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U.S. Averaging More Cases Per Day Than Any Point During The Pandemic As White House Task Force Claims The Curve Has Been Flattened; E.U. "Unlikely" To Allow U.S. Travelers In As Cases Spike; Trump Friend And Adviser Roger Stone To Report To Prison July 14; U.K. Coronavirus Vaccine Team Delivers First Dose To A Human Volunteer; A Judge Rules Migrant Children In Family Detention Centers Must Be Released Due To Coronavirus; House Passes Police Reform Bill. Aired 6- 7a ET

Aired June 27, 2020 - 06:00   ET




MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We slowed the spread. We flattened the curve. We saved lives.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today, we find ourselves careening toward a catastrophic and unsustainable situation.

ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: If we don't extinguish the outbreak, sooner or later even ones that are doing well are going to be vulnerable to the spread.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not only are things bad, they're as bad as they've been right now with regard to daily new infections.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The number of hospital admissions is increasing, the number of people requiring ICU is increasing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are advising and counseling them to move forward and reinstitute the stay-at-home order.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And for anybody who thinks this is over, I would just ask them to take a look at the data.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a sad moment. I never -- in all the modeling that we did and all the projecting we did, we never modeled a federal government that didn't take charge.


VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you. I am Victor Blackwell. It is good to be with you this morning. You're watching NEW DAY. It is Saturday, June 27th.

BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN HOST: And I'm Bianna Golodryga in for Christi Paul. Great to be with you on this morning, Victor. BLACKWELL: Good to have you with us. So let's start here. This is what's happening. Our national leaders are trying to paint this rosy, upbeat picture of where the U.S. is right now in this fight against the coronavirus, but if you look at the data, look at the science, it's a mess, really ratcheting up and it's not matching what we're hearing.

Take this from Vice President Mike Pence. He says that all 50 states and the territories, that they're opening up safely and responsibly. OK, but at least 11 states have now paused or some have even rolled back their reopening plans.

GOLODRYGA: And this was the first time that we've heard from the coronavirus task force in two months. Meantime, the vice president also claimed that the curve has been flattened. It has not. Yesterday, the U.S. saw the highest single day of new COVID-19 cases and 125,000 Americans have died and in a sign of how the world views those numbers, the European Union is reportedly close to finalizing an agreement to block American travelers.

BLACKWELL: And in the U.S., the debate over public safety versus personal privacy, major airlines have now been told they can go ahead with devising a plan to contact trace passengers. We're covering all angles of this this morning. We're going to start with CNN's Polo Sandoval. He's following all the latest for us. Polo, so the reality of what we're seeing in the majority of states across the U.S. right now juxtaposed of what we're hearing from the task force.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's the reality here, Victor. The numbers do not reflect, of course, what we're hearing from members of the White House, coronavirus task force, particularly members of the Trump administration, but what's important here is if you step back for a second, you look at all these numbers and these increases that have been reported in various states and the result is the U.S. surpassing its record number of daily COVID cases, about over 40,000 just in one day.

And then yesterday, as we heard from the task force, specifically Vice President Pence, explaining that this surge in his -- in his own words reflects the, quote, "success" in expanded testing and yet at least nine states putting their reopening on pause.


PENCE: We did slow the spread. We flattened the curve.

SANDOVAL: A rosy national picture painted by the vice president as several regions experience a new pandemic peak. On Friday, more than 30 states reported seeing increases in new COVID cases, Florida among them. The Sunshine State reported nearly 9,000 more COVID cases on Friday, a new single-day record. That, as well as the rising number of positive COVID tests, now fueling fears that Florida may be a new U.S. epicenter of the outbreak. Still this Trump supporting Florida resident says he's not alarmed.

MARK BUTLER, FLORIDA RESIDENT: Frankly I think the inconvenience to the general public and the economy is much worse than the disease itself.

SANDOVAL: In Texas, Governor Greg Abbott hit the brakes on reopening and shifted into reverse ahead of the weekend, ordering the closure of bars and a reduction in dining capacity at restaurants. In Houston, the mayor shared harrowing data about the infection rates, now three times higher than they were three months ago.

