Return to Transcripts main page
Interview With Sister Helen Prejean; Interview With Venezuelan Activist Leopoldo Lopez; The Nurse Fighting COVID-19 from Hot Spot To Hot Spot. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired November 25, 2020 - 13:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello, everyone, and welcome to AMANPOUR.
Here's what's coming up.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The people of Venezuela are standing for freedom and democracy, and the United States of America is
standing right by their side.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
AMANPOUR (voice-over): A new president, a new policy. So, what will the Biden administration mean for that perennial thorn in the side of
democracy, Maduro's Venezuela? I ask exiled opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez.
Then: The U.S. government will execute its first female prisoner in decades just days before the Biden inauguration. Death penalty opponent
Sister Helen Prejean speaks out on the state of America's justice system.
CHELSEA WALSH, COVID CRISIS TRAVEL NURSE: In that moment, you don't know if they're going to live or die.
AMANPOUR: A report from the front lines. Our Hari Sreenivasan talks to traveling COVID nurse Chelsea Walsh.
And later: By royal appointment, from that Windsor Castle wedding to classical music for a whole new generation, British cellist Sheku Kanneh-
Mason joins me with his musical siblings.
AMANPOUR: Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
Venezuela was in a dire situation even before coronavirus hit, beginning 2020 with more than 90 percent of its people living in poverty and the
region's largest refugee crisis. Now it's gotten even worse, as health workers struggle with a lack of the most basic resources in most of its
hospitals, things like PPE, soap, even clean water to drink.
In 2019, the Trump administration imposed aggressive sanctions and led an international push to recognize Juan Guaido, who is president of
Venezuela's National Assembly, as the country's legitimate leader.
But, despite those efforts, Maduro is still in charge. So, in the face of the crisis in Venezuela, why has the opposition failed to remove him from
power, and what will a Joe Biden presidency mean for U.S. relations with that country and with Latin America overall?
Leopoldo Lopez is a preeminent leader of the Venezuelan opposition. After spending six years in custody there, he escaped to the Spanish Embassy in
Caracas and then fled to Madrid in October.
Leopoldo Lopez is joining me now from exile in Spain.
Welcome to the program, Leopoldo Lopez. We have interviewed you before, back when you were still free and in your own country.
So, I want to ask you. Obviously, you and many other Venezuelans appreciated the tough stance that President Trump took against the
government of Nicolas Maduro.
What do you think the difference will be, or what do you expect from a Joe Biden administration?
LEOPOLDO LOPEZ, VENEZUELAN OPPOSITION ACTIVIST: Well, first of all, thank you very much, Christiane. Thank you. And thanks to CNN and everybody that
has been following the situation in Venezuela.
As you say, Venezuela has become a very tragic situation for millions of people. And the source of that tragedy is political. It's Nicolas Maduro,
Nicolas Maduro as a brutal dictator.
And you asked me, why have not been freedom reached to Venezuela yet? And the reason, the answer for that is that Maduro is a dictator, a brutal
dictator that has used all his capacities, all the power, all the funds that he has for repression, for persecution, incarceration and maintaining
It's been very difficult for the Venezuelan people. And we appreciate the support that we have gotten from the international community, from the
American administration, from the Trump administration. There has been a clear stance for freedom in Venezuela.
But that has not been a position only by Republicans or the Trump administration. It has been, for a while, a bipartisan position. Before the
Trump administration, it was the Obama administration that presented Maduro as a threat to U.S. security
And that led the way for tough sanctions. And now, of course, we're heading into a new administration. And that will mean for us that the position of
being very strong against the dictatorship should remain, because it has been a bipartisan position.
AMANPOUR: As you say--
LOPEZ: Juan Guaido--
LOPEZ: I'm sorry?
AMANPOUR: Sorry to interrupt you, as you say, a bipartisan -- you're right, a bipartisan position in the United States.
So, let me just play what Joe Biden said recently. It was actually in Florida when he was campaigning for this election. This is what he said
about Venezuela and about Maduro.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT-ELECT: We should be leading the international effort to confront the massive humanitarian crisis in Venezuela.
Maduro, who I have met, is a dictator, plain and simple. And he's causing incredible suffering among the Venezuelan people to maintain his grip on
power. The Venezuelan people need our support to recover their democracy and rebuild their country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, what do you specifically want a new administration to do? What can they do differently than the previous administration?
LOPEZ: Well, the most important thing is that, as you just played Joe Biden, president-elect Biden, stating that Maduro is a dictator, that
Maduro is the source of the tragedy for the Venezuelan people.
And the first thing that we hope is that that strong position remains, and that there is clarity among Republicans, Democrats, the American people and
worldwide governments and parliaments and public opinion that the solution to the Venezuelan crisis is regime change. It is having Maduro leaving
power and having free and fair election.
What do we believe could change with a Biden administration is having a closer work between Europe, the United States and the countries in the
region that are supporting regime change and free and fair elections in Venezuela.
As you just played, president-elect Biden is hoping for a more multilateral approach for the crisis in Venezuela. And we hope that that pressure
coordinated by all the countries that support free and fair elections in Venezuela, that support freedom for the Venezuelan people, will continue to
push for free and fair elections.
