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Florida Reports New All-Time High Of Daily COVID-19 Cases; Phoenix Mayor: Arizona "Opened Way Too Early"; Access Restricted To California State Beaches As Cases Spike; Trump Baselessly Claims 99 percent Of COVID-19 Cases "Harmless;" Iraq Sees 600 Percent Jump In COVID Cases In June; Protesters Topple Christopher Columbus Statue In Baltimore. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired July 5, 2020 - 14:00   ET




FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: Hello, everyone. Thank you so much for joining me this Sunday.

I'm Fredericka Whitfield.

We begin this hour with staggering new numbers from a state now approaching epicenter status of this epidemic. Florida just reporting nearly 10,000 more cases today and that's on top of yesterday's huge numbers which set a single day record for all states with more than 11,400 new infections confirmed on Saturday. Arizona and Texas seeing massive spikes leading some officials to accuse the states of reopening too early.

But even as we see cases surge, President Trump is downplaying concerns telling a crowd during a Fourth of July event in Washington, D.C. That 99 percent of the coronavirus cases are, quoting now, "totally harmless", a factually incorrect claim.

And his public events are also becoming increasingly defiant, not requiring social distancing or face coverings for the crowds. And that's something officials in some of the hardest hit regions of the country say is completely counterproductive.


MAYOR DAN GELBER (D), MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA: How do you tell somebody they have to wear a mask and be socially-distanced when the President doesn't and hosts a rally where they're almost celebrating the lack of those simple countermeasures?

So really we are not on the same page. There's not unity in the -- you know, in our community or any community right now. And I really feel like that's the greatest challenge. If people listened and did what they -- what made sense and what was healthy, we would get through this much better.

(END VIDEO CLIP) WHITFIELD: CNN has reporters across the country covering this coronavirus and state reopenings.

Let's go first to CNN's Boris Sanchez live at a testing center in Miami Beach, Florida. So Boris, we're getting new numbers from the state -- staggering, alarming but what are officials there in south Florida saying?

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. They are very concerned about these numbers, Fred.

As you noted, the state of Florida yesterday nearly 10,000 new COVID- 19 cases for the Sunshine State. Keep in mind the first four days of July have signaled more than 40,000 positive coronavirus cases here. That in comparison to the entire month of June when they saw 100,000 coronavirus cases. They're getting dangerously close to beating that number in just about a week or two.

Take a look at what's going on behind me at The Miami Beach Convention Center. This is a testing site where we have seen people coming just about the entire day. There was an enormous line of people on foot that we saw earlier. It went all the way down the block.

It has thinned out quite a bit. Some of that may have to do with weather but the folks that are waiting in their cars, this line wraps around the entire block and goes around the other side of this street.

A lot of folks obviously concerned and the mayor of Miami Beach is putting out warnings in part because the rate of infection is also very high. It is nearly 15 percent.

Here's more of what he shared with CNN earlier today.


GELBER: Our hospital capacity's reducing and it really is sort of a line. You see the positive increase and then you go to your hospitalization and we have doubled our hospitalization, our census has now doubled in the last 14 days.

And then you go to your intensive care and that's also doubled. And even, we have 158 people on ventilators right now and I think two weeks ago it was 64.


SANCHEZ: Yes. He is recommending that people take advantage of this access to testing. We spoke to a young couple who said that it only took about 15 minutes waiting on foot. They were able to get swabbed. They're getting the results in two days.

Officials are hoping that they could get a clearer picture of just how vast this epidemic is. Obviously the numbers are already huge. They're worried about the people that aren't being counted too, Fred.

WHITFIELD: And then what about in Miami Beach? We know that Miami, it is mandatory to wear a mask. You know, the Miami-Dade County mayor has certainly set, you know, some recommendations in place. But is Miami Beach one of those area where even a mask is mandatory?

SANCHEZ: Yes. So if you're in a public building a mask is required, Fred. Further, there's a curfew that's been put in place for this weekend. It kicks in at about 10:00 p.m. A lot of restaurants and bars are thinned out.

You know, I'm from this area and walking around seeing so many bars and restaurants and hotels that are very low capacity. It really is daunting for the businesses here, one that -- a community that really relies on hospitality, especially in light of a holiday weekend.


