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Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), Titan Of Civil Rights, Dies At Age 80; CDC Forecasts 157,000-Plus U.S. COVID-19 Deaths By August 8; White House Blocks CDC Director From Testifying On Reopening Schools; Worried Teachers Prepare Wills Amid School Reopening Debate; Tabatha Rosproy, 2020 National Teacher Of The Year, Discusses Reopening Schools, DeVos Saying Online Schools Are "Disasters". Aired 3-4p ET

Aired July 18, 2020 - 15:00   ET




ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: Hello. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

A titan of the civil rights movement, a hero of American history and the conscience of the U.S. Congress, is gone. Long-time Georgia Congressman John Lewis died last night of pancreatic cancer, a disease he fought with the same courage and strength he used to battle racial injustice. And at a time when the nation is facing a real reckoning, his life is a lesson for all of us.

Born a son of sharecroppers, he became a follower and colleague of Martin Luther King Jr., organizing sit-ins at lunch counters, challenging segregated buses. He was also the last surviving speaker from the 1963 march on Washington.


REP. JOHN LEWIS (D-GA): We shall march with the spirit of love and with the spirit of dignity that we have shown here today. We must say wakeup America, wake up, for we cannot stop and we will not and cannot be patient.


CABRERA: in 1965, he was beaten within an inch of his life, leading one of the most famous marches in American history across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, on what would become known as Bloody Sunday.

And earlier this year, even as he battled cancer, he made an emotional return to that bridge, and delivered this message.


LEWIS: We got beaten, we got tear gassed. I thought I was going to die on this bridge. But somehow, and some way, God almighty helped me here. We cannot give up now. We cannot give in. We must keep the faith, keep our eyes on the prize.


CABRERA: Lewis' legacy, so big, so great. It's hard to put into words. But what he said he wanted, time and time again, was for people to get in good trouble, necessary trouble.


LEWIS: I would see those signs that say white men, colored men, white women, colored women, white waiting, colored waiting. And I asked my mother and father and grandparents, they asked why they would support us (ph) the way it is, and don't get in the way, don't get in trouble.

But in 1965, 15 years old, the action of Rosa Parks, the role and leadership of Dr. King is finding to get in trouble, what I call good trouble, necessary trouble.


CABRERA: John Lewis was 80 years old.

Political leaders, past and present, plenty of people who knew and admired Congressman John Lewis all sharing their memories and sadness today.

CNN National Correspondent Suzanne Malveaux is joining us now.

Suzanne, it was just moments ago we saw the first words about the congressman's passing from the president.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Very telling, Ana, when you look at this. I mean, this was a president who spent his afternoon, his morning, rounds of golf, at his Virginia Resort, just tweeting recently, and saddened to hear the news of civil rights hero John Lewis hearing, Melania send our prayers to he and his family. Trump had tweeted or re-tweeted at least 40 times between this message and when the announcement was made that Congressman Lewis had, in fact, passed away.

And they, needless to say, had a very frosty, very cold relationship, Congressman Lewis did not feel that Trump was a legitimate president because of the evidence of Russian interference in the election and he boycotted his inauguration. President Trump full of criticism and insults towards Lewis, saying he was all talk and no action, and that it was a crime-infested district that he actually represented.

I had a chance, an opportunity, many times, to speak with the congressman, and he was very critical of the president and his policies. He considered them to be immoral. He considered them to be inhuman, particularly when it came to the immigration policy, this back in 2018, when Trump was separating children from their adults, from their parents.

This is what Congressman Lewis told me when I took him aside in an interview just outside the Capitol.


MALVEAUX: Congressman, if you could just respond to President Trump's tweet, he's accusing yourself and other Democrats, he says in his words, of letting migrants to, quote, infest our country. Can you please respond to the sentiment and to the language he is using.

LEWIS: Well, it's shameful, racist, it's not in keeping with the dreams and the hopes of the American people.

MALVEAUX: Is it dangerous?

LEWIS: It is very dangerous.


MALVEAUX: You can see the emotion just welling up from inside of him.


