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New Day Saturday

Famed Biker Rally Expects 250K People, Masks not Required; As Stimulus Talks Collapse, White House Plans Executive Orders on Payroll Tax, Unemployment Insurance and Student Loans; Grocery Bills Ballooning as Pandemic Disrupts Food Supply Chain; NYC Schools Cleared for In-Person Classes This Fall; U.N. Releases Additional $6 Million to Assist Beirut After Blast; South Africa Delays Classes While Kenya Cancels School Year; CDC Reports At Least 570 Children Treated for Rare Inflammatory Illness Linked to COVID-19; NBA Players Stand Up Against Racism. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired August 08, 2020 - 06:00   ET





REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): It's not a question of they had a good bill, we have a good bill. No, they have a piecemeal bill.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If Democrats continue to hold this critical relief hostage, I will act under my authority to get Americans the relief they need.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To just stay at home and not be able to deliver education is not an option.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The countries that have opened schools successfully have been those where they have controlled the community spread.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To actually have three jobs, a mom, a classroom teacher and an online teacher.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For the most part, this virus is out of control.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One place not planning to follow CDC guidelines? Sturgis, South Dakota where a motorcycle rally expected to draw hundreds of thousands of people kicks off.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They're not going to be able to handle any kind of social distancing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't care if it's closed down. I'm going they can all kiss my ***. I'm going.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is NEW DAY WEEKEND with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul. CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Beautiful shot of Atlanta, Georgia. It's going to be hot today, folks, and I bet it will be hot wherever you might happen to be as well this morning. Thank you so much for sharing your time with us. We always love to have you here and we want to talk to you this morning about the millions of Americans, so many of you we know are desperate for help after these negotiations over a new stimulus package ended in a deadlock again.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. Last night, Democrats and White House officials, they walked away without a deal and now President Trump is laying out his plan for executive orders if there's no breakthrough. Now, there's also this report that says that up to 40 million Americans could face eviction by the end of the year, minorities make up the bulk of that and Dr. Anthony Fauci says that COVID-19 has been a, in his words, double whammy against communities of color.

PAUL: And right now, we know the U.S. is edging towards 5 million coronavirus cases. Tens of thousands of motorcycle riders and enthusiasts are arriving, meanwhile, in Sturgis, South Dakota. Social distancing, mask wearing, not required at that rally and celebration, but you can see some of the pictures there of what is to come.

BLACKWELL: Yes. We'll get to Sturgis in a moment. Let's start at the White House, though. Sarah Westwood is there live for us. The President, Sarah, at his New Jersey golf club promised to do a lot yesterday through executive action. Not clear that he has the authority to do really any of it unilaterally.

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: That's right, Victor and Christi, and this had initially been considered a leverage play by the White House, by the negotiators White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and Treasury Secretary steve Mnuchin. They had been threatening for a couple of days now, and the President had as well on his Twitter feed, to issue an executive order, several of them, to implement the things that Republicans were looking to do in the stimulus package if no deal was reached.

And after more than 20 hours of negotiations between congressional Democrats and those administration negotiators, there was no progress made this week. In fact, the two sides remained nearly $1 trillion apart on just the top line number. They were not even able to get into negotiating some of those finer sticking points because they were so far apart on that stimulus. And as you mentioned, the President said yesterday that he was prepared to follow through on that threat to take executive action. He accused the Democrats of holding stimulus assistance hostage. Take a listen.


TRUMP: If Democrats continue to hold this critical relief hostage, I will act under my authority as president to get Americans the relief they need.

(END VIDEO CLIP) WESTWOOD: Now, among the things the President said he would do through executive action, again, unclear if he has the legal authority to do so, but what he claims to be preparing are executive actions that would include a payroll tax deferment. That's something Republicans were trying unsuccessfully to get into the stimulus bill. He would also extend the federal eviction moratorium, try to keep people in their homes. That lapsed a couple of weeks ago because there was this standstill over the stimulus negotiations.

