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Failure To Control Pandemic As New Virus Records Surges; Mike Pence Attends Church In Dallas; Florida Sets Record In Daily Coronavirus Cases; Trump Denies Reports Russia Paid Taliban To Kill U.S. Troops; Trump Removes Tweet With White Power Reference; E.U. Plans To Bar U.S. Travelers When They Reopen; Test Flights For Boeing 737 Max To Resume; Class Action Lawsuit Against Seattle On Handling Of CHOP. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired June 28, 2020 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANA CABRERA: Hello. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM and today, some 10 million around the world now have coronavirus and more than 2.5 million of those cases are right here in the United States.
A public health disaster though seems to have no end in sight. Just look at the map, only two states, two, are reporting a decline in new coronavirus cases, Connecticut and Rhode Island. All that red, all that orange you see is where cases are climbing, 36 states in all.
Leading the way, Florida which reported another 8,500 new cases just today. That's after reporting more than 9,500 new cases yesterday, a single day record that rivals that of New York's peak back in April.
And in Texas where case are also surging, there was this image, the vice president visiting a church where a choir of more than 100 people, not wearing masks, sang at full volume. The vice president then sending a message that was the exact opposite of that photo op.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Wash your hands, avoid touching your face and wear a mask wherever it's indicated or wherever you're not able to practice the kind of social distancing that would prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: We have live team coverage. CNN's Randi Kaye is standing by in Florida, but we begin with CNN's Alexandra Field in Texas. The vice president holding that press conference just a short time ago, and Alex, officials made clear it is back to the basics if they're going to control the spread of this virus.
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, look, these are lessons that we've been hearing about for the past few months across this country, but the cases are surging in Texas and the effectiveness of masks are being reinforced here now for the public. Look, you saw Vice President Mike Pence touchdown in Texas wearing a
mask. He was greeted by Governor Greg Abbott also wearing a mask, but he did go on to go to a rally with some 2,200 people indoors where that choir sang with masks off.
However, Vice President Pence and Dr. Deborah Birx, who was traveling alongside him, both took time to put out a message saying that masks are important. So listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PENCE: Where you can't maintain social distancing, wearing a mask is just a good idea. It will, we know from experience, will slow the spread of the coronavirus.
DEBORAH BIRX, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS TASK FORCE COORDINATOR: And I'm really appealing to every Texan to wear a mask. I think we know now there is scientific evidence that masks both keep you from infecting others, but may also partially protect you from getting infected. I think that's a new discovery and a new finding and it's very encouraging to Texans to know that you can protect one another.
BEN CARSON, HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT SECRETARY: The important thing is that we've learned a lot about how it spreads. I don't think there are very many adults in this country who don't know about the hand washing techniques that should be employed, about the masking, about the social distancing. The problem is people aren't doing it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FIELD: The message is important, even more so important that it's being said on Texas soil as the state sees cases continuing to soar, hospitalizations continuing to soar. But Ana, here's the thing, masks are not mandated across Texas. The governor has not made that mandate.
Early on in the outbreak you saw local authorities moving to mandate masks. They were stripped of that power. It was superseded by the governor. Just recently, however, local authorities have been given the power to mandate that businesses require customers to wear masks.
So, you're getting a little bit closer to it, but it's far short of a universal mandate to wear masks in Texas. It couldn't be more important now. We've seen cases rising day after day here. The vice president while in Texas also reaffirming the importance of testing.
What we're hearing on the ground in Harris County which has been hard hit and in the Houston area at large is that there is an exponential increase in interest in tests. We're hearing that the slots for tests are filling up much faster, that the waits are longer and that more people are rushing to do this as they see exactly how the dire the problem around them it becoming, Ana.
CABRERA: Okay, Alex, please do stand by. I do want to note a very sobering milestone. The world just surpassing 500,000 deaths from coronavirus this hour with more than 125,000 of those deaths here in the United States. And Randi Kaye is there in Florida where that state's governor also
addressed an overwhelming spike in cases. Randi, what are you learning there?
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ana, there's been a very small sigh, a very small sigh of relief here today as the caseload for this days dropped in 1,000 fewer cases than yesterday, which as you said, saw more than 9,500 case, the highest in a single day.
But the governor speaking out today once again trying to explain to the way (ph) saying that there's a backlog of tests, that there's been more testing. The testing hear has actually doubled from about 24,000 to 45,000 today.
