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U.S. Coronavirus Death Toll Tops 98,000; Trump Threatens To Pull GOP Convention From NC If Not Allowed "Full Attendance" In Arena; Researcher: Oxford's Coronavirus Vaccine Has 50 Percent Chance Of Showing "No Result At All". Aired 9-10p ET

Aired May 25, 2020 - 21:00   ET





In this hour of 360, the President has pushed to make this Memorial Day a turning point in his campaign to reopen the country, to transition, as he says, to greatness. This is happening even as this Day of Remembrance also marks the approach of a disastrous milestone, 100,000 deaths from Coronavirus.

Right now, it stands - the death toll stands at more than 98,000 lives lost. And in 40, out of 50, states, the number of new cases is either rising or holding steady. New cases on average are dropping in only 10 states.

We talk about that, about the President's fight with the Governor of North Carolina over the Republican Convention, which the President wants to take place as scheduled in August.

Also, the latest sign that states are going to be left essentially on their own when it comes to the kind of testing that will be needed to reopen.

Plus, a question, what happens if a vaccine does not materialize. What will life look like then?

First, what life looks like now. CNN's Kyung Lah joins us now from Los Angeles with the latest.

So, Memorial Day usually brings people outside. What kind of crowds have we been seeing today?

KYUNG LAH, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well we've been seeing steady foot traffic here up on the boardwalk, Anderson.

And I want you to take a look at the beach. What the police here are saying is that this is not typical for a Memorial Day. You can see that there's sand in between people, there is some social distancing.

Definitely, though, people are out a step forward, as this country tries to reopen on this Memorial Day. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On Memorial Day, we remember our father, William E. Cordero.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'll always remember Gordon Hartley.

LAH (voice-over): As Americans gathered in online forums to remember The Fallen, on this Memorial Day, many others met in person, willing to push boundaries, on this weekend that marks the start of summer.

STACY RUTH, OCEAN CITY, MARYLAND: Everybody's going to come back, and say, "You should have, could have, would have." But you know what? The reality of it is at the end of the day, I think we're all responsible for our own actions.

LAH (voice-over): In Alabama, crowds pack the sand, many ignoring social distancing.

In Southern California, this beach sits mainly empty, and visitors are wearing masks.

But just a short drive away, California hikers packed this canyon, shoulder to shoulder.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is just not good. It's too many people in one little area.

LAH (voice-over): In response, Los Angeles County shut down the trail immediately. Crowds apparent, as a cooped-up country reopens.

From a giant pool party in Houston, Texas, to this one in Daytona Beach, Florida.

DR. CARLOS DEL RIO, EPIDEMIOLOGIST, EMORY UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: We are beginning to see an uptick in cases in Georgia, and I think it's clearly a result of people relaxing social distancing.

LAH (voice-over): Data shows more states are heading in the wrong direction. And the weekly average of new cases, while 10 states here in green are down, 22 states in yellow hold steady, with 18 states in red and orange showing an increase.

One of those states showing an increase in cases, Arkansas.

The Governor, marking the holiday, says his State is in the middle of a second peak, citing some relaxing of social distancing, but also increased testing.

GOV. ASA HUTCHINSON (R-AR): Today we face another enemy. It is a deadly virus, cannot be seen. It silently attacks and kills. Almost 100,000 Americans have lost their lives, within 100 days, as a result of this new enemy.

LAH (voice-over): And it is far from over, warns World Health Organization. MICHAEL J. RYAN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION'S HEALTH EMERGENCIES PROGRAMME: We need to be also cognizant of the fact that the disease can jump up at any time.

We cannot make assumptions that just because the disease is on the way down now that it's on - it's going to keep going down, and then we're going to get a number of months to get ready for a second wave. We may get a second peak in this wave.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, put away all of your fears, all of your fears.

LAH (voice-over): But patience runs short among some. North Carolina protesters demanded the State open faster, even as the State's numbers climb.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We want all of North Carolina to be open. We want for us to be able to take care of our own health, all right? We don't want the government keeping us "Safe."


LAH (voice-over): The economy versus science clash weighing on local leaders, trying to contain the public health crisis.

MAYOR SYLVESTER TURNER, (D) HOUSTON, TEXAS: We have to pump the brakes. People are - there are some who are pretending as though this virus no longer exists. And, quite frankly, it's not only endangering themselves, and those who are at those - at these gatherings, but they're endangering everybody else.



COOPER: Kyung, California officials have also, I know, released new guidelines regarding Places of Worship, retail stores. What are the details?

LAH: It really does start to put out a road map of how Californians are going to be able to shop and worship.

In regards to shopping, they're going to be able to go back shop and worship. In regards to shopping, they're going to be able to go back into stores again, but it's not springing back to normal.

The way they're going to be shopping is with heavy restrictions, employees getting to their temperature taken, people being limited inside the store.

And as far as how it's going to be for Places of Worship, people will be allowed to do that, but it's going to be limited at 25 percent capacity, Anderson.

