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CDC Director Pleads With Young People to Wear Masks; Trump Vows to Veto Defense Bill to Keep Confederate Base Names; GOP Lawmakers Distance Themselves from Trump on Masks. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired July 1, 2020 - 07:30   ET



ERICA HILL, CO-ANCHOR, NEW DAY: Heard Dr. Robert Redfield there calling on young people to do their part to help stop the spread of coronavirus. Joining me now, 23-year-old Peyton Chesser from Houston, Texas, who has just recovered from coronavirus. Peyton, we're glad to know that you're doing better this morning. But you did what you were supposed to do, as I understand it.

You really stayed home in the beginning. And when restrictions were lifted in Texas, you did start to go out, most of the time, you were wearing a mask. So what happened?

PEYTON CHESSER, CORONAVIRUS SURVIVOR: Hi, Erica, good morning. Right, as soon as restriction started opening, we saw a lot of rush to restaurants, stores that had been closed, different types of things like that. I wasn't going out. I wasn't going to crowded restaurants. I wasn't going to crowded places in general, social settings. And so really, when I started going back like just a little bit, going back to the grocery store instead of my roommate shopping or going back to the gym is right when I picked up coronavirus.

HILL: And so what do you think changed for you? So as you said, you started going out a little bit, but when you started to go out, I mean, how did you feel about it? Especially in terms of the messages that you were getting from officials both local and at the state level in Texas?

CHESSER: When I would go out, I would see about 75 percent of the population in masks, which is great, but it was really frustrating having to kind of decipher and shake through messages that I was getting from local, federal state authorities on what is the right thing to do. What is OK to do. Because I know for me, it was hard to decide what is appropriate if some states are completely locked down and my state is almost operating at full capacity, it was hard to know exactly where the line stood just because there was so much conflicting information that I was receiving.

HILL: Do you think Texas opened too soon?


HILL: And what specifically do you think opened too soon? CHESSER: A lot of the service industry thing, as far as restaurants,

water parks, amusement parks being able to open and even though they're operating at a lower percentage. The people that have to work in those places, the staff that has to keep those places running to allow limited occupancy, it really hurts them because a lot of people that work in the service industry are coming down with coronavirus really quickly.

HILL: So talk to me about your bout with coronavirus. First of all, what were your symptoms and how do you think you contracted it?

CHESSER: So I don't know exactly how I contracted it. I really -- when I was -- right when I became sick, that was one of the first things that I said was, how could I have possibly gotten this? I was so anxious about getting it, since this all started in March, February. And so I was really nervous from the beginning, and so when I actually picked it up and I wasn't able to pinpoint it, I finally had to really let that go, because it didn't change the fact that I had it or not.

And it didn't help my symptoms any to worry about exactly where I got it. And so the symptoms that I first had were completely different than the symptoms that I had the last few days of being sick. I was sick for about eight days total. So in the very beginning, I had really horrible skin sensitivity, headache, cough, sore throat, and then right around day four, which is right in the middle of symptoms for me, is when I lost my sense of smell and taste, which was really strange because I wasn't expecting --

HILL: Yes --

CHESSER: That at that point, because most people that lose their sense of smell and taste, they lose it right in the beginning. And so, until the middle, and it goes into a more of the end, it was definitely a strange experience for me, for sure.

HILL: What's fascinating is, as I understand it, you never had a fever, and that is one of the things, right? As we all go back to work, we're supposed to check our temperatures.

CHESSER: Right. And so not having a fever, the highest my temperature ever got was like a 99.6, 99.7, and I wouldn't even be sent home from high school for that. So I didn't really count it as a fever. And so I -- when I didn't know exactly how to tell whether I was still contagious or not, it's made the recovery process a little bit more frustrating for me specifically, not having a fever, not tell-tale sign of when I recovered.

HILL: You know, initially, and this is a virus, you know, as you point out, your experience is different than other people's. We're learning so much as we go. And the scientists are learning on the fly in many ways. But in the beginning, the concerns initially were older people, people with pre-existing conditions, not as much young people. We are seeing those infection rates rise now, as we heard from Dr. Redfield and others, what is your message? I mean, both on a whole, but also to -- you know, people your age.

You're 23 years old. I mean, at 23, I wanted to go out. You know, at 43, I'd like to go out. Do you think the right message is getting through?

CHESSER: I think at this point it's starting to get through. The governor here in Texas has started to re-close restaurants and bars and even clubs -- those are starting to close back down.


And I think take a step back has kind of made a lot of other people realize like how serious it really is. And so my message to everyone in general is to just do your part and take care of everyone in the community because we kind of owe that to one another to just do the small things that could have a really big impact like wearing masks if you are feeling even a little bit under the weather, that's kind of how it starts, and to just stay home and self-isolate until you can get a test and get your results back.

