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New Day Sunday

Record 91,000 Americans Are Now Hospitalized with COVID-19; Pennsylvania State Supreme Court Dismisses Another Election Case; Biden Team Reveals New Members of COVID-19 Task Force; Iran Accuses Israel of Killing Top Nuclear Scientist; Estimated 50 Million Americans Will Go Hungry In 2020; Remote Learning Due To COVID-19 Taking An Emotional Toll On Kids; Fifteen Million Americans Under Severe Storm Threat Today. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired November 29, 2020 - 07:00   ET




I want to show you a zoo in Denmark and what they came up with to keep kids safe. So they could see Santa. Look at this. He's in a giant snow globe. Kids can even -- you see them giving a high five.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I love this. I love that --

PAUL: Great idea --

BLACKWELL: Santas have found a way to make sure they get to still see the kids.

PAUL: That is beautiful.

Hey, the next hour of NEW DAY starts right now.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: COVID-19 hospitalizations reaching record highs.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Essentially the entire America is a hot spot.

GOV. GINA RAIMONDO (D-RI): If we don't take it seriously, our hospitals will be overwhelmed within a matter of weeks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Case after case are brought forward by the president and his allies being thrown out of court.

RONNA MCDANIEL, RNC CHAIR: Trust us. We're fighting. We're looking at every legal avenue.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: An historic moment for college football. Vanderbilt University's Sarah Fuller breaking down barriers with an unprecedented kickoff.

SARAH FULLER, VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY: I just want to tell like all the girls out there that you can do anything you set your mind to.


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

BLACKWELL: Taking a look at Miami this morning. Good morning to you. A beautiful horizon, beautiful sky shot there.

And we welcome you to the 7:00 hour here on the Eastern -- East Coast of NEW DAY.

Listen, the numbers as it relates to the coronavirus, they're really bad. But there is hope that the vaccines, the approvals are coming. Growing concern, though, about just how bad the pandemic will get while we wait.

PAUL: Yeah. There's a record number of people battling COVID-19 in hospitals across the country right now. And it's putting a strain on health care workers, as you can imagine. They're risking their own lives, of course, to save these people.


DR. LEANA WEN, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Things are going to look very different in the spring and summer. But we have to get through this year. So my advice is cancel your holiday travel at this point, cancel all nonessential travel because things are going to be so much worse in December than it already is in November.


BLACKWELL: And the record number of people expected to travel through airports, today, that is going to add to the challenge of slowing the spread.

PAUL: Yes. CNN's Polo Sandoval is tracking it for us.

Polo, good morning. Talk to us about what the real concern is this morning for these post-holiday travelers.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, the CDC was very clear just before Thanksgiving, saying that traveling would increase your chances of not only being infected with the coronavirus but also potentially spreading it. And I took a look inside the terminal here at JFK a while ago. It certainly looks a lot more pre- pandemic with large crowds of people waiting to check into their flights. I should mention, a lot of these passengers were keeping those six feet of distance between them and their fellow passengers.

But when you look at those pictures from last Wednesday, the concern that many officials have heavy on their minds this morning, what will likely be a busy travel day as we'll see a repeat of those pictures, people gathering or at least crowded together in gate waiting areas.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) SANDOVAL (voice-over): With the Thanksgiving week drawing to an end, experts are warning the COVID-19 pandemic will likely get much worse in the coming weeks before a possible vaccine begins to offer some relief. U.S. COVID hospitalizations hit an all-time record Saturday as more than 91,000 Americans are currently hospitalized with COVID-19, according to the COVID tracking project. Saturday is the second time there have been over 90,000 Americans hospitalized with COVID. Thursday was the first.

DR. BARBARA FERRER, LOS ANGELES COUNTY PUBLIC HEALTH DIRECTOR: We are continuing to see a high number of daily new cases, and an alarming increase in the number of people currently hospitalized with COVID-19. This is and remains a serious cause for concern.

