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Florida Braces For Hurricane Amid COVID-19 Surge; Trump Downplays Virus Threat In Visit To Hard-Hit Florida; L.A. Food Banks See Surge In Demand As Unemployment Benefits Expire; U.S. Reports Worst Economic Plunge On Record; Schumer Calls Stimulus Meeting "Progress, But A Ways To Go;" Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) Tests Positive For Coronavirus. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired August 1, 2020 - 15:00   ET



ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: Hello on this Saturday. You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. And we begin with breaking news.

Florida already a coronavirus hot spot now bracing for another potential blow. President Trump issuing a federal disaster declaration as Hurricane Isaias barrels toward that state and a state that has reported more than 9,000 new coronavirus cases daily for the last five days.

And this just in, another member of Congress, Democratic Representative Raul Grijalva of Arizona has just tested positive for the virus just days after he attended a committee hearing with Republican Congressman Louie Gohmert, who has consistently refused to wear a mask on Capitol Hill. Grijalva went into quarantine after news Gohmert had tested positive referring to the Texan's behavior as a selfish act.

Meanwhile, a grim projection today from the CDC, despite 30 states pausing or rolling back reopening plans, another 20,000 Americans are expected to die from COVID-19 in just the next three weeks. The month of July saw ten days of deaths tops 1,000 in a single day, five of those just this past week. And we just learned moments ago that California has recorded 219 COVID-related deaths in the past 24 hours. That is the most reported deaths in a single day in that state.

Also today, negotiations continue between top Democratic leaders and White House officials, they are trying to hammer out a deal after a federal $600 a week benefit expired yesterday.

Also, reports that tonight's game between the St. Louis Cardinals and Milwaukee Brewers has been postponed after more Cardinals tested positive. It comes a day after the Major League Baseball commissioner warned the shortened season could be shut down all together.

Let's begin our coverage in Florida now where Hurricane Isaias is expected to affect at least 7 million people in that state. And Rosa Flores is standing by in Miami for us. But, first, let's go to the meteorologist, Chad Myers. He is in the CNN's Weather Center. Chad, what is the latest on the storm's track?

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Ana, as much as Hanna was an overachiever last week, this is an underachiever and we're really happy about it. There is dry air around. If you woke up in Miami this morning or anywhere on South Florida, you would -- where did the humidity go? It felt pretty good down there. The humidity or lack thereof has been entrained into the storm and is really, at this point in time, killing it off.

Now, that doesn't mean that this thing couldn't get in the Gulf Stream and regenerate into something much stronger, because we have had some squalls already come on shore here in South Florida, some of them coming in with 45-mile-per-hour winds. And this thing is still 130 miles away.

So it is big wide storm, it may just not have the big center low pressure with the high, high winds. But 75-mile-per-hour or so along the coast will certainly cause some damage, hurricane warnings are till posted and will continue to be posted as the storm runs up the east coast.

So where does it go from here? Well, 8:00 A.M. tomorrow morning, likely, the approach is West Palm. That is 8:00 A.M. Unless you take this shorter track, which is still in the cone, and that shorter track heading toward Broward, North Miami-Dade, that would be maybe 3:00 A.M. landfall because it doesn't have as far to go.

And then if that happened, it would be on shore and, again, continue to die off, and that would be great the news. Not great if you are underneath it but at least great if you're up here and don't want this thing in the Gulf Stream any longer than it has to be. The more it is over land, the more it's going to die, and the more it is over water, the bigger it's going to get. We would rather it be smaller than bigger, of course. Ana?

CABRERA: Much better to be an underperformer than an overperformer in the case of a hurricane. Thank you, Chad.

Let's go to Rosa now in Miami. And we know, Rosa, Florida has become the COVID-19 epicenter in the U.S., reporting more than 9,000 cases today for the fifth straight day. So what is the state doing to prepare for this extreme weather event during a pandemic?

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, this is a compounding disaster. That's how officials call it because it is a hurricane happening during a pandemic. Look, Miami-Dade County doesn't really have a choice.

They have to prepare for the worst. According to the director of Emergency Management, two-thirds of the nearly 3 million residents here in this county live in an evacuation zone. So even though no evacuations have been ordered, the county said that they have 20 shelters on standby.

Now, these least shelters have COVID-19 protocols, like screenings and temperature checks, and they also have 40 square feet per person so that individuals can social distance.


