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New Day Saturday
White House Announces Steps To Address Infant Formula Shortage; Biden Administration Pressuring Congress To Approve COVID-19 Funding; Abortion Rights Groups Set To Hold "Day Of Action" Protests Today; Thomas Says Supreme Court After Leaked Draft Opinions "Not The Court"; Deaths Of Three Americans At Bahamas Resort Still Under Investigation. Aired 8-9a ET
Aired May 14, 2022 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Well, I hope Saturday morning has been good to you so far. Thank you for spending some time with us. It is May 14th. I'm Christi Paul.
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Boris Sanchez. Thank you so much for starting your weekend with us. Christi, always great to be with you.
We begin this morning with the effort to ease the nationwide baby formula shortage that's left parents scrambling to feed their kids. The White House and private companies say they are now working to get more of that formula into the hands of parents.
PAUL: Yes, I mean, throughout the pandemic, you know stores struggled to keep shelves stocked with a lot of popular brands. But this week, all in February, and then continued supply issues have really pushed parents to the breaking point. Manufacturers say it may be weeks, potentially even months before supply is at full capacity again.
SANCHEZ: Let's take you now to Delaware where President Biden is spending the weekend and we find CNN's White House Reporter Jasmine Wright there. Jasmine, the Biden administration has gotten some criticism for its handling of the shortage. How is the President addressing this issue?
JASMINE WRIGHT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, Boris, the White House has taken a number of steps in days but still it comes as questions continue to mount as to why the White House didn't take more action at least publicly to avoid what we are seeing now which is empty shelves and of course concerns parents.
My colleague Jeremy Diamond yesterday at the White House, he ask the President this very question. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Have you've taken those steps sooner before parents got to these shelves and couldn't find formula?
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If we'd been better mind readers, I guess we could have but we moved as quickly as the problem became apparent to us. And we have to move with caution as well as speed. Because we got to make sure what we're getting is, in fact, first rate product. That's why the FDA has to go through the process.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WRIGHT: So there we heard from the President a bit of defense, but also a bit of talking about the safety process, giving us a hint that maybe the products will not be on the shelves as quickly as parents and the administration frankly, would like. Still in the meantime, this White House has taken some steps in the interim trying to make things better. And that includes yesterday, they announced a new website on the Health and Human Services website, hhs.gov/formula is really made up there to assist parents on, frankly, their quest for trying to find baby formula in their area that you can see it on the screen as well.
The White House says that they're working with manufacturers trying to up the product on the shelves. And now the FDA says that they will have more on that next week in terms of announcement on how they're trying to streamline the process. And then they've also done other, frankly, more limited steps really trying to mitigate the problem.
They imported more formula from abroad here. That's something that they weren't doing before. And as well as they're urging states to allow more flexibility in terms of what parents can buy, what parents -- what infant formula parents can buy, really that are on the market, something that's not really available in some of those WIC programs across the state.
Now one thing that is under consideration, but the White House has not yet pulled the trigger on here is the Defense Production Act. They say it's under consideration and that would allow them really to take more control in emergencies on what is being produced in this country. But that is something that is still the word out, they're trying to look at as they try to respond to this emerging new crisis here. Boris, Christi?
PAUL: Jasmine Wright, we appreciate it so much. Thank you.
You know, a lot of parents are looking for alternative ways to feed their little ones. Some people are turning to breastfeeding because they're able to do so but that's not the option for everybody. Certainly not our next guests.
Mario and Jessica Ibarra are with us now. They have a 10-day-old daughter. Is it Aria (ph)? Am I saying her name properly?
JESSICA IBARRA, PARENT OF NEWBORN CAN'T FIND BABY FORMULA: Yes.
MARIO IBARRA, PARENT OF NEWBORN CAN'T FIND BABY FORMULA: Yes.
PAUL: Congratulations to both of you. She's adorable.
J. IBARRA: Thank you.
PAUL: First of all --
J. IBARRA: Thank you.
PAUL: -- how is she doing? How stocked up are you?
J. IBARRA: We're OK recently because we've been able to kind of get the help of wonderful family and friends. You know, my grandfather has rushed shipped formula from out-of-state to us. My sister has sent us some, we have friends in every city because, you know, we're in Texas and Texas has gotten hit pretty hard.
So we have friends all over the place that are helping us. Because we have a 10-day-old baby, so it's really hard for us to get out to the stores.
