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Nascar Divers Rally Around Wallace; Home Sales Fall in May; Novak Djokovic Tests Positive for Coronavirus; Living with Coronavirus. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired June 23, 2020 - 08:30   ET



ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Receptive to this change.

ROBERT EDELSTEIN, NASCAR WRITER, "TV GUIDE MAGAZINE": I think -- I think the majority of fans are receptive to this change. The -- the thing about the sport is, in the last 20 years or so, where it has really done its level best to increase its popularity away from its core states. So there are a lot of places around America where I don't think this is necessarily an issue. And I think it's going to be less and less in the spots in the south.

But, yes, it's going to like anything. It's going to be a transition. Nascar fans don't like being told what to do and -- but I think this is something that, for the most part, people really feel also that it's time.

CAMEROTA: I mean, and you point out that your skepticism is based on what happened exactly five years ago. I was down in Charleston covering that hideous massacre at the Mother Emanuel Church and your feeling was, if that sickening and heartbreaking story didn't change anything, why would the George Floyd story. And have you found an answer to that?

EDELSTEIN: I think -- I think my answer to that is the -- what's going on in 2020 is just different than anything certainly that's happened in my lifetime and in our lifetimes. The momentum for change is just so different. And I feel that's really the potential formula.

The fact that this is affecting every quarter and every part of the culture, I think, is really what could spell the answer here, at least for Nascar.

CAMEROTA: And how about Bubba Wallace as just the messenger of this, or whatever, the personification of this?


CAMEROTA: I mean could you find a more winning, you know, person?

EDELSTEIN: Yes. You know, the funny thing is, Nascar is not really political and it's not really about social change. It's about running fast. You know, making money for your team and your sponsor and just staying ahead.

But something like this happens and I feel like Bubba Wallace understands the reluctance or understood the reluctance to get involved in this way, but now has completely embraced it. And I think he is just the perfect fit for this change. I mean he's the first black driver in Nascar's top series in decades and, you know, again, I keep saying it's time, but it's time.

CAMEROTA: Robert Edelstein, we really appreciate you giving us your expertise on all of this, sharing your reporting. Thank you.

EDELSTEIN: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: House hunting has become a whole lot different during the pandemic. What buyers are look for now. That's next.



JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: The pandemic really has crushed the housing market until now because now there are signs that June might be better.

CNN chief business correspondent Christine Romans joins me.

It's been a rough couple months in real estate, Romans.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: It really has been. You know, it's hard to have an open house in a lockdown, right? And you can see it in the numbers. Existing home sales dropped again in May. That's the third straight month of declines. Sales down 10 percent from April.

John, that's down 27 percent from last year. We haven't seen a year over year drop like that since 1981. That's when mortgage rates were a sky high 18.5 percent. May sales, the slowest since 2010, 3.9 million properties sold in May.

Now, these numbers are bad. But, John, mortgage rates are so low right now, it's luring people back to the market. Look at those rates. The 30-year mortgage, 3.31 percent. The 15 year, 2.6 percent, John.

BERMAN: Point 6 percent.

So will the coronavirus and working from home change the real estate market?

ROMANS: Yes. So when it comes out of this hibernation, it's going to look different. After three months of lockdown, and Covid caution, real estate experts think the worst is behind us. That's what they're telling me.

I spoke with a real estate executive, Sherry Chris, who sees green shoots in the housing market.


SHERRY CHRIS, PRESIDENT AND CEO, REALOGY EXPANSION BRANDS: I'm hearing from brokers across the country that in some cases they're planning on having their best month ever in June. And that's pretty significant coming out of, you know, what we're just coming out of. There are bidding wars for properties across the country and there's also an interesting migration out of downtown areas, like Manhattan, like downtown San Francisco, et cetera, to more suburban areas where there's more space.


ROMANS: And so, get this, John, another trend that she is seeing that I found fascinating, when people are moving, they're looking for a house that has an office, maybe two offices, and maybe quiet areas for studying. Those years of breaking down walls and the open concept in real estate, rethinking that now because people need space to work from home and to teach from home. Isn't that fascinating?

BERMAN: Yes, I'm only laughing because I'm now wishing I had a lot more doors in my house. We have one of these open floor plans.

ROMANS: I know.


ROMANS: I know. And so I think it's going to look a lot different on the other side here.

She also said there are areas with low income taxes. A lot of people who have jobs that they think they're going to be working from home for the foreseeable future, they're moving to cities and states where the cost of living and their tax burden is less.

BERMAN: That and doors.

Christine Romans, thanks so much for being with us. I really appreciate it.

We have breaking news in the world of sport. Major news. One of the world's premiere athletes just tested positive for coronavirus. Details on that, next.

CAMEROTA: OK, John, but first, how hundreds of volunteers helped to protect businesses in Minneapolis. This is this week's "Impact Your World."