And so that's really my message to everyone in general including young people that, you know, it does affect everyone. I was very sick for eight days.

HILL: And I'm sure it's nothing you want to go through again. Peyton, really appreciate you joining us this morning, thanks for sharing your experience, we're glad you are feeling better.

CHESSER: Thank you so much, Erica.

HILL: John?

JOHN BERMAN, CO-ANCHOR, NEW DAY: We want to remember some of the more than 127,000 Americans lost to coronavirus. Forty two-year-old James Kornackia(ph) had served as a police officer on the campus of Georgia Tech for nearly 20 years. His wife says his larger-than-life personality lit up a room. For fun, he cooked, camped, and served as a cub scout master at his church. The Atlanta General Constitution says he'd been training to become a police investigator and was posthumously promoted by his department. He leaves behind three sons.

Lisa Berhannan(ph) was an energetic whirlwind in the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania community. The 50-year-old mother of three, grandmother of four worked for the school district, volunteered as a hospital prison chaplain and served meals to the homeless. One community leader told "The Patriot News" quote, "you'll never be able to replace Lisa Berhannan(ph). Never. We'll be right back.



BERMAN: Overnight, President Trump threatened to veto a defense spending bill if that bill contains a provision that would strip the names of Confederate generals from U.S. military bases. Joining us now, CNN political analyst, Maggie Haberman. She is a White House correspondent at "The New York Times". And Maggie, we just had the tweet up there, and the president seems to be saying it's not just racist enough to protect the legacy of Robert E. Lee, because in that tweet, he hurled one of his favorite racist epithets at Elizabeth Warren.

Now, this interests me for two reasons. Number one, this is what the president is choosing to focus on, lean into, a few months before the election. That's number one. But number two, what he's not focusing on, because overnight, yesterday, this morning, we're hearing nothing about the explosive growth of coronavirus across the country.

MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I think that's right. Look, John, it's very obvious the president has been trying to basically create his own news program related to crime and related to statues. And he has been focusing his Twitter feed on that not exclusively, but very aggressively. It is not the subject that most Americans are talking about right now.

It is not part of the national conversation that most Americans are having right now. Most Americans have any conversation, it's either about racism and systemic racism and policing or they're having a conversation about the coronavirus which as you noted is spreading, and it's stopped a bunch of states from opening or partial reopening plans, and they've had to move backwards. It's not going away just because he doesn't talk about it and I think he has not come to terms with that yet.

HILL: One would have to say, he has not come to terms with it definitely based on what we're seeing. What's also fascinating, Maggie, though, is we're really starting to hear this message shift from Republicans, and not just Republicans but from conservative media host who I would say speaking directly to the president as they're now trying to get everyone should embrace wearing a mask. And I just want to play a little bit of that.


SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS: I think they work. And I said, especially if I wear a mask and it opens up, baseball, concerts, NFL football, I'd rather wear the mask and go to the game to protect grandma, grandpa, mom and dad.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): We must have no stigma, none, about wearing masks.

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): Wearing the mask is the best opportunity --


MCCARTHY: For us to keep this economy open.

STEVE DOOCY, FOX NEWS: MAGA should now stand for masks are great again.

(END VIDEO CLIP) HILL: Not sure the chances of the president adopting that as a new

MAGA slogan. But in all seriousness, Maggie, we know that Donald Trump does not like to back down. He does not like to say that he was wrong or even show in any way that he was wrong. So even with that very public push that we're seeing, is there a sense within the White House that the president would, in fact, do something as easy and simple as putting on a mask?

HABERMAN: Erica, there are a bunch of people who have been urging the president both in public as you just put it, but also in private to wear a mask. He has other people in his ear telling him he shouldn't do it. I think for the time being, we're unlikely to see a change. I think let's see what the new case load brings in the coming weeks, and that maybe there will be a change.

But look, this is another issue in which the president is not in lockstep with leaders of his own party, other than himself. Mitch McConnell making that statement about the lack of stigma and there shouldn't be one is pretty strong and pretty dramatic. And it is just diametrically opposed to where the president has been, and health officials will privately say, this has been part of the challenge in getting the public to change its behavior and wear masks more frequently, is that the president has been so dismissive about it over a fairly long period of time.

BERMAN: What's the impact of the statements from the likes of Mitch McConnell and Sean Hannity? How is the president hearing this, do you think?

HABERMAN: I don't think the president likes being contradicted in public, which is essentially what this is. Again, the president might get there, but as we all know, the president likes to present strength. He has decided that the masks represent something other than strength. This has been a statement that a lot of health officials have talked about, trying to get around.


I don't expect a change for the time being, but I do expect people to keep urging him to make a change.

HILL: And it will be fascinating to see, too, on Friday, in South Dakota, right, for this independence day fireworks display at Mount Rushmore, where the governor has said, we will not enforce social distancing. We'll hand out masks, but they're not required. I mean, that's sort of the event that the president has been after. He's eager to get back to that rally-style event with lots of people close together.