He did acknowledge that there were higher positivity rates and pointed to younger people as the focus of the entire positivity rates, mainly in their 30s. He said they've been out and about socializing, certainly graduation parties as well. Here's what the governor said specifically about those younger people.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): That positivity increase is really being driven by a big increase over the last three weeks in individuals testing positive throughout the state of Florida in younger age groups, particularly 18 to 44. And if you look at that 25 to 34 age group, that is now by far the leading age group for positive tests in the state of Florida.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: We will check back with Randi Kaye once we get her mic fixed later this hour. Thank you both Alexandra as well as Randi. I want to circle back to that Dallas church where members of a large choir in a state where COVID cases are surging, stood shoulder to shoulder, singing loudly to the vice president.
Not a mask among the choir nor any sign of social distancing. The vice president did wear a mask, which I should add is a rarity for him. Dr. William Schaffner is with us now. He is a professor in the infectious diseases division of Vanderbilt University Medical Center. And doctor, first, just your reaction when you see that choir?
WILLIAM SCHAFFNER, PROFESSOR, DIVISION OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES, VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER: Well, Ana, my heart aches. I love their song. They sound wonderful, but that's an environment where COVID likes to be transmitted very readily. That's exactly the sort of circumstance that I think we should be avoiding now. Save that song for another time. I can but reinforce what you've been
saying -- we need to wear masks. We need to avoid large gatherings. We need to attend to social distancing. CABRERA: We have been hearing that wearing a mask protects other
people, but today was notable Dr. Birx said there is this new discovery that shows wearing a mask may actually partially protect you as well. How significant is that?
SCHAFFNER: Well, it's terrific. It's not so much new as it is reaffirming and it makes more clear that we can wear masks to protect ourselves as well as protecting everybody else. And I hope that that's more persuasive to many, many people.
Because in the past, wearing a mask too protect others has not been obviously universally accepted. Now that we can say with real assurance, you're also protected yourself, that will help get the message out.
CABRERA: Right, because we've been reporting on studies that suggest as much as 50 percent of the transmission may be stopped if people are wearing a mask. Now, in that meetings with Texas officials today, the vice president did say people should wear mask wherever it's indicated, but I want you to listen to this exchange this morning when our Jake Tapper asked the Health and Human Service Secretary Alex Azar about Trump's resistance to masks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: When President Trump not only refuses to wear a mask publicly, but he makes fun of people who wear masks, and also he holds these rallies where no one, no one is social distancing and no one is wearing a mask, doesn't that undermine the message that you are trying to give?
ALEX AZAR, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY: Well, I am the president's health secretary and I am telling people just what President Trump has said from day one in the reopening guidelines -- social distance, wear facial covering where you can't practice social distancing, engage in appropriate personal hygiene.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Doctor, will you answer the question Jake asked that Secretary Azar seem to avoid. Does the president's refusal to wear a mask undermine the message health professionals, his own team are trying to get out there?
SCHAFFNER: Of course, sadly, because leadership from the top modeling is so very important. This mask doesn't respect any political point of view. It doesn't respect any religion. This virus, I say, doesn't respect any political point of view. It just likes to be transmitted and wearing a mask does not reflect your political position.
You've got to wear a mask in order to protect yourself and those around us. We haven't done a good enough job, obviously, with all these cases increasing across the country. We need to buckle down and just make mask wearing the new norm. CABRERA: And when this began, the virus really was just surfacing in a
handful of states, at least our awareness of this virus, mostly New York, Washington State, California. Now it's clear it is everywhere. We have 2.5 million people testing positive in the U.S., more than 125,000 people dead in this country. If we are still in the first wave of this pandemic, what do you expect this fall?
SCHAFFNER: Well, this fall I expect the second wave. I think once the weather gets cooler, COVID will increase along with influenza and I'm afraid now that the virus is so widely distributed across the country, it's in rural areas as well as big cities.
The second wave I think will be larger. Yes, I said that, larger than the first wave. In order to blunt this, we all have to wear masks, social distancing, and avoid large groups. We need to do this, otherwise, there will be more cases. More cases will lead to more hospitalizations, more people in intensive care units, and more deaths.
CABRERA: Why do you think the second wave will be larger than the first wave? And again, we're still in the first wave and cases are climbing from their peak that we saw in April.