MAYOR SYLVESTER TURNER (D), MAYOR, HOUSTON: The number of hospital admissions is increasing, the number of people requiring ICU is increasing, the number of young people being infected is increasing and so it is real.

SANDOVAL: And while the president is often seen without a mask, more regions are starting to require them, including some counties in Alabama, Utah and Palm Beach, Florida. Then there's this from the House's number three Republican, Liz Cheney, a photo of her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney, and the hashtag #RealMenWearMasks.

[06:05:00] But the nation's current VP remained barefaced at yesterday's briefing even as medical experts by his side were covering up. One of them was Dr. Anthony Fauci with a warning that even states going in the right direction aren't immune to a spike.

FAUCI: If we don't extinguish the outbreak, sooner or later even ones that are doing well are going to be vulnerable to the spread.

SANDOVAL: Some U.S. travelers may soon face international travel restrictions. European Union officials plan to ban anyone traveling from countries still struggling to control the outbreak, among them the United States.


SANDOVAL: And Dr. Fauci did suggest that they are reconsidering or at least considering a new testing approach, so-called pool testing which is what it sounds like, which would essentially test multiple groups here, Victor and Bianna. It would essentially lower the number of tests that would be necessary, but at the same time cover more people. Any groups that would test positive would certainly beg a closer look, but yesterday at that White House briefing, no mention of that.

GOLODRYGA: No mention of that at all yesterday, Polo Sandoval. Thank you so much and Victor, it was really striking to see that photo of Vice President Cheney wearing that mask yesterday.

BLACKWELL: Yes and the hashtag wasn't lost on anyone either.


BLACKWELL: Real men wear masks. So let's talk about the data here. When you tick through it, you can see why the U.S. handling of this pandemic is really concerning so many. So the U.S. leads the world in both cases and deaths and then right behind the U.S., you've got Brazil, even so nearly 1.2 million cases behind the U.S., and now compare that with the situation in the European Union. So the U.S. is in green. The European Union in that -- I believe it's pink or or pale line there. Their sharp curve contrast goes way down as it compares to ours.

GOLODRYGA: Yes. You see us going up, Europe is going down and the U.S. is currently averaging more new coronavirus cases per day than at any point in the pandemic. Over 45,000 new cases were reported just yesterday and consider where we were just a month ago. On the left is a map of cases trends from May 27th and on the right is the map of how we're trending today. It's not good. You see much more red as cases go up in 32 states right now.

And the Northeast struggled early on obviously, but now other regions are in focus. Look at how the curve of the Northeast, represented here in green, compares with the now rising curve of the west and the south, the real trouble spots right there today.

BLACKWELL: Yes. Leading the way in these new cases reported yesterday, Florida. Georgia also reported its highest single-day record of new cases. You'll remember Georgia opened up far before, earlier, than most other states. Rising hospitalizations are another concerning sign. South Carolina and Texas and Arizona and California are the states seeing their numbers trending to new highs.

GOLODRYGA: Which brings us to the White House and that's where CNN's Sarah Westwood joins us live for a federal response. Sarah, the signals from the president and Vice President Pence are clearly at odds with what health professionals like Dr. Anthony Fauci are saying. The president and vice president seem to be in denial. There's no other way to describe it.

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, good morning, Bianna and Victor, and yes, in that single task force briefing yesterday, we saw multiple messages coming from its members and those mixed signals are coming as some Americans are experiencing whiplash with some areas having their partial reopenings coming to a halt, including in Texas where we're seeing bars stop in-person services among a surge in cases, but still we saw Vice President Pence stand at the podium yesterday and tout the reopenings that some states have seen. Take a listen.


PENCE: All 50 states and territories across this country are opening up safely and responsibly.


WESTWOOD: Now, while Pence and HHS Secretary Alex Azar had more of a celebratory tone about the progress that the country has made so far in battling the pandemic, we heard a cautionary tone, a very different one, from the public health experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci who spent his time warning people to accept their societal responsibility, as he described it, to where their masks, warning that contact tracing has not been as effective as hoped in containing the spread of coronavirus. I want you to take a listen to the conflicting messages that we heard from the task force yesterday.

