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New Jersey Experiencing Increase in Coronavirus Cases; CDC Forecasts 20,000 More Deaths Due to Coronavirus in U.S. by Late August; Coronavirus Outbreak Occurs in Children's Summer Camp in Georgia; Witness in Impeachment Trial of President Trump Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman Retires from U.S. Military; President Trump Attempts to Ban Chinese App TikTok from U.S.; Hurricane Isaias Threatens Landfall in Florida or North Carolina. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired August 1, 2020 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you. I hope Saturday has been good to you so far. It is August 1st. I'm Christi Paul.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell, and you are in CNN Newsroom.
Happening right now, there is a hurricane headed for Florida. It could make landfall in the next few hours. Several COVID-19 testing sites have been forced to close as that storm is getting toward the state there.
BLACKWELL: And happening this hour, White House officials and Democratic leaders, they're meeting on Capitol Hill, trying to break this logjam over a new economic stimulus bill after millions of Americans lost extra unemployment benefits that expired at midnight.
PAUL: And this morning, new warnings from a critical witness involved in President Trump's impeachment hearing. Why he says bullying, intimidation, and retaliation by the president and his allies forced him into retirement.
Want to go to CNN's Polo Sandoval. He's following the latest on the coronavirus pandemic. First of all, Polo, good morning to you. What are you hearing from where you are?
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christi, let's start right across the river in the state of New Jersey where authorities there are watching an increase in COVID cases. In fact, according to health authorities in New Jersey, they confirmed at least 2,000 cases in about four days. Those are the kinds of levels that they haven't seen in a month.
And you're about to hear from the governor exactly why he thinks this is happening, but he is warning if this continues to be a trend, that he could potentially reverse some re-openings.
SANDOVAL: The coronavirus may kill another 20,000 Americans by late August according to a sobering fresh forecast from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC projections warn of an increase in reported deaths in Puerto Rico, Washington state, Kentucky, Alabama, Tennessee, and New Jersey. The governor there says house parties are contributing to COVID spread among young people.
GOV. PHIL MURPHY (D-NJ): We are not past this. Everyone who walks around refusing to wear a mask or who hosts an indoor house party or who overstuffs a boat is directly contributing to these increases.
SANDOVAL: The White House Coronavirus Task Force says COVID cases are plateauing in the hard-hit states of California, Arizona, and Texas. Florida is also on that list, though it may face further complications with approaching hurricane Isaias. Nearly 8,400 COVID patients remain in Florida hospitals, and there's a possibility some Floridians through the storm's path may have to turn to shelters.
MAYOR DEAN TRANTALIS (D) FORT LAUDERDALE: The storm exacerbates the conditions. What it does is it forces people to remain in close quarters. And this is where we need to get that message out, that people need to make sure that those protocols are not sacrificed, that they understand how important it is to wear face masks.
SANDOVAL: This week, Texas became the latest state to surpass New York in the number of COVID cases. The hot spot is in south Texas where death counts are staggering. Ron Rivera, a funeral director in hard hit Hidalgo County, says his facility is overwhelmed. They're turning to additional storage for the influx of bodies and worried surviving family members may worsen the spread of the virus.
RON RIVERA, OWNER/DIRECTOR, RIVERA FUNERAL HOME: It's the loved ones, the families that come in to give their condolences to the families, that's where the danger is. And you get all sorts of people coming in at one time, and that's what really makes these families vulnerable to having this disease spread amongst the living, not actually the dead.
SANDOVAL: With many schools nearing reopening, a new CDC study offers insight into what can happen when young people are allowed to assemble. Researchers looked at a Georgia summer camp, not named in the study, and found high infection rates among campers at that facility. The data shows the camp followed most but not all of the CDC safety guidelines.
DR. ROSHINI RAJAPAKSA, NYU LANGONE HEALTH: As this study shows, when you have large groups of people and children especially, because you really can't expect children to strictly adhere to some of these safety precautions, there is a very high risk of transmission.
