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NEW DAY SATURDAY
CDC Projects Around 20,000 More Deaths In Three Weeks; U.S. Reported 67,023 New Cases, 1,259 Deaths On Friday; CDC: Hundreds Infected At Georgia Camp In Just Days; Trump Says He Will Ban Video App TikTok From Operating In The U.S.; Hurricane Warnings Posted For Bahamas And Florida; Mixed Emotions On Going Back To School; Fauci: Cautiously Optimistic A Vaccine Will Be Ready By End Of 2020; $600 Unemployment Benefits Expire Amid Congress Stalemate; WH Officials, Democratic Leaders Meet To Discuss Relief Bill. Aired 8-9a ET
Aired August 1, 2020 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: --fear of getting and--
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hurricane Isaias is a very healthy-looking hurricane.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think it's going to be a serious, but we still have to take precaution.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are facing unprecedented double threat of a hurricane and a coronavirus pandemic.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The governor says that the state is ready. He says there is plenty of PPE, plenty of supply here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY WEEKEND with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul.
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Beautiful shot there of Lady Liberty. Thank you so much for waking up with us here on your Saturday. It's 8:00 o'clock here in the East and we're always so grateful to have you.
This morning, we do have some striking new projection numbers for you from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They estimate now that at least 20,000 more Americans will die from the coronavirus just in the next three weeks.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Well, so far more than 153,000 people have died in the U.S. But Dr. Anthony Fauci says that he is cautiously optimistic that there will be a vaccine in just a few months by the end of the year.
PAUL: And millions of Americans lost extra unemployment benefits overnight at midnight after negotiations on a new stimulus package ended in a deadlock.
BLACKWELL: And several COVID-19 testing sites in Florida are closed as this Hurricane Isaias is now headed toward the state.
We're going to start with CNN's Allison Chinchar tracking the path. Alison, where is it? Where's it going?
ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, so let's start with the latest update, because we just got one in at the top of the hour. So Hurricane Isaias, sustained winds of 85 miles per hour. That did not change. Gusting up to 105. We did notice that the pressure did drop slightly. That is the tool we often use to determine whether or not the storm is intensifying or not.
But it is expected to head towards Florida. We will have a full look at where the track is expected to go coming up.
PAUL: Alrighty. Allison, thank you. We have more now on that striking projection from the CDC. CNN's Polo Sandoval following the latest on the coronavirus pandemic. Polo, good morning to you. What is standing out to you this morning?
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we know that six months into this, Christi, you still have local officials and state officials taking various actions. Where you are in Georgia, we know the governor has extended the emergency declaration to go into September, for obvious reasons and the numbers they're seeing.
Here in the New York Tri-State area, a lot of the focus is on neighboring New Jersey, which is where they saw about 4,000 cases, at least rather 2,000 cases over a four-day period. Levels that we had seen in a month. The governor saying, if he does not see any sign of improvement, then he could potentially even order a reversal of some reopenings.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANDOVAL (voice-over): 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 (voice-over): The White House Coronavirus Task Force says COVID cases are plateauing in the hard hit states of California, Arizona and Texas. Florida is also on that list, though it may face further complications with approaching Hurricane Isaias. Nearly 8,400 COVID patients remain in Florida hospitals, and there's a possibility some Floridians through the storm's path may have to turn to shelters. MAYOR DEAN TRANTALIS, FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA: 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 (voice-over): This week, Texas became the latest state to surpass New York in the number of COVID cases. The hotspot is in South Texas where death counts are staggering. Ron Rivera, a funeral director in hard hit Hidalgo County says, his facility is overwhelmed. They're turning to additional storage for the influx of bodies and worried surviving family members may worsen the spread of the virus.
RON RIVERA, OWNER/DIRECTOR, RIVERA FUNERAL HOME: It's the loved one and 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 (voice-over): 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,
DR. ROSHINI RAJAPAKSA, NYU LANGONE HEALTH: As this study shows when you have large groups of people and children, especially because you really can't expect children to strictly adhere to some of these safety precautions, there is a very high risk of transmission.
