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CNN NEWSROOM

Nation On Edge: Civil Unrest, Police Violence & Mass Shootings; Interview With Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY); Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene Scraps Launch Of Controversial "America First"; COVID-19 Surge Strains Michigan's Health System; Family Of Suspect In Indianapolis Mass Shooting Releases Statement; Cuba's Raul Castro Steps Down As Communist Party Chief; Prince Philip Laid To Rest At Windsor Castle. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired April 17, 2021 - 17:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[17:00:01]

JIM ACOSTA, CNN HOST: One hundred people were arrested. The National Guard now bracing for likely a seventh night of protest over the police shooting of Daunte Wright, as well as the final outcome in the Derek Chauvin trial.

The U.S. is also grapping with another mass shooting. Officials now say the gunman who killed eight people in a FedEx facility in Indianapolis was a former employee. Among those killed, four members of the local Sikh community.

President Biden insisting the gun violence must stop.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOSEPH R. BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This has to end. It is a national embarrassment. It is a national embarrassment what's going on. And it is not only these mass shootings that are occurring every single day, every single day there's a mass shooting in the United States if you count all those who were killed out on the streets of our cities and our rural areas. It's a national embarrassment and must come to an end.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: And the embarrassment continues. Just today, we are learning about the -- a shooting at a shopping mall in Nebraska. At least one person is in critical condition. And a second person suffered an injury to her legs. Security footage showed two suspects fleeing the mall. The search for them is now underway.

CNN's Tom Foreman with a look in just one week how America's news cycle of fear, violence and heartbreak just continues.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Eight people gunned down at their workplace.

LEVI MILLER, FEDEX EMPLOYEE: I immediately ducked down.

FOREMAN: Stunned survivors.

TIMOTHY BILLET, FEDEX EMPLOYEE: More shots went off. Somebody went behind their car to the trunk and got another gun and then I saw one body on the floor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shots fired. Shot fired. Get an ambulance over here now.

KIM POTTER, FORMER BROOKLYN CENTER POLICE OFFICER: Holy (INAUDIBLE). I just shot him.

JOE GUTIERREZ, FORMER WINDSOR VIRGINIA POLICE OFFICER: What's going on? You're free to ride the lightning, son.

It's not a problem.

2ND LT. CARON NAZARIO, U.S. ARMY: Get your hands off of me.

GUTIERREZ: Back off, Daniel.

NAZARIO: I didn't do anything.

FOREMAN: That was just the latest in a horrifying week of violent moments. So many that officials at all levels are cautioning against any excessive backlash.

BIDEN: There is absolutely no justification, none for looting, no justification for violence.

POTTER: Taser. Taser. Taser.

FOREMAN: Many of the incidents have involved police. In Minnesota, the fatal shooting of an unarmed young man Daunte Wright right during a traffic stop, police say it was an accident, spurred a week of protest and some became violent.

KATIE WRIGHT, DAUNTE WRIGHT'S MOTHER: Everybody keeps saying justice. But unfortunately, there's never going to be justice for us.

GEORGE FLOYD: I cannot breathe. I cannot breathe.

FOREMAN: Tension was already up around the trial of a former Minneapolis police officer charged with killing George Floyd by kneeling on his neck more than nine minutes. Derek Chauvin says he's not guilty. The jury has not spoken. Others have.

MAYOR MIKE ELLIOT, BROOKLYN CENTER, MN: Our hearts are aching right now. We are in pain right now.

FOREMAN: In Chicago, another disturbing video emerged. A police officer chasing 13-year-old, Adam Toledo, and shooting him dead. Police say the teen had a gun. The family says he did not when the officer shot him.

ADEENA WEISS-ORTIZ, TOLEDO FAMILY ATTORNEY: If you're shooting an unarmed child with his hands in the air, it is an assassination.

GUTIERREZ: Get out. Get out of the car now. Get out of the car.

FOREMAN: In Virginia, a video from last December came out. Police pulling their guns, pepper spraying and forcing an army officer to the ground again for an alleged traffic violation.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NAZARIO: This is (EXPLETIVE DELETED) up. I can't (INAUDIBLE). I can't believe I'm being treated like this.

