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New Day Sunday

Trump: I'm Doing Well, I Think I'll Be Back Soon, Next Few Days Will Be The Real Test; Trump's Personal Assistant Tests Positive For COVID-19; Biden And Harris Move Forward With In-Person Campaigning; White House Chief Of Staff: Trump's Blood Oxygen Level "Dropped Rapidly" Friday Morning; At Least 21 States Now Reporting More New Cases Than They Did A Week Ago. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired October 04, 2020 - 07:00   ET




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't tell you with any degree of confidence what the situation is with our president.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's not out of the woods. The next 48 hours or so, with the history of this virus, we know, can be tough.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm starting to feel good. You don't know over the next period of a few days, I guess that's the real test.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They threw the kitchen sink at the president at the very beginning of his illness. Either the president was extraordinarily ill, or his team was extraordinarily panicked.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His response has been homicidal negligence. He has failed to protect the American people.


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

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: The view of the White House. The president is not there. He is at Walter Reed.

The president says he feels better. That's where he is. The chief of staff says there are still a few days that are crucial in his recovery. Mark Meadows says that president is not out of the woods yet.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: And the timeline of his illness is what's muddled here. The president's doctor hasn't answered basic questions, such as when the president last tested negative for the virus.

Now, overnight, a presidential aide who works closely with the president also tested positive for the virus.

Our reporters and correspondents are standing by to bring you the latest information.

We want to start with Joe Johns, who's live at Walter Reed Medical Center.

So, Joe, any more clarity this morning as to the president's condition?

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, as much as there could be, perhaps. They say eight to ten days is going to be the real test. But the question today is whether we are going to see some more clarity and less confusion about the president's condition. We did get that update from the doctor, saying he's doing well but not out of the woods yet, as you mentioned.

The last person we had speaking, talking about the president's conditions, answering questions, was the chief of staff, Mark Meadows, who was on another network last night. Listen.


MARK MEADOWS, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: The doctor is exactly right. He is doing extremely well. In fact, I'm -- I'm very, very optimistic based on the current results. And as the doctor said, he's not out of the woods the next 48 hours or so. With the history of this virus, we know, can be tough.

But he has made unbelievable improvements from yesterday morning when I know a number of us, the doctor and I, were very concerned.


JOHNS: So what does that mean, substantial progress? Well, he got his second dose of Remdesivir without complication, Dr. Sean Conley says. Also his oxygen levels, his blood oxygen levels at 96 to 98 percent, that's considered to be pretty good.

He hasn't had to have oxygen of late. That also is a very good sign.

There are still a lot of unknowns, including what about a CT scan of his chest in order to determine whether or not the president has started showing signs of pneumonia? So these kinds of things are still out there for us to hear.

The president, for his part, actually put out a video on Twitter just last night. And there are some pictures as well of the president working in the presidential suite over here at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. The president himself cautiously optimistic, but realistic just the same.



TRUMP: I'm starting to feel good. You don't know over the next period of a few days, I guess that's the real test. If you look at the therapeutics, which I'm taking right now, some of them, and others are coming out soon that are looking like, frankly, they're miracles if you want to know the truth. They're miracles.

People criticize me when I say that. We have things happening that look like they're miracles, coming down from God.


JOHNS: What has been concerning is the contradictory messages that have been coming out about the president's condition. You can sort of chalk that up to the tug of war, if you will, between the president's physician, the physician confidentiality relationship with the patient and what the president wants versus what the public needs to know.

Also, our Kevin Liptak reports that the president has been critiquing some of the coverage, is agitated about what he sees as exaggerated coverage, and got particularly upset at a quote that was later attributed to the White House chief of staff talking about concerning symptoms.


So we'll be following all of that today. Back to you.

BLACKWELL: Joe Johns for us outside Walter Reed. Joe, thanks you so much.

Let's go now to Kevin Liptak. He's at the White House.

Kevin, you know, we heard from Joe, the medical element of this and the president's health. There's the political side as well that is the White House is struggling to manage and has really flipped the 30 days until the election on its head.

