tv MSNBC Live With Craig Melvin MSNBC May 25, 2020 8:00am-9:00am PDT
to start this hour by wishing you all a safe and healthy memorial day. start by catching up on the latest facts. right now our country has more than 1.6 million known coronavirus cases, we're approaching another difficult milestone this morning as well, the virus has killed more than 98,000 americans so far. and on this memorial day president trump paying his respects to americans who have died in service to their country. this hour the president will leave the white house for baltimore. he will be visiting the fort mchenry national monument there. earlier he and the first lady participated in a wreath laying ceremony at arlington national cemetery. we're also expecting to hear from new york governor andrew cuomo this hour, giving the daily briefing around 11:30 today. the governor is in new york city. we will bring that to you as soon as it happens. we start this morning in the short town of point pleasant
beach -- the protest that organizers are calling the freedom march of new jersey, set to start there in a little under an hour, the protesters are pushing for new jersey governor phil murphy to allow businesses to fully reopen as soon as possible. nbc's kathy park joins us from point pleasant beach, and kathy, first of all, how big is this crowd expected to get? what are you hearing from the protesters there? >> reporter: well, craig, i spoke with an organizer not too long ago and she says right now it's unclear how long -- or how big this crowd will get because a lot of the social media posts that they had basically advertising the event got taken down. so she says it's -- a lot of it has been word of mouth. but talking to some of the folks here they're coming from the tri-state region, new york, new jersey, various parts of the state. and, really, their purpose is a
couple of things. they want to loosen up the restrictions because they believe that the state has flattened the curve and they say that the restrictions are just too strict and then the other point that they wanted to make was that a lot of these smaller businesses are suffering in beach communities like point pleasant beach because of the restrictions. a lot of them have to be curbside only and that is a big challenge. this has hurt the local economy. they believe it's unfair that these big box stores like walmart and target are profiting because of what's going on and they want these restrictions to be lifted so that the little guys can actually get back on their feet. now, you might see a lot of trump 2020 flags behind me. and it might look like a political rally but i was told that this is a bipartisan event. we have legislators from both parties slated to speak behind me over there is a stage. so it's supposed to allegedly be a couple of hours and then
they're supposed to march down the main street here. and craig, you know, you see this large gathering behind me, very few masks on. a couple of things to note, though, in the state of new jersey when you are outside it's not mandatory to wear a mask but obviously it's encouraged. however, though, something to point out, groups have to be less than 25. so i asked the chief of police here, hey, how are they able to do something like this, host an event like this? he says this group has the right to -- >> she's lying! >> all right. we -- you know, the chief of police said they have a right to protest. they have the right to be here and he says that they will be using discretion, and potentially citing, if it gets to be a little too rowdy. you heard there, craig, you have folks who object to what we are doing but hopefully it stays peaceful and it seems to be that way. craig, back to you. >> kathy park, who does not lie,
kathy park from the jersey shore, kathy, thank you, stay safe my friend, let us head about eight miles north of point pleasant beach to bell mar, new jersey, another popular beach town used to seeing overflowing tourist crowds. officials have had to make major adjustments, had to suspend the sail of seasonal beach badges over the holiday weekend after seeing massive lines for people trying to get them early. i'm joined now by the mayor of bellmar, mayor mark walcifer. first of all, how is the holiday weekend going so far? is the beach packed? and if so, are people keeping that safe social distance? >> well, craig, we have the weather gods on our side this weekend. the weather wasn't ideal for the beach this weekend. we had fog and rain this morning. and for the past two days the sun hasn't been out so our boardwalk has been -- a lot of
people on our boardwalk, not so many people on our beach. we had our whole team in place for the whole weekend. to make the adjustments that we had to make because we put a whole program in place to make sure that we concentrated on the social distancing. we took all the benches off the boardwalk. made sure that people were staying, keeping their walking to the right on each side. we had to suspend the sale of season beach badges because normally on memorial day weekend, it's our two biggest days for selling seasonal beach badges. so with the crowds that happened last weekend we figured that we better suspend the sale of them until tuesday. just so that we can concentrate on the social distancing. but we've been making changes, you know, we were prepared to make changes hourly if we needed to. >> mayor we just showed that protest there in point pleasant beach, not far from where you