FOREMAN: And all that comes against a backdrop of other mass shootings in Colorado, Georgia and elsewhere, the political cold war in Washington and the pandemic which has taken well over a half million lives.

So the vice president's response to the Indiana killings could have covered it all. "We've had more tragedy than we can bear."

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FOREMAN (on camera): In normal times, any of these incidents may have spurred calls for change for new laws and new attitudes and change, calls which typically don't lead to much. But in the past few weeks, the nation has been hurting, so many people shocked and outraged, the potential for future change in this case is not at all clear.

Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.

ACOSTA: Let's continue to talk about this. Joining me now is Democratic Congressman Hakeem Jeffries of New York. He its on the House Judiciary Committee.

Congressman, thanks so much for joining us.

As you know, there is real pain on the streets of the United States right now. What needs to be done to fix policing and restore trust with the community? It just doesn't seem to be there right now.

REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES (D-NY): It's a very painful week, but that comes on top of a painful time in America dealing with all of the suffering and death connected to the pandemic, the economic pain, and, of course, the shocking images that we continue to be flooded with of police interactions gone wrong, resulting in the tragic killings, death and harassment of racial profiling of people of color.

The House passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, the most transformational forward-looking police reform bill in the history of the Congress, both last year and last month.

Now we need the Senate to act. There are ongoing discussions that are taking place between the House and the Senate as I understand it between Cory booker and Tim Scott. And it falls upon my Republican colleagues in the Senate to say when is enough enough? That moment is now and we need to do something decisively or we're going to have to reexamine the rules of the Senate.

ACOSTA: And speaking of Republican, conservative televangelist Pat Roberts did not mince words this week when he was asked the current state of policing in this country. I'm sure you've seen it, but let's watch it and I'll get your reaction to it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAT ROBERTSON, TELEVANGELIST: I am pro-police, folks. I think we need the police. We need their service and they do a good job, but if they don't stop this onslaught, they cannot do this.

To Derek Chauvin, I mean, they ought to put him in jail. He has caused so much trouble by kneeling on the death of George Floyd, it's just -- on his neck. It's just terrible what's happening.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: Congressman, did you ever think you would be on the same side of an issue as Pat Robertson? The fact that he's this frustrated. What does that tell you about where this country is right now?

JEFFRIES: I did not, but it's a pleasant surprise that he's telling the truth based on what we've all seen. And police violence, police brutality, the excessive use of police force has been an ongoing phenomenon. Not month after month or year after year, but century after century in America as it relates to the interaction between the police and communities of color.

That's not to say that a significant number of police officers aren't there to protect and serve. They are, the once I interact with, but we have this persistent problem. It's going to require decisive and transformational action in order to turn things around.

We need police officers who have a guardian mentality as it relates to our communities, not a warrior mentality, because when you have a warrior mentality, you tend to view communities of color like enemy combatants and can be treated in ways we have seen resulting in tragic consequences.

ACOSTA: And, Congressman, you know it's not police violence that we're grappling with right now. By CNN's count, there have been 45 mass shooting in the U.S. in just the last month, 147 mass shootings since the start of the year. I mean, that is just a staggering toll. How much more can this country bear?

JEFFRIES: We can't bear much more. I mean, this is a great country. We have risen to the occasion in the past.

American defeated fascism in Germany. We defeated communism in the Soviet Union. We defeated al Qaeda in the aftermath of September 11th.

Why can't we deal with gun violence in America? It's shameful.

And we've got some people in Washington, Republicans, on the other side of the aisle in both the House and the Senate, who function like wholly owned subsidiaries of the NRA. Ands that's unfortunate.

And hopefully, their constituents are going to push them to change, so that we can enact common sense gun safety measures such as universal criminal background check legislation, and other steps that we can take to protect the safety, health and well-being of the American people.

Mass shootings impact everyone. Day-to-day violence such as that that I experienced back here at home in Brooklyn, as well as what people experience in rural America and small-town America. It's not a Democratic issue or Republican issue, it's an American issue, and Congress needs to step up and tackle this issue.

And by Congress, I mean Republicans in the United States Senate.

