Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

United States Tops 4.1 Million Coronavirus Cases; Hurricane Hanna Moves Toward Texas COVID-19 Hotspots; Regis Philbin Dies At 88. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired July 25, 2020 - 18:00   ET

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


[18:00:10]

BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN HOST: You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Bianna Golodryga, in for Ana Cabrera.

The coronavirus on a ruthless streak as the case count in the United States tops 4.1 million, more than 1,000 people dying daily for the last four days; 314 more people gone since the clock struck midnight.

In Florida, 50 hospitals statewide have hit ICU capacity. The state reporting an additional 12,000 cases on Friday surpassing New York's total case count. And California has the most cases and is reporting its highest number of COVID related deaths in a single day, 159 people.

And Texas is grappling with another threat as it battles the virus. The governor has issued a disaster declaration for 32 counties threatened by Hurricane Hanna.

And let's go to California where right now the state leads the entire U.S. for confirmed coronavirus cases with more than 440,000. CNN's Paul Vercammen is in Los Angeles. Paul, what more can you tell us tonight?

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's just not letting up here, Bianna, and here's the latest numbers. They've just come in to me. They now say that here in Los Angeles County, the biggest county in the nation, the county have the biggest outbreak of positive cases -- 3,628 new cases, 53 new deaths.

Now, they've had an asterisk by this number all weekend long. They say that there was a problem with the state and a backlog. So they say they've partly fixed the system and released some of these numbers.

Nevertheless, the number to watch, hospitalizations, it now stands at over 2,016 here in Los Angeles County. If there is any silver lining in all of this, the positivity rate is still 10 percent. It is stuck there for right now.

And when you dissect these numbers, and then you hear stories from some people who say, well, this is all a hoax or it's just a flu, if you want an answer about that, talk to the Dean of a Medical University, we were able to right here at Charles R. Drew and here's what she had to say about some people taking this lightly. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's estimated that about a half a million people went out that night and certainly in bars you can imagine without mask and with conversation, the virus was spread and it seems that that's part of the reason why we have this surge.

If you're drinking and you're pulling down your mask and you're talking and you're in that environment, there's a closed room. The air circulation is not something that always allows filtering. So that does seem to be one of the factors.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VERCAMMEN: The Dean was alluding to the reopening of bars in California. They're now closed here in Los Angeles County, but she looks at that as a flashpoint to how we got to these numbers that are just devastating right now.

Reporting from Los Angeles. I'm Paul Vercammen. Back to you now -- Bianna.

GOLODGRYGA: Yes. And she was talking about the dangers of bars as we're hearing officials in Florida, maybe reopening them again. It's mind boggling. Paul, thank you so much.

Well, California was the first state to announce a stay-at-home order during the coronavirus pandemic. Yet despite that head start, it's now one of the nation's hotspots. So what went wrong? CNN's Sara Sidner investigates.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you're sleeping, you're on your belly? Okay. Good.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The staff at this California hospital is nearing exhaustion.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Every breathing minute I think about COVID-19.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SIDNER (voice over): In a video diary from inside Eisenhower Health in Rancho Mirage, Nurse Catherine Davis says she's used to seeing one death a year in her unit. With 700 COVID patients treated here so far, she's now seen 40 deaths.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CATHERINE DAVIS, COVID UNIT NURSING DIRECTOR: We would ensure that a patient did not die alone so, you know, we would take turns spending time with them and holding their hand and talking to them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SIDNER (voice over): Doctors knew they had the beds to treat the surge but not the staff.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. ANIL PERUMBETI, PULMONOLOGIST: When we heard that the next, you know, wave of relief might come in in two weeks, three weeks, four weeks, you know that's when things become a little bit desperate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SIDNER (voice over): They asked the Federal government for help and it arrived. An Air Force medical team of about 20 helped shoulder the unending load. The stress here repeated all over California.

