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NEW DAY SATURDAY
Barack Obama Calls White House Response To COVID-19 "An Absolute Chaotic Disaster;" Two Children Die After Showing Inflammatory Syndrome Symptoms Potentially Linked To COVID-19; At Least 47 States Will Be Partially Reopened By May 10th; Vice President Pence's Press Secretary Tests Positive For COVID-19; Former Vaccine Official Says U.S. Wasted Time On COVID-19 Response; America's Unemployement Rate At Its Highest Since Great Depression; Researchers Study Effects Of Vitamin D On Coronavirus Symptoms. Aired 6-7a ET
Aired May 9, 2020 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The worst jobs report in American history.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You think at first it's not going to last very long, but then, you know, once you realize you're not going back to work for awhile, it's pretty heartbreaking.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The coronavirus now spreading through the White House.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm not worried. No, I'm not worried. We've taken very strong precautions at the White House.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: New follow-up this morning over the Justice Department's sudden move to drop the case against former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's the kind of stuff where you begin to get worried that our basic understanding of rule of law is at risk.
WILLIAM BARR, UNITED STATES ATTORNEY GENERAL: A crime cannot be established here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is NEW DAY WEEKEND with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul.
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: We hope you're seeing some beautiful sunshine today just like we saw there in Atlanta. We are so grateful to have you with us whether you're coming to us from the U.S. or around the world. Good morning.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you. Glad to have you this Saturday. Listen, the numbers will tell the story of where we are in this coronavirus fight, so let's list them off. More than 77,000 people have died in this country. There are more than 1.2 million cases.
PAUL: More than 70 cases of children now getting seriously sick from coronavirus related complications. That's under investigation in New York. In fact, Governor Andrew Cuomo says a five-year-old died on Thursday and he added this, that it could, quote, "Open up an entirely different chapter." Officials say the death of a seven-year-old also in New York may be tied to this new condition as well.
BLACKWELL: Now, as we learn more about this virus, 47 states will be partially open by tomorrow. Some new death case -- new cases and death numbers in these states are going in the wrong direction. Five states are either adding to their list of reopened businesses or easing restrictions for the first time and one of those states is Rhode Island where retail shops can now open with some restrictions.
Paul: Two positive cases of coronavirus among White House staff prove no workplace is immune here. The press secretary for Vice President Mike Pence tested positive yesterday.
BLACKWELL: So we've got a lot to get to this morning. We're going to start, though, with former President Barack Obama with some of his most damning criticism yet of the Trump administration.
PAUL: CNN's Kristen Holmes is at the White House for us. Kristen, talk to us about what the former president had to say.
KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christi and Victor. Well, yes, Victor, you are absolutely right. This is some of the harshest criticism we have heard from the former president about the current administration to-date and it really gives us a bit of an idea of the role that Obama will play as that campaign 2020 election really heats up for Joe Biden and we get closer and closer to November.
Now, this call was with Obama alumni. It's essentially people who had worked for the administration and we have audio that was obtained by "Yahoo" and then approved CNN. They say that -- we have talked to people who have said that they were on the call and this was what was discussed. Now, President Obama having a lot to say about this administration, absolutely slamming the Justice Department for dropping those charges against Michael Flynn, saying the rule of law was at risk. Take a listen.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The degree to which the news over the last 24 hours I think has been somewhat downplayed about the Justice Department dropping charges against Michael Flynn and the fact that there is no precedent that anybody can find for someone who's been charged with perjury getting off scot- free.
That's the kind of stuff where you begin to get worried that basic -- not just institutional norms, but our basic understanding of rule of law is at risk. When you start moving in those directions, it can accelerate pretty quickly, as we've seen in other places.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
HOLMES: So just quickly to go over this, the charges were not perjury. That was in misspeak by the former president. Michael Flynn had pled guilty to lying to the FBI, but again, we have not seen a precedent for this in the dropping of the charges and just a reminder, Flynn actually served in the Obama administration. He was the director of the Defense Intelligence Committee and Obama warned President Trump, then, of course, candidate Trump not to hire Flynn. Of course Trump did not listen.
BLACKWELL: Kristen, before we let you go, did the President, or former president, say anything specifically about the administration's handling of the pandemic?