SCHAFFNER: Well, originally, Ana, this virus came in from China and then from Europe and landed in large cities and was largely concentrated there. And then it began to move out to smaller cities, and now it's in towns and hamlets, in rural areas.
There is no county, I think, in the entire United States where this virus is now lurking. So, this virus will increase in all of those places, not just in the hot spots so I think the second go-around, the second wave will be substantially larger than the first wave.
CABRERA: Dr. William Schaffner, I always appreciate your expertise and thank you so much for being here and sharing it with us.
Among others, this is what the president tweeted out this morning --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: White power, white power. There you go. White power.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Was it accidental or incidental? We'll discuss. You be the judge. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
CABRERA: President Trump is now denying that he knew anything about the disturbing reporting coming from U.S. and European intelligence officials that Russia offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants in exchange for kill American troops. CNN has since confirmed with a top U.S. official that the report is valid.
And according to "New York Times" which broke the story, the president was in fact briefed on these findings in a meeting back in March. Trump's former National Security adviser John Bolton addressed the report this morning with our Jake Tapper.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN BOLTON, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: If it is true, underline the word "if," that they are paying surrogates to kill Americans, this is one of the most serious matters I think that has arisen in the Trump administration. It looks bad if Russians are paying to kill Americans and we're not doing anything about it.
So what is the presidential reaction? It's to say it's not my responsibility, nobody told me about it, and therefore to duck any complaints that he hasn't acted effectively. This is part of the problem with President Trump's decision making in the national security space.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr is joining us with more. Barbara, you have learned that U.S. intelligence received this report about this Russian plot months ago?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Ana. U.S. Intelligence -- the U.S. military began to receive reports as far back as the February/March time that an elite Russian military intelligence unit was trying to pay off militias in Afghanistan that were tied to the Taliban, and paid them bounty to kill American or coalition forces in that country.
So the reports began to emerge around February or March. What is not clear is how long this activity had been going on prior to that. Some of the first indicators were that the U.S. saw money transfers happening. And of course, the question is, where did that money come from?
Right now, they're trying to figure out, still, it's a tough problem. Can they really tie any of this activity specifically to the death of any U.S. or coalition troops in Afghanistan? And who exactly were these people on the Taliban end?
Officially, the Taliban leadership has denied it. It is possible that the Russians were working in areas of the country where they knew there were coalition troops and they were basically working with Taliban-affiliated operatives in the field. All of this right now is being sorted out while the U.S. tries to figure out exactly what has happened here.
CABRERA: Again, the president denies that he was briefed, but wouldn't the president typically be briefed about something like this?
STARR: You know, I think there is no question about it. There is really other than the direct threat to the homeland, a direct threat to U.S. forces overseas, on the frontlines, in combat, is the highest priority to protect those people.
The highest priority for the Pentagon, for the State Department, for the U.S. intelligence community. To say that none, you know, the Pentagon has not publicly said a word about this.
The intelligence community says the president was not briefed. The White House says the president was not briefed.
If he was not briefed, then I think the real question on this summer afternoon on a Sunday in Washington is why has he not dragged in all of his top leadership, sat them down in the Oval Office this Sunday afternoon and asked them exactly what they knew and when they knew it.
The fact he was not briefed, that is going to be another item to be sorted out here because he may not have had an official briefing, but what did he know about it? Ana.
CABRERA: There is so much more for us to learn. Barbara Starr, thank you as always for your reporting.
As the nation scrambles to control the spread of the coronavirus, the president has been busy tweeting about Joe Biden, TV ratings, and something else that really defies explanation. In a tweet, he has since deleted, President Trump thanked the great people of The Villages in Florida and retweeted a video in which someone driving a golf cart with Trump 2020 signs can be heard clearly shouting "white power."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) white power, white power, there you go, white power. Did you hear that?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: The White House later released a statement saying President Trump is a big fan of The Villages. He did not hear the one statement made on the video. What he did see was tremendous enthusiasm from his many supporters.
And joining us now is CNN political analyst and White House correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks April Ryan. So April, isn't -- you know, this isn't a subtle video. The man in it cheers "white power." What do you think of the White House's explanation and beyond that, the lack of apology?
