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Arizona Rep Grijalva Tests Positive For Coronavirus; Florida Closes State-Run COVID Testing Sites Due To Storm; Teachers And Parents Weigh Safety Of Reopening Schools; Moderna Begins First Phase 3 Clinical Trial Of Vaccine In U.S.; Trump Ramps Up Effort To Sow Doubt In 2010 Vote, Warns Of "Greatest Election Disaster In History"; Big Parties And Crowds Raise Fears Of Covid-19 Clusters. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired August 1, 2020 - 18:00   ET



ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.

ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. Our breaking news, a one-two punch for Florida, already a coronavirus hotspot; now, preparing for the impact of Tropical Storm Isaias. President Trump issuing a Federal disaster declaration for the state as that storm turns closer.

Just last hour, Governor Ron DeSantis said at least six Florida counties are under a hurricane warning. He told residents to prepare for widespread power outages.

Also new today, another Member of Congress, Democratic Representative Raul Grijalva of Arizona has tested positive for the coronavirus days after he attended a committee hearing with Texas 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.

Now when it comes to the bigger picture, a grim projection from the C.D.C., another 20,000 Americans are expected to die from COVID-19 in just the next three weeks.

The month of July, this country saw 10 days of deaths topping a thousand in just a single day. Five of those days were this past week.

Meantime, the economic crisis is just crushing. Democratic leaders say their discussions with White House officials today were productive, but they're still not close to a deal after a Federal 600 bucks a week unemployment benefits expired yesterday, so the negotiations will continue on Monday.

And in the world of sports, tonight's game between the St. Louis Cardinals and Milwaukee Brewers has been postponed after more Cardinals players tested positive. It comes a day after the Major League Baseball Commissioner warned the already shortened season could be shut down altogether. Let's take you to Florida first. This is the first state standing in

the way of Tropical Storm Isaias and a region that is already battle weary after the relentless spread of COVID-19.

Randi Kaye is in Palm Beach County for us. But first, let's check in on the storms latest track, and meteorologist Chad Myers joins us in the CNN Weather Center.

Chad, what is in store for Florida now and the East Coast?

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: You know, I think the storm is blowing up right now, which means getting bigger blowing up as an explosive development. It was dying all day. It looked horrible all day.

Dry air was running over Andros Island and so it just -- it was overland basically, not very high land, but still it wasn't over warm water.

Now it's over water. Now, we've got to shear out of the way. Now we have really the dry air out of the way. And there is a huge thunderstorm complex to the north of what we call the center. It's an eye, yes, but it doesn't really look like an eye yet on radar.

But if this northern part wraps around and becomes an eye, we're going to get rapid intensification in the overnight hours. Right now, we're somewhere around 66 to 70 mile per hour storm.

There's still some shear in the way. That's this orange area up here and remember, that's going to have to try to get up into that shear. But eventually it pushes away. Now all of that red back there, that's a trough, that's a cold front that's going to push this thing completely offshore. That'll be later on in the week, likely even north of Boston, so not going that way.

The dry air is getting out of the way. The storm is getting larger. Every time one of these cells comes on shore, you could get a waterspout coming on shore, too. Remember the whole storm is spinning, all of these little storms can spin, too.

And now we're finally getting some lightning on what I consider the blowing up part of this storm, the rapid intensification of what's going to happen tonight. Still a Cat 1 making landfall tomorrow very close to Fort Pierce north of there, somewhere around there.

If it doesn't go to the right as much, it will be farther down into Broward County, but it will only be probably 75 or maybe 70 maybe 80 mile per hour. That would be the most we probably could get because we're not going to have a lot of time in the water.

The farther it turns to the right, the stronger this storm to get. Ana, the longer it's in warm water, the bigger it's going to get. Right now, it's in that warm water and you could see what that satellite looked like. It was getting much, much brighter.

CABRERA: It could be a long night. Chad Myers, thank you. Please stand by. I want to head to Palm Beach County and our Randi Kaye is there.

Randi, I know the state confirmed more than 9,000 new cases of COVID- 19 for the fifth day in a row today and today, we've lost now 7,000 Florida residents to this virus. Is the Florida government prepared to handle this weather disaster in the midst of this pandemic?