COOPER: All right, Kyung Lah. Kyung, thanks very much. Appreciate it.

As we mentioned at the top, the President spent part of this solemn day fighting with North Carolina's Governor, threatening to pull the Republican Convention out of Charlotte.

President tweeting, "Unfortunately, Democrat Governor, @RoyCooperNC is still in Shutdown mood & unable to guarantee that by August we will be allowed full attendance in the Arena."

That was this morning, as he prepared for the wreath laying at Arlington, and the remembrance at Fort McHenry.

Later today, he tweeted that he has "Zero interest" in hosting the Convention at his Doral Resort in Florida. The ballroom, he said, is too small.

Joining us now, Charlotte City - City Council Member, Malcolm Graham.

Malcolm, when you see the President, you know, making these types of remarks, I'm wondering what - what goes through your mind?


I am really not surprised. This day was coming, in terms of how we look forward towards the RNC in Charlotte.

To have a Convention, per his request, where there's 50,000 attendees, 7,500 volunteers, and over 1,000 media credential coming to Charlotte in August is really insane. It's not where we are as a community.

Our goal and objective is to work with the Governor and our local health department to ensuring the fact that we are following the science and the data that will determine how we reopen and when we reopen.

COOPER: Vice President Pence said that the President's request was very reasonable of the North Carolina Governor. Obviously, I mean, there are some who are going to see this as politics. It's a Democratic Governor. Is politics involved here?

GRAHAM: I think it is. But obviously, we here at the Charlotte City Council, we're following the data and the science, and we'll leave the politics to the guys in Washington D.C.

Governor Roy Cooper has really been very strong in terms of articulating the goals and objective of this phase and on plan. We're currently in phase two starting on last Friday. But yet, our numbers in North Carolina are going up.

And so, while we are trying to reopen, more people in North Carolina are getting the virus. And so, we have to put public health in front of any type of Political Convention, whether it's the RNC in Charlotte or the DNC in Milwaukee.

COOPER: So, who actually makes this decision and when is it going to be made?

GRAHAM: Well, the decision really follows the guidelines of the Governor of the State of North Carolina and our local health department officials.

By coincidence, we are meeting - we, the Charlotte City Council, on tomorrow, you know, we're talking not only about the RNC, but all the other conventions that are planned for the City of Charlotte.

There are some 19 conventions on the books for the month of July, August, and September. All of these conventions need to take a look at the skill and the scope and work within the guidelines of the Governor, and our local public health officials.

So, the RNC is no different than any of the other 18 that are coming. We want them to come, but we want them to follow the standards that will be set by our Governor as well as the local health authorities, and the Charlotte City Council.

COOPER: So, at this point, do you have, I mean, has a limit on how many people might attend any kind of a convention in the City been determined?

GRAHAM: That's what we'll be talking about - about that tomorrow with our Chief Visitor - Executive tomorrow. The phase two talks about, again, 10 inside, 25 outside, obviously, we'll look at large scale of events tomorrow.

But certainly, when you take a look at where we are as a community, having 50,000 visitors, coming in August, it's not in the best interest of those who are attending the RNC, nor are those frontline workers who will be working the RNC, and certainly once the RNC leaves, not in the best interests of the citizens of Charlotte based on having people from all over the country here in our community.

COOPER: Well, Councilman, I really appreciate your - you time tonight. And look forward to - to finding out what happens tomorrow. Councilman Graham thanks so much.

More now on this as well as the growing evidence that as far as the Administration is concerned, states seem to be largely responsible, largely on their own for testing, as well as obtaining the supplies to carry it out, where one public health advocate today compared to "The Hunger Games."

Joining us, CNN White House Correspondent, Kaitlan Collins, Ron Klain, Obama Administration Ebola Czar, Biden Campaign Adviser, and Co-Host of the "Epidemic" podcast, and CNN Medical Analyst, Dr. James Phillips, Emergency Medicine Specialist at the George Washington University Hospital in Washington.


Kaitlan, any sense from what you've been learning from your sources on just what the President's goal here is?

I mean, is he really interested in moving the Convention? Is he - I mean, is it definite they want a full Convention with, you know, however tens - however many tens of thousands of people? KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Some people said that this could just be bluster that they want to make sure that they've got a basically hard and fast guarantee from these State officials in North Carolina, and in Charlotte, of what this Convention is going to look like, something they don't feel like they have a good sense of now because you're hearing from a lot of officials they don't really know what the State's going to look like in late August.

But some people say the President is also completely serious about this, that if he is not able to have the Convention that he's envisioning that there is a chance they could move it.

And we saw several state officials volunteer to host it in their State today, including in Florida and in Texas, though we should note a lot of time and effort goes into planning these conventions.

A lot of money has already been spent on this one, in particular. And it's notable that the President is threatening to pull out because we've heard from Republican officials, so far, who said "Yes, we're going to move forward with this Convention."

But they weren't so sure on exactly what it was going to look like, because, of course, if there are concerns, and if you know there can't be large sporting events, or concerts, then, you know, how could you really make the case for putting all these delegates and these thousands of people in this one arena?

