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Rep. John Lewis, Titan Of Civil Rights, Dies At Age 80; Fauci To Leaders: Be Forceful As Possible On Masks; Florida Reports 10,000- Plus Cases Today; Major Retail Chains Make Masks Mandatory; Starbucks Training Workers On How To Handle Maskless Customers; Salesforce CEO Calls For "Cultural Revolution" On Masks In U.S.; Justice Ginsburg Undergoing Chemo For Cancer Recurrence. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired July 18, 2020 - 16:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[16:00:27]

ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: We are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

Thank you for joining me. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York.

And, right now, from all corners of the country, tributes pouring in to honor the life and monumental impact of a man called one of the greatest heroes of American history. Congressman John Lewis of Georgia, 34 years in the House of Representatives, a man who fought and bled for equality during the civil rights movement -- he passed away last night at his home in Atlanta at the age of 80.

Now, people who knew John Lewis personally and those who admired his decades of service and personal sacrifice are making their voices heard today.

Former President Barack Obama, quote: He loved this country so much that he risked his life and his blood so that it might live up to its promise. And through the decades, he not only gave all of himself to the cause of freedom and justice, bun inspired generations that followed to try to live up to his example.

And Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi saying the congressman's goodness, faith and bravery transformed our nation. Every day of his life was dedicated to bringing freedom and justice to all.

These are live pictures outside St. Luke's Episcopal Church in downtown Atlanta where you can hear the church bells ringing. They will ring 80 times to honor the longtime Georgia congressman who died. Again, he was 80 years old.

(BELL TOLLING)

CABRERA: In March of 1965, John Lewis and many others planned to march from Selma to Montgomery, demanding the right to vote. As they attempted to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, they were attacked by policemen in what is now known as Bloody Sunday.

Lewis was beaten. He suffered a fractured skull. He said he thought he was going to die on that bridge. Well, the 55th anniversary of Bloody Sunday was this year. Hundreds

gathered on March 1st in a commemorative march to cross that infamous bridge. And even amid a cancer battle, Congressman John Lewis made a surprise appearance.

And I spoke to the late congressman on that day. Here's part of our conversation.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: You said, quote, vote like you've never voted before. What did you mean by that?

REP. JOHN LEWIS (R-GA) (via telephone): I simply meant that we have the power to change things. And the vote is the most powerful non- violent instrument or tool we have in the democratic society. And we must use it. If we fail to use it, we will lose it.

CABRERA: You also spoke about redeeming the soul of America. What does that look like?

LEWIS: We need to make America better for all of her people, when no one is left out or left behind because of their race, their color, because of where they grew up, of where they were born.

We're one people. We're one family. We're all live in the same house. That's the American house.

CABRERA: But do you see as the next step because you spoke on the bridge about how times are different today than they were in 1965, thank goodness, and yet there's more progress to be made, right? What do you see as the next step?

LEWIS: We got to continue to see that all of our young people, all of our children receive the best possible education. We've got to see that people are able to move up and not stay down.

[16:05:00]

We must continue to -- we must respect the dignity and worth of all of our citizens.

We live in a strange period. I lived and grew up during the days of different presidents. I met with presidents. I got to know President Kennedy. I met with him twice.

There was a greater sense of hope, a greater sense of optimism, and we must find a way to inject into the very vein of America that sense of hope, that sense of optimism for all of our citizens.

CABRERA: What gives you hope today?

LEWIS: I am very hopeful and very optimistic that we're going to work everything out. It's the feeling that the changes that are continuing (ph) to witness in so many different parts of America. And the American people want us to be hopeful, to be optimistic, and to lead them to a better place, to a better time, and that's what we must do.

CABRERA: Finally, what is your message to any young potential John Lewis out there today trying to make whatever it is they do count and make a better, more equal, more just life for those that are in future generations?

LEWIS: I would say to young people, to be bold, be brave, be courageous. Never become bitter or hostile. Never hate.

As Dr. Martin Luther King said on many occasions: hate is too heavy a burden to bear. The way of love is a much better way.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: He loved. And a lot of people loved him.