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it's really a double emergency for the State of Florida here, Ana. And here in Palm Beach County, they certainly have a double emergency going on.

They have another 500 plus new cases just in the county here of coronavirus. They're still above 13 percent or so in terms of the positivity rates, so they are dealing with a lot.

We are also trying -- we are beginning to see here the beginnings of the storm making its way here. If you look out on the water here, when we were down here earlier, it was a little bit calmer. We had some rain coming in, but now you can see, the waves are certainly getting rougher. The storm surge here is expected to be two to four feet above regular tide levels.


KAYE: And because we have a full moon coming up on Monday night, we're going to see even a higher high tide than we would normally see.

And then at that pier out there in the distance, just in the last hour or so, we had wind gusts of about 40 to 50 miles per hour that we were tracking.

So it's certainly picking up here. It's a reason why in Palm Beach County earlier today, they opened five emergency shelters for people including one that is where you can bring your pets. We're told people have brought their cats and dogs and even a bird to that shelter.

The Governor is also concerned about this. He is trying to get some hotel rooms where people who might be symptomatic of COVID and have these symptoms for the coronavirus where they could safely go to a hotel room instead of having to go to a shelter where there are a lot of people.

And meanwhile, the state is trying to tell the counties in terms of the shelters to try and limit them to 50 people, also do those temperature checks and have 60 square feet per person.

But Florida Power and Light is also trying to deal with this. The Governor says that the state is prepared. He says to expect some delays. Florida Power and Light is also saying expect some major outages.

The delays are because of COVID. Once again, these two things are just intersecting here in the State of Florida. People who are working for FPL, they have to get their temperatures checked. They have to sanitize equipment. It just slows the whole process down.

But they do have about 10,000 personnel here in the state ready to go, but they are also bringing in people from Texas as well. So we'll see how that goes.

But the Governor does say that there are 100 percent of the nursing homes that are now -- they now have generators. Also the long term care facilities have generators. They want to make sure that the residents in those facilities are safe and sound if they lose the air conditioning because a few years back, with Hurricane Irma, they did lose air conditioning in one nursing home here in South Florida and 14 residents did die, twelve of them from heat exposure.

And just finally, Ana, they are saying here that they have the fishing game, the wildlife fishing game from Florida are ready to go. They can do some -- they can join the Urban Search and Rescue teams in case there is high flooding here in in the State of Florida along the East Coast.

And we also have the National Guard, Ana, ready to launch just in case. Back to you.

CABRERA: OK, fingers crossed. Everybody is prepared there. Thank you, Randi Kaye, Chad Myers, we appreciate both of you.

Joining us now is Dr. Jonathan Reiner. He is a CNN medical analyst and Professor of Medicine and Surgery at George Washington University. He was also a medical adviser to the White House under the Bush administration.

Dr. Reiner, there's growing concern that if people have to go to shelters, they could become super spreader events. How much does that worry you?

DR. JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: It's very worrisome. I mean, the virus loves a crowd. Georgia Tech's Applied Bioinformatics Lab has a tool that allows you to estimate on a county by county basis all around the United States the risk of encountering a COVID positive person at an event of various sizes.

And when you look at almost every county in Florida, and use a number of let's say, 50 people in a shelter, every county in Florida has over a 90 percent chance that you'll encounter a COVID positive person.

If you increase the size of that shelter to a hundred people, it's almost certain, almost 100 percent likelihood that there will be a COVID positive person. So it's a big deal.

And this is one of the reasons why the Emergency Director for Palm Beach County has really said that shelters this year have to be really a point of last resort for people.

CABRERA: And it is also obviously so critical people have those masks and all the PPE that are needed. We saw the President in Florida just 24 hours ago and not many precautions were visibly taken. He didn't wear a mask, many attendees also weren't wearing masks, no social distancing at that event.

And this is a state that set four new daily death records this week alone. How big of a risk are the President's rallies and events posing on Americans?

REINER: The model -- the behavior that he is modeling is why we are in the state we are right now. This is why the virus is out of control in places like Florida and Texas and throughout the south and southwest, because the President has modeled the wrong behavior.