And when we got home from the hospital, we had what the hospital gave us to go home with. And then we went to the store and there was nothing. And at that point, we were like, OK, we have enough to get us through the evening. And that it was just panic mode from then on.
PAUL: I'm so sorry. Yes, help us understand what you're getting through right now. Because we hear a lot of people saying, well, just breastfeed your baby. But, you know, some people aren't biological parents, some people don't -- some women just don't have adequate, you know, breast milk supply. And then there are some, as I understand that, like you who are on some medication, some anti-seizure medication, is that right, and that could make it unsafe for Aria (ph)?
J. IBARRA: Yes.
M. IBARRA: Correct.
J. IBARRA: Yes. I have epilepsy and I have to take really strong seizure medication every 12 hours. And I don't have the option to be able to feed her contaminated milk from my own body. So not only do I have the mom guilt of not being able to breastfeed, but now I have added doses. I can't even -- I feel like I can't even provide her (INAUDIBLE).
PAUL: Mario, what would you say to those critics about the option of just breastfeed?
M. IBARRA: I, honestly, I don't even know, because there's so many different families out there. You know, I read a story of a gentleman whose wife passed, unfortunately, in childbirth. So, you know, what is he supposed to do? You know, double mastectomy patients, what are they supposed to do? I think, just be kind. And, you know, I mean, just be a human being and understand that this is about our children. It's about our babies. You know, we came home and it's supposed to be a time of celebration, you know, and it's just -- and it has been, but it's still celebration/panic. And that's kind of not really the ideal situation you want to bring it, you know, a newborn into is that --
M. IBARRA: -- the way of chaos.
PAUL: And with 10 days old, I know, still getting to know each other there at that point.
M. IBARRA: Yes.
PAUL: Jessica, I've heard both of you mentioned the word panic. Emotionally, where are you right now?
J. IBARRA: I feel like we can breathe momentarily just because we have such a great support network of friends and family that have helped us. But I can't imagine what people that don't have this are going through because when we got home with her and realized there was no formula, and we had hours worth of formula left, it was nonstop anxiety. It was, you know, all of the postpartum hormones that you get from having a child plus, not being able to feed your kid not knowing where their next meal is going to come from.
And it was panic. I was waking up in a cold sweat every night. It was just consuming my thoughts. And I was just almost like paralyzed with fear. Until we were lucky enough to have some friends and family really step up and help us. But I just -- it makes me so sad that literally the entire nation of families right now are going through this.
PAUL: Mario, as a father and a parent, I know -- I mean, I'm a parent, you'd feel helpless. How is Aria (ph) right now?
M. IBARRA: She is luckily, thankfully, she's wonderful. She's amazing. No fuss, the only time she really cry is when she's hungry. I mean, she has a, you know, a bad diaper. But other than that, she was wonderful.
It just, as a husband, it just i-- t's kind of tough, you know, because, you know, you're the provider or whatnot. And, you know, you're supposed to take care of the family and it's kind of hard, knowing that you can do that and that saying it's out of your control. And I understand -- it's out of our control. And I understand that, but it's still tough to know that, you know, you're supposed to provide for your family and do things outside of your control, you really can't, so.
PAUL: You still carry that weight, no doubt. Mario and Jessica --
M. IBARRA: Absolutely. PAUL: -- and lo Aria (ph) there, thank you so much for sharing with us what this is really like, especially, you know, for people who aren't going through it but people who do or do not have kids and don't have a full understanding of how it feels. I think one of the takeaways here that you've helped us understand is if you've got family, if you've got friends, they can help you out and find some of the the formula that you need that has obviously been a real grace for you.
But thank you so much. We wish you the very best and please keep up with us.
M. IBARRA: Absolutely.
J. IBARRA: Thank you so much. Thank you so much for your times.
PAUL: Take good care. Blessings to you.
SANCHEZ: COVID-19 cases are trending up in all but four states. They've been surging in the U.S. overall for about a month. And in recent weeks, hospitalizations have shown a sharp increase.
PAUL: So it comes as President Biden mourned 1 million people dying from COVID-19. We hit that mile mark here in the U.S. just this week and days after warnings from health experts about the possibility of this surge in the fall.
SANCHEZ: Meantime, the Biden administration is pressuring Congress to approve billions of dollars in new COVID funding ahead of the potential next surge. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki says the bottom line is we need more money.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Well, I would say there is no plan B. Well, there is, you know, a limited amount of funding that we have to work with. It's very limited, and it will require us making tough choices about what remaining tests, treatments and vaccines we can get.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: CNN's Daniella Diaz is on Capitol Hill for us right now. Daniella, good to see you this morning. Listen, is there any indication that Congress has an appetite to approve additional funding?
