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Florida Sets New Daily Record With 9,585 New COVID-19 Cases; Pence Says The U.S. Is Opening Safely And Responsibly Even As Cases Surge In Many Cases; Houston Area Officially Raises COVID Threat To Highest Level. Aired 1-2p ET

Aired June 27, 2020 - 13:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[13:00:00]

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: This morning Florida reported that it set a new daily record for cases. More than 9500 were recorded today. That's 600 more than tallied the previous day bringing in another record. This as the U.S. saw the largest total of new cases to date on Friday with over 45,000 reported in a single day. At least five states hit new peaks.

And if you're in any one of these 32 states, you are seeing surging infections as the country surpasses 125,000 deaths. At least 11 states are now pausing plans to further reopen their economies. Arizona, Texas, Florida and others delaying their next phases of reopening, for example, suspending drinking at bars and limiting capacity at restaurants and other businesses 50 to 75 percent.

But as states grapple with the virus spiking, a rather rosy tone coming from the White House, Vice President Mike Pence saying at the first Coronavirus Task Force Briefing in two months that the U.S. is opening safely and responsibly.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We've all seen the encouraging news as we open up America again, more than three million jobs created in the last job report, retail sales are rolling. And of course, the extraordinary progress in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and New Orleans areas that just a matter of a month ago, we're struggling under the weight of this pandemic.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: We have a team of reporters covering the cases and hotspots emerging now around the country. Let's begin in Florida with those staggering new case numbers. CNN Randi Kaye is in Riviera Beach. Randi, how is the governor explaining this to almost daily record- breaking spike of new cases?

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Fred. we're now seeing 643 more cases today than we saw yesterday. More than 9500 cases in all today, as you said. The governor is explaining it away, he's basically calling it a test dump. He says that we're just seeing way more testing. And that's why we're seeing so many more cases, they were doing about 24,000 tests a day here in Florida. Now we're up to about 45,000. So that's how the governor is explaining it.

But we are also seeing a higher positivity rate here in the State of Florida, mostly, among younger people, 33 to 35 years old, they are asymptomatic. But if you look at where younger people hang out, it's in the bars, which is why the governor did take one bit of action here. He did close down the bars in the State of Florida just after they've done so in Texas as well, because that is where young people are congregating.

But one thing he hasn't done is mandate masks here in the State of Florida. He says he's going to leave it up to the local governments and the municipalities that they can make up their own mind. He says that he's going to trust that people here in the State of Florida will do the right thing. We talked to some folks here because we so so many of them not wearing masks here in Palm Beach County which is now mandated that people have to wear masks if they can't exercise and safely social distance outside.

We talked to a few of them and here's what a guy named Rufus Myers told us earlier.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUFUS MEYERS, FLORIDA RESIDENT: No, I left my mask in the car but because this social distancing can take place here you, cannot be close on everyone. I haven't worn my mask out here on days most of the time but I do have it in the car. So, when I go to stores and other establishments when I'm indoors, I do wear but here on the outside, we're able to social distance and be beyond six feet then I haven't necessarily worn it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KAYE: So we'll give him a pass because he was social distancing for the most part, but he's not the only guy who said, oh, my mask is in the car and my mask is in my knapsack or my mask is in the bag and then we saw a woman riding her bike. Oh, my mask is behind -- is in my bag as well. So, I guess as long as they can social distance while they're exercising, that's OK but still people who are around here, not social distancing and not exercising are still not wearing their masks, Fred.

WHITFIELD: Right. I guess that's what they were hoping that it's okay. All right. Randi Kaye, thank you so much right. All right. Now to Florida's panhandle where it's back to square one for several businesses of blaming in part on a lack of social distancing. CNN's Natasha Chen is in Pensacola Beach speaking to business owners. And is that what's being blamed people just have been too close to one another?

NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fred, the state has stopped bars from selling alcohol again. So that's what we're seeing here. At this Paddy O'Leary's Bar you see the go drink sign only now. And that is something they've adjusted to in the last 24 hours. And I want to point out, they can't sell alcohol in -- inside and have people sit inside. But this right here is not their property anymore. They've been given permission to set up umbrellas, so people can actually get the to-go drinks and then sit out here as long as they're not sitting inside the actual bar.