So, they've been having conversations, Anderson, about would they test every delegate, would they do temperature checks at the door? Those are conversations we're told that are still ongoing. And so, I guess they'll be waiting to see what guidance it is they get from the City of Charlotte.

COOPER: Dr. Phillips, just from a medical perspective, can you envision August being a time in this country when tens of thousands of people can gather together in a Convention Center or an arena?


You know, we don't know what the trajectory of this virus is right now. We are seeing a few states where things are going in the right direction.

But I'm afraid that as we continue to reopen, we're going to see the slope of incidents continue to go up and, you know, there's - there's ways of doing things safely, and there's ways of doing things carelessly.

And what I'm seeing the President recommend right now by sort of putting his hand on the lever, and really - really forcing this Governor to try to commit to a large crowd, is really just irresponsible and dangerous.

When I look at this from a medical perspective, and a disease perspective, you know, look at where we've seen some of the sort of super-spreading events here in the United States, particularly in that one church where there was choir practice, where singing loudly creates these droplets, and aerosols, that infected so many dozens of people.

Now imagine the floor of a Convention Center, chock-full of people that are excited, and happy, and screaming at the top of their lungs, the opportunity for spread there is incredible, if proper infection control measures aren't followed.

COOPER: Ron, just in terms of, you know, testing, contact tracing, looking at where things stand right now, I mean it does feel as if states are pretty much on their own.

And that's intentional by this Administration, by the President. It seems like they want to have as much distance between the President and whatever may happen next, you know, down the road with this virus.

I mean it's - I think it's one of the reasons that the Coronavirus Task Force doesn't hold, you know, public briefings. We don't hear from the scientists anymore from the White House podium.

Is - I mean, when you look at this, does it make sense, if this is a war that this is largely left up to states to fight?

RONALD KLAIN, FORMER OBAMA WHITE HOUSE EBOLA RESPONSE COORDINATOR, ADVISER TO BIDEN CAMPAIGN: Of course it doesn't, Anderson. But you're absolutely right, that's the way this has gone in every step of the way.

At first, the President said that the White House would take charge of testing. You remember, back in March, when they were boasting about working with the big-box stores and all the things they were going to do to make testing available.

And then testing became a State responsibility.

Then the White House was going to take the lead on protective gear, and they were going to really get all the stuff made, and they were going to use the Defense Production Act.

And then they left protective gear. That's now a State responsibility.

Then on April 16th, the President led a briefing, when he said "These will be the conditions for reopening. This is the White House plan for reopening."

And now, a month later, they're like every State should do whatever they want.

And so, the problem is fighting an epidemic is hard, requires science and leadership, consistently, day after day. And on each of these aspects, Anderson, the President's made a little stab at it, found it too difficult, and then basically thrown it back at the State governments to sort it all out. COOPER: Kaitlan, I mean I just find it amazing that, you know, on the one hand, the President has both, at the same time, essentially, I mean Ron was saying a month later, you know, the President was kind of backing off those guidelines.

It seemed like it was even less than that that he was talking about encouraging people to liberate Michigan, and protest against things which he himself and the Coronavirus Task Force were actually calling for.


I mean, have you ever seen an Administration that - with a President that, on the one hand, puts out guidelines, and then, on the other hand, you know, basically undercuts, or not even basically, undercuts those very guidelines?

COLLINS: Yes. Look at what's happening with churches, with schools. They put out this guidance for churches basically saying the things that they needed to do.

That comes after there was a lot of debate inside about whether or not the guidelines they had were too strict, which most people inside the White House thought they were too detailed, and that's why you saw what happened last week.

And then the President is saying he wants all churches open immediately. You see officials back off that a little bit, saying if they need to wait a week wait another week.

The President is now saying that all schools should start to reopen. He was tweeting about that over the weekend.

When, of course, if you look at the guidelines for schools, it's got to be, you know, one kid on a seat, in a - in a bus seat. And in certain lunch rooms, they're not going to be using those. They're going to be having lunch in their classrooms.

All these things, that if you know teachers, and if you know people who work in churches, I know both, they're not that easy to carry out. And so, when the President is saying "Do this immediately," that's kind of the mixed messages that are coming.

And, Anderson, it even comes with a death toll. Remember the President said not that long ago he did not think we were going to get to that 100,000 number. He thought we'd be substantially less than that.

You saw Dr. Birx say yesterday, they're still operating inside the West Wing with that idea that it's going to be anywhere from 100,000 to 240,000.

COOPER: And Kaitlan, any indication that those Coronavirus Task Force briefings will come back? So, I asked Dr. Fauci about this last week during our Town Hall. And, you know--

COLLINS: Yes. COOPER: --he seemed to think that they're - we'd start to hear more from the scientists once again. But it doesn't seem like really we are.

COLLINS: Not at briefings so far. They haven't had any scheduled. That's still something we've been waiting on. And it's notable when they're putting them on air.

