Return to Transcripts main page


Civil Rights Icon Remembered In Memorial Services Across Alabama; GOP Plan Calls For $1,200 Stimulus Checks, Cuts To Jobless Aid; Rep. John Lewis Makes Final Journey Across Edmund Pettus Bridge; Georgia Posts Record Number Of New COVID-19 Cases On Friday; Hundreds Demand School District In GA Allow In-Person Classes; Actress Olivia de Havilland Dies At 104. Aired 1-2p ET

Aired July 26, 2020 - 13:00   ET



JOSEPHINE RAMAGE, P.S. 128'S SITE SUPERVISOR: So imagine the line that would be out the door, trying to keep them distance and checking their temperatures. So while the safety protocols are awesome, the cleaning products and just the procedures are a model, it's not the same as school.


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: Hello again, everyone, and thank you so much for joining me. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

As we remember the late civil rights icon and hero Congressman John Lewis, we want to show you a variety of pictures and moments that we've seen today, including one final crossing over the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, just last hour.

Lewis's body, on a case on there, taken over the bridge. And then he was greeted by family members and Alabama State Troopers. It was the last moment on his journey. From Selma to Montgomery.

It was on this site five decades ago, the civil rights leader cemented his towering legacy, helping to lead a march to Montgomery for voting rights at the tender age of 25.

And right now that motorcade is still making its way to Alabama State Capitol of Montgomery where Lewis will lie in state this evening.

Today is day two of a series of ceremonies over the next five days now in cities that shaped Lewis's life.

Let's go now to Victor Blackwell, who is there in Montgomery.

And first Victor, the late congressman, the ceremony in totality, it's a six-day celebration of his life and it began yesterday in his birth city of Troy, Alabama. Kind of take me through what these last couple of days have been like and what's expected in Montgomery.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: Well, for the last couple of days, we've heard some of the icons of the civil rights era talk about some of the big moments, but also relatives and those who knew him in Washington, in Alabama, and Atlanta and well as well talk about some of these smaller, more intimate moments of the man who was so well known. And there, the reaction and relationship to and with him.

We're starting to see Dexter Avenue where I'm standing right now, Dexter Avenue, King Memorial Baptist Church on one side, the Alabama Capitol over my right shoulder starts to line with people who are coming here to pay tribute to the late congressman, some with folding chairs, finding a little bit of shade. It's about 94 degrees here in Montgomery, and it is a diverse crowd of all races, ages.

I was reminded by someone on social media when I talked about the different groups that the late congressman fought for that he also fought for rights for those who were disabled, physical disabilities, those with mental challenges as well.

So here's what's going to happen today as all of these people have come to pay tribute to the late congressman. He will be brought up Dexter Avenue, where the march from Selma to Montgomery ended with thousands of people. He will then be taken to the Capitol where the governor of Alabama, Kay Ivey, will receive him there. And then there will be a short ceremony. And then people will be allowed to come in and pass and pay their respects.

Now social distancing and masks required because of the pandemic. But this will be a moment for people here in Selma to pay tribute. Of course, we know how he was received when he came in 1965. In 1961 when he came here he was beaten as one of the Freedom Riders.

Of course, this arrival now with the context of history and the life of contributions he is received as a favorite son.

The flags here at the Capitol across the state of Alabama all flying at half-staff. They have since sunrise on Saturday, and they will until sunrise tomorrow. But as many people as possible, we'll take that opportunity to come here and pay tribute to the late congressman.

He'll then go on to Atlanta to lie in state at the state capitol. And then to the Capitol in Washington, in the rotunda, an honor that is not afforded to every member of Congress. But certainly this was known as the conscience, the conscience of the Congress, and someone who is respected by the people crowding around now awaiting his arrival.

He's expected to make it here to the Capitol in about an hour from now sometime at the top of the next hour, Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: All right, and we'll check back with you. Victor Blackwell, thank you so much.

Martin Savidge is in Selma, Alabama, where part of this journey began today.

Martin, tell me what people are thinking and feeling now.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, hey, Fred. I mean, I know there are more tributes to come. This is only day two, but it is hard to imagine there could be a more powerful day of imagery than what we witnessed here in Selma just a short while ago, the crossing over of this historic bridge and all that it means in so many different ways.


People began lining the streets here at around 7:30 in the morning, two hours before the event, they wanted to be here. Some said they had to be here.