And also extending that enhanced unemployment benefit, but the President yesterday would not commit to allowing that to still be the $600 a week that Democrats wanted to see. Now, for her part, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that Republicans and Democrats should not squander this chance to help the American people.


PELOSI: When you have an opportunity like this to do something for the American people, it's an opportunity, but we can't have it be a missed opportunity to do that by settling for something so low, so beneath the needs -- meeting the needs of the American people.


WESTWOOD: Now, the disagreements here ran so deep that some Republicans were divided over the need even for a stimulus bill in the first place.


Republicans didn't want to come much further above $1 trillion for that top line figure for the price tag and meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Senate Democrats and House Democrats didn't really have the votes to pass anything under $2 trillion, Victor and Christi.

PAUL: So, Sarah, I want to talk about the backdrop of the President's remarks last night. He's at his own golf club, group of supporters there and he continued to downplay the pandemic. What did he say in that regard?

WESTWOOD: That's right. The President continuing to suggest that at one point the virus will just go away. during a week when thousands of Americans lost their lives to coronavirus, he's continuing to downplay the severity of the pandemic to try to paint his administration as having essentially eradicated it so far, which could not be further from the truth throughout the country. Interestingly, he kept referring to that press conference yesterday as a peaceful protest, suggesting that most of the people there were wearing masks.

That was not the case from some of the reporters on the ground who said they did not see a lot of social distancing and again, it was just an interesting backdrop for the President to be addressing all this from his very pricey golf resort in New Jersey.

BLACKWELL: Sarah Westwood for us at the White House. Sarah, thank you so much. The U.S. economy still struggling to rebound. The latest jobs report shows the U.S. added 1.8 million jobs last month. That's just really a drop in the bucket to bring back the 13 million jobs that are still have not been brought back since this pandemic began.

PAUL: And you see the other number on your screen there, the unemployment rate. It did fall at 10.2 percent. More than 55 million people, though, have filed for unemployment benefits since mid-March.

BLACKWELL: A federal rule that put evictions on hold also ended at the end of July and according to a new study, 40 million people are now at risk of being evicted.

PAUL: You wonder where do they go? What do they do? CNN's Alison Kosik is with us now. Alison, let's start -- let's start there, about this new report, too, warning the U.S. could face the worst housing crisis in history. What are they saying?

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christi and Victor. Yes, this could wind up being one of those perfect storms where you see this expiration of these benefits, the $600 enhanced unemployment benefit and then, as you mentioned, the expiration of this protection from being evicted, from being kicked out of your home or your apartment.

The Aspen Institute did a report on this showing that the combination of these two could wind up causing the biggest homelessness crisis in the -- that the U.S. has ever seen. It's estimating that 40 million people could be evicted by the end of the year and here's the thing, it's people of color, particularly Latino Americans and black Americans, who could be most impacted. About 80 percent of those, of those -- of that group, is facing evictions.

You look at U.S. census data, it showed that Latino and black Americans last month couldn't pay their rent. A quarter of those couldn't pay their rent. That's compared to 13 percent of white Americans. Also, there's a disproportionate -- there's a disproportionate amount of states facing the same risk as well. We're seeing southern states facing a bigger risk.

The report does say, though, that millions of evictions could be staved off if Congress takes action and goes ahead and passes this relief bill, a relief bill that would include a moratorium on these -- on these evictions, that would include rent assistance and that would also include this enhanced unemployment benefit. I mean, you just mentioned the jobs report.

True we aren't seeing a great recovery, but we are seeing bits of jobs coming back, especially in sectors that were hit hardest during the pandemic. The reality is if you take away these benefits, Christi and Victor, you're going to take away any kind of chance of a recovery for the overall economy.

BLACKWELL: Yes. Also, talk to us about grocery prices, which I think almost everyone has noticed are spiking.

KOSIK: Yes. As if we couldn't handle -- this is sort of a pile on of things, as Americans have less money in their pockets. We're finding that food prices on some basic items are spiking. We're seeing prices spiking for beef and veal, poultry, pork and eggs. We're also seeing Americans shell out more money for vegetables and cereal.