Very, very strong in his emotions and his convictions about what was right and what was wrong and certainly made no secret of it regarding the president.

We have, Ana, heard from many leaders, past presidents and world leaders, and just -- you name it, everybody responding here, and I want to just very quickly read this from President Barack Obama, saying he loved his country so much that he risked his life and his blood so it might have lived up to its promise.

And through the decades, he not only gave of himself through the cause of freedom and justice but inspired generations that followed to try to live up to his example.

So, Ana, just words cannot describe really the pain but also the hope of having someone like Congressman John Lewis as a fighter for all of us.

CABRERA: He was always an optimistic person too. Suzanne Malveaux, thank you for sharing.

And joining us now is a dear friend of Congressman Lewis for nearly 60 years, the House Majority Whip James Clyburn of South Carolina.

Congressman, first, I'm so sorry for your loss. John Lewis meant a lot to this country and I know to you, deeply and personally. How are you processing his death? What is your heart mourning today?

REP. JAMES CLYBURN (D-SC): Well, thank you very much for having me on. I've been pretty prepared for this. John and I had a long talk several weeks ago. He found out, I think it was just after Christmas, of the diagnosis, and, of course, having to have that dreaded disease visit my family, my brother's wife died from pancreatic cancer, so we kind of knew. We just didn't know when. And the last time we talked, it was really last Saturday. We talked on the phone. I expressed my love for him and he for me. And so I was pretty prepared for this.

But nevertheless, it is something that gives you a strange emptiness knowing full well that I will return to Washington, I won't see him, and I will never get to sit with him again.

And when you meet a guy in the throes of a movement, like the sit-ins were, and you go through all of that time, dreaming about the future, and all of a sudden, you end up in Congress together, something neither one of us thought would ever be the case, and then you share time on the floor, trying to develop legislation.

And we have a lot of hurts together. We watched the Supreme Court just tear the heart out of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. John was very hurt by that. The country is hurt by that. And we had for seven years now, trying to follow the Supreme Court's bidding of redoing the formula and really passing a Civil Rights Act.

This is going to be the first election without the protection of the Civil Rights Act. It's been there since 1965. And a lot of people are very anxious about it.

And so I'm looking forward to getting back to Washington, sitting down with the leadership, and others, and seeing what we can do, in the name and memory of John R. Lewis. It is time to get a Voting Rights Act, the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act of 2020. We can do that. We should do it.

CABRERA: I do want to read what the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell tweeted out today. I have a question about the Voting Rights Act out of it. He tweeted out, or his statement that he released, was the Senate and the nation mourned the loss of Congressman John Lewis, a pioneer and civil rights leader who put his life on the line to fight racism, promote equal rights and bring our nation into a greater alignment with its founding principles. Do you think he may be more motivated to get the Senate on board with efforts on the Voting Rights Act?

CLYBURN: I hope so. I hope so. This is a way to really honor John. This is what he fought for all of his life. This is what the Edmund Pettus Bridge was all about.

I'm a part of that effort. I would love to see them rename that bridge, because, as you know, it's named for a grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. And for them to rename that bridge, in John's honor, would be great, a great symbol for the future.

But on substance, we ought to renew the Voting Rights Act.


We ought to have the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act of 2020. That ought to renew be on the agenda. We ought to pass it in the House this coming week and we ought to send it over to the Senate, send it over, pass it. And if President Trump really wants to honor John Lewis, a genuine hero, a Black Lives Matter icon, and my personal friend, do it by signing the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act of 2020.

CABRERA: I imagine you had a chance now to see what the president tweeted on the congressman.


CABRERA: Today, he said -- I mean, it's just within the last hour, in fact, he put out this tweet on John Lewis' passing. And we heard it from Suzanne Malveaux, but he writes in just two sentences, saddened to hear the news of civil rights hero John Lewis' passing. Melania and I send our prayers to he and his family. how do you interpret the president's response?

CLYBURN: Well, you know, John was a minister, an ordained Baptist minister. I grew up in (INAUDIBLE), I'm a son of a minister. John and I both would recite scripture every now and then. And I am moved by that scripture that says, this should be known by their deeds, not their words.