SANDOVAL: In California, L.A. County will implement tighter restrictions amid a COVID-19 surge there. Also on Saturday, the U.S. added over 100,000 new COVID-19 cases, marking the 26th consecutive day the U.S. has topped that benchmark according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

The U.S. has now surpassed 13 million coronavirus cases, four million new cases came in the month of November alone. The CDC projecting up to 321,000 COVID deaths by December 19th.

Now, the good news -- the FAA has announced the first mass air shipment of COVID-19 vaccine, and CDC advisers will be voting on December 1st on who gets the vaccine first. Most likely, health care workers and high-risk populations will get priority to receive a vaccine when one is approved and available says Dr. Esther Choo, professor of emergency medicine at Oregon Health and Science University. As far as when children will get the vaccine --

DR. ESTHER CHOO, PROFESSOR OF EMERGENCY MEDICINE AT OREGON HEALTH AND SCIENCE UNIVERSITY: That's a phase three. Children for the most part have been doing well in this pandemic.


They're on the list. But we're going to try to focus on older folks and those with multiple comorbidities first.


SANDOVAL (on camera): Last night, Jared Polis became the latest U.S. governor, the governor of Colorado, to actually test positive for the virus. His office releasing a statement last night saying that not only did the governor but his spouse did learn that they have tested positive for the coronavirus. The statement went on to say that they are both continuing to isolate themselves and are doing well this morning , which is certainly good news.

But at the same time, Victor and Christi, he's really just the latest governor. You've had the governors of Nevada, of Virginia, of Missouri, test positive for the virus in recent months. So, that's certainly underscoring the scale of the spread across the country.

BLACKWELL: Polo Sandoval of New York, thank you, Polo.

PAUL: Thank you, Polo.

So President-elect Joe Biden is beefing up his COVID-19 advisory team. President Trump is fighting election results, and we're covering all the politics and the headlines this hour.

We want to start with CNN's Kevin Liptak. He's at the White House.

So, Kevin, we know the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has shot down Republicans' legal fight to overturn the election. Have we gotten a reaction yet from the president's team?


And this was a unanimous decision by the Supreme Court in Pennsylvania rejecting a lawsuit that was brought by a Republican state lawmaker there trying to throw out millions of mail-in ballots in the state. A justice on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court writing they have failed to allege that even a single mail-in ballot was fraudulently cast or counted. But legal defeat after legal defeat is not preventing the president from continuing his false and baseless claims of voter fraud and illegality in the election.

He said yesterday that in Wisconsin, he is sure there were illegal votes cast there. That's despite the fact that the recount that he requested and paid $3 million for ended up surfacing 132 additional votes for Joe Biden.

In Pennsylvania, the president says his case is based on fraud, despite the fact that his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, said in court that he was not alleging fraud there. And the president's cases have been thrown out by two courts in Pennsylvania.

Now, the president is mostly behind the scenes this weekend. He's spent the last two nights up at Camp David. He's been at the golf course.

But beneath the surface, what you're seeing is an administration that is hurriedly working to complete many of the president's priorities in the final weeks and months of the administration. It may not look like a lot individually, but taken together what emerges is a picture of an administration that is working in a frenzied pace to try and complete a lot of the tasks they haven't been able to complete in the first four years.

And just to take through a few of those, in Iraq and Afghanistan, the president announcing troop withdrawals there, essentially putting a new dynamic in those war zones as the Biden administration begins. The president signaling that he could put new sanctions on China and Iran, essentially short circuiting any attempts at diplomacy by Biden when he comes into office.

There are environmental rollbacks like opening up new drilling leases in Alaska. The Treasury has pulled back funds for a Federal Reserve lending program. The Justice Department rushing to complete federal executions. DHS working to cement immigration measures.

There are pardons that are coming. Last week, the president pardoned Michael Flynn. We're told there's an intense lobbying effort for more pardons in the next several weeks. So, all of this making fairly clear that the president, his aides, and his administration knows that he will no longer be president after January 20th -- guys.

BLACKWELL: Yeah. With so many people needing stimulus, support during this pandemic, that unfortunately not on the list.

Kevin Liptak at the White House, thanks so much.

Let's talk now about the transition and this beefing up of the coronavirus advisory theme for the president-elect.