KEVIN LIPTAK, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yeah, and the president certainly seems very mindful in how this is all playing out in the public. As Joe said, he has grown concerned about some of the coverage that he has seen that portrays his condition as being as what he thinks is exaggerated and certainly wasn't thrilled to see that quote from an official saying that his symptoms on Friday were concerning.

You saw this play out on Friday at the White House when his aides had to convince him to go to Walter Reed, telling him it would be prudent for him to get up there before his condition could deteriorate, potentially deteriorate, and telling him it would be wise for him to go while he could still walk out to the helicopter on his own and sort of show the American people that he was still okay.

And you saw the president refer to the campaign in that video that Joe played, saying essentially that he is eager to get back out on the campaign trail and finish the campaign that he started. Of course, the president taped that video at the very moment he was once supposed to be campaigning in Wisconsin. Those events canceled for yesterday. Campaign swing on the West, in the West also canceled.

The president's campaign is also confronting this virus. Bill Stepien, the campaign manager, has tested positive for coronavirus. He's telling his people that his symptoms are mild, but he's working from home.

In a series of phone calls yesterday, Vice President Mike Pence, Lara, Trump and the president's son, Eric Trump, also sought to project this image of resolve going forward. They're launching what they call operation MAGA, sending surrogates out on the campaign trail in person.

The vice president will resume campaigning in person after the vice presidential debate on Wednesday.

Of course, this is also affecting the Biden campaign as well, as he goes out in the country, he's being tested before each event. His campaign says they will release the results of each of his tests going forward.

BLACKWELL: Kevin Liptak, thanks so much.

Three Republican senators have tested positive for coronavirus in a little more than 24 hours. We'll see what this means for the confirmation hearings of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.

PAUL: Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin announced he tested positive after being exposed to someone with the virus, but he says he was not at the Rose Garden event that may have started a good chunk of this outbreak. Now, Senators Mike Lee and Thom Tillis were there. They've all tested positive.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham needs to have nine total members of the committee present I should say to officially consider the nomination. Mitch McConnell sent an email Saturday, asking all GOP senators to be back on the Hill by October 19th. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called the move, quote, reckless and dangerous.

BLACKWELL: Thirty days, as we said, until election. How will the president's diagnosis and his hospitalization impact the campaign, how voters feel about that confirmation?

Let's bring in CNN political analyst Margaret Talev. She is with us this morning.

Good morning, Margaret.


BLACKWELL: So, let's start right there with Amy Coney Barrett and the timeline set out by Mitch McConnell. Any indication that the diagnoses of Ron Johnson, who's not on Senate Judiciary Committee, but Thom Tillis and Mike Lee, who are, will derail, delay this at all?

TALEV: Well, Victor, the Democrats see a window now that they didn't see. It's not clear how big this window is. Mitch McConnell and Republicans on Judiciary Committee have made clear they intend for this to go forward and they would like the press ahead on schedule and they think they can do it.

But it really comes down to, does anybody else get sick? Is there anything that prevents these hearings from going forward? And so, I think while it's not clear that this would be derailed and while Republicans are signaling they certainly intend it to go forward, Democrats had no real way to slow this a couple of days ago. And not just the president's illness but the spillover effect it's obviously having on now several members of the Senate, of Republican senators, creates a question mark where there wasn't one before.

BLACKWELL: Let's finish with Senate business before we move to the president. The president tweeted out the only message we've seen from him not dealing with his diagnosis, our great USA wants and needs stimulus. Work together and get it done. Democrats passed it in the House.


Any more likely that this is going to get a vote from Mitch McConnell, considering he's already got this truncated period and is focused on getting a justice on the court?

TALEV: No. I think it's more difficult. Everybody knows that. It's very frustrating for members, frankly, from both parties who want it. It's very frustrating for sections of the American economy who need it.

BLACKWELL: All right. So let's turn now to the debate. Three days away from the vice presidential debate. I imagine that Vice President Pence has an especially difficult argument to make now about trying to convey the command of the handling of the virus with this spreading of the virus at the White House, with the Rose Garden event.

He was right in front of Mike Lee, who was positive. No masks. He's not quarantining. And he is the chair. He is heading up White House coronavirus task force.

Just detail how much is on the line on Wednesday?

