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New Day Saturday

Civil Rights Groups File Suit Over new Georgia Voting Law; Biden Urges Congress to act on Voting Bills in Response to GA Law; Despite Vaccine Records, U.S. Still Seeing 1,000 Deaths per Day; Surge of Migrant Border Crossings Expected to Continue Rising; Aired 6-7a ET

Aired March 27, 2021 - 06:00   ET




UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): This is CNN. More people get their news from CNN than any other news source.

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

VICTOR BLACKWELL CNN ANCHOR: Good Saturday morning to you. Live look at the city of Atlanta. Beautiful at 6:00 A.M. Eastern and we are starting in the state of Georgia and the nationwide outrage over new voting restrictions.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. President Biden's joined the outcry now, saying the Justice Department is looking into what he called "Jim Crow in the 21st century."

BLACKWELL: So, voting rights groups have fled -- filed, rather, a fury of lawsuits challenging the law. They argue that it's designed to discourage voter turnout and the President, who won Georgia in November with a surge of minority support, did not hold back as he slammed the new restrictions.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's an atrocity. The idea -- if you want any indication that it has nothing to do with fairness, nothing to do with decency, they passed a law saying you can't provide water for people standing in line while they're waiting to vote. You don't need anything else to know that this is nothing but punitive designed to keep people from voting. You can't provide water for people about to vote. Give me a break.


PAUL: Georgia's Republican-controlled legislature fast-tracked the measure to the governor's desk after Democrats won both the presidential race and two special elections in that state. While critics say the low targets -- the law, rather, targets minority voters, supporters paint the bill as an effort to restore confidence in the state's electoral process despite the fact that there is no evidence of widespread fraud in the election. Here's CNN's Sara Murray.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Protect the vote.

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signing a dramatic overhaul of the state's election laws, the first GOP victory in restricting voter access in a major battleground state.

GOV. BRIAN KEMP (R-GA): After the November election last year, I knew, like so many of you, that significant reforms to our state elections were needed.

MURRAY (voice-over): The law puts new voter identification requirements on absentee ballots, limits drop boxes to indoor locations during business hours, allows state officials to take over local elections boards and makes it a crime to approach voters in line to provide food and water.

KEMP: Well, it wasn't a voting rights bill, it was an election security bill that actually increases early voting opportunities on the weekend here in Georgia.

MURRAY (voice-over): The legislation doesn't include earlier efforts to get rid of no-excuse absentee voting and it allows expanded weekend early voting, but advocates say it is still riddled with restrictions that make it harder, particularly for minorities, to vote.

DONNA MCLEOD, (D) GEORGIA STATE HOUSE: This is despicable and disgusting and it creates more barriers to our voters so that they're not having access to the ballot box like they should and to actually say to people you can't give somebody food or water, that's just cruel and inhumane.

MURRAY (voice-over): It was a striking scene Thursday as Kemp huddled behind closed doors with a handful of white men to sign the bill.

MCLEOD: This Jim Crow 2.0 is represented in that picture. You see those men. There's no color in them. There's just pure white males trying to basically hold on to power with their life.

MURRAY (voice-over): Just outside Kemp's office, Park Cannon, a black state representative, was arrested and marched out of the Capitol by several police officers after she knocked on Kemp's door trying to gain access to the signing ceremony. Cannon now out of jail and facing two felony charges, which her allies say she intends to fight.

ERICA THOMAS, (D) GEORGIA STATE HOUSE: We are now is praying for her strength to get through this and we are definitely lawyered up to defend her in every way we know how.

MURRAY (voice-over): Georgia's law just one of hundreds of bills Republicans are pushing nationwide as they hold tight to baseless claims of fraud amid their 2020 electoral defeats. Even Kemp, who defended Georgia's election integrity last year, now appears to be buying into the big lie as he braces for a re-election fight in 2022.

KEMP: There is no doubt there were many alarming issues with how the election was handled and those problems understandably led to the crisis of confidence in the ballot box here in Georgia.