HOLMES: Victor, he did and just to keep in mind, again, all of this was in the context of why it was so important for the former president that Joe Biden win, but he called the response to the pandemic an absolute chaotic disaster. Take a listen.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
OBAMA: What we're going to be battling is not just a particular individual or a political party, but what we're fighting against is these long-term trends in which being selfish, being tribal, being divided and seeing others as an enemy, that has become a stronger impulse in American life.
And by the way, you know, we're seeing that internationally as well and it's part of the reason why the response to this global crisis has been so anemic and spotty and it would have been bad even with the best of governments. It has been an absolute chaotic disaster when that mindset of what's in it for me and to heck with everybody else -- when that mindset is operationalized in our government.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
HOLMES: So you hear there some very sharp words and I will note that this comes after a particularly chaotic week here at the White House, a time when the Trump administration is really encouraging states to reopen and Christi, as you noted, two people who were in close proximity to the vice president and president testing positive for coronavirus.
BLACKWELL: Yes. I'll take it (ph). Kristen Holmes there for us at the White House. Thanks so much and we'll have more on those positive cases at the White House in just a moment.
PAUL: Yes, but we want to talk about what's happening in New York because the health department there says at least two children, children now, have died after experiencing symptoms consistent with some sort of inflammatory syndrome. CNN's Evan McMorris-Santoro is with us now and, Evan, as we understand it, this inflammatory syndrome is being connected in these deaths to coronavirus how? EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning. Yesterday, Governor Andrew Cuomo in his press conference mentioned that he had seen, across this state, 73 cases of children coming down with diseases associated with the coronavirus and then we heard yesterday that tragically two boys under 10 in the New York City area had passed away. These are respiratory diseases and diseases that doctors are saying may be connected, but I just want to make sure that everybody is clear on this.
Mount Sinai Hospital here in New York City that treated one of these boys that tragically passed away released a statement yesterday saying that it's concerning that children are affected, but we must emphasize that based on what we know thus far, it appears to be a very rare condition. So it's not something that everybody should be panicking about, but it is definitely a concern, as the governor said yesterday.
BLACKWELL: It's certainly something to pay attention to. Let me ask you, Evan, about these social distancing violations data released yesterday. A disproportionate number of those who were cited were persons of color. What do you know?
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: That's correct. The New York Police Department releases data showing the number of people that they interact with and their demographics and there was just a huge disparity in the numbers here in New York where the police were being asked to step up and enforce social distancing rules that the people who they had been summons -- that had been receiving summons and police activity were overwhelmingly black and brown and not white and you can see if you go to a lot of places here in New York, here in Manhattan where I am, there was a -- there's a park down by the Hudson River that was packed last weekend when there was nice weather and we didn't hear of police summonsing people there.
So the Mayor of the City, Mayor Bill DeBlasio, calling this unacceptable and saying that there will be changes. We're seeing some experimentation today in that same Hudson River Park I mentioned where the police are expected to try to be more proactive in preventing those places from filling up, but for now, a lot of questions about these police interactions and a lot of frustration from the city administration.
BLACKWELL: Yes. Continue to watch that for us. We'll see what those changes announced by the mayor there will be. Evan McMorris-Santoro, thanks so much.
PAUL: Thanks, Evan. So I want to tell you about the five states that are easing restrictions to varying degrees today, in Nevada for instance, Nevada, North Dakota and Rhode Island.
Reopening means that you can go to restaurants and salons and retail shops again. In Los Angeles, you can enjoy the state's trails, parks and golf courses now and then in Maryland, the beach and the boardwalk in Ocean City are open for you, but non-essential businesses are still closed. BLACKWELL: In Texas, barbershops, hair and nail salons are back open for business and while the state encouraged customers to -- and the stylists to follow social distancing guidelines, it is not mandatory. CNN's Ed Lavandera has the story from Texas.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Today is the first day that barbershops and hair salons across the state of Texas can reopen. We are outside of Bonafide Barber Shop here in Dallas where this is a barbershop that has been closed since March 14th. The owner says that his employees were ready to get back to work and this is what it looks like inside.
All of the barbers wearing masks, they've taken out a number of stations and chairs so that there's more space between all of the customers and you can see that those are some of the precautions that they say that they are taking here. And they've even set up outside, where no one's allowed to wait inside, but they've set up these spaces where people can, if they are waiting, to stand in line out here.
