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New Day Saturday

U.S. Sees Record Day Of New COVID-19 Cases; Disney World Set To Reopen As COVID Cases Explode In Florida; Despite Surge In Cases, Trump Says "U.S. Getting Back On Track;" President Trump Commutes Roger Stone's Sentence After He Was Convicted Of Seven Felonies; Back- To-School Plans In Flux As Cases And Hospitalizations Surge; Health Workers In The U.K. Protest Of Facing Twin Pandemics Of Racism And COVID-19. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired July 11, 2020 - 06:00   ET




ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: The United States is in the middle right now even as we speak in a very serious problem.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We learned the U.S. set a new single-day record for cases at more than 63,000.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the numbers are going to look worse as we go into next week.

PABLO LOREDO, SOUTH TEXAS HEALTH: Everyone is exhausted and the patients here are very sick.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There seems to be this lack of understanding that we are in one of the most extraordinary public health crises that our nation has ever faced.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: The fact is is that the president has been a failure in every way.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Trump commuting the prison sentence of Roger Stone, a longtime associate who was convicted of seven felonies.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was convicted of lying to Congress in order to protect the President Donald Trump and then President Trump turns around and commutes Roger Stone's sentence. This is what corruption looks like.


VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Good Saturday morning to you. You are watching NEW DAY. It is July 11th. I'm Victor Blackwell.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN HOST: And I'm Abby Phillip in for Christi Paul today. BLACKWELL: Yes. Another record-setting day of coronavirus infections across the country. The U.S. added more than 66,000 cases in just one day. That's the latest number into CNN. It is the seventh time in 11 days that the U.S. has broken that record.

PHILLIP: The epicenter is now in Florida and that's where President Trump was yesterday for events not related to the coronavirus response. The state recorded more than 11,000 new cases and 93 deaths alone on Friday and after facing weeks of pressure, Florida is now releasing details on coronavirus hospitalizations.

BLACKWELL: Let's take you to Texas now where the latest numbers there have more than 10,000 COVID patients in hospitals. The governor has already rolled back reopening. He says the next step would have to be a lockdown.

PHILLIP: And in Georgia, the governor is reactivating a field hospital at a convention center in Atlanta. The mayor there is rolling back reopening to essential travel only and restaurants are being asked to close for dine-in service, but Governor Kemp says that order is legally unenforceable.

BLACKWELL: Let's start this morning with CNN's Polo Sandoval. He's following all the latest developments for us and just a couple of days ago, Polo, Dr. Anthony Fauci said that he could foresee or would not be surprised if the cases went to 100,000 a day and when he said it, people jaws -- their jaws dropped. They thought it unthinkable, but now we're getting close to 70,000 at least.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And yesterday again, Victor, we're hearing from Dr. Fauci raising these red flags and when you look across the country, you have more cities and states that are not just pausing their reopening, but even rolling it back. As you mentioned a few moments ago, Atlanta, Georgia one such example where Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announcing yesterday that she is now going back to Phase 1, meaning a stay-at-home order for Atlanta residents, saying that Georgia reopened with, quote, "In a reckless manner."

This certainly drawing some fire from the state's Republican governor who calls that unenforceable, but really when you look back and you at least take a wider look here, Georgia just one of many states seeing this surge. There's of course California, Texas and definitely Florida.


FAUCI: I would advise him ...

SANDOVAL: The nation's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, telling the world that the U.S. is at a historic point in the COVID pandemic.

FAUCI: As you can see from this slide here, my own country, the United States, as I'm sure we'll be able to discuss a little bit more, is in the middle right now even as we speak in a very serious problem. SANDOVAL: Fauci issued the blunt new warning during this year's International AIDS Conference as the coronavirus crisis rages on. Amid ongoing reopenings, Florida continues to grapple with skyrocketing daily COVID numbers and hospitalizations. In hot zone Miami Dade County, the test positivity rate surpassed 33 percent this week.

DAN GELBER (D), MAYOR, MIAMI BEACH: We have 1,800 people and COVID patients now. That's the highest by many multiples. We have almost 400 people in intensive care and we're about to hit an all-time high in ventilators.