How can you possibly go to Florida, really the epicenter for the pandemic on the planet -- how can you go to Florida and not wear a mask and have people surrounding you not wearing a mask? Incredibly irresponsible. Very, very dangerous.

CABRERA: Today we find out Congressman Raul Grijalva has tested positive for COVID-19. He is blaming his Republican colleagues for not taking this pandemic seriously, and that includes Congressman Louie Gohmert, who is actually blaming his contraction of the virus on wearing a mask.

Then you have Herman Cain, who sadly died from the virus this week. He tested positive for the virus just days after he had attended a Trump rally in Oklahoma with a lot of people there, not wearing masks.

Doctor, what is your message to leaders in this country who aren't doing what we know will help stop the spread of this virus?


REINER: Incredibly foolish. Listen, what I would say to the American public is, listen to the people who know most about this, who know the most about this and they are the physicians and scientists and public health officials. And with a unified voice, we all say, wear a mask.

If you wear a mask, you'll protect your community and you will also protect yourself. This is not anything that can be debated. The facts are clear. Wear a mask, social distance, stay out of crowds. That's how we can defeat this virus.

Look, I wanted to say there is good news. Look at New York City. New York City today had a 0.83 percent positivity rate, an enormous success by doing just this. Social distancing, intense public health measures and universal mask wearing. This can happen all over the country and we just need a unified voice in getting the message out to the American public.

CABRERA: I want you to hear the President's message in a new interview when he was talking about what he calls too much testing.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You know, there are those that say you can test too much. You do know that.

QUESTION: Who says that?

TRUMP: Just read the manuals. Read the books.

QUESTION: Manuals. TRUMP: Read the books.

QUESTION: What manual?

TRUMP: Read the books.

QUESTION: What books?

TRUMP: Let me explain.


CABRERA: Doctor, first your reaction and second, you know, explain to our viewers the importance of testing and why we should be doing more, not less.

REINER: All right, testing is how you identify individuals with the virus. And that's how you get people to quarantine and that's how you prevent the virus from being transmitted. Period.

You know, the President's statement that you can test too much, and that there are books and manuals that suggest that is embarrassing. He's making this country the mockery of the world.

It is astounding that the President doesn't get the importance of testing. Testing and masks, he has placed doubt in the minds of a large number of people in this country for the two tools that are most effective at suppressing the virus.

Massive testing, and although we're doing much more than we have in the past, we need to do more and universal mask wearing

The President's behavior is the kind of behavior that a saboteur would do. That's the kind of behavior you would promote if you were trying to increase the spread of virus in this country.

It's shocking that this is coming out of the mouth of the President of the United States.

CABRERA: On this issue of testing, there are still major delays in getting results back and the White House testing czar was asked just yesterday if the U.S. could feasibly get to a place where test results could be delivered in 48 to 72 hours. And Admiral Giroir said, that's just not a benchmark we could reach today because of demand and supply, but in the future, it is attainable.

Just how far off are we currently? And what does that mean for the country's ability to get this virus under control?

REINER: If you look at groups like the Rockefeller Foundation, they've put together these really elaborate plans to test 30 million people a week in the United States. You know, right now, we're testing about six million people a week in the United States.

So we would have to increase about fivefold to get to a threshold like that, but we need to test differently. We need much more point of care testing.

Imagine if the shelters in Florida had point of care testing so that anyone who came to the shelter who was COVID positive could be put in a secure area, outside sort of the general population. Imagine if we had rapid antigen testing, so you can test all the workers in your business and anyone who was positive could go home that day.

We have the ability to do that. We just have to have the will to do that.

CABRERA: Doctor, we heard from C.D.C. Director Robert Redfield, who said that coronavirus, this pandemic has put on display the under investment of public health here in the United States in general. So what could be done now to make sure that the U.S. is prepared as we head into the fall and flu season?

REINER: Well, first of all, the message for flu season is that everyone needs to be vaccinated. In our best years, we only vaccinate about 45 percent of the country for influenza. We cannot have hospitals filled with people with influenza if there is another wave of the COVID-19 virus circulating through this country, everyone needs to be vaccinated for influenza.

And also, we need to develop the trust in vaccines so that when we do have, and I do think we will have multiple vaccines available over the next several months for COVID-19 that we can vaccinate as many people in this country as possible.

