Return to Transcripts main page


Trump Evacuated From Briefing After Shooting Outside White House; Report: 90 Percent Increase In COVID-19 Cases Among U.S. Children Over Last Four Weeks; Colorado Election Official Debunks President Trump's Mail-In Voting Claims. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired August 10, 2020 - 21:00   ET




ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, ANDERSON COOPER 360: Welcome back. Chris Cuomo is off this evening.

This hour, the latest on why the Secret Service abruptly shut down a Presidential news conference that had just started.

We'll also examine the new Coronavirus concerns as schools open. President Trump once again, today, saying that the virus the kids "Don't catch it easily," despite a new study that says the opposite.

We'll also be joined by a White House Reporter, in just a moment, who has penned a fascinating behind-the-scenes report about how the White House is now focused on the politics and not the science of the Coronavirus.

The report states that top officials in the White House appear to be skeptical of the science surrounding the virus, even as they say they are not anti-science.

Later, the President's lies about mail-in voting, the Republican in charge of elections in Alabama join us to talk about the President's comments on what he's hearing from voters in the State of Alabama.

We start with the latest in the virus, and the state of schools trying to reopen their doors, in particular, those in Georgia, which have founded a difficult task, almost immediately.

CNN's Athena Jones has the story.


DR. ASHISH JHA, DIRECTOR, HARVARD GLOBAL HEALTH INSTITUTE: If we just act like the virus isn't there, and we kind of go for it, and try to tough it out, it won't work.

ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Public health experts warned this would happen, and now it has, schools in states with high rates of COVID-19 infections opening up too quickly without the proper precautions and suffering the consequences as new cases pile up.

The Georgia High School made famous in this viral photo now temporarily closed, after nine students or employees tested positive. The school, where masks are not required, holding classes remotely, while it undergoes a deep cleaning.

At least 16 schools in Cherokee County, Georgia have reported COVID cases among students or staff, underlining the challenge of holding in-person classes in a State with the highest number of COVID cases per capita in the country.

DR. WILLIAM SCHAFFNER, PROFESSOR, DIVISION OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES, VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER: The reason all this is happening is because we haven't controlled the virus spread in the community.

JONES (voice-over): The lack of a mask mandate in most Georgia schools, and concerns about crowding, prompting fear among teachers and families.

BETH MOORE, (D) GEORGIA STATE HOUSE: I have over 200 emails, over the course of less than 48 hours, from teachers, students, parents, staff members at school, all with really the same message that schools in Georgia are not prepared to go back to face-to-face instruction right now.

JONES (voice-over): The trouble with schools coming as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children's Hospital Association say nearly 100,000 children in the U.S. tested positive for COVID in just the last two weeks of July.

With COVID positivity rates rising in 35 states, compared to last week, there are new concerns in places like Idaho, Indiana and Illinois, where Chicago's Mayor tweeted this image of a crowded beach.

In California, CNN affiliate KABC captured tense moments outside a church, holding an indoor service Sunday, in defiance of a Judge's order.

Average daily deaths nationwide have topped a 1,000 for the past two weeks. And several states are seeing record hospitalizations.

Meanwhile, college football is hanging in the balance. Multiple sports outlets reporting leaders of the Power Five sports conferences are in discussions about postponing the season due to COVID concerns, a move the Mid-American Conference announced over the weekend.

JON STEINBRECHER, COMMISSIONER, MID-AMERICAN CONFERENCE: This was a crushing decision to be made by our membership. It was a decision that was made based on the advice of our medical experts.


COOPER: Athena Jones joins us now.

We've been talking about how COVID affects kids. You've got new information about how it's impacting kids of color. JONES: Hi, Anderson, that's right. We've already seen a study that shows that Black and Hispanic children are more likely to contract the virus.

Well now new CDC data shows that Hispanic children are eight times more likely to be hospitalized with Coronavirus complications than White children. Black children are five times more likely to be hospitalized than White children. One expert, saying that the testing and prevention resources must be focused in these high-risk communities.


JONES: Anderson?

COOPER: Athena Jones, Athena, thanks very much.

As we mentioned, at the top of the program, Secret Service quickly took President Trump out of his briefing, just minutes after it began. Here's the moment.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: It looks like they're just about going to be topping records, hopefully soon.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sir, we're just going to have to step outside.

TRUMP: Excuse me?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have to step outside.

TRUMP: All right.


COOPER: Joining me now, CNN White House Correspondent, Jeremy Diamond.

Jeremy, you were in the briefing room tonight. What did you see?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well Anderson, it was a pretty chaotic and uncertain scene at first. When you see that Secret Service Agent come over to the President, and escort him out of the room, that is not something that you see often, if at all.


And ultimately, it turns out that a man appears to have been shot outside of the White House. The President was out of the briefing room here for about 8.5 minutes before he returned and he continued with his news conference.