CNN political reporter Rebecca Buck is covering that for us.

Rebecca, good morning. Tell us who's being added to the task force.

REBECCA BUCK, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Sure. Well, Victor, we heard from President-elect Joe Biden when he was a candidate that he planned to listen to the scientists and the experts when it comes to his coronavirus response. And now we know who a few more of those experts are going to be.

He has added a few of them this week to his coronavirus advisory board, including Jane Hopkins, who is a registered nurse and an expert on mental health. And Jill Jim, who's executive director of the Navajo Nation Department of Health.

Now, why these particular experts? Biden has said he wanted to focus on mental health and Native American health issues, specifically in dealing with this pandemic, but also when it comes to his health care approach generally as president. So he is following through on that rhetoric now by adding these experts to his team.


Of course, the team is comprised of many experts across all fields, and again, Biden has said he is going to listen to those experts, that's the key, especially in contrast to the current administration, when it comes their recommendations.

Now, the Biden transition team is already in the thick of planning their coronavirus response. This week, they started receiving briefings from the federal government finally on what to expect in terms of Operation Warp Speed, the progress on the vaccine, and logistics with the vaccine. So they're in the thick of that planning now.

But in the meantime, starting tomorrow, President-elect Biden is going to begin receiving also the presidential daily briefing which, of course, is that very detailed briefing that the president receives on a daily basis. It contains highly secretive, sensitive, classified information, and traditionally the president-elect does receive this briefing as well as the president himself. As we know, President Trump has not been as interested in receiving

this briefing. But President-elect Biden we can expect, as with many things, will be taking a more traditional approach -- Victor and Christi.

PAUL: All righty. Rebecca Buck, good to see you, thank you.

BUCK: Thanks.

BLACKWELL: Joining me to talk about the significance of this now reception of the PBD by the president-elect, CNN national security analyst Samantha Vinograd. Samantha is a former senior adviser to the national security adviser under President Obama, paid senior adviser by the Biden Institute, Biden supporter, and is working with the Biden campaign.

Good morning to you, Samantha.


BLACKWELL: Very well. Thank you. Hope you are, too.

Let's start here -- I want to listen to what the president-elect said soon after it was clear that he would be the next president of the United States about receiving the daily briefing and if that changes with what's happening in and with Iran and the killing of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh. Let's listen.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT-ELECT: Obviously, the PBD would be useful. But it's not necessary. I'm not the sitting president now.

Access to classified information is useful. But I'm not in a position to make any decisions on those issues anyway. It would be nice to have it, but it's not critical.


BLACKWELL: That was a few weeks ago. What's the status today from your perspective?

VINOGRAD: Well, undoubtedly, when President-elect Biden receives a PDB or president's daily brief on Monday, there will be some kinds kind of assessment about the impact of this apparent assassination within Iran. That assessment and the assessment over the next 50-plus days will help President-elect Biden become more fully informed about threats and opportunities, as well as potentially covert capabilities.

And if we take a step back and look at what the president's daily brief or PDB is, it is both a written document that originated back in 1964, and it's also an oral briefing, Victor. That oral briefing is critically important for the president-elect and for President Biden when he assumes was because it's an opportunity for the president to ask questions, to dig deeper. So on Monday when President-elect Biden receivers a written briefing and the oral briefing, I anticipate he will pay special attention to what's in there on Iran, so that he can start thinking about his approach to the regime after January 20th.

BLACKWELL: So the reporting has been that the presidential daily briefing that's delivered to President Trump has been pared down to bullet points, to some really potent points.

Is that the same version that we should expect that the incoming president and vice president will receive?

VINOGRAD: President Joe Biden won't get a cliff's notes version of the PDB, Victor. When he was vice president, Vice President Biden took the PDB, the president's --


BLACKWELL: All right. We lost that shot. But thanks to Samantha Vinograd for explaining the significance of now the president-elect receiving the presidential daily briefing starting -- we got her back.

All right, Samantha. Finish your -- your thought.

VINOGRAD: President Trump seriously skipped reading, digesting the PDB. I don't think we'll see that after January 20th.