AMANPOUR: So let me ask you, because you are now in Europe. You are in Spain. And you are right that Europe has made sort of noises about Maduro,
but it hasn't done as much as you want it to do.
And you're saying that it is quite important. Why is that? Because I think you said something like a lot of Maduro's regime and cronies bring their
kids to you.
Tell me why it's so -- it matters to Europe to step up their tough action against Maduro?
LOPEZ: Well, the first thing, Christiane, is there a moral compromise of all democrats, of all people that support freedom and democracy, that
support human rights, that understand that Maduro is a criminal.
And this is not something that I am saying. I have been saying this for a while. And I was sentenced to 14 years in prison because saying that Maduro
was a dictator, was anti-democratic, was a repressive regime. And, today -- that was seven years ago. And, today, the world, the entire world is saying
And, recently, reports from the U.N. have come out stating very clearly that Maduro is responsible for committing crimes against humanity, for
committing severe violations of human rights. And they state very clearly that Maduro is a criminal.
And, recently, just two weeks ago, the International -- the International Criminal Court also stated that there are enough elements to support that
Maduro has committed crimes against the Venezuelan people.
So, I believe that the most important thing is that there is a moral stance of Europe, of all free and fair countries that there needs to be regime
change in Venezuela.
AMANPOUR: So, the question, Leopoldo Lopez, is what do you mean by regime change?
And I guess I asked you because, look, as you point out and as we pointed out, there have been crushing American sanctions on Venezuela. The
mismanagement of the country's economy and its institutions have plunged your people into the most devastating poverty, hardship, and just complete
catastrophe, especially with COVID.
I mean, how does one -- if this hasn't changed, and nor have you been able, and nor have Juan Guaido -- Guaido, despite all your efforts. You have not
been able to remove Maduro from power.
How do you envision it happening? I mean, I guess I remember what happened in Iraq. You know, 20 years of sanctions, crippling sanctions against
Saddam Hussein, did not collapse the regime. Maximum pressure, so-called crippling sanctions against Iran has not collapsed the regime.
What do you think is going to get rid of Maduro?
LOPEZ: Well, I believe that -- well, the first thing I need to clarify, Christiane, is that the crippling economic and social situation in
Venezuela is not due to the American sanctions.
The crumbling of the Venezuelan economy and the human tragedy that the Venezuelans are going through is way before U.N. sanctions were imposed.
So, it's very important to make that clear. The situation in Venezuela is not due, is not a result of the sanctions.
It's a result of mismanagement, corruption, and a regime that does not care about the people.
You ask me, what can be done? And I believe that there are specific ways making more pressure on the Maduro regime. As I said before, on September
15, there was a report that came out from the U.N., a report about the repression that identified 46 people, 46 people that are judges, attorneys,
military and police that are responsible for specific crimes or committing violations, repression, arbitrary detentions.
And we believe that sanctioning these 46 people in Europe, in the United States and in the American countries, it's a step forward. It needs to be
very clear that the world will not stand just looking at what's happening in Venezuela with their arms crossed.
There needs to be pressure. There needs to be direct pressure against the criminal nature of the Maduro regime and his criminal actions.
AMANPOUR: So, can I ask you, because it was quite a daring escape? I don't know the details.
Can you tell me how you escaped from the Spanish Embassy in your capital, Caracas, and got yourself to Madrid?
LOPEZ: Well, I cannot give you the details, Christiane, because I need to protect the people that helped me.
I can only tell you that it was -- it was difficult. But it was the result of more than a month of planning of how to go out of Venezuela. I needed
first to escape from the Spanish Embassy without the support of the Spanish ambassador or the diplomatic people that are in the embassy.
And then I needed to go to the border of Venezuela. It took a lot of planning. And, at some point, at some day, I will give the details. But,
today, I cannot give you the details because I need to protect the people. And we also need to protect the route that we used in case that other
people will need to use that route.
AMANPOUR: So, let me ask you, do you think that you will be -- you're now out. You can speak a lot more prominently and I guess a lot more safely.
And you can actually, in a way, meet, at least on Zoom or something, with important world leaders and the important parliamentarians.
Do you plan to do that? Is that what you're going to do? Because, I mean, this -- connected to the same question is, what is going to happen to Juan
Guaido, who the world has acknowledged as legitimate leader of Venezuela, but who may be removed in what you're all calling sham parliamentary
elections scheduled for a couple of weeks from now?
LOPEZ: Well, you asked a lot of questions in that question.
LOPEZ: The first thing I need to tell you is that Juan Guaido is in Venezuela. He will remain in Venezuela, and he will take the risk of being
imprisoned by the Maduro regime, if that scenario is the one that he needs to face.
That is a scenario that I faced seven years ago. I remember having an interview with you just weeks before I went to prison. And I remember
telling you that this is a fight of David against Goliath, and it continues to be a fight of the people against a repressive regime.
But I can tell you that Juan Guaido is very firm in his conviction of staying in Venezuela, leading the Venezuelan people towards freedom.
