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NEW DAY SATURDAY
CDC Projects Around 20,000 More Deaths in Three Weeks; Hurricane Heads Toward Florida as State Sets Record for COVID Deaths for Fourth Straight Day; Summer Camp Outbreak Underscores Challenge of Keeping Kids Safe at School; Trump Says he Will ban Video app TikTok From Operating in the U.S.; Hurricane Warnings Posted for Bahamas and Florida; MLB Season in Doubt After More Players and Staff Test Positive for COVID; President Trump Suggests Delaying Election Because of Mail-in Voting. Aired 6-7a ET
Aired August 1, 2020 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is NEW DAY WEEKEND with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul.
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Early morning there in Atlanta. We are so grateful to have you with us as always. Thank you so much for making time for us here on this Saturday morning. We do have some striking new projections from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to tell you about. They estimate now at least 20,000 more Americans will die from the coronavirus in the next three weeks.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: More than 153,000 people have died in the U.S. from the coronavirus and get this, for 10 days in July, this happened 10 times, more than 1,000 Americans died on a single day and researchers from the University of Washington suggest that deaths will continue to rise unless more Americans start wearing a face covering.
PAUL: At least 30 states have paused or rolled back now their reopening plans. Dr. Fauci says while it's hard to predict how much longer this crisis is going to last, he's cautiously optimistic that there's going to be a vaccine by the end of the year.
BLACKWELL: And a few testing sites, actually more than a few, in Florida have closed as a hurricane is headed toward the state. Let's go now to CNN's Allison Chinchar. We'll get back to Allison in a moment. Apparently we're having some technical difficulties getting to her, but we know that as we see on the screen, this category one storm headed up potentially the East Coast of Florida and we see the impact on other states on the eastern seaboard. We'll get to Allison in a moment.
More on the projection now from the CDC. Let's go to CNN's Polo Sandoval following the latest on the pandemic. Polo, good morning to you.
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Victor, good morning to you. Here in the New York Tri-State area, one of the big areas of focus right now is across the river actually in the state of New Jersey. They experienced almost 2,000 brand new COVID cases over about a four-day period this week. That is deeply concerning for local officials. Governor Phil Murphy saying that these new infections is basically setting the state back to a level that they hadn't seen in over a month and he warned residents if he does not see an improvement, then you could potentially see a rollback in reopening.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
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 over stuffs 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 near the storm's path may have to turn to shelters.
MAYOR DEAN TRANTALIS, (D) FORT LAUDERDALE: The storm just exacerbates the conditions. What it does is it forces people to remain in close quarters and this is the -- 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, 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's safety guidelines.
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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANDOVAL: Yesterday, one of the main teams forecasting this pandemic said that there are still not enough Americans wearing masks. the University of Washington's Institute on Health Metrics and Evaluation predicting that we could see up to 230,000 deaths by November, a number that could drop below 200 if more Americans wear masks in some of those hot spot states, Victor, Christi.
BLACKWELL: Very simple thing to do. Polo Sandoval for us there in New York. Thank you so much.
PAUL: Thank you, Polo. Well, CNN medical analyst Dr. Saju Mathew with us now. He's a public health specialist and primary care physician in Atlanta. Saju, it's so good to see you.
SAJU MATHEW, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Hi, Christi.
PAUL: Hi. So I wanted to ask you about what Polo was just talking about, these numbers coming in from this camp in Georgia. What do you extract from what we know of what happened at that camp and how do you use that to craft reopenings?
MATHEW: Yes. You know, it's a good question, Christi. If you look at this camp, it's a YMCA camp here in Georgia, I live in Georgia as well and what they found out was that a counselor was sick and he was sent home. The kids were tested and a good 51 percent of kids between six and 10 years of age tested positive for COVID and what's interesting is that the counselors, the school -- the people at the -- at the -- the adults and the counselors wore masks, but the kids did not.
