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NOAA: Sally Now A Hurricane, Rapidly Strengthening; Minorities Hit Harder By Coronavirus Economic Impacts; 35 Dead In CA, OR, WA From Historic Wildfires. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired September 14, 2020 - 12:30   ET

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


[12:30:00]

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: And at this moment in time, the men and women behind the curtain are the scientists. You know, the real people who are kind of getting the information, trying to get it out there. You saw Deborah Birx use -- in the mask. You saw, you know, Anthony Fauci. You hear these scientists, not just actually working for the President, but on our air all the time, who have access to data, pleading with people not to do exactly what the President did last night.

And he said that there's an alternate reality, there really is an alternate reality that the President has. Unfortunately, in many cases successfully created if you just look back at last week, the conversations that Jim Acosta and our other colleagues who have gone into these rallies, into the crowds, and talk to people, they don't believe what the scientists are saying. And they just are kind of ignoring it and that is dangerous for all of us because as we know, unless everybody agrees on the basic set of facts on how transmittable this virus is, we can't do anything about it until we get a vaccine and that could be a while.

JOHN KING, CNN HOST: That could be a while. Dana Bash, David Gergen, appreciate the important insights. We will continue the conversation 50 days to Election Day.

Up next for us, though, some breaking news Sally is now a hurricane and is getting stronger, a live report from New Orleans just ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[12:35:17]

KING: This just into CNN, tropical storm Sally is now Hurricane Sally. Warnings have been extended eastward, all the way to the Alabama Florida border. Alabama's governor is showing a state of emergency, this as residents in Louisiana still reeling from the effects of Hurricane Laura. CNN's Ed Lavandera live for us in New Orleans where preparations are underway, Ed?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, John. Well, those of Hurricane strength winds now up to about 85 miles per hour inside Hurricane Sally which makes it a category one storm. There is the possibility forecasters have been saying over the last day or so that it could reach a category two level storm. So there is still a great deal of concern of just how much this storm is going to intensify as it continues to slowly move toward the Gulf Coast area of Southeast Louisiana and Mississippi.

Of course, the slower it moves and the heavy rainfall that it brings, will raise the concerns and the fear of widespread flooding in the Gulf Coast region, adding that to, you know, the danger that comes with the high sustained winds in a hurricane. So all of that continue to develop as the warnings and the watches continue to go out across the Gulf Coast.

Officials here in Louisiana, urging people to stock up on three days worth of emergency goods to get them through the next couple of days as this storm continues to move toward land. And this in a state where just less than three weeks ago, it was hit by Hurricane Laura, in fact many people who had evacuated the southwest corner of the state evacuated here to the New Orleans area and they've been in hotels. Those people will remain here we are told by city officials that right now the only evacuation orders in the New Orleans area includes those people outside of the levee protection system that was built here in the years after Hurricane Katrina.

And what is eerie about all of particular storm, John, is that it's following a very similar path and targeting the very same areas that were struck by Hurricane Katrina. Some 15 years ago, John?

KING: Ed Lavandera on the ground for us. Ed, stay safe. We'll stay in touch over the next couple of days and see which way -- which path this hurricane takes. Sally now a category one. Ed, thank you very much.

Up next for us, the pandemic's uneven impact on the economy, some Americans hurting much more than others.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[12:40:48]

KING: A live look at the market right now. The Dow up nearly 380 points, you see it there after suffering through a very turbulent last week that ended with a rally on Friday. The Dow down nearly 2 percent on the year but it has shown considerable resilience throughout this pandemic. There's also a saying, the market isn't the economy as we go through this now.

Phil Mattingly is live for us up on Capitol Hill. Sorry, a little technical glitch there, Phil. So, you know, if you look at this economy, you can look at it from an uneven perspective. The unemployment rate by demographics had been hard during this pandemic, small businesses hit hard during this pandemic. But if you listen to the President of the United States and stay with me for a second, Phil, the President of the United States looks at Wall Street and says it's great.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So you think the virus totally supersedes the economy?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, sure. But they're related, as you know.

