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Virus Patients Overwhelm Brazil; Push to Reopen Schools as Cases Surge; Weekend Shootings in Chicago; Redskins to Change Name. Aired 9:30-10a

Aired July 13, 2020 - 09:30   ET




POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: All right, welcome back.

So right now in Brazil, police there in Rio are apparently ticketing people for not wearing face masks on the famous beaches there. The country is approaching 2 million Covid cases and that number includes Brazil's president, who is in somewhat of a semi isolation after testing positive for the virus last week.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: And, of course, he, like President Trump, repeatedly downplayed the threat of the virus and the science behind it.

CNN's Bill Weir is live now in Brazil.

So this, Bill -- Bill, the virus, it's taxing health care systems across Brazil. And at the same time, of course, you have a disinformation campaign coming from the highest levels there.

How -- how are officials there, people there balancing that?

BILL WEIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's interesting, Jim. There's a real tug-of-war between governors, mayors and the federal government. Very reminiscent of what's happening in the United States.

And, you know, we talk a lot about protecting the most vulnerable populations. Well, it's hard to imagine a more vulnerable population than the original Brazilians who have been increasingly squeezed by the modern world, now fighting this modern disease, but they still have enough knowledge of this world to have real resentment for the man in charge.


WEIR (voice over): A long lens found Brazil's most famous Covid-19 patient up and about this weekend and this Twitter selfie was part of a post that informed the nation they are on the verge of recession as he called for families to depoliticize the pandemic after so much, quote, misinformation was used as a weapon. To his critics, that is outrageous since President Bolsonaro often defied a judge's orders to wear a mask in public and pushed out two health ministers who disagreed with him.

And while he now has a team of doctors and his own palace ICU at the ready, hospitals across his country are jammed. Here in the geographic center of Brazil, a husband and wife suffer in adjoining beds. A son comforts his ailing father and their doctor is still regaining his strength after ten days in intensive care.

DR. WILSON VILELA, TREATING COVID-19 PATIENTS: So, today, my boss, (INAUDIBLE) boss, is inside with the ventilation, with tube.

WEIR (on camera): Really?

VILELA: Yes. Be (ph) better.

WEIR (voice over): Oh, my gosh.

VILELA: And not respond to chloroquine.

WEIR (on camera): Chloroquine is among the cheap abundant anti- malarial drugs pushed by Bolsonaro as a Covid cure, along with vitamins, steroids, and medication for parasitic worms. Dr. Vilela says he's tried them all with wildly mixed results.

VILELA: I don't know what to do, what I do.

WEIR (on camera): Right.

VILELA: Water.

WEIR: Yes, water.

VILELA: Yes. Yes.

WEIR: You have very little -- you're trying everything you can.

VILELA: Yes. Yes.

WEIR: Right. Yes.

VILELA: It's a -- it's a new disease.

WEIR: Yes.

VILELA: It's a new -- it's a new pandemic. So we don't have things to do.

WEIR: Right.

WEIR (voice over): He says it's even more challenging treating the indigenous Brazilians who once had this edge of the Amazon to themselves but are now surrounded by farms and ranches. A soybean trucker first brought Covid-19 to this region, and it is tearing through a community, already struggling with vulnerable immune systems, diabetes, and a deep mistrust of the outside world. [09:35:02]

I would like Jair Bolsonaro to stop talking stupid nonsense, Crisanto Rudzo tells me. The doctors have to prescribe, not the president. His government did not take prevention seriously. It did not prepare.

The indigenous leader was on a ventilator when his mother died of Covid-19. We have a very strong spirituality, so she was there and took my hand and told me that I'll get out of this, to take care of my people. Five days later, my father died.

As the pandemic spread, Brazil's congress passed a bill that would provide clean water, disinfectant and hospital beds for this country's 850,000 indigenous natives. Last week those efforts were vetoed by Jair Bolsonaro.


WEIR: There's a chance that Congress could override that veto. In the meantime, the mayor of Barra do Gracas here is pleading with them to set up a field hospital for the indigenous so they can at least come together. And it's so heartbreaking, you realize, a lot of those folks don't come to the hospital because they don't want to die in a place where they don't know anyone or even the language.

Jim and Poppy.

HARLOW: What important reporting, Bill. We're really glad you're there.


HARLOW: Thanks a lot.

Well, this debate in this country over reopening schools, by the way, some are supposed to open in just a few weeks. Well, the debate is intensifying. This as CNN has learned that three teachers sharing a classroom over the summer caught the virus and one of them, just 61 years old, died.



