tv The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN May 25, 2020 4:00pm-5:00pm PDT
welcome to our viewers here in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer and this is the situation room special report. on this historic memorial day as the u.s. honors the men and women who died in service to our country a grim milestone is approaching the coronavirus pandemic. almost 100,000 americans have now died, and tonight there are growing fears the spread of the
virus could actually be accelerating right now as americans gathered in large numbers this holiday weekend. shocking scenes of very huge crowds and few people without masks are raising newfors of other spike in coronavirus cases in the coming weeks and months and a top official with the world health organization now says it's dangerous to assume the next real danger point in the pandemic won't come until fall. it could come much more quickly. let's begin the breaking news coverage out in california right now. our cnn national correspondent kyung lah is joining us. conk, the governor there just made an important announcement about houses of worship and retail stores. >> let me start with retail, and this is developing here. the governor announcing that californians will once again be able to shop in stores. now, there will be restricts so it won't snap back to the way it was before. there will be social distance, requirement of masks,
restrictions for employees. but the other big development is that the state of california now says in person worship can begin at places of worship limiting to 25% of capacity, up to 100 people inside. another step here in the state of california as the country continues to reopen on this memorial day. >> on memorial day we remember our mother william e. cordero. >> as americans gathered iponline forums to remember the fallen on this memorial day many others met in person willing to push boundaries on this weekend that marks the start of summer. >> everybody is going to come back and say you shoulda, coulda, woulda but the reality is at the end of the day i think we're all responsible for our acs. >> reporter: in alabama crowds packed the sand, many ignoring social distancing. in southern california this beach sits mainly empty and
visitors are wearing masks. but just a short drive away california hikers packed this canyon shoulder to shoulder. >> this is just not good. too many people in one area. >> reporter: in response they shutdown the trail immediately. crowds apparent as a cooped up country reopens. from a giant pool party in the lake of the ozarks, missouri, to this one in daytona beach, florida. >> we are beginning to see an uptick in cases in georgia and i think it's clearly a result of people relaxing social distancing. >> reporter: data shows more states are heading in the wrong direction. in the weekly average of new cases while ten states here in green are down 22 states in yellow hold steady with 18 states in red and orange showing an increase. one of those states showing an increase in cases, arkansas. the governor marking the holiday says his state is in the middle of a second peak citing some
relaxing of social distancing but also increased testing. >> today we face another enemy. it is a deadly virus that cannot be seen. it silently attacks and kills. almost 100,000 americans have lost their lives within 100 days as a result of this new enemy. >> and it is far from over warns the world health organization. >> we need to be also cognizant of the fact the disease can jump up any time. we cannot make assumptions just because the disease is on the way down now it's going to keep going down and then we're going to get a number of months to get ready for a second wave. we may get a second peak in this wave. >> so put away all of your fears, all of your fears. >> reporter: but patience runs short among some. north carolina protesters demand the state open faster even as state numbers climb. >> we want all of north carolina
to be open. we want for us to be able to take care of our own health, all right? we don't want the government keeping us safe. >> reporter: the economy versus science clash weighing on local leaders trying to contain the public health crisis. >> if someone is wearing a mask they're not doing it to represent what political part they're in or what candidates they support. they might be doing it because they've got a 5-year-old child who's been going through cancer treatments. >> reporter: now, here is a live look at manhattan beach, california, where i am. you can see it's a fairly busy day here but that you can see any patches of sand is an indication that it's not a normal memorial day here in california. if you look up this way, though, you can see that the boardwalk is very busy. it is very hard to socially distance as people are walking up and down the boardwalk or
biking here, wolf. >> kyung lah, on the scene for us. there's breaking news coming out of the white house right now. i want to go to our white house correspondent kaitlin collins. there are changes to a new travel restriction. tell us about that. >> reporter: yeah, this is notable, wolf. we're just now learning from the white house they are going to move up those travel restrictions they announced last night on brazil by 48 hours. it's now going to go into effect tomorrow night at 11:59 p.m., and this was a major announcement coming out of the white house as you are seeing the number of cases skyrocket in brazil, but also by doing this they are dealing a blow to the president there who fashions himself as this close eye of the president, and his down play the outbreak happening in his country even though you were seeing these devastating images of these mass graves happening and this comes a the weekend as the united states is nearing its own high death toll of 100,000 people potentially, a place the president said not too long ago, wolf, he didn't think we'd get
