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New Day

Some Facing Eviction after Federal Moratorium Ends; New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio Interviewed on Measures that May Need to be Taken in Future to Deal with Major Storms; Some Die of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning in Louisiana after Using Improperly Ventilated Generators Due to Lack of Power. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired September 03, 2021 - 08:00   ET



GREG HELLER, SVP, PHILADELPHIA HOUSING DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION: The experience was invaluable. The challenge is just that we're running out of money very quickly.

VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN BUSINESS AND POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: The county has received 53,000 applications, but says more than half won't get funded.

HELLER: We're hoping that there's a way we'll be able to get additional funds from the federal government.

YURKEVICH: Whether it's time or money running out, there's no freedom from anxiety for Toscano, especially when thinking about the future for her nine-year-old son.

What is the worst-case scenario for you?

KRISTINA TOSCANO, FACING EVICTION: Being evicted with my child and not having anywhere to go. I just think about my son. What am I going to tell him?


YURKEVICH: Some good news coming late this week for Toscano and many other New Yorkers. The state extended their eviction ban through the end of the year, but for so many other states, there are no protections in place. And without this federal eviction moratorium, that money is needed very badly by many of these renters across the country. John?

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Money is there, if only they could figure out a way to get it to them. Vanessa Yurkevich, thank you so much for that report.

NEW DAY continues right now.

Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. It is Friday, September 3rd. I'm John Berman. Brianna is off. Chief White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins, you made it all the way to Friday morning.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I know, it's our last hour. It's our last hour. I've had such a fun week.

BERMAN: You've done amazing.

COLLINS: Nice to be in the studio instead being outside of on the lawn.

BERMAN: No doubt, right.


COLLINS: So we do begin with the rising death toll from the historic storm in the northeast. At least 46 people have now died across six states. Most of the victims trapped in their homes or cars when the flood waters rose too fast to escape. This morning millions of people are still under flood warnings. We have some new video this morning in from Manville, New Jersey. You can see the town had been under water, and now there are several buildings on fire. The flooding will likely continue in some places with rivers in the northeast expected to remain above flood stage into the holiday weekend.

COLLINS: Yes, and the powerful remnants of hurricane Ida have spawned at least eight tornadoes in the region. You can see the damage they did there where an F-3 touched down in southern New Jersey. At least 25 homes were damaged or destroyed completely. As you can see there, people are going through the damage that has been done to their homes. Overnight, President Biden has declared federal emergencies in New York and New Jersey, and he's going to Louisiana later today to get a firsthand look at the damage and the destruction as a lot of people in Louisiana still do not have power after hardest hit Ida, of course, came through.

BERMAN: Joining me now is New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Mayor, thank you so much for being with us. Last night you reported the death toll in New York City had risen to 13. Any update on that this morning?

MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO, (D) NEW YORK CITY: Yes, John, first of all, I just want to thank you and everyone at CNN. You guys have really done a great job covering this extraordinarily painful storm and showing the impact it's had on everyday people, working people. I appreciate that. And I also just want us all to stop and think about it, a storm that hit Louisiana and then had an impact as far north as New Jersey, New York, as an after effect. This is a whole new world.

So to answer your question, we've lost 13 New Yorkers, and it's horrible. We lost 13 New Yorkers. And it is because the storm was so ferocious and sudden and the rainfall accumulation. This is not a challenge we've had in the past. In the past you think about flooding, it was coastal areas. That was a huge challenge. This is something entirely new. Rain that accumulates so quickly that people can be trapped in their own basement far away from any seashore, and that people can be trapped in their cars because the rain accumulates so quickly they don't even know what hit them. We're in a whole different world, and we're all going to have to act very differently, because this is not the world we knew. This is a kind of extreme brutal weather that's a whole new ball game. And not just here. Obviously, what happened in Louisiana, what's happening in the southwest with the drought, what's happening in California with the fires, this is a new world because of climate change that's going to take entirely different responses.

BERMAN: One figure I think tells the whole story, which is that New York City and Central Park broke the single-hour rainfall record yesterday basically, the most rainfall ever in one hour. But it was a record that was set the week before. So this is clearly happening more now in ways that just we haven't seen, Mayor. I do want to get a sense, though, of where things stand in the city this morning. It's encouraging, I think, that the death toll has not gone up in New York City from 13 last night to now. At this point do you think everyone has been accounted for? Any rescues still going on this morning?

DE BLASIO: I'm praying that we have closed the book on this, but, John, it is too early to tell.


