Return to Transcripts main page
Fauci Says Hard-Hit States Should Think About Shutting Down Again as U.S. Hits 3 Million Cases; Ivy League Postpones All Fall Sports Until January 1st; NYC Begins Painting Black Lives Matter Mural Outside Trump Tower. Aired 11:30-12p ET
Aired July 9, 2020 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KATE BOLDUAN, ANCHOR, CNN: Speaking of the crazy quell, another aspect of it on schools reopening -- you know, the CDC that was going to have revised guidance coming after the president churned in, and now this morning saying that they're not revising any of their guidance. Something that has -- does seem to have changed overnight from a public health standpoint. What do you think this all should mean for safely reopening schools because it's confusing?
WILLIAM SCHAFFNER, PROFESSOR, DIVISION OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES, VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: It is confusing, let's look at the CDC guidelines, and I'm so glad that we are stiffening up at the CDC and pushing back against the political interference. It's very important. The CDC's guidelines are really quite elaborate and Dr. Redfield says we're also going to receive more material that will help us interpret the guidelines and address what our specific local issues are.
We need to open the schools, but we need to do them carefully. Let's look at those guidelines and do our best to apply them locally all across the country.
BOLDUAN: Yes, Dr. Fauci --
SCHAFFNER: It will require some change.
BOLDUAN: It will require change --
SCHAFFNER: Excuse me --
BOLDUAN: Yes, absolutely. It will require change, it will require flexibility and it will require likely more funding, and that's one aspect of it that will continue to be discussed. Dr. Schaffner, thank you very much. Coming up for us, the Ivy League was the first college conference to cancel their basketball tournaments back in March. Now they are the first to cancel sports this Fall. All sports this Fall. What does this mean for the rest of college sports?
[11:35:00] BOLDUAN: The first Division One College Sports Conference announcing
all sports are on hold until at least January. The Ivy League Conference making that official yesterday. The Leagues Council of Presidents saying this in making it official. "We have a responsibility to make decisions that are in the best interest of the students who attend our institutions as well as the faculty and staff who work at our schools. These decisions are extremely difficult particularly when they impact meaningful student-athlete experiences that so many value and cherish."
Joining me right now is the Ivy League Executive Director Robin Harris. Robin, thank you for being here. What was the deciding factor?
ROBIN HARRIS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, IVY LEAGUE: So our presidents have been working tirelessly this Spring, implementing policies and procedures for the campuses at large for the Fall. And over the past two weeks, we've had eight Ivy League campuses announce their policies for the Fall Semester for all students and for faculty and for staff.
And as we evaluated these policies which have different components and they do vary from campus to campus, it became clear that athletics competition was not going to be feasible in the Fall semester due to the various travel restrictions that are being put in place for faculty, staff and students, limits on visitors to campuses, the limits on size of social gatherings, the social distancing, and also a number of our campuses have limited the number of students that can be enrolled and in residence during the Fall semester.
And so it just made it where we couldn't have, unfortunately, we could not have the athletic competition.
BOLDUAN: What have -- what have the responses been like from coaches and athletes?
HARRIS: You know, tremendous disappointment. Of course, they cherish their athletic experiences and opportunities, and I think also a lot of understanding, frankly. Individuals in the Ivy League understand that we treat our student athletes like students because they are students. We operate athletics consistent with our campus policies, and there's an understanding that these policies that are being put in place to protect the health and well-being of the campus community at large and our society also should apply to our athletics community. So while we're all disappointed and disheartened, we know it's the right decision for the Ivy League.
BOLDUAN: Do you think other conferences will follow suit? They did after your decision in the Spring when you were the first conference to decide back in March to stop, you know, basketball tournaments.
HARRIS: Yes, I don't think that we will be the last conference to make this decision. I don't expect that it will happen as rapidly as what occurred in March where we went from the Ivy League announcing our decision, and then within 48 hours basically, all of sports were shut down, and I don't anticipate that sort of groundswell, but I don't think we will be the last conference. [11:40:00]
I think each conference, each institution will have to evaluate their own circumstances and make their own decisions.
BOLDUAN: About football season, I've heard some talk and maybe it's just wishful thinking, but a football Spring season, how seriously are you considering that?
HARRIS: So our president's decided so far only that we cannot have competition in the Fall. They have not decided at this point on Winter competition or Spring competition, and they also have not decided whether we can move Fall sports to the Spring, and that would include football. Our athletic directors have been working tirelessly throughout the Spring as well, considering various options, first for the Fall, and also looking at some of those options are looking at what would the Spring look like if we were to have Fall sports in the Spring.