to. as the united states nears 100,000 coronavirus deaths president trump laid a wreath at arlington national cemetery on this memorial day to honor those who have sacrificed their lives, and he vowed to fight coronavirus during his speech a at fort mchenry in baltimore. >> in recent months our nation and the world have been engaged in a new form of battle against an invisible enemy. >> reporter: trump didn't wear a mask at either event unlike joe biden who made his first appearance in months as he visited a veterans rumorrial in delaware. earlier today president trump threatened to move the republican national convention from north carolina if the state's governor doesn't commit to allowing a full attendance. the convention has been planned for months and is scheduled for late august, but the coronavirus pandemic has threatened to upend both it and the democratic national convention the week before. on twitter trump complained north carolina's democratic
governor, roy cooper, is still in shutdown mood and unable to guarantee by august we will be allowed to hold a full convention. vice president mike pence said they may move it to a state that's farther along in reopening. >> we all want to be in charlotte. we love north carolina, but having a sense now is absolutely essential because of the immense preparations that are involved. >> last week governor cooper told cnn it wasn't a political decision. >> it's not political. this is not emotional. this is based on health experts. >> reporter: trump spent the weekend dedicated to fallen troops on twitter where he aired his grievances, posted insults, promoted a baseless murder claim and amplified disparaging remarks. as the death toll from coronavirus nears 6 digits trump complained about the media's coverage of him playing golf this weekend. though he often criticized barack obama for playing golf in
office trump said he was only exercising. dr. deborah birx at the white house is still operating under the idea it could range from there to 240,000 people. >> with any pandemic at any time when people are fighting to save other peoples lives it's difficult to count at the early part of the epidemic. >> reporter: on sunday the u.s. added brazil to the list of countries of which travel is banned because cases there have skyrocketed. >> we're going to take every step necessary to protect the american people. >> reporter: now, wolf, back to the president's threat to yank the republican national convention from charlotte, north carolina. the city said today in a statement that it does expect to put out some guidance next week on where these major stakeholders can be seeing how exactly they think they're going to be looking as far as it comes to reopening. it's not just the rnc but also concerts, sports, things of that
nature there really have been questions what things are going to look like in north carolina. they said that could happen as soon as june next week, though it's not clear that time line is going to suffice for the president. >> the president is saying if the republican presidential convention is in charlotte he wants, what, 20,000 people to gather in the arena there, packed, screaming, shouting on top of each other right in the midst of this pandemic? is that what he's saying? >> reporter: yeah, wolf, if you've ever been to one of these conventions and which of course you have they are packed with a lot of people, a lot of delegates. there are going to be conversations whether or not they're going to test every delegate, do temperature check at the door and the president says he wants a guarantee from the governor they can have full capacity at this convention. it's not even clear if they would move to full capacity because even some republican officials have raised questions about it. and of course the republicans aren't the only ones dealing with this. so were the democrats who are
supposed to have their convention the week before in milwaukee. and the question is is it safe to have that many people in one area together even as late as august. and that is a question that hasn't been answered for major sports leagues, concerts, artists, things like that it's not just the president and the republican convention. >> sounds pretty dangerous. kaitlin collins, you'll be coming back. wave got more to discuss. in the meantime joining us now the mayor of boston, marty walsh. mayor, thanks so much for joining us. we've got a lot to discuss, but let me get your thought on what we were just talking about. is it safe to have a democratic presidential convention or a republican presidential convention at the end of august with thousands and thousands of people packed into a stadium like that? >> it's not. when you talk to the experts. i'm talking to the people here in boston about a second surge, you know, we're talking about anywhere from july, august, september they're not quite sure. i think as we start to reopen
different businesses we're going to see spikes in coronavirus cases all over the place. and i don't see any way that the democrats or the republicans quite honestly can safely have a convention with that many people. now, there might be other ways of doing it, but today i don't see it today. i hope i'm wrong and i hope by august we're in a whole different situation. but i think forcing it is not the way to go. not when you're banning travel from brazil to the united states because brazil it was cases are spiking. we have our own issues in the united states and casess are still here. >> both of the convention organizers were planning on a limited number of people but a lot of virtual presentations at the same time. meanwhile, california's mayor reopening houses of worship, in-store retail shopping after governor newsom says the state continues to flatten the curve. houses of worship are allowed to open in massachusetts, your state. but do you feel that boston is now ready? is it taking the steps necessary to make sure everyone is safe?
