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President Trump In Hospital With Coronavirus One Month Before Election And Is Expected To Stay Hospitalized For "Next Few Days;" More COVID Cases Emerge In White House As Trump Hospitalized With Virus; Trump Being Treated With Regeneron Antibody Cocktail And Remdesivir; World Leaders Send Consolatory Messages To President Trump; Lakers Stars Dominate To Take Commanding Lead In NBA Finals. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired October 03, 2020 - 06:00   ET




DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want to thank everybody for the tremendous support. I think I'm doing very well.

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: This is not a matter of politics. It's a bracing reminder to all of us that we have to take this virus seriously.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President dealing with mild symptoms, received an experimental Regeneron antibody cocktail treatment on Friday.

LEONARD SCHLEIFER, CO-FOUNDER AND CEO, REGENERON: He is a patient who is at risk and they felt that they wanted to tilt the odds a little bit more in his favor by potentially using our drug.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is important to show our allies and our adversaries around the world that the President is still in charge, but it's also why this White House has to give us some more information.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The most secure American in this country gets this virus. None of us is safe.


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

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Light coming from the capitol this morning and there we're seeing Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland where the President is waking up this morning after being transferred from the White House.

Yesterday, he walked out onto the White House lawn onto Marine One and is waking up there now this morning after he was -- he's, of course, being hospitalized with COVID-19 and we are learning more about his treatment this morning. Sources tell us the President is having some trouble breathing and that he's very tired.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Now also overnight, we learned about more positive cases connected to the President in the White House. The latest is the President's campaign manager, Bill Stepien. Several other people close to the President have tested positive also.

PAUL: The President's illness is obviously raising some national security concerns. The Pentagon wants to reassure you there are no indications of an immediate threat to the nation.

BLACKWELL: All right. So we are following every angle of what is happening. Our reporters, correspondents standing by and we'll bring you the latest information this morning.

PAUL: We want to start with CNN's Boris Sanchez. He's outside Walter Reed Medical Center right now and I know we're learning this morning the President is having these issues with his breathing. What more are you hearing?

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christi and Victor. What we're hearing from the White House physician is that the President is exhibiting some mild symptoms related to coronavirus and you're right, apparently, he's having trouble breathing. That's related to congestion that he is feeling. The President also having a low-grade fever and he's exhausted. He's experiencing a level of fatigue.

The White House, though, has emphasized that the President is in good spirits, that he's doing well, that he's here at Walter Reed Medical Center out of an abundance of caution. We are told by people close to the President, though, that he was spooked by his diagnosis and the rapid onset of symptoms. The President, though, publicly putting on a positive note. He released a video on twitter yesterday shortly before being airlifted to Walter Reed Medical Center. I want you to listen to what he says.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want to thank everybody for the tremendous support. I'm going to Walter Reed hospital. I think I'm doing very well, but we're going to make sure that things work out. The first lady is doing very well. So thank you very much. I appreciate it. I will never forget it. Thank you.


SANCHEZ: The President saying that he wants to make sure that things work out. You also heard there that the first lady is doing well. From what we understand, she has experienced a mild cough, not really what the President is experiencing, so more severe symptoms from President Trump.

He also tweeted this late last night at around 11:30. Really not the common emotion that we hear from the President when he's tweeting that late at night. He writes, quote, "Going well I think. Thank you to all," all caps, "LOVE." Again, quite a note from President Trump. We're used to seeing him express very different sentiments at that time of the evening when he is tweeting.

Notably, aides around the President are very concerned about the situation not only because we've seen, as you outlined, so many people around the White House, whether it's officials or Republican senators or even journalists, test positive for COVID-19, but also because of the way this virus operates. We've seen it move very quickly with other patients, notably British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Just days after he tested positive for COVID-19, he went from having mild symptoms to being in the intensive care unit.


So a very serious situation. The White House again emphasizing, though, that this is just all out of an abundance of caution, Victor, Christi.

