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New Day Saturday

C.A. Firefighters Struggle To Contain 500-Plus Wildfires; Democrats Vote This Morning On Bill To Prevent Interference With Election Mail; Trump Campaign And RNC Accuse Dems Of "Conspiracy Theory" About Post Office; Key Model Predicts 310,000 Deaths In U.S. By December; Biden And Harris Give Joint Interview; CDC Issues New Guidelines For Schools. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired August 22, 2020 - 07:00   ET



CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, trying to find the good.


PAUL: All right. Thank you, Chloe, we appreciate you.

BLACKWELL: Thanks, Chloe.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thanks, guys. Good to see you.

BLACKWELL: Likewise. Next hour of your NEW DAY starts right now.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the American public should be able to vote by mail.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Postmaster General DeJoy did not commit to transparency.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the Postal Service will support it. So, I guess that's yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He did not clearly understand what he did.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You'll be bringing back any mail sorting machines.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's no intention to do that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have to hold his feet to the fire.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The future here is not preordained. These models are based on our behaviors today.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: New modeling from the University of Washington projecting nearly 310,000 COVID fatalities by December 1st.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It means that if we do everything we can, we can actually reduce the number of deaths. DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In everything we do, my administration is fighting for the American people and delivering one victory after another.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY WEEKEND with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul.

PAUL: Oh, it's foggy. It looks like a little rainy, maybe. But that's Nashville and it is beautiful, isn't it? Welcome and wake up to all of you out there because we're waiting for you. You working up to the weekend? It's a good thing, right?

All right, this morning House Members are back in Washington. They're set to vote on that $25 billion package to help the Post Office. The aim is to prevent interference with election mail.

BLACKWELL: Plus, thousands in California have been forced to leave their homes, hundreds of wildfires are burning an area larger than the state of Rhode Island.

PAUL: And a fierce critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who suspected of being poisoned has arrived in Germany now for treatment after falling into a coma. We're talking of course about bad critic that has been suspected of poisoning.

BLACKWELL: Yes, we're starting this morning in Washington, though. The threat of a veto is hanging over the house as it debates a $25 billion bailout for the Postal Service. CNNs Pamela Brown has the story.


PAMELA BROWN, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, today, leaders are bringing the house back into session today in the wake of mounting pressure and criticism that Democrats weren't doing enough surrounding this Postal Service controversy. And so, one of the things Democrats are going to be voting on is this bill that would restrict any actions that could hamper election mail.

There had been a lot of criticism that actions the Postmaster General had put into place were slowing down mail and that can have a big impact on the election. Now, earlier in this week, the Postmaster General put a halt to that saying he would wait until after the election, but Democrats want it in writing and they want it guaranteed in the bill. They're also looking for $25 billion in funding for the Postal Service.

But all of this comes as DeJoy testified for the first time publicly in this virtual hearing before senators. And during that hearing, he distanced himself from President Trump. He said, he's a big believer in mail-in ballots; it's something he does himself. He says every American should be able to do so. That the Postal Service will be able to handle the demand.

And he says, that election mail will automatically be upgraded to first class mail. And he also said that he has never spoken to President Trump about any of those actions that he took those controversial actions. He said the only interaction he has had with the President recently is a congratulatory meeting. Now, it is worth noting that DeJoy will be in front of the Democratic-led House Committee on Monday. Pamela Brown, CNN, Washington.


PAUL: Pamela, thank you. I want to go to Sarah Westwood, who's live at the White House right now for us. The Trump campaign is accusing Democrats of pushing conspiracy theories. But I mean, Sarah, the President promotes conspiracy theories about mail and voting, so what is the word from the White House this morning?

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Victor and Christi, the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee fire back at Democrats over their concern about the Postal Service. They are framing those concerns as conspiracy theories saying Democrats are trying to distract from the real issues that are going to be facing election officials and states across the country.

They have been arguing, especially in talking points that were distributed yesterday by the Trump campaign in the RNC that the Postal Service has been suffering from financial problems for years now and that predates the Trump administration. It predates the decisions that are under scrutiny right now. For example, they focused on the fact that the Postal Service has lost $78 billion since 2007.