(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.

FAUCI: You have an individual responsibility to yourself, but you have a societal responsibility because if we want to end this outbreak, really end it and then hopefully when a vaccine comes and puts the nail in the coffin, we've got to realize that we are part of the process.



WESTWOOD: Now, you heard Pence there defending the Trump campaign's decision to resume rallies last week despite the fact that cases in that state, Oklahoma where the rally was, were spiking as they are in several states around the country. In fact, the U.S. recently hit its single day record for COVID-19 cases. So as you guys mentioned, Bianna and Victor, the curve very much not flattened despite what we heard from some of the task force members yesterday.

BLACKWELL: Yes. Records back to back. Sarah Westwood for us there at the White House. Sarah, thank you. Sticking with the vice president here, he reached a deal with airline executives yesterday over contact tracing. Up to this point, airlines, they've been opposed to keeping detailed information on passengers who may have come in contact with coronavirus.

They said it would overwhelm their computer systems, but yesterday there was a compromise. So now instead they'll use a third-party app and website where passengers can put in the information themselves.

GOLODRYGA: Also discussed in that meeting were potential travel restrictions for those heading to Europe. Diplomats from the E.U. say U.S. travelers are, quote, "unlikely" to be allowed in once the E.U. fully reopens in July.

BLACKWELL: So the ban would also include Russia, Brazil who have been deemed unable to curve the coronavirus. Let's bring in now CNN international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson. He is in London this morning. This was something that, if you look at just the numbers, you couldn't avoid the U.S..

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: You can't. Look, the way that European diplomats explain this to us is it's quite simple for them. They're trying to make sure that the health and safety of half a billion people, that's the number of people that live in the European Union, is kept safe. That's their priority. Straight and simple. So they're comparing a couple of things.

One is the issue of reciprocity, you know, can E.U. citizens travel to the U.S., and the answer at the moment is no because there's a ban. So that's already one flag against U.S. travelers coming to the E.U., but the real flag here of course is the spike in coronavirus cases in the United States. The European Union has a level of infection per 100,000 people that's six, seven, maybe more times less that of the United States and they don't want to risk bringing in more people who could therefore raise the infection rate inside Europe and that's what we're hearing.

There's going to be another meeting of the E.U. ambassadors on Monday. They meet, 27 of them, face to face in a room. This is how big an issue it is. They're actually meeting face to face, not virtual meetings, but the concern is health, quite simply.

BLACKWELL: And we'll see if this starts a trend. Nic Robertson for us there in London. Thanks so much.

GOLODRYGA: And coming up, pinning hopes on science to help save us from the pandemic. We'll speak with a leader of the vaccine team at Imperial College London as their human trials get underway.

BLACKWELL: Plus, the political standoff in the capital is threatening to sink any meaningful police reform in the short-term. We've got a guest later this hour who says he has a blueprint for rebuilding law enforcement from the bottom up.




GOLODRYGA: President Trump's longtime friend and adviser Roger Stone will report to prison on July 14th. He was supposed to report to jail this Tuesday, but a federal judge delayed his original sentence for two weeks and ordered him to spend time at home. The judge rejected Stone's legal team's request to hold off until late August due to the pandemic.

BLACKWELL: Now, 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' inquiry into Russian meddling.

GOLODRYGA: An alarming surge in coronavirus cases this week is worrying California health officials.

BLACKWELL: Yes. America's most populous state broke new case records on several days this week and in the past two weeks, its hospitalizations are up almost 30 percent. Kyung Lah has more from Los Angeles.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have three lanes waiting.

KYUNG LAH, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: If you thought the COVID crisis in California was over, it's not even close say the people living the impact at this Los Angeles food bank. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel like with stores opening, they're making people feel like it's safe to be out, but in reality, it's not. It's not safe.

LAH: What do you say to people in California who think that this problem is over?


