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Atlantic City Casinos, Amusement Parks Reopen With New Rules; Subpoenas Issued For NY Partygoers Linked To COVID-19 Cluster; Jeffrey Epstein Associate Ghislaine Maxwell Arrested. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired July 2, 2020 - 12:30   ET

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


[12:30:00]

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Because I can tell you that people are excited to be back here gambling, being a part of this atmosphere. And there are also people who are excited to be back to work. They are taking so many precautions to make sure that they stop any spread of the coronavirus as they reopen all but one of the casinos here in Atlantic City.

We are at the Hard Rock Casino and Hotel. And I want to show, you this is the first step. As soon as you walk through the door, you go through a thermal imaging scan so they can see what the body -- your body temperature is.

In fact, if you don't pass the test, so to speak, they'll pull you aside and make you drink some water and give you about 10 minutes. And then they'll read -- scan you make sure your temperature is OK to continue into the actual casino.

On top of that, it's only going to be at 25 percent capacity. They actually are sold out for the holiday weekend. But that doesn't mean every room is filled. They actually are not even trying to fill every room because it's only 25 percent capacity.

And another rule, as we saw it from New Jersey Governor this week, reversing course about that indoor dining not allowing it because of what's happening in the rest of the country and even in some cases here in New Jersey, there is no eating inside this casino, there is no drinking, there is no smoking, and mandatory masks.

In fact, there's absolutely no reason to not wear a mask because of all those, you know, reasons that you cannot drink, eat, and smoke. I want you to hear from the CEO what he talked about in regards to masks specifically.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JIM ALLEN, CHAIRMAN, HARD ROCK INTERNATIONAL & CEO, SEMINOLE GAMING: Our word is caution, wear your mask, you know, keep six, eight feet minimum, don't become involved in large groups where you potentially increase your risk.

You know, wearing a mask reduces your chances by 67 percent. So we don't understand why people don't want to wear masks. I know they're uncomfortable. But the reality is, it's the right thing to do, not just for yourself, but frankly for others.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GINGRAS: And the social distancing is a big deal. You can see people already at the slot machines, Kate, trying to win some money. They actually are only having certain slot machines on. You can see that some are turned off just to keep that social distancing.

If you go to the card games, there are the barriers up between each card player. You actually get sprits of hand sanitizer before you even start gambling. So there's lots of measures in place to hopefully, make sure that there are no issues and reversing course of having to close again.

Because you got to keep in mind, Kate, for Atlantic City, this was a devastated area by the coronavirus. So many people were out of work. We saw those people in food banks. And now so many people are able to get back to work because they are reopened. They don't want to go backwards, Kate.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: Totally understand. But it's really interesting to see what you're showing just how many measures they are putting in place to try to make it possible to reopen. And as I'm watching Brynn, it's like this looks like it could be the new normal as things continue to open up in other places what this casino is putting in place. Good stuff. Thanks, Brynn. Really appreciate it.

Coming up next, a county official in New York State now issuing subpoenas to get people to cooperate with a contact tracing effort linked to one party. Why this official says that they have been lied to and hung up on and what they're going to do about it?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[12:37:25]

BOLDUAN: In New York, a county health commissioner is trying to contain a cluster of coronavirus cases linked to a large house party. The get together happened last month in Rockland County where the host was experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, we're told, but held the party anyway.

And then there is this twist. So contract tracers are trying to track, do their job and track people down, inform them, speak to them, and slow the spread. They are being met with by major resistance. Some people refusing to take their calls, even lying to them. And so this county health commissioner is having to go to some pretty extreme lengths here.

Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert is the Rockland County Health Commissioner. She's joining me right now. Dr. Ruppert, thank you for being here. You are doing or trying to do what all of the health experts are saying local communities need to do. You identify an infected person and now you're trying to contact trace and make sure everyone they came in contact with is isolated or informed one isolated and tested so it doesn't spread. What have you come up against and trying to do this?

DR. PATRICIA SCHNABEL RUPPERT, ROCKLAND COUNTY, NY HEALTH COMMISSIONER: So for most people do cooperate with us. But for the smaller number that do not, they have hung up on us, given us a very small amount of information and then refused to give anything further, have told us they do not want to nor do they need to provide information.

So we got to the point where since the information is essential, I needed to send eight subpoenas yesterday to obtain the required information for our contact investigations.

BOLDUAN: Have you gotten any response to that?

RUPPERT: I have eight responses.

BOLDUAN: So it worked?

RUPPERT: It worked.

BOLDUAN: Right away? Because it was threatening, what was it a $2,000 fine for every day that they didn't respond?