PAUL: All righty. We certainly hope so. Boris Sanchez, thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: So some details we're getting from sources, very few officially from the White House about this decision to move the President to Walter Reed and the other details of the day.

PAUL: Yes. Just to reiterate, as Boris said, the White House said the decision was made out of an abundance of caution. Now, according to "The Washington Post," however, this morning, the White House wanted to move the President while he could still walk to Marine One on his own.

BLACKWELL: Let's bring in CNN's Ryan Nobles. Ryan, a growing number of people within the President's inner circle have tested positive for the virus. We're still waiting for some results of some of the people who were with him at the debate on Tuesday, with the Rose Garden event as well. What do you know?

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. That's right. Good morning, Victor and Christi. From the White House where it seems that by the hour, the list of people who were near the President and the first lady who have tested positive for the coronavirus seems to expand and let's take a look at just the people that we know of at this point who have tested positive.

They include, of course, Hope Hicks. She was among the first close to the President whose diagnosis we learned about, but also Ronna McDaniel who's the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee. Hope Hicks of course we mentioned. Two senators, Thom Tillis and Mike Lee, Tillis of North Carolina who's up for reelection, Lee of Utah.

Kellyanne Conway, former senior counselor to the President who just recently left the White House, three journalists and then late last night, we learned Bill Stepien, who is a campaign manager for Donald Trump, also testing positive.

Now, what almost all of these particular individuals have in common is that they were at that event on Saturday where the President announced his nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to become the next member of the Supreme Court and of course keep in mind that many of the people at that event were not wearing masks. Some were tested ahead of time and if they were in close proximity to the President, they had to have tested negative, but there were still many that weren't tested and now many of them are being diagnosed with a positive test result.

Now, there's still a lot that's going to happen here over the next couple of days. Of course, there is a vice presidential debate that is set to take place on Wednesday. As of right now, the plans for that continue to move forward. They've made some accommodations. Both Kamala Harris and Mike Pence are expected to be further apart than what was originally planned, going from seven feet to 12 feet apart on the debate stage.

And Vice President Mike Pence taking on a much bigger role, not just in the campaign where he's expected to step in for President Trump at some of these events, but he is also now taking over -- he's been in charge of the Coronavirus Task Force, but in a much more public way with the President being hospitalized at Walter Reed. He's going to lead a meeting of the Coronavirus Task Force later today.

It's important to keep in mind though, Christi and Victor, that while many of these associates close to the President are being tested on a regular basis, even though they've tested negative here over the past couple of days, more positive test results could come out. So we're continuing to keep an eye, a very close eye on these test results over the next couple of days, Victor and Christi.

BLACKWELL: Very important note there. Ryan Nobles from the White House. Thanks so much.

PAUL: Thanks, Ryan. So following President Trump's positive test results, Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden's campaign pulled all their negative TV ads that were aimed against the President. The Trump campaign said they will not do the same.

BLACKWELL: Now, the former Vice President and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, they both tested negative yesterday, then they returned to the campaign trail. Now, in Michigan, the Vice President, he again went to his message about the virus. He said that wearing a mask is about being patriotic and doing your part and he also wished President Trump and the first lady well.


BIDEN: My wife Jill and I pray that they'll make a quick and full recovery. This is not a matter of politics. It's a bracing reminder to all of us that we have to take this virus seriously.


PAUL: Now, both Joe Biden and his running mate, Senator Kamala Harris of course, are going to be on a campaign trail today and overnight, we learned Vice President Mike Pence and Vice Presidential nominee Kamala Harris will now be spaced 12 feet apart at Wednesday's debate.

BLACKWELL: So, we are now one month from this election. The news of the President contracting coronavirus has upended the election season. With us now to discuss , CNN political commentator and host of the podcast "You Decide," Errol Louis. Errol, good morning to you. Listen, there have been a lot of plot twists during this campaign season, but Joe Biden pretty consistently has held seven points, give or take, ahead of the President in polls. Do you expect that this diagnosis changes that?