So what it shows is a couple of things. The first thing is how contagious and how easily kids can spread the virus amongst themselves. The study in South Korea, we know for sure that kids above 10 years of age can also transmit the virus as easily as adults. So what I take home from this is that, number one, we need to treat kids just like we treat adults. They can transmit the virus as easily amongst themselves and to adults as well and what that means is we really still need to be very cautious about opening schools and making sure that the transmission, the community transmission rate is low before we even consider that.
PAUL: In all transparency, I was gone for three weeks because my husband had COVID and in this time, he and I had a lot of conversations. He tested positive twice before he finally tested negative and there's something that stood out to us and I want to read you something from the CDC when it comes to testing. The CDC says, "The number of positive tests in a state is not equal to the number of cases as one person may be tested more than once."
So we actually talked to a doctor when he was ill, when my husband was ill, who said that -- the doctor said he has a patient who has been testing positive for eight weeks even though at this point now he's asymptomatic. Are you surprised that five to six months into this pandemic, we don't have a better way to distinguish new cases from positive retests and how important is it to make that distinction?
MATHEW: It's going to be very important, Christi, that we really have an understanding of, number one, when you get COVID-19, at what point are you not considered to be infectious and if you keep testing positive two or three months later, what exactly does that mean? I've got quite a few patients at work that are having the same problems. I saw a young patient, a 27-year-old female, asymptomatic. Three months later, she's still positive. What some studies are suggesting is that perhaps some people are slow viral shedders, that they keep shedding the virus, but they're not necessarily infectious.
Look, Christi, this is still such a new, novel virus. We're learning so much about this on a daily basis, but that distinction is going to be key in terms of opening back up and knowing who is safe to go out there, work and go to school.
PAUL: So just to clarify what you just said, there are some people who may still be testing positive, but may not be infectious at that time.
MATHEW: That's correct and a simple example would be the following. With the number of people in the U.S. that are testing positive and a lot of people that have symptoms, you can imagine that if everybody was getting re-infected, the number of cases would be even much higher. So typically when a patient recovers from the virus and they have no symptoms, if they keep testing positive a month or two later, what we're probably hoping is that they're not infectious, but they're just shedding the virus at a very slow rate.
PAUL: OK. Wanted to ask you about a report about hand sanitizers and warnings in that regard because we're depending on them so much right now, but there is a new a report tested by the FDA and these sanitizers and they found that those that contain methanol can be quite dangerous to us. What do we need to be watching for?
MATHEW: No, I think the bottom line here is to make sure that you go with -- you know, a lot of the sanitizers, Christi, are generally safe. It's the way you use them. Again, just like earlier we covered a story about how people might be using it on your face and ingesting it. I mean, the bottom line is you need to use sanitizers for the way that they are designed to be used, which is to really wash your hands and disinfect surfaces. As long as you do that, you should be generally safe in using these sanitizers.
PAUL: OK. Lastly, Dr. Fauci says that he's cautiously optimistic that there's going to be a vaccine by the end of the year. Do you share that optimism?
MATHEW: I do. I think that we've got some good vaccines that are now in Phase 3. They'll be starting right here in Atlanta, 30,000 people first shot already given in Savannah. Patients are showing that they are producing the antibodies in good levels. I'm optimistic with Dr. Fauci that we will have hopefully one vaccine, if not perhaps even two.
PAUL: All right. Dr. Saju Mathew, we so appreciate your insight and your taking the time for us this morning. Thank you.
MATHEW: Thank you, Christi.
PAUL: And listen, coming up in the next hour, we have more on those COVID positive tests from kids who attended a sleep-away camp in Georgia. We're talking to a parent whose son went to that camp.
Also breaking overnight, President Trump says he'll take executive action to ban TikTok in the U.S. and it could happen today. The video app is -- you know it's incredibly popular. It's owned by a Chinese company, leading critics to fear that data from U.S. users could end up in the hands of the Chinese government.
BLACKWELL: CNN's Kristen Holmes is at the White House. Kristen, the president, over the years, has suggested he has powers that he really does not have. Is this one of them? How much can he do and why now?
KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, good question, Victor, and right now we simply don't know because the president was so vague as to what exactly he's going to do to ban the app. He said he could do an executive order, he said he could use emergency economic powers. Until we see an actual order, until we see what this is actually going to look like, it's impossible to analyze what kind of legal challenges he will face. So something we're watching very closely there is to see how exactly he plans to do that and what the language is.
Now, you talk about timing. This came at the same time that there were reports that Microsoft was in talks with TikTok to buy its U.S. usership, its program here in the U.S.. President Trump making it clear last night to reporters he was not in favor of a deal like that.
Now, again, big question here is how much of a risk really is this app? Christi, you said it best. The critics are concerned that U.S. user data is going to end up in the hands of the Chinese government. this is a Chinese-owned app. This is the first Chinese social media site that's really spread like wildfire across the world. You know it's enormously popular here in the U.S., hundreds of millions of downloads.
And in fact, right now the U.S. government is conducting a national security review. According to the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, he says that after that review, that board is going to present to the president of the United States some sort of policy recommendations, but this is a real fear. Joe Biden ordered his entire campaign to delete the app from their phones. But TikTok says that this isn't an issue. They've issued this statement here last night. They say that, "TikTok U.S. user data is stored in the U.S. with strict controls on employee access. TikTok's biggest investors come from the U.S.. we are committed to protecting our users' privacy and safety as we continue working to bring joy to families and meaningful careers to those who create on our platform."
So obviously we're going to be watching this very closely to see how it plays out, what President Trump decides to do, but there are critics of the president who are already saying that this is some form of retaliation as of course we reported here on the show, they used this app, critics used this app, to really inflate attendance for President Trump's Tulsa rally which ended up ultimately embarrassing the campaign. So you're already seeing that side of this.
PAUL: All right. Kristen Holmes, always good to see you. Thanks for the report.
BLACKWELL: Thank you, Kristen. All right. So let's go to Jefferson City, Georgia. Schools there, first to welcome students back across the state and parents are going to tell us how they're feeling about reopening the schools.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Our administration has done a excellent job in getting us prepared and ready to go back to school. I have full confidence that they have put in all the right protocols and all the right things to take care of our kids and our staff.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: And there was no last-minute deal in Washington last night to extend that $600 a week unemployment benefit. Democrats and Republicans appear to be pretty far apart on the next relief bill and it's the out-of-work Americans who are caught in the middle.
We'll tell you more.
PAUL: So as we mentioned before the break, the report from a summer camp in Georgia where more than three-quarters of the children and staffers tested positive for coronavirus, it really underscores how easily an outbreak can happen when you've got children and adults in that mix.
BLACKWELL: OK. So that leads us to a conversation about schools ...
BLACKWELL: ... now Gary Tuchman has been speaking with children and parents in a district that just opened the school buildings yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN REPORTER: Nereda Jeimes (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 Shirelli (ph). She was going to start 8th grade, but at the last minute was too frightened to go.
Tell me why it's scary.
SHIRELLI JEIMES (ph): Because I don't want to go because I'm scared of getting it and ...
TUCHMAN: Oh, Shirelli (ph), 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's nice to let you stay home. You agree? Your brother went to school today. He'll tell you how it is, right? So we wish you the best.
JEIMES (PH): 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. Fact is, while masks are mandated on the district's 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 return to school.
HOPE TERHUNE, STUDENT: I'm ready to be back like in person learning, but it is kind of scary like 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 safe.
TERHUNE: Yes, 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 to you without my mask on?
KELLEY: No, we're outside and ...
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 statement 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 (ph) is not going to let her fourth-grade son go back to school right now. They are part of the roughly 5 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 (PH), PARENT: I can't take the risk of sending him back to school and getting COVID.
TUCHMAN: A worrisome school year now beginning. Gary Tuchman, CNN, Jefferson, Georgia.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: Well, getting students back to school is a priority and a challenge for countries well beyond the U.S., around the world.