So how did we get here? The state was the first to announce a stay-at- home order. That was March 19th.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D), CALIFORNIA: This is a moment we need to make tough decisions.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SIDNER (voice over): Seven weeks later, the governor reopened the state on May 8th.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NEWSOM: You have bent the curve.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SIDNER (voice over): But that wasn't to be. By early June, the seven- day average for new daily coronavirus cases was more than 2,600. By July 11th, it peaked at more than 9,400.

More than a 250 percent increase.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SIDNER (on camera): Anne Rimoin, you are a renowned epidemiologist, what went wrong in California?

ANNE RIMOIN, UCLA EPIDEMIOLOGIST: You know, we opened up too soon. We didn't have the virus totally under control.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[18:05:20]

SIDNER (voice over): Experts agree, residents and local governments got complacent.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to be back on the field now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SIDNER (voice over): Case in point, three suburban counties near L.A. all lifted their mask requirements under heavy pressure from angry residents.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: None of this is based on science, but rather a nefarious political agenda to silence the people and strip freedoms from hardworking Americans.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SIDNER (voice over): Now hardworking Americans in all three counties are seeing a COVID surge. And hospital beds are filling up.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVIS: And that's frightening because where do we go from there?

SIDNER (on camera): Are patients telling you how they might have gotten it.

DAVIS: Yes. Well, some of them are partiers. Some of them have gone out and gone to parties, no masks.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SIDNER (voice over): But Los Angeles County did and still does have strict mask requirements. Ticket are even being issued if you don't comply and yet it's still the epicenter of the California surge.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: How much worse does it have to get in Los Angeles before you feel compelled to issue another stay-at-home order?

MAYOR ERIC GARCETTI (D), LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: Well, I think we're on the brink of that.

RIMOIN: People are not following rules. They're not wearing masks, they're not social distancing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SIDNER (voice over): Among them, California's 40 and under who make up more than half of the state's new cases.

Also hard hit, the Latino community which makes up a third of the state's population but more than half of COVID infections. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVIS: Sometimes it's mom and dad's work experience that has brought them into contact with it and then it goes through the whole family.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SIDNER (voice over): Experts say fixing all this comes only one way.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RIMOIN (voice over): You have to just shut down for now. I think that that is our only way out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SIDNER (on camera): Pulmonologist Perumbeti and Nurse Davis both saying that they are seeing in their hospitals 20- and 30-year-olds regularly who are so sick they can barely turn themselves over, even having difficulties sipping water.

They are telling people it doesn't matter your age, do what is right, wear a mask, self-distance, so we can finally get back to normal at some point.

Sara Sidner, CNN, Los Angeles County, California.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GOLODGRYGA: And our thanks to Sara. I want to bring an emergency physician, Dr. Megan Ranney; and public health specialist, Dr. Saju Matthew.

Dr. Ranney, I want to begin with you welcome both, by the way. Do you agree with medical professionals featured there? Do you think that a shutdown at this point is the only answer?

DR. MEGAN RANNEY, EMERGENCY ROOM PHYSICIAN, LIFESPAN/BROWN UNIVERSITY: So Bianna, what I would love to see is I would love to see our public health infrastructure funded adequately. So we have enough testing, enough contact tracing, and so that we have messages that the public believes in and follows.

We have to make it easy for people to do the right thing, which makes it easy for people to know if they're infected or not, easy for people to wear masks and easy for people to physically distance.

If we can't do that, then we are going to have to go back into a series of shutdowns across the countries as these hotspots pop up.

There is unfortunately, only two ways to control this virus. One is by following these very basic rules, the other is by shutdown. We don't want to go to a shutdown, but we may have to come to that.

GOLODGRYGA: And how do you have people adhere to those given that you've had strict guidelines from the governor on down to many mayors in the State of California and yet, you find the state in the predicament that it currently is right now.

RANNEY: So you find across the State of California, that of course it is a large state, there are a variety of different political beliefs. We're finding that some areas are adhering very strongly to the guidelines and others aren't.

It's also about creating social norms. So, it's about getting influencers within communities, whether its teens, moms, business people to adhere to and to advocate for the importance of that mask wearing and physical distancing.

