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Mayor Lori Lightfoot is Interviewed about Chicago's Coronavirus Response; Battle over Mail-in Voting; CNN Heroes Help in Coronavirus Fight; Answers to Your Coronavirus Questions; A Parade for a Nurse's Son's Birthday. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired April 10, 2020 - 08:30   ET

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


[08:30:00]

MAYOR LORI LIGHTFOOT (D), CHICAGO: Medical doctors, social workers, nurses, and street outreach folks, folks that are normally out there trying to interrupt violence, but have deep roots and connection into these neighborhoods. We've got to education people. We've got to connect them to services. And we've got to have an ongoing relationship with them to make sure that they're safe throughout this pandemic.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: And I know it's a number that may be startling to people, but I also know it's not surprising to people like you who have been in this battle for public health for a long, long time.

Where are you right now in the curve in Chicago? When do you think the number of cases will peak?

LIGHTFOOT: Well, we started out with one to two -- doubling of cases every one to two days. Then we move to every three to four days. Now we're at every nine to ten days, which is obviously progress. And what we're starting to see is a flattening and we may not actually get the kind of apex or peak that we have been thinking about. But we're back and looking at the modeling. I think it's too early for us to be able to predict when we're going to start to see the number of cases start to go down, the number of deaths go down.

But one thing I do know is we have to stay the course with staying inside to save lives. It's critically important.

BERMAN: Is that the message you want to send? Or what is the message you want to send heading into the holiday weekend?

LIGHTFOOT: While, you know, it's Pesach, we're going to have -- today's Good Friday, Easter Sunday, we have to stay inside. Ministers, the people of the faith, do your broadcast, live stream them, but do not congregate. We've seen people who have been going to church and ignoring the admaditions (ph), ignoring the orders, getting sick, ministers dying. This is deadly serious. And you can express your faith in lots of different ways, but it can't be by congregating.

BERMAN: So former President Obama was on a conference call yesterday with a number of mayors. You were not on it. But the message he set was the biggest mistake any of us can make in these situations is to misinform.

What do you think he was trying to say there?

LIGHTFOOT: Well, I think it was pretty obvious. What we've seen coming out of the president's mouth at his daily press conferences is a series of half-truths, myths. It's not grounded in facts or science. And it's terrible because the president of the United States has the loudest megaphone in the world and people want to be relying upon the things that he says or does. But, unfortunately, yet you can't do that with this president.

What I would advise is find a credible source and rely upon that. Here in Chicago, we have a great website, chicago.gov/coronavirus. Our public health commissioner has a live stream every day at 11:00 a.m. Central. And we believe that those are the two most critical sources of information.

BERMAN: So, Mayor Lightfoot, I know you said you need to take this deadly seriously and by all accounts you are. And mayors around the country are.

LIGHTFOOT: Yes.

BERMAN: That doesn't mean that you aren't making a few people smile here and there with some of the actions and social media posts you've been putting out there.

I want to put up from Twitter here, it's also an Instagram here. You set this message to people. You say, your jump shot is always going to be weak, stay out of the parks. Why you got to troll people like that, Mayor?

LIGHTFOOT: Listen, you got to have some fun with this as well. And we're fortunate, we've got great, creative and innovative people here in Chicago. The memes of me have been absolutely hilarious. I'm having a great fun with them. So I think it just shows that people are really interested in having something that gives them hope and really distracts them from the daily news that's otherwise very grim.

BERMAN: Mayor Lightfoot, we appreciate you being with us this morning. Thank you so much for the work you're doing.

LIGHTFOOT: Thank you so much. I appreciate it.

BERMAN: All right, the next coronavirus stimulus bill could end up stalled because President Trump has all but declared war against mail- in voting. A closer look, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:37:57]

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Mail-in voting. It's becoming a battle between congressional Democrats and the White House. Democrats want to include more money for mail-in voting in the next coronavirus relief package. President Trump is railing against that.

