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NEW DAY SATURDAY
Five Highest Days Of New Coronavirus Cases All In Last Two Weeks; White House Denies That Trump Reversed Course On Virus; CDC Pushes For Schools To Reopen In New Guidance; Funeral Services To Be Held In Troy And Selma, Alabama For Late Congressman John Lewis; Coronavirus Deaths In Washington State Increase By 50 Percent-Plus; Brazil Reports 56,000 New COVID-19 Cases Overnight. Aired 6-7a ET
Aired July 25, 2020 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It will probably unfortunately get worse before it gets better.
DEBORAH BIRX, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS TASK FORCE RESPONSE COORDINATOR: We already starting to see some plateauing in these critically four states.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're drowning. We're absolutely drowning here. It's just overwhelming number of cases.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's just so much uncertainty and I think nobody really knows what's going on. It's kind of like almost like a downward spiral.
TRUMP: Being at the school, being on the campus is very, very important.
ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: I think we still need to learn a lot about children getting infected and whether they either spread or not.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is not how I want to go back and I want to go back.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Oxford vaccine produces a strong immunity response in patients.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the first time we've had an anti-vaccine movement before we've had the vaccine.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: It is always good to start a weekend with you. It's Saturday, July 25th. Good morning. I'm Victor Blackwell.
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Abby Phillip in for Christi Paul today.
BLACKWELL: So as we get closer to the new school year in the United States, the new coronavirus numbers, the records set here in the U.S., around the world, it's suggesting, of course, that there is still this challenge ahead. The World Health Organization says a record number of new cases were reported in a 24-hour period yesterday, 284,196 and now for the fourth straight day, the U.S. reports more than 1,000 coronavirus deaths in a single day.
PHILLIP: Yes. The CDC says reopening schools for in-person learning in most of the country is safe, but the agency also says schools in areas where more than 5 percent of COVID-19 tests are coming back positive should consider staying closed. And the Food and Drug Administration says it's giving emergency use authorization to the first coronavirus test for cases without symptoms. The FDA calls it a possible game- changer in helping reopen schools and businesses and keep them open.
BLACKWELL: We start this morning with CNN's Polo Sandoval in New York for a look at where we stand across the country. So the experts say they see a plateau in some areas, but records in others.
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Victor and Abby. We want to start your national view on the West Coast where California joining the top three states, been the hardest hit by the pandemic since the start of it. Of course New York and Florida among them as well, though the situation quite different now here in New York.
You also have Texas not far behind, seeing close to 380,000 cases so far and though parts of the Lone Star state have certainly plateaued, as you mentioned, Victor, there are other parts of the region that are really up against a wall according to some officials.
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SANDOVAL: Six months into the pandemic and some of the nation's coronavirus stats are going from bad to worse as the nation surpassed 4 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 so -- 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 LA 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' 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 hospitalization 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 school districts 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 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 worn in the classroom.
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SANDOVAL: Here in New York state, though, hospitalizations have dropped below 700 for the first time since March, as we mentioned. There is a concern here by the governor highlighting what he described as a significant increase within a short period of time amount people in their 20s and up to 30-years-old, the governor directly linking that to recent activity at various bars and restaurants.
So the governor with a warning for partiers this weekend that there will be full enforcement of those health regulations throughout the weekend throughout New York state, guys.
PHILLIP: Thanks, Polo. Now let's bring in Sarah Westwood over at the White House. Sarah, the White House is insisting that there is no change in the President's approach to the pandemic, but if you've been paying attention, you'll probably notice that he is now calling mask wearing patriotic, he's canceling the Republican convention activities in Florida that he insisted upon and those are just two examples that suggest otherwise.
SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: That's right, Abby. Anyone paying attention would see that the shift in tone from the President this week was plain, the President admitting that the crisis, the public health crisis that America is facing is going to get worse before it gets better. It's a rare acknowledgement from the President that the pandemic is still raging across the country.