[06:10:00] In fact, for all intents and purposes, let's be blunt about it, Victor, for now at least, the President's campaign has come to a halt. If you don't have a candidate and you don't have a campaign manager who can move about freely and campaign the way you're supposed to and take meetings and try and round up more votes, you don't have a candidate, you don't have a campaign manager and you don't have control of the message, I'm not sure you can really call it a campaign anymore and that last is the most important.

If you don't have control of what the topic is going to be on any given day, it becomes very, very hard. We're stuck on COVID as the theme for this candidate and this campaign for the last 30 odd days and it's not favorable terrain for President Trump.

So I don't see how they even sort of make this happen. I guess they'll put something together over the next few days, but we shouldn't kid ourselves about this. You can't reach people with a brand new message. You can't reach hundreds of millions of people overnight and start changing a narrative that's going to be powerfully driven by every news organization in the country. This is the story going into the election, Victor.

BLACKWELL: Speaking of the narrative, the narrative from the White House at the early part of the day, that the President was still working from the White House, although they took him off the only thing on his public schedule which was a phone call and we heard that he was going to be working from his suite at Walter Reed. It really is difficult to take the word of this administration as gospel after, especially, what we learned from the Bob Woodward recordings of the President wanting to downplay the severity of this virus.

What do you make of the messaging, as you mentioned, from this White House of what we know and what we don't?

LOUIS: Well, look, on a -- on a strictly government public policy level, this is the -- the day has come that we always feared and a lot of critics warned about which is that if you're not saying truthful information on a regular basis, the tank of trust just is -- it ends up being emptied.

You know, it's gotten lower and lower and lower over the years because so many false statements have come out of that White House and so many false statements have come from the podium in the briefing room that at this point, you know, White House reporters I've spoken to, they just say that they take absolutely nothing at face value from this White House and we especially need truthful, reliable information at a time like this. You know, put the politics aside. You know, national security questions, the ongoing fight against the coronavirus, you know, there's nothing that you can take at face value and so I think they then lose politically because that same team is trying to tell us that the President's working, the President's doing fine.

Well, I wouldn't believe any of that unless I had independent confirmation and here again it's one of those benefits that the White House was very cavalier about, sort of saying, oh, look, we'll say whatever we want, you know, we'll have a briefing, maybe we won't have a briefing, maybe we'll contradict ourselves, maybe we'll contradict our own health experts. OK. Fine, but at this point, would anybody believe anything that they say without independent confirmation? No.

BLACKWELL: Yes. It's remarkable that we haven't even heard from a doctor standing in front of reporters answering questions. I mentioned with Julian Zelizer last hour, after Bush's colonoscopy, Chaney's heart surgery, Clinton's knee surgery, we had medical professionals answering questions. We only have a few statements from the administration.

Let me go to this because before we got the news of the diagnosis, Mitch McConnell was certain to push through this nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to get to the court. Now you've got two senators who were on Senate Judiciary, Thom Tillis and Mike Lee, who've tested positive. Does this hospitalization of the President, diagnoses of two Republican members of the committee complicate that effort one month out from the election?

LOUIS: It slightly complicates it. The reality is that the Judiciary Committee, if it -- if all of the Democrats were to walk away and those two members that you referenced are not available to meet, they could meet -- in theory, they could meet remotely, but let's say they weren't able to do that. Then in theory, you wouldn't have a quorum and you couldn't hold the vote.

On the other hand, Mitch McConnell doesn't need the committee. Under Senate rules, he can take the nomination directly to the floor where another series of complications come up, political complications because there are a number of candidates in his conference, there are a number of Republicans who are running behind. One of them is Susan Collins of Maine, another of them, frankly, is Thom Tillis.

These are -- these are folks who are consistently polling well behind their Democratic challengers and they don't necessarily want this very controversial vote to become part of a campaign that they're already losing and need to make up ground with.