And just to give you a sense of how anxious people were for this to open up, Omar, the owner, tells us that once they announced that they could reopen, they filled up their entire weekend of booking in less than an hour. Ed Lavandera, CNN, Dallas.
BLACKWELL: Ed, thanks so much. You know, we hear a lot about how big of a role testing will play in keeping everyone safe as businesses start to reopen. That's certainly the case at the White House after an aide to the vice president has now tested positive.
PAUL: Yes. CNN's Sarah Westwood is with us now. Sarah, what are you hearing from the White House this morning about that?
SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN: Well, good morning, Christi. And yes, yesterday, Katie Miller, the vice president's press secretary, did test positive for coronavirus a day after testing negative. This as the White House internally is starting to ramp up tests of people who are frequently around the president, frequently around the vice president.
Now, a senior administration official tells CNN that after Miller tested positive, contact tracing was performed on everyone that she had come into contact with in the day before. Everyone, including her husband, Stephen Miller, who's a senior aide to President Trump, came back negative.
A good sign there, but of course this is coming as CNN has reported that within the White House, people wearing masks, people practicing social distancing on the White House grounds, that hasn't been something that a lot of aides, at least at the lower levels, have seen.
That in the executive office building and occasionally in the White House itself, people weren't necessarily practicing what the administration was preaching, which was to wear masks at all times, but Miller testing positive. She is actually the second aide to vice president Pence who has tested positive for COVID-19.
There was one who tested positive in early March that was never identified and also this comes this week as a valet, a personal attendant to President Trump, also tested positive for COVID-19 as well as Ivanka Trump's personal assistant.
BLACKWELL: Of course we hope that they recover and are well. Sarah, we heard at the top of the show from former President Obama his criticisms of the Trump administration's response to the pandemic. We're also hearing from the Health and Human Services whistleblower who used to be in charge of vaccines in this administration. What is -- what is he saying?
WESTWOOD: Dr. Rick Bright, the former vaccine chief in the administration, is speaking out. He's defending himself against charges from President Trump that he's simply a disgruntled employee. He said last night that what he was frustrated with was his inability to be heard as a scientist.
He believes that he was essentially demoted inside the White House as retaliation for raising concerns internally about hydroxychloroquine, a drug treatment for coronavirus that Trump had been pushing despite the fact that there was not and still is not evidence to support that it can be widely used as a treatment for coronavirus.
But I want you to take a listen to what Dr. Bright said, getting a little emotional last night about what the administration could have done to protect doctors and nurses more effectively. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICK BRIGHT, FORMER FEDERAL VACCINE CHIEF: We see too many doctors and nurses now dying and I was thinking that we could have done more to get those masks and those supplies to them sooner and if we had, would they still be alive today? It's a horrible thought to think about a time that passed where we could have done something and we didn't.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WESTWOOD: And as you mentioned, Dr. Bright has filed a whistleblower complaint at HHS for his treatment during the coronavirus response period.
The Office of Special Counsel, which investigates claims like these, has determined that there is reason to believe that there could have been retaliation in this case as OSC looks into it, Victor and Christi.
BLACKWELL: Sarah Westwood from Washington. Thank you.
PAUL: So I know that it's hard to get up and think about how you're going to get through your day and pay your bills with the economic news that we've seen the last 24 hours, this massive hit where millions of Americans are facing bills they can't pay. Nearly 10 years of job growth wiped out in one month. We're going to break down the April jobs report for you and what it means to you.
BLACKWELL: And we've got some new details in the Ahmaud Arbery case that show a connection between one of the suspects to Arbery before this killing. Those details ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[06:05:02] DARRIN DIXON, EXECUTIVE CHIEF, KC CAJUN: To go from two evenings a day (ph) to nothing at all, it's like literally we've been like cut off. To be able to afford our personal bills, the truck bills, the loans on the truck and everything, there's no way to just come back and just make that -- up and make that back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: Darrin, we hope that things -- gosh -- get better for you and for everybody out there because I know the anxiety of what the coronavirus has done to this U.S. economy is real. Twenty point five million jobs lost just in April. That's nearly 10 years of job growth wiped out in a month.
BLACKWELL: Unemployment rate now at 14.7 percent. We haven't seen a number like that since the Great Depression. CNN's Alison Kosik is with us now. So the jobs report really giving the clearest picture yet, Alison, of the stress on the American worker and the toll on the economy.
ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes and this is the kind of devastating outcome, Christi and Victor, that we'd expect to see, you know, when you shut down businesses and put economies on pause. So more than 20 million jobs lost in April and this happened in a matter of weeks. This wasn't something that kind of built up. So this is by far the most sudden and deepest downturn that this economy has seen since the government has begun keeping these numbers. Meantime, unemployment hitting 14.7 percent. That's the highest level we've ever seen since the Great Depression.
Now, as awful as these numbers are, they actually don't even reflect the true picture of the damage done here because the government's definition of someone who is unemployed is someone who is actively looking for work, but that's tough to do when we're in the middle of a lockdown, so those people weren't even included.
Now, where were some of the biggest job losses? Leisure and hospitality saw 7.7 million jobs lost, retail, 2.1 million and even as hospitals struggled with the influx of patients, health care, the health care sector suffered job losses as well, 1.2 million job losses in areas including for physicians who conduct outpatient services and dental offices, Christi and Victor.
PAUL: And Alison, it's really striking when you break the numbers down by race and gender, right?
KOSIK: Yes. I mean, there is historic joblessness in the minority populations and with women. Unemployment rate -- the unemployment rate for black workers jumping to 18.7 percent, Latino workers 18 -- or 16.7 percent, Latino workers 18.7 percent, 14.5 percent for Asians and this is all compared to 14.2 percent for whites. We saw women lose 11.9 jobs versus men losing 10.4 million.
And these numbers really stand out because we saw these fabulous employment gains in minority populations and it was really a bright spot in the economy before the pandemic hit and was actually a major talking point for President Trump. I want to leave you, though, with a glimmer of hope here because of the more than 20 million Americans who lost their jobs in April, the vast majority of those, 18 million were actually counted as temporary layoffs and they could be a sign that when businesses reopen that these people could hopefully jump back into their jobs.
Of course the one caveat is if these businesses don't make it and have to shut down permanently or they have to restructure because they don't need as many employees as before, we just don't want to see these temporary losses turn into permanent ones, Christi and Victor.
PAUL: Yes. Good point. Alison Kosik, thank you for breaking it down for us.
BLACKWELL: OK. So what do you do now if you're one of the tens of millions who've lost your job, you're one of the temporary laid off or furloughed? We want to make sure to highlight some of the companies still hiring. If you're looking for work, the on-demand shopping service Instacart, they're hiring 250,000 shoppers. They've already hired 300,000. Now, the highest demand is in California, New York, Toronto and Washington D.C.
PAUL: And listen, General Motors, the company is hiring as well, telling CNN Business it's looking for temporary employees to build medical ventilators at its plant in Indiana. GM's agreed to build 30,000 ventilators by the end of August. So we're just trying to bring a bright spot to all of this. If you're looking for something, some sort of work, we want to make sure you can find it. Who's hiring? Visit our website, CNN.com.
BLACKWELL: So nearly every day we're learning something new about this virus and we know now researchers are looking at a possible link between vitamin D deficiency and severe cases of coronavirus. Next, how the sunshine vitamin could play a part in combating the virus.
BLACKWELL: Researchers are looking at a possible connection between severe cases of COVID-19 and low levels of vitamin D. Now, the body produces vitamin D when the skin is exposed to sunlight. African- Americans, elderly nursing home patients have been severely impacted by this virus, as we know, and both groups also historically experience vitamin D deficiency.
With me now are Professor Bruce Hollis, Director of Pediatric Nutritional Sciences at the Medical University of South Carolina, and Dr. Carol Wagner, a professor and neonatologist, also a researcher at the University. Welcome to you both.
BRUCE HOLLIS, PROFESSOR OF PEDIATRICS, BIOCHEMISTRY & MOLECULAR BIOLOGY, MEDICAL UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA: Hello? Yes. Thanks for having us on.
BLACKWELL: All right. Dr. Hollis, let me start with you. Give me specifically what are you looking to study? What's the question you're trying to answer here?
HOLLIS: Well, we've been studying -- I've been studying vitamin D for decades and primarily our research had focused on racial disparities and pregnancy outcomes. Has all to do with immune function.
And to us, Vitamin D is probably the premier immune controlling hormone. And Vitamin D and racial disparities have been a problem for a long time, and when this all came around, we started to look at a racial disparity data coming out, and it was everywhere. And so we designed research projects to look at this problem.