And when he returned, I asked the President where he was taken during that time, whether he was taken to that underground bunker, where we know that he was rushed, during those Black Lives Matter protests, just outside of the White House. The President told me that he was not in the bunker that he was taken to the Oval Office, briefly with some other aides, where he then later remarked that he was watching TV news reports about what was going on.

But it was certainly an uncertain situation, and not something that you see often here.

COOPER: And what more do we know about the shooting itself? I know the Secret Service tweeted out that, I believe, an Agent and a suspect were taken to the hospital?

DIAMOND: Yes, that's right.

As of now, that is pretty much as far as it goes, about what exactly happened in this incident. Our photojournalist, Peter Morris, actually heard one of the shots that, was fired, while he was standing outside on the White House's North Lawn.

And the President came back. He said that he believed that the suspect was armed and that the suspect was shot by a Secret Service officer. The President did say also that he doesn't believe that the suspect breached anything on the White House complex.

This incident appears to have happened right at the corner of 17th and Pennsylvania, which is just outside the perimeter of the White House grounds. But certainly, something - pretty shocking to see something happen that close to the White House grounds.

And the President was asked if he was rattled. He said, "Do I look - look rattled?" And he seemed to indicate that he wasn't. And then, he went on, of course, with the rest of the briefing.

COOPER: And talk to us about what he discussed during the briefing. I mean there was obviously about COVID, also about Executive Orders that he has given, and whether or not they'll actually be able to do anything.

DIAMOND: Yes. The President talked about a wide range of news of day questions.

Actually, I feel like he actually stayed here longer than he typically has, over the last couple of weeks, after he returned from that incident. Maybe he wanted to show that he was not rattled by that incident.

And then, we heard the President do what he typically does, which is we heard him downplaying the Coronavirus. We heard him insisting that there's no risk to children, as he so often has, as it relates to the virus.

There is one question that I want to highlight for you, Anderson. And that is when the President was asked about these efforts by other countries, including Russia, to meddle in the U.S. elections, the President deflected that question, and instead said, not talking about Russia, but instead, saying, Democrats are meddling in the election. And he went on to make a series of false statements about mail-in voting, including the notion that countries, foreign countries, like Russia, could potentially interfere with mail-in voting and rig the election.

That is directly at odds with what Intelligence officials have said, including a statement, just this past Friday, when the Intelligence Community said that it is difficult for adversaries to manipulate voting results at scale.


COOPER: Jeremy Diamond, Jeremy, thanks.

Joining us now to talk about President Trump, and the politics of Coronavirus, Washington Post White House Reporter, Josh Dawsey, who helped write that story of a science-skeptical Administration, we mentioned at the top of the program.

Also, Jonathan Swan, National Political Reporter for Axios, who's interview with President there, a week ago, show the President saying, of those who've died from the virus, "It is what it is."

Josh, you had some fascinating reporting, over the weekend, about President Trump's inner circle in the White House, focusing on how to convince the public that the President has this crisis under control, rather than on actually planning ways to contain it.


It was that a number of his political aides, including Mark Meadows, Jared Kushner, Director of Communications, now meet every morning, to try and talk about how they're going to message the virus, how to convince Americans that things are getting better. Previously, there had been more wider Coronavirus Task Force meetings,

as you know Anderson, where there were a whole host of doctors and public health professionals and agency leaders, across the government, and those have been scaled back. And now, you have these meetings that are happening more regularly.

You have some of the Administration's public health professionals, Dr. Birx out touring states, trying to message more about wearing masks, and taking some precautions, in states outside of Washington.

But what we've seen from the last few months in the White House is an Administration that, for the month of June, largely did not focus on the Coronavirus. Then there's been a lot of skepticism from Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, and others toward the doctors.

And now, you have widespread number of cases, more than 5 million in the United States, and a problem that's going to likely to continue into the fall, and potentially get worse, according to the internal projections for the Administration.

COOPER: Josh, in your article, a senior Administration official involved in the pandemic response, told you, "Everyone is busy trying to create a Potemkin village for him every day."

It's an extraordinary statement. Can you explain it?

DAWSEY: Well the President has wanted to strike an optimistic tone, on the virus repeatedly, as you've seen. He's wanted to show different stats, as he showed, Jonathan, in the interview, then Jonathan used to try and paint a brighter picture.

He's willing to say the virus will go away, that the deaths are going to be reduced soon that states are not going to have a problem that schools are going to reopen that there will be college football, that there will be this whole host of positive developments in the United States. And those just simply haven't happened.


So, aides have been trying to paint more optimistic pictures for the President to share because he doesn't like hearing bad news on the Coronavirus.

You saw, I guess, about 10 days ago, now, where Dr. Birx was on television, one Sunday morning, and said how widespread and how bad it was. And the next morning, he attacked her, he said "Pathetic."

So, this is not a President who is welcoming bad news to it's a pandemic.