And with us now is one of them, White House correspondent and American Urban Radio Networks and a CNN political analyst, April Ryan.

You have called the congressman your friend. When did you become friends?

APRIL RYAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I don't know, over the years. We -- I would report on him. We talked. We would be around one another.

And it solidified, I believe, more so during the Bush/Obama years. I mean, we would talk to one another and then at the ends of the conversation sometimes we would say, I love you. Both of us would say that to each other, and that was amazing from this icon, this man who was part of a group who wanted to make the world a better place for me and my children and children yet to come.

He was a great man. He was a man who -- it was so funny. I think back to a time when I was angry will something. And I am very outspoken.

CABRERA: Oh, you are?

RYAN: He was around. And I was in the right, but I was very angry about something. He said, I'm with you, but do it peacefully and non- violently. And then he walked off. We all laughed. And it took the temper down from the issue.

And you know, he -- that's just the person he was. He was fun, but he was serious. He was someone who believed in the cause of others. He believed in freedom of the press. He championed me in the midst of all that I had gone through.

I remember doing an interview with him, in his office, for my book "At Mama's Knee", and before we got into the interview about his life and how his mother affected his life and how to move him into the civil rights movement even though she didn't want him to do that, he talked to me, before we went into that interview about me asking then- President Barack Obama about all the situations that were going on wit Bill Cosby at the time and he said, good for you. And I was shocked.

And he said, good for you. And he really pushed me, because I was wondering really if that was the question in the moment that I should have asked. And he said good for you.

And, right, and other people explained later on why he said that. This was a man that when we traveled down to Atlanta for Tyler Perry's studio opening, he was so proud of his district, and proud of Tyler Perry. He was welcoming people as if it was his own studio. He said, you know, April, this is my district. He was so proud of Tyler Perry. He was so proud of that Atlanta district.

And he beared the burden of all of us so Tyler Perry could be there, so April Ryan could be there. So all the teachers could be there, so all the students could be there. So anyone who owned a home could be there, and to just -- for people to see equality and to rise to their better selves.

CABRERA: Yes, he fought so hard for so long for that equality and for people who are marginalized and oppressed and disenfranchised and vulnerable.

What does his loss mean at this time of renewed racial reckoning in this country?

[16:10:04]

RYAN: Ana, taking the reporter's hat off right now and looking at it from the prism of race and heart -- because after the laws, after all those laws that he marched for and he was bloodied and bruised and broken for -- after the laws, we still have issues, but it's a heart issue.

And looking back, I think his life has come full circle. He marched -- he marched even before Selma. He marched -- he wanted to get into Troy State. That's when he and Dr. King tried to work together to get him in there. Dr. King called him the boy from Troy. But he never went because he knew the cost was going to be too high for his parents.

And he even marched with his brothers and sisters trying to get a library card even before the effort to get into Troy State. He has been marching all of his life.

And then he went to see the culmination of his efforts, and those of the lieutenants and Dr. King that have worked for. He went to Selma this very also time for the Bloody Sunday commemoration. And then in the last couple of weeks on his cane, and frail, he saw the mural in front of the White House on 16th Street, Black Lives Matter.

I believe -- I believe that his life, once he saw that, his life had come full circle and he basically gave the sign to the young people, here's the mantle, carry it on. He gave his blessing.

CABRERA: It's powerful. President Trump has now lowered the flag to half staff in our nation's capitol at the White House and around the country in honor of John Lewis and he finally put out a more personal statement a little after 2:00 this afternoon when he tweeted quote: Saddened to hear the news of civil rights hero John Lewis's passing. Melania and I send our prayers to he and his family. He was the last living president, President Trump, to make a statement

following the news of John Lewis's death. Why? And what are your thoughts on the words he chose?

RYAN: I'm glad that was all he said, because this president has not been the friendliest to John Lewis, even when he ran. He has not been a friend to civil rights. And if that's the statement he gave, I think he needs to leave it there.

This is just a tough time for America. And that quite frankly was the best thing I think he could have done in the midst of this time and in the midst of this icon -- two icons in the civil rights movement passing. His silence on John Lewis was deafening. I'm glad the words did not cause any consternation in this nature.