SANCHEZ: But as you noted, Xavier Suarez telling folks that they have to stay home. He's concerned that having opened bars early is part of the reason that we're now in this state. People ignoring social distancing guidelines leading to more and problems, Fred.

WHITFIELD: Right. All right. And this a day after many south Florida beaches were closed for the holiday, Miami Beach included.

All right. Thank you so much, Boris Sanchez. Appreciate that.

All right. Arizona also seeing an explosion of coronavirus cases. And the mayor of Phoenix is attributing those rising numbers in part to the state reopening when it did.


MAYOR KATE GALLEGO (D), PHOENIX, ARIZONA: We opened way too early in Arizona. We were one of the last states to go to stay-at-home and one of the first to reemerge and we reemerge at zero to 60. We had crowded nightclubs handing out free champagne, no masks.


WHITFIELD: CNN's Evan McMorris-Santoro is in a lakeside community near Phoenix.

So Evan -- the state is dealing with this uphill climb to get these cases under control. What now?

EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: that's right, Fred. It is a lot of last names so that's ok.

Let me just -- let me put the picture for what things are like in Arizona right now. We just talked to Boris in Florida where the situation is very dire. Here, Arizona over the past seven days is at the highest per capita average of new cases. So it's a very, very serious situation here; 3,536 new cases announced by the state yesterday. Four new deaths.

And we're still hovering here -- I've been here for several days -- and we've been hovering around 90 percent capacity on the ICU beds. Now, it is still a holiday weekend and I'm at the Saguaro Lake, a recreation area near Phoenix. You can see people are out and they're doing the kind of recreation that they kind of do which is be on a boat far apart from each other.

But what you heard the mayor talk about, about things opening too quickly here and some of these rules, the masks are not worn here that you can see on the boat ramps or on the boat to recreation areas. And the mayor talked about masks in her interview earlier today.


GALLEGO: Our governor has preempted us from closing different types of businesses or moving restaurants to takeout only. We really want as many tools as possible. We had to beg to be able to implement masking orders. We were originally preempted from doing that but I'm thankful that governor did allow cities to put masking orders in place which I think will help if you have seen some of the data from communities that had them.


MCMORRIS-SANTORO: So the important part from that quote is that this mask ordinance is a city by city, municipality by municipality rule here in Arizona. We have been to other parts of the state where masks were not required. We've been in Phoenix where masks are required. And now we're here on this recreational where people are not wearing them even when they're not socially distant from each other.

So that's the concern here in Arizona is trying to figure out how to get these rules in place in a state that is pretty resistant to some of them, Fred.

WHITFIELD: Right. You've got this contrasting messages, inconsistencies -- I mean it certainly is leading to a lot of confusion and as you hear from some of the mayors, it may even be attributing to the bump in some of the numbers.

All right. Evan McMorris-Santoro, thank you so much. Appreciate that.

All right. Texas facing a grim number today as well. The state reporting more than 8,200 new cases on Saturday bringing the total number of residents infected to more than 192,000. It marks the second highest day on record for new cases according to Johns Hopkins University.

The areas hardest hit include Harris County where Houston is located. Governor Greg Abbott has issued an executive order that requires residents in counties with 20 or more active cases to wear face coverings in public.

And now on to California. Coronavirus cases continuing to surge across that state. Just yesterday, California reported 2,300 new cases. Still very high but a lot lower than Monday's record of more than 8,100 new daily cases.

CNN's Paul Vercammen joins us now from Santa Monica. So Paul -- a lot of these new cases are in southern California. What more can you tell us about the spread, the precautions, the concerns?

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: One interesting note about that, Fred, if you look at this empty beach here in Santa Monica which was closed for precautions, L.A. County is not updating the numbers its weekend because it is improving its data collection system so the last number they had was 2,200 new cases. That was on Thursday.

So look for that number to come back up when that system comes back online. But look at the closed beaches throughout southern California. The idea avoid the big crowds. They didn't even have fireworks here in Santa Monica and other places last night. And that led to a phenomenon in L.A. that almost seems surreal.


VERCAMMEN: There were fireworks-- illegal fireworks going off all over the city, the number of complaints through the roof. At one point online to the LAPD a thousand complaints. They also had a situation where there are 150 people backed up on the non emergency phone line.