MURRAY (voice-over): Former President Trump meantime still parroting his fact-free claims.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES (voice-over): If you look at the last election, it was disgraceful. It was a third world election. It was a disgrace.

MURRAY (voice-over): As the fallout of the big lie spreads, "Fox News" facing a $1.6 billion defamation suit from Dominion Voting Systems for spreading lies that the machines were linked to election fraud.


STEPHEN SHACKELFORD, DOMINION LEGAL COUNSEL: "Fox" gave life to these lies. You know, "Fox" took this small flame and they turned it into a raging fire.

MURRAY (voice-over): This, as former Trump legal team member, Sidney Powell, defends herself in her own defamation suit from Dominion, claiming in a court filing that even though she spread voter fraud claims, no reasonable person would conclude that the statements were truly statements of fact.


MURRAY: And in a statement Friday night, Donald Trump congratulated the Georgia state legislature, saying in a statement, "They learned from the travesty of the 2020 presidential election which can never be allowed to happen again. Too bad these changes could not have been done sooner."

Meanwhile, there are three civil rights groups who are already challenging that new Georgia law in court. Sara Murray, CNN, Washington.

PAUL: Sara, thank you so much. Be sure to join us at 8:00 A.M. Eastern this morning. We're speaking with the president of the Atlanta chapter of the NAACP to get his thoughts on the Georgia voting bill. Richard Rose, he's with us in just a couple of hours from now.

BLACKWELL: The election law in Georgia and others pending in state legislatures across the country puts voting rights towards the front of an already packed list of legislative challenges for Congress. Let's go now to Capitol Hill and CNN's Daniella Diaz. Daniella, any action is going to have to wait because senators won't be in Washington for a while.

DANIELLA DIAZ, CNN REPORTER: Victor, the Senate is in recess for two weeks as this major issues are looming over the Senate right now, including this voting rights legislation that has stalled. This legislation, known as SB1, would directly counter any Republican-led efforts at the state level to restrict voter access, including this legislation that just passed in Georgia this week that you guys just talked about.

And this is a direct result of President Joe Biden winning the state in the 2020 election and President Donald Trump pushing these lies that the election was stolen from him and two Democratic senators winning these seats in January after a Senate runoff that were previously held by Republicans. Here's what one Democratic senator, Raphael Warnock, had to say about this issue this week.


SEN. RAPHAEL WARNOCK (D-GA): This is an interesting change and tune for the governor. He just said a couple years ago that everything was under control with our elections here in Georgia. Our own secretary of state said that the election that was held, this most recent election, was not rife with fraud as some have tried to suggest and so what's the purpose behind all of this?


DIAZ: So as you heard there from Raphael Warnock, this is an issue that he is confused about in the state, but Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has committed to making this issue a priority, this voting rights legislation that would counter Republican-led efforts at the state level, but, as we always run into when it comes to the Senate, there is not 60 votes to be able to pass this legislation in the Senate right now as it stands.

They need 60 votes to break this filibuster that we return to over again and again and Republicans have said that this legislation is a Democratic power grab which is why they won't get behind this legislation, but bottom line is what's happening at the state level will have a massive impact on elections going forward, which is why senate Democrats have made this a priority.

PAUL: Daniella Diaz, thank you so much. Appreciate the report. CNN political analyst Julian Zelizer with us now. He's a historian and professor at Princeton University, also the author of "Burning Down the House: Newt Gingrich, the Fall of a Speaker, and the Rise of the New Republican Party."

Julian, it's always good to see you. Thank you for being here. I want to jump off of something that she just had there from Representative Warnock now. We understand and you can see in the video, we know the governor and the secretary of state in Georgia both defended this election back in November and now we're hearing a very different story from Governor Kemp. Do you think he has a responsibility to publicly address this mind shift he's had?

JULIAN ZELIZER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, sure. He has a responsibility to address it, but he also has a responsibility to protect the vote and what's going on in Georgia and what's going on in several other Republican states right now is a dangerous rollback of voting rights and the governor has acknowledged at other points there is no problem with the election system and exposes what this is. This is actually a power grab by the GOP and the cost is our Democratic rights.