are. what are you hearing from local business owners about reopening? >> well, you know, we started our summer season. so, you know, i feel for all the summer businesses and all the businesses in bellmar because they really count on the tourist season to carry them through the whole year. so, you know, we're working closely with the governor's office. want to make sure that we concentrate on social distancing and keep everybody safe. so we're taking direction from the governor's office. he is looking to -- it looks like he's going to start loosening up some restrictions but, you know, we have to, you know, abide by what he's coming out with. so i know it's tough on all of our businesses because, you know, they really count on this tourist season. so -- and it's definitely going to hurt. >> you know, mayor, one of the things that i continue to hear from mayors like yourself in
these beach towns is that one of the things that's happening is you'll have one beach that's open, and then, you know, the next beach isn't open and the next beach after that might not be open so the beaches that do decide to open have a disproportionate number of people who are coming to the beach, which makes it more difficult to socially distance. how do you fix that? is that something that you've seen as well? >> well, we were prepared for it this weekend, but like i said the weather didn't cooperate with the beach goers. so our beaches were actually pretty light. we were in contact with the governor's office, and our county freeholder's office for the past five weeks to make sure that if one of the beaches were going to open we all had to open. so that that didn't happen but we were prepared. our full -- our office of emergency management -- our full concentration was on social
distancing because when we found that when the sun comes out that's the only thing that we can try to control is the social distancing because the people are coming to the beach. we found out the first weekend in may that when it was a beautiful weekend everything that we tried to do to stay with the stay at home order, to tell people, you know, to stay at home, didn't work. so they came down to the beach. they loaded up our boardwalks, and we had to make the change to open up the boardwalk because we had so many people walking in the middle of the street that it became a public safety issue. we decided to take a -- and that's what we did. so we took the benches off. and that actually helped us out a lot. getting the people back up on the boardwalk and out of the street. so from the first weekend of may we knew that anytime the sun was
out we were having an influx of people into our town. we had to make those adjustments. >> all right. bellmar new jersey mayor mark walcifer, thanks for your time, sir. let's stay in new jersey for a moment. new jersey governor phil murphy is speaking. this is a memorial day ceremony in wrightstown, new jersey. he's at the william c. doyle memorial cemetery, this morning the governor tweeted, quote, we honor all those who paid the ultimate price for something greater than themselves, our freedom and liberty, may we never forget their sacrifice. governor murphy there right now. let's go from the garden state down the east coast to the tar hill state. let's head to north carolina, that state saw its biggest one-day spike in covid cases over the weekend, saturday, more than 1,100 cases were reported
in 24 hours, more than 400 more on sunday. that rise came as the state continued its phased reopening, restaurants and hair salons are now open at 50% capacity, more beaches are open in north carolina as well. nbc's allison barber has made her way to durham, north carolina. first of all, allison, what's the scene like where you are? and secondly, the spike that we saw there in north carolina, is this purely a result of more testing? >> reporter: yeah, a lot of people we've spoken to so far think it could be testing in terms of the state, the state's health department says epidemiologists are still evaluating to see if there were any significant contributing factors in terms of saturday's uptick. here in durham, though, things are a little bit different than they are in the rest of the state because there's actually a local stay at home order in effect here, restaurants, hair salons, they're not open here
and that's because in this area the mayor, who i spoke to a little earlier today, says that they have three times the amount of cases per capita. when you look at nearby counties like wake county. because of that, they say other parts of the state were able to go with the phase two reopening that governor cooper went into effect, his orders on friday. they say they weren't ready for that here. you can see people are out and about. but in terms of stores being open, restaurants operating, that's not happening in this area just yet as it is in other parts of the state. as you said there was that big uptick, over 1,100 confirmed reported cases of covid-19 on saturday. the state's director, health secretary said it was a concerning uptick, a spokesperson for the governor told nbc news this, quote, the increase in cases shows we must move forward slowly and cautiously, especially on this holiday weekend. the governor urges north carolinians to protect themselves and their families.