COOPER: Jonathan, first of all, you don't need me to say this, but I just thought that was one of the most extraordinary interviews I've seen with the President, and I just thought you did a remarkable job with it.

All of this was clearly on display during that interview. I mean, he told you he thought things were under control. He showed you the sort of misleading papers and graphs, indicating how well he thought the U.S. was doing compared to the world.

He's essentially ignoring anything that's negative, I mean, which is what he always does.


Yes, well thanks for saying that.

It was - I started the interview by sort of asking - I actually started the interview in a fairly gentle fashion by saying to him, "Look, you've been an adherent to this power of positive thinking philosophy that Norman Vincent Peale, this Christian Minister, popularized in the 1950s."

This idea that it doesn't really matter if what you're saying bears any resemblance to current reality, the mere fact of saying it or visualizing it will make it come true, a philosophy that's probably perfectly harmless in the worlds of commercial real estate or reality television may be even helpful, may be helpful in some aspects of politics, but has never ever been applied to the worst pandemic in a century, and these death numbers are simply unspinnable.

I mean, he was pulling out deaths as a proportion of cases. Well OK, that's - it's not a completely irrelevant figure. It shows you that the U.S. hospital system has done--

COOPER: Right.

SWAN: --an almighty job to save people. But when you look at death, as a proportion of population, which was the figure I was talking about, it's just horrendous. I mean, there are a few countries worse than America, but not very many.

And the fact remains, is this stubborn fact that, again, no amount of publicity or salesmanship or political messaging workshops can change, which is that the United States, the country with the most advanced science and healthcare technology, in the world, is performing abysmally on this - on this metric of death as a proportion of population.

COOPER: Which is what, Josh, makes it so extraordinary to me that, in your reporting, they are having daily meetings, Kushner and Meadows, about messaging, as opposed to actually the President attending Virus Task Force briefings.

I know they had one that he tweeted out pictures. But reporting, before that, there wasn't - he had - didn't attend one until - since April.

And sending Dr. Birx, I guess you say, around the country, I don't know if it's banishment from her being pathetic or punishment. But the idea of sending her, around the country, trying to encourage people to wear masks, how about the President encouraging people to wear masks?

DAWSEY: Well the President, after months of being somewhat resistant to a push from many of his political advisers, lawmakers, family members and others, finally said, it was patriotic to wear a mask.

COOPER: Yes, he said it once.

DAWSEY: In his words, patriotic.

COOPER: I mean he's not wearing a mask though.

DAWSEY: He's worn a mask--

COOPER: And I mean--

DAWSEY: --a few times, Anderson. He hasn't worn a mask consistently. But in the briefing room, his advisers would say, he's tested.

He's worn them on a few of the trips across the country. And then, there've been other times like when he's been at his hotel, where he's been, and other public places, where he hasn't. So, it's been a kind of hit or miss.

COOPER: Jonathan, candidate Trump railed against President Obama for implementing Executive Orders during his Presidency, when Congress couldn't get things done. Now, the President is doing the same.

Obviously, there's a whole host of issues with what he's - his latest one, it's the constitutionality of them, or the unconstitutionality of them, just whether or not, they're even, you know, would work.

What does all this mean for negotiations on Capitol Hill with Meadows and Mnuchin?

SWAN: Well my latest reporting is that nothing meaningful has changed or happened in terms of the negotiations since President Trump announced and signed these Executive Orders on the weekend. It hasn't moved.

There's two sides. This is not - these are not trivial disagreements. They're about more than $2 trillion apart. I mean, this is - this is massive, massive gap between the two sides.

And what we're seeing, yes, I mean, on this issue, as many others, President Trump, when he was a private citizen, criticized President Obama, only to go on and do it himself.

But what we're seeing this time, again, unsurprisingly, is there isn't really a Republican blowback.

I mean, Ben Sasse, in the Senate, is this sort of lonely figure out there. He is not Representative of the Republican Conference. He is an aberrant figure in expressing displeasure with President Trump publicly.


Most of them are actually being supportive or quiet or sort of half- supportive, like Senator Mike Lee, who is a strict constitutionalist, who put out a statement saying that there was a statutory basis for these executive authorities.

So, you're not seeing pressure from the Party. And that, again, just comes back to the fact that Donald Trump owns this Party, and has still, even though people like to pull out when people - there's episodes of dissent or people criticizing him, he still has an almighty sway over this Republican Party, and the evidence has been there in the last 48 hours.

COOPER: And Josh, you talked about the sort of - the suspicion of science. Well how do you see that in the West Wing?

DAWSEY: Well, what we've seen repeatedly is Mark Meadows, the President's Chief of Staff, Marc Short, the Vice President's Chief of Staff, and the leader of the Coronavirus Task Force, and some of the other political officials, clashing with the doctors.

They have found, particularly Dr. Fauci, to be too draconian on some of his prescriptions. They have not liked how Dr. Birx has gone after - has said some things publicly, on television.

