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NEW DAY

Can Florida Schools Safely Reopen This Fall?; Remembering The Lives Lost To Coronavirus; Inside John Roberts' Surprising Streak Of Liberal Wins; White House, Senate GOP Finalizing New Stimulus Proposal; Credit Card CEO Warns Of Trouble As $600 Unemployment Expires; How The NFL Plans To Keep Players Safe. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired July 27, 2020 - 07:30   ET

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


[07:30:00]

MAYOR JERRY DEMINGS (D), ORANGE COUNTY, FLORIDA: Potentially, the schools, if they reopen in August, they would do so with a five-day brick and mortar type on an experience with the students, where they have to go to the school itself, or the parents can choose to return their children to school virtually through distance learning. And so, our school district has provided those options. And, in fact, today, the parents have until 5:00 pm to select the option that's best for them.

I do have some concerns, quite frankly, about whether or not they can pull it off in order to have the distancing available. I have three grandchildren who will attend the public schools. And so, I really don't know. We're going to study this. We have about a month left now before the schools will open here within Orange County. And if the flattening of the curve continues here, that may put us in a better position than perhaps we are today.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Word is that former Vice President Joe Biden will be making his announcement, maybe this week for his vice presidential choice. Do you have any information about that, mayor?

DEMINGS: You know, I had a feeling you might ask me that. Let me just say, we know that my wife is on the list. I'm not sure who else is on the list. She's been going through the vetting process now for several months, and so we remain optimistic for her. I believe that if she is the nominee, I believe that America will fall in love with this poor girl from Jacksonville, Florida, who has pulled herself up by the bootstraps to get to where she is today.

She's a tough cookie. I think as a member of the United States House of Representatives, a former Orlando Police chief, a mother. She is ready to put her arms around America. I believe that America needs a hug at this point, and probably nobody can do that, like the women can do that for all of us. So I'm excited for her, and we'll just have to see what Vice President Biden decides within the next few weeks.

CAMEROTA: I get the impression she has your vote. So you've made a great case for why she would be a good pick. Let us know if you get any interesting phone calls this week about that. Mayor Jerry Demings, thanks very much for all the information.

DEMINGS: Absolutely. Thanks a lot.

CAMEROTA: John?

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right. We want to remember some of the nearly 147,000 Americans lost to coronavirus. Phlebotomist Larrydean Goodridge worked the overnight shift at a hospital in Suburban, Minneapolis. Colleagues tell the Star Tribune, she was she was known as "One-Stick Larrydean" for her ability to draw blood from even the most challenging blood vessel. The Liberian-born grandmother was also a pastor at a local church and run a daily prayer line (ph). She was just 45 years old.

Gary Tibbetts worked as an aide to Florida Congressman Vern Buchanan who announced Tibbetts' death on social media. The congressman called the 66-year-old former police sergeant a consummate professional and a true public servant.

Forty-five-year-old Valentin Martinez is the first sworn officer in the LAPD to die of coronavirus complications. The Department says he was a patrol officer in the mission division. He is survived by his partner, who is 20 weeks pregnant with twins. We'll be right back.

[07:33:26]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: An exclusive new CNN series takes an inside look at what has been an historic year at the US Supreme Court. Today we focused on Chief Justice John Roberts and his surprising decisions that sided with the court's liberal wing.

CNN's Supreme Court Analyst Joan Biskupic joins us now with more on her exclusive reporting. And, Joan, let's start with the big DACA decision, where the chief justice did side with the liberals to uphold protections for Dreamers, you've got some behind the scenes information on what went on here.

JOAN BISKUPIC, CNN SUPREME COURT ANALYST: Yes. Good morning, John. As some people might remember, when the chief has, in the past, sided with the left, it's usually been an 11th-hour decision, for example in 2012, when he voted to save Obamacare. But here, in this important case over the Dreamers and whether President Trump was going to be able to roll back the Obama-era program, the chief laid his cards out early and voted with the four liberals.

He said that the Trump administration had not sufficiently justified the rollback. And what happened there is that several of his colleagues were very surprised. But I think, John, that vote there, last November, we didn't see the ruling until June, last November, was a sign of where the chief was going in this term.

Both in terms of his moving left and the other point is that he was not going to be ambivalent. He didn't flinch, as I write in the story. BERMAN: Yes, that's interesting. How early he decided, that was big news. I had not seen that before. And it actually gets to our next question also, which is that maybe this attitude shift by John Roberts was apparent to the other justices for this entire term. It may explain why the court didn't take up significant cases involving gun rights. Explain this.