BLACKWELL: All right, Samantha. Thanks so much.

Be sure to watch "STATE OF THE UNION" today starting at 9:00 Eastern. Jake Tapper win joined by the White House's coronavirus testing czar. Admiral Brett Giroir and Missouri Senator Roy Blunt, right here on CNN.

PAUL: If you're a "Star Wars" fan, a tough morning for you, I know. Much-loved "Star Wars" actor David Prowse has died. He's 85 years old. We are going to talk about some of the tributes that are coming in.

BLACKWELL: Plus, this mystery in the desert. You've seen this. This monolith in a remote part of Utah. It has people wondering how it got there.

Now the question is, where did it go?



PAUL: Let's go to Saudi Arabia together here where the case of a jailed women's activist has been transferred to a terrorism court. This is according to her family. Loujain al-Hathloul has been in detention for more than 900 days. Her trial was supposed to begin this week on Wednesday.

BLACKWELL: Instead, the case was referred to the specialized criminal court which says it would also investigate her allegations of torture in prison. The new trial date has not been announced yet. PAUL: Al-Hathloul was jailed in May of 2018 for speaking out about

Saudi Arabia's ban on female drivers. And that was just weeks before the government ended up lifting the ban.

And new this morning, the British foreign secretary is asking for de- escalation following the apparent assassination of a top Iranian nuclear scientist. Iranian officials have blamed Israel. They haven't provided any evidence to that claim. Israel has not come out and said anything either.

CNN counterterrorism analyst Phil Mudd is a former CIA counterterrorism official. He is with us, as well.

Phil, it's always good to see you. Thank you for being here.

What is, first of all, the impact of this apparent assassination on potential further development of Iran's nuclear program?


PHIL MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: I think pretty minimal. Look, if you're presumably an Israeli intelligence official and the reports that that the Israelis might have done this, I suppose you can sit back and say mission accomplished, we assassinated another Iranian scientist. It's not the first scientists who's been assassinated.

But if you look at the Iranian nuclear program, which has been around for years, and the Iranian engineering and scientific establishment, which is huge, the prospect that you can set back this nuclear program by assassinating a few scientists is zero.

So, maybe the intel guys in Israel, if they did this, feel good about this, but the chance that they'll succeed I'd say, nil. It's not going to happen.

PAUL: OK. So, if that is true, what do you think was the intent of the alleged killing? We know there was a killing, but of the alleged assassination, the apparent assassination?

MUDD: There's a couple of things going on. Obviously, we have an incoming president-elect who has fundamentally different views about containing the Iranians than the Israelis.

The Israelis want to isolate Iran. They don't believe in a nuclear agreement. They don't trust the Iranians. That's in accord with the Trump administration.

Biden is -- he said this -- is going say we've got to reengage with the Iranians and the Europeans to get the Iranians in the box, we need to talk to them. If you know that in Israel, what do you do in the 60 days leading to the inauguration?

You might say, we're going to send a message not only to the Iranians but to the Biden camp as well, we don't buy about the Biden approach and we're going to continue to confront the Iranians. Some of these is not just about nuclear, it's about politics with the Americans. PAUL: So, where does that leave President-elect Biden?

MUDD: You would -- from the surface I think you might say this puts him in a box. I don't agree with that perspective.

Look, there are a bunch of people -- think about yourself -- going to a car lot to buy a car. The car wants to sell a car. You want to buy a car.

The Iranians want a deal. The Europeans want a deal. Biden wants a deal. You got a bunch of players like at the car lot going into the room who want a deal. The question is going to be whether the Iranians want to pay a price to get a deal.

I do not think that assassinating a scientist is going to leave the Iranians or the Biden camp to step away and say, we're going to give it up. We're not going to try to talk. Biden and the Iranians are going to talk, and I suspect eventually they're going to go back with the Europeans to cut a deal.

PAUL: You said earlier that President Trump set a trap for President- elect Biden. What do you mean by that?

MUDD: I'm not sure exactly the word I would use is trap.


