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U.S. Deaths Top 1,000 For Fourth Straight Day; Georgia Sets Single-Day Record With 4,813 New COVID-19 Cases; Fauci Supports CDC's Guidelines To Send Kids Back To School; McConnell Warns Stimulus Package Could Take A "Few Weeks"; Hurricane Hanna About To Hit Texas; Brazil Reports 56,000 New COVID-19 Cases Overnight; Baseball Is Back With Cardboard Fans And Fake Crowd Noise. Aired 1-2p ET

Aired July 25, 2020 - 13:00   ET


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: The U.S. death toll now sits at over 145,000 and counting. More than four million Americans have been infected with the disease. And that includes new record cases in Georgia. California reporting its single large -- largest day of deaths today. And Florida has now surpassed New York in the total number of cases. All this as we learn the symptoms of the disease may linger in many people for weeks.

A new study from the CDC says some patients can experience symptoms for up to three weeks after testing positive. And that includes young, healthy people without underlying conditions. And despite that the CDC's guidance on reopening schools as getting support from the nation's top infectious disease expert.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR NATIONAL, INSTITUTE FOR ALLERGIES AND INFECTIOUS DISEASE: I do. I think the CDC has put some good guidance down. I just took a quick look at them before I started in on the program which was sent to me by my colleagues at the CDC. So I think it's a sound set of guidelines. A recent study came out that showed children up to 10 years old, it looks like they don't necessarily spread infection as readily as adults do.

Whereas children 10 to 19 appear to be spreading infection to adults as equally as well as adults spread to adults.


WHITFIELD: All right. Let's begin our coverage. CNN Polo Sandoval is tracking the latest. Polo, several states reporting disturbing trends when it does come to this virus.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And Fred, if you look back to April, May. Obviously, we're seeing some extremely high numbers here in New York State. And we were certainly concerned the health experts were concerned about New York back then. And now this news in Florida essentially surpassed the numbers that we saw in New York back when this was really the epicenter.

So obviously if Florida is going to be a major concern here but California is ahead of the pack here now showing 435,000 cases of fourth state that also is worrying officials is Texas. So you have some parts of Lone Star State that seem to have plateaued. There are other parts of the state where doctors are having to make very difficult life and death decisions.


SANDOVAL: Six months into the pandemic and some of the nation's coronavirus stats are going from bad to worse. As the nation surpassed four million COVID cases and over 145,000 deaths this week, California beat out New York as the state with the most infections to date.

GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): When we began to reopen our economy, we focused so much on when. But we didn't focus enough on how to not only do it but to educate individuals.

SANDOVAL: On Friday, California recorded its highest number of COVID deaths in hard-hit L.A. County. Health officials are warning the virus may soon become a leading cause of death among residents. COVID cases seem to be plateauing in some of Texas's largest cities, but in one small south Texas border county, patients may be sent home to die if a hospital ethics and triage committee deems them too sick to recover.

The local county judge says their hospital is at capacity. That's also a common struggle for health facilities in Florida which saw a nearly 84 percent increase in COVID hospitalizations since July the 4th. As statistics hit record-breaking highs in the south and west, parts of the northeast are experiencing lows not seen since March. On Friday, New York recorded its lowest number of hospitalizations in nearly four months.

And with the approaching school year just weeks away, parents and teachers facing uncertainty about when or if in-person classes will resume amid a push to open schools.

MAYOR LENNY CURRY (R), JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA: Kids ought to have the option to learn in person and virtually. I believe they ought to have choices. If teachers have vulnerable immune systems, they ought to have options as well. But we have to get our kids back into a school in a safe way.

FAUCI: If you are going to bring the children back --

SANDOVAL: Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert, urging schools not to rush to any decisions.

FAUCI: There are a lot of people with underlying conditions out there, so I think when you talk about forcing teachers to come back to school, you better be careful about that and make sure you pay attention to, a, keeping them safe and key, keeping them healthy.

SANDOVAL: Fauci not ruling out outdoor teaching as a way to get students back to school.