APRIL RYAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: A lack of apology, there needs to be an apology. The response is weak. If you delete it, where is the apology? The only reason why the president took it down is because Senator Tim Scott, who he respects -- while at least it seems that way -- said so. He said to take it down.
And at the end of the day, Ana, you know, I'm thinking about the late great Maya Angelou. She said, you know, once you see someone do something the first time, believe it. So, we have seen this. We have excused it. We've overlooked it too many times.
If the president is really remorseful, not regretting, but remorseful about this, he needs to tweet an apology, make a statement. It's too much at stake in the midst of this unrest, racial unrest in this nation for him to just delete it without an apology.
CABRERA: You're right. The video isn't happening in a vacuum. The president has been attacking anyone who tries to topple statues as part of the protest against racism.
RYAN: Yes. Right. And this is --
CABRERA: Hold on, just a second, April.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: -- is when they knock down Grant, when they want to knock down Grant. But when they look at certain -- now they're looking at Jesus Christ. They're looking at George Washington. They're looking at Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson. It's not going to happen. Not going to happen. Not as long as I'm here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: I should have warned you, we were going to listen to that sound from the president, April but what message does he send by saying things like that?
RYAN: Again, we heard George Wallace apologize on his deathbed for what he did. The apology is -- we're begging for an apology. We're waiting for an apology from this president. When it gets to the issue of the confederacy and the statues and the flags, we're the only country that celebrates losers.
And when I say this, we look at the Super Bowl, we celebrate the winner, not the loser. And for those who want to celebrate the confederacy that lost in the civil war, it's not just about freedom of speech for them. Black people lost their lives, too. Black people lost their lives for this flag as well.
According to the National Archives, Ana, 179,000 black people fought for the Union, Union soldiers. Over 40,000 died, black people, in the Civil War. So you can't just say it's about white America. It's not just about slavery.
It's not just about the confederacy for white people. It's also about black people who lost their lives as well. So you cannot just say one side can claim this. It's all sides as the president likes to say (inaudible).
CABRERA: The president has said his executive order on monument is about preserving our heritage, about preserving history. I actually spoke to the great-great-grandson of Jefferson Davis, the president of the confederacy and he was open to the statues being moved. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BERTRAM HAYES-DAVIS, GREAT-GREAT-GRANDSON OF JEFFERSON DAVIS: I think that we need to makes sure that we connect our history in a place where we can protect and we can see it without offending the public.
I've always said, if it's in a public place, the statue should be moved to a place where we can preserve that history and learn from it at our own choice and not be forced upon anyone to see it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: And April, just in the last few moments, the Mississippi statehouse passed a bill to change the state flag, which has featured the confederate flag as part of it. It will now go to the Senate. Hayes-Davis was also supportive of that move. Is change happening whether the president likes it or not?
RYAN: Change is happening and that's one of the reasons why his poll numbers are so low. Change is happening, but the question is how fast will it happen? We're seeing what's happening in the Senate where Republicans and Democrats are not in agreement at all with this policing reform measure, but something has to happen.
And it's not just about police brutality. It's about the gambit. The black community in this nation has the highest number of negatives in almost every category that's not (inaudible). It's not conjecture. It's fact. Look up the stats.
But at the end of the day, the president will not be viewed well by history if he's talking about preserving white history versus preserving history for all. What happened to the $20 bill with Harriet Tubman gracing the $20 bill?
And also, what about the anti-lynching law? He's not promoting or pushing federal anti-lynching and its 2020, and we've seen lynching from the time of slavery to now. Where is he on that? Preserving history, where is he on that?
CABRERA: All right, April Ryan, thank you.
RYAN: Thank you, Ana.
And a programming note, be sure to join Jake Tapper for a new "CNN Special Report: Trump and the Law: After Impeachment." It airs tonight at 10:00 here on CNN.
Tit-for-tat, earlier this year, the U.S. restricted travel from large parts of Europe due to the coronavirus fears. And now the tables may be turning. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
[17:30:00] CABRERA: Americans might not be welcome when European Union companies reopen to travelers Wednesday. This is because of the growing spread of the coronavirus in the U.S right now. European Union officials will meet tomorrow to finalize these travel restrictions. And CNN international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson is joining us now from London. Nic, what do you expect?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, Ana, what's been happening over the weekend is that the different E.U. ambassadors have sort of gone back to their countries. Each of the countries has taken that list of criteria for which countries should be allowed under what conditions to come into European Union, taking those criteria back to their capitals.