SANDOVAL (voice-over): 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 for the school district told parents the student was immediately isolated.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANDOVAL: It was just yesterday that researchers at the University of Washington, one of the leading groups responsible for predicting some of the trends during this pandemic, came out saying that's still not enough Americans are wearing masks. Already six months into this, Victor Christi, they said we could see close to 230,000 people lose their lives to COVID-19 by November. However, more Americans are covering up then they could potentially revise that number to two less than 200,000
BLACKWELL: Polo Sandoval for us in the New York. Thank you
PAUL: Want to bring in Dr. Peter Hotez, Professor and Dean of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. He also runs the Center for Vaccine Development at Texas Children's Hospital. Doctor, thank you for being here. We always appreciate having you and getting your perspective here.
And I want to get your takeaway, if I could, from those numbers that we got from the Georgia camp, what that tells you about what we need to do and the transmission rate amongst children, which at one point, most people thought was not going to be that infectious.
DR. PETER HOTEZ, TEXAS CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL ENDOWED CHAIR OF TROPICAL PEDIATRICS: That's right, Christi. Thanks for having me. We've known now for a while studies from South Korea is showing that kids over the age of 10 can transmit the virus probably just as easily as adults. We know that.
And also, even the little kids under 10, a new study from JAMA Pediatrics shows very high amounts of virus in the mouth and the nose and the upper airway. So there's a good possibility they can transmit the virus as well.
So the bottom line is this. Where we have a lot of accelerated COVID- 19 transmission in Georgia across the South right now. The South is - now accounts for one quarter of the new - or 20 percent of the new COVID cases in the world. 20 percent in the world are in the southern part of the United States. Now this virus is going northward up into Tennessee into Indiana and into Ohio.
We can't open schools safely in these areas where there's this accelerated virus transmission. We can't put this on the backs of the principals and the teachers to figure it out. We need leadership, the Federal government to contain this virus and then we can start thinking about safely opening up schools. But not under those circumstances.
PAUL: So you're saying we don't need to open schools at all at this point?
HOTEZ: That's right. In the areas where you've got lots of virus transmission you can't, because it's inevitable. We saw what happened just - you just reported, I think, it was an Indiana that a kid - a kid got infected on the first day and they had to shut things down and that will happen almost certainly.
And eventually, if you try to open schools in areas where there's accelerated transmission, teachers will get sick, bus drivers will get sick. And all it's going to take is one teacher to wind up in the hospital, very sick with COVID-19 and it will destabilize the entire school district, and that's what's going to happen. It's we're setting up teachers to fail and we can't do that.
PAUL: I think there are parents who are concerned as well. I want to listen to the CDC Director, Robert Redfield, what he said about schools reopening. Let's listen together here
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ROBERT REDFIELD, DIRECTOR, CDC: In the public health interest of these K through 12 students to get these schools back open, I think it is really important as a grandfather, 11 grandkids, I want these kids in school. I have one grandchild with cystic fibrosis. I want it done smartly. All right. But I think we have to be honest that the public health interest of the students in this nation right now is to get a quality education in face-to-face learning and we need to get on with it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: Dr. Hotez as there are parents who are at home saying my child needs to see other children. There is a there is a mental health issue here as well and emotional health issue. How do we balance these two things? Is it possible?
HOTEZ: Yes. I mean, the problem is. I mean, Dr. Redfield is right, but it's only half the story. So I - you know, I'm the parent of now four adult kids. I understand why schools are important. You understand why schools are important, and it's not just the education. In many low income communities, kids depend on schools for food security, for adolescent mental health counselling.
We all get why schools are so urgently important. The American Academy of Pediatrics reinforces that. The problem is, you just can't do it in areas where there's lots of virus transmission. And the problem is, the federal government, the White House is not willing to roll up their sleeves do the hard work to contain this virus across the South, across the affected areas in the Midwest where there's lots of virus transmission going on. And then we can open up the schools.
In fact, I've put out a couple of weeks ago, an October 1 plan that gives a very straightforward, very simple way to do this by October 1. We can safely open up schools, colleges, maybe even have sporting events. But until you have that--
PAUL: How is that? What is your plan?
HOTEZ: --won't work. Pardon.
PAUL: What is the key to your plan that you were just talking about that would make - that would change things.
HOTEZ: The key to the plan is to bring every single state in the country down to what they call containment mode, and there's different definitions. Some say one new case per million residents per day, others have less strict criteria. We can figure out what we want to agree, what that level will be.