LAH: The numbers paint a stark picture in California. After weeks of keeping the spread largely in check, new infections have shot up, shattering records on multiple days. Los Angeles County now has the most infections of any county in the country. California's Democratic governor Gavin Newsom says closing the state for a second time is on the table.

GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D), CALIFORNIA: We don't intend to do that, we don't want to do that, but I want to make this clear, we are prepared to do that if we must.

LAH: How did this happen? California was the first state to shut down. About two months of closures cratered the economy, but stabilized infections. Then the state moved forward in phases to restart the economy even as testing lagged.

MAYOR ERIC GARCETTI (D), LOS ANGELES: Each day we're getting a little smarter, but each day the threat is still there.

LAH: Los Angeles just announced an additional 6,000 tests across the city's testing centers to keep up with demand, but epidemiologists say testing and contact tracing is still a struggle.

ANNE RIMOIN, UCLA FIELDING SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: They needed to scale up quickly. So we're always going to be chasing behind this virus instead of in front of it.

LAH: Meanwhile, infections in nursing homes and prison population never stopped and when the economy reopened, then came days of protests over the death of George Floyd where we saw masks, but little social distancing. The governor and county health officials say this may be a factor in the current surge of COVID cases.

[06:20:03] Is there a lesson to be learned from what we're seeing now in California?

RIMOIN: Just because we had flattened the curve here in California early on does not mean we are out of the woods.


GOLODRYGA: Reminder to never let their guard down. That was Kyung Lah reporting from Los Angeles.

BLACKWELL: Up next, London's Imperial College vaccine team has just delivered the first dose to a human volunteer. We'll be speaking to the lead scientist about the development of a coronavirus vaccine. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GOLODRYGA: There's some promising news in the race for a coronavirus vaccine. Human trials are underway right now in London. It was created by a clinical team at Imperial College and is based on new technology called self-amplifying RNA.

BLACKWELL: According to researchers, the vaccine has produced encouraging results after undergoing rigorous safety testing.


It's one of many trials that's happening around the world. Joining us now is Professor Robin Shattock from the Department of Infectious Disease at Imperial College London who is leading the human trial. Professor, good morning to you. Thanks for being with us and I want to start with if you could just give us a layman's explanation of what's so great about this self-amplifying RNA and how it plays a role in, as Bianna said during the break, rescuing all of us.

ROBIN SHATTOCK, HEAD OF MUCOSAL INFECTION & IMMUNITY, IMPERIAL COLLEGE LONDON: OK. So one of the things about our approach is in some ways it's simplicity. We use a small part of the genetic material from the virus that encodes to that surface protein and we take that genetic code, we put it into microscopic fat droplets.

And that's what's injected into the muscle as a vaccine and because it can copy itself a bit like a photocopier, it sets up multiple production lines within the cells that take it up and they just make huge amounts of the protein and that elicits a very strong immune response.

GOLODRYGA: And you've already delivered your first dose to a volunteer. When was that and how long until we know that it was effective?

SHATTOCK: So we delivered the first dose a few days ago to our first volunteer and we're now delivering additional doses to more volunteers and we'll recruit up to 300 in this first phase where we're testing if it's safe and if it's potent and we'll know in a -- in a matter of a couple of months whether it's working well. That won't tell us whether it actually prevents infection. That will be in the next stage of testing.

BLACKWELL: So when's the earliest -- if everything goes on schedule as you're hoping it will, when's the earliest you believe that you could get approval and then we could see some widespread distribution in the U.S. and across the world?

SHATTOCK: I mean, that's difficult to predict because it's a number's game. You have to do a trial where we're looking at the vaccine versus a placebo vaccine and seeing that there's a difference there are less infections with the vaccine itself.

We are going to do a large trial in the U.K. starting in October and if things go well, we should know by the end of the year, but if there are low infections in the U.K., we'll need to be looking at doing trials in other parts of the world to make it faster to get that endpoint to know whether the vaccine works.

GOLODRYGA: So assuming the vaccine does work and you are happy with going to the next stage, let's talk about mass production and distribution, right? Because that seems to be a real impetus for a lot of people and researchers out there. Can you talk about the advantage that you say this particular vaccine has relative to others?