You know, as a parent myself, it's about talking about if we follow these rules, then our kids can go back to school. If you're a business owner, it's about saying, hey, if you wear a mask, I can stay open.

That in addition to the policies are how we create change. Policies alone, unfortunately, are not enough.

GOLODGRYGA: Dr. Matthew, how do you make people care? Because you keep hearing time and time again, that unless somebody has been personally impacted or know somebody, that in many cases, especially among younger populations, they don't think that this is as big of a deal as you in the medical community and all of your colleagues have been screaming that it is since day one.

DR. SAJU MATTHEW, PRIMARY CARE PHYSICIAN: Bianna, you know, I've always said that one of the most difficult things when it comes to human behavior is really making a difference impacting, changing human behavior.

I'm a primary care physician, and I can tell a diabetic all day long about how to monitor sugars and what it takes to control their medical condition.

[18:10:10]

MATTHEW: But the moment they walk out of the door, I have no control. All we can do is consistent messaging. I think the biggest problem that we have here is we have 50 different messaging, if you will, for all 50 different states.

We're dealing with one virus that is highly transmissible and highly lethal. We need a national strategy. I was really happy to see President Trump talk about masks. He has a huge following. He is arguably one of the most powerful men in the world, and people will listen to him. That's the kind of messaging that we need.

And really Bianna, I would love to see Dr. Fauci really take over the strategy when it comes to dealing with this virus. We need to listen to scientists and hear from them every single day.

GOLODGRYGA: I don't know how likely it is that Dr. Fauci is going to be taking over, given that he says he hasn't even been invited to participate in the briefings. But Dr. Ranney, you know, we spent a lot of time talking about the frustration in testing and getting results back in time, people waiting weeks on end. It really is pointless at that point.

But there's also something else that we haven't seemed to be able to fix and that is PPE, there is still a shortage at some hospitals in this country as highlighted by our own Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Okay, giving you a special video diary from the hospital today. I'm doing brain operations and spine operations today. I've got to tell you, one of the hardest things has been wearing one of these N-95 masks, because you see, it really digs into your face quite a bit. And they're really hard to get.

I mean, we're basically told to reuse the same mask as long as we can until it becomes too soiled. You've got to take really good care of it. And what I do in addition to wearing this mask and a lot of people do it, is I put another mask on top of it, and I'll basically have this and tie this above and that's basically what I'll do to operate.

That is the COVID world inside the inside the hospital.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GOLODGRYGA: That's the COVID world inside the richest country in the world right now and Dr. Ranney, if in fact there is still a shortage, the President has many options. He can call for the Defense Production Act if need be. He finally did that with ventilators, why are we still continuing to see this problem?

RANNEY: There is absolutely still a shortage of PPE. As you know, I helped found and run a nonprofit called Get Us PPE that delivers donated personal protective equipment to healthcare workers in need across the country. And we've seen over a 200 percent increase in demand for donated PPE from healthcare workers who simply cannot get it.

It is impossible for them to get those masks those and 90 fives that Dr. Gupta was talking about. Why can't they get it? It is because of a lack of national strategy. We should have a national database of who needs it. There should be a fixed price so that people can't gouge us to make us pay 10 or 20 times what we should for the masks and for the gowns that help protect us so that we can care for you.

And there should be adequate production. We should be helping American manufacturers to get workers back to work by transforming their factories into manufacturers of those masks and gowns and gloves that we are so desperate for across the country.

GOLODGRYGA: Well, thank you both for all the work that you're doing, both off camera and obviously coming on to convey this important message. We appreciate it. Thank you so much.

MATTHEW: Thank you. GOLODGRYGA: And up next, the world is remembering a true TV legend.

Regis Philbin who died today at the age of 88. One of his early co- hosts from the Los Angeles morning show Sarah Purcell will join me next to talk about his legacy.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:17:51]

GOLODGRYGA: Tonight, we are mourning the loss of a TV legend. Famed talk and game show host, Regis Philbin has died just a month shy of his 89th birthday.