>> i don't think we're ready to jump right back into it. this weekend houses of worship could reopen. many have decided not to. they are looking for guidance and help with ppe and also understanding how they can do social distancing inside the church. i think it's going to be a slow and steady progress as we move forward here, and i think we're also allowing today curbside retail. we're not ready in massachusetts or boston to go inside our cases. we're the third highest in the country for cases in massachusetts, and boston very densely populated city. we're not quite there yet. we're still working on plans how we can reopen safely. our restaurants still open in boston and massachusetts and i think that's the next phase we think about how to reopen them. obviously they're not going to be full capacity but how do we reopen them so the restaurants can try and survive through this difficult time for them. >> i want to show some video cnn just obtained. it's from a pool party that was held in a nightclub from houston on saturday.
videos like this of large clouds gathering across america this holiday weekend. i wonder what goes through your mind when you see these kinds of images. >> i think about the safety of all the vulnerable people we have that's in jeopardy here, i think, you know, a lot of people are smart and they realize for the last, you know, three months they've practiced social physical distancing. and when the weather starts to turn good or when we start to loosen up restriction, that doesn't mean the virus is away. the virus is very much alive, very much front and center. and for your own safety i think it's really incumbent upon each and every person to be careful. i think that -- listen, we all get frustrated and cabin fever to a degree. today wasn't a beautiful day but the afternoon was beautiful, and i'd like to be somewhere else but unfortunately i can't be because, you know, i'm concerned about the coronavirus. for myself as the leader the city but also other people
including my elderly mother. i think i have to be very careful and it's incumbent upon all of us to be vigilant and careful as we move forward. >> have you had in boston -- was it necessary to break up any groups that had gathered saturday, sunday or today? >> no, not over the weekend. friday was a nice day here and we had some people going to the beaches in the city. and tomorrow is going to be an 80-degree day. anyone who's watching if you go to the beach you really have to social distance, physical distance, wear a mask. the virus doesn't go away. and in order to protect yourself and others from the virus i'm asking people, pleading with people to do that, because what we don't want to do is reopen the economy. the worst thing that can happen in our economy right now in this country and boston and in massachusetts we have to shut it down in another month. >> it would be terrible. as you know we're approaching 100,000 deaths here in the united states. on march 5th there were 11
confirmed deaths in the united states in less than 3 months. it's now approaching 100,000. when you see the president tweeting various conspiracy theories over the past few days, golfing saturday and sunday, what message from your perspective does that send? >> i think he's been very consistent, and i think when he's on message he talks to the american people and i think people listen. but then he goes on twitter attacks and says the opposite of what the reality is, and i think it's dangerous. i think people are still looking for leadership. people are still looking for a common message here, and i think it's important for all of us as elected officials to be on the same page here moving forward and certainly the pressure is onto reopen, but i was elected to make sure that we run boston. and the way to run boston is by making sure people stay healthy. we've got to work together to make this work, so i wish the president would stop doing that. i wish he would stay consistent
on it. i don't have comments on whether he golfs or not. but i do think it's important we stay on message moving forward. we can't say in one breath we're going to shutdown travel to the united states of america because of the virus and on the other hand saying we're beyond it. that's not the case right now. >> good luck to you, good luck to everybody in boston. thanks so much as usual for joining us. >> thanks, wolf. up next messaging coming from the white house in line with what the president's own top health experts are saying? plus, he'll head to traditional holiday tourist hot spot to see what it's like as the country reopens amid a continuing pandemic. accept an incomplete job from anyone else. so why accept it from your allergy pills? flonase relieves your worst symptoms which most pills don't. get all-in-one allergy relief for 24 hours, with flonase.