Then you asked me what I could do from being in exile. I want to tell you that I did not want to leave Venezuela. For many years, I decided to stay
in Venezuela. I even decided to present myself voluntarily to go to jail. I spent four years in a military prison, and then three years between house
arrest and the Spanish Embassy.
But I took the decision to leave Venezuela because I can be more useful being outside, speaking with different leaders, parliaments, and speaking
out, and also working directly with the Venezuelan people.
In the 20th century, the Venezuelan politics was very influenced by exile and political prisoners. But, back in the '50s of the last century, exile
was very different of what exile is today.
Today, I can have my -- I can be physically here in Madrid, but my mind, my heart and my actions are in Venezuela. We can use the technology to be in
Venezuela and to promote the efforts of the Venezuelan people to continue to fight against the regime.
Our most important task is to exist, to resist and to continue to move forward. We cannot let, in Venezuela, to happen what has happened in other
dictatorships, in Cuba or in North Korea, where the people no longer hope for change, where the people no longer dream for freedom.
We need to continue to have the light of freedom ignited for people to continue to be mobilized. That's our main task. And it's difficult. Yes, it
is. It's been tough. Yes, we have been close, and, some other times, we have been far away from freedom.
But our main responsibility is to continue to fight for freedom, to have the conviction that we will be a free nation, that we will have free and
fair elections, and that we will build a strong national and an international coalition around a single and very concrete objective, having
free and fair presidential elections.
AMANPOUR: So, I just want to ask you one quick last question, because it's exactly about that, free and fair elections and presumably a transition.
It's been suggested -- a former Mexican foreign minister, Jorge Castaneda, you probably saw he's written in "The New York Times" that it will not just
be the United States or others. It'll have to be perhaps regional, with as many allies as possible, including potentially Cuba, because, as you know
better than I do, Cuba and Venezuela are locked in a financial and oil relationship.
And if a President Biden goes back to an Obama-style engagement with Cuba, it might work, potentially.
Do you agree with even considering that kind of enlargement of the group to try to have a peaceful change in Venezuela?
LOPEZ: Well, absolutely.
I believe that we need the largest and the most inclusive coalition of countries to support the process of freedom in Venezuela. So far, 60
countries recognize Juan Guaido as the legitimate president of Venezuela, as the rightful president, with one concrete constitutional mandate, which
is to promote free and fair elections.
But we understand that reaching to free and fair elections cannot be the task of only the Venezuelan people. We need the support of the
So, the first task that we have now is to articulate the international coalition that already supports Juan Guaido around a single and concrete
objective, free and fair presidential elections. And, of course, I believe that, not only Cuba, but also Russia and China need to be part of this
process, because Venezuela today is not only a crumbling economy, but it's in a very tragic situation for the Venezuelan people.
And we need also to envision what type of transition and what type of process we need to promote in the future for Venezuela. We believe -- and
this is the thought of Juan Guaido and of our political coalition in Venezuela -- that we need to promote a transition that is inclusive, that
incorporates different sectors of the political spectrum in Venezuela.
We need to draw red lines around those who have committed crimes against humanity and have violated human rights.
LOPEZ: But we need to incorporate everybody into this process of having free and fair elections and a rebirth of the Venezuelan, not just the
economy, but of the social situation.
AMANPOUR: Leopoldo Lopez, thank you so much.
And, of course, Venezuela is such a massive country and such a massive oil- producing country, very, very rich and important country, so, what happens there matters.
And now, in yet another departure from norms, the U.S. Justice Department has scheduled five federal prisoners for execution in the final days of
Donald Trump's term. It is the first time since the Chester Arthur administration in 1884 that there was more than one execution during a
And it will include the first federal execution of a woman in nearly 70 years. She's Lisa Montgomery, the only woman currently on death row right
now, and she's scheduled to die on January 12.
Attorney General William Barr resumed federal executions in July 2019, after a 17-year hiatus. And since then, eight inmates have been put to
death. Joe Biden, the president-elect, opposes capital punishment and says that he will push to eliminate the death penalty at the federal level.
Now, Sister Helen Prejean is an anti-death penalty activist, very, very well-known. She's the old sort of "Dead Man Walking," a seminal first-
person account of capital punishment in action. And, of course, it was made into a film.
And she's joining me now from New Orleans.
Sister Prejean, welcome to the program.
I just want to ask you, put it in context. As I said, it's kind of the first time since 1884 that this number of executions at the federal level
is happening at this time, a presidential transition.
Why does that matter? And why does that stand out to you?
SISTER HELEN PREJEAN, ANTI-DEATH PENALTY CAMPAIGNER: What it highlights and what it exposes is just the complete capriciousness and venality of the
death penalty put into the hands of government officials, who, at their beck and call, can suddenly start summoning executions.
The weakness in the way that the death penalty was set about the Supreme Court in 1976 was supposedly for worst of the worst, with complete
discretion of a prosecutor to see death or not. It's in the hands of Trump, who then tells Barr, we can kill some people. Let's start lining them up.
And that's what they are doing. And it exposes the basic weakness of a process that's supposed to be based on fairness.