All those 27 different countries have all now come up with their own list based on that criteria of which nationality should be allowed into European Union. So when these ambassadors sit down tomorrow, they'll each be coming with their own country's list.
Then what they've got to do is thrash out one common list because the most important thing here to the E.U. is to get agreement about which countries, which nationalities can come because once you're inside Europe, you can travel are the Schengen zone freely.
So, they have to get agreement and they'll vote on that tomorrow sometime on Monday, on a Wednesday -- by Tuesday rather, they will have that final list and that's when we expect them to publish. And that's when we'll know for sure if the United States is on or off. It's not expected to make it on, though, Ana.
CABRERA: Okay, Nic Robertson, thanks for the update. We'll check back as we learn more. The FAA has now cleared the way for the Boeing 737 Max to be back in the air as early as tomorrow. Now, these will be a critical set of test flights aimed at assessing the safety of multiple fixes designed for the plane.
The planes have been grounded for 15 months now following those two overseas accidents that killed 346 people. Boeing previously said it expected the approval in the middle of this year.
Now in Seattle, the lawsuits involving the Capitol Hill occupied protests are piling up. Why the governor and the mayor are being sued? You're live in the "CNN Newsroom."
CABRERA: In Seattle, a class-action lawsuit has been filed against the mayor and Washington governor, Jay Inslee, for their handling of that so-called autonomous zone in the city's Capitol Hill neighborhood. This area has been occupied by protesters demanding police reform following the death of George Floyd.
But local businesses argue the city's approach to handling these protesters has led to lawlessness and property damage. At least four shootings have been reported in this area and earlier this month police abandoned the east precinct building there in the wake of the protest.
I want to bring in Seattle chief of police, Carmen Best. Chief, thank you for taking the time. What is the status of getting your officers back into this area, back into their precinct?
CARMEN BEST, CHIEF OF POLICE, SEATTLE POLICE DEPARTMENT: Well, first, Ana, thank you for having me this afternoon. It's a real pleasure to talk to you regarding our access to the precinct. As you know, the area h us. Regarding or access, as you know, the area known as the CHOP, the Capitol Hill Occupy Protest Zone.
It still has a number of protesters there. We are looking at the different options to get the officers back in the precincts so that we can effectively respond to calls for service. I have reported before, but you know that our response times have been increased by 3 1/2 times to the general area surrounding the entire east precinct due to our not being able to deploy from the precinct.
Additionally, there have been a number of reports of crimes in that area. So we are absolutely looking to get back into the precinct. And the time has come for us to bring this to a close as soon as we reasonably can.
CABRERA: What kind of consequences have come from the delays in being able to respond to those 911 calls. As you mentioned, there were four shootings, at least, in that zone.
BEST: Well, I'm aware of three shootings and one murder that was a result of a shooting in the zone. We've also had some assaults, sexual assaults, a robbery, and a couple of arsons. So, the level of violence that has started in that area has certainly increased overtime.
This is no longer a block party. It's a real public safety issue. We have video and I'm sure you've seen it where officers have tried to get into the area and were forcibly met with resistance to officers responding to some of these calls for service.
So, it's been difficult. We are working with all of our stakeholders to make sure that we have a good resolution to this. It has dragged on far too long and we are working actively to work with both the demonstrators, the community and others who support us to get ourselves back into the precinct and provide effective public safety for all who live and reside in that area.
CABRERA: Now, if the protesters are digging in, which they are at the moment, what does that mean for you and your police force? How is this standoff going to end?
BEST: Well, it's going to end with us finding a way to get back to the precinct. This is not a line in the sand, but it's absolutely necessary for public safety that we're able to respond from that area, that the fire department, which has a station within a block, is able to utilize the public streets.
And so, we want to do as much as we can to work with the folks who are left, but we recognize that at some point there's going to be, you know, a reckoning for how we can get this resolved.
CABRERA: What kind of compromise thought are you willing to offer?
BEST: Well, I think part of it is that this is not, you know, a mutual difference here. If we need to get back into the precinct, we need to open up the streets, we need to be able to provide public safety. Those who want to demonstrate and protest, we always recognize their First Amendment free speech rights and we want to support them doing that, but not blocking our precinct and not blocking the public access way.
