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New Day Saturday

Biden & Harris Plan "Help is Here" Tour to Promote Rescue Plan as Payments Start Going out to Americans This Weekend; CDC: U.S. Tops 101M Doses Administered, 10.5 percent Fully Vaccinated; Officials Warn of Ongoing COVID Threat as Spring Break Kicks Off; Senators Schumer and Gillibrand Call on NY Governor Cuomo to Resign Amid Sexual Harassment Allegations; Minneapolis to pay $27 Million to Settle George Floyd Family Lawsuit; Schools Tackle Safety Measures to Get Kids Back in Class; Study: New Alzheimer's Drug May Slow Cognitive Decline. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired March 13, 2021 - 06:00   ET




ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Rosa Flores along the U.S./Mexico border and this is CNN.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Some of those first checks arriving in the bank accounts of Americans this weekend.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: To every American watching, help is here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Can we be hopeful that this is going to come to an end soon?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): It's scenes like these in Florida that experts worry will hurt progress.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Trying to get a little freedom down here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Because we heard the rules, but I ain't -- I ain't scared of COVID though.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): We're trying to survive this, but we also worry that this community will become a super spreader for other communities.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): A joint statement from the two Democratic senators from New York goes on to say, "It is clear that Governor Cuomo has lost the confidence of his governing partners."

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): I did not do what has been alleged.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): It is unacceptable. The governor must resign.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): This is NEW DAY WEEKEND with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: That is a beautiful shot of the city of Pittsburgh. Good morning to you. Good morning wherever you are. Thanks for being with us this morning. Help is here. That's what we heard from the White House as those first $1,400 stimulus payments are hitting bank account as early as today.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. President Biden is going to hit the road to tout his nearly $2 trillion rescue plan and called it a change in paradigm at the White House yesterday. Now, the other message, normalcy is close. The President set a May 1st deadline for all adults to be eligible for a vaccine and he had his eye on independence from the virus, as he called it, by the 4th of July.

Now, health experts are worried about Americans traveling for spring break though, letting our guards down as there are more states easing restrictions on their own timelines.

BLACKWELL: Let's go now to the White House and CNN's Jasmine Wright is there. Jasmine, good morning to you. The President's bill signed, sealed, delivered or, in this case, passed, signed and celebrated. What comes next?

JASMINE WRIGHT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, Victor, the President now turns his focus to actually implementing this very large COVID relief bill. As he said yesterday in the Rose Garden, "The devil is in the details."


BIDEN: It's one thing to pass the American Rescue Plan. It's going to be another thing to implement it. It's going to require fastidious oversight to make sure there's no waste or fraud and the law does what it's designed to do, and I mean it. We have to get this right. Details matter because we have to continue to build confidence in the American people that the government can function for them and deliver.


WRIGHT: Now, a few things are going to happen next, Victor. First, on Monday, the White House will hold an event about implementation. President Biden has said that he will name someone to oversee it and he has not done that yet. Of course, whoever gets that job is going to have a lot to do because, as I said, this is a big bill, a big role.

Next, we will see President Biden going on what could be a victory tour really both to educate Americans on what is inside of this COVID relief bill, but also to promote it. Right now, this bill is popular, and the White House wants to keep it that way. So, we are going to see President Biden, Vice President Harris and other top circuits really crisscrossing the country in Pennsylvania and Georgia and -- excuse me -- Pennsylvania, Delaware County, Georgia, Vegas to really push that message, Victor, Christi.

PAUL: So, I think a couple of the dates that the President threw out yesterday are what has stuck with people. This, you know, May 1st, people will be eligible, July 4th, we could be seeing some normalcy. What is he saying specifically about either those dates or any other dates he wants us to look forward to?

WRIGHT: Well, I think, Christi, the first date that Americans can really look forward to is this weekend. That is when the White House says that those $1,400 direct payment checks will start to pop up into people's bank accounts. Of course, they have to be eligible. We know that those checks phase out a bit faster this time, but it will start popping up, they say, into those bank accounts who are already signed up with the IRS for direct deposit, Christi.