And arguing that those problems are not going to affect the election as much as the rapid expansion of vote by mail. It's something Republicans are fighting against in states across the country. They do not want to rapidly expand universal vote by mail where every person who is registered to vote will receive a ballot. They have been pushing back against that.

But keep in mind that President Trump himself on Fox Business, just a couple of weeks ago, said that he wanted to withhold money from the post office because if you did so, then the Postal Service would not be equipped to expand vote by mail. So, it is not a conspiracy theory to say that the President has framed his opposition to funding the Post Office as a way to stop vote by mail that is something that he himself has said.


The Postal Service itself is also pushing back on claims that it will not be able to handle because of these operational changes, the level of mail in ballots. Here's what the post office tweeted: "Despite expected increases in mail-in voting, we anticipate election mail will account for less than two percent of all mail volume from mid- September until Election Day.

And as you guys mentioned, the White House last night issued a veto threat for the Democrats trying to pass $25 billion of extra funding for USPS in a bill this weekend. The White House said they want to see more strings attached to that money. They obviously wanted a smaller sum than 25 billion. But whatever some they agree on, they want more strings attached, they want that money to be earmarked for COVID. And for election purposes, Victor and Christi.

PAUL: All right, Sarah Westwood, thanks for walking us through it this morning.

BLACKWELL: A new projection from a key model often cited by the White House says that the number of people killed from coronavirus in the U.S. could reach 310,000 by the beginning of December.

PAUL: CNN's Polo Sandoval is following the very latest. So, Polo we know the head of the World Health Organization says he's hoping this pandemic will be over in under two years. Help us try to reconcile that with where we stand now.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We're certainly hopeful that that will happen here, Victor and Christi, but it's worth noting also is that infections are down but the death rate, it still continues to, at least stay steady or at least even rising in some parts of the country. It's that stubborn rate.

And that's what really worries health officials, especially those at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation now predicting that we could see up to 310,000 deaths by the end of this year. It's a number that's of at least 15,000 higher than the forecasts that we saw about two weeks ago. But they do say that we, that number could be cut by at least 70,000 if more people wear masks.


SANDOVAL: A new model released Friday by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation predicting daily deaths in the United States from COVID-19, which now number about a thousand a day will decrease slowly in September, then rise to nearly 2,000 a day by the start of December. It also raised its estimate of how many people will die by December.

DR. CHRIS MURRAY, DIRECTOR, INSTITUTE FOR HEALTH METRICS AND EVALUATION: We have a worse scenario in what we release, and that's many, many more deaths. And in fact, by the time December rolls around, if we don't do anything at all, the daily death toll in the U.S. would be much higher than the sort of 2,000 deaths a day we would expect by December. It could be as high as 6,000 deaths a day. So, it really depends what we do, both as individuals and what governments do.

SANDOVAL: The CDC released new guides lines for schools, Friday, as children and teachers across the country are returning to the classroom. Rather than shut everything down immediately for a long period of time, the guidelines suggest one option is an initial short- term class suspension and cancellation of events and after school activities. The guidelines also recommending schools offer counseling and ensure mental health services.

DR. WILLIAM SCHAFFNER, PROFESSOR, INFECTIOUS DISEASES DIVISION OF VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER: Opening schools is a risky business. We're doing it all over the country in various ways, trying to do it carefully. We all know, in effect, we're doing an experiment. We'll have to see what happens, and we must have a plan to respond if there are cases.

SANDOVAL: Among the largest, 101 school districts in the U.S., 65 are starting this school year online. And as university campuses welcome students into dorms, colleges across at least 15 states have reported COVID cases tracking back to athletics, Greek life for off-campus gathering.

In more hilarious super spreading events have been especially important in helping drive the pandemic. Researchers in Georgia said this week, super spreading events like parties, conferences, and large gatherings have been cautioned against by leaders throughout the country.

