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Florida Prepares for Big Storm amid Pandemic; U.S. Deaths Top 1,000 for Six Consecutive Days; Millions of Renters Could Face Eviction Later This Year; Los Angeles Church Gives Food to Thousands in Need; Astronauts Head Home on SpaceX Capsule; NASA Looks for Evidence of Ancient Life on Mars. Aired 5-6a ET

Aired August 2, 2020 - 05:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


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UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): This is CNN breaking news.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Good morning to you. We're coming on early because of this coronavirus hot spot. Florida taking on a new threat this morning, tropical storm Isaias, which is expected to strengthen back into a hurricane. I'm Victor Blackwell.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Good morning, I'm Christi Paul. The latest advisory on Isaias is just coming in here. The storm is expected to skate along Florida's Atlantic coast today. You're looking at the radar here.

Carolinas is in its path next. And then it will scoot up into the East Coast by midweek. Now the big concerns at this moment, power outages, heavy rain, flooding and damaging winds.

BLACKWELL: The storm is this added source of stress during the pandemic. The U.S. adding more than 58,000 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, reported more than 1,100 new deaths. In total more than 154,000 Americans have now died because of the virus.

And add that to the economic strain. Millions of people are feeling, you're looking at this line here, people waited seven hours for groceries. This is at a Los Angeles food bank.

PAUL: That's indicative of how desperate some people are and yet no deal on any new relief from Washington, D.C. Republicans and Democrats will be back at the negotiating table, however, today.

BLACKWELL: We're going to start this morning with the latest on Isaias, just in from the National Hurricane Center.

(WEATHER REPORT)

PAUL: Before it moves closer to the Florida coast as we're watching there, this storm is making landfall in the Bahamas, did so yesterday. And it did some pretty major damage along the way. BLACKWELL: You see this video of buildings destroyed here, power

lines pulled down. A lot of flooding also reported on parts of a few of the islands there, recovering from the devastation from last year's Hurricane Dorian. Joining me live from Nassau is Clint Watson with Eyewitness News.

Give us an idea of how things are there.

CLINT WATSON, NEWS DIRECTOR, EYEWITNESS NEWS: Good morning. I'll tell you, it is a sigh of relief. That's the best way to put it, starting off. There is localized flooding in some areas. Minimal roof damage, trees down, some power lines down. Pretty much the Bahamas came out of this on the good side of things.

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WATSON: We were quite concerned as we're still recovering from Hurricane Dorian as to how this would impact the chain of islands.

This storm came up from the south into the Bahamas, straight through the chain of the islands, to the northwest Bahamas. You can imagine the concern was the entire archipelago of islands being impacted by the storm.

Luckily it was minimal. Most of the islands reported minimal damage, just some localized flooding of streets and roads, minimal damage to homes and properties. No impact to life, no one injured, no life lost.

So by and large the Bahamas escaped this one with a sigh of relief. It could have been more devastating. We were prepared here, as you can imagine, having gone through what we went through with Dorian, Bahamians did not take this lightly. We were prepared, emergency personnel were in place, we did all the precautions ahead of time. It was a matter of watching Mother Nature and hoping that she would have mercy on us and she did just that. Just a lot of rain.

But as you can imagine, the biggest problem in the Bahamas is flooding because we're a low lying group of islands. So we were able to get through that pretty good with minimal flooding in some of the areas we knew were being underwater. Maybe two to four feet of water.

But by and large, a few power lines down, some areas without power, most of the areas that were without power yesterday were primarily because of power company did a precautionary shutdown because of the wind. And now most of those areas are being reconnected now.

By and large, Bahamas would have come through this without any major issue.

PAUL: That is good news. We're happy to hear it for all of you there. Clint Watson, we appreciate it, thank you.

BLACKWELL: Thank you, Clint.

To Florida now, the East Coast already is feeling the impact of Isaias. PAUL: Yes. We said residents are bracing for some of the chances of

power outages and flooding rain and damaging wind. CNN's Randi Kaye is up early for us there in Palm Beach.

Randi, good to see you.

How are you faring?