There's some states in New England like New Hampshire and Maine that are already there. Others like Georgia, like where you are, like Texas where I am, have a lot more work to do. But that's what we have to do. Otherwise, if we try to open up the schools when there's so much virus circulating around - right now at Houston, for instance, we have 1,300 new cases a day. It's plateaued. That's what they often say, the case have plateaued, but it's plateaued at 100 miles an hour. So 1,300 new cases a day is roughly about 5,000 or 6,000 real cases a day, because the firm cases greatly underestimate the total number of cases. You can't do contact tracing effectively. You can't do all the things that we want to do. And schools will have widespread COVID-19 transmission, and then the teachers will get sick.
So we need to figure this out. And not just say kids need to be in school. That's too simplistic. And it's unfair to the teachers, it's unfair to the bus drivers, the school staff and it's unfair to parents who are going to get sick as well.
PAUL: Dr. Peter Hotez, your insight is always so helpful. Thank you for being with us.
HOTEZ: Thanks so much.
BLACKWELL: President Trump says that he will take executive action to ban TikTok from the U.S. and he says he could do it today.
PAUL: The popular video app - you know how popular this is. It's owned by a Chinese company, which is key here. Critics fear that data from U.S. users could end up in the hands of the Chinese government. And TikTok is pushed back on those concerns.
We want to point out CNN National Security Analyst, Sam Vinograd with us now. First of all, Sam, talk to us about what you might identify in this whole scenario that may be problematic to people in the U.S.?
SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, Christi, the fact that President Trump has spent more time criticizing TikTok than he has been criticizing Vladimir Putin, does raise concerns about whether politics or security needs are driving policy announcements.
But as a security professional, I do want to note that there have been bipartisan concerns, including by Senator Chuck Schumer, related to TikTok really focused on two issues, counterintelligence, and censorship.
on the counterintelligence side, Pompeo calls TikTok, the Trojan Horse of Chinese intelligence, that's based on the fact that TikTok is owned by a Chinese company. And under a 2017 Chinese intelligence law, Chinese companies have to turn over user data to the Chinese government. TikTok collects user location and metadata, so that raises real concerns that the Chinese government could access user data.
And on the censorship front, there has been reporting that the app has censored content related to things like Hong Kong, content that the Chinese government does not want people to see. There's therefore an allegation that TikTok is being used or could be used as part of PRC, Chinese government influence operations against the United States. While the optics and the timing of this announcement are questionable. I don't think that we can dismiss security concerns out of hand.
BLACKWELL: Can the President outright ban, as he said, TikTok in U.S.?
VINOGRAD: He certainly cannot. The President's semantics matter here. A ban would really require cutting off network access to TikTok. Currently, there's no precedent under U.S. law to do that. China actually does it through something known as that Great Firewall.
What the President could do is a few things. He could move to limit TikTok's use on government phones. For example, it's a consumer app, so that won't have a major impact. Or the Department of Commerce could put the app on something known as the entities list. That would limit commercial activity between U.S. companies and the app. We did things - we took those measures with other Chinese entities in the past.
And the President could move to issue an Executive Order under the Emergency Powers Act to limit us apps, U.S. companies like Google and Apple from engaging with foreign apps like TikTok. That could lead Google and Apple to "deplatform" TikTok from its devices. That could certainly have an impact.
PAUL: So we know that the White House and the Chinese government do not have a particular great relationship at the moment by any means, so what do you make of the timing of all of this?
VINOGRAD: I think it certainly looks like it is part of Trump's campaign push to paint himself as tough on China. We've seen him roll out a list of punitive measures against the Chinese government in the months leading up to the election. While, of course, he stayed silent on the threats posed by other countries like Russia, for example.
But that said, again, I don't think that we can just dismiss the concerns about TikTok. And what would be really helpful, Christi, is to have an actual intelligence professional brief the American public on the threat posed by TikTok, so we more fully understand consumers - hundreds of millions of consumers understand the threat that the app reportedly poses.
BLACKWELL: Sam Vinograd always good to have you. Thanks so much.
PAUL: Thanks, Sam.
VINOGRAD: Thank you.