AMANPOUR: Well, when you say, fairness we could -- I mean, I could ask you about all the death row prisoners who have been saved by people like Bryan
Stevenson and other, many, many sort of activists from wrongful convictions.
So, when you say fairness, what do you mean in this case?
Well, when you look at someone like the work of Bryan Stevenson or Witness to Innocence, this group that works with exonerees, 172 wrongfully
convicted people have been sentenced to death. For every 10 executions, one wrongfully convicted person has to be released.
So, when you use -- use Bryan Stevenson, there are a few examples where people got plucked out of this and were saved, but it's not the system of
the law and fairness. We haven't known how to apply -- first of all, even to know what the criteria worst of the worst means.
So that gets interpreted by state legislatures and individual prosecutors. Law is supposed to be predictable and systematic. And it's not. It's up to
these individuals to pursue death or not.
Even as the nation--
Let me just say, even as the nation is putting down the death penalty, my state of Louisiana, a former slave state, we killed eight people in eight-
and-a-half weeks in the '80s. We haven't had an execution in 18 years. And there's no plans to go forward, because the people are -- have been
educated and are coming to get it.
Prosecutors aren't seeking it, except for 2 percent of counties in the United States. Juries aren't sentencing people to death. We have been
putting down death. But, because Trump has the power to kill people, he's using it, and there's hardly any way to stop him.
AMANPOUR: Let me just play -- because we have been talking about Bryan Stevenson, and he is one of the most prominent right now who's doing this
I just want to play what he says about this issue.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRYAN STEVENSON, FOUNDER, EQUAL JUSTICE INITIATIVE: You can't think about the question of capital punishment by asking, do people deserve to die for
the crimes they have committed? The threshold question is, do we deserve to kill, if we have a system that is compromised by error, that is
politicized, that is compromised by bias against certain people, where the poor don't have the same opportunities for fair trial?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, he's confirming, obviously, what you have been saying.
And his Equal Justice Initiative has found, again, what we have just been saying, but let's just confirm it, that one innocent person for every nine
people executed in America, an error rate of one in nine, which is which is pretty high.
Can I ask you, though--
PREJEAN: No, no.
And, I mean, who would book a flight on an airline, OK--
AMANPOUR: Yes. Yes.
PREJEAN: -- you got a one in 10 chance of -- OK.
PREJEAN: OK. Go ahead.
AMANPOUR: No, no, I know. I know. I know what you're saying there.
But I want to ask you particularly, because we have said that Lisa Montgomery, she is on the list of those to be executed in January before
the inauguration, and the first woman in 70 years to be executed in a federal manner.
And I want to ask you about this, because, again, it goes to the nature of the crime, which is absolutely horrific, but also the nature of her
particular situation. She was convicted in 2007 of fatally strangling a 23- year-old pregnant woman and essentially cutting her open. And it's a horrible story.
But her lawyers are seeking clemency due to her history of severe mental illness. And she was a victim of gang rape and, I mean, the most terrible
I mean, talk to me about that, because people will say, wow, look at this crime, she deserved to die. But then there are these other potentially
And when you have a good lawyer and a mitigation expert with you at trial, she actually had a prosecutor just -- all that torture and suffering she
went through from the time she was a small child, just says, oh, it's the abuse excuse.
And so she goes mentally out -- she gets -- she loses touch with reality. That is one of the -- Katherine Porter (sic), who examined her, just said,
when you are going through terror as a child, you disconnect, you go to another place of reality.
And the fact is that, if Lisa Montgomery weren't given the anti- psychotropic drugs to keep her in touch with reality, the Supreme Court has said that people who are mentally -- who are disconnected and don't even
realize they will be executed cannot be -- cannot be executed.
So, they're keeping her sane enough to be able to kill her, and this on top of all the torture, where she got no help. Her sister was moved to a foster
care home, but she wasn't. And now the government wants to kill her. It's so outrageous. It's -- it just shows what's wrong in this.
They look at the crime. Clearly, that is a mentally disturbed person that cuts a baby out of a woman, brings it home, tells her husband, oh, I gave
birth to the baby while I was shopping, and so now we have a baby. And, of course, the police are at her door the next day.
These are mitigating circumstances. Is this what you mean by the worst of the worst? She's innocent of death. She should not be put to death. She
should be helped. And she's one example. And it just slays you to just know all the people who have been executed and who never -- the juries never got
to hear the story of what is -- especially abused and battered women, that whole syndrome they go into, following what their husband says and so
AMANPOUR: And, Sister--
PREJEAN: And, if I may -- if I may--
AMANPOUR: I wanted to ask you -- yes, I wanted to ask you. I think this is what you want to talk about--
AMANPOUR: -- what it does to people to witness an execution and to take part in that.
And I know you have, as a -- as religious--
AMANPOUR: -- as an activist.
PREJEAN: No, right.
Part of the reason that the death penalty is lasting so long and why it's being carried out in Terre Haute is that the public does not get to see
what goes on when the government kills a live human being who's conscious and imaginative.