And as you noted, the President announced the cancellation of the Jacksonville portion of the GOP convention which is just about a month away now. That was going to be the biggest part of the convention, where the delegates were going to gather, where the President had wanted to see thousands of people gathered to celebrate his reelection efforts. That is no longer going to happen.
The President also acknowledging in one of those briefings, which he brought back this week, that some school districts are going to need to remain closed in the fall, that there are hot spots where it's just simply not safe to open classrooms and that's after the President had spent weeks trying to push this one-size-fit-all school reopening plan that encouraged all schools to open.
So the President acknowledging the crisis is getting worse in that way as well, but as you mentioned, the White House is insisting that the President's tone has been consistent and that there has been no change in the way he's addressed the pandemic. Take a listen.
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KAYLEIGH MCENANY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The President has been consistent on this, he wore a mask back at the Ford facility, he carries it around in his pocket, he's showed it to you multiple times. He hasn't changed, in fact, in just speaking on COVID generally. The way I've heard him talk privately in the Oval Office is the way he's talking out here.
The only thing that changed is the President taking dozens and dozens and dozens of your questions each and every day because he felt the best way to get information to the American people was for him to be out here answering your questions and providing this directly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WESTWOOD: Yes. The President offering his most forceful endorsement of mask wearing this week yet, saying, as you mentioned, it's a patriotic thing for people to be doing and he brought back those near-daily briefings where he stood in the briefing room and took questions directly from reporters. Those had been phased out as the President had attempted to pivot to his re-election and pivot away from the pandemic response. That was obviously not possible given the data that we're seeing in states across the U.S..
This was the result of the President being presented with polls that showed Americans deeply disapprove of the way he's handled coronavirus and that that response was putting his re-election effort at jeopardy and so the President was finally persuaded by aids and allies that he needed to be taking the pandemic more seriously and be taking a more forward-facing role, a leadership role in handling that response and so that is what we saw this week, Abby and Victor.
BLACKWELL: Sarah Westwood for us at the White House. Sarah, thanks so much. PHILLIP: Now, the CDC is coming down hard in favor of reopening schools after saying children don't suffer much from this virus and don't spread it like adults do. So we'll take a look at how some schools are planning to bring kids back up next.
BLACKWELL: Plus, this morning marks the start of six days of events celebrating the life of Congressman John Lewis. We will tell you where the Congressman will be honored over the next week next.
BLACKWELL: Today is the first of six days of events to celebrate the life of Congressman John Lewis. His body will leave the Watkins Funeral Home in Atlanta and head to Troy, Alabama over the next few hours and later this morning, there will be a public service at Troy University. The celebration, "The Boy from Troy," is expected to include some remarks from several of his siblings and he will lie in repose there at Troy University until this afternoon.
PHILLIP: And following those services, a motorcade will take Lewis' body to Selma, Alabama. A private ceremony will be held at Brown Chapel AME Church starting at 7 p.m. He will lie in repose there from 9 p.m. until midnight and on Monday, Lewis will lie in state in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda here in Washington D.C. Stay with CNN throughout all of this. We will have coverage of all of these events starting at 10 a.m. Eastern time.
And to honor the late Congressman, a Virginia high school that is named for a confederate general, Robert E. Lee, will now be renamed. Effective this fall, Robert E. Lee High School in Springfield, Virginia will be called John R. Lewis High School after the civil rights icon.
BLACKWELL: Now, the school board voted last month to rename the high school. Congressman Lewis was on the short list. The Fairfax County school board announced the change on Thursday.
Well, this week, that push to get kids back to school into the classrooms, the CDC put out new guidelines for schools and coming down hard in favor of opening.
PHILLIP: The guidelines say that children don't suffer much from the coronavirus and are less likely than adults to spread it and suffer from being out of school. CNN's Bianna Golodryga breaks down all that is in those recommendations.
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GRENITA LATHAN, INTERIM SUPERINTENDENT, HOUSTON INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT: So we're going to check my temperature first ... 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. Interim 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 stumped me. I will tell you the truth.