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tremfya®. uncover clearer skin that can last. janssen can help you explore cost support options. we're following the coronavirus danger as the u.s. death toll now approaches 100,000. the trump white house has decided to suspend travel from hard hit brazil earlier than expected making it effective tomorrow. this as some americans are now engaging in potentially dangerous behavior here in the united states, disregarding social distancing guidelines on this memorial day. let's bring in the doctor of internal medicine and viral specialist along with cnn's white house correspondent kaitlin collins. very quickly at this rate we'll soon have 100,000 americans lost to coronavirus. right now it's 98,184. does the messaging coming in from the white house right now
match the magnitude of this moment? >> well, wolf, it really depends on when you're listening to. you saw dr. deborah birx on-air yesterday talking about where we are in the country right now. urging caution as you are starting to see states reopen. some do so aggressively. but if you looked at the president's twitter feed this morning he wasn't noting the fact we are approaching that very somber toll of potentially 100,000 dead americans. something he said not too long ago, wolf, he never thought we would get to. he thought it would remain substantially under 100,000, and we're very close to reaching that. he spent the weekend amplifying these attacks of one of his supporters and pushing paceless conspiracy theories and complaining about the media's coverage of his golf outings. certainly not the same message you're seeing some from other white house officials.
>> dr. rodriguez, we're seeing some really troubling images of americans gathering in crowds around the country during this long weekend. >> the world health organization is now warning of what it describes as a second peak. not just the second wave, don, but the second peak of coronavirus cases. what do you peer the consequences of these kinds of large gatherings right now will be? >> well, i think the consequences are going to be pretty evident pretty soon. listen, 25% to 40% of the people who have coronavirus do not have any symptoms. they are asymptomatic so therefore when i see these images of these people blatantly disregarding not only their welfare but those around them quite honestly it's depressing and even angering a little bit because, wolf, i also guarantee you these same people who show this disregard are not going to have the courage of their convictions. when they get sick. when they start having a sore throat or fever they're probably going to be the first ones that
are going to want health care. so it's ironic, hypocritical and dangerous for all of us. so that's what i get when i see this. >> they don't realize how easily it can spread and you point out so many of these people can be contigious even if they have no symptoms whatsoever. go ahead, doctor. >> i want to say a second spike it isn't if it's going to happen. it's going to happen because as you see -- listen, brazil is spiking right now. it's all going to come to roost. the chickens are going to come to roost eventually. >> it's a dangerous situation. the president spent part of the weekend golfing, a lot of twitter talks as you point out and despite insisting the houses of worship across the country are essential and must reopen yesterday, sunday, the president himself did not attend church, did he? >> no, he didn't. and that's interesting given how his conviction was on friday
when he said that he wanted these houses of worship to be deemed essential by the cdc so then therefore they could open in addition to grocery stores, liquor stores, other places that have already been deemed essential by state officials and by federal health fights. the president himself did not take up on his own push, though, to open these churches by attending a service on sunday. and the question many reporters had for the white house on friday when they announced they were going to be deeming this essential was really is it safe for people to go back yet because of course a church is a very communal place. you're there, greeting people. sometimes they share the same materials. senging of course has been a place we noted has been a big outbreak of controversy cases and choirs when we were first learning so much about this outbreak and really how this virus spread. so that was the big question people had. and you did see some churches be incredibly cautious on sunday about opening up. and the president said he was going to override governors if they ignored that guidance about
them being essential. but you saw his health officials being a little more cautious. if they decide to wait another week before opening and do so properly with distancing and other measures in place then they should do that. >> dr. rodriguez, the world health organization today stopped studying the drug hydroxychloroquine, the treatment touted and taken actually by the president over the last couple of weeks. they cited safety concerns for coronavirus patients. they said it was simply too dangerous. how significant is this development? >> well, it's very significant. and hopefully it's the nail in the coffin because every single study that has come out, every legitimate study has shown, a, not only does hydroxychloroquine not help in either treating covid-19 but it is also dangerous for people whose heart system, whose lung system are already being taxed by the demands of covid. this medication actually makes
their heartbeat less effectively. so you're adding danger on top of danger. so hopefully this will end the discussion, period, paragraph, close the chapter. hydroxychloroquine does not treat and does not help covid-19. >> well, thank you very much, dr. rodriguez. we appreciate your joining us. kaitlin, excellent reporting as usual. thanks to you as well. coming up a new progress towards developing a coronavirus vaccine even as some researchers are warning there are 50-50 odds of success. we're going to tell you who's recruiting volunteers to police social distancing. lots more going on right here in our special situation room. e mep too early... or too late. or make me feel like i'm not really "there." talk to your doctor, and call 844-234-2424.