So many of us spent mornings watching "Live with Regis and Kathie Lee" and later, "Live with Regis and Kelly." Well, just moments ago, Kathie Lee Gifford posted a lengthy tribute to Regis on Instagram, writing in part, "There are no words to fully express the love I have for my precious friend, Regis. I simply adored him and every day with him was a gift. We spent 15 years together bantering and bickering and laughing ourselves silly. A tradition and a friendship we've shared up until this very day."

"I smile knowing somewhere in heaven, at this very moment. He is making someone laugh. It brings me great comfort knowing that he had a personal relationship with his Lord that brought him great peace."

But before Kathie Lee and Kelly, there was a Regis and Sarah Purcell on A.M. Los Angeles, a local morning show that aired in the late 70s. And I want to welcome Sarah Purcell who joins us now over the phone.

Sarah, thank you so much for joining us. I'm so sorry about the loss of your dear friend, where do we even begin? Regis had such a long career that touched so many people. What are your thoughts today now that you've heard that he's passed?

SARAH PURCELL, FORMER CO-HOST WITH REGIS PHILBIN (via phone): Well, he was a warm, loving guy. He just really was. He was generous to people that he saw that we're trying to make their way in show business. He was generous to me in so many ways.

We've lost a good one, we really have.

GOLODGRYGA: Yes, we're looking at pictures of the two of you, and I have to say, and I'm sure it goes for you as well, but you're on the phone, but he never aged much. I mean, he looked the same back then, as he did, you know, when he was on shows here in New York with Live with Kathie Lee and Kelly.

You worked with Regis for three years and on that local show that later evolved into "Live with Regis and Kathie Lee," did you think for a minute that he would go on to succeed the way he did?

PURCELL: Absolutely. Absolutely. I saw him once at the syndicated conference where he and Kathie Lee were just starting their syndicated show and he said, I don't know. I don't know. He was always Mr. Anxiety. I don't know where they're going to make it. I said Reg, there is no

way that you will not make it. It's going to be terrific. And look at where it went.

[18:20:23]

GOLODGRYGA: And look at where he went? I mean, he is right to have held that moniker of the hardest working man on television. But what he did, Sarah, was that he made it seem seamless. He made it seem as though he was having the time of his life.

Did you get that sense from working with him?

PURCELL: He absolutely was. Yes. And as so many have said, and so many have asked me, what was Regis really like? Well, what you saw is what you got. The way he was on the air is exactly the way he was off the air.

There was no pretense. There was no false front. He was who he was, and I just have to -- I have to actually thank him in many ways for my career, because there was a time when I was first being asked to come to Los Angeles from San Diego, and I turned the job down. And he called me and he goes, why did you turn the job down?

I said, well, because they didn't offer me enough money to move to Los Angeles. And he goes, oh, for God's sake, call them. Call them back right now. He said, this is only the beginning.

And boy, was he right? I was just trying to figure out how I was going to buy a house or move for that money. But he said, you'll have the rest of the day. And he was right. I didn't have the rest of the day and things worked out well for me, too.

GOLODGRYGA: It seems surreal that we're talking about the passing of a legend and yet we're showing all of these images of him and everyone that he'd worked with and his family members smiling, laughing.

And at times like this, I think in this country when there's so much terrible news and heartache, we do need to remember to laugh from time to time. Was there ever a day that you worked with him that you didn't laugh?

PURCELL: No, absolutely not. He asked me if he could call my husband, the gorilla, and that was fodder for so many conversations about things like, well did the gorilla get you flowers for Valentine's Day? And I'd say yes, I think he stopped on the freeway and got some flowers from one of the guys selling on the corner.

GOLODGRYGA: It was a term of endearment, Sarah, that's what it was.

PURCELL: Well, it was, and a lot of fodder for fun. And we had a lot of it.

GOLODGRYGA: I want to thank you for joining us and reliving some of your memories with Regis. We're going to be talking about his life and legacy throughout the day and tomorrow and the impact that he's had on so many Americans and obviously our thoughts go out to his family and his former colleagues. Sarah Purcell, thank you.

