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New Day Saturday

U.S. Reported 195,542 Cases For Highest One-Day Total; V.P. Pence Campaigns In GA For GOP Senate Runoff Races; Get-Out-The-Vote Efforts Ramp Up Ahead Of January Runoffs; E.R. Doctor With COVID-19 Urges Others To Take Virus Seriously; CDC Tells Americans Not To Travel For Thanksgiving As Cases Explode. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired November 21, 2020 - 07:00   ET



AMARA WALKER, CNN ANCHOR: I think a lot of us need a lot of inspiration right now. Go to right now to vote for this moment or any of our most inspiring moments. And be sure to watch CNN Heroes All Star tribute on Sunday December 13th, 8:00 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Breaking news, Donald Trump Jr. testing positive, as the President's legal team, including Rudy Giuliani is now in quarantine after exposure to the virus.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am so angry. So many people in this country who have died as a consequence of this administration, his father's in attention to this pandemic.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A record number of people in the hospital more than 80,000. For the first time since early May more than 2,000 lives reported lost to COVID-19 in a single day.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Trump trying to overturn the election, meeting for an hour with Republican lawmakers from Michigan --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What the President is doing is completely unprecedented to try and disenfranchise voters.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I just wish he would accept the loss, move on, and start bringing us together instead of trying to create more divide.


VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Beautiful look at the City of Atlanta at the top of the hour. 7:00 a.m. in Atlanta. It's Saturday, November 21st. Good morning to you. I'm Victor Blackwell.

WALKER: Can you believe it? The highest going to be 71 and we're in the middle of November. Good morning, everyone. I'll take it, too. I'm Amara Walker in today for Christi Paul. Well, this morning the U.S. is at a crossroads in the coronavirus

fight. We are a big step closer to a coronavirus vaccine while continuing down the worst stretch yet of this pandemic. Just yesterday, the U.S. added more than 195,000 new cases that is a record one-day total for the second straight day.

BLACKWELL: And less than a week after we crossed 11 million cases, we're close to now surpassing 12 million confirmed cases. That's the most anywhere in the world. But there is some good news Pfizer and BioNTech have applied for emergency use authorization for their coronavirus vaccine.

WALKER: In the meantime, we are seeing long lines for COVID tests ahead of Thanksgiving. The CDC is pleading with people to celebrate safely if you're going to be celebrating and recommends against traveling. CNN's Polo Sandoval joining us now live from John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. Good morning to you, Polo. People, including myself having a tough choice to make on should you celebrate, and if you do, how? What are you saying?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Then err on the side of caution is really what people will hopefully do during the upcoming holidays here, Amara. And a couple of reasons why we're likely going to see less traffic at some of the nation's airports including here in New York's JFK?

For one, Triple A expects those who may travel will actually choose to do so by driving to their destination. In fact, that's what's expected for a majority according to triple A but then there's also that guidance that you just talked about coming from the CDC this week very direct guidance recommending Americans simply skip out on Thanksgiving travel this year.


SANDOVAL (voice over): It's a broader and some fear, longer lasting wave of COVID-19 infections and deaths. And you can see it in the latest COVID trend map showing a virtual sea of orange and red 10 months after the first U.S. COVID-19 case was confirmed. At just over 13,000 new infections, the state of California shattered its own record Friday.

Then, there's the reality of the fights on the front lines to save patients from the virus's suffocating grip. It's a struggle compounded by staff shortages in some of the nation's rural medical facilities.

DR. PETER HOTEZ, CO-DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR VACCINE DEVELOPMENT: We're seeing these surges on intensive care units and that's when the mortality rate, the death rate goes like this to this vertical because nurses, other staff get, doctors get overwhelmed. And it's not just a matter of the beds, it's having trained staff in order to take care of them.

SANDOVAL: On Friday, the American Hospital Association flag reports from care facilities in at least six states where fears are growing about the physical and emotional toll on medical personnel. LACIE GOOCH, NEBRASKA NURSE: I have seen so many emergent intubations. I've seen people more sick than I've ever seen in my life.

