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Biden Accuser Says Her Mother Spoke of "Problems" Working for "Prominent Senator" in 1993 CNN Clip; Emotional Night at the Virtual Draft for Some Prospects; Kevin Washington, president & CEO of YMCA USA, Discusses the Reopening of Gyms Amid Coronavirus Outbreaks; CNN's "The Road to Change: America's Climate Crisis". Aired 1-2p ET

Aired April 25, 2020 - 13:00   ET



FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: Hello again, everyone. Thank you so much for joining me. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

We begin with a new warning from the World Health Organization, researchers saying today there is no evidence that those who have already had coronavirus could not be reinfected. That news coming as some states begin to restart their economies. South Carolina, Georgia, Oklahoma and Alaska allowing for partial reopenings and 15 more states have stay at home orders expiring within days. This as we're closing in on one million cases of the virus in the U.S. and the number of deaths now more than 52,000.

This morning, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the last 21 days have been hell. He's now calling on his state to double the number of testing to get ahead of the virus.


GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): The labs are coming up to scale. The collection sites are opening. The more testing we have, the more we will open eligibility.

Hopefully one day we get to the point where anybody who wants to test can walk in and get a test.


WHITFIELD: All right, let's start in New York where Governor Andrew Cuomo says the state is quote, on the downside of the mountain. And he reports 1,100 new cases and a slight uptick of more than 435 new deaths. CNN's Cristina Alesci is in New York for us. So Cristina, the governor spoke a lot about testing.

CRISTINA ALESCI, CNN POLITICS AND BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: He did and he gave us the typical yes, but equation that Cuomo gives both on the facts and on some colorful perspective on his opinion to what the city is -- in the city in the state are going through right now.

On the facts, dramatically increased testing. The biggest piece of news on this is antibody testing and the expansion of antibody testing specifically for the frontline workers who were the hardest hit, the ones who saw the most cases. We're talking about institutions. We've been talking about for months now Elmhurst, Bellevue, Montefiore, SUNY Downstate, those health care workers will be able to get access to antibody testing.

And this is Cuomo's whole point about health care workers. Show us that you care. Don't just tell us that you care, show us that you care. And these antibody tests are a way of doing it.

He also spoke about diagnostic testing. This is the kind of testing that tells you whether or not you have the virus, that testing will be greatly expanded and he basically went through the step by step -- the step by step ways in which they are able to expand this. They have the equipment now and what they're doing is the state is partnering with local pharmacies in order to collect the samples, in order to dramatically reduce the numbers.

And in that regard, he said, look, because of the ramp up, we could now expand eligibility beyond just health care frontline workers. We could go to the police and the firemen and the grocery store delivery workers, all of those people who are on the front lines, they should be able to get access to testing.

Now, on the colorful perspective front, we got the yet this is hard New York, I get it. You're out of a job, you don't know if you whether or not when your next paycheck is coming, whether or not your business is going to survive that, that's hard. But what the social distancing measures have been able to do is actually save lives and reduce the amount of infections. He basically pointed to a stat saying because of the sacrifices that New Yorkers are making, they've been able to keep the infections to 100,000 fewer than they would have been, Fred.

WHITFIELD: Cristina, did the governor make a forecast about when potentially in New York could reopen?

ALESCI: Well, we know that the order to close down the New York Pause Act is in effect until May 15th. But what he cautions people in the room is about is don't necessarily look at a decision about whether I extend that act as it will come at the same time. It may not come as this -- at the same time as a decision as when to open the economy. So the two things shouldn't be linked. He's going to make those decisions independent of one another.

What he did say about the reopening when it happens is that it's going to be a phased approach. And this is something that I've been hearing from my sources as well. They are saying that the state is looking at industries that maybe are easier to socially distance in like construction. You know, those may be able to go first and then you can get to the industries that -- you know, require people to be closer together. So that's the way he's approaching it, Fred.


WHITFIELD: All right, Cristina Alesci. Thank you so much in New York.

All right. Meanwhile, Georgia made the controversial decision to reopen some non-essential businesses on Friday. Several others have the option of opening their doors on Monday. CNN's Natasha Chen is in Douglasville, Georgia. And Natasha, what has been the response?

NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, as you can imagine, there are some businesses that have chosen not to reopen, but the ones who have like the barber shop behind us and a tattoo parlor in the strip mall, they have done so with some serious considerations on balancing how they really need to earn an income versus the public health risk.