SANDOVAL: Despite the apparent height in Florida's pandemic ...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We look forward to seeing you soon at ...

SANDOVAL: ... two Disneyland parks are open again this weekend amid criticism from one employee union. Aggressive testing happening in parts of Texas, some regions working with the military to keep up with demand. In another sign that the pandemic is tightening its grip on the Lone Star State, some hospitals are turning to tents and other spaces to treat the overflow of COVID patients.

WESLEY ROBINSON, SOUTH TEXAS HEALTH: Conference rooms, shelf spaces and currently we have ICU patients that are on medical surgical floors that honestly really need closer monitoring, need equipment, but those are things that we just simply do not have at this time.


LOREDO: Everyone is exhausted and the patients here are very sick.

SANDOVAL: California also taking steps to relieve the pressure from record COVID numbers. The state's Department of Corrections plans to release at least 8,000 pre-selected prisoners from correctional facilities across the state, the movement to allow for more social distancing behind bars.

As death tolls climb, a troubling new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about how COVID is disproportionately killing black and brown Americans. The fresh CDC data showing on average those minority groups are dying from the virus at a younger age when compared to white patients. One likely factor, many of them filling essential and service jobs, allowing little room for social distancing or for staying at home.

DR. UCHE BLACKSTOCK, CEO ADVANCING HEALTH EQUITY: And what we need right now in the short-term are an equitable allocation of resources to black and brown communities, so targeting testing, contact tracing, PPE, ensuring that the healthcare institutions in those communities are adequately resourced.

SANDOVAL: Staying fully stocked, that's a big challenge for some hospitals across the country with a virus showing no signs of slowing down.

(END VIDEO CLIP) SANDOVAL: About 300 doses of the drug Remdesivir being sent from New York down to Florida to try to help authorities down there. It should be arriving today. That's basically the state that was once the epicenter in the United States is sending help to the state that now holds that grim title, Abby and Victor.

PHILLIP: Yes. New York learned the hard way about how this works. Thank you, Polo, for that.

BLACKWELL: Now, as we heard from Polo there, the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida is scheduled to reopen in fewer than three hours at 9:00 Eastern and of course this is happening as the number of COVID-19 cases are exploding across Florida.

PHILLIP: It's not the first Disney Resort to reopen worldwide, but it is the first to reopen in the U.S. with new safety measures. CNN's Natasha Chen has more details.


NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Disney theme parks may be an escape to a fictional bubble, but no amount of pixie dust can wipe away the realities of a pandemic.


CHEN: It's a whole new world of temperature checks, parties separated on rides, touchless payments and entry and required face masks that must loop around human ears. There are also far fewer people in the parks due to significantly reduced capacity and a required advanced reservation for people wanting to go in.

WALT: I do feel a bit nervous when trying to do all the things I love and enjoy doing again, but also remembering to do them as safely as I possibly can. Wearing an N95 mask to the parks, social distancing from other park goers, packing Clorox wipes, packing hand sanitizer, keeping my hands clean at all the different hand-washing stations.

CHEN: For locals and theme park bloggers in Orange County Florida where COVID cases are rising rapidly along with the rest of the state ...

CRAIG WILLIAMS, PRODUCER OF "THE DIS UNPLUGGED": We feel safer at theme parks than we do at any other normal store or restaurant. It feels safer at the theme parks because they're putting in that extra effort.

CHEN: He says the extra effort is more visible at Disney than he's seen at other theme parks that reopened in the past month. Rides frequently stopped so employees could sanitize them, Plexiglas especially in tight queues and something he doesn't always see outside Disney property.

WILLIAMS: It really blew me way that everyone was following all the rules. So I definitely didn't expect that. CHEN: Orange County officials were asked Thursday if they'd seen COVID cases stemming from the theme parks that are already open.

RAUL PINO, ORANGE COUNTY HEALTH OFFICER: I would be lying to say that we have not seen a case here and there that mention one of the parks, but we have not seen an outbreak in any of the parks that are open so far that we are aware of.