We need to start to get into the mode of this kind of intense public health effort.


CABRERA: Dr. Jonathan Reiner, thanks so much for sharing your expertise with us.

REINER: My pleasure.

CABRERA: Getting ready for the long journey home, a short time ago, NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley climbed aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule in preparation for departing the International Space Station for a 19-hour trip back to Earth. And the big question is, will the weather hold for their trip home?

NASA and SpaceX have been keeping a close eye on Tropical Storm Isaias now swirling off the Florida coast and these astronauts made history back in May when SpaceX launched them into space, the first private company ever to accomplish that feat was also the first crewed mission from U.S. soil in almost 10 years.

What was normal may never be normal again because of the pandemic. Schools are seeing that firsthand as many delay reopening or move to virtual learning to kick off the school year. How this uncertainty is impacting families in the hard hit state of Arizona?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't know day to day. You can't plan anything.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would love to see in-person start if it was considered safe.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I wish that there was just like the scientific answer. And it was just believed by everybody and this is what we're going to be doing. That's not the case, unfortunately.


CABRERA: You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM. Don't go anywhere.



CABRERA: A lot of school districts and universities have already decided classes will start on time, but students will not be there in person, learning will be online, virtual, at least at the beginning of the term. Not every school in every state has made the decision though.

CNN's Miguel Marquez is in the virus hotspot state of Arizona, where parents are concerned.


MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Four parents, one central Phoenix school district, lots of questions and confusion about when it is safe for their kids to return to school.


MARQUEZ (on camera): In this information environment, how difficult is it for parents to make a decision?

SEAN GREENE, FATHER OF TWO: It's very difficult.


MARQUEZ (voice over): Sean Greene quit his job in June to stay home with his two kids. His son is asthmatic and has a suppressed immune system.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They don't catch it easily, they don't bring it home easily. And if they do catch it, they get better fast.


MARQUEZ (voice over): The reality, some kids get very sick from the coronavirus.


GREENE: I believe that he can definitely get it, and I do believe that he can transmit it.

MARQUEZ: And do you think it could endanger his life?

GREENE: It absolutely could. My son has been hospitalized repeatedly on just normal asthma attacks.

KAI WEBBER, SINGLE MOM OF THREE: There's no choice, I have to work.


MARQUEZ (voice over): Single mom, Kai Webber has three kids and needs to work. She'd like in-person school to start as soon as possible, but --


MARQUEZ (on camera): How tough is it to make decisions about how you're supposed to educate your kids and keep them safe?

WEBBER: It's terrible like I don't know day-to-day. You can't plan anything.


MARQUEZ (voice-over): After shutting down in March, Arizona's governor aggressively reopened the state in May, only to see cases, hospitalizations and deaths spiral upwards.

In-person school was delayed, then last week, canceled until data indicates the virus is again under control.


MICHAEL ROBERT, SUPERINTENDENT, OSBORN SCHOOL DISTRICT: It seemed like we were making decisions one day, waking up the next day and starting from scratch.


MARQUEZ (voice over): Phoenix's Osborn School District has six schools, about 3,000 students and around 450 teachers and staff. The urban and diverse district has already decided to suspend in-person instruction until mid-October.


ROBERT: If we're not able to get back on that October 12th date, it's hard to imagine us coming back in 2020.


MARQUEZ (voice over): Healthcare workers Zaira Grijalva has two daughters at Osborn schools. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ZAIRA GRIJALVA, MOTHER OF TWO: I would love to see in-person start if it was considered safe.


MARQUEZ (voice over): The problem, she says, what scientists and politicians say about the virus is often at odds.


GRIJALVA: There's a lot of contradictory information and guidelines and expectations out there from our different government agencies.


MARQUEZ (voice over): Kelly Kesterson-Walker is an instructional coach at Osborn and her two kids attend school in the district. She is watching the case numbers in Arizona and tries to listen only to scientists when making decisions.


KELLY KESTERSON-WALKER, TEACHER AND MOTHER OF TWO: I don't think this issue should be a political issue at all, unfortunately, it is. I mean, I wish that there was just like the scientific answer and it was just believed by everybody, and this is what we're going to be doing. That's not the case, unfortunately.