And as you can imagine, also, people's hair getting long. So yesterday when this barber shop opened for the first time in a month, they said there were 15 people out the door waiting in line.


CHEN: Businesses like Jenkins Barber Shop opened on Friday for the first time in almost a month.

GOV. BRIAN KEMP (R-GA): As long as your chairs between customers, as you see, we have the benches marked. These are disposable here.

CHEN: Georgia's governor says the state is ready.

KEMP: We will allow gyms fitness centers, bowling alleys, body art studios, barbers.

CHEN: Barbers like Eric Greeson, who happens to be diabetic.

ERIC GREESON, BARBER: As a barber, what we have to do and I definitely would not have open anything against the health officials' recommendation or the president.

CHEN: The president who initially supported states to quote, liberate, pull the 180 issuing a public rebuke of the Republican he once endorsed.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I didn't like to see a lot of things happening, and I wasn't happy with it and I wasn't happy with Brian Kemp.

CHEN: The state won't see a peak in daily COVID-19 deaths until next week, according to widely accepted data.

GREESON: Everybody's scared of it basically, but we're also afraid that if we don't open and the person down the street do and then we won't have business.

CHEN: This barbershop was one of two that were open out of the 10 Donna Whitfield visited on Friday morning.

DONNA WHITFIELD, BARBER AND BEAUTY SUPPLIER: These are our gloves. We will probably run out by the end of next week.

CHEN: She's a barber and beauty supplier in Georgia and Alabama. It was her first day back in the truck in a month. She'd rather not risk bringing the virus home to her husband who has cancer, but she also can't afford not to work.

D. WHITFIELD: I'm just kind of on the fence. You know, I don't know -- you know, I hope we're doing the right thing.

RANDY HICKS, OWNER, SOUTHERN LANES: They're paid or not, what they have done --

CHEN: The right thing for Randy Hicks is making sure his 25 employees at Southern Lanes Bowling Alley could still support their families. And he knows people may criticize his decision.

HICKS: I'm sorry for that. I hope -- I hope they don't hold it against us for no reason. We're not trying to hurt anybody. If you -- look, we just want to get the business go.

CHEN: Fellow owner Deborah Holland is a cancer survivor.

DEBORAH HOLLAND, OWNER, SOUTHERN LANES: I'm conscientious about what we have, the cleanliness that we have, the exposure we have, because I don't want to have to go to the hospital with this virus or anything. I'm missing half along.

CHEN: The phone kept ringing with eager customers who all had to do temperature checks before coming in, could only use half of the 32 lanes and we're limited on the number of bowlers per lane. Even with restrictions, there was a strong sense of relief.

HOLLAND: I literally felt the burden being lifted off my shoulders.

CHEN: And many of their regulars felt the same. Like Leon Perpignan who came before doors even opened.

LEON PERPIGNAN, BOWLER: I just want to do something that I enjoy doing and haven't done in a while. Besides, all the honey to-do list is all done.


CHEN: And on Monday, restaurants will be allowed to resume dine-in service. Now, we know of a handful of restaurants as well as at least one large chain here in Georgia who will be doing that. But we also know many restaurants deciding that it's still too soon, Fred. One chef telling me it's just not safe to reopen yet.

WHITFIELD: All right, still lots of trepidation even though many are being given the green light in Georgia. Thank you so much, Natasha Chen.

All right, the Governor of South Carolina has given the green light for some businesses in his state to reopen department stores, clothing boutiques, flea markets, and even some beaches have been allowed to reopen. But restaurants, barber shops and gyms remain closed.

John Tecklenburg is the mayor of Charleston, South Carolina. One of my all-time favorite cities, I used to live there too. So Mayor, good to see you, you get double thumbs up. I'm glad you're well. So some businesses in your state have been allowed to reopen. What is Charleston looking like to you? How comfortable are you with some businesses reopening?

JOHN TECKLENBURG (D), MAYOR OF CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA: Well, Fredricka, it's a beautiful day in Charleston by the way and sunny and 75.

WHITFIELD: Every day.

TECKLENBURG: We look forward to having you back here soon.

WHITFIELD: Can't wait.

TECKLENBURG: You know, Katie didn't just unbar the door and open it wide open. What we're trying to do in Charleston in South Carolina is a very measured strategic reopening that will allow us the time to build the capacity that we need for the testing both types for the disease and for the serological testing. To build our capacity as were doing for the contact tracing, all the while monitoring the numbers of the cases that are out there.