They have resisted one of the entreaties (ph) saying the doctors were wrong at first. They frequently cite, remember that doctors early on, before science emerged, said that masks were not necessary.

So, what we've seen repeatedly is Dr. Birx and Dr. Fauci, particularly Dr. Fauci, taking a more conservative line, calling for more measures to try and contain the spread of the virus, and some of the President's leading political officials not agreeing with those measures, and thinking that they're being too obstructionist to reopening the country, reopening schools, reopening other things.

COOPER: Yes. Josh Dawsey, Jonathan Swan, I appreciate it. Thank you very much.

DAWSEY: Thank you.

COOPER: Just ahead, there's more breaking news, Dr. Anthony Fauci's late reaction to a report about how the virus is spreading among children. He weighs in on whether or not students should wear a mask at school.

We also have a report on a weekend of protests and violence in Chicago and other cities, dozens of arrests, what happened and why, when we continue.



COOPER: American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children's Hospital Association has published a startling new report.

They say that there has been a 90 percent increase of new Coronavirus cases in children, over a four-week period, that ended last Thursday, the exact number 179,990, almost 180,000.

President Trump said the report did not give him pause about reopening schools, said once again, that children "Don't catch it easily."

A short time later, ABC News aired an interview with Dr. Anthony Fauci. He was asked about whether masks should be mandated in schools.



There should be, the extent possible, social distancing, avoiding crowds. Outdoors always better than indoors, and be in a situation where you continually have the capability of washing your hands and cleaning up with sanitizers.


COOPER: Dr. Tina Hartert of Vanderbilt University Medical Center joins us now, who's also working on the NIA - excuse me, working with the NIH on the study of the Coronavirus, in U.S. households. And William Haseltine, former Professor at Harvard Medical School and Author of "A Covid Back To School Guide." Professor Haseltine, when you hear Dr. Fauci say unequivocally there should be universal mask wearing at schools, I'm wondering what you make of that? It makes sense?

WILLIAM HASELTINE, CHAIR AND PRESIDENT, ACCESS HEALTH INTERNATIONAL, FORMER PROFESSOR, HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL, AUTHOR, "A COVID BACK TO SCHOOL GUIDE": It makes a lot of sense. We know that children can be infected. Children can infect others, and children can contract very serious disease.

I think when we talk about children, we have to say, children from zero to five, they are highly infectious to other people. It turns out, they have 1,000 times more virus in their nose than you need to infect. So, they're very, very contagious. And that--

COOPER: So, when the President says that that children, don't pass it on, in the same way that adults do, that's just not correct?

HASELTINE: In fact, it's correct, only in the opposite sense. It's very likely that small children pass it on much more efficiently.

Then have you children in the ages of six to 12, they're the ones who are most likely to get the lethal effects of all the kids. They're the ones that get the lethal effects. The peak is about age seven to eight.

Then you have children who are 13 to 19, they're still in school, and they're just like adults. If you look at the number of people, who are now hospitalized, the bulk of people who are now hospitalized, they're from 15 to 60. So, they're just adults.

So, children are at risk, they should wear masks.

COOPER: Dr. Hartert, we mentioned the new American Academy of Pediatrics report which found a 90 percent increase in the number of COVID cases among kids over the last four weeks. I'm wondering if you're surprised by those numbers.

And what do you think accounts for them? Is it that testing is now - more kids are actually getting tested, and also more kids are now coming in contact with other people, whereas before they were more isolated?


I think we previously didn't test people, if they had no symptoms, and we know children are much more likely to be asymptomatics. They're also much more likely not to be tested.

And I think, as we've lifted restrictions, in different places, and more children are infected, we're both testing more, and children are becoming infected more often.

COOPER: Professor Haseltine, when you hear about that rise, should that have implications on the reopening of schools? HASELTINE: Absolutely, it should. And so should the story of the Georgia camp, so should the schools that have already opened.

We know that children can transmit this virus to each other at all ages and do. And I think that the doctor was right when she said that we now have a situation where we are measuring the children more, and more children are getting out.


During the first part of this pandemic, some adults got out, but far fewer children interacted with each other. Now, we're going to maximize, we're going to put 50 million more kids in close contact. I think you're waiting for a second fire to erupt. You're pouring fuel on a raging fire.

COOPER: Dr. Hartert, you're working on a study with NIH researchers that will track the rate of Coronavirus spread, among kids and families. I think it's in 2,000 households across the U.S.

What do you - what's the - what's the importance of that? What do you expect to find?

HARTERT: Right. So, this is the HEROS study, which is an NIH-led study of, as you mentioned, nearly 2,000 households with children and their families.

So, we're studying children, the infection in children, the role of asymptomatic infection, transmission within the households, and also the role of allergies and asthma, particularly among children, about which we know very little, at this point.