FAUCI: I wear this all the time.

SANDOVAL: And recommending face coverings be wore to the classroom.


SANDOVAL: Here in New York State, there is a concern about what was described by the governor as a significant increase in coronavirus cases for young people ages 21 to 30 years old. The governor says much of that may have something to do with crowds that have gathered outside of restaurants and bars in the street of New York.


SANDOVAL: So they're trying to track -- they're trying to crack down on that, Fred, but the reality here is when you compare the situation here in New York with this decrease in hospital admissions in ICU numbers and of course death rates, compare that to what the south and also California is experiencing. It is certainly a night and day difference.

WHITFIELD: It sure is. Polo Sandoval, thank you so much. All right. Meantime, Georgia now reporting its highest number of new coronavirus cases in a single day with nearly 5000 new infections Friday. The record number of new cases coming as the democratic U.S. Senate candidate in the state Jon Ossoff announces that his wife has tested positive and he is now awaiting his own test results.

CNN's Natasha Chen joining me now from Atlanta. So Natasha, what more are you learning whether it be about Ossoff's case or the state of Georgia overall?

NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. His wife is just one of the latest of the large number of Georgians now testing positive. His campaign said that she started developing symptoms this week and tested positive last night as you mentioned Ossoff is waiting on the results of his test, and that he has also developed some symptoms similar to what she's experiencing.

Now, Dr. Alisha Krame, his wife is an OB/GYN at Emory. And so they mentioned that, you know, she's been on the front lines working during this pandemic. They did mention to that all Ossoff himself has not held or participated in an in person event in more than a month, and they will be in isolation until they are cleared by medical professionals. Among the other high profile politicians in the state who have tested positive.

The Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, her husband and one of their children. So this really has touched everyone. And as you have discussed with me in the previous hours, and right now the mayor is also still going through this battle with the governor of the state Brian Kemp over how to best combat the virus in this state, with the state reporting more than 4800 new COVID cases on Friday.

And if we look at the seven-day average --- moving average of new cases, you can see that very steep climb and numbers. The mayor here had tried to roll back to phase one recommending the businesses go back to curbside only and delivery only asking people to stay home, having a massive mandate in Atlanta. And of course, the governor Brian Kemp has sued the Atlanta mayor and

Atlanta City Council for those restrictions that are more stringent than what the state is currently allowing. A judge has called for the two sides to meet in mediation before Tuesday, Fred.

WHITFIELD: Yes. Lots of volatility there. And, you know, as for the candidate, Jon Ossoff, he was with us last week, and of course, not in person, but he had a very special relationship with the late Congressman John Lewis. And to now hear that he is awaiting his test results. I know this is a very tough time for him, tough choices he will be making over the next few days. Natasha Chen, thank you so much for that. Appreciate that.

CHEN: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: Memorial services for Congressman John Lewis have begun in Alabama. Earlier this morning we heard from Lewis' five surviving siblings in his hometown of Troy. One of Lewis' sisters described the civil rights icon as a humble public servant who dedicated his entire life to helping others.


ROSA MAE TYNER, SISTER OF REP. JOHN LEWIS: He lived with a never- ending desire to help others. He often told us, If you see something wrong, do something. His actions showed us just that. In a time when going to jail was perceived as trouble, he reminded us that it was good trouble, necessary as trouble. See something, say something, do something.


WHITFIELD: CNN's Martin Savidge is in Selma, Alabama, where another service will be held this evening. Martin, this is the first time we're publicly hearing, you know, from all of his siblings. We did hear from Grant last weekend who really described the tenacity of the late Congressman, but what were some of the highlights from -- some of the comments coming from his other siblings today for you?

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, of course, you know, Fredricka, this is the first of six days we're going to be celebrations and remembering the legacy life of John Lewis. But this by far is probably going to be the most personal because it was held in his hometown. And it was held by the people who know him, who loved him, who knew him as someone other than John Lewis. In fact, that's one of the things you learn.

