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Face Masks: Social Acceptance Versus Political Resistance; Chinese Wear Masks as Americans Debate Guidelines; Soon Trump and the Mexican President Will Sign Joint Declaration; California Hospitalization Hit All Time High in Pandemic; More GOP Senators Bow Out of Republican Convention; United Warns 45 Percent of Frontline Workers May Be Furloughed; Senator Responds to Criticism That She Is Not Patriotic. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired July 8, 2020 - 15:30   ET




BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: To wear a mask or not to. Should that really be a question? CDC guidelines on face coverings have devolved into a nationwide political battle rather than a health debate. But as Americans choose one side over the other, in Asia, wearing a mask is just part of the culture. It's a social responsibility. Full stop. CNN's David Culver is in Beijing, and David, tell me more.

DAVID CULVER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Brooke, as you know, our exploring this issue was sparked by conversation that you and I had. I was surprised to see back home in the U.S., mask wearing has become increasingly controversial and sure when I started wearing a mask daily back in January, it was an adjustment for me.

But what you see here now since is this social acceptance and it is not just in authoritarian China, it's cross Asia. To compare that with the apparent political resistance and defiance to wearing masks in some parts of the U.S., I thought I'd show you around to see the striking difference in cultural attitudes.


CULVER (voice-over): A weekday morning rush hour. Walk with us through the streets of Beijing, look to my right, my left, behind me and even headed right toward me. You notice just about every commuter wearing a face mask.

(on camera): To see a smile around here these days, it's a bit rare and it's even a little unnerving because it obviously reveals that somebody's not covering up their face.

(voice-over): In China from passengers boarding trains and planes, to those with shorter commutes, riding scooters or hopping on the metro rail, masks are on. Concerns of the virus still very fresh here in China's capitol especially with the recent cluster outbreak that's partly why folks of all ages wear them and unlike in parts of U.S., it is not political here.

LILY JUNG, BEIJING RESIDENT: I think people really take it as a social responsibility to wear a mask.

CULVER (on camera): Does it seem like a controversial issue when you think about putting your mask on every day.

JUNG: You know, for me it's really just common sense. We want to protect each other so everyone's wearing a mask.

CULVER (voice-over): Lilly Jung's got a go-to stash of surgical face masks at home.

JUNG: You can see we do have plenty, I just grab one and put it on.

CULVER: And she always packs extra.

JUNG: Just in case I forgot to wear a mask before I leave.

CULVER: Some folks treat masks like a pair of cheap sunglasses, keeping spare ones in places you're likely to come back to. It is just one of many layers of protection from COVID-19 that is in place here. Mask testing is routine and, in some cases, mandatory and contact tracing is strict. Call a rideshare and both you and the driver must show one another your digit health code certifying you have not been in high risk areas of the virus.

Step into a local shopping mall with us and it's a temperature check first and another check of the health code. At the food court you order by phone to avoid contact and you pick up with your mask on.

(on camera): The one time you can actually take off your mask is when you're eating.

(voice-over) That is if you're dining in.


Even the chefs working behind the protective glass cover up and as soon as the diners are done, look, they're immediately putting their mask back on as they walk out.

(on camera): And you may be in a place like China and you say, well, naturally, people are going to follow the rules. It's an authoritarian government, otherwise they face more serious consequences. But you don't have to look far to see a democratic society doing the same thing. You've got it in South Korea and in Japan.

(voice-over): And the leaders of all these Asian countries and territories often seen wearing a mask in public.

(on camera): Stepping out of you home now, it's really just part of the routine. I mean you grab your cell phone, you grab your keys, your wallet and you make sure you have your face mask. Naturally, there are times you forget, right. You walk out of your house, bare faced, you're in a rush. If the strange looks don't remind you, then a police officer or security guard will sometimes gesture to you and shout and you realize they are telling you to put on a mask.


CULVER: No question, culturally mask wearing is not that foreign here. Many wore them for the SARS outbreak back in 2003 and 2004 and of course here in Beijing masks have been worn on heavily polluted days.