SCIUTTO: Right now a national debate is raging over if schools can really reopen safely. And you might be a part of that debate yourselves. Arkansas is the latest state to push back the start of school there. In Atlanta, leaders vote today on a plan to start digital only for the first nine weeks of school. And in Arizona, a state hit hard now, we're learning a teacher, there she is, has died of coronavirus. Kimberly Byrd and two other teachers contracted the virus while working in a classroom together this summer.

HARLOW: All of this as the education secretary, Betsy DeVos, refuses to say whether or not schools should follow CDC guidelines, talking about them as recommendations, but not mandates. And the president threatens to pull funding from schools that do not physically reopen.

With us now, two teachers, Elana Rabinowtiz, an ESL teacher at a middle school right here in New York City, and Mercedes Schneider, who teaches high school English in Louisiana.

It's very nice to have you both.

Obviously we're thankful you're here, but thanks for teaching our kids each and every day and your dedication to the field.

Elana, let me begin with you, because you wrote specifically about this and I think everyone can agree they want kids in school for sure, but they don't want anyone contracting Covid or anyone dying, as we saw with that teacher in Arizona.

What would you need to see to feel safe going to school?

ELANA RABINOWITZ, ESL TEACHER: Well, right now I'm not seeing all the things that I do need to see. I'd like to see an action plan and a contingency plan on what would happen if children got sick or teachers got sick. I'd like to know that there was an ample supply for once of masks, sanitizer, hand sanitizer, proper equipment, but I'd also like it to be in a situation where I wouldn't have to go inside.

I'm not really comfortable right now. New York City itself is in -- just barely passed phase two. So if there is a way to do it that we were able to set up tents outside, close off streets, if there was a way for to us go back where we actually felt safe, then I think that we could work together to figure out a solution on how to make the kids feel safer as well.

SCIUTTO: Mercedes, you teach high school English in Louisiana. You know, we're -- as you know, we're in a bizarre situation here where we have the data about health and school reopening coming from actual scientists and agencies such as the CDC, and then we have disinformation, much of it coming from the president, that contradicts the science. I just wonder where you are, what is guiding the decision-making there? Is it the science, the facts, what we know about this virus at this point, or is it something else?


No, I feel very much like all of American education is an experiment right now, but -- but not even a scientific experiment. It is a political roll of the dice for us. And we are the dice. The teachers in the classrooms. If it were not -- if there were not the issue -- and I wrote about this, it was carried in "The Washington Post," if there were not the issue of, well, parents need to go to work, then there would not be this great pressure coming on us to open schools.

If that were not the case -- and what I added was, you know, if I am sick, if I am quarantined, and my class is quarantined, on and on, and if we must do blended learning, which I don't see how there can be anything -- any best case scenario right now for most districts other than a blended situation, we're not going to be able to have school. And so the idea that it's going to be business as usual, where your child comes to school for seven or eight-hour school day and maybe some kind of auxiliary care and that you can rely on that as a parent, that is just not realistic.


HARLOW: Elana --


HARLOW: Online learn is really, really tough. I went through it with a, you know, four-year-old this year and it's not easy and I had the ability to be around in the afternoon to help. What the data show is that from Education Week, an independent organization, that about one in five students were essentially not participating in the online program in March and beyond when schools closed this past year.

And the number was even higher of those not participating in low- income communities. And then you look at the data out of the National Center for Education Statistics that 14 percent of school-aged children don't have access to Wi-Fi or broadband so they can't participate.

If school doesn't reopen, where does that leave those children? What are some creative solutions to make sure every child gets online instruction?

RABINOWITZ: I'm glad you mentioned that because I think the key is the last part of what you just said, creative solutions. And while we're in such a rush to go back and start the economy, what we're forgetting is the chances are a great amount of time is going to be spent in digital learning. And we should be focusing our resources on coming up with creative solutions.

I think that we need to include the teachers and give them a seat at the table and give us a chance to help come up with some creative solutions. For example, we need areas where kids, if their homes don't have it available, where they can go for better Wi-Fi. What kinds of programs can we come up with that haven't been created already?

I've heard of things where kids go to school and the teachers are home or if there are different kinds of programs that we can come up with, then I think if we had a consortium of teachers, if we were involved in this process, we are creative, we are problem solvers, we can come up with better solutions than are going on right now, especially, my heart goes out to the low income communities. That is the community that I serve. And I don't want to see them suffer any more than they have to.