DANIELLA DIAZ. CNN CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: They definitely do Christi, but this is just the latest example of a major disagreement between Republicans and Democrats that is stalling legislation that could help millions of Americans. Now the problem here, of course, is that they originally wanted -- they being democratic leadership wanted to pass this COVID-19 relief package alongside a Ukraine supplemental bill. Eventually that bill was passed the Ukraine supplemental. But Senate Republicans didn't want those two pieces of legislation passed together because they're demanding a separate vote on Title 42, that pandemic error protocol that is set to expire on May 23rd that would allow the United States to send back migrants to their home countries for processing. That's a Trump era protocol that was put in place because of COVID-19.
Now, because that is set to expire on May 23rd, Republicans are upset. They do not want this rule to be rescinded. And so do some moderate Democrats. Now Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer would not concede to Senate Republicans demands to have that vote. But of course, there is another prominent Democrat, Dick Durbin, the Senate Judiciary Chairman and the Majority Whip who said that he's open to having that vote.
So Senate Republicans say they won't support the COVID-19 relief package unless they have that vote to keep Title 42 in place. So really all of that, Christi and Boris, is up in the era as they're trying to navigate how they're going to continue negotiating on this. But first, of course, before it goes to the Senate, this bill needs to be passed in the House. And House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told us this week that those negotiations are continuing.
But of course, a lot could change until now. And when the House passes that bill as the Senate Democrats and Republicans continue to negotiate how they will go forward on this piece of legislation. Christi, Boris?
SANCHEZ: Daniella Diaz reporting from Capitol Hill, thank you so much.
Still ahead in the Donbas region of Ukraine, Ukrainian forces claimed to have stopped an attempted Russian advance across a key river. We're going to take you live to Kyiv for the very latest in just minutes.
And $22,000 is being offered by Texas authorities for details on a runaway fugitive.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a lot of money, folks. If anybody has any idea where he is, please, please consider that reward.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: A desperate plea to get an escaped killer with a life sentence back into custody. Stay with us.
PAUL: 17 minutes past the hour on this Saturday morning and we've got several developments in Ukraine to talk to you about this morning. First of all, Ukrainian forces are pressing ahead with a counter offensive in the northeastern region of Kharkiv. That's despite efforts by Russia to stop Ukraine's advance. SANCHEZ: As Russian forces have retreated, at least three bridges have been demolished. The bridges are vital to Ukraine's counter offensive and the satellite images show the sections, see right there in the middle of your screen, where the bridges have collapsed.
We're learning more also about a failed Russian effort to cross a key river in eastern Ukraine and this new video shows the Russians may have lost as many as 70 armored vehicles and other equipment. CNN Correspondent Melissa Bell joins us now live from Kyiv. Melissa, what do we know about this failed river crossing?
MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it looks now that we can corroborate the accounts we've been having from Ukrainian side of the course the last few days, Boris, which suggested that this crucial river to the advance of Russian positions and where they've concentrated so much of their manpower and firepower these last few days, they needed to cross that river. That was their objective and they have failed to do so.
We -- I have can see the footage of the Pontoon bridges that they tried to erect to cross the river at several points being demolished by Ukrainian forces. What Russia had been trying to achieve at that point was to encircle Ukrainian forces and that appears to have failed spectacularly. So a real setback for Ukraine's force -- for Russia's forces precisely where they had been hoping to make an advanced.
Another interesting development here today is what we've been hearing from the (INAUDIBLE) plan. Just to remind you, Boris and Christi, this is the plant near Mariupol, where so many hundreds of civilians initially but also fighters had been retrenched and seeking shelter. We know they are trapped there and have been for some time, we've just been hearing from one of the fighters inside.
And, of course, communications are few and far between. It's really hard to get through to them and hear from them because they have a limited number of phones and a limited capacity to speak to the outside world. One of the fighters still inside has just been speaking to Ukrainian television really giving some extraordinary details of what the conditions are now like inside this plant. Saying that we believe that most of the civilians have been taken out but it is possible this is a fairly sprawling complex that some are still left there, that's according to fighter.