CNN's Abby Phillip has our story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): As the novel coronavirus ravages the country, President Trump declaring war against a new enemy, vote by mail.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Mail ballots, they cheat, OK? People cheat. Mail ballots are a very dangerous thing for this country because they're cheaters. They go and collect them. They're fraudulent in many cases.

PHILLIP: The president pushing unfounded claims of fraud and unfazed by images like these, lines snaking through parking lots at Wisconsin polling places after the courts sided with Republican officials to allow the state's primary to go forward, forcing thousands of voters to potentially risk their health to cast in person ballots on Tuesday. Trump warning his party that expanded mail-in voting will mean that they will lose.

TRUMP: They had things -- levels of voting that if you ever agreed to it, you'd never have a Republican elected in this country again.

PHILLIP: And claiming that for whatever reason mail-in voting doesn't work out well for Republicans, urging his party to fight very hard against efforts to expand it.

Experts say voter fraud is rare, though it is more likely with mailed ballots.

A prominent recent example, a Republican campaign operative in North Carolina charged in 2019 with fraud for tampering with absentee ballots in a congressional race.

Five states already conduct their elections entirely by mail. And most states allow absentee ballots to be cast for any reason.

Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman, a Republican, says her state hasn't seen any evidence of fraud.

KIM WYMAN, WASHINGTON SECRETARY OF STATE: It has to be an option because 16 percent of our population across the country are people that are in the highest risk group because they're over 60 years old.

[08:40:02]

Those voters have to have an option that doesn't involve going to a polling place.

Our experience in Washington has not been one where voter fraud is a problem with vote by mail because of the security controls we've put into place.

PHILLIP: And Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, also a Republican, dismissing those concerns.

GOV. MIKE DEWINE (R-OH): We've had a lot of experience in this. So we didn't really worry about, you know, any kind of fraud as far as that was concerned.

PHILLIP: In Georgia, the state's Republican secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, has already mailed absentee applications to all eligible voters ahead of their rescheduled presidential primary.

BRAD RAFFENSPERGER, GEORGIA SECRETARY OF STATE: We wanted to get that information out to voters and show them here's a way you can vote from the safety and security of your home.

PHILLIP: Other Republican officials in this state appear to be taking their political cues from the president.

DAVID RALSTON (R), GEORGIA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: And then you look at the people here in Georgia that have lined up to support Secretary Raffensperger's proposal. I mean it's every extreme, liberal, Democratic group that's out there. And it kind of makes you wonder what their agenda is.

PHILLIP: Democrats across the country preparing to fight back.

STACEY ABRAMS (D), FORMER GEORGIA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: What should be terrifying to every American is that Donald Trump said out loud the quiet part, that he knows that if every eligible American got to cast a ballot, he would lose.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PHILLIP: And Kim Wyman also told me that she has already spoken to Republican and Democratic election officials in all 50 states and Puerto Rico about this issue. And that's a sign that election officials of both parties are taking this very seriously and they know that they will have to make changes come November.

Now, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said that the $400 million that they've already allocated for this issue is only about 20 percent of what she thinks that they will need to get states up to speed for a different kind of voting in November, John.

BERMAN: Abby Phillip, great report. Great to see you on NEW DAY.

We've been bringing you stories of CNN Heroes going above and beyond during this pandemic. CNN's Anderson Cooper looks at three of those heroes.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR (voice over): These CNN Heroes are finding new and unique ways to help their communities in the face of Covid-19. Whether that's bringing their programming online for those recovering from addiction --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For somebody in recovery, social isolation can often lead to the relapse. It's crucial to keep each other connected. So now you can come to a class every hour of the day.

COOPER: Delivering meals for children who no longer access them in school programs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We used to serve a thousand pounds of pasta a week. Last week, we serve 5,000 pounds. It's telling you the demand.

COOPER: Or providing supplies and emotional support to struggling members of their community.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have intensified our food distribution to about 2,000 families in the past week. We are sewing masks and gowns. Covid-19 has taught us that nothing, nothing can break the human spirit.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BERMAN: Nothing.

To see Anderson's full story on how these and many other heroes are helping fight this pandemic, go to cnnheroes.com.