And so I would say to the president, and I would say to the majority leader in the Senate, your deeds, let's do something, in John's honor. Your words will be empty without deeds.

CABRERA: Lewis had so many inspirational words. I just want to read one quote that stands out to me. He says, do not get lost in a sea of despair. Do not become bitter or hostile. Be hopeful. Be optimistic. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble. We will find a way to make a way out of no way. Will that be his enduring legacy?

CLYBURN: Oh, yes, absolutely. John was the most optimistic person that I had ever known. John internalized the movement. He internalized those things that we fought under. He internalized non-violence. A lot of us practice it, but John lived it. We adopted non-violence, most of us. John internalized nonviolence.

And I always knew when we were putting the bill, I pretty much knew how John was going to vote on every bill. And I talk to him because I knew John and I knew his principles, what he stood for. And a lot of times, I would be uncomfortable with his vote simply because I had not internalized the stuff that he's internalized.

I'm a little more political with the process, not John. John was principle to the core. And he did not care. I've seen him cast a vote on a certain piece of legislation, and you look around, and he would be almost a lone wolf, but that's what he believed, and that's what I respected about him more than anything else.

And he demonstrated that. My goodness, how many times did he had his head beaten at? The first time John Lewis was ever beaten was in Rock Hill, South Carolina, and J.T. McCain, who was my corner league baseball coach, left Sumter, my hometown, and went up to Rock Hill and picked John Lewis up. He was on the freedom rides, and they stopped in Rock Hill. But John didn't continue on that ride. He was taken off the bus, beaten by a guy, a Klansmen there in Rock Hill, who later came to his office and sat down with his him and apologized to him, brought his son with him and they cried together. John forgave him because he had internalized the movement. I'm not too sure that I could have done that.

CABRERA: He was remarkable human being. Congressman James Clyburn, thank you for sharing.

CLYBURN: Thank you.

CABRERA: We'll be right back.



CABRERA: Today, the CDC issuing a sobering warning to this country. By August 8th, the Center predicts at least 157,000 Americans will have lost their fight against coronavirus. That is another 18,000 deaths in just three weeks from now.

This as the State of Florida continues to lose its grip on the crisis. Just today, another 10,000 confirmed cases have been reported in that state, pushing the state's total case load above 337,000. Florida, Louisiana, and Arizona are now the top three states in this nation leading in COVID-19 cases per capita.

Meanwhile, terrifying new numbers out of Corpus Christi, Texas, listen to this. 85 infants under the age of one have tested positive for the virus. That statistic has the county's director of public health begging her residents to do their part in stopping the pandemic's spread.

And one way to do that is wear a mask.


It's a measure that health officials have been pushing for months and has inexplicably become a political flashpoint.

President Trump was confronted about his role about the politicization of masks on Fox News.


CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: The CDC says if everybody wore a mask for four to six weeks, we could get this under control. Do you regret not wearing a mask in public from the start and would you consider, will you consider a national mandate that people need to wear masks?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No. I want people to have a certain freedom. And I don't believe in that, no. And I don't agree with the statement that if everybody wore a mask, everything disappears. Hey, Dr. Fauci said don't wear a mask. Our surgeon general, a terrific guy, says don't wear a mask. Everybody was saying don't wear a march. All of a sudden, everybody has got to wear a mask. And as you know, masks cause problems too.

With that being said, I'm a believer in masks, I think masks are good.


CABRERA: Dr. Celine Gounder is a CNN Medical Analyst and former New York City Assistant Commissioner of Health.

Dr. Gounder, first, you heard the president there say he doesn't want to infringe on people's freedom by mandating masks. By not mandating them though, what threat is he posing on the American people?

DR. CELINE GOUNDER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Well, Ana, you're not free when you're dead from coronavirus. You're not free when you're left with a severe disability after you've recovered from coronavirus. And you're not free if you have to live in fear of infection.

And the fact is the masks are the one, two and three number most important things that Americans can do right now to protect themselves from infection. And, frankly, I think of masks as a way to being able to live more freely at this point in time.