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We're doing OK. Good morning to you. We came out here just a few minutes ago and it wasn't raining and now it is raining, so a couple of outer bands must be coming through as we were talking there with Allison.

Let me show you, you look over my left shoulder here, you can see the surf, the ocean is angry this morning, that is for sure. Those waves are really coming in. We're expecting two to four foot storm surge. And as you know, we have that full moon coming up Monday night, so that will be on top of the high tide. The high tide will be even higher than usual.

We were tracking gusts here about 50 miles an hour, just a short time ago. We expect them to get to about 80 miles per hour at some point this morning. We are getting some word of some power outages, mostly from this wind.

The rain isn't that heavy yet but the wind is something to deal with. There is about 2,300 people without power according to Florida Power and Light. They have been staging people, personnel, they have about 10,000 personnel ready to go. They have crews that came in from New York and Texas and Louisiana and all over.

They have a staging area in Daytona, north of here, so they can jump to get some people their power back. But they are expecting delays because of the coronavirus. They have to social distance, they have to work in smaller crews, so there could be delays here.

They have to disinfect the equipment, do temperature checks. That could really slow things down.

Meanwhile we did get some video of people arriving at shelters earlier yesterday. There are five shelters open here in Palm Beach county, even one that you can bring your pets to. Most of those are in high schools, they want people to be able to social distance.

There is about -- last check more than 100 people in shelters here in Palm Beach County. The state, though, has looked to get some hotel rooms for people who might be symptomatic, they don't want them going through a shelter.

So you have a double whammy of a coronavirus and the hurricane or the storm right now coming together. Also, the division of management here, the division of emergency management, saying they want fewer than 50 people in shelters and they want to make sure they do temperature checks as well.

Meanwhile, the governor, I will say, he says, make sure you have 3 to 7 days of supplies in case this wind knocks your power out or some flooding that we see, medical supplies, food, water, et cetera.

He also says there is plenty of PPE. We never thought we would be talking about PPE in a storm but we are. There is -- they said they have about 20 million masks and 20 million gloves or so, 20,000 thermometers, so the governor says they are prepared. Back to you.

BLACKWELL: Randi Kaye for us, in Palm Beach, stay safe. Thanks so much.

PAUL: So there are more storm preparations underway right now along the eastern coast of Florida. Hurricane Isaias threatens to drop some really heavy wind and rain in that whole region and then, as we said before, it moves up to the Carolinas.

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BLACKWELL: Let's head to Daytona Beach, that area filling sandbags at a site in Volusia County to prepare. This storm, we know, could regain strength in a few hours.

PAUL: As we said, Florida is dealing with a twofold emergency obviously. They're seeing a surge in COVID-19 cases. Volusia County Emergency Management Services haven't issued any evacuation orders as of yet, nor has it opened any shelters in anticipation of the storm. But they are certainly prepared to do so if it happens.

BLACKWELL: Stay with us all throughout the morning, we're going to continue to monitor the storm, the impact as it heads close to Florida and the preparations. Meteorologist Allison Chinchar back later this hour for an update.

PAUL: We also want to talk about the fact there is still no deal on a new stimulus package. And I know a lot of you are waking up this morning, wondering if you're going to be able to afford your rent, afford your food this month because that $600 in employment benefits has gone away.

Staffers are continuing to talk today. Lawmakers met with White House officials yesterday, that's what you're seeing there. And they did say discussions were productive; however, both sides are not yet close to an agreement.

BLACKWELL: You see these are the lines at food banks, this is Los Angeles. People have waited in hours to get money -- I mean, to get food and still wondering if they'll get money to pay the bills. Let's go to CNN's Jeremy Diamond with more for us this morning.

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JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Those supplemental unemployment benefits have expired and there is still no deal in sight between the White House and Capitol Hill as far as this phase 4 coronavirus stimulus bill is concerned.

But there were negotiations on Saturday, the longest negotiations to date, a three-hour meeting between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer and, on the White House end, you had the Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.