DAISUKE KAWACHI, CO-ORGANIZER, UNIVERSITY REBUILD: Like so many people, all of the theater tech people are unemployed right now or furloughed. So the people who are working behind the scenes building sets, doing lights, people who have a high set in construction.

We originally started boarding up businesses to protect their windows and doors. That also meant that we would have to custom cut. There were a lot of people who were asking for our help, so we had crews going out all day all over the cities.

Over about the last two weeks we helped about 200 businesses board up and are now taking that plywood down. And we've also been asked by other organizations to go back out into the field and paint plywood boards so that they have a nice base coat so that a mural artist can later come through and beautify them.


We have also taken on a number of special projects on request. We've built a 6 foot by 5 foot chalkboard for the site where George Floyd was murdered. The community has been using it to write dreams, wishes and drawings.

We were asked to build stages for Juneteenth performances with the plywood that we had left over, as well as the off cuts we had. And so we built stages in multiple locations across the city.

Theater people in general are highly skilled at collaborating, which also means doing what is asked of them. Problem solving in the moment. It felt really good to be able to go out and help people.




CAMEROTA: We do have some breaking news right now.

Tennis star Novak Djokovic announcing that he has tested positive for coronavirus.

Let's get right to Andy Scholes with the breaking details.

What have you learned, Andy?

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Alisyn, you know, they were hold -- he was the face of these charity tournaments that they were holding in Serbia and Croatia. And so it turns out now that Novak Djokovic and his wife have tested positive for coronavirus. His kids, though, did not have coronavirus. And, like I said, Djokovic was -- really was the face of this, you know, charity tournaments they were having over there. And he took some heat for that because he was having players fly in from all, you know, over the world to take part in this tournament. And, by all accounts, there was just no social distancing taking place during these matches.

Now, Djokovic, he says, everything we did in the past month we did with pure heart and sincere intentions. Our tournament meant to unite and share a message of solidarity and compassion throughout the region.

Djokovic, you know, he went on to apologize for anyone else who may test positive from coming to these matches. Three other players have already done so, tested positive for Covid-19. Now Djokovic was on record before saying he was against taking a vaccine for coronavirus when it eventually does come out if it became mandatory to travel. Interesting developments here, Alisyn, considering the U.S. Open is still -- is scheduled to go on as planned later on this summer and, you know, they're not going to have fans in attendance, of course, but, still, players from all over the world are going to have to fly in for those matches. I'm assuming that they're definitely going to have much more stricter protocols in place than they did at these charity matches in Serbia and Croatia because, like I mentioned before, there was no social distancing, which led to this spread of the virus amongst the players.

CAMEROTA: It's such a mysterious virus. I mean the idea that he didn't know that he had it, the reporting is that he's asymptomatic as well as his wife, is that right, Andy?

SCHOLES: That is right. And, again, you know, he and his wife test positive. Their children did not, which I'm sure they were around quite a bit. So, as you said, it is a mysterious virus.


Andy, thank you very much for all of that breaking sports news.

SCHOLES: All right.


BERMAN: I've got to tell you, that does raise questions as these leagues, Major League Baseball and the NBA and the other sports leagues think about how they're going to reopen. It makes you wonder if it will happen or how.

So, while most people who do get coronavirus recover in about two weeks, there's been this growing number of people who struggle with recurring pain and debilitating symptoms for months, even after initially improving. They refer to themselves as long haulers.

My next guests say they've been fighting their symptoms for nearly 100 days.

Joining me now is Paul Garner. He's an infectious disease professor and the Liverpool School of Tropic Medicine, and Athena Akrami, co- founder -- or co-author of the body politic Covid-19 report and a neuroscientist. Just so people know, you guys know what you're talking about here.

And, Professor Akrami, I want to start with you. You're 99 days into this and you're still feeling it? How?

ATHENA AKRAMI, FIGHTING COVID-19 FOR 99 DAYS: Hi, John. Thanks for inviting us.

Yes, I'm actually 99 days into this and it just started basically, according to the general guidelines, very classic, with fever and cough. But then soon after three or four days, the plethora of symptoms appeared, shortness of breath, chest pain, extreme fatigue, body pain, kidney pain, heart palpitation. And -- but we were just like really hoping that, let's hang in there. If ten days pass and we don't end up in hospital, then probably you're safe. And if 14 days pass, then the (INAUDIBLE) symptoms are going to disappear. But we were just like always proven wrong -- like weeks after weeks.

And now basically it was really interesting the dynamics of the disease because it was basically like a snake and ladders game, right? We were just like brief moments of relief and hoping that, oh, we are fine, and I just like -- kind of -- I refer to we, because my husband was also symptomatic, and he was -- he had it milder and less (INAUDIBLE) than me, but still we were like, and this time course of the disease together.

And -- but, yes, like, climbing the ladder, thinking we are fine, and then suddenly again relapsing.



AKRAMI: And it's been about three months almost.