RUPPERT: Up to $2,000 per day.

BOLDUAN: It's pretty amazing that you had to go to these lengths. Why do you think people were so resistant to helping?

RUPPERT: I think it's a combination of things. There are those in the community who have been home for a number of months, and they're just really tired of it. They're fed up and they want to be out. They don't want to have to answer to government, to any health officials.

And some people just don't maybe understand the importance of this, which of course, with education, we're trying to explain and have people understand the reason that we need to find out who their contacts are, where they've been, when that was so that we can continue to decrease the number cases in New York.

[12:40:02]

BOLDUAN: Doctor, how do you respond to that when folks say that they don't want to respond to government, they don't see the need to help?

RUPPERT: We try to be understanding. We try to realize where they're coming from. It's all part of the educational process. And then it comes to the point where we have to do what is needed to do for public health.

BOLDUAN: Which is they have to help or else is just going to continue to spread. I mean, it is quite as simple as that. I find this important and I'm thankful for that you came on because this hits on kind of this broader challenge with contact tracing because it only works if people cooperate. What do you want people across the country to take from what you have had to deal with in trying to stop the spread in your county?

RUPPERT: So I'd like people to understand is that the timeliness of case identification is paramount. We need to know who the cases are. We need to know where they've been. We need to know who has been around them, who lives with them, is essential. Because most of the cases we're seeing are from very close contacts and especially for long periods of times.

We need also to quarantine those contacts because many of them who become infected, do not show symptoms or do not show symptoms early enough that it's identified and they can transmit the virus we know now at least 48 hours before they show symptoms. So it's essential to keep those who are quarantined home on quarantine. And that we're not looking to be punitive in any regard.

We're really looking to protect everyone's health, the health of all, especially those who have chronic disease who are older. You know, we tell the younger people, it's your parents, your grandparents, it's your younger siblings who unfortunately could succumb to the multisystem inflammatory disease that we've seen.

There are valid reasons why we need this information. It will help them and it will help their family members and it will help the public as well.

BOLDUAN: Hopefully you won't have to go to these lengths again. But, Doctor, you may want to keep those subpoenas handy. They seem to work. Thank you very much.

RUPPERT: They worked with measles last time and they've worked again. So thank you.

BOLDUAN: Thank you, Ma'am.

Coming up next, today's new jobs report is showing millions of Americans are getting back to work, but with the country facing record highs and new coronavirus cases, how long can the good news last?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[12:47:09]

BOLDUAN: New jobs numbers out this morning providing some encouraging signs for the economy. The June report showing 4.8 million jobs were added last month with states and businesses reopening and the unemployment rate fell to 11.1 percent. This is news to celebrate.

But the question now is, how long will it last with the spikes in infections that we're seeing across the country? CNN Business Anchor Julia Chatterley, she joins me right now with much more on this. Julia, I'm really interested, what do you see in this report?

JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN BUSINESS ANCHOR: I see a number to be celebrated, as you said. But as long as we represent and understand that this is not the reflection of where we are today in America, the snapshot that this data point took was on the second week of June. So it was right before we saw this dramatic ramp up in COVID cases in Arizona, Texas, California, Florida.

And obviously that changes the picture because we've seen a suspension of reopenings. Now let's look at the unemployment rate. You mentioned it 11.1 percent. But if I add in all the people that in this report said, hey, I want a job, I can't get it, or people that said, look, I'm just out of the workforce rather than unemployed. That rate would look like more around 16.5 percent, let's be clear.

Then look at the demographics because the President pointed out that the black unemployment rate is coming down on average, all of the employment rates are coming down. But the white unemployment rate again, coming down much quicker, in fact, the gap between white and black unemployment is at a five year wide.

African Americans again, not seeing jobs recovering to the same weight that others are. That ties to the jobs that they're doing. Look at the sector breakdown now, hospitality, retail, they are 50 percent of the jobs that we saw added back in this number. But they're also most vulnerable when we see suspension of reopenings even a pullback on some of the conditions that we're seeing and over half of America is doing this.

So, Kate, to sum up, we are seeing jobs added, but the price of that is rising COVID cases. And that risks slowing the recovery or reversing the recovery in jobs going forward.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely. And what about the sobering number of people filing for unemployment benefits for the first time, what story does that tell?

CHATTERLEY: Yes, this is key. We've still got more than 2 million people in total. If you add in gig economy workers, contract workers filing for first time benefits on a weekly basis. We've also got more than 19 million people continuing to collect benefits, this should be coming down and it just isn't.

And this is the number to watch going forward because of the slowdown in reopenings. Because if we start to see more people staying out of the workforce and collecting benefits, this is now where we'll see the numbers hit.