TALEV: I mean, a tremendous amount for a number of reasons. One, everything you just stated. But number two, the stakes for this vice presidential debate just got a lot more important. The sitting president, the other half of the ticket, is in the hospital.

And so, it reminds you of why the running mate and the vice presidential ticket is so important. They have to be there, ready to step in, ready to assume the presidency, if necessary.

We also understand that it's possible that this could be the last debate. I mean, there are two more presidential debates scheduled but the president is in the hospital. Third of all, precisely what you said, that Pence has to juggle the task force and help the president, keep the campaign and government running while he's trying to prepare for the debate.

So, a lot more juggling. The messaging will be much more difficult. And Harris now has to turn her attacks to the administration and how policies have been managed because the Biden campaign has made clear they don't want to go after Trump personally at this moment while he's in the hospital.

And so, all the accomplishments of the administration, including everything that Pence has been in charge of running will be on line the line.

BLACKWELL: Yeah. Speaking of the debates, I was up last night watching the Jamie Harrison/Lindsey Graham in South Carolina. Tell you about my Saturday nights.



BLACKWELL: And I wonder, if there's any indication of the president's diagnosis, first lady's as well and all of those in and around the White House and the hospitalization, if there's evidence that there will be down ballot implications, not just for those like Thom Tillis who is behind in North Carolina or in a tight race optimistically for him, but for Republicans across the board?

TALEV: Yeah. I mean, this is certainly something the Republican operatives are very worried about. They're much more concerned about it since the president became hospitalized for a couple of reasons. One is that the president himself, when he attends these rallies in key swing states can motivate the base turnout and that has positive implications down the ballot.

But the other is that there's potential that this could shake faith by some Republican voters and by undecided independents, that it could be just enough to make a difference in some of these races. Democrats need -- would like to win four races to be totally in control of the Senate but need three if Biden and Harris are elected. So, Republicans are now scrambling to preserve three streets.

And we already know precarious conditions in Colorado, Maine and Arizona ,but now any other vulnerable state. We're seeing Georgia now a vulnerable state. You know, Iowa, toss-up according to the strategists that we've talked to.

So, now, many more states on the board, and that's just problematic. And then when you see the visuals of someone like Jamie Harris, large human-sized plexiglass shield separating him and the candidate, it's just a reminder that these last weeks are going to come down in every race now to whether the Republican Party can keep any Americans safe, and that's not where any of these senators, incumbents running for reelection wanted to be just four weeks out.

BLACKWELL: Yeah, and we still have plenty of time for more October surprises.

Margaret Talev, thanks so much for being with us this morning.

TALEV: Thanks, Victor.

PAUL: So, ahead this hour, Grammy winning singer and former U.S. ambassador for health, Dionne Warwick, talking about her involvement in today's COVID remembrance day, honoring the lives of people who have died in this outbreak.



BLACKWELL: Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has checked himself into a hospital. Yesterday he had tweeted that he tested positive for coronavirus. He's now one of just about 15 White House related coronavirus cases. You see ten of them on your screen, then three White House reporters, an aide for the president, the latest. Also, a worker in the press office.

Many of these people attended that likely supervisor spreader event. The president's announcement to the court was in the Rose Garden last weekend, and several more were part of the White House debate prep where Christie says masks were optional.


CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), FORMER NEW JERSEY GOVERNOR: No one was wearing masks in the room when we were prepping the president during that period of time, and we were -- the group was five or six people in total.


PAUL: There are concerns for him as well. We'll keep you posted on that.

But I want to bring in emergency room physician and CNN Medical Analyst, Dr. Leana Wen.

Dr. Wen, thank you so much for being with us.

I want to get your most recent article in "The Washington Post", because we saw from you I think some very raw frustration that I haven't seen quite as deliberate as perhaps we saw here in the last 24 hours since you posted that.


You wrote Saturday's briefing by President Trump's medical team was a deliberate exercise in obfuscation, insulting to the public and unbefitting the seriousness of the moment.

Help us understand what you were feeling as you watched that.

DR. LEANA WEN, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Well, there were so many unanswered questions in a way that it makes the sensation far more confusing and really this is a distressing time for the American people. There were key pieces of information that were missing. Every medical student, every nursing student knows that you cannot describe a patient's condition without beginning with their vital signs.