And NYPD, Fire, EMS, everyone's out there still following up. But look, what we do know, thank God, our roadways are clear again. People, homeowners, store owners, I met with a lot of them in different boroughs yesterday are digging out, getting back to business. New Yorkers are incredibly resilient. So, we went through a lot of pain in the last 48 hours, but people are immediately coming back. Our sanitation workers are cleaning stuff up, putting an amazing effort in to get things as back to normal as they can. And New Yorkers just don't quit. That's the bottom line.

BERMAN: Now, I know you called for global and federal action on climate change. That aside, Mayor, if this is going to keep happening, what can New York City do to be more ready next time?

DE BLASIO: I think it's a different ballgame now, a different strategy. Instead of assuming, as we have in the past, for example, a travel ban was a very, very rare thing in the past. Few times I used that is when we were expecting massive blizzards. But now seeing what happened on Wednesday, a travel ban is the kind of thing I want introduced into the equation early in each storm as a possibility, and then pull the trigger if I have to, and literally tell people, off the streets, out of the subways, clear the way.

Also evacuation -- evacuation, John, is something we only thought of in the worst kind of events, particularly hurricanes and coastal areas. But what we saw in some of these basement apartments on Wednesday was people need to be evacuated who are far away from the coast because of the sheer intensity and speed, the amount of rain that came in such a brief period of time. We're going to need to now have the ability to send police, fire, et cetera, out to go and evacuate people in places we never would have imagined in the past. And we're going to have to tell people, prepare to be evacuated.

I'm actually amazed we're at this point honestly, but given what's happened with climate change, given the fact that the extreme weather is now, tragically, the norm, we're going to have to be much more aggressive with these kinds of tools.

BERMAN: I think that's startling. That will be startling when it sinks in the mayor of New York City is basically saying the city is going to need to evacuate, lowering the bar for people to get out of their homes in the face of storms. It's not something you think about when you think of New York City. Mayor Bill de Blasio, I appreciate you being on this morning.

DE BLASIO: Thank you, John.

COLLINS: Meanwhile, President Biden is set to visit Louisiana just hours from now after a family of three in Louisiana has died from carbon monoxide poisoning after using a poorly ventilated generator in the aftermath of hurricane Ida. With many people still without power, my next guest is warning about an uptick in calls related to carbon monoxide poisoning as emergency workers are responding to calls that are, quote, 185 percent above the norm.

Emily Nichols is the director of the New Orleans Emergency Medical Services. Emily, obviously this has become a huge issue in the wake of the storm because people still don't have power. They are relying on generators, and clearly a lot of people are not using them properly?

DR. EMILY NICHOLS, DIRECTOR, NEW ORLEANS EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES: Yes, that's correct. Thank you for having us on this morning. We are now at day five, and we were fortunate to just get power overnight. I awoke to electricity. And yet we know that we still have several residents in the city that do not have power. And many people who haven't used generators in the past are going and buying them from local warehouses, and either keeping them too close to their home or inside of their home or inside of their garage. And all of those things are dangerous and potentially fatal. And we're seeing that as we respond to our calls.

COLLINS: And so how are you guys getting the word out about being careful about carbon monoxide poisoning? If someone doesn't have a detector in their home, obviously they need to be keeping these outside, right?

NICHOLS: Absolutely. We're doing a lot of messaging through our mayor, through the community each day and on social media, really just trying to spread that word through any means possible in a neighborly fashion, really reminding people of the symptoms of carbon monoxide, which are so similar to basic things like dehydration and fatigue and the flu, and really reminding people they have to consider this or anybody that doesn't seem to be acting like themselves, because the effects could be deadly.

COLLINS: Right. And, of course, people do feel those symptoms and being dehydrated and whatnot given you're outside in the heat, no air conditioning, it is very hot in Louisiana.

President Biden is going to be in the state later today. We know that. We heard from a woman earlier who was being interviewed by our colleague Adrienne Broaddus who was saying where is the federal government here? Have you been satisfied with their response so far? Do you think they doing enough? Are there certain things that you need to see more of?


NICHOLS: We've had the government here each day from very early on in responding to their needs. It's such a dynamic situation, and something like getting infrastructure back to where we need such that everyone has energy is really unpredictable with the damage that we have. There's so much debris on the road. And so I think everyone's really been working hard, and FEMA has been here on the ground very early. And so we have been feeling supported, which is such a significant portion of our recovery.

COLLINS: Of course, that's a huge part of it, and you want to make sure you're getting everything you need right now, not a few days, but right now. So Dr. Emily Nichols, thank you for joining us this morning. And we are thinking of all of you and hoping everybody gets their power back soon.

NICHOLS: Thank you so much.

COLLINS: We are also watching the latest monthly jobs report, which is set to be released just moments from now. Will this recent COVID surge threaten the recovery, or what are we going to see in these numbers today?