SANDOVAL: There is, however, hope, that frontline medical workers could soon be better protected against the virus. On Friday, Pfizer and BioNTech were the first to apply for FDA emergency approval of their coronavirus vaccine.

DR. TOM FRIEDEN, FORMER DIRECTOR, CDC: This is what we had most hoped for. But it's not just around the corner. A vaccine rollout is going to take a long time. It's not a vaccine that saves lives. It's the vaccination program.

SANDOVAL: Until that happens, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues urging Americans to avoid travel, and to keep the Thanksgiving celebration small.

DR. DEBORAH BIRX, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS TASK FORCE COORDINATOR: I'm making the personal sacrifices not So, in fact, my parents and my pregnant daughter and there's a lot of people out there who know how to protect one another and we just need to make sure we're all doing that.


SANDOVAL: Including by continuing to wear a mask. The CDC out with another reason to do so. The researchers took a look at the state of Kansas and it's July 2 masked mandate, a majority of the state's counties, some two-thirds opted out of the governor's mask order. They relay a recording about 100 percent increase in COVID-19 cases, compare that surge to a six percent decrease in the counties that did require masks in public.


SANDOVAL (on camera): And that very well could be one of the reasons why yet another 195 people tested positive for the coronavirus across the country yesterday, Victor and that's a number that was really unheard of just a few months ago. In fact, during the summer spike that some parts of the country experienced that number only I say only made it up to 77,000.

And I say only because it really does offer some perspective on where we've been where we are. But obviously people especially during the next holiday during the upcoming days and into Christmas, certainly have the ability to change where we will be going into the new year.

BLACKWELL: It's remarkable people gasped when Dr. Fauci said a couple of months ago that one day we could surpass 100,000 cases a day. And here we are on the threshold of 200,000 cases. Polo Sandoval.

SANDOVAL: Six digits.

BLACKWELL: Yes, soon. Thank you. Donald Trump, Jr. The president's son is isolating. He tested positive for COVID-19 WALKER: And CNN's Kevin Liptak joining us now with more. And Kevin, as we're saying Trump Jr. is a second person in the President's circle to test positive for the virus just this week.

KEVIN LIPTAK, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right. The President's eldest son tested positive earlier in this, earlier in the week a spokesman tells us he's asymptomatic, he's isolating at his cabin. But as you said, he's only the latest in the President's inner circle to test positive for coronavirus. That circle has included the President's Chief of Staff, his Press Secretary, his National Security Adviser, his Campaign Managers, at least six senior advisors, his eldest son, his youngest son, his wife and the President himself.

And then Friday, we also learned that included Andrew Giuliani. He's a mid-level aide at the White House, and he's the son of Rudy Giuliani, who's the President's Personal attorney, and he's taken the lead kind of on this attempt to overturn the election results as more seasoned electoral lawyers' kind of back away.

You know, Rudy Giuliani, that older Giuliani, had been planning to attend this extraordinary meeting at the White House on Friday. The President summoning Republican lawmakers from Michigan into the Oval Office as part of his attempt to delay certification in some states and even convinced some Republicans to go along with this plan to switch their electors from Joe Biden to President Trump.

Now, after that meeting, it seems like the President got slightly less than he bargained for. I'm told in that meeting, the Republican lawmakers explained to the President, the laws in Michigan that spell out how the elections are certified, and they came out with a statement and it said this: "We have not yet been made aware of any information that would change the outcome of the election in Michigan.

And as legislative leaders, we will follow the law and follow the normal process regarding Michigan's electors, just as we have said throughout this election." Now, one thing that those Michigan Republicans came to the Oval Office with, with was a request, a request for more federal help on coronavirus.

The President has been largely absent from that conversation. He's been invisible in any discussions of coronavirus over the last several weeks. He's actually been invisible generally, yesterday was the first time we had seen him in a week. He came to the briefing room to tout some new drug pricing rules that he is rolling out.

But even there, it was clear the election is still very much on his mind, and he made this allegation against Pfizer, the drug company, that they were playing politics in the timing of their vaccine information. Listen to what the President said.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So, they waited and waited, and waited and they thought they'd come out with it a few days after the election. And it would have probably had an impact, who knows, maybe it wouldn't have? I'm sure they would have found the ballot someplace, the democrats and the group. These corrupt games will not deter us from doing what is right for the American people.