ACOSTA: And, Congressman, I want to ask you about one of your Republican colleagues, Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene. Apparently, she's now scrapped the launch of a new caucus that would have reportedly promoted what was described in a memo as common respect for uniquely Anglo-Saxon political traditions.

She got some blowback for that idea from House Leader Kevin McCarthy. He came out and said it's not the party of nativist dog whistles.

What's your reaction to all of this?

JEFFRIES: Well, the GOP has become the party of Marjorie Taylor Greene, Steve King and, of course, Matt Gaetz. And that's problematic. They are no longer the party of Lincoln. They are not even the part of Reagan or John McCain.

And this is a big difference between what the Republicans are in Washington, D.C., and the Democrats led by Joe Biden, and Kamala Harris, and Nancy Pelosi, and Chuck Schumer, where we are trying to solve problems on behalf of the American people such as passage of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, and we're working on the American jobs plan, where we will create I believe at least 15 million good paying jobs.

[17:10:03]

And so, hopefully, these plans to create the Jim Crow caucus are really going to be abandoned, but this is a persistent challenge until Republicans of goodwill across the country step up and crush this extremist aspect of their political base once and for all.

ACOSTA: All right. Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, we'll see if that happens. Thanks so much for your time. Appreciate you coming on. Hope to have you back. We appreciate it.

JEFFRIES: Thank you and Happy Birthday, Jim.

ACOSTA: All right. Thanks, Congressman. Appreciate it.

And coming up, on Monday, closing arguments being Monday in the Derek Chauvin murder trial. What can we expect? Our cross examine segment with Elie Honig is coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ACOSTA: Closing arguments in the Derek Chauvin murder trial are set to begin on Monday. Police in the Minneapolis and the National Guard are now preparing for possible protests ahead of the verdict. Also new, Minneapolis public schools were moved to distance learning from Wednesday to Friday in anticipation of a verdict.

We now know jurors will be fully sequestered during their deliberations, which brings us to tonight's cross-exam segment with CNN legal analyst, Elie Honig, former assistant U.S. attorney with the Southern District of New York.

Elie, let's get right to it. A viewer wants to know, given how the evidence has come in at the trial, what points do you expect each side to stress in their closing arguments?

ELIE HONIG, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yeah, Jim, when I was trying cases as a prosecutor, closing was my favorite part of the trial, the most important part of the trial. It's the culmination of everything, everything is on the line.

Now, the prosecution is going to close first. They have to synthesize. They have called 38 witnesses over 2 1/2 weeks. They're going to have a few hours to close.

They have to boil it down and hit the high points, the eyewitnesses, the police witnesses about excessive force, the medical witnesses about causation. But through it all, exhibit A, the star witness for the prosecution is going to be that video, that 9:29.

Then the defense will close. Important to keep in mind, the defense does not have to outscore the prosecution. All the defense has to do is raise reasonable doubt. So, I think the defense will be talking about points it made on cross-examination and its own expert witnesses on those same topics. And all they have to do is create reasonable doubt.

Also, look for stylistic differences. Openings tend to be just the facts, sort of straightforward. We saw that a couple of weeks ago. Closings tend to be more dynamic, more argumentative. We're going to see some fireworks on Monday. So, this will be a crucial moment in the trial, and then the case will be in the jury's hands.

ACOSTA: And, Elie, another viewer wants to know, what is the procedure for the jury's deliberation? How much instruction are the jurors given about how to deliberate? Good question.

HONIG: So, they're given -- first a lot, and then a little. Here's what I mean. First, the judge will give the jury its formal legal instructions.

He'll instruct on the big concepts. What does reasonable doubt mean? How you assess the credibility of a witness. He'll also instruct them specifically on the legal elements of each of the three charges. But then the jury deliberates and they're essentially on their own. They will be deliberating in secret. Nobody will be in the room with them, no judge, no lawyers, certainly no camera.

And as you said in the beginning, they will be sequestered. They won't go home. They'll go to some security location.

One thing they'll hear from the jury is from time to time they will send out notes. They will physically write notes and send them out of the judge. The judge will read them, those notes could have legal questions or ask to see certain pieces of evidence.

Finally at some point the jury will say we have a verdict. At that point, they will come out, the judge will say how do you find? And they will say, guilty or not guilty.