You know, last week, when the NIH, and they made all of this news about a vaccine, and that trial looking really promising, it's just very early, a very small group. That was Dr. Fauci's group at the NIH.

Yet you did not see him on air talking about it. You saw Secretary Azar, the Health and Human Services Secretary discussing it. And those are questions that reporters have for those officials.

We did see Dr. Birx at the briefing, I believe, on Friday. I think she answered maybe two questions. Certainly the reporters in that room had more questions for Dr. Birx, as she was leaving.

But they haven't really had the same access to those officials like we did in the beginning days of this when they were coming out and exhaustively answering questions that didn't always go with the message that the President was selling.

COOPER: Ron, I mean, is it - I mean I understand the Administration wanting to kind of have their arms around what the message is every day, but muzzling scientists, not - you know, no longer having these Coronavirus Task Force briefings.

And as far as I can tell, the only real reason they stopped is because the President made such a fool of himself by suggesting, you know, trial experiments, injecting disinfectant into human beings, and somehow, you know, getting UV light into somebody's body, that he was embarrassed--


COOPER: --and stopped them after that. The idea that his embarrassment is the reason that the nation doesn't hear as much, on a daily basis, from important scientists is stunning to me.

KLAIN: It is stunning, Anderson.

I think it also goes back to something Kaitlan mentioned a minute ago, which is that as the White House has departed farther and farther from science, as you said, after they put out these guidelines, reopening in April, just a few days later, the President began to tweet against his own guidelines, and every week now, increasingly militates against his own guidelines.

It gets harder and harder to have the scientists stand there and toe the Administration line. And they won't. And so, there's less of a desire on the part of the White House to hear from those scientists. It's counterproductive for the President's aims. I think this is what's most interesting here. The President should

want the public to get the facts and feel confident that they can re- enter the economy, they can go back to school, if that's safe, they can do the things they say.

People weren't going to believe that when they hear that from the scientists. The more the President muzzles the scientists, the more people feel that they aren't (ph) being told the truth and the less they're going to respond in the way the President wants them to.

I mean, he thinks he's reassuring people by keeping scientists out of the picture. People would be more reassured if they heard the truth, good and bad, from the scientific experts.

COOPER: Dr. Phillips, I mean, as a - as a medical person, do you - did you ever think you would see science being politicized to this degree?

PHILLIPS: I really didn't. You know, it makes our job incredibly difficult. Here in Washington D.C., we are starting to see an uptick in our cases. Other parts of the country are as well.

And the idea that we may see differences in the prevalence of disease in different states based on what Party their Governor belongs to or whether they're friends with the President is just maddening to me.


We spend our lives learning about medicine, and epidemiology, and the science behind this, and some of us that our gave - our lives through PhDs, and studying disaster medicine, and epidemiology, like I said, and to have someone with no science background get up there, and start - sort of countermand everything that we say, it's really counterproductive to the message.

And, as was said, it affects the trust that people have in science.

When we've got parts of the country right now that 14 percent of people don't vaccinate their kids, you know, this is going to accumulate, this distrust in science. And when that vaccine is available it may culminate in problems where people refuse on a mass scale.


PHILLIPS: So, it really is an issue.

COOPER: Dr. Phillips, appreciate it. Ron Klain, Kaitlan Collins, thank you.

Coming up next, a veteran of the fight to contain HIV/AIDS on what happens if this virus, like that one, can't be vaccinated against or vaccine's not available anytime soon.

And later, speaking of the droplets and aerosols, Dr. Phillips mentioned a moment ago, we'll dig deeper on staying safe, some expert advice, plus more video like this of sneezing and coughing, what you need to know about the risks.


COOPER: We touched on some breaking news earlier tonight. A tenth company now saying it has entered the human trial phase of vaccine testing, Maryland-based Novavax expects preliminary results by July.


That said, a different team in the U.K. is advising caution. Researchers at Oxford University say they face a challenge to broader testing, which is a declining infection rate.

So, without artificially challenging patients, by deliberately injecting them with the virus, which is controversial, getting definitive answers on effectiveness might be difficult, a 50 percent chance, according to those researchers, of getting no useful results at all.

Our next guest has plenty to say on challenges like that. William Haseltine has done groundbreaking work in HIV/AIDS. He's a former professor at Harvard University's Medical School, the Harvard School of Public Health.

Thank you so much, Professor, for being with us. You've written extensively about the challenges posed by this virus. You've compared that work done by you and others that stretches back, you know, 35 years ago, continues to this day to, in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

What's your assessment of where things stand right now?

WILLIAM HASELTINE, CHAIR AND PRESIDENT, ACCESS HEALTH INTERNATIONAL, FORMER PROFESSOR, HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL: Well, at best, Anderson, thanks for the question, at best, we have some preliminary results, very preliminary. Sometimes, many of them aren't even published, they're just press releases that we have to try to analyze.

But I would say even the preliminary data we have is problematic.