BLACKWELL: There is a storm on the way. Parts of Florida declare an emergency. Hurricane Isaias is heading toward the Atlantic Coast.
PAUL: And the new school year has already started in parts of Georgia. There are some parents that are worried about sending their kids back to classroom and some that aren't.
(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 staffs.
(END VIDEO CLIP) PAUL: You're going to hear more from parents who are getting ready to
send their kids back to school.
PAUL: All right. Take a look here. Category 1 Hurricane Isaias is moving through the Bahamas right now. Expected to track toward Florida and up the East Coast. But this is a forecast that seems to be in flux.
BLACKWELL: Yes, let's go to the Director of the National Hurricane Center, Ken Graham. Ken, good morning to you. I understand the storm has slowed down a bit.
KEN GRAHAM, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER: Yes, good morning, Victor. A little bit. Down Northwest at 12 miles an hour and they have a tendency to do that. Once you start getting this this turn, they start to slow down a little bit to make that turn, and then with time starts speeding up again.
So when they slow down like that, that prolongs the amount of time that we get the rainfall. So you get higher amounts of rain, and you get higher storm surge. So we calculate that turn, that slow down when we start looking at those impacts.
PAUL: What are you watching in the Bahamas right now, Ken, that would give you some insight into what it's going to do once it passes through that that island area?
GRAHAM: Yes, for the Bahamas, you just have those hurricane force winds, you got the torrential rainfall. And wherever the wind blows onto the line, you get that storm surge. Three to five foot in some areas. That's on top of the astronomical tide. So a lot of the storm surge. So that's what's headed on to Florida as well.
So if you notice here, it's interesting. We have the tropical storm warning for extreme South Florida. And when you get closer to the land is where we have that hurricane warning. And the little wiggles matter. You get a little wobble to the left and you bring those hurricane force winds more onto the land, a little wobble to the right, those parameters change. All the impacts change a little bit.
But the bottom line is, you're going to have heavy surf. You're going to have rip currents. Dangerous time to be out in the water. Rainfall, storm surge, all those impacts are on the way.
BLACKWELL: So we know that there are - there's a significant difference between potential landfall according to the American model and the European model, and when that will hit. But regardless of when it hits, how long do you expect this will be an event for let's say the State of Florida?
GRAHAM: Yes. If you think about the timing here. I mean, we just look at the timing. And it's interesting with the models - the weaker the storm, the models were trending to the left. The stronger the storm, the models were trending to the right.
So many parameters go into this as we look at what's going to steer these systems that are 1,000 miles away. We blend all those together for our forecast. So you start thinking about the timing. Starting that's 2:00 am on Sunday, that's 2:00 am on Monday, so we're looking into Monday morning. And then for Tuesday and into Wednesday, stretching up to the Northeast U.S. So once we start getting into early next week, it'll be a rapidly moving storm as it moves to the Northeast.
BLACKWELL: All right. Ken Graham, thanks so much for being with us.
PAUL: Thank you, Ken.
GRAHAM: You bet.
PAUL: CNN's Rosa Flores is in Miami right now. The Red Cross there says they will not staff evacuation centers in Miami-Dade County because of COVID-19 concerns if evacuations are ordered. Now, Rosa, this is the big question so many people have. What do people do who are in vulnerable places if they can't find shelter?
ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christi everything about this Hurricane Season is going to be different, especially shelters because of the COVID-19 pandemic. And you're absolutely right. We checked in with the Red Cross and with Miami-Dade County. They do say that the American Red Cross volunteers will not be staffing evacuation shelters.
What the American Red Cross tells us is that they are requiring for evacuation shelters to have 60 square feet per person in order for them to have proper social distancing for the people evacuating. Miami-Dade County says that they're going to be having about 40 square feet.
Now, Miami-Dade says that they have trained more than 2,500 employees so that they can have employees - county employees, man these shelters if evacuations are needed - if. Now you can see around me there's sunny skies right now. There's blue skies here in the city of Miami, so we're not getting tropical storm winds at this moment. No evacuations have been issued.
But, again, the big question is, how will shelters work given the fact that we're in the middle of a pandemic? Now, we talked to both the state director of emergency management and the county director of emergency management when hurricane season started, because we knew this was going to be a big issue.