And I can tell you, I've been there. Everyone's hearts already pounding at that moment.

ACOSTA: Absolutely. And, Elie, another viewer asked, if the jury find Chauvin guilty, do they have to pick just one of the three charged crimes or can they convict him on more than one count?

HONIG: Yeah, I'm hearing this one from a lot of viewers. It is impotent question. There are three counts in this case, murder in the second degree, murder in the third degree, and then manslaughter. The jury will vote on each of those counts separately. Each counts stands alone.

So, the jury can convict on all three, on two, on one, on none. It is up to them. Each one stands alone.

The important thing. The jury verdict has been to be unanimous. It has to be 12-0 to convict, or 12-0 to acquit. Anything else, if they get stuck at 11-1 or 6-6, that's a hung jury that is a mistrial.

Technically, it's a draw. Prosecutors can retry the case. I've had a couple of them. They are losses for the prosecution, and triumphs for the defense. The vast majority does return unanimous verdicts.

The judge will tell them, it is your job if humanly possible to return a unanimous verdict.

So-- and, Jim, before we go, happy birthday, my friend. Welcome to your 30s. It's a great decade.

ACOSTA: I'll take it. I'm so glad that you said that. Sadly that is fake news, but appreciate that. We won't tell anybody.

All right. Elie Honig, thanks so much. Appreciate those insights.

Coming up, GOP Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene is now scrapping the launch of her controversial America First caucus. We'll explain why next.

You're live in the CNNE NEWSROOM. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[17:23:44]

ACOSTA: Controversial Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene is said to be scrapping her idea for the new caucus. It would have been called the America first caucus, which according to Punch Bowl News, would have promoted, quote, Anglo-Saxon political traditions. The rhetoric surrounding protecting uniquely Anglo-Saxon tradition ties into a racist argument that immigrants are replacing people born in the U.S.

The move to nix the caucus comes after some apparent pushback within the GOP. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said the Republican Party is not the party of nativist dog whistles.

And while Leader McCarthy's criticism may have been a contributing factor in a rapid rise and fall of the caucus, these far-right ideas and extremist views have been nurtured by McCarthy for years, especially after his refusing to speak up when the leader of the party, then-President Donald Trump, said things like this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime, they're rapists, and some I assume are good people.

Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.

Look at my African-American over here. Look at him.

Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects or flag, to say get that son of a bitch off the field right now?

[17:25:02]

She is a low IQ individual, Maxine Waters. I said it the other day.

They've gone so far left that they consider Pocahontas to be a rational person.

I can name Kung flu.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: And you wonder where Marjorie Taylor Greene gets her ideas from. It's not just those on Capitol Hill who are trying to legitimize arguments made by white nationalists. Similar comments have been similarly made by Fox News's Tucker Carlson, who sometimes sounds like Fox's chief white power correspondent.

Joining us now is chief media correspondent and host of "RELIABLE SOURCES", Brian Stelter. Brian, how have places like Fox News and commentators like Tucker

Carlson brought us to this point, because it seems that one is the organ grinder and one is the monkey in the situation, although I'm not sure which is which.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: I'm really glad you are connecting the dots, because this is a story that's not about one isolated incident. It's not about one day of political headlines. It's not about one example of racism in the GOP. It's about a decades-long trend that in some ways culminated or devolved with Donald Trump, but is still with us to this day. And we'll be for many years to come.

It's about this backlash to a changing America, and the likes of Tucker Carlson are preaching it every single night.

Let me give you an example. Here's how he defended his white supremacist talking point comments from a week and a half ago when he was talking about Americans being replaced by immigrants from the Third World. He defended himself by saying the Democrats are trying to changes the population.

Here's what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST: Demographic change is the key to the Democratic Party's political ambitions. In order to win and maintain power, Democrats plan to change the population of the country. They're no longer try to go win you over with their program. They're obviously not try to go improve your life. They don't really care about your vote anymore. Their goal is to make you irrelevant.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STELTER: That's the narrative every day from Tucker Carlson. And the problem, Jim ,is it's not as if he's booking guests who will challenge him or will present a different view, who will challenge what the viewers are hearing every night. Instead, it's Tucker's monologues and the people who agree with him, and Fox Corporation approves of this. Lachlan Murdoch, the head of Fox, sent a letter to the ADL dismissing their concerns about Tucker's racism.

