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New Day Saturday
Coronavirus Pandemic: Biden "Help is Here" as $1400 Checks Start Hitting Bank Account; Biden and Harris Plan "Help is Here" Tour to Promote Rescue Plan; Senators Schumer and Gillibrand Call on NY Gov. Cuomo to Resign Amid Sexual Harassment Allegations; Two NASA Astronauts Begin 6.5-hour Spacewalk to Make Upgrades to International Space Station; Brazil Seeing Worst Days of Pandemic with ICU Rates Over 80 Percent. Aired 8-9a ET
Aired March 13, 2021 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ---Some of those first checks arriving in the bank accounts of Americans this weekend.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: To American watching, help is here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can we be hopeful that this is going to come to an end soon.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not only hopeful. You can be absolutely certain.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It seems like these in Florida that experts worry will hurt progress.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you for the freedom down here.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (inaudible) with the rules, but I just got to covered.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are trying to survive this, but we also worried that this community will become a super spreader for other communities.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A joint statement from the two democratic senators from New York goes on to say, it is clear that the Governor Cuomo has lost the confidence of his governing partners.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I did not do what has been alleged.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is unacceptable. The governor must resign.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: This is New Day weekend. With Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Live look at the White House at the Rose Garden yesterday, we heard three words, help is here. And you are going to hear that more as these $1400 stimulus payments start to hit bank accounts.
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. Soon, President Biden is going to hit the road to tout his nearly $2 trillion rescue plan. Democrats preview their PR push at the White House yesterday, calling the aid historical and transformational. Now, the other message, normalcy is near. They say, the President saying that May 1 is the deadline for all adults to be eligible for a vaccine. And he has his eye on independence from the virus by the July 4.
BLACKWELL: Health experts are worried about Americans traveling for spring break or letting down their guard as more states ease restrictions on their own timeline.
PAUL: Yes. We want to start in Wilmington, Delaware with CNN's, Jasmine Wright. Jasmine, it's so good to see you this morning. We know the President is spending his weekend there and economic aid we know starting to roll out. What do we know about what comes next?
JASMINE WRIGHT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, Christi, the President turned his focus now to implementing his COVID relief bill. He said it yesterday in the Rose Garden, the devil is in the details.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's one thing to pass the American rescue plan, is going to be another thing implemented. It's going to require facilities oversight, to make sure there is no waste of fraud, and the law does what it's designed to do. And I mean, we have to get this right. Details matter, because we have to continue to build confidence in the American people that their government can function for them and deliver.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WRIGHT: Now, Christi, a few things will be happening in the next few days on implementation. First, on Monday, the White House will hold an event focused on it, President Biden has not yet named who will oversee the process, something that he says he is going to do. But whoever gets that job, they are going to be busy because this is a big bill and it's going to be a big roll. Now, this week, President Biden will go on a victory tour, both to educate Americans on what is inside of this bill, and how they'll benefit but also to promote it. Right now, this bill is popular, and the White House wants to keep it that way. So, we will see the President, the Vice President and his top surrogates going across the country from Pennsylvania to Georgia to Vegas, really all to spread this message. Christi, Victor?
BLACKWELL: So, let's talk about some specific dates here. Because as the President said, they're the - and you said, the devils in the details to use the cliche. May 1, ball adult Americans eligible for a vaccine. He says, that's the goal, also July 4 to start some in person small backyard outdoor gatherings, which other dates are important to look out for?
WRIGHT: Well, Americans can really look to just this weekend. That is when the White House says that those stimulus checks will start to hit bank accounts at $1400. The White House says that, they'll start this weekend likely with those who are already signed up for direct deposit with the IRS. So that is something that Americans can look to very, very quickly. Victor?
BLACKWELL: All right. Jasmine Wright, for us there in Wilmington. Thank you so much. Now despite calls for - from some of New York's top Democratic lawmakers. Governor Andrew Cuomo is rejecting calls to resign. He says that he will not bow to what he calls, canceled culture.