PAUL: All right. Good to know. Jasmine Wright, always good to see this morning. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: In Wilmington, Delaware, not at the White House. Correct that. She's there along the Delaware River. All right. President Biden is hopeful for small gatherings, as Christi said by, July 4th. We're already seeing some pretty large gatherings happening at spring break hot spots across the country.


PAUL: Yes, and there's a real fear that people are going to let their guard down over the next few weeks. There's also real hope with more than 101 million vaccine doses now administered in the U.S. Here's CNN's Natasha Chen.


NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The U.S. hit a new record of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in a single day, more than 2.9 million doses on Friday alone. More than one in 10 people in the U.S. are now fully vaccinated according to CDC data and more doses are coming.

JEFF ZIENTS, WHITE HOUSE COVID-19 RESPONSE COORDINATOR: Over the coming weeks, we will deliver vaccines directly to up to 700 additional community health centers that reach underserved communities. Second, we will work to double the number of pharmacies participating in the federal pharmacy program.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Two, one, vaccinate.

CHEN (voice-over): But there is still some hesitancy when it comes to the vaccine and it's not just among minority communities. GOV. BRIAN KEMP (R-GA): We are seeing vaccine hesitancy really, as the pharmacist and I were talking about, making south and a lot of that's dealing with white Republicans, quite honestly.

CHEN (voice-over): But more options are becoming available to those who do want it. Three COVID-19 vaccines are now going into arms and AstraZeneca tells CNN its Phase 3 trial results are expected in the coming weeks, after which, they'll apply for emergency use authorization.

More states are expanding eligible groups for a COVID-19 vaccine. As President Biden has directed states to make all adults eligible by May 1st and to make it easier to schedule a shot, New Yorkers in both private and public sector jobs are being granted up to four hours off of work for each injection.

But for some people, seeing the light at the end of the tunnel isn't enough. Some spring breakers want to enjoy normal life now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I work in a hospital back in St. Louis. So, I mean, I've been in COVID ...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were (ph) everyday in St. Louis.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, we're trying to -- trying to -- trying to get a little freedom down here.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because we heard the rules.

CHEN (voice-over): More like a lack of them. Florida businesses were allowed to reopen at full capacity in late September, but without the ability to enforce mask wearing with fines.

CHEN: We're probably one of the few people wearing masks right now walking around.


CHEN (voice-over): And now Miami beach Mayor Dan Gelber is bracing for what he fears could be a super spreader.

CHEN: Would it make your life easier if people just didn't come for spring break?

GELBER: Well, yes. That's the easiest thing.

CHEN (voice-over): For the spring breakers who do come, he hopes they'll vacation responsibly.

GELBER: Listen, I'll be blunt. I know I'm the mayor of a hospitality town. We're trying to survive this, OK? This is not a moment where, you know, we're saying, oh, this is all great, everything's great. We recognize that there's a pandemic, there's a crush of people who want to come here, there's real public safety issues that we have to address and we also worry that this community will become a super spreader for other communities.

CHEN (voice-over): The same concerns echoed by the nation's top infectious disease expert.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know if you're a Cancun guy or a Miami Beach guy, but how concerned are you about spring break?

FAUCI: You know I am, John. It's totally understandable that people want to do that, but that's something we really got to be careful of. We want people to have a good time on spring break, but don't put your guard down completely. Just be prudent a bit longer.

CHEN (voice-over): Natasha Chen, CNN, Miami Beach, Florida.


BLACKWELL: Dr. Saju Mathew, public health specialist and primary care physician in Atlanta, is with us now. Doctor, good morning.


BLACKWELL: So, let's start here with the travel. It is spring break season. The CDC director says that the agency will wait to release guidance on travel until more people have been vaccinated, specifically until, quote, "We have more protection across the communities and across the population." Do you think that's prudent?

MATHEW: I think it's prudent, Victor, but I definitely think that that was a missed opportunity by CDC to really give people an incentive to get vaccinated. We just talked about how spring break is just really around the corner and as Natasha mentioned, a lot of people are getting together. So why not give young people who are traveling anyway an incentive to travel, get vaccinated, get travel?

