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U.K. Revises Death Toll to Over 26,000; Dr. Fauci Says Some Sports May Need to Skip this Season; California Governor Hopeful Schools Could Reopen in Late July; Dr. Fauci Says Remdesivir Has Clear Cut Effect in Reducing Coronavirus Recovery Time. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired April 29, 2020 - 15:30   ET



KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: Welcome back. This just into CNN. A grim milestone reached in the United Kingdom. The death toll from the coronavirus has just been revised upward there to more than 26,000. The second highest that would make it now in Europe behind Italy. Let's go to London for more on this. CNN's Bianca Nobilo is there. She's joining me now. Bianca, do we know what's driving this jump?

BIANCA NOBILO, CNN REPORTER: Well, Kate, today was the first day that deaths in the community and in care homes were included. Now we all know that some of the people that are most vulnerable to this virus are the elderly and those with other comorbidities.

So, for a long time us in the United Kingdom have known that the death toll was really underreporting what the true total would be here. Now the U.K. as you mentioned has the third highest virus-related death toll in the world, the second highest in Europe.

And one of the environment ministers said today in Britain that it could well be the case that Britain ends up with the highest death toll in Europe. Now Dominic Raab, the First Secretary of State and Foreign Secretary was standing in for the Prime Minister today who was absent this time not for a serious life-threatening reason as he was for coronavirus, but because he has had a baby boy with his partner Carry Symonds. The Foreign Secretary was standing in for the Prime Minister and this is what he said about the increased toll.


DOMINIC RAAB, BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY: From today we're moving to an improved daily reporting system for deaths so that deaths in all settings are included wherever the individual has tested positive for COVID-19. Rather than just those in hospitals.

We have recorded an additional 3,811 deaths in total and I think it is just important to say that those additional deaths were spread over the period from the 2nd of March to the 28th of April. So, they don't represent a sudden surge in the number of deaths.

(END VIDEO CLIP) NOBILO: Kate, now the questions that follow, of course, are what could be done urgently now to try and improve the situation. And then why is this the case? Is it possibly because Britain has lagged considerably behind when it comes to testing? Just over 50,000 tests conducted or announced today, the target was 100,000 per day by the end of April, so the government are getting close to that. Just one more day left.

Or is the fact that the government acted so late and the country didn't go into a lockdown? And some would argue, it is still not in a complete lockdown. Those would be the answers that those in government and those in the media will be pushing for in the coming days.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely. Thanks, Bianca.

Still ahead for us, fans are adjusting to a life without sports begrudgingly, of course, but how much longer will baseball, basketball be on hold? What does this mean for the football season? And what's need for leagues to actually restart safely. More ahead.



BOLDUAN: Along with so many aspects of quote/unquote normal life, professional sports is something so many people are missing right now. And they may not be coming back any time soon. I say that because Dr. Anthony Fauci told "The New York Times" in a new interview that without breakthroughs in testing, some sports may have to skip the entire season.

Here is how he put it to the "Times." Quote, safety for the players and for the fans trumps everything, he said. If you can't guarantee safety then unfortunately, you're going to have to bite the bullet and say, we may have to go without this sport for this season.

Joining me right now, award winning sports caster Bob Costas. Bob, this is breaking the hearts of millions and I include myself in that group. What do you think of Fauci's message? I mean do you think the leagues are hearing this message?

BOB COSTAS, SPORTS CASTER (on the phone): Well I think that Dr. Fauci would be among the heartbroken because he is a very passionate and knowledgeable sports fan. I've heard him speak with particular detail about the baseball he grew up following in the 1950s in New York, the basketball he played in high school, he followed the NBA closely. So, he's not dismissing this as something unimportant. He recognizes that it is an important business.


And that also millions upon millions of Americans would welcome it back. They're yearning for the diversion. They're yearning to follow their teams. Certainly, I am.