PAUL: Yes. Senate Majority Leader, Chuck Schumer and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, released a joint statement saying this, "it's clear that Governor Cuomo has lost the confidence of its governing partners and the people of New York."
BLACKWELL: CNN's Polo Sandoval is following the latest on Governor Cuomo. What is he saying about these calls for him to resign?
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Victor and Christi, he says that these allegations of harassment and of inappropriate behavior should certainly be heard, but at the same time he maintains that he is innocent of any misconduct. The Governor also saying that he does not plan on stepping down in spite of the investigation. That's good for some impeachment investigation that continues at the state level and a growing chorus of Democrats. His fellow Democrats for him to resign, wanting to hear directly from Governor Cuomo, exactly of his position during his latest press call just yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANDOVAL: A new allegations do continue to emerge, including several descriptions from women that are describing, unsettling encounters from the Governor, as well as a flirtatious comment that were made by the Governor during official meetings. And then just yesterday, a former reporter that covered the State House, also claiming that she was inappropriately touched, or at least touch by the Governor without her consent. So, not only are the list of allegations growing, the list of Democrats also on the rise that are calling for the Governor stepped down. Just take a look. There is simply too many to mention. And of course, most recently, at least a very powerful Democrats in the Senate, including Chuck Schumer himself saying, that these are certainly credible allegations. And as a result, that the Governor should have certainly stepped down. But look, Victory and Christi, it's not just these allegations that have surfaced recently, but also recent investigation that was launched by the New York State's Attorney General as well as the FBI as well, looking into the undercounting of COVID nursing home deaths. Add it all up and you'll hear for many of the governor's critic are saying, that he cannot perform as a Chief Executive at the state, as his investigation thus continue.
BLACKWELL: Polo Sandoval in New York banks.
PAUL: So, let's talk about all of this with political analyst Rachael Bade. She is Co-Author of Politico's Playbook. It's so good to have you with us, Rachael. Thank you so much. So, talk to us about what all of this means for Democrats as a whole. Let's get out of just the scope of the governor and expand it into the political realm of Democrats totally?
RACHAEL BADE, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I mean, look, there's been a lot of really powerful men, who have been accused of things since the me- to movement. And I think a lot of times we see, these men fight those allegations, right. And sometimes for Republicans, they are able to sort of stay in power, despite a lot of these allegations. But what you are seeing right now is the clear difference between the Republican Party and the Democratic Party when it comes to these sorts of things, right. There was this huge tsunami of lawmakers on Capitol Hill yesterday, starting with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Jerry Nadler, all the way up to Chuck Schumer, who is leading the Senate saying, you know, one person, maybe they look into it, too.
Now, we are up to a half a dozen women, I believe, and enough is enough. And so, they're calling on him to step down. And again, I think what you are seeing is that, in the Democratic Party, clearly, there is not any sort of tolerance for this sort of behavior. And so, you're clearly seeing the whole party reject this, and say, even somebody who has done, perhaps good work at some points over his life in New York, it's time for him to go.
BLACKWELL: Do you read anything into what could be seen as a delay in the call from leader Schumer or Senator Gillibrand? Because we saw the coordination of the statements from the House Democrats part of the New York delegation early on Friday, and then late afternoon, we saw a Schumer and Gillibrand joined. Do you read into that at all?
BADE: Well, look, Chuck Schumer is running again in 2022, and he could face a potential primary on his left. He is very conscious of that, and so has positioned himself more to the left of his party recently than typical, right. So, of course, whenever somebody comes out, calling for impeachment or calling for something like stepping down. A lot of times you will see people follow because they also reporters go to their office and say, do you agree?
And then of course, they come out. So, I wouldn't be surprised here if that's what happened. You know, we saw something very similar happened with impeachment right after January 6, or Schumer was actually the first one to come out. And then a whole bunch of Democrats followed him. So, yes, the timing is interesting, but typically is what happens in politics.