All right, so many questions about coronavirus. Dr. Sanjay Gupta back next with some answers.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:48:00]

BERMAN: We all have so many questions still about coronavirus and CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta has answers.

Sanjay, great to see you again.

This first question is terrific. So Terry asks, is it likely that people who have the coronavirus but are asymptomatic or have mild cases will develop antibodies the same as people who have active symptoms and recover?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, this is a terrific question because it illustrates a fundamental point. The answer is yes. Even if you did not have symptoms, even if you had mild symptoms, there a very good chance your body still made antibodies. That means two things. One is that you could -- it could offer you protection from possibly becoming infected in the future, and this is how you do surveillance. You start to find people like this. I didn't know that I had the coronavirus. You have the antibodies. I fact, you were exposed and infected at one point. That's how you start to get a clearer picture of what's happening around the country.

CAMEROTA: OK, this next question comes from Anthony. Should we worry about mosquitos during this pandemic?

GUPTA: Good question, Anthony. You don't need to probably worry about mosquitos. People will say, but I saw a study that showed that the virus was found in blood. True. There had been viral particles found in blood. For a mosquito to be a vector, it means a mosquito would bite somebody, the virus would then have to live in the mosquito for a period of time, and then the mosquito would bite somebody else. This virus doesn't appear to live in the mosquito. Viruses like HIV don't live in the mosquito. That's why that can't be a mosquito borne illness. Things like malaria, dengue, west Nile, those can. But this one doesn't seem to.

BERMAN: Yes, a tons of other reasons to worry about mosquitos. Get rid of them if you can, but not mainly coronavirus.

GUPTA: Right.

BERMAN: Sanjay, this comes from Melinda. Young kids seem to do well with the Covid-19, but how would a four-year-old with type one diabetes do?

GUPTA: Well, you know, this is tough because thankfully, you know, young people do seem to be protected from this. Not entirely. There have been people, young people, who have died of this -- this infection around the country.

[08:50:01]

And others that have become very ill having a pre-existing condition does put you at risk. And so I feel for the parents who are asking this question.

Best thing you can do is make sure blood sugar control is optimized during this time, keep a close eye on any symptoms. And, if you can, if there are any symptoms, get tested.

CAMEROTA: OK, this comes from Mark, who says, I keep hearing that the virus may slow down in warmer weather. So why is the virus spreading so fast in Florida?

GUPTA: Yes, I -- there was a lot of, you know, sort of theories about how this virus would behave in the warmer, more humid weather. What we're seeing around the country, and I think it's because of two reasons, that that doesn't seem to be the case, the virus still seems to be circulating. In China, I think, is one of the places they really looked at and found as the weather got warmer and more humid, the virus was still growing exponentially over there. And part of the reason for that is that even though the -- those types of conditions are not great for viruses. We don't have immunity to this virus yet. Most people on the planet have not been exposed to this, so we don't have any immunity to this. And that's why it continues to infect people despite the conditions.

BERMAN: A question from Devon on smoking, Sanjay. I have a history of smoking, but I'm currently cutting back and attempting to quit. Am I more like likely to have complications if I get coronavirus?

GUPTA: Well, you know, I think this one has to go into the, you know, sort of common sense bucket. You know, we don't know for sure. There's going to be all these studies that come out about who's most affected. We're still three and a half months into this. But anything that damages your lungs, which smoking does, smoking affects your lungs, is going to make you more at risk for most respiratory viruses. And we have no reason to believe this novel coronavirus would be any different.

CAMEROTA: Sanjay there are so many questions about how to make a homemade mask. People are struggling with the dimensions. You have done a show and tell of how to do it. So let's watch a little bit of your video.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GUPTA: Make sure you fold it properly. And as I'm showing you this, remember that you don't want to take a hospital worker's mask.

Here's a pro tip, don't use small hair bands like this. Find big hair bands. Put one on either end, over here, and do this. And then this is going to be the key move right here. Put is like this, but then fold one end and really tuck it inside the other. In there, like this, this is not going to be a fashion statement, but there you go. And there's my bandanna.