Yet that was something that was even confusing. We never heard the vital signs. We got mixed messaging on whether the president was on oxygen or needed oxygen. They mentioned he was fever free but didn't mention if he was on fever reducing medications that lower his fever.

And then diagnostic tests like looking at kidney function or liver function, but this is a respiratory disease. Presumably the president had some kind of respiratory involvement because he had a cough, congestion and as we later low oxygen saturation as well.

But we never heard about a chest X-ray. It is not possible that the president of the United States did not get lung imaging when he had respiratory symptoms and a respiratory illness. And so, when we get information like that, where it looks like there's cherry picking of certain data to paint a certain picture, then we worry about what's being left out and why we're not being told the truth.

PAUL: So, Conley did say he was extremely happy about the process that the president's made, but he warned of an inflammatory phase that sets in seven to ten days in, based on what we know about this virus.

So, if he's on day four now, what would be done at this point, as you head into that inflammatory phase? And how dangerous is that phase?

WEN: Yeah. So this is a very important point, Christi. There is -- this is a very tricky virus. Some patients end up doing just fine and they don't necessarily have a worsening of their condition over time. Others may seem to be doing okay initially. In fact, many of these patients may get discharged from the hospital. But then they go home and may return because they worsen over time.

Actually, the median time from when somebody first starts getting symptoms to when they may need ICU care is 10 to 12 days. So, we should be relieved that the president is doing well for now, if that's indeed the case, but we should not be breathing a sigh of relief quite yet because there's still some time to come.

But there's another point. We don't actually know what is the course of the president's illness, because we don't know when he last tested negative, which is important, because if he were actually getting daily tests and say he tested negative on Wednesday and a positive test on Thursday, we should be alarmed by how quickly the president is progressing, how quickly his symptoms are developing.

But if he, in fact, had a negative test much earlier and positive tests perhaps even earlier, too, then that course of the illness makes more sense. It's important for to us know for his condition and also for the purposes of contact tracing to safeguard the health of others around him, too. And not only his senior staff, but also the wait staff, the secret service agents, the people who attended his rallies, those people matter, too.

PAUL: Exactly. I want to take the Rose Garden event that happened last weekend, but this has been a real point of contention for people who have looked at how closely some of the people who, all the people in red there have been diagnosed as positive. And then you've got Mike Pence there in the yellow right now.

As we look ahead, he has a debate coming up on Wednesday of this week. And I'm wondering if you could chime in, would you advise him otherwise? Do you think that he should be debating on Wednesday, because he was so close in proximity to so many people who have now tested positive?

WEN: Vice President Pence should be in quarantine. He should not be around anyone at all, much less traveling anywhere at the moment. He has high-level exposure that close contact is defined as six feet apart for at least 15 minutes.

It looks like he meets those criteria just by that one photo alone. Much less we should mention the Rose Garden ceremony wasn't just the ceremony outside. There was also a private indoor event as well where I would assume close contact occurred as well and these are also individuals that are not only not wearing masks, but are shaking hands.


They might be hugging, kissing, and engaging in other dangerous behavior as well. Vice President Pence shouldn't go anywhere.

PAUL: The other meeting that you talked about, the other event afterwards, the reception in the diplomatic room, inside event. You're absolutely right to point out, this is not just those people.

You've got wait staff, you've got people working at the White House. You've got Secret Service. They all need to be wholly informed of what's happening there.

Dr. Leana Wen, we thank you so much. Always appreciate your expertise.

BLACKWELL: So, a lot of what's happened over the last 24 hours is a first for this country but some of it is not. We'll go over the lessons from history as well as the need for transparency in a moment like this. We'll do that next.


PAUL: Twenty-nine minutes past the hour.

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are getting back to in-person complaining this week. They'll be in Florida on Monday, Arizona on Thursday and back to Michigan on Friday.

BLACKWELL: So, Biden is ramping up his testing. He'll release the results of each one as well.

And CNN's political correspondent Arlette Saenz has more for us.


PAUL: Twenty-nine minutes past the hour.


Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are getting back to in-person complaining this week. They'll be in Florida on Monday, Arizona on Thursday and back to Michigan on Friday.