SHATTOCK: I mean, the advantage is that we can produce a lot of vaccine in a very small volume. So we can make the equivalent of 2 million doses in a liter's worth of reaction and typically other vaccines might need 1,000 or 10,000. So the scalability is really promising for this approach and given that there are 7 billion people that are going to need a vaccine, we need as many different approaches that may work to be able to rapidly make vaccines available for those that need it.

BLACKWELL: Professor Shattock, I mean, this may be a silly question, but I'm not a scientist, so help me out here. In reading about your first volunteer who now has this sample, this test, that this is a healthy volunteer. You're going to need 300 healthy volunteers. Am I to read that as that these person -- these persons do not have the coronavirus and at what -- at what point in this process do you administer this to people who are COVID positive?

SHATTOCK: So these are -- these are all screened to show that they haven't been infected with the virus before because obviously we need to prevent them from future infection, but we will be looking at whether this vaccine boosts immune response in people that have had the virus because we know that the type of immune response they elicit may not be strong enough to prevent reinfection for prolonged periods of time. So we'll be looking at that as well in pretty short order.

GOLODRYGA: And in terms of when we can see a global vaccine available, we know that typically vaccines take years to hit the market. Obviously you've got a lot of researchers and a lot of money going at COVID-19 right now. Dr. Fauci expressed some optimism as well, said that we could possibly see a vaccine hit the market by the end of this year or next year. Do you share that optimism?

SHATTOCK: I think that's certainly possible. I think probably the beginning of next year is more realistic. Of course we don't know with any of these candidates that are being developed whether they'll be successful and that's why it's really important that we have quite a few candidates now in clinical testing so that we reduce the risk of any single one, not making the graves.


GOLODRYGA: Well, fingers crossed, we always wish our guests well. We are wishing you a lot of luck as well. Robin Shattock, we're counting on you and all of your fellow researchers. Thank you so much, we appreciate all the work you're doing.

BLACKWELL: Thank you professor. SHATTOCK: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Well, breaking overnight, a judge has ruled that migrant children in detention centers must be released due to coronavirus concerns. We're going to have more on that coming up.



BLACKWELL: So this happened overnight. A federal judge has ruled that migrant children who have been held in family detention centers across the U.S. have to be released by the middle of next month because of coronavirus concerns.

GOLODRYGA: That's right. The order states that they must be released with their parents or to an available, suitable sponsor or other available COVID-free, non-congregate setting. As of June 8th, there were 124 children in ICE custody, over 8,800 detainees have been tested, 751 have tested positive.

BLACKWELL: It is pretty unlikely that Congress will pass any version of a Police Reform Bill before the election. This week, the house passed a comprehensive reform bill named in honor of George Floyd. Its plan was to reform qualified immunity for officers, ban chokeholds, establish also a national registry to track police misconduct. And ends no knock-warrant in federal drug cases, but probably won't even be considered in the Republican-led Senate.

And Senate Democrats rejected the Republicans version of a reform legislation on policing earlier this week. Let's talk about this now with my next guest, Dr. Howard Henderson, director of the Center for Justice Research at Texas Southern University. Dr. Henderson, good morning to you, thanks for being with us.


BLACKWELL: So let me start here. You heard some of the lists of what's in this bill that was passed by the house. Is that the right starting point for the long-term shifts in policing that the protesters are asking for?

HENDERSON: I don't know if it's the right starting point, but it is a starting point. We need to be able to have a conversation about how we improve the relationship between the police and the community, and we have to have examinations from the beginning to the end, from hiring process to just the approaches for officers who express misconduct in dealing with the police.

BLACKWELL: So let's go through a couple of the proposals, prescriptions, I should call them, that you offer. And you start -- when you talk about hiring, the department should phase-out non- degreed officers and focus on officers who have college degrees, why?

HENDERSON: The research shows us that officers who have college degrees are 40 percent less likely to be involved in misconduct. So we understand the reality that police officers need to have college degrees. If probation officers have to have college degree, then parole officers have to have college degrees. It makes common sense for police officers to have to have college degrees.

