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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
President Trump Speaks as Stimulus Talks Collapse, Says Pandemic is Disappearing As U.S. Nears 161,000 Deaths; All New York Schools Cleared To Reopen; Teacher To Minnesota Governor: "I'm Scared"; Georgia School Reverses Suspension Of Teen Who Shared Viral Photo Of Hallway Packed With Students; 8-Year-Old Boy Survives Mystery Illness Linked To COVID-19; U.S. Intel Official: China, Russia And Iran Trying To Interfere With Presidential Election. Aired on 8-9p ET
Aired August 7, 2020 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening.
We start tonight with breaking news. President Trump right now speaking from his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, about the coronavirus relief bill. Talks that appear to have collapsed in Washington. If he takes questions, we'll bring it to you live.
However, on a day the government reported the economy gained 1.8 million jobs in July but with unemployment rates still above 10 percent, the president's moments ago lashed out at Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer for pushing for budget items he says have nothing to do with the virus. However, he suggested he's still open to a deal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My administration continues to work in good faith to reach an agreement with Democrats in Congress that will extend unemployment benefits, provide protections against evictions. A terrible thing happens with evictions, not fair. It wasn't their fault that we were infected with this disease from China and get relief to American families.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: We're joined now by Jim Acosta at the White House, also Maggie Haberman, Sanjay Gupta.
Jim, can you just lay out the president's -- what he's saying the plan from his side is? He's not actually enacting executive action. He's just saying what he will do if Congress doesn't reach an agreement, is that correct?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's what it sounds like so far, Anderson, based on the president's remarks. He's laying down, essentially, another warning to Democrats up on Capitol Hill that if they don't come to an agreement with White House officials on some kind of way forward on a coronavirus relief bill that he's going to take executive action.
He's talking about suspending the payroll tax that Americans pay in their paychecks. He's talking about extending these enhanced unemployed benefits, as well as putting in place some kind of moratorium on evictions in this country.
It's unclear how the president could do any of those things for executive action, which may be one of the reasons why he didn't take those actions this evening.
But it's worth pointing out the president was continuing to engage in this sort of magical suspension of reality during this press conference. He was talking about how the virus is disappearing. He was describing testing in this country as tremendous even though people wait sometimes a week or longer to get test results for the coronavirus and so on.
So, I think, Anderson, we're seeing more of the same from this president. It's another day that ends in Y.
COOPER: Maggie, I'm wondering your reaction to the press conference. It seems like starting out it would be the president actually announcing some executive actions. Now, it just seems like it's him and again, it's kind of unclear him just threatening to.
MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. He hasn't gotten to questions yet, Anderson. So, so far, I don't think we've heard anything new from him. He's not threatening to use executive action and presidential authority, some kind, to enact measures that will provide relief to people who are suffering because of the coronavirus.
But again, it's not clear as Jim says what actual power he has to do any of this. I do think there are people who are concerned in the president's orbit about an overly broad use of presidential power that's not really something that appeals to the president's base of support.
And also, look, I don't know what a great image it is if you're the president, this conversation is going on in Washington. We're condemning leaders who were still in Washington having these conversations. The president has basically been a bystander for most of these discussions, not involved, and now he's delivering a speech or press conference or whatever it is from his private club with members looking on.
So holding glasses of wine as people face threats of eviction and getting laid off. I don't -- I understand his aides want him to seize on what they see as presidential moments. I'm not sure this is the way to do it.
COOPER: And, Maggie, one of the things he's pushing is the payroll tax cut, which is not something really Republicans, certainly Democrats don't want it, there's not a lot of fans for -- by -- among Republicans on Capitol Hill.
HABERMAN: Anderson, that's exactly right. This is not something Republicans wanted. The president has tried to hoist this on Republicans for many weeks now.
There is not an interest among the Republican caucus and it really does speak to the fact, again, as I said, the president has been sort of a bystander to most of these negotiations but he's also separate from his own party in terms of these negotiations, something he wants a moratorium on evictions will appeal to a lot of people. I understand why he's pushing that but that wasn't part of the Republican's initial offer.
COOPER: You know, Sanjay, though, as you and I have discussed this many times and as Jim mentioned, the president has been, you know, since the beginning saying this is just going to magically disappear and leave our shores, et cetera, et cetera. He said it tonight in a kind of way that someone he really leaned into it and sort of made it seem like it's a done deal. It's disappearing. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You need a magic want to get manufacturing jobs and we're getting them even in a pandemic, which is disappearing.