[06:15:05] So yes, it gets politically a lot more complicated. The easiest thing, of course, to do would be to wait. On the other hand, Mitch McConnell, if he's -- for his own reelection as well as for the sake of a lot of other Republicans who are running, he may choose to just push it through which is what the White House wants him to do. If he wants to do it though, Victor, we should be clear, he'll be able to make it happen. BLACKWELL: Yes. And Lindsey Graham, Chairman of Senate Judiciary, says that he's convinced he's going to keep moving forward despite the diagnosis from the President. Errol Louis, thanks so much.

LOUIS: Thank you.

PAUL: Thank you, Errol. So President Trump received this anti-body cocktail as part of his treatment for coronavirus, but the treatment's still considered experimental. What the company's CEO told us next.

BLACKWELL: And Notre Dame's president, he's also tested positive for COVID-19. He did not wear a mask at the ceremony at the Rose Garden, but he says he was tested before the Supreme Court announcement. We are learning more about this event and the diagnoses after.




BLACKWELL: Twenty minutes after the hour. The White House says President Trump has received an experimental antibody treatment to treat his coronavirus. Now, the company, Regeneron, that created the treatment only started using this cocktail in June, but so far it's shown to be safe. Regeneron's CEO, Leonard Schleifer, spoke to Chris Cuomo just a few hours ago.


LEONARD SCHLEIFER, CEO, REGENERON PHARMACEUTICALS: He's not seriously ill now. He's not on a respirator. His life is not threatened from what we know from the -- from the outside, and I hear the same news that you hear, but he is a patient who is at risk and they felt that they wanted to tilt the odds a little bit more in his favor by potentially using our drug.

What we found is that we can help the patient's immune system win the race by basically giving them an immune response in a vial. We're giving actual antibodies and I was listening. Sanjay had it almost right and he's fabulous and he covers so many different areas. This is -- these are proteins, they're not cells we're giving. They're monoclonal antibodies. They're proteins whose job it is, in a very specific way, to glom onto that virus and help your body win the race.


BLACKWELL: Regeneron hopes the FDA will authorize the drug for emergency use. There are, right now, 70 different antibody treatments for COVID-19 under investigation.

PAUL: There are still so many things that we don't know about the President's condition for the treatment that he's receiving. Saju Mathew -- Dr. Saju Mathew with us now, a primary care physician and public health specialist. Dr. Mathew, good to see you. Thank you for being here. I want to know

what your initial reaction was to the fact that they are giving the President what is -- it's an experimental treatment. We just heard from the CEO there, but do you as a doctor have any concerns about treating the President of the United States with a drug that has not been approved by the FDA?

SAJU MATHEW, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Yes. Good morning, Christi. Lots of events happening in the last 24 hours and firstly, I want to wish President Trump, as a physician that takes care of COVID-19 patients, a speedy recovery.

To answer your question specifically about Regeneron, this is a new treatment, a new therapy. It is actually a more sophisticated version, Christi, of convalescent plasma. Convalescent plasma is where you just take the antibodies of a patient who is severely ill with COVID-19 along with the plasma, along with other blood products and infuse that into somebody that is recovering from COVID-19.

With this new treatment, the monoclonal antibody, it is a more specific antibody, a cleaner version and what you're doing is you're specifically targeting COVID-19 virus. So if you think about that scientific explanation, it really does have a lot of promise. The problem, Christi, is we don't have enough data on this monoclonal antibody and get this, we don't even have an emergency-use authorization. It has been given, if you will, on a compassionate need basis to the President.

Am I concerned? Of course, I'm concerned with any type of an experimental drug. At this point in the midst of a pandemic and knowing really President Trump, he's such a strong and confident man, you have to get his consent in order to be given this infusion. We'll have to see if it works.

PAUL: So here's my other question because we are getting word this morning that he's also been given his first dose of Remdesivir. Are you -- is there any concern about giving those two drugs in conjunction with each other?

MATHEW: Yes. Good question, Christi. I have not read any scientific articles that talk about a contraindication or an interaction. If you think about it, the monoclonal antibodies is sort of revving up the natural immune system and Remdesivir is really decreasing the replication of the virus in the body.