And here's what they told us. They said that they are going to be using shelters for evacuations. And when they're using schools, they're also going to be using classrooms to isolate individuals. That way any individual who has COVID-19 will be able to isolate. So Victor and Christi, that's one of the important points.
Because their biggest concern - what officials told me, their biggest concern was, because they've been telling people in Florida to stay home, not to leave their homes because of a pandemic, they're worried that if an evacuation is ordered, that individuals are not going to want to evacuate.
And these experts put it to me this way. They said, Rosa, the home will protect you from COVID-19, but it will not protect you from a storm if there's storm surge and if those wind and rains that we all know come with a hurricane happen. So Victor and Christi that is their biggest concern right now is if there are evacuations ordered they're hoping that people follow those orders. Christi and Victor?
BLACKWELL: Yes. There is no good time for hurricane, for a storm. But this is especially an opportune considering what's happening there in South Florida. Rosa Flores, thanks so much.
PAUL: So in the coming days and weeks, there are millions of students that are going to go back to school, right? The question is, how will it look in this time of COVID? How school districts are reworking the school day to help protect students and staff? That's next.
PAUL: 30 minutes past the hour right now. More than 70 percent of the kids and staff who attended to summer camp in Georgia ended up testing positive with coronavirus, which shows just how easily an outbreak can happen when you've got large groups who get together, and strict guidelines aren't followed.
BLACKWELL: CNN's Gary Tuchman spoke with students and parents in rural Georgia who have the option to go back to school, go back into the building yesterday. Masks not required.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Nereda Jaime's (ph) isn't sure of 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 this books on his back and his mask on his face, and prepared to start his middle school career in this most unusual of times.
TUCHMAN (on camera): [Foreign Language] Are you sad?
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Christopher's mother tells me, yes, I am sad and worried about my son going to school.
As the bus pulls away, there was at least one student not on it. Christopher's sister Shirley (ph). She was going to start eighth grade, but at the last minute was too frightened to go.
TUCHMAN (on camera): Tell me why it's scary?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because I don't want to go, because I'm scared of getting it, and--
TUCHMAN (on camera): Well, it's OK, lots of children are scared. It's OK. I think it will be OK tomorrow or next week maybe. It's OK. And your mom is 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.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): 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 school buses for students and drivers, there is no mandate for mask wearing in the actual schools for students or teachers.
The Jefferson City Board of Education has many guidelines in place designed to keep the students safer and masks are handed out. But actually wearing them is not required, only strongly recommended. We talked to high school seniors Hope Terhune, and Rylee Meadows before they returned to school.
HOPE TERHUNE, STUDENT: I'm ready to be back like in person learning but it is 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 mandatations in our school system to keep us safe.
TERHUNE: Me too.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): 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 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 (voice-over): In response to that petition sophomore Bret Kelly 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 its slowly taking our rights away.
TUCHMAN (on camera): And you're right, not to wear a mask?
KELLEY: Yes, sir. TUCHMAN (on camera): Would you feel less safe? I was standing here talking to you without my mask on?
KELLEY: No, we're outside and--
TUCHMAN (on camera): But what if we were inside?
KELLEY: No, I would probably be OK. Yes.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): 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 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, MOTHER OF STUDENT: I can't take the risk of sending him back to school and getting COVID.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): A worrisome school year now beginning. Gary Tuchman, CNN, Jefferson, Georgia.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: I know so many of us are wondering what this is going to look like for our kids when they go back to class. Right?
Well, I want to read something to you from our next guest who writes this. "When school buildings do reopen, whether this fall or next year buses, hallways, cafeterias and classrooms will need to look very different as long as the coronavirus remains a threat. Even teaching, which has evolved in recent decades to emphasize fewer lectures and more collaborative lessons, must change.
That's Dana Goldstein, National Correspondent for The New York Times. It's a really interesting article. I highly recommend that you take a look at it. Dana, thank you for being with us. Let's walk through - let's tick through some of these - exact points you're making.
First of all, in terms of buses, what is that going to be? What will that look like to the kids and the parents?