BLACKWELL: So, Julian, let's get a reminder here of what President- elect Biden said, what he promised back on November 7th, the night that the election was called for Biden and Harris.


BIDEN: The African American community stood up again for me. You always have my back and I'll have yours.



BLACKWELL: Listen, if you're going to call this the new Jim Crow and even say that the filibuster is a relic of the Jim Crow era, saying you're going to stand up for black Americans, you got to then do something about it, right? Simply lamenting and calling on the Senate to pass the House legislation -- what more can he do? Because we just watched the full press for the COVID relief bill. We know what the White House can do. What can he do and what's the -- how much is he willing to invest?

ZELIZER: Well, look, voting rights can be protected. In 1965, Lyndon Johnson and Congress passed the voting rights bill and right now, there's a new voting rights bill which has reached the Senate. The problem is the filibuster allows the Republicans to block it. So the most tangible step that the president could take is throw his support behind either filibuster reform or eliminating the filibuster and that would allow this bill to happen.

That, and using the Department of Justice to counteract the restrictions taking place in Georgia, but action is required, words are not enough.

PAUL: So talk to us about the filibuster, Julian, because we know the president has acknowledged there aren't enough votes, even within the Senate, for Democrats to change the filibuster rules, but I'm wondering if -- I know that you had noted that there are a few defenders of the practice that are outside the GOP. What is the primary opposition within the Democratic party to changes in the filibuster?

ZELIZER: Some of it, with Senator Manchin, for example, is this idea that without the filibuster, comedy will break down in the Senate and it will become a dysfunctional chamber. Some Democrats are scared that without a filibuster, when they're in the minority, Republicans will be allowed to do whatever they want.

But overall, most Democrats see the filibuster as a dysfunctional element of the Senate which now prevents deliberation and legislating and so I think other than a handful of Democrats, many are on board now with either reform or just eliminating this tradition altogether. BLACKWELL: Let me ask you about immigration. Republicans are clearly teeing that up as a top issue for 2022. Didn't work for them in 2018, but at that time, they were in control of both houses of Congress and the White House, so there was really no one to point to to say this person is responsible. What's the risk politically for Democrats for the surge that we're seeing at the border?

ZELIZER: Well, the risk is, on a moral level, that it's not handled well and it's a -- it's a problem for the nation if we are not humanitarian in dealing with this effort to seek asylum and, B, it's an issue Republicans can keep talking about, create a sense of disorder and crisis when the administration wants to be talking about its success with battling COVID and other kinds of measures.

So, it's something that Biden can't afford to ignore and nor can he afford to not be transparent about how he plans to move the border forward in a humanitarian fashion.

BLACKWELL: Julian Zelizer, always good to have you, sir. Thank you.

ZELIZER: Thank you.

PAUL: Thank you, Julian. So we have some breaking news to tell you about something that happened overnight. Two people are dead, eight are injured after multiple oceanfront shootings. This was in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

BLACKWELL: Yes. Eight people were hurt at the original crime scene. Police are calling the situation "chaotic." The injuries, we know they range from serious to life-threatening.

PAUL: A police officer, we understand, then shot and killed a man just blocks away from that original crime scene in a situation that police say was related to that original incident. Now, it's not clear if the man was responsible for injuring the eight victims, but we know an adult woman was then shot and killed in a third shooting in the area.

Police do not believe that it was related to the first two incidents, but a Virginia Beach police officer, we understand, was also hit by a car amid all the chaos. He was taken to the hospital. He is expected to survive.

So, the number of unaccompanied children in federal custody at the border is still climbing and I know these pictures, they're just so hard to really take in, aren't they? There are growing complaints about the conditions that migrants are being housed in and what the American people are actually -- what we're allowed to see.

BLACKWELL: And the U.S. is breaking daily coronavirus vaccination numbers, but -- records, I should say, but health officials, they say it's not time to relax on some of the restrictions. Concerns they have, we'll have those for you.