CABRERA: With the ongoing calls nationwide to defund the police, we've heard of sick outs happening all across the country, on Thursday there in Seattle, the school board voted to suspend using police officers at public schools there. I'm curious, what is morale like in your department right now?
BEST: Well, obviously these are things that we're concerned, you know, about. You know, I think that all of the systems, whether it's education, or criminal justice system or health care, all of our systems seem to look about the disparity that we have when it comes to people of color and particularly black people.
I find it interesting our school board has barely a 50 percent graduation rate for African-Americans. So I think we all need to focus internally about what we can do to better ourselves as an organizations and as systems. We'll do our work on that end and we expect others to do theirs on their end.
CABRERA: As far as budget cuts goes, Seattle's mayor, Jenny Durkan, this week proposed slashing $20 million from your police department budget for the remainder of 2020 as the city grapples with a shortfall of more than $300 million due to the pandemic. How would a $20 million budget cut affect your officers and your police department's ability to do its job?
BEST: Well, obviously any budget cut is difficult, but we recognize, as you have stated, that COVID-19 put a financial strain on every aspect of city government. There are so many people who suffering through, you know, not having their jobs and employment being cut off prematurely and businesses that are suffering.
So we recognize that we all have to do our part, including the police department to make sure that we help our city rebound and regain economic vitality.
CABRERA: All right. Thank you so much for joining us, Chief Carmen Best. Good luck, and please keep in touch as you continue to, you know, pursue the precinct that you're trying to get back in to.
BEST: Great. Thank you, Ana. I really appreciate it. CABRERA: Thank you. Still ahead, name, number, team, and now social
message? NBA jerseys may have a different look this season. You're live in the "CNN Newsroom."
CABRERA: Coronavirus is not the only concern for NBA players as many are set to assemble in less than two weeks in Orlando, Florida, for a return to action. A number of players have expressed their concern that a return to action may distract from the social justice movement taking place around the country and in some cases, world.
We are learning of a possible compromise. Players maybe allowed to change their name on the back of their jersey and feature a message promoting social justice according to reports from the athletic. And my next guest wears many hats, all of which make him the perfect person to talk to right now.
Michael Rubin is a co-owner of the NBA's Philadelphia 76ers. He also launched the "All in Challenge." A charity we have consistently featured here and brought you updates on focuses on raising millions for those in need during the pandemic. And he has been at the forefront of the social justice movement as founding partner and co- chair of the Reform Alliance.
So, Michael, as always, I do want to ask you about the "All in Challenge" but let's talk basketball first. How do you balance, you know, sports as entertainment with players who want to use the platform to advance the fight against racial injustice while they are on the court? Is it appropriate, in your opinion?
MICHAEL RUBIN, PARTNER, PHILADELPHIA 76ERS: I think it is appropriate. I think that the NBA, the league's always really encourages players to use the league, the team and their platforms to make a difference on important (inaudible) issues. So, we think we can make an impact and that's what the NBA is all about.
CABRERA: Are players on board? Do they like this idea that's been proposed?
RUBIN: Yes, I think most of the players are really excited about this. Look, this is a really complicated period of time. There's no perfect solution, but the country and the world really wants its sports back. And really, most of the players that I speak to, they want to be back on the court, they want to be playing basketball.
But it's a complicated period of time where I think to be able to use your platform, your brand, the NBA, your team to help bring the country together is I think something that a lot of people care deeply about.
CABRERA: Health and safety of course is another big issue we were hearing just today from the person in the league who was the first to test positive for coronavirus who says he still hasn't fully recover from its effects.
So now, you know, is still on the minds of a lot of players. This new idea is to have all the play happen in this so-called bubble set up in Florida. Florida does happen to be the one of the states in the most trouble right now with infections spiking and at least 16 players have recently tested positive according to the league. Is Florida really where this place should be taking place given the situation there?
RUBIN: Yes, look, I'll say to you that I think what I was on with you probably six weeks ago. I said in sports, people are going to test positive for the coronavirus. It's just mathematically impossible for them to not.
I think what's great about the bubble is it's probably going to be the safest place to be. So in spite of what's going on in Florida, you know, we're going to have our players wearing masks and really everyone associated with baseball wearing masks every single day all the time except when they are playing basketball.
They're going to be tested every day. They're going to be in a quarantined environment. So, I don't think you can find a safer place to be than in Orlando, within the bubble and following all procedures the NBA has.