CABRERA: One of John Lewis's legacies has been his fight to protect the right to vote and to advance equality in voting. And here we are in an election year. And, April, voter suppression remains an issue to this very day.

RYAN: How about that? We are now voting without the pull protections of the Voting Rights Act. And in Georgia, we just witnessed the long lines for hours, the long lines for hours. And people stood all day to make sure they could vote, in the midst of a deadly pandemic.

So that's how much people understand what John Lewis, Dr. King, Harry Bellefonte, Andy Young, Julian Bond, C.T. Vivian, all of them plus more did to give us the right to vote. Every vote should count. And I think now even more so, because of the passing of these two icons. And what John Lewis went through on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, that racist named bridge, he almost died trying to get us the right to vote.

I believe more so now than ever, people are going to make their way to the ballots. Even if it's write-in or going to the doors, like they did in Kentucky, banging on the doors until they open. People understand what's at stake at this moment ask. The civil rights movement is not dead. It's not gone it lives on in the memory and the service of C.T. Vivian and Congressman John R. Lewis.

CABRERA: And again, his words on the bridge this year when he returned to that Edmund Pettus Bridge was "vote like you have never voted before".

RYAN: That's right.

CABRERA: April Ryan, thank you so much for joining us.

RYAN: Thank you. Thank you so much.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:19:00]

CABRERA: The nation's top infectious disease expert is pleading for state and local officials to tell their citizens to wear masks in order to turn around the massive surge in coronavirus cases. [16:20:09]

BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: I can say as a public health officials that I would urge the leaders, the local, political, and other leaders in states and cities and towns to be as forceful as possible in getting your citizenry to wear masks.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: And yet as dire as the numbers are, anti-mask sentiment has been on full display in different parts of the country. In Arkansas, for example, a fight broke out between two couples at a restaurant because one couple was wearing masks, the other wasn't, and got too close, leading to this brawl.

In Utah, at least 100 parents crowded a county commission meeting to protest a mandate requiring masks in schools. As you look at the crowd there, not many masks. When the commissioner saw parents weren't wearing masks or social distancing, he abruptly shut down the meeting just three minutes into it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the exact opposite of what we need to be doing. We are supposed to be physically distancing, wearing masks. And so, all of our medical -- all of our medical experts --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: A study published this week also found that the neighboring state of Arizona ranked number one when it came to which state was the most resistant to wearing masks. The study featured in "The Arizona Republic" reached its result by compiling twitter posts references hashtags like burn your masks and I will not comply.

Joining us now is Dr. Murtaza Akhter, an emergency physician at Valleywise Health Medical Center in Phoenix, Arizona.

Doctor, what is your message to these people who just don't want to wear a mask?

DR. MURTAZA AKHTER, EMERGENCY PHYSICIAN, VALLEYWISE HEALTH MEDICAL CENTER: I guess I will say what everybody else has already said, which is that masks really do save lives. If you don't believe that -- and there is so many data that say otherwise. Even if you don't believe that, I would say think back to 9/11. When after 9/11 happened, everybody was wearing a pin on their coat, everybody had flags up at their house. Now, a flag doesn't save a life, putting up a flag, but it was a show of solidarity and support for your troops.

Even if you don't believe masks save lives, which they do, at the very least, if you could wear a solidarity because this -- this has killed far more people than 9/11 even did. And there are so many people who are at risk at getting ill, and dying even further, and you can save them by wearing a mask, even if you believe that it's infringing on their right, which is a ridiculous thought.

At the very least, do it in terms of solidarity, and you can save so many lives and we can start getting back to normal again.

CABRERA: We're already seeing nearly 140,000 people in this country which have died since the beginning of this pandemic. In Arizona's Maricopa County, we've now learned the medical examiner's office has ordered additional portable coolers to help hold the bodies as the morgues fill up. By next week, they'll have 14 of them.

Clearly, Doctor, they're preparing for the worst. Is the situation where you are better or worse than we talk last weekend?