It's going to disappear.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Is it disappearing? Going to disappear?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: I mean, it's clearly not. I mean, the numbers are going up. I mean, this is one of those types of things, Anderson, where there is numbers and there's data and there's objective sort of things to look at here and the numbers are going up and, frankly, the numbers because we've had inadequate testing have gone up far more than we realize according to some of these studies as you know well, Anderson. I mean, we talk about 5 million people potentially being infected. Those are the confirmed infections. It can be five to ten times higher than that.
So, no, it's a contagious virus and we didn't -- because we didn't contain it and we still have not contained it, it just continues to spread. Not going away.
COOPER: And, Sanjay, Maggie mentioned the numbers of people who are kind of in -- you know, brought into this room to watch the president make this. It looks like folks out golfing, this is them, I believe, it was -- these are pictures that were tweeted out. You see some kids there. You see a lot of older adults.
There were a couple of people wearing masks but really most people were not and they were all obviously milling around and talking with each other above the New Jersey indoor gathering capacity limit, which is supposed to be no more than 25 people gathered. There were more than that there. When these pictures were tweeted out, all of a sudden, people from the
campaign handed out masks so by the time the president got there, masks had been handed out because clearly -- or actually, we're told it was somebody from the club, not the campaign. Excuse me, somebody from the club handed out the masks.
Clearly, you know, they were aware these pictures were being tweeted out so they got people to put on masks. What do you make of an indoor gathering like this?
GUPTA: As you point out, first of all, just according to the law in New Jersey, you're not supposed to have 25 percent capacity or more than 25 people and there is a mask ordinance, my understanding there as well. There is the legal part of it.
But, you know, to your point, Anderson, the idea is people don't think this is real. They're not physically distancing. They weren't wearing masks until they had to. They don't think this is real. They put masks on because they have to. They have to placate people.
So, it's stunning to me. I mean, I see images like this on social media and other gatherings and stuff like that all the time. In clear defiance often times of what the law is or ordinance is but more of a suggestion that even with so many people who become infected and so many people who have died, there is a significant percentage of people that don't believe this is real. They're not going to get it. It doesn't affect them, somebody else.
COOPER: Yes, 160,000, somebody else's.
Jim, the president saying Congress needs to act. The talks have collapsed. Been no progress, where do negotiations go from here?
ACOSTA: It's a very good question and I'm just hearing from a White House official here in the last couple minutes the president is not expected to sign any kind of executive actions this evening, and so, it is essentially a continuation of the threat of executive action.
He did say he was going to take some executive action later on next week with respect to health care saying he's going to sign an executive order mandating that insurance companies cover people with preexisting conditions. Again, it's one of those situations where we're going to have to wait and see if that's ultimately what the president really does end up doing.
But in terms of where they stand now, I mean, Democrats up on Capitol Hill, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, they came out of the talks essentially saying they're potentially a trillion dollars or more dollars apart from White House officials, the White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. If there's anything that they agree on this week, they agree they are very far apart.
So, while the White House wants what they call more of a skinny agreement, which is basically extending these enhanced unemployment benefits and that sort of thing, Democrats would like to see aid to states and counties to pay forget getting kids back to school in a safer way and so on, and the president dug his heels in and said no, he doesn't want to cover that thing.
One interesting thing to talk about, Anderson, to pick up on what Maggie was talking about, concern about the president taking executive action, you have to go back, Anderson, and look during the 2016 campaign, then candidate Trump went off on President Barack Obama for taking executive action on a whole slew of issues including immigration.
And so, to some extent if the president does this, he'll look like a hypocrite on that issue, Anderson.
COOPER: Although, Maggie, the number of things that have been hypocritical, obviously, is quite long. But this, these alleged executive actions he has already done a number of executive actions and to Jim's point, he was -- he and frankly many Republicans on Capitol Hill, of course, when President Obama was doing executive actions were outraged.
HABERMAN: I guess I don't understand how the president thinks that he's going to help the court cases that have been taking place related to the Affordable Care Act and preexisting conditions and whether those should be covered as he's going to sign an executive order saying they should be covered.
These executive orders he keeps talking about signing, with the exception of the runs related to tech platforms that came yesterday, those did have a little bit of meat on the bones it seems. But in general, these have been, you know, often times things that he has signed and they haven't had much by way.
I think that if you are the president and I understand again as I said before why he's pushing an eviction moratorium, I understand why he's doing it. He's a former landlord, current landlord. So, I understand why he's saying that.
