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CNN NEWSROOM

U.S. Passes 132K Deaths, 3 Million Cases; Hospitalizations Up in Hardest Hit U.S. states; Hong Kong Reports Surge in Local Transmissions; Brazil Exceeds 1.7 Million Cases, 68K Deaths; Millions under Six-Week Lockdown in Melbourne; Asia's Mask Acceptance Contrasts with America's Resistance; Trump Threatens to Cut Funding if Schools Don't Reopen; Rescue Efforts Underway as Death Toll Mounts in Japan; Two-Time F1 Champion Fernando Alonso to Return in 2021. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired July 9, 2020 - 00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


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PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello and welcome to our viewers from all around the world. I'm Paula Newton.

Coming up on CNN NEWSROOM, 3 million and rising fast as the U.S. struggles with a ferocious surge of coronavirus cases, President Trump presses for watered down guidelines on reopening schools.

Hong Kong thought it had a handle on the pandemic but now the city is battling a third wave of infections.

And two Brazilian journalists say they are suing the president for putting them at risk. We will tell you what he did to earn their ire.

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NEWTON: On a day when the number of coronavirus cases in the United States topped the 3 million mark, the Trump administration is now focused on getting kids back into those classrooms. The president is threatening to cut off funding for schools that don't fall into line this fall.

Meantime, eight U.S. states are reporting record numbers of COVID-19 patients in hospitals -- remember that is a key indicator.

The nation's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, was conspicuously absent from the task force briefing. He is warning the country will not get a hold of the pandemic unless people do a better job of social distancing and wearing masks. He says bars should be closed and restaurants should suspend indoor dining.

More than 12 million people worldwide have now contracted the coronavirus and more than half a million have died. Here, in the United States, new infections are trending upward in a full 35 states. Hospitals and health care workers are being stretched right to their limits and CNN's Nick Watt walks us through the day's headlines.

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NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The vice president was big on platitudes ...

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PENCE: The American people are finding a way to do their part ...

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WATT (voice over): ... but short on detail.

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PENCE: Just keep doing what you're doing.

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WATT (voice over): Even though yesterday we hit a new one day record for new cases again.

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DR. PETER HOTEZ, BAYLOR COLLEGE: Just a few days ago, we were aghast that we'd hit 50,000 without a national strategy and a roadmap we'll quickly accelerate to a hundred thousand cases.

(END VIDEO CLIP) WATT (voice over): But the vice president sees a silver lining.

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PENCE: We're actually seeing early indications of a percent of positive testing flattening in Arizona and Florida and Texas.

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WATT (voice over): There that blue line is what he's talking about, flattening in Florida above a 15 percent positivity rate on tests. The WHO guideline is to flatten under 5 percent before reopening.

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PENCE: In Arizona and Florida, we're beginning to see declining numbers of emergency room visits as well.

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WATT (voice over): No mention of the full ICUs in 43 Florida hospitals or the just 145 ICU beds in Arizona currently unoccupied.

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MAYOR KATE GALLEGO (D-AZ), PHOENIX: Our medical professionals are already feeling exhausted, asking for reinforcements and they tell me the worst is yet to yet to come.

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WATT (voice over): The U.S. has a little over 4 percent of the world's population yet right now a little over 24 percent of the world's COVID-19 deaths. But the Vice President is upbeat.

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PENCE: We are encouraged that the average fatality rate continues to be low and steady.

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WATT (voice over): Although the death toll is now starting to climb in Florida, Arizona and Texas and in eight states from sea to shining city record numbers now of COVID-19 patients in hospitals. Today, Dr. Deborah Birx asked everyone in surgeon spots basically to return to strict phase one recommendations.

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DR. DEBORAH BIRX, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE COORDINATOR: We are asking the American people in those counties and in those states to not only use the face coverings not going to bars, not going to indoor dining, but really not gathering in homes, either.

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WATT: Here in California, the number of COVID-19 patients in the hospital up 44 percent in just two weeks, and the fear is that the death toll will also rise. With that as the backdrop, here in Los Angeles, school districts have been told that it would be prudent to have a distanced learning plan in place for the fall in case numbers don't get any better -- Nick Watt, CNN, Los Angeles.

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NEWTON: So given what Nick just told us about the United States, it's important now to look at the worst outbreaks in the world over the past week. Now the United States will -- sorry -- the U.S. states of Arizona, Florida and South Carolina led the way. You can see them there with more cases per million residents than Bahrain, Qatar and Amman. The Middle Eastern countries have all seen a surge in infections among low wage migrant workers, often living in cramped quarters.

The White House task force coordinator, meantime, Dr. Deborah Birx, addressed the situation in Arizona specifically. But she caught some criticism from another doctor.

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BIRX: The seven-day average is showing some flattening and then we find that encouraging, also equally encouraging at this point, because we know that the test positivity rate is the first thing to increase and we're hoping that it heralds a stability in Arizona of at least reaching a plateau in their curve.