CABRERA: Explain that.

GOUNDER: So, masks have been shown by far to be able to reduce transmission of coronavirus more than any other public health intervention at this point in time other than going to a frank lockdown. So if there's something that you want to do to preserve your freedoms at this point in time and not get infected, it's to wear a mask.

CABRERA: Another day, another 10,000-plus new cases in Florida. and I want you to listen to Governor Ron DeSantis yesterday.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): That's not something that I'm going to close, partially because if you look, you talk to any physician, particularly the people that are under 50, if you're in good shape, you know, you have a very, very low likelihood of ending up in significant condition as a result of the coronavirus.

And so I think taking that option away for people to be healthy just doesn't make sense.


CABRERA: Doctor, is there any truth to that statement?

GOUNDER: What he is forgetting, Ana, is that the coronavirus is an infectious disease. It is transmissible. And infectious diseases that are not just about individuals. They're about communities. You can't fight through this crisis as individuals. We can only protect our communities and ourselves by banding together, as communities to do the right thing.

CABRERA: Not to mention there have been a number of people who are elite athletes who have become infected with the coronavirus, and other people who, our own Chris Cuomo who is very fit and yet he suffered greatly from the coronavirus and yet he was one of the lucky ones.

I also want to play a clip from Senator Rand Paul who is a doctor himself. And here he is talking about immunity.


GOUNDER: There's millions of us like me now who are immune. Are they going to hold me down and stick a needle in my arm? They probably will, because these people believe in the idea that they are so right and that their cause is so righteous that they can inflict it on others.


CABRERA: Dr. Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, along with the World Health Organization, have both warned that just because you have had COVID-19 doesn't mean you're immune to this virus. How dangerous is that assertion by Senator Paul?

GOUNDER: Well, as far as I'm concerned, Ana, Senator Paul's assertion, and this is not the first time he's done something like this, constitutes medical and community health malpractice. We do not have yet enough information to be able to say that antibodies mean that you're immune. All we can say right now is if you have antibodies, it means you've been exposed and infected.

Even if those antibodies do mean anything about immunity, we don't know how long that immunity lasts and it may well be that other branches of the immune system, like T-cells, for example, are more important in fighting off the coronavirus infection. It's just that we have antibodies, because that's the easiest thing to understand, easiest thing to explain and easiest thing to measurement. But that may not be what's really important in the case of coronavirus.

CABRERA: All right. Dr. Celine Gounder, as always, I really appreciate it. Thanks.

Coming up, some worried teachers working on their wills as the debate over reopening schools rages nationwide.



CABRERA: The White House is blocking the CDC director from publicly testifying on the reopening of schools. The House Education Committee is calling this move alarming, as parents, of course, debate whether sending their kids back to the classroom is worth the risk.

And with new CDC guidelines for schools now delayed, until the end of the month, some worried teachers say they aren't just working on lesson plans but also their wills.

CNN's Martin Savidge reports.


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Angry parents and anxious teachers protest with a motor march outside Duval County Public Schools Headquarters. Driving home the message, with coronavirus cases skyrocketing, it's no time to put kids back in the classroom.

LAURA HAMMOCK, DUVAL COUNTY TEACHER: I'm a teacher. I've been with Duval County for 23 years.


I have a mother at home that is sick. And if I'm to get the coronavirus, I don't want to bring it back to her.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Duval County teachers are supposed to report to work August 3rd. Students are due back a week later.

ROLLINE SULLIVAN, PARENT: My daughter doesn't want to go back to school. She wants to keep the family safe.

SAVIDGE: When Duval County shut down classroom learning last March for its 129,000 students -- the county had just five cases of coronavirus. Now, as schools prepare to reopen, the county has nearly 14,000 and climbing.

SAVIDGE (on camera): Do you think it's a safe time to return?


SAVIDGE (voice over): The only way Marla Brian's (ph) 15-year-old daughter is going back to school is online.

SAVIDGE (on camera): So you think it's politics?