GOLODRYGA: She gave CNN a firsthand 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 meals 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 pre-packaged lunch.
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 2 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 where 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 who are -- who are English language learners, students with disabilities, students who don't have the 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 our cafeteria, on our buses, but just to be patient with us.
GOLODRYGA: For CNN, Bianna Golodryga, New York.
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BLACKWELL: Let's bring in now CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Saju Mathew, public health expert, family physician.
Doctor, welcome back. Let's start here with the very beginning of Bianna's report in which the superintendent underwent this, I guess, what would be a mandatory temperature check. The CDC released their new recommendations for schools and mandatory, universal symptom checks are not recommended. Should they be?
SAJU MATHEW, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: So Victor, as we learn more and more about COVID-19, we find out that initially we made a big deal about temperatures. You know, I'm a family physician here in Atlanta and I've seen one too many patients, Victor, including kids that don't necessarily have fevers, but still have COVID-19. I think that it's a good screening tool, but by all means just because you don't have a temperature doesn't necessarily mean that you don't have COVID-19.
PHILLIP: Yes, and I do think that as we talk about schools what we are looking at more broadly around the country is just so many cases. I mean, 11 out of the 15 largest school systems in the country have three times more -- are adding cases at three times the rate that they were just in the two weeks at the end of May. So we're really going at a high pace right now.
You saw some doctors this past week saying we need to start over, shut the whole thing down, go back to the drawing board and then you had Dr. Fauci on the other side of that saying, I don't think we need to start over. We just need to maybe pause, take a step back. Where do you come down on that debate about what to do going forward to get this under control?
MATHEW: Abby, I think that we need to have really a couple of strategies in place. The first thing is a federal, a national strategy. I think what's happening is we're talking about COVID-19 like it's 50 different viruses or 100 different viruses. We're having states with different rules if you're in one county versus another and that's not going to work. This is one dangerous virus that is highly transmissible and highly lethal and we need a national strategy.
And listen, no pandemics have really been controlled without a public health strategy in place as well and I think we need that in addition to a national strategy. I was really excited that the president of our country is now talking about masks. He's a powerful man and he has a huge base of followers. I think that mask mandating will be, should be implemented immediately. We have studies that show within a couple of weeks, we can really cut down on this transmission. So overall, it's about a national strategy, mandating masks and individual responsibility.
BLACKWELL: So --
PHILLIP: Not so much shutting -- just to be clear, so not so much shutting down, you don't think that this is -- shutting down is an option at this point.
MATHEW: You know, Abby, I would -- I would like to believe that if that was something that we could realistically do, I would be all for it because it doesn't matter that some states are plateauing. Ultimately, a virus in one state will get to all the other states as well, but realistically speaking, I don't think that's going to happen. So that's why I think a national strategy is really going to be important initially to get underway.
BLACKWELL: Let's talk about this new report from the CDC. They surveyed almost 300 people who tested positive for coronavirus and a third of them, more than a third of them still have symptoms, still are feeling either fatigued or having some implication two, three weeks after that initial diagnosis. What are the practical implications of that as we look toward therapeutics, and schools and workplace reopenings? MATHEW: There have been a lot of studies that have shown that even after a patient recovers from COVID-19 that you still continuously shed the virus and I think that's also where it's been confusing with quite a few cases where the doctor says I think you've actually recovered from COVID-19, but you're testing positive two months later, three months later. I still like to believe that that doesn't mean that you're actively contagious. I still think that there's a lot of viral shedding.
So in terms of implications, really ultimately as a physician, you have to go with symptoms, how the patient feels. If they don't have the typical symptoms of COVID and they continue to test positive and it's been two or three months later, they're not necessarily contagious, it's just that the virus is continuously shedding.
PHILLIP: I mean, I do want to drill down on that for a second because last week, we were talking about these new CDC guidelines for how people can get out of quarantine and they said 10 days after the onset of symptoms -- you know, do we really realistically know enough about how all of this works to say, for example, in schools someone gets sick, when can they return back to a school setting safely without infecting other people? Do we know enough in order to make those decisions right now?