Now, it's not just because of higher demand. Yes, we are eating more at home, but that's not the only issue here. There is no significant shortage of food. The problem here seems to be there's a supply disruption and that's created a scarcity and that's caused prices to be driven up. We know earlier in the pandemic we saw meat processing plants being affected. We're still waiting for those to come back to normal.

Also, there are new safety precautions being taken and that's also making it a sort of a slower process for them to get the meat out of their plants. We've got a long haul ahead. It seems that these price hikes aren't going anywhere anytime soon, Christi and Victor.

PAUL: All right. Alison Kosik, thank you for walking us through it. Good to see you this morning.

KOSIK: Sure.


PAUL: So, kids in New York can choose to go back to school this fall. There are safety measures in place to do so. CNN's Evan McMorris- Santoro is in New York and has the latest for us. Evan, good to see you this morning as well. How did Governor Andrew Cuomo come to the decision?

EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning. Governor Cuomo wants to get some dividends from the reduction in this pandemic we've had here. You remember New York was once the epicenter. Now it's one of the places in America doing the best through this pandemic and Governor Cuomo says that means that we can get some dividends here like reopening schools.


MCMORRIS-SANTORO: All school districts across New York state are cleared to open for in-person classes, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced in a press conference Friday over the phone.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): Today is the deadline to look at the infection rates and make a determination. By our infection rates, all school districts can open everywhere in the state.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Each school district across New York was required to submit their proposed plans for reopening by this week and the plans differ across the state, but all schools can open. There are 749 school districts in New York state. All are required to submit plans. Governor Cuomo noted 127 of them still have yet to do so. Cuomo added that they will watch the infection rate between now and the dates schools are scheduled to reopen and if the rates spike, they'll revisit the plans. WILLIAM SCHAFFNER, INFECTIOUS DISEASE SPECIALIST: Across the country, we have varying conditions in the communities. For the most part, this virus is out of control, so I understand the anxiety of the parents and we grandparents. We have a high schooler going back and someone going to college. We're worried about all that.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: In the state of Georgia, at least 260 students and eight teachers from the Cherokee County school district are quarantined after several individuals tested positive for COVID-19 during the first week of school. The district returned to in-person classes on August 3rd. In statements posted on their website, the school district has reported positive cases in at least 11 students and two staff members. Students and staff who had possible exposure with a positive case have been told to quarantine for 14 days since their possible exposure. Cherokee County families had a choice of in- person or digital learning.

At North Paulding High School in Dallas, Georgia, a crowded high school hallway as students changed classes. Sophomore Hannah Waters took this photo and posted it to Twitter. It went viral.

HANNAH WATERS, NORTH PAULDING HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT: I was very concerned for everyone in that building and everyone in our county because this is obviously nowhere near safe and especially because there's been multiple people getting tested or multiple people testing positive inside the county from August 3rd when we opened back up.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Initially, Waters was suspended for taking and posting the photo, but Friday we learned her suspension had been reversed. While many schools in this country have or will have mandates for mask wearing, Waters' high school did not.

JUDITH FEINBERG, FELLOW, INFECTIOUS DISEASES SOCIETY OF AMERICA: As an infectious diseases physician, I think that universal masking is the most effective tool we have right now in addition to social distancing to get any control of this terrible pandemic.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: COVID-19 cases are skyrocketing in children, teens and young adults according to health experts. The U.S. is nearing 5 million cases with more than 160,000 deaths as coronavirus testing declines in 29 states compared to last week.


MCMORRIS-SANTORO: So, as you can hear from that piece, the question about school is really based around trust even here in New York. Governor Cuomo said the first thing schools have to do if they want to reopen is get the trust of parents and teachers. It's becoming harder and harder to do when you see things like that photo posted by Hannah Waters in Dallas, Georgia. So that's the question for New York and the rest of the country moving ahead. If you want to reopen the schools, you got to get people to believe the schools can be safe to reopen, Christi and Victor.