One of the cases I have gotten involved with is Brandon Bernard, who is supposed to be executed on December 10. And he described -- and he's gotten
along with everybody in prison. He has a perfect record. He was just 18 when he was involved with a murder. He wasn't a ringleader, as they said,
of the gang at all.
And Friday night, an ordinary night, and two guards come to his door. And he said: "I could tell by their eyes. They weren't smiling. I usually am
joking with them. They're silent. They put handcuffs on me. They walk me down the hall, where the warden is waiting, sitting at a table. He's got
papers. And he reads out the warrant that I'm going to be killed on December 10."
Suddenly, from going from life, he then begins with the clock ticking that I'm going to be killed.
In time, as we morally evolve as a nation, as a people, we are going to recognize that the death penalty is torture. It is an extreme mental and
who -- God knows what happens physically. Two hundred autopsies of lethal injection show that lungs are filled with fluid, people are drowning, an
extreme mental or physical assault on someone rendered defenseless.
And it is the defenselessness. So, I know, through the case of Brandon -- I just had a conference with him -- the suffering, and then not to mention
the families. We don't need to do this. We can put death down. It's not helping us anyway. It's futile.
The states that have used it the most don't show any indication of having less violence. We need to go to restorative justice in this country across
the whole penal system. Why throw people into exile in prison for the rest of their lives for a drug deal or whatever?
We -- and we're beginning to wake up. George Floyd is helping us to wake up. If we can have systemic error in law enforcement, then look at the race
that plays its card fully in the death penalty fully.
AMANPOUR: Yes, absolutely. The numbers--
AMANPOUR: The numbers are staggering. You're absolutely right.
Sister Prejean, thank you so much for joining us.
And just again to point out that Joe Biden is against capital punishment.
Now, interestingly, the figures, according to Gallup Poll, says that 55 percent of Americans still support the death penalty in cases of murder.
But it's the lowest level of public support in 50 years.
So, as the U.S. approaches a Thanksgiving like no other, the CDC is urging people against travel to see their families. This is because America has
reached yet another grim milestone.
As of Tuesday, about 88,000 people are currently hospitalized for COVID-19, and it's the highest number the nation has ever experienced.
Chelsea Walsh is a traveling crisis nurse who moves from one COVID hotspot to the other. She is serving those hardest hit by this pandemic. And here
she is talking to our Hari Sreenivasan about what she's learned along the way from Texas to New York.
HARI SREENIVASAN, INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Thanks, Christiane. Chelsea Walsh, thanks so much for joining us. First, let's just start out by giving
us a tour. Where have you been in the United States this year fighting COVID?
CHELSEA WALSH, COVID CRISIS TRAVEL NURSE: Too many places. New York, New Jersey, Arizona, Texas, and I bet a couple states in between traveling.
SREENIVASAN: These are literally the worst places in the United States of where these cases were spiking. You went to the worst places on purpose.
WALSH: Yes. I knew that people needed help and I want to help them.
SREENIVASAN: The hospitals in New York, we saw these images of absolute exhaustion on the faces of nurses and doctors. They seem so overwhelmed
because we were still learning so much about what was happening around us. Compare that to say whether you were in Texas or an Arizona, this is months
later where we knew a little bit more.
WALSH: To support, really came down to the hospital supporting us. It came down to leadership supporting us. It came down to the community supporting
us and listening to us. And then when that stopped, it was probably the biggest shock to nearly always wondering why, you know, nobody was
listening to us, we didn't (ph) have a voice anymore.
SREENIVASAN: And I think a lot of people struggle with that idea. I mean, especially New Yorkers, but we've lost 26,000 people to this, in this city,
in this region. What part of this do you not understand is real? Now, we are at a point where 10 times as many people, Americans have died from
this. We have 12.5 million infections, why is it that when you went to Arizona or Texas, how could these folks not realize that it's real?
WALSH: That's the thing. Right now - and being a nurse in 2020, it's like being a meteorologist and telling everyone, hey, there's a lightning storm
coming. Lightning can kill you. Lightning can hurt or kill your family. If everyone ends up in the hospital at the same time, we may or may not be
able to take care of everyone. And then everyone else screams back, we don't believe in lightning as they run directly into the storm holding
So, how do you convince people to don't believe in lightning that lightning is real? That's kind of where it kind of comes down to.
SREENIVASAN: You know, I want to ask also about a clip that you recently had in the Wall Street Journal, you and a few other crisis nurses sort of
catalogued and made diaries of your day.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have to put one more tube in.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Squeeze my hand.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh my god. Oh my god. Why is there so much blood?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't know.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She's DIC. She's going to bleed out.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She's a full code. She's a full code.
WALSH: If this happens again, I'm not going to be a nurse anymore. I'm not doing this. I'm not dealing with this. Whatever that was just in the room,
I don't want that. I don't want to die that way. Oh my god, it was so bad. It was so horrifying to watch her, why she was bleeding so much. I don't
want whatever that was.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SREENIVASAN: What was happening in there?
WALSH: So pretty much a younger person came in with COVID, as the only thing that we knew that she had. And she started bleeding profusely out of
her nose, her eyes, her vagina, everywhere at the same time. And in that moment, you don't know if they're going to live or die. And then, that
realization that this is something that's contagious, you realize that after you walk out of that hospital today you might die.