BLACKWELL: Dr. Wagner, are the studies that are prompting your research, are they suggesting that people who have a Vitamin D deficiency are more susceptible to contracting this virus or once they contract it, that the symptoms are more severe or they are more likely to die or do you know yet?
CAROL WAGNER, RESEARCHER, MEDICAL UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA: I -- yes, I don't think we can say about whether or not they contract it more frequently, but certainly the severity of illness around the world is linked to a Vitamin D deficiency. So there are more and more reports coming out about that. And it's really clear that when you don't have a vaccine for this disease, and you don't have any effective treatments, that something as ancient as Vitamin D is going to have an impact.
And so it really makes sense from our perspective, and we're looking at that. We're really trying very hard to understand the role of Vitamin D in combating COVID-19.
BLACKWELL: So let me stay with you. And I know we're talking about a study that's beginning, not the results of the study. But is the expectation that a simple Vitamin D supplement will potentially close this gap and, I guess, narrow this disparity?
WAGNER: Yes. So, if we can get individuals who are Vitamin D deficient sufficient before they contract the disease, we think that's going to have the greatest effect. And clearly, you know, during early childhood and during fetal development in early childhood, we set the stage for your immune system, but it can also be impacted through the life span. And there really is evidence to suggest that the severity of COVID-19 will be really lessened if you're sufficient going into this next wave of the infection.
BLACKWELL: Dr. Hollis, we've heard from other public health experts that there are societal explanations for why African-Americans have a higher instance of contracting the virus or the death percentage of African-Americans is higher than in relative to the population. Is this a clear explanation? Does this exclude those other variables? How do you see those two playing at concert if at all?
HOLLIS: Most certainly, the lack of health care, but we believe that this is probably the main underlying problem, which goes to the other underlying health problems such as hypertension and diabetes. All these things we feel are linked to low Vitamin D levels over a lifetime. And African-Americans as a population have one half or less of the circulating blood levels of Vitamin D as fair-skinned individuals. We've known this for decades.
BLACKWELL: All right, and before we let you go, CDC is reporting a massive drop-off, Dr. Hollis in orders of childhood vaccinations since the start of this pandemic. Washington State Health Department, look at this chart here reporting, giving out 42 percent fewer vaccinations in April versus April of 2019. Any idea why and what's the significance since we have a pediatrician with us?
HOLLIS: I think it's just access to the office. Can't get a vaccination over telemedicine and people are limited by the time they can get into the doctor's office including myself. And people are just afraid to go to a doctor's office or a hospital. So I think it's pretty much that would be the reason.
BLACKWELL: Yes, they're certainly going to need those once this social distancing ends. Dr. Hollis, Dr. Wagner, thank you both.
HOLLIS: Thank you.
PAUL: So Georgia lawmakers are renewing the push now for a hate crime bill after the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery, he was killed while jogging through a neighborhood that happened February 23rd.
While Arbery would have turned 26 years old yesterday, we have the latest for you on this case. That's next.
PAUL: Well, there's a possible connection now it seems that's been discovered between Ahmaud Arbery and one of the suspects accused of shooting him or in the shooting death of Arbery. According to a prosecutor who recused himself from the case, one of the suspects previously investigated Arbery when that suspect worked for the Brunswick Judicial Circuit DA's office. [06:40:00]
BLACKWELL: Yes, both Gregory McMichael and his son Travis were arrested Thursday, and face murder and aggravated assault charges. CNN's Martin Savidge has more from South Georgia.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Gregory McMichael and Travis McMichael, the father and son that were arrested in the death of Ahmaud Arbery had their first appearance in court today. It was done by a video link from the county jail here to the courthouse in town. It was a pretty simple affair. Their rights were read to them. The charges were also read against them.
And it was also said that there was no bond at this particular time. They were done individually in both cases, each one took about less than two minutes, and they really didn't have anything to say other than to acknowledge when their names were called. Outside of that very same courthouse earlier in the day had been a huge protest.
In fact, one of the largest that had taken place in this tragedy. Many of the attempts to try to have protests before had of course been limited due to the pandemic, and the limitations that had been put on crowd gatherings. But today, there were hundreds of people, and it was a very mixed crowd that represented the diverse nature of the Brunswick community.