CHEN: Disney's Chief Medical Officer said in a blog post this week, "We have reimagined the Disney experience so we can all enjoy the magic responsibly." And that includes the many restaurants on Disney property like Chef Art Smith's Homecomin' which has a new patio and spaced out tables.

CHEF ART SMITH, OWNER OF HOMECOMIN' FLORIDA KITCHEN AT DISNEY SPRINGS: Everyone wants to enjoy their time here, but safely and I think together we're doing that.

CHEN: He says people need a safe way to get a little comfort food and magic right now.

SMITH: It ain't (ph) how we are in good times, it's how we are in challenging times, OK?

CHEN: Natasha Chen, CNN, Atlanta.


PHILLIP: Thanks to Natasha for that. President Trump today is scheduled to visit troops at Walter Reed Medical Center. It will be another opportunity for him to address the coronavirus pandemic after downplaying its severity yesterday in Florida.



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In the United States, at least before the COVID came to us, the flu, the virus, the China virus, whatever you'd like to call it, it's got many different names, but before it hit, we were doing really well. We're still doing very well, but now we're getting back on track.


BLACKWELL: CNN's Sarah Westwood is live from the White House and that's about it that we heard from the president during his travels to, of all places, Florida.

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: That's right. Good morning, Abby and Victor, and yes, President Trump yesterday in one of the nation's leading coronavirus hotspots really did not mention it at a -- at his trip that involved several stops throughout Southern Florida, the president much more focused on other issues. Today he will be heading to Walter Reed to visit those wounded service members and it could be an opportunity for a turning point of sorts when it comes to wearing a mask.

The president has so far resisted pressure from his critics, but also from now his own aides and advisors to wear a mask. He's been insisting and so have his defenders that because he is tested daily, because everyone around him is tested daily he doesn't technically need to wear a mask the way that regular Americans need to, but the point that aides and advisors have been trying to get across to President Trump, according to sources who spoke to CNN, is that really it's more of a symbolic leadership role that the president needs to be wearing a mask.

You've seen that shift in other prominent Republicans from minority leader -- House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy all the way to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell who have been promoting masks as we've seen infection rates spike in states across this country.

Now, recall that in May, the president went to a Ford plant in Michigan and did briefly wear a mask out of view of cameras. He later said he did not want to give the press the pleasure of seeing him in a mask, but aides tell CNN that today the president is expected to be photographed wearing a face covering and that is a very deliberate step for the president, encouraging his supporters to wear masks. Some aides, Victor and Abby, were spooked by the sight of many maskless faces at the president's rally in Tulsa just a few weeks ago.

PHILLIP: Absolutely. I was there for that, Sarah. Thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: All right. Up next, President Trump commutes the sentence of his friend and political ally Roger Stone and in doing so, releases this 600-word statement riddled with lies and misleading statements. We'll get into that and the implications of this commutation next.




BLACKWELL: President Trump has commuted the prison sentence of his longtime friend and advisor Roger Stone. Now, he was scheduled to start serving this 40-month sentence next week.

PHILLIP: Stone was convicted last year of lying to Congress, witness tampering and other charges related to the Russia probe. CNN's Sara Murray has more from Washington.

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: President Trump on Friday night commuted the sentence of his longtime friend and political adviser Roger Stone. Stone had been convicted of crimes including lying to Congress in part to protect the president. He was set to report to prison next week to kick off his three-year sentence.

Now, Stone was pleading publicly for the president to intervene. He said reporting to prison during the pandemic was akin to a death sentence because he is 67 years old. Ultimately the president did intervene on Friday and here is Stone describing his conversation with Trump.


ROGER STONE, LONGTIME TRUMP FRIEND & FORMER CAMPAIGN ADVISER: He said you understand I have the option, I have the authority to either grant a pardon or commute your sentence. He says you should understand that a pardon would be -- would be final and that in accepting a pardon, you are accepting guilt and I would rather see you fight this out which is why I'm commuting your sentence.