PAUL: Good point. Evan McMorris-Santoro, we appreciate it. Thank you. BLACKWELL: Thanks, Evan. So, we are now fewer than 90 days out from the election and the U.S. intelligence community has this new warning that some of the country's adversaries are taking sides. This is according to the top election security official here in the U.S. China and Iran want President Trump to lose. Now, he explains that China sees the president as unpredictable and Iran is worried about regime change and they may move to spread some disinformation online. Also, according to this assessment, Russia is using a range of measures to work against the presumptive Democratic nominee, Joe Biden.


Now, he was asked yesterday how he'd respond to all this. The President said we're going to look at it very closely.

PAUL: The CDC has released some new details about a rare, but deadly complication of coronavirus found in children. We are asking the experts for you what this serious inflammatory illness could mean even for the reopening of schools across the country.

BLACKWELL: And after coming under some criticism for a bizarre photo of him and a woman with their pants undone, Liberty University President and Chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr. is now said to be taking indefinite leave of absence.

And after Tuesday's huge explosion in Beirut, families are still looking for thousands of people and they have been left without food and water, adequate housing. We got a live report next.


BLACKWELL: Jerry Falwell Jr. is taking an indefinite leave of absence as President and Chancellor of Liberty University. This is at the request of the university's board.


PAUL: Yes, because this comes after days of the Evangelical leader posting and then deleting what a lot of people are saying is a bizarre photo. It showed him with his pants unzipped -- here it is -- and his arm around a young woman. Her pants were also undone. Now, Falwell apologized for the photo. Students and prominent associates at the university, though, are calling for his resignation altogether.

The United Nations has now given a total of $15 million to assist Lebanese families. These families are in desperate need of support after Beirut's catastrophic port explosion Tuesday. It killed more than 150 people, injured thousands of more and there are still thousands that are missing.

BLACKWELL: Yes. The money will go towards helping hospitals, trauma care and repairing homes and according to UNICEF, the estimates are that nearly 100,000 children might be among those whose homes were damaged or destroyed together.

PAUL: I want to take a look at a video with you here. This is from a hospital moments before the explosion. A husband watching his wife get wheeled off to deliver their baby recorded the footage. He said after the blast, he had to wheel his wife's bed into a safe room and wait for help. Her nurses and doctors, who were injured themselves, still helped deliver -- I am happy to say -- her healthy baby boy.

BLACKWELL: That is remarkable ...

PAUL: Oh, my gosh.

BLACKWELL: ... that in that environment, they were still able to deliver that baby. Let's go now to CNN's senior international correspondent Sam Kiley. He's there in Beirut this morning. One of several remarkable stories we've heard there, Sam. What are you hearing this morning?

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I'm standing right just a few hundred meters from the epicenter of the blast. Those are grain silos there next to it. That large mass of concrete actually probably saved Beirut from even worse destruction, but it did create a crater there the size of a football pitch, to give you some idea of the scale of this blast, 275 tons of ammonium nitrate.

Now, President Michel Aoun has been hinting that he believes that perhaps there were external forces behind this blast, but there's absolutely no evidence for that whatsoever and the expert opinion canvassed and analyzed on behalf of CNN with bomb disposal experts. They believe that the ignition, certainly of the ammonium nitrate, was accidental, possibly caused by a fire in a fireworks or ammunition store.

Nonetheless, a large number, 16 people, from the port administration have been detained and others have had their assets frozen. Among those under pressure from the government is the current head of the port customs and also his predecessor, both of whom had actually complained and sought judicial review and the pressure of the courts to try to get that 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate moved. Remember, it was two tons of ammonium nitrate that killed 168 people in the Oklahoma federal building bombing some years back, so to give you an idea of just how dangerous that material is in that kind of quantity.

Nonetheless, the population here though, Christi and Victor, are extremely angry and they are due to hold a city-wide demonstration in about three hours' time. Be interesting to see just how they deal with a system here, a system that has been described even by the French president just a couple of days ago when he visited, as simply not representative or capable of representing the people of the Lebanon, Christi and Victor.