ACOSTA: And, Brian, it seems like some GOP lawmakers are part of this echo chamber of extremist views, as we saw this week between Congressman Jim Jordan and Dr. Anthony Fauci. Let's listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): What objective outcome do we have to reach before -- before Americans get their liberty and freedoms back?

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, CHIEF MEDICAL ADVISER TO PRESIDENT BIDEN: You now, you're indicating liberty and freedom. I look at it as a public health measure to prevent people from dying.

You're making this a personal thing, and it isn't. JORDAN: It's not a personal thing.

FAUCI: No, you are. That is exactly what you're doing.

We're not talking about liberties. We're talking about a pandemic that has killed 560,000 Americans. That's what we're talking about.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: You know, we're seeing this play out on Capitol Hill, Brian, with this narrative against Dr. Fauci, and we hear it all the time on Fox News. There's just seems to be a symbiotic faux intellectual relationship between the two.

STELTER: It absolutely is. And it started March of 2020 when Donald Trump was watching TV, and you heard a host from Fox News say it's time to reopen. Back then we haven't even closed yet, we were still in the process of closing the country to try to stop the spread, but Trump took those talking points, brought them to the White House. It was a mess for days on end.

And we're still experiencing that to this day with figures like Dr. Fauci being demonized by right-wing media. Absolutely demonized.

How do we get to headlines in the "New York Times" today saying the least vaccinated counties in the country have all one thing in common. The commonality, according to "The New York Times", Trump voters. These are increasingly red states where vaccine supply is outpacing demand.

That is partly a reflection of Trump's propaganda, but, of course, it's bigger than Trump. He's out of office and, yet, there are GOP lawmakers that are parroting this anti-science position. And that's how we get these moments. I do think a lot of it leads from right-wing TV and radio.

I know, Jim, I wanted to say happy birthday, but I was thinking, hopefully, you'll get a quiet news day for your birthday one year, but it's not going to be this year.

ACOSTA: It certainly is not, Brian, but I appreciate the happy birthday.

STELTER: Happy birthday, anyway, though.

ACOSTA: I sort of wish everybody would stop reminding me it's my birthday. You get to a certain age where it's like, don't remind me anymore. But I'll take it.

Thanks so much. I'll remember when your birthday is. I'll come on your show and wish you a happy birthday.

STELTER: Thanks.

ACOSTA: All right. Take care, Brian.

[17:30:00]

We appreciate it. Thanks for those insights.

And don't forget to join Brian tomorrow morning for his show, "RELIABLE SOURCES," at 11:00 Eastern. It's a great show every week.

Up next, Michigan's health system is straining under the continued COVID-19 surge. What is causing this alarming increase in cases and hospitalizations? A live report from Detroit next.

You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ACOSTA: There's an urgent situation in Michigan this evening, where soaring cases of COVID-19 are pushing hospitals to critical capacity levels.

As statewide hospitalization levels climb closer to the November 30th peak, Beaumont Health's eight hospitals in two Detroit-area counties are 90 percent to 95 percent full. That's a very serious situation.

With new and more contagious variants fueling the cases, Michigan officials are begging for the public's help in stopping this while giving vaccinations time to take hold.

CNN's Polo Sandoval joins me now from Detroit.

[17:35:00]

Polo, what are you hearing today from doctors in your area? This sounds very serious.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jim, I'm sorry for the ambient noise here.

But what we're hearing from officials here is there are some hospitals in and around the Detroit area that are not only seeing hospitalizations that are nearing what we saw about a year ago.

But many of them actually have actually surpassed hospitalization numbers that were experienced during the latest surge, which, we point out, just recently here during the fall and winter surge.

We're also hearing, at least from one doctor here that we spent some time with today, Dr. Joel Fishbain, with that health system you mentioned a little while ago.

He says he's also noticing that the average age of many the COVID patients that he's caring for, they are getting younger, and highly symptomatic.

Over half of them infected with that highly transmittable B117 variant first detected in the U.K..