MURRAY: Now, President Trump and Roger Stone are insistent that Stone did not get a fair shake at trial, but even Attorney General Bill Barr has said the prosecution was righteous. As for Democrats, they are pointing to the president intervening in this case as an indication that he has no respect for the justice system. Sara Murray, CNN, Washington.

PHILLIP: And for more on this, let's bring in CNN legal analyst and criminal defense attorney Joey Jackson. Joey, good to see you. Let's start there with what Roger Stone just said in Sara's piece. He indicated that the president was the one who wanted a commutation versus a pardon, but what do you think is the significance of that? Stone says he didn't want to admit any kind of guilt in this case.

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Good morning to you, Abby. Good morning, Victor. I think the significance is just a disdain for the process. You know, we have a very elaborate process no matter what you think of it. That process includes convening grand jurors to assess evidence and to determine whether people should be indicted.

It includes having trials. It includes judges making rulings. It includes finally, Abby, having 12 jurors unanimously making a determination and then to upset that process predicated upon, you know, you being a friend of the president, it's just very troubling.

And so if we have protocols and procedures in place, you know, if you want to apply for a pardon, have at it. There's the Office of the Pardon Attorney. You wait five years after the completion of your sentence, you know, or -- you know, you do so or -- and the fact is is that I just don't get or understand how all of that could be turned on the head and then you release a letter scathing it's a Russian hoax, it's a -- you know, raids were happening at his home.

So it's just troubling to me as a person who practices in state and federal court to see that it could be upended because you're a friend of the president.

BLACKWELL: Yes. I have this statement from the White House here and there's a line here, "These charges were the product of recklessness borne of frustration and malice." This says a lot. What it does not say is that Stone did not commit the crimes of which he was convicted. Your reaction to what this must mean for the Justice Department.

[06:20:01] We know those four prosecutors, that they resigned from the case back

in February after the DOJ stepped in on the sentencing recommendation.

JACKSON: So everything about this is troubling, Victor, right? So let's start there with the sentencing recommendation. We have federal guidelines, right? Now, certainly there are criteria, there are laws and when you get convicted of them, they say you'll go away for 20 years or this many years as we look there, you know, at the different counts, seven of them I might add, a jury, I might add, unanimously saying you're guilty.

And of course the letter you refer to, Victor, right? You could say they're process crimes, but it's a crime. You don't obstruct the proceeding, you don't lie to Congress when you're called to testify before it and you don't tamper with witnesses and so at the end of the day, it's just troubling when you have, again, this fraught with politics. There's a procedure, there's a system. The system's put in place.

The system has to be one system, Victor and Abby, that works for all of us, that works for everyone and it can't be predicated upon contacts, it can't be predicated upon who you know, it can't be predicated upon you saying it's a Russian hoax, it's outrageous. It has to be based on the law and when the rule of law is turned on its head, I make of it that we're just in a place we should not be.

Don't make it about politics, make it about justice and when you see injustices like this, it's just troubling as a person who has to go to court every day, defend people and do what you need to do, but they're subject to a different procedure, but, you know, you know the president, make a phone call, here's your out of jail free card. That's a problem.

PHILLIP: Yes. I mean, the process crime argument is one that we've heard the president make before about, you know, obstructing justice. He seems to not think that those are significant, but it's interesting to me that in an interview Roger Stone yesterday gave, you know, he said that he could have turned on the president, he indicated that he stayed loyal to President Trump and that this was part of the sort of reward for that.

I mean, what do you think it means that he has acknowledged that he could have testified in a way that could have hurt the president? Was he covering up for President Trump?

JACKSON: You know what, Abby, it certainly seems that way, right? The fact is is that what do you -- you know, when you talk about you could have turned on the president, turned on him as it relates to what? If you talk about you have information you could have released and it would have made it easier for you, released about what? And so what were you protecting and what is the president protecting by you doing this?

And I just think it's troubling all the way around when you look at everything. I mean, you know, Victor was asking me before even when you look at the sentencing guidelines and how they were disturbed and prosecutors resigning because the sentencing guidelines called for seven to nine years, you say, you know, four years. It's just so upsetting or, you know, 40 months.