SREENIVASAN: And that's something fairly rare that happens?
WALSH: Yes, it's a rare publication, but unfortunately it happens.
When I personally see patients like this that are young, that are typically healthy, don't really have medical history, on a ventilator or have heart
attacks or strokes from COVID. You see them lying in the hospital bed, and you realize that could be you, that could be your friends, that could be
your family. And you walk away just thinking, when's it going to be my turn in that bed.
SREENIVASAN: Oftentimes, you, as a nurse, are the last person that some of these people see before they die. And you're the one that's left to tell a
family, often over a cell phone or FaceTime video, that their loved one has passed. Well, what is that process like to do over and over and over again?
WALSH: One of the hardest things I've ever had to do. You watch people you developed a bond with, because neither of you can go home to your families,
and you live with them pretty much because you're there all the time. You develop bonds with these people, and then you watch them go, it's like
watching the friends die. And then, you talk to the families and I've had to talk down so many panic attacks. I've had to convince so many people the
virus is real and that's why their family has passed.
Then, even hug the family when they get in there most of the time. And yet, some people you get off the phone with them, or you see them after they
leave the hospital, and all you can think of is that person's going to go kill themselves. Because a lot of times the family members are the people
that give it to the person who died in the hospital, and the guilt that they end up having from that event is so significant.
SREENIVASAN: And yet, you can't really even say something to them, squeeze their arm in the same room because they're not there with you. I mean, this
sounds like the stuff that you take home and you don't tell your loved ones about when they asked about, hey, how was your day at work? This is what
you are not talking about.
And if you're not talking about this, if other nurses aren't talking about this, if other doctors aren't talking about this, what does this do to your
WALSH: Well, I have therapy once a week now. Well, I have PTSD and I have COVID PTSD. A lot of nurses are now developing it. We all talk about all
the time, a lot of us are talking about how, you know, we're getting away - we've got away from bedside nursing and a lot of people will go back to
bedside nursing, they go get there. Now, a lot of nurses, they have to start taking medication.
We do a panic attacks, guilt (ph) crying spells. We, because we do care about people and we didn't get into this job to watch a (inaudible) die.
And now that is our job and that's not what we signed up for.
SREENIVASAN: Being a crisis nurse, you're used to going into places where they're short staffed, where they're super busy, where something intense is
happening, perhaps it's recovery from a natural disaster or something else. Why was this so different?
WALSH: It was different because a lot of these places don't have the support staff anymore. They've all quit or been fired. It's really mostly
just doctors and nurses on the ground floor. In some places, the doctors won't even help in this room. They won't even go into these rooms. It's
still left up to the nurses.
And we felt from the very beginning, most of us have talked about this, that we've pretty much been sacrificed, that our lives would be less than
everyone else's from the beginning by being told that only we were allowed and no one else was allowed to go near these patients. So there's a
constant fear of why us and, again, when is it going to be our turn in that hospital bed.
There's also the fact that, you know, we don't have the PPE and we don't have the supplies that we need. In some places, it's felt like a third
world country, we're running out of medication, we have to ration. We're running out of supplies, we have to ration.
We're running out of staff, we have to ration. And then, the nurse to patient ratio, which is what keeps a lot of patients safe, by limiting how
many patients a nurse can have. That's going up, which is bad, because that means we have less time to spend with each person and let them - we can't
watch everyone at the same time.
There's a lot of very risky, dangerous things that have happened and are happening that make the entire situation very unstable and very unsafe
right now. That's why it's so different.
SREENIVASAN: Historically, there's always been a little bit of tension between nurses and doctors, but the best systems are usually when they work
together well. And what has COVID taught you about what needs to be changed in the role of what a nurse does?
WALSH: Right now, I think the primary focus hospital should have is to protect their nurses. Because if we're not there, we're gone, there's no
more hospital standing, because without us, there's nobody to do the skills.
And these hospitals are already turning into these ghost town like situations where there's already not enough staffer to take care of a
hospital. And we're doing our best. In some places, I've had to be housekeeping. I've had to be the secretary. I've had to be the
phlebotomist. I've had to be the pharmacist. I've had to do every job in the hospital because nobody else is working. And then, the doctors still
won't go into these rooms. And so, we have to do doctors assessments.
So nurses are literally picking up all the fields that are leaving the hospital. And if we're gone and we're not protected, these hospitals can't
stand. So right now, the main priority hospital should have is focusing on protecting their nurses, as we're keeping the hospital standing.
SREENIVASAN: So, Chelsea, someone watching this is going to say, we've had Anthony Fauci talking about this. We've had so many people, so many
doctors, so many experts saying wear a mask, socially distance, wash your hands use common sense. Why is it that we're also hearing nurses tell us
about patients who aren't literally dying without believing that they have the very thing that's killing them?
WALSH: Because everything became politicized. Politics invited itself to medicine, and it divided everything. It was never supposed to be like this.