But if he doesn't actually go through with it, if you don't give relief to people and holding this out. That is going to rebound and for more conservative supporters, to your question, who don't like federal government over reach and objected to Obama using executive authority, I understand the president has often flip-flopped on things, but his voters might get tired of it. So, we'll see.
COOPER: Jim Acosta, Maggie Haberman, Sanjay, thanks. Sanjay, stay there.
As we said earlier during the president's new conference, he said the pandemic is disappearing. You heard that. Also, we want to show you photos again of Bedminster's patrons gathered around before the news conference. This one comes from a reporter with "Reuters".
Bedminster patrons gathered at the golf club clearly not social distancing, wearing masks. The same reporter noted that the White House staff began handing out masks which occurred after reporters began tweeting out pictures of the lack of the mask wearing.
Joining us now, Dr. Judith Feinberg, who's asked the White House in a letter to mandate mask across the country. She's a fellow of Infectious Diseases Society of America, also chair of the HIV Medicine Association. And CNN chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, is back.
Dr. Feinberg, you know, you'd like to see masks across America as would many people, particularly those people who are currently wearing masks and wish everybody was on board with that. What do you make of what you saw in Bedminster before they were suddenly handed masks?
DR. JUDITH FEINBERG, FELLOW, INFECTIOUS DISEASES SOCIETY OF AMERICA: I thought that was extremely discouraging. Being an infectious disease physician, I think that universal masks are the most effective tool we have right now in addition to social distancing to get any control of this terrible pandemic.
As you already noted, next week, we'll have 5 million cases in the United States. We have already had exceeded 160,000 deaths. That's just an awful lot of people.
Models suggest that by the end of the year if things don't change. We'll have lost 300,000 lives. That is just a stunning loss. And there is an urgent need for a clear and consistent national help to slow the spread of the coronavirus. I seen something in every city and county should be making their own decisions about.
COOPER: And, Dr. Feinberg, we see the person now handing out masks to people. It's extraordinary to me and Sanjay and I had a town hall about this. We talked to Chris Murray that does models for this, for one organization, you know, and he was saying with the 300,000 figure by December, you know, that 75,000 lives could be saved, or 77,000 lives could be saved if 95 percent of these people wore masks from now until then, which is extraordinary when you think about it you can quantify.
And, you can say to somebody, you know what, if you and your neighbors and the people around you and other people across the country just stand up and be responsible and be good citizens and do this, however inconvenient and itchy or annoying it might be, you know, you will save 70,000 plus people.
It's stunning to me not everyone would be on board with that and stunning to me, Dr. Feinberg, that -- talk about clear messages, the president again tonight blithely saying, you know, it's going to disappear. It's disappearing already.
FEINBERG: Well, he's been saying that for a while.
FEINBERG: But I think that -- you know, I think that we saw that national guidance can make a difference, that when the White House issued its 15 days to slow the spread campaign in March, that had an impact. I think a majority of Americans want this, I think that even areas people thought were, quote/unquote, safe, like rural areas are clearly suffering from the spread of the coronavirus.
And as a result, the Infectious Diseases Society of America is calling on this administration to issue a strong federal directive that really, really sends for action for statewide mask requirements.
You know, there are 16 states that still have no requirements. You get in your car and drive ten miles to the other side of the border and be in the next state and things are completely different and I think that when you're facing a national public health problem, tragedy like this, we all need to be in this together.
FEINBERG: -- not piecemealing it.
COOPER: Sanjay -- sorry.
FEINBERG: The same --
FEINBERG: It's not a sense of working together as a society to do something.
COOPER: Yeah. I mean, Sanjay, you and I have talked about this, the messaging a all over the place from the White House and clearly the president wants it that way. I mean, he wants -- he's not -- you know, he undercut his own task forces very clear guidelines and recommendations.
GUPTA: Yeah, I mean, it's been chaotic. I think, you know, I've been talking to people all day today different health officials in different states and a lot of people still try to figure out what to do with schools. They don't have clear guidance as you and I have talked about with various officials, but there is still as Dr. Feinberg said, very different sort of policies and I would even say different at attitudes towards different public health measures like masks.
In some place, I imagine, Anderson, where you are because it got frankly so bad there, places have to red line and hospitals have to become overwhelmed and people have to near panic before they say, OK, we'll do this now. We're starting to see some of that in the South now.
Now, that shouldn't be what it takes, you know? I mean, these lessons have been painfully learned so many times but they're still not being remembered and that's obviously a huge problem.
COOPER: And, I mean, as you say, Sanjay, in New York, I'm hardened going out today walking around just the sheer numbers of people wearing masks if they didn't have the mask on, they had it hanging over the ear because they were talking to somebody on a block that wasn't busy at all.
