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NHL Teams Starting Training Camp For Season Restart; Some GOP Criticize Trump On Stone Commutation, Statements On Protesters And Comments On Wearing Mask; France Rules Out Lockdown If 2nd Wave Brings Surge In Cases. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired July 13, 2020 - 12:30   ET




JOHN KING, CNN HOST: Its official, Washington's NFL franchise losing the Redskins name and its logo depicting a Native American. You see the helmet right there. This change coming after years of complaints, many found the name and the logo offensive and racist.

The team releasing this statement this morning, Dan Snyder and Coach Rivera 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.

The decision to drop the name came after weeks of protests announcing racism and pressure from several corporate sponsors including FedEx, which has the naming rights to the team stadium. FedEx today saying it appreciates the franchise decision to change the name.

The National Hockey League getting back into action today, teams starting their training camps today. Pittsburgh Penguins saying they are pulling nine players from training camp because they had possible secondary exposure to COVID-19.

The camps, the first step to restart any NHL season on August 1st, NHL shut down back on March 12th as they get ready to restart to do it in the same manner as the NBA in a bubble, all the games being played in Canada, Toronto, and Edmonton.

Joining me now is the NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. Commissioner Bettman, thank you so much for being with us today. I assume you're a bit on pins and needles here, anxious to get back on the ice at the same time. You're watching the other sports leagues too. You see what just happened in Pittsburgh, a little worried about exposure there. Walk us through your metrics. And are you sure you're all in? Or is there a point if a certain percentage of players test positive that you might have to pull back?

GARY BETTMAN, NHL COMMISSIONER: I think the bigger issue, and thank you for having me today. The bigger issue is getting everybody back into training camps, in the facilities where the clubs play and train in the home markets and evaluating how people are coming back whether or not they've been exposed to COVID-19.


What the Penguins did in Pittsburgh was, I think almost a tertiary possible exposure. And there was an abundance of caution. Our protocols are very strict, very comprehensive. And as we've said from the outset, health and safety is going to be the key.

We've had hundreds of players tested already. We've had thousands of tests administered. And at least in the inception of getting everybody back, we anticipated there would be some number of positive tests, which is why we're moving slowly and cautiously. But we believe if we go through this screening process, and we actually get to our two bubbles in places that don't have a lot of COVID-19, we should be OK.

KING: And so walk us through that in the sense you're going to have the Eastern Conference teams in Toronto, the Western Conference teams out in Edmonton, all the games being played in Canada. I was seeing last week some complaints from major league baseball teams that they was taking too long to get the test results back.

Are you learning lessons from that? Or you're doing things differently? How confident are you that and when it comes to the testing and then maintaining the security of your bubbles that you have a good plan?

BETTMAN: We think we have a terrific plan, a plan it's been signed off on by the health authorities both in Alberta and in Ontario. We're working with the federal government in Canada as well.

Listen, all the leagues have been kind of watching each other, talking to each other. Our chief medical people regularly consult with each other. But we're all doing what we think is appropriate for our sport. And bringing everybody back for training camp, which in our case is important. Not only do we want to make sure that we're COVID free to the extent possible, a lot of our players haven't skated in months, which is the longest they haven't skated since they were children.

And we just want to make sure that they're in game ready shape. Having them in training camp, testing extensively, isolating where appropriately, we think we can get to the point where it will be safe to bring everybody to the bubble. We don't want to do anything that compromises health and safety.

And as everybody in all the leagues have acknowledged, this isn't without its risks, but that's why we're moving slowly and prudently. And ultimately, it's one of the reasons we had 10 different opportunities to go to pub cities that our teams in the cities they play and were offering to us. And ultimately, a major consideration, as we said, all along, was where we're going to see the least amount of COVID-19.

KING: And so I've been covering this issue for months. And this is a new wrinkle for me in the sense that obviously, you want to respect people's privacy. And as people come back to play, it's -- I assume, as it is another -- it's up to the players. If a player tests positive, it's up to that player to decide whether or not they want to release that that you are not going to do it. And the teams are not allowed to do it without the players' permission.

I'm just seeing this statement from Don Fehr, the executive director of the Players Association, talking about people who gamble, who bet on games saying if the people who are betting on games think the information is insufficient to make a bet, they shouldn't bet. That's a new wrinkle for me, I get the privacy issues, but because, you know, sports betting is such a big industry. How did you wrestle with the privacy question?

BETTMAN: Well, first of all, the privacy question was paramount, that players putting aside HIPAA for a second. We spent the last three months in a collaborative effort with our Players Association, whether it was the return to play system, the protocols, transition rules, critical dates, or the fact that in the midst of all this, we've actually agreed to extend our collective bargaining agreement for another four years.

So we have six years of labor peace, the players, Players Association have said, we don't want to happen unless the player decides to disclose it. And so we're doing that with all injuries because obviously, if the team says the player has an upper body injury, you know what it is. But if a player isn't showing up and playing, and there's no disclosure as to what is the nature of his injury or his condition is, and you're going to assume that it might be COVID-19 exposures.