PURCELL: Thank you so much.

GOLODGRYGA: And we'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:27:40 ]

GOLODGRYGA: We want to update you on Hurricane Hanna which has just made landfall over Southern Texas, a region already grappling with a surge in coronavirus cases.

CNN meteorologist Tyler Mauldin is tracking the storm. Tyler, what can you tell us?

TYLER MAULDIN, CNN METEOROLOGIST: So Bianna, Hurricane Hanna, our first hurricane of the season has made landfall, which makes it the first land falling hurricane of the 2020 season.

It occurred on Padre Island at five o'clock local. It made landfall is a 90-mile per hour storm, so it was really close to actually becoming a Category 2.

You could see on the radar here, the large eyewall continues to push to the west over South Texas very slowly, and as it continues to push west, it continues to throw a lot of rainfall across portions of East Texas all the way through other Gulf Coast states.

For example, New Orleans, you're continuing to see heavy rainfall. It has maximum sustained winds at the moment, still sitting at 90 miles per hour, but gusts as high as 115 and it's making that slow jog to the west at eight miles per hour.

As it takes that slow jog, it is slowly going to begin to peter out, but it will continue to be a Category 1 hurricane through probably tomorrow morning.

It's not until tomorrow afternoon that it begins to form into a tropical storm, then eventually a depression. So, it will finally lose that punch, but we've got to continue to contend with a fairly strong hurricane for the next probably 12 to 18 hours or so.

The radar here, what the radars look like over the next 12 to 24 hours, it can continue -- you can see that it will continue to move to the west very slowly, but throws all that rainfall and there's a blinding rainfall that is going to continue to occur across those Gulf Coast states.

That is the biggest threat as Hurricane Hanna slowly moves to the west. We could see upwards of more than a foot of rain across South Texas, and that's on top of the six inches that they've already seen.

In addition, Bianna, we could see isolated tornadoes and there is that thread for storm surge. GOLODGRYGA: Yes, we are thinking of the folks there in Corpus Christi

and Brownsville. It looks like they're going to get hit the hardest right now. We will be keeping track of this storm very closely. Thank you so much, Tyler. We appreciate it.

Well in any other year, parents, teachers and students would be excited for the fast approaching First day of school, but during a pandemic that excitement, well, it's replaced by fear and worry.

Former Education Secretary Arne Duncan joins me live to discuss.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:30:11]

GOLODRYGA: As the first day of school rapidly approaches, the CDC released new guidelines that encourages schools to reopen. The agency said children appear to be at lower risk than adults and said scientific studies suggest that COVID-19 transmission among children in schools may be low.

But the guidelines say that schools should remain close or consider remaining close if there is significant spread of the virus in the region.

[18:35:01]

With me now to talk about this all is former Education Secretary under President Obama, Arne Duncan. Mr. Secretary, great to see you. So my first question is what do you make of these revised CDC guidelines?

ARNE DUNCAN, FORMER EDUCATION SECRETARY UNDER PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, unfortunately, what I'm hearing is they got significantly edited by the White House for political purposes, which is unbelievably disturbing. If you go back to their original guidance and what they actually said sort of underneath here where you're seeing increases in cases, it may not be safe to go back where we actually today.

We have more than twice as many cases across the country, almost 74,000 that we did just one month ago. We have 38 states where cases are increasing and while everybody wants children to go back to school, our students themselves, us as parents, teachers, staff, it may not be safe to do that in far too many of our communities because we have not done what we needed to do as a country to reduce the numbers of cases across the country.

GOLODRYGA: Right. And what struck me about these new guidelines is that they also reference what other countries are doing in their approach to reopening schools. Like Taiwan, they talk about Norway, Denmark, Singapore, all fine, except that the difference is those countries have infection levels per capita that are drastically lower than ours. So is this an appropriate comparison in your opinion?

DUNCAN: Well, it's not. And again, we can all learn from each other. We are learning for each other the best way to open and to open slowly and gradually and to take in our youngest children first and our children with special needs and the most vulnerable. But you're exactly right, our schools aren't islands. They're not in a bubble.