You know, if you really look at people who are vaccinated, they are safe, they are not going to necessarily obviously get infected and there's also studies to show that they decrease the infection to other people and the actually act of traveling in of itself is safe, Victor. So I think CDC should have given a few more guidelines, have been more clear regarding vaccinated people.

BLACKWELL: Speaking about young people and vaccinations, you tweeted out this week that a lot of your younger patients are a bit reluctant, maybe because of guilt, to get the vaccine when it's offered to them. Why and what do you tell them?

MATHEW: You know, ultimately, we all have to get vaccinated.


We need to get to 75 to 85 percent herd immunities for everybody to protect each other. So, if the vaccine is offered to you, regardless of age, you should get it. There are actually studies, Victor, that show that just because you declined the vaccine out of guilt doesn't necessarily mean that it's going to go to an elderly person or somebody who is at higher risk than you are.

So, if you're a yoga instructor or you take care of your mom twice a week and you're 25-years-old and your mom is 75, you are a caregiver. If the vaccine is offered, it's yours and you should get vaccinated.

BLACKWELL: Speaking of seniors, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, they've got new guidance out for people who can visit vaccinated grandparents. They say you can do that now even if you have not been vaccinated. What should people know before they visit their grandparents who have been vaccinated?

MATHEW: Well, I think the most important thing is the CDC also needs to be a little bit more clear regarding those guidelines because if you think about it, we're asking people who are vaccinated to not travel, but we're also saying, hey, if you're not vaccinated, you can go see your grandmother, you can go see your mother.

I think part of it is just the feeling that 75 percent of people in nursing homes have been vaccinated and there's some type of herd immunity protected, but if you're an individual going to see your mom and dad, if you're sick, definitely don't go see your mom even if you think it's a cold and if you can get tested three days before and then quarantine and then see your mom or dad, I think that would be fine.

And remember, we're dealing with so much anxiety, Victor, with people, especially our elderly people, being alienated from their loved ones. So, I think CDC's just encouraging people that you could do it in a safer manner.

BLACKWELL: Finally, there's a lot of optimism after the President's speech and discussion of potentially getting together, 4th of July weekends, small groups in the backyards, that help is here. Is there any concern on your part that all of this optimism will cause some people to let their guard down too soon? I mean, we get to those groups on 4th of July weekend if we do everything right up until then.

MATHEW: Yes. I completely agree. I think that while the mood of the country is so much better, you still have to realize that as you see these cases drop, you've got a good group of people who are vaccine- hesitant to begin with. So, they might say, hey, listen if my mom and my dad are vaccinated, why do I have to get vaccinated? So, I think vaccine hesitancy and a false sense of security might actually tell people, you know, I don't think I need to get vaccinated.

One last thing, Victor, is we need to really hit the minority populations hard. Sixty-seven percent of white people have gotten either their first or second dose but listen to this. Only 7 percent of blacks have gotten their shots. So, we've got a group of people that are hesitant, we've got minorities that are not wanting to get the shot and then we have this false sense of security. So yes, all of that does worry me a little bit.

BLACKWELL: In addition to the hesitancy, it is also access. And we'll have a conversation about that a little later this morning. Dr. Saju Mathew, always good to have you, sir. Thank you.

PAUL: Thank you, Saju. So, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is rejecting all suggestions that he should resign following several accusations of sexual harassment. Now the leaders in his own party want him to step down. You'll hear his response next.

BLACKWELL: And today marks one year, the anniversary of the shooting death of Breonna Taylor.


TAMIKA PALMER, MOTHER OF BREONNA TAYLOR: I'll never get to a point where I'm over what happened to her.


BLACKWELL: Breonna's mother reflects on the past year and her continuing fight.




PAUL: Seventeen minutes past the hour right now. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand are the latest Democrats to call for New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to resign. Now, the state's two Democratic senators released a joint statement saying this, "It's clear that the governor -- that Governor Cuomo has lost the confidence of his governing partners and the people of New York."