L.A. City Fire reporting that in this instance in Northridge, California they had -- this was one of 40 structure fires and one of 103 tree fires -- an apartment complex caught fire. Five people treated for smoke inhalation, 50 evacuated from the apartment.

And let me give you a sense of what it sounded like in L.A. as people had no public fireworks displays to go to and they started setting off fireworks, some of them, on their own. Let's take a listen.

And that's what it sounded like. Pat Morrison is the "L.A. Times" columnist who wears the hat. She probably wanted to put her hat over her ears and she tweeted "Sounded like World War I or World War I one of its soundtrack. It was very loud last night, Fred.

WHITFIELD: Wow. Ok. Lots of growing concerns there.

Paul Vercammen, thank you so much.

President Trump used his national audience on the Fourth of July weekend to divide America and he continues to downplay the threat from the coronavirus as cases surge around the country. A closer look coming up.

Plus, new concerns that the virus could spread more easily than experts initially thought. And we'll show you one place where cases of the virus have jumped 600 percent. See how people are coping straight ahead in the CNN NEWSROOM.



WHITFIELD: All right. Breaking news right now, a major highway in Philadelphia is shut down due to more protests over police brutality and racism. This is the scene at highway I-676 and you can see dozens of protesters standing on the roadway, some are holding signs while others are riding their bikes. We'll stay on top of the protests there and look for new details throughout the hour.

President Trump continuing his attacks on what he calls the radical left in another divisive Independence Day weekend speech. And now he is also trying to downplay the dangers of coronavirus based on a number of false claims as the U.S. death toll nears 130,000 mark.


TRUMP: Now we have tested almost 40 million people. By so doing we show cases, 99 percent of which are totally harmless.


WHITFIELD: That's being disputed.

CNN's Jeremy Diamond is at the White House. Jeremy -- the President delivering that speech before a crowd right there at the White House. Very few demonstrating any social distancing or even wearing masks. And then you get on top of that baseless claims coming from the President. So what are the President's health experts saying? How are they chiming in?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well Fredricka, the President's claim that 99 percent of coronavirus cases are harmless really defies reality and it sends the opposite message that public health experts across the country are trying to send at a time when coronavirus cases are surging and as they're trying to convince Americans to take this virus much more seriously.

While the World Health Organization estimates that less than 1 percent of people actually die from this virus, they also estimate that about 20 percent of people who are diagnosed with the coronavirus require oxygen or hospitalization. So certainly not harmless.

But here's how the FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn, who's a member of the coronavirus task force responded, when asked about the President's claim. Watch.


STEPHEN HAHN, FDA COMMISSIONER: So I'm not going to get into who's right and wrong. What I'm going to say Dana, is what I said before which is that it's serious problem that we have. We have seen this surge in cases. We must do something to stem the tide and we have this in our power to do it by following the guidance from the White House task force and the CDC.


DIAMOND: And so you can see there, while Dr. Hahn certainly doesn't want to contradict the President he also wants to send the message that this is a serious problem and that Americans should take this seriously.

The President also falsely claimed that testing is responsible for the rise in cases, Fredricka. We know that that is not true. In fact, in places where testing stayed about the same or declined, the positivity rate, the percentage of people testing positive for this virus is rising, Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right. Jeremy Diamond, thank you so much.

Want to talk about that and a few other things. Dr. Julio Frenk is a former director of evidence and information for policy for the World Health Organization and is the current president of the University of Miami. Always good to see you -- Doctor.

So you know, first let me ask you. You know, your state of Florida seeing yet another single day record for coronavirus cases. COVID is surging in your state.

Next month the Republicans plan to hold an in-person GOP convention in Jacksonville with thousands of people gathering from around the country.

On top of which you have Dr. Stephen Hahn, the FDA commissioner asked -- he was asked about that upcoming event this morning. Listen to what he said.


DANA BASH, CNN HOST: Do you think it's safe to hold that event in Florida?

DR. HAHN: I think it's too early to tell. We'll have to see how this unfolds in Florida and elsewhere around the country.


WHITFIELD: So what's your concern about a rather noncommittal answer coming from the FDA commissioner?