But at the same time, we've got to be honest. Nothing is risk-free and there's -- nobody could say that there's a perfectly (inaudible) solution. There's not and I'm proud of our Commissioner Adam Silver who consistently talks about there's no perfect solution.
I think we want to put our best foot forward. I think everyone is anxious to get back on the court and play, but you know, this is a day-by-day situation.
CABRERA: Will you be in the bubble?
RUBIN: I certainly look forward to attending. I certainly look forward to being in Orlando with our players and with the Sixers and we'll certainly be there for a good amount of time and I'm excited to do it.
And you know, we couldn't be more excited about the Sixers prospects. We start the season feeling like we could win a championship and I think, you know, we have a strong team and a team that's ready to compete.
CABRERA: Meantime, you've been working hard to help those in the most need during this pandemic, challenging famous athletes and other celebrities to auction off something valuable of theirs or a special experience with the proceeds going to organizations helping to feed people who are hurting economically and on the front lines. What's the latest update?
RUBIN: Yes. The "All in Challenge" had been amazing. We've raised basically $60 million, as you said, to help people that are in need, that are hungry, that need help. You know, there are tens of millions of people who have become unemployed. This virus has been so damaging in so many ways to so many people.
So we've raised $60 million through the "All in Challenge" and we're just winding down this portion of it, but I'm incredibly proud of everyone who came together. We had more than 500 athletes, celebrities, artists that went all-in. They committed incredible experiences, items, to help raise $60 million.
It's really the biggest digital fund-raiser ever. And really what this has become, it started about just how we can help with the pandemic and really with people that were hungry. I think we've created a platform that could help (inaudible) some of its biggest issues. So, this was a great first "All in Challenge," but I think it will help with other great causes and great needs in the future.
CABRERA: Bravo to you, Michael Rubin, and bravo to all thosee people who participated in the "All in Challenge." And thanks as always for checking in with us on that and for answering our questions about NBA, too because obviously, that's another big step forward as we try to move into some kind of normalcy during this pandemic. Much appreciated. We'll be right back.
RUBIN: Yes, it's really -- it's the new normal. It's not going to be easy, but we're going to put our best foot forward.
CABRERA: Absolutely. Thanks again. Back in a moment.
CABRERA: Finally this hour, love in the age of coronavirus. Here's Tom Foreman.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRRESPONDENT (voice-over): They knew that they both loved "The Wedding Crashers," knew what her dress looked like, which colors they'd use. Kelsy Gibson and Alex Ferrara knew they were going to have a perfect wedding -- then in the Michigan cold, the worst crasher of all came calling.
KELSY GIBSON, WEDDING AFFECTED BY PANDEMIC: It's so crazy. We would have never thought that this would ever happen.
FOREMAN (voice-over): The pandemic swept away the pomp, the party and the promise of 200 guests sharing their special moment.
ALEX FERRARA, WEDDING AFFECTED BY PANDEMIC: And then there came the day when the honeymoon got canceled. It just kept progressing as like one item, like dominoes falling.
FOREMAN (voice-over): They're not alone. Spring kicks off the wedding season each year in a big way, but not this time, according to a leading matrimonial website, the knot.com.
JEFFRA TRUMPOWER, SENIOR CREATIVE DIRECTOR, THE KNOT WORLWIDE: As we look at data. There was supposed to be a little over 500,000 weddings over the course of the last three months. So, tons of couples are rescheduling their weddings, getting married, you know, maybe virtually and postponing their reception for later.
FOREMAN (voice-over): The Knot estimate the average couple employs more than a dozen vendors, dressmakers, florist, photographers, caterers, limo drivers, many of whom rely on the wedding trade. So the industry is clawing its way back, embracing new tongue and cheek ideas like "delay the date" notices. And supporting a small, private services while awaiting the return of big celebrations.
TRUMPOWER: We are seeing what we're calling the mini mony (ph) right now. Bakeries sending mini wedding cakes. Florists are sending mini bouquets or maybe some centerpieces that the couple could enjoy.
FOREMAN (voice-over): As for Alex and Kelsey, as his company started making masks and she dove into her work in public health --
GIBSON: We talked to our families about it. We talked to our friends.
FOREMAN (voice-over): They loaded up a few close friends some strict disinfecting rules.