COOPER: And there's - so there's a lot about COVID and children that we still don't know?

HARTERT: No, that's correct. I would say the role of children in transmission is uncertain.

We know that children are infected with this virus. We know children transmit this virus. I think that the studies to date don't tell us the same stories, so you will hear, in the media, several small epidemiologic studies reported and studies about shedding a virus.

And when we don't have studies that are telling us the same story, I think, it means that we're really still uncertain about children's spread. But I think we shouldn't ignore decades' worth of research about the very important role children play in spreading pretty much every other respiratory virus.

So, I think, until we have better data, we really should say that the role of children, in transmitting virus is still uncertain. They certainly transmit it. How important their transmission is, compared to adults, I think, is not known, to this point.

COOPER: And Professor Haseltine, it seems like we are - obviously, this is all happening to everybody at the same time, so there's no previous studies that have been done, so we're learning about this, as we go.

But just as you're starting to see longer-term effects, in adults, who have had COVID cardiac incidents, neurological incidents, I'm wondering if there's concern that that could be the case with children as well, we just haven't had the length of time to see it.

HASELTINE: You're right - you're right, Anderson, that children that do get sick get very sick, and very often have disease of the brain. They have heart disease. They may have aneurysms. That's ballooning of the arteries.

I'd like to go back to something about the children's transmission, just for a second, and to point out that, Coronaviruses we know about.

This is a Coronavirus. We've been living with them. They give us colds. And there's every reason to suspect that this virus, even though it can kill you, behaves pretty much like a cold virus, in terms of transmission.

Who drives colds? Children drive colds. Who drives flu? As the doctor had said, flu is driven by young children in households. And that's true of almost all respiratory diseases, including the colds and including the colds that are caused by Coronaviruses.

And this is one of those cousins. It even uses the same receptor, in the nasal passages, as one of the cold viruses. It just happens to be a cold virus that also kills.

COOPER: Professor William Haseltine, as always, thank you. Dr. Tina Hartert, it's great to have you on the program, thank you, and good luck with your work. We appreciate it.

One of the best hopes in helping stopping the spread, maybe those infected who weren't sickened at all, why are asymptomatic cases so critical to helping end this? Two scientists actively working to crack that code, next.



COOPER: One of the biggest mysteries of the pandemic is why some are so sickened by COVID and why others infected experienced no symptoms at all.

It's estimated 40 percent of cases in this country are asymptomatic. Are T cells helping them fight this off or they're building that immunity from - there is no known previous exposure. It's confounding scientists, hard at work, to try to find answers.

One of the researchers, leading the effort, is Dr. Monica Gandhi, a Infectious Diseases Doctor and Professor of Medicine, at UC San Francisco.

And also with us, Dr. Andrew Badley, Chair of the Mayo Clinic's COVID Research Task Force, who's been studying the protective effects of vaccines.

Dr. Badley, thanks for being with us. Part of your research has been looking at possible protective effects of common vaccines that people have already gotten over the years. What have you been finding?

DR. ANDREW BADLEY, INFECTIOUS DISEASES SPECIALIST, MAYO CLINIC: Well thank you for having me tonight, Anderson. It's great pleasure to be here.

What we looked at was, what impact do, prior vaccination status have on your risk of acquiring COVID disease? And this really isn't a new phenomenon. It's been known for a large number of years that certain vaccines can be protective against diseases that they're not designed to be protective for.

And a classic case of areas, the TB vaccine, which is called BCG, people who get that vaccine have a reduced chance of getting Malaria. And there's no real reason to suspect that the antigens in TB and the antigens in Malaria are so close that a T cell response can be protective.

When we looked it, in the setting of COVID disease, we found that people who had prior vaccinations with a variety of vaccines for pneumococcus, influenza, Hepatitis A and others appeared to have a lower risk of getting COVID disease than if they didn't have the vaccine.


COOPER: That's really fascinating. So, I mean, in a way, a common vaccine is kind of an immune booster to fight off unrelated infections?

BADLEY: Exactly right. Studies like this can't infer mechanism.

COOPER: Right.

BADLEY: But we, as scientists, can speculate what the mechanism is.

COOPER: And Doctor--


COOPER: Sorry, go ahead.

BADLEY: There's a known mechanism, in immunology, which is called immune training.

And essentially what immune training is, if your immune system has been trained to fight off an infection, in an unstressed state, like when you get a vaccine, then when you encounter a pathogen or a virus in a stressed state, you're more likely to mount effective immune response, and that's immune training.

I think a good analogy is think of your immune system as being a muscle. And the more you exercise that muscle, the stronger it will be when you need it.

COOPER: Dr. Gandhi, your research has been looking at lower rates of infection through the use of masks, and how that might mean people are A, asymptomatic, and B, actually have lower levels of the virus. Can you explain what you've been finding?