They traveled, in some cases all the way from Texas, from Florida, from Indiana, a diverse crowd, a crowd mixed of age. And they all have their own reasons. Here's just a few.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I wanted to meet him my entire life. And it's really just because he is a man of such strong conviction, it really means a lot to me. Someone who was willing to put basically his life on the line during a very turbulent time in the 1960s to better the world for other people.

So I've always looked up to him and unfortunately, I wasn't able to meet him. So I was not going to miss this event, no matter how far away it was.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The work that he did, you know, throughout his life, it's evident here by the people who came out and me being one. I wouldn't miss this. I'm here to honor his life, his legacy.


SAVIDGE: John Lewis, of course, has crossed this bridge many times in recognition of what was accomplished in Selma. But this was going to be the very last time.

And there were direct correlations purposely done to the very first time, including the imagery of the casket being loaded from Brown Chapel Church, and then following the exact route that the marchers did on that day, March 7, 1965, Bloody Sunday, coming to the bridge, and then going over it.

At that moment, the crowd in some cases cheered. There were others that were saying hymns, there were some that were shouting out, thank you. In a lot of ways, these were personal goodbyes that you were listening to. And then the silence set in as the carriage made its way across that bridge.

And then the difference, as you've already noted, his family waiting to receive him. Well-wishers, there all those who knew him, who worked with him, or those who never had the chance to speak with him at all, but had -- he had made a difference in their They all greeted him, not the angry mob of 55 years ago. And so truly a transition, a real crossing over from one age to another. In so many ways symbolic and so powerful for so many people. Frederika.

WHITFIELD: So much symbolism today. Martin Savidge, thank you so much.

Let's talk further about the life and legacy of the late congressman. With me now Derrick Johnson, the President of the NAACP. So good to see you.


WHITFIELD: This six day celebration of life, you know, is a journey of all these cities that in some way shaped the late congressman. You had an opportunity to befriend him. You were also with him earlier this year, when he made his last, you know, march across that bridge. What are your reflections today?

JOHNSON: It was an opportunity for us to pause and to truly appreciate the life and legacy of John Lewis as we read to and look forward in March, when we're on that bridge, he gave us all the charge, we must vote and vote like we've never voted before. And that's the legacy of his life.

His legacy is about action. His legacy is about inclusion. His legacy is about making this democracy work. So his charge remain with us.

As we seen him go across the bridge, it is our opportunity to make a decision as a nation. Are we ready to walk across the bridge into a future that's inclusive where our democracy work for everyone? Or are we ready to pause and look at this symbolism and go back to the past?

I want to take on his charge and move forward. And I hope so many other Americans will do the same as we go across this bridge into a future where inclusion and where our democracy work for all.

WHITFIELD: Is moving forward also the idea of renaming this Edmund Pettus Bridge to the John Lewis Bridge, there are petitions already underway. There's that momentum.

Congressman Lewis really dismissed that kind of talk, you know, long ago. What did you -- what do you think about that idea? Would it be a fitting change? Would that be moving on into a new direction?

JOHNSON: I think symbols matters so long as it's backed up with substance. Of the state of Alabama have the sole discretion of renaming monuments and bridges. That bridge is named after one of the grand wizards of the Klan. It should be renamed.

But John Lewis also talked about the local heroes who participated. And so as we take account for his life, he will want the renaming of the Voting Rights Act, as Congressman Clyburn has already renamed it and it gets passed so Americans can fully participate free of vote suppression methods.

The naming of the bridge is important. The passing of the Voting Rights Act is where we should be putting our energy to make sure that we open up democracy, that we make this union a more perfect union. And it's the inclusion that he fought for all his life is realized by many, many people across this nation.


WHITFIELD: And about effective actual change. That is indeed what he symbolizes, the congressman -- the late Congressman John Lewis.

Derrick Johnson, thank you so much for your reflections. Appreciate it.

JOHNSON: Thank you for the opportunity.

WHITFIELD: Coming up. The coronavirus pandemic claims the life of a nine year-old girl in Florida as the mayor of Houston issues a call for help. The latest headlines from around the country next.



WHITFIELD: The coronavirus pandemic has hit another grim milestone as cases and deaths continue to surge.

Globally over 16 million people have now been infected by the disease. The U.S. is responsible for a quarter of those cases. Another 900 Americans lost their lives on Saturday alone, marking the first day in nearly a week that deaths did not top 1000, but new models project 175,000 American deaths by mid-August.