This had been planned before the arrests, and no one was saying that this was a time to celebrate. In fact, they said this was really just the very first step, and there are still a great deal of frustration in this community. Many are still deeply troubled by the fact that the Georgia Bureau of Investigation can come in, and in less than two days of looking at the evidence determined, that an arrest is warranted on the charge of murder.
Whereas the local authorities spent over two months investigating and did nothing in the minds of much of the public. There's also a frustration about the potential for a third person that may have been involved and whether or not they will be brought to justice. That person is William Roddie Bryant. He's the person who was taking the video.
Interestingly enough is the fact that, of course, without that video, many people believe we wouldn't be where we are today with the arrest. But at the same time in police reports, Bryant has been depicted as either a witness or a participant. And so it was asked of the GBI, what is his status, could he be arrested? The head of the GBI said at this time their investigation continues and there is the possibility of more arrests. Martin Savidge, CNN, Glenn County, Georgia.
BLACKWELL: Martin, thank you, and we'll have of course more on that throughout the morning. Listen, we've been without sports for a couple of months now, opening day for baseball pushed back. Well, just hours before, one sport was set to return, one of its athletes tested positive for coronavirus. The question, will that event still go on? We'll have an answer.
PAUL: So is some breaking news from overnight. A UFC fighter has tested positive for coronavirus just a day before he was supposed to take part in the sport's first event since March.
BLACKWELL: Yes, but this has not changed the plan for the event. Coy Wire is with us now. So, the UFC says the event will go on in Florida, and this is the challenge that all these sports face as we go into this next phase of the pandemic.
COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS REPORTER: Yes, no doubt about it, good morning to you, Victor and Christi. And UFC President Dana White told CNN leading up to tonight's event that part of being the first major sport here in the U.S. to return to action was making safety a priority. Well, Ronaldo Jacare Souza has been pulled from UFC 249 tonight in Jacksonville, Florida, after his coronavirus test came back positive last night.
He was wearing a mask and gloves at weigh ins yesterday just a bit before that. In a statement, the UFC says that Souza was asymptomatic and that he, quote, "followed UFC health and safety protocols including practicing social distancing, wearing personal protective equipment, and self-isolating whenever possible", unquote. Two members of Souza's team also testing positive.
The UFC says all three are now in isolation off premises. According to UFC, there have been no other positive tests in tonight's event which will not have fans, will go on as planned. It is important to note the UFC has events scheduled in Jacksonville the next two weekends as well.
OK, let's go to the NBA. Cavs players smiling inside team's practice facilities yesterday. The league allowing teams to open practice facilities for the first time in more than eight weeks yesterday. Only Cleveland and Portland Trail Blazers allowing players to return per NBA protocols. Listen to this, a maximum of four players and four staff members at a time allowed in the building. No locker room access.
They had to arrive dressed ready for their workouts, used their own basketballs and remained 12 feet apart. Now, to difference makers, Seahawks Super Bowl champion Russell Wilson and his superstar singer wife, Ciara, they've donated over a million meals to help those in need right now during this pandemic, and that is just a small part of what they're doing. We spoke to Russell about their drive and their need to do good.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUSSELL WILSON, QUARTERBACK, SEATTLE SEAHAWKS: Everybody is going through a challenge right now. It all looks different in so many different circumstances. Now, some are tougher than the others, but they're all real, and what we're really focused on in this current time is to really be able to make a difference with food, you know, obviously, it's a real factor.
You know, we were able to donate the million meals and then we were able to do meals up which got over 10 million meals. You know, unemployment rate is higher than ever.
It's kind of -- it's staggering numbers. And what we want to be able to do is just be able to help people. So, it's been a blessing to be able to give back and serve. And that's what, you know, I believe we're on this earth for.
WIRE: Help raised over a quarter million dollars by offering a double date with your wife. What's that day going to look like and what are you looking forward to?
WILSON: Well, we're excited to partner up with Michael Rubin(ph) and the all-in challenge. We want to say that we're all in to the people who donated and made a massive difference. We're going to take them to one of our favorite restaurants, spend the day with them, have a good time and treat them a little bit. So, listen, we've got a date night every Friday night, so we'll make sure that we have a good time for sure.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WIRE: Two hundred and forty thousand dollars for that double date, every penny going to the charity Feeding America. Victor and Christi, Russell tells us their main aim right now is to care, to serve and give back.