MARQUEZ (voice over): Like parents, everywhere looking for answers, flooded with information, sorting through science, politics and possibly life-or- death decisions.

Miguel Marquez, CNN, Phoenix.


CABRERA: I want to bring in Dr. Murtaza Akhter, an emergency physician at Valleywise Health Medical Center in Arizona. He's also an Assistant Professor at the University of Arizona's College of Medicine in Phoenix.

Dr. Ahkter, this debate has caused a lot of raw emotions. What would you say to parents right now?

DR. MURTAZA AKHTER, EMERGENCY PHYSICIAN, VALLEYWISE HEALTH MEDICAL CENTER-ARIZONA: Thanks for having me back, Ana. Yes, this is a very tough situation parents are in. Who would have thought that would make our kids a political issue? And yet, here we are.

So what I would say is, you know, you have to make the best decision for yourself and your family and I think the way I would look at it is, listen, you wouldn't want a car mechanic taking out your gallbladder, right? And similarly, you probably don't want to listen to just a politician about whether your kids and your family will be safe.

There are plenty of doctors who are giving their opinions. There are plenty of health experts who have given their opinions, and I would urge the school districts, as well as the parents to make their opinions based on what the health experts and physicians as well as teachers are saying.

CABRERA: And there are new studies and there's new information we're getting constantly about the impact of this virus on children and in groups and crowds. The C.D.C. just issued a report about a sleepaway camp in Georgia where hundreds of campers and staffers tested positive for coronavirus in just a matter of days.

A C.D.C. study says staff were required to wear masks, but the campers were not. The windows and doors were not open to increase ventilation.

As we debate reopening schools, what does this case tell us about the dangers that exist?


AKHTER: Yes, that scenario along with a couple of studies that just came up prove what basically every parent knows, which is that kids spread germs. I mean, that's nothing shocking, right? Every parent knows that, almost everybody knows that.

There was this idea that maybe kids aren't hotspots for COVID. I don't know why this virus would have magically been different than every other virus we know of, but now we've got some conclusive studies showing that the viral load is quite high in children and in particular, they very much transmit the virus to other people.

And so I'll grant that kids, on average -- on average, do better than the elderly when they get the virus, but the problem is kids don't live alone, like by definition, they need to be raised by parents, or taught in this case, we're discussing schools, but the problem is that kids will transmit that virus to other people, whether that's teachers, staff or family.

And so it's very important to stay vigilant, and in particular, if your kid is going to school, I would hope that he or she is able to distance and that you're able to keep them away from the elderly at home and make sure that they're washing hands, distancing and learning the importance of masks because, as we have learned with the things that we already knew, kids do spread germs and disease.

CABRERA: Just today, we learned Arizona Congressman Raul Grijalva from your home state tested positive for coronavirus. This was just days after he chaired a hearing attended by Congressman Louie Gohmert, who also tested positive.

Gohmert had been very resistant to wearing a mask around people on Capitol Hill and according to POLITICO, he would even berate his staff for wearing them. What is your reaction to that? AKHTER: That's enraging for a politician to tell scientists and

physicians how to do science. In particular, when it's putting people at risk.

I don't tell him how to do his job even though we elected him, presumably, I don't know why he is telling us to do ours. We know how effective masks are.

Now listen, if you take a bunch of germs on your hands and you rub them into your mask, yes, that's probably not the safest thing to do.

But if we're practicing good hand hygiene and wearing masks appropriately, they are very effective in reducing disease transmission, and to say that listen, people shouldn't wear masks, is literally harming people.

CABRERA: The Governor of Arizona says he thinks that state is headed in the right direction. Is that what you're experiencing?

AKHTER: Well, the thing is, even if we're headed in the right direction, remember, April, we were doing really well, right? We're doing really well on April and then restrictions were eased and people decided, you know what, I'm going to do what I want to do, and then we became the worst hot spot in the country.

So there's a couple things I want to say, even if we are heading in the right direction, it is very important to stay vigilant because the disease can come raging back as we have personally seen; and two, just because it's getting better that doesn't mean we're in a good spot, right?