So if you will, it's two separate pathways, but, you know, it's interesting that within 24 hours he's gone from mild symptoms to now getting Remdesivir which is typically given to patients who are on oxygen therapy and as far as we know, he's not currently receiving oxygen.

PAUL: Is there anything about the timeline that we know that stood out to you regarding the President first showing symptoms and then, as we see him here, walking himself out, which is a good sign certainly, to Marine One when he left for Walter Reed yesterday, but it did seem to be very sudden, I think, for a lot of people. What was your take? MATHEW: Yes. That's right. Sorry, Christi. Yes. That's exactly correct. If you look at the timeline of the -- of the virus, we don't know a whole bunch when it comes to details of the virus, but we know that there is a specific timeline.


The incubation period is about five days. It could be as long as 14 days before you start developing symptoms. So if the President turned positive or tested positive yesterday and 24 hours later, he's already in a hospital and has been given two treatments, that is not necessarily the normal course for somebody who tests positive 24 hours.

It takes five days to actually get to mild symptoms and then it takes another week before you develop moderate to severe illness. So my big question, Christi, would be was the President tested every single day? We're getting such sketchy details and as Victor mentioned in the previous segment, we have known so much more about previous president's knee surgeries and colonoscopies and really not enough information about the President's status. So there's still a lot up in the air that we don't know.

PAUL: No doubt. Dr. Saju Mathew, we appreciate having your expertise here. Thank you.

MATHEW: Thank you, Christi.

PAUL: So the President is one of a growing number of COVID patients in hospitals across the country, record hospitalizations in some states. Almost half the country, half the states are seeing a surge in new cases. We've got a live report next.



PAUL: Thirty minutes past the hour right now, and more than 7 million people have contracted COVID-19 in the U.S. now. As at least 24 states are reporting a surge in new cases.

BLACKWELL: And there's a university model that's projecting 3,000 coronavirus deaths per day by the end of the year.

PAUL: The CDC has identified a new COVID-19 syndrome, by the way in adults. It's similar to one found in children. A new inflammatory syndrome has killed at least three adults so far they know. And like COVID-19, it disproportionately affects minorities.

BLACKWELL: Polo Sandoval is with us now. Polo, we are seeing an increase across several categories in some states. What are you seeing?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you know, about six months into the pandemic now, and what you have are multiple experts that are now weighing in here, including the former head of the CDC saying at this point, it's clear that we needed more comprehensive approach to fighting COVID. The CDC -- at least, the former director of the CDC, Tom Frieden saying, like testing, yes, that's essentially good. But it does not replace his safety measures that Americans should still be taking here. Of course, the handwashing, the social distancing and, of course, the mask wearing as well.


SANDOVAL (voice-over): President Trump working from Maryland's Walter Reed Medical Center where he was flown Friday night out of an abundance of caution according to the White House. The president dealing with mild symptoms according to officials and received an experimental Regeneron antibody cocktail treatment on Friday.

His infection coming as half of the states in the U.S., from Vermont to Nevada are experiencing upward trends in the virus. Wisconsin where President Trump was due to hold a rally today now canceled due to his diagnosis reported more than 2,700 new cases on Friday. The state also set a record of nearly 2,900 new cases on Thursday.

Further west, Colorado experiencing its highest rate of hospitalization since August. And in Ohio, the site of Tuesday's presidential debates, an alarming rise in daily cases according to Governor Mike DeWine. With more than 1,000 new cases per day for the past four days, the Republican governor describing the president's diagnosis as a reminder the virus does not discriminate.

GOV. MIKE DEWINE (R-OH): Now if the president of the United States can get this, the first lady can get this, we can get it too. And we just got to be very careful.

SANDOVAL: And in New York City, 12 hot spot neighborhoods in Queens and Brooklyn are a cause for concern for officials who say the infection rates in those areas are more than 4 percentage points higher than the rest of the city.

MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D), NEW YORK CITY: We have a lot to do because we're seeing a serious uptick in multiple neighborhoods simultaneously. And it's something we have to address with a very aggressive public health effort right away.

SANDOVAL: Across the river in New Jersey, contact-tracing is under way. In connection to President Trump's Thursday Bedminster fundraiser. According to Governor Phil Murphy, that's the last event the commander-in-chief attended before receiving his diagnosis.


And still today, we're seeing an average of about 42,000 new COVID cases a day across the country. The baseline number that is not any better than it was last month which is certainly unfortunate here, Victor and Christi, because that would have helped us combat a spike that health officials are still saying is coming through the Fall and into the Winter.

PAUL: Polo Sandoval, appreciate you walking us through all that, thank you.

BLACKWELL: All right, today is October 3rd, the election is November 3rd, that means we're one month away exactly from the election. And the president's diagnosis could have some pretty far-reaching political consequences.

PAUL: Yes, CNN senior political analyst Mark Preston with us. Good morning to you, Mark. Good to see you.

MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Good morning, good morning, Christi.

PAUL: We know that this whole diagnosis elevates the conversation about coronavirus. And we also know that, that is a topic the president wanted to avoid so-to-speak on the campaign trail. And it is the central narrative that Joe Biden wanted to talk about. So, with that said --

PRESTON: Right --

PAUL: Is there any indication that there's going to be some modification of messaging from Republicans and from President Trump?


PRESTON: Well, first of all, a couple of things. One is, we know that President trump's campaign is continuing forward with their battle plan, meaning they've decided to continue on with their television ads including the attack ads on Joe Biden. Now, we do know that Joe Biden's campaign yesterday, Christi, pulled down their attack ads even before he went to Walter Reed, before they knew it, Joe Biden's campaign decided to take a step back and do the, quote-unquote, "gentlemanly thing" and to take down these attack ads. Now, going forward, I think we've already seen the messaging changing overnight, I mean, with such crazy coverage, I've barely got any sleep just watching it.

And I've got to tell you, when you see these statements that are coming out from senators who are now infected by this, by the COVID as well as others, you're starting to see folks who are being a little bit more concerned. Now, the question is what's going to happen with their supporters. And Christi, I think that everyone right now is just praying that the president and everybody else that has this can just recover from it.

BLACKWELL: Yes, we saw the White House staff, we saw some of those around the president wearing masks as they stood outside --

PRESTON: Right --

BLACKWELL: The White House waiting for the president to walk on to Marine One. You talked about the president's supporters, and the importance of them seeing the president walk on to Marine One. "The Washington Post" reporting that the timing of this transfer to Walter Reed was so they would get this very shot that people are saying, the president walking on to the helicopter. PRESTON: Well, look, I -- and not only do I think that was important

for his political supporters, but I do think it was important for us here as citizens right of the United States to see that the president is not being carried out of the White House on a gurney, right? That he is being transported, you know, in an ambulance or helicopter, basically lying on his back.

Now, having said that, it is very concerning that we haven't heard a whole lot out of the White House, and it's even doubly concerning that we haven't heard a whole lot from him, Victor, because as you and I both know, at about this hour in the morning, you're furiously trying to catch up on what he has been tweeting in the morning.

We haven't seen him make very many statements, just a couple yesterday as we saw, and he's been certainly very quiet. But I think as we're focusing in on the election day, I think a lot of it is up in the air right now, in that, I think people are just waiting for this now day by day, to see how the president fares through this COVID.

PAUL: Real quickly, next debate in Miami, October 15th, at least, that is the schedule of it. If you put --

PRESTON: Right --

PAUL: Into perspective, that would be on the periphery of President Trump in 14 days out from testing positive. Is it irresponsible to go forward with that?

PRESTON: I think it's irresponsible to make any decision at this point about what they're going to do on the 14th. I will tell you this as somebody who is involved with CNN and has helped do our debates for the last 10 years, 12 years, put them together -- I mean, basically, Christi, these things are movable, OK? They could move that out a few more days if they have to do it. And I think that's what we perhaps will see. But right now, let's put the debate on hold, let's get the president better. The election is going to come, people are going to vote, let's just hope that people can get through it at this point.