PAUL: Yes, and we've got our reporters all over the place talking to us about how some countries are preparing to get these kids back.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Nic Robertson here in London where coronavirus infections are increasing, but the prime minister says it's a priority to get children back into classrooms. In England, he says, all classes will be up and running for all pupils by September. In Scotland, the first minister says all pupils will be back in classrooms there by the middle of August. In Northern Ireland, they're going to have the year 7s, 12s and 14s in classroom by the end of August and all other pupils with them sometime in September.
Wales is taking a more cautious, phased approach. There, they say, the classroom groups will be smaller and some pupils will be doing online tuition.
CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Cyril Vanier in France and the government is working on different scenarios for schools reopening in September. Plan A if the virus remains under control is to fully reopen schools. Health restrictions will be fairly light, all students will go back to class, attendance will be compulsory and face masks will only be required for 11-year-olds and above where distancing isn't possible.
But France has seen a spike in the number of new cases recently and if that continues, schools may need to move to phase two, a hybrid between in-class learning and home learning. Schools would bring in smaller groups of students and find any available space, including outdoors, to distance them while the other group works from home.
And if the virus spreads even faster, phase three involves targeted school shutdowns where the virus is active. Those students would revert to learning from home, except this time, schools are planning to provide computers to students who need them.
KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in a rainy Hong Kong. Schools here first closed in January when the outbreak began and finally reopened at the end of May. Students, wearing masks, returned to the classroom, but with strict rules in place. For example, at the Peak School, classes were separated, half in one room, half in the other with a teacher using Zoom to be in both places at once.
With weeks of zero new local cases, it appeared that Hong Kong was winning the war against COVID-19, but it's now battling a fresh wave of infection. Schools are closed yet again and parents, including myself, are bracing for another round of online learning in the fall. It is a setback, but Hong Kong has yet to report any new coronavirus infection or outbreaks in its schools.
PAUL: All righty. So we're going to be talking about the next school year throughout the morning because we know this is important to you and I know that you might have some good ideas here. What is the best way, do you think, to educate kids in this pandemic and how do the needs, say, of first graders differ from those perhaps in middle school?
BLACKWELL: Yes, and of course then there are college students. How do you keep them safe on campus? So in the 10 o'clock hour, I'll be joined by the president of Rice University in Houston. We're going to have a conversation about how to keep college students healthy and safe. So stay with us for that.
PAUL: Definitely. Also talking about the negotiations on a coronavirus relief package that have ended in a stalemate now and that means millions of you may be losing some of your unemployment benefits if you've been receiving them.
BLACKWELL: And as Alison Kosik reports, there does not appear to be a path ahead right now in Washington for a new aid package. Alison, good morning.
ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christi and Victor. As lawmakers drag their feet on a new relief bill, families are facing a fiscal cliff. Just hours ago on Friday night at midnight, the extra $600 a week unemployment benefit ran out and it's unclear if Congress will agree to provide more jobless benefits as part of a new round of stimulus.
That's raising fears among economists of another hit to the U.S. economy which just posted its worst drop of GDP on record. The broadest measure of the health of the economy plummeted at an annual rate of 32.9 percent between April and June. The economy is expected to rebound in the quarter of the year that we're currently in, but spiking numbers of coronavirus cases across the country could slow down the pace of the recovery.
Not helping? First-time filings for unemployment benefits have increased for two weeks in a row. So lasting damage to the labor market remains a key concern and if Congress doesn't come up with a way to get more money into the pockets of consumers, then the economy could slow down even more. Consumers are the backbone of the economy and experts are worried that it may be tough for consumers to keep shopping.
The latest government figures show personal spending rose more than 5 percent last month because of the support from the various government stimulus benefits, but those benefits have already faded away, Christi and Victor.
BLACKWELL: Alison, thank you. Hurricane Isaias is moving towards the Florida coast after hitting parts of the Caribbean for a few days. Meteorologist Allison Chinchar is tracking the storm and she will join us next to tell us where it's headed.