Still, there are some new signs of hope. Tomorrow trials for phase three of a potential coronavirus vaccine will begin. Volunteers from across the country are expected to take part.

But it comes as lawmakers in Washington scrambled to come up with a new relief package. A $600 unemployment benefit expires Friday. It has been a critical lifeline for millions of Americans who lost their jobs due to the pandemic.

CNN's Polo Sandoval tracking the latest for us Polo.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And Fred, the numbers out of Florida for example, they're not just grim, they're also staggering. Today, the Sunshine State reporting another 9,200 cases and dozens more deaths is now bring the Sunshine total -- Sunshine States total to almost 418,000.

It's clearly a crisis that Florida facing right now. This weekend it surpassed the numbers that we saw here in New York when we were in the middle of that situation. And it's second only to California.


SANDOVAL (voice-over): Florida on Saturday became the U.S. state with the second highest official coronavirus case count passing New York, once the epicenter, early on in the pandemic.

Number of people being hospitalized in Florida up a staggering 79 percent since the July 4 holiday. Nearly half of Florida's COVID-19 deaths are linked to long-term care facilities. At least 50 Florida Hospital Center reporting they reached ICU capacity.

MAYOR DAN GELBER, (D) MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA: Every day Miami Dade County right now about 200 people go into our hospitals because they're too sick. Twenty to 30 of them will likely die, a good portion of them will end up two weeks on an ICU and another portion will be on ventilators and survive.

SANDOVAL: Despite that and surging case numbers there's a push to reopen bars in Florida. We're also learning heartbreaking details about Florida's youngest victim Kimora "Kimmie" Lynum. She was just nine years old when she died last week.

Florida now tops New York in cases. Texas now sits close behind New York with more than 380,000 cases of the coronavirus. Texas Saturday afternoon reported more than 8.100 new cases and 168 deaths.

MAYOR SYLVESTER TURNER, (D) HOUSTON: We have reported 386 people who have died in the city, not the county but in the city of Houston. A 151 of those deaths came just in the month of July. We have had more people to die in July than March, April, May, June combined.

SANDOVAL: Leading the nation now in confirmed cases of COVID-19, California. In Friday 159 people died of the coronavirus in California, the most deaths there in a single day.

Arizona hits its second highest daily death toll on Saturday. Meantime, thousands, not only in that state, face a cut off in critically needed unemployment benefits, as Congress fights over the details of a relief bill, that could cause pain for many people in Arizona and other states.

REP. RUBEN GALLEGO, (D) ARIZONA: We're all about making sure that the working class of this country are taken care of. And we're not going to stick to strict ideology. And in the process somehow destroy family incomes and family stability. So of course, we will look at some compromises.

SANDOVAL: As cases and deaths spike nationwide, a massive push to get kids back into the classroom come this fall. The CDC has new guidelines coming down hard in favor of reopening schools.

With the new school year just around the corner families and communities are weighing whether to send their children back for in person learning.

DR. ABDUL EL-SAYED, EPIDEMIOLOGIST & PUBLIC HEALTH EXPERT: For parents, it's really important to prepare, to know where your kid is going to go every day. If we have to dial back on that, like we did in the spring, this could be really, really devastating for parents. And so we want to forecast with the best possible knowledge of what the future is actually going to look like rather than what administration's political priorities are for what they want them to look like.

SANDOVAL: All this is new CDC analysis showing coronavirus symptoms can stick around for weeks, even in those who are otherwise healthy.


SANDOVAL: Here in New York, things like test positivity, hospitalizations, also death numbers, those continue trending low. But the big question here is how can the state keep them that low?

And this one we know that one of the big concerns right now are people congregating outside of bars and restaurants, so Governor Cuomo introduced some regulations for restaurants meant to keep people from mingling outside of bars and restaurants.


However, as the governor just said a few hours ago, is there were over 100 different violations and what he described as blatant disregard to those regulations, Fred, so it feels -- he feels that if there's an Achilles heel in all this in state of New York, it is perhaps that. So they're really trying to take a good hard look. And this coming week, many businesses, restaurants and bars was losing their liquor license, at least temporarily.

WHITFIELD: Alright, Polo Sandoval. Thank you so much.

All right. Still ahead, the fight over a new stimulus plan heats up on Capitol Hill, Republicans want to send Americans $1,200 stimulus checks, while cutting aid to people on unemployment. We'll have reaction next.