DANA GOLDSTEIN, NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Well, we spoke to districts around the country about some of the creative ways they're trying to mitigate risk. The typical bus will hold about 50 students, if you follow really strict six-foot distance thing, it might be only eight students on the bus, that's not viable. It would be way too expensive to have buses forever eight kids. So instead, there's a sort of zigzag pattern that students can sit in. That has been recommended by many states like California, but to keep that zigzag pattern safe, the kids must be wearing a mask. So that's really crucial.
PAUL: I know that there are parents who like to walk their kids into class, especially if it's their first day, if there's some of the younger students. But the entrance and exits for schools is going to be very different. What are you finding will be some of the mandates?
GOLDSTEIN: Yes. And this is something that we're facing at my own daughter's preschool here in New York. One of the things that pretty much all public health experts agree on is that you have to limit the number of visitors inside the building, and this will include parents.
So there's going to be barriers and parents will stay on one side and the student will go in. And, of course, for little kid, they're going to be greeted by a teacher. This might be a place where they would have their temperature checked or they'll go through some questions. Do you have a sore throat today? Have you coughed recently? And then provided all that as well. And hopefully, the child is also masked, they would then enter the building and mom or dad or babysitter, grandma is waiting outside.
PAUL: Let's talk specifically about elementary classrooms and these younger kids who, so many people have said, it's just hard to keep them separate. I hear that they're going to be in pods of no more than 12. We keep saying the word pods. But paint a picture for us of exactly what that is. It's just a grouping. Yes?
GOLDSTEIN: Sure. I mean, most people don't think it's realistic to keep children, kindergarten age, first grade, second grade from really playing in a hands on way with each other. We're going to encourage masking with that age group, it may not be realistic for them to wear their masks all day long.
So by limiting the number of children in the class to say 10 to 12, the idea is that you sort of mitigate the risk. And if any one person in that pod becomes sick, or maybe two people or the teacher, you can send that all of classroom home for two weeks without necessarily having to send the whole school go home. But to do that, you need to reduce the contact between classrooms in the school as well. So that's a big logistical challenge for districts.
PAUL: So let's move up to middle and high school here, because there's a feeling that they can handle virtual school better than the younger kids can. But what is in store for them?
GOLDSTEIN: Yes, so for those that do plan to bring teenagers back, they are at somewhat higher risk to catch the virus, and in turn transmit the virus. So it's going to be especially important that they stay distanced from each other, that they do wear their masks.
Now, at this age group, as we know in our American school system, we're used to having the kids kind of move all around. So the key thing is to keep them in the classroom. Now, how do you do that? If one group of kids is working on Algebra and the other has moved on to Calculus, you might have some of the students working directly with the teacher and the others on their laptop doing remote learning in the classroom. So again, we can sort of differentiate the curriculum with the students in their pod, basically.
PAUL: Dana Goldstein, you've done a lot of homework on this. We appreciate it so much. National Correspondent for The New York Times, thank you, ma'am.
GOLDSTEIN: Thank you.
PAUL: Of course. And coming up in the 10:00 o'clock hour. The President of Rice University in Houston is with us. The school is building new facilities. They're ramping up rapid testing for students and staff, are going to talk to us about his plan for reopening coming up.
BLACKWELL: Also, the nation's top disease expert says that we have a vaccine potentially by the end of this year, but will the government be able to distribute it quickly? Florida Congresswoman Donna Shalala joins us next.
BLACKWELL: The nation's top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci says that he is optimistic that a coronavirus vaccine will be available by January. And the first Phase III clinical trial started this week - about 30,000 volunteers have enrolled. This is massive coordinated effort that will be necessary for distribution whenever the vaccine is ready.
The big question, will the government - Federal government, state, local, be adequately prepared by the end of this year? Let's bring in Democratic Congresswoman from Florida Donna Shalala. She's also was the Secretary of Health and Human Services under President Clinton from 1993 to 2001.
Thank you so much for being with us. We're going to talk about the vaccine in just a moment, but you are in Miami. Isaias is out there. And having worked and lived in South Florida for a while, I know local news are probably wall to wall preparing for the hurricane, what's your degree of confidence and perhaps in the potential impact on the COVID response there?
REP. DONNA SHALALA (D-FL): Well, first of all, we've had to cancel a lot of the people that wanted to get tested, so that's cancelled. But we're well prepared for hurricane. Miami and South Florida has been through a lot of horrific hurricanes. We have a level of preparedness that I think is unmatched around the country. So I have confidence in our preparedness. The real the real issue is going to be floods. Hurricanes bring lots of water with them. And we need more money for infrastructure, which the Congress has actually - the House of Representatives have actually supported.
