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COVID-19 New Infection Rates Slow in Half U.S. States; Live Coverage as Joe Biden Unveils Economic Recovery Plan. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired July 21, 2020 - 14:00   ET



BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: We are getting some new details on a CDC study that finds many more people are infected than the data shows.

NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Brianna, they are saying maybe 10 times as many. So the official count in the U.S. right now, 3.8 million. So they're talking maybe 38 million Americans have been infected. Still not enough for herd immunity, but that's a lot.

And right now, Brianna, on the national picture, many eyes focused on Florida.


WATT (voice-over): Miami, now closing all cities' summer camps after several kids tested positive. A teachers' association, now suing the state over an order to reopen brick-and-mortar schools in just a few weeks.

Florida's seven-day average daily death toll is at an all-time high.

FEDRICK INGRAM, PRESIDENT, FLORIDA EDUCATION ASSOCIATION: The startling statistic that you all need to know is that we have 23,000 children that have been tested positive for COVID-19 here in the state of Florida, with a 13.4 percent positivity rate. We must keep kids alive, we must keep them healthy, and we must keep them safe.

WATT (voice-over): Meanwhile, one Texas border county has ordered everyone to stay home again after 34 deaths in just 24 hours.

PETER HOTEZ, PROFESSOR AND DEAN OF TROPICAL MEDICINE, BAYLOR COLLEGE: The hospitals are overwhelmed. This -- we're in a dire humanitarian crisis down in South Texas.

WATT (voice-over): And still, long lines for tests, many places. One leading lab says some results are taking up to two weeks.

CLAY JENKINS, DALLAS COUNTY JUDGE: We've never had enough testing. The federal testing is way too slow, that's why we had to get rid of it.

WATT (voice-over): Regular federal briefings will resume today at the White House, shelved not long after the president suggested injecting disinfectant back in April.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: -- by injection, inside or -- or almost a cleaning.

WATT (voice-over): To be clear, that's a terrible idea.

Unclear, but looking unlikely that Dr. Anthony Fauci or Dr. Deborah Birx will be appearing today.

Now, there are early signs that what the American people are doing -- masks, et cetera -- is helping. First time in a week, the U.S. just dropped below 60,000 new cases in a day. Average case count, steady or falling right now in half our states. But it's all relative -- hundreds are still dying every day -- and it's regional.

Today or tomorrow, California will probably surpass New York as the state with the most confirmed cases.

GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): We have to minimize our mixing, we have to minimize the transmission of this disease. Be as vigilant as possible to work through the next few critical weeks.

WATT (voice-over): And nationwide, probably for many months to come.

MICHAEL OSTERHOLM, CENTER FOR INFECTIOUS DISEASE RESEARCH AND POLICY, UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA: We're still at the beginning of this pandemic. That's what I find so difficult. Most people are already done with it, they're over, they've decided they are not going to do any more. Well, they don't get to choose, the virus chooses.


WATT: Now, this is a huge country, obviously, with no overarching federal strategy, so different places, very different stories. Vermont, only about 200 active COVID cases right now, nobody has died in Vermont of COVID-19 for the past five weeks. Alternate, Florida is seeing roughly 10,000 new cases every day -- Brianna.

KEILAR: Yes, it is definitely a tale of two states there.

And let's talk about what we're seeing, Nick, on the vaccine front because there is some -- I mean, we don't want to overstate it too much, right? Because everything is an incremental move. But this is -- we're seeing --

WATT: Yes.

KEILAR: -- moves in the right direction when it comes to vaccine, so it's really important to pay attention. What's happening here?

WATT: Yes. I mean, there are some very promising developments. You know, these vaccines --

KEILAR: Actually, Nick, I am so sorry to interrupt you. Let's -- I'm going to have you stand by, let's listen to the former vice president on his economic recovery plan. JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: -- here at Colwyck Center for

hosting us today.