BLACKWELL: Schumer and Gillibrand add their names to the list of the majority of House Democrats from the New York delegation who are calling on the Governor to step aside. CNN's Polo Sandoval is following the latest. Polo, what's the Governor's response to this?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Victor and Christi, mainly that he insists he will not step down, that he does want this investigation to run its course, but yesterday in his latest press call, doubling down on his position that he would not step down even with those, as you just described, these increased calls from fellow Democrats for him to resign. This is what he said during his latest press call.


CUOMO (voice-over): I did not do what has been alleged. Period. Look, it's very simple. I never harassed anyone, I never abused anyone, I never assaulted anyone. Now -- and I never would, right?


SANDOVAL: So new allegations continue emerging from a growing list of women claiming or at least describing unsettling encounters with the Governor, including what some have described as flirtatious and inappropriate comments that they received, especially during official meetings. And then just yesterday, a new account from a former State House reporter claiming that the Governor inappropriately touched her.

Just as the allegations are growing, as you mentioned a little while ago, so is the list of Democrats, not just state Democrats here in New York, but also in Washington as well, as we just covered a short while ago. Two very powerful Democrats in the Senate, Kirsten Gillibrand and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, calling for the Governor's resignation amid these, what they describe as, not only multiple, but also credible allegations against the chief's executive. Guys, back to you.

BLACKWELL: Eighteen members of the congressional delegation there -- Polo Sandoval, thanks so much -- that we saw on the screen. Let's bring in now CNN political commentator Errol Louis, political anchor for "Spectrum News" and host of "You Decide," the podcast.


Good morning to you, Errol. Let's start here with the bigger question as we saw those photographs. Is the Governor's hold on his office any weaker than it was 24 hours ago before we heard from these members of the delegation calling for him to resign?

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Good morning, Victor. Yes. His hold on the office is considerably weaker. The fact that so many members of the delegation, in coordinated fashion, all within a few minutes of each other, issued these statements calling for him to step down gives you a sense that these are not just people independently forming their own conclusions, but they're kind of acting as a group.

The same is true, of course, for the junior and senior senator and, you know, it can't be said often enough, Chuck Schumer is the Senate Majority Leader. He's not just one more legislator. He really helps control the flow of dollars to New York and so it's going to be harder for the Governor to get anything done if he does decide to stay.

Can he be forced out legally? Well, it's a -- it's a pretty complicated impeachment process, but even that has been done, Victor. So, he's got some real problems here.

PAUL: So, we've been hearing from lawmakers in New York. what about New York voters? I mean, is there a gauge, Errol, on what New Yorkers think should happen here?

LOUIS: Well, here's what we know so far, Christi. We've seen some polling. There'll be more of course, but the polls that we've seen so far do not look all that encouraging for Andrew Cuomo. There are -- there was a thin majority saying he should not step down. On the other hand, there was also a majority saying he should not run for reelection, which would happen next year.

So somewhere in between quitting tomorrow and running for a fourth term next year, the voters are saying, well, we're not sure exactly what we want to see happen here. This is not great news for the Governor. There's also some polling that suggests that he's, as we would say, upside down, meaning he's seen more unfavorably than favorably when you talk about the specific issues that brought us to this point, one of which is, we should never lose sight, a scandal around hiding information around deaths in nursing homes due to COVID and that's kind of what precipitated much of this crisis, a loss of faith in the -- in whether or not the Governor was being strictly truthful, both with state legislators and with the public.

BLACKWELL: We've got a New York state senator, a Democrat, coming up on the show a little later and he told "The Washington Post" that, of the Governor, "He doesn't have a lot of friends in the legislature. He has spent years making enemies." How much of this growing opposition, not just Democrats staying silent, not coming out to support him, but speaking out saying he has to go is based on or fueled by that adversarial relationship?

LOUIS: Yes. Well, adversarial is a nice word, Victor. Hostile, toxic, abusive, those words have also been applied and, frankly, the administration doesn't even disavow them, doesn't deny them. You know, what their spokespeople say is like, well, he's a tough guy because that's what it takes to get things done.

Well, look, the consensus is that he long ago crossed the line between tough and toxic and it's in that kind of abusive workplace where people -- I mean, just instance after instance, including from lawmakers, of people being berated and threatened and belittled and mocked and ignored and humiliated. This has gone on for 10 years now. So, it has two effects, Victor. Number one, he doesn't have a lot of political friends.