SANDOVAL: Students already back in the classroom in Indiana's Hancock County where the local health department confirmed on the first day of school that a middle schooler tested positive for the virus. Officials with the school district told parents the student was immediately isolated.
SANDOVAL: And speaking to schools here in New York, officials just yesterday unveiled their new plan to bring students back into the classroom. The plan will call for combination of remote learning and in-classroom teaching. It's going to require that students and teachers wear a mask, remain socially distant, also that students stay in their groups and try to limit movement, Victor and Christi. But two key points here. At any point if any parent feels that they do not want to send their child in, then they can do remote learning, no questions asked. And then secondly, the infection rate will be key. If it meets or exceeds three percent in New York City, then schools will close. At this point, that number holding steady at one percent.
BLACKWELL: Yes, specifics that we're seeing out of New York, not so many specifics in other districts across the country. Polo Sandoval for us there. Thank you.
PAUL: Thanks, Polo.
Now, according to new details from the CDC, hundreds who attended a summer camp in Georgia have tested positive now for coronavirus. The study found at least 44 percent of campers and counselors became infected. The camp followed some, not all of the CDC recommendations, to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but after studying the details of what happened at the camp, the CDC says it shows what to expect when schools reopen, so we could learn something from this.
I spoke with Tom Maiellaro earlier this morning. His son attended the camp in Georgia where the virus broke out. Here is what he told me.
TOM MAIELLARO, SON ATTENDED SUMMER CAMP WHERE THE VIRUS BROKE OUT: Well, my wife and I, we felt just -- we said darn it. The camp had done everything they possibly could to ensure that our kids were safe, and they had the best laid plans. So when it happened, we just, we call and we said should we pick him up? And we went and picked him up. And that was pretty much it.
The camp and the director did an amazing job of keeping us all up to date on what was going on, their preparation, the emails, the videos they sent out. Again, all the kids and the camp counselors were tested, and everyone was tested negative. So, when we sent Thomas there, we felt secure. When we drove up and dropped him off and all the counselors were wearing masks. And this was before -- this was the week of June 22nd. So this was the week before masks really became a huge deal. We told him wash your hands, make sure you're staying with 10 people, keep yourself -- his camp, his pod was separated from everybody. So we felt really secure in everything that the camp did and him being there.
And camp is just such part of life for us that we were -- he needs -- he needed this experience based on school closing -- not closing, but him being virtual and so forth for so long. PAUL: Yes. There are a lot of parents that understand what you're
saying right now about the need for kids to have their social interaction. And in all transparency, and I'm sorry I forgot to say this right off the top, I meant to, but my daughter goes to this camp. My kids have gone to this camp. My daughter was supposed to go back and be a counselor this year. She went to the three-day training. She tested beforehand as they mandated. She was negative. She tested right after and before she was supposed to go to camp. She was negative again. But then they cancelled it. She never ended up going herself. I know that you said Thomas came home and he was sick, but you thought it was strep?
MAIELLARO: He actually was confirmed. That's what -- he came home with the sore throat, and we thought that was just from being at camp, the yelling and the screaming and the jubilation that they have when they're there. After a couple days, he was like, my throat still hurts. So we did the tele-doc. The doc said bring him home. They had a rapid test. So within two hours we knew that he was confirmed with strep throat and COVID.
PAUL: At the end of the day, does what happened there at the camp, does that shape the way you view what should happen now as we're talking about sending kids back to school?
MAIELLARO: Well, that's a really good question. I'm torn on that. Listen, there are no substitute for in-person learning. We all know that. I want my kids to go to school. My kids want to go to school. Their friends want to go to school. I think they're really -- I think they're dying a little bit from not having the interaction that they used to have. But we know that the best laid plans, as we saw with camp, something could happen. So, if I had the opportunity to send my kids back to school face-to-face, I would. But I think there would be more education on their part about what to do. Definitely wearing a mask right now, washing hands, and trying to keep as much social distance as we can.
PAUL: And real quickly, knowing what you know now -- real quickly, knowing what you know now, would you still send him to camp?