PAUL: So, on a lighter note, how's your bracket holding up? we're down to the Sweet 16 for the men's and women's basketball games. Starting this afternoon, we'll talk about it. Stay close. [06:15:02]


PAUL: So how many of your conversations lately start with, "Have you gotten your coronavirus shot yet?"


PAUL: COVID vaccines are being administered at a record pace here in the U.S.. They're inching closer to that goal of herd immunity and according to the White House COVID Response Team, more than 71 percent of the group most vulnerable to coronavirus, meaning people 65 and older, they've received at least one shot.

BLACKWELL: Yes. The director of the CDC, though, is still deeply concerned about trends in new cases and hospitalizations. The U.S. is still hovering about an average of 1,000 COVID deaths every day. CNN's Polo Sandoval joins us now from a mass vaccination site in New York. So the message from health experts is hold on a bit longer despite really some good news about the vaccine.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Victor and Christi, I think Dr. Anthony Fauci put it pretty well this week, saying that the U.S. is currently at the corner in terms of around (ph) the pandemic, though not necessarily turning it.


Hence, the recommendation obviously to continue to wear those masks, especially because of those variants and as you mentioned a little while ago, we're still losing people daily to the virus, but still we are also at a point where we can recognize this positive stream of data that's coming in, including this sharp increase in vaccinations that are being administered.


SANDOVAL (voice-over): By now, over 137 million COVID-19 vaccines have gone into arms, reports the CDC. That's a new record. With that, another promising stat from the White House Friday which shows vaccinations are being administered at a new seven-day average rate of about 2.6 million shots a day. It's the highest we've seen. The White House's COVID-19 coordinator says there's a case for optimism, but not for relaxation.

JEFF ZIENTS, WHITE HOUSE COVID-19 RESPONSE COORDINATOR: This is not the time to let down our guard. We need to follow the public health guidance. Wear a mask, socially distance and get a vaccine when it's your turn.

SANDOVAL (voice-over): About 27 percent of the country has done just that, receiving at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine so far. Nearly 15 percent of America's population is already fully vaccinated, a number likely to climb sharply as more states expand eligibility in the weeks ahead. As you can see, most of them have announced plans to make vaccinations available to everyone 16 and up no later than the beginning of May, North Carolina just one of the latest.

GOV. ROY COOPER (D-NC): So we feel pretty good that by April 7th and the predictions of the supplies that we're going to get before then that we'll be able to handle it and get people vaccinated. What I'm concerned about is when the demand falls below the supply and we're out working to try to get people vaccinated.

SANDOVAL (voice-over): Pfizer is setting sites on testing their vaccine's safety and efficacy on five- to 11-year-old children. Moderna continues similar trials in which two of this Arizona nurse's children are participating in.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In my eyes, I'm doing this because I love them, and I want them to be safe. I want them to be able to go back to normal and our kids to go back to normal at school.

SANDOVAL (voice-over): Pfizer aiming to make their vaccine available for 12- to 15-year-olds by this fall. That's when Atlanta's public- school system plans to return to in-person learning five days a week. The focus remains on vaccinating as many eligible people as possible with new case positivity rates in much of the country remaining stubbornly high.

Michigan seeing among the highest infection rates in the country after experiencing a reprieve and Vermont recorded 251 new infections yesterday, the highest single-day total in that state since the pandemic started.


SANDOVAL: By the way, you'll recall that last month, the World Health Organization announced that they'll be -- that they would be launching an investigation into trying to establish the actual origins or at least to learn a little bit more about the origins of this virus and discovered that it was much wider spread back in December of 2019 back in the Wuhan province than earlier expected.

We are told by the WHO that that investigation has actually been completed now, that they are in the process of translating hundreds of pages in that report, Victor, and we could expect that report to be released in the coming days which means we could at least have a better idea of exactly how and where this all started.

BLACKWELL: All right. Good to know. Polo Sandoval for us in New York. Thanks so much.