And, number two, it makes it a little bit more credible that in that kind of an environment that some of the abuse, and, again, it apparently was just an everyday operating procedure in his administration, that some of it could be, you know, aimed at women with sort of a harassing or a sexualized twist, that some of it could be the kind of thing that can't get fixed because in that kind of a culture, you don't have a clear path to telling people stop doing this, stop being abusive toward people.

So yes, this is -- this is a problem that's been 10 years in the making. The particulars of it, of course, have reached a crisis point, but you could have seen some of this coming a long time ago.

PAUL: So, Errol, real quickly, I know that your news organization, you said, asked the Governor's office if any more allegations of abuse have been officially filed and they refused to answer. The optics of that are if you refuse to answer, it may be a yes, but, again, they did not answer that. It would serve him to say no, would it not? What is the expectation moving forward here?

LOUIS: Sure. Well, I mean, look it is a -- it's a -- it's a very -- it's a very simple question. Any answer other than no is a problem, right? If we ask, look, have other people brought forward these allegations? And they say, well, we're not going to tell you, file a Freedom of Information request. It's like, OK, well, that tells me what I need to know which is that there's something they don't want to tell us.

We're going to get even more information, Christi, because the attorney general, which has launched an investigation, has put up a website asking people to come forward if they have additional cases.


We don't know what they're going to find or when they're going to present it, but, you know, the lid is off, and people are being encouraged to come forward with stories. There are six so far. We'll see what else we find out.

PAUL: Yes. Not only the investigation by the Attorney General, Letitia James, but also by the assembly as well and see where that goes. Errol Louis, so grateful to have you with us as always, sir. Thank you.

LOUIS: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Minneapolis has reached a multimillion-dollar settlement with the family of George Floyd. We're going to break down the details ahead.


PAUL: All right, and the city of Minneapolis will pay $27 million to George Floyd's family. This is to settle a lawsuit over his death in police custody last year. This is the largest settlement in the city's history and one of the largest in the country involving police misconduct. Remember, Floyd died last May, his death was captured on video led to protests and calls for police reform across the nation. Former police officer Derek Chauvin who kneeled on Floyd's neck for almost eight minutes -- actually almost nine is now on trial for Floyd's death. CNN legal analyst Joey Jackson with us now.

Joey, always good to see you. So, we know that Floyd's brother said he'd return every penny of the settlement if it meant getting his brother back. That of course, it's not what's about, it's not about money necessarily, but what's the larger message behind this settlement here because it's not just about money.

JOEY JACKSON, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes, Christi, good morning to you. So, look, that's part of the process. Meaning, the process of resolving a case is the criminal component, of course, and we're seeing that play out right now in the jury selection. But this component that relates to civil liability, and that civil liability is designed for a couple of things. Number one, it's designed to compensate the family, right? And there's no amount of compensation as you just spoke to that could ever compensate for a life. Now, that $27 million as you say is the largest, remember, Minnesota also settled in connection with another officer for $20 million.

So, I think that was the precedent, that was Ahmaud Arbery in relation to a shooting or that occurred previously. This is not a shooting, of course, for George Floyd. But there's a bigger message here, and that message is in reform. Remember that, this sparked protests throughout the country. Those protests, Christi, being more diverse than ever. More diverse with respect to people who were there, more diverse with regard to, you know, ages and everything else. And then remember the police reforms in terms of the, you know, the issues relating to no choke holds, the issues relating to reform of the police, the issues relating to training and everything else, I mean, issues, of course, relating to deterrents. That is if this happens, police will be held accountable. And so, if ever there's a message, there are two, one is of justice and one is of accountability.

PAUL: OK, and real clearly, we know there are different levels of accountability, obviously. Any concern that this settlement could affect the trial?