he will continue to work with public health experts to closely monitor and analyze the data. and, again, epidemiologists say they're still evaluating to see if there was any significant contributing factors in regards to the uptick, but as you mentioned a lot of people have pointed out that north carolina has significantly increased their testing in recent days and whether it's a democrat or republican, when you ask someone what they think maybe caused the uptick a lot of people say they think testing could have had some sort of impact. craig? >> all right, allison barber there in durham, north carolina. allison, thank you. let's head about two hours south of durham to wilmington, north carolina, coastal town there, i'm joined by the mayor of wilmington, north carolina, mayor bill saffo. i came to know you reasonably well last year during the unfortunate hurricane there. it's good to see you again. i know that just this last friday you lifted more restrictions there in wilmington, restrictions for
breweries, wineries, distilleries. are you at all concerned about this latest rise in cases and whether you're lifting these restrictions too early? >> sure, we are. we knew that when we went from the mitigation phase to the reopening phase that we would see a spike. we hoped that during the mitigation phase on all the things we've asked people to do, wearing the masks, having the essential distancing, washing your hands, would carry over into the reopening phase. we knew there would be a spike. obviously we're testing a lot more but we hope that the spike is just temporary. but we are prepared to take a significant action that if the numbers continue to rise we'll have to make some adjustments into the reopenings. obviously here in the city of wilmington we've only allowed hotels to open up at 50% capacity, understanding we're a coastal community. a lot of tourists come to our area. the three beach communities have fully reopened. we don't want to put all those
hotels all at one time. the beaches started first and then we ended up coming in near the end of this. so hopefully what we're doing here will keep that curve down and continue to allow us to reopen our businesses but also be cautiously optimistic and vigilant in how we do it. >> you made the decision to encourage, but not mandate the use of masks in wilmington there. one of the things that we've seen in a lot of the cities that attract large numbers of tourists is that the residents will wear facial coverings but the people who come into the city, maybe not so much. why encourage and not mandate? >> it's an enforcement issue for us, craig, and i think it's going to be an enforcement issue for most communities around the country. the amount of people that will not wear a mask for whatever known reason is pretty large. i've seen it out and around town. i do feel that the vast majority of people here in the community have heeded the warnings of the
elected people, have heeded the warnings of the medical folks and are wearing masks. there are people no matter what you tell them or what evidence you show them, they will say i'm not going to wear a mask, you can't make me do it. those are the ones that will get a lot of people sick in the long run. we hope the businesses we have engaged with are making the right decisions and doing the good things we've asked them to do to protect their customers and employees. here again there is a group of people out there, no matter what you tell them, they're going to do what they want to do. it's unfortunate. if we do these things of wearing the masks, washing our hands, doing the social distancing we can get through this crisis, and to the point where we get the vaccine or we get the litany of drugs to help combat it and allow us to continue to reopen our country, reopen our businesses here in not only wilmington but all over the state and all over the country. if people would just continue to thumb their nose and say we're going to do what we want to do we're going to continue to see the infection rates dramatically
increase in certain parts of the country. but i will tell you, i think that governor cooper was very aggressive and did a great job in getting us to where we are today and allowing us to reopen our communities and our city. >> wilmington mayor bill saffo, it's good to see you again, please pass along my regards to everyone down there. i enjoyed my time there in wilmington last year, it would be nice to talk to you under better circumstances at some point. >> i hope so, buddy, thank you. let's go from north carolina to wisconsin now, this weekend a popular vacation spot there, like geneva, not far from chicago, not far from milwaukee, lake geneva saw massive crowds and as you can see from this video not a lot of social distancing. on any memorial day weekend it would be a popular choice but it's drawing more people from surrounding states, nbc's cal
perry on that road to recovery rv tour, across the country, he has made his way to lake geneva. he's there now. what are you seeing there today, cal? >> reporter: you look at that video i took yesterday, this downtown area was packed, thousands of people. like you said this is one of those places that attracts a lot of out of state visitors. in this case states with very different rules. in illinois, face coverings are required. here in wisconsin they are just recommended. and so people are out, as they would be on any other memorial day. the way that this happened, i think, in wisconsin is very instructive to how people are celebrating memorial day. david, a business owner, said this about how quickly things changed here. >> we went from lockdown to total chaos. >> reporter: open. >> they overturned the governor's ruling, and there was an argument about the legality of that, or how it was done, i think. but the governor had a plan to
reopen in a week. all of us were kind of aligned on that. we were all kind of waiting to hear what those new rules and guidelines were. so it's been a challenge because we went from zero to a hundred, and we are kind of left to try and figure this out on our own. >> reporter: and so restaurants and bars and all the places that you go when you're at the lakefront are figuring it out all on their own. one of the problems i saw yesterday was in the restaurants like the ones behind me you can space out the tables all that you want inside but all it does is force that line outside. so this street yesterday i imagine will be the same today, craig, with people just kind of flowing into it and the same goes for the beach. they've restricted beach access to a beach that normally holds 700 now, only 300 people. people don't have a place to go. it's just a volume issue, so many people here this weekend, craig. >> okay. cal perry, lake geneva,
wisconsin. safe travels. we continue to wait for new york governor andrew cuomo, happening roughly ten minutes from now. he is expected at new york city's intrepid sea air and space museum later this hour of particular importance, of course, on this memorial day. we'll take you there just as soon as it starts. packed water parks, lakes, boardwalks. we've all been cooped up. what's the best way to stay safe while enjoying the unofficial kickoff of summer? doctor on duty has advice about those memorial day crowds. first, though, a second wave of infections is crippling alabama's hospitals. more than three weeks after the governor there lifted the state stay at home orders. >> if you're from montgomery, and you need an icu bed, you're in trouble. if you're from central alabama, and you need an icu bed, you may not be able to get one.