PAUL: You know, we have Errol Louis earlier today, and he was telling us that his news organization had asked the governor's office, if there were any more allegations of abuse, and that had been officially filed. And he says, they refused to answer that. The optics of it do not look good. What is the expectation moving forward? Is that number six that we now know, as of this morning, is that all there is?
BADE: I mean, it's hard to tell. But I wouldn't be surprised if even while most, you know spokespeople and his closest aides are asking the same question. Right? They are with him sometimes, but they're not with him all the time. And a lot of times when you have these sort of crisis situations, you have loyal staff who don't really know what's going on. They don't know the full picture yet. Who knows what they know? But half a dozen is a lot.
And so, we could continue to see more people come forward, especially as these new investigations are underway, both at the sort of police law enforcement level, and at the impeachment level, the political level. So, this is just the beginning of the story for Cuomo, especially if he decides to make - try to maintain power and refuses to step down. There is no doubt that this is going to get tougher for him. There was definitely a breaking point yesterday, and he chose not to step down. But we'll have to see if we can sort of hold - withhold the heat in the coming weeks.
BLACKWELL: So, Democrats celebrated the passage of this rescue plan in the Rose Garden yesterday. Speaker Pelosi announces that infrastructure is next, that could cost more than the $1.9 trillion that was spent on this rescue plan. It's the issue that every candidate says that we can work across the aisle to get this done. But what's the likelihood? Even the potential that Republicans are willing to give President Biden another multi trillion big dollar win?
BADE: Yes. So, we did a talk on in Playbook this week actually about this. You know, you're right. Typically, you hear Republicans and Democrats say, we want to do infrastructure. It's always infrastructure week, everybody wants to rebuild the country, but the devil is really in the details. And I interviewed a couple of my colleagues and staffers on the Hill who work in specifically covering and work on transportation issues. And what they told me was that look, if you - if Biden does what he is promising in terms of a big transportation package that includes a lot of climate initiatives, it's going to cost a lot of money, and it's probably not going to get any Republican support. And I know that people are not willing to admit that on Capitol Hill right now.
But you know, Democrats just passed a $2 trillion package. If they pass another $2 trillion package, you're going to start to hear Republicans say this, that they're afraid of that number, that they don't like that number. They're also going to balk at things like, changes to various policies that could help climate change. Obviously, this is not a big priority for them. So I am very skeptical that you're actually going to see if they
bipartisan package, what's more likely is that Democrats will end up using the same reconciliation tool that they use to pass the COVID relief, and they'll probably go big. Because right now, if we've learned one lesson from the past few weeks, is that Democrats are more concerned that they won't go big enough, then that, will alienate republicans right now. So, I would expect that moving forward.
BLACKWELL: And then, there was the intra-party fight over how progressive should this legislation be? Because there are a lot of progressives who were unsatisfied with what came out of the rescue plan, and we'll see if they get what they want out of the infrastructure plan. Rachael Bade, thank you so much.
BADE: Thank you.
PAUL: Thanks, Rachael. So, you know the beaches are getting crowded. Look at these pictures, spring breakers. They want to escape the cold weather. How tourist destinations are preparing, though, to keep everyone safe.
BLACKWELL: Plus, why after eight years, a Georgia Sheriff will reopen an investigation into the case of a teenager found dead in a mat in his high school gym.
PAUL: So, despite warnings to be cautious in the face of good news about the pandemic. Texas is already reopening. Trying to get back to normal as soon as possible. Governor Greg Abbott dropped masks mandates. Businesses are allowed to be open at full capacity that starts Monday, and Texans 50 and older will be eligible to get the vaccine. Younger people in food service, manufacturing and transit still aren't prioritized. Galveston, in the meantime, is getting ready for all the spring break vacationers that are heading their way. Dr. Joseph Varon, Chief of Staff at United Memorial Medical Center there in Houston is with us now. Am I saying it right, Dr. Varon, is that correct?
