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Mom: Southwest Kicked Me & 2-Year-Old Son Off Flight Over Mask; WHO Warns Europe Not in Clear Yet on Coronavirus; British Foreign Minister, Dominic Raab, Discusses Rising COVID Cases, Testing Capacity Problems, U.K. Vaccine Research, Trade with U.S. & Good Friday Agreement; FOX Peddles Dangerous Misinformation about Coronavirus. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired September 17, 2020 - 13:30   ET




BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: Any parent can attest to the fact that it's a challenge to take a plane trip with a 2-year-old, but that reality has only gotten tougher in the age of coronavirus.

Just ask a Chicago mom who was kicked off a flight home from Florida because the 2-year-old son wouldn't keep the mask on.

Jodi Degyansky is joining me now with her story.

Jodi, I have a 2-year-old and he refuses to wear a mask. I understand how difficult this can be.

Tell us about what happened here. You had traveled to Florida and you were heading home and you were trying to get a mask on your son.

Tell me about how that all went down.

JODI DEGYANSKY, BOOTED FROM FLIGHT WITH 2-YEAR-OLD SON: Yes, sure. We traveled to Florida the week prior on Southwest Airlines, sat in the first row.

The flight attendants came over one time and asked if he was 2. I said a couple weeks over 2. Asked if he would wear the face masks, I said we're working on it. They said do your best.

When we are flying home from Florida to Midway, totally different story. Same airline.

We boarded the plane, got the snacks out, the tablet, the face mask below the chin, distracting him so he wouldn't bother the other passengers on the plane.

First time, you know, sitting in his own sit with his seatbelt on now that he is 2. And again, with full intent to wear that face mask.

So the flight come attendants over and asked if he would wear the face mask and I said, absolutely, he will wear it as soon as he's done with the snack. I can give you my word.

And they came by about the fourth time, it was serious. Put the snack away. Got ready to go. It wasn't easy. And the face mask was on and gave a thumbs up. They were in the back of the plane.

And then we were pulled back to the gate and were asked off the flight.

KEILAR: I want to read what Southwest said because they said this is -- this is a statement from them about their policy.

The policy, quote, "requires all customers over the age of 2 to wear a face covering or face mask while traveling to kept prevent the transmission of COVID-19."

So they're basically saying there, "And if the customer is unable, Southwest regrets we cannot transport that individual."

Jodi, we reached out to Southwest to say we would be speaking with you today and asked for an update specific to your case. And they said they didn't have any updates to give.

What do you say to that? They have a prevailing health concern of keeping masks on people. But at the same time, it certainly is something tricky with a 2-year-old and something that -- it is difficult in that age range.

I guess, what is your beef here that you wish they had done differently?

DEGYANSKY: Yes. You know, we are a pro-mask family. We practice wearing masks. We have different masks and get together in play groups and socially distance.

And he knows the work "mask" very well, that when we walk into a building, a room, it has a door and a ceiling, that mask goes on. So that's something we are practicing at home.

But, listen, you know, when you have a toddler, it is all about consistency, whether it's bedtime or snack time or daycare, practicing consistency. And this is a new protocol and it is going to take some time.

What I can say is that we are very pro-mask. And we believe that everyone should wear their mask for this thing to get on the decline across the globe.


And that wasn't the case here. He was wearing his mask. You can see in the footage that someone captured. He was fully wearing the mask.

I had this conversation with the gate manager. He was wearing his mask for full two to three minutes. She said it wasn't 10 minutes ago. Ten minutes for a snack for a 2-year-old is a short period of time. So there's a lot of gray and room for interpretation and subjectivity. And flight crews dealing with families need to have maybe more compassion sometimes than others.

KEILAR: Yes. And, look, You also were dealing with some I think inconsistency on the two flights, too.

Jodi, we are living in a new world here, as you know.

Jodi Degyansky, thank you so much. Really appreciate you sharing your story with us.

DEGYANSKY: Thank you. Appreciate it.

KEILAR: As the World Health Organization warns of a serious situation in Europe, find out where the U.K. is in the race for a vaccine.

Plus, Jared Kushner says the president is open to political assassinations. That, despite the fact they're illegal.

And UGA under fire for allowing football but not in-person voting on campus.



KEILAR: A stark new warning today from the World Health Organization that Europe is not in the clear yet.

CNN's Scott McLean is following this for us.


SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Brianna, across Europe, governments are scrambling to contain a second wave of the coronavirus, which has already eclipsed the first one in weekly case counts.

In September, COVID infections increased 16 percent across England. The U.K. is doing more tests than any other European country and yet it is still dealing with shortage of them.

France and Spain, though, have taken the brunt of the virus resurgence, with Spain reporting 100,000 new cases of the virus in just the last 10 days along.

The World Health Organization calls the situation very serious and says the latest number should be a wake-up call.


KEILAR: Scott McLean, thank you so much.

I'm joined by Britain's foreign minister, Dominic Raab.