DR. JULIO FRENK, PRESIDENT, UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI: Look. We do know that large-scale especially indoors gatherings are, you know, dangerous in terms of the spread of the disease. I mean the good news here is that you actually can control this. It requires a number of very simple actions.


FRENK: Think about this. I mean it's about wearing a face covering. It's about, you know, keeping some distance. You know, this is -- I think we need a very clear communication of why public health is recommending those actions.


WHITFIELD: And do you think even those practical measures would work in an arena of hundreds if not thousands of people in Jacksonville which was really the premise of the question about so many people gathering for a Republican convention.

So even if those very basic things of a face covering, hand washing, some distancing -- would you still have paramount concerns?

FRENK: It would still be a concern. Now, my recommendation to any organization, whatever it is, is you need -- because there's so much uncertainty, this is a new disease -- you need to have contingency plans. You may have this plan now. I think what the commissioner is saying is that (INAUDIBLE) well, ok. But you've got to have contingency plans and know exactly what point you go into Plan B.

This is what we do at the university, in every organization. This is what you do in the face of uncertainty. You know exactly what is Plan A, Plan B, Plan C and at what point you pivot.

So we've got a monitoring how the infection is spreading. Hopefully some of these measures are going to work but you have previously specified that given a threshold of infections, for example, you would change your plans. And it is that adaptability that is actually essential in the face of such a fluid situation where there's still a lot of unknowns.

WHITFIELD: So Dr. Frenk, I wonder if I can ask you about the whole idea of messaging, whether it comes from the White House or whether it comes from top health officials. The President yesterday right there on the White House lawn, you know, saying that of 40 million people, you know, tested and, you know, 99 percent of the cases are harmless.

But then you've got the FDA commissioner who was asked about it today and he tells our Dana Bash, you know, I won't say who's right and who's wrong. Why wouldn't you have leadership particularly from, you know, health organizations and departments for this administration say emphatically and make it very clear what is the reality? I mean how can it be that 99 percent of all of those cases, those tests are harmless?

FRENK: Yes. I think in any emergency, in any emergency, especially, you know, when you have a new pandemic, this is the fifth one I have seen so, and one -- the two big lessons you have is you got to have those contingency plans that I was talking about first. And you've got to have very clear communication because, you know, there's a lot of unknowns.

We are discovering more and more about this disease as it progresses. We know that although, you know, we're getting much better at treating the disease so the death rate is flat and it's actually trending slightly lower because we're getting better at treating and because we have more younger people who are getting infected.

On the other hand what we're also discovering is that even people who recover have long-term sequelae. They're pretty significant that they can limit their lives moving forward. And we also know what we've known from the beginning that there are people who are Highly vulnerable and if they get sick they experience very, very dire circumstances. And that's where it is true that most of the mortality's concentrated but it is -- you know, these are very, very serious patients.

But people in ICUs call them the sickest patients they have ever seen in their careers. So we know a lot about this disease but there's still a lot we still don't know.

WHITFIELD: Yes. You are a doctor but do you believe it's getting more difficult for ordinary citizens to know who to trust in terms of health leadership? Whether it be the coronavirus task force, whether it be the leaders of, you know, any of these federal agencies or even the White House? Is it getting more and more difficult for people to trust or to know who and what to believe on coronavirus and how it's impacting this nation?

FRENK: Well, what I can tell you is that if you look around the world, the countries that have done best have been those countries where there's indeed an alignment of messaging, where, you know, by and large -- not saying it's total alignment -- by and large experts and political leaders are more or less on the same page and because that indeed creates certainty.


FRENK: Uncertainty generates a lot of anxiety and in the face of uncertainty what we do know from previous pandemics is clear communication is crucial. In this case, you know, it actually -- I mean I've been thinking a lot about this as I think about my university and our plans to reopen in the fall.

This ought to be a great moment for education in civic culture. The reason for wearing a face mask is not to limit anybody's freedom. It's to protect the others particularly those who are vulnerable.

Now if you think about the sacrifices that previous generations who fought other wars, who fought against microbes did is it too much of a sacrifice to ask that you wear a face covering to protect others? You are not doing it for yourself.