So, again, maybe it is just places where people have actually seen the death toll. They have seen what can happen but it shouldn't take that. I mean, people wear seat belts and it's mandated and you know what? People grumbled about it when it happened and now it normalized.
GUPTA: Yeah, totally. You paint the picture where you are and I will tell you where I am, it's a different sort of picture, Anderson. I mean, wear mask everywhere that I go, as you might imagine and I get funny looks, you know, around people are questioning why you're wearing it. Do they think it's a political statement often. Not everybody. There is a lot of that that happens and you can see exactly that difference.
You know, same country, same time, same pandemic, very different attitudes towards a basic public health measure like this.
So, I mean, it's painful to say but it does seem like people do need to get to that point where they have to be confronted with this or slapped across the face with the reality before the change happens.
COOPER: Yeah, I want to bring in Jeff Mason from "Reuters" who was in the room at Bedminster before and after the masks were handed out.
Jeff, if you can explain what you saw happening. I mean, who was this crowd? How many people were there? How were they brought there and how were the masks handed out?
JEFF MASON, REPORTER, REUTERS (via telephone): Sure, Anderson.
There were several dozen people who came and they were present here at the president's golf club resort. We saw them coming down the stairs from the top floor and entering into the room where the press conference was held before the press was brought then. Then the press was brought in and we were preparing for the press conference. They did not have masks on initially and then after that and before the president walked in, masks were handed out and they did put them on.
But there were -- I mean, we figured there were at least 100 people between those visitors, the press, Secret Service and White House staff in this room.
COOPER: Right, which is obviously more than -- you're not supposed to have gathering of more than 25 people in New Jersey by law. A reporter asked the president about the president said it disappearing, it's going to disappear. A reporter I know asked him about how it's disappearing when 6,000 people died this week. What did he say?
MASON: Yeah, he was asked about that and he sort of brushed that off and he was also asked a terrific question about the issue we're talking about, which is setting the example with this many people in this room and that led him to say, no, there are exceptions for political activity, which is true in New Jersey. But it is interesting he calls this official White House press
conference a political event. It was not a rally. It was put together by the White House but it sort of was turning into that and he referenced that.
And he also called it a peaceful protest. Again, as a justification for the group of people that were allowed to be in this room without social distancing.
COOPER: Jeff Mason, appreciate your reporting. Thank you very much.
And, Dr. Judith Feinberg, I want to thank you.
Also, Sanjay is going to stick around.
Just ahead, our Randi Kaye on just how reliable coronavirus testing is or isn't. That when we continue.
COOPER: Updating our breaking news tonight. Moments ago, President Trump speaking from his golf club in New Jersey, said the coronavirus is disappearing, citing no evidence. It's not happening.
Another controversy tonight, this time over the accuracy of some coronavirus testing. On Thursday, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine was scheduled to meet with visiting President Trump in Cleveland, positive coronavirus test prevented the meeting and then Governor DeWine later said that a more sensitive test was conducted. He was negative.
Our Randi Kaye now with the confusion sometimes caused by testing.
TRUMP: We have the best testing anywhere in the world.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If that's true, why are so many coronavirus test results wrong?
MICHAEL OSTERHOLM, UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA: The FDA basically has created a "wild, wild west" environment for this testing where under their approval process and emergency basis, they have tests on the market that basically have a very, very wide range of results.
KAYE: Part of the trouble with the standard nasal swab test is the virus isn't always lurking in the nasal passage so a swab test may show the person is virus free, even though the virus might be in the lungs or maybe the intestines.
OSTERHOLM: The quality of these tests right now vary a great deal. And that's a challenge in terms of understanding if you get a negative result, is it really negative.
KAYE: Other factors that could affect the accuracy of the test include the stage of the disease. A Boston pathologist tells CNN there is window of about one week to catch the virus. Human error in administering the tests and how the swab is transported may also lead to a false negative.
(on camera): On top of all the inaccuracies, results are often delayed. Here in Florida, residents have waited days, sometimes weeks to get results, possibly allowing the virus to spread, which is why there is so much excitement about the so-called rapid tests, which return results in just minutes.
(voice-over): There are several rapid tests on the market but the president toted this one in March.
TRUMP: The FDA authorized a new test developed by Abbott Labs that delivers lightning fast results in as little as five minutes. That's a whole new ball game.
KAYE: Trouble is, Abbott's ID Now rapid test used at the White House has proven to be less accurate. Back in May, researchers at NYU found Abbott's rapid test returned a false negative nearly 50 percent of the time so they deemed it unacceptable for their patients.
