Return to Transcripts main page


Disney Postpones Disneyland Reopening in California. Aired 4:30-5p ET

Aired June 25, 2020 - 16:30   ET


JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Governor DeSantis, your governor, Republican of Florida, said yesterday on a day reporting a report number of cases that he still will not require masks despite the urging of some lawmakers, despite the urging of the mayor of Miami where you are who said he wants to issue fines for anyone in public without masks.


But it sounds like you want not only enforcement but maybe even more leadership from Governor DeSantis.

DR. LILIAN ABBO, CHIEF OF INFECTION CONTROL, JACKSON HEALTH SYSTEM: I have said this before. I think we need leadership across the United States. We're called the United States for a reason. We have to be united if we want to conquer this pandemic.

I've been working very closely with Miami-Dade County mayor, part of his task force. We really have the epicenter of the pandemic here in Florida and we're really taking every action that we can to educate our citizens and to make sure that people understand the real threat that this implies.

To me, this is irresponsible. It's like going on a highway, drunk without a seat belt. If you're going there and speeding, drunk without a seat belt, you're going to kill yourself and potentially kill others. In this pandemic, we were so successful earlier in controlling things when there was a mandate to stay in quarantine. Now that people are out, we want people to work. But w need people to understand that these are -- this is safety, this is not optional.

I do think it would be important if we had a united message across the state of Florida and the rest of the country. But I live in Miami- Dade. And we're working with people we can work and doing the best we can.

TAPPER: Palm Beach County had an open forum on Tuesday on the decision to mandate masks. Some residents had what's called a strong opposing opinions. Take a listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You literally cannot mandate somebody to wear a mask knowing that mask is killing people. It literally is killing people. (END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: What do you say to that woman, and others out there, who think that the advice being given by medical experts like yourself is wrong?

ABBO: So, first of all, I am not aware of any study that demonstrates that masks are killing people. All the evidence we have so far is what is killing people is a virus called SARS Coronavirus 2. That's what's killing people of different ages, race, and religion. That's number one.

The second message, yes, some people say seat belts kill people and some people still smoke and they don't believe cigarettes can cause, you know, lung cancer. I think that unless someone has a medical contraindication -- and we understand wearing a mask is uncomfortable, and you can't wear it all the time, 100 percent of the time in certain situations.

But if you're in public, please maintain a distance of more than six feet apart. If you can't wear a mask, you can social distance. That's equally important.

So, we want to make people understand it's not just wearing the mask, wash your hands, wear a mask and social distance. I don't have any reason to believe that masks are killing people. But if you have a medical contraindication to wearing a mask, you have to find a way to protecting yourself and protecting others. And most importantly, our most vulnerable population, the people who are at risk of seriously dying from this virus.

TAPPER: Dr. Lillian Abbo, thanks and best of luck to you. We really appreciate your time today and also the work you do.

ABBO: Thank you very much.

TAPPER: The coronavirus spikes are now causing a delay at Disney. Is your next family vacation in jeopardy?

Stay with us.



TAPPER: The money lead. Disney is calling off plans to reopen Disneyland in California on July 17 after strong demands from employee unions questioning the company's capacity to test employees for the coronavirus.

I want took bring in CNN business anchor Julia Chatterley now.

And, Julia, this delayed reopening for Disneyland in California. What about the flagship at Walt Disney World in Florida? Employees there have raised similar safety concerns.

JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN BUSINESS ANCHOR: One down, one to go. I think it's only a matter of time, Jake, before they announce a delay in Florida, too. What Disney said about this was it was tied to delay in getting guidelines from California authorities. Those guidelines, of course, have to be based on current conditions and they're deteriorating. Plus, Disney announced its initial reopening plans en masse back in May and this situation has currently changed since then. It was before the spike.

I just checked that Florida petition that you mentioned has now more than 10,000 signatures. People simply saying this theme park is not an essential business and people are at risk. Disney needs to listen to that.

TAPPER: Disney is not alone, of course, grappling with how and when to reopen. Today, Apple added Houston, Texas, area stores to list of those closing again. Many restaurants, plant factories -- plants, factories, have had to do the same.

You say there's going to be much more of this.

CHATTERLEY: I'm sure of it. Businesses are not going to wait for politicians to tell them what to do. When cases are spiking, the risk to health and to individuals is rising, reputational risk and liability risk for businesses is rising, too.

The key for Apple and Disney is they know what successful reopening look like, remember. Disney, it's reopened theme parks in Shanghai, in Hong Kong, Tokyo, Japan is going to reopen next week. It becomes a partnership between business and leadership.

Leadership has to show that they have the virus under control. In the absence of that, that's what we're seeing in states across America. We have to expect more sporadic closures and delays at best. Potential lockdowns are worse, Jake, and that's going to delay the recovery.

TAPPER: Almost another 1.5 million Americans filed for unemployment for the first-time last week.


This is now three straight months of first time weekly jobless claims above 1 million. That is a huge deal.