And both sides emerged at least with the same message and that is that, while there is still no deal in sight yet, there is no deal within grasp, the talks were indeed productive and there was progress that was made. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), MINORITY LEADER: This was the longest meeting we had. And it was more productive than the other meetings. There are many issues that are still very much outstanding where we're apart. But we had a serious discussion and we went down piece by piece and so where each side is at.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), HOUSE SPEAKER: We have to get rid of this virus, so that we can open our economy, safely open our schools and to do so in a way that does not give a cut in benefits to America's workers.

STEVEN MNUCHIN, U.S. TREASURY SECRETARY: There's clearly a subset of issues where we both agree on very much. We're very interested in extending on enhanced unemployment insurance. We're very interested in schools. We're very interested in jobs.

I think, as you know, as the leader McConnell has said several times, liability insurance is very important to us. So there's definitely the PPP. There's a lot of bipartisan support.

REP. MARK MEADOWS (R-NC), HOUSE FREEDOM CAUCUS: It was a productive day. I think both Senator Schumer and Speaker Pelosi would agree with that.

We're still a long ways apart. And I don't want to suggest that a deal is imminent because it is not. But like with any deal, as you make progress, I think it's important to recognize that you're making progress.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DIAMOND: So you can see there both sides describing this as the best discussions that they have had so far but it doesn't appear that they have been able as of yet to break that logjam.

Now today those negotiations are going to continue at a staff level between the White House and Democrats on Capitol Hill. And then tomorrow, we are expecting to see those principal players, Pelosi, Schumer on the Democratic side, Mnuchin and Meadows on the White House's side, gather once again to continue those negotiations.

And you have to keep in mind here that these two sides are still very far apart and not just on this issue of unemployment benefits. Of course, the White House has been blaming Democrats, arguing that they should have taken this short-term extension of the unemployment benefits that the White House offered while they continued to hash out a deal.

But Democrats have been adamant that they still want to work on a more comprehensive deal because, keep in mind, beyond the unemployment benefits, you also have in here funding for testing, funding for schools, funding for contact tracing. These are all the things that Democrats want to include in this bill.

And, of course, Democrats and Republicans find themselves still very far apart in terms of actually getting to a comprehensive deal. But those negotiations, at least, still continuing. And it is at least a good sign, when you hear both sides at least offering a similar message.

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PAUL: All right, thank you so much, Jeremy. Appreciate it.

Later this morning, on "STATE OF THE UNION," Dana Bash filling in for Jake Tapper.

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PAUL: She'll be joined by White House Coronavirus Task Force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx, congressman and House majority whip James Clyburn, Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson and former Georgia governor candidate Stacey Abrams. "STATE OF THE UNION" with Dana Bash at 9:00 Eastern.

BLACKWELL: Wilford Brimley, actor known for his movie roles but also being a pitch man for Quaker Oats, has died. He was on dialysis in ICU, getting treatment for medical problems, according to his manager.

His movie credits date back to the 1970s. Everyone remembers "Cocoon," "The Natural" and "The Thing." There was the Quaker Oats commercials, he also appeared in commercials for the American Diabetes Association. He was 85 years old, Wilford Brimley.

PAUL: Still ahead, we have the latest for you on the pandemic. We understand a new report from the CDC saying more people in the U.S., 20,000 more, could die from COVID just in the next 21 days. We'll give you the full picture across the U.S.

BLACKWELL: Also, this is from California, a line at a food bank in one of the richest states in the United States.

So why are so many people struggling to get access to just the very basics?

We'll have more on that.

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BLACKWELL: Welcome back, 20 minutes after the hour now.

For a sixth day in a row, more than 1,000 people have been killed by COVID-19 here in the U.S.

PAUL: One of the most troubling spots is California, reporting its highest single-day loss of life yet. CNN's Polo Sandoval following the very latest on the pandemic.

Good morning to you.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you. This weekend marks five months since New York state confirmed its first COVID case and still COVID testing continues quite aggressively. On Friday, we saw 83,000 tests administered to New York state, that's the highest number of COVID tests conducted since the start of the pandemic and less than 1 percent testing positive, which is positive news for people here in New York.

But certainly still a very difficult situation for people in other parts of the country dealing with right now, with the outbreak shifting and even experiencing an uptick in parts of the Midwest.