BRIAN (ph): I absolutely 100 percent think it's politics.

SAVIDGE (voice over): Last week, Florida's education commissioner issued an executive order requiring districts to reopen brick-and- mortar schools five days a week starting in August.

On the same day, President Trump tweeted, "Schools must open in the fall."

Jacksonville and Duval County is also hosting the Republican National Convention.

And the state's Republican governor has echoed Trump's message, likening going back to school to reopening a store.

RON DESANTIS, (R), FLORIDA GOVERNOR: If you can do Home Depot, if you can do Walmart, if you can do these things, we absolutely can do the schools.

SAVIDGE: Critics contend shopping is optional. Education isn't, especially for teachers.

Something made painfully clear by this teacher speaking to a virtual St. John's County, Florida, school board meeting.

ANDREA CLARK, TEACHER: We know that if we go back into the buildings full-time and at full or mostly full capacity, some of us are going to die.

SAVIDGE (on camera): Do you believe that teachers will die?

TIM FORSON, SUPERINTENDENT, ST. JOHNS COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT: Do I believe that teachers will die? I -- I don't -- my goodness, I -- I hope -- I hope not. I certainly would never take an action that I believe would cause teachers to die.

SAVIDGE (voice over): The St. Johns County District is spending $1.6 million on personal protection equipment for its staff and 44,000 students, including everything from Plexiglas dividers, to hand sanitizer, to face shields for pre-K students.

FORSON: Sometimes I -- I will get that from a parent is, I want it to be 100 percent -- say, I want you to guarantee me there's not risk. I can't guarantee there's not risk.

SAVIDGE: But Superintendent Forson can guarantee he'll do everything possible to keep everyone as safe as possible, including his own five- year-old daughter who will also be walking into a classroom.

FORSON: I have confidence in the decisions that I've made for it to be the right place for her to be. And that that -- it's a safe environment. And the learning that's going to happen is going to -- is going to enrich her a great deal.

SAVIDGE (on camera): A little bit of trepidation?

FORSON: Oh, absolutely. Yes. Yes. I would be foolish not to say that there's not -- there's not a little bit of concern.


CABRERA: That was Martin Savidge reporting.

I want to bring in a teacher. And this not just any teacher. Tabatha Rosproy teaches preschool in Winfield, Kansas, and named 2020's National Teacher of the Year.

First, congrats on that home, Ms. Tabatha, I'll call you, since that's what your students call you.

And your state is not planning to reopen schools until after Labor Day. But when they do reopen, what will it look like, in class, all virtual or some combination of both. TABATHA ROSPROY, PRESCHOOL TEACHER & 2020 NATIONAL TEACHER OF THE

YEAR: Right now, our state is looking at recommending we follow local guidelines, so it might look different from county to county or town to town.

But I believe that most schools, are looking for some kind of hybrid model in order to decrease numbers in the classroom and give families options who may be more at risk.

CABRERA: I've talked to educators who tell me it is not physically possible to social distance. There's just not enough space. And that masks could be a problem, especially for elementary kids. How do you get them to keep them on?

What do you think? Is there any way to make this space? If it were up to you, how would you handle this?

ROSPROY: Right now, what we know about the virus, which is still very little, it is a young virus, I personally do not believe it is safe for us to go back to traditional schooling.

I think there's no way to social distance in our already crowded classrooms. There's not enough money to provide for the extra staff that we would need, and the extra PPE that we would need.

And there's some relief coming to us for those costs. But right now, I don't think that it's worth the risk.

CABRERA: As a National Teacher of the Year, you were singled out for how you stayed so well connected with your students when the pandemic shut everything down, including school. Teachers all over the country had to adapt to the distance learning as well as families.

But the U.S. secretary of education, Betsy DeVos, was very critical of some school's districts-learning programs, calling them disasters. She said a couple of hours online school a week is just not OK.

What do you say to harsh critics of online learning?

ROSPROY: I think that, when we shut down schools previously, when there were far fewer cases, when you went to distance learning and continuous learning, I think we're doing our best in an emergency situation.