On its website, Abbott said the NYU study is inconsistent with others that show Abbott's ID Now is more reliable. The FDA has received 176 reports of adverse events related to Abbott's ID Now test, ten state health agencies told CNN in July they specifically recommend or require individuals who test negative on the Abbott rapid device be retested.
Still, some experts including scientists believe despite the inaccuracies rapid tests have shown, it's still better to have more tests. Quantity over quality they say may be our best hope.
Randi Kaye, CNN, Palm Beach, Florida.
COOPER: Sanjay is back to talk about testing.
So, the test the White House is using to prevent people with COVID come in contact with the president is not 100 percent accurate. Possibly, do we know how accurate it is and in your opinion is that an acceptable level of risk for the president?
GUPTA: Well, you know, there is two things that's interesting because Governor DeWine had this test yesterday because he's going to meet with the president and the test he called is called an antigen test. You look that up. That's specific accuracy on that is around 80 percent.
You know, there's different studies, but that's a pretty good number, which means 20 percent of the time it gives a false negative, OK? So that means someone actually has the virus but are told they don't have the virus. That's a false negative.
That's obviously a problem, right, Anderson? Because if that's a test they are using, someone could easily test negative and still have the virus, which makes the case, I mean, this is obvious, but you can't rely on the test alone. It's helpful, but it's not perfect, so people still got to wear masks, they still got to keep their physical distance.
Ideally if this test result comes back positive, that's a pretty good indicator that you in fact do have the virus. It a lot lower false positive rate. Those people need to be isolated. Contacts traced, all that sort of stuff, that's how you bring down the overall trajectory of the outbreak.
COOPER: The governor had a -- I assume had a false positive.
GUPTA: Well, we don't -- I mean, his story is confusing because he had an antigen test which again they had a very false negative about 20 percent, but the false positive is pretty low actually on those.
GUPTA: It one of those things if you find the virus, you can be pretty confident that you, in fact, have the virus. If you don't find the virus --
COOPER: I see.
GUPTA: -- then you just -- you didn't find it. It doesn't necessarily mean you don't have it. It means you didn't find it if that makes sense.
So his story is a little confusing.
COOPER: Yeah, are there better testing options available for the White House?
GUPTA: Yeah, I mean, it is a situation now two things. I was doing reporting on this today. First of all, you do trade speed and accuracy a little bit. When you increase speed of these tests, you do decrease accuracy a bit and that's part of the issue with these Abbott tests that Randi Kaye was just talking about but also these antigen tests.
But I think, you know, the larger point I think, Anderson, is that we have the same discussion several months ago at that point, Ambassador Birx and others were saying, we're going to have some major big breakthroughs in testing. And they have had more testing types available but we still don't have the really rapid accurate point of location testing.
It can happen. I mean, you can get really high accuracy tests that are much quicker and cheaper and all of that. We just haven't been, you know, creating those.
I mean, there are some tests that we're keeping an eye on that may becoming out getting authorization over the next couple months but, you know, we're six, seven months into this right now.
COOPER: And we've also seen the number of tests that has gone down across the U.S. in recent days. Does that make sense?
GUPTA: No, I mean, you know, demand goes up and the testing goes down. I mean, that's the exact opposite of where it should go. So, it part of this could be that the storms, we're told, may have had an impact on overall testing. We know the hurricane, for example, going up the eastern seaboard, the tropical storm, there's been some it issues, there's been some, IT issues with actually reporting some of the results has been a backlog of tests. So there's different things that have been contributing to this.
But you're right, the overall number of tests have gone down to I think just around 700,000. Now down about 10% as compared to last week.
COOPER: Sanjay, thanks so much appreciate it.
A teacher interrupts the Minnesota governor at a news conference and tells him she's scared. I'll talk to that teacher tonight. Why she did that and what the governor told her, next.
COOPER: More than 4.9 million coronavirus cases in the U.S. and 161,000 deaths. It's understandable that there's a lot of anxiety about opening schools. Here in New York State, that was the epicenter early on. The infection rate has fallen significantly to just 1% of those being tested. That's why today New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced all school districts across the state are cleared to reopen for in-person classes with safety measures in place. And includes New York City Schools for the largest school district is -- the largest school district in the country, which will offer both in person and remote learning options starting next month.
Teachers in New York however and other states have voiced concerns. For example, look at a plea made to Minnesota's governor on Thursday by a middle school teacher in the state.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ELLEN GURROLA, MINNESOTA 8Th GRADE TEACHER: Governor Walz, I'm a teacher and I'm scared. Will you talk to me for two minutes?