PAUL: Thanks, Polo. So, we are getting a new look at the conditions inside a crowded Border Patrol overflow facility in South Texas. Republican Senator James Lankford shared this video. Take a look at it here. This is following a trip to spotlight the surge of unaccompanied minors that are crossing the U.S.-Mexican border.

BLACKWELL: Yes. The video shows people crammed together on the floor inside these pods and covered with Mylar blankets at a facility in Donna, Texas. CNN's Rosa Flores has more on the long journey for some desperate families as officials work to alleviate overcrowding. (BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)


ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is what the Biden administration has not allowed America to see. To tell this story, we were escorted by Texas state troopers. Lines of migrants on Texas trails along the Rio Grande. Nancy is pregnant and cried describing her painful journey from Honduras. Ronnie says his family fled Honduras due to devastation from two recent hurricanes and under this bridge, even more lines of migrants, their silhouettes beyond the trees a sign America's immigration system is overwhelmed.

BIDEN: Please sit down. Thank you. Thank you.

FLORES (voice-over): During his first formal press conference, President Biden said ...

BIDEN: I will commit to transparency.

FLORES (voice-over): And while one pool news camera was allowed inside an HHS facility for unaccompanied migrant children this week, it was a sanitized version of reality, far removed from the bottleneck of this border processing facility. U.S. Customs and Border Protection releasing their own video this week.


CNN's repeated requests for access to immigration processing facilities have been denied. The day we captured this video, Texas state troopers were our guides.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As soon as they make landfall, that's considered the U.S. side for us.

GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R-TX): The cartels will ...

FLORES (voice-over): Sent here by Governor Greg Abbott earlier this month to thwart smugglers.

VICTOR ESCALON, DPS REGIONAL DIRECTOR: It's a way to suffocate and put a lot of pressure on the cartel.

FLORES (voice-over): Victor Escalon is the top cop in charge of what Abbott calls Operation Lone Star.

ESCALON: As Border Patrol gets tied up with processing migrants that come across, they'll leave miles, at times, open on the river.

FLORES: That's where Texas steps in, by water, air and by ground, says Escalon, to fill the gaps of security on the Rio Grande. According to state troopers, if you look closely in between those trees, you'll see a camp, some sort of staging area on the Mexican side. I'm on the U.S. side and this is one of the hot spots they described, an area, a trail that is used by migrants and you can clearly see the path.

The landscape is peppered with evidence that it is used by migrants. We see clothes, documents, masks.

FLORES (voice-over): All leading to these dirt trails with arrows pointing migrants to the immigration processing center under the bridge. Nancy says feeling hungry for two was the worst part of the journey. While most of the migrants I met said they made the trek to the U.S. because they were poor, this little girl was rich in faith, ending our conversation by saying thanks and God bless you.


BLACKWELL: All right. Rosa Flores, thank you for that report. The number of unaccompanied minors in federal custody multiplied this week according to the latest government numbers. There were about 18,000 minors in Border Patrol custody Thursday, up from more than 17,000 the day before. The Biden administration has struggled to move children away from the CBP facilities within the legal timeframe.

PAUL: So take a look at what's going on in the Colorado community. Vigils for the people who were killed in that mass shooting this week. There are questions about how the suspect passed a background check to buy that gun and also a motive is still in question. We'll talk about it. Stay close.



PAUL: Thirty one minutes past the hour. The man accused of killing ten people in a Colorado grocery store shooting could face more attempt murder charges. Yesterday, the local prosecutor shared more details about the intense face-off that happened as police teams arrived on scene Monday.


MICHAEL DOUGHERTY, BOULDER COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Immediately after responding, they charged into the store. Their actions saved others, other civilians from being killed. They charged into the store and immediately faced a very significant amount of gunfire from the shooter who at first they were unable to locate, and they put their lives at risk. And that will be reflected in additional attempted murder charges that will be filed by the district attorney's office the next couple of weeks.