TRUMP: A little bit, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, little bit? I mean --

TRUMP: I mean more than a little bit. But the economy is doing, look, we're close to a new stock market record.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: You've been doing a lot of work throughout this pandemic, Phil, both tracking the stimulus negotiations on Capitol Hill but also keeping in touch with small businesses, especially minority owned small businesses. And Wall Street is not the economy, not to them anyway.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No, not at all. And I think what we've seen, look, there has been a stark divide between kind of larger corporations, those who are connected in economic fashion and those who aren't for many decades now. But it has been exacerbated. It's shown such a stark divide over the course of the last several months and in no place, perhaps more so than in small business.

John, you look across the kind of domestic economy right now when it comes to large businesses. And while they didn't necessarily get bailouts in terms of tens of billions of dollars like they may have back in 2008, they were essentially the ultimate beneficiaries to enormously exceedingly low interest rates to credit markets, unlocking almost entirely for them because of what the Fed was willing to do because of what the Treasury Department and Congress were willing to put on the table as options. Not so much for small businesses.

Now, obviously, they had access to the Paycheck Protection Program, more than $500 billion went out to float small businesses, but that's what it was for to float them essentially to sustain them to allow them to keep their employees on the payroll for a period of time with maybe up to eight to 12 weeks. We are long since pass that. And that's why when you talk to some of those small business owners like Richard Fierro out in Colorado, they underscore, they just need a chance, take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICHARD FIERRO, OWNER, ATREVIDA BEER COMPANY: There's a lot of hard work being done by folks that are not asking for handouts that are not running around asking for anybody to solve their problems. What we're looking for is the opportunity to continue to fight to get to where we want to be.

(END VIDEO CLIP) LAVANDERA: And John, Fierro, owner of Atrevida Beer Company. And they've made the point. They're unlucky. They consider themselves at least. They're pretty low in debt. They felt like they could hang out there for another couple of months. But really, the day after I spoke to them or the day after that piece ran, they texted me and Colorado had just changed again started to ratchet back some of its reopening and that's what business owners have been dealing with over the course of the last several months opening then closing people that were afraid to go out all together.

And so long as the support isn't there, and obviously we've been talking a lot about Congress unable to get together on another stimulus package, those small business owners are essentially left hanging out to dry. National Federation of Independent Businesses, up to 21 percent of small businesses don't believe they will be able to make it for another three to six months. No help seems to be coming right now. So you can point to the stock market, you can point to NASDAQ, you can point to the records that some of those larger companies, as blue chip companies are able to do right now.

The people on the ground both small businesses and individuals who no longer have access to the federal plus of unemployment benefits, who no longer have access to those stimulus checks that went out back in March and April, that money is now sucked out of the economy. They're struggling.

KING: Well, I would take the voices of people out in real America or anybody here in Washington, anybody here in Washington any day. Phil Mattingly, appreciate the great reporting there. We'll continue the story.

[12:44:44]

Coming up, the President on his way out to California as they continues to fight the devastating wildfires. You see live pictures right there in Sierra Madre, California, live update just ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Wildfires today continue to scorch and smother the western United States, 35 people dead in Washington, Oregon, and California. And what has become a historically horrific fire season. So far this year, more than 6 million acres have burned in the United States, 3.3 million of those in California alone.

CNN Stephanie Elam joins us now live from Sierra Madre, California. Stephanie, it's just the pictures are numbing.

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's unbelievable when you take into account how much of the state is burning. We're used to wildfires out here obviously but I was just speaking to a fire official that said that in his nearly 30 years of doing this, he seen nothing like the extent of the wildfires that we are seeing.

[12:50:11] Right now I am standing in Sierra Madre, which is a suburb of Los Angeles along the foothills here. And the fire is burning just on the other side of this bridge there. You can see the smoke. We've been out here all night. It was glowing when it was dark. It's harder to see now. Now that there is a little bit more open sky, they've got the helicopters out here dropping. They're in the middle of changing the firefighters for this 20th hour shifts that they're working.