BISKUPIC: Well, you know, John, I just want to address that one point about what the justices know and what we don't know. When a lot of people walked out of the oral argument in the Dreamers case and in others, folks thought for sure that John Roberts was going to stay in the conservative camp.

But the liberals and his conservative colleagues knew otherwise, for several months, while we were in the dark. And then, you get to the gun situation. You know that it takes four justices to say they want to hear a case, but a crucial five to actually rule on it. And for years, the conservatives on this court have wanted to take up another gun rights case. Actually, you know, to enhance individual gun ownership, stemming from a 2008 landmark decision that first said the second amendment protects an individual right to bear arms.

[07:40:10]

So, you know, there's been a lot of pushes for that through the years, a lot of petitions coming up to the court. And after Brett Kavanaugh joined in 2018, the right wing thought, OK, it's time. We're going to finally get a gun case up here and we'll be able to expand second amendment rights.

They took up a New York guns case this year, but then ruled that it was moot because New York had changed its carry law. So, John Roberts and his fellow justices see what he does on that. He voted to throw out that dispute, return it back to a lower court, and they see also how his attitude toward several other pending petitions with gun rights.

And what the justices on the far right and even the middle right decided was this is not the time to take up this case, because we cannot count on John Roberts' fifth vote. And we cannot afford to have another dry run as they essentially did in the New York case.

So for second amendment enthusiasts, that kind of case is going to have to wait.

BERMAN: That's really interesting because we see the decisions, and we see the arguments. We don't see the stuff in between. And sometimes like here, what we don't see is that the justices know that a change has happened and it affects what they even hear, all right. So obviously, with the pandemic, the Supreme Court now does its discussions and everything via phone. But even that has involved some controversy.

BISKUPIC: It has. You know, the Supreme Court itself is a very orderly decorous place. You know, the courtroom is majestic, the little conference room where they decide their cases is very innate and private. And suddenly, all nine were relegated to their homes and to deal with each other only by phone. They didn't even have anything Zoom like, so they haven't seen each other for all of these months.

And the chief justice decided that he talked to them, but they didn't take an official vote on holding the teleconference hearings. And, you know, some of the justices were grumbling about that. They were grumbling about. At first, he set like a two-minute time limit for questions and he moved up to three minutes. So, you know, he always has to deal with his colleagues, but doing it by phone and having him, you know, unilaterally take control, as I said, there was grumbling behind the scenes.

The other thing I want to mention about the fact that they haven't seen each other is, they've all been worried about Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who has had these health scares recently, you know, return of cancer. And, you know, they haven't seen her.

And they can hear her voice, they know she's participating. She wrote so many opinions. She sounded strong in both her writings and her voice sometimes. But it has caused them all sort of additional anxiety in this very high-profile term, John.

BERMAN: Joan Biskupic, thank you very much. There's a ton of new stuff here, and everyone should go check out Joan's exclusive reporting all week long at cnn.com. I promise you, you will learn stuff you did not know. Appreciate it, Joan. Thank you very much.

BISKUPIC: Thanks, John.

BERMAN: Alisyn?

CAMEROTA: It is time for CNN Business Now. Stimulus negotiations between Senate Republicans and the White House appear to have reached an agreement in principle. The bill is expected to include a second round of checks, but reduced unemployment benefits. CNN's Alison Kosik has more. What have you learned, Alison?

ALISON KOSIK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Alisyn. So while Congress does hash out whether to extend the $600 weekly boost to unemployment benefits, millions of jobless Americans are left without the lifeline that's literally helped carry them through the pandemic.

The final enhanced payment actually was last week, and even without the federal boost, many are still struggling financially, especially with the timing of this. We're less than a week away from when August rent or mortgage payments are due. Eviction protections, they've ended as well, leaving 41% of Americans who rent at risk of losing the roof over their head.

And now a warning from a CEO of the country's biggest store credit card company, Margaret Keane with Synchrony Financials says Americans will have trouble staying current on their credit card bills once the $600 boost to unemployment goes away.

During the pandemic, many people got forbearance on their credit card, on their mortgages and loans, like for their auto loans. Credit card companies Synchrony, which provide cards for businesses including Amazon and TJ Maxx, they offered forbearance and waived late fees and interest charges so all of that helped Americans pay their bills on time.

But there is growing concern that the -- financial pain actually got the payment, their filling got delayed and not canceled here. So as forbearance and stimulus wear off, we could be in for a rockier place as consumers have less money in their pockets to pay off their credit card debt. Alisyn?