WHITFIELD: All right, welcome back. Republicans now say they want to send many Americans another round of $1,200 stimulus checks.

Today White House officials and Senate Republicans announced they are working out the details of a new coronavirus aid package that would include the stimulus checks. But the GOP plan also calls for cuts to the extra $600 in federal unemployment benefits that are set to expire this week. Trump administration officials say details of the bill are set to be unveiled as soon as tomorrow.


STEVE MNUCHIN, TREASURY SECRETARY: The bill will be introduced Monday and we're prepared to act quickly. This is all about kids and jobs. This is our focus and we want to make sure something gets passed quickly so that we deal with the unemployment and all the other issues, paycheck protection plan, tax credits to rehire people and money for schools.

(END VIDEO CLIP) WHITFIELD: All right. For more on this now let's bring in Kristen Holmes who is with the President in New Jersey where he is spending the weekend.

So Kristen, what more can you tell us about this Republican plan?

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fred, I first of all, I want to point out that while President Trump has been here playing golf, spending the weekend with supporters, his aides have been working around the clock.

We know that Mark Meadows, the Chief of Staff, as well as the Secretary of Treasury, Steve Mnuchin were up on Capitol Hill yesterday, and we'll be back today as they try to hammer out these negotiations.

Now, as you said, this is not the big negotiation with Democrats. This is just between Senate Republicans and the White House and a lot of it is circulating around that $600 unemployment benefit equate to households per week for people who needed that extra aid and that was federal money on top of what they were already getting for states.

Now Democrats have said they want this extended through the end of the year. They say people are still suffering. Those who can find jobs can't find childcare. But Republicans are saying that now, it seems as though, that is just too much money that it's become a deterrence to some people to actually go back to work so that $600 instead of getting a flat rate, they're saying now it's going to be 70 percent of wages.

Now, take a listen to how Mnuchin -- or excuse me, how Larry Kudlow described this in an interview with CNN's Jake Tapper.


LARRY KUDLOW, WHITE HOUSE ECONOMIC ADVISER: It won't stop the assistance, it's going to it's going to cap the assistance at a level that is consistent with people going back to work. That's what we've said from day one.

First of all, state unemployment benefits stay in place. Second of all, we will try to cap the benefits at about 70 percent of wages.

You know, a University Chicago study showed virtually 70 percent, 68 percent of people actually have higher benefits than wages.


HOLMES: OK, so there is some concern about this and even Mark Meadows himself said it in an interview this morning, will the states actually be able to handle on such short notice this complicated compensation process dealing with the federal funds getting that 70 percent. And that's, of course, something that we're going to wait and see. And Meadows himself said that this was maybe going to be an issue.

Now, we've talked about that. Let's talk about what else is actually in this proposal and we can pull it up. The first thing, of course, is what you already mentioned, those $1,200 checks for many Americans, the unemployment age, replace up to 70 percent of wages, then there's reemployment and retention bonuses. You're looking at tax credits for small businesses, and lengthening the federal eviction moratorium.

And Fred, of course, we had talked about that as well yesterday, that is set to expire at the end of the month. There are millions of people, 12 million who couldn't pay rent last month, looking at this now saying, likely saying that they're going to be grateful that this is being extended.

WHITFIELD: And then Kristen, what kind of responses coming from Democrats?

HOLMES: Well, we did hear from the Speaker of the House shortly after they unveiled so much of this proposal, who basically said about that $600 that they wished it would be a flat fee, but that they weren't -- she did not say whether or not they would reject or accept it.

Take a listen to Nancy Pelosi.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), HOUSE SPEAKER: The reason we had $600 was its simplicity. And figuring out 70 percent of somebody's wages, people don't all make a salary. Maybe they do. They make wages, and they sometimes have it vary. So why don't we just keep it simple, unemployment benefits, and the enhancement, which is so essential right now, and that's really where we are starting.


HOLMES: And again, there are a lot of concerns about this not being simple enough, the 70 percent of wages.

One of the things that the Chief of Staff said was that they were working together with state systems to try and make sure that those antiquated computer systems wouldn't stop anyone from getting their benefits.

But, Fred, something a viewer pointed out to me was that if this wasn't extended, the $600 yesterday, that there would be payment lapse.

[13: 30:02]

So that means there are millions of Americans who will not get that much needed money and there will be a lapse before this goes into place.