MAIELLARO: Absolutely. Camp is such a part of every kid's life that I would. But I think there would be more education again for him on what to do to try to avoid those particular situations that something may occur that he would catch the virus.
PAUL: And again, the one thing that is pointed out is that the camp had all the counselors wearing masks, but the kids were not wearing masks there, and they think that was part of what perpetrated everything. So there are still some major questions around whether it's safe to bring kids back into the classroom. And later this hour, we're taking you to a part of rural Georgia where students and parents had the option of going back to school yesterday. Why some are going back, others are not. You're going to hear from parents.
BLACKWELL: New this morning, a critical witness from President Trump's impeachment inquiry, Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman is out with a stark assessment of where our country stands as his military career comes to an end abruptly, officially today.
"The Washington Post" has just published an opinion piece Vindman wrote, and in it he reflects on what he describes as a campaign of bullying, intimidation, and retaliation by President Trump and his allies that forced him into retirement. CNN's Kristen Holmes is following this from the White House. Kristen, he has a lot more to say in this op-ed.
KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right, Victor. And we had herd some of this from his lawyer. But now we're seeing it in his own words. And he starts this op-ed by talking about his career in the military. He served for 21 years, 10 months -- or six months, and 10 days. And now as of today he is officially a civilian.
And just to remind our viewers who he was, he's a lieutenant colonel. He was in the National Security Council. He was the top Ukraine expert, and he did raise concerns about that infamous phone call that led to him being a witness in the impeachment inquiry and really being attacked by the president and many of his supporters as well as just conservative media overall.
This is a Purple Heart recipient, Alexander Vindman. And in this, he says, as you said, there was a campaign of bullying and intimidation and retaliation by the president for his testimony that forever limited his military career. And of course, as we know, he should have received, or he was up to receive the ranking of colonel. But instead he was passed over for that. He did not receive it, so he is going to retire as lieutenant colonel.
But I want to point out his assessment here of where the country is. We can pull it up for you. These are powerful words. He says "At no point in my career or life have I felt our nation's values under greater threat and in more peril than in this moment. Our national government during the past few years has been more reminiscent of the authoritarian regime my family fled more than 40 years ago than the country I have devote my life to serving."
Now, I do want to just interrupt very quickly. He did flee Ukraine when he was three-years-old, which at that point was a Soviet republic. He continues on to say "Our citizens are being subjected to the same kinds of attacks tyrants launch against their critics and political opponents. Those who choose loyalty to American values and allegiance to the Constitution over devotion to a mendacious president and his enablers are punished."
So very, very strong words here. He says that even though it ended his career coming forward, that he believes that he did the right thing and that doing the right thing still matters. And the op-ed really ends on a more positive and hopeful note, not about President Trump, who he continues to lambaste for his handling of the economy, of the pandemic, but just over the country as a whole. I want to read you one line here because I think it's pretty powerful.
It says "To this day despite everything that has happened, I continue to believe in the American dream. I believe that in America right matters. I want to help ensure that right matters for all Americans." So some pretty powerful words there from somebody who, in his own words, was bullied out of his job for doing the right thing.
BLACKWELL: Yes, and we remember during his opening statement, during that testimony, he tried to reassure his father that he would be OK because he was in the United States of America and he was doing, he determined, the right thing in telling the truth. Kristen Holmes for us there at the White House, thanks so much.
PAUL: Also new this morning, President Trump says he'll take executive action to ban TikTok from the U.S. You know how popular this video app is. It's owned by a Chinese company, though, and critics fear data from the U.S. users could end up in the hands of the Chinese government.
CNN's national security analyst Sam Vinograd says the president cannot outright ban the app, but there are other steps that he could take.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: What the president could do is a few things. He could move to limit TikTok's use on government phones, for example. It's a consumer app so that won't have a major impact. Or the Department of Commerce could put the app on something known as the Entity's List. That would limit commercial activity between U.S. companies and the app. We did things -- we took those measures with other Chinese entities in the past. And the president could move to issue an executive order under the Emergency Powers Act to limit U.S. apps, U.S. companies like Google and Apple, from engaging with foreign apps like TikTok. That could lead Google and Apple to, quote-unquote, de-platform TikTok from its devices. That could certainly have an impact.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: And TikTok says that U.S. data is stored in the U.S. with strict controls on employee access.