DR. JOSEPH VARON, CHIEF OF STAFF, UNITED MEMORIAL MEDICAL CENTER, HOUSTON: That is correct.
PAUL: OK. I just want to make sure I get it right. Thank you so much doctor. We appreciate it. Talk to us about what's happening in Texas and Galveston. Do you expect that there could be a surge once spring break is over, based on what may happen there in the next couple of weeks?
VARON: You know, it's interesting, because there are very few things that people can predict, but I am sure we're going to have a search. I am sure. And the reason why I tell you that, is because over the past few weeks, our number of cases were going down. The last two days have already started to see a search in cases, just in a period of four hours already, I have made it four new patients to my COVID unit, which I have not done for several weeks.
So, I know that people are taking these no masks very, very, like there is nothing going on. It's like, if you come to Texas, you would say hey, the pandemic disappeared overnight. It is amazing. You go outside, all the clubs are packed, people not wearing masks. It's very disappointing.
PAUL: Are you confident that the medical community can handle what may be coming?
VARON: Well, I mean, the one good thing is that we already went through these ones. So, we already know what this is like. So, I am hoping that we'll be able to handle this new wave if it comes. I still do believe it's going to come.
PAUL: OK. Let me ask you this. The President is saying by July 4. He believes we'll be able to be in small groups with our family, and our friends, and no masks. Is that realistic to you?
VARON: Depends on how we behave for the next few weeks. I can tell you in Texas that's not going to be realistic. Now, I also should tell you that in Texas, it seems that we've been doing the same thing, and a lot of people without mask and doing barbecues and doing all that stuff. So, let's just - I think that we need to be a little more realistic. As we don't have a unified message, just like you say, each state does whatever they want.
PAUL: So, Dr. Varon, you're telling us that Texas doesn't look like there is a pandemic going on? Is that what I'm hearing?
VARON: If you come to Houston, last night, I was going to a hospital to check on a few patients. Houston is like nothing new, like life is going on. Yes, you will see a few people wearing masks here and there. But if you go outside the clubs, they are packed. I mean, people just congregating no masks. It's very sad.
PAUL: Let me ask you about something Dr. Fauci said, Axios reporting this morning that Dr. Fauci is very concerned about post COVID mental health pandemics. Do you see any signs of that? And do you share those concerns about mentally and emotionally what may be coming even once this is over?
VARON: Absolutely, without question about it. A lot of people have a little bit of a - like a post-traumatic stress syndrome, very similar, a lot of anxiety, a lot of depression. And the one thing that most people are not talking about is, what's going to happen to the healthcare providers. I mean, I've been working today 359 continuous days. I mean, at some point in time, all of us have been working so hard, we're going to have issues. There is no question about it.
PAUL: Did you just say, you've been working 359 consecutive days?
VARON: That is correct. PAUL: So, how are you and the people that you work with. First of all, thank you so much for what you're doing. We are glad that you're here and able to talk about it. But do you ever feel like you have a moment to breathe?
VARON: As of now, I don't. And again, can you imagine I mean, going so many ways like this, and now going and seeing that. People think that the pandemic just disappeared overnight. I mean, it's very frustrating. My colleagues, my nurses, I mean, they're exhausted. They are exhausted. Even if they don't work continuously like I have, they are exhausted. They are emotionally drained. They're not wanting to see another wave come this way.
PAUL: Dr. Joseph Varon, I am so grateful that you came to talk to us. We are grateful for the work that you and your teams do. Please pass that on to them. And thank you for being so candid with us. We absolutely hope that there is not a surge, and that you get that chance to just breathe a little bit and recover yourself. You deserve it. Thank you so much.
VARON: Thank you very much.
BLACKWELL: Be sure to watch it all new episode of Lincoln: Divided We Stand. That's tomorrow night at 10. As the destruction of the civil war continues, President Lincoln attempts to console America. See how he use the power of his words to uplift a nation in sorrow. Lincoln: Divided We Stand, continues tomorrow night, right here on CNN.