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SANDOVAL (voice-over): California, once the role model for flattening the curve, has become a coronavirus hot spot, much of the state showing dark red as California's Department of Public Health announced the highest number yet of COVID-related deaths, that number, 219 in a single day.

Since the pandemic started, more than 9,000 people in California have died from COVID-related complications.

ANNE RIMOIN, EPIDEMIOLOGY PROFESSOR, UCLA FIELDING SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: It is very frustrating, as an epidemiologist, to see the case numbers continuing to rise without a national strategy, without adequate testing, without contact tracing as we need it.

All of the things we have been talking about for months and months and these numbers are going to continue to go up until we do have these things in place.

SANDOVAL (voice-over): People struggling financially in Los Angeles waited in line for seven hours on Saturday at a food bank.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is surreal to see, you know, that many people standing in this line for food. And it is really a larger indictment of a failed system and the inability of the federal government to take care of the people. At the end of the day, it's unconscionable to live in a world where people have to wait seven hours for a box of groceries.

SANDOVAL (voice-over): Florida reported 9,000-plus cases for a fifth consecutive day on Saturday. And in Texas, the city of McAllen's convention center is being

converted into a health facility to help meet hospital capacity needs in the hard-hit southern part of the state.

A new CDC report on how quickly children transmitted the virus at a summer camp in Georgia came out, as schools are starting to reopen across the country.

A Mississippi high school student tested positive for coronavirus during the first week of classes, according to Corinth School District's social media posts.

In Indiana last week, the Hancock County Health Department notified Greenfield Central Junior High School that one of their students who had attended part of the school day tested positive for COVID-19, the superintendent told parents in a letter.

And a staff member at Avon High School in Indiana tested positive for COVID-19 but had not been at school this past week.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The safest way to open schools is to decrease community transmission. The Achilles heel of our whole national effort has been the lack of testing capacity. We are not doing nearly the amount of tests we need to do on a daily basis, probably about anywhere from 1 million to 3 million tests a day, under a million.

SANDOVAL (voice-over): The coronavirus spreads again on Capitol Hill and Democratic representative Raul Grijalva has tested positive for the coronavirus, his office confirmed on Saturday.

In a statement Saturday, Grijalva slammed Republicans who don't wear masks to the building, citing the events of the week.

Most of the U.S. is now in the red zone. And in July, U.S. saw 10 days where COVID deaths surpassed 1,000. The CDC now projecting more than 173,000 U.S. deaths by August 22nd.

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SANDOVAL: Here in New York, home to the largest school district in the country, New York City has submitted its plan for reopening the schools come this fall. Now really, parents have to decide whether or not to send their kids to school come this fall or potentially continue with some kind of remote learning program.

Ultimately, though, it is going to be up to the governor to decide whether or not the state school will reopen. That decision should be coming this week -- Victor, Christi.

PAUL: Polo, appreciate the wrap-up, thank you.

BLACKWELL: Thank you, Polo.

More than 20 million Americans could lose their homes now that eviction protections have expired.

PAUL: How the economic crisis really at this point could turn into a catastrophe if something isn't done.

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BLACKWELL: More on tropical storm Isaias now this morning. Again, it was a hurricane, now a tropical storm, just off the East Coast of Florida.

PAUL: Yes, we know that the folks there are getting ready for some power outages, a lot of rain, a lot of wind, some storm surge.

(WEATHER REPORT)

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PAUL: We want to get you back to Palm Beach, Florida.

BLACKWELL: Randi Kaye is there live.

The last time we were with you, the winds were picking up. Looks like they still are.

KAYE: They certainly are, Victor. I've been holding on to my hat here on and off as they gust. We saw a short time ago a gust of 50 miles per hour. Now expecting probably 70 to 75 miles per hour as the morning continues.

Take a look at the ocean behind me here. You can see those waves, they are really kicking up this morning, we're expecting about a 2 to 4 foot storm surge from the waves, on top of this high tide, especially high tide because of the full moon we're going to see on Monday night, so the tide is even higher than usual.