Sir, thank you so much for being with us. I want to start with a point we heard our reporter, Scott, make in his report. Britain is seeing a rise in COVID cases while testing capacity increased since March but you have the issues with lab capacity in community testing, which is near capacity right now.

Is Britain ready for a second wave?

DOMINIC RAAB, BRITISH FOREIGN MINISTER: We're certainly braced and prepared with the contingency planning. We have got our testing capacity up to 370,000 tests per day.

As you rightly said, our testing rate is best in Europe. We are turning two-thirds of them, on average, around in 24 hours. We want it down to 20 minutes.

And one of the reasons we have an uptick is schools and universities are back. And as we open up our society, we have come through the peak and we open up the society, get business back running and the economic side of things, we expect an uptick in cases.

And everyone is waiting on the hospitalizations and the fatalities. The hospitalization rate is very low. And we're always looking at having made great strides to get that testing capacity and the speed of testing up as high as we can.

And as you say, with the second wave or the upticks, once you have come through the peak and opening up the jobs and businesses and the schools, there's an expectation. And what we have got is testing capacity but the lockdowns to make sure to manage it.

KEILAR: You aren't through the peak yet. I want to be clear on that.

I know you're dealing with this backlog. That's something you're trying to tackle.

As we look at a vaccine, right now the possibility of one, there are late-stage trials of an experimental COVID vaccine at Oxford and that resumed this week after it was halted due to patient illness.

Where is the U.K. government in terms of a timetable for the vaccine?

RAAB: Yes. First of all, in relation to the earlier point, I wasn't sure whether we are or aren't through the first peak. We are.

KEILAR: You are on the -- you call it an uptick but you can see that you are -- this is on the way up and not through another peak is my point. You are heading into a second wave here.

RAAB: Well, just to be really clear on this, we've gone from a hospitalization rate of 3,000 per day in April at the peak to around 100.

KEILAR: But you know that lags. You know that lags the case rate.

RAAB: Well sure. That's in between cases and the fatalities.

But that's a big barometer of cases developing into serious illness. So we have always known that there are upticks.

The key thing is the ability to control it. We have got the tools in place, as I described.


In relation to vaccine, that's a way to actually end the threat of coronavirus. There are others but that's a key element.

We have got the research trials. You are right in that we had a pause. And that's inherent in the testing system to make sure, in a responsible country that's looking at vaccine trials, has got to make sure that they're safe.

Otherwise, you create a false sense of security or put at risk our citizens.

And the reason we have those checks is to make sure that we when we launch the vaccine we are good to go and they're rapidly distributed.

And it makes it difficult to say precisely when we'll be there but we're making great progress and we continue to do so.

KEILAR: Do you have a range on the timeline?

RAAB: As soon as possible. And of course, you've got to make sure you have got the ability to get the needles in arms, the logistics, the industrial side of things. And we are looking at not just the U.K. here but the world.

A big thing we have done, the prime minister hosted the summit and smashed the target for raising $8.8 billion global funding to make sure to help other countries, particularly the most vulnerable around the world, immunize their people, and not just kind of abstract moral sense of responsibly.

That's where we want to avoid the dominos of a second global wave coming back to potentially hit the U.K.

KEILAR: Sure. No, it is --


RAAB: For all reasons.

KEILAR: It is incredibly important.

We're hearing from our president, saying three to four weeks. But then we hear from administration officials who are involved in the vaccine race and they're putting it at a much longer timeline.

So I guess what I'm trying to see is, from your perspective, what your expectation of a timeline would be. Are you in the realm of weeks or are you thinking that this is still months off?

RAAB: Well, I'm going to avoid giving a specific forecast, because we found with the Oxford trials, as you go, the goal post can shift a little bit. And we know that we have made great progress.

We are, I think, in a good position. But I'll let the people running those trials give the more specific timeline, when they feel confident to do so.

Otherwise, you raise expectations you can't keep. And I want to manage that quite carefully.

KEILAR: Certainly.

I also want to ask you, because trade between the U.S. and the U.K. is hinging on the protection of the Good Friday Agreement, which ended decades of violence in Northern Ireland.

RAAB: Sure.

KEILAR: Is that in jeopardy? Is the U.K. willing to threaten trade with the United States over this?

RAAB: No. First of all, the Good Friday Agreement is not in jeopardy, especially from the U.K. side. We have made the unilateral agreement.

Come what may, with our negotiations with our European friends, come what may, we will not put in infrastructure at the border between the north and the south.

I think it would be great. And I spent some time on the Hill talking to congressional leaders on the political aisle explaining that, giving that reassurance.

We understand the U.S. sense of guarantorship of the Good Friday Agreement. George Mitchell was an incredible contributor to that process.

But we've been very clear, it was important to have the opportunity to explain it.

It would be helpful for those concerned about this to elicit the same unilateral absolute commitment not to require any infrastructure at the border between the north and the south. So far, it's only been the U.K. that's said that.

But rest assured, we'll resolve the issues with the European partners but it's not going to be any hard border, certainly not applied by the U.K.