Many of his family knew him as Robert. That's who he was to them. And so you had brothers and sisters that were getting up and speaking and they decided from the very beginning that they weren't going to talk about the accolades that had been laid down or above the history that most of us already know. They wanted you to know about the brother that most of us didn't know the private side of their life.


SAVIDGE: So again, this is Henry Grant Lewis talking about his brother.


HENRY GRANT LEWIS, BROTHER OF REP. JOHN LEWIS: When John was first sworn into Congress, I think I got my ear right in 1986. I was there. And during the swearing in ceremony, right before the swearing in ceremony, he looked up, he knew where I was sitting. And he looked up and he gave me the thumbs up. And I gave him the thumbs up there. So, after the event was over, we was together.

And I asked him, I said, John, what were you thinking when you gave me the thumbs up? He said, I was thinking this is a long way from the cotton fields of Alabama.


SAVIDGE: That's just a wonderful story. And of course, it symbolizes so much of how John Lewis came from such humble and simple beginnings, and yet went on to do so much for everyone in this country. There was another moment, unscripted, involving a young nephew. And I'll just let you listen.


JACKSON LEWIS, GREAT NEPHEW OF REP. JOHN LEWIS: My name is Jackson Lewis Brewster and Congressman John Lewis was my uncle and my hero and it's up to us to keep his legacy alive. Thank you, guys.


SAVIDGE: John Lewis shining through there. You can almost hear some of the John Lewis himself shining through there and the courage of that young man to stand up in front of that crown and declare his hero worship of his uncle. So again, a very personal kind of ceremony that took place. What will happen next is that he'll be transported, John Lewis, that is here to Selma to round chapel, which he knows very, very well.

And this is all part of it. It's a journey. We're going Through the places that define John Lewis beginning of course with the place where he was born and raised, and now to Selma, which in the eyes of the nation defined him to so many for a cause that he fought his entire life for, Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: All right. And there at Brown Chapel where he and Dr. Martin Luther King and so many others, foot soldiers of the civil rights movement would meet before that march would happen in other movements. Martin Savidge, thank you so much.

The celebration of Congressman John Lewis' life and legacy will continue over the next six days, the ceremonies will be held in cities that shaped the civil rights icons life tomorrow, a U.S. military honor guard will escort Lewis's body across the Edmund Pettus Bridge there in Selma. One last time, it is there where Lewis helped lead the march to Montgomery for voting rights in 1965 and where he was brutally beaten. Later in the week, the congressman is set to lie in state in Montgomery, Alabama, Washington, D.C. and Atlanta before he is laid to rest. And new guidelines from the CDC are pushing for kids to return to school. But how safe will that be for students, teachers and family members? I'll talk live with a pediatrician.

Plus, a heated debate over the next federal stimulus package. Excuse me. As the current unemployment benefits are about to expire.



WHITFIELD: This week there's a big push for kids get back into the classrooms but the CDC put out new guidelines for schools coming down harder in favor of opening. The guidelines say children don't suffer much from coronavirus and are less likely than adults to spread it and suffer from being out of school. CNN's Bianna Golodryga with the recommendations.



BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN SENIOR GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: This is How students at Harvard Elementary School in Houston and likely other schools across the country will be greeted when doors eventually reopen.

LATHAN: 97.7.

GOLODRYGA: Mandatory temperature checks. Next, they follow a carefully marked path to the PPE station, where each student is given their own face mask that must be worn throughout the day (INAUDIBLE) Houston superintendent, Grenita Lathan who oversees the largest school district in Texas, with about 210,000 students, has quite literally weathered many past storms.

LATHAN: I want to remind people we're still recovering from 2017 when Hurricane Harvey hit, and now we're being hit by COVID-19.

GOLODRYGA: But safely reopening schools in the middle of a pandemic is no doubt her biggest challenge yet.

LATHAN: This virus has stopped me. I will tell you this.

GOLODRYGA: She gave CNN a first-hand look at just how daunting that challenge is by walking us through the city's oldest school to show us how educators together with health officials are preparing guidelines for what students and teachers can expect to see when they return.