Earlier this month, experts raised concern about a motorcycle rally in a small South Dakota town which was expected to bring tens of thousands of visitors. This week, health officials said at least seven COVID-19 cases in Nebraska's panhandle region have been tied to the rally. Some good news, Friday, coronavirus hospitalizations in Los Angeles are down to the lowest level since April, according to the Mayor.


SANDOVAL: We've seen at least 20 counties now reaching warning levels. Some of the rises that they're seeing mainly due to some of those mass gatherings which is, Victor and Christi, the reason why the Chicago Bears won't be allowing any fans in the stands once the NFL 2020 season kicks off later this fall. They had initially been considering allowing a limited number of fans (INAUDIBLE), but at this point they said that's still too unsafe.


BLACKWELL: Yes, make sense. Polo Sandoval, thanks so much.

PAUL: Thanks, Polo.

BLACKWELL: Up next, Democratic Presidential Candidate Joe Biden and his running mate, Kamala Harris, give their first joint interview. You want to hear Senator Harris' reaction to the President's latest personal attack?

PAUL: And do you believe this morning we're talking about to now official tropical storms headed for the Gulf Coast both could become hurricanes and make landfall at the same time. We'll tell you more, stay close.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Trump has referred to as nasty, a sort of madwoman, a disaster, the meanest, most horrible, most disrespectful of anybody in the U.S. Senate. How do -- how do you define what you hear from the President?

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: You know, listen, I really, I, I think that there is so much about what comes out of Donald Trump's mouth that is designed to distract the American people from what he is doing every day that is about neglect, negligence and harm to the American people.


HARRIS: Absolutely. Absolutely.



BLACKWELL: That's Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in their first joint interview since accepting their party's nomination for president and vice president reacting to the President's name calling. The campaign says, along with the DNC, it raised $70 million over the party's four- day convention. And the President calls it the darkest and angriest in history.

His acceptance speech will come on Thursday, we're talking about the President, and it's being teased as more optimistic. Let's talk now with Don Baer, he served as Chief Speechwriter and as White House Communications Director under Former President Bill Clinton. Don, thanks for spending some time with us this morning.


BLACKWELL: So, first, let's start with your reaction to the response to this name calling because it will continue and we saw in 2016, a spate of candidates struggle with how to respond with the president's strategy, what do you make of how Biden and Harris are responding?

BAER: Well, so far, so good, but they're going to have to step it up. It's not enough just to sort of laugh at it and sort of be, if you will, reasonable about it. We've seen before in campaigns, especially when you have a challenger, a Democratic challenger, who has gotten out ahead as the Biden-Harris Team has done.

That the Republicans are going to come back hard, and they're going to try to redefine them in negative ways. And clearly, they've decided that they've got a chance to do that with Senator Harris. And they're going to have to be more aggressive, I think around it.

You know, it's an interesting analog, not just 2016, you can go all the way back to 1988, which is when I was a reporter, and I covered the campaign against George Herbert Walker Bush, Bush I, and Michael Dukakis. And Michael Dukakis came out of that convention, his Democratic Convention, 17 points ahead of Bush.

And Bush wound up beating him by eight points. In a landslide. And it was all about negative campaigning, and running the kind of campaign that was redefining what the Democrats were about. And so, this is going to have to be something they're going to have to grapple with.

BLACKWELL: And speaking about what redefining what the Democrats are about. The President tried to do that in his summation of what he saw through the last Monday through Friday of this week. Here's what the President said about the convention.


TRUMP: Over the last week, the Democrats held the darkest and angriest and gloomiest convention in American history. They spent four straight days attacking America as racist, and a horrible country that must be redeemed.


BLACKWELL: How does this get him what he needs which is to expand beyond the base that's going to vote for him as he says, you know, if you shoot someone on Fifth Avenue, how does this this characterization of the party and the convention grow that support for the president?

BAER: Well, you know, he's like a dog that keeps going back to what worked for him before. And this is all that has worked for him for four years now, longer than that really going all the way back all the way back to 2015, when he announced his candidacy, which is to go dark, go negative, to denigrate his opponents as much as possible, pull them down. He doesn't elevate himself, and he doesn't elevate the country. And so, what he's doing now is firming up his base, but he's also doing all that he knows how to do.