BLACKWELL: Moments ago, two NASA astronauts began what's scheduled to be a six-and-a-half-hour spacewalk.
PAUL: You're going to live picture here of what they're doing right now. So, over the next several hours, Victor Glover and Mike Hopkins are completing several system upgrades to the International Space Station, and this is the fourth spacewalk for Glover, the fifth for Hopkins. So, they're all in good hands there.
BLACKWELL: This week the Lowndes County Georgia Sheriff reopened the investigation into the death of Kendrick Johnson. He was 17 years old when he was found dead in a rolled-up gym met eight years ago. Now, Johnson was upside down at Lowndes County High School, that was January 2013. The initial investigation concluded that he accidentally slipped while reaching for a shoe and became stuck, but his parents have long believed that their son was killed.
And a pathologist hired by the family determined the cause of death was unexplained apparent non-accidental blunt force trauma to Johnson's neck. Attorney Michael Moore joins me now. He was the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia in 2013. And he launched the federal investigation into the Kendrick Johnson case. He left that position in 2015. The federal review was closed in 2016. Michael, good morning to you. MICHAEL MOORE, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY, MIDDLE DISTRICT OF GEORGIA: Good morning.
BLACKWELL: So, this case, this investigation from your perspective lasted for two and a half years at the federal level. The Sheriff now has reopened it. Do you believe that this case deserves another look?
MOORE: You know, let me say first off that, I haven't talked to the Sheriff, and I don't speak obviously at this point for the Department of Justice. But I'll remind you that, there were literally hours and hours of testimony. There were days of grand jury testimony. There were boxes of information on what all has been given to the Sheriff. But this is a case that was troubling from the outset. And at the time, we believe, and I continue to believe that we had sufficient evidence to do our inquiry and investigation. And at various points for search warrants and other things, the case was presented to federal judges who signed protocols. Statements already accepted to the protocols' affidavits of officer. So, it was a troubling case. And you had, of course, as you mentioned, the conflicting autopsy report.
So, the federal inquiry was closed, and I had left the office by that time as you mentioned, but the inquiry was closed with simply a statement that the department could not prove a civil rights violation. Did not think they had sufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt, a violation of civil rights. And remember that there is no federal just a straight homicide statute. And so, I don't know if the Sheriff has uncovered new information. I don't know if a witness has come forward. I just do not know at this point. But I do know that the statute limitations for our homicide case in Georgia, there is no statute. So, if new evidence was developed, and certainly he could pursue an investigation.
BLACKWELL: So, when this statement came out at the end of the federal investigation, then acting U.S. Attorney. This was after you'd left the office, said that, as you just made clear, there was no jurisdiction. There was no evidence that his civil rights had been violated. Was there any evidence that his death was the result of a crime?
MOORE: As we began the investigation, I was satisfied that there was a sufficient basis to do that. And while I can't go into and wouldn't go into things that were uncovered during the grand jury investigation, is that's a secret proceeding, as you know. I was satisfied that the investigation should continue to move forward as we tried to track down various leads and pieces of information. I did not, you know, I'd gone into private practice by the time that the investigation was closed. So, I think that the statement probably speaks volumes. I think it's a well placed statement that basically does talk about jurisdiction as opposed to the offense itself. Remember again ---
BLACKWELL: So, let me jump in, Michael. Let me jump in because I am running low on time, and we get to some specific things. What is protocol? If you find that you've got this case, there is no federal jurisdiction. You don't see evidence of a federal crime being violated? What then happens? Do you then notify the local law enforcement agency that we have found something?
MOORE: You do. You work hand in hand, and it's really a partnership between the local and state and federal law enforcement agencies. In this case, recognize that there is a new Sheriff and administration. It allows candidates that's now looking into the case. The investigation from the Lowndes County perspective, at the time that we undertook the civil rights inquiry, was they had determined that, in their mind that there was not enough to move forward. And as you mentioned, then, of course, you had the subsequent autopsies and such as that.