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seeing a 50% increase in cases over the last two weeks. now hospitals there are running out of icu beds. nbc's day sha burns joins me there montgomery, alabama. what are officials there saying about this spike in cases and the shortage of icu beds? >> reporter: craig, this hospital behind me right now, jackson hospital, they do not have any icu beds available right now. and for the last two weeks the number of available beds has been between 0 and 1. that is a pretty precarious position for any hospital to be in let alone one in a county where cases have nearly doubled over the last couple of weeks. that puts a lot of pressure on hospitals like this and they are struggling with resources. some of them have even had to send patients to birmingham, 90 miles away, to get the care that they need. craig, i've been talking to
doctors here all morning. and it's about 90 degrees out today and i've had chills all day because of the heartbreaking stories that i've been hearing. they are just struggling to care for this unsustainable influx of patients. i talked to dr. lisa williams and she told me she frankly thought they were through the worst of it, seeing hospitalizations go down but the opposite has happened. take a listen. >> over the past two, three weeks our numbers, our icu beds have been full. we've been having a lot of overflow in the icu. the community has, you know, at first was doing a great job on protecting themselves but now unfortunately i think people don't think it's very serious and unfortunately we're seeing a lot of new patients come in to the hospital. >> reporter: and, craig, all of this is happening while the state is reopening just on friday even more restrictions have been lifted now and
entertainment venues like arcades, bowling alleys are able to reopen. child care facilities can reopen with no limitations on numbers, summer camps can open, restaurants, bars, salons have been open for a while now and that really concerns the doctors here, dr. williams told me most of the patients she's seeing, they caught the virus from someone they know. they were not social distancing, not wearing masks. and that is really worrisome. the folks here are the ones seeing the consequences, craig. >> okay. dasha burns in montgomery, alabama, thank you so much for that. let's bring in our doctor on duty for the hour. dr. robert laheda, at st. joseph's health care system, a professor at rutgers medical school. thanks for your time, doctor. let's start where we just left off there with cases doubling in
alabama since they've reopened. is it reasonable to expect that's what we'll see all over the country as we reopen, a doubling of cases? >> i sincerely hope not, craig, but i'm afraid that that's what may happen. this is a perfect storm where people have now begun to believe that they could forget about social distancing, forget about wearing a mask and come together. the film footage that i saw on the beaches, particularly the jersey shore, perhaps the shores of long island, the beaches of long island sound, these are very, very disconcerting. when you went out to the midwest and showed where they were having people -- i counted almost two or three masks out of a group of 50 people. it's incredible to me to see this happen. and yes, we could have a resurgence of cases. we could have more than a doubling of cases. all you need is one individual to infect five or six people who
will then infect another five or six people. and it's like it's going to be an explosion of coronavirus again. and we don't want to see that. you've heard from alabama and how they're running out of beds. they'll run out of respirators. they'll run out of personal protective equipment and we're back all over again to the same thing. we really have to wait for this vaccine to come out before we can feel absolutely safe. >> and you just referenced, i believe, the midwest, what we saw at the lake of the ozarks there in missouri. and of all the video that we've seen of folks not adhering to social distancing or wearing masks in large groups, that video -- this is the video. this is the one that really had me scratching my head. i mean, you've got a few hundred idiots just gathered together in a pool on top of each other. it's -- it really -- it defies any sort of logic. but, you know, i guess, they've got their freedom. so that's how -- that's how they