I saw educators all over this country bending over backwards to stay connected, to keep their kids on some sort of schedule, and to work with families who were being faced with a big shift in their lives also.

Now, we're having a little more time to get prepared. And I imagine there will be something a little more rigorous, if we move to online learning, in the fall and throughout the rest of this school year.

But I think that it's shameful to criticize, from a distance, when you're not working in the classroom every single day, and you don't see what these educators are doing, because teachers, staff, every single person who works in the school went above and beyond to do things for our students.

And I'm so proud to be an educator in this country who did that.

CABRERA: Well, we are all very, very grateful for what you do as a teacher.

I have to ask you -- because you're a preschool teacher, I happen to have a daughter in the same age group -- how do you make online learning successful for children that young? How does that come to be? What does it look like?

ROSPROY: Well, I will say that there's no replacement for what we get in the classroom, in our schools, every single day, when we're not in the middle of a public health crisis.

That being said, there are things that you can do to stay connected. And that really means getting some facetime with your students. And in order to do that, we have to solve some of the equity issues that we have in our communities.

For instance, in my community, we worked very hard to make sure every family have at least one device in their home that their students could use and that they all had access to Internet.

Now, those are barriers that need to be broken down and we know that now. And I hope that as we move forward, we will continue to look at those things, through the lens of equity, and seeing that things are not equal, for our families in different income situations.

But I think the most important thing that you can do is just have a relationship with the child and their family. They need emotional support, even more than they need academic support in this crazy time that we're living in.

CABRERA: Words of advice there.

Teachers are telling CNN that part of preparing for classes in the fall is they're updating their wills. What goes through your mind when you hear that?

ROSPROY: You know, it is so scary to me to think that -- you know, we signed up for a job, in order to keep people safe, and to help children learn. And now, we're looking at risking our own lives in order to do that job.

And I think that having a will is a great idea for anybody. But the fact that we are so scared to step forward into our classrooms, that we are, en masse, organizing wills, says to me that we're not ready to be in the classroom. And that our policy makers need to look at what's really safe for us and our students.

CABRERA: Tabatha Rosproy, congrats again on being the 2020 National Teacher of the Year. I love your background. The little artwork projects behind you made me smile.

Thank you so much for joining us.

ROSPROY: Thank you.

CABRERA: Coming up, we have new images of disturbing trends, so-called COVID parties. Are some people deliberately trying to contract the virus?



CABRERA: Welcome back. Well, as most Americans are working to avoid the coronavirus, there's new evidence some are actively exposing themselves and even trying to get infected by attending so-called COVID parties. COVID parties. Hard to believe that's even a thing when so many Americans are suffering and dying every day.

CNN's Brian Todd has the story.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's like 50, 60 people just dancing.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Dozens of young people seen at a party in Osceola County, Florida. Sheriff's officials tell CNN affiliate, WESH, they believe parties like this have led to a spike in coronavirus cases in that area.

In Michigan, young people's parties in the towns of Saline and Torch Lake, officials say, had exploded into dozens of cases of COVID-19.

But that's not the worst of it. While some parties are attended by young people who simply think they won't get infected, other parties seem to have been hosted by people who knew they were infected or attended by people trying to get infected, local officials say.

Driving America's top expert on infectious disease to incredulity.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY & INFECTIOUS DISEASES: When I hear about COVID cases, it just makes my head spin because when you get infected, what you're doing is you're not in a vacuum. You're part of the propagation of the outbreak.

TODD: Dr. Jane Appleby, chief medical officer at Methodist Hospital in San Antonio, put out a videotaped message in recent days about a 30- year-old patient at her hospital who she said admitted to a COVID party.

DR. JANE APPLEBY, CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER, METHODIST HOSPITAL: This is a party held by someone diagnosed with the coronavirus. And the plot is that people get together and see if the virus is real and if anyone that gets infected.

[15:45:06] Just before the patient died, they looked at the nurse and said, I think I made a mistake. I thought it was a hoax but it's not.

TODD: The mayor of San Antonio confirmed that case in an interview with CNN and gave more details.