AKHTER: We are teetering still, Ana. And the weather hasn't gotten better. We are in the thick of summer. I had multiple heat stroke patients who are critically ill.

So, there are diseases, as a reminder, there are diseases that happened even outside of COVID. Heart attacks still happen, cancer still happens. Imagine all the cancer surgeries that are delayed and what that will do to outcomes.

And particularly in Arizona right now, it's scaldingly hot. People are literally coming in with burns on their skin. The temperatures are so high the thermometer won't read.

And as you said, our morgues are filling up so we have to get refrigerated trucks. And so, you know, how long can you teeter before you go over the edge?

Our stat today for the percent of our tests that were positive was over 30 percent. We've been for weeks the highest state in the country for percentage of tests that come back positive. It's over 30 percent today. That's how widespread it is in the community. And if we can -- if we can somehow continue to hold it off, I would be miraculously surprised. I would hope that happens, but this is a very concerning situation.

CABRERA: Well, that high percentage of positivity rate is alarming. Obviously , you talked about the heat. I heard you say earlier this week, people are fainting waiting to get tests. I mean, why is there still such a testing issue so many months past the beginning of this pandemic?

AKHTER: That's what's really amazing to me. It's not like we didn't know what we would need. And for the people who don't think tests are important, somebody -- one of my colleagues questioned why does the president get tested every other day? Obviously, he thinks he is important.

Testing is important in order to be able to diagnose and trace. There are other things that also need to be done. You can't just tell somebody he or she is positive, and that's it, off the hook. That's like diagnosing a tumor in somebody and saying good luck. You

have to have a plan for them as well. But you can't have a plan if you can't test them, and like you said, and like I have said, my colleagues and all these people are coming into the E.R. literally fainting while waiting for a test. They are trying to do the right thing.

They're trying to avoid the E.R. because if you just need a test they don't need to be in a hospital setting and exposing themselves. They are trying to do the right thing and are waiting hours in this huge massive heat wave and are literally fainting having to come to the E.R. anyway. It is irony at its worse, and it's dangerous.

CABRERA: I know you and so many other hospital workers across the country are stretched to the limit. You shared a message from a resident at your hospital who tested positive after caring for dozens of COVID patients.

And she said in part: I fear now more than ever for the safety of my family and the emergency department. We will do everything we can during this pandemic to save you if you are sick, all while knowing that it puts our own lives at risk. It's not only our job. It's who we are.

The one thing I ask of you is think of us when you go out to a restaurant or meet up with a friend or decide not to wear a mask because it doesn't feel good.

[16:25:08]

I don't know how long it takes to make an N95 or a vaccine or a ventilator, but I do know how long it takes to make a doctor.

Dr. Akhter, how are you holding up?

AKHTER: Heartbreaking words, right, Ana. I mean, this is -- like she said, this is our family. We work together every day.

And to have somebody -- excuse me -- to have somebody that I train and work alongside with to say something like that, it is very distressing. It's -- it's hard for me to comprehend how in a country that has done so many amazing things, that my parents immigrated here for, for the opportunity it has given us, as somebody like me who rarely gets a voice in other countries, much less able to express them, but here like I have and a name like you have that we can be on national TV -- for this country where we are able to do such amazing things, for them not to be able to care about their own citizens who are getting sick, it's very -- very upsetting.

CABRERA: Well, Dr. Murtaza Akhter, thank you for giving us your voice and lending your expertise to the conversation. It is so important. We are grateful for all you do. Thanks.

AKHTER: Thanks for having me, Ana. Stay safe.

CABRERA: You too. Coming up, a coronavirus survivor shares his story of his near death

experience in the hospital and brings his message to anyone refusing to wear a mask.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:30:56]

CABRERA: The number of COVID-19 cases in Florida is exploding so fast some areas are running out of places to keep the sick. Today, the state reporting more than 10,000 new cases. Florida now has more than 337,000 cases. In Miami, hospital ICUs are maxed out.

At least two Florida counties are imposing curfews. Now, if you are caught there not wearing a mask in public in Miami, you could be fined $100.