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DR. MURTAZA AKHTER, VALLEYWISE HEALTH MEDICAL CENTER: I'm not sure where she got that. She's a smart doctor, but we hit a record yesterday for positivity. You were mentioning the 5 percent threshold, Erin, we hit 32 percent yesterday, 32 percent of our tests yesterday were positive.

I mean, you don't need to be a math teacher to understand how to do the slope of a line. We aren't flattening and being flat at the worst place in the country isn't good anyway, even if we were flat, that'd be a terrible place to be flat at. Flatlining in a cardiac EKG means you're dead.

OK, so flat is bad as it is, but we're not flat. As a matter of fact, we hit a new record of positivity yesterday, so I have no idea where these phrases coming from.

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NEWTON: Certainly, you could hear the stress in his voice.

Joining now from Florida is Dr. Safiya Lyn-Lassiter. She's an emergency medicine physician and the founder of askdoctorlyn.com.

A lot to ask you about tonight, especially when we see those numbers in Florida. You know, the state has now been labeled a new global epicenter.

What are you seeing inside your ER in South Florida?

DR. SAFIYA K. LYN-LASSITER, EMERGENCY MEDICINE PHYSICIAN: Thank you so much for having me tonight. Thank you for this invitation.

What am I seeing in the emergency department down here itself?

We are becoming overwhelmed. Overwhelmed with patients, the desire to be tested for COVID-19. Right now, the outpatient testing centers have had an increasing number of patients wanting to know their status.

We used you see symptomatic patients; now we're facing a full spectrum of asymptomatic patients may (INAUDIBLE) and everyone just wants to know their status or the state themselves and for their family and loved ones.

NEWTON: When you say they want to know their status, as you are speaking, we're showing pictures of the long lineups to get testing in Florida.

In terms of being prepared, do you fear that a lot of the people who want to know their status will just go from being asymptomatic to being quite sick before you actually see them? LYN-LASSITER: Honestly?

The COVID-19 virus has not been predictable in its course over the last four months. We have since remained asymptomatic throughout the entire 14 days and then receive a negative COVID-19 test. It really depends on the person and on the comorbidities to increase the risk of having a more severe one.

NEWTON: I mean how fatigued are you and your colleagues by now?

We had spoken of this in the first few weeks of the pandemic. We are months long here with Canada -- with Florida tracking cases that are well over 10,000.

Do you fear that flood of COVID patients?

LYN-LASSITER: Thank you for asking and for your concern. This fatigue is real We have never quite competed the first wave of COVID-19. Usually, when you complete a wave, you flatten the curve down to zero or you have no cases. We never achieved that.

So we are in a continuum at this time. We are moving into month five now of COVID-19 virus and we do have a severe fear of running out of ICU beds, ventilators, PPE. The shortage is really a concern in the U.S. But of course, our community continues to keep us uplifted, so we're excited that they (INAUDIBLE) every day and this is who we do it for.

NEWTON: Doctor, I'm sure everyone in your community appreciate you being there and will keep you check in with you and hope, really, that the positive cases in Florida do go down. Dr. Safiya Lyn-Lassiter, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

LYN-LASSITER: Thank you.

NEWTON: Now there's been a sudden surge in coronavirus in Hong Kong. Health officials say this is now what they are calling their third wave of infections. CNN's Will Ripley joins me now, live from Hong Kong.

I want to be clear about the numbers we are talking about. You know, Will, back home, here, your home, we are talking about tens of thousands per day. We are nowhere near that in Hong Kong. It's done such a good job of handling this pandemic. But this spike even shows that, even in places that are handling it so well, it's still so tough.

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WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When you think about the number of cases, 38 in the last two days, that was enough for huge portions of Beijing to go into lockdown. There are certain countries that the minute cases pop-up, things just immediately shut back down to the hard lockdown situation. It's unclear if that's going to be the case in Hong Kong. What is concerning for health officials is out of these 38 cases, they

are not all imported cases. A number of them are local transmission, which means that people have not traveled and some of the cases they are not even able to trace who gave them the virus and that is what is really sparking concern.

Once you have community spread, those small numbers can become very big, very quickly. So what is being done already, everyone who flies into Hong Kong has to be tested at the airport for COVID-19. That includes flight crew.

U.S. airlines are suspending flights to Hong Kong because they have a stricter policy for flight crew members. Also, diplomats who are coming in have to be tested along with everyone else. But then the flight crew and the diplomats and some of the other groups can then walk around the city.

They don't have to go through that mandatory 14-day quarantine like I had, where to wear this electronic monitoring bracelet. I couldn't leave my house for 14 days or else risk the health department and the police knocking on my door.

But because some of the oversight is much more lax, for certain groups, they are looking at that as a possible change that needs to be made due to more people needing to be forced to go into quarantine, when they are arriving back in Hong Kong.

Do restaurants have to go back to not be able to sit in groups larger than 4?

What about gatherings outside?

These are all things the city is going to take a very close look at, no decisions have been made and, yes, the numbers are small right now, Paula, but they were small in the United States as well. And because proper measures weren't made, the numbers got very huge.