PAUL: Sam Kiley, grateful to have you with us this morning. Thank you, live there from Beirut. And to find out ways that you can help the people who are impacted by this explosion, visit our website, There are ways that you can find to help people affected by COVID-19 there as well and thank you for checking that out.

BLACKWELL: Now, as the U.S. is trying to figure out how to get kids back into classrooms and keep them there, we'll show you how Kenya, Israel, Germany are also handling the education crisis caused by the pandemic.

PAUL: And with coronavirus spiking across the U.S., we're talking to CNN medical analyst Dr. Saju Mathew. He has some information about what we can do to keep our kids safe if they are returning to school.



BLACKWELL: So, Evan McMorris-Santoro, just a few moments ago, reported that schools in New York have been cleared to begin in-person classes. Now, under that reopening plan, masks must be worn when social distancing is not possible. They must be provided to students who do not have one. In other parts of the country, 13 of the largest school districts are beginning classes with online education early -- only I should say. New York, the largest school district, New York City, officials are working on a hybrid model, giving parents the option of remote learning.

PAUL: Yes. Schools reopen, the CDC, of course, as this is happening is out with a report that you might find troubling. The agency is reporting at least 570 cases of this rare complication of coronavirus in children, multi-symptom inflammatory syndrome. It shows up two to four weeks after a child first is infected with COVID-19. Now, symptoms include a fever, a rash, it can lead to organ failure and heart damage. Now, most of the children did get better. We want to point that out. However, we do know 10 died.

BLACKWELL: So this return to school is possibly linked to outbreaks in countries that previously had a handle on the coronavirus pandemic. CNN has reports from around the world tracking the international response.



DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm David McKenzie in Johannesburg. Here in South Africa, they have closed schools for at least a month to try and curb COVID transmission. In Kenya, they took an even more drastic step, they've shut down the entire school year of 2020. They said this was to stop COVID-19, but also because they saw during the lockdown that online learning was impossible for many of the poorer students. Despite charities and teachers doing what they could, it was just not fair. So, they took that drastic step, all of the students, millions of them, the entire school year is over. They'll have to do it all again next year.

ELIOT GOTKINE, JOURNALIST: I'm Eliot Gotkine in Jerusalem. Outside one of the country's most famous schools. Back in May when the education system was reopened here, Israel had managed to push the number of daily COVID cases down to single digits. Schools were reopened across the country and then began Israel's second wave. In fact, on a per million population basis, the country now has one of the worst outbreaks in the world.

Disease experts say that the reopening of the school system was largely to blame. In fact, at this school alone, more than 150 pupils came down with the virus and more than 25 members of staff. The concern now is that when schools reopened in September, that could give renewed impetus to the coronavirus pandemic here in this country that it seems to be struggling to control.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Fred Pleitgen in Berlin. As Germany continues to reopen schools and bring children back into classrooms, now, all German states have opted for an in-classroom learning, but of course, all of this is happening under special pandemic measures. Most German states are making masks mandatory for both students and staff when they enter school buildings, and all of this is happening as Germany is dealing with a new spike in coronavirus infections in the country, recording more than 1,000 new infections on two subsequent days this past week.


BLACKWELL: All right, our thanks to David, Eliott and Fred.

PAUL: Absolutely. Let's bring in Dr. Saju Matthew, he's primary care physician, public health specialist and is CNN medical analyst. Saju, always so good to see you. I want to jump off this point about this new CDC report about the 570 cases of this inflammatory disease they're finding in children with COVID. Is there any clarity as to why these two seem to be happening in concert and what can be done?

SAJU MATTHEW, PUBLIC HEALTH SPECIALIST: Yes, good morning, Christi. When I was training in my residency, I saw this very similar condition of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome called Kawasaki Syndrome, and this is really where the vessels, the blood vessels of the patient's system is affected. Kids can actually die of cardiac arrest and respiratory problems. But as you mentioned, Christi, it is actually a condition where a lot of kids get better. But it's worrisome.