CAMEROTA: Alison Kosik, thank you very much for the update. All right.

The NFL season is set to begin just after Labor Day. So what changes can players and fans expect because of the pandemic? Dr. Sanjay Gupta has exclusive details on the plan, next.

[07:45:08]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: This morning the NFL and its players have a deal on coronavirus protections just in time for the opening of training camp this week for all 32 NFL teams. So, how do they plan to keep everyone safe in a full contact sport during this pandemic? Dr. Sanjay Gupta spoke exclusively with the NFL's chief medical officer to find out.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: You're getting an exclusive look at an NFL training facility. It's been essentially a ghost town here since March. But training camp is now about to begin for the Atlanta Falcons.

There's a real schism and there are some people who says here's what you do, here's the plan.

[07:50:03]

And there's other people who say, it's absolutely ludicrous to even try this. The country is in the middle of a pandemic. Football is great, but you've got to sit this season out.

ALLEN SILLS, Chief Medical Officer, NFL: Yes, I think people are trying to be really thoughtful about this and I think people do look at risk and risk mitigation in different ways. But I feel like it's the right thing to do to try to learn to live with this virus.

GUPTA: Dr. Alan Sills is Chief Medical Officer for the NFL. We're both neurosurgeons and we've known each other for several years.

SILLS: Can we find ways to do that safely, you know, that's our challenge.

GUPTA: The last NFL game was February 2nd of this year. Super Bowl LIV, the Chiefs beat the 49ers 31 to 20.

Two days earlier, the US declared a public health emergency because of coronavirus.

Since then millions of people have become infected, more than 140,000 have died, and now the NFL wants to do the seemingly impossible, bring back some sense of normalcy to one of the largest sports leagues in the country.

Some of the changes indoors are going to look very familiar, lots of masks, near constant sanitizing, and physical distancing everywhere. Treatment rooms, weight rooms, even meal time, and on the field.

SILLS: There actually three regulation-size football fields here side by side. So the first thing that jumps to your mind is how we can do physical distancing here, right? So as players start strength and conditioning activities, for example, you know, you're talking about each individual or each very small group having a lot of space to work with.

GUPTA: There will be new space-age looking technology, a bubble of sorts for those who want it.

SILLS: A number of your players have worn eye shields over the past years for protection or performance reasons. So it's basically an extension of that device but it's a multi layered device so that you've got ventilation holes and you've got some filters in it.

GUPTA: There are these proximity tracking devices that will beep or flash when players or staff get too close to one another. Then that data is collected, making contact tracing easier if someone does become infected.

Now, unlike the NBA bubble that's isolated the entire league in Orlando, the NFL has more of what they call an ecosystem. People will still live in their own homes, they'll be with their own families and they will travel with their teams for games.

SILLS: Players, coaches, staff, if they're around each other each day, they're going to share risk. They also share responsibility to each other, which means that they're each making good choices when they're away from the facility.

GUPTA: But that also means the entire ecosystem is only as strong as its weakest link.

How are the players doing? Are they worried? Is there a way to describe the mood?

RICH MCKAY, CEO, ATLANTA FALCONS: Yes. I would say, yes, sure. They have the same anxiousness that you would have.

GUPTA: Rich McKay is CEO of the Atlanta Falcons.

MCKAY: They're relying on us and they're relying on the union to make sure that all the protocols we do, everything that we can is done at the highest level that we can.

DEMAURICE SMITH, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NFLPA: Everything that we do is going to have an impact on families at home, and it's going to have an impact on first responders, community service, and other people in the community. And to believe otherwise is sheer fantasy.

GUPTA: DeMaurice Smith is Executive Director of the NFLPA. That's the union representing players on the field this year. There have been some pretty tense negotiations between the union and the league about how to play in the age of COVID-19.

And Smith pointed out something that I hadn't heard before. About 70% of NFL players could be considered vulnerable themselves or at increased risk.

SMITH: What we've done is tracked the CDC risk guidelines, made decisions on which ones, put our players in high risk, and players can rely on those risk factors to make decisions about whether they're going to play or not.

GUPTA: I was actually surprised by that because you think of athletes being these superhuman, you know, sort of perfectly healthy people, but there are these various conditions. How does that play into your thinking?

SILLS: We still do not know a lot of the basics about this disease and where it's going to be headed. And I think it harkens back again to those conversations that each individual has to have and they have to, in their mind, make what's the best decision for themselves.

GUPTA: The league and the union have agreed to test every player daily for at least the first two weeks of training camp, eventually moving to an every other day schedule once a team reaches a 5% positivity rate and then maintains that.