Hong Kong was proactive also in the beginning of the, year shutting down the border with Mainland, China cutting off transportation routes and for a long time, no coronavirus cases. So these last few days, 38 new cases certainly making city leaders feel pretty uncomfortable about that.

NEWTON: Yes, I can imagine. It shows how frustrating the virus is to so many cities that thought they were doing so well. Will Ripley in Hong Kong. Thanks. Appreciate it.

Long lines and strict checkpoints as Australia shuts the border between the 2 most popular states. Thousands of people are finding themselves living in a city divided. The toll it's taking on every day life, that's next.

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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For me, it's really just common sense. We want to protect each other. So everyone's wearing a mask. NEWTON (voice-over): Wearing masks in most of Asia, unlike the United

States, there is a stark difference in attitude, even in democratic countries there. We will show you when we come back.

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NEWTON: Brazil has surpassed 1.7 million confirmed cases, second only to the United States. Brazilian journalists say that they are suing their president, who tested positive for the virus. They accuse Jair Bolsonaro of not keeping a self distance while infected and refusing to wear a mask around them. Bill Weir reports from Sao Paulo.

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BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT: Well, it is another day of more open shops, restaurants, bars and big cities like Sao Paulo, another day of rising numbers of COVID-19 infections and mortality. They are up to averaging over 1,000 deaths a day now.

And among the infirmed (sic) -- the confirmed infected now, of course, the president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, who is using the opportunity to double down on his policy of using malaria -- antimalarial drugs and hard work to get Brazil back up and running.

Meanwhile, an association of Brazilian journalists is threatening to sue the president for endangering their lives by removing his mask during his press conference to announce he had the coronavirus.

This fight goes back to a battle that went to the supreme court over properly releasing COVID-19 daily numbers, infections and deaths.

Also, there are corruption allegations swirling around this president, whispers of impeachment and so, the pandemic is just one challenge for the man running Brazil these days.

In the meantime, vaccine trials are ongoing now. And there is fresh concern about indigenous communities becoming infected in towards the Amazon and other rural areas. There are even plans to send out a military operation to bring them the same medicines that president Bolsonaro is using.

But another day, in which this pandemic is just dominating the news -- Bill Weir, Sao Paulo, CNN.

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NEWTON: Mexico is reporting its highly highest daily increase in coronavirus cases, nearly 7,000 in 24 hours. The single-day record came as the Mexican president met with the U.S. president at the White House. This was their first time meeting in person. They referred to each other as unlikely friends.

They're celebrated the implementation of NAFTA. They signed a joint declaration symbolizing their strengthened partnership.

Millions of residents in Melbourne are under a 6-week lockdown. The state of Victoria has closed its borders with New South Wales. The Queensland premier says visitors from Victoria will be turned away, Anna Coren follows this.

And at this is unprecedented in the century what is going on in terms of the border closures. People there must know this will be a rough 6 weeks.

ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's going to be rough but they've done it before (INAUDIBLE) Paula. The lockdown will go into effect (AUDIO GAP) residents are going to have to spend the next six weeks at home, self isolating. New South Wales (INAUDIBLE).

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COREN: As the city of Melbourne prepares for its second lockdown in a matter of months, residents stock up on necessary supplies and finish some last-minute shopping that will help get them through the next six weeks.

EMILY BLISS, COVID-19 SCREENING CLINIC WORKER: I was a bit nervous coming in, but compared to last lockdown, there's a lot more product in there, which is quite surprising.

COREN: A surge in coronavirus cases in the Victorian capital prompted the state's premier to take drastic but necessary action. Forcing Australia's second largest city with five million people to self- isolate from the rest of the country.

DANIEL ANDREWS, PREMIER OF VICTORIA: This, as I said, not the situation that anybody wanted to be in, but it is the reality that we must confront, to do otherwise is to pretend that this isn't real. To pretend that we have other options.

COREN: With more than 1,200 active cases in Australia, Victoria alone makes up two-thirds of the nation's total. A surge that has occurred in just over a week. The prime minister warning while the outbreak is serious, it's not surprising. Considering the highly contagious nature of the coronavirus.

SCOTT MORRISON, AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER: We are all Melburnians now when it comes to the challenges we face. We are all Victorians now because we are all Australians. We will prevail, and we will get on top of it, and we will protect the rest of the country.

COREN: But there have already been breaches in the system. A Jetstar flight from Melbourne carrying 137 passengers allowed 48 of them to disembark in Sydney without any screening. Authorities now scrambling to trace those who left the airport without being checked.

[00:20:00] COREN (voice-over): But no such risk is being taken at the New South Wales Victorian border, hundreds of police and military are manning 55 road crossings along 1,000 kilometers, turning back vehicles trying to enter the northern state, and potentially spread the virus.

It's the first time since the Spanish flu, more than 100 years ago, that the border has been closed. Thousands of permits have been issued for those who live in townships that straddle both states, including Chris Carter, whose 29-year-old wife, April, is being treated for terminal bone cancer at the hospital located on the border.