But now you will even find folks who have forgotten to wear a mask maybe if they head out, and if you encounter them, say, in the elevator, they will quickly realize and become embarrassed. They try to cover up mouths with their clothes, they'll turn to the wall of the elevator so as to not breathe near you, or Brooke, in some cases they will even step off the elevator just as a courtesy.

BALDWIN: Incredible. David Culver, thank you so much for that look into Asian culture and how easy it seems to be for them to just wear a mask.

Any moment President Trump is set to speak after meeting with the President of Mexico at the White House. They are celebrating the U.S./Mexico/Canada Trade Agreement without the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Why? That's next.



BALDWIN: Soon President Trump will appear there in the Rose Garden with the President of Mexico. They are expected to sign this joint declaration and celebrate the new U.S./Mexico/Canada Agreement without the Canadian Prime Minister who is skipping today's event.

Today marks the first face-to-face meeting between President Trump and his Mexican counterpart both of whom are looking for political victories amid this ongoing pandemic.

So, let's go to CNN's Vivian Salama. She joins me now in Washington. So, Vivian, why is Prime Minister Trudeau MIA?

VIVIAN SALAMA, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: So, Brooke, let's be clear that this signing of the USMCA Agreement is seen as a big deal for all three countries. They were improving on a number of trade deals that all three countries believed were antiquated and were better for their constituents.

But at the end of the day, we don't have Justin Trudeau there and a part of it is because we're in the middle of a coronavirus pandemic and Trudeau has opted to basically stay home and address those concerns.

He's quarantined himself after his wife tested positive for the virus a few months ago. And he's taken a number of measures including agreeing to close the U.S. and Canadian border. But it goes beyond that. I talked to Canadian officials and even U.S. officials who say that even though all of the these issues officially are why Prime Minister Trudeau skipped out on today's events, there is a sense that he is actually just trying to buy time.

You've got four months until the election, it's a very uncertain election as far as a lot of people are concerned and so he believes that if he buys time and waits it out to see if he has to deal with President Trump down the line and then he'll make the decision. But in the meantime, it's better for him politically at home and for other reasons to just sit it out, address the concerns back home and deal with the pandemic in person there in Ottawa.

BALDWIN: In Ottawa. All right. We got it. Vivian Salama, thank you so much for the explanation there.

Meantime, the dire situation in Arizona is only getting worse as the state reports that there are now fewer than 200 ICU beds available as cases spike. We have those new details next.



BALDWIN: Today Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms is expected to sign an executive order that will mandate face masks in that city. This goes beyond the Governor Brian Kemp's order in Georgia that encourages face masks to be worn.

The mayor's spokesperson telling CNN that, quote, details are forthcoming. And this comes just two days after the Atlanta mayor revealed that she and her husband have both tested positive for COVID- 19. One of the mayor's children has also tested positive. So, for more national headlines, let's check if in with our CNN correspondents all across the country.


EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Evan McMorris-Santoro in Tucson. Arizona still leads the nation in average daily per capita new cases per day. It's put a strain on the hospital system here. ICU beds have hovered at around 90 percent capacity in the entire state with fewer than 200 beds being available over the course of the last few days.

Here in Pima County where I am, that number has gotten as low as six ICU beds. It is just one of the struggles that public health officials are dealing with as the pandemic continues to grow.

SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Sara Sidner in Burbank, California, where the number of COVID-19 patients being hospitalized is spiking. There are now about 6,000 patients in hospitals with coronavirus. Those numbers spiking out of control and health officials very worried that if the numbers keep continuing that way, that they will run out of ICU beds in the state. So, they're trying to get that under control.

Also, the number of people coming back with positive COVID-19 testing, that has jumped in the state 6.8 percent across the state but in L.A. county, the most populous in the state, is at 11.6 percent. Officials saying, they have to get these numbers down.


CAROLYN MANNO, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: I'm Carolyn Manno in Orlando, Florida, right on the edge of the Major League Soccer's bubble as they look to restart their season later on this evening. The NBA also welcoming 22 teams to this campus for resumption to their season on July 30th.