It's just when you look at the process, when you look at the protocols, Abby, and when you look at a standard of justice in this particular case and you look at it, you protect the president, you're good. You know the president, you're good. You know, you're in accord with the president, you're good. And it just sends the wrong message, particularly in this time where we're looking at transparency, we're looking at justice and we're looking at equality. Where is that in this? That's the message and I think it's the wrong and inappropriate message at this time or at any time quite frankly.

BLACKWELL: Yes. After you get through the first 500 words of this justification for the commutation and then they switch to COVID-19 and putting him at a medical risk in prison. Joey Jackson, thanks so much for your insight into this. We'll of course continue this conversation throughout the morning and you can get more on this. Go to and read a breakdown of 12 baseless claims from the White House. It's titled "Debunking 12 lies and falsehoods from the White House statement on Roger Stone's commutation." It's certainly worth the read.

PHILLIP: And as U.S. cases surge, the CDC director says schools must reopen, but is it really safe? We're breaking down the government's guidelines with a doctor coming up next.





LARRY KUDLOW, WH ECONOMIC ADVISER: Just go back to school. We can do that. And you know, you can social distance, you can get your temperature taken, you can be tested, you could have distancing. Come on, it's not that hard.


BLACKWELL: So that's White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow and he says it's not that hard, but millions of families across the country, teachers, they're trying to now understand how to get their students back into class during this pandemic. There is nothing easy about this. COVID-19 cases are going up and there is a new report that has found that nearly one in four or a million-and-a-half teachers are at a higher risk of getting seriously ill and then of course there's the concern over spread.

Consider that a summer camp in Missouri just had to shut down after 80, 8-0, 80 kids and staffers tested positive and we know children can also get seriously sick, even die in some rare cases.

PHILLIP: That's why the CDC has issued guidelines. Let's take a look at what -- some of -- some of what the government has said. There is the K through 12 schools readiness plan and planning tool. It's a nine page document of checklists to help schools make sure they're following the guidelines and on the first page of that tool, you can see there there are three guiding principles indicating the level of risk.

The lowest risk, classes and activities that are online, virtual-only. Small, in-person classes and activities and events pose a little bit more risk and then at the highest risk level is full-sized classes and in-person activities and events with no social distancing.

BLACKWELL: Yes. These considerations for schools, this is a list of ways to protect students and teachers and staff.


They include wearing a mask, keeping desks 6 feet apart, staying home when appropriate, staggering arrival and dismissal times, cancelling field trips and large gatherings. Close the communal spaces there and having backup staffing plans. All the things that schools are trying to figure out. And as they prepare to reopen, researchers are warning parents that the symptoms of coronavirus in children may be different than those that we're seeing in adults.

PHILLIP: CNN health reporter Jacqueline Howard explains more.

JACQUELINE HOWARD, CNN HEALTH REPORTER: Victor and Abby, here's what we know. So kids appear not to be at a higher risk of COVID than the rest of us. But a new study from an American Academy of Pediatrics Journal suggests that their symptoms might be slightly different. Now, this study was on 22 children with coronavirus who were admitted to the hospital. It found that only 41 percent of them had respiratory symptoms.

And some of the cases even when overlooked because they did not meet the then-recommended coronavirus testing criteria. Here are the numbers, 15 of those kids had a fever, 9 had respiratory symptoms, 6 reported fatigue, 2 had seizures, 1 had a headache, and 16 had no known contact with someone who had COVID. Now, there is still much left to learn here. Researchers are still learning more about how COVID impacts kids who already have underlying health conditions.

And COVID may be linked to brain swelling. That needs more study. Also, you may have heard of this. Some children with COVID have developed a rare condition called Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome. And information about that is limited. But for now, most COVID cases in children appear to be mild. And there's a lot you can do to keep your kid healthy. We all know the drill.

Remind them to wash their hands. Have them sneeze and cough into a tissue. And definitely take time to really disinfect surfaces and disinfect their toys, and don't forget their stuffed animals, too. Victor, Abby?