CHRIS CARTER, VICTORIA RESIDENT: Our home is in Victoria, kind of thing, we crossed into New South Wales every day to come to this hospital. I mean, almost every day. But here in the border closures I'm just like, I'm not going to stress about that. I'm going to stay here, so luckily the hospital can give me a bed.

COREN: The couple met at university, and tied the knot three years ago. 12 months later, April was diagnosed. Family members raced to the hospital before the border shot, after learning her condition has rapidly deteriorated. Doctors have given her only days to live.

CARTER: It's a bad year for everyone, it's a really bad year for me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm sorry.

CARTER: Yes, I don't know.

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NEWTON: Tough story there. We appreciate the reporting, Anna Coren. We apologize for her earlier audio problems.

Wearing a face mask in the United States has become political. But in Asia, even in democratic countries, there's hardly any problem at all. The stigma comes when you don't wear a mask. David Culver shows us what it's like on the streets of Beijing.

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DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A workday morning rush hour. Walk with us through the streets of Beijing. Look to my right, my left, behind me, and even headed right toward me, you notice just about every commuter wearing a face mask.

To see a smile around here is rare. It's a little bit unnerving because it suggests someone isn't covering their face.

In China from passengers boarding planes and trains, to shorter commutes, masks are on.

Concerns of the virus still very fresh, especially with the recent cluster outbreak. That's why people of all ages wear them. Unlike in parts in the U.S. it's not political there.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think people take it as a social responsibility to wear masks.

CULVER: Does it seem controversial?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For me it's really just common sense. We want to protect each other so everyone is wearing masks.

CULVER: Lilly Jeung (ph) has got a go-to stash of surgical face masks at home.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE). I just wear one and put it on.

CULVER (voice-over): And she always packs extra.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just in case I forgot to wear a mask before I leave.

CULVER (voice-over): Some people treat them like a pair of cheap sunglasses, keeping spare ones in places you're likely to come back to. It's just one of many layers of protection from COVID-19 in place here. Mass testing is routine and sometimes mandatory. And contact tracing is strict.

Call a rideshare and you both must show each other your digital health code certifying you have not been in high risk areas. In a shopping mall, it's a temperature check first. And at the food court you order by phone, pick up with your mask on.

The one time you can take off your mask is when you are eating.

That's if you're dining in. Even the chefs working behind the protective glass cover up and when the diners are done, they put their mask back on as they walk out.

You may be in a place like China and say naturally people will follow the rules. It's an authoritarian government. Otherwise, they will face more serious consequences. But you don't have to look far to see a democratic society doing the same thing -- South Korea and Japan.

And the leaders of these Asian countries and territories are often seen wearing a mask in public.

It's really just part of the routine. You grab your cellphone, your keys, your wallet, you make sure you have your face mask. Naturally there are times you forget. You walk out of your house barefaced, you're in a rush.

If the strange looks don't remind you, then a security guard might gesture to you and shout and you realize they are telling you put on a mask. No question, culturally, mask wearing isn't foreign here. Many wore then for the SARS outbreak in 2003 and 2004, and here in Beijing on heavily polluted days.

But there are folks here who have forgotten to wear a mask.

[00:25:00] CULVER: If you encounter them in a elevator they become embarrassed and try to cover up their mouth with their clothes or turn to the wall to not breathe near you or will even step off the elevator as a courtesy -- David Culver, CNN, Beijing.

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NEWTON: Despite surging coronavirus cases in the United States, President Trump is pressuring schools to reopen in the coming months. Some governors are already pushing back.

One of the riskiest things you can do during the pandemic. I'll get some answers from an expert. That's next here on CNN.

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NEWTON: As cases of coronavirus surge across the southern and western United States, president Donald Trump is doubling down on his demand that schools open in September and August. He's threatening to cut off funding for shuttered schools.

He's going after the CDC insisting that their guidelines for reopening is too tough. The CDC saying that they will issue new guidelines next. Week more now from CNN's Kaitlan Collins.

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KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: The CDC director on defense after President Trump publicly attacked his agency's guidance on reopening schools.

DR. ROBERT REDFIELD, CDC DIRECTOR: I want to make it very clear that was not the intent of CDC guidelines is to be used as a rationale to keep schools closed.

COLLINS: Dr. Robert Redfield sought to defend the guidance, but hours after President Trump publicly complained that it was too tough, Vice President Mike Pence said that's why the CDC will issue new guidance next week.

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The president said today we just don't want the guidance to be too tough. And that's the reason why next week CDC is going to be issuing a new set of tools, five different documents that have been giving even more clarity on the guidance going forward.

COLLINS: The original guidelines include refitting classrooms so students can social distance, closing shared spaces and updating ventilation systems, though it's not clear what Trump disagreed with.

Asked if he was changing the guidance to appease the president, the CDC director said this. So are you going to change that guidance because the president said that he does not like it?

REDFIELD: We will continue to develop and evolve our guidance to meet the needs of the schools in the states that we continue to provide that assistance to.