[13:05:01]

CHEN: Now the bar owners I've talked to are very frustrated about this because they say if the problem is spiking cases then what about the restaurants that are still open?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEAMAS HUNT, OWNER, PADDY O'LEARY'S BAR: It was a shocker. It was not expected. I mean, we expected that we're going to do a little more enforcing and stuff like that. But to actually shut us down and to target just standalone bars just made no sense. And the restaurants are mobbed right now. Basically acting as bars, they've got live music, they've got, you know, lots of stuff going on. So, that's what's happening. The customers are just going to the restaurants.

So it's not -- it's not solving any problems by closing down standalone bars.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHEN: And we were at a restaurant here on Pensacola Beach last night seeing a lot of people come in and of course, alcohol is served there. Now in talking to other bar owners just along the street we're hearing the same sort of complaint, they feel singled out here. And the biggest thing is their fear of the unknown. They've not been told by the state when they might be able to get back to the phase they were at.

They just reopened June 1st. And so some of their employees have only gotten one or two paychecks and at this point, are considering whether they need to reapply for unemployment, Fred.

WHITFIELD: That is terrible. So I wonder Natasha is part of the issue a difference in the seating kind of arrangement at a bar versus at a restaurant?

CHEN: Well, we are hearing that one of the reasons stated in the press conferences this past week. The reasonings given by the state is that they've seen some bar staff and bar guests actually get sick. In one instance, there were 16 young people who were out at a bar for a birthday party and they all got coronavirus after that bar visit and so I think there are anecdotal evidence of this happening at certain bars and perhaps that is why standalone bars are being told to shut down again, Fred.

CHEN: All right. I know a lot of frustration. Thank you so much. Natasha Chen. Pensacola Beach. All right. Meantime, in New York graduation may be the site of a potential outbreak after a graduate recently returned from Florida. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is now launching an investigation. CNN's Evan McMorris Santoro Joining me now from New York. So, Even, explain all of this. EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, so far, this is information just coming into the CNN newsroom over the past hour. And what we're learning is that there's a health department investigation launched by the governor into the circumstances surrounding a Westchester County graduation in which an individual who had recently traveled to Florida and was not exhibiting symptoms went to this graduation.

And four people that person came in contact with have now tested positive. All those individuals are now being asked to self-isolate until July 5th, but the governor as I said, launching a full investigation to this. This of course comes as, you know, the New York State story about COVID pandemic right now is pretty good. And the Florida story is pretty bad. And Governor Andrew Cuomo has been making efforts to keep it that way, by key people from -- key people from Florida who are traveling from Florida, sort of isolated before they're able to move around inside New York.

He called for a two-week isolation. So, this is another instance in which that story, the Florida story versus the New York story is now playing out.

WHITFIELD: All right, Evan McMorris-Santoro, keep us posted. Thank you so much. All right. Some local leaders in Texas are calling on Governor Greg Abbott to impose tighter restrictions as the case count in that state soars despite causing a top official in the Houston area to raise the county's coronavirus threat warning to the highest level. CNN's Alexandra Field joining me now from Houston. Alexandra, what more are you learning?

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, there, Fred. Look, Texas really just threw the barn doors open when it came to the reopening, they open up gyms, malls, nail salons, amusement parks, you name it, bars, restaurants, people were out. They are now paying the price because all of this was happening in the absence of a statewide mandate to wear masks.

Now you're seeing day after day, Texas breaking its own records for the number of new COVID cases. They're also seeing this incredible increase in hospitalizations. They have seen ICUs across the hotspot which is the City of Houston reaching capacity, hospitals having to move to their surge plans. Now Governor Greg Abbott is taking some steps to slow down and even reverse course when it comes to the reopening, placing some restrictions on bars and restaurants and businesses, which he deems to be linked to the rising caseload here in Texas.

But local officials who say they've got a hand tied behind their back because they don't have the authority to do a lot like mandate people to stay home are doing their best to simply get the word out that people should wear masks that they should stay home. Listen to the chief executive of up Harris County, the country's third largest county.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[13:10:05]

JUDGE LINA HIDALGO, HARRIS COUNTY CHIEF EXECUTIVE: Today we find ourselves careening toward a catastrophic and unsustainable situation. This pandemic is like an invisible hurricane where all of a sudden, your neighborhood is flooding. Your next-door neighbor's house is underwater. And nobody knows why.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FIELD: The numbers are certainly a wakeup call to people across Texas, you cannot deny the fact that the infection is here, that it is spreading rapidly. The mayor of Houston pointing out that today community infection is three times as high as it was three months ago. Just the picture of everything that could possibly go wrong, Fred?