Plus, Dr. Anthony Fauci is endorsing a third booster shot. He'll tell you why next.

BERMAN: And President Biden being tested in what is arguably the rockiest time of his presidency so far. Doris Kearns Goodwin joins us live.


BERMAN: President Biden's leadership is being tested this week. The president facing major challenges on three fronts -- the pandemic, Afghanistan, and now these storms that have left a trail of destruction.


Joining us now is presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin. She's the author of the book "Leadership in Turbulent Times."

Doris, great to see you this morning.

We are reminded presidents don't always get to choose their challenges. And what a difference as we sit here on the precipice of Labor Day from the first 100 days for President Joe Biden.

DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: How true what you say. I mean, you think about those first hundred days, and President Biden was able to focus almost like a laser on the thing that really mattered, which was how could he deal with the COVID problem. And the economy intertwined with that. He kept his promise to have 100 million vaccines in the arms of the people by then. He was able to get the National Guard out, he was able to get those vaccines distributed.

And now in the space of the last couple weeks, he has to deal with the delta variant, with, as you say, storms, and with Afghanistan. So his leadership is being tested on multiple fronts even more than before.

COLLINS: And, Doris, when it comes to being tested on, of course, what is most important to every American, which is COVID-19 and this delta surge, in his first several hundred days in office, I wouldn't say it was easy, of course, because they were trying to get a lot of people vaccinated and reach the goals they were setting. But now with the delta variant and people having to put masks back on, we're seeing the debate become incredibly heated at schools.

Do you think they're handling this first real backslide in the trajectory of the pandemic well? Or what do you think this is going to do as they're watching how this is going into the winter?

GOODWIN: Well, the delta variant came out of somewhere else, you know. It created yet a different battle in this war front that seemed to have given us the feeling we were back to our freedoms, that we were under control, that restaurants could be opened, that social distancing could be stopped. It's really hard when you've experienced that for a short period of time to go backward.

And now, the federal government has to figure out, are more mandates needed? How do we get more vaccines into people? What kind of public relations can you use? What mandates can you use? Because I think unless this virus gets under control, it's the most important thing the president is facing right now.

It's just like FDR having to face the depression. If he hadn't handled that, his presidency wouldn't have gotten off the ground. Lincoln was doing well with the war after Gettysburg by the summer of 1864, when the war was going badly and people were worried it was going to go on forever and ever.

They were told you will not win the election in 1864, and then Atlanta fell and things changed. So, if the variant gets under control and we're back to where we were a couple of weeks ago, things will be very different. If it doesn't, things are going to be tough.

BERMAN: Going backwards is political peril for any administration, I would think.

GOODWIN: Without a question. I mean, once you've experienced -- I think that's the thing. Maybe we could have gone step-by-step, feeling like we were getting somewhere. But we experience that feeling. Yay, we've got this under control, and it's really hard.

But it's what we're going to have to do right now until this variant gets under control. And maybe it has its own journey as some of the scientists are saying, that it may come to an end. Maybe we will have herd immunity. Meanwhile we have to do everything we can to get us there. And that means more vaccinations.

COLLINS: And, Doris, of course, this is the first priority for the White House, but what's been really consuming everything for the White House over the last several weeks has been this U.S. exit from Afghanistan. And the president and the White House seem to be, when they speak privately to us behind the scenes, they don't think this is going to be part of his legacy, the actual exit, but the fact that he exited they think will be part of it. The fact that he got U.S. troops out of Afghanistan is what they say is going to be key to that. What is your take on that?

GODWIN: I do think that in the end, history will regard the fact that we needed to exit from a forever war as the important part of his legacy. It's true, we were enveloped by those heart-breaking pictures in these last couple of days. But, you know, in the end, what President Biden was saying is we have to focus back on home. This is a war that no longer could be won.

This is what President Eisenhower said shortly after he took office, was a certain kind of plea for peace. He said that every gun that is made, every rocket that is fired signifies a theft from people who are hungry and cannot be fed, people who are cold and cannot be clothed.

In a certain sense, the people of Afghanistan were a tribal nation never able to form a country. My son was a captain there in 2008. He saw this then. He saw the problem of corruption. The fact the government wasn't working.

The time to get out was now. And, yes, hopefully in the long run, that's what history will regard.

BERMAN: And one of the things I think you will see from the president and the White House is making this a domestic issue, is turning that corner that you just brought up there, saying this is a choice about being in Afghanistan, they will say, or doing something for people here, whether it's the infrastructure or part of the build back better agenda.