DR. MONICA GANDHI, PROFESSOR OF MEDICINE AND ASSOCIATE CHIEF OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES, UCSF: Yes, what we've been looking at is really this question of how do you increase the rate of asymptomatic infection, because if 40 percent of people have asymptomatic infection, you want to decrease transmission to be sure, but you also want to decrease the morbidity of the disease.

You want more and more people to feel OK if they have the disease. And so, what can you do to increase the rates of asymptomatic infection, having those symptoms? And what the mask does is really reduce the amount of virus that you get in, if you do get infected.

And by reducing that, we call that the viral inoculum, you have a lower dose, you're able to manage it, you're able to have a calm response, and you have mild symptoms or no symptoms at all.

And we sort of put together a lot of data, based on virology, and based on outbreaks, and based on country-level data, and put it all together, to say that the size matters, the viral inoculum means is.

And what that means is wear a mask, because that will protect you that if you do get infected you're more likely to get very mild disease or no disease.

COOPER: That's really fascinating, because I mean, so much of the argument about wearing a mask has been to protect other people, which is certainly something we should all be concerned about and wanting to do. But you're saying also wearing a mask protects yourself.

GANDHI: It absolutely protects yourself, and in fact, it may have been a little bit of a disservice, at the beginning, when we first started to say it only protects other people, because by saying that, we do need to bring in the civic duty and we need to bring in like what we want to do as individuals.

It's a complicated country right now. That's fine.

It protects you. And how does it protect you? It protects you from getting the virus in.

But the most important thing, for me, is that it protects you from severe illness, because who wants severe illness, who wants to be on a ventilator? No one wants to get sick. And so, it protects you from getting severe illness.

And then, on top of it, if you get a mild infection, or asymptomatic infection, and you get immunity out of it, we have just really changed the equation on this, because you've made the disease less deadly, by wearing masks, and then you may increase population level immunity.

And there's quite a bit of studies that we talked about that before showing that you're going to get immunity even from mild disease.

COOPER: It's seems like - I mean that's so important, I think, that message, to get out there.

Dr. Badley, your research underscores the need for people to get their vaccines, and remain generally healthy during this time. I mean, to me, the takeaway is check to make sure I'm up on vaccines, other vaccines for other things, Hepatitis A, others that you mentioned.

And what should people - I mean, does that make sense for people to go to their physician or to the local CVS and get vaccinated for things?

BADLEY: So, I think, it underscores the need for health maintenance.

We know that there's a variety of risks that increase your chance of getting severe disease, as we just heard, and they include obesity, and smoking, and alcohol use, and all kinds of things.

So, we, as individuals, can do a number of things to improve our health status today. If you are diabetic, get your sugars under control. If you smoke, quit smoking. If you drink too much, cut your alcohol intake. Lose weight, exercise.

All those things are very, very important, in addition to which, take your vaccines. They may reduce your chance of getting COVID.

But also, we know that if you have, for example, influenza, a common complication of influenza is getting another infection on top of it, like a bacterial pneumonia, it's probable that if you have influenza, and you get COVID on top of that, you're going to have a worse outcome.

So, taking your vaccines to prevent influenza and pneumococcus and Hepatitis C is good for you, in the absence of COVID, and likely twice as good for you, in the presence of COVID.

COOPER: Wow! Really good information from both of you. Thank you so much, Dr. Badley, as well, and Dr. Monica Gandhi, as well, thanks for all your work, it's really fascinating.


Great concern is how voters will stay safe this upcoming election. Of course, that's why so many states are talking about mail-in ballots. The President has been saying that they will lead to massive fraud.

We'll talk to someone who actually knows the system intricately, to talk about what it's like in his State. We'll be right back.


COOPER: The President complained again today - tonight about mail-in voting, as he's done most days, the last couple of weeks.

In the past, he's claimed fraud, ballot harvesting, you name it. But as we pointed out before, there's no evidence of widespread voter fraud in this country. In fact, at least five states have been doing it for years. Colorado is one of them.

CNN's Lucy Kafanov shows us what it looks like and separates reality from myth.


GEORGE STERN, CLERK AND RECORDER, JEFFERSON COUNTY, COLORADO: This machine here processes 20,000 ballots an hour. It's really loud. We would not be able to be talking this closely right now to it.


LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): George Stern is an Elections Administrator for Jefferson, Colorado's fourth-largest county, located in the Western suburbs of Denver.

KAFANOV (on camera): So, everything here is out in the open?

STERN: Everything is out in the open.

KAFANOV (voice-over): He's invited the President and CNN to tour the County's mail ballot processing facility. His message?

STERN: There's no massive fraud, that, our elections are secure as much as they are accessible.

KAFANOV (voice-over): All registered Colorado voters automatically receive a ballot in the mail. You can still vote in-person. But an overwhelming majority of ballots, including 99.3 percent in this year's State primary have consistently been returned by mail or Ballot Drop Box.

TRUMP: Everyone knows mail-in ballots are a disaster.