MUDD: What's going on from the beginning of the Trump administration, the Trump camp said unlike the Obama camp and now the incoming Biden camp, the only way to deal with Iranians is to get them in a box militarily, to get them in a box with things like assassinations -- remember the American assassination of an Iranian military general this year. It is not talk to the Iranians because -- this is the Trump camp speaking -- we can't trust them, and they're going to build a nuclear capability if we give them any chance to do so.

If you're walking in now after this assassination of the Biden camp, stepping back with the Iranians in the room and the Iranians are going to look at you and say, why would we ever trust you? Why would we come to the table with you? We signed a deal with Obama, that didn't work. And you're supporting a government, that is the Israelis, who kill our scientists in the streets, why would we trust you?

It puts the Biden camp in a tough position.

PAUL: Real quickly, let's talk about Israel. I mean, they're in good standing with other Gulf nations now. How does that factor into what happens next?

MUDD: Boy, pretty simple calculus. Again, makes it difficult for Biden. Let me cut to the chase. The Israelis are in a better position as you say with some of the Arab countries than they were four years ago.

If they want to confront Iran with a bunch of Arab countries that hate Iran, the Israelis are going to say, more so than four years ago, the Arabs are with us, why wouldn't we go ahead and do this? They've got the Arabs at their back now.

PAUL: Phil Mudd. I always learn so much from you. Thank you for taking the time to be with us this morning.

MUDD: Thank you.

PAUL: Good to have you.

MUDD: Take care.

PAUL: You, too.

BLACKWELL: You know, food banks are struggling to keep up with dire hunger crisis in America. The pandemic didn't start it, but it certainly exacerbated it. We will talk to the leader of a nonprofit trying to feed as many people as possible, saying that eight billion meals will be needed. We'll tell you how they plan to get it done.



BLACKWELL: Fans are remembering this morning an actor who took everyone to the dark side of the imagination without ever saying a word.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He told me enough. He told me you killed him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. I am your father.


BLACKWELL: James Earl Jones was the voice of Darth Vader, but David Prowse, he was the stature.

PAUL: The English actor and former body builder was 85 years old when he died. Markham Hamill who played Luke Skywalker tweeted this: He was a kind man and much more than Darth Vader. Actor, husband, father, members of the Order of the British Empire, three-time British weightlifting champion, and safety icon, the Green Cross code man. He loved his fans as much as they loved him."

BLACKWELL: There is a hunger crisis happening in America right now. It's made more severe by the pandemic.

Feeding America is the largest hunger relief organization in the country, and it estimates that at least 50 million Americans could go hungry this year. Feeding America has seen a 60 percent increase in need since March. And without new federal aid, the hunger crisis is expected to get far worse.

So, with me now is the president and CEO of Feeding South Florida, Paco Velez.

Thank you so much for waking up early with us and talking to us about this.

Listen, I understand you told my producers that 40 percent of the people you're seeing are coming to food banks for the first time. How are you keeping up with what are huge numbers of people who are lining up for food?


PACO VELEZ, PRESIDENT & CEO, FEEDING SOUTH FLORIDA: They are huge numbers. A lot of families are really struggling during this time. The average is about 40 percent here in south Florida. We're looking at closer to 50 percent of the folks that are coming through these lines are struggling to put food on the table.

The government passed -- the federal government passed the CARES Act, and part of that CARES Act was the coronavirus food assistance program which has provided commodities from -- from local farmers and ranchers or farmers and ranchers across the country through distributors, and we've been able to meet some of that need through -- through that program.

We're also purchasing products, food banks across the country are purchasing products in record numbers. But we're seeing that that response from the government diminish as -- as the CARES Act, it looks to expire here at the end of December.

BLACKWELL: So what is your message for those lawmakers? I mean, we've heard the back and forth and arguments from both sides why they're not pushing forward. What do you have to say to them?

VELEZ: What I have to say, first and foremost, is they're people, there are real people being affected by this pandemic through no fault of their own. They find themselves without any income, with no -- no job, no resources.

Beginning of the pandemic, we saw resources coming in to help families, to help put food on the table. We saw 160 tractor-trailer loads a week to help here in South Florida. That's 160 tractor- trailers that you see on the highway every single week to help our families.