But we're going to have to recognize in this country that we have to build more infrastructure to protect all of us for floods. hurricanes, and for all of the natural disasters that are coming up upon us, in addition to what we clearly have to do for these pandemics, because this will not be the first one.
BLACKWELL: Yes, I know. This storm is slowing down. So the rain, the flooding will be a bigger concern. Let's turn now to the pandemic. In the context of distribution, which was what I started with here, you say that HHS needs to take advantage of the flu season and flu vaccines. How? Tell me how this is going to happen? From your perspective, because flu season ramps up in about two months.
SHALALA: Well, just think, what's our distribution system for an adult vaccine? It's actually the flu vaccine, where we distributed every place you can think of, not just in health care centers, not just in hospitals, but in pharmacies, at Walmart. Almost every place you turn, you can get a flu shot. That's the infection structure, I believe, for the distribution of a vaccine.
They have refrigeration. They're used to giving the shot. Now, it depends on whether it's one shot or two shots for the vaccine. We don't actually know that yet. But my point is, we do have a distribution system, which we can build upon, and we ought to build upon in this fall. Everybody ought to get their flu shot. We - now we have about 45 percent of the public that get their flu shots, we need 70 percent. And then we will have tested an infrastructure for vaccine distribution.
BLACKWELL: Florida recorded its fourth consecutive day of record deaths on Friday. 257 the report from the state. The governor said that Florida will not shut down again. Do you believe it's time to shut down South Florida, especially?
SHALALA: Well, we have never completely shut down. There is no way to handle this kind of crowd, distribution of the of the virus unless you do shut down 90 percent at least. We can't control this community spread unless we do shut down for some period of time. And we have to be very disciplined about it. And the governor needs to mandate masks.
We didn't shut down completely the first time. I said at the time, the worst thing that can happen is, this doesn't work - this half shutdown doesn't work that we have to go back again. And it looks like we're at that point now. But we need to mandate mask.
We need to understand that there are things that we can do, that don't cost money. That have to do with personal behavior that will help us to control this virus. But we're going to have to hit it with a hammer in Florida and really hit it hard and start it to get down to the point where we can do all the other things that we need to do like contact tracing. BLACKWELL: So we know that there will be talks today. Speaker Pelosi, the Chief of Staff from the White House, Secretary Mnuchin as well, Democratic Leader in the Senate, Chuck Schumer, over how to move forward on the stimulus bill, the response to COVID-19. $600 in unemployment benefits expired last night.
Our Lauren Fox has reported that there was an offer from Mnuchin to extend this for a couple weeks more, not many. But that was turned down. For those people in South Florida who need to pay rent today - I mean, grace period maybe ends in a couple of days, why turn that down? I mean, that could potentially get them to at least September?
SHALALA: Because that gets the Republicans off the hook. We need a long-term commitment on unemployment. This pandemic is not going away. We have passed a bill that includes that $600 in through January of next year. People need certainty.
The uncertainty of this virus is destroying people's lives, and we need to guarantee that unemployment. We need to extend money to state and local governments. Look, we cannot be laying off police and fire and teachers at this point, or other municipal workers at this point in time, and we cannot shortchange the hospitals. So we need the whole package and no one should get off the hook just offering two weeks.
So the Speaker is going to stand firm, because she's fighting for the American people. We've done our job in the House of Representatives. Now it's time for the Senate to step up and protect people. What did they put in their package? A three-martini lunch tax deduction for rich people. That's obnoxious.
BLACKWELL: Representative Donna Shalala, Florida's 27th District there in Miami, and the best to you and everyone there as Isaias is approaching. Thanks so much for your time this morning.
SHALALA: You're welcome. We'll be right back.
BLACKWELL: In just a few minutes from now, officials from the White House and Democratic leaders, they're going to meet on Capitol Hill as I mentioned just a couple of minutes ago. They're trying to break this logjam over the next economic stimulus bill. We're live at 10:00 on Capitol Hill with the latest on the negotiations.
PAUL: SMERCONISH is next.