HABERMAN: It's true. There is a difference, Erica, at least according to health officials which obviously I'm not. I'm saying what they have talked about, but that there seems to be a difference between indoor transmission and outdoor transmission. And so if you have a lot of people who are close together outdoors, the virus seems less likely based on what they know to spread quite as aggressively as it does for an indoors event. That having been said, when this is about setting an example for

people, this is yet another example of the president trying to sort of will away the coronavirus precautions and it's not clear the public is with him on this. In fact, it seems to be the opposite.

BERMAN: I'm very curious, masks aside, I mean, the masks are one thing. I mean, clearly, the president has decided to behave a certain way on masks. But to an extent, he's been absent the last week or so on coronavirus, as we have seen this rise in new cases in the south. You know, in Florida, Texas, Arizona, all states the president needs to win. I'm curious why has he been absent here, and is there any intention of getting back into the daily discussion about the pandemic that's killed 127,000 Americans?

HABERMAN: John, it's a great question and there's been a big debate within the White House about what exactly the president should be doing. The president's preference has generally been not to talk about this in a big way, although my understanding is that he, according to a number of people, would have been fine with some kind of briefing being held about a month ago by Mike Pence, the Vice President, which eventually came last week.

But there were a couple of people around the president, namely Hope Hicks, Jared Kushner and Mark Meadows, who prefer that he not do it, for different reasons. Hope Hicks and Jared Kushner I think are concerned that the president is going to re-do one of those famous performances from the briefing room, whether it was about injecting bleach or screaming at reporters.

And I think Mark Meadows wants to be focused solely on the economy. And again, to your point, we can talk about it all you want, but that doesn't mean people are not dealing with the coronavirus. That's where the country is, it's going to become more noticeable the longer the president goes without discussing it.

HILL: And to your point, too, Maggie, when you bring up the economy, so much of this is tied to the economy and the reality that Americans are facing, that would be another opportunity for the president to lead and to really address what is happening in the country. And he has not done that at this point either. I do want to ask you about this book by his niece, Mary Trump. So now, we have another hold on the book, a judge temporarily blocking this until like I think, July.

HABERMAN: Right --

HILL: At this point, July 10th, because of this nondisclosure that was signed, not necessarily in regards to the president, but his father and his father's estate.

HABERMAN: It's interesting. There is a July 10th hearing on whether this book can go forward and we'll see what arguments are presented. But there was a filing last night where Simon and Schuster said in an affidavit that they didn't know that Mary Trump had a nondisclosure agreement, that they only learned of it recently, I think after media reports. And that the book is already in its printing. I'm not sure how the judge will react to that, that the book is already in its printing. It's a little different than what we saw in terms of the John Bolton book, where the White House filed efforts to try to stop it very late, only a couple of days before it was going on sale, it was obviously going to have been printed by them.

This one was already legally in production and the publisher is saying they began. So we'll see how the judge in the case takes it. This is a judge in a north of New York City county.

BERMAN: Maggie, do you have any notion of whether there are specific concerns that the president and his family have about the release of this book?

HABERMAN: I think it's just in general, John. I mean, look, the president has tried with varying degrees of success to enforce these nondisclosure agreements that he has put in place for a while. This is particularly sensitive because it relates to the president's father. And as we know, the president is extremely sensitive in almost everything that relates not just to his family or portions of his family, but his father. It's one of the few relationships that he sort of draws a moat around, and I think that that's mainly the concern here.

BERMAN: Maggie Haberman, great to have you on. Happy July, welcome to the --

HABERMAN: Actually --

BERMAN: Rest of your Summer. Thanks for being with us this morning.

HABERMAN: It is July and that means plenty of people are counting down to back to school, but what does that actually mean? School officials across the country working on plans now to bring kids back to school safely.


DAN DOMENECH, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, AASA, THE SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENTS ASSOCIATION: Releasing plans at this point with so many unknowns is what makes it such a difficult process.



HILL: So where does this difficult process stand with just weeks to go? That's next.

BERMAN: A quick programming note. On Saturday, CNN has fireworks and an all-star musical line up, including Jewel, Barry Manilow, Don McLean and so many more. Don Lemon and Dana Bash hosts of CNN's "FOURTH OF JULY IN AMERICA" live, Saturday, starting at 8:00 p.m. Eastern. Truly, they can't smile without you.



ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR OF THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY & INFECTIOUS DISEASES: The basic fundamental goal would be as you possibly can to get the children back to school, and to use the public health efforts as a tool to help get children back to school.


HILL: Dr. Anthony Fauci wants it to happen. But how to make it happen? That's something that every state, every school district, frankly, individually is dealing with. The American Academy of Pediatrics says the evident shows the academic, mental and physical benefits of in-person learning outweigh the risks from coronavirus.