TECKLENBURG: So open some retail first with no contact. Then down the road, we'll come some contact businesses, then restaurants, so it'll be a measured thing. Even big gatherings we probably won't open for who knows when, some time to come.

And all along the way, to be mindful of seniors and those with underlying health conditions.

WHITFIELD: Yes. Oh, of course. So while the numbers are relatively modest when compared to -- you know, Georgia is 22,000 or so -- you know, cases statewide. South Carolina 5,000 confirmed cases based on some of the latest numbers. I saw 406 deaths in Charleston County alone. Are you still -- you know, concerned that the push from the South Carolina governor to reopen to get things going again? The economy going might potentially -- you know, threaten the lives of a lot of South Carolinians, might make those numbers worsen.

TECKLENBURG: So be clear, in Charleston County, we've only had 412 cases, identified only six deaths.


TECKLENBURG: So 5,000 in the whole state. So we are blessed that Charleston had the first day at home order, and we've been able to flatten the curve here locally, probably more than most places in the state and the nation. And we're thankful to the advice of our healthcare professionals that led us to that.

So once again, yes, we're concerned, we've still got to build our capacity for testing and contact tracing. Those concerns are out there, but every day gets us closer to being able to have those capacities and then to think about this strategically. Once again, the term reopening isn't like somebody's going to cut --

turn on the switch and open the door wide and everything's back to normal. It's got to be strategic and measured, so that we do this safely over time and build the confidence among our citizens and our visitors as well.

WHITFIELD: So mayor, what are -- what are you hearing from your constituents? Because, you know -- you know, Charleston is very -- people like to be outdoors, whether it's on King Street or whether they're -- you know, they're by the Battery or -- you know, at any number of the beaches nearby. What are they telling you about their eagerness -- you know, to get back to normal?

TECKLENBURG: Well, everyone I think is eager to get back to normal and there's cabin fever out there. We certainly allow folks to walk, ride their bikes, jog. We discourage folks from congregating three or more anywhere, including parks or even along the Battery.

The beaches, even though the governor has authorized them to open, he did leave it up to the jurisdiction of local mayors.

And frankly, most local mayors so far, at least in the Charleston area, have chosen to keep the beaches close. So they are a lack of options out there for people compared to normal, but, folks are being patient and compliant. We're doing a lot of education, both with businesses and our citizens and we're sticking with this together. We're all in this boat together.

WHITFIELD: We are indeed. And is it the case that Charleston is projecting a 40 -- you know, plus million dollar budget deficit because of the loss of revenue? And is it your hope to perhaps be able to benefit from many stimulus packages from the federal government?

TECKLENBURG: Well, absolutely. The first few rounds of CARES did not include any direct benefits for jurisdictions under 500,000. We're hoping that the next round includes that for cities and counties that have lesser populations. In Charleston County, we're just -- we're about 400,000 so we didn't qualify for that round. Yes, we are most hopeful to be included in the next round.

We are projecting a loss of revenue of about $41 million just in the city of Charleston. Were have a hiring freeze already in place and looking at ways that we can trim the budget. And hopeful we'll get a little support from the federal like many other folks who've gotten.

WHITFIELD: All right, Mayor John Tecklenburg, thank you so much, be safe. See you next time I'm in Charleston, South Carolina. Hope that soon.

TECKLENBURG: Look forward to seeing you. Thank you.

WHITFIELD: All right, thank you so much.

All right, coming up, fighting the coronavirus does get very personal. A doctor who beat the virus opens up about her battle on two fronts.

Plus, protests reach a boiling point in Russia. Is the government doing enough to stop a surge in coronavirus cases there?



WHITFIELD: A sobering warning from the World Health Organization today. Researchers say there is no evidence that people who once had coronavirus are now immune from a second infection.

Joining me now to talk more about this is Dr. Tsion Firew. She is an emergency medicine physician at Columbia University. And Dr. Firew, good to see you.


WHITFIELD: So what do you make of this warning now from the World Health Organization? And what could this mean now for a possible vaccine?

FIREW: So, like everything else, whenever we talk about vaccine development, and so much of the evidence around this virus is going to take time. This is a novel virus, we can't rely on prior evidences as much. And of course, it's going to take time.


FIREW: And me and as a person that recover from this disease, I sure do hope that I would develop a lifetime immunity but that is not going to be the case. And so much of what we learn has to be based on other countries that fight this disease before us.

