focusing on things that are really about him and they're not about what the rest of the country is going through.

BERMAN: Maggie Haberman, thank you for being with us this morning. Be well.

HABERMAN: Thank you.

BERMAN: As more Americans head back out in the world, here's a question. I have a friend. I want to spend time with that friend. How do I spend time with that friend safely?

We'll try to give you some answers to that key question, next.



BERMAN: New research this morning raising questions about whether six feet is actually enough distance to avoid exposure to coronavirus. There is also a lot of confusion about the best kind of mask you should be wearing.

Joining us now to clear some of these things up, Erin Bromage, a biology professor at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. Professor, always great to have you on because you explain things so clearly.

So let me ask you a simple question. I've got a friend -- not part of my family -- I haven't seen. I want to hang out with that friend. How do I do it safely?


BERMAN: Six feet away, outside, doing what? We can do whatever we want as long we stay six feet apart?

BROMAGE: If you're sitting down having a conversation and a good talk, you -- as long as you've got that six feet of distance and you've got the air blowing and you're just enjoying each other's company, then six feet is fine. If you're exercising and huffing and puffing away from six feet, I would get a little further apart.

BERMAN: Do I need to wear a mask if I'm outside hanging out with that friend six feet apart?

BROMAGE: So, it definitely will make the interaction safer. If you put a mask on when you're outside and you're spending an extended period of time with a friend or somebody, masks help.

BERMAN: Now, what about grandparents. I'm not saying that grandparents aren't friends -- sometimes they are. But say you want to hang out with older relatives or older people. How do I do that?

BROMAGE: Well, when you start throwing in people that are a high-risk factor in regards to getting more severe disease, you've got to take more precautions -- further away. Make sure that you have a mask -- preferably, a better-quality mask on both you and them.

BERMAN: You say better-quality mask. I know there has been some confusion about what type of mask to wear. What about that?

BROMAGE: Yes. So a standard mask, the ones that we've been making, cut things down by about 50 percent. I wear it to protect you, you wear it to protect me. But now we're getting better masks coming out from just local manufacturers that catch more of those respiratory emissions, which then lowers the amount of virus in the air, which just makes it safer.

BERMAN: And when we get to inside versus outside, you say generally speaking, outside is, what, 18 times safer?

BROMAGE: Yes. There was just some data that came out earlier this week that said the risk is increased 18-fold being indoors in exactly the same situation as you would be outdoors. So going inside is much more risky for the chances of infection.

BERMAN: OK, say it's raining and I want to hang out with that same friend and I have to do it inside. How do I do it?

BROMAGE: Ventilation -- as much as you possibly can, natural ventilation. Changing the inside air with outside air as regularly as possible. Not air conditioning, but ventilation.

BERMAN: What's the difference?

BROMAGE: Most of the home air conditioners just go through a very basic filter and they recycle the same air over and over inside the house. There's no make-up air coming from outside. Opening your windows is just allowing fresh, new air coming in and pushing out the air that you've been breathing outside, so it makes a big difference in those respiratory droplets building up.

BERMAN: And there's this new research -- or these -- this new commentary from some professors overnight who say six feet might not be far enough, in general. What do you make of that?

BROMAGE: Yes. So, outdoors, six feet is going to be one of the lower- risk things that you can do.

But inside, six feet won't be enough because we know this virus hangs in the air for longer and in an enclosed environment it builds up in that environment. And just little bits that you're breathing in over an extended period of time can lead to infection. Six feet will not be enough indoors if there is an infected person there.

BERMAN: Professor Erin Bromage, we love having you on. A bromance with Bromage. Thank you for this. We look forward to speaking with you again.

BROMAGE: Thank you very much.

BERMAN: All right, we have a lot of breaking news this morning. In Minneapolis, overnight, a night of pain, a night of violence after the death of George Floyd. Our breaking news coverage continues, next.



ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BERMAN: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. And we do begin with breaking news. Anguish and violence in Minneapolis in the middle of a heartbreaking moment for America.

Fires are still burning in Minneapolis at this hour after protesters took to the streets demanding justice for George Floyd, the unarmed, handcuffed black man who died after a police officer pinned him to the pavement with a knee on his neck for several minutes.

CAMEROTA: The mayor of Minneapolis is calling for the arrest of the police officer responsible for Floyd's death and for that officer to be charged. He will meet with the Floyd family by videoconference today.