LIPTAK: No reality check, the President's claims are false. Pfizer needed to wait until all of its data was in before it could release the results of its vaccine, Victor.

BLACKWELL: Yes, just kind of droning on there in the briefing room. You mentioned more coronavirus financial support. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is looking to pull funding for an emergency loan program. What kind of impact would that have for the incoming Biden administration, also the American people?

LIPTAK: Yes, because it affects both. I mean, American people are still suffering very deeply from the economic effects of the coronavirus. What Stephen Mnuchin did is he's pulling back money from the Central Bank, the Federal Reserve.

That money was meant to bolster lending programs remittance for mid- sized businesses. It also was a backstop for certain bond markets. And what it does is it makes it much harder for the incoming Biden and administration to restart those programs once they come into office.

And it's just sorts of the latest example of Trump as he's departing office, even as he's contesting the election, sort of laying these landmines for the incoming Biden folks, as they're coming through it. It's included in the troop withdrawal decisions, the crackdown on China that they're planning and this outstanding COVID stimulus that Congress has yet to pass, and that the White House is sort of backed off on waiting for the Biden folks to come in. Victor and Amara.


WALKER: Clearly, setting fires as he is out the door. Kevin Liptak, appreciate you. Thank you very much.

President Elect Joe Biden will meet with his transition advisors today both he and vice president elect Kamala Harris met with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer yesterday.

BLACKWELL: The President-elect's margin of victory over President Trump is growing now beyond six million votes. The former vice president is one nearly 80 million votes more than any presidential candidate in history. CNN political reporter Rebecca Buck is in Washington with details. So, what are we expecting --

All right, so we'll get back to Rebecca Buck, in just a moment. With that report on the president-elect. Let's talk now about the effort to get the coronavirus under control, we've got a guest coming up who says there could be a way to curb it by Christmas, and we would not have to undergo these nationwide restrictions. The key here is testing a specific type of test.


[07:16:03] BLACKWELL: 15 minutes after the hour. It's a new reminder this morning of how important masks are in this fight against coronavirus. Newly updated guidance, the CDC says that most coronavirus infections are spread by people with no symptoms.

WALKER: We are also learning when people are most likely to infect others. A new review published in The Lancet suggests people are most likely to infect others within the first five days of showing symptoms.

BLACKWELL: Testing is another critical tool in this war on the coronavirus. There's a new study that argues that testing half the population with inexpensive rapid turnaround COVID-19 tests would drive the virus toward elimination within weeks even if those tests are significantly less sensitive and the gold standard clinical tests.

Dr. Michael Mina is one of the Co-Authors of that studies and Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, also recently wrote an article for Time and here's the title. I love it. "How we can stop the spread of COVID-19 by Christmas." Dr. Bennett, good morning to you. Great idea. I'm all in. Take my money. How do we stop the spread by Christmas?

DR. MICHAEL MINA, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF EPIDEMIOLOGY, HARVARD T.H. CHAN SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: Well, the idea is to give people knowledge about their status, to let them know if this -- if they have this virus inside of them and if they are at risk of spreading it to others. And the way that we can do that is with little tests like this. This is a coronavirus test; it's a paper strip antigen test. Can be produced in the millions throughout America, so that people could test themselves frequently, say twice a week across the U.S.

BLACKWELL: So, what I've read in your timepiece is that these are prototypes that are not yet on the market, am I right about that?

MINA: Well, they're not on the market in the United States, because of a lot of regulatory hurdles. But actually, much of the world is now gaining increasing access to these tests. And if the U.S. government wanted to treat this virus like the war, that I think that it should be treated as, we could just produce these just the same way as we produce missiles and bombs. We could produce these little cheap paper strip tests and ship them out to households using the U.S. Postal Service.

BLACKWELL: So, what I understand also from your description of this plan is that it does not have to be every person in the country, it does not have to be every day just go through kind of the logistics of what the schedule would be and who would have to test to get this to curb the spread.