And based on what WHO released yesterday, (AUDIO GAP) organization -- extraordinary organization who's been providing evidences and guidelines in a careful manner so we can all learn from this.

So based on what they released yesterday, the idea that some countries are offering this immunity passport based on antibody, we have no evidence so far based on what we know. The risk of reinfection and people do -- people that have antibody doesn't mean that they're not going to get infected for the second time. We hope so, but we don't know the evidence that we have so far.

WHITFIELD: Well, given that you were in that battle yourself personally with coronavirus yourself, was it your hope or had it been your hope all along that -- you know, after surviving coronavirus, that you would have an immunity to any other contact to the virus?

FIREW: So, you know, I'm still continuing to do the necessary precautions especially at work, wearing all the PPEs at work and also the general precaution that I will take if I was to leave my house for essential things like grocery shopping.

And believe me, I would not want to go to that again for the second time, but it doesn't mean that I got in the street, get on the bus, on the train and be a little bit more relaxed about it, because this is absolutely not the time to do it.

And you know, I've been lucky to recover from this disease. Just this last night, I found out a lot of my colleagues who've been fighting this disease for almost two weeks died from this and this is a second that we have in our department.

So, you know, I've been lucky and blessed to recover (AUDIO GAP) at home and rest (AUDIO GAP) everybody's not going to be lucky with this, so I would not want to take a chance at all.

WHITFIELD: So Dr. Firew, your middle name is Battle. I mean, here you are, you know, you've been through coronavirus yourself. You're battling every day when you're in the E.R. and you are also an Iraq war medic veteran. So you've heard people make the comparisons that this pandemic -- you know, is compared to a warzone, given you've been through all of it now. All those layers that I just described, how would you compare this?

FIREW: You know, I've been saying this since day one when we start seeing the overwhelming amount of patients in our E.R., it just felt like COVID-19 bomb drop in our city and in our emergency department. What made this difference? You know, based from what experience that I had in Iraq, as you know, their bullets and the -- you know, the bombs you're not seeing for everyone. It's just us in the hospital who are in the battlefield that are seeing the grave effect that it has on the population in general.

And so much of the -- for me what I felt like the PTSD, and most of my colleagues who have -- you know, worked on war zones, we're reliving that mental, emotional and the mental toll on us.

You know, one thing I would say, and for everyone that's watching in this room, be glad that you're not in the war zone, because the amount of physical and mental toll that has taken on all of us is -- you know, insurmountable. And we continue to do so and well, hopefully we'll never have to face anything like this and that we all take the necessary precautions.

And we're just starting to see the light with the necessary public cause interventions that have been implemented in the past few weeks.

WHITFIELD: I feel like that ding is keeping -- I am keeping you from something really urgent right now in the E.R.

FIREW: I'm so sorry, I think it's just people texting me saying that we're seeing you live on T.V. I'm sorry I should have turned it off.

WHITFIELD: OK, just checking -- just checking. Then quickly before we go then, I mean, this is equally -- you know, very important. I mean, how do you avoid then PTSD? Have -- and how will you know if you are suffering from it, because of what you've been through?

FIREW: You know, I think our department and so much of the support for -- from our colleagues in the psychiatric department, we've had -- you know, wellness session, discussion group debriefings, that has helped. And everybody personally have a way of coping with this different mechanism, whether it's talking to your friend, your colleagues, your partners. So I've been taking advantage of all those things and I think it's very, very important that we continue to utilize all the resources that we have.

And I would have to add, physicians, nurses, everybody and in clinical field are less likely to seek help, especially mental health. So I encourage all my colleagues to do that and I've been taken advantage of all the -- all the resources that are available for me through my department and all the overwhelming support from everyone.

WHITFIELD: And all with the smile the whole way through Dr. Tsion Firew, you are amazing as are all of your colleagues. We so appreciate all the work you're doing. Thank you so much and continued wellness to you, really appreciate it.

FIREW: Thank you for having me.

WHITFIELD: All right, coming up at 2:30 here because you have so many questions about all of this. Your health, your welfare, your family, a panel of experts will join me to answer your coronavirus questions.


WHITFIELD: If you have one right now, you haven't submitted, go to and submit your questions on health, family life and your legal rights. That's at 2:30 Eastern right here on CNN.