But this is the concern, this heavy wind is certainly going to cause some power outages. We know of about 2,300 already here in Florida. And Florida Power and Light said they have a staging area in Daytona where they have 10,000 personnel ready to go.

They have crews that came in from New York and Texas, all to help, from 20 different states, in fact. They're trying to get people together and trying to get a jump on this because of the coronavirus.

This is one emergency on top of another, so they're already expecting delays because the crews will have to social distance, they'll have to sanitize the equipment, have to do temperature checks.

So it is kind of a slow process in terms of getting the power restored. We also know there are more than 100 people in shelters this morning here in Palm Beach County. They set up about five shelters at high schools so people could safely social distance. They'll be providing shelter kits with hand sanitizer and masks as

well and try to keep the family units together. The governor said he was hoping to open some hotel rooms for people who might be symptomatic so they didn't have to go to the shelter.

But so far this is a big wind event here, not a lot of heavy rain yet. But we're certainly prepared for that as well. Back to you.

PAUL: All right, Randi Kaye, you all stay safe there, we appreciate you, thank you.

BLACKWELL: Allison just showed us a couple of watches in North Carolina and now we know commuters along North Carolina and the Outer Banks, they're closing as the storm approaches continental U.S.

Some families spent some time at the beach yesterday. But Isaias is expected to reach the Carolinas over the next couple of days. The governor has put 150 members of the National Guard on alert in case they're needed for hurricane response.

PAUL: Well the U.S. economy received a sobering update this week. GDP shrank 9.5 percent in the second quarter year-over-year. That's the worst quarter since the government started keeping records in 1947.

BLACKWELL: So, of course, we talked about the lawmakers haggling over a possible new stimulus bill. But the impacts in real life are already being felt. Here is CNN's Abby Phillip.

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ABBY PHILLIP, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Even on a good day, making ends meet was a struggle for Georgia resident Pamela Frink.

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PAMELA FRINK, GEORGIA RESIDENT: Every month, even working multiple jobs I'm robbing Peter to pay Paul.

PHILLIP: Then can the coronavirus pandemic and Pamela lost one of her jobs working at the Atlanta Hawks arena, a job she needed in order to pay her $1,200 a month rent and take care of her 6-year-old daughter Jada.

FRINK: One job is not going to cover my day to day bills, which are necessities, like your rent, your lights, your car, you car insurance, food.

PHILLIP: Like millions of Americans, unemployment insurance and that crucial extra $600 a week injection into the system by the federal government has been a life line and one that could soon disappear.

FRINK: So now that I have the fear, or knowing that it will end soon is kind of like, OK, so now what do I do to maintain my livelihood.

PHILLIP: Experts estimate that about 20 percent of the 110 million renters in the United States could face eviction later this year due to the pandemic, especially when a federal boost in unemployment insurance expires at the end of the month.

PIERCE HAND, STAFF ATTORNEY STANDING WITH OUR NEIGHBORS: Folks have not been paying rent since possibly February, March. I mean, that's six months of not being able to make rent.

PHILLIP: Atlanta lawyer Pierce Hand works with tenants like Pamela, who have lost jobs and are at risk of falling into a deep hole of housing debt, the consequences could be dire.

HAND: I think what we are facing is a possible mass eviction scenario.

PHILLIP: Black Americans are already more likely to contract and die from the coronavirus and they are also disproportionately at risk of losing their homes.

ZACH NEUMANN, FOUNDER, COVID-19 EVICTION DEFENSE PROJECT: The rent crisis affects everyone but it's especially affecting our communities of color here in Colorado and around the country.

PHILLIP: A U.S. Census survey in the last week found that when it comes to paying next month's rent, more than 40 percent of black renters said they had little or no confidence they'd be able to pay rent in August, nearly twice the rate of white renters. And it's not just missed rent payments that can trigger eviction proceedings.

HAND: Where there's water or election and if you can't pay it, you could you're your subsidized housing and face homelessness as well.

PHILLIP: Meanwhile, as lawmakers haggle over how much unemployment insurance should be extended, Pamela agonizes over the unthinkable.

FRINK: So, honestly, I try not to think about that, but I don't know.