WHITFIELD: All right tough situation getting tougher by the minute. Kristen Holmes, thank you so much.

Georgia shatters or coronavirus record. So, what is being done to stop the growing number of cases? The latest on the debate over restrictions straight ahead. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: Courage, sacrifice, honor, today Congressman John Lewis is being remembered as a man who fought to make the American promise that all men are created equal a reality.

And just a short time ago, the congressman made one last journey across the infamous Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. It's a place where he was beat nearly to death 55 years ago. But the sacrifices he and so many others made there forever changed our country, his impact immeasurable.


Joining me right now as someone who stood alongside Congressman Lewis in the halls of U.S. Congress, Democratic Congresswoman from Texas, Eddie Bernice Johnson.

Congresswoman, good to see you.

REP. EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON (D-TX): Nice to see you and thank you.

WHITFIELD: One incredibly moving tribute today. We saw a beautiful tributes yesterday in his birthplace of Troy, Alabama. And then today to see that case on with the casket of the congressman stop right there on the Edmund Pettus Bridge. What are your thoughts today?

JOHNSON: I have so many thoughts but you know, just to review John's life gives me a good picture of what it's like to live a very useful and interesting life.

John spent his life working for others, working for voters' rights. And I frequently said to him without your efforts, I would not be able to serve alongside you in this Congress. And so we had a very little special relationship.

Everybody that I have met that met John calls him a friend. So I joined that course, John was my dear friend. Came to my district often. And we even -- were arrested together at one occasion.

And so I have missed -- I know that I will miss him greatly. But I'll always remember that he left us with a legacy and a responsibility.

And when our young people want to push the older people out of the way, I can always point to John and say he started out as a very young man and worked his entire life, didn't make it to the goal that he intended but he got us on the way and it's up to the young people to take that mantle and carry it forward.

I think that what we have to do now is a heavy burden is the past the Voting Rights Act. Because John had a speech impediment, because of his damage to his brain when he was beaten on that bridge.

WHITFIELD: It's palpable, that you know, you were you were enamored, you know, by him and you're fortunate to have served alongside him and become a friend for now 28 years. There is this other big thing, you know, in this country, this pandemic, and I wonder how much you think about the congressman, as you also think about the road ahead for people who are living and enduring this pandemic. And now later this week, that's the $600 unemployment benefit is set to expire, you know, even as millions of Americans are still out of jobs because of this pandemic.

How hopeful are you about these negotiations for a new relief package? And if in any way you see kind of the spirit of the congressman, you know, alongside you in this fight to try to help people who are suffering so much?

JOHNSON: Well, let me say that I can hear John's plea now, as he would come to the floor and plead for them to understand the plight that people are suffering so that we can move quickly, to attempt to address the very ills that this pandemic has brought.

None of them are responsible for the situation that we're in, but so many have suffered from job loss and of course income loss. And many of them can identify with John so strongly because we have the least insecure, least secure jobs and more vulnerable because of where we live and what we have to eat and what we don't have access to. John knew all of that and worked all of his life, to give attention to it, to fight for people to bring attention.

And whenever we had any legislation on the floor that spoke to the heart of the poor people, John would be called on to give a statement he was always ready. As matter of fact, he said manage me for not talking enough on the floor because we would sit and discuss it sitting together on the floor. I will miss my buddy, but we must carry on his fight.


WHITFIELD: Indeed. Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson, thank you so much and thank you for your thoughts.

JOHNSON: Thank you

WHITFIELD: Coming up, tonight, a second edition of our CNN special report on "Unconscious Bias: Facing the Realities of Racism."

And one of those realities is how our unconscious bias plays a role in the current global crisis of battling Coronavirus. I talk with Dr. Jennifer Eberhardt, author of the book "Bias to Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice that Shapes What We See, Think and Do."


JENNIFER EBERHARDT, PROFESSOR, DEPARTMENT OF PSYCHOLOGY, STANFORD UNIVERSITY: the dealing with the issue of COVID-19 right now, right all over the country. And, you know, we're also, you know, in the midst of that trying to deal with racial bias because we know bias is more likely to come forth when we're living in situations of scarcity. So when there are scarce resources, so like, for example, when not everyone has Access to testing for COVID. WHITFIELD: Temper's flare.