PAUL: So the suspect is already charged with ten counts of murder in the first degree. One charge of attempted murder. He made his first court appearance on Thursday. You see him there. CNN legal analyst Joey Jackson with us now. Joey, I think what shocks a lot of people is to hear that this suspect passed a background check. And we had a law enforcement source on CNN earlier this week saying nothing in the federal system would have prevented him from passing that check and buying that gun. And then we have his brother who told CNN that he actually suffered from some sort of mental illness. What does this say to you about the already established laws? JOEY JACKSON, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes, Christi, good morning to

you. I mean, it certainly says that we need an overhaul and we certainly need to look more critically at what's happening at the federal level and the state level. You know, we've played through this process again and again and again, and it makes me wonder what it's going to take. I get, recognize and understand that we have strong constitutional rights in this country. We really should. We have a bill of rights, certainly the Second Amendment as it relates to gun ownership is very important in that bill of rights process.

But that doesn't mean that common sense gun reform, right, shouldn't be on the table and shouldn't be passed at the federal and state level. How is it that you have any criminal record whether you wanted to distinguish between a misdemeanor or a felony that would entitle you to have a gun? How is it that you can have lax gun laws where you can purchase a gun more quickly than clothing or other items? And so, it says to me that, you know, we always say, Christi, the time is now. We always talk about thoughts, prayers, and everything else, but for the people who were shopping that day who left their families for a brief moment, I'm certain that they thought they would come home. They did not. And so, I think it really is the time to take a look and assess and scrutinize and evaluate, and to see what we can do better as a society to protect each other.

PAUL: Yes, Boulder police say they haven't deciphered a motive yet. Does a motive matter at this point, Joey?

JACKSON: So, it really doesn't. I mean, when you're talking about any type of criminal prosecution, certainly, inquiring minds always want to know. With any event, you go to a jury, right? Jurors want to know. What was it that went into this process? Did you have an axe to grind? Why this particular location? Was there some, you know, beef or some other issues that you had here or elsewhere? So, certainly, you know, it's human nature, of course, to want to know motive, to want to try to piece together why and how could you do this, right?


But at the end of the day, a motive with respect to a criminal prosecution is not relevant. What's relevant is that you engaged in this conduct. You had a vest on. You premeditated your actions. You purchased a gun, you got to that location and you did what you did. Certainly, we know the defense seemingly setting up some type of insanity plea by speaking up and making that issue, his mental state at the end of the day, let's be mindful of the fact that, you know what? He certainly had the mental state to take all those steps, and then to take the things off to potentially evade detection, I don't know if that hunts -- final point is that, we should be mindful that Colorado does not at this point have the death penalty either. So that's off the table.

PAUL: OK, good to know. I want to move on to the Derek Chauvin trial here. Full jury seated now for this murder trial of the former Minneapolis police officer. Chauvin is facing two counts of murder and a manslaughter charge related to the death of George Floyd in the Summer of 2020. He's facing up to 75 years in prison, and if he's convicted on all of those -- that, if he's convicted on all of those counts. So, we know opening statements begin on Monday, Joey, and we know that the judge has allowed body cam footage of George Floyd being arrested back in 2019. How do you think that video will be used from both sides?

JACKSON: So, I think the prosecution is going to tell that jury to keep their eye on the prize. Remember that we're going to start -- any case starts with opening statements. Prosecution goes first because they have the burden of proof. The burden to establish that any one of the three counts that you mentioned, Christi, right, would get and net a conviction here. How? The prosecution will remind the jury that it's about causation, don't, right, believe your lying eyes, will say the defense. No, it's about the kneeling on the neck and that would cause it. The prosecution certainly will pivot to the issue of saying there were other reasonable alternatives in which George Floyd could have been and should have been detained, and they did not any of which need to lead to his death.

And then finally, the prosecution, we know, will humanize and really allow and demonstrate to that jury that George Floyd is the victim. The defense on their part, of course, will attack the issue of causation, attempt to demonstrate that there are other things and substances that could have been in George Floyd's body. He had pre- existing conditions. That would be the battle with respect to use of force, they will indicate that an officer has a right to go home at the end of the day. If you allow George Floyd to be up, he could have been non-compliant -- and oh, by the way, you know what? There could have been victims of law enforcement. So, you're going to see that battle.