This ought to be a moment for civic education, for bringing out the best. That idea of reciprocity where we all gather together to protect the most vulnerable. And I'm hoping to do that in my campus to make this a brilliant teaching moment.

WHITFIELD: Yes. Well, it seems very simple, not a sacrifice at all in order to -- for those to do the right thing.

Dr. Julio Frenk, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

FRENK: Thank you, Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right. Some schools around the country in fact were scheduled to open just weeks from now but will they? Coming up, the concerns about kids staying out of school and in contrast kids returning to school.

Plus, a 600 percent spike in COVID cases? How one country is coping with this massive crisis. [14:26:20]



WHITFIELD: All right. Welcome back.

The situation in Iraq is growing increasingly dire. The country recorded a 600 percent jump in coronavirus cases in June and Iraqis are now scrambling to bury the scores of dead.

CNN's Arwa Damon joins me now from Istanbul, Turkey. Arwa?

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi. Iraq's Ministry of Health is warning that the hospitals are nearing full capacity. The country is trying to convert some schools and dormitories into isolation centers.

But experts are warning that the government is going to have to redouble its efforts if it wants to slow down the spread of the virus.


DAMON: They wait to verify the names of the dead. Their sorrow is silent, much like the enemy that claimed those they loved. Yousef Al- Hakjami (ph) lost his parents and his sister to COVID-19, one after the other. They underestimated the virus. They did not understand how to protect themselves from the spread. We are terrified now. We are 100 percent convinced, he says.

The burials happened at night in Iraq's largest cemetery when the country's brutal summer heat dips. Final prayers by strangers. Teams from the country's paramilitary force, the Hashd, initially formed to fight ISIS.

We are getting around 70 to 80 bodies a day, Abusejade Ibrahimi (ph), says, and it's expected to get much worse across this country whose medical infrastructure was already decimated by decades of sanctions, war and corruption.

Medical workers report a prevalence of the virus among hospital staff due to a lack of proper measures and PPE.

DR. ALAA HUSSEIN AL-TALAQANI, ANESTHESIOLOGY SPECIALIST: I was among my family when the head manager of the hospital contacted me to inform me that the result of PCR is positive for COVID-19.

DAMON: Dr. al-Talaqani, from the moment he told his children he was sick, promising them that he would be back , not knowing if it would be a promise he would keep.

AL-TALAQANI: For my person, this is a painful moment that you say goodbye to your children and your family. And you do not know whether you will return back or not.

DAMON: Luckily, he did and is now recovering.

We were so worried about mommy and daddy because of corona, one of his daughters says upon his return with the others chiming in. But Dr. al-Talaqani fears for the worst of his country.

AL-TALAQANI: With coronavirus cases now jumped due to government default in providing protection measures to the peoples and opening the markets and malls.

DAMON: This video shows people scuffling over oxygen tanks outside a hospital in the south of the country, trying to secure a supply for their sick loved ones. In the same city, health workers beg their ministry for help. Iraqis know loss on a mass scale all too well, the bitter pain of consecutive wars that bled into each other.

A member of Iraq's security forces apologizes for his inability to keep his emotions in check. It's his mother who died.


DAMON: And, Fredricka, fear and frustration is spreading among the population. A lot of anger also geared towards the Iraqi government for its inability to actually try to protect the population further. And then, of course, there is the economic toll of all this. Many Iraqis lost their jobs, their employment and many are reporting that they are struggling to find enough money to even put enough food on the table.

WHITFIELD: Yes, this global pandemic hitting so many in all corners, very hard. Arwa Damon in Istanbul, thank you so much.


Still ahead, an overnight camp in North Georgia shuts down after campers and staff test positive for coronavirus, details straight ahead.


WHITFIELD: All right, this just in to CNN. In Georgia, an overnight camp has closed after multiple campers and staff members tested positive for coronavirus. The YMCA Camp High Harbor said it first learned on June 24th that one of its counselors contracted that virus. That counselor was immediately sent home and parents were notified. But since that positive test, other campers and counselors also tested positive.

The camp was unable to confirm an exact number but according to the Georgia Department of Public Health, at least 30 cases were confirmed across two of the YMCA camp locations.

And just this week, the American Academy of Pediatrics waded into the debate and argued that the academic, mental and physical benefits of in-person learning outweigh the risks posed by the pandemic.