WHITFIELD: All right, turning to the 2020 campaign and why a video from 1993 is part of today's political discussion. CNN National Political Correspondent M.J. Lee joining us now. So M.J., tell us how this video could relate to a sexual assault allegation made against Joe Biden dating to that time when he was a Senator.


And first of all, M.J., can you bring us up to speed on the allegation itself?

M.J. LEE, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fred, a woman named Tara Reade was an aide for then-Senator Joe Biden in the early 1990s. She recently alleged that Joe Biden had sexually assaulted her many years ago.

And CNN interviewed Reade for the first time on the phone last night. CNN had previously reached out to her but last night was the first time she agreed to be interviewed on the record.

And she says that some time in 1993 that she was asked to deliver a duffel bag to then-Senator Joe Biden and that inside of a corridor, somewhere inside the Capitol Hill complex, that Biden had her up against a wall, used his knee to spread open her legs and put his fingers inside her.

Now the Biden campaign denies this allegation. And we will discuss sort of their full response in just a few minutes.

But the context that's important here, too, is that this woman, Tara Reade previously last year publicly said that Biden had touched her in ways that had made her feel uncomfortable, touching her neck, touching her hair.

So this new allegation of sexual assault is obviously new and so much more serious than what she said last year.

WHITFIELD: And is there corroboration of Reade's story?

LEE: Well, what's important is that several media outlets, including the "New York Times," the "Washington Post," they have done some extensive reporting on this allegation and story.

And the "New York Times" says that they spoke with a friend of Reade's who told "The Times" that Reade told her about this alleged assault at the time that it happened.

They also spoke with a second friend who says that Reade told her in 2008 about Biden touching her inappropriately.

The "Washington Post" also spoke with Tara Reade's brother, who initially told "The Post," quote, "I heard that there was a gym bag incident and that he was inappropriate. I remember her telling me he said she was nothing to him."

Now interestingly, several days later, according to "The Post," Tara Reade's brother got back in touch with the paper and said he did remember her saying that Biden had put his hands under her clothes.

Now I also just want to share that, according to "The Times," they interviewed some two-dozen people who worked with Biden in the early 1990s and none of them corroborated Tara Reade's allegation.

They also spoke with some other women who had previously also said that they felt uncomfortable with some of the physical interactions that they had with Joe Biden, though, very important to note, none of them accused him of sexual assault.

All of these women that "The Times" reached out to said they didn't have anything new that they wanted to add about the experiences they had, though several of them did tell "The Times" they believe Tara Reade's new allegation.

WHITFIELD: M.J., how does Reade's mother factor into all of this?

LEE: Well, Tara Reade's mother is a key figure in all of this because she is the one other person that Tara Reade says she told about the alleged sexual assault at the time. Now she died a few years ago so she is not somebody who can speak and corroborate any part of this story now.

But what surfaced last night was a segment on CNN's "Larry King Live" from 1993 that appears to feature Tara Reade's mother's voice.

Let's watch that first and then we can talk about it.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): Yes, hello. I'm wondering what a staffer would do besides go to the press in Washington.

My daughter has just left there after working for a prominent Senator and could not get through with her problems. And the only thing she could have done is go to the press, and she chose not to do it out of respect for him.

LARRY KING, FORMER HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": So she had a story to tell but, out of respect for the person she worked for, she didn't tell it?



LEE: Now what Tara Reade told CNN last night on the phone is that this is, in fact, her mother's voice, that she feels certain about that. And that sometime after the alleged assault in 1993, her mother did tell her that she had calls into Larry King. And Reade told CNN she was upset about that at the time because she didn't want her mother doing anything of that kind.

Now to be clear, this woman's voice that we just heard, she only refers to "problems" related to her daughter and a prominent Senator. But she doesn't name any names. She certainly doesn't mention any details. Doesn't say anything about sexual harassment or sexual assault.

So I think it's just very important that we be clear about what this clip does and does not show. It does seem to suggest that Tara Reade did share something with her mother that she found troubling about her experience of working with a Senator.


WHITFIELD: And then is their response coming from the Biden campaign?

LEE: So the Biden campaign is not commenting on this "Larry King Live" segment that surfaced last night, but they did previously share statements denying the sexual assault allegation.

I first want to read a statement from Kate Bedingfield, the deputy campaign manager.

She says, "Vice President Biden has dedicated his public life to changing the culture and the laws around violence against women. He authored and fought for the passage and reauthorization of the landmark Violence Against Women Act."