You know, I just met Sarah (ph) Johnson (ph) -- I thought I saw Sarah (ph) somewhere in here -- but she has her three-year-old son Noah (ph), who's a student here. She said this program does wonders, helping Noah (ph) learn his letters and numbers and socialize with other kids, and understand his emotions and develop his personality. And I met him, he's -- what a bright, cute young man.

But like so many parents, she's worried. She's worried about her job as a dental assistant, and notching (ph) changes in what she has to do to make things work.

She's noticing changes in Noah's (ph) behavior since he hasn't been in school since March. As a matter of fact, he said to the principal, Where's my teacher? Can I stay here and play? We're in his classroom. And she's had to learn -- or lean on her parents, which many, many people have to do to help her get through it. And it's really tough.


But parents like Sarah (ph) and places like this center, and the caregivers and educators who work here, also give me a great deal of hope. You know, reinforcing my absolute determination that I've been pushing for over two years, to triple the amount of money for Title I schools in those districts like this one, where every child in a Title I district is able to have the benefits of an education at three and four years of age.

That's why I couldn't think of a better place to talk about the third plank of my Build Back Better Plan for the economy.

This is about easing the squeeze on working families who are raising their kids and caring for aged loved ones at the same time, sometimes separately but many times together. And it's about creating jobs with better pay, and career pathways for caregivers, and showing them that dignity and respect that they deserve.

But I know it's hard. I know it's hard to think of a future when you're just trying to get through the crisis at hand. I know that the -- that the case of child care facilities across the nation is dire. People are looking for help, desperately. And they've had to close their doors and lay off staff. And they're not getting the protective equipment they need to reopen. And the virus hotspots -- where they exist, and they exist all over the nation -- they can't reopen at all.

And we're in a child care emergency, and it didn't have to be this way. That's why I'm calling on the president to get the facilities and the resources and the equipment that are needed and get them to them now. Enough.

Each day, the pandemic death toll grows. Each day, in some states, more people test positive than the day before. And each day, too many American workers are still out of work and losing hope. It's been reported by the president's staff that the president is,

quote, "not really working this anymore. He doesn't want to be distracted by it." Doesn't want to be distracted by it. His own staff admits that Donald Trump fails the most important test of being an American president, the duty to care for you, for all of us.

You know, it's also been reported that he'll block any funding for more testing and tracing in the next COVID relief bill, which is being discussed right now on the floor of the United States Congress. Just as states report record cases and hospitalizations and deaths continue to rise.

This man simply doesn't understand. He can't deal with our economic crisis without serving and saving and solving the public health crisis. For all his bluster about his expertise on the economy, he's unable to explain how he'll actually help working families hit the hardest. You know, he's quit on you, and he's quit on this country.

But this election is not just about him, it's about us. It's about you. It's about what we'll do, what a president's supposed to do. A president's supposed to care, to lead, to take responsibility, to never give up. That's what presidents are supposed to do.

Over the last two weeks, I've shared my agenda for economic recovery. I call it Build Back Better. Because we can't just build back to the way things were before, we have to do it better.

And the first plank of my Build Back Better plan rejects the defeatist view that automation and globalization mean we can't ensure American workers lead to a future made in America, made in America.

The second plank helps us out compete the rest of the world and tackle climate change. I'll put millions of Americans to work in good union jobs, modernizing infrastructure while building a clean energy future, increasing jobs.

Today, I'm outlining the third plank of my Build Back Better program, mobilizing a 21st century care and elderly childhood education workforce to deal with the caregiving crisis -- and it's a crisis -- in this country. If we truly want to reward work in this country, we have to ease the financial burden of care that families are carrying. We have to elevate the compensation of those providing the care, the benefits, and dignity of caregiving workers, and early childhood educators.


Even before the pandemic, millions of working families were faced with enormous financial and personal strains, trying to raise their kids and care for their parents or loved ones who are living with disabilities.

This is the so-called sandwich generation. Includes everyone from an 18-year-old daughter, caring for her mom who suddenly gets sick, to a 40-year-old dad, raising his child and caring for his own aging parents. The joy and love are always there, but it's hard. I know it's hard. It's really, really hard.