On those countries, what had they done right, they have dramatically reduced the number of cases in their nation. And due to the absence of leadership here, this has moved from a natural catastrophe to a man- made disaster. And the fact that we are so far behind other countries is why, unfortunately, we're talking tonight. Other countries are in a much better spot than we are, had we done what we need to do in March, in April, in May, and in June, it'd be very easy for schools to reopen physically in August in September.

Unfortunately, many schools are going to have to open at best in a hybrid situation and many will not be able to even do that. It will all be online. It will all be virtual.

GOLODRYGA: And obviously that not only derails their academic year, but also puts an added burden on parents who would like to get to some form of normalcy in terms of returning to work. The last time you and I spoke, you talked about the need for more funding and every teacher, every administrator I've talked to has raised this as well. But Republicans are likely to introduce a new stimulus package, which gives schools a hundred billion dollars.

There is some ambiguity, I know, about whether the money will be withheld from those that don't reopen versus giving an incentive to those that do. But what is your immediate reaction to a hundred billion dollars? Is that enough?

DUNCAN: Well, honestly, I'm so furious about all of this. If they were going to do any money, again, they needed to get that money out to school, several months ago so they could buy PPE, they could hire more custodians. They could buy more Plexiglas. They could have a massive tutoring program to help children catch up who lost schooling due to COVID in the summer. So this should have happened a long, long time ago.

Secondly, that amount of money is inadequate, it needs to probably be double that. And third is I read the bill, there are many, many strings attached saying districts only get the money if they physically reopen with everybody coming back. And what would be for me the worst travesty is if we open up physically, students get sick, parents get sick, teachers get sick, administrators and then they have to close those schools back down after another week or two.

Why would we further traumatize our students? Why would we endanger our adults? And so they're trying to incentivize things, dangle a couple of dollars to have local districts do things that are not in the best interest, not in the health and safety of their local community. And for all the absence of leadership at the federal level, those local administrators aren't going to make those kinds of bad decisions.

They live in the communities. They shop at the same grocery stores as those families. They're going to do the right thing. So again, it's sort of window dressing, but in a really, really bad way far too late and incentivizing things that are downright dangerous because we have not taken it, we've not put in the effort, we've not had the discipline to reduce cases in our communities across the country.

GOLODRYGA: Quickly, what are you hearing on the ground from administrators that you talked to that are struggling to figure out whether to reopen schools or have a hybrid system and also to take care of their employees who maybe have an elderly age and less more vulnerable to COVID?

DUNCAN: Well, just talking to a couple of superintendents just in the past day or two, they're just frustrated, angry, anguish, there's so many words. Everyone's basically had to take a step backwards. So folks that were thinking about opening up entirely physically are moving to a hybrid situation. People who a month ago thought they'd have to open a hybrid situation or having to open absolutely, totally virtually.

[18:40:02]

So everyone's going backwards because this virus is now beating us. It's running ahead of us again because we haven't done what we what we needed to do. So they're making really hard decisions that they don't want to do. They hate it they're in this position, but their hand is being forced.

You're seeing real creativity, places like San Antonio, where students where they haven't been in contact, they're sending out a teacher and social worker to those children's homes to check on them and see how they're doing. In Florida, Broward County, they're going to bring back those students with special needs first to make sure their needs are being met in school, because it's so hard for them to learn virtually.

But this has put educational leaders in an untenable situation and, again, it makes no sense to me whatsoever. This is so unbelievably disappointing.

GOLODRYGA: And we really need to give them everything they need aside from just praise because I'm a parent myself and it has been very stressful, but it's also been very impressive to see how creative they've been in challenging these various scary times. Former Education Secretary Arne Duncan always great to see you. Come back soon. We appreciate it.

DUNCAN: Thanks so much. Appreciate the opportunity. Have a good night.

GOLODRYGA: OK, you too.