You know. it goes to show you again that kids are not immune to COVID- 19. We know they transmit the virus. We're talking about schools opening. And I think that in states where the community transmission is so high, opening a school at this point, I think, should not be the focus. The focus should be, again, about bringing down the transmission rates.

BLACKWELL: So, Saju, let me ask you about Cherokee County just outside of Atlanta, 260 students, eight teachers quarantining after some contact with some students and teachers who were COVID positive after week one of classes. Without routine testing of asymptomatic students and teachers, is this type of outcome avoidable?

MATTHEW: It's going to be difficult. Just like you mentioned, if we cannot ramp up testing -- and listen, Victor, you know, we've talked about this a lot. The testing that we have right now is taken what? Seven to 14 days to get back? We're now talking about these new rapid tests. You know, I envision a time when we can get up in the morning, and before we go to school, we do these rapid tests almost like a pregnancy test, and see if we're negative or not.

But ultimately, regardless of whether we get testing or not, everybody should act like we're infected because of how contagious -- and, as you mentioned, asymptomatic this virus is.

PAUL: So, when you talk about testing, there are people who say they're confused. They don't know if they go for the test that is faster, meaning they might get the results back in a couple of days, which may not be as accurate, or they go for the test that they believe to be more accurate and could take up to 10-plus days. When they ask you that question, what do you advise?

MATTHEW: What I tell them is, you know, a couple of things. Number one, you can broadly divide people into two categories, the high risk and the low risk. The high risk, of course, would be patients 65 and older or people with asthma, diabetes. If you're a 30-year-old and you're planning to go on weddings, believe it or not, a lot of my friends are going to weddings. Now, if you're going to a wedding and you're 30 years old with your partner, then yes, if you're healthy, the rapid test would be a good test for you.


However, just let's remember this. The rapid test still has a high false negative rate of 20 percent. If the test comes back positive, you know for sure, you have it. But if it comes back negative, it could be a false negative. So, there are pros and cons to each test.

BLACKWELL: But Saju, we're wrapping up here -- travel for people who aren't getting kids back into school. The CEO of Frontier Airlines wants the CDC to update its guidance on travel, that sort of reporting from "USA Today". The CDC has contacted, he says, Frontier with only 27 requests related to contact tracing, but the majority of spread is in restaurants and bars. What's your view on travel, and if it is safe to fly now?

MATTHEW: I think the overall traveling by itself, once you get on the aircraft, is pretty safe. You've got these HEPA filtration systems that actually filter out 99 percent of viruses, fungal elements and bacteria. And also, a lot of airlines are leaving that middle seat empty. And one more thing that I tell people if they want to travel is try to pick a window seat because you're away from the traffic down and up the aisle.

But the problem still remains when you get into the airport. You have to look at the airport as a closed environment, if you have long lines at security or long lines at your favorite coffee bar, you still need to be careful that, that could be areas of possible transmission.

PAUL: All right, good points. Dr. Saju Matthew, always good to have you. Thank you, sir.

MATTHEW: Thank you, guys.

PAUL: Stay with us, too. We're going to talk with former Secretary of Education Arne Duncan as well as the president of the National Education Association Becky Pringle. We're going to talk to them about the education system's response to the virus and what we should expect going forward. That's in the 10 O'clock hour.

BLACKWELL: The St. Louis Cardinals are hit with a new round of coronavirus cases, forcing more postponements and uncertainty, the scheduling nightmare the team faces if it can finish the season.



BLACKWELL: So, we know college football is already going to look and feel different, that's if there is a season.

PAUL: Yes, good point. Athletes across the country, Coy Wire with us here. As I understand it, they're being pretty bold, pretty candid about how they feel regarding playing during a pandemic like this.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS REPORTER: Yes, good morning, Christi and Victor. You know, football players all across the country, stars, joining voices to demand stronger COVID protocols and other things. They're really concerned about this. Syracuse football, they didn't even practice the past two days. Players reportedly refused to practice due to COVID concerns. The school tells CNN, it will now start testing at least twice a week starting next month.