JACKSON: I think the two are separate. And I think that certainly as you're selecting a jury, you want the jury to know and understand that it's a different component that has nothing at all to do with what the case is in court. And I think that ultimately, when that jury is selected and opening arguments and everything else happen, that trial will be measured by the evidence heard in that courtroom. And certainly not the filtering in of anything else, as we look there at the composition of the jury thus far, they having selected seven jurors, you look to select, of course, a total of 12, and then they'll be up to, you know, two, four, could be even more alternates. So, we'll see.

And also, we're looking, Christi, at the charges he's facing. And we know that they just added that whole third-degree murder charge. There was a lot of confusion as to whether that can be added, briefly stated, that just relates to, for example, reckless conduct. It relates to being afraid. It relates to being so reckless that you put someone in danger. Again, Christi, briefly, the legal issue was that usually, depravity relates to firing a shot into a crowd, you're endangering a whole bunch of people. The question is, could you just focus the depravity on one person, that was the legal question, that charge has been added, and I think there's more for the jury to choose from when they go in to decide a verdict with regards to what he's facing now, that is Chauvin.

PAUL: OK, I'm not sure that everybody is aware, but today is one year since Breonna Taylor was shot and killed by Louisville, Kentucky, police in a flawed forced entry raid at the apartment, at her apartment. And no officers have been directly charged with her death. We have learned from her mother, though, Tamika Palmer, she's filed internal complaints against six officers connected to the case. She told CNN yesterday, she never wants another family to experience this kind of pain.


TAMIKA PALMER, MOTHER OF BREONNA TAYLOR: Definitely anger. Just anger that the way this whole thing happened. Anger that it was so avoidable. And anger that she lost her life for it. The goal is for there not to be another Breonna. So, you know, there's steps moving forward to ensure, hopefully, ensure that this won't happen again.


PAUL: So, Joey, what exactly does filing these internal complaints do?

JACKSON: Well, I think it doesn't do enough, clearly, right? And to your point and what you just brought up in terms of accountability. What I think the family was looking for was criminal accountability. We know that there was a presentation to a grand jury. What does that mean?


A grand jury doesn't decide guilt or innocence, they just decide whether there's reasonable cause to believe that a crime was committed, and that the officers at issue committed it. We know that the attorney general did not present charges as it related to Breonna Taylor herself. And I think the family would have liked to have seen if you're going to charge an officer, charging for endangerment, neighbor apartment -- you know, neighboring apartment by shooting indiscriminately, charge the people who were there, who were acting recklessly as to Breonna Taylor.

So, knowing that, that didn't happen, and I think the family is doing a couple of things. Number one, they're looking for re-examination, why not go back to the grand jury, why not hold the officers accountable who engaged in this conduct and present a new presentation. Absent that to the core of your question, there is internal complaints. What did the officers do? What did they not do? What did they indicate in terms of the warrant being served? Why did it have to be a no-knock warrant? Where was the information? Why was that information so flawed that they would be in the apartment in the first place? So, yes, you can get accountability with this internal investigation, but I don't think it's enough accountability. I think the family wants a heightened sense of justice and that would have come from a grand jury presentation.

PAUL: So, in your opinion, you don't foresee any potential for charges in this case going forward?

JACKSON: You know, I think you could. So, just to be clear about that, we know there's a federal investigation, Christi, I don't think it relates to the federal investigation we'll see charges. Why do I say that? Because in federal crimes, you need a heightened standard, you need to show, you know, really the willfulness of the conduct. And I think the conduct here you can argue was willful, but I think it's more negligent, it's more reckless. So, the federal charge is out with respect to state charges. I think it relates to political will. I think if the family continues to pressure the government there, right, the state government, they could have, enforce a re-examination of the charges. Those presentations could be made to the grand jury, and the grand jury can get accountability.

So that's an open question, we'll see what happens. And I think we should know that there's been so many reforms in light of Breonna Taylor, she has not died in vain. She shouldn't have had to die, but we know there's a ban on no-knock warrants there, and nationally, that's being re-examined as well, Christi.

PAUL: All right, Joey Jackson, your expertise is always so valuable to us, thank you for getting up early for us.

JACKSON: Always, thanks, Christi.