BOLDUAN: Thank you, Julia.

CHATTERLEY: Thank you.

[12:50:00]

BOLDUAN: President Trump has been out touting today's jobs numbers as he should, Joe Biden though, he just spoke out responding, adding his take. Joining me is CNN's Arlette Saenz. Arlette, what did Joe Biden say?

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, Joe Biden said that right now is not the time to be celebrating a victory as millions of Americans remain unemployed and coronavirus cases are spiking around the countries and death is also going up.

Biden did acknowledge that the jobs report was positive news. But he said that ultimately, the reason that millions of Americans are unemployed at this moment is because he described what President Trump has bungled the coronavirus response. Take a listen to what Biden had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Trump wants to declare his health crisis over and unemployment so. Unfortunately, he's deadly wrong on both fronts. Quick claiming victory with almost 15 million Americans still out of work because of the crisis, quit ignoring the reality of this pandemic act, lead, lead. Get out of the way so others can, Mr. President.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAENZ: You know, Biden also called out President Trump for not acknowledging that record a number of new coronavirus cases that came out or relating to yesterday. And this is something an argument that Biden has repeatedly tried to make over the past few months that the public health issues and the economic situation are deeply tied together and that the President must address both of those hand in hand and acknowledge both of the crisis. And he -- Biden says that President Trump has failed to acknowledge those facts, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Arlette, thank you.

Still ahead, a major arrest in the case that began with Jeffrey Epstein, what prosecutors believe his former girlfriend knows and why she is under arrest.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[12:56:31]

BOLDUAN: The former girlfriend of accused sex trafficker, Jeffrey Epstein, has been arrested. Federal prosecutors in New York are charging Ghislaine Maxwell with six counts as part of their ongoing investigation into Epstein's accomplices.

The charges include enticement and conspiracy to entice minors to travel, to engage in illegal sex acts, transportation and conspiracy to transport minors with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity. And two counts of perjury. Epstein, you remember died by suicide while awaiting trial last year

CNN's Kara Scannell is following all of this. She joins me right now. Kara, prosecutors, they just held a press conference announcing all of this. Tell us more about what they said.

KARA SCANNELL, CNN REPORTER: Yes, Kate, I mean today is a big day in this investigation that has been ongoing for more than a year. Prosecutors announcing that they have filed 16 criminal charges against Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein's girlfriend and longtime alleged accomplice, where they have charging her with enticing children to engage in illegal sex acts, six counts including perjury.

Now, what's interesting about the charges today is that they date back nearly 26 years, that's how long prosecutors allege this operation that had been ongoing for from 1994 to 1997. Prosecutors allege that Maxwell helped groom, recruit, and ultimately abused these victims, some of whom were as young as 14 years old.

Here's what acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said when she was describing Maxwell's role in these indictment.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AUDREY STRAUSS, ACTING U.S. ATTORNEY FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK: Maxwell enticed minor girls, got them to trust her, then delivered them into the trap that she and Epstein had set for them. She pretended to be a woman they could trust. All the while she was setting them up to be sexually abused by Epstein and in some cases by Maxwell herself.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCANNELL: Now Strauss also said they will be seeking to detain Maxwell when she is presented before a judge later today. They also asked victims to still come forward saying that they wanted to hear from victims of Epstein and Maxwell, saying that the FBI acting chief here in New York had said that the victims in the eyes of the FBI are the most important people here.

So Kate, this is a huge development. The victims' attorneys are saying that they are happy, that they're hopeful that this will continue and that more people will be held accountable, Kate?

BOLDUAN: Kara, the indictment also names some specific locations. Is there something significant about that, that part of the charges?

SCANNELL: Well, this is the -- what we have heard before with Epstein. But this time now there's a new location, right? So Epstein has been accused of trafficking women here in New York to Palm Beach, Florida to a ranch he owned in New Mexico. But today they also said that some of this abuse took place in London at the home of Maxwell, so that is the new development.

And we had -- we've reached out to Buckingham Palace with Prince Andrew since he is a longtime friend of Maxwell, someone that prosecutors have wanted to speak to today. They said they still welcome his cooperation. So this is a new wrinkle in this case where they're saying that some of this abuse dating back 26 years did occur in London. Kate?

BOLDUAN: Kara, thank you very much.

And this also just an update from the Supreme Court, The Supreme Court is now effectively blocking House Democrats from getting grand jury material from the Robert Mueller investigation likely until after the November presidential election. The court is agreeing with the Trump administration's request to hear the case in the next term.

[13:00:08]