So, it may be that this fresh set of eyes could come forward, and cases don't often get better with age. But I'll tell you that sometimes people come forward like that they have been wrongfully convicted, and they served decades and decades in prison and sudden some new piece of evidence comes up. Well, that might be the case here. I just don't know what the Sheriff Paulk may have told, may have uncovered. They received information from somebody on the street who - there's been a witness admitted something, we just don't know at this point. But it's tragic circumstances that deserve review.
BLACKWELL: So, what concerned a lot of people, especially Kendrick Johnson's parents, Kenneth and Jacqueline Johnson. I just spoke with a couple of days ago was the investigation and how it was handled. Initially, what tipped me off that this deserves some more attention was, what we heard from the Coroner Bill Watson and what he said. And let's remind people, full screen seven control room. He wrote, that I was notified or not I was not notified in this death until 15:45 that several hours after Kendrick's body was found. The investigative climate was very poor to worse when I arrived on the scene. The body had been noticeably moved. The scene had been compromised and there was no cooperation from law enforcement at the scene.
Furthermore, the integrity of the evidence bag was compromised on January 13, 2013, by opening the sealed bag, exhibiting the dead body to his father. I do not approve of the manner this case was handled. Not only was the scene compromised, the body was moved. The integrity was breached by opening a sealed body bag, information necessary for my law and lawful investigation was withheld. What through your investigation did you glean from the handling of this investigation by Lowndes County Sheriff's office initially, the first time around?
MOORE: Well, remember that I was presented with much of that information prior to making a decision to open an investigation or federal inquiry into the case. And you probably given a litany of reasons why, any objective person would think that's that would be appropriate to look further into it.
Also remember that this case was monitored at the highest levels of Department of Justice with the Attorney General. I met with the Attorney General several times as we talked about the case. So, there were clearly things that seemed to deserve, and in my judgment deserved more inquiry. BLACKWELL: If 17 boxes were transferred from federal investigators to the Lowndes County Sheriff's office. I know that you cannot give us specifics of what was there. But can you give us as an insight into what likely was the categories of things that have been handed over?
MOORE: There would have been hundreds of witness interviews that were taken. There were be hours and hours of video surveillance, emails, and texts, and various communications, electronic communications likely were delivered. I think probably there were computer drives that could obtain the video surveillance, they would obviously have been the autopsy reports, criminalistics reports, those types of things that he would see. But I really think that the law enforcement statements in the witness statements will make up a large part of the documents that the Sheriff will have to go through and review.
BLACKWELL: Do you - and this is the last question I have for you. Do you believe that the conclusion that Kendrick Johnson died as a result of reaching into a mat for a shoe that the evidence supports that?
MOORE: That was the hypothesis at the time that I decided to move forward with the investigation. And to me, I just sort of felt like it defies credulity, and needed more explanation and needed further review. And I didn't take the obligation or the task of moving forward with the case lightly. As you can tell, it was full of some praise and criticism. Otherwise, it really didn't matter to me. My job is to try to get to the truth. And hopefully at some point for this family, they'll feel comfortable with the truth, whatever it may be. And again, if that's something Sheriff Paulk fine, but there are so many things that were conflicting. As you looked at the case, that there was no doubt in my mind that the case deserved a further investigation.
BLACKWELL: All right. We have covered it for the last eight years and will continue to do that. Former U.S. Attorney, Michael Moore, thank you so much.
MOORE: Great to be with you. Thank you.
BLACKWELL: All right. Christy?
PAUL: So, the President of Brazil recently told people to "stop being sissies and whining" about the virus. And now hospitals and ICUs, they're on the brink of collapse. We have a live report for you from Brazil next.
PAUL: So, Brazil is experiencing some of its worst days of the pandemic. Multiple single day Coronavirus records are being set right now.