Well, sports fans rejoice. I know I am, the NBA is set to tip off Thursday with the first game since March, can't wait. Players are in that so called bubble in Florida. They're healthy now and free of the virus. Can they stay that way. I'll speak with the General Manager of the Houston Rockets, that's coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:46:13] GOLODRYGA: Well, professional basketball is back. Yes. Hallelujah.

The official start of the NBA season isn't for another few days, but the teams began scrimmages this week. All while staying in the so- called bubble in Orlando.

The General Manager of the Houston Rockets, Daryl Morey, is with me now. Daryl, thanks so much for coming on. This is the segment where I get to be a bit biased and, as you know, I'm a huge rockets fan. You and I talk offline about this, but I wanted to tell you about the loss last night that my eight year old son said that it doesn't matter, mom, it's just a scrimmage game as we know the season starts July 30th, so you can just brush this one off.

But seriously talk about life there in the bubble, because so much is riding on this experiment working out. We know that the star Rocket players like Russell Westbrook who tested positive for COVID has rejoined the team after being in quarantine. James Harden recently arrived. How is the team feeling being back together?

DARYL MOREY, GENERAL MANAGER, HOUSTON ROCKETS: Great. It's like sort of being in a very focused summer camp. We have a very, very limited range of where we can go, but we're all here on a mission. We've got a great chance to win this thing and really all of the players in the NBA are just excited to do what they do, which is play basketball.

GOLODRYGA: And for Americans, it couldn't come any sooner to see their beloved sports in some form of normalcy. Obviously, it's so abnormal given that we can't have fans there and you're not playing in your home arena. But walk us through the environment in that bubble. It's quite a unique experience for fans but also for the players. And by the way, a huge investment for the NBA, it's been over $170 million on this season.

MOREY: The NBA has done a tremendous job to keep it safe. I think no one's gotten the virus inside the campus. I think for fans of the NBA, they're going to see a tremendous product. People are being Zoomed in to be live fans, I think we're the only pro league that's doing that. And I think the NBA is going to be the model professional league in terms of how to handle this restart.

GOLODRYGA: You were the first league to actually stop games with COVID in March. I know that maintaining a routine is critical there. Members of the media have to submit requests two days in advance. There's constant testing, which I'll ask you about in a minute. There are temperature checks, the so called this magic band. How hard is it to make sure everyone is complying given that you're dealing with adults and a lot of these adults have egos even taller than they are?

MOREY: Well, again, I think the fact that we all understand this is like a special time and we're all on a mission. But to your point, yes, the levels of monitoring for our safety is pretty off the charts. Every morning I have to use a digitally connected thermometer, it can't actually be one that you self report, you have to use an oxygen meter. We get tested every single day and then the people are seeing the scrimmages already, as you said, and you're right that it's just a scrimmage. Through three quarters we did have the lead, but it's a tremendous environment.

MOREY: And I mentioned testing and you know that there is some pushback as much as people are wanting this to work out, given the rise in cases in Florida. The fact that you do have access in the NBA to testing daily, rigorous testing and rapid results. Is there a concern that the league has a perception problem that the NBA has more resources than average Americans?

MOREY: Yes. I mean, I don't understand those issues as well as I should probably. I will say I think I saw that a million tests were performed in the United States maybe yesterday or something like that.

[18:50:02]

So it's good that we're ramping up testing, taking the virus seriously, even with all of these precautions, everyone is wearing a mask on campus. There's distancing everywhere. So all of the precautions are being taken.

GOLODRYGA: How different is it for you, the last time you've played before an audience was in March, and things are so different now. Given that you are known as Mr. Moneyball and there's so much of your career and what your vision forecasts and what you look for deals with a normal audience and a normal season. You don't have refs there the way you do when you're playing regularly. You don't have the audience there. You don't have that audience for my guy, the beard, James Harden, to dance in front of.

I mean, how is this playing out given the change in environment for you?