PAUL: So right now Florida is under threat from dangerous storm surges. Take a look at the radar here. That hurricane heading towards the east coast.
CNN's Allison Chinchar is tracking its path.
ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: That's right, and we're already starting to see some of the outer bands from hurricane Isaias begin to push into Florida. We'll break down the timeline coming up.
[10:19:15] BLACKWELL: Right now, hurricane Isaias is churning in the Bahamas. The storm has already brought some flooding to the Caribbean, expected to hit the state of Florida with heavy rain and some pretty strong winds.
PAUL: I want to go to CNN meteorologist Allison Chinchar for the latest as we see this thing going up over the Bahamas, does that change the trajectory at all?
CHINCHAR: Not really, because this is exactly where we figured it would go. The real concern going forward is how close does it truly get to the Florida coastline? We're already starting to see some of those outer bands from hurricane Isaias push into Cuba and Florida. Sustained winds are still about 85 miles per hour. But it is expected to slow a little bit as it does approach Florida. The main concern now is what is the storm doing?
Hurricane hunters are flying out in the storm, 89 miles per hour wind is what the latest they're reporting here. The key thing they're going to look at is what is going on inside the storm? Dry air, there's a lot of dry air surging into the western side of the storm. Typically, that prevents these things from strengthening anymore. But on the flipside, it's also entering incredibly warm ocean water. And that typically intensifies a storm.
So right now, because you have one thing working for it and one thing working against it, we anticipate that this storm is just going to stay put, basically, in terms of strength. It's going to remain at a category one as it continues to slide up the Florida coast. Here is a look at what it is expected to do not only today but also as we head into Sunday when we anticipate a potential landfall would be. Maximum winds for Jupiter and Melbourne, you're talking winds that could exceed 74 miles per hour. That is hurricane strength. But even places inland, like Orlando, could still see winds up around 60 miles per hour at times.
Storm surge is going to be one of the biggest threats with this storm. Two to four feet from Jacksonville stretching down to Jupiter. Keep in mind that two to four feet is on top of astronomical high tides because Monday is a full moon. So a lot of these places are going to be looking at some of their highest tides for the month.
The question really becomes the models. What do they have this doing? You still have about half of them or nearly half that want to have a landfall over Florida. The others just skirting along the east coast of Florida. Where they really start to come into agreement is once we get towards North Carolina. All of them basically have some type of landfall over North Carolina and then sliding up into the northeast, potentially going even as far west as western Massachusetts. So again, this is going to be one of the key things we have to watch out for, Christi and Victor, because rainfall will be a concern, not just in Florida, but probably more especially from North Carolina all the way up to Maine.
BLACKWELL: So that stays off the east coast, that still is going to be as much of a problem, lower winds maybe, but the rain still hits south Florida, right?
CHINCHAR: And the storm surge. Remember, the storm surge is going to be big regardless of whether this makes landfall or not.
BLACKWELL: All right, Allison Chinchar, thank you so much.
PAUL: Thanks, Allison.
So we know that based on what you just saw there, President Trump has approved federal disaster funds for Florida, but of course they're dealing with this during a pandemic, which brings up a whole new issue.
BLACKWELL: Yes. The surge in coronavirus cases will send 10,000 PPE kits to shelters as well. CNN's Rosa Flores is in Miami. There's a lot of prep that's happening now. But of course, the concern is if you have to evacuate, where can people go?
ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christi and Victor, that is one of the biggest concerns from officials, too, because they have been telling people here in the state of Florida to stay home because of the pandemic. So they know that that's one of the big hurdles, and they're hoping that if an evacuation order is issued that people will heed that warning.
Now, city of Miami mayor Francis Suarez just had a press conference a little while ago, and he said that in the city of Miami they can expect tropical storm force winds starting at about 2:00 p.m. for about eight hours. He says that parks and marinas have been closed, and also they have checked the drainage of the city, and also the pumps. They have been inspected, they have been prepositioned to make sure that there are no flooding issues in this city.