PHILLIP: Her message to lawmakers?

FRINK: Please don't make us go back to being able to possibly call a shelter because we can't afford to pay our rent for this month or the next two months.

PHILLIP: Republicans on Capitol Hill are considering extending the unemployment benefits but for far less than the $600 a week that people are currently receiving. The goal would be to push some of these folks back into the workforce.

But in places like Georgia and many parts of the country now, the coronavirus is still raging. The prospect that people will be able to find work like it was before the pandemic seems farfetched -- Abby Phillip, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PAUL: Abby, thank you so much. We know that officials from the Republican and the Democratic Parties

both meeting to discuss that stimulus package again today and on Monday.

Sources tell CNN an official with the Department of Homeland Security will be reassigned after gathering intelligence on two American journalists.

According to "The Washington Post," the Office of Intelligence and Analysis collected information on two journalists covering the protests in Portland. The White House sent Homeland Security officers to Portland earlier this month with those orders to protect the federal courthouse.

Videos, however, appear to show those officers in unmarked vehicles, arresting the protesters.

BLACKWELL: There are more positives and more postponements and more players dropping out. Hear what the commissioner of the Major League Baseball is saying about the state of the game.

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PAUL: I know we throw a lot of numbers at you when we talk about COVID and how people are dealing with it. But those numbers aren't statistics; they're people. And sometimes the best way to illustrate that is in pictures. Take a look at this.

BLACKWELL: This is a line of people at a food bank in Los Angeles yesterday. People waited in hours to get just the bare minimum. Paul Vercammen has more.

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PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They work late in the afternoon, cleaning up after a huge food giveaway in the First Unitarian Church. This is Koreatown in downtown Los Angeles.

They served boxes of meals or sent them out to more than 2,000 people, 1,500 of them walked up here, some have been in line since midnight. And then they shipped out another 500 boxes to nearby churches as well as a grocery workers' union.

The workers here reflecting on just how trying it is for them to see the biggest numbers of people ever come into these food lines in the middle of a pandemic because a lot of renters' protection is running out, because unemployment benefits are running out. Some of these people without a job, something close to half a year right now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's surreal to see, you know, that many people standing in those lines for food and it's really a larger indictment of a failed system and of the federal government to take care of the people because at the end of the day, it's unconscionable to live in a world where people have to wait for 7 hours for a box of groceries.

VERCAMMEN: Just boxes and boxes of food went out here, as we said, 1,500 people walked up to grab their box and another 500 boxes went out to nearby churches and a grocery store workers' union.

And for people handing out the boxes, they said this was rather heartening because they could see the look of relief in people's eyes.

[05:45:00]

VERCAMMEN: As they knew that many of them might not have any income right now during the pandemic -- reporting from Los Angeles, I'm Paul Vercammen, now back to you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLACKWELL: Now if you want to help families who are struggling during the crisis or if you need some help yourself, we have a guide online that will help you do both. Head to cnn.com/impact.

PAUL: So baseball is dealing with more new COVID cases this morning, more postponements, more players actually opting out of the season altogether.

BLACKWELL: The commissioner is reportedly saying there are no intentions of shutting down the season. Coy Wire is with us now.

Coy, when we were speaking yesterday, said if there is -- if we see too much more of this, we'll have to end it.

Now maybe backing away from that?

COY WIRE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it seems like the league is hanging on as long as they can pushing on. Games are being shuffled. Teams are having to fill voided roster spots because players are opting out. But the league pushes on.

Commissioner Rob Manfred said, "The players need to be better but I'm not a quitter in general and there's no reason to quit now. We have to be fluid. But it is manageable."

MLB postponing the Cardinals-Brewers game yesterday, hours before first pitch. Then postponing the doubleheader today after three Cardinals players and three staffers tested positive.

The series with the Tigers was pushed from tomorrow to Tuesday, with all the games having to move to Detroit. And three players decided yesterday they aren't playing the rest of the season, including Brewers' Gold Glove outfielder and father of three, Lorenzo Cain.