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DR. JOEL FISHBAIN, INFECTIOUS DISEASE SPECIALIST, BEAUMONT HEALTH: We're seeing many, many more people sick, and families and exposures.

And the problem and concern that I have is, until everybody gets vaccinated, could there be other variants that now escape the immune system?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANDOVAL: There are some steps that the state has taken. For example, this week, the governor did move to expand that mask mandate to include children as young as 2 years old.

And then, about a week ago, there was that recommendation that people try to avoid indoor dining for a couple of weeks.

But after spending multiple weekends in a row here in Detroit, yes, there are many people who are adhering to many of those recommendations and, of course, that mask mandate.

At the same time, there are many people that are going about everyday pre-pandemic life -- Jim?

ACOSTA: Polo Sandoval, you stay safe as well. Thanks so much for that.

With me now is Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, an epidemiologist and CNN contributor.

Thanks so much for joining us. We appreciate it.

Doctor, you served as the Detroit health commissioner. You're looking at this situation, like off of us.

Why do you think Michigan is seeing this big surge right now? Why now?

DR. ABDUL EL-SAYED, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, that's right, Jim. We have a few things in the dynamics in Michigan that have all come together to create the circumstance we're seeing now.

The first, as we've heard, is more B117 in Michigan far earlier than we had seen in other states. And we know that B117 has this ability to double faster than other COVID-19 or wild-type, garden-variety COVID- 19.

The second is we've had some aggressive reopening, even though we've had some discussion around the governor to extending the mask mandate to younger children.

Restaurants are still open up to 50 percent, as are casinos, as are gyms, as is high school sports. And we know that all of these have been uniters for spread.

And, third, I think people are fatigued with this pandemic. The part of that is that the optimism about what the vaccines could deliver for us has, I think, eclipsed the amount of vaccination that we've gotten in arms. And we continue to have vaccine hesitancy showing uptakes of vaccines in some important and vulnerable communities.

You take all of those things together and you get what we have now, Jim.

ACOSTA: Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer is asking the Biden administration to increase the supply of COVID-19 vaccines to her state.

Do you think that will help? I've heard some other public health experts saying that may not help. What's the answer, do you think?

EL-SAYED: Unfortunately, vaccines are just not -- they don't work fast enough to be able to help.

We know that the time between when someone is exposed to the virus and when they get sick and pass it along can be between three and five days.

It takes 10 days, Jim, for the vaccines to work, unlike other viruses where you have a much longer period between exposure and disease.

And you have the time to get the vaccine in arms to prevent diseases, but probably, more importantly, from people being able to spreading those diseases.

We don't have that with COVID-19. So they just wouldn't work fast enough.

Sure, we need more vaccines in Michigan. I will always say that. But it will not be the answer that I'm afraid the governor believes it would be.

What is necessary right now is action to reduce the spread. And CDC director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, said it best, things need to shut down.

It's unconscionable to me that we are reaching the heights of hospitalization.

I just talked to a family member of mine, who is a physician, who said the hospitals are full with young people with COVID-19, of course, because older folks have gotten vaccinated at a higher degree.

And that's a really worrying circumstance.

If this goes any further, Jim, it's possible that you are going to have to see folks potentially turned away from health care that they need.

That is an unconscionable situation.

ACOSTA: We know in Michigan, Governor Whitmer, she suffered a major backlash to the shutdown in that state. That could be part of her considerations in all of this. What signs do you think other states and cities should be on the lookout for as a potential signal for a surge like the one that is in Michigan now?

And what lessons do you think can be learned from what's happening in Michigan right now?

[17:40:03]

What lessons do you think can be learned from what's happening in Michigan right now?

EL-SAYED: Yes, to your point, Jim, you're absolutely right. There was a huge backlash. And we've got to call this out. The GOP in Michigan has really hamstrung the governor.

That said, there are actions you can take.

Like you said, though, these kinds of dynamics, the B117, the aggressive opening, the over-optimism about the level of vaccination, all of these things exist elsewhere.

And the hard thing about COVID that it seems we have not yet learned is that these dynamics are not lineal, right? There's a little bit more and then, all of sudden, you get this take-off point.

I think, as cases ticked up in the majority of U.S. states over this last week, I think it's really important for governors and the public to really be rethinking whether or not some of the things that we might after taken granted before the pandemic.