But look, everything about this hurricane is going to be different because of the pandemic. Shelters, you're going to start hearing local officials refer to them as non-congregate shelters. What that means is they're trying to find space to make sure that people can social distance. Schools will be used as shelters, and they're going to be using classrooms to isolate.
And Christi and Victor, here is the other thing that is going to be different, when you're going to get your power back. We checked in with FPL, they say that it's going to take a little longer because these crews will have to take the necessary measures for their own safety, social distancing, wearing masks, and they're also going to be working in small groups to make sure that they can contact trace very quickly in the case of COVID-19, Christi and Victor.
BLACKWELL: So much at once. Rosa Flores for us there. Thank you.
PAUL: Thanks, Rosa.
So Jefferson City schools in Georgia just became the first to go back to class in the state. What students and what their parents are saying about reopening schools.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOPE TERHUNE, STUDENT: I'm ready to be back in-person learning, but it is kind of scary not knowing what it's going to be like.
RYLEE MEADOWS, STUDENT: I think I would feel better about it if we had stronger mandates in our school system to keep us safe.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: A nice chunk of the kids and staff who attended a summer camp in Georgia ended up testing positive for the coronavirus, which shows just how easily an outbreak can happen when large groups get together and some of the stricter guidelines just are not followed.
BLACKWELL: CNN's Gary Tuchman spoke with students and parents in rural Georgia who had the option of going back to school yesterday for in- person learning, and masks are not required.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Mareida (ph) Jaime (ph) isn't sure if sending her son back to school is a good idea. But 11-year-old Christopher says he's ready to start sixth grade and to do it in person. So when the school bus arrived here in the small Georgia town of Jefferson, he boarded with his books on his back and his mask on his face, and prepared to start his middle school career in this most unusual of times.
Are you sad?
Christopher's mother tells me "Yes, I am, sad and worried about my son going to school."
As the bus pulls away, there is at least one student not on it. Christopher's sister, Sherelli (ph). She was going to start eighth grade, but at the last minute was too frightened to go.
Tell me why it's scary.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because I don't want to go because I'm scared of getting it. And --
TUCHMAN: It's OK. Lots of children are scared. It's OK. I think you'll be OK tomorrow or next week maybe. It's OK. And your mom is nice to let you stay home. Do you agree? You brother went to school today. He'll tell you how it is, right? So we wish you the best.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK.
TUCHMAN: Just up the road, at the high school, students gathering and hugging like they would any year on the first day, many of them wearing masks. But just as many, if not more, not wearing any face coverings. At the elementary school, parents dropping off their children, most of whom seem to have masks, but not all. The fact is while masks are mandated on the district school buses for students and drivers, there is no mandate for mask wearing in the actual schools for students or teachers. The Jefferson City Board of Education has many guidelines in place designed to keep the students safer, and masks are handed out. But actually wearing them is not required, only strongly recommended. We talked to high school seniors Hope Terhune and Rylee Meadows before they returned to school.
HOPE TERHUNE, STUDENT: I'm ready to be back like in-person learning, but it is scary not knowing what it's really going to be like.
RYLEE MEADOWS, STUDENT: I think I would feel better about it if we had stronger mandates in our school system to keep us staff.
TERHUNE: Me, too.
TUCHMAN: So they started an online petition asking their board of education to mandate masks.
MEADOWS: I'm scared for not just myself, but for other teachers that are at our school, elderly and pregnant. And then the people that you could be bringing it home to, some people live with their grandparents or people that are at high risk if they got the virus.
BRETT KELLEY, STUDENT: Our country was built on freedom.
TUCHMAN: In response to that petition, sophomore Brett Kelley started his own, with the support of his older high school sister and his father. His petition declaring mask wearing should be a choice.
KELLEY: I think it's a freedom issue because it's slowly taking our rights away.
TUCHMAN: And your right not to wear a mask?
KELLEY: Yes, sir.