WHITFIELD: Wow, that is frightening. Thank you so much Alexandra Field. All right. Still to come. A judge has ruled migrant children in detention centers must be released in a matter of weeks because of the pandemic. Details straight ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: A new court ruling is getting migrant children out of ice custody. A Federal judge ruled on Friday that children held at three -- the three detention centers that are sprinkled across the country. California, Pennsylvania and Texas must be released by July 17th. The judge cited safety concerns because of the potential spread of coronavirus. As of June 8th, there were 124 children in the Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody.

Joining me right now is an attorney and a CNN opinion writer, Raul Reyes. Raul, good to see you.

RAUL REYES, CNN OPINION COLUMNIST: Hi, Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: We're going to double check on that number because it seemed like the number would be even higher than that. But, you know, talk to us about this ruling coming from the judge worried about this pandemic and on those conditions. Children will be released to who will they be released?

REYES: Right. As per this judge's ruling, these children are to be released in to either a sponsor or legal guardian. Or if those people are not available in the United States, then it would go to their parents which would mean that the family would be released together. And just to put this in context, you have to remember free pandemic, before coronavirus. These immigration detention facilities were known for unsanitary conditions, overcrowding, lack of access to medical care.

Many detainees have underlying conditions. So this is almost a perfect storm for something like the coronavirus. And so, what was -- the other thing that was interesting about this opinion is that the judge gave the administration the firm deadline of July 17th for compliance because ICE already has guidelines in place to deal with coronavirus and the detainees. The problem is ICA has repeatedly either failed to enact them or just fail to follow them, so there are no masks.

It's logistically impossible for these detainees to socially distance, there's no protective gear. And we see guards, staff and almost anyone who's encountering these people in immigration detention, particularly in the family detention systems at risk or becoming infected with coronavirus.

WHITFIELD: And I did get some information on that number 124 children, those are the number of kids that are in the three ICE detention facilities of those states that I mentioned, California, Pennsylvania and Texas. But there are many more migrant children that are scattered other facilities across the country. So then, for parents who want to claim their children or there might be sponsors, who might be able to, you know, come to the aid of the children, many of those parents had to return, you know, to their states and countries of origin.

So, how would they be able to retrieve their kids if they learn of this court order?

REYES: From -- for the children affected by this or most of them are -- the because of they are already in family detention. That means they are not unaccompanied children, they mote the majority of these 124 are with their -- are already with someone in their family or have someone in this country who is a family member or a guardian. Your -- you do bring up the important point that there are many detainees who have been deported back to their countries of origin and their children are still here.

And although they have in very legal remedies, the fact is on the ground in reality, once people are removed from this country is extremely difficult to navigate the U.S. immigration system from abroad. So there are unaccompanied children who are separated from their parents, something of practice that the government is still conducting and it's almost -- it's very unlikely that they may ever see their children again.

And think about this, Fredricka, you know, when we talk about immigration detention, these are basically prison-like conditions. So, you know, we've seen the barbed wire, the walls, the guards, but immigration detention, that's civil detention. These people have not been convicted of any crime. Some of them are young, you know, seeking asylum potential refugees, survivors of domestic violence.

So at the very least, the judge is setting forth a very, very clear order to the Trump administration that the government must protect the health and safety of these children. Must do their best to comply with the Flores -- the Flores Settlement which covers the treatment and care of migrant children in detention and provide and do their best to prevent further spread of coronavirus among detainees.

Already with the limited testing that has been done among detainees at least the infection rate is about one out of every 31 detainees test positive for coronavirus. And that doesn't even include guards, staff members or other personnel. So this is a very basic safety measure. And it's very important, looking ahead because other advocacy groups immigrant rights groups, civil rights groups can potentially build on this ruling to make the case that perhaps the larger immigration detainee population deserves to be released just to so that they can stay alive and healthy and pursue their cases.

[13:20:02]

WHITFIELD: Yes, it's hard for anyone to have not been thinking about these kids ever since learning about the methods of separation. You know, that had been conducted. But then while you talk about, you know, the potential physical, you know, risks that many of these, you know, children have been facing. Upon release, what do you expect the mental, you know, anguish to be and what kind of condition are these young people going to be in?