As this pandemic has gone on, we've find ourselves here in phase four of the CFAP program, only receiving 14 -- one to four loads per week to try to meet the need. And zero resources for our families. No unemployment benefits or extended unemployment benefits, and no stimulus check.

So when I ask our federal elected officials is to come together and understand that there are families, there are lives at stake, there's homes at stake, there are kids and older adults who really don't know how to put food on the table or keep a roof over their heads.

BLACKWELL: You know, I often thought about as this started the elderly and the -- across the country who were getting meals from groups like Meals on Wheels, and not only would they get food it would be the only person they would see often. And the personal element of here -- you've given us a lot of information.

But talk to us about the families you're meeting, the children you're seeing, and the challenge that they're facing beyond just the statistics, what they're feeling.

VELEZ: So you talk about social isolation for our older adults. That's a huge issue. That leads to depression and leads to a lot of other issues for our older adults.

They used to come out and go to congregant meal sites, just fellowship with other folks and play dominoes, play bingo, play all these other games. And just interact with folks. Right now, our older adults aren't able to get out and do that. So, there's an isolation there.

We've -- we have our home delivery program, and they're saying that there is a depression there. What we're seeing from our families that are going through the lines is definitely a sense of desperation. There's a sense of fear and an unknown. And it's been like that for quite some time.

And now, there's just a huge frustration that's building up. There are no resources coming from the federal government. There's no end in sight to this pandemic.

Yeah, we're looking at a -- at a vaccine, but we don't know what that rollout's going to look like, who's going to get it, when they're going to get it. And our families really need to find some kind of hope in order to get that -- to continue to move on.

The holidays is especially difficult for families trying to put food on the table, everything, all the messaging is centered around food. That's the key ingredient that our families are missing from the holiday. They have family but can't get together as a family based on CDC guidelines. The only thing they have left is the food.

So, we're looking. We're trying hard across the country to ensure that food banks have that food to get it on to the tables to families. But our families are -- truly are desperate. And don't know what else to do.

BLACKWELL: Quickly before we go, I remember in school and, you know, for years at work, there would be the canned food drives to support families that need help.

I understand that's not the best way to support now. What would be the best way that people who want to help, who have just a little extra that can offer that?

VELEZ: So, first of all, this Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, the funding did not go to food banks at all, went straight to distributors. So we really could use your help.


First and foremost, contact your elected official. Let them know that there are real people behind these numbers. Second is contact your local food bank, go to, you can find any food bank in your area. And donate your funds if you can, and definitely donate your time if you can. And really help put food on the table for so many families struggling.

BLACKWELL: Paco Velez, thank you so much for your time. And thank you for what you are doing. I know that there is an army of people behind you hoping to and working to feed the people there in south Florida. And send our thanks to them, as well.

VELEZ: Will do. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: All right. Make sure that you -- for more information about your local food bank, head to


CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Yeah, good people out there doing good work.

So you I'm sure might have recognized the emotional, even the physical toll this pandemic has is having on our children. An expert says the strain on kids, particularly in learning remotely, is, quote, enormous. What we need to be doing. Stay close.

BLACKWELL: There's also a new season of "THIS IS LIFE" with Lisa Ling. It premieres with back-to-back episodes tonight at 9:00 right here on CNN. Here's a look.


LISA LING, CNN HOST, "THIS IS LIFE WITH LISA LING": What would you say young men need most right now?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are not broken.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is a place to be heard.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Big, big money here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Go after the traffickers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The sheriff's office, come on.

LING: Do you feel nervous about what's going to happen after?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But that's part of life.

LING: Are your doctors learning from you?


LING: What does it feel like to carry the hopes of all these men?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No more defining -- stand together as one!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're from different parts of the world, but we're fighting for the same thing. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It takes courage to take a stand for what is right

in this world.

LING: It's powerful.


ANNOUNCER: "THIS IS LIFE WITH LISA LING", back to back episodes, tonight at 9:00 on CNN.