But Dr. Fauci, as usual, is saying something very reasonable and credible. Unless and until there is comprehensive and credible testing, because you're going to have to frequently test the participants, not just the players but everyone surrounding it.

Even if there aren't fans in the stands, there's support personnel, there's many more people than just the players involved. You're going to have to be able to test them frequently. You're going to have to be able to quarantine them, and this can only take place when widespread testing is available to, as the expression goes, everyone who needs it and wants it.

Otherwise it's going to be a public relations disaster if it's viewed that privileged athletes and team owners are jumping the queue here while Americans who are less favorably situated are still waiting.

BOLDUAN: That's a great point. I mean especially how you lay out which is really, really spot on. Is it wrong to think that it feels like an insurmountable challenge to get to that place where it is widespread enough and comprehensive enough to be able to let the sports teams go on? I mean what is your gut telling you on this one? Are you getting the sense that we're going to see professional sports have to take an entire year off?

COSTAS: I think that's entirely possible. And someone who has a much better sense of it than I do, someone like Dr. Fauci at least says that it is possible. But at same time, I think all of the leagues are right to have contingency plans, best case scenarios, worst case scenario and everything in between.

For shortened seasons, for full seasons pushed back and for the possibility that there will be no seasons at all. And that we would hope to begin with baseball in spring training of 2021. All of those things are possible, and we'll have to take our cues from people who's expertise are certainly much greater, much better than mine.

BOLDUAN: You don't give yourself enough credit, my friend.

I have to say I've been impressed though in the absence of being able to enjoy sports with the creativity of the leagues and the creative ways that the leagues have been trying to, and honestly, if you look at the numbers, successfully engaging sports fans in this time of quarantine. From the Michael Jordan documentary, to the NBA's horse competition, to the NFL draft taking place from Roger Goodell's wonderfully appointed basement. I mean what has been your impression of all of this.

COSTAS: Well, I'm impressed by the way from a production standpoint at how ESPN and the NFL network pulled off that virtual draft.

And you watching people play "horse" in their driveways, just a shot of it right there. And by the way, players from the WNBA in some cases have defeated NBA players.


COSTAS: Which is interesting in the horse competition. And I think "The Last Dance" the Michael Jordan thing would have been compelling and highly rated under any circumstances but now especially people are yearning for original material and here it is.

So all of those things are fine but eventually -- and so too are the all-time games, the archival material that every network, all four of the major team sport networks are pulling stuff off the shelves and showing the great games from the past.

But eventually even that loses its appeal and people yearn for something in the here and now, but we can't have it unless and until it is safe to do so. I will say this, if you have a second, when it comes to baseball, as you may know, baseball has tossed around various ideas, tinkering at the edges of the sport.

Playoff format, putting a pitch clock in because pace of play is a concern, whatever those possibilities are, those trial balloons, if and when they're able to play a season, short of running the bases backwards, they ought to experiment with all of it.

Because baseball fans will accept it. That it is a unique set of circumstances. So if they play the World Series in a neutral site in a dome, if they expand the playoffs, if they put in a pitch clock, if they have an electronic umpire calling balls and strikes, now is the time to send up all the trial balloons to see what works.

BOLDUAN: I take a Tee-ball version of major league baseball at this point. Actually, that might be a fun idea. Great to hear from you, Bob, thank you so much.

COSTAS: Thank you, Kate. Take care.

BOLDUAN: Appreciate it. Thanks to you too.

Coming up for us, it is a question millions of students and their parents and teachers are asking. When will schools reopen and what will it look like when they do? The President of the nation's largest teachers union joins us next.



BOLDUAN: Across the country, the decision to reopen businesses and get back to work also hinges on another crucial decision, when and how to reopen schools and get kids back in the classroom.

California Governor Gavin Newsom, he's working through those plans right now, suggesting that he might start next school year early, as in July, to get students back learning. How is how he put it on NBC this morning.