BLACKWELL: Hurricane Isaias is churning in the Bahamas. The storm has already flooded parts of the Caribbean. It's expected to hit the state of Florida with heavy rain and powerful winds.
PAUL: So, let's go to CNN meteorologist Allison Chinchar. She's been watching this closely. Allison, what does it look like to you. Good morning. ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Good morning. Yes, the biggest
difference from yesterday morning to now is that we have started to see the storm slow down a little bit. And that will have impacts in terms of what the timeline will be for a lot of people, not just Florida but up the coast. Here's a look at the latest, Hurricane Isaias sustained winds of 85 miles per hour, gusting up to 105. And as we said, northwest is about 12 miles per hour.
Yesterday morning at the same time, it was about 17 miles per hour. The track still does take it towards Florida, so we cannot rule out a landfall in Florida at this point, although it's going to be a very close call as it slides just along the eastern seaboard. We don't anticipate this to really get any stronger than a category one at this point because it is going to encounter some vertical sheer and also a lot of dry air in and around the Florida area.
After that, then it will slide up the East Coast, making its way towards another potential landfall perhaps across the Carolinas and then up towards the northeast as we get Tuesday and Wednesday into next week. You have hurricane warnings out for basically the southern half of Florida and then that northern tier looking at some tropical storm watches.
Again, a lot of this can change as we determine where exactly the storm decides to go. We talked about that dryer air that's in place. That's going to limit this from getting any stronger than it is, but there isn't necessarily going to mean that it's going to weaken because it is going to enter some very warm ocean water, and that's going to keep the strength. So likely at this point for at least the next 48 hours, this is going to remain a category one hurricane.
Here you can see as we go through the rest of the day, a lot of those outer bands are expected to begin to push in across portions of Florida, and then it slides up the East Coast. Once it gets towards the Georgia border, that's when we may start to encounter some slight weakening as it makes its way towards the Carolinas.
Here's the other thing, the timing is off. The American model, this is where it expects to be just around West Palm Beach area, Sunday at 8:00 a.m. The European model has that same location, but almost eight hours later. So the European model significantly slower, so this is also something we're going to have to see what happens in terms of whether or not they really start to come into alignment.
Storm surge is going to be one of the biggest factors for Florida. Again, basically from Jupiter to the north of Daytona Beach, you're talking 2 feet to 4 feet of storm surge. Keep in mind too, full moon is Monday, which means a lot of these areas are going to be dealing with some of the highest tides they'll have so far this month, so that could exacerbate some of the storm surge along some of the areas of the East Coast.
Rainfall also going to be a big concern, Victor and Christi, but oddly, the heaviest rain is actually going to be later on once it gets up towards the Carolinas and even up into the northeast.
PAUL: How? All right, Allison Chinchar, I know it's hard to completely predict these things, but thank you so much for giving us a heads up of what's to come.
BLACKWELL: Thank you, Allison. So, listen, the season started, what? Last week, and there are already big problems. What the head of Major League Baseball says needs to change to avoid another shutdown.
PAUL: So, nine days -- I think nine, and the baseball season is already in serious jeopardy. Three teams dealing with positive cases now.
BLACKWELL: Coy Wire is with us now. Coy, I'd imagine that this gets more worrisome every time you get the additional cases. Is there a threshold at which the commissioner is saying if we hit this number, it's over?
COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS REPORTER: The specifics we do not yet know, Victor, but we do know the threshold is near. And I talked to one player, Victor and Christi, who said that he doesn't know if they're going to make it. They're just counting on so many different people to make this work. This no bubble environment is proving to be a big problem for MLB. And it could come crashing down as soon as Monday.
"ESPN" is reporting that Commissioner Rob Manfred told the head of the Players Union Tony Clark in a call yesterday, that if another outbreak occurs, the league may have to shutdown, and he reportedly scolded players for not following guidelines that they agreed to. But even last night, it was a mixed bag of teams following protocols during games or not.