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there's another step forward tonight in the race to develop a coronavirus vaccine. let's discuss with dr. patrice harris, the proefz the american medical association and our senior american correspondent elizabeth cohen. a vaccine candidate by a company called novavac is the tenth vaccine now to enter human
trials. does that improve the chances that one of these vaccines will eventually work? >> so, wolf, we've heard public health experts say as lots of shots on goal. that's what we're looking for because the chances of all ten of these working is really quite small. we're probably going to have fewer than ten. so yes, as many attempts as possible is a good idea. now, that does come with a price because the government is funding many of these efforts at least to some extent. right now we have four vaccines by u.s. companies in clinical trials. we have five in china and one in the united kingdom. >> dr. harris, vaccines i'm told don't necessarily work as well on older people. so do you expect we're going to need multiple vaccines to work on different people? >> we may need more than one vaccine which again is all the motor important to have as many as can go through the process
and have as many as possible in the pipeline, so we have a greater chance of finding one or two or three that work on the various populations. >> this is an important development today, dr. harris, and we've been reporting when it comes to potential therapies the world health organization today announced its halting, completely stopping any study of the drug hydroxychloroquine after a different study showed it increased the risk of death in patients, potential heart irregularities, so what does that tell us? >> well, the fda several weeks ago sent out an alert cautioning us against the use of hydroxychloroquine outside of clinical trials. certainly we want those clinical trials to continue, but this latest study of patients it was observational, a retrospective review, a look back. but when they did look back they showed there was an increase in
the number of deaths, an increase in the number of cardiac issues, so i think we should continue on with the use of the drug in clinical trials, but clearly we are seeing more and more evidence about the risks, sometimes fatal risks of using hydroxychloroquine. >> and i remember a and a lot of our viewers will remember to your credit dr. harris, weeks ago, more than a month ago when the president was saying, defending supporting hydroxychloroquine at one point he said what do you have to lose and i remember playing that clip for you and he said you know what you have to lose, your life potentially. and some of his supporters were criticizing you, but you were absolutely right at the time and ahead of the curve. elizabeth, when you step back and look at the overall trends right now more states in the country are seeing an upward trend in their cases than downwards right now, so what should people be keeping in mind as we go into these summer
months? >> i think you want to ask yourself, wolf, whatever i'm about to go do, what activity i'm about to go do that could put me in close contact with other people is it worth it because there's a chance that you could contract the virus. there's a chance you already have the virus and you could be giving it to someone else. many people have this virus and are asymptomatic so you may feel like everyone looks fine. looking fine does not mean you're not infected. many people look fine and are infected, so think about it for yourself and think how would i feel if i got infected and then got my spouse sick or my mother sick or friends sick. really think through the actions you're going to do. if you do decide to reenter society as it were think about two things, space and time. the more space you put between yourself and other people the better and of course a mask is an important part of that. and time, meaning the least amount of time that you can spend in close proximity to people the better.