But in terms of the several 100 wounded Ukrainian fighters now inside the plant, the fighter really describing appalling conditions with no medical supplies, soldiers who'd had their legs and other limbs amputated, and have no relief at all. Now, these soldiers are the subject of negotiations between Ukraine and Russia to try and see if they can be taken out of the plant, if a way an escape route can be found for them.
We've heard this morning here in central Kyiv, a press conference of the family members, of those many hundreds of fighters who've been launching several desperate appeals these last few days earlier this week to the Turkish president now to Xi Jinping to see whether he can get involved as a mediator. But as we get more details about those horrific conditions, let me just share with you what we've been hearing from some of those family members that we met this morning.
And what we're talking about here, Boris and Christi, are the mothers, the fathers of these boys. We're talking about 20, 21 year old boys inside the plant. I'd like you to listen to what one of their mothers had to say to us a short while ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TANYA VYCHNYK, MOTHER OF AZOV SOLDIER (through translation): I have a strong tie with him. I always feel when he calls. I know I shouldn't be saying anything, because it's hard for him and I keep silent. When he wants to say something he does, it is held there. They are in the real held. They deserve to stand on the surface of the earth and see the sun.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BELL: Now we know from the Ukrainian side that those negotiations continue, but that they are proving difficult. And again, Christi, the time is running out and hence the desperation of families you just heard from. Christi and Boris?
SANCHEZ: Melissa Bell reporting from Kyiv and Ukraine, thank you so much.
NATO may soon have two new members. Finished President selling and he still told Russian President Vladimir Putin in a phone call earlier today that his country plans to apply for NATO membership in the next few days. And Sweden may not be too far behind. With that, government expected to make a final decision on seeking membership to the alliance soon.
Joining us now to discuss the implications and Russia's war on Ukraine, the former U.S. Ambassador to NATO Ivo Daalder -- Ivo, I should say. Thank you so much for being with us this morning. We appreciate your time. Let's start with that call by Finland's president who told Putin that the invasion of Ukraine has altered the security environment of Finland. He says the call was direct and straightforward and conducted without aggravations. How do you think Vladimir Putin took that message?
IVO DAALDER, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO NATO: I don't think he took it well, because of course, one of the reasons that Vladimir Putin has said he needed to invade Ukraine was because NATO was coming too close to Russia's border. That was always an excuse for what he really wanted to do, which was to control Ukraine's political destiny.
But if this was the real reason he miscalculated spectacularly, clearly Finland becoming a member of NATO, would double the amount of NATO border with Russia, just in one fell swoop. And it would make Finland part of the Western bloc after years of being more independent. And when in the case of Sweden, 200 years of neutrality and non-alignment would end because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
There as well as in other places, like your reporter just mentioned, Putin is just not achieving what he hope was hoping to achieve by using military force. And that's a good thing.
SANCHEZ: Notably, the Kremlin threatened retaliation exactly for this kind of move. And there's an operator in Finland that saying that Russia has cut electricity to that country already. What other retaliation do you anticipate?
DAALDER: You know, there's a possibility of a greater military buildup on the border with Finland, although Russia is running short of troops for its war in Ukraine. It could deploy additional military forces, as it has said, into the Baltics, including nuclear weapons, though, I would note that nuclear weapons are already present in the Baltic part of Kaliningrad, a small outpost from Russia.
And of course, in the north, the Kola Peninsula, which is north of Finland, is probably the largest concentration of nuclear weapons in the world. So I think what we're hearing is bluster that is meant to frighten people and taking the steps there that they want to take. But in fact, that's not working. It's the very fear of Russia that is leading Finland, and soon Sweden into the hands of -- into membership of NATO.
SANCHEZ: Given everything that you outlined about the amount of nuclear weapons in that region, are you concerned that as Ukraine is shifting toward a more offensive versus defensive stance as these Russian troops are retreating, that Putin may find himself in a corner and may lash out in dramatic fashion perhaps with the use of nuclear weapons?
DAALDER: Well, we have to be concerned given the fact that Russia does have nuclear weapons together with the United States over 90 percent of the world's nuclear weapons. And that Vladimir Putin having so spectacularly miscalculated in this war, may feel that he needs to do something drastic.
On the other hand, aside from the fact that nuclear weapons would cause extraordinary damage, the main result of using these would be to unite not just the West, but the rest of the world against something that hasn't happened since 1945. The use of nuclear weapons in war is something that hasn't happened. So he will have to calculate how much is the actual use of nuclear weapons going to change things for the better. In all likelihood, it will change things for -- not only worse for Ukraine, but very much worse for Russia.