Now, that is 20 feet less than the FEMA recommendation and that is why we learned today that the American Red Cross will not be staffing those shelters whenever they are needed here in Miami-Dade County. And so Miami-Dade now has trained individuals to make sure that they can fill in those roles.

But as we were talking about the COVID-19 pandemic, look, here in the State of Florida, for the past two weeks, the positivity rate has been between 13 and 18 percent. Yes, the numbers, the daily COVID-19 numbers have stabilized. They've been at about 19,000 for about a few days. But experts will tell you that that is a stabilization at a very high number.

So, on top of that, when you look at the preparations for Hurricane Isaias, Florida Power and Light says that they are recommending that customers prepare for longer wait times when it comes to restoration of power. They say that they have crews at 16 sites across the state to make sure that they can do their best.

But, Ana, these are human beings that are going to be restoring this power whenever the power outages happen. And so this company trying to protect their employees, of course, either they're going to be wearing masks, they're going to be sanitizing equipment, they're going to be social distancing. And also, a key factor is they're going to be working in small groups so if there is an outbreak, they can isolate and also contact trace to make sure that it doesn't spread further. Ana?

CABRERA: Okay. Rosa Flores, do stay safe. We know that this hurricane is supposed to be impacting that zone for the next couple of hours. Thank you. Thanks to Chad Myers as well.

Joining us now, Dr. Carlos del Rio, Professor of Global Health and Epidemiology at Emory University.

And. Doctor, I understand you are in Miami right now, a hot spot, also dealing with this hurricane, how real is this concern that if people have to go to the shelter, they could become super spreader events?

DR. CARLOS DEL RIO, PROFESSOR OF MEDICINE, EMORY UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: I think it's a very big concern. And I think what happens, Ana, is that when we're dealing with something like a pandemic of coronavirus, other things are happening, right? This hurricane in Florida and other states, there are earthquake, there're all sorts of things that can happen.

So there're other things that could create a disruption and that then will mobilize people, people will go into shelters during a pandemic, going into shelters. It's an ideal situation to increase the spread. So we've got to be sure that the shelters are ready to give masks to people, to somewhat try to social distance people and to have hand sanitizers in place. CABRERA: And we know that the state is sending 10,000 PPE kits to the shelters. The Miami-Dade Emergency Operation Center also, we've learned, is using four U.V. sterilizer fans that are designed to instantly kill airborne particles of COVID-19.

Now, officials say they are working to get these U.V. fans to evacuation centers as well, but how well do those fans actually work?

DEL RIO: Well, we don't know. I think when there is a close environment, when there is a crowded environment, we have got to be sure that the air is moving and we have got to make sure that we have the appropriate ventilation and we have the appropriate HEPA filters.

So we can have the ventilators, we can have what we have, but the most important thing would be also to open windows, to be sure that there is air flowing, that there really is not a lot of stagnant air, which that would increase the ability of particles to transmit the virus.

CABRERA: You are part of the Moderna study to find a vaccine for the coronavirus. This week, we heard the chief of Operation Warp Speed say that he's optimistic vaccine could be ready by the end of the year or shortly into 2021, and he wouldn't be surprised if it is in the 90 percent effective range. What makes you agree or disagree with that assessment?

DEL RIO: Well, I don't work for the company. I'm an investigator. As an investigator, my role is to conduct the study with the highest possible quality and standard so we have the right data that can be then analyzed, and decide whether the vaccine works or not.

And as an investigator, I try not to be in favor or against something, because my role when I'm giving a study and doing a study like this, some people are seeing the vaccine, some people are seeing the placebo, I don't know who is getting what. My goal is that nobody gets infected. My goal is that I tell people how to protect themselves and that may decrease actually the risk of inflection for all the participants.

So that is a challenge of doing a vaccine study during a pandemic, is that we're trying to decrease transmission, at the same time, we're trying to test a vaccine.

So I want to be optimistic, but I also realistic. This is not an easy study to do. This is going to be a very challenging study. And I hope we get the results we're looking for. But, again, I, really, as an investigator, don't like to tell people whether I favor this or not because the reality is you can't tell.

CABRERA: Let me ask you some follow-up questions then that you might be able to answer. I want you to hear the words of a Georgia news anchor who is the first U.S. participant in phase three of this trial Moderna. Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You are the first person in the United States to get a shot in a phase three COVID trial. What does that feel like?