EBERHARDT: Or not everyone -- tempers flare and yes, and you could show up at the hospital and how do you know like, you know, who is going to get tested and who isn't, who's going to be turned away? Who's going to be given a bed? Who's going to be given a ventilator? So all of those situations when they're scarcity, you know, bias could be more likely.

And then you mentioned tempers flaring. We, you know, if you think about, you know, bias in terms of, you know, healthcare workers who are working in, you know, these overwhelming, you know, conditions where, you know, they're tired and, you know, they're overworked. You know, they're having to work long hours and, you know, make, you know, all these split second decisions. You know, the issues under which bias can come alive as well.

Don't miss "Unconscious Bias: Facing the Realities of Racism" tonight 8:00 p.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.



WHITFIELD: Georgia is seeing a dramatic surge in coronavirus cases, the state reporting over 3,000 new infections on Saturday with 53 new deaths. This after setting a record on Friday for the highest daily case count yet in this pandemic. Hospitalizations and deaths are also increasing across the state.

CNN's Natasha Chen is in Atlanta for us. So Natasha, things are not looking good in Georgia right now. So what are officials saying and preparing for?

NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. Well, the governor, Brian Kemp, actually launched a campaign earlier this week, telling Georgians to do four things for four weeks, wear a mask, socially distance, wash hands, and pay attention to the health department's guidelines. Now this has been a very troubling trend for a few weeks now and we saw a record broken on Friday. And for a few weeks, we've seen the seven day average of new cases and new deaths climb upward at an alarming rate.

Yesterday we heard from Jon Ossoff, a U.S. Senate candidate here in Georgia, tweeting that his wife had contracted coronavirus. And he also is feeling symptoms and is awaiting test results.

Here's what he told Wolf Blitzer last night about the experience of COVID-19 in Georgia.


JON OSSOFF, (D) GEORGIA SENATE CANDIDATE: We've just got to turn this thing around because there are a lot of people suffering and dying. You know, the governor of Georgia is fighting our own city leaders on mask mandates. We've had hospitalizations reaching record levels. We've had double digit deaths every day for the last three or four days.

And we need politicians to listen to public health advice. I don't know what else they need to hear.


CHEN: There's certainly no statewide mask mandate, but there is one here in Atlanta as well as some other Georgia cities.

The governor however on Friday tweeted some rosier outlook of what's going on here. He mentioned on Friday in this tweet that there was a "new high for tests reported to the Department of Health, 45,000 plus tests and an 11.2 percent positivity rate, which is below Georgia's current seven and 14-day average. In that statistic."

Also good news that he tweeted that, Current COVID-19 hospitalizations had remained stable this week." Again, that was a tweet of his on Friday.

Of course, he is still in the middle of a legal battle with the Atlanta mayor and Atlanta City Council. The mayor and Governor have been ordered by a judge to sit down for mediation before Tuesday, Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right. Natasha Chen, let's keep up with their. Thank you so much.

All right, joining me right now is Dr. Richina Bicette, an Emergency Room Physician from Houston.

Dr. Bicette, good to see you.

So, we're talking about Georgia just now, you know, where people are getting mixed messaging about whether things are worsening, whether it's safe enough, you know, to even consider school -- kids going back in school. So when you see these numbers across the country, where are you? And, you know, what's your barometer of whether the country is moving in the right direction?

DR. RICHINA BICETTE, EMERGENCY MEDICAL PHYSICIAN: Well, I do still have somewhat of a sense of alarm and a sense of panic. If you look at the worldwide COVID cases, there have been 16 million reported cases of COVID worldwide and 4 million of those are in the U.S. alone. That means that we account for 25 percent of global COVID cases, but we only account for 4 percent of the world's population.

That tells me that we were a little bit late in trying to corral this illness and this disease. The things that we have tried to set in place work, masking works, staying at home works, social distancing works, but we let those mandates go a little bit too early, and we're starting to see a rise in cases again.

WHITFIELD: And then you're seeing a sprinkling of hotspots throughout the country, a variation of epicenters all at a time when a lot of families are preparing their kids to get ready for the fall session of whether they should be in school or whether it is more remote learning.


How do you believe school districts need to assess things?

BICETTE: You know, Fred, I'm a physician, I've grown up my whole life wanting to be a physician so that I can take care of people. So if you ask me a question like that, I'm always going to choose humanity. I leave the economics and the political decisions to the politicians.