and being outdoors is better than being in an inclosed space. >> dr. harris, we're now approaching 100,000 deaths right now 98,184. and less than three months ago on march 5th there were 11, only 11 deaths -- it's gone from 11 to nearly 100,000 or less in three months. this virus is exploding right now and it's so worrisome. >> wolf, this is certainly a grim milestone. this is highly transmissible virus. certainly we need to make sure we continue to do everything we can to decrease the transmission, and that is again using those basic public health measures of staying 6 feet apart and using a mask. and i really hope that we get beyond the partisan view of mask wearing. i really was impressed with the
governor of north dakota who said this about caring for one another. i know i can talk about science and it is evidence based and based on the science, but it is about our caring for one another and really our desire, i think our shared goal across this country to do all we can to reduce the transmission so we can get back to doing our activities that we were doing and enjoying pre-covid. >> as i often say these are not just numbers. these are mothers and sons, brothers and sisters, almost 100,000 new here in the united states in the last three months alone. thank you. a tourist town reopens for business but who's coming, and are they following guidelines for staying safe?
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this holiday weekend tourists have been returning to one of michigan's top destinations but it's not -- it's not business as usual. our national correspondent miguel marquez is joining us right now. he has the story. miguel, a lot of businesses there depend on tourist dollars this time of the year simply to survive. >> reporter: they do indeed. and the 32 counties in the northern part of michigan did reopen at least partially. some people were expecting a huge weekend here, but really it underscored just how long and difficult the recovery is going to be. in northern michigan life beginning to feel a little like life again. what's it like to be out? >> it's nice to be out in restaurants and shops again and to be able to enjoy socialization. i'm not going to lie. >> reporter: the hutchinson's visiting mackinaw city, masking up when they entered shops. not everyone says they're
willing to follow the rules in this tourist dependent part of the state. dollar this virus is going to go away. this virus i do not even feel is going to come back. god is going to heal this land, plain and simple. >> reporter: and with regard to safety and wearing masks you don't do any of that? >> i'm not going to wear a mask, okay? i don't feel this covid is going to affect me or touch me, and i don't feel ii'm going to pass it onto someone else. >> reporter: retail shops, restaurants, bars all playing by new rules, bar patrons sign-in. gloves in dining rooms with lots more space. how difficult has it been to prepare for the reopening? >> it's been very difficult inasmuch some of the products we need as far as sanitizers and sanitizer dispensers have been very hard to find. gloves, masks. >> reporter: mark's mackinaw grill would typically serve
1,400 dinners a night. today he's doing about 200. but the bigger concern with tourists coming from everywhere, preventing an outbreak top priority. >> we have just a very small hospital and i think that's the big one. if that starts to get, you know, where it's not keeping up i think we're going to have to shutdown. >> reporter: many businesses staying shut. owners preferring to wait a couple of weeks and see if cases spike. mackinaw island the jewel of the upper peninsula closed for the traditional starting weekend. >> we're looking at mackinaw island which should be teaming with people right now. >> reporter: and it's a ghost town. >> it is a ghost town. >> reporter: she runs tours on her glass bottom boat. for this weekend she had high hopes. given how cooped up everyone was i expected a much bigger weekend this weekend. >> i am, too. i'm still optimistic for later
on in the summer. >> boy, we live in hope. and this is something we've heard not only here but other parts of the country is that people want to reopen, they want to fully engage. but until they know they won't get it, they won't pasds it onto someone else until basically there's a vaccine it's going to be really hard to get to that sort of full engagement in the economy. >> all right, miguel, good report. thank you very much. just ahead the white house is moving up the start of a travel ban on brazil as the virus cases there grow rapidly. we're going to bring you the details on the new restrictions.
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breaking news this evening. the white house announced it is pushing up the start of a new travel ban from brazil. takes effects together night just before midnight two days ahead of what had been originally announced. cnn's nick paten walsh in brazil for us. cases there, deaths there, numbers there surging. what are you seeing? >> reporter: you're right, wul.
yes, 807 deaths reported in the last 24 hours and over 11,000 new cases. not as bad as a few days ago when they were getting about 20,000 fwhu cases reported new aday. we have to remember this is not the full one of the worst-hit cities in brazil, frankly, which is the worst country in south america, the worst country in the world. that cemetery had tested people positive for coronavirus, but another area was about four times the size, and that was people who died who they thought had coronavirus. that's the disparity between what's officially in the numbers and what may actually have been happening here as well. manau extraordinarily badly hit. a political center in brazil as well. the mayor has been digging graves, mass graves to accommodate the sheer number of dead, 300 in one day.