SANCHEZ: And final question, if Finland and Sweden do become part of NATO, what does that do to Ukraine's chances of potentially joining the alliance?
DAALDER: While as long as there's an act of war inside Ukraine, it's going to be very hard to bring Ukraine into NATO. But clearly, there is a recalculation of what it means to be a member or not a member of NATO. The Finns and the Swedes have decided that the lesson they learned is that they're less likely to be attacked if they are members of NATO.
And I think the West is starting to learn the lesson that a country like Ukraine, left out in the cold in a vacuum is more likely to be attacked, if it's not a member of NATO. So I think we're going to have a new debate once this war is over about whether Ukraine ought to be part of NATO. And many, including myself would think that the time has arrived to take a very serious look at that.
SANCHEZ: Ambassador Ivo Daalder, thank you so much for walking us through all of that. We appreciate your time.
DAALDER: My pleasure.
PAUL: Well, thousands of people are expected to turn out pro-abortion rights rallies in several cities across the country today. We're going to take you to the Bans Off Our Bodies event, that's in Washington after the break. Stay close.
PAUL: Well, today, supporters of abortion rights are gathering nationwide for rallies and marches following the leak of that Supreme Court draft opinion that would overturn Roe vs. Wade.
SANCHEZ: From coast to coast, more than 200 Bans Off Our Bodies events are planned at iconic locations like the Supreme Court, the Brooklyn Bridge, and Los Angeles's City Hall just to name a few. CNN's Joe Johns is live for us in the nation's capital this morning ahead of today's demonstrations. Joe, what are you seeing where you are?
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is the National Mall in the shadow of the Washington monument where later today we're expecting to see yet another of the big demonstrations in Washington, D.C. that we've seen ever since the Alito draft opinion was released by Politico indicating the hopefulness of the court to overturn Roe vs. Wade.
What we're being told by the organizers is they're expecting about 17,000 people here at this location where they start around 2:00 Eastern Time with a rally and then march up to the Supreme Court. But there will be rallies and other events all over the United States, hundreds of different cities, including the anchor cities, like Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Austin, Texas.
Now the organizers of this event is a coalition, if you will, of activist organizations like the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, also SEIU and others. And they're speaking in no uncertain terms about the urgency of the moment. One of the groups calling this their worst nightmare. But if it is a nightmare, it has been slow to come.
And for 50 years, for example, right to life has marched just about this very same route, every January, around the 20th, 21st on the anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade decision. So we're going to be watching to see what happens out here. And we'll keep you informed. Back to you.
SANCHEZ: Joe Johns from the National Mall, thank you so much.
PAUL: As you point out, Justice Clarence Thomas is expressing his dismay over the recent leak of that draft Supreme Court opinion.
SANCHEZ: Yes, during his remarks at a conference in Dallas, he compared it to an infidelity and says that the league has changed the culture of the nation's highest court. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUSTICE CLARENCE THOMAS, SUPREME COURT: The institution that I'm a part of, if someone said that one line of one opinion would be leaked by anyone, and you would say, oh that's impossible. No one would ever do that. There's such a belief in the rule of law, belief in the court, a belief and what we were doing that that was verboten. It was beyond on anyone's understanding or at least anyone's imagination that someone would do that and look where we are, where now that trust or that belief is gone forever.
The -- and when you lose that trust, especially in the institution that I'm in, it changes the institution fundamentally. You begin to look over your shoulder, it's like kind of an infidelity that you can explain it but you can't undo it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: Thomas's remarks echo remarks he made earlier this month when he said that government institutions should not be, quote, bullied into delivering with some see as a preferred outcome.
PAUL: Still coming up, three Americans on vacation in the Bahamas are found dead at the same resort. And now investigators are trying to decipher what happened and whether their deaths are linked. We'll have the latest on that investigation. Stay close.
PAUL: We want to get you a prize for some of the top stories that we're following for you this morning. First of all, authorities in Texas are now offering a $22,000 reward for any information leading to the arrest of this man. Please take a look on your screen here. 46- year-old Gonzalo Lopez who has allegedly have ties to the Mexican Mafia.
SANCHEZ: A police say he broke free of his restraints on a prison bus and stabbed the officer who was driving. He was serving two life sentences for murder and attempted murder charges. Lopez is 6 feet tall, weighs about 185 pounds and he has a burn scar on the right side of his neck along with tattoos on his back abdomen and chest.