KAFANOV (voice-over): This week, the President sued Nevada to contest the expansion of mail-in voting, tweeting in July, "Mail-in ballots will lead to massive electoral fraud and a rigged 2020 election."

STERN: We've been doing universal vote by mail in Colorado for seven years, and we can say with certainty that that is not the case.

KAFANOV (voice-over): That's because of what Stern says is a rigorous system of checks and balances.

For a mail-in ballot to be counted, the envelope must be signed. A bipartisan team of election judges, trained by FBI handwriting analysts, then compares the envelope signature to those stored on file.

STERN: If there isn't a signature that matches, that's getting pushed off to the side, and it's going to be investigated by the District Attorney's Office.

KAFANOV (voice-over): Data from the conservative Heritage Foundation shows nine instances of voter fraud out of millions of ballots cast, since Colorado began voting by mail in 2013. STERN: Nine's too many, right? We want that number zero. But that's nine out of 16 million, that's literally less than one in a million.

KAFANOV (voice-over): In June, the President falsely claimed that "Millions of mail-in ballots will be printed by foreign countries and others."

But Colorado election officials say that's also not a concern. An adversary would have to mimic everything perfectly, from a signature on file, to the ballot size, style, paper weight, and even the envelope it's mailed in, all of which differ from county to county, and change in each election cycle.

Another bonus?

STERN: Everything is paper, right? When you have mail ballots, you got paper ballots. And we've got a paper trail, and we store that paper trail for two years after the elections.

Our voting equipment, our voting machines, never connected to the internet. They never have been. They never will be. Our County equipment never connected to the internet.

KAFANOV (voice-over): Which helps prevent hacking.

TRUMP: It would be a total joke.

KAFANOV (voice-over): Another false claim by the President that mail- in voting benefits Democrats, tweeting "Republicans should fight very hard when it comes to statewide mail-in voting. Tremendous potential for voter fraud, and for whatever reason, doesn't work out well for Republicans."

SEN. CORY GARDNER (R-CO): Tonight, we shook up the Senate.

KAFANOV (voice-over): In the 2014 general election, the first election after Colorado switched to mail-in voting, Republicans flipped a U.S. Senate seat, won a majority in the State Senate, gained seats in the State House, and won three of four statewide offices.

STERN: We've seen that there is no partisan advantage. We've seen record voter turnout from Democrats and Republicans and unaffiliated voters in our elections.

KAFANOV (voice-over): The President has also suggested that election results could be delayed for months.

STERN: We actually deliver most of our results on election night every time because of this vote by mail system.

KAFANOV: So, in some ways, the mail-in voting actually makes the process faster.

STERN: In Colorado, unquestionably makes it faster.

KAFANOV (on camera): And how easy is it to fake a ballot from someone who is deceased.

STERN: So, dead people cannot vote. And they do not vote in Colorado. We regularly update our voter registration lists.

TRUMP: Somebody got a ballot for a dog.

STERN: Well my dog walks to vote with me every single election, but he's yet to get a ballot or turn one in himself.

KAFANOV (voice-over): Lucy Kafanov, CNN, Golden, Colorado.


COOPER: Alabama's Republican Secretary of State says there's only one kind of mail-in voting there, and it's safe and secure. John Merrill joins us now.

Secretary Merrill, thanks so much for being with us.

I'm wondering what you're hearing from Republican voters in Alabama, because we're hearing that there's concern among some, because the President is saying one thing, and yet, a lot of Republicans vote by mail-in.

JOHN MERRILL, ALABAMA SECRETARY OF STATE: Anderson, thank you for having me as your guest.

And there are a number of people who have significant concerns, in our State, about universal vote by mail.

Of course, in Alabama, we've had absentee vote by mail for many, many years, and we will continue that process. We know that that process is safe, secure, and has a high degree of integrity and credibility in our State.

COOPER: So, are voters, because I mean absentee voting versus mail-in voting, I heard voters are asking some Secretaries of State about, is there - is there one that works, and there one that's not. It seems like Alabama, you have, there's one system.

MERRILL: Well, Anderson, our people are very comfortable with the system that we have. As I said, it's been in place for many, many years. And I think what's important is that each State needs to do what's best for each State.


Now, I think there are a number of questions that need to be answered related to these two incidences because some people do not understand the difference between universal voting by mail and absentee voting by mail.

So, if we could take just a second, to make sure that people understand, in the instance with universal voting by mail, what that would mean, in the State of Alabama is that all 3,627,079 registered voters in Alabama would receive a ballot mailed to their home, whether or not they requested it or not.

Through the absentee voting by mail system that we have, the voter has to request an application. They can download that from, or they could contact their local Circuit Clerk or Absentee Election Manager, have an application mailed to them. Then, they complete the application.