REYES: Well, researched pretty solidly shows that these children are deeply traumatized, even if they are lucky enough to be released from immigration detention. They're twice traumatized, really, once in their home countries and on the journey here and then again, as they go through the very grim conditions in U.S. immigration care -- the U.S. immigration detention system. And one unusual phenomenon we've been seeing is that some of these children who are placed in foster homes temporarily until they can be reunited with their parents.

When it does come -- when it does come time for them to be reunited with their parents, they are traumatized yet again, because therefore, the younger children have formed an attachment in many cases to these foster parents. So now they're being uprooted again. It's a really difficult situation, what adult migrants go through is just horrific and traumatizing. So imagine the -- children go through. And again, none of them chose to come here.

Some of them made this very desperate juries with family members. And yet the U.S. government has very consistently failed to care for them, fail to manage them and even fail to track where they are and where their parents are. But this really is an important step. I believe that advocacy groups will build on it. And hopefully we will -- regulation attention paid for the health and well-being of these detainees.

WHITFIELD: Yes. How could your heart not break for these kids? All right. Raul Reyes, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

REYES: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: All right. Still ahead. White House officials are stepping up their efforts to protect President Trump from COVID-19. We'll have details on all that involves, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[13:25:33]

WHITFIELD: President Trump is in Washington this weekend scrapping a trip to his New Jersey Golf Club as the nation struggles to contain a surge in the coronavirus. The President is digging in on downplaying the threat. Something he's done since the first U.S. case was confirmed over five months ago. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So we have cases because we test, deaths are down.

We, I have done a phenomenal job with it.

We saved money have lives and now it's time to open up, get back to work.

Fading away, it's going to fade away. If you look, the numbers are very miniscule compared to what it was, it's dying out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: While he is publicly confident. CNN has learned that behind the scenes, President Trump is ramping up efforts to protect himself from contracting a virus that is impacting some of his closest staff. At least eight campaign workers tested positive after being on site at his Tulsa rally one week ago. CNN Sarah Westwood is at the White House for us. So Sarah, what are the steps being taken to make sure that he is protected and safe?

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, Fred, that protective bubble around President Trump is certainly tightening as sources tell CNN that privately Trump is expressing even more concerns that he could personally contract the virus. He's well aware of the effects that would have on the public perception, not just a visibility to leave but also on the urgency of this crisis.

And it's one that he's obviously been trying to downplay in recent days, as he turns his focus to his reelection effort. But some of those measures that his team is taking to keep him safe include having advanced and medical teams scour the venues where he's going to be traveling for potential areas of contagion. They've been scrubbing and sanitizing the bathrooms that have been designated for his use.

And crucially, they've been keeping very careful tabs on the staff members and other people who are going to be interacting with President Trump at any point during his day and all of those people have to be tested. But there's a really sharp disconnect between all of those steps that are being taken to protect Trump and his public stance, his public effort to declare the pandemic over and move on.

And that's something that Vice President Pence touched on yesterday during the first task force briefing in nearly two months, Pence was defending the White House's decision to start traveling, start having more campaign events, even in hotspots. And it just created a really mixed signals with the public health experts at that same briefing who were warning about the surge in cases. I want you to take a listen to that disconnect.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PENCE: Well I want to remind you again that the freedom of speech and the right to peaceably assemble is enshrined in the constitution of the United States. And even in a health crisis, the American people don't forfeit our constitutional rights.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR NATIONAL, INSTITUTE FOR ALLERGIES AND INFECTIOUS DISEASE: You have an individual responsibility to yourself, but you have a societal responsibility. Because if we want to end this outbreak really ended and then hopefully when a vaccine comes in, puts the nail in the coffin, we've got to realize that we are part of the process.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WESTWOOD: Now, the data presented by Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx at that task force briefing just contradicted Pence's statement later during that briefing that the curve is being flattened. As part of the effort to send an all clear message to the White House they've started phasing out the temperature checks, the mask wearing requirements that were in place here on the White House grounds, but even though cases are spiking, Fred, sources tell CNN that President Trump has not attended a taskforce meeting since April.

[13:30:00]

WHITFIELD: All right, Sarah Westwood, thank you so much.

Joining me right now from Tucson, Arizona, Dr. Matthew Heinz. He is a hospitalist and internist at the Tucson Medical Center.

Doctor Heinz, good to see you.

DR. MATTHEW HEINZ, HOSPITALIST & INTERNIST, TUCSON MEDICAL CENTER: Good to be here.