But finally, as it relates to your question, I think the defense will try to use that, you know, prior issue, you know, really advantageously, as well as the prosecution, right? You could say to the prosecution that listen, at the end of the day, George Floyd, right, didn't need to die because we know in the other circumstance, that the other conviction or certainly the other thing that happened at the back of the car should say that was dismissed, that case. You know what? He was alive, nothing ended up happening to him, and at the end of the day, it's about the facts in front of the court room, nothing more, nothing less. And that will be the battle that we see play out before us in the weeks and you know, potentially a month or more ahead.

PAUL: Yes, Joey, I'm sorry we ran out of time, I wanted to ask you about the jury, but we'll get to that next time because we will be talking about this certainly next week. Joey Jackson, thank you for waking up for us early. We always appreciate your expertise.

JACKSON: Thank you, Christi.

BLACKWELL: Brazil's hospital system could soon collapse. It's facing another wave of coronavirus infections. This time, it's not about medicine. There are too few supplies to help every patient who needs care.


BLACKWELL: The coronavirus hitting Brazil, it's so hard right now, its health care system is in danger of collapsing under the weight of the surging infections.

PAUL: Yes, the numbers are so troubling they underscore the worsening crisis there. So, just yesterday, Brazil added more than 3,000 COVID- related deaths for the second time in a week, and almost every ICU bed is full. So CNN's Matt Rivers is reporting doctors in Brazil are being forced to make that unimaginable decision of who to save and who to let die.

MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we have been on the ground here in Brazil, reporting on this latest COVID-19 crisis for more than two weeks now, and what we have seen consistently are signs of collapse at just about every single level of the Brazilian health care system.


RIVERS (voice-over): When the system collapses, it starts here, paramedics rushing to respond to seemingly unending cries for help. This time, it's a grandmother, short of breath. Another COVID case, limping toward a hospital system that cannot handle more patients.

(on camera): So, it's easy to spot ambulances like this one racing all over the city going on call after call after call. And in some cases, going to multiple hospitals before they actually find one that can admit the patients that they have in the back.

(voice-over): Here, a dozen ambulances with patients wait outside a Sao Paulo hospital, hoping a spot opens up inside. These days though, getting inside might not help. The person who gave CNN this footage from another Sao Paulo hospital, told us it feels like a war zone, the rampant viral spread its own mass casualty event. And across the country, a lack of medical supplies is crippling the ability to care for patients.


In this footage given to us from Brazil's federal district, a nurse says this oxygen tube is leaking, taped to a wall, they're strung up all over the hospital this way. In some places draped between windows. It's the only way to get the limited oxygen they have from its source to the patient. Overflowing rooms are the norm in Brazil now. This Sao Paulo hospital was designated this week as a COVID-only facility, but it's plain to see as we walk through, and it's filled beyond capacity, unable to accept any new patients.

(on camera): This facility is designed for 16 patients. There's roughly double that number inside there right now.

(voice-over): Crowded ICUs across the country have created impossible choices. This nurse who fears he could lose his job for speaking with us, says one older patient this week was the victim of a zero-sum game, his life for another.

(on camera): Did you even think that, that was possible?

(voice-over): The nurse says that the patient wasn't getting better, so we exacerbated him and gave his ventilator to a younger patient with a better chance to live. And for those watching this all up close, like paramedics Luis Eduardo Pimentel, the healthcare collapse is unbelievably painful.

I'm sorry, I'm sorry, he says, crying. There is this cycle, taking a patient to the hospital, then the hearse arriving to get another body, it just hurts too much. This video given to CNN from inside a city morgue shows coffins, bodies inside waiting to be cremated. There are so many, demand is roughly triple what they can handle in a single day, so the coffins are stacked waiting their turn. So many people have died in Sao Paulo. Recently, this week, there has been burials every few minutes, enough that they can't get them all done during the day. Cemeteries now busy even at night.