decided to exercise it over the weekend. let me ask you about this usa today article as well that i saw this morning. this is an article about the president's new operation, i want to make sure i'm getting this right, this is called operation warp speed, four months ago the president announced this program's goal of developing 300 million doses of a covid-19 vaccine by january. "usa today" notes how the operation functions, its budget, what power it has, what resources it controls have either not been determined or not been made public. a puzzlement to public health and vaccine policy experts, goes on to say the fear is that it might politicize scientific and logistical processes under an administration that has been, at times, disdainful of science. do you have any information on operation warp speed, dr. lehita, have you heard anything
about it? >> i have heard nothing about it, i have been talking about the new molecular mechanisms developed for the vaccines, very encouraging in the uk and here in the states but i don't know anything about warp speed. perhaps tony fauci or the people in washington know about that. but i agree with you we do not want to politicize the development of such an important aspect of our country, the vaccine that's going to bring us all to safety in the near future and i'm hoping that this goes forward and we have something by certainly november, december at the latest january. i'm very, very hopeful. >> a vaccine by november or december? >> yes, i'm hoping. god willing and all that. >> all right, dr. lehita. that optimism, we like to hear that, thank you. right now former vice
president, democratic presidential nominee joe biden, and dr. jill biden there. and we're told in delaware laying a wreath. we don't know precisely -- i don't know precisely where this is but this looks to be a memorial. this is wilmington, delaware. this is the war memorial in wilmington, north carolina. joe biden and dr. jill biden laying that wreath there. mike memoly is also with me now. both the bidens of course adhering to the guidelines there in wilmington, wearing those facial coverings in public. nbc correspondent mike memoly is in washington. he, of course, covers -- covers joe biden for us. by the way i've been told this is new castle, delaware, excuse
me, by the way, new castle, delaware, mike, you would know this better than me, this is the first time, i feel like i've seen the former vice president out of that basement in some time. is that correct? >> reporter: that's exactly right, craig, in some ways this is the most routine of candidate do i think so in a campaign year, especially the apparent democratic nominee marking memorial day by laying a wreath at a memorial in his home state of delaware. you just indicated what's so significant about this we haven't seen joe biden outside of his home in wilmington, delaware since march 15th. that was when he came down here to washington for that last debate with bernie sanders. he held his last public event separate from that just days before when he traveled near to his home to the hotel dupont in wilmington for an event on his vision how he would deal with
the coronavirus. these are the first pictures we're all seeing of joe biden since becoming the apparent nominee from somewhere eastern his porch or basement, that very now familiar scene. what we should probably look at this, craig, a potential trial run for the biden campaign of what it might look like to campaign in public in this -- dealing with this pandemic. the campaign has been very sensitive not just to the candidate's health, of course he's 77 years old, but to the public's health, one senior adviser told me that just a few days ago in contrast to what we've seen from president trump who's been so willing to go out and do, not necessarily campaign events, but official events in battleground states, this adviser telling me we're not going to be the campaign that puts either the candidate or the public's health at risk for the sake of a photo op. this is a separate circumstance for the campaign. it's memorial day but also the week the biden family will mark five years since the death of
his eldest son bo biden, it's a grim milestone for the biden family that comes as the campaign would typically be heating up on this memorial day weekend, craig. >> yeah, this war memorial, by the way, we've been told that that is a memorial there in downtown new castle that lists the 15,000 names of men and women who have died there in service to their country on this memorial day. and there you see dr. biden, dr. jill biden getting into that suv along with the apparent nominee, as you pointed out, mike. mike, while i have you, i do think we'd be remiss if we didn't talk about the campaign's response to the vice president's comments, to charlamagne tha god a few days ago that led to an apology from the vice president. what more do we know about that?