TUCHMAN: Would you feel less safe if I was standing here talking without my mask on.
KELLEY: No, we're outside.
TUCHMAN: But what if we were inside?
KELLEY: No, I would probably be OK. Yes.
TUCHMAN: The district superintendent did not want to talk on camera, but Donna McMullan told us in a written state they are confident in their plans. And regarding masks, "We are following the guidelines established by the CDC and Georgia Department of Public Health in recommending the use of face coverings as one effective measure to mitigate the spread of COVID-19." Meanwhile, Yolanda Payne is not going to let her fourth grader go back
to school right now. They are part of the roughly five percent of Jefferson school families who have chosen to learn remotely. She says her father passed away from COVID two months ago, and her son Josh has asthma.
YOLANDA PAYNE, MOTHER OF STUDENT: I can't take the risk of sending him back to school and getting COVID.
TUCHMAN: A worrisome school year now beginning.
Gary Tuckman, CNN, Jefferson, Georgia.
BLACKWELL: So schools across the U.S. are now working on how to balance online learning with in-person instruction, but colleges and universities, they've got a unique challenge because a lot of students travel across the country before they report to campus. And with me now is David Leebron, the president of Rice University in Texas. Sir, good morning to you. Thanks for being with us.
DAVID LEEBRON, PRESIDENT, RICE UNIVERSITY: Good morning.
BLACKWELL: So let's start here with what I read is your protocol to get students back on campus. Some of them already coming in. You're requiring all students to take a rapid test, results in 30 minutes. If they're negative, they can move in. If they're positive, they can either go home and then come back later, or move into a designated residence hall. I think it said Richardson College. With all potentially these positive, COVID positive students in one building, how do you prevent it from spreading to then people who work in the building and then across the campus?
LEEBRON: So, the first thing is if they do test positive with the rapid test, then we perform a kind of somewhat more reliable test immediately after that. And then if they continue to test positive, they will be isolated. We have mechanisms in place to deliver meals and other things. So we think we can keep those students isolated in that building in their rooms. The residence hall has been set up to deliver that, and we're confident we can do that.
BLACKWELL: So the confidence comes, will meals be delivered to their dorm rooms? And because there's a dining hall in the building, right? Will they have any contact or communication with the dining hall staff?
LEEBRON: No. There are no contact with the dining hall staff. We'll protect them. And we've set up the dining halls now to protect the staff. It's not set up.
I think one of the complications of opening in these circumstances is you basically have to rethink everything you're doing in order to prevent contact. And of course, all folks will be required to wear masks at all times.
BLACKWELL: So let's talk about testing of asymptomatic students who live on campus. From what I understand, there should be regular and reoccurring testing according to the plan. How often is that?
LEEBRON: I'm not sure yet. We're developing the final protocols of that now. We really put everybody coming to the campus in a kind of risk group depending in particular on the number of contacts they're likely to have. And so the most frequent testing will be done of the students who are living on campus. We've already contracted for 60,000 tests, and we have to keep in mind this fall we'll have about 1,600 plus or minus students living on the campus. We've reduced the density of the campus also to decrease the likelihood of spread.
BLACKWELL: Will students still have roommates?
LEEBRON: Some students may have roommates. We're sort of still finalizing that. Probably most students who don't want to have a roommate will not have a roommate, but some students prefer even under these circumstances to have one, one roommate, and go through school in those, having somebody really close to them, and becomes like a little family for them. But there won't be more than two in a room, and probably most students won't have roommates.
BLACKWELL: So let me ask you this, if a student tests positive who is living on campus, what then? Do they move into this COVID positive dorm, and then do they move back? What's the plan?
LEEBRON: Yes. If they test positive, then they will move there. They will be isolated. That's the basic protocol that we've adopted.
BLACKWELL: When you say "isolated," can you be more specific? Do they move to Richardson College, which is this building that's identified for COVID positive students? And then do they move back, or does the roommate move out? What are the specifics?
LEEBRON: No, they move into the isolation.