DAWN BAKER, VACCINE TRIAL PARTICIPANT: It is very exciting. I'm very anxious about it. I just hope that there are really, really good results. I know a lot of people are doing a lot of different vaccine trials and things going on, but I feel so proud.


CABRERA: That woman, Dawn Baker, is the human phase of your work, Doctor. What makes someone a good candidate to be part of this trial?

DEL RIO: Well, first of all, let me say that study volunteers are the real heroes in any study. Because without study volunteers, without a community, you would not have a clinical trial. So each and everybody that volunteers for a he study, in my mind, are heroes, that really the ones that are making this study possible.

What makes you a good volunteer is, really, you need to be somebody willing to participate, like she is, willing to be engaged, willing to be asked the questions, willing to come for tests to visits, but also willing not to move for a year or two that lasts the study, but also somebody who has enough exposure, if you are going to stay at home and not go anywhere, you are not a good volunteer.

But at the same time, you want to be sure -- you've got engage where the vaccine -- where the virus risk is in the community of that individual. So those are the challenges.

But the volunteers, in my mind, are really the ones that need to be congratulated because anybody that volunteers for a study is really doing the hero work.

CABRERA: And I know Dr. Fauci has said with this particular trial they are working to get people between 18 and 65, diversity when it comes to race, gender, obviously. When will you know if you have enough participants and enough data to confirm whether this vaccine is completely safe and effective?

DEL RIO: Well, there are two things that are important, Ana. Number one is the issue of diversity. We know the disease has disproportionately impacted the minorities, African-American, Latinos, and we have to get also good participation of those communities. So the first thing is we need to get the trust of the community about using -- about testing the vaccine.

But the second is, in any clinical trial, there is something called the data safety and monitoring board. And those are the people independent of the investigators that, with certain regularity, are looking at the data and knowing if the data is showing something favorable or not.

And those are the people that are going to say when the study stops either because it worked or because what we call in clinical trial futility. If the vaccine is showing at the end of three or four five months no difference and the risk of disease between those that received the vaccine and those that received placebo, the study would be discontinued because there is really no point on going on with the research.

CABRERA: It's fascinating. It's so important, the work that you are doing. Dr. Carlos del Rio, thank you for being here and thank you for all you do.

DEL RIO: Thank, Ana.

CABRERA: The U.S. has reported more than 1,000 deaths from COVID-19 every day this week so far. And with case numbers still rising in many states, why is the president still holding events like this with few masks and no social distancing, and in all places, Florida? We'll discuss, next.



CABRERA: More than 153,000 Americans are dead, but the president is sticking to his strategy, deny, downplay and deflect. How else would you explain his hot spot tour of Florida yesterday where he held this event with no mask, few people in that crowd were wearing masks and no sign of social distancing.

And when he was asked about the number of deaths in Florida, which by the way set records four days in a row this week, the president said this.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It is a tribute to your governor and government, the job they have done. You have done a really great job and you have a really big nursing home population and you've done a fantastic job. So I think that we're doing really well in Florida.


CABRERA: Doing really well? That is just not reality. And even the death of one his big allies from the virus just doesn't seem to be a wake-up call.


TRUMP: We will miss Herman Cain.

REPORTER: Are you worried that he caught COVID in Tulsa?

TRUMP: No, I don't think that he did.


CABRERA: Now, the fact is, we don't know where Herman Cain was exposed to the virus, but he did attend the president's Tulsa campaign rally June 20th, where multiple Trump campaign staffers and Secre Service agents tested positive. And yet, the day after Cain dies, the president goes to Florida and just relishes in the crowd there.


TRUMP: Thank you very much, everybody. That is really great. Thank you. Thank you for being here. It is a good crowd.


CABRERA: Joining us now is CNN Political Commentator and former Clinton White House Press Secretary Joe Lockhart. Joe, the fact that the president would still hold this event, few masks, no social distancing and in Florida, no less, what is your reaction to that?

JOE LOCKHART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I mean, the president has very few choices as far as an election strategy. And he has made the choice that he is going to pretend this is just going to go away. Because if he now, you know, change course and say, we've got to have a national strategy, we've got to really work on this, then I think people would say, why now, this is too late.

The problem with this is, I think, the president views this as a political issue. This is way beyond a political issue. This is an issue that's touched the life of every American. It has with lost loved ones, with lost jobs, with lost social relationships, and that is powerful.