BLACKWELL: So, Biden is ramping up his testing. He'll release the results of each one as well.

And CNN's Political Correspondent, Arlette Saenz has more for us.


ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Joe Biden is moving forward with his in-person campaigning and officials say will be tested more regularly for coronavirus. This follows the news that President Trump tested positive for coronavirus as well as several other people in his orbit. Now, the Biden campaign says that they will release the results of the tests each time he is tested. Biden last received his last negative test results on Friday and told reporters while he wasn't tested on Saturday, he will be tested for coronavirus on Sunday morning.

Now, the Biden campaign has always adhered to social distancing and safety standards at his campaign events. Officials believe that the way they've structured these events have promoted health and safety not just for their candidates but also those involved in the events and for the general public. Biden is always wearing a mask when he is at these events and they have people at social distances from each other and him, and those are protocols that they plan to move forward with as he continues to campaign in person.

On Monday, Biden is heading to south Florida and on Thursday, he will travel to Arizona. His first visit to the battleground state and his running mate, Kamala Harris, will also be joining him.

Kamala Harris is set to face off against Vice President Mike Pence in their first debate on Wednesday. And we're learning there have been some changes to the way that debate will play out. The two candidates will be seated down for that debate.

And originally, they were only slated to be seated seven feet apart. They will now be 12 feet apart from each other as this debate plays out. We also learned that masks will be required for everyone in that debate hall except for the two candidates and the moderators. This follows Tuesday night's presidential debate when many in the audience on the Trump side were not wearing masks.

But going forward, anyone who was in that debate hall must wear a mask, and if they fail to do so they will be asked to leave, just within of the many changes occurring in this campaign due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Arlette Saenz, CNN, Wilmington, Delaware.


BLACKWELL: Let's bring in now, CNN presidential historian and former director of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library, Tim Naftali.

Tim, good morning to you. I want to start out here so we don't run out of time for this.

I've talked about this from medical perspective with Dr. Caddo (ph) on the first hour, national security perspective with Juliette Kayyem in the second hour. I want yours from historical and political perspective.

Mike Pence, the vice president, while the president is in the hospital and will be for days, is going to continue on with campaigning. On Thursday, he's going to be in front of a non-socially distant crowd. He is also the chair of the White House coronavirus task force, standing in front of a violation of the guidelines he's espousing.

What's your view on how the White House is handling their use of the vice president, at least over the next several days?

TIM NAFTALI, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Under the 25th Amendment of the Constitution, should -- and we don't want this to happen, of course. Should the president become disabled, unable to fulfill his duties, it is the vice president to whom the powers of the presidency would pass. It is highly irresponsible that at this point, at this moment, with the president in the hospital, with a pandemic swirling around this country and having already attacked the White House for the vice president to take any risks at all.

I'm not suggesting what he should do, but it seems to me that at the very least, he should not only follow protocols, but he should encourage the protocols that the CDC has set out for this country. In addition, I think it is highly irresponsible that the vice presidential debate should have an audience at all. I do not understand why anyone needs to be in the hall other than the two candidates and the moderator.

Indeed, at this moment, it would be more responsible for this debate to be virtual. I do not understand why we should be taking any risk at all with the health of the vice president.

BLACKWELL: The vice president, for months, has been pushing the CDC guidelines. If you're in close contact with someone who is confirmed COVID-19 positive at six feet, 15 minutes or more, you should quarantine to 10 to 14 days. He was sitting right in front of Mike Lee, fewer than six feet for that period.

He will be back on that stage on Wednesday, back on the campaign trail on Thursday and facing maybe thousands of people, many without masks, shoulder to shoulder, and trying to sell on Wednesday night that this administration has a command of the pandemic.

Let me move on to another element you just wrote in your latest piece for "Foreign Policy" magazine about transparency. I want to set this up with what we heard from the White House physician, Dr. Sean Conley, when asked about supplemental oxygen for the president.


Here is his cagey, coy answer.


REPORTER: Has he ever been on supplemental oxygen?

DR. SEAN CONLEY, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S PHYSICIAN: Right now, he is not on oxygen.

REPORTER: You keep saying right now. Should we read into the fact that he had it previously?

CONLEY: Yesterday and today, he was not on oxygen.