>> well, craig, i think what's interesting in terms of the response that we've seen over the last few days is this interview that the former vice president did with charlamagne tha god with the breakfast club took place on thursday night. they were well aware of what the former vice president would have said in this interview but they seemed to be caught off guard at the next day brush fire that started on twitter and spilled out onto cable news on our air waves especially. and so we saw the trump campaign very eager to fan those flames. they were quick. they held a conference call with tim scott to repudiate the remarks. we saw other surrogates from the trump campaign seizing on this and we didn't hear from biden until several hours later where he expressed remorse over the comment. saying he certainly is not somebody who's taking the african-american vote for granted. in his own words he said he shouldn't have been a wise guy, that he was too cavalier in
discussing this. this was a larger 20 minute conversation, feisty at times to be sure and we heard from charlamagne tha god himself, talking with joy reid about it, saying he still has questions for joe biden. the campaign is hoping this is a one off controversy and that they move on as the campaign continues now. >> mike memoli, covering joe biden for us in washington, mike, thank you. again, the apparent nominee, seen outside of his home for the first time in more than two months at that wreath laying. i'm told that governor cuomo has started in new york city. we join his daily briefing now, already in progress. to those who served, and who made the ultimate sacrifice. but he reminded us that as we express our gratitude, never forget that the highest appreciation is not about uttering the words, but to live them. that is the greatest
acknowledgment of the sacrifice that has been made to carry it forward. and this memorial day i think it's especially poignant and powerful when this country is going through what it's going through. and we know something about loss because we're living it again over 100,000 americans will lose their lives to this covid virus. how do we honor them? we honor them by growing stronger together. and during these times there are so many americans who have really risen to the challenge, done more than anyone could ask, more than anyone could expect. we want to make sure that we remember them and we thank our heroes of today. and they're all around us. and they did extraordinary service to allow us to continue doing what we're doing. i can just imagine the
responsibility of a chief executive who has to call men and women into war, and how they deal with that responsibility. i know that i feel a grave responsibility to our front line workers, our essential workers. who understood the dangers of this covid virus. but went to work anyway because we needed them to. we needed the nurses and the doctors to perform phenomenal service in the hospitals. we needed the police, the fire department, the ems to show up. we needed the frontline workers in grocery stores to show up so others could stay home and be safe. and i bear heavy the responsibility of explaining to the people of this state and beyond what we were dealing with when we were dealing with the covid virus and how dangerous it was and in the same breath
asking people to please show up tomorrow, having just explained how dangerous it was. and many of those people who showed up and did their duty and served with honor lost their lives to keep others of us safe and in many ways that a microcosm of what we're here talking about today on memorial day. but, as john f. kennedy said, remember with your actions. and today we're saying we honor that service and we're going to make sure that every government in the state of new york provides death benefits to those public heroes who died from covid-19 during this emergency. i also believe the federal government should be doing the same, honoring the frontline workers, showing americans that we appreciate what you did, that you showed up when it was hard, that you worked when it was
hard, you appeared for duty when it was troubling to do so. and i'm sure many people were afraid to show up but they showed up anyway. and they deserve not just words of thanks, but actions that show the appreciation. and i think the federal government should dedicate federal funds and pay hazard pay to those workers who showed up. it's a way of saying thank you. we understand what you did. we appreciate what you did. and it's a way of showing americans that when there is a next time, and there is a next time, that we truly appreciate those people who show up and do their duty. today we also honor the veterans who we lost to coronavirus during this epidemic. jack conyers, steven patty,
cleveland jessup. and those are just a handful, people from new york. we're still in the midst of this covid battle. we are making progress here in new york. again, the hospitalization rate is down. the net change in hospitalizations is down. intubations is down, which is very good news. day-to-day hospitalizations are down, which is continued good news and in many ways the most important news, means the number of people who are coming into our hospitals on a day-to-day basis continues to drop and the most important number to me, the number of lives lost, 96 is still painfully high but only in the relative absurdity of our situation is that relatively good news.
and we remember those 96 families today. john f. kennedy's words of appreciation were echoes of the thoughts of abraham lincoln after thanking those who lost their lives in the civil war. it is, for us, the living to be dedicated here to the unfinished work that they have thus far so nobly carried on. it's about the unfinished work. that's what abraham lincoln said, that's what john f. kennedy. that's what almost every great leader of this country has said. it's about dedicating ourselves to the unfinished work and we do that here in new york. we honor the memory of the fallen by going forward, by living, by growing, by advancing, by learning from it, by being stronger than ever before, by taking the values and principles of america that they lived and died for, and rising -- raising them to a new
level. by rising even higher and even stronger than ever before and we will do that. we will do that here in new york. we'll do that in this country because america and new york are tough, smart, united, disciplined and loving at the end of the day. and that has brought us to this point where this country is the strongest best country on the globe and it will take us forward. questions? >> yes, governor, when you had required people in nursing homes who were working there to get tested twice a week were you also requiring the patients to be tested as well? >> we are testing the patients. it's not really -- the -- it is a requirement that the staff be tested twice a week.