So we are respecting the player's wishes in this regard, but we are going to disclose the numbers. We will disclose when we get positive tests, how much testing we're doing, how many positives they are. But the final analysis, we believe it was important to respect the desire and wishes of our players.

KING: Commissioner Gary Bettman, appreciate your time today. I'm going to keep my fingers crossed that all goes well and I'm sitting on a couch watching a Bruins game pretty soon.

BETTMAN: I hope you are as well. Thank you.

KING: Best of luck, Commissioner. Thank you for your time today.


Up next for us, look at the growing divide between the President and some members of his own party.


KING: One trademark of the Trump presidency, he has been relatively immune from GOP criticism. But in recent days and weeks, we do see the President facing some criticism from some members of his own party.

The issues at play the computation of Trump's longtime friends Roger Stone's prison sentence, the President's tweets and statements on the protest movement, and his comments about wearing a mask. CNN's Manu Raju is with us now. Manu, it is a trickle. I don't want to overstate it. But with the President's poll numbers slumping, I guess the question is, does this trickle get turned into not a flood even but it's the flow as we get closer to the election and Republicans get nervous.


MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the challenge for the Republican senators and they know just that is that, they believe that they have to stick with the President in order to help their own reelection standing.

When the President does something controversial, when he does something like he did on Friday night which is to commute the sentence of his longtime friend Roger Stone for who was convicted on seven counts, including lying to Congress as part of an investigation into the President. They know if they come out and criticize him. They are going to get criticized by the President himself. And that may not help with their own reelections come November.

What you did see on Friday, John, were to and the aftermath of that move by the President with two Republican senators come out and criticize the President, Mitt Romney, of course, was the lone Republican to vote to convict the President during his impeachment trial called this corruption essentially.

And Pat Toomey, the Republican from Pennsylvania said it was a mistake. But those two senators are not up for reelection this year. Other Republican senators who are up have been mostly silent. I've reached out for instance to Susan Collins's office, the main Republican senator up for reelection in a difficult race in a state that trends Democratic but a state where she needs a Republican support.

She has not yet weighed in on this yet, and Republicans are -- the Senate and the House are in recess this week. So there are a few of them around for us to get reaction to. So you are hearing some criticisms, some concerns about the President's actions, whether it's him not wearing a mask, but as you mentioned, is this more of a trickle? That's been a trend pretty much all year in the -- with the President's time in office.

We'll see if they just -- there's more -- of a more outbreak from among the Republicans as his poll numbers worsen. But at the moment, most believe, John, that the President needs to do better because that will help them come November.

KING: That's going to be interesting to watch as we get through. We're not going to have traditional debates this year. But if we have more virtual debates, those Republicans are going to get asked all those questions if we get to that point. Manu Raju, appreciate that from Capitol Hill. Thanks so much.

Just in for us, a federal judge now blocking the execution of convicted murderer Daniel Lewis Lee, what would have been the first federal execution in 17 years. Lee was scheduled to be executed later today. The judge cited the ongoing challenges to the federal government's lethal injection protocol, that injunction applies to Lee and three other federal inmates. The Justice Department, though, is appealing that ruling.

Up next, we'll look at how countries around the world are dealing with the question of returning to class this fall.



KING: Some important news just in the CNN, official searching for missing actress Naya Rivera, have found the body. It is not clear if the body is hers. But officials say they're not working to recover the body and they plan to hold the press conference at 5:00 p.m. Eastern time today.

Rivera has been missing since Wednesday. She rented a boat on Lake Peru in Southern California. Authorities found Rivera's four-year-old son on that boat, one lifejacket was found on the boat. The boy was wearing another. We'll continue to follow this developing story throughout the day.

It's a global pandemic. So there's a global conversation not just here in the United States about the question, is it safe to send your kids back to school in the fall? So let's take a look now at how some other countries around the world are making this decision. Our international correspondents help us out beginning with David Culver in Beijing.


DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Here in China most students are on summer break. And it comes after what was a tumultuous semester. Really it started with them in their own homes doing classes. And then finally, towards the end of the semester, they were able to return to a sense of normalcy by going back into the classroom for learning.

However, our cluster outbreak a few weeks ago here in Beijing, shut of all of that down, sent them back into their homes. Now the focus is looking ahead to September, that's when the new semester is expected to begin. Students are expected to be back into their classrooms, not only here in Beijing, but really across most of China.

Now the effort there is health monitoring. And they will be doing so with strict measures in place. And they're also doing so with preparation that any future cluster outbreak that takes place would then require a backup of sorts. Students going back into their homes and classes resuming, I'll be it digitally.

David Culver, CNN, Beijing.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Here in Asia, we're getting a lesson in just how difficult it is to keep schools open in the age of COVID- 19. In South Korea, hundreds of schools that were open are now closed. And students are learning online, the reason, an uptick in cases there. Now they're going district by district and if there are enough patients in a particular school district and that school makes the decision to shut down.