The question will be whether or not in his speech, he begins to offer some kind of a second term agenda. Where will he take the country? First off, how is he going to move the country out of the COVID crisis? How is he going to restore the economy?

And how is he going to get the American people in this country back on track again? That's the job of a second term agenda and what an incumbent president usually has to do in order to win re-election. So, we'll see whether he does it, there's no indication that he's going to do it, that he's done it before, but that would be the trick for him.

BLACKWELL: You know, there was a lot of focus during the DNC about character that Joe Biden is a decent man, a good man who understands you. And the latest CNN polls show that he far out performs the President on it. Let's put the numbers up. The poll about cares about people like me, shares my values, honest and trustworthy, will unite the country and not divide it.

But when it comes to who will better handle the economy, the President has expanded his lead from June to August in the CNN poll, from five points to eight points over button. Should this had been an opportunity for them to double down or play to the strength, I should say, versus strengthen a weakness did they miss an opportunity by not talking more about the economy and his plan for it?

BAER: Well, first we have to we have to say and give them credit for doing what they did. BLACKWELL: Yes.


BAER: And you know, the most important line in Biden's speech, which was the most important moment in the convention was when he said character is on the ballot. And they needed to introduce Joe Biden, believe it or not, even though he's been in American politics for more than 50 years, they needed to make sure that people understood what kind of man this was, what kind of person he is.

And so, they did that. But you're right, they did not put forward a positive agenda about what they're going to do with the economy, what they're going to do to move the country forward, and that's very important. And so, now, it's a long campaign. They need to be doing that now. And my advice would be they need to be doing it. They should counter program it, program.

During the Republican Convention, they need to be putting forward what their plan is and how they're going to be moving it forward and make it real, show it in terms of real people, much as they did very successfully with some of the things they did during the convention this past week. And that is going to be where this will be fought out. But on character, the character alone won't do it; it's got to be about the American people and what the plan is for them.

BLACKWELL: Yes. Your former boss, President Clinton had a much smaller role at this convention than he has in the several conventions past. He spoke for under five minutes on tape, Tuesday night, in the first hour, the Primetime presentation, the 9:00 hour. There was some cool question how he should be included at all, especially in the #MeToo era. Do you think he should have had a more prominent role? Or do you think that what we saw was appropriate, a better slot, more time, what do you think?

BAER: Well, look, I think the what he did with this time is what matters. And, and, and what he did with his time and going back to what I was talking about before, go and look at his speech and this is, this is a hallmark of every one of Bill Clinton speeches to Democratic conventions over the decades. They are very substantive. He really talked about what kind of economic policy we need to have. You know, you remember in his 1992 campaign, the slogan was "It's the economy's stupid."


BAER: He's still talking about the economy. He's still talking. It's a different economy today. It's got different kinds of challenges and problems for people. But he was still talking about the kinds of specific programs that we need to put in place. So, to that extent, I think he actually served a really good purpose in this convention to remind the Democrats and remind the country, there is an agenda to go forward.

Now, he didn't get a chance to elaborate it. Bill Clinton loves our long speeches and these kinds of settings. He didn't get that opportunity this time. But you know what, that's what Joe Biden has to do. And, and it is right to leave it to Biden-Harris to be the ones to put that forward.

BLACKWELL: Yes, we remember the '88 speech. Don Baer for us there. Thank you so much, Don. Let's do it again, this cycle.

BAER: Right, Victor, Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Thank you. Christi?

PAUL: So, Victor, the CDC is out with these new ways schools can limit risks when reopening. We're talking about that when we return. And we've got some expert advice for parents for a lot of you I know who are having a tough time with this homeschooling thing. We'll talk about it, stay close.