BLACKWELL: There is also a surge in new cases. It's overwhelming intensive care units. Matt Rivers, CNN International Correspondent is in Sao Paulo with a closer look at the ICU crisis. Matt, we've been following your reporting and it just seems to be coming more dire by the day there.
MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Christi and Victor, it's hard to really get around the difference between what's going on in the U.S. and Brazil. I am talking to some family and friends back in the U.S. It's hard to not hear the signs of hope in their voices. You know, when you talk about vaccines and the rollout in the U.S., and it's basically the opposite right now in Brazil. We are unquestionably in the worst days of this pandemic in this country.
In just the last week, multiple single day Coronavirus death records have been set. Yesterday was the second highest total that we've seen since the pandemic began. And in the state where I am in Sao Paulo, they said a single day death record, Sao Paulo alone accounted for a quarter of all deaths recorded in Brazil. And unfortunately, there is not a lot of hope in the near term.
When you look at ICU occupancy rates across the country and Brazil's 26 states and its federal district 23 and 26 states plus its federal district have ICU occupancy rates of at least 80 percent or higher. And just to contrast what's going on between Brazil and the United States. Let me show you this graphic. This is the seven-day moving average of Coronavirus related deaths in both countries. Look at the trends. The United States going down. Brazil going up. Brazil now has a higher number than the United States despite having roughly 100 million less people here. So, Victor and Christi, just a terrible situation right now here in Brazil.
BLACKWELL: And certainly is, Matt Rivers in Sao Paulo, thank you.
PAUL: And he made a good point about the distinction between there and the U.S. here. We know that the U.S. is averaging about 2.2 million COVID vaccinations a day.
BLACKWELL: And the rollout continues even with some promising developments. There is real concern that vaccine hesitancy will keep the country from reaching its goal of herd immunity. Here is CNN's Miguel Marquez.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): As Coronavirus vaccinations pick up steam, some aren't convinced it's safe. Enough of them could make it tougher to get back to pre-pandemic life.
JENNA PEDONE, NEW HAMPSHIRE RESIDENT/WON'T GET COVID VACCINE: I think that people should be allowed to choose to have medical freedom.
MARQUEZ: Jenna Pedone, a pharmacist says, she takes Coronavirus seriously. Isn't opposed to vaccines, but things getting one for COVID-19 is a matter of individual choice.
PEDONE: It doesn't matter what Trump did. It doesn't matter what Biden is doing. What matters is, do I get the choice to say what's good for me.
MARQUEZ: Nursing assistant and mom of three, Seouquia Downs. Her youngest only five weeks old says, she won't get the Coronavirus vaccine because she does not believe the virus is a threat to her.
SEOUQUIA DOWNS, NEW HAMPSHIRE RESIDENT/WON'T GET COVID VACCINE: I feel like I would be able to get - if I was to get sick, I'd get a natural immunity to it and I would be, you know, it wouldn't be as detrimental to me as someone else.
MARQUEZ: Both Downs and Pedone say, they support a bill making its way to the New Hampshire state house barring punishment against those who refuse any coronavirus vaccine.
TIM LANG (R-NH), STATE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: We introduced house bill 220, which is Medical Freedom Act.
MARQUEZ: The Granite State, one of ten, says the National Council of State Legislatures currently considering legislation allowing citizens to opt out of vaccinations, protect them from being punished for not getting it or prohibit certain institutions from requiring them.
LANG: The state should never mandate to the 1.3 million citizens in New Hampshire, some sort of medical intervention that they all have to have.
MARQUEZ: Lang expects the bill to pass with bipartisan support after amending it to allow several exceptions, like school vaccinations and some law enforcement medical emergencies.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is there any concern that we will not get to that herd immunity?
LANG: I actually do not think this bill will change the vaccination rate. We don't have mandatory vaccines right now and people are still getting vaccinated.