The data I've seen that is published shows that for the type of vaccines we're talking about, the Oxford ones, for example, they're giving partial protection. That is, they may protect against the lung, but they don't protect against the nose.

So, in my view, we're still in a very early stage. The question isn't "When we're going to have it." It's "If we're going to have it." Not only is it "If we're going to have it," it's "What we're going to have when we have it." Will it be full or partial protection?

Next question is who is it for? Is it for the people who really need it, the old? They don't make good reactions to most vaccines. It's really difficult. The older you get, the harder it is to vaccinate you.

And then finally, there's questions of how are we paying for all of this? What's it - is it transparent? Why did America rush $1.2 billion to a very profitable pharmaceutical

company in England to get this work done? They made over $2.5 billion last year. They need another billion American dollars to make a product that will make (ph) use of American money or anybody's money?

And another company that has no proven technology, Moderna, got a half a billion dollars.

So, there's a lot of questions about what's actually going. There's a rush. We need a vaccine. We want a vaccine. But, in my mind, the question is still "If," not "When."

COOPER: So, I mean, this notion that, you know, things are happening at warp speed and, which I'm not even sure exactly, you know, other than from Star Trek, what that means, from an actual vaccine standpoint, you know.

And people like Dr. Fauci, and others, have talked about, you know, 18 months as a - as a hopeful, I guess in - in best-case scenario, I mean, is that - do you put a percentage on the chance of that actually happening?

HASELTINE: Low percent. And if you listen to Tony carefully, he's now warning against the other meaning of warp, which is to distort. That's the actual original meaning of warp.

And I'm really afraid that what warp speed is going to mean is warping normal processes, warping the very necessary clinical trials process, and very critically warping the regulatory process, how we actually decide what should be used, and what shouldn't.

Remember, when we're using a vaccine, we're giving it to healthy people, maybe hundreds of millions, maybe billions of healthy people. We're not treating somebody who's critically ill.

We're treating healthy people with vaccines. We've got to be extraordinarily careful when doing that. And that takes time. It takes time to make sure that treating 100, 200, a billion - million people - billion people is a safe thing to do. You can't do that overnight.

COOPER: This notion of, you know, challenge testing, essentially infecting a certain number of people with - with the virus who have been given a vaccine, is that - I mean, obviously there's lots of ethical concerns. I mean, is that in any possible way ethical given the--

HASELTINE: Well, you know--

COOPER: --the high death toll.

HASELTINE: It would be possible if there were a treatment. But there is no treatment. 20 percent of people who get COVID get really ill. And when I mean ill, they may have lifelong consequences.

They may lose kidney function, and need lifelong dialysis. They may have myocarditis and may have weak hearts, damaged hearts. They may have their aortas blow up with aneurysms. There's a lot of very bad things.


You can get blood clots in your brain, get strokes. There's a lot of terrible things that happen to about 20 percent of those who are infected. And with no treatment, and we really don't have an effective treatment for this virus, it is madness to consider injecting anybody with this drug, with this virus--

COOPER: So - so--

HASELTINE: --without any kind of cure with no hope - no idea whether the vaccine will work.

You know, it isn't there's a shortage of patients. South America is exploding with cases. Africa is exploding.

Our own country, Illinois, has four times as many cases as it did two months ago. Texas has twice or three times as many cases. And so does most of the South. America is loaded with cases.

So, there's no shortage of potential infected people. All you have to do is go to Russia or India, it's exploding, or the United States or South America.

COOPER: So, let me ask if--

HASELTINE: So, I don't know why they're talking this way.


HASELTINE: It's a really scary thing. I've never heard of such a thing.

COOPER: If - if a safe COVID-19 vaccine is not developed in the next 12 months to 18 months, what do you think happens? I mean, what does this then--


COOPER: --look like?

HASELTINE: You know, maybe, Anderson, we'll wake up, and understand what we really have to do. There's no mystery to controlling this infection. You just look the Eastern Asian countries. They've done it.

Beijing hasn't had a single infection for over five weeks or six weeks now, not one infection, same in most Chinese cities. They shut it down. Human beings, through behavior, without a drug, and without a vaccine, can shut down this virus.

The recipe is simple, very simple. Identify those infected. Identify all those exposed. And mandatory solo isolation for 14 days in controlled conditions for those exposed. That does it, with a strong stay-at-home order. You do that, and the infections could be over in six weeks in this country. Can't Americans do that? Why can't my fellow Americans do that? That's the way to build an economy back. That's the way to create safe cities. That's the way to open schools. That's what we see in countries that do it. Why can't we do it?

COOPER: But, I mean, obviously China, you know, has more draconian policies.

HASELTINE: South Korea.

COOPER: Well, yes. I mean, South Korea is, yes, you're right.

HASELTINE: South Korea? Thailand?

COOPER: Taiwan as well.



HASELTINE: I mean it's not a mystery. Countries that are democracies can do this, New Zealand, Australia, are those foreign places run by Chinese?

COOPER: Right.

HASELTINE: I don't think so.

COOPER: It's - it's a really important discussion. And it's fascinating talking to you.