So far in MLS, trouble with the coronavirus. Players from three clubs out of a possible 26 have already tested positive. The keys here are being described to me by one MLS executive as diligent testing, a socially distance atmosphere that is somewhat militant. And also, everybody working together to ensure that this bubble gets stronger as the weeks go on.

The one thing that both commissioners can agree on that might jeopardize play here in Orlando, Florida, would be an outbreak inside the bubble.

LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: I'm Lauren Fox on Capitol Hill. We are now learning that there are multiple Republican Senators who don't plan to attend the GOP Convention in Jacksonville, Florida.

They include Senator Chuck Grassley, who is a Republican from Iowa has attended the convention the last four decades. He cited in a phone call with local reporters on Monday afternoon that he was afraid to attend the convention this year because of the growing pandemic across the country.

Also not attending is Senator Susan Collins, a Republican from Maine who's up for re-election. A spokeswoman for the Senator said that she never attends these conventions when she is up for re-election.

Also not attending, Senator Lisa Murkowski, a Republican from Alaska. Senator Mitt Romney, a Republican from Utah who voted to impeach the President this winter as well as Senator Lamar Alexander, a Republican from Tennessee who is retiring.


BALDWIN: Thanks to all of you. Now to this. She is a United States Senator, an Iraq War veteran who lost both of her legs fighting for this country. He is a TV host who has never served a day in his life. So why is he claiming that Senator Tammy Duckworth hates America? That's next.



BALDWIN: United Airlines is warning nearly half of its frontline work workforce that they could be furloughed when restrictions on a federal bailout expire in October. So, joining me now is our CNN aviation correspondent, Pete Muntean. Pete, what is United telling its employees? PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brooke, one United

employee tells me this is just downright heartbreaking. What is so interesting, is that it was only a week ago that United said that it was going to ramp up its schedule for the month of August.

Now it's going back on that promise saying that it will fly only 20 percent of the flights that it was flying this time last year. United says as cases of coronavirus started to surge again across the country, demand for flying actually went down, and now it's sending out furlough notices to 36,000 of its frontline employees. The lion share of them flight attendants, 16,000 flight attendants, 11,000 in customer service, 2,250 pilots.

United sent out this letter to all of its work groups. A part of the quote says, the reality is with the conditions the way they are now, with travel so depressed, United cannot continue going forward like this.

It is urging its employees to take voluntarily leaves of absence, take early retirement packages. Airlines have said they would have to get smaller as this pandemic would drag on. And now we are seeing simply how small. United already got about $5 billion from the C.A.R.E.S. Act, a federal stimulus money. It's saying that there's probably not an appetite for another stimulus bill once again to bail out the airlines even though United did just receive a loan from the Treasury to help it go forward.

United says it's burning through $40 million each day. And this is not sustainable. That's why it's sending out these letters to its employees -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: Wow, $40 million every day. Goodness. Pete Muntean. Thank you for that update from United.

And I just want to close today with a reminder.

It's not the critic who counts, especially when that critic uses his primetime television perch to criticize someone who lost her limbs for this country. The critic who has never served a day in his life has decided that the junior United States Senator from Illinois, Tammy Duckworth, despises America.

His smears that the potential Democratic Vice-Presidential nominee is a vandal, a fraud, and a moron revolve around Duckworth's suggestion that the U.S. should have a national conversation about removing the monuments to founding fathers such as George Washington.

Washington owned slaves. Duckworth told our own Dana Bash it is worth listening to those who say that is enough to merit taking those statues down. That suggestion just to listen to that argument according to the critic is more akin to screaming about how horrible America is, and that she cannot count herself among the many of us who do like this country.

That, quite simply, is "B.S." Duckworth's record of service is how we know. Just looking at her is how we know. She has a purple heart, and she has the medal you see every day, the steel and titanium prosthesis attached to her thighs and the wheelchair she uses to get around.

Duckworth was on a routine mission in 2004 when a rocket-propelled grenade harpooned the floor of the Blackhawk helicopter she was flying. It burst into flames inside the cockpit and her co-pilot presumed Duckworth was dead, but she wasn't.

And she has spent every single day since that accident in the continued service of the country and the Illinois Army National Guard, in the V.A.