[14:40:05] Joining me right now is Dr. Gail Saltz, a psychiatrist and author of The Power of Different. Dr. Saltz, good to see you.


WHITFIELD: So, first of, do you agree with the American Academy of Pediatrics that the benefits of in-person learning far outweigh the risks of kids going into school with this pandemic still out there?

SALTZ: You know, it will depend on the place and it will depend on the measures being taken. I can't tell you what the recipe would be for safe return and the right combination of masks and social distancing and what places have the -- that and which population has such a density of COVID that it's not possible at certain times.

But what I can tell you is that we are probably underestimating the cognitive, the social and emotional and the mental health fallout from the 1.6 billion children around the world right now who are not in schools because we do know that, cognitively, what you lose over the time period that you're not in school is substantial, so substantial, that for young kids, their ability to make it up in terms of really forming an adult I.Q., they may not make that up, especially for disadvantaged kids.

And we also know, and in terms of mental health, kids who -- most kids who will develop a mental health issue, which is actually close to -- somewhere between a third and half of kids are first noted by their educator and they get their services in school. And so, all of these kids who have anxiety disorders, who have mood disorders, who have attention deficit disorder, they're not going to be picked up.

WHITFIELD: Right, they're missing out.

SALTZ: And they're not going to receive treatment, exactly.

WHITFIELD: So I think I'm really hanging on something you just said, many of us have underestimated. And it seems as though that underestimation certainly was evident until this pandemic. And then, you know, with the loss of seeing your child, you know, interacting and all that in school, it's now much more pronounced, the value, of what children were gaining when they were in school.

But here we are at this place of, yes, we want our kids academically to flourish but at the same time we have to keep them physically safe. So, given that, what are this school districts having to keep in mind as they ascertain is now the time to invite everyone or just some back into the classroom? Do we do a hybrid learning, you know, set up, or is it one week on, one week off?

I mean, what should -- I guess my question is what should the school districts be considering and take into account when trying to make a decision given all of those elements?

SALTZ: Well, I think they're going to have to look to creative methods to facilitate the use of the kinds of services that parents and families and kids were used to getting from them. So, for example, mental health, it's probably not something schools are thinking about right now.

But they do need to think about how can if an educator picks up on something online, how can a school let the educator know that, in fact, how can the educator let the family know? They think an evaluation should take place.

How can parents become educated by the school for warning signs that they note and what are services that the school can be provide and outside services that could be through telemedicine so that kids can actually get that kind of treatment with an app, with a person online, with a private room, et cetera, so I think that will be important.

And, cognitively, we also know that this lost time can really hurt kids. So what can the school be providing? And, honestly, what can the community be providing? I think schools can guide the community to do -- for example, we know that how important it is for kids to have aerobic movement, right? We know for their physical health and we know for their mental health, huge.

So can a community provide, sort of like we have a park and this parent is going to run and exercise class when we're all socially distanced, and then we're going to take a turn with another parent? Because parents are being really overburdened but schools can help direct the way that a community can come together and provide other things for kids that are needed that they might not get if they can't be physically present in school.

WHITFIELD: Great suggestions. That's why we invited you. But, my goodness, this just underscores poor kids, poor us parents. We are all exasperated, and the educators too. This is hard.

Wow. All right, Dr. Gail Saltz, we have to keep these conversations going because we all need to hear as much information as we can so we can all do great for one another. Thank you so much.

SALTZ: Thanks for having me.


WHITFIELD: Protesters have torn down a statue of Christopher Columbus in Baltimore. President Trump says actions like this are attempts to erase history but some demonstrators say it's a fight against racist symbols. More on that debate and what might happen to similar monuments across the country. You're in the CNN Newsroom.



WHITFIELD: A protester in Seattle is dead and another person is in serious condition after a car drove into a crowd of protesters on an interstate. 24-year-old Summer Taylor was killed when the driver of a white Jaguar somehow got on to the closed freeway and ran her over as the car sped through a group of Black Lives Matter protesters. A second victim remains in serious condition. The driver of the car has been arrested and police continue to search for a motive and determine how the driver got on to the closed interstate.