The teams are practicing, the season set to kick off in just 21 days. Yet, Colorado state pausing football activities indefinitely just yesterday though as the school investigates allegations of abuse, including claims by some players that coaches told them not to report COVID symptoms. And six Maryland players including last year's starting quarterback Josh Jackson joining a growing list of players around the country choosing to opt out of the season.

But after considering opting out, perhaps the nation's best player, Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence has decided to play. But he understands why some others won't.


TREVOR LAWRENCE, QUARTERBACK, CLEMSON TIGERS: Totally get it. I mean, there's a lot on the line for them, and if they feel the risk is too much, I mean, I understand it's something they've worked for their whole life to get a chance to play in the NFL and they just did it, they don't want -- they don't want to risk it. You know, I think everyone has different reasons, but it makes sense in this situation. So I respect it, and, you know, given that my decision is different, I definitely understand it, but I had to make that decision, too.


WIRE: All right, to MLB, COVID has absolutely marred the St. Louis Cardinals season so far. Their series is against the Cubs this weekend postponed after two more players tested positive. St. Louis has only played five games this season. They've had 12 postponed, and they haven't played since last Thursday. Meaning now, somehow, they have to play 55 games in 49 days if they're going to get them all in.

All right, history at the PGA Championship. Haotong Li becoming the first golfer from China to ever hold a lead at the end of a round at a major. Twenty-five years old, he's never won any PGA events, saying afterwards that he had no idea he could play this well. Li is 8 under. But two-time defending Champ Brooks Koepka and other big names are tied for second, lurking just two strokes behind.

Now, let's go to difference makers. NBA players are using their platform in the Orlando bubble to protest for social injustice and racial inequality. They explain why this fight is so important.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People have to take responsibility in taking actions, and able to influence change.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was raised to be a voice for the voiceless. I feel like I have an obligation with this platform that I have to make sure I speak on things that are dear to me and dear to my community. If there's going to be change, you need, you know, people who don't experience what we experience to understand. It's also -- you know, the allies.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would like to see Americans be more empathetic. We could have another black president. You could have more black females as leaders.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Racism is taught. It's not something that you're just born with. Being able to understand and teach kids what is real in America. My mom is a teacher as well, so I feel passionate about this. You know, you need to give teachers the salaries they deserve because that leads to the passion behind their teaching.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The problem is so blatant, the police brutality is so blatant not just in America, racism is not just in one country or in one state. It's worldwide. Something needs to be done.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It doesn't take a lot of time and energy, yes, it does, but that's the responsibility of us in this day, so that we can create an environment that's safe for everyone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everyone is always dreaming, which is all good and well, but at some point, there has to be action.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The question is, how can I help? How can I step into this moment in time? We're living in a moment that we're going to look back on in history. There's a lot of choices to be made. There's a lot of work to be a part of, if you choose to, but America is going to be different going forward. It's just how is it going to be different? And we get to be a part of that.

(END VIDEO CLIP) WIRE: Victor, Christi, you really have to give these players some

credit. They said that one thing they were not going to do, going down to that Orlando Bubble and continuing with an NBA season, is they weren't going to let that be a distraction from what they felt was important. They are inspiring the next generation to do what's right and support for what -- support what they believe in.

BLACKWELL: Absolutely. Coy Wire, thanks so much.

PAUL: Thanks, Coy. So, you may be one of the people who are asking this question because a lot of people are. If I can get COVID-19 once, can I get it again? There's a mom who thought she was in the clear until she tested positive again months after --


PAUL: Her first diagnosis, Victor.

BLACKWELL: Wow. And now she's left with a lot of questions.


SUE STANTON, RECOVERING FROM COVID-19: Is this something that I'm going to have ongoing? Is this something that, you know, I'm never fully going to recover from? What are the implications for that? Will I ever be able to go back to work?


BLACKWELL: We'll have her story next.



BLACKWELL: Well, some studies show that antibodies can produce some degree of immunity against coronavirus. But the immunity can also disappear within a couple of weeks or maybe a few months.