And I think the president is miscalculating greatly when he thinks he can make it about law and order and what is going on in the streets or about anything to do with Joe Biden. This is going to be a referendum on how he has handled this, whether he faces up to that or continues to ignore it.

CABRERA: And as you talk about this virus really crossing all dividing lines, political and otherwise, it wasn't just Herman Cain.


We also learned that one of the president's allies, Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert on Capitol Hill tested positive after he has been railing against masks. And you know who he blamed? Not himself, the mask. Listen.


REP. LOUIE GOHMERT (R-TX): I, you know, moving the mask around, getting it just right, I'm bound to put some virus on the mask that I sucked in. That's most likely what happened.


CABRERA: Today, we just learned that Democratic Congressman Raul Grijalva tested positive for the virus and the reason he even got tested was because of of Gohmert walking around without a mask. And here is what Grijalva said, quote, while I cannot blame anyone directly for this, this week has shown that there are some members of Congress who fail to take this crisis seriously. Numerous Republican members routinely strut around the Capitol without a mask to selfishly make a political statement at the expense of their colleagues, staff, and their families.

Joe, what will it take to make them take it seriously?

LOCKHART: Well, I think we're finding that they don't care. What they care about is getting re-elected and keeping their base together. And sometimes government fails despite their best efforts. This is much worse. The president hasn't made the effort. He talked about slowing down testing. He didn't want to test because he didn't want people to see the scope of the problem. Well, the scope of the problem attacks people. And so that was miscalculation.

But, worst, there are very simple things we can do to protect ourselves and protect others. And the president and a lot of leading Republicans took steps to undermine that to make wearing a mask an issue of personal freedom. And that has had the effect of, you know, we have Herman Cain, who is passed away, and that's a tragedy for his family, but he was making a political statement by going to that Tulsa rally, not social distancing and not wearing a mask.

And I think when we look back on this, you know, we have many examples of government failing over time. People will really remember the fact that Trump and a lot of the leading Republicans, not all, but a lot of them, really put maybe 30 percent to 40 percent of the country at risk or even at more risk to make a political point.

CABRERA: I just don't get it. I mean, these are educated people. These aren't ignorant people. These aren't people who don't know what the science is and what the data shows us in terms of the effectiveness of masks and other ways we can help stop the spread of the coronavirus, which would ultimately be a political win for this president, wouldn't if he got it under control?

LOCKHART: Yes. Well, I think most of these members of Congress are either not up for election this year in the Senate or are in safe districts. And they know their constituents get their news exclusively from places like Fox News and Rush Limbaugh.

And those people, you know, one of the political analysts called it low information voters, which is a very nice way of saying ignorant. But it is not necessarily their fault. This is what they are being fed.

And for most of these Republican members of Congress, they will get re-elected because, you know, Rush and Fox News and Sean Hannity pushed quack science and criticized masks. The problem is there are tens of thousands of Americans who are going to die because of it. And at the national level, that's going to be on Donald Trump and that's why it is very difficult to see a pathway for him to get -- to be reelected. CABRERA: The president has, at times, tried a more somber tone about the pandemic, and yet he has one briefing this week to complain that his top experts, Dr. Fauci, Dr. Deborah Birx, are more popular than he is. Take a listen.


TRUMP: He's got this high approval rating, so why don't I have a high approval rating with respect -- and the administration with respect to the virus?

So it sort of is curious, a man works for us, with us very closely, Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx, also highly thought of, and yet they are highly thought of but nobody likes me. It can only be my personality.


CABRERA: Joe, is this just a popularity contest for the president?

LOCKHART: Well, I mean, I don't know that his personality helps, but I think the reason that the rejecting him is he's failed to do his job and failed to keep people safe in this country.

There are really two campaigns that you can run if you're running for president. One is you run on your record as an incumbent or, two, you run against the other person and you attack their character or their abilities.


The problem with Trump is he is such a narcissist, he can't do the second campaign because he has to make it about himself. And that really is -- has created a vicious cycle for him where, you know, every once in a while, he will have a new tone and everyone will sit up and take notice, but he goes right back to sort of this self- indulgence, self-absorbed kind of whining child that feels aggrieved because everyone doesn't love him and everyone recognize what a wonderful job he is doing. He is not and the public gets that.

CABRERA: Quickly, if you will, was it a smart move for them to bring back the briefings with the president?