MATHEW: To be honest with you, we don't and that, I think, is really also the problem. We talk about schools opening and that's the big topic with, you know, a couple weeks away for the fall sessions and I think ultimately what we need to decide is this. We have studies in South Korea that have shown that kids under the age of 10 are not necessarily vectors, kids over the age of 10 are definitely vectors like adults can be, but ultimately, low risk doesn't mean no risk.
So we still need to be very careful about, like you just said, Abby, at what point do we decide that somebody has truly recovered from COVID-19? So that's why I keep going back to the community transmission rate. To me, that is a important metric. If the trends, the positivity rate is greater than 5 percent in any one particular city or state, I don't think those schools in that particular state should open.
PHILLIP: Well, Dr. Saju Mathew, we're going to be talking about this for a long time. Thank you so much for joining us again this morning.
BLACKWELL: Thank you, Doctor.
MATHEW: Thank you, Abby and Victor.
BLACKWELL: So Washington state was the first in the U.S. to report a case of the coronavirus and one of the earliest to lock down, but now it's seeing a resurgence after doing so well for so long. What's driving this spike in COVID-19 deaths there?
BLACKWELL: The Governor of Washington, Jay Inslee has issued some new coronavirus restrictions.
PHILLIP: And this is after a surge in new coronavirus deaths, rising from 110 to nearly 1,500. CNN's Dan Simon reports on one family whose lives have been completely wrecked by this pandemic.
ROBERT CORDOVA, HIS MOM SURVIVED FROM CORONAVIRUS: They came and picked her up and they put her in the ambulance.
DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Seventeen-year-old Robert Cordova called 911 when his mom's coronavirus symptoms became severe.
CORDOVA: We didn't know if that was the last time we were going to see her.
SIMON: The single mother was hospitalized in Yakimo, Washington, for nearly a month on a ventilator.
CORDOVA: When she was in the coma, we didn't know what to do.
SIMON: Now home, Bertha Cordova believes she contracted COVID-19 while working at a fruit packaging plant. All three of her children and her mother were diagnosed with more mild cases. They're among the nearly 50,000 Washingtonians to get COVID-19 since the state's first outbreak in January.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: The first case of a deadly coronavirus has reached the U.S., it's in Washington State.
SIMON: Washington was the country's original epicenter. Governor Jay Inslee's stay-at-home order seemed to bring things under control.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you have a good day.
SIMON: And like other current hot spots, it began to reopen in May.
GOV. JAY INSLEE (D-WA): Three months to the day after we have declared a state of emergency, we're successfully moving forward.
SIMON: But despite its head start, crowded working conditions, opposition to masks and general quarantine fatigue have helped set the state back with confirmed cases rising since early June.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The virus is going to do whatever it's going to do, and all it needs is a little bit of help to kind of go crazy.
SIMON: Randi Wildermoth (ph) is a nurse practitioner using this makeshift medical tent to serve a food distribution center in Yakima County. Agricultural workers here like Bertha are considered essential.
BERTHA CORDOVA, CORONAVIRUS SURVIVOR: (SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE) R. CORDOVA: They were only separated like she said about this distance with plastic screen, with them and masks and gloves.
SIMON: Rural Yakima County now has the second highest number of cases in Washington, yet state-mandated masks wearing has been slow to catch on.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It would be different if everybody did everything that they possibly could, but we haven't seen that.
INSLEE: Our suppression of this virus is not at the level it needs to be.
SIMON: Governor Inslee is now reinstating restrictions on social gatherings, hitting already struggling businesses hard.
GRANT HARRINGTON, SPECIAL EVENTS PROMOTER: You can only go through this so many times before people just throw up their hands and are like, what's the use?
SIMON: Special events promoter Grant Harrington says he's lost up to $400,000 in revenue this year.