PAUL: Twenty-seven minutes past the hour. Good Saturday morning to you. You know, two of the highest profile parents involved in the college admissions scandal, now know the price they're going to have to pay. Actress Lori Loughlin was sentenced to two months in federal prison. She'll have also to perform community service and pay $150,000 fine that's once she's released under supervision. Her husband Mossimo Giannulli is going to spend five months in prison.

BLACKWELL: Yes, Loughlin was pretty emotional during the sentence. She said she was profoundly and deeply sorry. They admitted to paying $500,000 to get the daughters into the University of Southern California.

PAUL: So, we have some updates from the CDC now on their guidelines to keep kids safe as they're returning to school. Director Robert Redfield said they're trying to help school administrators make more informed decisions and reduce the spread of the virus, obviously.

BLACKWELL: And they're encouraging schools to work closely with local and public health leaders if there is an infected person on campus. They also suggest that schools offer remote counseling and ensure access to mental health services.

PAUL: I want to bring in Brian Platzer, he's Co-Founder of Teachers Who Tutor NYC. He's also the co-author of the forthcoming book, "Taking the Stress Out of Homework." That's going to be needed by a lot of people. Coming up here. Also, with us Dr. Dari Cash, she is an Emergency Physician and an Associate Clinical Professor of Emergency Medicine at Columbia University Medical School. We appreciate both of you being here. Thank you so much.

Brian, I'd like to start with you, if I could. Because you as I understand it, your tutoring service is so unique because all of the tutors are also classroom teachers. How have requests from parents changed from say last fall to this fall? BRIAN PLATZER, CO-FOUNDER, TEACHERS WHO TUTOR: I mean, it's been

extraordinary. Compared to the last decade, where for the most part requests would follow a similar course of action where the parents would tell us a little bit about their child. You know, perhaps the kid needs help in French or math organization.

And we would then connect that family with a teacher who is specialized in that area. And that would be the, you know, the meat of it, they would then perfect certain behaviors or model the correct way to handle a French class move on.

Now, parents come to us just with a degree of paralysis that I've never seen before where they don't even know what it is exactly that they're asking. They know that school doesn't seem like a perfect solution to the moment they also know that keeping their child at home doesn't seem like an ideal answer.


So, they come to us just hoping that we have some solution that will make all of this more tenable for them. Sometimes that's, you know, pod learning with smaller students, sometimes it's a virtual option. But as opposed to previously where people had questions that we could answer, now, there's just a general sense of fraud anxiety.

PAUL: You know, Dr. Kass, we just mentioned some of the CDC updated guidelines. They're also saying this morning that rather than immediate and long-term shutdowns, initial short-term class suspensions might work better, as well as the pod system we've been talking about, keeping kids together in groups as opposed to going throughout the whole school and that might actually help them keep buildings open, or at least parts of buildings open rather than closing them altogether.

You have said that the virus isn't the reason kids can't be in school, it's the planning and the reaction to it. Based on what you're seeing from the CDC guidelines, do you think those are workable and effective?

DR. DARA KASS, MEDICAL ANALYST, YAHOO NEWS: So, I think the guidelines are a framework, and they really try very hard to not give prescriptive directions, but hand down a framework to communities. And then, it's like up to the community to implement.

Unfortunately, many communities don't have the resources to implement those guidelines even in a realistic way. For example, if your pods, let's say your classroom is exposed, how do you get the whole class tested? Do they stay home? How do they learn when they're at home?

So, the way I view with it, that with call that packing and unpacking, how do you undo the classroom and then bring them back in when the quarantine is over?

And there really isn't a lot of guidance in that. The CDC is trying to give the opportunity to do in-person learning to as many environments as possible. But even here in New York where our viral load is low, our problems are related to ventilation, teacher preparedness, the ability to test and trace our children. It's not even the virus.

So, that's what I mean and I think that we need better support from the federal government to schools to be able to support our teachers and students. To keep them in a consistent learning environment, which is why I think a lot of parents are leaning on this pod idea.

PAUL: OK. So, Brian, what can parents do to make this now virtual school where they're at home in their own rooms. How can they make that more effective and more meaningful to these kids?