PAUL: So one of the hard lessons I think we've learned through this pandemic is the effect of closing schools on kids. And now, there are schools that in this ten-month period are still either fully or partially closed in ten states and the District of Columbia, as of Wednesday this week according to Education Week.

"The Washington Post" finds remote learning, particularly among younger kids, is where there's really a toll being taken. Some students, and I'm quoting here, school-aged children are losing interest in food. They're complaining of back pain and burning eyes. They're developing feelings of depression.

We need to figure out how to stop this.

Dr. Matthew Biel is the chief of the child and adolescent psychiatry division at Georgetown University School of Medicine. He's with us now.

Dr. Biel, we are so grateful to have you with us.

I know personally some friends who have sent their kids to therapy because they're having such a hard time with remote learning and isolation that comes with that. What are you hearing primarily about kids right now and how they're dealing?

DR. MATTHEW BIEL, DIVISION CHIEF, CHILD & ADOLESCENT PSYCHIATRY AT GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL: Thanks very much for taking on this topic. Remote learning is having detrimental effects on many thousands of kids across the country.

I think in appropriately trying to protect against the risk of COVID, we're not necessarily accounting for the harm being done to children. I hear from my patients and their families every day about kids experiencing really intense bouts of sadness, loneliness, anxiety, irritability, anger. I'm hearing from colleagues across the country about significant increases in kids experiencing real psychiatric emergencies, including suicidal thinking, suicide attempts.

This is a really critical aspect of this national crisis, I think. We need to be thinking about how we can respond.

PAUL: I mean, how do we respond? What might be happening in our child that would set an alarm bell off for us to know that we have to do something? And then what do we do?

BIEL: Well, I think that we can think about your question from the standpoint of what can we do as parents and what can we do as a society. I think as parents, I'll start with maybe what might not be the most obvious first step, but the first step is to take care of our own stress, our only mental health as well as we can, despite the many things bearing down on families.

Our kids tend to do as well as we're doing. If we can see out our own strategies for managing our own stress, lifting up our well-being as much as possible under the circumstances, that's going to help our kids most. So, that's really the first.

And then we need to provide as much structure and consistency in our kids' lives. Kids need all the things we know -- we know about our kids, our kids need time outdoors. Our kids need time to play in unstructured ways. Our kids need ways to have safe interactions with their peers, it's critically, critically important.

And these things have sort of fallen by the wayside in many families' lives between the stress the families are under, financially and otherwise, and then working at home, overseeing school at home, and kids being online for much of the day.

PAUL: I think one of the things that might be -- I'm sorry, go ahead.

BIEL: I was -- thank you, I was going to say as a society we need to carefully consider what are our risk calculations related to schools being closed in many places.


How are we balancing the risk around transmission of COVID which is critically important compared to risk for students being in this state of extreme isolation that is really impacting them developmentally.

PAUL: I know pediatricians and medical doctors are having a hard time trying to figure out and decipher that balance, as well. One of the things that might make it just as hard is that we can't give them an end date on this. We can't say you're going to do this until -- and, you know, put in some random -- insert some random dates.

So, you know, with that said, is there anything that we can do -- you mentioned the outdoors, you mentioned the safe communication and interaction with other kids. But as parents, is there -- is there anything that we can do in their daily routine to say, you know, before they start virtual learning or after they start virtual learning to prepare them, and then to kind of decompress them at the end of the day?

BIEL: Sure. I mean, I think -- I think globally I think the sense that we can't give an end date for kids is real. I think we need communicate that in a real way to kids. It's not helpful to give false end dates or to push off the question. I think it's really okay to say to our kids we don't know. And we're frustrated by this, too. It's not the way we want it to be.

And let's think together how to make the best of it. I think on a day- to-day basis, I think creating a lot of time that's away from the screen as much as possible before school and after school.

Again, not -- not just structured time away, but unstructured time, time to play outside, time to hopefully interact with a small number of kids masked and distanced, but finding ways to interact outside is so helpful for kids. I know it's incredibly helpful for my kids as a parent, and really check in with our kids regularly and giving kids a space to express feelings of frustration, of anger, of feeling overwhelmed. Letting kids know it's okay to feel those things, it's reasonable to feel those things, and that we, as we say so often, we're in this together. We're going to figure out together how to navigate it.