REPORTER: He has not been on it during his COVID treatment?

CONLEY: He is not on oxygen right now.


BLACKWELL: So, you wrote any attempt to spin the truth now will only increase the likelihood that good news about the president's recovery won't be believed later.

What's the impact of what we saw from the doctors yesterday?

NAFTALI: Victor, I wrote that before Dr. Conley's press conference. It was my great fear that we would see what ultimately happened yesterday, given the history of misinformation and incomplete information from White House physicians when the president is ill.

Dr. Conley botched that press conference. I fear that Dr. Conley was ordered to be incomplete in his responses. There was nothing that would hurt this country in terms of national security or political stability to admit that the president needed oxygen. I don't understand why that admission was so difficult.

How are we truly going to embrace news of the president's recovery -- in other words, truly believe it, if we're not being told about the nature of how he felt, truly, as he entered Walter Reed?

I don't understand why this is seen to be a threat to national security. I will tell you that it is traditional for White House doctors not to farce, and to be incomplete, and sometimes deceptive in the way in which they chief executive's health. That's a bad tradition in our history. It never serves us well. The American people not only deserve the truth, they know how to deal with it, especially in a public health emergency.

When presidents are affected by infectious diseases, it is a public health requirement that the White House be honest about the nature of the disease, the extent to which it's easily communicable and that Americans take heed that they should be more careful in their daily lives.

BLACKWELL: Tim Naftali, always good to have your insight. Thank you so much.

NAFTALI: Thank you, Victor. PAUL: Still to come in nearly two dozen states, officials are

recording troubling COVID-19 milestones. We're looking at the implications for the states that are trending upward now.


CHRIS ROCK, COMEDIAN: Before we even get started, let's say the elephant in the room. President Trump is in the hospital from COVID and I just want to say my heart goes out to COVID. This is a special show.

This show is quite different than every other show. There are so many protocols that -- everybody in this audience has been checked and all week I've had things going up my nose. Every day I come in here. Haven't had so much stuff up my nose since I shared a dressing room with Chris Farley.




PAUL: We have troubling increase in COVID-19 cases across the country right now. At least 21 states have seen the number of their infections rise, compared with last week, and only three states are reporting decreases.

BLACKWELL: So, CNN correspondent Polo Sandoval. He's in New York, one of the states seeing a slight spike right now.

And the daily cases are far too high, as we understand from experts, if this country wants to avoid this surge expected over the fall and winter.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Victor, the specific number from health officials is about 42,000 new COVID infections a day. According to health officials, it's simply too high at this point especially if we want to avoid that expected spike in the coming weeks as it gets colder and people head inside.


SANDOVAL (voice-over): As CNN analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University shows only three U.S. states are reporting a decline compared to last week. As of Saturday, new cases were down in Texas, Missouri and South Carolina, while 21 states reported a rise in cases and a little more than half held steady compared with the week before.

Researchers at the University of Washington are now predicting as many as 2,900 deaths a day in December.

DR. CHRIS MURRAY, DIRECTOR, INSTITUTE FOR HEALTH METRICS & EVALUATION, UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON: The reason we think that's going to happen is the combination of people, you know, taking their foot off the break and starting to mingle more, being less careful and then, most importantly, seasonality.

SANDOVAL: Wisconsin reported a record number of 2,892 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, including 19 deaths.

Governor Tony Evers said on social media, the surge you're seeing across the state were not an indication that masks don't work. Meantime, California has now past 16,000 deaths. In Illinois, the state reported nearly 2,500 new cases in 24 hours.

In Tennessee 1,192 cases and 45 new deaths. In South Carolina, 649 new cases and 31 deaths on Saturday. The University of Washington now projecting 363,000 U.S. deaths by the end of the year.


MURRAY: You know, given what we know about the effectiveness of masks and given what we know about half of Americans wearing a mask when they're out, we think that about 86,000 lives could be saved if we could get mask use way up. So, it's very much in our control as to what's actually going to happen.


SANDOVAL: Here in New York City, health officials are concerned about four clusters they're watching in parts of Queens and Brooklyn.