It's also happening here in Hong Kong, a city that thought it had the virus under control until the last week or so when there's been an uptick in community spread, locally transmitted cases of coronavirus from people with no known travel history. That was enough. Even relatively small numbers, talking dozens of cases a day for Hong Kong to cancel all schools for the rest of the week and in fact, the rest of the school year because summer begins on Saturday.

What does this mean for other countries that are opening up? You can do everything right, social distancing, lots of hygiene, and still schools might have to close again if the virus returns.

Will Ripley, CNN, Hong Kong.

CYRIL VANIER, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Here in France, students are expected to fully go back to class when schools reopened early September. They'll have to stay socially distanced. And for 11 year olds and up, wear a face mask where distancing isn't possible.


French President Emmanuel Macron had made it a priority to send students back to school starting mid May, on the grounds that underprivileged kids couldn't afford to miss out on their learning any longer.

And with virus numbers trending down, primary and middle school students were even mandated to attend class for the last two weeks of the year.

Across Europe, the expectation is also that schools will reopen in September, countries like Denmark and Germany were among the first to reopen, and even Spain and Italy once the center of the pandemic and now gearing up to welcome students again. With one major caveat, many governments and local authorities in Europe are working on contingency plans to restart schooling from home, should the virus pick up again.

Cyril Vanier, CNN, Paris.


KING: Well, let's take a closer look at that debate in France which plans to reopen its schools in the fall even though the government says bracing for a possible new surge in COVID cases. The government though says it will not respond to any outbreak with another lockdown.

Dr. Arnaud Fontanet is the director of the Department of Global Health at the Institut Pasteur in Paris. Sir, thank you so much for joining us. As you have studied this issue, as both a parent and a researcher, you think there could be a difference between the youngest students and older students, because of how the virus is transmitted? Tell us what you're learning.

DR. ARNAUD FONTANET, DIRECTOR, DEPARTMENT OF GLOBAL HEALTH AT INSTITUT PASTEUR: Yes. Thank you very much for having me. We had the opportunity of studying different schools in a small town near Paris in February when the epidemic was starting.

And what we observed was that in the high school with teenagers, the epidemic moved very rapidly. We had 38 percent of students infected, 43 percent of teachers, and 59 percent of non-teaching staff infected, whereas in six primary schools of the same city, despite introduction of the virus in three different schools, we didn't see any secondary case.

So our interpretation of this is that well, teenagers behave as adults when it comes to risk of being contagious to others with this new disease, whereas we hope so students of elementary schools would not be as contagious and the risk of spread in primary schools is more limited.

KING: How would you translate your advice across the Atlantic, if you will, in the sense that everybody around the world is debating how much social distancing, should students wear masks, how much of it is done by remote learning? If you look at the case count in France right now we can show the seven day moving average. And the line is way down at the bottom of the chart, which is where you want to be when you're having any conversation, whether it's reopening your economy or reopening your schools.

But if you look at a more global perspective, we're going to show you the United States, France, Italy, Germany, Japan, and South Korea, when you show that you have the United States way up there in terms of new cases over 40,000 a day. If you were across the Atlantic, in the United States, would you have the same position about reopening that you have in France where your curve has been flattened?

FONTANET: No, you're perfectly right that first of all, you have to see what the local situation of your epidemic. If, as in France, currently you are in your control situation, then you may consider reopening schools. If, as in the United States now, you have such high numbers, I mean, that would not be a good time to do it.

Now, when it comes to reopening schools, if the situation is favorable to it, teenagers, I mean, are grown up enough to wear a mask, to keep some physical distance, to wash hands. And therefore, I mean, I think that should really be well work.

For students who are younger than 10, it becomes much more difficult to have them wear a mask or to keep physical distance. So what we advise is hand washing of course because also this habit is something that can keep for their entire life. And then you keep them in the same class, you know, trying not to mix groups. So that if the virus start to stipulate in the class, then it doesn't spread to other classes, the same school.

So this is basically what we try to enforce in France. But of course, you can do it only if the virus is not circulating in the community at that time.

KING: And how do you deal with the issue? I suppose you just remove them. But whether its teachers or people who work in the school who might be at high risk, are they safe to go back if you have the curve relatively flattened, or do you have to take extra measures to protect them?

FONTANET: Well, they definitely have to be very careful. And again, it will really depend on the level of circulation of the virus in the community at that time. I would guess if the situation is under control, if they can keep themselves well protected with mask and hand washing, then they may eventually go back to school. But that will be the first to be told to stay at home if we see the virus starting to circulate again.

KING: Dr. Arnaud Fontanet, Director of the Department of Global Health at the Institut Pasteur, Sir, thank you so much for your insights, best of luck as you go through the questions there and France as we deal with them here in the United States as well. And thank you for joining us on this busy news day.


Lots more to continue, Brianna Keilar picks up our coverage right now. Have a good afternoon.