There have been many who have spoken out for Summer's passing. Senator Kamala Harris and Democratic Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal both tweeting their condolences to the victims and to the supporters for the protesters.

Monuments linked to a history of racism and brutality are at the center of protests across the country. In Baltimore, a statue of Christopher Columbus was toppled and thrown into the inner harbor Saturday night. The Maryland Governor Hogan has condemned the move.

Joining me right now, Julian Maxwell Hayter. He is a historian and an associate professor of leadership studies at the University of Richmond. Julian, so good to see you.

JULIAN MAXWELL HAYTER, HISTORIAN: Yes, thanks for having me.

WHITFIELD: So let's talk about what took place in Baltimore first, which really perhaps is a microcosm of what we have seen across the country. Of course, there have been protests and the taking down of many confederate monuments. But let's talk about this Christopher Columbus monument, what it represents.

And for so long, not just Native Americans but many other Americans have felt -- their patience has been running thin on Christopher Columbus and, really, and what he symbolizes in terms of discovering a land which was already inhabited by Native Americans.

So help people understand what unfolded there in Baltimore.

HAYTER: I think people aren't merely upset with Columbus, the actual historical figure. They're also waging war on the ways that Columbus has been lionized despite what historians have illuminated. And there are other examples of this.

I think there have been -- there's been a lot of historical research over the last several decades and when we know more about the Columbus' history and the kind of mythological approach we have heard historically led on and the (INAUDIBLE) people (INAUDIBLE) the narrative of Christopher Columbus to be complicated in a way that something that actually reflects the historical record rather than celebrate this individual without complicating him.

And we have seen, by the way, examples of this, right? Think of what they have done, for instance, with Thomas Jefferson and Monticello, right? What they have done as they dove headlong through the complexity that characterizes the American experiment. And now, I think what we are seeing is that people are attempting to like grapple with these strange juxtapositions that characterizes these historical figures.

On one hand, for instance, the, quote/unquote, discovery of the new world, on the other hand, the decimation of Native Americans and people who were already there. And I think people want to hear a better story and people were tired of the way that these histories have been told.

WHITFIELD: So when we talk about this while you're also seeing a number of the confederate memorials that are either taken down or cities have elected to take them down, you know, you have spoken so prolifically about how, while the south lost the war, it still won in a way by being able to later erect these confederate figures as a reminder as sources of intimidation and why this collective movement is so profound right now.

So it is your argument as well as that of so many who are saying, this does not symbolize erasing history but instead putting history or relics of history in its proper place. Would you say that would be in museums?

HAYTER: Right. History is as much about forgetting as remembering. And I think what people are really dealing with is the crisis of memories that have been chosen. And I think it's absurd, by the way, to think that we can erase history.

If you crack open a textbook from the mid-20th century, there are no minorities in those textbooks. And when they arrived, I mean, they're inconsequentially dehumanized figures. We have been quite effective at erasing history.

And what I think people want is a history that's more in keeping what the people intended, who erected those monuments. In many ways, I think people recognize now that confederate statuary and the institutionalization of the lost cause cast a very shadow long on what America has become not just in the twilight of the 20th century but in paving the road to how we got to now.


WHITFIELD: Right. And there have been many who argue while it's not erasing history, in which to make the corrections, if you look at the precipice on which some of the confederate monuments were put up, that was an attempt to rewrite history by trying to infer that the south didn't lose and that those symbols were not representing a resurrection or a hope of a resurrection of slavery.

HAYTER: Yes. Those monuments, in some ways, are part of a larger propaganda campaign designed to rewrite the history of the civil war and slavery in many ways to control the present. And these ideas, by the way, are institutionalized in Jim Crow legislatures and they end up in textbooks that aren't phased out until 1970s and the 1980s.

So it's not just the statuary that people are upset. It's their part of a larger tapestry of bad ideas that were ubiquitous to the south and that region and, to a lesser degree, the United States for quite some time. And we're beginning to see people becoming less tolerant with the proliferation of these ideas and particularly right now.

WHITFIELD: Dr. Julian Maxwell Hayter, thank you so much, of the University of Richmond. I'm so glad to have you on. I appreciate it. HAYTER: My pleasure, yes.

WHITFIELD: Thank you. And we'll be right back.