We've routinely seen players high-fiving, sitting right next to one another in the nine days since the season began. Thirty games have already been postponed due to COVID. Eighteen Miami Marlins players and three coaches have tested positive, 2 Phillies staffers and 2 St. Louis Cardinals players which forced yesterday's game in Milwaukee to be postponed. Though, they do plan on playing again tonight.
Meanwhile, we'll go to hockey where the puck is going to drop when the NHL restarts today in a historic 24-team playoffs with six games a day from the Toronto and Edmonton Bubbles beginning with Rangers and Hurricanes at noon Eastern. Like the NBA, WNBA, National Women's Soccer League and MLS all having success with the Bubble so far. The NHL has reported zero positive tests out of 800 players in the past week.
Now, the Orlando Magic's Jonathan Isaac became the first NBA player to stand for the national anthem since the league's restart. He also did not wear a Black Lives Matter T-shirt as other players do. The 22- year-old who won his team's Community Service Award last year and is an ordained minister, said he supports the Black Lives Matter movement and that a stronger relationship with God though is the path to equality.
Now, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich and his assistant Becky Hammon also standing before their win over the Kings. Popovich has been one of the NBA's strongest advocates for racial equality. And he said it was his personal decision and his players, they support him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DEMAR DEROZAN, GUARD, SAN ANTONIO SPURS: I've moved thoughts and beliefs, and then that is all a lot genuine, on a positive side of their heart. You know, same way we kneel. You know, don't take away nothing from those guys. You know, Pop speaks out. When it comes to Becky, she's been at the frontline, fighting for equality since I've been a fan of hers in the WNBA. So everybody got their own right making a statement, and you can't change -- vilify nobody for not doing what the other group is doing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WIRE: All right, basketball, meaning, we have highlights, babe. The Rockets-Mavs games was an overtime thriller. A combined score of 302 points and the beard was in his batch. James Harden slipping and dipping his way to 23 points in the first nine minutes alone, he finished with 49 on the night. It's like he's a hot knife through butter with that Euro step.
Rockets win in overtime, 153-149. Harden is the only man on your TV with a better beard than Victor Blackwell. There are five more NBA games today if you want to catch some more action including LeBron tonight.
BLACKWELL: Far better than mine. Far better than mine. Although, I was close back in March and April when we were all back in the house.
WIRE: Yes, that's right --
BLACKWELL: Coy Wire, thanks so much.
PAUL: Thanks Coy, you're still looking good, V --
BLACKWELL: I appreciate it --
PAUL: Still looking darn good.
PAUL: So, we're more than three months to election day at this point. Just a little more. And President Trump has an awful lot to say about mail-in voting. We're going to discuss the facts and the fictions about it, next.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BLACKWELL: So 93 days or so until the presidential election and
President Trump down in the polls, facing a deadly pandemic, continues to focus on unfounded conspiracy theories about the election security.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is going to be the greatest election disaster in history. And 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. People should go and they should vote or do an absentee ballot.
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BLACKWELL: There's no evidence that's true. There are concerns that a huge wave of mail-in ballots could present a huge challenge to an already stressed system.
So, let's talk now with Errol Louis; CNN political commentator and host of the podcast "You Decide". And David Becker, executive director and co-founder of a nonpartisan Center for Election Innovation and Research. Gentlemen, good morning to you. And David, I want to start with you, my colleague, Marshall Cohen wrote in CNN -- for cnn.com, this piece that quotes you saying, this will be the most secured election we have ever had. What supports that?
DAVID BECKER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR & CO-FOUNDER, CENTER FOR ELECTION INNOVATION & RESEARCH: Well, since 2016, since we know of the foreign interference that was attempted in that -- in the election in 2016, state election officials have been working in partnership with local election officials and federal officials, that for instance, the Department of Homeland Security to make sure that our election is going to be more secure.
There's more information sharing than ever before, there are more paper ballots, there's going to be more auditing of those ballots than ever before. But of course, running elections in a pandemic is very difficult. And while election officials are planning for social distancing and ramping up more mail balloting because that's going to be necessary, it's very frustrating to hear things out of the White House that would throw questions at the integrity of this upcoming election.