BLACKWELL: Jacqueline Howard, thank you so much. Let's bring in CNN medical analyst Dr. Saju Mathew also a public health specialist, primary care physician in Atlanta. Doc, welcome back. Let's start here with the reopening of schools because independent of all that schools will have to do inside the building to protect the students and the staff and the teachers, what are some of the metrics they should consider in the community in when determining how to approach reopening or if it's safe to bring students back into the classroom?

SAJU MATHEW, PUBLIC HEALTH SPECIALIST: Yes, good morning, Victor, good morning, Abby. Listen, you know, we're talking about schools opening almost like schools exist in a vacuum. Schools are the fabric of our society. These are where students are going to learn and interact and mingle with teachers for long periods of time. But we can't even begin that dialogue in my opinion until we talk about these viral surges.

If the positivity rate in your community is greater than 5 percent to 8 percent, you need to convince me if I had a kid, that, listen, this is what we're doing to decrease the viral load in the community. And unfortunately, in a lot of these states where the cases are surging, Victor, we're not even close to having essential dialogue about what needs to be done.

PHILLIP: Yes, it does seem that there is still a need to kind of get back to the basics on some of this. One of the things that some officials have pointed out is that even while students might live in particular communities where their schools are, their teachers and administrators might live in neighboring communities. So is it possible for isolated school districts to just decide we're going to reopen fully, and have everybody come back to school without having a regional or even statewide policy on how they approach this issue?

MATHEW: That's exactly right, Abby. It's one thing to say we're taking all these measures. And I appreciate that. I have looked at some of these measures. I've got patients that are superintendents of schools here in the city where I live in Atlanta. But the problem that I have is, you can -- you can open a school, but can you keep the school open? And I think that, that is the dialogue that we need to have. It's the same dialogue that we need to have, Abby, about businesses opening.

You know, in my opinion, in a city like Atlanta, where the positivity rate is high and skyrocketing, we are heading towards becoming an epicenter. We need to -- unfortunately, talk about rolling back and decrease the virus in the community before we even talk about schools opening in the Fall.

BLACKWELL: Let me ask you about the protections inside the school. CNN affiliate "WSB" reporting that Cherokee County school board voted that students would not be required to wear masks in school.


I wonder how you can suggest that students will be safe when the one tool we know that will prevent the spread is not being required of everyone.

MATHEW: That's correct, Victor. We know more than ever before that masks is the way to go. It's not only protecting other people from me as the mask wearer. It's also protecting myself. You know, we keep talking about how children are much safer when it comes to COVID-19 infection. As a public health specialist and a primary care physician that sees kids, Victor, I'm not convinced that in so many ways, we are really underestimating how they can be vectors.

So, yes, kids are safer when they come to COVID-19 infections. But they can transmit the virus to their parents and to grandparents that might be in contact with them. So I think that we really should not be looking at these cases in isolation. We need to, first, look at that state, that city, try to decrease the viral load, bring that positivity rate down, increase testing.

Also, the other question I have, Victor, is if a teacher falls sick, what are the plans for testing? Good luck in trying to get a test in Atlanta now for COVID-19.

PHILLIP: Yes, it's a really good point, and beyond the tests, I mean, what we're seeing in all these states, Arizona, Texas, hospitals are filling up. Arizona saying that they have less than a thousand in- patient beds available in that state. I mean, what does that indicate to you?

Are we reaching a point in some of these states where we could be creating dangers for people who are coming into the hospital for other reasons, other than COVID, maybe can't get treated for what they need, heart attacks, things like that.

MATHEW: Absolutely. There have been studies that have shown that we are diagnosing heart attacks later. We are diagnosing cancer later. A lot of my patients, Abby, they are not even comfortable sometimes coming to the primary care office. I mean, I wear the whole gown, the face shield, we're trying to keep it safe, even at the primary care level.