WHITFIELD: We just heard, you know, the president insisting on additional measures to ensure he doesn't contract the coronavirus, but he continues to refuse to wear a mask publicly and says that, you know, things are looking good, that they have done a great job responding to the virus.

What do you want to see happen that hasn't?

HEINZ: I really want to see the federal government take this seriously. I mean, every night, every day, I'm working with some amazing nurses and respiratory therapists and other doctors at my hospital, and I'm working really hard to keep people alive.

This is serious stuff. And I would like to see an actual effort that reflects the seriousness of the situation.

I want to see more testing. I want to see governors take responsibility and close down their states when they have sky- rocketing surges going on and enforce masks, compulsory mask orders and social distancing and all of these things we know we have to do.

It is time for us to take it seriously and do it so we can stop with all of these people dying.

WHITFIELD: So even with more testing or even if states were to close down, do you worry about whether citizens are being cooperative and whether citizens are, you know, taking personal responsibility at the very minimum with, say, wearing masks regardless of whether it is mandated or not?

HEINZ: You are absolutely right. And we have to all decide that it is time for us to do our part.

I think a lot of what you're doing, what the media is doing to call attention to this and to kind of explain to people why wearing masks is so important, and why really all, pretty much all of us have to do it to get that benefit, to bring down the curb to stop the transportation system for the virus from hopping from person to person. It rides on the water vapor we exhale.

But you're correct. It is not going to be the order of a governor or the president. It has to be people understanding and being willing to comply.

And we are seeing more of it, but for sure we are not where we need to be yet.

WHITFIELD: So Arizona health officials, you know, posting three days of over 3,000 new COVID-19 cases. The mayor of Tucson tells CNN that your state is in crisis.

You just got off an overnight shift. What are you seeing?

HEINZ: Right. Lots of COVID cases.

You know, last night I admitted a 45-year old and a 27-year old, both of them requiring oxygen.

This is, you know, this is a misconception it is a disease of older or chronically ill people. It is not. It can affect a lot of people at varying ages.

And it is, you know, probably vulnerable and older people may get it from 20, 30 and 40-year-olds. But it can certainly affect folks very seriously even in the younger age groups.

But I agree with our Mayor Romero, we are absolutely in a crisis situation. We are essentially out of critical care beds throughout the state of Arizona. There's like one here or there. But, you know, it is very tight for ICU beds and it is going to get tighter.

And eventually, we are going to get to the point where a heart attack victim or someone having a massive stroke or who gets into a car accident of some kind won't have a critical care bed when they need it because we are so filled up.

WHITFIELD: Yes.

All right. Dr. Matthew Heinz, thank you so much. Thank you for what you are doing and to all of your colleagues who are working around the clock trying to save and protect lives. Appreciate it.

HEINZ: Thanks for having me.

[13:34:03]

WHITFIELD: All right. Coming up next, as air travel picks up, airline executives are moving forward with a plan for the contact tracing of passengers who have tested positive for COVID-19. More on that straight ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: Air travel is making a bit of a comeback. The increase in travelers also means planes are getting more crowded. And this comes as the Trump administration has reached a deal with airline executives on contact tracing of passengers.

CNN aviation correspondent, Pete Muntean, has details.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: More and more details are flying on commercial airlines, even in spite of the pandemic. What is interesting is you have a greater chance of boarding a flight that is completely full.

American Airlines has joined United Airlines in saying it will sell every seat on its aircraft. Both are giving passengers the opportunity to rebook if a flight is completely full free of charge. Both airlines also saying they will warn passengers if a flight is going to be full.

It is a critical period for commercial airlines. July 4th is typically one of the busiest holidays for airline travel. But it begs the question what to do if a passenger tests positive for coronavirus.

That came up during a meeting between airline executives and Vice President Mike Pence on Friday. A source tells CNN that Pence has given airlines the go ahead to move forward what a contact tracing app.

It is what airlines wanted. They said there was no possible way that they could collect all of the possible information needed to pass on to public health officials.

Airlines are now working on a December 1st deadline.

Pete Muntean, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WHITFIELD: All right.

Sara Nelson is the international president of the Association of Flight Attendants.

Sara, good to see you.

SARA NELSON, INTERNATIONAL PRESIDENT, ASSOCIATION OF FLIGHT ATTENDANTS: Good to see you.