But nothing has been decided at this point. It would -- it's way too premature, clearly, the situation with the virus has to change and our campus policies have to adjust.
BOLDUAN: It's premature to even talk about what we're doing in three weeks at this point, so I absolutely understand that, director --
HARRIS: That's right.
BOLDUAN: I mean, seriously. Thank you very much for coming in, appreciate your time.
HARRIS: I appreciate your attention to this. Thank you.
BOLDUAN: Thank you. Coming up for us, Texas reports its highest number of deaths in one day since the pandemic began. We're going to talk to the doctor on the front lines about what he thinks his state needs to be doing to save lives.
BOLDUAN: Let's focus in on Texas right now where they are seeing rising numbers in all three key areas, infections, hospitalizations and deaths. The state is topping the 10,000 case mark two days ago, more than doubling the number of daily new cases that they reported three weeks ago. Here, you can see hospitalizations also on the rise. Some hospitals in Texas are now warning that they could soon run out of ICU beds, and tragically the state says that they are now seeing the highest number of deaths since the pandemic began.
That chart really is startling. Joining me right now is Dr. Ogechika Alozie; he's a member of the Texas Medical Association's Coronavirus Taskforce and Infectious Disease doctor as well in El Paso, Texas. Doctor, thank you very much for being here. El Paso was actually named by Dr. Deborah Birx as one of the cities that she's watching very closely right now as it's seeing a significant increase in cases.
We were looking, yesterday, El Paso reported its highest single day infection increase since the pandemic began. What are you seeing there? What is going on and how bad is it?
OGECHIKA ALOZIE, MEMBER, TEXAS MEDICAL ASSOCIATION CORONAVIRUS TASKFORCE: First of all, thank you for having me. I think as you know, Texas passing 10,000 cases, El Paso having over 300 cases the other morning. We're really concerned as we sort of came out of our lockdown period, the stay-at-home, and we were expanding, people started to engage.
We didn't have a clear mask policy. We weren't really social distancing or physically distancing, and so now we're seeing some of the repercussions of that. We still hope that with testing and getting people to change their physical dynamics, that we can get on top of that.
BOLDUAN: For sure, that is the hope. The state reported the highest number of deaths in a single day yesterday. What does that tell you about where you are in terms of the outbreak, and in that ultimate goal of getting this under control?
ALOZIE: It's very concerning, right? We all know that cases come before hospitalizations which come before deaths. And so, any action we take today, we still have a four-week lag time. I think that's really important for people to understand that there's no immediate fix to this. This is something that we're going to have to collectively change as individuals and as a community, and that's the only -- that's really the only way we're going to get around it.
BOLDUAN: The lag time is something that it appears a lot of people have a hard time with. That it's not a one-day change in behavior. It is long term, and you're not going to see the benefits of it for quite some time. That seems to be a really -- why do you think that seems to be such a hard challenge for people to accept as we've seen this go on?
ALOZIE: There are a number of reasons. I think, first of all, people aren't really familiar with how viruses work and how the spread of viruses works, and to that natural history of an infection. And actually feel as if sometimes, even though you guys in the press have done a great job, we in the medical community have been sort of torn around our messaging.
And so what should have been clear from day one is that this is just early on, right? So to steal a metaphor from Dr. Michael Osterholm, we're in the third to fourth inning of a nine-inning game, we're going to have to hunker down and not just that, our actions have lagged. There's a delay, just like muscle memory. You don't go to the gym and all of a sudden get strong overnight. It takes three to four weeks to see those developments and those gains. And we're going to have to really put in the work to get ahead of this epidemic.
BOLDUAN: Avoiding the gym is also not going to help us get past this, that's for sure. But actually, in this one, avoiding the gym might actually help us get past this because I want to get to your chart that you put together that I think is extremely helpful in informing the public about the level of risk that various behaviors and our various actions have. The Texas Medical Association put this chart together and it lists out activities and lays out the level of risks for each.
On the low end, the lowest risk is opening mail, eating takeout, playing tennis. On the higher end of risks in this chart, it talks about going to a bar, going to a movie theater, going to a gym. And I read that and I realized that two of the three of those are still allowed in Texas, going to the movies and going to the gym. Does that make any sense to you?
ALOZIE: It's more important to me to really focus in on that personal responsibility, right. So Texas, we really do believe in personal responsibility, and individuals are going to have to make the decisions that they're going to have to live with, but I think they also have to remember that their individual decisions affect our community. As a TMA member, what we really wanted to focus on was giving people a guide.