(on camera): And consider this, just over the past two weeks or so, of all the coronavirus deaths reported around the world, roughly a quarter of them have come just from here in Brazil alone. And I've spoken to several epidemiologists who fear that we are not yet at the peak in this country especially when you consider that hundreds of thousands of new coronavirus cases have been recorded here in Brazil over just the last seven days. Matt Rivers, CNN, Sao Paulo, Brazil.


PAUL: Matt, thank you for that report there. We're also following a developing story out of Myanmar where "Reuters" reports at least 50 people were killed when security forces opened fire on a crowd of pro- democracy protesters in several parts of the country. Now, this is part of a brutal crackdown on dissent following a military coup that's removed the country's elected leader that happened back in early February. Activists there say nearly 400 people have been killed since the protests began then.

BLACKWELL: Sister Jean, remember sister Jean? I know she's more than a nun and a hoopid, even at 101 years old, what Loyola's team chaplain says she's learned over the past year.



PAUL: So, the NCAA spent millions more on the most recent men's March Madness tournament than it did for the women.

BLACKWELL: Let's bring in Coy Wire now. Coy, I wonder if people are really surprised considering the disparities we saw between the men's workout facilities and the women's workout facilities in Texas.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Right, and that's where this all started, right, Victor, good morning to you and Christi. The NCAA says it does want to address the issues so that it doesn't fall short again. Documents obtained by CNN show that in 2019, in the last year, the tournaments were played. The NCAA spent $28 million on men's March Madness, almost double the $14.5 million spent on the women's tournament. But the men's tournament generated a net income of more than $860 million that year while the women's tournament lost $2.8 million, the biggest deficit of any NCAA championship. In a statement, the NCAA's CFO said in part, quote, "the difference in the budget is because of the scale of the two tournaments and the nuances in the delivery which tend to be committee decisions", end quote.

On Thursday, the NCAA hired a private law firm to review gender equity across all sports, initial findings could come as soon as next month. Now, in the men's tournament, Loyola Chicago is hoping to make another magical final four run, playing Oregon state in the sweet 16 this afternoon. And 101-year-old sister Jean will be there cheering them on. She is one of the most inspiring people I've ever met. Born in 1919, she's been through two pandemics now. I caught up with her ahead of the game and asked her as a faith icon, to give us her perspective about this challenging past year.


JEAN DOLORES SCHMIDT, CHAPLAIN FOR LOYOLA RAMBLERS MEN'S BASKETBALL TEAM, LOYOLA UNIVERSITY: As long as I'm making people happy, that's fine with me, and we need happiness at this time. Because everybody has been locked down or has had some kind of an experience with COVID. So, this is very healthy now for people to sit and watch basketball games, some have never watched before. And now they're watching, or they go back to church whenever. And it just gives me a thrill that they do that.

WIRE: We have been through such a challenging past year, you know, the pandemic and beyond. What's been your message to people during these difficult times?

SCHMIDT: I tell them, first of all that we have to be positive in all that's going on. And I believe, I firmly believe that good is going to come out of it.


And I always -- I also witness it now. I know that we're going to be nicer to people, nicer to each other, more tolerant, more patient. We've already talked to people we've never talked to before. That's what's happening in the neighborhoods. People are doing wonderful things by providing food or clothes or whatever their neighbors need. Perhaps they've never talked to them before. But now, they are, and this is wonderful. And the same way, regarding, do something about racism which we need to do. Everybody recognizes that. But it's going to take us time, we just can't plunge into it artificially. We have to take time and do it the right way.


WIRE: An angel right here on earth. Loyola-Chicago, her team tips off with Oregon State at 2:40 Eastern, I asked her, her secret to a long, happy life -- "eat well, sleep well and pray well." PAUL: Oh, I like that, I will take that home with me. Coy Wire, thank

you so much.

BLACKWELL: Thanks, Coy --

WIRE: You got it --

PAUL: We'll be right back.