GOV. TIM WALZ (D-MN): Thank you Executive Director Fare (ph).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: (INAUDIBLE) I'm scared. That's what the person said. Democratic Governor Tim Walz left the press conferences and talks that teacher. Here you can see her concerns. That teacher Ellen Gurrow -- Gurrola, excuse me, joins us now. Ellen, thanks. Did I totally mangle your last name Ellen?
GURROLA: No, you got it the second time, Ellen Gurrola. Thanks for having me. COOPER: Gurrola, OK, great. Thank you so much. So as schools reopened, there's obviously so much uncertainty, so many real fears. Why did you decide to speak out? Because obviously, you know, so pretty brave thing to do to interrupt the press conference?
GURROLA: Yes, well, I've actually been taking to my -- took my son to the dentist that was in the same building and we got off the elevator, and I saw Walz turning the corner touring the building. And so I thought, oh my gosh, there's Governor Walz. But his security and everything was there. So, I took my son and we walked out. I put him in his car seat. But the whole time I'm thinking, I wish I would have said something. And I even called a teacher friend or texted and said, I just saw Governor Walz, I should have said something. So I turned around, and I thought, OK, what am I actually say?
COOPER: Well you actually turned around and decided to go back and say something during the process. When you finally were able to talk to him what did you say to him? And what are your concerns?
GURROLA: Yes. And so, the main thing is we I've been in teacher of Facebook groups I've been on for just even teachers in our district. And we're also concerned, we feel like we're -- we don't really know, clearly what's happening. We're not really being the communication. We all have so many questions and asking us to go back. We just want schools to be safe. And one these hybrids and things are rolling out. I told Governor Walz I said, you know, it's not necessarily what we thought and we, a lot of us don't feel safe and we want to open but we want to do it safely. And I think he expressed yes, you shouldn't feel that way. Teachers need to feel safe. I shared with him personal stories of teachers in our district who are going back even though they are really high risk. And risking their lives because we still don't know from our district, whether they'll be able to teach from home or on personal leave or not.
COOPER: Right, if you're a teacher who has concerns, you know, for your -- if you one has a medical issue, I mean, can you as a teacher say, you know what, I can't do this. I'd like to teach from home. Is that an option for you?
GURROLA: We're being told, you know, that's why I wanted to talk to Governor Walz because we have a whole thread in some of these Facebook groups, just questions we have from teachers from all over multiple districts saying, I don't understand like, do I have to choose between an income my putting my family at risk, or being able to do what I love, which is teach. And the message that I think we originally thought was you'll be able to do distance learning and many of us like for me childcare, you know, putting other people at risk watch my own child is scary. And so, we I would say we still don't really understand. I know we haven't gotten a clear message from my district. I think some have, but ours is the biggest in the state and we've been kind of confused about what it means, we've been asked for medical histories we. So we don't --
COOPER: When the school open again?
GURROLA: In a couple weeks. Like first week of September, I believe. COOPER: It's going to be so scary.
GURROLA: Yes. And that's where I think when I talked to Walz all that emotion what came out and what you saw was just finally being able to tell someone who had influence like this is what I'm feeling. I want to be back in school, but I want to be safe. And, you know, and that I've read some nasty things about people saying teachers just don't want to work and it's, you know, we want to work all summer. I've been working on over 160 postcards to send to my former students who are going into ninth grade to tell them I'm thinking of them and care about them, that I need to mail.
Like teachers were up all night in these Facebook groups, just saying, does anyone know anything? Do I have to choose between my family? What happens if I get sick?
GURROLA: Who will? And we have so many questions that aren't being answered. And I understand it's new territory for everybody.
COOPER: That would you deserve answers. I mean, it's ridiculous we wouldn't be able to get answers.
COOPER: It's so lovely that you're sending notes to your former students who are going into ninth grade to wish them well. Ellen Gurrola, I just I wish you the best and we'd like to continue checking in with you and I hope you get an answer soon.
GURROLA: Thank you. We appreciate it.
COOPER: Now we're going to Georgia, were schools have reopened to high school student is fought back after coming under fire for posting a photo on social media raising safety concerns. More on than that tonight from our Gary Tuchman.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A jam packed high school hallway, as students many of whom are not wearing masks change classes. Sophomore Hannah Watters took the photo and posted it on Twitter.