My next guest nearly died during the three weeks he spent in the hospital battling coronavirus and other complications. And he has a message: "If you are calling this a hoax or nothing more than the flu, you are causing harm to people and you need to stop."

Those words from Mike Brandt, of Jacksonville, Florida, who joins us now.

Mike, thank you for joining us.

I am glad to see you are on the road to recovery.

I know you first went to the hospital last month with a coughing issue. The doctors X-rayed your lungs. They found pneumonia, which coronavirus is known to cause, so you were admitted to the hospital. A few days later things got a lot worse. What happened?

MIKE BRANDT, RESIDENT OF JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA, WHO NEARLY DIED OF COVID-19: Yes, so I -- I basically had a massive heart attack. It's called the widow maker.

Essentially, the way the doctor explained it to me -- I just found out this past Thursday. The inflammation from the COVID actually knocked plaque loose and it blocked the main heart artery to my House and it caused a heart attack.

I was life flighted from the beaches area to the city where they have the equipment to deal with it. I was lucky I was in the hospital when it happened. I complained of chest pains and the nurses jumped to it and were able to get me care.

CABRERA: You are out of the hospital now. You still have a fight ahead of you.

You wrote on Facebook: "I go in and out of producing enough oxygen. I still have pneumonia in my lungs I am clearing out. I can barely walk across the house without losing my breath. I am on four medications, two of which I hear I have to take for the rest of my life. I lost 40 pounds of muscle mass." BRANDT: I was active with my local CrossFit gym before this all

happened. I mean, I have got at least a year at most of the meds I am on today.

I came out of surgery at 35 percent heart function. And 55 to 70 is normal. It is just going to be a long build. I have got the rebuild every bit of fitness I had prior to this. I have got get my heart back to full function.

And the doctor does believe that that will happen with time. It is just going to be a long road.

CABRERA: I want to point out to our viewers you are only 47 years old.

BRANDT: Yes.

CABRERA: You have no preexisting conditions. For people who think there's no way this virus can hurt me, you say what?

BRANDT: You know, I was pretty complacent. And I have got to say, my message was, put the mask on.

Because here, in Jacksonville Beach, our infections numbers were very, very low. I think that's why I kind of felt more comfortable in the places I know. Six out of 12 people in my group got it.

In Jacksonville Beach, it has just absolutely gone crazy. And Neptune Beach, where I live, we have gone from 17 or 20 cases now we are well over 100. In Jacksonville Beach, they went from under 100 to over 500. It just went crazy.

I think complacency is the biggest problem we have. Just getting comfortable. That's what happened in my case. I was comfortable and it got me. It got a big group of friends as well.

CABRERA: You believe you got the virus after playing Trivia with that group of friends, right? How did you feel about masks before you got sick? And how do you feel about them now?

BRANDT: When they first opened Jacksonville Beach, I was like everyone else, I was wearing masks, especially in public. For the most part, I stayed away from public.

I now, especially after reasserting and understanding exactly what the masks do, I won't go anywhere without it. Even though I am technically supposed to be immune for a while. I don't go anywhere.

[16:35:10]

And also Duval County has stepped up. The mayor is now requiring masks in every building. You know, it's really. The mood has changed in Jacksonville because of what has happened.

CABRERA: Mike Brandt, thank you for sharing your cautionary tale. We all wish you the very best, spending you good health, good strength, as you continue on this road to recovery. We appreciate you taking the time to share with us. Thanks.

BRANDT: Thanks for having me.

CABRERA: Coming up, more and more retail chains mandating masks and taking a stand when the government won't.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CABRERA: When it comes to masks, corporate America is stepping up even when the federal government and many states won't. Retailers like Home Depot, Lowe's, Walmart, Target, and CVS are joining the growing list of businesses mandating masks for customers.

[16:40:92]

Joining us now, Cristina Alesci, CNN politics and business correspondent.

Cristina, clearly, they must see it as not only what's right for health and safety but what's best for business.