PAUL: Yes, it's that time frame that's really a blurry right now, and researchers are trying to determine if antibodies can prevent reinfection. Here is CNN's Anna Stewart.


STANTON: To be honest, the symptoms have never gone away.

ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): Sue Stanton thought she was one of the COVID long haulers.

STANTON: The fatigue, the extra pains and brain fog.

STEWART: Suffering symptoms for weeks after her infection in late March. Two negative PCR tests in April seemed to signal the road to recovery. Then in July, she tested positive for the virus again.

STANTON: It was quite shocking, to be perfectly honest.

STEWART: A shock, too, for England's Public Health Organization which ordered further swab testing.

STANTON: I had some hopes they would be able to identify whether it was a new infection or whether I caught it again, or whether it was a relapse from my first infection. And my understanding is that they have not been able to determine that.

STEWART: To date, there are no confirmed cases of reinfection anywhere in the world. Immunology experts think the vast majority of people do develop protective immunity once they've had the virus, at least for the short term, but perhaps not all.

DANNY ALTMANN, PROFESSOR OF IMMUNOLOGY, IMPERIAL COLLEGE LONDON: These stories we're hearing, they're the exceptions, and perhaps we know that if you look at levels of antibody in different people, it's like firing a statagon at the page, there are some people way up there with loads of antibody, and some people are way down there with almost none.

And what if these are examples of people who had almost none who are unlucky and meet the virus again, and just don't have protection on board.

STEWART: I had a positive test for antibodies at a private clinic in May, having been ill a few weeks before with COVID-19 symptoms.

(on camera): So I'm back three months later to see whether my antibody levels have dropped.

(voice-over): Recent studies have shown that these antibodies can decline rapidly after infection, bringing into question just how long- lasting this type of protective immunity is. Here we have my result from last time, and here we have it today. Now, you can them, IGM is negative, which I would expect. I don't think I've been infected recently. My IGG has come down, but it's still positive. So, I hope I have some level of immunity still, although how much protection antibodies also give is still unknown.

ALTMANN: If I knew I had antibodies on board, it probably wouldn't make me go stand shoulder-to-shoulder in a crowd, that's going to be something. So, I just -- I then wouldn't have my confidence quite that far, but I wouldn't expect to get reinfected if I was, you know, an average sort of person.

STEWART: Well, experts still stress reinfection is highly unlikely, it offers little hope for people like Sue Stanton despite two positive PCR tests over three months apart, she's never tested positive for antibodies.

STANTON: Is this something that I'm going to have ongoing? Is this something that, you know, I'm never fully going to recover from? What are the implications for that? Will I ever be able to go back to work? All the hours I normally do? What are the consequences of that for me and my children? It's something that I am trying not to think about too much.

STEWART: Anna Stewart, CNN, London.


PAUL: During this pandemic, sometimes it's those little gestures that make a big difference, and sometimes it's the little people that give us those. There's a 5-year-old boy from Texas who has a specific focus.


BLACKWELL: His name is Wilburt Coleman and his mom -- the two of them are delivering care packages to essential workers and the most vulnerable. Now, they want to spread a little kindness during these tough times and they are.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It started small with the mail man and the --


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And we go down the street to the corner and he will water the neighbor's grass every morning, and he always say, mama, I think he needs hand sanitizer.


PAUL: And his mom says people have been reaching out to help with donations and supplies so they can keep making those care packages for the people who really need them. Good for him!

BLACKWELL: Well done, Wilburt.

PAUL: Absolutely.

BLACKWELL: Next hour of your NEW DAY starts after a break.



PELOSI: It's not a question of they have a good bill, we have a good bill. No, they have a piecemeal bill.

TRUMP: If Democrats continue to hold this critical relief hostage, I will act under my authority to get Americans the relief they need.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To just stay home and not be able to deliver education is not an option.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The countries that have opened schools successfully have been those where they have controlled the community spread.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I actually have three jobs, a mom, a classroom teacher and an online teacher.