MOREY: That uncertainty is good for us. It's wide open this year. You've had probably the best thing of all time, Golden State, in the last few years that dominated the winning over the years. And the uncertainty helps the teams like us that are in the mix as a contender. It ups our chance. We need things to break our way obviously, but that's true of every other team and everyone here is excited that it's probably the most open year in quite some time to have a chance to win.

GOLODRYGA: Well, Daryl Morey, I'm rooting for you. We're all rooting for the NBA to be healthy and for these games to resume and to give us something to watch at night to be excited about. We appreciate it and best of luck in the coming weeks.

MOREY: Thanks for having me on. I appreciate it.

GOLODRYGA: Give my rockets the best. I appreciate it. Thank you.

MOREY: I will. Thank you.

GOLODRYGA: And we'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:56:20] GOLODRYGA: Well, running a family farm in America was hard enough

before the coronavirus pandemic. Now, the challenges are even more complex. Here's a preview of tomorrow night's brand new episode of UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's like chasing my kids trying to give them a bath. That's what this is.

W. KAMAU BELL, CNN HOST, UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA: Yes, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

BELL: Do you have any special problems being a black farmer out here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, man. I'm the only black farmer out here, so I have all kind of problems.

BELL: Well, that's one problem.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right there.

BELL: You're the only one at the meetings of black farmers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, sir.

BELL: It's just you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just me and that's what where we're at now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GOLODRYGA: You looked like you had some fun out there, the host of UNITED SHADES.

BELL: That's that hard hitting journalism I'm known for.

GOLODRYGA: It's hard to wrangle pigs, I can't even imagine. So that was a good job, Kamau.

BELL: Thank you.

GOLODRYGA: Tell us about that experience. I know one farmer tells you that farming is a white man's game. What barriers are black family farmers facing as they're now trying to operate, obviously, their own farms?

BELL: Well, it's the same barriers that black people face across this country just in different systems. Like, black farmers have lost like 90 percent of the land that black farmers had back in 1910 whereas white farmers have lost like 2 percent of the land they've had. So it's really just the land that some of us got after 40 acres and a mule. A lot of that land has been lost and a lot of that is because base and the federal government will not loan to black farmers and every farmers who talk about the episode needs loan, every farmer, white farmers, farmers of all races.

GOLODRYGA: Yes. It really is a tough time right now, especially navigating a pandemic to say economically float and sound. Kamau, the Oklahoma farmer that you spoke to in that clip at one point had to deal with, I think it was at five family members infected with coronavirus, I mean, wow, how is his family surviving this pandemic, I mean, five members of one family.

BELL: Yes. And we take that before the coronavirus hit, so you won't see any masks in the episode. But every farmer we talked to had to deal with the pandemic and he got five members of family. They didn't pass away as far as I know, but they were all working members of the farm and so he ended up having to do a lot of that work himself on a farm where he is already struggling to get by.

So luckily he's still there. He has set up a GoFundMe. I will send that out when the show goes out. But, yes, he really needs help because he can't get it from the federal government despite all of the talk of supporting family farms.

GOLODRYGA: And this is such an educational opportunity for Americans and your viewers. So many things for people to learn. In fact, 1997, hundreds of African-American farmers, they actually sued the U.S. Department of Agriculture for systemic discrimination.

Kamau, as you learn, those farmers they eventually won their lawsuit, but that took years for them to get what they deserved. What was behind that the holdup there to get their due money?

BELL: I mean, it's the same thing that is behind America giving black people our full rights and privileges as citizens. There is just a lot of people at the top of this country who want to delay our justice. And so even though they got their settlement, it took years for them to pay out. And in that time, more black farmers are losing their farm, so it's really about a delay of justice.

It's the same thing people are protesting against in Portland, it's the same thing that black farmers need help with Black Lives Matter.

GOLODRYGA: Well, Kamau, nobody can tell the story the way you do. It's brilliant television. The connection you have with those you interview it is just amazing. So thank you so much for joining us and giving us a preview.

[19:00:04]

BELL: Thank you.

GOLODRYGA: UNITED STATES OF AMERICA airs tomorrow night at 10 right here on CNN. And I'm Bianna Golodryga.