The analogy I would use is if you're in a minefield, and I tell you listen, there aren't 870 bombs there anymore, there are only 820. It probably still isn't a good idea to walk through that minefield. There will still be explosions. You need to clear the minefield before you can go through.

And similarly, we need to bring the disease transmission rate as well as the disease prevalence rates significantly down before we can even consider going back to semi-normal. We are not at that level yet.

CABRERA: Let's end with some potential good news. New research is suggesting that some people might be immune or have at least a level of immunity, even if they've never been exposed to this virus. So how would that work?

AKHTER: Yes, for one that's very preliminary. But two, remember we need -- people are talking a lot about herd immunity. It's very hard to achieve that and I think vaccines may be a way of getting there.

But for the people who have antibodies, we also know that antibodies often wane. And so for example, the people who are exposed and have got the antibodies can still get infected, especially if the antibodies wane.

There are going to be some people who are particularly robust. That's true of any disease where some people, I mean, hey, the President eats KFC every day and apparently he is still somewhat healthy. But not everybody is like that.

I don't recommend everybody eat fried chicken, and similarly, I don't recommend people going about thinking that they're immune to COVID. We know that pretty much anybody can contract it, and anybody can get sick from it.

So while it is good news that there is potential for immunity, I think there is are ways to go. Vaccines hopefully will help get us there, but we've still got a ways to go, so still important to stay very vigilant.

CABRERA: All right, Dr. Murtaz Akhter, always good to have you with us, and I appreciate your voice, your expertise and what you're doing to help keep us all healthy and safe. Thank you.

AKHTER: Thanks for having me, Ana. Eid Mubarak and stay safe.

CABRERA: Thank you.

Quick programming note. Be sure to watch "United States of America" tomorrow at 10:00 p.m. Eastern here on CNN. W. Kamau Bell will take a look at the public school system in this new episode, so don't miss it. It's "United Shades of America" here on CNN tomorrow night.

A Georgia news anchor has become the first person to get a Phase 3 COVID-19 potential vaccine. Why she is participating in this trial, next. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.



CABRERA: The race to get a coronavirus vaccine developed and approved reached a very important milestone this week, real people, test patients rolled up their sleeves and they got an injection that researchers have worked on so furiously trying to find the cure to COVID-19. Our Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen was there when the nation's very first phase three trial volunteer got her shot.





DAWN BAKER, TV HOST, VACCINE TRIAL PARTICIPANT: And I'm Dawn Baker, we have that breaking news we're following out of Hinesville tonight.


ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT(voice-over): Dawn Baker usually delivers the news. But Monday morning this television anchor in Savannah, Georgia, made news, made history as the first person in the United States to participate in a Phase III clinical trial for a vaccine against COVID-19.


COHEN: Big day.

BAKER: It certainly is.

It's really exciting to me that I could be a part of saving lives eventually. I mean, instead of just being scared and praying.


COHEN (voice over): After Dawn's injection, study leader Dr. Paul Bradley called Moderna, the company that makes the vaccine.


DR. PAUL BRADLEY, VACCINE STUDY LEADER: Donner, I have amazing news, we dosed the first patient.


COHEN (voice over): The National Institutes of Health is collaborating on the trial. Dr. Anthony Fauci marked the day on a call with the media.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR OF THE NATIONAL INSITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: I can tell you absolutely the first one was at 6:45 this morning in Savannah, Georgia. Indeed, we are participating today in the launching of a truly historic event in the history of vaccinology.


COHEN (voice over): There are nearly 90 study sites across the country for this vaccine. And Phase III trials are underway for four other vaccines, three of those in China and one in the United Kingdom.




COHEN (voice over): Scientists hope that results of Moderna's trial will be clear in a few months and a vaccine on the market by the end of this year or the beginning of next. But that's if the vaccine is proven safe and effective, which is not a given.


COHEN: Let me explain how the Moderna vaccine trial works. This is the vaccine and about 15,000 people nationwide will get injected with this during the clinical trial. Now, this looks similar to the vaccine but actually it's a placebo. It doesn't do anything. It's just saline and another 15,000 people will be injected with this. And then afterwards doctors will compare who gets sick with COVID-19 and who doesn't.