COLLINS: The president has said publicly that he'll pressure governors to put kids back in classrooms this fall. And today he threatened to cut funding if they don't. The Vice President described that as a sign of leadership.

Can you explain why the president is threatening to cut funding from schools at a time when educators are saying they need more so they can safely reopen?

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PENCE: Kaitlan, first and foremost, it's -- what you heard from the president is just a determination to provide the kind of leadership from the federal level that says we're going to get our kids back to school, because that's where they belong.

COLLINS (voice-over): While Trump has little control over the majority of school budgets, the federal government could withhold emergency relief funding that educators have said they desperately need to safely reopen. The education secretary said she agrees with the president.

BETSY DEVOS, U.S. SECRETARY OF EDUCATION: They must fully open, and they must be fully operational.

COLLINS: The administration has said it's up to schools and local governments to decide how they reopen, but they struggled to explain why that doesn't also include when.

PENCE: It's just as the president said earlier in this pandemic, that he wanted our places of worship back open again.

COLLINS: New York City's mayor appeared to ignore Trump's threat today and announced that the nation's largest school district won't fully reopen this fall. New York's governor said Trump's threats have no legal basis.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): You're not going to bully New Yorkers. That's not going to happen. Right? Threaten me, threaten me, threaten me. Certainly, there to, me through to me. How many times have we've been through? I'm still here, right?

COLLINS: At the second task force briefing in months, Dr. Anthony Fauci was noticeably absent. Yesterday, Trump openly criticized Fauci during an interview.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Doctor Fauci said, Don't wear masks, and now he says, Wear them. And you know, he said numerous things. Don't close off China. Don't ban China. And I did it anyway. I sort of didn't listen to my experts, and I banned China. We would have been in much worse shape.

COLLINS (on camera): So instead of attending that meeting at the Department of Education with the other members of the task force who were there, Dr. Anthony Fauci was told to watch it via teleconference here at the White House in the Situation Room. That, of course, is why he was not subsequently at that briefing.

And when the press secretary was later asked if the president still has confidence in Dr. Fauci, she did not say yes but said he has confidence in the consensus of his medical advisers.

Kaitlan Collins, CNN, the White House.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PAULA NEWTON, CNN ANCHOR: And for some insight here, we go to Angela Rasmussen. She's a neurologist at the -- at Columbia University. She joins me now this hour from Washington.

And we have to touch on the schools, right? This has been such an agonizing few weeks for parents, especially in the United States, but right around the world.

And I just want to preface this by saying we have heard so much from studies that, while you know, kids perhaps are not at risk the way adults are, that people are worried that, in fact, they still can spread this virus. And there have been conflicting studies about that, to be honest.

What do you think the data so far, the studies so far, tell us about a safe return to school for children?

ANGELA RASMUSSEN, NEUROLOGIST, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: Well, you're absolutely right that the data has been conflicting about whether children can spread the virus. But we do know that they can certainly become infected with it. And in rare cases, they can develop this multi system inflammatory disease that can be very serious and, in some rare cases, even lethal for children. So it's not completely safe to open schools for kids.

But it's certainly not safe right now to open schools in especially the places where there are these hotspots, where there are cases surging. And it's really not going to be completely safe to open schools until the community transmission that is out-of-control gets back under control and we flatten that curve.

The reason for that is that schools don't exist in a bubble separate from the rest of the community. They're part of the community. And so if there's out-of-control community transmission going on, that's going to affect the people in the schools, both potentially the children, the people in their households, as well as the faculty and staff at those schools.

NEWTON: So just to make a fine point of it, you are clear. If you are sitting in Arizona right now, in Florida, if the caseload is as high as it is right now, or if you're sitting in other places around the world that are having, unfortunately, many new positive cases a day, you're saying it's not safe yet to send kids to school.

RASMUSSEN: It's really not, because we don't know enough about children's abilities to transmit the virus to other people in their household. People like grandparents, people who may have other pre- existing medical conditions who may be very vulnerable to this.

Because there is so much community transmission, and because children aren't existing in a bubble that is separate from the rest of the community, opening schools is basically reopening another environment that is enclosed, where there is an increased risk of transmission, where children are for long periods of time. And that is really a very dangerous risk. We're actually seeing the results of that kind of reopening in states like California, Texas, and Florida right now.

NEWTON: Yes. And, you know, I have to kind of backtrack and just really hang on to what you just said about that, because people will remember that the reason the lockdowns happened early on was to try and get the caseload down so that the curve would be crushed so that it would be safe for the kids to return to school in August and September.

[00:35:10]

Listen, the Texas Medical Association released some helpful information on what they determined to be risky and safe behavior. You know, it's not maybe much a surprise in terms of what isn't risky. You know, you can pump gasoline. You can even play tennis, go camping, and get groceries, which is a good thing. Go for a walk and all of that.

I want to talk -- talk to you about the riskier behaviors. You know, really high on the list is going to a bar, is going to the gym, is going to a buffet. And yet, these things are going on.