Does that make sense to you because there is an incredible shortage of testing right now? And we did some rough math. And, you know, if you look at the testing plan here, it's about just for the players, about 18,000 tests per week. I mean, how could that not have an impact on the availability of more widespread general testing?

[07:55:05]

SILLS: Clearly, there are procedural issues with that around the country. So we went with a company that was outside of market that would have a national platform. They actually opened up some laboratory capabilities that weren't being used just for this project, and also set up again supply and distribution, and testing reporting that's completely separate from any health care work that they do.

And that company has given us their assurance that any work that they do for health care applications, meaning for hospitals, for emergency rooms, things of that nature, that's a whole separate business for them that will remain their number one priority.

GUPTA: Did you ever think, look, maybe this season is going to be a wash. We'll get back to it next year, but this isn't essential. As much as I love football, this isn't essential compared to the essential things that are needed in the country. MCKAY: Yes. I would say that probably those thoughts went through your mind three months ago. I think as we moved forward and saw that, hey, basketball is going to do this, baseball is going to do this, soccer is going to do this. We get to go last. We can learn from them. We can do this in a really safe way, we think.

And so, I think for us we got the message that people wanted football. That's not the reason to play, that people want it. But if we can do it in a way that is as safe as it possibly can be, then we should and we will. And that's what we're going to do.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BERMAN: So, Sanjay, football is such a close contact sport, definitionally, a contact sport. So how concerning is it to see football coming back?

GUPTA: Yes, and that's one of the first things I talked to Dr. Sills about. I said this seems just incompatible, you know, physical distancing and football.

There's a couple of points he made. One is that when you talk about close contact, it's not just distance, you know, six feet as we've heard for so long, but also duration. And, John, if you think about it, I know you're a big football fan. On the field, at least, you have the huddles, you know, obviously lining up, but those are not typically long duration sort of contacts. So that's one of the points he made.

Most of the concern is really much more off the field than on the field. So, you know, the locker rooms, the training rooms, the weight rooms, all of that sort of stuff is completely reconfigured. It's going to be challenging, John. I mean, no question about it. But you start to get a sense of how big organizations in this case, like the NFL, are trying to approach this.

BERMAN: So if football does really happen, how is it going to look different to those of us who watch it on TV?

GUPTA: Yes. I mean, it's going to look quite a bit different. I spoke a lot about this with Rich McKay who runs the Falcons. First of all, there's obviously not going to be as many fans. I mean, some teams are going to say absolutely no fans. What I learned in Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which has the capacity of about 70,000, they're thinking about doing 10,000 fans. So, you know, a seventh the size. So it's going to look different in that regard. There's not going to be as much sound as a result.

Unlike baseball, which is actually starting to pipe in sound into the games, onto the field, they're not planning on doing that in the NFL. At home, if you're watching on television, you may still hear the sound noise and some of that sound noise will be generated as people are watching on their apps and saying who they're rooting for, and that will generate different amounts of noise for different plays and different teams, and things like. It's fascinating from an artificial intelligence standpoint. But overall, you're going to see a lot of physical distancing within the stadium, the fans on the sideline, single use rehydration packets, all sorts of different things. So we'll see.

I mean, what they've told me is the game itself, when you're actually focused on the game, which you and I love, John. It shouldn't look that much different, but we'll have to see how that energy or that lack there of energy plays a role.

BERMAN: Yes. Look, obviously, the most important things are, number one, health, and number two, that the Patriots win. Sanjay, thanks very much for all of this.

GUPTA: I knew that was coming. You got it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN Breaking News.

BERMAN: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is "New Day" and we do begin with breaking news. As of minutes ago, the first phase three coronavirus vaccine trial in the United States is underway.

The vaccine was developed by the biotech company, Moderna, the first of thousands of patients got their shots at this site in Georgia this morning. This is that, the shots actually being administered. And we're going to speak live with one of the volunteers who got it later this hour.

Success obviously critical because the daily coronavirus deaths in the United States rising in 29 states. 150 medical experts are now calling for new stay-at-home orders across the country. There are a couple of hopeful trends in a new hard-hit states we want to tell you about. Hospitalizations in Arizona and Texas appear to be hitting a plateau or actually trending downward. The same with the positivity rate in these states.

CAMEROTA: But coronavirus appears to be getting worse in other states. In California, cases and hospitalizations still rising. Over the weekend, Florida surpassed New York in total coronavirus cases.

The pandemic continues to impact President Trump's approval ratings.