COHEN (voice over): Doctors are recruiting study subjects who live in communities where they're most likely to get COVID so they can see if the vaccine truly works.


BRADLEY: We want people who are going to be exposed out there in the community living their lives, whether they're, say, a health care worker where unfortunately we get exposed frequently, maybe they work in a grocery store, but we want people that are at, unfortunately, at risk.


COHEN (voice over): That's why doctors are recruiting heavily among the African-American and Latino communities where COVID rates are especially high. But it's a challenge because historically those communities have been abused in medical research.


BAKER: They're suspicious. So maybe since I was at least bold enough to come forward right now that might change that.


COHEN (voice over): Coming forward to play a part in ending a pandemic that has brought the world to its knees.


COHEN: You are the first person in the United States to get a shot in a Phase III COVID trial. What does that feel like?

BAKER: 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 are going on, but I feel one, I feel so proud.


COHEN (voice over): Elizabeth Cohen, CNN, Savannah, Georgia.


CABRERA: President Trump railing against mail-in voting suggesting this week that maybe the election should be delayed or could the President legally postpone the election? We'll discuss with Elie Honig. Cross Exam is next. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


CABRERA: President Trump continue news to push his unfounded claims about mail-in voting.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is going to be the greatest election disaster in history. By the way, you guys like to talk about Russia and China and other places, they'll be able to forge ballots. They'll forge them. They'll do whatever they have to do.


CABRERA: Now, earlier this week, he floated the idea of delaying the November election tweeting, "With Universal Mail-In Voting (not Absentee Voting, which is good)," even though it's the same thing, "2020 will be the most INACCURATE and FRAUDULENT Election in history. It will be a great embarrassment to the USA," he wrote. "Delay the election until people can properly, securely and safely vote?" Question mark.

Now that brings us to cross exam with CNN Legal Analyst and former federal and state prosecutor Elie Honig. He's here to answer all of your legal questions, so let's dive in.

Elie, one viewer asking does the President have the legal authority to postpone the date of the general election?

ELIE HONIG, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: So, Ana, I want to be as clear as possible here. The answer is no, not maybe, not it depends, just straight up no and I stress this because we heard dangerous misinformation all week from the President, the Attorney General, the Secretary of State. They just got it wrong, wrong and wrong. Here's how it works.

The Constitution specifically gives Congress, not the President, not anybody else, Congress, the power to set the date for the general election. And Congress exercised that constitutional power back in 1845 when they passed a law setting the general election for the Tuesday after the first Monday in November this year, that'll be November 3rd.

Now, Congress could pass a new law changing the date, but you need the Republican Senate and the Democratic House both to agree to that. That's not going to happen. And even if Congress did pass a new law, they could only push the date so far, because the constitution also tells us no uncertain terms, the presidential term ends at noon, January 20th, that is set in stone.

Those are the facts. That is the law. I really think it's important, our viewers understand that because the President, the AG and others gave us really dangerous and wrong misinformation this week.


CABRERA: And so absolutely no the President does not have the power to delay the election. Now, he has been clear he wants to schools to reopen this fall. He doesn't want those delayed even amid pushback from teachers and parents one viewer wonders can the president issue an executive order requiring schools to reopen.

HONIG: So that's another no. It is August, don't look now, but all parents, me and you, I'm sure, Ana, are now thinking about schools.


HONIG: Here's the thing, executive orders can be a powerful tool of the President but there are limits. They only apply to the executive branch; the White House, the departments, the agencies and most importantly they only apply to the federal government. They cannot bind state and local authorities. That's who runs our schools.

Now, that's not to say there's nothing the federal government can do. They can, they haven't, but they can provide a national strategy, coordination, resources, expert guidance. So the federal government potentially has a role to play here, but they cannot simply decree all schools shall open.

CABRERA: This week another twist in the Michael Flynn case with a federal appeals court reviving his case agreeing to rehear arguments and throwing out a previous ruling to dismiss the charges against Trump's former National Security Advisor. One viewer asks, "Is there still a chance that Flynn's conviction will stand and he will be sentenced?"