PLATZER: Well, I think so much of it is establishing a routine that children know is coming every day, and that they have a sense that they will be able to handle. So much of what disturbs children at the moment is that sense of uncertainty, not knowing whether they'll go to school, but then, school will be shut down. Not knowing if school is safe or not. Not knowing if they are at home, who is going to be looking after them or what their day is going to look like.

So, if parents are able to either themselves set that schedule and routine for the kids, or have somebody else help facilitate that, whether that is a pod leader or just a relative or friend who's comfortable with the kids, so much about entering into the school year at the moment will be about establishing some kind of schedule, some kind of routine, and backup plans that the kids know about, so they don't feel as though, though do they're just floating through life, you know, waiting for their parents to tell them what's going to happen next.

PAUL: And that's so important because we know that kids need structure. That they can't undo the chaotic spring that we've seen and this now new fall session that we're seeing.

So, Dr. Kass, from your standpoint as a doctor, what can we do to try to calm some of those nerves and keep our kids focused and work on, you know, the mental and emotional health in the midst of the physical health crisis that we're seeing?

KASS: So, I think a lot of what Brian said is really important. Its consistency, it's remembering that our anxieties we have around this virus don't -- do not need to be projected on our children.

We need to remind them that masking off, washing their hands, and getting outside safely is a good idea for them. And that what we don't want to do is start and stop multiple environments for them, because things become chaotic and unsafe.

So, I think that the mental anxiety children are having a lot of it's related to the uncertainty of what they're doing. A lot of them didn't have their normal summer experience, they've been at home more than normal, and they've been on technology more than we've wanted them to, and now we're asking them to learn through the computer.

So, I really just think it's about parents really not projecting their anxiety onto their kids and providing a consistent environment as best as possible even in the face of uncertainty of this virus.

PAUL: So, good to know. Real quickly, Brian, what do you hearing from parents that they say is the kid's biggest struggle right now?

PLATZER: I mean, I think the kid's biggest struggle is that sense of anxiety. That whether it comes from parents who don't know what the next week will bring, who try to express that to children, or if they're lucky enough to be in a school and they feel that teachers -- you know, kindergarten teachers for example, whose first instinct would be to comfort them, because they're away from their parents for the first time or their caregivers for the first time in six months.

The kids feel as though the adults in their world don't have a handle of what's going on. And I think that, that contributes to, you know, a fear of the state of the world, whereas, if the parents and the teachers can try to manage best they can to create a -- you know, a defined front and work the kids through it, saying that we know this is different but it will all be OK. Kids tend to thrive under that circumstance as opposed to the degree.


PAUL: Yes. It's so smart. I think I've learned as a parent. It is so much more effective and necessary to bring them out of their chaos and bring us into -- bring them into our calm, as opposed of us getting into their chaos, which, look, it happens.

But this is a great lesson, you gave us some great tips. Thank you so much, Dr. Kass and Brian Platzer. Thank you, we appreciate you.

KASS: Yes.

PLATZER: It's a pleasure.

BLACKWELL: You've got two tropical storms that could turn into hurricanes that are now threatening the gulf coast. Both of them already hitting 40 miles per hour with the winds there.

Plus, there are fires forcing evacuations in California. We've got the latest for you when NEW DAY returns.



BLACKWELL: Right now, there are evacuations happening in California. Over 12 000 firefighters are battling this huge wildfire -- several of them, in fact, have killed at least four people, scorched almost a million acres across the state.

PAUL: I want to go to Allison Chinchar on the CNN weather center because the thing we have to remember, Allison, is that these wildfires largely are still uncontained.

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes. Yes, and again, that's kind of the point is you have two of them. When you look at the top 10 largest wildfires in California history, we have two of them that are still ongoing. One is currently sitting at number two and fourth place. So, again, in theory, both of those could get higher. They could become the first or the third because they're still ongoing. And you're right, those containment numbers are still on the low side.

Here is another interesting thing to note is look at all of the smoke from those fires, and how far it has spread. Here is a point, this is Denver, OK? Again, just to show you how far that smoke is spreading. And the problem there is, well, you're not necessarily seeing the fires in some of those other places; the air quality is considerably worse than it normally would be.

