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Memorial Day crowds, Biden makes first public appearance and Central Park video goes viral

Americans dipped their toes in the water of a COVID-19 summer - with mixed results.
Image: People visit Newport Beach in California on May 24, 2020.
Memorial Day weekend crowds on Newport Beach in California on Sunday.Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP

Good morning, NBC News readers.

As the U.S. death toll from COVID-19 inches closer to 100,000, Americans got their first sense of this summer's new coronavirus norm.

Here's what we're watching this Tuesday morning.

Memorial Day weekend tests limits of social distancing summer

People across the country attempted to kick off summer over Memorial Day weekend as beaches, parks and bars began to reopen while following social distancing guidelines with varying degrees of success.

While some were just happy to get a bit of fresh air after being cooped up for months, others flouted the social distancing rules put in place in an effort to stop the spread of coronavirus.

After images emerged of a jampacked pool party in the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri, local health officials issued a travel advisory and called on revelers to self-quarantine.

"This reckless behavior endangers countless people and risks setting us back substantially from the progress we have made in slowing the spread of COVID-19," Dr. Sam Page, the county executive, said in a statement.

The World Health Organization also warned of a "second peak" of infections in countries where COVID-19 is declining if measures put in place to halt the outbreak are let up too quickly.

"The disease can jump up at any time," WHO emergencies head Dr. Mike Ryan said Monday. "We may get a second peak in this wave."

Here are some other developments:

The one-two punch: A doctor embraces plasma and the unknown to save his patient

Doctors told Ron Panzok's family to prepare for his death. They refused.

"He was not ever the kind of person who would give up. So we were never going to give up on him, ever," his daughter Amy Harel said.

Panzok's doctor was grasping for solutions to save his life. He remained in a coma being kept alive by a ventilator.

Then Dr. Hugh Cassiere recalled an article he read in a medical journal a month before he started treating coronavirus patients that led him to a "one-two punch" treatment plan.

Five weeks into his coma, Panzok started to move.

Ron Panzok, surrounded by family as he leaves the hospital on May 13, eight weeks after he was admitted. Courtesy of Amy Harel

Joe Biden, wearing a mask, makes first public appearance since March

Joe Biden appeared in public Monday for the first time in more than two months, laying a wreath to honor veterans at a Delaware war memorial.

The last time Biden was seen publicly outside his home was on March 15, at the final Democratic primary debate against Bernie Sanders at CNN’s studios in Washington.

President Trump also marked the day commemorating U.S. war dead, including a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery.

He also spoke at a Memorial Day ceremony at Fort McHenry in Baltimore and thanked military members who are assisting Americans through the crisis.

In contrast to Biden, the president did not wear a mask at either event.

White woman calls NYPD after black man asks her to put dog on leash, sparking outrage online

A video showing a white woman calling New York City police alleging that a black man was threatening her in Central Park after he asked her to put her dog on a leash has gone viral.

Christian Cooper told WNBC that he was bird watching in the park on Monday when he noticed a dog running free. He approached the woman walking the dog to ask that she put it back on a leash as regulated.

The woman refused and Cooper filmed the interaction as she repeatedly told the police "an African American man" was threatening her and the pet.

The video, which had been viewed more than 16 million times by early Tuesday, has sparked outrage.

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THINK about it

Trump's botched COVID-19 response has caused the "American carnage" he swore to end, Halie Soifer, executive director of the Jewish Democratic Council of America, writes in an opinion piece.


OK, put down that cookie. Here are 13 healthy high-protein, high-fiber snack ideas.

Quote of the day

"It's a constant emotional bombardment. You can't detach yourself. It's impossible."

Dr. Hugh Cassiere, director of North Shore University Hospital's cardiothoracic intensive care unit, which has been transformed into a COVID-19 ICU.

One fun thing

Extremely rare snow leopards have been caught on camera at a popular hiking location near Kazakhstan's biggest city.

Zoologists used a motion-sensing camera to film them prowling around the area which had been closed to most visitors during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thanks for reading the Morning Rundown.

Hope you were able to enjoy the long weekend.

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Be safe and stay healthy, Petra Cahill