But ultimately, if we can't keep our patients convinced that we are doing our best to decrease the load, then, yes, hospitalization surges will continue to increase. And you know, this is a way I look at it, Abby. We started late, we've always been behind the game here. We should have learned from what happened in New York and we're not. And to me, that's what's really frustrating is, it's not enough to just pause.

We have to roll back and we unfortunately have to go back to these stay-at-home measures. It's the only way to decrease that contact between two individuals, and increase the exponential transfer of the virus.

PHILLIP: And the big question now is, do we have the political will to do that? Dr. Saju Mathew, thank you so much for joining us this morning. We want to hear from you. Should schools reopen this Fall? Do they have the right protocols to keep kids and teachers and support staff safe?

MATHEW: Yes, reach out to us on Twitter, I'm @VictorBlackwell, Abby is @abbydphillip. I'm going to post something now to which you can just simply reply. Let us know, what is your priority there in your community for your kids. How are the last couple of months while school was open, then teaching at home, and what you hope this upcoming year will bring. Again, @VictorBlackwell, @abbydphillip, we want to hear your comments. We'll share a few later this morning.

And be sure to stay with us this morning, we'll be joined by Robert Runcie; he is the superintendent of Florida's Broward County public schools, 237 schools there and the plan for reopening and bringing students back to the classroom there in south Florida.

PHILLIP: That's right. His schools could remain closed despite a state mandate to reopen in the Fall. How does he plan to educate students in the classroom. That is coming up in the 8 O'clock hour right here on NEW DAY. Stay with us. Up next, the frontline health workers facing twin pandemics, racism and the coronavirus. CNN interviews a dozen black nurses who say discrimination has only gotten worse during the pandemic. That story, when we return.



PHILLIP: A new report from the United Kingdom finds minorities make up six out of every ten healthcare workers who have died from COVID-19.

BLACKWELL: Yes, another example of the challenges that people of color are facing. CNN Reporter Salma Abdelaziz meets the nurses confronting racism while battling coronavirus.


SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): Racism and coronavirus. Twin pandemics that are forcing a reckoning across the world. Efe Obiakor; a nurse of 12 years says she is on the frontline of both battles. Treating COVID-19 while also fighting for equality.

EFE OBIAKOR, NURSE: As a black nurse, it's very important for me to come out today because, in the system where I work, and in the NHS as a whole, there is racism.

ABDELAZIZ: And what do you face on a daily basis?

OBIAKOR: You just feel you're drowning, and nobody's hearing your voice. On the coronavirus, of course, it got worse because you had more of the blacks in the forefront.

ABDELAZIZ: Obiakor is not alone. CNN interviewed a dozen black nurses across England. All say they faced systemic discrimination that only got worse when the pandemic hit.


(on camera): We asked NHS England about these testimonies of racism. It says it's doing everything it can to address discrimination, swiftly and effectively. But they admitted, COVID-19 has shone a spotlight on stark health inequalities in this country. (voice-over): And there is inequality in death, too. About 20 percent

of England's NHS medical staff are minorities. But early analysis shows they accounted for 60 percent of healthcare workers death from COVID-19. Ken Sazuze knows the risks. A few years ago, he and his wife, Elsie, went back to school to become nurses.

KEN SAZUZE, STUDENT NURSE: I wasn't aware of the discrimination side of nursing until when I started it, then I saw, boom, it's different. It's dangerous.

ABDELAZIZ: The childhood sweethearts endured racism as a teen, and Elsie soon graduated and got a job in the NHS.

SAZUZE: She had it in the NHS, if I could be honest.

ABDELAZIZ: And you feel she was treated differently because of the color of her skin, because she was black?

SAZUZE: Not only because she was black, but because you're black and you're trying to change the system. Because the system is designed, black will be the last.

ABDELAZIZ: She never reported the discrimination for fear of retribution. Instead, Elsie got a new job in a local care home. Life got better, and then things got much worse. This is the last video Ken filmed of his wife. The mother of two died a few days later of COVID- 19.

SAZUZE: I could feel a little bit warmth, but when I saw the machines, I could understand that the life is gone.

ABDELAZIZ: But her passion lives on.