MINA: That's right. There's, there's always critics who think Well, some people won't listen to it and will not abide by it. That's OK. That's part of the plan. We assume that in the same way that we know that vaccines only need to be given to a fraction of the population to create herd immunity and stop spread. These tests can create herd effects. If we only vax, or if we only get these tests to say, half of a community.

The other half just completely chooses either not use them, or chooses to disregard the results of a positive test and still go out. That's OK. If everyone for the other 50 percent is using them. Then we will slowly start to see an exponential increase of the of the virus quickly turnover. And within weeks, we could actually see that the increase in cases in the United States start to fall and this is how epidemics work. They're either going up fast or they're falling down pretty quickly.

BLACKWELL: Control Room, put up the Elon Musk tweet please? He tweeted this week, "Something extremely bogus is going on. Was tested for four times today. Two tests came back negative, two came back positive. Same machine, same test, same nurse rapid antigen test."

And I was having a conversation with Amara before the show about how she was tested and got false positives. How do you compensate for the false positives of antigen tests and the, I won't say that the lack of reliability, but that they are not as sensitive or as reliable as other types of tests?


MINA: Yes, so the specificity or the likelihood of a false positive is something we certainly have to account for. One out of every few hundred of these can become falsely positive. So, my solution is, along with each paper strip test that you get, you get a different paper strip test that's very similar. These just this one has a plastic case on it.

They're very similar, but different molecules inside and they look for the virus in slightly different ways. And so that can quickly get the number of false positives down to say one in every 2000. We could also see a new era of very cheap tests that are hybrid between a PCR-type of test ended paper and just antigen test. And that's something like this, this is what's called a Homa Deus test.

This is a mixture of PCR like testing with a paper strip test. So, it can be done very quick, but has PCR like characteristics. So, we have the tools, we just have to create the strategy around how to use them. And so far, in this pandemic, we haven't created the strategy. So, lots of questions abound.

But if we use these tools properly, and we have, say 20 million of these tests out into the world every day, and only a small fraction of either this one or the Homo Deus test, we could really be able to drive the specificity very, very, very high, very few false positives. And when it comes to sensitivity, as well as specificity, it's the frequency of testing. You won't keep getting bad results two days in a row, for example. So, it really allows us -- we have to change our sort of paradigm about how we're doing the testing all together.

BLACKWELL: Well, Dr. Mani, it sounds like, you know, Amara said it earlier this morning, so eloquently. This suck, not being able to travel for Thanksgiving and seeing family and friends and hopefully we can employ something like what you're describing so that we won't be in the same position at Christmas and, and going into the first and second quarter of next year. Dr. Michael Mina, thank you so much. I really enjoyed the conversation and appreciated the article.

MINA: Thanks a lot.

BLACKWELL: All right. Amara.

WALKER: I can't think of a better word, Victor.

BLACKWELL: It's the right one! It's the right one.

WALKER: Exactly. All right, still to come, Republican senators Loeffler and Perdue hold an ad advantage in Georgia's senate runoff races plus, Vice President Mike Pence flew to Georgia to ramp up voter enthusiasm. We'll have the latest.


WALKER: Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed the paperwork that officially grants the state's 16 electoral votes to President-elect Joe Biden. And when asked about the statewide audit, Georgia Secretary of State said the numbers don't lie. Meanwhile, Vice President Mike Pence flew to Georgia to ramp up voter enthusiasm. Republican Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue hold an early advantage in their to runoff races.

All right. Joining me now to talk about all this is Political Reporter for the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Greg Bluestein. Greg, good morning. Good to see you.


WALKER: Good morning. So, let's talk about Governor Kemp first because he has formalized the certification process, but it's really not over yet, because we know President Trump is expected to request a recount. In that news conference yesterday, Governor Kemp was echoing President Trump's criticisms on the election integrity, and it also calling for a signature verification audit.

I want to read you at least one recent tweet from President Trump on that, in that vein, where he says, "The governor of Georgia and Secretary of State refused to let us look at signatures, which would expose hundreds of thousands of illegal ballots and give the Republican Party and me David Perdue and perhaps Kelly Loeffler a big victory, why won't they do it? And why are they so fastest certified a meaningless tally?"