WHITFIELD: So how comforting might this be to you to hear that there might be this contact tracing app that airlines would want to use to see, you know, what the condition of these passengers are and what is being brought to any of these planes?

[13:40:12]

NELSON: Well, let's be really clear. We heard a December 1st deadline on that. We have had no action on a federal plan to address the issues of coronavirus and how to have a plan in aviation to ensure that we're stopping the spread.

The airlines have taken it upon themselves to put mask policies in place and to require this of passengers in the airport and on the planes. That was a huge step forward.

We need a federal mandate on that though and we need a federal coordinated effort here to put in place all kinds of policies that will help to contain coronavirus.

So contact tracing is incredibly important but there's a lot of other steps to put in place here to make it effective.

WHITFIELD: For example, you mean like the wearing of masks, you know, some airlines requiring passengers to do so? How about some airlines who say they're going to fill up every seat they can?

Is it that you would rather hear that there are empty seats? What would be some of the measures you would think would be part of a national plan as it pertains to air travel?

NELSON: Well, let's be really clear. There's no way to properly socially distance on a plane. So we have to have policies in place that are safety related, just like we do in any other area of aviation that are layered.

So the masks are really important. We could have a health care corps. With millions unemployed right now, we could put together a health care corps that's checking people at the front of the airport, having them do a self-assessment of their health conditions, checking their masks, making sure they know how to wear it properly.

We see all kinds of people with masks not wearing it over their nose or just wearing it under their chins, not understanding how to use it. So they could be doing that as well.

We need to have it federally mandated because, right now, what is happening is that, on the front lines, flight attendants are having to enforce this. And we're doing that without the backing of the federal government.

In fact, the federal government has led people to believe that this is a political issue rather than a public health issue.

So we're dealing with conflicts there just in enforcing this policy that keeps everyone safe.

WHITFIELD: I must say that whole mask on the chin thing, that drives me nuts. I'm like, what is the point there? What is the statement that you are making there?

OK. So passengers essentially, they are kind of flying at their own risk, right? They're going into this, you know, knowing that it could be crowded, there are going to be no empty seats. I can wear my mask, et cetera.

But then what is it you are most concerned about, you know, for flight attendants, for people who are working in this industry and are facing a number of risks that are inherent with the job and now top that with coronavirus?

NELSON: Well, look, we actually have to have some distancing on the plane so if our workspace is within six feet of passengers' seats, those seats should be blocked out.

We also need to make sure that the mask policies are enforced.

We need to have the proper PPE for flight attendance to wear because we're aviation's first responder.

Because of supply chain issues and our health care workers on the front line don't have full access to N-95 masks, we don't have access to those either but we should have those as well.

What we're also concerned about here is that safety directly related to our financial security. So everyone is talking about air travel is picking up. Let's face it. We have all kinds of airplanes that are on the ground right now. We're just barely climbing back to almost 20 percent of --

WHITFIELD: Right. There are fewer planes in the --

NELSON: -- what we were a year ago.

WHITFIELD: Right. There are fewer planes in the air. And it is -- yes, these planes are packed because you still have a demand of people who want to travel, but then with fewer airplanes.

So then what about, you know, the European Union now entertaining -- or I guess it just may happen on Tuesday, ready to ban U.S. travelers from visiting those member nations?

That would mean those of you who are working in the industry are part of, you know, the populace of people that would not be able to travel to Europe. How is that going to impact you?

NELSON: This is devastating. This is devastating for our workplace. This is devastating in the long-term effects of America.

This is America's brand here. We have always been on the leading edge of governance in aviation, with safety, with honesty, and inputting regulations that really set the standard for aviation around the world.

So this is a devastating blow, not only for our reputation and our long-term interaction with the rest of the world, it is cutting us off from the rest of the world, but it is directly affecting the people that I represent, all of my flying partners who count on this confidence in U.S. aviation in order to support our jobs.

So we're looking at massive furloughs in October if we don't have a continuation of federal funding for payroll support for the aviation workers. And all of this is related to our financial security and our safety at work.

[13:45:06]

WHITFIELD: Wow. I'm seeing no bright light here, Sara. This is really depressing.

NELSON: Well, I think we can keep asking for our government to step up and take some responsible steps here so that we're not an embarrassment around the world and so that we're not all left with a long-term economic devastation here.