HASELTINE: Right. We don't need a vaccine--

COOPER: And your experience--

HASELTINE: --to stop the virus. We need behavior to stop the virus.

COOPER: And - and political - and leadership.

HASELTINE: Well, of course, you need leadership. But, you know, the idea that science is going to reach into its bag, and pull out magically--

COOPER: Right.

HASELTINE: --the cure is fanciful. That's not how we work. We work carefully, empirically. We look at the data. And we go on to the next step.


HASELTINE: That's how we work. And to hope that this will happen without behavior change is imaginary. Use the tools we have to solve the problem we have.

That's what doctors do. Whenever looking at a sick patient they don't say, "I'm hoping for a new drug tomorrow." They say "What can I do with what I've got to save this poor person?"

COOPER: It's fascinating talking to you. I'd love to talk longer at another time. And thank you for all you've done on HIV/AIDS as well. It's extraordinary work. And William Haseltine--

HASELTINE: Thank you very much. I appreciate it.

COOPER: Thank you very much.

Up next, why masks--

HASELTINE: You're welcome.

COOPER: --and social distancing are so important. A look at just how far a simple cough can spread the Coronavirus.



COOPER: Earlier, we showed you pictures of the crowds of people at beaches and elsewhere this Memorial Day weekend who ignored health officials' guidelines to wear masks and to socially distance.

On Sunday, a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, Dr. Deborah Birx, was asked about those images, and she explained why close contact like that is dangerous.


DR. DEBORAH BIRX, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE COORDINATOR: We now have excellent scientific evidence of how far droplets go when we speak, or just simply talking to one another.

And we know that it's important for people to socially interact, but we also know it's important that we have to have masks on, if we're less than six feet, and that we have to maintain that six feet difference - distance.


COOPER: That six feet of distance is really at least six feet of distance, as our Randi Kaye discovered the contents of a cough or sneeze can travel a lot farther than we may realize.



RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Inside this lab at Florida Atlantic University, two engineering professors are measuring the power of a cough.

VERMA: Three, two, one. KAYE (voice-over): Using a dummy, they fill its mouth with a mix of glycerin and water. Then, with a pump, force the dummy to cough. Then wait to see how far the droplets travel. They fill the air, visible with the green laser light, simulating what happens when we cough.

VERMA: It generates particles on the order of 10 microns to 20 microns, which is roughly close to what the smallest droplet sizes are when we cough.

KAYE (voice-over): Take note how quickly the simulated respiratory droplets spread.


KAYE (voice-over): The droplets expelled traveled a distance of three feet almost immediately. Within five seconds, the droplets were at six feet, then nine feet, in just about 10 seconds. Remember, nine feet is three feet beyond the recommended social distancing guidelines.

VERMA: It's already reaching roughly nine feet now. It's still moving farther slowly.

KAYE (voice-over): The fog of droplets lingered in the air, but kept moving forward, taking just another 30 seconds to 40 seconds to float another three feet.

VERMA: It's getting closer to 12 feet now.


KAYE (voice-over): Yes, he said 12 feet. Over and over again, the simulated droplets blew past the six-foot mark, often doubling that distance.

VERMA: OK. That's passed three feet already, approaching six feet, and it looks like and that has crossed six feet, and now it has slowed down, stayed--

KAYE (on camera): How long might they linger at nine feet and 12 feet?

MANHAR DHANAK, CHAIRMAN, FAU ENGINEERING DEPARTMENT: So, at nine feet, they could linger for, provided still air, two minutes to three minutes, OK? But the - the concentration is less than what it would be at six feet by about a factor of eight.

KAYE (voice-over): The professors say the droplets become less dense the further they travel. But they still hang in the air, still with the ability to carry disease.

And watch this, even when we put a simple mask on the dummy, particles still dispersed from the sides of the mask, though they didn't travel very far.

KAYE (on camera): Certainly if you're not wearing a mask, you're supposed to cough into your elbow. But if you cough into your hand, this is what happens. Let's turn out the lights. I'll put my hand up against the mouth of this dummy, and simulate a cough. You can see the droplets spray in all directions. They may not travel as far, maybe about three feet or so, but they spray everywhere, and they can linger in the air, possibly for as long as three minutes.

KAYE (voice-over): Intensity of the cough matters, so we tested a gentle cough too.

The lighter cough didn't go very far at all, about three feet, but the question remains, how close is too close?

KAYE (on camera): Do you think, based on what you've seen in your own lab, that six feet is enough for social distancing?

DHANAK: Six feet is a minimum distance that you should keep. It seems that--

KAYE (on camera): But further is better.

DHANAK: Further is better.

KAYE (voice-over): Randi Kaye, CNN, Dania Beach, Florida.


COOPER: It's remarkable to see it like that. For more, let's bring in Dr. Celine Gounder, CNN Medical Analyst, and Infectious Disease Specialist and Epidemiologist.