First off, signature verification, that's not even possible. The dozens of times I've spoken with state election officials, they've said, you cannot do that. Once the absentee ballots are received, the signature is verified on the envelope, and then the ballot and the envelope are separated from each other. And they are no longer able to be matched again in the name of voter privacy. And Governor Kemp should know better than that, that that's not possible. Right? I mean, he was the Secretary of State. BLUESTEIN: You're exactly right. Those, those ballots, those signatures are separated from those ballots to preserve the secret ballot. So, even if even if there was some sort of review of their signatures, again, they wouldn't change the outcome of the race because those votes aren't linked to the signatures anymore. I think it's just the continuation of these false claims of widespread irregularities and fraud, that President Trump is promoted throughout this whole process.

WALKER: And turning now to the runoff. So, you know, we were saying Mike Pence wasn't isn't town stumping for both Republican candidates. We know ad spending. Altogether is now at what $200 million. That is just bonkers, but I guess is understandable knowing how high stakes this election is. My question to you with both Loeffler, Sanders, Loeffler and Perdue and President Trump all attacking the integrity of the election in Georgia. First off, is that going to depress voter turnout? I mean, what does that do for voter enthusiasm, especially on the Republican side?


BLUESTEIN: As a clear worry from Republicans here right now, they might not be saying it as much publicly but privately they're very concerned because the more that core Republican voters hear that the wrote vote is fraud, it's rigged, it's preordained, the less likely they worry that they're going to show up on January 5th to vote. And that's why Vice President Pence was here, urging them not only to vote but to vote early because, Georgia, we have nice weather but in January it still could be icy. And so, he was kind of begging voters to vote early, whether it be absentee or in-person early.

But it's a clear challenge for Republicans who have to kind of divorce themselves from this false narrative of Trump's, you know, stolen election narrative, and focus on January 5th runoffs.

WALKER: Right now, how do the races look? Do the Republicans seem to have an advantage at this point?

BLUESTEIN: I mean, traditionally, Republicans have the advantage in these runoffs in Georgia because they've won every statewide runoff, Georgia in state history. But, you know, this is a race unlike any other.

And as you mentioned, $200 million-plus has already been spent just on ads alone. I used to think I used to scoff at the notion that half a billion dollars could be spent here, now, it's very real possibility.

WALKER: You're right.

BLUESTEIN: And remember, there's -- then, the all sorts of other spending on the ground, on mailers, on get out the vote efforts that's just as important as the T.V. spending. So, there's going to be a blizzard of money spent here in Georgia.

WALKER: Yes, the outcome of this runoff could determine the balance of power in the Senate. John Ossoff, who is a Democrat running against Senator David Perdue. You know, he talked about this, I think last week about 23,000 young people in Georgia will be eligible to vote this year between November 3rd and January 5th. And I think the cut-off date to register to vote in this runoff is December 7th.


BLUESTEIN: You got it.

WALKER: Talk about the changing demographics in Georgia and how the democratic candidates are going to try to take advantage of that and invest in new voters.

BLUESTEIN: Yes, this is going to be a fascinating part of the race because, you know, Joe Biden won the state by just 12,000 votes. So, this trove of 23 or so thousand voters who turned 18 between November 3rd and December 7th could be a windfall for whatever campaign, whatever party can register them and energize them between, between now and December 7th. That's why John Ossoff's campaign has its own specific unit going after trying to register these voters.

But in general, you've seen youth vote, you know, it's -- there's always talk about how important youth vote is, but you always see at lower turnout numbers than other age demographics.

But in this race, there's -- the statistical data that show that higher proportion -- slightly higher proportion of youth turnout helped Joe Biden win Georgia just a few weeks ago. So, Democrats are looking to energize those same voters again.

WALKER: Well, let's see if that energy hold, especially, with President Trump not being on the ballot in January.

Thank you so much, Greg Bluestein with the Atlanta Journal- Constitution.

BLUESTEIN: Thanks for having me.

BLACKWELL: And, of course, Democrats are going to need that historic turnout to win those Senate runoffs.