LATHAN: So this is one of our classrooms.

GOLODRYGA: Classrooms will be significantly smaller with two or even one student per table.

LATHAN: As we think about having just about 11 students in a classroom at a time.

GOLODRYGA: Cafeterias will be less crowded with some meal served in classrooms instead. Those familiar tables meant to seat a large group will now be used by just a few students at a time.

LATHAN: Initially, I believe it's going to be a prepackaged launch.

GOLODRYGA: Hallway traffic will be regulated, and instead of students filing out together when that bell rings, it will be teachers transitioning from class to class. And then there's the question about recess.

LATHAN: Recess will look differently and the way it will look is we will have a reduced number of students out on the playground. We'll need to make sure that we're cleaning all of our playground equipment throughout the day.

GOLODRYGA: It's a blueprint being modeled in other large school districts, including for the two million students in Los Angeles. The L.A. County Office of Education released its guidelines that include staggered days, one-way hallways and solo play. It's not just schools that are being refitted. Approximately 480,000 school buses transport more than 25 million students to and from school each day across the country. This is how social distancing will look for many of those passengers.

LATHAN: As you can see, we've labeled our seats so there we would space students out.

GOLODRYGA: All of this change comes with a hefty price tag.

Reconfiguring schools, reconfiguring school buses. All of this costs a lot of money. How does this play out in the end?

MICHAEL CASSERLY, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, COUNCIL OF THE GREAT CITY SCHOOLS: A little bit of federal money is starting to come down to take care of at least some of those initial costs. But on the horizon is costs that are much, much larger.

GOLODRYGA: Most experts envision the school year beginning with a hybrid of both online and in person classes. The priority they say is opening their doors for the most vulnerable.

CASSERLY: We're most worried about. Students who are economically disadvantaged, students are -- who are English language learners, students with disabilities, students who don't have internet at home.

GOLODRYGA: We're seeing this backdrop of that playground. And I'm sure children will be seeing that and say, I want to go back to school. I want to see my friends. What is your message to those kids and their families?

LATHAN: To be patient allow us an opportunity to finalize our plan to ensure that students can be on the playground, they can be in the classroom in that cafeteria on our buses, but just to be patient with us.

GOLODRYGA: For CNN, Bianna Golodryga, New York.


WHITFIELD: All right. Joining me right now to discuss is Dr. Edith Bracho-Sanchez, a primary care physician. Dr. Good to see you.


WHITFIELD: So do you feel confident? Do you believe it is possible for schools around the nation to properly prepare to bring students back into the classrooms in those districts that are allowing kids back in?

BRACHO-SANCHEZ: Fredricka, there are so many people in this country who are working so hard to get this right, the teachers, the parents that we saw in your previous piece, but I don't feel confident that every school district is going to be able to do this safely with how out of control this virus is in communities across the country. Unfortunately, we have to set them up for success. And the only way we do that is by bringing down the levels of virus in our communities.

WHITFIELD: So even though the new CDC guidelines, you know, say yes, schools can reopen it pointing to studies showing that children they say are not at high risk for severe symptoms yet Dr. Anthony Fauci says, there is still a lot to learn about how the coronavirus spreads among children. So, you know, how do parents kind of make sense of these? I think they are conflicting messages, right?

BRACHO-SANCHEZ: There's so much information out there and so much it is conflicting, exactly as you're saying. So just to sort of explain it and put it in context, we as pediatricians, public health experts have been watching three things when it comes to children. One, how frequently they get infected, two, when they get infected, how serious is the illness? And three, how often do they pass it on to adults?

When it comes to how easily they get infected, we're learning that it's about half as easily as adults. But again, preliminary data. When it comes to how sick they get. We're learning that it's not as sick as adults. But three percent of children, Fredricka, will be hospitalized with COVID-19. And I think the important thing is three percent of what? Three percent of two million kids that we just heard in your previous piece, go to the L.A. School District?