Families are squeezed emotionally, and financially. They need help, but too often they can't afford it. And the professional caregivers out there -- the home health care workers, child care workers, are more often women, women of color, and immigrants -- are too often underpaid, unseen, and undervalued.

The pandemic hits and squeezes and tightens on everybody. Nursing homes have been hit hard. If you're a frontline worker, you struggle to find safe child care for your kids. Others of you have become unexpected 24/7 caregivers, trying to keep your children safe, and learning, while you continue to work remotely from home.

If you had to put your career on hold indefinitely or seen your hours cut or your job lost, the confusion, the confusion over school reopening only makes things worse.

You know -- and the last few months has only underscored how vital it is for families and older Americans to have more home care and community care, choices that fit their real needs.

You know, we're trapped in a caregiving crisis within an economic crisis within a health care crisis. You're doing everything you can, but this president is not.

If I'm your president, here's what I would do. First, let's start by caring for aging relatives and loved ones with disabilities, helping them live independently.

Here's an example. Right now, there are 800,000 people who are eligible for home and community care through Medicaid, who have already signed up for it. But they're waiting for a phone call, a phone call back. For some, the wait is five years -- five years. My plan makes a bold investment so states can clear the waiting list, to make sure we ease the financial burden for more families, going forward. We have to make long-term federal investments.

We'll have a major innovation fund that will allow states to test and expand successful ways to improve home and community care, and increase prevention and reduce the cost of hospitalization. Think of -- think of expanded vital services like rides to appointments, meals, day programs for seniors, making their homes safe for them.

It builds on an innovative and creative provision under the Affordable Care Act, the very program the president ceaselessly is trying to gut.

For example, there's a pilot program now in 27 cities and 16 states, where a nurse, an occupational therapist, and a handyman come to the home, that's caring for an aging family member. They might not be able to cure mom's Alzheimer's, but they can make sure she doesn't break her hip.

So they walk through the house -- this is what's going on now -- and they install handrails in the right spots in the house, in the bathroom, or they fix the door that's stuck so she doesn't trip while she tries to open it. It initially found that about $3,000 in program costs yield more than $20,000 in savings to the government from hospitalization to other reasons. Simple steps to save lives, save money, and provide critical peace of mind.

Here's another example. Whether you live in rural North Carolina or central Philadelphia, people of color, our economically distressed communities face punishing health disparities from a system of systemic discrimination. They don't have health insurance. They don't see a doctor. Sometimes language is a barrier, and they slip through the cracks, slip through the gaps. So their treatable condition -- because they can't afford to go to the doctor -- becomes a chronic condition.

That's why community health workers are real heroes. They go into these communities, they make sure folks are getting the care they need. My plan puts to work 150,000 more of these workers in our communities throughout the country. These are the things we can do now.


Secondly, we can also make high-quality child care affordable and accessible. My child care plan is straightforward, straightforward. Every three- and four-year-old child will get access to free high, quality preschool like students have here, and low-and middle-income families won't spend more than 7 percent of their income on child care for children under the age of five. The most hard-pressed working families won't have to spend a dime.

Here's how it works. We can either -- they can either decide to get up to an $8,000 tax credit for child care, for middle class family with a couple of young kids spending 300 bucks a week on childcare, that means an annual savings of $8,000 in their pocket. Because it's a tax credit. It means everything for working families living paycheck to paycheck.

Or the Federal Government, would send funding to states, which then work with child care providers to cover the cost for working families with young children, over 7 percent of their income, would not have to be spent.

So, say both parents are working and need child care. You go to, which was created under the Obama-Biden administration to help fund child care that works for you.

Under my plan, it takes you to your state website. Local childcare centers pop up. You can call or fill in your information. You apply to which one you want to go to. The state then sends you a letter saying you're approved, and lays out the amount you're going to pay.

The state sends that information of the child care provider, and the state reimburses the child care center on the back end. You just pay what you're supposed to pay. Not a dime for some working families, and no more than 7 percent for anyone else. You can do that. This would save families thousands of dollars. But more importantly, giving them peace of mind.