RASMUSSEN: Yes, so that really is the problem with why cases are surging in some places. Because even though we flattened the curve in some places, you know, we crushed the curve. We brought community transmission way down. That doesn't mean we eradicated it from the community.

And even a little bit of community transmission, low levels, when you open up these high-risk behaviors such as going to a bar, for example. Going to a bar checks off all the high-risk boxes, or higher risk boxes. It's usually indoors. They can be tightly packed. People aren't wearing masks. They might be drinking, so they may be less inhibited and less willing to observe physical distancing as carefully as they would be, and they may be spending long periods of time there.

All of those different activities are -- they increase your risk of transmission, or of transmitting it to others. So opening those activities, while we still have some level of community transmission, without increasing our ability to test, trace, and isolate cases when they come up, is really why states like Arizona, Texas and Florida are where they are now and why many other states that have maybe reopened more slowly but have opened those indoor activities are also seeing surges in cases. NEWTON: I want to talk to you about some of the things that some

people might be fuzzy about. So on this list, it's actually pretty much as risky to attend a backyard barbecue as it is to eat dinner at someone else's house. I mean, why?

And I have to say this is what people are really battling with. Right? They don't know what to do, what they can do and what they can't do.

RASMUSSEN: So that list is great in some ways. I think it's really good to help people understand that there are different levels of risk.

But also, there are very different kinds of backyard barbecues. So perhaps a backyard barbecue with one other family in which everybody is being very cautious to maintain that physical distance, in which they're wearing masks when they're not eating, in which they are moving around outside, they're not in really close physical proximity to one another, that's probably much safer than a really crowded backyard barbecue, that has 30 to 50 people where people are going in and out and talking to each other without masks, and perhaps drinking a lot so they're not as conscious of the physical distancing measures they need to take.

So people really need to think about that as not all backyard barbecues, but to really think about the type of behavior that they're engaging in when they're doing any sort of activity.

And there are things that we know can reduce risk. So maintaining the physical distance, wearing a mask whenever possible, that reduces the risk for everybody else around you, not so much for yourself. But if everybody is wearing a mask, it reduces the risk for everybody.

Maintaining good hand hygiene, that's still very important. And trying to be outside and to move around as much as possible. Because if you're not standing close in somebody's face for a long period of time, you're going to be exposed to less of their respiratory, droplets and you're going to have a lower risk of either contracting the disease or spreading it to somebody else if you don't know that you're sick.

NEWTON: Yes. Some of these decisions that people are making literally by the hour in their daily lives. You know, tough calls all around, and why we appreciate your expertise.

Angela Rasmussen, thanks so much for giving us your insights there.

RASMUSSEN: My pleasure, Paula.

NEWTON: Now Japan is mobilizing tens of thousands of first responders to help search-and-rescue efforts amid very dangerous flash flooding. So far, at least 57 people have been killed after days of torrential rain in southern Japan. Journalist Kaori Enjoji has the details.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KAORI ENJOJI, JOURNALIST (voice-over): Devastating scenes in southwestern Japan. Days of torrential rain have brought multiple landslides and caused rivers to overflow.

The area has seen some of the most severe flooding in years. Dozens have died. Homes and property have been destroyed. This is the scene from the air along the Kumagawa River, homes ripped from their foundation, cars strewn around, the aftermath of what was certainly a nightmare for many.

Survivors pick through the rubble Wednesday, trying to salvage what was left of their belongings. The government has mobilized tens of thousands of first responders.

YOSHIHIDE SUGA, JAPANESE CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY: About 80,000 members from the police, fire department, and Japan Coast Guard are on a search-and-rescue mission. Our policy is saving people's lives, first, and we will make our very best effort in our mission.

[00:40:12]

ENJOJI: A local gym in one neighborhood has been turned into a rescue shelter. COVID-19 is not far from the minds of those here. Cardboard partitions separate the more than 200 evacuees in an effort to ensure social distancing.

Signs are displayed, reminding people to wear masks and take their temperature each morning. This 48-year-old nurse says she had no intention of leaving home.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): When I opened the front door to have my dog pee and poo, it was like a river. It was a view I have never seen before.

ENJOJI: But when she did, other than people gathering for chats, she says she hasn't been too concerned about COVID-19.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): The fact that there have been no coronavirus patients in this area proves that we are doing the best we can for prevention.

ENJOJI: Heavy rains are forecast over large areas of the country through Friday, and more flooding and landslide warnings are still in place in several areas.

Kaori Enjoji, for CNN, Tokyo.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

NEWTON: Mary Trump's tell-all book about the U.S. president is due out Tuesday, but the president's brother reportedly is making a last-ditch attempt to block it. Close friend of Mary Trump talks to CNN. That's next.

And after a four-month absence, Major League Soccer returns, kind of. We'll explain.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) NEWTON: The brother of U.S. President Donald Trump reportedly is making a last-ditch effort to try and stop their niece's tell-all book from publishing.