Kyung Lah, reports on the next generation of Democrats pledging to keep the state blue.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let's do it again.

LAH: -- the heart of where Democrats flip Georgia blue.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Elect people that vote for you, go blue times two. LAH: Jihan Gary helps get out the vote for January's crucial Senate runoff election.


LAH (on camera): Do you think you can do it again?

GARY: I think we can do it again. We're going to give -- I think we got a fighting chance. And I know the Republicans are mad as hell. But at the same time, it's a new day.

LAH (voice over): She did not expect this just two years ago.

GARY: It was disrespectful. It was absolutely disrespectful.

LAH: Gary, like so many other black voters, were angry with what happened to then-gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.

LAH (on camera): Did it discouraged you when she lost in 2018? How did it affect you?

GARY: I was pissed.

LAH (voice over): The Democrat lost the race by 55,000 votes. One marred by allegations of voter suppression mainly among black voters.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you going to go back out and vote January 5th?

LAH: Abrams's loss set a wildfire under the grassroots movement she helped build for years. A movement that now turns to the two Senate runoff seats.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator David Perdue and Jon Ossoff, Kelly Loeffler, and Raphael Warnock.

LAH: Democrats Jon Ossoff and Reverend Raphael Warnock are running against Republican incumbent senators, David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler. Races that will determine control of the U.S. Senate.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We want to make sure that you are registered to vote.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have two Senate seats in the state.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you planning on voting for the runoff election?

LAH: This is Georgia Stand-Up, one of several voting rights groups in the state. In the runoff to November, it and other grassroots groups that had worked with Abrams hit the pavement hard, registering new voters, motivating black turnout, and help flip Georgia for the Democrats in the presidential race for the first time in two decades.

DEBORAH SCOTT, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, GEORGIA STAND-UP: I was surprised it took so long, but I wasn't surprised that it would happen. And I won't be surprised if what happens in January. [07:35:00]

LAH: Deborah Scott has been in this fight for nearly 20 years.

SCOTT: We also have vote today.

LAH: When it comes to Georgia's voting rights, it's black women leading the charge.

SCOTT: Black women leading organizations and organizing and canvassing and phone banking and organizing youth and organizing churches and organizing in every pocket of Georgia.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're going to print your name and you sign it there.

LAH: At the senior center, every worker helping these residents fill out absentee ballot applications is a black woman.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Strong women is behind the Democratic Party.

HELEN BUTLER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, THE PEOPLE'S AGENDA: It's women that are really driving this ground game.

LAH (on camera): So, do you think that black women are the ones who flipped the state of Georgia?

BUTLER: We are the highest demographic in turnout of any other besides our white. So, I would say, yes, we do.


LAH (on camera): Democrats will have to fight history in order to pull off a pair of Senate wins. In 2008, the last senate runoff, Republicans crushed Democrats by double digits, in part, because of poor Democratic turnout. But the two democratic senate challengers say this is a new state now, and they plan on winning by out organizing Republicans.

Kyung Lah, CNN, Atlanta.

WALKER: Kyung, thank you.

An extraordinary story ahead, a Michigan doctor who's been treating coronavirus patients for months ends up in his own emergency room. His message to others is next.



WALKER: Emergency room doctors spend their days working to fight the coronavirus.

BLACKWELL: And there's one doctor in Michigan who is asking you to take this virus more seriously after he became a patient in his own E.R. Here's Sara Sidner.

SARA SIDNER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Amara and Victor, the story of a 28-year-old healthy E.R. doctor and coronavirus, his warning to everyone.


SIDNER (voice over): The simple act of walking is a struggle for Grand Rapids emergency room doctor, David Burkard.

SIDNER (on camera): When do you start feeling yourself going like, oh boy?


SIDNER: Really?


SIDNER (voice over): Dr. Burkard is just 28 years old with no underlying medical conditions. He's run a marathon and normally runs five days a week. But coronavirus stopped him in his tracks.

BURKARD: Day six, I got out of bed, I went to make a sandwich, move around my apartment a little bit, I just couldn't catch my breath. It was like no matter what I did, like tried different positions, tried sitting, and it was just like this heaviness of like, man, I cannot breathe.