You take it off, reach back here like this, pretend that the bandanna's contaminated, can put that in the laundry.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh, Sanjay, I had no idea. That is super easy.

GUPTA: Yes, I mean, you know, there's been all sorts of videos going around on the Internet. I didn't know that before this whole thing happened. That's not a just sort of skill that I think most people have. But, you know, people are creative out there. And so there's all sorts of different tutorials. Cnn.com has some really detailed instructions on how to do it as well.

So, yes, it's fun. And I didn't -- yes, I got it right here. You know, it doesn't -- it doesn't look too bad. Like I said, it's not a fashion statement, but it works pretty well, I think.

CAMEROTA: I think it is a fashion statement. I beg to differ. I think that that is a fashionable one but it's just great. So people can watch you do it on cnn.com. Terrific.

GUPTA: Yes.

BERMAN: Thanks, Sanjay.

GUPTA: They can see it there.

BERMAN: Bandanna origami with Dr. Gupta.

GUPTA: Thank you.

BERMAN: Sanjay, have a great weekend.

So a Florida nurse on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic wanted to throw a party for her son's seventh birthday. Instead, he got a parade.

CNN's Rosa Flores shows us how police went beyond the call of duty to help celebrate.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): It's a surprise birthday party that rolled in --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One, two, three, four, five.

FLORES: One Pembroke Pines, Florida, police vehicle at a time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Happy birthday, Carter! Hope you have a great birthday.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you. Thank you.

FLORES: All to celebrate Carter Crozo's (ph) seventh birthday while exercising social distancing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Happy birthday!

ADAM FEINER, CAPTAIN, PEMBROKE PINES POLICE DEPARTMENT: Carter's mom Crystal is a nurse. She works at a local area hospital. And she's on the front lines with this pandemic. She basically asked from one first responder to another, if we could shed some type of light on her son's birthday because she didn't want is birthday party to not be recognized.

FLORES: Crystal Corzo has been juggling being a nurse on the front lines of the coronavirus outbreak and being a mom. She now works overnights so she can oversee her children's cyber learning activities during the day.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As nurses, we are at bedside, we're touching patients. We can't keep social distance. We just do our best to protect ourselves so when we come home we're not infecting our families.

FLORES: Family, friends and neighbors join the birthday caravan. Some wearing costumes and flying balloons, but staying in their cars or wearing masks.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, that was (INAUDIBLE). Were you expecting that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

FLORES: And what's a party parade without a fire truck, the motorcycle squad and the big wheels of the SWAT team.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We didn't want your birthday to go without anybody celebrating it. FLORES: It's something law enforcement is doing all over the country

during the coronavirus pandemic.

[08:55:05]

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Happy birthday, Zach (ph).

FLORES: The bomb squad in Albuquerque, New Mexico, used a robot to deliver gifts to four-year-old Zach.

Multiple law enforcement agencies in Mishawaka, Indiana, cheered for sixyear-old Brantley (ph).

And in Bakersfield, California, police surprised 10-year-old Drew.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There were sirens. It was just really cool.

FLORES: Back in Florida --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're welcome.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're welcome, buddy.

FLORES: Even the canine unit made the party and Carter's cousins joined in too.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His name is Kofi (ph) and he says happy birthday.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was above and beyond what I just wanted to surprise him with, just to give him something for his birthday.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Give me some.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah, you did it.

FLORES: Rosa Flores, CNN, Pembroke Pines, Florida.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CAMEROTA: These police departments are incredible. And these fire departments. I mean these first responders are just incredible during all of this. Helping people in danger and helping people celebrate their birthday.

BERMAN: I want the bomb squad at my birthday next time.

CAMEROTA: Oh, they will be. They will. I'll arrange that, John.

BERMAN: Fantastic.

CAMEROTA: OK.

John, have a wonderful, healthy, safe weekend.

BERMAN: You too.

CAMEROTA: Thank you.

CNN's coronavirus coverage continues after this quick break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[09:00:01]

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Good Friday morning, everyone. I'm Poppy Harlow.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Jim Sciutto.

The country is now days away from the projected peak of this.

END