Now Mary Trump's book, which is entitled, "Too Much and Never Enough," is set to go on sale Tuesday in the United States, but an attorney for the president's brother is asking a judge to continue a gag order against the author, saying her personal stories are not protected political free speech.

In the book, Mary Trump says, among other claims, that Donald Trump paid a friend named Joe Shapiro to take the SAT college admissions test for him.

Now, my colleague Erin Burnett asked a close friend of Mary Trump about that.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: So everyone has been talking about this Joe Shapiro, and they found this Joe Shapiro who went to the University of Pennsylvania with Trump. And his wife, the former professional tennis player, Pam Shriver, says there's no way it was him. He, of course, has passed away.

Can you clear this up for us? Is that the Joe Shapiro that May is alleging did this, or is it someone else?

ALICE FRANKSTON, FRIEND AND CONFIDANT OF MARY TRUMP: It's not the Joe Shapiro. And the media has kind of zeroed in on Pam Shriver's late

husband. The time line doesn't match up, and it wouldn't be logical, because the incident would have happened when Mary's uncle was at Fordham. And this Joe Shapiro and Mary's uncle would have been at Penn at the same time. So it doesn't really match up, and that's not the one.

[00:45:12]

BURNETT: Right. So you're saying they hadn't even met at this point?

FRANKSTON: Shapiro is a really common name on the East Coast. Really common.

BURNETT: Yes, which I think is a fair point to make. It is.

So -- so the White House says this whole claim is absurd, completely false. Those are their words. Does Mary stand by this allegation of this -- this Joe Shapiro taking the SATs for Donald Trump?

FRANKSTON: Yes, absolutely. She wouldn't have written that otherwise. These are her accounts, which of course, it would be better if she could speak for herself, but she's been silenced in an unprecedented way.

She's a truthful person, always has been. These are her accounts that come from her conversations with sources, including family members. So yes, of course she stands by it.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

NEWTON: Brian Stelter joins me now. He is CNN chief media correspondent and anchor of "RELIABLE SOURCES."

Brian, so good to see you, especially as this book has now kind of come out. I know, I guess we call it a soft launch. What is interesting here is this is really from the family circle.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT/ANCHOR: Yes.

NEWTON: I mean, you really -- to put a fine point on it, it is betrayal, writ large. What did we learn?

STELTER: Betrayal, and on many levels, a very sad story. Because this is a member of Donald Trump's own family saying he's a failure who is haunted by his father's legacy, always trying to impress his dead father. You know, there are elements of Shakespeare and other sorts of theatrical tragedies layered in this book, which showed up on my doorstep yesterday.

I think the publisher wants this book to be out there in the press ahead of the release date next Tuesday, because there's still a court battle going on about whether Mary Trump can ever actually speak publicly, whether she can go on TV, whether she can give interviews.

But in the meantime, her manuscript is her way of speaking out. And it is -- it's sensational, and as I said, sad read, because you hear a family member of the president saying the family was dysfunctional that this man is cruel, that he objectifies women. I know all these claims were made by others by but never by a member of the president's own family before.

NEWTON: Yes, and that's key here. And she is a clinical psychologist, and she speaks --

STELTER: That's right.

NEWTON: Her voice in the book is one of authority. Right?

STELTER: Right. And she talks about whether the president suffers from a variety of possible disorders. She says she's not diagnosing him, and she says the president would never sit down and do all the tests that would be necessary for such a diagnosis.

But she talks about narcissism and his egomania. She talks about whether he has a reading disorder, because he doesn't take in information. And these are claims that she says she is sharing, based on firsthand experience with the president.

Now, there's been a lot of armchair psychiatrists out there, trying to guess about the president for the past three years. I think a lot of foreign governments have done the same thing. But again, now you have a member of the own -- of the family doing this for the first time. And as you said, it's a betrayal. And I think the president's probably

taking this very personally. And that's partly why there's been this legal attempt to stop the book.

NEWTON: And I want to ask you. We've had a parade of books. I mean, you know, John Bolton just went on a tour. I think he's continuing. The longest book tour I've ever seen.

But here's the thing, Brian. I find with a lot of these revelations, these are things that people already assume are true about the president, and more than that, it does not change the mind of his supporters anyway.

STELTER: I agree with you. It does not change the minds of most Americans, or most people in the rest of the world, for that matter.

But I do think when you read a member of the family saying, This guy is a sociopath, this guy is an egomaniac, this guy is dangerous, I think that that could -- that could be a motivator, not for Trump voters but for anti-Trump voters. A book like this could be a motivator in the general election. Yet another reason for people to want to go out and support Joe Biden.

I'm just guessing, and I'm kind of in my own armchair now, as an armchair political analyst. But I think books like this, books like Bolton's, they -- they provide more and more evidence to the Biden campaign. And if I were Biden's campaign, I might be calling Mary Trump, asking her to come out on the virtual campaign trail.

NEWTON: Yes, it's such a good point. I'm going to join you in the armchair now, Brian, and say that that's it, right? Getting turnout. I mean, people say they're not voting for Joe Biden, they're voting against Donald Trump.