PAUL: So, there are events across the country today to honor Breonna Taylor and call for that justice that Joey was talking about. There's a memorial event at 1:00 p.m. in Louisville, a vigil at 5:00 p.m. in Birmingham, Alabama. A walk at 2:00 p.m. in Sacramento, California, and a say her name memorial reading that is online tonight, just in case you'd like to partake in any of those.

BLACKWELL: Well, coming up, we'll find out how science is giving students and teachers a safer way to get back to school. And remember to watch an all new episode of "STANLEY TUCCI: SEARCHING FOR ITALY" tomorrow night, he'll explore the art, the food and the culture of Tuscany. Watch the new CNN original series "STANLEY TUCCI: SEARCHING FOR ITALY" at 9:00 Eastern right here on CNN.



BLACKWELL: Starting Monday, teachers in all 50 states will be prioritized for vaccines.

PAUL: Yes, in fact, the president of the largest teachers union in the country told CNN yesterday, teachers, quote, "want to be back, but they're stressed." And he stressed that the need to do so safely. CNN's Dr. Saju -- excuse me, CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta takes a look at the science that's behind keeping everybody safe at school.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): School in the age of COVID-19. Temperature scans. Plastic dividers. Eating outside. All of it to lower risk.

LISA HERRING, SUPERINTENDENT, ATLANTA PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Decisions trying to help us feel very much out of our wheelhouse, it felt scary.

GUPTA: It was the weight of the world that Atlanta public school superintendent Lisa Herring carried when the city's schools reopened on January 25th.

(on camera): That was a huge surge post-holiday that we are still in the midst of. So how did you arrive at these decisions?

HERRING: We became more and more aware of the high level of focus around mitigation for safety and health risks.

GUPTA (voice-over): Herring shows me what that means at David T. Howard Middle School. The CDC's guidance for schools to reopen safely considers community spread and relies on five familiar strategies, masking, physical distancing, washing hands, cleaning facilities and improving ventilation, as well as contact-tracing, isolation and quarantine.

HERRING: All of the doors open, so we're very intentional.

GUPTA (on camera): All the doors still open.

(voice-over): The few studies that have been done looking at in-school transmission have found few coronavirus cases when those mitigation measures are in place. One study of 11 North Carolina school districts found just 32 cases of in-school transmission among nearly a 100,000 students and staff. Not one of those cases involved a child infecting an adult. Another study, looking at more than 200,000 people in the New York City public schools between October and December found just 0.4 percent of those tests were positive. Still, sixth grade social studies teacher Patrick Doherty had his doubts.

PATRICK DOHERTY, TEACHER: I definitely was leaning towards we should stay virtual. Now, there's no crowding, the hand sanitize, they keep their masks on, so, I feel safe and I'm getting vaccinated tomorrow, first dose.

GUPTA: Should teachers get the vaccine before coming back to school?

HERRING: In a perfect scenario, absolutely, Dr. Gupta. Absolutely. This is simply was not the perfect scenario.


GUPTA: Weekly testing of staff and students that began in February spotted 32 cases so far.

(on camera): Can school districts open if they don't have that level of surveillance testing?

HERRING: There are school districts that are open who don't have that, so, the answer is yes. Does it give another layer of protection? It absolutely does.

GUPTA (voice-over): More than a third of the district's 52,000 students have now returned.

(on camera): By show of hands, does everyone feel safe being back in school?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I haven't been present for like a year. I haven't socialized with anyone at all, but it was better than I thought it was going to be.

GUPTA (voice-over): Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, reporting.


BLACKWELL: It's been a year since the coronavirus shut down sports across the country including March Madness. Why one coach says anxiety is an understatement heading into the tournament set to start next week.



PAUL: So, Victor, I think -- I remember last year, I'm sure we all do when they cancelled March Madness. And I think for a lot of people, certainly, not all, because people have been affected, but I think for a lot of people, that was the first sign that, oh, my gosh, this is a big deal.