SIDNER: Suddenly, he was the patient.

BURKARD: I think the hard thing is having seen it and having been the person that talks to the patient with COVID and says, you know what, it's time to call your wife. Like, we -- we're going to have to put a breathing tube down and it's time for you to say goodbye.

SIDNER: There he was, lying in the same unit, wondering if he'd be able to catch his breath.

BURKARD: The loneliness of going up to the COVID floor and knowing that you can't have visitors, I'm literally at my place of work where I have lots of friends and colleagues and incredible people, and not a single one of them can come and say, hi. Like that's -- it's isolating.

SIDNER: He's no longer shedding the virus and anxiously waiting to return to the E.R., as Michigan's positivity rate hits nearly 12 percent.

SIDNER (on camera): How bad are things now compared to March, when all of this first kicked off here?

BURKARD: We have over 300 patients admitted to the hospital right now across Spectrum Health, which is markedly higher than we ever were before.

SIDNER (voice over): He also wants to send a message to people who still doubt the novel coronavirus is real.

BURKARD: I've had a lot of people say that this -- that I am a hoax. I had someone report me to Facebook for being a fake profile. It's like --

SIDNER (on camera): Someone called you, you a hoax.


SIDNER: A doctor --


SIDNER: -- who's had coronavirus.


SIDNER: That simply telling your story.

BURKARD: Simply just trying to breathe. Instead of just like saying mean things from behind the keyboard, just like imagine what it's like to have that conversation with someone that you're putting a breathing tube down their throat, and they might not be able to say I love you to their loved one again. And that's what we're doing every day, constantly.

Like you can prevent that conversation possibly by putting on a mask or you can prevent that conversation by skipping Thanksgiving dinner, like, we've got to do our part.


SIDNER (on camera): Dr. Burkard says that we indeed do not know everything we need to know about this novel coronavirus, and therefore, everyone should be taking this so seriously. He does mention that, you know, you're seeing the cases rise up here, you're seeing the hospitalizations rise up here, and that is always followed by higher death rates.

Amara, Victor?


BLACKWELL: Sara, thank you.

Coming up, this new wave of COVID restrictions. There's an effect in statewide now in Illinois, new restrictions. But with cases rapidly rising, is it enough? We'll speak to a doctor about the challenges, the state's facing to try to stop the spread. That's ahead.


BLACKWELL: The CDC is warning you not to travel for Thanksgiving this year, and the numbers are on your screen. Closing in on 255,000 deaths from COVID-19. WALKER: Yet, there have been busy scenes at some airports and on the road. AAA says 50 million Americans could be on the move for this holiday and experts are worried. That could mean the same sort of spikes that we saw around 4th of July and Labor Day.


DR. JAMES PHILLIPS, CHIEF, DISASTER MEDICINE, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: I'm just terrified about what's going to happen with Thanksgiving and the holidays like Christmas and Hanukkah.

People are going to travel. People that would normally travel because they don't believe in the science, and then, those that are just fatigued who are willing to take some chances.


BLACKWELL: Yes, and I'm sure you know a couple of people who are willing to take the risk. Here is CNN's Pete Muntean with more.

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): The CDC says people should not travel for Thanksgiving, but what's so interesting is that it has not stopped people here at Reagan National Airport, who tell me that they feel safe enough to fly.


MUNTEAN: AAA estimates that about 50 million people will travel for the holiday, but that's only a 10 percent drop compared to last year. Airlines are still adding flights to their schedules and insist that flying right now is safe. But they underscore that it's a very personal decision.

One that passengers here tell me they did not take lightly.


CAROLINE OSLER, TRAVELING TO KENTUCKY: I feel like I have taken enough measures to protect myself and my family.

YASMINE DEHGHANI, TRAVELING TO CONNECTICUT: I understand the risk that I'm taking, but I want to see my family.


MUNTEAN (on camera): Airlines say they're not encouraging people to fly right now, but they're not discouraging them either.