BLACKWELL: Texas Southern and HBCU, I'm a graduate of Howard University, and you say that there's a role for HBCU to play, several roles that I've read in the reform of policing. Explain.

HENDERSON: Well, here's the deal. The Center for Advancing Opportunity had the idea to form several research centers and researchers around the country. Our research center being one of those. We understand that those individuals that are closest to the situation are closest to the solution. We have a plethora of qualified black researchers at historical black colleges who were able to ask the problems that we're facing today.

BLACKWELL: The additional elements that you're calling for, hiring officers with degrees, they will cost more to attract. Adding certifications, adding planning and training for these officers, how does that reconcile with the defund police movement, the people who are calling for that want their money to be invested elsewhere. I assume that you suggest that's a wrong route?

HENDERSON: No, I'm not saying it's a wrong route. I'm saying that it's great to have a conversation about the relocation of funds in American policing. The reality of it is that police officers are less likely to be engaged in misconduct, I'm sure that's an opportunity that the public will be able to have a conversation about because that's essentially what we're looking at reallocating those services where the best is received in American policing.

BLACKWELL: So, let's end where we started here in Washington. The Democratic house bill goes nowhere, the Republican bill didn't even come up for debate. How much of this approach requires national or federal legislation, or can this be worked out on a local level?

HENDERSON: Well, here is the reality, 80 percent of criminal justice is local. There's going to have to be a local component. We're going to have to figure out a way to remove the politics from this as best as we can and allow the experts to dictate the order of the day.

BLACKWELL: Dr. Howard Henderson, thanks so much for being with us.

HENDERSON: Thank you so much, have a great day.


GOLODRYGA: Those are thoughtful ideas, great conversation there.


GOLODRYGA: Well, President Trump says he has signed an executive order to protect monuments. The president characterize recent attempts to remove racist or problematic monuments as an attack on American heritage. There are already federal laws protecting monuments, mind you. But this new executive order directs the Justice Department to prioritize investigating and prosecuting anyone charged with vandalism.


BLACKWELL: A police body cam video from Richmond, Virginia shows protesters launching fireworks at a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Police say the protesters fired paintballs at officers and threw other things at police. One officer's helmet was hit, so he was taken to a hospital, and we know that six people were arrested there.

More than a dozen NBA players have now tested positive for coronavirus. So why does the commissioner say that he is relieved?


BLACKWELL: Sixteen NBA players have tested positive for coronavirus now in just a few days, teams are expected to get back together and prepare for the season.

GOLODRYGA: But the commissioner of the NBA says he is actually relieved to see it. Coy Wire is with us. And Coy, when I first saw this headline, my first reaction was oy vey. So what does Adam Silver mean when he says he is relieved?


COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS REPORTER: That's a great (INAUDIBLE), good morning to you and Victor. The 16 positive tests were out of 302 taken in this first wave of mandatory testing before a team starts heading down to Disney and Orlando in just 12 days. That's a rate of 5.3 percent compared to the 7.6 percent national average according to the CDC.

So there you go. Those players will self-isolate until they can get back with their teams, games are going to begin. In that Disney bubble environment, July 30th in Florida where cases continue to surge as we know. Commissioner Adam Silver says he believes though that their setup can work.


ADAM SILVER, COMMISSIONER, NBA: You can't outrun the virus. And that which is what we're going to be living with for the foreseeable future. Which is why we designed the campus the way we did and felt that we are -- we are -- it's a closed network, and that while it's not impermeable, we are in essence protected from cases around us.


WIRE: All eyes will be on the NBA as it pushes towards the first games back. A doubleheader on our sister network "TNT" starting with the Pelicans facing the Jazz. The team that showed the first positive case in the league essentially shutting down the entire sports world back in March. A third golfer on the PGA Tour has tested positive. Denny McCarthy withdrawing yesterday, McCarthy's playing partner Bud Cauley and their caddies tested negative, but still Cauley decided to withdraw from the tournament as well.