RON NIRENBERG, (I), SAN ANTONIO MAYOR: They thought they were invincible, that this wouldn't affect them as a way to prove their point. And of course, five days later -- this was a Memorial Day party at the lake. Five days later, this young man got sick.

TODD: Officials in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, recently spoke about information they had received on young people apparently throwing COVID parties in that city. A city council member relaying accounts of grotesque contests.

SONYA MCKINSTRY, (D), CITY COUNCILWOMAN, TUSCALOOSA, ALABAMA: They are putting their money up high and they purposefully tried to get COVID from the person who has COVID. And apparently, whoever gets COVID first gets the prize.

TODD: And contacted by CNN, health officials in Alabama and San Antonio said they investigated the reports but could neither confirm nor deny the existence of COVID parties in their areas.

Even though younger people appear to be at a lesser risk of severe illness or death from coronavirus, one expert says it's beyond words that they'd play Russian roulette with their own lives, or the lives of others.

DR. CHARLES LOCKWOOD, DEAN, USF HEALTH, MORSANI COLLEGE OF MEDICINE: They may infect their parents or their grandparents or their teachers or their employer, who might be over the age of 65, or might have an underlying condition, and they will die. I can't think of anything more stupid than to go to a COVID party.


CABRERA: And that was Brian Todd reporting. That is something else.

Coming up, Mary Trump isn't just the president's niece. She is also a record-breaking best-selling author with a tell-all book that delves into Donald Trump's psyche.



CABRERA: Welcome back. President Trump's niece, Mary Trump, is not mincing words about her uncle. In a one-on-one interview with CNN's Chris Cuomo, the author of this new best-selling book about her uncle explained why she believes he is deeply damaged psychologically.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR & HOST: You know who he is at his core when there's no camera around and the people who have been around him in his formative stages.


CUOMO: Give some context to about what that means to you as a clinician.

M. TRUMP: The simplest way I could put it, which may be one of the more effective ways to put it, is that Donald is a psychologically deeply damaged man based on his upbringing and the situation with his parents. He is not going to get better. And he is, without question going to get worse.

CUOMO: Why is he going get worse? He's already, you know, in his 70s. Isn't he kind of fully cooked?

M. TRUMP: Well, that depends on what you mean. In terms of his character, yes. His habits, yes. Because I don't think he's interested in changing them.

But, no, I mean, illnesses untreated deteriorate over time. So --

CUOMO: Not just damage. You think he's got a sickness?

M. TRUMP: Yes, I do. And I think -- you know, a lot of people have diagnosed him. And I -- you know, without knowing him personally, but you know, there's plenty of evidence to support some of those diagnoses.

And he's untreated. He's not interested in being treated. He has no insight. He has no psychological awareness of his situation.

And, again, one of the most devastating things is that people, who claim to care for him, aren't helping him. If they truly cared for him, the last place in the world they would want him to be is the Oval Office. And yet, they do nothing.


CABRERA: Meantime, coronavirus cases have been surging throughout Latin America. In Colombia, 2016 "CNN Hero of the Year," Jeison Aristizabal, temporarily closed his center that provides crucial services for you people with disabilities. But he has quickly reorganized his efforts.



JEISON ARISTIZABAL, CNN HERO (voice-over): This is their second home. And they really, really miss the foundation.


ARISTIZABAL: We're supporting the families and the children, first of all, with food.


ARISTIZABAL: We're providing in-home therapy, in-home medical attention.


ARISTIZABAL: School via the Internet.


ARISTIZABAL: We provide virtual classes.


ARISTIZABAL: The emotional and psychological part has really affected them. We have an entire team of professionals who give emotional support.



ARISTIZABAL: The message for the community that we've wanted to carry over is of hope.


ARISTIZABAL: To keep dreaming.

Today, when the entire world is thinking that it's all bad --


ARISTIZABAL: -- we can't lose hope.


ARISTIZABAL: That, in the end, when we have dreams, that's a motor that ignites life.




CABRERA: To learn more about Jeison's tireless efforts, go to

We'll be right back.