It's not totally satisfying it, but it's where we are. I think -- I thinking about real with kids is where it is, they need honesty and the sense that we've got it in us to make it through the day to figure it out together.

PAUL: Yeah. I love what you said -- our kids tend to do as well as we're doing so we need to pay attention to ourselves, as well.

Dr. Matthew Biel, great information. Thank you so much for everything that you're doing.

BIEL: Thank you very much.

PAUL: So this is -- this is just weird. You know that mysterious monolith that just popped up in Utah, in the desert? Well, now it's gone. And there's no explanation. We'll tell you more, next.



PAUL: So, a monolith discovered in a remote Utah desert last week has become this international hit. But it's a history as to who put it there and why. People think it's aliens, was it an artist? Now they're wondering who took it away.

BLACKWELL: Right. So, the public safety folks in Utah say these are their words, this illegally installed structure was removed. They don't know who. Some unknown party, as they describe, sometime Friday night.

And they insist they did not take it down. So the mystery continues.

PAUL: Huh.

BLACKWELL: Fifteen million people today are in the path of twin storm systems heading toward the East Coast.

PAUL: CNN's Allison Chinchar has the latest on this.

So, first of all, when are they expected to intensify here?

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yeah. When they get together, when they join it, somewhere around the mid-Atlantic region. You got the system is toward Canada sliding down to the south. But we also have that system down southeast. It's bringing a tremendous amount of rain and doing that today.

But it also has the potential to produce some strong to severe thunderstorms. The main threats here are damaging winds and a couple tornadoes. It stretches from New Orleans all the way up towards Wilmington and Raleigh, North Carolina.

Tomorrow, there is also a threat for severe weather, but it just pushes much farther east, right there kind of hugging along the Eastern Seaboard from New York, stretching all the way down toward Tampa. But the threats themselves remain the same.

Here's a look at the system. Again, for most of today, the focus is really going to be the southeast. Cities like Atlanta, Charlotte, Chattanooga getting heavy rain. By tomorrow morning, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Baltimore, you're going to really notice the heavy rain filtering in in the morning.

Then it spreads to the north and east through the rest of the day Monday. But you also start to notice the backside of the system where that transition to snow, especially for cities like Cleveland and Pittsburgh, you'll start to see that transition from rain to snow.

The heaviest snow amounts likely to be from Detroit, down to Columbus and stretching over towards Pittsburgh where several inches, three to six inches not out of the question, but maybe even as much as 8 inches of snow before the system finally moves out.

Behind those two systems, we have a lot of cold air. And look at how far south the cold air spreads. You actually are going to have freeze watches, guys, that make it all the way down to the Gulf Coast.


All right. Allison, thank you so much.

PAUL: All righty. It was history on a college football field.

BLACKWELL: Yep. Vanderbilt's Sarah Fuller, she became the first woman to play in a game at the highest level of college football. She kicked off for Vanderbilt to open the second half of their game against the University of Missouri.

PAUL: All of us cheering her on there. I kind of hope to see it happen again.


PAUL: Just saying.

So, Carrie Fox and her ten-year-old daughter Sophia, I want to tell you about today, they spent the past few months preparing care packages and decorating rocks with encouraging messages. And they've written a book now called adventures in kindness.


CARRIE FOX, CO-WROTE "ADVENTURES IN KINDNESS" WITH DAUGHTER: We came up with 52 adventures. One a week if kids wanted to do one a week that would make sure they were practicing kind in every way possible.


SOPHIA FOX, CO-WROTE "ADVENTURES IN KINDNESS" WITH MOTHER: Hopefully, it will bring the people who are doing it more like together, and it will make the world a little bit kinder.


PAUL: Love that human kindness. That book is available, by the way, on Amazon.

Good for them.

Thank you so much for being part of our morning and helping us be part of yours. We hope you make good memories.

BLACKWELL: "INSIDE POLITICS" is up next. Manu Raju is in for John King.