some of the nursing home operators have pointed out that that's a burdensome task and i understand that it is. but it is a requirement to maintain your nursing home license in the state of new york. we've known from day one that the nursing homes are the most vulnerable places for this covid virus. we were introduced to it in seattle, washington in a nursing home, vulnerable population in the most vulnerable place, in a congregant setting. i understand the burden. we're working with them to get the testing, et cetera. but i want to make sure that we can all say at the end of the day that we did everything we could. we still lost 96 people yesterday. god and mother nature has a hand in this but we did everything we could. they got the best hospital care, the best nurses, the best doctors and still we lost 96 people. i want to make sure we can say that all across the board and we can say that about nursing homes. and that's why it is a
requirement to test the staff. we're also testing the patients, the residents of nursing homes. i wouldn't call it a requirement, you know, that -- but we are testing all the people in nursing homes. >> when would they be tested? >> they're tested on an ongoing basis. it's happening now. they're tested by nursing home staff or we have state personnel who are doing the testing. but the whole thing with this virus is to find it early. and isolate. and again, nursing homes are the prime breeding ground for this killer. >> governor, on the death benefits is this funded by the state given the state's finances? i'm sure it's difficult. who qualifies as a frontline worker on this? >> yeah, it's funded -- any public employee who works in the state of new york, whether you're a city employee, county employee, state employee, those -- that local pension fund
or state pension fund will pay those benefits. frontline workers, we have a full list. but they're the people we've been discussing. it's the frontline public health care workers, police workers, ems workers, fire department workers. the people who showed up. and look, they showed up because i asked them to show up. they showed up because i required them to show up. you know, there's not a transit worker who drove a bus or conducted a train or a nurse who didn't walk into an emergency room who wasn't scared to death. they knew what we were talking about. i mean, it was enough to shut down society, right, tell everyone to stay home. but then in the same breath i say to them you have to go to work in the morning. it weighed heavily on me. it still does. that i had to ask people to do that.
to put their lives literally in danger. and we knew they were putting their lives in danger. and that they did it anyway. i have such respect and esteem for what they did. and i want to make sure that we repay that, not just by saying thank you and running nice television commercials, right. that's why i use the words of jfk and abraham lincoln. you want to say thank you, show that you're grateful. show the respect. and the least we can do, and i would say what we must do is for their families, those who died from the covid virus, make sure they get the appropriate death benefits. >> based on numbers, but given the data you've been looking at, mayor de blasio has said that new york city could open sometime around mid-june, based on the data you're seeing is
that a possibility? >> we're all -- there's only one setf numbers, right. this is not pick your numbers here. we have statewide criteria. they are the same all across the state. and we know where we are on each of those criterion on any given day and they're posted on the website. there's one set of numbers. we all know the numbers. the question is, at what point do the numbers drop to the reopening threshold? now, people can speculate, people can guess, i think next week, i think two weeks, i think a month. i'm out of that business because we all failed at that business, right, all the early national experts, here's my projection model, here's my projection model, they were all wrong, they were all wrong. now, there were a lot of variables, i understand that. we didn't know what the social
distancing would actually amount to. i get it. but we were all wrong. so i'm sort of out of the guessing business, right? we watched the numbers. we prepare as the numbers drop. so when the the number actually hits the threshold, we're ready to go. we just finished that. we're in the midst of that with long island, midhudson region, et cetera, but just, i don't want to guess. >> there is a -- from staten island -- elected officials on that team -- [ inaudible ] >> and there you have it, new york governor andrew cuomo with some more promising news for the state of new york. those daily hospitalizations, those daily intubations are down. the governor also making a bit of news there, announcing that the state is going to be providing death benefits to those frontline workers in new york. let me bring back the doctor on duty for the hour, dr. robert a lahita, chairman of the department of medicine at st. joseph's health care system, also a professor at rutgers