There's other common-sense steps we can take, like expanding tax credits for businesses to build child care facilities on site. So you can go to work with your child, put them in a child care center that the company got money for, a tax credit for building, supporting more and more -- and giving peace of mind -- to a family. And when you're finished work, take that child home. Supporting more after-care, weekend and summer care programs for families.

Third, we expand access to caregiving, we need to pay and support caregivers beyond what they are now. They're doing God's work, but home health workers aren't paid much. They have few benefits, 40 percent are still on SNAP or Medicaid.

So my plan is direct, it gives caregivers and early childhood educators a much-needed raise. No one should have to work more than one job to make ends meet.

Under my health care plan that defends and expands Obamacare , there will be more affordable health insurance. I'll make sure these workers have an effective way to unionize and collectively bargain and protect their rights and earn benefits.

This plan will help workers -- especially those without a college degree -- help them gain new skills, in good-paying industries like health care. It provides new pathways to advance their careers.

For example, a home health care worker can have access to training needed to become an EMT or a nurse or physician's assistant, or even a doctor. Or the early childhood educator can receive coaching to keep delivering high quality learning experience. We can do this!

The bottom line is that a mobilized caregiving and early education workforce would save families time and money, get their loved ones the care and early childhood education they need, and put more people to work, allowing husbands and wives to go back to work and provide many people the opportunity to get a job, that's a decent job, caring.

It keeps seniors in their homes, it's a triple win, if they choose that. It recognizes the realities facing modern families and provides them the much-needed economic support in the middle of a pandemic.


Just imagine. If we can put 3 million Americans to work in new care and early childhood education, and combined with my proposal to provide families with up to 12 weeks of paid family leave and medical leave, we can free up millions more people to join the paid labor force, increasing economic growth, meaning at least 2 million additional jobs, more economic growth for the nation. This is a fresh, bold way to build a critical part of the labor force, and help us recover faster and stronger.

We usually talk about jobs packages, there's a big push on shovel- ready jobs. I'm the guy, as you may remember, who managed the Recovery Act of $800-plus billion. I always focused on shovel-ready jobs, what we could do immediately to get the money out to communities.

But that's what care jobs are, they are shovel-ready. The workers are ready now. These jobs can be filled now. Millions of people, primarily women, to get back to work, now, increasing the growth of the GDP and family income. That's the right thing to do for our families, and our most essential workers. And it's a smart thing to do for our economy.

Today, millions of our people can't fully pursue the jobs and careers they dream of due to the caregiving squeeze. That means tens of billions dollars less in wages each year for our working families. It means more disruption for our business, fewer jobs and growth in our economy, slow.

This is both a moral and an economic imperative for the nation in my view. And, however you pay for it is by rolling back unproductive tax cuts, some of the $2 trillion tax cut the president put through, closing loopholes. Unproductive tax cuts for high-income real estate investors while ensuring high-income earners pay their tax bills.

We invest that, that would add up to $775 billion over 10 years. We invest that in building our economy back better than it was before, growing the economy stronger

And tomorrow, I'll be joining a virtual town hall with the SCIU members -- home care workers, fast food workers, janitors -- to hear directly from them about why this matters so much to them.

Because, you see, this is about something bigger. This is about dignity and respect for working people. And that's precisely what this election is all about, dignity and respect. The American people know they're not being afforded dignity and respect in many of their jobs. And the American president has a duty to care for all of us, to see people where they are, to understand what they're going through and what they want to be.

As many of you know, I was a single parent for five years after my wife and daughter were killed and my two boys were badly injured. Even though I had a lot more support than a lot of people going through tough times a day, it was hard, it was hard. If I didn't have my mom, my sister, or my brother, I don't know how I'd have been able to afford it. Then, six years later when Jill and I got married, I saw how difficult it was for her to start her teaching career while being a new mom, with two kids in school.