Whether it's eat-in dining or going to a gym or engaging in athletics, are worth it right now.

ACOSTA: Yes, we just need folks in Michigan to stay safe, hunker down, try to get through this as best as they can until those vaccines deliver, you know, on what they need to be doing there in Michigan.

All right, Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, thank you so much. We appreciate it.

And today, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, was laid to rest. He was England's longest-serving consort, a former naval officer and a patron of more than 800 organizations.

See how the queen of England said goodbye to her husband of more than 70 years, the man she said had been her constant strength and guide.

First, a quick programming note. The new CNN original series, "THE PEOPLE VERSUS THE Klan," tells the true story of Beulah Mae Donald, a black mother who took down the Ku Klux Klan after the brutal lynching of her son, Michael.

Here's a preview.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED KU KLUX KLAN MEMBER: They told me that I was getting too heavily involved in the Klan and I was getting to where I knowed (sic) too much.

If anything ever happened and I wind up being the fall guy, he took his hand and done like that.

He said your pockets will be padded with money. You'll never have to work ever again. But if you ever open your mouth about the Klan, you are going to die.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: Don't miss the powerful conclusion of "THE PEOPLE VERSUS THE KLAN," with back-to-back episodes tomorrow at 9:00 p.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[17:47:10]

ACOSTA: This just in. The family of the suspect, Brandon Scott Hole, in the mass shooting at the Indianapolis FedEx facility that left eight people dead, has just released a statement.

CNN affiliate, WRTV, obtained the statement, which reads -- and we can put this up on screen:

"We are devastated at the loss of life caused as a result of Brandon's action. Through the love of his family, we tried to get him the help he needed."

"Our sincerest and most heartfelt apologies go out to the victims of this senseless tragedy. We are so sorry for the pain and hurt being felt by the families and the entire community in Indianapolis."

That statement just coming into CNN from the family of that suspect a few moments ago. We'll, of course, stay on top of that and bring you the latest as it comes in.

Now to Cuba, where the Castro era has come to an end. Raul Castro has announced he will step down as the leader of the Communist Party there on the island, marking the first time in more than six decades a Castro will not be in control there.

The move is largely a symbolic one, as Castro will likely pick his own replacement, ensuring that the Communist Party lives on there in Cuba.

But this transaction comes at a very critical time for Cubans. The coronavirus pandemic, coupled with the tough restrictions put in place by the Trump administration had pushed Cuba's economy deeper into crisis.

Nobody knows that better than CNN's Patrick Oppmann, who joins me now from Havana.

Patrick, you've covered this story for so long now, you know it so well.

How are Cubans reacting to this news of Raul Castro's retirement? And does it mean big change for the island, do you think?

PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN HAVANA CORRESPONDENT: Well, they're skeptical, of course, that this is really the last they have seen of Raul Castro. And they're wonder how this will impact their lives.

And it probably won't have a big impact on regular Cuban's lives, because Raul Castro has been orchestrating this retirement, this transition for the last 10 years.

In a little less than two months, he will be 90 months old, Jim. That's the same age Fidel Castro had when he died.

So he is looking towards the future and making sure the officials who come after him will think a lot like he and Fidel Castro did.

That they still believe that the Communist Party is the only party that should be allowed on this island, that the economy should be control by the government, and that anyone who opposes their political ideas is treated as an enemy.

Of course, doing the same thing and expecting different results doesn't usually work out too well, Jim.

What is going to change here, with the economy in tatters, with relations with the United States in the worst state that they have been in years, it's really tough to see a different path forward for Cuba.

That's why so many Cubans that I know, as they are facing some of the toughest times in decades, are increasingly telling me they're leaving, whether it's by boat or however they can.

People here, who have been toughing it out for years, say they simply don't see a future anymore. They want to leave this island.

[17:50:07]

ACOSTA: And some of that has stepped up in recent weeks. And of course, you'll be keeping an eye on it.

But an end of an era, no question about it. Raul Castro resigning as the leader of Cuba's Communist Party. A lot of Cubans, both in Cuba and in the United States, have been waiting for this day to come.

Patrick Oppmann, thanks so much for that. We appreciate it.