Meantime, the investigation into what killed three Americans at a Sandals Resort in the Bahamas is still ongoing.
PAUL: Now the Bahamas police commissioner says officials have finished the autopsies, but CNN National Correspondent Jason Carroll went to the resort to try to decipher what happened.
JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): These two picturesque beachfront villas in the Bahamas likely hold answers as to what killed three vacationers last week and nearly took the life of another. Michael and his wife Robbie Phillips were from Tennessee and own a travel agency. Robbie's travel blog says their agency was preferred by Sandals Resorts, and she appeared to actively promote their properties.
Vincent Chiarella and his wife Donnis were from Florida. The two couples were not vacationing together. The Phillips we're staying in one villa at Sandals Emerald Bay. The Chiarellas in the neighboring one. Both villas share a common wall and have separate entrances.
Last Thursday, police say the couples ate at separate restaurants at the resort and settled in for the evening.
(on-camera): That night, police say both couples were not feeling well. In fact, they felt so sick, they had to be treated at a local medical facility. Their symptoms included nausea and vomiting. At one point, they felt well enough that they could return here at the resort.
The next morning, police got an emergency call from the staff here at Sandals, saying that they had found an unresponsive male in one of these villas. Then another call saying the staff had also found an additional unresponsive male and female in a second villa located right next door.
(voice-over): In the first villa police found Vincent Chiarella lying on the floor and he was pronounced dead. His wife Donnas was alive and transported to a hospital in Miami where as of Monday, she was in fair condition. Her son said this, "She woke up and my dad was laying there on the floor. Her legs and arms was swollen and she couldn't move and she screamed to get someone to come in the door."
In the neighboring villa, police found Michael Phillips slumped against a bathroom wall. His wife Robbie Phillips was found still in bed, both were pronounced dead.
(on-camera): So the question is what happened? Police a foul play is not suspected. And they say the deceased showed no signs of trauma. But they say two of them did show signs of convulsions.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It sat on it's -- still a mystery. A scary mystery. CARROLL (voice-over): This woman says she used to work at Sandals as a housekeeper for five years. She did not want us to use her name or show her face because she says she still has family and friends who work there.
(on-camera): What do you think happened?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I don't think it's food poisoning or anything like that because like I said, if it was food poisoning, the whole assignments (ph) would have been sick. Not just those four guests. Their room is side to side. So whatever happened in their room, they use in one water heater, one AC.
CARROLL (voice-over): Investigators say they have collected several samples from the premises to try to determine if any chemicals were present.
(on-camera): When asked if poisoning could have been a factor from say a faulty air unit or one of these villas or pesticides could have played a role, the Royal Bahamas police force spokesperson referred us to comments that the commissioner had made at a press conference earlier this week.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have collected several samples from the premises there. And the forensic examination should be able to help us to determine what type of -- whether or not there was a chemical or whatever it was. We're hoping that that will be able to answer for us.
CARROLL (voice-over): The former Sandals housekeeper we spoke to says she was surprised Sandals has continued to stay open while an investigation into the cause is still ongoing. While we were there, resort guests appear to be staying at a villa near where the Chiarellas and the Phillips had stayed.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just pray and hope that they get to the bottom of it and find out exactly what happened.
CARROLL (voice-over): Sandals released a statement saying the resort is working to support both the investigation as well as the guests' families in every way possible. But could not disclose further information. Information to families are now waiting on.
Michael and Robbie Phillip's daughter said this. "Our hearts are grieving and broken but full of hope. We know our mom and dad are experiencing the fullness of joy in our Heavenly Father's presence."
CARROLL: In terms of the investigation, autopsies were performed on Monday. Authorities here are still awaiting toxicology and pathology reports and are working with a lab in Philadelphia. When all is said and done, authorities here say, it could be weeks before an official cause is known.
Jason Carroll, CNN, the Bahamas.
SANCHEZ: Thanks to Jason Carroll for that.
Inflation is forcing employers to give their workers a raise if they want to keep them. And that's a big problem for a lot of small businesses. We have more on that after a quick break.
PAUL: Well, I don't feel like inflation is hitting everywhere that we shop, right, grocery store, the gas pump, even online. For small business owners, though, rising prices is just one of the concerns.
SANCHEZ: And many are having to keep up with rising wages for their workers if they can even find help. CNN's Vanessa Yurkevich has that story.
VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN BUSINESS & POLITICS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): What is a French fry without a side of ketchup?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Welcome. How are you?
YURKEVICH (voice-over): For Clodagh Lawless, owner of The Dearborn restaurant in Chicago, it's a huge cost savings.
CLODAGH LAWLESS, OWNER, THE DEARBORN: Let's say we do 200 covers and 100 of them want an extra catch up, that's 20, 25 cents, which doesn't seem like a lot and multiply that by a week, by a year.
YURKEVICH (voice-over): Ketchup and nearly every other ingredient used at the Dearborn has become more expensive in the last year. Inflation is pushing meat prices up 13.9 percent, butter up 16 percent and eggs up a whopping 22.6 percent. Big increases for small businesses.
LAWLESS: I thought at this stage that we would be in a better position financially, but it's been very difficult mainly because of where we're at right now with inflation.
YURKEVICH (voice-over): But some good news perhaps, prices rose just point 3 percent last month, and food prices rose less than 1 percent with energy dropping 2.7 percent. But an 8.3 percent year-over-year inflation, still stings.
LAWLESS: We're still reeling financially, to be honest, from the effects of being closed for on and off for two years during COVID.
YURKEVICH (voice-over): And despite a strong jobs report adding 420,000 jobs in April, small businesses lost 120,000 jobs. Even with restaurant tours like Lawless raising wages, it's often still not enough in the fierce competition for workers.
LAWLESS: We are seeing a lot of people starting with us for two or three days and then going somewhere else where they can get $2 and $3 more an hour.
MICHAELLA BLISSETT-WILLIAMS: Oh, that's awesome.
YURKEVICH (voice-over): Salon owner Michaella Blissett-Williams isn't losing employees, but she can't find more. She's also trying not to pass her increased cost to customers just yet.
(on-camera): What are you experiencing price increases on here as it relates to the salons?
BLISSETT-WILLIAMS: Oh, everything from gloves to foils, things that we need to do the service have definitely gone up and now just with inflation, it's just some products are double digit.
YURKEVICH (on-camera): What does that mean for your bottom line?
BLISSETT-WILLIAMS: Less profitability. It's a catch 22. It's either less profitability or lose business.
YURKEVICH (voice-over): She's banking on inflation continuing to cool, especially as she renovates two of her salons. Construction costs are up 11.7 percent on average in the last year.
BLISSETT-WILLIAMS: Doubling the price of a renovation, not doing price increases, it eventually adds up. And that's when it feels very overwhelming.
YURKEVICH (voice-over): Back in Chicago, Lawless says she's waiting to turn a profit again, with already slim margins. Higher costs have made that an impossibility.
LAWLESS: I thought there was a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel. And really it just depends on how long that tunnel is.
YURKEVICH (voice-over): Vanessa Yurkevich, CNN, New York.
PAUL: Yes, nobody is immune. We're all feeling this here.
Thank you so much, though, for making this part of your morning here. We appreciate the company. And we hope you make good memories today.
SANCHEZ: And we'll be back in just an hour. Smerconish is next, so we'll see you at 10:00. But first, on the next episode of "Nomad with Carlton McCoy", he uncovers an often hidden side of Washington, D.C. Here's a preview.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.
CARLTON MCCOY, "NOMAD WITH CARLTON MCCOY" STAR (voice-over): Here in D.C., we never boil crab. Instead, we cover in an enormous amount of Old Bay seasoning and steam it with beer. (on-camera): When I tell people about like, Oh, I'm in D.C., like we grew up eating crab, they're like, what, like I thought that was like a Maryland thing. And it's like no, like D.C. is like right there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. So you grew up close to here?
MCCOY: Yes, I grew up in southeast, this is southwest. The wharf was the original fish market in D.C. D.C. actually has a very long history especially with like black fishermen. And black people have had a really big stake in the fishing crab industry.
This is, in my opinion, one of the great seafood markets in the U.S. You know, we think of Seattle in the guys throwing the (INAUDIBLE)?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, yes, yes.
MCCOY: This is as iconic but the blue crab.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Seattle turned it into a show. This has kept as --
MCCOY: These people could (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They don't care.
MCCOY: But you (INAUDIBLE).
SANCHEZ: Be sure to catch "Nomad with Carlton McCoy" Sunday night at 10:00 p.m. right here on CNN.
MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN ANCHOR: Is the West closer to war with Russia than we realize? I'm Michael Smerconish in Philadelphia.