And if people want to know who to listen, to listen to your nurses and doctors that are actually working on these patients. Because we know what's
going on every day and we actually do care about everyone. And we don't want everyone to end up in the hospital or get sick. Like you know the
consequences, what happens if the hospitals get overwhelmed?
If anyone wants to listen to anybody listen to us, because we care about everyone. And guess what, we hate masks too. We don't want the economy to
go down either. We hate doing all these guidelines as well, we just want this to be over. So if anyone wants an unbiased opinion, ask your nurse or
SREENIVASAN: I also want to know, how do you not get sick if you walk into hospital after hospital where COVID is running rampant?
WALSH: That's the thing I'm about due to get sick again. So -
SREENIVASAN: Yes. Meaning, that you have it before.
WALSH: Yes, oh yes. And it's been a few months, at the very least. And I've had a lot of nurse friends, crisis nurse friends, who've ended up with the
virus two or three times. And on their second or third time, they end up in the hospital bag, some of them on a ventilator. So I'm just hoping that's
not me the next time around?
SREENIVASAN: How do you keep your families from getting sick?
WALSH: I don't go near my family. When - the last time I saw them, I couldn't hug them. I haven't hugged anybody in a long time. I haven't
really been able to embrace my family at all. It's hard.
When you really crave human support and it's not there, and you can't have it, I understand that's really hard for everyone right now, because we're
going through it too. But we're doing it, again, because we care about everyone. And we want to keep everyone safe. So we do this alone. Yes.
SREENIVASAN: Now to be clear, you don't work for a specific hospital that you're on staff of or anything. So, I mean, are you basically working for
like the Uber of nursing that sends you to wherever surge rising is?
SREENIVASAN: You're an independent contractor?
SREENIVASAN: What's your health insurance like if you're going into these places and getting sick multiple times?
WALSH: I don't have health insurance. I didn't have health insurance since May, June. So I can't go at the hospital if I get sick. There's lot of
nurses right now who don't have medical coverage, and we continue to work.
There's been a lot that has been going on in medicine. And I, personally, don't believe it's fair to nurses what's happening. We are not being
covered if we catch COVID in many cases. In a lot of cases now too, we're often being terminated from the job because we can no longer work. And we
can't prove that we got from the hospital versus the grocery store. So they let us go and they hired another nurse to take our place.
SREENIVASAN: So since you're independent contractor, you don't have to have health insurance to do the work that you do even if the work that you do
puts you in harm's way.
SREENIVASAN: I don't think most people will be able to wrap their head around the idea that a COVID or crisis nurse working in COVID units is
doing so without health insurance. And if she got sick and was in a hospital bed next to that patient, she might very well never be able to pay
WALSH: That is the reality we are now living in.
SREENIVASAN: So, why do it?
WALSH: Well, because everyone needs help. And it's not like I can do much else to help anyone else right now. Other than my job, even though it feels
like it's on fire most the time. So I continue to go back to work and every now and then you have those patients or those families who say they really
appreciate everything you're doing. And that they love that you are a part of their life, that you really made a difference. And that helps you to
And then, you see these young ones, the ones that don't make it, and then there's more that do. And you see them walk out the door and gives you
hope, that maybe things will get better. Maybe people will get better. And then, the next one are roll in the door, but it's hard. It's very, very
hard. And I don't know how much longer any of us can keep going on at this rate. Because we're getting burnt out, we're getting tired, we're getting
frustrated with all of this. We're almost at our last limit.
It feels like societies been pushing the rubber bands to see how far we can stretch, and that rubber bands just about to snap. America, it's very real
possibility right now that America may be left without hospital systems in many places because many of the nurses will walk out or leave, and they
will refuse to work in certain conditions.
SREENIVASAN: You know, we have a lot of families that are getting together for Thanksgiving right now, I guess, the better advice of public health
professionals who are traveling to do so. And I wonder if you can tell them, perhaps a story of a patient that you've dealt with that sticks with
you, that may resonate with them as well on why they should take this seriously.
WALSH: I've got a lot of patients. I have, I guess I'll tell you about one more recently, a young gentleman who is healthy, got COVID from the gym,
continue to go to the gym with COVID, ended up having a heart attack and got placed on a ventilator.
Then there's also the mother who got COVID from her son and ended up dying. There's the mother who got COVID from unknown places, but came to turn nine
months pregnant, had the baby in the ICU. The baby ended up passing and so did the mother, and left a couple of children orphan.
I've seen so many different scenarios play out in real life. And I don't know how to prove to other people that this stuff happened other than you
had to be there or you have to trust me. Or you just going to wait and find out and experience it yourself. And that's something I can guarantee you
nobody wants to go through, nobody.
SREENIVASAN; Chelsea Walsh, thank you so much for what you do. I sincerely mean and I hope you stay healthy. I hope he stays safe. Thanks so much for
speaking with us.
WALSH: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: Just when you think you've heard everything, Chelsea stories really make your hair stand on end. And finally, Meghan Markel has revealed
that she suffered a miscarriage in July. In a highly personal column for the New York Times, the Duchess of Sussex spoke of deep loss, grief and the
need to check in with each other, much more, and ask a simple question are you OK?