HANNAH WATTERS, SOPHOMORE: I took it out of mostly concern and nervousness after seeing the first is a school.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): North Paulding High School in Dallas, Georgia about 45 miles northwest of Atlanta had its first day of school this week. While many schools in the country have or will have mandates from mask wearing, this one does not.
WATTERS: I was concerned for the safety of everyone in that building and everyone in the county.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): After Hannah posted the picture she was told she had been suspended for violating several parts of the school's code of conduct, only one of which she acknowledges breaking, violating students privacy by taking a picture of them and posting it on social media. But she channels the late Georgia congressman and civil hero John Lewis.
WATTERS: I like to say that this is some good unnecessary trouble. So I don't regret this because it's -- it needed to be said.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): School officials have not responded to CNN. But in the letter to parents the superintendent does admit there is no question that the photo does not look good. But he also says he believes the photo is being shown out of context to criticize the school's reopening efforts. And he defends the lack of a mask mandate by making this debatable statement. Wearing a mask is a personal choice, and there is no practical way to enforce a mandate to wear them. And the school's principal made another statement according to Hannah and her mother, a personal one, calling Hannah's mother and telling her the suspension has now been overturned. That a suspension will not appear on her daughter's record.
WATTERS: Behind every teachers, student, and staff member there's a family, there's friends and I would just want to keep everyone safe.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Hannah Watters will be back at school Monday. Gary Tuchman, CNN, Atlanta.
COOPER: Wow. Ahead, an eight year old boy and his mom share his amazing recovery and incredibly difficult and dangerous experience he had linked to COVID-19. He suffered two strokes, had heart surgery and other complications. He's here to tell us about it, next.
COOPER: As the number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. approaches 5 million, we continue to focus on survivors. Tonight we have a story of a very brave and strong young man. His name is Jorden Hutchins. He's eight years old, he came from New York. He's from New York. He came down with multi symptom -- multi system inflammatory syndrome, a rare illness associated with COVID-19. It's found in kids. Jorden face a ton of complications, including heart surgery. He fought to live and it's great. He joins me tonight along with his mom, Beverly.
It's so great to see you both looking so healthy and happy. Beverly, what your family has been through is just staggering. My understanding is I think was May 15th, you come home. Jorden had a fever. You gave them Tylenol. You had a Zoom call with the pediatrician they, you know, they said just watch this fever give him Tylenol. You watched him over the weekend. On and off, the fever continued. Monday, Jorden says I'm having trouble breathing. You say we're going to the hospital. By Tuesday, he's on a ventilator. You I mean, that's so fast. You must have been beside yourself.
BEVERLY HUTCHINS, JORDEN HUTCHINS' MOTHER: I was scared. I was scared. I was, you know, I didn't know what to think. I didn't know what was happening.
COOPER: Because I mean, at that point, everyone was saying, well look kids aren't affected.
B. HUTCHINS: At that point, even I believe that, because the entire family, my husband, my oldest son, we were all sick back in April. And he didn't have any symptoms, any problems anything. And then weeks later, this just started and I thought it would just run its course just like ours did. And -- but no, you know, I rushed him to Maria Fareri's Children's Hospital in Valhalla, New York. And that's when the nightmare began.
COOPER: And Jorden, I mean, everybody knows you is so proud of you, your family, the doctors. I mean, how are you doing? How do you remember your time in the hospital?
JORDEN HUTCHINS, COVID SURVIVOR: Yes.
COOPER: What was the best thing about getting out of the hospital?
J. HUTCHINS: Well, I could see my whole family again, especially my own cat.
COOPER: Oh yes, your cat especially. What's your cat's name?
J. HUTCHINS: Simba.
COOPER: Simba, oh cool. We're seeing video of when you left the hospital it's nice to there's a lot of people like applauding for you. Was there something like special you wanted to eat or do when you got out?
J. HUTCHINS: Yes. After we got out there's a whole parade of firefighters and police officers, and these 12 actually came to.
COOPER: That's so cool. Pizza.
B. HUTCHINS: Pizza.
COOPER: Pizza, yes. OK. So Beverly I mean there's so many unknowns about COVID-19 and multi system inflammatory syndrome in kids. And I know -- you're I believe you're in your healthcare worker as well if I'm not wrong. What is that -- what happened to Jorden, I mean, he gets put on a ventilator. What -- then what, how long did this go on for?