Some of these firefighters have been working for 50 days, I'm told. Here comes the helicopter coming back after dropping water on the fire line. And they are just taxed because there's just not enough firefighters right now throughout the state to cover all the things that they need you and allow firefighters more downtime as they would want to. It is very, very much a situation where they need to confuse more people, but they're just not there.

So if you take that into account and you look at the fact that we've had 4,100 structures that have been destroyed, and you look at the number of acres that have been burned, this is a horrific year. You have people who are evacuating some 300 homes evacuated near the area where I am now. And this as there's other fires that are flaring up. I know for this fire that you had to pull people back, pull firefighters back from other fires that were fighting just so that they can respond to the one in their own home area that shows you how bad things are right now in California, John.

KING: It is remarkable and it's heroic work, those exhausted firefighters are trying to pull off. Stephanie Elam on the ground for us, we appreciate the lab report very much. Keep in touch.

Up next for us, why China says there's no reason to vaccinate everyone against the coronavirus.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[12:56:22]

KING: Israel today saying it will enter a second coronavirus lockdown beginning on Friday that just one global sign of a resurgent pandemic. Let's check in around the globe now with our international correspondents.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Here in China, a rather surprising statement coming from the head of China's CDC, Gao Fu has via state media announced that there is no need for mass vaccinations here in the country, essentially saying that not every single person needs to get vaccinated. Instead, they're going after what they consider to be a strategic approach. They're going to vaccinate once it is effective and ready those frontline workers, as well as some of those who are in high risk areas.

So who's included in that? Will the individuals who work in schools, in restaurants, in cleaning services, those who likely come into a lot of contact with high volume and high traffic areas, and would also be those who are medical personnel and border patrol agents in particular. Now, this kind of goes with what we have seen with China rolling out some of their emergency use vaccines, even while they have not even finished phase three trials.

And those have been involving some members of the People's Liberation Army, the military, as well as some of those frontline workers already. This is their approach for now. Gao Fu, who the head of the CDC has said that they could reconsider it essentially, as this virus continues to evolve.

David Culver, CNN, Beijing.

DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN VATICAN CORRESPONDENT: Here in Italy, it's the first time day of school for most of the country over 8 million students headed back to the classroom after six months. Some concern expressed by teachers for their own health. Over 50 percent of Italy's teachers are over 50 years old, that puts them in a more vulnerable category for the virus.

Another concern is that not all schools have received equipment promised by the government such as new desks and reinforcement teachers. One high school we visited in Rome says they're going to try a rotation system where students are on campus for one week and then online learning from home for the next week. All school administrators across the country we've spoken to say they have put the safety measures in place such as temperature taking, staggered entrance times, and keeping kids in the classroom during lunch hour and recess to a minimize contact, in the hopes that these measures will help keep the contagion numbers down but still provide a safe and relatively normal school year for students and teachers alike.

Delia Gallagher, CNN, Rome.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Here in Germany, authorities are trying to contain a coronavirus outbreak in a Bavarian town that was possibly caused by a U.S. citizen. Officials in the town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen in the south of Germany say that they're ordering bars and restaurants to close earlier than usual. They're also limiting the amount of people who are allowed to sit at a table together. And they're calling on younger people in the town to get coronavirus tests.

Now, an official in Garmisch told CNN that an American citizen came down with flu like symptoms, got a coronavirus test was told to quarantine until the results of that test came in, but went on the town and socialized instead. There's also a U.S. military installation in that town that has also closed after several people there came down with a novel coronavirus.

Frederik Pleitgen, CNN, Berlin.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KING: Appreciate you sharing some time with us today. Hope to see you back here this time tomorrow. Very busy news day stay with us, Brianna Keilar picks up our coverage right now. Have a good day. [13:00:05]

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: I'm Brianna Keilar and I want to welcome viewers here in the United States and around the world.