HARRINGTON: There's a lack of morale. There's a lack of like motivation. And I think that we've got to find ways to be proactive in safely opening business, so we can have time to prepare, so we can do it safely.
SIMON (on camera): The mother you saw there in the piece, Bertha, she has a message for anyone willing to listen, and that is to wear a mask. Washington again is one of the states they thought they had things under control. Now, health officials there worry that it could become the next California or the next Florida. That's why Governor Jay Inslee instituted these new restrictions and why he updated the mask policy.
Bottom line, if you leave your home, you have to wear a mask. The question now is one of compliance. Dan Simon, CNN, San Francisco.
PHILLIP: And in another part of the world, health officials in Brazil are reporting that 56,000 new coronavirus cases in that country overnight.
BLACKWELL: Yes, Brazil is the epicenter of the pandemic in Latin America. There are more than 2 million cases there, one of them is Jair Bolsonaro, the president of Brazil. He's been in semi-isolation since he tested positive earlier this month. But on Wednesday, Bolsonaro said a third test for COVID-19 came back positive, and then the next day, he was seen at the presidential residence there -- look closely, chatting with a cleaning crew, but he was not wearing a mask.
PHILLIP: More than 300 hospital workers have tested positive for COVID-19 in the Australian state of Victoria. BLACKWELL: Now, there are restrictions in place in Melbourne, the
largest city in the capital of Victoria. People are allowed to leave only to buy food or work or to exercise outside their homes. And of the almost 4,000 active cases in Victoria, 313 are healthcare workers. There's new mask mandate that goes into effect today for the state.
PHILLIP: And still to come, those extra $600 unemployment benefits have now expired. And millions of Americans are worried about how they will make ends meet. Rent is due in just a couple of days, what are the proposals that are on the table now? We have more on that just ahead.
BLACKWELL: Another contentious night there in Portland. Take a look. Yes, federal agents here firing off some smoke canisters, tear gas, flash-bangs from behind a metal barricade, this is at the Justice Center, there was a small group of protesters tried to rock that fence back and forth. Earlier, things had been largely peaceful.
You see thousands of people here. There's a group also of veterans who joined this, what they call wall of moms and wall of dads, you know, at the federal courthouse. They could be some of the biggest crowds that we've seen since the start of the recent Black Lives Matter marches. Also on Friday, we should let you know that the federal judge ruled Oregon cannot force federal agents to identify themselves when arresting protesters.
PHILLIP: And that extra $600 a week in unemployment benefits from the federal government expired yesterday, and now millions of Americans are worried about how they're going to cover their bills during this pandemic.
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ASHLEY PAMPLIN, LOST HER JOB DUE TO COVID-19 PANDEMIC: This unemployment and everything, and that's what made it a little bit easier to be like, OK, I can stay at home and be OK. There's just so much uncertainty and I think, nobody really knows what's going on and it's kind of like almost like a downward spiral.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIP: The extra aid has also created a headache for employers who trying to get back up and running. Some small business owners are reporting that they're having trouble convincing workers to come back to work. And lawmakers are still divided about whether to extend those benefits.
And to talk about all of this, let's bring in financial expert Ted Jenkin. Ted, thanks for being with us this morning. This is a real, you know,
tough call here, $600 in extra unemployment for people who are facing unemployment over the last several weeks.
And some cases, it saved people from basically going bankrupt, being able to buy food, pay their bills. But on the other hand, we're hearing these reports that employers want to get people back to work and some people find that actually working maybe minimum wage jobs doesn't pay enough. What do you say? I mean, does $600 really discourage people from going back to work by and large?
TED JENKIN, FINANCIAL EXPERT: Well, good morning, Abby. And you know, it's common sense that some people will avoid work if you're getting paid more to not work than you would be if you were going to work. But Abby, not everybody's sitting home, eating Cheetos and playing video games like it's being portrayed. Since March 20th, there had been 52 million initial jobless claims in this country, and many areas, there's just a lack of jobs.