Or are we saying three percent of a very small number of children because we took all of the measures that we could. So I think context here is key. And even more important when we're talking about the adults who are at high risk work were involved in bringing kids into school kids don't live in a vacuum.

WHITFIELD: Right. Whether it's the teachers or family members at home. So then how about this in Texas? A Dallas County Judge has just announced the county's --that county's first pre-teen coronavirus death. We're talking about a five-year-old. And the judge also announced that the county is seeing a sharp uptick in children with COVID-19. So tell me how alarming you think that is.

BRACHO-SANCHEZ: Very alarming, Fredricka. And this is exactly what I'm saying. It's, you know, one -- three percent, let's say of hospitalizations, our children but three percent of what? Three percent in Texas where the cases right now are completely out of control. It's a large number, and less than one percent of children die from COVID-19. But less than 1 percent of what? If we continue to allow this virus to sort of keep growing in our communities.

We're unfortunately going to be seeing more of this. So right now, Fredricka, all of the adults that are listening to us, if you haven't put on that mask because you didn't care enough about your neighbor, now is the time to show you care about the children and you will put on that mask.


WHITFIELD: What do you say to parents particularly their group of parents in Gwinnett County, which is a suburb of Atlanta, and this area also happens to be, you know, one of the highest coronavirus, you know, case rates in the state. But parents are protesting, they are demanding that schools reopen the doors for this new school year for a couple of reasons, are turning to the science of those who say kids, of course perform better when they're in school.

And a lot of these parents are saying we don't you know, have the capacity to stay at home not go to work or hire someone to help tutor my kid, you know, if my kid is doing at home learning. So what do you tell them because that is -- that is a very -- that's the common predicament that every household is facing right now. I mean, they may want something to happen. But then there are restrictions that keep them, you know, from having their wishes. So what do you say?

BRACHO-SANCHEZ: Yes, so to those parents, I say, I hear you, I am seeing it in my community too. Parents and families in New York City, which was the first epicenter, which is where I practice, have had a really rough few months. I know many families who one parent has had to quit their job, even though the times are really hard right now to be able to care for kids, to be able to teach them at home. And this is not sustainable.

So to those parents, I say, I hear you, I am with you. And it is because I know how important this is that I am here and I am saying we have to take all precautions we can to control this virus so that kids can get back to school safely.

WHITFIELD: All right, Dr. Edith Bracho-Sanchez, thank you so much. Thanks for being with us today. Appreciate it.

BRACHO-SANCHEZ: Thanks so much.

WHITFIELD: And as expected, unemployment benefits are about to run out. Republicans say it could take weeks to pass a new stimulus package. A live report from Washington straight ahead. And this quick programming note, join me for a look at the array of ways unconscious bias impacts our lives. It might even affect how we die. The conversation continues on unconscious bias facing the realities of racism live tomorrow night, 8:00.



WHITFIELD: Just as federal unemployment benefits are set to expire, lawmakers on Capitol Hill are at a standstill on a new stimulus package. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is now warning that a new deal may take a few weeks. The standoff and uncertainty is leaving millions of Americans with jobless aid on edge.

For the very latest, let's bring in Kristen Holmes who is traveling with the president while he spends the weekend at his New Jersey golf club.

So, Kristen, what's the status rather of this new stimulus bill? And what role is the president playing?

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the status, Fred, is in limbo right now. To give you a sense of where exactly we are, we just have eyes on the fact that Steve Mnuchin, the secretary of treasury, as well as Mark Meadows, the chief of staff, have just arrived on Capitol Hill to have meetings with some key Republican aides as they continue to work forward on this proposal.

And one thing to really keep in mind here, we're not waiting on the final bill. We're waiting on step one. This is the Republican framework. And McConnell had wanted that out last week.

As you said, a lot of these federal benefits, including that $600 a week of federal assistance for unemployment, that expires at the end of the week. Now they're hoping to have it out by Monday.