PAUL: Awesome. Coy, thank you for bringing us some smiles this morning. We always appreciate it --
WIRE: Yes --
BLACKWELL: Thank you, Coy. So during the lockdown, fewer children are getting vaccinated. We'll explain this trend next.
PAUL: So here's something else that's been discovered in the last few weeks. Fewer children are keeping up with their routine vaccinations since the coronavirus pandemic started. There's a new CDC report saying there's been a, quote, "notable decrease in the number of some vaccines ordered for children."
BLACKWELL: Now, the CDC's warning here is obvious that not vaccinating children could put them at risk of other infectious diseases besides COVID-19. CNN Health Reporter, Jacqueline Howard is with us now. Do we know why this is happening, Jacqueline?
JACQUELINE HOWARD, CNN HEALTH REPORTER: Victor, so the CDC says in its report that it's likely due to parents simply being concerned. You know, they're worried about if they take their child to the doctor's office, could they expose their child to the coronavirus. And the CDC came to that idea after looking at vaccination data among kids from January to April of last year, and comparing that data with the data from January to April of this year.
And that's where they really saw this stark difference. So, the bottom line that the CDC says is this. Of course, you want to social distance, of course, we all need to stay-at-home, but it's still OK to make sure that your child is up-to-date on his or her recommended vaccinations.
PAUL: So, Jacqueline, do doctors and pediatricians agree with that assessment as to why that's happening, and what do those pediatricians say, you know, for families who are trying to decide what to do?
HOWARD: Yes, you know, they do have the same message. And a matter of fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics came out with this statement from its president in response to this CDC report. And I have it here, so the statement says in part, quote, "many children have missed receiving important immunizations to protect them against diseases like measles, meningitis and whooping cough.
As a pediatrician, this is incredibly worrisome", end quote. And again, that's from the president of the American Academy of Pediatrics. And by worrisome, you know, she means just like, Victor, you said earlier, how by night, staying up-to-date on the vaccinations, it could put your child at risk of possibly, you know, getting sick with a disease that is vaccine preventable.
BLACKWELL: Yes, this social distancing environment, this footing is going to end at some point, and of course you want to make sure your children are protected.
PAUL: All right, Jacqueline Howard --
HOWARD: Absolutely --
PAUL: Always appreciate you being here. Thank you.
BLACKWELL: So, the street artist, Banksy unveiled new artwork honoring healthcare workers. The name of it is Game Changer. It features a child playing with a nurse doll wearing a face-mask and a cape.
PAUL: It shows that --
BLACKWELL: Go ahead --
PAUL: Sorry, it shows the child ditching his "Batman" and "Spiderman" toys for a new superhero doll. This piece was donated to the University Hospital, Southampton in the U.K., and a spokeswoman there says the hospital has entitled the piece painting for saints. It is one of those that grabs you, isn't it, Victor? BLACKWELL: It certainly is, and you know, those Banksy pieces are so
valuable. Maybe they'll keep it as a tribute to all the workers and maybe they'll use the potentially money from it for something to help all those workers who needs some assistance.
PAUL: Speaking of that, Victor, this week, of course, we celebrated National Nurse's Day --
BLACKWELL: Yes --
PAUL: Everyday is Nurse's Day, we want to point out, it's not just during a pandemic. Here are just some of the ways that you said thank you to them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My mom Julia is a care worker and I'll just like to thank her for all the work they're just doing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For the frontline workers who give -- I mean, for their sacrifice.
VAN JONES, AUTHOR & NEWS COMMENTATOR: Good job to my twin sister, now she lives in Tennessee, working with young people in the middle of this whole pandemic.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thanks to all those helping us, living through the coronavirus.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: That is some enthusiasm there, I love it. We would like to share your messages by the way of thanks. We want to do that throughout the weekend, tomorrow of course is Mother's Day as well, so maybe you'd like to say some thank you to your mother or grandmother, aunt, friend --
BLACKWELL: Yes --
PAUL: Yes --
BLACKWELL: Find us on Instagram, we're on Twitter as well, I'm @VictorBlackwell, Christi is at Christi_Paul, reply to our postings there and we'll get as many as we can on air. So, thank you ahead of time to my mother and all the mothers, and you too, Christi --
PAUL: Thank you --