one grave digger said that angered the president of brazil, jair bolsonaro, calling it a little flu, not wearing a mask in front of supporters sunday. he said in elite video of a recorded cabinet meeting that the mayor of manaos was a piece of excrement. i put that to the mayor and he said, look, bolsonaro is too stupid to run a dictatorship. he should shut up, stay home and resign now. saying he was partially responsible because of his rhetoric playing down the threat of the virus and the number of deaths here in brazil. but that political rou aside here, the numbers are continuing to ride even though they seem to have the worst behind it at this point, it is still devastating to be at the graveyard and see five bodies turn up for a burial, a mass grave even today. as you say, that travel restriction 48 hours, not
entirely clear what prompted that. the numbers here are getting bad. the peak, it seems, is a week to two weeks away in the major city of sao paulo where there are major cases. it is extraordinary, wolf, to see how little brazil's federal government has done in terms of its messaging and how it is being left to a local level here to make people wear face masks and try and slow this down. does that sound familiar, wolf? >> i saw president bolsonaro's security guards wearing a mask. he was not wearing a mask, obviously deliberate reasons. nick payton walsh, be careful over there. we'll stay in close touch with you. in the meantime, tensions and name calling between the u.s. and china have expanded because of a new chinese crackdown on new democracy protests in hong kong. cnn's ivan watson is there for us. ivan, tell us more. >> reporter: wolf, beijing is warning washington not to meddle in its internal affairs. and by that it means here in hong kong.
and it's right after the chinese government has announced that it's introducing a controversial new security law that would criminalize sedition, subversion, treason and other offenses here in this former british colony that enjoys freedoms not seen in nearby mainland china. secretary of state pompeo has said, well, if hong kong loses the autonomy it's supposed to have until 2047 according to a number of international treaties, then it could lose free trading status with the u.s. and visa status. there's a lot of alarm here. chinese top officials are trying to say, hey, don't panic. this will only affect those types of terrorists and separatists, as they describe them, the kind of protesters who have been clashing with security forces in the city for six months and the last year. wolf? >> ivan watson, thank you very much. italy which is now cautiously
reopening is looking for tens of thousands of volunteers to help enforce social distancing rules. let's go to cnn's delia gallagher. delia, tell us more. >> reporter: italy has a plan for those out in public not following social distancing regulations. the italian agency along with regional governments is organizing 60,000 volunteers. they're calling them civil a sis assistants who will patrol beaches and parks. these volunteers will be over 18. they will wear vests to identify themselves, but they will not be able to issue tickets or fines. the civil protection agency says this is a response to verify complaints over the weekend throughout italy of night life and social activities happening without adequate social distancing. wolf? >> delia gallagher, thank you very much. coming up, we remember veterans on this memorial day who have lost their lives in the coronavirus pandemic.
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on this memorial day, as we pay tribute to america's fallen servicemen and women, we also want to remember some of the military veterans who have died in our new battle against the coronavirus. jonas of massachusetts was 86 years old. he was a navy veteran and fire department volunteer. his nephew said he took his civic responsibility very, very seriously and he loved to discuss politics over the phone and in his final months did a lot of that. alfred litzio of pennsylvania was 99. he would sometimes joke that a daily glass of red wine was the secret to his long life. but his grandson credits his beloved pop-pop's remarkably positive attitude.
may all the veterans we have lost rest in peace, and may their memories be a blessing. i'm wolf blitzer. thanks very much for watching. anderson cooper starts right now. >> good evening. this memorial day was in many ways a study in contrasts. perhaps more than ever because in today's traditional memorial day mix of official remembrance for those who died serving this country in the armed forces and parties marking the unofficial start of summer, there were contrasts within contrasts as the coronavirus death toll approaches 100,000 americans killed. the president today at arlington national cemetery, the man running against him former vice president joe biden at a veterans memorial in delaware. one wearing a mask, one not. contrasting signals or perhaps contrasting priorities. as for the vietnam memorial with the names of 58,000 service members killed over the 19 years of that conflict, two contrasting traditions. remembering