And the National Women's Soccer League month-long tournament kicks off today in Utah. Well, earlier this week, an entire team, the Orlando Pride forced to withdraw after several players and staff contracted the virus. So as games return, players are going to have some serious heart-to-heart, trying to figure out how willing am I to potentially get myself and those around me, sick.

Two Sparks players, Chiney Ogwumike and Kristi Toliver going to sit out the WNBA season over health concerns. The league is set to start in Bradenton, Florida, next month. A Lakers star defender Bradley, he says that he's not going to play because his 6-year-old son has had issues recovering from respiratory illnesses in the past. Detroit Tigers pitcher Matthew Boyd though, he has asthma, 11 Major League teams are reporting positive cases including his own, but still he tells CNN's John King that he's going to report to training camp July 1st.


MATTHEW BOYD, PITCHER, DETROIT TIGERS: There is a risk. I need to be aware of that risk. I need to take precautions of it. And if it means I need to wear a mask more than other guys, and if it means that I'm working out in there, maybe that I'll be in, you know, full garb going head-to-toe in the workout room with gloves on and everything, but it's what we've got to do.


WIRE: Now, coaches are going to have tough decisions too. Wake Forest football coach Dave Clawson whose wife is a cancer survivor is taking extreme precaution, isolating himself from her from the entire season to protect her. Clawson telling "ESPN" in part, quote, "when I'm working on a daily basis, coaching 110 to 120 players and having a staff of 50, I don't know how I could go home at night and honestly tell my wife I couldn't have come in contact with it. I love coaching, but I love my wife more."

Penn State coach James Franklin whose daughter had sickle cell will be missing his family as well, he says.


JAMES FRANKLIN, FOOTBALL COACH, PENN STATE UNIVERSITY: So if our daughter gets a fever, she's in the hospital for 48 hours, that's been her entire life until it clears. For us, that it probably be in our best interest for our family to stay in Florida and for us to be apart, you know, for at least, the first half for the year.


WIRE: All right, Bianna, Victor, at least 20 schools have reported cases in their athletic departments. Yesterday, UNLV joined Kansas State in shutting down football workouts and right here in Atlanta, Morehouse College yesterday became the first scholarship football program to cancel its entire season. So --


WIRE: We'll see what more is to come.

BLACKWELL: I just don't know how we get sports back up. Every time we see you, Coy, there are more schools, more teams, more reports of positive cases.

WIRE: Yes, and we're hearing more and more from the athletes and now coaches who are having to take these extreme measures and having extreme concerns about putting themselves at risk whether for their own health reasons or for those of their family.

GOLODRYGA: Yes, and that coach really put it in perspective when he said I love coaching, but I love my --


GOLODRYGA: Wife more. You know --

WIRE: There you go --

GOLODRYGA: Lesson to all husbands out there, that's the line you need to have with your spouse. But you know, we love sports --


GOLODRYGA: But we want people to be healthy as well.

BLACKWELL: Hey, Bianna, what was the reaction when you saw that NBA headline, come again --


BLACKWELL: All right --

WIRE: Oy vey, have a great Saturday! There we go.

BLACKWELL: I just wanted to hear it again.

GOLODRYGA: All right, Coy, thank you.

BLACKWELL: Thanks, Coy.

GOLODRYGA: And up next, well, imagine not setting foot on dry land since last year. That's a reality for an estimated 200,000 sailors thought to be stranded at sea right now. We'll bring you their story coming up next.



GOLODRYGA: The Trump administration still hasn't responded to a shocking report from U.S. Intelligence that Russian units are for Taliban-linked militants bounties to kill U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan. That's according to reporting from a "New York Times".

BLACKWELL: "The Times" senior writer Eric Schmitt, he's one of the authors of the report, and our Jim Sciutto asked him whether there's any proof that the bounties were paid and resulted in the deaths of American soldiers.



ERIC SCHMITT, SENIOR WRITER, THE NEW YORK TIMES: There's evidence that some of the monies have been paid, it's unclear however how many of the deaths of any of the 20 or so American deaths last Fall last year in Afghanistan may have been attributed to this program. We're still digging into that now.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Do we know what options we're giving to the president to respond to this that he did not take up?