As a physician, if you were to ask me, I do think that we probably should hold off on sending kids back to school right now until we get a hold of this infection. We are not at a point where we can sustain the rising number of cases that we are seeing nowadays.

For perspective in the state of Texas, if you compare numbers now to what they were back in April, we actually have 10 times the number of positive cases, seven times the number of hospitalizations and five times the number of deaths. Those numbers are not sustainable, and they will continue to rise if we don't keep a hold of on social distancing and trying to keep everyone at home as long as possible.

WHITFIELD: And what are your greatest concerns as it pertains to hospitals reaching capacity at so you know, so many facilities in Texas?

BICETTE: Well, my greatest concern is a hospital bed utilization. That's really the best marker and the best number that we can look at in order to tell us how much COVID is really taxing on our system and how many resources are being utilized for these COVID-19 patients.

As an emergency medicine physician, our doors never close. However, if the hospital is full, these patients that require hospitalization and sometimes ICU level of care are remaining in the emergency department. So the E.R. has become somewhat of a bottleneck because our front doors are continually open and we're continuing to take patients but we have nowhere to put them.

WHITFIELD: The Houston Mayor yesterday said you know more people died in July, you know, than in the last four months combined. And when you hear that, and then you hear people, so comparing, you know this to the flu, because that still remains out there, what do you say to folks about trying to educate them about a virus that still even scientists feel like there's more to learn?

BICETTE: There absolutely is more to learn. We are only in the sixth or seventh month of this pandemic. And in order to truly understand this virus, it's going to take years of research.

For those that say this is just another flu, let me give you some numbers to compare. The H1N1 or deadly swine flu that we were so definitely afraid of back in 2009 had a 0.2 percent mortality rate. As of right now, with the published numbers of COVID cases and COVID deaths, we are at a worldwide 4 percent mortality rate. That's over 20 times more deadly than a flu. So this is not just a regular flu.

WHITFIELD: Dr. Richina Bicette, thank you so much for your time. Appreciate it. Be well.

BICETTE: Thank you for having me. Have a good day.

WHITFIELD: Thank you.

All right, and this just in, a legendary star from Gone with a Wind has died, actress Olivia de Havilland passed away at 104 years old. She was the last remaining star from the classic film. We'll look back at her life on and off the big screen, next.



WHITFIELD: Two-time Academy Award winning actress Olivia de Havilland has died at her home in France. She was 104 years old. De Havilland was one of the last great stars from the Golden Age of Hollywood. And she's probably best remembered for her role in the 1939 film "Gone with the Wind."

Stephanie Elam has more.


STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: She was already a star on the rise when "Gone with the Wind" was released. After her role as Melanie the calm, sweet Melanie Wilkes, she was famous.

ROBERT OSBORNE, FILM HISTORIAN, TURNER CLASSIC MOVIES: She was adorable on screen. She was kind of the epitome of the leading lady.

ELAM: Olivia de Havilland was born in Tokyo but moved to California with her sister and British mother when she was three years old. She was only 21 when she starred opposite Errol Flynn in "The Adventures of Robin Hood."

OSBORNE: I guess it was maybe Robin Hood that thought everybody that the one that if you're out slaying dragons and everything, she's the one you would want to end up with.

ELAM: And only a year later came the defining role of Melanie in "Gone with the Wind," a film she says most of Hollywood disliked intensely before it was released.

OLIVIA DE HAVILLAND, GONE WITH THE WIND STAR: They wished it ill. They thought it was going to be a failure and they were one bit sorry.

ELAM: She gained fame and soon thereafter recognition from her peers. She won an Academy Award in 1946 for her role as an unwed mother, then once again for starring with Montgomery Clift in "The Heiress."

She was a fixture in the studio system, but was a pioneer as well. She successfully sued Warner Brothers.

DE HAVILLAND: Almost no actor ever took a suspension. It was such a fright thing to do. OSBORNE: She took them on because she felt what was unfair was a contract that could keep you in bondage to a studio for many, many years.

ELAM: It was a major victory for actors' rights at the time.

Also legendary, her rivalry with her younger sister celebrated actress Joan Fontaine. But when Fontaine passed away in 2013 at the age of 96, de Havilland said she was shocked and saddened. The actress would continue to be honored in her life.

In 2008, she would be presented with the National Medal of Arts.

In 2017, just before her 100 and first birthday, she was named Dame Commander of the British Empire, royal recognition for one of Hollywood's gilded leading ladies.