LOCKHART: I think it was a smart move for them to communicate to their base. Their base won't get them elected. The briefings are a disaster among swing voters, moderate Democrats, more liberal conservatives. And I think, again, we'll look back on this as one of the more disastrous decisions that they make.

CABRERA: Joe Lockhart, as always, good to have you here. Thank you.

LOCKHART: Thanks, Ana.

CABRERA: We wish you and your family good health.

This is the new reality now for millions of Americans lining up at food banks to get a meal. We're live in Los Angeles, next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


CABRERA: More than a half million cases of COVID-19, that is just in California. No other state has that many cases. California recorded 219 COVID-19-related deaths in the past 24 hours. That is the most reported deaths in a single day in the state.

Health officials, especially in southern California, reporting record daily numbers of people needing to be hospitalized.

And here is where new cases of the coronavirus are spiking right now in the state. The hottest spots are around Los Angeles and stretching to the southern border, as you can see.

And Paul Vercammen is in Los Angeles right now.

Paul, a lot of people in L.A. are taking advantage of a food donation program this weekend. And the timing is a big issue because the virus is not letting up, clearly. But federal unemployment benefits that millions of people have been relying on is now gone.

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Ana, people are talking about that as they wait in line to pick up their food. You can see the volunteers working feverishly in this heat.

One thing that they are well aware of is they want to get many of the seniors in line their box of food without making them stand too long. But some people started here as early as midnight.

And throughout the line, what you discussed, that tension over that paycheck protection going away, over people being unemployed now for almost a half of a year.

If you look right here, is Umberto. He has been out of work. He works in a restaurant, dishwasher, cook.

You have been out of work for five months. And what did it mean to you to get in box of food?

UMBERTO FLANDES (ph), WAITING AT FOOD BANK: Yes. Why? I don't know. It is --

VERCAMMEN: I'll go ahead and tell you, everybody what you told me off camera.

Umberto was saying to me that it was very important that he get this food because he just hasn't been working at all, as is the case with many people in this line today.

This is the Korean Town section of Los Angeles. And Umberto thinks that that particular box -- this is from the food bank with a lot of its partners, especially here at this Unitarian Church -- they were able to get not just produce, but cheese and meat, a precooked chicken. And a lot of these people are relying on this to tie them over until

we hear more from Congress about whether there will be another relief package that will help people that are unemployed or just what. And also rent protections going away from a lot of people.

These are tough times. And they say here at the Unitarian Church that they have never seen lines this long. They used to get a couple hundred people for this weekly food give away. And now they have increased to somewhere between 1,700 and 2,000 people at just this one food bank.

And I should note that Food Bank Los Angeles says, over the course of a month, they now think that they are giving away something like 900,000 meals. They used to average 300,000 meals.

Back to you, Ana.

CABRERA: And all that is powerful, Paul. Hopefully, the leaders on Capitol Hill are paying attention. We know there are ongoing talks this weekend.

Thank you for that reporting.

Those food lines are the real implications of a devastated American economy. The U.S. just saw its worst economic quarter in history, with a staggering drop in GDP that wiped out five years of economic growth.

This economic fallout has been felt across the country. More than 50 percent of American adults live in households that have lost income during this pandemic.

I want to bring in CNN's Cristina Alesci.

And Cristina, put these economic indicators into perspective for us. What do the numbers this week tell us?

CRISTINA ALESCI, CNN POLITICS & BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: The numbers this week tell us that the fear of permanent damage to the U.S. economy is well founded.

Now, we expected a terrible GDP report, 9.5 percent decrease over the three months of the second quarter on an annualized basis. That worked out to 33 percent. Worst on record.

And that was because of the dramatic drop off in consumer spending that we saw because of the shutdowns when they were most acute in April and May.

But more concerning than the GDP figures, from my standpoint in reporting on this, is the unemployment claims data that we got this week that showed that 1.4 million Americans, additional Americans applied jobless benefits, unemployment benefits for the first time. In total, you are talking about 30 million Americans that are collecting some form of unemployment.

[15:35:15] At this point, Ana, this is a very real indicator that the job market is not getting better. And at this point in the crisis, there was a lot of hope that at least the job losses would be stabilizing. It is unclear if that will happen.

And then you reference the U.S. census data that half of adults are now living in households they say that have seen their income reduced dramatically by over a half since the start of the pandemic.

All of this is creating tremendous anxiety for U.S. workers across the country -- Ana?