United Airlines says it's already seen bookings drop off as coronavirus continues to surge. Even still, the head of the TSA thinks we could break a record of the pandemic that was set back on October 18th, when about a million people passed through security at America's airports.

He says the busiest days will be the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday after.

Pete Muntean, CNN, Reagan National Airport.

WALKER: All right, let's get a look now at the forecast for this weekend.

BLACKWELL: Yes. All right, let's go to Allison Chinchar. Allison, if I'm going to be sitting at home, drinking French apples by myself on the patio, I'd like the weather to be great.

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: The weather is never bad inside your home, Victor. So, keep that in mind. Never bad inside your home.

But yes, for those that are going to get outside, maybe they do. They just want to have it with their immediate family. Maybe stay on their back patio or just spend some time outside.

Really today, for the most part, much of the country is actually going to be really nice. We just have a couple of trouble spots. One of those is going to be Florida, where we do have some isolated showers in the forecast for places like Jacksonville, Orlando, even Miami.

But the bigger system that were widespread system is along this front, it's basically focused in the central U.S. This is going to cause some problems for a lot of areas especially through the afternoon hours today.

We're talking cities like St. Louis, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, and if you are driving on Interstates say 44, 84, even 70, you're likely going to encounter some showers as you're driving.

This system, however, is going to shift tomorrow pushing in more towards the northeast. So, even though you may live in the northeast, maybe today is not so bad, that doesn't mean that the latter half of the weekend is going to stay that way either.

And you can see that whole system begin to slide over as we push into Saturday, or into Sunday, rather. So, places like Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Erie, looking at the chance for some rain, and maybe even some snow showers the farther north that you go.

Boston, New York, looking at most of their showers tomorrow to be in the latter half of the day.

Overall, because this is a relatively fast-moving system, you're not talking a tremendous amount of accumulation. Rain lies most areas likely an inch or less. Snow, especially along the Great Lakes region, most areas they are even expecting only say about one to three inches, which keep in mind for those areas is not that big of a deal, snow plows can take care of that.

But do keep that in mind, if you are out on the roads that you may have some slick spots over the next 36 hours. Temperature-wise, much of the eastern half of the country is actually several degrees above normal. Take Atlanta, for example, 73 today, 70 on Sunday. New York and Boston also several degrees above normal. But I will caution, this includes you, Victor as well, those temperatures are going to drop back a little bit as we head into the upcoming week.

BLACKWELL: Well, that's what the French apple is for, to warm you.

WALKER: French apple? I'm googling that right now. What is a French apple? Are these apples that you buy in France?

BLACKWELL: No, it's apple cider and brandy.


BLACKWELL: The mix depends on how tough your week's been. But yes, that's what I've been drinking.

WALKER: You're too posh for me. OK, I just -- I just drink beer on my porch.

BLACKWELL: Yes, dumb.

All right. So, tomorrow night, we want to make sure that you watch an all new episode of the CNN original series, "FIRST LADIES". This week highlights the life of Hillary Rodham Clinton and how she became a trailblazer who forever changed the role of first lady.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Over the years, we've influence each other. We have a wonderful relationship going back to our days in law school.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The couple met at Yale, where Hillary was one of only 27 female students in a class of 235.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There was this tall, handsome, southern man with Elvis sideburns and hickey boots, who would follow her after class is kind of panting at the back of her neck, couldn't wait to get to know her.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He would tell friend she's the most captivating compelling person I've ever met.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He had never been with a woman who was his intellectual equal. And I think that excited Bill enormous right.


BLACKWELL: "FIRST LADIES" airs Sunday at 10:00, right here on CNN.

So, President Trump, he continues to deny, well, reality. President- elect Biden is moving forward though. The latest on the troubled transition.


BLACKWELL: We got the next hour of your "NEW DAY". It starts after a break.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Breaking News, Donald Trump Jr. testing positive as the president's legal team, including Rudy Giuliani is now in quarantine after exposure to the virus.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am so angry, so many people in this country have died as a consequence of this administration. His father's inattention to this pandemic.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A record number of people in the hospital. More than 80,000. For the first time since early May, more than 2,000 lives reported lost to COVID-19 in a single day.