BLACKWELL: Mark Preston, I don't know where you are, but that is a fantastic space. Mark Preston, thanks --

PAUL: You've done a nice job --

PRESTON: This is CNN grill --


PRESTON: It was the CNN grill, I had to resurrect it during the conventions.

BLACKWELL: Oh, well, it's good --

PAUL: Very nicely done.

BLACKWELL: Thanks so much --

PAUL: I'm sure room raiders are going to give you some good --


PAUL: Rates there. Be good --

BLACKWELL: Mark Preston, good to have you --

PAUL: Thanks, Mark --

PRESTON: Thanks, guys, appreciate it.

PAUL: So, this is not the first time that a world leader has been diagnosed with coronavirus, obviously. What British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's experience might tell us about what's next for President Trump and his administration.



BLACKWELL: Leaders from around the world are sending well wishes to President Trump, of course, after his COVID-19 diagnosis. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson wished both the president and the first lady a quick recovery.

PAUL: Yes, and let's remember that Prime Minister Johnson himself was diagnosed with coronavirus back in March. And he was admitted to the ICU within days. Now, prior to that, he was described as being cavalier about the virus, even shaking hands with people at a hospital visit. He did get a lot of sympathy from the public after his own diagnosis, though. His government and its handling of the virus did not. CNN international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson joining us from London. So, Nic, help us understand what the rest of the world sees in this diagnosis and how they're reacting.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: I think there's concern. I mean, when you look at the headlines in the British newspapers today, there are elements of concern. There are clearly people are wondering how the election process will go, that that's looking somewhat chaotic. I think the takeaways from the U.K., in particular are -- and particularly from having witness the prime minister go through this, so, there was a huge amount of sympathy that the prime minister got when he went into ICU. But then when he got out of hospital, that sympathy and support and the boost in the polls that he had that disappeared pretty quickly because in essence, he was still struggling to get his hands around the pandemic.

And that, you know, cost him a lot of popularity. The other thing the prime minister found out when he came out from hospital was that it was just difficult to get fully back up to speed. His message for President Trump is that he hopes he does make that sort of quick, strong recovery.



all want to send our best wishes to the president and the first lady. And I've done that this morning as you can imagine. And I'm sure that they'll both stage a very strong recovery.


ROBERTSON: And President Putin of Russia says that President Trump's inherent vitality, good spirits and optimism will stand him in good stead. Angela Merkel, the German chancellor wishing the president getting back to full health. Moon Jae-in of South Korea, another world leader saying the wishes of the nation are with President Trump as he recovers.

BLACKWELL: And we just got this from China's President Xi Jinping sending sympathy to the president and first lady and extending them well-wishes and a speedy recovery, that from the Chinese Foreign Ministry. Nic Robertson, thanks so much.

PAUL: Thank you, Nic. So, the NFL's first coronavirus outbreak is still spreading. And it's already forced one game to be rescheduled. How it's affecting others.



PAUL: So, the Los Angeles Lakers are closing in on their first NBA championship in a decade.

BLACKWELL: Coy Wire is with us now of course at the head. Anthony Davis and LeBron James?

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS REPORTER: Yes, no doubt, good to see you guys, good morning --

BLACKWELL: Good morning --

WIRE: The Lakers now just two wins away from their first NBA title in a decade where Kobe Bryant was the leading man. The Lakers wearing their special black Mamba uniforms in tribute to Kobe, overpowering a Heat team decimated by injuries. LeBron finishing with a game high, 33 points. Anthony Davis hitting 14 of his first 15 shots to finish with 32. They're the first Lakers teammates to each score 30 in a playoff game since Shaq and Kobe did it in 2002. L.A. dominating game 2, 124- 114.