Anxiety and just the ability to survive is an issue obviously. There's still no deal on Capitol Hill for an additional stimulus package. Meaning that additional $600 weekly in unemployment benefits has expired now.

Here is what Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said earlier today about negotiations.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): If a million people are without food, you don't say let's compromise and give a half of a million food. If there are a million people -- a million small businesses hurting, you don't compromise and say we're only going to help half of them.

But on the other hand, we had really -- it was the best discussions we've had so far. And I call it progress, but a ways to go.


CABRERA: It doesn't look good. What is the impact of no deal? What do you expect?

ALESCI: Let me be clear about this, Ana. If there's no deal, we will have a double-dip recession in the U.S. And I think that most people on Capitol Hill and in the White House are fully aware of that.

Behind the trajectory of the virus itself, U.S. federal fiscal stimulus is the most important driver of economic activity, period, full stop, during this period of time.

And one of the most contentious issues has been the extension of enhanced unemployment benefits.

Those 30 million Americans that I spoke to who are collecting some sort of unemployment from the government, well, those -- a good chunk of those people may see a material impact, a reduction in their income if Congress does not come through with an extension of that $600, which, by the way, as we know, expired this week.

So a lot of those people know that they won't have more money coming through in the weeks ahead until this deal gets done. And it is astounding that it has not been done already -- Ana?

CABRERA: A lot of people are hurting right now.

Cristina Alesci, thank you for your reporting.

Coming up, the difference a zip code can make when it comes to education. W. Kamau Bell takes us back to school.






CABRERA: If there's one thing laid bare by the closing of schools, it's that a gaping inequity still in public education. And tomorrow night's brand-new episode of "UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA," W. Kamau Bell visits two neighboring but very different Ohio suburbs to find out why there's such a wide achievement gap between African-American and white students.

Here's a preview.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To understand where students are going, you have to know where they come from.

I want to know why a zip code can tell you so much more about where a child is going to end up than any other fact that you learn about the child.

We need to make sure that we understand not just the differences between students' test scores and all that kind of stuff. We need to understand how inequality works and how it's localized in their neighborhoods and schools.

I was admitted to George Washington Carver Middle School. And the assistant principal saw me fooling around with two of my best friends. She walked up to me and said, you don't have the potential to be a Carver student.

W. KAMAU BELL, CNN HOST, "UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA": Not what you say to a kid.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. But what was funny about that is that they created an award for the best school, best student in the school. My eighth-grade year, because of things that I did, and she had to hand it to me.



CABRERA: W. Kamau Bell is joining us now.

Kamau, what did you find? What are some of the biggest factors contributing to the achievement back between African-American and white students in this country?

BELL: We're one of the only developed nations that funds out public schools, in large part, by the taxes collected in the district that school is in.

So therefore, if you are in a district that doesn't have a huge tax base, then you won't have schools that are as good. And a lot of times black folks live in districts that don't have huge low tax bases.

CABRERA: The elementary school you visited in east Cleveland is taking a more holistic approach to education, to try to close that gap, I understand? Tell us about that.

BELL: Yes, we at an elementary school in east Cleveland and they start the day by talking to the students and saying, how are you doing today. It seems like a small thing, they know, before they get the kids started on what they need to learn, they know a lot of kids walk into school with a lot of things on their minds, they have a lot of problems.

So I sat in the circle with them to find out what are they thinking about before school even starts.

CABRERA: Building trust in that relationship, we know that is an important part of childhood development, too.

In contrast, you also visited a high school in nearby Shaker Heights, an affluent suburb of Cleveland. And despite that school having a diverse student body and a wealth of resources, there was still a significant achievement gap between African-American and white students.

Why does that still exist? And what are they doing to address it?

BELL: Yes, a lot of times in American, we want to think it's about money and putting more money into situations. That helps a lot of times, but you don't actually address the roof of the problem, which is systemic racism. You're not going to actually solve the problem, especially the black folks and people of color, the indigenous folks.

So they have special programs in that school to address the black kids in that school to help them get ahead because they know that it is not just about having a fancy school. It is actually about meeting the students where they are.


CABRERA: And their backgrounds do influence what they are able to, you know, start with in terms of the base that they have going into school. And they may need a little more support.

Of all of the students and teachers that you talked to for this episode, what did they tell you they need most to make schools and students of all races successful?

BELL: I talked to Monique Davis, who is a teacher at the high school. And we actually talked since then because we've talked since COVID hit.