But you also have the fires that are spread, it's not just California. Look at how widespread all of these fires are across much of the western half of the country. Again, you have over 90 active large fires. This doesn't even take into account the smaller ones.

Now, on the eastern half of the country, we're dealing with a different scenario here. Not one, but two tropical storms. We have Marco just near the Yucatan Peninsula and Laura that's basically hovering right around Puerto Rico.

Now, both of these are expected to make their way towards the gulf here in the coming days. But the question becomes where do they go exactly? What -- where is landfall possibility?

Here is a look at Laura, right now it could range anywhere from a landfall in Texas to Florida. So, again you've got a pretty wide expanse there. In terms of Marco, it's also could be Texas and Louisiana.

But notice one thing too, they overlap. So, cities like Beaumont Texas or even Houston are technically in both cones. Meaning, they could get hit from both systems. Now, one thing to note it won't be on the same day, they are at different speeds at this point.

So, we've labeled them here. There is Marco and here is Laura. As we continue the track up towards, say, Sunday and into Monday, notice by late Sunday, early Monday, Marco's already into the Gulf of Mexico. But Laura really just kind of really entering areas of Cuba at that point.

Right now, and I emphasize right now because a lot of this can still change. We are anticipating Marco to make a landfall. Again, somewhere around Texas or Louisiana on Tuesday.

Then, about a day later, then, you have Laura that perhaps will make landfall either in the exact same spot, Victor and Christi, or perhaps maybe slightly farther east or further west where Marco makes landfall.

BLACKWELL: This is just 2020. 2020.

PAUL: Oh my God.


BLACKWELL: Two storms at the same time. Allison Chinchar, thanks so much.


PAUL: That's all you had to stay with 2020.


PAUL: Everybody knows. 2020, oh my God.

All right, an outspoken Russian dissident is now in Germany for medical treatment after he fell into a coma. Navalny's family says he was poisoned. We're going to tell you how his supporters were able to get him out of Russia.



PAUL: Let's get you some "FOOD AS FUEL" here because nutritionist Lisa Drayer is offering us a guide to going gluten-free.

LISA DRAYER, CNN HEALTH CONTRIBUTOR: Deciding to go gluten-free should only be done with careful consideration. A gluten-free diet is designed specifically for those with celiac disease or a condition called non-celiac gluten sensitivity.

Both disorders can cause symptoms, including abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, or constipation, joint pain, and fatigue. Foods that should be avoided include those containing wheat, rye, and barley. That means no bread, pasta, cereal, or beverages made from these greens.

But there are still plenty of tasty options to choose from. For breakfast, you can enjoy a gluten-free waffle with cottage cheese and peaches or a baked sweet potato with broccoli and cheese, paired with fresh fruit for lunch.

And for dinner, you can have poached salmon with brown rice and garlic green beans or gluten-free pasta with seafood and grilled vegetables.

As you can see, a gluten-free diet isn't necessarily about what you're giving up but what you can gain.


BLACKWELL: Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has arrived in Berlin. He is being treated there after falling into a coma. His supporters say he was poisoned, but Russian doctors and state media are trying to cast doubt on that theory.

CNN's Phil Black is with us now. Phil, Navalny joins a growing list of Putin critics who have either become very sick mysteriously or died.

PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Indeed. Victor, Christi, good morning. Yes. So, Alexei Navalny arrived in Berlin this morning. The flight went well, he is safe and stable now. And within crucially, from his family's point of view, the care of trusted independent doctors who are going to be looking after him from this point forward.

Because from their point of view, they believe that just before he boarded an internal Russian flight on Thursday, he was poisoned. Someone tried to kill him very likely. They believe with some degree of state involvement.


BLACK: And so, their fear was that as long as he was in Russia, he was at risk. At-risk from someone who may try to finish the job, either through deliberate negligence or perhaps something more proactive.