medical school. so, doctor, these day-to-day hospitalizations are down. the intubations are down. what metrics should we be watching as we look at when new york city proper might reopen? >> well, craig, we have to make sure that the curve is totally flattened and that there are -- we're going to see deaths every day. there's no question about that. and that's just because of the sheer numbers of people we have in new york city and new york state. and we really want to see it flatten and we want to see the number of deaths go down. now, we're seeing that in the new york metropolitan area. you know, some of the hospitals have gone from 60 deaths a day to two deaths a day, which is pretty dramatic. we're trying to keep that number stable. the health care workers, and i just want to digress and say that i'm so impressed by the governor covering subway, you know, conductors and engineers
and people who drive the buses and firemen and emts, because these really, these guys are heroes. they've responded unbelievably. and on memorial day, we should remember them. they're incredible people, and he's providing for them. and that's incredibly important for your viewers to know. but meanwhile, back to the mitigation, and mitigation means staying inside, wearing a mask, keeping safe distancing. and you know, before, we saw before the governor started talking, we started to see beaches that were crowded. nobody's wearing masks. the midwest, the ozarks, nobody's wearing masks. they're clumped together. alabama, where the numbers have doubled in the last day or so. again, we're going to see what we saw here in the new york area. we've learned our lesson. i don't think those people have learned anything, and i'm sorry to say that we're going to see a resurgence of this infection. the virus has no way to be
controlled at this time. hopefully, it will in the next couple of months, but at this time, where it's a crapshoot, if you will. >> dr. robert lahita, our doctor on duty for the hour. thanks as always, sir, for your insight. on this memorial day, all of us give thanks to our fellow american service members who have paid the ultimate price while serving in our nation's military. we are also entering a new phase of this pandemic as summer officially begins, and we want to take a moment to thank the people working so hard to keep us safe during this time. nbc's kevin tibbles shares the stories of several doctors, nurses, and medical staff risking their lives to treat patients. >> reporter: a grim milestone, 100,000. americans from all walks of life, across generations.
"the new york times" filled its front page with just 1,000 of the grandfathers, grandmothers, husbands, and wives, sons and daughters. 100,000 taken so fast by covid-19. this country is still reeling in shock. cody listner of colorado was a healthy 21-year-old kid. >> cody just, he had the most -- the best smile in the world, and he would reach out and use that. >> reporter: korean war vet james mandeville was 83 years old when covid took him from his family. dariana dyson was just 15. >> this hurts people. this hurts people in ways that they're not going to come back from. >> reporter: in just a few short months, this pandemic sweeping the world has infected some 2 million here at home. hospitals turned into battlefields. >> it is absolutely heartbreaking, from the young to
the old. they are all very sick. >> reporter: our new soldiers, frontline workers, have fallen in service, too. chicago nurse chris guzman was a 35-year-old with three young children. louisiana cop mark hall sr. had 30 years on the force. philip dover, two decades driving a bus in new jersey. and as we gingerly open up, perhaps wave from a safe distance, we have not had time to grieve. >> somebody who passes away has, you know, touched many other people's lives. and no one's here besides them but me. >> reporter: 100,000. the obituary names grow daily with no end in sight. painful to learn of the hopes and dreams lost. and when we can't say good-bye in person, it hurts. >> i give them a moment of silence and respect them, because we all have loved ones out there. >> reporter: we as survivors must remember, no one, no matter who they were, should leave this
world alone. kevin tibbles, nbc news, chicago. >> that was nbc's kevin tibbles reporting there for us, and that is going to do it for us on this memorial day. president trump, first lady melania trump, they have landed at ft. mchenry in baltimore for a memorial day ceremony there. a live look. they will witness a flag-raising. they'll also witness a troop review before the president speaks. "andrea mitchell reports" starts after a short break. hell reports after a short break. they are compelled to step forward.
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good day. i am andrea mitchell in washington. thank you for joining us on this memorial day for our continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic and our tribute to veterans. here are the facts at this hour. as the death toll nears 100,000 americans, weekend crowds ignored social distancing and did not wear masks in great numbers at beaches, lakes, and pools around the country. even as states from arkansas through the mid-atlantic, including washington, d.c., continue to see spikes of new cases. today, president trump is marking memorial day with visits to arlington ceremony and ft. mchenry in baltimore after being criticized by political rivals, including joe biden, for spending the