GOV. GAVIN NEWSOME (D-CA): We're hopeful, and again, the data will make that determination for us. It's not back to normal, it's modified. It's very difficult. But we've got to do that if we're ever going to get the economy moving again. We've got to allow parents the ability to get back to work that can't afford childcare, and we've got to do it in a way that keeps our kids safe, and our teachers safe, and ultimately our community safe.


BOLDUAN: So, what will the new normal in schools look like and what will that mean for the teachers at the front of the class?


Joining me right now is Lily Eskelsen Garcia, President of the National Education Association, the country's largest union representing teachers and school staff. Thank you for coming in.

First, what do you think of Newsom's idea there of starting next year's session early in July to get students back in?

LILY ESKELSEN GARCIA, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL EDUCATION ASSOCIATION: So, we're listening very careful. No matter what Governor, state Senators, all of the folks that might say, why not now. It's not politicians checking their guts. I listened very carefully. I liked part of what I heard, and it was we'll look at the data. To me, that means they'll listen to the experts.

I want to remind everybody, like we rushed out of those school buildings like someone pulled the fire alarm. It was like, everybody go home, this is for the safety of the students, of the teachers, of the families they go home to. This is for the safety of the community, this social distancing. That's why we rushed out of those schools. There is absolutely no reason to rush into those schools, especially if you still see smoke coming out of the windows.

What we need is a plan. And he said two very important words -- when and how.

For us, the "when," you have to listen to the professionals, you have to listen to the medical infectious disease professionals. I trust them, more than I'll trust any politician, to say we now see evidence that we can relax social distancing.

But how? You have to trust the educators, the professionals that know the names of those kids. That means the people that work in the school buildings, not the folks that are ten levels above.

But bring those professionals in and listen to the medical advice. What kinds of distancing do we have to continue? What kind of safe buildings, the clean buildings that we need, the disinfected buildings that we need? This cannot be done quickly. It has to be done correctly.

BOLDUAN: And I know that your union came out very strongly calling how the President was talking about it with governors when he was saying that they should even try to open before -- reopen before this school year end, and you called it dangerous.

And I do want to ask you, though, as you're on the front line of this, about what it's going to look like whenever schools reopen? Some of these elements that are being tossed around. Like how will it impact lesson planning for teachers if you have part of the class, Mondays and Wednesdays, the other part of the class, Tuesdays and Thursdays? Have you started thinking that through?

GARCIA: We've been thinking this through since they told us to go home and do what we did with our kids in a classroom where you could give them a hug and tell them good job, to doing something on a virtual call.

We have to do this within like hours, to figure all of this out. And so, we have really thought through, while we're building that plane as it's going down the runway, and I always correct people when they say we canceled class. Oh, no, you didn't, you just moved it.

We're working as hard as we ever worked. The lights are off in the school building but they're on in people's homes, and those teachers and support staff are working like crazy to make sure our kids have something.

But we don't think there's normal to get back to. We think we're going to have to be very, very creative. And look at how they're carefully opening businesses. They're saying, how do we space workers, how do we limit the number of customers that can be in a store, what is the personal protective gear that we have to give our employees?

You have to ask those questions and a thousand more when you're talking about children in a very crowded school building. I had 39 sixth graders one year, that was never healthy. What are we going to do to make sure -- you can't space 39 kids in a classroom six feet apart.

BOLDUAN: That's right. That's right. And that's one of, as you said, thousands of considerations that need to be considered from classroom to classroom, school to school, district to district, state to state at this point. Lily, thank you so much for coming, I appreciate it.

GARCIA: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Coming up for us, Dr. Fauci expressing major optimism about the drug remdesivir as a treatment for coronavirus. So, what happens now? Dr. Sanjay Gupta weighs in, next.



ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.

The nation just now surpassing 60,000 deaths from coronavirus, a number once projected the United States would not reach until August. We are still in April.

Right now, the number lives lost in the U.S. from coronavirus is 60,207, to be precise. The death toll this time a month ago was only 2,425.

But we do have a glimmer of news for you this afternoon.