And today, the royal family said good-bye to their patriarch, Prince Philip.

And before we share you the moving images from the funeral at Windsor Castle, let's give you some perspective on his 99 years.

He was born into the turmoil of war-torn Europe and became a naval officer, decorated for heroism in World War II.

Seventy-three years ago, he married Princess Elizabeth, the woman who would become the queen just a short time later.

And together, they served the crown in countless royal engagements. They watched history unfold before them. And they raise a family that honored him today.

CNN's Anna Stewart has more on the tribute to Prince Philip.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANNA STEWART, CNN LONDON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): An old-school prince going out in his own style.

(MUSIC)

STEWART: The duke of Edinburgh was heavily involved in the planning of his funeral, which began with a short procession from Windsor Castle to St. George's Chapel.

(MUSIC)

STEWART: It was steeped in military tradition. His sword and naval cap laid on top of his casket, which was carried by a modified Land Rover he helped design.

(WHISTLES)

STEWART: A decorated veteran of World War II, more than 700 military personnel took part in the ceremony.

The duke's much-loved carriage and pony stood by. His cap and gloves left poignantly on the seat.

(MUSIC)

STEWART: The prince was a family man. His children, grandchildren, and members of his personal staff walked behind dressed in mourning suits instead of military uniforms.

(MUSIC)

STEWART: Brothers Prince Harry and Prince William walked with their cousin, Peter Phillips, between them.

(MUSIC)

STEWART: The lines of mourners and military guards a somber contrast to the queen's arrival, stepping out alone, and taking a seat by herself in the chapel --

(MUSIC)

STEWART: -- waiting for the partner who stood by her for more than seven decades. UNIDENTIFIED BISHOP: We are here today in St. George's Chapel to

commit into the hands of God the soul of his servant, Prince Philip, duke of Edinburgh.

STEWART: The ceremony was pared down to just 30 people due to coronavirus restrictions. It included members of the royal family and the duke's German relatives.

(SINGING)

STEWART: The choir sang a selection of music, hand-picked by Prince Philip.

(MUSIC)

STEWART: His casket was then lowered into the royal vault where it will stay until her majesty dies, when they'll be reunited.

(MUSIC)

STEWART: A bugle sounded the last post and then a naval battle cry --

(MUSIC)

STEWART: -- action stations.

(MUSIC)

STEWART: This was the funeral Prince Philip wanted.

Although, one part he didn't orchestrate was perhaps one of the most moving.

Prince William and Prince Harry walking together and chatting after the service. A sign of unity that would have made their grandfather proud.

Anna Stewart, CNN, Windsor.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ACOSTA: And an update on a story we told you about earlier this evening in Omaha, Nebraska.

A man has died after being transported to a hospital following a shooting at a mall there. A woman also suffered non-life-threatening gunshot injuries.

Police say the shooting was an isolated incident, not a random attack. Of course, we'll be staying on top of that and we'll will bring you the latest as it comes in.

In this week's "CNN Heroes," as one of the survivors of the Boston Marathon bombing, Heather Abbott's life was forever changed by the injury she suffered. Yet, she found a way to turn that tragedy into triumph. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HEATHER ABBOTT, CNN HERO: I heard the first explosion just ahead in front of me. The next thing I knew, a second explosion occurred to my right. And that was the last thing I knew before I -- (INAUDIBLE).

I was in the hospital for several days while doctors were deciding whether or not to amputate.

It was a hard to come to terms with the fact that I am an amputee at first.

And had my injury not happened in such a public way, where there was so much assistance available, I never would have been ability to afford multiple prostheses.

Some of our recent beneficiaries.

So I decided to do what I could to help people get those devices that simply couldn't get them because they were out of the reach.

It has been life-changing for them. And a lot of them remind me of that.

[17:55:02]

Yes, it's a crazy man.

It feels very rewarding to be able to do that.

(CROSSTALK)

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: And to see more on the story, go to CNNheroes.com.

That's the news. Reporting from Washington, I'm Jim Acosta. I'll see you back here tomorrow at 4:00 p.m. Eastern.

Pamela Brown takes over the CNN NEWSROOM, live, after a quick break.

Have a good night.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)