Marlins' second baseman Isan Diaz and Red Sox pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez, who suffers from a heart issue, also choosing to opt out of the season. Now some good news, the Miami Marlins, who had 21 cases, reported no

new positives for the first time since last weekend. And MLB says it believes that two Phillies staffers who initially tested positive had false positives.

MLB also announced scheduled games for both of those teams for first time in more than a week. The Phillies play tomorrow and the Marlins are scheduled for Tuesday.

To the NBA, where Jimmy Butler, he chose to wear a jersey with no name on it. He was forced to change into one that did. He said he felt that having a jersey with no name would be more powerful than his own name or one of the NBA's preapproved social justice phrases because it shows he's no different than anyone else and that he could be the next victim of police brutality.

Meanwhile, Meyers Leonard became the second NBA player to stand for the anthem, with the blessings of his teammates. Leonard wore a Black Lives Matter shirt and said he supports the movement but he wanted to honor the military and his brother, who served two tours in Afghanistan.

So Victor, Christi, a much different tone now, especially than we saw a few years ago, when kneeling or not kneeling for the anthem was such a big divisive topic, still is certainly. But much different tone now with the way these players' messages are getting across.

BLACKWELL: Certainly is, Coy Wire, thanks so much.

PAUL: Thanks, Coy.

A seven-month journey to Mars is lifting off as NASA looks for signs of ancient life on the Red Planet and paving the way for humans.

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[05:50:00]

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PAUL: Well, two astronauts, NASA astronauts, are headed home after two months on board the International Space Station. Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley began their 19-hour trip aboard the SpaceX Dragon capsule last night.

BLACKWELL: They arrived at the space station in May after a launch from Kennedy Space Center. That was the first NASA astronaut launch from the U.S. since 2011 and the first time that a commercially developed spacecraft carried humans into orbit.

They are expected to land on Florida's west coast this afternoon. So listen to how NASA describes the mission to get the Perseverance rover safely on to the surface of Mars, they call it 314 million miles of space and 7 minutes of terror. PAUL: I would say that's probably pretty accurate in an attempt to do

what has never been done before. NASA hopes to offer new ways to explore Mars, find signs of ancient life and pave the way for us for humans to get there one day.

Here is CNN's Lynda Kinkade.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And two, one, zero (INAUDIBLE) and liftoff.

LYNDA KINKADE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): After nearly a decade of planning with thousands of engineers, scientists and specialists, NASA's latest mission to Mars charts new realms of exploration.

JIM BRIDENSTINE, NASA ADMINISTRATOR: Right now we have the single most sophisticated complex robot ever sent to another world. There would be no bigger discovery in the history of humanity than finding life that is not on our own world. And I think it will fundamentally transform how we do exploration in the future.

KINKADE (voice-over): The launch of NASA's Perseverance rover starts a seven-month journey through space before it is expected to land on the Red Planet. The site of a lake formed 3.5 billion years ago. There Perseverance will look for evidence that Mars was once inhabited, collecting samples that eventually return to Earth to be studied for signs of ancient microbial life.

Meanwhile, the mission will also pave the way for new life to arrive.

THOMAS ZURBUCHEN, NASA SCIENCE ASSOCIATE ADMINISTRATOR: We're also going to learn how to build these capabilities that actually bring, you know, humans to Mars and really opening up the spectrum on Mars exploration to a level which no other decade really has in the past.

KINKADE (voice-over): Expected to land in mid-February of 2021, the two-year mission also promises new perspectives on Mars.

[05:55:00]

KINKADE (voice-over): The Perseverance is equipped with microphones to share sounds of the Red Planet for the first time. It also has 23 cameras with new features like zoom, color and video capturing capabilities.

Also along for the ride, the first helicopter to attempt flight on another planet. If it is successful, the new technology could be used as scouts on future missions as the push to explore Mars forges on -- Lynda Kinkade, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PAUL: It is something.

All right, so this is going to be a Republican National Convention most likely like you have never seen before. For one, there will be no journalists there. They're not allowed.

BLACKWELL: Plus, our coverage of tropical storm Isaias continues. Meteorologist Allison Chinchar is tracking the storm and she'll have an update after the break.