Dr. Tom Frieden, the former head of the CDC weighing in last night about that, saying at this point New York is on the edge of a precipice, especially with this increasing number of cases that he says are being reported in very religious communities -- Victor, and, Christi.

PAUL: All right. Polo Sandoval, thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: Thanks, Polo.

Well, this is National Day of Remembrance in D.C. Twenty thousand empty chairs will be placed on the White House's ellipse. Those are to honor the more than 200,000 people who died from COVID.

PAUL: It's going to be hosted by singer Dionne Warwick.

CNN correspondent Chloe Melas has more in what we can expect.


CHLOE MELAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christi and Victor.

I spoke with Dionne Warwick who will serve as the master of ceremonies for today's COVID remembrance day. Now, we spoke just hours after President Donald Trump revealed that he had tested positive for COVID- 19 and this is what she had to say.

DIONNE WARWICK, SINGER: First of all, I have to say I'm not feeling too good about the fact that he has contracted it. And I want him and his family to know that prayers are being sent up for him and that speedy recovery comes about.

But I think -- I don't think it's going to be called a hoax any longer. I think he now realizes it's real. It is real. And it does not have a perspective station in life to attack. It doesn't have a specific race, color or religion. It's an airborne disease that's attacking any human being.

MELAS: Aside from being a Grammy Award-winning singer, Warwick has served as the U.S. ambassador of health during both the Reagan and George Bush administration. She was at the forefront of activism during the AIDS epidemic and she told me that these times right now are truly unprecedented and that we must all exercise our right to vote during the election.

WARWICK: You have to vote. It doesn't make sense for anybody to say I'm not going to vote. That does not make sense at all. Be counted.

You want change, how do you get change? By making yourself known and being counted. You want things to be better, and you know how they can be better and you know who can make it better, vote!

Wear your mask. Yes, put on gloves. Yes, wash your hands. Yes, stay the distances that we have to stay to protect not only yourself, but those who you're interfacing with. I mean, it's our responsibility. We've got to.

MELAS: Christi and Victor, 20,000 empty chairs will be placed on the Washington Mall to represent a fraction of the over 200,000 lives lost in the United States due to COVID-19. COVID survivors, families those who lost loved ones, faith leaders and essential workers will all be in attendance. It will begin at 12:00 p.m. Eastern and streamed on Facebook today.


BLACKWELL: Chloe Melas, thank you.

Pope Francis has left Rome for the first time since the pandemic began. We'll have his message for the world, next.



PAUL: Have you tried any of those online classes? Because they're more popular than ever right now, particularly because of the pandemic.

Well, in today's "Staying Well", how becoming fluent in a second language can really have benefits for your brain.


KATHY JONES, RETIRED PROFESSOR: There are so many benefits to learning another language.

It's wonderful to do during the pandemic. I have my class now which is semi-private with a friend who is in Vancouver and our teacher is -- lives in Tijuana, and the three of us meet once a week and all three of us really look forward to that.

TAMAR GOLLAN, NEUROPSYCHOLOGY PROFESSOR, UC SAN DIEGO: There have been a number of studies that have come out in the last ten years or so showing that bilinguals tend to be diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease about four or five years later than people who know just one language.

The benefits of bilingualism seemed to be that you can function for longer. We used to think of the brain as being kind of set after a certain amount of development and pretty early in childhood that you wouldn't have any growth or any new neurons.

We're pretty sure now that's not right.

JONES: You took classes?

I didn't really think about whether it was good for my brain or not. I just did it because it was something that I wanted. But I do believe that with your brain it's kind of the case of use it or lose it.



PAUL: Well, the Vatican this morning says they're praying for President Trump. Their secretary of state said today that the Holy See is praying for the president and all who are ill with COVID-19.

BLACKWELL: Pope Francis left Rome yesterday for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic started. The trip was to assign what's called an encyclical, the most authoritative papal document entitled "Brothers All".

Now, it calls for solidarity among people in a post-pandemic world.


PAUL: And, listen, later this morning on "STATE OF THE UNION", Jake Tapper is talking with the Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, Biden campaign senior adviser Symone Sanders, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, and former Trump campaign manager Rick Gates.

That's "STATE OF THE UNION" at 9:00 a.m. this morning.

We hope you make good memories this week.