I want to ask you about the Supreme Court because there is a connection in a way to COVID, right, in that in Texas right now, the law has gone backwards in terms of abortion -- abortion rights. You have fewer rights if you want to get an abortion in Texas today than you did three days ago.

How significant is this moment, and how will it fall in history? Roe v. Wade has been the law of the land since the 1970s, 50 years more or less now. What would happen if all of a sudden it goes away or at least goes away in stages?

GOODWIN: Again, you're right. A generation, two generations of women have exercised and understood the right to choose. And you're taking something that was a precedent that was set nearly 50 years ago away from them. I think it will spur activism. I think it will make the Supreme Court -- when it makes its decision this fall, have to be very, think long and hard about whether they're going to you think do a precedent that was there and what kind of havoc it would reach.

We're already such a divided nation. The court has to worry about its own integrity. There is a sense when Brown v. Board was decided in 1954 which was also undoing a precedent of 50 years that allowed separate but equal in the South, they knew it was so important to have unanimous decision when you make such an important ruling like that.

And it's inevitable if the court were to do that, the Supreme Court were to allow abortion to go away, it would be a divided opinion and that would be very hard for the integrity of the court, very hard for the country, and one has to just hope the court will think very hard before they do that.

COLLINS: And, Doris, a big part of this is the makeup of the Supreme Court. I think a lot of this has shed some light on RBG, of course, when she died and the effect that had on the court, and justice Steven Breyer, whether or not he is going to retire. That has been a big question. We know progressives pushed for that to happen. What is your take?

GOODWIN: I think that Justice Breyer himself has hinted that maybe the time has come for him to make sure that the next justice can follow in his tradition by being appointed by President Biden. It also brings back the whole discussion we had at the time that Ruth Ginsburg died, which was should there be some kind of structural reform to the judicial system. And there was a commission that President Biden set up, there was talk about court packing.

When FDR was trying to pack the court, it was, in part, because the overwhelming majority of the people agreed that the new deal decisions that the court was turning down. And as it turned out, even though the court packing didn't work, the court did shift its position and okayed the Supreme Court decisions.

So the court does have a sense of following public sentiment. If public sentiment gets aroused about this decision, if activism is out there, we have 3 million people arguing right after President Trump was elected they were worried about reproductive and civil rights. They were out marching. That threat has come. It's time for those voices to be heard.

BERMAN: Doris Kearns Goodwin, always a pleasure to speak to you. Thank you for joining us this morning.

GOODWIN: Thank you for having me.

COLLINS: Always so good to hear from her.

The youngest children are still ineligible for vaccines, but there is new data showing vaccinating adults can actually help kids.

BERMAN: In Georgia, a vaccine clinic doctor, doctors are being harassed at vaccine clinics. We're going to speak with a Republican doctor who attended a Marjorie Taylor Greene rally and what he says happened, next.



COLLINS: CDC director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, says vaccinating children can help even if they are too young to get vaccinated themselves.

CNN's Elizabeth Cohen joins us now.

Elizabeth, what else did Dr. Walensky say about this?


Dr. Walensky talked about how even though children cannot get vaccinated, it really behooves all of us to get vaccinated in order to protect them. Let's look at the data that she was presenting. So, she said that when you look at children ages 0 to 17 years old, those rates, rates of hospitalization are four times higher among states that have low vaccination rates. So, in other words, kids are getting COVID more often when adults are not vaccinated.

Now, we also want to take a look at some Israeli data that was presented yesterday by Dr. Anthony Fauci. He is looking at boosters. Now, to be clear, it's going to sound like they're contradicting each other, but they're not.

Dr. Walensky is saying two doses work really well. What Dr. Fauci is saying over time as vaccines wane, it still works well, but a third shot works even better.

So, let' take a look at this data out of Israel. Dr. Fauci is saying that when they look at more than a million Israelis ages 60 plus, who got a booster, in other words, go a third shot, their relative risk of getting severe disease drops ten times. It dropped by ten times.

Let's take a listen to what Dr. Fauci had to say yesterday.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: I must say for my own experience as an immunologist, I would not at all be surprised that the adequate full regimen for vaccination will likely be three doses.


COHEN: So, in other words, what Dr. Fauci is saying is, looking this is not shocking. Any parent knows that when you take your child for a vaccine, you're often taking them back a few months later, sometimes a few years later for another shot, another series, another shot in the series, another booster. So it isn't terribly surprising that we're seeing that we need boosters now -- Kaitlan.

COLLINS: Of course not, because it is something that has happened many times in the past.

Thank you so much, Elizabeth, for joining us this morning.

COHEN: Right.

BERMAN: So, Georgia is now seeing more COVID hospitalizations than at any time since the pandemic began with 6,500 people in the hospital.