But, Julia, you're also watching another related number that you say is even more alarming. What is that?

CHATTERLEY: All of these numbers are staggering. But I'm watching people get their hands-on benefits and how quickly that's coming down. That was $19.5 million people in the latest numbers that we got available. That's not the whole story. That's not including wage cuts, hours cut or the additional programs that are added.

Jake, in the latest numbers, 30.5 million Americans are getting benefits. If I compare that to the same week a year ago, that was 1.5 million Americans. That's the gap that the recovery has to compensate for, and that's before we talk about the ongoing pandemic. This is an insurmountable challenge right now, and the health crisis has to be under control.

TAPPER: All right. Julia, thank you so much. Always good to see you.

Even as infections climb across the country, several sports leagues are still planning to play this summer, even with more and more players testing positive. Famed forecasters Bob Costas joins me next.

Stay with us.



TAPPER: We're back with our sports lead now.

Today, the NFL announced it's canceling the annual Hall of Fame game. Some of the world's best golfers have pulled out of a tournament starting today. And at least six Major League Baseball teams now have positive coronavirus tests.

Joining me now is legendary sports commentator and MLB announcer Bob Costas.

Bob, let's get right to it.

I am a huge Phillies fan. I would love to see the boys back on the field. But at least 12 Phillies and staff have tested positive for the virus in the last week. Is it safe for the teams to be training and practicing right now?

BOB COSTAS, SPORTS COMMENTATOR: They have to be asking that very same question. It's the only question, really, now that, since we're talking about baseball, they have worked out some kind of makeshift plan to play 60 games per team, and get through some kind of season.

But there are so many needles to thread between here and there. It's like a tightrope walk. Can you make it from one end of the ravine to the other? Yes, but it's not guaranteed. And as more of these cases crop up, you see all the peril involved, not just to the season, but to the health of many of those involved.

And I think what you're going to see in baseball and in other sports is players opting out, thinking it's not worth the risk, either to them or to family members, to play an abbreviated season.

TAPPER: And, as you note, MLB is expected to start the regular season in about a month, about 60 games. This comes after weeks and weeks of disagreements and negotiations between the players and the league about safety protocols, pay.

How big of an opportunity is there here for MLB, if they can get the rest of this right moving forward, which I recognize is a big if?

COSTAS: Yes, gigantic if.

It's a good opportunity for baseball. It would have been better if they could have put their squabbling aside, seen their mutual interests, and better understood their place in society during a time of a pandemic, an economic distress and social unrest.

And if they could have started on the Fourth of July, it would have been a big opportunity. They would have gotten the jump on the other sports and there would have been some good feelings surrounding it.

But, still, if the health issue somehow can be surmounted and they can get in 60 games, I think people would understand it, they'd appreciate the fact that it's unique one-off situation, would feel more like a tournament than a full regular season. And I think people would accept that.

But they have got to just cross their fingers that they can thread all those needles and make it through to the other side.

TAPPER: And, of course, there's a huge disparity between how much contact there is with other players when it comes to, say, basketball and football vs. baseball or golf.

And to see golfers pulling out of a tournament for safety reason, I mean, it's outdoors, basically solo.

COSTAS: Right.

TAPPER: Like lots of space between players.

How do you look at that and say, well, football and basketball are definitely going to come back, even when golfers are not going to?

COSTAS: Yes, that's a warning sign, isn't it?

Because you would think that golf and tennis would certainly be sports that might be able to make it through because of the obvious differences.

If you're talking about football, you're talking about 2,000-some players, plus all the auxiliary personnel, and they're going to play into a period of time when the health experts are telling us there's likely to be a coronavirus surge.

So it's even more difficult to see how football is going to get in a full season, with the difference in the contact, the difference in the size of the rosters, and the time of the year that their season falls.

In the case of basketball and hockey, at least in theory, they can isolate in one place, and if they can also isolate all the hotel workers, they can maybe get it over in a short enough period of time that they can be successful, and especially in the case of the NBA, because you're talking about a much smaller number of people.

TAPPER: The chief medical officer of the NFL said today that the league will have a -- quote -- "very, very aggressive testing and surveillance program."

Obviously, the NFL hopes that will prevent large-scale outbreaks within teams. Does it sound like enough to you?

COSTAS: Well, I'm not going to pose as a medical expert. You have got Dr. Fauci. You have got Sanjay Gupta.

TAPPER: Fair enough.

COSTAS: And you have got others.

But common sense tells me this. Every league is going to have their version -- and I believe their honest intentions -- their version of the best medical expertise, the best intentions. They put out comprehensive protocols: This is how we're going to do it.

But are all these people got to maintain those protocols the entire time? And even if they do, is that going to be enough? And what's the breaking point? Is it a couple of players per team, depending on the size of the roster? Is it 10? Is it 12?