Monday is July 27th. That means that the end of the month is four days away. You have people there who are depending on this money to get through the next several weeks. This is going to leave so many, at least 20 million Americans, really without needed support.

Now this lapse in funding is a huge deal. Democrats, Republicans, all looking at it right now.

McConnell says that once the framework is released, he is going to be focusing it on relief and immediate relief. Take a listen to what he says.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): In my view, it ought to be very much front loaded toward immediate help. Immediate help. If you are looking for a theme -- kids in schools, jobs, health care and liability protection.


HOLMES: And when you talk about immediate help, again, we're talking about a lapse here that's going to take weeks because of this hold-up between the White House and Republicans.

And all about this $600 in unemployment federal assistance. Both parties here, the White House and Senate Republicans, believe that that should be reduced, but the big question was, how exactly to do that and what exactly it would look like.

Fred, we have to note again, while this is all playing out between these Senate Republicans and between the White House, there are 20 million Americans who are waiting to see what happens next.

WHITFIELD: And not only are federal unemployment benefits set to expire in a matter of days but so are moratoriums on evictions to expire at midnight. I mean, a lot of people are incredibly worried about what's around the corner.

HOLMES: Well, that's right. They would have had to extend that by today in order to have that moratorium last passed this month in terms of rent. And it doesn't seem as though that's going to happen.

Senate Democrats have been calling for this for weeks. There's about 12 million people who couldn't afford to pay their rent last month. And we expect that number to grow.


Remember, there was that small bounce back in the economy. We started seeing people getting hired back and then layoffs continued. So this is another aspect of this bill, this relief bill that people are desperate for right now.

As you said, particularly given what's happening next, people needing to go back to school, sending your kids back, getting ready for that. This is critical money and critical resources that people need.

WHITFIELD: Oh, my gosh.

Kristen Holmes, thank you so much.

The first hurricane of the Atlantic season is about to hit Texas. We'll have the latest on where Hurricane Hanna will make landfall, next.


WHITFIELD; Welcome back. The first hurricane of the year is about to strike Texas. This morning, Hanna strengthened from a tropical storm into a category 1 hurricane. Its landfall is expected in the next few hours.


For the latest, let's bring in meteorologist, Tyler Mauldin, in the CNN Center.

So, Tyler, where is this expected to land along that Texas coast?

TYLER MAULDIN, AMS METEOROLOGIST: So anywhere between Port Mansfield to Corpus Christi is where it will make landfall, Fredricka.

And this storm has rapidly intensified overnight. It's now a hurricane-packing 80-mile-per-hour winds moving due west at seven miles per hour. As it takes this track, everyone in the red-shaded area is going to see hurricane-like conditions.

So from Port Mansfield to Corpus Christi, you'll see the hurricane warning and hurricane conditions. Elsewhere in blue, tropical-storm- force conditions.

We're going to see it make landfall in the next couple of hours as a category 1. And as it continues that trek, it's going to eventually peter out and it's going to turn into a tropical storm. But that's not until tomorrow. You can see it right offshore here.

The radar showing a lot of spiraling rainfall moving into south Texas, all the way into southern Louisiana as well. As it moves west, all that rain is going to continue to push west with it.

And that means we'll see the potential for some flooding across south Texas where you can pick up -- get this -- you can pick up upwards of a foot of rainfall in some areas. And that rainfall stretches all the way across Houston into New Orleans. In New Orleans, you could pick up roughly six inches of rainfall, too.

In addition to that heavy rainfall, we are looking at the possibility of some isolated tornadoes, too, which is typical as a tropical system begins to make landfall.

And with that surge of wind coming right onshore, we're looking at the potential for storm surge as well. Roughly three to four feet with that.

Now, Fredricka, this isn't the only game in town. We also have Hurricane Douglas, which was a category 4 hurricane in the east Pacific. It is -- has since weakened and it's making a beeline for Hawaii. Possible landfall tomorrow.

And then Gonzalo is petering out. And we're also watching a wave right off the coast of Africa.