HONIG: Yes, there is. This one is like watching a tennis match, just back and forth, and back and forth. Now in June, a three-judge panel on the Court of Appeals ordered dismissal of Michael Flynn's guilty plea as requested by Barr and the DOJ. But this week, the entire Court of Appeals ordered what's called en banc bonk review. That means all of the judges on the Court of Appeals, 10 of them in this case, are going to rehear that case.

Now, that's very rare. It suggests that they disagree with the original ruling and if so the case will go back to the trial court and the trial court judge can keep that conviction in place. Go to sentencing. Of course, the big question is, will the President pardon Michael Flynn, we'll watch and see.

CABRERA: We'll watch closely. Elie Honig, good to have you here. Thank you, sir.

HONIG: Thanks, Ana.

CABRERA: And I want to encourage our viewers to keep your questions coming. Go to look for Elie's cross exam column in the opinion section.

Masks and social distancing are required here in New York, but some are hosting mask free parties causing concern of possible COVID-19 clusters.



CABRERA: Not everyone is getting the social distancing memo, big parties across the country have people worried their communities will be hit with a surge of coronavirus cases. CNN's Athena Jones has the story.


ATHENA JONES, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT(voice-over): Illegal and reckless. That's what New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said in announcing a Department of Health investigation into a concert in South Hampton over the weekend that he said violated social distancing regulations.


GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D) NEW YORK: To young people, this is not the time to fight for your right to party.


JONES (voice-over): Headlined by the chain smokers and build as a socially distanced drive-in concert to benefit charities like No Kid Hungry, the event was just the latest to draw large crowds that have raised the ire and concern of local leaders, who are demanding better enforcement.

In a statement issued Monday, the organizers said they made best efforts to ensure New York's social distancing guidelines were properly maintained throughout the event, and collaborated with all state and local health officials to keep everyone safe.

Then there was this street party in Queens a couple of weeks ago.


CUOMO: It is a problem in New York City. It is a problem in places on Long Island. It is a problem in places upstate.


JONES (voice-over): And it's not just a problem here. Witnesses say a recent house party outside Philadelphia drew hundreds, some arriving in shuttle buses.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would say a good 300. And it is a small backyard.


JONES (voice-over): Revelers (ph) in New Jersey also raising COVID concerns.


GOV. PHIL MURPHY (D) NEW JERSEY: We are seeing it in indoor again, lack of ventilation, not wearing masks, more young people than not. We are seeing the virus flare-up there and that's a concern for us.


JONES (voice-over): One party in Middletown in early July may have been responsible for at least 20 new infections, according to the governor. And it took police nearly five hours to break up a house party of 700 people in Jackson recently.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I looked out the front door and all I saw were droves and droves of cars just coming down and packs of kids, young adults just walking all along our sidewalk.


JONES (voice-over): Crowds at beaches, bars, and other public places, as well as private homes are a problem from coast to coast.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE(voice-over): It looks like there are two separate crowds.


JONES (voice-over): In states that have brought COVID infection rate down and hope to keep them there and in others that haven't, like Florida, where the Osceola County Sheriff's Office captured this scene.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): People just dancing on the road.


JONES (voice-over): And in Mississippi.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If we look at how the people get it, pretty clearly there are some common threads that we have identified, and the most common thing that we have seen, about 80 percent of the time, it was a social gathering where people let their guard down.


JONES (voice-over): A concert and rodeo on a private ranch in Weld County, Colorado shut down Sunday after 100 showed up, prompting worried neighbors to call authorities.


THERESA BARRUTIA, NEIGHBOR: They were not social distancing. They were shoulder-to-shoulder.


JONES (voice-over): Holiday weekend festivities bringing out the masses like 4th of July in Michigan.


Earlier this month, health officials in Jackson County, Missouri called for up to 200 teenagers to quarantine immediately after they attended a party linked to at least five COVID infections. A nationwide trend showing little sign of abating as coronavirus continues to spread and health officials and leaders hammer home stern warnings.


FAUCI: This is something we have got to get under better control.

MURPHY: This is about public health and preventing a lethal virus from spreading even further.


JONES (voice-over): Athena Jones, CNN, New York.


CABRERA: That does it for me tonight. I'm Ana Cabrera. CNN's Wolf Blitzer picks up our coverage after a quick break. Goodnight.