STELTER: Right.

NEWTON: But if you want turnout, a book like this might make the difference.

STELTER: And there's going to be more books like this between now and November. Almost every week. Some from reporters, some from former members of the Trump inner circle. You know, Bob Woodward is working on one. There's a bunch of these coming up. Some of them are pro- Trump, but a lot of these books are about Trump's flaws and failures.

And I do think, you know, does any single new revelation matter? Not a lot. But does the drip, drip, drip every day matter? It might. I don't know.

[00:50:09]

NEWTON: Brian, you've got a lot of reading ahead of you. That's all I have to say.

STELTER: We do. You both -- we do, too. Thanks.

NEWTON: Brian, thanks so much. Really good to see you.

STELTER: Thanks. You, too.

NEWTON: Now a former F1 champ announces a surprise return. Fernando Alonso speaks to CNN about Renaud and romance when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

NEWTON: No fans, no problem. A baseball team in Japan decided to roll out these dancing robots. Their moves look better than mine, unfortunately. That's because coronavirus restrictions, of course, are keeping fans out of their stadium.

The robot cheerleaders, even the ones that look like dogs -- yes, you see them there -- were wearing the home team's gear. It's somewhere between cute and -- come on, let's face it -- It's a bit creepy. But I'll let you guys judge.

Later this week in Japan, up to 5,000 spectators will be allowed into pro baseball and soccer games as the rules are starting to loosen.

Not sure what they're going to do with the robots at that point in time, but we'll see.

North American -- meantime, North American Major League Soccer says it is back. But that's only partly true. Just one of two scheduled matches took place on reopening night. The other was postponed, due to players testing positive for coronavirus.

Orlando City and Inter Miami did face off, becoming the first professional men's teams in North America to compete since the pandemic put everything on hold.

Orlando, in case you were wondering, Orlando won 2 to 1.

Now, before the match, a powerful moment. Players raised their fists to honor the Black Lives Matter movement, and some took a knee, along with referees, for eight minutes and 46 seconds. That's, of course, the same length of time that a white police officer kneeled on the neck of George Floyd, who later died.

Now to motor sports. Two years after bidding farewell to Formula 1, two-time champion Fernando Alonso is now making a comeback. The veteran racer confirms he will return next year and that he's re- joining his former team, Renaud.

Alonso spoke to CNN's Amanda Davies.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

FERNANDO ALONSO, FORMULA 1 DRIVER: Obviously, it's a very happy day. I think when I left Formula 1, I thought that it could be easier to come back in 2021 with the new rules. Those rules were delayed by one year because of the virus.

So you know, I have some -- some thoughts, but I think the possibility of being in 2021, already with the team, training for myself. I'm also building the momentum for 2022, was the best thing to do. I feel fresh after one year and a half out of Formula 1, not so much traveling. I've been able to train. I've been able to breathe a little bit out of Formula 1, because after 18 consecutive Formula 1 seasons, which are quite demanding, I think I needed that time out. And I come back now stronger than ever.

AMANDA DAVIES, CNN WORLD SPORT: How much of the romantic in you played a decision -- played a part in this decision? In terms of it being Renaud, the team that I know you've so often spoken about as providing your happiest, your best Formula 1 memories?

[00:55:12]

ALONSO: Always romantic is a factor on these type of decisions. And I think coming back to Renaud is -- is a plus for me. Because I know the people in the team. I know a lot of members that they were on my time, a couple of years ago.

And also the commitment that Renaud made about Formula 1 and the future that the team has now, I think it was important. 2022 rules are also -- will bring some fairness to the sport. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) I think the competition will be closer. The car is meant to be a little bit also easier to follow. And I think the show on the track will be -- will be better. So there were a lot of things that, you know, were in one direction. And I chose that one.

DAVIES: You are somebody who loves winning, aren't you? I mean, we've talked about that.

ALONSO: I hate losing. I think -- I love winning. But you know, I don't like to lose at anything. You know, and it would be -- it would be hard. You know, especially in 2021. We know where the cars are now. We know the performance. And next year there's a little bit of carry- over from -- from this year. So I'm aware that, you know, we will have to work a lot, and we will have to slowly improve the car. But you know, I'm ready to -- to take that challenge.

DAVIES: How many more years have we got of you, then?

ALONSO: I think 10, 12.

We will see. Look, when I was 25 or 28, I thought maybe three or four more years, Formula 1 would be enough. But now at 38, for whatever reason, I developed, you know, more skills. I -- with different -- driving in different cars, different categories, learning different driving styles.

I said before, I feel fresh now, ready for traveling. Ready for doing different things, work at the simulator. So I feel, like, better now than when I was 25. So I cannot tell not that it's only two or three years more in me. You know, maybe there are more. I don't know.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

NEWTON: And that was Amanda Davies for us. I can't imagine how excited his fans are.

Thank you for watching. I'm Paula Newton. CNN NEWSROOM is back after a quick break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

END