WHITFIELD: Well, there's a lot of activity out there. We're not even at peak season. We really are just getting started, so.

MAULDIN: Like clockwork.

WHITFIELD: Yes, we'll all buckle our seat belts.

Tyler Mauldin, good to see you. Thank you so much.

Coronavirus surging in Brazil, with 56,000 new cases reported overnight. Meanwhile, the country's president, he got some good news. A live report from Sao Paulo, next.



WHITFIELD: Welcome back. Health officials in Brazil are reporting 56,000 new coronavirus cases overnight. With Friday's new cases, Brazil has added a total of nearly 300,000 new COVID-19 infections in just the last seven days.

This comes as the country's President Bolsonaro said a short time ago that he has tested negative for the virus. It was just Wednesday when he announced that he had received a third positive test for the virus.

CNN's Nick Paton Walsh is in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Nick, what do we know about, overall, the surge in cases? But, I guess, good news for the president there.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: Yes, it's one case that's been on lots of people's minds here. Despite the devastating surge across Brazil, one, President Jair Bolsonaro, obviously, his wellbeing in the nation. But, two, because of his controversial stance on this disease.

I have to say, his remarks today on receiving this final clear bill of health, a negative test after three positive tests over a period of the last two weeks, will leave those who think he's going to continue to play down the significance of the disease concerns.

He was pictured this morning in a tweet from his official account showing himself holding up what looked like a box of Hydroxychloroquine, the medication he's persistently been saying he's been taking and touting as a treatment for the disease, which his administration are handing out to many Brazilians.

You can see him holding that in a tweet where he says he tested negative and said, "Good day, everybody.

Since then, social media accounts related to him have shown him going out to a motorcycle repair shop. He's keen on his bikes. At times, pictured not wearing a mask although also wearing a visor and a motorcycle helmet, perhaps meaning he couldn't or didn't need to.

And on top of that, too making comments that said, while he had the disease, he didn't really know he'd had it. He wouldn't have known if he hadn't had the test done, suggesting very mildly, if not asymptomatic entirely.

And saying, too, that what they can't allow to have happen here in Brazil is for the lockdown to be more impactful than the virus itself. Repeating his point that the economy should take precedence.

Many were concerned that he might get the disease, not suffer from it in a way which made people feel they had to adjust their daily routine, and then emerge saying, it wasn't that bad, adding to the notion to Brazilians they can continue their daily lives.

Of course, everybody is glad he now has a clear bill of health. But the fact he's touting a medication that's proven to have no impact, if not be harmful, and also saying it wasn't that bad will leave many here concerned about what they'll do to the numbers of cases that are staggering at this point. Over 50,000 for the last 48 hours every day -- Fredricka?

WHITFIELD: Lots to worry about.

Nick Paton Walsh, in Brazil, thank you so much.


Here in this country, baseball is back. But the boys of summer are playing to stands filled with cardboard fans. And viewers are hearing fake crowd noises as well. We'll take a closer look straight ahead in the CNN NEWSROOM.


WHITFIELD: Baseball is back, though unlike any baseball season ever seen before. Empty stadiums, socially distanced dugouts, and crowd noise piped in over cardboard cutouts of fans.

Coy Wire has the sights, sounds, and a thrilling finish from baseball's return to the spotlight.


COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: An average of four million people tuned in to watch the opening night double header on Thursday, Fred. Baseball getting its chance to reclaim center stage as the national pastime and continue its rich history of leading social change.

Before each of the 14 games yesterday, players were joined together by a black ribbon, kneeling, showing support for Black Lives Matter.

Some of the Minnesota twins, including the manager, stayed kneeling during the anthem before their season opener in Chicago. Now, when at home, those twins are going to play just 15 minutes from where George Floyd died.

Cleveland opted to wear their road uniforms for their home opener because their home uniforms have the name "Indians" on them. The team saying Thursday it's meeting with Native American representatives as it is heavily considering changing its name.

Now, there were no fans inside Wrigley Field in Chicago, but the socially distanced rooftop seats across the street were sold out.