CRISTINA ALESCI, CNN BUSINESS & POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: That's right. These business leaders recognize something that some Republican governors and the president won't, which is that masks are key to reopening the economy and keeping it open.

And this is something that they are -- they had to do because of the rising coronavirus cases around the country.

But, Ana, to be honest, they were reluctant to do this because they didn't want to wade into a mask controversy, which has become unnecessarily political. They really wanted the government to step in.

In fact, over the last several weeks, we have seen business leaders lobby not just the White House but governors across the nation to take action and come up with a essentially a federal mask policy that would require that across the country -- Ana?

CABRERA: As we look at least -- more than a dozen currently with these mask mandates.

One of them, we notice, is Starbucks. You have some reporting on Starbucks and how they are telling their employees how to deal with customers who refuse to wear masks. What are those employees supposed to do?

ALESCI: The employees are supposed to deescalate the situation if, for example, customers come in -- and this is something outlined in the training guide -- if the customers come in refusing to wear one, citing either the lack of local law mandating it or their rights as Americans.

And this just underscores the difficult situation that companies are in with the lack of government leadership on this front. It really puts the employees in a situation where they have to become the enforcers.

And in this outline that Starbucks provided employees, it essentially says that -- it recognizes that employees may not be able to deescalate the situation and things might get ugly.

And therefore, it warns employees to stay away from anything that could be used, for example, as a weapon, which is a really scary situation. And it encourages employees to call 911 if they feel like they are being threatened.

But Starbucks overall does want to get customers the orders. The question, how do you do that in a way that also complies with the mask mandate that the company has.

CABRERA: This week, Cristina, you interviewed the Salesforce CEO, Marc Benioff, who is calling for a, quote, "cultural revolution" on masks in the U.S. Here he is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARC BENIOFF, CEO, SALESFORCE: The whole mask controversy reminds me of when people were first told they have to wear seat belts. And they didn't want to wear their seat belts. And then, you know, we made it a law. Now you have to wear a seat belt. People said, but if I get injured, it is my body, it's my life.

Well, at some point, the government has to step in and say, yes, you have to wear a mask. And if you are not wearing a mask, you are going to get fined. Just like if you don't wear a seat belt you get a fine. There's no difference.

This is something to protect yourself and all of society. If you don't want to wear a mask, just stay home.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: We just heard Benioff essentially calling for a national mask mandate. How significant is this coming from a major CEO?

ALESCI: Ana, since I interviewed Benioff and he used that analogy, I have heard a number of people use it as well. It has definitely caught on. And it is a visceral analogy. I think it is important for more and more CEOs to come forward.

But the fact that companies are now mandating masks around the country is essentially forcing a federal mask mandate without the government stepping in. So companies are taking action. Also, you know, speaking out, but also putting action behind it -- Ana?

CABRERA: Beyond Benioff, are you hearing from other CEOs joining this push for a nationwide mandate?

ALESCI: Yes, and they are continuing not just to push the White House on this, but also governors across the country. There are phone calls, letters, and emails every day, Ana. And it won't stop.

CABRERA: We have heard from many of them that it is the key to staying open, making sure that the virus gets under control.

Cristina Alesci, thank you. As always, good to see you.

Joining us now is Dr. Jonathan Reiner. He previously advised the Bush White House.

Dr. Reiner, are you surprised that all these nationwide retail chains are stepping in and requiring masks yet the federal government won't?

DR. JONATHAN REINER, CARDIOLOGIST, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER & FORMER BUSH WHITE HOUSE MEDICAL ADVISER: No, I am not surprised. America's corporations are one run by smart people. They have come to understand that not only a mask mandate for their businesses good for their employees, to protect the health of their employees, it is also good for their customers.

If it is good for their customers and it is good for their employees, it is probably good for business. So it is smart. And I think you will see that become pretty much a universal mandate across corporate America. Now, will the nation's governors continue?

[16:45:04]

We are clearly not going to get this leadership from the White House. But, finally, we are starting to see corporate America stand up.

And I'm not surprised. It's a little late. But I'm thrilled to see it.