Dr. Gounder, I mean, after seeing that cough simulation, and how far droplets can travel, when you think then about current social distancing guidelines, it's just a reminder of how critical it is to wear a mask.


The way I think about this, Anderson, is it's like a bunch of slices of Swiss cheese, where any one slice has lots of holes in it, but you double up, you triple up, you have multiple slices, you can actually close those holes.

So, social distancing is one slice, but wearing a mask is another. And they each help prevent transmission, and together, your risk is dramatically decreased.

COOPER: Yes. Dr. Gounder, appreciate it. Thanks very much.

Just ahead, we're going to continue to remember those who have fallen to the Coronavirus. A Doctor who could have saved himself, could have stayed home. Instead, he chose to save others. That's when we return.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: We like to continue highlighting people who've died during this Coronavirus pandemic, and remember their lives and honor them, people who've left immense impacts on the communities that they've served.

Dr. James Mahoney is just one man who did exactly that. He has left a huge impact on his community. He's known as "Charlie" to his friends and family. He was an ICU Doctor here in New York, worked at a hospital that mostly served the underserved communities.

When the Coronavirus came to this City, he could have stopped. He was 62 years old. He already had a long career serving - serving as a doctor. He wouldn't give up, though. He even worked nights at a hospital across the street from his own. One month ago, he died.

And we're now joined by two members of Dr. Mahoney's family, his daughter, Stephanie Mahoney, and his son, Ryan.

Thank you both for being with us. And I'm so sorry for your loss. How long had, Stephanie, had your dad been a doctor?

STEPHANIE MAHONEY, LOST HER FATHER TO COVID-19: Since the early '80s, I believe, so a long time before I was born, so a really long time.

COOPER: So, I mean the--


COOPER: --he had seen a lot of stuff. I mean, the AIDS crisis, you know, everything that's happened, all this. I mean, the sheer number of people whose lives he has touched, Stephanie, is extraordinary.

S. MAHONEY: I mean so many people have reached out to us. It's been almost unbelievable.

We have - I think my e-mail, and my text message inbox is just completely full of messages from his former patients, staff at the hospital, just saying how great of a doctor he was, I mean, and for so many years, you can imagine, like I said, our inboxes are completely full.

But it makes us so proud to know that he touched so many lives.

COOPER: And I understand that, I mean, when the pandemic started, to get really bad in New York that, you know, a lot of older doctors stopped going into hospitals to serve patients because they needed to protect themselves, and it's very understandable. But your dad wanted to be on the frontlines no matter what.

R. MAHONEY: Absolutely. That was like his M.O., right? We weren't going to tell him no. And nobody else - nobody was ever going to tell him no. So, he was there every day. And he worked extremely hard. And, you know, he did what he had to do.

COOPER: Ryan, can you tell us a little bit about - I mean, how did - how did your dad get sick? When did you first know that - that it was Coronavirus?

R. MAHONEY: Well, he had called us, and told us that he had a fever, and we had FaceTimed him. I don't know if he called you too. But he was at home for about a week before he went to the hospital, you know.

While he was in the hospital, we were able to talk to him, and FaceTime with him, and everything like that. But, you know, he was - he was admitted to his own hospital, so he was surrounded by people that he loved. So, at least he knows that (ph).

COOPER: That's such - I mean that is such a blessing, Stephanie that, you know, so many people I've talked to, their, you know, their loved ones, they weren't able to be there with their loved ones. And, you know, they were - they were with strangers when they died, but not your dad.

S. MAHONEY: No, no. He was surrounded by, like my brother said, all the people at the hospital, and my - his long-time partner, Don Havens (ph) was also able to be at the hospital because she's a nurse, who worked in that same hospital.

So, we were happy knowing that she was there, and able to kind of give us updates on him, because it was really devastating to us that we couldn't even go to the hospital to see him. I mean, we FaceTimed him, but it's just not the same.


COOPER: Yes. And I understand that even after he got Coronavirus, and he was at home, that he was still checking in on his patients from home. I mean that - it just shows you what kind of guy he was.

R. MAHONEY: Right. Right. He actually, this is a funny story, he actually called out Stephanie and, while he was in the hospital, and said that he was going to do some charts that night or whatever. I'm not--


R. MAHONEY: --sure if you want to tell that story but.

S. MAHONEY: Yes. That he so--

COOPER: He was going to do charts while he was in the hospital?


R. MAHONEY: Lots of times.

S. MAHONEY: And I said, "You need to rest, Papa," like you calm down. He said, "No, I might do some charts. I'm feeling a little bit better."

But and that was when he was at his most - when he was at his sickest. So, I mean, it just shows what kind of doctor he was, and how much he cared for his patients, right up until the end. COOPER: Yes. Did you ever try to say to him, "Look, you know, sit this one out?"

S. MAHONEY: No. Because my dad, he was doing what he loved. And he was going to do his job, so I felt like no matter what I said, he was still going to go in there and, you know, take care of his patients.