B. HUTCHINS: He -- we were. Let's see the 18th of May is when we went to the hospital. And on the morning, Tuesday morning, the 19th is when they put him on the ventilator, his breathing, it just wasn't getting better. And even with the ventilator it, things were just not happening. And so the doctors, they came to me and they told me that they wanted to put him on an ECMO machine to help to select the machine pump, his lungs and his heart for him, so that he could rest. And so they did that. Everything basically happened in so quickly. The ventilator, the ECMO machine, the heart surgery, the kidney failure, he was on dialysis. His pancreas was inflamed. I mean, everything happened so fast. But it actually turned around that quickly, you know?
So he was on the ventilator from Tuesday, exactly one week, seven days from the time we went to the hospital. The ECMO, I forgot that he had heart surgery as well. Yes and, and two strokes.
COOPER: Oh my god.
B. HUTCHINS: So all of this happened within seven days, within seven days. All of this transpired.
COOPER: Were you able to be with him?
B. HUTCHINS: Yes.
B. HUTCHINS: I am forever grateful.
B. HUTCHINS: To the hospital bed, my husband and I, we were able to Monday through Friday, I was there and then he was able to come on the weekend when I went home, you know. So we will forever, forever grateful. I mean, the most heart wrenching thing is to be not be able to be there with your child or your loved one and -- but not at this hospital. You the parents are able to be there with their kids.
COOPER: And Beverly when you hear, you know, politicians saying, oh, look, kids are immune. It's got to what is it? How does that make you feel?
B. HUTCHINS: Well, like I said in the beginning, I thought, yes, you know, I thought that maybe kids aren't immune until my child, you know, took ill and I don't know, maybe the numbers are not that high. I don't know why they keep saying that. But I know for my son, it was that was not the case. So, yes.
COOPER: What a blessing for -- that you're all, that you're home together. Jorden and Beverly, thank you so much. And Jorden, it's so great to see you and I wish you the best and I hope you got some pizza tonight or you probably --
J. HUTCHINS: Thank you.
COOPER: -- already had something, but -- all right. Thanks very much. I'll see you later.
B. HUTCHINS: Thank you so much. OK.
COOPER: All right. Up next. So adorable.
Up next, the top U.S. intelligence official reveals how China and Russia are both interfering the presidential election. Who they want to win, when we continue.
COOPER: Breaking news, a top U.S. intelligence officials warning that China, Russia and Iran are all trying to interfere with the upcoming presidential election. Our senior justice correspondent Evan Perez joins us with details. So what do we know about this intelligence assessment?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, this was a very unusual statement from Bill Evanina, who's the top election security official in the Director of National Intelligence Office. And what he was warning about today, is the activity of China of Russia and Iran. They've all apparently chosen their favorite candidates in the 2020 election. I'll read you just a little bit of what he says in regard to Russia. He says, quote, we assess that Russia is using a range of measures to primarily denigrate former Vice President Biden and what it sees as an anti-Russia establishment. Again, this is along the lines of what we saw from the Russians in 2016, when they were trying to hurt the campaign of Hillary Clinton and trying to boost the campaign of President Trump with regard to China. The assessment says, China prefers that President Trump, who Beijing views as -- sees as unpredictable, does not win reelection.
And apparently, according to the intelligence community, the information they have is that the Chinese are doing a variety of things, including working behind the scenes on social media, trying to criticize -- trying to take on anybody who is criticizing China. With regard to Iran, it appears what they're trying to do Anderson is more. So division among Americans. And in some ways also trying to hurt President Trump's campaign, according to the intelligence community.
COOPER: And President Trump responded to the Russian part of the assessment tonight. Let's take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: I think that the last person Russia wants to see in office is Donald Trump because nobody's been tougher on Russia than I have ever.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's not what the intelligence --
TRUMP: Well, I don't care what anybody says.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PEREZ: Anderson that is obviously not exactly true. And one of the frustrations for people inside the administration has been that the President has pulled his punches when, whenever he talks to Russian President Vladimir Putin, he's not even mentioned has not even brought up anything about Russian interference in the election in quite some time. So it's quite the opposite of what the President portrays.
COOPER: Yes. Or even the, you know, alleged bounties.
PEREZ: Right, exactly.
COOPER: To the Taliban. Evan. Yes, I'm startling. I mean, it's still seems like the intelligence community still does not have the support of the White House, which is yet again, reflected in the President's comments.
PEREZ: Right. And that's where it gets complicated. I think if you're talking to the people like Bill Evanina who are the career people who are trying to protect this country, they believe, you know, they've got a job to do. They're going to do that job. Now, as far as responding to the Russians, which is what you try to do.
PEREZ: They're not sure what the President will do.
COOPER: Yes, I'm impressed. Thank you very much. The news continues right now. I want to hand things over Chris for "CUOMO PRIMETIME." Chris?