If you want a sign of the times, Fred this was it. Cubs all-star, Anthony Rizzo, breaking out hand sanitizer, making sure the Brewers shortstop Orlando Arcia is standing safely on first base. But only Arcia got that courtesy. He was the only Brewer to reach base all night. Kyle Hendricks throwing the heat. The first Cubs pitcher to throw an

opening-day complete game shutout since 1974. Cubs win, 3-0.

Fireworks in the final day of opening day. Angels and "A"s tied in extra innings. Bases loaded until Matt Olson unloads them. The "A"s' first baseman launching a mammoth shot over the cardboard cutouts in right field.

A walk-off grand slam, giving Oakland the win. The first time that's happened since 1986 and only the third time ever.

Fred, another great day of having more live sports back. This baseball season, 60 games being played in just 67 days. It's going to be an action-packed sprint, hopefully, ending with a World Series crowned as scheduled later this fall.

WHITFIELD: Lots of excitement there, even though it's very different, but still exciting, nonetheless.

On to Texas now. The new restrictions mean the Rangers are unveiling their brand-new baseball stadium to an empty house.

CNN's Ed Lavandera explains.


CHUCK MORGAN, TEXAS RANGERS PUBLIC ADDRESS ANNOUNCER: Welcome to Globe Life Field. It is baseball time in Texas.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Chuck Morgan's iconic voice has welcomed millions of Texas Rangers baseball fans to the ballpark for almost 40 years.

MORGAN: The starting lineup for your Texas Rangers.

LAVANDERA: But with no fans allowed in Major League Baseball games --

MORGAN: (INAUDIBLE) as shortstop.

LAVANDERA: -- Morgan's words echo flatly over the field.

MORGAN: Playing first base, number 21, Todd Frazier.

LAVANDERA: A public address announcer with no crowd to talk to.

MORGAN: I'm such a fan of the fans and I hate that they can't be here for the first game in a new ballpark.


I'm a little sad about it.

LAVANDERA: No matter where you sit, alone in a sea of empty seats, it's a surreal experience watching Major League ball players like this.

All of the sounds are amplified, the pop of the ball hitting leather gloves, the crack of the bats.

What's even stranger for the Texas Rangers is that the team was supposed to unveil a brand new $1.2 billion stadium this year. It's a shiny new car with no one to ride in it.

FRED ORTIZ, ARCHITECT, HKS ARCHITECTS: It's going to be incredible.

Fred Ortiz was one of the architects who designed the new ballpark. Their team spent four years waiting to unveil the new stadium. It all fizzled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

ORTIZ: As it's gotten closer to this day, I keep thinking about the old line from "Field of Dreams."


UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: If you build it, he will come.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: People will come.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: People will come, Ray.


LAVANDERA (on camera): You built it and they can't come.


ORTIZ: They can't come. Yes.

LAVANDERA: I feel bad for you, man.

ORTIZ: Yes, well. I guess I feel bad for those fans that truly want to be out here. We have to take safety first and be careful with that in hopes that that day will come. And I think it will be yet another opening day.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): The chances of fans filling baseball stadiums this season seems slim. One Washington Nationals player already missed opening day after testing positive for COVID-19.

New York Yankees legend, Derek Jeter, says it's irresponsible to fill the stands with people.

DEREK JETER, FORMER NEW YORK YANKEES SHORTSTOP: We've got to make sure our fans are safe. We've got to make sure our players are safe. We have to make sure that our staff is safe. It's a little premature I think to have those discussions now.

LAVANDERA: The only fans allowed are these cardboard cutouts placed in the seats behind home plate so they can be seen on the TV broadcast.

They don't cheer when a player smacks a home run and they can't boo the umpire either.

MORGAN: We try to make it sound like there's 40,000 people here. (LAUGHTER)


LAVANDERA: Chuck Morgan, the Rangers P.A. man, is bracing for a lonely season looking out over an empty ballpark.

Ed Lavandera, CNN, Arlington, Texas. 8