These are not hard and fast, and I truly believe that reasonable people can argue about where certain things in this ranking are. But it fills that vacuum where people were asking us, what can we do? What can't we do? If I were making a decision, probably wouldn't go to a packed bar. We also understand that by drinking alcohol, it changes your behavior, you remove your mask, you don't wash your hands, you're in close quarters.
And so understanding that being outdoors is all going to be better than indoors. Few people is better than more people. And just sort of those sort of constructs, I think narrowly is what people need to determine how can they be safe as they continue to try to live their lives.
BOLDUAN: Absolutely, and Dr. Alozie, thank you very much. I think this color kind of chart is actually quite helpful for everyone with some of the questions that everyone has. Going to a public pool, all sorts of things, it's a good reference point to take a look at, and I appreciate your time.
ALOZIE: I appreciate you, thank you so much.
BOLDUAN: Thank you. Coming up for us, Black Lives Matter, street murals have been painted in cities across the country. No one -- now, one is being painted in the president's hometown, and right at his front doorstep.
[11:55:00] BOLDUAN: A new public art installation that's sure to get President
Trump's attention is under way in New York City today. Today, the city is beginning to paint a Black Lives Matter mural on 5th Avenue directly in front of Trump Tower. CNN's Polo Sandoval is there. Polo, what are you -- what is happening there right now?
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So basically now, Kate, you have the New York adding itself to the list of cities, the growing list of cities adding these murals with those three words in bright yellow letters, "black lives matter". What we did see a few moments ago is Mayor Bill de Blasio arriving here -- we should note that this is happening now after a delay in a bit of heated back-and-forth online between President Trump and this city's mayor.
The president initially, when this was proposed, calling this proposal a symbol of hate, that it would only to use his word denigrate 5th Avenue here. Mayor Bill de Blasio responding to that criticism just a short while ago here before he actually took a paint roller in hand, saying that this is an acknowledgement of the truth that they are in fact liberating 5th Avenue, also making a note in his tweet, saying that really it was really many of those black lives that built 5th Avenue.
So this is certainly still we're hearing some feedback from various New Yorkers who have actually stopped by here. I spoke to one New Yorker earlier today, Kate, who says that this is now a permanent reminder that changes need to happen, and of course, what better location than at the foot of Trump Tower? Now, we should mention that the president, the first lady officially changed their primary residence to Florida just last year.
But still this continues to be one of the most recognizable buildings in Manhattan, of course, especially one with the Trump name on it right on 5th Avenue. So of course, it's certainly the hope of many of the activists, many of the community members who have come out here to paint this mural, that this will serve as a lasting reminder, not just to New Yorkers, but around the world since this is of course a massive retail hub.
But it certainly also comes with a bit of controversy. I spoke to one New Yorker, who said he certainly does not agree with some of the platforms of the Black Lives Matter movement, and certainly did not want to see it on 5th Avenue. He didn't feel that, that was the way, but nonetheless, of course, at this point, what we do see are those -- again, those three bright yellow letters now painted on the pavement outside of Trump Tower. Kate?
BOLDUAN: Quite a statement. Polo, thank you very much. New unemployment numbers are out, 1.3 million Americans filing for unemployment benefits for the first time. That number continues to trend downward from a high as you can see, which was unbelievable at the end of March. But overall, jobless numbers still remaining very high as the economy continues to struggle. You can see it everywhere.
In Orlando, Florida, Disney World is on track to actually begin a phased reopening this Saturday, even though Florida as we have discussed so much is now the global epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic. A union representing hundreds of Disney-theme park performers is actually filing a grievance against the company over this. Cristina Alesci is joining me now, she's got much more on this. Cristina, what more are you learning?
CRISTINA ALESCI, CNN POLITICS & BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Kate. I am learning that the union that represents about 750 Disney performers is now saying that Disney is retaliating against those workers because they demanded coronavirus testing and the company did not recall them to work because of that. That is what the union is alleging the company. Let me give you some background here.
In late June, the company actually did recall these workers back to the theme park to begin rehearsals, then the union went public with this demand for mandatory company provided coronavirus testing, and that recall for the workers to return was rescinded. The company essentially said never mind, don't come back to work. I cannot stress enough how much is on the line for Disney as it reopens Disney World, one of its most iconic theme parks.
The nightmare scenario that everybody is not verbalizing, but is in the back of everyone's head when I talk about this story with them is that they reopen the park, a bunch of people get sick, they have to close down again. And there is so much on the line in terms of the company itself.
An analyst earlier this year projected that because the theme parks were closed around the world, not just in Florida, but Disney has theme parks in China and in Europe.