SAZUZE: I want to continue her legacy.

ABDELAZIZ: So even with everything you faced?

SAZUZE: It doesn't change my world. I don't let the bad people change me. No. I'll always help people, regardless where they come from, what color they are, what they say to me, I'll still love people.

ABDELAZIZ: The words of a survivor. But just surviving the system is never enough. Salma Abdelaziz, CNN, London.


BLACKWELL: Our thanks to Salma for that report. Let's turn now to sports and college football. The season seems to be slipping away, we've got almost a 100 games that have already been cancelled. Just a little more than a month until the games are scheduled to begin. And this could mean really big problems for one national powerhouse.



BLACKWELL: More bad signs for college football. The PAC-12 conference is cancelling some of its games.

PHILLIP: The PAC-12 is just the second conference in as many days to do just that joining the big 10. Coy Wire joins us this morning. Coy, the impact of these decisions could be devastating for all of college sports. But it's not just the sports or the schools or the football teams, also, the students as well.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS REPORTER: Yes, that's exactly right, Abby. Good morning to you and Victor as well. The PAC-12, big 10, more than two dozen of the most powerful athletic departments in the country, determining their Fall sports programs would not be able to play full seasons. The PAC-12 announcing yesterday, they will only play conference games this Fall.

And for football, that means just nine games instead of 12. Conference Commissioner Larry Scott, who, himself, tested positive for COVID-19 last night, saying in part that the conference needs to be flexible in delaying its return to play. The biggest impacts though might be felt by two national brands that are not even in the big 10 or PAC-12, Notre Dame and BYU.

Notre Dame is now down three games, and potentially a fourth because their season opener in Ireland against Navy is postponed. BYU has had five opponents cancel on them, leaving just seven games this season, so far. Now, the San Francisco giants, they will not have their heart and soul when MLB games start in just 12 days. Six-time all star, three-time world champ catcher Buster Posey, he and his wife, Kristen, already parents of two adopted twin baby girls born six weeks premature just last week.

Posey said yesterday that after talking to doctors and understanding how fragile the girls would be, the decision was not difficult. The team, fully supporting him, Manager Gabe Kapler called this a no- brainer decision. Now, a lot of athletes have tough decisions to weigh before getting back to work, right? MLS champ, Olympian and Atlanta United captain Brad Guzan is getting ready for his team's first game back later today, but he is missing out on a pretty big family milestone.


BRAD GUZAN, GOALKEEPER, ATLANTA UNITED: I've got three little ones, a 5-year-old and 3-year-old, and I'll be missing the baby's first birthday while we're down here, so that part's been difficult, but being able to see them on FaceTime and talk to them, you know, I was fortunate enough, I packed a few bed-time stories in my suitcase. So each night, I've been reading bedtime stories to the kids before they go to bed.

But obviously, the part of just being away from family, especially during the craziness that the entire country is going through. It doesn't make it any easier.


WIRE: Now, Atlanta United kicks off tonight at 8:00 Eastern. And look, Brad understands the big picture here. He says he is grateful to have a job right now, to work during these times. But being away from family is tough, and Victor, you know, that's what we're hearing more of especially NBA players who are going to go to work in that Orlando Bubble, putting themselves at risk, being isolated potentially for more than three months.

BLACKWELL: Yes, I'm not terribly optimistic about people being in bubbles for more than three months, but I know people who are waiting for sports to return. So we'll see. Coy Wire, thanks so much.

WIRE: You got it.


BLACKWELL: So, imagine this. No screaming at an amusement park, even on some rides that are designed for you to be afraid, for there to be screaming. Some say this can't be done. Why are they wearing suits? We've got details on this new plan to stop the spread of coronavirus just ahead.


KAORI ENOJI, CNN BUSINESS: I'm Kaori Enoji in Tokyo. No screaming on the roller coaster. That's the recommendation for Japanese theme park operators as they gradually reopen throughout the country. Mask- wearing here is a matter of course, but they're recommending this as an additional layer of protection to prevent people from spraying droplets that may contain coronavirus.