MARQUEZ: When it comes to hesitancy about getting the Coronavirus vaccine, polls show a higher degree of skepticism among Republicans. In a new CNN poll, 46 percent of Republicans nationwide said, they would not try to get the vaccine. Here in New Hampshire, 45 percent of Republicans said they almost certainly or probably would not get vaccinated. This is after former President Trump's drumbeat of statements playing down the seriousness of the pandemic.
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Having a vaccine is good, but we are rounding the turn regardless. We're rounding the turn.
MARQUEZ: Even neglecting to announce he and former first lady Melania Trump got vaccinated before leaving the White House. To combat vaccine hesitancy, all of the former presidents and first ladies except the Trumps releasing a PSA encouraging people to get vaccinated.
GEORGE BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So, roll up your sleeve and do your part. MARQUEZ: While the medical experts warn about the consequences of not enough Americans getting the vaccine.
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: We anticipate, and again, it is purely a speculation, that the herd immunity level will be about 70 percent to 85 percent. If a significant number of people do not get vaccinated, that would delay where we could get to that endpoint.
MARQUEZ: The endpoint, enough people getting vaccinated to allow life to get back to something like normal. Miguel Marquez, CNN, Concord, New Hampshire.
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PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I am Phil Mattingly at the White House. And this is CNN.
PAUL: You know, we've heard a lot about how COVID hurt children emotionally, and mentally, and trying to help those part of what I call the reset. Figuring out how quarantine changed a lot of us and how we can help our kids through it, and maybe we can learn from them too. Well, one of Bob Goff's bestselling book as Everybody Always. And now he has a kid version that he hopes is going to open up candid conversations between you and the kids in your life.
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BOB GOFF, AUTHOR: Talk about your family values like what are they and where did they come from, and why, but even more so ask your kids. How does this make sense to you? What are the things that you're just puzzled about?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE And kids will be very honest, won't they?
GOFF: That's the crazy part as they don't care what it looks like. They just care what it is in my faith tradition. We talk about like a childlike faith, not childish. I know some guys that are stuck there. But childlike you do too. So, what I want us to do is to say what would it be if we were more childish? And then, what would it be if you were more childlike? Childish would be pouting, and saying, I didn't get my way, and I am out of here. But childlike would be filled with wonder. Filled with anticipation. Say like, oh, my gosh, I wonder what's going to happen next.
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PAUL: He is just infectious as any, he says, this is a great time to teach kids the importance of the words we use. So, think of imaginary thought bubbles over your head. I mean, would you want people to know what you are thinking?
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GOFF: Maybe you need to keep a couple things in the thought bubble. And then when somebody doesn't, and they say something lame, so just realize they're insecure like me. I've just been able to keep it in the thought bubble, and they let one leak out.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think we never crept out with your thought bubble.
GOFF: Oh, my gosh, it does. And you know what? There is two words that will help. It doesn't fix all of it, but here they are. I am sorry. And there is something about just a sincere apology, man. This was just me being insecure.
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PAUL: And here is the way Bob says, we can help kids and ourselves recognize wasted time. It just starts with a paper plate.
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GOFF: Say the whole plates 24 hours. And you say, well, I am spending eight of it sleeping. That's awesome. Go get nine if you need it. But like say, that part, I'm checked out. And then say, what's the part of doing business whether you're actually at a workplace or you're distracted with one of these. Would be the first time an apple did instead? And then ask your kids to say, hey, if you have a paper plate, how are you spending your time? These are the kind of honest conversations that really pull out elicited like genuine responses for ourselves. I don't think about like shame and regret. I just think awareness.
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PAUL: Oh, we love Bob Goff. Tell me how the pandemic measures have changed your approach to life. You can find me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. And thank you because I love to hear your stories and I'd love to share those from those folks there.
BLACKWELL: Got to watch your thought bubble.
PAUL: Tell me want to see it.
BLACKWELL: All right. Join us again in an hour.
PAUL: We have some more coming up next.