We cared -- well, actually, they weren't in school yet now that I think about it. We cared for our parents at the end. My dad was months in hospice in our home; same with my mom. And our entire family was there for our son, Bo, when he came home from a year in Iraq with a cancer that wasn't whether he would live, it was just how long he would live. We know what it's like, months upon months.

We know so many of you are going through the same thing, without the kind of help I had. But now, everything, everything feels different. There's just that feeling, that sense where you just don't know if everything's going to turn out okay. But I am here to tell you that it can be, and that it will be. [14:25:08]

You know, my dad was an honorable, decent man. His great regret? He never got to go to college. My dad, like many of your parents, got knocked down a few times. But he always got back up. He worked hard to build a great middle-class life for our family in Mayfield and Claymont.

But he used to have a saying. He said, "Joey, I don't expect the government to solve my problems. But I sure in hell expect them to understand my problem." I understand to my very core.

And I also know that together, we can do this. This is America, we don't settle; we aspire and we succeed. So let's get the heck up, and get it done. Let's get to work.

As I go out -- you've heard me say this many times -- go out to my grandpop's house up in Scranton when Dad lost his job, where we lived with my grandpa. Every time, he would walk out, said, "Joey, keep the faith." And my grandma might yell, "No, Joey, spread it."

Let's go spread the faith. We can do this, there's not a single thing we cannot do. Thank you for listening, I look forward to having your questions at another time but I'm off to another event.

Thank you, Principal, thank you for having us here. Appreciate it very, very much. Thank you, Senator.


KEILAR: All right, you've been listening there to presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden, lay out what his caregiving economy plan is. He's doing that there from New Castle, Delaware.

And I'm joined now by CNN chief political analyst Gloria Borger, and CNN global economic analyst Rana Foroohar to break all of this down.

OK, so, Rana, we know some of the topline numbers here, right? This is $775 billion over 10 years, which would expand child and home health care. This would include $8,000 tax credits for low- and middle-class- income families.

RANA FOROOHAR, CNN GLOBAL ECONOMIC ANALYST: Yes, absolutely. What I like about this is it's addressing the short-term, but also the economic long game. Listen, 40 percent of American households have a school-age child at home right now. This is a big issue. Are we going to open schools, how are parents going to care.

So you're addressing the short-term hit from COVID, but you're also looking more broadly and saying, What are the hindrances, even after we get out of the pandemic, to American growth? And a lot of women in particular can't go out and achieve their full productivity in the workforce -- thus help grow the economy -- because they've got child care problems.

So I think looking at care, looking at the green economy, looking at automation and manufacturing, these are all good short-term but also long-term fixes, very smart.

KEILAR: OK. And, Gloria, he also addressed something off the top of the remarks there, which was the president, President Trump's response to the pandemic. He said, President Trump has quit on you, he said, citing reports that the president is distracted and doesn't really care much about dealing with coronavirus. And he specifically hit him for this White House position of resisting even GOP calls for more funds at the CDC for testing and for tracing.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. I think this is Joe Biden being the polar opposite of Donald Trump, not only laying out specifics on a three-part economic plan, but also hitting Donald Trump where polls show us it hurts with the American people. The American people, 60 percent disapprove of the kind of work that Donald Trump is doing to try and solve the COVID crisis.

And he said, Look, we're trapped in a caregiving crisis within an economic crisis within a health care crisis. The president is supposed to care, he's supposed to lead, he's supposed to never give up. And this is about dignity and respect.

And then he backed that up with his own personal experiences, as being a single parent, saying, Look, I had a lot of help here with my sister and my mother and my family, but I know what you are feeling because I've been through it. So there's also a sense here of Joe Biden as the person who is able to relate to you as an individual, who is empathetic.

And we know one of the main charges against Donald Trump throughout the COVID crisis is that he has not been able to relate to people who are suffering both economically and personally about the effects of the crisis, and this is Joe Biden's empathy, which people believe is a real selling point if you look at the polls.

KEILAR: I want to bring in --


FOROOHAR: It's interesting --


KEILAR: -- Rana, go on.

FOROOHAR: Well, it's interesting too because we know Biden has empathy.