So, now, he has the chance they hope to recover. They will hope that they've got him to Germany soon enough to save his life. They will also hope that he's there and arrived within time for tests and examinations to determine precisely what struck him down. Because their theory is, he was held in Russia, allowed not to leave deliberately, so that the poison in his system would diminish to the point where it would no longer be detectable by the point he received independent care.

Now, this all really matters because Navalny is the most prominent credible respected opposition figure in Russia. And he has been very courageously criticizing and trying to seek change within the Russian political system for some 10 years now.

And so, it is not just his family who hope that he will recover, but indeed everyone in Russia who hopes and dreams of political change. Because although the opposition movement there is more than just one man.

It is fair to say there is no one else with the stature of Alexei Navalny, who will be able to step in -- and as I say, with great courage potentially risking their own life and safety. Step in and be able to hold the Russian government to account or fight for change in the same way that he has done so.

And it is that point, I guess, of determination and courage that Navalny is so famous for, because he has for so long, continued his fight. Well, as you say, Victor, others around him, other colleagues, other activists have fallen mysteriously ill in very similar circumstances.

BLACKWELL: Yes, and we'll look for those conclusive results from testing now that he is in Berlin. Phil Black for us there. Phil, thanks so much.

PAUL: All right, let's get a little uplifting moment here. The National Zoo has something to celebrate this morning. The giant panda there gave birth to a new cub. This just happened last night. We're talking with zookeepers about this. Stay close.


[07:57:07] PAUL: So, this morning, take a look at this. There's the pitter-patter little pause at the national zoo in Washington, the giant panda there gave birth last night. Steve Monfort, the director of the Smithsonian's National Zoo is with us now.

Steve, it is good to see you. Exciting morning, I'm sure, for all of you. How are mama and baby doing?

STEVE MONFORT, DIRECTOR, SMITHSONIAN's NATIONAL ZOO: Everybody is doing great. We have evidence of strong vocalizations from the cub, and we actually were able to capture some imagery of the cub resting on mom's chest, which suggests that she's been nursing.

So, Mei Xiang is the mom and she is experienced, she's doing a great job, and so, everything is going really well so far.

PAUL: So, is this the only space she has with her cub right now is just this space where we see her? I mean, I know that this is how you monitor. At what point do you look at this and say we might need to send somebody in?

MONFORT: Well, first of all, in the -- in nature, you know, pandas would have a den and they would -- they would keep the cub with them for a prolonged period of time, because the cub is just the size of a butter stick when it's born, very immature, and helpless. And so, there's a long period of time where mom will just be taking care of the cub.

We are not going to do anything to interfere as long as everything is going great. In a few weeks, we'll do -- try to do a physical exam on the cub and get its sex and make sure it's doing well.

But so far, our plan is not to intervene. That is her den, that's where she's comfortable being. So, we're going to leave her there for the time being.

PAUL: The size of a butter stick. Oh, my goodness.

MONFORT: Right, yes. They're -- they are -- they're. Yes, they're born very, very small. You know, this is just such a great day for the National Zoo, but really for the whole world. We hope this will spark joy. It certainly does for us.

You know, this has been a time when the whole zoo community, you know, all of my staff who've worked throughout this pandemic, you know, 100 percent time, just like normal.

To have something like this happen, it just -- it uplifts us, it uplifts the world. And we're just really proud of where we are today, and so happy.

PAUL: You should be. And we're happy for you. Real quickly, as I understand it, and correct me if I'm wrong, this is the fourth cub from this bear, and three of them have gone back to China. Is that the same fate for this latest cub? MONFORT: Yes, yes, this is the fourth cub that Mei Xiang has had. And at the end of four years, by our agreement with the Chinese, the cubs will return or will go to China and join the program there for conservation and breeding.

Most of the world's pandas are in China, of course. And, you know, we really hope that one day, offspring of these cubs which are going to provide really important contribution to the genetics of the population will one day be released into the wild.

So, it's a great story for us. It's a great story of partnership with our Chinese colleagues. And that's a demonstration of how zoos, in general, can contribute the conservation.