I'm sure they will all embark with the best medical information and the best intentions, but whether or not they can get from point A to point B, I think that remains to be seen. I hope so. As a sports fan, I hope so. But I can't be sure.

TAPPER: Right. Yes, me too.

I mean, March 11, the day that both Tom Hanks announced that he had the virus and the NBA announced it was suspending games, was a day that a lot of Americans stood up and said, oh, my God.


TAPPER: And one of the reasons, I think -- this is my interpretation -- is because the NBA canceling the season, this is a bunch of millionaires and billionaires saying, I'd rather lose all the money that we would get for the season, because the alternative is worse.

So, now we see people kind of trying to thread the needle, as you say, but that's why it was so stark.

COSTAS: Yes. Yes.

But, on the flip side, you could say this. Even though you might be losing millions of dollars, they're in a position to be able to absorb that better than most people are. OK, you're already a millionaire, and you lose a few more million, but you have got the prospect of making more down the road.

We would hope that you have got some stashed away. So their circumstances are less dire. And they're in a position to make that kind of decision.

Let's say you're a high-priced baseball player. I'm not going to single anybody out by name. You're making $25 million, $30 million a year. Now they're asking you to play a prorated -- for a prorated portion of that, at 60 games, a little more than a third of what your regular season salary might be.

You might very well say, it's not worth the risk to me, because I'm already in good financial shape. I have good financial prospects going forward. And since we have some reports that respiratory function, even if young, healthy people, generally speaking, get through it, even if they contract it, what if you're talking about an elite athlete at the 99.9 percent level of physical performance, and you're in some way impaired, in some way diminished?

You're not really sick, you don't belong in the hospital. Anybody else could go to work. But you're losing 5 percent of your effectiveness as an athlete? I don't know. Some people might not want to take on that risk.

TAPPER: It's an excellent point.

Bob Costas, an honor to have you on. Thank you so much.

COSTAS: Thank you, Jake. Good to be on with you.

TAPPER: He's just 37 years old, but spent weeks in the hospital after almost dying from coronavirus -- why he's now scared to leave his house.

Stay with us.



TAPPER: Some hospitals and intensive care units in Texas are filling up with coronavirus patients.

CNN's Lucy Kafanov talked to one of those former patients who is grappling with the guilt of surviving, as more than 2,000 people in Texas have not.


LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The coronavirus nearly killed Christopher Marshall.

CHRISTOPHER MARSHALL, CORONAVIRUS SURVIVOR: I got so sick that it was acute respiratory distress syndrome with septic shock.

KAFANOV: The 37-year-old University of North Texas graduate student spent weeks at Dallas area hospitals.

(on camera): You think you would have died?

MARSHALL: I definitely would have died. It got that serious.

I'm going home.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) KAFANOV (voice-over): Though doctors saved him, Marshall now lives in fear of getting sick again, due to the surge in infections across Texas. He's rarely leaving his home, struggling with survivor's guilt.

MARSHALL: The hardest part for me, initially waking up, is seeing how many people died from COVID-19, because it's like, why did I live, and everybody else died?

KAFANOV: Texas, one of the first states to push an aggressive reopening, is now seeing new cases and hospitalization rates reaching record highs.

GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R-TX): There is a massive outbreak of COVID-19 across the state of Texas.

KAFANOV: So many getting sick that, in Houston, the Texas Children's Hospital is now admitting adult patients.

DR. PETER HOTEZ, BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE: Our big metro areas seem to be rising very quickly. And some of the models are on the verge of being apocalyptic.

KAFANOV: Minority communities are bearing the brunt of the pandemic.

In Dallas, Hispanics account for more than 60 percent of cases. Among them is Dallas ISD police officer Vicente Remediz, in the hospital for 82 days.

VICENTE REMEDIZ, CORONAVIRUS SURVIVOR: Take that COVID stuff serious. I wish I never caught it. I wish I never heard of it. But I tell everybody else, take it seriously.

KAFANOV: The father of six was on a ventilator for more than a month. His brother says Vicente barely survived.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The family was worried about him passing away.

KAFANOV: Bishop Greg Kelly worries most about undocumented patients, many of whom are essential workers.

BISHOP GREG KELLY, CATHOLIC DIOCESE OF DALLAS: They don't have any access to any kind of support, any kind of stimulus support. And so they have to work.

KAFANOV: And it's not just Latinos. Health officials say an increasing number of infections are among young adults, like Chris Marshall.

MARSHALL: Stop thinking that you're so invincible, that you're young, and that this cannot happen to you. It can happen. I'm 37. It happened.


KAFANOV: Dallas city leaders are looking into setting up a pop-up temporary field hospital right here at the convention center. They're not going ahead with that plan just yet. But if these cases continue to rise, they're going to need to tap this

location, Jake, as a backup plan to deal with the capacity issue -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Lucy Kafanov with an important story, thank you so much.

Thank you so much for watching this special two-hour edition of THE LEAD.

Our coverage on CNN continues right now. I'll see you tomorrow.