He firmly believes that women have a right to be heard and heard respectfully. Such claims should also be diligently reviewed by an independent press."

"What is clear about this claim, it is untrue. This absolutely did not happen."

Now the other statement that the campaign also shared with CNN is from Marianne Baker. She was the executive assistant for Biden in the 1980s and 1990s when Biden was a Senator. She is the woman that Reade told "The Times" she had complained to in addition to two other aides at Biden's office.

Let me just read Baker's statement.

She says, "In all my years working for Senator Biden, I never once witnessed or heard of or received any reports of inappropriate conduct, period. Not from Ms. Reade, not from anyone. I have absolutely no knowledge or memory of Ms. Reade's accounting of events, which would have left a searing impression on me as a woman professional and as a manager."

"They're clearly false allegations. Are in complete contradiction to the inner workings of our Senate office and to the man I know and worked so closely with for almost two decades" -- Fred?

WHITFIELD: All right. M.J. Lee, thank you so much for that.

And we'll be right back.



WHITFIELD: Welcome back. The coronavirus pandemic has changed so many things in life, including the NFL draft, which is wrapping up its first-ever virtual NFL draft. Many are tuning in to see where the league's next superstars will be playing.

Our Coy Wire knows what it's like to be drafted. He was taken in the third round back in 2002, and he tells us why this is such a special moment for these prospects.


COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Fred, as a player, you feel a lot of emotions. You don't know when or if you'll be drafted, and if you are, you don't know where or to what city you'll be picking up and moving. When you do hear your name called, it's really a dream come true and often not just for yourself but for your entire family.

Now these players that we're seeing drafted right now, yes, some of the most athletic and talented players in the country. But it's their mental make-up and drive that separates them. And they all have their own motivators.

For the Yetur Gross-Matos, second-round pick by the Panthers out of Penn State, it's his family. Yetur was 2 years old when his father, Michael, died while saving him from drowning. And then his 12-year-old brother was struck by lightning and killed at a little league game.

He plays for them now. They are tattoos on his arms now representing them. In a way, Fred, they were right there with him when his dream came true.

Then there's Titans second-round pick Kristian Fulton, dedicating his selection to his grandfather, Louis (ph), who died from complications from coronavirus must two and a half weeks ago. Fulton said it felt like grandpa was watching over me all the time.

Some of the biggest names taken in the second round. Oklahoma's Heisman runner up, Jalen Hurts, going to Philadelphia. Wisconsin running back, Jonathan Taylor, going to the Colts.

Also some recognizable names as well. Over 12 players are drafted who had family members who played in the NFL. Like Minnesota's Antoine Winfield Jr. He was drafted by the Bucs. His dad, a three-time pro bowler who intercepted an NFL pass from Tom Brady 19 years ago, now his son is teammates with Brady who still is playing at 42. The Winfields erupting with emotion in round two.

I was teammates with junior's dad in Buffalo and remember him as a 40- year-old-year-old running the locker room. Jalen says this is the best feeling in the world.

Bill Belichick and the Patriots used their first post-Tom Brady draft pick on safety, Kyle Dugger, who played Division II college. But that's not what Belichick is trending on Twitter, Fred.

Belichick nowhere to be found before the pick. His dog, Nike, sitting in his seat looking at the computer. Nike has his own Instagram account with more than 10,000 followers.

This draft has been unprecedented. It's become a family affair. Coaches staying at home with their daughters and sons and their dogs.


The final rounds, Fred, today, rounds four through seven.



WHITFIELD: The coronavirus pandemic caused the YMCA to close nearly all of its 2,700 locations to the public. Right now, gyms across the country are starting to consider reopening, and gyms are a huge part of the YMCA.

Joining me right now to discuss its reopening plans is YMCA of the USA president and CEO, Kevin Washington.

Good to see you, Mr. Washington.

And my kids play in the soccer and basketball leagues at our local YMCA, and they can't wait to get going again.

But help us understand what are you measuring in which determine what makes it safe for the Ys to open up their gyms?

KEVIN WASHINGTON, PRESIDENT & CEO, YMCA USA: Good morning, Fredricka. Thank you for having me.

WHITFIELD: Thank you.

WASHINGTON: You know, YMCAs are community service organizations. And as we consider reopening, we have a much broader, broader context to think about than just gyms and health clubs.

At YUSA, we are a national resource organization. We provide tools and guidance to YMCAs to help them think about how to open.