BLACKWELL: OK. OK, so let me ask you this, the Texas Faculty Association says that the start of classes should be pushed to September 8th. From your calendar, classes are starting on the 24th, if I have that right. They sent this letter to Governor Abbott, saying that Texas remains a hot spot and that openings can be reassessed after Labor Day, the 8th. But the Texas Faculty Association doesn't believe it will be safe to reopen any earlier. What's your reaction to that?
LEEBRON: Well, we think it will be safe. I will say we've adopted a basic framework which we call being flexible, agile, and adaptable. And so we'll be looking at each stage of our decision making and asking the question. Right now I would say the numbers in our area are broadly headed in the right direction after the peak. We follow very closely those numbers, including the hospital occupancy and other numbers to get a sense of what the overall condition is. And so, if we stay on the trajectory we're on, we expect to open for freshman in effect about two weeks, and a more full opening in about three weeks. But we'll be assessing that at every stage. We've adopted probably stronger protocols than a lot of other universities have.
LEEBRON: We're able to have very frequent testing. We are unequivocally requiring masks, very strong protocols on social distancing. Every classroom has been reassessed for occupancy and has rules for the classroom. So all of those protocols -- redone what our dining protocols are, seating in the dining halls, all of that has been completely redone.
BLACKWELL: Rice University President David Leebron, thank you so much for your time this morning. Good luck this semester.
LEEBRON: My pleasure. Thank you.
PAUL: So Congress failed to reach a deal to extend the $600 a week unemployment benefits. Yes, if you're just waking up, those are now gone as of midnight. And still, there is some distance to bridge before agreeing on the next stimulus package. New leaders from both sides back on Capitol Hill this morning. We have a live report for you.
PAUL: Congress seems to have hit a stop sign over the next coronavirus relief bill, and that extra $600 in unemployment benefits, that is as of this morning gone.
BLACKWELL: Negotiations continue this morning in Washington. Speaker Pelosi along with Chuck Schumer, Senate Democratic Leader, are going to meet with White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to hopefully reach a deal or get closer to one. CNN's Lauren Fox is live from Capitol Hill. So, what's the hold up? You hear from Republicans that Democrats are too far from where they should be. And you hear from Speaker Pelosi that Republicans can't agree among themselves. What's the truth? Fact check.
LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Well, essentially, Victor, there's sort of a different view of how these negotiations should be working right now. Republicans are feeling like the fact that that unemployment insurance benefit ran out at midnight last night is a reason, an incentive to get a short-term deal, some kind of fix to make sure that Americans know that they're going to have that extra federal benefit going into the next month.
Democrats are arguing they need a broader, more sweeping deal, one that includes more money, not just for unemployment insurance benefits from the federal government, but also more money for state and local governments, more money to make sure kids can get back to school safely, more money when it comes to more appropriations to ensure that hospitals across the country have the funds that they need. So Democrats really view this as a long game right now. Republicans, meanwhile, are arguing that they are willing to have a shorter-term fix. That's really the sticking point as lawmakers went into this meeting this morning.
PAUL: All right, Lauren Fox, we'll wait and see what happens. We appreciate the update. Thank you.
BLACKWELL: Still to come, an exclusive look inside the federal law enforcement operations in Chicago as part of the administrations so- called Operation Legend.
PAUL: So with all this time we spend at home, maybe some waistlines have expanded a little bit. Nutritionist Lisa Drayer says it does not have to be that way. Take a look.
LISA DRAYER, CNN HEALTH CONTRIBUTOR: Here is my guide to fighting fat without giving up tastes. A broth-based soup when eaten before a meal is proven to help you eat fewer calories. That's because when water is paired with food, digestion is slowed down, which helps your stomach stay fuller longer. Remember, broth-based is best. Cream-based soups often have more fat and calories.
A spinach salad can also have big benefits for your waist line. Spinach, like other green plants, is a source of compounds called thylakoids which may help curb the urge to snack according to studies. A couple of easy ways to get the leafy green into your diet is by adding spinach to a smoothie or by pureeing into a soup.