So what are schools doing now to try to minimize those risks so they can safely reopen? CNN's Bianna Golodryga joins us now with more. We all want them back at school, I know, you and I both as parents, but there are so many things to take into account, Bianna.

BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN SENIOR GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: That's right, Erica. I can't tell you how many group chat I'm on with other moms that want their kids back in school, but are concerned about their safety. You heard from the experts there, Dr. Fauci and the American Academy of Pediatrics, just the latest influential voices, calling for a return to the classroom.

The former head of the FDA saying that as well, and it's really telling that despite the risk, most experts say that keeping kids at home can be even more detrimental. But some schools are now just a few weeks away from opening. And that does needs a lot of concern from both parents, and don't forget the teachers too.


GOLODRYGA (voice-over): In what could be described as the country's most ambitious mobilization effort in recent history, school districts across the country are issuing plans for how more than 50 million K- through 12 students will be returning to school some just weeks away. Officials in Marietta, Georgia and Nashville, Tennessee have given families two options for when classes resume the first week in August in person or distance learning.

The Denver Public School District announced a return to full in person instruction, August, 17th, with health screenings provided for all students, teachers and staff, prior to arrival.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will continue to monitor, and so we'll be ready for either scenario, in person or staying in distance learning.

GOLODRYGA: California currently experiencing a spike in cases, says it's 10,000 schools will have a plan in place in time for late August and September reopening. In the northeast, the governors of the states initially hit hardest by COVID-19, but now seeing a decline in cases are hopeful that, that trend will continue and classes can resume in the Fall.

GOV. PHIL MURPHY (D-NJ): We have every expectation that our kids will return to their schools come September.

GOV. CHARLIE BAKER (R-MASS): Continued isolation poses very real risks to our kids mental and physical health.

GOLODRYGA: Even states experiencing the brunt of the virus now like Texas and Florida are still planning for an August return to the classroom.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's not going to be a substitute for that in- person instruction.

GOLODRYGA: Experts agree.

JOSEPH ALLEN, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, HARVARD T.H. CHAN SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: We have seen massive public health consequences to these school closures. This in terms of virtual dropouts. We cannot afford as a country to keep our schools locked down for another year.

GOLODRYGA: Joseph Allen is the leader, author of a new report on "Risk Reduction Strategies for Reopening Schools". Among them distance, hygiene, mask-wearing and proper ventilation.

ALLEN: We know these risk reduction strategies work, even with a full load of kids in the class. Kids are at lower risk of getting this virus. They're low at risk of serious adverse consequences. Early, evidence looks like they're at lower risk of transmitting to adults.

GOLODRYGA: That may not be enough to convince many parents and teachers that returning to the classroom will be safe.

ERIC MACKEY, SUPERINTENDENT OF EDUCATION, ALABAMA STATE: One jurisdiction is under 5 percent and another jurisdiction is about 80 percent or more of parents who say they intend to keep their children home. And so you can see how it's so difficult to do a statewide plan when even from community to community, people have such varying ideas about how they want school to look.

ARNE DUNCAN, FORMER SECRETARY OF EDUCATION, OBAMA ADMINISTRATION: I think we're going to be in a hybrid situation where some children will begin school Summer time, all children will be learning virtually some of the time as well.

GOLODRYGA: With some states issuing guidelines for reopening while others, only recommendations. Much of the decision-making is left to local officials.

DOMENECH: I'm so glad I'm not in that seat right now. There's the pressure from the community and the staff and for the plans to be released. Again, but releasing plans at this point with so many unknowns is what makes it such a difficult process.


GOLODRYGA: And in terms of those guidelines you're seeing differences across the board even between the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics. The CDC recommends that students sit about 6 feet part, which is what we've been told nationwide. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggest they can be 3 feet apart. And remember, one of the crucial parts is how are kids going to be able to keep those masks on their faces all day.

I spoke with a superintendent of Houston school district a couple of months ago, and she said it's hard enough for adults to do that, not to mention kids keeping masks on all day. And Professor Allen mentioned ventilation really key here, doesn't take a lot of work, he says it's going to be really important to open doors, open windows and if possible have some outdoor classroom settings --

HILL: Yes --


HILL: Fascinating. My nephews in France don't have to wear masks. They're back at school full-time for that very reason. They said it's too tough to make sure --

GOLODRYGA: Yes, it's hard --

HILL: That the kids are doing it properly and they don't want the teachers touching them. But again, that's only the elementary school in Paris. So don't come at me everybody, Bianna --

GOLODRYGA: It's a big effort --

HILL: Appreciate it, it is, great reporting, thank you. NEW DAY continues right now.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And not satisfied with what's going on. We're going in the wrong direction. Clearly, we are not in total control right now.