BERMAN: Wow. I mean I'm so sorry that both of you are going through this, and including your husband.

Professor Garner, to you.

You say this is like nothing else on earth, which is no small claim from you because I believe you've had malaria and dengue?

PAUL GARNER, FIGHTING COVID-19 FOR 96 DAYS: Yes. This is the worst one I've ever had. I can tell you that. I mean I went into it thinking that I -- I run a lot, I -- it would just be quite a mild illness. In the first week, I had an episode where I actually thought I was dying at home in bed. And this was at a time that our government was -- had a policy for us developing herd immunity. So lockdown hadn't happened when I developed this -- when I caught this disease.

But after this episode of nearly feeling that I was dying, I then had these periodic bouts where the disease would come and like bash me around the head. It was like being hit by a baseball bat. I'd be completely floored with headaches. I wouldn't be able to think straight. My whole body would ache. It was -- it was really strange.

And the other thing about it is that it messes with your head or it did with me. It makes you muggy, it confuses you, it muddles up your mood and it's -- it really is quite a terrifying experience.

BERMAN: And I know you've heard from people, Professor Garner, oh, just work through it. Just go out and try to get back to your daily life, you know, eight weeks after it began. But we were showing pictures of you, Professor Garner. You're an athlete. I mean you were out there working out. You tried to do a high intensity workout. What happened? GARNER: In -- it's the most silly thing I could have done because this

-- as the disease progresses, it's like the chronic fatigue syndrome M.E. When you exercise, it knocks your body back to the old illness. So when I did this workout, I was back in bed for four days with sweats, with headaches. Again, it actually brings -- brings the illness back and it's a really important message for people to understand because, you know, because I'm into fitness, I want to get out there and hammer it. But, of course, it actually is a bad thing and you actually have to pace yourself.

BERMAN: Professor Akrami, I know, to a certain extent, you've had a hard time getting people to believe you, or, in some cases, people have been dismissive of what you're going through.

AKRAMI: Yes, that's (INAUDIBLE) family, friend around who are struggling with the -- with the disease and they were only kind of listening to the general guidelines coming from WHO, CDC, or NHS here. They very (ph) stayed kind of believing (ph) in this pre-decided template and kind of description of the disease and -- and thinking that, OK, maybe -- maybe you are just like stressed out. Maybe you are so -- too worried about the situation. Maybe these things are just like psychophysical. And -- and, to be honest, I really started to kind of doubt myself too. I'm a very kind of a strong woman. I'm really not nervous in my life at all. I'm not a stressed person at all. But I still -- I was just like, what is wrong? How come that I just like cannot shake it off?

And when -- so after four weeks, I actually -- I ended up in hospital. And in the hospital, the doctor -- one of them was very sympathetic -- kind of -- a kind, compassionate, listening to me. We were talking about cytokine storm together and they didn't actually know about it at that point. And -- and -- but the other one was just like telling me, well, you have been very sick for four weeks, that now maybe you are just too stressed and you should relax, go home and rest and you will be fine.

And four weeks now is 14 weeks and we are still fighting with this. And it's a really -- I mean so the thing is that one thing that saved my sanity, basically, was when I discovered this (INAUDIBLE) this lab (ph) group -- support group because it was like a relief to read those experiences. I feel bad about calling it a relief to see other people suffering in the same way, but it was kind of validating.

BERMAN: Right.

AKRAMI: Right, because there was no official acknowledgment of the disease be -- having basically having this mode, you know? Most of the stats are just like surrounded around this binary outcome.


AKRAMI: Either you (INAUDIBLE) to die or you survive. And -- and that's it. But it's very important to talk about this third mode of the disease, which is this long haulers, and -- and I think people, if they -- I think there are thousands of people like us.


And in these patient-led basically (ph) research groups, we are really trying to aggregate, collect experiences, make them really quantitatively accessible to the public --

BERMAN: Right.

AKRAMI: To medical experience, to know that there is this third mode of the disease and people -- it should really make people pause. They (INAUDIBLE) on how to go back to their daily life.

BERMAN: Yes. I have to say --

AKRAMI: A number of places are now reopening -- right. A lot of places are reopening and maybe, like the young people, young, functioning people without any pre-conditioning disease can -- they -- they may think that's, oh, a chance of really kind of mortality rate I still so low. And I'm not going to kind of -- I've been sent off of asymptomatic people are going to struggle with this for months (ph) --

BERMAN: Right.

AKRAMI: Then it's going to give them pause to see how they are going to --

BERMAN: Professor Akrami, we got -- we got --


BERMAN: We got to go.

AKRAMI: Sorry (ph).

BERMAN: As we said, we're so appreciative for your time. Sorry you're both going through this. Glad that you have found each other and this wider group and I hope it gets the attention it deserves.

Thanks so much.

AKRAMI: Thank you so much.

GARNER: Thank you.

BERMAN: Our coverage continues, next.