In tough times, music can be a great healer. And with that, we turn to an artist who shot to fame playing the cello at Harry and Meghan's Windsor
Castle wedding. He is, of course, Sheku Kanneh-Mason, and he's one of seven musical siblings. And together they have now just released a new album
called "Carnival of the Animals." And I'm delighted to be joined by as many as we could fit on a Skype call. Sheku, Briamah, Konya and Jeneba, welcome
to the program.
Look, it's great to see you and we need you for much needed relief and to actually celebrate this amazing album. Sheku, let me ask you first, Sheku,
because we've spoken before. What was it like to record with all your siblings, and particularly this one where you work with the great
children's author Michael Morpurgo, you've got Olivia Colman, who's now playing the queen, reading some of it, tell me about the process.
SHEKU KANNEH-MASON, CELLIST: Yes, it was it was such a wonderful experience. And for us to record together as a family was really special.
We've, of course, grown up playing in many different combinations together. And so to make a recording of where we are all at, at this stage in our
life, is very, very special for us.
And, of course, to be joined by Michael Morpurgo, who really fit in with the whole idea of this album, because we really wanted to aim at children.
And, of course, he's a very, very celebrated children's author and we grew up reading his books and his stories, and I think combining these wonderful
stories with this wonderful music, I think is a really nice combination. So we really enjoyed kind of putting that together.
AMANPOUR: Yes, and just sort of bring this music, classical music, but also the music of the writers we're talking about to a whole new generation. But
I just want to ask you, because I think, Jeneba, I think you persuaded your group, your siblings, to record Bob Marley's iconic, the "Redemption" hit,
and he released that in 1980. Tell me about that and why you thought it should be included on this album?
JENEBA KANNEH-MASON, PIANIST & CELLIST: Yes, so we've all grown up listening to Bob Marley. So I just, I guess, I just thought it would be
nice if we arranged something of his, like for all seven of us. And I think it really works. And we all chipped in our own ideas and to rehearse it was
really fun. So yes, I hope everyone enjoys it.
AMANPOUR: What was it like for you all, you know, to work as a family? I mean, Konya, what was it like to work as a family, all the siblings
KONYA KANNEH-MASON, PIANIST & VIOLINIST: And it was lots of fun. I think it was very fortunate in many ways that we were kind of forced to spend five
months under one roof together, because it gave us the opportunity to have lots of rehearsal time, lots of time working together, and kind of teaching
and just playing together. And I think was just very exciting bringing that all together in the studios. So I think it was just altogether a very
AMANPOUR: OK. So be brutally honest, was it great people sort of stuck together in lockdown? Or, I mean, you know, were there artistic
differences, sibling, I don't know, rivalries. Braimah, tell me about it.
BRAIMAH KANNEH-MASON, VIOLINIST: Well, firstly, I think our parents, our mom and dad, were very excited that we were coming home. And they were
because five of us now and, at the time, four of us were away studying in London. So when we were all forced to come back, they were very excited to
But, of course, for us, it was extremely noisy, extremely cramped. But it was really nice when it came to playing together, and actually most of the
arguments. In fact, all of the arguments happened during board games and doing other things. But when we come to actually rehearsing and playing
together was actually very simple and very, very nice for us.
AMANPOUR: And I think, you know, you also quite, you know, pleased that you can open up this kind of music to a new generation.
S. KANNEH-MASON: Definitely. I think we were, of course, inspired and wanted to see this, this world of classical music, because we were
introduced to it from a very young age. And I've been so grateful for those opportunities to have proper lessons and stuff from a young age. And that's
something that we would like many, many more children like us to have, have the opportunity because we can, of course, see the wonders that it has
brought to our lives.
And I think, for us, one of the most exciting things is performing to children and seeing how their imagination is stimulated by any kind of
AMANPOUR: And I guess, just whoever wants to take this, you know, you know, we have these programs. And, you know, there's very serious and there's a
lot of politics, a lot of, you know, pain, a lot of the health and the pandemic. What do you what do you think, I guess, in terms of not just for
yourself, and not just for young generation, but just your music at this time when, I guess, healing and a bit of joy is so desperately needed?
K. KANNEH-MASON: Yes, I think music is one of those extraordinary things that can speak to everyone but especially in times of pain, and especially
when in terms of suffering and great difficulty. And I think what's been extremely meeting and extremely interesting is that over the lockdown, so
many people have turned to the arts to film to watching theaters online to listening to lots of music, and that's certainly what got us through it. I
think that's what's got so many people through and I think that is that is the extreme power of music.
AMANPOUR: OK. So we are going to basically say goodbye to you. We're going to, you know, leave you all by playing from your latest album, and we're
going to play the "Seal Lullaby" and that is from Eric Whitacre's "Lullaby." And all of the seven of you are playing on that.
And so, thanks for letting us play this on the air. And as we say goodbye and listening to this. We want to say to everybody who will be celebrating
Thanksgiving in the next day and over this next weekend, to please have a very good but very safe Thanksgiving. And we leave you now with the "Seal
Lullaby" by the Kanneh-Masons.