But most importantly, YMCAs will make those decisions locally. They'll make those decisions based on, one, their conditions, two, local government and health experts, and, three, they are guided by the local boards to ensure they're opening their facilities safely and responsibly.


That has to be the driving force around all YMCAs opening up to resume traditional program.

WHITFIELD: Right. It is not just gyms. There are so many services offered through the YMCA for all ages in the family.

Talk to me about what kind of feedback you've been receiving from people who say, I really miss, you know, the services of whether it be teen, you know, counseling or whether it be bone density checks for the elderly. What are you hearing from people about what has been missing in their lives with YMCAs closed?

WASHINGTON: We know our members are ready and eager to get back with us. But, Fredricka, I've been with the YMCA for 42 years and I have never been prouder to be part of this organization because, as you know, like most organizations and companies, this pandemic has devastated us.

Our YMCAs, as you mentioned, closed their facilities in many instances and, unfortunately, YMCA furloughed or laid off between 75 percent and some as high as 95 percent of their personnel. So we've been devastated.

But they pivoted to provide, they pivoted -- just for your information, over 960 Ys are providing essential childcare services for workers, first responders, and essential workers in communities.

And 900 are providing food to families and children and communities that we know during the pandemic has been one of the things demonstrated that the need is high.

Providing virtual services to help support social isolation with our teens. And working with the American Red Cross to do blood drives across this country.

The Y has continued to be a vital community asset during this pandemic. And we'll need support as we get through this pandemic. We'll need

significance federal support to help us, YMCAs, and other nonprofits, become the kinds of organizations they can continue to be in the communities they serve.

WHITFIELD: Let's hope the YMCA and all of the nonprofits can get all of the help they need.

President and CEO of the YMCA of the USA, Kevin Washington, thank you so much. We all look forward to our YMCAs reopening again being back as bold and strong as they've ever been.

WASHINGTON: Thank you, Fredricka. We are working toward making that happen. We appreciate the support. And we look forward to continuing to be the vital community asset we've been for 170 years.

WHITFIELD: Wonderful. What a legacy. And yours, personally, as well, 42 years with the YMCA.

Thank you so much.

And we'll be right back.

WASHINGTON: Thank you, Fredricka.



WHITFIELD: All right. For years, CNN chief climate correspondent, Bill Weir, has been traveling the world showing us the real-time effects of climate change and how it is reshaping our world.

Tonight, he shares what he has learned in a CNN special report, "THE ROAD TO CHANGE: AMERICA'S CLIMATE CRISIS."


BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Today ,around the U.S., close to a hundred coastal communities face chronic flooding due to sea level rise. The Union of Concerned Scientists says that number could jump to 170 just in the next 15 years.

Meanwhile, in Miami, everybody knows they are living on porous limestone. Everybody sees how saltwater bubbles up at king tide. And a University of Miami study says flooding events have gone up 400 percent since 2006. But between the floods and storms, it's freaking gorgeous.

It is estimated the population of Florida is growing at about 38 people an hour. And it's hard to find a developer or politician eager to sound the alarm that the water will come.

JEFF GOODELL, AUTHOR: There are basic messages that we can deal with this. You know, we're smart.

WEIR (on camera): But can they?



WEIR: No, nobody can.

Not in the long run, whether it will be a floating city, whether it will be an abandoned city, I don't know what it will be. But it will not look at all like this city.

WEIR (on camera): But it is a short drive from denial downtown to bargaining, depression, and acceptance in Pine Crest.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I live in Pine Crest. I'm at 11.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am 8.54 feet.


WEIR: Where neighbors have formed America's first underwater homeowners association.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm at seven feet. Lower than I thought to be honest.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My name is Judy and I'm here for hope and for inspiration.


WHITFIELD: Wow. This is fascinating.

Bill Weir joining us now.

What else did you find out from people there?

WEIR: Well, Fred, I was really interested in sort of how people are changing the way they treat each other between the big storms and fires and that more frequent. That was just a little example.

When you realize that, if we follow all of the advice of science, the world we know has to change fundamentally, energy, food, forms of food production, transportation, construction. And if we do nothing, it will change for the worse.

So just the human psychology is we have to have the five stages of grief just to mourn what is being lost in front of our eyes.

But I found fascinating examples from fire country in California to farmland where they've seen the worst planting season in recent memory and reeling with that.


But I also went searching for hope and actionable hope. And it is a 90-minute year-in-the-making passion project. I hope people check it out.