BLACKWELL: Yes, the NBA games, and I think the Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson news --

PAUL: Yes --

BLACKWELL: And March Madness all happening in quick secession. That's when it was real for a lot of people who didn't know someone personally. Let's bring in Coy Wire now. And now that March Madness will be back this year, there's a coach who says that anxiety is just not the word. It's an understatement.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and then things -- you know, here we are a year later still kind of talking about similar issues. Good morning to you Victor and Christi, and selection Sunday is tomorrow, teams are battling it out right now in conference tournaments, trying to prove that they have what it takes to make it to the big dance this year. But it still feels like the biggest question is, who is going to even be available to play? Eleventh- ranked Kansas dropped out of the big 12 tournament semi-finals last night after a positive test. Hours earlier, number 16 Virginia ACC semi-final against Georgia Tech was cancelled.

And that was one day after Duke's season ended also due to a positive test. Now, the coach on the defending national champs, Virginia's Tony Bennett said in a statement in part, quote, "we are exhausting all options to participate in the NCAA tournament." Georgia Tech's Josh Pastner says he's doing everything he can to get his team to Indy. Here he is.


JOSH PASTNER, HEAD COACH, GEORGIA TECH: Anxiety is an understatement. I mean, it's easier to say, hey -- you know, people say, it's out of your control and you know, don't worry. You know, it's -- you know, and I understand that and I get that. It's been such a grind to get to this point. So, we're right there and we're literally -- what, 48 to 72 hours we get on the plane to go to Indy. So, we just got to finish it out.


WIRE: The NCAA is giving qualifying teams until Tuesday to determine whether or not they will play in March Madness. All right, switching gears now. Ultimate Frisbee has been growing for years across the U.S. Eighteen-year veteran Shanye Crawford is leading the charge to grow it even more. Her organization Disk Diversity created the first-ever nationwide all black ultimate Frisbee tour. It's called the Color of Ultimate Showcase.


SHANYE CRAWFORD, FOUNDER, DISK DIVERSITY: Me and three of my friends in Georgia who are all players of color, we were finally bothered enough, I guess, by our absence, that we decided to try our hand at changing it. We spent six weeks together, dreaming of a way to bring a sample of the best players of color from our sport. Not just the form for us, but to be showered, celebrated by the community. I have big dreams. I have huge dreams. I don't want to live my whole life fighting for equity. I'd like to do such a good job that I'm out of work in this field. There aren't many places, many realms, where black people are allowed to shine, if that makes sense.

One area that we are given some space to be great is entertainment. But I think that, since the places where we can win are few, we're turning to sports as a microphone, that's definitely my experience. I think that's happening in sports in general. The NBA comes to mind, the WNBA, women's soccer. And I think that Ultimate is right in line with what's going on, but that we have an opportunity to do it better, seriously. We're small enough, but rich enough, not only fiscally, to set forth a standard that any sport, I believe, can pick up and run with, that is what I want to do. That's what I want to try to do. And if I fail, I'll be so happy that I exercised all of my energy on to that goal.


WIRE: And sports can be one of our nation's greatest unifiers, and with the kind of passion that Shanye Crawford is bringing, even more people will be brought together. The color of Ultimate showcase is scheduled to take place this Fall. Victor, Christi?

PAUL: Looking forward to it. Coy Wire, thank you so much. We'll be right back.



BLACKWELL: So, there's a new experimental Alzheimer's drug that's showing some promise. The "New England Journal of Medicine" just published the results of a study that shows an intravenous drug from Eli Lilly could slow cognitive decline.

PAUL: Yes, and while it's still early, researchers say the results still represent some of the most robust data on a single drug's ability to slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease. Dr. Saju Mathew is a primary care physician, public health specialist with us now. Saju, good to see you, talk to us about this drug and what is it that makes researchers so optimistic?

SAJU MATTHEW, PRIMARY CARE PHYSICIAN: Yes, it's really exciting. There are about 6 million people with Alzheimer's dementia in this country. And we know that one of the main reasons why people have a decline in memory, in cognition is a build-up of protein called Amyloid in the brain. So, the question scientists have is, if we attack this brain protein called Amyloid, can we improve the function? And that's exactly what the study show. Two hundred and fifty participants, so a small study over 18 months, every four weeks, they got an IV infusion, and there was a 32 percent slowing of the decline of memory and cognition in these patients. That's huge, Christi.