SCIUTTO: Well, listen, I hope folks are listening to you -- to your voices as these decisions are made because, of course, you know what you're talking about in terms of how education is done.

Elana Rabinowitz, Mercedes Schneider, thanks to both of you. Wish you luck in these coming weeks and months.

SCHNEIDER: Thank you.

RABINOWITZ: Thank you and stay safe everyone.

SCIUTTO: Well, a few names in sports are as controversial as that of Washington's football team. As of right now, it will not be called by that name ever again.

HARLOW: And from the farms of Oklahoma to the beaches of Miami, W. Kamau Bell is taking on injustice and inequality across the country. This is an all-new season of "United Shades of America" with W. Kamau Bell starting Sunday night 10:00 Eastern right here on CNN.



SCIUTTO: Welcome back.

Chicago police will be speaking in the next hour after another violent weekend in that city.

HARLOW: Authorities say that at least 60 people were shot, eight of them killed.

Our Ryan Young joins us in Chicago.

And, Ryan, I mean this follows what we've seen over the last few weeks, including children being shot and killed.

What are police saying about this past weekend?

RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that -- that really is the tough part here. You see several members of the community who were upset, especially about these young lives that are being lost. You're talking about 63 shooting victims over the weekend. Of course, eight murders, and that's on the end of last weekend when you think about what happened over Fourth of July where over 70 people were shot.

Look, I just spent a half hour on the phone with some community activists who say they are at their wit's end right now. They believe that the community is also facing several different stressors. There's not as many jobs that are out there in the public as there used to be. People are home.

But one of the things they're highlighting here is that the community no longer believes in the police department so they're not helping them with some of these cases. They're actually not talking to officers, even though they may know the shooters. And that comes down to protection that is being provided.

So the other part of this conversation is the police department will be talking about some of the efforts they have. They have been out in the community a lot stronger in the last few weeks trying to get that trust is back. Of course, that's been a constant conversation over the last few years. There's also this belief sometimes across the country that people in

these neighborhoods don't care. There were three anti-violence marches this weekend. Of course, that didn't help with these numbers. A deadly weekend here in Chicago.

HARLOW: OK, Ryan Young, thank you very much for that very sad reporting and important update.

The NFL team in the nation's capital will no longer be known by the name the Redskins, that they were known for, for so long.

SCIUTTO: Yes, it follows decades of opposition to the team officially changing its name, announced just in the last hour.

CNN's Andy Scholes joins us now to explain.

So, Andy, they've announced there will be a change, but if I'm correct they have not announced what it will be changed to.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: That's correct, Jim. Good morning to you and Poppy.

They have not announced the new name yet, but the team put out a statement just moments ago saying, after reviewing the name and logo of the Redskins, they are deciding to retire it after using it for the past 87 years. Now the team also saying in that statement that they sent out that Dan Snyder and Coach Rivera are working closely to develop a new name and design approach that will enhance the standing of our proud tradition-rich franchise and inspire our sponsors, fans and community for the next 100 years.

Now, no date, as I just mentioned, has been given for when the team's going to announce the new name and logo. Teams report to training camps two weeks from tomorrow, so they don't have a lot of time to get this done.

And you might remember back in 2013 Snyder once said, you can print it in all caps, I'm never changing the name.


But after growing pressure from sponsors like FedEx and Nike, Snyder has decided it's finally time to make the move.

Now, the nickname red tails has been gaining some steam on social media. The redtails were Tuskegee airmen, a group of African-American fighter pilots back in World War II. You may remember a movie was made about them back in 2012. A fan made up this mock logo right here. It's become pretty popular as a potential name. It's the betting favorite online. Right behind redtails as betting favorite is the presidents. Others that have been circulating, red wolves. They have a pretty cool logo as well. Redhawks is also out there.

Another name being potentially as a possibility is the Washington Warriors. Daniel Snyder already actually owns the rights to that, but people say, you know, that might be too similar in name and imagery and something they'd want to avoid right now.

And, you know, guys, I don't think you can go wrong with the redtails. It's a pretty cool logo. It honors the military.


SCHOLES: If it was my choice, that would be it.

HARLOW: Me, too.

SCIUTTO: It's a great one and that logo's pretty cool, actually.

HARLOW: Yes, very cool.

SCIUTTO: Andy Scholes, thanks very much.

Well, the White House is making a concerted effort to publicly discredit one of its own coronavirus experts, one of the most respected in the world, just as the president is now re-tweeting the thoughts on coronavirus of a game show host who suggested that the CDC is lying about the pandemic.