CABRERA: The president continues to send mixed messages. Listen to this exchange between the president and Chris Wallace on FOX News.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Do you regret not wearing a mask in public from the start? And would you consider -- will you call for a national mandate that people want 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 would wear a mask everything disappears.

Dr. Fauci said don't wear a mask. Our surgeon general, terrific guy -- said don't wear a mask. Everybody was saying don't wear a mask. All of a sudden, everybody has got to wear a mask. And as you now, masks cause problems, too.

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

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: To sum that up, the president starts with why he won't mandate masks and ends with masks are good. Would there be any downside to a national mask mandate?

REINER: The -- there's no downside. Probably, the most important thing will be this huge surge will end quicker.

To put it in terms the president might understand, if he instituted a national mask mandate today, we would be much more likely to open schools in more places in the fall. We might see some professional sports in the fall.

His poll numbers would go up because the virus would be tamped down in multiple parts of the country much quicker. There's no downside for him.

He's unteachable. And I can't understand it. His failure to understand this simple public health measure, his reluctance to accept the advice of all of his public health experts, makes me wonder whether he really is qualified now to manage this.

It's -- this is not a sophisticated question where experts differ. There's no difference of opinion about this. And the fact that the president of the United States can't get this straight raises serious doubts about his competence now.

CABRERA: Dr. Jonathan Reiner, thank you so much.

REINER: My pleasure.

CABRERA: Join CNN's Jake Tapper as he investigates what really happened in the beginning of the U.S. fight against COVID-19 and what could happen next. The CNN special report, "THE PANDEMIC AND THE PRESIDENT" airs tonight at 10:00 here on CNN.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:52:22]

CABRERA: Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg revealed she is undergoing chemotherapy to treat a recurrence of cancer. In a statement on Friday, the 87-year-old justice said the treatment is yielding positive results and that she remains fully able to continue in her post.

CNN's Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, sheds some light on Ruth Bader Ginsburg's latest health battle.

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DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Over the years, we have certainly gotten to know just Ginsburg in terms of her tenure on the Supreme Court. But also her medical history. Something we have followed very closely as well.

Going back to 1999, she had colon cancer surgery. In 2009, she had pancreatic cancer surgery and treatment. At that time, we were told it was for early stage pancreatic cancer. She had a coronary stent placed. She's has nodules removed from her left lung. Then, it is this most recent medical history that has become most

relevant again. Last year, in August, again, she started therapy for her pancreatic cancer, which seemed like it was either a recurrence or a new type of pancreatic cancer. We are still not entirely clear.

What we do know now, from her statement, the justice's statement, and also her most recent medical history, is that she started a form of immunotherapy in August of 2019. And we also know that it didn't have much of an effect, didn't work for her.

In May of 2020, she had this non-surgical treatment for her gallbladder. It was revealed that, at that time, she started another form of chemotherapy. This type of chemotherapy, she says, the justice says, seems to be working. She seems to have a response to it.

But I will tell you, this type of chemotherapy is concerning. This type of chemotherapy is typically thought of more as a palliative chemotherapy rather than a curative chemotherapy. It is to reduce symptoms and maybe, hopefully, prolong life but not necessarily something that you give with the hopes of a cure.

People always ask -- and every patient is different. So doctors don't like to answer the question about, what does this mean overall in terms of survival. But average survival after someone starts that chemotherapy is around a year.

But the emphasis is everyone is different. She's 87 years old. She's been through a lot. We will see what happens.

It is a tough course, certainly. I'm sure it is something we will hear about, hopefully, from her and her office. We will certainly keep an eye on it and wish her well.

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CABRERA: Thanks to Sanjay there.

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Back in just a moment.

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CABRERA: You are in the CNN NEWSROOM. I am Ana Cabrera, in New York.

Breaking news from the epicenter of the coronavirus crisis in the U.S. We're talking about Florida. Just in the last few minutes, we just learned that ICUs in Miami-Dade County are at 122 percent capacity. The ventilator use is up 64 percent in the past two weeks.

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This news comes as the CDC makes a new dire prediction that, by August 8th, at least 157,000 Americans will have lost their fight against coronavirus.