BLACKWELL: So Errol, to you in New York, and you probably know which district I'm going to, the 12th District of New York. June primary there, it's now August and -- I mean, this is not a question about the security of the ballots there. But this has gone on for five weeks. Are you confident that states are ready for this or is there any evidence that New York will be more prepared in three months?
ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: New York could be more prepared. New York should be more prepared, but this is in many ways a question of funding, Victor, and what happened in the 12th District was that absentee ballots far exceeded the number of people who actually voted on primary day back in June. It overloaded the system. It overwhelmed a system that wasn't prepared for hundreds of thousands of absentee ballots.
And then of course, there was some logistical problems that were really quite serious. For example, ballots were sent and the Post Office tried to sort of move them along without actually putting a postmark on them, and then they arrived at the Board of Elections which didn't have a date on it. And if it didn't have a date, they couldn't be sure that it was mailed in time and properly recorded.
So, there -- and there are legal challenges that follow from that. These kinds of problems can in fact happen, but I think it's -- we should all be careful that dysfunction is not the same as deceit. That what the president is saying that there's going to be all kinds of, you know, fraudulent ballots and so forth. There's absolutely no evidence of that. But we will have to work very hard, I think to make sure that we have a clean election with absentee ballots properly counted in New York.
BLACKWELL: And let's listen to the president here, what he said about what properly we're going to see in November. His suggestion.
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TRUMP: I don't want to see an election -- you know, so many years I've been watching elections. And they say the projected winner or the winner of the election, I don't want to see that take place in a week after November 3rd or a month, or frankly, with litigation and everything else that can happen, years, or you never even know who won the election.
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BLACKWELL: So Errol, let me stay with you, anything short of a clear win for the president -- and right now, there's no poll that suggests that is in the cards. How confident are you or is that what you're expecting we will see from the Trump campaign, piles of litigation?
LOUIS: Well, I don't know about litigation so much. They've already started by the way. They have already begun litigation, trying to halt or impede or distort the implementation of different vote by mail operations in various states, especially those where they think they've made -- they may have a political problem. But no, what I think we're going to see is what we just heard, which is the president throwing all kinds of doubt that has nothing to do with actual facts.
But trying to sort of throw shade, if you want to call it that, on the election, in part because he's behind. He's really sort of laying the ground work for a possible defeat. Substantively speaking with early voting and with mail-in voting, and with all of the different ways we try to expand the ability of people to have their voices heard, it does take about a month leading up to, and then following election day to really get the proper count.
We're going to have early voting that starts weeks before November 3rd. We're going to have absentee ballots for service men overseas for example, takes a while to get here. That won't begin to be counted in many states for about seven to ten days after November 3rd, and then you have to total it up. So the president needs to, you know, grow up. Those who substantively care about having every vote counted should be prepared for what's going to be about a 30-day process before we know for sure what all of the ballots are telling us about the outcome, Victor.
BLACKWELL: Hey, David, in the shift to more mail-in ballots across the country, your group I read has discouraged a full all mail-in system because you suggest that there would be a dramatic shift in the electorate. The makeup of the electorate. Explain that.
BECKER: Yes, we haven't really discouraged that. There are some states that are more ready for mail voting, particularly states in the west that have been doing this for a long time than other states, particularly those in the east that mail voting is relatively new to them.
But there's some issues, traditionally mail voting has skewed towards older voters and towards -- disproportionately towards voters who are white. And so we need to be aware of the fact that a lot of voters, particularly younger voters and perhaps people of color might prefer or need to vote in person. And so there's going to be -- need to be very significant options to vote in person either early on or election day in that case. And we've seen that during the primaries as well where the demand for in-person voting even during a pandemic is very significant.
BLACKWELL: All right, David Becker, Errol Louis, thank you both. NEW DAY continues --
BECKER: Thank you --
BLACKWELL: After a break.