In the NFL, the Titans-Steelers game tomorrow postponed due to COVID will now be played October 25th. Seven Titans players, six staff members testing positive for the virus this week. The Steelers-Ravens game is now forced to move to November 1st.

Finally, with leadership at the forefront of the national debate, this week's difference-makers is two-time NFL defensive player of the year, L.A. Rams star Aaron Donald. He was brought to tears telling me about the kids he's leading through his foundation AD 99 Solutions and the challenges they face.


AARON DONALD, DEFENSIVE TACKLE, LOS ANGELES RAMS: Me personally growing up in an inner city, I had a lot of friends that, you know, always didn't make the best decisions. You know, a lot of friends that have been in and out of jail. I had friends that were murdered. So, that's me, you know, getting on a phone call with a kid for, you know, 30 seconds to a minute, just to talk to them.

Me meeting with these kids in person, being there face-to-face, having an opportunity to talk to these kids, that goes a long way. We need to create not just sports and musicians and things like that, but you know, we can be doctors too coming out of the inner cities and if you're not -- we've got to strive for greatness and have that mindset that we can do it, too. And they've got to see it.

Certain situations with the police murdering innocent black men and things like that, so it's like -- it's one thing and then it jumps to another thing to the point where it's hard to grasp, is it enough what I'm doing? Is it enough to help? You know, it's hard to try to put it in words. You know, sometimes, you get emotional about it because it's been a long journey.

WIRE: What makes you emotional? What are you feeling?

DONALD: I just sent a text message to McByrd (ph), everything he told me, you know, it really came full circle and it paid off for him. So, it's like -- it's surreal, man. It really is because, you know, if I'm just starting working out under a basement to, you know, being in the National Football League, I have so many kids that come from different areas that get the opportunity to actually -- you know, dream about something, they want that since they were 5 years old, and see it come full circle to be where I am today, you know, it's crazy, not just being in the NFL but being a top guy in the league and still, you know, got a room for improvement. It's just -- you know, it's definitely emotional here.

You get choked up. Your chest gets warm, your eyes throwing water, but you know, you put the body of work in it. And it always pays off. I just want to give these kids that opportunity, that mentor, that motivation to strive for greatness, man because I just believe that, you know, I'm living my dream. I want everybody to have the opportunity to feel what I'm feeling.


WIRE: Aaron. As the NFL social justice initiative inspired change is helping him help others. More than $44 million the last two years has been awarded to organizations that push for a more equal tomorrow like Aaron's. He may be one of the most feared men in football, but those tears say all you need to know about the heart and spirit of Aaron Donald.

PAUL: Good point, good point. Coy, thank you for bringing us that --

BLACKWELL: Thank you, Coy --

PAUL: It's important to see. Thanks.

BLACKWELL: All right, we've got, of course, more on the breaking news all morning. President Trump hospitalized after testing positive for coronavirus. We're going to take you live to Walter Reed and to the White House, next.



PAUL: CNN Hero Scott Strode and his nonprofit provides free athletic activities and a sober support community for thousands of people. But when COVID-19 forced them to close its gyms, they found a way to stay connected.

BLACKWELL: CNN's Phil Mattingly join one of the classes to see how they're still going strong.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Keep moving everyone, let's try to get two or three more, you've got 20 seconds.


PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What was kind of your thought when coronavirus first started to spread and lockdowns really started to kick into gear?

SCOTT STRODE, FOUNDER, THE PHOENIX: I just knew that, that social isolation was going to be a big risk for relapse for a lot of people. So, pretty quickly, we pivoted to offering virtual programs. We knew we had to keep people connected in this sort of uncertain and stressful time.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Three, two, one. And down for the sit-up.

STRODE: Just always lifts my heart to log into a Phoenix virtual class and meet somebody in recovery who is doing the workout in their basement somewhere in Tennessee where we don't even have in-person programs, but they can come to the Phoenix, anyway.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nice job everyone.


PAUL: To learn more about Scott's programs and to see if Phil made it through the class, you can go to Phil, we're pulling for you. Hope you did. We'll be right back.