And I think if the E.U. came out and made the same commitment, it would help in the negotiations.

So I hope the American colleagues will reinforce that point on both sides.

KEILAR: Foreign Secretary Raab, thank you so much for being with us.

RAAB: Great to talk to you.


KEILAR: A doctor on FOX News claims, quote, "Masks do nothing to protect against the coronavirus." We'll get the facts straight, next.


KEILAR: We have pointed out before how millions of Americans are relying on FOX News to get their coronavirus information, or should I say misinformation, and that includes the president.

The biggest names on that network have helped politicized this pandemic, making misleading or false claims about everything from masks to social distancing to treatments for the virus.

If you only watched FOX News, you might think Hydroxychloroquine is to coronavirus what Tylenol is to a headache, or that gathering in large crowds without masks indoors is safe. Or that Democrats want schools and businesses to be closed forever.

And why would you think that?


DR. RAMIN OSKOUI, CEO, FOXHALL CARDIOLOGY: We have decades of medical science, randomized controlled studies that show, for respiratory viruses, masks do nothing.


KEILAR: That is just false, it's nonsense, and it's dangerous. It's like telling people go ahead and smoke, it's actually healthy for you.

Researchers at Brigham Young University have compiled and read more than 115 scientific studies on the coronavirus and there's consensus, broad consensus that masks work.

Here are some key points:


Cloth masks can stop 90 percent or more of droplets carrying the virus from being dispersed.

In countries where public masking was common practice before the pandemic, COVID-19 had an initial daily growth rate of 10 percent versus 18 percent where people did not regularly wear masks.

Projections show that more than 400,000 Americans will die from the coronavirus by January 1st. But if mask usage increased from 60 percent up to 95 percent, we would save 120,000 of those lives.

But "Doctor Don't Wear a Mask," oh, please go on.


OSKOUI: This virus is dying away through natural herd immunity. And a vaccine may actually be mute. But where the science is, believe me, we'll never be able to produce any reliable sources, except the journal of irreversible results. It's absurd.


KEILAR: First of all, White House press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, falsely claimed that herd immunity was made up by the media and that the president wasn't considering it.

Well, the president, of course, contradicted that at least twice this week.

Herd immunity is the concept of allowing the coronavirus to run its course freely through much of the population, allowing a lot of people to build up resistance.

But if the U.S. did that, two million-plus Americans would have to die, according to one doctor, in order to achieve that.

For perspective, only a few percent of Americans are estimated to have contracted the virus at this point, even with the disturbing number of deaths that we have seen.


ALEX BERENSON, AUTHOR: Biden is talking about models, the University of Washington models, and those people have been wrong since March. And they continue to be wrong until this day.

If an asteroid hit the earth in December, a million people might die. That's about as likely as what he is predicting right now.


KEILAR: Some people don't even bother looking at the facts before they go on TV.

The models, they have been wrong, but not in the way that guest claims. The prevailing model, which the White House has used, and uses, underestimated the number of deaths and cases that we would happen to have when they put their projections out.

Just take a look. In March, it projected 81,000 American deaths by July. The real number turned out to be more than 128.000.

In May, they projected 137,000 Americans deaths by August. The real number, 155,000.

In June, the projection, 180,000 by October. It is still September, and we have surpassed that number.

In July, the projection was 200,000 by November. And we're on the cusp of that right now, a month and a half early.

These are lives that they are not being truthful about. These are families destroyed that they are lying about. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BERENSON: The reason that this post-November prediction is being made is because it's unfalsifiable before the election. OK, right now --


BERENSON: -- cases are down, hospitalizations are down, deaths are down.

So, the people that have been trying to panic the country for six months, have to point to out something that they won't be able to falsify before the election.


KEILAR: People are trying to panic the country? Because nearly 200,000 Americans dying in seven months is actually no big deal? Is that what he's saying?

Case numbers and death numbers ebb and flow because this pandemic is coming in waves. But those numbers are still not low, just because they're lower than they consistently were this summer. And 38,000 cases a day still.

On Tuesday, the U.S. just saw the highest number of deaths in a month. And COVID is about to collide with the flu season, a "twin-demic," as the New Jersey health commissioner put it.

And consider this. We have lost almost 200,000 people. And that's taken place in less than eight months. We're expected to lose just as many in half the amount of time by the end of the year. And that is based on models that have, so far, low-balled the number.

When CDC director, Dr. Redfield, testified under oath that masks could be more powerful than a vaccine, he was giving a lifeline to the president's re-election chances by saying that.


DR. ROBERT REDFIELD, CDC DIRECTOR: These face masks are the most important powerful public health tool we have. We have clear scientific evidence they work and they are our best defense.

I might go so far as to say this face mask is more guaranteed to protect me against COVID than when I take a COVID vaccine.


KEILAR: The president responded to that by demeaning Redfield and slapping him down. And FOX News ran with it. They enabled it.

Misinformation is a virus unto itself. And FOX News is the vector.


We are back in a moment.