SCHMITT: Well, again, the option so far as I understand is that they've been laid out to the President Trump from his advisors. Everything from a strong letter of reprimand of condemnation of this, basically urging Moscow just stop an escalatory ladder going up to sanctions, increasing sanctions against Moscow if they don't cease and desist this activity on the ground which is a striking expansion of Russian aggression.


BLACKWELL: So according to "The Times", this would be the first time a Russian spy unit was known to have orchestrated attacks on western troops.

GOLODRYGA: And "The Times" also reports that the president was made aware of this back in March and still nothing from him. Just shocking.


GOLODRYGA: Well, the coronavirus pandemic is having an enormous impact on the shipping industry which has seen rising demand for overseas goods throughout this crisis.

BLACKWELL: But we're just now starting to understand its impact on sailors, some of whom have been stuck at seas for months because of border closures and flight cancellations.

GOLODRYGA: CNN's Ivan Watson looks at how this isolation is affecting mental health.


IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The coronavirus pandemic may have emptied many of the world's airports. But the world's sea ports appear as busy as ever. In Hong Kong, colossal cargo ships arrive day and night each carrying thousands of containers of goods. (on camera): It's because of ships like this that you can then go to the store or order online and get a new shirt or a bottle of shampoo or a tube of toothpaste. This is what helps the goods of the world move around.

(voice-over): But these vital arteries of the global economy are under strain.

(on camera): How is everybody doing?

(voice-over): Because since the pandemic hit, hundreds of thousands of seafarers, the professional mariners who operate these enormous ships have been stranded on these vessels, unable to go home.

(on camera): Oki Alba(ph), this is Jungle Jane, you copy?

(voice-over): I hailed the anchor cargo ship, Oki Alba(ph) --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I am from the Philippines.

WATSON: The second officer, a Filipino father of three named Merwyn Lagan answers.

(on camera): How long have you been at sea?

MERWYN LAGAN, SEAFARER & CHIEF OFFICER: Now, I'm already now 11 months.

WATSON: You've been working for 11 months straight?

LAGAN: Yes, I should be going home next March, but they start already locking down their borders, so we have to stay.

WATSON: Governments closed their borders and airlines canceled flights when the pandemic struck last Winter. That's left seafarers stuck working on ships.

(on camera): When was the last time you stepped on dry land?


WATSON: Priyanka(ph) is the first officer aboard an oil tanker now operating in the Gulf of Mexico. She says she was supposed to go back home to India when her contract ended two months ago.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Immigration authorities are not working right now. And so many airlines have stopped, so basically there is no access and no passage for the seafarers.

WATSON: Do you have any idea when you will be able to go home again?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At present, it is very uncertain, we have no idea.

FRANK COLES, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, WALLEM GROUP: I'm worried about their mental welfare most of all. WATSON (voice-over): Priyanka's(ph) boss is Frank Coles of the

shipping company Wallem Group, he says 35 percent of his 7,000 employees work contracts have expired, and he's struggling to get those people home.

COLES: Well, they feel imprisoned without any reason. They obviously -- the stress becomes heightened. The depression sets in.

WATSON: The International Maritime Organization estimates there are more than 200,000 seafarers around the world waiting to be repatriated. People like my new radio friend Merwyn Lagan.

(on camera): What do you want to tell people around the world about your job right now?

LAGAN: That the job overseas is very harsh, and we are also one of the front-liners to keep the economy running.

WATSON (voice-over): After 11 months at sea, he says he still doesn't know when he'll get to go home to see his family again. Ivan Watson, CNN, Hong Kong.


GOLODRYGA: Our thanks to Ivan Watson for that report. The next hour of NEW DAY starts right now.


MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We slowed the spread, we flattened the curve, we saved lives.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today, we find ourselves careening toward a catastrophic and unsustainable situation.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: If we don't extinguish the outbreak, sooner or later, even ones that are doing well are going to be vulnerable to the spread.