And we talked about -- basically, one of the things we talked about, defunding the police, it is actually funding the schools. It is not about dropping money on them. But it is about going to those schools and saying, what do you specifically need that may be separate from what other schools need that will help your students succeed.

So it's in that same conversation as defund the police.

CABRERA: I'm so glad that you are having this conversation and showcasing this issue.

W. Kamau Bell, thank you for all of your work.

And his brand-new episode of "UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA" airs tomorrow night at 10:00 right here on CNN.

It's barely just begun but now reports of the commissioner of Major League Baseball is warning that he could end the season as more and more players test positive.



CABRERA: It could be game over for Major League Baseball in 2020. ESPN reporting the commissioner just warned the head of the players union that he could shut down the season if teams don't do a better job following coronavirus protocols.

Just today, the league postponed the game between the St. Louis Cardinals and Milwaukee Brewers after more Cardinals tested positive for COVID-19.

CNN's Martin Savidge reports.


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Sports leagues are using shortened seasons, bubbles, team sequestering, and rapid testing to let the games begin.

ANNOUNCER: What a connection.

SAVIDGE: Could the winners and losers teach us something?

Take baseball. Already a number of games are on hold as over 20 members of the Miami Marlins tested positive for coronavirus. Players aren't sequestered and teams travel to outbreak hot spots.

The Washington Nationals were so concerned about going to Florida, they put it to a vote. UNIDENTIFIED BASEBALL PLAYER: We all decided that it was probably

unsafe to go there.

SAVIDGE: Friday, the Cardinals-Brewers game postponed after two members of the St. Louis team tested positive.

Meanwhile, the National Hockey League and the National Basketball Association have opted for a different approach, keeping participants in a closed environment where they live, practice and play their games, the bubble.

So far, so good.

During training camp, the NHL tested more than 800 players. There were two positive the first week and none the second.

The teams now face-off in two secure zones in Edmonton and Toronto, Canada.

GARY BETTMAN, NHL COMMISSIONER: We are feeling good about the fact that we've got a contained environment. In fact, one player was quoted as saying from the bubble this is the safest he's felt since the middle of March.

SAVIDGE: At the NBA bubble in Orlando, where the season resumed Thursday, they are also declaring success. The league says only two players inside the bubble have tested positive and that was over two weeks ago.


ADAM SILVER, NBA COMMISSIONER: In essence, everyone is tested on a nightly basis. And then they, as a practical matter, don't leave their room until they have the results the next morning.

SAVIDGE: Still to come, football. The NFL says it takes safety seriously, reconfiguring locker rooms, reducing travel schedules, doing away with preseason games.

But like baseball, the NFL is allowing players and staff to go home, increasing their risk of getting infected.

In an open letter, Commissioner Roger Goodell wrote, "In a year that's been extraordinary difficult for our country and the world, we hope that the energy of this moment will provide some much-needed optimism."

But growing numbers of NFL players opting out of the 2020 season would seem to indicate they don't share that optimism.

(on camera): So, what have sports taught us? Pretty much what we already knew: That quarantine and ample access to testing is a winning strategy.

Martin Savidge, CNN, Atlanta.


CABRERA: Thanks, Martin.

The Navajo nation's coronavirus infection rates have been among the highest per capita in America, with Navajo elders dying at an alarming rate. "CNN Hero," Linda Myers, has spent decades supporting elders. They deaths are devastating and personal for her.

And now she and her team have ramped up efforts to bring life-saving help to the most isolated and vulnerable on the reservation.


LINDA MYERS, "CNN HERO": Losing Navajo elders is a piece of history, a piece of culture. They hold the life for their families. They carry on the traditions, the ceremony, the language, the weaving.

Good to see you.

The loss for us is personal.

We're connected to these elders. We've known them for 35 years. We've sent $225,000 worth of food certificates, thousands of masks, and yarn bundles to our elders to help them sustain themselves in their traditional way.

Starting in August and September, our real goal is to deliver all the supplies to make sure we help them as winter starts.

We're not stopping now. We're continuing.


CABRERA: To learn more about Linda's heroic work and the threat that COVID-19 poses to the Navajo nation, and to find out how you can help, go to


We'll be right back.


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

CABRERA: We're live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera, in New York.


As if a pandemic weren't enough to deal with, the people of Florida are now bracing for a hurricane. A federal disaster declaration has been issued for the state as Hurricane Isaias gets closer and closer to the coastline.