Flaxseed can also help you eat less. The fiber in flaxseed keeps you feeling satisfied without contributing any calories. Research has also revealed that the fiber in flaxseed helps to suppress appetite. How do you eat it? Sprinkle it on top of yogurt or add a tablespoon of ground flaxseed to your cereal or smoothie.
BLACKWELL: Federal agents have been deployed across the country in what's being called Operation Legend. This is an initiative from the White House. A lot of people are skeptical of it after we saw this play out on television. It shows federal officers using aggressive, some people say, force against protesters in Portland, 200 officers are now in Chicago.
PAUL: Ryan Young is with us with an exclusive look at what Operation Legend will look like there. Hi, Ryan.
RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi. Good morning, guys. Let me tell you something, this operation, of course a lot of people are focused on it because of the federal agents that are coming into Chicago. But one of the reasons why we're standing by live here is just less than a mile away from where I'm standing, a young man, he was nine-years-old, was playing outside yesterday at 6:45, just think about this, when someone walked up shooting at someone else, hit this young man and killed him. That's why these federal agents are here.
YOUNG: A battle of words about Chicago as violence in the city explodes.
DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Chicago is a disaster. People are dying in Chicago and other cities, and we can solve the problem.
MAYOR LORI LIGHTFOOT, (D) CHICAGO: I've drawn a very hard line. We'll not allow federal troops in our city.
YOUNG: More than 100 federal agents are surging into the city as part of Operation Legend.
Do you think this operation will make a difference?
JOHN LAUSCH, U.S. ATTORNEY, NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS: Yes, I do. I do. I think adding more federal resources to help on this, it can only help.
YOUNG: John Lausch, the United States attorney for the norther district, is leading the federal effort to cut violence in the city. He understands people's concern about the influx of agents.
LAUSCH: The people coming in for Operation Legend, they will not be doing patrol. They are not out there in uniforms like the Chicago police officers. But they will certainly be there in the background. They'll be working with the police officers in the background to help on various kinds of cases, whether they're gun cases or drug cases.
YOUNG: Agents have brought in cutting-edge technology to help process critical evidence faster.
KRISTEN DE TINEO, SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE, ATF CHICAGO FIELD DIVISION: The vehicle that you see behind us, this is a crime intelligence mobile command vehicle, mobile command center. It is the only one of its type.
YOUNG: And inside, agents show me guns pulled off the streets just days ago. One of the guns, agents tell me, has been illegally modified making it fully automatic with just a switch. Inside this mobile lab unit, you can see a gun taken from the streets, fired, and then examined within hours.
DE TINEO: Each firearm leaves a unique imprint on the casing. So, like fingerprints, it takes an expert to take a look at that and match those.
YOUNG: Any bit of evidence helps to connect crimes and maybe even offenders. In Chicago, law enforcement is dealing with the staggering amount of violence.
LAUSCH: So far this year in July of 2020 we have more murders in the city of Chicago than we had in all of 2014. It's just staggering. YOUNG: Over the last 28 days, murders in Chicago are up 152 percent,
and shootings are up 62 percent in Chicago compared to last year. The gun violence here cruel. Through July 26th, 212 of these shooting victims have been kids, 36 kids have lost their lives to violence. Federal agents working with the Chicago police have made several arrests so far, but each day the stakes seem to be getting higher.
LAUSCH: Well, there's never going to be a mission accomplished as long as there are people who are being killed in the streets of Chicago.
YOUNG: Guys, when you think about this, I said this in that story 36 kids have been killed. Now that number is 37. Talking to a community leader on the way to this story, they are begging for more. They want more help on the street, because obviously there's a lot of people who are trying to enjoy the summer.
But all this is being robbed from them, basically because if you can't have a kid who can play outside in front of his own home, where can a kid play?
BLACKWELL: Ryan Young for us there in Chicago. Thank you, Ryan.
PAUL: Ryan, thank you so much. Important story there.
We thank you for spending time with us this morning. We appreciate you.
BLACKWELL: There's much more ahead in the next hour of CNN's Newsroom. Erica Hill is in for Fredricka Whitfield. She's up next.