And he did his best, even when he got sick, to reassure us that, you know, I'm going to be OK, guys. I'm going to be OK. Every time we talked to him, he said, "I'm going to be OK. I'm going to be fine. I'm going to be OK." So, I just - I took him at his word, you know?

COOPER: Yes. What was he like, just as a dad?

R. MAHONEY: Well, I mean, he was like the best dad you could ask for, you know?

He is a very loving person. He loved - he loved what he did. But he also loved being a father. He loved being, you know, my baseball coach. He loved being my football coach, you know.

And he just loved to - he also loved to tell stories. That's one of the funny things about my dad is that he always told - told stories, and he always told the same stories over and over and over again.

COOPER: Did you have to pretend you didn't--

S. MAHONEY: But you wouldn't - you couldn't get enough of him.


COOPER: Did you have to pretend that you hadn't heard them before?

R. MAHONEY: Right.



S. MAHONEY: You know, as I got older, I learned to appreciate them, and I would kind of entice him to tell us a story--

R. MAHONEY: Right.

S. MAHONEY: --that I heard a million times - I would - I would do anything to hear one of those stories again.

COOPER: Yes, I know that feeling.

R. MAHONEY: Absolutely.

COOPER: It's, yes. But - but, you know, I mean, to know, you know, it's so fascinating to me how, you know, when you're kids, things annoy you about your parents, you know, like telling the same stories over and over again. But then once you're an adult, you start to, you know, love those kind

of annoying traditions or the annoying repetition of it. It's, you know, you kind of, you long to hear that.

S. MAHONEY: Yes, and we took - we had so many adventures with our dad traveling, and going on cruises, and doing things like that that he could - he had stories for days, I mean stories of him skiing, stories of us, you know, in Bermuda and things like that.

He just - he was such a character. He would tell them so excitedly that it would leave you, you know, wanting more.

COOPER: Yes. Well to be both a storyteller and a life-saver is quite a combination.

Stephanie and Ryan, thank you so much for talking about your dad and letting us know about him. He just sounds like an extraordinary guy, and I'm - I'm really just so sorry for your loss.

S. MAHONEY: Thank you.

R. MAHONEY: Thank you so much for having us.

S. MAHONEY: We appreciate that.

COOPER: All right, you take care.

This Memorial Day holiday, we also remember those who've died in military service to our country. Many older veterans survived war and conflict to only to be faced with a new threat at home during the years where they should have peace.

The Holyoke Soldiers' Home in Massachusetts is a nursing home for veterans. When the pandemic hit, Holyoke suffered with 74 veterans who were infected and later died from the virus. We remember them tonight.

Among them, James Miller, he served in the U.S. Army during World War II from 1943 to 1945.

He landed on Omaha Beach on D Day, saw heavy combat. He didn't often talk about it. His family said he wasn't one to complain. After the war, he worked as a firefighter in West Springfield, Massachusetts for 32 years.

He and his wife Anna were married for 64 years. Imagine that! They had four children, six grandchildren, and three great grandchildren. He was known as a man of great faith.

He loved and adored his kids and his grandkids, and great grandkids. They all looked up to him as a role model for their family, as you'd imagine. James Miller was 96 years old, and he will be missed.

Constance Pinard was known as "Kandy." The Massachusetts native joined the Air Force in 1982, worked her way up to the rank of Captain at the Keesler Air Force Base in Mississippi before she left the military. Later in life, she worked as a traveling nurse. She drove many miles,

around the U.S., in her trusty jeep. It was a job where Kandy was able to help people while seeing as much of the country as she could.

She was known as an energetic woman who loved meeting new people wherever she went. Kandy Pinard was 73 years old.

James Sullivan, we want you to know about, he enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1942. He served for four years in the South Pacific, and that was tough. He was an Artillery Technician during World War II. He was awarded a Bronze Star for his service.

After the war, he came home to Massachusetts, married the love of his life, Mary Sullivan. They were together for 65 years. They had three children, nine grandchildren, and four great grandchildren.


James was known as the consummate gentleman. He was an avid Red Sox fan, but loved even more to watch his own kids, and grandkids, play sports, as they were growing up. He was always proud of his family, encouraging in a lot of different ways.

He was known to give a spirited "Way to go pal" whenever anyone in the family accomplished something. Whenever anyone would ask how he was doing, his usual reply was, "Never had a bad day." James Sullivan was 99 years old.

We remember them all, and all the veterans we've lost to Coronavirus and any family impacted by this pandemic.

We'll be back in a moment.


COOPER: The news continues. Want to turn things over to Don Lemon and CNN TONIGHT. Don?

DON LEMON, CNN HOST, CNN TONIGHT WITH DON LEMON: Thank you very much, Anderson. Happy Memorial Day to you, and Wyatt, and the entire family, I appreciate that.

This is a special holiday edition of CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon. Good evening, everyone. We have some breaking news now.

More than half of states are now investigating hundreds of cases of multi-symptom inflammatory syndrome in children. A condition that doctors believe could be linked to the Coronavirus.

Health departments across this country identifying more than 350 confirmed and potential cases in at least 26 states--