They submit it to the Absentee Election Manager, the Circuit Clerk, in most counties. Then, that individual processes the application, then they send them a ballot, and then they need to file the directions, and successfully return their ballot, so it'll be counted for the candidate of their choice.

Also think there's a couple other things that need to be noted. Number of times people will ask me, how much does it cost to run an election in Alabama? And each segment of our election, Anderson, costs $5.5 million, the primary, the run-off, and the general election, so approximately $16.5 million.

For one segment of a universal vote by mail effort, in our State, it would cost $18.5 million. So, if you added those three segments up, it would almost be $60 million, as opposed to the $16.5 million that it currently costs the State of Alabama.

COOPER: Are you hearing voters concerned about voting in-person because of COVID-19?

MERRILL: Anderson, most of the people, in our State, still want to vote in-person. All 1,980 polling sites in the State of Alabama will be open on Election Day, just like they were when we had our run-off on July, the 14th.

Our people are very comfortable in going to the polls. And yet, we've made it easy for them to have that opportunity and know that we're taking all the precautions necessary to ensure a safe and healthy environment for them to go vote.

Our poll workers are all assigned to wear masks. They have been provided with latex and non-latex gloves, hand sanitizers, everywhere, disinfectant spray, and sanitized wipes are available to be used.

Once our election was over on July the 14th, we provided enough resources for all of our polling places to be returned to their pre- election condition, sanitized and fully cleaned, so that they would be able to do what they needed to do with that location after the election was over.

COOPER: Secretary John Merrill, I appreciate it. Thank you very much. Good luck to you and--

MERRILL: Thank you, Anderson.

COOPER: --good luck to you.

A weekend of protests and violence in several American cities, Chicago especially hit hard. Up next, we'll have an update of what happened. [21:55:00]


COOPER: There's violence, over the weekend, in several American cities. Chicago, it seems, saw some of the worst. Police say they made more than a 100 arrests.

CNN's Security Correspondent, Josh Campbell, has details.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This has been declared an unlawful assembly.

CAMPBELL (voice-over): A riot, looting, overtook several major cities across the U.S., this weekend.

The City of Chicago contending with violence overnight Sunday into Monday, large groups of people gathered after midnight, looting and trashing stores around Downtown, clashing with police.

The actions appear to stem from a police shooting of a 20-year-old man earlier in the day. Police say the man was armed and fired at officers first, and that misinformation about the shooting led to looting around the City.

SUPERINTENDENT DAVID BROWN, CHICAGO POLICE: This was not an organized protest. Rather this was an incident of pure criminality. This was an act of violence against our police officers and against our City.

CAMPBELL (voice-over): 13 police officers were injured, and more than 100 people arrested, and dozens of stores, some already struggling to stay in business, were badly damaged. Chicago is now preparing to restrict access and close major roads into the City, to prevent a repeat of last night.

At a large gathering, early Sunday, in the nation's capital, where gatherings of over 50 are prohibited--

CHIEF PETER NEWSHAM, METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Over a 100 rounds were fired on the scene of this shooting. There were multiple shooters who fired simultaneously.

CAMPBELL (voice-over): --21 people were shot, including an off-duty police officer, and this 17-year-old, who was killed.

MAYOR MURIEL BOWSER, (D) DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, D.C.: The situation is urgent. And every member of my Administration is focused on how to blunt this gun violence and the fatalities that have resulted from it.

CAMPBELL (voice-over): In Portland, a peaceful demonstration turned into a riot with protestors targeting the Portland Police Association Office. A security video shows items being thrown into the office in an attempt to set it on fire, a fire that was later put out. Portland has now seen protests for over two months, sparked by the death of George Floyd, in Minneapolis, and fueled by an influx of Federal forces into the City.

And on Sunday's sixth anniversary of Michael Brown's death in Ferguson, Missouri--


CAMPBELL (voice-over): --more than 100 people gathered for a peaceful march around the neighborhood, where the 18-year-old Black man was killed in 2014 by a White police officer. The Ferguson Police Station was surrounded.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're moving in.

CAMPBELL (voice-over): And police say some protesters threw bottles, metal screws and wooden sticks. Four people were arrested for refusing to disperse.

Josh Campbell, CNN, Los Angeles.


COOPER: A programming note, don't miss Full Circle. It's our digital news show that gives a chance to dig into some important topics, have in-depth conversations. And you catch it, streaming live, Monday, Tuesday and Friday, 6:00 P.M. Eastern, at, or watch it there, and on CNN app, at any time, on demand.

That's it for us. The news continues. Let's turn things over, right now, to Don Lemon, for "CNN TONIGHT."


DON LEMON, CNN HOST, CNN TONIGHT WITH DON LEMON: This is CNN TONIGHT. I am Don Lemon. Thank you so much for joining us.

I need to tell you about some tense moments at the White House, just tonight. Just minutes after beginning his briefing, in the White House, the press briefing room, well the President was abruptly escorted out by the Secret Service. You see them there--