Take Springfield, Massachusetts and Revere, Massachusetts, that you have 25 percent unemployment right now, and small businesses -- I'm a small business owner. Some of them are putting their hiring on pause right now, and as it stands for large corporations.
Look, they have an insatiable appetite for earnings, Abby, so the employee is not going to be number one, it's going to be maximizing shareholder value. So, it will discourage some people, but not everybody is just sitting at home.
PHILLIP: Yes, certainly. And on top of that, it would be one thing if the country were barreling toward reopening. We're having a lot of states pulling back, actually closing down. So in Congress, in Washington, they're considering a number of different options including a lower level of unemployment insurance, maybe $200, maybe $450. Tell me a little bit about the proposals that are on the table right now.
JENKIN: Well, I think both parties agree, Abby, that there needs to be another round of stimulus payments, that's likely to happen, and Congress already passed the Heroes Act which would extend this $600 of extended unemployment benefit until January 2021. This week, we saw Secretary of Treasury came out and said, let's extend unemployment benefits only up to 70 percent of your wages, and one GOP proposal said, let's give no extended unemployment benefits at all, but a return to work bonus of $450.
So, I think there has to be a balance of trying to get people back to work as the jobs become available, and at the same time making sure that millions of Americans don't end up in the street.
PHILLIP: Yes, and just yesterday actually, I was speaking to someone who's receiving though, $600 unemployment benefits for just one of her three jobs that she needs in order to pay her bills. So for people like her who could be facing a drop-off, a steep drop-off in their income, and they can't pay their bills or their rent or their credit cards. What should they do? How should they move forward? JENKIN: I mean, it's scary, Abby. Remember back in 2008, there were
more than 860,000 foreclosures in the United States and the moratorium on evictions, it ends in a lot of states now in a couple of weeks. So I recommend talking to your lender or your landlord right now, try and get in front of the bus, let them know what your financial situation is. If a deal does not get struck -- and think about this, the average credit card balance in our country is about $6,200.
So, you should also call your credit card company, think about starting to negotiate interest rates. Look, mortgage rates are only 3 percent right now. Why should the interest rate on your credit card be 20 percent? Ask them to wait late fees and annual fees, just to try to put a little bit of cash flow back in your pocket until you get back up on your feet.
PHILLIP: And just before I let you go, I mean, we are facing a really uncertain picture in terms of the virus. Do you think that now is the time for Congress to pull back on this kind of economic aid, you know, maybe putting the brakes on some of the extraordinary measures that they took just a few months ago?
JENKIN: No, they cannot pull back right now, Abby. Look, I'm a small business owner, and small businesses are struggling across America, and that means, people are going to have a hard time finding jobs. And so we've got to make sure that we take care of people here in the short term.
PHILLIP: Well, Ted Jenkin, great advice for everyone, thank you for joining us this morning.
JENKIN: Thanks, Abby.
BLACKWELL: And be sure to watch "United Shades of America" on Sunday night here on CNN. This week, W. Kamau Bell visits Oklahoma for a look at how politics and economic disparity have impacted families there. Here's a look.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's like chasing my kids to get them a bath --
WALTER KAMAU BELL, STAND-UP COMIC AND TELEVISION HOST: Yes --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's what this is.
BELL: Yes, sir.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
BELL: Do you have any special problems of being a black farmer out here?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I never mind --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, man, I'm the only black farmer out here, so I have all kinds of obstacles.
BELL: Well, that's one problem.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right there --
BELL: You're the only one.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh --
BELL: At the meetings of black farmers --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, yes sir --
BELL: It's just you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just me and that's where we're at now.
BLACKWELL: Abby, I was really thinking what I just read had absolutely nothing to do with what we just saw on camera.
PHILLIP: Look, all I have to say is that I'm not going to be chasing pigs any time soon. OK? For more of that, you can watch "UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA" on Sunday night at 10:00 p.m. Eastern Time right here on CNN.
BLACKWELL: It was such like a grand introduction to the clip, and then it's Kamau trying to catch a pig.