That's really what we're calling for, is that the threat is the virus. Let's deal with the virus. Let's limit the risk. And then we're all going to do better economically as well.

WHITFIELD: Sara Nelson, thank you so much. Appreciate it. Be well.

NELSON: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: All right. Coming up, the E.U. does look like it is set to ban U.S. travelers next week over the surge of coronavirus cases in this country. We are live from London, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[13:50:19]

WHITFIELD: to reopen international travel, but Americans may not be welcome. It's expected E.U. leaders will label the coronavirus case count in the U.S. too high to allow entry.

As of now, the U.S. leads the world in both cases and deaths. Brazil and Russia, number two and three on that list, and they may also likely be barred from traveling into Europe.

And you can see the differences in the rise in cases in the U.S., represented by the green line, compared to countries in the European Union, shown in pink, trending downward.

For the latest on this, let's bring in Nic Robertson in London.

So, Nic, what does this mean for Americans who had plans to travel to Europe?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: It really means put the plans on hold for right now until you get a positive signal from the European Union. And that positive signal is only likely to come when the spikes and infection rates in the United States begin to turn back down again and sort of come more into line with what the European Union is experiencing.

Here, it's about six- or seven-times lower infection rate than it is in the United States. The E.U. officials who are looking at the criteria here, this is all they're really doing is looking and fine- tuning the numbers they have and making sure their criteria is accurate for understanding what countries are reporting, how they're reporting, whether those figures are reliable.

And I don't think anyone doubts that the United States figures are reliable in this context, it's just that they're too high. So the E.U. is putting a priority and premium the health and welfare of the half billion citizens that live here.

So really, it's going to have to wait for the next review, maybe in a few weeks' time, to see if the situation is changing.

WHITFIELD: OK, Nic Robertson, it sure is impacting a lot of people potentially. Thank you so much.

Next, Facebook under fire. It's handling over misleading information is prompting big businesses to pull advertising from the social networking giant. Details on that next.

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[13:57:13]

WHITFIELD: Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg vows to do more to crack down on hate speech shared on the platform. This, as Coca-Cola, Honda and Levi Jeans join a growing list of major companies ditching the social media giant over controversial advertising policies.

CNN's Brian Fung has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRIAN FUNG, CNN TECH REPORTER: The advertisers revolts against Facebook just keeps growing. Dozens of companies have joined a massive boycott of Facebook's advertising platform now in its second week.

The list includes Hershey's Honda, Levi Strauss, and Verizon. And on Friday, Unilever, a major consumer-goods conglomerate that owns Dove, Hellman's Mayo and Lipton, said it, too, would join the campaign, making it the biggest company yet to give Facebook the cold shoulder.

Advertisers said the core problem is Facebook's lackluster handling of hate speech and misinformation.

CNN has reported that Facebook tried to keep its advertisers on board by holding phone calls with marketers and sending them emails. CEO Mark Zuckerberg even appeared on video Friday to announce new policies banning hateful ads and labels for controversial content. Facebook said in a statement that it invests billions of dollars a

year to keep its community safe and that its artificial intelligence technology helps it remove hate speech faster than on Twitter or YouTube.

"We know we have more work to do," said the company, "and we'll continue to work with civil rights groups and other experts to develop even more tools, technology and policies to continue this fight."

But that hasn't stopped the bleeding. Advertisers continue to flee the platform in what has become a P.R. nightmare that Zuckerberg cannot afford to ignore.

The growing backlash highlights how brands are increasingly responding to racial justice protests around the country.

And it illustrates the pressure put on Facebook in the midst of a high-stakes pandemic and an election year.

Brian Fung, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WHITFIELD: And President Trump's longtime friend and adviser, Roger Stone, just posted a message on Instagram thanking his supporters for standing by him.

He writes, in part, "I am in great spirits and continue to be confident that God will deliver me from my demonic persecutors."

Stone was supposed to report to jail this Tuesday, but a federal judge delayed his original sentence until July 14th and ordered him to spend time at home. The judge rejected Stone's legal team request to hold off until late August due to the pandemic.

Stone was sentenced to three years for lying to Congress about his role as a back channel between the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks during the 2016 election. He was also convicted of witness tampering after obstructing Congress's inquiry into Russian meddling.

[14:58:58]

And join CNN's Jake Tapper for a new CNN special report. "TRUMP AND THE LAW, AFTER IMPEACHMENT," airs tomorrow night at 10:00 Eastern.