All right, baseball is back. Hey, if you ever needed evidence that they're playing in the pandemic, we're going to show you how one star took safety and sanitation into his own hands, and how he tried things a different way.
BLACKWELL: So Major League Baseball is back. I mean, it doesn't look like any season that we have seen, but it is back.
PHILLIP: I mean, Victor, that's an understatement. Empty stadiums, we're talking socially-distanced dugouts and crowd noise piped in over cardboard cut-outs of fans in the stands. Coy Wire is here with us. Coy, it was different. I mean, really different. Baseball is such an experience, but I guess after all these months of no sports, it's still baseball --
COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS REPORTER: Yes --
PHILLIP: So we'll take it? WIRE: Good morning Abby and Victor. And I can send a cardboard cut-out
of myself there to the studio if it makes you too feel any better --
BLACKWELL: And crowd noise, please, send the crowd noise --
PHILLIP: We'll take it, we'll take it.
WIRE: You got it, you got it. Hey, an average of 4 million people tuned in to watch the opening night double-header on Thursday. Baseball getting its chance to reclaim center stage as the national past time and continue our 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 Minnesota Twins including Manager Rocco Baldelli stayed kneeling during the anthem before their season opener in Chicago. Now, when at home, the Twins will play just 15 minutes from where George Floyd died.
There were no fans inside Wrigley Field there in the shot, but the socially distanced roof-top seats across the street were sold out! And if you want a sign of the times, watch this, Cubs all-star Anthony Rizzo bringing out hand sanitizer, making sure Brewers shortstop, Orlando Arcia was 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, fly the W, Cubbies win 3 zip. Let's go to the NFL. The players and the league have agreed to a return to play plans, so training camps are going to start on time in just three days.
The deal reportedly laying out details like daily testing protocols at the start of camp and salary protections if the season gets canceled, and guaranteed money for players to choose to opt out. And perhaps, the smartest player in the league is already done that.
Yesterday, Chiefs Super Bowl champ, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif; the first practicing medical doctor to ever play in the NFL said he's seen the stress the pandemic puts on the health care system, and the only risks he'll take are those that arise as he continues to work on the front line caring for patients.
All right, let's bring it home with the WNBA tipping off its season today in their Bradenton, Florida Bubble with the push for social change front and center. Our difference-makers feature one of the league's most respected voices, Las Vegas Aces' star Angel McCoughtry.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANGEL MCCOUGHTRY, OLYMPIAN: We're going to wear Breonna Taylor's name on our jerseys. The family was ecstatic about it. The fact that these athletes want to wear their names on the jerseys, so it was such an amazing thing. We wanted to be able to pick different names, of course, with the consent of the families, and be able to develop a relationship with them as well. [06:55:00]
We're helping them with their foundations or you know, partnerships or anything they have going on. You know, it's funny because people are like, well, what are the names on the jersey going to do? And I'll tell you what it's going to do, we're planting a seed.
You know, we're planting a seed to first of all, keep their names alive, to keep people watching and saying, hey, we're serious about fighting social injustice, the officers are still not arrested yet, but we're praying they see it because know that justice will take place.
It's not going to happen tomorrow, and that's what we've been fighting for, for bigger change. But you still have to do the little things as well to get some things accomplished. We're all doing the big things. You can always fight for something that's right. That's what I want the kids to know, always work hard at what you do. We're working hard on the court and we're still fighting two pandemics.
So it's not easy, it's been tough being in the bubble and different things. But when you love something, you find your passion, you work hard at it. And I want to tell every little bit counts. If you can just hug somebody during the day, if you can help somebody that needs help -- yes, everybody might not be see it, it might not be shown on social media, but every little bit of love in the world counts.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WIRE: Now, any sports fan who wants to support great role models for kids like Angel McCoughtry can tune in and catch some games starting today at noon.
BLACKWELL: Coy, thank you very much.
PHILLIP: NEW DAY will be back in just a moment, stay with us.